On His Deathbed, Johnson Celebrates Youth’s Vitality And Spirit

It is right that youth should celebrate its vigor.  We do it a grave injustice by shackling its natural ebullience, by attempting to douse its fires with an excess of admonitions and restrictives.  Let it, as far as health and safety will permit, taste the light of the open sky, the airs of unexplored mountains, and the swift currents swirling along tropical beaches.  For in our elder years we will recall these liberating sensations with an intensity that sustains life itself.

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A London Men’s Club Of 1783 (Podcast)

Men’s clubs used to be places where like-minded individuals could congregate and discuss topics of mutual interest. As society has changed, this is becoming an increasingly rare tradition. To see just what a gentleman’s club was like in London in 1783, we go to the original sources and read the club’s by-laws. Nothing better illustrates how different that era was from today.

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Some Bits Of Travel Advice

It is very easy to find travel advice.  It gushes in currents, like the waters of a melting glacier, carrying all before it.  I have no desire here to provide an exhaustive laundry-list of action items; my goal is only to toss out a few thoughts on the subject that have come to me in recent days.  I recently read the following travel recommendations which appear in Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson.  They are taken from a letter he wrote to one Mr. Perkins in 1782, when Johnson was 73 years old:

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The Travels Of Sir Thomas Roe

One of the most successful diplomats of his era, Thomas Roe (1581–1644) got an early start on success in life.  In his era it helped to be a part of the nobility.  He was born in Essex, the son of Sir Robert Rowe, and was educated at Oxford; his genteel manners and refined ways soon gained him access to the court of Elizabeth I.  A knighthood followed in 1604, and with this came increased opportunities for advancement and commercial success.

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Ibn Fadlan’s Unique Travels In Central Asia And Rus

The name of Ibn Fadlan (أحمد بن فضلان بن العباس بن راشد) has received some notoriety in recent years, primarily due to fictionalized accounts of his travels in print and film.  Enthusiasts of travel literature who have taken the time to read his work will find, however, that his actual travels have little to do with these sensationalized tales.  His book is of great value to modern ethnographers; for it remains the only first-hand account we have of the customs and habits of Viking communities in Russia during the medieval period.

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