Letters From An American Farmer

J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur


Text: Letters From an American Farmer, by J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, reprinted from the original ed., with a prefatory note by W. P. Trent and an introduction by Ludwig Lewisohn. New York, Fox, Duffield, 1904.

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AS you are the first enlightened European I have ever had the pleasure of being acquainted with, you will not be surprised that I should, according to your earnest desire and my promise, appear anxious of preserving your friendship and correspondence. By your accounts, I observe a material difference subsists between your husbandry, modes, and customs, and ours; every thing is local; could we enjoy the advantages of the English farmer, we should be much happier, indeed, but this wish, like many others, implies a contradiction; and could the English farmer have some of those privileges we possess, they would be the first of their class in the world. Good and evil I see is to be found in all societies, and it is in vain to seek for any spot where those ingredients are not mixed. I there-fore rest satisfied, and thank God that my lot is to be an American farmer, instead of a Russian boor, or an Hungarian peasant. I thank you kindly for the idea, however dreadful, which you


you have given me of their lot and condition; your observations have confirmed me in the justness of my ideas, and I am happier now I thought myself before. It is strange that misery, when viewed in others, should become to us a sort of real good, though I am far from to hear that there are in the world men thoroughly wretched; they are no doubt as harmless, industrious, and willing to work as we are. Hard is their fate to be thus condemned to a slavery worse than that of our negroes. Yet when young I entertained some thoughts ofselling my farm. I thought it afforded but a dull repetition of the same labours and pleasures. I thought the former tedious and heavy, the latter few and insipid; but when I came to consider myself as divested of my farm I then found the world so wide, and every place so full, that I began to fear lest there would be no room for me. My farm, my house, my barn, presented to my imagination, objects from which I adduced quite new ideas; they were more forcible than before. Why should not I find myself happy, said I, where my father was? He left me no good books it is true, he gave me no other education than the art of reading and writing; but he left me a good farm, and his experience; he left me free from debts, and no kind of difficulties to struggle with


with.--I married, and this perfectly reconciledme to my situation; my wife rendered my houseall at once chearful and pleasing; it no longerappeared gloomy and solitary as before; whenI went to work in my fields I worked with morealacrity and sprightliness; I felt that I did notwork for myself alone, and this encouraged memuch. My wife would often come with herkitting in her hand, and sit under the shadytrees, praising the straightness of my furrows,and the docility of my horses; this swelled myheart and made every thing light and pleasant,and I regretted that I had not married before.I felt myself happy in my new situation, andwhere is that station which can confer a moresubstantial system of felicity than that of anAmerican farmer, possessing freedom of action,freedom of thoughts, ruled by a mode of gov-ernment which requires but little from us?owe nothing, but a pepper corn to my country,a small tribute to my king, with loyalty and duerespect; I know no other landlord than the lordof all land, to whom I owe the most sinceregratitude. My father left me three hundredand seventy-one acres of land, forty-seven ofwhich are good timothy meadow, an excellentorchard, a good house, and a substantial barn.It is my duty to think how happy I am that helived to build and to pay for all these improve-ments


ments; what are the labours which I have toundergo, what are my fatigues when comparedto his, who had every thing to do, from the firsttree he felled to the finishing of his house?Every year I kill from I500 to 2,000 weight ofpork, I,200 of beef, half a dozen of goodwethers in harvest: of fowls my wife has al-ways a great stock: what can I wish more? Mynegroes are tolerably faithful and healthy; by along series of industry and honest dealings, myfather left behind him the name of a good man;I have but to tread his paths to be happy anda good man like him. I know enough of thelaw to regulate my little concerns with pro-priety, nor do I dread its power; these are the |grand outlines of my situation, but as I can feelmuch more than I am able to express, I hardlyknow how to proceed. When my first son wasborn, the whole train of my ideas were sud-denly altered; never was there a charm thatacted so quickly and powerfully; I ceased toramble in imagination through the wide world;my excursions since have not exceeded thebounds of my farm, and all my principal pleas-ures are now centered within its scanty limits:but at the same time there is not an operationbelonging to it in which I do not find some foodfor useful reflections. This is the reason, Isuppose, that when you was here, you used, in your


