International Women’s Month – Inspiring Change – Lucretia Mott 3 of 10

Nantucket Island thrived in the 19th century with whaling and sea commerce.
Nantucket Island thrived in the 19th century with whaling and sea commerce.

Lucretia  Coffin Mott was raised 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod on Nantucket Island. Margaret Hope Bacon, author of Valiant Friend – the life of Lucretia Mott writes, “(Lucretia) loved every inch of her native island – its food, its customs, its people, its weather-beaten houses, and its long, barren vistas. She loved the sea and ships and the smell of salt. She loved its stark, revealing light…Whenever she had been angry or unhappy, the sweeping moors and the whisper of the wind had been her comforters. She was deeply rooted here, more so than she was ever to become again throughout her long life.” (19)

“From 1700 to 1850 Nantucket was the center of the whaling industry in the US, its men sailing as far as China in quest of whale oil and blubber while its women operated the farms and shops and ran the affairs of the island. The result was the development of a hardy, self-reliant breed of both sexes, famous for their sharp wit, shrewd trading, and fierce independence.” (8)

The young Lucretia also grew up surrounded by Quakers. “Like all other Quaker children, (she) had been taught to believe that God spoke directly to men and women, boys and girls, though an Inward Light that illuminated their consciences. By minding the Light within, one could learn where one’s duty lay. Then it was just a matter of obedience. All the troubles of the world, all the evils including slavery, could be traced not to human depravity but to disobedience to manifest duty.

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