home | authors | books | about

Home -> Jonathan Swift -> Gulliver's Travels -> A Letter From Captain Gulliver to His Cousin Sympson

Gulliver's Travels - A Letter From Captain Gulliver to His Cousin Sympson

1. A Letter From Captain Gulliver to His Cousin Sympson

2. Part I. Chapter 1

3. Chapter 2

4. Chapter 3

5. Chapter 4

6. Chapter 5

7. Chapter 6

8. Chapter 7

9. Chapter 8

10. Part II. Chapter 1

11. Chapter 2

12. Chapter 3

13. Chapter 4

14. Chapter 5

15. Chapter 6

16. Chapter 7

17. Chapter 8

18. Part III. Chapter 1

19. Chapter 2

20. Chapter 3

21. Chapter 4

22. Chapter 5

23. Chapter 6

24. Chapter 7

25. Chapter 8

26. Chapter 9

27. Chapter 10

28. Chapter 11

29. Part IV. Chapter 1

30. Chapter 2

31. Chapter 3

32. Chapter 4

33. Chapter 5

34. Chapter 6

35. Chapter 7

36. Chapter 8

37. Chapter 9

38. Chapter 10

39. Chapter 11

40. Chapter 12

41. Footnotes



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

© Art Branch Inc. | English Dictionary