A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain
Britain in the early eighteenth century: an introduction that is both informative and imaginative, reliable and entertaining. To the tradition of travel writing Daniel Defoe brings a lifetime's experience as a businessman, soldier, economic journalist and spy, and his Tour (1724-6) is an invaluable source of social and economic history. But this book is far more than a beautifully written guide to Britain just before the industrial revolution, for Defoe possessed a wild, inventive streak that endows his work with astonishing energy and tension, and the Tour is his deeply imaginative response to a brave new economic world. By employing his skills as a chronicler, a polemicist and a creative writer keenly sensitive to the depredations of time, Defoe more than achieves his aim of rendering 'the present state' of Britain.
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At St Ives, neither of the two seas are above three miles off, and very plain to be
seen; and also, in a clear day, the islands of Scilly, though above thirty miles off.
From this 'town and port of St Ives, we have no town of any note on the coast; no,
not a market town, except Redruth, which is of no consideration, 'till we come to
Padstow-Haven, which is near thirty miles. The country is, indeed, both fruitful
and pleasant, and several houses of gentlemen are seen as we pass; the sands,
Port Patrick has nothing on it to invite our stay, 'tis a mean dirty homely place; and
as we had no business here, but to see the coast, we came away very ill satisfied
with our accommodations. But now having said thus much of the stupidity of the
people of Galloway, and especially on the sea coast, for not falling into
merchandising, fishing, &c. which would doubtless turn to great account : I must
premise two things, that I may not lead the reader into an error. 1. It is not so with
all the ...
Indeed in our attempt to come down to the southward by the coast of Tain, and
the shire of Ross, we should have been extremely disappointed, and perhaps
have been obliged to get a ship or bark, to have carried us round the Isle of Skye
into Loquhaber, had it not been for the extraordinary courtesy of some of the
gentlemen of the country. On the other hand we unexpectedly met here some
English men, who were employed by merchants in the S. (whether at London or
Edinburgh I ...
What people are saying - Write a review
This journal of a series of trips "circuits" around England in the 1720's is part travelogue, part witty examination of legends, fables, & "history, part economic catalog, and part survery of facts of England.
It's written by Daniel Defoe-writer, journalist, soldier, & spy. Although less well known than some of his other works, it's well written and worth the effort.
The book captures England on the cusp of dramatic change. England was emerging into peace and prosperity after decades of dynastic and religious wars. Defoe captures English life just at the beginning of industrialization.
While popular with social historians and economists for all the detail it provides about life in this period, Defoe's witty and direct prose make it an interesting read for anyone wanting to learn more about 18th Century England.
A Summary of Defoes Career
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