Thomas More

Part 2 out of 2

own private advantage. If they should work it into vessels, or any
sort of plate, they fear that the people might grow too fond of it,
and so be unwilling to let the plate be run down, if a war made it
necessary, to employ it in paying their soldiers. To prevent all
these inconveniences they have fallen upon an expedient which, as
it agrees with their other policy, so is it very different from
ours, and will scarce gain belief among us who value gold so much,
and lay it up so carefully. They eat and drink out of vessels of
earth or glass, which make an agreeable appearance, though formed
of brittle materials; while they make their chamber-pots and close-
stools of gold and silver, and that not only in their public halls
but in their private houses. Of the same metals they likewise make
chains and fetters for their slaves, to some of which, as a badge
of infamy, they hang an earring of gold, and make others wear a
chain or a coronet of the same metal; and thus they take care by
all possible means to render gold and silver of no esteem; and from
hence it is that while other nations part with their gold and
silver as unwillingly as if one tore out their bowels, those of
Utopia would look on their giving in all they possess of those
metals (when there were any use for them) but as the parting with a
trifle, or as we would esteem the loss of a penny! They find
pearls on their coasts, and diamonds and carbuncles on their rocks;
they do not look after them, but, if they find them by chance, they
polish them, and with them they adorn their children, who are
delighted with them, and glory in them during their childhood; but
when they grow to years, and see that none but children use such
baubles, they of their own accord, without being bid by their
parents, lay them aside, and would be as much ashamed to use them
afterwards as children among us, when they come to years, are of
their puppets and other toys.

"I never saw a clearer instance of the opposite impressions that
different customs make on people than I observed in the ambassadors
of the Anemolians, who came to Amaurot when I was there. As they
came to treat of affairs of great consequence, the deputies from
several towns met together to wait for their coming. The
ambassadors of the nations that lie near Utopia, knowing their
customs, and that fine clothes are in no esteem among them, that
silk is despised, and gold is a badge of infamy, used to come very
modestly clothed; but the Anemolians, lying more remote, and having
had little commerce with them, understanding that they were
coarsely clothed, and all in the same manner, took it for granted
that they had none of those fine things among them of which they
made no use; and they, being a vainglorious rather than a wise
people, resolved to set themselves out with so much pomp that they
should look like gods, and strike the eyes of the poor Utopians
with their splendour. Thus three ambassadors made their entry with
a hundred attendants, all clad in garments of different colours,
and the greater part in silk; the ambassadors themselves, who were
of the nobility of their country, were in cloth-of-gold, and
adorned with massy chains, earrings and rings of gold; their caps
were covered with bracelets set full of pearls and other gems--in a
word, they were set out with all those things that among the
Utopians were either the badges of slavery, the marks of infamy, or
the playthings of children. It was not unpleasant to see, on the
one side, how they looked big, when they compared their rich habits
with the plain clothes of the Utopians, who were come out in great
numbers to see them make their entry; and, on the other, to observe
how much they were mistaken in the impression which they hoped this
pomp would have made on them. It appeared so ridiculous a show to
all that had never stirred out of their country, and had not seen
the customs of other nations, that though they paid some reverence
to those that were the most meanly clad, as if they had been the
ambassadors, yet when they saw the ambassadors themselves so full
of gold and chains, they looked upon them as slaves, and forbore to
treat them with reverence. You might have seen the children who
were grown big enough to despise their playthings, and who had
thrown away their jewels, call to their mothers, push them gently,
and cry out, 'See that great fool, that wears pearls and gems as if
he were yet a child!' while their mothers very innocently replied,
'Hold your peace! this, I believe, is one of the ambassadors'
fools.' Others censured the fashion of their chains, and observed,
'That they were of no use, for they were too slight to bind their
slaves, who could easily break them; and, besides, hung so loose
about them that they thought it easy to throw their away, and so
get from them." But after the ambassadors had stayed a day among
them, and saw so vast a quantity of gold in their houses (which was
as much despised by them as it was esteemed in other nations), and
beheld more gold and silver in the chains and fetters of one slave
than all their ornaments amounted to, their plumes fell, and they
were ashamed of all that glory for which they had formed valued
themselves, and accordingly laid it aside--a resolution that they
immediately took when, on their engaging in some free discourse
with the Utopians, they discovered their sense of such things and
their other customs. The Utopians wonder how any man should be so
much taken with the glaring doubtful lustre of a jewel or a stone,
that can look up to a star or to the sun himself; or how any should
value himself because his cloth is made of a finer thread; for, how
fine soever that thread may be, it was once no better than the
fleece of a sheep, and that sheep, was a sheep still, for all its
wearing it. They wonder much to hear that gold, which in itself is
so useless a thing, should be everywhere so much esteemed that even
man, for whom it was made, and by whom it has its value, should yet
be thought of less value than this metal; that a man of lead, who
has no more sense than a log of wood, and is as bad as he is
foolish, should have many wise and good men to serve him, only
because he has a great heap of that metal; and that if it should
happen that by some accident or trick of law (which, sometimes
produces as great changes as chance itself) all this wealth should
pass from the master to the meanest varlet of his whole family, he
himself would very soon become one of his servants, as if he were a
thing that belonged to his wealth, and so were bound to follow its
fortune! But they much more admire and detest the folly of those
who, when they see a rich man, though they neither owe him
anything, nor are in any sort dependent on his bounty, yet, merely
because he is rich, give him little less than divine honours, even
though they know him to be so covetous and base-minded that,
notwithstanding all his wealth, he will not part with one farthing
of it to them as long as he lives!

"These and such like notions have that people imbibed, partly from
their education, being bred in a country whose customs and laws are
opposite to all such foolish maxims, and partly from their learning
and studies--for though there are but few in any town that are so
wholly excused from labour as to give themselves entirely up to
their studies (these being only such persons as discover from their
childhood an extraordinary capacity and disposition for letters),
yet their children and a great part of the nation, both men and
women, are taught to spend those hours in which they are not
obliged to work in reading; and this they do through the whole
progress of life. They have all their learning in their own
tongue, which is both a copious and pleasant language, and in which
a man can fully express his mind; it runs over a great tract of
many countries, but it is not equally pure in all places. They had
never so much as heard of the names of any of those philosophers
that are so famous in these parts of the world, before we went
among them; and yet they had made the same discoveries as the
Greeks, both in music, logic, arithmetic, and geometry. But as
they are almost in everything equal to the ancient philosophers, so
they far exceed our modern logicians for they have never yet fallen
upon the barbarous niceties that our youth are forced to learn in
those trifling logical schools that are among us. They are so far
from minding chimeras and fantastical images made in the mind that
none of them could comprehend what we meant when we talked to them
of a man in the abstract as common to all men in particular (so
that though we spoke of him as a thing that we could point at with
our fingers, yet none of them could perceive him) and yet distinct
from every one, as if he were some monstrous Colossus or giant;
yet, for all this ignorance of these empty notions, they knew
astronomy, and were perfectly acquainted with the motions of the
heavenly bodies; and have many instruments, well contrived and
divided, by which they very accurately compute the course and
positions of the sun, moon, and stars. But for the cheat of
divining by the stars, by their oppositions or conjunctions, it has
not so much as entered into their thoughts. They have a particular
sagacity, founded upon much observation, in judging of the weather,
by which they know when they may look for rain, wind, or other
alterations in the air; but as to the philosophy of these things,
the cause of the saltness of the sea, of its ebbing and flowing,
and of the original and nature both of the heavens and the earth,
they dispute of them partly as our ancient philosophers have done,
and partly upon some new hypothesis, in which, as they differ from
them, so they do not in all things agree among themselves.

"As to moral philosophy, they have the same disputes among them as
we have here. They examine what are properly good, both for the
body and the mind; and whether any outward thing can be called
truly GOOD, or if that term belong only to the endowments of the
soul. They inquire, likewise, into the nature of virtue and
pleasure. But their chief dispute is concerning the happiness of a
man, and wherein it consists--whether in some one thing or in a
great many. They seem, indeed, more inclinable to that opinion
that places, if not the whole, yet the chief part, of a man's
happiness in pleasure; and, what may seem more strange, they make
use of arguments even from religion, notwithstanding its severity
and roughness, for the support of that opinion so indulgent to
pleasure; for they never dispute concerning happiness without
fetching some arguments from the principles of religion as well as
from natural reason, since without the former they reckon that all
our inquiries after happiness must be but conjectural and

"These are their religious principles:- That the soul of man is
immortal, and that God of His goodness has designed that it should
be happy; and that He has, therefore, appointed rewards for good
and virtuous actions, and punishments for vice, to be distributed
after this life. Though these principles of religion are conveyed
down among them by tradition, they think that even reason itself
determines a man to believe and acknowledge them; and freely
confess that if these were taken away, no man would be so
insensible as not to seek after pleasure by all possible means,
lawful or unlawful, using only this caution--that a lesser pleasure
might not stand in the way of a greater, and that no pleasure ought
to be pursued that should draw a great deal of pain after it; for
they think it the maddest thing in the world to pursue virtue, that
is a sour and difficult thing, and not only to renounce the
pleasures of life, but willingly to undergo much pain and trouble,
if a man has no prospect of a reward. And what reward can there be
for one that has passed his whole life, not only without pleasure,
but in pain, if there is nothing to be expected after death? Yet
they do not place happiness in all sorts of pleasures, but only in
those that in themselves are good and honest. There is a party
among them who place happiness in bare virtue; others think that
our natures are conducted by virtue to happiness, as that which is
the chief good of man. They define virtue thus--that it is a
living according to Nature, and think that we are made by God for
that end; they believe that a man then follows the dictates of
Nature when he pursues or avoids things according to the direction
of reason. They say that the first dictate of reason is the
kindling in us a love and reverence for the Divine Majesty, to whom
we owe both all that we have and, all that we can ever hope for.
In the next place, reason directs us to keep our minds as free from
passion and as cheerful as we can, and that we should consider
ourselves as bound by the ties of good-nature and humanity to use
our utmost endeavours to help forward the happiness of all other
persons; for there never was any man such a morose and severe
pursuer of virtue, such an enemy to pleasure, that though he set
hard rules for men to undergo, much pain, many watchings, and other
rigors, yet did not at the same time advise them to do all they
could in order to relieve and ease the miserable, and who did not
represent gentleness and good-nature as amiable dispositions. And
from thence they infer that if a man ought to advance the welfare
and comfort of the rest of mankind (there being no virtue more
proper and peculiar to our nature than to ease the miseries of
others, to free from trouble and anxiety, in furnishing them with
the comforts of life, in which pleasure consists) Nature much more
vigorously leads them to do all this for himself. A life of
pleasure is either a real evil, and in that case we ought not to
assist others in their pursuit of it, but, on the contrary, to keep
them from it all we can, as from that which is most hurtful and
deadly; or if it is a good thing, so that we not only may but ought
to help others to it, why, then, ought not a man to begin with
himself? since no man can be more bound to look after the good of
another than after his own; for Nature cannot direct us to be good
and kind to others, and yet at the same time to be unmerciful and
cruel to ourselves. Thus as they define virtue to be living
according to Nature, so they imagine that Nature prompts all people
on to seek after pleasure as the end of all they do. They also
observe that in order to our supporting the pleasures of life,
Nature inclines us to enter into society; for there is no man so
much raised above the rest of mankind as to be the only favourite
of Nature, who, on the contrary, seems to have placed on a level
all those that belong to the same species. Upon this they infer
that no man ought to seek his own conveniences so eagerly as to
prejudice others; and therefore they think that not only all
agreements between private persons ought to be observed, but
likewise that all those laws ought to be kept which either a good
prince has published in due form, or to which a people that is
neither oppressed with tyranny nor circumvented by fraud has
consented, for distributing those conveniences of life which afford
us all our pleasures.

