Navigation – Plan du site
Discours, représentation et idéologie : “Them and Us”

The Rhetoric of Travel and Exploration : a New “Nature” and the Other in Early to mid- Eighteenth-Century English Travel Collections

La rhétorique du voyage et de l’exploration : l’ « Autre » face à une nouvelle « Nature » dans les récits de voyage britanniques de la première moitié du XVIIIe siècle
Matthew Binney

Résumés

Cet article se propose d’étudier les transformations à l’œuvre à la fois dans la rhétorique et dans l’esprit des anthologies de voyage britanniques entre la fin du 16e siècle et le début du 18e siècle. Tandis que des auteurs comme Hakluyt, John et Awnsham Churchill, ou Harris tendent à inscrire les peuples et les nations à l’intérieur d’un telos chrétien clairement déterminé, les anthologies de voyage de Campbell, Green, ou Button témoignent d’un discours nouveau, nourri de la pensée de Hobbes, Locke ou Spinoza. Dans le cadre nouveau ainsi défini, le commerce prend le pas sur le Chritianisme. La raison et l’expérience indiquent que c’est l’esprit du commerce, et non plus la religion, qui lie entre eux les pays et les nations du monde entier.

Haut de page

Texte intégral

  • 1 Francis Wilson uses Voyages and Travels to argue how Defoe lampoons the popular image of the (...)
  • 2 See Mukhtar A. Isani, “Melville’s Use of John and Awnsham Churchill’s Collection of Voyages a (...)
  • 3 Marshall and Williams adroitly survey broader “perceptions”, and others briefly point to the (...)
  • 4 Marshall and Williams discuss how these collections added to the renewed popularity of travel (...)
  • 5 See James Helfers’s discussion of Hakluyt’s and Purchas’s use of religious appeals in “The (...)
  • 6 Crone and Skelton note that in 1747 Osborne owned the copyright of Churchills’ collection.
  • 7 Warner, English Maritime Writing, op. cit., 34.
  • 8 Unlike Churchill’s and Harris’s editions, other early eighteenth-century large collections la (...)
  • 9 Although the compiler is not acknowledged in the text, the British Library registers Edward B (...)
  • 10 Each editor was aware of the previous collections, referring to collections by the editors’ n (...)
  • 11 Here I use “discourse” in the way that Edward Said uses it from Foucault in Orientalism (1978 (...)
  • 12 See Jas Elsner and Joan-Pau Rubiés, Voyages and Visions : Towards a Cultural History of (...)

1Critics have discussed the influence of early and mid-eighteenth-century travel collections upon English and European society1 and their influences on particular authors2, yet few have addressed the evolving rhetoric on navigation and exploration and the depiction of the Other in the collections’ introductory sections3. Two of the largest early collections, Awnsham and John Churchill’s A Collection of Voyages and Travels (1704-32) and Dr. John Harris’s Navigantium atque Itinerantium Bibliotheca (1705)4, reflect similar language of well-known late sixteenth-, early seventeenth-century travel collections, Richard Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations (1589) and Samuel Purchas’s Purchas His Pilgrims (1613), in which prefatory sections depict foreign travel, distant nations, and unfamiliar cultures as realizations of a Christian telos5. This language changes in Thomas Osborne’s 1745 addition to the Churchills’ Voyages and Travels6, in which his “Introductory Discourse” reflects characteristics of the Churchills’ teleology but also foregrounds a more pronounced attention to empirical classification and observation, as well as commerce – a subject that would predominate in two other major mid-eighteenth century collections: Harris’s later 1744 edition, revised by the historian John Campbell7, and the 1745 edition of Thomas Astley / John Green’s collection, A New General Collection of Voyages and Travels8. This same rhetoric of commerce would continue in Edward Button’s A New Universal Collection of Voyages and Travels (1754, 1755)9. Thus, the mid- eighteenth-century editors alter the overtly teleological rhetoric of the Churchills’ and Harris’s earlier collections by foregrounding trade and commerce10, thereby revealing, in the intervening forty years, a fundamental transformation of travel discourse11. To account for this shift, we may draw upon Jas Elsner and Joan-Pau Rubiés’ discussion of travel in Voyages and Visions: Towards a Cultural History of Travel (1999). They argue that travel writing should be examined from the perspective of cultural history, thus observing two common threads : a European tradition of Roman / Christian imperialist “nationally tinged” paradigms with their “universalist assumptions” and, simultaneously, a “Humanist sensibility” with its focus on science and empiricism12.

  • 13 I use “framework” and “discourse” similarly to refer at once to Foucault’s notion of di (...)
  • 14 These are not new claims or observations, and several important texts outline this earlier (...)
  • 15 In Sources of the Self, Taylor explains this framework of reason, knowledge, and higher (...)

2An overt “nationally tinged” “universalist”, and, I would add, preset model appears in Hakluyt’s and Purchas’s early seventeenth-century introductions and again in Awnsham and John Churchill’s and Harris’s early eighteenth-century prefatory material. Like Hakluyt and Purchas, the Churchills and Harris point out religion’s role when relating the importance of and necessity for travel, even describing the development and progression of navigation in terms of a biblical narrative, in which the Bible’s account superimposes upon the story of the Western voyage out. This narrative creates an external, preset, and authorizing discourse within the collections of Hakluyt, Purchas, Churchill, and Harris (1705) – a discourse or framework that posits a nature or reality that is hierarchical, historical, and teleological13. That is, reality contains an implicit progressive biblical narrative that begins with God’s creation, moves and ascends towards a Christian telos, and ends by unifying with God in a determinate, higher universal community, a neo-Augustinian City of God14. The editors use this basic outline in their introductory sections but conflate the higher biblical narrative with their own society’s and Western culture’s perceived narrative, transforming Augustine’s City of God into a contemporary European empire. They use this pre-assigned cultural narrative to catalogue, explain, and authorize their experiences of unfamiliar lands and peoples. Ideally, the framework should produce a higher understanding; that is, people use their reason to collect knowledge, which in turn raises them to a higher understanding of God’s universal community15. The emphasis upon knowledge compels travelers to document the exact particulars of foreign cultures and experiences in order to render comprehensive accounts that justify the beginning and ending points of their metaphysical narrative.

  • 16 Anthony Grafton, New Worlds, Ancient Texts : the Power of Tradition and the Shock of Discover (...)
  • 17 A specific example of a “rude fact” can be found in Captain George Shelvocke’s voyage to the (...)
  • 18 Michel de Certeau’s distinction between “strategy” and “tactic” demonstrates how cultural sta (...)
  • 19 In this essay, I am not concerned with showing how travel accounts complicate traditional (...)
  • 20 “Critical reasoning capacity” refers to depiction of the change of the role of reason for Pau (...)
  • 21 Tuck notes that one characteristic of this new nature and its framework is that “an individua (...)
  • 22 Much of the natural law accounts and terminology in this study follows Martin Rhonheimer’s (...)
  • 23 See Tuck, op. cit., 60-63, T. J. Hochstrasser, Natural Law Theories in the Early Enligh (...)

3This stress upon knowledge points to Elsner and Rubiés’ second thread: the “Humanist sensibility” and its focus on science and empiricism. In encouraging the collection of empirical knowledge, the editors outline specific practices that travelers should follow to provide accounts of exactitude and verisimilitude. Yet in particular travel accounts “rude facts contradicted venerable books”, as Anthony Grafton notes, and “debate and research might challenge any inherited verity16. The “rude facts17 of practical experience18 complicate the preset imperialist / universalist narratives used to document new experiences and cultures within the travel accounts19. The dual focus on imperialist / universalist narratives and the empirical practice of quantifying experience creates tensions within the earlier collections and consequently engenders a radical alteration in the dominant discourse. As the hierarchical, historical, and teleological rhetoric of the earlier collections fails to account for the variety and complexity of other cultures, a new discourse emerges in Osborne’s 1745 Voyages and Travels, Harris’s / Campbell’s 1744 edition, Astley’s / Green’s, and Button’s collections to accommodate new experiences largely by modifying the conception of nature, using the conceptual scaffolding of seventeenth-century natural law theory and rhetoric. Initially in the earlier notion of nature, a preset historical, hierarchical, and teleological order validates travel experiences, thus connecting travel accounts to a biblical narrative depicting God’s unfolding divine and hierarchical plan for humankind, creating a neo-Augustinian City of God with culturally determinate limits. The new notion, however, distances and removes an externally authorizing telos and its universalizing assumptions from the natural order, in part because empirically acquired travel experiences derive their authority from particular travelers, whose inclinations and critical reasoning capacity help them interpret laws of nature established by God at creation20. These travelers are citizens within discrete states21, who weigh, measure, and observe, using their reasoning faculty to determine how their inclinations and actions or choices accord or do not accord with the laws of nature22. Importantly, when people determine their local and immediate interest by their internal authority – that is, their ability to choose critically in relation to the laws of nature, their proximate environment – without relying upon a preset external narrative, then they cultivate their surroundings, and by developing the local, they interact within a larger space of other peoples and nations, thereby encouraging and promoting prosperity at home and abroad, without overtly positing a determinate cultural limit to a larger world community. Thus, the natural law framework diminishes the external authority of a fixed hierarchical, historical, and teleological reality that determines the significance of unfamiliar cultures and peoples, and instead privileges the discrete, local, particular, internal and self-interested authority of people and nations by connecting their critical reasoning capacity with the laws of nature23. This shift in travel discourse fashions a new nature and discourse in which people and states realize their mutual interests by focusing on the authority of the local, and in doing so unite all within an ever-expansive, commercial, indeterminate global order.

Seventeenth- and Early Eighteenth-Century Travel Collections

4The “nationally tinged” paradigms with their “universalist assumptions” surface overtly within the “Epistle Dedicatorie in the First Edition, 1589” of Richard Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations (1598-1600). The editor relates a well-known anecdote:

  • 24 Richard Hakluyt, The Principal Navigations, 1.

5I do remember that being a youth […] it was my happe to visit the chamber of M. Richard Hakluyt, my cosin, […] at a time when I found lying open upon his boord certeine bookes of Cosmographie, with a universall Mappe: he seeing me somewhat curious […] began to instruct my ignorance, by shewing me the division of the earth […]: he pointed with his wand to all the knowen Seas, Gulfs, Bays, Straights, Capes, Rivers, Empires, Kingdomes, Dukedoms and Territories of ech part […]. From the Mappe he brought me to the Bible, and turning to the 107 Psalme, directed mee to the 23 & 24 verses, where I read, that they which go downe to the sea in ships, and occupy by the great waters, they see the works of the Lord, and his woonders in the deepe24.

