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Title: Ideal Commonwealths
Author: Bacon, Francis, 1561-1626 [Contributor], Plutarch, 46-120? [Contributor], More, Thomas, Sir, Saint, 1478?-1535 [Contributor], Campanella, Tommaso, 1568-1639 [Contributor], Morley, Henry, 1822-1894 [Editor]
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Ideal Commonwealths" ***

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1. _Sheridan's Plays._

2. _Plays from Molière._ By English Dramatists.

3. _Marlowe's Faustus_ and _Goethe's Faust._

4. _Chronicle of the Cid._

5. _Rabelais' Gargantua_ and the _Heroic Deeds of Pantagruel._

6. _Machiavelli's Prince._

7. _Bacon's Essays._

8. _Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year._

9. _Locke on Civil Government_ and _Filmer's "Patriarcha"._

10. _Butler's Analogy of Religion._

11. _Dryden's Virgil._

12. _Scott's Demonology and Witchcraft._

13. _Herrick's Hesperides._

14. _Coleridge's Table-Talk._

15. _Boccaccio's Decameron._

16. _Sterne's Tristram Shandy._

17. _Chapman's Homer's Iliad._

18. _Mediæval Tales._

19. _Voltaire's Candide_, and _Johnson's Rasselas._

20. _Jonson's Plays and Poems._

21. _Hobbes's Leviathan._

22. _Samuel Butler's Hudibras._

23. _Ideal Commonwealths._

24. _Cavendish's Life of Wolsey._

25 & 26. _Don Quixote._

27. _Burlesque Plays and Poems._

28. _Dante's Divine Comedy._ LONGFELLOW'S Translation.

29. _Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield, Plays, and Poems._

30. _Fables and Proverbs from the Sanskrit. (Hitopadesa.)_

31. _Lamb's Essays of Elia._

32. _The History of Thomas Ellwood._

33. _Emerson's Essays, &c._

34. _Southey's Life of Nelson._

35. _De Quincey's Confession of an Opium-Eater, &c._

36. _Stories of Ireland._ By Miss EDGEWORTH.

37. _Frere's Aristophanes: Acharnians, Knights, Birds._

38. _Burke's Speeches and Letters._

39. _Thomas à Kempis._

40. _Popular Songs of Ireland._

41. _Potter's Æschylus._

42. _Goethe's Faust: Part II._ ANSTER'S Translation.

43. _Famous Pamphlets._

44. _Francklin's Sophocles._

45. _M.G. Lewis's Tales of Terror and Wonder._

46. _Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation._

47. _Drayton's Barons' Wars, Nymphidia, &c._

48. _Cobbett's Advice to Young Men._

49. _The Banquet of Dante._

50. _Walker's Original._

51. _Schiller's Poems and Ballads._

52. _Peele's Plays and Poems._

53. _Harrington's Oceana._

54. _Euripides: Alcestis and other Plays._

55. _Praed's Essays._

56. _Traditional Tales._ ALLAN CUNNINGHAM.

57. _Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity. Books I.-IV._

58. _Euripides: The Bacchanals and other Plays._

59. _Izaak Walton's Lives._

60. _Aristotle's Politics._

61. _Euripides: Hecuba and other Plays._

62. _Rabelais--Sequel to Pantagruel._

63. _A Miscellany._

"Marvels of clear type and general neatness."--_Daily Telegraph._


Plato in his "Republic" argues that it is the aim of Individual Man as
of the State to be wise, brave and temperate. In a State, he says, there
are three orders, the Guardians, the Auxiliaries, the Producers. Wisdom
should be the special virtue of the Guardians; Courage of the
Auxiliaries; and Temperance of all. These three virtues belong
respectively to the Individual Man, Wisdom to his Rational part; Courage
to his Spirited; and Temperance to his Appetitive: while in the State as
in the Man it is Injustice that disturbs their harmony.

Because the character of Man appears in the State unchanged, but in a
larger form, Plato represented Socrates as studying the ideal man
himself through an Ideal Commonwealth.

In another of his dialogues, "Critias," of which we have only the
beginning, Socrates wishes that he could see how such a commonwealth
would work, if it were set moving. Critias undertakes to tell him. For
he has received tradition of events that happened more than nine
thousand years ago, when the Athenians themselves were such ideal
citizens. Critias has received this tradition, he says, from a
ninety-year-old grandfather, whose father, Dropides, was the friend of
Solon. Solon, lawgiver and poet, had heard it from the priests of the
goddess Neïth or Athene at Sais, and had begun to shape it into a heroic

This was the tradition:--Nine thousand years before the time of Solon,
the goddess Athene, who was worshipped also in Sais, had given to her
Athenians a healthy climate, a fertile soil, and temperate people strong
in wisdom and courage. Their Republic was like that which Socrates
imagined, and it had to bear the shock of a great invasion by the people
of the vast island Atlantis. This island, larger than all Libya and Asia
put together, was once in the sea westward beyond the Atlantic
waves,--thus America was dreamed of long before it was discovered.
Atlantis had ten kings, descended from ten sons of Poseidon (Neptune),
who was the god magnificently worshipped by its people. Vast power and
dominion, that extended through all Libya as far as Egypt, and over a
part of Europe, caused the Atlantid kings to grow ambitious and unjust.
Then they entered the Mediterranean and fell upon Athens with enormous
force. But in the little band of citizens, temperate, brave, and wise,
there were forces of Reason able to resist and overcome brute strength.
Now, however, gone are the Atlantids, gone are the old virtues of
Athens. Earthquakes and deluges laid waste the world. The whole great
island of Atlantis, with its people and its wealth, sank to the bottom
of the ocean. The ideal warriors of Athens, in one day and night, were
swallowed by an earthquake, and were to be seen no more.

Plato, a philosopher with the soul of a poet, died in the year 347
before Christ. Plutarch was writing at the close of the first century
after Christ, and in his parallel Lives of Greeks and Romans, the most
famous of his many writings, he took occasion to paint an Ideal
Commonwealth as the conception of Lycurgus, the half mythical or all
mythical Solon of Sparta. To Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus, as well as to
Plato, Thomas More and others have been indebted for some part of the
shaping of their philosophic dreams.

The discovery of the New World at the end of the fifteenth century
followed hard upon the diffusion of the new invention of printing, and
came at a time when the fall of Constantinople by scattering Greek
scholars, who became teachers in Italy, France and elsewhere, spread the
study of Greek, and caused Plato to live again. Little had been heard of
him through the Arabs, who cared little for his poetic method. But with
the revival of learning he had become a force in Europe, a strong aid to
the Reformers.

Sir Thomas More's Utopia was written in the years 1515-16, when its
author's age was about thirty-seven. He was a young man of twenty when
Columbus first touched the continent named after the Florentine Amerigo
Vespucci, who made his voyages to it in the years 1499-1503. More wrote
his Utopia when imaginations of men were stirred by the sudden
enlargement of their conceptions of the world, and Amerigo Vespucci's
account of his voyages, first printed in 1507, was fresh in every
scholar's mind. He imagined a traveller, Raphael Hythloday--whose name
is from Greek words that mean "Knowing in Trifles"--who had sailed with
Vespucci on his three last voyages, but had not returned from the last
voyage until, after separation from his comrades, he had wandered into
some farther discovery of his own. Thus he had found, somewhere in those
parts, the island of Utopia. Its name is from Greek words meaning
Nowhere. More had gone on an embassy to Brussels with Cuthbert Tunstal
when he wrote his philosophical satire upon European, and more
particularly English, statecraft, in the form of an Ideal Commonwealth
described by Hythloday as he had found it in Utopia. It was printed at
Louvain in the latter part of the year 1516, under the editorship of
Erasmus, and that enlightened young secretary to the municipality of
Antwerp, Peter Giles, or Ægidius, who is introduced into the story.
"Utopia" was not printed in England in the reign of Henry VIII., and
could not be, for its satire was too direct to be misunderstood, even
when it mocked English policy with ironical praise for doing exactly
what it failed to do. More was a wit and a philosopher, but at the same
time so practical and earnest that Erasmus tells of a burgomaster at
Antwerp who fastened upon the parable of Utopia with such goodwill that
he learnt it by heart. And in 1517 Erasmus advised a correspondent to
send for Utopia, if he had not yet read it, and if he wished to see the
true source of all political evils.

Francis Bacon's "New Atlantis," first written in Latin, was published in
1629, three years after its author's death. Bacon placed his Ideal
Commonwealth in those seas where a great Austral continent was even then
supposed to be, but had not been discovered. As the old Atlantis implied
a foreboding of the American continent, so the New Atlantis implied
foreboding of the Australian. Bacon in his philosophy sought through
experimental science the dominion of men over things, "for Nature is
only governed by obeying her." In his Ideal World of the New Atlantis,
Science is made the civilizer who binds man to man, and is his leader to
the love of God.

Thomas Campanella was Bacon's contemporary, a man only seven years
younger; and an Italian who suffered for his ardour in the cause of
science. He was born in Calabria in 1568, and died in 1639. He entered
the Dominican order when a boy, but had a free and eager appetite for
knowledge. He urged, like Bacon, that Nature should be studied through
her own works, not through books; he attacked, like Bacon, the dead
faith in Aristotle, that instead of following his energetic spirit of
research, lapsed into blind idolatry. Campanella strenuously urged that
men should reform all sciences by following Nature and the books of God.
He had been stirring in this way for ten years, when there arose in
Calabria a conspiracy against the Spanish rule. Campanella, who was an
Italian patriot was seized and sent to Naples. The Spanish inquisition
joined in attack on him. He was accused of books he had not written and
of opinions he did not hold; he was seven times put to the question and
suffered, with firmness of mind, the most cruel tortures. The Pope
interceded in vain for him with the King of Spain. He suffered
imprisonment for twenty-seven years, during which time he wrote much,
and one piece of his prison work was his ideal of "The City of the Sun."

Released at last from his prison, Campanella went to Rome, where he was
defended by Pope Urban VIII. against continued violence of attack. But
he was compelled at last to leave Rome, and made his escape as a servant
in the livery of the French ambassador. In Paris, Richelieu became
Campanella's friend; the King of France gave him a pension of three
thousand livres; the Sorbonne vouched for the orthodoxy of his writings.
He died in Paris, at the age of seventy-one, in the Convent of the

Of Campanella's "Civitas Solis," which has not hitherto been translated
into English, the translation here given, with one or two omissions of
detail which can well be spared, has been made for me by my old pupil
and friend, Mr. Thomas W. Halliday.

In the works (published in 1776) of the witty Dr. William King, who
played much with the subject of cookery, is a fragment found among his
remaining papers, and given by his editors as an original piece in the
manner of Rabelais. It seems never to have been observed that this is
only a translation of that part of Joseph Hall's "Mundus Alter es Idem,"
which deals with the kitchen side of life. The fragment will be found at
the end of this volume, preceded by a short description of the other
parts of Hall's World which is other than ours, and yet the same.


_March 1885._




Of Lycurgus the lawgiver we have nothing to relate that is certain and
uncontroverted. For there are different accounts of his birth, his
travels, his death, and especially of the laws and form of government
which he established. But least of all are the times agreed upon in
which this great man lived. For some say he flourished at the same time
with Iphitus, and joined with him in settling the cessation of arms
during the Olympic games. Among these is Aristotle the philosopher, who
alleges for proof an Olympic quoit, on which was preserved the
inscription of Lycurgus's name. But others who, with Eratosthenes and
Apollodorus, compute the time by the succession of the Spartan kings,
place him much earlier than the first Olympiad. Timæus, however,
supposes that, as there were two Lycurguses in Sparta at different
times, the actions of both are ascribed to one, on account of his
particular renown; and that the more ancient of them lived not long
after Homer: nay, some say he had seen him. Xenophon too confirms the
opinion of his antiquity, when he makes him contemporary with the
Heraclidæ. It is true, the latest of the Lacedæmonian kings were of the
lineage of the Heraclidæ; but Xenophon there seems to speak of the first
and more immediate descendants of Hercules. As the history of those
times is thus involved, in relating the circumstances of Lycurgus's
life, we shall endeavour to select such as are least controverted, and
follow authors of the greatest credit.

Simonides the poet, tells us, that Prytanis, not Eunomus, was father to
Lycurgus. But most writers give us the genealogy of Lycurgus and Eunomus
in a different manner; for, according to them, Sous was the son of
Patrocles, and grandson of Aristodemus, Eurytion the son of Sous,
Prytanis of Eurytion, and Eunomus of Prytanis; to this Eunomus was born
Polydectes, by a former wife, and by a second, named Dianassa, Lycurgus.
Eutychidas, however, says Lycurgus was the sixth from Patrocles, and the
eleventh from Hercules. The most distinguished of his ancestors was
Sous, under whom the Lacedæmonians made the Helotes their slaves, and
gained an extensive tract of land from the Arcadians. Of this Sous it is
related, that, being besieged by the Clitorians in a difficult post
where there was no water, he agreed to give up all his conquests,
provided that himself and all his army should drink of the neighbouring
spring. When these conditions were sworn to, he assembled his forces,
and offered his kingdom to the man that would forbear drinking; not one
of them, however, would deny himself, but they all drank. Then Sous went
down to the spring himself, and having only sprinkled his face in sight
of the enemy, he marched off, and still held the country, because all
had not drank. Yet, though he was highly honoured for this, the family
had not their name from him, but from his son, were called Eurytionidæ;
and this, because Eurytion seems to be the first who relaxed the
strictness of kingly government, inclining to the interest of the
people, and ingratiating himself with them. Upon this relaxation their
encroachments increased, and the succeeding kings, either becoming
odious, treating them with greater rigour, or else giving way through
weakness or in hopes of favour, for a long time anarchy and confusion
prevailed in Sparta; by which one of its kings, the father of Lycurgus,
lost his life. For while he was endeavouring to part some persons who
were concerned in a fray, he received a wound by a kitchen knife, of
which he died, leaving the kingdom to his eldest son Polydectes.

But he too dying soon after, the general voice gave it for Lycurgus to
ascend the throne; and he actually did so, till it appeared that his
brother's widow was pregnant. As soon as he perceived this, he declared
that the kingdom belonged to her issue, provided it were male, and he
kept the administration in his hands only as his guardian. This he did
with the title of Prodicos, which the Lacedæmonians give to the
guardians of infant kings. Soon after, the queen made him a private
overture, that she would destroy her child, upon condition that he would
marry her when king of Sparta. Though he detested her wickedness, he
said nothing against the proposal, but pretending to approve it, charged
her not to take any drugs to procure an abortion, lest she should
endanger her own health or life; for he would take care that the child,
as soon as born, should be destroyed. Thus he artfully drew on the woman
to her full time, and, when he heard she was in labour, he sent persons
to attend and watch her delivery, with orders, if it were a girl, to
give it to the women, but if a boy, to bring it to him, in whatever
business he might be engaged. It happened that he was at supper with the
magistrates when she was delivered of a boy, and his servants, who were
present, carried the child to him. When he received it, he is reported
to have said to the company, "Spartans, see here your new-born king." He
then laid him down upon the chair of state, and named him Charilaus,
because of the joy and admiration of his magnanimity and justice
testified by all present. Thus the reign of Lycurgus lasted only eight
months. But the citizens had a great veneration for him on other
accounts, and there were more that paid him their attentions, and were
ready to execute his commands, out of regard to his virtues, than those
that obeyed him as a guardian to the king, and director of the
administration. There were not, however, wanting those that envied him,
and opposed his advancement, as too high for so young a man;
particularly the relations and friends of the queen-mother, who seemed
to have been treated with contempt. Her brother Leonidas, one day boldly
attacked him with virulent language, and scrupled not to tell him that
he was well assured he would soon be king; thus preparing suspicions,
and matter of accusation against Lycurgus, in case any accident should
befall the king. Insinuations of the same kind were likewise spread by
the queen-mother. Moved with this ill-treatment, and fearing some dark
design, he determined to get clear of all suspicion, by travelling into
other countries, till his nephew should be grown up, and have a son to
succeed him in the kingdom.

He set sail, therefore, and landed in Crete. There having observed the
forms of government, and conversed with the most illustrious personages,
he was struck with admiration of some of their laws, and resolved at his
return to make use of them in Sparta. Some others he rejected. Among the
friends he gained in Crete was Thales, with whom he had interest enough
to persuade him to go and settle at Sparta. Thales was famed for his
wisdom and political abilities: he was withal a lyric poet, who under
colour of exercising his art, performed as great things as the most
excellent lawgivers. For his odes were so many persuasives to obedience
and unanimity, as by means of melody and numbers they had great grace
and power, they softened insensibly the manners of the audience, drew
them off from the animosities which then prevailed, and united them in
zeal for excellence and virtue. So that, in some measure, he prepared
the way for Lycurgus towards the instruction of the Spartans. From Crete
Lycurgus passed to Asia, desirous, as is said, to compare the Ionian
expense and luxury with the Cretan frugality and hard diet, so as to
judge what effect each had on their several manners and governments;
just as physicians compare bodies that are weak and sickly with the
healthy and robust. There also, probably, he met with Homer's poems,
which were preserved by the posterity of Cleophylus. Observing that many
moral sentences and much political knowledge were intermixed with his
stories, which had an irresistible charm, he collected them into one
body, and transcribed them with pleasure, in order to take them home
with him. For his glorious poetry was not yet fully known in Greece;
only some particular pieces were in a few hands, as they happened to be
dispersed. Lycurgus was the first that made them generally known. The
Egyptians likewise suppose that he visited them; and as of all their
institutions he was most pleased with their distinguishing the military
men from the rest of the people, he took the same method at Sparta, and,
by separating from these the mechanics and artificers, he rendered the
constitution more noble and more of a piece. This assertion of the
Egyptians is confirmed by some of the Greek writers. But we know of no
one, except Aristocrates, son of Hipparchus, and a Spartan, who has
affirmed that he went to Libya and Spain, and in his Indian excursions
conversed with the Gymnosophists.

The Lacedæmonians found the want of Lycurgus when absent, and sent many
embassies to entreat him to return. For they perceived that their kings
had barely the title and outward appendages of royalty, but in nothing
else differed from the multitude; whereas Lycurgus had abilities from
nature to guide the measures of government, and powers of persuasion,
that drew the hearts of men to him. The kings, however, where consulted
about his return, and they hoped that in his presence they should
experience less insolence amongst the people. Returning then to a city
thus disposed, he immediately applied himself to alter the whole frame
of the constitution; sensible that a partial change, and the introducing
of some new laws, would be of no sort of advantage; but, as in the case
of a body diseased and full of bad humours, whose temperament is to be
corrected and new formed by medicines, it was necessary to begin a new
regimen. With these sentiments he went to Delphi, and when he had
offered and consulted the god, he returned with that celebrated oracle,
in which the priestess called him "Beloved of the gods, and rather a god
than a man." As to his request that he might enact good laws, she told
him, Apollo had heard his request, and promised that the constitution he
should establish would be the most excellent in the world. Thus
encouraged, he applied to the nobility, and desired them to put their
hands to the work; addressing himself privately at first to his friends,
and afterwards by degrees, trying the disposition of others, and
preparing them to concur in the business. When matters were ripe, he
ordered thirty of the principal citizens to appear armed in the
market-place by break of day, to strike terror into such as might desire
to oppose him. Hermippus has given us the names of twenty of the most
eminent of them; but he that had the greatest share in the whole
enterprise, and gave Lycurgus the best assistance in the establishing of
his laws, was called Arithmiades. Upon the first alarm, king Charilaus,
apprehending it to be a design against his person, took refuge in the
Chalcioicos. But he was soon satisfied, and accepted of their oath. Nay,
so far from being obstinate, he joined in the undertaking. Indeed, he
was so remarkable for the gentleness of his disposition, that Archelaus,
his partner in the throne, is reported to have said to some that were
praising the young king, "Yes, Charilaus is a good man to be sure, who
cannot find in his heart to punish the bad." Among the many new
institutions of Lycurgus, the first and most important was that of a
senate; which sharing, as Plato says, in the power of the kings, too
imperious and unrestrained before, and having equal authority with them,
was the means of keeping them within the bounds of moderation, and
highly contributed to the preservation of the state. For before it had
been veering and unsettled, sometimes inclining to arbitrary power, and
sometimes towards a pure democracy; but this establishment of a senate,
an intermediate body, like ballast, kept it in a just equilibrium, and
put it in a safe posture: the twenty-eight senators adhering to the
kings, whenever they saw the people too encroaching, and, on the other
hand, supporting the people, when the kings attempted to make themselves
absolute. This, according to Aristotle, was the number of senators fixed
upon, because two of the thirty associates of Lycurgus deserted the
business through fear. But Sphærus tells us there were only twenty-eight
at first entrusted with the design. Something, perhaps, there is in its
being a perfect number, formed of seven multiplied by four, and withal
the first number, after six, that is equal to all its parts. But I
rather think, just so many senators were created, that, together with
the two kings, the whole body might consist of thirty members.

He had this institution so much at heart, that he obtained from Delphi
an oracle in its behalf, called _rhetra_, or the decree. This was
couched in very ancient and uncommon terms, which interpreted, ran thus:
"When you have built a temple to the Syllanian Jupiter, and the
Syllanian Minerva, divided the people into tribes and classes, and
established a senate of thirty persons, including the two kings, you
shall occasionally summon the people to an assembly between Babyce and
Cnacion, and they shall have the determining voice." Babyce and Cnacion
are now called Oenus. But Aristotle thinks, by Cnacion is meant the
river, and by Babyce the bridge. Between these they held their
assemblies, having neither halls, nor any kind of building for that
purpose. These things he thought of no advantage to their councils, but
rather a disservice; as they distracted the attention, and turned it
upon trifles, on observing the statues and pictures, the splendid roofs,
and every other theatrical ornament. The people thus assembled had no
right to propose any subject of debate, and were only authorized to
ratify or reject what might be proposed to them by the senate and the
kings. But because, in process of time, the people, by additions or
retrenchments, changed the terms, and perverted the sense of the
decrees, the kings Polydorus and Theopompus inserted in the _rhetra_
this clause: "If the people attempt to corrupt any law, the senate and
chiefs shall retire:" that is, they shall dissolve the assembly, and
annul the alterations. And they found means to persuade the Spartans
that this too was ordered by Apollo; as we learn from these verses of

     Ye sons of Sparta, who at Phœbus' shrine
     Your humble vows prefer, attentive hear
     The god's decision. O'er your beauteous lands
     Two guardian kings, a senate, and the voice
     Of the concurring people, lasting laws
     Shall with joint power establish.

Though the government was thus tempered by Lycurgus, yet soon after it
degenerated into an oligarchy, whose power was exercised with such
wantonness and violence, that it wanted indeed a bridle, as Plato
expresses it. This curb they found in the authority of the Ephori, about
a hundred and thirty years after Lycurgus. Elatus was the first invested
with this dignity, in the reign of Theopompus; who, when his wife
upbraided him, that he would leave the regal power to his children less
than he received it, replied, "Nay but greater, because more lasting."
And, in fact, the prerogative, so stripped of all extravagant
pretensions, no longer occasioned either envy or danger to its
possessors. By these means they escaped the miseries which befell the
Messenian and Argive kings, who would not in the least relax the
severity of their power in favour of the people. Indeed, from nothing
more does the wisdom and foresight of Lycurgus appear, than from the
disorderly governments, and the bad understanding that subsisted between
the kings and people of Messena and Argos, neighbouring states, and
related in blood to Sparta. For, as at first they were in all respects
equal to her, and possessed of a better country, and yet preserved no
lasting happiness, but, through the insolence of the kings and
disobedience of the people, were harassed with perpetual troubles, they
made it very evident that it was really a felicity more than human, a
blessing from heaven to the Spartans, to have a legislator who knew so
well how to frame and temper their government. But this was an event of
a later date.

A second and bolder political enterprise of Lycurgus was a new division
of the lands. For he found a prodigious inequality, the city overcharged
with many indigent persons, who had no land, and the wealth centred in
the hands of a few. Determined, therefore, to root out the evils of
insolence, envy, avarice, and luxury, and those distempers of a state
still more inveterate and fatal, I mean poverty and riches, he persuaded
them to cancel all former divisions of land, and to make new ones, in
such a manner that they might be perfectly equal in their possessions
and way of living. Hence, if they were ambitious of distinction they
might seek it in virtue, as no other difference was left between them
but that which arises from the dishonour of base actions and the praise
of good ones. His proposal was put in practice. He made nine thousand
lots for the territory of Sparta, which he distributed among so many
citizens, and thirty thousand for the inhabitants of the rest of
Laconia. But some say he made only six thousand shares for the city, and
that Polydorus added three thousand afterwards; others, that Polydorus
doubled the number appointed by Lycurgus, which were only four thousand
five hundred. Each lot was capable of producing (one year with another)
seventy bushels of grain for each man, and twelve for each woman,
besides a quantity of wine and oil in proportion. Such a provision they
thought sufficient for health and a good habit of body, and they wanted
nothing more. A story goes of our legislator, that some time after
returning from a journey through the fields just reaped, and seeing the
shocks standing parallel and equal, he smiled, and said to some that
were by, "How like is Laconia to an estate newly divided among many

After this, he attempted to divide also the movables, in order to take
away all appearance of inequality; but he soon perceived that they could
not bear to have their goods directly taken from them, and therefore
took another method, counterworking their avarice by a stratagem. First
he stopped the currency of the gold and silver coin, and ordered that
they should make use of iron money only, then to a great quantity and
weight of this he assigned but a small value; so that to lay up ten
_minæ_, a whole room was required, and to remove it, nothing less than a
yoke of oxen. When this became current, many kinds of injustice ceased
in Lacedæmon. Who would steal or take a bribe, who would defraud or rob,
when he could not conceal the booty; when he could neither be dignified
by the possession of it, nor if cut in pieces be served by its use? For
we are told that when hot, they quenched it in vinegar, to make it
brittle and unmalleable, and consequently unfit for any other service.
In the next place, he excluded unprofitable and superfluous arts:
indeed, if he had not done this, most of them would have fallen of
themselves, when the new money took place, as the manufactures could not
be disposed of. Their iron coin would not pass in the rest of Greece,
but was ridiculed and despised; so that the Spartans had no means of
purchasing any foreign or curious wares; nor did any merchant-ship
unlade in their harbours. There were not even to be found in all their
country either sophists, wandering fortune-tellers, keepers of infamous
houses, or dealers in gold and silver trinkets, because there was no
money. Thus luxury, losing by degrees the means that cherished and
supported it, died away of itself: even they who had great possessions,
had no advantage from them, since they could not be displayed in public,
but must lie useless, in unregarded repositories. Hence it was, that
excellent workmanship was shown in their useful and necessary furniture,
as beds, chairs, and tables; and the Lacedæmonian cup called _cothon_,
as Critias informs us, was highly valued, particularly in campaigns: for
the water, which must then of necessity be drank, though it would often
otherwise offend the sight, had its muddiness concealed by the colour of
the cup, and the thick part stopping at the shelving brim, it came
clearer to the lips. Of these improvements the lawgiver was the cause;
for the workmen having no more employment in matters of mere curiosity,
showed the excellence of their art in necessary things.

Desirous to complete the conquest of luxury, and exterminate the love of
riches, he introduced a third institution, which was wisely enough and
ingeniously contrived. This was the use of public tables, where all were
to eat in common of the same meat, and such kinds of it as were
appointed by law. At the same time they were forbidden to eat at home,
upon expensive couches and tables, to call in the assistance of butchers
and cooks, or to fatten like voracious animals in private. For so not
only their manners would be corrupted, but their bodies disordered;
abandoned to all manner of sensuality and dissoluteness, they would
require long sleep, warm baths, and the same indulgence as in perpetual
sickness. To effect this was certainly very great; but it was greater
still, to secure riches from rapine and from envy, as Theophrastus
expresses it, or rather by their eating in common, and by the frugality
of their table, to take from riches their very being. For what use or
enjoyment of them, what peculiar display of magnificence could there be,
where the poor man went to the same refreshment with the rich? Hence the
observation, that it was only at Sparta where Plutus (according to the
proverb) was kept blind, and like an image, destitute of life or motion.
It must further be observed, that they had not the privilege to eat at
home, and so to come without appetite to the public repast: they made a
point of it to observe any one that did not eat and drink with them, and
to reproach him as an intemperate and effeminate person that was sick of
the common diet.

The rich, therefore (we are told), were more offended with this
regulation than with any other, and, rising in a body, they loudly
expressed their indignation: nay, they proceeded so far as to assault
Lycurgus with stones, so that he was forced to fly from the assembly and
take refuge in a temple. Unhappily, however, before he reached it, a
young man named Alcander, hasty in his resentments, though not otherwise
ill-tempered, came up with him, and, upon his turning round, struck out
one of his eyes with a stick. Lycurgus then stopped short, and, without
giving way to passion, showed the people his eye beat out, and his face
streaming with blood. They were so struck with shame and sorrow at the
sight, that they surrendered Alcander to him, and conducted him home
with the utmost expressions of regret. Lycurgus thanked them for their
care of his person, and dismissed them all except Alcander. He took him
into his house, but showed no ill treatment either by word or action;
only ordering him to wait upon him, instead of his usual servants and
attendants. The youth, who was of an ingenuous disposition, without
murmuring, did as he was commanded. Living in this manner with Lycurgus,
and having an opportunity to observe the mildness and goodness of his
heart, his strict temperance and indefatigable industry, he told his
friends that Lycurgus was not that proud and severe man he might have
been taken for, but, above all others, gentle and engaging in his
behaviour. This, then, was the chastisement, and this punishment he
suffered, of a wild and headstrong young man to become a very modest and
prudent citizen. In memory of his misfortune, Lycurgus built a temple to
Minerva Optiletis, so called by him from a term which the Dorians use
for the eye. Yet Dioscorides, who wrote a treatise concerning the
Lacedæmonian government, and others, relate that his eye was hurt, but
not put out, and that he built the temple in gratitude to the goddess
for his cure. However, the Spartans never carried staves to their
assemblies afterwards.

The public repasts were called by the Cretans Andria; but the
Lacedæmonians styled them Phiditia, either from their tendency to
friendship and mutual benevolence, _phiditia_ being used instead of
_philitia_; or else from their teaching frugality and parsimony, which
the word _pheido_ signifies. But it is not all impossible that the first
letter might by some means or other be added, and so _phiditia_ take
place of _editia_, which barely signifies eating. There were fifteen
persons to a table, or a few more or less. Each of them was obliged to
bring in monthly a bushel of meal, eight gallons of wine, five pounds of
cheese, two pounds and a half of figs, and a little money to buy flesh
and fish. If any of them happened to offer a sacrifice of first fruits,
or to kill venison, he sent a part of it to the public table: for after
a sacrifice or hunting, he was at liberty to sup at home: but the rest
were to appear at the usual place. For a long time this eating in common
was observed with great exactness: so that when king Agis returned from
a successful expedition against the Athenians, and from a desire to sup
with his wife, requested to have his portion at home, the Polemarchs
refused to send it: nay, when, through resentment, he neglected, the day
following, to offer the sacrifice usual on occasion of victory, they set
a fine upon him. Children also were introduced at these public tables,
as so many schools of sobriety. There they heard discourses concerning
government, and were instructed in the most liberal breeding. There they
were allowed to jest without scurrility, and were not to take it ill
when the raillery was returned. For it was reckoned worthy of a
Lacedæmonian to bear a jest: but if any one's patience failed, he had
only to desire them to be quiet, and they left off immediately. When
they first entered, the oldest man present pointed to the door, and
said, "Not a word spoken in this company goes out there." The admitting
of any man to a particular table was under the following regulation.
Each member of that small society took a little ball of soft bread in
his hand. This he was to drop, without saying a word, into a vessel
called _caddos_, which the waiter carried upon his head. In case he
approved of the candidate, he did it without altering the figure, if
not, he first pressed it flat in his hand; for a flatted ball was
considered as a negative. And if but one such was found, the person was
not admitted, as they thought it proper that the whole company should be
satisfied with each other. He who thus rejected, was said to have no
luck in the _caddos_. The dish that was in the highest esteem amongst
them was the black broth. The old men were so fond of it that they
ranged themselves on one side and eat it, leaving the meat to the young
people. It is related of a king of Pontus, that he purchased a
Lacedæmonian cook, for the sake of this broth. But when he came to taste
it he strongly expressed his dislike; and the cook made answer, "Sir, to
make this broth relish, it is necessary first to bathe in the Eurotas."
After they had drank moderately, they went home without lights. Indeed,
they were forbidden to walk with a light either on this or any other
occasion, that they might accustom themselves to march in the darkest
night boldly and resolutely. Such was the order of their public

Lycurgus left none of his laws in writing; it was ordered in one of the
_Rhetræ_ that none should be written. For what he thought most conducive
to the virtue and happiness of a city, was principles interwoven with
the manners and breeding of the people. These would remain immovable, as
founded in inclination, and be the strongest and most lasting tie; and
the habits which education produced in the youth, would answer in each
the purpose of a lawgiver. As for smaller matters, contracts about
property, and whatever occasionally varied, it was better not to reduce
these to a written form and unalterable method, but to suffer them to
change with the times, and to admit of additions or retrenchments at the
pleasure of persons so well educated. For he resolved the whole business
of legislation into the bringing up of youth. And this, as we have
observed, was the reason why one of his ordinances forbad them to have
any written laws.

Another ordinance levelled against magnificence and expense, directed
that the ceilings of houses should be wrought with no tool but the axe
and the doors with nothing but the saw. For, as Epaminondas is reported
to have said afterwards, of his table, "Treason lurks not under such a
dinner," so Lycurgus perceived before him, that such a house admits of
no luxury and needless splendour. Indeed, no man could be so absurd as
to bring into a dwelling so homely and simple, bedsteads with silver
feet, purple coverlets, golden cups, and a train of expense that follows
these: but all would necessarily have the bed suitable to the room, the
coverlet of the bed and the rest of their utensils and furniture to
that. From this plain sort of dwellings, proceeded the question of
Leotychidas the elder to his host, when he supped at Corinth, and saw
the ceiling of the room very splendid and curiously wrought, "Whether
trees grew square in his country."

A third ordinance of Lycurgus was, that they should not often make war
against the same enemy, lest, by being frequently put upon defending
themselves, they too should become able warriors in their turn. And this
they most blamed king Agesilaus for afterwards, that by frequent and
continued incursions into Boeotia, he taught the Thebans to make head
against the Lacedæmonians. This made Antalcidas say, when he saw him
wounded, "The Thebans pay you well for making them good soldiers who
neither were willing nor able to fight you before." These ordinances he
called _Rhetræ_, as if they had been oracles and decrees of the Deity

As for the education of youth, which he looked upon as the greatest and
most glorious work of a lawgiver, he began with it at the very source,
taking into consideration their conception and birth, by regulating the
marriages. For he did not (as Aristotle says) desist from his attempt to
bring the women under sober rules. They had, indeed, assumed great
liberty and power on account of the frequent expeditions of their
husbands, during which they were left sole mistresses at home, and so
gained an undue deference and improper titles; but notwithstanding this
he took all possible care of them. He ordered the virgins to exercise
themselves in running, wrestling, and throwing quoits and darts; that
their bodies being strong and vigorous, the children afterwards produced
from them might be the same; and that, thus fortified by exercise, they
might the better support the pangs of child-birth, and be delivered with
safety. In order to take away the excessive tenderness and delicacy of
the sex, the consequence of a recluse life, he accustomed the virgins
occasionally to be seen naked as well as the young men, and to dance and
sing in their presence on certain festivals. There they sometimes
indulged in a little raillery upon those that had misbehaved themselves,
and sometimes they sung encomiums on such as deserved them, thus
exciting in the young men a useful emulation and love of glory. For he
who was praised for his bravery and celebrated among the virgins, went
away perfectly happy: while their satirical glances thrown out in sport,
were no less cutting than serious admonitions; especially as the kings
and senate went with the other citizens to see all that passed. As for
the virgins appearing naked, there was nothing disgraceful in it,
because everything was conducted with modesty, and without one indecent
word or action. Nay, it caused a simplicity of manners and an emulation
for the best habit of body; their ideas too were naturally enlarged,
while they were not excluded from their share of bravery and honour.
Hence they were furnished with sentiments and language, such as Gorgo
the wife of Leonidas is said to have made use of. When a woman of
another country said to her, "You of Lacedæmon are the only women in the
world that rule the men;" she answered, "We are the only women that
bring forth men."

These public dances and other exercises of the young maidens naked, in
sight of the young men, were, moreover, incentives to marriage: and, to
use Plato's expression, drew them almost as necessarily by the
attractions of love, as a geometrical conclusion follows from the
premises. To encourage it still more, some marks of infamy were set upon
those that continued bachelors. For they were not permitted to see these
exercises of the naked virgins; and the magistrates commanded them to
march naked round the market-place in the winter, and to sing a song
composed against themselves, which expressed how justly they were
punished for their disobedience to the laws. They were also deprived of
that honour and respect which the younger people paid to the old; so
that nobody found fault with what was said to Dercyllidas, though an
eminent commander. It seems, when he came one day into company, a young
man, instead of rising up and giving place, told him, "You have no child
to give place to me, when I am old."

In their marriages, the bridegroom carried off the bride by violence;
and she was never chosen in a tender age, but when she had arrived at
full maturity. Then the woman that had the direction of the wedding, cut
the bride's hair close to the skin, dressed her in man's clothes, laid
her upon a mattrass, and left her in the dark. The bridegroom, neither
oppressed with wine nor enervated with luxury, but perfectly sober, as
having always supped at the common table, went in privately, untied her
girdle, and carried her to another bed. Having stayed there a short
time, he modestly retired to his usual apartment, to sleep with the
other young men; and observed the same conduct afterwards, spending the
day with his companions, and reposing himself with them in the night,
nor even visiting his bride but with great caution and apprehensions of
being discovered by the rest of the family; the bride at the same time
exerted all her art to contrive convenient opportunities for their
private meetings. And this they did not for a short time only, but some
of them even had children before they had an interview with their wives
in the daytime. This kind of commerce not only exercised their
temperance and chastity, but kept their bodies fruitful, and the first
ardour of their love fresh and unabated; for as they were not satiated
like those that are always with their wives, there still was place for
unextinguished desire. When he had thus established a proper regard to
modesty and decorum with respect to marriage, he was equally studious to
drive from that state the vain and womanish passion of jealousy; by
making it quite as reputable to have children in common with persons of
merit, as to avoid all offensive freedom in their own behaviour to their
wives. He laughed at those who revenge with wars and bloodshed the
communication of a married woman's favours; and allowed, that if a man
in years should have a young wife, he might introduce to her some
handsome and honest young man, whom he most approved of, and when she
had a child of this generous race, bring it up as his own. On the other
hand, he allowed, that if a man of character should entertain a passion
for a married woman on account of her modesty and the beauty of her
children, he might treat with her husband for admission to her company,
that so planting in a beauty-bearing soil, he might produce excellent
children, the congenial offspring of excellent parents. For, in the
first place, Lycurgus considered children, not so much the property of
their parents as of the state; and therefore he would not have them
begot by ordinary persons, but by the best men in it. In the next place,
he observed the vanity and absurdity of other nations, where people
study to have their horses and dogs of the finest breed they can procure
either by interest or money; and yet keep their wives shut up, that they
may have children by none but themselves, though they may happen to be
doting, decrepit, or infirm. As if children, when sprung from a bad
stock, and consequently good for nothing, were no detriment to those
whom they belong to, and who have the trouble of bringing them up, nor
any advantage, when well descended and of a generous disposition. These
regulations tending to secure a healthy offspring, and consequently
beneficial to the state, were so far from encouraging that
licentiousness of the women which prevailed afterwards, that adultery
was not known amongst them. A saying, upon this subject of Geradas, an
ancient Spartan, is thus related. A stranger had asked him, "What
punishment their law appointed for adulterers?" He answered, "My friend,
there are no adulterers in our country." The other replied, "But what if
there should be one?" "Why then," says Geradas, "he must forfeit a bull
so large that he might drink of the Eurotas from the top of Mount
Taygetus." When the stranger expressed his surprise at this, and said,
"How can such a bull be found?" Geradas answered with a smile, "How can
an adulterer be found in Sparta?" This is the account we have of their

It was not left to the father to rear what children he pleased, but he
was obliged to carry the child to a place called Lesche, to be examined
by the most ancient men of the tribe, who were assembled there. If it
was strong and well-proportioned, they gave orders for its education,
and assigned it one of the nine thousand shares of land; but if it was
weakly and deformed, they ordered it to be thrown into the place called
Apothetæ, which is a deep cavern near the mountain Taygetus; concluding
that its life could be no advantage either to itself or to the public,
since nature had not given it at first any strength or goodness of
constitution. For the same reason the women did not wash their new-born
infants with water, but with wine, thus making some trial of their habit
of body; imagining that sickly and epileptic children sink and die under
the experiment, while healthy became more vigorous and hardy. Great care
and art was also exerted by the nurses; for, as they never swathed the
infants, their limbs had a freer turn, and their countenances a more
liberal air; besides, they used them to any sort of meat, to have no
terrors in the dark, nor to be afraid of being alone, and to leave all
ill humour and unmanly crying. Hence people of other countries purchased
Lacedæmonian nurses for their children; and Alcibiades the Athenian is
said to have been nursed by Amicla, a Spartan. But if he was fortunate
in a nurse, he was not so in a preceptor: for Zopyrus, appointed to that
office by Pericles, was, as Plato tells us, no better qualified than a
common slave. The Spartan children were not in that manner, under tutors
purchased or hired with money, nor were the parents at liberty to
educate them as they pleased: but as soon as they were seven years old,
Lycurgus ordered them to be enrolled in companies, where they were all
kept under the same order and discipline, and had their exercises and
recreations in common. He who showed the most conduct and courage
amongst them, was made captain of the company. The rest kept their eyes
upon him, obeyed his orders, and bore with patience the punishment he
inflicted: so that their whole education was an exercise of obedience.
The old men were present at their diversions, and often suggested some
occasion of dispute or quarrel, that they might observe with exactness
the spirit of each, and their firmness in battle.

As for learning, they had just what was absolutely necessary. All the
rest of their education was calculated to make them subject to command,
to endure labour, to fight and conquer. They added, therefore, to their
discipline, as they advance in age; cutting their hair very close,
making them go barefoot, and play, for the most part, quite naked. At
twelve years of age, their under garment was taken away, and but one
upper one a year allowed them. Hence they were necessarily dirty in
their persons, and not indulged the great favour of baths, and oils,
except on some particular days of the year. They slept in companies, on
beds made of the tops of reeds, which they gathered with their own
hands, without knives, and brought from the banks of the Eurotas. In
winter they were permitted to add a little thistle-down, as that seemed
to have some warmth in it.

At this age, the most distinguished amongst them became the favourite
companions of the elder; and the old men attended more constantly their
places of exercise, observing their trials of strength and wit, not
slightly and in a cursory manner, but as their fathers, guardians, and
governors: so that there was neither time nor place where persons were
wanting to instruct and chastise them. One of the best and ablest men of
the city was, moreover, appointed inspector of the youth: and he gave
the command of each company to the discreetest and most spirited of
those called Irens. An Iren was one that had been two years out of the
class of boys: a Melliren one of the oldest lads. This Iren, then, a
youth twenty years old, gives orders to those under his command in their
little battles, and has them to serve him at his house. He sends the
oldest of them to fetch wood, and the younger to gather pot-herbs: these
they steal where they can find them, either slily getting into gardens,
or else craftily and warily creeping to the common tables. But if any
one be caught, he is severely flogged for negligence or want of
dexterity. They steal, too, whatever victuals they possibly can,
ingeniously contriving to do it when persons are asleep, or keep but
indifferent watch. If they are discovered, they are punished not only
with whipping, but with hunger. Indeed, their supper is but slender at
all times, that, to fence against want, they may be forced to exercise
their courage and address. This is the first intention of their spare
diet: a subordinate one is, to make them grow tall. For when the animal
spirits are not too much oppressed by a great quantity of food, which
stretches itself out in breadth and thickness, they mount upwards by
their natural lightness, and the body easily and freely shoots up in
height. This also contributes to make them handsome; for thin and
slender habits yield more freely to nature, which then gives a fine
proportion to the limbs; whilst the heavy and gross resist her by their
weight. So women that take physic during their pregnancy, have slighter
children indeed, but of a finer and more delicate turn, because the
suppleness of the matter more readily obeys the plastic power. However,
these are speculations which we shall leave to others.

The boys steal with so much caution, that one of them having conveyed a
young fox under his garment, suffered the creature to tear out his
bowels with his teeth and claws, choosing rather to die than to be
detected. Nor does this appear incredible, if we consider what their
young men can endure to this day; for we have seen many of them expire
under the lash at the altar of Diana Orthia.

The Iren, reposing himself after supper, used to order one of the boys
to sing a song; to another he put some question which required a
judicious answer: for example, "Who was the best man in the city?" or
"What he thought of such an action?" This accustomed them from their
childhood to judge of the virtues, to enter into the affairs of their
countrymen. For if one of them was asked, "Who is a good citizen, or who
an infamous one," and hesitated in his answer, he was considered a boy
of slow parts, and of a soul that would not aspire to honour. The answer
was likewise to have a reason assigned for it, and proof conceived in
few words. He whose account of the matter was wrong, by way of
punishment had his thumb bit by the Iren. The old men and magistrates
often attended these little trials, to see whether the Iren exercised
his authority in a rational and proper manner. He was permitted, indeed,
to inflict the penalties; but when the boys were gone, he was to be
chastised himself, if he had punished them either with too much severity
or remissness.

The adopters of favourites also shared both in the honour and disgrace
of their boys: and one of them is said to have been mulcted by the
magistrates, because the boy whom he had taken into his affections let
some ungenerous word or cry escape him as he was fighting. This love was
so honourable and in so much esteem, that the virgins too had their
lovers amongst the most virtuous matrons. A competition of affection
caused no misunderstanding, but rather a mutual friendship between those
that had fixed their regards upon the same youth, and an united
endeavour to make him as accomplished as possible.

The boys were also taught to use sharp repartee, seasoned with humour,
and whatever they said was to be concise and pithy. For Lycurgus, as we
have observed, fixed but a small value on a considerable quantity of his
iron money; but, on the contrary, the worth of speech was to consist in
its being comprised in a few plain words, pregnant with a great deal of
sense: and he contrived that by long silence they might learn to be
sententious and acute in their replies. As debauchery often causes
weakness and sterility in the body, so the intemperance of the tongue
makes conversation empty and insipid. King Agis, therefore, when a
certain Athenian laughed at the Lacedæmonian short swords, and said,
"The jugglers would swallow them with ease upon the stage," answered in
his laconic way, "And yet we can reach our enemies' hearts with them."
Indeed, to me there seems to be something in this concise manner of
speaking which immediately reaches the object aimed at, and forcibly
strikes the mind of the hearer. Lycurgus himself was short and
sententious in his discourse, if we may judge by some of his answers
which are recorded; that, for instance, concerning the constitution.
When one advised him to establish a popular government in Lacedæmon,
"Go," said he, "and first make a trial of it in thy own family." That
again, concerning sacrifices to the Deity, when he was asked why he
appointed them so trifling and of so little value, "That we might never
be in want," said he, "of something to offer him." Once more, when they
inquired of him, what sort of martial exercises he allowed of, he
answered, "All, except those in which you stretch out your hands."
Several such like replies of his are said to be taken from the letters
which he wrote to his countrymen: as to their question, "How shall we
best guard against the invasion of an enemy?"--"By continuing poor, and
not desiring in your possessions to be one above another." And to the
question, whether they should enclose Sparta with walls, "That city is
well fortified, which has a wall of men instead of brick." Whether these
and some other letters ascribed to him are genuine or not, is no easy
matter to determine. However, that they hated long speeches, the
following apophthegms are a farther proof. King Leonidas said to one
who discoursed at an improper time about affairs of some concern, "My
friend, you should not talk so much to the purpose, of what it is not to
the purpose to talk of." Charilaus, the nephew of Lycurgus, being asked
why his uncle had made so few laws, answered, "To men of few words, few
laws are sufficient." Some people finding fault with Hecatæus the
sophist, because, when admitted to one of the public repasts, he said
nothing all the time, Archidamidas replied, "He that knows how to speak,
knows also when to speak."

The manner of their repartees, which, as I said, were seasoned with
humour, may be gathered from these instances. When a troublesome fellow
was pestering Demaratus with impertinent questions, and this in
particular several times repeated, "Who is the best man in Sparta?" He
answered, "He that is least like you." To some who were commending the
Eleans for managing the Olympic games with so much justice and
propriety, Agis said, "What great matter is it, if the Eleans do justice
once in five years?" When a stranger was professing his regard for
Theopompus, and saying that his own countrymen called him Philolacon (a
lover of the Lacedæmonians), the king answered him, "My good friend, it
were much better, if they called you Philopolites" (a lover of your own
countrymen). Plistonax, the son of Pausanias, replied to an orator of
Athens, who said the Lacedæmonians had no learning. "True, for we are
the only people of Greece that have learned no ill of you." To one who
asked what number of men there was in Sparta, Archidamidas said, "Enough
to keep bad men at a distance."

Even when they indulged a vein of pleasantry, one might perceive that
they would not use one unnecessary word, nor let an expression escape
them that had not some sense worth attending to. For one being asked to
go and hear a person who imitated the nightingale to perfection,
answered, "I have heard the nightingale herself." Another said, upon
reading this epitaph,

     Victims of Mars, at Selinus they fell,
     Who quench'd the rage of tyranny--

"And they deserved to fall, for, instead of _quenching_ it, they should
have let it _burn out_." A young man answered one that promised him some
game-cocks that would stand their death, "Give me those that will be the
death of others." Another seeing some people carried into the country in
litters, said, "May I never sit in any place where I cannot rise before
the aged!" This was the manner of their apophthegms: so that it has been
justly enough observed that the term _lakonizein_ (to act the
Lacedæmonian) is to be referred rather to the exercises of the mind,
than those of the body.

