Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

In the same way, they supply cities which increase not so fast, from others which people themselves faster. And if there be any extraordinary increase over the whole island, they select a number of citizens from the several towns, and send them to the neighbouring continent. Where, if they find the inhabitants have more soil than they can well cultivate, they plant a colony and take them into their society. And if these inhabitants be willing to live with them, enter into their mode of life, and conform to their regulations, it proveth a happiness to both; for by their laws such care is taken of the soil, that it becometh fruitful enough for both, although it might have been insufficient for either. But if the natives refuse to conform themselves to their laws, they drive them out of the boundary which they mark for themselves, and use violence if they resist. They esteem a very just warfare, the dispossession of others from soil which they leave idle and uncultivated; every man having a natural right to such a waste portion of earth, when necessary to his subsistence.

If any accident so lessen the number of inhabitants in a town that it cannot be supplied from the other towns of the island without diminishing them too much (which is said to have happened but twice since they were a people, and then by the plague), it is made-up by recalling as many as are wanted from their colonies. For they abandon these rather than suffer the towns in the island to be deficient.

But to return to their manner of living. The oldest man of every family, as already said, presides in it. Wives obey their husbands, and children their parents, junior ever serving senior. Every city is divided into four equal parts, and in the middle of each is a market-place. What is manufactured by the several families and brought thither, is carried to houses appointed for that purpose. In these, all things of one kind are laid together, and every father goeth thíther and taketh whatever he or his family need, without paying for it, or leaving any exchange. There is no reason for giving any one a denial, since they have such plenty of all things. And there is no danger of any one asking for more than he needeth ; for, being sure they shall alway be supplied, they have no inducement of the kind.

It is the fear of want which rendereth any animal greedy or ravenous. And beside this fear, there is a pride in man which maketh him esteem it a glory to excel his fellowcreature in pomp and excess. The laws of Utopia leave no room for these feelings.

Near these markets, are others for every kind of provision. Here are herbs, fruits, bread, fish, fowl, and cattle. Without their towns, are appointed places, near a running stream, for killing their beasts, which is done by their slaves. They allow none of the citizens to kill their cattle, thinking that pity and good nature (which are among the best of the affections born in us) are greatly impaired by butchering animals. Nor do they suffer any thing foul or

unclean to be brought into their towns, lest the air be in-' fected with ill scents which might injure their health.

In every street are spacious halls, lying at equal distances from each other, and distinguished by particular names. The syphogrants dwell in them, with their thirty respective families, fifteen lying on one side of it, and as many on the other; and here they meet and hold their repasts. The steward of each goeth to the market at an appointed hour, and taketh home provision according to the number belonging to his hall.

But they take the greatest care of their sick; who are lodged and provided-for in public hospitals. They have four of these to every town, built without the walls, and so spacious, that they are like little towns. By this mean, had they ever so many sick, they could lodge them conve. niently, and so far apart, that no apprehension of infection could arise from those labouring under contagious disorders. The hospitals are provided with every thing necessary for the ease and restoration of the sick. And the patients are looked after with such tenderness and solicitude, and are so constantly attended by their skilful physicians, that as none are sent thither against their inclinations, so is there scarcely one person in a whole town, who, should he be taken ill, would not choose rather to go thither than lie at home.

When the steward of the hospitals hath taken for the sick whatever the physician prescribes, the best things left in the market are distributed to the halls in proportion to their numbers ; first serving the prince, the chief priest, the tranibors, ambassadors, and strangers, if any among them. The last indeed seldom happens ; yet have they well furnished houses, particularly appointed for their reception when they come.

At the hours of dinner and supper, the whole syphogranty being assembled by trumpet, they meet and eat to gether, excepting only those who are in the hospitals or lie sick at home. Yet after the halls are supplied, no man is hindered from carrying home provision from the marketplace, for they know that no one doth it except for some good reason. For, though any one who pleaseth may cat at home, no one doth it from inclination, it being absurd to prepare a bad dinner at home, when a much more plentiful one is ready for him so near his residence.

The unpleasant and sordid services about these halls, are performed by their slaves. But dressing their meat and ordering their tables belong to the women, every family taking it by rotation. They sit at three or more tables according to their number, the men toward the wall, the women on the outside. Thus, if any of the women be taken suddenly ill (which is not uncommon when they are in a state of pregnancy), she may, without disturbing the rest, rise and go to the nursery, where are nurses with the unweaned infants, clean water, cradles, and a fire.

Vol. II.

Every child is nursed by its own mother, unless death or sickness prevent. In that case the syphogrants’ wives quickly provide a nurse, which is no difficulty, as any woman who can do it, offereth herself cheerfully. And, to make her amends, the child she nurseth considereth her as its mother.

The children under five sit among the nurses. The other young of either sex, until marriageable, serve those who sit at table, or, if unequal to that in strength, stand by them in silence and eat what is given them. Nor have they any other particular form at their dinners.

In the middle of the first table, which standeth across the upper end of the hall, sit the syphogrant and his wife, that being the most conspicuous place. Next to him sit two of the oldest, there being throughout four in a mess. If there be a temple within that syphogranty, the priest and his wife sit with the syphogrant above the rest. Next. to them come a mixture of old and young, so distributed, that though near to others of their own age, they are mingled with the elders. This, they say, was so instituted, that the gravity of the old, and the respect due to them, might restrain the young from all indecent words and gesțures.

· The dishes are not served to the whole table at first, but the best are set before the old (whose seats are distinguished from the young), and after them all the rest are served

« VorigeDoorgaan »