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Crèvecoeur's Eighteenth-Century Travels in Pennsylvania and New York

Crèvecoeur's Eighteenth-Century Travels in Pennsylvania and New York

Copyright Date: 1961
Pages: 216
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    Crèvecoeur's Eighteenth-Century Travels in Pennsylvania and New York
    Book Description:

    Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crèvecouer, long regarded as a chief figure in American letters of the Revolutionary period, is remembered as the author of Letters from an American Farmer and the posthumous Sketches of Eighteenth Century of America, but his last and most ambitious work has been almost entirely neglected. Published in France asLe Voyage dans la haute Pensylvanie et dans d'état de New York, Crèvecouer's last book was never popular and has not heretofore appeared in English. Yet the Voyage has much to add to Crèvecouer's picture of eighteenth-century America, and to our own picture of the American Farmer as a man and writer. The Voyage, written after Crèvecouer's sojourn in France and his return to America as French consul, records a new phase both in American history and in the author's life.

    Adams has arrived at a selection of extracts fromVoyagewhich will be of interest to Crèvecouer's many admirers among students of American history and literature. The editor has translated, arranged, and annotated these selections to form a collection will be a fit companion for Crèvecouer's two volumes of English essays and will supplement the earlier books by recording Crèvecouer's final view of the American scene. In his introduction to this collection, Adams presents a thorough analysis of the content and significance of the Voyage and convincingly justifies his contention that, though the work contains much that is not worthy of translation or republication, the selection here published for the first time in English may be regarded as a significant addition to Crèvecouer's writings.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6199-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Preface
    (pp. VII-VIII)
    P. G. A.
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. IX-XII)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. XIII-XLIV)

    In french,Eighteenth-Century Travels in Pennsylvania & New Yorkwas calledLe Voyage dans la haute Pensylvanie et dans l’état de New York. Issued in Paris in 1801, it was the last published work of Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crèvecoeur, whose first book, written in English and later in French, was once the most popular commentary on America, thought of by Europeans as both a guidebook to the New World and a work of art. Although Crèvecoeur was one of those rare personages who write for publication in two languages, he is remembered today only in one, as a chief figure in...

  5. Chapter I A Trip up the Hudson
    (pp. 1-15)

    Everything having been put in readiness, we took passage on a beautiful sloop of ninety tons bound for the town of Poughkeepsie. The captain of the little ship agreed to put us ashore at New Windsor, a village on the west bank of the river.

    There were several reasons why we preferred this sloop to others going up the river. We were particularly attracted by the elegance of its construction, the size of its cabin, and above all by the hope that the conversation of Captain Dean, who had just returned from a voyage to China in this same ship,...

  6. Chapter II Colonel Woodhull of Schunnemunk Valley
    (pp. 16-25)

    As he had promised, the Captain landed us at the first village soon after coming out of the channel; but as it offered us nothing of interest, being only a wharf where several roads from the interior end, we set out immediately. We had gone but a few miles in the direction of Bethlehem when we met Mr. John Allison, a rich landowner of this district with whom I had crossed the ocean four years before. He invited us to lunch, after showing us his fine flour mill, in which he yearly converts twenty-five to thirty thousand bushels of wheat...

  7. Chapter III A Tour of the Chief Ironworks of New York
    (pp. 26-30)

    Scarcely had we put our horses in the stable when the proprietor, Mr. Townsend,¹ came out and welcomed us with all the politeness of a man accustomed to the frequent sight of strangers and travelers. In fact, his hospitality has for a long time been so well known that travelers going across the mountains on their way from the interior of New York always arrange things so that they may stay with him. When he learned that the purpose of our trip was to make a careful examination of his different works, he offered to show us all their details....

    (pp. 31-34)

    We were slowly traveling on, keeping on our left one of the arms of the Chiquisquaque¹ Creek which we had already crossed twice, when we saw a house covered with shingles and standing in a rather large clearing. The owner, whom we met a few minutes later, with the most amiable promptness offered us a place of rest for the night. We followed him across a moderately sized field of wheat. After taking care of our horses, this honest settler showed us, with a kind of veneration, the stump of the first pine that he had felled some years before,...

  9. Chapter V In the Backwoods of Pennsylvania AT THE HOME OF A POLISH REFUGEE IN LUZERNE COUNTY
    (pp. 35-48)

    We were pursuing our travels much more contentedly, through very thick, gloomy woods, when the courage of Monsieur Herman was put to new tests by our having to swim across the two branches of Fishing Creek, which were filled with trees and bushes that had been brought down by the spring floods. “How much time and work it will take,” he said to me, “before the beds of these rivers are entirely cleared and their banks, today so damp and inaccessible to the traveler, have become laughing prairies like those that lie along the banks of the Elbe between Magdeburg...

  10. Chapter VI Lost on a Bee Hunt in Bedford County
    (pp. 49-63)

    Early the next morning, according to our plan, we light-heartedly set out to hunt for bee trees, provided with a tinder box, flint and steel, and various other necessary articles, the weight and bulk of which prevented us from carrying guns. Nothing could have been more exact than the information which Mr. ——— gave us before we left; with it we should even have been able to cross the Alleghenies safely. In less than half an hour we found ourselves on the edge of a wide and deep ravine, which appeared to serve as a drainage for the torrents occasioned...

