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standing the incompleteness and scepticism of the work, its brilliant generalizations so pleased Voltaire that he declared it superior to Montesquieu's famous treatise. As in so many other instances, the fame of the Marquis de Chastellux, as a writer, rests upon the incidental rather than the formal and elaborate achievements of his pen. His Voyages dans l'Amerique Septentrionale are the spontaneous comments and descriptions such as fill the letters and journals of an intelligent traveller; they are written in a very pleasant though desultory style, and abound in details of interest not familiar at the time the work appeared. Many important economical, social, and personal facts are gracefully recorded; and the character of the country and of the men who directed the War of Independence and the formation of a free government are described; there are some lively anecdotical episodes, and not a few acute speculations: the work is truly French in the constant alternation of a light vein of remark with serious observation, and warm sentiment with worldly wisdom. The frugal and simple ways, the mental independence, modesty, habits of reading, and political tendencies of the people elicit from the Marquis the most intelligent sympathy; he appreciated the eminent characters to whom the country owed her safety; he notes with accuracy the climate, productions, and habits, with which he comes into contact; but, now and then, a tone of pedantry seems inconsistent with the scene and the sentiment; yet sometimes the associations of both naturally excite classic and romantic memories; he quotes Rabelais and Metastasio, Molière and Guarini ; a fair country girl is suggestive of Greuze, and a rural Adonis of Marmontel; he thinks of Buffon among the novel birds and beasts of the wild; and a Connecticut statesman reminds him of a Holland stadtholder; Philadelphia is a modern Capua, and he praises the ladies of that city for skill on the harpsichord; and the fortified Highlands of the Hudson seem a war-girdled Thrace; he contrasts the silent watchfulness of a Quaker meeting with the chanting of the Church of England. The mocking bird and the mountain top, grand old trees and original human beings beguile his
fluent pen. As a digest and epitome of his observations in the New World, his discourse on “ The Advantages and Dis. advantages resulting to Europe from Democracy in America," 1787, is praised by La Harpe as his best work, and seems to have definitely settled the question, as proposed by Raynal, in favor of the advantages. De Chastellux was one of Pope Ganganelli's correspondents; and translated Humphrey's “ Campaign." The period of his sojourn in America adds greatly to the interest of his account thereof: the early battle fields of the Revolution were yet fresh, and the momentous conflict was drawing to a glorious end; he saw a fair fugitive from the Wyoming massacre at a New England tavern; and parted with Washington where he took a final leave of his officers, in the "right-hand room” of the old headquarters at Newburgh.
One of the biographers of Chastellux, praising his accomplishments, observes : Cette alliance des armes et des lettres, moins rares autrefois, füt doublement glorieux pour lui.” His “Essay sur l'Union de la Poesie et de la Musique" and his “ Vies de quelques grands Capitaines” were highly commended by Buffon, who was president of the Academy when the Marquis was elected a member; the subject of the latter's discours d'entrance was Le Gout : an appropriate theme for a nobleman whose writings indicate the cultivation of taste in all departments as a mental habit. It has been objected, and justly, to his philosophical writings, that their style is too ambitious; and, in this respect, the simplicity and geniality of his less pretentious Travels give them a more popular tone and scope. They were, notwithstanding their immediate success, bitterly criticized by Brissot de Warville.
