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sexes sometimes form highly respectable marriages with the European race.
Because the prevailing character of South American women is ignorant and voluptuous, it must not be supposed that there are not numerous exceptions. Even the cities, which are always worse than vil. lages, contain many virtuous, modest, and honorable families; and during the frequent struggles for independence, ladies in various parts of South America have often manifested a sublime degree of firmness and patriotism.
It is hardly possible to imagine a greater contrast of character than existed between the settlers of North and South America. Instead of wealth-seeking, voluptuous adventurers, with a religion so flexible, that it adapted itself to every form of human passion, New England was settled by stern, uncompromising Puritans--men who considered mirth an indecorum, the love of women a snare, and dress a shameful memento of the fall of Adam. Though resisting tyranny, they themselves were most tyrannical. The selectmen deemed they had a right to ascertain whether every girl in their village did a proper amount of spinning and weaving; and if a mother staid away from meeting, to tend her babe, the deacon straightway called to reprove her for neglect of the ordinances. It was then customary for women to carry their infants to religious meetings, and attend to all their wants with as much free item, as if they had been by their own firesides
With regard to external comforts, there was a near approach to equality in the condition of all classes. The employed ate and drank and labored with their employers. Each household was a patriarchal establishment, of which the hired domestics were a component part; and they generally remained in the family they once entered, until they were married or died. It was an almost unheard-of thing for a family to keep more than one female domestic, and her wages, even forty years ago, was not more than two pistareens, or 2s. 6d. Though cloth was then three times as dear as it now is, this price was sufficient to satisfy all wants; for a new calico gown once a year was then considered quite a luxury. The most respectable inhabitants of the colonies were quite content to ride to church on horseback, with a wife or daughter behind them, on a pillion. One gown of silk brocade was considered wealth, and iwo constituted magnificence; especially if a string
appended thereto. But though the richest wardrobe of those primitive days would appear scanty enough in modern eyes, men did not fail to discuss the worn-out theme of female extravagance. The Simple Cobbler of Aggawam, who wrote in Massachusetts as early as 1647, says: “I can make my selle sick at any time with comparing the dazzeling splender wherwith our gentlewomen were embellished in some former habits, with the goosdom, wherewith they are now surcingled and debauched. We have about five or six of them in our colony: if I see any of them
accidentally, I cannot cleanse my phansie of them for a moneth after. I speak sadly; me thinkes it should break the hearts of English-men to see goodly English-women imprisoned in French cages, peering out of their hood-holes for some men of mercy to help them with a little wit, and no body relieves them. It is no marvell they weare drailes, on the hinder part of their heads, having nothing as it seems in the fore-part, but a few Squirrills braines, to help them frisk from one ill-fauored fashion to another. It is no little labour to be continually putting up English women into Out-landish caskes; who if they be not shifted anew, once in a few moneths, grow too sowre for their husbands. When I heare a nugiperous Gentledame inquire what is the newest fashion of the Court, with egge to be in it in all hast, whatever it be, I look at her as the very gizzard of a trifle, the product of a quarter of a cypher, the epitome of nothing, fitter to be kickt, if she were of a kickable substance, than either honoured or humoured.”
About the time of the revolution, the fashion of wearing hooped petticoats was imported from beyond seas, and gave rise to considerable satire. A sailor in New York, finding a narrow street entirely filled by two persons in this inconvenient dress, amused the spectators by jumping over, through a space left between the ladies by the immense circumference of their hoops.
While we remained English colonies, a system of strict subordination was observed throughout society
Men took off their hats, and women made a profound courtesy to the magistrates, or the minister ; children seldom presumed to speak in the presence of their parents, and were always taught to “make their manners," when they met any person.
It was in these days of simplicity, that the marquis La Fayette went to take leave of the mother of Washington, and found her weeding her garden. The dignified matron received him cordially, without embarrassment or apology; and when he congratulated her on the greatness and glory of her son, she quietly replied: “I am not surprised at what George has done; for he was always a good boy."
The women of '76 shared in the patriotism and bravery of the men. They were ready to sacrifice themselves, or their children, for the good of the country. Several individuals carried their enthusiasm so far as to enter the army, where they courageously faced all the perils and fatigues of the camp, until the close of the war.
The strange delusion concerning witchcraft, which prevailed in Europe, extended itself to the English colonies toward the close of the seventeenth century. Every old woman who had an ill temper, a sinister expression of countenance, or an uncommon degree of shrewdness, was in great danger of being burned for a witch. Indeed such was the infatuation, that a little girl about four or five years old was committed to prison, charged with biting some bewitched persons, who showed the print of small teeth on their arms. Another poor child was brought before the magistrates and asked, “How long hast thou been a witch ?! “Ever since I was six years old.” “How old are you now?” “Brother Richard says I shall be eight years old next November.” “You said you saw a black cat once; what did it say to you?" "It said it would tear me to pieces if I did not sign my name to a book.” “How did you afflict folks ?” “I pinched them. My mother carried me to afflict them.” “ How could your mother carry you, when she was in prison ?" "She came like a black cat." “How did you know it was your mother ?” “The cat told me she was my mother.”
It seems unaccountable that such testimony as this was gravely listened to, and believed by the magistrates; and that too in cases where human life was at stake; but the very nature of the supposed crime did not admit of any other than absurd evidence. The delusion prevailed to such a dreadful degree, that every woman feared her neighbor, and when she lay down to sleep, knew not but the next night would find her in prison. Children accused their own parents of carrying them to witches' meetings at midnight, and baptizing them in the name of the devil. Sometimes the accused denied the charge, and when asked what God witches prayed to, answered, “ I cannot tell; the Lord help me :" but in numerous instances they confessed themselves guilty of all the absurd charges brought against them, and accused others as their accomplices. Some of the accusers lived and died without ever acknowledging that they had stated any thing untrue, although they were reputed reli