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FEMALE BEAUTY PREVALENT.

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dresses and in the gayety of their walking apparel. There is perhaps no city in the world in which so many expensively-dressed ladies may be seen walking or shopping, as on a fine morning may be met with in Broadway. Rich and bright-coloured silks, satins, and other similarly costly materials, with ermine-lined cloaks and the most expensive furs; white, pink, and blue satin bonnets, with ostrich feathers and flowers of the first quality, are worn by all who assume to be genteel or rank in the class of ladies, and the whole force of the wardrobe seems to be exhausted in the walking costume. The women, moreover, are much handsomer than the men. They are almost uniformly goodlooking; the greater number are what would be called in England "pretty women,” which is something between good-looking and handsome, in the nice distinctions of beauty. This uniformity extends also to their figures, which are almost universally slender and of good symmetry. Very few large or stout women are seen, and none that we should call masculine. A more than usual degree of feminine delicacy, enhanced by the general paleness of complexion and slightness of figure, is particularly characteristic of American females; and the extreme respect and deference shown to them everywhere by men has a tendency to increase that delicacy, by making them more dependant on the attention and assistance of others than English ladies of the same class usually are.

It is in private society, however, that one can best judge of both; and the result of my observation, after having seen much of them in domestie circles, and in large and fashionable parties, was this : as wives and mothers, the American women appear to be exemplary in the extreme; and while the interior of their dwellings exhibits the greatest attention to everything that can give domestic comfort, an air of propriety and decorum reigns over all their establishments. În the private and social visits which we were permitted to pay to some of the families with whom we were on the most intimate footing, nothing could surpass the general good sense, amiability, intelligence, and benevolence which marked the conversation. The women were always equal to the men, and often superior to them, in the extent of their reading and the shrewdness of their observations; and though there is everywhere, on the part of American females, as far as we have seen them, a shrinking away from any share in political conversation (the notion studiously impressed on them by the men, and not unwillingly entertained by them

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selves, being that it is unbecoming the timid and retiring delicacy of the female character to meddle with political matters), yet, whenever they ventured to pass this barrier, and indirectly develop their views on public affairs, there seemed to me a clearness and a soundness in their remarks which sufficiently evinced their thorough understanding of the subject. The leading features of the female character here, however, in the best circles, are domestic fidelity, social cheerfulness, unostentatious hospitality, and moral and religious benevolence. There are perhaps ten times the number of women in good society in New York who interest themselves in the support and direction of moral objects and benevolent institutions that could be found in any city of the same population in Europe ; and while the husbands are busily engaged in their mercantile or professional avocations, a good portion of the wealth they acquire is directed by the benevolent influences of their wives into useful and charitable channels.

In the gayer parties of fashionable soirées and balls the ladies do not appear to so much advantage as in the sunny promenade or in the private circle at home. Their fashionable parties are as injudiciously crowded with more persons than the rooms will accommodate as in London; three or four hundred is not an unusual number of guests; and though the rooms are spacious, yet the crowd is so uncomfortably great that the dancers have scarcely room to make a small circle in the middle of the dense mass; while those who do not dance must be content to remain wedged into one compact and solid phalanx, from which there is no moving, even for a change of position, till the dance is over; and even then it will sometimes take a quarter of an hour to elbow through the crowd from one room to another. I was asked, at one of these fashionable parties, by a lady, what there was in the scene before us which characterized it as American, and wherein it differed from an English party of the same number and description. My answer was, that the chief points of difference observable to me were these : that there were a greater number of pretty female forms and faces than were ever to be seen in an equal number of English persons, and especially among the younger portion ; but there were no such examples of striking and surpassing beauty as one sometimes sees in one or two favoured indi. viduals of a large party at home. There were no fine women” in the English sense of that term, comprehending the requisites of tall, full, and commanding figures, bold

SOCIETY IN NEW-YORK.

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and striking as well as beautiful features, rosy colour, ex' pressive eyes, and the noble air and carriage of a lofty and dignified rank. On the other hand, the American ladies were dressed more in the extreme of fashion, both as to form and materials ; but there were no such splendid displays of jewels as one sees in an English party. The dancing was monotonous and indifferent ; partly from languor, and partly, it is believed, from affectation of indifference, which is considered to be more genteel than vulgar vivacity : à weakness, no doubt, copied from the English.

The gentlemen in these fashionable parties appeared far less handsome in person and less polished in manners than the ladies; and many whom we saw were evidently very ill at ease, and had their thoughts occupied by other subjects than those immediately before them. The refreshments were all substantial as well as costly; if there was a fault in them, it was that they were generally too abundant; and the pressure of the supper-rooms most frequently exceeded that of the apartments of the dance. Cards are rarely or never seen, the influence of the religious bodies on public opinion having banished these from general society; and the propriety of language among all classes of the men is remarkable, as not an oath or an imprecation, so often offending the ear in what are deemed the best circles in England, anywhere disturbs the general decorum of the scene. The same late hours as are followed in England unfortunately prevail here; and the most fashionable persons, though invited for eight, rarely come till ten or eleven, and parties of any extent in numbers are not often broken up till two or three in the morning.

