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to the common business of getting a living in the world, appears to me to work against the general convenience of poor labouring people, and is often a snare to others respecting the inward state of their minds.

The members in society to me appear like the members in a man's body, which only move regularly while the motion proceeds from the head. In fits, people sometimes have convulsive motions, which though strong, are only manifestations of disorder.

While we love God with all our hearts, and love not ourselves in a love different from that which we feel towards mankind universally, so long the way remains open for that Life which is the Light of men, to operate in us, and lead us forward in all the concerns necessary for us. Here we may rejoice in the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, we have had our conversation amongst men.

This is a treasure of which through the tender mercies of God, I have in a small degree had experience; and when I think on this outward body being dissolved, and look toward ages who may succeed us, this treasure of all others feels the most precious, and what I ardently desire may be possessed by generations to come.

If gold comes not rightly into our country, we had better be without it. The love of money is the root of evil, and while gold comes among us as an effect of the love of money in the hearts of the inhabitants of this land, branches rising up from this root like the degenerate plant of a strange vine, will remain to trouble us, and interrupt the true harmony of society.

The love of Christ, which preserves the faithful in purity of heart, puts men into a motion which works harmoniously, and in which their example yields clear and safe instruction: thus our Redeemer said, Ye are the light of the world.

This is the standard which God hath commanded to be lifted to the people, and the possibility of this standard being now lifted up by us, standeth in that of a lowly watchful attention to the leadings of Him who is the light of life; and if we go from this standard, we go into a wilderness of confusion.

While we keep to this standard we are content with a little; but in the love of money and outward greatness the wants of one person may require as much labour to supply them, as would supply ten whose wants extend no further than those things which our heavenly Father knoweth that we have need of. And where people are entangled with that spirit in which men receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour which cometh from God only, in this state expence ariseth frequently on expence, and in the increase of outward substance they often find occasion for a greater increase. Thus, a man on some new acquaintance with one whose

living in the world is more specious than his own, may feel an inclination to rise up as high as to a level with him, and to attain this he may frame new devices to increase his estate, and these devices may cause the bread of the needy to fail, though his intent was only to get riches to himself.

Now as men have a will to be rich, and in that will follow on in the pursuit of devices which work against the convenient living of poor honest people, in this course they decrease as to that of being kind and tender-hearted, in seeking after the wants of the weak and helpless: and in that spirit in which men receive honour one from another, their minds are towards outward power to support themselves in that which they possess.

With gold men often hire armies and make great preparations for war. Now in raising great armies and supporting them, much labour becomes necessary, which otherwise would not be needful; and in the long continuation of these things, the yoke lies heavy on many poor people.

The battles of the warrior are not only with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood, but commonly contrived in the craft and subtilty of man's wisdom; and if we trust in man, make flesh our arm, and are estranged from that purified state in which the mind relieth on God, we are in the way towards an increase of confusion; and this state, even among much gold and great riches, is less settled and quiet, than that of a faithful follower of the lowly Jesus, who is contented with those things which our heavenly Father knoweth that we have need of.

In this state we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God. Dead to the love of money. Dead to worldly honour, and to that friendship which is at enmity with Him, and thus He is felt to be our rock and our safe habitation.

In the love of money and outward greatness, the mind is perplexed with selfish devices; how to keep! how to defend from the crafty designs of the proud and envious! and from the desperate attempts of the oppressed.

Now in the bottom of these devices there is unquietness. For where gold or treasures are gathered, and not in that wisdom which is pure and peaceable, the mind in this state is left naked. The robe of God's righteousness is a covering, which to them who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, is an abundant recompense for the loss of that life, with all its treasures, which stood in the wisdom of this world. Under this robe we feel that all things work together for our good; that we have no cause to promote, but the cause of pure universal love; and here all our cares center in a humble trust in Him who is omnipotent.




During the two decades before
the Revolution, one of the most
enthusiastic interpreters of the
nascent American democracy
was a visiting French aristocrat.
Crèvecœur's discovery of the
new world filled him with
boundless excitement. As sol-
dier of fortune, surveyor, and
traveler, he went far and wide;
and his observations provide
some of the best surviving pic-
tures of the diversity of tongues
and types, the sharp contrasts of
social behavior and local cus-
toms, that soon were to be
welded into a new nation by
common need and a common

St. Jean de Crèvecœur (christened Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crèvecœur), born of a distinguished and ancient family near Caen, was educated strictly but well in a Jesuit school, and then visited England. At the age of nineteen he was in Canada, a lieutenant in the French army under Montcalm. In this service he surveyed and mapped large areas around the Great Lakes and in the Ohio country. He was in New York by 1759; he later roamed, an observant pilgrim, through the frontiers of New York, Pennsylvania, and the southern colonies. He became a citizen of New York in 1765, soon acquired a plantation in Orange County some sixty miles from the city, and married in 1769. There he remained, a suc

cessful planter, until the Revolution, writing down his impressions of rural America, "a land of happy farmers" and a haven of equality and freedom for the oppressed and dispossessed of Europe.

In spite of these liberal enthusiasms, his training was aristocratic, and he had sworn allegiance to Britain; his mildly Tory inclinations appear repeatedly in the Letters, particularly in those that he suppressed in his lifetime. In this equivocal mood he found himself suspected by both sides, and returned to France in 1780. Letters from an American Farmer appeared in London two years later; an enlarged but_sentimentalized version in French was published in Paris in 1783. Volumes of letters and journals were then enormously popular, and Crèvecœur's had the added advantage of topical interest. They were widely read on the continent and in England, and their author became, for a time, a celebrity in the flourishing literary world of Paris.

