Archive for the ‘Drinker, Elizabeth Sandwith’ Category

“A shameful scene of dissipation”

Because John André wrote such a detailed account of the Meschianza for Peggy Chew, I urge readers to read the piece in its entirety. It is the source for André’s self portrait attired for the joust and is well worth the time. As has been noted, Philadelphia’s Quakers frowned upon the excess of the spectacle. ELIZABETH DRINKER wrote in her journal: “How insensible these people appear, while our land is so greatly desolated, and death and sore destruction has overtaken and impends over so many.”

HANNAH GRIFFITTS was even more scathing:

A shameful scene of dissipation,
The death of sense and reputation
A deep degeneracy of nature
A Frolick, for the lash of Satire;
A feast of grandeur, fit for Kings,
Formed of the following empty things:
Ribbons and gewgaws, tints and tinsel,
To glow beneath the Historic Pencil

When the British evacuated Philadelphia on June 18, 1778, after a nine-month occupation, John André joined General Henry Clinton in New York City. He became chief of secret intelligence and was executed by the Americans in 1780 for conspiring with the traitor Benedict Arnold to deliver West Point to the British. André drew the self portrait on the night before he died.

Elizabeth Drinker, “Extracts from the Journal of Mrs. Henry Drinker, of Philadelphia, From September 25, 1777 to July 4, 1778” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XIII: 1889, 306.
For Hannah Griffitts Poem see David S. Shields and Fredrika J. Teute. “The Meschianza: Sum of All Fêtes.” Journal of the Early Republic 35, no. 2 (2015): 185-214. (accessed December 2, 2018).
The self-portrait on the right is at the Yale Art Gallery.

posted December 3rd, 2018 by Janet, Comments Off on “A shameful scene of dissipation”, CATEGORIES: André, Major John,Clinton, General Henry,Drinker, Elizabeth Sandwith,Griffitts, Hannah,Meschianza,Philadelphia

“I told them Nothing but force shou’d get me out of My house”

ELIZABETH DRINKER noted on 20 July 1778: “Grace Galloway turn’d out of her House this forenoon, and Spanish officers put in. . . . ”

After the British evacuated Philadelphia in 1778, GRACE GALLOWAY had stayed behind—her Loyalist husband Joseph had fled with their daughter Betsy—in the hope of preventing their house “Trevose,” or the Manor of Bensalem (pictured in the previous post,) from being confiscated. A vain hope as it turned out. Charles Willson Peale, the Commissioner of Forfeited Estates, was determined to seize the property of accused traitors, the sale of which would yield him a five percent commission. Here is Grace Growden Galloway’s account of what happened as noted in her diary.

Wednesday . . . [June 17, 1778] this evening parted with my dear Husband & child. . . .

This day Thursday the 18th the American Troops came into Town.

Friday the 19th was warn’d by peal [sic] that he must take possession of my house for the state. . . .

[July] Tusday the 21st . . . about 2 o’clock they came—one smith a hatter & Col Will & one Shriner & a Dutch Man I know not his Name—they took an inventory of everything even to broken China & empty bottles. . . . they told Me they must advertise the house I told them they must do as they pleased but till it was decided by a Court I wou’d not go out Unless by the force of a bayonet but when I knew who had a right to it I should know how to act. . . .
Accordingly I did so & a little after 10 oclock they Knocked Violently at the door three times; the Third time I sent Nurse & call’d out myself to tell them I was in possession of my own House & wou’d keep so & they shou’d gain No admittance. Hereupon which they went round in the yard & Try’d every door but cou’d None Open, then they went to the Kitchen door & with a scrubbing brush which they broke to pieces, they forced that open—we Women standing in the Entry in the Dark they made repeated strokes at the door & I think was 8 or 10 Minuets before they got it open. When they came in, I had the windows open’d; they look’d very Mad. Their was peel, smith, the Hatter & a Col Will a pewterer in second street. I spoke first & told them I was Used ill: & show’d them the Opinion of the Lawyers. Peel read it: but they all despised it & peel said he had studied the Law & knew they did right. I told them Nothing but force shou’d get me out of My house. Smith said they knew how to Manage that & that they wou’d throw my cloaths in the street. . . .

Wenesday the 22 . . . Sent for Mr. [John] Dickison last Night & he told Me he wou’d look over the law to see if I cou’d recover My own estate & this evening he came & told Me I cou’d Not recover dower & he fear’d my income in My estate was forfeited likewise & that no tryal wou’d be of service: but advised Me to draw up a peti’on to the Chief Justice Mccean [Thomas McKean] for the recovery of my estate & refused a fee in the Politest Manner, but begg’d I wou’d look on him as My sincere friend . . . so I find I am a beggar indeed. I expect every hour to be turn’d out of doors & where to go I know not no one will take me in & all the Men keeps from Me. . . .

