by Jonathan Swift
Gulliver's Travels Part 1, Chapter 7 Summary
READ THE BOOK: Part 1, Chapter 7
"The author, being informed of a design to accuse him of high-treason, makes his escape to Blefuscu. His reception there."
- For 2 months before Gulliver leaves Lilliput, there has been a plot building against him.
- The thing is, Gulliver has never had any personal experience of courts in his own country, but he has read about them and all their backbiting and infighting.
- Still, Gulliver thought that the high morals of the Lilliputians would keep him safe from plots against him.
- He was wrong.
- Just as Gulliver is planning to visit Blefuscu, one of his friends at court comes by in the dead of night to warn him that several committees have been formed to decide what should happen to Gulliver.
- Skyresh Bolgolam the admiral, Flimnap the treasurer, Limtoc the general, Lalcon the chamberlain, and Balmuff the chief justice have issued articles of impeachment for treason against Gulliver.
- (By the way, the specific use of this term "Articles of Impeachment" is another historical reference. Once again, please allow us to direct you to the Lilliputian "Character Analysis" for more information.)
- The lord who has come to warn Gulliver has also brought a copy of the articles of impeachment against Gulliver, as follows:
- Article 1: According to a degree by an earlier Emperor, it is treason to pee within the royal palace. When Gulliver put out the fire in the Empress's rooms using his urine, he broke this law.
- Article 2: When the Emperor ordered Gulliver to destroy the remainder of Blefuscu's boats, conquer its lands, and execute all of the Lilliputian Big-Endian exiles and all those who would not convert to Little-Endianism, Gulliver refused.
- Article 3: When ambassadors arrived from Blefuscu, Gulliver was nice to them, even though Lilliput is at war with Blefuscu.
- Article 4: Gulliver is planning to go to Blefuscu, even though the Emperor has only given verbal (and not, we assume, written) permission.
- Gulliver's enemies at court want him to be put to death in various miserable ways, but the Emperor feels bad about just killing Gulliver like that.
- The Emperor asks Gulliver's friend Redresal, the principal secretary, his opinion.
- Redresal tells the Emperor that, yes, maybe Gulliver has committed grave crimes, but the Emperor could still be merciful. Instead of killing Gulliver, why doesn't the Emperor just order Gulliver's eyes put out? That way, Gulliver would still be able to help the Emperor with his great strength.
- The whole council is outraged at this suggestion, because Gulliver's strength is exactly the problem: Bolgolam warns that Gulliver might flood the whole country with his urine or carry the Blefuscudian fleet back to Blefuscu if he wanted to.
- Flimnap the treasurer tells the Emperor that Gulliver has to die because the cost of feeding him will bankrupt Lilliput.
- The Emperor doesn't want to kill Gulliver, but he also thinks that just blinding Gulliver isn't enough. So Redresal suggests that they stop feeding Gulliver. That way, they'd save money. What's more, Gulliver's corpse would be relatively skinny, making it easier to get rid of.
- Everyone agrees on this compromise: they plan to starve him and to blind him.
- The plan is that, in three days, Redresal will come to Gulliver with the Articles of Impeachment.
- The only punishment the Lilliputians are actually going to reveal to Gulliver is the loss of his eyes; the starvation part, they don't plan to tell him about directly.
- The lord who is telling Gulliver all of this finishes his story and heads out in secrecy, under cover of night.
- Gulliver can't exactly see the mercy in this sentence: to be blinded and then starved seems plenty bad to him.
- Gulliver considers standing trial in the hopes of getting some kind of reduced sentence, but, with so many powerful enemies, he figures that won't work.
- Gulliver also thinks about laying siege to the capital city by throwing stones at it, but he rejects that idea because he took an oath to the Emperor to be loyal.
- Finally, Gulliver decides to run away. He walks across the channel to Blefuscu, where the Blefuscudian Emperor has been expecting him.
- The Blefuscudian Emperor comes to meet Gulliver, and Gulliver thanks him for his hospitality.
- Gulliver does not tell the Emperor of Blefuscu that he has fallen out of favor in Lilliput.
READ THE BOOK: Part 1, Chapter 7