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Transcribed from the 1910 A. C. Fifield (revised) edition by David Price,
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"[Greek text]" - ARIST. _Pol_.

"There is no action save upon a balance of
considerations." - _Paraphrase_.


The Author wishes it to be understood that Erewhon is pronounced as a
word of three syllables, all short - thus, E-re-whon.


Having been enabled by the kindness of the public to get through an
unusually large edition of "Erewhon" in a very short time, I have taken
the opportunity of a second edition to make some necessary corrections,
and to add a few passages where it struck me that they would be
appropriately introduced; the passages are few, and it is my fixed
intention never to touch the work again.

I may perhaps be allowed to say a word or two here in reference to "The
Coming Race," to the success of which book "Erewhon" has been very
generally set down as due. This is a mistake, though a perfectly natural
one. The fact is that "Erewhon" was finished, with the exception of the
last twenty pages and a sentence or two inserted from time to time here
and there throughout the book, before the first advertisement of "The
Coming Race" appeared. A friend having called my attention to one of the
first of these advertisements, and suggesting that it probably referred
to a work of similar character to my own, I took "Erewhon" to a
well-known firm of publishers on the 1st of May 1871, and left it in
their hands for consideration. I then went abroad, and on learning that
the publishers alluded to declined the MS., I let it alone for six or
seven months, and, being in an out-of-the-way part of Italy, never saw a
single review of "The Coming Race," nor a copy of the work. On my
return, I purposely avoided looking into it until I had sent back my last
revises to the printer. Then I had much pleasure in reading it, but was
indeed surprised at the many little points of similarity between the two
books, in spite of their entire independence to one another.

I regret that reviewers have in some cases been inclined to treat the
chapters on Machines as an attempt to reduce Mr. Darwin's theory to an
absurdity. Nothing could be further from my intention, and few things
would be more distasteful to me than any attempt to laugh at Mr. Darwin;
but I must own that I have myself to thank for the misconception, for I
felt sure that my intention would be missed, but preferred not to weaken
the chapters by explanation, and knew very well that Mr. Darwin's theory
would take no harm. The only question in my mind was how far I could
afford to be misrepresented as laughing at that for which I have the most
profound admiration. I am surprised, however, that the book at which
such an example of the specious misuse of analogy would seem most
naturally levelled should have occurred to no reviewer; neither shall I
mention the name of the book here, though I should fancy that the hint
given will suffice.

I have been held by some whose opinions I respect to have denied men's
responsibility for their actions. He who does this is an enemy who
deserves no quarter. I should have imagined that I had been sufficiently
explicit, but have made a few additions to the chapter on Malcontents,
which will, I think, serve to render further mistake impossible.

An anonymous correspondent (by the hand-writing presumably a clergyman)
tells me that in quoting from the Latin grammar I should at any rate have
done so correctly, and that I should have written "agricolas" instead of
"agricolae". He added something about any boy in the fourth form, &c.,
&c., which I shall not quote, but which made me very uncomfortable. It
may be said that I must have misquoted from design, from ignorance, or by
a slip of the pen; but surely in these days it will be recognised as
harsh to assign limits to the all-embracing boundlessness of truth, and
it will be more reasonably assumed that each of the three possible causes
of misquotation must have had its share in the apparent blunder. The art
of writing things that shall sound right and yet be wrong has made so
many reputations, and affords comfort to such a large number of readers,
that I could not venture to neglect it; the Latin grammar, however, is a
subject on which some of the younger members of the community feel
strongly, so I have now written "agricolas". I have also parted with the
word "infortuniam" (though not without regret), but have not dared to
meddle with other similar inaccuracies.

For the inconsistencies in the book, and I am aware that there are not a
few, I must ask the indulgence of the reader. The blame, however, lies
chiefly with the Erewhonians themselves, for they were really a very
difficult people to understand. The most glaring anomalies seemed to
afford them no intellectual inconvenience; neither, provided they did not
actually see the money dropping out of their pockets, nor suffer
immediate physical pain, would they listen to any arguments as to the
waste of money and happiness which their folly caused them. But this had
an effect of which I have little reason to complain, for I was allowed
almost to call them life-long self-deceivers to their faces, and they
said it was quite true, but that it did not matter.

