Gulliver serves as an apprentice to James Bates in London after graduating from Cambridge, and Bates helps get Gulliver his first job as a ship’s surgeon, then offers to set up a practice with him. After Bates’s death, Gulliver has trouble maintaining the business, a failure that casts doubt on his competence, though he himself has other explanations for the business’s failure.

Bates is hardly mentioned in the travels, though he is surely at least as responsible for Gulliver’s welfare as some of the more exotic figures Gulliver meets. Nevertheless, Gulliver fleshes out figures such as the queen of Brobdingnag much more thoroughly in his narrative, underscoring the sharp contrast between his reticence regarding England and his long-windedness about foreigners.