  • 25 Anthony Pagden describes the medieval empires and those that may succeed them in terms of a (...)
  • 26 James Helfers discusses this religious tone and its coupling with a “naïve patriotic confid (...)

6The young Hakluyt’s conversation with his older cousin indicates how travel functions as an expression of God. Explorers and travelers acquire knowledge to realize God’s “wonders” in the uncharted and unexplored regions of the world. When viewing the world map, they simultaneously refer to the Bible ; any perusal of the “universal map” and its “seas, gulfs, bays, straits, capes, rivers, empires, kingdoms” involves seeing them concurrently as God’s works. The map tangibly manifests God’s works, writ into reality. Thus, the voyage out instantiates God’s order. In the prefaces of his second edition, Hakluyt continues this universalist / imperialist rhetoric, by referring to the larger community of “Christendome” and encouraging Queen Elizabeth’s imperialist aspirations (39). He states, “Christian people of late hath bene planted with divers English colonies by the royal consent of her sacred Majestie” so that “she shall by Gods assistance, in short space, worke many great and unlooked for effects, increase her dominions, enrich her cofers, and reduce many Pagans to the faith of Christ” (40). Hakluyt’s “nationally tinged” universalist and imperialist language openly supports imperialism as a means not only to expand the state’s dominions but also the universal community of Christianity25. By encouraging the queen to increase England’s influence and convert others to Christianity, Hakluyt seeks to enfold peoples and nations within the determinate telos of Christendom26. Although they appear a century after Hakluyt and Purchas’s collections, Awnsham and John Churchill’s collection and John Harris’s Navigantium reflect a similar preset, “nationally tinged” universalist / imperialist rhetoric in their introductory sections.

Awnsham and John Churchill

  • 27 It is widely accepted that John Locke did not write the introductory section, a (...)

7Awnsham and John Churchill open their “Introductory Discourse” by locating the history of travel and navigation within a biblical narrative and its implied telos27. They state that many argue navigation was the “execution of the direction given by Almighty GOD, since the first vessel we read of in the world, was the ark Noah built by the immediate command and appointment of the Almighty” (ix ; col. 1). Then they underscore the connection between the biblical account and navigation, asserting that “[t]he first vessel ever known to have floated on the waters, was the ark made by God’s appointment” (ix ; col. 1). In mentioning Noah and the ark, the editors establish a biblical origin to exploration, and this origin signals travel’s connection to God’s divine providence, which directs the ship : “this ark, ship, or whatever else it may be called, had neither oars, sails, masts, yards, rudder, or any sort of rigging whatsoever, being only guided by Divine Providence” (ix ; col. 2). Since God made the first vessel and directed it with his providence, it follows that the story of “navigation” follows God’s order. The editors imply that Western navigation and exploration realize God’s divine plan. By documenting particular inventions and improvements to navigation over the centuries, the editors document the progression of the biblical account. By superimposing the biblical story on navigation, the Churchills intimate that subsequent travel accounts will contribute to an on-going biblical story. The particular narratives will offer specific insights into the complexity of cultures, peoples, and nations and how they fit into a progressive overarching narrative, determined by divine providence. The biblical narrative authorizes travel experiences.

  • 28 See Pagden, op. cit., 24-27.

8The editors then connect this narrative to progress and a larger community. Exploration encourages trade, and trade promotes wealth, and prosperity creates a larger prosperous community : “the empire of Europe is now extended to the utmost bounds of the earth where several of its nations have conquests and colonies” (lxix ; col. 2). The progress of travel and navigation points to a broader community, a global community, which is, nonetheless, an “empire” defined by its European attributes and goals, an alternative expression of Hakluyt’s “Christendome.” The more Europeans travel, the more they collect information; the more they come to understand the world, the closer they come to establishing a prosperous global European community – a neo-Augustinian City of God. This expansionist doctrine outlines a discourse of travel and exploration that asserts a Christian narrative wherein people move toward prosperity, upwards in a hierarchy and thereby realize their higher unity with God28.

  • 29 Thompson discusses the development of “objectivist strategies”, which increased (...)
  • 30 The OED indicates that the first definition for “history” means “a relation of incidents, (...)

9Since this universalizing narrative validates travelers’ accounts, then new observations serve to complete more of the narrative, which ultimately indicates how people progress towards God, the Christian telos. To achieve the prosperity writ into this cultural narrative, explorers and travelers must practice proper humanist / empiricist methods of observation when encountering unfamiliar lands, and to encourage this, the editors draw from the Royal Society, more specifically from a short piece by Lawrence Rooke, a founding member of the Royal Society, whose “Directions for Sea-men, bound for far Voyages” appeared in the Society’s Philosophical Transactions (1665-1666)29. The prefatory note states that the Royal Society’s purpose is “to study Nature rather than Books, and from the Observations, made of the Phaenomena and Effects she presents, to compose a History of Her” (140-1). In order to write a proper “History” or story of nature30, Rooke and the Royal Society direct sea travelers to mark particulars, either noting longitude and latitude or plotting coasts, promontories, islands, etc. The editors add : “travelers ought to carry about him several sorts of measures, to take the dimensions of such things as require it” (lxxi ; col. 2). By highlighting these “measures” and quantifying experience, the editors affirm their connection to Rubiés’ “Humanist sensibility” because these particulars contribute to collective knowledge and assist others in formulating a complete history or story of nature. This narrative will help people understand where they reside within the progression of the Western narrative so that they may ascend towards happiness and prosperity in a European-defined global community.

John Harris’s Prefatory Material

  • 31 Unpaginated.

10In the 1705 edition of Navigantium, John Harris’s “Epistle Dedicatory” to the queen and Introduction reflect this pre-determined hierarchical and cultural narrative. When addressing Queen Anne, Harris underscores England’s own cultural supremacy, stating : “when […] a Man hath actually travell’d the whole World himself, […] he will be abundantly convinced, that Our own Religion, Government and Constitution is, in the Main, much preferable to any he shall meet with Abroad31.” Granted, he writes for the preferment and flattery of a patron, but by insisting upon his own culture’s supremacy, he reveals a propensity to measure the world in terms of a definite narrative. Even after surveying the diversity of the world, one must come to the conclusion that one’s own country and religion is superior to others. This conception indicates the authorizing narrative of the hierarchical and providential order in nature that directs people towards Christian prosperity because “Providence seems graciously to have design’d to make us Great and Happy”. By pointing to the importance of providence and prosperity, Harris superimposes, like the Churchills, a teleological narrative upon travel, which authorizes travel experiences.

11Harris’s “Introduction” reinforces this overarching narrative by beginning with a biblical “Origination of Mankind”. Harris states that “the World had a Beginning, and that Mankind had it first Original about the Time we have so particular an Account of in the Sacred History of the Bible” (I ; pt. I, col. 1). Following the Churchills, Harris’s collection offers an account of the unfolding and overarching biblical narrative, and his “Introduction” traces a biblical trajectory. The narrative itself validates what Europeans perceive as they experience the world, as shown with Moses’ “account,” which demonstrates the biblical narrative’s authority : “the Account which Moses gives us of the peopling of the Earth after the Deluge by Noah’s Children, is so conformable to all the authentick Records yet remaining in any languages, that it carries with it irresistible Evidence” (I ; pt. I, col. 1). In an unexplored and un-traveled world, experiences and observations already fit into the predetermined pattern outlined by the biblical narrative. The narrative serves as an authorizing template for documenting and cataloguing phenomena. Its authority is “irresistible”, and subsequent travels add to this narrative : “Every step taken by a first Discoverer, presents an Original in those Matters ; others that come after, do but Copy and Refine upon him, and continue the Story that he begins” (4 ; bk. 1, ch. 1, col. 2). Travel and exploration fits into a narrative or “Story” that the travelers and explorers relate through their experiences in foreign lands. The beginning of the story has been written, and now by collecting particulars, explorers accumulate knowledge, detailing the unfolding storyline.

12Yet the detailed documentation of experiences and observations, encouraged by Harris, the Churchills, and the Royal Society, complicates their notion of a hierarchical and historical narrative, as seen in Thomas Osborne’s 1745 addition to the Churchills’ Voyages and Travels and John Campbell’s updated 1744 edition of Harris’s Navigantium, showing how the external authority of the older discourse’s implicit teleology cedes more and more to the internal authority of the newer discourse and its focus on the local, self-interest, and commerce.

Mid-Eighteenth-Century Collections and Natural Law Rhetoric

13Thomas Osborne’s A Collection of Voyages and Travels (1745) functions as a medial point within the shift in travel discourse, incorporating aspects of the earlier preset universalism and the mid- eighteenth-century’s self-interested commercialism. Like the Churchills, he seeks to outline a “probable historical account of the first invention of navigation”, and thus says : “it is indisputably true from the authority of the sacred records, the structure of the ark owed and intitled its original contexture to the industrious precaution of Noah, who, by the immediate designation of God himself, brought that wooden island into shape and order” (xx ; col. 1). The origins of navigation start with Noah, and the sacred records’ indisputable authority confirms this. Nevertheless, instead of beginning his “Introduction” with the biblical narrative, Osborne opts for an exposition of geography so that readers may understand the “situation, motion, substance and constitution, dimensions and bigness, and measurement of the earth” (I ; col. 2). By starting with “dimensions, bigness, and measurement”, he prioritizes quantifying phenomena, which document the empirical reality of travel and exploration, thus favoring Elsner and Rubiés’ “humanist” rather than “universalist” sensibility. Osborne continues this expository style until he discusses the “original of people” on page 11, mentioning Noah’s flood, thereby showing the empiricist sensibility presiding over the authorizing teleological narrative.

