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FROM GULLIVER'S TRAVELS.
The Publisher to the Reader.
The author of these travels, Mr. Lemuel Gulliver, is my ancient and intimate friend; there is likewise some relation between us on the mother's side. About three years ago, Mr. Gulliver, growing weary of the concourse of curious people coming to him at his house in Redriff, made a small purchase of land with a convenient house, near Newark, in Nottinghamshire, his native country, where he now lives retired, yet in good esteem among his neighbours.
Although Mr. Gulliver was born in Nottinghamshire, where his father dwelt, yet I have heard him say, his family came from Oxfordshire; to confirm which, I have observed in the church-yard at Banbury, in that county, several tombs and monuments of the Gullivers.
Before he quitted Redriff, he left the custody of the following papers in my hands, with the liberty to dispose of them as I should think fit. I have carefully perused them three times: the style is very plain and simple; and the only fault I find is, that the author, after the manner of travellers, is a little too circumstantial. There is an air of truth apparent through the whole; and, indeed, the author was so distinguished for his veracity, that it became a sort of proverb among his neighbours at Redriff, when any one affirmed a thing, to say it was as true as if Mr. Gulliver had spoken it.
By the advice of several worthy persons, to whom, with the author's permission, I communicated these papers, I now venture to send them into the world, hoping they may be, at least for some time, a better entertainment to our young noblemen, than the common scribbles of politics and party,
As for any farther particulars relating to the author, the reader will receive satisfaction from the first pages of the book.
2. A Conversation between Gulliver and a Principal Secretary
concerning the Affairs of Lilliput.
One morning, about a fortnight after I had obtained my liberty, Reldresal, principal secretary (as they style him) for 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 of 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 may be, his Majesty has determined to make use only of 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 apprehend 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 have 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 conjecture 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 assistance and encouragement from their party here at home, that a bloody war hath been carried on between the two empires for six and thirty 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.
2. TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE MAYOR AND ALDERMEN OF THE CITY OF LONDON, THE HUMBLE PETITION OF THE COLLIERS, COOKS, COOKMAIDS, BLACK
SMITHS, JACKMAKERS, BRAZIERS, AND OTHERS,
SHEWETH, That whereas certain virtuosi, disaffected to the government, and to the trade and prosperity of this kingdom, taking upon them the name and title of CATOPTRICAL VICTUALLERS, have presumed, by gathering, breaking, folding, and bundling up the sun-beams, by the help of certain glasses, to make, produce, and kindle up several new focuses, or fires, within these his Majesty's dominions, and thereby to boil, bake, stew, fry, and dress all sorts of victuals and provisions, to brew, distil spirits, smelt ore, and, in general, to perform all the offices of culinary fires; and are endeavouring to procure to themselves the monopoly of this their said invention: We beg leave humbly to represent to your Honours,
That such grant or patent will utterly ruin and reduce to beggary your petitioners, their wives, children, servants, and trades on them depending; there being nothing left to them, after the said invention, but warming of cellars, and dressing of suppers in the winter time: That the abolishing so considerable a branch of the coasting-trade as that of the colliers, will destroy the navigation of this kingdom. That whereas the said catoptrical victuallers talk of making use of the moon by night, as of the sun by day, they will utterly ruin the numerous body of tallow-chandlers, and impair a
very considerable branch of the revenue, which arises from the tax upon tallow and candles.
That the said catoptrical victuallers do profane the emanations of that glorious luminary the sun, which is appointed to rule the day, and not to roast mutton. And we humbly conceive, it will be found contrary to the known laws of this kingdom, to confine, forestall, and monopolize the beams of the sun. And whereas the said catoptrical victuallers have undertaken, by burning-glasses made of ice, to roast an ox upon the Thames next winter: We conceive all such practices to be an encroachment upon the rights and privileges of the company of watermen.
That the diversity of exposition of the several kitchens in this great city, whereby some receive the rays of the sun sooner, and others later, will occasion great irregularity as to the time of dining of the several inhabitants, and consequently great uncertainty and confusion in the dispatch of business: And to those who, by reason of their northern exposition, will be still forced to be at the expences of culinary fires, it will reduce the price of their manufacture, to such inequality as is inconsistent with common justice: And the same inconveniency will affect landlords in the value of their rents.
That the use of the said glasses will oblige cooks, and cook-maids, to study optics and astronomy, in order to know the due distances of the said focuses, or fires, and to adjust the position of their glasses to the several altitudes of the sun, varying according to the hours of the day, and the seasons of the year; which studies, at these years, will be highly troublesome to the said cooks and cook-maids, not to say any thing of the utter incapacity of some of them to go through with such difficult arts; or (which is still a greater inconvenience) it will throw the whole art of cookery into the hands of astronomers and glass-grinders, persons utterly unskilled in other parts of that profession, to the great detriment of the health of his Majesty's good subjects.
That it is known by experience, that meat roasted with sun-beams is extremely unwholesome; witness several that have died suddenly after eating the provisions of the said catoptrical victuallers; forasmuch as the sun-beams taken inwardly render the humours too hot and adust, occasion great sweatings, and dry up the radical moisture.
That mankind living much upon the seeds and other parts of plants, these, being impregnated with the sun-beams, may vegetate and grow in the bowels, a thing of more dangerous consequence to human bodies than breeding of