The American Farmer: St John de Crevecoeur

Crevecoeur fought under Montcalm at Quebec in 1759 and, writes Stuart Andrews, afterwards settled in New York and Pennsylvania.

In August 1781 Madame d’Houdetot wrote to her friend Benjamin Franklin, then in Paris, recommending a young American to him:

He is a Frenchman by birth, but for a long time has been established in your country, under the protection of your laws, to which he is faithful. He has come here to see his family after having lost the greater part of his possessions through the present war. His name is Crevecoeur, and he is the son of a friend, of more than twenty years’ standing, of my husband and myself.

The young American was Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crevecoeur, commonly known as Hector St John de Crevecoeur. When he himself wrote to Franklin later that August, he signed himself ‘St John’ - which made the great man wonder whether this was the fellow-countryman whom Madame d’Houdetot had commended to him.

Crevecoeur wrote a second letter to Franklin to clear up the confusion:

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