Nor were poetry and music less cultivated among them, than a concise
dignity of expression. Their songs had a spirit, which could rouse the
soul, and impel it in an enthusiastic manner to action. The language was
plain and manly, the subject serious and moral. For they consisted
chiefly of the praises of heroes that had died for Sparta, or else of
expressions of detestation for such wretches as had declined the
glorious opportunity, and rather chose to drag on life in misery and
contempt. Nor did they forget to express an ambition for glory suitable
to their respective ages. Of this it may not be amiss to give an
instance. There were three choirs on their festivals, corresponding with
the three ages of man. The old men began,

     Once in battle bold we shone;

the young men answered,

     Try us: our vigour is not gone;

and the boys concluded,

     The palm remains for us alone.

Indeed, if we consider with some attention such of the Lacedæmonian
poems as are still extant, and get into those airs which were played
upon the flute when they marched to battle, we must agree that Terpander
and Pindar have very fitly joined valour and music together. The former
thus speaks of Lacedæmon,

     There gleams the youth's bright falchion: there the muse
     Lifts her sweet voice: there awful Justice opes
     Her wide pavilion.

And Pindar sings,

     There in grave council sits the sage;
     There burns the youth's resistless rage
       To hurl the quiv'ring lance;
     The Muse with glory crowns their arms,
     And Melody exerts her charms,
       And Pleasure leads the dance.

Thus we are informed, not only of their warlike turn, but their skill in
music. For as the Spartan poet says,

     To swell the bold notes of the lyre,
     Becomes the warrior's lofty fire.

And the king always offered sacrifice to the muses before a battle,
putting his troops in mind, I suppose, of their early education and of
the judgment that would be passed upon them; as well as that those
divinities might teach them to despite danger, while they performed some
exploit fit for them to celebrate.

On these occasions they relaxed the severity of their discipline,
permitting their men to be curious in dressing their hair, and elegant
in their arms and apparel, while they expressed their alacrity, like
horses full of fire and neighing for the race. They let their hair,
therefore, grow from their youth, but took more particular care, when
they expected an action, to have it well combed and shining; remembering
a saying of Lycurgus, that "a large head of hair made the handsome more
graceful, and the ugly more terrible." The exercises, too, of the young
men, during the campaigns, were more moderate, their diet not so hard,
and their whole treatment more indulgent: so that they were the only
people in the world with whom military discipline wore, in time of war,
a gentler face than usual. When the army was drawn up, and the enemy
near, the king sacrificed a goat, and commanded them all to set garlands
upon their heads, and the musicians to play Castro's march, while
himself began the pæan, which was the signal to advance. It was at once
a solemn and dreadful sight to see them measuring their steps to the
sound of music, and without the least disorder in their ranks or tumult
of spirits, moving forward cheerfully and composedly, with harmony, to
battle. Neither fear nor rashness was likely to approve men so disposed,
possessed as they were of a firm presence of mind, with courage and
confidence of success, as under the conduct of heaven. When the king
advanced against the enemy, he had always with him some one that had
been crowned in the public games of Greece. And they tell us, that a
Lacedæmonian, when large sums were offered him on condition that he
would not enter the Olympic lists, refused them, having with much
difficulty thrown his antagonist, one put this question to him,
"Spartan, what will you get by this victory?" He answered with a smile,
"I shall have the honour to fight foremost in the ranks before my
prince." When they had routed the enemy, they continued the pursuit till
they were assured of the victory: after that they immediately desisted;
deeming it neither generous nor worthy of a Grecian to destroy those who
made no farther resistance. This was not only a proof of magnanimity,
but of great service to their cause. For when their adversaries found
that they killed such as stood it out, but spared the fugitives, they
concluded it was better to fly than to meet their fate upon the spot.

Hippias the sophist tells us, that Lycurgus himself was a man of great
personal valour, and an experienced commander. Philostephanus also
ascribes to him the first division of cavalry into troops of fifty, who
were drawn up in a square body. But Demetrius the Phalerean says, that
he never had any military employment, and that there was the profoundest
peace imaginable when he established the constitution of Sparta. His
providing for a cessation of arms during the Olympic games is likewise a
mark of the humane and peaceable man. Some, however, acquaint us, and
among the rest Hermippus, that Lucurgus at first had no communication
with Iphitus; but coming that way, and happening to be a spectator, he
heard behind him a human voice (as he thought) which expressed some
wonder and displeasure that he did not put his countrymen upon resorting
to so great an assembly. He turned round immediately, to discover whence
the voice came, and as there was no man to be seen, concluded it was
from heaven. He joined Iphitus, therefore; and ordering, along with him,
the ceremonies of the festival, rendered it more magnificent and

The discipline of the Lacedæmonians continued after they were arrived at
years of maturity. For no man was at liberty to live as he pleased; the
city being like one great camp, where all had their stated allowance,
and knew their public charge, each man concluding that he was born, not
for himself, but for his country. Hence, if they had no particular
orders, they employed themselves in inspecting the boys, and teaching
them something useful, or in learning of those that were older than
themselves. One of the greatest privileges that Lycurgus procured his
countrymen, was the enjoyment of leisure, the consequence of his
forbidding them to exercise any mechanic trade. It was not worth their
while to take great pains to raise a fortune, since riches there were of
no account: and the Helotes, who tilled the ground, were answerable for
the produce above-mentioned. To this purpose we have a story of a
Lacedæmonian, who, happening to be at Athens while the court sat, was
informed of a man who was fined for idleness; and when the poor fellow
was returning home in great dejection, attended by his condoling
friends, he desired the company to show him the person that was
condemned for keeping up his dignity. So much beneath them they reckoned
all attention to mechanics arts, and all desire of riches!

Lawsuits were banished from Lacedæmon with money. The Spartans knew
neither riches nor poverty, but possessed an equal competency, and had a
cheap and easy way of supplying their few wants. Hence, when they were
not engaged in war, their time was taken up with dancing, feasting,
hunting, or meeting to exercise, or converse. They went not to market
under thirty years of age, all their necessary concerns being managed by
their relations and adopters. Nor was it reckoned a credit to the old to
be seen sauntering in the market-place; it was deemed more suitable for
them to pass great part of the day in the schools of exercise, or places
of conversation. Their discourse seldom turned upon money, or business,
or trade, but upon the praise of the excellent, or the contempt of the
worthless; and the last was expressed with that pleasantry and humour,
which conveyed instruction and correction without seeming to intend it.
Nor was Lycurgus himself immoderately severe in his manner; but, as
Sosibius tells us, he dedicated a little statue to the god of laughter
in each hall. He considered facetiousness as a seasoning of their hard
exercise and diet, and therefore ordered it to take place on all proper
occasions, in their common entertainments and parties of pleasure.

Upon the whole, he taught his citizens to think nothing more
disagreeable than to live by (or for) themselves. Like bees, they acted
with one impulse for the public good, and always assembled about their
prince. They were possessed with a thirst of honour, an enthusiasm
bordering upon insanity, and had not a wish but for their country. These
sentiments are confirmed by some of their aphorisms. When Pædaretus lost
his election for one of the "three hundred," he went away "rejoicing
that there were three hundred better men than himself found in the
city." Pisistratidas going with some others, ambassador to the king of
Persia's lieutenants, was asked whether they came with a public
commission, or on their own account, to which he answered, "If
successful, for the public; if unsuccessful, for ourselves." Agrileonis,
the mother of Brasidas, asking some Amphipolitans that waited upon her
at her house, whether Brasidas died honourably and as became a Spartan?
they greatly extolled his merit, and said there was not such a man left
in Sparta; whereupon she replied, "Say not so, my friends; for Brasidas
was indeed a man of honour, but Lacedæmon can boast of many better men
than he."

The senate, as I said before, consisted at first of those that were
assistants to Lycurgus in his great enterprise. Afterwards, to fill up
any vacancy that might happen, he ordered the most worthy men to be
selected, of those that were full threescore years old. This was the
most respectable dispute in the world, and the contest was truly
glorious; for it was not who should be swiftest among the swift, or
strongest of the strong, but who was the wisest and best among the good
and wise. He who had the preference was to bear this mark of superior
excellence through life, this great authority, which put into his hands
the lives and honour of the citizens, and every other important affair.
The manner of the election was this: when the people were assembled,
some persons appointed for the purpose were shut up in a room near the
place; where they could neither see nor be seen, and only hear the
shouts of the constituents: for by them they decided this and most
other affairs. Each candidate walked silently through the assembly, one
after another according to lot. Those that were shut up had writing
tables, in which they set down in different columns the number and
loudness of the shouts, without knowing who they were for; only they
marked them as first, second, third, and so on, according to the number
of the competitors. He that had the most and loudest acclamations, was
declared duly elected. Then he was crowned with a garland, and went
round to give thanks to the gods: a number of young men followed,
striving which should extol him most, and the women celebrated his
virtues in their songs, and blessed his worthy life and conduct. Each of
his relations offered him a repast, and their address on the occasion
was, "Sparta honours you with this collation." When he had finished the
procession, he went to the common table, and lived as before. Only two
portions were set before him, one of which he carried away: and as all
the women related to him attended at the gates of the public hall, he
called her for whom he had the greatest esteem, and presented her with
the portion, saying at the same time, "That which I received as a mark
of honour, I give to you." Then she was conducted home with great
applause by the rest of the women.

Lycurgus likewise made good regulations with respect to burials. In the
first place, to take away all superstition, he ordered the dead to be
buried in the city, and even permitted their monuments to be erected
near the temples; accustoming the youth to such sights from their
infancy, that they might have no uneasiness from them, nor any horror
for death, as if people were polluted with the touch of a dead body, or
with treading upon a grave. In the next place, he suffered nothing to be
buried with the corpse, except the red cloth and the olive leaves in
which it was wrapped. Nor would he suffer the relations to inscribe any
names upon the tombs, except of those men that fell in battle, or those
women who died in some sacred office. He fixed eleven days for the time
of mourning: on the twelfth they were to put an end to it, after
offering sacrifice to Ceres. No part of life was left vacant and
unimproved, but even with their necessary actions he interwove the
praise of virtue and the contempt of vice: and he so filled the city
with living examples, that it was next to impossible, for persons who
had these from their infancy before their eyes, not to be drawn and
formed to honour.

For the same reason he would not permit all that desired to go abroad
and see other countries, lest they should contract foreign manners, gain
traces of a life of little discipline, and of a different form of
government. He forbid strangers too to resort to Sparta, who could not
assign a good reason for their coming; not, as Thucydides says, out of
fear they should imitate the constitution of that city, and make
improvements in virtue, but lest they should teach his own people some
evil. For along with foreigners come new subjects of discourse; new
discourse produces new opinions; and from these there necessarily spring
new passions and desires, which, like discords in music, would disturb
the established government. He, therefore, thought it more expedient for
the city to keep out of it corrupt customs and manners, than even to
prevent the introduction of a pestilence.

Thus far, then, we can perceive no vestiges of a disregard to right and
wrong, which is the fault some people find with the laws of Lycurgus,
allowing them well enough calculated to produce valour, but not to
promote justice. Perhaps it was the Cryptia, as they called it, or
ambuscade, if that was really one of this lawgiver's institutions, as
Aristotle says it was, which gave Plato so bad an impression both of
Lycurgus and his laws. The governors of the youth ordered the shrewdest
of them from time to time to disperse themselves in the country,
provided only with daggers and some necessary provisions. In the daytime
they hid themselves, and rested in the most private places they could
find, but at night they sallied out into the roads, and killed all the
Helotes they could meet with. Nay, sometimes by day, they fell upon them
in the fields, and murdered the ablest and strongest of them. Thucydides
relates in his history of the Peloponnesian war, that the Spartans
selected such of them as were distinguished for their courage, to the
number of two thousand or more, declared them free, crowned them with
garlands, and conducted them to the temples of the gods; but soon after
they all disappeared; and no one could, either then or since, give
account in what manner they were destroyed. Aristotle particularly says,
that the Ephori, as soon as they were invested in their office, declared
war against the Helotes, that they might be massacred under pretence of
law. In other respects they treated them with great inhumanity:
sometimes they made them drink till they were intoxicated, and in that
condition led them into the public halls, to show the young men what
drunkenness was. They ordered them too to sing mean songs, and to dance
ridiculous dances, but not to meddle with any that were genteel and
graceful. Thus they tell us, that when the Thebans afterwards invaded
Laconia, and took a great number of the Helotes prisoners, they ordered
them to sing the odes of Terpander, Aleman, or Spendon the Lacedæmonian,
but they excused themselves, alleging that it was forbidden by their
masters. Those who say that a freeman in Sparta was most a freeman, and
a slave most a slave, seem well to have considered the difference of
states. But in my opinion, it was in after-times that these cruelties
took place among the Lacedæmonians, chiefly after the great earthquake,
when, as history informs us, the Helotes, joining the Messenians,
attacked them, did infinite damage to the country, and brought the city
to the greatest extremity. I can never ascribe to Lycurgus so
abominable an act as that of the ambuscade. I would judge in this case
by the mildness and justice which appeared in the rest of his conduct,
to which also the gods gave their sanction.

When his principal institutions had taken root in the manners of the
people, and the government was come to such maturity as to be able to
support and preserve itself, then, as Plato says of the Deity, that he
rejoiced when he had created the world, and given it its first motion;
so Lycurgus was charmed with the beauty and greatness of his political
establishment, when he saw it exemplified in fact, and move on in due
order. He was next desirous to make it immortal, so far as human wisdom
could effect it, and to deliver it down unchanged to the latest times.
For this purpose he assembled all the people, and told them the
provisions he had already made for the state were indeed sufficient for
virtue and happiness, but the greatest and most important matter was
still behind, which he could not disclose to them till he had consulted
the oracle; that they must therefore inviolably observe his laws,
without altering anything in them, till he returned from Delphi; and
then he would acquaint them with the pleasure of Apollo. When they had
all promised to do so, and desired him to set forward, he took an oath
of the kings and senators, and afterwards of all the citizens, that they
would abide by the present establishment till Lycurgus came back. He
then took his journey to Delphi.

When he arrived there, he offered sacrifice to the gods, and consulted
the oracle, whether his laws were sufficient to promote virtue, and
secure the happiness of the state. Apollo answered, that the laws were
excellent, and that the city which kept to the constitution he had
established, would be the most glorious in the world. This oracle
Lycurgus took down in writing, and sent it to Sparta. He then offered
another sacrifice, and embraced his friends and his son, determined
never to release his citizens from their oath, but voluntarily there to
put a period to his life; while he was yet of an age when life was not a
burden, when death was not desirable, and while he was not unhappy in
any one circumstance. He, therefore, destroyed himself by abstaining
from food, persuaded that the very death of lawgivers should have its
use, and their exit, so far from being insignificant, have its share of
virtue, and be considered as a great action. To him, indeed, whose
performances were so illustrious, the conclusion of life was the crown
of happiness, and his death was left guardian of those invaluable
blessings he had procured his countrymen through life, as they had taken
an oath not to depart from his establishment till his return. Nor was he
deceived in his expectations. Sparta continued superior to the rest of
Greece, both in its government at home and reputation abroad, so long as
it retained the institution of Lycurgus: and this it did during the
space of five hundred years, and the reign of fourteen successive kings,
down to Agis the son of Archidamus. As for the appointment of the
Ephori, it was so far from weakening the constitution, that it gave it
additional vigour, and though it seemed to be established in favour of
the people, it strengthened the aristocracy.

But in the reign of Agis money found its way into Sparta, and with money
came its inseparable attendant--avarice. This was by means of Lysander;
who, though himself incapable of being corrupted by money, filled his
country with the love of it, and with luxury too. He brought both gold
and silver from the wars, and thereby broke through the laws of
Lycurgus. While these were in force, Sparta was not so much under the
political regulations of a commonwealth, as the strict rules of a
philosophic life; and as the poets feign of Hercules, that only with a
club and lion's skin he travelled over the world, clearing it of lawless
ruffians and cruel tyrants; so the Lacedæmonians with a piece of
parchment and coarse coat kept Greece in a voluntary obedience,
destroyed usurpation and tyranny in the states, put an end to wars, and
laid seditions asleep, very often without either shield or lance, and
only by sending one ambassador; to whose directions all parties
concerned immediately submitted. Thus bees, when their prince appears,
compose their quarrels and unite in one swarm. So much did justice and
good government prevail in that state, that I am surprised at those who
say the Lacedæmonians knew indeed how to obey, but not how to govern:
and on this occasion quote the saying of king Theopompus, who, when one
told him that Sparta was preserved by the good administration of its
kings, replied, "Nay, rather by the obedience of their subjects." It is
certain that people will not continue pliant to those who know not how
to command; but it is the part of a good governor to teach obedience. He
who knows how to lead well, is sure to be well followed: and as it is by
the art of horsemanship that a horse is made gentle and tractable, so it
is by the abilities of him that fills the throne that the people become
ductile and submissive. Such was the conduct of the Lacedæmonians, that
people did not only endure, but even desired to be their subjects. They
asked not of them either ships, money or troops, but only a Spartan
general. When they had received him, they treated him with the greatest
honour and respect; so Gylippus was revered by the Sicilians, Brasidas
by the Chalcidians, Lysander, Callicratidas, and Agesilaus by all the
people of Asia. These, and such as these, wherever they came, were
called moderators and reformers, both of the magistrates and people, and
Sparta itself was considered as a school of discipline, where the beauty
of life and political order were taught in the utmost perfection. Hence
Stratonicus seems facetiously enough to have said, that he would order
"the Athenians to have the conduct of mysteries and processions; the
Eleans to preside in games, as their particular province; and the
Lacedæmonians to be beaten, if the other did amiss." This was spoken in
jest: but Antisthenes, one of the scholars of Socrates, said (more
seriously) of the Thebans, when he saw them pluming themselves upon
their success at Leuctra, "They were just like so many school-boys
rejoicing that they had beaten their master."

It was not, however, the principal design of Lycurgus that his city
should govern many others, but he considered its happiness like that of
a private man, as flowing from virtue and self-consistency: he therefore
so ordered and disposed it, that by the freedom and sobriety of its
inhabitants, and their having a sufficiency within themselves, its
continuance might be the more secure. Plato, Diogenes, Zeno, and other
writers upon government, have taken Lycurgus for their model: and these
have attained great praise, though they left only an idea of something
excellent. Yet he who, not in idea and in words, but in fact produced a
most inimitable form of government, and by showing a whole city of
philosophers, confounded those who imagine that the so much talked of
strictness of a philosophic life is impracticable; he, I say, stands in
the rank of glory far beyond the founders of all the other Grecian
states. Therefore Aristotle is of opinion, that the honours paid him in
Lacedæmon were far beneath his merit. Yet those honours were very great;
for he has a temple there, and they offer him a yearly sacrifice, as a
god. It is also said, that when his remains were brought home, his tomb
was struck with lightning: a seal of divinity which no other man,
however eminent, has had, except Euripides, who died and was buried at
Arethusa in Macedonia. This was matter of great satisfaction and triumph
to the friends of Euripides, that the same thing should befall him after
death, which had formerly happened to the most venerable of men, and the
most favoured of heaven. Some say, Lycurgus died at Cirrha; but
Apollothemis will have it, that he was brought to Elis and died there;
and Timæus and Aristoxenus write, that he ended his days in Crete; nay,
Aristoxenus adds, that the Cretans show his tomb at Pergamia, near the
high road. We are told, he left an only son named Antiorus: and as he
died without issue, the family was extinct. His friends and relations
observed his anniversary, which subsisted for many ages, and the days on
which they met for that purpose they called Lycurgidæ. Aristocrates, the
son of Hipparchus, relates, that the friends of Lycurgus, with whom he
sojourned, and at last died in Crete, burned his body, and, at his
request, threw his ashes into the sea. Thus he guarded against the
possibility of his remains being brought back to Sparta by the
Lacedæmonians, lest they should then think themselves released from
their oath, on the pretence that he was returned, and make innovations
in the government. This is what we had to say of Lycurgus.





Henry the Eighth, the unconquered King of England, a prince adorned with
all the virtues that become a great monarch, having some differences of
no small consequence with Charles the most serene prince of Castile,
sent me into Flanders, as his ambassador, for treating and composing
matters between them. I was colleague and companion to that incomparable
man Cuthbert Tonstal, whom the king with such universal applause lately
made Master of the Rolls; but of whom I will say nothing; not because I
fear that the testimony of a friend will be suspected, but rather
because his learning and virtues are too great for me to do them
justice, and so well known, that they need not my commendations unless I
would, according to the proverb, "Show the sun with a lanthorn." Those
that were appointed by the prince to treat with us met us at Bruges,
according to agreement; they were all worthy men. The Margrave of Bruges
was their head, and the chief man among them; but he that was esteemed
the wisest, and that spoke for the rest, was George Temse, the Provost
of Casselsee; both art and nature had concurred to make him eloquent: he
was very learned in the law; and as he had a great capacity, so by a
long practice in affairs he was very dextrous at unravelling them.
After we had several times met without coming to an agreement, they went
to Brussels for some days to know the prince's pleasure. And since our
business would admit it, I went to Antwerp. While I was there, among
many that visited me, there was one that was more acceptable to me than
any other, Peter Giles, born at Antwerp, who is a man of great honour,
and of a good rank in his town, though less than he deserves; for I do
not know if there be anywhere to be found a more learned and a better
bred young man: for as he is both a very worthy and a very knowing
person, so he is so civil to all men, so particularly kind to his
friends, and so full of candour and affection, that there is not perhaps
above one or two anywhere to be found that is in all respects so perfect
a friend. He is extraordinarily modest, there is no artifice in him; and
yet no man has more of a prudent simplicity: his conversation was so
pleasant and so innocently cheerful, that his company in a great measure
lessened any longings to go back to my country, and to my wife and
children, which an absence of four months had quickened very much. One
day as I was returning home from Mass at St. Mary's, which is the chief
church, and the most frequented of any in Antwerp, I saw him by accident
talking with a stranger, who seemed past the flower of his age; his face
was tanned, he had a long beard, and his cloak was hanging carelessly
about him, so that by his looks and habit I concluded he was a seaman.
As soon as Peter saw me, he came and saluted me; and as I was returning
his civility, he took me aside, and pointing to him with whom he had
been discoursing, he said, "Do you see that man? I was just thinking to
bring him to you." I answered, "He should have been very welcome on your
account." "And on his own too," replied he, "if you knew the man, for
there is none alive that can give so copious an account of unknown
nations and countries as he can do; which I know you very much desire."
Then said I, "I did not guess amiss, for at first sight I took him for
a seaman." "But you are much mistaken," said he, "for he has not sailed
as a seaman, but as a traveller, or rather a philosopher. This Raphael,
who from his family carries the name of Hythloday, is not ignorant of
the Latin tongue, but is eminently learned in the Greek, having applied
himself more particularly to that than to the former, because he had
given himself much to philosophy, in which he knew that the Romans have
left us nothing that is valuable, except what is to be found in Seneca
and Cicero. He is a Portuguese by birth, and was so desirous of seeing
the world, that he divided his estate among his brothers, run the same
hazard as Americus Vesputius, and bore a share in three of his four
voyages, that are now published; only he did not return with him in his
last, but obtained leave of him almost by force, that he might be one of
those twenty-four who were left at the farthest place at which they
touched, in their last voyage to New Castile. The leaving him thus did
not a little gratify one that was more fond of travelling than of
returning home, to be buried in his own country; for he used often to
say, that the way to heaven was the same from all places; and he that
had no grave, had the heaven still over him. Yet this disposition of
mind had cost him dear, if God had not been very gracious to him; for
after he, with five Castilians, had travelled over many countries, at
last, by strange good fortune, he got to Ceylon, and from thence to
Calicut, where he very happily found some Portuguese ships; and, beyond
all men's expectations, returned to his native country." When Peter had
said this to me, I thanked him for his kindness, in intending to give me
the acquaintance of a man whose conversation he knew would be so
acceptable; and upon that Raphael and I embraced each other. After those
civilities were past which are usual with strangers upon their first
meeting, we all went to my house, and entering into the garden, sat down
on a green bank, and entertained one another in discourse. He told us,
that when Vesputius had sailed away, he and his companions that stayed
behind in New Castile, by degrees insinuated themselves into the
affections of the people of the country, meeting often with them, and
treating them gently: and at last they not only lived among them without
danger, but conversed familiarly with them; and got so far into the
heart of a prince, whose name and country I have forgot, that he both
furnished them plentifully with all things necessary, and also with the
conveniences of travelling; both boats when they went by water, and
waggons when they travelled over land: he sent with them a very faithful
guide, who was to introduce and recommend them to such other princes as
they had a mind to see: and after many days' journey, they came to
towns, and cities, and to commonwealths, that were both happily governed
and well peopled. Under the equator, and as far on both sides of it as
the sun moves, there lay vast deserts that were parched with the
perpetual heat of the sun; the soil was withered, all things looked
dismally, and all places were either quite uninhabited, or abounded with
wild beasts and serpents, and some few men, that were neither less wild
nor less cruel than the beasts themselves. But as they went farther, a
new scene opened, all things grew milder, the air less burning, the soil
more verdant, and even the beasts were less wild: and at last there were
nations, towns, and cities, that had not only mutual commerce among
themselves, and with their neighbours, but traded both by sea and land,
to very remote countries. There they found the conveniences of seeing
many countries on all hands, for no ship went any voyage into which he
and his companions were not very welcome. The first vessels that they
saw were flat-bottomed, their sails were made of reeds and wicker woven
close together, only some were of leather; but afterwards they found
ships made with round keels, and canvas sails, and in all respects like
our ships; and the seamen understood both astronomy and navigation. He
got wonderfully into their favour, by showing them the use of the
needle, of which till then they were utterly ignorant. They sailed
before with great caution, and only in summer-time, but now they count
all seasons alike, trusting wholly to the loadstone, in which they are
perhaps more secure than safe; so that there is reason to fear that this
discovery, which was thought would prove so much to their advantage, may
by their imprudence become an occasion of much mischief to them. But it
were too long to dwell on all that he told us he had observed in every
place; it would be too great a digression from our present purpose:
whatever is necessary to be told, concerning those wise and prudent
institutions which he observed among civilized nations, may perhaps be
related by us on a more proper occasion. We asked him many questions
concerning all these things, to which he answered very willingly; only
we made no inquiries after monsters, than which nothing is more common;
for everywhere one may hear of ravenous dogs and wolves, and cruel
men-eaters; but it is not so easy to find states that are well and
wisely governed.

As he told us of many things that were amiss in those new-discovered
countries, so he reckoned up not a few things from which patterns might
be taken for correcting the errors of these nations among whom we live;
of which an account may be given, as I have already promised, at some
other time; for at present I intend only to relate those particulars
that he told us of the manners and laws of the Utopians: but I will
begin with the occasion that led us to speak of that commonwealth. After
Raphael had discoursed with great judgment on the many errors that were
both among us and these nations; had treated of the wise institutions
both here and there, and had spoken as distinctly of the customs and
government of every nation through which he had passed, as if he had
spent his whole life in it; Peter being struck with admiration, said, "I
wonder, Raphael, how it comes that you enter into no king's service, for
I am sure there are none to whom you would not be very acceptable: for
your learning and knowledge, both of men and things, is such, that you
would not only entertain them very pleasantly, but be of great use to
them, by the examples you could set before them, and the advices you
could give them; and by this means you would both serve your own
interest, and be of great use to all your friends."--"As for my
friends," answered he, "I need not be much concerned, having already
done for them all that was incumbent on me; for when I was not only in
good health, but fresh and young, I distributed that among my kindred
and friends which other people do not part with till they are old and
sick; when they then unwillingly give that which they can enjoy no
longer themselves. I think my friends ought to rest contented with this,
and not to expect that for their sakes I should enslave myself to any
king whatsoever."--"Soft and fair," said Peter, "I do not mean that you
should be a slave to any king, but only that you should assist them, and
be useful to them."--"The change of the word," said he, "does not alter
the matter."--"But term it as you will," replied Peter, "I do not see
any other way in which you can be so useful, both in private to your
friends, and to the public, and by which you can make your own condition
happier."--"Happier!" answered Raphael, "is that to be compassed in a
way so abhorrent to my genius? Now I live as I will, to which I believe
few courtiers can pretend. And there are so many that court the favour
of great men, that there will be no great loss if they are not troubled
either with me or with others of my temper." Upon this, said I, "I
perceive, Raphael, that you neither desire wealth nor greatness; and
indeed I value and admire such a man much more than I do any of the
great men in the world. Yet I think you would do what would well become
so generous and philosophical a soul as yours is, if you would apply
your time and thoughts to public affairs, even though you may happen to
find it a little uneasy to yourself: and this you can never do with so
much advantage, as by being taken into the counsel of some great prince,
and putting him on noble and worthy actions, which I know you would do
if you were in such a post; for the springs both of good and evil flow
from the prince, over a whole nation, as from a lasting fountain. So
much learning as you have, even without practice in affairs, or so great
a practice as you have had, without any other learning, would render you
a very fit counsellor to any king whatsoever."--"You are doubly
mistaken," said he, "Mr. More, both in your opinion of me, and in the
judgment you make of things: for as I have not that capacity that you
fancy I have; so, if I had it, the public would not be one jot the
better, when I had sacrificed my quiet to it. For most princes apply
themselves more to affairs of war than to the useful arts of peace; and
in these I neither have any knowledge, nor do I much desire it: they are
generally more set on acquiring new kingdoms, right or wrong, than on
governing well those they possess. And among the ministers of princes,
there are none that are not so wise as to need no assistance, or at
least that do not think themselves so wise, that they imagine they need
none; and if they court any, it is only those for whom the prince has
much personal favour, whom by their fawnings and flatteries they
endeavour to fix to their own interests: and indeed Nature has so made
us, that we all love to be flattered, and to please ourselves with our
own notions. The old crow loves his young, and the ape her cubs. Now if
in such a Court, made up of persons who envy all others, and only admire
themselves, a person should but propose anything that he had either read
in history, or observed in his travels, the rest would think that the
reputation of their wisdom would sink, and that their interest would be
much depressed, if they could not run it down: and if all other things
failed, then they would fly to this, that such or such things pleased
our ancestors, and it were well for us if we could but match them. They
would set up their rest on such an answer, as a sufficient confutation
of all that could be said; as if it were a great misfortune, that any
should be found wiser than his ancestors; but though they willingly let
go all the good things that were among those of former ages, yet if
better things are proposed they cover themselves obstinately with this
excuse of reverence to past times. I have met with these proud, morose,
and absurd judgments of things in many places, particularly once in
England."--"Was you ever there?" said I.--"Yes, I was," answered he,
"and stayed some months there, not long after the rebellion in the west
was suppressed with a great slaughter of the poor people that were
engaged in it.

"I was then much obliged to that reverend prelate, John Morton,
Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal, and Chancellor of England: a man,"
said he, "Peter (for Mr. More knows well what he was), that was not less
venerable for his wisdom and virtues, than for the high character he
bore. He was of a middle stature, not broken with age; his looks begot
reverence rather than fear; his conversation was easy, but serious and
grave; he sometimes took pleasure to try the force of those that came as
suitors to him upon business, by speaking sharply, though decently to
them, and by that he discovered their spirit and presence of mind, with
which he was much delighted, when it did not grow up to impudence, as
bearing a great resemblance to his own temper; and he looked on such
persons as the fittest men for affairs. He spoke both gracefully and
weightily; he was eminently skilled in the law, had a vast
understanding, and a prodigious memory; and those excellent talents with
which Nature had furnished him, were improved by study and experience.
When I was in England the king depended much on his counsels, and the
government seemed to be chiefly supported by him; for from his youth he
had been all along practised in affairs; and having passed through many
traverses of fortune, he had with great cost acquired a vast stock of
wisdom, which is not soon lost when it is purchased so dear. One day
when I was dining with him there happened to be at table one of the
English lawyers, who took occasion to run out in a high commendation of
the severe execution of justice upon thieves, who, as he said, were then
hanged so fast, that there were sometimes twenty on one gibbet; and upon
that he said he could not wonder enough how it came to pass, that since
so few escaped, there were yet so many thieves left who were still
robbing in all places. Upon this, I who took the boldness to speak
freely before the Cardinal, said, there was no reason to wonder at the
matter, since this way of punishing thieves was neither just in itself
nor good for the public; for as the severity was too great, so the
remedy was not effectual; simple theft not being so great a crime that
it ought to cost a man his life, no punishment how severe soever being
able to restrain those from robbing who can find out no other way of
livelihood. 'In this,' said I, 'not only you in England, but a great
part of the world imitate some ill masters that are readier to chastise
their scholars than to teach them. There are dreadful punishments
enacted against thieves, but it were much better to make such good
provisions by which every man might be put in a method how to live, and
so be preserved from the fatal necessity of stealing and of dying for
it.'--'There has been care enough taken for that,' said he, 'there are
many handicrafts, and there is husbandry, by which they may make a shift
to live unless they have a greater mind to follow ill courses.'--'That
will not serve your turn,' said I, 'for many lose their limbs in civil
or foreign wars, as lately in the Cornish rebellion, and some time ago
in your wars with France, who being thus mutilated in the service of
their king and country, can no more follow their old trades, and are
too old to learn new ones: but since wars are only accidental things,
and have intervals, let us consider those things that fall out every
day. There is a great number of noblemen among you, that are themselves
as idle as drones, that subsist on other men's labour, on the labour of
their tenants, whom, to raise their revenues, they pare to the quick.
This indeed is the only instance of their frugality, for in all other
things they are prodigal, even to the beggaring of themselves: but
besides this, they carry about with them a great number of idle fellows,
who never learned any art by which they may gain their living; and
these, as soon as either their lord dies, or they themselves fall sick,
are turned out of doors; for your lords are readier to feed idle people,
than to take care of the sick; and often the heir is not able to keep
together so great a family as his predecessor did. Now when the stomachs
of those that are thus turned out of doors, grow keen, they rob no less
keenly; and what else can they do? for when, by wandering about, they
have worn out both their health and their clothes, and are tattered, and
look ghastly, men of quality will not entertain them, and poor men dare
not do it; knowing that one who has been bred up in idleness and
pleasure, and who was used to walk about with his sword and buckler,
despising all the neighbourhood with an insolent scorn, as far below
him, is not fit for the spade and mattock: nor will he serve a poor man
for so small a hire, and in so low a diet as he can afford to give him.'
To this he answered, 'This sort of men ought to be particularly
cherished, for in them consists the force of the armies for which we
have occasion; since their birth inspires them with a nobler sense of
honour, than is to be found among tradesmen or ploughmen.'--'You may as
well say,' replied I, 'that you must cherish thieves on the account of
wars, for you will never want the one, as long as you have the other;
and as robbers prove sometimes gallant soldiers, so soldiers often prove
brave robbers; so near an alliance there is between those two sorts of
life. But this bad custom, so common among you, of keeping many
servants, is not peculiar to this nation. In France there is yet a more
pestiferous sort of people, for the whole country is full of soldiers,
still kept up in time of peace; if such a state of a nation can be
called a peace: and these are kept in pay upon the same account that you
plead for those idle retainers about noblemen; this being a maxim of
those pretended statesmen that it is necessary for the public safety, to
have a good body of veteran soldiers ever in readiness. They think raw
men are not to be depended on, and they sometimes seek occasions for
making war, that they may train up their soldiers in the art of cutting
throats; or as Sallust observed, for keeping their hands in use, that
they may not grow dull by too long an intermission. But France has
learned to its cost, how dangerous it is to feed such beasts. The fate
of the Romans, Carthaginians, and Syrians, and many other nations and
cities, which were both overturned and quite ruined by those standing
armies, should make others wiser: and the folly of this maxim of the
French, appears plainly even from this, that their trained soldiers
often find your raw men prove too hard for them; of which I will not say
much, lest you may think I flatter the English. Every day's experience
shows, that the mechanics in the towns, or the clowns in the country,
are not afraid of fighting with those idle gentlemen, if they are not
disabled by some misfortune in their body, or dispirited by extreme
want, so that you need not fear that those well-shaped and strong men
(for it is only such that noblemen love to keep about them, till they
spoil them) who now grow feeble with ease, and are softened with their
effeminate manner of life, would be less fit for action if they were
well bred and well employed. And it seems very unreasonable, that for
the prospect of a war, which you need never have but when you please,
you should maintain so many idle men, as will always disturb you in
time of peace, which is ever to be more considered than war. But I do
not think that this necessity of stealing arises only from hence; there
is another cause of it more peculiar to England.'--'What is that?' said
the Cardinal.--'The increase of pasture,' said I, 'by which your sheep,
which are naturally mild, and easily kept in order, may be said now to
devour men, and unpeople, not only villages, but towns; for wherever it
is found that the sheep of any soil yield a softer and richer wool than
ordinary, there the nobility and gentry, and even those holy men the
abbots, not contented with the old rents which their farms yielded, nor
thinking it enough that they, living at their ease, do no good to the
public, resolve to do it hurt instead of good. They stop the course of
agriculture, destroying houses and towns, reserving only the churches,
and enclose grounds that they may lodge their sheep in them. As if
forests and parks had swallowed up too little of the land, those worthy
countrymen turn the best inhabited places in solitudes; for when an
insatiable wretch, who is a plague to his country, resolves to inclose
many thousand acres of ground, the owners, as well as tenants, are
turned out of their possessions, by tricks, or by main force, or being
wearied out with ill usage, they are forced to sell them. By which means
those miserable people, both men and women, married and unmarried, old
and young, with their poor but numerous families (since country business
requires many hands), are all forced to change their seats, not knowing
whither to go; and they must sell almost for nothing their household
stuff, which could not bring them much money, even though they might
stay for a buyer. When that little money is at an end, for it will be
soon spent; what is left for them to do, but either to steal and so to
be hanged (God knows how justly), or to go about and beg? And if they do
this, they are put in prison as idle vagabonds; while they would
willingly work, but can find none that will hire them; for there is no
more occasion for country labour, to which they have been bred, when
there is no arable ground left. One shepherd can look after a flock,
which will stock an extent of ground that would require many hands, if
it were to be ploughed and reaped. This likewise in many places raises
the price of corn. The price of wool is also so risen, that the poor
people who were wont to make cloth are no more able to buy it; and this
likewise makes many of them idle. For since the increase of pasture, God
has punished the avarice of the owners, by a rot among the sheep, which
has destroyed vast numbers of them; to us it might have seemed more just
had it fell on the owners themselves. But suppose the sheep should
increase ever so much, their price is not like to fall; since though
they cannot be called a monopoly, because they are not engrossed by one
person, yet they are in so few hands, and these are so rich, that as
they are not pressed to sell them sooner than they have a mind to it, so
they never do it till they have raised the price as high as possible.
And on the same account it is, that the other kinds of cattle are so
dear, because many villages being pulled down, and all country labour
being much neglected, there are none who make it their business to breed
them. The rich do not breed cattle as they do sheep, but buy them lean,
and at low prices; and after they have fattened them on their grounds,
sell them again at high rates. And I do not think that all the
inconveniences this will produce are yet observed; for as they sell the
cattle dear, so if they are consumed faster than the breeding countries
from which they are brought can afford them, then the stock must
decrease, and this must needs end in great scarcity; and by these means
this your island, which seemed as to this particular the happiest in the
world, will suffer much by the cursed avarice of a few persons; besides
this, the rising of corn makes all people lessen their families as much
as they can; and what can those who are dismissed by them do, but
either beg or rob? And to this last, a man of a great mind is much
sooner drawn than to the former. Luxury likewise breaks in apace upon
you, to set forward your poverty and misery; there is an excessive
vanity in apparel, and great cost in diet; and that not only in
noblemen's families, but even among tradesmen, among the farmers
themselves, and among all ranks of persons. You have also many infamous
houses, and besides those that are known, the taverns and alehouses are
no better; add to these, dice, cards, tables, foot-ball, tennis, and
quoits, in which money runs fast away; and those that are initiated into
them, must in the conclusion betake themselves to robbing for a supply.
Banish these plagues, and give orders that those who have dispeopled so
much soil, may either rebuild the villages they have pulled down, or let
out their grounds to such as will do it: restrain those engrossings of
the rich, that are as bad almost as monopolies; leave fewer occasions to
idleness; let agriculture be set up again, and the manufacture of the
wool be regulated, that so there may be work found for those companies
of idle people whom want forces to be thieves, or who now being idle
vagabonds, or useless servants, will certainly grow thieves at last. If
you do not find a remedy to these evils, it is a vain thing to boast of
your severity in punishing theft, which though it may have the
appearance of justice, yet in itself is neither just nor convenient. For
if you suffer your people to be ill educated, and their manners to be
corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to
which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded
from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them?'

"While I was talking thus, the counsellor who was present had prepared
an answer, and had resolved to resume all I had said, according to the
formality of a debate, in which things are generally repeated more
faithfully than they are answered; as if the chief trial to be made
were of men's memories. 'You have talked prettily for a stranger,' said
he, 'having heard of many things among us which you have not been able
to consider well; but I will make the whole matter plain to you, and
will first repeat in order all that you have said, then I will show how
much your ignorance of our affairs has misled you, and will in the last
place answer all your arguments. And that I may begin where I promised,
there were four things----' 'Hold your peace,' said the Cardinal, 'this
will take up too much time; therefore we will at present ease you of the
trouble of answering, and reserve it to our next meeting, which shall be
to-morrow, if Raphael's affairs and yours can admit of it. But,
Raphael,' said he to me, 'I would gladly know upon what reason it is
that you think theft ought not to be punished by death? Would you give
way to it? Or do you propose any other punishment that will be more
useful to the public? For since death does not restrain theft, if men
thought their lives would be safe, what fear or force could restrain ill
men? On the contrary, they would look on the mitigation of the
punishment as an invitation to commit more crimes.' I answered, 'It
seems to me a very unjust thing to take away a man's life for a little
money; for nothing in the world can be of equal value with a man's life:
and if it is said, that it is not for the money that one suffers, but
for his breaking the law, I must say, extreme justice is an extreme
injury; for we ought not to approve of these terrible laws that make the
smallest offences capital, nor of that opinion of the Stoics, that makes
all crimes equal, as if there were no difference to be made between the
killing a man and the taking his purse, between which, if we examine
things impartially, there is no likeness nor proportion. God has
commanded us not to kill, and shall we kill so easily for a little
money? But if one shall say, that by that law we are only forbid to kill
any, except when the laws of the land allow of it; upon the same
grounds, laws may be made in some cases to allow of adultery and
perjury: for God having taken from us the right of disposing, either of
our own or of other people's lives, if it is pretended that the mutual
consent of man in making laws can authorize man-slaughter in cases in
which God has given us no example, that it frees people from the
obligation of the divine law, and so makes murder a lawful action; what
is this, but to give a preference to human laws before the divine? And
if this is once admitted, by the same rule men may in all other things
put what restrictions they please upon the laws of God. If by the
Mosaical law, though it was rough and severe, as being a yoke laid on an
obstinate and servile nation, men were only fined, and not put to death
for theft, we cannot imagine that in this new law of mercy, in which God
treats us with the tenderness of a father, He has given us a greater
license to cruelty than He did to the Jews. Upon these reasons it is,
that I think putting thieves to death is not lawful; and it is plain and
obvious that it is absurd, and of ill consequence to the commonwealth,
that a thief and a murderer should be equally punished; for if a robber
sees that his danger is the same, if he is convicted of theft as if he
were guilty of murder, this will naturally incite him to kill the person
whom otherwise he would only have robbed, since if the punishment is the
same, there is more security, and less danger of discovery, when he that
can best make it is put out of the way; so that terrifying thieves too
much, provokes them to cruelty.

"'But as to the question, what more convenient way of punishment can be
found? I think it is much more easier to find out that, than to invent
anything that is worse; why should we doubt but the way that was so long
in use among the old Romans, who understood so well the arts of
government, was very proper for their punishment? They condemned such as
they found guilty of great crimes, to work their whole lives in
quarries, or to dig in mines with chains about them. But the method that
I liked best, was that which I observed in my travels in Persia, among
the Polylerits, who are a considerable and well-governed people. They
pay a yearly tribute to the King of Persia; but in all other respects
they are a free nation, and governed by their own laws. They lie far
from the sea, and are environed with hills; and being contented with the
productions of their own country, which is very fruitful, they have
little commerce with any other nation; and as they, according to the
genius of their country, have no inclination to enlarge their borders;
so their mountains, and the pension they pay to the Persian, secure them
from all invasions. Thus they have no wars among them: they live rather
conveniently than with splendour, and may be rather called a happy
nation, than either eminent or famous; for I do not think that they are
known so much as by name to any but their next neighbours. Those that
are found guilty of theft among them, are bound to make restitution to
the owner, and not as it is in other places, to the prince, for they
reckon that the prince has no more right to the stolen goods than the
thief; but if that which was stolen is no more in being, then the goods
of the thieves are estimated, and restitution being made out of them,
the remainder is given to their wives and children: and they themselves
are condemned to serve in the public works, but are neither imprisoned,
nor chained, unless there happened to be some extraordinary
circumstances in their crimes. They go about loose and free, working for
the public. If they are idle or backward to work, they are whipped; but
if they work hard, they are well used and treated without any mark of
reproach, only the lists of them are called always at night, and then
they are shut up. They suffer no other uneasiness, but this of constant
labour; for as they work for the public, so they are well entertained
out of the public stock, which is done differently in different places.
In some places, whatever is bestowed on them, is raised by a charitable
contribution; and though this way may seem uncertain, yet so merciful
are the inclinations of that people, that they are plentifully supplied
by it; but in other places, public revenues are set aside for them; or
there is a constant tax of a poll-money raised for their maintenance. In
some places they are set to no public work, but every private man that
has occasion to hire workmen, goes to the market-places and hires them
of the public, a little lower than he would do a freeman: if they go
lazily about their task, he may quicken them with the whip. By this
means there is always some piece of work or other to be done by them;
and beside their livelihood, they earn somewhat still to the public.
They all wear a peculiar habit, of one certain colour, and their hair is
cropped a little above their ears, and a piece of one of their ears is
cut off. Their friends are allowed to give them either meat, drink, or
clothes, so they are of their proper colour; but it is death, both to
the giver and taker, if they give them money; nor is it less penal for
any freeman to take money from them, upon any account whatsoever: and it
is also death for any of these slaves (so they are called) to handle
arms. Those of every division of the country are distinguished by a
peculiar mark; which it is capital for them to lay aside, to go out of
their bounds, or to talk with a slave of another jurisdiction; and the
very attempt of an escape is no less penal than an escape itself; it is
death for any other slave to be accessory to it; and if a freeman
engages in it he is condemned to slavery. Those that discover it are
rewarded; if freemen, in money; and if slaves, with liberty, together
with a pardon for being accessory to it; that so they might find their
account, rather in repenting of their engaging in such a design, than in
persisting in it.

"These are their laws and rules in relation to robbery; and it is
obvious that they are as advantageous as they are mild and gentle;
since vice is not only destroyed, and men preserved, but they treated in
such a manner as to make them see the necessity of being honest, and of
employing the rest of their lives in repairing the injuries they have
formerly done to society. Nor is there any hazard of their falling back
to their old customs: and so little do travellers apprehend mischief
from them, that they generally make use of them for guides, from one
jurisdiction to another; for there is nothing left them by which they
can rob, or be the better for it, since as they are disarmed, so the
very having of money is a sufficient conviction: and as they are
certainly punished if discovered, so they cannot hope to escape; for
their habit being in all the parts of it different from what is commonly
worn, they cannot fly away, unless they would go naked, and even then
their cropped ear would betray them. The only danger to be feared from
them, is their conspiring against the government: but those of one
division and neighbourhood can do nothing to any purpose, unless a
general conspiracy were laid amongst all the slaves of the several
jurisdictions, which cannot be done, since they cannot meet or talk
together; nor will any venture on a design where the concealment would
be so dangerous, and the discovery so profitable. None are quite
hopeless of recovering their freedom, since by their obedience and
patience, and by giving good grounds to believe that they will change
their manner of life for the future, they may expect at last to obtain
their liberty: and some are every year restored to it, upon the good
character that is given of them.--When I had related all this, I added,
that I did not see why such a method might not be followed with more
advantage, than could ever be expected from that severe justice which
the counsellor magnified so much. To this he answered, that it could
never take place in England, without endangering the whole nation. As he
said this, he shook his head, made some grimaces, and held his peace,
while all the company seemed of his opinion, except the Cardinal, who
said that it was not easy to form a judgment of its success, since it
was a method that never yet had been tried. 'But if,' said he, 'when the
sentence of death was passed upon a thief, the prince would reprieve him
for a while, and make the experiment upon him, denying him the privilege
of a sanctuary; and then if it had a good effect upon him, it might take
place; and if it did not succeed, the worst would be, to execute the
sentence on the condemned persons at last. And I do not see,' added he,
'why it would be either unjust, inconvenient, or at all dangerous, to
admit of such a delay: in my opinion, the vagabonds ought to be treated
in the same manner; against whom, though we have made many laws, yet we
have not been able to gain our end.' When the Cardinal had done, they
all commended the motion, though they had despised it when it came from
me; but more particularly commended what related to the vagabonds,
because it was his own observation.

