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Old Women’s Petition

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol I. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

March 1. –The following “Petition” came to my hand by accident; whether it is to be presented to the Assembly now sitting at Philadelphia, the next Congress or Committee, I cannot say. But it is certainly going forward, and must convince every thinking person that the measures of the late Congress were very weak, wicked, and foolish, and that the opposition to them is much more considerable and respectable than perhaps many have imagined:

A Petition of divers Old Women of the city of Philadelphia...The Petition of divers Old Women of the city of Philadelphia; humbly sheweth: –That your petitioners, as well spinsters as married, having been long accustomed to the drinking of tea, fear it will be utterly impossible for them to exhibit so much patriotism as wholly to disuse it. Your petitioners beg leave to observe, that, having already done all possible injury to their nerves and health with this delectable herb, they shall think it extremely hard not to enjoy it for the remainder of their lives. Your petitioners would further represent, that coffee and chocolate, or any other substitute hitherto proposed, they humbly apprehend from their heaviness, must destroy that brilliancy of fancy, and fluency of expression, usually found at tea tables, when they are handling the conduct or character of their absent acquaintances. Your petitioners are also informed, there are several old women of the other sex, laboring under the like difficulties, who apprehend the above restriction will be wholly insupportable; and that it is a sacrifice infinitely too great to be made to save the lives, liberties, and privileges of any country whatever. Your petitioners, therefore, humbly pray the premises may be taken into serious consideration, and that they may be excepted from the resolution adopted by the late Congress, wherein your petitioners conceive they were not represented; more especially as your petitioners only pray for an indulgence to those spinsters, whom age or ugliness have rendered desperate in the expectation of husbands; those of the married, where infirmities and ill behavior have made their husbands long since tired of them, and those old women of the male gender who will most naturally be found in such company. And your petitioners as in duty bound shall ever pray, &c. 1


1 Communicated by “E. B.” to the Pennsylvania Journal, March 1.

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