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The Art of Living in London - Henry Peacham.

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The Art of Living in London Henry Peacham Henry Peachams intention in the book "The Art of Living in London (1642)" is to give straightforward, moral advice for people living in, or visiting London. Peachams best-known work however, is perhaps "The Complete Gentleman" of 1622, which was re-printed in 1626 and again in 1634. This book was designed to be a handbook and guide for young men of good birth. It also offers a formula for the ideal gentleman. This essay will address the views and insights that Henry Peacham made in "The Art of Living in London." As an authority Peacham describes London as corrupt and seductive, but this could be seen as a very subjective view as his heart is in the country. He was born in Hertfordshire and his father was the reverend Henry Peacham of N. Mimms. He believes that it takes great skill to live in a place such as London, where lots of people live in close proximity. ...read more.


Don't waste your money in taverns as other nations might. He warns that one should take care not to drink too much. Stating 'drinking begets challenges and quarrels and occasioneth the death of many, as known by almost daily experience.' He describes how even young heirs and gallant men end up incarcerated in prisons such as Newgate. Peacham believes that one should not waste their time going to taverns or seeing plays but instead one should diligently follow the business that brought you to London in the first instance. Money appears to be one of the principal concerns for Londoners, Peacham describes the things one can spend money on while in London, - clothes in fashion, plays, tavern feasts horse and coach hire to name but a few. Instruction for avoiding the pitfalls of spending money on inappropriate, self-indulgences is given, 'For an antidote to these several poisons let me prescribe to my city country gentleman these receipts or remedies. ...read more.


'Think it therefore no disgrace in a city inn to see to your horse everyday yourself, and to see him well meated, rubbed and watered.' In London there is work for most people if they are willing to work hard and not succumb to the evil of the City they may in fact even become aldermen or aldermen's wives. In fact London is a good place for the poor, 'whom hath the city more advanced than poor men's children.' Although Peacham condemns London as a corrupt city he admires those who have the ability to live and endure in it. If one is intelligent, hard working and strong, one may in fact not only be able to survive in London but also will be able to master its mysteries and become a respected member of society. In conclusion to survive in London he gives one rule never to be forgotten 'To serve god, avoid idleness, to keep your money, and to beware of ill company.' 1 ...read more.

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