HotFreeBooks.com
English Travellers of the Renaissance
by Clare Howard
1  2  3  4     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

ENGLISH TRAVELLERS OF THE RENAISSANCE

BY CLARE HOWARD



BURT FRANKLIN: BIBLIOGRAPHY AND REFERENCE SERIES #179



1914



PREFACE

This essay was written in 1908-1910 while I was studying at Oxford as Fellow of the Society of American Women in London. Material on the subject of travel in any century is apparently inexhaustible, and one could write many books on the subject without duplicating sources. The following aims no further than to describe one phase of Renaissance travel in clear and sharp outline, with sufficient illustration to embellish but not to clog the main ideas.

In the preparation of this book I incurred many debts of gratitude. I would thank the staff of the Bodleian, especially Mr W.H.B. Somerset, for their kindness during the two years I was working in the library of Oxford University; and Dr Perlbach, Abteilungsdirektor of the Koenigliche Bibliothek at Berlin, who forwarded to me some helpful information concerning the early German books of instructions for travellers; and Professor Clark S. Northup, of Cornell University, for similar aid. To Mr George Whale I am indebted for the use of his transcript of Sloane MS. 1813, and to my friend Miss M.E. Marshall, of the Board of Trade, for the generous gift of her leisure hours in reading for me in the British Museum after the sea had divided me from that treasure-house of information.

I would like to acknowledge with thanks the kind advice of Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Sidney Lee, whose generosity in giving time and scholarship many students besides myself are in a position to appreciate. Mr L. Pearsall Smith, from whose work on the Life and Letters of Sir Henry Wotton I have drawn copiously, gave me also courteous personal assistance.

To the Faculty of the English Department at Columbia University I owe the gratitude of one who has received her earliest inclination to scholarship from their teachings. I am under heavy obligations to Professor A.H. Thorndike and Professor G.P. Krapp for their corrections and suggestions in the proof-sheets of this book, and to Professor W.P. Trent for continued help and encouragement throughout my studies at Columbia and elsewhere.

Above all, I wish to emphasize the aid of Professor C.H. Firth, of Oxford University, whose sympathy and comprehension of the difficulties of a beginner in the field he so nobly commands can be understood only by those, like myself, who come to Oxford aspiring and alone. I wish this essay were a more worthy result of his influence.

CLARE HOWARD

BARNARD COLLEGE, NEW YORK

October 1913

* * * * *



INTRODUCTION

Among the many didactic books which flooded England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were certain essays on travel. Some of these have never been brought to light since their publication more than three hundred years ago, or been mentioned by the few writers who have interested themselves in the literature of this subject. In the collections of voyages and explorations, so often garnered, these have found no place. Most of them are very rare, and have never been reprinted. Yet they do not deserve to be thus overlooked, and in several ways this survey of them will, I think, be useful for students of literature.

They reveal a widespread custom among Elizabethan and Jacobean gentlemen, of completing their education by travel. There are scattered allusions to this practice, in contemporary social documents: Anthony a Wood frequently explains how such an Oxonian "travelled beyond seas and returned a compleat Person,"—but nowhere is this ideal of a cosmopolitan education so explicitly set forth as it is in these essays. Addressed to the intending tourist, they are in no sense to be confused with guide-books or itineraries. They are discussions of the benefits of travel, admonitions and warnings, arranged to put the traveller in the proper attitude of mind towards his great task of self-development. Taken in chronological order they outline for us the life of the travelling student.

Beginning with the end of the sixteenth century when travel became the fashion, as the only means of acquiring modern languages and modern history, as well as those physical accomplishments and social graces by which a young man won his way at Court, they trace his evolution up to the time when it had no longer any serious motive; that is, when the chairs of modern history and modern languages were founded at the English universities, and when, with the fall of the Stuarts, the Court ceased to be the arbiter of men's fortunes. In the course of this evolution they show us many phases of continental influence in England; how Italian immorality infected young imaginations, how the Jesuits won travellers to their religion, how France became the model of deportment, what were the origins of the Grand Tour, and so forth.

That these directions for travel were not isolated oddities of literature, but were the expression of a widespread ideal of the English gentry, I have tried to show in the following study. The essays can hardly be appreciated without support from biography and history, and for that reason I have introduced some concrete illustrations of the sort of traveller to whom the books were addressed. If I have not always quoted the "Instructions" fully, it is because they repeat one another on some points. My plan has been to comment on whatever in each book was new, or showed the evolution of travel for study's sake.

The result, I hope, will serve to show something of the cosmopolitanism of English society in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; of the closer contact which held between England and the Continent, while England was not yet great and self-sufficient; of times when her soldiers of low and high degree went to seek their fortunes in the Low Countries, and her merchants journeyed in person to conduct business with Italy; when a steady stream of Roman Catholics and exiles for political reasons trooped to France or Flanders for years together.

These discussions of the art of travel are relics of an age when Englishmen, next to the Germans, were known for the greatest travellers among all nations. In the same boat-load with merchants, spies, exiles, and diplomats from England sailed the young gentleman fresh from his university, to complete his education by a look at the most civilized countries of the world. He approached the Continent with an inquiring, open mind, eager to learn, quick to imitate the refinements and ideas of countries older than his own. For the same purpose that now takes American students to England, or Japanese students to America, the English striplings once journeyed to France, comparing governments and manners, watching everything, noting everything, and coming home to benefit their country by new ideas.

I hope, also, that a review of these forgotten volumes may lend an added pleasure to the reading of books greater than themselves in Elizabethan literature. One cannot fully appreciate the satire of Amorphus's claim to be "so sublimated and refined by travel," and to have "drunk in the spirit of beauty in some eight score and eighteen princes' courts where I have resided,"[1] unless one has read of the benefits of travel as expounded by the current Instructions for Travellers; nor the dialogues between Sir Politick-Would-be and Peregrine in Volpone, or the Fox. Shakespeare, too, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, has taken bodily the arguments of the Elizabethan orations in praise of travel:

"Some to the warres, to try their fortune there; Some, to discover Islands farre away; Some, to the studious Universities; For any, or for all these exercises, He said, thou Proteus, your sonne was meet; And did request me, to importune you To let him spend his time no more at home; Which would be great impeachment to his age, In having knowne no travaile in his youth. (Antonio) Nor need'st thou much importune me to that Whereon, this month I have been hamering, I have considered well, his losse of time, And how he cannot be a perfect man, Not being tryed, and tutored in the world; Experience is by industry atchiev'd, And perfected by the swift course of time."

(Act I. Sc. iii.)

* * * * *



CONTENTS

CHAPTER I

THE BEGINNINGS OF TRAVEL FOR CULTURE

Pilgrimages at the close of the Middle Ages—New objects for travel in the fifteenth century—Humanism—Diplomatic ambition—Linguistic acquirement.

CHAPTER II

THE HIGH PURPOSE OF THE ELIZABETHAN TRAVELLER

Development of the individual—Benefit to the Commonwealth—First books addressed to travellers.

CHAPTER III

SOME CYNICAL ASPERSIONS UPON THE BENEFITS OF TRAVEL

The Italianate Englishman.

CHAPTER IV

PERILS FOR PROTESTANT TRAVELLERS

The Inquisition—The Jesuits—Penalties of recusancy.

CHAPTER V

THE INFLUENCE OF THE FRENCH ACADEMIES

France the arbiter of manners in the seventeenth century—Riding the great horse—Attempts to establish academies in England—Why travellers neglected Spain.

CHAPTER VI

THE GRAND TOUR

Origin of the term—Governors for young travellers—Expenses of travel.

CHAPTER VII

THE DECADENCE OF THE GRAND TOUR

The decline of the courtier—Foundation of chairs of Modern History and Modern Languages at Oxford and Cambridge—Englishmen become self-sufficient—Books of travel become common—Advent of the Romantic traveller who travels for scenery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

INDEX

FOOTNOTES

* * * * *



CHAPTER I

THE BEGINNINGS OF TRAVEL FOR CULTURE

Of the many social impulses that were influenced by the Renaissance, by that "new lernynge which runnythe all the world over now-a-days," the love of travel received a notable modification. This very old instinct to go far, far away had in the Middle Ages found sanction, dignity and justification in the performance of pilgrimages. It is open to doubt whether the number of the truly pious would ever have filled so many ships to Port Jaffa had not their ranks been swelled by the restless, the adventurous, the wanderers of all classes.