your refined stile, to denominate me the farmerof feelings; how rude must those feelings be inhim who daily holds the axe or the plough, howmuch more refined on the contrary those of theEuropean, whose mind is improved by educa-tion, example, books, and by every acquired ad-vantage! Those feelings, however, I will de-lineate as well as I can, agreeably to your ear-nest request. When I contemplate my wife, bymy fire-side, while she either spins, knits, darns,or suckles our child, I cannot describe the vari-ous emotions of love, of gratitude, of consciouspride which thrill in my heart, and often over-flow in involuntary tears. I feel the necessity,the sweet pleasure of acting my part, the partof an husband and father, with an attention andpropriety which may entitle me to my goodfortune. It is true these pleasing images vanishwith the smoke of my pipe, but though theydisappear from my mind, the impression theyhave made on my heart is indelible. When Iplay with the infant, my warm imaginationruns forward, and eagerly anticipates his futuretemper and constitution. I would willinglyopen the book of fate, and know in which pagehis destiny is delineated; alas ! where is thefather who in those moments of paternal ecstacy can delineate one half of the thoughts which dilate his heart ? I am sure I cannot; then againI fear


fear for the health of those who are becomeo dear to me, and in their sicknesses I severelyfor the joys I experienced while they were. Whenever I go abroad it is always in-. I never return home without feelingpleasing emotion, which I often suppressuseless and foolish. The instant I enter onown land, the bright idea of property, ofxclusive right, of independence exalt my mind.Precious soil, I say to myself, by what singularcustom of law is it that thou wast made to con-the riches of the freeholder ? Whatshould we American farmers be without thedistinct possession of that soil? It feeds, itclothes us, from it we draw even a great ex uberancy, our best meat, our richest drink, thevery honey of our bees comes from this priv ileged spot. No wonder we should thus cherishits possession, no wonder that so many Euro-who have never been able to say that suchportion of land was theirs, cross the Atlantic torealize that happiness. This formerly rudesoil has been converted by my father into apleasant farm, and in return it has establishedall our rights; on it is founded our rank, ourfreedom, our power as citizens, our importanceas inhabitants of such a district. These imagesI must confess I always behold with pleasure,and extend them as far as my imagination canreach

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reach: for this is what may be called the trueand the only philosophy of an Americanfarmer. Pray do not laugh in thus seeing anartless countryman tracing himself through thesimple modifications of his life; remember thatyou have required it, therefore with candor.though with diffidence, I endeavour to followthe thread of my feelings, but I cannot tell youall. Often when I plough my low ground, Iplace my little boy on a chair which screws tothe beam of the plough--its motion and thatof the horses please him, he is perfectly happyand begins to chat. As I lean over the handle,various are the thoughts which croud into mymind. I am now doing for him, I say, whatmy father formerly did for me, may God en-able him to live that he may perform the sameoperations for the same purposes when I amworn out and old ! I relieve his mother of sometrouble while I have him with me, the odor-iferous furrow exhilarates his spirits, and seemsto do the child a great deal of good, for helooks more blooming since I have adopted thatpractice; can more pleasure, more dignity beadded to that primary occupation ? The fatherthus ploughing with his child, and to feed hisfamily, is inferior only to the emperor of Chinaploughing as an example to his kingdom. Inthe evening when I return home through mylow


