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Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

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Transcribed from the 1892 George Bell and Sons edition by
David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk

Gulliver's Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World
by Jonathan Swift


[As given in the original edition.]

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 churchyard 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.

This volume would have been at least twice as large, if I had not
made bold to strike out innumerable passages relating to the winds
and tides, as well as to the variations and bearings in the several
voyages, together with the minute descriptions of the management of
the ship in storms, in the style of sailors; likewise the account
of longitudes and latitudes; wherein I have reason to apprehend,
that Mr. Gulliver may be a little dissatisfied. But I was resolved
to fit the work as much as possible to the general capacity of
readers. However, if my own ignorance in sea affairs shall have
led me to commit some mistakes, I alone am answerable for them.
And if any traveller hath a curiosity to see the whole work at
large, as it came from the hands of the author, I will be ready to
gratify him.

As for any further particulars relating to the author, the reader
will receive satisfaction from the first pages of the book.




I hope you will be ready to own publicly, whenever you shall be
called to it, that by your great and frequent urgency you prevailed
on me to publish a very loose and uncorrect account of my travels,
with directions to hire some young gentleman of either university
to put them in order, and correct the style, as my cousin Dampier
did, by my advice, in his book called "A Voyage round the world."
But I do not remember I gave you power to consent that any thing
should be omitted, and much less that any thing should be inserted;
therefore, as to the latter, I do here renounce every thing of that
kind; particularly a paragraph about her majesty Queen Anne, of
most pious and glorious memory; although I did reverence and esteem
her more than any of human species. But you, or your interpolator,
ought to have considered, that it was not my inclination, so was it
not decent to praise any animal of our composition before my master
Houyhnhnm: And besides, the fact was altogether false; for to my
knowledge, being in England during some part of her majesty's
reign, she did govern by a chief minister; nay even by two
successively, the first whereof was the lord of Godolphin, and the
second the lord of Oxford; so that you have made me say the thing
that was not. Likewise in the account of the academy of
projectors, and several passages of my discourse to my master
Houyhnhnm, you have either omitted some material circumstances, or
minced or changed them in such a manner, that I do hardly know my
own work. When I formerly hinted to you something of this in a
letter, you were pleased to answer that you were afraid of giving
offence; that people in power were very watchful over the press,
and apt not only to interpret, but to punish every thing which
looked like an innuendo (as I think you call it). But, pray how
could that which I spoke so many years ago, and at about five
thousand leagues distance, in another reign, be applied to any of
the Yahoos, who now are said to govern the herd; especially at a
time when I little thought, or feared, the unhappiness of living
under them? Have not I the most reason to complain, when I see
these very Yahoos carried by Houyhnhnms in a vehicle, as if they
were brutes, and those the rational creatures? And indeed to avoid
so monstrous and detestable a sight was one principal motive of my
retirement hither.

Thus much I thought proper to tell you in relation to yourself, and
to the trust I reposed in you.

I do, in the next place, complain of my own great want of judgment,
in being prevailed upon by the entreaties and false reasoning of
you and some others, very much against my own opinion, to suffer my
travels to be published. Pray bring to your mind how often I
desired you to consider, when you insisted on the motive of public
good, that the Yahoos were a species of animals utterly incapable
of amendment by precept or example: and so it has proved; for,
instead of seeing a full stop put to all abuses and corruptions, at
least in this little island, as I had reason to expect; behold,
after above six months warning, I cannot learn that my book has
produced one single effect according to my intentions. I desired
you would let me know, by a letter, when party and faction were
extinguished; judges learned and upright; pleaders honest and
modest, with some tincture of common sense, and Smithfield blazing
with pyramids of law books; the young nobility's education entirely
changed; the physicians banished; the female Yahoos abounding in
virtue, honour, truth, and good sense; courts and levees of great
ministers thoroughly weeded and swept; wit, merit, and learning
rewarded; all disgracers of the press in prose and verse condemned
to eat nothing but their own cotton, and quench their thirst with
their own ink. These, and a thousand other reformations, I firmly
counted upon by your encouragement; as indeed they were plainly
deducible from the precepts delivered in my book. And it must be
owned, that seven months were a sufficient time to correct every
vice and folly to which Yahoos are subject, if their natures had
been capable of the least disposition to virtue or wisdom. Yet, so
far have you been from answering my expectation in any of your
letters; that on the contrary you are loading our carrier every
week with libels, and keys, and reflections, and memoirs, and
second parts; wherein I see myself accused of reflecting upon great
state folk; of degrading human nature (for so they have still the
confidence to style it), and of abusing the female sex. I find
likewise that the writers of those bundles are not agreed among
themselves; for some of them will not allow me to be the author of
my own travels; and others make me author of books to which I am
wholly a stranger.