Towards the sixteenth century, when curiosity about things human was an ever stronger undercurrent in England, pilgrimages were particularly popular. In 1434, Henry VI. granted licences to 2433 pilgrims to the shrine of St James of Compostella alone.[2] The numbers were so large that the control of their transportation became a coveted business enterprise. "Pilgrims at this time were really an article of exportation," says Sir Henry Ellis, in commenting on a letter of the Earl of Oxford to Henry VI., asking for a licence for a ship of which he was owner, to carry pilgrims. "Ships were every year loaded from different ports with cargoes of these deluded wanderers, who carried with them large sums of money to defray the expenses of their journey."[3]

Among the earliest books printed in England was Informacon for Pylgrymes unto the Holy Londe, by Wynkin de Worde, one which ran to three editions,[4] an almost exact copy of William Wey's "prevysyoun" (provision) for a journey eastwards.[5] The tone and content of this Informacon differ very little from the later Directions for Travellers which are the subject of our study. The advice given shows that the ordinary pilgrim thought, not of the ascetic advantages of the voyage, or of simply arriving in safety at his holy destination, but of making the trip in the highest possible degree of personal comfort and pleasure. He is advised to take with him two barrels of wine ("For yf ye wolde geve xx dukates for a barrel ye shall none have after that ye passe moche Venyse"); to buy orange-ginger, almonds, rice, figs, cloves, maces and loaf sugar also, to eke out the fare the ship will provide. And this although he is to make the patron swear, before the pilgrim sets foot in the galley, that he will serve "hote meete twice at two meals a day." He whom we are wont to think of as a poor wanderer, with no possessions but his grey cloak and his staff, is warned not to embark for the Holy Land without carrying with him "a lytell cawdron, a fryenge panne, dysshes, platers, cuppes of glasse ... a fether bed, a matrasse, a pylawe, two payre sheets and a quylte" ... a cage for half a dozen of hens or chickens to have with you in the ship, and finally, half a bushel of "myle sede" to feed the chickens. Far from being encouraged to exercise a humble and abnegatory spirit on the voyage, he is to be at pains to secure a berth in the middle of the ship, and not to mind paying fifty ducats for to be in a good honest place, "to have your ease in the galey and also to be cherysshed." Still more unchristian are the injunctions to run ahead of one's fellows, on landing, in order to get the best quarters at the inn, and first turn at the dinner provided; and above all, at Port Jaffa, to secure the best ass, "for ye shall paye no more for the best than for the worste."

But while this book was being published, new forces were at hand which were to strip the thin disguise of piety from pilgrims of this sort. The Colloquies of Erasmus appeared before the third edition of Informacon for Pylgrymes, and exploded the idea that it was the height of piety to have seen Jerusalem. It was nothing but the love of change, Erasmus declared, that made old bishops run over huge spaces of sea and land to reach Jerusalem. The noblemen who flocked thither had better be looking after their estates, and married men after their wives. Young men and women travelled "non sine gravi discrimine morum et integritatis." Pilgrimages were a dissipation. Some people went again and again and did nothing else all their lives long.[6] The only satisfaction they looked for or received was entertainment to themselves and their friends by their remarkable adventures, and ability to shine at dinner-tables by recounting their travels.[7] There was no harm in going sometimes, but it was not pious. And people could spend their time, money and pains on something which was truly pious.[8]

It was only a few years after this that that pupil of Erasmus and his friends, King Henry the Eighth, who startled Europe by the way he not only received new ideas but acted upon them, swept away the shrines, burned our Lady of Walsingham and prosecuted "the holy blisful martyr" Thomas a Becket for fraudulent pretensions.[9]

But a new object for travel was springing up and filling the leading minds of the sixteenth century—the desire of learning, at first hand, the best that was being thought and said in the world. Humanism was the new power, the new channel into which men were turning in the days when "our naturell, yong, lusty and coragious prynce and sovrayne lord King Herre the Eighth entered into the flower of pleasaunt youthe."[10] And as the scientific spirit or the socialistic spirit can give to the permanent instincts of the world a new zest, so the Renaissance passion for self-expansion and for education gave to the old road a new mirage.

All through the fifteenth century the universities of Italy, pre-eminent since their foundation for secular studies, had been gaining reputation by their offer of a wider education than the threadbare discussions of the schoolmen. The discovery and revival in the fifteenth century of Greek literature, which had stirred Italian society so profoundly, gave to the universities a northward-spreading fame. Northern scholars, like Rudolf Agricola, hurried south to find congenial air at the centre of intellectual life. That professional humanists could not do without the stamp of true culture which an Italian degree gave to them, Erasmus, observer of all things, notes in the year 1500 to the Lady of Veer:

"Two things, I feel, are very necessary: one that I go to Italy, to gain for my poor learning some authority from the celebrity of the place; the other, that I take the degree of Doctor; both senseless, to be sure. For people do not straightway change their minds because they cross the sea, as Horace says, nor will the shadow of an impressive name make me a whit more learned ... but we must put on the lion's skin to prove our ability to those who judge a man by his title and not by his books, which in truth they do not understand."[11]

Although Erasmus despised degree-hunting, it is well known that he felt the power of Italy. He was tempted to remain in Rome for ever, by reason of the company he found there. "What a sky and fields, what libraries and pleasant walks and sweet confabulation with the learned ..."[12] he exclaims, in afterwards recalling that paradise of scholars. There was, for instance, the Cardinal Grimani, who begged Erasmus to share his life ... and books.[13] And there was Aldus Manutius. We get a glimpse of the Venetian printing-house when Aldus and Erasmus worked together: Erasmus sitting writing regardless of the noise of printers, while Aldus breathlessly reads proof, admiring every word. "We were so busy," says Erasmus, "we scarce had time to scratch our ears."[14]

It was this charm of intellectual companionship which started the whole stream of travel animi causa. Whoever had keen wits, an agile mind, imagination, yearned for Italy. There enlightened spirits struck sparks from one another. Young and ardent minds in England and in Germany found an escape from the dull and melancholy grimness of their uneducated elders—purely practical fighting-men, whose ideals were fixed on a petrified code of life.

I need not explain how Englishmen first felt this charm of urbane civilization. The travels of Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, of Gunthorpe, Flemming, Grey and Free, have been recently described by Mr Einstein in The Italian Renaissance in England. As for Italian journeys of Selling, Grocyn, Latimer, Tunstall, Colet and Lily, of that extraordinary group of scholars who transformed Oxford by the introduction of Greek ideals and gave to it the peculiar distinction which is still shining, I mention them only to suggest that they are the source of the Renaissance respect for a foreign education, and the founders of the fashion which, in its popular spreadings, we will attempt to trace. They all studied in Italy, and brought home nothing but good. For to scholarship they joined a native force of character which gave a most felicitous introduction to England of the fine things of the mind which they brought home with them. By their example they gave an impetus to travel for education's sake which lesser men could never have done.

Though through Grocyn, Linacre and Tunstall, Greek was better taught in England than in Italy, according to Erasmus,[15] at the time Henry VIII. came to the throne, the idea of Italy as the goal of scholars persisted. Rich churchmen, patrons of letters, launched promising students on to the Continent to give them a complete education; as Richard Fox, Founder of Corpus Christi, sent Edward Wotton to Padua, "to improve his learning and chiefly to learn Greek,"[16] or Thomas Langton, Bishop of Winchester, supported Richard Pace at the same university.[17] To Reginald Pole, the scholar's life in Italy made so strong an appeal that he could never be reclaimed by Henry VIII. Shunning all implication in the tumult of the political world, he slipped back to Padua, and there surrounded himself with friends,—"singular fellows, such as ever absented themselves from the court, desiring to live holily."[18] To his household at Padua gravitated other English students fond of "good company and the love of learned men"; Thomas Lupset,[19] the confidant of Erasmus and Richard Pace; Thomas Winter,[20] Wolsey's reputed natural son; Thomas Starkey,[21] the historian; George Lily,[22] son of the grammarian; Michael Throgmorton, and Richard Morison,[23] ambassador-to-be.

There were other elements that contributed to the growth of travel besides the desire to become exquisitely learned. The ambition of Henry VIII. to be a power in European politics opened the liveliest intercourse with the Continent. It was soon found that a special combination of qualities was needed in the ambassadors to carry out his aspirations. Churchmen, like the ungrateful Pole, for whose education he had generously subscribed, were often unpliable to his views of the Pope; a good old English gentleman, though devoted, might be like Sir Robert Wingfield, simple, unsophisticated, and the laughingstock of foreigners.[24] A courtier, such as Lord Rochford, who could play tennis, make verses, and become "intime" at the court of Francis I., could not hold his own in disputes of papal authority with highly educated ecclesiastics.[25] Hence it came about that the choice of an ambassador fell more and more upon men of sound education who also knew something of foreign countries: such as Sir Thomas Wyatt, or Sir Richard Wingfield, of Cambridge and Gray's Inn, who had studied at Ferrara[26]; Sir Nicholas Wotton, who had lived in Perugia, and graduated doctor of civil and canon law[27]; or Anthony St Lieger, who, according to Lloyd, "when twelve years of age was sent for his grammar learning with his tutor into France, for his carriage into Italy, for his philosophy to Cambridge, for his law to Gray's Inn: and for that which completed all, the government of himself, to court; where his debonairness and freedom took with the king, as his solidity and wisdom with the Cardinal."[28] Sometimes Henry was even at pains to pick out and send abroad promising university students with a view to training them especially for diplomacy. On one of his visits to Oxford he was impressed with the comely presence and flowing expression of John Mason, who, though the son of a cowherd, was notable at the university for his "polite and majestick speaking."

King Henry disposed of him in foreign parts, to add practical experience to his speculative studies, and paid for his education out of the king's Privy Purse, as we see by the royal expenses for September 1530. Among such items as "L8, 18s. to Hanybell Zinzano, for drinks and other medicines for the King's Horses"; and, "20s. to the fellow with the dancing dog," is the entry of "a year's exhibition to Mason, the King's scholar at Paris, L3, 6s. 8d."[29]

Another educational investment of the King's was Thomas Smith, afterwards as excellent an ambassador as Mason, whom he supported at Cambridge, and according to Camden, at riper years made choice of to be sent into Italy. "For even till our days," says Camden under the year 1577, "certain young men of promising hopes, out of both Universities, have been maintained in foreign countries, at the King's charge, for the more complete polishing of their Parts and Studies."[30] The diplomatic career thus opened to young courtiers, if they proved themselves fit for service by experience in foreign countries, was therefore as strong a motive for travel as the desire to reach the source of humanism.

