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History Of The Star Spangled Banner

History Of The Star Spangled Banner image
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Francia Soott Key, the author ol bis noble lyric, was born in Maryland n August, 1779. His lather was an offieer in the American arrny during he Kevolutionary War. Mr. Key vas educated at St. John's College, Vnnapolis, bucame a lawyer, and was District Attorney at Washington, when h6 died tbere, in January 1843. Ciiief Justice Taaey is his brother-inaw. During the war with the Biitisb, in 814, Mr. Key 's friend, Dr. Beans of "Marlborough, was arrrested and put on joard of a British man-of war, stationd opposite Fort McHenry; the bornjardment of which they were com)elled to witness. Admiral Cockburn ïad boasted that he would take the ?ort in a few hours and the city of Saltimore in two days. Dr. Beans was very harsbly treated on board the Admirare ship. What followed, including the compoeition of " The Star Spangled Banner," we take from an nteresting sketch, by Mrs. Anna II. Dorsey, in the last number of the Washington Sundt)) Ckronich. After elating how Dr. Beans was captured and treated, Mrs. Doraey proceeda hus : But Dr. Beans' friends wore not idle. The whole country side was roused and indignant, and application was made to the President ot the Uniled States to authorize some plan for his release. After gome delay the President appointed Mr. Key to proceed, with a fiag oí truce, to the British admiral, and propose an excbange of prisoners - including of course Dr. Beans. But by the time Mr. Key arrived at Annapoliw, Oockbuvn's fleet had moved up the Bay, entered the Patapsco river, and lay off the barbor, preparatory to making an attaek on Baltimore. Mr. Key returned to Baltimore as speedilv as the slovv faeilities for travel at that time allowed him, and irnpatient to obtain the release of bis friend, ho lost no time in seeking the interview with Adniral Cockburn and presenting his credentiala. He was corteously received ind invited to dine with the Admiral and his officers. At the table he learned, by the conversation around him, .hat Port McHenry and the city of Baltirnore were to be bombarded that night. Ile had heard rumors of this the day before, but tho time of the attack was uncertain. After dinner, as a great favor, he requested the inmediato attention of Admiral Dockburn to his disp&tches, that he might return ashore accompanied by lis friend before nightfall. But he was blandly informed that " ït was mpossible, as certain plans had been dirfjussed in his hearing which inade it of mportance for him to consent to remain their gucst until the following duy." This was a trying and exapperating event to the high-minded Key. But there was nohelp for it, and eontrolling his indignation, he requested the privilege of spending tho intervening time with his friencl, whorn he had notyetsecn. This rensonable demand was granted forthwith, and he was conducted to the narrow comfortless place where Dr. Beans was imprisoned, The meeting was full of emotion on both Bidee, as may be imagined. It was now sunset, and the friends stood together looking out of a narrow port-hole towards the shore. Thfl aspect of everything was peaceful. The latt golden beatns of day lingered over shore and wave, like a parting beneiictioD, whilo from the rampaitsof Fort McHenry proudly waved tho American fííig, which the God of nalions had protected up to this time from dishonor, which in the hostile attack that followed, Ho shielded and blesscd, and which, it is our lirm hope, He will continue to protoct until the last sun that shull vise on eartb lights up its etars and stripes with its parting glory " Will that flagbe there, Key,when the morcing dawnsV" asked Dr. Beans of his friend. " God grant it !" was the fervent re sponse. It was a terrible night to tho tvro American gentlemen, whose patriotic hearts throbbed painfully, as the boomi g roar oí the cannon, the explositn ei the deadly bombs, the lurid glare thatltt the smoko of tho battle, the casionnl shouts ol defianco that rung out dwing the short intervals between tlie discharges, the shaip t mm pot tones of comm:uid that pealed abovethe uin, feil on tbèir straincd earé. At lengtb the firing becamo more frequent, as tho grey dairn approached. Can wo not imagine whither tho gaze of líey and hia friead was turnad ? fcowhat object they strained their sight tbrmigh tho morning mist ? But everytliing on shore was bidden by the emoke and fog, which hupg low and heavily over the rivor, They feared the worst ; there was no sign to teil thein that the American batteaies had not been silenced by Cockburn's guns, and Baltimore laid in ashes. Whilst agitated by Ihese fears, the wind suddenly moved through the mist ; in a few moments it was lifted away, and they savv the Stars and Stripes waving untorn and unscathed frotn its stafi, floating deiiance at the foe from evorv star on its azure field. The revulsión of feeling produoed by the welcomo sight was too much - they burst i oto tears and embraced each othcr without speakihg a word. Soon recovering, however, Dr. Beans, with his usual mpetuosity, sent an exultant huzzaout of port, to "greot it, whüe Mr. Koy, with a heart lull of glowing, peneiled on the back of an old letter one or two stanzas, avd the ouiline sketch of' our splondid naiional anthem, which, since our proud flag has becomo conseorated to us by the very odium that the disloyal sons of patriot fathors have sought to cast on it, is now fts sacred to our hearts as tbe songs of Zion that echoed beside tho waters of liabylon. The exchange of prisoners was ef[ected, and Dr. Beans acoompanied by lis iriend, returned home, with his feelngs towards the British no wisu improved.


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