"I do not know whether it be worth while to tell what followed, for it
was very ridiculous; but I shall venture at it, for as it is not foreign
to this matter, so some good use may be made of it. There was a jester
standing by, that counterfeited the fool so naturally, that he seemed to
be really one. The jests which he offered were so cold and dull, that we
laughed more at him than at them; yet sometimes he said, as it were by
chance, things that were not unpleasant; so as to justify the old
proverb, 'That he who throws the dice often, will sometimes have a lucky
hit.' When one of the company had said, that I had taken care of the
thieves, and the Cardinal had taken care of the vagabonds, so that there
remained nothing but that some public provision might be made for the
poor, whom sickness or old age had disabled from labour. 'Leave that to
me,' said the fool, 'and I shall take care of them; for there is no
sort of people whose sight I abhor more, having been so often vexed
with them, and with their sad complaints; but as dolefully soever as
they have told their tale, they could never prevail so far as to draw
one penny from me: for either I had no mind to give them anything, or
when I had a mind to do it, I had nothing to give them: and they now
know me so well, that they will not lose their labour, but let me pass
without giving me any trouble, because they hope for nothing, no more in
faith than if I were a priest: but I would have a law made, for sending
all these beggars to monasteries, the men to the Benedictines to be made
lay-brothers, and the women to be nuns.' The Cardinal smiled, and
approved of it in jest; but the rest liked it in earnest. There was a
divine present, who though he was a grave morose man, yet he was so
pleased with this reflection that was made on the priests and the monks,
that he began to play with the fool, and said to him, 'This will not
deliver you from all beggars, except you take care of us friars.'--'That
is done already,' answered the fool, 'for the Cardinal has provided for
you, by what he proposed for restraining vagabonds, and setting them to
work, for I know no vagabonds like you.' This was well entertained by
the whole company, who looking at the Cardinal, perceived that he was
not ill pleased at it; only the friar himself was vexed, as may be
easily imagined, and fell into such a passion, that he could not forbear
railing at the fool, and calling him knave, slanderer, back-biter, and
son of perdition, and then cited some dreadful threatenings out of the
Scriptures against him. Now the jester thought he was in his element,
and laid about him freely. 'Good friar,' said he, 'be not angry, for it
is written, "In patience possess your soul."'--The friar answered (for I
shall give you his own words), 'I am not angry, you hangman; at least I
do not sin in it, for the Psalmist says, "Be ye angry, and sin
not."'--Upon this the Cardinal admonished him gently, and wished him to
govern his passions. 'No, my lord,' said he, 'I speak not but from a
good zeal, which I ought to have; for holy men have had a good zeal, as
it is said, "The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up;" and we sing in our
church, that those who mocked Elisha as he went up to the house of God,
felt the effects of his zeal; which that mocker, that rogue, that
scoundrel, will perhaps feel.'--'You do this perhaps with a good
intention,' said the Cardinal; 'but in my opinion, it were wiser in you,
and perhaps better for you, not to engage in so ridiculous a contest
with a fool.'--'No, my lord,' answered he, 'that were not wisely done;
for Solomon, the wisest of men, said, "Answer a fool according to his
folly;" which I now do, and show him the ditch into which he will fall,
if he is not aware of it; for if the many mockers of Elisha, who was but
one bald man, felt the effect of his zeal, what will become of one
mocker of so many friars, among whom there are so many bald men? We have
likewise a Bull, by which all that jeer us are excommunicated.'--When
the Cardinal saw that there was no end of this matter, he made a sign to
the fool to withdraw, turned the discourse another way; and soon after
rose from the table, and dismissing us, went to hear causes.

"Thus, Mr. More, I have run out into a tedious story, of the length of
which I had been ashamed, if, as you earnestly begged it of me, I had
not observed you to hearken to it, as if you had no mind to lose any
part of it. I might have contracted it, but I resolved to give it you at
large, that you might observe how those that despised what I had
proposed, no sooner perceived that the Cardinal did not dislike it, but
presently approved of it, fawned so on him, and flattered him to such a
degree, that they in good earnest applauded those things that he only
liked in jest. And from hence you may gather, how little courtiers would
value either me or my counsels."

To this I answered, "You have done me a great kindness in this
relation; for as everything has been related by you, both wisely and
pleasantly, so you have made me imagine that I was in my own country,
and grown young again, by recalling that good Cardinal to my thoughts,
in whose family I was bred from my childhood: and though you are upon
other accounts very dear to me, yet you are the dearer, because you
honour his memory so much; but after all this I cannot change my
opinion; for I still think that if you could overcome that aversion
which you have to the Courts of Princes, you might, by the advice which
it is in your power to give, do a great deal of good to mankind; and
this is the chief design that every good man ought to propose to himself
in living: for your friend Plato thinks that nations will be happy, when
either philosophers become kings, or kings become philosophers; it is no
wonder if we are so far from that happiness, while philosophers will not
think it their duty to assist kings with their councils."--"They are not
so base-minded," said he, "but that they would willingly do it; many of
them have already done it by their books, if those that are in power
would but hearken to their good advice. But Plato judged right, that
except kings themselves became philosophers, they who from their
childhood are corrupted with false notions, would never fall in entirely
with the councils of philosophers, and this he himself found to be true
in the person of Dionysius.

"Do not you think, that if I were about any king, proposing good laws to
him, and endeavouring to root out all the cursed seeds of evil that I
found in him, I should either be turned out of his Court, or at least be
laughed at for my pains? For instance, what could it signify if I were
about the King of France, and were called into his cabinet-council,
where several wise men, in his hearing, were proposing many expedients;
as by what arts and practices Milan may be kept; and Naples, that had so
oft slipped out of their hands, recovered; how the Venetians, and after
them the rest of Italy, may be subdued; and then how Flanders, Brabant,
and all Burgundy, and some other kingdoms which he has swallowed already
in his designs, may be added to his empire. One proposes a league with
the Venetians, to be kept as long as he finds his account in it, and
that he ought to communicate councils with them, and give them some
share of the spoil, till his success makes him need or fear them less,
and then it will be easily taken out of their hands. Another proposes
the hiring the Germans, and the securing the Switzers by pensions.
Another proposes the gaining the Emperor by money, which is omnipotent
with him. Another proposes a peace with the King of Arragon, and in
order to cement it, the yielding up the King of Navarre's pretensions.
Another thinks the Prince of Castile is to be wrought on, by the hope of
an alliance; and that some of his courtiers are to be gained to the
French faction by pensions. The hardest point of all is what to do with
England: a treaty of peace is to be set on foot, and if their alliance
is not to be depended on, yet it is to be made as firm as possible; and
they are to be called friends, but suspected as enemies: therefore the
Scots are to be kept in readiness, to be let loose upon England on every
occasion: and some banished nobleman is to be supported underhand (for
by the league it cannot be done avowedly) who has a pretension to the
crown, by which means that suspected prince may be kept in awe. Now when
things are in so great a fermentation, and so many gallant men are
joining councils, how to carry on the war, if so mean a man as I should
stand up, and wish them to change all their councils, to let Italy
alone, and stay at home, since the kingdom of France was indeed greater
than could be well governed by one man; that therefore he ought not to
think of adding others to it: and if after this, I should propose to
them the resolutions of the Achorians, a people that lie on the
south-east of Utopia, who long ago engaged in war, in order to add to
the dominions of their prince another kingdom, to which he had some
pretensions by an ancient alliance. This they conquered, but found that
the trouble of keeping it was equal to that by which it was gained; that
the conquered people were always either in rebellion or exposed to
foreign invasions, while they were obliged to be incessantly at war,
either for or against them, and consequently could never disband their
army; that in the meantime they were oppressed with taxes, their money
went out of the kingdom, their blood was spilt for the glory of their
king, without procuring the least advantage to the people, who received
not the smallest benefit from it even in time of peace; and that their
manners being corrupted by a long war, robbery and murders everywhere
abounded, and their laws fell into contempt; while their king,
distracted with the care of two kingdoms, was the less able to apply his
mind to the interests of either. When they saw this, and that there
would be no end to these evils, they by joint councils made an humble
address to their king, desiring him to choose which of the two kingdoms
he had the greatest mind to keep, since he could not hold both; for they
were too great a people to be governed by a divided king, since no man
would willingly have a groom that should be in common between him and
another. Upon which the good prince was forced to quit his new kingdom
to one of his friends (who was not long after dethroned), and to be
contented with his old one. To this I would add, that after all those
warlike attempts, the vast confusions, and the consumption both of
treasure and of people that must follow them; perhaps upon some
misfortune, they might be forced to throw up all at last; therefore it
seemed much more eligible that the king should improve his ancient
kingdom all he could, and make it flourish as much as possible; that he
should love his people, and be beloved of them; that he should live
among them, govern them gently, and let other kingdoms alone, since that
which had fallen to his share was big enough, if not too big for him.
Pray how do you think would such a speech as this be heard?"--"I
confess," said I, "I think not very well."

"But what," said he, "if I should sort with another kind of ministers,
whose chief contrivances and consultations were, by what art the
prince's treasures might be increased. Where one proposes raising the
value of specie when the king's debts are large, and lowering it when
his revenues were to come in, that so he might both pay much with a
little, and in a little receive a great deal: another proposes a
pretence of a war, that money might be raised in order to carry it on,
and that a peace be concluded as soon as that was done; and this with
such appearances of religion as might work on the people, and make them
impute it to the piety of their prince, and to his tenderness for the
lives of his subjects. A third offers some old musty laws, that have
been antiquated by a long disuse; and which, as they had been forgotten
by all the subjects, so they had been also broken by them; and proposes
the levying the penalties of these laws, that as it would bring in a
vast treasure, so there might be a very good pretence for it, since it
would look like the executing a law, and the doing of justice. A fourth
proposes the prohibiting of many things under severe penalties,
especially such as were against the interest of the people, and then the
dispensing with these prohibitions upon great compositions, to those who
might find their advantage in breaking them. This would serve two ends,
both of them acceptable to many; for as those whose avarice led them to
transgress would be severely fined, so the selling licenses dear would
look as if a prince were tender of his people, and would not easily, or
at low rates, dispense with anything that might be against the public
good. Another proposes that the judges must be made sure, that they may
declare always in favour of the prerogative, that they must be often
sent for to Court, that the king may hear them argue those points in
which he is concerned; since how unjust soever any of his pretensions
may be, yet still some one or other of them, either out of contradiction
to others, or the pride of singularity, or to make their court, would
find out some pretence or other to give the king a fair colour to carry
the point: for if the judges but differ in opinion, the clearest thing
in the world is made by that means disputable, and truth being once
brought in question, the king may then take advantage to expound the law
for his own profit; while the judges that stand out will be brought
over, either out of fear or modesty; and they being thus gained, all of
them may be sent to the bench to give sentence boldly, as the king would
have it: for fair pretences will never be wanting when sentence is to be
given in the prince's favour. It will either be said that equity lies of
his side, or some words in the law will be found sounding that way, or
some forced sense will be put on them; and when all other things fail,
the king's undoubted prerogative will be pretended, as that which is
above all law; and to which a religious judge ought to have a special
regard. Thus all consent to that maxim of Crassus, that a prince cannot
have treasure enough, since he must maintain his armies out of it: that
a king, even though he would, can do nothing unjustly; that all property
is in him, not excepting the very persons of his subjects: and that no
man has any other property, but that which the king out of his goodness
thinks fit to leave him. And they think it is the prince's interest,
that there be as little of this left as may be, as if it were his
advantage that his people should have neither riches nor liberty; since
these things make them less easy and less willing to submit to a cruel
and unjust government; whereas necessity and poverty blunts them, makes
them patient, beats them down, and breaks that height of spirit, that
might otherwise dispose them to rebel. Now what if after all these
propositions were made, I should rise up and assert, that such councils
were both unbecoming a king, and mischievous to him: and that not only
his honour but his safety consisted more in his people's wealth, than in
his own; if I should show that they choose a king for their own sake,
and not for his; that by his care and endeavours they may be both easy
and safe; and that therefore a prince ought to take more care of his
people's happiness than of his own, as a shepherd is to take more care
of his flock than of himself. It is also certain, that they are much
mistaken that think the poverty of a nation is a means of the public
safety. Who quarrel more than beggars? Who does more earnestly long for
a change, than he that is uneasy in his present circumstances? And who
run to create confusions with so desperate a boldness, as those who have
nothing to lose, hope to gain by them? If a king should fall under such
contempt or envy, that he could not keep his subjects in their duty, but
by oppression and ill usage, and by rendering them poor and miserable,
it were certainly better for him to quit his kingdom, than to retain it
by such methods, as makes him while he keeps the name of authority, lose
the majesty due to it. Nor is it so becoming the dignity of a king to
reign over beggars, as over rich and happy subjects. And therefore
Fabricius, a man of a noble and exalted temper, said, he would rather
govern rich men, than be rich himself; since for one man to abound in
wealth and pleasure, when all about him are mourning and groaning, is to
be a gaoler and not a king. He is an unskilful physician, that cannot
cure one disease without casting his patient into another: so he that
can find no other way for correcting the errors of his people, but by
taking from them the conveniences of life, shows that he knows not what
it is to govern a free nation. He himself ought rather to shake off his
sloth, or to lay down his pride; for the contempt or hatred that his
people have for him, takes its rise from the vices in himself. Let him
live upon what belongs to him, without wronging others, and accommodate
his expense to his revenue. Let him punish crimes, and by his wise
conduct let him endeavour to prevent them, rather than be severe when he
has suffered them to be too common: let him not rashly revive laws that
are abrogated by disuse, especially if they have been long forgotten,
and never wanted; and let him never take any penalty for the breach of
them, to which a judge would not give way in a private man, but would
look on him as a crafty and unjust person for pretending to it. To these
things I would add, that law among the Macarians, a people that lie not
far from Utopia, by which their king, on the day on which he begins to
reign, is tied by an oath confirmed by solemn sacrifices, never to have
at once above a thousand pounds of gold in his treasures, or so much
silver as is equal to that in value. This law, they tell us, was made by
an excellent king, who had more regard to the riches of his country than
to his own wealth; and therefore provided against the heaping up of so
much treasure, as might impoverish the people. He thought that moderate
sum might be sufficient for any accident; if either the king had
occasion for it against rebels, or the kingdom against the invasion of
an enemy; but that it was not enough to encourage a prince to invade
other men's rights, a circumstance that was the chief cause of his
making that law. He also thought that it was a good provision for that
free circulation of money, so necessary for the course of commerce and
exchange: and when a king must distribute all those extraordinary
accessions that increase treasure beyond the due pitch, it makes him
less disposed to oppress his subjects. Such a king as this will be the
terror of ill men, and will be beloved by all the good.

"If, I say, I should talk of these or such like things, to men that had
taken their bias another way, how deaf would they be to all I could
say?"--"No doubt, very deaf," answered I; and no wonder, for one is
never to offer at propositions or advice that we are certain will not be
entertained. Discourses so much out of the road could not avail
anything, nor have any effect on men whose minds were prepossessed with
different sentiments. This philosophical way of speculation is not
unpleasant among friends in a free conversation, but there is no room
for it in the Courts of Princes where great affairs are carried on by
authority."--"That is what I was saying," replied he, "that there is no
room for philosophy in the Courts of Princes."--"Yes, there is," said I,
"but not for this speculative philosophy that makes everything to be
alike fitting at all times: but there is another philosophy that is more
pliable, that knows its proper scene, accommodates itself to it, and
teaches a man with propriety and decency to act that part which has
fallen to his share. If when one of Plautus's comedies is upon the stage
and a company of servants are acting their parts, you should come out in
the garb of a philosopher, and repeat out of 'Octavia' a discourse of
Seneca's to Nero, would it not be better for you to say nothing than by
mixing things of such different natures to make an impertinent
tragi-comedy? For you spoil and corrupt the play that is in hand when
you mix with it things of an opposite nature, even though they are much
better. Therefore go through with the play that is acting the best you
can, and do not confound it because another that is pleasanter comes
into your thoughts. It is even so in a commonwealth, and in the councils
of princes; if ill opinions cannot be quite rooted out, and you cannot
cure some received vice according to your wishes, you must not therefore
abandon the commonwealth, for the same reasons you should not forsake
the ship in a storm because you cannot command the winds. You are not
obliged to assault people with discourses that are out of their road,
when you see that their received notions must prevent your making an
impression upon them. You ought rather to cast about and to manage
things with all the dexterity in your power, so that if you are not
able to make them go well they may be as little ill as possible; for
except all men were good everything cannot be right, and that is a
blessing that I do not at present hope to see. According to your
arguments," answered he, "all that I could be able to do would be to
preserve myself from being mad while I endeavoured to cure the madness
of others; for if I speak truth, I must repeat what I have said to you;
and as for lying, whether a philosopher can do it or not, I cannot tell,
I am sure I cannot do it. But though these discourses may be uneasy and
ungrateful to them, I do not see why they should seem foolish or
extravagant: indeed if I should either propose such things as Plato has
contrived in his commonwealth, or as the Utopians practise in theirs,
though they might seem better, as certainly they are, yet they are so
different from our establishment, which is founded on property, there
being no such thing among them, that I could not expect that it would
have any effect on them; but such discourses as mine, which only call
past evils to mind and give warning of what may follow, have nothing in
them that is so absurd that they may not be used at any time, for they
can only be unpleasant to those who are resolved to run headlong the
contrary way; and if we must let alone everything as absurd or
extravagant which by reason of the wicked lives of many may seem
uncouth, we must, even among Christians, give over pressing the greatest
part of those things that Christ hath taught us, though He has commanded
us not to conceal them, but to proclaim on the house-tops that which He
taught in secret. The greatest parts of His precepts are more opposite
to the lives of the men of this age than any part of my discourse has
been; but the preachers seemed to have learned that craft to which you
advise me, for they observing that the world would not willingly suit
their lives to the rules that Christ has given, have fitted His doctrine
as if it had been a leaden rule, to their lives, that so some way or
other they might agree with one another. But I see no other effect of
this compliance except it be that men become more secure in their
wickedness by it. And this is all the success that I can have in a
Court, for I must always differ from the rest, and then I shall signify
nothing; or if I agree with them, I shall then only help forward their
madness. I do not comprehend what you mean by your casting about, or by
the bending and handling things so dexterously, that if they go not well
they may go as little ill as may be; for in Courts they will not bear
with a man's holding his peace or conniving at what others do. A man
must barefacedly approve of the worst counsels, and consent to the
blackest designs: so that he would pass for a spy, or possibly for a
traitor, that did but coldly approve of such wicked practices: and
therefore when a man is engaged in such a society, he will be so far
from being able to mend matters by his casting about, as you call it,
that he will find no occasions of doing any good: the ill company will
sooner corrupt him, than be the better for him: or if notwithstanding
all their ill company, he still remains steady and innocent, yet their
follies and knavery will be imputed to him; and by mixing counsels with
them, he must bear his share of all the blame that belongs wholly to

"It was no ill simile by which Plato set forth the unreasonableness of a
philosopher's meddling with government. If a man, says he, was to see a
great company run out every day into the rain, and take delight in being
wet; if he knew that it would be to no purpose for him to go and
persuade them to return to their houses, in order to avoid the storm,
and that all that could be expected by his going to speak to them would
be that he himself should be as wet as they, it would be best for him to
keep within doors; and since he had not influence enough to correct
other people's folly, to take care to preserve himself.

"Though to speak plainly my real sentiments, I must freely own, that as
long as there is any property, and while money is the standard of all
other things, I cannot think that a nation can be governed either justly
or happily: not justly, because the best things will fall to the share
of the worst men; nor happily, because all things will be divided among
a few (and even these are not in all respects happy), the rest being
left to be absolutely miserable. Therefore when I reflect on the wise
and good constitution of the Utopians, among whom all things are so well
governed, and with so few laws; where virtue hath its due reward, and
yet there is such an equality, that every man lives in plenty; when I
compare with them so many other nations that are still making new laws,
and yet can never bring their constitution to a right regulation, where
notwithstanding every one has his property; yet all the laws that they
can invent have not the power either to obtain or preserve it, or even
to enable men certainly to distinguish what is their own from what is
another's; of which the many lawsuits that every day break out, and are
eternally depending, give too plain a demonstration; when, I say, I
balance all these things in my thoughts, I grow more favourable to
Plato, and do not wonder that he resolved not to make any laws for such
as would not submit to a community of all things: for so wise a man
could not but foresee that the setting all upon a level was the only way
to make a nation happy, which cannot be obtained so long as there is
property: for when every man draws to himself all that he can compass,
by one title or another, it must needs follow, that how plentiful soever
a nation may be, yet a few dividing the wealth of it among themselves,
the rest must fall into indigence. So that there will be two sorts of
people among them, who deserve that their fortunes should be
interchanged; the former useless, but wicked and ravenous; and the
latter, who by their constant industry serve the public more than
themselves, sincere and modest men. From whence I am persuaded, that
till property is taken away there can be no equitable or just
distribution of things, nor can the world be happily governed: for as
long as that is maintained, the greatest and the far best part of
mankind will be still oppressed with a load of cares and anxieties. I
confess without taking it quite away, those pressures that lie on a
great part of mankind may be made lighter; but they can never be quite
removed. For if laws were made to determine at how great an extent in
soil, and at how much money every man must stop, to limit the prince
that he might not grow too great, and to restrain the people that they
might not become too insolent, and that none might factiously aspire to
public employments; which ought neither to be sold, nor made burthensome
by a great expense; since otherwise those that serve in them would be
tempted to reimburse themselves by cheats and violence, and it would
become necessary to find out rich men for undergoing those employments
which ought rather to be trusted to the wise. These laws, I say, might
have such effects, as good diet and care might have on a sick man, whose
recovery is desperate: they might allay and mitigate the disease, but it
could never be quite healed, nor the body politic be brought again to a
good habit, as long as property remains; and it will fall out as in a
complication of diseases, that by applying a remedy to one sore, you
will provoke another; and that which removes the one ill symptom
produces others, while the strengthening one part of the body weakens
the rest."--"On the contrary," answered I, "it seems to me that men
cannot live conveniently, where all things are common: how can there be
any plenty, where every man will excuse himself from labour? For as the
hope of gain doth not excite him, so the confidence that he has in other
men's industry may make him slothful: if people come to be pinched with
want, and yet cannot dispose of anything as their own; what can follow
upon this but perpetual sedition and bloodshed, especially when the
reverence and authority due to magistrates falls to the ground? For I
cannot imagine how that can be kept up among those that are in all
things equal to one another."--"I do not wonder," said he, "that it
appears so to you, since you have no notion, or at least no right one,
of such a constitution: but if you had been in Utopia with me, and had
seen their laws and rules, as I did, for the space of five years, in
which I lived among them; and during which time I was so delighted with
them, that indeed I should never have left them, if it had not been to
make the discovery of that new world to the Europeans; you would then
confess that you had never seen a people so well constituted as
they,"--"You will not easily persuade me," said Peter, "that any nation
in that new world is better governed than those among us. For as our
understandings are not worse than theirs, so our government, if I
mistake not, being more ancient, a long practice has helped us to find
out many conveniences of life: and some happy chances have discovered
other things to us, which no man's understanding could ever have
invented."--"As for the antiquity, either of their government, or of
ours," said he, "you cannot pass a true judgment of it, unless you had
read their histories; for if they are to be believed, they had towns
among them before these parts were so much as inhabited. And as for
those discoveries, that have been either hit on by chance, or made by
ingenious men, these might have happened there as well as here. I do not
deny but we are more ingenious than they are, but they exceed us much in
industry and application. They knew little concerning us before our
arrival among them; they call us all by a general name of the nations
that lie beyond the Equinoctial Line; for their Chronicle mentions a
shipwreck that was made on their coast 1,200 years ago; and that some
Romans and Egyptians that were in the ship, getting safe ashore, spent
the rest of their days amongst them; and such was their ingenuity, that
from this single opportunity they drew the advantage of learning from
those unlooked-for guests, and acquired all the useful arts that were
then among the Romans, and which were known to these shipwrecked men:
and by the hints that they gave them, they themselves found out even
some of those arts which they could not fully explain; so happily did
they improve that accident, of having some of our people cast upon their
shore. But if such an accident has at any time brought any from thence
into Europe, we have been so far from improving it, that we do not so
much as remember it; as in after-times perhaps it will be forgot by our
people that I was ever there. For though they from one such accident
made themselves masters of all the good inventions that were among us;
yet I believe it would be long before we should learn or put in practice
any of the good institutions that are among them. And this is the true
cause of their being better governed, and living happier than we, though
we come not short of them in point of understanding or outward
advantages."--Upon this I said to him, "I earnestly beg you would
describe that island very particularly to us. Be not too short, but set
out in order all things relating to their soil, their rivers, their
towns, their people, their manners, constitution, laws, and, in a word,
all that you imagine we desire to know. And you may well imagine that we
desire to know everything concerning them, of which we are hitherto
ignorant."--"I will do it very willingly," said he, "for I have digested
the whole matter carefully; but it will take up some time,"--"Let us go
then," said I, "first and dine, and then we shall have leisure enough."
He consented. We went in and dined, and after dinner came back, and sat
down in the same place. I ordered my servants to take care that none
might come and interrupt us. And both Peter and I desired Raphael to be
as good as his word. When he saw that we were very intent upon it, he
paused a little to recollect himself, and began in this manner.


The island of Utopia is in the middle two hundred miles broad, and holds
almost at the same breadth over a great part of it; but it grows
narrower towards both ends. Its figure is not unlike a crescent: between
its horns, the sea comes in eleven miles broad, and spreads itself into
a great bay, which is environed with land to the compass of about five
hundred miles, and is well secured from winds. In this bay there is no
great current, the whole coast is, as it were, one continued harbour,
which gives all that live in the island great convenience for mutual
commerce; but the entry into the bay, occasioned by rocks on the one
hand, and shallows on the other, is very dangerous. In the middle of it
there is one single rock which appears above water, and may therefore be
easily avoided, and on the top of it there is a tower in which a
garrison is kept, the other rocks lie under water, and are very
dangerous. The channel is known only to the natives, so that if any
stranger should enter into the bay, without one of their pilots, he
would run great danger of shipwreck; for even they themselves could not
pass it safe, if some marks that are on the coast did not direct their
way; and if these should be but a little shifted, any fleet that might
come against them, how great soever it were, would be certainly lost. On
the other side of the island there are likewise many harbours; and the
coast is so fortified, both by nature and art, that a small number of
men can hinder the descent of a great army. But they report (and there
remains good marks of it to make it credible) that this was no island at
first, but a part of the continent. Utopus that conquered it (whose name
it still carries, for Abraxa was its first name) brought the rude and
uncivilized inhabitants into such a good government, and to that measure
of politeness, that they now far excel all the rest of mankind; having
soon subdued them, he designed to separate them from the continent, and
to bring the sea quite round them. To accomplish this, he ordered a deep
channel to be dug fifteen miles long; and that the natives might not
think he treated them like slaves, he not only forced the inhabitants,
but also his own soldiers, to labour in carrying it on. As he set a vast
number of men to work, he beyond all men's expectations brought it to a
speedy conclusion. And his neighbours who at first laughed at the folly
of the undertaking, no sooner saw it brought to perfection, than they
were struck with admiration and terror.

There are fifty-four cities in the island, all large and well built: the
manners, customs, and laws of which are the same, and they are all
contrived as near in the same manner as the ground on which they stand
will allow. The nearest lie at least twenty-four miles distance from one
another, and the most remote are not so far distant, but that a man can
go on foot in one day from it, to that which lies next it. Every city
sends three of their wisest senators once a year to Amaurot, to consult
about their common concerns; for that is chief town of the island, being
situated near the centre of it, so that it is the most convenient place
for their assemblies. The jurisdiction of every city extends at least
twenty miles: and where the towns lie wider, they have much more ground:
no town desires to enlarge its bounds, for the people consider
themselves rather as tenants than landlords. They have built over all
the country, farmhouses for husbandmen, which are well contrived, and
are furnished with all things necessary for country labour. Inhabitants
are sent by turns from the cities to dwell in them; no country family
has fewer than forty men and women in it, besides two slaves. There is a
master and a mistress set over every family; and over thirty families
there is a magistrate. Every year twenty of this family come back to the
town, after they have stayed two years in the country; and in their
room there are other twenty sent from the town, that they may learn
country work from those that have been already one year in the country,
as they must teach those that come to them the next from the town. By
this means such as dwell in those country farms are never ignorant of
agriculture, and so commit no errors, which might otherwise be fatal,
and bring them under a scarcity of corn. But though there is every year
such a shifting of the husbandmen, to prevent any man being forced
against his will to follow that hard course of life too long; yet many
among them take such pleasure in it, that they desire leave to continue
in it many years. These husbandmen till the ground, breed cattle, hew
wood, and convey it to the towns, either by land or water, as is most
convenient. They breed an infinite multitude of chickens in a very
curious manner; for the hens do not sit and hatch them, but vast number
of eggs are laid in a gentle and equal heat, in order to be hatched, and
they are no sooner out of the shell, and able to stir about, but they
seem to consider those that feed them as their mothers, and follow them
as other chickens do the hen that hatched them. They breed very few
horses, but those they have are full of mettle, and are kept only for
exercising their youth in the art of sitting and riding them; for they
do not put them to any work, either of ploughing or carriage, in which
they employ oxen; for though their horses are stronger, yet they find
oxen can hold out longer; and as they are not subject to so many
diseases, so they are kept upon a less charge, and with less trouble;
and even when they are so worn out, that they are no more fit for
labour, they are good meat at last. They sow no corn, but that which is
to be their bread; for they drink either wine, cyder, or perry, and
often water, sometimes boiled with honey or liquorice, with which they
abound; and though they know exactly how much corn will serve every
town, and all that tract of country which belongs to it, yet they sow
much more, and breed more cattle than are necessary for their
consumption; and they give that overplus of which they make no use to
their neighbours. When they want anything in the country which it does
not produce, they fetch that from the town, without carrying anything in
exchange for it. And the magistrates of the town take care to see it
given them; for they meet generally in the town once a month, upon a
festival day. When the time of harvest comes, the magistrates in the
country send to those in the towns, and let them know how many hands
they will need for reaping the harvest; and the number they call for
being sent to them, they commonly despatch it all in one day.


He that knows one of their towns, knows them all, they are so like one
another, except where the situation makes some difference. I shall
therefore describe one of them; and none is so proper as Amaurot; for as
none is more eminent, all the rest yielding in precedence to this,
because it is the seat of their supreme council; so there was none of
them better known to me, I having lived five years altogether in it.

It lies upon the side of a hill, or rather a rising ground: its figure
is almost square, for from the one side of it, which shoots up almost to
the top of the hill, it runs down in a descent for two miles to the
river Anider; but it is a little broader the other way that runs along
by the bank of that river. The Anider rises about eighty miles above
Amaurot in a small spring at first; but other brooks falling into it, of
which two are more considerable than the rest. As it runs by Amaurot, it
is grown half a mile broad; but it still grows larger and larger, till
after sixty miles course below it, it is lost in the ocean, between the
town and the sea, and for some miles above the town, it ebbs and flows
every six hours, with a strong current. The tide comes up for about
thirty miles so full, that there is nothing but salt water in the river,
the fresh water being driven back with its force; and above that, for
some miles, the water is brackish; but a little higher, as it runs by
the town, it is quite fresh; and when the tide ebbs, it continues fresh
all along to the sea. There is a bridge cast over the river, not of
timber, but of fair stone, consisting of many stately arches; it lies at
that part of the town which is farthest from the sea, so that ships
without any hindrance lie all along the side of the town. There is
likewise another river that runs by it, which though it is not great,
yet it runs pleasantly, for it rises out of the same hill on which the
town stands, and so runs down through it, and falls into the Anider. The
inhabitants have fortified the fountain-head of this river, which
springs a little without the towns; that so if they should happen to be
besieged, the enemy might not be able to stop or divert the course of
the water, nor poison it; from thence it is carried in earthen pipes to
the lower streets; and for those places of the town to which the water
of that small river cannot be conveyed, they have great cisterns for
receiving the rain-water, which supplies the want of the other. The town
is compassed with a high and thick wall, in which there are many towers
and forts; there is also a broad and deep dry ditch, set thick with
thorns, cast round three sides of the town, and the river is instead of
a ditch on the fourth side. The streets are very convenient for all
carriage, and are well sheltered from the winds. Their buildings are
good, and are so uniform, that a whole side of a street looks like one
house. The streets are twenty feet broad; there lie gardens behind all
their houses; these are large but enclosed with buildings, that on all
hands face the streets; so that every house has both a door to the
street, and a back door to the garden. Their doors have all two leaves,
which, as they are easily opened, so they shut of their own accord; and
there being no property among them, every man may freely enter into any
house whatsoever. At every ten years end they shift their houses by
lots. They cultivate their gardens with great care, so that they have
both vines, fruits, herbs, and flowers in them; and all is so well
ordered, and so finely kept, that I never saw gardens anywhere that were
both so fruitful and so beautiful as theirs. And this humour of ordering
their gardens so well, is not only kept up by the pleasure they find in
it, but also by an emulation between the inhabitants of the several
streets, who vie with each other; and there is indeed nothing belonging
to the whole town that is both more useful and more pleasant. So that he
who founded the town, seems to have taken care of nothing more than of
their gardens; for they say, the whole scheme of the town was designed
at first by Utopus, but he left all that belonged to the ornament and
improvement of it, to be added by those that should come after him, that
being too much for one man to bring to perfection. Their records, that
contain the history of their town and state, are preserved with an exact
care, and run backwards 1,760 years. From these it appears that their
houses were at first low and mean, like cottages, made of any sort of
timber, and were built with mud walls and thatched with straw. But now
their houses are three stories high: the fronts of them are faced either
with stone, plastering, or brick; and between the facings of their walls
they throw in their rubbish. Their roofs are flat, and on them they lay
a sort of plaster, which costs very little, and yet is so tempered that
it is not apt to take fire, and yet resists the weather more than lead.
They have great quantities of glass among them, with which they glaze
their windows. They use also in their windows a thin linen cloth, that
is so oiled or gummed that it both keeps out the wind and gives free
admission to the light.


Thirty families choose every year a magistrate, who was anciently called
the Syphogrant, but is now called the Philarch; and over every ten
Syphogrants, with the families subject to them, there is another
magistrate, who was anciently called the Tranibor, but of late the
Archphilarch. All the Syphogrants, who are in number 200, choose the
Prince out of a list of four, who are named by the people of the four
divisions of the city; but they take an oath before they proceed to an
election, that they will choose him whom they think most fit for the
office. They give their voices secretly, so that it is not known for
whom every one gives his suffrage. The Prince is for life, unless he is
removed upon suspicion of some design to enslave the people. The
Tranibors are new chosen every year, but yet they are for the most part
continued. All their other magistrates are only annual. The Tranibors
meet every third day, and oftener if necessary, and consult with the
Prince, either concerning the affairs of the state in general, or such
private differences as may arise sometimes among the people; though that
falls out but seldom. There are always two Syphogrants called into the
council-chamber, and these are changed every day. It is a fundamental
rule of their government, that no conclusion can be made in anything
that relates to the public, till it has been first debated three several
days in their council. It is death for any to meet and consult
concerning the state, unless it be either in their ordinary council, or
in the assembly of the whole body of the people.

These things have been so provided among them, that the Prince and the
Tranibors may not conspire together to change the government, and
enslave the people; and therefore when anything of great importance is
set on foot, it is sent to the Syphogrants; who after they have
communicated it to the families that belong to their divisions, and have
considered it among themselves, make report to the senate; and upon
great occasions, the matter is referred to the council of the whole
island. One rule observed in their council, is, never to debate a thing
on the same day in which it is first proposed; for that is always
referred to the next meeting, that so men may not rashly, and in the
heat of discourse, engage themselves too soon, which might bias them so
much, that instead of consulting the good of the public, they might
rather study to support their first opinions, and by a perverse and
preposterous sort of shame, hazard their country rather than endanger
their own reputation, or venture the being suspected to have wanted
foresight in the expedients that they at first proposed. And therefore
to prevent this, they take care that they may rather be deliberate than
sudden in their motions.


Agriculture is that which is so universally understood among them, that
no person, either man or woman, is ignorant of it; they are instructed
in it from their childhood, partly by what they learn at school, and
partly by practice; they being led out often into the fields, about the
town, where they not only see others at work, but are likewise exercised
in it themselves. Besides agriculture, which is so common to them all,
every man has some peculiar trade to which he applies himself, such as
the manufacture of wool, or flax, masonry, smith's work, or carpenter's
work; for there is no sort of trade that is in great esteem among them.
Throughout the island they wear the same sort of clothes without any
other distinction, except what is necessary to distinguish the two
sexes, and the married and unmarried. The fashion never alters; and as
it is neither disagreeable nor uneasy, so it is suited to the climate,
and calculated both for their summers and winters. Every family makes
their own clothes; but all among them, women as well men, learn one or
other of the trades formerly mentioned. Women, for the most part, deal
in wool and flax, which suit best with their weakness, leaving the ruder
trades to the men. The same trade generally passes down from father to
son, inclinations often following descent; but if any man's genius lies
another way, he is by adoption translated into a family that deals in
the trade to which he is inclined: and when that is to be done, care is
taken not only by his father, but by the magistrate, that he may be put
to a discreet and good man. And if after a person has learned one trade,
he desires to acquire another, that is also allowed, and is managed in
the same manner as the former. When he has learned both, he follows that
which he likes best, unless the public has more occasion for the other.

The chief, and almost the only business of the Syphogrants, is to take
care that no man may live idle, but that every one may follow his trade
diligently: yet they do not wear themselves out with perpetual toil,
from morning to night, as if they were beasts of burden, which as it is
indeed a heavy slavery, so it is everywhere the common course of life
amongst all mechanics except the Utopians; but they dividing the day and
night into twenty-four hours, appoint six of these for work; three of
which are before dinner; and three after. They then sup, and at eight
o'clock, counting from noon, go to bed and sleep eight hours. The rest
of their time besides that taken up in work, eating and sleeping, is
left to every man's discretion; yet they are not to abuse that interval
to luxury and idleness, but must employ it in some proper exercise
according to their various inclinations, which is for the most part
reading. It is ordinary to have public lectures every morning before
daybreak; at which none are obliged to appear but those who are marked
out for literature; yet a great many, both men and women of all ranks,
go to hear lectures of one sort or other, according to their
inclinations. But if others, that are not made for contemplation, choose
rather to employ themselves at that time in their trades, as many of
them do, they are not hindered, but are rather commended, as men that
take care to serve their country. After supper, they spend an hour in
some diversion, in summer in their gardens, and in winter in the halls
where they eat; where they entertain each other, either with music or
discourse. They do not so much as know dice, or any such foolish and
mischievous games: they have, however, two sorts of games not unlike our
chess; the one is between several numbers, in which one number, as it
were, consumes another: the other resembles a battle between the virtues
and the vices, in which the enmity in the vices among themselves, and
their agreement against virtue, is not unpleasantly represented;
together with the special oppositions between the particular virtues and
vices; as also the methods by which vice either openly assaults or
secretly undermines virtue; and virtue on the other hand resists it. But
the time appointed for labour is to be narrowly examined, otherwise you
may imagine, that since there are only six hours appointed for work,
they may fall under a scarcity of necessary provisions. But it is so far
from being true, that this time is not sufficient for supplying them
with plenty of all things, either necessary or convenient; that it is
rather too much; and this you will easily apprehend, if you consider how
great a part of all other nations is quite idle. First, women generally
do little, who are the half of mankind; and if some few women are
diligent, their husbands are idle: then consider the great company of
idle priests, and of those that are called religious men; add to these
all rich men, chiefly those that have estates in land, who are called
noblemen and gentlemen, together with their families, made up of idle
persons, that are kept more for show than use; add to these, all those
strong and lusty beggars, that go about pretending some disease, in
excuse for their begging; and upon the whole account you will find that
the number of those by whose labours mankind is supplied, is much less
than you perhaps imagined. Then consider how few of those that work are
employed in labours that are of real service; for we who measure all
things by money, give rise to many trades that are both vain and
superfluous, and serve only to support riot and luxury. For if those who
work were employed only in such things as the conveniences of life
require, there would be such an abundance of them, that the prices of
them would so sink, that tradesmen could not be maintained by their
gains; if all those who labour about useless things, were set to more
profitable employments, and if all they that languish out their lives in
sloth and idleness, every one of whom consumes as much as any two of the
men that are at work, were forced to labour, you may easily imagine that
a small proportion of time would serve for doing all that is either
necessary, profitable, or pleasant to mankind, especially while pleasure
is kept within its due bounds. This appears very plainly in Utopia, for
there, in a great city, and in all the territory that lies round it, you
can scarce find five hundred, either men or women, by their age and
strength, are capable of labour, that are not engaged in it; even the
Syphogrants, though excused by the law, yet do not excuse themselves,
but work, that by their examples they may excite the industry of the
rest of the people. The like exemption is allowed to those, who being
recommended to the people by the priests, are by the secret suffrages of
the Syphogrants privileged from labour, that they may apply themselves
wholly to study; and if any of these fall short of those hopes that they
seemed at first to give, they are obliged to return to work. And
sometimes a mechanic, that so employs his leisure hours, as to make a
considerable advancement in learning, is eased from being a tradesman,
and ranked among their learned men. Out of these they choose their
ambassadors, their priests, their Tranibors, and the Prince himself;
anciently called their Barzenes, but is called of late their Ademus.

And thus from the great numbers among them that are neither suffered to
be idle, nor to be employed in any fruitless labour, you may easily make
the estimate how much may be done in those few hours in which they are
obliged to labour. But besides all that has been already said, it is to
be considered that the needful arts among them are managed with less
labour than anywhere else. The building or the repairing of houses among
us employ many hands, because often a thriftless heir suffers a house
that his father built to fall into decay, so that his successor must, at
a great cost, repair that which he might have kept up with a small
charge: it frequently happens, that the same house which one person
built at a vast expense, is neglected by another, who thinks he has a
more delicate sense of the beauties of architecture; and he suffering it
to fall to ruin, builds another at no less charge. But among the
Utopians, all things are so regulated that men very seldom build upon a
new piece of ground; and are not only very quick in repairing their
houses, but show their foresight in preventing their decay: so that
their buildings are preserved very long, with but little labour; and
thus the builders to whom that care belongs are often without
employment, except the hewing of timber, and the squaring of stones,
that the materials may be in readiness for raising a building very
suddenly, when there is any occasion for it. As to their clothes,
observe how little work is spent in them: while they are at labour, they
are clothed with leather and skins, cast carelessly about them, which
will last seven years; and when they appear in public they put on an
upper garment, which hides the other; and these are all of one colour,
and that is the natural colour of the wool. As they need less woollen
cloth than is used anywhere else, so that which they make use of is much
less costly. They use linen cloth more; but that is prepared with less
labour, and they value cloth only by the whiteness of the linen, or the
cleanness of the wool, without much regard to the fineness of the
thread: while in other places, four or five upper garments of woollen
cloth, of different colours, and as many vests of silk, will scarce
serve one man; and while those that are nicer think ten too few, every
man there is content with one, which very often serves him two years.
Nor is there anything that can tempt a man to desire more; for if he had
them, he would neither be the warmer, nor would he make one jot the
better appearance for it. And thus, since they are all employed in some
useful labour, and since they content themselves with fewer things, it
falls out that there is a great abundance of all things among them: so
that it frequently happens, that for want of other work, vast numbers
are sent out to mend the highways. But when no public undertaking is to
be performed, the hours of working are lessened. The magistrates never
engage the people in unnecessary labour, since the chief end of the
constitution is to regulate labour by the necessities of the public, and
to allow all the people as much time as is necessary for the improvement
of their minds, in which they think the happiness of life consists.


But it is now time to explain to you the mutual intercourse of this
people, their commerce, and the rules by which all things are
distributed among them.

As their cities are composed of families, so their families are made up
of those that are nearly related to one another. Their women, when they
grow up, are married out; but all the males, both children and
grandchildren, live still in the same house, in great obedience to their
common parent, unless age has weakened his understanding; and in that
case, he that is next to him in age comes in his room. But lest any city
should become either too great, or by any accident be dispeopled,
provision is made that none of their cities may contain above six
thousand families, besides those of the country round it. No family may
have less than ten, and more than sixteen persons in it; but there can
be no determined number for the children under age. This rule is easily
observed, by removing some of the children of a more fruitful couple to
any other family that does not abound so much in them. By the same rule,
they supply cities that do not increase so fast, from others that breed
faster; and if there is any increase over the whole island, then they
draw out a number of their citizens out of the several towns, and send
them over to the neighbouring continent; where, if they find that the
inhabitants have more soil than they can well cultivate, they fix a
colony, taking the inhabitants into their society, if they are willing
to live with them; and where they do that of their own accord, they
quickly enter into their method of life, and conform to their rules, and
this proves a happiness to both nations: for according to their
constitution, such care is taken of the soil, that it becomes fruitful
enough for both, though it might be otherwise too narrow and barren for
any one of them. But if the natives refuse to conform themselves to
their laws, they drive them out of those bounds which they mark out for
themselves, and use force if they resist. For they account it a very
just cause of war, for a nation to hinder others from possessing a part
of that soil, of which they make no use, but which is suffered to lie
idle and uncultivated; since every man has by the law of Nature a right
to such a waste portion of the earth as is necessary for his
subsistence. If an accident has so lessened the number of the
inhabitants of any of their towns, that it cannot be made up from the
other towns of the island, without diminishing them too much, which is
said to have fallen out but twice since they were first a people, when
great numbers were carried off by the plague; the loss is then supplied
by recalling as many as are wanted from their colonies; for they will
abandon these, rather than suffer the towns in the island to sink too

But to return to their manner of living in society, the oldest man of
every family, as has been already said, is its governor. Wives serve
their husbands, and children their parents, and always the younger
serves the elder. Every city is divided into four equal parts, and in
the middle of each there is a market-place: what is brought thither, and
manufactured by the several families, is carried from thence to houses
appointed for that purpose, in which all things of a sort are laid by
themselves; and thither every father goes and takes whatsoever he or his
family stand in need of, without either paying for it, or leaving
anything in exchange. There is no reason for giving a denial to any
person, since there is such plenty of everything among them; and there
is no danger of a man's asking for more than he needs; they have no
inducements to do this, since they are sure that they shall always be
supplied. It is the fear of want that makes any of the whole race of
animals either greedy or ravenous; but besides fear, there is in man a
pride that makes him fancy it a particular glory to excel others in pomp
and excess. But by the laws of the Utopians, there is no room for this.
Near these markets there are others for all sorts of provisions, where
there are not only herbs, fruits, and bread, but also fish, fowl, and
cattle. There are also, without their towns, places appointed near some
running water, for killing their beasts, and for washing away their
filth; which is done by their slaves: for they suffer none of their
citizens to kill their cattle, because they think that pity and
good-nature, which are among the best of those affections that are born
with us, are much impaired by the butchering of animals: nor do they
suffer anything that is foul or unclean to be brought within their
towns, lest the air should be infected by ill smells which might
prejudice their health. In every street there are great halls that lie
at an equal distance from each other, distinguished by particular names.
The Syphogrants dwell in those that are set over thirty families,
fifteen lying on one side of it, and as many on the other. In these
halls they all meet and have their repasts. The stewards of every one of
them come to the market-place at an appointed hour; and according to the
number of those that belong to the hall, they carry home provisions. But
they take more care of their sick than of any others: these are lodged
and provided for in public hospitals: they have belonging to every town
four hospitals, that are built without their walls, and are so large
that they may pass for little towns: by this means, if they had ever
such a number of sick persons, they could lodge them conveniently, and
at such a distance, that such of them as are sick of infectious diseases
may be kept so far from the rest that there can be no danger of
contagion. The hospitals are furnished and stored with all things that
are convenient for the ease and recovery of the sick; and those that are
put in them are looked after with such tender and watchful care, and are
so constantly attended by their skilful physicians, that as none is sent
to them against their will, so there is scarce one in a whole town that,
if he should fall ill, would not choose rather to go thither than lie
sick at home.

After the steward of the hospitals has taken for the sick whatsoever the
physician prescribes, then the best things that are left in the market
are distributed equally among the halls, in proportion to their numbers,
only, in the first place, they serve the Prince, the chief priest, the
Tranibors, the ambassadors, and strangers, if there are any, which
indeed falls out but seldom, and for whom there are houses well
furnished, particularly appointed for their reception when they come
among them. At the hours of dinner and supper, the whole Syphogranty
being called together by sound of trumpet, they meet and eat together,
except only such as are in the hospitals, or lie sick at home. Yet after
the halls are served, no man is hindered to carry provisions home from
the market-place; for they know that none does that but for some good
reason; for though any that will may eat at home, yet none does it
willingly, since it is both ridiculous and foolish for any to give
themselves the trouble to make ready an ill dinner at home, when there
is a much more plentiful one made ready for him so near hand. All the
uneasy and sordid services about these halls are performed by their
slaves; but the dressing and cooking their meat, and the ordering their
tables, belong only to the women, all those of every family taking it by
turns. They sit at three or more tables, according to their number; the
men sit towards the wall, and the women sit on the other side, that if
any of them should be taken suddenly ill, which is no uncommon case
amongst women with child, she may, without disturbing the rest, rise and
go to the nurse's room, who are there with the sucking children; where
there is always clean water at hand, and cradles in which they may lay
the young children, if there is occasion for it, and a fire that they
may shift and dress them before it. Every child is nursed by its own
mother, if death or sickness does not intervene; and in that case the
Syphogrants' wives find out a nurse quickly, which is no hard matter;
for any one that can do it, offers herself cheerfully; for as they are
much inclined to that piece of mercy, so the child whom they nurse
considers the nurse as its mother. All the children under five years old
sit among the nurses, the rest of the younger sort of both sexes, till
they are fit for marriage, either serve those that sit at table; or if
they are not strong enough for that, stand by them in great silence, and
eat what is given them; nor have they any other formality of dining. In
the middle of the first table, which stands across the upper end of the
hall, sit the Syphogrant and his wife; for that is the chief and most
conspicuous place; next to him sit two of the most ancient, for there go
always four to a mess. If there is a temple within that Syphogranty, the
priest and his wife sit with the Syphogrant above all the rest: next
them there is a mixture of old and young, who are so placed, that as the
young are set near others, so they are mixed with the more ancient;
which they say was appointed on this account, that the gravity of the
old people, and the reverence that is due to them, might restrain the
younger from all indecent words and gestures. Dishes are not served up
to the whole table at first, but the best are first set before the old,
whose seats are distinguished from the young, and after them all the
rest are served alike. The old men distribute to the younger any curious
meats that happen to be set before them, if there is not such an
abundance of them that the whole company may be served alike.

Thus old men are honoured with a particular respect; yet all the rest
fare as well as they. Both dinner and supper are begun with some lecture
of morality that is read to them; but it is so short, that it is not
tedious nor uneasy to them to hear it: from hence the old men take
occasion to entertain those about them, with some useful and pleasant
enlargements; but they do not engross the whole discourse so to
themselves, during their meals, that the younger may not put in for a
share: on the contrary, they engage them to talk, that so they may in
that free way of conversation find out the force of every one's spirit,
and observe his temper. They despatch their dinners quickly, but sit
long at supper; because they go to work after the one, and are to sleep
after the other, during which they think the stomach carries on the
concoction more vigorously. They never sup without music; and there is
always fruit served up after meat; while they are at table, some burn
perfumes, and sprinkle about fragrant ointments and sweet waters: in
short, they want nothing that may cheer up their spirits: they give
themselves a large allowance that way, and indulge themselves in all
such pleasures as are attended with no inconvenience. Thus do those that
are in the towns live together; but in the country, where they live at
great distance, every one eats at home, and no family wants any
necessary sort of provision, for it is from them that provisions are
sent unto those that live in the towns.


