A Conversation for H2G2's Feminist Alliance

First female speaker of the House of congress, Jan. 2007

Post 1


Watching BBC-World live yesterday (Jan. 4th 2007) I saw and heard the total speech of the first elected woman speaker in the U.S.A. congress; miss Nancy Pelosi.

Quote from her website; http://www.house.gov/pelosi/

“The New Direction for America advances the right priorities – to make our nation safer and our economy fairer; to make health care and college more affordable; to energize America with energy independence; and to guarantee a dignified retirement for all Americans.

These initiatives – the product of a united Democratic House Caucus working together with our Senate colleagues - are our priorities for the 109th Congress. We are committed to building an America where all families can live and prosper in diverse, safe, and vibrant communities.”
End Quote.

It’s inspiring to be part of the process of emancipation and her words are far from empty. They seem to be spirited by her own struggle “from kitchen to Congress”, as she said. What a person !

Immediately I had to think about “Judith Leyster”, the 17th century female masterpainter I once wrote about her in the story; "searching for the violinist" somewhere in the following replies.
But Wikipedia has now - 2007 - also info in English about her;


and for her paintings, this is the best link;


(her selfportrait is now in The National Museum of Art in Washington.)

But there was anóther reason why I suddenly looked back, into history.

The BBC commentator suddenly said; “as the founding fathers surely had wanted this to happen”.I do not know the exact constitution made by the founding fathers of the U.S.A.

It made me think about Europe's history and the Founding Fathers who escaped death and created and found shelter in what we know now as U.S.A. These founding fathers were protestants from Western/Northern Europe who fled this continent. Most of them came from what we now know of France,Belgium and Holland (The Netherlands).

When pres. George Bush senior visited Amsterdam in the ninetees, he was given a professional investigation about his ancestors and yes, one of them was a founding father who fled “Zeeland”, which is a province of The Netherland. But this is not really important.

The other reason is more important for me; As we know, there were severe clashes between protestants and Roman Catholics,from 16th centuries and further. Very violent peiods. Many did escape to other countries like (what is now) U.S.A., others were killed.

When I did research about my own ancestors around 2000, I suddenly found the name of a “vordoghter” (daughter from a prior marriage, or "illegitimate child") in the family of my ancestors in Brussels and she was described for the outside world as ‘housekeeper” (to make life easy…).

Her name is “Anneken van den Hove” (with all it’s versions, like “Hanneke”/”Hanneken”, etc.) She was protestant, but participated the rather fanatic group of “anabaptists”(there are about eight different words for this same group of believers).
They refused to wear any wapons, did not want to participate in any armee, did baptise only mature peoples and not children, and furthermore some smaller differences.

Within that group were real fanatics who were also violent by wanting to create heaven on earth by war (yes, everyting permitted for the good cause...). But that was only in Amsterdam (some groups just run through town naked while yelling credo’s and another group was around the German city of Münster. Having said this, Anneke did not belong to these violent fanatics. She was a devoted woman, like 90% of the anababtists were peaceful persons who joined daily life.

The descendants of these “anna baptisits”(“wederdopers”) in The U.S.A.of 2007 are the "mennonites" and groups similair to them. Not real sectarian (in terms of theology; while The Mormons are), but very islolated from society and a hate for all that’s technical and modern. I do not know if one of them was a “founding father”. May be, may be not, because they would never agree on creating an armee. But looking back into history of these days, the two groups were very close with each others in their religious beliefs.

However; I suddenly discovered a “book of martyrs” from 1600, written in the Dutch language.I did find today "Anneken van den Hove" in a "Martyrs-book" for the Baptist martyrs since 1524.

"Martelaers spiegel der werelose christenen t'zedert Ao. 1524". Every church had such book about their own “Martelaers”; catholics, protestants and the protestant anabaptists (“wederdoopers”)

(my translation; "A mirror of martyrs of defenceless christians since 1524".)

The Book is printed in Holland in 1631 and at page 932 and 933 "Anneken van den Hoven" is fully described as one of the martyrs Anno 1597".

