Monday, February 21, 2011

"How thankfull am I to think that you are not in America": The Worries of Mary Bogle

In 1776, Mary Bogle was a young woman worried about what was happening to her world. For several generations her close-knit Glaswegian family had been working hard at establishing themselves as transatlantic merchants, posting brothers, cousins, and friends to Virginia, India, and London to take advantage of the explosion in eighteenth-century trade that followed the Peace of Utrecht and which lowland Scots appear to have been uniquely adept at managing.

But on February 21, 1776, all that seemed to be coming apart in ways that did not seem to make sense to Mary. Writing from Daldowie, the Bogle family home built with tobacco money just outside of Glasgow, she expressed her angst to her brother George, then on the other side of the world in Calcutta, in terms that reveal not only the distress of a young Scottish woman, but the grip the troubles across the Atlantic had on the British people. She wrote, "How thankfull am I to think that you are not in America at Present, the Disturbances in that Country Engross the attention of every body; God alone knows when or where it will end, it certainly is a Most unatral rebelion: the People who have friends there are much to be pittied: but I wont write any More on this Subject as it never fails to throw a Damp over My Spirits whenever I think of it." She wasn't alone in her worries, though, as close friends had family members in the thick of the disturbances. Mary pointed out that the Hamiltons, for example, "are in great Anxiety about their Brother Douglas who is in Virginia; he is a vastly good lad, & I hope shall be preserv’d from Danger.”


  1. "...a Most unatral rebelion" Love seeing 1776 through the eyes of a woman on the other side of the Atlantic. Thanks.

  2. Thanks so very much for your kind comment. Your sentiments are precisely mine. The sources are there to do an illuminating study of the way British women saw the American Revolution.