Gulliver's Travels HTML version

Chapter III.6
[A further account of the academy. The author proposes some improvements, which are
honourably received.]
In the school of political projectors, I was but ill entertained; the professors appearing, in
my judgment, wholly out of their senses, which is a scene that never fails to make me
melancholy. These unhappy people were proposing schemes for persuading monarchs to
choose favourites upon the score of their wisdom, capacity, and virtue; of teaching
ministers to consult the public good; of rewarding merit, great abilities, eminent services;
of instructing princes to know their true interest, by placing it on the same foundation
with that of their people; of choosing for employments persons qualified to exercise
them, with many other wild, impossible chimeras, that never entered before into the heart
of man to conceive; and confirmed in me the old observation, "that there is nothing so
extravagant and irrational, which some philosophers have not maintained for truth."
But, however, I shall so far do justice to this part of the Academy, as to acknowledge that
all of them were not so visionary. There was a most ingenious doctor, who seemed to be
perfectly versed in the whole nature and system of government. This illustrious person
had very usefully employed his studies, in finding out effectual remedies for all diseases
and corruptions to which the several kinds of public administration are subject, by the
vices or infirmities of those who govern, as well as by the licentiousness of those who are
to obey. For instance: whereas all writers and reasoners have agreed, that there is a strict
universal resemblance between the natural and the political body; can there be any thing
more evident, than that the health of both must be preserved, and the diseases cured, by
the same prescriptions? It is allowed, that senates and great councils are often troubled
with redundant, ebullient, and other peccant humours; with many diseases of the head,
and more of the heart; with strong convulsions, with grievous contractions of the nerves
and sinews in both hands, but especially the right; with spleen, flatus, vertigos, and
deliriums; with scrofulous tumours, full of fetid purulent matter; with sour frothy
ructations: with canine appetites, and crudeness of digestion, besides many others,
needless to mention. This doctor therefore proposed, "that upon the meeting of the senate,
certain physicians should attend it the three first days of their sitting, and at the close of
each day's debate feel the pulses of every senator; after which, having maturely
considered and consulted upon the nature of the several maladies, and the methods of
cure, they should on the fourth day return to the senate house, attended by their
apothecaries stored with proper medicines; and before the members sat, administer to
each of them lenitives, aperitives, abstersives, corrosives, restringents, palliatives,
laxatives, cephalalgics, icterics, apophlegmatics, acoustics, as their several cases
required; and, according as these medicines should operate, repeat, alter, or omit them, at
the next meeting."
This project could not be of any great expense to the public; and might in my poor
opinion, be of much use for the despatch of business, in those countries where senates
have any share in the legislative power; beget unanimity, shorten debates, open a few