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BETWEEN DISTANCE AND SYMPATHY: DR JOHN MOORE'S PHILOSOPHICAL TRAVEL WRITING

  • JOHN BREWER (a1)
Abstract

Dr John Moore's four-volume account of his Grand Tour in the company of the Duke of Hamilton was one of the most successful European travel books of the late eighteenth century. Moore's text, I argue, is a philosophical travel narrative, an examination of manners, customs and characters, analogous to the philosophical histories of the Scottish Enlightenment. Intended as a critique of the superficial observations of much travel literature, it argues for a greater degree of closeness between the traveler and the native, one based on sympathetic conversation rather than observation, but accompanied by a more distanced analysis, based on conjectural history, of the hidden processes that explain manners and character. Difference should be understood through a combination of sympathy and analysis that makes travel and its accounting valuable.

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1 Thus Hurd Richard in his Dialogues on Travel (London, 1767), 158: “The tour of Europe is a paltry thing: a tame, uniform, unvaried prospect; which affords nothing but the same polished manners and artificial policies, scarcely diversified enough to take, or merit our attention . . . It is from a wider and more extensive view of mankind that a just estimate is to be made of the powers of human nature” (original emphasis).

2 Appadurai Arjun, “Putting Hierarchy in its Place”, Cultural Anthropology, 3 (1988), 36–49, 39.

3 John Moore, who later became a distinguished soldier, achieved posthumous fame as Moore of Corunna.

4 For Moore's life see DNB; European Magazine and London Review, 17 (1790), Frontispiece, 5–6.

5 Brydone editions: eleven in London 1773–1807; four Dublin editions; Edinburgh, Perth; Amsterdam, Leipzig, Paris, Turin; New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Greenfield, MA. These and other publication figures are assembled from the catalogues on the British Library, the Bodleian Library, the Harvard Libraries and the Huntington Library, and from ECCO.

6 Batten Charles L., Pleasurable Instruction: Form and Convention in Eighteenth-Century Travel Literature (Berkeley, 1978), esp. 7780, 91–4.

7 View of Society and Manners in France, Germany and Switzerland, 2 vols. (hereafter VSMF) (London, 1779), 1: 12–13.

8 View of Society and Manners in Italy, 2nd edn, 2 vols. (hereafter VSMI) (London, 1779) 2: 304.

9 Critical Review, 47 (1779), 417.

10 VSMI, 2: 49–52.

11 Ibid., 1: 63.

12 Ibid., 1: 63, 359, 361; 2: 3–4, 427, 430.

13 Ibid., 1: 311.

14 Ibid., 1: 500, original emphasis.

15 E.g. VSMF, 1: 390.

16 VSMI, 1: 265–6, 334–9, 341.

17 Ibid., 2: 30–33.

18 VSMF, 2: 427.

19 VSMI, 1: 411.

20 VSMF, 1: 73–4.

21 Ibid., 2: 156 et seq., 207.

22 VSMI, 1: 54, 39–214.

23 Ibid., 1: 214.

24 Josiah Tucker, Instructions for Travellers (Dublin, 1758), 15.

25 Ibid., 15.

26 Sharp Samuel, Letters from Italy, describing the customs and manners of that country, in the years 1765 and 1766, to which is annexed an admonition to Gentlemen who pass the Alps in their Tour through Italy (London, 1767).

27 Stevens Sacheverell, Miscellaneous Remarks Made on the Spot in a late Seven Years Tour through France, Italy, Germany and Holland (n.d., London), dedication.

28 VSMF, 1: 287–8. Moore here seems to be responding to the debate in Hurd's Dialogues on Travel, in which the virtues of domestic versus foreign education, and the question of the best age at which young men should travel, are rehearsed between “Locke” and “Shaftesbury”. Moore refers explicitly to Hurd's Dialogues, but on the whole his travel account is not directed to the question of the education of young aristocrats but to a more general understanding of the purposes of travel, though he does return to the topic in the final pages of VSMI (2: esp. 494–7).

29 Hume David, Essays, Moral, Political and Literary, ed. Miller Eugene F. (Indianapolis, 1987), 197.

30 VSMF, 1: 28–9.

31 Hume, Essays, 197, original emphasis.

32 VSMF, 1: 29.

33 Ibid., 1: 335–6.

34 Ibid., 2: 187.

35 VSMI, 1: 384.

36 VSMF, 1: 385.

37 VSMI, 1: 252–3.

38 Ibid., 1: 252.

39 Ibid., 2: 259.

40 On Cicisbeanism in general see Bizzocchi Roberto, “Cicisbei: Italian morality and European values in the Eighteenth Century”, in Findlen Paula, Roworth Wendy Wassyng and Sama Catherine M., eds., Italy's Eighteenth Century: Gender and Culture in the Age of the Grand Tour (Stanford, 2009), 3558; Chard Chloe, Pleasure and Guilt on the Grand Tour (Manchester, 1999), 91–3, 128–30, 237–8.

41 VSMI, 1: 460.

42 Ibid., 1: 472. More than a generation later Samuel Rogers made the same point in his best-selling poem Italy (London, 1838), 159.

43 Ibid., 2: 418.

44 The entire discussion is at Ibid., 2: 408–20.

45 Ibid., 2: 416.

46 VSMF, 2: 322–3.

47 Chard, Pleasure and Guilt; Luzzi Joseph, “Italy without Italians: Literary Origins of a Romantic Myth”, Modern Language Notes, 117 (2002), 4883; Moe Nelson, The View from Vesuvius: Italian Culture and the Southern Question (Berkeley, 2006), esp. 13–84; Calaresu Melissa, “Looking for Virgil's Tomb: the End of the Grand Tour and the Cosmopolitan Ideal in Europe”, in Elsner J. and Rubies J. P., eds., Voyages and Visions: Towards a Cultural Theory of Travel (London, 1999), 138–60.

48 Chard, Pleasure and Guilt, 218.

49 VSMI, 1: 287.

50 Ibid., 2: 164. Cf. ibid., 130, 163.

51 Calaresu Melissa draws attention to this point in “From the Street to Stereotype: Urban Space, Travel and the Picturesque in late Eighteenth-Century Naples”, Italian Studies, 62 (2007), 189–203, 199200.

52 VSMI, 2: 314–15.

53 Ibid., 2: 449–50.

54 VSMF, 1: 70–71.

55 VSMI, 1: 459.

56 Ibid., 2: 496.

57 Chard, Pleasure and Guilt, 40–48.

58 VSMI, 2: 494.

59 Ibid., 1: 418–25.

60 VSMF, 1: 261.

61 Ibid., 1: 118–33.

62 Ibid., 1: 61.

63 Ibid., 1: 327.

64 Ibid., 1: 173.

65 VSMI, 1: 324–5.

66 Ibid., 2: 395–6.

67 Ibid., 2: 489–90.

68 Ibid., 2: 495.

69 VSMF, 2: 156 et seq., 207.

70 VSMI, 2: 497.

71 For a general discussion of this issue see Radcliffe Evan, “Revolutionary Writing, Moral Philosophy, and Universal Benevolence in the Eighteenth Century”, Journal of the History of Ideas, 54, 2 (April 1993), 221–40.

72 VSMF, 1: 84–5.

73 Home Henry, Kames Lord, Elements of Criticism, 2 vols (Edinburgh, 1765), 1: 95–6.

74 See n. 68 above.

75 VSMI, 2: 489.

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Modern Intellectual History
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