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Economic Annals of the Nineteenth Century

By William Smart | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII
1810-11. A STRANGER'S IMPRESSIONS

IN 1815, was published anonymously, in two volumes, the Journal of a Tour and Residence in Great Britain during 1810 and 1811, by a French Traveller. Louis Simond -- the author's name came out subsequently -- was a Frenchman, who, however, had spent the previous twenty years in the United States. Simond was not only an "intelligent foreigner" but an unusually observant one, and the Journal was accepted at the time as being the fullest and most impartial account that any foreigner up till then had given of England. He had two rather uncommon advantages. One was that his wife, who accompanied him, was an Englishwoman; the other was that he had perfect command of the language -- the Journal in fact was written in English, and sent from the beginning to his friends in America. To me, its interest seems both negative and positive. What a stranger always dwells on is the unfamiliar; and, from what Simond sees to wonder at in England, one may infer a good deal as to the conditions of life in the two countries with which he was familiar, France and America, even when he does not make the comparison.

Louis Simond.

In January of 1810, after a passage of twenty-one days from America to Falmouth, and a leisurely journey of twelve days to London along roads which did not allow of a greater pace than four to six miles an hour, he settled down in furnished lodgings near Portman Square; mastered, with the aid of a map, the two principal avenues uniting at St. Paul's; and prepared to study London. Then, for three weeks, there is a gap in the Journal. Simond was down with "the malady peculiar to the climate of England known as the catch-cold," or, as it was even then called, the influenza, listening helplessly, as he says, to the roar of the city beating in measured time outside.

Influenza.

-305-

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