"They think it is an evidence of true wisdom for a man to pursue
his own advantage as far as the laws allow it, they account it
piety to prefer the public good to one's private concerns, but they
think it unjust for a man to seek for pleasure by snatching another
man's pleasures from him; and, on the contrary, they think it a
sign of a gentle and good soul for a man to dispense with his own
advantage for the good of others, and that by this means a good man
finds as much pleasure one way as he parts with another; for as he
may expect the like from others when he may come to need it, so, if
that should fail him, yet the sense of a good action, and the
reflections that he makes on the love and gratitude of those whom
he has so obliged, gives the mind more pleasure than the body could
have found in that from which it had restrained itself. They are
also persuaded that God will make up the loss of those small
pleasures with a vast and endless joy, of which religion easily
convinces a good soul.

"Thus, upon an inquiry into the whole matter, they reckon that all
our actions, and even all our virtues, terminate in pleasure, as in
our chief end and greatest happiness; and they call every motion or
state, either of body or mind, in which Nature teaches us to
delight, a pleasure. Thus they cautiously limit pleasure only to
those appetites to which Nature leads us; for they say that Nature
leads us only to those delights to which reason, as well as sense,
carries us, and by which we neither injure any other person nor
lose the possession of greater pleasures, and of such as draw no
troubles after them. But they look upon those delights which men
by a foolish, though common, mistake call pleasure, as if they
could change as easily the nature of things as the use of words, as
things that greatly obstruct their real happiness, instead of
advancing it, because they so entirely possess the minds of those
that are once captivated by them with a false notion of pleasure
that there is no room left for pleasures of a truer or purer kind.

"There are many things that in themselves have nothing that is
truly delightful; on the contrary, they have a good deal of
bitterness in them; and yet, from our perverse appetites after
forbidden objects, are not only ranked among the pleasures, but are
made even the greatest designs, of life. Among those who pursue
these sophisticated pleasures they reckon such as I mentioned
before, who think themselves really the better for having fine
clothes; in which they think they are doubly mistaken, both in the
opinion they have of their clothes, and in that they have of
themselves. For if you consider the use of clothes, why should a
fine thread be thought better than a coarse one? And yet these
men, as if they had some real advantages beyond others, and did not
owe them wholly to their mistakes, look big, seem to fancy
themselves to be more valuable, and imagine that a respect is due
to them for the sake of a rich garment, to which they would not
have pretended if they had been more meanly clothed, and even
resent it as an affront if that respect is not paid them. It is
also a great folly to be taken with outward marks of respect, which
signify nothing; for what true or real pleasure can one man find in
another's standing bare or making legs to him? Will the bending
another man's knees give ease to yours? and will the head's being
bare cure the madness of yours? And yet it is wonderful to see how
this false notion of pleasure bewitches many who delight themselves
with the fancy of their nobility, and are pleased with this
conceit--that they are descended from ancestors who have been held
for some successions rich, and who have had great possessions; for
this is all that makes nobility at present. Yet they do not think
themselves a whit the less noble, though their immediate parents
have left none of this wealth to them, or though they themselves
have squandered it away. The Utopians have no better opinion of
those who are much taken with gems and precious stones, and who
account it a degree of happiness next to a divine one if they can
purchase one that is very extraordinary, especially if it be of
that sort of stones that is then in greatest request, for the same
sort is not at all times universally of the same value, nor will
men buy it unless it be dismounted and taken out of the gold. The
jeweller is then made to give good security, and required solemnly
to swear that the stone is true, that, by such an exact caution, a
false one might not be bought instead of a true; though, if you
were to examine it, your eye could find no difference between the
counterfeit and that which is true; so that they are all one to
you, as much as if you were blind. Or can it be thought that they
who heap up a useless mass of wealth, not for any use that it is to
bring them, but merely to please themselves with the contemplation
of it, enjoy any true pleasure in it? The delight they find is
only a false shadow of joy. Those are no better whose error is
somewhat different from the former, and who hide it out of their
fear of losing it; for what other name can fit the hiding it in the
earth, or, rather, the restoring it to it again, it being thus cut
off from being useful either to its owner or to the rest of
mankind? And yet the owner, having hid it carefully, is glad,
because he thinks he is now sure of it. If it should be stole, the
owner, though he might live perhaps ten years after the theft, of
which he knew nothing, would find no difference between his having
or losing it, for both ways it was equally useless to him.

"Among those foolish pursuers of pleasure they reckon all that
delight in hunting, in fowling, or gaming, of whose madness they
have only heard, for they have no such things among them. But they
have asked us, 'What sort of pleasure is it that men can find in
throwing the dice?' (for if there were any pleasure in it, they
think the doing it so often should give one a surfeit of it); 'and
what pleasure can one find in hearing the barking and howling of
dogs, which seem rather odious than pleasant sounds?' Nor can they
comprehend the pleasure of seeing dogs run after a hare, more than
of seeing one dog run after another; for if the seeing them run is
that which gives the pleasure, you have the same entertainment to
the eye on both these occasions, since that is the same in both
cases. But if the pleasure lies in seeing the hare killed and torn
by the dogs, this ought rather to stir pity, that a weak, harmless,
and fearful hare should be devoured by strong, fierce, and cruel
dogs. Therefore all this business of hunting is, among the
Utopians, turned over to their butchers, and those, as has been
already said, are all slaves, and they look on hunting as one of
the basest parts of a butcher's work, for they account it both more
profitable and more decent to kill those beasts that are more
necessary and useful to mankind, whereas the killing and tearing of
so small and miserable an animal can only attract the huntsman with
a false show of pleasure, from which he can reap but small
advantage. They look on the desire of the bloodshed, even of
beasts, as a mark of a mind that is already corrupted with cruelty,
or that at least, by too frequent returns of so brutal a pleasure,
must degenerate into it.

"Thus though the rabble of mankind look upon these, and on
innumerable other things of the same nature, as pleasures, the
Utopians, on the contrary, observing that there is nothing in them
truly pleasant, conclude that they are not to be reckoned among
pleasures; for though these things may create some tickling in the
senses (which seems to be a true notion of pleasure), yet they
imagine that this does not arise from the thing itself, but from a
depraved custom, which may so vitiate a man's taste that bitter
things may pass for sweet, as women with child think pitch or
tallow taste sweeter than honey; but as a man's sense, when
corrupted either by a disease or some ill habit., does not change
the nature of other things, so neither can it change the nature of

"They reckon up several sorts of pleasures, which they call true
ones; some belong to the body, and others to the mind. The
pleasures of the mind lie in knowledge, and in that delight which
the contemplation of truth carries with it; to which they add the
joyful reflections on a well-spent life, and the assured hopes of a
future happiness. They divide the pleasures of the body into two
sorts--the one is that which gives our senses some real delight,
and is performed either by recruiting Nature and supplying those
parts which feed the internal heat of life by eating and drinking,
or when Nature is eased of any surcharge that oppresses it, when we
are relieved from sudden pain, or that which arises from satisfying
the appetite which Nature has wisely given to lead us to the
propagation of the species. There is another kind of pleasure that
arises neither from our receiving what the body requires, nor its
being relieved when overcharged, and yet, by a secret unseen
virtue, affects the senses, raises the passions, and strikes the
mind with generous impressions--this is, the pleasure that arises
from music. Another kind of bodily pleasure is that which results
from an undisturbed and vigorous constitution of body, when life
and active spirits seem to actuate every part. This lively health,
when entirely free from all mixture of pain, of itself gives an
inward pleasure, independent of all external objects of delight;
and though this pleasure does not so powerfully affect us, nor act
so strongly on the senses as some of the others, yet it may be
esteemed as the greatest of all pleasures; and almost all the
Utopians reckon it the foundation and basis of all the other joys
of life, since this alone makes the state of life easy and
desirable, and when this is wanting, a man is really capable of no
other pleasure. They look upon freedom from pain, if it does not
rise from perfect health, to be a state of stupidity rather than of
pleasure. This subject has been very narrowly canvassed among
them, and it has been debated whether a firm and entire health
could be called a pleasure or not. Some have thought that there
was no pleasure but what was 'excited' by some sensible motion in
the body. But this opinion has been long ago excluded from among
them; so that now they almost universally agree that health is the
greatest of all bodily pleasures; and that as there is a pain in
sickness which is as opposite in its nature to pleasure as sickness
itself is to health, so they hold that health is accompanied with
pleasure. And if any should say that sickness is not really pain,
but that it only carries pain along with it, they look upon that as
a fetch of subtlety that does not much alter the matter. It is all
one, in their opinion, whether it be said that health is in itself
a pleasure, or that it begets a pleasure, as fire gives heat, so it
be granted that all those whose health is entire have a true
pleasure in the enjoyment of it. And they reason thus:- 'What is
the pleasure of eating, but that a man's health, which had been
weakened, does, with the assistance of food, drive away hunger, and
so recruiting itself, recovers its former vigour? And being thus
refreshed it finds a pleasure in that conflict; and if the conflict
is pleasure, the victory must yet breed a greater pleasure, except
we fancy that it becomes stupid as soon as it has obtained that
which it pursued, and so neither knows nor rejoices in its own
welfare.' If it is said that health cannot be felt, they
absolutely deny it; for what man is in health, that does not
perceive it when he is awake? Is there any man that is so dull and
stupid as not to acknowledge that he feels a delight in health?
And what is delight but another name for pleasure?

