J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur

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J. Hector St. John De Crevecoeur’s Letter IX from Letters from an American Farmer, depicts his thoughts and views of slavery. Crevecoeur shows that he is sympathetic to the ideal of human beings being subjected to slavery. In this letter Crevecoeur, who uses the persona of “Farmer James,” expresses his anti-slavery opinions by the way that he connects slavery with Charles-Town’s luxurious society. He attempts to change the mindset of Americans toward slavery by using a disturbing scene to show the horrors of slavery. Through his encounters with slavery, Crevecoeur reveals the evil side of mankind and exposes the corruption and immorality of America. In the opening of Letter IX, “Farmer James” describes Charles-Town as a rich, luxurious place. He goes on to say, “The inhabitants are the gayest in America; it is called the center of our beau monde, and it [is] always filled with the richest planters of the province, who resort hither in a quest of health and pleasure” (Baym 605-606). After painting a picture of Charles-Town as this delightful place, Crevecoeur gives us the darker side of the town. “Farmer James” expresses, “While all is joy, festivity, and happiness in Charles-town, would you imagine that scenes of misery overspread in the country? Their ears by habit are become deaf, their hearts are hardened; they neither see, hear, nor feel for the woes of their poor slaves, from those painful labors all their wealth proceeds” (Baym 606). His descriptions of the conditions of slaves in Charles-Town show that he is uncomfortable with the treatment of these people and the way that they were ripped from their native land to endure hardships for the American people. Crevecoeur expresses his anti-slavery opinions through his illustrative connections between slavery and Charles-Town’s luxurious society. To support Crevecoeur’s anti-slavery stance, he attempts to

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