In Honor of Election Year

In honor of the … certainly interesting … political contest now ongoing here in the USA, I intend to repost, song by song, The National Clay Minstrel, and Frelinghuysen Melodist, for the Presidential Canvass of 1844. Being a collection of all the new popular Whig songs.

Philadelphia : Published by George Hood, and sold by All the Principal Booksellers Throughout the United States.

The campaign of 1844, some claim, was the first national campaign.

I expect this project will take some time.  The National Clay Minstrel is 120 pages long (not counting index).  (Needless to say, this book is in the public domain.)

So, to the task:

To the National Clay Club, This Work is Respectfully Dedicated,
by the Publisher

Entered according to the Act of Congress in the year of 1843, by George Hood, in the Clerk’s Office of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

I intend to silently emend obvious typographical errors.  Depending on whim, I may include historical notes.

Onward!  Sing along!


At the glorious close of the struggle which placed “the good President” in power, the Loco Focos indulged the full privilege of defeat in complaints that the victors had, among other misdemeanors, marched to triumph cheered on by patriotic songs. They forgot that, in all ages and countries, the champions of liberty have borrowed their first inspiration from the bard, and that the lyre has ever been the companion of the sword in the contests that have ennobled and elevated human nature. The ancient Spartans marched to battle to the breathings of the lute; the hardy freemen of the North, were led to victory by their bards, and in modern times the squadrons of the united despots of Europe shrunk before the republicans of France, who rushed to the encounter chaunting the Marseilles Hymn. In our own revolution, when, in the darkest period of the war our half fed and half clad soldiers shivered around their camp fires at Valley Forge, some manly voice would raise the song of the Liberty Tree, and the dim eye would flash, and the pale cheek flush, and the night blast as it swept by, would bear upon its wings the shouts for America and Freedom. During the late war, the national enthusiasm was raised to the loftiest pitch by the patriotic songs which called upon the sons of the soil to repel the invader; and we trust that the time will never come when the American ear will be less sensible, or the American heart more cold to the poet who invokes them in the cause of right, than were the gallant Germans who chaunted Korner’s songs, as did Korner himself, when the life blood was gushing from their bosoms. Why the Loco Focos should complain of poetry and music wedded to and inspiring patriotism, we cannot understand, unless it be that they are opposed to all which is calculated to elevate, refine and harmonize the mass. It may, at least, be said that it is unfair that the supporters of the Grimalkin of Lindendorf, the prince of political mousers should be opposed to the mews!

In the present collection we believe we have included every Clay song of reputation and merit which has hitherto appeared; we have added many original songs by our best writers. May the millions of the country unite in chaunting them until all other sounds are drowned in a better music — the shouts of thunder which will hail the inauguration of the pride of the country and of all time—our own Harry of the West!



Written by J Greiner, of Dayton, Ohio, for the Philadelphia Clay Minstrels, and sung by them, with unbounded applause, at the Great Ratification Convention in Baltimore.

TUNE— “Old Dan Tucker.”

The skies are bright, our hearts are light,
Throughout our land the Whigs unite,
We’ll set our songs to good old tunes,
For there is music in these “Coons!”

Hurrah! hurrah! the Nation’s risin’
For Harry Clay and Frelinghuysen.

The Locos’ hearts are very sore,
Tho’ very scarce in forty-four;
For they began to see with reason.
That this will be a great coon season.
Hurrah! hurrah! &c.

O! Frelinghuysen’s a Jersey Blue,
A noble Whig and honest too,
And he will make New Jersey feel,
Whigs pay respect to her “Broad Seal.

Now let the Locos speak in candor,
His fame e’en Kendall dare not slander,
And when we all get in the fight,
Lord how the Jersey Coons will bite.
Hurrah! hurrah! &c.

Oh! Polk and Dallas are men of doubt.
They can’t poke in and must stay out,
And in November they will find,
Their party poking far behind.
Hurrah! hurrah! &c.

The coon now looks around with pride,
For who is here dare touch his hide,
And tho’ the Locos think to cross him,
They’ll find he’s only playing possum.
Hurrah! hurrah! &c.

United heart and hand are we,
From Northern Lake to Southern sea,
From East to West the Country’s risin’
For Harry Clay and Frelinghuysen.
Hurrah! hurrah! &c.


The good president would likely have been William Henry Harrison.

The Loco Focos were radical Democrats who split off from the main Democratic Party in 1835, opposing the chartering of state banks and calling for the suspension of paper currency.  They formed the Equal Rights Party; but after Martin Van Buren adopted large parts of their platform the Loco Focos were mostly reabsorbed into the Democratic party.

Carl Theodor Körner (1791-1813) was a German playwright, poet, and soldier, who got shot through the liver whilst fighting for Prussia against Napoleon.

The Grimalkin of Lindendorf was Martin Van Buren (1782-1862), eighth president of the United State (1837–41).  Van Buren’s home in Kinderhook, NY, was named Lindenwald.  “Grimalkin” refers to a cat.  (For the disrespectful use of “Lindendorf” instead of “Lindenwald” see, e.g.: The Wabash Courier, Volume 11, Number 32,Terre Haute, Vigo County, 15 April 1843, page 2.)

Theodore Frelinghuysen (1787-1862) of New Jersey was Henry Clay’s vice-presidential running mate.

The coons are raccoons, the animal that symbolized the Whig party.

Jersey Blue — Frelinghuysen was from New Jersey, and the Whig Party colors were Blue and Buff.

Amos Kendall was the editor-in-chief of the Argus of Western America (Frankfort, Kentucky).  A staunch Democrat, Kendall served as Postmaster General under Jackson and Van Buren.  As we read in the Whig Banner (Nashville, 1844):

Mr. McKennon of Pennsylvanian, in the nominating Convention at Baltimore, said that the character of THEODORE FRELINGHUYSEN would defy even the malice of Amos Kendall.  He was mistaken.  Amos, as if bent upon doing service to the party against which his malignant attacks are directed, has assailed Mr. Frelinghuysen, and like his great prototype, Baelzebub, shows the “cloven foot” at every step.  Conceding that “Theodore” is the “gift of God,” to the Whig party, he reviles our candidate for the Vice Presidency for occasionally participating in “Prayer meetings,” as “a Psalm-singing professor” of Religion, “with a HYMN BOOK in his hand and a BIBLE under his arm!”

The “Broad Seal” is the Great Seal of the State of New Jersey, as the New Jersey delegation supported Frelinghuysen as vice-presidential nominee (from the remarks of Henry N. Green of New Jersey at the Whig Nominating Convention in Baltimore, as reported in the Whig Banner).

His father was always  a firm, decided and unwavering patriot,—a soldier of the Revolution,—a brave and a patriotic citizen.  New Jersey envied New York that her favorite citizen now resided there, but New Jersey would relinquish the honor if New York would honor him,  whom to honor would prove an honor to herself.  This was the first time that N. Jersey had ever offered a man for the suffrages of the People and New Jersey would be grateful to this Convention for its choice, and would stamp the “Broad Seal” of the State in its favor.

Polk and Dallas are James K. Polk, the Democratic candidate for president, and George M. Dallas, his vice-presidential running mate.

If I finish reposting the songbook before Election Day, I’ll move on to the Harrison Log Cabin Songbook of 1840.

Tomorrow: Jimmy Polk of Tennessee!

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