I find likewise that your printer has been so careless as to
confound the times, and mistake the dates, of my several voyages
and returns; neither assigning the true year, nor the true month,
nor day of the month: and I hear the original manuscript is all
destroyed since the publication of my book; neither have I any copy
left: however, I have sent you some corrections, which you may
insert, if ever there should be a second edition: and yet I cannot
stand to them; but shall leave that matter to my judicious and
candid readers to adjust it as they please.

I hear some of our sea Yahoos find fault with my sea-language, as
not proper in many parts, nor now in use. I cannot help it. In my
first voyages, while I was young, I was instructed by the oldest
mariners, and learned to speak as they did. But I have since found
that the sea Yahoos are apt, like the land ones, to become new-
fangled in their words, which the latter change every year;
insomuch, as I remember upon each return to my own country their
old dialect was so altered, that I could hardly understand the new.
And I observe, when any Yahoo comes from London out of curiosity to
visit me at my house, we neither of us are able to deliver our
conceptions in a manner intelligible to the other.

If the censure of the Yahoos could any way affect me, I should have
great reason to complain, that some of them are so bold as to think
my book of travels a mere fiction out of mine own brain, and have
gone so far as to drop hints, that the Houyhnhnms and Yahoos have
no more existence than the inhabitants of Utopia.

Indeed I must confess, that as to the people of Lilliput,
Brobdingrag (for so the word should have been spelt, and not
erroneously Brobdingnag), and Laputa, I have never yet heard of any
Yahoo so presumptuous as to dispute their being, or the facts I
have related concerning them; because the truth immediately strikes
every reader with conviction. And is there less probability in my
account of the Houyhnhnms or Yahoos, when it is manifest as to the
latter, there are so many thousands even in this country, who only
differ from their brother brutes in Houyhnhnmland, because they use
a sort of jabber, and do not go naked? I wrote for their
amendment, and not their approbation. The united praise of the
whole race would be of less consequence to me, than the neighing of
those two degenerate Houyhnhnms I keep in my stable; because from
these, degenerate as they are, I still improve in some virtues
without any mixture of vice.

Do these miserable animals presume to think, that I am so
degenerated as to defend my veracity? Yahoo as I am, it is well
known through all Houyhnhnmland, that, by the instructions and
example of my illustrious master, I was able in the compass of two
years (although I confess with the utmost difficulty) to remove
that infernal habit of lying, shuffling, deceiving, and
equivocating, so deeply rooted in the very souls of all my species;
especially the Europeans.

I have other complaints to make upon this vexatious occasion; but I
forbear troubling myself or you any further. I must freely
confess, that since my last return, some corruptions of my Yahoo
nature have revived in me by conversing with a few of your species,
and particularly those of my own family, by an unavoidable
necessity; else I should never have attempted so absurd a project
as that of reforming the Yahoo race in this kingdom: But I have
now done with all such visionary schemes for ever.

April 2, 1727



[The author gives some account of himself and family. His first
inducements 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.]

