Skip to main content

Full text of "Gulliver's travels into several remote nations of the world"

See other formats


wet % co f oared ' itfustnzticm by 


3 3333 08115 2635 











All rights reserved 

Made in Great Britain 

at The Temple Press Letchworth 

First Published in this Edition 1699 

Reprinted 1939 

..: . 
.-. . 


THE Publishers make no apology for a new 
edition of this " evergreen " book. They feel that 
the fine drawings of Mr. ARTHUR RACKHAM are 
a sufficient raison d'etre for their reappearance. 
Most of the designs appeared as line drawings 
in an edition issued in 1899, but tne y were 
subsequently worked over, revised, and coloured 
by the artist, some entirely new- designs added. 



- - . 





The Author gives some account of himself and family, his first induce- 
ments to travel. He is shipwrecked, and swims for his life, gets 
safe on shore in the country of Lilliput, is made a prisoner, and 
carried up the country ....... i 


The Emperor of Lilliput, attended by several of the nobility, comes to 
see the Author in his confinement. The Emperor's person and 
habit described. Learned men appointed to teach the Author 
their language. He gains favour by his mild disposition. His 
pockets are searched, and his sword and pistols taken from 
him .......... 12 


The Author diverts the Emperor and his nobility of both sexes in a 
very uncommon manner. The diversions of the Court of Lilliput 
described. The Author has his liberty granted him upon certain 
conditions ....... 22 


Mildendo, the metropolis of Lilliput, described, together with the 
Emperor's Palace. A conversation between the Author and a 
principal Secretary concerning the affairs of that Empire. The 
Author's offer to serve the Emperor in his wars ... 30 





The Author, by an extraordinary stratagem, prevents an invasion. 
A high title of honour is conferred upon him. Ambassadors 
arrive from the Emperor of Blefuscu. and sue for peace . . 36 


Of the inhabitants of Lilliput; their learning, laws, and customs, the 
manner of educating their children. The Author's way of living 
in that country ......... 42 


The Author, being informed of a design to accuse him of high treason, 

makes his escape to Blefuscu. His reception there . . 52 


The Author, by a lucky accident, finds means to leave Blefuscu ; and, 

after some difficulties, returns safe to his native country . . 60 



A great storm described. The long boat sent to fetch water; the 
Author goes with it to discover the country. He is left on shore, 
is seized by one of the natives, and carried to a farmer's house. 
His reception there, with several accidents that happened. A 
description of the inhabitants ...... 67 


A description of the farmer's daughter. The Author carried to a 
market town, and then to the metropolis. The particulars of 
his journey ......... 80 




The Author sent for to Court. The Queen buys him of his master the 
farmer, and presents him to the King. He disputes with his 
Majesty's great scholars. An apartment at Court provided for 
the Author. He is in high favour with the Queen. He stands 
up for the honour of his own country. His quarrels with the 
Queen's dwarf ......... 88 


The country described. A proposal for correcting modern maps. 
The King's palace, and some account of the metropolis. The 
Author's way of travelling. The chief temple described . . 99 


Several adventures that happened to the Author. The execution of 

a criminal. The Author "shows his skill in navigation . .104 


Several contrivances of the Author to please the King and Queen. 
He shows his skill in music. The King enquires into the state 
of Europe, which the Author relates to him. The King's 
observations thereon . . . . . . . .113 


The Author's love of his country. He makes a proposal of much 
advantage to the King, which is rejected. The King's great 
ignorance in politics. The learning of that country very im- 
perfect and confined. Their laws, and military affairs, and 
parties in the state . . . . . . . .122 


The King and Queen make a progress to the frontiers. The Author 
attends them. The manner in which he leaves the country very 
particularly related. He returns to England . . .129 






The Author sets out on his third voyage, is taken by pirates. The 
malice of a Dutchman. His arrival at an island. He is received 
into Laputa . . . . . . . . .143 


The humours and dispositions of the Laputians described. An 
account of their learning. Of the King, and his Court. The 
Author's reception there. The inhabitants subject to fear and 
disquietudes. An account of the women .... 149 


A phenomenon solved by modern philosophy and astronomy. The 
Laputians' great improvements in the latter. The King's 
method of suppressing insurrections . . . . 157 


The Author leaves Laputa, is conveyed to Balnibarbi, arrives at the 
metropolis. A description of the metropolis, and the country 
adjoining. The Author hospitably received by a great lord. 
His conversation with that lord . . . . . .163 


The Author permitted to see the grand academy of Lagado. The 
academy largely described. The arts wherein the professors 
employ themselves . . . . . . . .170 


A further account of the academy. The Author proposes some im- 
provements, which are honourably received . . . 177 




The Author leaves Lagado, arrives at Maldonada. No ship ready. 
He takes a short voyage to Glubbdubdrib. His reception by 
the Governor . . . . . . . . .183 


A further account of Glubbdubdrib. Ancient and modern history 

corrected . 188 


The Author's return to Maldonada. Sails to the kingdom of Lugg- 
nagg. The Author confined. He is sent for to Court. The 
manner of his admittance. The King's great lenity to his 
subjects .......... 194 


The Luggnaggiana commended. A particular Description of the 
Struldbrugs, with many conversations between the Author and 
some eminent persons, upon that subject .... 198 


The Author leaves Luggnagg, and sails to Japan. From thence he 
returns in a Dutch ship to Amsterdam, and from Amsterdam to 
England . ......... 207 




The Author sets out as captain of a ship. Ilis men conspire against 
him, confine him a long time to his cabin. Set him ashore in an 
unknown land. He travels up into the country. The Yahoos, 
a strange sort of animal, described. The Author meets two 
Houyhnhnms . . . . . . . . .211 




The Author conducted by a Houyhnhnm to his house. The house 
described. The Author's reception. The food of the Houy- 
hnhnms. The Author in distress for want of meat, is at last 
relieved. His manner of feeding in this country . . .218 


The Author studious to learn the language; the Houyhnhnm, his 
master, assists in teaching him. The language described. 
Several Houyhnhnms of quality come out of curiosity to see 
the Author. He gives his master a short account of his voyage . 224 


The Houyhnhnm's notion of truth and falsehood. The Author's 
discourse disapproved by his master. The Author gives a more 
particular account of himself, and the accidents of his voyage 230 


The Author, at his master's commands, informs him of the state of 
England. The causes of war among the princes of Europe. 
The Author begins to explain the English constitution . . 236 


A continuation of the state of England. The character of a first or 

chief minister of state in European Courts . . . .243 


The Author's great love of his native country. His master's observa- 
tions upon the constitution and administration of England, as 
described by the Author, with parallel cases and comparisons. 
His master's observations upon human nature . . . 249 




The Author relates several particulars of the Yahoos. The great 
virtues of the Houyhnhnms. The education and exercise of 
their youth. Their general assembly ..... 256 


A grand debate at the general assembly of the Houyhnhnms, and 
how it was determined. The learning of the Houyhnhnms. 
Their buildings. Their manner of burials. The defectiveness 
of their language ........ 361 


The Author's economy, and happy life, among the Houyhnhnms. 
His great improvement in virtue, by conversing with them. 
Their conversations. The Author has notice given him by his 
master, that he must depart from the country. He falls into a 
swoon for grief; but submits. He contrives and finishes a 
canoe, by the help of a fellow servant, and puts to sea at a 
venture .......... 266 


The Author's dangerous voyage. He arrives at New Holland, 
hoping to settle there. Is wounded with an arrow by one of the 
natives. Is seized and carried by force into a Portuguese ship. 
The great civilities of the captain. The Author arrives at 
England .......... 376 


The Author's veracity. His design in publishing this work. His 
censure of those travellers who swerve from the truth. The 
Author clears himself from any sinister ends in writing. An 
objection answered. The method of planting colonies. His 
native country commended. The right of the crown to those 
countries described by the Author is justified. The difficulty of 
conquering them. The Author takes his last leave of the reader; 
proposeth his manner of living for the future; gives good advice, 
and concludeth . . . . . . . .285 



STRETCHES HIMSELF ..... Frontispiece 








HAND ........ 88 











MY father had a small estate in Nottinghamshire; I 
was the third of five sons. He sent me to Emanuel 
College in Cambridge, at fourteen years old, where I resided 
three years, and applied myself close to my studies ; but the 
charge of maintaining me (although I had a very scanty 
allowance) being too great for a narrow fortune, I was 
bound apprentice to Mr. James Bates, an eminent surgeon 
in London, with whom I continued four years; and my 
father now and then sending me small sums of money, I 
laid them out in learning navigation, and other parts of 
the mathematics, useful to those who intend to travel, as I 
always believed it would be some time or other my fortune 
to do. When I left Mr. Bates, I went down to my father; 
where, by the assistance of him and my uncle John, and 
some other relations, I got forty pounds, and a promise of 
thirty pounds a year to maintain me at Ley den: there I 


studied physic two years and seven months, knowing it 
would be useful in long voyages. 

Soon after my return from Leyden, I was recommended 
by my good master Mr. Bates, to be surgeon to the Swallow, 
Captain Abraham Pannell, commander; with whom I con- 
tinued three years and a half, making a voyage or two into 
the Levant, and some other parts. When I came back, I 
resolved to settle in London, to which Mr. Bates, my 
master, encouraged me, and by him I was recommended to 
several patients. I took part of a small house in the Old 
Jewry; and being advised to alter my condition, I married 
Mrs. Mary Burton, second daughter to Mr. Edmund Burton, 
hosier, in Newgate Street, with whom I received four 
hundred pounds for a portion. 

But, my good master Bates dying in two years after, 
and I having few friends, my business began to fail; for 
my conscience would not suffer me to imitate the bad 
practice of too many among my brethren. Having there- 
fore consulted with my wife, and some of my acquaintance, 
I determined to go again to sea. I was surgeon successively 
in two ships, and made several voyages for six years to the 
East and West Indies, by which I got some addition to my 
fortune. My hours of leisure I spent in reading the best 
authors, ancient and modern, being always provided with 
a good number of books ; and when I was ashore, in observ- 
ing the manners and dispositions of the people, as well as 
learning their language, wherein I had a great facility by 
the strength of my memory. 

The last of these voyages not proving very fortunate, I 
grew weary of the sea, and intended to stay at home with 
my wife and family. I removed from the Old Jewry to 
Fetter Lane, and from thence to Wapping, hoping to get 
business among the sailors; but it would not turn to 
account. After three years' expectation that things would 
mend, I accepted an advantageous offer from Captain 
William Pritchard, master of the Antelope, who was making 


a voyage to the South Sea. We s?t sail from Bristol, May 
4th, 1699, and our voyage at first was very prosperous. 

It would not be proper, for some reasons, to trouble the 
reader with the particulars of our adventures in those seas: 
Let it suffice to inform him, that, in our passage from 
thence to the East Indies, we were driven by a violent 
storm to the north-west of Van Diemen's Land. By an 
observation we found ourselves in the latitude of 30 degrees 
2 minutes south. Twelve of our crew were dead by im- 
moderate labour, and ill food, the rest were in a very weak 
condition. On the fifth of November, which was the be- 
ginning of summer in those parts, the weather being very 
hazy, the seamen spied a rock, within half a cable's length 
of the ship; but the wind was so strong, that we were 
driven directly upon it, and immediately split. Six of the 
crew, of whom I was one, having let down the boat into the 
sea, made a shift to get clear of the ship and the rock. We 
rowed, by my computation, about three leagues, till we 
were able to work no longer, being already spent with 
labour while we were in the ship. We therefore trusted 
ourselves to the mercy of the waves, and in about half an 
hour the boat was overset by a sudden flurry from the 
north. What became of my companions in the boat, as 
well as of those who escaped on the rock, or were left in the 
vessel, I cannot tell; but conclude they were all lost. For 
my own part, I swam as fortune directed me, and was 
pushed forward by wind and tide. I often let my legs drop, 
and could feel no bottom: but when I was almost gone, and 
able to struggle no longer, I found myself within my depth ; 
and by this time the storm was much abated. The de- 
clivity was so small, that I walked near a mile before I got 
to the shore, which I conjectured was about eight o'clock in 
the evening. I then advanced forward near half a mile, 
but could not discover any sign of houses or inhabitants; 
at least I was in so weak a condition that I did not observe 
them. I was extremely tired, and with that, and the heat 


of the weather, and about half a pint of brandy that I 
drank as I left the ship, I found myself much inclined to 
sleep. I lay down on the grass, which was very short and 
soft, where I slept sounder than ever I remembered to have 
done in my life, and, as I reckoned, about nine hours; for 
when I awaked it was just daylight. I attempted to rise, 
but was not able to stir: for as I happened to lie on my 
back, I found my arms and legs were strongly fastened on 
each side to the ground; and my hair, which was long and 
thick, tied down in the same manner. I likewise felt 
several slender ligatures across my body, from my arm-pits 
to my thighs. I could only look upwards, the sun began 
to grow hot, and the light offended my eyes. I heard a 
confused noise about me, but, in the posture I lay, could 
see nothing except the sky. In a little time I felt some- 
thing alive moving on my left leg, which advancing gently 
forward, over my breast, came almost up to my chin ; when 
bending my eyes downward as much as I could, I perceived 
it to be a human creature not six inches high, with a bow 
and arrow in his hands, and a quiver at his back. In the 
meantime, I felt at least forty more of the same kind (as I 
conjectured) following the first. I was in the utmost 
astonishment, and roared so loud, that they all ran back in a 
fright; and some of them, as I was afterwards told, were 
hurt with the falls they got by leaping from my sides upon 
the ground. However, they soon returned, and one of 
them, who ventured so far as to get a full sight of my face, 
lifting up his hands and eyes by way of admiration, cried 
out in a shrill but distinct voice, Hekinah degul : the others 
repeated the same words several times, but I then knew not 
what they meant. I lay all this while, as the reader may 
believe, in great uneasiness; at length, struggling to get 
loose, I had the fortune to break the strings, and wrench 
out the pegs that fastened my left arm to the ground; for, 
by lifting it up to my face, I discovered the methods they 
had taken to bind me, and, at the same time, with a violent 


pull, which gave me excessive pain, I a little loosened the 
strings that tied down my hair on the left side, so that I 
was just able to turn my head about two inches. But the 
creatures ran off a second time, before I could seize them; 
whereupon there was a great shout in a very shrill accent, 
and after it ceased, I heard one of them cry aloud, Tolgo 
phonac ; when in an instant I felt above an hundred arrows 
discharged on my left hand, which pricked me like so many 
needles; and besides, they shot another flight into the air. 
as we do bombs in Europe, whereof many I suppose fell on 
my body (though I felt them not), and some on my face, 
which 1 immediately covered with my left hand. When 
this shower of arrows was over, I fell a groaning with griel 
and pain, and then striving again to get loose, they dis- 
charged another volley larger than the first, and some of 
them attempted with spears to stick me in the sides; but, 
by good luck, I had on me a buff jerkin, which they could 
not pierce. I thought it the most prudent method to lie 
still, and my design was to continue so till night, when my 
left hand being already loose, I could easily free myself: 
and as for the inhabitants, I had reason to believe I might 
be a match for the greatest army they could bring against 
me, if they were all of the same size with him that I saw. 
But fortune disposed otherways of me. When the people 
observed I was quiet, they discharged no more arrows: 
but, by the noise I heard, I knew their numbers increased; 
and about four yards from me, over against my right ear, 
I heard a knocking for above an hour, like that of people at 
work; when turning my head that way, as well as the pegs 
and strings would permit me, I saw a stage erected, about 
a foot and half from the ground, capable of holding four of 
the inhabitants, with two or three ladders to mount it: 
from whence one of them, who seemed to be a person of 
quality, made me a long speech, whereof I understood not 
one syllable. But I should have mentioned, that before 
the principal person began his oration, he cried out three 


times, Langro dehul san (these words and the former were 
afterwards repeated and explained to me). Whereupon 
immediately about fifty of the inhabitants came and cut 
the strings that fastened the left side of my head, which 
gave me the liberty of turning it to the right, and of observ- 
ing the person and gesture of him that was to speak. He 
appeared to be of a middle age, and taller than any of the 
other three who attended him, whereof one was a page that 
held up his train, and seemed to be somewhat longer than 
my middle finger; the other two stood one on each side to 
support him. He acted every part of an orator, and I 
could observe many periods of threatenings, and others of 
promises, pity, and kindness. I answered in a few words, 
but in the most submissive manner, lifting up my left hand 
and both my eyes to the sun, as calling him for a witness; 
and, being almost famished with hunger, having not eaten 
a morsel for some hours before I left the ship, I found the 
demands of nature so strong upon me, that I could not 
forbear shewing my impatience (perhaps against the strict 
rules of decency) by putting my finger frequently to my 
mouth, to signify that I wanted food. The Hurgo (for so 
they call a great lord, as I afterwards learnt) understood 
me very well. He descended from the stage, and com- 
manded that several ladders should be applied to my sides, 
on which above an hundred of the inhabitants mounted, 
and walked towards my mouth, laden with baskets full of 
meat, which had been provided and sent thither by the 
king's orders, upon the first intelligence he received of me. 
I observed there was the flesh of several animals, but could 
not distinguish them by the taste. There were shoulders, 
legs, and loins, shaped like those of mutton, and very well 
dressed, but smaller than the wings of a lark. I eat them 
by two or three at a mouthful, and took three loaves at a 
time, about the bigness of musket bullets. They supplied 
me as they could, shewing a thousand marks of wonder 
and astonishment at my bulk and appetite. I then made 


another sign that I wanted drink. They found by my 
eating, that a small quantity would not suffice me, and 
being a most ingenious people, they flung up with great 
dexterity one of their largest hogsheads, then rolled it 
towards my hand, and beat out the top; I drank it off at a 
draught, which I might well do, for it did not hold half a 
pint, and tasted like a small wine of Burgundy, but much 
more delicious. They brought me a second hogshead, 
which I drank in the same manner, and made signs for 
more; but they had none to give me. When I had per- 
formed these wonders, they shouted for joy, and danced 
upon my breast, repeating several times as they did at 
first, Hekinah degul. They made me a sign that I should 
throw down the two hogsheads, but first warning the 
people below to stand out of the way, crying aloud, Borach 
mivola, and when they saw the vessels in the air, there was 
an universal shout of Hekinah degul. I confess, I was often 
tempted, while they were passing backwards and forwards 
on my body, to seize forty or fifty of the first that came in 
my reach, and dash them against the ground. But the 
remembrance of what I had felt, which probably might not 
be the worst they could do, and the promise of honour I 
made them, for so I interpreted my submissive behaviour, 
soon drove out these imaginations. Besides, I now con- 
sidered myself as bound by the laws of hospitality to a 
people who had treated me with so much expense and 
magnificence. However, in my thoughts, I could not 
sufficiently wonder at the intrepidity of these diminutive 
mortals, who durst venture to mount and walk upon my 
body, while one of my hands was at liberty, without 
trembling at the very sight of so prodigious a creature, as 
I must appear to them. After some time, when they 
observed that I made no more demands for meat, there 
appeared before me a person of high rank from his Imperial 
Majesty. His Excellency, having mounted on the small of 
my right leg, advanced forwards up to my face, with about 


a dozen of his retinue. And producing his credentials 
under the Signet Royal, which he applied close to my eyes, 
spoke about ten minutes, without any signs of anger, but 
with a kind of determinate resolution; often pointing 
forwards, which, as I afterwards found, was towards the 
capital city, about half a mile distant, whither, it was 
agreed by his Majesty in council, that I must be conveyed. 
I answered in few words, but to no purpose, and made a 
sign with my hand that was loose, putting it to the other 
(but over his Excellency's head, for fear of hurting him or 
his train) and then to my own head and bod} 7 , to signify 
that I desired my liberty. It appeared that he understood 
me well enough, for he shook his head by way of disappro- 
bation, and held his hand in a posture, to shew that I must 
be carried as a prisoner. However, he made other signs to 
let me understand that I should have meat and drink 
enough, and very good treatment. Whereupon I once 
more thought of attempting to break my bonds; but again, 
when I felt the smart of their arrows, upon my face and 
hands, which were all in blisters, and many of the darts 
still sticking in them; and observing likewise that the 
number of my enemies increased, I gave tokens, to let them 
know that they might do with me what they pleased. 
JJpon this, the Hurgo and his train withdrew, with much 
civility and cheerful countenances. Soon after, I heard a 
general shout, with frequent repetitions of the words, 
Peplom selan, and I felt great numbers of people on my 
left side, relaxing the cords to such a degree, that I was 
able to turn upon my right. But before this, they had 
daubed my face, and both my hands, with a sort of oint- 
ment very pleasant to the smell, which in a few minutes 
removed all the smart of their arrows. These circum- 
stances, added to the refreshment I had received by their 
victuals and drink, which were very nourishing, disposed 
me to sleep. I slept about eight hours, as I was afterwards 
assured; and it was no wonder, for the physicians, by the 


Emperor's order, had mingled a sleepy potion in the hogs- 
heads of wine. 

It seems that, upon the first moment I was discovered 
sleeping on the ground after my landing, the Emperor had 
early notice of it by an express; and determined in council 
that I should be tied in the manner I have related (which 
was done in the night while I slept), that plenty of meat 
and drink should be sent to me, and a machine prepared 
to carry me to the capital city. 

This resolution, perhaps, may appear very bold and 
dangerous, and I am confident, would not be imitated by 
any prince in Europe, on the like occasion ; however, in my 
opinion, it was extremely prudent, as well as generous: 
for, supposing these people had endeavoured to kill me 
with their spears and arrows, while I was asleep, I should 
certainly have awaked with the first sense of smart, which 
might so far have roused my rage and strength, as to have 
enabled me to break the strings wherewith I was tied ; after 
which, as they were not able to make resistance, so they 
could expect no mercy. 

These people are most excellent mathematicians, and 
arrived to a great perfection in mechanics, by the counten- 
ance and encouragement of the Emperor, who is a renowned 
patron of learning. This prince hath several machines 
fixed on wheels, for the carriage of trees, and other great 
weights. He often builds his largest men-of-war, whereof 
some are nine feet long, in the woods where the timber 
grows, and has them carried on these engines three or four 
hundred yards to the sea. Five hundred carpenters and 
engineers were immediately set at work to prepare the 
greatest engine they had. It was a frame of wood raised 
three inches from the ground, about seven feet long, and 
four wide, moving upon twenty-two wheels. The shout I 
heard was upon the arrival of this engine, which, it seems, 
set out in four hours after my landing. It was brought 
parallel to me as I lay. But the principal difficulty was, to 


raise and place me in this vehicle. Eighty poles, each of 
one foot high, were erected for this purpose, and very 
strong cords, of the bigness of pack-thread, were fastened 
by hooks to many bandages, which the workmen had girt 
round my neck, my hands, my body, and my legs. Nine 
hundred of the strongest men were employed to draw up 
these cords by many pulleys fastened on the poles, and 
thus, in less than three hours, I was raised, and flung into 
the engine, and there tied fast. All this I was told, for, 
while the whole operation was performing, I lay in a pro- 
found sleep, by the force of that soporiferous medicine in- 
fused into my liquor. Fifteen hundred of the Emperor's 
largest horses, each about four inches and an half high, 
were employed to draw me towards the Metropolis, which, 
as I said, was half a mile distant. 

About four hours after we began our journey, I awaked 
by a very ridiculous accident; for the carriage being 
stopped a while to adjust something that was out of order, 
two or three of the young natives had the curiosity to see 
how I looked when I was asleep; they climbed up into the 
engine, and advancing very softly to my face, one of them, 
an officer in the Guards, put the sharp end of his half -pike 
a good way up into my left nostril, which tickled my nose 
like a straw, and made me sneeze violently: whereupon 
they stole off unperceived, and it was three weeks before I 
knew the cause of my awaking so suddenly. We made a 
long march the remaining part of that day, and rested at 
night with five hundred guards on each side of me, half 
with torches, and half with bows and arrows, ready to shoot 
me, if I should offer to stir. The next morning at sun-rise 
we continued our march, and arrived within two hundred 
yards of the city gates about noon. The Emperor, and all 
his court, came out to meet us, but his great officers would 
by no means suffer his Majesty to endanger his person by 
mounting on my booy. 

At the place where the carriage stopped, there stood 


an ancient temple, esteemed to be the largest in the whole 
kingdom, which, having been polluted some years before 
by an unnatural murder, was, according to the zeal of 
those people, looked on as profane, and therefore had been 
applied to common use, and all the ornaments and furniture 
carried away. In this edifice it was determined I should 
lodge. The great gate fronting to the north, was about four 
feet high, and almost two feet wide, through which I could 
easily creep. On each side of the gate was a small window, 
not above six inches from the ground: into that on the 
left side, the King's smith conveyed fourscore and eleven 
chains, like those that hang to a lady's watch in Europe, 
and almost as large, which were locked to my left leg, with 
six and thirty padlocks. Over against this temple, on 
t'other side of the great highway, at twenty feet distance, 
there was a turret at least five feet high. Here the Emperor 
ascended, with many principal lords of his court, to have 
an opportunity of viewing me, as I was told, for I could 
not see them. It was reckoned, that above an hundred 
thousand inhabitants came out of the town upon the same 
errand; and, in spite of my guards, I believe there could 
not be fewer than ten thousand, at several times, who 
mounted my body by the help of ladders. But a pro- 
clamation was soon issued to forbid it, upon pain of death. 
When the workmen found it was impossible for me to break 
loose, they cut all the strings that bound me ; whereupon I 
rose up with as melancholy a disposition as ever I had in my 
life. But the noise and astonishment of the people, at seeing 
me rise and walk, are not to be expressed. The chains 
that held my left leg, were about two yards long, 
and gave me not only the liberty of walking 
backwards and forwards in a semi-circle, 
but, being fixed within four inches 
of the gate, allowed me to 
creep in, and lie at my full 
length in the temple. 


WHEN I found myself on my feet I looked about me, and 
must confess I never beheld a more entertaining prospect. 
The country round appeared like a continual garden, and 
the enclosed fields, which were generally forty feet square, 
resembled so many beds of flowers. These fields were 
intermingled with woods of half a stang, and the tallest 
trees, as I could judge, appeared to be seven feet high. I 
viewed the town on my left hand, which looked like the 
painted scene of a city in a theatre. 

The Emperor was already descended from the tower, 
and advancing on horseback towards me, which had like to 
have cost him dear; for the beast, though very well trained, 
yet wholly unused to such a sight, which appeared as if a 
mountain moved before him, reared up on his hinder feet: 
but that Prince, who is an excellent horseman, kept his 
seat, till his attendants ran in, and held the bridle, while 
his Majesty had time to dismount. When he alighted, he 
surveyed me round with great admiration, but kept with- 
out the length of my chain. He ordered his cooks and 
butlers, who were already prepared, to give me victuals and 
drink, which they pushed forward in a sort of vehicles on 
wheels, till I could reach them. I took these vehicles, and 
soon emptied them all; twenty of them were filled with 
meat, and ten with liquor. Each of the former afforded 
me two or three good mouthfuls, and I emptied the liquor 
of ten vessels, which was contained in earthen vials, into 
one vehicle, drinking it off at a draught, and so I did with 
the rest. The Empress and young Princes of the blood, of 
both sexes, attended by many ladies, sat at some distance 
in their chairs; but, upon the accident that happened to 
the Emperor's horse, they alighted, and came near his 



person, which I am now going to describe. He is taller by 
almost the breadth of my nail, than any of his court, which, 
alone, is enough to strike an awe into the beholders. His 
features are strong and masculine, with an Austrian lip 
and arched nose, his complexion olive, his countenance 
erect, his body and limbs well proportioned, all his motions 
graceful, and his deportment majestic. He was then past 
his prime, being twenty-eight years and three quarters old, 
of which he had reigned about seven, in great felicity, and 
generally victorious. For the better convenience of behold- 
ing him, I lay on my side, so that my face was parallel to 
his, and he stood but three yards off: however, I had him 
since many times in my hand, and, therefore, cannot be 
deceived in the description. His dress was very plain and 
simple, and the fashion of it, between the Asiatic and the 
European: but he had on his head a light helmet of gold, 
adorned with jewels, and a plume on the crest. He held 
his sword drawn in his hand, to defend himself, if I should 
happen to break loose; it was almost three inches long, 
the hilt and scabbard were gold enriched with diamonds. 
His voice was shrill, but very clear and articulate, and I 
could distinctly hear it when I stood up. The ladies and 
courtiers were all most magnificently clad, so that the spot 
they stood upon, seemed to resemble a petticoat spread on 
the ground, embroidered with figures of gold and silver. 
His Imperial Majesty spoke often to me, and I returned 
answers, but neither of us could understand a syllable. 
There were several of his priests and lawyers present (as I 
conjectured by their habits) who were commanded to 
address themselves to me, and I spoke to them in as many 
languages as I had the least smattering of, which were 
High and Low Dutch, Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, and 
Lingua Franca; but all to no purpose. After about two 
hours the court retired, and I was left with a strong guard, 
to prevent the impertinence, and probably, the malice of 
the rabble, who were very impatient to crowd about me as 


near as they durst, and some of them had the impudence to 
shoot their arrows at me as I sat on the ground by the door 
of my house, whereof one very narrowly missed my left 
eye. But the colonel ordered six of the ringleaders to be 
seized, and thought no punishment so proper, as to deliver 
them bound into my hands, which some of his soldiers 
accordingly did, pushing them forwards with the butt ends 
of their pikes into my reach; I took them all in my right 
hand, put five of them into my coat pocket, and as to the 
sixth, I made a countenance as if I would eat him alive. 
The poor man squalled terribly, and the colonel and his 
officers were in much pain, especially when they saw me 
take out my penknife: but I soon put them out of fear; 
for, looking mildly, and immediately cutting the strings 
he was bound with, I set him gently on the ground, and 
away he ran. I treated the rest in the same manner, taking 
them, one by one, out of my pocket, and I observed both 
the soldiers and people were obliged at this mark of my 
clemency, which was represented very much to my advan- 
tage at court. 

Towards night I got with some difficulty into my house, 
where I lay on the ground, and continued to do so about a 
fortnight; during which time, the Emperor gave orders to 
have a bed prepared for me. Six hundred beds of the 
common measure were brought in carriages, and worked 
up in my house. An hundred and fifty of their beds, sewn 
together, made up the breadth and length; and these were 
four double, which, however, kept me but very indifferently 
from the hardness of the floor, that was of smooth stone. 
By the same computation, they provided me with sheets, 
blankets, and coverlets, tolerable enough for one who had 
been so long inured to hardships. 

As the news of my arrival spread through the kingdom, 
it brought prodigious numbers of rich, idle, and curious 
people to see me, so that the villages were almost emptied, 
and great neglect of tillage and household affairs must 


have ensued, if his Imperial Majesty had not provided, by 
several proclamations and orders of State, against this in- 
conveniency. He directed that those who had already 
beheld me should return home, and not presume to come 
within fifty yards of my house, without licence from court; 
whereby the Secretaries of State got considerable fees. 

In the meantime, the Emperor had frequent councils, 
to debate what course should be taken with me; and, I 
was afterwards assured by a particular friend, a person of 
great quality, who was looked upon to be as much in the 
secret as any, that the court was under many difficulties 
concerning me. They apprehended my breaking loose, 
that my diet would be very expensive, and might cause a 
famine. Sometimes they determined to starve me, or at 
least to shoot me in the face and hands with poisoned 
arrows, which would soon despatch me; but again they 
considered, that the stench of so large a carcase might 
produce a plague in the metropolis, and probably spread 
through the whole kingdom. In the midst of these con- 
sultations, several officers of the army went to the door of 
the great council chamber, and two of them, being ad- 
mitted, gave an account of my behaviour to the six 
criminals above mentioned, which made so favourable an 
impression in the breast of his Majesty, and the whole board, 
in my behalf, that an Imperial Commission was issued out, 
obliging all the villages, nine hundred yards round the city, 
to deliver in every morning six beeves, forty sheep, and 
other victuals, for my sustenance; together with a propor- 
tionable quantity of bread, and wine, and other liquors; 
for the due payment of which, his Majesty gave assign- 
ments upon his treasury. For this prince lives chiefly 
upon his own demesnes, seldom, except upon great occa- 
sions, raising any subsidies upon his subjects, who are 
bound to attend him in his wars, at their own expense. An 
establishment was also made of six hundred persons to be 
my domestics, who had board wages allowed for their 


maintenance, and tents built for them very conveniently on 
each side of my door. It was likewise ordered, that three 
hundred tailors should make me a suit of clothes, after the 
fashion of the country: that six of his Majesty's greatest 
scholars should be employed to instruct me in their 
language, and, lastly, that the Emperor's horses, and those 
of the nobility, and troops of guards, should be frequently 
exercised in my sight, to accustom themselves to me. All 
these orders were duly put in execution, and, in about 
three weeks, I made a great progress in learning their 
language, during which time, the Emperor frequently 
honoured me with his visits, and was pleased to assist my 
masters in teaching me. We began already to converse 
together in some sort; and the first words I learnt were to 
express my desire that he would please to give me my 
liberty, which I every day repeated on my knees. His 
answer, as I could apprehend it, was, that this must be a 
work of time, not to be thought on without the advice of 
his council, and that first I must Lumos kelmin peffo defmar 
Ion Emposo ; that is, swear a peace with him and his 
kingdom. However, that I should be used with all kind- 
ness; and he advised me to acquire, by my patience and 
discreet behaviour, the good opinion of himself and his 
subjects. He desired I would not take it ill, if he gave 
orders to certain proper officers to search me; for probably 
I might carry about me several weapons, which must needs 
be dangerous things, if they answered the bulk of so pro- 
digious a person. I said, his Majesty should be satisfied, 
for I was ready to strip myself, and turn up my pockets 
before him. This I delivered, part in words, and part in 
signs. He replied, that by the laws of the kingdom I must 
be searched by two of his officers; that he knew this could 
not be done without my consent and assistance; that he 
had so good an opinion of my generosity and justice, as to 
trust their persons in my hands; that whatever they took 
from me, should be returned when I left the country, or 


paid for at the rate which I would set upon them. I took 
up the two officers in my hands, put them first into my coat 
pockets, and then into every other pocket about me, except 
my two fobs, and another secret pocket I had no mind 
should be searched, wherein I had some little necessaries 
that were of no consequence to any but myself. In one of 
my fobs there was a silver watch, and in the other a small 
quantity of gold in a purse. These gentlemen, having pen, 
ink, and paper, about them, made an exact inventory of 
everything they saw, and, when they had done, desired I 
would set them down, that they might deliver it to the 
Emperor. This inventory I afterwards translated into 
English, and is word for word as follows: 

" Imprimis, In the right coat pocket of the ' Great Man- 
Mountain ' (for so I interpret the Quinbus Flestrin), after 
the strictest search, we found only one great piece of coarse 
cloth, large enough to be a foot-cloth for your Majesty's 
chief room of state. In the left pocket we saw a huge 
silver chest, with a cover of the same metal, which we, the 
searchers, were not able to lift. We desired it should be 
opened, and one of us stepping into it, found himself up 
to the mid leg in a sort of dust, some part whereof, flying 
up to our faces, set us both a sneezing for several times 
together. In his right waistcoat pocket, we found a pro- 
digious bundle of white, thin substances, folded one over 
another, about the bigness of three men, tied with a strong 
cable, and marked with black figures; which we humbly 
conceive to be writings, every letter almost half as large as 
the palm of our hands. In the left there was a sort of 
engine, from the back of which were extended twenty long 
poles, resembling the palisadoes before your Majesty's 
court; wherewith we conjecture the Man-Mountain combs 
his head, for we did not always trouble him with questions, 
because we found it a great difficulty to make him under- 
stand us. In the large pocket on the right side of his 


middle cover (so I translate the word Ran/u-Lo, by which 
they meant my breeches), we saw a hollow pillar of iron, 
about the length of a man, fastened to a strong piece of 
timber, larger than the pillar; and upon one side of the 
pillar were huge pieces of iron sticking out, cut into strange 
figures, which we know not what to make of. In the left 
pocket, another engine of the same kind. In the smaller 
pocket, on the right side, were several round flat pieces of 
white and red metal, of different bulk; some of the white, 
which seemed to be silver, were so large and heavy, that 
my comrade and I could hardly lift them. In the left 
pocket were two black pillars, irregularly shaped; we 
could not, without difficulty, reach the top of them, as we 
stood at the bottom of his pocket. One of them was 
covered, and seemed all of a piece; but, at the upper end 
of the other, there appeared a white round substance, about 
twice the bigness of our heads. Within each of these was 
enclosed a prodigious plate of steel; which, by our orders, 
we obliged him to shew us, because we apprehended they 
might be dangerous engines. He took them out of their 
cases, and told us, that in his own country, his practice was 
to shave his beard with one of these, and to cut his meat 
with the other. There were two pockets which we could 
not enter: these he called his fobs; they were two large 
slits cut into the top of his middle cover, but squeezed 
close by the pressure of his belly. Out of the right fob 
hung a great silver chain, with a wonderful kind of engine 
at the bottom. We directed him to draw out whatever 
was fastened to that chain; which appeared to be a globe, 
half silver, and half of some transparent metal: for on the 
transparent side, we saw certain strange figures, circularly 
drawn, and thought we could touch them, till we found 
our fingers stopped by that lucid substance. He put this 
engine to our ears, which made an incessant noise, like that 
of a water-mill. And we conjecture, it is either some un- 
known animal, or the god that he worships: but we are 


more inclined to the latter opinion, because he assured us 
(if we understood him right, for he expressed himself very 
imperfectly) that he seldom did anything without consult- 
ing it. He called it his oracle, and said it pointed out the 
time for every action of his life. From the left fob he 
took out a net almost large enough for a fisherman, but 
contrived to open and shut like a purse, and served him 
for the same use: we found therein several massy pieces 
of yellow metal, which, if they be real gold, must be of 
immense value. 

' Having thus, in obedience to your Majesty's com- 
mands, diligently searched all his pockets, we observed a 
girdle about his waist, made of the hide of some prodigious 
animal, from which, on the left side, hung a sword of the 
length of five men; and on the right, a bag or pouch, 
divided into two cells, each cell capable of holding three of 
your Majesty's subjects. In one of these cells were several 
globes, or balls, of a most ponderous metal, about the big- 
ness of our heads, and required a strong hand to lift them. 
The other cell contained a heap of certain black grains, but 
of no great bulk or weight, for we could hold above fifty of 
them in the palms of our hands. 

" This is an exact inventory of what we found about 
the body of the Man-Mountain, who used us with great 
civility, and due respect to your Majesty's commission. 
Signed and sealed, on the fourth day of the eighty-ninth 
moon of your Majesty's auspicious reign. 


When this inventory was read over to the Emperor, he 
directed me, although in very gentle terms, to deliver up 
the several particulars. He first called for my scimitar, 
which I took out, scabbard and all. In the meantime, he 
ordered three thousand of his choicest troops (who then 
attended him) to surround me at a distance, with their 
bows and arrows just ready to discharge: but I did not 


observe it, for mine eyes were wholly fixed upon his 
Majesty. He then desired me to draw my scimitar, which, 
although it had got some rust by the sea- water, was in most 
parts exceeding bright. I did so, and immediately all the 
troops gave a shout, between terror and surprise; for the 
sun shone clear, and the reflection dazzled their eyes, as I 
waved the scimitar to and fro in my hand. His Majesty, 
who is a most magnanimous prince, was less daunted than 
I could expect; he ordered me to return it into the scab- 
bard, and cast it on the ground as gently as I could, about 
six feet from the end of my chain. The next thing he de- 
manded, was one of the hollow iron pillars, by which he 
meant my pocket pistols. I drew it out, and at his desire, 
as well as I could, expressed to him the use of it; and 
charging it only with powder, which, by the closeness of 
my pouch, happened to escape wetting in the sea (an incon- 
venience against which all prudent mariners take special 
care to provide), I first cautioned the Emperor not to be 
afraid, and then I let it off into the air. The astonishment 
here was much greater than at the sight of my scimitar. 
Hundreds fell down, as if they had been struck dead; and 
even the Emperor, although he stood his ground, could not 
recover himself in some time. I delivered up both my 
pistols in the same manner as I had done my scimitar, and 
then my pouch of powder and bullets; begging him, that 
the former might be kept from the fire, for it would kindle 
with the smallest spark, and blow up his imperial palace 
into the air. I likewise delivered up my watch, which the 
Emperor was very curious to see, and commanded two of 
his tallest yeomen of the guards to bear it on a pole upon 
their shoulders, as dray-men in England do a barrel of ale. 
He was amazed at the continual noise it made, and the 
motion of the minute-hand, which he could easily discern 
(for their sight is much more acute than ours), and asked 
the opinions of his learned men about him, which were 
various and remote, as the reader may well imagine with- 


out my repeating; although, indeed, I could not very 
perfectly understand them. I then gave up my silver and 
copper money, my purse with nine large pieces of gold, 
and some smaller ones; my knife and razor, my comb and 
silver snuff-box, my handkerchief, and journal-book. My 
scimitar, pistols, and pouch were conveyed in carriages 
to his Majesty's stores; but the rest of my goods were 
returned me. 

I had, as I before observed, one private pocket which 
escaped their search, wherein there was a pair of spectacles 
(which I sometimes use for the weakness of my eyes), a 
pocket perspective, and several other little conveniences, 
which being of no consequence to the Emperor, I did not 
think myself bound in honour to discover, and I appre- 
hended they might be lost or spoiled, if I ventured them 
out of my possession. 


MY gentleness and good behaviour had gained so far on 
the Emperor and his court, and indeed upon the army and 
people in general, that I began to conceive hopes of getting 
my liberty in a short time. I took all possible methods to 
cultivate this favourable disposition. The natives came, 
by degrees, to be less apprehensive of any danger from me. 
I would sometimes lie down and let five or six of them dance 
on my hand; and, at last, the boys and girls would venture 
to come and play at hide and seek in my hair. I had now 
made a good progress in understanding and speaking their 
language. The Emperor had a mind, one day, to enter- 
tain me with several of the country shows, wherein they 
exceed all nations I have known, both for dexterity and 
magnificence. I was diverted with none so much as that 
of the rope-dancers performed upon a slender white thread, 
extended about two feet, and twelve inches from the 
ground. Upon which I shall desire liberty, with the 
reader's patience, to enlarge a little. 

This diversion is only practised by those persons who 
are candidates for great employments, and high favour at 
court. They are trained in this art from their youth, and 
are not always of noble birth, or liberal education. When 
a great office is vacant, either by death or disgrace (which 
often happens), five or six of those candidates petition the 
Emperor to entertain his Majesty and the court with a 
dance on the rope, and whoever jumps the highest, without 
falling, succeeds in the office. Very often the chief ministers 
themselves are commanded to shew their skill, and to con- 
vince the Emperor that they have not lost their faculty. 
Flimnap, the treasurer, is allowed to cut a capei on the 
strait rope at least an inch higher than any other lord in 



the whole empire. I have seen him do the somerset several 
times together, upon a trencher fixed on the rope, which is 
no thicker than a common pack-thread in England. My 
friend Reldresal, principal secretary for private affairs, is, 
in my opinion, if I am not partial, the second after the 
treasurer; the rest of the great officers are much upon a 

These diversions are often attended with fatal accidents, 
whereof great numbers are on record. I myself have seen 
two or three candidates break a limb. But the danger is 
much greater when the ministers themselves are com- 
manded to show their dexterity; for, by contending to 
excel themselves and their fellows, they strain so far, that 
there is hardly one of them who hath not received a fall, 
and some of them two or three. I was assured, that, a year 
or two before my arrival, Flimnap would have infallibly 
broke his neck, if one of the king's cushions, that acci- 
dentally lay on the ground, had not weakened the force of 
his fall. 

There is likewise another diversion, which is only shewn 
before the Emperor and Empress, and first minister, upon 
particular occasions. The Emperor lays on the table 
three fine silken threads of six inches long; one is blue, the 
other red, and the third green. These threads are pro- 
posed as prizes for those persons whom the Emperor hath 
a mind to distinguish by a peculiar mark of his favour. 
The ceremony is performed in his Majesty's great chamber 
of state, where the candidates are to undergo a trial of 
dexterity very different from the former, and such as I 
have not observed the least resemblance of in any other 
country of the old or new world. The Emperor holds a 
stick in his hands, both ends parallel to the horizon, while 
the candidates advancing, one by one, sometimes leap over 
the stick, sometimes creep under it backwards and forwards 
several times, according as the stick is advanced or de- 
pressed. Sometimes the Emperor holds one end of the 


stick, and his first minister the other; sometimes the 
minister has it entirely to himself. Whoever performs his 
part with most agility, and holds out the longest in leaping 
and creeping, is rewarded with the blue-coloured silk, the 
red is given to the next, and the green to the third, which 
they all wear girt twice round about the middle, and you 
see few great persons about this court who are not adorned 
with one of these girdles. 

The horses of the army, and those of the royal stables, 
having been daily led before me, were no longer shy, but 
would come up to my very feet without starting. The 
riders would leap them over my hand as I held it on the 
ground, and one of the Emperor's huntsmen, upon a large 
courser, took my foot, shoe and all: which was, indeed, a 
prodigious leap. I had the good fortune to divert the 
Emperor, one day, after a very extraordinary manner: I 
desired he would order several sticks of two feet high, and 
the thickness of an ordinary cane, to be brought me; 
whereupon his Majesty commanded the master of his woods 
to give directions accordingly, and the next morning six 
woodmen arrived with as many carriages, drawn by eight 
horses to each. I took nine of these sticks, and fixing 
them firmly in the ground, in a quadrangular figure, two 
feet and a half square, I took four other sticks, and tied 
them parallel at each corner, about two feet from the 
ground ; then I fastened my handkerchief to the nine sticks 
that stood erect, and extended it on all sides till it was as 
tight as the top of a drum; and the four parallel sticks, 
rising about five inches higher than the handkerchief, 
served as ledges on each side. When I had finished my 
work, I desired the Emperor to let a troop of his best horse, 
twenty-four in number, come and exercise upon this plain. 
His Majesty approved of the proposal, and I took them up 
one by one in my hands, ready mounted and armed, with 
the proper officers to exercise them. As soon as they got 
in order, they divided into two parties, performed mock 


skirmishes, discharged blunt arrows, drew their swords, 
fled and pursued, attacked and retired, and in short dis- 
covered the best military discipline I ever beheld. The 
parallel sticks secured them and their horses from falling 
over the stage; and the Emperor was so much delighted 
that he ordered this entertainment to be repeated several 
days, and once was pleased to be lifted up, and give the 
word of command; and, with great difficulty, persuaded 
even the Empress herself to let me hold her in her close 
chair within two yards of the stage, from whence she was 
able to take a full view of the whole performance. It was 
by good fortune that no ill accident happened in these 
entertainments, only once a fiery horse, that belonged to 
one of the captains, pawing with his hoof, struck a hole in 
my handkerchief, and his foot slipping, he overthrew his 
rider and himself; but I immediately relieved them both, 
and covering the hole with one hand, I set down the troop 
with the other, in the same manner as I took them up. 
The horse that fell was strained in the left shoulder, but the 
rider got no hurt, and I repaired my handkerchief as well 
as I could ; however, I would not trust to the strength of it 
any more in such dangerous enterprises. 

About two or three days before I was set at liberty, as 
I was entertaining the court with these kind of feats, there 
arrived an express to inform his Majesty, that some of his 
subjects, riding near the place where I was first taken up, 
had seen a great black substance lying on the ground, very 
oddly shaped, extended its edges round as wide as his 
Majesty's bed-chamber, and rising up in the middle as high 
as a man; that it was no living creature, as they at first 
apprehended, for it lay on the grass without motion; and 
some of them had walked round it several times: that, by 
mounting upon each other's shoulders, they had got to the 
top, which was flat and even, and, stamping upon it, they 
found it was hollow within; that they humbly conceived 
it might be something belonging to the Man-Mountain; 


and if his Majesty pleased, they would undertake to bring 
it with only five horses. I presently knew what they 
meant, and was glad at heart to receive this intelligence. 
It seems upon my first reaching the shore, after our ship- 
wreck, I was in such confusion, that, before I came to the 
place where I went to sleep, my hat, which I had fastened 
with a string to my head while I was rowing, and had stuck 
on all the time I was swimming, fell off after I came to land; 
the string, as I conjecture, breaking by some accident which 
I never observed, but thought my hat had been lost at sea. 
I intreated his Imperial Majesty to give orders it might be 
brought to me as soon as possible, describing to him the use 
and the nature of it; and the next day the waggoners 
arrived with it, but not in a very good condition ; they had 
bored two holes in the brim, within an inch and a half of 
the edge, and fastened two hooks in the holes; these hooks 
were tied by a long cord to the harness, and thus my hat 
was dragged along for above half an English mile; but, 
the ground in that country being extremely smooth and 
level, it received less damage than I expected. 

Two days after this adventure, the Emperor having 
ordered that part of his army, which quarters in and about 
his metropolis, to be in readiness, took a fancy of diverting 
himself in a very singular manner: he desired I would 
stand like a colossus, with my legs as far asunder as I con- 
veniently could; he then commanded his general (who 
was an old experienced leader, and a great patron of mine) 
to draw up the troops in close order, and march them under 
me; the foot by twenty-four in a breast, and the horse by 
sixteen, with drums beating, colours flying, and pikes 
advanced. This body consisted of three thousand foot, and 
a thousand horse. 

I had sent so many memorials and petitions for my 
liberty, that his Majesty at length mentioned the matter 
first in the cabinet, and then in a full council; where it 
was opposed by none, except Skyresh Bolgolam, who was 



pleased, without any provocation, to be my mortal enemy. 
But it was carried against him by the whole board, and 
confirmed by the Emperor. That minister was Galbet, or 
Admiral of the realm, very much in his master's confidence, 
and a person well versed in affairs, but of a morose and sour 
complexion. However, he was at length persuaded to 
comply; but prevailed that the articles and conditions 
upon which I should be set free, and to which I must swear, 
should be drawn up by himself. These articles were 
brought to me by Skyresh Bolgolam in person, attended 
by two under-secretaries, and several persons of distinction. 
After they were read, I was demanded to swear to the 
performance of them; first in the manner of my own 
country, and afterwards in the method prescribed by their 
laws, which was to hold my right foot in my left hand, and 
to place the middle finger of my right hand on the crown 
of my head, and my thumb on the tip of my right ear. 
But, because the reader may be curious to have some idea 
of the style and manner of expression peculiar to that 
people, as well as to know the articles upon which I re- 
covered my liberty, I have made a translation of the whole 
instrument, word for word, as near as I was able, which I 
here offer to the public. 


T T LLY GUE, most mighty Emperor of Lilliput, delight and 
terror of the universe, whose dominions extend five 
thousand blustrugs (about twelve miles in circumference), 
to the extremities of the globe; monarch of all monarchs, 
taller than the sons of men; whose feet press down to the 
center, and whose head strikes against the sun; at whose 
nod the princes of the earth shake their knees; pleasant as 
the spring, comfortable as the summer, fruitful as autumn, 
dreadful as winter. His most sublime Majesty proposeth 
to the Man-Mountain, lately arrived to our celestial 
dominions, the following articles, which, by a solemn oath, 
he shall be obliged to perform: 


" ist. The Man-Mountain shall not depart from our 
dominions without our licence under our great seal. 

" 2d. He shall not presume to come into our metropolis 
without our express order; at which time the inhabitants 
shall have two hours warning to keep within their 

" 3d. The said Man-Mountain shall confine his walks 
to our principal high roads, and not offer to walk or lie down 
in a meadow or field of corn. 

" 4th. As he walks the said roads he shall take the 
utmost care not to trample upon the bodies of any of our 
loving subjects, their horses, or carriages, nor take any of 
our subjects into his hands, without their own consent. 

" 5th. If an express requires extraordinary despatch, 
the Man-Mountain shall be obliged to carry in his pocket 
the messenger and horse a six days' journey once in every 
moon, and return the said messenger back (if so required) 
safe to our imperial presence. 

" 6th. He shall be our ally against our enemies in the 
Island of Blefuscu, and do his utmost to destroy their fleet, 
which is now preparing to invade us. 

" 7th. That the said Man-Mountain shall, at his times 
of leisure, be aiding and assisting to our workmen, in help- 
ing to raise certain great stones, towards covering the wall 
of the principal park, and other our royal buildings. 

" 8th. That the said Man-Mountain shall, in two moons 
time, deliver in an exact survey of the circumference of our 
dominions, by a computation of his own paces round the 

" Lastly, That, upon his solemn oath to observe all the 
above articles, the said Man-Mountain shall have a daily 
allowance of meat and drink sufficient for the support of 
1724 of our subjects, with free access to our royal person, 
and other marks of our favour. Given at our palace at 
Belfaborac, the twelfth day of the ninety-first moon of our 


I swore and subscribed to these articles with great 
cheerfulness and content, although some of them were not 
so honourable as I could have wished; which proceeded 
wholly from the malice of Skyresh Bolgolam, the high 
admiral; whereupon my chains were immediately unlocked, 
and I was at full liberty; the Emperor himself in person 
did me the honour to be by at the whole ceremony. I 
made my acknowledgments, by prostrating myself at his 
Majesty's feet, but he commanded me to rise; and after 
many gracious expressions, which, to avoid the censure of 
vanity, I shall not repeat, he added that he hoped I should 
prove a useful servant, and well deserve all the favours he 
had already conferred upon me, or might do for the future. 

The reader may please to observe, that, in the last 
article for the recovery of my liberty, the Emperor stipu- 
lates to allow me a quantity of meat and drink sufficient 
for the support of, 1724 Lilliputians. Some time after, 
asking a friend at court, how they came to fix on that deter- 
minate number, he told me that his Majesty's mathemati- 
cians, having taken the height of my body by the help of a 
quadrant, and finding it to exceed theirs in the proportion 
of twelve to one, they concluded, from the similarity of 
their bodies, that mine must contain, at least, 1724 of 
theirs, and, consequently, would require as much food as 
was necessary to support that number of Lilliputians. By 
which, the reader may conceive an idea of the ingenuity of 
that people, as well as the prudent and exact economy of 
so great a prince. 


THE first request I made, after I had obtained my liberty, 
was that I might have licence to see Mildendo, the metro- 
polis; which the Emperor easily granted me, but with a 
special charge to do no hurt either to the inhabitants or their 
houses. The people had notice by proclamation of my 
design to visit the town. The wall which encompassed it 
is two feet and a half high, and at least eleven inches broad, 
so that a coach and horses may be driven very safely round 
it; and it is flanked with strong towers, at ten feet dis- 
tance. I stepped over the great Western Gate, and passed 
very gently and sideling through the two principal streets, 
only in my short waistcoat, for fear of damaging the roofs 
and eaves of the houses with the skirts of my coat. I 
walked with the utmost circumspection, to avoid treading 
on any stragglers that might remain in the streets, although 
the orders were strict that all people should keep in their 
houses at their own peril. The garret-windows and tops 
of houses were so crowded with spectators that I thought, 
in all my travels, I had not seen a more populous place. 
The city is an exact square, each side of the wall being five 
hundred feet long. The two great streets, which run cross, 
and divide it into four quarters, are five feet wide. The 
lanes and alleys, which I could not enter, but only viewed 
them as I passed, are from twelve to eighteen inches. The 
town is capable of holding five hundred thousand souls. 
The houses are from three to five stories. The shops and 
markets well provided. 



The Emperor's palace is in the centre of the city, where 
the two great streets met. It is inclosed by a wall of two 
feet high, and twenty feet distance from the buildings. I 
had his Majesty's permission to step over this wall; and, 
the space being so wide between that and the palace, I 
could easily view it on every side. The outward court is a 
square of forty feet, and includes two other courts: in the 
inmost are the royal apartments, which I was very desirous 
to see, but found it extremely difficult; for the great gates, 
from one square into another, were but eighteen inches 
high, and seven inches wide. Now, the buildings of the 
outer court were at least five feet high, and it was impos- 
sible for me to stride over them without infinite damage to 
the pile, though the walls were strongly built of hewn stone, 
and four inches thick. At the same time, the Emperor 
had a great desire that I should see the magnificence of his 
palace; but this I was not able to do till three days after, 
which I spent in cutting down with my knife some of the 
largest trees in the royal park, about an hundred yards 
distance from the city. Of these trees I made two stools, 
each about three feet high, and strong enough to bear my 
weight. The people having received notice a second time, 
I went again through the city to the palace, with my two 
stools in my hands. When I came to the side of the outer 
court, I stood upon one stool, and took the other in my 
hand ; this I lifted over the roof, and gently set it down on 
the space between the first and second court, which was 
eight feet wide. I then stepped over the building very 
conveniently, from one stool to the other, and drew up the 
first after me with a hooked stick. By this contrivance I 
got into the inmost court; and, lying down upon my side, 
I applied my face to the windows of the middle stories, 
which were left open on purpose, and discovered the most 
splendid apartments that can be imagined. There I saw 
the Empress, and the young Princes, in their several 
lodgings, with their chief attendants about them. Her 


Imperial Majesty was pleased to smile very graciously 
upon me, and gave me out of the window her hand to kiss. 