"But, of all pleasures, they esteem those to be most valuable that
lie in the mind, the chief of which arise out of true virtue and
the witness of a good conscience. They account health the chief
pleasure that belongs to the body; for they think that the pleasure
of eating and drinking, and all the other delights of sense, are
only so far desirable as they give or maintain health; but they are
not pleasant in themselves otherwise than as they resist those
impressions that our natural infirmities are still making upon us.
For as a wise man desires rather to avoid diseases than to take
physic, and to be freed from pain rather than to find ease by
remedies, so it is more desirable not to need this sort of pleasure
than to be obliged to indulge it. If any man imagines that there
is a real happiness in these enjoyments, he must then confess that
he would be the happiest of all men if he were to lead his life in
perpetual hunger, thirst, and itching, and, by consequence, in
perpetual eating, drinking, and scratching himself; which any one
may easily see would be not only a base, but a miserable, state of
a life. These are, indeed, the lowest of pleasures, and the least
pure, for we can never relish them but when they are mixed with the
contrary pains. The pain of hunger must give us the pleasure of
eating, and here the pain out-balances the pleasure. And as the
pain is more vehement, so it lasts much longer; for as it begins
before the pleasure, so it does not cease but with the pleasure
that extinguishes it, and both expire together. They think,
therefore, none of those pleasures are to be valued any further
than as they are necessary; yet they rejoice in them, and with due
gratitude acknowledge the tenderness of the great Author of Nature,
who has planted in us appetites, by which those things that are
necessary for our preservation are likewise made pleasant to us.
For how miserable a thing would life be if those daily diseases of
hunger and thirst were to be carried off by such bitter drugs as we
must use for those diseases that return seldomer upon us! And thus
these pleasant, as well as proper, gifts of Nature maintain the
strength and the sprightliness of our bodies.

"They also entertain themselves with the other delights let in at
their eyes, their ears, and their nostrils as the pleasant relishes
and seasoning of life, which Nature seems to have marked out
peculiarly for man, since no other sort of animals contemplates the
figure and beauty of the universe, nor is delighted with smells any
further than as they distinguish meats by them; nor do they
apprehend the concords or discords of sound. Yet, in all pleasures
whatsoever, they take care that a lesser joy does not hinder a
greater, and that pleasure may never breed pain, which they think
always follows dishonest pleasures. But they think it madness for
a man to wear out the beauty of his face or the force of his
natural strength, to corrupt the sprightliness of his body by sloth
and laziness, or to waste it by fasting; that it is madness to
weaken the strength of his constitution and reject the other
delights of life, unless by renouncing his own satisfaction he can
either serve the public or promote the happiness of others, for
which he expects a greater recompense from God. So that they look
on such a course of life as the mark of a mind that is both cruel
to itself and ungrateful to the Author of Nature, as if we would
not be beholden to Him for His favours, and therefore rejects all
His blessings; as one who should afflict himself for the empty
shadow of virtue, or for no better end than to render himself
capable of bearing those misfortunes which possibly will never

"This is their notion of virtue and of pleasure: they think that
no man's reason can carry him to a truer idea of them unless some
discovery from heaven should inspire him with sublimer notions. I
have not now the leisure to examine whether they think right or
wrong in this matter; nor do I judge it necessary, for I have only
undertaken to give you an account of their constitution, but not to
defend all their principles. I am sure that whatever may be said
of their notions, there is not in the whole world either a better
people or a happier government. Their bodies are vigorous and
lively; and though they are but of a middle stature, and have
neither the fruitfullest soil nor the purest air in the world; yet
they fortify themselves so well, by their temperate course of life,
against the unhealthiness of their air, and by their industry they
so cultivate their soil, that there is nowhere to be seen a greater
increase, both of corn and cattle, nor are there anywhere healthier
men and freer from diseases; for one may there see reduced to
practice not only all the art that the husbandman employs in
manuring and improving an ill soil, but whole woods plucked up by
the roots, and in other places new ones planted, where there were
none before. Their principal motive for this is the convenience of
carriage, that their timber may be either near their towns or
growing on the banks of the sea, or of some rivers, so as to be
floated to them; for it is a harder work to carry wood at any
distance over land than corn. The people are industrious, apt to
learn, as well as cheerful and pleasant, and none can endure more
labour when it is necessary; but, except in that case, they love
their ease. They are unwearied pursuers of knowledge; for when we
had given them some hints of the learning and discipline of the
Greeks, concerning whom we only instructed them (for we know that
there was nothing among the Romans, except their historians and
their poets, that they would value much), it was strange to see how
eagerly they were set on learning that language: we began to read
a little of it to them, rather in compliance with their importunity
than out of any hopes of their reaping from it any great advantage:
but, after a very short trial, we found they made such progress,
that we saw our labour was like to be more successful than we could
have expected: they learned to write their characters and to
pronounce their language so exactly, had so quick an apprehension,
they remembered it so faithfully, and became so ready and correct
in the use of it, that it would have looked like a miracle if the
greater part of those whom we taught had not been men both of
extraordinary capacity and of a fit age for instruction: they
were, for the greatest part, chosen from among their learned men by
their chief council, though some studied it of their own accord.
In three years' time they became masters of the whole language, so
that they read the best of the Greek authors very exactly. I am,
indeed, apt to think that they learned that language the more
easily from its having some relation to their own. I believe that
they were a colony of the Greeks; for though their language comes
nearer the Persian, yet they retain many names, both for their
towns and magistrates, that are of Greek derivation. I happened to
carry a great many books with me, instead of merchandise, when I
sailed my fourth voyage; for I was so far from thinking of soon
coming back, that I rather thought never to have returned at all,
and I gave them all my books, among which were many of Plato's and
some of Aristotle's works: I had also Theophrastus on Plants,
which, to my great regret, was imperfect; for having laid it
carelessly by, while we were at sea, a monkey had seized upon it,
and in many places torn out the leaves. They have no books of
grammar but Lascares, for I did not carry Theodorus with me; nor
have they any dictionaries but Hesichius and Dioscerides. They
esteem Plutarch highly, and were much taken with Lucian's wit and
with his pleasant way of writing. As for the poets, they have
Aristophanes, Homer, Euripides, and Sophocles of Aldus's edition;
and for historians, Thucydides, Herodotus, and Herodian. One of my
companions, Thricius Apinatus, happened to carry with him some of
Hippocrates's works and Galen's Microtechne, which they hold in
great estimation; for though there is no nation in the world that
needs physic so little as they do, yet there is not any that
honours it so much; they reckon the knowledge of it one of the
pleasantest and most profitable parts of philosophy, by which, as
they search into the secrets of nature, so they not only find this
study highly agreeable, but think that such inquiries are very
acceptable to the Author of nature; and imagine, that as He, like
the inventors of curious engines amongst mankind, has exposed this
great machine of the universe to the view of the only creatures
capable of contemplating it, so an exact and curious observer, who
admires His workmanship, is much more acceptable to Him than one of
the herd, who, like a beast incapable of reason, looks on this
glorious scene with the eyes of a dull and unconcerned spectator.

"The minds of the Utopians, when fenced with a love for learning,
are very ingenious in discovering all such arts as are necessary to
carry it to perfection. Two things they owe to us, the manufacture
of paper and the art of printing; yet they are not so entirely
indebted to us for these discoveries but that a great part of the
invention was their own. We showed them some books printed by
Aldus, we explained to them the way of making paper and the mystery
of printing; but, as we had never practised these arts, we
described them in a crude and superficial manner. They seized the
hints we gave them; and though at first they could not arrive at
perfection, yet by making many essays they at last found out and
corrected all their errors and conquered every difficulty. Before
this they only wrote on parchment, on reeds, or on the barks of
trees; but now they have established the manufactures of paper and
set up printing presses, so that, if they had but a good number of
Greek authors, they would be quickly supplied with many copies of
them: at present, though they have no more than those I have
mentioned, yet, by several impressions, they have multiplied them
into many thousands. If any man was to go among them that had some
extraordinary talent, or that by much travelling had observed the
customs of many nations (which made us to be so well received), he
would receive a hearty welcome, for they are very desirous to know
the state of the whole world. Very few go among them on the
account of traffic; for what can a man carry to them but iron, or
gold, or silver? which merchants desire rather to export than
import to a strange country: and as for their exportation, they
think it better to manage that themselves than to leave it to
foreigners, for by this means, as they understand the state of the
neighbouring countries better, so they keep up the art of
navigation which cannot be maintained but by much practice.


"They do not make slaves of prisoners of war, except those that are
taken in battle, nor of the sons of their slaves, nor of those of
other nations: the slaves among them are only such as are
condemned to that state of life for the commission of some crime,
or, which is more common, such as their merchants find condemned to
die in those parts to which they trade, whom they sometimes redeem
at low rates, and in other places have them for nothing. They are
kept at perpetual labour, and are always chained, but with this
difference, that their own natives are treated much worse than
others: they are considered as more profligate than the rest, and
since they could not be restrained by the advantages of so
excellent an education, are judged worthy of harder usage. Another
sort of slaves are the poor of the neighbouring countries, who
offer of their own accord to come and serve them: they treat these
better, and use them in all other respects as well as their own
countrymen, except their imposing more labour upon them, which is
no hard task to those that have been accustomed to it; and if any
of these have a mind to go back to their own country, which,
indeed, falls out but seldom, as they do not force them to stay, so
they do not send them away empty-handed.

"I have already told you with what care they look after their sick,
so that nothing is left undone that can contribute either to their
case or health; and for those who are taken with fixed and
incurable diseases, they use all possible ways to cherish them and
to make their lives as comfortable as possible. They visit them
often and take great pains to make their time pass off easily; but
when any is taken with a torturing and lingering pain, so that
there is no hope either of recovery or ease, the priests and
magistrates come and exhort them, that, since they are now unable
to go on with the business of life, are become a burden to
themselves and to all about them, and they have really out-lived
themselves, they should no longer nourish such a rooted distemper,
but choose rather to die since they cannot live but in much misery;
being assured that if they thus deliver themselves from torture, or
are willing that others should do it, they shall be happy after
death: since, by their acting thus, they lose none of the
pleasures, but only the troubles of life, they think they behave
not only reasonably but in a manner consistent with religion and
piety; because they follow the advice given them by their priests,
who are the expounders of the will of God. Such as are wrought on
by these persuasions either starve themselves of their own accord,
or take opium, and by that means die without pain. But no man is
forced on this way of ending his life; and if they cannot be
persuaded to it, this does not induce them to fail in their
attendance and care of them: but as they believe that a voluntary
death, when it is chosen upon such an authority, is very
honourable, so if any man takes away his own life without the
approbation of the priests and the senate, they give him none of
the honours of a decent funeral, but throw his body into a ditch.

