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continent were not given to talking about themselves, to gossiping on paper and in print, however much they may have gossiped in their daily intercourse, and to recording for future generations everyday matters that must have seemed to them trivial and commonplace. They have left us only a few letters of an intimate character, few diaries that are more than meager chronicles, and scarcely any picturesque anecdotes or narrations that have illustrative value in an attempt to reconstruct the daily life of the colonist.
Perhaps the greatest omission of all in a book of this character is the failure to speak of mental attitudes and opinions. What did the colonists think of each other, of the mother country, and of the foreign world that lay almost beyond their ken? One may readily discover contrasts in government, commerce, industry, agriculture, habits of life, and social relations, but it is not so easy for us nowadays to penetrate the colonist's mind, to fathom his motives, and to determine his likes and dislikes, fears and prejudices, jealousies and rivalries. In matters of opinion the colonists, except in New England, were not accustomed to disclose their inner thoughts, though it is not at all unlikely that large numbers of them had no inner thoughts
to disclose. Moreover the people were of many origins, many minds, many varieties of temper, and grades of mental activity, and, as was to be expected, they differed very widely in their ideas on religion, conduct, and morals. They were Puritans, Quakers, and Anglicans; they were English, French, Germans, and Scots; and they were dwellers in seaports and inland towns, on small farms and large plantations, in the tidewater, in the upcountry, along the frontier, under temperate or semitropical skies. • As a consequence it is not to be wondered at that
to the New Englander the well-known hospitality, good breeding, and politeness of the Southerners seemed little more than a sham in the face of their inhumanity and barbarity towards servants and slaves, their looseness of morals, and their fondness for horse racing, drinking, and gambling. Even Quincy himself, no ill-natured critic, could find in Virginia no courteous gentlemen and generous hosts but only “knaves and sharpers” given to practices that were “knavish and trickish.” Fithian was warned that when he went to Virginia he would go "into the midst of many dangerous temptations; gay company, frequent entertainment, little practical devotion, no remote pretention to heart religion, daily examples in men of the highest quality of luxury, intemperence, and impiety.”
Little more exact, on the other hand, was the Southerner's opinion of New England, to him a land of pretended holiness and disagreeable selfrighteousness. He doubted the willingness of the New Englander to carry out his promises or to live up to his resolves; he dubbed him a saint, criticized his Yankee shrewdness, and charged him with business methods that were little short of thievery. These sentiments were not confined, however, to the people of the South. The Quakers also had a deep-seated antipathy for New England, in part because they remembered with bitterness and reproach the old-time treatment of their forerunners there. Stephen Collins of Philadelphia once called the merchants of Boston “deceitful, canting,, Presbyterian deacons." Beekman of New York voiced a widespread feeling when he charged the men of Connecticut with selling goods underweight, “a cursed fraud,” and added that “seveneights of the people I have credited in New England has proved to me (such] d-d ungreatful cheating fellows that I am now almost afraid to trust any man in Connecticut though he be well
recommended from others.” Often the lack in the North of open-handed hospitality and a polite demeanor toward strangers called forth remark. One traveler wrote that “the hospitality of the gentlemen of Carolina to strangers is a thing not known in our more northern region”; and John London of Wilmington said of New Haven, where he lived for some time, that “in general the manners of this place has more of bluntness than refinement and want those little attentions that constitute real politeness and are so agreeable to strangers.” Such criticism was not unknown from New Englanders themselves, for Dr. Johnson once said that Punderson's failure as a clergyman was due to his “want of politeness," and Roger Wolcott named censoriousness, detraction, and drinking too much cider as the leading “blemishes” of Connecticut.
The fondness for innuendo and disparagement which these citations disclose was a characteristic colonial weakness. Virginians would speak of the ladies of Philadelphia as "homely, hard favored, and sour”; dwellers in Charleston would deem themselves vastly superior to their brethren of North Carolina; the old settlers of Boston, Philadelphia, and Charleston had little liking for the immigrant Germans and Scotch-Irish, were glad to get them out of the tidewater region into the country beyond, and looked upon them throughout the colonial period as inferior types of men, a “spurious race of mortals,” as a Virginian called the Scotch-Irish.
Dislikes such as these cut deeply and found ample expression at all times, but were never more freely and harshly stated than in the years preceding the Revolution. The Stamp Act Congress, which was a gathering of a few high-minded men, was no real test of the situation. The Nonimportation Movement, as the first organized effort at common action against England on the part of the colonists as a whole and the first movement that really tested the temper of every grade and every section, made manifest, to a degree unknown before, the apparently hopeless disaccord that existed among the colonists everywhere on the eve of their combined revolt from the mother country. But this disagreement was more the inevitable accompaniment of the growth of national consciousness on the part of the American colonists than it was the manifestation of permanent and irreconcilable differences in their political, economic, and social life. To the early colonists