But I shall not anticipate the reader with farther de- 
scriptions of this kind, because I reserve them for a greater 
work, which is now almost ready for the press, containing 
a general description of this empire, from its first erection, 
through a long series of princes, with a particular account 
of their wars and politics, laws, learning, and religion: 
their plants and animals, their peculiar manners and 
customs, with other matters very curious and useful; my 
chief design at present being only to relate such events and 
transactions as happened to the public or to myself during 
a residence of about nine months in that empire. 

One morning, about a fortnight after I had obtained my 
liberty, Reldresal, principal secretary (as they style him) of 
private affairs, came to my house, attended only by one 
servant. He ordered his coach to wait at a distance, and 
desired I would give him an hour's audience; which I 
readily consented to, on account of his quality, and personal 
merits, as well as the many good offices he had done me 
during my solicitations at court. I offered to lie down, 
that he might the more conveniently reach my ear; but he 
chose rather to let me hold him in my hand during our 
conversation. He began with compliments on my liberty; 
said, he might pretend to some merit in it; but, however, 
added, that, if it had not been for the present situation of 
things at court, perhaps I might not have obtained it so 
soon. " For," said he, " as flourishing a condition as we 
may appear to be in to foreigners, we labour under two 
mighty evils; a violent faction at home, and the danger of 
an invasion by a most potent enemy from abroad. As to 
the first, you are to understand that, for above seventy 
moons past, there have been two struggling parties in this 
empire, under the names of Tramecksan and Slamecksan, 
from the high and low heels of their shoes, by which they 
distinguish themselves. It is alleged indeed, that the high 


heels are most agreeable to our ancient constitution; but, 
however this be, his Majesty hath determined to make use 
of only low heels in the administration of the government, 
and all offices in the gift of the crown, as you cannot but 
observe; and particularly, that his Majesty's imperial heels 
are lower at least by a drurr than any of his court (drurr is 
a measure about the fourteenth part of an inch). The 
animosities between these two parties run so high that they 
will neither eat nor drink nor talk with each other. We 
compute the Tramecksan, or high heels, to exceed us in 
number; but the power is wholly on our side. We appre- 
hend his Imperial Highness, the heir to the crown, to have 
some tendency towards the high heels; at least, we can 
plainly discover that one of his heels is higher than the 
other, which gives him a hobble in his gait. Now, in the 
midst of these intestine disquiets, we are threatened with 
an invasion from the island of Blefuscu, which is the other 
great empire of the universe, almost as large and powerful 
as this of his Majesty. For as to what we heard you affirm, 
that there are other kingdoms and states in the world, 
inhabited by human creatures, as large as yourself, our 
philosophers are in much doubt, and would rather conjec- 
ture that you dropped from the moon, or one of the stars; 
because it is certain that an hundred mortals of your bulk 
would, in a short time, destroy all the fruits and cattle of 
his Majesty's dominions. Besides, our histories of six 
thousand moons make no mention of any other regions 
than the two great empires of Lilliput and Blefuscu, which 
two mighty powers have, as I was going to tell you, been 
engaged in a most obstinate war for six and thirty moons 
past. It began upon the following occasion: It is allowed 
on all hands that the primitive way of breaking eggs before 
we eat them was upon the larger end; but his present 
Majesty's grandfather, while he was a boy, going to eat an 
egg, and breaking it according to the ancient practice, 
happened to cut one of his fingers. Whereupon the 


Emperor, his father, published an edict, commanding all 
his subjects, upon great penalties, to break the smaller end 
of their eggs. The people so highly resented this law, that 
our histories tell us, there have been six rebellions raised on 
that account ; wherein one emperor lost his life, and another 
his crown. These civil commotions were constantly 
fomented by the monarchs of Blefuscu; and when they 
were quelled, the exiles always fled for refuge to that 
empire. It is computed that eleven thousand persons have 
at several times suffered death rather than submit to break 
their eggs at the smaller end. Many hundred large volumes 
have been published upon this controversy; but the books 
of the Big-endians have been long forbidden, and the whole 
party rendered incapable by law of holding employments. 
During the course of these troubles the emperors of 
Blefuscu did frequently expostulate by their ambassadors, 
accusing us of making a schism in religion, by offending 
against a fundamental doctrine of our great Prophet 
Lustrog, in the fifty-fourth chapter of the Blundecral 
(which is their Alcoran). This, however, is thought to be 
a mere strain upon the text ; for the words are these : That 
all true believers break their eggs at the convenient end. 
And which is the convenient end seems, in my humble 
opinion, to be left to every man's conscience, or at least in 
the power of the chief magistrate to determine. Now, 
the Big-endian exiles have found so much credit in the 
Emperor of Blefuscu's court and so much private assist- 
ance and encouragement from their party here at home, 
that a bloody war hath been carried on between the two 
empires for thirty-six moons, with various success; during 
which time we have lost forty capital ships, and a much 
greater number of smaller vessels, together with thirty 
thousand of our best seamen and soldiers ; and the damage 
received by the enemy is reckoned to be somewhat greater 
than ours. However, they have now equipped a numerous 
fleet, and are just preparing to make a descent upon us; 



and his Imperial Majesty, placing great confidence in your 
valour and strength, hath commanded me to lay this 
account of his affairs before you." 

I desired the secretary to present my humble duty to 
the Emperor, and to let him know that I thought it would 
not become me, who was a foreigner, to interfere with 
parties; but I was ready, with the hazard of my life, to 
defend his person and state against all invaders. 


THE empire of Blefuscu is an island, situated to the north- 
east side of Lilliput, from whence it is parted only by a 
channel of eight hundred yards wide. I had not yet seen 
it, and upon this notice of an intended invasion, I avoided 
appearing on that side of the coast, for fear of being dis- 
covered by some of the enemy's ships, who had received no 
intelligence of me, all intercourse between the two empires 
having been strictly forbidden during the war, upon pain 
of death, and an embargo laid by our Emperor upon all 
vessels whatsoever. I communicated to his Majesty a 
project I had formed of seizing the enemy's whole fleet: 
which, as our scouts assured us, lay at anchor in the harbour 
ready to sail with the first fair wind. I consulted the most 
experienced seamen upon the depth of the channel, which 
they had often plumbed, who told me, that in the middle, 
at high water, it was seventy glumgluffs deep, which is 
about six feet of European measure ; and the rest of it fifty 
glumgluffs at most. I walked towards the north-east 
coast, over against Blefuscu; where, lying down behind a 
hillock, I took out my small perspective glass, and viewed 
the enemy's fleet at anchor, consisting of about fifty men- 
of-war, and a great number of transports: I then came 
back to my house, and gave order (for which I had a 
warrant) for a great quantity of the strongest cable and 
bars of iron. The cable was about as thick as pack-thread, 
and the bars of the length and size of a knitting needle. I 
trebled the cable to make it stronger, and, for the same 
reason, I twisted three of the iron bars together, binding 
the extremities into a hook. Having thus fixed fifty hooks 
to as many cables, I went back to the north-east coast, and 




putting off my coat, shoes, and stockings, walked into the 
sea, in my leathern jerkin, about an hour before high water. 
I waded with what haste I could, and swam in the middle 
about thirty yards, till I felt ground; I arrived to the fleet 
in less than half an hour. The enemy was so frighted 
when they saw me, that they leaped out of their ships, and 
swam to the shore, where there could not be fewer than 
thirty thousand souls. I then took my tackling, and, 
fastening a hook to the hole at the prow of each, I tied all 
the cords together at the end. While I was thus employed, 
the enemy discharged several thousand arrows, many of 
which stuck in my hands and face: and, besides the exces- 
sive smart, gave me much disturbance in my work. My 
greatest apprehension was for mine eyes, which I should 
have infallibly lost, if I had not suddenly thought of an 
expedient. I kept among other little necessaries a pair of 
spectacles in a private pocket, which, as I observed before, 
had escaped the Emperor's searchers. These I took out 
and fastened as strongly as I could upon my nose, and, 
thus armed, went on boldly with my work in spite of the 
enemy's arrows, many of which struck against the glasses 
of my spectacles, but without any other effect, farther 
than a little to discompose them. I had now fastened all 
the hooks, and, taking the knot in my hand, began to pull, 
but not a ship would stir, for they were all too fast held by 
their anchors, so that the boldest part of my enterprise 
remained. I therefore let go the cord, and leaving the 
hooks fixed to the ships, I resolutely cut with my knife the 
cables that fastened the anchors, receiving above two 
hundred shots in my face and hands; then I took up the 
knotted end of the cables to which my hooks were tied, and 
with great ease drew fifty of the enemy's largest men-of- 
war after me. 

The Blefuscudians, who had not the least imagination 
of what I intended, were at first confounded with astonish- 
ment. They had seen me cut the cables, and thought my 


design was only to let the ships run adrift, or fall foul on 
each other: but when they perceived the whole fleet 
moving in order, and saw me pulling at the end, they set 
up such a scream of grief and despair, that it is almost im- 
possible to describe or conceive. When I had got out of 
danger, I stopt a while to pick out the arrows that stuck in 
my hands and face; and rubbed on some of the same 
ointment that was given me at my first arrival, as I have 
formerly mentioned. I then took off my spectacles, and, 
waiting about an hour till the tide was a little fallen, I 
waded through the middle with my cargo, and arrived safe 
at the royal port of Lilliput. 

The Emperor and his whole court stood on the shore 
expecting the issue of this great adventure. They saw the 
ships move forward in a large half-moon, but could not 
discern me, who was up to my breast in water. When I 
advanced to the middle of the channel, they were yet in 
more pain, because I was under water to my neck. The 
Emperor concluded me to be drowned, and that the enemy's 
fleet was approaching in a hostile manner : but he was soon 
eased of his fears, for the channel growing shallower every 
step I made, I came in a short time within hearing, and, 
holding up the end of the cable by which the fleet was 
fastened, I cried in a loud voice, Long live the most puissant 
Emperor of Lilliput! This great prince received me at my 
landing with all possible encomiums, and created me a 
nardac upon the spot, which is the highest title of honour 
among them. 

His Majesty desired I would take some other oppor- 
tunity of bringing all the rest of his enemy's ships into his 
ports. And so unmeasurable is the ambition of princes, 
that he seemed to think of nothing less than reducing the 
whole empire of Blefuscu into a province, and governing it 
by a viceroy; of destroying the Big-endian exiles, and 
compelling that people to break the smaller end of their 
eggs, by which he would remain the sole monarch of the 


whole world. But I endeavoured to divert him from his 
design, by many arguments drawn from the topics of 
policy as well as justice: and I plainly protested, that I 
would never be an instrument of bringing a free and brave 
people into slavery. And, when the matter was debated 
in council, the wisest part of the ministry were of my 

This open bold declaration of mine was so opposite to 
the schemes and politics of his Imperial Majesty, that he 
could never forgive me; he mentioned it in a very artful 
manner at council, where I was told that some of the wisest 
appeared, at least, by their silence, to be of my opinion; 
but others, who were my secret enemies, could not forbear 
some expressions, which by a side-wind reflected on me. 
And from this time began an intrigue between his Majesty 
and a junto of ministers maliciously bent against me, which 
broke out in less than two months, and had like to have 
ended in my utter destruction. Of so little weight are the 
greatest services to princes, when put into the balance with 
a refusal to gratify their passions. 

About three weeks after this exploit, there arrived a 
solemn embassy from Blefuscu, with humble offers of a 
peace; which was soon concluded upon conditions very 
advantageous to our Emperor, wherewith I shall not 
trouble the reader. There were six ambassadors, with a 
train of about five hundred persons, and their entry was 
very magnificent, suitable to the grandeur of their master, 
and the importance of their business. When their treaty 
was finished, wherein I did them several good offices by the 
credit I now had, or at least appeared to have at court, 
their Excellencies, who were privately told how much I 
had been their friend, made me a visit in form. They began 
with many compliments upon my valour and generosity, 
invited me to that kingdom in the Emperor their master's 
name, and desired me to shew them some proofs of my 
prodigious strength, of which they had heard so many 


wonders; wherein I readily obliged them, but shall not 
trouble the reader with the particulars. 

When I had for some time entertained their Excel- 
lencies to their infinite satisfaction and surprise, I desired 
they would do me the honour to present my most humble 
respects to the Emperor their master, the renown of whose 
virtues had so justly filled the whole world with admira- 
tion, and whose royal person I resolved to attend before I 
returned to my own country: accordingly, the next time 
I had the honour to see our Emperor, I desired his general 
licence to wait on the Blefuscudian monarch, which he was 
pleased to grant me, as I could plainly perceive, in a very 
cold manner; but could not guess the reason, till I had a 
whisper from a certain person, that Flimnap and Bolgolam 
had represented my intercourse with those ambassadors as 
a mark of disaffection, from which I am sure my heart was 
wholly free. And this was the first time I began to con- 
ceive some imperfect idea of courts and ministers. 

It is to be observed, that these ambassadors spoke to 
me by an interpreter, the languages of both empires differ- 
ing as much from each other as any two in Europe, and 
each nation priding itself upon the antiquity, beauty, and 
energy of their own tongues, with an avowed contempt for 
that of their neighbour; yet our Emperor, standing upon 
the advantage he had got by the seizure of their fleet, 
obliged them to deliver their credentials and make their 
speech in the Lilliputian tongue. And it must be con- 
fessed that, from the great intercourse of trade and com- 
merce between both realms, from the continual reception 
of exiles, which is mutual among them, and from the custom 
in each empire to send their young nobility and richer 
gentry to the other, in order to polish themselves by seeing 
the world, and understanding men and manners, there are 
few persons of distinction, or merchants, or seamen, who 
dwell in the maritime parts, but what can hold conversa- 
tion in both tongues; as I found some weeks after, when I 


went to pay my respects to the Emperor of Blefuscu, 
which, in the midst of great misfortunes through the malice 
of my enemies, proved a very happy adventure to me, as I 
shall relate in its proper place. 

The reader may remember, that, when I signed those 
articles upon which I recovered my liberty, there were 
some which I disliked upon account of their being too 
servile, neither could anything but an extreme necessity 
have forced me to submit. But, being now a nardac of 
the highest rank in that Empire, such offices were looked 
upon as below my dignity, and the Emperor (to do him 
justice) never once mentioned them to me. 


ALTHOUGH I intend to leave the description of this empire 
to a particular treatise, yet, in the meantime, I am content 
to gratify the curious reader with some general ideas. As 
the common size of the natives is somewhat under six 
inches high, so there is an exact proportion in all other 
animals, as well as plants and trees: for instance, the 
tallest horses and oxen are between four and five inches 
in height, the sheep an inch and half, more or less; their 
geese about the bigness of a sparrow, and so the several 
gradations downwards, till you come to the smallest, which, 
to my sight, were almost invisible ; but nature hath adapted 
the eyes of the Lilliputians to all objects proper for their 
view: they see with great exactness, but at no great dis- 
tance. And, to shew the sharpness of their sight towards 
objects that are near, I have been much pleased with 
observing a cook pulling a lark, which was not so large as a 
common fly, and a young girl threading an invisible needle 
with invisible silk. Their tallest trees are about seven 
feet high; I mean some of those in the great Royal Park, 
the tops whereof I could but just reach with my fist clinched. 
The other vegetables are in the same proportion ; but this I 
leave to the reader's imagination. 

I shall say but little at present of their learning, which 
for many ages hath flourished in all its branches among 
them: but their manner of writing is very peculiar, being 
neither from the left to the right, like the Europeans; nor 
from the right to the left, like the Arabians; nor from up to 
down, like the Chinese; but aslant from one corner of the 
paper to the other, like ladies in England. 

They bury their dead with their heads directly down- 



wards, because they hold an opinion that in eleven 
thousand moons they are all to rise again, in which period 
the earth (which they conceive to be flat) will turn upside 
down, and by this means they shall, at their resurrection, 
be found ready standing on their feet. The learned among 
them confess the absurdity of this doctrine, but the 
practice still continues, in compliance to the vulgar. 

There are some laws and customs in this empire very 
peculiar; and, if they were not so directly contrary to 
those of my own dear country, I should be tempted to say 
a little in their justification. It is only to be wished they 
were as well executed. The first I shall mention relates to 
informers. All crimes against the State are punished here 
with the utmost severity; but, if the person accused 
maketh his innocence plainly to appear upon his trial, the 
accuser is immediately put to an ignominious death ; and, 
out of his goods or lands, the innocent person is quadruply 
recompensed for the loss of his time, for the danger he 
underwent, for the hardship of his imprisonment, and for 
all the charges he hath been at in making his defence. Or, 
if that fund be deficient, it is largely supplied by the crown. 
The Emperor does also confer on him some public mark of 
his favour, and proclamation is made of his innocence 
through the whole city. 

They look upon fraud as a greater crime than theft, and 
therefore seldom fail to punish it with death; for they 
allege, that care and vigilance, with a very common under- 
standing, may preserve a man's goods from thieves, but 
honesty has no fence against superior cunning; and since 
it is necessary that there should be a perpetual intercourse 
of buying and selling, and dealing upon credit, where fraud 
is permitted and connived at, or hath no law to punish it, 
the honest dealer is always undone, and the knave gets the 
advantage. I remember when I was once interceding with 
the king for a criminal, who had wronged his master of a 
great sum of money, which he had received by order and 


ran away with; and happening to tell his Majesty, by way 
of extenuation, that it was only a breach of trust; the 
Emperor thought it monstrous in me to offer, as a defence, 
the greatest aggravation of the crime : and truly I had little 
to say in return, farther than the common answer, that 
different nations had different customs; for, I confess, I 
was heartily ashamed. 

Although we usually call reward and punishment the 
two hinges upon which all Government turns, yet I could 
never observe this maxim to be put in practice by any 
nation except that of Lilliput. Whoever can there bring 
sufficient proof that he hath strictly observed the laws of 
his country for seventy-three moons, hath a claim to certain 
privileges, according to his quality and condition of life, 
with a proportionable sum of money out of a fund appro- 
priated for that use: he likewise acquires the title of Snil- 
pall, or legal, which is added to his name, but does not 
descend to posterity. And these people thought it a pro- 
digious defect of policy among us when I told them that 
our laws were enforced only by penalties, without any 
mention of reward. It is upon this account that the 
image of Justice, in their courts of judicature, is formed 
with six eyes, two before, as many behind, and on each side 
one, to signify circumspection; with a bag of gold open in 
her right hand, and a sword sheathed in her left, to shew 
she is more disposed to reward than to punish. 

In choosing persons for all employments, they have 
more regard to good morals than to great abilities; for, 
since Government is necessary to mankind, they believe 
that the common size of human understandings is fitted to 
some station or other, and that Providence never intended 
to make the management of public affairs a mystery, to be 
comprehended only by a few persons of sublime genius, of 
which there seldom are three born in an age; but they 
suppose truth, justice, temperance, and the like, to be in 
every man's power, the practice of which virtues, assisted by 


experience and a good intention, would qualify any man 
for the service of his country, except where a course of study 
is required. But they thought the want of moral virtues 
was so far from being supplied by superior endowments of 
the mind, that employments could never be put into such 
dangerous hands as those of persons so qualified; and at 
least, that the mistakes, committed by ignorance in a 
virtuous disposition, would never be of such fatal conse- 
quence to the public weal as the practices of a man whose 
inclinations led him to be corrupt, and had great abilities 
to manage and multiply and defend his corruptions. 

In like manner the disbelief of a Divine Providence 
renders a man incapable of holding any public station; 
for, since kings avow themselves to be the deputies of 
Providence, the Lilliputians think nothing can be more 
absurd than for a Prince to employ such men as disown the 
authority under which they act. 

In relating these and the following laws, I would only 
be understood to mean the original institutions, and not 
the most scandalous corruptions into which these people 
are fallen by the degenerate nature of man. For as to 
that infamous practice of acquiring great employments by 
dancing on the ropes, or badges of favour and distinction 
by leaping over sticks and creeping under them, the reader 
is to observe that they were first introduced by the grand- 
father of the Emperor now reigning, and grew to the present 
height by the gradual increase of party and faction. 

Ingratitude is among them a capital crime, as we read 
it to have been in some other countries; for they reason 
thus, that whoever makes ill returns to his benefactor, 
must needs be a common enemy to the rest of mankind, 
from whom he hath received no obligation, and therefore 
such a man is not fit to live. 

Their notions relating to the duties of parents and 
children differ extremely from ours. Their opinion is, 
that parents are the last of all others to be trusted with 


the education of their own children; and therefore they 
have in every town public nurseries, where all parents, 
except cottagers and labourers, are obliged to send their 
infants of both sexes to be reared and educated when they 
come to the age of twenty moons, at which time they are 
supposed to have some rudiments of docility. These 
schools are of several kinds, suited to different qualities, 
and to both sexes. They have certain professors well 
skilled in preparing children for such a condition of life as 
befits the rank of their parents, and their own capacities as 
well as inclinations. I shall first say something of the 
male nurseries, and then of the female. 

The nurseries for males of noble or eminent birth are 
provided with grave and learned professors, and tl eir 
several deputies. The clothes and food of the children 
are plain and simple. They are bred up in the principles 
of honour, justice, courage, modesty, clemency, religion, 
and love of their country; they are always employed in 
some business, except in the times of eating and sleeping, 
which are very short, and two hours for diversions, con- 
sisting of bodily exercises. They are dressed by men till 
four years of age, and then are obliged to dress themselves, 
although their quality be ever so great; and the women 
attendants, who are aged proportionably to ours at fifty, 
perform only the most menial offices. They are never 
suffered to converse with servants, but go together in 
smaller and greater numbers to take their diversions, and 
always in the presence of a professor, or one of his deputies; 
whereby they avoid those early bad impressions of folly 
and vice to which our children are subject. Their parents 
are suffered to see them only twice a year; the visit is to 
last but an hour. They are allowed to kiss the child at 
meeting and parting; but a professor, who always stands 
by on those occasions, will not suffer them to whisper, or 
use any fondling expressions, or bring any presents of toys, 
sweet-meats, and the like. 


The pension from each family for the education and 
entertainment of a child, upon failure of due payment, is 
levied by the Emperor's officers. 

The nurseries for children of ordinary gentlemen, mer- 
chants, traders, and handicrafts, are managed proportion- 
ably after the same manner; only those designed for 
trades are put out apprentices at eleven years old, whereas 
those of persons of quality continue in their exercises 
till fifteen, which answers to twenty-one with us: but 
the confinement is gradually lessened for the last three 

In the female nurseries, the young girls of quality are 
educated much like the males, only they are dressed by 
orderly servants of their own sex; but always in the 
presence of a professor or deputy, till they come to dress 
themselves, which is at five years old. And if it be found 
that these nurses ever presume to entertain the girls 
with frightful or foolish stories, they are publicly whipped 
thrice about the city, imprisoned for a year, and banished 
for life to the most desolate part of the country. Thus 
the young ladies there are as much ashamed of being 
cowards and fools as the men, and despise all personal 
ornaments beyond decency and cleanliness: neither did I 
perceive any difference in their education made by their 
difference of sex, only that the exercises of the females were 
not altogether so robust; and that some rules were given 
them relating to domestic life, and a smaller compass of 
learning was enjoined them: For their maxim is, that, 
among people of quality, a wife should be always a reason- 
able and agreeable companion, because she cannot always 
be young. When the girls are twelve years old, which 
among them is the marriageable age, their parents or 
guardians take them home, with great expressions of grati- 
tude to the professors, and seldom without tears of the 
young lady and her companion. 

In the nurseries of the females of the meaner sort, the 


children are instructed in all kinds of works proper for their 
sex, and their several degrees: those intended for appren- 
tices, are dismissed at seven years old, the rest are kept to 


The meaner families, who have children at these 
nurseries, are obliged, besides their annual pension, which 
is as low as possible, to return to the steward of the nursery 
a small monthly share of their gettings, to be a portion for 
the child: and therefore all parents are limited in their 
expenses by the law. For the Lilliputians think nothing 
can be more unjust, than for people to bring children into 
the world, and leave the burthen of supporting them on 
the public. As to persons of quality, they give security 
to appropriate a certain sum for each child, suitable to their 
condition; and these funds are always managed with good 
husbandry, and the most exact justice. 

The cottagers and labourers keep their children at 
home, their business being only to till and cultivate the 
earth, and therefore their education is of little consequence 
to the public: but the old and diseased among them are 
supported by hospitals, for begging is a trade unknown in 
this empire. 

And here it may, perhaps, divert the curious reader, to 
give some account of my domestic life, and my manner of 
living in this country, during a residence of nine months 
and thirteen days. Having a head mechanically turned, 
and being likewise forced by necessity, I had made for 
myself a table and chair convenient enough, out of the 
largest trees in the royal park. Two hundred sempstresses 
were employed to make me shirts, and linen for bed and 
table, all of the strongest and coarsest kind they could get ; 
which, however, they were forced to quilt together in 
several folds, for the thickest was some degrees finer than 
lawn. Their linen is usually three inches wide, and three 
feet make a piece. The sempstresses took my measure as I 
lay on the ground, one standing at my neck, and another at 



my mid-leg, with a strong cord extended, that each held 
by the end, while the third measured the length of the cord 
with a rule of an inch long. Then they measured my right 
thumb and desired no more; for, by a mathematical com- 
putation, that twice round the thumb is once round the 
wrist, and so on to the neck and the waist ; and by the help 
of my old shirt, which I displayed on the ground before 
them for a pattern, they fitted me exactly. Three hundred 
tailors were employed in the same manner to make me 
clothes; but they had another contrivance for taking my 
measure. I kneeled down, and they raised a ladder from 
the ground to my neck; upon this ladder one of them 
mounted, and let fall a plumb-line from my collar to the 
floor, which just answered the length of my coat; but my 
waist and arms I measured myself. When my clothes were 
finished, which was done in my house (for the largest of 
theirs would not have been able to hold them) they looked 
like the patch-work made by the ladies in England, only 
that mine were all of a colour. 

I had three hundred cooks to dress my victuals, in little 
convenient huts built about my house, where they and 
their families lived, and prepared me two dishes a-piece. I 
took up twenty waiters in my hand, and placed them on 
the table; an hundred more attended below on the ground, 
some with dishes of meat, and some with barrels of wine 
and other liquors, slung on their shoulders, all of which the 
waiters above drew up as I wanted, in a very ingenious 
manner, by certain cords, as we draw the bucket up a well 
in Europe. A dish of their meat was a good mouthful, and 
a barrel of their liquor a reasonable draught. Their mutton 
yields to ours, but their beef is excellent. I have had a 
surloin so large, that I have been forced to make three 
bites of it; but this is rare. My servants were astonished 
to see me eat it, bones and all, as in our country we do the 
leg of a lark. Their geese and turkeys I usually eat at a 
mouthful; and, I must confess, they far exceed ours. Of 


their smaller fowl, I could take up twenty or thirty at the 
end of my knife. 

One day his Imperial Majesty, being informed of my 
way of living, desired that himself and his royal consort, 
with the young princes of the blood of both sexes, might 
have the happiness (as he was pleased to call it) of dining 
with me. They came accordingly, and I placed them upon 
chairs of state on my table, just over against me, with 
their guards about them. Flimnap, the lord high treasurer, 
attended there likewise, with his white staff; and I 
observed he often looked on me with a sour countenance, 
which I would not seem to regard, but eat more than usual, 
in honour to my dear country, as well as to fill the court 
with admiration. I have some private reasons to believe 
that this visit from his Majesty gave Flimnap an oppor- 
tunity of doing me ill offices to his master. That minister 
had always been my secret enemy, though he outwardly 
caressed me more than was usual to the moroseness of his 
nature. He represented to the Emperor the low condi- 
tion of his treasury; that he was forced to take up money 
at great discount; that exchequer bills would not circulate 
under nine per cent, below par; that, in short, I had cost 
his Majesty above a million and a half of sprugs (their 
greatest gold coin, about the bigness of a spangle) and, 
upon the whole, that it would be advisable in the Emperor 
to take the first fair occasion of dismissing me. 

On occasions when a servant gave me notice of the 
arrival of a coach, my custom was to go immediately 
to the door; and, after paying my respects, to take 
up the coach and two horses very carefully in my hands 
(for, if there were six horses, the postillion always un- 
harnessed four) and place them on a table, where I had 
fixed a moveable rim quite round, of five inches high, to 
prevent accidents. And I have often had four coaches and 
horses at once on my table full of company, while I sat in 
my chair, leaning my face towards them; and, when I was 


5 1 

engaged with one set, the coachman would gently drive 
the others round my table. I have passed many an after- 
noon very agreeably in these conversations. But I defy the 
treasurer to prove that any person ever came to me incognito, 
except the secretary Reldresal, who was sent by express 
command of his Imperial Majesty, as I have before related. 
I then had the honour to be a nardac, which the treasurer 
himself is not; for all the world knows that he is only a 
glumglum, a title inferior by one degree, as that of a mar- 
quis is to a duke in England, although I allow he preceded 
me in right of his post. These false informations made 
Flimnap, the treasurer, shew me an ill countenance ; and 
although he were at last undeceived, yet I lost all credit 
with him, and found my interest decline very fast with the 
Emperor himself, who was, indeed, too much governed by 
that favourite. 


BEFORE I proceed to give an account of my leaving this 
kingdom, it may be proper to inform the reader of a 
private intrigue which had been for two months forming 
against me. 

I had been hitherto all my life a stranger to courts, for 
which I was unqualified by the meanness of my condition. 
I had, indeed, heard and read enough of the dispositions of 
great princes and ministers; but never expected to have 
found such terrible effects of them in so remote a country, 
governed, as I thought, by very different maxims from 
those in Europe. 

When I was just preparing to pay my attendance on the 
Emperor of Blefuscu, a considerable person at court (to 
whom I had been very serviceable, at a time when he lay 
under the highest displeasure of his Imperial Majesty) came 
to my house very privately at night in a close chair, and, 
without sending his name, desired admittance. The chair- 
men were dismissed; I put the chair, with his lordship in 
it, into my coat pocket; and, giving orders to a trusty 
servant to say I was indisposed and gone to sleep, I fastened 
the door of my house, placed the chair on the table, accord- 
ing to my usual custom, and sat down by it. After the 
common salutations were over, observing his lordship's 
countenance full of concern, and enquiring into the reason, 
he desired I would hear him with patience, in a matter that 
highly concerned my honour and my life. His speech was 
to the following effect, for I took notes of it as soon as he 
left me. 

" You are to know," said he, " that several committees 
of council have been lately called in the most private 



manner on your account; and it is but two days since his 
Majesty came to a full resolution. 

' You are very sensible that Skyresh Bolgolam (galbet, 
or high admiral) hath been your mortal enemy almost ever 
since your arrival: his original reasons I know not; but 
his hatred is increased since your great success against 
Blefuscu, by which his glory, as admiral, is much obscured. 
This lord, in conjunction with Flimnap, the high treasurer, 
whose enmity against you is notorious on account of his 
lady, Limtoc the general, Lalcon the chamberlain, and 
Balmuff the grand justiciary, have prepared articles of 
impeachment against you, for treason, and other capital 

This preface made me so impatient, being conscious of 
my own merits and innocence, that I was going to inter- 
rupt; when he intreated me to be silent, and thus pro- 
ceeded : 

" Out of gratitude for the favours you have done me, I 
procured information of the whole proceedings, and a copy 
of the articles, wherein I venture my head for your service. 

Articles of Impeachment against QUINBUS FLESTRIN 


" ' That the said Quinbus Flestrin having brought the 
imperial fleet of Blefuscu into the royal port, and being 
afterwards commanded by his Imperial Majesty to seize 
all the other ships of the said empire of Blefuscu, and 
reduce that empire to a province, to be governed by a 
viceroy from hence, and to destroy and put to death not 
only all the Big-endian exiles, but likewise all the people 
of that empire, who would not immediately forsake the 
Big-endian heresy: he, the said Flestrin, like a false traitor 
against his most auspicious, serene, Imperial Majesty, did 
petition to be excused from the said service, upon pretence 


of unwillingness to force the consciences, or destroy the 
liberties and lives of innocent people. 


" ' That, whereas certain ambassadors arrived from the 
court of Blefuscu, to sue for peace in his Majesty's court: 
he the said Flestrin did, like a false traitor, aid, abet, com- 
fort, and divert the said ambassadors, although he knew 
them to be servants to a prince who was lately an open 
enemy to his Imperial Majesty, and in open war against his 
said Majesty. 


" ' That the said Quinbus Flestrin, contrary to the duty 
of a faithful subject, is now preparing to make a voyage to 
the court and empire of Blefuscu, for which he hath re- 
ceived only verbal licence from his Imperial Majesty; and 
under colour of the said licence doth falsely and traitor- 
ously intend to take the said voyage, and thereby to aid, 
comfort, and abet the Emperor of Blefuscu, so late an 
enemy, and in open war with his Imperial Majesty afore- 

' There are some other articles, but these are the most 
important, of which I have read you an abstract. 

' In the several debates upon this impeachment, it 
must be confessed that his Majesty gave many marks of 
his great lenity, often urging the services you had done 
him, and endeavouring to extenuate your crimes. The 
treasurer and admiral insisted that you should be put to 
the most painful and ignominious death, by setting fire on 
your house at night, and the general was to attend with 
twenty thousand men armed with poisoned arrows, to shoot 
you on the face and hands. Some of your servants were to 
have private orders to strew a poisonous juice on your 
shirts and sheets, which would soon make you tear your 
own flesh, and die in the utmost torture. The general came 


into the same opinion ; so that for a long time there was a 
majority against you: but his Majesty resolving, if possible, 
to spare your life, at last brought off the chamberlain. 

" Upon this incident, Reldresal, principal secretary for 
private affairs, who always approved himself your true 
friend, was commanded by the Emperor to deliver his 
opinion, which he accordingly did: and therein justified 
the good thoughts you have of him. He allowed your 
crimes to be great, but that still there was room for mercy, 
the most commendable virtue in a prince, and for which 
his Majesty was so justly celebrated. He said the friend- 
ship between you and him was so well known to the world, 
that perhaps the most honourable board might think him 
partial. However, in obedience to the command he had 
received, he would freely offer his sentiments. That if his 
Majesty, in consideration of your services, and pursuant to 
his own merciful disposition, would please to spare your 
life, and only give order to put out both your eyes, he 
humbly conceived, that, by this expedient, justice might 
in some measure be satisfied, and all the world would 
applaud the lenity of the Emperor, as well as the fair and 
generous proceedings of those who have the honour to be 
his counsellors. That the loss of your eyes would be no 
impediment to your bodily strength, by which you might 
still be useful to his Majesty. That blindness is an addition 
to courage, by concealing dangers from us; that the fear 
you had for your eyes was the greatest difficulty in bring- 
ing over the enemy's fleet, and it would be sufficient for you 
to see by the eyes of the ministers, since the greatest princes 
do no more. 

" This proposal was received with the utmost disappro- 
bation by the whole board. Bolgolam, the admiral, could 
not preserve his temper; but, rising up in fury, said, he 
wondered how the secretary durst presume to give his 
opinion for preserving the life of a traitor: that the services 
you had performed were, by all true reasons of state, the 


great aggravation of your crimes; that the same strength, 
which enabled you to bring over the enemy's fleet, might 
serve, upon the first discontent, to carry it back; that he 
had good reasons to think you were a Big-endian in your 
heart; and as treason begins in the heart, before it appears 
in overt acts, so he accused you as a traitor on that account, 
and therefore insisted you should be put to death. 

" The treasurer was of the same opinion. He showed 
to what straits his Majesty's revenue was reduced by the 
charge of maintaining you, which would soon grow in- 
supportable: that the secretary's expedient of putting out 
your eyes was so far from being a remedy against this evil, 
it would probably increase it, as it is manifest from the 
common practice of blinding some kind of fowl, after which 
they fed the faster, and grew sooner fat; that his sacred 
Majesty and the council, who are your judges, were in 
their own consciences fully convinced of your guilt, which 
was a sufficient argument to condemn you to death, without 
the formal proofs required by the strict letter of the law. 

' But his Imperial Majesty, fully determined against 
capital punishment, was graciously pleased to say, that, 
since the council thought the loss of your eyes too easy a 
censure, some other may be inflicted hereafter. And your 
friend, the secretary, humbly desiring to be heard again, 
in answer to what the treasurer had objected concerning 
the great charge his Majesty was at in maintaining you, 
said that his Excellency, who had the sole disposal of the 
Emperor's revenue, might easily provide against that evil 
by gradually lessening your establishment, by which, for 
want of sufficient food, you would grow weak and faint, and 
lose your appetite, and consume in a few months; neither 
would the stench of your carcase be then so dangerous, 
when it should become more than half diminished; and 
immediately, upon your death, five or six thousand of his 
Majesty's subjects might, in two or three days, cut your 
flesh from your bones, take it away by cartloads, and bury 


it in distant parts to prevent infection, leaving the skeleton 
as a monument of admiration to posterity. 

" Thus, by the great friendship of the secretary, the 
whole affair was compromised. It was strictly enjoined 
that the project of starving you, by degrees, should be kept 
a secret, but the sentence of putting out your eyes was 
entered on the books; none dissenting except Bolgolam, 
the admiral, who, being a creature of the Empress, was 
perpetually instigated by her Majesty to insist upon your 

" In three days, your friend, the secretary, will be 
directed to come to your house, and read before you the 
articles of impeachment; and then to signify the great 
lenity and favour of his Majesty and council, whereby you 
are only condemned to the loss of your eyes, which his 
Majesty doth not question you will gratefully and humbly 
submit to; and twenty of his Majesty's surgeons will 
attend, in order to see the operation well performed, by dis- 
charging very sharp-pointed arrows into the balls of your 
eyes as you lie on the ground. 

" I leave to your prudence what measures you will 
take; and, to avoid suspicion, I must immediately return 
in as private manner as I came." 

His lordship did so, and I remained alone, under many 
doubts and perplexities of mind. 

It was a custom introduced by this prince and his 
ministry (very different, as I have been assured, from the 
practices of former times) that after the court had decreed 
any cruel execution, either to gratify the monarch's resent- 
ment or the malice of a favourite, the Emperor always 
made a speech to his whole council, expressing his great 
lenity and tenderness, as qualities known and confessed by 
all the world. This speech was immediately published 
through the kingdom; nor did anything terrify the people 
so much as those encomiums on his Majesty's mercy, 
because it was observed, that, the more these praises were 


enlarged and insisted on, the more inhuman was the punish- 
ment, and the sufferer more innocent. And as to myself, 
I must confess, having never been designed for a courtier, 
either by my birth or education, I was so ill a judge of 
things, that I could not discover the lenity and favour of 
this sentence, but conceived it (perhaps erroneously) rather 
to be rigorous than gentle. I sometimes thought of stand- 
ing my trial; for, although I could not deny the facts 
alleged in the several articles, yet I hoped they would 
admit of some extenuation. But having in my life perused 
many state-trials, which I ever observed to terminate as 
the judges thought fit to direct, I durst not rely on so 
dangerous a decision in so critical a juncture, and against 
such powerful enemies. Once I was strongly bent upon 
resistance, for, while I had liberty, the whole strength of 
that empire could hardly subdue me, and I might easily 
with stones pelt the metropolis to pieces; but I soon re- 
jected that project with horror, by remembering the oath 
I had made to the Emperor, the favours I received from 
him, and the high title of nardac he conferred upon me. 
Neither had I so soon learned the gratitude of courtiers, to 
persuade myself that his Majesty's present severities 
acquitted me of all past obligations. 

At last I fixed upon a resolution, for which it is probable 
I may incur some censure, and not unjustly; for I confess 
I owe the preserving my eyes, and consequently my liberty, 
to my own great rashness, and want of experience ; because, 
if I had then known the nature of princes and ministers, 
which I have since observed in many other courts, and 
their methods of treating criminals less obnoxious than 
myself, I should with great alacrity and readiness have 
submitted to so easy a punishment. But hurried on by 
the precipitancy of youth, and having his Imperial 
Majesty's licence to pay my attendance upon the Emperor 
of Blefuscu, I took this opportunity, before the three days 
were elapsed, to send a letter to my friend the secretary, 


signifying my resolution of setting out that morning for 
Blefuscu, pursuant to the leave I had got; and, without 
waiting for an answer, I went to that side of the island 
where our fleet lay. I seized a large man-of-war, tied v. 
cable to the prow, and, lifting up the anchors, I stript 
myself, put my clothes (together with my coverlet, which 
I brought under my arm) into the vessel, and drawing it 
after me, between wading and swimming, arrived at the 
royal port of Blefuscu, where the people had long expected 
me; they lent me two guides to direct me to the capital 
city, which is of the same name. I held them in my hands 
till I came within two hundred yards of the gate, and 
desired them to signify my arrival to one of the secretaries, 
and let him know, I there waited his Majesty's command. 
I had an answer in about an hour, that his Majesty, 
attended by the royal family and great officers of the 
court, was coming out to receive me. I advanced a hun- 
dred yards. The Emperor and his train alighted from their 
horses, the Empress and ladies from their coaches, and I 
did not perceive they were in any fright or concern. I lay 
on the ground to kiss his Majesty's and the Empress's hand. 
I told his Majesty that I was come according to my promise, 
and with the licence of the Emperor my master, to have 
the honour of seeing so mighty a monarch, and to offer 
him any service in my power consistent with my duty to 
my own prince; not mentioning a word of my disgrace, 
because I had hitherto no regular information of it, and 
might suppose myself wholly ignorant of any such design; 
neither could I reasonably conceive that the Emperor 
would discover the secret while I was out of his power; 
wherein, however, it soon appeared I was deceived. 

I shall not trouble the reader with the particular account 
of my reception at this court, which was suitable to the 
generosity of so great a prince; nor of the difficulties I was 
in for want of a house and bed, being forced to lie on the 
ground, wrapped up in my coverlet. 


THREE days after my arrival, walking out of curiosity to 
the north-east coast of the island, I observed, about half 
a league off, in the sea, somewhat that looked like a boat 
overturned. I pulled off my shoes and stockings, and, 
wading two or three hundred yards, I found the object to 
approach nearer by force of the tide; and then plainly 
saw it to be a real boat, which I supposed might, by some 
tempest, have been driven from a ship. Whereupon I 
returned immediately towards the city, and desired his 
Imperial Majesty to lend me twenty of the tallest vessels 
he had left after the loss of his fleet, and three thousand 
seamen, under the command of the vice-admiral. This 
fleet sailed round, while I went back the shortest way to 
the coast, where I first discovered the boat; I found the 
tide had driven it still nearer. The seamen were all pro- 
vided with cordage, which I had beforehand twisted to a 
sufficient strength. When the ships came up, I stripped 
myself, and waded till I came within an hundred yards of 
the boat, after which I was forced to swim till I got up to it. 
The seamen threw me the end of the cord, which I fastened 
to a hole in the fore-part of the boat, and the other end to a 
man-of-war. But I found all my labour to little purpose; 
for, being out of my depth, I was not able to work. In 
this necessity, I was forced to swim behind, and push the 
boat forwards as often as I could, with one of my hands; 
and, the tide favouring me, I advanced so far, that I could 
just hold up my chin and feel the ground. I rested two or 
three minutes, and then gave the boat another shove, and 
so on, till the sea was no higher than my arm-pits; and 
now, the most laborious part being over, I took out my 



other cables, which were stowed in one of the ships, and 
fastened them first to the boat, and then to nine of the 
vessels which attended me; the wind being favourable, 
the seamen towed, and I shoved till we arrived within forty 
yards of the shore, and, waiting till the tide was out, I got 
dry to the boat, and by the assistance of two thousand men, 
with ropes, and engines, I made a shift to turn it on its 
bottom, and found it was but little damaged. 

I shall not trouble the reader with the difficulties I was 
under, by the help of certain paddles, which cost me ten 
days making, to get my boat to the royal port of Blefuscu, 
where a mighty concourse of people appeared upon my 
arrival, full of wonder at the sight of so prodigious a vessel. 
I told the Emperor that my good fortune had thrown this 
boat in my way, to carry me to some place from whence I 
might return into my native country, and begged his 
Majesty's orders for getting materials to fit it up, together 
with his licence to depart, which, after some kind expostu- 
lations, he was pleased to grant. 

I did very much wonder, in all this time, not to have 
heard of any express relating to me from our Emperor 
to the court of Blefuscu. But I was afterwards given 
privately to understand that his Imperial Majesty, never 
imagining I had the least notice of his designs, believed I 
was only gone to Blefuscu, in performance of my promise, 
according to the licence he had given me, which was well 
known at our court, and would return in a few days, when 
the ceremony was ended. But he was at last in pain at my 
long absence; and, after consulting with the treasurer and 
the rest of that cabal, a person of quality was dispatched 
with the copy of the articles against me. This envoy had 
instructions to represent to the monarch of Blefuscu the 
great lenity of his master, who was content to punish me 
no farther than with the loss of my eyes; that I had fled 
from justice, and, if I did not return in two hours, I should 
be deprived of my title of nardac, and declared a traitor. 


The envoy further added, that in order to maintain the 
peace and amity between both empires, his master expected 
that his brother of Blefuscu would give orders to have me 
sent back to Lilliput, bound hand and foot, to be punished 
as a traitor. 

The Emperor of Blefuscu, having taken three days to 
consult, returned an answer, consisting of many civilities 
and excuses. He said that as for sending me bound, his 
brother knew it was impossible; that although I had de- 
prived him of his fleet, yet he owed great obligations to me 
for many good offices I had done him in making the peace : 
that, however, both their Majesties would soon be made 
easy; for I had found a prodigious vessel on the shore, able 
to carry me on the sea, which he had given order to fit up 
with my own assistance and direction; and he hoped, in a 
few weeks, both empires would be freed from so insupport- 
able an incumbrance. 

With this answer the envoy returned to Lilliput, and 
the monarch of Blefuscu related to me all that had passed; 
offering me at the same time (but under the strictest con- 
fidence) his gracious protection, if I would continue in his 
service; wherein, although I believed him sincere, yet I 
resolved never more to put any confidence in princes or 
ministers, w 7 here I could possibly avoid it, and, therefore, 
with all due acknowledgments for his favourable inten- 
tions, I humbly begged to be excused. I told him, that 
since fortune, whether good or evil, had thrown a vessel 
in my way, I was resolved to venture myself in the ocean 
rather than be an occasion of difference between two such 
mighty monarchs. Neither did I find the Emperor at all 
displeased, and I discovered, by a certain accident, that he 
was very glad of my resolution, and so were most of his 

These considerations moved me to hasten my departure 
somewhat sooner than I intended; to which the court, 
impatient to have me gone, very readily contributed. 


Five hundred workmen were employed to make two sails 
to my boat, according to my directions, by quilting thirteen 
fold of their strongest linen together. I was at the pains 
of making ropes and cables, by twisting ten, twenty, or 
thirty of the thickest and strongest of theirs. A great stone 
that I happened to find, after a long search by the sea-shore, 
served me for an anchor. I had the tallow of three hundred 
cows for greasing my boat and other uses. I was at in- 
credible pains in cutting down some of the largest timber- 
trees for oars and masts, wherein I was, however, much 
assisted by his Majesty's ship-carpenters, who helped me 
in smoothing them after I had done the rough work. 

In about a month, when all was prepared, I sent to receive 
his Majesty's commands, and to take my leave. The 
Emperor and royal family came out of the palace; I lay 
down on my face to kiss his hand, which he very graciously 
gave me; so did the Empress, and young princes of the 
blood. His Majesty presented me with fifty purses of two 
hundred sprugs a-piece, together with his picture at full 
length, which I put immediately into one of my gloves, to 
keep it from being hurt. The ceremonies at my departure 
were too many to trouble the reader with at this time. 

I stored the boat with the carcases of an hundred oxen, 
and three hundred sheep, with bread and drink proportion- 
able, and as much meat ready dressed as four hundred cooks 
could provide. I took with me six cows and two bulls 
alive, with as many ewes and rams, intending to carry 
them into my own country and propagate the breed. And, 
to feed them on board, I had a good bundle of hay, and a 
bag of corn. I would gladly have taken a dozen of the 
natives, but this was a thing the Emperor would by no 
means permit ; and, besides a diligent search into my pockets, 
his Majesty engaged my honour not to carry away any of 
his subjects, although with their own consent and desire. 

Having thus prepared all things as well as I was able, 
I set sail on the twenty-fourth day of September 1701, 


at six in the morning; and when I had gone about four 
leagues to the northward, the wind being at south-east, at 
six in the evening I descried a small island about half a 
league to the north-west. I advanced forward, and cast 
anchor on the lee-side of the island, which seemed to be 
uninhabited. I then took some refreshment and went to 
my rest. I slept well, and I conjecture at least six hours, 
for I found the day broke in two hours after I awaked. 
It was a clear night. I eat my breakfast before the sun 
was up; and heaving anchor, the wind being favourable, 
I steered the same course that I had done the day before, 
wherein I was directed by my pocket-compass. My in- 
tention was to reach, if possible, one of those islands which 
I had reason to believe lay on the north-east of Van Diemen's 
Land. I discovered nothing all that day; but upon the 
next, about three in the afternoon, when I had by my com- 
putation made twenty-four leagues from Blefuscu, I descried 
a sail steering to the south-east; my course was due east. 
I hailed her, but could get no answer; yet I found I gained 
upon her, for the wind slackened. I made all the sail I 
could, and in half an hour she spied me, then hung out her 
ancient, and discharged a gun. It is not easy to express 
the joy I was in upon the unexpected hope of once more 
seeing my beloved country, and the dear pledges I had left 
in it. The ship slackened her sails, and I came up with her 
between five and six in the evening, September 26; but my 
heart leapt within me to see her English colours. I put my 
cows and sheep into my coat-pockets, and got on board with 
all my little cargo of provisions. The vessel was an English 
merchantman, returning from Japan by the north and south 
seas, the captain, Mr. John Biddel of Deptford, a very 
civil man, and an excellent sailor. We were now in the 
latitude of 30 degrees south; there were about fifty men 
in the ship; and here I met an old comrade of mine, one 
Peter Williams, who gave me a good character to the captain. 
This gentleman treated me with kindness, and desired I 


would let him know what place I came from last and whither 
I was bound; which I did in few words, but he thought I 
was raving, and that the dangers I underwent had disturbed 
my head; whereupon I took my black cattle and sheep out 
of my pocket, which, after great astonishment, clearly con- 
vinced him of my veracity. I then shewed him the gold 
given me by the Emperor of Blefuscu, together with his 
Majesty's picture at full length, and some other rarities 
of that country. I gave him two purses of two hundred 
sprugs each, and promised, when we arrived in England, to 
make him a present of a cow and a sheep big with young. 

I shall not trouble the reader with a particular account 
of this voyage, which was very prosperous for the most 
part. We arrived in the Downs on the I3th of April 1702. 
I had only one misfortune, that the rats on board carried 
away one of my sheep ; I found her bones in a hole, picked 
clean from the flesh. The rest of my cattle I got safe 
a-shore, and set them a-grazing in a bowling-green at 
Greenwich, where the fineness of the grass made them feed 
very heartily, though I had always feared the contrary: 
neither could I possibly have preserved them in so long a 
voyage if the captain had not allowed me some of his best 
biscuit, which rubbed to powder, and mingled with water, 
was their constant food. The short time I continued in 
England, I made a considerable profit by shewing my 
cattle to many persons of quality and others: and, before 
I began my second voyage, I sold them for six hundred 
pounds. Since my last return, I find the breed is con- 
siderably increased, especially the sheep, which I hope will 
prove much to the advantage of the woollen manufacture, 
by the fineness of the fleeces. 

I stayed but two months with my wife and family; for 
my insatiable desire of seeing foreign countries would suffer 
me to continue no longer. I left fifteen hundred pounds 
with my wife, and fixed her in a good house at Redriff. My 
remaining stock I carried with me, part in money and part 



in goods, in hopes to improve my fortunes. My eldest 
uncle John had left me an estate in land, near Epping, of 
about thirty pounds a year; and I had a long lease of the 
Black Bull in Fetter Lane, which yielded me as much more: 
so that I was not in any danger of leaving my family upon 
the parish. My son Johnny, named so after his uncle, was 
at the Grammar School, and a towardly child. My daughter 
Betty (who is now well married, and has children) was then 
at her needlework. I took leave of my wife, and boy and 
girl, with tears on both sides, and \vent on board the A dven- 
ture, a merchant ship, of three hundred tons, bound for 
Surat, Captain John Nicholas of Liverpool, commander. 
But my account of this voyage must be referred to the second 
part of my travels. 




HAVING been condemned by nature and fortune to 
an active and restless life, in two months after my 
return I again left my native country, and took shipping in 
the Downs on the 2Oth day of June 1702, in the Adventure, 
Captain John Nicholas, a Cornish man, commander, bound 
for Surat. We had a very prosperous gale till we arrived 
at the Cape of Good Hope, where we landed for fresh water, 
but, discovering a leak, we unshipped our goods, and 
wintered there; for the captain falling sick of an ague, 
we could not leave the Cape till the end of March. We then 
set sail, and had a good voyage till we passed the Straits 
of Madagascar; but having got northward of that island, 
and to about five degrees south latitude, the winds, which 
in those seas were observed to blow a constant equal gale 
between the north and west, from the beginning of December 
to the beginning of May, on the gth of April began to blow 
with much greater violence, and more westerly than usual, 
continuing so for twenty days together, during which time 
we were driven a little to the east of the Molucca islands, 



and about three degrees northward of the line, as our captain 
found by an observation he took the 2nd of May, at which 
time the wind ceased, and it was a perfect calm, whereat I 
was not a little rejoiced. But he, being a man experienced 
in the navigation of those seas, bid us all prepare against 
a storm, which accordingly happened the day following: 
for a southern wind, called the southern monsoon, began to 
set in. 

Finding it was like to overblow, we took in our sprit -sail, 
and stood by to hand the foresail; but, making foul weather, 
we looked the guns were all fast, and handed the mizzen. 
The ship lay very broad off, so we thought it better spooning 
before the sea, than trying or hulling. We reefed the fore- 
sail and set him, and hawled aft the fore-sheet; the helm 
was hard a weather. The ship wore bravely. We belayed 
the fore down-hall; but the sail was split, and we hawled 
down the yard, and got the sail into the ship, and unbound 
all the things clear of it. It was a very fierce storm; the 
sea broke strange and dangerous. We hawled off upon 
the lanyard of the whipstaff, and helped the man at the 
helm. We would not get down our top-mast, but let all 
stand, because she scudded before the sea very well, and 
we knew that, the top-mast being aloft, the ship was the 
wholesomer, and made better way through the sea, seeing 
we had sea-room. When the storm was over, we set fore- 
sail and main-sail, and brought the ship to. Then we set 
the mizzen, main top-sail, and the fore top-sail. Our course 
was east north-east, the wind was at south-west. We got 
the starboard tacks aboard, we cast off our weather 
braces and lifts; we set in the lee-braces, and hawled 
forward by the weather - bowlings, and hawled them 
right, and belayed them, and hawled over the mizzen 
tack to windward, and kept her full and by as near as she 
would lie. 

During this storm, which was followed by a strong wind 
west south-west, we were carried by my computation about 


five hundred leagues to the east, so that the oldest sailor 
aboard could not tell in what part of the world we were. 
Our provisions held out well, our ship was staunch, and our 
crew all in good health; but we lay in the utmost distress 
for water. We thought it best to hold on the same course, 
rather than turn more northerly, which might have brought 
us to the north-west parts of Great Tartary, and into the 
frozen sea. 

On the i6th day of June 1703, a boy on the top-mast 
discovered land. On the I7th, we came in full view of 
a great island or continent (for we knew not whether) on 
the south side whereof was a small neck of land jutting 
out into the sea, and a creek too shallow to hold a ship 
of above one hundred tons. We cast anchor within a league 
of this creek, and our captain sent a dozen of his men well 
armed in the long boat, with vessels for water, if any could 
be found. I desired his leave to go with them, that I might 
see the country, and make what discoveries I could. When 
we came to land, we saw no river or spring, nor any sign 
of inhabitants. Our men therefore wandered on the shore, 
to find out some fresh water near the sea, and I walked alone 
about a mile on the other side, where I observed the country 
all barren and rocky. I now began to be weary, and, seeing 
nothing to entertain my curiosity, I returned gently down 
towards the creek ; and the sea being full in my view, I saw 
our men already got into the boat, and rowing for life to 
the ship. I was going to holloa after them, although it had 
been to little purpose, when I observed a huge creature 
walking after them in the sea, as fast as he could : he waded 
not much deeper than his knees, and took prodigious strides ; 
but our men had the start of him half a league, and, the sea 
thereabouts being full of sharp-pointed rocks, the monster 
was not able to overtake the boat. This, I was afterwards 
told, for I durst not stay to see the issue of the adventure; 
but ran as fast as I could the way I first went, and then 
climbed up a steep hill, which gave me some prospect of 


the country. I found it fully cultivated; but that which 
first surprised me was the length of the grass, which, in 
those grounds that seemed to be kept for hay, was about 
twenty feet high. 

