Page:Anne Bradstreet and her time.djvu/20

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ANNE BRADSTREET.

changed, and the necessity for free speech was laid upon him, he ceased to disguise his real feelings and became even too out-spoken, the tendency strengthening year by year, and doing much to diminish his popularity, though his qualities were too sterling to allow any lessening of real honor and respect. But he was still the courtier, and untitled as he was, prestige enough came with him to make his marriage to "a gentlewoman whose Extract and Estate were Considerable," a very easy matter, and though we know her only as Dorothy Dudley, no record of her maiden name having been preserved, the love borne her by both husband and daughter is sufficient evidence of her character and influence.

Puritanism was not yet an established fact, but the seed had been sown which later became a tree so mighty that thousands gathered under its shadow. The reign of Elizabeth had brought not only power but peace to England, and national unity had no further peril of existence to dread. With peace, trade established itself on sure foundations and increased with every year. Wealth flowed into the country and the great merchants of London whose growth amazed and troubled the royal Council, founded hospitals, "brought the New River from its springs at Chadwell and Amwell to supply the city with pure water," and in many ways gave of their increase for the benefit of all who found it less easy to earn. The smaller land-owners came into a social power never owned before, and "boasted as long a rent-roll and wielded as great an influence as many of the older nobles. . . . In wealth as in political consequence the merchants and country gentlemen who formed the