A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain : Abridged Edition (Penguin Classics)
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This book covers Britain in the early eighteenth century. It provides 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.
of England. It had formerly but one church, but upon the increase of inhabitants, and of new buildings in so extraordinary a manner, they have built another very fine church in the north part of the town; and they talk of erecting two more. This part of the town may indeed be called New Leverpool, for that, they have built more than another Leverpool that way, in new streets, and fine large houses for their merchants. Besides this, they have made a great wet dock,4 for laying up their ships, and
Colchester, before I came into it at Witham, he four good market-towns at equal distance from one another; namely, Rumford, noted for two markets, (viz.) one for calves and hogs, the other for corn and other provisions; most, if not all, bought up for London market. At the farther end of the town, in the middle of a stately park, stood Guldy Hall, vulgarly Giddy Hall, an ancient seat of one Coke, sometime Lord-Mayor of London, but forfeited, on some occasion, to the Crown. It is since pulled down
them; a gold mine at their door, and will not dig it. It is true, the reason is in part evident, namely, poverty; no money to build vessels, hire seamen, buy nets and materials for fishing, to cure the fish when it is catched, or to carry it to market when it is cured; and this discourages the mind, checks industry, and prevents all manner of application. People tell us, that slothfulness begets poverty, and it is true; but I must add too, that poverty makes slothfulness, and I doubt not, were
beauties whatsoever. Here they reflect beauty, and magnificence upon the whole country, and give a kind of a character to the island of Great Britain in general. The banks of the Sein are not thus adorned from Paris to Roan, or from Paris to the Loign above the city: the Danube can show nothing like it above and below Vienna, or the Po above and below Turin; the whole country here shines with a lustre not to be described. Take them in a remote view, the fine seats among the trees as jewels’shine
county is, as it may be said, fully employed, the people made rich, and the poor that are properly so called, well subsisted, and employed by it. Excester is a large rich, beautiful, populous, and was once a very strong city; but as to the last, as the castle, the walls, and all the old works are demolished so were they standing, the way of managing sieges, and attacks of towns is such now, and so altered from what it was in those days, that Excester in the utmost strength it could ever boast,