Travels into several remote Nations of the World by Captain Lemuel Gulliver – A Voyage to Khiliastica

This is the opening extract from a hitherto unknown chapter of Gulliver’s Travels, as discovered by GUY WALKER. The full version is here

I continued at home with my Wife and Children about Five Months in a very happy condition, if I could have learned the Lesson of knowing when I was well. I left my poor Wife big with Child, and accepted an advantagious Offer made me to be Captain of the Adventure, a stout Merchant-man of 350 Tuns: For I understood Navigation well, and being grown weary of a Surgeon’s Employment at Sea, which however I could exercise upon occasion, I took a skilful young Man of that Calling, one Robert Purefoy, into my Ship. We set sail from Portsmouth upon the second day of August, 1710; On the Fourteenth we met with Captain Pocock of Bristol at Tenariff, who was going to the Bay of Campechy, to cut Logwood. On the Sixteenth, he was parted from us by a Storm; I heard since my Return, that his Ship foundered, and none escaped, but one Cabbin-Boy. He was an honest Man, and a good Sailor, but a little too positive in his own Opinions, which was the Cause of his Destruction, as it hath been of several others. For if he had followed my Advice, he might have been safe at home with his Family at this Time, as well as myself.

Four days from quitting Captain Pocock at Tenariff and 100 Leagues South of the Azores my Ship’s Company discovered that several of our fresh Water Barrels were holed and that an urgent Need for new Provision in this Respect pressed on us. Amongst my Men was a Scotsman by the Name of McCrory. He made it known to me that he had once been taken Prisoner near to Antigua and obliged to serve for two Years on Board a Man of War from the Island Nation of Khiliastica which he believed nearest our Position.

On the Sixth day a Boy on the Top-mast discovered Land and Signs of Humanity. A large and a much smaller Island were descryed together with a third Island to the East composed entirely of a Volcanoe. The Wind being northerly, and approaching from the North East we ran South-West Half a League off the long North-West shoar of the Island. McCrory agreed that this was indeed Khiliastica.

By use of a Perspective-glass I had purchased in Woolwich I could see that the main Island rose high out of the Sea and was well-cultivated. Beeves and Sheep grazed in well-ordered Pastures inclosed with good Fencing and Windmills were plentiful. Smoke rose from many Habitations. On the opposed side of the Island to ourselves I was able to distinguish the small Volcanic Island with a little Smoak issuing from it. My Curiosity was rouzed by the long wide Strand that ran on our side from the northern Tip of the larger Island diagonally to its Western Extream. Beginning at the Tip were considerable Piles of darken’d Wood in Heaps. After each Heap another, every one in a Gradation of lesser states of Dilapidation than the last which signified, as we progressed South-West along the shoar it was as though the true original Form of the Heaps disclosed itself to us. It soon became clear that they were once finely crafted Vessels set on towering Trestles which had collapsed with Age. The south-westerly Examples were intact and made of new Wood. Planked, Ship-carpentered and caulked with Competence, they were very broad of Beam and stoutly built with a deep Draught. The Super-structure consisted of a wide, long House with a low Roof and a Dove-Cote in the Prow giving the Vessels the appearance of nothing so much as Noah’s Ark. I espyed a new set of Trestles with no Ship resting on it which completed the Procession at its South Western end.

Ahead of us began to rise the small Island situated just North of the larger Island’s western Tip and divided from it by a Streight, by my Computation, of one Third of a League in Width. On the main Island the procession of Arks was succeeded by the Opening of a large Harbour. The first Half of this was devoted to a Miscellany of Basons and Dry-docks, taken together forming a Dock-yard as impressive as that of Venice or of Chatham or Portsmouth. Derricks and Cranes were in abundance as were many-masted Merchantmen and Men of War tyed up on the Dock-sides. This Array was again succeeded by the Habitations of a Town. McCrory confirmed to me that this Metropolis was the capital Town of Khiliastica. By means of my Perspective-glass I was able to discern that these Habitations gave Evidence of Prosperity in the Quality of their Decoration and Maintenance. The Roofs were in excellent Repair, the Windows were plentiful and filled with Glass and the stone Lintels richly carved. Publick Statues, Fountains and Flowers abounded. I was under Perplexity of Mind occasioned by the seeming absence of any Token of human Presence or Activity. Another Mystery I was at a loss to understand was a Con-stellation of sparkling Lights that danced constantly about the Town even in places where there were no Windows. The Lights, danced as Sun-light does on the Sea in Summer.