low grounds, I am astonished at the myriads ofinsects which I perceive dancing in the beamsof the setting sun. I was before scarcely ac-quainted with their existence, they are so small that it is difficult to distinguish them; they are 1carefully improving this short evening space,not daring to expose themselves to the blaze ofour meridian sun. I never see an egg broughton my table but I feel penetrated with the won-derful change it would have undergone but formy gluttony; it might have been a gentle use-ful hen leading her chickens with a care andvigilance which speaks shame to many women.A cock perhaps, arrayed with the most ma-jestic plumes, tender to its mate, bold, cour-ageous, endowed with an astonishing instinct,with thoughts, with memory, and every distin-guishing characteristic of the reason of man. Inever see my trees drop their leaves and theirfruit in the autumn, and bud again in thespring, without wonder; the sagacity of thoseanimals which have long been the tenants of myfarm astonish me: some of them seem to sur-pass even men in memory and sagacity. I couldtell you singular instances of that kind. Whatthen is this instinct which we so debase, and ofwhich we are taught to entertain so diminutivean idea? My bees, above any other tenants ofmy farm, attract my attention and respect; I amastonished


astonished to see that nothing exists but whathas its enemy, one species pursue and live uponthe other: unfortunately our kingbirds are thedestroyers of those industrious insects; but onthe other hand, these birds preserve our fieldsfrom the depredation of crows which they pur-sue on the wing with great vigilance and aston-ishing dexterity. Thus divided by two inter-ested motives, I have long resisted the desire Ihad to kill them, until last year, when I thoughtthey increased too much, and my indulgencehad been carried too far; it was at the time ofswarming when they all came and fixed them-selves on the neighbouring trees, from whencethey catched those that returned loaded fromthe fields. This made me resolve to kill asmany as I could, and I was just ready to fire,when a bunch of bees as big as my fist, issuedfrom one of the hives, rushed on one of thebirds, and probably strung him, for he instantlyscreamed, and flew, not as before, in an irregu-lar manner, but in a direct line. He was fol-lowed by the same bold phalanx, at a consider-able distance, which unfortunately becomingtoo sure of victory, quitted their military arrayand disbanded themselves. By this inconsider-ate step they lost all that aggregate of forcewhich had made the bird fly off. Perceivingtheir disorder he immediately returned andsnapped


snapped as many as he wanted; nay he hadeven the impudence to alight on the very twigfrom which the bees had drove him. I killedhim and immediately opened his craw, fromwhich I took I7I bees; I laid them all on ablanket in the sun, and to my great surprise 54returned to life, licked themselves clean, andjoyfully went back to the hive; where theyprobably informed their companions of such anadventure and escape, as I believe had neverhappened before to American bees! I draw agreat fund of pleasure from the quails whichinhabit my farm; they abundantly repay me, bytheir various notes and peculiar tameness, forthe inviolable hospitality I constantly shewthem in the winter. Instead of perfidiously tak-ing advantage of their great and affecting dis-tress, when nature offers nothing but a barrenuniversal bed of snow, when irresistible neces-sity forces them to my barn doors, I permitthem to feed unmolested; and it is not the leastagreeable spectacle which that dreary seasonpresents, when I see those beautiful birds,tamed by hunger, intermingling with all mycattle and sheep, seeking in security for thepoor scanty grain which but for them would beuseless and lost. Often in the angles of thefences where the motion of the wind preventsthe snow from settling, I carry them both chaff and


and grain; the one to feed them, the other toprevent their tender feet from freezing fast tothe earth as I have frequently observed them todo. I do not know an instance in which thesingular barbarity of man is so strongly de-lineated, as in the catching and murtheringthose harmless birds, at that cruel season of theyear. Mr. ***, one of the most famous and ex-traordinary farmers that has ever done honourto the province of Connecticut, by his timelyand humane assistance in a hard winter, savedthis species from being entirely destroyed.They perished all over the country, none oftheir delightful whistlings were heard the nextspring, but upon this gentleman's farm; and tohis humanity we owe the continuation of theirmusic. When the severities of that season havedispirited all my cattle, no farmer ever attendsthem with more pleasure than I do it is one ofthose duties which is sweetened with the mostrational satisfaction. I amuse myself in behold-ing their different tempers, actions, and thevarious effects of their instinct now powerfullyimpelled by the force of hunger. I trace theirvarious inclinations, and the different effects oftheir passions, which are exactly the same asamong men; the law is to us precisely what Iam in my barn yard, a bridle and check to pre-vent the strong and greedy, from oppressingthe


