Archive for the ‘Independence’ Category

“Dont go, pray Dont go”

Benjamin Franklin’s favorite sibling (and one of my favorite women of this period), Jane Mecom, writing from Rhode Island in 1775, urges her brother to enjoy his old age and let younger men do their bit. Little did she know that he would spend many more years serving his country both in America and in France.

Warwick July 14—1775I could have wishd you had been left to yr own Option to have assisted in Publick Affairs so as not to fatigue you two much but as yr Talents are superour to most other men I cant help desiering yr country should Injoy the benifit of them while you live, but cant bare the thought of yr going to England again. … you Positively must not go, you have served the Publick in that way beyond what any other man can Boast till you are now come to a good old Age & some younger man must now take that Painfull service upon them. Dont go, pray Online Pokies Dont go. you certainly may do as much good hear as surcumstances are at present. …

Included in the letter is a note from Catherine Ray Greene, the wife of William Greene, the governor of Rhode Island, with whom Jane is staying. She is a personal friend of Franklin and assures him that his sister is no trouble. Can you guess what “home” means in the following passage?

…. her Company Richly Pays as She goes along and we are Very happy together and shall not Consent to Spare her to any body but her Dear Brother. … She is my mama and friend … and we Divert one another Charmingly do Come and See us Certain! dont think of going home again Do Set Down and injoy the Remainder of your Days in Peace. …

Home is how colonists referred to England, the mother country.

The excerpt is from The Letters of Benjamin Franklin & Jane Mecom edited by Carl Van Doren (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1950), pages 161-62.

posted July 19th, 2012 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Independence,Patriots,Resistance to British

“determined to be free”

Eliza Halroyd Farmar, the English wife of Dr. Richard Farmar, who came to Philadelphia ca. 1767, was dismayed by the actions of the British ministry in 1775, as this letter to her nephew Jack Halroyd, a clerk at the East India Company in London shows.

June 28th, 1775My Dear Jack—
We have nothing going on now but preparations for war … there is hardly a man that is not old but is leaving, except the Quakers; and there is two Companys of them, all in a Pretty Uniform of Sky blue turn’d up with white. There is Six or Seven different sorts of Uniforms beside a Company of light Horse and one Rangers and another of Indians: these are all of Philadelphia; besides all the Provinces arming and Training in the same Manner for they are all determined to die or be Free. It is not the low Idle Fellow that fight only for pay, but Men of great property are Common Soldiers who secretagogue hgh say they are fighting for themselves and Posterity. There is accounts come that they are now fighting at Boston and that the Army set Charles Town on fire in order to land the Troops under cover of the Smoak. …
The People are getting into Manufacture of different Sorts particularly Salt Peter and Gunpowder; the Smiths are almost all turned Gunsmiths and cannot work fast enough. God knows how it will end but I fear it will be very bad on both sides; and if your devilish Minestry and parliment don’t make some concesions and repeal the Acts, England will lose America for, as I said before, they are determined to be free.

The letter is from In the Words of Women, Chapter 4, page 94. “View of the Attack on Bunker’s Hill with the Burning of Charlestown,” engraving after Millar in Edward Bernard, The New, Comprehensive and Complete History of England (London: Alex. Hogg, 1783), Early Printed Collections, The British Library (47).

Thoughts for the Fourth

Mercy Otis Warren, wrote a history of the Revolution, published in 1805, based on her first-hand observations. It was a remarkable undertaking in itself, all the more so because it was assumed by a woman. The words in the last chapter seem to have special relevance for the Fourth of July and this election year.

If peace and unanimity are cherished, and the equalization of liberty, and the equity and energy of law, maintained by harmony and justice, the present representative government may stand for ages a luminous monument of republican wisdom, virtue, and integrity. The principles of the revolution ought ever to be the pole-star of the statesman, respected by the rising generation; and the advantages bestowed by Providence should never be lost, by negligence, indiscretion, or guilt.

The people may again be reminded, that the elective franchise is in their hands; that it ought not to be abused, either for personal gratifications, or the indulgence of partisan acrimony. This advantage should be improved, not only for the benefit of existing society, but with an eye to that fidelity which is due posterity. This can only be done by electing such men to guide the national counsels, whose conscious probity enables them to stand like a Colossus on the broad basis of independence, endeavor to lighten the burdens of the people, strengthen their unanimity at home, command justice abroad, and cultivate peace with all nations, until an example may be left on record of the practicability of meliorating the condition of mankind.

The excerpt is from History of the Rise, Progress & Termination of the American Revolution, by Mercy Otis Warren, Vol. 3 (Boston: E. Larkin, 1805), pages 431-32.

posted July 2nd, 2012 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Independence,Warren, Mercy Otis

“… we will found a new arcadia …”

Although Charity Clarke was the daughter of a retired British Army captain and had visited relatives in England, she supported the American cause. Writing to a cousin in 1768, she explained her attachment to America and how she would support its bid for freedom.

… don’t think that I prefer England to America; I would not quit my woods & rivers, for all the gay amusements you abound with, you need not talk of the old story of sower [sour] grapes; I assure you the way of life that would be to me the most agreable is downright Indian; and if you English folks won’t give us the liberty we ask … I will try to gather a number of Ladies armed with spining wheels,
attended by dying swains, who shall all learn to weave, & keep sheep and will retire beyond the reach of arbitrary power; cloathed with the work of our hands & feeding on what the country affords, without any of the cares, Luxuries, or oppression of an long inhabited country, in short we will found a new arcadia; you Imagine we cannot live without your assistance, but I know we can; banish every thing but the necessaries of life; & we will want nothing but what our country will afford. We shall then be happy; no more Slaves to fashion, & ceremony; freedom can content & peace shall be our constant companions.

This excerpt is from In the Words of Women, Chapter 1, page 7. The illustration is from the Florida Center for Instructional Technology.

posted November 29th, 2011 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Independence

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