Images of the Educational Traveller in Early Modern England

images-of-the-educational-traveller-in-early-modern-englandWhile educational travel was extremely popular among early modern Englishmen, the practice attracted extensive public criticism. Rather than examining travel itself, this book explores the vivid public images of educational travellers, their development and popularity, and the fears and prejudices in English society that engendered them. The first part of the book examines the medieval background of English travel abroad, the enthusiasm for educational travel among early modern Englishmen, and the progress of the public debate over the practice which essentially started with the publication of Ascham’s “The Scholemaster” in 1570. The second part of the book examines each of the seven major images of the educational traveller: the Italianated traveller; the atheistical traveller; the Catholic traveller; the morally corrupt traveller; the culturally corrupt traveller; and the foolish and lying travellers.

Published in 1995 by E.J. Brill, Leiden, Netherlands as part of Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History (Book 58), written by Sara Warneke, Ph.D. (1991) in History, University of Adelaide, who was at the time a lecturer in European History at La Trobe University, Bendigo.


“This seminal study should also be a treasure house for graduate students who are considering dissertation topics; also, it will provide them with a model for historical scholarship.” William T. Walker, “Sixteenth Century Journal”, 1995.

“..a comprehensive study…” Kenneth Bartlett, “Rivista di Studi Italiani”, 1997.

Sara wrote in 2000 This (very expensive!) book is still available and you can purchase it via DA Online Services. and she posted the first chapter on her website, which is shown below.

Traditions of Travel before 1570: Pilgrims, Students and Gentlemen

By frequent journeyings, thine shall be joys most rare.
Far through strange realms and courts thus shalt thou fare.
All kingly policies shalt thou learn there.1

Many precedents existed in medieval England for both the early modern enthusiasm for educational travel and the subsequent criticism of the practice. Despite the hardships and dangers of traversing the Channel and travelling on the Continent, hundreds of English men and women journeyed abroad in medieval Europe each year. This vigorous tradition prompted one chronicler to comment on the English people’s love of travel and the number of them abroad; “the peple of that londe is dispersede a brode thro alle the worlde, trawenge alle the worlde to be a cuntre to theyme.”2 Apart from diplomatic, merchant and military traffic, medieval Englishmen travelled abroad as pilgrims, knights and scholars. Pilgrimage provided many men and women with the excuse to indulge their curiosity about the world beyond England, nobles journeyed to the tournaments in France, and large numbers of scholars travelled to the universities on the Continent. Although travel for educational purposes was a well established practice for educated medieval Englishmen, these scholars were not the direct predecessors of early modern educational travellers. By the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries political conditions and the changing emphasis of education for the gentleman stimulated by the civic humanism of the Renaissance united to create a new type of educational traveller, a man who travelled not only for scholarly accomplishment but also to study the world about him to fit himself for service to state and prince. This traveller was the direct predecessor of the educational traveller of the late sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries. Many of these medieval and early Tudor travellers attracted public criticism, and some of the criticisms and images of pilgrims and, to a lesser degree, medieval scholars, reemerged in the public comment over educational travel in early modern England.

Pilgrimage is a good example of a practice that, although dangerous and costly, attracted large numbers of English men and women, noble and ordinary, throughout medieval English history. The English passion for pilgrimage began early. In his History of the English Church and People Bede wrote that by the late seventh century “many English people vied with one another in [making a pilgrimage to the holy sites abroad], both noble and simple, layfolk and clergy, men and women alike.”3 The three most popular destinations for English pilgrims, as they were for European pilgrims generally, were Jerusalem, Rome and St. James of Compostella in Spain.4 The Holy Land remained the most desired destination for pilgrims, but wars, cost and the sheer difficulty of the journey meant that Rome and St. James attracted more pilgrims throughout the centuries. It is doubtful that many English pilgrims could have emulated the Wife of Bath’s excursions to Rome, St James, and Bologna as well as her three pilgrimages to Jerusalem.5 Both G. B. Parks and John Allen have estimated the number of English pilgrims to Rome during the fourteenth to early sixteenth centuries. Their research indicates that between 75 and 200 English men and women journeyed to Rome in an ordinary year and as many as 800 in a Jubilee year.6 The records of the English Hospice in Rome reveal that many of these pilgrims, as Bede indicated, were of very ordinary status: tilers, cobblers, weavers, brewers, tanners and “rustics.”7 Nevertheless, it is probable that limitations of time and money made many English men and women, particularly those of humble status, plan a pilgrimage to a closer site than Rome; by the fifteenth century large numbers undertook the pilgrimage to St. James of Compostella in Spain. Records for 1434 show that the English authorities licensed pilgrim ships to carry over 2,600 pilgrims towards St. James.8 For a country of three million people or less before the sixteenth century,9 these figures indicate that substantial numbers of English men and women undertook a pilgrimage abroad. Many of these pilgrims found the journey itself as satisfying as the eventual destination. While journeying towards their main goal, most pilgrims took the opportunity to worship at the numerous shrines along the major pilgrimage routes. On the journey to Rome pilgrims satisfied both spiritual needs and worldly curiosities alike by pausing to pray before the hand of a miraculous virgin at Boulogne or before the head of St. John the Baptist at Amiens, or perhaps at the shrine of Our Lady of Rocamador in Guyenne, or before any one of the numerous holy places along the route. Such diversions not only satisfied the pilgrim’s worldly and spiritual curiosities, but they also provided him with ample material for exciting tales to tell his family and friends once home. No doubt, as J. J. Jusserand commented, the returning pilgrim fascinated many stay-at-homes; “he was a play in himself, a living story, he had on his feet the dust of Rome and or Jerusalem, and brought news of the ‘worshippers’ of Mahomet.”10

Church authorities continually taught that the object of pilgrimage could never be anything but spiritual salvation. Officially pilgrimage was an act of penance or thanksgiving. In the fifteenth century the English pilgrim William Wey listed ten justifiable reasons for embarking on a pilgrimage; these included the “virtue derived from the places visited, the indulgences granted for pious visits to great shrines, and the moral value of the sight of holy places and relics seen en route.”11 In keeping with these values Sir Robert Knolles obtained a licence to travel to Rome in 1389 for “the quieting of his conscience and the salvation of his soul.”12 At its most spiritually idealistic, a literal pilgrimage mirrored man’s lifelong spiritual pilgrimage towards grace and salvation. Although the prime motivation for many pilgrims was spiritual, less worthy motives also set some pilgrims on their paths – curiosity about the world beyond England, a desire to escape the routine of their lives, or by the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries merely a desire to take part in a pleasant social round. Undoubtedly, like Chaucer’s worldly Canterbury pilgrims, the promise of good fellowship and an entertaining journey encouraged many men and women to venture on a pilgrimage beyond England. A pilgrimage abroad provided for the majority of participants a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for adventure in both spiritual and worldly senses. Yet as man found his spiritual pilgrimage fraught with earthly temptations, so he found actual pilgrimage fraught with worldly pleasures and distractions.

As pilgrimage became increasingly popular across Europe after the eleventh century critics began to attack it as a practice that men and women corrupted with material or worldly desires. Some critics went so far as to imply that it was not the spiritual goals of pilgrimage that drew so many pilgrims on the road, but the temptations and distractions that a pilgrimage abroad offered. Criticism of the moral degeneration of English pilgrims abroad appeared as soon as large numbers of English men and women began to travel towards Rome. In 747 St. Boniface urged the English Church to,

forbid to matrons and veiled women the journey to Rome and the frequent halts which they make on the way thither and on the return. For the most part, they perish, few remaining pure. There are few cities in Lombardy or in France or in Gaul in which there is not an adulteress or a harlot of English race: which is a scandal and disgrace to your whole church.13
Six hundred years later similar “wenches” still plied their trade, trailing after their lovers, fat, lazy and false hermits who wound their slow and corrupt way to Walsingham.14 Religious reformers not only criticised pilgrimage as an excuse for the worship of images and for the Church’s practice of selling indulgences, many believed the final result of pilgrimage was only a journey towards laziness, vanity and idle living and the moral corruption of its participants. Some of the most vehement critics of pilgrimage in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries were the English Lollards, who particularly criticised the practice of pilgrimage for the moral corruptions of its participants.15 John Wyclif believed men and women should travel separately on their pilgrimages, for to travel in company was only to indulge in lechery.16 An early fifteenth-century manuscript, clearly Lollard invective, denounced pilgrimage because of the sexual depravity among pilgrims:

for comunely … pilgrimagis ben mayntenyng of lecherie, of gloterie, of drunkenesse, of extorsiouns, of wrongis, and worldly vanytes. For men [th]at may not haunt hore leccherie at home as [th]ei wolden, for drede of lordis, of maystris, and for clamour of ne[gh]eboris, [th]ei … go out of [th]e cuntrey in pilgrimage to fer ymagis, and lyuen in [th]e goinge in leccherye, in gloterie, in drunkenesse.17
Furthermore, the author complained, some men travelled abroad from a “grett wille … to se faire cuntreys” rather than from devotion to God or his saints.18

Critics also attacked pilgrimage for the avid curiosity in the world that many pilgrims displayed; perhaps their great wish to see far (or fair) countries drew them abroad rather than any devotion to a saint. Pilgrimage ‘accounts’ like Sir John Mandeville’s semi-mythical Travels only served to whet the curiosity of would-be pilgrims, and even genuine itineraries sometimes appeared to encourage curiosity; an itinerary of the late fifteenth century ended with the exhortation, “the further ye go, the more ye shall se and knowe.”19 The journey itself, not the devotional goal, became the object, and one of the general criticisms of pilgrimage was that it was nothing more than an excuse to travel abroad to satisfy curiosity. Thomas à Kempis criticised pilgrimage on these grounds in the mid-fifteenth century:

