September 23, 2010

Quakers in Love.

Do you want to know the coolest thing I learned today? Of course you do.

Today in my American Humanities class, we got to talkin' about Benjamin West. You've probably never heard of him...I hadn't either, which is really unfortunate. He was one of the first American-born artists to be renowned the world over, and his paintings are really quite good. This is him. He is a sexy Quaker.

I really could tell you tons of stuff about him, because he is awesome. But, the purpose of this was just to tell one quick story about him. (Just so you know how great this guy is though, I'm seriously contemplating naming one of my kids after him somehow.)

Okay so like 1760ish, West traveled to Italy and then throughout Europe, and finally settled down in England. He never went back to America.

So he started thinking about getting married, but he didn't really like English girls...they were just too much for him. He longed to marry a good Quaker girl, but of course there were no Quakers in England because Charles II killed them all. So he wrote home (Philadelphia) to his childhood sweetheart, Elizabeth, asking if she would come to England and marry him.

No response.

He wrote again. Nothing. For weeks he wrote her letters without getting a single response. So he asked one of his friends to just go ask Elizabeth personally if she would marry him. Awkward, yes, but desperate times call for desperate measures! Turns out she hadn't gotten any of his letters...her father had intercepted them and BURNED THEM ALL.

Guys. Guys.

Well Elizabeth's brother and dad found out that this messenger had come from Benjamin so they locked her in a room in the highest floor of their home. Benjamin obviously had to have her. So three of his close friends got like this huge ladder and went in the dead of night to sneak her out. They put her on the next boat to England, and as soon as she got there, she and Benjamin were married.

This is a painting of Elizabeth West and their son, Raphael. The original is in Salt Lake...and I NEED to see it. When asked about her husband, Elizabeth said:

"I tell you with perfect truthfulness, I have never found fault in my husband."

Seriously, guys. Love story. America. Yes.

Oh, PS, who were the three friends who snuck Elizabeth out?
A signer of the Declaration whose name I don't remember.
Another guy who became the First bishop of the American Episcopal Church.
Ben Franklin, MOTHALICKA.

1 comment:

  1. This is why American Studies is perfect for you. Don't you just LOVE learning, and true stories are the best. Look what I would have missed out on had you not been in this class! Ben Franklin, really! Love you, Gran