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THE NATIONAL UNION.
   
Complete Explanation:
A patriotic, illustrated sheet music cover for a song composed by Charles Collins, Jr., and dedicated to Kentucky senator Henry Clay. The work celebrates Clay's efforts to preserve the Union, and was a product of the optimism following passage of the Compromise of 1850.

The Union is symbolized here by a circular chain in which every link is inscribed with the name of a state and its year of entry into the Union. California, admitted in 1850, is represented by the center ring below. At the top of the ring is an eagle with shield and olive branch, emerging from a cloud and flanked by two American flags. The chain is superimposed on an arch supported by two Doric columns, which in turn rest upon a stepped pedestal inscribed: "The United States of America. Union and Liberty, Forever, One and Inseparable."

Outside of the columns are floral swags and acanthus ornaments. Inside is a view "The Capitol at Washington" with two men on horseback on its lawn. Above the dome appear the lines:

"In Union's Chain, within its Spell,

Freedom & peace & safety dwell." An inscription (printed) appears below the illustration, a facsimile of a note by Henry Clay endorsing "the sentiments and the poetry" of the song and acknowledging the composer's dedication of the piece to him.


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