Chapter 17

 Arrival of Candide and his manservant in the land of Eldorado,[1] and what they saw there

When they had reached the frontiers of Oreillon territory, Cacambo said to Candide: ‘You see, this hemisphere is no better than the other one: take my advice, let us go back to Europe by the shortest route possible.’ – ‘But how do we get back?’ said Candide, ‘and where would we go? If I return to my own country, I will find Bulgars and Abars cutting everyone’s throats; if I return to Portugal I will be burned at the stake; and if we stay in these parts we may end up on a spit at any moment. And how could I bring myself to leave that part of the world containing Mademoiselle Cunégonde?’

‘Let us make for Cayenne,[2] said Cacambo, ‘There we will find some Frenchmen, who are always to be found wherever you go; they will be able to help us. Perhaps God will take pity on us.’

Getting to Cayenne was by no means easy; they knew roughly which direction to take, but at every turn there were terrible obstacles in the shape of mountains, rivers, precipices, brigands and savages. Their horses died of fatigue; their provisions ran out; they survived for an entire month on wild fruits, and eventually found themselves by a small river fringed with coconut trees, which kept them alive and sustained their hopes.

Cacambo, whose advice was always as sound as the old woman’s, said to Candide: ‘We can't go on, we have walked enough; I see an empty canoe on the bank; let us fill it with coconuts, throw ourselves in, and let the current take us; a river always leads to human habitation of some kind. If we don't find anything pleasant, we are sure to find something new.’ – ‘Come on, then,’ said Candide, ‘and let us put our trust in Providence.’

They drifted for several leagues down-river, the banks of which were in some places level and covered with flowers, in others barren and steep. The river kept widening; at length it ran beneath a vault of terrifying rocks which seemed to touch the sky. The two travellers were bold enough to trust themselves to the current and be swept under this vault. The river, confined at this point, carried them along with dreadful noise and rapidity. Only after twenty-four hours did they see daylight again; but their canoe smashed to pieces in the rapids; they dragged themselves from boulder to boulder for an entire league; finally they emerged into an immense open plain, bordered by inaccessible mountains. Here the land had been cultivated as much for beauty as from necessity, for everywhere the useful was joined to the agreeable.[3] The roads were crowded, or rather adorned with carriages lustrous in form and substance, bearing men and women of singular beauty, drawn with great rapidity by large red sheep[4] who surpassed the fleetest horses of Andalusia, Tetuan or Meknes.

‘Now this, on the other hand,’ said Candide, ‘is a big improvement on Westphalia.’ They put ashore at the first village they reached. Some local children, covered with tattered garments of gold brocade, were playing quoits at the entrance to the settlement; our two visitors from another world stopped to observe them: their quoits were fairly large round objects, yellow, red and green, which gave off a singular light. The travellers felt an urge to pick up one or two of them; they proved to be gold, emeralds and rubies, the least of which would have been the greatest ornament in the Mogul Emperor’s throne. ‘Without any doubt,’ said Cacambo, ‘these children playing quoits are the sons of the King of this country.’ At which moment the village schoolmaster appeared, to call them back to class. ‘And that must be the tutor to the royal family,’ said Candide.

The little urchins immediately abandoned their game, leaving the quoits and other playthings on the ground. Candide gathered these up, ran to the tutor, and respectfully handed them to him, giving him to understand by signs that Their Royal Highnesses had forgotten their gold and their precious stones. The village schoolmaster smiled and dropped them back on the ground, looked into Candide’s face for a moment with great puzzlement and continued on his way.

Our travellers did not fail to pick up the gold, rubies and emeralds. ‘What can this place be?’ cried Candide. ‘These royal children must be well brought up indeed, since they are taught to despise gold and gems.’[5] Cacambo was as taken aback as Candide. At length they drew near to the first house in the village; it resembled a palace in Europe. A crowd of people were pressing at the entrance, and there was an even larger crowd within. Strains of some delightful music could be heard, and a delicious aroma of cooking filled the nostrils. Cacambo went closer to the entrance, and realized that they were speaking Peruvian, which was his native tongue: for as everyone knows, Cacambo was born in the Tucuman, in a village where [16] nothing else is spoken. ‘I will act as your interpreter,’ he said to Candide. ‘Let’s go inside, for this is an inn.’

At once two boys and two girls, in uniforms of gold cloth, with ribbons in their hair, showed our visitors to a table of diners and offered them the menu of the day. Four different soups were being served, each garnished with a brace of parrots, followed by a boiled condor weighing two hundred pounds, two excellent roast monkey, a platter containing three hundred birds of paradise and another of six hundred humming-birds, together with some exquisite ragouts and delicious pastries; all of which was served on plates of what looked like rock crystal. The waiters and waitresses served a variety of beverages made from sugar cane.