14Departing further from previous collections, Osborne connects more plainly the biblical narrative to navigation and commerce. He states : “it is probable, that the posterity of Noah, having plantations […] might […] form and build such ships, and other vessels […] as might make rivers and more spacious waters obvious to a passage, and maintain such a necessary intercourse, as might improve a commerce between nation and nation” (xx ; col.1). Navigation originates with Noah and the ark, and thereafter they build more ships, which ultimately increases commerce between nations. Osborne adds, “So truly it has been said, navigation was the parent of trade; and trade has always been the support and encouragement of navigation” (xliv-xlv). Although the story of navigation begins with the biblical narrative, and navigation antecedes trade, thus indicating that the biblical narrative produces the capacity for trade, Osborne chooses to connect trade and commerce with another source, disclosing the influence of seventeenth-century natural law language :

From the natural propensity of human nature towards self-preservation, it is natural to suppose, that having provided for the mutual security of every man’s property, in their respective societies or governments, their next care was how to furnish themselves with the necessaries and conveniences of life, by propagating a commerce between all and each of those governments, nations or countries, wherein they were dispersed; and this for the mutual good and benefit of the whole, as well as for the private gain and interest of some individuals of each place (xliv ; col. 1-2).

  • 32 Paul E. Sigmund states, “Self-preservation through rational conduct is the single ‘natural (...)
  • 33 See Richard Tuck, Natural Rights Theories : Their Origin and Development, Cambridge : Cambr (...)
  • 34 In “Of Property,” Locke states, “God gave the World to Men in Common; but since he gave it (...)
  • 35 Pocock has argued how natural law language was important for the development of commerce. S (...)

15The reference to “natural propensity of human nature towards self-preservation” imitates the natural law language of seventeenth-century natural law thinkers like Thomas Hobbes32. In Leviathan (1651) Hobbes argues that each person in the state of nature possesses the right to preserve himself, and the laws of nature direct people to submit to political authority to help realize that “right of nature33. Additionally the phrases, “mutual security of every man’s property” and “conveniences of life”, reproduce the language of John Locke’s “Of Property” in Second Treatise of Government (1689)34. Seventeenth-century natural law notions, like “self-preservation” and “every man’s property”, offer a conceptual scaffolding for Osborne that supplements the teleological account of navigation, trade, and commerce. He at once draws from the language of a preset, authorizing Christian narrative while simultaneously alluding to natural law language that favors the independent authority of people existing within a particular and distinct “place”. By drawing upon the biblical narrative and natural law language and connecting these to commerce, Osborne represents a pivotal point within the change of discourse as empiricism, local authority, and reciprocity supersede the older discourse of history, teleology, and hierarchy35.

16In Campbell’s updated version of Navigantium, Astley’s / Green’s 1745 edition, and Button’s 1754/55 New Universal Collection, the editors avoid directly referencing a biblical narrative and instead imitate the language of seventeenth-century natural law, demonstrating that natural law rhetoric moves from an ancillary to a primary position in accounting for travel, navigation, commerce, and the conception of the Other.

Seventeenth-Century Natural Law Rhetoric and the New Framework

  • 36 Spinoza, Locke, and Cumberland were born around the same time (1632), and they maintained t (...)
  • 37 See Garrett, “Spinoza’s Law and Ethics”, art. cit., 636, 640 : “For Spinoza, there is no na (...)
  • 38 Aaron Garrett states, “Our minds are most stable and fixed when we understand reasons, sinc (...)

17Baruch Spinoza, Locke, and Richard Cumberland offer paradigmatic and influential accounts that diminish the role of teleology, hierarchy, and history and foreground people’s critical reasoning capacity, how they function in nature, their self-interest, and their reciprocal connection to a larger indefinite community36. First, natural law rhetoric of the seventeenth century removes the notion of a teleological narrative from accounts of nature. In Ethics (1677) Spinoza argues that God is nature, thus making it difficult for people to insist that humans move towards or rise to God within a Christian narrative37 : “Nature has no fixed goal and […] all final causes are but figments of the human imagination” (240 ; pt. I, “App”). Spinoza adds, “Nature does not act with an end in view”, and “the eternal and infinite being, whom we call God, or Nature, acts by the same necessity whereby it exists” (321 ; pt. IV, “Pref.”). For Spinoza, people attain the good and come to understand God by using reason and seeking knowledge of nature and natural phenomena: “Therefore it is of the first importance in life to perfect the intellect, or reason, as far as we can, and the highest happiness or blessedness for mankind consists in this alone” (358 ; pt. IV, “App”). By stressing reason / intellect and laws of nature, Spinoza diminishes the authority of external sources. Reason and nature together produce adequate ideas by understanding necessity and universality of natural phenomena38, whereas external sources such as the senses, opinions, imagination, superstitions, traditions, and / or narratives provide imperfect, disjointed, and “mutilated” knowledge (267 ; pt. II, prop. 40, sch. 2). Spinoza adds, “nobody, unless he is overcome by external causes contrary to his own nature, neglects to seek his own advantage” (332 ; pt. IV, prop. 20, sch.).

  • 39 Garrett explains Locke’s contrast to Spinoza : “There is no need for Locke to build up a co (...)
  • 40 Sigmund, Natural Law, op. cit., 84 : “Consent based on natural equality had appeared in the (...)
  • 41 John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John W. Yolton (ed.), London : Everyma (...)
  • 42 Daniel Carey states that Locke’s “accumulation of testimony on customs and manners treated (...)

18By stressing reason, Locke’s natural law rhetoric follows a similar course as Spinoza, in Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) and Two Treatises of Government (1689), but additionally he diminishes hierarchy by highlighting people’s inclinations, which promotes moral and political equality amongst peoples and nations39. Locke offers a conception of nature that relies upon the equality and authority of particular citizens40, stating : “Nature, I confess, has put into man a desire of happiness and an aversion to misery […] these may be observed in all persons and all ages, steady and universal; but these are inclinations of the appetite to good, not impressions of truth on the understanding” (31 ; bk. I, ch. III, sec. 3)41. Nature has given people desires or “inclinations” towards happiness, but these inclinations are not impressed truths directing people to a definite end. Rather people determine happiness by applying their natural faculties, sense and reason, to acquire knowledge of their surroundings from laws of nature. Locke states : “There is a great deal of difference between an innate law and a law of nature, between something imprinted in our minds in their very original, and something that we, being ignorant of, may attain to the knowledge of, by the use and due application of our natural faculties” (36 ; bk. I, ch. III, sec. 13). People may use their faculties, reason and sense, to determine the laws of nature, established by God at creation, to determine right or wrong action and prosper within their local surroundings. Knowledge does not point to an innate, preset teleological order within nature; rather, people use their reason and senses to determine how they should act42.

  • 43 Jon Parkin provides a robust account of seventeenth-century natural law theory and its (...)
  • 44 Schneewind argues that this observation is original and distinctive. See Jerome B. Schneewi (...)
  • 45 Cumberland states, “it is owing to this most noble Motion of reciprocal Beneficence, that others re (...)

19Spinoza removes teleology from nature and dismisses external authority ; Locke supersedes hierarchy by underscoring people’s inclinations and natural faculties ; and finally in De Legibus (1672) Cumberland unites people reciprocally within a larger indefinite community, arguing that humans possess a natural inclination to benevolence and use experience and reason to guide this inclination towards the common good in the universal moral community of God, the “City, or Kingdom, of God43. For Cumberland, people understand natural law through science, as long as they practice empirical discipline, perceiving necessary relationships in nature, authored by God. His theory condenses into “one universal formula”: people should “Endeavour, according to [their] Ability, to promote the common Good of the whole System of Rationals [that is, rational agents]” (262 ; “Intro.” sec. XV). This “whole system” is, for Cumberland, the city or kingdom of God, which is a “System of all rational agents, or the whole natural City of God” with “God, the Head and Father of all rational Beings”. People are citizens of this city not because of a political or cultural designation, but because they reason : “common Reason, which directeth to common Good, to be the common Law, […] uniteth the Universe of rational agents into one Kingdom” (34; ess. 1, sec. III)44. All people are rational agents, who unite reciprocally within the same kingdom or city of God, irrespective of beliefs, customs, or practices45. This larger, indeterminate community of “Rationals” represents people’s reciprocal relations to each other, which is “first known by Sense and Experience” (254 ; “Intro.” sec. VI).

  • 46 Charles Taylor motivated these observations : see Taylor, A Secular Age, op. cit., (...)

20Cumberland contributes to the natural law framework by reinforcing recurring terms like reason, sense, and experience, while adding that these notions unite people within a larger, reciprocal, and indeterminate community. This larger community does not derive its validity from a preset narrative and telos, but rather, it unites discrete peoples and nations within a larger limitless system through their particular inclinations and critical reasoning capacity46. As we will see, these seventeenth-century natural law notions offer the conceptual scaffolding for the editors of mid-eighteenth-century travel collections to frame their discourse when accounting for travel and navigation as well as distant peoples and nations.

Mid-Eighteenth-Century Collections, Self-Interest and Commerce

Campbell’s Navigantium

21Registering the shift from the discourse of an implicit hierarchy and teleology, Campbell’s 1744 Dedication of Harris’s Navigantium announces unambiguously in the title its altered tone : “To the Merchants of Great-Britain”. Campbell admits that he “endeavoured […] to avoid the Faults for which most modern Dedications are censured, which are a mean Attention to Interest, or the Vanity of placing great Names and high Titles in the Front of Books” (unpaginated ; “Ded.”, par. 1). Instead of appealing to rank and status, he appeals to a new group with its alternate narrative of prosperity – merchants and commerce. Imitating the language used in natural law theory, he states, “Reason and Experience” will “shew, that we owe that Connection, which, at present, reigns between Countries far remote from each other, and that kind Intercourse subsisting between different and distant Nations, to a Spirit of Commerce” (unpaginated ; “Ded.”, par. 2). Such a statement is significant, especially when compared to earlier travel collections, because for the Churchills and Harris, reason and experience indicate how travel experiences fit within the Christian narrative writ into nature, revealing how they advance to a Christian telos. In the newer framework, reason and experience indicate that a “Spirit of Commerce” provides the “Connection” between countries and nations. A “Spirit”, rather than a teleological Christian narrative, accounts for travel and relations between particular nations and peoples, and he frames this “Spirit” within natural law language :

If we reflect on the Reason of the Thing, it will appear, that Commerce is founded on Industry, and cherished by Freedom. These are such solid Pillars, that whatever Superstructure is erected upon them, cannot easily be overthrown by Force, but must be ruined by Sap: This too we find justified by History and Experience. (vii; “Intro.”).

  • 47 Locke, “On Property” in Second Treatise : “Now of those good things which Nature hath pro (...)
  • 48 Campbell largely worked for the Tories, such as Lord Bute, which demonstrates how many of (...)