I fell into a high road, for so I took it to be, though 
it served to the inhabitants only as a footpath through a 
field of barley. Here I walked on for some time, but could 
see little on either side, it being now at least harvest, and 
the corn rising near forty feet. I was an hour walking to 
the end of this field, which was fenced in with a hedge of 
at least one hundred and twenty feet high, and the trees so 
lofty that I could make no computation of their altitude. 
There was a stile to pass from this field into the next. It 
had four steps, and a stone to cross over when you came to 
the uppermost. It was impossible for me to climb this stile, 
because every step was six feet high, and the upper stone 
above twenty. I was endeavouring to find some gap in the 
hedge, when I discovered one of the inhabitants in the 
next field, advancing towards the stile, of the same size 
with him I saw in the sea, pursuing our boat. He appeared 
as tall as an ordinary spire-steeple, and took about ten yards 
at every stride, as near as I could guess. I was struck with 
the utmost fear and astonishment, and ran to hide myself 
in the corn, from whence I saw him at the top of the stile, 
looking back into the next field on the right hand, and heard 
him call in a voice many degrees louder than a speaking- 
trumpet; but the noise was so high in the air, that at first 
I certainly thought it was thunder. Whereupon, seven 
monsters like himself came towards him with reaping- 
hooks in their hands, each hook about the largeness of 
six scythes. 

These people were not so well clad as the first, whose 
servants or labourers they seemed to be; for, upon some 
words he spoke, they went to reap the corn in the field where 
I lay. I kept from them at as great a distance as I could, but 
was forced to move with extreme difficulty, for the stalks of 



the corn were sometimes not above a foot distant, so that I 
could hardly squeeze my body betwixt them. However, I 
made shift to go forward, till I came to a part of the field 
where the corn had been laid by the rain and wind. Here 
it was impossible for me to advance a step; for the stalks 
were so interwoven that I could not creep through, and the 
beards of the fallen ears so strong and pointed that they 
pierced through my cloaths into my flesh. At the same 
time I heard the reapers not above an hundred yards 
behind me. 

Being quite dispirited with toil, and wholly overcome 
by grief and despair, I lay down between two ridges, and 
heartily wished I might there end my days. I bemoaned 
my desolate widow, and fatherless children. I lamented 
my own folly and wilfulness in attempting a second voyage, 
against the advice of all my friends and relations. In this 
terrible agitation of mind I could not forbear thinking of 
Lilliput, whose inhabitants looked upon me as the greatest 
prodigy that ever appeared in the world: where I was 
able to draw an imperial fleet in my hand, and perform 
those other actions which will be recorded for ever in the 
chronicles of that empire, while posterity shall hardly believe 
them, although attested by millions. I reflected what a 
mortification it must prove to me to appear as inconsider- 
able in this nation as one single Lilliputian would be among 
us. But this, I conceived, was to be the least of my mis- 
fortunes, for, as human creatures are observed to be more 
savage and cruel in proportion to their bulk, what could 
I expect but to be a morsel in the mouth of the first among 
these enormous barbarians that should happen to seize me ? 
Undoubtedly philosophers are in the right when they tell 
us that nothing is great or little otherwise than by com- 
parison. It might have pleased fortune to let the Lilli- 
putians find some nation where the people were as diminutive 
with respect to them as they were to me. And who knows 
but that even this prodigious race of mortals might be equally 


overmatched in some distant part of the world, whereof we 
have yet no discovery? 

Scared and confounded as I was, I could not forbear 
going on with these reflections, when one of the reapers, 
approaching within ten yards of the ridge where I lay, made 
me apprehend that with the next step I should be squashed 
to death under his foot, or cut in two with his reaping-hook. 
And, therefore, when he was again about to move, I screamed 
as loud as fear could make me. Whereupon the huge creature 
trod short, and, looking round about under him for some 
time, at last espied me as I lay on the ground. He con- 
sidered a while, with the caution of one who endeavours to 
lay hold on a small, dangerous animal, in such a manner 
that it may not be able either to scratch or to bite him, as I 
myself have sometimes done with a weasel in England. At 
length he ventured to take me up behind by the middle, 
between his forefinger and thumb, and brought me within 
three yards of his eyes, that he might behold my shape more 
perfectly. I guessed his meaning, and my good fortune 
gave me so much presence of mind, that I resolved not to 
struggle in the least as he held me in the air, about sixty 
feet from the ground, although he grievously pinched my 
sides, for fear I should slip through his fingers. All I ventured 
was to raise my eyes towards the sun, and place my hands 
together in a supplicating posture, and to speak some words 
in an humble, melancholy tone, suitable to the condition 
I then was in. For I apprehended every moment that he 
would dash me against the ground, as we usually do any 
little hateful animal which we have a mind to destroy. But 
my good star would have it that he appeared pleased with 
my voice and gestures, and began to look upon me as a 
curiosity, much wondering to hear me pronounce articulate 
words, although he could not understand them. In the 
meantime I was not able to forbear groaning and shedding 
tears, and turning my head towards my sides, letting him 
know, as well as I could, how cruelly I was hurt by the 


pressure of his thumb and finger. He seemed to apprehend 
my meaning; for, lifting up the lappet of his coat, he put 
me gently into it, and immediately ran along with me to his 
master, who was a substantial farmer, and the same person 
I had first seen in the field. 

The farmer having (as I suppose by their talk) received 
such an account of me as his servant could give him, took 
a piece of a small straw, about the size of a walking-staff, 
and therewith lifted up the lappets of my coat, which, it 
seems, he thought to be some kind of covering that Nature 
had given me. He blew my hair aside to take a better 
view of my face. He called his hinds about him, and asked 
them (as I afterwards learned) whether they had ever seen 
in the fields any little creature that resembled me: he then 
placed me softly on the ground, upon all-four, but I got 
immediately up, and walked slowly backwards and forwards, 
to let those people see I had no intent to run away. They 
ah 1 sat down in a circle about me, the better to observe my 
motions. I pulled off my hat, and made a low bow towards 
the farmer. I fell on my knees, and lifted up my hands and 
eyes, and spoke several words as loud as I could: 1 took 
a purse of gold out of my pocket, and humbly presented it 
to him. He received it on the palm of his hand, then applied 
it close to his eye, to see what it was, and afterwards turned 
it several times with the point of a pin (which he took out 
of his sleeve) but could make nothing of it. Whereupon I 
made a sign that he should place his hand on the ground. I 
then took the purse, and opening it, poured all the gold into 
his palm. There were six Spanish pieces, of four pistoles 
each, besides twenty or thirty smaller coins. I saw him 
wet the tip of his little finger upon his tongue, and take 
up one of my largest pieces, and then another, but he seemed 
to be wholly ignorant what they were. He made me a sign 
to put them again into my purse, and the purse again into 
my pocket, which, after offering it to him several times, 
I thought it best to do. 


The fanner by this time was convinced I must be a rational 
creature. He spoke often to me, but the sound of his voice 
pierced my ears like that of a water-mill, yet his words were 
articulate enough. I answered as loud as I could in several 
languages, and he often laid his ear within two yards of 
me; but all in vain, for we were wholly unintelligible to 
each other. He then sent his servants to their work, and, 
taking his handkerchief out of his pocket, he doubled and 
spread it on his left hand, which he placed flat on the ground, 
with the palm upwards, making me a sign to step into it, 
as I could easily do, for it was not above a foot in thickness. 
I thought it my part to obey, and, for fear of falling, laid 
myself at length upon the handkerchief, with the remainder 
of which he lapped me up to the head for farther security, 
and in this manner carried me home to his house. There he 
called his wife and showed me to her; but she screamed and 
ran back, as women in England do at the sight of a toad or 
a spider. However, when she had a while seen my behaviour, 
and how well I observed the signs her husband made, she 
was soon reconciled, and, by degrees, grew extremely tender 
of me. 

It was about twelve at noon, and a servant brought in 
dinner. It was only one substantial dish of meat (fit for 
the plain condition of an husbandman), in a dish of about 
four and twenty feet diameter. The company were the 
farmer and his wife, three children, and an old grandmother. 
When they were set down, the farmer placed me at some 
distance from him on the table, which was thirty feet high 
from the floor. I was in a terrible fright, and kept as far 
as I could from the edge, for fear of falling. The wife 
minced a bit of meat, then crumbled some bread on a 
trencher, and placed it before me. I made her a low bow, 
took out my knife and fork, and fell to eat, which gave them 
exceeding delight. The mistress sent her maid for a small 
dram cup, which held about two gallons, and filled it with 
drink; I took up the vessel with much difficulty in both 


hands, and in a most respectful manner, drank to her lady- 
ship's health, expressing the words as loud as I could in 
English, which made the company laugh so heartily that 
I was almost deafened with the noise. This liquor tasted 
like a small cyder, and was not unpleasant. Then the 
master made me a sign to come to his trencher-side; but 
as I walked on the table, being in great surprise all the time, 
as the indulgent reader will easily conceive and excuse, 
I happened to stumble against a crust, and fell flat on my 
face, but received no hurt. I got up immediately, and ob- 
serving the good people to be in much concern, I took my 
hat (which I held under my arm out of good manners) and, 
waving it over my head, made three huzzas, to show I had 
got no mischief by my fall. But advancing forward towards 
my master (as I shall henceforth call him) his youngest son, 
who sat next him, an arch boy of about ten years old, took 
me up by the legs, and held me so high in the air that I 
trembled every limb ; but his father snatched me from him, 
and at the same time gave him such a box on the left ear 
as would have felled an European troop of horse to the 
earth, ordering him to be taken from the table. But being 
afraid the boy might owe me a spite, and well remembering 
how mischievous all children among us naturally are to 
sparrows, rabbits, young kittens, and puppy dogs, I fell 
on my knees, and, pointing to the boy, made my master to 
understand, as well as I could, that I desired his son might 
be pardoned. The father complied, and the lad took his 
seat again; whereupon I went to him and kissed his hand, 
which my master took and made him stroke me gently 
with it. 

In the midst of dinner my mistress's favourite cat leapt 
into her lap. I heard a noise behind me like that of a dozen 
stocking- weavers at work ; and, turning my head, I found it 
proceeded from the purring of that animal, who seemed to 
be three times larger than an ox, as I computed by the view 
of her head and one of her paws while her mistress was feeding 


and stroking her. The fierceness of this creature's counte- 
nance altogether discomposed me, though I stood at the 
further end of the table above fifty feet off, and although 
my mistress held her fast for fear she might give a spring 
and seize me in her talons. But it happened there was no 
danger, for the cat took not the least notice of me when my 
master placed me within three yards of her. And as I have 
been always told, and found true by experience in my travels, 
that flying or discovering fear, before a fierce animal, is a 
certain way to make it pursue or attack you, so I resolved, 
in this dangerous juncture, to show no manner of concern. 
I walked with intrepidity five or six times before the very 
head of the cat, and came within half a yard of her ; where- 
upon she drew herself back, as if she were more afraid of me. 
I had less apprehension concerning the dogs, whereof three 
or four came into the room, as it is usual in farmers' houses, 
one of which was a mastiff, equal in bulk to four elephants, 
and a greyhound somewhat taller than the mastiff, but not 
so large. 

When dinner was almost done, the nurse came in with 
a child of a year old in her arms, who immediately spied 
me, and began a squall that you might have heard from 
London Bridge to Chelsea, after the usual oratory of infants, 
to get me for a plaything. The mother out of pure indul- 
gence took me up, and put me towards the child, who 
presently seized me by the middle, and got my head into 
his mouth, where I roared so loud that the urchin was 
frighted and let me drop, and I should infallibly have 
broken my neck if the mother had not held her apron under 
me. The nurse to quiet her babe made use of a rattle, which 
was a kind of hollow vessel filled with great stones, and 
fastened by a cable to the child's waist; but all in vain, so 
that she was forced to apply the last remedy by giving it 
suck. I had a near sight of her, she sitting down the more 
conveniently to give suck, and I standing on the table. 
This made me reflect upon the fair skins of our English 


ladies, who appear so beautiful to us, only because they 
are of our own size, and their defects not to be seen but 
through a magnifying-glass, where we find by experiment 
that the smoothest and whitest skins look rough and coarse, 
and ill-coloured. 

I remember, when I was at Lilliput, the complexions 
of those diminutive people appeared to me the fairest in 
the world; and talking upon this subject with a person of 
learning there, who was an intimate friend of mine, he said 
that my face appeared much fairer and smoother when he 
looked on me from the ground, than it did upon a nearer 
view when I took him up in my hand and brought him close, 
which he confessed was at first a very shocking sight. He 
said he could discover great holes in my skin; that the 
stumps of my beard were ten times stronger than the bristles 
of a boar, and my complexion made up of several colours 
altogether disagreeable: although 1 must beg leave to say 
for myself, that I am as fair as most of my sex and country, 
and very little sunburnt by travels. On the other side, 
discoursing of the ladies in that Emperors' court, he used 
to tell me, one had freckles, another too wide a mouth, a 
third too large a nose, nothing of which I was able to dis- 
tinguish. I confess, this reflection was obvious enough; 
which, however, I could not forbear, lest the reader might 
think those vast creatures were actually deformed: for I 
must do them justice to say they are a comely race of people ; 
and particularly the features of my master's countenance, 
although he were but a farmer, when I beheld him from 
the height of sixty feet, appeared very well proportioned. 

When dinner was done, my master went out to his 
labourers, and, as I could discover by his voice and gesture, 
gave his wife a strict charge to take care of me. I was very 
much tired, and disposed to sleep, which my mistress per- 
ceiving, she put me on her own bed, and covered me with 
a clean white handkerchief, but larger and coarser than the 
main-sail of a man-of-war. 


I slept about two hours, and dreamed I was at home 
with my wife and children, which aggravated my sorrows 
when I awaked, and found myself alone in a vast room, 
between two and three hundred feet wide, and above two 
hundred high, lying in a bed twenty yards wide. My mistress 
was gone about her household affairs, and had locked me in. 
The bed was eight yards from the floor. I durst not presume 
to call, and, if I had, it would have been in vain, with such 
a voice as mine, at so great a distance as from the room 
where I lay to the kitchen where the family kept. While 
I was under these circumstances, two rats crept up the 
curtains, and ran smelling backwards and forwards on the 
bed. One of them came up almost to my face, whereupon 
I rose in a fright, and drew out my hanger to defend myself. 
These horrible animals had the boldness to attack me on 
both sides, and one of them held his fore-feet at my collar; 
but I had the good fortune to rip up his belly before he 
could do me any mischief. He fell down at my feet, and 
the other, seeing the fate of his comrade, made his escape, 
but not without one good wound on the back, which I gave 
him as he fled, and made the blood run trickling from him. 
After this exploit, I walked gently to and fro on the bed, 
to recover my breath and loss of spirits. These creatures 
were of the size of a large mastiff, but infinitely more nimble 
and fierce, so that, if I had taken off my belt before I went 
to sleep I must have infallibly been torn to pieces and 
devoured. I measured the tail of the dead rat, and found 
it to be two yards long, wanting an inch; but it went 
against my stomach to drag the carcass off the bed, 
where it lay still bleeding; I observed it had yet some 
life, but, with a strong slash across the neck, I thoroughly 
despatched it. 

Soon after, my mistress came into the room, who, seeing 
me all bloody, ran and took me up in her hand. I pointed 
to the dead rat, smiling, and making other signs, to shew 
I was not hurt, whereat she was extremely rejoiced, calling 


the maid to take up the dead rat with a pair of tongs and 
throw it out of the window. Then she set me on a table, 
where I shewed her my hanger all bloody, and, wiping it 
on the lappet of my coat, returned it to the scabbard. 

I hope the gentle reader will excuse me for dwelling on 
particulars, which, however insignificant they may appear 
to grovelling vulgar minds, yet will certainly help a philo- 
sopher to enlarge his thoughts and imagination, and to 
apply them to a benefit of public as well as private life, which 
was my sole design in presenting this and other accounts 
of my travels to the world; wherein I have been chiefly 
studious of truth, without affecting any ornaments of 
learning or of style. But the whole scene of this voyage 
made so strong an impression on my mind, and is so deeply 
fixed in my memory, that, in committing it to paper, I did 
not omit one material circumstance : however, upon a strict 
review, I blotted out several passages of less moment which 
were in my first copy, for fear of being censured as tedious 
and trifling, whereof travellers are often, perhaps not 
without justice, accused. 


MY mistress had a daughter of nine years old, a child of 
towardly parts for her age, very dexterous at her needle, 
and skilful at dressing her baby. Her mother and she 
contrived to fit up the baby's cradle for me against night: 
The cradle was put into a small drawer placed upon a hanging 
shelf for fear of the rats. This was my bed all the time I 
stayed with those people, though made more convenient 
by degrees, as I began to learn their language, and make 
my wants known. This young girl was so handy, that, after 
I had once or twice pulled off my clothes before her, she was 
able to dress and undress me, though I never gave her that 
trouble when she would let me do either myself. She made 
me seven shirts, and some other linen, of as fine cloth as 
could be got, which, indeed, was coarser than sack-cloth; 
and these she constantly washed for me with her own 
hands. She was likewise my school-mistress, to teach me 
the language. When I pointed to any thing, she told me the 
name of it in her own tongue, so that, in few days, I was 
able to call for whatever I had a mind to. She was very 
good-natured, and not above forty feet high, being little 
for her age. She gave me the name of Grildrig, which the 
family took up, and afterwards the whole kingdom. The 
word imports what the Latins call Nanunculus, the Italians 
Homunceletino, and the English Mannikin. To her I 
chiefly owe my preservation in that country: we never 
parted while I was there; I called her my Glumdalclitch, 
or little nurse; and should be guilty of great ingratitude, if 
I omitted this honourable mention of her care and affection 
towards me, which I heartily wish it lay in my power to 
requite as she deserves, instead of being the innocent but 



unhappy instrument of her disgrace, as I have too much 
reason to fear. 

It now began to be known and talked of in the neigh- 
bourhood that my master had found a strange animal in 
the field, about the bigness of a splacknuck, but exactly 
shaped in every part like a human creature, which it like- 
wise imitated in all its actions; seemed to speak in a little 
language of its own, had already learned several words of 
theirs, went erect upon two legs, was tame and gentle, would 
come when it was called, do whatever he was bid, had the 
finest limbs in the world, and a complexion fairer than a 
nobleman's daughter of three years old. Another farmer, 
who lived hard by, and was a particular friend of my master, 
came on a visit on purpose to enquire into the truth of this 
story. I was immediately produced, and placed upon a 
table, where I walked as I was commanded, drew my hanger, 
put it up again, made my reverence to my master's guest, 
asked him in his own language how he did, and told him he 
was welcome, just as my little nurse had instructed me. 
This man, who was old and dim-sighted, put on his spectacles 
to behold me better, at which I could not forbear laughing 
very heartily, for his eyes appeared like the full moon shining 
into a chamber at two windows. Our people, who dis- 
covered the cause of my mirth, bore me company in laughing, 
at which the old fellow was fool enough to be angry and out 
of countenance. He had the character of a great miser, 
and, to my misfortune, he well deserved it, by the cursed 
advice he gave my master to show me as a sight upon a 
market-day in the next town, which was half an hour's 
riding, about two and twenty miles from our house. I 
guessed there was some mischief contriving, when I observed 
my master and his friend whispering long together, some- 
times pointing at me; and my fears made me fancy that I 
overheard and understood some of their words. But the 
next morning Glumdalclitch, my little nurse, told me the 
whole matter, which she had cunningly picked out from 


her mother. The poor girl laid me on her bosom, and tell 
a weeping with shame and grief. She apprehended some 
mischief would happen to me from rude vulgar folks, who 
might squeeze me to death, or break one of my limbs, by 
taking me in their hands. She had also observed how 
modest I was in my nature, how nicely I regarded my honour, 
and what an indignity I should conceive it to be exposed for 
money as a public spectacle to the meanest of the people. 
She said, her papa and mamma had promised that Grildrig 
should be hers, but now she found they meant to serve her 
as they did last year, when they pretended to give her a 
lamb, and yet, as soon as it was fat, sold it to a butcher. 
For my own part, I may truly affirm that I was less concerned 
than my nurse. I had a strong hope, which never left me, 
that I should one day recover my liberty; and as to the 
ignominy of being carried about for a monster, I considered 
myself to be a perfect stranger in the country, and that such 
a misfortune could never be charged upon me as a reproach, 
if ever I should return to England ; since the king of Great 
Britain himself, in my condition, must have undergone the 
same distress. 

My master, pursuant to the advice of his friend, carried 
me in a box the next market-day to the neighbouring 
town, and took along with him his little daughter, my 
nurse, upon a pillion behind him. The box was close on 
every side, with a little door for me to go in and out, and 
a few gimlet holes to let in air. The girl had been so care- 
ful to put the quilt of her baby's bed into it, for me to lie 
down on. However, I was terribly shaken and discomposed 
in this journey, though it were but of half an hour. For 
the horse went about forty feet at every step, and trotted 
so high, that the agitation was equal to the rising and falling 
of a ship in a great storm, but much more frequent: our 
journey was somewhat farther than from London to St. 
Alban's. My master alighted at an inn which he used to 
frequent; and after consulting a while with the inn-keeper, 


and making some necessary preparations, he hired the 
grultrud or crier to give notice through the town of a 
strange creature to be seen at the sign of the Green Eagle, 
not so big as a splacknuck (an animal in that country 
very finely shaped, about six feet long), and in every 
part of the body resembling an human creature, could 
speak several words, and perform an hundred diverting 

I was placed upon a table in the largest room of the inn, 
which might be near three hundred feet square. My little 
nurse stood on a low stool close to the table, to take care 
of me, and direct what I should do. My master, to avoid a 
crowd, would suffer only thirty people at a time to see me. I 
walked about on the table as the girl commanded : she asked 
me questions, as far as she knew my understanding of the 
language reached, and I answered them as loud as I could. 
I turned about several times to the company, paid my 
humble respects, said they were welcome, and used some 
other speeches I had been taught. I took up a thimble 
filled with liquor, which Glumdalclitch had given me for a 
cup, and drank their health. I drew out my hanger, and 
flourished with it after the manner of fencers in England. 
My nurse gave me part of a straw, which I exercised as a 
pike, having learned the art in my youth. I was that day 
shown to twelve sets of company, and as often forced to 
go over again the same fopperies, till I was half dead with 
weariness and vexation. For those who had seen me made 
such wonderful reports, that the people were ready to break 
down the doors to come in. My master, for his own interest, 
would not suffer any one to touch me except my nurse; 
and, to prevent danger, benches were set round the table 
at such a distance as to put me out of everybody's reach. 
However, an unlucky school-boy aimed a hazel-nut directly 
at my head, which very narrowly missed me; otherwise, 
it came with so much violence that it would have infallibly 
knocked out my brains, for it was almost as large as a small 


pumpion ; but I had the satisfaction to see the young rogue 
well beaten, and turned out of the room. 

My master gave public notice, that he would show me 
again the next market-day, and in the meantime he pre- 
pared a more convenient vehicle for me, which he had 
reason enough to do ; for I was so tired with my first journey, 
and with entertaining company for eight hours together, 
that I could hardly stand upon my legs, or speak a word. 
It was at least three days before I recovered my strength; 
and that I might have no rest at home, all the neighbouring 
gentlemen from a hundred miles round, hearing of my 
fame, came to see me at my master's own house. There 
could not be fewer than thirty persons with their wives and 
children (for the country is very populous) ; and my master 
demanded the rate of a full room whenever he showed me 
at home, although it were only to a single family: so that 
for some time I had but little ease every day of the week 
(except Wednesday, which is their Sabbath) although I 
were not carried to the town. 

My master, finding how profitable I was like to be, resolved 
to carry me to the most considerable cities of the kingdom. 
Having therefore provided himself with all things necessary 
for a long journey, and settled his affairs at home, he took 
leave of his wife, and upon the I7th of August 1703, about 
two months after my arrival, we set out for the metropolis, 
situated near the middle of that empire, and about three 
thousand miles distance from our house: my master made 
his daughter Glumdalclitch ride behind him. She carried 
me on her lap, in a box tied about her waist. The girl had 
lined it on all sides with the softest cloth she could get, well 
quilted underneath, furnished it with her baby's bed, pro- 
vided me with linen and other necessaries, and made every- 
thing as convenient as she could. We had no other company 
but a boy of the house, who rode after us with the luggage. 

My master's design was to show me in all the towns by 
the way, and to step out of the road for fifty or an hundred 



miles, to any village, or person of quality's house, where he 
might expect custom. We made easy journeys of not above 
seven or eight score miles a day; for Glumdalclitch, on 
purpose to spare me, complained she was tired with the 
trotting of the horse. She often took me out of my box, 
at my own desire, to give me air, and show me the country, 
but always held me fast by a leading-string. We passed 
over five or six rivers, many degrees broader and deeper than 
the Nile, or the Ganges; and there was hardly a rivulet 
so small as the Thames at London Bridge. We were ten 
weeks in our journey, and I was shown in eighteen large 
towns, besides many villages and private families. 

On the 26th day of October, we arrived at the metropolis, 

called, in their language, Lorbrulgrud, or Pride of the 

Universe. My master took a lodging in the principal street 

of the city, not far from the royal palace, and put out bills 

in the usual form, containing an exact description of my 

person and parts. He hired a large room, between three 

and four hundred feet wide. He provided a table sixty feet 

in diameter, upon which I was to act my part, and pallisadoed 

it round three feet from the edge, and as many high, to 

prevent my falling over. I was shewn ten times a day, to 

the wonder and satisfaction of all people. I could now speak 

the language tolerably well, and perfectly understood every 

word that was spoken to me. Besides, I had learned their 

alphabet, and could make a shift to explain a sentence here 

and there ; for Glumdalclitch had been my instructor while 

we were at home, and at leisure hours during our 

journey. She carried a little book in her pocket, 

not much larger than a Sanson's Atlas; it 

was a common treatise for the use of 

young girls, giving a short account 

of their religion ; out of this she 

taught me my letters, and 

interpreted the words. 


THE frequent labours I underwent, every day, made in 
few weeks a very considerable change in my health: the 
more my master got by me, the more insatiable he grew. 
I had quite lost my stomach, and was almost reduced to 
a skeleton. The farmer observed it, and, concluding I must 
soon die, resolved to make as good a hand of me as he could. 
While he was thus reasoning and resolving with himself, 
a slardral, or gentleman usher, came from Court, com- 
manding my master to carry me immediately thither, for 
the diversion of the queen and her ladies. Some of the 
latter had already been to see me, and reported strange 
things of my beauty, behaviour, and good sense. Her 
Majesty, and those who attended her, were beyond measure 
delighted with my demeanour: I fell on my knees, and 
begged the honour of kissing her imperial foot; but this 
gracious princess held out her little finger towards me 
(after I was set on a table) which I embraced in both my 
arms, and put the tip of it, with the utmost respect, to my 
lips. She made me some general questions about my 
country, and my travels, which I answered as distinctly 
and in as few words as I could. She asked whether I would 
be content to live at Court. I bowed down to the board of 
the table, and humbly answered that I was my master's 
slave ; but, if I were at my own disposal, I should be proud 
to devote my life to her Majesty's service. She then asked 
my master whether he were willing to sell me at a good price. 
He, who apprehended I could not live a month, was ready 
enough to part with me, and demanded a thousand pieces 
of gold, which were ordered him on the spot, each piece 
being about the bigness of eight hundred moidores; but, 



allowing for the proportion of all things between that country 
and Europe, and the high price of gold among them, was 
hardly so great a sum as a thousand guineas would be in 
England. I then said to the queen, since I was now her 
Majesty's most humble creature and vassal, I must beg the 
favour, that Glumdalclitch, who had always tended me 
with so much care and kindness, and understood to do it 
so well, might be admitted into her service, and continue to 
be my nurse and instructor. Her Majesty agreed to my 
petition, and easily got the farmer's consent, who was glad 
enough to have his daughter preferred at Court ; and the 
poor girl herself was not able to hide her joy: my late 
master withdrew, bidding me farewell, and saying he had 
left me in a good service; to which I replied not a word, 
only making him a slight bow. 

The queen observed my coldness, and, when the farmer 
was gone out of the apartment, asked me the reason. I 
made bold to tell her Majesty that I owed no other obligation 
to my late master, than his not dashing out the brains of a 
poor harmless creature found by chance in his field; which 
obligation was amply recompensed by the gain he had 
made in showing me through half the kingdom, and the 
price he had now sold me for. That the life I had since led, 
was laborious enough to kill an animal of ten times my 
strength. That my health was much impaired by the 
continual drudgery of entertaining the rabble every hour 
of the day, and that, if my master had not thought my life 
in danger, her Majesty perhaps would not have got so cheap 
a bargain. But as I was out of all fear of being ill-treated 
under the protection of so great and good an Empress, the 
ornament of nature, the darling of the world, the delight 
of her subjects, the phoenix of the creation; so I hoped my 
late master's apprehensions would appear to be groundless, 
for I already found my spirits to revive by the influence of 
her most august presence. 

This was the sum of my speech, delivered with great 


improprieties and hesitation ; the latter part was altogether 
framed in the style peculiar to that people, whereof I learned 
some phrases from Gmmdalclitch, while she was carrying me 
to Court. 

The queen, giving great allowance for my defectiveness 
in speaking, was however surprised at so much wit and good 
sense in so diminutive an animal. She took me in her own 
hands, and carried me to the king, who was then retired to 
his cabinet. His Majesty, a prince of much gravity, and 
austere countenance, not well observing my shape at first 
view, asked the queen after a cold manner, how long it was 
since she grew fond of a splacknuck; for such it seems he 
took me to be, as I lay upon my breast in her Majesty's right 
hand. But this princess, who hath an infinite deal of wit 
and humour, set me gently on my feet upon the scrutoire, 
and commanded me to give his Majesty an account of myself, 
which I did in a very few words; and Glumdalclitch, who 
attended at the cabinet door, and could not endure I should 
be out of her sight, being admitted, confirmed all that had 
passed from my arrival at her father's house. 

The king, although he be as learned a person as any 
in his dominions, arid had been educated in the study of 
philosophy, and particularly mathematics, yet when he 
observed my shape exactly, and saw me walk erect, before 
I began to speak, conceived I might be a piece of clock- 
work (which is in that country arrived to a very great 
perfection) contrived by some ingenious artist. But when 
he heard my voice, and found what I delivered to be regular 
and rational, he could not conceal his astonishment. He 
was by no means satisfied with the relation I gave him 
of the manner I came into his kingdom, but thought it a 
story concerted between Glumdalclitch and her father, who 
had taught me a set of words to make me sell at a better 
price. Upon this imagination he put several other questions 
to me, and still received rational answers, no otherwise 
defective, than by a foreign accent, and an imperfect know- 


ledge in the language, with some rustic phrases which I had 
learned at the farmer's house, and did not suit the polite 
style of a Court. 

His Majesty sent for three great scholars who were then 
in their weekly waiting, according to the custom in that 
country. These gentlemen, after they had a while examined 
my shape with much nicety, were of different opinions con- 
cerning me. They all agreed that I could not be produced 
according to the regular laws of nature, because I was not 
framed with a capacity of preserving my life, either by swift- 
ness, or climbing of trees, or digging holes in the earth. 
They observed by my teeth, which they viewed with great 
exactness, that I was a carnivorous animal; yet most 
quadrupeds being an overmatch for me, and field-mice, 
with some others, too nimble, they could not imagine how 
I should be able to support myself, unless I fed upon snails 
and other insects, which they offered, by many learned 
arguments, to evince that I could not possibly do. Others 
who observed my limbs to be perfect and finished, said 
that I had lived several years, as it was manifest from 
my beard, the stumps whereof they plainly discovered 
through a magnifying-glass. They would not allow me to 
be a dwarf, because my littleness was beyond all degrees of 
comparison; for the queen's favourite dwarf, the smallest 
ever known in that kingdom, was near thirty feet high. 
After much debate, they concluded unanimously that I 
was only relplum scalcatch, which is interpreted literally, 
lusus natures ; a determination exactly agreeable to the 
modern philosophy of Europe, whose professors, disdaining 
the old evasion of occult causes, whereby the followers of 
Aristotle endeavoured in vain to disguise their ignorance, 
have invented this wonderful solution of all difficulties, 
to the unspeakable advancement of human knowledge. 

After this decisive conclusion, I entreated to be heard 
a word or two. I applied myself to the king, and assured 
his Majesty that I came from a country which abounded 


with several millions of both sexes, and of my own stature ; 
where the animals, trees, and houses were all in proportion, 
and where by consequence I might be as able to defend 
myself, and to find sustenance, as any of his Majesty's 
subjects could do here ; which I took for a full answer to those 
gentlemen's arguments. To this they only replied with a 
smile of contempt, saying that the farmer had instructed 
me very well in my lesson. The king, who had a much better 
understanding, dismissing his learned men, sent for the 
farmer, who by good fortune was not yet gone out of town : 
having therefore first examined him privately, and then 
confronted him with me and the young girl, his Majesty 
began to think that what we told him might possibly be true. 
He desired the queen to order that a particular care should 
be taken of me, and was of opinion that Glumdalclitch 
should still continue in her office of tending me, because 
he observed we had a great affection for each other. A 
convenient apartment was provided for her at court; she 
had a sort of governess appointed to take care of her educa- 
tion, a maid to dress her, and two other servants for menial 
offices; but the care of me was wholly appropriated to 
herself. The queen commanded her own cabinet-maker to 
contrive a box that might serve me for a bed-chamber, 
after the model that Glumdalclitch and I should agree upon. 
This man was a most ingenious artist, and, according to my 
directions, in three weeks finished for me a wooden chamber 
of sixteen feet square and twelve high, with sash-windows, a 
door, and two closets, like a London bed-chamber. The 
board that made the ceiling was to be lifted up and down 
by two hinges, to put in a bed ready furnished by her 
Majesty's upholsterer, which Glumdalclitch took out every 
day to air, made it with her own hands, and, letting it down 
at night, locked up the roof over me. A nice workman, 
who was famous for little curiosities, undertook to make 
me two chairs, with backs and frames of a substance not 
unlike ivory, and two tables, with a cabinet to put my things 


in. The room was quilted on all sides, as well as the floor 
and the ceiling, to prevent any accident from the careless- 
ness of those who carried me, and to break the force of a 
jolt when I went in a coach. I desired a lock for my door, 
to prevent rats and mice from coming in: the smith, after 
several attempts, made the smallest that ever was seen 
among them, for I have known a larger at the gate of a 
gentleman's house in England. I made a shift to keep 
the key in a pocket of my own, fearing Gmmdalclitch might 
lose it. The queen likewise ordered the thinnest silks that 
could be gotten to make me clothes, not much thicker than 
an English blanket, very cumbersome, till I was accustomed 
to them. They were after the fashion of the kingdom, 
partly resembling the Persian, and partly the Chinese, and 
are a very grave and decent habit. 

The queen became so fond of my company that she could 
not dine without me. I had a table placed upon the same 
at which her Majesty ate, just at her left elbow, and a chair 
to sit on. Glumdalclitch stood on a stool on the floor, near 
my table, to assist and take care of me. I had an entire 
set of silver dishes and plates, and other necessaries, which, 
in proportion to those of the queen's, were not much bigger 
than what I have seen of the same kind in a London toy-shop 
for the furniture of a baby-house. These my little nurse 
kept in her pocket in a silver box, and gave me at meals 
as I wanted them, always cleaning them herself. No person 
dined with the queen but the two princesses royal, the elder 
sixteen years old, and the younger at that time thirteen and 
a month. Her Majesty used to put a bit of meat upon one 
of my dishes, out of which I carved for myself; and her 
diversion was to see me eat in miniature. For the queen 
(who had, indeed, but a weak stomach) took up at one 
mouthful as much as a dozen English farmers could eat at 
a meal, which, to me, was for some time a very nauseous 
sight. She would crunch the wing of a lark, bones and all, 
between her teeth, although it were nine times as large as 


that of a full-grown turkey ; and put a bit of bread into her 
mouth as big as two twelve-penny loaves. She drank out 
of a golden cup, above a hogshead at a draught. Her 
knives were twice as long as a scythe, set straight upon the 
handle. The spoons, forks, and other instruments were 
all in the same proportion. I remember, when Glumdal- 
clitch carried me out of curiosity to see some of the tables 
at Court, where ten or a dozen of these enormous knives 
and forks were lifted up together, I thought I had never, 
till then, beheld so terrible a sight. 

It is the custom that every Wednesday (which, as I 
have before observed, was their Sabbath) the king and 
queen, with the royal issue of both sexes, dine together 
in the apartment of his Majesty, to whom I was now become 
a great favourite; and at these times my little chair and 
table were placed at his left hand, before one of the salt- 
cellars. This prince took a pleasure in conversing with 
me, enquiring into the manners, religion, laws, government, 
and learning of Europe ; wherein I gave him the best account 
I was able. His apprehension was so clear, and his judgment 
so exact, that he made very wise reflections and observations 
upon all I said. But I confess, that after I had been a little 
too copious in talking of my own beloved country, of our 
trade, and wars by sea and land, of our schisms in religion, 
and parties in the State; the prejudices of his education 
prevailed so far, that he could not forbear taking me up 
in his right hand, and stroking me gently with the other, 
after an hearty fit of laughing, asked me whether I was 
a Whig or Tory. Then turning to his first minister, who 
waited behind him with a white staff, near as tall as the 
main-mast of the Royal Sovereign, he observed how con- 
temptible a thing was human grandeur, which could be 
mimicked by such diminutive insects as I: 'and yet," 
says he, "I dare engage, these creatures have their titles 
and distinctions of honour, they contrive little nests and 
burrows, that they call houses and cities; they make a 


figure in dress and equipage; they love, they fight, they 
dispute, they cheat, they betray." And thus he continued 
on, while my colour came and went several times, with 
indignation, to hear our noble country, the mistress of arts 
and arms, the scourge of France, the arbitress of Europe, 
the seat of virtue, piety, honour, and truth, the pride and 
envy of the world, so contemptuously treated. 

But as I was not in a condition to resent injuries, so, 
upon mature thoughts, I began to doubt whether I was 
injured or no. For, after having been accustomed several 
months to the sight and converse of this people, and observed 
every object upon which I cast mine eyes to be of proportion- 
able magnitude, the horror I had at first conceived, from 
their bulk and aspect, was so far worn off, that if I had then 
beheld a company of English lords and ladies in their finery 
and birthday clothes, acting their several parts in the most 
courtly manner, of strutting, and bowing, and prating; to 
say the truth, I should have been strongly tempted to laugh 
as much at them as the king and his grandees did at me. 
Neither, indeed, could I forbear smiling at myself, when the 
queen used to place me upon her hand towards a looking- 
glass, by which both our persons appeared before me in full 
view together; and there could nothing be more ridiculous 
than the comparison, so that I really began to imagine 
myself dwindled many degrees below my usual size. 

Nothing angered and mortified me so much as the queen's 
dwarf, who, being of the lowest stature that was ever in 
that country (for I verily think he was not full thirty feet 
high) became insolent at seeing a creature so much beneath 
him, that he would always affect to swagger and look big 
as he passed by me in the queen's ante-chamber while I 
was standing on some table talking with the lords or ladies 
of the Court, and he seldom failed of a smart word or two 
upon my littleness, against which I could only revenge 
myself by calling him brother, challenging him to wrestle, 
and such repartees as are usual in the mouths of Court 


pages. One day, at dinner, this malicious little cub was 
so nettled with something I had said to him, that, raising 
himself upon the frame of her Majesty's chair, he took me 
up by the middle, as I was sitting down, not thinking any 
harm, and let me drop into a large silver bowl of cream, and 
then ran away as fast as he could. I fell over head and ears, 
and if I had not been a good swimmer, it might have gone 
very hard with me; for Glumdalclitch, in that instant, 
happened to be at the other end of the room, and the 
queen was in such a fright that she wanted presence of mind 
to assist me. But my little nurse ran to my relief, and took 
me out, after I had swallowed above a quart of cream. I 
was put to bed; however, I received no other damage than 
the loss of a suit of clothes, which was utterly spoiled. The 
dwarf was soundly whipped, and, as a further punishment, 
forced to drink up the bowl of cream into which he had 
thrown me; neither was he ever restored to favour: for, 
soon after, the queen bestowed him on a lady of high quality, 
so that I saw him no more, to my very great satisfaction; 
for I could not tell to what extremity such a malicious 
urchin might have carried his resentment. 

He had before served me a scurvy trick, which set the 
queen a-laughing, although at the same time she was 
heartily vexed, and would have immediately cashiered him, 
if I had not been so generous as to intercede. Her Majesty 
had taken a marrow-bone upon her plate, and, after knock- 
ing out the marrow, placed the bone again in the dish erect, 
as it stood before; the dwarf, watching his opportunity, 
while Glumdalclitch was gone to the side-board, mounted 
the stool she stood on to take care of me at meals, took 
me up in both hands, and, squeezing my legs together, 
wedged them into the marrow-bone above my waist, where 
I stuck for some time, and made a very ridiculous figure. 
I believe it was near a minute before any one knew what 
was become of me; for I thought it below me to cry out. 
But, as princes seldom get their meat hot, my legs were not 



scalded, only my stockings and breeches in a sad condition. 
The dwarf, at my entreaty, had no other punishment than 
a sound whipping. 

I was frequently rallied by the queen upon account of 
my fearfulness ; and she used to ask me whether the people 
of my country were as great cowards as myself? The 
occasion was this : the kingdom is much pestered with flies 
in summer; and these odious insects, each of them as big 
as a Dunstable lark, hardly gave me any rest while I sat 
at dinner, with their continual humming and buzzing about 
mine ears. They would sometimes alight upon my victuals. 
Sometimes they would fix upon my nose or forehead, where 
they stung me to the quick, smelling very offensively, and I 
could easily trace that viscous matter, which, our naturalists 
tell us, enables those creatures to walk with their feet up- 
wards upon a ceiling. I had much ado to defend myself 
against these detestable animals, and could not forbear 
starting when they came on my face. It was the common 
practice of the dwarf to catch a number of these insects in 
his hand, as schoolboys do among us, and let them out 
suddenly under my nose, on purpose to frighten me, and 
divert the queen. My remedy was to cut them in pieces 
with my knife, as they flew in the air, wherein my dexterity 
was much admired. 

I remember one morning, when Glumdalclitch had set 
me in my box upon a window, as she usually did in the fair 
days to give me air (for I durst not venture to let the box 
be hung on a nail out of the window, as we do with cages 
in England) after I had lifted up one of my sashes, and sat 
down at my table to eat a piece of sweet cake for my break- 
fast, above twenty wasps, allured by the smell, came flying 
into the room, humming louder than the drones of as many 
bagpipes. Some of them seized my cake, and carried it 
piecemeal away; others flew about my head and face, 
confounding me with the noise, and putting me in the 
utmost terror of their stings. However, I had the courage 


to rise and draw my hanger, and attack them in the air. 
I dispatched four of them, but the rest got away, and I 
presently shut my window. These insects were as large 
as partridges; I took out their stings, found them an inch 
and a half long, and as sharp as needles. I carefully pre- 
served them all, and having since shown them with some 
other curiosities, in several parts of Europe, upon my return 
to England, I gave three of them to Gresham College, and 
kept the fourth for myself. 


I NOW intend to give the reader a short description of this 
country, as far as I travelled in it, which was not above 
two thousand miles round Lorbrulgrud, the metropolis. 
For the queen, whom I always attended, never went farther 
when she accompanied the king in his progresses, and there 
staid till his Majesty returned from viewing his frontiers. 
The whole extent of this prince's dominions reacheth about 
six thousand miles in length, and from three to five in 
breadth; from whence I cannot but conclude that our 
geographers of Europe are in a great error, by supposing 
nothing but sea between Japan and California; for it was 
ever my opinion that there must be a balance of earth to 
counterpoise the great continent of Tartary; and therefore 
they ought to correct their maps and charts, by joining this 
vast tract of land to the north-west parts of America, 
wherein I shall be ready to lend them my assistance. 

The kingdom is a peninsula, terminated to the north- 
east by a ridge of mountains thirty miles high, which are 
altogether impassable, by reason of the volcanoes upon the 
tops. Neither do the most learned know what sort of 
mortals inhabit beyond those mountains, or whether they 
be inhabited at all. On the three other sides it is bounded 
by the ocean. There is not one sea-port in the whole 
kingdom, and those parts of the coasts into which the 
rivers issue are so full of pointed rocks, and the sea generally 
so rough, that there is no venturing with the smallest of 
their boats, so that these people are wholly excluded from 
any commerce with the rest of the world. But the large 
rivers are full of vessels, and abound with excellent fish, 
for they seldom get any from the sea, because the sea-fish 



are of the same size with those in Europe, and consequently 
not worth catching; whereby it is manifest that Nature, 
in the production of plants and animals of so extraordinary 
a bulk, is wholly confined to this continent, of which I leave 
the reasons to be determined by philosophers. However, 
now and then they take a whale that happens to be dashed 
against the rocks, which the common people feed on heartily. 
These whales I have known so large that a man could hardly 
carry one upon his shoulders; and sometimes for curiosity 
they are brought in hampers to Lorbrulgrud. I saw one 
of them in a dish at the king's table, which passed for a 
rarity, but I did not observe he was fond of it, for I think, 
indeed, the bigness disgusted him, although I have seen one 
somewhat larger in Greenland. 

The country is well inhabited, for it contains fifty-one 
cities, near an hundred walled towns, and a great number of 
villages. To satisfy my curious reader, it may be sufficient 
to describe Lorbrulgrud. This city stands upon almost 
two equal parts on each side the river that passes through. 
It contains above eighty thousand houses, and about six 
hundred thousand inhabitants. It is in length three glom- 
glungs (which make about fifty-four English miles) and two 
and a half in breadth, as I measured it myself in the royal 
map made by the king's order, which was laid on the ground 
on purpose for me, and extended an hundred feet ; I paced 
the diameter and circumference several times bare-foot, and 
computing by the scale, measured it pretty exactly. 

The king's palace is no regular edifice, but an heap of 
building about seven miles round: the chief rooms are 
generally two hundred and forty feet high, and broad and 
long in proportion. A coach was allowed to Glumdalclitch 
and me, wherein her governess frequently took her out to 
see the town, or go among the shops; and I was always 
of the party, carried in my box, although the girl at my 
own desire would often take me out, and hold me in her hand, 
that I might more conveniently view the houses and the 


people, as we passed along the streets. I reckoned our 
coach to be about a square of Westminster Hall, but not 
altogether so high: however, I cannot be very exact. One 
day the governess ordered our coachman to stop at several 
shops, where the beggars watching their opportunity, 
crowded to the sides of the coach, and gave me the most 
horrible spectacles that ever an European eye beheld. 

Beside the large box in which I was usually carried, the 
queen ordered a smaller one to be made for me, of about 
twelve feet square and ten high, for the convenience of 
travelling, because the other was somewhat too large for 
Glumdalclitch's lap, and cumbersome in the coach; it was 
made by the same artist, whom I directed in the whole 
contrivance. This travelling-closet was an exact square 
with a window in the middle of three of the squares, and 
each window was latticed with iron wire on the outside, 
to prevent accidents in long journeys. On the fourth side, 
which had no window, two strong staples were fixed, through 
which the person that carried me, when I had a mind to be 
on horseback, put in a leathern belt, and buckled it about 
his waist. This was always the office of some grave, trusty 
servant in whom I could confide, whether I attended the 
king and queen in their progresses, or were disposed to see 
the gardens, or pay a visit to some great lady or minister 
of state in the Court, when Glumdalclitch happened to be 
out of order: for I soon began to be known and esteemed 
among the greatest officers, I suppose more upon account 
of their Majesties' favour than any merit of my own. In 
journeys, when I was weary of the coach, a servant on horse- 
back would buckle my box, and place it on a cushion before 
him ; and there I had a full prospect of the country on three 
sides from the three windows. I had in this closet a field- 
bed and a hammock hung from the ceiling, two chairs and 
a table, neatly screwed to the floor, to prevent being tossed 
about by the agitation of the horse or the coach. And 
having been long used to sea-voyages, those motions, 


although sometimes very violent, did not much discompose 

Whenever I had a mind to see the town, it was always 
in my travelling-closet, which Glumdalclitch held in her 
lap in a kind of open sedan, after the fashion of the country, 
borne by four men, and attended by two others in the 
queen's livery. The people, who had often heard of me, 
were very curious to crowd about the sedan, and the girl 
was complaisant enough to make the bearers stop, and to 
take me in her hand that I might be more conveniently 

I was very desirous to see the chief temple, and particu- 
larly the tower belonging to it, which is reckoned the 
highest in the kingdom. Accordingly one day my nurse 
carried me thither, but I may truly say I came back disap- 
pointed; for the height is not above three thousand feet, 
reckoning from the ground to the highest pinnacle top; 
which allowing for the difference between the size of those 
people and us in Europe, is no great matter for admiration, 
nor at all equal in proportion (if I rightly remember) to 
Salisbury Steeple. But, not to detract from a nation to 
which during my life I shall acknowledge myself extremely 
obliged, it must be allowed that whatever this famous tower 
wants in height is amply made up in beauty and strength. 
For the walls are near an hundred feet thick, built of hewn 
stone, whereof each is about forty feet square, and adorned 
on all sides with statues of gods and emperors cut in marble 
larger than the life, placed in their several niches. I 
measured a little finger which had fallen down from one of 
the statues, and lay unperceived among some rubbish, ard 
found it exactly four feet and an inch in length. Glum- 
dalclitch wrapped it up in her handkerchief, and carried it 
home in her pocket to keep among other trinkets, of which 
the girl was very fond, as children at her age usually are. 

The king's kitchen is indeed a noble building, vaulted 
at top, and about six hundred feet high. The great oven 


is not so wide by ten paces as the cupola at St. Paul's: 
for I measured the latter on purpose after my return. But 
if I should describe the kitchen grate, the prodigious pots 
and kettles, the joints of meat turning on the spits, with 
many other particulars, perhaps I should be hardly believed ; 
at least a severe critic would be apt to think I enlarged a 
little, as travellers are often suspected to do. To avoid 
which censure, I fear I have run too much into the other 
extreme, and that if this treatise should happen to be trans- 
lated into the language of Brobdingnag (which is the general 
name of that kingdom) and transmitted thither, the king 
and his people would have reason tc> complain that I had done 
them an injury by a false and diminutive representation. 

His Majesty seldom keeps above six hundred horses in 
his stables: they are generally from fifty-four to sixty 
feet high. But, when he goes abroad on solemn days, he 
is attended for state by a militia guard of five hundred 
horse, which indeed I thought was the most splendid sight 
that could be ever beheld, till I saw part of his army in 
battalia, whereof I shall find another occasion to speak. 


I SHOULD have lived happy enough in that country if my 
littleness had not exposed me to several ridiculous and 
troublesome accidents: some of which I shall venture to 
relate. Glumdalclitch often carried me into the gardens 
of the Court in my smaller box, and would sometimes take 
me out of it and hold me in her hand, or set me down to 
walk. I remember, before the dwarf left the queen, he 
followed us one day into those gardens, and my nurse having 
set me down, he and I being close together near some dwarf 
apple trees, I must need shew my wit by a silly allusion 
between him and the trees, which happens to hold in their 
language, as it doth in ours. Whereupon, the malicious 
rogue watching his opportunity, when I was walking under 
one of them, shook it directly over my head, by which a 
dozen apples, each of them near as large as a Bristol barrel, 
came tumbling about my ears: one of them hit me on the 
back as I chanced to stoop, and knocked me down flat on 
my face; but I received no other hurt, and the dwarf was 
pardoned at my desire because I had given the provocation. 
Another day Glumdalclitch left me on a smooth grass 
plot to divert myself, while she walked at some distance 
with her governess. In the meantime there suddenly fell 
such a violent shower of hail, that I was immediately, by 
the force of it, struck to the ground: and, when I was 
down, the hailstones gave me such cruel bangs all over 
the body, as if I had been pelted with tennis balls; how- 
ever, I made a shift to creep on all four, and shelter myself 
by lying flat on my face, on the lee side of a border of 
lemon thyme, but so bruised from head to foot that I could 
not go abroad in ten days. Neither is this at all to be 
wondered at, because Nature in that country observing the 




same proportion through all her operations, a hailstone is 
near eighteen hundred times as large as one in Europe, 
which I can assert upon experience, having been so curious 
to weigh and measure them. 

But a more dangerous accident happened to me in the 
same garden, when my little nurse, believing she had put 
me in a secure place, which I often entreated her to do, 
that I might enjoy my own thoughts, and having left my 
box at home to avoid the trouble of carrying it, went to 
another part of the garden with her governess and some 
ladies of her acquaintance. While she was absent and out 
of hearing, a small white spaniel belonging to one of the 
chief gardeners, having got by accident into the garden, 
happened to range near the place where I lay. The dog, 
following the scent, came directly up, and taking me in 
his mouth ran straight to his master, wagging his tail, and 
set me gently on the ground. By good fortune he had 
been so well taught that I was carried between his teeth 
without the least hurt, or even tearing my clothes. But 
the poor gardener, who knew me well, and had a great 
kindness for me, was in a terrible fright. He gently took 
me up in both his hands, and asked me how I did; but I 
was so amazed and out of breath that I could not speak a 
word. In few minutes I came to myself, and he carried 
me safe to my little nurse, who by this time had returned 
to the place where she left me, and was in cruel agonies 
when I did not appear nor answer when she called: she 
severely reprimanded the gardener on account of his dog. 
But the thing was hushed up and never known at Court; 
for the girl was afraid of the queen's anger, and truly as 
to myself, I thought it would not be for my reputation that 
such a story should go about. 

This accident absolutely determined Glumdalclitch never 
to trust me abroad for the future out of her sight. I had 
been long afraid of this resolution, and therefore concealed 
from her some little unlucky adventures that happened 


in those times when I was left by myself. Once a kite, 
hovering over the garden, made a stoop at me, and if I had 
not resolutely drawn my hanger and run under a thick 
espalier, he would have certainly carried me away in his 
talons. Another time, walking to the top of a fresh mole- 
hill, I fell to my neck in the hole through which that animal 
had cast up the earth, and coined some lie, not worth 
remembering, to excuse myself for spoiling my clothes. 
I likewise broke my right shin against the shell of a snail, 
which I happened to stumble over as I was walking alone 
and thinking on poor England. 

I cannot tell whether I were more pleased or mortified 
to observe in those solitary walks that the smaller birds 
did not appear to be at all afraid of me, but would hop 
about within a yard's distance, looking for worms and other 
food with as much indifference and security as if no creature 
at all were near them. I remember a thrush had the con- 
fidence to snatch out of my hand with his bill a piece of 
cake that Glumdalclitch had just given me for my break- 
fast. When I attempted to catch any of these birds they 
would boldly turn against me, endeavouring to pick my 
fingers, which I durst not venture within their reach; and 
then they would hop back unconcerned, to hunt for worms 
or snails, as they did before. But one day I took a thick 
cudgel, and threw it with all my strength so luckily at a 
linnet that I knocked him down, and seizing him by the neck 
with both my hands, ran with him in triumph to my nurse. 
However, the bird, who had only been stunned, recovering 
himself, gave me so many boxes with his wings on both 
sides of my head and body, though I held him at arm's 
length and was out of the reach of his claws, that I was 
twenty times thinking to let him go. But I was soon 
relieved by one of our servants, who wrung off the bird's 
neck, and I had him next day for dinner by the queen's 
command. This linnet, as near as I can remember, seemed 
to be somewhat larger than an England swan. 


One day a young gentleman, who was nephew to my 
nurse's governess, came and pressed them both to see an 
execution. It was of a man who had murdered one of 
that gentleman's intimate acquaintance. Glumdalclitch was 
prevailed on to be of the company, very much against her 
inclination, for she was naturally tender-hearted: and, 
as for myself, although I abhorred such kind of spectacles, 
yet my curiosity tempted me to see something that I thought 
must be extraordinary. The malefactor was fixed in a chair 
upon a scaffold, erected for that purpose, and his head cut 
off at one blow, with a sword of about forty feet long. The 
veins and arteries spouted up such a prodigious quantity 
of blood, and so high in the air, that the great jet d'eau at 
Versailles was not equal for the time it lasted; and the 
head, when it fell on the scaffold floor, gave such a bounce as 
made me start, although I were at least half an English 
mile distant. 