the timid and weak. Conscious of superioritythey always strive to encroach on their neigh-bours; unsatisfied with their portion, theyeagerly swallow it in order to have an oppor-tunity of taking what is given to others, exceptthey are prevented. Some I chide, others, un-mindful of my admonitions, receive someblows. Could victuals thus be given to men with-out the assistance of any language, I am surethey would not behave better to one another,nor more philosophically than my cattle do.The same spirit prevails in the stable; but thereI have to do with more generous animals, theremy well known voice has immediate influence,and soon restores peace and tranquillity. Thusby superior knowledge I govern all my cattle aswise men are obliged to govern fools and theignorant. A variety of other thoughts croudon my mind at that peculiar instant, but they allvanish by the time I return home. If in a coldnight I swiftly travel in my sledge, carriedalong at the rate of twelve miles an hour, manyare the reflections excited by surrounding cir-cumstances. I ask myself what sort of an agentis that which we call frost ? Our minister com-pares it to needles, the points of which entersour pores. What is become of the heat of thesummer; in what part of the world is it that theN. W. keeps these grand magazines of nitre?when


when I see in the morning a river over which Ican travel, that in the evening before wasliquid, I am astonished indeed! What is be-come of those millions of insects which playedin our summer fields, and in our eveningmeadows; they were so puny and so delicate,the period of their existence was so short, thatone cannot help wondering how they couldlearn, in that short space, the sublime art to hidethemselves and their offspring in so perfect amanner as to baffle the rig our of the season, andpreserve that precious embrio of life, that smallportion of ethereal heat, which if once de-stroyed would destroy the species! Whencethat irresistible propensity to sleep so commonin all those who are severely attacked by thefrost. Dreary as this season appears, yet it haslike all others its miracles, it presents to man avariety of problems which he can never resolve;among the rest, we have here a set of smallbirds which never appear until the snow falls;contrary to all others, they dwell and appear todelight in that element. It is my bees, however, which afford me themost pleasing and extensive themes; let me lookat them when I will, their government, theirindustry, their quarrels, their passions, alwayspresent me with something new; for which rea-son, when weary with labour, my commonplace


place of rest is under my locust-tree, close bymy bee-house. By their movements I can pre-dict the weather, and can tell the day of theirswarming; but the most difficult point is, whenon the wing, to know whether they want to goto the woods or not. If they have previouslypitched in some hollow trees, it is not the allure-ments of salt and water, of fennel, hickoryleaves, &c. nor the finest box, that can inducethem to stay; they will prefer those rude, roughhabitations to the best polished mahogany hive.When that is the case with mine, I seldomthwart their inclinations; it is in freedom thatthey work: were I to confine them, they woulddwindle away and quit their labour. In suchexcursions we only part for a while; I am gen-erally sure to find them again the following fall.This elopement of theirs only adds to my rec-reations; I know how to deceive even theirsuperlative instinct; nor do I fear losing them,though eighteen miles from my house, andlodged in the most lofty trees, in the most Im-pervious of our forests. I once took you alongwith me in one of these rambles, and yet youinsist on my repeating the detail of our opera-tions it brings back into my mind many of theuseful and entertaining reflections with whichyou so happily beguiled our tedious hours.After I have done sowing, by way of recreation,


