Friday, May 21, 2010

A Brief Diversion

No, I have not abandoned the lineage stories, but am taking a brief hiatus to pay homage to MERCY OTIS WARREN. At the same time I am heading a FaceBook group called Mercy Otis Warren, Poet, Patriot
A truly remarkable woman from Plymouth’s past at the time of the American Revolution - Mercy Otis Warren, wife of General James Warren, mother of five sons. An accomplished housewife and needlewoman, she was also the author of poetry, political satire, a proposed Bill of Rights for the new Constitution and a 2 volume history of the American Revolution.

James and Mercy Warren and their dear friends John and Abigail Adams have left an indelible mark on their time, a valuable resource in their correspondence and activities during those troublesome years.

As I look through the published and non-published writings, and the biographies of this remarkable woman, perhaps it should start here in Plymouth at the corner of North Street and Main with the fine gambrel-roofed house, significant for its associations in early American history, her town house home following her marriage.

Mercy Otis’early years in Barnstable were not of the ordinary - her father James Otis was a man of intellectual habits and he encouraged awareness among his children as he included them in discussion and debate of subjects political and newsworthy at table and at fireside. James Otis was politically a Whig and Presiding Justice of the District Court. He sought culture for its own sake.
Her two older brothers were to be educated for the law at Harvard in Cambridge and Mercy was permitted to join in their studies, although the formal Greek and Latin were not deemed necessary. Not surprisingly, however, she was able to read Virgil and Homer in translation while brother James was plodding through the volumes in their original language. She read the work of Pope, Dryden, Milton, Shakespeare and Raleigh. Conversations and discussion of the ancients was a constant delight and a bond with Jemmie.
At an early age, the poetry of the ancients became a part of Mercy as did their histories. She learned the art of writing from their uncle and instructor, the Rev, Jonathan Russell who wrote his sermons beforehand - and on the Sabbath day she would hear those literary arts sounding as music.

. . .to be continued . . .