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Ir is amusing and instructive to see ourselves, as in a glass, in the accounts of foreigners. Persons cannot see themselves so well as they are seen by others. No nation has a higher opinion of itself than the English. Foreigners, however, take the liberty to speak of us as we do of them-as they find us; and though it may not in all cases be gratifying to hear what they say of us, it is always amusing, and often affords a valuable lesson.
Stephen Perlin, a French ecclesiastic, who was in England in the reign of Edward VI., and who wrote with all the prejudices of his countrymen, is extremely scurrilous :-"One may observe of the English," says he, "that they are neither valiant in war, nor faithful in peace, which is apparent by experience; for although they are placed in a good soil, and a good country, they are wicked, and so extremely fickle, that at one moment they will adore a prince, and the next moment they would kill or crucify him. They have a mortal enmity to the French, whom they conceive to be their ancient enemies, and in common call us French dogs-but they hate all sorts of strangers. It displeases me that these villains, in their own country, spit in our faces, although, when they are in France, we treat them like divinities. But herein the French demonstrate themselves to be of a noble and generous spirit." He afterwards tempers his abuse with some compliments, particularly to our females :-"The men are large, handsome, and ruddy, with flaxen hair, being in a northern latitude; the
women, of any estimation, are the greatest beauties in the world, and as fair as alabaster, without offence to those of Italy, Flanders, and Germany be it spoken; they are also cheerful and courteous, and of a good address." Of the country he says, "In this kingdom are so many beautiful ships, so handsome are hardly to be seen elsewhere in the whole world. Here are also many fine islands and plenty of pasture, with such quantities of game, that in these islands (which are all surrounded with woods and thick hedges) it is not uncustomary to see at one time more than one hundred rabbits running about in one meadow." He speaks, perhaps, in just terms, of what was a great fault in our national character then, and is even too much so now our fondness for drinking. "The English are great drunkards. In drinking or eating they will say to you a hundred times, I drink to you,' and you should answer them in their language, 'I pledge you. When they are drunk, they will swear blood and death that you shall drink all that is in your cup. But it is to be noted, as I have before said, that in this excellent kingdom there is no kind of order, for the people are reprobates, and thorough enemies to good manners and letters, and know not whether they belong to God or the devil."
Hentzner, the German traveller, who was here in the reign of queen Elizabeth, is far more candid, and rather laughs at, than censures us. He says, "The English are serious, like the Germans, and lovers of show: they excel in dancing and music, for they are active and lively, though of a thicker make than the French, they cut their hair close on the middle of the head, letting it grow on either side; they are good sailors and better pirates, cunning, treacherous, and thievish; about three hundred are said to be hanged annually at London; they give the wall as the place of honour; hawking is the general sport of the gentry; they are more polite in eating than the French, devouring less bread but more meat, which they roast in perfection; they put a deal of sugar in their drink; their beds are covered with tapestry, even those of the farmers; they are
often molested with scurvy, said to have first crept into England with the Norman conquest. In the field they are powerful, successful against their enemies, impatient of any thing like slavery; vastly fond of great noises that fill the air, such as the firing of cannon, drums, and the ringing of bells; so that it is common for a number of them, that have got a glass in their heads, to go up in some belfry and ring the bells for hours together, for the sake of exercise. If they see a foreigner very well made or particularly handsome, they will say it is a pity he is not an ENGLISHMAN."
Le Serre, who attended Mary de Medicis to England, when she visited her daughter Henrietta Maria, the queen of Charles I., and who partook of all the hospitalities of the English court, (whatever he might think) speaks of us in the most enthusiastic terms. Our ladies he describes as positive divinities, and the country and inhabitants generally, as worthy the highest admiration. To be sure, he was writing the description of a most splendid spectacle, of which he was the witness, where the people were all dressed in their holiday clothes, and as the same kind of ceremony attended the queen's mother, all the way from her landing at Dover, he may be said to have only seen the best side of us.
Jorevin de Rochford, another French traveller in the time of Charles II., says "This nation is tolerably polite, in which they, in a great measure, resemble the French, whose modes and fashions they study and imitate. They are in general large, fair, pretty well made, and have good faces. They are good warriors on the land, but more particularly so on the sea: they are dexterous and courageous, proper to engage in a field of battle, where they are not afraid of blows. And the honour of understanding the art of ship-building beyond all the other nations of Europe, must be allowed to the English. Strangers in general are not liked in London, even the Irish and Scots, who are the subjects of the same king. They have a great respect for their women, whom they court with all imaginable civility. They always sit at the head of the table, and dispose
CONTENTS TO VOL. IX.
Part I. Travels on the Continent and in England, by Dr. A. H. NIEMEYER. Translated from the German.
Part II. Travels in Hungary, in 1818, by S. F. BEUDANT, Member of many learned Societies. Translated from the French.
Part III. Tour over the Alps, and in Italy, by ALBERT MONTEMONT. Translated from the French. Journey from Egypt to the Western Coast of Africa, by MAHOMED MISRAH. Account of ALEXANDER SCOTT's Captivity among the Arabs of the Great African Desert. Major RENNELL'S Observations on the Geography of Mr. Scott's Route in North Africa.
Part IV. Narrative of a Voyage to India; of a Shipwreck on board the Lady Castlereagh; and a Description of New South Wales, by W. B. CRAMP. Recollections of Sicily, by COUNT DE FORBIN.
Part V. Russian Missions into the Interior of Asia: I.-NAZAROFF'S Expedition to Kokand. II.-EVERSMANN and JAKOVLEW's Account of Bucharia. III.-Captain MOURAVIEW's Embassy to Turcomania and Chiva. Translated from the German.
Part VI. A Voyage round the World, between the Years 1816-1819, by M. CAMILLE DE ROQUEFEUIL, in the Ship Le Bordelais.