I must not conclude without expressing my most sincere thanks to my
critics and to the public for the leniency and consideration with which
they have treated my adventures.

June 9, 1872


My publisher wishes me to say a few words about the genesis of the work,
a revised and enlarged edition of which he is herewith laying before the
public. I therefore place on record as much as I can remember on this
head after a lapse of more than thirty years.

The first part of "Erewhon" written was an article headed "Darwin among
the Machines," and signed Cellarius. It was written in the Upper
Rangitata district of the Canterbury Province (as it then was) of New
Zealand, and appeared at Christchurch in the Press Newspaper, June 13,
1863. A copy of this article is indexed under my books in the British
Museum catalogue. In passing, I may say that the opening chapters of
"Erewhon" were also drawn from the Upper Rangitata district, with such
modifications as I found convenient.

A second article on the same subject as the one just referred to appeared
in the Press shortly after the first, but I have no copy. It treated
Machines from a different point of view, and was the basis of pp. 270-274
of the present edition of "Erewhon." {1} This view ultimately led me to
the theory I put forward in "Life and Habit," published in November 1877.
I have put a bare outline of this theory (which I believe to be quite
sound) into the mouth of an Erewhonian philosopher in Chapter XXVII. of
this book.

In 1865 I rewrote and enlarged "Darwin among the Machines" for the
Reasoner, a paper published in London by Mr. G. J. Holyoake. It appeared
July 1, 1865, under the heading, "The Mechanical Creation," and can be
seen in the British Museum. I again rewrote and enlarged it, till it
assumed the form in which it appeared in the first edition of "Erewhon."

The next part of "Erewhon" that I wrote was the "World of the Unborn," a
preliminary form of which was sent to Mr. Holyoake's paper, but as I
cannot find it among those copies of the Reasoner that are in the British
Museum, I conclude that it was not accepted. I have, however, rather a
strong fancy that it appeared in some London paper of the same character
as the Reasoner, not very long after July 1, 1865, but I have no copy.

I also wrote about this time the substance of what ultimately became the
Musical Banks, and the trial of a man for being in a consumption. These
four detached papers were, I believe, all that was written of "Erewhon"
before 1870. Between 1865 and 1870 I wrote hardly anything, being
hopeful of attaining that success as a painter which it has not been
vouchsafed me to attain, but in the autumn of 1870, just as I was
beginning to get occasionally hung at Royal Academy exhibitions, my
friend, the late Sir F. N. (then Mr.) Broome, suggested to me that I
should add somewhat to the articles I had already written, and string
them together into a book. I was rather fired by the idea, but as I only
worked at the MS. on Sundays it was some months before I had completed

I see from my second Preface that I took the book to Messrs. Chapman &
Hall May 1, 1871, and on their rejection of it, under the advice of one
who has attained the highest rank among living writers, I let it sleep,
till I took it to Mr. Trubner early in 1872. As regards its rejection by
Messrs. Chapman & Hall, I believe their reader advised them quite wisely.
They told me he reported that it was a philosophical work, little likely
to be popular with a large circle of readers. I hope that if I had been
their reader, and the book had been submitted to myself, I should have
advised them to the same effect.

"Erewhon" appeared with the last day or two of March 1872. I attribute
its unlooked-for success mainly to two early favourable reviews - the
first in the Pall Mall Gazette of April 12, and the second in the
Spectator of April 20. There was also another cause. I was complaining
once to a friend that though "Erewhon" had met with such a warm
reception, my subsequent books had been all of them practically still-
born. He said, "You forget one charm that 'Erewhon' had, but which none
of your other books can have." I asked what? and was answered, "The
sound of a new voice, and of an unknown voice."

