By Way of Introduction…

Posted on February 4, 2010 by

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What is a Gentleman Adventurer, anyway?

The term is not in any dictionary that I can find, nor are there any specific texts that I can find that portray what exactly a “Gentleman Adventurer” is. But if one reads the right sort of books, one can get a pretty good idea.

It is a term that originates with a certain genre of literature. I would call this genre “High-Adventure”, though others have referred to it as “Blood and Morals” literature, or “Boy’s Stories.” Specifically, it is the kind of fiction dealing with men, young and old, going off to far-flung corners of the world — usually somewhere during the Victorian era — to explore, take measurements, write journals for the geographic society, shoot large animals, and lead naked savages to Christ (and by consequence, civilization). That is a fairly large and very tongue-in-cheek description, but if you have read these sort of books (and I hope you have) you should know exactly what I’m talking about. If you don’t, I would refer you for a start to the most excellent works of R.M. Ballantyne. He was an excellent writer, a noted explorer and naturalist in his own right, and to my mind his stories are the hallmark of the High-Adventure genre, and more than anything else portray the idea of “Gentleman Adventurer.” If you want to grasp the concept, consider Ballantyne (rhymes with “valentine”) necessary reading.

But just in case you don’t happen to have one of Mr. Ballantyne’s works handy, I have summarized some of the more important points.

Faith – This is very important to the Gentleman Adventurer. He believes that the concepts of Christianity and Civilization are very intricately entwined. The latter does not exist without the former. The natural outcome of this kind of thinking is that he spreads the Gospel wherever he goes, whether it be New York or New Guinea.

Nature – God’s creation exists to inspire us and point us to Him. It is to be cared for by man, but at the same time, man is to take dominion over it. This is why it is a truth (as first stated by Theodore Roosevelt) that hunters tend to be the most adamant advocates of really useful nature preservation. The Gentleman Adventurer enjoys the great outdoors, fishing, kayaking, shooting beasties, eating them, and making their fur into useful articles of clothing.

Ladies – The Gentleman Adventurer is not a “ladies’ man.” He holds womanhood in high regard. He treats them with respect and civility. And when he has found one to whom his heart is given, he is loyal and devoted to her for a lifetime.

Protection – He acknowledges that there is evil in the heart of man. It is a fact of existence. So there will always be some members of society who will seek to take what they want or impose their evil will by force. When they do that, they may hurt his family or those he loves and cares about. He must defend against them with his life, and with the best means and tools available to him. But the Gentleman Adventurer should also acknowledge that there is an even greater battle raging over the minds and hearts of men.

Hard Work – The Gentleman Adventurer is not a sluggard. He knows the only way to succeed in a task is to work his tail off.

Responsibility – The only person responsible for when the Gentleman Adventurer messes up (as he will) is himself.

Of course this isn’t everything, but its a good synopsis of the things that are important to me. What’s that, you say? These are qualities that everyone ought to have? Ahh… Now you’re catching on.

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