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294
FIRESIDE EDUCATION.
AMUSEMENTS.
As in some degree connected with the subject of health, it is proper to say a few words on amusements. The early settlers of New England discouraged them in every form. Surrounded by dangers from the wild beast and the prowling Indian, threatened with destruction from the rigors of an untried climate, and with famine in a country not yet subjected to cultivation, they found a constant stimulus in the high duties of self-defence and self-preservation, and need­ed not to seek excitement in pastimes. They had something also of religious sternness, which forbade light amusements, and held most social recreations as profane. These views have de­scended to our own time, though with mitigated rigor. It has at length been discovered that certain amusements contribute to health and promote virtue, and that some of the prevalent vices of this country have received encourage­ment from our lack of innocent public amuse­ments. There has been a degree of reproach and ill fame attached to our holidays and re­creations ; women having consequently been withheld from them, they have therefore been given up to men, and usually those of a some­what vicious character. These, being under
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