Most of the diners were tradesmen and wagoners, all of them extremely polite, who questioned Cacambo with the utmost circumspection, and replied to his questions as fully as possible.

When the meal was finished, Cacambo assumed, as did Candide, that they would amply pay their share of the bill by tossing on to the table a couple of the large pieces of gold they had picked up; but the landlord and landlady burst into a fit of laughter, which continued for some time. At last their mirth subsided. ‘Gentlemen,’ said the host, ‘I plainly perceive that you are foreigners. We are not accustomed to seeing your like; forgive us for laughing when you offered as payment the pebbles off our roadside. To be sure, you probably don't have any of our currency, but you do not need any money to dine here. All the inns established to further the trade of this nation are paid for by the government.[7] You have eaten indifferently here, for this is a poor village; but everywhere else you will be received as you deserve to be.’ Cacambo translated the whole of this speech for Candide, who listened with the same wonder and bewilderment as his friend Cacambo showed in reporting it. ‘What is this country,’ one said to the other, ‘which is unknown to the rest of the world, and where nature operates under laws so utterly different to ours? It is probably the land where all is well, for clearly such a place has to exist. And despite what Maitre Pangloss may have said, I often noticed that everything went fairly badly in Westphalia.’

Chapter 18

What they saw in the land of Eldorado

Cacambo gave the landlord to understand that their curiosity was by no means satisfied. ‘I am a very ignorant man,’ said the landlord, ‘and am happy to remain so; but there is an old fellow here, retired from the court, who is the most learned man in the realm – and its most talkative.’ Whereupon he took Cacambo to meet the old man. Candide was now playing second fiddle, and accompanied his valet. They entered a very modest house, for the door was merely of silver and the panelling in the apartments merely of gold, though so tastefully fashioned that the most opulent of workmanship could not have surpassed it. To be sure, the antechamber was encrusted with mere rubies and emeralds; but the skill with which everything was arranged more than justified its bare simplicity.

The old man received the two strangers on a sofa upholstered with humming-bird feathers, and offered them refreshments in diamond goblets; after which he satisfied their curiosity as follows:

‘I am one hundred and seventy-two years of age, and it was from my late father, equerry to the King, that I learned of the astonishing political upheavals which he himself witnessed in Peru. This kingdom in which we live is the ancient homeland of the Incas, who most imprudently left it to go and conquer an empire elsewhere, and were eventually wiped out by the Spaniards.[1]

‘The princes of the royal house who stayed behind in their native land were wiser; they ordained, with the consent of the people,[2] that no inhabitant should ever again leave our little kingdom; and this is what has preserved our innocence and our happiness. The Spaniards had some confused knowledge as to the existence of this country, which they called El Dorado, and about a hundred years ago an Englishman named Sir Raleigh[3] even came quite close to here; but as we are surrounded by inaccessible mountains and precipices, we have so far been protected against the rapacity of the European states, with their irrational lust for the pebbles and mud of our land, for whose sake they would kill every last one of us.’

Their conversation lasted some time; it touched on the forms of Eldoradean government, on local customs, women, public spectacles, and the arts. At length Candide, whose taste still ran to metaphysics, asked through Cacambo whether the people of this country had any religion.

The old man flushed a little. ‘But how could you suppose otherwise!’ he replied. ‘Do you take us for ingrates?’ Cacambo humbly asked what was the religion of Eldorado. The old man flushed again. ‘Can there be more than one religion?’ he replied. ‘We have, I believe, the same religion as everyone else: we worship God from night till morning.’world [4] – ‘Do you worship only one God?’ asked Cacambo, who continued to act as the interpreter of Candide’s doubts. – ‘Evidently so,’ said the old man, ‘since there are not two Gods, or three, or four.[5] I must say that the people from your world ask some very odd questions.’ Candide was indefatigable in his questioning by proxy of this worthy old gentleman; he wanted to know how one prayed to God in Eldorado. ‘We do not pray to him at all,’ said the honourable sage. ‘We have nothing to ask of him; he has given us everything we need; we thank him unceasingly.’ Candide was curious to see some priests; he had Cacambo inquire where they could be found. The good old man smiled. ‘My friends,’ he said, ‘we are all of us priests. The King and the heads of each family sing solemn hymns of thanksgiving every morning, to the accompaniment of five or six thousand musicians.’ – ‘What! You have no monks instructing and disputing, and governing and intriguing, and having everyone burned alive who is not of their opinion?’ – ‘We would have to be foolish indeed,’ said the old man. ‘Everyone here is of the same mind, and we cannot imagine what you mean by this talk of monks.’ Each one of these answers sent Candide into raptures, and he said to himself: ‘This is a far cry from Westphalia and my lord the Baron’s castle: had our friend Pangloss seen Eldorado, he would not have kept saying that the castle of Thunder-ten-tronckh was the best place on earth; clearly, one has to travel in this world.’

