Upon this there appeared such a crowd of candidates that a large fleet could not have contained them. Candide, willing to choose from among those who appeared most likely to answer his intention, selected twenty, who seemed to him the most sociable, and who all pretended to be more worthy of choice than the others. He invited them to his inn, and promised to treat them with a supper, on condition that every man should bind himself by an oath to relate his own history; declaring at the same time, that he would make choice of that person who should appear to him the most deserving of compassion and the most justly dissatisfied with his condition in life; and that he would make a present to the rest.
This extraordinary assembly continued sitting till four in the morning. Candide, while he was listening to their adventures, called to mind what the old woman had said to him in their voyage to Buenos Aires, and the wager she had laid that there was not a person on board the ship but had met with great misfortunes. Every story he heard put him in mind of Pangloss.
AMy old master,@ said he, Awould be confoundedly put to it to demonstrate his favorite system. Would he were here! Certainly if everything is for the best, it is in El Dorado and not in the other parts of the [email protected]
At length he determined in favor of a poor scholar, who had labored ten years for the booksellers at Amsterdam: being of opinion that no employment could be more detestable.
This scholar, who was in fact a very honest man, had been robbed by his wife, beaten by his son, and forsaken by his daughter, who had run away with a Portuguese. He had been likewise deprived of a small employment on which he subsisted, and he was persecuted by the clergy of Surinam, who took him for a Socinian[footnoteRef:20]. It must be acknowledged that the other competitors were, at least, as wretched as he; but Candide was in hopes that the company of a man of letters would relieve the tediousness of the voyage. All the other candidates complained that Candide had done them great injustice, but he stopped their mouths by a present of a hundred piastres to each. [20: Historically, the Socinians tried to reduce the reliance of Christianity upon mysteries, such as the doctrine of the trinity. In Voltaire=s day, Socinian was a general term of disregard for people who were not heretics but were unconventional in their theology. ]
Chapter 20 – What Befell Candide and Martin on Their Passage
The old philosopher, whose name was Martin, took shipping with Candide for Bordeaux. Both had seen and suffered a great deal and had the ship been going from Surinam to Japan round the Cape of Good Hope, they could have found sufficient entertainment for each other during the whole voyage in discoursing upon moral and natural evil.
Candide, however, had one advantage over Martin: he lived in the pleasing hopes of seeing Cunégonde once more; whereas, the poor philosopher had nothing to hope for. Besides, Candide had money and jewels, and, not withstanding he had lost a hundred red sheep laden with the greatest treasure outside of El Dorado, and though he still smarted from the reflection of the Dutch skipper’s knavery, yet when he considered what he had still left, and repeated the name of Cunégonde, especially after meal times, he inclined to Pangloss’s doctrine.
AAnd pray,@ said he to Martin, Awhat is your opinion of the whole of this system? What notion have you of moral and natural [email protected]
ASir,@ replied Martin, Aour priest accused me of being a Socinian; but the real truth is, I am a
Manichaean.[footnoteRef:21]@ [21: The Manichees believed that the earth was a battleground between the forces of light and the forces of darkness, each with an independent existence; its most famous opponent was St Augustine, who argued that evil was the absence of good and not something in its own right. ]
ANay, now you are jesting,@ said Candide; Athere are no Manichaeans existing at present in the [email protected]
AAnd yet I am one,@ said Martin; Abut I cannot help it. I cannot for the soul of me think [email protected] ASurely the Devil must be in you,@ said Candide.
AHe concerns himself so much,@ replied Martin, Ain the affairs of this world that it is very probable he may be in me as well as everywhere else; but I must confess, when I cast my eye on this globe, or rather globule, I cannot help thinking that God has abandoned it to some malignant being. I always except El Dorado. I scarce ever knew a city that did not wish the destruction of its neighboring city; nor a family that did not desire to exterminate some other family. The poor in all parts of the world bear an inveterate hatred to the rich even while they creep and cringe to them; and the rich treat the poor like sheep, whose wool and flesh they barter for money; a million of regimented assassins traverse Europe from one end to the other to get their bread by murder and pillage, because it is the most gentlemanlike profession. Even in those cities which seem to enjoy the blessings of peace, and where the arts flourish, the inhabitants are devoured with envy, care, and anxiety, which are greater plagues than any experienced in a town besieged. Private sorrows are still more dreadful than public calamities. In a word,@ concluded the philosopher, AI have seen and suffered so much that I am a [email protected]
AAnd yet there is some good in the world,@ replied Candide.
AMaybe so,@ said Martin, Abut it has escaped my [email protected]
While they were deeply engaged in this dispute they heard the report of cannon, which redoubled every moment. Each took out his pocket telescope, and they spied two ships warmly engaged at the distance of about three miles. The wind brought them both so near the French ship that those on board her had the pleasure of seeing the fight with great ease. After several smart broadsides the one gave the other a shot between wind and water which sunk her outright. Then could Candide and Martin plainly perceive a hundred men on the deck of the vessel which was sinking, who, with hands uplifted to Heaven, sent forth piercing cries, and were in a moment swallowed up by the waves.
AWell,@ said Martin, Ayou now see in what manner mankind treat one [email protected]
AIt is certain,@ said Candide, Athat there is something diabolical in this [email protected] As he was speaking thus he spied something of a shining red hue, which swam close to the vessel. The boat was hoisted out to see what it might be, when it proved to be one of his sheep. Candide felt more joy at the recovery of this one animal than he did grief when he lost the other hundred, though they had been laden with the large diamonds of El Dorado. The French captain quickly perceived that the victorious ship belonged to the crown of Spain; that the other was a Dutch pirate and belonged to the very same captain who had robbed Candide. The immense riches which this villain had amassed were buried with him in the deep and only this one sheep saved out of the whole.
AYou see,@ said Candide to Martin, Athat vice is sometimes punished. This villain, the Dutch skipper, has met with the fate he [email protected]
AVery true,@ said Martin, Abut why should the passengers be doomed also to destruction? God has punished the knave, and the Devil has drowned the [email protected]
The French and Spanish ships continued their cruise, and Candide and Martin their conversation. They disputed fourteen days successively, at the end of which they were just as far advanced as the first moment they began. However, they had the satisfaction of disputing, of communicating their ideas, and of mutually comforting each other. Candide embraced his sheep with transport.
ASince I have found you again,@ said he, AI may possibly find my Cunégonde once [email protected]
Chapter 21 – Candide and Martin, While Thus Reasoning with Each Other, Draw Near the Coast of France
At length they descried the coast of France. Candide asked Martin, APray Monsieur Martin, were you ever in [email protected]
AYes, sir,@ said Martin, AI have been in several provinces of that kingdom. In some, one half of the people are fools and madmen; in some, one half are crafty and sly; in others, again, one half are crude and good-natured, while in others, one half try to be witty. In all provinces, the first passion is love, the second is slander, and the third is talking [email protected]
ABut, pray, Monsieur Martin, were you ever in [email protected]
AYes, sir, I have been in that city, and it is a place that contains the several species just described; it is a chaos, a confused multitude, where everyone seeks for pleasure without being able to find it; at least, as far as I could observe during my short stay. At my arrival I was robbed of all I had in the world by pickpockets and sharpers, at the fair of Saint-Germain. I was arrested myself for a robber, and confined in prison a whole week, after which I hired myself as proof-reader to a press in order to get a little money towards defraying expenses while getting back to Holland on foot. I knew the whole tribe of scribblers, malcontents, and fanatics. It is said the people of that city are very polite; it well may [email protected]