The queen, who often used to hear me talk of my sea- 
voyages, and took all occasions to divert me when I was 
melancholy, asked me whether I understood how to handle 
a sail, or an oar, and whether a little exercise of rowing 
might not be convenient for my health? I answered, that 
I understood both very well: for, although my proper 
employment had been to be surgeon or doctor to the ship, 
yet often, upon a pinch, I was forced to work like a common 
mariner. But I could not see how this could be done in 
their country, where the smallest wherry was equal to a 
first-rate man-of-war among us, and such a boat as I could 
manage would never live in any of their rivers. Her Majesty 
said, if I would contrive a boat, her own joiner would make 
it, and she would provide a place for me to sail in. The 
fellow was an ingenious workman, and, by my instructions, 
in ten days finished a pleasure-boat, with all its tackling, 
able conveniently to hold eight Europeans. When it was 
finished, the queen was so delighted, that she ran with it 
in her lap to the king, who ordered it to be put in a cistern 


full of water, with me in it, by way of trial ; where I could not 
manage my two sculls, or little oars, for want of room. But 
the queen had before contrived another project: she ordered 
the joiner to make a wooden trough of three hundred feet 
long, fifty broad, and eight deep ; which being well pitched, 
to prevent leaking, was placed on the floor along the wall, 
in an outer room of the palace. It had a cock near the 
bottom, to let out the water when it began to grow stale, 
and two servants could easily fill it in half an hour. Here 
I often used to row for my own diversion, as well as that 
of the queen and her ladies, who thought themselves 
well entertained with my skill and agility. Sometimes I 
would put up my sail, and then my business was only to 
steer, while the ladies gave me a gale with their fans; and, 
when they were weary, some of the pages would blow my 
sail forward with their breath, while I showed my art by 
steering starboard or larboard, as I pleased. When I had 
done, Glumdalclitch always carried back my boat into her 
closet, and hung it on a nail to dry. 

In this exercise I once met an accident which had liked 
to have cost me my life: for, one of the pages having put 
my boat into the trough, the governess who attended Glum- 
dalclitch very officiously lifted me up to place me in the 
boat, but I happened to slip through her fingers, and 
should infallibly have fallen down forty feet upon the floor, 
if, by the luckiest chance in the world, I had not been 
stopped by a corking-pin that stuck in the good gentle- 
woman's stomacher; the head of the pin passed between 
my shirt and the waistband of my breeches, and thus I was 
held by the middle in the air, till Glumdalclitch ran to my 

Another time, one of the servants, whose office it was to 
fill my trough every third day with fresh water, was so care- 
less, to let a huge frog (not perceiving it) slip out of his pail. 
The frog lay concealed till I was put into my boat, but then, 
seeing a resting-place, climbed up and made it lean so much 



on one side, that I was forced to balance it witli all my 
weight on the other, to prevent overturning. When the 
frog was got in, it hopped at once half the length of the 
boat, and then over my head, backwards and forwards, 
daubing my face and clothes with its odious slime. The 
largeness of its features made it appear the most deformed 
animal that can be conceived. However, I desired Glum- 
dalclitch to let me deal with it alone. I banged it a good 
while with one of my sculls, and at last forced it to leap out 
of the boat. 

But the greatest danger I ever underwent, in that king- 
dom, was from a monkey, who belonged to one of the clerks of 
the kitchen. Glumdalclitch had locked me up in her closet, 
while she went somewhere upon business, or a visit. The 
weather being very warm, the closet-window was left open, 
as well as the windows and the doors of my bigger box, in 
which I usually lived, because of its largeness and conveni- 
ency. As I sat quietly meditating at my table, I heard 
something bounce in at the closet window, and skip about 
from one side to the other; whereat although I were much 
alarmed, yet I ventured to look out, but not stirring from 
my seat; and then I saw this frolicsome animal frisking 
and leaping up and down, till at last he came to my box, 
which he seemed to view with great pleasure and curiosity, 
peeping in at the door and every window. I retreated to the 
farther corner of my room, or box, but the monkey, looking 
in at every side, put me into such a fright, that I wanted 
presence of mind to conceal myself under the bed, as I 
might have easily done. After some time spent in peeping, 
grinning, and chattering, he at last espied me, and reaching 
one of his paws in at the door, as a cat does when she plays 
with a mouse, although I often shifted place to avoid him, 
he at length seized the lappet of my coat (which, being made 
of that country silk, was very thick and strong) and dragged 
me out. He took me up in his right fore-foot, and held 
me as a nurse does a child she is going to suckle, just as I 


have seen the same sort of creature do with a kitten in 
Europe; and when I offered to struggle, he squeezed me 
so hard, that I thought it more prudent to submit. I have 
good reason to believe that he took me for a young one of 
his own species, by his often stroking my face very gently 
with his other paw. In these diversions, he was interrupted 
by a noise at the closet door, as if somebody were opening 
it; whereupon he suddenly leaped up to the window, at 
which he had come in, and thence upon the leads and gutters, 
walking upon three legs, and holding me in the fourth, till 
he clambered up to a roof that was next to ours. I heard 
Glumdalclitch give a shriek at the moment he was carrying 
me out. The poor girl was almost distracted : that quarter of 
the palace was all in an uproar, the servants ran for ladders ; 
the monkey was seen by hundreds in the court, sitting upon 
the ridge of a building, holding me like a baby in one of his 
fore-paws, and feeding me with the other, by cramming 
into my mouth some victuals he had squeezed out of the 
bag on one side of his chaps, and patting me when I would 
not eat ; whereat many of the rabble below could not forbear 
laughing; neither do I think they justly ought to be blamed, 
for, without question, the sight was ridiculous enough to 
everybody but myself. Some of the people threw up stones, 
hoping to drive the monkey down; but this was strictly 
forbidden, or else, very probably, my brains had been 
dashed out. 

The ladders were now applied, and mounted by several 
men, which the monkey observing, and finding himself 
almost encompassed; not being able to make speed enough 
with his three legs, let me drop on a ridge tile, and made 
his escape. Here I sat for some time, five hundred yards 
from the ground, expecting every moment to be blown 
down by the wind, or to fall by my own giddiness, and come 
tumbling over and over from the ridge to the eaves: but 
an honest lad, one of my nurse's footmen, climbed up, and, 
putting me into his breeches pocket, brought me down safe. 


I was almost choked with the filthy stuff the monkey 
had crammed down my throat; but my dear little nurse 
picked it out of my mouth with a small needle, and then I fell 
a-vomiting, which gave me great relief. Yet I was so weak 
and bruised in the sides with the squeezes given me by this 
odious animal, that I was forced to keep my bed a fortnight. 
The king, queen, and all the Court, sent every day to enquire 
after my health, and her Majesty made me several visits 
during my sickness. The monkey was killed, and an order 
made that no such animal should be kept about the palace. 

When I attended the king after my recovery, to return 
him thanks for his favours, he was pleased to rally me a 
good deal upon this adventure. He asked me what my 
thoughts and speculations were, while I lay in the monkey's 
paw; how I liked the victuals he gave me; his manner of 
feeding ; and whether the fresh air on the roof had sharpened 
my stomach. He desired to know what I would have done 
upon such an occasion in my own country. I told his 
Majesty, that in Europe we had no monkeys, except such 
as were brought for curiosities from other places, and so 
small, that I could deal with a dozen of them together, 
if they presumed to attack me. And as for that monstrous 
animal with whom I was so lately engaged (it was, indeed, 
as large as an elephant) if my fears had suffered me to think 
so far as to make use of my hanger (looking fiercely, and 
clapping my hand upon the hilt as I spoke) when he poked 
his paw into my chamber, perhaps I should have given him 
such a wound, as would have made him glad to withdraw 
it with more haste than he put it in. This I delivered in a 
firm tone, like a person who was jealous lest his courage 
should be called in question. However, my speech pro- 
duced nothing else besides a loud laughter, which all the 
respect due to his Majesty from those about him could not 
make them contain. This made me reflect, how vain an 
attempt it is for a man to endeavour doing himself honour 
among those who are out of all degree of equality or com- 

I I 2 


parison with him. And yet I have seen the moral of my 
own behaviour very frequent in England since my return, 
where a little contemptible varlet without the least title 
to birth, person, wit, or common sense, shall presume to 
look with importance, and put himself upon a foot with the 
greatest persons of the kingdom. 

I was every day furnishing the Court with some ridiculous 
story; and Glumdalclitch, although she loved me to excess, 
yet was arch enough to inform the queen, whenever I com- 
mitted any folly that she thought would be diverting to 
her Majesty. 


I USED to attend the king's levee once or twice a week, 
and had often seen him under the barber's hand, which, 
indeed, was at first very terrible to behold: for the razor 
was almost twice as long as an ordinary scythe. His 
Majesty, according to the custom of the country, was only 
shaved twice a week. I once prevailed on the barber to 
give me some of the suds or lather, out of which I picked 
forty or fifty of the strongest stumps of hair. I then took 
a piece of fine wood, and cut it like the back of a comb, 
making several holes in it at equal distance, with as small 
a needle as I could get from Glumdalclitch. I fixed in the 
stumps so artificially, scraping and sloping them with my 
knife towards the points, that I made a very tolerable comb ; 
which was a seasonable supply, my own being so much 
broken in the teeth that it was almost useless: neither did 
I know any artist in that country so nice and exact, as would 
undertake to make me another. 

And this puts me in mind of an amusement wherein I 
spent many of my leisure hours. I desired the queen's 
woman to save for me the combings of her Majesty's hair, 
whereof in time I got a good quantity, and consulting with 
my friend the cabinet-maker, who had received general 
orders to do little jobs for me, I directed him to make two 
chair-frames, no larger than those I had in my box, and then 
to bore little holes with a fine awl round those parts where I 
designed the backs and seats; through these holes I wove 
the strongest hairs I could pick out, just after the manner 
of cane chairs in England. When they were finished, I 
made a present of them to her Majesty, who kept them in 
her cabinet, and used to shew them for curiosities, as, indeed, 

113 H 


they were the wonder of every one that beheld them. The 
queen would have had me sit upon one of these chairs, but 
I absolutely refused to obey her, protesting I would rather 
die a thousand deaths, than place my body on those precious 
hairs that once adorned her Majesty's head. Of these hairs 
(as I had always a mechanical genius) I likewise made a 
neat little purse about five feet long, with her Majesty's 
name deciphered in gold letters, which I gave to Glumdal- 
clitch, by the queen's consent. To say the truth, it was more 
for shew than use, being not of strength to bear the weight 
of the larger coins, and therefore she kept nothing in it but 
some little toys that girls are fond of. 

The king, who delighted in music, had frequent concerts 
at Court, to which I was sometimes carried, and set in my 
box on a table to hear them : but the noise was so great, that 
I could hardly distinguish the tunes. I am confident, that 
all the drums and trumpets of a royal army, beating and 
sounding together just at your ears, could not equal it. My 
practice was to have my box removed from the places 
where the performers sat, as far as I could, then to shut the 
doors and windows of it, and draw the window curtains; 
after which I found their music not disagreeable. 

I had learned in my youth to play a little upon the spinet. 
Glumdalclitch kept one in her chamber, and a master 
attended twice a week to teach her: I call it a spinet, because 
it somewhat resembled that instrument, and was played 
upon in the same manner. A fancy came into my head 
that I would entertain the king and queen with an English 
tune upon this instrument. But this appeared extremely 
difficult: for the spinet was near sixty feet long, each key 
being almost a foot wide, so that, with my arms extended, I 
could not reach to above five keys, and to press them down 
required a good smart stroke with my fist, which would 
be too great a labour, and to no purpose. The method I 
contrived was this: I prepared two round sticks about the 
bigness of common cudgels; they were thicker at one 


end than the other, and I covered the thicker ends 
with a piece of mouse's skin, that, by rapping on them, I 
might neither damage the tops of the keys, nor interrupt 
the sound. Before the spinet a bench was placed about 
four feet below the keys, and I was put upon the bench. 
I ran sideling upon it that way and this, as fast as I could, 
banging the proper keys with my two sticks, and made a 
shift to play a jig, to the great satisfaction of both their 
Majesties: but it was the most violent exercise I ever 
underwent, and yet I could not strike above sixteen keys, 
nor, consequently, play the bass and treble together, as 
other artists do; which was a great disadvantage to my 

The king, who, as I before observed, was a prince of 
excellent understanding, would frequently order that I 
should be brought in my box, and set upon the table in his 
closet: he would then command me to bring one of my 
chairs out of the box, and sit down within three yards 
distance upon the top of the cabinet, which brought me 
almost to a level with his face. In this manner I had 
several conversations with him. I one day took the freedom 
to tell his Majesty, that the contempt he discovered towards 
Europe, and the rest of the world, did not seem answerable 
to those excellent qualities of mind he was master of. That 
reason did not extend itself with the bulk of the body: 
on the contrary, we observed in our country, that the tallest 
persons were usually least provided with it. That, among 
other animals, bees and ants had the reputation of more 
industry, art, and sagacity, than many of the larger kinds; 
and that, as inconsiderable as he took me to be, I hoped I 
might live to do his Majesty some signal service. The king 
heard me with attention, and began to conceive a much 
better opinion of me than he had ever before. He desired 
I would give him as exact an account of the government 
of England as I possibly could; because, as fond as princes 
commonly are of their own customs (for so he conjectured 


of other monarchs by my former discourses) he should be 
glad to hear of anything that might deserve imitation. 

Imagine with thyself, courteous reader, how often I 
then wished for the tongue of Demosthenes or Cicero, that 
might have enabled me to celebrate the praise of my own 
dear native country, in a style equal to its merits and felicity. 

I began my discourse, by informing his Majesty, that 
our dominions consisted of two islands, which composed 
three mighty kingdoms under one sovereign, besides our 
plantations in America. I dwelt long upon the fertility 
of our soil, and the temperature of our climate. I then 
spoke at large upon the constitution of an English Parlia- 
ment, partly made up of an illustrious body, called the House 
of Peers, persons of the noblest blood, and of the most 
ancient and ample patrimonies. I described that extra- 
ordinary care always taken of their education in arts and 
arms, to qualify them for being counsellors both to the king 
and kingdom; to have a share in the Legislature; to be 
members of the highest court of judicature, from whence 
there could be no appeal; and to be champions always 
ready for the defence of their prince and country, by their 
valour, conduct, and fidelity. That these were the ornament 
and bulwark of the kingdom, worthy followers of their most 
renowned ancestors, whose honour had been the reward 
of their virtue, from which their posterity were never once 
known to degenerate. To these were joined several holy 
persons, as part of that assembly, under the title of bishops, 
whose peculiar business it is to take care of religion, and of 
those who instruct the people therein. These were searched 
and sought out through the whole nation, by the prince and 
his wisest counsellors, among such of the priesthood as were 
most deservedly distinguished by the sanctity of their 
lives, and the depth of their erudition, who were, indeed, the 
spiritual fathers of the clergy and the people. 

That the other part of the Parliament consisted of an 
assembly called the House of Commons, who were all 


principal gentlemen, freely picked and culled out by the 
people themselves, for their great abilities, and love of 
their country, to represent the wisdom of the whole nation. 
And these two bodies make up the most august assembly 
in Europe, to whom, in conjunction with the prince, the 
whole Legislature is committed. 

I then descended to the courts of justice, over which 
the judges, those venerable sages and interpreters of the 
law, presided, for determining the disputed rights and pro- 
perties of men, as well as for the punishment of vice, and 
protection of innocence. I mentioned the prudent manage- 
ment of our Treasury, the valour and achievements of our 
forces by sea and land. I computed the number of our 
people, by reckoning how many millions there might be 
of each religious sect, or political party among us. I did not 
omit even our sports and pastimes, or any other particular 
which I thought might redound to the honour of my country. 
And I finished all with a brief historical account of affairs and 
events in England, for about an hundred years past. 

This conversation was not ended under five audiences, 
each of several hours; and the king heard the whole with 
great attention, frequently taking notes of what I spoke, 
as well as memorandums of several questions he intended 
to ask me. 

When I had put an end to these long discourses, his 
Majesty, in a sixth audience, consulting his notes, proposed 
many doubts, queries, and objections upon every article. 
He asked what methods were used to cultivate the minds 
and bodies of our young nobility, and in what kind of 
business they commonly spent the first and teachable part 
of their lives. What course was taken to supply that 
assembly when any noble family became extinct. What 
qualifications were necessary in those who are to be created 
new lords: whether the humour of the prince, a sum of 
money to a court lady, or a prime minister, or a design 
of strengthening a party opposite to the public interest, 


ever happened to be motives in those advancements. What 
share of knowledge these lords had in the laws of their 
country, and how they came by it, so as to enable them 
to decide the properties of their fellow-subjects in their 
last resort. Whether they were always so free from avarice, 
partialities, or want, that a bribe, or some other sinister 
view, could have no place among them. Whether those holy 
lords I spoke of, were always promoted to that rank upon 
account of their knowledge in religious matters, and the 
sanctity of their lives, had never been compilers with the 
times, while they were common priests, or slavish prostitute 
chaplains to some nobleman, whose opinions they continued 
servilely to follow, after they were admitted into that 

He then desired to know what arts were practised in 
electing those whom I called commoners: whether a 
stranger, with a strong purse, might not influence the 
vulgar voters to choose him before their own landlord, or 
the most considerable gentleman in the neighbourhood. 
How it came to pass, that people were so violently bent 
upon getting into this assembly, which I allowed to be a 
great trouble and expense, often to the ruin of their families, 
without any salary or pension : because that appeared such 
an exalted strain of virtue and public spirit, that his Majesty 
seemed to doubt it might possibly not be always sincere: 
and he desired to know whether such zealous gentlemen 
could have any views of refunding themselves for the 
charges and trouble they were at, by sacrificing the public 
good to the designs of a weak and vicious prince, in con- 
junction with a corrupted ministry. He multiplied his 
questions, and sifted me thoroughly upon every part of 
this head, proposing numberless enquiries and objections, 
which I think it not prudent or convenient to repeat. 

Upon what I said in relation to our courts of justice, 
his Majesty desired to be satisfied in several points: and 
this I was the better able to do, having been formerly 


almost ruined by a long suit in chancery, which was decreed 
for me with costs. He asked what time was usually spent 
in determining between right and wrong, and what degree 
of expense. Whether advocates and orators had liberty 
to plead in causes manifestly known to be unjust, vexatious, 
or oppressive. Whether party in religion or politics were 
observed to be of any weight in the scale of j ustice. Whether 
those pleading orators were persons educated in the general 
knowledge of equity, or only in provincial, national, and 
other local customs. Whether they or their judges had any 
part in penning those laws which they assumed the liberty of 
interpreting and glossing upon at their pleasure. Whether 
they had ever at different times pleaded for and against 
the same cause, and cited precedents to prove contrary 
opinions. Whether they were a rich or a poor corporation. 
Whether they received any pecuniary reward for pleading 
or delivering their opinions. And particularly, whether 
they were ever admitted as members in the lower senate. 

He fell next upon the management of our treasury and 
said he thought my memory had failed me, because I 
computed our taxes at about five or six millions a year, and, 
when I came to mention the issues, he found they some- 
times amounted to more than double ; for the notes he had 
taken were very particular in this point, because he hoped, 
as he told me, that the knowledge of our conduct might be 
useful to him, and he could not be deceived in his calcula- 
tions: but, if what I told him were true, he was still at a 
loss how a kingdom could run out of its estate like a private 
person. He asked me who were our creditors, and where 
we should find money to pay them. He wondered to hear me 
talk of such chargeable and expensive wars; that certainly 
we must be a quarrelsome people, or live among very bad 
neighbours, and that our generals must needs be richer 
than our kings. He asked what business we had out of our 
own islands, unless upon the score of trade or treaty, or 
to defend the coast with our fleet. Above all, he was amazed 


to hear me talk of a mercenary standing army in the midst 
of peace, and among a free people. He said, if we were 
governed by our own consent in the persons of our represen- 
tatives, he could not imagine of whom we were afraid, or 
against whom we were to fight ; and would hear my opinion, 
whether a private man's house might not better be defended 
by himself, his children, and family, than by half a dozen 
rascals picked up at a venture in the streets, for small 
wages, who might get an hundred times more by cutting 
their throats. 

He laughed at my odd kind of arithmetic (as he was 
pleased to call it) in reckoning the numbers of our people 
by a computation drawn from the several sects among 
us in religion and politics. He said he knew no reason 
why those who entertain opinions prejudicial to the public, 
should be obliged to change, or should not be obliged to 
conceal them. And as it was tyranny in any government 
to require the first, so it was weakness not to enforce the 
second: for a man may be allowed to keep poisons in his 
closet, but not to vend them about for cordials. 

He observed that, among the diversions of our nobility 
and gentry, I had mentioned gaming. He desired to know 
at what age this entertainment was usually taken up, and 
when it was laid down ; how much of their time it employed ; 
whether it ever went so high as to affect their fortunes; 
whether mean vicious people, by their dexterity in that art, 
might not arrive at great riches, and sometimes keep our 
very nobles in dependence, as well as habituate them to 
vile companions, wholly take them from the improvement of 
their minds, and force them, by the losses they had received, 
to learn and practise that infamous dexterity upon others. 

He was perfectly astonished with the historical account I 
gave him of our affairs during the last century, protesting 
it was only a heap of conspiracies, rebellions, murders, 
massacres, revolutions, banishments, the very worst effects 
that avarice, faction, hypocrisy, perfidiousness, cruelty, 


rage, madness, hatred, envy, lust, malice, or ambition, 
could produce. 

His Majesty in another audience was at the pains to re- 
capitulate the sum of all I had spoken; compared the 
questions he made with the answers I had given; then 
taking me into his hands, and stroking me gently, delivered 
himself in these words, which I shall never forget, nor the 
manner he spoke them in: " My little friend Grildrig, you 
have made a most admirable panegyric upon your .country : 
you have clearly proved, that ignorance, idleness, and vice 
are the proper ingredients for qualifying a legislator; that 
laws are best explained, interpreted, and applied by those 
whose interest and abilities lie in perverting, confounding, 
and eluding them. I observe among you some lines of an 
institution which, in its original, might have been tolerable; 
but these half erased, and the rest wholly blurred and blotted 
by corruptions. It doth not appear from all you have said, 
how any one perfection is required toward the procure- 
ment of any one station among you; much less that men 
are ennobled on account of their virtue, that priests are 
advanced for their piety or learning, soldiers for their 
conduct or valour, judges for their integrity, senators for 
the love of their country, or counsellors for their wisdom. 
As for yourself (continued the king) who have spent the 
greatest part of your life in travelling, I am well disposed 
to hope you may hitherto have escaped many vices 
of your country. But, by what I have gathered 
from your own relation, and the answers I 
have with much pain wringed and extorted 
from you, I cannot but conclude 
the bulk of your natives to be 
the most pernicious race of little 
odious vermin that Nature 
ever suffered to crawl 
upon the surface 
of the earth." 


NOTHING but an extreme love of truth could have hindered 
me from concealing this part of my story. It was in vain 
to discover my resentments, which were always turned into 
ridicule; and I was forced to rest with patience, while my 
noble and most beloved country was so injuriously treated. 
I am heartily sorry as any of my readers can possibly be, 
that such an occasion was given; but this prince happened 
to be so curious and inquisitive upon every particular, 
that it could not consist either with gratitude or good 
manners, to refuse giving him what satisfaction I was able. 
Yet thus much I may be allowed to say in my own vindi- 
cation, that I artfully eluded many of his questions, and gave 
to every point a more favourable turn, by many degrees, 
than the strictness of truth would allow. For I have 
always borne that laudable partiality to my own country, 
which Dionysius Halicarnassensis with so much justice re- 
commends to an historian: I would hide the frailties and 
deformities of my political mother, and place her virtues 
and beauties in the most advantageous light. This was my 
sincere endeavour in those many discourses I had with that 
mighty monarch, although it unfortunately failed of success. 

But great allowances should be given to a king who 
lives wholly secluded from the rest of the world, and must 
therefore be altogether unacquainted with the manners 
and customs that must prevail in other nations : the want of 
which knowledge will ever produce many prejudices, and 
a certain narrowness of thinking, from which we and the 
politer countries of Europe are wholly exempted. And it 
would be hard indeed if so remote a prince's notions of virtue 
and vice were to be offered as a standard for all mankind. 

To confirm what I have now said, and further, to shew 



the miserable effects of a confined education, I shall here 
insert a passage which will hardly obtain belief. In hopes 
to ingratiate myself farther into his Majesty's favour, I 
told him of an invention discovered between three and 
four hundred years ago, to make a certain powder, into an 
heap of which the smallest spark of fire falling, would kindle 
the whole in a moment, although it were as big as a mountain, 
and make it all fly up in the air together, with a noise 
and agitation greater than thunder. That a proper quantity 
of this powder rammed into an hollow tube of brass or iron, 
according to its bigness, would drive a ball of iron or lead 
with such violence and speed, as nothing was able to sustain 
its force. That the largest balls, thus discharged, would not 
only destroy whole ranks of an army at once, but batter 
the strongest walls to the ground, sink down ships, with a 
thousand men in each, to the bottom of the sea; and, when 
linked together by a chain, would cut through masts and 
rigging, divide hundreds of bodies in the middle, and lay 
all waste before them. That we often put this powder 
into large hollow balls of iron, and discharged them by an 
engine into some city we were besieging, which would rip 
up the pavements, tear the houses to pieces, burst and 
throw splinters on every side, dashing out the brains of 
all who came near. That I knew the ingredients very 
well, which were cheap and common; I understood the 
manner of compounding them, and could direct his work- 
men how to make those tubes of a size proportionable to 
all other things in his Majesty's kingdom, and the largest 
need not be above an hundred feet long; twenty or thirty 
of which tubes, charged with the proper quantity of powder 
and balls, would batter down the walls of the strongest 
town in his dominions in few hours, or destroy the whole 
metropolis, if ever it should pretend to dispute his absolute 
commands. This I humbly offered to his Majesty, as a 
small tribute of acknowledgment in return for so many marks 
that I had received of his royal favour and protection. 


The king was struck with horror at the description I had 
given of those terrible engines, and the proposal I had 
made. He was amazed how so impotent and grovelling 
an insect as I (these were his expressions) could entertain 
such inhuman ideas, and in so familiar a manner, as to 
appear wholly unmoved at all the scenes of blood and desola- 
tion which I had painted as the common effects of those 
destructive machines, whereof, he said, some evil genius, 
enemy to mankind, must have been the first contriver. As 
for himself, he protested that, although few things delighted 
him so much as new discoveries in art or in Nature, yet he 
would rather lose half his kingdom than be privy to such 
a secret, which he commanded me, as I valued my life, 
never to mention any more. 

A strange effect of narrow principles and short views! 
that a prince possessed of every quality which procures 
veneration, love, and esteem ; of strong parts, great wisdom, 
and profound learning, endued with admirable talents for 
government, and almost adored by his subjects, should, 
from a nice unnecessary scruple, whereof in Europe we 
can have no conception, let slip an opportunity put into 
his hands, that would have made him absolute master of 
the lives, the liberties, and the fortunes of his people. 
Neither do I say this with the least intention to detract 
from the many virtues of that excellent king, whose char- 
acter, I am sensible, will on this account be very much 
lessened, in the opinion of an English reader: but I take 
this defect among them to have risen from their ignorance, 
by not having hitherto reduced politics into a science, as 
the more acute wits of Europe have done. For I remember 
very well, in a discourse one day with the king, when I 
happened to say there were several thousand books among 
us written upon the art of government, it gave him (directly 
contrary to my intention) a very mean opinion of our 
understandings. He professed both to abominate and 
despise all mystery, refinement, and intrigue, either in a 


prince or a minister. He could not tell what I meant by 
secrets of state, where an enemy, or some rival nation, were 
not in the case. He confined the knowledge of governing 
within very narrow bounds, to common sense and reason, 
to justice and lenity, to the speedy determination of civil 
and criminal causes ; with some other obvious topics, which 
are not worth considering. And he gave it for his opinion, 
that whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades 
of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one 
grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more 
essential service to his country, than the whole race of 
politicians put together. 

The learning of this people is very defective, consisting 
only in morality, history, poetry, and mathematics, wherein 
they must be allowed to excel. But the last of these is 
wholly applied to what may be useful in life, to the improve- 
ment of agriculture, and all mechanical arts ; so that among 
us it would be little esteemed. And as to ideas, entities, 
abstractions, and transcendentals, I could never drive the 
least conception into their heads. 

No law of that country must exceed in words the number 
of letters in their alphabet, which consists only in two 
and twenty. But, indeed, few of them extend even to that 
length. They are expressed in the most plain and simple 
terms, wherein those people are not mercurial enough to 
discover above one interpretation : and to write a comment 
upon any law is a capital crime. As to the decision of civil 
causes, or proceedings against criminals, their precedents 
are so few, that they have little reason to boast of any 
extraordinary skill in them. 

They have had the art of printing, as well as the Chinese, 
time out of mind; but their libraries are not very large; 
for that of the king's, which is reckoned the biggest, doth 
not amount to above a thousand volumes, placed in a gallery 
of twelve hundred feet long, from whence I had liberty to 
borrow what books I pleased. The queen's joiner had 


contrived, in one of Glumdalclitch's rooms, a kind of wooden 
machine, five and twenty feet high, formed like a standing 
ladder, the steps were each fifty feet long: it was, indeed, 
a moveable pair of stairs, the lowest end placed at ten feet 
distance from the wall of the chamber. The book I had a 
mind to read, was put up leaning against the wall: I first 
mounted to the upper step of the ladder, and, turning my 
face towards the book, began at the top of the page, and so 
walking to the right and left, about eight or ten paces, 
according to the length of the lines, till I had gotten a little 
below the level of mine eyes, and then descending gradually 
till I came to the bottom; after which, I mounted again, 
and began the other page in the same manner, and so 
turned over the leaf, which I could easily do with both my 
hands, for it was as thick and stiff as a paste-board, and, in 
the largest folios, not above eighteen or twenty feet long. 

Their style is clear, masculine, and smooth, but not 
florid; for they avoid nothing more than multiplying un- 
necessary words, or using various expressions. I have 
perused many of their books, especially those in history and 
morality. Among the rest, I was much diverted with a 
little old treatise which always lay in Glumdalclitch's bed- 
chamber, and belonged to her governess, a grave elderly 
gentlewoman, who dealt in writings of morality and devo- 
tion. The book treats of the weakness of human kind, and 
is in little esteem, except among the women and the vulgar. 
However, I was curious to see what an author of that 
country could say upon such a subject. This writer went 
through all the usual topics of European moralists, shewing 
how diminutive, contemptible, and helpless an animal was 
man in his own nature; how unable to defend himself from 
inclemencies of the air, or the fury of wild beasts; how 
much he was excelled by one creature in strength, by 
another in speed, by a third in foresight, by a fourth in 
industry. He added, that nature was degenerated in these 
latter declining ages of the world, and could now produce 


only small abortive births, in comparison of those in ancient 
times. He said, it was very reasonable to think, not only 
that the species of men were originally much larger, but 
also, that there must have been giants in former ages, which, 
as it is asserted by history and tradition, so it hath been con- 
firmed by huge bones and skulls casually dug up in several 
parts of the kingdom, far exceeding the common dwindling 
race of man in our days. He argued that the very laws of 
Nature absolutely required we should have been made in 
the beginning of a size more large and robust, not so liable 
to destruction from every little accident of a tile falling 
from an house, or a stone cast from the hand of a boy, or 
being drowned in a little brook. From this way of reason- 
ing, the author drew several moral applications useful in 
the conduct of life, but needless here to repeat. For my 
part, I could not avoid reflecting how universally this 
talent was spread, of drawing lectures in morality, or, 
indeed, rather matter of discontent and repining, from the 
quarrels we raise with Nature. And, I believe, upon a 
strict enquiry, those quarrels might be shewn as ill-grounded 
among us as they are among that people. 

As to their military affairs, they boast that the king's 
army consists of an hundred and seventy-six thousand foot, 
and thirty-two thousand horse: if that may be called an 
army which is made up of tradesmen in the several cities, 
and farmers in the country, whose commanders are only 
the nobility and gentry, without pay or reward. They are, 
indeed, perfect enough in their exercises, and under very 
good discipline, wherein I saw no great merit; for how 
should it be otherwise, where every farmer is under the 
command of his own landlord, and every citizen under that 
of the principal men in his own city, chosen after the 
manner of Venice by ballot ! 

I have often seen the militia of Lorbrulgrud drawn out 
to exercise in a great field near the city, of twenty miles 
square. They were, in all, not above twenty-five thousand 


foot, and six thousand horse; but it was impossible for me 
to compute their number, considering the space of ground 
they took up. A cavalier, mounted on a large steed, might 
be about ninety feet high. I have seen this whole body of 
horse, upon a word of command, draw their swords at once, 
and brandish them in the air. Imagination can figure 
nothing so grand, so surprising, and so astonishing! It 
looked as if ten thousand flashes of lightning were darting 
at the same time from every quarter of the sky. 

I was curious to know how this prince, to whose 
dominions there is no access from any other country, came 
to think of armies, or to teach his people the practice of 
military discipline. But I was soon informed, both by 
conversation, and reading their histories : for, in the course 
of many ages, they have been troubled with the same disease 
to which the whole race of mankind is subject; the nobility 
often contending for power, the people for liberty, and the 
king for absolute dominion. All which, however happily 
tempered by the laws of that kingdom, have been some- 
times violated by each of the three parties, and have once, 
or more, occasioned civil wars, the last whereof was happily 
put an end to by this prince's grandfather in a general 
composition; and the militia, then settled with common 
consent, hath been ever since kept in the strictest duty. 


I HAD always a strong impulse, that I should some time 
recover my liberty, though it was impossible to conjecture 
by what means, or to form any project with the least hope 
of succeeding. The ship in which I sailed was the first 
ever known to be driven within sight of that coast, and the 
king had given strict orders that, if at any time another 
appeared, it should be taken ashore, and, with all its crew 
and passengers, brought in a tumbril to Lorbrulgrud. He 
was strongly bent to get me a woman of my own size, by 
whom I might propagate the breed; but, I think, I should 
rather have died, than undergone the disgrace of leaving 
a posterity to be kept in cages like tame canary birds, and 
perhaps, in time, sold about the kingdom to persons of 
quality for curiosities. I was, indeed, treated with much 
kindness: I was the favourite of a great king and queen, 
and the delight of the whole Court; but it was upon such 
a foot as ill became the dignity of human kind. I could 
never forget those domestic pledges I had left behind me. 
I wanted to be among people with whom I could converse 
upon even terms, and walk about the streets and fields with- 
out being afraid of being trod to death, like a frog or a 
young puppy. But my deliverance came sooner than I 
expected, and, in a manner, not very common: the whole 
story and circumstances of which I shall faithfully relate. 

I had now been two years in this country; and, about 
the beginning of the third, Glumdalclitch and I attended 
the king and queen in a progress to the south coast of the 
kingdom. I was carried, as usual, in my travelling box, 
which, as I have already described, was a very convenient 
closet of twelve feet wide. And I had ordered a hammock 

129 i 


to be fixed, by silken ropes, from the four corners at the 
top, to break the jolts, when a servant carried me before 
him on horseback, as I sometimes desired, and would often 
sleep in my hammock while we were upon the road. On 
the roof of my closet, just over the middle of the hammock, 
I ordered the joiner to cut out a hole of a foot square, to give 
me air in hot weather, as I slept; which hole I shut, at 
pleasure, with a board that drew backwards and forwards 
through a groove. 

When we came to our journey's end, the king thought 
proper to pass a few days at a palace he hath near Flan- 
flasnic, a city within eighteen English miles of the sea-side. 
Glumdalclitch and I were much fatigued; I had gotten a 
small cold, but the poor girl was so ill as to be confined to 
her chamber. I longed to see the ocean, which must be the 
only scene of my escape, if ever it should happen. I pre- 
tended to be worse than I really was, and desired leave to 
take the fresh air of the sea, with a page I was very fond of, 
and who had sometimes been trusted with me. I shall 
never forget with what unwillingness Glumdalclitch con- 
sented, nor the strict charge she gave the page to be careful 
of me, bursting at the same time into a flood of tears, as if 
she had some foreboding of what was to happen. The boy 
took me out in my box about half an hour's walk from the 
palace towards the rocks on the sea-shore. I ordered him 
to set me down, and lifting up one of my sashes, cast many 
a wistful melancholy look towards the sea. I found myself 
not very well, and told the page that I had a mind to take 
a nap in my hammock, which I hoped would do me good. I 
got in, and the boy shut the window close down to keep 
out the cold. I soon fell asleep, and all I can conjecture is, 
that while I slept, the page, thinking no danger could 
happen, went among the rocks to look for birds' eggs, 
having before observed him from my window searching 
about, and picking up one or two in the clefts. Be that as 
it will, I found myself suddenly awaked with a violent pull 


upon the ring which was fastened at the top of my box, for 
the conveniency of carriage. I felt my box raised very high 
in the air, and then borne forward with prodigious speed. 
The first jolt had like to have shaken me out of my ham- 
mock, but afterwards the motion was easy enough. I called 
out several times, as loud as I could raise my voice, but all 
to no purpose. I looked towards my windows, and could 
see nothing but the clouds and sky. I heard a noise over 
my head like the clapping of wings, and then began to per- 
ceive the woful condition I was in, that some eagle had got 
the ring of my box in his beak, with an intent to let it fall 
on a rock like a tortoise in a shell, and then pick out my 
body, and devour it. For the sagacity and smell of this 
bird enabled him to discover his quarry at a great distance, 
though better concealed than I could be within a two-inch 

In a little time I observed the noise and flutter of wings 
to increase very fast, and my box was tossed up and down 
like a sign post in a windy day. I heard several bangs or 
buffets, as I thought, given to the eagle (for such I am 
certain it must have been that held the ring of my box 
in his beak) and then all on a sudden felt myself falling 
perpendicularly down for above a minute, but with such 
incredible swiftness that I almost lost my breath. My fall 
was stopped by a terrible squash, that sounded louder to 
my ears than the cataract of Niagara; after which I was 
quite in the dark for another minute, and then my box 
began to rise so high that I could see light from the tops of 
the windows. I now perceived that I was fallen into the 
sea. My box, by the weight of my body, the goods that 
were in, and the broad plates of iron fixed for strength at 
the four corners of the top and bottom, floated above five 
feet deep in water. I did then, and do now suppose that 
the eagle which flew away with my box was pursued by 
two or three others, and forced to let me drop while he was 
defending himself against the rest, who hoped to share in 


the prey. The plates of iron fastened at the bottom of the 
box (for those were the strongest) preserved the balance 
while it fell, and hindered it from being broken on the sur- 
face of the water. Every joint of it was well grooved; and 
the door did not move on hinges, but up and down like a 
sash, which kept my closet so tight that very little water 
came in. I got with much difficulty out of my hammock, 
having first ventured to draw back the slip-board on the 
roof already mentioned, contrived on purpose to let in air, 
for want of which I found myself almost stifled. 

How often did I then wish myself with my dear Glum- 
dalclitch, from whom one single hour had so far divided me ! 
And I may say, with truth, that in the midst of my own 
misfortunes I could not forbear lamenting my poor nurse, 
the grief she would suffer for my loss, the displeasure of 
the queen, and the ruin of her fortune. Perhaps many 
travellers have not been under greater difficulties and dis- 
tress than I was at this juncture, expecting every moment 
to see my box dashed in pieces, or at least overset by the 
first violent blast, or a rising wave. A breach in one single 
pane of glass would have been immediate death ; nor could 
anything have preserved the windows but the strong 
lattice-wires placed on the outside against accidents in 
travelling. I saw the water ooze in at several crannies, 
although the leaks were not considerable, and I endeavoured 
to stop them as well as I could. I was not able to lift up 
the roof of my closet, which otherwise I certainly should 
have done, and sat on the top of it, where I might, at least, 
preserve myself some hours longer than by being shut up, 
as I may call it, in the hold. Or, if I escaped these dangers 
for a day or two, what could I expect but a miserable death 
of cold and hunger! I was four hours under these circum- 
stances, expecting and indeed wishing every moment to be 
my last. 

I have already told the reader, that there were two 
strong staples fixed upon that side of my box which had no 


window, and into which the servant who used to carry me 
on horseback would put a leathern belt, and buckle it about 
his waist. Being in this disconsolate state, I heard or at 
least thought I heard some kind of grating noise on that 
side of my box where the staples were fixed, and soon after 
I began to fancy that the box was pulled or towed along in 
the sea; for I now and then felt a sort of tugging, which 
made the waves rise near the tops of my windows, leaving 
me almost in the dark. This gave me some faint hopes of 
relief; although I was not able to imagine how it could be 
brought about. I ventured to unscrew one of my chairs, 
which were always fastened to the floor; and having made 
a hard shift to screw it down again directly under the 
slipping-board that I had lately opened, I mounted on the 
chair, and, putting my mouth as near as I could to the 
hole, I called for help in a loud voice, and in all the languages 
I understood. I then fastened my handkerchief to a stick I 
usually carried, and, thrusting it up the hole, waved it 
several times in the air, that, if any boat or ship were near, 
the seamen might conjecture some unhappy mortal to be 
shut up in the box. 

I found no effect from all I could do, but plainly per- 
ceived my closet to be moved along; and in the space of an 
hour, or better, that side of the box where the staples were, 
and had no window, struck against something that was 
hard. I apprehended it to be a rock, and found myself 
tossed more than ever. I plainly heard a noise upon the 
cover of my closet, like that of a cable, and the grating of it 
as it passed through the ring. I then found myself hoisted 
up by degrees, at least three feet higher than I was before. 
Whereupon I again thrust up my stick and handkerchief, 
calling for help till I was almost hoarse. In return to 
which, I heard a great shout repeated three times, giving me 
such transports of joy as are not to be conceived but by 
those who feel them. I now heard a trampling over my 
head, and somebody calling through the hole with a loud 


voice in the English tongue, if there be anybody below, let 
them speak. I answered, I was an Englishman, drawn by 
ill fortune into the greatest calamity that ever any creature 
underwent, and begged, by all that was moving, to be de- 
livered out of the dungeon I was in. The voice replied, I 
was safe, for my box was fastened to their ship; and the 
carpenter should immediately come and saw a hole in the 
cover large enough to pull me out. I answered, that was 
needless, and would take up too much time, for there was 
no more to be done, but let one of the crew put his finger 
into the ring, and take the box out of the sea into the ship, 
and so into the captain's cabin. Some of them, upon hear- 
ing me talk so wildly, thought I was mad; others laughed; 
for, indeed, it never came into my head that I was now got 
among people of my own stature and strength. The car- 
penter came, and in few minutes sawed a passage about 
four feet square, then let down a small ladder, upon which 
I mounted, and from thence was taken into the ship in a 
very weak condition. 

The sailors were all in amazement, and asked me a 
thousand questions, which I had no inclination to answer. 
I was equally confounded at the sight of so many pigmies, 
for such I took them to be, after having so long accustomed 
mine eyes to the monstrous objects I had left. But the 
captain, Mr. Thomas Wilcocks, an honest worthy Shrop- 
shire man, observing I was ready to faint, took me into his 
cabin, gave me a cordial to comfort me, and made me to 
turn in upon his own bed, advising me to take a little rest, 
of which I had great need. Before I went to sleep, I gave 
him to understand that I had valuable furniture in my box, 
too good to be lost; a fine hammock, an handsome field- 
bed, two chairs, a table, and a cabinet : that my closet was 
hung on all sides, or rather quilted, with silk and cotton: 
that, if he would let one of the crew bring my closet into 
his cabin, I would open it there before him, and shew him 
my goods. The captain, hearing me utter these absurdi- 


ties, concluded I was raving; however (I suppose to pacify 
me) he promised to give order, as I desired, and going upon 
deck, sent some of his men down into my closet, from 
whence (as I afterwards found) they drew up all my goods, 
and stripped off the quilting; but the chairs, cabinet, and 
bedstead, being screwed to the floor, were much damaged 
by the ignorance of the seamen, who tore them up by force. 
Then they knocked off some of the boards for the use of the 
ship, and, when they had got all they had a mind for, let 
the hulk drop into the sea, which, by reason of many 
breaches made in the bottom and sides, sunk to rights. 
And, indeed, I was glad not to have been a spectator of the 
havoc they made; because I am confident it would have 
sensibly touched me, by bringing former passages into my 
mind which I had rather forget. 

I slept some hours, but perpetually disturbed with 
dreams of the place I had left, and the dangers I had 
escaped. However, upon waking, I found myself much 
recovered. It was now about eight o'clock at night, and 
the captain ordered supper immediately, thinking I had 
already fasted too long. He entertained me with great 
kindness, observing me not to look wildly, or talk incon- 
sistently; and, when we were left alone, desired I would 
give him a relation of my travels, and by what accident I 
came to be set adrift in that monstrous wooden chest. He 
said that about twelve o'clock at noon, as he was looking 
through his glass, he spied it at a distance, and thought it 
was a sail, which he had a mind to make, being not much 
out of his course, in hopes of buying some biscuit, his own 
beginning to fall short. That upon coming nearer, and 
finding his error, he sent out his long-boat to discover what 
I was ; that his men came back in a fright, swearing they had 
seen a swimming house. That he laughed at their folly, 
and went himself in the boat, ordering his men to take a 
strong cable along with them. That, the weather being 
calm, he rowed round me several times, observed my 


windows, and the wire-lattices that defended them. That 
he discovered two staples upon one side, which was all of 
boards, without any passage for light. He then com- 
manded his men to row up to that side, and, fastening a 
cable to one of the staples, ordered them to tow my chest 
(as they called it) towards the ship. When it was there, he 
gave directions to fasten another cable to the ring fixed in 
the cover, and to raise up my chest with pulleys, which all 
the sailors were not able to do above two or three feet. He 
said they saw my stick and handkerchief thrust out of the 
hole, and concluded that some unhappy man must be shut 
up in the cavity. I asked whether he or the crew had seen 
any prodigious bird in the air about the time he first dis- 
covered me? To which he answered that, discoursing this 
matter with the sailors while I was asleep, one of them said 
he had observed three eagles flying towards the north, but 
remarked nothing of their being larger than the usual 
size, which I suppose must be imputed to the great height 
they were at; and he could not guess the reason of my 

I then asked the captain, how far he reckoned we might 
be from land ? He said, by the best computation he could 
make, we were at least an hundred leagues. I assured him 
that he must be mistaken by almost half, for I had not left 
the country from whence I came above two hours before I 
dropt into the sea. Whereupon he began again to think 
that my brain was disturbed, of which he gave me a hint, 
and advised me to go to bed in a cabin he had provided. I 
assured him I was well refreshed with his good entertain- 
ment and company, and as much in my senses as ever I was 
in my life. He then grew serious, and desired to ask me 
freely whether I were not troubled in mind by the conscious- 
ness of some enormous crime, for which I was punished at 
the command of some prince, by exposing me in that chest, 
as great criminals, in other countries, have been forced to 
sea in a leaky vessel without provisions: for although he 


should be sorry to have taken so ill a man into his ship, yet 
he would engage his word to set me safe ashore in the first 
port where we arrived. He added that his suspicions were 
much increased by some very absurd speeches I had de- 
livered at first to the sailors, and afterwards to himself, in 
relation to my closet or chest, as well as by my odd looks 
and behaviour while I was at supper. 

I begged his patience to hear me tell my story, which I 
faithfully did, from the last time I left England to the 
moment he first discovered me. And as truth always 
forceth its way into rational minds, so this honest worthy 
gentleman, who had some tincture of learning, and very 
good sense, was immediately convinced of my candour and 
veracity. But, farther to confirm all I had said, I entreated 
him to give order that my cabinet should be brought, of 
which I had the key in my pocket (for he had already in- 
formed me how the seamen disposed of my closet). I 
opened it in his presence, and showed him the small collec- 
tion of rarities I made in the country from whence I had 
been so strangely delivered. There was the comb I had 
contrived out of the stumps of the king's beard, and another 
of the same materials, but fixed into a paring of her 
Majesty's thumb-nail, which served for the back. There 
was a collection of needles and pins from a foot to half a 
yard long; four wasp-stings, like joiners' tacks; some 
combings of the queen's hair; a gold ring which one day 
she made me a present of in a most obliging manner, taking 
it from her little finger, and throwing it over my head like 
a collar. I desired the captain would please to accept this 
ring, in return of his civilities; which he absolutely refused. 
I showed him a corn that I had cut off with my own hand 
from a maid of honour's toe; it was about the bigness of a 
Kentish pippin, and grown so hard, that, when I returned 
to England, I got it hollowed into a cup, and set in silver. 
Lastly, I desired him to see the breeches I had then on, 
which were made of a mouse's skin. 


I could force nothing on him but a footman's tooth, 
which I observed him to examine with great curiosity, and 
found he had a fancy for it. He received it with abundance 
of thanks, more than such a trifle could deserve. It was 
drawn by an unskilful surgeon, in a mistake, from one of 
Glumdalclitch's men, who was afflicted with the toothache, 
but it was as sound as any in his head. I got it cleaned, 
and put it into my cabinet. It was about a foot long, and 
four inches in diameter. 

The captain was very well satisfied with this plain 
relation I had given him, and said he hoped, when we 
returned to England, I would oblige the world by putting 
it in paper, and making it public. My answer was, that I 
thought we were already over-stocked with books of travels: 
that nothing could now pass which was not extraordinary; 
wherein I doubted some authors less consulted truth, than 
their own vanity, or interest, or the diversion of ignorant 
readers. That my story could contain little besides 
common events, without those ornamental descriptions of 
strange plants, trees, birds, and other animals; or of the 
barbarous customs and idolatry of savage people, with 
which most writers abound. However, I thanked him for 
his good opinion, and promised to take the matter into my 

He said he wondered at one thing very much, which 
was to hear me speak so loud, asking me whether the king 
or queen of that country were thick of hearing. I told 
him, it was what I had been used to for above two years 
past ; and that I admired as much at the voices of him and 
his men, who seemed to me only to whisper, and yet I could 
hear them well enough. But when I spoke in that country, 
it was like a man talking in the street to another looking 
out from the top of a steeple, unless when I was placed on a 
table, or held in any person's hand. I told him I had like- 
wise observed another thing, that when I first got into the 
ship, and the sailors stood all about me, I thought they 


were the most little contemptible creatures I had ever 
beheld. For, indeed, while I was in that prince's country, 
I could never endure to look in a glass, after my eyes had 
been accustomed to such prodigious objects, because the 
comparison gave me so despicable a conceit of myself. The 
captain said that, while we were at supper, he observed me 
to look at everything with a sort of wonder, and that I often 
seemed hardly able to contain my laughter, which he knew 
not well how to take, but imputed it to some disorder in my 
brain. I answered, it was very true; and I wondered how 
I could forbear, when I saw his dishes of the size of a silver 
three-pence, a leg of pork hardly a mouthful, a cup not so 
big as a nut-shell ; and so I went on, describing the rest of 
his household-stuff and provisions, after the same manner. 
For, although the queen had ordered a little equipage of all 
things necessary for me while I was in her service, yet my 
ideas were wholly taken up with what I saw on every side of 
me, and I winked at my own littleness, as people do at 
their own faults. The captain understood my raillery 
very well, and merrily replied with the old English proverb, 
that he doubted my eyes were bigger than my belly, for he 
did not observe my stomach so good, although I had fasted 
all day; and, continuing in his mirth, protested he would 
have gladly given an hundred pounds to have seen my 
closet in the eagle's bill, and afterwards in its fall from so 
great a height into the sea; which would certainly have 
been a most astonishing object, worthy to have the descrip- 
tion of it transmitted to future ages: and the comparison 
of Phaeton was so obvious, that he could not forbear apply- 
ing it, although I did not much admire the conceit. 

The captain having been at Tonquin, was, in his return 
to England, driven north-eastward, to the latitude of 44 
degrees, and of longitude 143. But, meeting a trade-wind 
two days after I came on board him, we sailed southward a 
long time, and coasting New Holland, kept our course 
west-south-west, and then south-south-west, till we doubled 


the Cape of Good Hope. Our voyage was very prosperous, 
but I shall not trouble the reader with a journal of it. The 
captain called in at one or two ports, and sent in his long- 
boat for provisions and fresh water, but I never went out of 
the ship till we came into the Downs, which was on the 
third day of June, 1706, about nine months after my 
escape. I offered to leave my goods in security for pay- 
ment of my freight; but the captain protested he would 
not receive one farthing. We took kind leave of each 
other, and I made him promise he would come to see me at 
my house in Redriff. I hired a horse and guide for five 
shillings, which I borrowed of the captain. 

As I was on the road, observing the littleness of the 
houses, the trees, the cattle, and the people, I began to think 
myself in Lilliput. I was afraid of trampling on every 
traveller I met, and often called aloud to have them stand 
out of the vvay, so that I had like to have gotten one or two 
broken heads for my impertinence. 

When I came to my own house, for which I was forced 
to enquire, one of the servants opening the door, I bent 
down to go in (like a goose under a gate) for fear of striking 
my head. My wife ran out to embrace me, but I stooped 
lower than her knees, thinking she could otherwise never 
be able to reach my mouth. My daughter kneeled to ask 
my blessing, but I could not see her till she arose, having 
been so long used to stand with my head and eyes erect, 
to above sixty feet; and then I went to take her up with 
one hand by the waist. I looked down upon the servants, 
and one or two friends who were in the house, as if they 
had been pigmies, and I a giant. I told my wife she had 
been too thrifty, for I found she had starved herself and 
her daughter to nothing. In short, I behaved myself so 
unaccountably, that they were all of the captain's opinion 
when he first saw me, and concluded I had lost my wits. 
This I mention as an instance of the great power of habit 
and prejudice. 


In a little time, I and my family and friends came to a 
right understanding, but my wife protested I should never 
go to sea any more; although my evil destiny so ordered, 
that she had not power to hinder me, as the reader may 
know hereafter. In the meantime, I here conclude the 
second part of my unfortunate voyages. 




I HAD not been at home above ten days, when Captain 
William Robinson, a Cornish man, commander of the 
Hope Well, a stout ship of three hundred tons, came to my 
house. I had formerly been surgeon of another ship where 
he was master, and a fourth part owner, in a voyage to the 
Levant ; he had always treated me more like a brother than an 
inferior officer, and, hearing of my arrival, made me a visit, 
as I apprehended, only out of friendship, for nothing passed 
more than what is usual after long absences. But repeating 
his visits often, expressing his joy to find me in good health, 
asking whether I were now settled for life, adding, that he 
intended a voyage to the East Indies, in two months; at 
last he plainly invited me, though with some apologies, to 
be surgeon of the ship; that I should have another surgeon 
under me, besides our two mates; that my salary should 
be double to the usual pay; and that having experienced 
my knowledge in sea-affairs to be at least equal to his, he 
would enter into any engagement to follow my advice as 
much as if I had shared in the command. 

He said so many other obliging things, and I knew him 
to be so honest a man, that I could not reject his proposal; 
the thirst I had of seeing the world, notwithstanding my 
past misfortunes, continuing as violent as ever. The only 


difficulty that remained was to persuade my wife, whose 
consent, however, I at last obtained, by the prospect of 
advantage she proposed to her children. 

We set out the 5th day of August, 1706, and arrived at 
Fort St. George the nth of April, 1707. We stayed there 
three weeks to refresh our crew, many of whom were sick. 
From thence we went to Tonquin, where the captain re- 
solved to continue some time, because many of the goods 
he intended to buy were not ready, nor could he expect to 
be dispatched in several months. Therefore, in hopes to 
defray some of the charges he must be at, he bought a 
sloop, loaded it with several sorts of goods, wherewith the 
Tonquinese usually trade to the neighbouring islands, and 
putting fourteen men on board, whereof three were of the 
country, he appointed me master of the sloop, and gave me 
power to traffic, while he transacted his affairs at Tonquin. 

We had not sailed above three days, when, a great storm 
arising, we were driven five days to the north-north-east, 
and then to the east; after which we had fair weather, but 
still with a pretty strong gale from the west. Upon the 
tenth day we were chased by two pirates, who soon over- 
took us; for my sloop was so deep loaden that she sailed 
very slow, neither were we in a condition to defend our- 

We were boarded about the same time by both the pirates, 
who entered furiously at the head of their men ; but finding 
us all prostrate upon our faces (for so I gave order) they 
pinioned us with strong ropes, and, setting a guard upon 
us, went to search the sloop. 

