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A few years after the Restoration, M. Sorbiere published his Voyage to England. He travelled from Dover to London in the waggon, that he might not take post, or be obliged to make use of the stage coach; why the waggon was preferable to the stage coach he has not stated; possibly it travelled faster. In a subsequent journey he was two days going in the stage from London to Oxford. His lodgings, one pair of stairs near Salisbury House,' cost him a crown a week; he lived in good company, and has pre. served some interesting anecdotes of Hobbes, and of the Royal Society then recently established. M. Sorbiere does not represent our national character in flattering colours. The people," he says, * are very lazy, which I can very well affirm without offence, for they do perhaps glory in their sloth, and believe that true living consists in their knowing how to live at ease.' "They have a natural inclination to laziness, presumption, and a sort of extravagance of thought, which is to be met with in their best writings; but after they have subjected these inclinations, 'for which,' he candidly adds, "I do not blame them, because they proceed from the nature of the climate, they are endued with very excellent qualities.• When they have once obtained the necessaries of life, their idleness makes them careless of any more; their pride keeps them back from pushing after superfluities, which others take so much pains to pursue. They are haughty towards strangers, capricious and melancholy, very suspicious, and full of hollow heartedness. Their insolence, however, need not be regarded, for a worthy French gentleman, who travelled in the coach with him to Oxford, and si snubbed a student,” informed him, that there were no people in the world so easily frightened into subjection as the English; for as soon as ever you repress their insolence, you do the same by their courage, and all that they have is a sally of pride to cover their faint-heartedness and cowardly dispositions. They are mutinous subjects, and yet may easily be brought to any thing, provided you fill their bellies ; let them have freedom of speech, and do not bear too hard upon their lazy temper.' These remarks seem to have excited great indignation in England, and in no person more than in Sprat, who published, in consequence, some observations upon them, which both in bulk and in liberality were nearly upon a par with the work. The few descriptions which Sorbiere had introduced of the scenery and costume of England excite his wonder and contempt; and he sneers at him for speaking romantically of the valleys, the hills, and the hedges of Kent;' for Sprat, though the friend of Cowley, was incapable of conceiving that such things could excite pleasure or admiration. The Frenchman had affirmed that “there was a mixture of all sorts of government in the composition of our state ;' «notwithstanding,' says the courtly churchman,
YOL, XY, NO. XIX.
that we have so many acts of parliament that devolve the whole power on the crown! He had censured the irregularities of the English drama, and Sprat in return censures him for his ignorance, such irregularities being the exploded errors of Elizabeth's reign, and laughed at by the improved taste of Charles II. 'I,' he adds, “ might as justly impute the vile absurdities that are to be found in Amadis de Gaul to M. de Corneille, De Scudery, De Chapelain, De Voiture, and the rest of the famous modern French wits. Sorbiere's book drew upon him a more serious notice-he was banished for it to the city of Nantes by an order under the king's signet.