If any man has a mind to visit his friends that live in some other town,
or desires to travel and see the rest of the country, he obtains leave
very easily from the Syphogrant and Tranibors, when there is no
particular occasion for him at home: such as travel, carry with them a
passport from the Prince, which both certifies the license that is
granted for travelling, and limits the time of their return. They are
furnished with a waggon and a slave, who drives the oxen, and looks
after them: but unless there are women in the company, the waggon is
sent back at the end of the journey as a needless encumbrance: while
they are on the road, they carry no provisions with them; yet they want
nothing, but are everywhere treated as if they were at home. If they
stay in any place longer than a night, every one follows his proper
occupation, and is very well used by those of his own trade: but if any
man goes out of the city to which he belongs, without leave, and is
found rambling without a passport, he is severely treated, he is
punished as a fugitive, and sent home disgracefully; and if he falls
again into the like fault, is condemned to slavery. If any man has a
mind to travel only over the precinct of his own city, he may freely do
it, with his father's permission and his wife's consent; but when he
comes into any of the country houses, if he expects to be entertained by
them, he must labour with them and conform to their rules: and if he
does this, he may freely go over the whole precinct; being thus as
useful to the city to which he belongs, as if he were still within it.
Thus you see that there are no idle persons among them, nor pretences of
excusing any from labour. There are no taverns, no alehouses nor stews
among them; nor any other occasions of corrupting each other, of getting
into corners, or forming themselves into parties: all men live in full
view, so that all are obliged, both to perform their ordinary task, and
to employ themselves well in their spare hours. And it is certain that a
people thus ordered must live in great abundance of all things; and
these being equally distributed among them, no man can want, or be
obliged to beg.

In their great council at Amaurot, to which there are three sent from
every town once a year, they examine what towns abound in provisions,
and what are under any scarcity, that so the one may be furnished from
the other; and this is done freely, without any sort of exchange; for
according to their plenty or scarcity, they supply, or are supplied from
one another; so that indeed the whole island is, as it were, one family.
When they have thus taken care of their whole country, and laid up
stores for two years, which they do to prevent the ill consequences of
an unfavourable season, they order an exportation of the overplus, both
of corn, honey, wool, flax, wood, wax, tallow, leather, and cattle;
which they send out commonly in great quantities to other nations. They
order a seventh part of all these goods to be freely given to the poor
of the countries to which they send them, and sell the rest at moderate
rates. And by this exchange, they not only bring back those few things
that they need at home (for indeed they scarce need anything but iron),
but likewise a great deal of gold and silver; and by their driving this
trade so long, it is not to be imagined how vast a treasure they have
got among them: so that now they do not much care whether they sell off
their merchandise for money in hand, or upon trust. A great part of
their treasure is now in bonds; but in all their contracts no private
man stands bound, but the writing runs in the name of the town; and the
towns that owe them money, raise it from those private hands that owe it
to them, lay it up in their public chamber, or enjoy the profit of it
till the Utopians call for it; and they choose rather to let the
greatest part of it lie in their hands who make advantage by it, than to
call for it themselves: but if they see that any of their other
neighbours stand more in need of it, then they call it in and lend it to
them: whenever they are engaged in war, which is the only occasion in
which their treasure can be usefully employed, they make use of it
themselves. In great extremities or sudden accidents they employ it in
hiring foreign troops, whom they more willingly expose to danger than
their own people: they give them great pay, knowing well that this will
work even on their enemies, that it will engage them either to betray
their own side, or at least to desert it, and that it is the best means
of raising mutual jealousies among them: for this end they have an
incredible treasure; but they do not keep it as a treasure, but in such
a manner as I am almost afraid to tell, lest you think it so
extravagant, as to be hardly credible. This I have the more reason to
apprehend, because if I had not seen it myself, I could not have been
easily persuaded to have believed it upon any man's report.

It is certain that all things appear incredible to us, in proportion as
they differ from own customs. But one who can judge aright, will not
wonder to find, that since their constitution differs so much from ours,
their value of gold and silver should be measured by a very different
standard; for since they have no use for money among themselves, but
keep it as a provision against events which seldom happen, and between
which there are generally long intervening intervals; they value it no
farther than it deserves, that is, in proportion to its use. So that it
is plain, they must prefer iron either to gold or silver: for men can no
more live without iron, than without fire or water; but Nature has
marked out no use for the other metals, so essential as not easily to be
dispensed with. The folly of men has enhanced the value of gold and
silver, because of their scarcity. Whereas, on the contrary, it is their
opinion that Nature, as an indulgent parent, has freely given us all the
best things in great abundance, such as water and earth, but has laid up
and hid from us the things that are vain and useless.

If these metals were laid up in any tower in the kingdom, it would raise
a jealousy of the Prince and Senate, and give birth to that foolish
mistrust into which the people are apt to fall, a jealousy of their
intending to sacrifice the interest of the public to their own private
advantage. If they should work it into vessels, or any sort of plate,
they fear that the people might grow too fond of it, and so be unwilling
to let the plate be run down, if a war made it necessary to employ it in
paying their soldiers. To prevent all these inconveniences, they have
fallen upon an expedient, which as it agrees with their other policy, so
is it very different from ours, and will scarce gain belief among us,
who value gold so much, and lay it up so carefully. They eat and drink
out of vessels of earth, or glass, which make an agreeable appearance
though formed of brittle materials: while they make their chamber-pots
and close-stools of gold and silver; and that not only in their public
halls, but in their private houses: of the same metals they likewise
make chains and fetters for their slaves; to some of which, as a badge
of infamy, they hang an ear-ring of gold, and make others wear a chain
or a coronet of the same metal; and thus they take care, by all possible
means, to render gold and silver of no esteem. And from hence it is,
that while other nations part with their gold and silver, as unwillingly
as if one tore out their bowels, those of Utopia would look on their
giving in all they possess of those (metals, when there were any use for
them) but as the parting with a trifle, or as we would esteem the loss
of a penny. They find pearls on their coast; and diamonds and carbuncles
on their rocks; they do not look after them, but if they find them by
chance, they polish them, and with them they adorn their children, who
are delighted with them, and glory in them during their childhood; but
when they grow to years, and see that none but children use such
baubles, they of their own accord, without being bid by their parents,
lay them aside; and would be as much ashamed to use them afterwards, as
children among us, when they come to years, are of their puppets and
other toys.

I never saw a clearer instance of the opposite impressions that
different customs make on people, than I observed in the ambassadors of
the Anemolians, who came to Amaurot when I was there. As they came to
treat of affairs of great consequence, the deputies from several towns
met together to wait for their coming. The ambassadors of the nations
that lie near Utopia, knowing their customs, and that fine clothes are
in no esteem among them, that silk is despised, and gold is a badge of
infamy, use to come very modestly clothed; but the Anemolians lying more
remote, and having had little commerce with them, understanding that
they were coarsely clothed, and all in the same manner, took it for
granted that they had none of those fine things among them of which they
made no use; and they being a vain-glorious rather than a wise people,
resolved to set themselves out with so much pomp, that they should look
like gods, and strike the eyes of the poor Utopians with their
splendour. Thus three ambassadors made their entry with an hundred
attendants, all clad in garments of different colours, and the greater
part in silk; the ambassadors themselves, who were of the nobility of
their country, were in cloth of gold, and adorned with massy chains,
ear-rings and rings of gold: their caps were covered with bracelets set
full of pearls and other gems: in a word, they were set out with all
those things that, among the Utopians, were either the badges of
slavery, the marks of infamy, or the playthings of children. It was not
unpleasant to see, on the one side, how they looked big, when they
compared their rich habits with the plain clothes of the Utopians, who
were come out in great numbers to see them make their entry: and, on the
other, to observe how much they were mistaken in the impression which
they hoped this pomp would have made on them. It appeared so ridiculous
a show to all that had never stirred out of their country, and had not
seen the customs of other nations, that though they paid some reverence
to those that were the most meanly clad, as if they had been the
ambassadors, yet when they saw the ambassadors themselves, so full of
gold and chains, they looked upon them as slaves, and forbore to treat
them with reverence. You might have seen the children, who were grown
big enough to despise their playthings, and who had thrown away their
jewels, call to their mothers, push them gently, and cry out, "See that
great fool that wears pearls and gems, as if he were yet a child." While
their mothers very innocently replied, "Hold your peace, this I believe
is one of the ambassador's fools." Others censured the fashion of their
chains, and observed that they were of no use; for they were too slight
to bind their slaves, who could easily break them; and besides hung so
loose about them, that they thought it easy to throw them away, and so
get from them. But after the ambassadors had stayed a day among them,
and saw so vast a quantity of gold in their houses, which was as much
despised by them as it was esteemed in other nations, and beheld more
gold and silver in the chains and fetters of one slave than all their
ornaments amounted to, their plumes fell, and they were ashamed of all
that glory for which they had formerly valued themselves, and
accordingly laid it aside; a resolution that they immediately took, when
on their engaging in some free discourse with the Utopians, they
discovered their sense of such things and their other customs. The
Utopians wonder how any man should be so much taken with the glaring
doubtful lustre of a jewel or a stone, that can look up to a star, or to
the sun himself; or how any should value himself because his cloth is
made of a finer thread: for how fine soever that thread may be, it was
once no better than the fleece of a sheep, and that sheep was a sheep
still for all its wearing it. They wonder much to hear that gold which
in itself is so useless a thing, should be everywhere so much esteemed,
that even men for whom it was made, and by whom it has its value, should
yet be thought of less value than this metal. That a man of lead, who
has no more sense than a log of wood, and is as bad as he is foolish,
should have many wise and good men to serve him, only because he has a
great heap of that metal; and that if it should happen that by some
accident or trick of law (which sometimes produces as great changes as
chance itself) all this wealth should pass from the master to the
meanest varlet of his whole family, he himself would very soon become
one of his servants, as if he were a thing that belonged to his wealth,
and so were bound to follow its fortune. But they much more admire and
detest the folly of those who when they see a rich man, though they
neither owe him anything, nor are in any sort dependent on his bounty,
yet merely because he is rich give him little less than divine honours;
even though they know him to be so covetous and base-minded, that
notwithstanding all his wealth, he will not part with one farthing of it
to them as long as he lives.

These and such like notions has that people imbibed, partly from their
education, being bred in a country whose customs and laws are opposite
to all such foolish maxims, and partly from their learning and studies;
for though there are but few in any town that are so wholly excused from
labour as to give themselves entirely up to their studies, these being
only such persons as discover from their childhood an extraordinary
capacity and disposition for letters; yet their children, and a great
part of the nation, both men and women, are taught to spend those hours
in which they are not obliged to work in reading: and this they do
through the whole progress of life. They have all their learning in
their own tongue, which is both a copious and pleasant language, and in
which a man can fully express his mind. It runs over a great tract of
many countries, but it is not equally pure in all places. They had never
so much as heard of the names of any of those philosophers that are so
famous in these parts of the world, before we went among them; and yet
they had made the same discoveries as the Greeks, both in music, logic,
arithmetic, and geometry. But as they are almost in everything equal to
the ancient philosophers, so they far exceed our modern logicians; for
they have never yet fallen upon the barbarous niceties that our youth
are forced to learn in those trifling logical schools that are among us;
they are so far from minding chimeras, and fantastical images made in
the mind, that none of them could comprehend what we meant when we
talked to them of a man in the abstract, as common to all men in
particular (so that though we spoke of him as a thing that we could
point at with our fingers, yet none of them could perceive him), and yet
distinct from every one, as if he were some monstrous Colossus or
giant. Yet for all this ignorance of these empty notions, they knew
astronomy, and were perfectly acquainted with the motions of the
heavenly bodies, and have many instruments, well contrived and divided,
by which they very accurately compute the course and positions of the
sun, moon, and stars. But for the cheat, of divining by the stars by
their oppositions or conjunctions, it has not so much as entered into
their thoughts. They have a particular sagacity, founded upon much
observation, in judging of the weather, by which they know when they may
look for rain, wind, or other alterations in the air; but as to the
philosophy of these things, the causes of the saltness of the sea, of
its ebbing and flowing, and of the original and nature both of the
heavens and the earth; they dispute of them, partly as our ancient
philosophers have done, and partly upon some new hypothesis, in which,
as they differ from them, so they do not in all things agree among

As to moral philosophy, they have the same disputes among them as we
have here: they examine what are properly good both for the body and the
mind, and whether any outward thing can be called truly good, or if that
term belong only to the endowments of the soul. They inquire likewise
into the nature of virtue and pleasure; but their chief dispute is
concerning the happiness of a man, and wherein it consists? Whether in
some one thing, or in a great many? They seem, indeed, more inclinable
to that opinion that places, if not the whole, yet the chief part of a
man's happiness in pleasure; and, what may seem more strange, they make
use of arguments even from religion, notwithstanding its severity and
roughness, for the support of that opinion so indulgent to pleasure; for
they never dispute concerning happiness without fetching some arguments
from the principles of religion, as well as from natural reason, since
without the former they reckon that all our inquiries after happiness
must be but conjectural and defective.

These are their religious principles, that the soul of man is immortal,
and that God of His goodness has designed that it should be happy; and
that He has therefore appointed rewards for good and virtuous actions,
and punishments for vice, to be distributed after this life. Though
these principles of religion are conveyed down among them by tradition,
they think that even reason itself determines a man to believe and
acknowledge them, and freely confess that if these were taken away no
man would be so insensible as not to seek after pleasure by all possible
means, lawful or unlawful; using only this caution, that a lesser
pleasure might not stand in the way of a greater, and that no pleasure
ought to be pursued that should draw a great deal of pain after it; for
they think it the maddest thing in the world to pursue virtue, that is a
sour and difficult thing; and not only to renounce the pleasures of
life, but willingly to undergo much pain and trouble, if a man has no
prospect of a reward. And what reward can there be for one that has
passed his whole life, not only without pleasure, but in pain, if there
is nothing to be expected after death? Yet they do not place happiness
in all sorts of pleasures, but only in those that in themselves are good
and honest. There is a party among them who place happiness in bare
virtue; others think that our natures are conducted by virtue to
happiness, as that which is the chief good of man. They define virtue
thus, that it is a living according to Nature, and think that we are
made by God for that end; they believe that a man then follows the
dictates of Nature when he pursues or avoids things according to the
direction of reason; they say that the first dictate of reason is the
kindling in us a love and reverence for the Divine Majesty, to whom we
owe both all that we have, and all that we can ever hope for. In the
next place, reason directs us to keep our minds as free from passion and
as cheerful as we can, and that we should consider ourselves as bound by
the ties of good-nature and humanity to use our utmost endeavours to
help forward the happiness of all other persons; for there never was any
man such a morose and severe pursuer of virtue, such an enemy to
pleasure, that though he set hard rules for men to undergo much pain,
many watchings, and other rigours, yet did not at the same time advise
them to do all they could, in order to relieve and ease the miserable,
and who did not represent gentleness and good-nature as amiable
dispositions. And from thence they infer that if a man ought to advance
the welfare and comfort of the rest of mankind, there being no virtue
more proper and peculiar to our nature, than to ease the miseries of
others, to free from trouble and anxiety, in furnishing them with the
comforts of life, in which pleasure consists, Nature much more
vigorously leads them to do all this for himself. A life of pleasure is
either a real evil, and in that case we ought not to assist others in
their pursuit of it, but on the contrary, to keep them from it all we
can, as from that which is most hurtful and deadly; or if it is a good
thing, so that we not only may, but ought to help others to it, why then
ought not a man to begin with himself? Since no man can be more bound to
look after the good of another than after his own; for Nature cannot
direct us to be good and kind to others, and yet at the same time to be
unmerciful and cruel to ourselves. Thus, as they define virtue to be
living according to Nature, so they imagine that Nature prompts all
people on to seek after pleasure, as the end of all they do. They also
observe that in order to our supporting the pleasures of life, Nature
inclines us to enter into society; for there is no man so much raised
above the rest of mankind as to be the only favourite of Nature, who, on
the contrary, seems to have placed on a level all those that belong to
the same species. Upon this they infer that no man ought to seek his own
conveniences so eagerly as to prejudice others; and therefore they think
that not only all agreements between private persons ought to be
observed; but likewise that all those laws ought to be kept, which
either a good prince has published in due form, or to which a people,
that is neither oppressed with tyranny nor circumvented by fraud, has
consented, for distributing those conveniences of life which afford us
all our pleasures.

They think it is an evidence of true wisdom for a man to pursue his own
advantages, as far as the laws allow it. They account it piety to prefer
the public good to one's private concerns; but they think it unjust for
a man to seek for pleasure, by snatching another man's pleasures from
him. And on the contrary, they think it a sign of a gentle and good
soul, for a man to dispense with his own advantage for the good of
others; and that by this means a good man finds as much pleasure one
way, as he parts with another; for as he may expect the like from others
when he may come to need it, so if that should fail him, yet the sense
of a good action, and the reflections that he makes on the love and
gratitude of those whom he has so obliged, gives the mind more pleasure
than the body could have found in that from which it had restrained
itself. They are also persuaded that God will make up the loss of those
small pleasures, with a vast and endless joy, of which religion easily
convinces a good soul.

Thus upon an inquiry into the whole matter, they reckon that all our
actions, and even all our virtues, terminate in pleasure, as in our
chief end and greatest happiness; and they call every motion or state,
either of body or mind, in which Nature teaches us to delight, a
pleasure. Thus they cautiously limit pleasure only to those appetites to
which Nature leads us; for they say that Nature leads us only to those
delights to which reason as well as sense carries us, and by which we
neither injure any other person, nor lose the possession of greater
pleasures, and of such as draw no troubles after them; but they look
upon those delights which men by a foolish, though common, mistake call
pleasure, as if they could change as easily the nature of things as the
use of words; as things that greatly obstruct their real happiness,
instead of advancing it, because they so entirely possess the minds of
those that are once captivated by them with a false notion of pleasure,
that there is no room left for pleasures of a truer or purer kind.

There are many things that in themselves have nothing that is truly
delightful; on the contrary, they have a good deal of bitterness in
them; and yet from our perverse appetites after forbidden objects, are
not only ranked among the pleasures, but are made even the greatest
designs of life. Among those who pursue these sophisticated pleasures,
they reckon such as I mentioned before, who think themselves really the
better for having fine clothes; in which they think they are doubly
mistaken, both in the opinion that they have of their clothes, and in
that they have of themselves; for if you consider the use of clothes,
why should a fine thread be thought better than a coarse one? And yet
these men, as if they had some real advantages beyond others, and did
not owe them wholly to their mistakes, look big, seem to fancy
themselves to be more valuable, and imagine that a respect is due to
them for the sake of a rich garment, to which they would not have
pretended if they had been more meanly clothed; and even resent it as an
affront, if that respect is not paid them. It is also a great folly to
be taken with outward marks of respect, which signify nothing: for what
true or real pleasure can one man find in another's standing bare, or
making legs to him? Will the bending another man's knees give ease to
yours? And will the head's being bare cure the madness of yours? And yet
it is wonderful to see how this false notion of pleasure bewitches many
who delight themselves with the fancy of their nobility, and are pleased
with this conceit, that they are descended from ancestors, who have been
held for some successions rich, and who have had great possessions; for
this is all that makes nobility at present; yet they do not think
themselves a whit the less noble, though their immediate parents have
left none of this wealth to them, or though they themselves have
squandered it away. The Utopians have no better opinion of those who are
much taken with gems and precious stones, and who account it a degree of
happiness, next to a divine one, if they can purchase one that is very
extraordinary; especially if it be of that sort of stones that is then
in greatest request; for the same sort is not at all times universally
of the same value; nor will men buy it unless it be dismounted and taken
out of the gold; the jeweller is then made to give good security, and
required solemnly to swear that the stone is true, that by such an exact
caution a false one might not be bought instead of a true: though if you
were to examine it, your eye could find no difference between the
counterfeit and that which is true; so that they are all one to you as
much as if you were blind. Or can it be thought that they who heap up an
useless mass of wealth, not for any use that it is to bring them, but
merely to please themselves with the contemplation of it, enjoy any true
pleasure in it? The delight they find is only a false shadow of joy.
Those are no better whose error is somewhat different from the former,
and who hide it, out of their fear of losing it; for what other name can
fit the hiding it in the earth, or rather the restoring it to it again,
it being thus cut off from being useful, either to its owner or to the
rest of mankind? And yet the owner having hid it carefully, is glad,
because he thinks he is now sure of it. If it should be stole, the
owner, though he might live perhaps ten years after the theft, of which
he knew nothing, would find no difference between his having or losing
it; for both ways it was equally useless to him.

Among those foolish pursuers of pleasure, they reckon all that delight
in hunting, in fowling, or gaming: of whose madness they have only
heard, for they have no such things among them. But they have asked us,
what sort of pleasure is it that men can find in throwing the dice? For
if there were any pleasure in it, they think the doing of it so often
should give one a surfeit of it: and what pleasure can one find in
hearing the barking and howling of dogs, which seem rather odious than
pleasant sounds? Nor can they comprehend the pleasure of seeing dogs run
after a hare, more than of seeing one dog run after another; for if the
seeing them run is that which gives the pleasure, you have the same
entertainment to the eye on both these occasions; since that is the same
in both cases: but if the pleasure lies in seeing the hare killed and
torn by the dogs, this ought rather to stir pity, that a weak, harmless
and fearful hare should be devoured by strong, fierce, and cruel dogs.
Therefore all this business of hunting is, among the Utopians, turned
over to their butchers; and those, as has been already said, are all
slaves; and they look on hunting as one of the basest parts of a
butcher's work: for they account it both more profitable and more decent
to kill those beasts that are more necessary and useful to mankind;
whereas the killing and tearing of so small and miserable an animal can
only attract the huntsman with a false show of pleasure, from which he
can reap but small advantage. They look on the desire of the bloodshed,
even of beasts, as a mark of a mind that is already corrupted with
cruelty, or that at least by the frequent returns of so brutal a
pleasure must degenerate into it.

Thus, though the rabble of mankind look upon these, and on innumerable
other things of the same nature, as pleasures; the Utopians, on the
contrary, observing that there is nothing in them truly pleasant,
conclude that they are not to be reckoned among pleasures: for though
these things may create some tickling in the senses (which seems to be a
true notion of pleasure), yet they imagine that this does not arise
from the thing itself, but from a depraved custom, which may so vitiate
a man's taste, that bitter things may pass for sweet; as women with
child think pitch or tallow taste sweeter than honey; but as a man's
sense when corrupted, either by a disease or some ill habit, does not
change the nature of other things, so neither can it change the nature
of pleasure.

They reckon up several sorts of pleasures, which they call true ones:
some belong to the body and others to the mind. The pleasures of the
mind lie in knowledge, and in that delight which the contemplation of
truth carries with it; to which they add the joyful reflections on a
well-spent life, and the assured hopes of a future happiness. They
divide the pleasures of the body into two sorts; the one is that which
gives our senses some real delight, and is performed, either by
recruiting nature, and supplying those parts which feed the internal
heat of life by eating and drinking; or when nature is eased of any
surcharge that oppresses it; when we are relieved from sudden pain, or
that which arises from satisfying the appetite which Nature has wisely
given to lead us to the propagation of the species. There is another
kind of pleasure that arises neither from our receiving what the body
requires, nor its being relieved when overcharged, and yet by a secret,
unseen virtue affects the senses, raises the passions, and strikes the
mind with generous impressions; this is the pleasure that arises from
music. Another kind of bodily pleasure is that which results from an
undisturbed and vigorous constitution of body, when life and active
spirits seem to actuate every part. This lively health, when entirely
free from all mixture of pain, of itself gives an inward pleasure,
independent of all external objects of delight; and though this pleasure
does not so powerfully affect us, nor act so strongly on the senses as
some of the others, yet it may be esteemed as the greatest of all
pleasures, and almost all the Utopians reckon it the foundation and
basis of all the other joys of life; since this alone makes the state
of life easy and desirable; and when this is wanting, a man is really
capable of no other pleasure. They look upon freedom from pain, if it
does not rise from perfect health, to be a state of stupidity rather
than of pleasure. This subject has been very narrowly canvassed among
them; and it has been debated whether a firm and entire health could be
called a pleasure or not? Some have thought that there was no pleasure
but what was excited by some sensible motion in the body. But this
opinion has been long ago excluded from among them, so that now they
almost universally agree that health is the greatest of all bodily
pleasures; and that as there is a pain in sickness, which is as opposite
in its nature to pleasure as sickness itself is to health; so they hold,
that health is accompanied with pleasure: and if any should say that
sickness is not really pain, but that it only carries pain along with
it, they look upon that as a fetch of subtilty, that does not much alter
the matter. It is all one, in their opinion, whether it be said that
health is in itself a pleasure, or that it begets a pleasure, as fire
gives heat; so it be granted, that all those whose health is entire have
a true pleasure in the enjoyment of it: and they reason thus--what is
the pleasure of eating, but that a man's health which had been weakened,
does, with the assistance of food, drive away hunger, and so recruiting
itself recovers its former vigour? And being thus refreshed, it finds a
pleasure in that conflict; and if the conflict is pleasure, the victory
must yet breed a greater pleasure, except we fancy that it becomes
stupid as soon as it has obtained that which it pursued, and so neither
knows nor rejoices in its own welfare. If it is said that health cannot
be felt, they absolutely deny it; for what man is in health that does
not perceive it when he is awake? Is there any man that is so dull and
stupid as not to acknowledge that he feels a delight in health? And what
is delight but another name for pleasure?

But of all pleasures, they esteem those to be most valuable that lie in
the mind; the chief of which arises out of true virtue, and the witness
of a good conscience. They account health the chief pleasure that
belongs to the body; for they think that the pleasure of eating and
drinking, and all the other delights of sense, are only so far desirable
as they give or maintain health. But they are not pleasant in
themselves, otherwise than as they resist those impressions that our
natural infirmities are still making upon us: for as a wise man desires
rather to avoid diseases than to take physic; and to be freed from pain,
rather than to find ease by remedies; so it is more desirable not to
need this sort of pleasure, than to be obliged to indulge it. If any man
imagines that there is a real happiness in these enjoyments, he must
then confess that he would be the happiest of all men if he were to lead
his life in perpetual hunger, thirst, and itching, and by consequence in
perpetual eating, drinking, and scratching himself; which any one may
easily see would be not only a base, but a miserable state of a life.
These are indeed the lowest of pleasures, and the least pure; for we can
never relish them, but when they are mixed with the contrary pains. The
pain of hunger must give us the pleasure of eating; and here the pain
out-balances the pleasure; and as the pain is more vehement, so it lasts
much longer; for as it begins before the pleasure, so it does not cease
but with the pleasure that extinguishes it, and both expire together.
They think, therefore, none of those pleasures are to be valued any
further than as they are necessary; yet they rejoice in them, and with
due gratitude acknowledge the tenderness of the great Author of Nature,
who has planted in us appetites, by which those things that are
necessary for our preservation are likewise made pleasant to us. For how
miserable a thing would life be, if those daily diseases of hunger and
thirst were to be carried off by such bitter drugs as we must use for
those diseases that return seldomer upon us? And thus these pleasant as
well as proper gifts of Nature maintain the strength and the
sprightliness of our bodies.

They also entertain themselves with the other delights let in at their
eyes, their ears, and their nostrils, as the pleasant relishes and
seasonings of life, which Nature seems to have marked out peculiarly for
man; since no other sort of animals contemplates the figure and beauty
of the universe; nor is delighted with smells, any farther than as they
distinguish meats by them; not do they apprehend the concords or
discords of sound; yet in all pleasures whatsoever they take care that a
lesser joy does not hinder a greater, and that pleasure may never breed
pain, which they think always follows dishonest pleasures. But they
think it madness for a man to wear out the beauty of his face, or the
force of his natural strength; to corrupt the sprightliness of his body
by sloth and laziness, or to waste it by fasting; that it is madness to
weaken the strength of his constitution, and reject the other delights
of life; unless by renouncing his own satisfaction, he can either serve
the public or promote the happiness of others, for which he expects a
greater recompense from God. So that they look on such a course of life
as the mark of a mind that is both cruel to itself, and ungrateful to
the Author of Nature, as if we would not be beholden to Him for His
favours, and therefore rejects all His blessings; as one who should
afflict himself for the empty shadow of virtue; or for no better end
than to render himself capable of bearing those misfortunes which
possibly will never happen.

This is their notion of virtue and of pleasure; they think that no man's
reason can carry him to a truer idea of them, unless some discovery from
Heaven should inspire him with sublimer notions. I have not now the
leisure to examine whether they think right or wrong in this matter: nor
do I judge it necessary, for I have only undertaken to give you an
account of their constitution, but not to defend all their principles. I
am sure, that whatsoever may be said of their notions, there is not in
the whole world either a better people or a happier government: their
bodies are vigorous and lively; and though they are but of a middle
stature, and have neither the fruitfullest soil nor the purest air in
the world, yet they fortify themselves so well by their temperate course
of life, against the unhealthiness of their air, and by their industry
they so cultivate their soil, that there is nowhere to be seen a greater
increase both of corn and cattle, nor are there anywhere healthier men,
and freer from diseases: for one may there see reduced to practice, not
only all the art that the husbandman employs in manuring and improving
an ill soil, but whole woods plucked up by the roots, and in other
places new ones planted, where there were none before. Their principal
motive for this is the convenience of carriage, that their timber may be
either near their towns, or growing on the banks of the sea, or of some
rivers, so as to be floated to them; for it is a harder work to carry
wood at any distance over land, than corn. The people are industrious,
apt to learn, as well as cheerful and pleasant; and none can endure more
labour, when it is necessary; but except in that case they love their
ease. They are unwearied pursuers of knowledge; for when we had given
them some hints of the learning and discipline of the Greeks, concerning
whom we only instructed them (for we know that there was nothing among
the Romans, except their historians and their poets, that they would
value much), it was strange to see how eagerly they were set on learning
that language. We began to read a little of it to them, rather in
compliance with their importunity, than out of any hopes of their
reaping from it any great advantage. But after a very short trial, we
found they made such progress, that we saw our labour was like to be
more successful than we could have expected. They learned to write
their characters, and to pronounce their language so exactly, had so
quick an apprehension, they remembered it so faithfully, and became so
ready and correct in the use of it, that it would have looked like a
miracle if the greater part of those whom we taught had not been men
both of extraordinary capacity and of a fit age for instruction. They
were for the greatest part chosen from among their learned men, by their
chief council, though some studied it of their own accord. In three
years' time they became masters of the whole language, so that they read
the best of the Greek authors very exactly. I am indeed apt to think
that they learned that language the more easily, from its having some
relation to their own. I believe that they were a colony of the Greeks;
for though their language comes nearer the Persian, yet they retain many
names, both for their towns and magistrates, that are of Greek
derivation. I happened to carry a great many books with me, instead of
merchandise, when I sailed my fourth voyage; for I was so far from
thinking of soon coming back, that I rather thought never to have
returned at all, and I gave them all my books, among which were many of
Plato's and some of Aristotle's works. I had also Theophrastus on
Plants, which, to my great regret, was imperfect; for having laid it
carelessly by, while we were at sea, a monkey had seized upon it, and in
many places torn out the leaves. They have no books of grammar but
Lascares, for I did not carry Theodorus with me; nor have they any
dictionaries but Hesichius and Dioscorides. They esteem Plutarch highly,
and were much taken with Lucian's wit, and with his pleasant way of
writing. As for the poets, they have Aristophanes, Homer, Euripides, and
Sophocles of Aldus's edition; and for historians Thucydides, Herodotus
and Herodian. One of my companions, Thricius Apinatus, happened to carry
with him some of Hippocrates's works, and Galen's Microtechne, which
they hold in great estimation; for though there is no nation in the
world that needs physic so little as they do, yet there is not any that
honours it so much: they reckon the knowledge of it one of the
pleasantest and most profitable parts of philosophy, by which, as they
search into the secrets of Nature, so they not only find this study
highly agreeable, but think that such inquiries are very acceptable to
the Author of Nature; and imagine that as He, like the inventors of
curious engines amongst mankind, has exposed this great machine of the
universe to the view of the only creatures capable of contemplating it,
so an exact and curious observer, who admires His workmanship, is much
more acceptable to Him than one of the herd, who like a beast incapable
of reason, looks on this glorious scene with the eyes of a dull and
unconcerned spectator.

The minds of the Utopians when fenced with a love for learning, are very
ingenious in discovering all such arts as are necessary to carry it to
perfection. Two things they owe to us, the manufacture of paper, and the
art of printing: yet they are not so entirely indebted to us for these
discoveries, but that a great part of the invention was their own. We
showed them some books printed by Aldus, we explained to them the way of
making paper, and the mystery of printing; but as we had never practised
these arts, we described them in a crude and superficial manner. They
seized the hints we gave them, and though at first they could not arrive
at perfection, yet by making many essays they at last found out and
corrected all their errors, and conquered every difficulty. Before this
they only wrote on parchment, on reeds, or on the barks of trees; but
now they have established the manufactures of paper, and set up
printing-presses, so that if they had but a good number of Greek authors
they would be quickly supplied with many copies of them: at present,
though they have no more than those I have mentioned, yet by several
impressions they have multiplied them into many thousands. If any man
was to go among them that had some extraordinary talent, or that by
much travelling had observed the customs of many nations (which made us
to be so well received), he would receive a hearty welcome; for they are
very desirous to know the state of the whole world. Very few go among
them on the account of traffic, for what can a man carry to them but
iron, or gold, or silver, which merchants desire rather to export than
import to a strange country: and as for their exportation, they think it
better to manage that themselves than to leave it to foreigners, for by
this means, as they understand the state of the neighbouring countries
better, so they keep up the art of navigation, which cannot be
maintained but by much practice.


They do not make slaves of prisoners of war, except those that are taken
in battle; nor of the sons of their slaves, nor of those of other
nations: the slaves among them are only such as are condemned to that
state of life for the commission of some crime, or, which is more
common, such as their merchants find condemned to die in those parts to
which they trade, whom they sometimes redeem at low rates; and in other
places have them for nothing. They are kept at perpetual labour, and are
always chained, but with this difference, that their own natives are
treated much worse than others; they are considered as more profligate
than the rest, and since they could not be restrained by the advantages
of so excellent an education, are judged worthy of harder usage. Another
sort of slaves are the poor of the neighbouring countries, who offer of
their own accord to come and serve them; they treat these better, and
use them in all other respects as well as their own countrymen, except
their imposing more labour upon them, which is no hard task to those
that have been accustomed to it; and if any of these have a mind to go
back to their own country, which indeed falls out but seldom, as they do
not force them to stay, so they do not send them away empty-handed.

I have already told you with what care they look after their sick, so
that nothing is left undone that can contribute either to their ease or
health: and for those who are taken with fixed and incurable diseases,
they use all possible ways to cherish them, and to make their lives as
comfortable as possible. They visit them often, and take great pains to
make their time pass off easily: but when any is taken with a torturing
and lingering pain, so that there is no hope, either of recovery or
ease, the priests and magistrates come and exhort them, that since they
are now unable to go on with the business of life, are become a burden
to themselves and to all about them, and they have really outlived
themselves, they should no longer nourish such a rooted distemper, but
choose rather to die, since they cannot live but in much misery: being
assured, that if they thus deliver themselves from torture, or are
willing that others should do it, they shall be happy after death. Since
by their acting thus, they lose none of the pleasures, but only the
troubles of life; they think they behave not only reasonably, but in a
manner consistent with religion and piety; because they follow the
advice given them by their priests, who are the expounders of the will
of God. Such as are wrought on by these persuasions, either starve
themselves of their own accord, or take opium, and by that means die
without pain. But no man is forced on this way of ending his life; and
if they cannot be persuaded to it, this does not induce them to fail in
their attendance and care of them; but as they believe that a voluntary
death, when it is chosen upon such an authority, is very honourable, so
if any man takes away his own life, without the approbation of the
priests and the Senate, they give him none of the honours of a decent
funeral, but throw his body into a ditch.

Their women are not married before eighteen, nor their men before
two-and-twenty, and if any of them run into forbidden embraces before
marriage they are severely punished, and the privilege of marriage is
denied them, unless they can obtain a special warrant from the Prince.
Such disorders cast a great reproach upon the master and mistress of the
family in which they happen, for it is supposed that they have failed in
their duty. The reason of punishing this so severely is, because they
think that if they were not strictly restrained from all vagrant
appetites, very few would engage in a state in which they venture the
quiet of their whole lives, by being confined to one person, and are
obliged to endure all the inconveniences with which it is accompanied.
In choosing their wives they use a method that would appear to us very
absurd and ridiculous, but it is constantly observed among them, and is
accounted perfectly consistent with wisdom. Before marriage some grave
matron presents the bride naked, whether she is a virgin or a widow, to
the bridegroom; and after that some grave man presents the bridegroom
naked to the bride. We indeed both laughed at this, and condemned it as
very indecent. But they, on the other hand, wondered at the folly of the
men of all other nations, who, if they are but to buy a horse of a small
value, are so cautious that they will see every part of him, and take
off both his saddle and all his other tackle, that there may be no
secret ulcer hid under any of them; and that yet in the choice of a
wife, on which depends the happiness or unhappiness of the rest of his
life, a man should venture upon trust, and only see about a
hand's-breadth of the face, all the rest of the body being covered,
under which there may lie hid what may be contagious, as well as
loathsome. All men are not so wise as to choose a woman only for her
good qualities; and even wise men consider the body as that which adds
not a little to the mind: and it is certain there may be some such
deformity covered with the clothes as may totally alienate a man from
his wife when it is too late to part with her. If such a thing is
discovered after marriage, a man has no remedy but patience. They
therefore think it is reasonable that there should be good provision
made against such mischievous frauds.

There was so much the more reason for them to make a regulation in this
matter, because they are the only people of those parts that neither
allow of polygamy, nor of divorces, except in the case of adultery, or
insufferable perverseness; for in these cases the Senate dissolves the
marriage, and grants the injured person leave to marry again; but the
guilty are made infamous, and are never allowed the privilege of a
second marriage. None are suffered to put away their wives against their
wills, from any great calamity that may have fallen on their persons;
for they look on it as the height of cruelty and treachery to abandon
either of the married persons when they need most the tender care of
their comfort, and that chiefly in the case of old age, which as it
carries many diseases along with it, so it is a disease of itself. But
it frequently falls out that when a married couple do not well agree,
they by mutual consent separate, and find out other persons with whom
they hope they may live more happily. Yet this is not done without
obtaining leave of the Senate, which never admits of a divorce, but upon
a strict inquiry made, both by the senators and their wives, into the
grounds upon which it is desired; and even when they are satisfied
concerning the reasons of it, they go on but slowly, for they imagine
that too great easiness in granting leave for new marriages would very
much shake the kindness of married people. They punish severely those
that defile the marriage-bed. If both parties are married they are
divorced, and the injured persons may marry one another, or whom they
please; but the adulterer and the adulteress are condemned to slavery.
Yet if either of the injured persons cannot shake off the love of the
married person, they may live with them still in that state, but they
must follow them to that labour to which the slaves are condemned; and
sometimes the repentance of the condemned, together with the unshaken
kindness of the innocent and injured person, has prevailed so far with
the Prince that he has taken off the sentence; but those that relapse
after they are once pardoned are punished with death.

Their law does not determine the punishment for other crimes; but that
is left to the Senate, to temper it according to the circumstances of
the fact. Husbands have power to correct their wives, and parents to
chastise their children, unless the fault is so great that a public
punishment is thought necessary for striking terror into others. For the
most part, slavery is the punishment even of the greatest crimes; for as
that is no less terrible to the criminals themselves than death, so they
think the preserving them in a state of servitude is more for the
interest of the commonwealth than killing them; since as their labour is
a greater benefit to the public than their death could be, so the sight
of their misery is a more lasting terror to other men than that which
would be given by their death. If their slaves rebel, and will not bear
their yoke, and submit to the labour that is enjoined them, they are
treated as wild beasts that cannot be kept in order, neither by a
prison, nor by their chains; and are at last put to death. But those who
bear their punishment patiently, and are so much wrought on by that
pressure that lies so hard on them that it appears they are really more
troubled for the crimes they have committed than for the miseries they
suffer, are not out of hope but that at last either the Prince will, by
his prerogative, or the people by their intercession, restore them again
to their liberty, or at least very much mitigate their slavery. He that
tempts a married woman to adultery, is no less severely punished than he
that commits it; for they believe that a deliberate design to commit a
crime, is equal to the fact itself: since its not taking effect does
not make the person that miscarried in his attempt at all the less

They take great pleasure in fools, and as it is thought a base and
unbecoming thing to use them ill, so they do not think it amiss for
people to divert themselves with their folly: and, in their opinion,
this is a great advantage to the fools themselves: for if men were so
sullen and severe as not at all to please themselves with their
ridiculous behaviour and foolish sayings, which is all that they can do
to recommend themselves to others, it could not be expected that they
would be so well provided for, nor so tenderly used as they must
otherwise be. If any man should reproach another for his being misshaped
or imperfect in any part of his body, it would not at all be thought a
reflection on the person so treated, but it would be accounted
scandalous in him that had upbraided another with what he could not
help. It is thought a sign of a sluggish and sordid mind not to preserve
carefully one's natural beauty; but it is likewise infamous among them
to use paint. They all see that no beauty recommends a wife so much to
her husband as the probity of her life, and her obedience: for as some
few are catched and held only by beauty, so all are attracted by the
other excellences which charm all the world.

As they fright men from committing crimes by punishments, so they invite
them to the love of virtue by public honours: therefore they erect
statues to the memories of such worthy men as have deserved well of
their country, and set these in their market-places, both to perpetuate
the remembrance of their actions, and to be an incitement to their
posterity to follow their example.

If any man aspires to any office, he is sure never to compass it: they
all live easily together, for none of the magistrates are either
insolent or cruel to the people: they affect rather to be called
fathers, and by being really so, they well deserve the name; and the
people pay them all the marks of honour the more freely, because none
are exacted from them. The Prince himself has no distinction, either of
garments, or of a crown; but is only distinguished by a sheaf of corn
carried before him; as the high priest is also known by his being
preceded by a person carrying a wax light.

They have but few laws, and such is their constitution that they need
not many. They very much condemn other nations, whose laws, together
with the commentaries on them, swell up to so many volumes; for they
think it an unreasonable thing to oblige men to obey a body of laws that
are both of such a bulk, and so dark as not to be read and understood by
every one of the subjects.

They have no lawyers among them, for they consider them as a sort of
people whose profession it is to disguise matters, and to wrest the
laws; and therefore they think it is much better that every man should
plead his own cause, and trust it to the judge, as in other places the
client trusts it to a counsellor. By this means they both cut off many
delays, and find out truth more certainly: for after the parties have
laid open the merits of the cause, without those artifices which lawyers
are apt to suggest, the judge examines the whole matter, and supports
the simplicity of such well-meaning persons, whom otherwise crafty men
would be sure to run down: and thus they avoid those evils which appear
very remarkably among all those nations that labour under a vast load of
laws. Every one of them is skilled in their law, for as it is a very
short study, so the plainest meaning of which words are capable is
always the sense of their laws. And they argue thus: all laws are
promulgated for this end, that every man may know his duty; and
therefore the plainest and most obvious sense of the words is that which
ought to be put upon them; since a more refined exposition cannot be
easily comprehended, and would only serve to make the laws become
useless to the greater part of mankind, and especially to those who need
most the direction of them: for it is all one, not to make a law at
all, or to couch it in such terms that without a quick apprehension, and
much study, a man cannot find out the true meaning of it; since the
generality of mankind are both so dull, and so much employed in their
several trades, that they have neither the leisure nor the capacity
requisite for such an inquiry.

Some of their neighbours, who are masters of their own liberties, having
long ago, by the assistance of the Utopians, shaken off the yoke of
tyranny, and being much taken with those virtues which they observe
among them, have come to desire that they would send magistrates to
govern them; some changing them every year, and others every five years.
At the end of their government they bring them back to Utopia, with
great expressions of honour and esteem, and carry away others to govern
in their stead. In this they seem to have fallen upon a very good
expedient for their own happiness and safety; for since the good or ill
condition of a nation depends so much upon their magistrates, they could
not have made a better choice than by pitching on men whom no advantages
can bias; for wealth is of no use to them, since they must so soon go
back to their own country; and they being strangers among them, are not
engaged in any of their heats or animosities; and it is certain that
when public judicatories are swayed, either by avarice or partial
affections, there must follow a dissolution of justice, the chief sinew
of society.

The Utopians call those nations that come and ask magistrates from them,
neighbours; but those to whom they have been of more particular service,
friends. And as all other nations are perpetually either making leagues
or breaking them, they never enter into an alliance with any state. They
think leagues are useless things, and believe that if the common ties of
humanity do not knit men together, the faith of promises will have no
great effect; and they are the more confirmed in this by what they see
among the nations round about them, who are no strict observers of
leagues and treaties. We know how religiously they are observed in
Europe, more particularly where the Christian doctrine is received,
among whom they are sacred and inviolable. Which is partly owing to the
justice and goodness of the princes themselves, and partly to the
reverence they pay to the popes; who as they are most religious
observers of their own promises, so they exhort all other princes to
perform theirs; and when fainter methods do not prevail, they compel
them to it by the severity of the pastoral censure, and think that it
would be the most indecent thing possible if men who are particularly
distinguished by the title of the faithful, should not religiously keep
the faith of their treaties. But in that new-found world, which is not
more distant from us in situation than the people are in their manners
and course of life, there is no trusting to leagues, even though they
were made with all the pomp of the most sacred ceremonies; on the
contrary, they are on this account the sooner broken, some slight
pretence being found in the words of the treaties, which are purposely
couched in such ambiguous terms that they can never be so strictly bound
but they will always find some loophole to escape at; and thus they
break both their leagues and their faith. And this is done with such
impudence, that those very men who value themselves on having suggested
these expedients to their princes, would with a haughty scorn declaim
against such craft, or to speak plainer, such fraud and deceit, if they
found private men make use of it in their bargains, and would readily
say that they deserved to be hanged.

By this means it is, that all sort of justice passes in the world for a
low-spirited and vulgar virtue, far below the dignity of royal
greatness. Or at least, there are set up two sorts of justice; the one
is mean, and creeps on the ground, and therefore becomes none but the
lower part of mankind, and so must be kept in severely by many
restraints that it may not break out beyond the bounds that are set to
it. The other is the peculiar virtue of princes, which as it is more
majestic than that which becomes the rabble, so takes a freer compass;
and thus lawful and unlawful are only measured by pleasure and interest.
These practices of the princes that lie about Utopia, who make so little
account of their faith, seem to be the reasons that determine them to
engage in no confederacies; perhaps they would change their mind if they
lived among us; but yet though treaties were more religiously observed,
they would still dislike the custom of making them; since the world has
taken up a false maxim upon it, as if there were no tie of Nature
uniting one nation to another, only separated perhaps by a mountain or a
river, and that all were born in a state of hostility, and so might
lawfully do all that mischief to their neighbours against which there is
no provision made by treaties; and that when treaties are made, they do
not cut off the enmity, or restrain the license of preying upon each
other, if by the unskilfulness of wording them there are not effectual
provisoes made against them. They, on the other hand, judge that no man
is to be esteemed our enemy that has never injured us; and that the
partnership of the human nature is instead of a league. And that
kindness and good-nature unite men more effectually and with greater
strength than any agreements whatsoever; since thereby the engagements
of men's hearts become stronger than the bond and obligation of words.


They detest war as a very brutal thing; and which, to the reproach of
human nature, is more practised by men than by any sort of beasts. They,
in opposition to the sentiments of almost all other nations, think that
there is nothing more inglorious than that glory that is gained by war.
And therefore though they accustom themselves daily to military
exercises and the discipline of war, in which not only their men but
their women likewise are trained up, that in cases of necessity they may
not be quite useless; yet they do not rashly engage in war, unless it be
either to defend themselves, or their friends, from any unjust
aggressors; or out of good-nature or in compassion assist an oppressed
nation in shaking off the yoke of tyranny. They indeed help their
friends, not only in defensive, but also in offensive wars; but they
never do that unless they had been consulted before the breach was made,
and being satisfied with the grounds on which they went, they had found
that all demands of reparation were rejected, so that a war was
unavoidable. This they think to be not only just, when one neighbour
makes an inroad on another, by public order, and carry away the spoils;
but when the merchants of one country are oppressed in another, either
under pretence of some unjust laws, or by the perverse wresting of good
ones. This they count a juster cause of war than the other, because
those injuries are done under some colour of laws. This was the only
ground of that war in which they engaged with the Nephelogetes against
the Aleopolitanes, a little before our time; for the merchants of the
former having, as they thought, met with great injustice among the
latter, which, whether it was in itself right or wrong, drew on a
terrible war, in which many of their neighbours were engaged; and their
keenness in carrying it on being supported by their strength in
maintaining it, it not only shook some very flourishing states, and very
much afflicted others, but after a series of much mischief ended in the
entire conquest and slavery of the Aleopolitanes, who though before the
war they were in all respects much superior to the Nephelogetes, were
yet subdued; but though the Utopians had assisted them in the war, yet
they pretended to no share of the spoil.

But though they so vigorously assist their friends in obtaining
reparation for the injuries they have received in affairs of this
nature, yet if any such frauds was committed against themselves,
provided no violence was done to their persons, they would only on their
being refused satisfaction forbear trading with such a people. This is
not because they consider their neighbours more than their own citizens;
but since their neighbours trade every one upon his own stock, fraud is
a more sensible injury to them than it is to the Utopians, among whom
the public in such a case only suffers. As they expect nothing in return
for the merchandises they export but that in which they so much abound,
and is of little use to them, the loss does not much affect them; they
think therefore it would be too severe to revenge a loss attended with
so little inconvenience either to their lives, or their subsistence,
with the death of many persons; but if any of their people is either
killed or wounded wrongfully, whether it be done by public authority or
only by private men, as soon as they hear of it they send ambassadors,
and demand that the guilty persons may be delivered up to them; and if
that is denied, they declare war; but if it be complied with, the
offenders are condemned either to death or slavery.

