Of the inhabitants of Lilliput; their learning, laws, and customs; the manne_f educating their children. The author's way of living in that country. Hi_indication of a great lady.
Although I intend to leave the description of this empire to a particula_reatise, yet, in the mean time, I am content to gratify the curious reade_ith some general ideas. As the common size of the natives is somewhat unde_ix inches high, so there is an exact proportion in all other animals, as wel_s plants and trees: for instance, the tallest horses and oxen are betwee_our 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 gradation_ownwards till you come to the smallest, which to my sight, were almos_nvisible; but nature has adapted the eyes of the Lilliputians to all object_roper for their view: they see with great exactness, but at no grea_istance. And, to show the sharpness of their sight towards objects that ar_ear, I have been much pleased with observing a cook pulling a lark, which wa_ot so large as a common fly; and a young girl threading an invisible needl_ith invisible silk. Their tallest trees are about seven feet high: I mea_ome of those in the great royal park, the tops whereof I could but just reac_ith my fist clenched. The other vegetables are in the same proportion; bu_his I leave to the reader's imagination.
I shall say but little at present of their learning, which, for many ages, ha_lourished in all its branches among them: but their manner of writing is ver_eculiar, being neither from the left to the right, like the Europeans, no_rom the right to the left, like the Arabians, nor from up to down, like th_hinese, but aslant, from one corner of the paper to the other, like ladies i_ngland.
They bury their dead with their heads directly downward, because they hold a_pinion, that in eleven thousand moons they are all to rise again; in whic_eriod the earth (which they conceive to be flat) will turn upside down, an_y this means they shall, at their resurrection, be found ready standing o_heir feet. The learned among them confess the absurdity of this doctrine; bu_he practice still continues, in compliance to the vulgar.
There are some laws and customs in this empire very peculiar; and if they wer_ot so directly contrary to those of my own dear country, I should be tempte_o say a little in their justification. It is only to be wished they were a_ell executed. The first I shall mention, relates to informers. All crime_gainst the state, are punished here with the utmost severity; but, if th_erson accused makes his innocence plainly to appear upon his trial, th_ccuser is immediately put to an ignominious death; and out of his goods o_ands 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 al_he charges he has been at in making his defence; or, if that fund b_eficient, it is largely supplied by the crown. The emperor also confers o_im some public mark of his favour, and proclamation is made of his innocenc_hrough the whole city.
They look upon fraud as a greater crime than theft, and therefore seldom fai_o punish it with death; for they allege, that care and vigilance, with a ver_ommon understanding, may preserve a man's goods from thieves, but honesty ha_o defence against superior cunning; and, since it is necessary that ther_hould be a perpetual intercourse of buying and selling, and dealing upo_redit, 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. _emember, when I was once interceding with the emperor for a criminal who ha_ronged his master of a great sum of money, which he had received by order an_an away with; and happening to tell his majesty, by way of extenuation, tha_t was only a breach of trust, the emperor thought it monstrous in me to offe_s a defence the greatest aggravation of the crime; and truly I had little t_ay in return, farther than the common answer, that different nations ha_ifferent customs; for, I confess, I was heartily ashamed. (2)
Although we usually call reward and punishment the two hinges upon which al_overnment turns, yet I could never observe this maxim to be put in practic_y any nation except that of Lilliput. Whoever can there bring sufficien_roof, that he has strictly observed the laws of his country for seventy-thre_oons, has a claim to certain privileges, according to his quality o_ondition of life, with a proportionable sum of money out of a fun_ppropriated for that use: he likewise acquires the title of SNILPALL, o_egal, which is added to his name, but does not descend to his posterity. An_hese people thought it a prodigious defect of policy among us, when I tol_hem that our laws were enforced only by penalties, without any mention o_eward. It is upon this account that the image of Justice, in their courts o_udicature, is formed with six eyes, two before, as many behind, and on eac_ide one, to signify circumspection; with a bag of gold open in her righ_and, and a sword sheathed in her left, to show she is more disposed to rewar_han to punish.
In choosing persons for all employments, they have more regard to good moral_han to great abilities; for, since government is necessary to mankind, the_elieve, that the common size of human understanding is fitted to some statio_r other; and that Providence never intended to make the management of publi_ffairs 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 o_hich virtues, assisted by experience and a good intention, would qualify an_an for the service of his country, except where a course of study i_equired. But they thought the want of moral virtues was so far from bein_upplied by superior endowments of the mind, that employments could never b_ut into such dangerous hands as those of persons so qualified; and, at least,
that the mistakes committed by ignorance, in a virtuous disposition, woul_ever be of such fatal consequence to the public weal, as the practices of _an, whose inclinations led him to be corrupt, and who had great abilities t_anage, to multiply, and defend his corruptions.
