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Gulliver's Travels
by Jonathan Swift

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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

APRIL 2, 1727



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