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My good Lord,
The last I sent to your Lordship was so long, as it is no more than needful to give you a breathing-time before I send another : yet for the love I bear your Lordship I cannot be silent, being desirous both to satisfy myself and others how you prosper in your travels, and how you find yourself bettered thereby either in knowledge of God or of the world: the rather because the days you have already spent abroad are now sufficient both to give you light how to fix yourself an end with counsel, and accordingly shape your course constantly unto it. Besides, it is a vulgar scandal of travellers that few return more religious than they went out; wherein both my hope and request to your Lordship is that your principal care be to hold your foundation, and to make no other use of informing yourself in the corruptions and superstitions of other nations than only thereby to engage your own heart more firmly to the truth. You live in a country of two several professions, and you shall return a novice from thence if you be not able to give an account of their ordinances, progress, and strength of each in reputation and party, and how both are supported, balanced, and managed by the state, as being the contrary humours in the strength and predominancy whereof the health or disease of the body doth consist.
These things, my Lord, you will observe, not only as an Englishman whom it may concern to know what interest his country may expect in the consciences of his neighbours; but also as a Christian to consider both the benefits and blemishes, the hopes and dangers, of the Church in all places.
Now for the world, I know it too well to persuade you to dive into the practices thereof: rather stand upon your guard against them all that tempt you thereunto, or may practise upon you in your conscience, your reputation, or your purse : resolve that no man is wise or safe but he that is honest; and let this persuasion turn your studies and observations from the compliment and impostures of this deboshed age to more real grounds of wisdom gathered out of the stories of times past, and out of the government of the present state. Your best guide to these is the knowledge of the country and people amongst whom you live. For the country, though you cannot see all places, yet if as you
pass along you shall inquire carefully, and further help yourself with books that are written of the cosmography of those parts, you shall thereby sufficiently gather the strength, riches, traffic, havens, shipping, commodities, vent, and the wants and disadvantages of all places ; wherein also for your own use hereafter, and for your friends, it will be fit to note their buildings, their furnitures, their entertainments, all their husbandry and ingenious inventions in whatsoever concerneth either pleasure or profit.
For the people, your traffic among them while your learn their language will sufficiently instruct you in their abilities, dispositions, and humours, if you a little enlarge the privacy of your own nature to seek acquaintance of the best sort of strangers, and restrain your affection and participation from your own countrymen of whatsoever condition.
In the story of France, you have a large and pleasant field in the lives of their kings to observe their alliances and successions, their conquests and their wars, especially with us; their counsels, their treaties, and all rules and examples of experience and wisdom; which may be lights and remembrances to you hereafter to judge all occurrences at home and abroad.
Lastly, for government, your end must not be, like an Intelligencer, to spend all your time in fishing after the present news, humours, graces, or disgraces of the Court, which happily may change before you come home: but your Lordship's better and more constant ground will be to know the consanguinities, alliances, and estates of their princes, the proportion betwixt the nobility and the magistracy, the constitution of the courts of justice, the state of their laws, as well for the making as for the execution thereof; how the sovereignty of the King infuseth itself into all acts and ordinances; how many ways they lay impositions and taxations, and gather revenues to the Crown; what be the liberties and servitudes of all degrees; what discipline and preparation for wars; what inventions for increase of traffic at home, for multiplying their commodities, encouraging arts or manufactures of worth of any kind; also what good establishments to prevent the necessities and discontentments of the people, to cut off suits at law and quarrels, to suppress thieves and all disorders.
1." Let him sequester himself from the company of his countrymen, and diet in such places where there is good company of the nations where he travelleth."Essay of Travel, vi. p. 418.
To be short, because my purpose is not to bring all your observations to heads, but only by these few to let you know what manner of return your friends will expect from you; let me for these and all the rest give you this one note, which I desire you to observe as the counsel of a friend: not to spend your spirits and the precious time of your travels in a captious prejudice and censuring of all things, nor in an infectious collection of base vices of men and women and general corruption of these times, which will be of use only amongst humourists for jests and tabletalk; but rather strain your wits and industry soundly to instruct yourself in all things between heaven and earth which may tend to virtue, wisdom, and honour; and which may make yourself more profitable to your country, more comfortable to your friends, and acceptable to God; and to conclude, let all these riches be treasured up, not only in your memory (where time may lessen your stock), but rather in good writings and books of account, which will keep them safe for your use hereafter. And if in this time of your liberal traffic you will give me any advertisement of your commodities in this kind, I will make you as liberal return from myself and your friends here as I shall be able. And so desiring your Lordship’s pardon for this boldness, I commend your good endeavours to him that must either wither or prosper them; and so do most humbly take my leave, ever resting,
Your Lordship’s in all duty to serve you."
