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Voltaire: Candide and Martin go on the coast of England; what they see

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Admiral Byng

Ah! Pangloss! Pangloss! Ah! Martin! Martin! Ah! my dear Cunegonde! what is this world? said Candide on the Dutch ship.

Something very crazy and very abominable,” replied Martin.”

You know England; is it as crazy as in France?

It’s another kind of madness,” said Martin. You know that these two nations are at war for a few acres of snow towards Canada, and that they are spending for this beautiful war much more than all Canada is worth. To tell you precisely if there are more people to be bound in one country than in another, that is what my feeble light does not permit; I only know that in general the people we are going to see are very bizarre.

In talking thus they landed at Portsmouth; a multitude of people covered the shore, and looked attentively at a rather large man who was on his knees, blindfolded, on the deck of one of the ships of the fleet; four soldiers, posted opposite this man, each shot three bullets in the skull, the most peacefully in the world; and the whole assembly returned very satisfied. [Admiral Byng. Voltaire did not know him, and made an effort to save him. He abhorred no less political atrocities than theological atrocities; and he knew that Byng was a victim whom the English ministers sacrificed to the ambition of keeping their places. Admiral Byng was executed on March 14, 1757].

What is all this? said Candide; “And what demon exercises his empire everywhere? He asked who was that fat man who had just been killed in ceremony.

He is an admiral,” replied one.

And why kill this admiral?

It is, they say, because he did not kill enough people; he fought a fight with a French admiral, and it was found that he was not close enough to him.

But, said Candide, the French admiral was as far from the English admiral as the latter was on the other!

This is incontestable,” replied one; but in this country it is good to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage others.

Candide was so stunned and shocked by what he saw and heard, that he did not wish to dismount, and that he made his bargain with the Dutch patron (even if he robbed him like that of Surinam) to conduct him without delay to Venice.

The patron was ready at the end of two days. They rubbed shoulders with France; they passed at the sight of Lisbon, and Candide shuddered. They entered the strait and into the Mediterranean, and at length entered Venice.

God be praised! said Candide, kissing Martin; “It is here that I shall see the beautiful Cunegonde again. I count on Cacambo as on myself. Everything is fine, everything is fine, everything is as good as possible.

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