The first edition of "Erewhon" sold in about three weeks; I had not taken
moulds, and as the demand was strong, it was set up again immediately. I
made a few unimportant alterations and additions, and added a Preface, of
which I cannot say that I am particularly proud, but an inexperienced
writer with a head somewhat turned by unexpected success is not to be
trusted with a preface. I made a few further very trifling alterations
before moulds were taken, but since the summer of 1872, as new editions
were from time to time wanted, they have been printed from stereos then

Having now, I fear, at too great length done what I was asked to do, I
should like to add a few words on my own account. I am still fairly well
satisfied with those parts of "Erewhon" that were repeatedly rewritten,
but from those that had only a single writing I would gladly cut out some
forty or fifty pages if I could.

This, however, may not be, for the copyright will probably expire in a
little over twelve years. It was necessary, therefore, to revise the
book throughout for literary inelegancies - of which I found many more
than I had expected - and also to make such substantial additions as
should secure a new lease of life - at any rate for the copyright. If,
then, instead of cutting out, say fifty pages, I have been compelled to
add about sixty invita Minerva - the blame rests neither with my publisher
nor with me, but with the copyright laws. Nevertheless I can assure the
reader that, though I have found it an irksome task to take up work which
I thought I had got rid of thirty years ago, and much of which I am
ashamed of, I have done my best to make the new matter savour so much of
the better portions of the old, that none but the best critics shall
perceive at what places the gaps of between thirty and forty years occur.

Lastly, if my readers note a considerable difference between the literary
technique of "Erewhon" and that of "Erewhon Revisited," I would remind
them that, as I have just shown, "Erewhon" look something like ten years
in writing, and even so was written with great difficulty, while "Erewhon
Revisited" was written easily between November 1900 and the end of April
1901. There is no central idea underlying "Erewhon," whereas the attempt
to realise the effect of a single supposed great miracle dominates the
whole of its successor. In "Erewhon" there was hardly any story, and
little attempt to give life and individuality to the characters; I hope
that in "Erewhon Revisited" both these defects have been in great measure
avoided. "Erewhon" was not an organic whole, "Erewhon Revisited" may
fairly claim to be one. Nevertheless, though in literary workmanship I
do not doubt that this last-named book is an improvement on the first, I
shall be agreeably surprised if I am not told that "Erewhon," with all
its faults, is the better reading of the two.

August 7, 1901


If the reader will excuse me, I will say nothing of my antecedents, nor
of the circumstances which led me to leave my native country; the
narrative would be tedious to him and painful to myself. Suffice it,
that when I left home it was with the intention of going to some new
colony, and either finding, or even perhaps purchasing, waste crown land
suitable for cattle or sheep farming, by which means I thought that I
could better my fortunes more rapidly than in England.

It will be seen that I did not succeed in my design, and that however
much I may have met with that was new and strange, I have been unable to
reap any pecuniary advantage.

It is true, I imagine myself to have made a discovery which, if I can be
the first to profit by it, will bring me a recompense beyond all money
computation, and secure me a position such as has not been attained by
more than some fifteen or sixteen persons, since the creation of the
universe. But to this end I must possess myself of a considerable sum of
money: neither do I know how to get it, except by interesting the public
in my story, and inducing the charitable to come forward and assist me.
With this hope I now publish my adventures; but I do so with great
reluctance, for I fear that my story will be doubted unless I tell the
whole of it; and yet I dare not do so, lest others with more means than
mine should get the start of me. I prefer the risk of being doubted to
that of being anticipated, and have therefore concealed my destination on
leaving England, as also the point from which I began my more serious and
difficult journey.

My chief consolation lies in the fact that truth bears its own impress,
and that my story will carry conviction by reason of the internal
evidences for its accuracy. No one who is himself honest will doubt my
being so.