This again merged into the pursuit of a still more informal education—the sort which comes from "seeing the world." The marriage of Mary Tudor to Louis XII., and later the subtle bond of humanism and high spirits which existed between Francis I. and his "very dear and well-beloved good brother, cousin and gossip, perpetual ally and perfect friend," Henry the Eighth, led a good many of Henry's courtiers to attend the French court at one time or another—particularly the most dashing favourites, and leaders of fashion, the "friskers," as Andrew Boorde calls them,[31] such as Charles Brandon, George Boleyn, Francis Bryan, Nicholas Carew, or Henry Fitzroy. With any ambassador went a bevy of young gentlemen, who on their return diffused a certain mysterious sophistication which was the envy of home-keeping youth. According to Hall, when they came back to England they were "all French in eating and drinking and apparel, yea, and in the French vices and brags: so that all the estates of England were by them laughed at, the ladies and gentlewomen were dispraised, and nothing by them was praised, but if it were after the French turn."[32] From this time on young courtiers pressed into the train of an ambassador in order to see the world and become like Ann Boleyn's captivating brother, or Elizabeth's favourite, the Earl of Oxford, or whatever gallant was conspicuous at court for foreign graces.

There was still another contributory element to the growth of travel, one which touched diplomats, scholars, and courtiers—the necessity of learning modern languages. By the middle of the sixteenth century Latin was no longer sufficient for intercourse between educated people. In the most civilized countries the vernacular had been elevated to the dignity of the classical tongues by being made the literary vehicle of such poets as Politian and Bembo, Ronsard and Du Bellay. A vernacular literature of great beauty, too important to be overlooked, began to spring up on all sides. One could no longer keep abreast of the best thought without a knowledge of modern languages. More powerful than any academic leanings was the Renaissance curiosity about man, which could not be satisfied through the knowledge of Latin only. Hardly anyone but churchmen talked Latin in familiar conversation with one. When a man visited foreign courts and wished to enter into social intercourse with ladies and fashionables, or move freely among soldiers, or settle a bill with an innkeeper, he found that he sorely needed the language of the country. So by the time we reach the reign of Edward VI., we find Thomas Hoby, a typical young gentleman of the period, making in his diary entries such as these: "Removed to the middes of Italy, to have a better knowledge of ye tongue and to see Tuscany." "Went to Sicily both to have a sight of the country and also to absent myself for a while out of Englishmenne's companie for the tung's sake."[33] Roger Ascham a year or two later writes from Germany that one of the chief advantages of being at a foreign court was the ease with which one learned German, French, and Italian, whether he would or not. "I am almost an Italian myself and never looks on it." He went so far as to say that such advantages were worth ten fellowships at St John's.[34]

We have noted how Italy came to be the lode-stone of scholars, and how courtiers sought the grace which France bestowed, but we have not yet accounted for the attraction of Germany. Germany, as a centre of travel, was especially popular in the reign of Edward the Sixth. France went temporarily out of fashion with those men of whom we have most record. For in Edward's reign the temper of the leading spirits in England was notably at variance with the court of France. It was to Germany that Edward's circle of Protestant politicians, schoolmasters, and chaplains felt most drawn—to the country where the tides of the Reformation were running high, and men were in a ferment over things of the spirit; to the country of Sturm and Bucer, and Fagius and Ursinus—the doctrinalists and educators so revered by Cambridge. Cranmer, who gathered under his roof as many German savants as could survive in the climate of England,[35] kept the current of understanding and sympathy flowing between Cambridge and Germany, and since Cambridge, not Oxford, dominated the scholarly and political world of Edward the Sixth, from that time on Germany, in the minds of the St John's men, such as Burleigh, Ascham and Hoby, was the place where one might meet the best learned of the day.

We have perhaps said enough to indicate roughly the sources of the Renaissance fashion for travel which gave rise to the essays we are about to discuss. The scholar's desire to specialize at a foreign university, in Greek, in medicine, or in law; the courtier's ambition to acquire modern languages, study foreign governments, and generally fit himself for the service of the State, were dignified aims which in men of character produced very happy results. It was natural that others should follow their example. In Elizabethan times the vogue of travelling to become a "compleat person" was fully established. And though in mean and trivial men the ideal took on such odd shapes and produced such dubious results that in every generation there were critics who questioned the benefits of travel, the ideal persisted. There was always something, certainly, to be learned abroad, for men of every calibre. Those who did not profit by the study of international law learned new tricks of the rapier. And because experience of foreign countries was expensive and hard to come at, the acquirement of it gave prestige to a young man.

Besides, underneath worldly ambition was the old curiosity to see the world and know all sorts of men—to be tried and tested. More powerful than any theory of education was the yearning for far-off, foreign things, and the magic of the sea.

* * * * *



CHAPTER II

THE HIGH PURPOSE OF THE ELIZABETHAN TRAVELLER

The love of travel, we all know, flourished exceedingly in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. All classes felt the desire to go beyond seas upon

"Such wind as scatters young men through the world, To seeke their fortunes farther than at home, Where small experience growes."[36]

The explorer and the poet, the adventurer, the prodigal and the earl's son, longed alike for foreign shores. What Ben Jonson said of Coryat might be stretched to describe the average Elizabethan: "The mere superscription of a letter from Zurich sets him up like a top: Basil or Heidelberg makes him spinne. And at seeing the word Frankford, or Venice, though but in the title of a Booke, he is readie to breake doublet, cracke elbowes, and overflowe the roome with his murmure."[37] Happy was an obscure gentleman like Fynes Moryson, who could roam for ten years through the "twelve Dominions of Germany, Bohmerland, Sweitzerand, Netherland, Denmarke, Poland, Italy, Turkey, France, England, Scotland and Ireland" and not be peremptorily called home by his sovereign. Sad it was to be a court favourite like Fulke Greville, who four times, thirsting for strange lands, was plucked back to England by Elizabeth.

At about the time (1575) when some of the most prominent courtiers—Edward Dyer, Gilbert Talbot, the Earl of Hertford, and more especially Sir Christopher Hatton and Sir Philip Sidney—had just returned from abroad, book-publishers thought it worth while to print books addressed to travellers. At least, there grew up a demand for advice to young men which became a feature of Elizabethan literature, printed and unprinted. It was the convention for a young man about to travel to apply to some experienced or elderly friend, and for that friend to disburden a torrent of maxims after the manner of Polonius. John Florio, who knew the humours of his day, represents this in a dialogue in Second Frutes.[38] So does Robert Greene in Greene's Mourning Garment.[39] What were at first the personal warnings of a wise man to his young friend, such as Cecil's letter to Rutland, grew into a generalized oration for the use of any traveller. Hence arose manuals of instruction—marvellous little books, full of incitements to travel as the duty of man, summaries of the leading characteristics of foreigners, directions for the care of sore feet—and a strange medley of matters.

Among the first essays of this sort are translations from Germanic writers, with whom, if Turler is right, the book of precepts for travel originated. For the Germans, with the English, were the most indefatigable travellers of all nations. Like the English, they suddenly woke up with a start to the idea that they were barbarians on the outskirts of civilization, and like Chicago of the present day, sent their young men "hustling for culture." They took up assiduously not only the Renaissance ideal of travel as a highly educating experience, by which one was made a complete man intellectually, but also the Renaissance conviction that travel was a duty to the State. Since both Germany and England were somewhat removed from the older and more civilized nations, it was necessary for them to make an effort to learn what was going on at the centre of the world. It was therefore the duty of gentlemen, especially of noblemen, to whom the State would look to be directed, to search out the marts of learning, frequent foreign courts, and by knowing men and languages be able to advise their prince at home, after the manner set forth in Il Cortegiano. It must be remembered that in the sixteenth century there were no schools of political economy, of modern history or modern languages at the universities. A sound knowledge of these things had to be obtained by first-hand observation. From this fact arose the importance of improving one's opportunities, and the necessity for methodical, thorough inquiry, which we shall find so insisted upon in these manuals of advice.