After their long conversation, the good old man ordered a carriage and six sheep to be harnessed, and gave the two travellers a dozen of his servants to conduct them to the Court. ‘Forgive me,’ he said to them, ‘for my age deprives me of the honour of accompanying you. You will not be displeased by the way our King receives you, and no doubt you will make allowances for any of our customs that do displease you.’

Candide and Cacambo climbed into the carriage; the six sheep raced along, and in less than four hours they arrived at palace of the King, situated at the further end of the capital. The main portico was two hundred and thirty feet high and one hundred feet wide; it is impossible to describe the materials of which it was made, from which you may imagine their prodigious superiority over those pebbles and sand which we refer to as ‘gold’ or ‘gems.’

Twenty beautiful women of the royal guard received Candide and Cacambo as they descended from the carriage; they conducted them to the baths, and dressed them in robes woven from down of humming-bird; after which the highest officers of the Court, both men and women, led them to the apartments of His Majesty, between two rows of musicians each a thousand strong, as custom dictated. When they drew near to the throne room, Cacambo asked one of the grand officers how he should go about greeting His Majesty: should he drop to his knees or prostrate himself on the ground; should he place his hands on his head or his behind; should he lick the dust off the parquet?[6] In a word, what was the correct form? ‘The custom,’ replied the grand officer, ‘is to hug the King and kiss him on both cheeks.’ Candide and Cacambo accordingly threw their arms around the neck of His Majesty, who received them with every grace, and invited them politely to supper.

Meanwhile they were shown the city, its public buildings reaching to the clouds, its markets ornamented with a thousand columns, its fountains of spring water and its fountains of rose-water and sugar-cane liquors, all playing perpetually in the middle of large squares[7] themselves paved with precious stones which gave off an odour of cloves and cinnamon. Candide asked to see the law courts and the court of appeal;[8] he was told that there were none, and that nobody ever went to court. He asked if there were any prisons, and was told that there were none. What surprised him even more, and pleased him most, was the palace of sciences, in which he saw a gallery nearly a mile long filled entirely with instruments for the study of mathematics and astronomy.

Having spent the whole afternoon seeing only a fraction of the city, they were taken back to the King. Candide sat down to dinner between His Majesty, his valet Cacambo, and several ladies. Never was entertainment more lavish, and never was anyone a more amusing supper-companion than His Majesty. Cacambo translated the King’s witticisms for Candide, to whom they seemed witty even in translation. Of all the things that astonished Candide, this was by no means the least astonishing.

They spent a whole month in this place of hospitality. Candide kept saying to Cacambo: ‘It is true, my friend, and I'll say it again: the castle where I was born cannot compare with where we are now; on the other hand Mademoiselle Cunégonde is not here, and doubtless you too have a mistress somewhere in Europe. If we remain here, we shall be just like everyone else; but if we return to the old world with only a dozen sheep loaded with Eldoradean pebbles, we shall be richer than all the kings put together, we shall no longer have Inquisitors to fear, and we shall easily rescue Cunégonde.’

This speech appealed to Cacambo: so pleasant it is to be on the move, to get ourselves noticed back home, and to boast of what we have seen on our travels, that our two happy wanderers resolved to be happy no longer and to seek His Majesty’s permission to depart.

‘This is a foolish scheme,’ the King told them. ‘I am well aware that my country is nothing to write home about; but when you are reasonably happy somewhere, you should stay put. I certainly have no right to prevent strangers from leaving; that species of tyranny has no place in our customs or our laws.[9] All men are free. Leave whenever you please, though you will have some difficulty in getting out. It is impossible to row back up the rapids which brought you here, so miraculously, and which run beneath the vaults of rock. The mountains which surround my kingdom on all sides are ten thousand feet high, and as perpendicular as walls; each of them is more than ten leagues across; the only descent is by sheer precipices. However, since you are absolutely set on leaving, I shall give orders to my engineers to make a machine that will transport you across in safety. When you have been conveyed to the other side of the mountains, no one may accompany you further; for my subjects have vowed never to set foot beyond our borders, and they are too wise to break their oath. You may ask of me otherwise whatever you please.’ – ‘All we ask of Your Majesty,’ said Cacambo, ‘is a few sheep loaded with provisions, with pebbles and with some of the mud of your country.’ The King laughed. ‘I cannot begin to understand the passion you Europeans have for our yellow mud; but take all you want, and much good may it do you.’

