PART IV--A VOYAGE TO THE COUNTRY OF THE HOUYHNHNMS.
12. CHAPTER XII.
[The author's veracity. His design in publishing this work. His
censure of those travellers who swerve from the truth. The author
clears himself from any sinister ends in writing. An objection
answered. The method of planting colonies. His native country
commended. The right of the crown to those countries described by
the author is justified. The difficulty of conquering them. The
author takes his last leave of the reader; proposes his manner of
living for the future; gives good advice, and concludes.]
Thus, gentle reader, I have given thee a faithful history of my
travels for sixteen years and above seven months: wherein I have
not been so studious of ornament as of truth. I could, perhaps,
like others, have astonished thee with strange improbable tales;
but I rather chose to relate plain matter of fact, in the simplest
manner and style; because my principal design was to inform, and
not to amuse thee.
It is easy for us who travel into remote countries, which are
seldom visited by Englishmen or other Europeans, to form
descriptions of wonderful animals both at sea and land. Whereas a
traveller's chief aim should be to make men wiser and better, and
to improve their minds by the bad, as well as good, example of what
they deliver concerning foreign places.
I could heartily wish a law was enacted, that every traveller,
before he were permitted to publish his voyages, should be obliged
to make oath before the Lord High Chancellor, that all he intended
to print was absolutely true to the best of his knowledge; for then
the world would no longer be deceived, as it usually is, while some
writers, to make their works pass the better upon the public,
impose the grossest falsities on the unwary reader. I have perused
several books of travels with great delight in my younger days; but
having since gone over most parts of the globe, and been able to
contradict many fabulous accounts from my own observation, it has
given me a great disgust against this part of reading, and some
indignation to see the credulity of mankind so impudently abused.
Therefore, since my acquaintance were pleased to think my poor
endeavours might not be unacceptable to my country, I imposed on
myself, as a maxim never to be swerved from, that I would strictly
adhere to truth; neither indeed can I be ever under the least
temptation to vary from it, while I retain in my mind the lectures
and example of my noble master and the other illustrious Houyhnhnms
of whom I had so long the honour to be an humble hearer.