tion, I prepare for a week's jaunt in the woods,not to hunt either the deer or the bears, as myneighbours do, but to catch the more harmlessbees. I cannot boast that this chase is so noble,or so famous among men, but I find it lessfatiguing, and full as profitable; and the lastconsideration is the only one that moves me.I take with me my dog, as a companion, for heis useless as to this game; my gun, for no man you know ought to enter the woods withoutone; my blanket, some provisions, some wax,vermilion, honey, and a small pocket compass.With these implements I proceed to such woodsas are at a considerable distance from any set-tlements. I carefully examine whether theyabound with large trees, if so, I make a smallfire on some flat stones, in a convenient place;on the fire I put some wax; close by this fire, onanother stone, I drop honey in distinct drops,which I surround with small quantities of ver-million, laid on the stone; and then I retire care-fully to watch whether any bees appear. Ifthere are any in that neighbourhood, I rest as-sured that the smell of the burnt wax will un-avoidably attract them; they will soon find outthe honey, for they are fond of preying on thatwhich is not their own; and in their approachthey will necessarily tinge themselves with someparticles of vermillion, which will adhere long


to their bodies. I next fix my compass, to findout their course, which they keep invariablystrait, when they are returning home loaded.By the assistance of my watch, I observe howlong those are returning which are marked withvermillion. Thus possessed of the course, and,in some measure, of the distance, which I caneasily guess at, I follow the first, and seldomfail of coming to the tree where those republicsare lodged. I then mark it; and thus, withpatience, I have found out sometimes elevenswarms in a season; and it is inconceivable whata quantity of honey these trees wil sometimesafford. It entirely depends on the size of thehollow, as the bees never rest nor swarm till itis all replenished; for like men, it is only thewant of room that induces them to quit thematernal hive. Next I proceed to some of thenearest settlements, where I procure proper as-sistance to cut down the trees, get all my preysecured, and then return home with my prize.The first bees I ever procured were thus foundin the woods, by mere accident; for at that timeI had no kind of skill in this method of tracingthem. The body of the tree being perfectlysound they had lodged themselves in the hol-low of one of its principal limbs, which I care-fully sawed off and with a good deal of labourand industry brought it home, where I fixed itup


up again in the same position in which I foundit growing. This was in April; I had fiveswarms that year, and they have been ever sincevery prosperous. This business generally takesup a week of my time every fall, and to me it isa week of solitary ease and relaxation. The seed is by that time committed to theground; there is nothing very material to doat home, and this additional quantity of honeyenables me to be more generous to my homebees, and my wife to make a due quantity ofmead. The reason, Sir, that you found minebetter than that of others is, that she puts twogallons of brandy in each barrel, which ripensit, and takes off that sweet, luscious taste, whichit is apt to retain a long time. If we find anywhere in the woods (no matter on whose land)what is called a bee-tree, we must mark it; inthe fall of the year when we propose to cut itdown, our duty is to inform the proprietor ofthe land, who is entitled to half the contents;if this is not complied with we are exposed toan action of trespass, as well as he who shouldgo and cut down a bee-tree which he hadneither found out nor marked. We have twice a year the pleasure of catch-ing pigeons, whose numbers are sometimes soastonishing as to obscure the sun in their flight.Where is it that they hatch? for such multi-tudes


tudes must require an immense quantity offood. I fancy they breed toward the plains ofOhio, and those about lake Michigan, whichabound in wild oats; though I have never killed any that had that grain in their craws. Inone of them, last year, I found some undigestedrice. Now the nearest rice fields from where Ilive, must be at least 5 60 miles; and either theirdigestion must be suspended while they areflying, or else they must fly with the celerityof the wind. We catch them with a net ex-tended on the ground, to which they are alluredby what we call tame wild pigeons, made blind,and fastened to a long string; his short flights,and his repeated calls, never fail to bring themdown. The greatest number I ever catchedwas fourteen dozen, though much larger quan-tities have often been trapped. I have fre-quently seen them at the market so cheap, thatfor a penny you might have as many as youcould carry away; and yet from the extremecheapness you must not conclude, that theyare but an ordinary food; on the contrary, Ithink they are excellent. Every farmer has atame wild pigeon in a cage at his door all theyear round, in order to be ready whenever theseason comes for catching them. The pleasure I receive from the warblingsof the birds in the spring, is superior to my poor


