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JOHN LORD SOMERS,
BARON OF EVESHAM.
· MY LORD, THERE is a pleasure in owning obligations which it is an honour to have received, but should I publish any favours done me by your lordship, I am afraid it would look more like vanity than gratitude.
I had a very early ambition to recommend myself to your lordship’s patronage, which yet increased in me as I travelled through the countries of which I here give your lordship some account: for whatever great impressions an Englishman must have of your lordship, they who have been conversant abroad will find them still improved. It cannot but be obvious to them, that though they see your lordship’s admirers every where, they meet with very few of your well-wishers at Paris or at Rome. And I could not but observe, when I passed through most of the Protestant governments in
Europe, that their hopes or fears for the common cause rose or fell with your lordship’s interest and authority in England.
I here present your lordship with the remarks that I made in a part of these my travels; wherein; notwithstanding the variety of the subject, I am very sensible that I offer nothing new to your lordship, and can have no other design in this address than to declare that I am,
Your Lordship's most obliged, and
Most obedient humble servant,
P R E F A C E.
THERE is certainly no place in the world where a man may travel with greater pleasure and advantage than in Italy. One finds something more particular in the face of the country, and more astonishing in the works of nature, than can be met with in any other part of Europe. It is the great school of music and painting, and contains in it all the noblest productions of statuary and architecture, both ancient and modern. It abounds with cabinets of curiosities, and vast collections of all kinds of antiquities. No other country in the world has such a variety of governments, that are so different in their constitutions, and so refined in their politics. There is scarce any part of the nation that is not famous in history, nor so much as a mountain or river that has not been the scene of some extraordinary action.
As there are few men that have talents or opportunities for examining so copious a subject, one may observe, among those who have written on Italy, that different authors have succeeded best on different sorts of curiosities. Some have been more particular in their
accounts of pictures, statues, and buildings; some have searched into libraries, cabinets of rarities, and collections of medals, as others have been wholly taken up with inscriptions, ruins, and antiquities. Among the authors of our own country, we are obliged to the Bishop of Salisbury, for his masterly and uncommon observations on the religion and governments of Italy : Lassels may be useful in giving us the names of such writers as have treated of the several states through which he passed : Mr. Ray is to be valued for his observations on the natural productions of the place. Monsieur Misson has wrote a more correct account of Italy in general than any before him, as he particularly excels in the plan of the country, which he has given us in true and lively colours.
There are still several of these topics that are far from being exhausted, as there are many new subjects that a traveller may find to employ himself upon. For my own part, as I have taken notice of several places and antiquities that nobody else has spoken of, so, I think, I have mentioned but few things in common with others, that are not either set in a new light, or accompanied with different reflections. I have taken care particularly to consider the several passages of the ancient poets, which have any relation to the places and curiosities that I met with ; for before I entered on