22The empiricism of Elsner and Rubiés’ humanist sensibility antecedes a preset narrative because reason and experience show the triumph of commerce when reviewing the scope of history. Since commerce “is founded on Industry” of a people (again imitating Locke’s language in “Of Property”)47 rather than a biblical narrative, then actions and choices of particular people increase in influence because they refract forms of “Industry” within specific cultural contexts48. Campbell notes,

“Experience has made almost all Nations sensible of the Importance of Trade. [… Thus] whoever would have a competent Knowledge of the Weight and Influence of any People, must be well acquainted with their Character and Circumstances in this respect” (vii, “Intro.”).

  • 49 See Pocock, Virtue, Commerce and History, op. cit., 115 : “The apologist of commerce […] (...)

23In this new commercial narrative of prosperity49, which stresses the industry of particular people, Campbell maintains that readers must understand the “Character and Circumstances” of distant nations and peoples, in order to determine how they make choices to contribute to trade, commerce, and prosperity.

  • 50 Spinoza’s conatus, an inclination to preserve the self, may offer the means for Campbell (...)
  • 51 As Abbattista shows, this sentiment largely reflects Tory / Bolingbrokean aspects of (...)

24Not only does he remove a Christian telos and hierarchy from nature, replacing it with a “Spirit”50, but by focusing on “Industry” and “Character and Circumstances”, Campbell foregrounds people’s inclinations and natural faculties, thus reinforcing the internal and local authority of particular peoples and nations51. “Industry” and “Freedom” help people cultivate their immediate surroundings, for Campbell, and, similar to Osborne, after acquiring “Necessities”, they have “Time to exercise the Faculties of their Minds, and to look abroad for greater Conveniences” (unpaginated ; “Ded.”, par. 3). After producing more, people more readily apply the “Faculties of their Minds”, which, in turn, “produced Trade”, “Invention of Shipping”, and improvement in the “Art of Navigation”. Not only do these expressions imitate Locke’s language in “On Property”, but also “Faculties of their Minds” echoes Locke’s “natural faculties” of reason and sense in Essay. The invention of shipping and improvement of the art of navigation are things, in the words of Locke, “that we, being ignorant of, may attain to the knowledge of, by the use and due application of our natural faculties” (36 ; bk. I, ch. III, sec. 13). Campbell indicates similarly that by tending to themselves, their proximate surroundings, people acquire necessities and then use the “Faculties of their Minds” to produce, invent, and improve. Since they produce and invent based upon their industry and faculties, we see why Campbell wants people to examine the “Character and Circumstances” of particular peoples. A particular nation’s “Industry”, “Freedom”, and “Faculties of their Minds” produce distinctive cultural choices specific to the circumstances of their lives. If travelers and travel readers fail to examine these circumstances, they neglect information that would contribute to their commercial well-being: “upon a strict Review it will be found, that even amongst the most uncouth and barbarous Nations, there are many ingenious Inventions to be met with” (unpaginated; vol. 2, “Pref.”, par. 3). Since people and nations possess different needs and desires, or inclinations, based upon their circumstances, then they produce different “Inventions”, satisfying their particular needs. Campbell’s account differs significantly from the Churchills’ prefatory material and Harris’s earlier collection because he connects travel to discrete inclinations, interests, and faculties of mind, which carry their own distinct authority. Instead of connecting navigation and trade to an authorizing cultural narrative, he connects it to the inclinations and critical reasoning capacity of particular groups, providing for themselves in their immediate environment. Tellingly in the Preface to volume 1, Campbell asks, “Can any Man doubt, that the seeing different Countries, considering the several Humours, Customs and Conditions of various Nations, and comparing them with each other, and our own, is the readiest Way to Wisdom ?” (unpaginated ; par. 4).

25This focus on internal and local authority produces a larger commercial community of diverse nations and cultures. After attaining “Necessities”, people look “abroad for greater Conveniencies”, and “this produced Trade”, for Campbell, “which is particular to our Species, and the primary Characteristick of rational Beings” (unpaginated ; “Ded.”, par. 3). As “rational Beings” or “Rationals” look outside themselves, they produce unity by seeking a common good. Campbell clarifies this good : “The Desire of reciprocally communicating the Fruits of various Soils and different Climates, is that Principle of Unity, which agreeable to the Will of GOD, makes all the Inhabitants of the several Regions of the Globe, appear […] they were but one People” (unpaginated ; “Ded.”, par. 2). Unity between peoples and nations occurs, for Campbell, by “reciprocally communicating the Fruits of various Soils and different Climates”. As long as diverse people possess “Freedom” to exercise their “Industry” to acquire “Necessities”, they may use the “Faculties of their Minds” for invention and improvement and thereby look outside their local community to “reciprocally” communicate and interact with others, a “primary Characteristick of rational Beings”. People unite together in a larger community or they interact globally by focusing on and cultivating their immediate environment, satisfying and fulfilling their local interest. Commerce, for Campbell, “encourages People, not barely to labour for the Supply of their own Wants, but to have an Eye to those of other Nations, even such as are at the greatest Distance” (unpaginated; “Ded.”, par. 6). In this sense, people’s faculties authorize their actions by determining their local interests, and these local interests unite all within a commercially reciprocating, larger, indeterminate community.

26[P]rivate Interests” and the “noble and generous […] Arts of Commerce […] extend to all Mankind” (xvi; “Intro.”), and consequently show, in the Preface to the second volume, how reciprocity inheres in colonialism :

The great Point with respect to Plantations, is to shew, that the Riches, Power, and Happiness of the Mother-Country, depends, in a great Measure, upon them ; and that, on the other Hand, this Connection is so far from being grievous, burthensome, or prejudicial to the Colonies, that, on the contrary, their Peace, Welfare, and Prosperity, are dependent upon this, and upon this only; so that the Benefits and Advantages of Settlements and their Mother-Countries are always reciprocal ; whence arises the Tie of mutual Obligation (unpaginated ; par. 2).

  • 52 Campbell returns to and reinforces this topic at varying points, for example, at the (...)
  • 53 Even though Campbell stresses the equality within the colonizing relation, he n (...)

27Instead of the culturally determinate “Christendome” of Hakluyt or the “empire of Europe” of the Churchills, Campbell insists upon a unified indeterminate community where the mother country and the colonized people reciprocally support and maintain each other, as each pursues its own diverse and particular interests52. Ultimately, this notion of reciprocal colonization lapses into a culturally biased conception of World Empire that largely has mutual exchange serving the self-interests of a dominant culture and nation53. Nevertheless, Campbell’s natural law rhetoric refashions this notion of a larger indeterminate community – realized by cultivating local industry, freedom, and faculties of mind – by allowing nations to interact within a reciprocating commercial enterprise. This shift to local authority and self-interest directly challenges and subverts the older discourse’s reliance upon external authority, teleology, and hierarchy. Campbell adds,

“The large History ensuing may be considered as a practical Commentary […] that where these Notions are adverted to and followed, Mother-Countries and their Plantations thrive equally, and that both pine, dwindle and decay, where these Maxims are either neglected or despised” (unpaginated ; “Preface,” vol. 2, par. 2).

28The individual travel narratives document the story of commercial prosperity and how it places all nations within a reciprocating, unified, larger community. Instead of focusing on how people’s experiences fit externally within a teleological progression towards a religious good, people’s experiences will be measured locally and internally, based upon the amount dictated by local interests and their proximate surroundings.

Astley / Green Collection

29Astley / Green follow Campbell by openly distinguishing their collection from the Churchills, foregrounding local interest and commerce. Green chooses not to “follow the Example of the generality of Authors, who are for carrying their Disquisitions, not only as far back as the Flood, but even beyond it” (1 ; vol. 1, “Intro.”, col. 1). He maintains the futility of applying the biblical narrative to navigation, noting that “all that can be said, must be pure Conjecture” (1 ; vol. 1, “Intro.”, col. 1). Instead of relying upon circumspect evidence, or “Conjecture”, Green’s Introduction aspires to document the “Rise and Progress of Navigation and Commerce”, focusing on travel as it relates to times when trade and commerce prospered or waned. For example, we find that “the maritime Powers of Asia had their Fleets in the flourishing Times of their Empires, and traded to India […] is more than probable” and events, like the “Croisades” made a “great Interruption to Commerce” (4 ; vol. 1, “Intro.”, col. 1). Similar to Campbell, Green does not appeal to the biblical narrative to authorize travel accounts; rather, he substitutes the narrative of trade and commerce, which privileges the habits and interests of particular peoples.

30By describing particular rituals and ceremonies, as Green notes in his Preface to volume II, travel readers acquire a more complete understanding :

nothing confirms the Truth of a Remark, […] as an Instance shewing the Virtues or Vices of People ; and thus an Account from an Author of a Coronation, Funeral, Execution, or the like, which he delivers as an Eye-Witness, gives the Reader a far more lively and satisfactory Idea of the same […] : Because for one you have the Author’s own Authority, or the Particulars, such as they really were (vi ; vol. 2, “Preface”).

31Green follows Campbell’s stress upon the “Character and Circumstance” of people by “shewing the Virtues or Vices”. By reading the traveler’s original account of those customs readers benefit from receiving the “Author’s own Authority” and seeing “the Particulars, such as they really were”. The authority of the traveler’s perspective overrides any other authority because she more directly observes the customs and habits of a people or a nation. Such an observation leads Green to comment in the Preface to the third volume about Peter Kolben’s The Present State of the Cape of Good-Hope (1731), regarding the Khoikhoi or the westernized “Hottentots” of southern Africa :

We presume, the Reader will be both surprised and pleased with the agreeable Variety he finds in the Manners and Customs of these People; whom the Ignorance or Malice of most former Authors had represented as Creatures but one degree removed from Beasts, and with scarce any Thing human about them except the Shape : Whereas, in Fact, they appear to be some of the most humane and virtuous (abating for a few Prejudices of Education) to be found among all the Race of Mankind. (v-vi ; vol. 3, “Pref.”).

  • 54 However, like Campbell, by stressing self-interest, Green also exhibits a clear bias to (...)

32The more readers learn about the behaviors and habits of the Khoikhoi, the better their understanding, and the more they recognize that they “appear to be some of the most humane and virtuous”. By underscoring the authority of the travelers’ account of particular customs and habits, the editor indicates how focusing on cultural difference increases understanding. Indeed when referring to the “surprizing Wealth” and “Plenty” of China, Green remarks, contrasting with the tone of Harris’s Dedication, that “China may be called the terrestrial Paradise of the present World” (vi ; vol. 3, “Pref.”)54.

