Harry of the West - New England Music Scrapbook
Harry of the West
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Come brothers, rouse, let's hurry out

To see our honored guest:

For lo! in every street they shout,

"Brave Harry of the West!"

The city now is all awake,

And in her laurels dressed,

And voices make the welkin shake

For Harry of the West.

The women, too, and children sweet,

Are singing with the rest,

And weaving garlands in the street,

For Harry of the West.

Old Broadway now is all alive,

And every heart seems blest

As th' word goes round, "he'll soon arrive,

Brave Harry of the West."

Behold! the aged statesman comes!

In highest honors dressed;

No conq'ring hero ever shone,

Like Harry of the West.

Nor shall a party feeling dare

To raise one narrow test,

But all shall in the tribute share,

To Harry of the West.

For th' glorious day is coming near,

When wrong shall be redressed,

And freedom's star shine bright and clear

On Harry of the West.

Then hail! all hail! thrice-honor'd sage,

Our most distinguished guest!

We'll venerate thy good old age,

Brave Harry of the West!

Hutchinson Family

John W. Hutchinson.  "Welcome to Harry of the West."  Music: John W. Hutchinson.  Lyrics: Jesse Hutchinson, Jr.  First line of text: "Come brothers, rouse, let's hurry out To see our honored guest."  New York: C. Holt, Jr.  1848.

  • "Harry of the West" is Henry Clay (1777-1852) of Kentucky, a leading proslavery Whig leader and frequent presidential candidate. While Jesse's lyrics include words of broad praise for Clay, mostly they are descriptive of New Yorkers' enthusiastic reception of the politician. Jesse knew, though, that Henry Clay was seen as an enemy to the cause of emancipation by many Garrisonian abolitionists. Jesse added the "glorious day is coming near" verse, as a reinforcing statement of the Hutchinsons' freedom principles; and he wrote other lines, calling on listeners to put aside their differences for this occasion. Both of these verses appear above on this page. Jesse and three of his brothers then sang this song in the presence of Henry Clay. Movement abolitionists, such as William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips, were quick to react; and their denunciations of the Hutchinsons, and Jesse in particular, were often quite harsh. John Hutchinson wrote:
    • "At this distance the affair may look like a tempest in a teapot; [but] it was a serious thing for the Hutchinsons and their critics. . . . [T]he Hutchinsons had no thought of risking their abolition reputation in singing to Henry Clay. He was the choice of Horace Greeley and other friends of freedom for the presidency. We did not forget that he was a slaveholder, and much as we admired his ability, did not fail to sing our anti-slavery sentiments to him as we would have to a hissing mob in Baltimore or New York. We also bore our testimony to temperance. ... [Frederick] Douglass was right; we were sorry for the Clay incident, because it made old friends doubt us, and we hastened to set ourselves right in what would be the most appropriate fashion." - John Hutchinson, Story of the Hutchinsons (Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1896), Volume 2 pages 334-335   But writing about a time not long after this, John said:
    • "It will be noticed that we never neglected to pay our respects to the abolition leaders wherever we found them, and yet we were carrying on our work for the emancipation of the colored race in our own way, and in a perfectly independent manner. . . . " - Ibid., Volume 1 page 245
  • I've never seen anything to suggest that copies of the score, "Welcome to Harry of the West," still exist. If you know of one, please get in touch.
  • Alan Lewis,  October 13, 2002






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