PART II. A VOYAGE TO BROBDINGNAG.
7. CHAPTER VII.
[The author's love of his country. He makes a proposal of much
advantage to the king, which is rejected. The king's great
ignorance in politics. The learning of that country very imperfect
and confined. The laws, and military affairs, and parties in the
Nothing but an extreme love of truth could have hindered me from
concealing this part of my story. It was in vain to discover my
resentments, which were always turned into ridicule; and I was
forced to rest with patience, while my noble and beloved country
was so injuriously treated. I am as heartily sorry as any of my
readers can possibly be, that such an occasion was given: but this
prince happened to be so curious and inquisitive upon every
particular, that it could not consist either with gratitude or good
manners, to refuse giving him what satisfaction I was able. Yet
thus much I may be allowed to say in my own vindication, that I
artfully eluded many of his questions, and gave to every point a
more favourable turn, by many degrees, than the strictness of truth
would allow. For I have always borne that laudable partiality to
my own country, which Dionysius Halicarnassensis, with so much
justice, recommends to an historian: I would hide the frailties
and deformities of my political mother, and place her virtues and
beauties in the most advantageous light. This was my sincere
endeavour in those many discourses I had with that monarch,
although it unfortunately failed of success.
But great allowances should be given to a king, who lives wholly
secluded from the rest of the world, and must therefore be
altogether unacquainted with the manners and customs that most
prevail in other nations: the want of which knowledge will ever
produce many prejudices, and a certain narrowness of thinking, from
which we, and the politer countries of Europe, are wholly exempted.
And it would be hard indeed, if so remote a prince's notions of
virtue and vice were to be offered as a standard for all mankind.