The first article in the Harleian Collection of Voyages is an account of England, said to be translated from the manuscript of D. Manuel Gonzalez, a Portuguese merchant; this has been reprinted in Mr. Pinkerton's collection, without any suspicion of its authenticity ; but it is manifestly the work of an Englishman, not improbably of Defoe. The · Londres' of M. Grosley appeared at the beginning of the present reign. His English, his credulity, and his
mistakes may frequently excite a smile; while on the other hand the occasional wisdom of his remarks, the felicity of his language, and the good spirit and good temper which pervade the book, conciliate the reader's good will, even when they do not command his respect. His English is not a little curious, the light, he tells us, which our great church windows admit, is nécessaire sans doute sous un ciel communément, embrumé, mais éblouissante dans les glorious dai.' He describes the fashionacle amusement of le boutingrin,'-and in the letter of his correspondent, M. Condamine, we learn that the boys in London will sometimes call a Frenchman son babitch. Le tost, M. Grosley informs us, “ is that part of the day in England in which, when the cloth is removed after dinner, when the ladies have retired, and when the dining-room has been suffisamment garnie de pots-de-chambre, chacun, les coudes sur la table, se faisant passer de l'un à l'autre les bouteilles, boit et arrange l'état. When the members in the House of Commons would direct the attention of the opposite party to what is said in the debate, they exclaim Ya! ya! and the orator of the House is called in English Le Spik. Our language seems to consist wholly of monosyllables ; for however long the word may be, the first syllable only is strongly pronounced, and the rest of the word, halfeaten, dies between the teeth. By way of illustrating this remark, he tells us, in another place, that the English pronounced the name of Cromwell as though it were spelt Caramuel. In this point, however, there were great hopes of us, every person learnt French, our villanous native tongue would soon be removed—bientôt le Franfois sera par choix la langue du peuple Anglois. John Bull Heing thus disposed to parley-vous, M. Grosley no doubt hoped that the general introduction of a sprightlier form of speech might counteract the predominant melancholy of the nation-cette triste affection, the causes of which he makes the subject of deep and serious inquiry : they were to be found, he thinks, in our fogs ; in the humidity of our climate; in our beef, which, being mingled in the stomach with beer, must produce a heavy and viscous chyle, which can only convey bilious and melancholic juices to the brain. Pit-coal is another cause of English melancholy; and our method of observing Sunday after the Judaical manner is a certain specific for making a melancholy people. In proof of this he relates, that a young English officer, with whom he travelled from Ham to Calais, refused to sing a song one Sunday, because it was not the proper day; and in like manner refused to sing a psalm, because it was not the proper place: good proof that the English are a melancholy nation! Very possibly, he thinks, this melancholy making the people habitually indifferent to life may have contributed greatly to their military exploits. So prone are they indeed to suicide, that there is a particular prayer in the Liturgy against it. High balustrades are placed upon all the bridges to prevent it, and the banks of the Thames are, as far as possible, carefully blocked up: yet he himself saw eight and twenty sculls taken up from that part of the river where the new bridge was then building; and as this was a chance sample of the whole river, if eight and twenty were found in that line, the bed of the Thames may be said to be paved with them!
Perhaps this extraordinary assertion may have originated in ignorance of the language, and in that improper license of speech wherein travellers and story-tellers are apt to indulge, expressing themselves as having seen that of which they have only read. There are persons who take a mischievous pleasure in giving false information to such travellers as are collecting materials for a * Tour,' with less judgment than industry. Instances of this may be found in the splendid quartos of living authors; and M. Grosley seems occasionally to have been deceived in this manner. Indeed if we mistake not, it was in a first edition of his work that a charge of scandalous immorality was brought against the Londoners;---whenever he approached the water-side, the writer said, men came running out of the public-houses and crying to him, Oars ! oars ! which word, not being well acquainted with English orthography, he interpreted into the very worst sense which the sound can bear, and concluded that the watermen were persons employed thus coarsely and broadly to invite him into a brothel. The story of the sculls is perhaps of the same nature,--a mischievous friend may have told him that he had seen eight-and-twenty sculls lying at Blackfriars bridge, and he, taking sculls, like pars
