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tacles of extreme miserie : the wild beasts of mankind having broken in upon them, and rooted out all civilitie, and the pride of a stern and barbarous tyrant possessing the thrones of ancient and just dominion. Who aiming only at the height of greatness and sensualitie, hath in tract of time reduced so great and goodly a part of the world, to that lamentable distress and servitude, under which (to the astonishment of the understanding beholders) it now faints and groneth. Those rich lands at this present remain waste and overgrowne with bushes, receptacles of wild beasts, of theeves and murderers; large territories dispeopled, or thinly inhabited; goodly cities made desolate; sumptuous buildings become ruines, glorious temples either subverted, or prostituted to impietie; true religion discountenanced and oppressed; all nobilitie extinguished; no light of learning permitted, nor virlue cherished: violence and rapine insulting over all, and leaving no securitie save to an abject mind, and unlookt on povertic; which calamities of theirs so great and deserved, arc to the rest of the world as threatning instructions. For assistance wherein, I have not onely related what I saw of their present condition ; but so farre as convenience might permit, presented a briefe view of the former estates, and first antiquities of those peoples and countries: thence to draw a right image of the frailtie of man, the mutabilitie of what so ever is worldly; and assurance that as there is nothing unchangeable saving God, so nothing stable but by his grace and protection. Accept, Great Prince, these weak endeavours of a strong desire: which shall be Havays devoted to do your Highness all acceptable
service; and ever rejoice in your prosperity and happiness,
The Second of these volumes of Travels was by Sir Thomas Herbert, who has already been mentioned in this work, Vol. III. p. 248.
Locke, in his Explanatory Catalogue of voyages, says of these travels, that “they have deservedly had a great reputation, being the best account of those parts written by any Englishman, and not inferior to the best of foreigners; what is peculiar in them is the excellent description of all antiquities, the curious remarks on them, and the extraordinary accidents, that often occur.”
Sir Henry Blount was born at Tittenhanger, in Hertfordshire, in 1602, and educated at Oxford. On May the 7th, 1634, he embarked at Venice for Constantinople, in order to his voyage into the Levant, returned about two years after, became one of the Gentlemen Pensioners to Charles I. and was by him knighted 21 March, 1639. Anthony Wood says, “ He was esteemed, by those who knew him, a gentleman of a very clear judgment, great experience, much contenplation though not of much reading, and of great foresight into governments; he was also a person of admirable conversation, and in his younger years a great banterer, which in his elder he disused.” He died the gth of October, 1682, ætatis 80.* His two sons, Sir Thomas Pope Blount, and Charles Blount, are well
Wood's Ath. II. 7:2.
known: the lineal representative of the former is the present Lord Hardwicke, through his mother.
Wood says these travels were so well esteemed abroad, that, as he was informed, they were translated into French and Dutch; but Locke observes, “they are very concise, and without any curious observations, or any notable descriptions; his account of the religions and customs of those people, only a brief collection of some other travellers, the language mean, and not all of it to be relied on, if we credit others, who have writ better."
Sir Henry Blount commences his work with the following explanation of his views : “Intellectual complexions have no desire so strong, as that of knowledge; nor is any knowledge unto man so certaine, and pertinent, as that of human affaires : this experience advances best, in observing of people, whose institutions much differ from ours; for customes conformable to our own, or to such wherewith we are already acquainted, doe but repeate our old observations, with little acquist of new. So my former time spent in viewing Italy, France, and some little of Spain, being countries of Christian institution, did but represent, in a severall dresse, the effect of what I knew before.
“Then seeing that the customes of men arc much swayed by their naturall dispositions, which are originally inspired and composed by the climate, whose ayre and in Auence they receive, it seems naturall, that to our north-west parts of the world, no people should be more averse, and strange of behaviour, than those of the south-east: moreover, those parts being now posscssed by the Turkcs, who are the only moderne
people, great in action, and whose empire hath sa suddenly invaded the world, and fixt itself such firm foundations as no other ever did; I was of opinion, that hee who would behold these times in their greatest glory, could not find a better scene than Turkey: these considerations sent mee thither; where my general purpose gave mee four particular cares: first, to observe the religion, manners, and policie of the Turks, pot perfectly, (which were a taske for an inhabitant rather than a passenger,) but so farre forth, as might satisfie this scruple, (to wit) whether to an impartiall conceit, the Turkish waye appeare absolutely barbarous as we are given to understand, or rather another kind of civilitie, different from ours, but no lesse pretending: secondly, in some measure, to acquaint myself with those other sects which live under the Turks, as Greeks, Armenians, Freinks, and Zinganaes, but especially the Jews; a race from all others so averse both in nature and institution, as glorying to single itself out of the rest of mankind, remaines obstinate, contemptible, and famous: thirdly, to see the Turkish army then going against Poland, and therein to note, whether their discipline military encline to ours, or else bee of a new mould, though not without some touch, from the countries they have subdued; and whether it be of a frame apt to confront the Christians or not; the last and choice piece of my intent, was to view Gran Cairo, and that for two causes; first, it being clearely the greatest concourse of mankind in these times, and perhaps that ever was; there piust needs be some proportionable spirit in the government: for such vast multitudes, and those of wits so deeply malicious, would soon breede confusion, famine, and
utler desolation, if in the Turkish domination there were nothing but sottish sensualitie, as most Christians conceive: lastly, because Egypt is held to have been the fountaine of all science, and arts civill, therefore I did hope to find some sparke of those cinders not yet put out; or else in the extreme contrairietie, I should receive an impression as important, from the ocular view of so great a revolution ; for above all other senses, the eye having the most immediate, and quicke commerce with the soul, gives it a more smart touch than the rest, leaving in the fancy somewhat un, utterable; so that an eye witness of things conceives with an imagination more compleat, strong, and intuitive, than hee can either apprehend or deliver by way of relation; for relations are not only in great part false, out of the relater's misinformation, vanitie, or interest; but which is unavoydable, their choice, and frame agrees more naturally with his judgement; whose issue they are, then with his readers; so as the reader is like one feasted with dishes fitter for another man's stomacke than his owne: but a traveller takes with his eye, and ease, only such occurrencies into observation, as his own apprehension affects, and through that sympathy, can digest them into an experience more natural for himself, then he could have done the notes of another: wherefore I desiring somewhat to informe myself of the Turkish nation, would not sit downe with a booke knowledge thereof, but sather (through all the hazard and endurance of travel,) receive it from mine owneye, no: dazzled with any affection, prejudicacy, or mist of education, which preoccupate the mind, and delude it with partiall ideas,