They would be both troubled and ashamed of a bloody victory over their
enemies, and think it would be as foolish a purchase as to buy the most
valuable goods at too high a rate. And in no victory do they glory so
much as in that which is gained by dexterity and good conduct, without
bloodshed. In such cases they appoint public triumphs, and erect
trophies to the honour of those who have succeeded; for then do they
reckon that a man acts suitably to his nature when he conquers his enemy
in such a way as that no other creature but a man could be capable of,
and that is by the strength of his understanding. Bears, lions, boars,
wolves, and dogs, and all other animals employ their bodily force one
against another, in which as many of them are superior to men, both in
strength and fierceness, so they are all subdued by his reason and

The only design of the Utopians in war is to obtain that by force, which
if it had been granted them in time would have prevented the war; or if
that cannot be done, to take so severe a revenge on those that have
injured them that they may be terrified from doing the like for the time
to come. By these ends they measure all their designs, and manage them
so that it is visible that the appetite of fame or vain-glory does not
work so much on them as a just care of their own security.

As soon as they declare war, they take care to have a great many
schedules, that are sealed with their common seal, affixed in the most
conspicuous places of their enemies' country. This is carried secretly,
and done in many places all at once. In these they promise great rewards
to such as shall kill the prince, and lesser in proportion to such as
shall kill any other persons, who are those on whom, next to the prince
himself, they cast the chief balance of the war. And they double the sum
to him that, instead of killing the person so marked out, shall take him
alive and put him in their hands. They offer not only indemnity, but
rewards, to such of the persons themselves that are so marked, if they
will act against their countrymen: by this means those that are named in
their schedules become not only distrustful of their fellow-citizens,
but are jealous of one another, and are much distracted by fear and
danger; for it has often fallen out that many of them, and even the
Prince himself, have been betrayed by those in whom they have trusted
most: for the rewards that the Utopians offer are so unmeasurably great,
that there is no sort of crime to which men cannot be drawn by them.
They consider the risk that those run who undertake such services, and
offer a recompense proportioned to the danger; not only a vast deal of
gold, but great revenues in lands, that lie among other nations that are
their friends, where they may go and enjoy them very securely; and they
observe the promises they make of this kind most religiously. They very
much approve of this way of corrupting their enemies, though it appears
to others to be base and cruel; but they look on it as a wise course, to
make an end of what would be otherwise a long war, without so much as
hazarding one battle to decide it. They think it likewise an act of
mercy and love to mankind to prevent the great slaughter of those that
must otherwise be killed in the progress of the war, both on their own
side and on that of their enemies, by the death of a few that are most
guilty; and that in so doing they are kind even to their enemies, and
pity them no less than their own people, as knowing that the greater
part of them do not engage in the war of their own accord, but are
driven into it by the passions of their prince.

If this method does not succeed with them, then they sow seeds of
contention among their enemies, and animate the prince's brother, or
some of the nobility, to aspire to the crown. If they cannot disunite
them by domestic broils, then they engage their neighbours against them,
and make them set on foot some old pretensions, which are never wanting
to princes when they have occasion for them. These they plentifully
supply with money, though but very sparingly with any auxiliary troops:
for they are so tender of their own people, that they would not
willingly exchange one of them, even with the prince of their enemies'

But as they keep their gold and silver only for such an occasion, so
when that offers itself they easily part with it, since it would be no
inconvenience to them though they should reserve nothing of it to
themselves. For besides the wealth that they have among them at home,
they have a vast treasure abroad, many nations round about them being
deep in their debt: so that they hire soldiers from all places for
carrying on their wars, but chiefly from the Zapolets, who live five
hundred miles east of Utopia. They are a rude, wild, and fierce nation,
who delight in the woods and rocks, among which they were born and bred
up. They are hardened both against heat, cold and labour, and know
nothing of the delicacies of life. They do not apply themselves to
agriculture, nor do they care either for their houses or their clothes.
Cattle is all that they look after; and for the greatest part they live
either by hunting, or upon rapine; and are made, as it were, only for
war. They watch all opportunities of engaging in it, and very readily
embrace such as are offered them. Great numbers of them will frequently
go out, and offer themselves for a very low pay, to serve any that will
employ them: they know none of the arts of life, but those that lead to
the taking it away; they serve those that hire them, both with much
courage and great fidelity; but will not engage to serve for any
determined time, and agree upon such terms, that the next day they may
go over to the enemies of those whom they serve, if they offer them a
greater encouragement: and will perhaps return to them the day after
that, upon a higher advance of their pay. There are few wars in which
they make not a considerable part of the armies of both sides: so it
often falls out that they who are related, and were hired in the same
country, and so have lived long and familiarly together, forgetting both
their relations and former friendship, kill one another upon no other
consideration than that of being hired to it for a little money, by
princes of different interests; and such a regard have they for money,
that they are easily wrought on by the difference of one penny a day to
change sides. So entirely does their avarice influence them; and yet
this money, which they value so highly, is of little use to them; for
what they purchase thus with their blood, they quickly waste on luxury,
which among them is but of a poor and miserable form.

This nation serves the Utopians against all people whatsoever, for they
pay higher than any other. The Utopians hold this for a maxim, that as
they seek out the best sort of men for their own use at home, so they
make use of this worst sort of men for the consumption of war, and
therefore they hire them with the offers of vast rewards, to expose
themselves to all sorts of hazards, out of which the greater part never
returns to claim their promises. Yet they make them good most
religiously to such as escape. This animates them to adventure again,
whenever there is occasion for it; for the Utopians are not at all
troubled how many of these happen to be killed, and reckon it a service
done to mankind if they could be a means to deliver the world from such
a lewd and vicious sort of people, that seem to have run together as to
the drain of human nature. Next to these they are served in their wars
with those upon whose account they undertake them, and with the
auxiliary troops of their other friends, to whom they join a few of
their own people, and send some men of eminent and approved virtue to
command in chief. There are two sent with him, who during his command
are but private men, but the first is to succeed him if he should happen
to be either killed or taken; and in case of the like misfortune to him,
the third comes in his place; and thus they provide against ill events,
that such accidents as may befall their generals may not endanger their
armies. When they draw out troops of their own people, they take such
out of every city as freely offer themselves, for none are forced to go
against their wills, since they think that if any man is pressed that
wants courage, he will not only act faintly, but by his cowardice
dishearten others. But if an invasion is made on their country they make
use of such men, if they have good bodies, though they are not brave;
and either put them aboard their ships or place them on the walls of
their towns, that being so posted they may find no opportunity of flying
away; and thus either shame, the heat of action, or the impossibility of
flying, bears down their cowardice; they often make a virtue of
necessity and behave themselves well, because nothing else is left them.
But as they force no man to go into any foreign war against his will, so
they do not hinder those women who are willing to go along with their
husbands; on the contrary, they encourage and praise them, and they
stand often next their husbands in the front of the army. They also
place together those who are related, parents and children, kindred, and
those that are mutually allied, near one another; that those whom Nature
has inspired with the greatest zeal for assisting one another, may be
the nearest and readiest to do it; and it is matter of great reproach if
husband or wife survive one another, or if a child survives his parents,
and therefore when they come to be engaged in action they continue to
fight to the last man, if their enemies stand before them. And as they
use all prudent methods to avoid the endangering their own men, and if
it is possible let all the action and danger fall upon the troops that
they hire, so if it becomes necessary for themselves to engage, they
then charge with as much courage as they avoided it before with
prudence: nor is it a fierce charge at first, but it increases by
degrees; and as they continue in action, they grow more obstinate and
press harder upon the enemy, insomuch that they will much sooner die
than give ground; for the certainty that their children will be well
looked after when they are dead, frees them from all that anxiety
concerning them which often masters men of great courage; and thus they
are animated by a noble and invincible resolution. Their skill in
military affairs increases their courage; and the wise sentiments which,
according to the laws of their country are instilled into them in their
education, give additional vigour to their minds: for as they do not
undervalue life so as prodigally to throw it away, they are not so
indecently fond of it as to preserve it by base and unbecoming methods.
In the greatest heat of action, the bravest of their youth, who have
devoted themselves to that service, single out the general of their
enemies, set on him either openly or by ambuscade, pursue him
everywhere, and when spent and wearied out, are relieved by others, who
never give over the pursuit; either attacking him with close weapons
when they can get near him, or with those which wound at a distance,
when others get in between them; so that unless he secures himself by
flight, they seldom fail at last to kill or to take him prisoner. When
they have obtained a victory, they kill as few as possible, and are much
more bent on taking many prisoners than on killing those that fly before
them; nor do they ever let their men so loose in the pursuit of their
enemies, as not to retain an entire body still in order; so that if they
have been forced to engage the last of their battalions before they
could gain the day, they will rather let their enemies all escape than
pursue them, when their own army is in disorder; remembering well what
has often fallen out to themselves, that when the main body of their
army has been quite defeated and broken, when their enemies imagining
the victory obtained, have let themselves loose into an irregular
pursuit, a few of them that lay for a reserve, waiting a fit
opportunity, have fallen on them in their chase, and when straggling in
disorder and apprehensive of no danger, but counting the day their own,
have turned the whole action, and wresting out of their hands a victory
that seemed certain and undoubted, while the vanquished have suddenly
become victorious.

It is hard to tell whether they are more dexterous in laying or avoiding
ambushes. They sometimes seem to fly when it is far from their thoughts;
and when they intend to give ground, they do it so that it is very hard
to find out their design. If they see they are ill posted, or are like
to be overpowered by numbers, they then either march off in the night
with great silence, or by some stratagem delude their enemies: if they
retire in the daytime, they do it in such order, that it is no less
dangerous to fall upon them in a retreat than in a march. They fortify
their camps with a deep and large trench, and throw up the earth that is
dug out of it for a wall; nor do they employ only their slaves in this,
but the whole army works at it, except those that are then upon the
guard; so that when so many hands are at work, a great line and a strong
fortification is finished in so short a time that it is scarce credible.
Their armour is very strong for defence, and yet is not so heavy as to
make them uneasy in their marches; they can even swim with it. All that
are trained up to war, practise swimming. Both horse and foot make great
use of arrows, and are very expert. They have no swords, but fight with
a pole-axe that is both sharp and heavy, by which they thrust or strike
down an enemy. They are very good at finding out warlike machines, and
disguise them so well, that the enemy does not perceive them till he
feels the use of them; so that he cannot prepare such a defence as would
render them useless; the chief consideration had in the making them, is
that they may be easily carried and managed.

If they agree to a truce, they observe it so religiously that no
provocations will make them break it. They never lay their enemies'
country waste, nor burn their corn, and even in their marches they take
all possible care that neither horse nor foot may tread it down, for
they do not know but that they may have use for it themselves. They hurt
no man whom they find disarmed, unless he is a spy. When a town is
surrendered to them, they take it into their protection: and when they
carry a place by storm, they never plunder it, but put those only to the
sword that opposed the rendering of it up, and make the rest of the
garrison slaves, but for the other inhabitants, they do them no hurt;
and if any of them had advised a surrender, they give them good rewards
out of the estates of those that they condemn, and distribute the rest
among their auxiliary troops, but they themselves take no share of the

When a war is ended, they do not oblige their friends to reimburse their
expenses; but they obtain them of the conquered, either in money, which
they keep for the next occasion, or in lands, out of which a constant
revenue is to be paid them; by many increases, the revenue which they
draw out from several countries on such occasions, is now risen to above
700,000 ducats a year. They send some of their own people to receive
these revenues, who have orders to live magnificently, and like princes,
by which means they consume much of it upon the place; and either bring
over the rest to Utopia, or lend it to that nation in which it lies.
This they most commonly do, unless some great occasion, which falls out
but very seldom, should oblige them to call for it all. It is out of
these lands that they assign rewards to such as they encourage to
adventure on desperate attempts. If any prince that engages in war with
them is making preparations for invading their country, they prevent
him, and make his country the seat of the war; for they do not willingly
suffer any war to break in upon their island; and if that should happen,
they would only defend themselves by their own people, but would not
call for auxiliary troops to their assistance.


There are several sorts of religions, not only in different parts of the
island, but even in every town; some worshipping the sun, others the
moon, or one of the planets; some worship such men as have been eminent
in former times for virtue, or glory, not only as ordinary deities, but
as the supreme God: yet the greater and wiser sort of them worship none
of these, but adore one eternal, invisible, infinite, and
incomprehensible Deity; as a Being that is far above all our
apprehensions, that is spread over the whole universe, not by His bulk,
but by His power and virtue; Him they call the Father of All, and
acknowledge that the beginnings, the increase, the progress, the
vicissitudes, and the end of all things come only from Him; nor do they
offer divine honours to any but to Him alone. And indeed, though they
differ concerning other things, yet all agree in this, that they think
there is one supreme Being that made and governs the world, whom they
call in the language of their country Mithras. They differ in this, that
one thinks the God whom he worships is this supreme Being, and another
thinks that his idol is that God; but they all agree in one principle,
that whoever is this supreme Being, He is also that great Essence to
whose glory and majesty all honours are ascribed by the consent of all

By degrees, they fall off from the various superstitions that are among
them, and grow up to that one religion that is the best and most in
request; and there is no doubt to be made but that all the others had
vanished long ago, if some of those who advised them to lay aside their
superstitions had not met with some unhappy accident, which being
considered as inflicted by Heaven, made them afraid that the God whose
worship had like to have been abandoned, had interposed, and revenged
themselves on those who despised their authority.

After they had heard from us an account of the doctrine, the course of
life, and the miracles of Christ, and of the wonderful constancy of so
many martyrs, whose blood, so willingly offered up by them, was the
chief occasion of spreading their religion over a vast number of
nations; it is not to be imagined how inclined they were to receive it.
I shall not determine whether this proceeded from any secret inspiration
of God, or whether it was because it seemed so favourable to that
community of goods, which is an opinion so particular as well as so dear
to them; since they perceived that Christ and His followers lived by
that rule, and that it was still kept up in some communities among the
sincerest sort of Christians. From whichsoever of these motives it might
be, true it is that many of them came over to our religion, and were
initiated into it by baptism. But as two of our number were dead, so
none of the four that survived were in priest's orders; we therefore
could only baptize them; so that to our great regret they could not
partake of the other sacraments, that can only be administered by
priests; but they are instructed concerning them, and long most
vehemently for them. They have had great disputes among themselves,
whether one chosen by them to be a priest would not be thereby qualified
to do all the things that belong to that character, even though he had
no authority derived from the Pope; and they seemed to be resolved to
choose some for that employment, but they had not done it when I left

Those among them that have not received our religion, do not fright any
from it, and use none ill that goes over to it; so that all the while I
was there, one man was only punished on this occasion. He being newly
baptized, did, notwithstanding all that we could say to the contrary,
dispute publicly concerning the Christian religion with more zeal than
discretion; and with so much heat, that he not only preferred our
worship to theirs, but condemned all their rites as profane; and cried
out against all that adhered to them, as impious and sacrilegious
persons, that were to be damned to everlasting burnings. Upon his having
frequently preached in this manner, he was seized, and after trial he
was condemned to banishment, not for having disparaged their religion,
but for his inflaming the people to sedition: for this is one of their
most ancient laws, that no man ought to be punished for his religion. At
the first constitution of their government, Utopus having understood
that before his coming among them the old inhabitants had been engaged
in great quarrels concerning religion, by which they were so divided
among themselves, that he found it an easy thing to conquer them, since
instead of uniting their forces against him, every different party in
religion fought by themselves; after he had subdued them, he made a law
that every man might be of what religion he pleased, and might endeavour
to draw others to it by the force of argument, and by amicable and
modest ways, but without bitterness against those of other opinions; but
that he ought to use no other force but that of persuasion, and was
neither to mix with it reproaches nor violence; and such as did
otherwise were to be condemned to banishment or slavery.

This law was made by Utopus, not only for preserving the public peace,
which he saw suffered much by daily contentions and irreconcilable
heats, but because he thought the interest of religion itself required
it. He judged it not fit to determine anything rashly, and seemed to
doubt whether those different forms of religion might not all come from
God, who might inspire men in a different manner, and be pleased with
this variety; he therefore thought it indecent and foolish for any man
to threaten and terrify another to make him believe what did not appear
to him to be true. And supposing that only one religion was really true,
and the rest false, he imagined that the native force of truth would at
last break forth and shine bright, if supported only by the strength of
argument, and attended to with a gentle and unprejudiced mind; while, on
the other hand, if such debates were carried on with violence and
tumults, as the most wicked are always the most obstinate, so the best
and most holy religion might be choked with superstition, as corn is
with briars and thorns; he therefore left men wholly to their liberty,
that they might be free to believe as they should see cause; only he
made a solemn and severe law against such as should so far degenerate
from the dignity of human nature as to think that our souls died with
our bodies, or that the world was governed by chance, without a wise
overruling Providence: for they all formerly believed that there was a
state of rewards and punishments to the good and bad after this life;
and they now look on those that think otherwise as scarce fit to be
counted men, since they degrade so noble a being as the soul, and reckon
it no better than a beast's: thus they are far from looking on such men
as fit for human society, or to be citizens of a well-ordered
commonwealth; since a man of such principles must needs, as oft as he
dares do it, despise all their laws and customs: for there is no doubt
to be made that a man who is afraid of nothing but the law, and
apprehends nothing after death, will not scruple to break through all
the laws of his country, either by fraud or force, when by this means he
may satisfy his appetites. They never raise any that hold these maxims,
either to honours or offices, nor employ them in any public trust, but
despise them, as men of base and sordid minds: yet they do not punish
them, because they lay this down as a maxim that a man cannot make
himself believe anything he pleases; nor do they drive any to dissemble
their thoughts by threatenings, so that men are not tempted to lie or
disguise their opinions; which being a sort of fraud, is abhorred by the
Utopians. They take care indeed to prevent their disputing in defence of
these opinions, especially before the common people; but they suffer,
and even encourage them to dispute concerning them in private with their
priests and other grave men, being confident that they will be cured of
those mad opinions by having reason laid before them. There are many
among them that run far to the other extreme, though it is neither
thought an ill nor unreasonable opinion, and therefore is not at all
discouraged. They think that the souls of beasts are immortal, though
far inferior to the dignity of the human soul, and not capable of so
great a happiness. They are almost all of them very firmly persuaded
that good men will be infinitely happy in another state; so that though
they are compassionate to all that are sick, yet they lament no man's
death, except they see him loth to depart with life; for they look on
this as a very ill presage, as if the soul, conscious to itself of
guilt, and quite hopeless, was afraid to leave the body, from some
secret hints of approaching misery. They think that such a man's
appearance before God cannot be acceptable to Him, who, being called on,
does not go out cheerfully, but is backward and unwilling, and is, as it
were, dragged to it. They are struck with horror when they see any die
in this manner, and carry them out in silence and with sorrow, and
praying God that He would be merciful to the errors of the departed
soul, they lay the body in the ground; but when any die cheerfully, and
full of hope, they do not mourn for them, but sing hymns when they carry
out their bodies, and commending their souls very earnestly to God:
their whole behaviour is then rather grave than sad, they burn the body,
and set up a pillar where the pile was made, with an inscription to the
honour of the deceased. When they come from the funeral, they discourse
of his good life and worthy actions, but speak of nothing oftener and
with more pleasure than of his serenity at the hour of death. They think
such respect paid to the memory of good men is both the greatest
incitement to engage others to follow their example, and the most
acceptable worship that can be offered them; for they believe that
though by the imperfection of human sight they are invisible to us, yet
they are present among us, and hear those discourses that pass
concerning themselves. They believe it inconsistent, with the happiness
of departed souls not to be at liberty to be where they will, and do
not imagine them capable of the ingratitude of not desiring to see
those friends with whom they lived on earth in the strictest bonds of
love and kindness: besides they are persuaded that good men after death
have these affections and all other good dispositions increased rather
than diminished, and therefore conclude that they are still among the
living, and observe all they say or do. From hence they engage in all
their affairs with the greater confidence of success, as trusting to
their protection; while this opinion of the presence of their ancestors
is a restraint that prevents their engaging in ill designs.

They despise and laugh at auguries, and the other vain and superstitious
ways of divination, so much observed among other nations; but have great
reverence for such miracles as cannot flow from any of the powers of
Nature, and look on them as effects and indications of the presence of
the supreme Being, of which they say many instances have occurred among
them; and that sometimes their public prayers, which upon great and
dangerous occasions they have solemnly put up to God, with assured
confidence of being heard, have been answered in a miraculous manner.

They think the contemplating God in His works, and the adoring Him for
them, is a very acceptable piece of worship to Him.

There are many among them, that upon a motive of religion neglect
learning, and apply themselves to no sort of study; nor do they allow
themselves any leisure time, but are perpetually employed, believing
that by the good things that a man does he secures to himself that
happiness that comes after death. Some of these visit the sick; others
mend highways, cleanse ditches, repair bridges, or dig turf, gravel, or
stones. Others fell and cleave timber, and bring wood, corn, and other
necessaries on carts into their towns. Nor do these only serve the
public, but they serve even private men, more than the slaves
themselves do; for if there is anywhere a rough, hard, and sordid piece
of work to be done, from which many are frightened by the labour and
loathsomeness of it, if not the despair of accomplishing it, they
cheerfully, and of their own accord, take that to their share; and by
that means, as they ease others very much, so they afflict themselves,
and spend their whole life in hard labour; and yet they do not value
themselves upon this, nor lessen other people's credit to raise their
own; but by their stooping to such servile employments, they are so far
from being despised, that they are so much the more esteemed by the
whole nation.

Of these there are two sorts; some live unmarried and chaste, and
abstain from eating any sort of flesh; and thus weaning themselves from
all the pleasures of the present life, which they account hurtful, they
pursue, even by the hardest and painfullest methods possible, that
blessedness which they hope for hereafter; and the nearer they approach
to it, they are the more cheerful and earnest in their endeavours after
it. Another sort of them is less willing to put themselves to much toil,
and therefore prefer a married state to a single one; and as they do not
deny themselves the pleasure of it, so they think the begetting of
children is a debt which they owe to human nature and to their country;
nor do they avoid any pleasure that does not hinder labour, and
therefore eat flesh so much the more willingly, as they find that by
this means they are the more able to work; the Utopians look upon these
as the wiser sect, but they esteem the others as the most holy. They
would indeed laugh at any man, who from the principles of reason would
prefer an unmarried state to a married, or a life of labour to an easy
life; but they reverence and admire such as do it from the motives of
religion. There is nothing in which they are more cautious than in
giving their opinion positively concerning any sort of religion. The men
that lead those severe lives are called in the language of their
country Brutheskas, which answers to those we call religious orders.

Their priests are men of eminent piety, and therefore they are but few,
for there are only thirteen in every town, one for every temple; but
when they go to war, seven of these go out with their forces, and seven
others are chosen to supply their room in their absence; but these enter
again upon their employment when they return; and those who served in
their absence attend upon the high-priest, till vacancies fall by death;
for there is one set over all the rest. They are chosen by the people as
the other magistrates are, by suffrages given in secret, for preventing
of factions; and when they are chosen they are consecrated by the
college of priests. The care of all sacred things, the worship of God,
and an inspection into the manners of the people, are committed to them.
It is a reproach to a man to be sent for by any of them, or for them to
speak to him in secret, for that always gives some suspicion. All that
is incumbent on them is only to exhort and admonish the people; for the
power of correcting and punishing ill men belongs wholly to the Prince
and to the other magistrates. The severest thing that the priest does,
is the excluding those that are desperately wicked from joining in their
worship. There is not any sort of punishment more dreaded by them than
this, for as it loads them with infamy, so it fills them with secret
horrors, such is their reverence to their religion; nor will their
bodies be long exempted from their share of trouble; for if they do not
very quickly satisfy the priests of the truth of their repentance, they
are seized on by the Senate, and punished for their impiety. The
education of youth belongs to the priests, yet they do not take so much
care of instructing them in letters as in forming their minds and
manners aright; they use all possible methods to infuse very early into
the tender and flexible minds of children such opinions as are both good
in themselves and will be useful to their country. For when deep
impressions of these things are made at that age, they follow men
through the whole course of their lives, and conduce much to preserve
the peace of the government, which suffers by nothing more than by vices
that rise out of ill opinions. The wives of their priests are the most
extraordinary women of the whole country; sometimes the women themselves
are made priests, though that falls out but seldom, nor are any but
ancient widows chosen into that order.

None of the magistrates have greater honour paid them than is paid the
priests; and if they should happen to commit any crime, they would not
be questioned for it. Their punishment is left to God, and to their own
consciences; for they do not think it lawful to lay hands on any man,
how wicked soever he is, that has been in a peculiar manner dedicated to
God; nor do they find any great inconvenience in this, both because they
have so few priests, and because these are chosen with much caution, so
that it must be a very unusual thing to find one who merely out of
regard to his virtue, and for his being esteemed a singularly good man,
was raised up to so great a dignity, degenerate into corruption and
vice. And if such a thing should fall out, for man is a changeable
creature, yet there being few priests, and these having no authority but
what rises out of the respect that is paid them, nothing of great
consequence to the public can proceed from the indemnity that the
priests enjoy.

They have indeed very few of them, lest greater numbers sharing in the
same honour might make the dignity of that order which they esteem so
highly to sink in its reputation. They also think it difficult to find
out many of such an exalted pitch of goodness, as to be equal to that
dignity which demands the exercise of more than ordinary virtues. Nor
are the priests in greater veneration among them than they are among
their neighbouring nations, as you may imagine by that which I think
gives occasion for it.

When the Utopians engage in battle, the priests who accompany them to
the war, apparelled in their sacred vestments, kneel down during the
action, in a place not far from the field; and lifting up their hands to
heaven, pray, first for peace, and then for victory to their own side,
and particularly that it may be gained without the effusion of much
blood on either side; and when the victory turns to their side, they run
in among their own men to restrain their fury; and if any of their
enemies see them, or call to them, they are preserved by that means; and
such as can come so near them as to touch their garments, have not only
their lives, but their fortunes secured to them; it is upon this account
that all the nations roundabout consider them so much, and treat them
with such reverence, that they have been often no less able to preserve
their own people from the fury of their enemies, than to save their
enemies from their rage; for it has sometimes fallen out, that when
their armies have been in disorder, and forced to fly, so that their
enemies were running upon the slaughter and spoil, the priests by
interposing have separated them from one another, and stopped the
effusion of more blood; so that by their mediation a peace has been
concluded on very reasonable terms; nor is there any nation about them
so fierce, cruel, or barbarous as not to look upon their persons as
sacred and inviolable.

The first and the last day of the month, and of the year, is a festival.
They measure their months by the course of the moon, and their years by
the course of the sun. The first days are called in their language the
Cynemernes, and the last the Trapemernes; which answers in our language
to the festival that begins, or ends the season.

They have magnificent temples, that are not only nobly built, but
extremely spacious; which is the more necessary, as they have so few of
them; they are a little dark within, which proceeds not from any error
in the architecture, but is done with design; for their priests think
that too much light dissipates the thoughts, and that a more moderate
degree of it both recollects the mind and raises devotion. Though there
are many different forms of religion among them, yet all these, how
various soever, agree in the main point, which is the worshipping the
Divine Essence; and therefore there is nothing to be seen or heard in
their temples in which the several persuasions among them may not agree;
for every sect performs those rites that are peculiar to it, in their
private houses, nor is there anything in the public worship that
contradicts the particular ways of those different sects. There are no
images for God in their temples, so that every one may represent Him to
his thoughts, according to the way of his religion; nor do they call
this one God by any other name but that of Mithras, which is the common
name by which they all express the Divine Essence, whatsoever otherwise
they think it to be; nor are there any prayers among them but such as
every one of them may use without prejudice to his own opinion.

They meet in their temples on the evening of the festival that concludes
a season: and not having yet broke their fast, they thank God for their
good success during that year or month, which is then at an end; and the
next day being that which begins the new season, they meet early in
their temples, to pray for the happy progress of all their affairs
during that period upon which they then enter. In the festival which
concludes the period, before they go to the temple, both wives and
children fall on their knees before their husbands or parents, and
confess everything in which they have either erred or failed in their
duty, and beg pardon for it. Thus all little discontents in families are
removed, that they may offer up their devotions with a pure and serene
mind; for they hold it a great impiety to enter upon them with disturbed
thoughts, or with a consciousness of their bearing hatred or anger in
their hearts to any person whatsoever; and think that they should become
liable to severe punishments if they presumed to offer sacrifices
without cleansing their hearts, and reconciling all their differences.
In the temples, the two sexes are separated, the men go to the right
hand, and the women to the left; and the males and females all place
themselves before the head and master or mistress of that family to
which they belong; so that those who have the government of them at home
may see their deportment in public; and they intermingle them so, that
the younger and the older may be set by one another; for if the younger
sort were all set together, they would perhaps trifle away that time too
much in which they ought to beget in themselves that religious dread of
the supreme Being, which is the greatest and almost the only incitement
to virtue.

They offer up no living creature in sacrifice, nor do they think it
suitable to the divine Being, from whose bounty it is that these
creatures have derived their lives, to take pleasure in their deaths, or
the offering up their blood. They burn incense and other sweet odours,
and have a great number of wax lights during their worship; not out of
any imagination that such oblations can add anything to the divine
Nature, which even prayers cannot do; but as it is a harmless and pure
way of worshipping God, so they think those sweet savours and lights,
together with some other ceremonies, by a secret and unaccountable
virtue, elevate men's souls, and inflame them with greater energy and
cheerfulness during the divine worship.

All the people appear in the temples in white garments, but the priest's
vestments are parti-coloured, and both the work and colours are
wonderful. They are made of no rich materials, for they are neither
embroidered nor set with precious stones, but are composed of the plumes
of several birds, laid together with so much art and so neatly, that the
true value of them is far beyond the costliest materials. They say that
in the ordering and placing those plumes some dark mysteries are
represented, which pass down among their priests in a secret tradition
concerning them; and that they are as hieroglyphics, putting them in
mind of the blessings that they have received from God, and of their
duties both to Him and to their neighbours. As soon as the priest
appears in those ornaments, they all fall prostrate on the ground, with
so much reverence and so deep a silence that such as look on cannot but
be struck with it, as if it were the effect of the appearance of a
Deity. After they have been for some time in this posture, they all
stand up, upon a sign given by the priest, and sing hymns to the honour
of God, some musical instruments playing all the while. These are quite
of another form than those used among us: but as many of them are much
sweeter than ours, so others are made use of by us. Yet in one thing
they very much exceed us; all their music, both vocal and instrumental,
is adapted to imitate and express the passions, and is so happily suited
to every occasion, that whether the subject of the hymn be cheerful or
formed to soothe or trouble the mind, or to express grief or remorse,
the music takes the impression of whatever is represented, affects and
kindles the passions, and works the sentiments deep into the hearts of
the hearers. When this is done, both priests and people offer up very
solemn prayers to God in a set form of words; and these are so composed,
that whatsoever is pronounced by the whole assembly may be likewise
applied by every man in particular to his own condition; in these they
acknowledge God to be the author and governor of the world, and the
fountain of all the good they receive, and therefore offer up to Him
their thanksgiving; and in particular bless Him for His goodness in
ordering it so, that they are born under the happiest government in the
world, and are of a religion which they hope is the truest of all
others: but if they are mistaken, and if there is either a better
government or a religion more acceptable to God, they implore His
goodness to let them know it, vowing that they resolve to follow Him
whithersoever He leads them. But if their government is the best, and
their religion the truest, then they pray that He may fortify them in
it, and bring all the world both to the same rules of life, and to the
same opinions concerning himself; unless, according to the
unsearchableness of His mind, He is pleased with a variety of religions.
Then they pray that God may give them an easy passage at last to
himself; not presuming to set limits to Him, how early or late it should
be; but if it may be wished for, without derogating from His supreme
authority, they desire to be quickly delivered, and to be taken to
himself, though by the most terrible kind of death, rather than to be
detained long from seeing Him by the most prosperous course of life.
When this prayer is ended, they all fall down again upon the ground, and
after a little while they rise up, go home to dinner, and spend the rest
of the day in diversion or military exercises.

Thus have I described to you, as particularly as I could, the
constitution of that commonwealth, which I do not only think the best in
the world, but indeed the only commonwealth that truly deserves that
name. In all other places it is visible, that while people talk of a
commonwealth, every man only seeks his own wealth; but there, where no
man has any property, all men zealously pursue the good of the public:
and, indeed, it is no wonder to see men act so differently; for in other
commonwealths, every man knows that unless he provides for himself, how
flourishing soever the commonwealth may be, he must die of hunger; so
that he sees the necessity of preferring his own concerns to the public;
but in Utopia, where every man has a right to everything, they all know
that if care is taken to keep the public stores full, no private man can
want anything; for among them there is no unequal distribution, so that
no man is poor, none in necessity; and though no man has anything, yet
they are all rich; for what can make a man so rich as to lead a serene
and cheerful life, free from anxieties; neither apprehending want
himself, nor vexed with the endless complaints of his wife? He is not
afraid of the misery of his children, nor is he contriving how to raise
a portion for his daughters, but is secure in this, that both he and his
wife, his children and grandchildren, to as many generations as he can
fancy, will all live both plentifully and happily; since among them
there is no less care taken of those who were once engaged in labour,
but grow afterwards unable to follow it, than there is elsewhere of
these that continue still employed. I would gladly hear any man compare
the justice that is among them with that of all other nations; among
whom, may I perish, if I see anything that looks either like justice or
equity: for what justice is there in this, that a nobleman, a goldsmith,
a banker, or any other man, that either does nothing at all, or at best
is employed in things that are of no use to the public, should live in
great luxury and splendour, upon what is so ill acquired; and a mean
man, a carter, a smith, or a ploughman, that works harder even than the
beasts themselves, and is employed in labours so necessary, that no
commonwealth could hold out a year without them, can only earn so poor a
livelihood, and must lead so miserable a life, that the condition of the
beasts is much better than theirs? For as the beasts do not work so
constantly, so they feed almost as well, and with more pleasure; and
have no anxiety about what is to come, whilst these men are depressed by
a barren and fruitless employment, and tormented with the apprehensions
of want in their old age; since that which they get by their daily
labour does but maintain them at present, and is consumed as fast as it
comes in, there is no overplus left to lay up for old age.

Is not that government both unjust and ungrateful, that is so prodigal
of its favours to those that are called gentlemen, or goldsmiths, or
such others who are idle, or live either by flattery, or by contriving
the arts of vain pleasure; and on the other hand, takes no care of those
of a meaner sort, such as ploughmen, colliers, and smiths, without whom
it could not subsist? But after the public has reaped all the advantage
of their service, and they come to be oppressed with age, sickness, and
want, all their labours and the good they have done is forgotten; and
all the recompense given them is that they are left to die in great
misery. The richer sort are often endeavouring to bring the hire of
labourers lower, not only by their fraudulent practices, but by the laws
which they procure to be made to that effect; so that though it is a
thing most unjust in itself, to give such small rewards to those who
deserve so well of the public, yet they have given those hardships the
name and colour of justice, by procuring laws to be made for regulating

Therefore I must say that, as I hope for mercy, I can have no other
notion of all the other governments that I see or know, than that they
are a conspiracy of the rich, who on pretence of managing the public
only pursue their private ends, and devise all the ways and arts they
can find out; first, that they may, without danger, preserve all that
they have so ill acquired, and then that they may engage the poor to
toil and labour for them at as low rates as possible, and oppress them
as much as they please. And if they can but prevail to get these
contrivances established by the show of public authority, which is
considered as the representative of the whole people, then they are
accounted laws. Yet these wicked men after they have, by a most
insatiable covetousness, divided that among themselves with which all
the rest might have been well supplied, are far from that happiness that
is enjoyed among the Utopians: for the use as well as the desire of
money being extinguished, much anxiety and great occasions of mischief
is cut off with it. And who does not see that the frauds, thefts,
robberies, quarrels, tumults, contentions, seditions, murders,
treacheries, and witchcrafts, which are indeed rather punished than
restrained by the severities of law, would all fall off, if money were
not any more valued by the world? Men's fears, solicitudes, cares,
labours, and watchings, would all perish in the same moment with the
value of money: even poverty itself, for the relief of which money seems
most necessary, would fall. But, in order to the apprehending this
aright, take one instance.

Consider any year that has been so unfruitful that many thousands have
died of hunger; and yet if at the end of that year a survey was made of
the granaries of all the rich men that have hoarded up the corn, it
would be found that there was enough among them to have prevented all
that consumption of men that perished in misery; and that if it had been
distributed among them, none would have felt the terrible effects of
that scarcity; so easy a thing would it be to supply all the necessities
of life, if that blessed thing called money, which is pretended to be
invented for procuring them, was not really the only thing that
obstructed their being procured!

I do not doubt but rich men are sensible of this, and that they well
know how much a greater happiness it is to want nothing necessary than
to abound in many superfluities, and to be rescued out of so much misery
than to abound with so much wealth; and I cannot think but the sense of
every man's interest, added to the authority of Christ's commands, who
as He was infinitely wise, knew what was best, and was not less good in
discovering it to us, would have drawn all the world over to the laws of
the Utopians, if pride, that plague of human nature, that source of so
much misery, did not hinder it; for this vice does not measure happiness
so much by its own conveniences as by the miseries of others; and would
not be satisfied with being thought a goddess, if none were left that
were miserable, over whom she might insult. Pride thinks its own
happiness shines the brighter by comparing it with the misfortunes of
other persons; that by displaying its own wealth, they may feel their
poverty the more sensibly. This is that infernal serpent that creeps
into the breasts of mortals, and possesses them too much to be easily
drawn out; and therefore I am glad that the Utopians have fallen upon
this form of government, in which I wish that all the world could be so
wise as to imitate them; for they have indeed laid down such a scheme
and foundation of policy, that as men live happily under it, so it is
like to be of great continuance; for they having rooted out of the minds
of their people all the seeds both of ambition and faction, there is no
danger of any commotion at home; which alone has been the ruin of many
states, that seemed otherwise to be well secured; but as long as they
live in peace at home, and are governed by such good laws, the envy of
all their neighbouring princes, who have often though in vain attempted
their ruin, will never be able to put their state into any commotion or

       *       *       *       *       *

When Raphael had thus made an end of speaking, though many things
occurred to me, both concerning the manners and laws of that people,
that seemed very absurd, as well as their way of making war, as in their
notions of religion and divine matters; together with several other
particulars, but chiefly what seemed the foundation of all the rest,
their living in common, without the use of money, by which all nobility,
magnificence, splendour, and majesty, which, according to the common
opinion, are the true ornaments of a nation, would be quite taken away;
yet since I perceived that Raphael was weary, and was not sure whether
he could easily bear contradiction, remembering that he had taken notice
of some who seemed to think they were bound in honour to support the
credit of their own wisdom, by finding out something to censure in all
other men's inventions, besides their own; I only commended their
constitution, and the account he had given of it in general; and so
taking him by the hand, carried him to supper, and told him I would find
out some other time for examining this subject more particularly, and
for discoursing more copiously upon it; and indeed I shall be glad to
embrace an opportunity of doing it. In the meanwhile, though it must be
confessed that he is both a very learned man, and a person who has
obtained a great knowledge of the world, I cannot perfectly agree to
everything he has related; however, there are many things in the
Commonwealth of Utopia that I rather wish, than hope, to see followed in
our governments.




We sailed from Peru, where we had continued by the space of one whole
year, for China and Japan, by the South Sea, taking with us victuals for
twelve months; and had good winds from the east, though soft and weak,
for five months' space and more. But then the wind came about, and
settled in the west for many days, so as we could make little or no way,
and were sometimes in purpose to turn back. But then again there arose
strong and great winds from the south, with a point east; which carried
us up, for all that we could do, towards the north: by which time our
victuals failed us, though we had made good spare of them. So that
finding ourselves, in the midst of the greatest wilderness of waters in
the world, without victual, we gave ourselves for lost men, and prepared
for death. Yet we did lift up our hearts and voices to God above, who
showeth His wonders in the deep; beseeching Him of his mercy, that as in
the beginning He discovered the face of the deep, and brought forth dry
land, so He would now discover land to us, that we might not perish. And
it came to pass, that the next day about evening we saw within a kenning
before us, towards the north, as it were thick clouds, which did put us
in some hope of land: knowing how that part of the South Sea was utterly
unknown: and might have islands or continents, that hitherto were not
come to light. Wherefore we bent out course thither, where we saw the
appearance of land, all that night: and in the dawning of next day, we
might plainly discern that it was a land flat to our sight, and full of
boscage, which made it show the more dark. And after an hour and a
half's sailing, we entered into a good haven, being the port of a fair
city. Not great indeed, but well built, and that gave a pleasant view
from the sea. And we thinking every minute long till we were on land,
came close to the shore and offered to land. But straightways we saw
divers of the people, with bastons in their hands, as it were forbidding
us to land: yet without any cries or fierceness, but only as warning us
off, by signs that they made. Whereupon being not a little discomfited,
we were advising with ourselves what we should do. During which time
there made forth to us a small boat, with about eight persons in it,
whereof one of them had in his hand a tipstaff of a yellow cane, tipped
at both ends with blue, who made aboard our ship, without any show of
distrust at all. And when he saw one of our number present himself
somewhat afore the rest, he drew forth a little scroll of parchment
(somewhat yellower than our parchment, and shining like the leaves of
writing tables, but otherwise soft and flexible), and delivered it to
our foremost man. In which scroll were written in ancient Hebrew, and in
ancient Greek, and in good Latin of the school, and in Spanish these
words: "Land ye not, none of you, and provide to be gone from this coast
within sixteen days, except you have further time given you; meanwhile,
if you want fresh water, or victual, or help for your sick, or that your
ship needeth repair, write down your wants, and you shall have that
which belongeth to mercy." This scroll was signed with a stamp of
cherubim's wings, not spread, but hanging downwards; and by them a
cross. This being delivered, the officer returned, and left only a
servant with us to receive our answer. Consulting hereupon amongst
ourselves, we were much perplexed. The denial of landing, and hasty
warning us away, troubled us much: on the other side, to find that the
people had languages, and were so full of humanity, did comfort us not a
little. And above all, the sign of the cross to that instrument, was to
us a great rejoicing, and as it were a certain presage of good. Our
answer was in the Spanish tongue, "That for our ship, it was well; for
we had rather met with calms and contrary winds, than any tempests. For
our sick, they were many, and in very ill case; so that if they were not
permitted to land, they ran in danger of their lives." Our other wants
we set down in particular, adding, "That we had some little store of
merchandise, which if it pleased them to deal for, it might supply our
wants, without being chargeable unto them." We offered some reward in
pistolets unto the servant, and a piece of crimson velvet to be
presented to the officer; but the servant took them not, nor would
scarce look upon them; and so left us, and went back in another little
boat which was sent for him.

About three hours after we had despatched our answer there came towards
us a person (as it seemed) of a place. He had on him a gown with wide
sleeves, of a kind of water chamolet, of an excellent azure colour, far
more glossy than ours: his under apparel was green, and so was his hat,
being in the form of a turban, daintily made, and not so huge as the
Turkish turbans; and the locks of his hair came down below the brims of
it. A reverend man was he to behold. He came in a boat, gilt in some
part of it, with four persons more only in that boat; and was followed
by another boat, wherein were some twenty. When he was come within a
flight-shot of our ship, signs were made to us that we should send forth
some to meet him upon the water, which we presently did in our
ship-boat, sending the principal man amongst us save one, and four of
our number with him. When we were come within six yards of their boat,
they called to us to stay, and not to approach farther, which we did.
And thereupon the man, whom I before described, stood up, and with a
loud voice in Spanish, asked, "Are ye Christians?" We answered, "We
were;" fearing the less, because of the cross we had seen in the
subscription. At which answer the said person lift up his right hand
towards heaven, and drew it softly to his mouth (which is the gesture
they use, when they thank God), and then said: "If ye will swear, all of
you, by the merits of the Saviour, that ye are no pirates; nor have shed
blood, lawfully nor unlawfully, within forty days past; you may have
license to come on land." We said, "We were all ready to take that
oath." Whereupon one of those that were with him, being (as it seemed) a
notary, made an entry of this act. Which done, another of the attendants
of the great person, which was with him in the same boat, after his lord
had spoken a little to him, said aloud: "My lord would have you know,
that it is not of pride, or greatness, that he cometh not aboard your
ship: but for that, in your answer, you declare that you have many sick
amongst you, he was warned by the conservator of health of the city that
he should keep a distance." We bowed ourselves towards him, and
answered: "We were his humble servants; and accounted for great honour
and singular humanity towards us, that which was already done: but hoped
well, that the nature of the sickness of our men was not infectious." So
he returned; and a while after came the notary to us aboard our ship;
holding in his hand a fruit of that country, like an orange, but of
colour between orange-tawny and scarlet: which cast a most excellent
odour. He used it (as it seemed) for a preservative against infection.
He gave us our oath, "By the name of Jesus, and His merits:" and after
told us, that the next day by six of the clock in the morning, we should
be sent to, and brought to the strangers' house (so he called it), where
we should be accommodated of things, both for our whole and for our
sick. So he left us; and when we offered him some pistolets, he
smiling, said, "He must not be twice paid for one labour:" meaning (as I
take it) that he had salary sufficient of the state for his service. For
(as I after learned) they call an officer that taketh rewards

The next morning early, there came to us the same officer that came to
us at first with his cane, and told us: "He came to conduct us to the
strangers' house: and that he had prevented the hour, because we might
have the whole day before us for our business. For (said he) if you will
follow my advice, there shall first go with me some few of you, and see
the place, and how it may be made convenient for you: and then you may
send for your sick, and the rest of your number, which ye will bring on
land." We thanked him, and said, "That his care which he took of
desolate strangers, God would reward." And so six of us went on land
with him; and when we were on land, he went before us, and turned to us,
and said, "He was but our servant, and our guide." He led us through
three fair streets; and all the way we went there were gathered some
people on both sides, standing in a row; but in so civil a fashion, as
if it had been, not to wonder at us, but to welcome us; and divers of
them, as we passed by them, put their arms a little abroad, which is
their gesture when they bid any welcome. The strangers' house is a fair
and spacious house, built of brick, of somewhat a bluer colour than our
brick; and with handsome windows, some of glass, some of a kind of
cambric oiled. He brought us first into a fair parlour above stairs, and
then asked us, "What number of persons we were? and how many sick?" We
answered, "We were in all (sick and whole) one and fifty persons,
whereof our sick were seventeen." He desired us to have patience a
little, and to stay till he came back to us, which was about an hour
after; and then he led us to see the chambers which were provided for
us, being in number nineteen. They having cast it (as it seemeth) that
four of those chambers, which were better than the rest, might receive
four of the principal men of our company; and lodge them alone by
themselves; and the other fifteen chambers were to lodge us, two and two
together. The chambers were handsome and cheerful chambers, and
furnished civilly. Then he led us to a long gallery, like a dorture,
where he showed us all along the one side (for the other side was but
wall and window) seventeen cells, very neat ones, having partitions of
cedar wood. Which gallery and cells, being in all forty (many more than
we needed), were instituted as an infirmary for sick persons. And he
told us withal, that as any of our sick waxed well, he might be removed
from his cell to a chamber: for which purpose there were set forth ten
spare chambers, besides the number we spake of before. This done, he
brought us back to the parlour, and lifting up his cane a little (as
they do when they give any charge or command), said to us, "Ye are to
know that the custom of the land requireth, that after this day and
to-morrow (which we give you for removing your people from your ship),
you are to keep within doors for three days. But let it not trouble you,
nor do not think yourselves restrained, but rather left to your rest and
ease. You shall want nothing; and there are six of our people appointed
to attend you for any business you may have abroad." We gave him thanks
with all affection and respect, and said, "God surely is manifested in
this land." We offered him also twenty pistolets; but he smiled, and
only said: "What? Twice paid!" And so he left us. Soon after our dinner
was served in; which was right good viands, both for bread and meat:
better than any collegiate diet that I have known in Europe. We had also
drink of three sorts, all wholesome and good; wine of the grape; a drink
of grain, such as is with us our ale, but more clear; and a kind of
cider made of a fruit of that country; a wonderful pleasing and
refreshing drink. Besides, there were brought in to us great store of
those scarlet oranges for our sick; which (they said) were an assured
remedy for sickness taken at sea. There was given us also a box of small
grey or whitish pills, which they wished our sick should take, one of
the pills every night before sleep; which (they said) would hasten their
recovery. The next day, after that our trouble of carriage and removing
of our men and goods out of our ship was somewhat settled and quiet, I
thought good to call our company together, and when they were assembled,
said unto them, "My dear friends, let us know ourselves, and how it
standeth with us. We are men cast on land, as Jonas was out of the
whale's belly, when we were as buried in the deep; and now we are on
land, we are but between death and life, for we are beyond both the old
world and the new; and whether ever we shall see Europe, God only
knoweth. It is a kind of miracle hath brought us hither, and it must be
little less that shall bring us hence. Therefore in regard of our
deliverance past, and our danger present and to come, let us look up to
God, and every man reform his own ways. Besides we are come here amongst
a Christian people, full of piety and humanity. Let us not bring that
confusion of face upon ourselves, as to show our vices or unworthiness
before them. Yet there is more, for they have by commandment (though in
form of courtesy) cloistered us within these walls for three days; who
knoweth whether it be not to take some taste of our manners and
conditions? And if they find them bad, to banish us straightways; if
good, to give us further time. For these men that they have given us for
attendance, may withal have an eye upon us. Therefore, for God's love,
and as we love the weal of our souls and bodies, let us so behave
ourselves, as we may be at peace with God, and may find grace in the
eyes of this people." Our company with one voice thanked me for my good
admonition, and promised me to live soberly and civilly, and without
giving any the least occasion of offence. So we spent our three days
joyfully, and without care, in expectation what would be done with us
when they were expired. During which time, we had every hour joy of the
amendment of our sick, who thought themselves cast into some divine pool
of healing, they mended so kindly and so fast.

