VOYAGE TO THE HOUYHNHNMS 289
employed in so pious an expedition, is a modern colony, sent to convert and civilise an idolatrous and barbarous people.
But this description, I confess, doth by no means affect the British nation, who may be an example to the whole world for their wisdom, care, and justice in planting colonies; their liberal endowments for the advancement of religion and learning; their choice of devout and able pastors to propagate Christianity; their caution in stocking their provinces with people of sober lives and conversations from this the mother kingdom; their strict regard to the distribution of justice, in supplying the civil administration, through all their colonies, with officers of the greatest abilities, utter strangers to corruption; and to crown all, by sending the most vigilant and virtuous governors, who have no other views than the happiness of the people over whom they preside, and the honour of the king their master.
But, as those countries which I have described do not appear to have any desire of being conquered and enslaved, murdered or driven out by colonies; nor abound either in gold, silver, sugar, or tobacco; I did humbly conceive they were by no means proper objects of our zeal, our valour, or our interest. However, if those whom it more concerns think fit to be of another opinion, I am ready to depose, when I shall be lawfully called, that no European did ever visit these countries before me. I mean, if the inhabitants ought to be believed.
But, as to the formality of taking possession in my sovereign's name, it never came into my thoughts; and, if it had, yet, as my affairs then stood, I should, perhaps, in point of prudence and self-preservation, have put it off to a better opportunity.
Having thus answered the only objection that can ever be raised against me as a traveller, I here take a final leave of all my courteous readers, and return to