This is evidently the letter which the compiler of Stephens's Catalogue took for a letter addressed by Bacon to Buckingham; which it could not be: for when Buckingham travelled, he was Mr. George Villiers, and Bacon was not acquainted with him. It is not a copy, but apparently the original letter; for the seal remains: but the part of the last sheet which contained the signature on one side and the superscription on the other has been torn off. I have no reason to suppose that it was either written by Essex or addressed to Rutland, except that being a second letter to the same person, it comes in aptly between the last (which seems to have been a first letter), and the next, which is manifestly a third. I might have quoted almost the whole of Bacon's Essay of Travel, as containing suggestions substantially the same. But the resemblance is of that kind which may be sufficiently accounted for by the similarity of subject without supposing identity of hand. A nearer resemblance was however not to be
1 Lambeth MSS. 936, fo. 218.
expected, even if Essex's letter was founded upon a note of Bacon's : for that essay was one of Bacon's latest compositions, when his style had discharged itself of all peculiarities which were not his own.
The next letter comes from a collection of transcripts now in the British Museum,' made, says the Catalogue, by some person in the service of Sir Jervis Clifton. It is headed, "A Letter of Advice touching Travel, written to the Earl of Essex by a friend.” A slip of the pen, I presume: for in the transcript itself it is signed “Essex.” I add it merely to complete the set: for there is nothing either in the style or substance which would lead me to suspect in it any other hand than Essex's own.
you have required of me some advice now at the very instant of your going, I must not refuse you, though my want of leisure and health will make that which you shall receive from me little worth.
My first letter to your Lordship did contain generalities: my second was particular to direct you in course of study, and this shall only tell you what are the notes I could wish you to gather in your travel ; which being but a posting night's work after everybody is gone to bed, I desire may be private to yourself, and may serve to awake you in some things though not to instruct you in all.
When your Lordship comes into the country, I would wish you to observe the nature of the climate and the temperature of the air : for so you shall both judge of the healthfulness of the place and may have some inducement to guess at the disposition of the people: also to mark the condition of the soil, whether it be fertile or barren, mountainous or even, full of woods or champion. And to note the principal rivers, their beginnings and course, the straits and passages that do sever one province from another, and what their length and breadth is; the circuit of the diameter or length of the country ; how it is peopled and inhabited; what are the commodities with which it abounds, and what it vents; and on the other side what it wants and draws to
1 Lansdowne MSS. 238, fo. 158. The first half of the collection consists of copies of Bacon's letters, in the same hand in which the transcript of the Essays (Harl. MSS. 5106) is written, of which I have given an account in Appendix No. 2. See Works, Vol. VI. p. 535.
it from foreign parts; and what ports it hath, what shipping, and how their traffic lies; how their people are armed and trained; what fortified towns and castles, what enemies, what arsenals, what alliance and what known enemies the state hath; for these things will lead you to know whether any country be rich or poor, strong or weak. But above all things I would have you to understand the manner of government of the place where you are; where the sovereignty is,-in one, as in a monarchy, in a few, or in the people,-or, if it be mixed, to which of these forms it inclineth. Next, what ministers of state and subordinate governors, what counsel and magistrates. Thirdly, by what law or customs it is governed. And lastly, what is the execution of justice in peace and discipline in war.
If your Lordship tell me that these things will be too many to remember, I answer I had rather you trusted your note-book than your memory. If you object that some of these things being martial, others points of state, you shall not be able to collect them or judge of them, I must ask you whether you would not get a pilot in a strange coast, and guide in an unknown way. And so if where you come you seek after these things, you shall as soon find directors to guide you to them as to any matter of sport or vanity. The fourth thing your Lordship must seek in all this course is Industry: for as great difference is between it and idleness as between an actful sprightful man and a slothful, or betwixt a living man and a dead. The fifth thing your Lordship is to take care of is to direct that industry to good things; for else the more you do the more ill you do, and [the further you go] the further you go out of the way. The last is that you rather be endeavouring to do well, than believing you do well : for besides that all self-conceited young men do grow infinitely lame, when once out of opinion that they are wise and good enough they hold themselves pleased with themselves, they fall more backward in a month than they get forward in a year. This was written yesternight, etc. Your Lordship's affectionate Cousin,
In the last chapter I quoted the “Device made by the Earl of
i So in Ms.