It was my Intention to weigh Anchor and lower the Long-Boat in order to enter the Harbour and investigate the Town when The Adventure was overcome by a sudden Flurry from the North-East and driven past the Harbour Mouth towards the lesser Island. The Wind fell as suddenly as it had arisen and, noticing Signs of Habitation and Husbandry equally on the small Island and the Convenience of a sufficient Jetty, we took in our Sails, hove to and moored beneath the Island.

Above us we could see a simple Chapel with a Bell-cot for a single Bell and the thatched Cover of a Well where we hoped we might replenish our Water-barrels. We were greeted hospitably at the Jetty by a bearded Man of middle Years and his Children. McCrory revealed at this Juncture that he could speak the Tongue of Khiliastica having been obliged to learn it on board the Man of War in which he had been pressed into Service. He was content to act as my Interpreter. The Native of the small Island gave his Name as Khelat Per Zhall. He invited myself and my Landing-party to take the Steps up to the Farm-stead wherein he dwelt. He presented his Wife to us and, with great Courtesy, consented to my Men drawing Spring-water from his Well for the replenishment of our Provisions. He also consented to dining on board The Adventure that evening. His Wife was pleased to give us Refreshment in the Form of a small Cyder. Khelat Per Zhall also shewed me his Family’s House and their Chapel from which it was evident that they were properly observant of their Religion. This Chapel contained simple Statues, the Scriptures of that Religion and an Altar-Table.

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That Evening, encouraged by the Presence of McCrory who was able to converse in his language, I asked Khelet how he and his Family came to live in Separation from the Inhabitants of the Metropolis. In Answer he related the Tale of his Determination to remove himself and his Family to the smaller island for Reasons of religious Dissension. He told me that, in their Idleness and much in the manner of the Israelites when they began to worship the Golden Calf in the Absence of Moses, above ten Years before, the Khiliasts had happened on vicious and novel Creeds and Practices of their own Invention which had turned them into a Sect. According to the Chain of Being and in the true Humility to which their Station obliged them their old Religion enjoyned them to show Gratitude to their Creator and to his Minister on earth, their King who, for the Care of them shewed much Diligence. Their new Creed turned upside down such Doctrine. Instead of Gratitude for the Blessings of the Condition of being human and of its Sustenance they practised perverse Scorn and Derision for them. In their Conception the more they were seen to take Pleasure in trampling on and rejecting their Humanity the more they demonstrated the Virtue of Humility. This led them to strive ostentatiously in Rivalry with each other in the Degree of Abasement they could atchieve. They derided the Gift of being sapient Creatures above mere Animals and even took Pleasure in counting themselves as lesser than Crows and Apes. Their newly created Humility was in truth the Opposite of and an inversion of true Humility and signified instead that their Hearts were filled with Pride – a Pride taken in how humble they were. Hearing of such Perversion it was easy to understand Khelet’s Disgust and the Cause of his Desire to remove himself and his family apart from this Sect of Inversion.

Next he explained that the people of the Town were all engaged that day in an annual religious Festival of great Moment to them. This explained to me the Absence of human Activity. I pressed him further as to the Nature of their religious Practices and, being of a hospitable Character, he offered to act as my Guide on a Visit to Khiliastica – for that was the Name he gave the larger Island. I asked Khelat if he feared meeting his former Country-men from whom he had dissented so violently. He told me that he had visited the Festival on several Occasions before out of Curiosity and had succeeded in not being recognised by disguising him self. He told me it was his Custom on such Occasions to wear a leathern Mask covering half of his Face and the principal Lineaments of his Countenance and to give out, if asked, that he was the Victim of burning and Laceration in a Fire which had made his Face unsightly. I accepted his kind Offer and, the next morning, the Wind having settled and the Day set fair, we left The Adventure tyed at the Jetty and embarked in the Long-boat with Khelat Per Zhall and McCrory in the Party. Landing at the Quayside in the Harbour of Khiliastica we found the Town as deserted as it had appeared the day before.

Immediately on disembarking the Mystery of the dancing Lights was resolved for me. In many Places, on Squares, on Streets and on the Quay-side were placed long Fences twelve Foot high. These Fences bore silvered Glasses attached to them like those found on a Lady’s Dressing Table but of a giant Proportion. Everywhere we went we were accompanied, consequently, by our own Reflexions which was a disturbing Sensation for me. Glancing through the Windows of the Habitations I was able to see rich Furnishings and musical Instruments such as Guittars, Spinets and Lutes. Khelat found some fine Horses which had been left with plenty of Water and Oats in a nearby Stable so that we were able to quit the Town towards the Interior of the Island. I was relieved to find that the giant Glasses ceased as we left the outer Precincts of the Town.