She is described as an "Dienstmaeght"="housekeeper" of a familymember. But that is most probably an undercover name for a girl from an extramarital birth, or from a prior marriage.


"At Brussels, under the reign of the archduke Albert, there was apprehended for her faith and following Christ, a young maiden named Anneken van den Hove (being the servant maid of Nicolaes Rampaert's sister), having been betrayed, as it was said, by the pastor of the Savel church at Brussels.
This Anneken was imprisoned two years and seven months, in which time she suffered much temptation, from priests, monks, Jesuits and others, who thereby sought to make her apostatize from the faith she had accepted; but however great pains they took with her, in the way of examining, tormenting, fair promises, threats, long imprisonment, and otherwise, she nevertheless constantly remained steadfast in the faith in her Lord and Bridegroom,

so that finally, on the ninth of July, 1597, certain Jesuits came and asked her whether she would suffer herself to be converted, for in that case she should be released and set at liberty.Thereupon she replied, "No." They then offered to give her six months more time for consideration; but she desired neither day nor time, but said that they might do what seemed good to them, for she longed to get to the place where she might offer up unto the Lord a sacrifice acceptable unto Him. This answer having been conveyed to the judges, information was brought her about two hours afterwards, that if she wanted to die, prepare herself, unless she wished to turn.

Hence the justice of the court, and also a few Jesuits, went out with her about eight o'clock, half a mile without the city of Brussels, where a pit or grave was made, while in the meantime she fearlessly undressed herself, and was thus put alive into the pit, and the lower limbs having first been covered with earth, the Jesuits who were present asked her whether she would not yet turn and recant?

She said, "No;" but she was glad that the time of her departure was so near fulfilled. When the Jesuits then laid before her, that she had to expect not only this burying alive of the body into the earth, but also the eternal pain of the fire in her soul, in hell. She answered that she had peace in her conscience, being well assured that she died saved, and had to expect the eternal, imperishable life, full of joy and gladness in heaven, with God and all His saints.

In the meantime they continued to throw earth and (as has been stated to us) thick sods of heath ground upon her body, up to her throat; but notwithstanding all their asking, threatening, or promising to release her and take her out of the pit, if she would recant, it was all in vain, and she would not hearken to it.

Hence they at last threw much additional earth and sods upon her face and whole body, and stamped with their feet upon it, in order that she should die the sooner.

This was the end of this pious heroine of Jesus Christ, who gave her body to the earth, that her soul might obtain heaven; thus she fought a good fight, finished her course, kept the faith, and valiantly confirmed the truth unto death” .

end Quote.

Well, seeing the “first elected woman speaker in the House of congress” in one way or another I also had to think about “Anneken” who stood firm in what she believed.(I myself do not join any church any more although I also studied a few years theology and the cultural history of europe.).

Her way of standing firm is far a way from todays would-be martyrs with guns and explosives, although religion and democracy are not always just easy to match.
At this historical moment in American politics I also do remember that brave woman who did not bow for powers.(In her case it was nót the catholic church that demanded the death penalty, but the king of Spain, who had a very important Royal Palace in Antwerpen/Brussels.)You will not believe what kind of “punishments” were executed in these days. Not to imagine.

Finally here some links; Apparently there were many edited versions of the Book and therefore different texts and descriptions, because executing went on and so the list of "martyrs" became longer and longer.

This is about the fate of Anneken van den Hoven, who was burried alive in 1596 .(her name is just down under the screen of your PC)

The engraving ("picture") of her fate in a 1685 edition;


Jan Luykens created these original etchings for the second edition of Martyrs Mirror, about Anneken some of which were later rediscovered in a box that had survived World War II Germany.
Luykens was a 17th century Dutch Anabaptist pastor and writer who also illustrated a classic edition of Pilgrim's Progress

Well, that all came up in me, whatching the news at BBC world, Jan. 4th, 2007.

Greetings from Amsterdam, Alfredo.

First female speaker of the House of congress, Jan. 2007

Post 2


This link should do the job;

the drawing about Hanneken v.d.Hoven in the book of martyrs


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First female speaker of the House of congress, Jan. 2007

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