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Patrick Delany on the Severity of Theft Laws

This was published in 1767 in The Virginia Gazette.  It is taken from “Eighteen Discourses and Dissertations upon various and interesting Subjects” by Patrick Delany, D.D. and Dean of Down in Ireland.

Delany was an Irish clergyman and described by A Compendium of Irish Biography as “an eloquent preacher, a man of wit and learning.” He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, which he entered as a sizar, rising to be Senior Fellow. He became well known as a preacher at St. Werburgh’s, attracting the attention of Lord Carteret, then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Exchanging the Fellowship for the office of Chancellor of Christ Church, Dublin, impoverished him in the late 1720s, but in 1731 he married Mrs. Margaret Tenison, “a rich Irish widow, and again found himself in a position to gratify his hospitable disposition and indulge his literary tastes.”

"Eighteen Discourses and Dissertations upon various and interesting Subjects" by Patrick Delany, D.D.

“Eighteen Discourses and Dissertations upon various and interesting Subjects” by Patrick Delany, D.D.

On Theft

I cannot help observing with concern, that the laws of our land, in the case of theft, are the most unrighteous and unequitable that can be imagined.

Here, the stealing of a cow, or a sheep, is death by the law! Now, what can be more unrighteous, or absurd, than that the life of a man should be estimated by that of a cow or a sheep? And, besides this, it is putting the highest and the lowest guilt upon a monstrous foot of equality: A man must go to the gallows for stealing a sheep, and he can only go thither for murder, and with this advantage that be hath sometimes a better chance of escaping in the latter case.

Is not this reviving all the cruelty and iniquity of Draco’s laws, where death was the punishment of the lowest crimes, as well as of the highest?

Published weekly in Williamsburg, Virginia between 1736 and 1780, The Virginia Gazette contained news covering all of Virginia and also included information from other colonies, Scotland, England and additional countries. The paper appeared in three competing versions from a succession of publishers over the years, some published concurrently, and all under the same title.


Average Woman

The Average American Woman (1878)

“Now is the time when the average American woman begins to negotiate for a handsome Christmas present for her husband —at some store where his credit is good.”— The Boone County (Iowa) Republican.

Exactly! It is the “average American woman” who tends the babies, washes, cooks, scrubs, washes dishes, irons, bakes and sews, and sits down in the evening tired and discouraged, to take up the weekly paper and read such cruel and insulting taunts and jeers, because in spite of her care and toil, she is unselfish enough to wish to give her husband a Christmas present.

It is the ‘average American woman” who takes ten cents worth of flour and converts it into thirty-five cents worth of bread.

Who earns the bread for the family, the husband who gives ten cents worth of labor, or the wife who gives twenty-five?

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Newspapers Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily, The Revolution, and the National Citizen and Ballot Box.


Slavery as an Educational Power

Slavery as an Educational Power

The National Anti-Slavery Standard was established in 1840 by the husband and wife team of Lydia and David Child, who both were affirmed abolitionists as well as recognized successful writers (Lydia Child was the author of the poem “over the river and through the woods”). Using the motto “Without Concealment–Without Compromise” the Standard sought to extend the rights of slaves across the country. It implied not only suffrage rights for colored males, but also advocated suffrage for women. With perhaps the exception of William Lloyd Garrison’s Liberator, also published by the Society, the Standard was the most influential voice for abolition leading up to the Civil War.

Slavery as an Educational Power

The slaveholders are ever seeking to cover the wickedness of their system by the pretense that it has a tendency to elevate the African from barbarism to the plane of civilization and Christianity. The President of the Republic of Liberia appears to take a different view of the matter. With every opportunity to form a correct judgment, he says, in his last message to the Legislature:

“My fear and anxieties for the last five or six years have been that the moral, intellectual and industrial training of a majority of the immigrants who may arrive here from the United States, as well as that of our posterity, bred and born in this country, will not keep pace with the advancement of the aborigines in those elements of individual and national greatness . In order to show that these fears and anxieties are not unfounded, I have only to state what is pretty generally known in Liberia, that there are thousands of natives, living within the jurisdiction of this Republic, who are intellectually in advance of at least one-half of the immigrants that arrive here annually from the United States”

This is very important testimony. President Benson proceeds to recommend that the Legislature look into the matter, and satisfy themselves whether the emigrants from the United States or the aboriginal inhabitants of the Republic have contributed most, in proportion to their numbers, to the wealth of the nation and the resources of the government.