I asked him, by Means of McCrory, further in point of the great Appearance of Prosperity and Industry of the Isle, Town and Dock-yard. He told me that this was due to the countenance and encouragement of the King who was a renowned Patron of Learning. He had made it his Business, in his Youth, to make Mercantile Œconomy one of many studies effected in Venice, London and Antwerp. Returning to Khiliastica he had guaranteed the extensive Prosperity of his Subjects by instructing them in the Wisdom he had acquired in the Domains of Iron-smelting, Animal Husbandry, Agri-culture, Glass-blowing and Maritime Commerce. As a result of his good Offices on their Behalf his Subjects lived in considerable Comfort and Security while the King was able to live chiefly upon his Demesnes without troubling the Khiliasts with Subsidies brought upon them. He told me that such was the Opulence the King had brought to their Land through the good Ordering of their Industry that his Subjects, discounting, of course, their Domesticks, had many hours of Leisure at their Disposal and it was this that had led to the Idleness which was a Cause of their Folly.

The Road rose to a Hill which our Party mounted with Ease on our fine Coursers. Reaching the Summit of the Hill a grand Prospect was laid out before us. A wide Valley was shewn with, at its extreme End, a grand Demesne inclosing a Palace and voluminous Royal Parks and Woods of at least twenty Stangs1 [1] within a circular Wall of hewn Stone with iron Gates. The Demesne lay at half a League’s Distance. I concluded that this must be the Residence of the King of Khiliastica which Conclusion Khelat confirmed to me. He told me the Demesne was named the King’s Kapital.

In the Fore-ground, in the Valley’s Bottom was a Ring of Tents and luxurious Pavilions encircling a large Ground in the Semblance of a Country Show in which a Variety of Diversions was taking place. At the Center of the Show-ground a large number of what appeared as Emmets from our Hillock swarmed around a new Ark set on a Stage fashioned in Beams of Wood. Khelat informed me that the grand Festival of the Catastrophe lay before me. I could descry a Multitude of human Figures moving across the Ground and around the Tents. We began to descend. Arriving in the Valley Bottom we dismounted so as the easier to investigate the Festival and the Khiliasts on foot. My first Observations were of the Appearance of the Khiliasts and their Habit. The Ladies bore Gowns of watered Silk resplendent with Figures of Gold and Silver. Their Petticoats were of the finest Lace and they wore Pearls and Diamonds fastned in their Hair and on their Forms. The Gentlemen were dressed finely in the European Manner and wore plumed silver Helmets and Swords sheathed in golden Scabbards enriched with Diamonds. More remarkable than the Extravagance of their Attire was a singular Accoutrement that each wore. Framed around their Necks and placed over their Shoulders was a small Harness in the form of a metal Bracket which held a small Glass of the size of a Lady’s Hand-glass beneath their Visage at the top of their Chest. The Glass was so tilted that, at all times, these Persons of Quality could observe their every Expression. It was evident that they did or said few things without verifying the Attitudes that they struck in the silvered Glass about their Necks. Much of their Attention was given to this Activity. I saw many of them making Grimaces and complaisant Smiles at their Glass. It seem’d, in truth, that they had brought portable Versions of the Mirrors of giant Proportions that adorned their Town by the Harbour-side. Only the Domesticks and the Children were not furnished in this way.

In point of Domesticks these Persons were attended by an Army of Valets, Ladies-in-waiting, Cooks, Waiters, Servants, Handicrafts2, Postilions, Coachmen, Grooms and Ostlers for their Horses and Carriages. The Servicing of their Needs was largely conducted outside the Circle behind the Tents. It was here that the Victuals, Dainties and Delicacies that they consumed were dressed.

The Festival-ground was broad of a Diameter of a Quarter of an English Mile and arranged into a Variety of Tryals and Contests, in which the Khiliastic Nobility and Gentry particularly encouraged their children, with Prizes awarded to the best Attempts. At one Point on the Circumference of the Show-ground was a Table of great Length at which sate a row of venerable Professors, Virtuosi, Projectors3, Universal Artists4 and Doctors in the Manner of Jurymen and in the greatest Solemnity with all of the outward Tokens of their Learning on Display. It was they who judged the Outcome of the Tryals and Contests making Judgements and Pronouncements from whence there could be no Appeal. These grave Personages were known as The Panel.