I observed among them a Dutchman, who seemed to be 
of some authority, though he was not commander of either 
ship. He knew us by our countenances to be Englishmen, 
and, jabbering to us in his own language, swore we should 
be tied back to back, and thrown into the sea. I spoke 
Dutch tolerably well; I told him who we were, and begged 
him, in consideration of our being Christians and Protestants 


of neighbouring countries, in strict alliance, that he would 
move the captains to take some pity on us. This inflamed 
his rage, he repeated his threatenings, and, turning to his 
companions, spoke with great vehemence, in the Japanese 
language, as I suppose, often using the word Christianas. 

The largest of the two pirate ships was commanded by 
a Japanese captain, who spoke a little Dutch, but very im- 
perfectly. He came up to me, and after several questions, 
which I answered in great humility, he said we should not 
die. I made the captain a very low bow, and, then turning 
to the Dutchman, said, I was sorry to find more mercy in a 
heathen, than in a brother Christian. But I had soon 
reason to repent those foolish words; for that malicious 
reprobate, having often endeavoured in vain to persuade 
both the captains that I might be thrown into the sea 
(which they would not yield to after the promise made me, 
that I should not die) however prevailed so far as to have a 
punishment inflicted on me, worse, in all human appear- 
ance, than death itself. My men were sent, by an equal 
division, into both the pirate ships, and my sloop new 
manned. As to myself, it was determined that I should be 
set a-drift, in a small canoe, with paddles and a sail, and 
four days' provisions, which last the Japanese captain was 
so kind to double out of his own stores, and would permit 
no man to search me. I got down into the canoe, while the 
Dutchman, standing upon the deck, loaded me with all the 
curses and injurious terms his language could afford. 

About an hour before we saw the pirates, I had taken 
an observation, and found we were in the latitude of 46 N. 
and of longitude 183. When I was at some distance from 
the pirates, I discovered by my pocket-glass several islands 
to the south-east. I set up my sail, the wind being fair, 
with a design to reach the nearest of those islands, which I 
made a shift to do in about three hours. It was all rocky, 
however I got many birds' eggs, and, striking fire, I kindled 
some heath and dry sea-weed, by which I roasted my eggs. 


I ate no other supper, being resolved to spare my provisions 
as much as I could. I passed the night under the shelter 
of a rock, strewing some heath under me, and slept pretty 

The next day I sailed to another island, and thence to a 
third and fourth, sometimes using my sail, and sometimes 
my paddles. But, not to trouble the reader with a parti- 
cular account of my distresses, let it suffice that, on the fifth 
day, I arrived at the last island in my sight, which lay 
south-south-east to the former. 

This island was at a greater distance than I expected, 
and I did not reach it in less than five hours. I encom- 
passed it almost round, before I could find a convenient 
place to land in, which was a small creek, about three times 
the wideness of my canoe. I found the island to be all 
rocky, only a little intermingled with tufts of grass and 
sweet-smelling herbs. I took out my small provisions, and 
after having refreshed myself, I secured the remainder in 
a cave, whereof there were great numbers. I gathered 
plenty of eggs upon the rocks, and got a quantity of dry 
sea-weed and parched grass, which I designed to kindle the 
next day, and roast my eggs as well as I could (for I had 
about me my flint, steel, match, and burning-glass). I lay 
all night in the cave where I had lodged my provisions. My 
bed was the same dry grass and sea-weed which I intended 
for fuel. I slept very little, for the disquiets of my mind 
prevailed over my weariness, and kept me awake. I con- 
sidered how impossible it was to preserve my life in so 
desolate a place, and how miserable my end must be. Yet 
I found myself so listless and desponding, that I had not 
the heart to rise; and, before I could get spirits enough to 
creep out of my cave, the day was far advanced. I walked 
a while among the rocks; the sky was perfectly clear, and 
the sun so hot, that I was forced to turn my face from it: 
when, all on a sudden, it became obscure, as I thought, in a 
manner very different from what happens by the interposi- 


tion of a cloud. I turned back, and perceived a vast 
opaque body between me and the sun, moving forwards 
towards the island: it seemed to be about two miles high, 
and hid the sun six or seven minutes, but I did not observe 
the air to be much colder, or the sky more darkened, than 
if I had stood under the shade of a mountain. As it ap- 
proached nearer over the place where I was, it appeared to 
be a firm substance, the bottom flat, smooth, and shining 
very bright from the reflection of the sea below. I stood 
upon a height, about two hundred yards from the shore, 
and saw this vast body descending almost to a parallel with 
me, at less than an English mile distance. I took out my 
pocket-perspective and could plainly discover numbers of 
people moving up and down the sides of it, which appeared 
to be sloping; but what those people were doing I was not 
able to distinguish. 

The natural love of life gave me some inward motions of 
joy, and I was ready to entertain a hope that this adven- 
ture might some way or other help to deliver me from the 
desolate place and condition I was in. But at the same 
time the reader can hardly conceive my astonishment, to 
behold an island in the air, inhabited by men, who were 
able (as it should seem) to raise or sink, or put it into a 
progressive motion, as they pleased. But, not being at 
that time in a disposition to philosophise upon this pheno- 
menon, I rather chose to observe what course the island 
would take, because it seemed for a while to stand still. 
Yet soon after it advanced nearer, and I could see the sides 
of it, encompassed with several gradations of galleries and 
stairs, at certain intervals, to descend from one to the other. 
In the lowest gallery, I beheld some people fishing with 
long angling rods, and others looking on. I waved my cap 
(for my hat was long since worn out) and my handkerchief 
towards the island; and, upon its nearer approach, I called 
and shouted with the utmost strength of my voice; and 
then, looking circumspectly, I beheld a crowd gathered to 


that side which was most in my view. I found by their 
pointing towards me, and to each other, that they plainly 
discovered me, although they made no return to my shout- 
ing. But I could see four or five men running in great 
haste up the stairs to the top of the island, who then dis- 
appeared. I happened rightly to conjecture that these 
were sent for orders to some person in authority upon this 

The number of people increased, and, in less than half an 
hour, the island was moved and raised in such a manner, 
that the lowest gallery appeared in a parallel of less than a 
hundred yards distance from the height where I stood. I 
then put myself into the most supplicating postures, and 
spoke in the humblest accent, but received no answer. 
Those who stood nearest over-against me seemed to be 
persons of distinction, as I supposed by their habit. They 
conferred earnestly with each other, looking often upon 
me. At length one of them called out in a clear, polite, 
smooth dialect, not unlike in sound to the Italian; and 
therefore I returned an answer in that language, hoping, 
at least, that the cadence might be more agreeable to his 
ears. Although neither of us understood the other, yet my 
meaning was easily known, for the people saw the distress 
I was in. 

They made signs for me to come down from the rock, 
and go towards the shore, which I accordingly 
did; and, the flying island being raised to 
a convenient height, the verge directly 
over me, a chain was let down 
from the lowest gallery, with 
a seat fastened to the bot- 
tom, to which I fixed 
myself, and was 
drawn up by 


AT my alighting, I was surrounded with a crowd of people ; 
but those who stood nearest seemed to be of better quality. 
They beheld me with all the marks and circumstances of 
wonder, neither, indeed, was I much in their debt; having 
never, till then, seen a race of mortals so singular in their 
shapes, habits, and countenances. Their heads were all 
reclined either to the right or the left; one of their eyes 
turned inward, and the other directly up to the zenith. 
Their outward garments were adorned with the figures of 
suns, moons, and stars, interwoven with those of fiddles, 
flutes, harps, trumpets, guitars, harpsicords, and many 
other instruments of music, unknown to us in Europe. I 
observed, here and there, many in the habit of servants, 
with a blown bladder fastened like a flail to the end of a short 
stick, which they carried in their hands. In each bladder 
was a small quantity of dried pease, or little pebbles (as I 
was afterwards informed). With these bladders they now 
and then flapped the mouths and ears of those who stood 
near them, of which practice I could not then conceive the 
meaning; it seems, the minds of these people are so taken 
up with intense speculations, that they neither can speak, 
nor attend to the discourses of others, without being roused 
by some external taction upon the organs of speech and 
hearing; for which reason, those persons, who are able to 
afford it always keep a flapper (the original is climenole) in 
their family, as one of their domestics, nor ever walk abroad, 
or make visits, without him. And the business of this 
officer is, when two or three more persons are in company, 
gently to strike with his bladder the mouth of him who is to 
speak, and the right ear of him or them to whom the speaker 



addresseth himself. This flapper is likewise employed 
diligently to attend his master in his walks, and, upon occa- 
sion, to give him a soft flap on his eyes, because he is always 
so wrapped up in cogitation that he is in manifest danger of 
falling down every precipice, and bouncing his head against 
every post; and in the streets, of jostling others, or being 
jostled himself, into the kennel. 

It was necessary to give the reader this information, 
without which he would be at the same loss with me, to 
understand the proceedings of these people, as they con- 
ducted me up the stairs to the top of the island, and from 
thence to the royal palace. While we were ascending, they 
forgot several times what they were about, and left me to 
myself, till their memories were again roused by their 
flappers; for they appeared altogether unmoved by the 
sight of my foreign habit and countenance, and by the 
shouts of the vulgar, whose thoughts and minds were more 

At last we entered the palace, and proceeded into the 
chamber of presence, where I saw the king seated on his 
throne, attended on each side by persons of prime quality. 
Before the throne was a large table filled with globes and 
spheres, and mathematical instruments of all kinds. His 
Majesty took not the least notice of us, although our en- 
trance was not without sufficient noise, by the concourse of 
all persons belonging to the Court. But he was then deep 
in a problem, and we attended at least an hour before he 
could solve it. There stood by him, on each side, a young 
page, with flaps in their hands, and, when they saw he was 
at leisure, one of them gently struck his mouth, and the 
other his right ear; at which he started like one awaked 
on the sudden, and looking towards me, and the company 
I was in, recollected the occasion of our coming, whereof 
he had been informed before. He spoke some words, 
whereupon immediately a young man with a flap came up 
to my side, and flapped me gently on the right ear, but I 



made signs, as well as I could, that I had no occasion for 
such an instrument; which, as I afterwards found, gave his 
Majesty, and the whole Court, a very mean opinion of my 
understanding. The king, as far as I could conjecture, 
asked me several questions, and I addressed myself to him 
in all the languages I had. When it was found that I could 
neither understand nor be understood, I was conducted, by 
his order, to an apartment in his palace (this prince being 
distinguished above all his predecessors, for his hospitality 
to strangers), where two servants were appointed to attend 
me. My dinner was brought, and four persons of quality, 
whom I remembered to have seen very near the king's 
person, did me the honour to dine with me. We had two 
courses, of three dishes each. In the first course, there was 
a shoulder of mutton, cut into an equilateral triangle, a 
piece of beef into a rhomboid, and a pudding into a cycloid. 
The second course was two ducks, trussed up into the form 
of fiddles; sausages and puddings resembling flutes and 
hautboys, and a breast of veal in the shape of a harp. The 
servants cut our bread into cones, cylinders, parallelo- 
grams, and several other mathematical figures. 

While we were at dinner, I made bold to ask the names 
of several things in their language, and those noble persons, 
by the assistance of their flappers, delighted to give me 
answers, hoping to raise my admiration of their great abili- 
ties, if I could be brought to converse with them. I was 
soon able to call for bread and drink, or whatever else I 

After dinner my company withdrew, and a person was 
sent to me, by the king's order, attended by a flapper. He 
brought with him pen, ink, and paper, and three or four 
books, giving me to understand by signs, that he was sent 
to teach me the language. We sat together four hours, in 
which time I wrote down a great number of words in 
columns, with the translations over-against them; I like- 
wise made a shift to learn several short sentences. For my 


tutor would order one of my servants to fetch something, to 
turn about, to make a bow, to sit, or to stand, or walk, and 
the like. Then I took down the sentence in writing. He 
shewed me also, in one of his books, the figures of the sun, 
moon, and stars, the Zodiac, the tropics, and polar circles, 
together with the denominations of many figures of planes 
and solids. He gave me the names and descriptions of all 
the musical instruments, and the general terms of art in 
playing on each of them. After he had left me, I placed all 
my words, with their interpretations, in alphabetical order. 
And thus, in a few days, by the help of a very faithful 
memory, I got some insight into their language. 

The word which I interpret the flying or floating island, 
is, in the original, laputa, whereof I could never learn the 
true etymology. Lap, in the old obsolete language, signi- 
fieth high, and untuh, a governor, from which they say, by 
corruption, was derived laputa, from lapuntuh. But I do 
not approve of this derivation, which seems to be a little 
strained. I ventured to offer to the learned among them a 
conjecture of my own, that laputa was quasi lap outed ; 
lap signifying properly the dancing of the sun-beams in the 
sea, and outed, a wing; which, however, I shall not obtrude, 
but submit to the judicious reader. 

Those to whom the king had entrusted me, observing 
how ill I was clad, ordered a tailor to come next morning 
and take my measure for a suit of clothes. This operator 
did his office after a different manner from those of his 
trade in Europe. He first took my altitude by a quadrant, 
and then, with rule and compasses, described the dimen- 
sions and outlines of my whole body, all which he entered 
upon paper, and in six days brought my clothes very ill 
made, and quite out of shape, by happening to mistake a 
figure in the calculation. But my comfort was, that I 
observed such accidents very frequent, and little regarded. 

During my confinement for want of clothes, and by an 
indisposition that held me some days longer, I much en- 


larged my dictionary; and, when I went next to Court, 
was able to understand many things the king spoke, and to 
return him some kind of answers. His Majesty had given 
orders that the island should move north-east and by east, 
to the vertical point over Lagado, the metropolis of the 
whole kingdom below upon the firm earth. It was about 
ninety leagues distant, and our voyage lasted four days 
and an half. I was not in the least sensible of the progres- 
sive motion made in the air by the island. On the second 
morning, about eleven o'clock, the king himself, in person, 
attended by his nobility, courtiers, and officers, having 
prepared all their musical instruments, played on them for 
three hours, without intermission, so that I was quite stunned 
with the noise ; neither could I possibly guess the meaning, 
till my tutor informed me. He said that the people of their 
island had their ears adapted to hear the music of the 
spheres, which always played at certain periods, and the 
Court was now prepared to bear their part, in whatever 
instrument they most excelled. 

In our journey towards Lagado, the capital city, his 
Majesty ordered that the island should stop over certain 
towns and villages, from whence he might receive the peti- 
tions of his subjects. And, to this purpose, several pack- 
threads were let down, with small weights at the bottom. 
On these packthreads the people strung their petitions, 
which mounted up directly, like the scraps of paper fastened 
by school-boys at the end of the string that holds their 
kite. Sometimes we received wine and victuals from 
below, which were drawn up by pulleys. 

The knowledge I had in mathematics gave me great 
assistance in acquiring their phraseology, which depended 
much upon that science and music ; and in the latter I was 
not unskilled. Their ideas are perpetually conversant in 
lines and figures. If they would, for example, praise the 
beauty of a woman, or any other animal, they describe it by 
rhombs, circles, parallelograms, ellipses, and other geome- 


trical terms, or by words of art drawn from music, needless 
here to repeat. I observed, in the king's kitchen, all sorts of 
mathematical and musical instruments, after the figures of 
which they cut up the joints that were served to his 
Majesty's table. 

Their houses are very ill built, the walls bevil, without 
one right-angle in any apartment; and this defect ariseth 
from the contempt they bear to practical geometry, which 
they despise as vulgar and mechanic, those instructions they 
give being too refined for the intellectuals of their workmen, 
which occasions perpetual mistakes. And although they 
are dexterous enough upon a piece of paper in the manage- 
ment of the rule, the pencil, and the divider, yet, in the 
common actions and behaviour of life, I have not seen a 
more clumsy, awkward, and unhandy people, nor so slow 
and perplexed in their conceptions upon all other subjects, 
except those of mathematics and music. They are very 
bad reasoners, and vehemently given to opposition, unless 
when they happen to be of the right opinion, which is 
seldom their case. Imagination, fancy, and invention 
they are wholly strangers to, nor have any words in their 
language by which those ideas can be expressed; the whole 
compass of their thoughts and mind being shut up within 
the two forementioned sciences. 

Most of them, and especially those who deal in the 
astronomical part, have great faith in judicial astrology, 
although they are ashamed to own it publicly. But, what 
I chiefly admired, and thought altogether unaccountable, 
was the strong disposition I observed in them towards news 
and politics, perpetually enquiring into public affairs, giving 
their judgments in matters of state, and passionately dis- 
puting every inch of a party opinion. I have, indeed, 
observed the same disposition among most of the mathe- 
maticians I have known in Europe, although I could never 
discover the least analogy between the two sciences; unless 
those people suppose, that because the smallest circle hath 


as many degrees as the largest, therefore the regulation and 
management of the world require no more abilities than 
the handling and turning of a globe : but I rather take this 
quality to spring from a very common infirmity of human 
nature, inclining us to be more curious and conceited in 
matters where we have least concern, and for which we are 
least adapted, either by study or Nature. 

These people are under continual disquietudes, never 
enjoying a minute's peace of mind; and their disturbances 
proceed from causes which very little affect the rest of 
mortals. Their apprehensions arise from several changes 
they dread in the celestial bodies. For instance, that the 
earth, by the continual approaches of the sun towards it, 
must, in course of time, be absorbed, or swallowed up. 
That the face of the sun will by degrees be encrusted with 
its own effluvia, and give no more light to the world. That 
the earth very narrowly escaped a brush from the tail of 
the last comet, which would have infallibly reduced it to 
ashes; and that the next, which they have calculated for 
one and thirty years hence, will probably destroy us. For, 
if in its perihelion it should approach within a certain degree 
of the sun (as by their calculations they have reason to 
dread) it will conceive a degree of heat ten thousand times 
more intense than that of red hot glowing iron ; and, in its 
absence from the sun, carry a blazing tail ten hundred 
thousand and fourteen miles long; through which, if the 
earth should pass at the distance of one hundred thousand 
miles from the nucleus, or main body of the comet, it must 
in its passage be set on fire, and reduced to ashes. That 
the sun, daily spending its rays without any nutriment to 
supply them, will at last be wholly consumed and anni- 
hilated; which must be attended with the destruction of 
this earth, and of all the planets that receive their light 
from it. 

They are so perpetually alarmed with the apprehensions 
of these and the like impending dangers, that they can 


neither sleep quietly in their beds, nor have any relish for 
the common pleasures or amusements of life. When they 
meet an acquaintance in the morning, the first question is 
about the sun's health, how he looked at his setting and 
rising, and what hopes they have to avoid the stroke of the 
approaching comet. This conversation they are apt to 
run into with the same temper that boys discover, in de- 
lighting to hear terrible stories of spirits and hobgoblins, 
which they greedily listen to, and dare not go to bed for 

The wives and daughters lament their confinement to 
the island, although I think it the most delicious spot of 
ground in the world; and although they live here in the 
greatest plenty and magnificence, and are allowed to do 
whatever they please, they long to see the world, and take 
the diversions of the metropolis, which they are not allowed 
to do without a particular licence from the king; and this 
is not easy to be obtained, because the people of quality 
have found by frequent experience how hard it is to per- 
suade their women to return from below. 

In about a month's time, I had made a tolerable profi- 
ciency in their language, and was able to answer most of 
the king's questions, when I had the honour to attend him. 
His Majesty discovered not the least curiosity to enquire 
into the laws, government, history, religion, or manners of 
the countries where I had been, but confined his questions 
to the state of mathematics, and received the account I 
gave him with great contempt and indifference, though 
often roused by his flapper on each side. 


I DESIRED leave of this prince to see the curiosities of the 
island, which he was graciously pleased to grant, and 
ordered my tutor to attend me. I chiefly wanted to know 
to what cause in art, or in Nature, it owed its several 
motions, whereof I will now give a philosophical account 
to the reader. 

The flying or floating island is exactly circular, its 
diameter 7837 yards, or about four miles and a half, and 
consequently contains ten thousand acres. It is three 
hundred yards thick. The bottom, or under surface, 
which appears to those who view it from below, is one even 
regular plate of adamant, shooting up to the height of about 
two hundred yards. Above it lie the several minerals in 
their usual order, and over all is a coat of rich mould, ten 
or twelve feet deep. The declivity of the upper surface, 
from the circumference to the centre, is the natural cause 
why all the dews and rains which fall upon the island are 
conveyed in small rivulets towards the middle, where they 
are emptied into four large basins, each of about half a 
mile in circuit, and two hundred yards distant from the 
centre. From these basins, the water is continually ex- 
haled by the sun in the daytime, which effectually prevents 
their overflowing. Besides, as it is in the power of the 
monarch to raise the island above the region of clouds and 
vapours, he can prevent the falling of dews and rains when- 
ever he pleases. For the highest clouds cannot rise above 
two miles, as naturalists agree; at least they were never 
known to do so in that country. 

At the centre of the island there is a chasm about fifty 
yards in diameter, from whence the astronomers descend 


into a large dome, which is therefore called Flandona 
Gagnole, or the Astronomer's Cave, situated at the depth of 
a hundred yards beneath the upper surface of the adamant. 
In this cave are twenty lamps continually burning, which, 
from the reflection of the adamant, cast a strong light into 
every part. The place is stored with great variety of sex- 
tants, quadrants, telescopes, astrolabes, and other astrono- 
mical instruments. But the greatest curiosity, upon which 
the fate of the island depends, is a loadstone of a prodigious 
size, in shape resembling a weaver's shuttle. It is in length 
six yards, and, in the thickest part, at least three yards 
over. This magnet is sustained by a very strong axle of 
adamant passing through its middle, upon which it plays, 
and is poised so exactly that the weakest hand can turn it. 
It is hooped round with a hollow cylinder of adamant, four 
feet deep, as many thick, and twelve yards in diameter, 
placed horizontally, and supported by eight adamantine 
feet, each six yards high. In the middle of the concave 
side there is a groove twelve inches deep, in which the 
extremities of the axle are lodged, and turned round as 
there is occasion. 

The stone cannot be moved from its place by any force, 
because the hoop and its feet are one continued piece with 
that body of adamant which constitutes the bottom of the 

By means of this loadstone the island is made to rise 
and fall, and move from one place to another. For, with 
respect to that part of the earth over which the monarch 
presides, the stone is endued at one of its sides with an 
attractive power, and at the other with a repulsive. Upon 
placing the magnet erect, with its attracting end towards 
the earth, the island descends; but, when the repelling 
extremity points downwards, the island mounts directly 
upwards. When the position of the stone is oblique, the 
motion of the island is so too. For in this magnet the 
forces always act in lines parallel to its direction. 


Laputa D 

By this oblique motion the island is conveyed to different 
parts of the monarch's dominions. To explain the manner 
of its progress, let A B represent a line drawn across the 
dominions of Balnibarbi, let the line c d represent the load- 
stone, of which let d be the repelling end, and c the attract- 
ing end, the island being over C ; let the stone be placed in 
the position c d, with its repelling end downwards; then 
the island will be driven up obliquely towards D. When it 
has arrived at D, let the stone be turned upon its axle till 
its attracting end points towards E, and then the island 
will be carried obliquely towards E ; where, if the stone be 
again turned upon its axle, till it stands in the position E F, 
with its repelling point downward, the island will rise 
obliquely towards F, where, by directing the attracting end 
towards G, the island may be carried to G, and from G to H , 
by turning the stone, so as to make its repelling extremity 
point directly downward. And thus, by changing the 
situation of the stone as often as there is occasion, the 


island is made to rise and fall by turns in an oblique direc- 
tion, and by those alternate risings and fallings (the 
obliquity being not considerable) is conveyed from one part 
of the dominions to the other. 

But it must be observed that this island cannot move 
beyond the extent of the dominions below, nor can it rise 
above the height of four miles. For which the astronomers 
(who have written large systems concerning the stone) 
assign the following reason: that the magnetic virtue does 
not extend beyond the distance of four miles, and that the 
mineral which acts upon the stone in the bowels of the 
earth, and in the sea, about six leagues distant from the 
shore, is not diffused through the whole globe, but ter- 
minated with the limits of the king's dominions ; and it was 
easy, from the great advantage of such a superior situation, 
for a prince to bring under his obedience whatever country 
lay within the attraction of that magnet. 

When the stone is put parallel to the plane of the 
horizon, the island stands still; for, in that case, the ex- 
tremities of it, being at equal distance from the earth, act 
with equal force, the one in drawing downwards, the other 
in pushing upwards, and consequently no motion can ensue. 

This loadstone is under the care of certain astronomers, 
who, from time to time, give it such positions as the 
monarch directs. They spend the greatest part of their 
lives in observing the celestial bodies, which they do by 
the assistance of glasses far excelling ours in goodness. 
For, although their largest telescopes do not exceed three 
feet, they magnify much more than those of a hundred 
yards among us, and, at the same time, shew the stars with 
greater clearness. This advantage hath enabled them to 
extend their discoveries much farther than our astronomers 
in Europe ; for they have made a catalogue of ten thousand 
fixed stars, whereas the largest of ours do not contain above 
one-third part of that number. They have likewise dis- 
covered two lesser stars, or satellites, which revolve about 


Mars, whereof the innermost is distant from the centre of 
the primary planet exactly three of his diameters, and the 
outermost five; the former revolves in the space of ten 
hours, and the latter in twenty-one and a half; so that the 
squares of their periodical times are very near in the same 
proportion with the cubes of their distance from the centre 
of Mars, which evidently shews them to be governed by the 
same law of gravitation that influences the other heavenly 

They have observed ninety-three different comets, and 
settled their periods with great exactness. If this be true 
(and they affirm it with great confidence) it is much to be 
wished that their observations were made public, whereby 
the theory of comets, which at present is very lame and 
defective, might be brought to the same perfection with 
other parts of astronomy. 

The king would be the most absolute prince in the 
universe, if he could but prevail on a ministry to join with 
him; but these having their estates below on the continent, 
and considering that the office of a favourite hath a very 
uncertain tenure, would never consent to enslaving their 

If any town should engage in rebellion or mutiny, fall 
into violent factions, or refuse to pay the usual tribute, the 
king hath two methods of reducing them to obedience. 
The first and the mildest course is by keeping the island 
hovering over such a town, and the lands about it, whereby 
he can deprive them of the benefit of the sun and the rain, 
and consequently afflict the inhabitants with dearth and 
diseases. And, if the crime deserve it, they are at the same 
time pelted from above with great stones, against which 
they have no defence but by creeping into cellars or caves, 
while the roofs of their houses are beaten to pieces. But 
if they still continue obstinate, or offer to raise insurrec- 
tions, he proceeds to the last remedy, by letting the island 
drop directly upon their heads, which makes a universal 


destruction, both of houses and men. However, this is an 
extremity to which the prince is seldom driven, neither, 
indeed, is he willing to put it in execution, nor dare his 
ministers advise him to an action which, as it would render 
them odious to the people, so it would be a great damage to 
their own estates, which lie all below, for the island is the 
king's demesne. 

But there is still, indeed, a more weighty reason why 
the kings of this country have been always averse from 
executing so terrible an action, unless upon the utmost 
necessity. For, if the town intended to be destroyed should 
have in it any tall rocks, as it generally falls out in the 
larger cities, a situation probably chosen at first with a 
view to prevent such a catastrophe ; or if it abound in high 
spires, or pillars of stone, a sudden fall might endanger the 
bottom or under surface of the island, which, although it 
consist, as I have said, of one entire adamant, two hundred 
yards thick, might happen to crack by too great a shock, 
or burst by approaching too near the fires from the houses 
below, as the backs both of iron and stone will often do in 
our chimneys. Of all this the people are well apprised, and 
understand how far to carry their obstinacy where their 
liberty or property is concerned. And the king, when he is 
highest provoked, and most determined to press a city to 
rubbish, orders the island to descend with great gentleness, 
out of a pretence of tenderness to his people; but, indeed, 
for fear of breaking the adamantine bottom ; in which case, 
it is the opinion of all their philosophers that the loadstone 
could no longer hold it up, and the whole mass would fall 
to the ground. 

By a fundamental law of this realm, neither the king, 
nor either of his two elder sons, are permitted to leave the 
island, nor the queen, till she is past child-bearing. 


ALTHOUGH I cannot say that I was ill-treated in this island, 
yet, I must confess, I thought myself too much neglected, 
not without some degree of contempt. For neither prince 
nor people appeared to be curious in any part of knowledge, 
except mathematics and music, wherein I was far their 
inferior, and upon that account very little regarded. 

On the other side, after having seen all the curiosities of 
the island, I was very desirous to leave it, being heartily 
weary of those people. They were, indeed, excellent in 
two sciences for which I have great esteem, and wherein 
I am not unversed, but at the same time so abstracted 
and involved in speculation, that I never met with such 
disagreeable companions. I conversed only with women, 
tradesmen, flappers, and Court pages during two months of 
my abode there; by which, at last, I rendered myself ex- 
tremely contemptible ; yet these were the only people from 
whom I could ever receive a reasonable answer. 

I had obtained, by hard study, a good degree of know- 
ledge in their language; I was weary of being confined 
to an island where I received so little countenance, and 
resolved to leave it with the first opportunity. 

There was a great lord at Court, nearly related to the 
king, and, for that reason alone, used with respect. He 
was universally reckoned the most ignorant and stupid 
person among them. He had performed many eminent 
services for the crown, had great natural and acquired parts, 
adorned with integrity and honour, but so ill an ear for 
music, that his detractors reported he had been often 
known to beat time in the wrong place; neither could his 



tutors, without extreme difficulty, teach him to demon- 
strate the most easy proposition in the mathematics. He 
was pleased to show me many marks of favour, often did 
me the honour of a visit, desired to be informed in the 
affairs of Europe, the laws and customs, the manners and 
learning of the several countries where I had travelled. He 
listened to me with great attention, and made very wise 
observations on all I spoke. He had two flappers 
attending him for state, but never made use of them, 
except at Court and in visits of ceremony, and would 
always command them to withdraw when we were alone 

I entreated this illustrious person to intercede in my 
behalf with his Majesty for leave to depart, which he ac- 
cordingly did, as he was pleased to tell me, with regret; 
for, indeed, he had made me several offers very advan- 
tageous, which, however, I refused with expressions of the 
highest acknowledgment. 

On the i6th day of February I took leave of his Majesty 
and the Court. The king made me a present to the value of 
about two hundred pounds English, and my protector, his 
kinsman, as much more, together with a letter of recom- 
mendation to a friend of his in Lagado, the metropolis: 
the island being then hovering over a mountain about two 
miles from it, I was let down from the lowest gallery in the 
same manner as I had been taken up. 

The continent, as far as it is subject to the monarch of 
the Flying Island, passes under the general name of Balni- 
barbi ; and the metropolis, as I said before, is called Lagado. 
I felt some little satisfaction in finding myself on firm 
ground. I walked to the city without any concern, being 
clad like one of the natives, and sufficiently instructed to 
converse with them. I soon found out the person's house 
to whom I was recommended, presented my letter from 
his friend the grandee in the island, and was received with 
much kindness. This great lord, whose name was Munodi, 


ordered me an apartment in his own house, where I con- 
tinued during my stay, and was entertained in a most 
hospitable manner. 

The next morning after my arrival he took me in his 
chariot to see the town, which is about half the bigness of 
London, but the houses very strangely built, and most of 
them out of repair. The people in the streets walked fast, 
looked wild, their eyes fixed, and were generally in rags. 
We passed through one of the town gates, and went about 
three miles into the country, where I saw many labourers 
working with several sorts of tools in the ground, but was 
not able to conjecture what they were about; neither did 
I observe any expectation either of corn or grass, although 
the soil appeared to be excellent. I could not forbear 
admiring these odd appearances both in town and country; 
and I made bold to desire my conductor that he would be 
pleased to explain to me what could be meant by so many 
busy heads, hands, and faces, both in the streets and the 
fields, because I did not discover any good effects they pro- 
duced; but, on the contrary, I never knew a soil so un- 
happily cultivated, houses so ill contrived and so ruinous, 
or a people whose countenances and habit expressed so 
much misery and want. 

This Lord Munodi was a person of the first rank, and 
had been some years governor of Lagado; but, by a cabal 
of ministers, was discharged for insufficiency. However, 
the king treated him with tenderness, as a well-meaning 
man, but of a low, contemptible understanding. 

When I gave that free censure of the country and its 
inhabitants, he made no further answer than by telling me 
that I had not been long enough among them to form a 
judgment, and that the different nations of the world had 
different customs; with other common topics to the same 
purpose. But, when we returned to his palace, he asked me 
how I liked the building, what absurdities I observed, and 
what quarrel I had with the dress or looks of his domestics. 


This he might safely do, because everything about him 
was magnificent, regular, and polite. I answered that his 
Excellency's prudence, quality, and fortune had exempted 
him from those defects which folly and beggary had 
produced in others. He said, if I would go with him 
to his country house, about twenty miles distant, 
where his estate lay, there would be more leisure for 
this kind of conversation. I told his Excellency that I 
was entirely at his disposal; and accordingly we set out 
next morning. 

During our journey he made me observe the several 
methods used by farmers in managing their lands, which, to 
me, were wholly unaccountable; for, except in some very 
few places, I could not discover one ear of corn, or blade of 
grass. But, in three hours travelling, the scene was wholly 
altered; we came into a most beautiful country; farmers' 
houses at small distances, neatly built, the fields enclosed, 
containing vineyards, corn-grounds, and meadows. Neither 
do I remember to have seen a more delightful prospect. 
His Excellency observed my countenance clear up; he 
told me, with a sigh, that there his estate began, and 
would continue the same till we should come to his house. 
That his countrymen ridiculed and despised him for 
managing his affairs no better, and for setting so ill an 
example to the kingdom, which, however, was followed 
by very few, such as were old and wilful and weak, like 

We came at length to the house, which was, indeed, a 
noble structure, built according to the best rules of ancient 
architecture. The fountains, gardens, walks, avenues, 
and groves, were all disposed with exact judgment and 
taste. I gave due praise to everything I saw, whereof his 
Excellency took not the least notice till after supper, when, 
there being no third companion, he told me with a very 
melancholy air, that he doubted he must throw down his 
houses in town and country, to rebuild them after the 


present mode, destroy all his plantations, and cast others 
into such a form as modern usage required; and give the 
same directions to all his tenants, unless he would sub- 
mit to incur the censure of pride, singularity, affectation, 
ignorance, caprice, and, perhaps, increase his Majesty's 
displeasure. That the admiration I appeared to be under 
would cease, or diminish, when he had informed me of some 
particulars, which probably I never heard of at Court, the 
people there being too much taken up in their own specula- 
tions to have regard to what passed here below. 

The sum of his discourse was to this effect: that, about 
forty years ago, certain persons went up to Laputa, either 
upon business or diversion, and after five months' continu- 
ance, came back with a very little smattering in mathe- 
matics, but full of volatile spirits, acquired in that airy 
region. That these persons, upon their return, began to 
dislike the management of everything below, and fell into 
schemes of putting all arts, sciences, languages, and 
mechanics upon a new foot. To this end they procured a 
royal patent for erecting an academy of projectors in 
Lagado; and the humour prevailed so strongly among the 
people that there is not a town of any consequence in the 
kingdom without such an academy. In these colleges, the 
professors contrive new rules and methods of agriculture 
and building, and new instruments and tools for all trades 
and manufactures, whereby, as they undertake, one man 
shall do the work of ten, a palace may be built in a week, of 
materials so durable as to last for ever, without repairing; 
all the fruits of the earth shall come to maturity at what- 
ever season we think fit to choose, and increase an hundred 
fold more than they do at present; with innumerable other 
happy proposals. The only inconvenience is, that none of 
these projects are yet brought to perfection; and, in the 
meantime, the whole country lies miserably waste, the 
houses in ruins, and the people without food or clothes. By 
all which, instead of being discouraged, they are fifty times 


more violently bent upon prosecuting their schemes, driven 
equally on by hope and despair: that as for himself, being 
not of an enterprising spirit, he was content to go on in the 
old forms, to live in the houses his ancestors had built, and 
act as they did in every part of life, without innovation. 
That some few other persons of quality and gentry had done 
the same, but were looked on with an eye of contempt and 
ill-will, as enemies to art, ignorant, and ill commonwealth's 
men, preferring their own ease and sloth before the general 
improvement of their country. 

His lordship added, that he would not by any further 
particulars prevent the pleasure I should certainly take in 
viewing the grand academy, whither he was resolved I 
should go. He only desired me to observe a ruined building 
upon the side of a mountain, about three miles distant, of 
which he gave me this account: that he had a very con- 
venient mill within half a mile of his house, turned by a 
current from a large river, and sufficient for his own family, 
as well as a great number of his tenants. That, about 
seven years ago, a club of those projectors came to him, 
with proposals to destroy this mill, and build another on 
the side of that mountain, on the long ridge whereof a long 
canal must be cut for a repository of water, to be conveyed 
up by pipes and engines to supply the mill, because the 
wind and air upon a height agitated the water, and thereby 
made it fitter for motion; and because the water, descend- 
ing down a declivity, would turn the mill with half the 
current of a river, whose course is more upon a level. He 
said that being then not very well with the Court, and 
pressed by many of his friends, he complied with the pro- 
posal; and, after employing an hundred men for two years, 
the work miscarried, the projectors went off, laying the 
blame entirely upon him, railing at him ever since, and 
putting others upon the same experiment, with equal assur- 
ance of success, as well as equal disappointment. 

In a few days we came back to town, and his Excellency, 


considering the bad character he had in the academy, would 
not go with me himself, but recommended me to a friend of 
his to bear me company thither. My lord was pleased to 
represent me as a great admirer of projects, and a person 
of much curiosity, and easy belief which, indeed, was not 
without truth; for I had myself been a sort of projector in 
my younger days. 


THIS academy is not an entire single building, but a con- 
tinuation of several houses on both sides of a street, which, 
growing waste, was purchased, and applied to that use. I 
was received very kindly by the warden, and went for many 
days to the academy. Every room hath in it one or more 
projectors; and, I believe, I could not be in fewer than 
five hundred rooms. 

The first man I saw was of a meagre aspect, with sooty 
hands and face, his hair and beard long, ragged and singed 
in several places. His clothes, shirt, and skin were all of 
the same colour. He had been eight years upon a project 
for extracting sun-beams out of cucumbers, which were to 
be put into vials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm 
the air in raw inclement summers. He told me, he did not 
doubt, in eight years more, he should be able to supply the 
governor's gardens with sunshine at a reasonable rate; but 
he complained that his stock was low, and entreated me to 
give him something as an encouragement to ingenuity, 
especially since this had been a very dear season for 
cucumbers. I made him a small present, for my lord had 
furnished me with money on purpose, because he knew 
their practice of begging from all who go to see them. 

I saw another at work to calcine ice into gunpowder, 
who likewise shewed me a treatise he had written concern- 
ing the malleability of fire, which he intended to publish. 

There was a most ingenious architect, who had contrived 
a new method for building houses, by beginning at the roof, 
and working downwards to the foundation, which he justi- 
fied to me, by the like practice of those two prudent insects, 
the bee and the spider. 



There was a man born blind, who had several appren- 
tices in his own condition: their employment was to mix 
colours for painters, which their master taught them to dis- 
tinguish by feeling and smelling. It was, indeed, my mis- 
fortune to find them, at that time, not very perfect in their 
lessons, and the professor himself happened to be generally 
mistaken: this artist is much encouraged and esteemed by 
the whole fraternity. 

In another apartment, I was highly pleased with a pro- 
jector who had found a device of plowing the ground with 
hogs, to save the charges of ploughs, cattle, and labour. 
The method is this: in an acre of ground you bury, at six 
inches distance, and eight deep, a quantity of acorns, dates, 
chestnuts, and other mast, or vegetables, whereof these 
animals are fondest: then you drive six hundred, or more 
of them, into the field, where, in few days, they will root up 
the whole ground in search of their food, and make it fit 
for sowing; it is true, upon experiment, they found the 
charge and trouble very great, and they had little or no 
crop. However, it is not doubted that this invention may 
be capable of great improvement. 

I went into another room, where the walls and ceiling 
were all hung round with cobwebs, except a narrow passage 
for the artist to go in and out. At my entrance, he called 
aloud to me not to disturb his webs. He lamented the 
fatal mistake the world had been so long in of using silk- 
worms, while we had such plenty of domestic insects, who 
infinitely excelled the former, because they understood how 
to weave, as well as spin. And he proposed farther, that, 
by employing spiders, the charge of dying silks would be 
wholly saved; whereof I was fully convinced, when he 
shewed me a vast number of flies most beautifully coloured, 
wherewith he fed his spiders, assuring us that the webs 
would take a tincture from them; and, as he had them of 
all hues, he hoped to fit everybody's fancy, as soon as he 
could find proper food for the flies, of certain gums, oils, and 


other glutinous matter, to give a strength and consistence 
to the threads. 

There was an astronomer, who had undertaken to place 
a sundial upon the great weather-cock on the town house, 
by adjusting the annual and diurnal motions oi the earth 
and sun, so as to answer and coincide with all accidental 
turnings of the wind. 

I visited many other apartments, but shall not trouble 
my reader with all the curiosities I observed, being studious 
of brevity. 

I had hitherto seen only one side of the academy, the 
other being appropriated to the advancers of speculative 
learning, of whom I shall say something, when I have men- 
tioned one illustrious person more, who is called among them 
the universal artist. He told us he had been thirty years 
employing his thoughts for the improvement of human 
life. He had two large rooms full of wonderful curiosities, 
and fifty men at work. Some were condensing air into a 
dry tangible substance, by extracting the nitre, and letting 
the aqueous or fluid particles percolate; others softening 
marble for pillows and pin-cushions; others petrifying the 
hoofs of a living horse, to preserve them from foundering. 
The artist himself was at that time busy upon two great 
designs ; the first to sow land with chaff, wherein he affirmed 
the true seminal virtue to be contained, as he demonstrated 
by several experiments which I was not skilful enough to 
comprehend. The other was, by a certain composition of 
gums, minerals, and vegetables, outwardly applied, to 
prevent the growth of wool upon two young lambs; and 
he hoped, in a reasonable time, to propagate the breed of 
naked sheep all over the kingdom. 

We crossed a walk to the other part of the academy, 
where, as I have already said, the projectors in speculative 
learning resided. 

The first professor I saw was in a very large room, with 
forty pupils about him. After salutation, observing me to 


look earnestly upon a frame which took up the greatest part 
of both the length and breadth of the room, he said, perhaps 
I might wonder to see him employed in a project for im- 
proving speculative knowledge by practical and mechanical 
operations. But the world would soon be sensible of its 
usefulness; and he flattered himself that a more noble 
exalted thought never sprang in any other man's head. 
Every one knew how laborious the usual method is of attain- 
ing to arts and sciences; whereas, by his contrivance, the 
most ignorant person, at a reasonable charge, and with a 
little bodily labour may write books in philosophy, poetry, 
politics, law, mathematics, and theology, without the least 
assistance from genius or study. He then led me to the 
frame, about the sides whereof all his pupils stood in ranks. 
It was twenty feet square, placed in the middle of the 
room. The superficies was composed of several bits of 
wood, about the bigness of a die, but some larger than 
others. They were all linked together by slender wires. 
These bits of wood were covered on every square with paper 
pasted on them; and on these papers were written all the 
words of their language in their several moods, tenses, and 
declensions; but without any order. The professor then 
desired me to observe, for he was going to set his engine at 
work. The pupils, at his command, took each of them hold 
of an iron handle, whereof there were forty fixed round the 
edges of the frame; and, giving them a sudden turn, the 
whole disposition of the words was entirely changed. He 
then commanded six and thirty of the lads to read the 
several lines softly, as they appeared upon the frame; and, 
where they found three or four words together that might 
make part of a sentence, they dictated to the four remaining 
boys who were scribes. This work was repeated three or 
four times, and at every turn, the engine was so contrived, 
that the words shifted into new places, as the square bits of 
wood moved upside down. 

Six hours a day the young students were employed in 


this labour, and the professor shewed me several volumes 
in large folio already collected, of broken sentences, which 
he intended to piece together, and, out of those rich 
materials, to give the world a complete body of all arts and 
sciences; which, however, might be still improved, and 
much expedited, if the public would raise a fund for making 
and employing five hundred such frames in Lagado, and 
oblige the managers to contribute in common their several 

He assured me that this invention had employed all his 
thoughts from his youth; that he had emptied the whole 
vocabulary into his frame, and made the strictest compu- 
tation of the general proportion there is in books between 
the numbers of particles, nouns, and verbs, and other parts 
of speech. 

I made my humblest acknowledgment to this illustrious 
person for his great communicativeness; and promised, if 
ever I had the good fortune to return to my native country, 
that I would do him justice, as the sole inventor of this 
wonderful machine; the form and contrivance of which I 
desired leave to delineate upon paper. I told him, although 
it were the custom of our learned in Europe to steal inven- 
tions from each other, who had thereby, at least, this ad- 
vantage, that it became a controversy which was the right 
owner, yet I would take such caution, that he should have 
the honour entire, without a rival. 

We next went to the school of languages, where three 
professors sat in consultation upon improving that of their 
own country. 

The first project was to shorten discourse by cutting 
polysyllables into one, and leaving out verbs and participles ; 
because, in reality, all things imaginable are but nouns. 

The other project was a scheme for entirely abolishing 
all words whatsoever; and this was urged as a great 
advantage in point of health, as well as brevity. For it is 
plain, that every word we speak is, in some degree, a diminu- 



tion of our lungs by corrosion; and consequently con- 
tributes to the shortening of our lives. An expedient was 
therefore offered, that since words are only names for things, 
it would be more convenient for all men to carry about them 
such things as were necessary to express the particular 
business they are to discourse on. And this invention 
would certainly have taken place, to the great ease as well 
as health of the subject, if the women, in conjunction with 
the vulgar and illiterate, had not threatened to raise a 
rebellion, unless they might be allowed the liberty to speak 
with their tongues after the manner of their fore-fathers; 
such constant irreconcilable enemies to science are the 
common people. However, many of the most learned and 
wise adhere to the new scheme of expressing themselves by 
things; which hath only this inconvenience attending it, 
that if a man's business be very great, and of various kinds, 
he must be obliged, in proportion, to carry a greater bundle 
of things upon his back, unless he can afford one or two 
strong servants to attend him. I have often beheld two of 
those sages almost sinking under the weight of their packs, 
like pedlars among us; who, when they met in the streets, 
would lay down their loads, open their sacks, and hold 
conversation for an hour together; then put up their 
implements, help each other resume their burthens, and 
take their leave. 

But, for short conversations, a man may carry imple- 
ments in his pockets, and under his arms, enough to supply 
him; and in his house he cannot be at a loss. Therefore 
the room where company meet, who practise this art, is full 
of all things ready at hand, requisite to furnish matter for 
tlu's kind of artificial converse. 

Another great advantage, proposed by this invention, 
was, that it would serve as an universal language, to be 
understood in all civilised nations, whose goods and utensils 
are generally of the same kind, or nearly resembling, so 
that their uses might easily be comprehended. And thus 


ambassadors would be qualified to treat with foreign princes, 
or ministers of state, to whose tongues they were utter 

I was at the mathematical school, where the master 
taught his pupils after a method scarce imaginable to us in 
Europe. The proposition and demonstration were fairly 
written on a thin wafer, with ink composed of a cephalic 
tincture. This the student was to swallow upon a fasting 
stomach, and for three days following eat nothing but 
bread and water. As the wafer digested, the tincture 
mounted to his brain, bearing the proposition along with it. 
But the success had not hitherto been answerable, partly 
by some error in the quantum or composition, and partly 
by the perverseness of lads; to whom this bolus is so 
nauseous, that they generally steal aside, and discharge it 
upwards, before it can operate ; neither have they been yet 
persuaded to use so long an abstinence as the prescription 


IN the school of political projectors, I was but ill enter- 
tained; the professors appearing, in my judgment, wholly 
out of their senses; which is a scene that never fails to 
make me melancholy. These unhappy people were proposing 
schemes for persuading monarchs to choose favourites upon 
the score of their wisdom, capacity, and virtue ; of teaching 
ministers to consult the public good; of rewarding merit, 
great abilities, and eminent services; of instructing princes 
to know their true interest, by placing it on the same 
foundation with that of their people; of choosing for em- 
ployments persons qualified to exercise them; with many 
other wild impossible chimaeras, that never entered before 
into the heart of man to conceive ; and confirmed in me the 
old observation, that there is nothing so extravagant and 
irrational which some philosophers have not maintained 
for truth. 

But, however, I shall so far do justice to this part of the 
academy, as to acknowledge that all of them were not so 
visionary. There was a most ingenious doctor, who seemed 
to be perfectly versed in the whole nature and system of 
government. This illustrious person had very usefully 
employed his studies in finding out effectual remedies for 
all diseases and corruptions to which the several kinds of 
public administration are subject, by the vices or infirmi- 
ties of those who govern, as well as by the licentiousness of 
those who are to obey. For instance, whereas all writers 
and reasoners have agreed that there is a strict universal 
resemblance between the natural and the political body; 
can there be anything more evident, than that the health of 
both must be preserved, and the diseases cured by the same 
prescriptions ? It is allowed that senates and great councils 

I 77 M 


are often troubled with redundant, ebullient, and other 
peccant humours; with many diseases of the head, and 
more of the heart. This doctor therefore proposed, that, 
upon the meeting of a senate, certain physicians should 
attend at the three first days of their sitting, and, at the 
close of each day's debate, feel the pulses of every senator; 
after which, having maturely considered, and consulted 
upon the nature of the several maladies, and the methods 
of cure, they should on the fourth day return to the senate- 
house, attended by their apothecaries stored with proper 
medicines; and, according as these medicines should 
operate, repeat, alter, or admit them at the next meeting. 

This project could not be of any great expense to the 
public, and would, in my poor opinion, be of much use for 
the dispatch of business in those countries where senates 
have any share in the legislative power; beget unanimity, 
shorten debates, open a few mouths which are now closed, 
and close many more which are now open; curb the petu- 
lancy of the young, and correct the positiveness of the old, 
rouse the stupid, and damp the pert. 

Again: because it is a general complaint, that the 
favourites of princes are troubled with short and weak 
memories, the same doctor proposed, that whoever attended 
a first minister, after having told his business with the 
utmost brevity, and in the plainest words, should, at his 
departure, give the said minister a tweak by the nose, or a 
kick in the belly, or tread on his corns, or lug him thrice by 
both ears, or run a pin into his breech, or pinch his arm 
black and blue, to prevent forgetf ulness ; and at every 
levee day, repeat the same operation, till the business were 
done, or absolutely refused. 

He likewise directed, that every senator in the great 
council of a nation, after he had delivered his opinion, and 
argued in the defence of it, should be obliged to give his vote 
directly contrary; because, if that were done, the result 
would infallibly terminate in the good of the public. 


When parties in a state are violent, he offered a wonder- 
ful contrivance to reconcile them. The method is this: 
you take an hundred leaders of each party; you dispose 
them into couples of such whose heads are nearest of a size ; 
then let two nice operators saw off the occiput of each 
couple at the same time, in such a manner that the brain 
may be equally divided. Let the occiputs thus cut off be 
interchanged, applying each to the head of his opposite 
party-man. It seems, indeed, to be a work that requireth 
some exactness, but the professor assured us that, if it were 
dexterously performed, the cure would be infallible. For 
he argued thus ; that the two half brains being left to debate 
the matter between themselves, within the space of one 
skull, would soon come to a good understanding, and pro- 
duce that moderation, as well as regularity of thinking, so 
much to be wished for in the heads of those who imagine 
they come into the world only to watch and govern its 
motion: and as to the difference of brains in quantity or 
quality, among those who are directors in faction, the 
doctor assured us, from his own knowledge, that it was a 
perfect trifle. 

I heard a very warm debate between two professors, 
about the most commodious and effectual ways and means 
of raising money without grieving the subject. The first 
affirmed the justest method would be to lay a certain tax 
upon vices and folly ; and the sum fixed upon every man to 
be rated after the fairest manner by a jury of his neighbours. 
The second was of an opinion directly contrary, to tax 
those qualities of body and mind for which men chiefly 
value themselves; the rate to be more or less according to 
the degrees of excelling: the decision whereof should be 
left entirely to their own breast. The highest tax was upon 
men who are the greatest favourites of the other sex, and 
the assessments according to the number and natures of the 
favours they have received; for which they are allowed to 
be their own vouchers. Wit, valour, and politeness were 


like\vise proposed to be largely taxed, and collected in the 
same manner, by every person giving his own word for the 
quantum of what he possessed. But as to honour, justice, 
wisdom and learning, they should not be taxed at all; 
because they are qualifications of so singular a kind that no 
man will either allow them in his neighbour or value them 
in himself. 

The women were proposed to be taxed according to 
their beauty, and skill in dressing; wherein they had the 
same privilege with the men, to be determined by their own 
judgment. But constancy, chastity, good sense, and good 
nature were not rated, because they would not bear the 
charge of collecting. 

To keep senators in the interest of the crown, it was 
proposed that the members should raffle for employments; 
every man first taking an oath, and giving security that he 
would vote for the Court, whether he won or no; after 
which the losers had, in their turn, the liberty of raffling 
upon the next vacancy. Thus hope and expectation would 
be kept alive; none would complain of broken promises, 
but impute their disappointments wholly to Fortune, whose 
shoulders are broader and stronger than those of a ministry. 

Another professor shewed me a large paper of instruc- 
tions for discovering plots and conspiracies against the 

The whole discourse was written with great acuteness, 
containing many observations both curious and useful for 
politicians; but, as I conceived, not altogether complete. 
This I ventured to tell the author, and offered, if he pleased, 
to supply him with some additions. He received my pro- 
position with more compliance than usual among writers, 
especially those of the projecting species; professing he 
would be glad to receive farther information. 

I told him, that in the kingdom of Tribnia, by the 
natives called Langden, where I had sojourned some time 
in my travels, the bulk of the people consist, in a manner, 


wholly of discoverers, witnesses, informers, accusers, prose- 
cutors, evidences, swearers, together with their several 
subservient and subaltern instruments, all under the 
colours, the conduct, and pay of ministers of state, and their 
deputies. The plots in that kingdom are usually the work- 
manship of those persons, who desire to raise their own 
characters of profound politicians; to restore new vigour to 
a crazy administration; to stifle or divert general discon- 
tents; to fill their pockets with forfeitures; and raise or 
sink the opinion of the public credit, as either shall best 
answer their private advantage. It is first agreed and 
settled among them, what suspected persons shall be 
accused of a plot; then effectual care is taken to secure all 
their letters and papers, and put the criminals in chains. 
These papers are delivered to a set of artists, very dexterous 
in finding out the mysterious meanings of words, syllables, 
and letters: for instance, they can discover a flock of geese 
to signify a senate; a lame dog, an invader; the plague, a 
standing army; a buzzard, a prime minister; the gout, a 
high priest ; a gibbet, a secretary of state ; a sieve, a court 
lad}'; a broom, a revolution; a mouse-trap, an employ- 
ment; a bottomless pit, a treasury; a sink, a court; a cap 
and bells, a favourite; a broken reed, a court of justice; 
an empty tun, a general ; a running sore, the adminis- 

Where this method fails, they have two others more 
effectual, which the learned among them call acrostics and 
anagrams. First, they can decipher all initial letters into 
political meanings. Thus N shah 1 signify a plot, B a regi- 
ment of horse, L a fleet at sea: or, secondly, by transposing 
the letters of the alphabet in any suspected paper, they can 
lay open the deepest designs of a discontented party. So, 
for example, if I should say in a letter to a friend, our 
brother Tom has just got the piles, a skilful decipherer 
would discover that the same letters which compose that 
sentence, may be analysed in the following words: Resist, 



-the tour. And this is the 

a plot is brought home- 

anagrammatic method. 

The professor made me great acknowledgments for com- 
municating these observations, and promised to make 
honourable mention of me in his treatise. 

I saw nothing in this country that could invite me to a 
longer continuance, and began to think of returning home 
to England. 


THE continent of which this kingdom is a part extends 
itself, as I have reason to believe, eastward to that unknown 
tract of America, westward of California, and north to the 
Pacific Ocean, which is not above a hundred and fifty miles 
from Lagado; where there is a good port, and much com- 
merce with the great island of Luggnagg, situated to the 
north-west about 29 degrees north latitude, and 140 longi- 
tude. This island of Luggnagg stands south-eastwards of 
Japan, about an hundred leagues distant. There is a strict 
alliance between the Japanese emperor and the king of 
Luggnagg, which affords frequent opportunities of sailing 
from one island to the other. I determined therefore to 
direct my course this way, in order to my return to Europe. 
I hired two mules, with a guide, to shew me the way, and 
carry my small baggage. I took leave of my noble pro- 
tector, who had shewn me so much favour, and made me a 
generous present at my departure. 

