To the Ladies

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To the LADIES.

I shall not (my female friends) consider you in that disingenuous point of light in which you have been sometimes viewed and represented; but as a very worthy and important part of the community and upon whose vigilance, fortitude, and resolution, our political salvation in a good measure depends. Permit me therefore (as a hearty friend to you and out of the deepest and most tender concern for the welfare of my insulted, oppressed country) to address you as persons under the strongest obligations to exert yourselves to the utmost in the noble cause of Liberty. The unhappy differences that have for some time, and do still subsist between Great-Britain and the colonies, are now become very alarming, and demand the most serous attention of everyone; since the event, whatever it is, will equally affect all. If America is subjected to the arbitrary will of a despotic, perjured King, and a venal, wicked ministry, (which we have a reason to fear will be the case) both sexes will be involved in the common calamity, you must pass under the yoak, and submit to wear the cursed chains of slavery which I assure you will not suit your delicate bodies.

But you will ask, what can we do, since we are not admitted into the management of public affairs; the conducting of armies and government of states, &c. and consequently are not trained up in such exercises as men are, in order to prepare the body and mind for public action? I answer, you were not designed by the great author of nature, for such rigorous exercises and employments, but this don’t at all depreciate or lessen your real merit and essential qualities. God has given to the man strength of body and intrepidity of mind, which qualifies him to undertake the greatest hardships, and face the most imminent dangers; whilst the woman is of a weak and delicate constitution, accompanied with a natural softness, and modest timidity, which seems to point out a sedentary life as most proper for her, and dispose her to keep within the precincts of the house.---But tho’ women are thus confined, yet they may (in their private capacity) do many things which will be really beneficial to the noble cause of expiring freedom. First, by their serious, solemn address to Heaven: We read, that “the effectual fervent prayers of the righteous availeth much!” Second, by their wise and prudent counsels, which ‘tis presumed some are capable of giving; since ‘tis easy to shew (were it necessary) both from sacred profane history, that there have been, and doubtless now are women, well qualified both to act and advise agreeable to the best prudentials. We have a notable instance in the ii, of Samuel, at the 20th, of female wisdom. The city of Abel was besieged by Joabs army, and reduced to the utmost distress; a good woman by her prudent management, brings the matter to a happy issue; her treaty with Joab and capitulation with him, by which upon certain conditions he engages to raise the siege, are truly admirable. Third, women may be particularly helpful at this day by their industry, frugality and economy; which I shall chiefly insist upon. I hope, my fair friends, you will not be offended if I particularly press you to forsake the dressing room, lay by your foibles and gewgaws, strive to deserve the charming character of the virtuous woman, of whom ‘tis said, “she layeth her hand to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.” Be not ashamed to appear in a dress of your own manufacturing. [...]

The willingness that appeared in women of all ranks to discontinue the use of Tea, that condemned herb, ought to be spoken of to their honour. And I hope that they will strictly observe every article of the Association formed by the Association formed by the ever to be revered Continental Congress. Be so generous as to scorn slavish views. Remember that wherever the spirit of liberty subsists in its full vigor, the vigilance and power of impotent governors are vain: A people can never be surprised nor compelled into slavery: But when this is extinguished, neither the virtue nor vigilance of patriots can save it. The spirit of liberty is now struggling with tyrants; but the danger is now very great, because the enemy is within, among ourselves, working secretly and securely, and destroying all those internal powers, from which alone an effectual opposition can arise. ---It behoves you therefore to make a vigorous effort in favour of the liberties and priviledges of your dear native country; be true to its bleeding laws. Have a tender regard for your posterity.---Pray that heaven would banish from your breasts contracted sentiments. Let venal slaves agree in their dark plots, and cringing courtiers bow the suppliant knee, but do you maintain an ardent love of Freedom, which is the birth-right of every American. Preserve the greatest modesty and decency in your dress and deportment, so that envy and malice may lose their cruel aim and slander in vain throw their poisoned darts. Remember (my friends) that the declension of manners in a state, is always attended with that of power and domination. Pray cast your eyes upon Rome and Carthage, and many other states in their declining periods; and behold the servility, cruelty, and oppression which prefaced their ruin. You are apt to pique yourselves on your virtue; but I remember it was finely said by one of the ancients, “From the day a person loses his liberty, he loses one half of his ancient virtue.”---But above all, when you supplicate the supreme throne, recommend to God your poor afflicted country; pray that he would dispel the cloud that hangs over the American colonies; convert our King from the error of his ways:---Defeat the councils of our enemies; ---preside in the new Parliament, and scatter light in their paths; and preserve the English nation from the ruin it is menaced with.



Curator Notes

Connecticut Courant
Probable Date: 
March 3, 1775
American Antiquarian Society
Catalog Code: