English Travellers of the Renaissance
by Clare Howard
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"Upon my arrival at Godombery my Lady used me courteously until such time I began to move her for Mr Lawson; and, to say the truth, for yourself; being so much transported with your abode there that she let not to say that you are a traitor to God and your country; you have undone her; you seek her death; and when you have that you seek for, you shall have but a hundred pounds more than you have now.

"She is resolved to procure Her Majesty's letter to force you to return; and when that should be, if Her Majesty give you your right or desert, she should clap you up in prison. She cannot abide to hear of you, as she saith, nor of the other especially, and told me plainly she should be the worse this month for my coming without you, and axed me why you could not have come from thence as well as myself.

"She saith you are hated of all the chiefest on that side and cursed of God in all your actions, since Mr Lawson's being with you....

"When you have received your provision, make your repair home again, lest you be a means to shorten her days, for she told me the grief of mind received daily by your stay will be her end; also saith her jewels be spent for you, and that she borrowed the last money of seven several persons.

"Thus much I must confess unto you for a conclusion, that I have never seen nor never shall see a wise Lady, an honourable woman, a mother, more perplexed for her son's absence than I have seen that honourable dame for yours."[155]

It was not only a general hatred of Roman Catholics which made staunch Protestants anxious to detain their sons from foreign travel towards the end of Elizabeth's reign, but a very lively and well-grounded fear of the Inquisition and the Jesuits. When England was at war with Spain, any Englishman caught on Spanish territory was a lawful prisoner for ransom; and since Spanish territory meant Sicily, Naples, and Milan, and Rome was the territory of Spain's patron, the Pope, Italy was far from safe for Englishmen and Protestants. Even when peace with Spain was declared, on the accession of James I., the spies of the Inquisition were everywhere on the alert to find some slight pretext for arresting travellers and to lure them into the dilemma of renouncing their faith, or being imprisoned and tortured. There is a letter, for instance, to Salisbury from one of his agents on the Continent, concerning overtures made to him by the Pope's nuncio, to decoy some Englishman of note—young Lord Roos or Lord Cranborne—into papal dominions, where he might be seized and detained, in hope of procuring a release for Baldwin the Jesuit.[156] William Bedell, about to go to Italy as chaplain to Sir Henry Wotton, the Ambassador to Venice, very anxiously asks a friend what route is best to Italy. "For it is told me that the Inquisition is in Millaine, and that if a man duck not low at every Cross, he may be cast in prison.... Send me, I pray you, a note of the chief towns to be passed through. I care not for seeing places, but to go thither the shortest and safest way."[157]

Bedell's fears were not without reason, for the very next year occurred the arrest of the unfortunate Mr Mole, whose case was one of the sensations of the day. Fuller, in his Church History, under the year 1607, records how—

"About this time Mr Molle, Governour to the Lord Ross in his travails, began his unhappy journey beyond the Seas.... He was appointed by Thomas, Earl of Exeter, to be Governour in Travail to his Grandchilde, the Lord Ross, undertaking the charge with much reluctance (as a presage of ill successe) and with a profession, and a resolution not to passe the Alpes.

"But a Vagari took the Lord Ross to go to Rome, though some conceive this notion had its root in more mischievous brains. In vain doth Mr Molle dissuade him, grown now so wilfull, he would in some sort govern his Governour. What should this good man doe? To leave him were to desert his trust, to goe along with him were to endanger his own life. At last his affections to his charge so prevailed against his judgment, that unwillingly willing he went with him. Now, at what rate soever they rode to Rome, the fame of their coming came thither before them; so that no sooner had they entered their Inne, but Officers asked for Mr Molle, took and carried him to the Inquisition-House, where he remained a prisoner whilest the Lord Ross was daily feasted, favoured, entertained: so that some will not stick to say, That here he changed no Religion for a bad one."[158]

No threats could persuade Mr Mole to renounce his heresy, and though many attempts were made to exchange him for some Jesuits caught in England, he lay for thirty years in the prison of the Inquisition, and died there, at the age of eighty-one.

It was part of the policy of the Jesuits, according to Sir Henry Wotton, to thus separate their tutors from young men, and then ply the pupils with attentions and flattery, with a view to persuading them into the Church of Rome. Not long after the capture of Mole, Wotton writes to Salisbury of another case of the same sort.

"My Lord Wentworthe[159] on the 18th of May coming towards Venice ... accompanied with his brother-in-law Mr Henry Crafts, one Edward Lichefeld, their governor, and some two or three other English, through Bologna, as they were there together at supper the very night of their arrival, came up two Dominican Friars, with the sergeants of the town, and carried thence the foresaid Lichefeld, with all his papers, into the prison of the Inquisition where he yet remaineth.[160] Thus standeth this accident in the bare circumstances thereof, not different, save only in place, from that of Mr Mole at Rome. And doubtlessly (as we collect now upon the matter) if Sir John Harington[161] had either gone the Roman Journey, or taken the ordinary way in his remove thitherwards out of Tuscany, the like would have befallen his director also, a gentleman of singular sufficiency;[162] for it appeareth a new piece of council (infused into the Pope by his artisans the Jesuits) to separate by some device their guides from our young noblemen (about whom they are busiest) and afterwards to use themselves (for aught I can yet hear) with much kindness and security, but yet with restraint (when they come to Rome) of departing thence without leave; which form was held both with the Lords Rosse and St Jhons, and with this Lord Wentworthe and his brother-in-law at their being there. And we have at the present also a like example or two in Barons of the Almaign nation of our religion, whose governors are imprisoned, at Rome and Ferrara; so as the matter seemeth to pass into a rule. And albeit thitherto those before named of our own be escaped out of that Babylon (as far as I can penetrate) without any bad impressions, yet surely it appeareth very dangerous to leave our travellers in this contingency; especially being dispersed in the middle towns of Italy (whither the language doth most draw them) certain nimble pleasant wits in quality of interceptors, who deliver over to their correspondents at Rome the dispositions of gentlemen before they arrive, and so subject them both to attraction by argument, and attraction by humour."[163]

Wotton did not overrate the persuasiveness of the Jesuits. Lord Roos became a papist.[164]

Wotton's own nephew, Pickering, had been converted in Spain, on his death-bed, although he had been, according to the Jesuit records, "most tenacious of the corrupt religion which from his tender youth he had imbibed."[165] In his travels "through the greater part of France, Italy, Spain and Germany for the purpose of learning both the languages and the manners, an ancient custom among northern nations, ... he conferred much upon matters of faith with many persons, led either by inclination or curiosity, and being a clever man would omit no opportunity of gaining information."[166] Through this curiosity he made friends with Father Walpole of the Jesuit College at Valladolid, and falling into a mortal sickness in that city, Walpole had come to comfort him.

Another conversion of the same sort had been made by Father Walpole at Valladolid, the year before. Sir Thomas Palmer came to Spain both for the purpose of learning the language and seeing the country. "Visiting the English College, he treated familiarly with the Fathers, and began to entertain thoughts in his heart of the Catholic religion." While cogitating, he was "overtaken by a sudden and mortal sickness. Therefore, perceiving himself to be in danger of death, he set to work to reconcile himself with the Catholic Church. Having received all the last Sacraments he died, and was honourably interred with Catholic rites, to the great amazement also of the English Protestants, who in great numbers were in the city, and attended the funeral."[167]

There is nothing surprising in these death-bed conversions, when we think of the pressure brought to bear on a traveller in a strange land. As soon as he fell sick, the host of his inn sent for a priest, and if the invalid refused to see a ghostly comforter that fact discovered his Protestantism. Whereupon the physician and apothecary, the very kitchen servants, were forbidden by the priest to help him, unless he renounced his odious Reformed Religion and accepted Confession, the Sacrament, and Extreme Unction. If he died without these his body was not allowed in consecrated ground, but was buried in the highway like a very dog. It is no wonder if sometimes there was a conversion of an Englishman, lonely and dying, with no one to cling to.[168]

We must remember, also, how many reputed Protestants had only outwardly conformed to the Church of England for worldly reasons. They could not enter any profession or hold any public office unless they did. But their hearts were still in the old faith, and they counted on returning to it at the very end.[169] Sometimes the most sincere of Protestants in sickness "relapsed into papistry." For the Protestant religion was new, but the Roman Church was the Church of their fathers. In the hour of death men turn to old affections. And so in several ways one can account for Sir Francis Cottington, Ambassador to Spain, who fell ill, confessed himself a Catholic; and when he recovered, once more became a Protestant.[170]

The mere force of environment, according to Sir Charles Cornwallis, Ambassador to Spain from 1605-9, was enough to change the religion of impressionable spirits. His reports to England show a constant struggle to keep his train of young gentlemen true to their national Church.[171]

The Spanish Court was then at Valladolid, in which city flourished an especially strong College of Jesuits. Thence Walpole, and other dangerous persuaders, made sallies upon Cornwallis's fold. At first the Ambassador was hopeful:—

"Much hath that Creswell and others of that Societie" (the Jesuits) "bestir'd themselves here in Conference and Persuasion with the Gentlemen that came to attend his Excellencie[172] and do secretly bragg of their much prevailinge. Two of myne own Followers I have found corrupted, the one in such sorte as he refused to come to Prayers, whom I presently discharged; the other being an honest and sober young Gentleman, and one that denieth not to be present both at Prayers and Preachinge, I continue still, having good hope that I shall in time reduce him."[173]

But within a month he has to report the conversion of Sir Thomas Palmer, and within another month, the loss of even his own chaplain. "Were God pleased that onlie young and weak ones did waver, it were more tollerable," he laments, "but I am put in some doubte of my Chaplaine himself." He had given the chaplain—one Wadesworth, a good Cambridge Protestant—leave of absence to visit the University of Salamanca. In a week the chaplain wrote for a prolongation of his stay, making discourse of "a strange Tempest that came upon him in the way, of visible Fire that fell both before and behind him, of an Expectation of present Death, and of a Vowe he made in that time of Danger." This manner of writing, and reports from others that he has been a secret visitor to the College of the Jesuits, make Cornwallis fear the worst. "I should think him borne in a most unfortunate hower," he wails, "to become the occasion of such a Scandall."[174] But his fears were realized. The chaplain never came back. He had turned Romanist.

The reasons for the headway of Catholicism in the reign of James I. do not concern us here. To explain the agitated mood of our Precepts for Travellers, it is necessary only to call attention to the fact that Protestantism was just then losing ground, through the devoted energy of the Jesuits. Even in England, they were able to strike admiration into the mind of youth, and to turn its ardour to their own purposes. But in Spain and in Italy, backed by their impressive environment and surrounded by the visible power of the Roman Church, they were much more potent. The English Jesuits in Rome—Oxford scholars, many of them—engaged the attentions of such of their university friends or their countrymen who came to see Italy, offering to show them the antiquities, to be guides and interpreters.[175] By some such means the traveller was lured into the company of these winning companions, till their spiritual and intellectual power made an indelible impression on him.[176]

How much the English Government feared the influence of the Jesuits upon young men abroad may be seen by the increasing strictness of licences for travellers. The ordinary licence which everyone but a known merchant was obliged to obtain from a magistrate before he could leave England, in 1595 gave permission with the condition that the traveller "do not haunte or resorte unto the territories or dominions of any foreine prince or potentate not being with us in league or amitie, nor yet wittinglie kepe companie with any parson or parsons evell affected to our State."[177] But the attempt to keep Englishmen out of Italy was generally fruitless, and the proviso was too frequently disregarded. Lord Zouche grumbled exceedingly at the limitations of his licence. "I cannot tell," he writes to Burghley in 1591, "whether I shall do well or no to touch that part of the licence which prohibiteth me in general to travel in some countries, and companioning divers persons.... This restraint is truly as an imprisonment, for I know not how to carry myself; I know not whether I may pass upon the Lords of Venis, and the Duke of Florens' territories, because I know not if they have league with her Majesty or no."[178] Doubtless Bishop Hall was right when he declared that travellers commonly neglected the cautions about the king's enemies, and that a limited licence was only a verbal formality.[179] King James had occasion to remark that "many of the Gentry, and others of Our Kingdom, under pretence of travel for their experience, do pass the Alps, and not contenting themselves to remain in Lombardy or Tuscany, to gain the language there, do daily flock to Rome, out of vanity and curiosity to see the Antiquities of that City; where falling into the company of Priests and Jesuits ... return again into their countries, both averse to Religion and ill-affected to Our State and Government."[180]

To come to our Instructions for Travellers, as given in the reign of James I., they abound, as we would expect, in warnings against the Inquisition and the Jesuits. Sir Robert Dallington, in his Method for Travell,[181] gives first place to the question of remaining steadfast in one's religion:

"Concerning the Traveliers religion, I teach not what it should be, (being out of my element;) only my hopes are, he be of the religion here established: and my advice is he be therein well settled, and that howsoever his imagination shall be carried in the voluble Sphere of divers men's discourses; yet his inmost thoughts like lines in a circle shall alwaies concenter in this immoveable point, not to alter his first faith: for that I knowe, that as all innovation is dangerous in a state; so is this change in the little commonwealth of a man. And it is to be feared, that he which is of one religion in his youth, and of another in his manhood, will in his age be of neither....

"I will instance in a Gentleman I knew abroade, of an overt and free nature Zealously forward in the religion hee carried from home, while he was in France, who had not bene twentie dayes in Italy, but he was as farre gone on the contrary Byas, and since his returne is turned againe. Now what should one say of such men but as the Philosopher saith of a friend, 'Amicus omnium, Amicus nullorum,' A professor of both, a believer in neither.[182]

"The next Caveat is, to beware how he heare anything repugnant to his religion: for as I have tyed his tongue; so must I stop his eares, least they be open to the smooth incantations of an insinuating seducer, or the suttle arguments of a sophisticall adversarie. To this effect I must precisely forbid him the fellowship or companie of one sort of people in generall: these are the Jesuites, underminders and inveiglers of greene wits, seducers of men in matter of faith, and subverters of men in matters of State, making of both a bad christian, and worse subject. These men I would have my Travueller never heare, except in the Pulpit; for[183] being eloquent, they speake excellent language; and being wise, and therefore best knowing how to speake to best purpose, they seldome or never handle matter of controversie."

Our best authority in this period of travelling is Fynes Moryson, whose Precepts for Travellers[184] are particularly full. Moryson is well known as one of the most experienced travellers of the late Elizabethan era. On a travelling Fellowship from Peterhouse College, Cambridge, in 1591-1595 he made a tour of Europe, when the Continent was bristling with dangers for Englishmen. Spain and the Inquisition infected Italy and the Low Countries; France was full of desperate marauding soldiers; Germany nourished robbers and free-booters in every forest. It was the particular delight of Fynes Moryson to run into all these dangers and then devise means of escaping them. He never swerved from seeing whatever his curiosity prompted him to, no matter how forbidden and perilous was the venture. Disguised as a German he successfully viewed the inside of a Spanish fort;[185] in the character of a Frenchman he entered the jaws of the Jesuit College at Rome.[186] He made his way through German robbers by dressing as a poor Bohemian, without cloak or sword, with his hands in his hose, and his countenance servile.[187] His triumphs were due not so much to a dashing and magnificent bravery, as to a nice ingenuity. For instance, when he was plucked bare by the French soldiers of even his inner doublet, in which he had quilted his money, he was by no means left penniless, for he had concealed some gold crowns in a box of "stinking ointment" which the soldiers threw down in disgust.[188]

His Precepts for Travellers are characteristically canny. Never tell anyone you can swim, he advises, because in case of shipwreck "others trusting therein take hold of you, and make you perish with them."[189] Upon duels and resentment of injury in strange lands he throws cold common sense. "I advise young men to moderate their aptnesse to quarrell, lest they perish with it. We are not all like Amadis or Rinalldo, to incounter an hoste of men."[190] Very thoughtful is this paragraph on the night's lodging:

"In all Innes, but especially in suspected places, let him bolt or locke the doore of his chamber: let him take heed of his chamber fellows, and always have his Sword by his side, or by his bed-side; let him lay his purse under his pillow, but always foulded with his garters, or some thing hee first useth in the morning, lest hee forget to put it up before hee goe out of his chamber. And to the end he may leave nothing behind him in his Innes, let the visiting of his chamber, and gathering his things together, be the last thing he doth, before hee put his foote into the stirrup."[191]

The whole of the Precepts is marked by this extensive caution. Since, as Moryson truly remarks, travellers meet with more dangers than pleasures, it is better to travel alone than with a friend. "In places of danger, for difference of Religion or proclaimed warre, whosoever hath his Country-man or friend for his companion doth much increase his danger, as well for the confession of his companion, if they chance to be apprehended, as for other accidents, since he shall be accomptable and drawne into danger, as well as by his companion's words or deeds, as by his owne. And surely there happening many dangers and crosses by the way, many are of such intemperate affections, as they not only diminish the comfort they should have from this consort, but even as Dogs, hurt by a stone, bite him that is next, not him that cast the stone, so they may perhaps out of these crosses grow to bitterness of words betweene themselves."[192] Instead of a companion, therefore, let the traveller have a good book under his pillow, to beguile the irksome solitude of Inns—"alwaies bewaring that it treat not of the Commonwealth, the Religion thereof, or any Subject that may be dangerous to him."[193] Chance companions of the road should not be trusted. Lest the traveller should become too well known to them, let him always declare that he is going no further than the next city. Arrived there, he may give them the slip and start with fresh consorts.

Moryson himself, when forced to travel in company, chose Germans, kindly honest gentlemen, of his own religion. He could speak German well enough to pass as one of them, but in fear lest even a syllable might betray his nationality to the sharp spies at the city gates, he made an agreement with his companions that when he was forced to answer questions they should interrupt him as soon as possible, and take the words out of his mouth, as though in rudeness. If he were discovered they were to say they knew him not, and flee away.[194]

Moryson advised the traveller to see Rome and Naples first, because those cities were the most dangerous. Men who stay in Padua some months, and afterwards try Rome, may be sure that the Jesuits and priests there are informed, not only of their coming, but of their condition and appearance by spies in Padua. It were advisable to change one's dwelling-place often, so to avoid the inquiries of priests. At Easter, in Rome, Moryson found the fullest scope for his genius. A few days before Easter a priest came to his lodgings and took the inmates' names in writing, to the end that they might receive the Sacrament with the host's family. Moryson went from Rome on the Tuesday before Easter, came to Siena on Good Friday, and upon Easter eve "(pretending great business)" darted to Florence for the day. On Monday morning he dodged to Pisa, and on the folowing, back to Siena. "Thus by often changing places I avoyded the Priests inquiring after mee, which is most dangerous about Easter time, when all men receive the Sacrament."[195]

The conception of travel one gathers from Fynes Moryson is that of a very exciting form of sport, a sort of chase across Europe, in which the tourist was the fox, doubling and turning and diving into cover, while his friends in England laid three to one on his death. So dangerous was travel at this time, that wagers on the return of venturous gentlemen became a fashionable form of gambling.[196] The custom emanated from Germany, Moryson explains, and was in England first used at Court and among "very Noble men." Moryson himself put out L100 to receive L300 on his return; but by 1595, when he contemplated a second journey, he would not repeat the wager, because ridiculous voyages were by that time undertaken for insurance money by bankrupts and by men of base conditions.

Sir Henry Wotton was a celebrated product of foreign education in these perilous times. As a student of political economy in 1592 he led a precarious existence, visiting Rome with the greatest secrecy, and in elaborate disguise. For years abroad he drank in tales of subtlety and craft from old Italian courtiers, till he was well able to hold his own in intrigue. By nature imaginative and ingenious, plots and counterplots appealed to his artistic ability, and as English Ambassador to Venice, he was never tired of inventing them himself or attributing them to others. It was this characteristic of Jacobean politicians which Ben Jonson satirized in Sir Politick-Would-be, who divulged his knowledge of secret service to Peregrine in Venice. Greatly excited by the mention of a certain priest in England, Sir Politick explains:

"He has received weekly intelligence Upon my knowledge, out of the Low Countries, For all parts of the world, in cabbages; And these dispensed again to ambassadors, In oranges, musk-melons, apricocks—, Lemons, pome-citrons, and such-like: sometimes In Colchester oysters, and your Selsey cockles."[197]

Later on Sir Politick gives instructions for travellers:

"Some few particulars I have set down, Only for this meridian, fit to be known Of your crude traveller.... First, for your garb, it must be grave and serious, Very reserv'd and lock'd; not tell a secret On any terms; not to your father: scarce A fable, but with caution: make sure choice Both of your company, and discourse; beware You never speak a truth— PEREGRINE. How! SIR P. Not to strangers, For those be they you must converse with most; Others I would not know, sir, but at distance, So as I still might be a saver in them: You shall have tricks eke passed upon you hourly. And then, for your religion, profess none, But wonder at the diversity of all."[198]

Sir Henry Wotton's letter to Milton must not be left out of account of Jacobean advice to travellers. It is brief, but very characteristic, for it breathes the atmosphere of plots and caution. Admired for his great experience and long sojourn abroad, in his old age, as Provost of Eton, Sir Henry's advice was much sought after by fathers about to send their sons on the Grand Tour. Forty-eight years after he himself set forth beyond seas, he passed on to young John Milton "in procinct of his travels," his favourite bit of wisdom, learned from a Roman courtier well versed in the ways of Italy: "I pensieri stretti e il viso sciolto."[199] Milton did not follow this Machiavellian precept to keep his "thoughts close and his countenance loose," as Wotton translates it,[200] and was soon marked by the Inquisition; but he was proud of being advised by Sir Henry Wotton, and boasted of the "elegant letter" and "exceedingly useful precepts" which the Provost bestowed on him at his departure for Italy.[201]

So much for the admonitory side of instructions for travellers at the opening of the seventeenth century. Italy, we see, was still feared as a training-ground for "green wits." Bishop Hall succeeded Ascham in denouncing the travel of young men who professed "to seek the glory of a perfect breeding, and the perfection of that which we call civility." Allowed to visit the Continent at an early age, "these lapwings, that go from under the wing of their dam with the shell on their heads, run wild." They hasten southwards, where in Italy they view the "proud majesty of pompous ceremonies, wherewith the hearts of children and fools are easily taken."[202] To the persuasive power of the Jesuits Hall devotes several pages, and makes an impassioned plea to the authorities to prevent Englishmen from travelling.

Parents could be easily alarmed by any possibility of their sons' conversion to Romanism. For the penalties of being a Roman Catholic in England were enough to make an ambitious father dread recusancy in his son. Though a gentleman or a nobleman ran no risk of being hanged, quartered, disembowelled and subjected to such punishments as were dealt out to active and dangerous priests, he was regarded as a traitor if he acknowledged himself to be a Romanist. At any moment of anti-Catholic excitement he might be arrested and clapped into prison. Drearier than prison must have been his social isolation. For he was cut off from his generation and had no real part in the life of England. Under the laws of James he was denied any share in the Government, could hold no public office, practise no profession. Neither law nor medicine, nor parliament nor the army, nor the university, was open to him. Banished from London and the Court, shunned by his contemporaries, he lurked in some country house, now miserably lonely, now plagued by officers in search of priests. At last, generally, he went abroad, and wandered out his life, an exile, despised by his countrymen, who met him hanging on at foreign Courts; or else he sought a monastery and was buried there. To be sure, the laws against recusants were not uniformly enforced; papistry in favourites and friends of the king was winked at, and the rich noblemen, who were able to pay fines, did not suffer much. But the fact remains that for the average gentleman to turn Romanist generally meant to drop out of the world. "Mr Lewknor," writes Father Gerard to Father Owen,[203] "growing of late to a full resolution of entering the Society (of Jesus), and being so much known in England and in the Court as he is, so that he could not be concealed in the English College at Rome; and his father, as he considered, being morally sure to lose his place,[204] which is worth unto him L1000 a year, he therefore will come privately to Liege, where I doubt not but to keep him wholly unknown."

* * * * *



The admonitions of their elders did not keep young men from going to Italy, but as the seventeenth century advanced the conditions they found there made that country less attractive than France. The fact that the average Englishman was a Protestant divided him from his compeers in Italy and damped social intercourse. He was received courteously and formally by the Italian princes, perhaps, for the sake of his political uncle or cousin in England, but inner distrust and suspicion blighted any real friendship. Unless the Englishman was one of those who had a secret, half-acknowledged allegiance to Romanism, there could not, in the age of the Puritans, be much comfortable affection between him and the Italians. The beautiful youth, John Milton, as the author of excellent Latin verse, was welcomed into the literary life of Florence, to be sure, and there were other unusual cases, but the typical traveller of Stuart times was the young gentleman who was sent to France to learn the graces, with a view to making his fortune at Court, even as his widowed mother sent George Villiers, afterwards Duke of Buckingham. The Englishmen who travelled for "the complete polishing of their parts" continued to visit Italy, to satisfy their curiosity, but it was rather in the mood of the sight-seer. Only malcontents, at odds with their native land, like Bothwell, or the Earl of Arundel, or Leicester's disinherited son, made prolonged residence in Italy. Aspiring youth, seeking a social education, for the most part hurried to France.

For it was not only a sense of being surrounded by enemies which during the seventeenth century somewhat weakened the Englishman's allegiance to Italy, but the increasing attractiveness of another country. By 1616 it was said of France that "Unto no other countrie, so much as unto this, doth swarme and flow yearly from all Christian nations, such a multitude, and concourse of young Gentlemen, Marchants, and other sorts of men: some, drawen from their Parentes bosoms by desire of learning; some, rare Science, or new conceites; some by pleasure; and others allured by lucre and gain.... But among all other Nations, there cometh not such a great multitude to Fraunce from any Country, as doth yearely from this Isle (England), both of Gentlemen, Students, Marchants, and others."[205]

Held in peace by Henry of Navarre, France began to be a happier place than Italy for the Englishman abroad. Germany was impossible, because of the Thirty Years' War; and Spain, for reasons which we shall see later on, was not inviting. Though nominally Roman Catholic, France was in fact half Protestant. Besides, the French Court was great and gay, far outshining those of the impoverished Italian princes. It suited the gallants of the Stuart period, who found the grave courtesy of the Italians rather slow. Learning, for which men once had travelled into Italy, was no longer confined there. Nor did the Cavaliers desire exact classical learning. A knowledge of mythology, culled from French translations, was sufficient. Accomplishments, such as riding, fencing, and dancing, were what chiefly helped them, it appeared, to make their way at Court or at camp. And the best instruction in these accomplishments had shifted from Italy to France.

A change had come over the ideal of a gentleman—a reaction from the Tudor enthusiasm for letters. A long time had gone by since Henry VIII. tried to make his children as learned as Erasmus, and had the most erudite scholars fetched from Oxford and Cambridge to direct the royal nursery. The somewhat moderated esteem in which book-learning was held in the household of Charles I. may be seen in a letter of the Earl of Newcastle, governor to Prince Charles,[206] who writes to his pupil:

"I would not have you too studious, for too much contemplation spoils action, and Virtue consists in that." The Prince's model is to be the Bishop of Chichester, his tutor, who "hath no pedantry in him: his learning he makes right use of, neither to trouble himself with it or his friends: ... reades men as well as books: ... is travell'd, which you shall perceive by his wisdome and fashion more than by his relations; and in a word strives as much discreetly to hide the scholler in him, as other men's follies studies to shew it: and is a right gentleman."[207]

Of pedantry, however, there never seems to have been any danger in Court circles, either in Tudor or Stuart days. It took constant exhortations to make the majority of noblemen's sons learn anything at all out of books. For centuries the marks of a gentleman had been bravery, courtesy and a good seat in the saddle, and it was not to be supposed that a sudden fashionable enthusiasm for literature could change all that. Ascham had declared that the Elizabethan young bloods thought it shameful to be learned because the "Jentlemen of France" were not so.[208] When with the general relaxation of high effort which appeared in so many ways at the Court of James I., the mastery of Greek authors was no longer an ideal of the courtier, the Jacobean gallant was hardly more intellectual than the mediaeval page. Henry Peacham, in 1623, described noblemen's flagging faith in a university education. They sent their sons to Oxford or Cambridge at an early age, and if the striplings did not immediately lay hold on philosophy, declared that they had no aptitude for learning, and removed them to a dancing school. "These young things," as he calls the Oxford students "of twelve, thirteene, or foureteene, that have no more care than to expect the next Carrier, and where to sup on Fridayes and Fasting nights" find "such a disproportion betweene Aristotles Categories, and their childish capacities, that what together with the sweetnesse of libertie, varietie of companie, and so many kinds of recreation in towne and fields abroad," they give over any attempt to understand "the crabbed grounds of Arts." Whereupon, the parents, "if they perceive any wildnesse or unstayednesse in their children, are presently in despaire, and out of all hope of them for ever prooving Schollers, or fit for anything else; neither consider the nature of youth, nor the effect of time, the Physitian of all. But to mend the matter, send them either to the Court to serve as Pages, or into France and Italy to see fashions, and mend their manners, where they become ten times worse."[209]

The influence of France would not be towards books, certainly. Brave, gallant, and magnificent were the Gallic gentlemen; but not learned. Reading made them positively ill: "la tete leur tourne de lire," as Breze confessed.[210] Scorning an indoor sedentary life, they left all civil offices to the bourgeoisie, and devoted themselves exclusively to war. As the Vicomte D'Avenel has crisply put it:

"It would have seemed as strange to see a person of high rank the Treasurer of France, the Controller of Finance, or the Rector of a University, as it would be to see him a cloth-merchant or maker of crockery.... The poorest younger son of an ancient family, who would not disdain to engage himself as a page to a nobleman, or as a common soldier, would have thought himself debased by accepting the post of secretary to an ambassador."[211]

Brute force was still considered the greatest power in the world, even when Sully was Conseiller d'Etat, though divining spirits like Eustache Deschamps had declared that the day would come when serving-men would rule France by their wits, all because the noblesse would not learn letters.[212] In vain the wise Bras-de-Fer warned his generation that glory and strength of limb were of short duration, while knowledge was the only immortal quality.[213] As long as parents saw that the honours at Court went to handsome horsemen, they thought it mistaken policy to waste money on book-learning for their sons. When a boy came from the university to Court, he found himself eclipsed by young pages, who scarcely knew how to read, but had killed their man in a duel, and danced to perfection.[214] A martial training, with physical accomplishments, was the most effective, apparently.

The martial type which France evolved dazzled other nations, and it is not surprising that under the Stuarts, who had inherited French ways, the English Court was particularly open to French ideals. Our directions for travellers reflect the change from the typical Elizabethan courtier, "somewhat solemn, coy, big and dangerous of look," to the easy manners of the cavalier. A Method for Travell, written while Elizabeth was still on the throne, extols Italian conduct. "I would rather," it says of the traveller, "he should come home Italianate than Frenchified: I speake of both in the better sense: for the French is stirring, bold, respectless, inconstant, suddaine: the Italian stayed, demure, respective, grave, advised."[215] But Instructions for Forreine Travell in 1642 urges one to imitate the French. "For the Gentry of France have a kind of loose, becoming boldness, and forward vivacity in their manners."[216]

The first writer of advice to travellers who assumes that French accomplishments are to be a large part of the traveller's education, is Sir Robert Dallington, whom we have already quoted. His View of France[217] to which the Method for Travel is prefixed, deserves a reprint, for both that and his Survey of Tuscany,[218] though built on the regular model of the Elizabethan traveller's "Relation," being a conscientious account of the chief geographical, economic, architectural, and social features of the country traversed, are more artistic than the usual formal reports. Dallington wrote these Views in 1598, a little before the generation which modelled itself on the French gallants, and his remarks on Frenchmen may well have served as a warning to courtiers not to imitate the foibles, along with the admirable qualities, of their compeers across the Channel. For instance, he is outraged by the effusiveness of the "violent, busy-headed and impatient Frenchman," who "showeth his lightness and inconstancie ... in nothing more than in his familiaritie, with whom a stranger cannot so soone be off his horse, but he will be acquainted: nor so soone in his Chamber, but the other like an Ape will bee on his shoulder: and as suddenly and without cause ye shall love him also. A childish humour, to be wonne with as little as an Apple and lost with lesse than a Nut."[219] The King of France himself is censured for his geniality. Dallington deems Henry of Navarre "more affable and familiar than fits the Majesty of a great King." He might have found in current gossip worse lapses than the two he quotes to show Henry's lack of formality, but it is part of Dallington's worth that he writes of things at first-hand, and gives us only what he himself saw; how at Orleans, when the Italian commedians were to play before him, the king himself, "came whiffling with a small wand to scowre the coast, and make place for the rascall Players,... a thing, me thought, most derogatory to the Majesty of a King of France."

"And lately at Paris (as they tell us) when the Spanish Hostages were to be entertayned, he did Usher it in the great Chamber, as he had done here before; and espying the Chayre not to stand well under the State, mended it handsomely himselfe, and then set him downe to give them audience."[220]

Nor can Dallington conceal his disapproval of foreign food. The sorrows of the beef-eating Englishman among the continentals were always poignant. Dallington is only one of the many travellers who, unable to grasp the fact that warmer climes called for light diet, reproached the Italians especially for their "parsimony and thin feeding." In Henry the Eighth's time there was already a saying among the Italians, "Give the Englishman his beef and mustard,"[221] while the English in turn jibed at the Italians for being "like Nebuchadnezzar,—always picking of sallets." "Herbage," says Dallington scornfully "is the most generall food of the Tuscan ... for every horse-load of flesh eaten, there is ten cart loades of hearbes and rootes, which also their open Markets and private tables doe witnesse, and whereof if one talke with them fasting, he shall have sencible feeling."[222] The whole subject of diet he dismisses in his advice to a traveller as follows: "As for his viands I feare not his surfetting; his provision is never so great, but ye may let him loose to his allowance.... I shall not need to tell him before what his dyet shall be, his appetite will make it better than it is: for he shall be still kept sharpe: only of the difference of dyets, he shall observe thus much: that of Germanie is full or rather fulsome; that of France allowable; that of Italie tolerable; with the Dutch he shall have much meat ill-dressed: with the French lesse, but well handled; with the Italian neither the one nor the other."[223]

Though there is much in Dallington's description of Italy and France to repay attention, our concern is with his Method for Travell,[224] which, though more practical than the earlier Elizabethan essays of the same sort, opens in the usual style of exhortation:

"Plato, one of the day-starres of that knowledge, which then but dawning hath since shone out in clearer brightness, thought nothing better for the bettering our understanding then Travell: as well by having a conference with the wiser sort in all sorts of learning, as by the [Greek: Autopsiaei]. The eye-sight of those things, which otherwise a man cannot have but by Tradition; A Sandy foundation either in matter of Science, or Conscience. So that a purpose to Travell, if it be not ad voluptatem Solum, sed ad utilitatem, argueth an industrious and generous minde. Base and vulgar spirits hover still about home: those are more noble and divine, that imitate the Heavens, and joy in motion."

After a warning against Jesuits, which we have quoted, he comes at once to definite directions for studying modern languages[225]—advice which though sound is hardly novel. Continual speaking with all sorts of people, insisting that his teacher shall not do all the talking, and avoiding his countrymen are unchangeable rules for him who shall travel for language.[226] But this is the first treatise for travellers which makes note of dancing as an important accomplishment. "There's another exercise to be learned in France, because there are better teachers, and the French fashion is in most request with us, that is, of dancing. This I meane to my Traveller that is young and meanes to follow the Court: otherwise I hold it needelesse, and in some ridiculous."[227] This art was indeed essential to courtiers, and a matter of great earnestness. Chamberlain reports that Sir Henry Bowyer died of the violent exercise he underwent while practising dancing.[228] Henri III. fell into a tearful passion and called the Grand Prieur a liar, a poltroon, and a villain, at a ball, because the Grand Prieur was heard to mutter "Unless you dance better, I would you had your money again that your dancing has cost you." [229] James I. was particularly anxious to have his "Babies" excel in complicated boundings. His copy of Nuove Inventioni di Balli[230] may be seen in the British Museum, with large plates illustrating how to "gettare la gamba," that is, in the words of Chaucer, "with his legges casten to and fro."[231] Prince Henry was skilful in these matters. The Spanish Ambassador reports how "The Prince of Wales was desired by his royal parents to open the ball with a Spanish gallarda: he acquitted himself with much grace and delicacy, introducing some occasional leaps."[232] Prince Charles and Buckingham, during their stay in Spain, are earnestly implored by their "deare Dad and Gossip" not to forget their dancing. "I praye you, my babie, take heade of being hurt if ye runne at tilte, ... I praye you in the meantyme keep your selfis in use of dawncing privatlie, thogh ye showlde quhissell and sing one to another like Jakke and Tom for faulte of better musike." [233]

However, Dallington is very much against the saltations of elderly persons. "I remember a countriman of ours, well seene in artes and language, well stricken in yeares, a mourner for his second wife, a father of mariageable children, who with his other booke studies abroade, joyned also the exercise of dancing: it was his hap in an honourable Bal (as they call it) to take a fall, which in mine opinion was not so disgracefull as the dancing it selfe, to a man of his stuffe."[234]

Dallington would have criticized Frenchmen more severely than ever had he known that even Sully gave way in private to a passion for dancing. At least Tallemant des Reaux says that "every evening a valet de chambre of the King played on the lute the dances of the day, and M. de Sully danced all alone, in some sort of extraordinary hat—such as he always wore in his cabinet—while his cronies applauded him, although he was the most awkward man in the world."[235]

Tennis is another courtly exercise in which Dallington urges moderation. "This is dangerous, (if used with too much violence) for the body; and (if followed with too much diligence,) for the purse. A maine point of the Travellers care." He reached France when the rage for tennis was at its height,—when there were two hundred and fifty tennis courts in Paris,[236]—and "two tennis courts for every one Church through France," according to his computation.[237] Everyone was at it;—nobles, artizans, women, and children. The monks had had to be requested not to play—especially, the edict said, "not in public in their shirts."[238] Our Englishman, of course, thought this enthusiasm was beyond bounds. "Ye have seene them play Sets at Tennise in the heat of Summer and height of the day, when others were scarcely able to stirre out of doors." Betting on the game was the ruin of the working-man, who "spendeth that on the Holyday, at Tennis, which hee got the whole weeke, for the keeping of his poore family. A thing more hurtfull then our Ale-houses in England."[239]

"There remains two other exercises," says the Method for Travell, "of use and necessitie, to him that will returne ably quallified for his countries service in warre, and his owne defence in private quarrell. These are Riding and Fencing. His best place for the first (excepting Naples) is in Florence under il Signor Rustico, the great Dukes Cavallerizzo, and for the second (excepting Rome) is in Padua, under il Sordo."[240] Italy, it may be observed, was still the best school for these accomplishments. Pluvinel was soon to make a world-renowned riding academy in Paris, but the art of fencing was more slowly disseminated. One was still obliged, like Captain Bobadil, to make "long travel for knowledge, in that mystery only."[241] Brantome says the fencing masters of Italy kept their secrets in their own hands, giving their services only on the condition that you should never reveal what you had learnt even to your dearest friends. Some instructors would never allow a living soul in the room where they were giving lessons to a pupil. And even then they used to keek everywhere, under the beds, and examine the wall to see if it had any crack or hole through which a person could peer.[242] Dallington makes no further remark on the subject, however, than the above, and after some advice about money matters, which we will mention in another connection, and a warning to the traveller that his apparel must be in fashion—for the fashions change with trying rapidity, and the French were very scornful of anyone who appeared in a last year's suit[243]—he brings to a close one of the pithiest essays in our collection.

When the influence of France over the ideals of a gentleman was well established, James Howell wrote his Instructions for Forreine Travell,[244] and in this book for the first time the traveller is advised to stay at one of the French academies—or riding schools, as they really were.

His is the best known, probably, of all our treatises, partly because it was reprinted a little while ago by Mr Gosse, and partly because of its own merits. Howell had an easier, more indulgent outlook upon the world than Dallington, and could see all nations with equal humour—his own included. Take his comparison of the Frenchman and the Spaniard.

The Frenchman "will dispatch the weightiest affairs as hee walke along in the streets, or at meales, the other upon the least occasion of businesse will retire solemnly to a room, and if a fly chance to hum about him, it will discompose his thoughts and puzzle him: It is a kind of sicknesse for a Frenchman to keep a secret long, and all the drugs of Egypt cannot get it out of a Spaniard.... The Frenchman walks fast, (as if he had a Sergeant always at his heels,) the Spaniard slowly, as if hee were newly come out of some quartan Ague; the French go up and down the streets confusedly in clusters, the Spaniards if they be above three, they go two by two, as if they were going a Procession; etc. etc."[245]

With the same humorous eye he observes the Englishmen returned to London from Paris, "whom their gate and strouting, their bending in the hammes, and shoulders, and looking upon their legs, with frisking and singing do speake them Travellers.... Some make their return in huge monstrous Periwigs, which is the Golden Fleece they bring over with them. Such, I say, are a shame to their Country abroad, and their kinred at home, and to their parents, Benonies, the sons of sorrow: and as Jonas in the Whales belly, travelled much, but saw little."[246]

These are some of the advantages an Englishman will reap from foreign travel:

"One shall learne besides there not to interrupt one in the relation of his tale, or to feed it with odde interlocutions: One shall learne also not to laugh at his own jest, as too many used to do, like a Hen, which cannot lay an egge but she must cackle.

"Moreover, one shall learne not to ride so furiously as they do ordinarily in England, when there is no necessity at all for it; for the Italians have a Proverb, that a galloping horse is an open sepulcher. And the English generally are observed by all other Nations, to ride commonly with that speed as if they rid for a midwife, or a Physitian, or to get a pardon to save one's life as he goeth to execution, when there is no such thing, or any other occasion at all, which makes them call England the Hell of Horses.

"In these hot Countreyes also, one shall learne to give over the habit of an odde custome, peculiar to the English alone, and whereby they are distinguished from other Nations, which is, to make still towards the chimney, though it bee in the Dog-dayes."[247]

We need not comment in detail upon Howell's book since it is so accessible. The passage which chiefly marks the progress of travel for study's sake is this:

"For private Gentlemen and Cadets, there be divers Academies in Paris, Colledge-like, where for 150 pistols a Yeare, which come to about L150 sterling per annum of our money, one may be very well accomodated, with lodging and diet for himself and man, and be taught to Ride, to Fence, to manage Armes, to Dance, Vault, and ply the Mathematiques."[248]

These academies were one of the chief attractions which France had for the gentry of England in the seventeenth century. The first one was founded by Pluvinel, the grand ecuyer of Henri IV. Pluvinel, returning from a long apprenticeship to Pignatelli in Naples, made his own riding-school the best in the world, so that the French no longer had to journey to Italian masters. He obtained from the king the basement of the great gallery of the Louvre, and there taught Louis XIII. and other young nobles of the Court—amongst them the Marquis du Chillon, afterwards Cardinal Richelieu—to ride the great horse.[249] Such was the success of his manege that he annexed masters to teach his pupils dancing, vaulting, and swordsmanship, as well as drawing and mathematics, till he had rounded out what was considered a complete education for a chevalier. In imitation of his establishment, many other riding-masters, such as Benjamin, Potrincourt, and Nesmond, set up others of the same sort, which drew pupils from other nations during all the seventeenth century.[250] In the suburb of Pre-aux-clercs, says Malingre in 1640, "are several academies where the nobility learn to ride. The most frequented is that of M. de Mesmon, where there is a prince of Denmark and one of the princes palatine of the Rhine, and a quantity of other foreign gentlemen."[251]

Englishmen found the academies very useful retreats where a boy could learn French accomplishments without incurring the dangers of foreign travel and make the acquaintance of young nobles of his own age. Mr Thomas Lorkin writing from Paris in 1610, outlines to the tutor of the Prince of Wales the routine of his pupil Mr Puckering[252] at such an establishment. The morning began with two hours on horseback, followed by two hours at the French tongue, and one hour in "learning to handle his weapon." Dinner was at twelve o'clock, where the company continued together till two, "either passing the time in discourse or in some honest recreation perteyning to armes." At two the bell rang for dancing, and at three another gong sent the pupil to his own room with his tutor, to study Latin and French for two hours. "After supper a brief survey of all."[253]

It will be seen that there was an exact balance between physical and mental exercise—four hours of each. All in all, academies seemed to be the solution of preparing for life those who were destined to shine at Court. The problem had been felt in England, as well as in France. In 1561, Sir Nicholas Bacon had devised "Articles for the bringing up in virtue and learning of the Queens Majesties Wardes."[254] Lord Burghley is said to have propounded the creation of a school of arms and exercises.[255] In 1570, Sir Humphrey Gilbert drew up an elaborate proposal for an "Academy of philosophy and chivalry,"[256] but none of these plans was carried out. Nor was that of Prince Henry, who had also wanted to establish a Royal Academy or School of Arms, in which all the king's wards and others should be educated and exercised.[257] A certain Sir Francis Kinaston, esquire of the body to Charles I., "more addicted to the superficiall parts of learning—poetry and oratory (wherein he excell'd)—than to logic and philosophy," Wood says, did get a licence to erect an academy in his house in Covent Garden, "which should be for ever a college for the education of the young nobility and others, sons of gentlemen, and should be styled the Musaeum Minervae."[258] But whatever start was made in that direction ended with the Civil War.

However, the idea of setting up in England the sort of academy which was successful in France was such an obvious one that it kept constantly recurring. In 1649 a courtly parasite, Sir Balthazar Gerbier, who used to be a miniature painter, an art-critic, and Master of Ceremonies to Charles I., being sadly thrown out of occupation by the Civil War, opened an academy at Bethnal Green. There are still in existence his elaborate advertisements of its attractions, addressed to "All Fathers of Noble Families and Lovers of Vertue," and proposing his school as "a meanes, whereby to free them of such charges as they are at, when they send their children to foreign academies, and to render them more knowing in those languages, without exposing them to the dangers incident to travellers, and to that of evill companies, or of giving to forrain parts the glory of their education."[259] But Gerbier was a flimsy character, and without a Court to support him, or money, his academy dissolved after a gaseous lecture or two. Faubert, however, another French Protestant refugee, was more successful with an academy he managed to set up in London in 1682, "to lessen the vast expense the nation is at yearly by sending children into France to be taught military exercises."[260] Evelyn, who was a patron of this enterprise, describes how he "went with Lord Cornwallis to see the young gallants do their exercise, Mr Faubert having newly railed in a manege, and fitted it for the academy. There were the Dukes of Norfolk and Northumberland, Lord Newburgh, and a nephew of (Duras) Earl of Feversham.... But the Duke of Norfolk told me he had not been at this exercise these twelve years before."[261] However, Faubert's could not have been an important institution, since in 1700, a certain Dr Maidwell tried to get the Government to convert a great house of his near Westminster into a public academy of the French sort, as a greatly needed means of rearing gentlemen.[262]

But all these efforts to educate English boys on the lines of French ones came to nothing, because at the close of the seventeenth century Englishmen began to realize that it was not wise for a gentleman to confine himself to a military life. As to riding as a fine art, his practical mind felt that it was all very well to amuse oneself in Paris by learning to make a war-horse caracole, but there was no use in taking such things too seriously; that in war "a ruder way of riding was more in use, without observing the precise rules of riding the great horse."[263] He could not feel that artistic passion for form in horsemanship which breathes from the pages of Pluvinel's book Le Maneige Royal[264] in which magnificent engravings show Louis XIII. making courbettes, voltes, and "caprioles" around the Louvre, while a circle of grandees gravely discuss the deportment of his charger. Even Sir Philip Sidney made gentle fun of the hippocentric universe of his Italian riding master:

"When the right vertuous Edward Wotton, and I, were at the Emperors Court together, wee gave ourselves to learne horsemanship of John Pietro Pugliano: one that with great commendation had the place of an esquire in his stable. And hee, according to the fertilnes of the Italian wit, did not onely afoord us the demonstration of his practise, but sought to enrich our mindes with the contemplations therein, which hee thought most precious. But with none I remember mine eares were at any time more loden, then when (ether angred with slowe paiment, or mooved with our learner-like admiration,) he exercised his speech in the prayse of his facultie. Hee sayd, Souldiers were the noblest estate of mankinde, and horsemen, the noblest of Souldiours. He sayde, they were the Maistres of warre, and ornaments of peace: speedy goers, and strong abiders, triumphers both in Camps and Courts. Nay, to so unbeleeved a poynt hee proceeded, as that no earthly thing bred such wonder to a Prince, as to be a good horseman. Skill of government, was but a Pedanteria in comparison: then woulde he adde certaine prayses, by telling what a peerlesse beast a horse was. The only serviceable Courtier without flattery, the beast of the most beutie, faithfulness, courage, and such more, that if I had not beene a peece of a Logician before I came to him, I think he would have perswaded mee to have wished my selfe a Horse."[265]

That this was somewhat the spirit of the French academies there seems no doubt. Though they claimed to give an equal amount of physical and mental exercise, they tended to the muscular side of the programme. Pluvinel, says Tallemant des Reaux, "was hardly more intelligent than his horses,"[266] and the academies are supposed to have declined after his death.[267] "All that is to be learned in these Academies," says Clarendon, "is Riding, Dancing, and Fencing, besides some Wickednesses they do not profess to teach. It is true they have men there who teach Arithmetick, which they call Philosophy, and the Art of Fortification, which they call the Mathematicks; but what Learning they had there, I might easily imagine, when he assured me, that in Three years which he had spent in the Academy, he never saw a Latin book nor any Master that taught anything there, who would not have taken it very ill to be suspected to speake or understand Latin."[268] This sort of aspersion was continued by Dr Wallis, the Savilian Professor of Mathematics at Oxford in 1700, who was roused to a fine pitch of indignation by Maidwell's efforts to start an academy in London:[269]

"Of teachers in the academie, scarce any of a higher character than a valet-de-chambre. And, if such an one, who (for instance) hath waited on his master in one or two campagnes, and is able perhaps to copy the draught of a fortification from another paper; this is called mathematicks; and, beyond this (if so much) you are not to expect."

A certain Mr P. Chester finishes the English condemnation of a school, such as Benjamin's, by declaring that its pretensions to fit men for life was "like the shearing of Hoggs, much Noyse and little Wooll, nothing considerable taught that I know, butt only to fitt a man to be a French chevalier, that is in plain English a Trooper."[270]

These comments are what one expects from Oxford, to be sure, but even M. Jusserand acknowledges that the academies were not centres of intellectual light, and quotes to prove it certain questions asked of a pupil put into the Bastille, at the demand of his father:

"Was it not true that the Sieur Varin, his father, seeing that he had no inclination to study, had put him into the Academie Royale to there learn all sorts of exercises, and had there supported him with much expense?

"He admitted that his father, while his mother was living, had put him into the Academie Royale and had given him for that the necessary means, and paid the ordinary pension, 1600 livres a year.

"Was it not true that after having been some time at the Academie Royale, he was expelled, having disguised girls in boys' clothes to bring them there?

"He denied it. He had never introduced into the school any academiste feminine: he had departed at the summons of his father, having taken proper leave of M. and Mme. de Poix."[271]

However, something of an education had to be provided for Royalist boys at the time of the Civil War, when Oxford was demoralized. Parents wandering homeless on the Continent were glad enough of the academies. Even the Stuarts tried them, though the Duke of Gloucester had to be weaned from the company of some young French gallants, "who, being educated in the same academy, were more familiar with him than was thought convenient."[272] It was a choice between academies or such an education as Edmund Verney endured in a dull provincial city as the sole pupil of an exiled Regius Professor of Greek at Cambridge. But the effects of being reared in France, and too early thrown into the dissolute Courts of Europe, were evident at the Restoration, when Charles the Second and his friends returned to startle England with their "exceeding wildness." What else could be the effect of a youth spent as the Earl of Chesterfield records:[273] at thirteen years old a courtier at St Germaine: at fourteen, rid of any governor or tutor: at sixteen, at the academy of M. de Veau, he "chanced to have a quarrel with M. Morvay, since Captaine of the French King's Guards, who I hurt and disarmed in a duel." Thereupon he left the academy and took up his abode at the Court of Turin. It was from Italy, De Gramont said, that Chesterfield brought those elaborate manners, and that jealousy about women, for which he was so notorious among the rakes of the Restoration.[274]

Henry Peacham's chapter "Of Travaile"[275] is for the most part built out of Dallington's advice, but it is worthy of note that in The Compleat Gentleman, Spain is pressed upon the traveller's attention for the first time. This is, of course, the natural reflection of an interest in Spain due to the romantic adventures of Prince Charles and Buckingham in that country. James Howell, who was of their train, gives even more space to it in his Instructions for Forreine Travell. Notwithstanding, and though Spain was, after 1605, fairly safe for Englishmen, as a pleasure ground it was not popular. It was a particularly uncomfortable and expensive country; hardly improved from the time—(1537)—when Clenardus, weary with traversing deserts on his way to the University of Salamanca, after a sparse meal of rabbit, sans wine, sans water, composed himself to sleep on the floor of a little hut, with nothing to pillow his head on except his three negro grooms, and exclaimed, "O misera Lusitania, beati qui non viderunt."[276] All civilization was confined to the few large cities, to reach which one was obliged to traverse tedious, hot, barren, and unprofitable wastes, in imminent danger of robbers, and in certainty of the customs officers, who taxed people for everything, even the clothes they had on. None escaped. Henry the Eighth's Ambassador complained loudly and frantically of the outrage to a person in his office.[277] So did Elizabeth's Ambassador. But the officers said grimly "that if Christ or Sanct Fraunces came with all their flock they should not escape."[278] If the preliminary discomforts from customs-officers put travellers into an ill mood at once against Spain, the inns confirmed them in it. "In some places there is but the cask of a House, with a little napery, but sometimes no beds at all for Passengers in the Ventas—or Lodgings on the King's highway, where if passengers meet, they must carry their Knapsacks well provided of what is necessary: otherwise they may go to bed supperless."[279] The Comtesse d'Aunoy grumbles that it was impossible to warm oneself at the kitchen-fire without being choked, for there was no chimney. Besides the room was full of men and women, "blacker than Devils and clad like Beggars ... always some of 'em impudently grating on a sorry Guitar."[280] Even the large cities were not diverting, for though they were handsome enough and could show "certain massie and solid Braveries," yet they had few of the attractions of urban life. The streets were so ill-paved that the horses splashed water into one's carriage at every step.[281] A friend warned Tobie Matthew that "In the Cities you shall find so little of the Italian delicacie for the manner of their buildings, the cleannesse and sweetnesse of their streets, their way of living, their entertainments for recreations by Villas, Gardens, Walks, Fountains, Academies, Arts of Painting, Architecture and the like, that you would rather suspect that they did but live together for fear of wolves."[282]

How little the solemnity of the Spanish nobles pleased English courtiers used to the boisterous ways of James I. and his "Steenie," may be gathered from The Perambulation of Spain.[283] "You must know," says the first character in that dialogue, "that there is a great deal of gravity and state in the Catholic Court, but little noise, and few people; so that it may be call'd a Monastery, rather than a Royal Court." The economy in such a place was a great source of grievance. "By this means the King of Spain spends not much," says the second character. "So little," is the reply, "that I dare wager the French King spends more in Pages and Laquays, than he of Spain among all his Court Attendants." Buckingham's train jeered at the abstemious fare they received.[284] It was in such irritating contrast to the lofty airs of those who provided it. "We are still extream poor," writes the English Ambassador about the Court of Madrid, "yet as proud as Divells, yea even as rich Divells."[285] Not only at Court, but everywhere, Spaniards were indifferent to strangers, and not at all interested in pleasing them. Lord Clarendon remarks that in Madrid travellers "will find less delight to reside than in any other Place to which we have before commended them: for that Nation having less Reverence for meer Travellers, who go Abroad, without Business, are not at all solicitous to provide for their Accomodation: and when they complain of the want of many Conveniences, as they have reason to do, they wonder men will come from Home, who will be troubled for those Incommodities."[286]

It is no wonder, therefore, that Spain was considered a rather tedious country for strangers, and that Howell "met more Passengers 'twixt Paris and Orleans, than I found well neer in all the Journey through Spain."[287] Curiosity and a desire to learn the language might carry a man to Madrid for a time, but Englishmen could find little to commend there. Holland, on the other hand, provoked their admiration more and more. Travellers were never done exclaiming at its municipal governments, its reformatories and workhouses, its industry, frugality, and social economy. The neat buildings, elegant streets, and quiet inns, were the subject of many encomiums.[288]

Descartes, who chose Amsterdam as the place in which to think out his philosophy, praised it as the ideal retreat for students, contending that it was far better for them than Italy, with its plagues, heat, unwholesome evenings, murder and robbery.[289] Locke, when he went into voluntary exile in 1684, enjoyed himself with the doctors and men of letters in Amsterdam, attending by special invitation of the principal physician of the city the dissection of a lioness, or discussing knotty problems of theology with the wealthy Quaker merchants.[290] Courtiers were charmed with the sea-shore at Scheveningen, where on the hard sand, admirably contrived by nature for the divertisement of persons of quality, the foreign ambassadors and their ladies, and the society of the Hague, drove in their coaches and six horses.[291] However, Sir William Temple, after some years spent as Ambassador to the Netherlands, decided that Holland was a place where a man would choose rather to travel than to live, because it was a country where there was more sense than wit, more wealth than pleasure, and where one would find more persons to esteem than to love.[292]

Holland was of peculiar delight to the traveller of the seventeenth century because it contained so many curiosities and rareties. To ferret out objects of vertu the Jacobean gentleman would take any journey. People with cabinets of butterflies, miniatures, shells, ivory, or Indian beads, were pestered by tourists asking to see their treasures.[293] No garden was so entrancing to them as one that had "a rupellary nidary"[294] or an aviary with eagles, cranes, storks, bustards, ducks with four wings, or with rabbits of an almost perfect yellow colour.[295] Holland, therefore, where ships brought precious curiosities from all over the world, was a heaven for the virtuoso. Evelyn in Rotterdam hovered between his delight in the brass statue of Erasmus and a pelican, which he carefully describes. The great charm of Dutch inns for Sam Paterson was their hoards of China and Japan ware and the probability you had of meeting a purring marmot, a squeaking guinea-pig, or a tame rabbit with a collar of bells, hopping through the house.[296]