Many run to sundry places to visit the relics of the Saints …. Oftentimes in seeing those things, men are moved with curiosity and the novelty of sights, and carry home but little fruit of amendment; and the more so when persons run lightly hither and thither, without real contrition.20
The medieval Church taught that curiosity was a vice rather than an admirable quality. In medieval thought curiositas was a vice related to pride and sloth, and the temptation of curiositas generally referred to any morally excessive and suspect interest in observing the world, seeking novel experiences, or acquiring knowledge for its own sake. By the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries many believed the vice of curiositas directly threatened pilgrimage; a pilgrim’s curiosity about this inferior world might prevent him or her from reaching that “other land” of the Father.21

One of the most enduring images of the traveller, and certainly one of the most popular in early modern England, began in the medieval belief that travellers, particularly pilgrims, were habitual liars. An eighth-century critic of wandering clerical scholars complained that these vagabonds roamed from monastery to monastery, depleting both their host’s table and patience with their tale-telling:

Behold him now come from the Italian frontier, and a good fresh tale all about pilgrimage or captivity, entering the house with humbly bowed head, and lying hard till all the poor host’s poverty goes into the pot and on to the table: that host will be a well-picked bone in a day or two.22
By the fourteenth century English poets closely associated this vice of lying with pilgrims, and both Chaucer and Langland personified pilgrims as habitual liars. In The Hous of Fame Chaucer wrote that pilgrims travelled,

With scrippes bret-ful of lesynges,
Entremedled with tydynges. 23
Writing only a few years later Langland used very similar imagery:

Pylgrimis & palmers . plyghten hem to-gederes,
To seche seint Iame . and seyntys of rome,
Wenten forth in hure way . with meny vn-wyse tale[s],
And hauen leue to lye . al hure lyf-tyme. 24
By the early fifteenth century the belief that pilgrims were habitual liars crept into Lollard invective against pilgrimage. William Thorpe believed that if men and women “be a month out in their pilgrimage, many of them shall be, a half year after, great janglers, tale-tellers, and liars.” 25 The image of the pilgrim-liar continued well into the first half of the sixteenth century. In 1509 Alexander Barclay labelled pilgrims liars in his adaption of Sebastian Brant’s The Ship of Fools,26 and Thomas More’s rather lame attempt to defend pilgrimage in 1530 included an effort to defend the pilgrim from the popular charge of lying. More related the story of a worldly character who set out on a pilgrimage, more intent on seeing “Flaunders and Fraunce” than saving his soul, and who fully expected to find all the stories he had heard from fellow pilgrims completely false. Much to his amazement, the cynical pilgrim-cum-tourist found that not only were tales of pilgrims completely true, they were even modest in the face of reality. 27

Pilgrimage provided several images and criticisms of travellers that later re-emerged in the early modern debate over educational travel. Concerns about the opportunities for the English pilgrim to indulge in sexual licence while away from the stabilising influences of his or her home community were echoed in the natural concern of parents and moralists about the young student’s vulnerability to the fleshly temptations offered to him while touring the Continent. Straying from the narrowly defined ideal of both pilgrimage and educational tour through succumbing to a natural curiosity in the world and the new societies about them led to the condemnation of both pilgrims and educational travellers. If the pilgrim faced spiritual corruption, the educational traveller also faced moral, political and cultural corruption. The strongest image (or implicit criticism), however, which survived from the medieval into the early modern period is that of the traveller-liar. A popular concept in the medieval period, the identification of the traveller with the vice of lying survived into the early modern period to become one of the most popular images of the traveller, and the traveller-liar became a favourite butt of street jests in seventeenth-century England.

Education in medieval England had two principal goals – the education of the knight and the education of the clerk. In both these traditions travel abroad had its place. The English knight travelled to the Continent for the tourneying experience he could not gain in England. The medieval knight served his feudal lord and his king with his sword, and, as mimic battles, tournaments were ideal training and testing grounds for a knight’s military skills. The authorities periodically banned tournaments in England (for political reasons 28), and knights frequently travelled abroad for tourneying experience. Matthew of Westminster noted that it was customary for newly-made knights to travel to the Continent to show their mettle by feats of arms; at one time Henry III knighted eighty gentlemen who all went abroad to take part in tournaments.29 The splendour and excitement of French tournaments attracted English knights as much as the opportunity to test their military skills, for, as F. Warre Cornish remarked, the “colour of English chivalry was of a soberer hue than on the Continent.”30 Bored and impatient young noblemen, either waiting to inherit their land or with competent servants installed who managed their estates for them, travelled in search of excitement. Landless knights journeyed to the tournament in the hope of gaining a settlement. Tournaments eventually became more a social pastime, often held in conjunction with pageants and mummeries, than a sober practice of warfare. R. W. Southern notes that by the twelfth century the English nobility often travelled to the tournament as playboys and adventurers because they had nothing better to do; “they remained rootless and restless young aristocrats with no responsibilities at home.”31 After an impressively idealistic beginning the tournament degenerated into mere spectacle and pageantry, expensive, exclusive, a private diversion for the richest lords only.32 It is stretching the point too far to think of these tourneying knights as educational travellers; nevertheless, they do demonstrate the opportunity the medieval English aristocracy took of the excuse to travel abroad to the colour and excitement of the French court. Ostensibly participating in tournaments, realistically these nobles often did little more than indulge in an exciting and extravagant social round. Like the pilgrim, the opportunity to participate in the worldly pleasures and excitements available on the Continent corrupted the knight’s original purpose in journeying abroad.

Many scholars and students joined the pilgrims, knights, diplomats, merchants, businessmen and ordinary soldiers leaving medieval England to journey on the Continent. Many intellectually ambitious Englishmen travelled abroad to the famous centres of learning on the Continent. From the twelfth to the late fourteenth century large numbers of Englishmen seeking careers in either Church or state studied at the two major universities of Europe, Paris, famous for its teaching of the liberal arts and theology, and Bologna, the European centre for civil and canon law. Young men hoping to obtain a degree in medicine might travel to the school at Salerno, the chief medical school in medieval Europe. The confluence of large numbers of students from across Europe to the universities of Paris and Bologna resulted in the creation of ‘nations’ in both universities – collegia of scholars, masters and students that provided support for scholars from broad geographical regions. 33 While most universities were open to all free men without restriction, Paris was particularly notable for the welcome that it gave to men from across Europe. The major European universities thrived in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and their fame attracted many English students; Henry Hallam asserted that by 1200 Bologna and Paris were full of English students. 34 France and Italy were not the only destinations for English scholars; in the twelfth century a high proportion of the scholars who went to Spain in search of Arabic science were Englishmen.35 During the second half of the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries the number of foreign students began to ebb in the major European universities, particularly noticeable in the English-German nation at Paris where only a few students remained in 1383. The growing prestige of Oxford and Cambridge, division among the members of the University of Paris over the papal schism of 1378-1414, and the growing ferocity and extensiveness of the European wars at this time, especially between England and France, combined to keep many young scholars home. 36

Despite this decline in the numbers of English students travelling abroad, respectable numbers still attended the universities on the Continent during the fourteenth to early sixteenth centuries. This particularly applied to Italy, where the universities and academies retained or increased their prestige during the classical revival of the Renaissance. Bologna attracted numerous Englishmen in the fifteenth century; university records show that almost fifty Englishmen took doctorates in civil or canon law there, and doubtless many others studied at Bologna without proceeding to a degree.37 Over twenty Englishmen studied at Ferrara during the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, some proceeding to degrees in either civil or canon law, arts, or theology.38 During the fifteenth century the university at Padua began to rival Bologna for fame in the study of civil law, and it also became important for students of medicine and theology. Eighteen Englishmen (from the records that survive) took degrees there during the course of the fifteenth century. A degree from one of these three Italian universities provided a man’s education with a lustre that many Englishmen considered Oxford and Cambridge powerless to give, and such a degree often became the key to diplomatic or administrative employment.39

Despite the long tradition of travel to the European universities from medieval England there was no strong tradition of public criticism associated with the practice as there was for pilgrimage.40 Nevertheless, individuals, whether foreigners or Englishmen, occasionally expressed some concern about the immorality of English scholars abroad. In the twelfth century Jacques de Vitry characterised English clerks travelling abroad as drunkards.41 A late medieval English priest, preaching to English commoners, used the example of an English student living an “euyll” life in Paris to demonstrate that a sinful life did not always end happily. This evil clerk, “as synnefull a wreche as euer anny myght be,” never heard mass and, if there was any wicked counsel about, would always be in the thick of it, never saying good when he might say evil. 42 Private criticism is virtually impossible to gauge before the fifteenth century. Extensive collections of English family letters from before the Tudor period have not survived, and individual letters surviving in state collections are rarely useful to evaluate personal opinion.43 In an attempt to piece together private family reaction to sons travelling abroad to study during the medieval period I have relied upon Charles Haskin’s study of medieval students’ letters from across Europe, including England.44 His study reveals that anxieties of sons and families in medieval Europe were remarkably similar to the anxieties expressed by families in later centuries. As occurred in early modern England, by far the largest element in sons’ letters home to their parents consisted of regular requests for more money. Parents, in their turn, expressed concerns about the idleness, disobedience and immorality of their sons.45 The relative lack of public criticism of medieval travelling scholars, despite their numbers, probably occurred because few social or ecclesiastical critics believed these travellers carried the same potential for social disharmony that pilgrims did. English pilgrims came from and returned into almost every level of society while medieval scholars remained individuals within a narrowly defined community whose activities rarely significantly affected the general community. It is no coincidence that the two popular institutions of travel, pilgrimage and early modern educational travel, attracted so much criticism; commentators believed that when their corrupted participants returned home they would adversely affect the general community by exposing them to the corruptions of the world.