In like manner, the disbelief of a Divine Providence renders a man incapabl_f holding any public station; for, since kings avow themselves to be th_eputies of Providence, the Lilliputians think nothing can be more absurd tha_or 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 mea_he original institutions, and not the most scandalous corruptions, into whic_hese people are fallen by the degenerate nature of man. For, as to tha_nfamous practice of acquiring great employments by dancing on the ropes, o_adges of favour and distinction by leaping over sticks and creeping unde_hem, the reader is to observe, that they were first introduced by th_randfather of the emperor now reigning, and grew to the present height by th_radual increase of party and faction.
Ingratitude is among them a capital crime, as we read it to have been in som_ther countries: for they reason thus; that whoever makes ill returns to hi_enefactor, must needs be a common enemy to the rest of mankind, from whom h_as received no obligation, and therefore such a man is not fit to live.
Their notions relating to the duties of parents and children differ extremel_rom ours. For, since the conjunction of male and female is founded upon th_reat law of nature, in order to propagate and continue the species, th_illiputians will needs have it, that men and women are joined together, lik_ther animals, by the motives of concupiscence; and that their tendernes_owards their young proceeds from the like natural principle: for which reaso_hey will never allow that a child is under any obligation to his father fo_egetting him, or to his mother for bringing him into the world; which,
considering the miseries of human life, was neither a benefit in itself, no_ntended so by his parents, whose thoughts, in their love encounters, wer_therwise employed. Upon these, and the like reasonings, their opinion is,
that parents are the last of all others to be trusted with the education o_heir own children; and therefore they have in every town public nurseries,
where all parents, except cottagers and labourers, are obliged to send thei_nfants of both sexes to be reared and educated, when they come to the age o_wenty moons, at which time they are supposed to have some rudiments o_ocility. These schools are of several kinds, suited to different qualities,
and both sexes. They have certain professors well skilled in preparin_hildren for such a condition of life as befits the rank of their parents, an_heir own capacities, as well as inclinations. I shall first say something o_he male nurseries, and then of the female.
The nurseries for males of noble or eminent birth, are provided with grave an_earned professors, and their several deputies. The clothes and food of th_hildren are plain and simple. They are bred up in the principles of honour,
justice, courage, modesty, clemency, religion, and love of their country; the_re always employed in some business, except in the times of eating an_leeping, which are very short, and two hours for diversions consisting o_odily exercises. They are dressed by men till four years of age, and then ar_bliged to dress themselves, although their quality be ever so great; and th_omen attendant, who are aged proportionably to ours at fifty, perform onl_he most menial offices. They are never suffered to converse with servants,
but go together in smaller or greater numbers to take their diversions, an_lways in the presence of a professor, or one of his deputies; whereby the_void those early bad impressions of folly and vice, to which our children ar_ubject.
Their parents are suffered to see them only twice a year; the visit is to las_ut an hour; they are allowed to kiss the child at meeting and parting; but _rofessor, who always stands by on those occasions, will not suffer them t_hisper, 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 officers.
The nurseries for children of ordinary gentlemen, merchants, traders, an_andicrafts, are managed proportionably after the same manner; only thos_esigned for trades are put out apprentices at eleven years old, whereas thos_f persons of quality continue in their exercises till fifteen, which answer_o twenty-one with us: but the confinement is gradually lessened for the las_hree years.
In the female nurseries, the young girls of quality are educated much like th_ales, only they are dressed by orderly servants of their own sex; but alway_n 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 presum_o entertain the girls with frightful or foolish stories, or the commo_ollies practised by chambermaids among us, they are publicly whipped thric_bout the city, imprisoned for a year, and banished for life to the mos_esolate part of the country. Thus the young ladies are as much ashamed o_eing cowards and fools as the men, and despise all personal ornaments, beyon_ecency and cleanliness: neither did I perceive any difference in thei_ducation made by their difference of sex, only that the exercises of th_emales were not altogether so robust; and that some rules were given the_elating to domestic life, and a smaller compass of learning was enjoine_hem: for their maxim is, that among peoples of quality, a wife should b_lways a reasonable and agreeable companion, because she cannot always b_oung. When the girls are twelve years old, which among them is th_arriageable age, their parents or guardians take them home, with grea_xpressions of gratitude to the professors, and seldom without tears of th_oung lady and her companions.
In the nurseries of females of the meaner sort, the children are instructed i_ll kinds of works proper for their sex, and their several degrees: thos_ntended for apprentices are dismissed at seven years old, the rest are kep_o eleven.
The meaner families who have children at these nurseries, are obliged, beside_heir annual pension, which is as low as possible, to return to the steward o_he nursery a small monthly share of their gettings, to be a portion for th_hild; and therefore all parents are limited in their expenses by the law. Fo_he Lilliputians think nothing can be more unjust, than for people, i_ubservience to their own appetites, to bring children into the world, an_eave 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 t_heir condition; and these funds are always managed with good husbandry an_he most exact justice.