Hieronymus Turlerus claims that his De Peregrinatione (Argentorati, 1574) is the first book to be devoted to precepts of travel. It was translated into English and published in London in 1575, under the title of The Traveiler of Jerome Turler, and is, as far as I know, the first book of the sort in England. Not much is known of Turler, save that he was born at Leissnig, in Saxony, in 1550, studied at Padua, became a Doctor of Law, made such extensive travels that he included even England—a rare thing in those days—and after serving as Burgomaster in his native place, died in 1602. His writings, other than De Peregrinatione, are three translations from Machiavelli.[40]

Turler addresses to two young German noblemen his book "written on behalf of such as are desirous to travell, and to see foreine cuntries, and specially of students.... Mee thinkes they do a good deede, and well deserve of al men, that give precepts for traveyl. Which thing, althoughe I perceive that some have done, yet have they done it here and there in sundrie Bookes and not in any one certeine place." A discussion of the advantages of travel had appeared in Thomas Wilson's Arte of Rhetorique (1553),[41] and certain practical directions for avoiding ailments to which travellers were susceptible had been printed in Basel in 1561,[42] but Turler's would seem to be the first book devoted to the praise of peregrination. Not only does Turler say so himself, but Theodor Zwinger, who three years later wrote Methodus Apodemica, declares that Turler and Pyrckmair were his only predecessors in this sort of composition.[43]

Pyrckmair was apparently one of those governors, or Hofmeister,[44] who accompanied young German noblemen on their tours through Europe. He drew up a few directions, he declares, as guidance for himself and the Count von Sultz, whom he expected shortly to guide into Italy. He had made a previous journey to Rome, which he enjoyed with the twofold enthusiasm of the humanist and the Roman Catholic, beholding "in a stupor of admiration" the magnificent remnants of classic civilization and the institutions of a benevolent Pope.[45]

From Plantin's shop in Antwerp came in 1587 a narrative by another Hofmeister—Stephen Vinandus Pighius—concerning the life and travels of his princely charge, Charles Frederick, Duke of Cleves, who on his grand tour died in Rome. Pighius discusses at considerable length,[46] in describing the hesitancy of the Duke's guardians about sending him on a tour, the advantages and disadvantages of travel. The expense of it and the diseases you catch, were great deterrents; yet the widening of the mind which judicious travelling insures, so greatly outweighed these and other disadvantages, that it was arranged after much discussion, "not only in the Council but also in the market-place and at the dinner-table," to send young Charles for two years to Austria to the court of his uncle the Emperor Maximilian, and then to Italy, France, and Lower Germany to visit the princess, his relations, and friends, and to see life.

Theodor Zwinger, who was reputed to be the first to reduce the art of travel into a form and give it the appearance of a science,[47] died a Doctor of Medicine at Basel. He had no liking for his father's trade of furrier, but apprenticed himself for three years to a printer at Lyons. Somehow he managed to learn some philosophy from Peter Ramus at Paris, and then studied medicine at Padua, where he met Jerome Turler.[48] As Doctor of Philosophy and Medicine he occupied several successive professorships at Basel.

Even more distinguished in the academic world was the next to carry on the discussion of travel—Justus Lipsius. His elegant letter on the subject,[49] written a year after Zwinger's book was published, was translated into English by Sir John Stradling in 1592.[50] Stradling, however, has so enlarged the original by whatever fancies of his own occurred to him, that it is almost a new composition. Philip Jones took no such liberties with the "Method" of Albert Meier, which he translated two years after it was published in 1587.[51] In his dedication to Sir Francis Drake of "this small but sweete booke of Method for men intending their profit and honor by the experience of the world," Jones declares that he first meant it only to benefit himself, "when pleasure of God, convenient time and good company" should draw him to travel.

The Pervigilium Mercurii of Georgius Loysius, a friend of Scaliger, was never translated into English, but the important virtues of a traveller therein described had their influence on English readers. Loysius compiled two hundred short petty maxims, illustrated by apt classical quotations, bearing on the correct behaviour and duties of a traveller. For instance, he must avoid luxury, as says Seneca; and laziness, as say Horace and Ovid; he must be reticent about his wealth and learning and keep his counsel, like Ulysses. He must observe the morals and religion of others, but not criticise them, for different nations have different religions, and think that their fathers' gods ought to be served diligently. He that disregards these things acts with pious zeal but without consideration for other people's feelings ("nulla ratione cujusque vocationis").[52] James Howell may have read maxim 99 on how to take jokes and how to make them, "joci sine vilitate, risus sine cachinno, vox sine clamore" (let your jokes be free from vulgarity, your laugh not a guffaw, and your voice not a roar).

Loysius reflects the sentiment of his country in his conviction that "Nature herself desires that women should stay at home." "It is true throughout the whole of Germany that no woman unless she is desperately poor or 'rather fast' desires to travel."[53]

Adding to these earliest essays the Oration in Praise of Travel, by Hermann Kirchner,[54] we have a group of instructions sprung from German soil all characterized by an exalted mood and soaring style. They have in common the tendency to rationalize the activities of man, which was so marked a feature of the Renaissance. The simple errant impulse that Chaucer noted as belonging with the songs of birds and coming of spring, is dignified into a philosophy of travel.

Travel, according to our authors, is one of the best ways to gain personal force, social effectiveness—in short, that mysterious "virtu" by which the Renaissance set such great store. It had the negative value of providing artificial trials for young gentlemen with patrimony and no occupation who might otherwise be living idly on their country estates, or dissolutely in London. Knight-errantry, in chivalric society, had provided the hardships and discipline agreeable to youth; travel "for vertues sake, to apply the study of good artes,"[55] was in the Renaissance an excellent way to keep a young man profitably busy. For besides the academic advantages of foreign universities, travel corrected the character. The rude and arrogant young nobleman who had never before left his own country, met salutary opposition and contempt from strangers, and thereby gained modesty. By observing the refinements of the older nations, his uncouthness was softened: the rough barbarian cub was gradually mollified into the civil courtier. And as for giving one prudence and patience, never was such a mentor as travel. The tender, the effeminate, the cowardly, were hardened by contention with unwonted cold or rain or sun, with hard seats, stony pillows, thieves, and highwaymen. Any simple, improvident, and foolish youth would be stirred up to vigilancy by a few experiences with "the subtelty of spies, the wonderful cunning of Inn-keepers and baudes and the great danger of his life."[56] In short, the perils and discomforts of travel made a mild prelude to the real life into which a young man must presently fight his way. Only experience could teach him how to be cunning, wary, and bold; how he might hold his own, at court or at sea, among Elizabeth's adventurers.

However, this development of the individual was only part of the benefit of travel. Far more to be extolled was his increased usefulness to the State. That was the stoutest reason for leaving one's "owne sweete country dwellings" to endure hardships and dangers beyond seas. For a traveller may be of the greatest benefit to his own country by being able to compare its social, economic, and military arrangements with those of other commonwealths. He is wisely warned, therefore, against that fond preference for his own country which leads him to close his eyes to any improvement—"without just cause preferring his native country,"[57] but to use choice and discretion, to see, learn, and diligently mark what in every place is worthy of praise and what ought to be amended, in magistrates, regal courts, schools, churches, armies—all the ways and means pertaining to civil life and the governing of a humane society. For all improvement in society, say our authors, came by travellers bringing home fresh ideas. Examples from the ancients, to complete a Renaissance argument, are cited to prove this.[58] So the Romans sent their children to Marseilles, so Cyrus travelled, though yet but a child, so Plato "purchased the greatest part of his divine wisdome from the very innermost closets of Egypt." Therefore to learn how to serve one's Prince in peace or war, as a soldier, ambassador, or "politicke person," one must, like Ulysses, have known many men and seen many cities; know not only the objective points of foreign countries, such as the fortifications, the fordable rivers, the distances between places, but the more subjective characteristics, such as the "chief force and virtue of the Spanyardes and of the Frenchmen. What is the greatest vice in both nacions? After what manner the subjects in both countries shewe their obedience to their prince, or oppose themselves against him?"[59] Here we see coming into play the newly acquired knowledge of human nature of which the sixteenth century was so proud. An ambassador to Paris must know what was especially pleasing to a Frenchman. Even a captain in war must know the special virtues and vices of the enemy: which nation is ablest to make a sudden sally, which is stouter to entertain the shock in open field, which is subtlest of the contriving of an ambush.

Evidently, since there is so varied a need for acquaintance with foreign countries, travel is a positive duty. Noah, Aristotle, Solomon, Julius Caesar, Columbus, and many other people of authority are quoted to prove that "all that ever were of any great knowledge, learning or wisdom since the beginning of the world unto this present, have given themselves to travel: and that there never was man that performed any great thing or achieved any notable exploit, unless he had travelled."[60]

This summary, of course, cannot reproduce the style of each of our authors, and only roughly indicates their method of persuasion. Especially it cannot represent the mode of Zwinger, whose contribution is a treatise of four hundred pages, arranged in outline form, by means of which any single idea is made to wend its tortuous way through folios. Every aspect of the subject is divided and subdivided with meticulous care. He cannot speak of the time for travel without discriminating between natural time, such as years and days, and artificial time, such as festivals and holidays; nor of the means of locomotion without specifying the possibility of being carried through the air by: (I) Mechanical means, such as the wings of Icarus; or (2) Angels, as the Apostle Philip was snatched from Samaria.[61] In this elaborate method he found an imitator in Sir Thomas Palmer.[62] The following, a mere truncated fragment, may serve to illustrate both books:—

"Travelling is either:— I. Irregular. II. Regular. Of Regular Travailers some be A. Non-voluntaries, sent out by the prince, and employed in matters of 1. Peace (etc.). 2. Warre (etc.). B. Voluntaries. Voluntary Regular Travailers are considered 1. As they are moved accidentally. a. Principally, that afterwards they may leade a more quiet and contented life, to the glory of God. b. Secondarily, regarding ends, (i) Publicke. (a) What persons are inhibited travaile. (1) Infants, Decrepite persons, Fools, Women. (b) What times to travaile in are not fitte: (2) When our country is engaged in warres. (c) Fitte. (1) When one may reape most profit in shortest time, for that hee aimeth at. (2) When the country, into which we would travaile, holdeth not ours in jealousie, etc."

