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Dryden died; and even the few extracts at which we have

l been able to glance will show that it groups itself not with such work as Dryden’s, but rather with such earlier work as that of Fuller or even of Burton. As a man of letters, Cotton Mather, who died in the reign of George II., had more in common with that generation of his ancestors which was born under the last of the Tudors than with any later kind of native Englishmen.

VI

SUMMARY

Our hasty glance at the literary history of America during the seventeenth century has revealed some facts worth remembering. In 1630, when Boston was founded, the mature inhabitants of America, like their brethren in England, were native Elizabethans. In 1700 this race had long been in its grave. In densely populated England, meanwhile, historical pressure — social, political, and economic alike — had wrought such changes in the national character as are marked by the contrast between the figures of Elizabeth and of King William III. The dominant type of native Englishmen had altered :

. national experience was steadily accumulating. In America there had been no such external pressure, and though the immigrant Puritans had long been no more, and though isolation was making the inhabitants of New England more and more provincial, they had preserved to an incalculable degree the spontaneous, enthusiastic, versatile character of their immigrant ancestors. In literature seventeenth-century England had expressed itself in at least three great and distinct moods, of which the dominant figures were Shakspere, Milton, and Dryden. Though America had meanwhile produced hardly any pure letters, it had continued, long after Elizabethan temper had faded from the native literature of England, to keep alive with little alteration those minor phases of Elizabethan thought and feeling which had expressed the temper of the ancestral Puritans. In history and in literature alike, the story of seventeenth-century America is a story of unique national inexperience.

BOOK II

THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

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