"Their women are not married before eighteen nor their men before
two-and-twenty, and if any of them run into forbidden embraces
before marriage they are severely punished, and the privilege of
marriage is denied them unless they can obtain a special warrant
from the Prince. Such disorders cast a great reproach upon the
master and mistress of the family in which they happen, for it is
supposed that they have failed in their duty. The reason of
punishing this so severely is, because they think that if they were
not strictly restrained from all vagrant appetites, very few would
engage in a state in which they venture the quiet of their whole
lives, by being confined to one person, and are obliged to endure
all the inconveniences with which it is accompanied. In choosing
their wives they use a method that would appear to us very absurd
and ridiculous, but it is constantly observed among them, and is
accounted perfectly consistent with wisdom. Before marriage some
grave matron presents the bride, naked, whether she is a virgin or
a widow, to the bridegroom, and after that some grave man presents
the bridegroom, naked, to the bride. We, indeed, both laughed at
this, and condemned it as very indecent. But they, on the other
hand, wondered at the folly of the men of all other nations, who,
if they are but to buy a horse of a small value, are so cautious
that they will see every part of him, and take off both his saddle
and all his other tackle, that there may be no secret ulcer hid
under any of them, and that yet in the choice of a wife, on which
depends the happiness or unhappiness of the rest of his life, a man
should venture upon trust, and only see about a handsbreadth of the
face, all the rest of the body being covered, under which may lie
hid what may be contagious as well as loathsome. All men are not
so wise as to choose a woman only for her good qualities, and even
wise men consider the body as that which adds not a little to the
mind, and it is certain there may be some such deformity covered
with clothes as may totally alienate a man from his wife, when it
is too late to part with her; if such a thing is discovered after
marriage a man has no remedy but patience; they, therefore, think
it is reasonable that there should be good provision made against
such mischievous frauds.

"There was so much the more reason for them to make a regulation in
this matter, because they are the only people of those parts that
neither allow of polygamy nor of divorces, except in the case of
adultery or insufferable perverseness, for in these cases the
Senate dissolves the marriage and grants the injured person leave
to marry again; but the guilty are made infamous and are never
allowed the privilege of a second marriage. None are suffered to
put away their wives against their wills, from any great calamity
that may have fallen on their persons, for they look on it as the
height of cruelty and treachery to abandon either of the married
persons when they need most the tender care of their consort, and
that chiefly in the case of old age, which, as it carries many
diseases along with it, so it is a disease of itself. But it
frequently falls out that when a married couple do not well agree,
they, by mutual consent, separate, and find out other persons with
whom they hope they may live more happily; yet this is not done
without obtaining leave of the Senate, which never admits of a
divorce but upon a strict inquiry made, both by the senators and
their wives, into the grounds upon which it is desired, and even
when they are satisfied concerning the reasons of it they go on but
slowly, for they imagine that too great easiness in granting leave
for new marriages would very much shake the kindness of married
people. They punish severely those that defile the marriage bed;
if both parties are married they are divorced, and the injured
persons may marry one another, or whom they please, but the
adulterer and the adulteress are condemned to slavery, yet if
either of the injured persons cannot shake off the love of the
married person they may live with them still in that state, but
they must follow them to that labour to which the slaves are
condemned, and sometimes the repentance of the condemned, together
with the unshaken kindness of the innocent and injured person, has
prevailed so far with the Prince that he has taken off the
sentence; but those that relapse after they are once pardoned are
punished with death.

"Their law does not determine the punishment for other crimes, but
that is left to the Senate, to temper it according to the
circumstances of the fact. Husbands have power to correct their
wives and parents to chastise their children, unless the fault is
so great that a public punishment is thought necessary for striking
terror into others. For the most part slavery is the punishment
even of the greatest crimes, for as that is no less terrible to the
criminals themselves than death, so they think the preserving them
in a state of servitude is more for the interest of the
commonwealth than killing them, since, as their labour is a greater
benefit to the public than their death could be, so the sight of
their misery is a more lasting terror to other men than that which
would be given by their death. If their slaves rebel, and will not
bear their yoke and submit to the labour that is enjoined them,
they are treated as wild beasts that cannot be kept in order,
neither by a prison nor by their chains, and are at last put to
death. But those who bear their punishment patiently, and are so
much wrought on by that pressure that lies so hard on them, that it
appears they are really more troubled for the crimes they have
committed than for the miseries they suffer, are not out of hope,
but that, at last, either the Prince will, by his prerogative, or
the people, by their intercession, restore them again to their
liberty, or, at least, very much mitigate their slavery. He that
tempts a married woman to adultery is no less severely punished
than he that commits it, for they believe that a deliberate design
to commit a crime is equal to the fact itself, since its not taking
effect does not make the person that miscarried in his attempt at
all the less guilty.

"They take great pleasure in fools, and as it is thought a base and
unbecoming thing to use them ill, so they do not think it amiss for
people to divert themselves with their folly; and, in their
opinion, this is a great advantage to the fools themselves; for if
men were so sullen and severe as not at all to please themselves
with their ridiculous behaviour and foolish sayings, which is all
that they can do to recommend themselves to others, it could not be
expected that they would be so well provided for nor so tenderly
used as they must otherwise be. If any man should reproach another
for his being misshaped or imperfect in any part of his body, it
would not at all be thought a reflection on the person so treated,
but it would be accounted scandalous in him that had upbraided
another with what he could not help. It is thought a sign of a
sluggish and sordid mind not to preserve carefully one's natural
beauty; but it is likewise infamous among them to use paint. They
all see that no beauty recommends a wife so much to her husband as
the probity of her life and her obedience; for as some few are
caught and held only by beauty, so all are attracted by the other
excellences which charm all the world.

"As they fright men from committing crimes by punishments, so they
invite them to the love of virtue by public honours; therefore they
erect statues to the memories of such worthy men as have deserved
well of their country, and set these in their market-places, both
to perpetuate the remembrance of their actions and to be an
incitement to their posterity to follow their example.

"If any man aspires to any office he is sure never to compass it.
They all live easily together, for none of the magistrates are
either insolent or cruel to the people; they affect rather to be
called fathers, and, by being really so, they well deserve the
name; and the people pay them all the marks of honour the more
freely because none are exacted from them. The Prince himself has
no distinction, either of garments or of a crown; but is only
distinguished by a sheaf of corn carried before him; as the High
Priest is also known by his being preceded by a person carrying a
wax light.

"They have but few laws, and such is their constitution that they
need not many. They very much condemn other nations whose laws,
together with the commentaries on them, swell up to so many
volumes; for they think it an unreasonable thing to oblige men to
obey a body of laws that are both of such a bulk, and so dark as
not to be read and understood by every one of the subjects.

"They have no lawyers among them, for they consider them as a sort
of people whose profession it is to disguise matters and to wrest
the laws, and, therefore, they think it is much better that every
man should plead his own cause, and trust it to the judge, as in
other places the client trusts it to a counsellor; by this means
they both cut off many delays and find out truth more certainly;
for after the parties have laid open the merits of the cause,
without those artifices which lawyers are apt to suggest, the judge
examines the whole matter, and supports the simplicity of such
well-meaning persons, whom otherwise crafty men would be sure to
run down; and thus they avoid those evils which appear very
remarkably among all those nations that labour under a vast load of
laws. Every one of them is skilled in their law; for, as it is a
very short study, so the plainest meaning of which words are
capable is always the sense of their laws; and they argue thus:
all laws are promulgated for this end, that every man may know his
duty; and, therefore, the plainest and most obvious sense of the
words is that which ought to be put upon them, since a more refined
exposition cannot be easily comprehended, and would only serve to
make the laws become useless to the greater part of mankind, and
especially to those who need most the direction of them; for it is
all one not to make a law at all or to couch it in such terms that,
without a quick apprehension and much study, a man cannot find out
the true meaning of it, since the generality of mankind are both so
dull, and so much employed in their several trades, that they have
neither the leisure nor the capacity requisite for such an inquiry.

"Some of their neighbours, who are masters of their own liberties
(having long ago, by the assistance of the Utopians, shaken off the
yoke of tyranny, and being much taken with those virtues which they
observe among them), have come to desire that they would send
magistrates to govern them, some changing them every year, and
others every five years; at the end of their government they bring
them back to Utopia, with great expressions of honour and esteem,
and carry away others to govern in their stead. In this they seem
to have fallen upon a very good expedient for their own happiness
and safety; for since the good or ill condition of a nation depends
so much upon their magistrates, they could not have made a better
choice than by pitching on men whom no advantages can bias; for
wealth is of no use to them, since they must so soon go back to
their own country, and they, being strangers among them, are not
engaged in any of their heats or animosities; and it is certain
that when public judicatories are swayed, either by avarice or
partial affections, there must follow a dissolution of justice, the
chief sinew of society.

"The Utopians call those nations that come and ask magistrates from
them Neighbours; but those to whom they have been of more
particular service, Friends; and as all other nations are
perpetually either making leagues or breaking them, they never
enter into an alliance with any state. They think leagues are
useless things, and believe that if the common ties of humanity do
not knit men together, the faith of promises will have no great
effect; and they are the more confirmed in this by what they see
among the nations round about them, who are no strict observers of
leagues and treaties. We know how religiously they are observed in
Europe, more particularly where the Christian doctrine is received,
among whom they are sacred and inviolable! which is partly owing to
the justice and goodness of the princes themselves, and partly to
the reverence they pay to the popes, who, as they are the most
religious observers of their own promises, so they exhort all other
princes to perform theirs, and, when fainter methods do not
prevail, they compel them to it by the severity of the pastoral
censure, and think that it would be the most indecent thing
possible if men who are particularly distinguished by the title of
'The Faithful' should not religiously keep the faith of their
treaties. But in that new-found world, which is not more distant
from us in situation than the people are in their manners and
course of life, there is no trusting to leagues, even though they
were made with all the pomp of the most sacred ceremonies; on the
contrary, they are on this account the sooner broken, some slight
pretence being found in the words of the treaties, which are
purposely couched in such ambiguous terms that they can never be so
strictly bound but they will always find some loophole to escape
at, and thus they break both their leagues and their faith; and
this is done with such impudence, that those very men who value
themselves on having suggested these expedients to their princes
would, with a haughty scorn, declaim against such craft; or, to
speak plainer, such fraud and deceit, if they found private men
make use of it in their bargains, and would readily say that they
deserved to be hanged.

"By this means it is that all sort of justice passes in the world
for a low-spirited and vulgar virtue, far below the dignity of
royal greatness--or at least there are set up two sorts of justice;
the one is mean and creeps on the ground, and, therefore, becomes
none but the lower part of mankind, and so must be kept in severely
by many restraints, that it may not break out beyond the bounds
that are set to it; the other is the peculiar virtue of princes,
which, as it is more majestic than that which becomes the rabble,
so takes a freer compass, and thus lawful and unlawful are only
measured by pleasure and interest. These practices of the princes
that lie about Utopia, who make so little account of their faith,
seem to be the reasons that determine them to engage in no
confederacy. Perhaps they would change their mind if they lived
among us; but yet, though treaties were more religiously observed,
they would still dislike the custom of making them, since the world
has taken up a false maxim upon it, as if there were no tie of
nature uniting one nation to another, only separated perhaps by a
mountain or a river, and that all were born in a state of
hostility, and so might lawfully do all that mischief to their
neighbours against which there is no provision made by treaties;
and that when treaties are made they do not cut off the enmity or
restrain the licence of preying upon each other, if, by the
unskilfulness of wording them, there are not effectual provisoes
made against them; they, on the other hand, judge that no man is to
be esteemed our enemy that has never injured us, and that the
partnership of human nature is instead of a league; and that
kindness and good nature unite men more effectually and with
greater strength than any agreements whatsoever, since thereby the
engagements of men's hearts become stronger than the bond and
obligation of words.


