| American History Stories, Volume II|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Tales of Revolutionary times, including the causes of the American Revolution, the daring exploits of those defending liberty, the early battles, the struggles of the army, and the heroes who led the colonists to victory. Ages 8-12 |
DAUGHTERS OF LIBERTY
 People who write histories always tell how brave and bold and
patriotic the men and boys are; but seldom do they
think it worth while to tell of the brave deeds of the
women and girls. Now, I don't think this is fair at
all, do you girls? And you, little boys, if your
sisters had done something just as brave as your
brothers had done, wouldn't you be very indignant if
every body should come to your house and praise your
brothers, and cheer them, and all the time shouldn't
speak one word to your sisters?
I am sure you would; manly, brave hearted boys are
always ready to stand up for their sisters, and are
always very angry when some one hurts or neglects them
in any way.
Now, of course the mothers and maidens couldn't take
guns and swords and go into battle as the men did,
although they did even do that in some cases. But let
us see what they did do. Somebody must stay home and
take care of the children, and the homes, and keep up
the farms. So the brave women said to their husbands
and sons, "You
 go into the battle-field, because you are stronger and
larger and know about war; we will stay at home and
keep the children cared for, that they may grow up
strong to help you by and by; we will spin and weave
day and night to keep you in yarn for stockings, and in
cloth for clothes and blankets to keep you warm; we
will plant, and harvest, and grind the corn, and do all
your work on the farm that there may be food to send
you, and food to keep you from starving when you all
come home again."
What, think you, would the brave men in any war do if
it were not for the brave women back of them at home to
keep them from starving? O, it is a mean, cowardly man
who would say that because the women didn't go forth in
battle array that they didn't do their half in saving
our country from British soldiers!
Let us see who these "Daughters of Liberty," as they
called themselves, were.
As soon as the trouble between England and America
broke out, the men had formed themselves into
societies, and had called themselves "Sons of Liberty."
They pledged themselves to do everything in their power
to drive back the English rule. The women, too, not
wishing to appear to be one step behind their fathers,
and husbands, and brothers, formed themselves into
societies—"The Daughters of Liberty." They
pledged themselves not to buy a dress, or a ribbon, or
a glove, or any article whatever that came from
 England. They formed spinning societies to make their
own yarn and linen, and they wove the cloth for their
own dresses and for the clothes of their fathers and
brothers, and husbands and sons.
The women used to meet together to see who would spin
the fastest. One afternoon a party of young girls met
at the house of the minister for a spinning match.
When they left, they presented the minister with thirty
skeins of yarn, the fruit of their afternoon's work.
The old women, some of whom were too old to do very
much work, pledged themselves to give up their
tea-drinking because the tea
 came to them from England, and because England had put
a heavy tax on it. These dear old ladies, who loved
their tea-drinking so much, bravely stood by their
pledge. They drank catnip, and sage, and all sorts of
herb teas, and pretended they liked it very much; but I
suspect many an old lady went to bed tired and nervous,
and arose in the morning with an aching head, all for
the want of a good cup of tea.
At that time, there appeared in the newspapers many
verses written by the English officers, no doubt, often
making fun of these brave women, old and young. Here
is one of the verses:
"O Boston wives and maids, draw near and see,
Our delicate Souchong and Hyson tea;
Buy it, my charming girls, fair, black or brown,
If not, we'll cut your throats and burn your town."
"Within eighteen months," wrote a gentlemen at Newport,
R. I., "four hundred and eighty-seven yards of cloth
and thirty-six pairs of stockings have been spun and
knit in the family of James Nixon of this town." In
Newport and Boston the ladies, at their tea-drinkings,
used, instead of imported tea, the dried leaves of the
raspberry. They called this substitute Hyperion. The
class of 1770, at Cambridge, took their diplomas in
homespun suits, that they too might show their defiance
of English taxation without representation.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics