No law in that country must exceed in words the number of letters in their alphabet, which consists only of two and twenty. But indeed few of them extend even to that length. They are expressed in the most plain and simple terms, wherein those people are not mercurial enough to discover above one interpretation: and to write a comment upon any law, is a capital crime.
A voyage to Brobdingnag
I was very desirous to see the chief temple, and particularly the tower belonging to it, which is reckoned the highest in the kingdom. Accordingly one day my nurse carried me thither, but I may truly say I came back disappointed; for the height is not above three thousand feet, reckoning from the ground to the highest pinnacle top; which, allowing for the difference between the size of those people and us in Europe, is no great matter for admiration, nor at all equal in proportion (if I rightly remember) to Salisbury steeple.*
* The cathedral steeple, 404 feet high
A voyage to Brobdingnag
The last of these voyages not proving very fortunate, I grew weary of the sea, and intended to stay at home with my wife and family. I removed from the Old Jewry to Fetter Lane, and from thence to Wapping, hoping to get business among the sailors; but it would not turn to account. After three years expectation that things would mend, I accepted an advantageous offer from Captain William Prichard, master of the Antelope, who was making a voyage to the South Sea. We set sail from Bristol, May 4, 1699, and our voyage was at first very prosperous.
My little friend Grildrig; you have made a most admirable panegyrick upon your country. You have clearly proved that ignorance, idleness, and vice, are the proper ingredients for qualifying a legislator. That laws are best explained, interpreted, and applied by those whose interest and abilities lie in perverting, confounding, and eluding them. I observe among you, some lines of an institution, which in its original might have been tolerable; but these half erased, and the rest wholly blurred and blotted by corruptions. It doth not appear, from all you have said, how any one perfection is required towards the procurement of any one station among you…I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives, to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.
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.”
I desired that the Senate of Rome might appear before me in one large chamber, and a modern representative, in counterview, in another. The first seemed to be an assembly of heroes and demi-gods; the other, a knot of pedlars, pick-pockets, highwaymen, and bullies.
But by what I have gathered from your own relation, and the answers I have with much pains wrung and extorted from you, I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.
When parties in a state are violent, he offered a wonderful contrivance to reconcile them. The method is this:
You take a hundred leaders of each party; you dispose them into couples of such whose heads are nearest of a
size; then let two nice operators saw off the occiput of each couple at the same time, in such a manner that the
brain may be equally divided. Let the occiputs, thus cut off, be interchanged, applying each to the head of his
opposite party-man. It seems indeed to be a work that requires some exactness, but the professor assured us,
„that if it were dexterously performed, the cure would be infallible.” For he argued thus: "that the two half
brains being left to debate the matter between themselves within the space of one skull, would soon come to a
good understanding, and produce that moderation, as well as regularity of thinking, so much to be wished for
in the heads of those, who imagine they come into the world only to watch and govern its motion: and as to
the difference of brains, in quantity or quality, among those who are directors in faction, the doctor assured us,
from his own knowledge, that "it was a perfect trifle.”