They detest war as a very brutal thing, and which, to the reproach
of human nature, is more practised by men than by any sort of
beasts. They, in opposition to the sentiments of almost all other
nations, think that there is nothing more inglorious than that
glory that is gained by war; and therefore, though they accustom
themselves daily to military exercises and the discipline of war,
in which not only their men, but their women likewise, are trained
up, that, in cases of necessity, they may not be quite useless, yet
they do not rashly engage in war, unless it be either to defend
themselves or their friends from any unjust aggressors, or, out of
good nature or in compassion, assist an oppressed nation in shaking
off the yoke of tyranny. They, indeed, help their friends not only
in defensive but also in offensive wars; but they never do that
unless they had been consulted before the breach was made, and,
being satisfied with the grounds on which they went, they had found
that all demands of reparation were rejected, so that a war was
unavoidable. This they think to be not only just when one
neighbour makes an inroad on another by public order, and carries
away the spoils, but when the merchants of one country are
oppressed in another, either under pretence of some unjust laws, or
by the perverse wresting of good ones. This they count a juster
cause of war than the other, because those injuries are done under
some colour of laws. This was the only ground of that war in which
they engaged with the Nephelogetes against the Aleopolitanes, a
little before our time; for the merchants of the former having, as
they thought, met with great injustice among the latter, which
(whether it was in itself right or wrong) drew on a terrible war,
in which many of their neighbours were engaged; and their keenness
in carrying it on being supported by their strength in maintaining
it, it not only shook some very flourishing states and very much
afflicted others, but, after a series of much mischief ended in the
entire conquest and slavery of the Aleopolitanes, who, though
before the war they were in all respects much superior to the
Nephelogetes, were yet subdued; but, though the Utopians had
assisted them in the war, yet they pretended to no share of the

"But, though they so vigorously assist their friends in obtaining
reparation for the injuries they have received in affairs of this
nature, yet, if any such frauds were committed against themselves,
provided no violence was done to their persons, they would only, on
their being refused satisfaction, forbear trading with such a
people. This is not because they consider their neighbours more
than their own citizens; but, since their neighbours trade every
one upon his own stock, fraud is a more sensible injury to them
than it is to the Utopians, among whom the public, in such a case,
only suffers, as they expect no thing in return for the merchandise
they export but that in which they so much abound, and is of little
use to them, the loss does not much affect them. They think,
therefore, it would be too severe to revenge a loss attended with
so little inconvenience, either to their lives or their
subsistence, with the death of many persons; but if any of their
people are either killed or wounded wrongfully, whether it be done
by public authority, or only by private men, as soon as they hear
of it they send ambassadors, and demand that the guilty persons may
be delivered up to them, and if that is denied, they declare war;
but if it be complied with, the offenders are condemned either to
death or slavery.

"They would be both troubled and ashamed of a bloody victory over
their enemies; and think it would be as foolish a purchase as to
buy the most valuable goods at too high a rate. And in no victory
do they glory so much as in that which is gained by dexterity and
good conduct without bloodshed. In such cases they appoint public
triumphs, and erect trophies to the honour of those who have
succeeded; for then do they reckon that a man acts suitably to his
nature, when he conquers his enemy in such a way as that no other
creature but a man could be capable of, and that is by the strength
of his understanding. Bears, lions, boars, wolves, and dogs, and
all other animals, employ their bodily force one against another,
in which, as many of them are superior to men, both in strength and
fierceness, so they are all subdued by his reason and

"The only design of the Utopians in war is to obtain that by force
which, if it had been granted them in time, would have prevented
the war; or, if that cannot be done, to take so severe a revenge on
those that have injured them that they may be terrified from doing
the like for the time to come. By these ends they measure all
their designs, and manage them so, that it is visible that the
appetite of fame or vainglory does not work so much on there as a
just care of their own security.

"As soon as they declare war, they take care to have a great many
schedules, that are sealed with their common seal, affixed in the
most conspicuous places of their enemies' country. This is carried
secretly, and done in many places all at once. In these they
promise great rewards to such as shall kill the prince, and lesser
in proportion to such as shall kill any other persons who are those
on whom, next to the prince himself, they cast the chief balance of
the war. And they double the sum to him that, instead of killing
the person so marked out, shall take him alive, and put him in
their hands. They offer not only indemnity, but rewards, to such
of the persons themselves that are so marked, if they will act
against their countrymen. By this means those that are named in
their schedules become not only distrustful of their fellow-
citizens, but are jealous of one another, and are much distracted
by fear and danger; for it has often fallen out that many of them,
and even the prince himself, have been betrayed, by those in whom
they have trusted most; for the rewards that the Utopians offer are
so immeasurably great, that there is no sort of crime to which men
cannot be drawn by them. They consider the risk that those run who
undertake such services, and offer a recompense proportioned to the
danger--not only a vast deal of gold, but great revenues in lands,
that lie among other nations that are their friends, where they may
go and enjoy them very securely; and they observe the promises they
make of their kind most religiously. They very much approve of
this way of corrupting their enemies, though it appears to others
to be base and cruel; but they look on it as a wise course, to make
an end of what would be otherwise a long war, without so much as
hazarding one battle to decide it. They think it likewise an act
of mercy and love to mankind to prevent the great slaughter of
those that must otherwise be killed in the progress of the war,
both on their own side and on that of their enemies, by the death
of a few that are most guilty; and that in so doing they are kind
even to their enemies, and pity them no less than their own people,
as knowing that the greater part of them do not engage in the war
of their own accord, but are driven into it by the passions of
their prince.

"If this method does not succeed with them, then they sow seeds of
contention among their enemies, and animate the prince's brother,
or some of the nobility, to aspire to the crown. If they cannot
disunite them by domestic broils, then they engage their neighbours
against them, and make them set on foot some old pretensions, which
are never wanting to princes when they have occasion for them.
These they plentifully supply with money, though but very sparingly
with any auxiliary troops; for they are so tender of their own
people that they would not willingly exchange one of them, even
with the prince of their enemies' country.

"But as they keep their gold and silver only for such an occasion,
so, when that offers itself, they easily part with it; since it
would be no convenience to them, though they should reserve nothing
of it to themselves. For besides the wealth that they have among
them at home, they have a vast treasure abroad; many nations round
about them being deep in their debt: so that they hire soldiers
from all places for carrying on their wars; but chiefly from the
Zapolets, who live five hundred miles east of Utopia. They are a
rude, wild, and fierce nation, who delight in the woods and rocks,
among which they were born and bred up. They are hardened both
against heat, cold, and labour, and know nothing of the delicacies
of life. They do not apply themselves to agriculture, nor do they
care either for their houses or their clothes: cattle is all that
they look after; and for the greatest part they live either by
hunting or upon rapine; and are made, as it were, only for war.
They watch all opportunities of engaging in it, and very readily
embrace such as are offered them. Great numbers of them will
frequently go out, and offer themselves for a very low pay, to
serve any that will employ them: they know none of the arts of
life, but those that lead to the taking it away; they serve those
that hire them, both with much courage and great fidelity; but will
not engage to serve for any determined time, and agree upon such
terms, that the next day they may go over to the enemies of those
whom they serve if they offer them a greater encouragement; and
will, perhaps, return to them the day after that upon a higher
advance of their pay. There are few wars in which they make not a
considerable part of the armies of both sides: so it often falls
out that they who are related, and were hired in the same country,
and so have lived long and familiarly together, forgetting both
their relations and former friendship, kill one another upon no
other consideration than that of being hired to it for a little
money by princes of different interests; and such a regard have
they for money that they are easily wrought on by the difference of
one penny a day to change sides. So entirely does their avarice
influence them; and yet this money, which they value so highly, is
of little use to them; for what they purchase thus with their blood
they quickly waste on luxury, which among them is but of a poor and
miserable form.

"This nation serves the Utopians against all people whatsoever, for
they pay higher than any other. The Utopians hold this for a
maxim, that as they seek out the best sort of men for their own use
at home, so they make use of this worst sort of men for the
consumption of war; and therefore they hire them with the offers of
vast rewards to expose themselves to all sorts of hazards, out of
which the greater part never returns to claim their promises; yet
they make them good most religiously to such as escape. This
animates them to adventure again, whenever there is occasion for
it; for the Utopians are not at all troubled how many of these
happen to be killed, and reckon it a service done to mankind if
they could be a means to deliver the world from such a lewd and
vicious sort of people, that seem to have run together, as to the
drain of human nature. Next to these, they are served in their
wars with those upon whose account they undertake them, and with
the auxiliary troops of their other friends, to whom they join a
few of their own people, and send some man of eminent and approved
virtue to command in chief. There are two sent with him, who,
during his command, are but private men, but the first is to
succeed him if he should happen to be either killed or taken; and,
in case of the like misfortune to him, the third comes in his
place; and thus they provide against all events, that such
accidents as may befall their generals may not endanger their
armies. When they draw out troops of their own people, they take
such out of every city as freely offer themselves, for none are
forced to go against their wills, since they think that if any man
is pressed that wants courage, he will not only act faintly, but by
his cowardice dishearten others. But if an invasion is made on
their country, they make use of such men, if they have good bodies,
though they are not brave; and either put them aboard their ships,
or place them on the walls of their towns, that being so posted,
they may find no opportunity of flying away; and thus either shame,
the heat of action, or the impossibility of flying, bears down
their cowardice; they often make a virtue of necessity, and behave
themselves well, because nothing else is left them. But as they
force no man to go into any foreign war against his will, so they
do not hinder those women who are willing to go along with their
husbands; on the contrary, they encourage and praise them, and they
stand often next their husbands in the front of the army. They
also place together those who are related, parents, and children,
kindred, and those that are mutually allied, near one another; that
those whom nature has inspired with the greatest zeal for assisting
one another may be the nearest and readiest to do it; and it is
matter of great reproach if husband or wife survive one another, or
if a child survives his parent, and therefore when they come to be
engaged in action, they continue to fight to the last man, if their
enemies stand before them: and as they use all prudent methods to
avoid the endangering their own men, and if it is possible let all
the action and danger fall upon the troops that they hire, so if it
becomes necessary for themselves to engage, they then charge with
as much courage as they avoided it before with prudence: nor is it
a fierce charge at first, but it increases by degrees; and as they
continue in action, they grow more obstinate, and press harder upon
the enemy, insomuch that they will much sooner die than give
ground; for the certainty that their children will be well looked
after when they are dead frees them from all that anxiety
concerning them which often masters men of great courage; and thus
they are animated by a noble and invincible resolution. Their
skill in military affairs increases their courage: and the wise
sentiments which, according to the laws of their country, are
instilled into them in their education, give additional vigour to
their minds: for as they do not undervalue life so as prodigally
to throw it away, they are not so indecently fond of it as to
preserve it by base and unbecoming methods. In the greatest heat
of action the bravest of their youth, who have devoted themselves
to that service, single out the general of their enemies, set on
him either openly or by ambuscade; pursue him everywhere, and when
spent and wearied out, are relieved by others, who never give over
the pursuit, either attacking him with close weapons when they can
get near him, or with those which wound at a distance, when others
get in between them. So that, unless he secures himself by flight,
they seldom fail at last to kill or to take him prisoner. When
they have obtained a victory, they kill as few as possible, and are
much more bent on taking many prisoners than on killing those that
fly before them. Nor do they ever let their men so loose in the
pursuit of their enemies as not to retain an entire body still in
order; so that if they have been forced to engage the last of their
battalions before they could gain the day, they will rather let
their enemies all escape than pursue them when their own army is in
disorder; remembering well what has often fallen out to themselves,
that when the main body of their army has been quite defeated and
broken, when their enemies, imagining the victory obtained, have
let themselves loose into an irregular pursuit, a few of them that
lay for a reserve, waiting a fit opportunity, have fallen on them
in their chase, and when straggling in disorder, and apprehensive
of no danger, but counting the day their own, have turned the whole
action, and, wresting out of their hands a victory that seemed
certain and undoubted, while the vanquished have suddenly become