My journey was without any accident or adventure 
worth relating. When I arrived at the port of Maldonada 
(for so it is called) there was no ship in the harbour bound 
for Luggnagg, nor like to be in some time. The town is 
about as large as Portsmouth. I soon fell into some 
acquaintance, and was very hospitably received. A gentle- 
man of distinction said to me, that since the ships bound 
for Luggnagg could not be ready in less than a month, it 
might be no disagreeable amusement for me to take a trip 
to the little island of Glubbdubdrib, about five leagues off 
to the south-west. He offered himself and a friend to 
accompany me, and that I should be provided with a small 
convenient barque for the voyage. 



Glubbdubdrib, as nearly as I can interpret the word, 
signifies the island of sorcerers or magicians. It is about 
one-third as large as the Isle of Wight, and extremely fruit- 
ful : it is governed by the head of a certain tribe, who are all 
magicians. This tribe marries only among each other, and 
the eldest, in succession, is prince or governor. He hath a 
noble palace, and a park of about three thousand acres, 
surrounded by a wall of hewn stone, twenty feet high. In 
this park are several small inclosures for cattle, corn, and 

The governor and his family are served and attended 
by domestics of a kind somewhat unusual. By his skill in 
necromancy he hath a power of calling whom he pleaseth 
from the dead, and commanding their service for twenty- 
four hours, but no longer; nor can he call the same persons 
up again in less than three months, except upon very extra- 
ordinary occasions. 

When we arrived at the island, which was about eleven 
in the morning, one of the gentlemen who accompanied me 
went to the governor, and desired admittance for a stranger, 
who came on purpose to have the honour of attending on 
his highness. This was immediately granted, and we all 
three entered the gate of the palace, between two rows of 
guards, armed and dressed after a very antique manner, 
and something in their countenances that made my flesh 
creep with a horror I cannot express. We passed through 
several apartments, between servants of the same sort, 
ranked on each side, as before, till we came to the chamber 
of presence, where, after three profound obeisances, and a 
few general questions, we were permitted to sit on three 
stools, near the lowest step of his highness's throne. He 
understood the language of Balnibarbi, although it were 
different from that of this island. He desired me to give 
him some account of my travels ; and, to let me see that I 
should be treated without ceremony, he dismissed all his 
attendants with a turn of his finger, at which, to my great 


astonishment, they vanished in an instant, like visions in 
a dream, when we awake on a sudden. I could not recover 
myself in some time, till the governor assured me that I 
should receive no hurt; and observing my two companions 
to be under no concern, who had been often entertained 
in the same manner, I began to take courage, and related 
to his highness a short history of my several adventures; 
yet not without some hesitation, and frequently looking 
behind me, to the place where I had seen those domestic 
spectres. I had the honour to dine with the governor, 
where a new set of ghosts served up the meat, and waited at 
table. I now observed myself to be less terrified than I had 
been in the morning. I stayed till sun-set, but humbly 
desired his highness to excuse me for not accepting his in- 
vitation of lodging in the palace. My two friends and I lay 
at a private house in the town adjoining, which is the capital 
of this little island; and the next morning we returned 
to pay our duty to the governor, as he was pleased to 
command us. 

After this manner we continued in the island for ten 
days, most part of every day with the governor, and at 
night in our lodging. I soon grew so familiarised to the 
sight of spirits, that, after the third or fourth time, they 
gave me no emotion at all; or, if I had any apprehensions 
left, my curiosity prevailed over them. For his highness 
the governor ordered me to call up whatever persons I 
would choose to name, and in whatever numbers, among 
all the dead, from the beginning of the world to this present 
time, and command them to answer any questions I should 
think fit to ask; with this condition, that my questions 
must be confined within the compass of the times they 
lived in. And one thing I might depend upon, that they 
would certainly tell me the truth, for lying was a talent of 
no use in the lower world. 

I made my humble acknowledgments to his highness 
for so great a favour. We were in a chamber from whence 


there was a fair prospect into the park. And, because my 
first inclination was to be entertained with scenes of pomp 
and magnificence, I desired to see Alexander the Great, at 
the head of his army, just after the battle of Arbela, which, 
upon a motion of the governor's finger, immediately ap- 
peared in a large field under the window where we 
stood. Alexander was called up into the room: it was 
with great difficulty that I understood his Greek, and had 
but little of my own. He assured me, upon his honour, 
that he was not poisoned, but died of a fever by excessive 

Next I saw Hannibal passing the Alps, who told me he 
had not a drop of vinegar in his camp. 

I saw Caesar and Pompey, at the head of their troops, 
just ready to engage. I saw the former in his last great 
triumph. I desired that the Senate of Rome might appear 
before me in one large chamber, and a modern representa- 
tive in counterview, in another. The first seemed to be an 
assembly of heroes and demi-gods, the other a knot of 
pedlars, pick-pockets, highway-men, and bullies. 

The governor, at my request, gave the sign for Caesar 
and Brutus to advance towards us. I was struck with 
a profound veneration at the sight of Brutus, and could 
easily discover the most consummate virtue, the greatest 
intrepidity, and firmness of mind, the truest love of his 
country, and general benevolence for mankind, in every 
lineament of his countenance. I observed, with much 
pleasure, that these two persons were in good intelligence 
with each other ; and Caesar freely confessed to me, that the 
greatest actions of his own life were not equal, by many 
degrees, to the glory of taking it away. I had the honour 
to have much conversation with Brutus, and was told, that 
his ancestors Junius, Socrates, Epaminondas, Cato the 
younger, Sir Thomas More, and himself, were perpetually 
together: a sextumvirate to which all the ages of the world 
cannot add a seventh. 


It would be tedious to trouble the reader with relating 
what vast numbers of illustrious persons were called up, to 
gratify that insatiable desire I had to see the world in every 
period of antiquity placed before me. I chiefly fed my eyes 
with beholding the destroyers of tyrants and usurpers, and 
the restorers of liberty to oppressed and injured nations. 
But it is impossible to express the satisfaction I received in 
my own mind, after such a manner as to make it a suitable 
entertainment to the reader. 


HAVING a desire to see those ancients who were most 
renowned for wit and learning, I set apart one day on pur- 
pose. I proposed that Homer and Aristotle might appear 
at the head of all their commentators; but these were so 
numerous, that some hundreds were forced to attend in 
the court and outward rooms of the palace. I knew, and 
could distinguish those two heroes at first sight, not only 
from the crowd, but from each other. Homer was the taller 
and comelier person of the two, walked very erect for one 
of his age, and his eyes were the most quick and piercing I 
ever beheld. Aristotle stooped much, and made use of a 
staff. His visage was meagre, his hair lank and thin, and 
his voice hollow. I soon discovered that both of them 
were perfect strangers to the rest of the company, and had 
never seen or heard of them before. And I had a whisper 
from a ghost, who shall be nameless, that these commen- 
tators always kept in the most distant quarters from their 
principals in the lower world, through a consciousness of 
shame and guilt, because they had so horribly misrepre- 
sented the meaning of those authors to posterity. I intro- 
duced Didyinus and Eustathius to Homer, and prevailed 
on him to treat them better than perhaps they deserved, for 
he soon found they wanted a genius to enter into the spirit 
of a poet. But Aristotle was out of all patience with the 
account I gave him of Scotus and Ramus, as I presented 
them to him, and he asked them whether the rest of the 
tribe were as great dunces as themselves. 

I then desired the governor to call up Descartes and 
Gassendi, with whom I prevailed to explain their systems 
to Aristotle. This great philosopher freely acknowledged 

1 88 


his own mistakes in natural philosophy, because he pro- 
ceeded in many things upon conjecture, as all men must 
do; and he found that Gassendi, who had made the doc- 
trine of Epicurus as palatable as he could, and the vortices 
of Descartes were equally exploded. He predicted the 
same fate to attraction, whereof the present learned are 
such zealous asserters. He said that new systems of nature 
were but new fashions, which would vary in every age ; and 
even those who pretend to demonstrate them from mathe- 
matical principles would flourish but a short period of time, 
and be out of vogue when that was determined. 

I spent five days in conversing with many others of the 
ancient learned. I saw most of the first Roman Emperors. 
I prevailed on the governor to call up Eliogabalus's cooks 
to dress us a dinner, but they could not show us much of 
their skill for want of materials. A helot of Agesilaus 
made us a dish of Spartan broth, but I was not able to get 
down a second spoonful. 

The two gentlemen who conducted me to the island 
were pressed by their private affairs to return in three days, 
which I employed in seeing some of the modern dead, who 
had made the greatest figure for two or three hundred 
years past, in our own and other countries of Europe ; and 
having been always a great admirer of old illustrious 
families, I desired the governor would call up a dozen or 
two of kings, with their ancestors, in order, for eight or 
nine generations. But my disappointment was grievous 
and unexpected: for, instead of a long train with royal 
diadems, I saw in one family two fiddlers, three spruce 
courtiers, and an Italian prelate; in another a barber, an 
abbot, and two cardinals. I have too great a veneration 
for crowned heads to dwell any longer on so nice a subject. 
But as to counts, marquesses, dukes, earls, and the like, I 
was not so scrupulous. And, I confess, it was not without 
some pleasure that I found myself able to trace the parti- 
cular features by which certain families are distinguished 


up to their originals. I could plainly discover from whence 
one family derives a long chin, why a second hath abounded 
with knaves for two generations, and fools for two more; 
why a third happened to be crack-brained, and a fourth to 
be sharpers. Whence it came, what Polydore Virgil says of 
a certain great house, Nee vir fortis, nee femina casta. How 
cruelty, falsehood, and cowardice grew to be characteristics 
by which certain families are distinguished as much as by 
their coat of arms. 

Neither could I wonder at all this, when I saw such an 
interruption of lineages by pages, lacqueys, valets, coach- 
men, gamesters, fiddlers, players, captains, and pickpockets. 

I was chiefly disgusted with modern history. For, 
having strictly examined all the persons of greatest name 
in the courts of princes for an hundred years past, I found 
how the world had been misled by prostitute writers, to 
ascribe the greatest exploits in war to cowards, the wisest 
counsel to fools, sincerity to flatterers, Roman virtue to 
betrayers of their country, piety to atheists, truth to in- 
formers: how many innocent and excellent persons had 
been condemned to death or banishment, by the practising 
of great ministers upon the corruption of judges and the 
malice of factions: how many villains had been exalted to 
the highest places of trust, power, dignity, and profit: how 
great a share in the motions and events of courts, councils, 
and senates might be challenged by parasites and buffoons. 
How low an opinion I had of human wisdom and integrity, 
when I was truly informed of the springs and motives of 
great enterprises and revolutions in the world, and of the 
contemptible accidents to which they owed their success ! 

Here I discovered the roguery and ignorance of those 
who pretend to write anecdotes, or secret history; who 
send so many kings to their graves with a cup of poison; 
will repeat the discourse between a prince and chief minister, 
where no witness was by ; unlock the thoughts and cabinets 
of ambassadors and secretaries of state; and have the 


perpetual misfortune to be mistaken. Here I discovered 
the true causes of many great events that have surprised the 
world. A general confessed in my presence, that he got a 
victory, purely by the force of cowardice and ill conduct; 
and an admiral, that, for want of proper intelligence, he 
beat the enemy to whom he intended to betray the fleet. 
Three kings protested to me, that, in their whole reigns, 
they did never once prefer any person of merit, unless by 
mistake, or treachery of some minister in whom they con- 
fided: neither would they do it, if they were to live again; 
and they shewed with great strength of reason, that the 
royal throne could not be supported without corruption, 
because that positive, confident, restive temper which 
virtue infused into man, w'as a perpetual clog to public 

I had the curiosity to inquire, in a particular manner, by 
what method great numbers had procured to themselves 
high titles of honour and prodigious estates; and I con- 
fined my inquiry to a very modern period: however, with- 
out grating upon present times, because I would be sure to 
give no offence even to foreigners (for I hope the reader 
need not be told, that I do not in the least intend my own 
country in what I say upon this occasion) a great number 
of persons concerned were called up, and, upon a very slight 
examination, discovered such a scene of infamy, that I 
cannot reflect upon it without some seriousness. Perjury, 
oppression, subornation, fraud, and the like infirmities were 
amongst the most excusable arts they had to mention, and 
for these I gave, as it was reasonable, due allowance. But 
when some confessed they owed their greatness and wealth 
to vice, others to the betraying their country or their prince ; 
some to poisoning, more to the perverting of justice in order 
to destroy the innocent: I hope I may be pardoned, if 
these discoveries inclined me a little to abate of that pro- 
found veneration which I am naturally apt to pay to persons 
of high rank, who ought to be treated with the utmost 


respect due to their sublime dignity by us, their in- 

I had often read of some great services done to princes 
and states, and desired to see the persons by whom those 
services were performed. Upon inquiry, I was told that 
their names were to be found on no record, except a few of 
them, whom history hath represented as the vilest rogues 
and traitors. As to the rest, I had never once heard of 
them. They ah 1 appeared with dejected looks, and in the 
meanest habit, most of them telling me they died in poverty 
and disgrace, and the rest on a scaffold or a gibbet. 

Among others, there was one person whose case ap- 
peared a little singular. He had a youth about eighteen 
years old standing by his side. He told me he had for 
many years been commander of a ship; and, in the sea 
fight at Actium, had the good fortune to break through the 
enemy's great line of battle, sink three of their capital ships, 
and take a fourth, which was the sole cause of Anthony's 
flight, and of the victory that ensued; that the youth 
standing by him, his only son, was killed in the action. He 
added, that upon the confidence of some merit, the war 
being at an end, he went to Rome, and solicited at the court 
of Augustus, to be preferred to a greater ship, whose com- 
mander had been killed; but, without any regard to his 
pretensions, it was given to a youth who had never seen 
the sea, the son of Libertina, who waited on one of the 
Emperor's mistresses. Returning back to his own vessel, 
he was charged with neglect of duty, and the ship given to a 
favourite page of Publicola, the vice-admiral; whereupon 
he retired to a poor farm, at a great distance from Rome, 
and there ended his life. I was so curious to know the 
truth of this story, that I desired Agrippa might be called, 
who was admiral in that fight. He appeared, and confirmed 
the whole account; but with much more advantage to the 
captain, whose modesty had extenuated or concealed a 
great part of his merit. 


I was surprised to find corruption grown so high and so 
quick in that empire, by the force of luxury so lately in- 
troduced, which made me less wonder at many parallel 
cases in other countries, where vices of all kinds have 
reigned so much longer, and where the whole praise, as 
well as pillage, hath been engrossed by the chief com- 
mander, who, perhaps, had the least title to either. 

As every person called up made exactly the same 
appearance he had done in the world, it gave me melan- 
choly reflections to observe how much the race of human 
kind was degenerate among us, within these hundred years 

I descended so low, as to desire that some English 
yeomen, of the old stamp, might be summoned to appear; 
once so famous for the simplicity of their manners, diet, and 
dress; for justice in their dealings; for their true spirit of 
liberty ; for their valour and love of their country. Neither 
could I be wholly unmoved, after comparing the living 
with the dead, when I considered how all these pure native 
virtues were prostituted for a piece of money by their 
grandchildren, who, in selling their votes, and managing 
at elections, have acquired every vice and corruption that 
can possibly be learned in a court. 



THE day of our departure being come, I took leave of his 
highness, the governor of Glubbdubdribb, and returned 
with my two companions to Maldonada, where, after a 
fortnight's waiting, a ship was ready to sail for Luggnagg. 
The two gentlemen, and some others, were so generous and 
kind as to furnish me with provisions, and see me on board. 
I was a month in this voyage. We had one violent storm, 
and were under a necessity of steering westward, to get into 
the trade-wind, which holds for above sixty leagues. On 
the 2ist of April, 1708, we sailed into the river of Clumegnig, 
which is a seaport town, at the south-east point of Lugg- 
nagg. We cast anchor within a league of the town, and 
made a signal for a pilot. Two of them came on board in 
less than half an hour, by whom we were guided between 
certain shoals and rocks, which are very dangerous in the 
passage, to a large basin, where a fleet may ride in safety, 
within a cable's length of the town wall. 

Some of our sailors, whether out of treachery or inad- 
vertence, had informed the pilots that I was a stranger and 
a great traveller; whereof these gave notice to a custom- 
house officer, by whom I was examined very strictly upon 
my landing. This officer spoke to me in the language of 
Balnibarbi, which, by the force of much commerce, is 
generally understood in that town, especially by seamen, 
and those employed in the customs. I gave him a short 
account of some particulars, and made my story as plausible 
and consistent as I could; but I thought it necessary to 
disguise my country, and call myself an Hollander, because 
my intentions were for Japan, and I knew the Dutch were 
the only Europeans permitted to enter into that kingdom. 



I therefore told the officer, that having been shipwrecked on 
the coast of Balnibarbi, and cast on a rock, I was received 
up into Laputa, or the flying island (of which he had often 
heard) and was now endeavouring to get to Japan, from 
whence I might find a convenience of returning to my own 
country. The officer said, I must be confined till he could 
receive orders from Court, for which he would write immedi- 
ately, and hoped to receive an answer in a fortnight. I was 
carried to a convenient lodging, with a sentry placed at the 
door; however, I had the liberty of a large garden, and 
was treated with humanity enough, being maintained all 
the time at the king's charge. I was invited by several 
persons, chiefly out of curiosity, because it was reported 
that I came from countries very remote, of which they had 
never heard. 

I hired a young man who came in the same ship to be an 
interpreter; he was a native of Luggnagg, but had lived 
some years at Maldonada, and was a perfect master of both 
languages. By his assistance, I was able to hold a conver- 
sation with those who came to visit me; but this consisted 
only of their questions, and my answers. 

The dispatch came from Court about the time we 
expected. It contained a warrant for conducting me and 
my retinue to Traldragdubb, or Trildrogdrib, for it is pro- 
nounced both ways, as near as I can remember, by a party 
of ten horse. All my retinue was that poor lad for an 
interpreter, whom I persuaded into my service, and, at my 
humble request, we had each of us a mule to ride on. A 
messenger was dispatched half a day's journey before us, to 
give the king notice of my approach, and to desire that his 
Majesty would please to appoint a day and hour, when it 
would be his gracious pleasure that I might have the honour 
to lick the dust before his foot-stool. This is the court 
style, and I found it to be more than matter of form. For, 
upon my admittance two days after my arrival, I was 
commanded to crawl on my belly, and lick the floor as I 


advanced; but, on account of my being a stranger, care 
was taken to have it made so clean that the dust was not 
offensive. However, this was a peculiar grace, not allowed 
to any but persons of the highest rank, when they desire an 
admittance. Nay, sometimes the floor is strewed with dust 
on purpose, when the person to be admitted happens to 
have powerful enemies at Court. And I have seen a great 
lord with his mouth so crammed, that, when he had crept 
to the proper distance from the throne, he was not able to 
speak a word. Neither is there any remedy; because it is 
capital for those who receive an audience, to spit or wipe 
their mouths in his Majesty's presence. There is, indeed, 
another custom, which I cannot altogether approve of: 
when the king hath a mind to put any of his nobles to death, 
in a gentle, indulgent manner, he commands the floor 
to be strewed with a certain brown powder, of a deadly 
composition, which, being licked up, infallibly kills him in 
twenty-four hours. But in justice to this prince's great 
clemency, and the care he hath of his subjects' lives (wherein 
it were much to be wished, that the monarchs of Europe 
would imitate him) it must be mentioned for his honour, 
that strict orders are given to have the infected parts of 
the floor well washed, after every such execution ; which if 
his domestics neglect, they are in danger of incurring his 
royal displeasure. I myself heard him give directions that 
one of his pages should be whipped, whose turn it was to 
give notice about washing the floor after an execution, but 
maliciously had omitted it, by which neglect, a young lord 
of great hopes, coming to an audience, was unfortunately 
poisoned, although the king, at that time, had no design 
against his life. But this good prince was so gracious as to 
forgive the poor page his whipping, upon promise that he 
would do so no more, without special orders. 

To return from this digression ; when I had crept within 
four yards of the throne, I raised myself gently upon my 
knees, and then, striking my forehead seven times on the 


ground, I pronounced the following words, as they had been 
taught me the night before, Ickpling gloffthrobb squut 
serumm blhiop mlashnalt zwin tnodbalkuffh slhiophad gurd- 
lubh asht. This is the compliment established by the laws 
of the land, for all persons admitted to the king's presence. 
It may be rendered into English thus: May your celestial 
Majesty outlive the sun eleven moons and a half. To this 
the king returned some answer, which although I could not 
understand, yet I replied as I had been directed: Fluff 
drin yalerick dwuldom prastrad mirpush, which properly 
signifies, My tongue is in the mouth of my friend; and by 
this expression was meant, that I desired leave to bring my 
interpreter; whereupon the young man already mentioned 
was accordingly introduced, by whose intervention I 
answered as many questions as his Majesty could put in 
above an hour. I spoke in the Balnibarbian tongue, and 
my interpreter delivered my meaning in that of Luggnagg. 

The king was much delighted with my company, and 
ordered his bliffmarklub, or high chamberlain, to appoint a 
lodging in the Court for me and my interpreter, with a daily 
allowance for my table, and a large purse of gold for my 
common expenses. 

I stayed three months in this country, out of perfect 
obedience to his Majesty, who was pleased highly to favour 
me, and made me very honourable offers. But I thought 
it more consistent with prudence and justice to pass the 
remainder of my days with my wife and family. 


THE Luggnaggians are a polite and generous people, and 
although they are not without some share of that pride 
which is peculiar to all eastern countries, yet they shew 
themselves courteous to strangers, especially such as are 
countenanced by the Court. I had many acquaintances 
among persons of the best fashion, and being always at- 
tended by my interpreter, the conversation we had was not 

One day, in much good company, I was asked by a 
person of quality, whether I had seen any of their struld- 
brugs, or immortals. I said I had not; and desired he 
would explain to me what he meant by such an appellation, 
applied to a mortal creature. He told me, that sometimes, 
though very rarely, a child happened to be born in a family 
with a red circular spot in the forehead, directly over the 
left eye-brow, which was an infallible mark that it should 
never die. The spot, as he described it, was about the 
compass of a silver three-pence, but in the course of time 
grew larger, and changed its colour ; for at twelve years old 
it became green, so continued till five and twenty, then 
turned to a deep blue ; at five and forty it grew coal black, 
and as large as an English shilling; but never admitted any 
farther alteration. He said these births were so rare, that 
he did not believe there could be above eleven hundred 
struldbrugs of both sexes in the whole kingdom, of which 
he computed about fifty in the metropolis, and, among the 
rest, a young girl born about three years ago: that these 
productions were not peculiar to any family, but a mere 
effect of chance; and the children of the struldbrugs them- 
selves were equally mortal with the rest of the people. 



I freely own myself to have been struck with inex- 
pressible delight upon hearing this account : and the person 
who gave it me happening to understand the Balnibarbian 
language, which I spoke very well, I could not forbear 
breaking out into expressions, perhaps a little too extra- 
vagant. I cried out, as in a rapture: ' Happy nation, 
where every child hath at least a chance of being immortal! 
Happy people, who enjoy so many living examples of 
ancient virtue, and have masters ready to instruct them in 
the wisdom of all former ages! But happiest beyond all 
comparison are those excellent struldbrugs, who, born 
exempt from that universal calamity of human nature, 
have their minds free and disengaged, without the weight 
and depression of spirits caused by the continual apprehen- 
sion of death." I discovered my admiration that I had 
not observed any of these illustrious persons at Court; the 
black spot on the forehead being so remarkable a distinc- 
tion, that I could not have easily overlooked it; and it was 
impossible that his Majesty, a most judicious prince, should 
not provide himself with a good number of such wise and 
able councillors. Yet perhaps the virtue of those reverend 
sages was too strict for the corrupt and libertine manners 
of a court. And we often find by experience, that young 
men are too opinionative and volatile to be guided by the 
sober dictates of their seniors. However, since the king 
was pleased to allow me access to his royal person, I was 
resolved, upon the very first occasion, to deliver my opinion 
to him on this matter freely, and at large, by the help of my 
interpreter; and whether he would please to take my advice 
or no, yet in one thing I was determined, that, his Majesty 
having frequently offered me an establishment in this 
country, I would with great thankfulness accept the favour, 
and pass my life here in the conversation of those superior 
beings, the struldbrugs, if they would please to admit me. 

The gentleman to whom I addressed my discourse, 
because (as I have already observed) he spoke the language 


of Balnibarbi, said to me with a sort of a smile, which 
usually ariseth from pity to the ignorant, that he was glad 
of any occasion to keep me among them, and desired my 
permission to explain to the company what I had spoke. 
He did so, and they talked together for some time in their 
own language, whereof I understood not a syllable, neither 
could I observe by their countenances what impression my 
discourse had made on them. After a short silence, the 
same person told me that his friends and mine (so he 
thought fit to express himself) were very much pleased with 
the judicious remarks I had made on the great happiness 
and advantages of immortal life, and they were desirous to 
know in a particular manner, what scheme of living I 
should have formed to myself, if it had fallen to my lot to 
have been born a struldbrug. 

I answered, it was easy to be eloquent on so copious and 
delightful a subject, especially to me, who have been often 
apt to amuse myself with visions of what I should do, if I 
were a king, a general, or a great lord : and, upon this very 
case, I had frequently run over the whole system how I 
should employ myself, and pass the time, if I were sure to 
live for ever. 

That, if it had been my good fortune to come into the 
world a struldbrug, as soon as I could discover my own 
happiness, by understanding the difference between life 
and death, I would first resolve, by all arts and methods 
whatsoever, to procure myself riches. In the pursuit of 
which, by thrift and management, I might reasonably 
expect, in about two hundred years, to be the wealthiest 
man in the kingdom. In the second place, I would from 
my earliest youth apply myself to the study of arts and 
sciences, by which I should arrive in time to excel all others 
in learning. Lastly, I would carefully record every action 
and event of consequence that happened in the public, 
impartially draw the characters of the several successions 
of princes, and great ministers of state, with my own obser- 



vations on every point. I would exactly set down the 
several changes in customs, language, fashions of dress, 
diet and diversions. By all which acquirements, I should 
be a living treasury of knowledge and wisdom, and cer- 
tainly become the oracle of the nation. 

I would never marry after threescore, but live in an 
hospitable manner, yet still on the saving side. I would 
entertain myself in forming and directing the minds of 
hopeful young men, by convincing them from my own 
remembrance, experience, and observation, fortified by 
numerous examples, of the usefulness of virtue in public 
and private life. But my choice and constant companions 
should be a set of my own immortal brotherhood, among 
whom I would elect a dozen from the most ancient, down 
to my own contemporaries. Where any of these wanted 
fortunes, I would provide them with convenient lodges 
round my own estate, and have some of them always at my 
table, only mingling a few of the most valuable among you 
mortals, whom length of time would harden me to lose, 
with little or no reluctance, and treat your posterity after 
the same manner; just as a man diverts himself with the 
annual succession of pinks and tulips in his garden, without 
regretting the loss of those which withered the preceding 

These struldbrugs and I would mutually communicate 
our observations and memorials through the course of time ; 
remark the several gradations by which corruption steals 
into the world, and oppose it in every step, by giving per- 
petual warning and instruction to mankind; which, added 
to the strong influence of our own example, would probably 
prevent that continual degeneracy of human nature, so 
justly complained of in all ages. 

Add to all this, the pleasure of seeing the various revo- 
lutions of states and empires ; the changes in the lower and 
upper world; ancient cities in ruins, and obscure villages 
become the seats of kings; famous rivers lessening into 


shallow brooks; the ocean leaving one coast dry, and over- 
whelming another; the discovery of many countries yet 
unknown; barbarity over-running the politest nations, and 
the most barbarous become civilised. I should then see 
the discovery of the longitude, the perpetual motion, the 
universal medicine, and many other great inventions 
brought to the utmost perfection. 

What wonderful discoveries should we make in astro- 
nomy, by out-living and confirming our own predictions, 
by observing the progress and returns of comets, with 
the changes of motion in the sun, moon, and stars. 

I enlarged upon many other topics, which the natural 
desire of endless life and sublunary happiness could easily 
furnish me with. When I had ended, and the sum of my 
discourse had been intrepreted, as before, to the rest of the 
company, there was a good deal of talk among them in the 
language of the country, not without some laughter at my 
expense. At last, the same gentleman who had been my 
interpreter said he was desired by the rest to set me right 
in a few mistakes, which I had fallen into through the 
common imbecility of human nature, and, upon that 
allowance, was less answerable for them. That this breed 
of struldbrugs was peculiar to their country, for there were 
no such people, either in Balnibarbi or Japan, where he had 
the honour to be ambassador from his Majesty, and found 
the natives in both those kingdoms very hard to believe 
that the fact was possible; and it appeared from my 
astonishment, when he first mentioned the matter to me, 
that I received it as a thing wholly new, and scarcely to be 
credited. That in the two kingdoms above mentioned, 
where, during his residence, he had conversed very much, 
he observed long life to be the universal desire and wish of 
mankind. That whoever had one foot in the grave, was 
sure to hold back the other as strongly as he could. That 
the oldest had still hopes of living one day longer, and 
looked on death as the greatest evil, from which Nature 


always prompted him to retreat; only in this island of 
Luggnagg the appetite for living was not so eager, from the 
continual example of the stmldbrugs before their eyes. 

That the system of living, contrived by me, was un- 
reasonable and unjust, because it supposed a perpetuity of 
youth, health, and vigour, which no man could be so 
foolish to hope, however extravagant he may be in his 
wishes. That the question therefore was not whether a 
man would choose to be always in the prime of youth, at- 
tended with prosperity and health; but how he would pass 
a perpetual life under all the usual disadvantages which old 
age brings along with it. For although few men will avow 
their desires of being immortal upon such hard conditions, 
yet in the two kingdoms before mentioned, of Balnibarbi 
and Japan, he observed that every man desired to put off 
death for some time longer, let it approach ever so late ; and 
he rarely heard of any man who died willingly, except he 
were incited by the extremity of grief or torture. And he 
appealed to me, whether in those countries I had travelled, 
as well as my own, I had not observed the same general 

After this preface, he gave me a particular account of 
the struldbrugs among them. He said they commonly 
acted like mortals, till about thirty years old, after which, 
by degrees, they grew melancholy and dejected, increasing 
in both till they came to fourscore. This he learned from 
their own confession; for otherwise, there not being above 
two or three of that species born in an age, they were too 
few to form a general observation by. When they came to 
fourscore years, which is reckoned the extremity of living 
in this country, they had not only all the follies and in- 
firmities of other old men, but many more, which arose 
from the dreadful prospects of never dying. They were 
not only opinionative, peevish, covetous, morose, vain, 
talkative; but incapable of friendship, and dead to all 
natural affection, which never descended below their grand- 


children. Envy and impotent desires are their prevailing 
passions. But those objects, against which their envy 
seems principally directed, are the vices of the younger 
sort, and the deaths of the old. By reflecting on the 
former, they find themselves cut off from all possibility of 
pleasure; and whenever they see a funeral, they lament 
and repine that others are gone to an harbour of rest, to 
which they themselves never can hope to arrive. They 
have no remembrance of anything but what they learned 
and observed in their youth and middle age, and even that 
is very imperfect. And, for the truth or particulars of any 
fact, it is safer to depend on common traditions than upon 
their best recollections. The least miserable among them 
appear to be those who turn to dotage, and entirely lose 
their memories; these meet with more pity and assistance, 
because they want many bad qualities, which abound in 

If a struldbrug happen to marry one of his own kind, 
the marriage is dissolved, of course, by the courtesy of the 
kingdom, as soon as the younger of the two comes to be 
fourscore. For the law thinks it a reasonable indulgence, 
that those who are condemned, without any fault of their 
own, to a perpetual continuance in the world, should not 
have their misery doubled by the load of a wife. 

As soon as they have completed the term of eighty 
years, they are looked on as dead in law; their heirs im- 
mediately succeed to their estates, only a small pittance is 
reserved for their support; and the poor ones are main- 
tained at the public charge. After that period, they are 
held incapable of any employment of trust or profit, they 
cannot purchase lands, or take leases, neither are they 
allowed to be witnesses in any cause, either civil or criminal, 
not even for the decision of meers and bounds. 

At ninety they lose their teeth and hair; they have 
at that age no distinction of taste, but eat and drink what- 
ever they can get, without relish or appetite. The diseases 


they were subject to still continue, without increasing or 
diminishing. In talking, they forget the common appel- 
lation of things, and the names of persons, even of those 
who are their nearest friends and relations. For the same 
reason they never can amuse themselves with reading, 
because their memory will not serve to carry them from the 
beginning of a sentence to the end; and, by this defect, they 
are deprived of the only entertainment whereof they might 
otherwise be capable. 

The language of this country being always upon the 
flux, the struldbrugs of one age do not understand those 
of another; neither are they able, after two hundred years, 
to hold any conversation (farther than by a few general 
words) with their neighbours, the mortals; and thus they 
lie under the disadvantage of living like foreigners in their 
own country. 

This was the account given me of the struldbrugs, as 
near as I can remember. I afterwards saw five or six of 
different ages, the youngest not above two hundred years 
old, who were brought to me at several times, by some of 
my friends ; but although they were told that I was a great 
traveller, and had seen all the world, they had not the least 
curiosity to ask me a question; only desired I would give 
them slumskudask, or a token of remembrance; which is a 
modest way of begging, to avoid the law that strictly 
forbids it, because they are provided for by the public, 
although, indeed, with a very scanty allowance. 

They are despised and hated by all sorts of people; 
when one of them is born, it is reckoned ominous, and their 
birth is recorded very particularly; so that you may know 
their age, by consulting the register; which, however, hath 
not been kept above a thousand years past, or, at least, 
hath been destroyed by time, or public disturbances. But 
the usual way of computing how old they are, is, by asking 
them what kings or great persons they can remember, and 
then consulting history; for, infallibly, the last prince in 


their mind did not begin his reign after they were fourscore 
years old. 

They were the most mortifying sight I ever beheld; 
and the women more horrible than the men. Besides the 
usual deformities in extreme old age, they acquired an 
additional ghastliness, in proportion to their number of 
years, which is not to be described; and, among half a 
dozen, I soon distinguished which was the eldest, although 
there was not above a century or two between them. 

The reader will easily believe that from what I have 
heard and seen, my keen appetite for perpetuity of life was 
much abated. I grew heartily ashamed of the pleasing 
visions I had formed; and thought no tyrant could invent 
a death into which I would not run with pleasure from such 
a life. The king heard of all that had passed between me 
and my friends upon this occasion, and rallied me very 
pleasantly; wishing I would send a couple of struldbrugs 
to my own country, to arm our people against the fear of 
death; but this, it seems, is forbidden by the fundamental 
laws of the kingdom, or else I should have been well content 
with the trouble and expense of transporting them. 

I could not but agree that the laws of this king- 
dom, relating to the struldbrugs, were founded upon 
the strongest reasons, and such as any other country 
would be under the necessity of enacting in 
the like circumstances. Otherwise, as avarice 
is the necessary consequent of old age, 
those immortals would in time become 
proprietors of the whole nation, 
and engross the civil power; 
which, for want of abili- 
ties to manage, must 
end in the ruin 
of the public. 


I THOUGHT this account of the strudlbrugs might be some 
entertainment to the reader, because it seems to be a little 
out of the common way; at least, I do not remember to 
have met the like in any book of travels that hath come to 
my hands: and, if I am deceived, my excuse must be, that 
it is necessary for travellers, who describe the same country, 
very often to agree in dwelling on the same particulars, 
without deserving the censure of having borrowed or tran- 
scribed from those who wrote before them. 

There is, indeed, a perpetual commerce between this 
kingdom and the great empire of Japan; and it is very 
probable that the Japanese authors may have given some 
account of the struldbrugs; but my stay in Japan was so 
short, and I was so entirely a stranger to the language, 
that I was not qualified to make any inquiries. But I hope 
the Dutch, upon this notice, will be curious and able enough 
to supply my defects. 

His Majesty having often pressed me to accept some 
employment in his Court, and finding me absolutely deter- 
mined to return to my native country, was pleased to give 
me his licence to depart, and honoured me with a letter of 
recommendation, under his own hand, to the Emperor of 
Japan. He likewise presented me with four hundred and 
forty-four large pieces of gold (this nation delighting in 
even numbers) and a red diamond, which I sold in England 
for eleven hundred pounds. 

On the 6th day of May 1709, I took a solemn leave of 
his Majesty, and all my friends. This prince was so gracious 
as to order a guard to conduct me to Glanguenstald, which 
is a royal port to the south-west part of the island. In six 



days I found a vessel ready to carry me to Japan, and spent 
fifteen days in the voyage. We landed at a small port- 
town called Xamoschi, situated on the south-east part of 
Japan; the town lies on the western point, where there is 
a narrow strait, leading northward into a long arm of the 
sea, upon the north-west part of which, Yedo, the metro- 
polis, stands. At landing I shewed the custom-house 
officers my letter from the King of Luggnagg to his Imperial 
Majesty. They knew the seal perfectly well, it was as 
broad as the palm of my hand. The impression was, a 
king lifting up a lame beggar from the earth. The magis- 
trates of the town, hearing of my letter, received me as a 
public minister; they provided me with carriages and 
servants, and bore my charges to Yedo, where I was ad- 
mitted to an audience, and delivered my letter, which was 
opened with great ceremony, and explained to the Emperor 
by an interpreter, who gave me notice, by his Majesty's 
order, that I should signify my request, and, whatever it 
were, it should be granted, for the sake of his royal brother 
of Luggnagg. This interpreter was a person employed to 
transact affairs with the Hollanders; he soon conjectured 
by my countenance that I was an European, and therefore 
repeated his Majesty's commands in Low Dutch, which he 
spoke perfectly weh 1 . I answered (as I had before deter- 
mined) that I was a Dutch merchant, shipwrecked in a very 
remote country, from whence I had travelled by sea and 
land to Luggnagg, and then took shipping for Japan, where 
I knew my countrymen often traded, and with some of these 
I hoped to get an opportunity of returning into Europe: I 
therefore most humbly entreated his royal favour to give 
order, that I should be conducted in safety to Nangasac: 
to this I added another petition, that, for the sake of my 
patron, the King of Luggnagg, his Majesty would conde- 
scend to excuse my performing the ceremony imposed on 
my countrymen, of trampling upon the crucifix; because 
I had been thrown into his kingdom by my misfortunes, 


without any intention of trading. When this latter peti- 
tion was interpreted to the Emperor, he seemed a little 
surprised; and said, he believed I was the first of my 
countrymen who ever made any scruple in this point; and 
that he began to doubt whether I was a real Hollander, or 
no ; but rather suspected I must be a Christian. However, 
for the reasons I had offered, but chiefly to gratify the King 
of Luggnagg by an uncommon mark of his favour, he would 
comply with the singularity of my humour; but the affair 
must be managed with dexterity, and his officers should be 
commanded to let me pass, as it were, by forgetfulness. 
For he assured me, that if the secret should be discovered 
by my countrymen, the Dutch, they would cut my throat 
in the voyage. I returned my thanks, by the interpreter, 
for so unusual a favour; and, some troops being at that 
time on their march to Nangasac, the commanding officer 
had orders to convey me safe thither, with particular in- 
structions about the business of the crucifix. 

On the gth day of June 1709, I arrived at Nangasac, 
after a very long and troublesome journey. I soon fell into 
company of some Dutch sailors belonging to the Amboyna 
of Amsterdam, a stout ship of 450 tons. I had lived long 
in Holland, pursuing my studies at Leyden, and I spoke 
Dutch well. The seamen soon knew from whence I came 
last; they were curious to inquire into my voyages, and 
course of life. I made up a story as short and probable as 
I could, but concealed the greatest part. I knew many 
persons in Holland; I was able to invent names for my 
parents, whom I pretended to be obscure people in the 
province of Gelderland. I would have given the captain 
(one Theodorus Vangrult) what he pleased to ask for my 
voyage to Holland; but, understanding I was a surgeon, 
he was contented to take half the usual rate, on condition 
that I would serve him in the way of my calling. Before 
we took shipping, I was often asked by some of the crew, 
whether I had performed the ceremony above-mentioned? 


I evaded the question by general answers, that I had satis- 
fied the Emperor, and Court, in all particulars. However, 
a malicious rogue of a skipper went to an officer, and, point- 
ing to me, told him I had not yet trampled on the crucifix; 
but the other, who had received instructions to let me pass, 
gave the rascal twenty strokes on the shoulders with a 
bamboo; after which I was no more troubled with such 

Nothing happened worth mentioning in this voyage. 
We sailed with a fair wind to the Cape of Good Hope, where 
we stayed only to take in fresh water. On the i6th of April 
we arrived safely at Amsterdam, having lost only three men 
by sickness in the voyage, and a fourth who fell from the 
fore-mast into the sea, not far from the coast of Guinea. 
From Amsterdam, I soon after set sail for England, in a 
small vessel belonging to that city. 

On the loth of April 1710, we put in at the Downs. I 
landed next morning, and saw once more my native country, 
after an absence of five years and six months complete. I 
went straight to Redriff, where I arrived the same day at 
two in the afternoon, and found my wife and family in good 



I CONTINUED at home with my wife and children about 
five months, in a very happy condition, if I could 
have learned the lesson of knowing when I was well. I 
left my poor wife and accepted an advantageous offer 
made me, to be captain of the Adventure, a stout merchant- 
man, of 350 tons; for I understood navigation well, and 
being grown weary of a surgeon's employment at sea, 
which, however, I could exercise upon occasion, I took a 
skilful young man of that calling, one Robert Purefoy, into 
my ship. We set sail from Portsmouth upon the 2nd day 
of August 1710; on the I4th we met with Captain Pocock, 
of Bristol, at Teneriffe, who was going to the Bay of Cam- 
pechy, to cut logwood. On the i6th he was parted from 
us by a storm; I heard, since my return, that his ship 
foundered, and none escaped but one cabin-boy. He was 
an honest man, and a good sailor, but a little too positive 
in his own opinions, which was the cause of his destruction, 
as it hath been of several others. For, if he had followed 
my advice, he might have been safe at home with his 
family at this time, as well as myself. 

I had several men died in my ship of calentures, so that 



I was forced to get recruits out of Barbadoes, and the 
Leeward Islands, where I touched by the direction of the 
merchants who employed me ; which I had soon too much 
cause to repent; for I found afterwards that most of them 
had been buccaneers. I had fifty hands on board, and my 
orders were that I should trade with the Indians, in the 
South Sea, and make what discoveries I could. These 
rogues whom I had picked up debauched my other men, 
and they all formed a conspiracy to seize the ship, and 
secure me; which they did one morning, rushing into my 
cabin, and binding me hand and foot, threatening to throw 
me overboard if I offered to stir. I told them I was their 
prisoner, and would submit. This they made me swear to 
do, and then they unbound me, only fastening one of my 
legs with a chain near my bed, and placed a sentry at my 
door with his piece charged, who was commanded to shoot 
me dead, if I attempted my liberty. They sent me down 
victuals and drink, and took the government of the ship 
to themselves. Their design was to turn pirates, and 
plunder the Spaniards, which they could not do till they 
got more men. But first they resolved to sell the goods in 
the ship, and then go to Madagascar for recruits, several 
among them having died since my confinement. They 
sailed many weeks and traded with the Indians; but I 
knew not what course they took, being kept a close prisoner 
in my cabin, and expecting nothing less than to be 
murdered, as they often threatened me. 

Upon the Qth day of May 1711, one James Welch came 
down to my cabin, and said he had orders from the captain 
to set me ashore. I expostulated with him, but in vain; 
neither would he so much as tell me who their new captain 
was. They forced me into the long boat, letting me put on 
my best suit of clothes, which were as good as new, and a 
small bundle of linen, but no arms, except my hanger; 
and they were so civil as not to search my pockets, into 
which I conveyed what money I had, with some other little 


necessaries. They rowed about a league ; and then set me 
down on a strand. I desired them to tell me what country 
it was. They all swore they knew no more than myself, 
but said that the captain (as they called him) was resolved, 
after they had sold the lading, to get rid of me in the first 
place where they could discover land. They pushed off 
immediately, advising me to make haste, for fear of being 
overtaken by the tide, and so bade me farewell. 

In this desolate condition I advanced forward, and soon 
got upon firm ground, where I sat down on a bank to rest 
myself, and consider what I had best do. When I was a 
little refreshed, I went up into the country, resolving to 
deliver myself to the first savages I should meet, and pur- 
chase my life from them by some bracelets, glass rings, and 
other toys, which sailors usually provide themselves with 
in those voyages, and whereof I had some about me: 
the land was divided by long rows of trees, not regularly 
planted, but naturally growing; there was great plenty of 
grass, and several fields of oats. I walked very circum- 
spectly, for fear of being surprised, or suddenly shot with 
an arrow from behind, or on either side. I fell into a beaten 
road, where I saw many tracks of human feet, and some of 
cows, but most of horses. At last I beheld several animals 
in a field, and one or two of the same kind sitting in trees. 
Their shape was very singular, and deformed, which a little 
discomposed me, so that I lay down behind a thicket to 
observe them better. Some of them, coming forward near 
the place where I lay, gave me an opportunity of distinctly 
marking their form. Their heads and breasts were covered 
with a thick hair, some frizzled, and others lank; they had 
beards like goats, and a long ridge of hair down their backs 
and the fore-parts of their legs and feet; but the rest of 
their bodies were bare, so that I might see their skins, 
which were of a brown buff colour. They had no tails, and 
were accustomed to sit as well as to lie down, and often 
stood on their hind feet. They climbed high trees as 


nimbly as a squirrel, for they had strong extended claws 
before and behind, terminating in sharp points, and hooked. 
They would often spring and bound, and leap with pro- 
digious agility. The females were not so large as the males ; 
they had long lank hair on their heads, but none on their 
faces, nor anything more than a sort of down on the rest of 
their bodies. The hair of both sexes was of several colours, 
brown, red, black, and yellow. Upon the whole, I never 
beheld, in all my travels, so disagreeable an animal, nor one 
against which I naturally conceived so strong an antipathy. 
So that thinking I had seen enough, full of contempt and 
aversion, I got up, and pursued the beaten road, hoping 
it might direct me to the cabin of some Indian. I had not 
got far, when I met one of these creatures full in my way, 
and coming up directly to me. The ugly monster, when 
he saw me, distorted several ways every feature of his 
visage, and stared as at an object he had never seen before; 
then, approaching nearer, lifted up his fore-paw, whether 
out of curiosity or mischief, I could not tell. But I drew 
my hanger, and gave him a good blow with the flat side of 
it, for I durst not strike with the edge, fearing the inhabi- 
tants might be provoked against me, if they should come 
to know that I had killed or maimed any of their cattle. 
When the beast felt the smart, he drew back, and roared so 
loud, that a herd of at least forty came flocking about me 
from the next field, howling and making odious faces; but 
I ran to the body of a tree, and, leaning my back against 
it, kept them off by waving my hanger. 

In the midst of this distress, I observed them all to run 
away on a sudden as fast as they could, at which I ventured 
to leave the tree and pursue the road, wondering what it 
was that could put them into this fright. But, looking on 
my left hand, I saw a horse walking softly in the field; 
which my persecutors having sooner discovered, was the 
cause of their flight. The horse started a little when he 
came near me, but soon recovering himself looked full in my 


face, with manifest tokens of wonder: he viewed my hands 
and feet, walking round me several times. I would have 
pursued my journey, but he placed himself directly in the 
v/ay, yet looking with a very mild aspect, never offering 
the least violence. We stood gazing at each other for 
some time; at last I took the boldness to reach my hand 
towards his neck, with a design to stroke it, using the 
common style and whistle of jockeys, when they are going 
to handle a strange horse. But this animal seemed to 
receive my civilities with disdain, shook his head, and bent 
his brows, softly raising up his right fore-foot to remove my 
hand. Then he neighed three or four times, but in so 
different a cadence, that I almost began to think he was 
speaking to himself in some language of his own. 

While he and I were thus employed, another horse 
came up; who, applying himself to the first in a very formal 
manner, they gently struck each other's right hoof before, 
neighing several times by turns, and varying the sound, 
which seemed to be almost articulate. They went some 
paces off, as if it were to confer together, walking side by 
side, backward and forward, like persons deliberating upon 
some affair of weight, but often turning their eyes towards 
me, as it were to watch that I might not escape. I was 
amazed to see such actions and behaviour in brute beasts; 
and concluded with myself, that if the inhabitants of this 
country were endued with a proportionable degree of 
reason, they must needs be the wisest people upon earth. 
This thought gave me so much comfort, that I resolved to 
go forward, until I could discover some house or village, or 
meet with any of the natives; leaving the two horses to 
discourse together as they pleased. But the first, who was 
a dapple-grey, observing me to steal off, neighed after me 
in so expressive a tone, that I fancied myself to understand 
what he meant; whereupon I turned back, and came near 
him, to expect his further commands, but concealing my 
fear as much as I could; for I began to be in some pain how 


this adventure might terminate ; and the reader will easily 
believe I did not much like my present situation. 

The two horses came up close to me, looking with great 
earnestness upon my face and hands. The grey steed 
rubbed my hat all round with his right fore-hoof, and dis- 
composed it so much, that I was forced to adjust it better, 
by taking it off, and settling it again; whereat both he and 
his companion (who was a brown bay) appeared to be much 
surprised ; the latter felt the lappet of my coat, and, finding 
it to hang loose about me, they both looked with signs of 
wonder. He stroked my right hand, seeming to admire the 
softness and colour; but he squeezed it so hard between his 
hoof and his pastern, that I was forced to roar; after which 
they both touched me with all possible tenderness. They 
were under great perplexity about my shoes and stockings, 
which they felt very often, neighing to each other, and 
using various gestures, not unlike those of a philosopher, 
when he would attempt to solve some new and difficult 

Upon the whole, the behaviour of these animals was so 
orderly and rational, so acute and judicious, that I at last 
concluded they must needs be magicians, who had thus 
metamorphosed themselves upon some design, and seeing a 
stranger in the way, were resolved to divert themselves 
with him ; or, perhaps, were really amazed at the sight of a 
man so very different in habit, feature, and complexion 
from those who might probably live in so remote a climate. 
Upon the strength of this reasoning, I ventured to address 
them in the following manner: : ' Gentlemen, if you be 
conjurers, as I have good cause to believe, you can under- 
stand any language; therefore, I make bold to let your 
worships know, that I am a poor distressed Englishman, 
driven by his misfortunes upon your coast, and I entreat 
one of you to let me ride upon his back, as if he were a real 
horse, to some house or village, where I can be relieved. 
In return of which favour, I will make you a present of this 


knife and bracelet " (taking them out of my pocket). The 
two creatures stood silent while I spoke, seeming to listen 
with great attention ; and, when I had ended, they neighed 
frequently towards each other, as if they were engaged 
in serious conversation. I plainly observed, that their 
language expressed the passions very well, and the words 
might with little pains be resolved into an alphabet, more 
easily than the Chinese. 

I could frequently distinguish the word Yahoo, which 
was repeated by each of them several times; and, although 
it was impossible for me to conjecture what it meant, yet, 
while the two horses were busy in conversation, I en- 
deavoured to practise this word upon my tongue; and, as 
soon as they were silent, I boldly pronounced Yahoo, in a 
loud voice, imitating, at the same time, as near as I could, 
the neighing of a horse; at which they were both visibly 
surprised, and the grey repeated the same word twice, as if 
he meant to teach me the right accent, wherein I spoke 
after him as well as I could, and found myself perceivably 
to improve every time, though far from any degree of per- 
fection. Then the bay tried me with a second word, much 
harder to be pronounced; but, reducing it to the English 
orthography, may be spelt thus, Houyhnhnm. I did not 
succeed in this so well as the former; but, after two or 
three farther trials, I had better fortune; and they both 
appeared amazed at my capacity. 

After some farther discourse, which I then conjectured 
might relate to me, the two friends took their leaves, with 
the same compliment of striking each other's hoof; and the 
grey made me signs that I should walk before him ; wherein 
I thought it prudent to comply, till I could find a better 
director. When I offered to slacken my pace, he would 
cry Hhuun, Hhuun ; I guessed his meaning, and gave him 
to understand, as well as I could, that I was weary, and 
not able to walk faster; upon which he would stand a 
while to let me rest. 


HAVING travelled about three miles, we came to a long kind 
of building, made of timber, stuck in the ground, and 
wattled across; the roof was low, and covered with straw. 
I now began to be a little comforted; and took out some 
toys, which travellers usually carry for presents to the 
savage Indians of America, and other parts, in hopes the 
people of the house would be thereby encouraged to receive 
me kindly. The horse made me a sign to go in first; it 
was a large room with a smooth clay floor, and a rack and 
manger, extending the whole length on one side. There 
were three nags and two mares, not eating, but some of 
them sitting down upon their hams, which I very much 
wondered at; but wondered more to see the rest employed 
in domestic business. These seemed but ordinary cattle; 
however, this confirmed my first opinion, that a people who 
could so far civilise brute animals, must needs excel in 
wisdom all the nations of the world. The grey came in 
just after, and thereby prevented any ill treatment which 
the others might have given me. He neighed to them 
several times in a style of authority, and received answers. 
Beyond this room there were three others, reaching the 
length of the house, to which you passed through the 
doors, opposite to each other, in the manner of a vista; we 
went through the second room towards the third; here the 
grey walked in first, beckoning me to attend; I waited in 
the second room, and got ready my presents for the master 
and mistress of the house: they were two knives, three 
bracelets of false pearl, a small looking-glass, and a bead 
necklace. The horse neighed three or four times, and I 
waited to hear some answers in a human voice, but I 



observed no other returns than in the same dialect, only 
one or two a little shriller than his. I began to think that 
this house must belong to some person of great note among 
them, because there appeared so much ceremony before I 
could gain admittance. But that a man of quality should 
be served all by horses, was beyond my comprehension. I 
feared my brain was disturbed by my sufferings and mis- 
fortunes : I roused myself, and looked about me in the room 
where I was left alone; this was furnished like the first, 
only after a more elegant manner. I rubbed my eyes 
often, but the same objects still occurred. I pinched my 
arms and sides, to awake myself, hoping I might be in a 
dream. I then absolutely concluded that all these appear- 
ances could be nothing else but necromancy and magic. 
But I had no time to pursue these reflections; for the grey 
horse came to the door, and made me a sign to follow him 
into the third room; where I saw a very comely mare, 
together with a colt and foal, sitting on their haunches, 
upon mats of straw, not unartfu'ly made, and perfectly 
neat and clean. 

The mare, soon after my entrance, rose from her mat, 
and coming up close, after having nicely observed my hands 
and face, gave me a most contemptuous look; then, turn- 
ing to the horse, I heard the word Yahoo often repeated 
betwixt them; the meaning of which word I could not then 
comprehend, although it were the first I had learned to 
pronounce; but I was soon better informed, to my ever- 
lasting mortification: for the horse beckoning to me with 
his head, and repeating the word Hhuun, Hhunn, as he did 
upon the road, which I understood was to attend him, led 
me out into a kind of court, where was another building at 
some distance from the house. Here we entered, and I 
saw three of those detestable creatures whom I first met 
after my landing, feeding upon roots, and the flesh of some 
animals, which I afterwards found to be that of asses and 
dogs, and now and then a cow dead by accident or disease. 


They were all tied by the neck with strong withes, fastened 
to a beam ; they held their food between the claws of their 
fore-feet, and tore it with their teeth. 

The master horse ordered a sorrel nag, one of his 
servants, to untie the largest of these animals, and take 
him into the yard. The beast and I were brought close 
together; and our countenances diligently compared, both 
by master and servant, who thereupon repeated several 
times the word Yahoo. My horror and astonishment are 
not to be described, when I observed in this abominable 
animal a perfect human figure; the face of it, indeed, was 
flat and broad, the nose depressed, the lips large, and the 
mouth wide: but these differences are common to all 
savage nations, where the lineaments of the countenance 
are distorted, by the natives suffering their infants to lie 
grovelling on the earth, or by carrying them on their backs, 
nuzzling with their face against the mother's shoulders. 
The fore-feet of the Yahoo differed from my hands in 
nothing else but the length of the nails, the coarseness and 
brownness of the palms, and the hairiness on the backs. 
There was the same resemblance between our feet, with the 
same differences, which I knew very well, though the horses 
did not, because of my shoes and stockings; the same in 
every part of our bodies, except as to hairiness and colour, 
which I have already described. 

