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Chapter 6

  • [A continuation of the state of England under Queen Anne. The character of _irst minister of state in European courts.]
  • My master was yet wholly at a loss to understand what motives could incit_his race of lawyers to perplex, disquiet, and weary themselves, and engage i_ confederacy of injustice, merely for the sake of injuring their fellow-
  • animals; neither could he comprehend what I meant in saying, they did it fo_ire. Whereupon I was at much pains to describe to him the use of money, th_aterials it was made of, and the value of the metals; "that when a YAHOO ha_ot a great store of this precious substance, he was able to purchase whateve_e had a mind to; the finest clothing, the noblest houses, great tracts o_and, the most costly meats and drinks, and have his choice of the mos_eautiful females. Therefore since money alone was able to perform all thes_eats, our YAHOOS thought they could never have enough of it to spend, or t_ave, as they found themselves inclined, from their natural bent either t_rofusion or avarice; that the rich man enjoyed the fruit of the poor man'_abour, and the latter were a thousand to one in proportion to the former;
  • that the bulk of our people were forced to live miserably, by labouring ever_ay for small wages, to make a few live plentifully."
  • I enlarged myself much on these, and many other particulars to the sam_urpose; but his honour was still to seek; for he went upon a supposition,
  • that all animals had a title to their share in the productions of the earth,
  • and especially those who presided over the rest. Therefore he desired I woul_et him know, "what these costly meats were, and how any of us happened t_ant them?" Whereupon I enumerated as many sorts as came into my head, wit_he various methods of dressing them, which could not be done without sendin_essels by sea to every part of the world, as well for liquors to drink as fo_auces and innumerable other conveniences. I assured him "that this whol_lobe of earth must be at least three times gone round before one of ou_etter female YAHOOS could get her breakfast, or a cup to put it in." He said
  • "that must needs be a miserable country which cannot furnish food for its ow_nhabitants. But what he chiefly wondered at was, how such vast tracts o_round as I described should be wholly without fresh water, and the people pu_o the necessity of sending over the sea for drink." I replied "that England
  • (the dear place of my nativity) was computed to produce three times th_uantity of food more than its inhabitants are able to consume, as well a_iquors extracted from grain, or pressed out of the fruit of certain trees,
  • which made excellent drink, and the same proportion in every other convenienc_f life. But, in order to feed the luxury and intemperance of the males, an_he vanity of the females, we sent away the greatest part of our necessar_hings to other countries, whence, in return, we brought the materials o_iseases, folly, and vice, to spend among ourselves. Hence it follows o_ecessity, that vast numbers of our people are compelled to seek thei_ivelihood by begging, robbing, stealing, cheating, pimping, flattering,
  • suborning, forswearing, forging, gaming, lying, fawning, hectoring, voting,
  • scribbling, star-gazing, poisoning, whoring, canting, libelling, freethinking,
  • and the like occupations:" every one of which terms I was at much pains t_ake him understand.
  • "That wine was not imported among us from foreign countries to supply the wan_f water or other drinks, but because it was a sort of liquid which made u_erry by putting us out of our senses, diverted all melancholy thoughts, bega_ild extravagant imaginations in the brain, raised our hopes and banished ou_ears, suspended every office of reason for a time, and deprived us of the us_f our limbs, till we fell into a profound sleep; although it must b_onfessed, that we always awaked sick and dispirited; and that the use of thi_iquor filled us with diseases which made our lives uncomfortable and short.
  • "But beside all this, the bulk of our people supported themselves b_urnishing the necessities or conveniences of life to the rich and to eac_ther. For instance, when I am at home, and dressed as I ought to be, I carr_n my body the workmanship of a hundred tradesmen; the building and furnitur_f my house employ as many more, and five times the number to adorn my wife."
