American Women: Humanity of Hartford Ladies

As the rivers farthest flowing,
    In the highest hills have birth;
As the banyan broadest growing,
    Oftenest bows its head to earth,
So the noblest minds press onward,
    Channels far of good to trace;
So the largest hearts bend downward,
    Circling all the human race.
                                               Mrs. Hale

The sympathies of a free people are always aroused when a nation is struggling for freedom. Hence the war between the Turks and Greeks not only called forth the eloquence of American orators, but the mothers and daughters of the land, reminded of the long struggle of their husbands and fathers for liberty, were alive to the interests, and prayed much for the ransom of the latter people. Nor was this all; the sufferings to which the war reduced the Greeks, so much moved the hearts of females that, in one instance at least, they made a demonstration of their sympathy worthy of record. The ladies of Hartford, Connecticut, sent out a ship to the women of Greece, containing money, and articles of wearing apparel, wrought by themselves expressly for an offering to suffering humanity. Mrs. Sigourney, the Secretary of the Ladies’ Committee, wrote the following letter to accompany the contribution:

“United States of America, March 12th, 1828.
     The Ladies of Hartford, in Connectiout, to the Ladies of Greece.

“SISTERS AND FRIENDS, -From the years of childhood your native clime has been the theme of our admiration: together with our brothers and our husbands, we early learned to love the country of Homer, of Aristides, of Solon, and of Socrates. That enthusiasm which the glory of ancient Greece enkindled in our bosoms, has preserved a fervent friendship for her descendants: we have beheld with deep sympathy the horrors of Turkish domination, and the struggles so long and nobly sustained by them for existence and for liberty.

“The communications of Dr. Howe, since his return from your land, have made us more intimately acquainted with your personal sufferings. He has presented many of you to us in his vivid descriptions, as seeking refuge in caves, and, under the branches of olive trees, listening for the footsteps of the destroyer, and mourning over your dearest ones slain in battle.

“Sisters and friends, our hearts bleed for you. Deprived of your protectors by the fortune of war, and continually in fear of evils worse than death, our prayers are with you, in all your wanderings, your wants and your griefs. In this vessel (which may God send in safety to your shores!) you will receive a portion of that bounty wherewith He hath blessed us. The poor among us have given according to their ability, and our little children have cheerfully aided, that some of you and your children might have bread to eat and raiment to put on. Could you but behold the faces of our little ones brighten, and their eyes sparkle with joy, while they give up their holidays, that they might work with their needles for Greece; could you see those females who earn a subsistence by labor, gladly casting their mite into our treasury, and taking hours from their repose that an additional garment might be furnished for you; could you witness the active spirit that pervades all classes of our community, it would cheer for a moment the darkness and misery of your lot.

“We are the inhabitants of a part of one of the smallest of the United States, and our donations must therefore, of necessity, be more limited than those from the larger and more wealthy cities; yet such as we have, we give in the name of our dear Saviour, with our blessings and our prayers.

‘We know the value of sympathy – how it arms the heart to endure -how it plucks the sting from sorrow – therefore we have written these few lines to assure you, that in the remoter parts of our country, as well as in her high places, you are remembered with pity and with affection.

“Sisters and friends, we extend across the ocean our hands to you in the fellowship of Christ. We pray that His Cross and the banner of your land may rise together over the Crescent and the Minaret–that your sons may hail the freedom of ancient Greece restored, and build again the waste places which the oppressor hath trodden down; and that you, admitted once more to the felicities of home, may gather from past perils and adversities a brighter wreath for the kingdom of Heaven.

” Lydia H. Sigourney,
“Secretary of the Greek Committee of
                        Hartford, Connectiout.”


Excerpted from Noble Deeds of American Women
(Patriotic Series for Boys and Girls)
Edited by J. Clement
With an Introduction by Mrs. L. H. Sigourney
BOSTON: Lee and Shepard, Publishers
Entered by Act of Congress, in the year of 1851,
by E. H. Derby and Co., in the Clerk’s Office of the Northern District of New York

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