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The Ultimate Prayer


King George's Usurping Acts caused the Colonists pain;

 To Repeal them he was petitioned o'er in vain;

Then a prayer was uttered by each patriot breath,

Oh Lord! Oh, "Give me Liberty, or give me death."



1885 Liberty Bell Broadside - Return from New Orleans

Presumably a newspaper insert, this broadside was circulated around the City of Philadelphia in 1885 to celebrate the return of the Old Liberty Bell from New Orleans, Louisiana. This trip marked the Liberty Bell's first trip as a venerated guest exhibit to a world's fair in the United States. The broadside below contains a poem by Edward J. Virtue written for the Bell's honor.

Philadelphia's Welcome to the Glorious Old Liberty Bell
by Edward J. Virtue

Welcome! welcome back, belov'd Old Liberty Bell.
Thy voice when young on three million Enthrall'd souls fell;
Heralding their bold Declaration to all lands,
Of their Independence from a cruel tyrant's hands.

Thy once sweet, harmonious voice, is Cracked and still,
Thy presence our hearts with true patriotism fill,
As when the glad signal was given by a boy,
Which fifty-seven million Freemen now enjoy.

On that glorious day (July 8th, 1776) our population was small
When thy voice resounded through Independence Hall;
Which even to this day is heard on ev'ry shore,
And ever shall 'til such Oppressors are no more.

Thy peals were heard by our Land's first friend, Lafayette,
Whose blood, name and deeds America will ne'er forget,
Among its first Patriots, on its Scroll of Fame.
Resplendent shines his revered, illustrious name.

With his, the following lov'd, 'lustrious fam'd names are found, too,
King Louis XVI, his Subjects and Rochambeau.
Du Portail, De Kalb, Barry, Laurens, De Noailles, De Grasse,
De Choisa, Pulaski, Jones, Kosioska, Stuben and De Barras.

King George's Usurping Acts caused the Colonists pain;
To Repeal them he was petitioned o'er in vain;
Then a prayer was uttered by each patriot breath,
Oh Lord! Oh, "Give me Liberty, or give me death."

Then thy voice caused brave Patriots to assemble,
Who made George the III's fiendish hirelings to tremble;
And he to Benjamin Franklin in after years to own
That the United Colonies were a Nation of their OWN.

From each of the Thirteen Colonies, great and small,
Men of most all creeds, lands and ranks, respond'd to thy call,
Leaving plowshares, workshops, pulpits, parlors and quill,
Form'd the Continentals and avenged Bunker Hill.

For seven long weary years they gallantly fought --
Partly through their blood and hardship our freedom they bought;
Though oft' bare-foot'd, ragged, out-numbered, were ne'er dismayed,
While thousands their lives on their country's altar laid.

Noble Louis XVI, then the Christian King of France,
Sent some of his Army (3,500 soldiers) and Navy (29 ships manned) to our assistance,
With gallants Rochambeau and De Grasse in command --
For this Signal Service side by side we e'er should stand.

Another fact we'll state 'bout our old friend tried and true,
That to France and the descendants of her subjects then - we're due
Gratitude for aid and money she and their ancestors advanced,
Through which our Nation achieved its Independence.

The holy prophetic inscription on thee was blest,
And our Free Land the refuge for the world's opprest.
Through Warren's death the chains from the Colonists did start,
Which the French and they at Yorktown fore'er did part.

Thou dost not belong to the frigid, ice-bound North,
Nor to the balmy, charming, fragrant, "Sunny South,"
Nor to the beautiful, glorious, gold'n field West.

Thou dost not belong to (our fair young sister) Louisiana,
Nor the old Revolutionary friend, Pennsylvania --
No! thou glorious, dear old Bell of Liberty --
But to God's favored United States collectively!

Thou, our lov'd nation's Sacred trust, we love most dear,
Thy return we welcome with true hearty cheer;
Thou art our ador'd nation's pride and our fond boast --
Thee, dear old friend, we will e'er protect at life's cost.

Welcome! Welcome back to thy hallowed resting place,
From whence thou proclaimed Liberty to every race!
Forever may the North, the South, the East, the West,
As brothers and Patriots, guard thee in thy rest!


(Entered according to an act of Congress in the year 1885 by Edward J. Virtue,
 in the Office of Librarian of Congress at Washington, DC.)