[August] Saturday the 8th . . . Peal & Will came to let Me know that I must go out a Monday Morn: for they wou’d give the spaniard [Don Juan de Miralles] Possession. . . .

Thursday the 20th [Her lawyer William] Lewise sent me word that I must shut my doors & windows & if they wou’d come to let them Make a forcible Entry. Peel & Will went over the House to see Nothing was Embassell’d [embezzled] & Locking Up the things at last Smith went away. . . . after every Mortifying treatment I was tiard [tired] & wanted to be turn’d out. Peel went upstairs & brought down My Work bag & 2 bonnets & put them on the side table; at last we went in the Entry to sit. . . . two of the Men went out & after staying some time return’d & said they had been with the council & that they had done right & must proceed. I did not hear this myself but the rest of the Women did. Mrs [Molly] Craig asked for My Bed but they wou’d let Me Have Nothing & as I told them acted entirely from Malice: after we had been in the Entry some time Smith & Will went away & Peel said the Chariot was ready but he would not hasten me. I told him I was at home & in My own House & nothing but force shou’d drive me out of it. He said it was not the first time he had taken a Lady by the Hand, an insolent wretch . . . as the Chariot drew up Peel fetched My Bonnets & gave one to me the other to Mrs Craig: then with greatest air said come Mrs Galloway give me your hand. I answer’d indeed I will not nor will I go out of my house but by force. He then took hold of my arm & I rose & he took me to the door. I then Took hold on one side & Looked round & said pray take Notice I do not leave my house of My own accord or with my own inclination but by force & Nothing but force shou’d have Made Me give up possession. Peel said with a sneer very well Madam & when he led me down the step I said now Mr Peel let go My Arm I want not your Assistance. He said he cou’d help me to the Carriage. I told him I cou’d go without & you Mr Peel are the last Man on earth I wou’d wish to be Obliged to. Mrs Craig then step’d into the Carriage & we drove to her house where we din’d.

By the law of coverture when a woman married any property she brought to the union belonged to her husband unless a prenuptial agreement had been drawn up. Even though the house Grace Galloway lived in had been inherited from her family, according to the law her Loyalist husband was the owner, and it was therefore subject to confiscation.

In the Words of Women Louise North, Janet Wedge, and Landa Freeman (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2011) 124-125. Original source: Raymond C. Werner, “Diary of Grace Growden Galloway,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 55, no. 1 (January 1931) 36. 40-41, 51-72.

posted January 23rd, 2017 by Janet, Comments Off on “I told them Nothing but force shou’d get me out of My house”, CATEGORIES: Drinker, Elizabeth Sandwith,Galloway, Grace Growden,Galloway, Joseph,Loyalists,Philadelphia

“our negro and negress”

During February, Black History month, in addition to posts about the artist Prince (see here and here), others containing references to slaves are featured.

Elizabeth Sandwith Drinker was a Quaker who kept a journal or diary throughout her life. (See posts here, here, here, here, and here.) On June 24, 1797, Drinker noted in her Journal:

There was a procession of white, and another of black Free Masons. Absalom Jones, the black Bishop, walked before his brethren to the African Church; the others to St. Paul’s. ‘Tis the first I have heard of negro Masons—a late thing, I guess.

The Drinkers, although they were Quakers and theoretically opposed to slavery, owned slaves. On January 3, 1799, Elizabeth noted in her Journal:

Jacob Turner and Sarah Needham, our negro and negress, went to a wedding this evening. Jacob dressed in a light cloth coat, white cassimere [closely woven smooth twilled usually wool fabric, first use 1774] vest and breeches, white silk stockings, and new hat. Sarah, ye bridesmaid, in white muslin, dizzened off with white ribbons from head to foot, yellow morocco shoes, with white bows &c. They went in Ben Oliver’s Coachee, driven by his white man. ‘Tis now near 11 o’clock, and they are not yet returned. They are both honest servants, but times are much altered with ye black folk.

Although I can find no definition for “dizzened off,” I assume it means “bedecked.” A coachee is similar to a coach but longer and open at the front. Interesting that the coach driver for the black couple was white.