I reached my destination in one of the last months of 1868, but I dare
not mention the season, lest the reader should gather in which hemisphere
I was. The colony was one which had not been opened up even to the most
adventurous settlers for more than eight or nine years, having been
previously uninhabited, save by a few tribes of savages who frequented
the seaboard. The part known to Europeans consisted of a coast-line
about eight hundred miles in length (affording three or four good
harbours), and a tract of country extending inland for a space varying
from two to three hundred miles, until it a reached the offshoots of an
exceedingly lofty range of mountains, which could be seen from far out
upon the plains, and were covered with perpetual snow. The coast was
perfectly well known both north and south of the tract to which I have
alluded, but in neither direction was there a single harbour for five
hundred miles, and the mountains, which descended almost into the sea,
were covered with thick timber, so that none would think of settling.

With this bay of land, however, the case was different. The harbours
were sufficient; the country was timbered, but not too heavily; it was
admirably suited for agriculture; it also contained millions on millions
of acres of the most beautifully grassed country in the world, and of the
best suited for all manner of sheep and cattle. The climate was
temperate, and very healthy; there were no wild animals, nor were the
natives dangerous, being few in number and of an intelligent tractable

It may be readily understood that when once Europeans set foot upon this
territory they were not slow to take advantage of its capabilities. Sheep
and cattle were introduced, and bred with extreme rapidity; men took up
their 50,000 or 100,000 acres of country, going inland one behind the
other, till in a few years there was not an acre between the sea and the
front ranges which was not taken up, and stations either for sheep or
cattle were spotted about at intervals of some twenty or thirty miles
over the whole country. The front ranges stopped the tide of squatters
for some little time; it was thought that there was too much snow upon
them for too many months in the year, - that the sheep would get lost, the
ground being too difficult for shepherding, - that the expense of getting
wool down to the ship's side would eat up the farmer's profits, - and that
the grass was too rough and sour for sheep to thrive upon; but one after
another determined to try the experiment, and it was wonderful how
successfully it turned out. Men pushed farther and farther into the
mountains, and found a very considerable tract inside the front range,
between it and another which was loftier still, though even this was not
the highest, the great snowy one which could be seen from out upon the
plains. This second range, however, seemed to mark the extreme limits of
pastoral country; and it was here, at a small and newly founded station,
that I was received as a cadet, and soon regularly employed. I was then
just twenty-two years old.

I was delighted with the country and the manner of life. It was my daily
business to go up to the top of a certain high mountain, and down one of
its spurs on to the flat, in order to make sure that no sheep had crossed
their boundaries. I was to see the sheep, not necessarily close at hand,
nor to get them in a single mob, but to see enough of them here and there
to feel easy that nothing had gone wrong; this was no difficult matter,
for there were not above eight hundred of them; and, being all breeding
ewes, they were pretty quiet.

There were a good many sheep which I knew, as two or three black ewes,
and a black lamb or two, and several others which had some distinguishing
mark whereby I could tell them. I would try and see all these, and if
they were all there, and the mob looked large enough, I might rest
assured that all was well. It is surprising how soon the eye becomes
accustomed to missing twenty sheep out of two or three hundred. I had a
telescope and a dog, and would take bread and meat and tobacco with me.
Starting with early dawn, it would be night before I could complete my
round; for the mountain over which I had to go was very high. In winter
it was covered with snow, and the sheep needed no watching from above. If
I were to see sheep dung or tracks going down on to the other side of the
mountain (where there was a valley with a stream - a mere _cul de sac_), I
was to follow them, and look out for sheep; but I never saw any, the
sheep always descending on to their own side, partly from habit, and
partly because there was abundance of good sweet feed, which had been
burnt in the early spring, just before I came, and was now deliciously
green and rich, while that on the other side had never been burnt, and
was rank and coarse.

