Lyon dissertation no. 14. MS

Title Lyon dissertation no. 14. MS
Date 1785 - 1787
Type Academic prize contest entry
Physical Description Bibliothèque de l'Académie de Lyon, MS 237-4, ff. 221-226.
Language French
Content Advice on educational benefits of travel
Criticism of Travel
Moral considerations of travel
NotesAs the reviewer of the price contest Laurencin also remarked, this text is similar in its core statements to the winning dissertation no. 10, by Turlin, and generally condemns the abuses of travel. From the opening statements, it makes all benefits of travel relative: if travelling contributed to the progression of knowledge, it also spread vices. Generally speaking, the author acknowledges that travel has benefits for society - but less convinced about its benefits in education. Very few travellers - young men travelling for education, and even authors of travelogues - have the sufficient background knowledge to be able to judge properly various aspects of a country and a nation.

He judges the very concept of Grand Tour as it is performed: "A young man who, at the age of 20 years, usually has no defined character, nor a method to think about it, would go and the character of other nations; who, at this age, has only a very superficial knowledge of even the simplest of arts within his own country, would go and visit manufactures in foreign lands, judge their progress and their perfection; that, aged 20, being barely able to distinguish and name the products of his own lang, ignoring often the type of wheat produced, he would go and make observations about the type of productions in other climates; this means that this 20 year old young man would need the maturity of a man of 40 years." But even the young man had spirit, he would not use his travels for anything else but pleasures. The author similarly condemns sending young man to study in cities such as Paris, on their own, where they would meet only corruption.