The cottagers and labourers keep their children at home, their business bein_nly to till and cultivate the earth, and therefore their education is o_ittle consequence to the public:
but the old and diseased among them, are supported by hospitals; for beggin_s a trade unknown in this empire.
And here it may, perhaps, divert the curious reader, to give some account o_y domestics, and my manner of living in this country, during a residence o_ine months, and thirteen days. Having a head mechanically turned, and bein_ikewise forced by necessity, I had made for myself a table and chai_onvenient enough, out of the largest trees in the royal park. Two hundre_empstresses 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, the_ere forced to quilt together in several folds, for the thickest was som_egrees finer than lawn. Their linen is usually three inches wide, and thre_eet 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 cor_xtended, that each held by the end, while a third measured the length of th_ord with a rule of an inch long. Then they measured my right thumb, an_esired no more; for by a mathematical computation, that twice round the thum_s once round the wrist, and so on to the neck and the waist, and by the hel_f 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 manne_o make me clothes; but they had another contrivance for taking my measure. _neeled down, and they raised a ladder from the ground to my neck; upon thi_adder one of them mounted, and let fall a plumb-line from my collar to th_loor, which just answered the length of my coat: but my waist and arms _easured 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 looke_ike the patch-work made by the ladies in England, only that mine were all o_ colour.
I had three hundred cooks to dress my victuals, in little convenient hut_uilt about my house, where they and their families lived, and prepared me tw_ishes a-piece. I took up twenty waiters in my hand, and placed them on th_able: 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; al_hich the waiters above drew up, as I wanted, in a very ingenious manner, b_ertain cords, as we draw the bucket up a well in Europe. A dish of their mea_as a good mouthful, and a barrel of their liquor a reasonable draught. Thei_utton yields to ours, but their beef is excellent. I have had a sirloin s_arge, that I have been forced to make three bites of it; but this is rare. M_ervants were astonished to see me eat it, bones and all, as in our country w_o the leg of a lark. Their geese and turkeys I usually ate at a mouthful, an_ confess they far exceed ours. Of their smaller fowl I could take up twent_r thirty at the end of my knife.
One day his imperial majesty, being informed of my way of living, desired
"that himself and his royal consort, with the young princes of the blood o_oth sexes, might have the happiness," as he was pleased to call it, "o_ining 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 _bserved he often looked on me with a sour countenance, which I would not see_o regard, but ate more than usual, in honour to my dear country, as well a_o 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 il_ffices to his master. That minister had always been my secret enemy, thoug_e 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 wa_orced to take up money at a great discount; that exchequer bills would no_irculate under nine per cent. below par; that I had cost his majesty above _illion and a half of SPRUGS" (their greatest gold coin, about the bigness o_ spangle) "and, upon the whole, that it would be advisable in the emperor t_ake the first fair occasion of dismissing me."
I am here obliged to vindicate the reputation of an excellent lady, who was a_nnocent sufferer upon my account. The treasurer took a fancy to be jealous o_is wife, from the malice of some evil tongues, who informed him that he_race had taken a violent affection for my person; and the court scandal ra_or some time, that she once came privately to my lodging. This I solemnl_eclare to be a most infamous falsehood, without any grounds, further tha_hat her grace was pleased to treat me with all innocent marks of freedom an_riendship. I own she came often to my house, but always publicly, nor eve_ithout three more in the coach, who were usually her sister and youn_aughter, and some particular acquaintance; but this was common to many othe_adies of the court. And I still appeal to my servants round, whether they a_ny time saw a coach at my door, without knowing what persons were in it. O_hose occasions, when a servant had given me notice, my custom was to g_mmediately to the door, and, after paying my respects, to take up the coac_nd two horses very carefully in my hands (for, if there were six horses, th_ostillion always unharnessed four,) and place them on a table, where I ha_ixed 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 o_ompany, while I sat in my chair, leaning my face towards them; and when I wa_ngaged with one set, the coachmen would gently drive the others round m_able. 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 the_ake the best of it) Clustril and Drunlo, to prove that any person ever cam_o me INCOGNITO, except the secretary Reldresal, who was sent by expres_ommand of his imperial majesty, as I have before related. I should not hav_welt so long upon this particular, if it had not been a point wherein th_eputation 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 i_ot; for all the world knows, that he is only a GLUMGLUM, a title inferior b_ne degree, as that of a marquis is to a duke in England; yet I allow h_receded me in right of his post. These false informations, which I afterward_ame to the knowledge of by an accident not proper to mention, made th_reasurer show his lady for some time an ill countenance, and me a worse; an_lthough he was at last undeceived and reconciled to her, yet I lost al_redit with him, and found my interest decline very fast with the empero_imself, who was, indeed, too much governed by that favourite.