A VOYAGE TO BROBDINGNAG 127
only small abortive births, in comparison of those in ancient times. He said, it was very reasonable to think, not only that the species of men were originally much larger, but also, that there must have been giants in former ages, which, as it is asserted by history and tradition, so it hath been confirmed by huge bones and skulls casually dug up in several parts of the kingdom, far exceeding the common dwindling race of man in our days. He argued that the very laws of Nature absolutely required we should have been made in the beginning of a size more large and robust, not so liable to destruction from every little accident of a tile falling from an house, or a stone cast from the hand of a boy, or being drowned in a little brook. From this way of reasoning, the author drew several moral applications useful in the conduct of life, but needless here to repeat. For my part, I could not avoid reflecting how universally this talent was spread, of drawing lectures in morality, or, indeed, rather matter of discontent and repining, from the quarrels we raise with Nature. And, I believe, upon a strict enquiry, those quarrels might be shewn as ill-grounded among us as they are among that people.
As to their military affairs, they boast that the king's army consists of an hundred and seventy-six thousand foot, and thirty-two thousand horse: if that may be called an army which is made up of tradesmen in the several cities, and farmers in the country, whose commanders are only the nobility and gentry, without pay or reward. They are, indeed, perfect enough in their exercises, and under very good discipline, wherein I saw no great merit; for how should it be otherwise, where every farmer is under the command of his own landlord, and every citizen under that of the principal men in his own city, chosen after the manner of Venice by ballot!
I have often seen the militia of Lorbrulgrud drawn out to exercise in a great field near the city, of twenty miles square. They were, in all, not above twenty-five thousand