An English gentleman, who lived in America at that time, translated the Travels of the Marquis from the French, and added copious notes. Only twenty-four copies of the original had been printed. It is a curious illustration of the period, that " at a time when there was very little hope of any packets reaching Europe but by means of duplicates," the author availed himself of the little printing press on board the squadron at Rhode Island. Only ten out of the twenty-four arrived to the address of those for whom they were destined, and who had been earnestly requested not to take copies; but such was the prevalent desire to know everything possible as to the condition and prospects of America and the remarkable events that had so lately transpired there, that these few impressions were widely circulated; and the translation before alluded to appeared in Dublin and afterward in London, in 1787.* Whoever would compare the present condition of a part of the Southern and most of the New England States with that of eighty years ago, will find few more pleasant authorities than the Marquis de Chastellux. He united, in a singular degree, the gentleman and the scholar, the philosopher and the artist, the man of the world and the good fellow; accordingly he looked upon the primitive life, the original characters, the economical resources, and the natural beauty around him, with curiosity and sympathy; he had the facility of intercourse, the liberal culture, the desire of knowledge so requisite for a traveller; and he was alive to the significance of the present in its relation to the future. His appreciation of the social virtues of the people and his tolerance of their limited means-his interest in their welfare, and his respect for their cause, are evident on every page. No foreigner has manifested a greater admiration of Washington, or more truly described bis bearing and principles. Some of his observations are full of interest for those who delight to trace national character and local influence to their sources. Here an anecdote, and there a description ; now military details, and again social traits occupy his pen: no phase of domestic economy or statistics of trade and agriculture, no pretty face or shrewd comrade which accident reveals by the way, is allowed to escape him ; so that unconsciously he prepared a book of reference whence the philosopher, novelist, and historian may still draw useful hints. It was in the spring of 1782 that the Marquis de Chastellux travelled through Upper Virginia, and,
during the ensuing autumn, through Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and part of Pennsylvania. He was accustomed thus to occupy the intervals of professional duty; and, therefore, his journeys were undertaken for the express purpose of acquainting himself with the country and people--a fact indicative of liberal curiosity and a love of travel for its own sake, which is an indispensable requisite for the pleasing report thereof. It is not uninteresting to revert to some of the least uncommon experiences of such a writer, especially when we are familiar with the places described as they appear after nearly a century of prosperous development: we thus obtain veritable glimpses into the life of the past. At the outset of his journal he speaks of having breakfasted at Providence, R. I., “ with Colonel Peck. He received me in a small house, where he lived with his wife, who is young also, and has a pleasing countenance, but without anything striking. This little establishment, where comfort and simplicity reign, gave an idea of that sweet and serene state of Happiness which appears to have taken refuge in the New World, after compounding it with Pleasure, to which it has left the Old.” His local facts correspond with our experience of the town, which he describes as “pent between two chains of hills, one to the north and the other to the southwest, which causes an insupportable heat in summer; and it is exposed to the northwest wind, which rakes it from one end to the other, and renders it extremely cold in winter: Of the original source of its wealth to the inhabitants, he says they “carry on the Guinea trade buy slaves and carry them to the West Indies, where they take bills of exchange on old England, for which they receive woollen stuffs and other merchandise.” He never fails to note the accommodations at the inns, and is minute in comments on female character and appearance; thus, describing a maiden at a house where he tarried in Rhode Island, he says: “This young person had, like all American women, a very decent, nay, even serious carriage; she had no objection to be looked at, nor to have her beauty commended, nor even to receive a few caresses, provided it was done without an air of familiarity or libertinism. Licentious manners, in fact, are so foreign in America, that freedom itself there bears a character of modesty.” He remarks, as a striking circumstance, that in every house he found books which were evidently read; a “town” in America, he observes, means "a few houses grouped round a church and tavern.” The obstacles to travelling he finds incessant, having often to cross ferries and to transport provisions and baggage on carts; he alludes to a landlady's expression that she could not spare one bed, as a local idiom. The chief man at Hartford, in those days, was Colonel Wadsworth. The Marquis was his guest, and speaks of his honesty as commissary to supply the French troops, and of the high regard in which he was held by Washington and Lafayette. Of Governor Trumbull he says: “He has all the simplicity in his dress, all the importance and even pedantry, becoming the chief magistrate of a small republic. He brought to my mind the burgomasters of Holland in the time of the Barnevelts." He examined manufactures, conversed with intelligent men, noted the "lay of the land," and estimated local resources; he was delighted at the sight of a bluebird, and descants upon the limited nomenclature which designated every water bird as a duck, from the teal to the black duck, distinguishing them only by the term “red," “wood," &c.; and calling cypress, firs, &c., all pine trees. He is impressed with the sight of "mountains covered with woods as old as the creation ;" thinks always of Buffon as so many objects of natural history come in view; and experiences a sensation of wonder when, in the midst of " ancient deserts," he comes upon traces of a “settlement
6 settlement ;” the process whereof he describes how the rude hut gives place to the wooden house, the woods to the clearing; and then comes a piece of tilled land, and more trees are girdled and other roofs are raised, at which neighbors assist " " with no other recompense than a barrel of cider or a gallon of rum." “Such are the means," he adds, " by which North America, only a hundred years ago a vast forest, is peopled with three millions of inbabitants." As illustrative of the equality of