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. 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 Leyden: 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
Pannel, commander; with whom I continued 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 therefore 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 observing 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
Prichard, master of the Antelope, who was making a voyage to the
South Sea. We set sail from Bristol, May 4, 1699, and our voyage
was at first 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 immoderate labour and ill food; the rest were in a very
weak condition. On the 5th of November, which was the beginning 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 declivity 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 day-light. 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 something alive moving on my left leg, which advancing
gently forward over my breast, came almost up to my chin; when,
bending my eyes downwards 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 mean time, 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 then I 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 a 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 I immediately
covered with my left hand. When this shower of arrows was over, I
fell a groaning with grief and pain; and then striving again to get
loose, they discharged 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 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 otherwise 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 a 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 observing 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 showing 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 commanded that
several ladders should be applied to my sides, on which above a
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 ate 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 fast as they could,
showing 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 slung 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 performed 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
mevolah; and when they saw the vessels in the air, there was a
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 considered
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 body, to signify that I desired my liberty. It
appeared that he understood me well enough, for he shook his head
by way of disapprobation, and held his hand in a posture to show
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. Upon 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, and to ease myself with making water; which I
very plentifully did, to the great astonishment of the people; who,
conjecturing by my motion what I was going to do, immediately
opened to the right and left on that side, to avoid the torrent,
which fell with such noise and violence from me. But before this,
they had daubed my face and both my hands with a sort of ointment,
very pleasant to the smell, which, in a few minutes, removed all
the smart of their arrows. These circumstances, 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 hogsheads 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 countenance and encouragement
of the emperor, who is a renowned patron of learning. This prince
has 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
packthread, 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 slung into the engine, and there
tied fast. All this I was told; for, while the operation was
performing, I lay in a profound sleep, by the force of that
soporiferous medicine infused into my liquor. Fifteen hundred of
the emperor's largest horses, each about four inches and a 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 waking so suddenly. We made a long march the remaining
part of the 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

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 upon 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 the 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 a 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
proclamation 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 semicircle, but, being fixed within
four inches of the gate, allowed me to creep in, and lie at my full
length in the temple.


[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.]

When I found myself on my feet, I looked about me, and must confess
I never beheld a more entertaining prospect. The country around
appeared like a continued 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, {1} 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.

I had been for some hours extremely pressed by the necessities of
nature; which was no wonder, it being almost two days since I had
last disburdened myself. I was under great difficulties between
urgency and shame. The best expedient I could think of, was to
creep into my house, which I accordingly did; and shutting the gate
after me, I went as far as the length of my chain would suffer, and
discharged my body of that uneasy load. But this was the only time
I was ever guilty of so uncleanly an action; for which I cannot but
hope the candid reader will give some allowance, after he has
maturely and impartially considered my case, and the distress I was
in. From this time my constant practice was, as soon as I rose, to
perform that business in open air, at the full extent of my chain;
and due care was taken every morning before company came, that the
offensive matter should be carried off in wheel-barrows, by two
servants appointed for that purpose. I would not have dwelt so
long upon a circumstance that, perhaps, at first sight, may appear
not very momentous, if I had not thought it necessary to justify my
character, in point of cleanliness, to the world; which, I am told,
some of my maligners have been pleased, upon this and other
occasions, to call in question.

When this adventure was at an end, I came back out of my house,
having occasion for fresh air. 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 its 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 beyond 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 upon
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 beholding him, I lay on
my side, so that my face was parallel to his, and he stood but
three yards off: however, I have 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
upon 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 forward 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 highly
delighted at this mark of my clemency, which was represented very
much to my advantage 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; a 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 inconveniency. He directed that those who had already beheld
me should return home, and not presume to come within fifty yards
of my house, without license from the court; whereby the
secretaries of state got considerable fees.