The influence of Franklin and French friends secured his appointment as French consul to New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. He returned to America in 1783, to find his wife dead, his children safe with a Boston family, and his plantation home wrecked by an Indian raid. Until 1790 he remained in


New York, devoting himself the cause of good relations between his mother country and his adopted land. The last twenty-three years of his life were spent in his ancestral Normandy. His only later publication was the Voyage dans la Haute Pensylvanie et dans l'État de New-York (1801). His suppressed letters from the earlier series remained unpublished and forgotten until their rediscovery by American scholars resulted in the Sketches of Eighteenth Century America (1925).

Crèvecœur exemplifies a number of ideals prevalent both in America and in Europe during the late eighteenth century. He subscribed in some degree to Rousseau's idealization of natural man as inherently good when free, and subject to corruption only by artificial urban society. He was an anticlerical like Thomas Paine, with a strong distrust for organized religion.

Along with Jefferson and Franklin he held the physiocratic faith that agriculture was the basis of our economy; and he believed in humanitarian action to correct such abuses as slavery, civil disturbance, war, and the poverty of the masses.

Certain critics of his Letters have disparaged him as a sentimentalist. More sympathetic examination reveals the humanitarian whose pictures of America have by no means lost their interest through the long years.

A good and available edition of Crèvecœur is the Letters from an American Farmer, edited by W. P. Trent and Ludwig Lewisohn, 1904; see also Sketches of Eighteenth Century America, edited by H. L. Bourdin, R. H. Gabriel, and S. T. Williams, 1925, and Percy G. Adams, ed., Crèvecoeur's 18thCentury Travels in Pennsylvania and New York, 1962. For biography and criticism, see Julia P. Mitchell, St. Jean de Crèvecœur, 1916; H. C. Rice, Le Cultivateur American: *** 1933; and the essay by Stanley T. Williams in the Dictionary of American Biography, 1930.

From Letters, from an American Farmer

What Is an American?1

I wish I could be acquainted with the feelings and thoughts which must agitate the heart and present themselves to the mind of an enlightened Englishman, when he first lands on this continent. He must greatly rejoice that he lived at a time to see this fair country. discovered2 and settled; he must necessarily feel a share of national pride, when he views the chain of settlements which embellishes these extended shores. When he says to himself, this is the work of my countrymen, who, when convulsed by factions, afflicted by a variety

1. Title of the third Letter (or essay), reproduced in part in this volume. The first three of the twelve Letters provide a discussion of American life and ideals in general. Four deal with the island of Nantucket-its topography, industry, social life, education, manners, and customs. One describes Martha's Vineyard and its whaling life; another, on Charles

ton, South Carolina, contains an attack on slavery. The book concludes with three essays including observations of nature, an account of a visit with John Bartram, the Philadelphia naturalist, and a final commentary on various subjects, showing a Tory bias.

2. Explored.

of miseries and wants, restless and impatient, took refuge here. They brought along with them their national genius, to which they principally owe what liberty they enjoy, and what substance they possess. Here he sees the industry of his native country displayed in a new manner, and traces in their works the embryos of all the arts, sciences, and ingenuity which flourish in Europe. Here he beholds fair cities, substantial villages, extensive fields, an immense country filled with decent houses, good roads, orchards, meadows, and bridges, where an hundred years ago all was wild, woody, and uncultivated! What a train of pleasing ideas this fair spectacle must suggest; it is a prospect which must inspire a good citizen with the most heartfelt pleasure. The difficulty consists in the manner of viewing so extensive a scene. He is arrived on a new continent; a modern society offers itself to his contemplation,' different from what he had hitherto seen. It is not composed, as in Europe, of great lords who possess everything, and of a herd of people who have nothing. Here are no aristocratical families, no courts, no kings, no bishops, no ecclesiastical dominion, no invisible power giving to a few a very visible one; no great manufacturers employing thousands, no great refinements of luxury. The rich and the poor are not so far removed from each other as they are in Europe. Some few towns excepted, we are all tillers of the earth, from Nova Scotia to West Florida. We are a people of cultivators, scattered over an immense territory, communicating with each other by means of good roads and navigable rivers, united by the silken bands of mild government, all respecting the laws, without dreading their power, because they are equitable. We are all animated with the spirit of an industry which is unfettered and unrestrained, because each person works for himself. If he travels through our rural districts he views not the hostile castle, and the haughty mansion, contrasted with the clay-built hut and miserable cabin, where cattle and men help to keep each other warm, and dwell in meanness, smoke, and indigence. A pleasing uniformity of decent competence appears throughout our habitations. The meanest of our log-houses is a dry and comfortable habitation. Lawyer or merchant are the fairest titles our towns afford; that of a farmer is the only appellation of the rural inhabitants of our country. It must take some time ere he can reconcile himself to our dictionary, which is but short in words of dignity, and names of honour. There, on a Sunday, he sees a congregation of respectable farmers and their wives, all clad in neat homespun, well mounted, or riding in their own humble waggons. There is not among them an esquire, saving the unlettered magistrate. There he sees a parson as simple as his flock, a farmer who does not riot on the labour of others. We have no princes, for whom we toil, starve, and bleed: we are the most perfect society now existing in the world. Here man is free as he ought to be; nor is this pleasing equality so transitory as many others are. Many ages will not see the shores of our great lakes

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