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William Billings, the author of the subjoined hymn, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on the seventh of October, 1746. He is more celebrated, as the earliest native writer of music in America, than by his verses. He was zealous in the cause of liberty, and the patriotic ardor which pervaded his works, made them very popular with the colonists. The New England soldiers, who, during the war, were stationed in the Southern States, had many of his tunes by heart, and amused themselves by singing them in camp, to the delight of all who heard them.
Let tyrants shake their iron rod,
And slavery clank her galling chains ;
We fear them not; we trust in Godó
New England's Grod for ever reigns. 11