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[119] in Livingston's paper, is probably accidental or vague, but the full political theory of Rousseau, with all its abstractions regarding mankind in general, was soon added to the definite and always cherished belief in the constitutional privileges of Englishmen. The ideas of the French philosophers were in the air, and there is plenty of evidence in the colonial newspapers for fifteen or twenty years before the Revolution that the French influence was increasing. Even during the French and Indian war, booksellers advertised French texts, grammars, and dictionaries in the papers, while courses in French were often announced. Before the close of the war, we find The Boston gazette printing extracts from Montesquieu's Spirit of laws, with an apology and the expressed hope that it may not be “political Heresey” to suppose that “a Frenchman may have juster Notions of Civil Liberty than some among ourselves.” This was in the days when “Gallic perfidy” was the popular note.

After 1760 all the important works of Rousseau, Montesquieu, and the Encyclopedists as well as many other French books were advertised for sale in the colonial press. Such advertisements indicate the taste of the reading public more accurately than do catalogues of private libraries, which represent individual preferences. Voltaire had long been known in the colonies. Rousseau's Social Contract was advertised as a Treatise on the social compact, or the principles of political law. He himself is referred to again and again as “the ingenious Rousseau,” or “the celebrated Rousseau.” And Emile and La Nouvelle Heloise were evidently in demand. The famous Letters of a Farmer in Pennsylvania by John Dickinson belong to the colonial press in a very special way, since not only did they first appear in The Pennsylvania chronicle, The Pennsylvania journal, and The Pennsylvania gazette almost simultaneously in the winter of 1767-1768, but they were reprinted in nearly every newspaper on the continent, from Nova Scotia to Georgia.1 The Letters were soon known in France, where they were translated by Jacques Barbeu Dubourg, with a preface of glowing compliment.

Reports of French interest in America inclined the colonists still more to the French philosophy of government. As a

1 See also Book I, Chap. VIII.

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