Never one to let a good tune go to waste, songwriter Jesse Hutchinson, Jr., used a traditional Irish folk melody, "Rosin the Old Bow," as the setting for his politically oriented "The Liberty Ball." Hutchinson was hardly breaking new ground, though. As Irwin Silber points out in Songs of the Civil War, any number of campaign songs had made use of the well-known tune, among them "Adams and Liberty," "Jefferson and Liberty," "Jackson and Liberty," and "Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too." The late-war song "When Sherman Marched Down to the Sea" was also sung to the same tune.
According to New Hampshire resident and Hutchinson aficianado George Fullerton, "The Hutchinsons were early involved in anti-slavery activities and frequently sang 'The Liberty Ball.' John Hutchinson and his sister Abby last sang [the song] at the 1892 dedication of the statue of John P. Hale, which stands outside of the State House in Concord, New Hampshire. Frederick Douglass also spoke at the dedication of the statue...and joined them in singing. John Hutchinson's recollection was that this was the only time that [Douglass] had joined them publicly in song. Douglass and the Hutchinsons had been close friends since the 1840s and had travelled to Europe [together]."
Although Silber attributes the words of "Lincoln and Liberty" to Jesse, Jr., as well, Jesse died in 1853, seven years before Abraham Lincoln's presidential campaign, and clearly could not have been the lyricist. Thanks to Mr. Fullerton for pointing out that Silber's published information on Jesse, Jr., appears to be in error.
"Lincoln and Liberty" || "The Liberty Ball"