In the mean time the emperor held 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 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 carcass might
produce a plague in the metropolis, and probably spread through the
whole kingdom. In the midst of these consultations, several
officers of the army went to the door of the great council-chamber,
and two of them being admitted, 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 proportionable quantity of bread, and
wine, and other liquors; for the due payment of which, his majesty
gave assignments upon his treasury:- for this prince lives chiefly
upon his own demesnes; seldom, except upon great occasions, 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
give me my liberty;" which I every day repeated on my knees. His
answer, as I could comprehend 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 pesso desmar lon emposo;" that is,
swear a peace with him and his kingdom. However, that I should be
used with all kindness. 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 prodigious 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; and 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,
which 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 every thing 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 words 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
prodigious 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 pallisados
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
understand us. In the large pocket, on the right side of his
middle cover" (so I translate the word ranfulo, 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
show 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
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 at the end of 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 the lucid substance. He put this engine
into our ears, which made an incessant noise, like that of a water-
mill: and we conjecture it is either some unknown 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 any thing
without consulting 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 commands, 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
bigness of our heads, and requiring 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 mean time 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 scabbard, and cast it on the ground as gently as I could, about
six feet from the end of my chain. The next thing he demanded 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 inconvenience 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 in 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 for 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 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 draymen 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: he asked
the opinions of his learned men about it, which were various and
remote, as the reader may well imagine without 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 mine eyes,) a pocket perspective, and some
other little conveniences; which, being of no consequence to the
emperor, I did not think myself bound in honour to discover, and I
apprehended they might be lost or spoiled if I ventured them out of
my possession.


[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

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 the language. The emperor
had a mind one day to entertain 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 show their skill, and to
convince the emperor that they have not lost their faculty.
Flimnap, the treasurer, is allowed to cut a caper on the straight
rope, at least an inch higher than any other lord in the whole
empire. I have seen him do the summerset several times together,
upon a trencher fixed on a rope which is no thicker than a common
packthread 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 par.

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 commanded 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 has not received a fall,
and some of them two or three. I was assured that, a year or two
before my arrival, Flimnap would infallibly have broke his neck, if
one of the king's cushions, that accidentally lay on the ground,
had not weakened the force of his fall.

There is likewise another diversion, which is only shown 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 proposed as prizes for those persons whom the
emperor has 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 new or old 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, backward and forward,
several times, according as the stick is advanced or depressed.
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 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 horses
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 into order they divided into
two parties, performed mock skirmishes, discharged blunt arrows,
drew their swords, fled and pursued, attacked and retired, and in
short discovered 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, when she was able to
take a full view of the whole performance. It was my 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

About two or three days before I was set at liberty, as I was
entertaining the court with this kind of feat, 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 around, very oddly shaped, extending its
edges round, as wide as his majesty's bedchamber, 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 that 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
shipwreck, 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 entreated 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
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 conveniently 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 abreast, and the horse by sixteen, with drums
beating, colours flying, and pikes advanced. This body consisted
of three thousand foot, and a thousand horse. His majesty gave
orders, upon pain of death, that every soldier in his march should
observe the strictest decency with regard to my person; which
however could not prevent some of the younger officers from turning
up their eyes as they passed under me: and, to confess the truth,
my breeches were at that time in so ill a condition, that they
afforded some opportunities for laughter and admiration.

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 article upon which I recovered 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.

"Golbasto Momarem Evlame Gurdilo Shefin Mully Ully 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
centre, 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 proposes to the man-mountain, lately
arrived at our celestial dominions, the following articles, which,
by a solemn oath, he shall be obliged to perform:-

"1st, The man-mountain shall not depart from our dominions, without
our license 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 doors.

"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 helping 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 coast.

"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 reign."

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 acknowledgements 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 of the
recovery of my liberty, the emperor stipulates 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 determinate number, he told me that his
majesty's mathematicians, 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.


[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 offers to serve the emperor in his wars.]

The first request I made, after I had obtained my liberty, was,
that I might have license to see Mildendo, the metropolis; 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
distance. I stepped over the great western gate, and passed very
gently, and sidling, 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 who might
remain in the streets, although the orders were very 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 across
and divide it into four quarters, are five feet wide. The lanes
and alleys, which I could not enter, but only view 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 meet. It is enclosed 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 impossible 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 a hundred yards
distant 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 stept 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 further descriptions 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 along 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) 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
hours 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 about 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 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 a 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 Blefusca 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 has
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 a 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, has
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


[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. The empress's
apartment on fire by an accident; the author instrumental in saving
the rest of the palace.]

