George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 22 June 1787]

Friday 22d. Dined at Mr. Morris’s & drank Tea with Mr. Frans. Hopkinson.

Francis Hopkinson, lawyer, musician, composer, and poet, and, as a delegate from New Jersey, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was at this time a judge in the admiralty court of Pennsylvania. During the Revolution he wrote and published a series of satiric essays and pamphlets supporting the American cause, and in 1787–88 wrote essays supporting the proposed new Constitution. In 1788 Hopkinson published a collection of his compositions, Seven Songs, which he dedicated to GW. GW was pleased, but took exception to the dedication, pleading that although he would “defend your performance, if necessary, to the last effort of my musical Abilities . . . what, alass! can I do to support it? I can neither sing one of the songs, nor raise a single note on any instrument to convince the unbelieving” (GW to Hopkinson, 5 Feb. 1789, DLC:GW).

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