That the idea of travel as a duty to the State had permeated the Elizabethans from the courtier to the common sailor is borne out by contemporary letters of all sorts. Even William Bourne, an innkeeper at Gravesend, who wrote a hand-book of applied mathematics, called it The Treasure for Travellers[63] and prefaced it with an exhortation in the style of Turler. In the correspondence of Lord Burghley, Sir Philip Sidney, Fulke Greville, the Earl of Essex, and Secretary Davison, we see how seriously the aim of travel was inculcated. Here are the same reminders to have the welfare of the commonwealth constantly in mind, to waste no time, to use order and method in observation, and to bring home, if possible, valuable information. Sidney bewails how much he has missed for "want of having directed my course to the right end, and by the right means." But he trusts his brother has imprinted on his mind "the scope and mark you mean by your pains to shoot at. Your purpose is, being a gentleman born, to furnish yourself with the knowledge of such things as may be serviceable to your country."[64]

Davison urges the value of experience, scorning the man who thinks to fit himself by books: "Our sedentary traveller may pass for a wise man as long as he converseth either with dead men by reading, or by writing, with men absent. But let him once enter on the stage of public employment, and he will soon find, if he can but be sensible of contempt, that he is unfit for action. For ability to treat with men of several humours, factions and countries; duly to comply with them, or stand off, as occasion shall require, is not gotten only by reading of books, but rather by studying of men: yet this is ever held true. The best scholar is fittest for a traveller, as being able to make the most useful observations: experience added to learning makes a perfect man."[65]

Both Essex and Fulke Greville are full of warnings against superficial and showy knowledge of foreign countries: "The true end of knowledge is clearness and strength of judgment, and not ostentation, or ability to discourse, which I do rather put your Lordship in mind of, because the most part of noblemen and gentlemen of our time have no other use nor end of their learning but their table-talk. But God knoweth they have gotten little that have only this discoursing gift: for, though like empty vessels they sound loud when a man knocks upon their outsides, yet if you pierce into them, you shall find that they are full of nothing but wind."[66]

Lord Burghley, wasting not a breath, tersely instructs the Earl of Rutland in things worthy of observation. Among these are frontier towns, with what size garrison they are maintained, etc.; what noblemen live in each province, by what trade each city is supported. At Court, what are the natural dispositions of the king and his brothers and sisters, what is the king's diet, etc. "Particularly for yourself, being a nobleman, how noblemen do keep their wives, their children, their estates; how they provide for their younger children; how they keep the household for diet," and so on.[67]

So much for the attitude of the first "Subsidium Peregrinantibus." It will be seen that it was something of a trial and an opportunity to be a traveller in Elizabethan times. But biography is not lacking in evidence that the recipients of these directions did take their travels seriously and try to make them profitable to the commonwealth. Among the Rutland papers[68] is a plan of fortifications and some notes made by the Edward Manners to whom Cecil wrote the above letter of advice. Sir Thomas Bodley tells how full he was of patriotic intent: "I waxed desirous to travel beyond the seas, for attaining to the knowledge of some special modern tongues, and for the increase of my experience in the managing of affairs, being wholly then addicted to employ myself, and all my cares, in the public service of the state."[69] Assurances of their object in travelling are written from abroad by Sir John Harington and the third Earl of Essex to their friend Prince Henry. Essex says: "Being now entered into my travels, and intending the end thereof to attain to true knowledge and to better my experience, I hope God will so bless me in my endeavours, that I shall return an acceptable servant unto your Highness."[70] And Harington in the same vein hopes that by his travels and experience in foreign countries he shall sometime or other be more fit to carry out the commands of his Highness.[71]

One of the particular ways of serving one's country was the writing of "Observations on his Travels." This was the first exercise of a young man who aspired to be a "politicke person." Harington promises to send to Prince Henry whatever notes he can make of various countries. Henry Wotton offers Lord Zouche "A View of all the present Almagne princes."[72] The keeping of a journal is insisted upon in almost all the "Directions." "It is good," says Lord Burghley to Edward Manners, "that you make a booke of paper wherein you may dayly or at least weekly insert all things occurent to you,"[73] the reason being that such observations, when contemporary history was scarce, were of value. They were also a guarantee that the tourist had been virtuously employed. The Earl of Salisbury writes severely to his son abroad:

"I find every week, in the Prince's hand, a letter from Sir John Harington, full of the news of the place where he is, and the countries as he passeth, and all occurents: which is an argument, that he doth read and observe such things as are remarkable."

This narrative was one of the chief burdens of a traveller. Gilbert Talbot is no sooner landed in Padua than he must write to his impatient parents and excuse himself for the lack of that "Relation." "We fulfil your honour's commaundement in wrytynge the discourse of our travayle which we would have sent with thes letres but it could not be caryed so conveniently with them, as it may be with the next letres we wryte."[74] Francis Davison, the Secretary's son, could not get on, somehow, with his "Relation of Tuscany." He had been ill, he writes at first; his tutor says that the diet of Italy—"roots, salads, cheese and such like cheap dishes"—"Mr Francis can in no wise digest," and after that, he is too worried by poverty. In reply to his father's complaints of his extravagance, he declares: "My promised relation of Tuscany your last letter hath so dashed, as I am resolved not to proceed withal."[75] The journal of Richard Smith, Gentleman, who accompanied Sir Edward Unton into Italy in 1563, shows how even an ordinary man, not inclined to writing, conscientiously tried to note the fortifications and fertility of each province, whether it was "marvellous barren" or "stood chiefly upon vines"; the principal commodities, and the nature of the inhabitants: "The people (on the Rhine) are very paynefull and not so paynefull as rude and sluttyshe." "They are well faced women in most places of this land, and as ill-bodied."[76]

Besides writing his observations, the traveller laboured earnestly at modern languages. Many and severe were the letters Cecil wrote to his son Thomas in Paris on the subject of settling to his French. For Thomas's tutor had difficulties in keeping his pupil from dog-fights, horses and worse amusements in company of the Earl of Hertford, who was a great hindrance to Thomas's progress in the language.[77] Francis Davison hints that his tour was by no means a pleasure trip, what with studying Italian, reading history and policy, observing and writing his "Relation." Indeed, as Lipsius pointed out, it was not easy to combine the life of a traveller with that of a scholar, "the one being of necessitie in continual motion, care and business, the other naturally affecting ease, safety and quietness,"[78] but still, by avoiding Englishmen, according to our "Directions," and by doggedly conversing with the natives, one might achieve something.

To live in the household of a learned foreigner, as Robert Sidney did with Sturm, or Henry Wotton with Hugo Blotz, was of course especially desirable. For there were still, in the Elizabethans, remnants of that ardent sociability among humanists which made Englishmen traverse dire distances of sea and land to talk with some scholar on the Rhine—that fraternizing spirit which made Cranmer fill Lambeth Palace with Martin Bucers; and Bishop Gardiner, meanwhile, complain from the Tower not only of "want of books to relieve my mind, but want of good company—the only solace in this world."[79] It was still as much of a treat to see a wise man as it was when Ascham loitered in every city through which he passed, to hear lectures, or argue about the proper pronunciation of Greek; until he missed his dinner, or found that his party had ridden out of town.[80] Advice to travellers is full of this enthusiasm. Essex tells Rutland "your Lordship should rather go an hundred miles to speake with one wise man, than five miles to see a fair town." Stradling, translating Lipsius, urges the Earl of Bedford to "shame not or disdaine not to intrude yourself into their familiarity." "Talk with learned men, we unconsciously imitate them, even as they that walke in the sun only for their recreation, are colored therewith and sunburnt; or rather and better as they that staying a while in the Apothecarie shop, til their confections be made, carrie away the smell of the sweet spices even in their garments."[81]

There are signs that the learned men were not always willing to shine upon admiring strangers who burst in upon them. The renowned Doctor Zacharias Ursinus at Heidelberg marked on his doorway these words: "My friend, whoever you are, if you come here, please either go away again, or give me some help in my studies."[82] Sidney foresees the difficulty his brother may have: "How shall I get excellent men to take paines to speake with me? Truly, in few words: either much expense or much humbleness."[83]

If one had not the means to live with famous scholars, it was a good plan to take up lodgings with an eminent bookseller. For statesmen, advocates and other sorts of great men came to the shop, from whose talk much could be learned. By and by some occasion would arise for insinuating oneself into familarity and acquaintance with these personages, and perhaps, if some one of them, "non indoctus," intended journeying to another city, he might allow you to attach yourself to him.[84]

Of course, for observation and experience, there was no place so advantageous as the household of an ambassador, if one was fortunate enough to win an entry there. The English Ambassador in France generally had a burden of young gentlemen more or less under his care. Sometimes they were lodged independently in Paris, but many belonged to his train, and had meat and drink for themselves, their servants and their horses, at the ambassador's expense.

