GULLIVER'S TRAVAILS

Being some sections cut from Lemuel Gulliver's

Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World

"Part III: A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Glubbdubdrib, Luggnagg,

and Japan"



In Lemuel Gulliver's work of trailblazing explorations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, usually published under the editor's name with the editorially-chosen title, as "Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift", there were some interesting observations regarding the mathematicians of the Flying Island of Laputa, which the whorish editor cut for reasons of political expediency. One was an observation on weapons technology, coming at the end of Gulliver's visit "to the other part of the Academy, where, as I have already said, the projectors in speculative learning resided":


The distinguished professor I was then introduced to was well known, but poorly regarded, among his colleagues. This was, no doubt, because of the method of disseminating his researches that he had devised.

Having mind to the ill-favor with which the common herd regards knowledge, and the great interest it devotes to entertainment, this projector had resolved upon a great project. Men and women will go a hundred leagues, travelling through bogs, mires, storms, and highwaymen, all to behold a bear-baiting; yet they would not bestir themselves one inch from their houses, should Aristotle and Plato themselves appear in the common square, to debate and refute such modern errors as the system of fluxions.

With this low habit of human thought in mind, my friend the projector determined to employ it to his advantage. Taking in hand a company of travelling entertainers, he instructed them in his theories of judicial astrology. With the aid of their master, he penned a frivolous play, called Regarding the Nature of the Cosmos, in which he himself would enact the lead role. This properly written and rehearsed, they set forth upon the roads and villages of Balnibarbi.

In the grandiose and overblown style of such, the projector boasted to me that billions and billions of people had seen his works; the like of which do not exist in the real world.

Enlarging upon his popularity, this projector had just now embarked upon a new scheme. Noting well the dreaded consequences of battle, he proposed nothing less than the abolition of gunpowder. For, as all men know, great rains follow upon great battles; due to the element of water rejecting that of earth, which doth ascend unto the skies in the smoak of guns. The projector had amassed long calculations, the nature of which were beyond my comprehension, to prove that some great battle should deliver a deluge of water, which would utterly inundate the earth, and leave it even more devastated than the flood of Noah.

By some means my friend Lord Munodi had had intelligence of the great battles of the late war; and drawing me aside, he informed me that this projector had of late had occasion to reconsider his figures. For he had calculated that a battle such as had just occurred in the German lands should surely have flooded the world to the depth of ten feet. Upon receiving this intelligence, this projector had announced that there was a small defect in the calculations, and changed them accordingly.


Later on in this section, there is a passage relating to the commercial relations of the Empire of Luggnagg, the land of the struldbrugs: "There is indeed a perpetual commerce between this kingdom and the great empire of Japan," says Gulliver. But in fact he wrote on it at greater length, to have it cut by the editor for reason of incredibility:


I had been informed that in earlier times, this commerce had been much greater, that, indeed the Japanese manufacturies, by reason of their extreme cheapness and goodness, had quite destroyed industry in Luggnagg. The Emperor of that time had taken steps to amend this distress; by such measures as placing high imposts upon the import of these goods, encouraging the use of such goods of their own manufacture, and granting publick praise and relief from taxation to those who promoted such efforts. Such measures could not but improve the condition of Ireland, should some wise government adopt them.

The Japanese, much hindered by these stern measures, took to purchasing lands and factories in Luggnagg. The town of Glanguenstald, which lies in the southwest part of the island, was much overrun by these buyers; the owner of a small freestead might find himself being besieged by projectors offering vast fortunes, such as might buy a great estate in England. The progress of such acquisitions, I was told, was styled by the Japanese dai toa kyozonken.

Since I was not to depart for Japan for six days, my escort determined to shew me the foreign manufacturies of that country. I was charged to sleep little, for the labour at these factories begins early. Being conducted to the place of the Japanese factory before dawn by my litter bearers, I disembarked to behold a great crowd before the buildings, singing. I was informed that this was the song of their company, which is sung by the labourers each morning before beginning their day's toil.

