REINAGLE, Alexander (1756-1809)
Foederal March as performed in the Grand Procession in Philadelphia the 4th of July 1788 composed and adapted for the piano forte, violin or German flute
[Philadelphia: John Aiken, 1788]. 4to. Engraved sheet music, 1p. printed recto only. Image of a Liberty Pole and Cap at the top left. Small loss to upper right corner not affecting text.
Housed in a blue morocco box.
Provenance: Francis Hopkinson
Very rare early American sheet music to the march performed at Philadelphia's July 4, 1788 Grand Procession, celebrating the ratification of the Constitution.
Published by John Aiken, this engraved sheet music was advertised as "just published" in the July 15, 1788 issue of the Pennsylvania Packet. Born in England, Reinagle came to America in 1786, becoming one of Philadelphia's first composers whose performances at the Chestnut Theatre were attended by George Washington. Indeed, Reinagle would later become Washington's granddaughter's piano teacher. The provenance of this example, from the collection of Signer of the Declaration Francis Hopkinson is extraordinary. A composer himself famed for his "Hail Columbia," Hopkinson, as the chair of the committee which organized the Grand Procession, authored a detailed description of the 3-hour, mile-and-a-half in length parade, published by Carey in 1788 as a pamphlet and within the July 1788 issue of the American Museum. According to Hopkinson, Reinagle's Federal March was performed by a marching band following Peter Muhlenberg on horseback bearing a blue flag with the words "Seventeeth of September 1787" in silver. Behind the band was an ornamental 20-foot long light blue car in the form of a bald eagle, drawn by six horses and carrying the justices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court holding the text of the Constitution fixed to a staff bearing the words "The People" and crowned with a liberty cap. Hopkinson estimated that 5000 people marched in the procession and that the assembled crowd numbered an additional 17,000 people; to put that number in perspective, the entire popuation of Philaelphia in 1790 was approx. 28,000. Only two other examples of the engraved sheet music are extant: Library of Congress and New York Public Library. George Washington owned a copy, described within the catalogue of the final settlement of the estate. We know of no examples in private hands.