John Bull, the familiar name given to the English, not only by others but by themselves. It is generally used in a humorous sense, and is not always considered disparaging. The English seem to regard it as significant of sturdi-ness, though sometimes it is used to convey the idea of stupidity, obstinacy, and unreasonable rage. It is said to have been first used by Dean Swift, but its first considerable application in literature was made by Dr. Arbuthnot in his allegorical satire, " The History of John Bull," published in 1712.
John Bull, an English musician, born in Somersetshire about 1563, died in Ltibeck, Germany, about 1622. In 1596, on the recommendation of the queen, he was appointed professor of music at Gresham college, which post he resigned in 1607 to become chamber musician to King James. He quitted England in 1613, and finally settled in Lubeck. He was considered the best organist of his age. Having once performed before King James a song which he called "God save the King," the present national anthem of England has been erroneously attributed to him.