The great difficulty that seemed to stick with the two 
horses was, to see the rest of my body so very different from 
that of a Yahoo, for which I was obliged to my clothes, 
whereof they had no conception : the sorrel nag offered me 
a root, which he held (after their manner, as we shall de- 
scribe in its proper place) between his hoof and pastern; I 
took it in my hand, and, having smelt it, returned it to him 
again as civilly as I could. He brought out of the Yahoo's 
kennel a piece of ass's flesh, but it smelt so offensively, that 
I turned from it with loathing; he then threw it to the 
Yahoo, by whom it was greedily devoured. He afterwards 


shewed me a wisp of hay, and a fetlock full of oats; but I 
shook my head, to signify that neither of these were food 
for me. And, indeed, I now apprehended that I must 
absolutely starve, if I did not get to some of my own 
species: for as to those filthy Yahoos, although there were 
few greater lovers of mankind, at that time, than myself, 
yet, I confess, I never saw any sensitive being so detestable 
on all accounts; and the more I came near them, the more 
hateful they grew, while I stayed in that country. This 
the master horse observed by my behaviour, and therefore 
sent the Yahoo back to his kennel. He then put his fore- 
hoof to his mouth, at which I was much surprised, although 
he did it with ease, and with a motion that appeared per- 
fectly natural ; and made other signs to know what I would 
eat; but I could not return him such an answer as he was 
able to apprehend; and, if he had understood me, I did not 
see how it was possible to contrive any way for finding 
myself nourishment. While we were thus engaged, I 
observed a cow passing by, whereupon I pointed to her, and 
expressed a desire to let me go and milk her. This had its 
effect; for he led me back into the house, and ordered a 
mare servant to open a room, where a good store of milk 
lay in earthen and wooden vessels, after a very orderly and 
cleanly manner. She gave me a large bowl full, of which 
I drank very heartily, and found myself well refreshed. 

About noon, I saw coming towards the house a kind of 
vehicle, drawn, like a sledge, by four Yahoos. There was 
in it an old steed, who seemed to be of quality ; he alighted 
with his hind-feet forward, having by accident got a hurt 
in his fore-foot. He came to dine with our horse, who 
received him with great civility. They dined in the best 
room, and had oats boiled in milk for the second course, 
which the old horse eat warm, but the rest cold. Their 
mangers were placed circular in the middle of the room, 
and divided into several partitions, round which they sat 
on their haunches upon bosses of straw. In the middle was 


a large rack, with angles answering to every partition of 
the manger; so that each horse and mare eat their own 
hay, and their own mash of oats and milk, with much 
decency and regularity. The behaviour of the young colt 
and foal appeared very modest; and that of the master 
and mistress extremely cheerful and complaisant to their 
guest. The grey ordered me to stand by him; and much 
discourse passed between him and his friend concerning 
me, as I found by the stranger's often looking on me, and 
the frequent repetition of the word Yahoo. 

I happened to wear my gloves, which the master grey 
observing, seemed perplexed, discovering signs of wonder 
what I had done to my fore-feet; he put his hoof three or 
four times to them, as if he would signify, that I should 
reduce them to their former shape, which I presently did, 
pulling off both my gloves, and putting them into my 
pocket. This occasioned farther talk, and I saw the com- 
pany was pleased with my behaviour, whereof I soon found 
the good effects. I was ordered to speak the few words I 
understood; and while they were at dinner, the master 
taught me the names for oats, milk, fire, water, and some 
others; which I could readily pronounce after him, having 
from my youth a great facility in learning languages. 

When dinner was done, the master horse took me aside, 
and by signs and words, made me understand the concern 
that he was in, that I had nothing to eat. Oats, in their 
tongue, are called hluunh. This word I pronounced two or 
three times; for although I had refused them at first, yet, 
upon second thoughts, I considered that I could contrive 
to make of them a kind of bread, which might be sufficient, 
with milk, to keep me alive, till I could make my escape 
to some other country, and to creatures of my own species. 
The horse immediately ordered a white mare servant, of 
his family, to bring me a good quantity of oats, in a sort of 
wooden tray These I heated before the fire, as well as I 
could, and rubbed them till the husks came off, which I 


made a shift to winnow from the grain ; I ground and beat 
them between two stones, then took water, and made them 
into a paste or cake, which I toasted at the fire, and ate 
warm with milk. It was at first a very insipid diet, though 
common enough in many parts of Europe, but grew toler- 
able by time; and, having been often reduced to hard fare 
in my life, this was not the first experiment I had made, 
how easily nature is satisfied. And I cannot but observe, 
that I never had one hour's sickness while I stayed in this 
island. It is true, I sometimes made a shift to catch a 
rabbit, or bird, by springs made of Yahoo's hairs; and I 
often gathered wholesome herbs, which I boiled, or eat as 
salads with my bread; and now and then for a rarity I 
made a little butter, and drank the whey. I was at first at 
a great loss for salt ; but custom soon reconciled me to the 
want of it; and I am confident that the frequent use of 
salt among us is an effect of luxury, and was first intro- 
duced only as a provocative to drink; except where it is 
necessary for preserving flesh in long voyages, or in places 
remote from great markets. For we observe no animal to 
be fond of it but man: and as to myself, when I left this 
country, it was a great while before I could endure the taste 
of it in anything that I ate. 

This is enough to say upon the subject of my diet, where- 
with other travellers fill their books, as if the readers were 
personally concerned, whether we fared well or ill. How- 
ever, it was necessary to mention this matter, lest the world 
should think it impossible that I could find sustenance for 
three years in such a country, and among such inhabitants. 

When it grew towards evening, the master horse ordered 
a place for me to lodge in; it was but six yards from the 
house, and separated from the stable of the Yahoos. Here 
I got some straw, and, covering myself with my own clothes, 
slept very sound. But I was in a short time better accom- 
modated, as the reader shall know hereafter, when I come 
to treat more particularly about my way of living. 


MY principal endeavour was to learn the language, which 
my master (for so I shall henceforth call him) and his 
children, and every servant of his house were desirous to 
teach me. For they looked upon it as a prodigy, that a 
brute animal should discover such marks of a rational 
creature. I pointed to everything, and inquired the name 
of it, which I wrote down in my journal-book when I was 
alone, and corrected my bad accent by desiring those of the 
family to pronounce it often. In this employment a sorrel 
nag, one of the under servants, was ready to assist me. 

In speaking, they pronounce through the nose and throat, 
and their language approaches nearest to the High-Dutch, or 
German, of any I know in Europe, but is much more grace- 
ful and significant. The Emperor Charles V. made almost 
the same observation, when he said, that, if he were to 
speak to his horse, it should be in High-Dutch. 

The curiosity and impatience of my master were so 
great, that he spent many hours of his leisure to instruct 
me. He was convinced (as he afterwards told me) that I 
must be a Yahoo; but my teachableness, civility, and 
cleanliness astonished him; which were qualities altogether 
so opposite to those animals. He was most perplexed 
about my clothes, reasoning sometimes with himself, 
whether they were a part of my body; for I never pulled 
them off till the family were asleep, and got them on before 
they waked in the morning. My master was eager to learn 
from whence I came; how I acquired those appearances 
of reason, which I discovered in all my actions; and to 
know my story from my own mouth, which he hoped he 
should soon do, by the great proficiency I made in learning 



and pronouncing their words and sentences. To help my 
memory, I formed all I learned into the English alphabet, 
and writ the words down, with the translations. This last, 
after some time, I ventured to do in my master's presence. 
It cost me much trouble to explain to him what I was 
doing; for the inhabitants have not the least idea of books 
or literature. 

In about ten weeks' time, I was able to understand most 
of his questions; and in three months could give him some 
tolerable answers. He was extremely curious to know 
from what part of the country I came, and how I was 
taught to imitate a rational creature; because the Yahoos 
(whom he saw I exactly resembled in my head, hands, and 
face, that were only visible) with some appearance of 
cunning, and the strongest disposition to mischief, were 
observed to be the most unteachable of all brutes. I 
answered, that I came over the sea, from a far place, with 
many others of my own kind, in a great hollow vessel made 
of the bodies of trees; that my companions forced me to 
land on this coast, and then left me to shift for myself. It 
was with some difficulty, and by the help of many signs, 
that I brought him to understand me. He replied that I 
must needs be mistaken, or that I said the thing which was 
not (for they have no word in their language to express 
lying or falsehood). He knew it was impossible that there 
could be a country beyond the sea, or that a parcel of brutes 
could move a wooden vessel whither they pleased upon 
water. He was sure no Houyhnhnm alive could make 
such a vessel, nor would trust Yahoos to manage it. 

The word Houyhnhnm, in their tongue, signifies a horse, 
and in its etymology, the perfection of nature. I told my 
master that I was at a loss for expression, but would im- 
prove as fast as I could; and hoped in a short time I should 
be able to tell him wonders: he was pleased to direct his 
own mare, his colt, and foal, and the servants of the family, 
to take all opportunities of instructing me; and every day, 



for two or three hours, he was at the same pains himself. 
Several horses and mares of quality, in the neighbourhood, 
came often to our house, upon the report spread of a won- 
derful Yahoo, that could speak like a Houyhnhnm, and 
seemed, in his words and actions, to discover some glimmer- 
ings of reason. These delighted to converse with me ; they 
put many questions, and received such answers as I was 
able to return. By all these advantages, I made so great a 
progress that, in five months from my arrival, I understood 
whatever was spoken, and could express myself tolerably 

The Houyhnhnms who came to visit my master, out 
of a design of seeking and talking with me, could hardly 
believe me to be a right Yahoo, because my body had 
a different covering from others of my kind. They were 
astonished to observe me without the usual hair, or skin, 
except on my head, face and hands; but I discovered that 
secret to my master, upon an accident, which happened 
about a fortnight before. 

I have already told the reader, that every night when 
the family were gone to bed, it was my custom to strip, and 
cover myself with my clothes: it happened one morning 
early, that my master sent for me, by the sorrel nag, who 
was his valet; when he came, I was fast asleep, my clothes 
fallen off on one side, and my shirt above my waist. I 
awaked at the noise he made, and observed him to deliver 
his message in some disorder; after which he went to my 
master, and in a great fright gave him a very confused 
account of what he had seen: this I presently discovered; 
for going as soon as I was dressed, to pay my attendance 
upon his honour, he asked me the meaning of what his 
servant had reported; that I was not the same thing when 
I slept, as I appeared to be at other times; that his valet 
assured him some part of me was white, some yellow, at 
least not so white, and some brown. 

I had hitherto concealed the secret of my dress, in order 


to distinguish myself, as much as possible, from that cursed 
race of Yahoos; but now I found it in vain to do so any 
longer. Besides, I considered that my clothes and shoes 
would soon wear out, which already were in a declining 
condition, and must be supplied by some contrivance from 
the hides of Yahoos, or other brutes; whereby the whole 
secret would be known: I therefore told my master that, 
in the country from whence I came, those of my kind 
always covered their bodies with the hairs of certain 
animals prepared by art, as well for decency, as to avoid 
the inclemencies of air both hot and cold; of which, as to 
my own person, I would give him immediate conviction, if 
he pleased to command me. Whereupon, I first unbuttoned 
my coat, and pulled it off. I did the same with my waist- 
coat; I drew off my shoes, stockings, and breeches. 

My master observed the whole performance with great 
signs of curiosity and admiration. He took up all my 
clothes in his pastern, one piece after another, and examined 
them diligently; he stroked my body very gently, and 
looked round me several times, after which he said, it was 
plain I must be a perfect Yahoo; but that I differed very 
much from the rest of my species, in the softness, and 
whiteness, and smoothness of my skin, my want of hair in 
several parts of my body, the shape and shortness of my 
claws behind and before, and my affectation of walking 
continually on my two hinder feet. He desired to see no 
more; and gave me leave to put on my clothes again, for 
I was shuddering with cold. 

I expressed my uneasiness at his giving me so often the 
appellation of Yahoo, an odious animal, for which I had so 
utter an hatred and contempt: I begged he would forbear 
applying that word to me, and make the same order in his 
family, and among his friends, whom he suffered to see me. 
I requested, likewise, that the secret of my having a false 
covering to my body might be known to none but himself, 
at least, so long as my present clothing should last ; for as 


to what the sorrel nag, his valet, had observed, his honour 
might command him to conceal it. 

All this my master very graciously consented to, and 
thus the secret was kept till my clothes began to wear out, 
which I was forced to supply by several contrivances, that 
shall hereafter be mentioned. In the meantime, he desired 
I would go on with my utmost diligence to learn their 
language, because he was more astonished at my capacity 
for speech and reason, than at the figure of my body, 
whether it were covered or no ; adding, that he waited with 
some impatience to hear the wonders which I promised to 
tell him. 

From thenceforward he doubled the pains he had been 
at to instruct me; he brought me into all company, and 
made them treat me with civility, because, as he told them 
privately, this would put me into good humour, and make 
me more diverting. 

Every day, when I waited on him, besides the trouble 
he was at in teaching, he would ask me several questions 
concerning myself, which I answered as well as I could ; and 
by these means he had already received some general ideas, 
though very imperfect. It would be tedious to relate the 
several steps by which I advanced to a more regular con- 
versation: but the first account I gave of myself, in any 
order and length, was to this purpose: 

That I came from a very far country, as I already had 
attempted to tell him, with about fifty more of my own 
species; that we travelled upon the seas in a great hollow 
vessel made of wood, and larger than his honour's house. 
I described the ship to him in the best terms I could, and 
explained, by the help of my handkerchief displayed, how 
it was driven forward by the wind. That, upon a quarrel 
among us, I was set on shore on this coast, where I walked 
forward, without knowing whither, till he delivered me from 
the persecution of those execrable Yahoos. He asked me 
who made the ship, and how it was possible that the 


Houyhnhnms of my country would leave it to the manage- 
ment of brutes? My answer was, that I durst proceed no 
further in my relation unless he would give me his word 
and honour that he would not be offended, and then I would 
tell him the wonders I had so often promised. He agreed, 
and I went on, by assuring him that the ship was made 
by creatures like myself, who in all the countries I had 
travelled, as well as in my own, were the only governing, 
rational animals; and that, upon my arrival hither, I was 
as much astonished to see the Houyhnhnms act like rational 
beings, as he or his friends could be in finding some marks 
of reason in a creature he was pleased to call a Yahoo; to 
which I owned my resemblance in every part, but could 
not account for their degenerate and brutal nature. I said 
further, that if good fortune ever restored me to my native 
country, to relate my travels hither, as I resolved to do, 
everybody would believe that I said the thing which was 
not; that I invented the story out of my own head; and, 
with all possible respect to himself, his family, and friends, 
and under his promise of not being offended, our country- 
men would hardly think it probable that a Houyhnhnm 
should be the presiding creature of a nation, and a Yahoo 
the brute. 


MY master heard me with great appearances of uneasiness 
in his countenance ; because doubting, or not believing, are 
so little known in this country, that the inhabitants cannot 
tell how to behave themselves under such circumstances. 
And I remember, in frequent discourses with my master 
concerning the nature of manhood in other parts of the 
world, having occasion to talk of lying, and false represen- 
tation, it was with much difficulty that he comprehended 
what I meant; although he had otherwise a most acute 
judgment. For he argued thus: that the use of speech 
was to make us understand one another, and to receive 
information of facts; now, if any one said the thing that 
was not, these ends were defeated; because I cannot 
properly be said to understand him; and I am so far from 
receiving information that he leaves me worse than in 
ignorance, for I am led to believe a thing black when it is 
white, and short when it is long. And these were all the 
notions he had concerning that faculty of lying, so per- 
fectly well understood, and so universally practised, among 
human creatures. 

To return from this digression; when I asserted that 
the Yahoos were the only governing animals in my country, 
which, my master said, was altogether past his conception, 
he desired to know whether we had Houyhnhnms among 
us, and what was their employment. I told him, we had 
great numbers; that in summer they grazed in the fields 
and in winter were kept in houses, with hay and oats, where 
Yahoo servants were employed to rub their skins smooth, 
comb their manes, pick their feet, serve them with food, 
and make their beds. " I understand you well," said my 



master; ' it is now very plain, from all you have spoken, 
that, whatever share of reason the Yahoos pretend to, the 
Houyhnhnms are your masters ; I heartily wish our Yahoos 
would be so tractable." I begged his honour would please 
to excuse me from proceeding any further, because I was 
very certain that the account he expected from me would 
be highly displeasing. But he insisted in commanding me 
to let him know the best and the worst: I told him, he 
should be obeyed. I owned, that the Houyhnhnms among 
us, whom we called horses, were the most generous and 
comely animal we had; that they excelled in strength and 
swiftness; and when they belonged to persons of quality, 
employed in travelling, racing, or drawing chariots, they 
were treated with much kindness and care, till they fell into 
diseases, or became foundered in the feet; but then they 
were sold, and used to all kind of drudgery, till they died; 
after which their skins were stripped, and sold for what 
they were worth, and their bodies left to be devoured by 
dogs and birds of prey. But the common race of horses 
had not so good fortune, being kept by farmers and carriers, 
and other mean people, who put them to greater labour, 
and fed them worse. I described, as well as I could, our 
way of riding; the shape and use of a bridle, a saddle, a 
spur, and a whip; of harness and wheels. I added, that 
we fastened plates of a certain hard substance, called iron, 
at the bottom of their feet, to preserve their hoofs from 
being broken by the stony ways on which we often travelled. 
My master, after some expressions of great indignation, 
wondered how we dared to venture upon a Houyhnhnm's 
back; for he was sure, that the weakest servant in his house 
would be able to shake off the strongest Yahoo; or by 
lying down, and rolling on his back, squeeze the brute to 
death. I answered, that our horses were trained up from 
three or four years old, to the several uses we intended 
them for; that, if any of them proved intolerably vicious, 
they were employed for carriages; that they were severely 


beaten, while they were young, for any mischievous tricks; 
that they were, indeed, sensible of rewards and punish- 
ments: but his honour would please to consider, that they 
had not the least tincture of reason, any more than the 
Yahoos in this country. 

It put me to the pains of many circumlocutions to give 
my master a right idea of what I spoke ; for their language 
doth not abound in variety of words, because their wants 
and passions are fewer than among us. But it is impos- 
sible to represent his noble resentment at our savage treat- 
ment of the Houyhnhnm race. He said, if it were possible 
there could be any country where Yahoos alone were 
endued with reason, they certainly must be the governing 
animal; because reason will in time always prevail against 
brutal strength. But, considering the frame of our bodies, 
and especially of mine, he thought no creature of equal 
bulk was so ill contrived for employing that reason in the 
common offices of life; whereupon, he desired to know 
whether those among whom I lived resembled me, or the 
Yahoos of his country. I assured him, that I was as well 
shaped as most of my age: but the younger, and the 
females, were much more soft and tender, and the skins of 
the latter, generally as white as milk. He said I differed, 
indeed, from other Yahoos, being much more cleanly, and 
not altogether so deformed; but in point of real advantage, 
he thought I differed for the worse. That my nails were 
of no use, either to my fore or hinder- feet; as to my fore- 
feet, he could not properly call them by that name, for he 
never observed me to walk upon them; that they were too 
soft to bear the ground; that I generally went with them 
uncovered, neither was the covering I sometimes wore on 
them of the same shape, or so strong as that on my feet 
behind. That I could not walk with any security, for, if 
either of my hinder-feet slipped, I must inevitably fall. He 
then began to find fault with other parts of my body; the 
flatness of my face, the prominence of my nose, mine eyes 


placed directly in front, so that I could not look on either 
side without turning my head; that I was not able to feed 
myself, without lifting one of my fore-feet to my mouth; 
and therefore Nature had placed those joints to answer 
that necessity. He knew not what could be the use of those 
several clefts and divisions in my feet behind; that these 
were too soft to bear the hardness and sharpness of stones, 
without a covering made from the skin of some other brute ; 
that my whole body wanted a fence against heat and cold, 
which I was forced to put on and off every day with tedious - 
ness and trouble. And lastly, that he observed every animal 
in this country naturally to abhor the Yahoos, whom the 
weaker avoided, and the stronger drove from them. So 
that supposing us to have the gift of reason, he could not 
see how it were possible to cure that natural antipathy which 
every creature discovered against us; nor consequently, 
how we could tame and render them serviceable. However, 
he would (as he said) debate the matter no farther, because 
he was more desirous to know my own story, the country 
where I was born, and the several actions and events of 
my life before I came hither. 

I assured him, how extremely desirous I was that he 
should be satisfied in every point; but I doubted much, 
whether it would be possible for me to explain myself on 
several subjects whereof his honour could have no concep- 
tion, because I saw nothing in his country to which I could 
resemble them. That, however, I would do my best, and 
strive to express myself by similitudes, humbly desiring his 
assistance when I wanted proper words; which he was 
pleased to promise me. 

I said my birth was of honest parents, in an island called 
England, which was remote from this country, as many days' 
journey as the strongest of his honour's servants could 
travel in the annual course of the sun. That I was bred a 
surgeon, whose trade it is to cure wounds and hurts in the 
body, got by accident or violence. That my country was 


governed by a female man, called a queen. That I left 
it to get riches, whereby I might maintain myself and family 
when I should return. That, in my last voyage, I was 
commander of the ship, and had about fifty Yahoos under 
me, many of which died at sea, and I was forced to supply 
them by others, picked out from several nations. That 
our ship was twice in danger of being sunk; the first time 
by a great storm, and the second, by striking against a rock. 
Here my master interposed, by asking me how I could 
persuade strangers out of different countries to venture 
with me, after the losses I had sustained, and the hazards I 
had run. I said they were fellows of desperate fortunes, 
forced to fly from the places of their birth, on account of 
their poverty or their crimes. Some were undone by law- 
suits; others spent all they had in drinking and gaming; 
others fled for treason; many for murder, theft, poisoning, 
robbery, perjury, forgery, coining false money, for flying 
from their colours, or deserting to the enemy; and most 
of them had broken prison; none of these durst return to 
their native countries for fear of being hanged, or of starving 
in a jail; and, therefore, were under a necessity of seeking 
a livelihood in other places. 

During this discourse, my master was pleased to interrupt 
me several times ; I had made use of many circumlocutions, 
in describing to him the nature of several crimes, for which 
most of our crew had been forced to fly their country. This 
labour took up several days' conversation, before he was 
able to comprehend me. He was wholly at a loss to know 
what could be the use or necessity of practising those vices. 
To clear up which, I endeavoured to give him some ideas of 
the desire of power and riches; of the terrible effects of 
lust, intemperance, malice and envy. All this I was forced 
to define and describe, by putting cases, and making sup- 
positions. After which, like one whose imagination was 
struck with something never seen or heard of before, he 
would lift up his eyes with amazement and indignation. 


Power, government, war, law, punishment, and a thousand 
other things had no terms wherein that language could 
express them ; which made the difficulty almost insuperable 
to give my master any conception of what I meant. But 
being of an excellent understanding, much improved by 
contemplation and converse, he at last arrived at a com- 
petent knowledge of what human nature, in our parts of 
the world, is capable to perform, and desired I would give 
him some particular account of that land which we call 
Europe, but especially of my own country. 


THE reader may please to observe, that the following extract 
of many conversations I had with my master, contains a 
summary of the most material points, which were discoursed 
at several times, for above two years; his honour often 
desiring fuller satisfaction, as I farther improved in the 
Houyhnhnm tongue. 7 laid before him, as well as I could, 
the whole state of Europe; I discoursed of trade and 
manufactures, of arts and sciences; and the answers I 
gave to all the questions he made, as they arose upon several 
subjects, were a fund of conversation not to be exhausted. 
But I shall here only set down the substance of what passed 
between us concerning my own country, reducing it into 
order as well as I can, without any regard to time, or other 
circumstances, while I strictly adhere to truth. My only 
concern is, that I shall hardly be able to do justice to my 
master's arguments and expressions, which must needs 
suffer by my want of capacity, as well as by a translation 
into our barbarous English. 

In obedience, therefore, to his honour's commands 1 
related to him the revolution under the Prince of Orange; 
the long war with France entered into by the said Prince, 
and renewed by his successor the present Queen, wherein 
the greatest powers of Christendom were engaged, and which 
still continued: I computed, at his request, that about a 
million of Yahoos might have been killed in the whole 
progress of it; and, perhaps, a hundred or more cities 
taken, and five times as many ships burnt or sunk. 

He asked me what were the usual causes or motives that 
made one country go to war with another. I answered, they 



were innumerable; but I should only mention a few of 
the chief. Sometimes the ambition of princes, who never 
think they have land or people enough to govern; some- 
times the corruption of ministers, who engage their master 
in a war, in order to stifle or divert the clamour of the subjects 
against their evil administration. Difference in opinion hath 
cost many millions of lives: for instance, whether whistling 
be a vice or virtue; whether it be better to kiss a post, or 
throw it into the fire; what is the best colour for a coat, 
whether black, white, red, or grey; and whether it should 
be long or short, narrow or wide, dirty or clean, with many 
more. Neither are any wars so furious and bloody, or of 
so long continuance, as those occasioned by difference in 
opinion, especially if it be in things indifferent. 

Sometimes the quarrel between two princes is to decide 
which of them shall dispossess a third of his dominions, 
where neither of them pretend to any right. Sometimes 
one prince quarrelleth with another, for fear the other should 
quarrel with him. Sometimes a war is entered upon because 
the enemy is too strong; and sometimes because he is too 
weak. Sometimes our neighbours want the things which 
we have, or have the things which we want; and we both 
fight, till they take ours, or give us theirs. It is a very 
justifiable cause of a war, to invade a country, after the 
people have been wasted by famine, destroyed by pestilence, 
or embroiled by factions among themselves. It is justifiable 
to enter into war against our nearest ally, when one of his 
towns lies convenient for us, or a territory of land that would 
render our dominions round and complete. If a prince sends 
forces into a nation, where the people are poor and ignorant, 
he may lawfully put half of them to death, and make slaves 
of the rest, in order to civilise and reduce them from their 
barbarous way of living. It is a very kingly, honourable, 
and frequent practice when one prince desires the assist- 
ance of another to secure him against an invasion, that the 
assistant, when he hath driven out the invader, should seize 


on the dominions himself, and kill, imprison, or banish the 
prince he came to relieve. Alliance by blood, or marriage, is 
a frequent cause of war between princes; and the nearer 
the kindred is, the greater is their disposition to quarrel: 
poor nations are hungry, and rich nations are proud; and 
pride and hunger will ever be at variance. For these reasons 
the trade of a soldier is held the most honourable of all 
others: because a soldier is a Yahoo hired to kill in cold 
blood as many of his own species, who had never offended 
him, as possibly he can. 

There is, likewise, a kind of beggarly princes in Europe, 
not able to make war by themselves, who hire out their 
troops to richer nations, for so much a day to each man; 
of which they keep three-fourths to themselves, and it is 
the best part of their maintenance; such are those in 
Germany and other northern parts of Europe. 

" What you have told me " (said my master) " upon the 
subject of war, does, indeed, discover most admirably the 
defects of that reason you pretend to : however, it is happy 
that the shame is greater than the danger; and that Nature 
hath left you utterly incapable of doing much mischief. 

" For, your mouths lying flat with your faces, you can 
hardly bite each other to any purpose, unless by consent. 
Then as to the claws upon your feet before and behind, they 
are so short and tender, that one of our Yahoos would drive 
a dozen of yours before him. And, therefore, in recounting 
the numbers of those who have been killed in battle, I cannot 
but think that you have said the thing which is not." 

I could not forbear shaking my head, and smiling a little 
at his ignorance. And, being no stranger to the art of war, 
I gave him a description of cannons, culverins, muskets, 
carbines, pistols, bullets, powder, swords, bayonets, battles, 
sieges, retreats, attacks, undermines, countermines, bom- 
bardments, sea-fights; ships sunk with a thousand men; 
twenty thousand killed on each side; dying groans, limbs 
flying in the air; smoke, noise, confusion, trampling to death 


under horses' feet; flight, pursuit, victory; fields strpwed 
with carcases, left for food to dogs and wolves, and birds 
of prey; plundering, stripping, ravishing, burning, and 
destroying. And, to set forth the valour of my own 
dear countrymen, I assured him that I had seen them 
blow up a hundred enemies at once in a siege, and as 
many in a ship; and beheld the dead bodies come down 
in pieces from the clouds to the great diversion of the 

I was going on to more particulars when my master 
commanded me silence. He said, whoever understood the 
nature of Yahoos might easily believe it possible for so vile 
an animal, to be capable of every action I had named, if 
their strength and cunning equalled their malice. But as 
my discourse had increased his abhorrence of the whole 
species, so he found it gave him a disturbance in his mind, 
to which he was wholly a stranger before. He thought his 
ears, being used to such abominable words, might, by 
degrees, admit them with less detestation. That although 
he hated the Yahoos of this country, yet he no more blamed 
them for their odious qualities, than he did a gnnayh (a 
bird of prey) for its cruelty, or a sharp stone for cutting his 
hoof. But when a creature, pretending to reason, could be 
capable of such enormities, he dreaded lest the corruption 
of that faculty might be worse than brutality itself. He 
seemed therefore confident that, instead of reason, we were 
only possessed of some quality fitted to increase our natural 
vices; as the reflection from a troubled stream returns 
the image of an ill-shapen body, not only larger, but more 

He added, that he had heard too much upon the subject 
of war, both in this, and some former discourses. There 
was another point which a little perplexed him at present. 
I had informed him that some of our crew left their country 
on account of being ruined by law; that I had already 
explained the meaning of the word; but he was at a 


loss how it should come to pass that the law, which 
was intended for every man's preservation, should be any 
man's ruin. Therefore he desired to be further satisfied 
what I meant by law, and the dispensers thereof, according 
to the present practice in my own country; because he 
thought Nature and reason were sufficient guides for a 
reasonable animal, as we pretended to be, in showing us 
what we ought to do, and what to avoid. 

I assured his honour that law was a science in which 
I had not much conversed, further than by employing 
advocates in vain, upon some injustices that had been 
done me; however, I would give him all the satisfaction 
I was able. 

I said, there was a society of men among us, bred up from 
their youth in the art of proving by words multiplied for the 
purpose, that white is black, and black is white, according 
as they are paid. ' To this society all the rest of the people 
are slaves. For example, if my neighbour hath a mind to my 
cow, he hires a lawyer to prove that he ought to have my 
cow from me. I must then hire another to defend my right, 
it being against all rules of law that any man should be 
allowed to speak for himself. Now, in this case, I, who am 
the right owner, lie under two disadvantages; first, my 
lawyer, being practised almost from his cradle in defending 
falsehood, is quite out of his element, when he would be an 
advocate for justice, which is an unnatural office he always 
attempts with great awkwardness, if not with ill-will. The 
second disadvantage is, that my lawyer must proceed with 
great caution, or else he will be reprimanded by the judges, 
and abhorred by his brethren, as one that would lessen the 
practice of the law. And therefore I have but two methods 
to preserve my cow. The first is to gain over my adversary's 
lawyer with a double fee; who will then betray his client, 
by insinuating that he hath justice on his side. The second 
way is for my lawyer to make my cause appear as unjust 
as he can, by allowing the cow to belong to my adversary; 


and this, if it be skilfully done, will certainly bespeak the 
favour of the bench. Now, your honour is to know that 
these judges are persons appointed to decide all controversies 
of property, as well as for the trial of criminals, and picked 
out from the most dexterous lawyers, who are grown old 
or lazy, and having been biassed all their lives against truth 
and equity, are under such a fatal necessity of favouring 
fraud, perjury, and oppression, that I have known several 
of them refuse a large bribe from the side where justice 
lay, rather than injure the faculty by doing anything 
unbecoming their nature or their office. 

' It is a maxim among these lawyers, that whatever hath 
been done before, may legally be done again ; and therefore 
they take special care to record all the decisions formerly 
made against common justice, and the general reason of 
mankind. These, under the name of precedents, they pro- 
duce as authorities, to justify the most iniquitous opinions, 
and the judges never fail of directing accordingly. 

' In pleading, they studiously avoid entering into the 
merits of the cause; but are loud, violent, and tedious, in 
dwelling upon all circumstances which are not to the purpose. 
For instance, in the case already mentioned: they never 
desire to know what claim or title my adversary hath to 
my cow; but whether the said cow were red or black; her 
horns long or short ; whether the field I graze her in be round 
or square; whether she was milked at home or abroad; 
what diseases she is subject to, and the like; after which 
they consult precedents, adjourn the cause from time to 
time, and in ten, twenty, or thirty years, come to an issue. 

"It is likewise to be observed that this society hath a 
peculiar cant and jargon of their own, that no other mortal 
can understand, and wherein all their laws are written, which 
they take special care to multiply; whereby they have 
wholly confounded the very essence of truth and false- 
hood, of right and wrong; so that it will take thirty years 
to decide whether the field left me by my ancestors for six 



generations, belongs to me, or to a stranger three hundred 
miles off. 

" In the trial of persons accused for crimes against the 
state, the method is much more short and commendable: 
the judge first sends to sound the disposition of those in 
power, after which he can easily hang or save a criminal, 
strictly preserving all due forms of law." 

Here my master interposing, said it was a pity that 
creatures endowed w T ith such prodigious abilities of mind 
as these lawyers, by the description I gave of them, must 
certainly be, were not rather encouraged to be instructors 
of others in wisdom and knowledge. In answer to which, 
I assured his honour that, in all points out of their own trade, 
they were usually the most ignorant and stupid generation 
among us, the most despicable in common conversation, 
avowed enemies to all knowledge and learning, and equally 
disposed to pervert the general reason of mankind in 
every other subject of discourse, as in that of their own 


MY master was yet wholly at a loss to understand what 
motives could incite this race of lawyers to perplex, dis- 
quiet, and weary themselves, and engage in a confederacy 
of injustice, merely for the sake of injuring their fellow- 
animals; neither could he comprehend what I meant in 
saying, they did it for hire. Whereupon I was at much pains 
to describe to him the use of money, the materials it was 
made of, and the value of the metals; that, when a Yahoo 
had got a great store of this precious substance, he was able 
to purchase whatever he had a mind to, the finest clothing, 
the noblest houses, great tracts of land, the most costly 
meats and drinks; and have his choice of the most beautiful 
females. Therefore, since money alone was able to perform 
all these feats, our Yahoos thought they could never have 
enough of it to spend, or to save, as they found themselves 
inclined, from their natural bent either to profusion or 
avarice. That the rich man enjoyed the fruit of the poor 
man's labour, and the latter were a thousand to one in pro- 
portion to the former. That the bulk of our people were 
forced to live miserably, by labouring every day for small 
wages, to make a few live plentifully. I enlarged myself 
much on these and many other particulars, to the same 
purpose, but his honour was still puzzled : for he went upon 
a supposition, that all animals had- a title to their share 
in the productions of the earth; and especially those who 
presided over the rest. Therefore he desired I would let 
him know what these costly meats were, and how any of 
us happened to want them. Whereupon I enumerated -as 
many sorts as came into my head, with the various methods 
of dressing them, which could not be done without sending 



vessels by sea to every part of the world, as well for liquors 
to drink, as for sauces, and innumerable other conveniences. 
1 .inured him, that this whole globe of earth must be at 
le.i>t three times gone round, before one of our better female 
Yahoos could get her breakfast, or a cup to put it in. He 
-aid, must needs be a miserable country, which cannot 
furnish food for its own inhabitants. But what he chiefly 
wondered at, was Imw such vast tracts of ground as I de- 
^< nbed, should be wholly without fn-sh water, and the people 
put to the necessity of sending over the sea for drink. I 
replied, that (the dear place of my nativity) was 
. omputed tn produce three times the quantity of food, more 
than its inhal'itants are able t musnine. as well as liquors 
<xtr.ii ted fmm k'rain, or pre-^i <1 nut of the fruit of certain 
tree>, which made e\( rllrnt drink; and the same proportion 
in every other convenience of life. But in order to feed tin- 
luxury and intrmpi ranee of the^, and the vanity of the 
females, we sent away the gn-ate-t part of our neo-ss.iry 
things to other countries, from whence, in return, we 
brought the materials of diseases, lolly, and vice, to spend 
among ourselves. Hence it follows of necessity, that vast 
numbers of our people are compelled to seek their livelihood 
bv be-ging, robbing, stealing, cheating, forswearing, flatter- 
ing, suborning, forging, gaming, lying, fawning, hectoring, 
voting, 9 iibblmg, star-dazing, poisoning, canting, libelling, 
free-thinking, and the like occupations: every one of which 
terms I was at much pains to make him understand. 

That wine was not imported among us from foreign 
< "imtries, to supply the want of water, or other drinks, 
but because it was a sort of liquid which made us merry, 
by putting us out of our senses; diverted ah 1 melancholy 
thoughts, begat wild extravagant imaginations in the brain, 
raised our hopes, and banished our fears; suspended every 
office of reason for a time, and deprived us of the use of our 
limbs till we fell into a profound sleep; although it must 
be confessed, that we always awaked sick and dispirited; 


and that the use of this liquor filled us with diseases, which 
made our lives uncomfortable and short. 

But, beside all this, the bulk of our people supported 
themselves by furnishing the necessities or conveniences 
of life to the rich, and to each other. For instance, when I 
am at home, and dressed, as I ought to be, I carry on my 
body the workmanship of an hundred tradesmen ; the build- 
ing and furniture of my house employ as many more, and 
five times the number to adorn my wife. 

I was going on to tell him of another sort of people, who 
get their livelihood by attending the sick, having upon some 
occasions informed his honour that many of my crew had 
died of diseases. But here it was with the utmost difficulty 
that I brought him to apprehend what I meant. He could 
easily conceive that a Houyhnhnm grew weak and heavy 
a few days before his death; or, by some accident, might 
hurt a limb. But that Nature, who works all things to 
perfection, should suffer any pains to breed in our bodies, 
he thought impossible, and desired to know the reason of 
so unaccountable an evil. I told him we fed on a thousand 
things, which operated contrary to each other; that we ate 
when we were not hungry, and drank without the provoca- 
tion of thirst; that we sat whole nights drinking strong 
liquors without eating a bit, which disposed us to sloth, 
inflamed our bodies, and precipitated or prevented digestion. 
That it would be endless to give him a catalogue of all 
diseases incident to human bodies; for they could not be 
fewer than five or six hundred spread over every limb and 
joint; in short, every part, external and intestine, having 
diseases appropriated to each. To remedy which, there was 
a sort of people bred up among us, in the profession, or 
pretence, of curing the sick. And, because I had some 
skill in the faculty, I would, in gratitude to his honour, 
let him know the whole mystery and method by which 
they proceed. 

But, besides real diseases, we are subject to many that 


are only imaginary, for which the physicians have invented 
imaginary cures; these have their several names, and so 
have the drugs that are proper for them; and with these 
our female Yahoos are always infested. 

One great excellency in this tribe is their skill at prog- 
nostics, wherein they seldom fail; their predictions in real 
diseases, when they rise to any degree of malignity, generally 
portending death, which is always in their power, when 
recovery is not: and therefore, upon any unexpected signs 
of amendment, after they have pronounced their sentence, 
rather than be accused as false prophets, they know how to 
approve their sagacity to the world by a seasonable dose. 

They are likewise of special use to eldest sons, to great 
ministers of state, and often to princes. 

I had formerly, upon occasion, discoursed with my master 
upon the nature of government in general, and particularly 
of our own excellent constitution, deservedly the wonder 
and envy of the whole world. But having here accidentally 
mentioned a minister of state, he commanded me, some 
time after, to inform him what species of Yahoo I particu- 
larly meant by that appellation. 

I told him, that a first or chief minister of state, who was 
the person I intended to describe, was a creature wholly 
exempt from joy and grief, love and hatred, pity and anger; 
at least, makes use of no other passions, but a violent desire 
of wealth, power, and titles ; that he applies his words to all 
uses, except to the indication of his mind; that he never 
tells the truth, but with an intent that you should take it 
for a lie; nor a lie, but with a design that you should take 
it for a truth; that those he speaks worst of, behind their 
backs, are in the surest way of preferment; and whenever 
he begins to praise you to others, or to yourself, you are from 
that day forlorn. The worst mark you can receive is a 
promise, especially when it is confirmed with an oath ; after 
which, every wise man retires, and gives over all hopes. 

There are three methods by which a man may rise to be 


chief minister: the first is, by knowing how with prudence 
to dispose of a wife, a daughter, or a sister : the second, by 
betraying or undermining his predecessor: and the third 
is, by a furious zeal in public assemblies against the cor- 
ruptions of the Court. But a wise prince would rather 
choose to employ those who practise the last of these 
methods: because such zealots prove always the most 
obsequious and subservient to the will and passions of their 
master. That these ministers, having all employments at 
their disposal, preserve themselves in power by bribing the 
majority of a senate or great council; and at last, by an 
expedient called an Act of Indemnity (whereof I described 
the nature to him) they secure themselves from after 
reckonings, and retire from the public, laden with the 
spoils of the nation. 

The palace of the chief minister is a seminary to breed 
up others in his own trade: the pages, lacqueys, and porter, 
by imitating their master, become ministers of state in their 
several districts, and learn to excel in the three principal 
ingredients of insolence, lying, and bribery. Accordingly, 
they have a subaltern court paid to them by persons of the 
best rank; and sometimes, by the force of dexterity and 
impudence, arrive, through several gradations, to be suc- 
cessors to their lord. 

One day, in discourse, my master, having heard me 
mention the nobility of my country, was pleased to make me 
a compliment, which I could not pretend to deserve: that 
he was sure I must have been born of some noble family, 
because I far exceeded, in shape, colour, and cleanliness, 
all the Yahoos of his nation, although I seemed to fail in 
strength and agility, which must be imputed to my different 
way of living from those other brutes; and, besides, I was 
not only endowed with the faculty of speech, but likewise 
with some rudiments of reason, to a degree that, with all 
his acquaintance, I passed for a prodigy. 

He made me observe that, among the Houyhnhnms, the 


white, the sorrel, and the iron grey were not so exactly 
shaped as the bay, the dapple grey, and the black; nor born 
with equal talents of the mind, or a capacity to improve 
them; and therefore continued always in the condition of 
servants, without ever aspiring to match out of their own 
race, which, in that country, would be reckoned monstrous 
and unnatural. 

I made his honour my humble acknowledgments for the 
good opinion he was pleased to conceive of me ; but assured 
him, at the same time, that my birth was of the lower sort, 
having been born of plain honest parents, who were just 
able to give me a tolerable education : that nobility among 
us was altogether a different thing from the idea he had of 
it ; that our young noblemen are bred from their childhood 
in idleness and luxury ; and when their fortunes are almost 
ruined, they marry some woman of mean birth, disagreeable 
person, and unsound constitution, merely for the sake of 
money, whom they hate and despise. That a weak diseased 
body, a meagre countenance, and sallow complexion are 
the true marks of noble blood; and a healthy robust appear- 
ance disgraceful in a man of quality. The imperfections of 
his mind run parallel with those of his body, being a com- 
position of spleen, dulness, ignorance, caprice, sensuality, 
and pride. 

Without the consent of this illustrious body, no law can 
be made, repealed, or altered; and these have the decisions 
of all our possessions, without appeal. 


THE reader may be disposed to wonder how I could prevail 
on myself to give so free a representation of my own species, 
among a race of mortals who are already too apt to conceive 
the vilest opinion of human kind, from that entire congruity 
betwixt me and their Yahoos. But I must freely confess 
that the many virtues of those excellent quadrupeds, placed 
in opposite view to human corruptions, had so far opened 
my eyes, and enlarged my understanding, that I began 
to view the actions and passions of man in a very different 
light, and to think the honour of my own kind not worth 
managing; which, besides, it was impossible for me to do 
before a person of so acute a judgment as my master, who 
daily convinced me of a thousand faults in myself, whereof 
I had not the least perception before, and which, among us, 
would never be numbered even among human infirmities. 
I had likewise learned, from his example, an utter detestation 
of all falsehood or disguise ; and truth appeared so amiable 
to me, that I determined upon sacrificing everything to it. 

Let me deal so candidly with the reader as to confess 
that there was yet a much stronger motive for the freedom 
I took in my representation of things. I had not been a 
year in this country before I contracted such a love and 
veneration for the inhabitants, that I entered on a firm 
resolution never to return to human kind, but to pass the 
rest of my life among these admirable Houyhnhnms, in the 
contemplation and practice of every virtue; where I could 
have no example or incitement to vice. But it was decreed 
by fortune, my perpetual enemy, that so great a felicity 
should not fall to my share. However, it is now some 
comfort to reflect that, in what I said of my countrymen, I 



extenuated their faults as much as I durst, before so strict 
an examiner; and, upon every article, gave as favourable 
a turn as the matter would bear. For, indeed, who is there 
alive that would not be swayed by his bias and partiality 
to the place of his birth ? 

I have related the substance of several conversations I 
had with my master during the greatest part of the time 
I had the honour to be in his service ; but have, indeed, for 
brevity sake, omitted much more than is here set down. 

When I had answered all his questions, and his curiosity 
seemed to be fully satisfied, he sent for me one morning 
early, and commanding me to sit down at some distance 
(an honour which he had never before conferred on me), 
he said, he had been very seriously considering my whole 
story, as far as it related both to myself and my country; 
that he looked upon us as a sort of animals, to whose share, 
by what accident he could not conjecture, some small 
pittance of reason had fallen, whereof we made no other use 
than, by its assistance, to aggravate our natural corruptions, 
and to acquire new ones which nature had not given us: 
that we disarmed ourselves of the few abilities she had 
bestowed; had been very successful in multiplying our 
original wants, and seemed to spend our whole lives in vain 
endeavours to supply them by our own inventions. That 
as to myself, it was manifest I had neither the strength or 
agility of a common Yahoo; that I walked infirmly on my 
hinder feet; had found out a contrivance to make my 
claws of no use or defence, and to remove the hair from my 
chin, which was intended as a shelter from the sun and the 
weather. Lastly, that I could neither run with speed, nor 
climb trees like my brethren (as he called them) the Yahoos 
in this country. 

That our institutions of government and law were plainly 
owing to our gross defects in reason, and by consequence, 
in virtue; because reason alone is sufficient to govern a 
rational creature; which was therefore a character \ve had 


no pretence to challenge, even from the account I had 
given of my own people; although he manifestly perceived, 
that in order to favour them, I had concealed many par- 
ticulars, and often said the thing which was not. 

He was the more confirmed in this opinion, because he 
observed, that as I agreed in every feature of my body with 
other Yahoos, except where it was to my real disadvantage, 
in point of strength, speed, and activity, the shortness of 
my claws, and some other particulars, where Nature had no 
part; so, from the representation I had given him of our 
lives, our manners, and our actions, he found as near a 
resemblance in the disposition of our minds. He said, the 
Yahoos were known to hate one another, more than they did 
any different species of animals; and the reason, usually 
assigned, was the odiousness of their own shapes, which all 
could see in the rest, but not in themselves. He had there- 
fore begun to think it not unwise in us to cover our bodies, 
and, by that invention, conceal many of our own deformities 
from each other, which would else be hardly supportable. 
But he now found he had been mistaken, and that the dis- 
sensions of those brutes, in his country, were owing to the 
same cause with ours, as I had described them. ' For if ' 
(said he) " you throw among five Yahoos as much food as 
would be sufficient for fifty, they will, instead of eating 
peaceably, fall together by the ears, each single one impatient 
to have all to itself; " and therefore a servant was usually 
employed to stand by, while they were feeding abroad, and 
those kept at home were tied at a distance from each other ; 
that if a cow died of age or accident, before a Houyhnhnm 
could secure it for his own Yahoos, those in the neighbour- 
hood would come in herds to seize it, and then would ensue 
such a battle as I had described, with terrible wounds made 
by their claws on both sides, although they seldom were 
able to kill one another, for want of such convenient instru- 
ments of death as we had invented. At other times, the 
like battles have been fought between the Yahoos of several 


neighbourhoods, without any visible cause: those of one 
district watching all opportunities to surprise the next, 
before they are prepared. But, if they find their project 
hath miscarried, they return home, and, for want of enemies, 
engage in what I call a civil war among themselves. 

That, in some fields of his country, there are certain 
shining stones of several colours, whereof the Yahoos are 
violently fond; and when part of these stones is fixed in the 
earth, as it sometimes happeneth, they will dig with their 
claws for whole days to get them out, then carry them away, 
and hide them by hea,ps in their kennels; but still looking 
round with great caution, for fear their comrades should 
find out their treasure. My master said, he could never 
discover the reason of this unnatural appetite, or how these 
stones could be of any use to a Yahoo ; but now he believed 
it might proceed from the same principle of avarice, which I 
had ascribed to mankind: that he had once, by way of 
experiment, privately removed a heap of these stones from 
the place where one of his Yahoos had buried it ; whereupon, 
the sordid animal missing his treasure, by his loud lamenting 
brought the whole herd to the place, there miserably howled, 
then fell to biting and tearing the rest ; began to pine away, 
would neither eat, nor sleep, nor work, till he ordered a 
servant privately to convey the stones into the same hole, 
and hide them as before ; which when his Yahoo had found, 
he presently recovered his spirits and good humour, but 
took care to remove them to a better hiding-place, and hath 
ever since been a very serviceable brute. 

My master further assured me, which I also observed 
myself, that, in the fields where the shining stones abound, 
the fiercest and most frequent battles are fought, occasioned 
by perpetual inroads of the neighbouring Yahoos. 

He said, it was common, when two Yahoos discovered 
such a stone in a field, and were contending which of them 
should be the proprietor, a third would take the advantage, 
and carry it away from them both ; which my master would 


needs contend to have some kind of resemblance with our 
suits at law; wherein I thought it for our credit not to 
undeceive him; since the decision he mentioned was much 
more equitable than many decrees among us: because the 
plaintiff and defendant there lost nothing beside the stone 
they contended for, whereas our courts of equity would 
never have dismissed the cause, while either of them had 
anything left. 

My master, continuing his discourse, said, there was 
nothing that rendered the Yahoos more odious, than their 
undistinguishing appetite to devour everything that came 
in their way, whether herbs, roots, berries, the corrupted flesh 
of animals, or all mingled together: and it was peculiar 
in their temper, that they were fonder of what they could 
get by rapine or stealth, at a greater distance, than much 
better food provided for them at home. 

There was also a kind of root, very juicy, but somewhat 
rare and difficult to be found, which the Yahoos fought for 
with much eagerness, and would suck it with great delight; 
it produced in them the same effects that wine hath upon us. 
It would make them sometimes hug, and sometimes tear 
one another; they would howl and grin, and chatter, and 
reel, and tumble, and then fall asleep in the mud. 

I did, indeed, observe that the Yahoos were the only 
animals in this country subject to any diseases; which, 
however, were much fewer than horses have among us, 
and contracted not by any ill treatment they meet with, 
but by the nastiness and greediness of that sordid brute. 
Neither has their language any more than a general appella- 
tion for those maladies, which is borrowed from the name 
of the beast, and called Hnea-Yahoo, or the Yahoo's-evil. 

As to learning, government, arts, manufactures, and the 
like, my master confessed he could find little or no resem- 
blance between the Yahoos of that country and those in ours. 
For he only meant to observe what parity there was in our 
natures. He had heard, indeed, some curious Houyhnhnms 


observe, that, in most herds, there was a sort of ruling 
Yahoo (as, among us, there is generally some leading or 
principal stag in a park) who was always more deformed in 
body, and mischievous in disposition, than any of the rest. 
That this leader had usually a favourite as like himself as 
he could get. This favourite is hated by the whole herd, 
and therefore, to protect himself, keeps always near the 
person of his leader. He usually continues in office till a 
worse can be found; but, the very moment he is discarded, 
his successor at the head of all the Yahoos in that district, 
young and old, male and female, come in a body, and attack 
him. But how far this might be applicable to our Courts 
and favourites, and ministers of state, my master said I 
could best determine. 

I durst make no return to this malicious insinuation, 
which debased human understanding below the sagacity of 
a common hound, who has judgment enough to distinguish 
and follow the cry of the ablest dog in the pack, without 
being ever mistaken. 

My master told me, that a thing he wondered at in the 
Yahoos, was their strange disposition to nastiness and dirt; 
whereas there appears to be a natural love of cleanliness in 
all other animals. As to the two former accusations, I was 
glad to let them pass without any reply, because I had not 
a word to offer upon them in defence of my species, which 
otherwise I certainly had done from my own inclinations. 
But I could have easily vindicated human kind from the 
imputation of singularity upon the last article, if there 
had been any swine in that country (as unluckily for me 
there was not) which, although it may be a sweeter quad- 
ruped than a Yahoo, cannot, I humbly conceive in justice, 
pretend to more cleanliness ; and so his honour himself must 
have owned, if he had seen their filthy way of feeding, and 
their custom of wallowing and sleeping in the mud. 

My master likewise mentioned another quality which his 
servants had discovered in several Yahoos, and to him was 


wholly unaccountable. He said, a fancy would sometimes 
take a Yahoo, to retire into a corner, to lie down, and howl 
and groan, and spurn away all that came near him, although 
he were young and fat, wanted neither food nor water; nor 
did the servants imagine what could possibly ail him. And 
the only remedy they found was, to set him to hard work, 
after which he would infallibly come to himself. To this 
I was silent, out of partiality to my own kind; yet here I 
could plainly discover the true seeds of spleen, which only 
seizeth on the lazy, the luxurious, and the rich; who, if 
they were forced to undergo the same regimen, I would 
undertake for the cure. 


As I ought to have understood human nature much better 
than I supposed it possible for my master to do, so it was 
easy to apply the character he gave of the Yahoos to myself 
and my countrymen; and I believed I could yet make 
further discoveries from my own observation. I therefore 
often begged his favour to let me go among the herds of 
Yahoos in the neighbourhood, to which he always very 
graciously consented, being perfectly convinced that the 
hatred I bore those brutes would never suffer me to be 
corrupted by them; and his honour ordered one of his 
servants, a strong sorrel nag, very honest and good-natured, 
to be my guard, without whose protection I durst not under- 
take such adventures. For I have already told the reader 
how much I was pestered by those odious animals upon my 
first arrival. And I afterwards failed very narrowly three 
or four times of falling into their clutches, when I happened 
to stray at any distance without my hanger. And I have 
reason to believe they had some imagination that I was 
of their own species, which I often assisted myself, by 
stripping up my sleeves, and showing my naked arms and 
breast in their sight, when my protector was with me. At 
which times they would approach as near as they durst, 
and imitate my actions after the manner of monkeys, but 
ever with great signs of hatred; as a tame jack-daw, with 
cap and stockings, is always persecuted by the wild ones, 
when he happens to be got among them. 

They are prodigiously nimble from their infancy ; how- 
ever, I once caught a young male of three years old, and 
endeavoured, by all marks of tenderness, to make it quiet; 
but the little imp fell a-squalling, and scratching, and biting, 



with such violence, that I was forced to let it go; and it was 
high time, for a whole troop of old ones came about us at 
the noise, but finding the cub was safe (for away it ran) 
and my sorrel nag being by, they durst not venture near us. 
I observed the young animal's flesh to smell very rank, 
and the stink was somewhat between a weasel and a fox, 
but much more disagreeable. 

By what I could discover, the Yahoos appear to be the 
most unteachable of all animals; their capacities never 
reaching higher than to draw or carry burthens. Yet I 
am of opinion this defect ariseth chiefly from a perverse, 
restive disposition. For they are cunning, malicious, 
treacherous, and revengeful. They are strong and hardy, 
but of a cowardly spirit, and by consequence, insolent, 
abject, and cruel. It is observed, that the red haired of 
both sexes are more mischievous than the rest, whom yet 
they much exceed in strength and activity. 

The Houyhnhnms keep the Yahoos for present use in 
huts not far from the house; but the rest are sent abroad 
to certain fields, where they dig up roots, eat several kinds 
of herbs, and search about for carrion, or sometimes catch 
weasels and luhimuhs (a sort of wild rat) which they greedily 
devour. Nature hath taught them to dig holes with their 
nails on the side of a rising ground, wherein they lie by 
themselves; only the kennels of the females are larger, 
sufficient to hold two or three cubs. 

They swim from their infancy like frogs, and are able to 
continue long under water, where they often take fish, which 
the females carry home to their young. 

Having lived three years in this country, the reader, I 
suppose, will expect that I should, like other travellers, 
give him some account of the manners and customs of its 
inhabitants, which it was, indeed, my principal study to 

As these noble Houyhnhnms are endowed by nature with 
a general disposition to all virtues, and have no conceptions 


or ideas of what is evil in a rational creature ; so their grand 
maxim is, to cultivate reason, and to be wholly governed 
by it. Neither is reason, among them, a point problematical 
as with us, where men can argue with plausibility on both 
sides of a question, but strikes you with immediate convic- 
tion; as it must needs do, where it is not mingled, obscured, 
or discoloured by passion and interest. I remember it was 
with extreme difficulty that I could bring my master to 
understand the meaning of the word opinion, or how a 
point could be disputable; because reason taught us to 
affirm or deny only where we are certain ; and, beyond our 
knowledge, we cannot do either. So that controversies, 
wranglings, disputes, and positiveness, in false or dubious 
propositions, are evils unknown among the Houyhnhnms. 
In the like manner, when I used to explain to him our 
several systems of natural philosophy, he would laugh, 
that a creature, pretending to reason, should value itself 
upon the knowledge of other people's conjectures, and in 
things where that knowledge, if it were certain, could be of 
no use. Wherein he agreed entirely with the sentiments 
of Socrates, as Plato delivers them; which I mention as 
the highest honour I can do that prince of philosophers. 
I have often since reflected, what destruction such a doctrine 
would make in the libraries of Europe; and how many 
paths to fame would be then shut up in the learned world. 

