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

 -  Though his book
has very little obvious system, its author describes for us frontier
and farm; the ways of the - Page 8
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Though His Book Has Very Little Obvious System, Its Author Describes For Us Frontier And Farm; The Ways Of The Nantucket Fishermen And Their Intrepid Wives; Life In The Middle Colonies; The Refinements And Atrocities Of Charleston.

Crevecoeur's account of the South (that he knew but superficially and - who knows?

- More, it may be, by Tetard's anecdotes than through personal knowledge) is the least satisfactory part of his performance. One feels it to be the most "literary" portion of a book whose beauty is naivete. But whether we accept or reject the story of the negro malefactor hung in a cage from a tree, and pecked at by crows, it is certain that the traveller justly regarded slavery as the one conspicuous blot on the new country's shield. Crevecoeur was not an active abolitionist, like that other naturalised Frenchman, Benezet of Philadelphia; he had his own slaves to work his northern farms; he was, however, a man of humane feelings - one who "had his doubts." [Footnote: In his Voyage dans la Haute Pensylvanie (sic) et dans l'Etat de New York (Paris, 1801) slavery is severely attacked by Crevecoeur. His descendant, Robert de Crevecoeur, refers to him as "a friend of Wilberforce."] And his narrative description of life in the American colonies in the years immediately preceding the Revolution is one that social historians cannot ignore.

Though our Farmer emphasises his plainness, and promises the readers of his Letters only a matter-of-fact account of his pursuits, he has his full share of eighteenth-century "sensibility." Since he is, however, at many removes from the sophistications of London and Paris, he is moved, not by the fond behaviour of a lap-dog, or the "little arrangements" carters make with the bridles of their faithful asses (that they have driven to death, belike), but by such matters as he finds at home.

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