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The British National Anthem



The original 3 verses were first published in the October 1745 Vol. 15 edition of the Gentleman's Magazine, on p.552 at tinyurl.com/4jtz63kc (pictured above). They are the same 3 verses which exist today.


The National Anthem is unique in being a prayer to protect the person who embodies the national soul – God Save our Gracious King – unlike other national anthems which can be jingoistic appeals to abstract notions of national greatness.


Some Scottish nationalists pretend that there is a mysterious verse which is "anti-Scottish" because it states "Lord, grant that Marshal Wade…rebellious Scots to crush". Marshal Wade was the British General who was fighting the Jacobites in late 1745.


This is an urban myth promoted by people who are opposed to the monarchy in the first place. They use it as a convenient excuse for their republicanism!


Working from original documents, we have proven that the original 3 verses of this song which were published in the Gentleman's Magazine of Oct 1745 (pictured above) are still the same ones today. That is all that needs to be said to prove our point!


However, you can read our 5,500-word definitive research at our previous Legacy Site in our May 2013 essay entitled "The Alleged Rebellious Scots 'Verse' De-bunked".


TO SUMMARISE OUR FINDINGS:

1. The song was first sung on Saturday 28 September 1745 at the Drury Lane Theatre, London, one week after the Battle of Prestonpans.


2. The original 3 verses were first published in the October 1745 Vol. 15 edition of the Gentleman's Magazine, on p.552 at tinyurl.com/4jtz63kc (pictured above). They are the same 3 verses which exist today.


3. These 3 verses did not become established as "the National Anthem" until the beginning of the 1800s, long after the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. Prior to that, it was merely a music hall song.


4. According to Buckingham Palace, there is no "authorised version", but the first and third verses are commonly sung. The Royal Family website royal.uk/national-anthem states:


"There is no authorised version of the National Anthem as the words are a matter of tradition...The words used today are those sung in 1745, substituting 'Queen' for 'King' where appropriate...The words of the National Anthem are as follows:" It then lists the two common verses.


5. We've checked that these are the same two verses which have been listed as the National Anthem in all editions of the Church of Scotland Hymnary since it was first published in 1898.


6. The primary evidence for the existence of the Marshal Wade verse is unsatisfactory, and references no first-person contemporary accounts of the verse even being sung.


7. If it was sung, it would be a short-lived addition, which would only be relevant during the 3-month period following the Battle of Prestonpans in late September 1745 and the replacement of Marshal Wade by the Duke of Cumberland, by early 1746.


8. During the 3-month period when it might have been sung, it was not part of any "National Anthem" but simply part of a music hall song.


9. If it was sung, it would be a sentiment supported by the majority of Scots who opposed the Jacobites.


10. It would become irrelevant to sing after the defeat of the Jacobites in April 1746, and absurd to sing after Marshal Wade's death in March 1748!


11. The verse is one of many additional and alternative verses penned after the original 3 verses were published. These have been documented by Dr Percy A Scholes in his comprehensive work, God Save the Queen! The History and Romance of the World's First National Anthem (Oxford University Press, 1954) – but he did not even bother to mention this one!


12. If it has been sung in the modern age, it would be in jest, or by people who had been misled into thinking it was part of the National Anthem.


Anyone who imagines this was, or is, a verse of today's National Anthem, and claims, quotes, prints, or sings it as such, is just plain wrong!


This article appeared on page 7 of our Platinum Jubilee Edition of Union Heart entitled "Happy and Glorious" available here.



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