A New Universal Collection

  • 55 Following Campbell’s and Green’s examples of following self-interest, Button states “exte (...)

33Edward Button follows Campbell and Green, even borrowing the previous editors’ language concerning cultural difference and commerce. Button states explicitly that he follows Harris’s plan : “we have in this point, very nearly pursued the same plan as is laid down by the ingenious Dr. Harris” (xii-xiii ; “Intro.”). He refers, however, to Campbell’s 1744 edition because he directly borrows Campbell’s language regarding travel and commerce, referring to “spirit” and “industry” : “the spirit of industry in extending commerce, has ranged from kingdom to kingdom, now fixing its residence in one nation, then in another” (iii ; “Intro.”) ; and “For a nation, like a private family, changes its condition and recovers from the pressures it formerly laboured under, by prudent oeconomy, and industry rightly applied: by industry with regard to a state, we would be understood to mean a strict application to trade and commerce” (xiii ; “Intro.”). For Button industry shows how people and nations contribute to commercial prosperity, and a people’s “industry” points to the importance of their distinctive customs and habits : “whoever would have a true notion of the influence of any people or government must be well acquainted with their character, and circumstances in regard to commerce” (ix ; “Intro.”). In this telling excerpt, Button reveals how the newer discourse has overtaken the rhetoric of travel and exploration. He repeats Campbell’s phrase, “Character and Circumstances”, thereby revealing his own assimilation and application of the newer travel discourse, privileging the authority of particular cultures and their distinct cultural practices. Like Campbell, he thinks commerce and trade offer another narrative for prosperity where “we may expect to see such great events, and another golden age restored” (xii ; “Intro.”)55. Like Campbell and Green, Button shows that by exercising their industry and following their self-interest, nations may create a commercial golden age, in which participants reciprocally satisfy the other’s needs. He adds in his “Conclusion” to volume 3 that “the powerful and the opulent may find useful hints given for making further discoveries, which would undoubtedly tend to the great benefit of the mercantile part of Great Britain, and redound to the honour of the true patriot” (464-65). “Christendome” and “empire of Europe” cede to the particular interests of Great Britain and the authority of the discrete state, pursuing commercial gain within a world community punctuated by competing interests.

  • 56 Mandler provides a helpful distinction in types of character between the ladder and tree- (...)
  • 57 Some have identified this shift towards a form of perspectivalism. See for example Larry (...)

34This change in travel language and the notion of the Other reflects a change from seeing “nature” in terms of teleology and hierarchy to seeing it as inclinations, critical reasoning capacity, and self-interest. The new “nature” and framework resist locating the Other within a larger global community defined by a definite telos, because each nation’s self-interest, as dictated by its native reason and inclinations, determines how and why they choose, invent, and improve. As Campbell observes, “the Ancients”, thinking the “greatest Part of the Globe to be uninhabitable” and having “so high an Opinion of their own Knowledge” charged “Nature” with “Defects which were only in themselves” (Introduction, xiii). Previously nature, for Campbell, was defined through such preset conceptions, and now distinct people should examine the varied methods in which they observe the world. In this particularized view, different groups acquire a local and internal authority based upon their distinct experiences and observations56. This newer discourse allows different communities, nations, and peoples to prosper while resisting the need to categorize their discrete customs within a historical, hierarchical, and teleological narrative that posits a determinate and universal European empire57. Thus, Campbell’s, Green’s, and Button’s change in rhetoric reflects a change towards the local, particular, and indeterminate. People’s faculties and their surroundings – rather than an abstract, external narrative – serve as the authority for their experiences.

Haut de page

Bibliographie

ABBATTISTA Guido, Commercio, Colonie e Impero Alla Vigilia Della Rivoluzione Americana : John Campbell pubblicista e storico dell’Inghilterra del sec. XVIII, Florence : Olshki, 1990.

ARMITAGE David, “Empire and Liberty : A Republican Dilemma” in Martin VAN GELDEREN and Quentin SKINNER (eds.), Republicanism : A Shared European Heritage, vol. 2, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2001, 29-46.

ASTLEY Thomas, or John GREEN, A New General Collection of Voyages and Travels, London, 1745, in Eighteenth-Century Collections Online, last accessed 15 Nov 2014.

BAUGH Daniel A., “Great Britain’s ‘Blue-Water’ Policy, 1689-1815”, The International History Review, vol. 10, n°1, 1988, 33-58.

BLANTON Casey, Travel Writing : the Self and the World, New York : Twayne, 1997.

BOLINGBROKE Henry St. John, 1st Vicount, Political Writings, David Armitage (ed.), New York : Cambridge University Press, 1997.

BUTTON Edward, A New Universal Collection of Voyages and Travels, London, 1755, in Eighteenth-Century Collections Online, last accessed 15 Nov 2014.

CAREY Daniel, Locke, Shaftesbury, and Hutcheson : Contesting Diversity in the Enlightenment and Beyond, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2006.

CERTEAU Michel de, The Practice of Everyday Life, Berkeley : University of California Press, 1984.

CHURCHILL Awnsham, and John CHURCHILL, A Collection of Voyages and Travels, London, 1704-32, in Eighteenth Century Collections Online, last accessed 15 Nov 2014.

CRONE Gerald Roe, “John Green : Notes on a Neglected Eighteenth-Century Geographer and Cartographer”, Imago Mundi, vol. 6, 1949, 85-91.

CRONE Gerald Roe and Raleigh Ashlin SKELTON, “English Collections of Voyages and Travels, 1625-1846” in Edward LYNAM (ed.), Richard Hakluyt and His Successors, series II, vol. 93, London : The Hakluyt Society, 1946.

CUMBERLAND Richard, A Treatise on the Laws of Nature, Indianapolis : Liberty Fund, 2005.

DE BEER Esmond Samuel, “Bishop Law’s List of Books Attributed to Locke”, The Locke Newsletter, vol. 7, 1976, 47-54.

DYSON Robert William, “Introduction”, in AUGUSTINE, The City of God Against the Pagans, trans. R.W. Dyson, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1998.

ELSNER Jas and Joan-Pau RUBIES (eds.), Voyages and Visions : Towards a Cultural History of Travel, London : Reaktion Books, 1999.

EWALD William, “The Biological Naturalism of Richard Cumberland”, Annual Review for Law and Ethics, vol. 8, 2000, 125-141.

FIGGIS John Neville, The Divine Right of Kings, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1914.

FOUCAULT Michel, Archaeology of Knowledge, trans. A.M. Sheridan Smith, New York : Pantheon Books, 1972.

FRANTZ Ray William, The English Traveller and the Movement of Ideas : 1660-1732, New York: Octagon Books, 1968.

FROST Alan, “The Spanish Yoke : British Schemes to Revolutionise Spanish America, 1739-1807”, in Alan FROST and Jane SAMSON (eds.), Pacific Empires : Essays in Honour of Glyndwr Williams, Vancouver B.C. : Melbourne University Press, 1999, 33-52.

GARRETT Aaron, “Spinoza’s Law and Ethics : Spinoza as Natural Lawyer”, Cardozo Law Review, vol. 25, n°2, 2003, 627-641.

GIERKE Otto Friedrich von, Political Theories of the Middle Age, trans. Frederic William Maitland, New York : Cambridge University Press, 1958.

GRAFTON Anthony, New Worlds, Ancient Texts: the Power of Tradition and the Shock of Discovery, Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1992.

GREENBLATT Stephen, Marvelous Possessions : the Wonder of the New World, Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1991.

GREENE Jack, “Empire and Prosperity” in J. Peter MARSHALL (ed.), The Oxford History of the British Empire : The Eighteenth Century, vol. 2, Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1998, 208-230.

GREENLEAF William H., Order, Empiricism, and Politics : Two Traditions of English Political Thought, 1500-1700, Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1964.

GUIGNON Charles B., Heidegger and the Problem of Knowledge, Indianapolis : Hackett, 1983.

HAKLUYT Richard, The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation, Glasgow : J. MacLehose and sons, 1903-05.

HAMILTON Horace E., “James Thomson’s Seasons: Shifts in the Treatment of Popular Subject Matter”, ELH, vol. 15, n°2, 1948, 110-21.

HARRIS John, Navigantium atque Itinerantium Bibliotheca, London, 1705, in Eighteenth-Century Collections Online, last accessed 15 Nov 2014.

HARRIS John, Navigantium atque Itinerantium Bibliotheca, John Campbell (ed.), London, 1744, in Eighteenth-Century Collections Online, last accessed 15 Nov 2014.

HARTOG Francois, The Mirror of Herodotus : The Representation of the Other in the Writing of History, trans. Janet Lloyd, Berkeley : University of California Press, 1988.

HAZARD Paul, The European Mind : The Critical Years (1680-1715), trans. J. Lewis May, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1953.

HELFERS James, “The Explorer or the Pilgrim ? Modern Critical Opinion and the Editorial Methods of Richard Hakluyt and Samuel Purchas”, Studies in Philology, vol. 94, n°2, 1997, 160-186.

HEIDEGGER Martin, “The Question Concerning Technology”, The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, New York : Harper & Row, 1977.

HOCHSTRASSER Timothy J., Natural Law Theories in the Early Enlightenment, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2000.

ISANI A. Mukhtar, “Melville’s Use of John and Awnsham Churchill’s Collection of Voyages and Travels”, Studies in the Novel, vol. 4, 1972, 390-95.

ISRAEL Jonathan I., Enlightenment Contested : Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man 1670-1752, Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2006.

ISRAEL Jonathan I., Radical Enlightenment : Philosophy and the Making of Modernity, 1650-1750, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

KESSLER Amalia D, A Revolution in Commerce : The Parisian Merchant Court and the Rise of Commercial Society in Eighteenth-Century France, New Haven : Yale University Press, 2007.

LOCKE John, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John W. Yolton (ed.), London : Everyman, 1996.

LOCKE John, Two Treatises on Government, Peter Laslett (ed.), 2nd ed., Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1967.

LOVEJOY Arthur O., The Great Chain of Being ; A Study of the History of an Idea, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1936.

MACKAY David, “Exploring the Pacific, Exploring James Cook”, in Alan FROST and Jane SAMSON (eds.), Pacific Empires : Essays in Honour of Glyndwr Williams, Vancouver B.C.: Melbourne University Press, 1999, 251-270.