The combination of several factors during the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries resulted in the emergence of a new type of educational traveller in the sixteenth century. The spread of humanism from Renaissance Italy northwards during the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries brought with it a renewed interest in the ancient ideals of civic life. Civic humanism demanded that pure scholasticism give way to the concept that a man’s education should prepare him for a life of service to his community, his prince and his state.46 In The Boke named the Gouernour (1531) Sir Thomas Elyot centred his discussion of the education of the gentleman on the principle of service to the state; “Semblable ordre will I ensue in the fourmynge the gentill wittes of noble mennes children, who, from the wombes of their mother, shal be made propise or apte to the gouernaunce of a publike weale.” 47 Political conditions, particularly the decline in the power of the nobility concurrent with the development of a powerful and prestigious court about the person of the monarch, combined with the new emphasis civic humanism gave to education and shifted the direction of the nobleman’s education away from military service to state service. The nobleman or gentleman’s heaviest responsibility now lay in the performance of public service, and he fulfilled this service in the role of adviser, diplomat, administrative officer, magistrate or provincial official. The role of the court grew more important as patronage, influence and ‘connection’ became potent factors in entering government service, acting as a stepping-stone to careers in arms, diplomacy and administrative employment.48 England’s growing participation in European affairs, particularly during the reign of Henry VIII, meant that the king needed about him men skilled in diplomacy and knowledgeable about the governments of the European countries. The aristocrat now served his monarch better with his wit than with his sword.

To make the gentleman fit for employment in the service of the state he required a basic education in the liberal arts, a training traditionally scorned by the medieval knight. Those noblemen and gentlemen who wished to pursue a career in their state’s service began to acquire educations in most of the subjects recommended by the humanists – languages, history, rhetoric, arithmetic, geography, philosophy and the classics. Unlike the medieval scholar, however, the gentleman did not immerse himself completely in scholastic study. When Sir William Cecil planned his son Thomas’ tour abroad in 1561 he confided to Sir Nicholas Throckmorton that he did not want his son scholarly learned but rather civilly trained. Cecil included in this civil training instruction in history and the modern languages of either French or Italian. 49 The English schoolmasters and universities could not teach the gentleman those subjects most useful to a man planning a career in the service of his state – learning in history, modern languages and the political and social institutions of foreign countries. In effect, a young gentleman could not acquire a thorough grounding in knowledge and understanding of the contemporary world while still in England. Observation and study of the world about him would grow to be as important to the well-rounded gentleman as book learning.

There was another area of education that the ambitious gentleman needed in his career at court and that many felt England lacked. Henry VIII not only developed his court as a major force in the machinery of administration but also as the cultural hub of England. About the magnificent person of the monarch the court developed into a glittering showcase of ceremony and display, a place of culture and brilliance. As well as scholastic ability and worldly knowledge, the ambitious gentleman also needed a good degree of competence in the arts of civil conversation, music, fencing, dancing, and ‘riding the great horse.’ Most Englishmen genuinely felt they could best acquire these skills attending European instructors, and, if such instructors were not available in England, then the young man would have to seek them abroad. Besides modern languages and history, Sir William Cecil required Thomas to undertake instruction in the courtly skills of dancing and expertise on the lute. 50

Travel abroad to acquire the skills needed by the new ‘Renaissance man,’ whether experience of the modern world or instruction in the finer arts of courtly accomplishments, gradually became an optional extension of the young gentleman’s education. The process grew slowly; an educational tour abroad was difficult, expensive, and sometimes dangerous, but the strong traditions of English travel abroad fostered its growth. Works like William Thomas’ Historie of Italie (1549) enhanced the traditional prestige of Italian universities for those young gentlemen who desired excellence in both the scholarly and the courtly accomplishments. Thomas believed that Italy led Europe in the arts of civility, and his glowing description of the country and its people encouraged gentlemen to study there. More gentlemen flocked to Italy to study than to any other nation in Europe, Thomas enthused, for in such cities as Padua, Ferrara and Pisa they found “excellente learned men, waged for the readyng of philosophie, of the ciuile lawes, and of all the liberall sciences.” Gentlemen students also patronised the “excellent maisters” who taught them to sing and to play upon all manner of instruments, while the “beste maisters of fence” honed the gentlemen’s skills on a variety of weapons. While spending the winter of 1548-1549 at Padua, Thomas claimed as the result of careful investigation that 1500 scholars studied there that winter, “wherof I dare saie, a thousande at the lest were gentilmen.” 51

Education generally was the great leveller in English society; a good education often became the key to success for a low-born citizen.52 This particularly applied to travel abroad, although numbers of ‘non-gentry’ educational tourists only began to grow in the second half of the sixteenth century. For those without the blood or the influence, the experience of travel abroad could serve as both passport into, and apprenticeship for, state service. The experience and education gained during a tour through Europe often became the cornerstone of a young man’s later career in the service of the ‘publike weale.’ In his quest for patronage and employment a young man emphasised any experience or education that he had gained abroad. When Thomas Starkey wrote to Thomas Cromwell in 1534 seeking employment in the king’s household, he cited his studies and experience in Italy. His letter not only reveals his ambitions for employment, but it also demonstrates the ideal of civic humanism:

bycause my purpos … was to lyue in a polytyke lyfe, I set my selfe now thes last yerys past to the knolege of the cyuyle law, that I myght therby make a more Aabyl & sure jugement of the polytyke ordur & custumys vsyd amonge vs here in our cuntrey, aftur thys maner in dyuerse kyndys of studys I haue [employed] myselfe, euer hauyng in mynd thys end & purpos, at the last here in thys cominyualty, where I am brought forth & borne, to employ them to some vse. 53
The belief that the gentleman should use his education to benefit his state was the foundation of civic humanism, and during the sixteenth century it became the principal argument for educational travel abroad. Starkey echoed his sentiments to Cromwell in the fictional dialogue between Reginald Pole and Thomas Lupset that he wrote in 1535 and subsequently presented to Henry VIII. Starkey had Lupset complain to Pole,

I have much and many times marvelled, reasoning with myself why you, Master Pole, after so many years spent in quiet studies of letters and learning, and after such experience of the manners of man, taken in diverse parts beyond the sea, have not before this settled yourself and applied your mind to the handling of the matters of the common weal here in our own nation, to the intent that both your friends and country might now at the last receive and take some fruit of your long studies, wherein you have spent your whole youth – as I ever took it – to the same purpose and end. 54

Like Elyot, Starkey was adamant that scholasticism for its own sake was useless, because it did nothing to benefit a man’s friends and country.55 Late sixteenth- and seventeenth-century apologists for the tour clung to this justification for travel abroad, and the image of the traveller benefiting the state with his experience became one of the major weapons in their attempts to negate the powerful images of that dangerous member of the community, the corrupted traveller. Nevertheless, as an ideal that truly motivated young men to travel abroad, the idea of travelling to serve the state probably died during the first half of the seventeenth century. 56

Criticism of this new breed of educational traveller was not widespread nor images of the corrupt traveller popular before 1570. Alexander Barclay’s 1509 verse on foolish students blundering ignorantly between the European universities was an isolated example reminiscent of medieval criticism of wandering scholars:

One rennyth to almayne another vnto fraunce
To parys padway Lumbardy or spayne
Another to Bonony, Rome or orleance
To cayne, to Tolows, Athenys or Colayne
And at the last retournyth home agayne
More ignorant, blynder and gretter folys
Than they were whan they firste went to the scolys. 57
Barclay’s verse was more a part of his criticism of foolish students generally rather than a precursor of post-1570 concern about the educational traveller. Even the popular medieval image of the traveller-liar only occurred spasmodically during the period 1500-1570. In the first half of the century families or individuals tended not to express any anxiety beyond natural concern regarding the safety of a child or relative abroad. In the 1530s Lady Lisle sent her youngest son, James Basset, to France to gain experience in modern languages and to meet those men who might be of use to him in a later career. None of the correspondence between the Lisles, James, his tutors and guardians betrays any unwarranted anxiety or expresses any awareness that travellers might be exposed to undue criticism. 58

A more revealing document of parental concern is the ‘contract’ William Broke’s father made him sign before his departure for France in 1541 (Appendix A). Lord Cobham’s concerns were not different from those of generations of fathers before him. The devotion expressed in the first two points are reminiscent of the devotion of the medieval pilgrim; William must ensure that no worldly fantasies corrupt his communion with God. This medieval piety contrasts sharply with the humanism evident in points three and eight; the young lord must study civil law, rhetoric and Greek and must also observe the ways of the countries he visits. He must be proficient in the lute, or in some other musical instrument, and, perhaps with his success at court in mind, William must not speak too “thicke.” Like every father concerned with his young son’s moral integrity while far from parental supervision and with a marriage obviously arranged, William’s father exhorted him to take no pleasure in the “abhominable synne of lechery”, and to “kepe [his] vessell cleane accordyng to the commandment of god.” 59 Twenty years later Thomas Cecil possibly made very similar promises to those of William Broke in the “little discourse” of intent and purpose he presented in writing to his father shortly before departing on his tour in 1561.60 William Broke proved more susceptible to his father’s wishes than did Thomas Cecil, who freely indulged in lechery, gambling and other unsavoury activities the moment he reached the Continent.