Sir Amias Paulet's Letter-Book of 1577-8 testifies that an ambassador's cares were considerably augmented by writing reports to parents. Mr Speake is assured that "although I dwell far from Paris, yet I am not unacquainted with your sonne's doing in Paris, and cannot commend him enough to you as well for his diligence in study as for his honest and quiet behaviour, and I dare assure you that you may be bold to trust him as well for the order of his expenses, as for his government otherwise."[85] Mr Argall, whose brother could not be taken into Paulet's house, has to be soothed as well as may be by a letter.[86] Mr Throckmorton, after questionable behaviour, is sent home to his mother under excuse of being bearer of a letter to England. "His mother prayeth that his coming over may seeme to proceed of his owne request, because the Queen shall not be offended with it." His mother "hath promised to gett him lycence to travil into Italie." But, says Paulet, "He may not goe into Italie withoute the companie of some honest and wyse man, and so I have tould him, and in manie other things have dealt very playnely with him."[87]

Among these troublesome charges of Paulet's was Francis Bacon. But to his father, the Lord Keeper, Paulet writes only that all is well, and that his son's servant is particularly honest, diligent, discreet and faithful, and that Paulet is thankful for his "good and quiet behaviour in my house"—a fact which appears exceptional.

Sir Dudley Carleton, as Ambassador to Venice, was also pursued by ambitious fathers.[88] Sir Rowland Lytton Chamberlain writes to Carleton, begs only "that his son might be in your house, and that you would a little train him and fashion him to business. For I perceive he means to make him a statesman, and is very well persuaded of him, ... like a very indulgent father.... If you can do it conveniently, it will be a favour; but I know what a business it is to have the breaking of such colts, and therefore will urge no more than may be to your liking."[89]

Besides gaining an apprenticeship in diplomacy, another advantage of travelling with an ambassador was the participation in ambassadorial immunities. It might have fared ill with Sir Philip Sidney, in Paris at the time of the massacre of Saint Bartholomew, if he had not belonged to the household of Sir Francis Walsingham. Many other young men not so glorious to posterity, but quite as much so to their mothers, were saved then by the same means. When news of the massacre had reached England, Sir Thomas Smith wrote to Walsingham: "I am glad yet that in these tumults and bloody proscriptions you did escape, and the young gentlemen that be there with you.... Yet we hear say that he that was sent by my Lord Chamberlain to be schoolmaster to young Wharton, being come the day before, was then slain. Alas! he was acquainted with nobody, nor could be partaker of any evil dealing. How fearful and careful the mothers and parents be here of such young gentlemen as be there, you may easily guess by my Lady Lane, who prayeth very earnestly that her son may be sent home with as much speed as may be."[90]

The dangers of travel were of a nature to alarm mothers. As well as Catholics, there were shipwrecks, pirates, and highway robbers. Moors and Turks lay waiting "in a little port under the hill," to take passenger vessels that went between Rome and Naples. "If we had come by daye as we did by night, we had bin all taken slaves."[91] In dark strait ways up the sides of mountains, or on some great heath in Prussia, one was likely to meet a horseman "well furnyshed with daggs (pistols), who myght well be called a Swarte Ritter—his face was as black as a devill in a playe."[92] Inns were death-traps. A man dared not make any display of money for fear of being murdered in the night.[93] It was wiser to disguise himself as a humble country boy and gall his feet by carrying all his gold in his boots. Even if by these means he escaped common desperadoes, he might easily offend the deadly University students, as did the eldest son of Sir Julius Caesar, slain in a brawl in Padua,[94] or like the Admirable Crichton, stabbed by his noble pupil in a dark street, bleed away his life in lonely lodgings.[95] Still more dangerous were less romantic ills, resulting from strange diet and the uncleanliness of inns. It was a rare treat to have a bed to oneself. More probably the traveller was obliged to share it with a stranger of disagreeable appearance, if not of disposition.[96] At German ordinaries "every travyler must syt at the ordinary table both master and servant," so that often they were driven to sit with such "slaves" that in the rush to get the best pieces from the common dish in the middle of the table, "a man wold abhor to se such fylthye hands in his dish."[97] Many an eager tourist lay down with small-pox before he had seen anything of the world worth mentioning, or if he gained home, brought a broken constitution with him. The third Lord North was ill for life because of the immoderate quantities of hot treacle he consumed in Italy, to avoid the plague.[98]

But it was not really the low material dangers of small-pox, quartain ague, or robbers which troubled the Elizabethan. Such considerations were beneath his heroical temper. Sir Edward Winsor, warned against the piratical Gulf of Malta, writes: "And for that it should not be said an Englishman to come so far to see Malta, and to have turned backe againe, I determined rather making my sepulker of that Golfe."[99] It was the sort of danger that weakened character which made people doubt the benefits of travel. So far we have not mentioned in our description of the books addressed to travellers any of the reminders of the trials of Ulysses, and dark warnings against the "Siren-songs of Italy." Since they were written at the same time with the glowing orations in praise of travel, it might be well to consider them before we go farther.

* * * * *



CHAPTER III

SOME CYNICAL ASPERSIONS UPON THE BENEFITS OF TRAVEL

The traveller newly returned from foreign lands was a great butt for the satirists. In Elizabethan times his bows and tremendous politeness, his close-fitting black clothes from Venice, his French accent, his finicky refinements, such as perfumes and pick-tooths, were highly offensive to the plain Englishman. One was always sure of an appreciative audience if he railed at the "disguised garments and desperate hats" of the "affectate traveller" how; his attire spoke French or Italian, and his gait cried "behold me!" how he spoke his own language with shame and loathing.[100] "You shall see a dapper Jacke, that hath beene but over at Deepe,[101] wring his face round about, as a man would stir up a mustard-pot, and talke English through the teeth, like ... Monsieur Mingo de Moustrap."[102] Nash was one of the best at describing some who had lived in France for half-a-dozen years, "and when they came home, they have hyd a little weerish leane face under a broad French hat, kept a terrible coyle with the dust in the streete in their long cloaks of gray paper, and spoke English strangely. Naught else have they profited by their travell, save learnt to distinguish of the true Burdeaux Grape, and know a cup of neate Gascoygne wine from wine of Orleance; yea, and peradventure this also, to esteeme of the poxe as a pimple, to weare a velvet patch on their face, and walke melancholy with their armes folded."[103]

The Frenchified traveller came in for a good share of satire, but darker things were said of the Italianate Englishman. He was an atheist—a creature hitherto unknown in England—who boldly laughed to scorn both Protestant and Papist. He mocked the Pope, railed on Luther, and liked none, but only himself.[104] "I care not," he said, "what you talk to me of God, so as I may have the prince and the laws of the realm on my side."[105] In politics he allied himself with the Papists, they being more of his way of living than the Puritans, but he was faithless to all parties.[106] In private life he was vicious, and practised "such villainy as is abominable to declare," for in Italy he had served Circes, who turns men into beasts.[107] "But I am afraid," says Ascham, "that over many of our travellers unto Italy do not eschew the way to Circe's Court: but go and ryde and runne and flie thether, they make great hast to cum to her; they make great sute to serve her: yea, I could point out some with my finger that never had gone out of England, but onlie to serve Circes in Italie. Vanitie and vice and any licence to ill living in England was counted stale and rude unto them."[108]

It is likely that some of these accusations were true. Italy more than any other country charmed the Elizabethan Englishman, partly because the climate and the people and the look of things were so unlike his own grey home. Particularly Venice enchanted him. The sun, the sea, the comely streets, "so clean that you can walk in a Silk Stockin and Sattin Slippes,"[109] the tall palaces with marble balconies, and golden-haired women, the flagellants flogging themselves, the mountebanks, the Turks, the stately black-gowned gentlemen, were new and strange, and satisfied his sense of romance. Besides, the University of Padua was still one of the greatest universities in Europe. Students from all nations crowded to it. William Thomas describes the "infinite resorte of all nacions that continually is seen there. And I thinke verilie, that in one region of all the worlde againe, are not halfe so many straungers as in Italie; specially of gentilmen, whose resorte thither is principallie under pretence of studie ... all kyndes of vertue maie there be learned: and therfore are those places accordyngly furnisshed: not of suche students alone, as moste commonly are brought up in our universitees (meane mens children set to schole in hope to live upon hyred learnyng) but for the more parte of noble mens sonnes, and of the best gentilmen: that studie more for knowledge and pleasure than for curiositee or luker: ... This last wynter living in Padoa, with diligent serche I learned, that the noumbre of scholers there was little lesse than fiftene hundreth; whereof I dare saie, a thousande at the lest were gentilmen."[110]

The life of a student at Padua was much livelier than the monastic seclusion of an English university. He need not attend many lectures, for, as Thomas Hoby explains, after a scholar has been elected by the rectors, "He is by his scholarship bound to no lectures, nor nothing elles but what he lyst himselfe to go to."[111] So being a gentleman and not a clerk, he was more likely to apply himself to fencing or riding: For at Padua "there passeth no shrof-tide without rennyng at the tilte, tourneiyng, fighting at the barriers and other like feates of armes, handled and furnisshed after the best sort: the greatest dooers wherof are scholers."[112]

Then, too, the scholar diversified his labours by excursions to Venice, in one of those passenger boats which plied daily from Padua, of which was said "that the boat shall bee drowned, when it carries neither Monke, nor Student, nor Curtesan.... the passengers being for the most part of these kinds"[113] and, as Moryson points out, if he did not, by giving offence, receive a dagger in his ribs from a fellow-student, he was likely to have pleasant discourse on the way.[114] Hoby took several trips from Padua to Venice to see such things as the "lustie yong Duke of Ferrandin, well accompanied with noble menn and gentlemen ... running at the ring with faire Turks and cowrsars, being in a maskerie after the Turkishe maner, and on foote casting of eggs into the wyndowes among the ladies full of sweete waters and damaske Poulders," or like the Latin Quarter students who frequent "La Morgue," went to view the body of a gentleman slain in a feud, laid out in state in his house—"to be seen of all men."[115] In the outlandish mixture of nations swarming at Venice, a student could spend all day watching mountebanks, and bloody street fights, and processions. In the renowned freedom of that city where "no man marketh anothers dooynges, or meddleth with another mans livyng,"[116] it was no wonder if a young man fresh from an English university and away from those who knew him, was sometimes "enticed by lewd persons:" and, once having lost his innocence, outdid even the students of Padua. For, as Greene says, "as our wits be as ripe as any, so our willes are more ready than they all, to put into effect any of their licentious abuses."[117] Thus arose the famous proverb, "An Englishman Italianate is a devil incarnate."

