That These Directions For Travel Were Not Isolated Oddities Of
Literature, But Were The Expression Of A Widespread Ideal Of The English
Gentry, I Have Tried To Show In The Following Study.
The essays can
hardly be appreciated without support from biography and history, and
for that reason I have introduced some concrete illustrations of the
sort of traveller to whom the books were addressed.
If I have not always
quoted the "Instructions" fully, it is because they repeat one another
on some points. My plan has been to comment on whatever in each book was
new, or showed the evolution of travel for study's sake.
The result, I hope, will serve to show something of the cosmopolitanism
of English society in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; of the
closer contact which held between England and the Continent, while
England was not yet great and self-sufficient; of times when her
soldiers of low and high degree went to seek their fortunes in the Low
Countries, and her merchants journeyed in person to conduct business
with Italy; when a steady stream of Roman Catholics and exiles for
political reasons trooped to France or Flanders for years together.
These discussions of the art of travel are relics of an age when
Englishmen, next to the Germans, were known for the greatest travellers
among all nations. In the same boat-load with merchants, spies, exiles,
and diplomats from England sailed the young gentleman fresh from his
university, to complete his education by a look at the most civilized
countries of the world.
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