Diaries newly discovered

Posted by Helen Tuesday, November 21, 2006

For once, The Scotsman has produced a fascinating article.

It seems that the diaries of James Fraser, an Episcopalian Minister, who set off in 1657 from Inverness, journeyed to Aberdeen, down the east coast of Scotland to Edinburgh, then to England, where he described the country under Cromwell's rule that he definitely disapproved of, and to a number of Continental countries.

During his expedition, Fraser witnessed the early days of Cromwell's London, was suspected of being a Protestant spy in a Catholic college and even took a job with the Swiss Guard in Rome and guarded the Queen of Sweden's residence.

He was keen to learn about other religions and wanted to see England and Rome: "ones the seat of the Roman Empire, & who suddenly invaded the world and fixt it selfe such firm foundations as [none] other ever did. Also held to be the fountain of all Science, policy and arts civil and Ecclesiastick. Hopeing to find some sparks of these Cinders not yet put out among the modern Romains."
He was fascinated by what he saw in England and by the English, whom he describes as great meat eaters. His view of the body politic was pessimistic:
But there was never more treason in England and about London than now; though not against a King, butt against a parlement, a Commonwalth, a Cromuell. Some one or other every day impeacht for high treason against the State (so tearmed) Lords, souldioures, Churchmen, Phisitians, some hangd, others have their heads cut off, some shot to death, which is the Military execution; for after King Charles his death, the Scaffold runs still wt bloud.
Equally interesting comments are quoted from his description of other countries.

Fraser was not well off and could not travel in a leisurely fashion affected by the sprigs of nobility. Nor could he, one presumes, live on credit, also done by the self-same sprigs. He travelled cheaply, got jobs, rather the way young people do now and, no doubt, took advantage of hospitality extended by various religious establishments.

The diary is due to be published and Tory Historian, for one, is waiting with bated breath.

2 comments

  1. Tom Says:
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    He likes this site !

     
  3. Anonymous Says:
  4. Interesting post Historian this is fascinating news.

     
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