Despite little public attention given to the dangers of travel or to the corruption of educational travellers abroad in the first half of the sixteenth century, by 1561 there is some indication that the behaviour of the occasional “contrary” traveller influenced a few individuals to view travel negatively. Anne, Duchess of Somerset, expressed deep reservations about the practice of travel in a letter she wrote to Sir William Cecil early in 1561. Both Elizabeth and Cecil wanted the Duchess’ son, Edward, Earl of Hertford, to travel abroad, and Anne, driven by maternal concern, wrote to Cecil regarding her fears. Apprehension over Hertford’s frail constitution and the fact that the Duchess had already lost one “that had bene abrode and was comying homeward” compounded her fears regarding his journey, but the Duchess also had severe doubts about the viability of educational travel from her own observations of returning travellers:

I calle to mynd many whose travell hath Incresed theyr estymacyon, others agayn haue consumed theyr substans spent theyr tyme and lost credyte, thus I do see for the most part as travell ys agayne to the beter desposed, even so proves yt fruteles to the contrary sorte. 61
The Duchess’ letter demonstrates that, in her mind at least, there existed some concern about the corruption of English travellers abroad. Concern about the corruption, moral corruption particularly, of the traveller had existed for centuries, and in this sense there was nothing particularly unusual about the Duchess’ letter, yet her letter shows she had preconceived ideas about travel that in part prompted her letter to Cecil. Perhaps this indicates some emerging concern among individuals within the community about the practice of educational travel that had not yet been expressed publicly; the Duchess’ comment anticipated the public debate after 1570.

Comments from the same time indicate that Italy already had an image as a place of particular corruption for the traveller and suggest that other individuals shared Ascham’s attitude in 1564. Roger Ascham’s attack on Italian travel, printed in 1570 but written in late 1563 or early 1564, is surprising both in his bitter attack on Italy (considering his previous declared admiration for that country) and in the direction of the attack (towards the Machiavellian and Italianated atheist). Nevertheless, there are indications that, despite works that praised Italy like Thomas’, some individuals held deep reservations about both travel and Italian travel in particular prior to 1564. In early 1556 Anthony Viscount Montague wrote to Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire, anxiously inquiring after Devonshire’s safe arrival in Italy and expressing the hope that he would be able to avoid the numerous evils that would be daily before his eyes.62 It was, in fact, Sir Richard Sackville’s concern about Italian travel that prompted Ascham to attack the practice in The Scholemaster. In late 1563 Sackville had particularly asked Ascham to write a discourse on the education of the schoolboy and specifically to state his opinion on the “common going of Englishmen into Italy.” 63

Thomas Windebank’s attitude to Italian travel is particularly revealing. Windebank was the long-suffering tutor to Thomas Cecil during that young man’s lamentable tour of the Continent in 1561-1562. After a disastrous year spent in France watching Thomas waste his time and his father’s money in gambling and womanising, Windebank spirited Thomas through the Low Countries to Germany, where, through lack of opportunity, the young man’s behaviour underwent some degree of reformation. Just as Thomas appeared settled, Cecil horrified Windebank with the suggestion that Windebank and Thomas journey into Italy, as they were so close. Because Cecil had earlier threatened to withdraw his patronage from Windebank, in part blaming him for Thomas’ excesses, Windebank tried to change Cecil’s mind about such an adventure with extreme tact. He agreed that it might do Thomas some good to see Italy and to learn the language,

But as ther be Commodities, so is ther also grete danger in that Countrey of discommodities for yong men, by reason of the Inticements to pleasure & wantonnes that be there, from which Sir, (I must not disguise) I doubte much how I shall be hable to withholde him, hauing had som proofe allready to know what I may doo with him, during our being in france. 64
Windebank also cited the dangers of the heat and fruit and the considerable expense such a journey would entail. Cecil continued to push for a journey into Italy for Thomas, and, responding, Windebank again agreed that it might do Thomas some good to see the country, but it should be accomplished as rapidly as possible, “for … the lesse abode in that Countrey is the better.” 65 Surely, Windebank added, Cecil would prefer to call Thomas home rather than have him risk further hazards in “this troublesom worlde specially in that countrey, for many respects which I doo not saye without good cause.”66 Windebank did not want to accompany Thomas into Italy because he believed he could not keep him under control and feared the complete loss of Cecil’s patronage should Thomas’ behaviour suffer a relapse. His image of Italy as a country particularly conducive to the moral corruption of a young man because of the “inticements to pleasure & wantones that be there” corresponds with Montague’s concern for Devonshire’s moral and possibly spiritual integrity because of the numerous evils that would be daily before his eyes.

Windebank’s fears regarding Italian travel for the young man provide an interesting contrast with Sir William Cecil’s own views expressed in their correspondence. Unlike Windebank, Cecil was extremely keen to send Thomas into Italy, both to see the country and to learn the language. The only reservation he expressed was that Windebank and Thomas should pass “as vnknowne as ye maye, because of the malice that I know the papists ow me, and cold be content to avendg the same in my sone.”67 If there was any widespread public concern regarding Italian travel, it does not seem to have overly affected Sir William Cecil in late 1562. Cecil’s thoughts regarding Italian travel underwent a complete reversal after Ascham published his Scholemaster.68 When Cecil sent his youngest son Robert abroad in the early 1580s, he wrote for him a set of precepts to guide him through life. These precepts contained the following warning about Italian travel:

Suffer not thy sons to pass the Alps, for they shall learn nothing but pride, blasphemy, and atheism. And if by travel they attain to some few broken languages, they will profit them no more than to have one meat served in divers dishes. 69
This comment to Robert in the mid-1580s is markedly different from Cecil’s attitude in his letters to Windebank in late 1562. Although Thomas’ behaviour may have influenced Cecil’s change of heart regarding Italian travel, his remark regarding atheism clearly shows the influence of the public comment about and imagery of educational travel stimulated by Ascham’s Scholemaster.

An examination of the traditions of English travel abroad prior to 1570 is useful to demonstrate both the English enthusiasm for travel and the body of criticism that could attach itself to an institution of travel. Images and criticisms of pilgrims survived the demise of the pilgrimage and re-emerged among the images and criticisms that attached themselves to educational travel after Ascham’s attack. The temptations of the world that corrupted the pilgrim from the narrow road of his spiritual quest were still there and still as powerful when the educational traveller set forth across the Channel. Unrestrained curiosity about the world proved the downfall of the pilgrim, as it held grave dangers for the educational traveller, morally and politically, if not always spiritually. Moral corruption of the young man studying far from parental control worried early modern parents as much as it worried their medieval forebears. The ability of the young man to withstand the temptations available on the Continent remained one of the primary concerns of individuals within families during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Images survived from pilgrimage virtually intact; this not only applied to the traveller-liar but also to the morally corrupt traveller. As occurred with pilgrimage, the English love of foreign travel ensured that no matter to what heights public concern and virulent criticism grew, it in no way appeared to affect the growing numbers of young men participating in the educational tour. The English traditionally loved travel, they had always travelled, and they would always find an excuse to travel. In no small part the realisation of this fuelled the concern and criticism of educational travellers in early modern England. Ascham’s reservations about Italian travel were hardly surprising considering the privately expressed views of those about him. The bitterness of his attack, considering his personal admiration of Italy up to that point, probably was unexpected; the direction of his attack and the powerful imagery of the Machiavellian Italianate and atheistical traveller certainly was. In many senses, however, Ascham simply provided a new direction and a new impetus for a very long tradition of criticism of the English traveller abroad.

1 Cited in Edith Rickert, Chaucer’s World (1937: New York, 1962), p. 277, late fourteenth century.

2 Ranulf Higden, Polychronicon Ranulphi Higden Monachi Cestrensis, Churchill Babington, ed. (London, 1865-1886), II, p. 169, the text of the anonymous fifteenth-century translator.

3 Bede, A History of the English Church and People, Leo Sherley-Price, trans. (Harmondsworth, 1968), pp. 280-281. Written during the eighth century.

4 See Jonathan Sumption, Pilgrimage, An Image of Mediaeval Religion (London, 1975); G. B. Parks, The English Traveller to Italy (Rome, 1954), I; The English Hospice in Rome, (various authors), The Venerabile, XXI (May 1962); and Margaret Wade Labarge, Medieval Travellers. The Rich and Restless (London, 1982), especially Chapter V, “Noble Pilgrims”, for some descriptions of medieval pilgrims and their journeys. John M. Theilmann, “Medieval Pilgrims and the Origins of Tourism”, Journal of Popular Culture, XX (1987), pp. 93-102, is also useful.

5 No wonder she knew “moche of wandryng by the weye”; Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, Arthur Burrell, ed. (London, n.d.), Prologue, p. 12.

6 Parks, pp. 356-357 and 373-374; John Allen, “Englishmen in Rome and the Hospice 1362-1474,” The English Hospice in Rome, p. 58.

7 Taken from the lists of those staying at the Hospice during the period May 1479-May 1484, and November 1504-May 1507, printed in The English Hospice in Rome, pp. 109-141. Chaucer’s fellowship of Canterbury pilgrims included a yeoman, a haberdasher, a dyer, a carpenter, a weaver, a miller, and a carpet-maker.

8 Foedera, Thomas Rymer, ed. (1741: facsmile edition, Farborough, 1967), V, pp. 2-14.

9 See John A. F. Thomson, The Transformation of Medieval England, 1370-1529 (1983: London, 1989), Chapter I, “The Population of England,” pp. 9-16, particularly p. 11.

10 J. J. Jusserand, English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages, (1889: revised edition, London, 1961), p. 212. See pp. 192-243 for Jusserand’s discussion of pilgrims and pilgrimages.

11 Cited in M. J. Barber, “The Englishman Abroad in the Fifteenth Century,” Medievalia et Humanistica, XI (1957), pp. 69-77, quote cited on p. 74.

12 18 August 1389, Calendar of Patent Rolls, Richard II, IV (London, 1902), p. 94.

13 Cited in Parks, p. 30.

14 William Langland, The Vision of William concerning Piers the Plowman (circa 1387), the C text, Rev. Walter W. Skeat, ed. (London, 1873), pp. 3-4.

15 Although, as Christian K. Zacher notes, Curiosity and Pilgrimage (Baltimore, 1976), pp. 56-57, they objected to pilgrimage on many grounds: because it condoned the belief that Christ was more accessible in some places than others, it was spiritually redundant (since pilgrims began their journey cleansed by confession), and it encouraged men to pray to an assortment of statues, not directly to God or to the saints.

16 Thomas Arnold, ed., Select English Works of John Wyclif (Oxford, 1869), I, p. 83.

17 Anne Hudson, ed., English Wycliffite Writings (Cambridge, 1978), p. 86.

18 Ibid., p. 87.

19 Edited by C. Horstmann in Englische Studien, VIII (1885), pp. 277-284, cited p. 284.

20 Thomas à Kempis, On the Imitation of Christ (London, 1960), Book IV, chap. 1, p. 190.

21 Zacher, p. 4. In his study Curiosity and Pilgrimage Zacher examines the close relationship in fourteenth-century thought between the vice of curiositas and the practice of pilgrimage.

22 Cited in Helen Waddell, The Wandering Scholars (London, 1927), p. 164.

23 Geoffrey Chaucer, The Hous of Fame (circa 1375), Albert C. Baugh, ed., Chaucer’s Major Poetry (London, 1963), Book III, ll. 2123-2124.

24 Langland, p. 3.

25 The Examination of Master William Thorpe, priest, of heresy, before Thomas Arundell, Archbishop of Canterbury, in the year of our Lord, M.CCCC. and seven, in Alfred W. Pollard, ed., Fifteenth Century Prose and Verse (Westminster, 1903), p. 141.

26 Alexander Barclay, trans., The Ship of Fools, T. H. Jamieson, ed.? (New York, 1966), II, p. 68. Barclay translated this work from Sebastian Brant’s Ship of Fools, but as both Barclay and his modern editor noted, he extensively adapted and edited the work for an English audience, adding, deleting and changing the text; ibid., I, pp. xviii and 17-18. Barclay doubled the length of Brant’s original, and so effectively localised the fools within England “that few would have believed his book of foreign origin;” Albert C. Baugh, ed., A Literary History of England (London, 1976), p. 351.

27 Thomas More, A Dialogue Concerning Heresies, The Complete Works of St. Thomas More (New Haven, 1963-1987), Thomas M. C. Lawler, Germain Marc’Hadour and Richard C. Marius, eds. of vol. VI, Part I, p. 228.

28 Tournaments were the subject of political controversy and government interference from their earliest days. A tournament that got out of hand became a mini war; Richard Barber, The Knight and Chivalry (Ipswich, 1974), p. 183.

29 R. Coltman Clepham, The Tournament: Its Periods and Phrases (London, 1919), p. 14. Tournaments did not always take place in grassy fields under the sun. In 1420 there were several curious subterranean combats between French and English knights, held by torchlight in the mines under Montereau; ibid, p. 53.

30 F. Warre Cornish, Chivalry (London, 1911), p. 51.

31 R. W. Southern, Medieval Humanism and Other Studies (Oxford, 1970), p. 143.

32 Richard Barber believes that the very nature of the tournament’s origins meant that it inevitably declined once it became the place for peacock vanities rather than strong arms and stout hearts; Barber, p. 159.

33 Other universities established nations as well. See Pearl Kibre, The Nations in the Medieval Universities (Cambridge, Mass., 1948). The term nation is somewhat misleading. These collegia contained students from many countries. For example, the English nation at Paris university contained Scandinavians, Germans and Slavs as well as Englishmen. Students focused their loyalty on the corporate identity of these nations rather than on the geographical regions and peoples they represented; James Bowen, A History of Western Education (London, 1975), volume II of Civilization of Europe Sixth to Sixteenth Century, pp. 114-115.

34 Henry Hallam, Introduction to the Literature of Europe (London, 1860-1864), I, p. 16n. 4 volume set

35 Southern, p. 171.

36 Kibre, pp. 108-109.

37 R. J. Mitchell, “English Law Students at Bologna in the Fifteenth Century,” English Historical Review, LI (1936), pp. 270-287.

38 Mitchell, “English Students at Ferrara in the XV. Century,” Italian Studies, I (1938), pp. 75-82.

39 Mitchell, “English Students at Padua, 1460-75,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, fourth series, XIX (1936), pp. 101-116, particularly p. 116. Nicholas Pronay observes in his discussion of the Chancery and Council at the end of the fifteenth century that most of the men about Henry VII in the top Chancery positions and in the Council had spent extensive amounts of time either studying or travelling abroad; “The Chancellor, the Chancery, and the Council at the End of the Fifteenth Century,” in H. Hearder and H. R. Lyon, eds., British Government and Administration (Cardiff, 1974), pp. 87-103. See also Janice Gordon Richter, “Education and association: the bureaucrat in the reign of Henry VI,” Journal of Medieval History, XII (1986), pp. 81-95.

40 Although the Church sometimes criticised wandering clerical scholars, “a loosely organised international fraternity … which was a burlesque of the monastic orders.” In 1247 the Council of Salzburg bitterly attacked these carefree and irreverent clerics; “they go about in public naked, lie in bake ovens, frequent taverns, games, harlots, earn their bread by their vices, and cling with inveterate obstinacy to their sect, so that no hope of their amendment remaineth”; Joseph M. Tyrrell, “The Goliardi – Wandering Poets of the Middle Ages,” Journal of Popular Culture, IV (1971), pp. 920-930, specifically p. 927. See also Waddell, pp. 263-264.

41 Majorie Rowling, Everyday Life of Medieval Travellers (New York, 1989), p. 108.

42 Woodburn O. Ross, ed., Middle English Sermons (London, 1940), p. 176. Because the author of the sermon wrote in English, Ross speculates that he meant it for the uneducated who could not understand Latin, p. lv.

43 G. R. Elton, England, 1200-1640 (London, 1969), pp. 154-155.

44 Charles H. Haskins, “The Life of Medieval Students as Illustrated by Their Letters,” American Historical Review, III (1898), pp. 203-229.

45 Ibid., particularly pp. 208-214.

46 See Bowen, pp. 207-211 and 398-402; J. H. Hexter, “The Education of the Aristocracy in the Renaissance,” Reappraisals in History (London, 1963), pp. 45-70, particularly p. 63.

47 Sir Thomas Elyot, The Boke named the Gouernour (1531), Henry Herbert Stephen Croft, ed. (London, 1880), I, p. 28.

48 See for example R. A. Griffiths, “Public and Private Bureaucracies in England and Wales in the Fifteenth Century,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, fifth series, XXX (1980), pp. 109-130, particularly pp. 122-123; also Lewis Einstein, The Italian Renaissance in England (New York, 1902), pp. 58-59.

49 Sir William Cecil to Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, 8 May 1561, CSPF (1561-1562), Elizabeth, no. 187, pp. 104-105.

50 Thomas Windebank to Sir William Cecil, 12 November 1561, PRO SP 12/20/59.

51 William Thomas, The Historie of Italie (London, 1549), folios 2v – 3.

52 See Louis B. Wright, Middle Class Culture in Elizabethan England (1935: London, 1964), pp. 44-48 particularly, and Chapter III, “The Concern Over Learning,” pp. 43-80 generally, for the commoner’s use of education as the key to success.

53 Thomas Starkey to [Thomas Cromwell], 1534, Harleian 283/129v – 130.

54 Thomas Starkey, A Dialogue Between Reginald Pole & Thomas Lupset, Kathleen M. Burton, ed. (London, 1948), pp. 21-22.

55 See Elyot, I, p. 116.

56 See discussion below.

57 Barclay, I, p. 145.

58 The Lisle Letters, Muriel St Clare Byrne, ed. (Chicago, 1981), III, pp. 106-133, IV, pp. 468-525.

59 Harleian 283/33.

60 Thomas Windebank, Thomas’ tutor while abroad, referred to this document in a letter he wrote to Sir William Cecil on 9 August 1561, PRO SP 12/19/29.

61 Anne, Duchess of Somerset to Sir William Cecil, 19 April 1561, PRO SP 12/16/130.

62 Anth. Visct. Montague to the Earl of Devonshire, 23 February 1556, CSPD (1547-1580), Mary, vol. 7, item 8, p. 75.

63 See Roger Ascham’s preface to The Scholemaster, Dr. Giles, ed., The Whole Works of Roger Ascham (London, 1864-1865), III, p. 83.

64 Thomas Windebank to Sir William Cecil, 18 November 1562, PRO SP 12/25/109.

65 Windebank to Cecil, 12 December 1562, PRO SP 12/26/13.

66 Ibid.

67 Cecil to Windebank, 16 November 1562, PRO SP 12/25/102.

68 See below, Chapter II, pp. 52-58, for an analysis of Ascham’s attack on Italian travel.

69 “Certain Precepts for the Well Ordering of a Man’s Life,” (circa 1584) in L. B. Wright, ed., Advice to a Son (Ithaca, 1962), p. 11.

©1999 Sara Douglass Enterprises

A Coastal Hedge of Laws: Passport Control in Early Modern England

A coastal ‘hedge of laws’ : passport control in early modern England

Written by Sara Warneke. Published as part of the Studies in Western Traditions; Occasional papers in the humanities series, Bendigo (Australia) School of Arts, LaTrobe University in 1996.

