How to Reform a Country

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Voyages de Gulliver dans des contrées lointaines; édition illustrée par J.J.Grandville (1803-1847) (Paris: H. Fournier ainé, 1838). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX), 2005-2172N

A Voyage To Laputa, Chapter 6. The Author proposes some Improvements which are honorably received.

I told him… the Bulk of the People consisted wholly of Discoverers, Witnesses, Informers, Accusers, Prosecutors, Evidences, Swearers…. The Plots in that Kingdom are usually the Workmanship of those Persons who desire to raise their own Characters of profound Politicians…to fill their Coffers with Forfeitures; and raise or sink the Opinion of public Credit.

It is first agreed and settled among them, what suspected Persons shall be accused of a Plot: Then, effectual Care is taken to secure all their Letters and other Papers, and put the Owners in Chains. These Papers are delivered to a Set of Artists, very dexterous in finding out the mysterious Meanings of Words, Syllables and Letters.

For Instance, they can decipher a Close-stool to signify a Privy-Council; a Flock of Geese, a Senate; a lame Dog, an Invader; the Plague, a standing Army; a Buzzard, a Minister; the Gout, a High Priest; a Gibbet, a Secretary of State; a Chamber pot, a Committee of Grandees; a Sieve, a Court Lady; a Broom, a Revolution; a Mouse-trap, an Employment; a bottomless Pit, the Treasury; a Sink, a C—-t; a Cap and Bells, a Favorite; a broken Reed, a Court of Justice; an empty Tun, a General; a running Sore, the Administration.

Full text in English: