Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A true relation of the admirable voiage and trauell of William Bush, 1607

Full title: A true relation of the admirable voiage and trauell of William Bush gentleman who with his owne handes without any other mans helpe, made a pynace, in which he past by ayre, land, and water: from Lamborne, in Barkshire, to the custome house key in Londen.

So, this pamphlet (written by Anthony Nixon) chronicles Bush's party trick of traveling by water, land, and air in a boat. Wait . . . what? This calls for research!

According to The Folger Library: Two Decades of Growth, An Informal Account (1968), by Louis B. Wright, the document is "important as one of the earliest examples of journalistic reporting." He describes the image as, "Mr. Bush guiding his pinnace down a rope contraption from the top of the tower, to give it the appearance of a flying machine. His stunt in traveling by air, land, and water created a sensation at the time, and Nixon's book is a landmark in the history of reporting" (57).

The actual text is in black letter and is pretty hard to read, but I gather that Bush's trick was pretty impressive. It strikes me as kind of lame though, like this was something he did on a dare to show up some other gentleman. It has a certain aren't-I-clever vibe, don't you think?

Anyway, apparently if you're a journalist you should be glad that Mr. Bush made a "flying" ship and Nixon wrote about it.


danielle said...

He's like the David Blaine of the Early-Modern Age.

I was going to say Chriss Angel, but then I remembered the stunt where he "went through" a wood chipper. That was gross. Too bad he survived.

Sarah Redmond said...

This is JUST like David Blaine. Or maybe David Copperfield (he made the Statue of Liberty disappear!)

I still don't know how it's really a "sensation" though. I mean, is hauling a ship up via a pulley really an amazing illusion? I guess it's not supposed to be, but I nominate William Bush as the worst magician ever (behind Criss Angel, of course).

Doug said...

This all reminded me of another infamous magician known for a boat illusion. It's too bad the band Europe didn't exist in the days of William Bush.