The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XV. Colonial and Revolutionary Literature; Early National Literature, Part I.
§ 15. Sarah Knight
The eighteenth century brought economic independence and settled social conditions to the older English colonies. With these went the leisure and comfort which prepare a community for the conscious enjoyment of literature. These changing circumstances are reflected in the keen observations and amusing descriptions preserved by one of the sprightliest of New England matrons, Madame Sarah Knight. During the winter of 1704–5, Mrs. Knight was obliged to go to New York to attend to some business affairs. The trip from Boston followed the shore line, and was accomplished as expeditiously as her energetic nature, bored by the humdrum happenings along the way, could hurry it along, but five months elapsed before she regained her own fireside and warming pan. From the first stopping place, where she found the other guests “tyed by the Lipps to a pewter engine,” and the next day’s guide, whose “shade on his Horse resembled a Globe on a Gate post,” there was scarcely a stage of her journey which did not provide its subject for entertaining comment.