The morrow after our three days were past, there came to us a new man,
that we had not seen before, clothed in blue as the former was, save
that his turban was white with a small red cross on the top. He had also
a tippet of fine linen. At his coming in, he did bend to us a little,
and put his arms abroad. We of our parts saluted him in a very lowly and
submissive manner; as looking that from him we should receive sentence
of life or death. He desired to speak with some few of us. Whereupon six
of us only stayed, and the rest avoided the room. He said, "I am by
office governor of this house of strangers, and by vocation I am a
Christian priest; and therefore am come to you, to offer you my service,
both as strangers, and chiefly as Christians. Some things I may tell
you, which I think you will not be unwilling to hear. The state hath
given you license to stay on land for the space of six weeks: and let it
not trouble you, if your occasions ask further time, for the law in this
point is not precise; and I do not doubt, but myself shall be able to
obtain for you such further time as shall be convenient. Ye shall also
understand, that the strangers' house is at this time rich, and much
aforehand; for it hath laid up revenue these thirty-seven years: for so
long it is since any stranger arrived in this part; and therefore take
ye no care; the state will defray you all the time you stay. Neither
shall you stay one day the less for that. As for any merchandise you
have brought, ye shall be well used, and have your return, either in
merchandise or in gold and silver: for to us it is all one. And if you
have any other request to make, hide it not; for ye shall find we will
not make your countenance to fall by the answer ye shall receive. Only
this I must tell you, that none of you must go above a karan (that is
with them a mile and a half) from the walls of the city, without special
leave." We answered, after we had looked a while upon one another,
admiring this gracious and parent-like usage, that we could not tell
what to say, for we wanted words to express our thanks; and his noble
free offers left us nothing to ask. It seemed to us, that we had before
us a picture of our salvation in heaven; for we that were a while since
in the jaws of death, were now brought into a place where we found
nothing but consolations. For the commandment laid upon us, we would not
fail to obey it, though it was impossible but our hearts should be
inflamed to tread further upon this happy and holy ground. We added,
that our tongues should first cleave to the roofs of our mouths, ere we
should forget, either this reverend person, or this whole nation, in our
prayers. We also most humbly besought him to accept of us as his true
servants, by as just a right as ever men on earth were bounden; laying
and presenting both our persons and all we had at his feet. He said, he
was a priest, and looked lot a priest's reward; which was our brotherly
love, and the good of our souls and bodies. So he went from us, not
without tears of tenderness in his eyes, and left us also confused with
joy and kindness, saying amongst ourselves, that we were come into a
land of angels, which did appear to us daily, and prevent us with
comforts, which we thought not of, much less expected.

The next day, about ten of the clock, the governor came to us again, and
after salutations, said familiarly, that he was come to visit us; and
called for a chair, and sat him down; and we being some ten of us (the
rest were of the meaner sort, or else gone abroad), sat down with him;
and when we were set, he began thus: "We of this island of Bensalem
(for so they called it in their language) have this: that by means of
our solitary situation, and of the laws of secrecy, which we have for
our travellers, and our rare admission of strangers; we know well most
part of the habitable world, and are ourselves unknown. Therefore
because he that knoweth least is fittest to ask questions, it is more
reason, for the entertainment of the time, that ye ask me questions,
than that I ask you." We answered, that we humbly thanked him, that he
would give us leave so to do. And that we conceived by the taste we had
already, that there was no worldly thing on earth more worthy to be
known than the state of that happy land. But above all (we said) since
that we were met from the several ends of the world, and hoped assuredly
that we should meet one day in the kingdom of heaven (for that we were
both parts Christians), we desired to know (in respect that land was so
remote, and so divided by vast and unknown seas from the land where our
Saviour walked on earth) who was the apostle of that nation, and how it
was converted to the faith? It appeared in his face, that he took great
contentment in this our question; he said, "Ye knit my heart to you, by
asking this question in the first place: for it showeth that you first
seek the kingdom of heaven: and I shall gladly, and briefly, satisfy
your demand.

"About twenty years after the ascension of our Saviour it came to pass,
that there was seen by the people of Renfusa (a city upon the eastern
coast of our island, within sight, the night was cloudy and calm), as it
might be some mile in the sea, a great pillar of light; not sharp, but
in form of a column, or cylinder, rising from the sea, a great way up
towards heaven; and on the top of it was seen a large cross of light,
more bright and resplendent than the body of the pillar. Upon which so
strange a spectacle, the people of the city gathered apace together upon
the sands, to wonder; and so after put themselves into a number of
small boats to go nearer to this marvellous sight. But when the boats
were come within about sixty yards of the pillar, they found themselves
all bound, and could go no further, yet so as they might move to go
about, but might not approach nearer; so as the boats stood all as in a
theatre, beholding this light, as an heavenly sign. It so fell out, that
there was in one of the boats one of the wise men of the Society of
Salomon's House; which house or college, my good brethren, is the very
eye of this kingdom, who having a while attentively and devoutly viewed
and contemplated this pillar and cross, fell down upon his face; and
then raised himself upon his knees, and lifting up his hands to heaven,
made his prayers in this manner:

"'Lord God of heaven and earth; thou hast vouchsafed of thy grace, to
those of our order to know thy works of creation, and true secrets of
them; and to discern (as far as appertaineth to the generations of men)
between divine miracles, works of Nature, works of art and impostures,
and illusions of all sorts. I do here acknowledge and testify before
this people, that the thing we now see before our eyes, is thy finger,
and a true miracle. And forasmuch as we learn in our books, that thou
never workest miracles, but to a divine and excellent end (for the laws
of Nature are thine own laws, and thou exceedest them not but upon great
cause), we most humbly beseech thee to prosper this great sign, and to
give us the interpretation and use of it in mercy; which thou dost in
some part secretly promise, by sending it unto us.'

"When he had made his prayer, he presently found the boat he was in
movable and unbound; whereas all the rest remained still fast; and
taking that for an assurance of leave to approach, he caused the boat to
be softly and with silence rowed towards the pillar; but ere he came
near it, the pillar and cross of light broke up, and cast itself abroad,
as it were into a firmament of many stars, which also vanished soon
after; and there was nothing left to be seen but a small ark, or chest
of cedar, dry and not wet at all with water, though it swam; and in the
fore-end of it, which was towards him, grew a small green branch of
palm; and when the wise man had taken it with all reverence into his
boat, it opened of itself, and there were found in it a book and a
letter, both written in fine parchment, and wrapped in sindons of linen.
The book contained all the canonical books of the Old and New Testament,
according as you have them (for we know well what the churches with you
receive), and the Apocalypse itself; and some other books of the New
Testament, which were not at that time written, were nevertheless in the
book. And for the letter, it was in these words:

"'I Bartholomew, a servant of the Highest, and apostle of Jesus Christ,
was warned by an angel that appeared to me in a vision of glory, that I
should commit this ark to the floods of the sea. Therefore I do testify
and declare unto that people where God shall ordain this ark to come to
land, that in the same day is come unto them salvation and peace, and
goodwill from the Father, and from the Lord Jesus.'

"There was also in both these writings, as well the book as the letter,
wrought a great miracle, conform to that of the apostles, in the
original gift of tongues. For there being at that time, in this land,
Hebrews, Persians, and Indians, besides the natives, every one read upon
the book and letter, as if they had been written in his own language.
And thus was this land saved from infidelity (as the remain of the old
world was from water) by an ark, through the apostolical and miraculous
evangelism of St. Bartholomew." And here he paused, and a messenger
came, and called him forth from us. So this was all that passed in that

The next day, the same governor came again to us, immediately after
dinner, and excused himself, saying, "That the day before he was called
from us somewhat abruptly, but now he would make us amends, and spend
time with us, if we held his company and conference agreeable." We
answered, that we held it so agreeable and pleasing to us, as we forgot
both dangers past, and fears to come, for the time we heard him speak;
and that we thought an hour spent with him was worth years of our former
life. He bowed himself a little to us, and after we were set again, he
said, "Well, the questions are on your part." One of our number said,
after a little pause, that there was a matter we were no less desirous
to know than fearful to ask, lest we might presume too far. But
encouraged by his rare humanity towards us (that could scarce think
ourselves strangers, being his vowed and professed servants), we would
take the hardness to propound it; humbly beseeching him, if he thought
it not fit to be answered, that he would pardon it, though he rejected
it. We said, we well observed those his words, which he formerly spake,
that this happy island, where we now stood, was known to few, and yet
knew most of the nations of the world, which we found to be true,
considering they had the languages of Europe, and knew much of our state
and business; and yet we in Europe (notwithstanding all the remote
discoveries and navigations of this last age) never heard any of the
least inkling or glimpse of this island. This we found wonderful
strange; for that all nations have interknowledge one of another, either
by voyage into foreign parts, or by strangers that come to them; and
though the traveller into a foreign country doth commonly know more by
the eye than he that stayeth at home can by relation of the traveller;
yet both ways suffice to make a mutual knowledge, in some degree, on
both parts. But for this island, we never heard tell of any ship of
theirs, that had been seen to arrive upon any shore of Europe; no, nor
of either the East or West Indies, nor yet of any ship of any other
part of the world, that had made return for them. And yet the marvel
rested not in this. For the situation of it (as his lordship said) in
the secret conclave of such a vast sea might cause it. But then, that
they should have knowledge of the languages, books, affairs, of those
that lie such a distance from them, it was a thing we could not tell
what to make of; for that it seemed to us a condition and propriety of
divine powers and beings, to be hidden and unseen to others, and yet to
have others open, and as in a light to them. At this speech the governor
gave a gracious smile and said, that we did well to ask pardon for this
question we now asked, for that it imported, as if we thought this land
a land of magicians, that sent forth spirits of the air into all parts,
to bring them news and intelligence of other countries. It was answered
by us all, in all possible humbleness, but yet with a countenance taking
knowledge, that we knew that he spake it but merrily. That we were apt
enough to think, there was somewhat supernatural in this island, but yet
rather as angelical than magical. But to let his lordship know truly
what it was that made us tender and doubtful to ask this question, it
was not any such conceit, but because we remembered he had given a touch
in his former speech, that this land had laws of secrecy touching
strangers. To this he said, "You remember it aright; and therefore in
that I shall say to you, I must reserve some particulars, which it is
not lawful for me to reveal, but there will be enough left to give you

"You shall understand (that which perhaps you will scarce think
credible) that about three thousand years ago, or somewhat more, the
navigation of the world (especially for remote voyages) was greater than
at this day. Do not think with yourselves, that I know not how much it
is increased with you, within these threescore years; I know it well,
and yet I say, greater then than now; whether it was, that the example
of the ark, that saved the remnant of men from the universal deluge,
gave men confidence to adventure upon the waters, or what it was; but
such is the truth. The Phoenicians, and especially the Tyrians, had
great fleets; so had the Carthaginians their colony, which is yet
farther west. Toward the east the shipping of Egypt, and of Palestine,
was likewise great. China also, and the great Atlantis (that you call
America), which have now but junks and canoes, abounded then in tall
ships. This island (as appeareth by faithful registers of those times)
had then fifteen hundred strong ships, of great content. Of all this
there is with you sparing memory, or none; but we have large knowledge

"At that time, this land was known and frequented by the ships and
vessels of all the nations before named. And (as it cometh to pass) they
had many times men of other countries, that were no sailors, that came
with them; as Persians, Chaldeans, Arabians, so as almost all nations of
might and fame resorted hither; of whom we have some stirps and little
tribes with us at this day. And for our own ships, they went sundry
voyages, as well to your straits, which you call the Pillars of
Hercules, as to other parts in the Atlantic and Mediterranean Seas; as
to Paguin (which is the same with Cambalaine) and Quinzy, upon the
Oriental Seas, as far as to the borders of the East Tartary.

"At the same time, and an age after or more, the inhabitants of the
great Atlantis did flourish. For though the narration and description
which is made by a great man with you, that the descendants of Neptune
planted there, and of the magnificent temple, palace, city and hill; and
the manifold streams of goodly navigable rivers, which as so many chains
environed the same site and temple; and the several degrees of ascent,
whereby men did climb up to the same, as if it had been a Scala Cœli;
be all poetical and fabulous; yet so much is true, that the said country
of Atlantis, as well that of Peru, then called Coya, as that of Mexico,
then named Tyrambel, were mighty and proud kingdoms, in arms, shipping,
and riches; so mighty, as at one time, or at least within the space of
ten years, they both made two great expeditions; they of Tyrambel
through the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea; and they of Coya, through
the South Sea upon this our island; and for the former of these, which
was into Europe, the same author amongst you, as it seemeth, had some
relation from the Egyptian priest, whom he citeth. For assuredly, such a
thing there was. But whether it were the ancient Athenians that had the
glory of the repulse and resistance of those forces, I can say nothing;
but certain it is there never came back either ship or man from that
voyage. Neither had the other voyage of those of Coya upon us had better
fortune, if they had not met with enemies of greater clemency. For the
king of this island, by name Altabin, a wise man and a great warrior,
knowing well both his own strength and that of his enemies, handled the
matter so, as he cut off their land forces from their ships, and
entoiled both their navy and their camp with a greater power than
theirs, both by sea and land; and compelled them to render themselves
without striking a stroke; and after they were at his mercy, contenting
himself only with their oath, that they should no more bear arms against
him, dismissed them all in safety. But the divine revenge overtook not
long after those proud enterprises. For within less than the space of
one hundred years the Great Atlantis was utterly lost and destroyed; not
by a great earthquake, as your man saith, for that whole tract is little
subject to earthquakes, but by a particular deluge, or inundation; those
countries having at this day far greater rivers, and far higher
mountains to pour down waters, than any part of the old world. But it is
true that the same inundation was not deep, not past forty foot, in most
places, from the ground, so that although it destroyed man and beast
generally, yet some few wild inhabitants of the wood escaped. Birds also
were saved by flying to the high trees and woods. For as for men,
although they had buildings in many places higher than the depth of the
water, yet that inundation, though it were shallow, had a long
continuance, whereby they of the vale that were not drowned perished for
want of food, and other things necessary. So as marvel you not at the
thin population of America, nor at the rudeness and ignorance of the
people; for you must account your inhabitants of America as a young
people, younger a thousand years at the least than the rest of the
world, for that there was so much time between the universal flood and
their particular inundation. For the poor remnant of human seed which
remained in their mountains, peopled the country again slowly, by little
and little, and being simple and a savage people (not like Noah and his
sons, which was the chief family of the earth), they were not able to
leave letters, arts, and civility to their posterity; and having
likewise in their mountainous habitations been used, in respect of the
extreme cold of those regions, to clothe themselves with the skins of
tigers, bears, and great hairy goats, that they have in those parts;
when after they came down into the valley, and found the intolerable
heats which are there, and knew no means of lighter apparel, they were
forced to begin the custom of going naked, which continueth at this day.
Only they take great pride and delight in the feathers of birds, and
this also they took from those their ancestors of the mountains, who
were invited unto it, by the infinite flight of birds, that came up to
the high grounds, while the waters stood below. So you see, by this main
accident of time, we lost our traffic with the Americans, with whom of
all others, in regard they lay nearest to us, we had most commerce. As
for the other parts of the world, it is most manifest that in the ages
following (whether it were in respect of wars, or by a natural
revolution of time) navigation did everywhere greatly decay, and
specially far voyages (the rather by the use of galleys, and such
vessels as could hardly brook the ocean) were altogether left and
omitted. So then, that part of intercourse which could be from other
nations, to sail to us, you see how it hath long since ceased; except it
were by some rare accident, as this of yours. But now of the cessation
of that other part of intercourse, which might be by our sailing to
other nations, I must yield you some other cause. For I cannot say, if I
shall say truly, but our shipping, for number, strength, mariners,
pilots, and all things that appertain to navigation, is as great as
ever; and therefore why we should sit at home, I shall now give you an
account by itself; and it will draw nearer, to give you satisfaction, to
your principal question.

"There reigned in this island, about 1,900 years ago, a king, whose
memory of all others we most adore; not superstitiously, but as a divine
instrument, though a mortal man: his name was Salomona; and we esteem
him as the lawgiver of our nation. This king had a large heart,
inscrutable for good; and was wholly bent to make his kingdom and people
happy. He therefore taking into consideration how sufficient and
substantive this land was, to maintain itself without any aid at all of
the foreigner; being 5,000 miles in circuit, and of rare fertility of
soil, in the greatest part thereof; and finding also the shipping of
this country might be plentifully set on work, both by fishing and by
transportations from port to port, and likewise by sailing unto some
small islands that are not far from us, and are under the crown and laws
of this state; and recalling into his memory the happy and flourishing
estate wherein this land then was, so as it might be a thousand ways
altered to the worse, but scarce any one way to the better; though
nothing wanted to his noble and heroical intentions, but only (as far as
human foresight might reach) to give perpetuity to that which was in
his time so happily established, therefore amongst his other fundamental
laws of this kingdom he did ordain the interdicts and prohibitions which
we have touching entrance of strangers; which at that time (though it
was after the calamity of America) was frequent; doubting novelties and
commixture of manners. It is true, the like law against the admission of
strangers without license is an ancient law in the kingdom of China, and
yet continued in use. But there it is a poor thing; and hath made them a
curious, ignorant, fearful foolish nation. But our lawgiver made his law
of another temper. For first, he hath preserved all points of humanity,
in taking order and making provision for the relief of strangers
distressed; whereof you have tasted." At which speech (as reason was) we
all rose up, and bowed ourselves. He went on: "That king also still
desiring to join humanity and policy together; and thinking it against
humanity, to detain strangers here against their wills; and against
policy, that they should return, and discover their knowledge of this
estate, he took this course; he did ordain, that of the strangers that
should be permitted to land, as many at all times might depart as many
as would; but as many as would stay, should have very good conditions,
and means to live from the state. Wherein he saw so far, that now in so
many ages since the prohibition, we have memory not of one ship that
ever returned, and but of thirteen persons only, at several times, that
chose to return in our bottoms. What those few that returned may have
reported abroad, I know not. But you must think, whatsoever they have
said, could be taken where they came but for a dream. Now for our
travelling from hence into parts abroad, our lawgiver thought fit
altogether to restrain it. So is it not in China. For the Chinese sail
where they will, or can; which showeth, that their law of keeping out
strangers is a law of pusillanimity and fear. But this restraint of ours
hath one only exception, which is admirable; preserving the good which
cometh by communicating with strangers, and avoiding the hurt: and I
will now open it to you. And here I shall seem a little to digress, but
you will by-and-by find it pertinent. Ye shall understand, my dear
friends, that amongst the excellent acts of that king, one above all
hath the pre-eminence. It was the erection and institution of an order,
or society, which we call Salomon's House; the noblest foundation, as we
think, that ever was upon the earth, and the lantern of this kingdom. It
is dedicated to the study of the works and creatures of God. Some think
it beareth the founder's name a little corrupted, as if it should be
Solomon's House. But the records write it as it is spoken. So as I take
it to be denominate of the king of the Hebrews, which is famous with
you, and no strangers to us; for we have some parts of his works which
with you are lost; namely, that natural history which he wrote of all
plants, from the cedar of Libanus to the moss that groweth out of the
wall; and of all things that have life and motion. This maketh me think
that our king finding himself to symbolize, in many things, with that
king of the Hebrews, which lived many years before him, honoured him
with the title of this foundation. And I am the rather induced to be of
this opinion, for that I find in ancient records, this order or society
is sometimes called Solomon's House, and sometimes the College of the
Six Days' Works; whereby I am satisfied that our excellent king had
learned from the Hebrews that God had created the world, and all that
therein is, within six days: and therefore he instituted that house, for
the finding out of the true nature of all things, whereby God might have
the more glory in the workmanship of them, and men the more fruit in
their use of them, did give it also that second name. But now to come to
our present purpose. When the king had forbidden to all his people
navigation into any part that was not under his crown, he made
nevertheless this ordinance; that every twelve years there should be
set forth out of this kingdom, two ships, appointed to several voyages;
that in either of these ships there should be a mission of three of the
fellows or brethren of Salomon's House, whose errand was only to give us
knowledge of the affairs and state of those countries to which they were
designed; and especially of the sciences, arts, manufactures, and
inventions of all the world; and withal to bring unto us books,
instruments, and patterns in every kind: that the ships, after they had
landed the brethren, should return; and that the brethren should stay
abroad till the new mission, the ships are not otherwise fraught than
with store of victuals, and good quantity of treasure to remain with the
brethren, for the buying of such things, and rewarding of such persons,
as they should think fit. Now for me to tell you how the vulgar sort of
mariners are contained from being discovered at land, and how they that
must be put on shore for any time, colour themselves under the names of
other nations, and to what places these voyages have been designed; and
what places of rendezvous are appointed for the new missions, and the
like circumstances of the practice, I may not do it, neither is it much
to your desire. But thus you see we maintain a trade, not for gold,
silver, or jewels, nor for silks, nor for spices, nor any other
commodity of matter; but only for God's first creature, which was light;
to have light, I say, of the growth of all parts of the world." And when
he had said this, he was silent, and so were we all; for indeed we were
all astonished to hear so strange things so probably told. And he
perceiving that we were willing to say somewhat, but had it not ready,
in great courtesy took us off, and descended to ask us questions of our
voyage and fortunes, and in the end concluded that we might do well to
think with ourselves, what time of stay we would demand of the state,
and bade us not to scant ourselves; for he would procure such time as we
desired. Whereupon we all rose up and presented ourselves to kiss the
skirt of his tippet, but he would not suffer us, and so took his leave.
But when it came once amongst our people, that the state used to offer
conditions to strangers that would stay, we had work enough to get any
of our men to look to our ship, and to keep them from going presently to
the governor, to crave conditions; but with much ado we restrained them,
till we might agree what course to take.

We took ourselves now for freemen, seeing there was no danger of our
utter perdition, and lived most joyfully, going abroad and seeing what
was to be seen in the city and places adjacent, within our tedder; and
obtaining acquaintance with many of the city, not of the meanest
quality, at whose hands we found such humanity, and such a freedom and
desire to take strangers, as it were, into their bosom, as was enough to
make us forget all that was dear to us in our own countries; and
continually we met with many things, right worthy of observation and
relation; as indeed, if there be a mirror in the world, worthy to hold
men's eyes, it is that country. One day there were two of our company
bidden to a feast of the family, as they call it; a most natural, pious,
and reverend custom it is, showing that nation to be compounded of all
goodness. This is the manner of it; it is granted to any man that shall
live to see thirty persons descended of his body, alive together, and
all above three years old, to make this feast, which is done at the cost
of the state. The father of the family, whom they call the Tirsan, two
days before the feast, taketh to him three of such friends as he liketh
to choose, and is assisted also by the governor of the city or place
where the feast is celebrated, and all the persons of the family, of
both sexes, are summoned to attend him. These two days the Tirsan
sitteth in consultation, concerning the good estate of the family.
There, if there be any discord or suits between any of the family, they
are compounded and appeased. There, if any of the family be distressed
or decayed, order is taken for their relief, and competent means to
live. There, if any be subject to vice, or take ill courses, they are
reproved and censured. So likewise direction is given touching
marriages, and the courses of life which any of them should take, with
divers other the like orders and advices. The governor assisteth to the
end, to put in execution, by his public authority, the decrees and
orders of the Tirsan, if they should be disobeyed, though that seldom
needeth; such reverence and obedience they give to the order of Nature.
The Tirsan doth also then ever choose one man from amongst his sons, to
live in house with him; who is called ever after the Son of the Vine.
The reason will hereafter appear. On the feast day, the father or Tirsan
cometh forth after divine service into a large room where the feast is
celebrated; which room hath an half-pace at the upper end. Against the
wall, in the middle of the half-pace, is a chair placed for him, with a
table and carpet before it. Over the chair is a state, made round or
oval, and it is of ivy; an ivy somewhat whiter than ours, like the leaf
of a silver asp, but more shining; for it is green all winter. And the
state is curiously wrought with silver and silk of divers colours,
broiding or binding in the ivy; and is ever of the work of some of the
daughters of the family; and veiled over at the top, with a fine net of
silk and silver. But the substance of it is true ivy; whereof after it
is taken down, the friends of the family are desirous to have some leaf
or sprig to keep. The Tirsan cometh forth with all his generation or
lineage, the males before him, and the females following him; and if
there be a mother, from whose body the whole lineage is descended, there
is a traverse placed in a loft above on the right hand of the chair,
with a privy door, and a carved window of glass, leaded with gold and
blue; where she sitteth, but is not seen. When the Tirsan is come forth,
he sitteth down in the chair; and all the lineage place themselves
against the wall, both at his back, and upon the return of the
half-pace, in order of their years, without difference of sex, and stand
upon their feet. When he is set, the room being always full of company,
but well kept and without disorder, after some pause there cometh in
from the lower end of the room a Taratan (which is as much as an
herald), and on either side of him two young lads: whereof one carrieth
a scroll of their shining yellow parchment, and the other a cluster of
grapes of gold, with a long foot or stalk. The herald and children are
clothed with mantles of sea-water green satin; but the herald's mantle
is streamed with gold, and hath a train. Then the herald with three
curtsies, or rather inclinations, cometh up as far as the half-pace, and
there first taketh into his hand the scroll. This scroll is the king's
charter, containing gift of revenue, and many privileges, exemptions,
and points of honour, granted to the father of the family; and it is
ever styled and directed, "To such an one, our well-beloved friend and
creditor," which is a title proper only to this case. For they say, the
king is debtor to no man, but for propagation of his subjects; the seal
set to the king's charter is the king's image, embossed or moulded in
gold; and though such charters be expedited of course, and as of right,
yet they are varied by discretion, according to the number and dignity
of the family. This charter the herald readeth aloud; and while it is
read, the father or Tirsan standeth up, supported by two of his sons,
such as he chooseth. Then the herald mounteth the half-pace, and
delivereth the charter into his hand: and with that there is an
acclamation, by all that are present, in their language, which is thus
much, "Happy are the people of Bensalem." Then the herald taketh into
his hand from the other child the cluster of grapes, which is of gold;
both the stalk, and the grapes. But the grapes are daintily enamelled;
and if the males of the family be the greater number, the grapes are
enamelled purple, with a little sun set on the top; if the females, then
they are enamelled into a greenish yellow, with a crescent on the top.
The grapes are in number as many as there are descendants of the family.
This golden cluster the herald delivereth also to the Tirsan; who
presently delivereth it over to that son that he had formerly chosen, to
be in house with him: who beareth it before his father, as an ensign of
honour, when he goeth in public ever after; and is thereupon called the
Son of the Vine. After this ceremony ended the father or Tirsan
retireth; and after some time cometh forth again to dinner, where he
sitteth alone under the state, as before; and none of his descendants
sit with him, of what degree or dignity so ever, except he hap to be of
Salomon's House. He is served only by his own children, such as are
male; who perform unto him all service of the table upon the knee, and
the women only stand about him, leaning against the wall. The room below
his half-pace hath tables on the sides for the guests that are bidden;
who are served with great and comely order; and towards the end of
dinner (which in the greatest feasts with them lasteth never above an
hour and a half) there is an hymn sung, varied according to the
invention of him that composeth it (for they have excellent poesy), but
the subject of it is always the praises of Adam, and Noah, and Abraham;
whereof the former two peopled the world, and the last was the father of
the faithful: concluding ever with a thanksgiving for the nativity of
our Saviour, in whose birth the births of all are only blessed. Dinner
being done, the Tirsan retireth again; and having withdrawn himself
alone into a place, where he maketh some private prayers, he cometh
forth the third time, to give the blessing; with all his descendants,
who stand about him as at the first. Then he calleth them forth by one
and by one, by name as he pleaseth, though seldom the order of age be
inverted. The person that is called (the table being before removed)
kneeleth down before the chair, and the father layeth his hand upon his
head, or her head, and giveth the blessing in these words: "Son of
Bensalem (or daughter of Bensalem), thy father saith it; the man by whom
thou hast breath and life speaketh the word; the blessing of the
everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, and the Holy Dove be upon thee,
and make the days of thy pilgrimage good and many." This he saith to
every of them; and that done, if there be any of his sons of eminent
merit and virtue, so they be not above two, he calleth for them again,
and saith, laying his arm over their shoulders, they standing: "Sons, it
is well you are born, give God the praise, and persevere to the end."
And withal delivereth to either of them a jewel, made in the figure of
an ear of wheat, which they ever after wear in the front of their
turban, or hat; this done, they fall to music and dances, and other
recreations, after their manner, for the rest of the day. This is the
full order of that feast.

By that time six or seven days were spent, I was fallen into straight
acquaintance with a merchant of that city, whose name was Joabin. He was
a Jew and circumcised; for they have some few stirps of Jews yet
remaining among them, whom they leave to their own religion. Which they
may the better do, because they are of a far differing disposition from
the Jews in other parts. For whereas they hate the name of Christ, and
have a secret inbred rancour against the people amongst whom they live;
these, contrariwise, give unto our Saviour many high attributes, and
love the nation of Bensalem extremely. Surely this man of whom I speak
would ever acknowledge that Christ was born of a Virgin; and that He was
more than a man; and he would tell how God made Him ruler of the
seraphims, which guard His throne; and they call Him also the Milken
Way, and the Eliah of the Messiah, and many other high names, which
though they be inferior to His divine majesty, yet they are far from the
language of other Jews. And for the country of Bensalem, this man would
make no end of commending it, being desirous by tradition among the Jews
there to have it believed that the people thereof were of the
generations of Abraham, by another son, whom they call Nachoran; and
that Moses by a secret cabala ordained the laws of Bensalem which they
now use; and that when the Messias should come, and sit in His throne at
Hierusalem, the King of Bensalem should sit at His feet, whereas other
kings should keep a great distance. But yet setting aside these Jewish
dreams, the man was a wise man and learned, and of great policy, and
excellently seen in the laws and customs of that nation. Amongst other
discourses one day I told him, I was much affected with the relation I
had from some of the company of their custom in holding the feast of the
family, for that, methought, I had never heard of a solemnity wherein
Nature did so much preside. And because propagation of families
proceedeth from the nuptial copulation, I desired to know of him what
laws and customs they had concerning marriage, and whether they kept
marriage well, and whether they were tied to one wife? For that where
population is so much affected, and such as with them it seemed to be,
there is commonly permission of plurality of wives. To this he said:
"You have reason for to commend that excellent institution of the feast
of the family; and indeed we have experience, that those families that
are partakers of the blessings of that feast, do flourish and prosper
ever after, in an extraordinary manner. But hear me now, and I will tell
you what I know. You shall understand that there is not under the
heavens so chaste a nation as this of Bensalem, nor so free from all
pollution or foulness. It is the virgin of the world; I remember, I have
read in one of your European books, of an holy hermit amongst you, that
desired to see the spirit of fornication, and there appeared to him a
little foul ugly Ethiope; but if he had desired to see the spirit of
chastity of Bensalem, it would have appeared to him in the likeness of a
fair beautiful cherubim. For there is nothing, amongst mortal men, more
fair and admirable than the chaste minds of this people. Know,
therefore, that with them there are no stews, no dissolute houses, no
courtezans, nor anything of that kind. Nay, they wonder, with
detestation, at you in Europe, which permit such things. They say ye
have put marriage out of office; for marriage is ordained a remedy for
unlawful concupiscence; and natural concupiscence seemeth as a spur to
marriage. But when men have at hand a remedy, more agreeable to their
corrupt will, marriage is almost expulsed. And therefore there are with
you seen infinite men that marry not, but choose rather a libertine and
impure single life, than to be yoked in marriage; and many that do
marry, marry late, when the prime and strength of their years is past.
And when they do marry, what is marriage to them but a very bargain;
wherein is sought alliance, or portion, or reputation, with some desire
(almost indifferent) of issue; and not the faithful nuptial union of man
and wife, that was first instituted. Neither is it possible, that those
that have cast away so basely so much of their strength, should greatly
esteem children (being of the same matter) as chaste men do. So likewise
during marriage is the case much amended, as it ought to be if those
things were tolerated only for necessity; no, but they remain still as a
very affront to marriage. The haunting of those dissolute places, or
resort to courtezans, are no more punished in married men than in
bachelors. And the depraved custom of change, and the delight in
meretricious embracements (where sin is turned into art), maketh
marriage a dull thing, and a kind of imposition or tax. They hear you
defend these things, as done to avoid greater evils; as advoutries,
deflowering of virgins, unnatural lust, and the like. But they say, this
is a preposterous wisdom; and they call it Lot's offer, who to save his
guests from abusing, offered his daughters; nay, they say further, that
there is little gained in this; for that the same vices and appetites do
still remain and abound, unlawful lust being like a furnace, that if you
stop the flames altogether it will quench, but if you give it any vent
it will rage; as for masculine love, they have no touch of it; and yet
there are not so faithful and inviolate friendships in the world again
as are there, and to speak generally (as I said before) I have not read
of any such chastity in any people as theirs. And their usual saying is
that whosoever is unchaste cannot reverence himself; and they say that
the reverence of a man's self, is, next religion, the chiefest bridle of
all vices." And when he had said this the good Jew paused a little;
whereupon I, far more willing to hear him speak on than to speak myself;
yet thinking it decent that upon his pause of speech I should not be
altogether silent, said only this; that I would say to him, as the widow
of Sarepta said to Elias: "that he was come to bring to memory our
sins;" and that I confess the righteousness of Bensalem was greater than
the righteousness of Europe. At which speech he bowed his head, and went
on this manner: "They have also many wise and excellent laws, touching
marriage. They allow no polygamy. They have ordained that none do
intermarry, or contract, until a month be past from their first
interview. Marriage without consent of parents they do not make void,
but they mulct it in the inheritors; for the children of such marriages
are not admitted to inherit above a third part of their parents'
inheritance. I have read in a book of one of your men, of a feigned
commonwealth, where the married couple are permitted, before they
contract, to see one another naked. This they dislike; for they think it
a scorn to give a refusal after so familiar knowledge; but because of
many hidden defects in men and women's bodies, they have a more civil
way; for they have near every town a couple of pools (which they call
Adam and Eve's pools), where it is permitted to one of the friends of
the man, and another of the friends of the woman, to see them severally
bathe naked."

And as we were thus in conference, there came one that seemed to be a
messenger, in a rich huke, that spake with the Jew; whereupon he turned
to me, and said, "You will pardon me, for I am commanded away in haste."
The next morning he came to me again, joyful as it seemed, and said,
"There is word come to the governor of the city, that one of the fathers
of Salomon's House will be here this day seven-night; we have seen none
of them this dozen years. His coming is in state; but the cause of his
coming is secret. I will provide you and your fellows of a good standing
to see his entry." I thanked him, and told him I was most glad of the
news. The day being come he made his entry. He was a man of middle
stature and age, comely of person, and had an aspect as if he pitied
men. He was clothed in a robe of fine black cloth with wide sleeves, and
a cape: his under garment was of excellent white linen down to the foot,
girt with a girdle of the same; and a sindon or tippet of the same about
his neck. He had gloves that were curious, and set with stone; and shoes
of peach-coloured velvet. His neck was bare to the shoulders. His hat
was like a helmet, or Spanish montero; and his locks curled below it
decently; they were of colour brown. His beard was cut round and of the
same colour with his hair, somewhat lighter. He was carried in a rich
chariot, without wheels, litter-wise, with two horses at either end,
richly trapped in blue velvet embroidered; and two footmen on each side
in the like attire. The chariot was all of cedar, gilt and adorned with
crystal; save that the fore-end had panels of sapphires, set in borders
of gold, and the hinder-end the like of emeralds of the Peru colour.
There was also a sun of gold, radiant upon the top, in the midst; and on
the top before a small cherub of gold, with wings displayed. The chariot
was covered with cloth of gold tissued upon blue. He had before him
fifty attendants, young men all, in white satin loose coats up to the
mid-leg, and stockings of white silk; and shoes of blue velvet; and hats
of blue velvet, with fine plumes of divers colours, set round like
hat-bands. Next before the chariot went two men, bare-headed, in linen
garments down to the foot, girt, and shoes of blue velvet, who carried
the one a crosier, the other a pastoral staff like a sheep-hook; neither
of them of metal, but the crosier of balm-wood, the pastoral staff of
cedar. Horsemen he had none, neither before nor behind his chariot; as
it seemeth, to avoid all tumult and trouble. Behind his chariot went all
the officers and principals of the companies of the city. He sat alone,
upon cushions, of a kind of excellent plush, blue; and under his foot
curious carpets of silk of divers colours, like the Persian, but far
finer. He held up his bare hand, as he went, as blessing the people, but
in silence. The street was wonderfully well kept; so that there was
never any army had their men stand in better battle-array than the
people stood. The windows likewise were not crowded, but every one stood
in them, as if they had been placed. When the show was passed, the Jew
said to me, "I shall not be able to attend you as I would, in regard of
some charge the city hath laid upon me for the entertaining of this
great person." Three days after the Jew came to me again, and said, "Ye
are happy men; for the father of Salomon's House taketh knowledge of
your being here, and commanded me to tell you, that he will admit all
your company to his presence, and have private conference with one of
you, that ye shall choose; and for this hath appointed the next day
after to-morrow. And because he meaneth to give you his blessing, he
hath appointed it in the forenoon." We came at our day and hour, and I
was chosen by my fellows for the private access. We found him in a fair
chamber, richly hanged, and carpeted under foot, without any degrees to
the state; he was set upon a low throne richly adorned, and a rich cloth
of state over his head of blue satin embroidered. He was alone, save
that he had two pages of honour, on either hand one, finely attired in
white. His under garments were the like that we saw him wear in the
chariot; but instead of his gown, he had on him a mantle with a cape, of
the same fine black, fastened about him. When we came in, as we were
taught, we bowed low at our first entrance; and when we were come near
his chair, he stood up, holding forth his hand ungloved, and in posture
of blessing; and we every one of us stooped down, and kissed the end of
his tippet. That done, the rest departed, and I remained. Then he warned
the pages forth of the room, and caused me to sit down beside him, and
spake to me thus in the Spanish tongue:

"God bless thee, my son; I will give thee the greatest jewel I have. For
I will impart unto thee, for the love of God and men, a relation of the
true state of Salomon's House. Son, to make you know the true state of
Salomon's House, I will keep this order. First, I will set forth unto
you the end of our foundation. Secondly, the preparations and
instruments we have for our works. Thirdly, the several employments and
functions whereto our fellows are assigned. And fourthly, the ordinances
and rites which we observe.

"The end of our foundation is the knowledge of causes, and secret
motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to
the effecting of all things possible.

"The preparations and instruments are these. We have large and deep
caves of several depths; the deepest are sunk 600 fathoms; and some of
them are digged and made under great hills and mountains; so that if you
reckon together the depth of the hill, and the depth of the cave, they
are, some of them, above three miles deep. For we find that the depth of
an hill, and the depth of a cave from the flat, is the same thing; both
remote alike from the sun and heaven's beams, and from the open air.
These caves we call the lower region. And we use them for all
coagulations, indurations, refrigerations, and conservations of bodies.
We use them likewise for the imitation of natural mines and the
producing also of new artificial metals, by compositions and materials
which we use and lay there for many years. We use them also sometimes
(which may seem strange) for curing of some diseases, and for
prolongation of life, in some hermits that choose to live there, well
accommodated of all things necessary, and indeed live very long; by whom
also we learn many things.

"We have burials in several earths, where we put divers cements, as the
Chinese do their porcelain. But we have them in greater variety, and
some of them more fine. We also have great variety of composts and
soils, for the making of the earth fruitful.

"We have high towers, the highest about half a mile in height, and some
of them likewise set upon high mountains, so that the vantage of the
hill with the tower, is in the highest of them three miles at least. And
these places we call the upper region, account the air between the high
places and the low, as a middle region. We use these towers, according
to their several heights and situations, for insulation, refrigeration,
conservation, and for the view of divers meteors--as winds, rain, snow,
hail; and some of the fiery meteors also. And upon them, in some places,
are dwellings of hermits, whom we visit sometimes, and instruct what to

"We have great lakes, both salt and fresh, whereof we have use for the
fish and fowl. We use them also for burials of some natural bodies, for
we find a difference in things buried in earth, or in air below the
earth, and things buried in water. We have also pools, of which some do
strain fresh water out of salt, and others by art do turn fresh water
into salt. We have also some rocks in the midst of the sea, and some
bays upon the shore for some works, wherein is required the air and
vapour of the sea. We have likewise violent streams and cataracts, which
serve us for many motions; and likewise engines for multiplying and
enforcing of winds to set also on divers motions.

"We have also a number of artificial wells and fountains, made in
imitation of the natural sources and baths, as tincted upon vitriol,
sulphur, steel, brass, lead, nitre, and other minerals; and again, we
have little wells for infusions of many things, where the waters take
the virtue quicker and better than in vessels or basins. And amongst
them we have a water, which we call water of Paradise, being by that we
do it made very sovereign for health and prolongation of life.

"We have also great and spacious houses, where we imitate and
demonstrate meteors--as snow, hail, rain, some artificial rains of
bodies, and not of water, thunders, lightnings; also generations of
bodies in air--as frogs, flies, and divers others.

"We have also certain chambers, which we call chambers of health, where
we qualify the air as we think good and proper for the cure of divers
diseases, and preservation of health.

"We have also fair and large baths, of several mixtures, for the cure of
diseases, and the restoring of man's body from arefaction; and others
for the confirming of it in strength of sinews, vital parts, and the
very juice and substance of the body.

"We have also large and various orchards and gardens, wherein we do not
so much respect beauty as variety of ground and soil, proper for divers
trees and herbs, and some very spacious, where trees and berries are
set, whereof we make divers kinds of drinks, besides the vineyards. In
these we practise likewise all conclusions of grafting, and inoculating,
as well of wild-trees as fruit-trees, which produceth many effects. And
we make by art, in the same orchards and gardens, trees and flowers, to
come earlier or later than their seasons, and to come up and bear more
speedily than by their natural course they do. We make them also by art
greater much than their nature; and their fruit greater and sweeter, and
of differing taste, smell, colour, and figure, from their nature. And
many of them we so order, as that they become of medicinal use.

"We have also means to make divers plants rise by mixtures of earths
without seeds, and likewise to make divers new plants, differing from
the vulgar, and to make one tree or plant turn into another.

"We have also parks, and enclosures of all sorts, of beasts and birds;
which we use not only for view or rareness, but likewise for dissections
and trials, that thereby may take light what may be wrought upon the
body of man. Wherein we find many strange effects: as continuing life in
them, though divers parts, which you account vital, be perished and
taken forth; resuscitating of some that seem dead in appearance, and the
like. We try also all poisons, and other medicines upon them, as well of
chirurgery as physic. By art likewise we make them greater or smaller
than their kind is, and contrariwise dwarf them and stay their growth;
we make them more fruitful and bearing than their kind is, and
contrariwise barren and not generative. Also we make them differ in
colour, shape, activity, many ways. We find means to make commixtures
and copulations of divers kinds, which have produced many new kinds, and
them not barren, as the general opinion is. We make a number of kinds of
serpents, worms, flies, fishes of putrefaction, whereof some are
advanced (in effect) to be perfect creatures, like beasts or birds, and
have sexes, and do propagate. Neither do we this by chance, but we know
beforehand of what matter and commixture, what kind of those creatures
will arise.

"We have also particular pools where we make trials upon fishes, as we
have said before of beasts and birds.

"We have also places for breed and generation of those kinds of worms
and flies which are of special use; such as are with you your silkworms
and bees.

"I will not hold you long with recounting of our brew-houses,
bake-houses, and kitchens, where are made divers drinks, breads, and
meats, rare and of special effects. Wines we have of grapes, and drinks
of other juice, of fruits, of grains, and of roots, and of mixtures with
honey, sugar, manna, and fruits dried and decocted; also of the tears or
wounding of trees, and of the pulp of canes. And these drinks are of
several ages, some to the age or last of forty years. We have drinks
also brewed with several herbs, and roots, and spices; yea, with several
fleshes, and white-meats; whereof some of the drinks are such as they
are in effect meat and drink both, so that divers, especially in age, do
desire to live with them with little or no meat or bread. And above all
we strive to have drinks of extreme thin parts, to insinuate into the
body, and yet without all biting, sharpness, or fretting; insomuch as
some of them put upon the back of your hand, will with a little stay
pass through to the palm, and yet taste mild to the mouth. We have also
waters, which we ripen in that fashion, as they become nourishing, so
that they are indeed excellent drinks, and many will use no other. Bread
we have of several grains, roots, and kernels; yea, and some of flesh,
and fish, dried; with divers kinds of leavings and seasonings; so that
some do extremely move appetites, some do nourish so, as divers do live
of them, without any other meat, who live very long. So for meats, we
have some of them so beaten, and made tender, and mortified, yet without
all corrupting, as a weak heat of the stomach will turn them into good
chilus, as well as a strong heat would meat otherwise prepared. We have
some meats also and bread, and drinks, which taken by men, enable them
to fast long after; and some other, that used make the very flesh of
men's bodies sensibly more hard and tough, and their strength far
greater than otherwise it would be.

"We have dispensatories or shops of medicines; wherein you may easily
think, if we have such variety of plants, and living creatures, more
than you have in Europe (for we know what you have), the simples, drugs,
and ingredients of medicines, must likewise be in so much the greater
variety. We have them likewise of divers ages, and long fermentations.
And for their preparations, we have not only all manner of exquisite
distillations, and separations, and especially by gentle heats, and
percolations through divers strainers, yea, and substances; but also
exact forms of composition, whereby they incorporate almost as they were
natural simples.

"We have also divers mechanical arts, which you have not; and stuffs
made by them, as papers, linen, silks, tissues, dainty works of feathers
of wonderful lustre, excellent dyes, and many others, and shops likewise
as well for such as are not brought into vulgar use amongst us, as for
those that are. For you must know, that of the things before recited,
many of them are grown into use throughout the kingdom, but yet, if they
did flow from our invention, we have of them also for patterns and

"We have also furnaces of great diversities, and that keep great
diversity of heats; fierce and quick, strong and constant, soft and
mild, blown, quiet, dry, moist, and the like. But above all we have
heats, in imitation of the sun's and heavenly bodies' heats, that pass
divers inequalities, and as it were orbs, progresses, and returns
whereby we produce admirable effects. Besides, we have heats of dungs,
and of bellies and maws of living creatures and of their bloods and
bodies, and of hays and herbs laid up moist, of lime unquenched, and
such like. Instruments also which generate heat only by motion. And
farther, places for strong insulations; and again, places under the
earth, which by nature or art yield heat. These divers heats we use, as
the nature of the operation which we intend requireth.

"We have also perspective-houses, where we make demonstrations of all
lights and radiations, and of all colours; and out of things uncoloured
and transparent, we can represent unto you all several colours, not in
rainbows, as it is in gems and prisms, but of themselves single. We
represent also all multiplications of light, which we carry to great
distance, and make so sharp, as to discern small points and lines. Also
all colourations of light: all delusions and deceits of the sight, in
figures, magnitudes, motions, colours; all demonstrations of shadows. We
find also divers means, yet unknown to you, of producing of light,
originally from divers bodies. We procure means of seeing objects afar
off, as in the heaven and remote places; and represent things near as
afar off, and things afar off as near; making feigned distances. We have
also helps for the sight far above spectacles and glasses in use; we
have also glasses and means to see small and minute bodies, perfectly
and distinctly; as the shapes and colours of small flies and worms,
grains, and flaws in gems, which cannot otherwise be seen, observations
in urine and blood not otherwise to be seen. We make artificial
rainbows, halos, and circles about light. We represent also all manner
of reflections, refractions, and multiplications of visual beams of

"We have also precious stones, of all kinds, many of them of great
beauty and to you unknown; crystals likewise, and glasses of divers
kind; and amongst them some of metals vitrificated, and other materials,
besides those of which you make glass. Also a number of fossils, and
imperfect minerals, which you have not. Likewise loadstones of
prodigious virtue: and other rare stones, both natural and artificial.

"We have also sound-houses, where we practise and demonstrate all sounds
and their generation. We have harmony which you have not, of
quarter-sounds and lesser slides of sounds. Divers instruments of music
likewise to you unknown, some sweeter than any you have; with bells and
rings that are dainty and sweet. We represent small sounds as great and
deep, likewise great sounds, extenuate and sharp; we make divers
tremblings and warblings of sounds, which in their original are entire.
We represent and imitate all articulate sounds and letters, and the
voices and notes of beasts and birds. We have certain helps, which set
to the ear do further the hearing greatly; we have also divers strange
and artificial echoes, reflecting the voice many times, and as it were
tossing it; and some that give back the voice louder than it came, some
shriller and some deeper; yea, some rendering the voice, differing in
the letters or articulate sound from that they receive. We have all
means to convey sounds in trunks and pipes, in strange lines and

"We have also perfume-houses, wherewith we join also practices of taste.
We multiply smells which may seem strange: we imitate smells, making all
smells to breathe out of other mixtures than those that give them. We
make divers imitations of taste likewise, so that they will deceive any
man's taste. And in this house we contain also a confiture-house, where
we make all sweetmeats, dry and moist, and divers pleasant wines, milks,
broths, and salads, far in greater variety than you have.

"We have also engine-houses, where are prepared engines and instruments
for all sorts of motions. There we imitate and practise to make swifter
motions than any you have, either out of your muskets or any engine that
you have; and to make them and multiply them more easily and with small
force, by wheels and other means, and to make them stronger and more
violent than yours are, exceeding your greatest cannons and basilisks.
We represent also ordnance and instruments of war and engines of all
kinds; and likewise new mixtures and compositions of gunpowder,
wild-fires burning in water and unquenchable, also fire-works of all
variety, both for pleasure and use. We imitate also flights of birds; we
have some degrees of flying in the air. We have ships and boats for
going under water and brooking of seas, also swimming-girdles and
supporters. We have divers curious clocks and other like motions of
return, and some perpetual motions. We imitate also motions of living
creatures by images of men, beasts, birds, fishes, and serpents; we have
also a great number of other various motions, strange for equality,
fineness and subtilty.

"We have also a mathematical-house, where are represented all
instruments, as well of geometry as astronomy, exquisitely made.

"We have also houses of deceits of the senses, where we represent all
manner of feats of juggling, false apparitions, impostures and
illusions, and their fallacies. And surely you will easily believe that
we, that have so many things truly natural which induce admiration,
could in a world of particulars deceive the senses if we would disguise
those things, and labour to make them more miraculous. But we do hate
all impostures and lies, insomuch as we have severely forbidden it to
all our fellows, under pain of ignominy and fines, that they do not show
any natural work or thing adorned or swelling, but only pure as it is,
and without all affectation of strangeness.

"These are, my son, the riches of Salomon's House.

"For the several employments and offices of our fellows, we have twelve
that sail into foreign countries under the names of other nations (for
our own we conceal), who bring us the books and abstracts, and patterns
of experiments of all other parts. These we call merchants of light.