He immediately ordered his engineers to make a machine to hoist these two extraordinary persons up and out of his kingdom. Three thousand skilled engineers worked at the problem, for two weeks, at a cost of a mere twenty million pounds in sterling silver, which is the currency of that country. [10] Candide and Cacambo were placed in the machine, along with two large red sheep saddled and bridled for them to ride after they had cleared the mountains, plus twenty pack-sheep laden with provisions, thirty more carrying gifts of the richest native workmanship and fifty laden with gold and diamonds and other precious stones. The King embraced the two wanderers tenderly.

Their departure was a curious spectacle, as was the ingenious manner by which they were hoisted, men and sheep, to the top of the mountains. The engineers took leave of them, after seeing them safely across, and Candide had no further desire and no other object than to go and present his sheep to Mademoiselle Cunégonde. ‘Now we have enough to payoff the Governor of Buenos Aires,’ he said, ‘if indeed a price can be placed on Mademoiselle Cunégonde. Let us make for Cayenne, take ship there, and then we'll see what kingdom we can buy for ourselves.’

Chapter 19

What happened to them in Surinam,[1] and how Candide made the acquaintance of Martin

The first day’s journey was pleasant enough. Our two travellers took heart from the thought of themselves as owning more treasure than could be mustered by Asia, Europe and Africa combined. Candide was in raptures, and carved Cunégonde’s name on trees. On the second day, two of their sheep plunged into a swamp and were swallowed up, together with their entire load; a few days later two more sheep perished of exhaustion; seven or eight then died of hunger in a desert; and a few days later still more fell down a precipice. Finally, after a hundred days’ march, they had only two sheep left. Candide said to Cacambo: ‘My friend, you see how perishable are the riches of this world; nothing is certain but virtue, and the happiness of seeing Mademoiselle Cunégonde again.’ – ‘I agree,’ said Cacambo, ‘but we still have two sheep laden with more treasure than the King of Spain will ever possess, and I can see in the distance a town that I suspect to be Surinam, which belongs to the Dutch. We are at the end of our troubles, and the beginning of our happiness.'

As they drew near to the city, they came across a negro stretched out on the ground, with no more than half of his clothes left, which is to say a pair of blue canvas drawers; the poor man had no left leg and no right hand. ‘Good God!’ said Candide to him in Dutch.[2] ‘What are you doing there, my friend, in such a deplorable state?’ – ‘I am waiting for my master, Monsieur Vanderdendur, the well-known merchant,’ answered the negro. – ‘And was it Monsieur Vanderdendur,’ said Candide, ‘who treated you like this?’ – ‘Yes, Monsieur,’ said the negro, ‘it is the custom. Twice a year we are given a pair of blue canvas drawers, and this is our only clothing. When we work in the sugar-mills and get a finger caught in the machinery, they cut off the hand; but if we try to run away, they cut off a leg: I have found myself in both situations. It is the price we pay for the sugar you eat in Europe.[3] Yet when my mother sold me for ten Patagonian ecús[4] on the coast of Guinea, she told me: "My child, give thanks to our fetishes, and worship them always, for they will make your life happy; you have the honour to be a slave to our white masters, and therefore you are making the fortune of your father and mother." Alas! I don't know if I made their fortune, but they certainly didn't make mine. Dogs, monkeys and parrots are a thousand times less miserable than we are; the Dutch fetishes[5] who converted me to their religion tell me every Sunday that we are all children of Adam, whites and blacks alike. I am no genealogist; but if these preachers are telling the truth, then we are all second cousins. In which case you must admit that no one could treat his relatives much more horribly than this.’

‘Oh Pangloss!’ cried Candide. ‘This is one abomination you could not have anticipated, and I fear it has finally done for me: I am giving up on your Optimism after all.’ – ‘What is Optimism?,[6] asked Cacambo – ‘Alas!’ said Candide, ‘it is the mania for insisting that all is well when all is by no means well.’ And he wept as he looked down at his negro, and was still weeping as he entered Surinam.

They immediately inquired as to whether there was a vessel in port that one might send to Buenos Aires. The person they addressed happened to be a Spanish skipper, who offered to make them an honest deal. He arranged to meet them in a tavern. Candide and faithful Cacambo went to wait for him there, along with their two sheep.