"It is hard to tell whether they are more dexterous in laying or
avoiding ambushes. They sometimes seem to fly when it is far from
their thoughts; and when they intend to give ground, they do it so
that it is very hard to find out their design. If they see they
are ill posted, or are like to be overpowered by numbers, they then
either march off in the night with great silence, or by some
stratagem delude their enemies. If they retire in the day-time,
they do it in such order that it is no less dangerous to fall upon
them in a retreat than in a march. They fortify their camps with a
deep and large trench; and throw up the earth that is dug out of it
for a wall; nor do they employ only their slaves in this, but the
whole army works at it, except those that are then upon the guard;
so that when so many hands are at work, a great line and a strong
fortification is finished in so short a time that it is scarce
credible. Their armour is very strong for defence, and yet is not
so heavy as to make them uneasy in their marches; they can even
swim with it. All that are trained up to war practise swimming.
Both horse and foot make great use of arrows, and are very expert.
They have no swords, but fight with a pole-axe that is both sharp
and heavy, by which they thrust or strike down an enemy. They are
very good at finding out warlike machines, and disguise them so
well that the enemy does not perceive them till he feels the use of
them; so that he cannot prepare such a defence as would render them
useless; the chief consideration had in the making them is that
they may be easily carried and managed.

"If they agree to a truce, they observe it so religiously that no
provocations will make them break it. They never lay their
enemies' country waste nor burn their corn, and even in their
marches they take all possible care that neither horse nor foot may
tread it down, for they do not know but that they may have use for
it themselves. They hurt no man whom they find disarmed, unless he
is a spy. When a town is surrendered to them, they take it into
their protection; and when they carry a place by storm they never
plunder it, but put those only to the sword that oppose the
rendering of it up, and make the rest of the garrison slaves, but
for the other inhabitants, they do them no hurt; and if any of them
had advised a surrender, they give them good rewards out of the
estates of those that they condemn, and distribute the rest among
their auxiliary troops, but they themselves take no share of the

"When a war is ended, they do not oblige their friends to reimburse
their expenses; but they obtain them of the conquered, either in
money, which they keep for the next occasion, or in lands, out of
which a constant revenue is to be paid them; by many increases the
revenue which they draw out from several countries on such
occasions is now risen to above 700,000 ducats a year. They send
some of their own people to receive these revenues, who have orders
to live magnificently and like princes, by which means they consume
much of it upon the place; and either bring over the rest to Utopia
or lend it to that nation in which it lies. This they most
commonly do, unless some great occasion, which falls out but very
seldom, should oblige them to call for it all. It is out of these
lands that they assign rewards to such as they encourage to
adventure on desperate attempts. If any prince that engages in war
with them is making preparations for invading their country, they
prevent him, and make his country the seat of the war; for they do
not willingly suffer any war to break in upon their island; and if
that should happen, they would only defend themselves by their own
people; but would not call for auxiliary troops to their


"There are several sorts of religions, not only in different parts
of the island, but even in every town; some worshipping the sun,
others the moon or one of the planets. Some worship such men as
have been eminent in former times for virtue or glory, not only as
ordinary deities, but as the supreme god. Yet the greater and
wiser sort of them worship none of these, but adore one eternal,
invisible, infinite, and incomprehensible Deity; as a Being that is
far above all our apprehensions, that is spread over the whole
universe, not by His bulk, but by His power and virtue; Him they
call the Father of All, and acknowledge that the beginnings, the
increase, the progress, the vicissitudes, and the end of all things
come only from Him; nor do they offer divine honours to any but to
Him alone. And, indeed, though they differ concerning other
things, yet all agree in this: that they think there is one
Supreme Being that made and governs the world, whom they call, in
the language of their country, Mithras. They differ in this: that
one thinks the god whom he worships is this Supreme Being, and
another thinks that his idol is that god; but they all agree in one
principle, that whoever is this Supreme Being, He is also that
great essence to whose glory and majesty all honours are ascribed
by the consent of all nations.

"By degrees they fall off from the various superstitions that are
among them, and grow up to that one religion that is the best and
most in request; and there is no doubt to be made, but that all the
others had vanished long ago, if some of those who advised them to
lay aside their superstitions had not met with some unhappy
accidents, which, being considered as inflicted by heaven, made
them afraid that the god whose worship had like to have been
abandoned had interposed and revenged themselves on those who
despised their authority.

"After they had heard from us an account of the doctrine, the
course of life, and the miracles of Christ, and of the wonderful
constancy of so many martyrs, whose blood, so willingly offered up
by them, was the chief occasion of spreading their religion over a
vast number of nations, it is not to be imagined how inclined they
were to receive it. I shall not determine whether this proceeded
from any secret inspiration of God, or whether it was because it
seemed so favourable to that community of goods, which is an
opinion so particular as well as so dear to them; since they
perceived that Christ and His followers lived by that rule, and
that it was still kept up in some communities among the sincerest
sort of Christians. From whichsoever of these motives it might be,
true it is, that many of them came over to our religion, and were
initiated into it by baptism. But as two of our number were dead,
so none of the four that survived were in priests' orders, we,
therefore, could only baptise them, so that, to our great regret,
they could not partake of the other sacraments, that can only be
administered by priests, but they are instructed concerning them
and long most vehemently for them. They have had great disputes
among themselves, whether one chosen by them to be a priest would
not be thereby qualified to do all the things that belong to that
character, even though he had no authority derived from the Pope,
and they seemed to be resolved to choose some for that employment,
but they had not done it when I left them.

"Those among them that have not received our religion do not fright
any from it, and use none ill that goes over to it, so that all the
while I was there one man was only punished on this occasion. He
being newly baptised did, notwithstanding all that we could say to
the contrary, dispute publicly concerning the Christian religion,
with more zeal than discretion, and with so much heat, that he not
only preferred our worship to theirs, but condemned all their rites
as profane, and cried out against all that adhered to them as
impious and sacrilegious persons, that were to be damned to
everlasting burnings. Upon his having frequently preached in this
manner he was seized, and after trial he was condemned to
banishment, not for having disparaged their religion, but for his
inflaming the people to sedition; for this is one of their most
ancient laws, that no man ought to be punished for his religion.
At the first constitution of their government, Utopus having
understood that before his coming among them the old inhabitants
had been engaged in great quarrels concerning religion, by which
they were so divided among themselves, that he found it an easy
thing to conquer them, since, instead of uniting their forces
against him, every different party in religion fought by
themselves. After he had subdued them he made a law that every man
might be of what religion he pleased, and might endeavour to draw
others to it by the force of argument and by amicable and modest
ways, but without bitterness against those of other opinions; but
that he ought to use no other force but that of persuasion, and was
neither to mix with it reproaches nor violence; and such as did
otherwise were to be condemned to banishment or slavery.

"This law was made by Utopus, not only for preserving the public
peace, which he saw suffered much by daily contentions and
irreconcilable heats, but because he thought the interest of
religion itself required it. He judged it not fit to determine
anything rashly; and seemed to doubt whether those different forms
of religion might not all come from God, who might inspire man in a
different manner, and be pleased with this variety; he therefore
thought it indecent and foolish for any man to threaten and terrify
another to make him believe what did not appear to him to be true.
And supposing that only one religion was really true, and the rest
false, he imagined that the native force of truth would at last
break forth and shine bright, if supported only by the strength of
argument, and attended to with a gentle and unprejudiced mind;
while, on the other hand, if such debates were carried on with
violence and tumults, as the most wicked are always the most
obstinate, so the best and most holy religion might be choked with
superstition, as corn is with briars and thorns; he therefore left
men wholly to their liberty, that they might be free to believe as
they should see cause; only he made a solemn and severe law against
such as should so far degenerate from the dignity of human nature,
as to think that our souls died with our bodies, or that the world
was governed by chance, without a wise overruling Providence: for
they all formerly believed that there was a state of rewards and
punishments to the good and bad after this life; and they now look
on those that think otherwise as scarce fit to be counted men,
since they degrade so noble a being as the soul, and reckon it no
better than a beast's: thus they are far from looking on such men
as fit for human society, or to be citizens of a well-ordered
commonwealth; since a man of such principles must needs, as oft as
he dares do it, despise all their laws and customs: for there is
no doubt to be made, that a man who is afraid of nothing but the
law, and apprehends nothing after death, will not scruple to break
through all the laws of his country, either by fraud or force, when
by this means he may satisfy his appetites. They never raise any
that hold these maxims, either to honours or offices, nor employ
them in any public trust, but despise them, as men of base and
sordid minds. Yet they do not punish them, because they lay this
down as a maxim, that a man cannot make himself believe anything he
pleases; nor do they drive any to dissemble their thoughts by
threatenings, so that men are not tempted to lie or disguise their
opinions; which being a sort of fraud, is abhorred by the Utopians:
they take care indeed to prevent their disputing in defence of
these opinions, especially before the common people: but they
suffer, and even encourage them to dispute concerning them in
private with their priest, and other grave men, being confident
that they will be cured of those mad opinions by having reason laid
before them. There are many among them that run far to the other
extreme, though it is neither thought an ill nor unreasonable
opinion, and therefore is not at all discouraged. They think that
the souls of beasts are immortal, though far inferior to the
dignity of the human soul, and not capable of so great a happiness.
They are almost all of them very firmly persuaded that good men
will be infinitely happy in another state: so that though they are
compassionate to all that are sick, yet they lament no man's death,
except they see him loath to part with life; for they look on this
as a very ill presage, as if the soul, conscious to itself of
guilt, and quite hopeless, was afraid to leave the body, from some
secret hints of approaching misery. They think that such a man's
appearance before God cannot be acceptable to Him, who being called
on, does not go out cheerfully, but is backward and unwilling, and
is as it were dragged to it. They are struck with horror when they
see any die in this manner, and carry them out in silence and with
sorrow, and praying God that He would be merciful to the errors of
the departed soul, they lay the body in the ground: but when any
die cheerfully, and full of hope, they do not mourn for them, but
sing hymns when they carry out their bodies, and commending their
souls very earnestly to God: their whole behaviour is then rather
grave than sad, they burn the body, and set up a pillar where the
pile was made, with an inscription to the honour of the deceased.
When they come from the funeral, they discourse of his good life,
and worthy actions, but speak of nothing oftener and with more
pleasure than of his serenity at the hour of death. They think
such respect paid to the memory of good men is both the greatest
incitement to engage others to follow their example, and the most
acceptable worship that can be offered them; for they believe that
though by the imperfection of human sight they are invisible to us,
yet they are present among us, and hear those discourses that pass
concerning themselves. They believe it inconsistent with the
happiness of departed souls not to be at liberty to be where they
will: and do not imagine them capable of the ingratitude of not
desiring to see those friends with whom they lived on earth in the
strictest bonds of love and kindness: besides, they are persuaded
that good men, after death, have these affections; and all other
good dispositions increased rather than diminished, and therefore
conclude that they are still among the living, and observe all they
say or do. From hence they engage in all their affairs with the
greater confidence of success, as trusting to their protection;
while this opinion of the presence of their ancestors is a
restraint that prevents their engaging in ill designs.