To aid my understanding of the Spectacles before me Khelat thought it fit to describe to me somewhat the Khiliastic Religion and its Import. He told me that a great Virtuoso, the most venerable, indeed, at The Panel, sitting in his Hours of Idleness, had suffered a Series of Visions or Revelations concerning the End of Days. These he had committed to Parchment and given the name of The Apocalyptick Prognostickations. Thereafter these served as the Scriptures of the new Khiliastic Religion.

A Procession of Flagellants, By Goya

The Import of these Scriptures was that the Prosperity and Contentedness of the King’s Island was a Chimaera given Creedence only by Fools and Blockheads. Those things that bore the Semblance of great Benefit were, truly, the Occasions of great Disaster. It had been revealed to the Professor that a Cataclysm of terrible Proportions was imminent. This was to be engendered by the Heat from the Island’s Smithys, the Furnaces of the Glass-blowers and the Dock-yard, the Establishment of all of which the King had so encouraged, and from the Multitude of domestick Fires. All, taken together, would burn a Hole in the Sky. Through this Hole would enter Comets with blazing Tails and Fire-balls from the Sun which must end in a Conflagration of the Island. The Sky and the Clouds would fall to Earth with great Combustion and the Habitations of the Khiliasts, the Kapital, the Metropolis and the Dock-yard would be devoured in an infernal Blaze.

In addition to the disastrous Effect of the Smithys and Furnaces it was revealed to the Virtuoso that the Flatus and Ructations issuing from Cattell and Horses and even from the Islanders themselves, taken together with Emanations of a Natural Gas generated from Leaves turning to faetid purulent Matter after their Fall from the Trees were adding to the Erosion of the Clouds. Because it increased the Volume of Flatus from Live-stock kept for eating the Consumption of Shoulders, Legs, Loins and other Joynts of Animal Flesh was deemed a Sin. In the same Manner the Use of Wool and Leather for the making of Cloaths was despized.

Many Trees were felled each Year in the Forests of the Island for Timber to make the Ships in the Khiliast Navy and for the Merchant-men and other Barques. The Virtuoso condemned this Practice for the Reason that the Trees removed the Natural Gas from the Air that burned a Hole in the Sky.

The first Signs that the general Conflagration was to be visited on the Island would be Fires in the Forests and a Rising of the Ocean’s Waters to overwhelm the Metropolis and the Dock-yard. A young Prophetess would arise in the last Days tearing her Weeds in the Manner of Job ((Job 1:20)).She would be known by her braided Hair and her Denunciation of earthly Kings as Satans. This Maid would un-Mask these Evil-doers in their true Nature – as dysmal Architects of the Extinction of the Earth rather than great Benefactors of their People. If there were Apostates from this Creed in some Quarters such Schismatics of Religion would be taken as infallible Proof of its Veracity. In this Way the Sheep would be divided from the Goats.

This Account aided me in my Understanding of how, in Addition to the moral Causes described before by Khelat, the Khiliasts rejoyced in the Occasions the vain Prognostickations afforded them for Play-acting, Dramatick Conceits and other Distractions. In the Opinion of Khelat the Khiliasts took Pleasure and found Entertainment in the constant Condition of Disquietude and Disturbance of Mind these Apprehensions and Alarms engendered and in the Opportunities for Zeal and Evangelism they afforded to them as a Remedy to their Idleness.

Khelat further related that it was chiefly the Eminences of the Panel who sustained the Apprehensions of Calamity in the Minds of the remaining Mortals of the Island. It was they who confirmed the Visions of the Virtuoso who wrote the Apocalyptick Prognostickations by means of regular Observations of the Effluvia of the Sun, Changes in the Celestial Bodies and in the Progress of certain Comets and of the Levels of the Sea and the Temperature of the Air. For these Purposes they used a large Selection of mathematickal measuring Instruments, Globes, Rules, Compasses, Quadrants and Astrolabes. These Paraphernalia conferred an Authority, and Reverence as great as that attendant on Priests on them.

As a Consequence the Khiliasts had little Time for the common Pleasures or Amusements of Life and all their Conversation was taken up in Questions about the Health of the Sun and the latest Reports of the Panel. Their chief Discovery was of a guiding Purpose in their complaisant Idleness. It also gave them Contentment to know that they were virtuous in their constant Condition of Disturbance.

[1] A rood or one fourth of an acre

  1. a rood or one fourth of an acre []
  2. Manual workers []
  3. Improvers, believers in panaceas []
  4. Polymaths []