|Biographical Notes||Anonymous author of dissertation number 9 submitted to the prize contest of the Académie de Lyon. The reviewer, count Laurencin, wrote a lengthy note on this piece, more à propos than actually on it, wondering why dissertations against travelling are of a far superior quality within the contest to those that support the usefulness of travelling:|
"To this point, I found eloquence and vigor only in dissertations that present travel as the source of all possible wrongs. The contest, languishing, was devoid of colour as long as the question was to define travel's usefulness, took a strange energy when it came to asser the opposit. Is it a general characteristic of the human mind to please in sophisms, and is there less energy for the truth? Here is an otherwise very remarkable dissertation which seeks to prove that travels cannot train neither a truly well instructed person, nor a virtuous man, nor a good citizen. The author admits that he travelled a lot. I would like to ask a question from him. If you had not left your country, I would ask, how would you have acquired all the knowledge that you showcase in this work? This essay, in which you deploy them, would you have been able to write it? His answer, if it is sincere, would be the best refutation.
There are abuses in travelling. Who would doubt that? Are there no abuses even in religion? That Columbus, by the discovery of America, was the source of all the blood that inundated this part of the world, why does it matter? Does this prove that travelling would not be able to perfect education? When it comes to Julius Caesar and Alexander, I beg the author's pardon, but I cannot possibly conceive them as travellers. I cannot consider the damages caused by their conquests - those were travels of an entirely different type to the ones about which the Académie de Lyon is seeking to make a judgement."
|Work(s)||Author of Lyon dissertation no. 16. MS (1785 - 1787)|