William McCarty, comp. The American National Song Book. 1842.
The Death of Hale
By William R. Lindsay
Nathaniel Hale was a captain in the revolutionary army, and commanded a company in Colonel Knowltons regiment in 1776. He was with the army in the retreat from Long Island. General Washington having applied to Colonel Knowlton for a discreet and enterprising officer to penetrate the enemys camp, and procure intelligence, Hale volunteered to perform the dangerous service. He succeeded in obtaining the intelligence; but, while returning to the American camp, was arrested, and next morning executed as a spy, regretting that he had but one life to lay down for his country. The enemy denied him, at his execution, the use of a Bible, and the aid of a clergyman, and destroyed the letters he had written to his mother and sister. His pure and patriotic devotion to his country has not been properly appreciated, and his country has been wanting in due honour to his memory.