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Mrs. Ellet, in her “Domestic History of the Revolution”

May 22, 2009

Mrs. Ellet, in her “Domestic History of the Revolution,” says, “Throughout the war, the influence and exertions of women in all parts of the country contributed to impart a spirit of patriotism. They animated the courage and confirmed the self-devotion of those who ventured all in the common cause. They frowned upon instances of coldness or backwardness, and in the period of deepest gloom cheered and urged on the desponding. They willingly shared inevitable dangers and privations, relinquished without regret prospects of advantage to themselves, and parted with those they loved better than life, not knowing when they were to meet again. It is almost impossible now to appreciate the vast influence of woman’s patriotism upon the destinies of the infant republic. We have no means of showing the important part she bore in maintaining the struggle, and in laying the foundation on which so mighty and majestic a structure has arisen. To her we are not less indebted for national freedom than to the swords of the patriots who poured out their blood.”

The pen of woman was gracefully wielded for freedom, as the sword was by the patriots and heroes. The following address, signed “An American Woman,” written, it was supposed, by Mrs. Washington, in 1780, will present a delightful proof of woman’s patriotism and her intellectual culture. It was printed and scattered throughout the country.

On the commencement of the actual war, the women of America manifested a firm resolution to contribute as much as could depend on them to the deliverance of their country. Animated by the purest patriotism, they are full of sorrow at this day in not offering more than barren wishes for the success of so glorious a revolution. They aspire to render themselves more really useful, and this sentiment is universal from the north to the south of the thirteen United States. Our ambition is kindled by the fame of those heroines of antiquity who have rendered their sex illustrious, and havo proved to the world that, if tlm weakness of our constitution, if opinion and manners, did not forbid us to march to glory by the same path as the men, we should at least equal and sometimes surpass them in our love for the public good. I glory in all my sex have done that i-t great and commendable. I call to mind with enthusiasm and admiration all those acts of courage, of constancy, and of patriotism which history has transmitted to us: the people favored by Heaven preserved from destruction by the virtues, the zeal, and the resolution of Deborah, of Judith, of Esther; the fortitude of the mother of the Maccabees, in giving up her sons to die before her eyes; Rome saved from the fury of a victorious enemy by the efforts of Volumnia and other Roman ladies; so many famous sieges where women have been seen, forgetting the weakness of their sex, building new walls, digging trenches with their feeble hands, furnishing arms to their defenders, they themselves darting the missile weapons on the enemy, resigning the ornaments of their apparel, and their fortune, to fill the public treasury and to hasten the deliverance of their country; burying themselves under its ruins, throwing themselves into the flames, rather than submit to the disgrace of humiliation before a proud enemy.

This is taken from, The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Instiutions of the United States.

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