Above entries are from the Journal of Elizabeth Sandwith Drinker which can be found online HERE, pages 306 and 338.

posted February 16th, 2015 by Janet, Comments Off on “our negro and negress”, CATEGORIES: Drinker, Elizabeth Sandwith,Philadelphia,Slaves/slavery

“poor sheep who are dismantled to make us comfortable”

How could I not post this Journal entry by Quaker Elizabeth Sandwith Drinker on a cold day in January! (See other posts by her here, here, here, and here.)

Jan. 13 [1799]. Putting on a pair of warm worsted stockings this morning—having worn cotton hitherto this winter, it led me to think of the poor sheep who are dismantled to make us comfortable; not that ye sheep suffer much while shearing, and it is a convenience to them if they fall into feeling and tender hands: but sometimes a rough clown, who has a poor sheep tied down on his knees, if it stirs, gives it a hard blow, and very frequently cuts out a piece of flesh with his shears. Then if he condescends to apply a bit of tar and grease to the wound, the matter is settled. One thought brings on another; a fine quarter of mutton hangs now in our washhouse, with Turkey, Geese, Ducks, Fowls, &c. An idea struck me, which has frequently occurred to me from my youth to this day—that there are very few things which daily happen, so humbling as the death of so many of the animal creation for our support OR/OF satisfaction. A query has arisen; why do they suffer pain in death? The Almighty hand which created them, could if it was His will, so order it, that they should die without suffering. That it is otherwise, is apparent; tho’ perhaps they do not feel so much as we think they do. Be that as it may, why do they suffer at all? if it is not to humble mankind, “and shall they suffer, shall they die in vain?”

Source: pages 338-39 in the Journal of Elizabeth Sandwith Drinker which can be found online HERE.

posted January 12th, 2015 by Janet, Comments Off on “poor sheep who are dismantled to make us comfortable”, CATEGORIES: Clothes,Daily life,Drinker, Elizabeth Sandwith

“J. C. [Crammond] has had five Anspachers to dine with him.”

Elizabeth Sandwith Drinker continued to record her experiences during the British occupation of Philadelphia during the winter of 1777-78. British officer J. C. Crammond was quartered in her home. (See previous posts here, here, and here.)

1778. January 1. Joshua Howell called this morning. He has brought a Firkin of Irish butter for me. Richd Adams called, of whom I have engaged a quantity of Pork. Betsy Drinker, Hannah Drinker, and J. C. [Crammond] drank tea with us. . . . J. C. supped with us.

The soldiers were called out in order to day, which looked alarming. Many are fearful of an attack from ye other side of ye water,

Crammond has 3 Horses, 3 Cows, 2 Sheep and 2 Turkeys—with several Fowls in our stable. He has also 3 Servants—2 white Men and one negro Boy called Damon. Ye servants are here all day, but away at night. He has 3 Hessians, who take their turns to wait upon him as messengers, or orderly men, as they call them—so that we have enough of such sort of company.

Jan. 2. . . . J. C. has had five Anspachers to dine with him. He spent ye evening out—came home before 10.

Jan. 13. It is 17 years this day, and ye same day of ye week since my marriage with my dear Henry.

Jan. 16. J. C. stayed out last night till after 12 or nearer one.

Jan. 18. This being the Queen’s birthday, there has been firing of Guns from ye shipping, and the colors flying.

By mid January Major Crammond had taken over more of the house.

Jan. 19 This Morning our officer mov’d his belongings from the blue Chamber to the little front Parlor, so that he has the two front Parlors, a Chamber up two pair of stairs for his bagage, and the Stable wholly to himself, besides the use of the Kitchen, his Camp Bed is put up.

Major Crammond began to entertain at the Drinker home. He also went out in the evening a good deal. When the playhouse in Philadelphia re-opened he went to the theater, and Mrs. Drinker notes that he attended assemblies and concerts at headquarters.

Meanwhile, though Mrs. Drinker’s was able to correspond with her husband, efforts to secure his release came to naught. He and the other dissenting Quaker men were periodically requested to sign an oath of allegiance to the state of Pennsylvania which they declined, as expected. Mrs. Drinker and three companions even journeyed to Valley Forge to beg the assistance of General George Washington in this matter, but though Washington received them cordially, he declined. Eventually the Pennsylvania Council, realizing that the charges against the Quakers were unfounded, released them at the end of April 1778.

The entries are from Extracts from the Journal of Elizabeth Drinker, from 1759 to 1807, A.D. edited by Henry Biddle (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1889), pages 79-82. They can be found online HERE.

posted January 1st, 2015 by Janet, Comments Off on “J. C. [Crammond] has had five Anspachers to dine with him.”, CATEGORIES: British soldiers,Drinker, Elizabeth Sandwith,Philadelphia,Quakers

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