in the wrong acceptation, may have fallen into the unhappy error of making himself the spectator and drawing the prodigious conclusion that the bed of the Thames was lined with human bones. It is beyond all doubt that he was sometimes thus wantonly imposed upon, or, to use a word which seems now to be naturalized, thus mystified.-For he tells us that mothers in England made it a part of the education of their children to take them to executions, and flog them when they returned, by way of imprinting the lesson upon their memory! And to exemplify the love of uniformity for which the English are remarkable, he tells us that a man having lost a leg by an accident, chose to have both cut off, that he might have a pair of wooden legs instead of an odd one. The public papers, he says, recorded this fact with admiration, and this foolish story is repeated as authentic, in some of the recent publications upon England! We have dwelt only upon the errors of this writer; but with no intention of detracting from him :-with all his credulity and his blunders,—and notwithstanding the presumption of writing an account of a country in which he had only passed two months, Grosley is an amusing and sometimes
a sagacious writer; a Frenchman would lay down his book with a kindly feeling toward the English,--and an Englishman may be well pleased with the temper and disposition of the author. In the
year 1782, Moritz, a Prussian clergyman, made a seven weeks' visit to England, and published an account of his adventures there. He came over with a warm heart, an ill-furnished purses and as large a stock of simplicity as Parson Adams himself. After remaining three weeks in London, he set off for Derbyshire, with a book of the roads and a map, Paradise Lost, no more linen than he could carry in his pocket, and four guineas. Of course he journeyed on foot; innkeepers were not so much accustomed to see pedestrians in those days as they are now; and he sometimes felt the hardship of his lot in being obliged to travel in a manner that exposed him to the scorn of a people whom he wished to respect. The inhospitable and even brutal manner in which he was frequently treated was perhaps in some degree occasioned by suspicion, and it is as much to the credit of his good sense as of his good nature, that he never, in a moment of resentment, casts any imputation upon the national character for the ill usage which he experienced. Being pressed for time on his return, he determined to take
part of the way,--a portion of his travels which is so curious, that it can only be given with due effect in his own words.
• This ride,' says he, "from Leicester to Northampton, I shall remember as long as I live.
• The coach drove from the yard through a part of the house. The inside passengers got in in the yard; but we on the outside were obliged
to clamber up in the public street, because we should have had no room for our heads to pass under the gateway.
My companions on the top of the coach were a farmer, a young man very decently dressed, and a blackamoor.
. The getting up alone was at the risk of one's life ; and when I was up, I was obliged to sit just at the corner of the coach, with nothing to hold by but a sort of little bandle, fastened on the side. I sat nearest the wheel ; and the moment that we set off, I fancied that I saw certain death await me. All I could do was to take still safer hold of the bandle, and to be more and more careful to preserve my balance.
• The machine now rolled along with prodigious rapidity over the stones through the town, and every moment we seemed to fly into the air ; so that it was almost a miracle that we still stuck to the coach and did not fall. We seemed to be thus on the wing and to fly, as often as we passed through a valley or went down a hill.
* At last the being continually in fear of my life became insupportable, and as we were going up a bill, and consequently proceeding rather slower than usual, I crept from the top of the coach and got snug into the basket.
650 Sir, Sir, you will be shaken to death!” said the black ; but I Aattered myself he exaggerated the unpleasantness of my post.
* As long as we went up hill, it was easy and pleasant: and having had little or no sleep the night before, I was almost asleep among the trunks and packages ; but how was the case altered when we came to go
down hill! then all the trunks and packages began as it were to dance around me, and every thing in the basket seemed to be alive, and I every moment received from them such violent blows that I thought my last hour was come. I now found that what the black had told me was no exaggeration ; but all my complaints were useless. I was obliged to suffer this torture nearly an hour, till we came to another hill, when quite shaken to pieces and badly bruised, I again crept to the top of the coach and took possession of my former seat. " Ah! did I not tell
you would be shaken to death ?" said the black, as I was getting up ; but I made him no reply. Indeed I was ashamed, and I now write this as a warning to all strangers who may happen to take it into their heads, without being used to it, to take a place on the outside of an English postcoach, and still more, a place in the basket!
Moritz, however, left England in perfect charity, notwithstanding his ill-treatment, and the adventure of the basket. Every thing which he saw seemed to impress him with a sense of the happiness of the English. The country appeared to him beautiful as Paradise, and he observed with astonishment that the roads in the vicinity of London were far more alive than the most frequented streets in Berlin. The footway in London, he says, paved with large stones on both sides of the street, appears to a foreigner exceedingly convenient and pleasant; as any one may then walk in perfect safety, in no more danger from the prodigious crowd of carts and coaches, than if one was in one's own room, for no wheel darg