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“ [456] countenanced, in this town.” He further says, “I can remember the time, when, for many years, not so much as one of these superstitious customs was known to be practised in this land. Ask such of the old standers if it were not so. Alas! that so many of the present generation have so early corrupted their doings! Methinks I hear the Lord speaking to New England as once to Israel: ‘I planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed. How art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me!’ ”

It is very clear, from these facts, that the minds of our fathers were magnetized by predilections which could not tolerate innovation.

We would now descend to particulars and personalities, and speak minutely of some of the domestic customs of our ancestors. We will begin with--

Dress.--The costume of our early settlers had the peculiarities of their day. There was then, as now, a rage for something new; but the range in variety was very small. Nevertheless, female extravagance had gone so far, that an interdict of legislation was called for to arrest the destructive expenditures; and, Sept. 3, 1634, the General Court said,--

The court hath ordered, that no person, either man or woman, shall hereafter make or buy any apparel, either woollen, silk, or linen, with any lace on it, silver, gold, silk, or thread, under the penalty of forfeiture of said clothes. Also all gold or silver girdles, hatbands, belts, ruffs, beaver-hats, are prohibited. Also immoderate great sleeves, slashed apparel, immoderate great rayles, long wings, &c.

It took only five years for the modistes of this centre of transatlantic fashion to change the forms so as to make another legislative interference necessary. Accordingly, on the 9th of September, 1639, the General Court forbade lace to be sold or used; and they say,--

Hereafter, no garment shall be made with short sleeves, whereby the nakedness of the arm may be discovered in the wearing thereof; and, hereafter, no person whatsoever shall make any garment for women, or any of their sex, with sleeves more than half an ell wide in the widest place thereof; and so proportionable for bigger or smaller persons.

In this forbidding of bare necks and naked arms (the very opposite of the dress à la sausage), there was neither studied humility nor conspicuous poverty, but the recommendation

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September 9th, 1639 AD (1)
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