poor description, as the continual successionof their tuneful notes is for ever new to me. Igenerally rise from bed about that indistinctinterval, which, properly speaking, is neithernight or day; for this is the moment of themost universal vocal choir. Who can listenunmoved, to the sweet love tales of our robins,told from tree to tree? or to the shrill catbirds ? The sublime accents of the thrush fromon high, always retard my steps that I maylisten to the delicious music. The variegatedappearances of the dew drops, as they hang tothe different objects, must present even to aclownish imagination, the most voluptuousideas. The astonishing art which all birds dis-play in the construction of their nests, ill pro-vided as we may suppose them with propertools, their neatness, their convenience, alwaysmake me ashamed of the slovenliness of ourhouses; their love to their dame, their inces-sant careful attention, and the peculiar songsthey address to her while she tediously incu-bates their eggs, remind me of my duty couldI ever forget it. Their affection to their help-less little ones, is a lively precept; and inshort, the whole oeconomy of what we proudlycall the brute creation, is admirable in every cir-cumstance; and vain man, though adorned withthe additional gift of reason, might learn fromthe


the perfection of instinct, how to regulate thefollies, and how to temper the errors whichthis second gift often makes him commit. Thisis a subject, on which I have often bestowedthe most serious thoughts I have often blushedwithin myself, and been greatly astonished,when I have compared the unerring path theyall follow, all just, all proper, all wise, up tothe necessary degree of perfection, with thecoarse, the imperfect systems of men, notmerely as governours and kings, but as masters,as husbands, as fathers, as citizens. But thisis a sanctuary in which an ignorant farmermust not presume to enter. If ever man waspermitted to receive and enjoy some blessingsthat might alleviate the many sorrows to whichhe is exposed, it is certainly in the country,when he attentively considers those ravishingscenes with which he is every where sur-rounded This is the only time of the yearin which I am avaricious of every moment, rtherefore lose none that can add to this simpleand inoffensive happiness. I roam earlythroughout all my fields; not the least opera-tion do I perform, which is not accompaniedwith the most pleasing observations; were I toextend them as far as I have carried them, Ishould become tedious; you would think meguilty of affectation, and I should perhaps represent


present many things as pleasurable from whichyou might not perhaps receive the least agree-able emotions. But, believe me, what I writeis all true and real. Some time ago, as I sat smoaking a con-templative pipe in my piazza, I saw withamazement a remarkable instance of selfish-ness displayed in a very small bird, which Ihad hitherto respected for its inoffensiveness.Three nests were placed almost contiguous toeach other in my piazza: that of a swallowwas affixed in the corner next to the house,that of a phebe in the other, a wren possesseda little box which I had made on purpose, andhung between. Be not surprised at their tame-ness, all my family had long been taught torespect them as well as myself. The wren hadshewn before signs of dislike to the box whichI had given it, but I knew not on what ac-count; at last it resolved, small as it was, todrive the swallow from its own habitation, andto my very great surprise it succeeded. Im-pudence often gets the better of modesty, andthis exploit was no sooner performed, than itremoved every material to its own box withthe most admirable dexterity; the signs of tri-umph appeared very visible, it fluttered itswings with uncommon velocity, an universaljoy was perceivable in all its movements. Where


