Of Travel by Francis Bacon Summary & Analysis

Read our detailed notes below on the essay Of Travel by Francis Bacon. Our notes cover Of Travel by Francis Bacon summary and analysis.

Of Travel by Francis Bacon Summary:

Bacon begins the essay by arguing that the young soul learns a lot when he travels around unknown places. He learns a lot from the environment even before he has started going to school. By traveling, the process of learning is enhanced and the child acquires awareness very early. However, one must seek some knowledge, particularly learning the language of the place where he intended to travel. If he doesn’t have sufficient knowledge, he must not visit that place.   Bacon Further adds that it is often desirable for the young ones to travel around the world in the company of a knowledgeable person or tutor, for instance, under the supervision of a person who knows the foreign language and has been there before. The tutor, by virtue his knowledge and experience, must be able to guide the young traveler about where to go and what is worth seeing. On the other hand, without a knowledgeable tutor, the young traveler might fail to perceive the worth and significant things while traveling to new places.

Bacon furthermore says that it is a strange thing that while traveling across the sea, the man observes nothing much but the blue water and the never-ending sky, however, when traveling on the land, there is so much to observe that the traveler finds it hard to note down each and every detail. He should maintain a diary to note down the interesting things and events. Here Bacon suggests the travel about what things they should mention in their diaries while traveling. These include: the courts of prince, especially the reception they give to the ambassadors; the royal courts of justice, the scene of hearing plea from accused; the churches and monasteries and their way of living; the walls and fortification; the country’s ancient buildings and ruins; libraries; colleges, the ways lectures are delivered; the recreational areas; whatsoever that appeals to one’s sight and memorable.

As for social events are concerned, like marriages, funeral, feasts, public execution, and celebration of victories, they should not be neglected and ignored, however, there is no need to mention them in a travel diary.

Bacon continues the essay by guiding the travelers about some “do’s” and “don’ts” so that they take maximum benefit out of it. First of all, the young travel must have some basic knowledge before starting traveling. Second, the young traveler should have a knowledgeable tutor who has profound knowledge about the place. Third, the tutor must carry some catalog or book along with him that can help them in the foreign country. Fourth, the traveler must have a diary in which he can note down all the worth mentioning things. Fifth, the traveler should not stay long in one place than necessary. If in case he stays longer, he must change the place in the town in order to get maximum exposure. Sixth, the traveler should not choose to halt with the people of his own country, rather he must choose to stay with people from a different country. Last but not the least, the traveler must obtain and carry along with him the letters of introduction from the nobility of his own place for the one he is visiting to. This is result in ease in traveling.

As far as the people whose acquaintance should be sought while traveling include secretaries and ambassadors. These people can offer help in visiting particular places, in gathering information, and availing resources that one might need. To Bacon, the traveler should always avoid engaging in any type of quarrel with local. Moreover, he should also be careful about the company of mistresses and quarrelsome people. These people might grind him in their fights.

Bacon, like most of his essays, ends this essay with advice. He says that when the traveler returns to his own country, he shouldn’t forget the country he traveled to especially the people who helped him during his travel. He must establish a contact with them through letters. Furthermore, he must not show off his knowledge and awareness he acquired during traveling. But, he should act well-mannered and disciplined to reflect the new wisdom he acquired during traveling. He should not exaggerate the stories and scenes that he encounters during traveling, rather he should be more concise and factual. Lastly, after traveling the other country, a person should not forget the customs and traditions of his own native land while acquiring the customs and traditions of the country he visited. He should rather adopt some good things from the foreign country.

Of Travel by Francis Bacon Analysis:

Of Travel, by Francis Bacon is a persuasive essay in which he uses various persuasive techniques along with figurative language at different instances to support his viewpoint. Bacon opens the essay by mentioning two types of audience: the young travelers and the old traveler, however, he primarily put emphases on the former.

The tone of the author (Bacon) in the essay is of a proficient expert who has profound knowledge and experience of traveling. He knows what he is talking about. It seems that he has the first-hand experience of traveling as he doesn’t refer to any experienced authority but advice through his own experience. He displays the extent of his understanding and guidance repeatedly by means of the use of the lists. It shows that he has a lot of knowledge and inclusive in his board. Furthermore, he criticizes the conventional practice of noting down each and every detail in a diary and also advice the traveler to have confidence in own mind.

Bacon, by using persuasive techniques, bids useful advice to an inexperienced traveler that shows that he has the best interest of the young travelers. He concentrates on the subject matter, none the less, his advice appears to come from 1st hand experience but he doesn’t make his experiences as subject matter. Bacon efficiently presents his advice. Moving logically from one point to another, he maintains his orderly and methodical writing.

At the end of the essay, Bacon once more appears to have foreseen a question by showing a practical concern regarding the manners of the traveler who have returned to his native town. He seems to show his best intentions for the traveler’s interests and status in a sensible way.

There is no strong use of figurative language in the essay as the subject matter is practical. The focus of the author is more on “how-to” than on the use of language. However, use of metaphor at various instances is seen in the essay. For example, [he] goeth to school, go hooded, little room, an “entrance”, adamant, and “Pricking in some flowers”.