It was a monotonous life, but it was very healthy and one does not much
mind anything when one is well. The country was the grandest that can be
imagined. How often have I sat on the mountain side and watched the
waving downs, with the two white specks of huts in the distance, and the
little square of garden behind them; the paddock with a patch of bright
green oats above the huts, and the yards and wool-sheds down on the flat
below; all seen as through the wrong end of a telescope, so clear and
brilliant was the air, or as upon a colossal model or map spread out
beneath me. Beyond the downs was a plain, going down to a river of great
size, on the farther side of which there were other high mountains, with
the winter's snow still not quite melted; up the river, which ran winding
in many streams over a bed some two miles broad, I looked upon the second
great chain, and could see a narrow gorge where the river retired and was
lost. I knew that there was a range still farther back; but except from
one place near the very top of my own mountain, no part of it was
visible: from this point, however, I saw, whenever there were no clouds,
a single snow-clad peak, many miles away, and I should think about as
high as any mountain in the world. Never shall I forget the utter
loneliness of the prospect - only the little far-away homestead giving
sign of human handiwork; - the vastness of mountain and plain, of river
and sky; the marvellous atmospheric effects - sometimes black mountains
against a white sky, and then again, after cold weather, white mountains
against a black sky - sometimes seen through breaks and swirls of
cloud - and sometimes, which was best of all, I went up my mountain in a
fog, and then got above the mist; going higher and higher, I would look
down upon a sea of whiteness, through which would be thrust innumerable
mountain tops that looked like islands.

I am there now, as I write; I fancy that I can see the downs, the huts,
the plain, and the river-bed - that torrent pathway of desolation, with
its distant roar of waters. Oh, wonderful! wonderful! so lonely and so
solemn, with the sad grey clouds above, and no sound save a lost lamb
bleating upon the mountain side, as though its little heart were
breaking. Then there comes some lean and withered old ewe, with deep
gruff voice and unlovely aspect, trotting back from the seductive
pasture; now she examines this gully, and now that, and now she stands
listening with uplifted head, that she may hear the distant wailing and
obey it. Aha! they see, and rush towards each other. Alas! they are
both mistaken; the ewe is not the lamb's ewe, they are neither kin nor
kind to one another, and part in coldness. Each must cry louder, and
wander farther yet; may luck be with them both that they may find their
own at nightfall. But this is mere dreaming, and I must proceed.

I could not help speculating upon what might lie farther up the river and
behind the second range. I had no money, but if I could only find
workable country, I might stock it with borrowed capital, and consider
myself a made man. True, the range looked so vast, that there seemed
little chance of getting a sufficient road through it or over it; but no
one had yet explored it, and it is wonderful how one finds that one can
make a path into all sorts of places (and even get a road for
pack-horses), which from a distance appear inaccessible; the river was so
great that it must drain an inner tract - at least I thought so; and
though every one said it would be madness to attempt taking sheep farther
inland, I knew that only three years ago the same cry had been raised
against the country which my master's flock was now overrunning. I could
not keep these thoughts out of my head as I would rest myself upon the
mountain side; they haunted me as I went my daily rounds, and grew upon
me from hour to hour, till I resolved that after shearing I would remain
in doubt no longer, but saddle my horse, take as much provision with me
as I could, and go and see for myself.

But over and above these thoughts came that of the great range itself.
What was beyond it? Ah! who could say? There was no one in the whole
world who had the smallest idea, save those who were themselves on the
other side of it - if, indeed, there was any one at all. Could I hope to
cross it? This would be the highest triumph that I could wish for; but
it was too much to think of yet. I would try the nearer range, and see
how far I could go. Even if I did not find country, might I not find
gold, or diamonds, or copper, or silver? I would sometimes lie flat down
to drink out of a stream, and could see little yellow specks among the
sand; were these gold? People said no; but then people always said there
was no gold until it was found to be abundant: there was plenty of slate
and granite, which I had always understood to accompany gold; and even
though it was not found in paying quantities here, it might be abundant
in the main ranges. These thoughts filled my head, and I could not
banish them.


At last shearing came; and with the shearers there was an old native,
whom they had nicknamed Chowbok - though, I believe, his real name was

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