  • I was going on to tell him of another sort of people, who get their livelihoo_y attending the sick, having, upon some occasions, informed his honour tha_any of my crew had died of diseases. But here it was with the utmos_ifficulty that I brought him to apprehend what I meant. "He could easil_onceive, that a HOUYHNHNM, grew weak and heavy a few days before his death,
  • or by some accident might hurt a limb; but that nature, who works all thing_o perfection, should suffer any pains to breed in our bodies, he though_mpossible, and desired to know the reason of so unaccountable an evil."
  • I told him "we fed on a thousand things which operated contrary to each other;
  • that we ate when we were not hungry, and drank without the provocation o_hirst; that we sat whole nights drinking strong liquors, without eating _it, which disposed us to sloth, inflamed our bodies, and precipitated o_revented digestion; that prostitute female YAHOOS acquired a certain malady,
  • which bred rottenness in the bones of those who fell into their embraces; tha_his, and many other diseases, were propagated from father to son; so tha_reat numbers came into the world with complicated maladies upon them; that i_ould be endless to give him a catalogue of all diseases incident to huma_odies, for they would not be fewer than five or six hundred, spread ove_very limb and joint -in short, every part, external and intestine, havin_iseases appropriated to itself. To remedy which, there was a sort of peopl_red up among us in the profession, or pretence, of curing the sick. An_ecause I had some skill in the faculty, I would, in gratitude to his honour,
  • let him know the whole mystery and method by which they proceed.
  • "Their fundamental is, that all diseases arise from repletion; whence the_onclude, that a great evacuation of the body is necessary, either through th_atural passage or upwards at the mouth. Their next business is from herbs,
  • minerals, gums, oils, shells, salts, juices, seaweed, excrements, barks o_rees, serpents, toads, frogs, spiders, dead men's flesh and bones, birds,
  • beasts, and fishes, to form a composition, for smell and taste, the mos_bominable, nauseous, and detestable, they can possibly contrive, which th_tomach immediately rejects with loathing, and this they call a vomit; o_lse, from the same store-house, with some other poisonous additions, the_ommand us to take in at the orifice above or below (just as the physicia_hen happens to be disposed) a medicine equally annoying and disgustful to th_owels; which, relaxing the belly, drives down all before it; and this the_all a purge, or a clyster. For nature (as the physicians allege) havin_ntended the superior anterior orifice only for the intromission of solids an_iquids, and the inferior posterior for ejection, these artists ingeniousl_onsidering that in all diseases nature is forced out of her seat, therefore,
  • to replace her in it, the body must be treated in a manner directly contrary,
  • by interchanging the use of each orifice; forcing solids and liquids in at th_nus, and making evacuations at the mouth.
  • "But, besides real diseases, we are subject to many that are only imaginary,
  • for which the physicians have invented imaginary cures; these have thei_everal names, and so have the drugs that are proper for them; and with thes_ur female YAHOOS are always infested.
  • "One great excellency in this tribe, is their skill at prognostics, wherei_hey seldom fail; their predictions in real diseases, when they rise to an_egree of malignity, generally portending death, which is always in thei_ower, when recovery is not: and therefore, upon any unexpected signs o_mendment, after they have pronounced their sentence, rather than be accuse_s false prophets, they know how to approve their sagacity to the world, by _easonable dose.
  • "They are likewise of special use to husbands and wives who are grown weary o_heir mates; to eldest sons, to great ministers of state, and often t_rinces."
  • I had formerly, upon occasion, discoursed with my master upon the nature o_overnment in general, and particularly of our own excellent constitution,
  • deservedly the wonder and envy of the whole world. But having her_ccidentally mentioned a minister of state, he commanded me, some time after,
  • to inform him, "what species of YAHOO I particularly meant by tha_ppellation."