Hence the warnings against Circes by even those authors most loud in praise of travel. Lipsius bids his noble pupil beware of Italian women: " ... inter faeminas, formae conspicuae, sed lascivae et procaces."[118] Turler must acknowledge "an auntient complaint made by many that our countrymen usually bring three thinges with them out of Italye: a naughty conscience, an empty purse, and a weak stomache: and many times it chaunceth so indeede." For since "youth and flourishing yeeres are most commonly employed in traveill, which of their owne course and condicion are inclined unto vice, and much more earnestly imbrace the same if it be enticed thereto," ... "many a time pleasures make a man not thinke on his returne," ... but he is caught by the songs of Mermaids, "so to returne home with shame and shame enough."[119]

It was necessary also to warn the traveller against those more harmless sins which we have already mentioned: against an arrogant bearing on his return to his native land, or a vanity which prompted him at all times to show that he had been abroad, and was not like the common herd. Perhaps it was an intellectual affectation of atheism or a cultivated taste for Machiavelli with which he was inclined to startle his old-fashioned countrymen. Almost the only book Sir Edward Unton seems to have brought back with him from Venice was the Historie of Nicolo Machiavelli, Venice, 1537. On the title page he has written: "Macchavelli Maxima / Qui nescit dissimulare / nescit vivere / Vive et vivas / Edw. Unton. /"[120] Perhaps it was only his display of Italian clothes—"civil, because black, and comely because fitted to the body,"[121] or daintier table manners than Englishmen used which called down upon him the ridicule of his enemies. No doubt there was in the returned traveller a certain degree of condescension which made him disagreeable—especially if he happened to be a proud and insolent courtier, who attracted the Queen's notice by his sharpened wits and novelties of discourse, or if he were a vain boy of the sort that cumbered the streets of London with their rufflings and struttings.

In making surmises as to whom Ascham had in his mind's eye when he said that he knew men who came back from Italy with "less learning and worse manners," I guessed that one might be Arthur Hall, the first translator of Homer into English. Hall was a promising Grecian at Cambridge, and began his translation with Ascham's encouragement.[122] Between 1563 and 1568, when Ascham was writing The Scolemaster, Hall, without finishing for a degree, or completing the Homer, went to Italy. It would have irritated Ascham to have a member of St John's throw over his task and his degree to go gadding. Certainly Hall's after life bore out Ascham's forebodings as to the value of foreign travel. On his return he spent a notorious existence in London until the consequences of a tavern brawl turned him out of Parliament. I might dwell for a moment on Hall's curious account of this latter affair, because it is one of the few utterances we have by an acknowledged Italianate Englishman—of a certain sort.

Hall, apparently, was one of those gallants who ruffled about Elizabethan London and used

"To loove to play at Dice To sware his blood and hart To face it with a Ruffins look And set his Hat athwart."[123]

The humorists throw a good deal of light on such "yong Jyntelmen." So does Fleetwood, the Recorder of London, to whom they used to run when they were arrested for debt, or for killing a carman, making as their only apology, "I am a Jyntelman, and being a Jyntelman, I am not thus to be used at a slave and a colion's hands."[124] Hall, writing in the third person, in the assumed character of a friend, describes himself as "a man not wholly unlearned, with a smacke of the knowledge of diverse tongues ... furious when he is contraried ... as yourselfe is witnesse of his dealings at Rome, at Florence, in the way between that and Bollonia ... so implacable if he conceyve an injurie, as Sylla will rather be pleased with Marius, than he with his equals, in a maner for offences grown of tryffles.... Also spending more tyme in sportes, and following the same, than is any way commendable, and the lesse, bycause, I warrant you, the summes be great are dealte for." [125]

This terrible person, on the 16th of December 1573, at Lothbury, in London, at a table of twelve pence a meal, supped with some merchants and a certain Melchisedech Mallerie. Dice were thrown on the board, and in the course of play Mallerie "gave the lye with harde wordes in heate to one of the players." "Hall sware (as he will not sticke to lende you an othe or two), to throw Mallerie out at the window. Here Etna smoked, daggers were a-drawing ... but the goodman lamented the case for the slaunder, that a quarrel should be in his house, ... so ... the matter was ended for this fitte."

But a certain Master Richard Drake, attending on my Lord of Leicester, took pains first to warn Hall to take heed of Mallerie at play, and then to tell Mallerie that Hall said he used "lewde practices at cards." The next day at "Poules"[126] came Mallerie to Hall and "charged him very hotly, that he had reported him to be a cousiner of folkes at Mawe." Hall, far from showing that fury which he described as his characteristic, denied the charge with meekness. He said he was patient because he was bound to keep the peace for dark disturbances in the past. Mallerie said it was because he was a coward.

Mallerie continued to say so for months, until before a crowd of gentlemen at the "ordinary" of one Wormes, his taunts were so unbearable that Hall crept up behind him and tried to stab him in the back. There was a general scuffle, some one held down Hall, the house grew full in a moment with Lord Zouche, gentlemen, and others, while "Mallerie with a great shreke ranne with all speede out of the doores, up a paire of stayres, and there aloft used most harde wordes againste Mr Hall."

Hall, who had cut himself—and nobody else—nursed his wound indoors for some days, during which time friends brought word that Mallerie would "shewe him an Italian tricke, intending thereby to do him some secret and unlooked for mischief." Then, with "a mufle half over his face," Hall took post-horses to his home in Lincolnshire. Business called him, he tells the reader. There was no ground whatever for Mallerie to say he fled in disguise.

After six months, he ventured to return to London and be gay again. He dined at "James Lumelies—the son, as it is said, of old M. Dominicke, born at Genoa, of the losse of whose nose there goes divers tales,"—and coming by a familiar gaming-house on his way back to his lodgings, he "fell to with the rest."

But there is no peace for him. In comes Mallerie—and with insufferably haughty gait and countenance, brushes by. Hall tries a pleasant saunter around Poules with his friend Master Woodhouse: "comes Mallerie again, passing twice or thrice by Hall, with great lookes and extraordinary rubbing him on the elbowes, and spurning three or four times a Spaniel of Mr Woodhouses following his master and Master Hall." Hall mutters to his servants, "Jesus can you not knocke the boyes head and the wall together, sith he runnes a-bragging thus?" His three servants go out of the church by the west door: when Mallerie stalks forth they set upon him and cut him down the cheek.

We will not follow the narrative through the subsequent lawsuit brought by Mallerie against Hall's servants, the trial presided over by Recorder Fleetwood, the death of Mallerie, who "departed well leanyng to the olde Father of Rome, a dad whome I have heard some say Mr Hall doth not hate" or Hall's subsequent expulsion from Parliament. This is enough to show the sort of harmless, vain braggarts some of these "Italianates" were, and how easily they acquired the reputation of being desperate fellows. Mallerie's lawyer at the trial charged Hall with "following the revenge with an Italian minde learned at Rome."

Among other Italianified Cambridge men whom Ascham might well have noticed were George Acworth and William Barker. Acworth had lived abroad during Mary's reign, studying civil law in France and Italy. When Elizabeth came to the throne he was elected public orator of the University of Cambridge, but through being idle, dissolute, and a drunkard, he lost all his preferments in England.[127] Barker, or Bercher, who was educated at St John's or Christ's, was abroad at the same time as Ascham, who may have met him as Hoby did in Italy.[128] Barker seems to have been an idle person—he says that after travels "my former fancye of professenge nothinge partycularly was verye muche encreased"[129]—and a papistical one, for on the accession of Mary he came home to serve the Duke of Norfolk, whose Catholic plots he betrayed, under torture, in 1571. It was then that the Duke bitterly dubbed him an "Italianfyd Inglyschemane," equal in faithlessness to "a schamlesse Scote";[130] i.e. the Bishop of Ross, another witness.

Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford, famous for his rude behaviour to Sir Philip Sidney, whom he subsequently tried to dispatch with hired assassins after the Italian manner,[131] might well have been one of the rising generation of courtiers whom Ascham so deplored. In Ascham's lifetime he was already a conspicuous gallant, and by 1571, at the age of twenty-two, he was the court favourite. The friends of the Earl of Rutland, keeping him informed of the news while he was fulfilling in Paris those heavy duties of observation which Cecil mapped out for him, announce that "There is no man of life and agility in every respect in Court, but the Earl of Oxford."[132] And a month afterwards, "Th' Erle of Oxenforde hath gotten hym a wyffe—or at the leste a wyffe hath caught hym—that is Mrs Anne Cycille, whearunto the Queen hath gyven her consent, the which hathe causyd great wypping, waling, and sorowful chere, of those that hoped to have hade that golden daye."[133] Ascham did not live to see the development of this favorite into an Italianate Englishman, but Harrison's invective against the going of noblemen's sons into Italy coincides with the return of the Earl from a foreign tour which seems to have been ill-spent.