"They despise and laugh at auguries, and the other vain and
superstitious ways of divination, so much observed among other
nations; but have great reverence for such miracles as cannot flow
from any of the powers of nature, and look on them as effects and
indications of the presence of the Supreme Being, of which they say
many instances have occurred among them; and that sometimes their
public prayers, which upon great and dangerous occasions they have
solemnly put up to God, with assured confidence of being heard,
have been answered in a miraculous manner.

"They think the contemplating God in His works, and the adoring Him
for them, is a very acceptable piece of worship to Him.

"There are many among them that upon a motive of religion neglect
learning, and apply themselves to no sort of study; nor do they
allow themselves any leisure time, but are perpetually employed,
believing that by the good things that a man does he secures to
himself that happiness that comes after death. Some of these visit
the sick; others mend highways, cleanse ditches, repair bridges, or
dig turf, gravel, or stone. Others fell and cleave timber, and
bring wood, corn, and other necessaries, on carts, into their
towns; nor do these only serve the public, but they serve even
private men, more than the slaves themselves do: for if there is
anywhere a rough, hard, and sordid piece of work to be done, from
which many are frightened by the labour and loathsomeness of it, if
not the despair of accomplishing it, they cheerfully, and of their
own accord, take that to their share; and by that means, as they
ease others very much, so they afflict themselves, and spend their
whole life in hard labour: and yet they do not value themselves
upon this, nor lessen other people's credit to raise their own; but
by their stooping to such servile employments they are so far from
being despised, that they are so much the more esteemed by the
whole nation.

"Of these there are two sorts: some live unmarried and chaste, and
abstain from eating any sort of flesh; and thus weaning themselves
from all the pleasures of the present life, which they account
hurtful, they pursue, even by the hardest and painfullest methods
possible, that blessedness which they hope for hereafter; and the
nearer they approach to it, they are the more cheerful and earnest
in their endeavours after it. Another sort of them is less willing
to put themselves to much toil, and therefore prefer a married
state to a single one; and as they do not deny themselves the
pleasure of it, so they think the begetting of children is a debt
which they owe to human nature, and to their country; nor do they
avoid any pleasure that does not hinder labour; and therefore eat
flesh so much the more willingly, as they find that by this means
they are the more able to work: the Utopians look upon these as
the wiser sect, but they esteem the others as the most holy. They
would indeed laugh at any man who, from the principles of reason,
would prefer an unmarried state to a married, or a life of labour
to an easy life: but they reverence and admire such as do it from
the motives of religion. There is nothing in which they are more
cautious than in giving their opinion positively concerning any
sort of religion. The men that lead those severe lives are called
in the language of their country Brutheskas, which answers to those
we call Religious Orders.

"Their priests are men of eminent piety, and therefore they are but
few, for there are only thirteen in every town, one for every
temple; but when they go to war, seven of these go out with their
forces, and seven others are chosen to supply their room in their
absence; but these enter again upon their employments when they
return; and those who served in their absence, attend upon the high
priest, till vacancies fall by death; for there is one set over the
rest. They are chosen by the people as the other magistrates are,
by suffrages given in secret, for preventing of factions: and when
they are chosen, they are consecrated by the college of priests.
The care of all sacred things, the worship of God, and an
inspection into the manners of the people, are committed to them.
It is a reproach to a man to be sent for by any of them, or for
them to speak to him in secret, for that always gives some
suspicion: all that is incumbent on them is only to exhort and
admonish the people; for the power of correcting and punishing ill
men belongs wholly to the Prince, and to the other magistrates:
the severest thing that the priest does is the excluding those that
are desperately wicked from joining in their worship: there is not
any sort of punishment more dreaded by them than this, for as it
loads them with infamy, so it fills them with secret horrors, such
is their reverence to their religion; nor will their bodies be long
exempted from their share of trouble; for if they do not very
quickly satisfy the priests of the truth of their repentance, they
are seized on by the Senate, and punished for their impiety. The
education of youth belongs to the priests, yet they do not take so
much care of instructing them in letters, as in forming their minds
and manners aright; they use all possible methods to infuse, very
early, into the tender and flexible minds of children, such
opinions as are both good in themselves and will be useful to their
country, for when deep impressions of these things are made at that
age, they follow men through the whole course of their lives, and
conduce much to preserve the peace of the government, which suffers
by nothing more than by vices that rise out of ill opinions. The
wives of their priests are the most extraordinary women of the
whole country; sometimes the women themselves are made priests,
though that falls out but seldom, nor are any but ancient widows
chosen into that order.

"None of the magistrates have greater honour paid them than is paid
the priests; and if they should happen to commit any crime, they
would not be questioned for it; their punishment is left to God,
and to their own consciences; for they do not think it lawful to
lay hands on any man, how wicked soever he is, that has been in a
peculiar manner dedicated to God; nor do they find any great
inconvenience in this, both because they have so few priests, and
because these are chosen with much caution, so that it must be a
very unusual thing to find one who, merely out of regard to his
virtue, and for his being esteemed a singularly good man, was
raised up to so great a dignity, degenerate into corruption and
vice; and if such a thing should fall out, for man is a changeable
creature, yet, there being few priests, and these having no
authority but what rises out of the respect that is paid them,
nothing of great consequence to the public can proceed from the
indemnity that the priests enjoy.

"They have, indeed, very few of them, lest greater numbers sharing
in the same honour might make the dignity of that order, which they
esteem so highly, to sink in its reputation; they also think it
difficult to find out many of such an exalted pitch of goodness as
to be equal to that dignity, which demands the exercise of more
than ordinary virtues. Nor are the priests in greater veneration
among them than they are among their neighbouring nations, as you
may imagine by that which I think gives occasion for it.

"When the Utopians engage in battle, the priests who accompany them
to the war, apparelled in their sacred vestments, kneel down during
the action (in a place not far from the field), and, lifting up
their hands to heaven, pray, first for peace, and then for victory
to their own side, and particularly that it may be gained without
the effusion of much blood on either side; and when the victory
turns to their side, they run in among their own men to restrain
their fury; and if any of their enemies see them or call to them,
they are preserved by that means; and such as can come so near them
as to touch their garments have not only their lives, but their
fortunes secured to them; it is upon this account that all the
nations round about consider them so much, and treat them with such
reverence, that they have been often no less able to preserve their
own people from the fury of their enemies than to save their
enemies from their rage; for it has sometimes fallen out, that when
their armies have been in disorder and forced to fly, so that their
enemies were running upon the slaughter and spoil, the priests by
interposing have separated them from one another, and stopped the
effusion of more blood; so that, by their mediation, a peace has
been concluded on very reasonable terms; nor is there any nation
about them so fierce, cruel, or barbarous, as not to look upon
their persons as sacred and inviolable.

"The first and the last day of the month, and of the year, is a
festival; they measure their months by the course of the moon, and
their years by the course of the sun: the first days are called in
their language the Cynemernes, and the last the Trapemernes, which
answers in our language, to the festival that begins or ends the

"They have magnificent temples, that are not only nobly built, but
extremely spacious, which is the more necessary as they have so few
of them; they are a little dark within, which proceeds not from any
error in the architecture, but is done with design; for their
priests think that too much light dissipates the thoughts, and that
a more moderate degree of it both recollects the mind and raises
devotion. Though there are many different forms of religion among
them, yet all these, how various soever, agree in the main point,
which is the worshipping the Divine Essence; and, therefore, there
is nothing to be seen or heard in their temples in which the
several persuasions among them may not agree; for every sect
performs those rites that are peculiar to it in their private
houses, nor is there anything in the public worship that
contradicts the particular ways of those different sects. There
are no images for God in their temples, so that every one may
represent Him to his thoughts according to the way of his religion;
nor do they call this one God by any other name but that of
Mithras, which is the common name by which they all express the
Divine Essence, whatsoever otherwise they think it to be; nor are
there any prayers among them but such as every one of them may use
without prejudice to his own opinion.

"They meet in their temples on the evening of the festival that
concludes a season, and not having yet broke their fast, they thank
God for their good success during that year or month which is then
at an end; and the next day, being that which begins the new
season, they meet early in their temples, to pray for the happy
progress of all their affairs during that period upon which they
then enter. In the festival which concludes the period, before
they go to the temple, both wives and children fall on their knees
before their husbands or parents and confess everything in which
they have either erred or failed in their duty, and beg pardon for
it. Thus all little discontents in families are removed, that they
may offer up their devotions with a pure and serene mind; for they
hold it a great impiety to enter upon them with disturbed thoughts,
or with a consciousness of their bearing hatred or anger in their
hearts to any person whatsoever; and think that they should become
liable to severe punishments if they presumed to offer sacrifices
without cleansing their hearts, and reconciling all their
differences. In the temples the two sexes are separated, the men
go to the right hand, and the women to the left; and the males and
females all place themselves before the head and master or mistress
of the family to which they belong, so that those who have the
government of them at home may see their deportment in public. And
they intermingle them so, that the younger and the older may be set
by one another; for if the younger sort were all set together, they
would, perhaps, trifle away that time too much in which they ought
to beget in themselves that religious dread of the Supreme Being
which is the greatest and almost the only incitement to virtue.