The empire of Blefuscu is an island situated to the north-east of
Lilliput, from which 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 discovered, 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 orders (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 packthread 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, bending 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 half
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 at the fleet in less than half an hour. The enemy was so
frightened when they saw me, that they leaped out of their ships,
and swam to 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,
beside the excessive 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, further
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 looks fixed to the ships, I
resolutely cut with my knife the cables that fastened the anchors,
receiving about 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

The Blefuscudians, who had not the least imagination of what I
intended, were at first confounded with astonishment. 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 as it is
almost impossible to describe or conceive. When I had got out of
danger, I stopped awhile 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 more in 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 king 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 opportunity of bringing
all the rest of his enemy's ships into his ports. And so
unmeasureable 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 this 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 opinion.

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 show 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 excellencies, 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 admiration, 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 license to
wait on the Blefuscudian monarch, which he was pleased to grant me,
as I could 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 conceive 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 differing as much from
each other as any two in Europe, and each nation priding itself
upon the antiquity, beauty, and energy of their own tongue, 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 confessed, that
from the great intercourse of trade and commerce 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 conversation 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. However, it was not long before I
had an opportunity of doing his majesty, at least as I then
thought, a most signal service. I was alarmed at midnight with the
cries of many hundred people at my door; by which, being suddenly
awaked, I was in some kind of terror. I heard the word Burglum
repeated incessantly: several of the emperor's court, making their
way through the crowd, entreated me to come immediately to the
palace, where her imperial majesty's apartment was on fire, by the
carelessness of a maid of honour, who fell asleep while she was
reading a romance. I got up in an instant; and orders being given
to clear the way before me, and it being likewise a moonshine
night, I made a shift to get to the palace without trampling on any
of the people. I found they had already applied ladders to the
walls of the apartment, and were well provided with buckets, but
the water was at some distance. These buckets were about the size
of large thimbles, and the poor people supplied me with them as
fast as they could: but the flame was so violent that they did
little good. I might easily have stifled it with my coat, which I
unfortunately left behind me for haste, and came away only in my
leathern jerkin. The case seemed wholly desperate and deplorable;
and this magnificent palace would have infallibly been burnt down
to the ground, if, by a presence of mind unusual to me, I had not
suddenly thought of an expedient. I had, the evening before, drunk
plentifully of a most delicious wine called glimigrim, (the
Blefuscudians call it flunec, but ours is esteemed the better
sort,) which is very diuretic. By the luckiest chance in the
world, I had not discharged myself of any part of it. The heat I
had contracted by coming very near the flames, and by labouring to
quench them, made the wine begin to operate by urine; which I
voided in such a quantity, and applied so well to the proper
places, that in three minutes the fire was wholly extinguished, and
the rest of that noble pile, which had cost so many ages in
erecting, preserved from destruction.

It was now day-light, and I returned to my house without waiting to
congratulate with the emperor: because, although I had done a very
eminent piece of service, yet I could not tell how his majesty
might resent the manner by which I had performed it: for, by the
fundamental laws of the realm, it is capital in any person, of what
quality soever, to make water within the precincts of the palace.
But I was a little comforted by a message from his majesty, "that
he would give orders to the grand justiciary for passing my pardon
in form:" which, however, I could not obtain; and I was privately
assured, "that the empress, conceiving the greatest abhorrence of
what I had done, removed to the most distant side of the court,
firmly resolved that those buildings should never be repaired for
her use: and, in the presence of her chief confidents could not
forbear vowing revenge."


[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. His vindication of a great lady.]