"We have three that collect the experiments which are in all books.
These we call deprepators.

"We have three that collect the experiments of all mechanical arts, and
also of liberal sciences, and also of practices which are not brought
into arts. These we call mystery-men.

"We have three that try new experiments.

"Such as themselves think good. These we call pioneers or miners.

"We have three that draw the experiments of the former four into titles
and tables, to give the better light for the drawing of observations and
axioms out of them. These we call compilers. We have three that bend
themselves, looking into the experiments of their fellows, and cast
about how to draw out of them things of use and practice for man's life
and knowledge, as well for works as for plain demonstration of causes,
means of natural divinations, and the easy and clear discovery of the
virtues and parts of bodies. These we call dowry-men or benefactors.

"Then after divers meetings and consults of our whole number, to
consider of the former labours and collections, we have three that take
care out of them to direct new experiments, of a higher light, more
penetrating into Nature than the former. These we call lamps.

"We have three others that do execute the experiment so directed, and
report them. These we call inoculators.

"Lastly, we have three that raise the former discoveries by experiments
into greater observations, axioms, and aphorisms. These we call
interpreters of Nature.

"We have also, as you must think, novices and apprentices, that the
succession of the former employed men do not fail; besides a great
number of servants and attendants, men and women. And this we do also:
we have consultations, which of the inventions and experiences which we
have discovered shall be published, and which not: and take all an oath
of secrecy for the concealing of those which we think fit to keep
secret: though some of those we do reveal sometime to the state, and
some not.

"For our ordinances and rites, we have two very long and fair galleries:
in one of these we place patterns and samples of all manner of the more
rare and excellent inventions: in the other we place the statues of all
principal inventors. There we have the statue of your Columbus, that
discovered the West Indies: also the inventor of ships: your Monk that
was the inventor of ordnance and of gunpowder: the inventor of music:
the inventor of letters: the inventor of printing: the inventor of
observations of astronomy: the inventor of works in metal: the inventor
of glass: the inventor of silk of the worm: the inventor of wine: the
inventor of corn and bread: the inventor of sugars; and all these by
more certain tradition than you have. Then we have divers inventors of
our own, of excellent works; which since you have not seen, it were too
long to make descriptions of them; and besides, in the right
understanding of those descriptions you might easily err. For upon every
invention of value we erect a statue to the inventor, and give him a
liberal and honourable reward. These statues are some of brass, some of
marble and touchstone, some of cedar and other special woods gilt and
adorned; some of iron, some of silver, some of gold.

"We have certain hymns and services, which we say daily, of laud and
thanks to God for His marvellous works. And forms of prayers, imploring
His aid and blessing for the illumination of our labours; and turning
them into good and holy uses.

"Lastly, we have circuits or visits, of divers principal cities of the
kingdom; where as it cometh to pass we do publish such new profitable
inventions as we think good. And we do also declare natural divinations
of diseases, plagues, swarms of hurtful creatures, scarcity, tempest,
earthquakes, great inundations, comets, temperature of the year, and
divers other things; and we give counsel thereupon, what the people
shall do for the prevention and remedy of them."

And when he had said this, he stood up; and I, as I had been taught,
knelt down; and he laid his right hand upon my head, and said, "God
bless thee, my son, and God bless this relation which I have made. I
give thee leave to publish it, for the good of other nations; for we
here are in God's bosom, a land unknown." And so he left me; having
assigned a value of about two thousand ducats for a bounty to me and my
fellows. For they give great largesses, where they come, upon all





_A Poetical Dialogue between a Grandmaster of the Knights Hospitallers
and a Genoese Sea-captain, his guest._

_G.M._ Prithee, now, tell me what happened to you during that voyage?

_Capt._ I have already told you how I wandered over the whole earth. In
the course of my journeying I came to Taprobane, and was compelled to go
ashore at a place, where through fear of the inhabitants I remained in a
wood. When I stepped out of this I found myself on a large plain
immediately under the equator.

_G.M._ And what befell you here?

_Capt._ I came upon a large crowd of men and armed women, many of whom
did not understand our language, and they conducted me forthwith to the
City of the Sun.

_G.M._ Tell me after what plan this city is built and how it is

_Capt._ The greater part of the city is built upon a high hill, which
rises from an extensive plain, but several of its circles extend for
some distance beyond the base of the hill, which is of such a size that
the diameter of the city is upwards of two miles, so that its
circumference becomes about seven. On account of the humped shape of the
mountain, however, the diameter of the city is really more than if it
were built on a plain.

It is divided into seven rings or huge circles named from the seven
planets, and the way from one to the other of these is by four streets
and through four gates, that look towards the four points of the
compass. Furthermore, it is so built that if the first circle were
stormed, it would of necessity entail a double amount of energy to storm
the second; still more to storm the third; and in each succeeding case
the strength and energy would have to be doubled; so that he who wishes
to capture that city must, as it were, storm it seven times. For my own
part, however, I think that not even the first wall could be occupied,
so thick are the earthworks and so well fortified is it with
breastworks, towers, guns and ditches.

When I had been taken through the northern gate (which is shut with an
iron door so wrought that it can be raised and let down, and locked in
easily and strongly, its projections running into the grooves of the
thick posts by a marvellous device), I saw a level space seventy
paces[1] wide between the first and second walls. From hence can be seen
large palaces all joined to the wall of the second circuit, in such a
manner as to appear all one palace. Arches run on a level with the
middle height of the palaces, and are continued round the whole ring.
There are galleries for promenading upon these arches, which are
supported from beneath by thick and well-shaped columns, enclosing
arcades like peristyles, or cloisters of an abbey.

[Footnote 1: A pace was 1-9/25 yards, 1,000 paces making a mile.]

But the palaces have no entrances from below, except on the inner or
concave partition, from which one enters directly to the lower parts of
the building. The higher parts, however, are reached by flights of
marble steps, which lead to galleries for promenading on the inside
similar to those on the outside. From these one enters the higher rooms,
which are very beautiful, and have windows on the concave and convex
partitions. These rooms are divided from one another by richly
decorated walls. The convex or outer wall of the ring is about eight
spans thick; the concave, three; the intermediate walls are one, or
perhaps one and a half. Leaving this circle one gets to the second
plain, which is nearly three paces narrower than the first. Then the
first wall of the second ring is seen adorned above and below with
similar galleries for walking, and there is on the inside of it another
interior wall enclosing palaces. It has also similar peristyles
supported by columns in the lower part, but above are excellent
pictures, round the ways into the upper houses. And so on afterwards
through similar spaces and double walls, enclosing palaces, and adorned
with galleries for walking, extending along their outer side, and
supported by columns, till the last circuit is reached, the way being
still over a level plain.

But when the two gates, that is to say, those of the outmost and the
inmost walls, have been passed, one mounts by means of steps so formed
that an ascent is scarcely discernible, since it proceeds in a slanting
direction, and the steps succeed one another at almost imperceptible
heights. On the top of the hill is a rather spacious plain, and in the
midst of this there rises a temple built with wondrous art.

_G.M._ Tell on, I pray you! Tell on! I am dying to hear more.

_Capt._ The temple is built in the form of a circle; it is not girt with
walls, but stands upon thick columns, beautifully grouped. A very large
dome, built with great care in the centre or pole, contains another
small vault as it were rising out of it, and in this is a spiracle,
which is right over the altar. There is but one altar in the middle of
the temple, and this is hedged round by columns. The temple itself is on
a space of more than three hundred and fifty paces. Without it, arches
measuring about eight paces extend from the heads of the columns
outwards, whence other columns rise about three paces from the thick,
strong and erect wall. Between these and the former columns there are
galleries for walking, with beautiful pavements, and in the recess of
the wall, which is adorned with numerous large doors, there are
immovable seats, placed as it were between the inside columns,
supporting the temple. Portable chairs are not wanting, many and well
adorned. Nothing is seen over the altar but a large globe, upon which
the heavenly bodies are painted, and another globe upon which there is a
representation of the earth. Furthermore, in the vault of the dome there
can be discerned representations of all the stars of heaven from the
first to the sixth magnitude, with their proper names and power to
influence terrestrial things marked in three little verses for each.
There are the poles and greater and lesser circles according to the
right latitude of the place, but these are not perfect because there is
no wall below. They seem, too, to be made in their relation to the
globes on the altar. The pavement of the temple is bright with precious
stones. Its seven golden lamps hang always burning, and these bear the
names of the seven planets.

At the top of the building several small and beautiful cells surround
the small dome, and behind the level space above the bands or arches of
the exterior and interior columns there are many cells, both small and
large, where the priests and religious officers dwell to the number of

A revolving flag projects from the smaller dome, and this shows in what
quarter the wind is. The flag is marked with figures up to thirty-six,
and the priests know what sort of year the different kinds of winds
bring and what will be the changes of weather on land and sea.
Furthermore, under the flag a book is always kept written with letters
of gold.

_G.M._ I pray you, worthy hero, explain to me their whole system of
government; for I am anxious to hear it.

_Capt._ The great ruler among them is a priest whom they call by the
name HOH, though we should call him Metaphysic. He is head over all, in
temporal and spiritual matters, and all business and lawsuits are
settled by him, as the supreme authority. Three princes of equal
power--viz., Pon, Sin and Mor--assist him, and these in our tongue we
should call POWER, WISDOM and LOVE. To POWER belongs the care of all
matters relating to war and peace. He attends to the military arts, and,
next to Hoh, he is ruler in every affair of a warlike nature. He governs
the military magistrates and the soldiers, and has the management of the
munitions, the fortifications, the storming of places, the implements of
war, the armories, the smiths and workmen connected with matters of this

But WISDOM is the ruler of the liberal arts, of mechanics, of all
sciences with their magistrates and doctors, and of the discipline of
the schools. As many doctors as there are, are under his control. There
is one doctor who is called Astrologus; a second, Cosmographus; a third,
Arithmeticus; a fourth, Geometra; a fifth, Historiographus; a sixth,
Poeta; a seventh, Logicus; an eighth, Rhetor; a ninth, Grammaticus; a
tenth, Medicus; an eleventh, Physiologus; a twelfth, Politicus; a
thirteenth, Moralis. They have but one book, which they call Wisdom, and
in it all the sciences are written with conciseness and marvellous
fluency of expression. This they read to the people after the custom of
the Pythagoreans. It is Wisdom who causes the exterior and interior, the
higher and lower walls of the city to be adorned with the finest
pictures, and to have all the sciences painted upon them in an admirable
manner. On the walls of the temple and on the dome, which is let down
when the priest gives an address, lest the sounds of his voice, being
scattered, should fly away from his audience, there are pictures of
stars in their different magnitudes, with the powers and motions of
each, expressed separately in three little verses.

On the interior wall of the first circuit all the mathematical figures
are conspicuously painted--figures more in number than Archimedes or
Euclid discovered, marked symmetrically, and with the explanation of
them neatly written and contained each in a little verse. There are
definitions and propositions, &c. &c. On the exterior convex wall is
first an immense drawing of the whole earth, given at one view.
Following upon this, there are tablets setting forth for every separate
country the customs both public and private, the laws, the origins and
the power of the inhabitants; and the alphabets the different people use
can be seen above that of the City of the Sun.

On the inside of the second circuit, that is to say of the second ring
of buildings, paintings of all kinds of precious and common stones, of
minerals and metals, are seen; and a little piece of the metal itself is
also there with an apposite explanation in two small verses for each
metal or stone. On the outside are marked all the seas, rivers, lakes
and streams which are on the face of the earth; as are also the wines
and the oils and the different liquids, with the sources from which the
last are extracted, their qualities and strength. There are also vessels
built into the wall above the arches, and these are full of liquids from
one to three hundred years old, which cure all diseases. Hail and snow,
storms and thunder, and whatever else takes place in the air, are
represented with suitable figures and little verses. The inhabitants
even have the art of representing in stone all the phenomena of the air,
such as the wind, rain, thunder, the rainbow, &c.

On the interior of the third circuit all the different families of trees
and herbs are depicted, and there is a live specimen of each plant in
earthenware vessels placed upon the outer partition of the arches. With
the specimens there are explanations as to where they were first found,
what are their powers and natures, and resemblances to celestial things
and to metals: to parts of the human body and to things in the sea, and
also as to their uses in medicine, &c. On the exterior wall are all the
races of fish, found in rivers, lakes and seas, and their habits and
values, and ways of breeding, training and living, the purposes for
which they exist in the world, and their uses to man. Further, their
resemblances to celestial and terrestrial things, produced both by
nature and art, are so given that I was astonished when I saw a fish
which was like a bishop, one like a chain, another like a garment, a
fourth like a nail, a fifth like a star, and others like images of those
things existing among us, the relation in each case being completely
manifest. There are sea-urchins to be seen, and the purple shell-fish
and mussels; and whatever the watery world possesses worthy of being
known is there fully shown in marvellous characters of painting and

On the fourth interior wall all the different kinds of birds are
painted, with their natures, sizes, customs, colours, manner of living,
&c.; and the only real phoenix is possessed by the inhabitants of this
city. On the exterior are shown all the races of creeping animals,
serpents, dragons and worms; the insects, the flies, gnats, beetles,
&c., in their different states, strength, venoms and uses, and a great
deal more than you or I can think of.

On the fifth interior they have all the larger animals of the earth, as
many in number as would astonish you. We indeed know not the thousandth
part of them, for on the exterior wall also a great many of immense size
are also portrayed. To be sure, of horses alone, how great a number of
breeds there is and how beautiful are the forms there cleverly

On the sixth interior are painted all the mechanical arts, with the
several instruments for each and their manner of use among different
nations. Alongside the dignity of such is placed, and their several
inventors are named. But on the exterior all the inventors in science,
in warfare, and in law are represented. There I saw Moses, Osiris,
Jupiter, Mercury, Lycurgus, Pompilius, Pythagoras, Zamolxis, Solon,
Charondas, Phoroneus, with very many others. They even have Mahomet,
whom nevertheless they hate as a false and sordid legislator. In the
most dignified position I saw a representation of Jesus Christ and of
the twelve Apostles, whom they consider very worthy and hold to be
great. Of the representations of men, I perceived Cæsar, Alexander,
Pyrrhus and Hannibal in the highest place; and other very renowned
heroes in peace and war, especially Roman heroes, were painted in lower
positions, under the galleries. And when I asked with astonishment
whence they had obtained our history, they told me that among them there
was a knowledge of all languages, and that by perseverance they
continually send explorers and ambassadors over the whole earth, who
learn thoroughly the customs, forces, rule and histories of the nations,
bad and good alike. These they apply all to their own republic, and with
this they are well pleased. I learnt that cannon and typography were
invented by the Chinese before we knew of them. There are magistrates,
who announce the meaning of the pictures, and boys are accustomed to
learn all the sciences, without toil and as if for pleasure; but in the
way of history only until they are ten years old.

LOVE is foremost in attending to the charge of the race. He sees that
men and women are so joined together, that they bring forth the best
offspring. Indeed, they laugh at us who exhibit a studious care for our
breed of horses and dogs, but neglect the breeding of human beings. Thus
the education of the children is under his rule. So also is the medicine
that is sold, the sowing and collecting of fruits of the earth and of
trees, agriculture, pasturage, the preparations for the months, the
cooking arrangements, and whatever has any reference to food, clothing,
and the intercourse of the sexes. Love himself is ruler, but there are
many male and female magistrates dedicated to these arts.

Metaphysic then with these three rulers manage all the above-named
matters, and even by himself alone nothing is done; all business is
discharged by the four together, but in whatever Metaphysic inclines to
the rest are sure to agree.

_G.M._ Tell me, please, of the magistrates, their services and duties,
of the education and mode of living, whether the government is a
monarchy, a republic, or an aristocracy.

_Capt._ This race of men came there from India, flying from the sword of
the Magi, a race of plunderers and tyrants who laid waste their country,
and they determined to lead a philosophic life in fellowship with one
another. Although the community of wives is not instituted among the
other inhabitants of their province, among them it is in use after this
manner. All things are common with them, and their dispensation is by
the authority of the magistrates. Arts and honours and pleasures are
common, and are held in such a manner that no one can appropriate
anything to himself.

They say that all private property is acquired and improved for the
reason that each one of us by himself has his own home and wife and
children. From this self-love springs. For when we raise a son to riches
and dignities, and leave an heir to much wealth, we become either ready
to grasp at the property of the state, if in any case fear should be
removed from the power which belongs to riches and rank; or avaricious,
crafty, and hypocritical, if any one is of slender purse, little
strength, and mean ancestry. But when we have taken away self-love,
there remains only love for the state.

_G.M._ Under such circumstances no one will be willing to labour, while
he expects others to work, on the fruit of whose labours he can live, as
Aristotle argues against Plato.

_Capt._ I do not know how to deal with that argument, but I declare to
you that they burn with so great a love for their fatherland, as I could
scarcely have believed possible; and indeed with much more than the
histories tell us belonged to the Romans, who fell willingly for their
country, inasmuch as they have to a greater extent surrendered their
private property. I think truly that the friars and monks and clergy of
our country, if they were not weakened by love for their kindred and
friends, or by the ambition to rise to higher dignities, would be less
fond of property, and more imbued with a spirit of charity towards all,
as it was in the time of the Apostles, and is now in a great many cases.

_G.M._ St. Augustine may say that, but I say that among this race of
men, friendship is worth nothing; since they have not the chance of
conferring mutual benefits on one another.

_Capt._ Nay, indeed. For it is worth the trouble to see that no one can
receive gifts from another. Whatever is necessary they have, they
receive it from the community, and the magistrate takes care that no one
receives more than he deserves. Yet nothing necessary is denied to any
one. Friendship is recognized among them in war, in infirmity, in the
art contests, by which means they aid one another mutually by teaching.
Sometimes they improve themselves mutually with praises, with
conversation, with actions and out of the things they need. All those of
the same age call one another brothers. They call all over twenty-two
years of age, fathers; those who are less than twenty-two are named
sons. Moreover, the magistrates govern well, so that no one in the
fraternity can do injury to another.

_G.M._ And how?

_Capt._ As many names of virtues as there are amongst us, so many
magistrates there are among them. There is a magistrate who is named
Magnanimity, another Fortitude, a third Chastity, a fourth Liberality, a
fifth Criminal and Civil Justice, a sixth Comfort, a seventh Truth, an
eighth Kindness, a tenth Gratitude, an eleventh Cheerfulness, a twelfth
Exercise, a thirteenth Sobriety, &c. They are elected to duties of that
kind, each one to that duty for excellence in which he is known from
boyhood to be most suitable. Wherefore among them neither robbery nor
clever murders, nor lewdness, incest, adultery, or other crimes of
which we accuse one another, can be found. They accuse themselves of
ingratitude and malignity when any one denies a lawful satisfaction to
another, of indolence, of sadness, of anger, of scurrility, of slander,
and of lying, which curseful thing they thoroughly hate. Accused persons
undergoing punishment are deprived of the common table, and other
honours, until the judge thinks that they agree with their correction.

_G.M._ Tell me the manner in which the magistrates are chosen.

_Capt._ You would not rightly understand this, unless you first learnt
their manner of living. That you may know then, men and women wear the
same kind of garment, suited for war. The women wear the toga below the
knee, but the men above. And both sexes are instructed in all the arts
together. When this has been done as a start, and before their third
year, the boys learn the language and the alphabet on the walls by
walking round them. They have four leaders, and four elders, the first
to direct them, the second to teach them, and these are men approved
beyond all others. After some time they exercise themselves with
gymnastics, running, quoits, and other games, by means of which all
their muscles are strengthened alike. Their feet are always bare, and so
are their heads as far as the seventh ring. Afterwards they lead them to
the offices of the trades, such as shoemaking, cooking, metal-working,
carpentry, painting, &c. In order to find out the bent of the genius of
each one, after their seventh year, when they have already gone through
the mathematics on the walls, they take them to the readings of all the
sciences; there are four lectures at each reading, and in the course of
four hours the four in their order explain everything.

For some take physical exercise or busy themselves with public services
or functions, others apply themselves to reading. Leaving these studies
all are devoted to the more abstruse subjects, to mathematics, to
medicine, and to other sciences. There is continual debate and studied
argument amongst them, and after a time they become magistrates of those
sciences or mechanical arts in which they are the most proficient; for
every one follows the opinion of his leader and judge, and goes out to
the plains to the works of the field, and for the purpose of becoming
acquainted with the pasturage of the dumb animals. And they consider him
the more noble and renowned who has dedicated himself to the study of
the most arts and knows how to practise them wisely. Wherefore they
laugh at us in that we consider our workmen ignoble, and hold those to
be noble who have mastered no pursuit; but live in ease, and are so many
slaves given over to their own pleasure and lasciviousness; and thus as
it were from a school of vices so many idle and wicked fellows go forth
for the ruin of the state.

The rest of the officials, however, are chosen by the four chiefs, Hoh,
Pon, Sin and Mor, and by the teachers of that art over which they are
fit to preside. And these teachers know well who is most suited for
rule. Certain men are proposed by the magistrates in council, they
themselves not seeking to become candidates, and he opposes who knows
anything against those brought forward for election, or if not, speaks
in favour of them. But no one attains to the dignity of Hoh except him
who knows the histories of the nations, and their customs and sacrifices
and laws, and their form of government, whether a republic or a
monarchy. He must also know the names of the lawgivers and the inventors
in science, and the laws and the history of the earth and the heavenly
bodies. They think it also necessary that he should understand all the
mechanical arts, the physical sciences, astrology and mathematics.
(Nearly every two days they teach our mechanical art. They are not
allowed to overwork themselves, but frequent practice and the paintings
render learning easy to them. Not too much care is given to the
cultivation of languages, as they have a goodly number of interpreters
who are grammarians in the state.) But beyond everything else it is
necessary that Hoh should understand metaphysics and theology; that he
should know thoroughly the derivations, foundations and demonstrations
of all the arts and sciences; the likeness and difference of things;
necessity, fate, and the harmonies of the universe; power, wisdom, and
the love of things and of God; the stages of life and its symbols;
everything relating to the heavens, the earth and the sea; and the ideas
of God, as much as mortal man can know of Him. He must also be well read
in the Prophets and in astrology. And thus they know long beforehand who
will be Hoh. He is not chosen to so great a dignity unless he has
attained his thirty-fifth year. And this office is perpetual, because it
is not known who may be too wise for it or who too skilled in ruling.

_G.M._ Who indeed can be so wise? If even any one has a knowledge of the
sciences it seems that he must be unskilled in ruling.

_Capt._ This very question I asked them and they replied thus: "We,
indeed, are more certain that such a very learned man has the knowledge
of governing, than you who place ignorant persons in authority, and
consider them suitable merely because they have sprung from rulers or
have been chosen by a powerful faction. But our Hoh, a man really the
most capable to rule, is for all that never cruel nor wicked, nor a
tyrant, inasmuch as he possesses so much wisdom. This, moreover, is not
unknown to you, that the same argument cannot apply among you, when you
consider that man the most learned who knows most of grammar, or logic,
or of Aristotle or any other author. For such knowledge as this of yours
much servile labour and memory work is required, so that a man is
rendered unskilful; since he has contemplated nothing but the words of
books and has given his mind with useless result to the consideration of
the dead signs of things. Hence he knows not in what way God rules the
universe, nor the ways and customs of Nature and the nations. Wherefore
he is not equal to our HOH. For that one cannot know so many arts and
sciences thoroughly, who is not esteemed for skilled ingenuity, very apt
at all things, and therefore at ruling especially. This also is plain to
us that he who knows only one science, does not really know either that
or the others, and he who is suited for only one science and has
gathered his knowledge from books, is unlearned and unskilled. But this
is not the case with intellects prompt and expert in every branch of
knowledge and suitable for the consideration of natural objects, as it
is necessary that our HOH should be. Besides in our state the sciences
are taught with a facility (as you have seen) by which more scholars are
turned out by us in one year than by you in ten, or even fifteen. Make
trial, I pray you, of these boys." In this matter I was struck with
astonishment at their truthful discourse and at the trial of their boys,
who did not understand my language well. Indeed it is necessary that
three of them should be skilled in our tongue, three in Arabic, three in
Polish, and three in each of the other languages, and no recreation is
allowed them unless they become more learned. For that they go out to
the plain for the sake of running about and hurling arrows and lances,
and of firing harquebuses, and for the sake of hunting the wild animals
and getting a knowledge of plants and stones, and agriculture and
pasturage; sometimes the band of boys does one thing, sometimes another.

They do not consider it necessary that the three rulers assisting HOH
should know other than the arts having reference to their rule, and so
they have only a historical knowledge of the arts which are common to
all. But their own they know well, to which certainly one is dedicated
more than another. Thus POWER is the most learned in the equestrian art,
in marshalling the army, in marking out of camps, in the manufacture of
every kind of weapon and of warlike machines, in planning stratagems,
and in every affair of a military nature. And for these reasons, they
consider it necessary that these chiefs should have been philosophers,
historians, politicians, and physicists. Concerning the other two
triumvirs, understand remarks similar to those I have made about POWER.

_G.M._ I really wish that you would recount all their public duties, and
would distinguish between them, and also that you would tell clearly how
they are all taught in common.

_Capt._ They have dwellings in common and dormitories, and couches and
other necessaries. But at the end of every six months they are separated
by the masters. Some shall sleep in this ring, some in another; some in
the first apartment, and some in the second; and these apartments are
marked by means of the alphabet on the lintel. There are occupations,
mechanical and theoretical, common to both men and women, with this
difference, that the occupations which require more hard work, and
walking a long distance, are practised by men, such as ploughing,
sowing, gathering the fruits, working at the threshing-floor, and
perchance at the vintage. But it is customary to choose women for
milking the cows, and for making cheese. In like manner, they go to the
gardens near to the outskirts of the city both for collecting the plants
and for cultivating them. In fact, all sedentary and stationary pursuits
are practised by the women, such as weaving, spinning, sewing, cutting
the hair, shaving, dispensing medicines, and making all kinds of
garments. They are, however, excluded from working in wood and the
manufacture of arms. If a woman is fit to paint, she is not prevented
from doing so; nevertheless, music is given over to the women alone,
because they please the more, and of a truth to boys also. But the women
have not the practice of the drum and the horn.

And they prepare their feasts and arrange the tables in the following
manner. It is the peculiar work of the boys and girls under twenty to
wait at the tables. In every ring there are the suitable kitchens,
barns, and stores of utensils for eating and drinking, and over every
department an old man and an old woman preside. These two have at once
the command of those who serve, and the power of chastising, or causing
to be chastised, those who are negligent or disobedient; and they also
examine and mark each one, both male and female, who excels in his or
her duties.

All the young people wait upon the older ones who have passed the age of
forty, and in the evening when they go to sleep the master and mistress
command that those should be sent to work in the morning, upon whom in
succession the duty falls, one or two to separate apartments. The young
people, however, wait upon one another, and that alas! with some
unwillingness. They have first and second tables, and on both sides
there are seats. On one side sit the women, on the other the men; and as
in the refectories of the monks, there is no noise. While they are
eating a young man reads a book from a platform, intoning distinctly and
sonorously, and often the magistrates question them upon the more
important parts of the reading. And truly it is pleasant to observe in
what manner these young people, so beautiful and clothed in garments so
suitable, attend to them, and to see at the same time so many friends,
brothers, sons, fathers and mothers all in their turn living together
with so much honesty, propriety and love. So each one is given a napkin,
a plate, fish, and a dish of food. It is the duty of the medical
officers to tell the cooks what repasts shall be prepared on each day,
and what food for the old, what for the young, and what for the sick.
The magistrates receive the full-grown and fatter portion, and they from
their share always distribute something to the boys at the table who
have shown themselves more studious in the morning at the lectures and
debates concerning wisdom and arms. And this is held to be one of the
most distinguished honours. For six days they ordain to sing with music
at table. Only a few, however, sing; or there is one voice accompanying
the lute and one for each other instrument. And when all alike in
service join their hands, nothing is found to be wanting. The old men
placed at the head of the cooking business and of the refectories of the
servants praise the cleanliness of the streets, the houses, the vessels,
the garments, the workshops and the warehouses.

They wear white undergarments to which adheres a covering, which is at
once coat and legging, without wrinkles. The borders of the fastenings
are furnished with globular buttons, extended round and caught up here
and there by chains. The coverings of the legs descend to the shoes and
are continued even to the heels. Then they cover the feet with large
socks, or as it were half-buskins fastened by buckles, over which they
wear a half-boot, and besides, as I have already said, they are clothed
with a toga. And so aptly fitting are the garments, that when the toga
is destroyed, the different parts of the whole body are straight-way
discerned, no part being concealed. They change their clothes for
different ones four times in the year, that is when the sun enters
respectively the constellations Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn, and
according to the circumstances and necessity as decided by the officer
of health. The keepers of clothes for the different rings are wont to
distribute them, and it is marvellous that they have at the same time as
many garments as there is need for, some heavy and some slight,
according to the weather. They all use white clothing, and this is
washed in each month with lye or soap, as are also the workshops of the
lower trades, the kitchens, the pantries, the barns, the store-houses,
the armories, the refectories and the baths. Moreover, the clothes are
washed at the pillars of the peristyles, and the water is brought down
by means of canals which are continued as sewers. In every street of the
different rings there are suitable fountains, which send forth their
water by means of canals, the water being drawn up from nearly the
bottom of the mountain by the sole movement of a cleverly contrived
handle. There is water in fountains and in cisterns, whither the
rain-water collected from the roofs of the houses is brought through
pipes full of sand. They wash their bodies often, according as the
doctor and master command. All the mechanical arts are practised under
the peristyles, but the speculative are carried on above in the walking
galleries and ramparts where are the more splendid paintings, but the
more sacred ones are taught in the temple. In the halls and wings of the
rings there are solar time-pieces and bells, and hands by which the
hours and seasons are marked off.

_G.M._ Tell me about their children.

_Capt._ When their women have brought forth children, they suckle and
rear them in temples set apart for all. They give milk for two years or
more as the physician orders. After that time the weaned child is given
into the charge of the mistresses, if it is a female, and to the
masters, if it is a male. And then with other young children they are
pleasantly instructed in the alphabet, and in the knowledge of the
pictures, and in running, walking and wrestling; also in the historical
drawings, and in languages; and they are adorned with a suitable garment
of different colours. After their sixth year they are taught natural
science, and then the mechanical sciences. The men who are weak in
intellect are sent to farms, and when they have become more proficient
some of them are received into the state. And those of the same age and
born under the same constellation are especially like one another in
strength and in appearance, and hence arises much lasting concord in the
state, these men honouring one another with mutual love and help. Names
are given to them by Metaphysicus, and that not by chance but
designedly, and according to each one's peculiarity, as was the custom
among the ancient Romans. Wherefore one is called Beautiful (_Pulcher_),
another the Big-nosed (_Naso_), another the Fat-legged (_Cranipes_)
another Crooked (_Torvus_) another Lean (_Macer_) and so on. But when
they have become very skilled in their professions and done any great
deed in war or in time of peace, a cognomen from art is given to them,
such as Beautiful, the great painter (_Pulcher_, _Pictor Magnus_), the
golden one (_Aureus_) the excellent one (_Excellens_) or the strong
(_Strenuus_); or from their deeds, such as Naso the Brave (_Nason
Fortis_) or the cunning, or the great, or very great conqueror; or from
the enemy any one has overcome, Africanus, Asiaticus, Etruscus; or if
any one has overcome Manfred or Tortelius, he is called Macer Manfred or
Tortelius, and so on. All these cognomens are added by the higher
magistrates, and very often with a crown suitable to the deed or art,
and with the flourish of music. For gold and silver is reckoned of
little value among them except as material for their vessels and
ornaments, which are common to all.

_G.M._ Tell me, I pray you, is there no jealousy among them or
disappointment to that one who has not been elected to a magistracy, or
to any other dignity to which he aspires?

_Capt._ Certainly not. For no one wants either necessaries or luxuries.
Moreover, the race is managed for the good of the commonwealth and not
of private individuals, and the magistrates must be obeyed. They deny
what we hold--viz., that it is natural to man to recognize his offspring
and to educate them, and to use his wife and house and children as his
own. For they say that children are bred for the preservation of the
species and not for individual pleasure, as St. Thomas also asserts.
Therefore the breeding of children has reference to the commonwealth and
not to individuals, except in so far as they are constituents of the
commonwealth. And since individuals for the most part bring forth
children wrongly and educate them wrongly, they consider that they
remove destruction from the state, and therefore, for this reason, with
most sacred fear, they commit the education of the children, who as it
were are the element of the republic, to the care of magistrates; for
the safety of the community is not that of a few. And thus they
distribute male and female breeders of the best natures according to
philosophical rules. Plato thinks that this distribution ought to be
made by lot, lest some men seeing that they are kept away from the
beautiful women, should rise up with anger and hatred against the
magistrates; and he thinks further that those who do not deserve
cohabitation with the more beautiful women, should be deceived whilst
the lots are being led out of the city by the magistrates, so that at
all times the women who are suitable should fall to their lot, not those
whom they desire. This shrewdness, however, is not necessary among the
inhabitants of the City of the Sun. For with them deformity is unknown.
When the women are exercised they get a clear complexion, and become
strong of limb, tall and agile, and with them beauty consists in
tallness and strength. Therefore, if any woman dyes her face, so that it
may become beautiful, or uses high-heeled boots so that she may appear
tall, or garments with trains to cover her wooden shoes, she is
condemned to capital punishment. But if the women should even desire
them, they have no facility for doing these things. For who indeed would
give them this facility? Further, they assert that among us abuses of
this kind arise from the leisure and sloth of women. By these means they
lose their colour and have pale complexions, and become feeble and
small. For this reason they are without proper complexions, use high
sandals, and become beautiful not from strength, but from slothful
tenderness. And thus they ruin their own tempers and natures, and
consequently those of their offspring. Furthermore, if at any time a man
is taken captive with ardent love for a certain woman, the two are
allowed to converse and joke together, and to give one another garlands
of flowers or leaves, and to make verses. But if the race is endangered,
by no means is further union between them permitted. Moreover, the love
born of eager desire is not known among them; only that born of

Domestic affairs and partnerships are of little account, because,
excepting the sign of honour, each one receives what he is in need of.
To the heroes and heroines of the republic, it is customary to give the
pleasing gifts of honour, beautiful wreaths, sweet food or splendid
clothes, while they are feasting. In the daytime all use white garments
within the city, but at night or outside the city they use red garments
either of wool or silk. They hate black as they do dung, and therefore
they dislike the Japanese, who are fond of black. Pride they consider
the most execrable vice, and one who acts proudly is chastised with the
most ruthless correction. Wherefore no one thinks it lowering to wait at
table or to work in the kitchen or fields. All work they call
discipline, and thus they say that it is honourable to go on foot, to do
any act of nature, to see with the eye, and to speak with the tongue;
and when there is need, they distinguish philosophically between tears
and spittle.

Every man who, when he is told off to work, does his duty, is considered
very honourable. It is not the custom to keep slaves. For they are
enough, and more than enough, for themselves. But with us, alas! it is
not so. In Naples there exists seventy thousand souls, and out of these
scarcely ten or fifteen thousand do any work, and they are always lean
from overwork and are getting weaker every day. The rest become a prey
to idleness, avarice, ill-health, lasciviousness, usury and other vices,
and contaminate and corrupt very many families by holding them in
servitude for their own use, by keeping them in poverty and slavishness,
and by imparting to them their own vices. Therefore public slavery ruins
them; useful works, in the field, in military service and in arts,
except those which are debasing, are not cultivated, the few who do
practise them doing so with much aversion. But in the City of the Sun,
while duty and work is distributed among all, it only falls to each one
to work for about four hours every day. The remaining hours are spent in
learning joyously, in debating, in reading, in reciting, in writing, in
walking, in exercising the mind and body, and with play. They allow no
game which is played while sitting, neither the single die nor dice, nor
chess, nor others like these. But they play with the ball, with the
sack, with the hoop, with wrestling, with hurling at the stake. They
say, moreover, that grinding poverty renders men worthless, cunning,
sulky, thievish, insidious, vagabonds, liars, false witnesses, &c.; and
that wealth makes them insolent, proud, ignorant, traitors, assumers of
what they know not, deceivers, boasters, wanting in affection,
slanderers, &c. But with them all the rich and poor together make up the
community. They are rich because they want nothing, poor because they
possess nothing; and consequently they are not slaves to circumstances,
but circumstances serve them. And on this point they strongly recommend
the religion of the Christians, and especially the life of the Apostles.

_G.M._ This seems excellent and sacred, but the community of women is a
thing too difficult to attain. The holy Roman Clement says that wives
ought to be common in accordance with the apostolic institution, and
praises Plato and Socrates, who thus teach, but the Glossary interprets
this community with regard to obedience. And Tertullian agrees with the
Glossary, that the first Christians had everything in common except

_Capt._ These things I know little of. But this I saw among the
inhabitants of the City of the Sun that they did not make this
exception. And they defend themselves by the opinion of Socrates, of
Cato, of Plato, and of St. Clement but, as you say, they misunderstand
the opinions of these thinkers. And the inhabitants of the solar city
ascribe this to their want of education, since they are by no means
learned in philosophy. Nevertheless, they send abroad to discover the
customs of nations, and the best of these they always adopt. Practice
makes the women suitable for war and other duties. Thus they agree with
Plato, in whom I have read these same things. The reasoning of our
Cajetan does not convince me, and least of all that of Aristotle. This
thing, however, existing among them is excellent and worthy of
imitation--viz., that no physical defect renders a man incapable of
being serviceable except the decrepitude of old age, since even the
deformed are useful for consultation. The lame serve as guards, watching
with the eyes which they possess. The blind card wool with their hands,
separating the down from the hairs, with which latter they stuff the
couches and sofas; those who are without the use of eyes and hands give
the use of their ears or their voice for the convenience of the state,
and if one has only one sense, he uses it in the farms. And these
cripples are well treated, and some become spies, telling the officers
of the state what they have heard.

_G.M._ Tell me now, I pray you, of their military affairs. Then you may
explain their arts, ways of life and sciences, and lastly their

_Capt._ The triumvir, Power, has under him all the magistrates of arms,
of artillery, of cavalry, of foot-soldiers, of architects, and of
strategists, and the masters and many of the most excellent workmen obey
the magistrates, the men of each art paying allegiance to their
respective chiefs. Moreover, Power is at the head of all the professors
of gymnastics, who teach military exercise, and who are prudent
generals, advanced in age. By these the boys are trained after their
twelfth year. Before this age, however, they have been accustomed to
wrestling, running, throwing the weight and other minor exercises, under
inferior masters. But at twelve they are taught how to strike at the
enemy, at horses and elephants, to handle the spear, the sword, the
arrow and the sling; to manage the horse; to advance and to retreat; to
remain in order of battle; to help a comrade in arms; to anticipate the
enemy by cunning; and to conquer.

The women also are taught these arts under their own magistrates and
mistresses, so that they may be able if need be to render assistance to
the males in battles near the city. They are taught to watch the
fortifications lest at some time a hasty attack should suddenly be made.
In this respect they praise the Spartans and Amazons. The women know
well also how to let fly fiery balls, and how to make them from lead;
how to throw stones from pinnacles and to go in the way of an attack.
They are accustomed also to give up wine unmixed altogether, and that
one is punished most severely who shows any fear.

The inhabitants of the City of the Sun do not fear death, because they
all believe that the soul is immortal, and that when it has left the
body it is associated with other spirits, wicked or good, according to
the merits of this present life. Although they are partly followers of
Bramah and Pythagoras, they do not believe in the transmigration of
souls, except in some cases, by a distinct decree of God. They do not
abstain from injuring an enemy of the republic and of religion, who is
unworthy of pity. During the second month the army is reviewed, and
every day there is practice of arms, either in the cavalry plain or
within the walls. Nor are they ever without lectures on the science of
war. They take care that the accounts of Moses, of Joshua, of David, of
Judas Maccabeus, of Cæsar, of Alexander, of Scipio, of Hannibal, and
other great soldiers should be read. And then each one gives his own
opinion as to whether these generals acted well or ill, usefully or
honourably, and then the teacher answers and says who are right.

_G.M._ With whom do they wage war, and for what reasons, since they are
so prosperous?

_Capt._ Wars might never occur, nevertheless they are exercised in
military tactics and in hunting, lest perchance they should become
effeminate and unprepared for any emergency. Besides there are four
kingdoms in the island, which are very envious of their prosperity, for
this reason that the people desire to live after the manner of the
inhabitants of the City of the Sun, and to be under their rule rather
than that of their own kings. Wherefore the state often makes war upon
these because, being neighbours, they are usurpers and live impiously,
since they have not an object of worship and do not observe the religion
of other nations or of the Brahmins. And other nations of India, to
which formerly they were subject, rise up as it were in rebellion, as
also do the Taprobanese, whom they wanted to join them at first. The
warriors of the City of the Sun, however, are always the victors. As
soon as they suffered from insult or disgrace or plunder, or when their
allies have been harassed, or a people have been oppressed by a tyrant
of the state (for they are always the advocates of liberty), they go
immediately to the council for deliberation. After they have knelt in
the presence of God that He might inspire their consultation, they
proceed to examine the merits of the business, and thus war is decided
on. Immediately after a priest, whom they call Forensic, is sent away.
He demands from the enemy the restitution of the plunder, asks that the
allies should be freed from oppression, or that the tyrant should be
deposed. If they deny these things war is declared by invoking the
vengeance of God--the God of Sabaoth--for destruction of those who
maintain an unjust cause. But if the enemy refuse to reply, the priest
gives him the space of one hour for his answer, if he is a king, but
three if it is a republic, so that they cannot escape giving a response.
And in this manner is war undertaken against the insolent enemies of
natural rights and of religion. When war has been declared, the deputy
of Power performs everything, but Power, like the Roman dictator, plans
and wills everything, so that hurtful tardiness may be avoided. And when
anything of great moment arises he consults Hoh and Wisdom and Love.

Before this, however, the occasion of war and the justice of making an
expedition is declared by a herald in the great council. All from twenty
years and upwards are admitted to this council, and thus the necessaries
are agreed upon. All kinds of weapons stand in the armories, and these
they use often in sham fights. The exterior walls of each ring are full
of guns prepared by their labours, and they have other engines for
hurling which are called cannons, and which they take into battle upon
mules and asses and carriages. When they have arrived in an open plain
they enclose in the middle the provisions, engines of war, chariots,
ladders and machines and all fight courageously. Then each one returns
to the standards, and the enemy thinking that they are giving and
preparing to flee, are deceived and relax their order: then the warriors
of the City of the Sun, wheeling into wings and columns on each side,
regain their breath and strength, and ordering the artillery to
discharge their bullets they resume the fight against a disorganized
host. And they observe many ruses of this kind. They overcome all
mortals with their stratagems and engines. Their camp is fortified after
the manner of the Romans. They pitch their tents and fortify with wall
and ditch with wonderful quickness. The masters of works, of engines and
hurling machines, stand ready, and the soldiers understand the use of
the spade and the axe.

Five, eight, or ten leaders learned in the order of battle and in
strategy consult together concerning the business of war, and command
their bands after consultation. It is their wont to take out with them
a body of boys, armed and on horses, so that they may learn to fight,
just as the whelps of lions and wolves are accustomed to blood. And
these in time of danger betake themselves to a place of safety, along
with many armed women. After the battle the women and boys soothe and
relieve the pain of the warriors, and wait upon them and encourage them
with embraces and pleasant words. How wonderful a help is this! For the
soldiers, in order that they may acquit themselves as sturdy men in the
eyes of their wives and offspring, endure hardships, and so love makes
them conquerors. He who in the fight first scales the enemy's walls
receives after the battle a crown of grass, as a token of honour, and at
the presentation the women and boys applaud loudly; that one who affords
aid to an ally gets a civic crown of oak-leaves; he who kills a tyrant
dedicates his arms in the temple and receives from Hoh the cognomen of
his deed, and other warriors obtain other kinds of crowns. Every
horse-soldier carries a spear and two strongly tempered pistols, narrow
at the mouth, hanging from his saddle. And to get the barrels of their
pistols narrow they pierce the metal which they intend to convert into
arms. Further, every cavalry soldier has a sword and a dagger. But the
rest, who form the light-armed troops, carry a metal cudgel. For if the
foe cannot pierce their metal for pistols and cannot make swords, they
attack him with clubs, shatter and overthrow him. Two chains of six
spans length hang from the club, and at the end of these are iron balls,
and when these aimed at the enemy they surround his neck and drag him to
the ground; and in order that they may be able to use the club more
easily, they do not hold the reins with their hands, but use them by
means of the feet. If perchance the reins are interchanged above the
trappings of the saddle, the ends are fastened to the stirrups with
buckles and not to the feet. And the stirrups have an arrangement for
swift movement of the bridle, so that they draw in or let out the rein
with marvellous celerity. With the right foot they turn the horse to the
left and with the left to the right. This secret, moreover, is not known
to the Tartars. For, although they govern the reins with their feet,
they are ignorant nevertheless of turning them and drawing them in and
letting them out by means of the block of the stirrups. The light-armed
cavalry with them are the first to engage in battle, then the men
forming the phalanx with their spears, then the archers for whose
services a great price is paid, and who are accustomed to fight in lines
crossing one another as the threads of cloth, some rushing forward in
their turn and others receding. They have a band of lancers
strengthening the line of battle, but they make trial of the swords only
at the end.

After the battle they celebrate the military triumphs after the manner
of the Romans, and even in a more magnificent way. Prayers by the way of
thank-offerings are made to God, and then the general presents himself
in the temple, and the deeds, good and bad, are related by the poet or
historian, who according to custom was with the expedition. And the
greatest chief, Hoh, crowns the general with laurel and distributes
little gifts and honours to all the valorous soldiers, who are for some
days free from public duties. But this exemption from work is by no
means pleasing to them, since they know not what it is to be at leisure,
and so they help their companions. On the other hand, they who have been
conquered through their own fault, or have lost the victory, are blamed;
and they who were the first to take to flight are in no way worthy to
escape death, unless when the whole army asks their lives, and each one
takes upon himself a part of their punishment. But this indulgence is
rarely granted, except when there are good reasons favouring it. But he
who did not bear help to an ally or friend is beaten with rods. That one
who did not obey orders is given to the beasts, in an enclosure, to be
devoured, and a staff is put in his hand, and if he should conquer the
lions and the bears that are there, which is almost impossible, he is
received into favour again. The conquered states or those willingly
delivered up to them, forthwith have all things in common, and receive a
garrison and magistrates from the City of the Sun, and by degrees they
are accustomed to the ways of the city, the mistress of all, to which
they even send their sons to be taught without contributing anything for

It would be too great trouble to tell you about the spies and their
master, and about the guards and laws and ceremonies, both within and
without the state, which you can of yourself imagine. Since from
childhood they are chosen according to their inclination and the star
under which they were born, therefore each one working according to his
natural propensity does his duty well and pleasantly, because naturally.
The same things I may say concerning strategy and the other functions.

There are guards in the city by day and by night, and they are placed at
the four gates, and outside the walls of the seventh ring, above the
breastworks and towers and inside mounds. These places are guarded in
the day by women, in the night by men. And lest the guard should become
weary of watching, and in case of a surprise, they change them every
three hours, as is the custom with our soldiers. At sunset, when the
drum and symphonia sound, the armed guards are distributed. Cavalry and
infantry make use of hunting as the symbol of war, and practise games
and hold festivities in the plains. Then the music strikes up, and
freely they pardon the offences and faults of the enemy, and after the
victories they are kind to them, if it has been decreed that they should
destroy the walls of the enemy's city and take their lives. All these
things are done on the same day as the victory, and afterwards they
never cease to load the conquered with favours, for they say that there
ought to be no fighting, except when the conquerors give up the
conquered, not when they kill them. If there is a dispute among them
concerning injury or any other matter (for they themselves scarcely ever
contend except in matters of honour), the chief and his magistrates
chastise the accused one secretly, if he has done harm in deeds after he
has been first angry. If they wait until the time of the battle for the
verbal decision, they must give vent to their anger against the enemy,
and he who in battle shows the most daring deeds is considered to have
defended the better and truer cause in the struggle, and the other
yields, and they are punished justly. Nevertheless, they are not allowed
to come to single combat, since right is maintained by the tribunal, and
because the unjust cause is often apparent when the more just succumbs,
and he who professes to be the better man shows this in public fight.

_G.M._ This is worth while, so that factions should not be cherished for
the harm of the fatherland, and so that civil wars might not occur, for
by means of these a tyrant often arises, as the examples of Rome and
Athens show. Now, I pray you, tell me of their works and matter
connected therewith.

_Capt._ I believe that you have already heard about their military
affairs and about their agricultural and pastoral life, and in what way
these are common to them, and how they honour with the first grade of
nobility whoever is considered, to have a knowledge of these. They who
are skilful in more arts than these they consider still nobler, and they
set that one apart for teaching the art in which he is most skilful. The
occupations which require the most labour, such as working in metals and
building, are the most praiseworthy amongst them. No one declines to go
to these occupations, for the reason that from the beginning their
propensities are well known, and among them, on account of the
distribution of labour, no one does work harmful to him, but only that
which is necessary for him. The occupations entailing less labour belong
to the women. All of them are expected to know how to swim, and for this
reason ponds are dug outside the walls of the city and within them near
to the fountains.

Commerce is of little use to them, but they know the value of money, and
they count for the use of their ambassadors and explorers, so that with
it they may have the means of living. They receive merchants into their
states from the different countries of the world, and these buy the
superfluous goods of the city. The people of the City of the Sun refuse
to take money, but in importing they accept in exchange those things of
which they are in need, and sometimes they buy with money; and the young
people in the City of the Sun are much amused when they see that for a
small price they receive so many things in exchange. The old men,
however, do not laugh. They are unwilling that the state should be
corrupted by the vicious customs of slaves and foreigners. Therefore
they do business at the gates, and sell those whom they have taken in
war or keep them for digging ditches and other hard work without the
city, and for this reason they always send four bands of soldiers to
take care of the fields, and with them there are the labourers. They go
out of the four gates from which roads with walls on both sides of them
lead to the sea, so that goods might easily be carried over them and
foreigners might not meet with difficulty on their way.