MANDLER Peter, The English and National Character: The History of an Idea from Edmund Burke to Tony Blair, New Haven : Yale University Press, 2006.

MARSHALL Peter J. and Glyndwr WILLIAMS, The Great Map of Mankind : British Perceptions of the World in the Age of Enlightenment, Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1982.

MATAR Nabil, Turks, Moors, and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery, New York : Columbia University Press, 1999.

OSBORNE Thomas, A Collection of Voyages and Travels, London, 1745, in Eighteenth-Century Collections Online, last accessed 15 Nov 2014.

PAGDEN Anthony, Lords of all the World: Ideologies of Empire in Spain, Britain and France, c. 1500-c. 1800, New Haven : Yale University Press, 1995.

PARKIN Jon, Science, Religion, and Politics in Restoration England : Richard Cumberland’s De Legibus Naturae, Rochester, New York : The Boydell Press, 1999.

PATRIDES Constantinos A., The Grand Design of God : The Literary Form of the Christian View of History, London : Routledge, 1972.

PITTS Jennifer, A Turn to Empire : The Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain and France, Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2005.

POCOCK John G. A., Virtue, Commerce and History, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1985.

PRATT Mary Louise, Imperial Eyes : Travel Writing and Transculturation, New York: Routledge, 1992.

RHONHEIMER Martin, Natural Law and Practical Reason : A Thomist View of Moral Autonomy, trans. Gerald Malsbary, New York : Fordham University Press, 2000.

SAID Edward, Orientalism, New York : Pantheon Books, 1978.

SCHNEEWIND Jerome B., The Invention of Autonomy : A History of Modern Moral Philosophy, New York : Cambridge University Press, 1997.

SHAFTESBURY third earl of, Anthony Ashley Cooper, Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2001.

SHELVOCKE George, Voyage Round the World (1726), in Harris’s / Campbell’s 1744 edition of Navigantium, London, 1744.

SIGMUND Paul E., Natural Law in Political Thought, Lanham: University Press of America, 1971.

SPINOZA Baruch, Ethics, from Complete Works, trans. Samuel Shirley, Indianapolis: Hackett, 2002.

STALNAKER Joanna, The Unfinished Enlightenment : Description in the Age of the Encyclopedia, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2010.

TAYLOR Charles, A Secular Age, Cambridge : The Belknap Press, 2007.

TAYLOR Charles, Sources of the Self : The Making of the Modern Identity, Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1989.

TEGGART Frederick J., The Idea of Progress : a Collection of Readings, Berkeley : University of California Press, 1949.

THOMPSON Carl, Travel Writing, London : Routledge, 2011.

TUCK Richard, The Rights of War and Peace : Political thought and the International Order from Grotius to Kant, Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1999.

TUCK Richard, Natural Rights Theories : Their Origin and Development, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979.

WARNER Oliver, English Maritime Writing : Hakluyt to Cook, London : Longmans, Green & Co, 1958.

WILLIAMS Glyndwr, Voyages of Delusion : The Quest for the Northwest Passage, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002.

WILSON Francis, “The Dark Side of Utopia : Misanthropy and the Chinese Prelude to Defoe’s Lunar Journey”, Comparative Critical Studies, vol. 4, n°2, 2007, 193-207.

WOLFF Larry, “Discovering Cultural Perspective : The Intellectual History of Anthropological Thought in the Age of Enlightenment” in Larry WOLFF and Marco CIPOLLONI (eds.), The Anthropology of the Enlightenment, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007, 3-32.

YOLTON John W., “Locke on the Law of Nature”, The Philosophical Review, vol. 67, n°4, 1958, 477-98.

Haut de page

Notes

1 Francis Wilson uses Voyages and Travels to argue how Defoe lampoons the popular image of the Chinese. See Francis Wilson, “The Dark Side of Utopia : Misanthropy and the Chinese Prelude to Defoe’s Lunar Journey”, Comparative Critical Studies, vol. 4, n°2, 2007, 193-207.

2 See Mukhtar A. Isani, “Melville’s Use of John and Awnsham Churchill’s Collection of Voyages and Travels”, Studies in the Novel, vol. 4, 1972, or Horace E. Hamilton who looks at Harris’s influence on James Thomson (Horace E. Hamilton, “James Thomson’s Seasons : Shifts in the Treatment of Popular Subject Matter”, ELH, vol. 15, n°2, 1948).

3 Marshall and Williams adroitly survey broader “perceptions”, and others briefly point to the general tone of, for instance, Campbell’s works, who is frequently described as “patriotic” and promoting an “imperialist theme” : see for instance, Mackay and also Frost, who describes Campbell as “taking a patriotic stance” (Alan Frost, “The Spanish Yoke : British Schemes to Revolutionise Spanish America, 1739-1807” in Alan Frost and Jane Samson eds., Pacific Empires : Essays in Honour of Glyndwr Williams, Vancouver, BC : Melbourne University Press, 1999, 35). See also Greene, who says that “prosperity and trade” were associated with “national identity” of which he gives an example of Campbell (Jack Greene, “Empire and Prosperity” in Peter J. Marshall (ed.), The Oxford History of the British Empire : The Eighteenth Century, vol. 2, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998, 215-216) and see Williams, who says Campbell’s Navigantium is “passionate in its advocacy of British overseas trade” (Glyndwr Williams, Voyages of Delusion : The Quest for the Northwest Passage, New Haven : Yale University Press, 2002. 149).

4 Marshall and Williams discuss how these collections added to the renewed popularity of travel narratives : see Peter James Marshall and Glyndwr Williams, The Great Map of Mankind : British perceptions of the world in the Age of Enlightenment, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982, 48-49. See also Oliver Warner, English Maritime Writing: Hakluyt to Cook, London: Longmans, Green & Co, 1958, 25, and Gerald Roe Crone and Raleigh Ashlin. Skelton, “English Collections of Voyages and Travels, 1625-1846” in Edward Lynam (ed.), Richard Hakluyt and His Successors, series II, vol. 93, London : The Hakluyt Society, 1946.

5 See James Helfers’s discussion of Hakluyt’s and Purchas’s use of religious appeals in “The Explorer or the Pilgrim ? Modern Critical Opinion and the Editorial Methods of Richard Hakluyt and Samuel Purchas”, Studies in Philology, vol. 94, n°2, 1997, 173-174.

6 Crone and Skelton note that in 1747 Osborne owned the copyright of Churchills’ collection.

7 Warner, English Maritime Writing, op. cit., 34.

8 Unlike Churchill’s and Harris’s editions, other early eighteenth-century large collections lack extensive introductory sections, such as James Knapton’s A New Collection of Voyages and Travels, which appeared six years later in 1711, as well as the Royal Society’s third volume of Miscellanea Curiosa : Containing a collection of Curious Travels and Natural Histories of Countries (1st edition 1707, 2nd edition 1727). Even though John Green is not mentioned by name on the title page, G.R. Crone offers evidence indicating that John Green wrote the Preface. Also see Edward Button’s reference to Green and his collection in New Universal Collection (1755), iv. Even though Osborne’s edition appears chronologically after Campbell’s, Osborne’s text will be analyzed first to show more effectively the shift between the older and newer discourses. The shift in language did not occur linearly or suddenly, but coalesced gradually and disjointedly around a new cultural rhetoric of travel and the Other.

9 Although the compiler is not acknowledged in the text, the British Library registers Edward Button as the ostensible editor for the 1754 edition, and also as the compiler for the 1755 edition. The 1754 edition contains this written note across from the frontispiece : “The Compiler, Edward Button, formerly of Kilncote, Leicestershire. The completion of the work was prevented by his death.”

10 Each editor was aware of the previous collections, referring to collections by the editors’ names and usually noting how their compilation differed from those before.

11 Here I use “discourse” in the way that Edward Said uses it from Foucault in Orientalism (1978). As Foucault maintains in Archaeology of Knowledge : “There is a notion of ‘spirit’, which enables us to establish between the simultaneous or successive phenomena of a given period a community of meanings, symbolic links, an interplay of resemblance and reflexion, or which allows the sovereignty of collective consciousness to emerge as the principle of unity and explanation” (Michel Foucault, Archaeology of Knowledge, trans. A.M. Sheridan Smith, New York : Pantheon Books, 1972, 22). Importantly Thompson argues how travel rhetoric moves more towards “subjective” strategies in the eighteenth century, and this study demonstrates in part how the language of commerce encourages varieties of subjectivism. See Carl Thompson, Travel Writing, London : Routledge, 2011.

12 See Jas Elsner and Joan-Pau Rubiés, Voyages and Visions : Towards a Cultural History of Travel, London : Reaktion Books, 1999, 47-48.

13 I use “framework” and “discourse” similarly to refer at once to Foucault’s notion of discourse as well as Heidegger’s conception of “frame” or “Ge-stett”, an ideological mesh or frame that controls / directs being. Heidegger discusses this en-framing. See also, Charles B. Guignon, Heidegger and the Problem of Knowledge, Indianapolis : Hackett, 1983, 1 : “The Anglo-American tradition generally tends to see philosophy as a set of current topics or problems that are to be discussed within pre-given frameworks. […] Heidegger maintains that it is these frameworks themselves that are the source of traditional philosophical problems”.

14 These are not new claims or observations, and several important texts outline this earlier framework, which originates from the Middle Ages, propelled by Augustine’s thought, and creates a unifying, progressive, and hierarchical metaphysics for European nations, i.e., Christendom. See for instance, C.A. Patrides’s The Grand Design of God : The Literary Form of the Christian View of History, London : Routledge, 1972. See also Otto Friedrich Von Gierke, Political Theories of the Middle Age, trans. Frederic William Maitland, New York : Cambridge University Press, 1958, 9. See Charles Taylor’s Sources of the Self : The Making of the Modern Identity, Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1989, and A Secular Age, Cambridge : The Belknap Press, 2007. Both describe Augustine’s important role in defining the internal / external notion (internal and external authority) of the Western consciousness. In this pre-modern framework, hierarchy serves an important role, according to W.H. Greenleaf, because “[o]rder implied the harmonious maintenance of each form of being in the place designed for it in the divine plan of creation and its obedient subordination to the degrees of being superior to it” (Order, Empiricism, and Politics : Two Traditions of English Political Thought, 1500-1700, London : Oxford University Press, 1964, 26). For other descriptions of this hierarchical order, see John Neville Figgis’s The Divine Right of Kings, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1914, and Arthur O Lovejoy’s The Great Chain of Being ; A Study of the History of an Idea, Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1936. The notion of connecting progress to Christian history and narrative follows from Augustine ; see Frederick J. Teggart, The Idea of Progress : a Collection of Readings, Berkeley : University of California Press, 1949. See also Dyson’s Introduction in Augustine, The City of God Against the Pagans, trans. R.W. Dyson, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1998, xxi, and Anthony Pagden, Lords of all the World : Ideologies of Empire in Spain, Britain and France, c. 1500-c. 1800, New Haven : Yale University Press, 1995. See Chapter 1, especially his discussion of Christendom and its connection to Aristotelian eudaimonia.