At the very time when the Queen "delighted more in his personage and his dancing and valiantness than any other,"[134] Oxford betook himself to Flanders—without licence. Though his father-in-law Burghley had him brought back to the indignant Elizabeth, the next year he set forth again and made for Italy. From Siena, on January 3rd, 1574-5, he writes to ask Burghley to sell some of his land so as to disburden him of his debts, and in reply to some warning of Burghley's that his affairs in England need attention, replies that since his troubles are so many at home, he has resolved to continue his travels.[135] Eight months afterwards, from Italy, he begs Burghley's influence to procure him a licence to continue his travels a year longer, stating as his reason an exemplary wish to see more of Germany. (In another letter also[136] he assures Cecil that he means to acquaint himself with Sturmius—that educator of youth so highly approved of by Ascham.) "As to Italy, he is glad he has seen it, but cares not ever to see it again, unless to serve his prince or country." The reason they have not heard from him this past summer is that his letters were sent back because of the plague in the passage. He did not know this till his late return to Venice. He has been grieved with a fever. The letter concludes with a mention that he has taken up of Baptista Nigrone 500 crowns, which he desires repaid from the sale of his lands, and a curt thanks for the news of his wife's delivery.[137]

From Paris, after an interval of six months, he declares his pleasure at the news of his being a father, but makes no offer to return to England. Rather he intends to go back to Venice. He "may pass two or three months in seeing Constantinople and some part of Greece."[138]

However, Burghley says, "I wrote to Pariss to hym to hasten hym homewards," and in April 1576, he landed at Dover in an exceedingly sulky mood. He refused to see his wife, and told Burghley he might take his daughter into his own house again, for he was resolved "to be rid of the cumber."[139] He accused his father-in-law of holding back money due to him, although Burghley states that Oxford had in one year L5700.[140] Considering that Robert Sidney, afterwards Earl of Leicester, had only L1OO a year for a tour abroad,[141] and that Sir Robert Dallington declares L200 to be quite enough for a gentleman studying in France or Italy—including pay for a servant—and that any more would be "superfluous and to his hurte,"[142] it will be seen that the Earl of Oxford had L5500 "to his hurte."

Certain results of his travel were pleasing to his sovereign, however. For he was the first person to import to England "gloves, sweete bagges, a perfumed leather Jerkin, and other pleasant things."[143] The Queen was so proud of his present of a pair of perfumed gloves, trimmed with "foure Tufts or Roses of coloured Silk" that she was "pictured with those Gloves upon her hands, and for many yeeres after, it was called the Earle of Oxford's perfume."[144] His own foreign and fashionable apparel was ridiculed by Gabriel Harvey, in the much-quoted description of an Italianate Englishman, beginning:

"A little apish hat couched faste to the pate, like an oyster."[145]

Arthur Hall and the Earl of Oxford will perhaps serve to show that many young men pointed out as having returned the worse for their liberty to see the world, were those who would have been very poor props to society had they never left their native land. Weak and vain striplings of entirely English growth escaped the comment attracted by a sinner with strange garments and new oaths. For in those garments themselves lay an offence to the commonwealth. I need only refer to the well-known jealousy, among English haberdashers and milliners, of the superior craft of Continental workmen, behind whom English weavers lagged: Henry the Eighth used to have to wear hose cut out of pieces of cloth—on that leg of which he was so proud—unless "by great chance there came a paire of Spanish silke stockings from Spaine."[146] Knit worsted stockings were not made in England till 1554, when an apprentice "chanced to see a pair of knit worsted stockings in the lodging of an Italian merchant that came from Mantua."[147] Harrison's description of England breathes an animosity to foreign clothes, plainly founded on commercial jealousy: "Neither was it ever merrier in England than when an Englishman was known abroad by his own cloth, and contented himself at home with his fine carsey hosen, and a mean slop: his coat, gown, and cloak of brown, blue, or puke, with some pretty furniture of velvet or of fur, and a doublet of sad tawny, or black velvet, or other comely silk, without such cuts and garish colours, as are worn in these days, and never brought in but by the consent of the French, who think themselves the gayest men when they have most diversities of rags and change of colours about them."[148]

Wrapped up with economic acrimony there was a good deal of the hearty old English hatred of a Frenchman, or a Spaniard, or any foreigner, which was always finding expression. Either it was the 'prentices who rioted, or some rude fellow who pulls up beside the carriage of the Spanish ambassador, snatches the ambassador's hat off his head and "rides away with it up the street as fast as he could, the people going on and laughing at it,"[149] or it was the Smithfield officers deputed to cut swords of improper length, who pounced upon the French ambassador because his sword was longer than the statutes allowed. "He was in a great fury.... Her Majestie is greatly offended with the officers, in that they wanted judgement."[150]

There was also a dislike of the whole new order of things, of which the fashion for travel was only a phase: dislike of the new courtier who scorned to live in the country, surrounded by a huge band of family servants, but preferred to occupy small lodgings in London, and join in the pleasures of metropolitan life. The theatre, the gambling resorts, the fence-schools, the bowling alleys, and above all the glamor of the streets and the crowd were charms only beginning to assert themselves in Elizabethan England. But the popular voice was loud against the nobles who preferred to spend their money on such things instead of on improving their estates, and who squandered on fine clothes what used to be spent on roast beef for their retainers. Greene's Quip for an Upstart Courtier parodies what the new and refined Englishman would say:—

"The worlds are chaungde, and men are growne to more wit, and their minds to aspire after more honourable thoughts: they were dunces in diebus illis, they had not the true use of gentility, and therefore they lived meanely and died obscurely: but now mennes capacities are refined. Time hath set a new edge on gentlemen's humours and they show them as they should be: not like gluttons as their fathers did, in chines of beefe and almes to the poore, but in velvets, satins, cloth of gold, pearle: yea, pearle lace, which scarce Caligula wore on his birthday."[151]

On the whole, we may say that the objections to foreign travel rose from a variety of motives. Ascham doubtless knew genuine cases of young men spoiled by too much liberty, and there were surely many obnoxious boys who bragged of their "foreign vices." Insular prejudice, jealousy and conservatism, hating foreign influence, drew attention to these bad examples. Lastly, there was another element in the protest against foreign travel, which grew more and more strong towards the end of the reign of Elizabeth and the beginning of James the First's, the hatred of Italy as the stronghold of the Roman Catholic Church, and fear of the Inquisition. Warnings against the Jesuits are a striking feature of the next group of Instructions to Travellers.

* * * * *



CHAPTER IV

PERILS FOR PROTESTANT TRAVELLERS

The quickening of animosity between Protestants and Catholics in the last quarter of the sixteenth century had a good deal to do with the censure of travel which we have been describing. In their fear and hatred of the Roman Catholic countries, Englishmen viewed with alarm any attractions, intellectual or otherwise, which the Continent had for their sons. They had rather have them forego the advantages of a liberal education than run the risk of falling body and soul into the hands of the Papists. The intense, fierce patriotism which flared up to meet the Spanish Armada almost blighted the genial impulse of travel for study's sake. It divided the nations again, and took away the common admiration for Italy which had made the young men of the north all rush together there. We can no longer imagine an Englishman like Selling coming to the great Politian at Bologna and grappling him to his heart—"arctissima sibi conjunxit amicum familiaritate,"[152] as the warm humanistic phrase has it. In the seventeenth century Politian would be a "contagious Papist," using his charm to convert men to Romanism, and Selling would be a "true son of the Church of England," railing at Politian for his "debauch'd and Popish principles." The Renaissance had set men travelling to Italy as to the flower of the world. They had scarcely started before the Reformation called it a place of abomination. Lord Burghley, who in Elizabeth's early days had been so bent on a foreign education for his eldest son, had drilled him in languages and pressed him to go to Italy,[153] at the end of his long life left instructions to his children: "Suffer not thy sonnes to pass the Alps, for they shall learn nothing there but pride, blasphemy, and atheism. And if by travel they get a few broken languages, that shall profit them nothing more than to have one meat served on divers dishes."[154]

The mother of Francis Bacon affords a good example of the Puritan distrust of going "beyond seas." She could by no means sympathize with her son Anthony's determination to become versed in foreign affairs, for that led him into intimacy with Roman Catholics. All through his prolonged stay abroad she chafed and fretted, while Anthony perversely remained in France, gaining that acquaintance with valuable correspondents, spies, and intelligencers which later made him one of the greatest authorities in England on continental politics. He had a confidential servant, a Catholic named Lawson, whom he sent over to deliver some important secret news to Lord Burghley. Lady Bacon, in her fear lest Lawson's company should pervert her son's religion and morals, had the man arrested and detained in England. His anxious master sent another man to plead with his mother for Lawson's release; but in vain. The letter of this messenger to Anthony will serve to show the vehemence of anti-Catholic feelings in a British matron in 1589.

1  2  3  4     Next Part
Home - Random Browse