The Historical Birthday-Tea Party 8th January

Sound the Trumpets for Bathsua Reginald Makin, another woman of unknown birthdate, some time around 1608. A child prodigy who spoke mulitple languages and published at the age of sixteen. (You’d think that would make it easier to guess her birthday wouldn’t you). A very clever woman and an excellent self publicist, she became tutor to Charles I’s daughter Elizabeth.

Bathsua argued entertainingly for women’s education, with a fine line in sarcasm, making it quite clear she thought it demeaning that women were not educated and that it suited some men to keep women ignorant.

An Essay to Revive the Ancient Education of Gentle Women 1673

A learned woman is thought to be a comet, that bodes mischief whenever it appears.

To offer the world the liberal education of women is to deface the image of God in  man; it will make women so high and men so low; like the fire in the house-top, it will set the whole world in a flame. – These things and worse than these are commonly talked of and verily believed by many who think themselves wise men.

Merely to teach gentlewomen to frisk and dance, to paint their faces, to curl their hair, to put on a whisk, to wear gay clothes, is not truly to adorn, but to adulterate their bodies, yea,(what is worse) to defile their souls.

Had God intended women only as a finer sort of cattle, he would not have made them reasonable. Brutes, a few degrees higher than…monkeys… might have better fitted some men’s lust, pride and pleasure; especially those that desire to keep them ignorant to be tyrannized over.

So Bathsua is welcome at any party she cares to attend, if she doesn’t think it beneath her dignity. I choose to include her for her enjoyable scorn, an excellent thing in a woman. She would probably think I’m being far too frivolous, but I think we’d get on.

Hot chocolate and cinnamon cakes for Ms Makin.