“the female Patriots”

April is National Poetry Month. In keeping with this observance this blog will feature several poems from In the Words of Women during the month of April. Philadelphia Quaker Hannah Griffitts was a prolific writer of letters and poetry. Involved in the religious and political concerns of her day, she was in favor of moderation and condemned extremism. She did not wish to publish her poems; she usually signed them with a pseudonym and shared them with friends and family. Her cousin, Milcah Martha Moore, copied this one in her Commonplace Book.

The female Patriots
Address’d to the Daughters of Liberty in America, 1768

Since the Men from a Party, on fear of a Frown,
Are kept by a Sugar-Plumb, quietly down,
Supinely asleep, and depriv’d of their Sight
Are strip’d of their Freedom, and rob’d of their Right.
If the Sons (so degenerate) the Blessings despise,
Let the Daughters of Liberty, nobly arise,
And tho’ we’ve no Voice, but a negative here,
The use of the Taxables, let us forbear,
(Then Merchants import till yr. Stores are all full
May the Buyers be few and yr. Traffick be dull.)
Stand firmly resolved and bid Grenville* to see
That rather than Freedom, we’ll part with our Tea
And well as we love the dear Draught when adry,
As American Patriots,—our Taste we deny,
Sylvania’s, gay Meadows, can richly afford
To pamper our Fancy, or furnish our Board,
And Paper sufficient (at home) still we have,
To assure the Wise-acre, we will not sign Slave.
When this Homespun shall fail, to remonstrate our Grief
We can speak with the Tongue or scratch on a Leaf
Refuse all their Colours, the richest of Dye,
The juice of a Berry—our Paint can supply,
To humour our Fancy—and as for our Houses,
They’ll do without painting as well as our Spouses,
While to keep out the Cold of a keen winter Morn
We can screen the Northwest, with a well polish’d Horn**.
And trust Me a Woman by honest Invention,
Might give this State Doctor a Dose of Prevention.
Join mutual in this, and but small as it seems
We may jostle a Grenville and puzzle his Schemes
But a motive more worthy our patriot Pen,
Thus acting—we point out their Duty to Men,
And should the bound Pensioners, tell us to hush
We can throw back the Satire by biding them blush.

* George Grenville, British Prime Minister, whose best known policy was the Stamp Act.
** Horn was a substitute for glass and was used in windows. It was made by boiling the horns of cattle to make them flexible, then pressing them into transparent sheets.

The poem appears on pages 6-7 of In the Words of Women.

posted April 1st, 2013 by Janet, CATEGORIES: Griffitts, Hannah, Moore, Milcah Martha, Patriots, Resistance to British


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