December 11, 1860: Carolinians sing the Marseillaise.

From the December 11, 1860 Richmond Dispatch:

South Carolina.

A bill to provide new holidays for the State has been introduced in the South Carolina Legislature. It abolishes the celebration of the Fourth of July, and establishes in its place the observance of the 28th of June, the anniversary of the battle of Fort Moultrie. The other holidays are Good Friday, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving and fast days. A correspondent of the New York Times, writing from Columbia, says:

“To judge from the music heard here, a stranger would think he had landed in a French province. One of our old-fashioned national airs is never heard, but from every quarter — from the pianos in hotel parlors, from private residences, from bands on parade, and from every conceivable instrument, comes the everlasting ‘Marseillaise;’ if you happen to pass a residence and a lady is singing in the parlor, it is the ‘Marseillaise,’ the only alteration in the words being in the first line, where ‘Carolina’ is substituted for France; the small boys in the streets whistle the ‘Marseillaise,’ and that only, and, indeed, children of rather an older growth have caught the infection, and join in the general song;–it has become something like the ‘harp of a thousand strings.’ I only refer to this fact as another evidence of the feeling pervading all classes and conditions of society here.”

A bit ironic. Here’s the second verse of the Marseillaise:

What does this horde of slaves,
Of traitors and conjured kings want?
For whom are these vile chains,
These long-prepared irons? (repeat)
Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage
What fury it must arouse!
It is us they dare plan
To return to the old slavery!

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2 Responses to December 11, 1860: Carolinians sing the Marseillaise.

  1. Luke says:

    Very interesting and ironic. Coincidentally, after I read your post I ran across an editorial in The New York Times Archive that implies South Carolina adopted the Marseillaise to “woo foreign assistance”, French in this case. According to The Times the Marseillaise was proscribed in France – if true, that would make the situation even more ironic.

  2. Pingback: Oh, Those Were the Days! | Blue Gray Review

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