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Bundling; Its Origin, Progress and Decline in America   By:

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BUNDLING; Its Origin, Progress and Decline In America.


"I find by all historians, whether ancient or modern, whom I consulted in searching for this work, the fact well recorded, and established beyond all controversy, that the Yankee nation are a set of talking, guessing, swapping and bundling sons of women."

Grant Thorburn's Notes on Virginia .


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, BY HENRY R. STILES, In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.


Whose jealous love of his native state, led him, in defense of her good fame, to make some strictures upon a statement relative to bundling , in my History and Genealogies of Ancient Windsor, Conn. , which strictures (made and taken in the kindest spirit of personal friendship) set me upon the further investigation of this interesting subject.

This Essay,

The result of that investigation, and the justification (as I claim) of my original statement, is MOST RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED BY THE AUTHOR


In the History and Genealogies of Ancient Windsor, Conn. , published in 1859, speaking of the influence of the old French wars upon the religious, moral and social life of New England, I used this language:

"Then came war, and young New England brought from the long Canadian campaigns, stores of loose camp vices and recklessness, which soon flooded the land with immorality and infidelity. The church was neglected, drunkenness fearfully increased, and social life was sadly corrupted. Bundling that ridiculous and pernicious custom which prevailed among the young to a degree which we can scarcely credit sapped the fountain of morality and tarnished the escutcheons of thousands of families."

Hereupon there came a buzzing around my ears. Divers good sons of Connecticut winced under the soft impeachment of having a bundling ancestry, and intimated that my sketch of society in the olden times was somewhat overdrawn. In 1861, an esteemed antiquarian friend in Connecticut wrote me as follows: "Some of your friends feel that, in your History of Windsor , you showed too much inclination to malign, or at least ridicule, Connecticut institutions, though I think none of them accuse you of malice in the matter, and they fear that this subject of bundling cannot be ventilated without endangering the fair fame of old Connecticut."

Upon that hint I speak. Although born in the city of New York, I am the son of Connecticut parents, and proud to trace my descent through six generations of honest, hard working, God fearing Connecticut yeomanry. By the mere accident of birth I cannot feel myself absolved from that allegiance to the Wooden Nutmeg State, which is imposed upon me by the ties of ancestry, of relationship, of youthful associations, and last, not least, by the deep interest which I have taken in the history of one of its eldest born towns. I am, indeed, at this day, to all intents and purposes, as wholly and truly a Connecticut man as if born within her borders; and as proud of her past, as hopeful of her future, and as jealous of her reputation as any one could desire. I trust, therefore, that I may be allowed to disclaim any "inclination to malign, or at least ridicule Connecticut institutions," a task which, in my case, would savor of ingratitude, and which I should consider unworthy of my humble pen.

I cannot but think, also, that those who have found, or think that they have found, an inimical design in any pleasantries in which I may have indulged while describing the customs and manners of by gone days have betrayed a thin skinnedness , and an ignorance of the true glory of Connecticut history, when they imagine that her fair fame can be seriously tarnished by the fly specks of certain customs at no time without their vigorous opponents and long since rendered obsolete by the march of improvement... Continue reading book >>

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