Saturday, 28 March 2015

"Fling out the banner ! let it float" Composer: George Washington Doane, 1799-1859

GEORGE WASHINGTON DOANE, once Protestant Episcopal Bishop of New Jersey, was born the same year in which General George Washington died 1799. His life, which spanned the years until 1872, was filled with remarkable activity. He graduated at Union College in 1818, began his ministry at Trinity Church, New York, was a professor in Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, and later rector of Trinity Church, Boston, when he was elected to be Bishop of New Jersey. 

Five years after he became bishop, he founded on the banks of the Delaware River at Burlington, New Jersey, a Protestant Episcopalian school for girls, known as Saint Mary s Hall, about which the best traditions of the Diocese of New Jersey have centered. The Bishop took the liveliest interest in the school, and watched over the destiny of his educational child with fatherly anxiety. 

His successor, Bishop John Scarborough, who inherited through his office this interest in the school, once told the writer how Bishop Doane came to write the famous missionary hymn, "Fling out the banner !" In 1848 there was to be a flagraising at Saint Mary's Hall, and the girls of the school appealed to Bishop Doane to write a song for them to sing on that occasion. The result was the writing of this hymn, which was sung for the first time by the young ladies of the seminary, and has been sung at thousands of missionary meetings since then, to the spiritual stimulation of many souls.  


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