Candide, who always poured out his heart, told the Spaniard of his adventures so far, and confessed that he intended to make off with Mademoiselle Cuncgonde. ‘In which case I will certainly not take you to Buenos Aires,’ said the skipper. ‘I would be hanged, and so would you. The beautiful Cunégonde is His Excellency’s favourite mistress.’ Candide was thunderstruck by this news; he wept for a long time; and at last he took Cacambo aside: ‘Now, my dear friend,’ he said to him, ‘this is what you must do. We each have five or six millions’ worth of diamonds in our pockets; you are cleverer than I; go and bring Mademoiselle Cunégonde back from Buenos Aires. If the Governor makes difficulties, offer him a million; if he is still obstinate, offer him two. You have not killed any Inquisitors, so no one will be suspicious of you. I will have another ship fitted out; I will go and wait for you in Venice; it is a free state[7] where we shall have nothing to fear from Bulgars, or Abars, or Jews, or Inquisitors.’ Cacambo applauded this wise decision. He was in despair at parting from so good a master, who had become his close friend; but the pleasure of serving him prevailed over the sorrow of leaving him. Tearfully they embraced each other. Candide charged him on no account to forget the good old woman. Cacambo left the same day – he was a worthy fellow, this Cacambo.

Candide remained for a while in Surinam, waiting for another captain willing to take him and his two remaining sheep to Italy. He hired some servants, and purchased everything necessary for a long voyage; at length Monsieur Vanderdendur,[8] who owned a large vessel, came and presented himself. ‘How much do you want,’ Candide asked this character, ‘to take me straight to Venice, along with servants, baggage, and those two sheep over there?’ The skipper agreed on a price of ten thousand piastres[9]. Candide did not hesitate.

‘Well, well!’ said the careful Vanderdendur to himself. ‘Here is a foreigner who parts with ten thousand piastres straight off! He must be fairly rich.’ Returning a moment later, he informed Candide that he could not sail for less than twenty thousand. ‘Very well, you shall have them,’ said Candide.

‘Very well, indeed!’ said the merchant softly to himself. ‘This fellow parts with twenty thousand piastres as easily as ten.’ Returning once more, he said that he could not take Candide to Venice for less than thirty thousand piastres. ‘Then you shall have thirty thousand,’ replied Candide.

‘And so I shall!’ said the Dutch merchant to himself again. ‘Thirty thousand piastres are as nothing to this fellow; no doubt the two sheep are carrying immense wealth; but better not to press the point any further: let him pay up the thirty thousand first, and then we'll see.’ Candide sold two little diamonds, the smaller of which fetched more than all the money the captain was asking. He paid him on the spot. The sheep were loaded on board. Candide followed in a small boat to join the vessel, which was riding at anchor. The skipper sees his opportunity, sets his sail and weighs anchor with a following wind; Candide, helpless and quite dumbfounded, immediately loses sight of him. ‘Alas!’ he cries out, ‘now here is a trick worthy of the Old World!’ He returns to shore, plunged in misery, having just lost what would have made the fortunes of twenty monarchs.

So he betakes himself to the Dutch residing magistrate, and, being a trifle agitated, knocks rather too brusquely on the door; he enters, explains what has happened, and shouts a little louder than is necessary. The magistrate begins by fining him ten thousand piastres for the noise he has made; he then hears him out with patience, promises to look into his case as soon as the merchant reappears, and charges him a further ten thousand piastres for the costs of the hearing.

This sequence of events completed Candide’s despair; in truth he had endured misfortunes a thousand times more painful, but the cold-bloodedness of the magistrate, and of the captain who had robbed him, raised his spleen, and plunged him into the blackest melancholy. The wickedness of man now revealed itself to him in all its ugliness; his mind fed exclusively on gloomy thoughts. Finally, hearing of a French vessel ready to sail for Bordeaux, and having no more diamond-bearing sheep to transport, he paid for a cabin at the going rate, and let it be known in the town that he would pay the passage and board of any honest man who cared to make the journey with him, and two thousand piastres besides, on condition that this person be the most unfortunate and most thoroughly disgusted with his condition in the whole province.

A crowd of candidates came forward, such as an entire fleet could not have carried. Candide, determined to select the worthiest of these, picked out twenty individuals who seemed to him fairly companionable, each of whom naturally claimed to deserve preference. He assembled them at his inn and gave them supper on condition that each took an oath to give a faithful account of his life-story; promising in return to choose the one who seemed to him most to be pitied and to have most cause for being discontented with his lot, and to give each of the others a small consideration.

The sitting lasted until four o'clock in the morning. As he listened to their adventures, Candide called to mind what the old woman had said to him on the boat to Buenos Aires, and her wager that there was not a single person on board who had not suffered very great misfortunes. Each story he heard put him in mind of Pangloss. ‘That Pangloss,’ he said, ‘would be hard pressed to prove his system now. I wish he were here. What is certain is that if all is well, then it is so in Eldorado and nowhere else on earth.’ He finally decided in favour of a poor scholar who had worked ten years for the publishing houses of Amsterdam, taking the view that there was no occupation [10] in the world which could more disgust a man.