National Anti-Slavery Standard was the official weekly newspaper of the American Anti-Slavery Society, an abolitionist society founded in 1833 by William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur Tappan to spread their movement across the nation with printed materials. Frederick Douglass was a key leader of this society and often addressed meetings at its New York City headquarters.


House and Home: The Baby (1887)

This article on babies by Dr. May-Dew appeared in the House and Home pages of the August 1887 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book.

In the magazine’s prospectus: The House and Home Department deserves careful perusal by mothers and housekeepers; the suggestive series of articles by Dr. May-Dew, and the clever, bright papers of Mrs. E.M. Babcock, whose “Over the Fence, or What One Woman Says to Another,” is one of the most original features ever introduced into this or any other periodical.

The Baby

There is a world-wide difference between the birth of a baby in what we call uncivilized lands, and among primitive people, and our own. It has been a matter of wonder with us how women, destitute of modern comforts and resources, endured the strain and pain of child-birth; how they and the children that were born survived the hardships which they must have endured. But acquaintance with the semi-savage races of our own day shows that the risk, and the pain, the long trial, and the conditions which bring such dread and suffering to modern civilized women were, and are, unknown to barbaric tribes and times. Travelers have told us that the birth of a child hardly interrupts the daily routine of the wives of the lower class of Chinese; and we are told by a writer in the present number of this Magazine, how the native women in the Sandwich Islands bear their children with hardly an hours’ departure from their every day routine, and without the intervention of either doctor or nurse. But they do not possess this hardihood when they become even partly infected with European notions and habits; for either from the effects of a change of diet, less activity, a more burdensome dress, or all combined, an attempt to follow the old ways often results in prostration and even death.

The modern civilized woman runs to the opposite extreme from her savage sister. She is afraid of everything, even cleanliness. “I should not have allowed you to take a bath so soon,” said a physician to a patient eight hours after the birth of a baby , upon finding her fresh from a nap and a warm bath. “I knew you would not, doctor; that is the reason I did not ask you, replied the lady. I had strength for the bath, but not for the battle for it; and my experience has taught me that it is the best, and only thing to quiet the nerves of the body, and put the body itself in a condition to begin the process of restoration.

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.



Women Guardians of the Peace

From 1913 to 1915, Frank Leslie’s Weekly ran a regularly occurring article titled In the World of Womankind by Frances Frear. These articles featured news about the suffrage movement as well as segments exploring American women’s growing role in the professional world:

This department is devoted to the interests of women. It aims to deal with vital problems in a wholesome and helpful way, and invites the co-operation of its readers. Inquiries will be answered, either through the columns of the paper, or by letter.

This item about women in police forces ran on July 30, 1914.

Women Guardians of the Peace

In the World of Womankind by Frances Frear

In the World of Womankind by Frances Frear

Woman, whose field of work used to be domestic service for the uneducated and the teaching profession for the educated, has won her way into every calling and line of work. One of the newest positions in an ever-widening field of activity is that of an officer of the law.

The policewoman is not to be pictured as an Amazon quelling a disturbance and putting offenders under arrest. A truer picture is that of a quiet little woman in a neat uniform, having the power of arrest, but spending her time in the more important work of prevention.

Policewomen are occupying a growing position of usefulness in the United States and in every important country of Europe, with the exception of England, because it is realized there are certain lines of work that a woman can do better than a man. She can attend to cases of desertion or of separation, investigate newspaper advertisements for women, follow up advertisements luring girls away from home under false promises of employment, and she can score most heavily in the fight against prostitution.

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, published from 1855 to 1922, was an American illustrated news publication started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.