On Fretting from The Lily, 1856

Source: The Lily, February 15, 1856, the first newspaper for women, was issued from 1849 until 1853 under the editorship of Amelia Bloomer (1818-1894).

Published in Seneca Falls, New York and priced at 50 cents a year, the newspaper began as a temperance journal for “home distribution” among members of the Seneca Falls Ladies Temperance Society, which had formed in 1848.

On Fretting

“Fret not thyself,” says the Psalmist. Mankind have a proneness to fret themselves. Their business does not prosper according to their expectations; customers do not pay promptly; competition is sharp; those in whom they have confided prove treacherous; malice and envy hurl their envenomed shafts; domestic affairs go contrariwise; the wicked seem to prosper, while the righteous are abased. In every lot there is ample material to make a god of, which may pierce and wrankle in our souls, if we are only so disposed.

Fretting is of the nature of certain diseases, assuming various types. Diseases is sometimes acute—coming on suddenly in the midst of health, and with but little premonition, raging violently through the system, causing fever and racking pains; soon reaching its crisis, and rapidly running its course, either to kill or to be cured. So with fretting. At times it overtakes the constitutionally and habitually patient and gentle. Strong provocation assails them unawares, throws them off their guard, upsets their equanimity, and causes an overflow of spleen that they did not know was in them to that degree. Even the gentle may thus have occasion to take heed to the injunction, “Fret not”

Diseases, however, often assume the chronic type, becoming embedded in the system, deranging its organs, interfering with the performance of the natural and healthful functions, and lingering year after year, like a vampire, to extract the vital juices. In like manner fretting becomes chronic. Peevishness, irritability, censoriousness, complaining, indulged in, assume a habit; gaining thereby strength and power, until the prevailing tempter is fretfulness. It argues a sadly diseased condition of the soul, when this distemper becomes one of its fixtures. To such an one everything goes wrong. The whole mechanism of society is thrown out of gear; instead of moving smoothly, as when lubricated by the oil of kindness and charity, its cogs clash, and its pivots all grate harshly.

Neither wealth nor birth, but mind only, should be the aristocracy of a free people.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Women’s Suffrage Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily (1849-1856), National Citizen and Ballot Box (1878-1881), The Revolution (1868-1872), The New Citizen (1909-1912), The Western Woman Voter (1911-1913), The Woman’s Tribune (1883-1909) and the antisuffrage newspaper, The Remonstrance (1890-1913).

Source: The Lily, February 15, 1856

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