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Making The Eye-Witness Authoritative

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Chapter Summary

The travel writers whose books Locke collected and relied upon were, for the most part, self conscious eye-witnesses, who were at pains to distinguish between the astonishing things they described and the fictional marvels of fantastical medieval journeys. Locke's travel writers adopted a number of techniques to validate their accounts. Churchills' Travels particularly praised Navarrete's account of his journey to China for the simplicity of its language. Robert Hooke, who edited Knox's book, attempted to produce a Sinhalese dictionary, which might be of value to other travellers. Las Casas made extensive use of Aristotle, in his Defence of the Indians because Aristotle was regarded as the primary authority on the nature of barbarians. Locke referred to both Knox and Garcilaso in the Two Treatises of Government, Garcilaso in the Essay and Navarrete was included in Churchill's Travels. The author of the most questionable status in Locke's library was Thomas Gage.

Keywords: Churchill's Travels.; Garcilaso; Las Casas; Locke's Essay; Navarrete; Robert Hooke; Robert Knox; Thomas Gage; travel writer

10.1163/ej.9789004181151.i-338.127
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