Letters From An American Farmer By Hector St. John De Crevecoeur

 -  Lamb mentions it in
one of his letters - which is already some distinction. Yet when was
a book more completely - Page 7
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Lamb Mentions It In One Of His Letters - Which Is Already Some Distinction.

Yet when was a book more completely lost to popular view - even among the books that have deserved oblivion?

The Letters were published, all the same, at Belfast and Dublin and Philadelphia, as well as at London; they were recast in French by the author, translated into German and Dutch by pirating penny-a-liners, and given a "sequel" by a publisher at Paris. [Footnote: Ouvrage pour servir de suite aux Lettres d'un cultivateur Americain, Paris, 1785. The work so offered seems to have been a translation of John Filson's History of Kentucky (Wilmington, Del., 1784).]

The American Fanner made his first public appearance eleven years before Chateaubriand found a publisher for his Essai sur les Revolutions, wherein the great innovator first used the American materials that he worked over more effectively in his travels, tales, and memoirs. In Saint-John de Crevecoeur, we have a contemporary - a correspondent, even - of Franklin; but if our author shared many of poor Richard's interests, one may travel far without finding a more complete antithesis to that common-sense philosopher.

Crevecoeur expresses mild wonderment that, while so many travellers visit Italy and "the town of Pompey under ground," few come to the new continent, where may be studied, not what is found in books, but "the humble rudiments and embryos of society spreading everywhere, the recent foundations of our towns, and the settlements of so many rural districts." In the course of his sixteen or seventeen years' experience as an American farmer he himself studied all these matters; and he gives us a charming picture of them.

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