15 In Sources of the Self, Taylor explains this framework of reason, knowledge, and higher understanding in terms of Augustine’s philosophy : “Augustine’s proof of God is a proof from the first-person experience of knowing and reasoning. I am aware of my own sensing and thinking; and in reflecting on this, I am made aware of its dependence on something beyond it, something common. But this turns out on further examination to include not just objects to be known but also the very standards which reason gives allegiance to. So I recognize that this activity which is mine is grounded on and presupposes something higher than I, something which I should look up to and revere. By going inward, I am drawn upward” (Ch. Taylor, Sources of the Self, op. cit., 134).

16 Anthony Grafton, New Worlds, Ancient Texts : the Power of Tradition and the Shock of Discovery, Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1992, 255.

17 A specific example of a “rude fact” can be found in Captain George Shelvocke’s voyage to the west coast of North America. Shelvocke describes his personal experiences of Baja natives and how these contrast with prescribed notions of Western dress, decorum, civility, and order. Shelvocke observes “there is a wide difference between what one would, upon the first sight, expect to find from them, and what they really are” (George Shelvocke, Voyage Round the World 1726, in Harris’s / Campbell’s 1744 edition of Navigantium, ed. cit., 404-406).

18 Michel de Certeau’s distinction between “strategy” and “tactic” demonstrates how cultural standards and norms are subject to practical experiences. Everyday practices and “tactics” are “multiform and fragmentary” (Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, Berkeley : University of California Press, 1984, xv) and ultimately change “the status of the discourse” by acknowledging that the dominant discourse and its “analyzed ‘object’” are both “organized by the practical activity” and “determined by rules they neither establish nor see clearly, equally scattered in differentiated ways of working” (Ibidem, 11). As a result, the dominant “strategy” or discourse “disappears into the ordinary,” and “[t]his disappearance has as its corollary the invalidation of truths” (Ibid., 11). In this essay, I argue that the “invalidation of truths” or the older travel discourse cedes to a newer framework of truth, influenced by the rhetoric of seventeenth-century natural law theory.

19 In this essay, I am not concerned with showing how travel accounts complicate traditional views. Others have done this before me, such as Grafton, Greenblatt, or Frantz, who, for example, describes how observations described in the “new science” exert “considerable pressure on crystallized institutions”. Frantz stresses that “[t]he various forces that produced seventeenth- and eighteenth-century humanitarianism, toleration, and cosmopolitanism were […] many; but not least among them must have been the influence exerted by travel-books” (Ray William Frantz, The English Traveller and the Movement of Ideas : 1660-1732, New York: Octagon Books, 1968, 118). Instead, in this essay I will show how Western discourse changes as a response to travel’s “considerable pressure on crystallized institutions”.

20 “Critical reasoning capacity” refers to depiction of the change of the role of reason for Paul Hazard. See Paul Hazard, The European Mind : The Critical Years (1680-1715), trans. J. Lewis May, New Haven : Yale University Press, 1953.

21 Tuck notes that one characteristic of this new nature and its framework is that “an individual in nature […] was morally identical to a state, and that there were no powers possessed by a state which an individual could not possess in nature”. See Richard Tuck, The Rights of War and Peace : Political Thought and the International Order from Grotius to Kant, Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1999, 82.

22 Much of the natural law accounts and terminology in this study follows Martin Rhonheimer’s analysis. See Martin Rhonheimer, Natural Law and Practical Reason : A Thomist View of Moral Autonomy, trans. Gerald Malsbary, New York : Fordham University Press, 2000.

23 See Tuck, op. cit., 60-63, T. J. Hochstrasser, Natural Law Theories in the Early Enlightenment, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000, 4-5 and David Armitage, “Empire and Liberty : A Republican Dilemma” in Martin Van Gelderen and Quentin Skinner (eds.), Republicanism : A Shared European Heritage, vol. 2, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2001, 38-39. This position contrasts with critical studies that focus on the hegemonic tendencies of Western discourse. Casey Blanton states : “In effect, the eighteenth-century traveler begins to admit to and exploit the connection between the world and self, yet the ‘hegemonic reflex’ posits the European, and therefore modern, world as superior both in time and space” (Casey Blanton, Travel Writing : the Self and the World, New York : Twayne, 1997, 12). For similar positions see Said ; Orientalism, op. cit., François Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus : The Representation of the Other in the Writing of History, trans. Janet Lloyd, Berkeley : University of California Press, 1988 ; Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes : Travel Writing and Transculturation, New York : Routledge, 1992 ; and Nabil Matar, Turks, Moors, and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery, New York : Columbia University Press, 1999.

24 Richard Hakluyt, The Principal Navigations, 1.

25 Anthony Pagden describes the medieval empires and those that may succeed them in terms of an “Aristotelian identity”. He adds : “The ancient polis had made human flourishing – eudaimonia – possible. By rendering eudaimonia as ‘blessedness’ […], Aristotle’s thirteenth-century translator, Robert Grosseteste, had made that a state which it was clearly only possible to achieve within the territorial limits of the Christian monarchia”. See A. Pagden, Lords of all the World, op. cit., 27.

26 James Helfers discusses this religious tone and its coupling with a “naïve patriotic confidence about England’s exploratory efforts”. See Helfers, art. cit., 173.

27 It is widely accepted that John Locke did not write the introductory section, although it is sometimes attributed to him. John Locke and Awnsham Churchill were friends. See Crone and Skelton, art. cit., 81-84. See also, Esmond Samuel De Beer, “Bishop Law’s List of Books Attributed to Locke”, The Locke Newsletter, vol. 7, 1976, 47-54.

28 See Pagden, op. cit., 24-27.

29 Thompson discusses the development of “objectivist strategies”, which increased as science became more rigorous and specialized. See Thompson, op. cit., 82.

30 The OED indicates that the first definition for “history” means “a relation of incidents, [...] a narrative, tale, story”. See OED, 2nd edition, 1989.

31 Unpaginated.

32 Paul E. Sigmund states, “Self-preservation through rational conduct is the single ‘natural law’ in Hobbes’ system, despite the fact that he never describes it this way” (Paul E. Sigmund, Natural Law in Political Thought, Lanham: University Press of America, 1971, 78-79).

33 See Richard Tuck, Natural Rights Theories : Their Origin and Development, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1979, Ch. 6. Tuck also notes how Hobbes’ focus on self-preservation removes an obligation to obey natural law for fear of God’s punishment in an afterlife : “It is fairly clear that Hobbes never in fact believed that the after-life was relevant to prudential calculations of all men” (Tuck, Natural Rights Theories, op. cit., 126).

34 In “Of Property,” Locke states, “God gave the World to Men in Common; but since he gave it them for their benefit, and the greatest Conveniencies of Life they were capable to draw from it, it cannot be supposed he meant it should always remain common and uncultivated. He gave it to the use of the Industrious and Rational (and Labour was to be his Title to it)”. See Locke, Two Treatises on Government, Peter Laslett (ed.), 2nd ed., London : Cambridge University Press, 1967, 309 ; ch. 5, sec. 34, lines 1-6.

35 Pocock has argued how natural law language was important for the development of commerce. See John G. A. Pocock, Virtue, Commerce and History, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1985, 115. The connection between natural law and commerce has been explored by Amalia D. Kessler in A Revolution in Commerce : The Parisian Merchant Court and the Rise of Commercial Society in Eighteenth-Century France, New Haven : Yale University Press, 2007. See in particular chapter 4, page 159 : “the law of commerce was synonymous with the laws of nature. In other words, since commerce was an expression of divinely created principles of human nature – principles of self-interest or necessity, on the one hand, and sociability or charity on the other – it was these very same principles that should govern its practice”. I draw from Kessler’s argument to support my claim that natural law notions change the language of travel and by extension the conception of the Other in introductory sections of travel collections.

36 Spinoza, Locke, and Cumberland were born around the same time (1632), and they maintained tremendous influence on discussions of natural law, ultimately outlining the characteristics of the “new” nature. Not only does Aaron Garrett maintain that Richard Cumberland was one of the “most important natural lawyers of the seventeenth century” or that John Locke “was also clearly deeply indebted to the natural law theory developed by Grotius” (A. Garrett, “Spinoza’s Law and Ethics : Spinoza as Natural Lawyer”, Cardozo Law Review, vol. 25, n°2, 2003, 627), but Spinoza himself “wished to provide a kind of therapy to the natural law in showing that a consistent definition of natural law […] results in truly fixed and determinate laws” (Ibidem, 636). I do not argue that the editors directly read and borrowed specific ideas from Spinoza, Locke, or Cumberland to inform their expositions on travel, although I think one may have a stronger case arguing this with Hobbes and Locke; nevertheless, their influence was so immense that the editors could not help being exposed to their thought, which radically altered European ideas. Jonathan Israel provides an outline of Spinoza’s influences in Enlightenment Contested : Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man 1670-1752, Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2006.

37 See Garrett, “Spinoza’s Law and Ethics”, art. cit., 636, 640 : “For Spinoza, there is no natural hierarchy” and “There are no natural hierarchies to be discovered”.

38 Aaron Garrett states, “Our minds are most stable and fixed when we understand reasons, since when we recognize the necessity in laws, they become necessary psychological laws from which we act consistently. The more this is the case, the less we need rely on any positive law, human or divine, and the more our minds are guided by the same fixed and determinate rules which govern all parts of nature”. See Garrett, “Spinoza’s Law and Ethics”, art. cit., 639.

39 Garrett explains Locke’s contrast to Spinoza : “There is no need for Locke to build up a complicated theory of the passions, insofar as pleasure and pain are primarily anchored in and refer to external laws rooted in the vast system of obligations, rights, and duties” (Garrett, art. cit., 640). Thus Lockean passions “refer us to an external system that gives them meaning” whereas with Spinoza, the “natural sanction is […] built into the natural psychological laws of the passions” (ibidem, 640).