  • I told him, "that a first or chief minister of state, who was the person _ntended to describe, was the creature wholly exempt from joy and grief, lov_nd hatred, pity and anger; at least, makes use of no other passions, but _iolent desire of wealth, power, and titles; that he applies his words to al_ses, except to the indication of his mind; that he never tells a truth bu_ith an intent that you should take it for a lie; nor a lie, but with a desig_hat you should take it for a truth; that those he speaks worst of behin_heir backs are in the surest way of preferment; and whenever he begins t_raise you to others, or to yourself, you are from that day forlorn. The wors_ark you can receive is a promise, especially when it is confirmed with a_ath; after which, every wise man retires, and gives over all hopes.
  • "There are three methods, by which a man may rise to be chief minister. Th_irst is, by knowing how, with prudence, to dispose of a wife, a daughter, o_ sister; the second, by betraying or undermining his predecessor; and th_hird is, by a furious zeal, in public assemblies, against the corruption's o_he court. But a wise prince would rather choose to employ those who practis_he last of these methods; because such zealots prove always the mos_bsequious and subservient to the will and passions of their master. Tha_hese ministers, having all employments at their disposal, preserve themselve_n power, by bribing the majority of a senate or great council; and at last,
  • by an expedient, called an act of indemnity" (whereof I described the natur_o him), "they secure themselves from after-reckonings, and retire from th_ublic laden with the spoils of the nation.
  • "The palace of a chief minister is a seminary to breed up others in his ow_rade: the pages, lackeys, and porters, by imitating their master, becom_inisters of state in their several districts, and learn to excel in the thre_rincipal ingredients, of insolence, lying, and bribery. Accordingly, the_ave a subaltern court paid to them by persons of the best rank; and sometime_y the force of dexterity and impudence, arrive, through several gradations,
  • to be successors to their lord.
  • "He is usually governed by a decayed wench, or favourite footman, who are th_unnels through which all graces are conveyed, and may properly be called, i_he last resort, the governors of the kingdom."
  • One day, in discourse, my master, having heard me mention the nobility of m_ountry, was pleased to make me a compliment which I could not pretend t_eserve: "that he was sure I must have been born of some noble family, becaus_ far exceeded in shape, colour, and cleanliness, all the YAHOOS of hi_ation, although I seemed to fail in strength and agility, which must b_mputed to my different way of living from those other brutes; and besides _as not only endowed with the faculty of speech, but likewise with som_udiments of reason, to a degree that, with all his acquaintance, I passed fo_ prodigy."
  • He made me observe, "that among the HOUYHNHNMS, the white, the sorrel, and th_ron-gray, were not so exactly shaped as the bay, the dapple-gray, and th_lack; nor born with equal talents of mind, or a capacity to improve them; an_herefore continued always in the condition of servants, without ever aspirin_o match out of their own race, which in that country would be reckone_onstrous and unnatural."
  • I made his honour my most humble acknowledgments for the good opinion he wa_leased to conceive of me, but assured him at the same time, "that my birt_as of the lower sort, having been born of plain honest parents, who were jus_ble to give me a tolerable education; that nobility, among us, was altogethe_ different thing from the idea he had of it; that our young noblemen are bre_rom their childhood in idleness and luxury; that, as soon as years wil_ermit, they consume their vigour, and contract odious diseases among lew_emales; and when their fortunes are almost ruined, they marry some woman o_ean birth, disagreeable person, and unsound constitution (merely for the sak_f money), whom they hate and despise. That the productions of such marriage_re generally scrofulous, rickety, or deformed children; by which means th_amily seldom continues above three generations, unless the wife takes care t_rovide a healthy father, among her neighbours or domestics, in order t_mprove and continue the breed. That a weak diseased body, a meagr_ountenance, and sallow complexion, are the true marks of noble blood; and _ealthy robust appearance is so disgraceful in a man of quality, that th_orld concludes his real father to have been a groom or a coachman. Th_mperfections of his mind run parallel with those of his body, being _omposition of spleen, dullness, ignorance, caprice, sensuality, and pride.
  • "Without the consent of this illustrious body, no law can be enacted,
  • repealed, or altered: and these nobles have likewise the decision of all ou_ossessions, without appeal."