A tour through the northern counties
Arranged as an itinerary with maps noting each town en route,
Warner's book is intended to accompany a traveller who seeks to repeat
the same tour. Warner provides detailed accounts of the furnishings, paintings
and tombs of noteworthy country houses along the way (in this case Harewood
House near Leeds, built in 1760), but has less patience for ancient ruins.
His idealised image of Yorkshire weavers evokes a truism about superior
country virtue that in turn justified travel to remoter parts of Britain.
A family tour through the British Empire
At the beginning of the nineteenth century the words 'tourist' and 'tourism' enter the English language: travel had become a commodity. Wakefield's very popular volume, originally published anonymously in 1804, combines the didactic interests of a writer for children with the historical and practical knowledge more typical of travel accounts. Mrs. Middleton's imperious tone and imperial aims concisely express the educational value of domestic tourism.
Priscilla Wakefield also enjoys a local connection as the grandmother
of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, head of the NZ Company, of whom she wrote
on 5 February 1799, 'my mind painfully engaged in the perverseness of
dear little Edwardhis obstinacy if he inclines to evil terrifies
me'. Like young Arthur in this book, Edward clearly possessed a rambling
spirit that his grandmother failed to tame.
This small volume provides the practical details needed to navigate the
new road systems. Cary's maps, with the colour-coded distinctions among
roads, beautifully conveys the intricate networks of communication that
increasingly encouraged local travel. Turquoise lines indicate the routes
of the mail coaches.