Daily Archives: September 20, 2006

Item of the Day: Travels through Germany. Vol. I. (1768)

Full Title: Travels through Germany. Containing observations on customs, manners, religion, government, commerce, arts and antiquities. With a particular account of the Courts of Mecklenburg. In a series of letters to a friend, by Thomas Nugent. Embellished with elegant cuts of the palaces and gardens of the Dukes of Mecklenburg. Vo. I. London: Printed for Edward and Charles Dilly, 1768.


The following letters were committed to the press, exactly in their native simplicity. This, perhaps, has occasioned a few repetitions, and a recital of particulars, which may appear uninteresting to some readers. The author, however, on submitting them to public view, did not chuse to make any alteration in their dress; this would have too much the appearance of art; and letters to a friend, such as these, should discover none. They are the effusions of a heart warmed with sentiments of affection. The taste of readers is various; and what appears minute and trifling to many, is to others, at least, a matter of entertainment. The author’s design in going abroad, was to improve his History of Vandalia, by investigating things at the fountain-head. This has induced him carefully to study the various scenes of life, and the humours and characters of men, from the prince to the cotager; agreeably to the words of a very ingenious female traveler*, Pour connoitre au vrai le moeurs des pais, nous examinons les cabanes. If we view things in a philosophical light, are not the occupations of the farmer, the gardener, and the artificer, as instructive and interesting a subject, as plays, operas, and other fashionable entertainments? These the author, however, has not omitted, when they came in his way, merely in compliance with the prevailing taste. A traveler generally makes himself the hero of his piece, by reciting his hardships and sufferings . . . the author has followed the example of his predecessors; and if this has sometimes rendered him too personal, he humbly hopes for the reader’s indulgence. Though no poet, he is an admirer of the Muses, and has been naturally led to intersperse these Letters with several passages from our best writers, which helped to sooth some toilsome scenes, and, perhaps, will contribute to enliven the narration. This is all he thinks proper to mention by way of apology; the necessity of any farther preface is superseded by the beginning of the first letter.*Madam de Boccage.


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Filed under 1760's, Germany, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Travel