From 1738 to 1746, Edward Cave published in occasional issues of The Gentleman's Magazine semi-fictionalized accounts of contemporary debates in the two Houses of Parliament under the title of Debates in the Senate of Lilliput . The names of the speakers in the debates, other individuals mentioned, politicians and monarchs present and past, and most other countries and cities of Europe ("Degulia") and America ("Columbia") were thinly disguised under a variety of Swiftian pseudonyms. The disguised names, and the pretence that the accounts were really translations of speeches by Lilliputian politicians, were a reaction to an Act of Parliament forbidding the publication of accounts of its debates. Cave employed several writers on this series: William Guthrie (June 1738 – November 1740), Samuel Johnson (November 1740 – February 1743), and John Hawkesworth (February 1743 – December 1746).
Swift’s work reached its peak with Gulliver’s Travels (1726). Simultaneously parodying and epitomizing travel literature, Swift discovers fantastical countries and comments satirically on the prospects and ideals of the European social structure, the comical, parodie reflection of which is the world of the Lilliputians. Free, sound common sense condemns man’s latest achievements in “The Voyage to Brobdingnag.” The “Voyage to Laputa” mocks the insanity of “pure” scientific progress, and the bankruptcy of bourgeois Enlightenment humanism is demonstrated in the “Voyage to the Land of the Houyhnhnms,” which offers an ironic choice between a utopia based on “horse sense” and an ape society similar to socially perverted human existence. Swift’s book was not a sermon of hopeless pessimism but a farsighted overview of the social and ideological tenets of bourgeois progress. It prompted the prominent artistic and literary theoretician A. V. Lunacharskii to call Swift the “lookout.” The most outstanding of Swift’s last works, which essentially repeat earlier themes and motifs, are the pamphlets Directions to Servants and A Serious and Useful Scheme to Make a Hospital for Incurables .