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Patriotism of the Maryland Women

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

November 4.—By accounts from Maryland we are informed, that the like spirit of patriotism has been kindled amongst the women of that State as in Philadelphia. Large sums have been presented for the use of the brave American army; part of which has been laid out in linen, and in one town, Baltimore, six hundred shirts have been made for the immediate supply of the troops in that article of clothing.

Mrs. Lee, the lady of his Excellency, the governor of the State,1 had early written to women of the several counties, who readily engaged, each to be the treasurer of her particular district. Returns have not yet been made of the sums presented, but in some counties, that of Dorset particularly, the amount of thirty pounds in specie, has been presented by some individuals.

In the city of Annapolis, notwithstanding many of the citizens had removed to their country seats during the summer season of the year, and made their contributions in the respective districts of their residence, yet there has been collected to the amount of sixteen thousand one hundred and twenty-three dollars, and one third currency; some women offering two, some five, and some twenty guineas in specie.

It is needless to repeat the encomiums that have been already given to the females for their exertions. Every Whig mind must be sensible that they deserve the highest praise. Even those who are enemies to the cause must admit, that their means of serving it do honor to the sex. The women of every part of the globe are under obligations to those of America, for having shown that females are capable of the highest political virtue. Those of posterity will also acknowledge that they derive happiness and glory from them. We cannot help imagining, what some learned and elegant historian, the Hume of the future America, when he comes to write the affairs of these times, will say on the subject.

In a history, which we may suppose to be published about the year 1820, may be found a paragraph to the following purpose:—”The treasury was now exhausted, and the army in want of the necessaries of life and of clothing, when the women gave a respite to our affairs, by one of those exertions that will forever do honor to the sex. In the state of simplicity and plainness in which our country then was, they had not earrings and bracelets to give, in imitation of the Roman ladies on a like occasion, but they presented gold and silver, and what share of the paper money had come into their hands. This was laid out in linens, and shirts were made by their hands for the use of the soldiery, &c., &c., &c.  “Mrs. Reed, of Pennsylvania, the lady of the then President, a most amiable woman, was the first to patronize the measure. Mrs. Lee, of Maryland, lady of the governor of that State, a woman of excellent accomplishments, was in her State the next to receive the patriotic flame, and give it popularity among her sex.

“Mrs. Washington, of Virginia, lady of his Excellency the Commander-in-chief, was equally favoring to it in her State. The Jerseys had been already warmed by the example of the virtue of Pennsylvania, and the females of that State, &c., &c., &c.”2


1 Thomas Sim Lee was governor of Maryland from 1779 until 1783. He was afterwards chosen to represent the State in Congress, and was also a member of the convention which formed the Constitution. He died in 1819.
2 Pennsylvania Packet, November 4.