VOYAGE TO THE IIOUYHNHNMS 287
that happened in such distant countries, where we have not the least interest, with respect either to trade or negotiations? I have carefully avoided every fault with which common writers of travels are often too justly charged. Besides, I meddle not the least with any party, but write without passion, prejudice, or ill-will against any man, or number of men, whatsoever. I write for the noblest end, to inform and instruct mankind, over whom I may, without breach of modesty, pretend to some superiority, from the advantages I received by conversing so long among the most accomplished Houyhnhnms. I write without any view towards profit or praise. I never suffer a word to pass that may look like reflection, or possibly give the least offence, even to those who are most ready to take it. So that I hope I may, with justice, pronounce myself an author perfectly blameless; against whom the tribes of answerers, considerers, observers, reflecters, de-tecters, remarkers, will never be able to find matter for exercising their talents.
I confess it was whispered to me, that I was bound in duty, as a subject of England, to have given in a memorial to a Secretary of State, at my first coming over; because, whatever lands are discovered by a subject belong to the crown. But I doubt whether our conquests, in the countries I treat of, would be as easy as those of Ferdinando Cortez over the naked Americans. The Lilliputians', I think, are hardly worth the charge of a fleet and army to reduce them; and I question whether it might be prudent or safe to attempt the Brobdingnagians, or whether an English army would be much at their ease with the flying island over their heads. The Houyhnhnms, indeed, appear not to be so well prepared for war, a science to which they are perfect strangers, and especially against missive weapons. However, supposing myself to be a minister of state, I could never give my advice for invading them. Their prudence, unanimity, unacquaintedness with