Front Page Titles (by Subject) conclusion: Concerning Travelling - Observations upon Liberal Education, in All its Branches
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conclusion: Concerning Travelling - George Turnbull, Observations upon Liberal Education, in All its Branches 
Observations upon Liberal Education, in All its Branches, ed. Terrence O. Moore, Jr. (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003).
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Every more important question relative to liberal education, hath (I think) been handled in this enquiry at great length; some questions, indeed, too minutely and particularly, were this treatise designed merely for such as only want hints. All therefore that remains to be treated of is travelling: And this indeed is a copious and important subject, that well deserves to be fully considered, and would require a volume by itself: We shall only suggest here a few observations upon it, which are indeed very obvious, but yet very little attended to in practice.
’Tis very plain that youth cannot be qualified for taking any advantageous notices of the state of learning in foreign countries, unless they be already very well acquainted with the chief branches of true learning, or the more useful sciences.
’Tis equally manifest, that without acquaintance with agriculture, manufactures and mechanical arts, they cannot be capable of making any useful observations for the benefit of their country upon these very important matters: And the same is likewise true with regard to commerce or trade.
’Tis no less evident, that they are not prepared for considering with intelligence the governments of foreign countries, their customs, manners, and maxims of policy, and the effects of different civil constitutions upon their respective subjects, till they have been considerably practised in reading history, and making political reflections: Unless they are well instructed in the nature of civil government in general, and the ends which laws and political orders ought to propose, they can no more profit by visiting foreign states than one unacquainted with the principles of mechanism, can by seeing engines and machines.
’Tis fully as conspicuous, that raw unexperienced youth are not qualified for gathering information from the conversation of knowing men, or for seeing into men’s characters and dispositions.
And to conclude, without knowing the state of one’s own country, none can judge how other nations stand related to it, or wherein their interests agree or jar and differ: Now it will readily be owned to be very dangerous to send youth, for the sake whether of languages or exercises, abroad to receive their first tincture, their first impressions and habits.—From these considerations therefore it is obvious, who alone are qualified for travelling to any good purpose, however promiscuously and indiscriminately all our young people of birth and fortune may be sent to travel about seventeen or eighteen years of age:—and what preparation, what qualifications are necessary for travelling? The false, the very pernicious taste our young travellers into France and Italy too often bring back with them, is strongly painted out, and very justly satyrized in a beautiful canto in imitation of Spencer, which travellers into these parts ought indeed to carry along with them, as a preservative against the infection they are there so liable to be tainted with. As to a proper directory for travellers, I know of none: some such thing beginning with reflections upon our own government, and the interest of our own country, and pointing out the ends which travellers ought principally to have in their view, with proper instructions in the different manners, customs and governments of the foreign countries our travellers more generally visit, is greatly wanting. But from Homer’s Odyssey a young man may learn what should chiefly be attended to by those who would learn the knowledge of men; for Homer certainly intended to give us the character of a wise traveller, a sagacious inspector into men and things, escaping many snares and temptations, and guiding himself through various dangers by his prudence and virtue, and improving in true wisdom by every incident in the person of Ulysses, as Horace twice tells us.
Ep. 2. l. 1.1
After one hath well digested Xenophon’s Cyropoedeia, a careful reading of one of the best of modern books, Telemachus’s adventures, will likewise be of great advantage; and to these the travels of Cyrus deserve to be added. But besides these, it will be proper, after acquainting themselves with the history, natural and moral, of the country they design to travel into, to read some books of travels, in which not merely buildings, pictures, or antiquities are described, tho’ these should by no means be totally neglected, but the policy, the commerce, the religion, the manners of these nations or states are laid open: Such as Lord Molesworth’s account of Denmark, Sir William Temple’s account of the Netherlands, Busbequii epistolae, and several other such treatises, wrote by men capable of taking large and just views of men and things, and versed in public affairs. Above all, our travellers ought to begin at home, and be initiated, by the assistance of a qualified guide, in a journey through their own country, into the truly useful way of travelling. And they ought to lay themselves out to get all the information they can about the countries they propose to see, by frequenting the conversation of those who have travelled into them, and made useful observations. In fine, we may safely venture to say, that till one is well acquainted with geography, ancient and modern, hath pleasure in reading history, and can draw solid instructions from it, and hath withal been accustomed to truly manly and useful conversation, he is not at all fitted for improvement by travelling: But if this be the case, then it is very evident what one must do to prepare and qualify himself for travel. On this subject, however, we did not propose to enter; and therefore we shall only add, that the education here delineated, is the proper one to prepare for travelling, and that travelling would indeed render it perfect.
F I N I S.
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[10. ]James Barclay, A Treatise on Education (Edinburgh: James Cochran, 1743), 217–18. George Chapman, A Treatise on Education, 4th ed. (London, 1790), appendix.
[11. ]Franklin identified the authors he consulted while writing the Proposals as Milton, Locke, Hutcheson, Obadiah Walker, Rollin, and George Turnbull, in that order. Franklin actually mistook David Fordyce for Francis Hutcheson. See Benjamin Franklin, Writings (New York: Library of America, 1987), 323–44.
[1. ][Horace, Odes, 4.4.33–34: “Yet training increases inborn worth, and righteous ways make strong the heart” (Loeb translation by C. E. Bennett). This is also Locke’s motto for Some Thoughts Concerning Education.]
[2. ][Horace, Ars Poetica, lines 141–42: “Sing, Muse, for me the man who on Troy’s fall / Saw the wide world, its ways and cities all” (the opening of the Odyssey).]