If you’re interested in reading this work, it can be borrowed from the National Libraries of Australia.

Lawyers, Physicians and Travellers: Popular Perceptions and Professional Comment in Early Modern England

This was a conference paper given in 1991 by Sara Warneke.

Three of the most common caricatures of the popular press and stage in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods were the avaricious and corrupt lawyer, the equally avaricious but somewhat more ignorant physician, and that extremely foolish bearer of fantastic tales, the traveller. Popular parody of these three figures influenced later seventeenth-century characterizations in the popular character books, but did they in any way shape or affect seventeenth-century professional comment by either of these three groups or the advice or conduct literature written for all three? The idea for this research sprang from the knowledge that in one instance, educational travellers, there existed a close relationship between popular parody of the period 1580-1630 and subsequent seventeenth-century debate over, and conduct literature for, the practice of educational travel. I wondered if this relationship existed for other groups, and if not, why not. I decided to examine two other groups, lawyers and physicians, because not only were both popular subjects for parody in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, a time when the popular press and stage enjoyed significant growth, they both indulged in extensive comment about their respective practices and were both offered extensive advice about how to conduct their professional lives during the remainder of the seventeenth century.

First to the lawyer. Popular representations of the lawyer were generally unfavourable. The drama, satire, characterizations, ditties and jests of the Elizabethan, Jacobean and Caroline periods often portrayed the lawyer as a covetous, ambitious and corrupt man who clouded his profession with obscure language, accepted fees from antagonists, delayed law suits for his own gain and ignored the just cause of the poor man in favour of the unjust cause of the richer client. The names of lawyers in drama reflect many of these elements – Avarice, Ambidexter, Tangle, Bramble, Knavesby, Picklock and Trampler. One of the most popular perceptions of lawyers was that they thrived upon the contentions and misfortunes of others. In William Bullein’s sixteenth-century Dialogue against the feuer Pestilence (published throughout the 1560s and 70s), the two petty lawyers Ambodexter and Avarus shuddered at the thought of their lost revenue if they moved their practice to the new territory of the Americas where there existed no strife or debate. A clergyman in Robert Greene’s late sixteenth-century drama James the Fourth attacked a lawyer for embracing a profession that thrived only on the contentions and strife of others, while one early seventeenth-century pamphleteer remarked that, “Strife is the summe of [the lawyer’s] desires, it is the solace of his soule, he is never well at hearts ease, if he be not wrangling with one or other.”

Popular caricature also portrayed the lawyer as a man who made considerable money by favouring the rich man’s cause before the poor man’s. Although the poor man’s cause might be good and just, it seemed that the rich man gained best at law: “[Lawyers] make their plea according to the penny,” wrote Barnaby Rich, “not according to the truth, when (among their clients) he that hath most money, hath commonly, most right.” Bartolus, the covetous lawyer in The Spanish Curate, freely declared, “Hang the poor! Their causes, like their purses, have poor issues.” According to one characterization, the poor client among lawyers “is as a blind sheepe in a thicket of thornes, where he is sure to lose his fleece, if not some of his flesh.” In all processes of the law, the delays, the corruptions, the contentions, “Money [was] the white these conscienceless Lawyers [aimed] at. Their Sunne which is full of motes shines not upon the rich and poor alike.” Many of the numerous jests at the legal profession’s expense which appeared during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries concentrated on the corrupt lawyer’s ability to argue successfully only the case of the rich man. It appeared, concluded one jest, that one word of a fat bribe held more weight than twenty words of the clients’, while at least one drama concluded that it were better honest men settled their differences between them than approach lawyers who would fleece them of their money.

These are only a very few examples of the many negative representations of lawyers, nevertheless, despite this generally unfavourable public image of the lawyer, a few characterizations of honest practitioners did appear. The honest lawyers of Aristo, in Webster’s The Devil’s Law Case (1619), and Benjamin Gripe in The Honest Lawyer (1615), both foiled the schemes of corrupt legal practitioners in their respective dramas. There were also characterizations of honest legal practitioners by Nicholas Breton, John Stephens, Richard Brathwaite and Lord North. However, once one starts to read the popular jest books, books of merry tales and the cheap broadsheets, the lawyer was always evil, very often in league with the devil, inevitably scheming to wrest the lands from honest yeomen and the livelihoods from vulnerable common folk. He was never the hero in the literature most likely to be read or listened to by the common people.

Although we can find occasional characters of honest lawyers, is there any evidence that the generally unfavourable popular representations of lawyers in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods made any impression on the legal profession’s perception of itself? The legal profession would indeed have had to be every bit as brutish and callous as popular imagery had it for individual members not to have felt some sensitivity about their public image. In his Rise of the Barristers Wilfred Prest shows that two members of the legal profession, Sir John Davies and Sir Anthony Benn, did in fact acknowledge and respond to their profession’s poor public image. Davies was the only one to do publicly, including an extensive rebuttal of certain “vulgar imputations cast upon the [common] law and lawyers” in the preface to a volume of Irish law cases he published in 1615, Davies claimed that delays in litigation arose only out of the “malignant and unquiet disposition of many clients”, while, to the charge that lawyers were corrupt, argued that “no men of any other calling or profession whatsoever are more careful to preserve their good name and reputation.” while in a manuscript essay on the legal profession, Sir Anthony Benn also attempted to defend and justify his profession, suggesting that popular resentment, envy and misunderstanding of the legal profession underlay its poor public image. Yet Davies and Benn seem rather isolated examples, for lawyers tended not to resort to a public defence of their profession against popular parody, or even, for that matter, to acknowledge it. Individual sensitivities did not spill over into professional writings – and especially not in lawyers’ essays or monographs of advice to members (or prospective members) of their profession where, if comments or sensitivities about their public image were to occur, one might reasonably expect them. In fact, most seventeenth-century advice for young gentlemen, whether those seeking a career in the law, or those already practising it, was predominantly positive and practical, rarely referring to popular caricature. Far from displaying any undue sensitivity about the lawyer’s public image, one writer, for instance, counselled young gentlemen that the legal profession was one of the best means to gain riches, honour and advancement, equalled only by a career in trade. Some pieces of advice literature referred to the corrupt practices of lawyers, lengthy delays in suits of law, and the obscure language lawyers used in their pleadings, but their comments probably responded to real problems within the legal profession rather than being slavish imitations of popular stereotypes.

Popular parody of the lawyer did manage to affect professional comment in some small ways. Popular literature introduced such terms as pettyfogger for knavish, sharp, ‘rascally’ lawyers of decidedly inferior status, first used by Bullein in his popular Dialogue Against the feuer Pestilence. The term pettyfogger was subsequently adopted and extensively promoted by popular caricature and passed into general and professional usage during the seventeenth century. Some advice to lawyers also appeared to react to popular imagery. Several seventeenth-century characterizations of the honest lawyer are almost prescriptive rather than descriptive, and their content almost certainly responds to contemporary popular perceptions of lawyers. Richard Brathwaite, John Stephens and Dudley, Lord North, all wrote characters of the honest lawyer that read more like advice literature than simple descriptions, or commendations, of honest lawyers. Brathwaite, for example: “He take no fees, till he conceive the cause, Nor with an Oyly bribe annoints his jaws”, and, “His face is never shut to poor mens monies.” Lord North concluded his character of the honest lawyer with the advice, “Never to make a jest of his profession (as some of them do) affirming their practice a pretty trick to get money, a contention of wits and purses, a politic pastime to entertain busy brains, or a duel where the greatest strokes as given underhand; but will so defend right and justice, as he would wish to be defended by them.”

Nevertheless, among the mass of early modern public and professional comment about the legal profession, it is very difficult to demonstrate that popular parody of the lawyer had any significant influence on the content of professional comment or even lay criticism. Criticism and discussion about the legal profession had been present for centuries, long before Elizabethan and Jacobean popular authors popularized the character of the corrupt lawyer. There are too many factors present to clearly delineate a role for the popular press and stage. Apart from adding a certain potency (because of the very proliferation of images of the corrupt lawyer during the late sixteenth century and first half of the seventeenth century) popular literature and entertainments do not appear to have added any new elements (apart from the odd term and colourful phrase) into discussions about the legal profession. Rather than shape subsequent comment by and about the legal profession, popular parody of the lawyer appears simply to have reflected long-standing criticisms, concerns and images.

Like lawyers, medical practitioners, especially physicians, were a popular subject for parody in early modern England, although, generally unlike the lawyers’ public image, a creditable percentage of representations of the physician occurred in a positive light, particularly in drama and in popular jests and merry tales. Very often it was the physician who was the ‘hero’ of a popular tale or jest; an honest and worthy man (if a little aloof), who outwitted some country yokel thinking to expose him as a fraud to the local community. There are some links between the public images of lawyers and physicians. Many writers closely associated lawyers and physicians in their characterizations of both professions – after all, if a man’s soul was the territory of the clergy, the physician claimed his body and the lawyer his estate. All three, presumably, profited through misfortunes in their particular spheres of influence. Certainly, both lawyers and physicians popularly profited by others’ losses: as William Scott remarked in 1635, “the Lawyer by contentions between men, the Physitians by others sickneses.” Bullein’s Dialogue Against the feuer Pestilence also featured a physician who, like the two rascally lawyers, expressed dismay at the prospect of practising in the new commonwealth of the Americas: as there was no contention for the lawyers to thrive on, so there was no sickness for the physician to profit by; “God defend us from such a Commonwealth” the physician remarked to the lawyers. In 1642 Humphrey Browne compared physicians with lawyers in this verse:

The Lawyers and Physitians case have neer affinity;
For others ruines make them rich, no doubt most lawfully.
These sucke the sicke for potions, pounds.
For Law those lands purloine:
These promise health, and so get wealth;
Those quietnesse for coine.

