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During this discourse, my master was pleased to interrupt me several times; I had made use of many circumlocutions, in describing to him the nature of the several crimes, for which most of our crew had been forced to fly their country. This labour took up several days conversation, before he was able to comprehend me. He was wholly at a loss to know, what could be the use or necessity of practising those vices. To clear up which, I endeavoured to give some ideas of the desire of power, and riches ; of the terrible effects of lust, intemperance, malice, and envy. All this I was forced to define and describe by putting cases, and making suppositions. After which, like one whose imagination was struck with something never seen or heard of before, he would lift up his eyes with amazement and indignation. Power, government, war, law, punishment, and a thousand other things had no terms, wherein that language could express them ; which made the difficulty almost insuperable, to give my master any conception of what I meant. But being of an excellent understanding, much improved by contemplation and converse, he at last arrived at a competent knowledge of what human nature, in our parts of the world, is capable to perform, and desired I would give him some particular account of that land, which we call Europe, but especially of my own country



The author, at his master's command, informs him of

the state of England. The causes of war among the princes of Europe. The author begins to explain the English constitution.

THE reader may please to observe, that the following extract of many conversations I had with

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

In obedience therefore to his honour's commands, I related to him the revolution under the prince of


Orange ; the long war with France, entered into by the said prince, and renewed by his successor, the present queen ; wherein the greatest powers of Christendom were engaged, and which still continued : I computed at his request, that about a million of yahoos might have been killed, in the whole progress of it; and perhaps a hundred or more cities taken, and five times as many ships burnt or sunk.

He asked me what were the usual causes or motives that made one country go'to war 'with another. I answered they were innumerable ; but I should only mention a few of the chief. Sometimes, the ambition of princes, who never think they have land or people enough to govern. Sometimes, the corruption of ministers, who engage their master in a war, in order to stifle or divert the clamour of the subjects against their evil administration. Difference in opinions has cost many millions of lives : for instance, whether flesh: be bread, or bread be flesh ; whether the juice of a certain berry be blood or wine*; whether whistling be a vice or a virtuello; whether it be better to kiss, a post, or throw it into the fire *; what is the besť colour for a coat, whether black, white, red, or gray; and whether it should be long or short, narrow, or wide, dirty or clean, with many more.g. Neither are any wars so furious and bloody, or of so long continuance, as those occasioned by difference in opinion, especially if it be in things indifferent.

* Transubstantiation. + Church musick. | Kissing a cross.

The colour and make of sacred vestments, and different orders of popish ecclesiasticks. 6


Sometimes the quarrel between two princes, is to decide which of them shall dispossess a third of his dominions, where neither of them pretend to any right. Sometimes one prince quarrels with another, for fear the other should quarrel with him. Sometimes a war is entered upon,

because the enemy

is too strong ; and sometimes, because he is too weak. Sometimes our neighbours want the things which we have, or have the things which we want ; and we both fight, till they take ours, or give us theirs. It is a very justifiable cause of a war, to invade a country after the people have been wasted by faminė, destroyed by pestilence, or embroiled by factions among themselves. It is justifiable to enter into war against our nearest ally, when one of his towns lies convenient for us, or a territory of land, that would render our dominions round and compact." If a prince sends forces into a nation, where the people are poor and ignorant, he may lawfully put half of them to death, and make slaves of the rest, in order to civilize and reduce them from their barbarous way of living. It is a very kingly, honourable and frequent practice, when one prince desires the assistance of another, to secure him against an invasion, that the assistant, when he has driven out the invader, should seize on the dominions himself, and kill, imprison, or banish the prince he came to relieve. Alliance by blood, or marriage, is a frequent cause of war between princes ; and the nearer the kindred is, the greater their disposition to quarrel : poor nations are hungry, and rich nations are proud : and pride and hunger will ever be at variance. For these reasons, the trade of a soldier is held the most ho. nourable of all others; because a soldier is a yahoo VOL. VI.



hired to kill in cold blood, as many of his own species, who have never offended him, as possibly

he can.

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

many northern


of Europe.

What you have told me (said my master) upon the subject of war, does indeed discover most admirably the effects of that reason you pretend to : however it is happy that the shame is greater than the danger ; and that nature has left you utterly incapable of doing much mischief. For, your mouths lying flat with your faces, you can hardly bite each other to any purpose, unless by consent. Then as to the claws upon your feet before and behind, they are so short and tender, that one of our yahoos would drive a dozen of yours before him. And therefore in recounting the numbers of those who have been killed in battle, I cannot but think you have said the thing which is not.

I could not forbear shaking my head, and smiling a little at his ignorance. And being no stranger to the art of war, I gave himn a description of cannons, culverins, muskets, carabines, pistols, bullets, powder, swords, bayonets, battles, sieges, retreats, attacks, undermines, countermines, bombardments, seafights, ships sunk with a thousand men, twenty thousand killed on each side, dying groansy limbs flying in the air, smoke, noise, confusion, tramp ling to death under horses feet; flight, pursuit, vica

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