40 Sigmund, Natural Law, op. cit., 84 : “Consent based on natural equality had appeared in the writings of political theorists before Locke. […] However, for them consent was a corporate act of the community at some point in the past, while for Locke it was an individual act”.

41 John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John W. Yolton (ed.), London : Everyman, 1996. Subsequent quotes come from this edition.

42 Daniel Carey states that Locke’s “accumulation of testimony on customs and manners treated human nature as something to be understood inductively, rather than through pre-assigned assumptions about essences”. See Daniel Carey, Locke, Shaftesbury, and Hutcheson : Contesting Diversity in the Enlightenment and Beyond, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2006, 34. Yolton states that for Locke “[r]eason and sense are the sole foundations for all knowledge” (Locke, Essay, op. cit., 482).

43 Jon Parkin provides a robust account of seventeenth-century natural law theory and its influence upon Cumberland as well as Cumberland’s contributions to natural law theory. Parkin notes, “Cumberland’s conception of the common good does not stop at temporal forms of socialitas. […] Cumberland seeks to universalise [sic] his socialitas, to form a general and universal proposition which applies to all rational agents, including God” (Parkin, Science, Religion, and Politics in Restoration England : Richard Cumberland’s De Legibus Naturae, Rochester, New York : The Boydell Press, 1999, 104).

44 Schneewind argues that this observation is original and distinctive. See Jerome B. Schneewind, The Invention of Autonomy : A History of Modern Moral Philosophy, New York : Cambridge University Press, 1997, 104. See also William Ewald’s essay, “The Biological Naturalism of Richard Cumberland”, Annual Review for Law and Ethics, vol. 8, 2000, 126.

45 Cumberland states, “it is owing to this most noble Motion of reciprocal Beneficence, that others reap like, and often, as occasion offers, greater Benefits, than those we obtain for ourselves” (617 ; ch. V, sec. XLVIII).

46 Charles Taylor motivated these observations : see Taylor, A Secular Age, op. cit., 60.

47 Locke, “On Property” in Second Treatise : “Now of those good things which Nature hath provided in common, everyone had a Right (as hath been said) to as much as he could use, and had a Property in all that he could affect with his Labour; all that his Industry could extend to, to alter from the State Nature had put it in, was his” (318 ; ch. V, sec. 46, lines 7-12).

48 Campbell largely worked for the Tories, such as Lord Bute, which demonstrates how many of his writings promote a Bolingbrokean notion of blue-water policy in relation to commerce : i.e., non-interventionist and non-continental. For more on Campbell’s politics and his writing see Guido Abbattista, Commercio, Colonie e Impero Alla Vigilia Della Rivoluzione Americana : John Campbell pubblicista e storico dell’Inghilterra del sec. XVIII, Florence : Olshki, 1990, and for an account of blue-water policy, see Daniel A. Baugh, “Great Britain’s ‘Blue-Water’ Policy, 1689-1815”, The International History Review, vol. 10, n°1, 1988, 33-58.

49 See Pocock, Virtue, Commerce and History, op. cit., 115 : “The apologist of commerce […] preferred, to any scheme of history based on civic humanism, those schemes of natural law and jus gentium propounded by Grotius, Pufendorf, Locke, and the German jurists, which stressed the emergence of civil jurisprudence out of a state of nature, since the latter could be readily equated with barbarism”. Importantly progress and commerce started to be joined in Whiggish thought early in the eighteenth century by Daniel Defoe, while a robust, four-stages theory of progression (Scottish history of stadial progression) does not reach maturity within “Scottish historical school” until the two following decades after Hume in such luminaries as William Robertson, Adam Ferguson, Adam Smith, and John Millar (ibidem, 252-53).

50 Spinoza’s conatus, an inclination to preserve the self, may offer the means for Campbell to privilege an indefinite “Spirit” over a definite Christian telos. For Spinoza, by acting in accordance with nature, one “endeavors to preserve his own being”, and this comes “from the laws of his own nature”. Thus, “it follows […] that the basis of virtue is the very conatus to preserve one’s own being, and that happiness consists in a man’s being able to preserve his own being” and “that those who commit suicide are of weak spirit and are completely overcome by external causes” (330-331 ; pt. IV, prop. 18, sch.). There are references to “Spirit” in the third earl of Shaftesbury’s Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times (1711), “A Letter Concerning Enthusiasm”, section VII. Again, I do not argue for a direct correlation between Campbell’s use of “Spirit of Commerce” and Spinoza and Shaftesbury, but rather highlight the rhetorical framework that permits such language.

51 As Abbattista shows, this sentiment largely reflects Tory / Bolingbrokean aspects of Campbell’s thought. In Idea of a Patriot King (1738), Bolingbroke states that the manner in which a state pursues its interests demonstrates that a difference “arises from the situation of countries, from the character of people, from the nature of government, and even from that of climate and soil ; from circumstances that are, like these, permanent, and from others […] accidental”. See Bolingbroke, Political Writings, David Armitage (ed.), New York : Cambridge University Press, 1997, 273.

52 Campbell returns to and reinforces this topic at varying points, for example, at the beginning of Book I from volume II : “Whereas other Conquests tend only to the Benefit of this or that Nation; these are advantageous to the Species, and add Dominion not to a single People, but to the whole Race of Mankind” (2 ; vol. II, bk. I, ch. III, sec. 1, col. 1).

53 Even though Campbell stresses the equality within the colonizing relation, he notes how the commercial enterprise increases the power of the home country : “we owe many other great Advantages to this Commerce in the East. For, in the first place, it is the great Support of the Maritime Power of Europe ; it makes us Masters of all other Parts of the Globe” (984 ; vol. 1, “Concl.”). Jennifer Pitts provides a helpful distinction here ; initially a “tolerant and pluralist universalism” predominated eighteenth-century thought, “one premised on the equal rationality of all human beings and the belief that standards of morality and justice that governed relations within Europe also obligated Europeans in their dealings with other societies” ; however, “in the first half of the nineteenth century” a “progressivist universalism” developed that “justified European imperial rule as a benefit to backward subjects”, and “authorized the abrogation of sovereignty of many indigenous states and licensed increasingly interventionist policies in colonized societies’ systems of education, law, property, and religion” (Jennifer Pitts, A Turn to Empire: The Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain and France, Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2005, 21). See also David Armitage, “Empire and Liberty : A Republican Dilemma”, in Martin Van Gelderen and Quentin Skinner (eds.), Republicanism : A Shared European Heritage, vol. 2, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2001, 42, where Armitage points out the shortcomings in Bolingbroke’s argument on this point.

54 However, like Campbell, by stressing self-interest, Green also exhibits a clear bias to England in colonialism. In volume 2, Book II, the voyages to the western coast of Africa, he argues for Parliament’s funding fort construction : “But how shall the Company be able to do this Service to the Public, unless farther assisted by the Public ? And there seems to be the more Necessity for this, as both the French and Dutch, from a due Sense of the great national Benefits arising from this Trade, support it by a national Encouragement” (161; vol. 2, bk. 2, ch. 1, sec. 1, col. 2). Indeed without stating “self-interest” overtly, Green provides a thinly veiled support of stronger British engagement in colonialism in western Africa, from a “due Sense of the great national Benefits arising from this Trade”.

55 Following Campbell’s and Green’s examples of following self-interest, Button states “extensive commerce is the one thing necessary in politics. It is ridiculous for such a nation to complain, […] that her condition grows worse and worse; because it is in her own power to remedy all these grievances, by consulting her own interest” (xii ; “Intro.”).

56 Mandler provides a helpful distinction in types of character between the ladder and tree-branching approaches, which also elucidate the contrasting notions of nature : the first “assumed a high degree of fundamental commonality among all humans […]. It also assumed a set of universal qualities to which all humans could aspire, and which societies at the top of the ladder embodied more than those below” (18), and the second “suggested that human groups became more and more different over time, exhibiting different characteristics that rendered them increasingly incompatible”. See Peter Mandler, The English and National Character : The History of an Idea from Edmund Burke to Tony Blair, New Haven : Yale University Press, 2006, 18.

57 Some have identified this shift towards a form of perspectivalism. See for example Larry Wolff, “Discovering Cultural Perspective : The Intellectual History of Anthropological Thought in the Age of Enlightenment”, 3-32 in Larry Wolff and Marco Cipolloni (eds.), The Anthropology of the Enlightenment, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007, 7-8 : “The Enlightenment may be correspondingly characterized by the discovery of cultural perspective […], globally demarcated by the principle of cultural relativity”. See also Joanna Stalnaker, who observes about Louis-Sébastien Mercier’s description of Paris : his “individual voice” is convinced of its ability to describe, but simultaneously is “lost in a multitude of overwhelming changes that it can neither control nor capture” (Joanna Stalnaker, The Unfinished Enlightenment : Description in the Age of the Encyclopedia, Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2010, 186).

Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence électronique

Matthew Binney, « The Rhetoric of Travel and Exploration : a New “Nature” and the Other in Early to mid- Eighteenth-Century English Travel Collections », Revue LISA/LISA e-journal [En ligne], vol. XIII-n°3 | 2015, mis en ligne le 17 juillet 2015, consulté le 26 septembre 2017. URL : http://lisa.revues.org/8687 ; DOI : 10.4000/lisa.8687

Haut de page

Auteur

Matthew Binney

Matthew W. Binney is an Associate Professor of English at Eastern Washington University and Fulbright Scholar, whose research focuses on Edmund Burke and also how travel accounts influence the British consciousness of society and state, other countries and peoples, and empire during the eighteenth century. His most recent publications include “‘The Authority of Entertainment’ : The ‘New’ Nature in the Language of Travel : Domingo Navarrete’s and John Locke’s Natural Law Rhetoric”, 1650-1850. Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era 21 (2014) : 27-58 ; “Edmund Burke’s Sublime Cosmopolitan Aesthetic”, SEL : Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, 53.3 (summer 2013) : 643-666 and “Joseph-François Lafitau’s Customs of American Indians and Edmund Burke : Historical Process and Cultural Difference”, CLIO : A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History 41.2 (2012): 311-338.

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur

Licence Creative Commons
Les contenus de la Revue LISA / LISA e-journal sont mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

Haut de page
  • Revues.org