But we have dwelt too long, perhaps, on those who voyaged to see knick-knacks, and to gain accomplishments at French academies. Though the academies were characteristic of the seventeenth century, there were other centres of education sought by Englishmen abroad. The study of medicine, particularly, took many students to Padua or Paris, for the Continent was far ahead of England in scientific work.[297] Sir Thomas Browne's son studied anatomy at Padua with Sir John Finch, who had settled there and was afterwards chosen syndic of the university.[298] At Paris Martin Lister, though in the train of the English Ambassador, principally enjoyed "Mr Bennis in the dissecting-room working by himself upon a dead body," and "took more pleasure to see Monsieur Breman in his white waistcoat digging in the royal physic-garden and sowing his couches, than Mounsieur de Saintot making room for an ambassador": and found himself better disposed and more apt to learn the names and physiognomy of a hundred plants, than of five or six princes.[299]

It was medicine that chiefly interested Nicholas Ferrar, than whom no traveller for study's sake was ever more devoted to the task of self-improvement. At about the same time that the second Earl of Chesterfield was fighting duels at the academy of Monsieur de Veau, Nicholas Ferrar, a grave boy, came from Cambridge to Leipsic and "set himself laboriously to study the originals of the city, the nature of the government, the humors and inclinations of the people." Finding the university too distracting, he retired to a neighbouring village to read the choicest writers on German affairs. He served an apprenticeship of a fortnight at every German trade. He could maintain a dialogue with an architect in his own phrases; he could talk with mariners in their sea terms. Removing to Padua, he attained in a very short time a marvellous proficiency in physic, while his conversation and his charm ennobled the evil students of Padua.[300]

* * * * *



After the Restoration the idea of polishing one's parts by foreign travel received fresh impetus. The friends of Charles the Second, having spent so much of their time abroad, naturally brought back to England a renewed infusion of continental ideals. France was more than ever the arbiter for the "gentry and civiller sort of mankind." Travellers such as Evelyn, who deplored the English gentry's "solitary and unactive lives in the country," the "haughty and boorish Englishman," and the "constrained address of our sullen Nation,"[301] made an impression. It was generally acknowledged that comity and affability had to be fetched from beyond the Seas, for the "meer Englishman" was defective in those qualities. He was "rough in address, not easily acquainted, and blunt even when he obliged."[302]

Even wise and honest Englishmen began to be ashamed of their manners and felt they must try to be not quite so English. "Put on a decent boldness," writes Sir Thomas Browne constantly to his son in France. "Shun pudor rusticus." "Practise an handsome garb and civil boldness which he that learneth not in France, travaileth in vain."[303]

But there was this difference in travel to complete the gentleman during the reign of Charles the Second: that Italy and Germany were again safe and thrown open to travellers, so that Holland, Germany, Italy, and France made a magnificent round of sights; namely, the Grand Tour. It was still usual to spend some time in Paris learning exercises and accomplishments at an academy, but a large proportion of effort went to driving by post-chaise through the principal towns of Europe. Since it was a great deal easier to go sight-seeing than to study governments, write "relations," or even to manage "The Great Horse," the Grand Tour, as a form of education, gained upon society, especially at the end of the century, when even the academies were too much of an exertion for the beaux to attend. To dress well and to be witty superseded martial ambitions. Gentlemen could no longer endure the violence of the Great Horse, but were carried about in sedan chairs. To drive through Europe in a coach suited them very well. It was a form of travel which likewise suited country squires' sons; for with the spread of the fashion from Court to country not only great noblemen and "utter gallants" but plain country gentlemen aspired to send their sons on a quest for the "bel air." Their idea of how this was to be done being rather vague, the services of a governor were hired, who found that the easiest way of dealing with Tony Lumpkin was to convey him over an impressive number of miles and keep him interested with staring at buildings. The whole aim of travel was sadly degenerated from Elizabethan times. Cynical parents like Francis Osborn had not the slightest faith in its good effects, but recommended it solely because it was the fashion. "Some to starch a more serious face upon wanton, impertinent, and dear bought Vanity, cry up 'Travel' as 'the best Accomplisher of Youth and Gentry,' tho' detected by Experience in the generality, for 'the greatest Debaucher' ... yet since it advanceth Opinion in the World, without which Desert is useful to none but itself (Scholars and Travellers being cried up for the highest Graduates in the most universal Judgments) I am not much unwilling to give way to Peregrine motion for a time."[304]

In short, the object of the Grand Tour was to see and be seen. The very term seems to be an extension of usage from the word employed to describe driving in one's coach about the principal streets of a town. The Duchess of Newcastle, in 1656, wrote from Antwerp: "I go sometimes abroad, seldom to visit, but only in my coach about the town, or about some of the streets, which we call here a tour, where all the chief of the town go to see and be seen, likewise all strangers of what quality soever."[305] Evelyn, in 1652, contrasted "making the Tour" with the proper sort of industrious travel; "But he that (instead of making the Tour, as they call it) or, as a late Embassador of ours facetiously, but sharply reproached, (like a Goose swimms down the River) having mastered the Tongue, frequented the Court, looked into their customes, been present at their pleadings, observed their Military Discipline, contracted acquaintance with their Learned men, studied their Arts, and is familiar with their dispositions, makes this accompt of his time."[306] And in another place he says: "It is written of Ulysses, that hee saw many Cities indeed, but withall his Remarks of mens Manners and Customs, was ever preferred to his counting Steeples, and making Tours: It is this Ethicall and Morall part of Travel, which embellisheth a Gentleman."[307] In 1670, Richard Lassels uses the term "Grand Tour" for the first time in an English book for travellers: "The Grand Tour of France and the Giro of Italy."[308] Of course this is only specialized usage of the idea "round" which had long been current, and which still survives in our phrase, "make the round trip." "The Spanish ambassadors," writes Dudley Carleton in 1610, "are at the next Spring to make a perfect round."[309]

In the age of the Grand Tour the governor becomes an important figure. There had always been governors, to be sure, from the very beginnings of travel to become a complete person. Their arguments with fathers as to the expenses of the tour, and their laments at the disagreeable conduct of their charges echo from generation to generation. Now it is Mr Windebanke complaining to Cecil that his son "has utterly no mind nor disposition in him to apply any learning, according to the end you sent him for hither," being carried away by an "inordinate affection towards a young gentlewoman abiding near Paris."[310] Now it is Mr Smythe desiring to be called home unless the allowance for himself and Francis Davison can be increased. "For Mr Francis is now a man, and your son, and not so easily ruled touching expenses, about which we have had more brabblements than I will speak of."[311] Bacon's essay "Of Travel" in 1625 is the first to advise the use of a governor;[312] but governors rose to their full authority only in the middle of the century, when it was the custom to send boys abroad very young, at fourteen or fifteen, because at that age they were more malleable for instruction in foreign languages. At that age they could not generally be trusted by themselves, especially after the protests of a century against the moral and religious dangers of foreign travel. How fearful parents were of the hazards of travel, and what a responsibility it was for a governor to undertake one of these precious charges, may be gathered from this letter by Lady Lowther to Joseph Williamson, he who afterwards rose to be Secretary of State: "I doubt not but you have received my son," writes the mother, "with our letters entreating your care for improving all good in him and restraining all irregularities, as he is the hope and only stem of his father. I implore the Almighty, and labour for all means conducible thereto; I conceive your discreet government and admonition may much promote it. Tell me whether you find him tractable or disorderly: his disposition is good, and his natural parts reasonable, but his acquirements meaner than I desire: however he is young enough yet to learn, and by study may recover, if not recall, his lost time.

"In the first place, endeavour to settle him in his religion, as the basis of all our other hopes, and the more to be considered in regard of the looseness of the place where you are. I doubt not but you have well considered of the resolve to travel to Italy, yet I have this to say for my fond fears (besides the imbecility of my sex) my affections are all contracted into one head: also I know the hotness of his temper, apt to feverishness. Yet I submit him to your total management, only praying the God of Heaven to direct you for the best, and to make him tractable to you, and laborious for his own advancement."[313]

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