This scholar, who was moreover a very decent fellow, had been robbed by his wife, beaten by his son, and deserted by his daughter, who had eloped with a Portuguese. He had just been done out of a small sinecure on which he subsisted; and the preachers of Surinam were persecuting him because they had decided he was a Socinian.[11] It has to be said that the rival candidates were at least as wretched as he; but Candide was hoping that the company of a scholar would keep him amused during the voyage. The others all considered that Candide had done them a new injustice; but he pacified them by giving each a hundred piastres.

Chapter 20

What happened to Candide and Martin at sea

So the old scholar, who was called Martin, embarked for Bordeaux with Candide. Both had seen and suffered much; and even had their ship been scheduled to sail from Surinam to Japan via the Cape of Good Hope, they could still have occupied the whole voyage discussing moral and physical evil.

Candide had one great advantage over Martin, however, for he still hoped to see Mademoiselle Cunégonde again, whereas Martin had nothing to hope for; moreover, Candide had some gold and diamonds; and although he had lost a hundred large red sheep laden with the greatest treasures on earth, and although the knavery of the Dutch captain gnawed at his heart, nevertheless, when he thought of what remained in his pockets, and when he spoke of Cunégonde, especially at the end of a good meal, he still inclined towards the system of Pangloss.

‘But you, Monsieur Martin,’ he said to the scholar, ‘what do you make of all this? What is your idea of physical evil and moral evil?[1] – ‘Sir,’ replied Martin, ‘the priests accused me of being a Socinian; but the truth of the matter is that I am a Manichean.[2] – ‘Now you are making fun of me,’ said Candide, ‘there are surely no Manicheans left in the world.’ – ‘Well, here is one,’ said Martin. ‘I cannot help it, but I cannot see things in any other way.’ – ‘Then you must have the devil in you,’ said Candide. – ‘He takes so great a share in the affairs of this world,’ said Martin, ‘that he may well be a part of me, as of everything else; but I assure you, when I look around at this globe, or rather this globule[3], I think that God has indeed abandoned it all to some malign being – all except your Eldorado, of course. I have scarcely seen a town that did not desire the ruin of the next town, nor a family that did not wish to exterminate some other family. Everywhere the weak loathe the strong, before whom they cringe, and the strong treat them like so many sheep to be sold for their meat and their wool. A million assassins in regimental formation[4] run from one end of Europe to the other, murdering and pillaging under orders, as a way of earning their bread, since there is no profession more honourable; and even in those cities which appear to enjoy peace, and where the arts flourish, men are more devoured by envy, cares and anxiety than all the tribulations visited upon a citadel under siege. Private griefs are crueller even than public miseries. In short, I have seen so much, and endured so much, that I am become a Manichean.’

‘And yet there is some good in the world,’ Candide would reply. – ‘That may be so,’ Martin would say, ‘but I have not experienced it.’

In the midst of this discussion the sound of cannon was heard. The noise grew louder with each passing moment. Everyone reached for their spyglasses. Two vessels were to be seen engaging in combat at a distance of about three miles: the wind brought them both so close to the French vessel that everyone had the pleasure of watching the engagement in complete comfort. Presently one of the vessels fired a broadside, so low down and so accurate as to sink the other outright. Candide and Martin could distinctly make out a hundred or so men on the deck of the sinking vessel, all raising their arms to heaven and uttering the most fearful shrieks; the next moment everything was swallowed.

‘Well, there you have it,’ said Martin. ‘That is how men behave towards each other.’ – ‘Certainly,’ said Candide, ‘the devil has had a hand in this business, at least.’ As he was speaking, he noticed something bright red in the water, swimming close to their ship. The launch was lowered to see what it might be. It was one of Candide’s sheep. He felt more joy at recovering this one sheep than the affliction he had suffered at losing a hundred, each laden with the fat diamonds of Eldorado.

The French captain soon ascertained that the captain of the ship doing the sinking was a Spaniard, and that the captain of the ship being sunk was a Dutch pirate: the very same who had robbed Candide. The immense riches seized by this scoundrel were engulfed along with him, and nothing saved but a single sheep. ‘You see,’ said Candide to Martin, ‘crime is sometimes punished; that blackguard of a Dutch owner got the fate he deserved.’ – ‘Yes,’ said Martin, ‘but did the passengers on board have to perish too? God punished the thief, the devil drowned the rest.’

Meanwhile the French and Spanish ships continued on their way, and Candide continued his conversation with Martin. They disputed for fifteen days in a row, and at the end of fifteen days were as far from agreement as on day one. But they talked, after all, they exchanged ideas, they consoled one another. Candide stroked his sheep: ‘Since I have found you again,’ he said, ‘I may well find Cunégonde.’