  11. Chapter VII The Bachelor Farmer of Cherry Valley
    (pp. 64-69)

    Although we had only fourteen miles to go before reaching the plantation that Mr. Wilson had told us about, we did not arrive there until four o’clock in the afternoon. Not since our departure from Onondaga had we found a country so heavily wooded or marshes so difficult to cross. Our horses were exhausted and Monsieur Herman almost discouraged, when we at last discovered a very tastefully built house. The entire front was decorated with a piazza supported, according to custom, by columns of white cedar. The windows, provided with outside shutters, were painted a pleasing color. Everything about it...

  12. Chapter VIII The Indian Council at Onondaga THE ARRIVAL
    (pp. 70-74)

    On our arrival at Onondaga the first two people whom we met, and who invited us to smoke the opoygan,¹ were Siategan, an old chief of the Chippeway nation, and Yoyowassy, a sachem of the Ottawas, both of whom I had formerly known at Montreal. They told us that because of the ravages of smallpox the number of their people had decreased so much in recent years that they had decided to unite the remnants of their tribes with the old Oneida stock.

    Fortunately, since the council fire was not to be lighted for a few days, we were able...

    (pp. 75-92)

    Seventy-eight people—chiefs, elders, and warriors—were gathered, according to the custom, around a fire lighted in the middle of a large hall, whose walls were made of neatly squared logs joined at the corners by means of dove-tails. All of them, their heads bent forward, their eyes fixed on the ground, were inhaling the smoke from their pipes and, after a rather long interval, exhaling it slowly out of their nostrils in two uninterrupted columns, an indication of profound meditation on important matters. None of them were painted, and none were decorated with feather headdresses. Their beaver mantles, fallen...

  14. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  15. Chapter X A Winter among the Mohawks, or, The Story of Cattaw-Wassy
    (pp. 93-96)

    Several years ago, while traveling in a bark canoe with two Abenakis of lower Canada, I had the misfortune to be wrecked on the upper bank of the St. Lawrence River just after we had successfully passed over the six-mile-long rapids. The first snows had already fallen. Without hatchet and without means of lighting a fire, forced to eat raw some fish that we had the good luck to catch, we decided to walk towards the south and, in order not to lose ourselves in the forest, to keep the river in sight on our left. Dying of cold, worn...

  16. Chapter XI Niagara in Winter
    (pp. 97-100)

    During the beautiful days of winter, when the sun reaches the highest point in its meridian and covers Niagara with its rays, the eyes and the imagination of the spectator are offered one of the rarest and, I believe, one of the most magnificent spectacles to be found on earth. The trees, the bushes, the crags and ridges on the banks, and the gigantic rocks in the lake, everything that one sees during summer disappears and is replaced by objects whose forms and appearances are entirely different. It is like a new creation. The vapors from the waterfall, dispersed far...

  17. [Illustration]
    (pp. None)
  18. Chapter XII Agouehghon, the Coohassa-Onas of Niagara
    (pp. 101-115)

    The next day, following the recommendations of Colonel Hunter, we crossed the roadstead of Niagara in his sixoared canoe and, guided by the soldier assigned to carry our dinner, who led us along an extremely wild and picturesque path, we arrived at the wigwam, or rather the hermitage, of the old Agouehghon.

    “We have just come from New York, my brother,” I said to him, “in order to see the waterfall; but the officer in charge of the fort, who is our friend and yours, has told us in such an interesting manner of your great wisdom, of your long...

  19. Chapter XIII Two Indian Tales
    (pp. 116-126)

    Now then,” said Colonel Hunter on our return, “didn’t I predict that you would enjoy your visit with old Agouehghon? I have another excursion to suggest, one a little different from the other. It is a fishing trip which several of our officers are going to take a few miles from here. You will go by water as far as the mouth of the Prideaux River, on the east bank of the lake. During this season the fish there have the most exquisite flavor of any in the lake, and the Indians have taught us how to preserve them by...

  20. Chapter XIV Wabemat’s Reward, or, Why the First Beaver Was Made
    (pp. 127-145)

    The following story has been handed down from generation to generation.¹

    Since the beginning of time, the power of desire had lain dormant in the head of Agan Kitchee Manitou, until one day he was struck by the thought of descending to earth in order to see how things were going there.

    He at once assumed the shape of a wolf and joined the first pack of wolves he met. Surprised at the arrival of a stranger, the chiefs surrounded and questioned him, and after being assured that he was truly of the ancient breed, admitted him to their group....

  21. Chapter XV The Use Made of Salt in America, and, The Mountain Pasture Lands
    (pp. 146-158)

    The custom of giving salt to animals from time to time, a custom known from Nova Scotia to the Mississippi, is as old as the establishment of the American colonies. The need, or rather, the desire of eating salt seems irresistible. By using this bait the colonists take to pasture those horses and cattle that are necessary at home and bring them back from the woods; by means of it they tame those that have been away for a long time and make them love, follow, and finally obey all their commands.

    In the midst of the forests, in the...

  22. Appendix. The Contents of the Voyage A SUMMARY BY CHAPTERS
    (pp. 159-162)
  23. Index
    (pp. 163-172)