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[201] on snakes and on the humming-bird. The eleventh is a letter “From Mr. Iw-n Al-z, a Russian Gentleman, describing the Visit he paid at my request to Mr. John Bertram, the celebrated Pennsylvania Botanist.” The twelfth and last pictures the distress of a “frontier man” --menaced by the savages, and unsettled by the revolt of the colonies,--who “would chearfully go even to the Mississippi, to find that repose to which we have been so long strangers” ; with his appeal to the Father of Nature, to the Supreme Being whose creative power inhabits “the immense variety of planets,” the volume closes.

Cravecoeur's pretext of an inquiring foreigner mirrored the curiosity of Europe respecting the colonies, and the way in which that curiosity was satisfied, not merely through the multiplying books of travel, but also through the exchange and publication of formal letters. Such was the origin of Jefferson's Notes on the state of Virginia; written in the year 1781, somewhat corrected and enlarged in the winter of 1782, for the use of a foreigner of distinction, in answer to certain Queries proposed by him. This serious piece of scientific writing, perhaps the most frequently printed treatise that has emanated from the South, was compiled by Jefferson while he was Governor of Virginia, and sent to M. Barbe de Marbois, Secretary of the French Legation. It was first issued at Paris (1784-85). The arid statistics, the details of agriculture, and the generally dry geography, important in their time, now mean less to the reader than do Jefferson's occasional flights in a loftier style, represented in the following:

The Natural Bridge, the most sublime of nature's works, though not comprehended under the present head [Cascades and Caverns], must not be pretermitted. . . . Though the sides of this bridge are provided in some parts with a parapet of fixed rocks, yet few men have resolution to walk to them and look over into the abyss. You involuntarily fall on your hands and feet, creep to the parapet, and peep over it. Looking down from this height about a minute gave me a violent headache. If the view from the top be painful and intolerable, that from below is delightful in an equal extreme. It is impossible for the emotions arising from the sublime to be felt beyond what they are here; so beautiful an arch, so elevated, so light, and springing as it were up to heaven!

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