In Massachusetts, today is a holiday–Patriot’s Day.
The word patriot applies both to male and female, or perhaps a patriot was only a male at that time? I don’t recall ever hearing of a ‘patriotress’; however, the word sculptress sends me into fits. Sculptor seems to be more fitting.
My favorite patriot is Abigail Adams and the HBO series, John Adams, is a must see. The mini-series was filmed without sprucing it up–in other words, without cleaning up the Adams’ farm. Abigail is seen doing the typical farm chores, with dirt on her apron and under her fingernails. As I watched her work, my mind conjured up images of the women that worked on this farm.
Abigail served as an advisor to John as well. He often sought her wise counsel and often she gave him unsolicited guidance. On this Patriot’s Day, here is an excerpt from Abigail’s March 31st, 1775 letter to John:
I long to hear that you have declared an independancy-and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.
And from the same letter, new advice for me on the coming of spring:
I feel very differently at the approach of spring to what I did a month ago. We knew not then whether we could plant or sow with safety, whether when we had toild we could reap the fruits of our own industery, whether we could rest in our own Cottages, or whether we should not be driven from the sea coasts to seek shelter in the wilderness, but now we feel as if we might sit under our own vine and eat the good of the land.
Text from: L.H. Butterfield, editor, Adams Family Correspondence, (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1963-1993), vol.1: pp. 369-371.
There has not been a generation of Abigail’s offspring without a garden.
We dig in the earth. My grandmother, Blanche Alberta Adams, taught me to plant beans and pull potatoes. Her mother, Mabel, showed me her love for botany. Mabel and Blanche each had a garden into their nineties.
My garden is on a small Gulf island on the West Coast of Canada.
Indeed, in Alice Morse Earle’s book Home Life in Colonial Days, there is a lovely photo with the title” Abigail Adams Garden, Quincy, MA” in her chapter entitled,’Old-Time Flower Gardens’
We are watching the gardens come alive now with the green and warmth of spring. A true treat!