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spondence by letters with those of his acquaintance which are of most worth; and let his travel appear rather in his discourse, than in his apparel or gesture; and in Ins discourse let him be rather advised in his answers, than forward to tell stories: and let it appear that he doth not change his country manners for those of foreign parts, but only prick in some flowers of that' he hath learned abroad into the customs of his own country.
'Travel in the younger sort is a part of education; in the elder a part of experience.'
The well-known tale for young people, in the Evenings at Home, of ' Eyes and no Eyes,' might be applied to many travellers of opposite habits.
But there are, moreover, not a few who may be said to be 'one-eyed' travellers; who see a great deal of some particular class of objects, and are blind to all others. One, for example, will have merely the eye of a landscape-painter; another, of a geologist, or a botanist; another, of a politician; and so on. And the way in which some men's views are in this way limited, is sometimes very whimsical. For instance—A. B. was a man of superior intelligence and extensive reading, especially in ancient history, which was his favourite study. He travelled on the Continent, and especially in Italy, with an eager desire to verify the localities of celebrated battles and other transactions recorded by the Greek and Roman historians: and he succeeded admirably in fixing on the exact spot of almost every feat performed by Hannibal. And when these researches, in each place, were completed, he hurried away without having, or seeking, any intercourse with any of the people now inhabiting Italy, or thinking it worth while to make any inquiries as to their character and social condition; having set out with the
■That. What; (hat which. Sec page 83
conviction that they were, and ever must be, quite unworthy of notice; and having, of course, left Italy with the same opinion on that point, with which he entered it; knowing as much of its inhabitants as of those in the interior of Africa; only, with the difference that, concerning the latter, he was aware of his own ignorance, and had formed 710 opinion at all.
And travellers who do seek for knowledge on any point, are to be warned against hasty induction, and rash generalization, and consequent presumptuous conclusions. For instance, a lady who had passed six weeks in Jamaica, in the house of a friend, whom she described as eminently benevolent, and remarkably kind to his slaves, spoke with scorn of any one who had not been in the West Indies, and who doubted whether slaves were always well treated. And Goldsmith, who had travelled on the Continent, decided that the higher classes were better off in Republics, but the lower classes in absolute Monarchies. Had he lived a few years longer he might have seen the French populace, goaded to madness by their intense misery under the monarchy, rushing into that awful Revolution.
During the short reign of Louis the Eighteenth, at his first restoration, a letter was received (by a person who afterwards regretted not having kept it as a curious document) from the nephew of one of our then ministers, saying that all the travellers from France with whom he had conversed, agreed in the conviction that the Bourbon Government was firmly fixed, and was daily gaining strength. The letter was dated on the very day that Buonaparte was sailing from Elba! and in a few days after, the Bourbons were expelled without a struggle. Those travellers must surely have belonged to the class of the one-eyed.
It often happens that a man seeks, and obtains, much intercourse with the people of the country in which he travels; but falls in with only one particular set, whom he takes for representatives of the whole nation. Accordingly, to Bacon's admonition about procuring letters of introduction, we should add a caution as to the point of 'from whom?' or else the traveller may be consigned, as it were, to persons of some particular party, who will forward him to others, of their own party, in the next city, and so on through the chief part of Europe. And two persons who may have been thus treated, by those of opposite parties, may perhaps return from corresponding tours, with as opposite impressions of the people of the countries they have visited, as the knights in the fable; of whom one had seen only the silver side of the shield, and the other only the golden. Both will perhaps record quite faithfully all they have seen and heard; and one will have reported a certain nation as full of misery and complaint, and ripe for revolt, when the other has found them prosperous, sanguine, and enthusiastically loyal.
In the days when travelling by post-chaise was common, there were usually certain lines of inns on all the principal roads; a series of good, and a series of inferior ones, each in connexion all the way along; so that if you once got into the worse line, you could not easily get out of it to the journey's end. The 'White Hart' of one town would drive you—almost literally—to the 'White Lion' of the next; and so on, all the way; so that of two travellers by post from London to Exeter or York, the one would have had nothing but bad horses, bad dinners, and bad beds, and the other, very good. This is analogous to what befalls a traveller in any new country, with respect to the impressions he receives, if he falls into the hands of a party. They consign him, as it were, to those allied with them, and pass him on, from one to another, all in the same connexion, each showing him and telling him, just what suits the party, and concealing from him everything else.