Browne followed his verse with this tale: “When men prevaile in strength of body, they consult with the lying Oracle the Lawyer, who makes them wait so long attendance, and so often explicate their wearied joints that hee makes them sicke; then they consult with as bad an Oracle, the Oracle of Appollo … the Physitian, to recover their former health. Ones exit becomes the others entry.” As lawyers engendered processes and delays to get richer, so physicians engendered maladies.

The character of the avaricious physician appeared repeatedly in Elizabethan and Jacobean literature – he was a man who delayed the patient’s recovery in order to eke as much money out of him as was possible. Physicians rated directly behind lawyers in Edward Hake’s “greedy traine” of those who “grasping gape for gaine.” Like lawyers almost inevitably did in popular literature, physicians also often seemed to have scant sympathy for the poor man:

When one is Sick, if Money do appear
She can prevail to have the Doctor there ….
And so long time as he does Money find,
He dayly shall add comfort to your mind.
Until, of course, the money ran out:
He tells the sick Mans friends he can not Live,
He speaks the truth, when they’ve no more to give,
And if the Poor be sick, he’s then in haste,
Or very busie, hath no time to waste.
Nevertheless, the poor did have their uses. In his characterization of the greedy Physician Thomas Brewer remarked, “To learne to cure the rich, they’ll kill the poore.”

One of the most popular caricatures of the physician was that of the quacksalver, or quack – an ignorant man or woman who abused the skill and reputation of more learned and honourable physicians. In popular parody these quacks learned their skills from women and fools and drew their knowledge from old wives tales, inevitably making the healthy sick. Nicholas Breton characterized the unworthy Physician as an ignorant dishonest mountebank and a true quacksalver, a danger for the sick to deal with. In Philip Massinger’s play The Emperor of the East (1631) the character of the empirick, a personification of the ignorant (and therefore ultimately dangerous) quack was thoroughly exposed by the character of an honest doctor who commented, somewhat bitterly, “Such slaves as this, Render our art contemptible.”

Popular authors and playwrights assigned a variety of lesser evils to the character of the physician – a charge of atheism often appeared, as did charges of obscure language, aloofness and inability to deal successfully with disease, but, as The Emperor of the East demonstrates, not all characterizations of the medical practitioner were negative. In some dramas like The Emperor of the East the character of the quack enhanced the reputation of the worthy and learned medical practitioner. In another one of Massinger’s dramas, A Very Woman, the honest physician refused offers of fame and glory, while in a variety of other plays, jests and merry tales, respectable and learned physicians refused bribes (and even honest payment on occasion), recognised their limitations and refused to make false diagnoses for gain.

Similar to the trend already seen in the legal profession, physicians paid very little, if any, lip service to popular caricatures of their profession. Rather, much of their professional writing was concerned with attacking their fellow practitioners – Paracelsian chemists attacked the more orthodox Galenist physicians and vice versa, while just about every member of the profession who considered himself a reputable practitioner attacked the swarms of quacks, empiricks and mountebanks – that host of freelance and (generally) untrained practitioners who serviced the common people who couldn’t afford the fees of trained and licensed physicians. Although popular material provided the fashionable name for these untrained medical practitioners, quacksalvers or quacks, it contributed almost nothing else to comments by or about the medical profession. The debate within the medical profession about the activities of these so-called quacks had been going on virtually since the foundation of the Royal College of Physicians in 1518. In fact, the popular press and stage often had nothing to offer the frequently outrageous invectives of medical practitioners who argued against quakery. contribute to the professional writings of such men as the Elizabethan surgeon William Clowes who, arguing against quackery in 1585, derided the shameless, lewd and brutish practitioners who forsook their honest trades and rushed into medical practice for gain. Some of them, he wrote,

[are] cutlers, some cooks [and] some chandlers … Yea, nowadays, it is too apparant to see how tinkers, toothdrawers, pedlars, ostlers, carters, porters, horse-gelders, and horse-leeches, idiots, apple-squires, broom-men, bawds, witches, conjurers, soothsayers and sow-gelders, rogues, rat-catchers, runagates and proctors of Spittlehouses, with such other like rotten and stinking weeds do in town and country, without order, honesty and skill, daily abuse both Physic and Surgery, having no more … reason or knowledge in this art than has a goose.

Many authors, whether practitioners or laymen, often advised physicians not to charge exorbitant fees and not to refuse to treat the poor, but again, like the debate over quackery, this advice occurred long before the popular press and stage promoted the character of the avaricious physician. Some medical practitioners, however, demonstrated a singular lack of sympathy with the plight of poor English men and women by blaming the multitude of quacks on these people who were too miserly to spend a few extra pennies on a trained and licensed physician.

Like debate over the perceived corruptions and problems within the legal system, debate over corruptions and problems within the medical system of England shaped popular parody of medical practitioners rather than the other way around. Yet the picture is very different in the case of educational travellers. When it comes to the seventeenth-century debate over travel abroad for educational purposes, public comment and professional advice proved remarkably sensitive to to images popularized decades earlier in literature and drama.

Just as travel abroad for education started to become popular during the late sixteenth century, it began to attract a good deal of public comment, most of it extremely critical. Despite the well-publicized benefits and the obvious popularity of educational travel, a wide variety of printed material and popular entertainments presented particularly negative stereotypes or images of the educational traveller to the English public. Unlike their influence on discussions about the legal and medical professions, the Elizabethan and Jacobean popular press and stage proved particularly influential in shaping the direction of the later seventeenth-century debate over educational travel. Two popular stereotypes of the educational traveller, the foolish traveller and the traveller-liar (often combined within the one character), quickly became stock characters of the Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatists, pamphleteers, novelists and balladeers, Although it was the late seventeenth century when Sir Carr Scroop remarked that, as physicians thrived by diseases, dramatists and actors thrived by portraying foolish travellers, many authors and actors had discovered this profitable source of income a century earlier. and both these caricatures markedly influenced seventeenth-century advice for and debate about educational travellers. Within a relatively short time, the attributes of foolishness and lying quickly became established faults of those (mostly blameless) Englishmen who set off to the continent to finish their education.

I’ll deal with the stereotype of the foolish traveller first. It was actually the popularity of the wicked Italianated traveller in Elizabethan drama and satire that ensured the success of the stereotype of the foolish traveller. Although the Italianated traveller was often a very threatening character, satirists, playwrights and pamphleteers quickly imbued him with foolish characteristics, and the foolish traveller quickly became an established figure in its own right. Foolish travellers adopted ridiculous fashions, affected equally ridiculous mannerisms, and couldn’t manage a single sentence of English without corrupting it with lisping and foreign words. George Gascoigne’s foolish traveller came home in 1572 with a toothpick hanging out of a mouth surmounted by a magnificent set of Turkish ‘moustachios’, a ‘nightgown cloak’ trailing underneath his toes and extravagant slippers, silken hose and rapier. A few years later Gabriel Harvey attacked the ridiculous and effeminate affectations of the Italianate who returned from abroad with his head permanently cricked to one side, eyes flashing and face smirking, his forefinger pressed to his pouted lips and his toes placed at impossible angles: “in courtly guises a passing singular odd man”, Harvey wrote. In 1592 Thomas Nashe described the foolish malcontent traveller in Pierce Penilesse as a man who returned from the continent wringing his face about as if he were stirring a mustard pot, and forcing Frenchified English out through clenched teeth whenever he spoke. while in his novel The Vnfortunate Traveller he personified the foolish traveller as a man who returned wearing extraordinarily ridiculous fashions.

a scull crownd hat of the fashion of an olde deepe porringer, a diminutiue Aldermans ruffe with short strings like the droppings of a mans nose, a close-bellied dublet comming downe with a peake behinde as farre as the crupper [and] a wide paire of gascoynes, which vngatherd wold make a couple of womens ryding kirtles.

Literary and dramatic characterizations of the foolish traveller continued to gain popularity into the seventeenth century with such popular characters as Sir Thomas Overbury’s affected traveller, Ben Jonson’s deformed Amorhpus in Cynthia’s Revels, and Barnaby Rich’s fantastic traveller in Faultes, Faults and Nothing Else but Faultes.

Here comes a spruce fellow now [wrote Rich] and if he be not allied to the Fantastic, yet I am sure the fool and he are so neare a kin, that they can not marry without a Licence from the Pope. Would ye know who it is? Marry sir, it is a traveller.

Although a few essayists included brief comments about foolish travellers during the first decade of the seventeenth century, until the 1620s there had been no significant criticism of travellers as fools outside of popular caricature.- although comments from some far-sighted individuals demonstrated a certain sensitivity about the issue. In 1578 Sir Philip Sidney predicted to his brother Robert that “ere it be long … wee travaylers shalbe made sporte of comodies,” while the author of a late-sixteenth letter of advice for travellers cautioned travellers to watch their behaviour on their return lest they become the butt of humourists for jests and table-talk. In 1614 Sir John Holles’ instructions to his son John indicate the influence the strong popular image of the foolish traveller could have on an individual:

Sum empty heads (as our merchants to the Indians carry bells, glasses, knyves, and suche lyke) bring only howme with them crooke shoulders, unstayed countenances, mopps and maws thrusting outte the crupper, and head forward, a shaling pace, affected gestures, curchies, salutations, and odd fashions of apparell speeche [and] diet.

