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By David Morse

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Extra info for American Romanticism: Volume 1: From Cooper to Hawthorne

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401) Under the sway ofpatrioticfeeling it would seem men can become like gods. Ralph, the aged deus ex machina figure of Cooper's subsequent novel of the revolutionary war, Lionel Lincoln ( 1825), is similarly supercharged by an American nationalist vigour. On his first 38 American Romanticism appearance Cooper introduces him as a figure of great venerability: He was a man who would have seemed in the very extremity of age, had not his quick, vigorous steps, and the glowing, rapid glances from his eyes as he occasionally paced the deck appeared to deny the usual indications of many years.

Although Unitarians and Congregationalists saw it primarily as a battle between them, Anne C. Smith's findings suggest that in Boston between 1830 and 1850 the Methodist, Catholic and Episcopalian churches grew more rapidly than either. 48 Moreover, within the Unitarian Church itself was developing the still more radical Transcendentalist tendency, which went beyond a sane and Introduction: America and the Excessive 25 reasonable emphasis on the inherent goodness of man to proclaim the doctrine of'the divine man', an inexhaustible potentiality that lay within the reach of everyone.

Since the greater part of the action of The Spy takes place in the home of a family that sides with the British, and since even the strongly patriotic Frances Wharton and her lover, Peyton Dunwoodie, are determined to save her brother Harry from an ignominious death as a British spy, the cumulative impact of such a plot must be to foreground the possible injustice rather than justice of the American cause. Still more paradoxically, the 'Skinners', the American irregular forces, appear in a most unfavourable light, while their British equivalents, the Cowboys, escape relatively untarnished.

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