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[200] “W. S. Ecuyer” are dedicated “to the Abbe Raynal F. R.S.” :

Behold, Sir, an humble American Planter, a simple cultivator of the earth, addressing you from the farther side of the Atlantic .... As an eloquent and powerful advocate, you have pleaded the cause of humanity in espousing that of the poor Africans; you viewed these provinces of North America in their true light, as the asylum of freedom, as the cradle of future nations, and the refuge of distressed Europeans.

Of the twelve, the Introductory Letter is intentionally rambling. A former European guest having asked for a detailed account of colonial life, “neighbour James” seeks counsel of the minister, who tells him: “He that shall write a letter every day of the week will on Saturday perceive the sixth flowing from his pen much more readily than the first.” But the Farmer's wife dissuades him, unless the plan be followed secretly, so as not to arouse gossip. A chance allusion to the speeches of “friend Edmund,” that is, of Burke, accords with the attention to style in the letters that follow. “If they be not elegant,” says the minister, “they will smell of the woods, and be a little wild” ; but he also assures the Farmer: “Nature hath given you a tolerable share of good sense . . . some perspicuity,” and “a warmth of imagination which enables you to think with quickness.” The second letter takes up the situation, feelings, and pleasures of an American farmer, and the third, on “What is an American?” relates the diverting experiences of Andrew the Hebridean, in his first meeting with Indians. In the fourth we pass to the Island of Nantucket, while the fifth describes the education and employment of the islanders. In the sixth, after an account of Martha's Vineyard and the whale fishery, the author returns to a discussion of manners and customs, this topic continuing in the seventh and eighth. The ninth transfers us to Charleston and the South, where slavery brings the author to “an examination of what is called civilized society.” “Would you prefer the state of men in the woods to that of men in a more improved situation? Evil preponderates in both. . . . For my part, I think the vices and miseries to be found in the latter exceed those of the former.” In the tenth, a special inquiry of the correspondent abroad is met with a dissertation

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