"They offer up no living creature in sacrifice, nor do they think
it suitable to the Divine Being, from whose bounty it is that these
creatures have derived their lives, to take pleasure in their
deaths, or the offering up their blood. They burn incense and
other sweet odours, and have a great number of wax lights during
their worship, not out of any imagination that such oblations can
add anything to the divine nature (which even prayers cannot do),
but as it is a harmless and pure way of worshipping God; so they
think those sweet savours and lights, together with some other
ceremonies, by a secret and unaccountable virtue, elevate men's
souls, and inflame them with greater energy and cheerfulness during
the divine worship.

"All the people appear in the temples in white garments; but the
priest's vestments are parti-coloured, and both the work and
colours are wonderful. They are made of no rich materials, for
they are neither embroidered nor set with precious stones; but are
composed of the plumes of several birds, laid together with so much
art, and so neatly, that the true value of them is far beyond the
costliest materials. They say, that in the ordering and placing
those plumes some dark mysteries are represented, which pass down
among their priests in a secret tradition concerning them; and that
they are as hieroglyphics, putting them in mind of the blessing
that they have received from God, and of their duties, both to Him
and to their neighbours. As soon as the priest appears in those
ornaments, they all fall prostrate on the ground, with so much
reverence and so deep a silence, that such as look on cannot but be
struck with it, as if it were the effect of the appearance of a
deity. After they have been for some time in this posture, they
all stand up, upon a sign given by the priest, and sing hymns to
the honour of God, some musical instruments playing all the while.
These are quite of another form than those used among us; but, as
many of them are much sweeter than ours, so others are made use of
by us. Yet in one thing they very much exceed us: all their
music, both vocal and instrumental, is adapted to imitate and
express the passions, and is so happily suited to every occasion,
that, whether the subject of the hymn be cheerful, or formed to
soothe or trouble the mind, or to express grief or remorse, the
music takes the impression of whatever is represented, affects and
kindles the passions, and works the sentiments deep into the hearts
of the hearers. When this is done, both priests and people offer
up very solemn prayers to God in a set form of words; and these are
so composed, that whatsoever is pronounced by the whole assembly
may be likewise applied by every man in particular to his own
condition. In these they acknowledge God to be the author and
governor of the world, and the fountain of all the good they
receive, and therefore offer up to him their thanksgiving; and, in
particular, bless him for His goodness in ordering it so, that they
are born under the happiest government in the world, and are of a
religion which they hope is the truest of all others; but, if they
are mistaken, and if there is either a better government, or a
religion more acceptable to God, they implore His goodness to let
them know it, vowing that they resolve to follow him whithersoever
he leads them; but if their government is the best, and their
religion the truest, then they pray that He may fortify them in it,
and bring all the world both to the same rules of life, and to the
same opinions concerning Himself, unless, according to the
unsearchableness of His mind, He is pleased with a variety of
religions. Then they pray that God may give them an easy passage
at last to Himself, not presuming to set limits to Him, how early
or late it should be; but, if it may be wished for without
derogating from His supreme authority, they desire to be quickly
delivered, and to be taken to Himself, though by the most terrible
kind of death, rather than to be detained long from seeing Him by
the most prosperous course of life. When this prayer is ended,
they all fall down again upon the ground; and, after a little
while, they rise up, go home to dinner, and spend the rest of the
day in diversion or military exercises.

"Thus have I described to you, as particularly as I could, the
Constitution of that commonwealth, which I do not only think the
best in the world, but indeed the only commonwealth that truly
deserves that name. In all other places it is visible that, while
people talk of a commonwealth, every man only seeks his own wealth;
but there, where no man has any property, all men zealously pursue
the good of the public, and, indeed, it is no wonder to see men act
so differently, for in other commonwealths every man knows that,
unless he provides for himself, how flourishing soever the
commonwealth may be, he must die of hunger, so that he sees the
necessity of preferring his own concerns to the public; but in
Utopia, where every man has a right to everything, they all know
that if care is taken to keep the public stores full no private man
can want anything; for among them there is no unequal distribution,
so that no man is poor, none in necessity, and though no man has
anything, yet they are all rich; for what can make a man so rich as
to lead a serene and cheerful life, free from anxieties; neither
apprehending want himself, nor vexed with the endless complaints of
his wife? He is not afraid of the misery of his children, nor is
he contriving how to raise a portion for his daughters; but is
secure in this, that both he and his wife, his children and grand-
children, to as many generations as he can fancy, will all live
both plentifully and happily; since, among them, there is no less
care taken of those who were once engaged in labour, but grow
afterwards unable to follow it, than there is, elsewhere, of these
that continue still employed. I would gladly hear any man compare
the justice that is among them with that of all other nations;
among whom, may I perish, if I see anything that looks either like
justice or equity; for what justice is there in this: that a
nobleman, a goldsmith, a banker, or any other man, that either does
nothing at all, or, at best, is employed in things that are of no
use to the public, should live in great luxury and splendour upon
what is so ill acquired, and a mean man, a carter, a smith, or a
ploughman, that works harder even than the beasts themselves, and
is employed in labours so necessary, that no commonwealth could
hold out a year without them, can only earn so poor a livelihood
and must lead so miserable a life, that the condition of the beasts
is much better than theirs? For as the beasts do not work so
constantly, so they feed almost as well, and with more pleasure,
and have no anxiety about what is to come, whilst these men are
depressed by a barren and fruitless employment, and tormented with
the apprehensions of want in their old age; since that which they
get by their daily labour does but maintain them at present, and is
consumed as fast as it comes in, there is no overplus left to lay
up for old age.

"Is not that government both unjust and ungrateful, that is so
prodigal of its favours to those that are called gentlemen, or
goldsmiths, or such others who are idle, or live either by flattery
or by contriving the arts of vain pleasure, and, on the other hand,
takes no care of those of a meaner sort, such as ploughmen,
colliers, and smiths, without whom it could not subsist? But after
the public has reaped all the advantage of their service, and they
come to be oppressed with age, sickness, and want, all their
labours and the good they have done is forgotten, and all the
recompense given them is that they are left to die in great misery.
The richer sort are often endeavouring to bring the hire of
labourers lower, not only by their fraudulent practices, but by the
laws which they procure to be made to that effect, so that though
it is a thing most unjust in itself to give such small rewards to
those who deserve so well of the public, yet they have given those
hardships the name and colour of justice, by procuring laws to be
made for regulating them.

"Therefore I must say that, as I hope for mercy, I can have no
other notion of all the other governments that I see or know, than
that they are a conspiracy of the rich, who, on pretence of
managing the public, only pursue their private ends, and devise all
the ways and arts they can find out; first, that they may, without
danger, preserve all that they have so ill-acquired, and then, that
they may engage the poor to toil and labour for them at as low
rates as possible, and oppress them as much as they please; and if
they can but prevail to get these contrivances established by the
show of public authority, which is considered as the representative
of the whole people, then they are accounted laws; yet these wicked
men, after they have, by a most insatiable covetousness, divided
that among themselves with which all the rest might have been well
supplied, are far from that happiness that is enjoyed among the
Utopians; for the use as well as the desire of money being
extinguished, much anxiety and great occasions of mischief is cut
off with it, and who does not see that the frauds, thefts,
robberies, quarrels, tumults, contentions, seditions, murders,
treacheries, and witchcrafts, which are, indeed, rather punished
than restrained by the seventies of law, would all fall off, if
money were not any more valued by the world? Men's fears,
solicitudes, cares, labours, and watchings would all perish in the
same moment with the value of money; even poverty itself, for the
relief of which money seems most necessary, would fall. But, in
order to the apprehending this aright, take one instance:-

"Consider any year, that has been so unfruitful that many thousands
have died of hunger; and yet if, at the end of that year, a survey
was made of the granaries of all the rich men that have hoarded up
the corn, it would be found that there was enough among them to
have prevented all that consumption of men that perished in misery;
and that, if it had been distributed among them, none would have
felt the terrible effects of that scarcity: so easy a thing would
it be to supply all the necessities of life, if that blessed thing
called money, which is pretended to be invented for procuring them
was not really the only thing that obstructed their being procured!

"I do not doubt but rich men are sensible of this, and that they
well know how much a greater happiness it is to want nothing
necessary, than to abound in many superfluities; and to be rescued
out of so much misery, than to abound with so much wealth: and I
cannot think but the sense of every man's interest, added to the
authority of Christ's commands, who, as He was infinitely wise,
knew what was best, and was not less good in discovering it to us,
would have drawn all the world over to the laws of the Utopians, if
pride, that plague of human nature, that source of so much misery,
did not hinder it; for this vice does not measure happiness so much
by its own conveniences, as by the miseries of others; and would
not be satisfied with being thought a goddess, if none were left
that were miserable, over whom she might insult. Pride thinks its
own happiness shines the brighter, by comparing it with the
misfortunes of other persons; that by displaying its own wealth
they may feel their poverty the more sensibly. This is that
infernal serpent that creeps into the breasts of mortals, and
possesses them too much to be easily drawn out; and, therefore, I
am glad that the Utopians have fallen upon this form of government,
in which I wish that all the world could be so wise as to imitate
them; for they have, indeed, laid down such a scheme and foundation
of policy, that as men live happily under it, so it is like to be
of great continuance; for they having rooted out of the minds of
their people all the seeds, both of ambition and faction, there is
no danger of any commotions at home; which alone has been the ruin
of many states that seemed otherwise to be well secured; but as
long as they live in peace at home, and are governed by such good
laws, the envy of all their neighbouring princes, who have often,
though in vain, attempted their ruin, will never be able to put
their state into any commotion or disorder."

When Raphael had thus made an end of speaking, though many things
occurred to me, both concerning the manners and laws of that
people, that seemed very absurd, as well in their way of making
war, as in their notions of religion and divine matters--together
with several other particulars, but chiefly what seemed the
foundation of all the rest, their living in common, without the use
of money, by which all nobility, magnificence, splendour, and
majesty, which, according to the common opinion, are the true
ornaments of a nation, would be quite taken away--yet since I
perceived that Raphael was weary, and was not sure whether he could
easily bear contradiction, remembering that he had taken notice of
some, who seemed to think they were bound in honour to support the
credit of their own wisdom, by finding out something to censure in
all other men's inventions, besides their own, I only commended
their Constitution, and the account he had given of it in general;
and so, taking him by the hand, carried him to supper, and told him
I would find out some other time for examining this subject more
particularly, and for discoursing more copiously upon it. And,
indeed, I shall be glad to embrace an opportunity of doing it. In
the meanwhile, though it must be confessed that he is both a very
learned man and a person who has obtained a great knowledge of the
world, I cannot perfectly agree to everything he has related.
However, there are many things in the commonwealth of Utopia that I
rather wish, than hope, to see followed in our governments.


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