century later, “We of America
are in all respects Englishmen.”
Professor Edward Channing
thinks that it took a century of exposure to colonial conditions to force the English
away from the traditions and ideals of those who continued to live in the old land.
But the student of literature must keep constantly in mind that these English colonizers represented no single type of the national character.
There were many men of many minds even within the contracted cabin of the Mayflower
The “sifted wheat” was by no means all of the same variety.
For Old England was never more torn by divergent thought and subversive act than in the period between the death of Elizabeth in 1603 and the Revolution of 1688.
In this distracted time who could say what was really “English
” ? Was it James the First or Raleigh
or John Cotton?
Charles the First or Cromwell
Charles the Second or William Penn
Was it Churchman, Presbyterian, Independent, Separatist, Quaker
One is tempted to say that the title of Ben Jonson
's comedy Every man in his Humour
became the standard of action for two whole generations of Englishmen, and that there is no common denominator for emigrants of such