To strangers they are kind and polite; they keep them for three days at
the public expense; after they have first washed their feet, they show
them their city and its customs, and they honour them with a seat at the
council and public table, and there are men whose duty it is to take
care of and guard the guests. But if strangers should wish to become
citizens of their state, they try them first for a month on a farm, and
for another month in the city, then they decide concerning them, and
admit them with certain ceremonies and oaths.

Agriculture is much followed among them; there is not a span of earth
without cultivation, and they observe the winds and propitious stars.
With the exception of a few left in the city all go out armed, and with
flags and drums and trumpets sounding, to the fields, for the purposes
of ploughing, sowing, digging, hoeing, reaping, gathering fruit and
grapes; and they set in order everything, and do their work in a very
few hours and with much care. They use waggons fitted with sails which
are borne along by the wind even when it is contrary, by the marvellous
contrivance of wheels within wheels.

And when there is no wind a beast draws along a huge cart, which is a
grand sight.

The guardians of the land move about in the meantime, armed and always
in their proper turn. They do not use dung and filth for manuring the
fields, thinking that the fruit contracts something of their rottenness,
and when eaten gives a short and poor subsistence, as women who are
beautiful with rouge and from want of exercise bring forth feeble
offspring. Wherefore they do not as it were paint the earth, but dig it
up well and use secret remedies, so that fruit is borne quickly and
multiplies, and is not destroyed. They have a book for this work, which
they call the Georgics. As much of the land as is necessary is
cultivated, and the rest is used for the pasturage of cattle.

The excellent occupation of breeding and rearing horses, oxen, sheep,
dogs and all kinds of domestic and tame animals, is in the highest
esteem among them as it was in the time of Abraham. And the animals are
led so to pair that they may be able to breed well.

Fine pictures of oxen, horses, sheep, and other animals are placed
before them. They do not turn out horses with mares to feed, but at the
proper time they bring them together in an enclosure of the stables in
their fields. And this is done when they observe that the constellation
Archer is in favourable conjunction with Mars and Jupiter. For the oxen
they observe the Bull, for the sheep the Ram, and so on in accordance
with art. Under the Pleiades they keep a drove of hens and ducks and
geese, which are driven out by the women to feed near the city. The
women only do this when it is a pleasure to them. There are also places
enclosed, where they make cheese, butter, and milk-food. They also keep
capons, fruit and other things, and for all these matters there is a
book which they call the Bucolics. They have an abundance of all things,
since every one likes to be industrious, their labours being slight and
profitable. They are docile, and that one among them who is head of the
rest in duties of this kind they call king. For they say that this is
the proper name of the leaders, and it does not belong to ignorant
persons. It is wonderful to see how men and women march together
collectively, and always in obedience to the voice of the king. Nor do
they regard him with loathing as we do, for they know that although he
is greater than themselves, he is for all that their father and brother.
They keep groves and woods for wild animals, and they often hunt.

The science of navigation is considered very dignified by them, and they
possess rafts and triremes, which go over the waters without rowers or
the force of the wind, but by a marvellous contrivance. And other
vessels they have which are moved by the winds. They have a correct
knowledge of the stars, and of the ebb and flow of the tide. They
navigate for the sake of becoming acquainted with nations and different
countries and things. They injure nobody, and they do not put up with
injury, and they never go to battle unless when provoked. They assert
that the whole earth will in time come to live in accordance with their
customs, and consequently they always find out whether there be a
nation whose manner of living is better and more approved than the rest.
They admire the Christian institutions and look for a realisation of the
apostolic life in vogue among themselves and in us. There are treaties
between them and the Chinese, and many other nations, both insular and
continental, such as Siam and Calicut, which they are only just able to
explore. Furthermore, they have artificial fires, battles on sea and
land, and many strategic secrets. Therefore they are nearly always

_G.M._ Now it would be very pleasant to learn with what foods and drinks
they are nourished, and in what way and for how long they live.

_Capt._ Their food consists of flesh, butter, honey, cheese, garden
herbs, and vegetables of various kinds. They were unwilling at first to
slay animals, because it seemed cruel; but thinking afterwards that it
was also cruel to destroy herbs which have a share of sensitive feeling,
they saw that they would perish from hunger unless they did an
unjustifiable action for the sake of justifiable ones, and so now they
all eat meat. Nevertheless, they do not kill willingly useful animals,
such as oxen and horses. They observe the difference between useful and
harmful foods, and for this they employ the science of medicine. They
always change their food. First they eat flesh, then fish, then
afterwards they go back to flesh, and nature is never incommoded or
weakened. The old people use the more digestible kind of food, and take
three meals a day, eating only a little. But the general community eat
twice, and the boys four times, that they might satisfy nature. The
length of their lives is generally one hundred years, but often they
reach two hundred.

As regards drinking, they are extremely moderate. Wine is never given to
young people until they are ten years old, unless the state of their
health demands it. After their tenth year they take it diluted with
water, and so do the women, but the old men of fifty and upwards use
little or no water. They eat the most healthy things, according to the
time of the year.

They think nothing harmful which is brought forth by God, except when
there has been abuse by taking too much. And therefore in the summer
they feed on fruits, because they are moist and juicy and cool, and
counteract the heat and dryness. In the winter they feed on dry
articles, and in the autumn they eat grapes, since they are given by God
to remove melancholy and sadness; and they also make use of scents to a
great degree. In the morning, when they have all risen they comb their
hair and wash their faces and hands with cold water. Then they chew
thyme or rock parsley or fennel, or rub their hands with these plants.
The old men make incense, and with their faces to the east repeat the
short prayer which Jesus Christ taught us. After this they go to wait
upon the old men, some go to the dance, and others to the duties of the
state. Later on they meet at the early lectures, then in the temple,
then for bodily exercise. Then for a little while they sit down to rest,
and at length they go to dinner.

Among them there is never gout in the hands or feet, no catarrh, nor
sciatica, nor grievous colics, nor flatulency, nor hard breathing. For
these diseases are caused by indigestion and flatulency, and by
frugality and exercise they remove every humour and spasm. Wherefore it
is unseemly in the extreme to be seen vomiting or spitting, since they
say that this is a sign either of little exercise or of ignoble sloth,
or of drunkenness or gluttony. They suffer rather from swellings or from
the dry spasm, which they relieve with plenty of good and juicy food.
They heal fevers with pleasant baths and with milk-food, and with a
pleasant habitation in the country and by gradual exercise. Unclean
diseases cannot be prevalent with them because they often clean their
bodies by bathing in wine, and soothe them with aromatic oil, and by
the sweat of exercise they diffuse the poisonous vapour which corrupts
the blood and the marrow. They do suffer a little from consumption,
because they cannot perspire at the breast, but they never have asthma,
for the humid nature of which a heavy man is required. They cure hot
fevers with cold potations of water, but slight ones with sweet smells,
with cheese-bread or sleep, with music or dancing. Tertiary fevers are
cured by bleeding, by rhubarb or by a similar drawing remedy, or by
water soaked in the roots of plants, with purgative and sharp-tasting
qualities. But it is rarely that they take purgative medicines. Fevers
occurring every fourth day are cured easily by suddenly startling the
unprepared patients, and by means of herbs producing effects opposite to
the humours of this fever. All these secrets they told me in opposition
to their own wishes. They take more diligent pains to cure the lasting
fevers, which they fear more, and they strive to counteract these by the
observation of stars and of plants, and by prayers to God. Fevers
recurring every fifth, sixth, eighth or more days, you never find
whenever heavy humours are wanting.

They use baths, and moreover they have warm ones according to the Roman
custom, and they make use also of olive oil. They have found out, too, a
great many secret cures for the preservation of cleanliness and health.
And in other ways they labour to cure the epilepsy, with which they are
often troubled.

_G.M._ A sign this disease is of wonderful cleverness, for from it
Hercules, Scotus, Socrates, Callimachus, and Mahomet have suffered.

_Capt._ They cure by means of prayers to heaven, by strengthening the
head, by acids, by planned gymnastics, and with fat cheese-bread
sprinkled with the flour of wheaten corn. They are very skilled in
making dishes, and in them they put spice, honey, butter and many highly
strengthening spices, and they temper their richness with acids, so that
they never vomit. They do not drink ice-cold drinks nor artificial hot
drinks, as the Chinese do; for they are not without aid against the
humours of the body, on account of the help they get from the natural
heat of the water; but they strengthen it with crushed garlic, with
vinegar, with wild thyme, with mint, and with basil, in the summer or in
time of special heaviness. They know also a secret for renovating life
after about the seventieth year, and for ridding it of affliction, and
this they do by a pleasing and indeed wonderful art.

_G.M._ Thus far you have said nothing concerning their sciences and

_Capt._ Undoubtedly I have. But since you are so curious I will add
more. Both when it is new moon and full moon they call a council after a
sacrifice. To this all from twenty years upwards are admitted, and each
one is asked separately to say what is wanting in the state, and which
of the magistrates have discharged their duties rightly and which
wrongly. Then after eight days all the magistrates assemble, to wit, Hoh
first, and with him Power, Wisdom and Love. Each one of the three last
has three magistrates under him, making in all thirteen, and they
consider the affairs of the arts pertaining to each one of them; Power,
of war; Wisdom, of the sciences; Love, of food, clothing, education and
breeding. The masters of all the bands, who are captains of tens, of
fifties, of hundreds, also assemble, the women first and then the men.
They argue about those things which are for the welfare of the state,
and they choose the magistrates from among those who have already been
named in the great council. In this manner they assemble daily, Hoh and
his three princes, and they correct, confirm and execute the matters
passing to them, as decisions in the elections; other necessary
questions they provide of themselves. They do not use lots unless when
they are altogether doubtful how to decide. The eight magistrates under
Hoh, Power, Wisdom and Love are changed according to the wish of the
people, but the first four are never changed, unless they, taking
counsel with themselves, give up the dignity of one to another, whom
among them they know to be wiser, more renowned, and more nearly
perfect. And then they are obedient and honourable, since they yield
willingly to the wiser man and are taught by him. This, however, rarely
happens. The principals of the sciences, except Metaphysics, who is Hoh
himself, and is as it were the architect of all science, having rule
over all, are attached to Wisdom. Hoh is ashamed to be ignorant of any
possible thing. Under Wisdom therefore is Grammar, Logic, Physics,
Medicine, Astrology, Astronomy, Geometry, Cosmography, Music,
Perspective, Arithmetic, Poetry, Rhetoric, Painting, Sculpture. Under
the triumvir Love are Breeding, Agriculture, Education, Medicine,
Clothing, Pasturage, Coining.

_G.M._ What about their judges?

_Capt._ This is the point I was just thinking of explaining. Everyone is
judged by the first master of his trade, and thus all the head
artificers are judges. They punish with exile, with flogging, with
blame, with deprivation of the common table, with exclusion from the
church and from the company of women. When there is a case in which
great injury has been done, it is punished with death, and they repay an
eye with an eye, a nose for a nose, a tooth for a tooth, and so on,
according to the law of retaliation. If the offence is wilful the
council decides. When there is strife and it takes place undesignedly,
the sentence is mitigated; nevertheless, not by the judge but by the
triumvirate, from whom even it may be referred to Hoh, not on account of
justice but of mercy, for Hoh is able to pardon. They have no prisons,
except one tower for shutting up rebellious enemies, and there is no
written statement of a case, which we commonly call a lawsuit. But the
accusation and witnesses are produced in the presence of the judge and
Power; the accused person makes his defence, and he is immediately
acquitted or condemned by the judge; and if he appeals to the
triumvirate, on the following day he is acquitted of condemned. On the
third day he is dismissed through the mercy and clemency of Hoh, or
receives the inviolable rigour of his sentence. An accused person is
reconciled to his accuser and to his witnesses, as it were, with the
medicine of his complaint, that is, with embracing and kissing. No one
is killed or stoned unless by the hands of the people, the accuser and
the witnesses beginning first. For they have no executioners and
lictors, lest the state should sink into ruin. The choice of death is
given to the rest of the people, who enclose the lifeless remains in
little bags and burn them by the application of fire, while exhorters
are present for the purpose of advising concerning a good death.
Nevertheless, the whole nation laments and beseeches God that His anger
may be appeased, being in grief that it should as it were have to cut
off a rotten member of the state. Certain officers talk to and convince
the accused man by means of arguments until he himself acquiesces in the
sentence of death passed upon him, or else he does not die. But if a
crime has been committed against the liberty of the republic, or against
God, or against the supreme magistrates, there is immediate censure
without pity. These only are punished with death. He who is about to die
is compelled to state in the presence of the people and with religious
scrupulousness the reasons for which he does not deserve death, and also
the sins of the others who ought to die instead of him, and further the
mistakes of the magistrates. If, moreover, it should seem right to the
person thus asserting, he must say why the accused ones are deserving of
less punishment than he. And if by his arguments he gains the victory he
is sent into exile, and appeases the state by means of prayers and
sacrifices and good life ensuing. They do not torture those named by the
accused person, but they warn them. Sins of frailty and ignorance are
punished only with blaming, and with compulsory continuation as
learners under the law and discipline of those sciences or arts against
which they have sinned. And all these things they have mutually among
themselves, since they seem to be in very truth members of the same
body, and one of another.

This further I would have you know, that if a transgressor, without
waiting to be accused, goes of his own accord before a magistrate,
accusing himself and seeking to make amends, that one is liberated from
the punishment of a secret crime, and since he has not been accused of
such a crime, his punishment is changed into another. They take special
care that no one should invent slander, and if this should happen they
meet the offence with the punishment of retaliation. Since they always
walk about and work in crowds, five witnesses are required for the
conviction of a transgressor. If the case is otherwise, after having
threatened him, he is released after he has sworn an oath as the warrant
of good conduct. Or if he is accused a second or third time, his
increased punishment rests on the testimony of three or two witnesses.
They have but few laws, and these short and plain, and written upon a
flat table, and hanging to the doors of the temple, that is between the
columns. And on single columns can be seen the essences of things
described in the very terse style of Metaphysics--viz., the essences of
God, of the angels, of the world, of the stars, of man, of fate, of
virtue, all done with great wisdom. The definitions of all the virtues
are also delineated here, and here is the tribunal, where the judges of
all the virtues have their seat. The definition of a certain virtue is
written under that column where the judges for the aforesaid virtue sit,
and when a judge gives judgment he sits and speaks thus: O son, thou
hast sinned against this sacred definition of beneficence, or of
magnanimity, or of another virtue, as the case may be. And after
discussion the judge legally condemns him to the punishment for the
crime of which he is accused--viz., for injury for despondency, for
pride, for ingratitude, for sloth, &c. But the sentences are certain and
true correctives, savouring more of clemency than of actual punishment.

_G.M._ Now you ought to tell me about their priests, their sacrifices,
their religion, and their belief.

_Capt._ The chief priest is Hoh, and it is the duty of all the superior
magistrates to pardon sins. Therefore the whole state by secret
confession, which we also use, tell their sins to the magistrates, who
at once purge their souls and teach those that are inimical to the
people. Then the sacred magistrates themselves confess their own
sinfulness to the three supreme chiefs, and together they confess the
faults of one another, though no special one is named, and they confess
especially the heavier faults and those harmful to the state. At length
the triumvirs confess their sinfulness to Hoh himself, who forthwith
recognizes the kinds of sins that are harmful to the state, and succours
with timely remedies. Then he offers sacrifices and prayers to God. And
before this he confesses the sins of the whole people, in the presence
of God, and publicly in the temple, above the altar, as often as it had
been necessary that the fault should be corrected. Nevertheless, no
transgressor is spoken of by his name. In this manner he absolves the
people by advising them that they should beware of sins of the aforesaid
kind. Afterwards he offers sacrifice to God, that He should pardon the
state and absolve it of its sins, and to teach and defend it. Once in
every year the chief priests of each separate subordinate state confess
their sins in the presence of Hoh. Thus he is not ignorant of the
wrong-doings of the provinces, and forthwith he removes them with all
human and heavenly remedies.

Sacrifice is conducted after the following manner: Hoh asks the people
which one among them wishes to give himself as a sacrifice to God for
the sake of his fellows. He is then placed upon the fourth table, with
ceremonies and the offering up of prayers: the table is hung up in a
wonderful manner by means of four ropes passing through four cords
attached to firm pulley-blocks in the small dome of the temple. This
done they cry to the God of mercy, that He may accept the offering, not
of a beast as among the heathen, but of a human being. Then Hoh orders
the ropes to be drawn and the sacrifice is pulled up above to the centre
of the small dome, and there it dedicates itself with the most fervent
supplications. Food is given to it through a window by the priests, who
live around the dome, but it is allowed a very little to eat, until it
has atoned for the sins of the state. There with prayer and fasting he
cries to the God of heaven that He might accept its willing offering.
And after twenty or thirty days, the anger of God being appeased, the
sacrifice becomes a priest, or sometimes, though rarely, returns below
by means of the outer way for the priests. Ever after this man is
treated with great benevolence and much honour, for the reason that he
offered himself unto death for the sake of his country. But God does not
require death. The priests above twenty-four years of age offer praises
from their places in the top of the temple. This they do in the middle
of the night, at noon, in the morning and in the evening, to wit, four
times a day they sing their chants in the presence of God. It is also
their work to observe the stars and to note with the astrolabe their
motions and influences upon human things, and to find out their powers.
Thus they know in what part of the earth any change has been or will be,
and at what time it has taken place, and they send to find whether the
matter be as they have it. They make a note of predictions, true and
false, so that they may be able from experience to predict most
correctly. The priests, moreover, determine the hours for breeding and
the days for sowing, reaping, and gathering the vintage, and are as it
were the ambassadors and intercessors and connection between God and
man. And it is from among them mostly that Hoh is elected. They write
very learned treatises and search into the sciences. Below they never
descend, unless for their dinner and supper, so that the essence of
their heads do not descend to the stomachs and liver. Only very seldom,
and that as a cure for the ills of solitude, do they have converse with
women. On certain days Hoh goes up to them and deliberates with them
concerning the matters which he has lately investigated for the benefit
of the state and all the nations of the world.

In the temple beneath one priest always stands near the altar praying
for the people, and at the end of every hour another succeeds him, just
as we are accustomed in solemn prayer to change every fourth hour. And
this method of supplication they call perpetual prayer. After a meal
they return thanks to God. Then they sing the deeds of the Christian,
Jewish, and Gentile heroes, and of those of all other nations, and this
is very delightful to them. Forsooth, no one is envious of another. They
sing a hymn to Love, one to Wisdom, and one each to all the other
virtues, and this they do under the direction of the ruler of each
virtue. Each one takes the woman he loves most, and they dance for
exercise with propriety and stateliness under the peristyles. The women
wear their long hair all twisted together and collected into one knot on
the crown of the head, but in rolling it they leave one curl. The men,
however, have one curl only and the rest of their hair around the head
is shaven off. Further, they wear a slight covering, and above this a
round hat a little larger than the size of their head. In the fields
they use caps, but at home each one wears a biretto white, red, or
another colour according to his trade or occupation. Moreover, the
magistrates use grander and more imposing-looking coverings for the

They hold great festivities when the sun enters the four cardinal points
of the heavens, that is, when he enters Cancer, Libra, Capricorn, and
Aries. On these occasions they have very learned, splendid, and as it
were comic performances. They celebrate also every full and every new
moon with a festival, as also they do the anniversaries of the founding
of the city, and of the days when they have won victories or done any
other great achievement. The celebrations take place with the music of
female voices, with the noise of trumpets and drums, and the firing of
salutations. The poets sing the praises of the most renowned leaders and
the victories. Nevertheless, if any of them should deceive even by
disparaging a foreign hero, he is punished. No one can exercise the
function of a poet who invents that which is not true, and a license
like this they think to be a pest of our world, for the reason that it
puts a premium upon virtue and often assigns it to unworthy persons,
either from fear or flattery, or ambition or avarice. For the praise of
no one is a statue erected until after his death; but whilst he is
alive, who has found out new arts and very useful secrets, or who has
rendered great service to the state either at home or on the
battle-field, his name is written in the book of heroes. They do not
bury dead bodies, but burn them, so that a plague may not arise from
them, and so that they may be converted into fire, a very noble and
powerful thing, which has its coming from the sun and returns to it. And
for the above reasons no chance is given for idolatry. The statues and
pictures of the heroes, however, are there, and the splendid women set
apart to become mothers often look at them. Prayers are made from the
state to the four horizontal corners of the world. In the morning to the
rising sun, then to the setting sun, then to the south, and lastly to
the north; and in the contrary order in the evening, first to the
setting sun, to the rising sun, to the north, and at length to the
south. They repeat but one prayer, which asks for health of body and of
mind, and happiness for themselves and all people, and they conclude it
with the petition "As it seems best to God." The public prayer for all
is long, and it is poured forth to heaven. For this reason the altar is
round and is divided crosswise by ways at right angles to one another.
By these ways Hoh enters after he has repeated the four prayers, and he
prays looking up to heaven. And then a great mystery is seen by them.
The priestly vestments are of a beauty and meaning like to those of
Aaron. They resemble Nature and they surpass Art.

They divide the seasons according to the revolution of the sun, and not
of the stars, and they observe yearly by how much time the one precedes
the other. They hold that the sun approaches nearer and nearer, and
therefore by ever-lessening circles reaches the tropics and the equator
every year a little sooner. They measure months by the course of the
moon, years by that of the sun. They praise Ptolemy, admire Copernicus,
but place Aristarchus and Philolaus before him. They take great pains in
endeavouring to understand the construction of the world, and whether or
not it will perish, and at what time. They believe that the true oracle
of Jesus Christ is by the signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the
stars, which signs do not thus appear to many of us foolish ones.
Therefore they wait for the renewing of the age, and perchance for its
end. They say that it is very doubtful whether the world was made from
nothing, or from the ruins of other worlds, or from chaos, but they
certainly think that it was made, and did not exist from eternity.
Therefore they disbelieve in Aristotle, whom they consider a logician
and not a philosopher. From analogies, they can draw many arguments
against the eternity of the world. The sun and the stars they, so to
speak, regard as the living representatives and signs of God, as the
temples and holy living altars, and they honour but do not worship them.
Beyond all other things they venerate the sun, but they consider no
created thing worthy the adoration of worship. This they give to God
alone, and thus they serve Him, that they may not come into the power of
a tyrant and fall into misery by undergoing punishment by creatures of
revenge. They contemplate and know God under the image of the Sun, and
they call it the sign of God, His face and living image, by means of
which light, heat, life, and the making of all things good and bad
proceeds. Therefore they have built an altar like to the Sun in shape,
and the priests praise God in the sun and in the stars, as it were His
altars, and in the heavens, His temple as it were; and they pray to good
angels, who are, so to speak, the intercessors living in the stars,
their strong abodes. For God long since set signs of their beauty in
heaven, and of His glory in the Sun. They say there is but one heaven,
and that the planets move and rise of themselves when they approach the
sun or are in conjunction with it.

They assert two principles of the physics of things below, namely, that
the Sun is the father, and the Earth the mother; the air is an impure
part of the heavens; all fire is derived from the sun. The sea is the
sweat of earth, or the fluid of earth combusted, and fused within its
bowels; but is the bond of union between air and earth, as the blood is
of the spirit and flesh of animals. The world is a great animal, and we
live within it as worms live within us. Therefore we do not belong to
the system of stars, sun, and earth, but to God only; for in respect to
them which seek only to amplify themselves, we are born and live by
chance; but in respect to God, whose instruments we are, we are formed
by prescience and design, and for a high end. Therefore we are bound to
no Father but God, and receive all things from Him. They hold as beyond
question the immortality of souls, and that these associate with good
angels after death, or with bad angels, according as they have likened
themselves in this life to either. For all things seek their like. They
differ little from us as to places of reward and punishment. They are in
doubt whether there are other worlds beyond ours, and account it
madness to say there is nothing. Nonentity is incompatible with the
infinite entity of God. They lay down two principles of metaphysics,
entity which is the highest God, and nothingness which is the defect of
entity. Evil and sin come of the propensity to nothingness; the sin
having its cause not efficient, but in deficiency. Deficiency is, they
say, of power, wisdom or will. Sin they place in the last of these
three, because he who knows and has the power to do good is bound also
to have the will, for will arises out of them. They worship God in
Trinity, saying God is the supreme Power, whence proceeds the highest
Wisdom, which is the same with God, and from these comes Love, which is
both Power and Wisdom; but they do not distinguish persons by name, as
in our Christian law, which has not been revealed to them. This
religion, when its abuses have been removed, will be the future mistress
of the world, as great theologians teach and hope. Therefore Spain found
the New World (though its first discoverer, Columbus, greatest of
heroes, was a Genoese), that all nations should be gathered under one
law. We know not what we do, but God knows, whose instruments we are.
They sought new regions for lust of gold and riches, but God works to a
higher end. The sun strives to burn up the earth, not to produce plants
and men, but God guides the battle to great issues. His the praise, to
Him the glory!

_G.M._ Oh, if you knew what our astrologers say of the coming age, and
of our age, that has in it more history within a hundred years than all
the world had in four thousand years before! Of the wonderful invention
of printing and guns, and the use of the magnet, and how it all comes of
Mercury, Mars, the Moon, and the Scorpion!

_Capt._ Ah, well! God gives all in His good time. They astrologize too








Joseph Hall was born at Bristow Park, by Ashby-de-la-Zouch, in the year
1574, and educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. In 1597 he published
three books, and in 1598 three more books, of Satires, "_Virgidemiarum_,
Six Bookes." These satires, with others published about the same time by
Marlowe and Marston, were burnt by order of Whitgift, Archbishop of
Canterbury, who had no relish for that kind of writing. Nine years
later, in the year 1607, at the age of thirty-two, Hall published the
satire now to be described. He was a witty and an earnest man, who rose
to honour in the Church, became successively Bishop of Exeter and of
Norwich; as Bishop of Norwich was in controversy with John Milton on
Church Discipline; suffered patiently imprisonment and persecution from
the Puritans; and closed an honourable life of more than fourscore years
in 1656. He has been called by some the Christian Seneca.

His early work, the "Mundus Alter et Idem," represents an ideal world
divided into regions answering to man's chief weaknesses or vices. He
gave with it a map of its Crapulia, Latronia, &c., fully peopled, with a
neighbouring land in which there are no signs of settlement, _Terra
Sancta, ignota etiam adhuc_, the Holy Land, even yet unknown.

Joseph Hall's new world is also figured as an Austral Continent. They
are good travellers, he says, who tell what they have seen in known
lands, but he is a better who not only travels but is himself the maker
of the lands he travels through. He chose his day, and went aboard the
good ship Phantasy, quitted harbour, sailed away, reached in two years
the Fortunate Isles, and, leaving the shores of Africa behind him, came
in sight of the black headland of Crapulia.

Here Introduction ends and Travel begins with the part partly translated
by Dr. King: Crapulia, named from Crapula, is the Land of Inebriate
Excess, and its two provinces, Pamphagonia and Yvronia, mean by their
names the provinces of Omnivorous Gluttony and Drunkenness. Dr. King has
translated six chapters, and begun the seventh, which is upon the wars
of the Pamphagonians, to which they march forth armed with spits and
two-pronged forks and heavy ribs of beef. In their free city, Ucalegon,
built near the borders of Moronia, the citizens live happy as monks.
They are so well shut in by high rocks that they can laugh at enemies,
and through a hollow in the rocks with softest pace creeps the river
Oysivius (the Idle). There is only one way up, their rocks for the
inhabitants, and that is not by zigzag steps, but by a rope and basket.
Birds wholly peculiar to the place supply food by being themselves
eatable, and by the great multitude of their eggs, and by the loads of
fish they bring into their nests to feed their young. The citizens make
to themselves also beds of the soft feathers of these birds. This valley
yields to the people of Ucalegon everything except what they don't care
for. They are free, therefore, to sup, sleep, rise, dine, and lie down.

Husbandry, as among the old Egyptians, consists chiefly in feeding pigs,
for the husbandmen wait on the rich. One, with a gentle touch, opens the
richer man's eyes when he wakes; another fans him with a flapper while
he eats; another puts bits into his mouth when it opens. There are two
cities under Ucalegon, Livona and Roncara (Snort and Snore), which have
like privileges, except that here the inhabitants are almost always
asleep, and fatten wonderfully.

These are among the laws of Crapulia:--It is a crime to drink alone.
Whoever has defrauded Nature by fasting four hours after sleep shall be
compelled to sup. When the mouth is full it is enough to answer
questions by holding out a finger. What cook soever shall treat food so
that it cannot be eaten, shall be tied to a stake beside which is hung
meat half raw or half burnt, and shall remain so tied until somebody
comes who will eat that meat.

No coin of metal is current in Crapulia, but they make payment in kind.
Thus two sparrows are one starling, two starlings are one fieldfare, two
fieldfares one hen, two hens one goose, two geese one lamb, two lambs
one kid, two kids one goat, two goats one cow, and so forth.

The next chapter is on the Religion of the Crapulians. They hate Jove
because his thunder turns the wine sour and he spoils ripe fruit by
raining on it. Their God is Time, who eats everything.

But I hasten, says the traveller, to the palace of the Grand Duke,
whither I was happily led by my genius. The first Duke must have been as
large as the man two of whose teeth were dug up at Cambridge, each as
big as a man's head. On his tomb is an inscription. "I Omasius, Duke of
Fagonia, Lord, Victor, Prince and God lie here. No man shall say I
starved, shall pass by fasting, or salute me sober. Let him be my heir
who can, my subject who will, my enemy who dares. Farewell and Fatten."

After a description of the Island of Hunger, the traveller passes from
Pamphagonia to Yvronia, the other province of Crapulia.

These are among the laws of Yvronia:--A cup must be either full or
empty. Whoever takes or returns a cup half empty shall be guilty of
_lèse societé_. The sober man who hurts a drunkard, shall be cut off
from wine for ever: if he kill a drunkard, he shall die by thirst. To
walk from supper in a right line shall be criminal. He who adds water to
wine shall be degraded to the table of the dogs.

Yvronia having been described in seven chapters, the traveller in this
Other-and-Same World passes on to Viraginia, the land of the Viragoes.
This is Gynia Nova, miswritten New Guinea. The chief of its many
provinces is Linguadocia, in which Garrula is one of the famous cities.
In Viraginia the traveller was at once made prisoner, but permitted to
see the land after he had subscribed to certain articles, as, That in
word or deed he would work no ill to the nobler sex; That he would never
interpose a word when a woman was speaking; That wherever he might be he
would concede domestic rule to the woman; That he would never deny to a
wife any ornament of dress she looked at.

As to its form of government, the state seemed to be a democracy, in
which all governed and none obeyed. They settled affairs at public
meetings, in which all spoke and none listened; and they had a perpetual

The men in Viraginia are subject to the women. When a wife leaves her
house for any reason, she places the care of her husband under any other
woman of the household until she returns. A husband who survives his
wife, is married at once to his wife's maid, or goes into bondage to the
nearest mother of a family, because it is not permitted that any man
shall become master in his own house.

The women sit while the men serve, sleep when the men are roused to get
up, scold them when they complain, and beat them. That day is worthy to
be marked with a white stone to which men can say good-bye with a whole

Contrary to the custom with us, the women in Viraginia cut their hair
and let their nails grow. Some of them also practise with profit the
gymnastic art, so that they can make beautiful use of teeth, nails, and
heels. A nobler and more cleanly polished place is not to be seen than
Viraginia, where everything is washed, cooked and cared for by the men,
and there is nothing unbecoming but the garments of the men themselves.

The next land to be visited was Moronia, Foolsland, the vastest, the
most uncultivated and the most populous of all these countries. To the
east is Variana or Moronia Mobilis, to the north is Moronia Aspera, to
the south Moronia Felix, and to the west Moronia Pia. The people are,
nearly all of them, tall and fat, with palish hair, prominent lips, and
very thick ears. In midwinter they go with their chests open, and the
rest of the body lightly clothed, that the warmth may enter the more
readily, and the cold go out of them; but in summer they put on thick
overcoats and cloaks, and all the clothes they have, to shut out the
heat. They shave their heads, either because they remember that they
were born bald, or to allay the heat of the brain, or because the hair
comes between the brain and heaven, and checks the freedom of the mind
in going heavenward.

Provinces, towns and people of Moronia having been visited and fully
described, the traveller through this Other-and-Same World then proceeds
to describe Lavernia, the Land of Thieves and Cheats, who obtain great
part of their plunder from Moronia. In this land the Larcinians require
much attention. And at the end of all, adds Joseph Hall, "These men,
these manners, these cities I have seen, have marvelled at, have laughed
at, and at last, broken by the toils of so great a journey, have
returned to my own land. PEREGRINUS, QUONDAM ACADEMICUS."

Dr. William King was born in the year 1663, son of Ezekiel King, a
gentleman of London. He was educated at Westminster School and Christ
Church, Oxford. He early inherited a fair estate, took his Master of
Arts degree in 1688, and began his career as writer with a refutation of
attacks upon Wiclif in the "History of Heresy," by M. Varillas. He then
chose law for a profession, in 1692 graduated as LL.D., and was admitted
an Advocate at Doctor's Commons. He kept a light heart and a lighter
purse than beseemed one of his fraternity, publishing playful satires,
at times showing an earnest mind under his mirth. In or soon after the
year 1702 Dr. King went to Ireland as judge of the High Court of
Admiralty, sole Commissioner of the Prizes, Vicar-General to the Lord
Primate, and Keeper of the Records in Birmingham's Tower, in which
office he was succeeded in 1708 by Joseph Addison. Dr. King, who had not
increased his credit for a love of work, returned to London about that
time, and following his own way of mirth began publishing "Useful
Transactions in Philosophy and other sorts of learning." In 1709 he
published the best of his playful poems, "The Art of Cookery, in
imitation of Horace's Art of Poetry; with some letters to Dr. Lister and
others, occasioned principally by the Title of a Book published by the
Doctor, being the works of Apicius Cœlius concerning the Soups and
Sauces of the Ancients." When he came across Joseph Hall's satire, he
found it so much to his mind that he began to translate as follows:--




_The Situation of the Country._

Crapulia is a very fair and large territory, which on the north is
bounded with the Æthiopic Ocean, on the east with Laconia and Viraginia,
on the south by Moronia Felix, and westward with the Tryphonian Fens. It
lies in that part of the universe where is bred the monstrous bird
called Ruc, that for its prey will bear off an elephant in its talons;
and is described by the modern geographers.

The soil is too fruitful, and the heavens too serene; so that I have
looked upon them with a silent envy, not without pity, when I considered
they were blessings so little deserved by the inhabitants. It lies in
seventy-four degrees of longitude, and sixty degrees of latitude, and
eleven degrees distant from the Cape of Good Hope; and lies, as it were,
opposite to the whole coast of Africa. It is commonly divided into two
provinces, Pamphagonia and Ivronia, the former of which is of the same
length and breadth as Great Britain (which I hope will not be taken as
any reflection), the other is equal to the High and Low Dutch Lands.
Both obey the same prince, are governed by the same laws, and differ
very little in their habit or their manners.


_Pamphagonia; or, Glutton's Paradise._

Pamphagonia is of a triangular figure, like that of ancient Egypt, or
the Greek letter delta, Δ. It is mountainous, inclosed with very high
hills; its soil is of the richest, so that birds which come thither to
feed, if they tarry but three months, grow so very fat and weighty, that
they cannot fly back again over the mountains, but suffer themselves to
be taken up in the hand, and are as delicious as the ortolan or the
beccaficos of the Italians. And it is no wonder to them who know that
geese in Scotland are generated from leaves fallen into the water, and
believe the testimony of one of our ambassadors, that in the north-east
parts of the world lambs grow upon stalks like cabbages and eat up the
grass all around about them, to find the same sort of provisions in this
country. Besides, the fish upon that coast are in such plenty, and so
voracious (whether they conform themselves to the genius of the place
and people, or presage to themselves the honour of so magnificent a
sepulchre as was given to Nero's turbot), that, as soon as the hook is
cast in, they press to it as the ghosts in Lucian did to Charon's boat,
and cling to the iron as miners do to a rope that is let down when the
light of their candle forbodes some malignant exhalation.

The sea-ports, with which this country abounds more than any other, are
of no other use than to receive and take in such things as are edible,
which they have for their superfluous wool and hides: nor may the
inhabitants export anything that has the least relation to the palate.
You see nothing there but fruit-trees. They hate plains, limes, and
willows, as being idle and barren, and yielding nothing useful but their
shade. There are hops, pears, plums, and apples, in the hedge-rows, as
there is in all Ivronia; from whence the Lombards, and some counties in
the west of England, have learned their improvements. In ancient times,
Frugonia, or the Land of Frugality, took in this country as one of its
provinces; and histories tell us, that, in Saturn's time, the Frugonian
princes gave laws to all this part of the world, and had their palace
there; and that their country was called Fagonia, from the simplicity of
their diet, which consisted only in beech-mast. But that yoke has been
long ago shaken off; their manners are wholly changed, and, from the
universality of their food, they have obtained, in their own country
language, the title of Pamphagones.


_The First Province of Pamphagonia._

Friviandy, or Tight-bittia (that we may take the provinces in their
order), were it not for a temperament peculiar to the place, is rather
of the hottest to produce those who are properly called good
trencher-men. Its utmost point, which other geographers call the
Promontory of the Terra Australis, is of the same latitude as the most
southerly parts of Castile, and is about forty-two degrees distant from
the equator. The inhabitants have curled hair and dusky complexions, and
regard more the delicacy than the largeness and number of their dishes.
In this very promontory, which we shall call the black one from its
colour (for it is a very smoky region, partly from the frequent vapours
of the place, partly from its vicinity to the Terra del Fogo, which, by
the common consent of geographers, lies on the right hand of it, but
rather nearer than they have placed it), is the city Lucina, whose
buildings are lofty, but apt to be smoky and offensive to the smell;
from whence a colony went, perhaps, as far as the Indies, where it
remains to this day by the name of Cochin-China.

Here is the famous temple of the great deity Omasius Gorgut, or
Gorbelly. It is a vast pile, and contains a thousand hearths, and as
many altars, which are constantly employed in the Rucal Festivals. In
the midst is a high pyramid, as lofty as the hand of man can erect it,
little inferior to those of Memphis. It is called the Cheminean Tower.
This, rising high, gives the signal of war to the adjoining countries:
for, as we by beacons lighted upon a high hill discover the danger of an
approaching enemy, so these, on the contrary, do the same by letting
their smoke cease and their fires go out: for, when the perpetual vapour
ceases to roll forth in thick and dark clouds of smoke, it is a token
that the Hambrians are drawing nearer, than whom there can be no enemy
more terrible to this nation. There are several smaller towns, that lie
under the dominion of this supreme city. Charbona is the largest
village, and, what is seldom seen elsewhere, lies all under ground. Upon
its barren soil arises another, though of less note, called Favillia.
After these lies Tenaille, a narrow town, and Batillû, a broad one, both
considerable. On the left are some subservient petty hamlets, as
Assadora, Marmitta, Culliera, as useful for the reception of strangers,
amongst which, that of Marmitta is watered by the river Livenza; which,
as is said of a fountain in the Peak of Derby, boils over twice in
four-and-twenty hours.


_The Second Province of Pamphagonia._

Next to this is the Golosinian district, the most pleasant part of
Pamphagonia, covered with dates, almonds, figs, olives, pomegranates,
oranges, citrons, and pistaches; through which run the smoothest of
streams, called the Oglium. Here is the beautiful city of Marzapane,
with noble turrets glittering with gold, but lying too open to the
enemy. Over it hang the Zucker hills, out of whose bowels they draw
something that is hard, white, and sparkling, but sweet as that moisture
which the ancients gathered out of the reeds which grew in Arabia and
the Indies. You shall find few people here, who are grown up, but what
have lost their teeth, and have stinking breaths. Near to this is the
little city Seplasium, which admits of no tradesmen but perfumers. It is
a town of great commerce with the people of Viraginia, especially the
Locanians, who use to change their looking-glass with them for oils and
pastils. The agreeableness of the place, and the bounty of the heavens,
is favourable to their art; for the whole track of land, at certain
seasons, is covered with aromatic comfits, that fall like hail-stones:
which Anathumiasis I take to be essentially the same as that aerial
honey which we often find upon our oaks, especially in the spring, and
that it differs only in thickness; for whereas that honey is sprinkled
in drops, the little globules are hardened by the intense cold of the
middle region, and rebound in falling.


_Of the Third Province of Pamphagonia._

In the fifty-fifth degree, we come into the plains of Lecania, and so
into the very heart of Pamphagonia, where the chief city we meet with is
Cibinium, which is washed with the acid streams of the river Assagion.
In the forum, or market-place, is the tomb (as I conjecture by the
footsteps of some letters now remaining) of Apicius, that famous Roman,
not very beautiful, but antique. It is engraved upon the shell of a
sea-crab; and it might happen, notwithstanding what Seneca says, that
this famous epicure, after having sought for larger shell-fish than the
coast of Gallia could supply him with, and then going in vain to Africa
to make a farther inquiry, might hear some rumour concerning this coast,
steer his course thither, and there die of a surfeit. But this I leave
to the critics. Here I shall only mention the most fertile fields of
Lardana and Ossulia. The delicious situation of Mortadella, the
pleasantest of places, had wonderfully delighted me, had it not been for
the salt-works which often approach too near it. There is an offensive
stinking town called Formagium, alias Butterboxia, and Mantica, a boggy
place near the confines of Ivronia.

I hasten to the metropolis of the whole region, which, whether you
respect the uniformity of the building, the manners of the people, or
their way of living, their rules for behaviour, their law and justice,
will show as much as if I were to descend to particulars.


_Of the Metropolis of Pamphagonia, and the Customs of the Inhabitants._

There are but very few villages in this country, as well as in some
others; from whence a traveller may conjecture, that the country towns
are devoured by the cities, which are not so many in number as they are
large and populous; of which the mother and governess is called
Artocreopolis. The report goes, that in ancient times there were two
famous cities, Artopolis and Creatium, which had many and long contests
about the superiority: for so it happens to places, as well as men, that
increase in power; insomuch as the two most flourishing Universities in
the world (to both of which I bear the relation of a son, though I am
more peculiarly obliged to one of them for my education),
notwithstanding they are sisters, could not abstain from so ungrateful a

Artopolis boasted of its antiquity, and that it had flourished in the
Saturnian age, when it had as yet no rival. Creatium set forth its own
splendour, pleasantness, and power. At last, a council being called,
Creatium got the preference by the universal votes of the assembly; for
such is the iniquity of the times, that though the head be covered with
grey hairs, yet nothing is allowed to the reverence of antiquity, when
encountered by a proud and upstart novelty. The other city is now so far
neglected, that the ruins or footsteps of its magnificence are scarce
remaining, any more than of Verulam, as is most elegantly set forth by
our noble poet Spenser in his verses on that subject; the latter
usurping the name of the other, as well as the other has now the double
title of Artocreopolis. The city is more extensive than beautiful: it is
fortified with a large and deep ditch of running water, which washes
almost all the streets, wherein are a thousand several ponds for fish;
upon which swim ducks, geese, swans, and all sorts of water-fowl, which
has been wisely imitated by the people of Augsburg. This ditch is called
Gruessa. There are two walls, whose materials were furnished by the
flesh-market; for they are made of bones, the larger serving for the
foundations, the lesser for the superstructure, whilst the smallest fill
up what is wanting in the middle; being all cemented with the whites of
eggs, by a wonderful artifice. The houses are not very beautiful, nor
built high after the manner of other cities; so that there is no need of
an Augustus to restrain the buildings to the height of seventy feet, as
was done at Rome; nor is there room for a Seneca or Juvenal to complain
of the multitude of their stairs and number of their stories.

They have no regard for staircases; for indeed none of the citizens care
for them, partly from the trouble of getting up them (especially when,
as they often do, they have drunk heartily) as much as for the danger of
getting down again. Their houses are all covered with large blade-bones,
very neatly joined together. There are no free citizens admitted, but
such whose employment has more immediately some relation to the table.
Husbandmen, smiths, millers, and butchers, live in their colonies, who,
when they have a belly of an unwieldy bulk, are promoted to be
burgesses; to which degree none were anciently admitted but cooks,
bakers, victuallers, and the gravest senators, who are chosen here, as
in other places, not for their prudence, riches, or length of beard; but
for their measure, which they must come up to yearly if they will
pretend to bear any office in the public. As any one grows in
dimensions, he rises in honour; so that I have seen some who, from the
meanest and most contemptible village, have, for their merits, been
promoted to a more famous town, and at last obtained the senatorial
dignity in this most celebrated city: and yet, when by some disease (as
it often happens), or by age, they have grown leaner than they are
allowed to be by the statutes, have lost their honour, together with the
bulk of their carcass. Their streets were paved with polished marble;
which seemed strange amongst a people so incurious, both because the
workmanship was troublesome, and there might be danger in its being
slippery. But the true reason of it was, that they might not be forced
to lift their feet higher than ordinary by the inequality of the
pavement, and likewise that the chairs of the senators might the more
easily be pushed forward; for they never go on foot, or on horseback,
nor even in a coach, to the exchange, or their public feasts, because of
their weight; but they are moved about in great easy elbow-chairs, with
four wheels to them, and continue sitting so fixed, in the same posture,
snoring and flabbering till they are wheeled home again.

At the four gates of the city, whose form is circular, there sit in
their turns as many senators, who are called Buscadores. These carefully
examine all who come in and go out, those that go out, lest they should
presume by chance to do it fasting, which they can easily judge of by
the extent of their bellies, and the matter being proved, they are fined
in a double supper: those that come in, to see what they bring with them
upon their return; for they must neither depart with empty stomachs, nor
come back with empty hands. Every month, according to the laws, which
they unwillingly transgress, there are stated feasts, at which all the
senators are obliged to be present, that after dinner (for no person can
give his vote before he has dined) they may deliberate concerning the
public affairs. The name of their common-hall is Pythanoscome. Every one
knows his own seat, and his conveniences and a couch to repose upon when
the heat of their wine and seasoned dainties incline them to it. Their
greatest delicacies are served up at the first course; for they think it
foolish not to eat the best things with the greatest appetite: nor do
they cut their boars, sheep, goats, and lambs into joints or quarters,
as commonly we do, but convey them whole to table, by the help of
machines, as I remember to have read in Petronius Arbiter. They are
fineable who rise before they have set six hours; for then the edge of
their stomach is blunted. They eat and drink so leisurely, for the same
reason as the famous Epicure of old wished that his neck were as long as
a crane's. They measure the seasonable time for their departure after
this method: they have a door to their town-house, which is wide enough
for the largest man to enter when he is fasting: through this the guests
pass; and when any one would depart, if he stops in this passage, he is
trusted to go out at another door; but if it be as easy as if he were
fasting, the master of the ceremonies makes him tarry till he comes to
be of a statutable magnitute: after which example, Willfrid's needle in
Belvior Castle was a pleasant trial of Roman Catholic sanctity. They
have gardens of many acres extent, but not like those of Adonis or
Alcinoüs; for nothing delightful is to be expected in them, neither
order, nor regularity of walk, nor grass-plots, nor variety of flowers
in the borders: but you will find all planted with cabbages, turnips,
garlick, and musk-melons, which were carried hence to Italy, and are in
quantity sufficient to feast an hundred Pythagoreans.

There is a public college, or hospital, whither they are sent who have
got the dropsy, gout, or asthma, by their eating and drinking; and there
they are nourished at the public expense. As for such as have lost their
teeth by their luxury, or broken them by eating too greedily or
incautiously, they are provided for in the island of Sorbonia. All the
richer sort have several servants, in the nature of vassals, to
cultivate their gardens, and be employed in inferior offices, who have
their liberty when they can arrive at such a bulkiness. If any of the
grandees of the country die of a surfeit, he is given, as being all made
up of the most exquisite dainties, to be eaten up by his servants; and
this they do that nothing should be lost that is so delicate. The men
are thick and fat to a miracle; nor will any one salute another whose
chin does not come to the midst of his breast, and his paunch falls to
his knees. The women are not unlike them, and in shape resemble the
Italians, and have breasts like the Hottentots. They go almost naked,
having no regard to their garments. The magistrates and persons of
better figure have gowns made of the skins of such beasts as they have
eaten at one meal. All wear a knife, with a large spoon, hanging upon
their right arm. Before their breasts they wear a smooth skin, instead
of a napkin, to receive what falls out of their mouths, and to wipe them
upon occasion; which whether it be more black or greasy, is hard to

They are of a very slow apprehension, and no way fit for any science;
but yet understand such arts as they have occasion for. Their schools
are public-houses, where they are educated in the sciences of eating,
drinking, and carving; over which, one Archisilenius, an exquisite
Epicure, was then provost, who, instead of grammar, read some fragments
of Apicius. Instead of a library, there is a public repository of
drinking-vessels, in which cups of all orders and sizes are disposed
into certain classes. Cups and dishes are instead of books. The younger
scholars have less, the elder have greater; one has a quart, the other a
pottle, the other a gallon: this has a hen, that a goose, a third a lamb
or a porker: nor have they any liberty, or recess, till the whole is
finished; and if by a seven years' stuffing they are no proficients in
fatness, are presently banished into the Fancetic Islands; nor are they
suffered long to stay there idle and without improvement. Hither
likewise are sent all physicians who prescribe a course of diet to any
person. When any one is sick, without recourse to Æsculapius, they make
him eat radish, and drink warm water; which, according to Celsus, will
purge and vomit him. Venison is that which they most delight in; but
they never take it in hunting, but by nets and gins. They look upon the
swine as the most profitable and best of all animals; whether it is for
the likeness of its manners, as being good for nothing but the table, or
else from its growing fat on the sudden with the worst of nutriment. It
may not seem credible, yet parsimony appears in the midst of their
profuseness: but then it is very ill placed, for it is in crumbs, bones,
and crusts. They do not so much as keep any dogs, cats, hawks, or
anything that eats flesh. If any person suffer meat to stink, he is
impaled; but venison and rabbits are to have the _haut-gout_: and then
their cheese is kept till it is overrun with little animals, which they
devour with mustard and sugar. This is an odd sort of custom, derived
from the Dutch.

The country abounds with rivers, which ebb and flow according to their
digestion, and generally overflow at the beginning of January, and
towards the end of February, and do mischief to the neighbouring


_Of the Wars of the Pamphagonians._

The Pamphagones have perpetual wars with the Hambrians, or the Fancetic
Islands, and the Frugonians.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Cætera desunt._



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