Caroline Scott Harrison Chapter, NSDAR Indianapolis, Indiana Join Now »

Address to the First Continental Congress

First Continental Congress Address of Mrs. Benjamin Harrison

First President General
National Society Daughters of the American Revolution
February 22, 1892
Church of Our Father, Washington, D.C.

Mrs. Harrison, the President General addressed the Congress as follows:
“Ladies of the First Continental Congress: On the 17th of October, 1890, the anniversary of the discovery of America about thirty women of Washington, filled with patriotic impulses, met at the Strathmore Arms and organized the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Society you now represent. They framed and adopted a constitution (subject to revision), selected their officers and perfected the organization for the beginning of the work. The Constitution was amended several times, yet finding it still somewhat faulty, it was thoroughly revised by the National Society, which met May 26th, 1891. At that time the number of members was four hundred and forty. Since then the Society has grown with great rapidity, and now has a membership of over twelve hundred, comprising in its officers thirty-eight chapter regents and nineteen State regents, representing “The Daughters” in thirty-one States of the Union.”

“We congratulate you upon this success, and welcome you here to this, the first Congress of the National Society, hoping the intercourse and consultation which you will have will strengthen and improve what has already been so well begun. There have been difficulties in the organization, and now obstacles have met the Board at many points. These troubles, perhaps, at the time caused some friction and unpleasant feeling, but in view of the great success that has attended your labors and the more brilliant future which is before you, these can be happily forgotten. It may be in the future that other difficulties shall arise – it would be a rare society if everything should move along smoothly – and I can only commend a little patience, and for a rule of action Pryor’s advice to a man in the regulation of his conduct towards his wife:”

‘Be to her faults a little blind,
And to her virtues very kind.’

“We now feel that this Society is firmly established and in good condition for continued success. It remains with us all to see that it still lives and grows to greater and better ends. We have within ourselves the only element of destruction; our foes are from within, not without. It has been said ‘that the men to make a country are made by self-denial;’ and is it not true that this Society, to live and grow and become what we would desire it to be, must be composed of self-denying women? Our hope is in unity and self-sacrifice. Since this Society has been organized, and so much thought and reading directed to the early struggle of this country, it has been made plain that much of its success was due to the character of the women of that era. The unselfish part they acted constantly commends itself to our admiration and example. If there is no abatement in this element of success in our ranks I feel sure their daughters can perpetuate a society worthy the cause and worthy of themselves.”

“I welcome you, Regents and Delegates of the Society, to this city and to the first Congress of the Daughters of the American Revolution, with the hope and desire that your conference may be one of pleasure to yourselves, having the promise of strength and progress for the future.”

Permission for publication given by Shelby Cox Conti (Mrs. William), National Chairman, Volunteer Information Specialists Committee