Chapter 17
[1] From the fifteenth century onwards, Spanish conquistadors had speculated about a region abounding in gold and precious stones, to which the last Incas were thought to have retreated. Numerous attempts were made to discover this fabled but literal land lying between the Orinoco and the Amazon. By the eighteenth century it had largely become another name for Utopia. Voltaire’s main source for the local colour of the Eldorado episode was Garcilaso de la Vega’s History of the Incas. Voltaire frequently mocked the obstinacy with which Spanish travellers sought out this imaginary land; he summarizes accounts of Eldorado in the Essay on the Manners and Spirit of the Nations. chapter 151.
[2] The capital of French Guiana, and a considerable distance from Paraguay.
[3] Horace (65-8 BC): ‘omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci’ (‘he who has joined the useful to the agreeable has won every vote’), Ars Poetica (The Art of Poetry). 11. 343-4. Cf. also Julie’s garden in Rousseau’s Nouvelle Heloise, Book 4, letter 11.
[4] llamas: a South American ruminant related to the camel; they were sometimes described by travellers as of a reddish colour, were used as pack-animals. and were notable for their speed.
[5] Contempt for gold was part of the regime in Sir Thomas More’s (1478-1535) Utopia (1517).
[6] There is no Peruvian language as such; either the joke is on Cacambo as self-appointed linguist, or Voltaire is thinking of the lost language of the Incas.
[7] Prior to the Spanish conquest, according to Garcilaso, free hostelries ‘well stocked with provisions’ were maintained by the Inca government for the benefit of travellers.

Chapter 18
[1] It is said that the family of Incas retreated to this vast country whose limits extend to Peru, where the majority of Peruvians escaped the avarice and cruelty of the Christians from the Old World, that they lived nearby a lake whose sands were made of gold, and that there was a city whose roofs were covered in gold; the Spaniards called this city El Dorado’ (Essay on the Manners and Spirit of the Nations, chapter 151, composed at the same time as Candide).
[2] This detail has been taken to suggest that, unlike most utopias, Eldorado is governed by a constitutional monarchy (cf. J.H. Brumfitt. Candide (London, 1968). p. 178); elsewhere in the chapter it is also clear that Eldorado is a utopia replete with servants.
[3] An allusion to the exploration of Guiana by Sir Walter Raleigh (1554-1618), who was sent there by Queen Elizabeth. Voltaire was familiar with the account of Eldorado, which Ralegh located near Guiana, in his The Discovery of Guiana (1591).
[4] The deism which characterizes Eldoradean beliefs, in addition to being Voltaire’s own conviction, is based on accounts in Garcilaso and the utopian novels inspired by his writings. The curious expression ‘from night till morning,’ however, suggests some recondite irony.
[5] A statement of Voltaire’s rational aversion to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. By contrast, Deist confidence in a providential design suffuses the whole passage: there is a single all-powerful and all-virtuous God, creator of the universe, who rules by unchangeable universal laws: who neither punishes nor rewards, but gives man the reason by which to apprehend the moral law. This chapter also draws on Voltaire’s admiration for Quaker customs in Pennsylvania (cf. Lettres anglaises on philosophiques (Philosophical Letters, 1734), chapters 1 and 4). As a Deist, Voltaire believed that the existence of a supreme being can be inferred by natural reason from the evidences of design in the world.
[6] Gulliver, before being admitted to an audience at the court of Luggnag, must first ‘sweep the floor with his tongue’.
[7] The Incas were famed for their engineering feats and lavish public works.
[8] In Voltaire’s time France had a dozen parlements, the main one being in Paris. In addition to combining the functions of high court and court of appeal, the parlements claimed the right to participate in legislation by registering royal edicts and remonstrating against those of which they disapproved. Voltaire found these claims invalid in law and reactionary in politics, and he supported the royalist party throughout his career; his version of Eldorado thus has an enlightened constitutional monarch whose powers have not been eroded by the judiciary.
[9] An allusion to the ‘tyranny’ of Frederick II, who in 1753 had tried farcically to prevent Voltaire from leaving Prussia.
[10] The currency of Eldorado is English sterling, or less improbably a currency, whose measure – like the English pound – is pure silver rather than (valueless) gold.