Where did this little bird learn that spirit ofinjustice? It was not endowed with what weterm reason! Here then is a proof that boththose gifts border very near on one another;for we see the perfection of the one mixingwith the errors of the other! The peacableswallow like the passive Quaker, meekly satat a small distance and never offered the leastresistance; but no sooner was the plunder car-ried away, than the injured bird went to workwith unabated ardour, and in a few days thedepredations were repaired. To prevent how-ever a repetition of the same violence, I re-moved the wren's box to another part of thehouse. In the middle of my new parlour I have, youmay remember, a curious republic of indus-trious hornets; their nest hangs to the cieling,by the same twig on which it was so admirablybuilt and contrived in the woods. Its removaldid not displease them, for they find in myhouse plenty of food; and I have left a holeopen in one of the panes of the window, whichanswers all their purposes. By this kind usagethey are become quite harmless; they live onthe flies, which are very troublesome to usthroughout the summer; they are constantlybusy in catching them, even on the eyelids ofmy children. It is surprising how quickly they


they smear them with a sort of glue, lest theymight escape, and when thus prepared, theycarry them to their nests, as food for theiryoung ones. These globular nests are mostingeniously divided into many stories, all pro-vided with cells, and proper communications.The materials with which this fabric is built,they procure from the cottony furze, withwhich our oak rails are covered; this substancetempered with glue, produces a sort of paste-board, which is very strong, and resists all theinclemencies of the weather. By their assist-ance, I am but little troubled with flies. Allmy family are so accustomed to their strongbuzzing, that no one takes any notice of them;and though they are fierce and vindictive, yetkindness and hospitality has made them usefuland harmless. We have a great variety of wasps; most ofthem build their nests in mud, which they fixagainst the shingles of our roofs, as nigh thepitch as they can. These aggregates representnothing, at first view, but coarse and irregularlumps, but if you break them, you will ob-serve, that the inside of them contains a greatnumber of oblong cells, in which they deposittheir eggs, and in which they bury themselvesin the fall of the year. Thus immured theysecurely pass through the severity of that sea- son


on, and on the return of the sun are enabled toperforate their cells, and to open themselvespassage from these recesses into the sunshine.The yellow wasps, which build under ground,in our meadows, are much more to be dreaded,for when the mower unwittingly passes hisscythe over their holes they immediately sallyforth with a fury and velocity superior even tothe strength of man. They make the boldestfly, and the only remedy is to lie down andcover our heads with hay, for it is only at thehead they aim their blows; nor is there anypossibility of finishing that part of the workuntil, by means of fire and brimstone, they areall silenced. But though I have been obligedto execute this dreadful sentence in my own de-fence, I have often thought it a great pity, forthe sake of a little hay, to lay waste so ingen-ious a subterranean town, furnished with everyconveniency, and built with a most surprisingmechanism. I never should have done were I to recountthe many objects which involuntarily strike myimagination in the midst of my work, and spon-taneously afford me the most pleasing relief.These appear insignificant trifles to a personwho has travelled through Europe andAmerica, and is acquainted with books andwith many sciences; but such simple objects of


of contemplation suffice me, who have no timeto bestow on more extensive observations.Happily these require no study, they are ob-vious, they gild the moments I dedicate tothem, and enliven the severe labours which Iperform. At home my happiness springs fromvery different objects; the gradual unfoldingof my children's reason, the study of theirdawning tempers attract all my paternal atten-tion. I have to contrive little punishments fortheir little faults, small encouragements fortheir good actions, and a variety of other ex-pedients dictated by various occasions. Butthese are themes unworthy your perusal, andwhich ought not to be carried beyond the wallsof my house, being domestic mysteries adaptedonly to the locality of the small sanctuarywherein my family resides. Sometimes I de-light in inventing and executing machines,which simplify my wife's labour. I have beentolerably successful that way; and these, Sir,are the narrow circles within which I constantlyrevolve, and what can I wish for beyond them? I bless God for all the good he has given me; I envy no man's prosperity, and with no otherportion of happiness that that I may live toteach the same philosophy to my children; andgive each of them a farm, shew them how tocultivate it, and be like their father, good sub-stantial


stantial independent American farmers--anappellation which will be the most fortunateone, a man of my class can possess, so long asour civil government continues to shed bless-ings on our husbandry. Adieu.

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