As more and more 18th c. Englishmen began traveling to the Continent for both pleasure and business, guidebooks were published to answer every question regarding a foreign journey. One of the most popular of these books was written by Captain Philip Thicknesse (1719-1792.) A minor military officer as well as an opinionated author known for his often eccentric views, Capt. Thicknesse believed firmly in the superiority of all things English, and the suspiciousness of everything else that wasn't.
The theme of the captain's guidebook, published repeatedly in the later 18th c., can best be summarized by the book's complete title: The Gentleman's Guide in his Tour through France, wrote by An Officer, Who lately travelled on a Principle which he most sincerely recommends to his Countrymen, viz. Not to spend more Money in the Country of our natural Enemy, than is requisite to support, with Decency, the Character of an ENGLISHMAN.
Here's a typically inflammatory sample:
Having hinted at the affability of the [French] ladies, I think it may be highly necessary to advise you to be extremely cautious in your amours (if any you propose.) The air of the southern parts of France is warm and impregnating. Consequently the women are extremely amorous, and the majority of them have it in their power to confer upon you a certain favour, which if it does not cost you your life, may stick by you all your days; it being reputed to be equally destructive as that of the Neapolitans. The surgeons here make a very serious affair of such an accident, and will run you up a bill of fifty guineas before you can look round you; so that a misfortune of this nature will throw your frugality out of the window, and set your constitution on the wreck. You will no doubt be frequently accosted in the streets, by fellows who are lookers-out to bawdy-houses, asking you if you want a jolie fille. And happy are they, when they can lay hold of an Englishman, [for] as these girls say, they bleed freely. Their reward on those occasions, [should be] to break your cane over their shoulders; for many unguarded foreigners have been seduced by those notorious villains, into places from whence they have never more made their appearance.
If you'd like more of his advice, the fourth edition of The Gentleman's Guide (printed in 1770) can be downloaded here.
Above: Captain Philip Thicknesse by Nathaniel Hone, 1757
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