The condition of the more humble classes, as tradesmen, shopkeepers, clerks, and artisans, is certainly more comfortable than that of the same classes in England; and although they are all at present more or less affected by the general depression of trade, occasioned by the late pecuniary crisis, in the States, from which New-York has suffered more extensively, perhaps, than any other city in the Union, yet all seem to possess good dwellings, abundant clothing, and an ample supply of food. You do not see anywhere in the streets persons asking alms, or labouring under any visible want of the necessaries of life; nor do the offensive and disgusting scenes so often witnessed in the great thoroughfares of London, and the other large cities and towns of Britain, in the persons of drunken men and women, with filthy and ragged children, deprived of their due by the intemperance of their Vol. I.-G

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parents, ever meet the eye in the great public thoroughfares of the city at least, any more than the painful spectacle of young and miserable females earning a wretched and precarious subsistence by the wages of prostitution. That there does exist both poverty and intemperance, and that prostitution and crime accompany these in the less frequented quarters of this city, there can be no doubt; but they do not obtrude themselves on the public eye in every part of the principal streets as they do in London; and after residing in New York for four months, being out almost every day, and visiting nearly every part of the town in succession, we did not, in the whole, see so many of either of the classes named as one meets in a single morning's walk from Charing Cross to Cornhill.

There are here, as there are in England, three political parties, Conservatives, Moderate Reformers, and Radicals; and, following after the bad example of the mother country, each party seems determined to see no virtue and no merit in either of the others. The Conservatives are here called Whigs; the Moderate Reformers are called Democrats; and the Radicals are called Loco-focos, a recent name, bestowed on them from this incident: a public meeting of the Democrats was called at Tammany Hall, their usual place of assembling; and the Radicals, wishing to obtain possession of the room, but not being strong enough in numbers to effect this by force, resorted to the following stratagem: each member of the radical body was furnished with one of the small instantaneous light-matches, which are called loco. focos, and each taking a box of these in his pocket, they contrived, by a preconcerted arrangement, to extinguish all the lights of the room during the proceedings of the evening. The whole of the audience being thus left in utter darkness, the greater number of them, who were not in the secret, went away; when the Radicals, taking advantage of their retirement, lighted all their matches, and with these rekindled the lights in every part of the room at once, after which they voted into the chair a member of their own body, proposed and carried their own previously-prepared resolutions, and sent them out in the papers of the following day as the resolutions of the great Democratic meeting, held by public advertisement at Tammany Hall. This trick, as might be expected, brought deserved discredit on the party practising it, and has fixed upon them a name which unites opprobrium and ridicule in one.

The Conservatives are here called Whigs; and they cor

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respond in political character and sentiment with the Whigs of England, being quite as loud in their professions of lib. eral principles, but quite as unwilling to carry them out into practice. One of the leading organs lately published a very remarkable essay, signed "Sidney," attributed to the

” pen of a prominent leader of the Whig party, which, besides advocating Conservative principles generally, went the length of saying that “experience had shown that there was as much chance of obtaining a good chief magistrate by hereditary descent as by popular election, and that, consequently, the monarchical principle was as favourable to liberty as the republican.” This doctrine was so acceptable to the greater number of the Whigs that most of their newspapers lauded it, until it was attacked with such ability and force in the Democratic prints that the young men among the Whigs felt it necessary to hold a public meeting, to disavow their participation in any such doctrine, and to declare themselves to be uncompromising Republicans.

As far, however, as I was able to discover, by my intercourse with editors and political men of all parties, and by comparison of their journals, I found the American Whigs to be quite as conservative as their namesakes at home. They are nearly all in favour of giving wealth a more open and direct influence than it now possesses in the suffrage for elections, and would be glad to exclude from the electoral body all who have not some fixed amount of property. They are against any changes that would in. crease the power or influence of the people. They are in favour of monopolies in chartered or incorporated banks, and against free trade, except in their own products and manufactures. They sympathize almost universally with the Tory party in England; they think that even Lord Grey carried the principles of reform too far, and would be glad to see the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel restored to office. They think Lord John Russell perfectly right in refusing to accede to any proposition for the ex. tension of the suffrage, for shortening the duration of Par. liament, or for granting the vote by ballot. They are against the separation of the Church of England from the state, and against any alteration in the constitution of the House of Lords. They are averse to any discussion of the question of slavery, and are generally hostile to its abolition. They condemn the Canadians for their attempt to establish a free government for themselves; and, in short, they think, and feel, and act, with reference to the other classes of the com.

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