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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/119

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AMERICAN CLIMATE AND CHARACTER.

AMERICAN CLIMATE AND CHARACTER.
By EDWARD C. TOWNE.

THE statements given under this head at pages 705 and 706 of "The Popular Science Monthly" for September, 1880, are not borne out by a careful study of facts on English soil, where alone popular American and foreign ideas in regard to the English climate and character can be duly corrected. I have given special attention to the subject in the way of study for very many years, and in the way of observation in England during the past four years, and my conclusion is that the only English and American facts which present a contrast are exceptional ones, and that for the several statements of Mr. Young and the authorities quoted by him there is scarce any foundation at all. Study led me to the conviction long since that the general American or Yankee type, in all its varieties, belonged to England as truly as to America, and that the John Bull type is an exceptional one in England, and exclusively English, partly because it never emigrates, and partly because its characteristics are due to English eating and drinking habits. Observation has shown me that the facts are even more in this direction than I had expected to find them, and that statements such as those of Mr. Young and his authorities could hardly be more wide of the mark.

For more than thirty years I have had a habit of studying the looks of people upon every opportunity, and was most familiar when I came to England with American characteristics in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Chicago, and the Northern States generally, and to a considerable extent in the South. In England I have seen the crowds of London, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, and other places, and have many times made a special study of large companies (one to four thousand) of people where I could walk about among them by the hour together. On one occasion, for example, I made a series of visits to a fair which brought together a large number of the titled ladies of the north of England. I saw there one lady of the type which made Hawthorne write as he did of the beef-eating bigness of English women—a duchess who must have frequently crossed Hawthorne's vision. The duke, her husband, reminded me of my own father, spare and dark, and no way a John Bull. The other ladies of quality had exactly the look in every way of the ladies one sees in the best company in Boston. The company generally, apart from the titled ladies, made no approach to a Boston company, but strikingly lacked quality, whether beauty, refinement, or taste. But there was no such contrast as Mr. Young asserts. There is no ground worth speaking of for his statement as to the contrast between English and American women. It is not at all true. I can compare a country vil-