Chapter 19
[1] Candide and Cacambo were heading for Cayenne, capital of French Guiana, but they end up in Surinam, a neighbouring Dutch colony.
[2] As is essential for a picaresque hero, Candide is polyglot. His mother tongue is German; he may have learned his Dutch in the house of the Anabaptist; he converses freely with the old woman (in Portuguese, or perhaps Italian), with the Governor of Buenos Aires (in Spanish), with the Parisians, with the English, with the Venetians – and he even understands the Levantine captain and the Turkish dervish. He only baulks at the native languages of the Oreillons and the Eldoradeans: but Cacambo is there to help him out. (Cf. Candide, edited by René Pomeau (Oxford, 1980), p. 1951.
[3] The inhumane treatment of slaves traded from European colonies to the Americas (in numbers exceeding 100,000 per year in the mid-eighteenth century) was condemned by Montesquieu in De l’ Esprit des lois (Spirit of the Laws, 1748, Book 15, chapter 5), and likewise by Claude Adrien Helverius (1715-71). Voltaire, a great consumer of sugar, was especially struck by a footnote in the latter’s De l’ Esprit (Essays all the Mind, 1758), which he read on its publication in autumn 1758, denouncing the connection between slavery and sugar: ‘It is well known that not a barrel of sugar arrives in Europe but is stained with human blood’. Voltaire seems to have interpolated the episode of the Surinam slave (the second and third paragraphs of this chapter) at a late stage, after reading Helvetius, for it does not appear in the manuscript. The details regarding cloth shirts and amputations are adapted from the code noir for slaves, an edict of Louis XIV (summarized in the Encyclopédie article on ‘Slavery’).
[4] Spanish and Flemish silver coinage.
[5] The word ‘fetish’ is of Portuguese origin, designating a sacred object worshipped by primitive peoples; used here to refer to the Dutch Protestant pastors, considered as sorcerers or witch doctors.
[6] These are the only appearances of the word in the text of Candide.
[7] Candide is thinking of Venice’s reputation for pleasure. Until Napoleon’s campaign against Austria in 1797, Venice was a free and independent republic, but its aristocratic government was not noted for tolerating either political liberty or freedom of thought.
[8] The following passage alludes to Voltaire’s personal disputes with the Dutch publisher Van Duren, who kept increasing the amount agreed for the printing of Frederick II’s treatise Anti-Machiavel, the publication of which Voltaire had supervised.
[9] Spanish silver coinage.
[10] Amsterdam was a major European centre for the book trade. Authors flocked there from all points of the compass, often refugees or fugitives, and wrote to order for – in their view – exploitative publishers (also known as ‘booksellers’ or ‘printers’), an opinion shared by Voltaire, who had perennial trouble with publishers. since piracy flourished in an age of censorship, and copyright law had yet to be established.
[11] Like tradesmen and booksellers, preachers (i.e. Protestant pastors) were fixtures of Dutch society, enjoying official status and considerable influence. Socinians were a sect who proposed a form of ‘rational’ Christianity, exalting individual conscience and minimizing or denying such mysteries as the divinity of Christ, the Trinity, original sin, the person of the devil and the eternity of hell. They were regarded as outright heretics in many European countries during the eighteenth century, even by those Protestants most closely allied to the philosophes. Voltaire attacked their ingrained optimism but approved their rationality; his impoverished scholar is reminiscent of Pierre Bayle, eking out his exile in Rotterdam, drudging for publishers and under suspicion for his religious beliefs.

Chapter 20
[1] Philosophical questions much in debate in the aftermath of the Lisbon earthquake, not least by Rousseau, who discusses the origins of evil in his Lettre sur la providence (Letter Of Providence, 1756), which proffered a modified version of Christian providentialism in response to Voltaire’s poem on the disaster.
[2] Bayle’s sympathetic article on ‘Manicheans’ in his Dictionary had revived interest in this third-century heresy, according to which the created world is the work of two equally powerful deities or principles, both of which must be propitiated: God rules only half the universe, and is incapable of controlling the operations of the devil. who rules the other half. The Manicheans disposed of the problem of the origin of evil by saying that it had no origin as such, but was present in the very constitution of the universe. Thus God is absolved from responsibility, but at the cost of reducing his omnipotence. Voltaire’s fascination with Manichean dualism was tempered by his belief that an eternal struggle between good and evil could only have produced chaos, rather than the self-evident Newtonian harmony which we see around us (Philosophical Dictionary, article ‘Bien (Tout Est): All Is Good’, see Appendix 3).
[3] The term had been used by the philosopher and physicist Blaise Pascal (1623-62) to refer to a ‘particle of matter,’ but Voltaire was the first to employ it as a not very affectionate diminutive for the terrestrial globe.
[4] Mercenaries were in the pay of all European armies in the eighteenth century, and are a salient feature of Voltaire’s critique of war as organized murder; and the figure of ‘a million’ would be reasonably close to the total strength of the European armies mobilized in the Seven Years’ War by 1758.