Although I intend to leave the description of this empire to a
particular treatise, yet, in the mean time, 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 has adapted the eyes of the
Lilliputians to all objects proper for their view: they see with
great exactness, but at no great distance. And, to show 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 clenched. 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, has 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

They bury their dead with their heads directly downward, 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 makes 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
has been at in making his defence; or, if that fund be deficient,
it is largely supplied by the crown. The emperor also confers 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 understanding, may preserve a man's
goods from thieves, but honesty has no defence 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 has 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
emperor 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. {2}

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 has strictly observed the
laws of his country for seventy-three moons, has a claim to certain
privileges, according to his quality or condition of life, with a
proportionable sum of money out of a fund appropriated for that
use: he likewise acquires the title of snilpall, or legal, which
is added to his name, but does not descend to his posterity. And
these people thought it a prodigious 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 show 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
understanding 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 consequence to
the public weal, as the practices of a man, whose inclinations led
him to be corrupt, and who had great abilities to manage, to
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 he acts.

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 grandfather 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 has 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. For, since the conjunction of male and female
is founded upon the great law of nature, in order to propagate and
continue the species, the Lilliputians will needs have it, that men
and women are joined together, like other animals, by the motives
of concupiscence; and that their tenderness towards their young
proceeds from the like natural principle: for which reason they
will never allow that a child is under any obligation to his father
for begetting him, or to his mother for bringing him into the
world; which, considering the miseries of human life, was neither a
benefit in itself, nor intended so by his parents, whose thoughts,
in their love encounters, were otherwise employed. Upon these, and
the like reasonings, 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 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 their 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
consisting 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 attendant, 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 or 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, sweetmeats, 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

The nurseries for children of ordinary gentlemen, merchants,
traders, and handicrafts, are managed proportionably 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 years.

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, or the common follies
practised by chambermaids among us, 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
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 peoples of quality,
a wife should be always a reasonable 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 gratitude to
the professors, and seldom without tears of the young lady and her

In the nurseries of 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 apprentices are dismissed at
seven years old, the rest are kept to eleven.

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, in
subservience to their own appetites, 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 domestics, 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 my 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 a 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 computation, 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: a 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 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 sirloin 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
ate at a mouthful, and I confess they far exceed ours. Of their
smaller fowl I could take up twenty or thirty at the end of my

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 in chairs of state, upon 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 ate 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 opportunity 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 condition of his treasury;
that he was forced to take up money at a great discount; that
exchequer bills would not circulate under nine per cent. below par;
that 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."

I am here obliged to vindicate the reputation of an excellent lady,
who was an innocent sufferer upon my account. The treasurer took a
fancy to be jealous of his wife, from the malice of some evil
tongues, who informed him that her grace had taken a violent
affection for my person; and the court scandal ran for some time,
that she once came privately to my lodging. This I solemnly
declare to be a most infamous falsehood, without any grounds,
further than that her grace was pleased to treat me with all
innocent marks of freedom and friendship. I own she came often to
my house, but always publicly, nor ever without three more in the
coach, who were usually her sister and young daughter, and some
particular acquaintance; but this was common to many other ladies
of the court. And I still appeal to my servants round, whether
they at any time saw a coach at my door, without knowing what
persons were in it. On those occasions, when a servant had given
me notice, 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 unharnessed four,) and place them on a table,
where I had fixed a movable 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 engaged with one set,
the coachmen would gently drive the others round my table. I have
passed many an afternoon very agreeably in these conversations.
But I defy the treasurer, or his two informers (I will name them,
and let them make the best of it) Clustril and Drunlo, 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 should not have dwelt so long upon
this particular, if it had not been a point wherein the reputation
of a great lady is so nearly concerned, to say nothing of my own;
though 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 marquis is
to a duke in England; yet I allow he preceded me in right of his
post. These false informations, which I afterwards came to the
knowledge of by an accident not proper to mention, made the
treasurer show his lady for some time an ill countenance, and me a
worse; and although he was at last undeceived and reconciled to
her, 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.


[The author, being informed of a design to accuse him of high-
treason, makes his escape to Blefuscu. His reception there.]

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 chairmen 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, according to my usual
custom, and sat down by it. After the common salutations were
over, observing his lordship's countenance full of concern, and
inquiring 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

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