Page images

which we visited, and comprehending, under each town, the gardening and cultivation of its neighbourhood.

1. The advantages to be derived by an individual from travelling, with a view to his improvement in the knowledge of any particular art, may be included under the discovery of new principles or practices in that art, or the confirmation of such as are already received and adopted. Mere novelty of aspect, seeing the same objects or the same culture in a different situation, under the care of a different description of persons, and carried on by different machinery, will give rise to new ideas. A garden or farm exhibiting an inferior degree of culture on the whole, will often exhibit particular points of excellence worthy of adoption into the best systems. A practice which is comparatively new in one country may be old in another, and will there better exhibit its good or bad effects; or it may be more extended in one country than in another, and, for this reason, may there develope new principles and new consequences. To even a superficial observer, the defective practices and inferior results of one country will lend confirmation to the more perfect practices of another. Finally, in passing through countries exhibiting different kinds of culture, under different degrees of perfection, the traveller reviews what may be called a living history of practices, from the inferior to the most perfect, by which he will be enabled to assign to each its proper value.

The advantages to be derived by society in general, from the recorded travels of individuals, are so great as almost to comprise all that is necessary to the progress of civilisation. By statistical records, the results of particular laws and practices are shown on a grand scale; and, from minute details, the individuals of every particular country may adopt from every other country what is congenial to their wants and wishes. Nations, like individuals, can only know themselves by comparing themselves with other nations; and, for this purpose, descriptive intercourse is the nearest approach that can be made to actual travelling.

2. The knowledge required by the traveller should extend to all that has been done or written in his own country; and all that has been written in others, and especially in the country to be visited, on the subject of his pursuits. He should also possess a knowledge of his own country and that to be visited, in respect to the progress of arts and civilisation generally. Such, for example, as may be got from the best books on geography, in the extensive manner in which that science is now treated.

3. On the manner of viewing objects, and seeking after

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

knowledge, much of the benefits to be derived from travelling depends. The traveller, before he sets out, may have conceived the idea that what he has to see will surpass every thing in his own country; or he may have conceived a contrary idea, and that the only benefit he can derive from seeing other countries, is to make him thankful for his own. Both extremes are to be avoided; and the traveller should, in the first instance, proceed to examine and describe all the particulars of a country as a botanist would examine and describe a plant. The description of the country, or of the practices of any particular art in it, being completed in his mind, he may then compare it with those of other countries, marking the resemblances and differences. In doing this, he should be particularly careful in applying the terms good and bad to the practices or people of any country; because these terms, in by far the greatest number of instances, are merely relative. The original causes of all the grand differences which appear in the productions of the earth, animal or vegetable, are climate and soil. It will almost always be found that similar climates and soils, or, speaking geographically, similar latitudes, naturally produce similar animals and vegetables; and that the actual differences in the practices of nations living in the same latitudes, depend on different degrees of civilisation. Therefore, of two kinds of agriculture and national manners, each may be very suitable for its own climate and soil, and yet totally unfit for the climate and soil of the other; and though such agriculture or manners may be said to be bad, relatively to that soil, yet they are by no means bad of themselves, but actually good. Of all the obstacles to self-improvement which a traveller has to contend with, the greatest will generally be found his own preconceived notions. We, in Britain, are particularly subject to this infirmity: first, naturally, and in common with all islanders; and, next, factitiously, from our commercial intercourse with all countries. Finding most countries inferior to us in useful arts and manufactures, we are too apt to consider them inferior to us in every thing else, or to set little value on those things in which they are allowed to surpass us. The great use of travelling is to neutralise this feeling, which, perhaps, more than any other is the bane of particular and general improvement. An impartial and careful examination of other countries by a Briton, will discover to him that though they may be inferior to his own country in point of the useful arts and wealth, yet that some of them are superior to it in point of the fine arts and taste; and what would he say, if he were to discover that in others the state of civilisation and the condition of society evinced a more general diffusion of happiness?

4. In applying these principles to those parts of the Continent comprehended in our tour (figs. 1. and 2.), we shall find instruction derivable from gene2 ral novelty, particular points of excellence, and what may be called historical practice, or a view of arts and civilisation in different stages of their progress. 51 We shall find that though the tract passed over extends to above 12° of longitude, yet that it is included in 2° of latitude; that the general character of the 50surface is not materially differ







[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]




ent, that the chief rocks are limestone, and that therefore the soil must be characterised by that earth; that the climate must be nearly alike, and in consequence, that the same indigenous animals and vegetables must prevail. The domesticated animals and vegetables, and the native character of man, must also be nearly the same. The causes of variation in this tract of country will be, the difference of latitude, which though it is only one degree, yet still the more northerly degree will be the colder; the difference in geographical position relatively to Britain, which, being low and surrounded by water, will have a humid and temperate climate; and the difference in elevation, by which Munich being very high and dry, its climate will be cold and its atmosphere clear. Another cause of variation may be traced to the two varieties of man which inhabit France and Germany, and are considered by some naturalists to be permanent and distinct, and to the mixture of varieties which inhabit Britain.

Comparing this theory with what actually exists in these countries and in Britain, we find the general character of the Continental surface undulating with some hills, but few mountains; the soil, for the most part, calcareous, on a cal

careous subsoil; the plants chiefly herbaceous dicotyledones, grasses, and the amentaceous trees, as oaks, beeches, birches, &c., and coniferous trees, as pines, firs, and junipers. The artificial character of the domesticated quadrupeds may be considered the same, with some difference in their treatment at Munich, on account of the severity of the winter; the Dutch and Swiss breed of cows, the Flemish and English breed of horses, and the English and Spanish breed of sheep are found over the whole tract, and with proper treatment every where prospering.

The nature of the agriculture differs not essentially, but to a certain extent in the following points:-in the difference of latitude and of elevation preventing the culture of the vine, in the northerly degree in most places, and at Munich and





R. Danube








great part of Bavaria in the southern degree: in the open temperate winters of Britain admitting the growth of grass at that season; in consequence of which a great part of the surface is in pasture or meadow, and the country is subdivided into enclosed fields for the convenience of pasturing animals: in the clear warm summers of France and Germany ripening more early the corn crops, so as to admit of a second crop on the same soil, but at the same time burning up the grasses so as to render perpetual pastures rare, a disadvantage, however, which might be more than compensated by the facilities which it affords for destroying root weeds; and in the severe winters by which annual plants are destroyed, or the surface of the soil covered for two or three months with snow, by which field labours are interrupted, and cattle and sheep obliged to be kept in houses. The actual state of the agriculture of these countries, as compared with Britain, differs considerably, in some places, from defective skill and want of capital in the cultivators; in others, from the culture being of a different kind, as of vines; and, in most places, from the great division of property and the prevalence of the spade culture.

« PreviousContinue »