This is nowhere more the case than in Ireland; from a tour in which two travellers will sometimes return, each faithfully reporting what he has seen and heard, and having been told perhaps nothing more than the truth on any point, but only one side of the truth; and the impressions received will be perhaps quite opposite. The Irish jaunting-car, in which the passengers sit back to back, is a sort of type of what befalls many tourists in Ireland. Each sees a great deal, and reports faithfully what he has seen, one on one side of the road, and the other on the other. One will have seen all that is green, and the other, all that is orange.
Some years ago I met with a gentleman of the army, who had been for two years quartered with his regiment in Ireland, and who had never heard of the Education Board, or of the National Schools, which were scattered through all parts of Ireland, and were educating above two hundred thousand childreu!
But the degree to which a stranger may be kept in a state of one-sided half-darkness, is truly wonderful. In the island of Malta there is a Protestant college, which is one of the most important—perhaps the most important—of all the institutions in our foreign dependencies. It gives a sound christian education to a number of youths of different nations; Turks, Persians, Armenians, Greeks, &c., and sends them forth to enlighten various regions of the East. A friend of mine, who is eminently intelligent, inquiring, and candid, spent a considerable time in Malta, and came home without having heard of the existence of the college! He had chanced, it seems, to fall in with persons who were either adverse or indifferent to any such institution.
It often, indeed, happens that men place themselves knowingly and wilfully in the hands of a party. But sometimes they are, from one cause or another, deluded into it, when they have no such thought. This sometimes takes place through the ambiguity of words. For instance, if the designation by which, in some parts of the Continent, Protestants are usually known, as distinguished from Romanists, happens to be with us the title denoting a certain party in a Protestant Church, a foreign Protestant, coming among us, or holding intercourse with us, is likely to throw himself into the arms of that party whom, from the name, he supposes to comprise all who agree with him in religion.
ESSAY XIX. OF EMPIRE.
IT is a miserable state of mind to have few things to desire and many things to fear; and yet that commonly is the case with kings; who being at the highest, want matter of desire, which makes their minds more languishing, and have many representations of perils and shadows, which make their minds the less clear. And this is one reason also of that effect which the Scripture speaketh of, 'That the king's heart is inscrutable;'1 for, multitudes of jealousies, and lack of some predominant desire, that should marshal and put in order all the rest, maketh any man's heart hard to find or sound. Hence it comes likewise, that princes many times make themselves desires, and set their hearts upon toys; sometimes upon a building; sometimes upon erecting of an Order; sometimes upon the advancing of a person; sometimes upon obtaining excellency in some art, or feat of the hand—as Nero for playing on the harp; Domitian for certainty of the hand with the arrow; Commodus for playing at fence; Caracalla for driving chariots; and the like. This seemeth incredible unto those that know not the principle, that the mind of Man is more cheered and refreshed by profiting in small things, than by standing at a stay * in great. We see also that kings that have been fortunate conquerors in their first years, it being not possible for them to go forward infinitely, but that they must have some check or arrest in their fortunes, turn in their latter years to be superstitious and melancholy; as did Alexander the Great, Dioclesiau, and in our memory Charles V.; and others; for he that is used to go forward, and fiudeth a stop, falleth out of his own favour, and is not the thing he was.
To speak now of the true temper3 of empire, it is a thing rare and hard to keep, for both temper and distemper consist of contraries; but it is one thing to mingle contraries, another
'Pror. xxv. 3.
2 Stand at a stay. To stand still; not to advance. 'Affaire of state seemed rather to stand at a stay than to advance or decline.'—Hayward.
3 Temper. Due balance of qualities. 'Health itself is but a kind of temper, gotten and preserved by a convenient mixture of contrarieties.'—Arhuthnot.
'Between two blades, which bears the better temper f—Shak&pere.