« PrécédentContinuer »
A NEW ENGLAND KITCHEN OF ABOUT 1750
With sanded floor, hewn ceiling beams, and
WESTOVER, ON THE JAMES RIVER, VIRGINIA
A fine example of the Colonial architecture of
Photograph by H. P. Cook, Richmond, Va. Facing page 16 THE PEABODY MANSION, DANVERS, MASS.
One of the best specimens of New England
26 A NEW ENGLAND PARLOR OF ABOUT 1800
Showing carved wooden mantel, combined
THE HALL AT CARTER'S GROVE, VIRGINIA
Photograph by H. P. Cook, Richmond, Va.
JOHN HANCOCK'S SOFA
In Pilgrim Hall, Plymouth, Mass.
PORTRAIT OF ELIZABETH WENSLEY
Born in Plymouth, Mass., in 1641, showing the
grim Hall, Plymouth, Mass. WOOL BROCADE DRESS
Worn by Dorothy, granddaughter of Governor
Facing page 82
In the grounds of the Essex Institute, Salem,
100 A NEW ENGLAND BEDROOM OF ABOUT 1800
Showing four-poster bed with curtains and
In the National Museum, Smithsonian Institu-
164 ONE-HORSE CHAISE OF ABOUT 1780
In the Essex Institute, Salem, Mass. This is
214 THE FAMILY COACH OF JAMES BEEKMAN, NEW YORK, ABOUT 1760
In the collection of the New York Historical
THE LAND AND THE PEOPLE
The restless and courageous Englishmen who fared across the sea in the seventeenth century, facing danger and death in their search for free homes in the wilderness, little dreamed that out of their adventure and toil there would rise in time a great republic and a new order of human society. There was nothing to indicate that the settlements along the seaboard, occupying the narrow strip of land between the ocean and the mountain ranges, would eventually grow into a mighty union of states that would be called “the melting-pot of the world.” U. 5.*) The elements of that great amalgam of peoples, it is true, began to be gathered before the close of the colonial era; but the process of fusion made little progress during the years of dependence under the
British Crown. The settlements of the seventeenth century were widely scattered, separated by dense forests and broad rivers; and the colonists were busy with their task of overcoming the obstacles
that confronted them in a primeval land. Even v by the beginning of the eighteenth century there
was little intercolonial communication to make the colonies acquainted with one another; and the thousands of immigrants, arriving yearly from the Old World and adding new varieties to the race types already present, rendered assimilation more difficult.
The entire colonial period was marked by shifting and unsettled conditions. The older colonies
Virginia, New England, Maryland, and New York -- were undergoing changes in ideas and institutions. The Jerseys and the Carolinas were long under the control of absent and inefficient proprietors before they finally passed under the rule of the Crown. Pennsylvania, the last to be founded except Georgia, and the seat of a religious experiment in a City of Brotherly Love, was wrestling with the difficult task of combining high ideals with the ordinary frailties of human nature. In all these colonies the details of political organization and the available means of making a living were developed but slowly. England, too, the sovereign power across the sea, whose influence affected at every important point the course of colonial history, was late in defining and putting into practice her policy toward her American possessions. Not until after the turmoil of the war which ended with the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) do we begin to find a state of colonial society sufficiently at rest to admit of a satisfactory review. The half century from 1713 to 1763 is the period during which the life of the colonists attained its highest level of stability and regularity, and to this period, the training time of those who were to make the Revolution, we shall chiefly direct our attention. It will be an advantage, however, to preface a consideration of colonial life with a reference to the topography of the country and a review of the racial elements which made up its composite population.
The territory occupied by the colonists stretched along the American coast from Nova Scotia to Georgia. The earliest settlements lay near the ocean, but in some cases extended inland for considerable distances along the more important rivers. Behind this settled area, toward the foothills of the mountains, lay the back country, which after 1730 received immigrants in large numbers.