and this movement, like the influence of journalism and of the higher education, counted for colonial union.
, our foremost literary student of the period, summarizes the characteristics of colonial literature in these words: “Before the year 1765, we find in this country, not one American people, but many American peoples. . . . No cohesive principle prevailed, no centralizing life; each little nation was working out its own destiny in its own fashion.”
But he adds that with that year the colonial isolation came to an end, and that the student must thereafter “deal with the literature of one multitudinous people, variegated, indeed, in personal traits, but single in its commanding ideas and in its national destinies.”
It is easy to be wise after the event.
Yet there was living in London
in 1765, as the agent for Pennsylvania
, a shrewd and bland Colonial — an honorary M. A. from both Harvard and Yale
, a D. C.
L. of Oxford
and an Ll.D. of St. Andrewswho was by no means sure that the Stamp Act meant the end of Colonialism.
's uncertainty was shared by Washington
When the tall Virginian
took command of the Continental Army
as late as 1775, he “abhorred the idea ”