Although a few essayists had included brief comments about foolish travellers during the first decade of the seventeenth century, until the 1620s there had been no significant discussion of travellers as fools outside of literary and dramatic ridicule. However, by the 1620s the popular image of the foolish traveller was so well established that many enthusiasts and apologists for educational travel, as well as travellers themselves, became particularly sensitive about the difficulty travellers had in maintaining their public credibility and reputation. Unlike lawyers and physicians who, publicly at least, appeared to be little concerned with popular parody, travellers became highly embarrassed about their public image. Criticisms from men like Samuel Purchas who made use of popular caricature to observe that some foolish travellers brought home nothing but a “few smattering termes, flattering garbes, Apish crings, foppish fancies, foolish … disguises [and] the vanities of Neighbour Nations” stimulated the apologists for travel to advise travellers not to provide further encouragement for critics and material for popular parody through irresponsible behaviour. One of the first authors of advice literature to incorporate the stereotype of the foolish traveller into his work was Owen Feltham who wrote about 1620. Feltham suggested that inherently foolish gentlemen should not travel at all, thus not only saving their own reputation but that of their families and country’s as well. Travel only mades the foolish gentleman worse, argued Feltham, for he gained nothing but the ‘gay sights, vices, exotic gestures and apery of a country. A travelling fool [was] the shame of all nations’. In his Instructions for Forreine Travell (published in 1642) James Howell used imagery strongly reminiscent of popular caricature to criticise Englishmen who, by ‘their gate and strouting, their bending in the hammes and shoulders and looking upon their legs, with frisking and singing so speake themselves Travellers.” Others by a fantastic kind of ribanding themselves, by their modes of habit and cloathing [their collection of complements and cringes and monstrous periwigs] do make themselves known to have breathed foreign air.’ ‘Such, I say, are a shame to their Countrey abroad, and their kindred at home, and to their parents.’ Other seventeenth-century authors of advice literature for travellers like Thomas Neale & Stephen Penton also incorporated advice for young men not to come home ’empty, unskilful gulls’. Other authors of conduct literature continued to echoe these concerns throughout the rest of the seventeenth century. Other authors of advice literature continued to echo these concerns and images during the remainder of the seventeenth century. Penton appealed to the traveller’s sense of dignity, reminding him that if he came home simpering and cringing

“as stiffly as the two Beaux do on the Sign of the Salutation, and you practise that here, you will be as much Laugh’d at in England, when you come back, as you were in France when first you went over to learn it.”

Although the influence of popular caricature of the foolish traveller is clearly evident on seventeenth-century comment on educational travel, the process is even more apparent with popular parody of the traveller-liar. The association of lying with pilgrims dates from medieval England; Chaucer, Langland and many of the Lollards, for instance, associated the vice of lying with pilgrims. The first Elizabethan to publicly resurrect the idea that travellers were bearers of fantastic tales with his character of Mendax was, believe it or not, William Bullein in his Dialogue against the feuer Pestilence. Since the practice of pilgrimage had died in Protestant England, Bullein connected the habit of lying with secular travellers. Other Elizabethan writers quickly adopted the image of the lying traveller, often connecting it with the name of the medieval Sir John Mandeville, the author of an extremely popular, if fantastic, book of tales. And the vice of lying rapidly became associated with the popular character of the educational traveller, especially the character of the foolish educational traveller. Sir John Melton’s traveller compounded his foolishness by lying in the effort to appear a wise and learned man; Ben Jonson’s foolish and deformed Amorphus lied “cheaper then any begger, and lowder then most clockes;” and Barnaby Rich’s farcical travellers emptied themselves of what little wit they had originally possessed, returning home sprouting lies along with their other foolish faults. George Chapman and James Shirley’s Freshwater, who epitomized the foolish traveller with his affected gait, speech and toothpick, also suffered the embarrassing personal problem of extreme bad breath that hindered his ability to tell lies convincingly. In prose, drama and verse authors portrayed travellers as habitual liars. In Breton’s An Olde Mans Lesson and a Young Mans Loue Chremes asked his son to relate truthfully his observations made during his travels, “for Trauailers are giuen (some say) to begull the worlde with gudgins.” In 1578 John Lyly somewhat ruefully commented in Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit, “alas, Euphues, what truth can there be found in a traveller.” As the character of Freshwater demonstrates, the traveller-liar provided as useful an image for playwrights as it did for pamphleteers and essayists. “Have you learned any wit abroad?” Rhetias caustically asked Menaphon in John Ford’s The Lover’s Melancholy (produced in 1628), “Can you tell news and swear lies with … grace, like a true traveller?” Shakespeare, who incorporated so many of the popular images of the educational traveller into his plays, included a brief satirical defense of traveller-liars in The Tempest (produced 1611)., and writers like John Ford and Shakespeare, among others, incorporated the image of the traveller-liar into their work. The lying traveller was also a staple of ballads and jests, but, due to length and in some cases indecency, it proves impossible for me to repeat them here.

After approximately forty years of popular caricature the image of the traveller-liar was strong enough and accepted enough to appear in advice literature for gentleman generally and for travellers specifically. In 1617 in his book Quo Vadis? Joseph Hall contemptuously dismissed the habit of some travellers to “tell wonders to a ring of admiring ignorants.” In the same year, Fynes Moryson advised travellers not to be too quickly drawn by the promise of a crust of bread to relate their journeys and observations, believing that the tales of a few imposters had tarnished genuine travellers’ reputations. James Howell also advised travellers not to exaggerate what they had seen on their return; some, it appeared, had a custom to relate strange tales and wonders in the manner of Sir John Mandeville. Other works of conduct literature mentioned traveller-liars, and a few warned educational travellers about exaggerating their stories on their return home. Sir Francis Bacon recommended that travellers be reticent in telling stories on their return home, Thomas Fuller also cautioned travellers not to report improbable truths, “especially to the vulgar, who instead of informing their judgements will suspect thy credit,” while Richard Brathwaite included in The English Gentleman a warning to all men employed in state business to beware of travellers and their lies. No men were more subject to relating strange tales, he cautioned, than travellers, who “arrogate to themselves a libertie of invention in this kinde.” Statesmen should always be wary of giving credence to the foreign news they heard, “for divers there be who presuming of the distance of place, will invent and vent their inventions to curry favour.” Brathwaite advised the virtuous statesman to interrupt these traveller-liars and shame them by telling even more outrageous tales. Not only did authors of advice literature (often travellers themselves) incorporate advice against lying into their works, travellers themselves occasionally were sensitive enough to deny the charge of lying in prefaces to their publications of their travels.

A few years later Brathwaite explained why travellers were liars in his Survey of History:

Such as lie on their travel, either do it for admiration, or having run upon the adverse shelves of a deplored fortune, and force to invent strange things for the relief of their dejected estate. Such as publish less than they have seen (omitting things of the greatest consequence, to satisfy our humours with trifles) do it to gain pregnancy, or singularity rather of conceit [inserting] frivolous occrences, borrowed, or … invented by their own fantastic brains.

The incorporation of the images of the foolish and lying travellers into seventeenth-century advice for and discussion about educational travellers had direct links with the promotion and popularization of these same images in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama decades earlier. It is extremely doubtful that either of these two images would have appeared in the debate over and advice for travellers had it not been for popular parody. So why the differences in the relationship between popular parody and professional comment or advice for lawyers and physicians on the one hand and educational travellers on the other? Why did the popular press and stage simply reflect public and professional opinion for lawyers and physicians and shape it for travellers? The most significant factor is that not only were the legal and medical practices established and well recognised by the late sixteenth century, but criticism, advice and even caricature of these practices had also been established for generations, if not centuries, by this time. To a large extent, public opinion was already well formed by the time the lawyer and physician became two of the most popular subjects for caricature in the rapidly expanding popular press of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods; satirists, playwrights, pamphleteers and jesters alike largely drew their inspiration from existing criticisms and opinions. They injected very few new elements into public discussions about the legal and medical practices; they certainly didn’t direct it. In the instances of the legal and medical practices of early modern England, popular parody reflected, it did not shape. The opposite is true in the instance of educational travel, and this was primarily because educational travel was a relatively new practice in Elizabethan England (although Englishmen had travelled abroad for educational purposes for many years, the practice only became popular during the late sixteenth century). There was very little established opinion, advice or criticism (or even general public awareness) about educational travellers before 1570 (apart from some generalized approval). This all changed very rapidly when the late Elizabethan popular press seized upon the traveller as a useful character for parody. The extraordinarily popular character of the Machiavellian Italianated traveller rapidly acquired overtones of foolishness and, probably thanks to William Bullein’s character of Mendax, habitual lying. For an entire generation, as knowledge of educational travel spread throughout English society, the overwhelming public personification of the traveller was negative; very often the only knowledge common people gained about educational travellers was from the public stage and popular press. Two of the most popular elements in public characters of travellers were foolishness and lying. These were traits that most travellers were not guilty of – in all my studies on travellers and their letters of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods there were only a few fools evident and even fewer liars. Discussion of foolish and lying travellers began in the Elizabethan popular press and on the popular stage; by the early seventeenth century it spread to the portraits of travellers in character books; from the 1620s it then spread into advice literature and general public discussion of educational travel.

My initial conclusion from studying the relationship between popular parody and professional comment and debate in the instances of lawyers, physicians and travellers would be that popular parody could only significantly affect the development of professional opinion and advice of any given profession, or practice, if such a practice (or even general public awareness of the practice) developed alongside public parody. This paper has been the result of preliminary research into the relationship between popular parody of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods and later seventeenth century professional comment; to arrive at a more complete conclusion it will be necessary to extend the survey to examine several other victims of popular parody in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, some of whom belonged to professions, groups or practices already established and recognized while others were merely in their initial stages of development and public recognition.

©1991 Sara Warneke / Sara Douglass Enterprises