Friendship and benevolence are the two principal virtues 
among the Houyhnhnms; and these not confined to par- 
ticular objects, but universal to the whole race. For a 
stranger, from the remotest part, is equally treated with 
the nearest neighbour; and, wherever he goes, looks upon 
himself as at home. They preserve decency and civility in 
the highest degrees, but are altogether ignorant of ceremony. 
They have no fondness for their colts or foals, but the care 
they take in educating them proceeds entirely from the 
dictates of reason. And I observed my master to show 
the same affection to his neighbour's issue that he had for 


his own. They will have it, that Nature teaches them to 
love the whole species, and it is reason only that maketh a 
distinction of persons, where there is a superior degree of 

In their marriages, they are exactly careful to choose 
such colours as will not make any disagreeable mixture in 
the breed. Strength is chiefly valued in the male, and come- 
liness in the female; not upon the account of love, but to 
preserve the race from degenerating; for where a female 
happens to excel in strength, a consort is chosen with regard 
to comeliness. Courtship, love, presents, jointures, settle- 
ments, have no place in their thoughts, or terms whereby 
to express them in their language. The young couple meet 
and are joined, merely because it is the determination of 
their parents and friends : it is what they see done every day, 
and they look upon it as one of the necessary actions of a 
reasonable being. But the violation of marriage, or any 
other unchastity, was never heard of: and the married 
pair pass their lives with the same friendship, and mutual 
benevolence, that they bear to all others of the same species, 
who come in their way; without jealousy, fondness, quarrel- 
ing, or discontent. 

In educating the youth of both sexes, their method is 
admirable, and highly deserves our imitation. These are 
not suffered to take a grain of oats, except upon certain 
days, till eighteen years old; nor milk but very rarely; 
and in summer they graze two hours in the morning, and as 
many in the evening, which their parents likewise observe; 
but the servants are not allowed above half that time, and a 
great part of their grass is brought home, which they eat 
at the most convenient hours, when they can be best spared 
from work. 

Temperance, industry, exercise, and cleanliness, are the 
lessons equally enjoined to the young ones of both sexes; 
and my master thought it monstrous in us to give the females 
a different kind of education from the males, except in some 


articles of domestic management; whereby, as he truly 
observed, one half of our natives were good for nothing but 
bringing children into the world: and to trust the care of 
our children to such useless animals, he said, was yet a 
greater instance of brutality. 

But the Houyhnhnms train up their youth to strength, 
speed, and hardiness, by exercising them in running races 
up and down steep hills, and over hard stony grounds, and 
when they are all in a sweat, they are ordered to leap over 
head and ears into a pond or river. Four times a year, the 
youth of a certain district meet to shew their proficiency 
in running, and leaping, and other feats of strength and 
agility; where the victor is rewarded with a song in his or 
her praise. On this festival, the servants drive a herd of 
Yahoos into the field, laden with hay, and oats, and milk, 
for a repast to the Houyhnhnms; after which these brutes 
are immediately driven back again, for fear of being 
noisome to the assembly. 

Every fourth year, at the Vernal Equinox, there is a 

representative council of the whole nation, which meets in 

a plain about twenty miles from our house, and continues 

about five or six days. Here they enquire into the state 

and condition of the several districts; whether they abound 

or be deficient in hay or oats, or cows or Yahoos. And 

wherever there is any want (which is but seldom) 

it is immediately supplied by unanimous 

consent and contribution. Here likewise 

the regulation of children is settled: 

as for instance, if a Houyhnhnm 

hath two males, he chan- 

geth one of them with- 

another that hath 

two females. 


ONE of these grand assemblies was held in my time, about 
three months before my departure, whither my master 
went, as the representative of our district. In this council 
was resumed their old debate, and, indeed, the only debate 
which ever happened in that country; whereof my master, 
after his return, gave me a very particular account. 

The question to be debated was, whether the Yahoos 
should be exterminated from the face of the earth? One 
of the members for the affirmative offered several argu- 
ments of great strength and weight; alleging, that as the 
Yahoos were the most filthy, noisome, and deformed animal 
which Nature ever produced, so they were the most restive 
and indocible, mischievous and malicious: they would 
privately suck the teats of the Houyhnhnms' cows; kill 
and devour their cats, trample down their oats and grass, if 
they were not continually watched, and commit a thousand 
other extravagances. He took notice of a general tradition 
that Yahoos had not been always in that country; but 
that, many ages ago, two of these brutes appeared together 
upon a mountain; whether produced by the heat of the 
sun upon corrupted mud and slime, or from the ooze and 
froth of the sea, was never known. Their brood, in a short 
time, grew so numerous as to overrun and infest the whole 
nation. That the Houyhnhnms, to get rid of this evil, 
made a general hunting, and at last enclosed the whole 
herd; and, destroying the elder, every Houyhnhnm kept 
two young ones in a kennel, and brought them to such a 
degree of tameness as an animal, so savage by nature, can 
be capable of acquiring; using them for draught and 
carriage. That there seemed to be much truth in this tradi- 
tion, and that those creatures could not be Yhihniamshy 
(or aborigines of the land) because of the violent hatred the 



Houyhnhnms, as well as all other animals, bore them; 
which, although their evil disposition sufficiently deserved, 
could never have arrived at so high a degree if they had 
been aborigines, or else they would have long since been 
rooted out. That the inhabitants, taking a fancy to use the 
service of the Yahoos, had very imprudently neglected to 
cultivate the breed of asses, which were a comely animal, 
easily kept, more tame and orderly, without any offensive 
smell, strong enough for labour, although they yield to the 
other in agility of body ! and, if their braying be no agree- 
able sound, it is far preferable to the horrible howlings of 
the Yahoos. Several others declared their sentiments to 
the same purpose, when my master proposed an expedient 
to the assembly, whereof he had, indeed, borrowed the hint 
from me. He approved of the tradition mentioned by the 
honourable member who spoke before; and affirmed that 
the two Yahoos, said to be the first seen among them, had 
been driven thither over the sea; that coming to land, and 
being forsaken by their companions, they retired to the 
mountains, and, degenerating by degrees, became, in pro- 
cess of time, much more savage than those of their own 
species in the country from whence these two originals 
came. The reason of this assertion was, that he had now 
in his possession a certain wonderful Yahoo (meaning 
myself) which most of them had heard of, and many of them 
had seen. He then related to them how he first found me; 
that my body was all covered with an artificial composure 
of the skins and hairs of other animals: that I spoke in a 
language of my own, and had thoroughly learned theirs: 
that I had related to him the accidents which brought me 
thither: that, when he saw me without my covering, I was 
an exact Yahoo in every part, only of a whiter colour, less 
hairy, and with shorter claws. He added, how I had 
endeavoured to persuade him that, in my own and other 
countries, the Yahoos acted as the governing, rational 
animal, and held the Houyhnhnms in servitude: that he 


observed in me all the qualities of a Yahoo, only a little 
more civilised by some tincture of reason; which, however, 
was in a degree as far inferior to the Houyhnhnm race, as 
the Yahoos of their country were to me. 

This was all my master thought fit to tell me at that 
time of what passed in the Grand Council. But he was 
pleased to conceal one particular, which related personally 
to myself, whereof I soon felt the unhappy effect, as the 
reader will know in its proper place, and from whence I date 
all the succeeding misfortunes of my life. 

The Houyhnhnms have no letters, and consequently 
their knowledge is all traditional. But there happening 
few events of any moment among a people so well united, 
naturally disposed to every virtue, wholly governed by 
reason and cut off from all commerce with other nations, 
the historical part is easily preserved without burthening 
their memories. I have already observed that they are 
subject to no diseases, and therefore can have no need of 
physicians. However, they have excellent medicines com- 
posed of herbs, to cure accidental bruises and cuts in the 
pastern, or frog of the foot, by sharp stones, as well as other 
maims and hurts in the several parts of the body. 

They calculate the year by the revolution of the sun 
and the moon, but use no subdivisions into weeks. They 
are well enough acquainted with the motions of those two 
luminaries, and understand the nature of eclipses; and 
this is the utmost progress of their astronomy. 

In poetry, they must be allowed to excel all other 
mortals; wherein the justness of their similes, and the 
minuteness as well as exactness of their descriptions are, 
indeed, inimitable. Their verses abound very much in both 
of these; and usually contain either some exalted notions 
of friendship and benevolence, or the praises of those who 
were victors In races and other bodily exercises. Their 
buildings, although very rude and simple, are not incon- 
venient, but well contrived to defend them from all injuries 


of cold and heat. They have a kind of tree, which, at forty 
years old, loosens in the root, and falls with the first storm; 
it grows very straight, and being pointed like stakes, with 
a sharp stone (for the Houyhnhnms know not the use of 
iron), they stick them erect in the ground about ten inches 
asunder, and then weave in oat -straw, or sometimes wattles, 
betwixt them. The roof is made after the same manner, 
and so are the doors. 

The Houyhnhnms use the hollow part, between the 
pastern and the hoof, of their forefeet, as we do our hands, 
and this with greater dexterity than I could at first imagine. 
I have seen a white mare of our family thread a needle 
(which I lent her on purpose) with that joint. They milk 
their cows, reap their oats, and do all the work which re- 
quires hands in the same manner. They have a kind of 
hard flints, which, by grinding against other stones, they 
form into instruments that serve instead of wedges, axes, 
and hammers. With tools made of these flints they like- 
wise cut their hay, and reap their oats, which there grow 
naturally in several fields: the Yahoos draw home the 
sheaves in carriages, and the servants tread them in certain 
covered huts, to get out the grain, which is kept in stores. 
They make a rude kind of earthen and wooden vessels, and 
bake the former in the sun. 

If they can avoid casualties, they die only of old age, 
and are buried in the obscurest places that can be found, 
their friends and relations expressing neither joy nor grief 
at their departure; nor does the dying person discover the 
least regret that he is leaving the world, any more than if 
he were upon returning home from a visit to one of his 
neighbours. I remember my master having once made an 
appointment with a friend and his family to come to his 
house upon some affair of importance: on the day fixed 
the mistress and her two children came very late ; she made 
two excuses, first for her husband, who, as she said, happened 
that very morning to Ihnuwnh. The word is strongly ex- 


pressive in their language, but not easily rendered into 
English; it signifies, to retire to his first mother. Her 
excuse for not coming sooner was, that her husband dying 
late in the morning, she was a good while consulting her 
servants about a convenient place where his body should be 
laid; and, I observed, she behaved herself at our house as 
cheerfully as the rest : she died about three months after. 

They live generally to seventy, or seventy-five years, 
very seldom to four-score: some weeks before their death, 
they feel a gradual decay; but without pain. During this 
time, they are much visited by their friends, because they 
cannot go abroad with their usual ease and satisfaction. 
However, about ten days before their death, which they 
seldom fail in computing, they return the visits that have 
been made them, by those who are nearest in the neigh- 
bourhood, being carried in a convenient sledge, drawn by 
Yahoos ; which vehicle they use, not only upon this occasion, 
but when they grow old, upon long journeys, or when they 
are lamed by any accident. And, therefore, when the dying 
Houyhnhnms return those visits, they take a solemn leave of 
their friends, as if they were going to some remote part of the 
country, where they designed to pass the rest of their lives. 

I know not whether it may be worth observing, that the 
Houyhnhnms have no word in their language to express any 
thing that is evil, except what they borrow from the de- 
formities or ill qualities of the Yahoos. Thus they denote 
the folly of a servant, an omission of a child, a stone that 
cuts their feet, a continuance of foul or unseasonable weather, 
and the like, by adding to each the epithet of Yahoo. For 
instance, Hhnm Yahoo, Whnaholm Yahoo, Ynlhmndivihlma 
Yahoo, and an ill-contrived house, Ynholmhnmrohlnw Yahoo. 

I could with great pleasure enlarge farther upon the 
manners and virtues of this excellent people; but, intending 
in a short time to publish a volume by itself expressly upon 
that subject, I refer the reader thither; and, in the meantime, 
proceed to relate my own sad catastrophe. 


I HAD settled my little economy to my own heart's content. 
My master had ordered a room to be made for me after their 
manner, about six yards from the house ; the sides and floors 
of which I plastered with clay, and covered with rush-mats 
of my own contriving; I had beaten hemp, which there 
grows wild, and made of it a sort of ticking ; this I filled with 
the feathers of several birds I had taken with springes made 
of Yahoo's hairs, and were excellent food. I had worked 
two chairs with my knife, the sorrel nag helping me in the 
grosser and more laborious part. When my clothes were 
worn to rags, I made myself others with the skins of rabbits, 
and of a certain beautiful animal about the same size, 
called Nnuhnoh, the skin of which is covered with a fine 
down. Of these I also made very tolerable stockings. I 
soled my shoes with wood which I cut from a tree, and fitted 
to the upper leather ; and when this was worn out I supplied 
it with the skins of Yahoos, dried in the sun. I often got 
honey out of hollow trees, which I mingled with water, or 
ate with my bread. No man could more verify the truth 
of these two maxims, that Nature is very easily satisfied; 
and that necessity is the mother of invention. I enjoyed 
perfect health of body, and tranquillity of mind; I did not 
feel the treachery or inconstancy of a friend, nor the injuries 
of a secret or open enemy. I had no occasion of bribing or 
flattering, to procure the favour of any great man, or of his 
minion. I wanted no fence against fraud or oppression; 
here was neither physician to destroy my body, nor lawyer 
to ruin my fortune; no informer to watch my words and 
actions, or forge accusations against me for hire: here were 
no gibers, censurers, back -biters, pick - pockets, highway - 



men, house-breakers, attorneys, buffoons, gamesters, poli- 
ticians, wits, splenetics, tedious talkers, controvertists, 
murderers, robbers, virtuosos; no leaders or followers of 
party and faction; no encouragers to vice, by seducement 
or examples; no dungeon, axes, gibbets, whipping-posts, 
or pillories; no cheating shopkeepers or mechanics; no 
pride, vanity, or affectation; no fops, bullies, drunkards; no 
ranting, expensive wives; no stupid, proud pedants; no 
importunate, over-bearing, quarrelsome, noisy, roaring, 
empty, conceited, swearing companions; no scoundrels, 
raised from the dust, for the sake of their vices, or nobility 
thrown into it, on account of their virtues; no lords, fiddlers, 
judges, or dancing-masters. 

I had the favour of being admitted to several Houy- 
hnhnms, who came to visit or dine with my master; where 
his honour graciously suffered me to wait in the room, and 
listen to their discourse. Both he and his company would 
often condescend to ask me questions and receive my answers. 
I had also sometimes the honour of attending my master 
in his visits to others. I never presumed to speak, except 
in answer to a question; and then I did it with inward 
regret, because it was a loss of so much time for improving 
myself: but I was infinitely delighted with the station of an 
humble auditor in such conversations, where nothing passed 
but what was useful, expressed in the fewest and most 
significant words; where (as I have already said) the greatest 
decency was observed, without the least degree of ceremony ; 
where no person spoke, without being pleased himself, and 
pleasing his companions; where there was no interruption, 
tediousness, heat, or difference of sentiments. They have 
a notion that, when people are met together, a short silence 
doth much improve conversation: this I found to be true; 
for, during those little intermissions of talk, new ideas 
would arise in their thoughts, which very much enlivened 
the discourse. Their subjects are generally on friendship 
and benevolence, or order and economy; sometimes upon 


the visible operations of Nature, or ancient traditions; 
upon the bounds and limits of virtue; upon the unerring 
rules of reason, or upon some determinations, to be taken 
at the next great assembly; and often upon the various 
excellences of poetry. I may add, without vanity, that my 
presence often gave them sufficient matter for discourse, 
because it afforded my master an occasion of letting his 
friends into the history of me and my country, upon which 
they were all pleased to descant in a manner not very 
advantageous to human kind; and, for that reason, I shall 
not repeat what they said : only I may be allowed to observe, 
that his honour, to my great admiration, appeared to under- 
stand the nature of Yahoos much better than myself. He 
went through all our vices and follies, and discovered many 
which I had never mentioned to him, by only supposing 
what qualities a Yahoo of their country, with a small 
proportion of reason, might be capable of exerting; and 
concluded, with too much probability, how vile, as well as 
miserable, such a creature must be. 

I freely confess, that all the little knowledge I have, of 
any value, was acquired by the lectures I received from my 
master, and from hearing the discourses of him and his 
friends; to which I should be prouder to listen, than to 
dictate to the greatest and wisest assembly in Europe. I 
admired the strength, comeliness, and speed of the inhabi- 
tants; and such a constellation of virtues, in such amiable 
persons, produced in me the highest veneration. At first, 
indeed, I did not feel that natural awe which the Yahoos, 
and all other animals, bear towards them ; but it grew upon 
me by degrees, much sooner than I imagined, and was 
mingled with a respectful love and gratitude, that they 
would condescend to distinguish me from the rest of my 

When I thought of my family, my friends, my country- 
men, or the human race in general, I considered them as 
they really were, Yahoos in shape and disposition, perhaps 




a little more civilised, and qualified with the gift of speech; 
but making no other use of reason than to improve and 
multiply those vices, whereof their brethren in this country 
had only the share that nature allotted them. When I 
happened to behold the reflection of my own form in a 
lake or a fountain, I turned away my face in horror and 
detestation of myself; and could better endure the sight 
of a common Yahoo than of my own person. By con- 
versing with the Houyhnhnms, and looking upon them 
with delight, I fell to imitate their gait and gesture, which 
is now grown into an habit; and my friends often tell me 
in a blunt way, that I trot like a horse; which, however, 
I take for a great compliment : neither shall I disown, that, 
in speaking, I am apt to fall into the voice and manner of 
the Houyhnhnms, and hear myself ridiculed on that account, 
without the least mortification. 

In the midst of all this happiness, and when I looked 
upon myself to be fully settled for life, my master sent for 
me one morning, a little earlier than his usual hour. I 
observed by his countenance that he was in some perplexity, 
and at a loss how to begin what he had to speak. After 
a short silence, he told me, he did not know how I would take 
what he was going to say; that in the last general assembly, 
when the affair of the Yahoos was entered upon, the repre- 
sentatives had taken offence at his keeping a Yahoo (meaning 
myself) in his family, more like a Houyhnhnm than a brute 
animal. That he was known frequently to converse with 
me, as if he could receive some advantage or pleasure in 
my company: that such a practice was not agreeable to 
reason or nature, or a thing ever heard of before among 
them. The assembly did therefore exhort him either to 
employ me like the rest of my species, or command me to 
swim back to the place from whence I came. That the first 
of these expedients was utterly rejected by all the Houy- 
hnhnms who had ever seen me at his house or their own; 
for they alleged that, because I had some rudiments of 


reason, added to the natural pravity of those animals, it 
was to be feared I might be able to seduce them into the 
woody and mountainous parts of the country, and bring 
them in troops by night to destroy the Houyhnhnms' 
cattle, as being naturally of the ravenous kind, and averse 
from labour. 

My master added, that he was daily pressed by the 
Houyhnhnms of the neighbourhood to have the assembly's 
exhortation executed, which he could not put off much 
longer. He doubted it would be impossible for me to swim 
to another country; and therefore wished I would contrive 
some sort of vehicle resembling those I had described to him, 
that might carry me on the sea; in which work I should 
have the assistance of his own servants, as well as those of 
his neighbours. He concluded, that, for his own part, he 
could have been content to keep me in his service as long 
as I lived; because he found I had cured myself of some 
bad habits and dispositions, by endeavouring, as far as my 
inferior nature was capable, to imitate the Houyhnhnms. 

I should here observe to the reader, that a decree of 
the general assembly, in this country, is expressed by the 
word Hnhloayn, which signifies an exhortation, as near as 
I can render it : for they have no conception how a rational 
creature can be compelled, but only advised or exhorted; 
because no persons can disobey reason, without giving up 
his claim to be a rational creature. 

I was struck with the utmost grief and despair at my 
master's discourse ; and, being unable to support the agonies 
I was under, I fell into a swoon at his feet : when I came to 
myself, he told me that he concluded I had been dead (for 
these people are subject to no such imbecilities of nature). 
I answered in a faint voice, that death would have been too 
great an happiness; that although I could not blame the 
assembly's exhortation, or the urgency of his friends, yet, 
in my weak and corrupt judgment, I thought it might con- 
sist with reason to have been less rigorous. That I could 


not swim a league, and, probably, the nearest land to theirs 
might be distant above an hundred: that many materials, 
necessary for making a small vessel to carry me off, were 
wholly wanting in this country, which, however, I would 
attempt, in obedience and gratitude to his honour, although 
I concluded the thing to be impossible, and therefore looked 
on myself as already devoted to destruction. That the 
certain prospect of an unnatural death was the least of 
my evils : for, supposing I should escape with life by some 
strange adventure, how could I think with temper, of passing 
my days among Yahoos, and relapsing into my old corrup- 
tions, for want of examples to lead and keep me within 
the paths of virtue. That I knew, too well, upon what solid 
reasons all the determinations of the wise Houyhnhnms were 
founded, not to be shaken by arguments of mine, a miserable 
Yahoo ; and therefore, after presenting him with my humble 
thanks for the offer of his servants' assistance in making a 
vessel, and desiring a reasonable time for so difficult a work, 
I told him I would endeavour to preserve a wretched being ; 
and, if ever I returned to England, was not without hopes 
of being useful to my own species, by celebrating the praises 
of the renowned Houyhnhnms, and proposing their virtues 
to the imitation of mankind. 

My master, in a few words, made me a very gracious 
reply; allowed me the space of two months to finish my 
boat ; and ordered the sorrel nag, my fellow-servant (for so 
at this distance I may presume to call him) to follow my 
instructions, because I told my master that his help would be 
sufficient, and I knew he had a tenderness for me. 

In his company, my first business was to go to that part 
of the coast where my rebellious crew had ordered me to be 
set on shore. I got upon a height, and, looking on every 
side into the sea, fancied I saw a small island, towards the 
north-east: I took out my pocket-glass, and could then 
clearly distinguish it about five leagues off, as I computed; 
but it appeared to the sorrel nag to be only a blue cloud: 


for, as he had no conception of any country beside his own, 
so he could not be as expert in distinguishing remote objects 
at sea as we who so much converse in that element. 

After I had discovered this island, I considered no 
further; but resolved it should, if possible, be the first place 
of my banishment, leaving the consequence to fortune. 

I returned home, and consulting with the sorrel nag, we 
went into a copse at some distance, where I with my knife, 
and he with a sharp flint fastened very artificially, after their 
manner, to a wooden handle, cut down several oak wattles, 
about the thickness of a walking staff, and some larger 
pieces. But I shall not trouble the reader with a particular 
description of my own mechanics; let it suffice to say, that 
in six weeks' time, with the help of the sorrel nag, who per- 
formed the parts that required most labour, I finished a 
sort of Indian canoe, but much larger, covering it with the 
skins of Yahoos, well stitched together with hempen threads 
of my own making. My sail was likewise composed of the 
skins of the same animal ; but I made use of the youngest I 
could get, the older being too tough and thick; and I like- 
wise provided myself with four paddles. I laid in a stock 
of boiled flesh, of rabbits and fowls ; and took with me two 
vessels, one filled with milk, and the other with water. 

I tried my canoe in a large pond, near my master's house, 
and then corrected in it what was amiss; stopping all the 
chinks with Yahoos' tallow, till I found it staunch, and able 
to bear me and my freight. And when it was as complete 
as I could possibly make it, I had it drawn on a carriage, 
very gently, by Yahoos, to the seaside, under the conduct 
of the sorrel nag and another servant. 

When all was ready, and the day came for my depar- 
ture, I took leave of my master and lady, and the whole 
family, my eyes flowing with tears, and my heart quite sunk 
with grief. But his honour, out of curiosity, and perhaps 
(if I may speak it without vanity) partly out of kindness, 
was determined to see me in my canoe; and got several of 


his neighbouring friends to accompany him. I was forced 
to wait above an hour for the tide, and then observing the 
wind very fortunately bearing towards the island to which 
I intended to steer my course, I took a second leave of my 
master: but as I was going to prostrate myself to kiss his 
hoof, he did rne the honour to raise it gently to my mouth. 
I am not ignorant how much I have been censured for 
mentioning this last particular. For my detractors are 
pleased to think it improbable, that so illustrious a person 
should descend to give so great a mark of distinction to a 
creature so inferior as I. Neither have I forgot how 
apt some travellers are to boast of extraordinary favours 
they have received. But if these censurers were better 
acquainted with the noble and courteous disposition of 
the Houyhnhnms, they would soon change their opinion. 

I paid my respects to the rest of the Houyhnhnms in his 
honour's company; then, getting into my canoe, I pushed 
off from shore. 


I BEGAN this desperate voyage on February 15, 1714-15, at 
nine o'clock in the morning. The wind was very favour- 
able; however, I made use, at first, only of my paddles; 
but considering I should soon be weary, and that the wind 
might probably chop about, I ventured to set up my little 
sail; and thus, with the help of the tide, I went at the rate 
of a league and a half an hour, as near as I could guess. My 
master and his friends continued on the shore till I was 
almost out of sight; and I often heard the sorrel nag (who 
always loved me) crying out, Hnuy ilia nyha majah Yahoo, 
Take care of thyself, gentle Yahoo. 

My design was, if possible, to discover some small island 
uninhabited, yet sufficient with my labour to furnish me 
with the necessaries of life, which I would have thought a 
greater happiness than to be first minister in the politest 
Court of Europe; so horrible was the idea I conceived of 
returning to live in the society and under the government 
of Yahoos. For, in such a solitude as I desired, I could, at 
least, enjoy my own thoughts, and reflect with delight on 
the virtues of those inimitable Houyhnhnms, without any 
opportunity of degenerating into the vices and corruptions 
of my own species. 

The reader may remember what I related when my crew 
conspired against me, and confined me to my cabin. How 
I continued there several weeks, without knowing what 
course we took ; and when I was put ashore in the long-boat, 
how the sailors told me with oaths, whether true or false, 
that they knew not in what part of the world we were. 
However, I did then believe us to be about ten degrees 
southward of the Cape of Good Hope, or about forty-five 



degrees southern latitude, as I gathered from some general 
words I overheard among them, being, I supposed, to the 
south-east in their intended voyage to Madagascar. And, 
although this were but little better than conjecture, yet I 
resolved to steer my course eastward, hoping to reach the 
south-west coast of New Holland, and perhaps some such 
island as I desired, lying westward of it. The wind was full 
west, and, by six in the evening I computed I had gone 
eastward at least eighteen leagues; when I spied a very 
small island about half a league off, which I soon reached. 
It was nothing but a rock with one creek, naturally arched 
by the force of tempests. Here I put in my canoe, and, 
climbing up a part of the rock, I could plainly discover land 
to the east, extending from south to north. I lay all night 
in my canoe; and, repeating my voyage early in the morn- 
ing, I arrived in seven hours to the south-east point of New 
Holland. This confirmed me in the opinion I have long 
entertained, that the maps and charts place this country at 
least three degrees more to the east than it really is; which 
thought I communicated, many years ago, to my worthy 
friend, Mr. Herman Moll, and gave him my reasons 
for it, although he hath rather chosen to follow other 

I saw no inhabitants in the place where I landed, and, 
being unarmed, I was afraid of venturing far into the 
country. I found some shell-fish on the shore, and ate 
them raw, not daring to kindle a fire for fear of being 
discovered by the natives. I continued three days feeding 
on oysters and limpets, to save my own provisions; and I 
fortunately found a brook of excellent water, which gave 
me great relief. 

On the fourth day, venturing out early a little too far, 
I saw twenty or thirty natives upon a height, not above 
five hundred yards from me. They were stark naked, men, 
women, and children, round a fire, as I could discover by 
the smoke. One of them spied me, and gave notice to the 


rest ; five of them advanced towards me, leaving the women 
and children at the fire. I made what haste I could to the 
shore, and, getting into my canoe, shoved off. The savages, 
observing me retreat, ran after me, and, before I could 
get far enough into the sea, discharged an arrow, which 
wounded me deeply on the inside of my left knee (I shall 
cany the mark to my grave). I apprehended the arrow 
might be poisoned, and paddling out of the reach of their 
darts (being a calm day) I made a shift to suck the wound, 
and dress it as I could. 

I was at a loss what to do, for I durst not return to the 
same landing-place, but stood to the north, and was forced 
to paddle; for the wind, though very gentle, was against 
me, blowing north-west. As I was looking about for a 
secure landing-place, I saw a sail to the north-north-east, 
which appearing every minute more visible, I was in some 
doubt whether I should wait for them or no; but, at last, 
my detestation of the Yahoo race prevailed; and, turning 
my canoe, I sailed and paddled together to the south, and 
got into the same creek from whence I set out in the morn- 
ing, choosing rather to trust myself among these barbarians 
than live with European Yahoos. I drew up my canoe as 
close as I could to the shore, and hid myself behind a stone 
by the little brook, which, as I have already said, was 
excellent water. 

The ship came within half a league of this creek, and 
sent out her long-boat, with vessels to take in fresh water 
(for the place, it seems, was very well known), but I did not 
observe it, till the boat was almost on shore ; and it was too 
late to seek another hiding-place. The seamen, at their 
landing, observed my canoe, and, rummaging it all over, 
easily conjectured that the owner could not be far off. 
Four of them, well armed, searched every cranny and lurk- 
ing-hole, till at last they found me flat on my face behind 
the stone. They gazed awhile in admiration at my strange 
uncouth dress; my coat made of skins, my wooden-soled 


shoes, and my furred stockings; from whence, however, 
they concluded, I was not a native of the place, who all 
go naked. One of the seamen, in Portuguese, bid me rise, 
and asked who I was. I understood that language very 
well, and getting upon my feet, said, I was a poor Yahoo, 
banished from the Houyhnhnms, and desired they would 
please to let me depart. They admired to hear me answer 
them in their own tongue, and saw by my complexion I 
must be a European; but were at a loss to know what I 
meant by Yahoos, and Houyhnhnms, and at the same 
time fell a-laughing at my strange tone in speaking, which 
resembled the neighing of a horse. I trembled all the 
while betwixt fear and hatred: I again desired leave to 
depart, and was gently moving to my canoe, but they laid 
hold on me, desiring to know what country I was of? 
whence I came ? with many other questions. I told them, 
I was born in England, from whence I came about five 
years ago, and then their country and ours were at peace. 
I therefore hoped they would not treat me as an enemy, 
since I meant them no harm, but was a poor Yahoo, seek- 
ing some desolate place where to pass the remainder of his 
unfortunate life. 

When they began to talk, I thought I never heard or 
saw anything so unnatural; for it appeared to me as 
monstrous, as if a dog or a cow should speak in England, 
or a Yahoo in Houyhnhnmland. The honest Portuguese 
were equally amazed at my strange dress, and the odd 
manner of delivering my words, which, however, they 
understood very well. They spoke to me with great 
humanity, and said they were sure the captain would carry 
me gratis to Lisbon, from whence I might return to my own 
country; that two of the seamen would go back to the 
ship, inform the captain of what they had seen, and receive 
his orders; in the meantime, unless I would give my solemn 
oath not to fly, they would secure me by force. I thought 
it best to comply with their proposal. They were very 


curious to know my story, but I gave them very little satis- 
faction; and they all conjectured, that my misfortunes had 
impaired my reason. In two hours the boat, which went 
loaded with vessels of water, returned, with the captain's 
command, to fetch me on board. I fell on my knees to 
preserve my liberty; but all was in vain, and the men, 
having tied me with cords, heaved me into the boat, from 
whence I was taken into the ship, and from thence into the 
captain's cabin. 

His name was Pedro de Mendez; he was a very 
courteous and generous person; he entreated me to give 
some account of myself, and desired to know what I would 
eat or drink; said I should be used as well as himself, and 
spoke so many obliging things, that I wondered to find 
such civilities from a Yahoo. However, I remained silent 
and sullen; I was ready to faint at the very smell of him 
and his men. At last I desired something to eat out of my 
own canoe; but he ordered me a chicken, and some excel- 
lent wine, and then directed that I should be put to bed in 
a very clean cabin. I would not undress myself, but lay 
on the bedclothes, and in half an hour stole out, when I 
thought the crew was at dinner, and getting to the side of 
the ship, was going to leap into the sea, and swim for my 
life, rather than continue among Yahoos. But one of the 
seamen prevented me, and, having informed the captain, 
I was chained to my cabin. 

After dinner, Don Pedro came to me, and desired to 
know my reason for so desperate an attempt; assured me, 
he only meant to do me all the service he was able, and 
spoke so very movingly, that at last I descended to treat 
him like an animal which had some little portion of reason. 
I gave him a very short relation of my voyage ; of the con- 
spiracy against me by my own men; of the country where 
they set me on shore, and of my three years' residence 
there. All which he looked upon as if it were a dream or a 
vision, whereat I took great offence; for I had quite forgot 


the faculty of lying, so peculiar to Yahoos in all countries 
where they preside, and consequently the disposition of 
suspecting truth in others of their own species. I asked 
him whether it were the custom in his country to say the 
thing that was not? I assured him I had almost forgot 
what he meant by falsehood, and, if I had lived a thousand 
years in Houyhnhnmland, I should never have heard a lie 
from the meanest servant ; that I was altogether indifferent 
whether he believed me or no; but however, in return for 
his favours, I would give so much allowance to the corrup- 
tion of his nature, as to answer any objection he would 
please to make, and then he might easily discover the 

The captain, a wise man, after many endeavours to 
catch me tripping in some part of my story, at last began 
to have a better opinion of my veracity. But he added 
that, since I professed so inviolable an attachment to truth, 
I must give him my word and honour to bear him company 
in this voyage, without attempting anything against my 
life, or else he would continue me a prisoner till we arrived 
at Lisbon. I gave him the promise he required; but at the 
same time protested, that I would suffer the greatest hard- 
ships rather than return to live among Yahoos. 

Our voyage passed without any considerable accident. 
In gratitude to the captain, I sometimes sat with him, at 
his earnest request, and strove to conceal my antipathy to 
human kind, although it often broke out ; which he suffered 
to pass without observation. But, the greatest part of 
the day, I confined myself to my cabin, to avoid seeing 
any of the crew. The captain had often entreated me to 
strip myself of my savage dress, and offered to lend me the 
best suit of clothes he had. This I would not be prevailed 
on to accept, abhorring to cover myself with anything that 
had been on the back of a Yahoo. I only desired he would 
lend me two clean shirts, which having been washed since 
he wore them, I believed would not so much defile me. 


These I changed every second day, and washed them 

We arrived at Lisbon, Nov. 5, 1715. At our landing 
the captain forced me to cover myself with his cloak, to 
prevent the rabble from crowding about me. I was con- 
veyed to his own house; and, at my earnest request, he 
led me up to the highest room backwards. I conjured him 
to conceal from all persons what I had told him of the 
Houyhnhnms ; because the least hint of such a story would 
not only draw numbers of people to see me, but probably 
put me in danger of being imprisoned, or burnt by the 
Inquisition. The captain persuaded me to accept a suit 
of clothes newly made, but I would not suffer the tailor 
to take my measure; however, Don Pedro being almost of 
my size, they fitted me well enough. He accoutred me with 
other necessaries, all new, which I aired for twenty-four 
hours, before I would use them. 

The captain had no wife, nor above three servants, none 
of which were suffered to attend at meals; and his whole 
deportment was so obliging, added to a very good human 
understanding, that I really began to tolerate his company. 
He gained so far upon me, that I ventured to look out of 
the back window. By degrees, I was brought into another 
room, from whence I peeped into the street, but drew my 
head back in a fright. In a week's time he seduced me down 
to the door. I found my terror gradually lessened, but my 
hatred and contempt seemed to increase. I was at last 
bold enough to walk the street in his company, but kept my 
nose well stopped with rue, or sometimes with tobacco. 

In ten days, Don Pedro, to whom I had given some 
account of my domestic affairs, put it upon me as a matter 
of honour and conscience, that I ought to return to my 
native country, and live at home with my wife and children. 
He told me there was an English ship in the port just ready 
to sail, and he would furnish me with all things necessary. 
It would be tedious to repeat his arguments and my con- 



tradictions. He said it was altogether impossible to find 
such a solitary island as I had desired to live in; but I 
might command in my own house, and pass my time in 
a manner as recluse as I pleased. 

I complied at last, finding I could not do better. I 
left Lisbon the 24th day of November, in an English mer- 
chantman, but who was the master I never inquired. Don 
Pedro accompanied me to the ship, and lent me twenty 
pounds. He took kind leave of me, and embraced me at 
parting, which I bore as well as I could. During the last 
voyage I had no commerce with the master or any of his 
men; but, pretending I was sick, kept close in my cabin. 
On the 5th of December 1715 we cast anchor in the Downs 
about nine in the morning, and at three in the afternoon 
I got safe to my house at Rotherhithe. 

My wife and family received me with great surprise 
and joy, because they concluded me certainly dead; but 
I must freely confess the sight of them filled me only with 
hatred, disgust, and contempt; and the more by reflecting 
on the near alliance I had to them. For, although since 
my unfortunate exile from the Houyhnhnm country, I had 
compelled myself to tolerate the sight of Yahoos, and to 
converse with Don Pedro de Mendez, yet my memory and 
imagination were perpetually filled with the virtues and 
ideas of those exalted Houyhnhnms. 

As soon as I entered the house, my wife took me in her 
arms, and kissed me; at which, having not been used to the 
touch of that odious animal for so many years, I fell in a 
swoon for almost an hour. At the time I am writing, it 
is five years since my last return to England : during the 
first year, I could not endure my wife or children in my 
presence, the very smell of them was intolerable ; much less 
could I suffer them to eat in the same room. To this hour 
they dare not presume to touch my bread, or drink out ot 
the same cup; neither was I ever able to let one of them 
take me by the hand. The first money I laid out was to 



buy two young horses, which I kept in a good stable, and 
next to them the groom is my greatest favourite; for I 
feel my spirits revived by the smell he contracts in the 
stable. My horses understand me tolerably well; I con- 
verse with them at least four hours every day. They are 
strangers to bridle or saddle ; they li ve in great amity with 
me, and friendship to each other. 


THUS, gentle reader, I have given thee a faithful history 
of my travels for sixteen years and above seven months; 
wherein I have not been so studious of ornament as truth. 
I could perhaps, like others, have astonished thee with 
strange improbable tales; but I rather chose to relate plain 
matter of fact, in the simplest manner and style; because 
my principal design was to inform, and not to amuse thee. 

It is easy for us who travel into remote countries, which 
are seldom visited by Englishmen, or other Europeans, to 
form descriptions of wonderful animals, both at sea and 
land. Whereas a traveller's chief aim should be, to make 
men wiser and better, and to improve their minds by the 
bad, as well as good example, of what they deliver concerning 
foreign places. 

I could heartily wish a law was enacted that every 
traveller, before he were permitted to publish his voyages, 
should be obliged to make oath before the Lord High Chan- 
cellor, that all he intended to print was absolutely true, 
to the best of his knowledge; for then the world would no 
longer be deceived, as it usually is; while some writers, to 
make their works pass the better upon the public, impose 
the grossest falsities on the unwary reader. I have perused 
several books of travels, with great delight, in my younger 
days; but, having since gone over most parts of the globe, 
and been able to contradict many fabulous accounts from 
my own observation, it hath given me a great disgust against 
this part of reading, and some indignation to see the credulity 
of mankind so impudently abused. Therefore, since my 
acquaintances were pleased to think my poor endeavours 
might not be unacceptable to my country, I imposed on 



myself, as a maxim never to be swerved from, that I would 
strictly adhere to truth; neither, indeed, can 1 be ever 
under the least temptation to vary from it, while I retain 
in my mind the lectures and example of my noble master, 
and the other illustrious Houyhnhnms, of whom I had so 
long the honour to be an humble hearer. 

Nee si miserum Fortuna Sinonem 

Finxit, vanum etiam, mendacemque improba finget. 

I know very well, how little reputation is to be got by 
writings which require neither genius nor learning, nor, 
indeed, any other talent except a good memory, or an 
exact journal. I know likewise, that writers of travels, 
like dictionary-makers, are sunk into oblivion by the weight 
and bulk of those who come last, and therefore lie upper- 
most. And it is highly probable that such travellers who 
shall hereafter visit the countries described in this work 
of mine, may, by detecting my errors (if there be any) 
and adding many new discoveries of their own, jostle me 
out of vogue, and stand in my place, making the world 
forget that I was ever an author. This indeed would be 
too great a mortification, if I wrote for fame: but, as my 
sole intention was the public good, I cannot be altogether 
disappointed. For who can read of the virtues I have 
mentioned in the glorious Houyhnhnms, without being 
ashamed of his own vices, when he considers himself as the 
reasoning, governing animal of his country? I shall say 
nothing of those remote nations where Yahoos preside; 
amongst which the least corrupted are the Brobdingnagians, 
whose wise maxims, in morality and government, it would 
be our happiness to observe. But I forbear descanting 
farther, and rather leave the judicious reader to his own 
remarks and applications. 

I am not a little pleased that this work of mine can 
possibly meet with no censurers: for what objections can 
be made against a writer who relates only plain facts 


that happened in such distant countries, whore we have not 
the least interest, with respect either to trade or negotia- 
tions? I have carefully avoided every fault with which 
common writers of travels are often too justly charged. 
Besides, I meddle not the least with any party, but write 
without passion, prejudice, or ill-will against any man, 
or number of men, whatsoever. I write for the noblest 
end, to inform and instruct mankind, over whom I may, 
without breach of modesty, pretend to some superiority, 
from the advantages I received by conversing so long 
among the most accomplished Houyhnhnms. I write 
without any view towards profit or praise. I never suffer 
a word to pass that may look like reflection, or possibly 
give the least offence, even to those who are most ready 
to take it. So that I hope I may, with justice, pronounce 
myself an author perfectly blameless; against whom the 
tribes of answerers, considerers, observers, reflecters, de- 
tecters, remarkers, will never be able to find matter for 
exercising their talents. 

I confess it was whispered to me, that I was bound 
in duty, as a subject of England, to have given in a 
memorial to a Secretary of State, at my first coming over; 
because, whatever lands are discovered by a subject belong 
to the crown. But I doubt whether our conquests, in 
the countries I treat of, would be as easy as those of 
Ferdinando Cortez over the naked Americans. The Lilli- 
putians, I think, are hardly worth the charge of a fleet 
and army to reduce them; and I question whether it might 
be prudent or safe to attempt the Brobdingnagians, or 
whether an English army would be much at their ease 
with the flying island over their heads. The Houyhnhnms, 
indeed, appear not to be so well prepared for war, a science 
to which they are perfect strangers, and especially against 
missive weapons. However, supposing myself to be a 
minister of state, I could never give my advice for invading 
them. Their prudence, unanimity, unacquaintedness with 


fear, and their love of their country, would amply supply 
all defects in the military art. Imagine twenty thousand 
of them breaking into the midst of an European army, 
confounding the ranks, overturning the carriages, battering 
the warriors' faces into mummy, by terrible yerks from 
their hinder hoofs; for they would well deserve the char- 
acter given to Augustus: Recalcitrat undique tutus. But, 
instead of proposals for conquering that magnanimous 
nation, I rather wish they were in a capacity, or disposi- 
tion, to send a sufficient number of their inhabitants for 
civilising Europe, by teaching us the first principles of 
honour, justice, truth, temperance, public spirit, fortitude, 
chastity, friendship, benevolence, and fidelity. The names 
of all which virtues are still retained among us in most 
languages, and are to be met with in modern, as well as 
ancient authors; which I am able to assert from my own 
small reading. 

But I had another reason which made me less forward 
to enlarge his Majesty's dominions by my discoveries. 
To say the truth, I had conceived a few scruples with 
relation to the distributive justice of princes upon those 
occasions. For instance, a crew of pirates are driven by 
a storm they know not whether; at length a boy discovers 
land from the top-mast; they go on shore to rob and 
plunder; they see an harmless people, are entertained 
with kindness; they give the country a new name; they 
take formal possession of it for their king; they set up 
a rotten plank or a stone for a memorial; they murder 
two or three dozen of the natives, bring away a couple 
more by force for a sample, return home, and get their 
pardon. Here commences a new dominion acquired with 
a title by divine right. Ships are sent with the first oppor- 
tunity; the natives driven out or destroyed; their princes 
tortured to discover their gold; a free licence given to all 
acts of inhumanity and lust, the earth reeking with the 
blood of its inhabitants: and this execrable crew of butchers 


employed in so pious an expedition, is a modern colony, 
sent to convert and civilise an idolatrous and barbarous 

But this description, I confess, doth by no means 
affect the British nation, who may be an example to 
the whole world for their wisdom, care, and justice 
in planting colonies; their liberal endowments for the 
advancement of religion and learning; their choice of 
devout and able pastors to propagate Christianity; their 
caution in stocking their provinces with people of sober 
lives and conversations from this the mother kingdom; 
their strict regard to the distribution of justice, in supply- 
ing the civil administration, through all their colonies, 
with officers of the greatest abilities, utter strangers to 
corruption; and to crown all, by sending the most vigilant 
and virtuous governors, who have no other views than 
the happiness of the people over whom they preside, and 
the honour of the king their master. 

But, as those countries which I have described do not 
appear to have any desire of being conquered and en- 
slaved, murdered or driven out by colonies; nor abound 
either in gold, silver, sugar, or tobacco; I did humbly 
conceive they were by no means proper objects of our 
zeal, our valour, or our interest. However, if those whom 
it more concerns think fit to be of another opinion, I am 
ready to depose, when I shall be lawfully called, that no 
European did ever visit these countries before me. I 
mean, if the inhabitants ought to be believed. 

But, as to the formality of taking possession in my 
sovereign's name, it never came into my thoughts; and, 
if it had, yet, as my affairs then stood, I should, perhaps, 
in point of prudence and self-preservation, have put it 
off to a better opportunity. 

Having thus answered the only objection that can 
ever be raised against me as a traveller, I here take a 
final leave of all my courteous readers, and return to 


enjoy my own speculations in my little garden at Redriff; 
to apply those excellent lessons of virtue which I learned 
among the Houyhnhnms; to instruct the Yahoos of my 
own family, as far as I shall find them docible animals; 
to behold my figure often in a glass, and thus, if possible, 
habituate myself, by time, to tolerate the sight of a human 
creature: to lament the brutality of Houyhnhnms in my 
own country, but always treat their persons with respect, 
for the sake of my noble master, his family, his friends, 
and the whole Houyhnhnm race, whom these, of ours, 
have the honour to resemble in all their lineaments, however 
their intellectuals came to degenerate. 

I began last week to permit my wife to sit at dinner 
with me, at the farthest end of a long table; and to answer 
(but with the utmost brevity) the few questions I asked 
her. Yet, the smell of a Yahoo continuing very offensive, 
I always keep my nose well stopped with rue, lavender, or 
tobacco leaves. And, although it be hard for a man late 
in life to remove old habits, I am not altogether out of 
hopes, in some time, to suffer a neighbour Yahoo in my 
company without the apprehensions I am yet under of 
his teeth or his claws. 

My reconcilement to the Yahoo kind in general might 
not be so difficult, if they would be content with those 
vices and follies only, which Nature had entitled them to. 
I am not in the least provoked at the sight of a lawyer, a 
pickpocket, a colonel, a fool, a lord, a gamester, a politician, 
a physician, an evidence, a suborner, an attorney, a traitor, 
or the like; this is all according to the due course of 
things: but when I behold a lump of deformity, and 
diseases both in body and mind, smitten with pride, it 
immediately breaks all the measures of my patience; 
neither shall I be ever able to comprehend how such an 
animal, and such a vice, could tally together. The wise 
and virtuous Houyhnhnms, who abound in all excellencies 
that can adorn a rational creature, have no name for this 


vice in their language, which hath no terms to express 
anything that is evil, except those whereby they describe 
the detestable qualities of their Yahoos, among which 
they were not able to distinguish this of pride, for want 
of thoroughly understanding human nature, as it sheweth 
itself in other countries, where that animal presides. But 
I, who had more experience, could plainly observe some 
rudiments of it among the wild Yahoos. 

But the Houyhnhnms, who live under the government 
of reason, are no more proud of the good qualities they 
possess, than I should be for not wanting a leg or an arm, 
which no man in his wits would boast of, although he must 
be miserable without them. I dwell the longer upon this 
subject, from the desire I have to make the society of an 
English Yahoo, by any means, not insupportable; and, 
therefore, I here entreat those who have any tincture of 
this absurd vice, that they will not presume to come in 
my sight. 


At TMt^ 

H*I _ - A i 



A Selection 

A Child's Grace 

In photographs by 

Harold Burdekin 

The art of the photographer is seen at its best when the 
camera catches the unstudied and appealing attitudes of 
small children. Mr Burdekin has hit upon the idea of 
illustrating the Grace by Mrs Leatham : 

Thank you for the world so sweet, Thank you for the birds that sing, 
Thank you for the food we eat, Thank you, God, for everything, 

supplemented by further appropriate verses by Dr Claxton, 
and with nearly thirty lovely photographic studies has 
made a perfect picture book for small children. 

FOR YOUNGEST READERS [10 ins. square] 5/' 

Sabu, The Elephant Boy 


Frances Flaherty 
and Ursula Leacock 

This is a true account of the discovery of Sabu, the mahout's 
son, the boy chosen to play the part of Little Toomai in the 
film version of Kipling's famous story. 

Sabu is an orphan, who was found playing in the Maha- 
rajah of Mysore's elephant stables, and who turned out to be 
a natural actor of extraordinary ability. This story describes 
his love for Irawatha the great tusker and his care of the 
elephant, and contains a message from Sabu, written in his 
own handwriting, to his young readers. 

FOR YOUNG READERS [Small crown 410} 5/~ 
With 46 full-page photogravure illustrations. [Prospectus] 

Heron's Island 


G. Dewi Roberts 

With over 40 line drawings and wrapper design by 

This sequel to The House that was Forgotten, a story for young 
children under twelve, chronicles the further adventures 
of Heron, Cat, Rabbit, Jock the sheepdog, and Wilding 
the red outlaw cat. 

Forced to leave 'The House that was Forgotten,' The 
Happy Family takes up residence on a small island in- 
habited by puffins. Heron's Island tells the story of the 
many strange adventures which were in store for them in 
their new home. 

Mr Roberts's five animals are all clearly naturalized 
citizens, and the spirit of their story has been brilliantly 
interpreted by Geoffrey Wedgwood in a series of fanciful 
drawings, in which it seems the most natural thing in the 
world that Cat should wear coat and trousers and even 
goggles when piloting his sea-plane. 

llerorfs Island, like The House that was Forgotten, has already 
been broadcast as a dialogue story, and earned the compli- 
ment of being repeated in Request Week. 

FOR YOUNG READERS [Deny 8vo] 5/~ 

Robin Hood 


A Tale of the Fourteenth Century, from the 

'Lytell Geste' 


Carola Oman 

Illustrated by JACK MATTHEW 

There are several versions of the classic Robin Hood legend 
in print to-day, and many conflicting theories as to its 
historical accuracy. 

Miss Carola Oman, whose work as a serious historian 
is too well known to need introduction here, has studied 
every one of the thirty-eight ballads, starting with the 
first story of all of which the only copy in the world is 
in the Cambridge University Library. 

It was published about 1495, and in her particularly 
interesting preface Miss Oman describes it, and the second 
copy of it that was published fifty years later. 

She has set her tale of Robin Hood in the days of Edward 
II. The book is a first-rate piece of work, and a valuable 
contribution to the literature on this ever-popular charac- 
ter, as well as a thrilling historical story. 

FOR OLDER READERS [Large crown 8vo] 3/6 

Library Edition 5/- 

Popular volumes in 
Dent's Young People's Classics 

The Arabian Nights 

Edited by 

E. Dixon 

Illustrated by 


A Wonder Book 
and Tanglewood Tales 


Nathaniel Hawthorne 

Illustrated by 

FOR OLDER READERS [Large crown 8vo] 3/6 EACH 

Fully illustrated in colour and line. Special library edition bound 
in extra-quality cloth, sections reinforced, plates guarded. 5/- each 

This famous series of classic stories now comprises 18 

A selection of tales from The Arabian Nights has now been 
added, and the popular Wonder Book and Tanglewood Tales 
are bound together in one volume. 

Both these books have coloured jackets and are illustrated 

A descriptive list of the series is to be had on application. 

The Fifth of 



L. A. G. Strong 

Illustrated by JACK MATTHEW 

FOR OLDER READERS [Large Crown 8vo] 

The Everyday Series 

Told by M. C. CAREY 

Pictured by 

Mary Shillabeer 



Here is the story of the everyday life and work of people 
who come within a child's range of vision. The Postman 
brings the letters, the Policeman walks past the door, tin- 
Milkman and his pony come jingling down the street. 

How docs your letter ever reach the Postman's bag? Or 
the milk get into the jug for breakfast on the nursery table? 
These gaily printed little books provide the answer. 


Illustrated in colour. 5 ins. square, paper boards. 


Tennis Shoes 


Noel Streatfeild 

Illustrated by D. L. MAYS 

Miss Streatfeild had a great success with her first 
children's book BALLET SHOES. It owed its popu- 
larity, apart from the story itself, to her peculiar 
faculty for vividly describing life as it is lived by an 
ordinary family, with the ups and downs of ballet train- 
ing and difficult times at home. 

She now follows this up with a story about lawn tennis, 
written with the same wit and vivacity and strict attention 
to detail. The father of the family is a doctor, who was a 
first-class player in his day and coaches the family himself 
in his spare moments. Jim, Susan, Nicky, and David all 
play on the hard courts near their home. The best of them 
all is Nicky. Every girl who is keen on the game and 
plays at school will be fascinated by this account of how a 
young player is trained to the standard required to enter 
for various junior tournaments open to schoolgirls. The 
book is illustrated by the well-known Punch artist. 

FOR OLDER READERS [Large crown 8vo] 5/~ 







Hugh de 



Illustrated by 

'Whether Mr de Selincourt is writing of the Kimptons in 
their home or on the cricket field, he gives a vivid picture 
of a keen and sensible family. It is no small feat to 
have described the match in which young Kimpie, aged 
fourteen, made his first appearance for Tillingfold, so 
delightfully that the game from start to finish can be 
followed with zest. Mr James Thorpe's numerous illustra- 
tions harmonize so completely with the text that they are 
most valuable additions to this pleasant story.' Punch. 

FOR OLDER READERS [Large crown 8vo] 5/~ 

Two Boys go Sailing 


Conor O Brien 

Illustrated by 

'To any man with sons, nephews, or any young thing 
on his hands, I recommend this book.'- -Tackling World. 

FOR OLDER READERS [Large crown 8vo] 5/~ 




Illustrated throughout by 

Some press opinions : 

'Noel Streatfcild's Ballet Shoes 
has a charm all its own. The 
silver dust jacket and the green 
cover, with its silver lettering and 

pair of ballet shoes, gives a true foretaste of the exquisite 

story within.' Library World. 

'One is frequently asked if there are any "really good new 
books not school stories for girls." Here is one which 
can confidently be recommended for the nine to fourteen 
year old. The book grips because it is sincere and per- 
fectly possible. Pauline, Petrova, and Posy are nice, un- 
spoilt, naughty, natural children. They ought to be 
immensely popular.' LORNA LEWIS in The Junior Bookshelf. 

'Thank Heaven (and Miss Streatfeild) for a new kind of 
book for children.' Amateur Theatre. 

FOR OLDER READERS [Large crown 8vo] 6/- 

Elephant Twins 

Written and Illustrated by 

Inez Hogan 

Elephant Twins comes this year as a delightful companion 
to Bear Twins, which had such a success that a reprint was 
necessary before the season was half over. 

Tommy and Toby, the baby elephants, run away, just as 
Johnny and Jimmy did. But they get separated, and havr 
many strange adventures. 

The pictures are enchanting, and what happens to them 
when Mother finally gets them home ends an attnu live 
little tale for readers of about four to seven. 


With decorated endpapers, cover, 
and wrapper. Size 8 by 6 ins. 



Petersham Story Books 


Written and Illustrated by 

Maud & Miska Petersham 






Printed throughout in colour lithography, with manilla 
boards and decorated wrapper. Size 8\ by 8 ins. 



The Little Boy and 
His House 

Written and Illustrated by 

Stephen Bone 
and Mary Adshead 

: An ideal combination of fantastic adventure and sternly 
practical observation.' Time and Tide. 

FOR YOUNGER READERS [io by i 2 \ ins.] 7/6 

With 14 full-page drawings in colour, and many in black 
. and white. Reproduced throughout in lithography.