The said labourers earn, I was informed, but small recompense for their arduous toils. It is customary for them to work from sunrise to sunset; longer in the winter days. In the evenings, the entire company will sit idle at their workbenches, awaiting the departure of the governor of the factory; who himself is more often than not asleep, dining in his chambers, or otherwise employed. None may depart thence ere his superior does; upon pain of losing the respect of his fellow-labourers, family, and ancestors, a propriety most heartily desired by the Japanese.

Against this, I was told, the labourers are guaranteed employment for life; which ensures most strictly that they will not hire a struldbrug, should one even be permitted to venture an offer. But even should a labourer attain a great age (for many die of overwork) they have determined measures whereby this concern shall be answered.

In the course of my visit, at the time set aside for eating I heard the sounding of a gong, whereupon the labourers abandoned their workbenches and departed to the square before their workplace. A party of Japanese soldiers escorted forth a Luggnaggian; he knelt upon a square of cloths, a Japanese brought him a dagger, and upon his reaching for it another Japanese cut off the man's head with his catan, which is the Japanese form of sword.

I was strongly impressed by this, but wondered why it was thought needful to punish a malefactor before such an audience. This man had been no wrongdoer, I was informed, but an aged employee, who could no longer work at his accustomed task, and after the custom of the Japanese was ending his life with honour.

I was told that the number of such actions generally do not exceed above five hundred in any single year. Upon entering into the service of the factory, the employee must declare watashi ni yo ga nakunattara, sumiyakani hakaba e mairimasu which in the Japanese tongue signifieth such assent.


Gulliver complained to his cousin Sympson "that by your great and frequent urgency you prevailed on me to publish a very loose and uncorrect account of my travels; with direction to hire some young gentlemen of either university to put them in order, and correct the style," and, like his colleague Dr. John H. Watson, found that having a literary agent was not all it was said to be.

For example, he glossed over the many points about Japan. Gulliver apparently described his trip from Xamoschi (Shimonoseki) to Yedo (Edo, modern Tokyo) very briefly: "They provided me with carriages and servants, and bore my charges to Yedo, where I was admitted to an audience, and delivered my letter, which was opened with great ceremony, and explained to the Emperor by an interpreter, who then gave me notice by his Majesty's order, that I should signify my request, and, whatever it were, it should be granted for the sake of his royal brother of Luggnagg." But he actually had had more to say:


The Emperor, who is styled in his own language shogun, which signifieth his superiority over all the soldiers of his nation, as did the antic Romans with imperator, holds supreme command of the nation. His great nobles are commanded to repair unto his palace at Yedo, or dispatch their heirs thither, at all times. In one incident of recent note, yet much the talk of the nation, a great lord was betrayed into a lapse of courtesy, and paid for this error with his life, as did some forty-seven men of his household. Such is the high regard among the Japanese nation for politeness and dignity.

As some Dutch writers have asserted, above the Emperor there stands a high priest, or even pope, to the Japanese nation, whom some style tenno and others mikado. This high priest is said to be so holy that none among the commonality may behold him, upon pain of death; and even the Emperor must needs humble himself in the sacred presence. My friend and host in the Island of Glubbdubdrib had summoned up the spirit of a Sybilline prophetess, who declared foreknowledge of my itinerary, and strictly warned me that the Japanese high priest of peace would bring about an end to a great war. But the prophesies of such women are known to be general, and of long time in their fulfillment.

Nevertheless, I considered it my duty to communicate this matter to the Emperor, as touching upon his country. The interpreter took it upon himself to inform me that his majesty would appreciate better such information as pertained to the care and feeding of birds in my native land; for this Prince has taken a particular attention to that matter. I told him of the making of seed, whereby one may feed the birds for tuppence a bag, as I learned from Mary, my Nurse in England.

The Sybil had also prophesied that Nangasac, the port whence I would take ship to Europe, would in later times be consumed in fire by a fat man, and have many perish. Had I been of a mind to take such vaporings seriously I would have also communicated this intelligence to the Emperor.



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