Monthly Archives: July 2012

Jules Verne, “The Sphinx of the Ice Fields” — Chapter I

[Jules Verne’s Le Sphinx des glaces, published in 1897, was a sequel to Edgar Allan Poe’s novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. Of the two existing English translations, the 1898 version by Mrs. Cashel Hoey, under the title An Antarctic Mystery, is by far the more complete, and is in many ways quite good. However, it omits as much as forty percent of the the original text, eliminating much of the descriptive material and some dialogue. I have begun a fairly extensive revision and completion of that translation, and will post chapters on the blog as they are completed.]
 
The Sphinx of the Ice Fields
By Jules Verne
Chapter I
The Kerguelen Islands
No doubt this tale of the Sphinx of Ice will be met with disbelief. No matter. It is good, I think, that it be put before the public, which is free to believe it or not.
It would be difficult to imagine a more appropriate place for the beginning of these marvelous and terrible adventures than the Desolation Islands. Their name was given to them, in 1779, by Captain Cook, and, indeed, given what I have seen during a stay of some weeks there, I can affirm that they deserve the lamentable title given them by the celebrated English navigator. Desolation Islands—that says it all.
I know that geographical nomenclature insists on the name of Kerguelen, generally adopted for the group which lies in 49° 45’ south latitude, and 69° 6’ east longitude. This is because, in the year 1772, the French baron Kerguelen was the first to report those islands in the southern part of the Indian Ocean. Indeed, the commander of the squadron on that voyage believed that he had found a new continent on the limit of the Antarctic seas, but in the course of a second expedition he recognized his error. There was only an archipelago. But trust me when I say that Desolation Islands is the only suitable name for this group of three hundred isles or islets in the midst of the vast expanse of ocean, which is constantly disturbed by austral storms
Nevertheless, the group is inhabited, and as of August 2, 1839, thanks to my presence at Christmas Harbour, the number of Europeans and Americans who formed the nucleus of the Kerguelen population had for two months even been increased by one unit. It I true, I only awaited an opportunity to leave the place, having completed the geological and mineralogical studies which had brought there.
Christmas Harbour belongs to the most important isle of the archipelago, with an area measuring four thousand five hundred kilometers square—half that of Corsica. It is quite secure, with straight and easy access. The ships can moor there in four fathoms of water. After having doubled, to the north, that Cape François that Table Mountain dominates from twelve hundred feet, look across the arch of basalt, largely hollow at its point. You will see a narrow bay, protected by islets against the furious winds from the east and west. At the base is carved Christmas Harbour. Let your ship make way directly starboard. When it is returned to its anchorage, it can rest on a single anchor, with ease in turning, as the bay is not covered by ice.
Moreover, the Kerguelens possess other fiords, and those by the hundreds. Their coasts are ragged, frayed like the hem of a poor woman’s skirt, especially in the parts between the north and the south-east. Islands and islets abound. The soil, of volcanic origin, is composed of quartz, mixed with a bluish stone. In summer it is covered with green mosses, grey lichens, various hardy plants, especially wild saxifrage. Only one edible plant grows there, a kind of cabbage, with a very bitter flavor, that one would seek in vain in other countries.
There are indeed surfaces which are suited, as rookeries, for the habitat of royal and other penguins, innumerable bands of which people these environs. Dressed in yellow and white, their heads thrown back, their wings appearing like the sleeves of a robe, these stupid fowl resemble from afar a line of monks in a procession along the shoreline.
Let us add that the islands afford refuge to numbers of sea-calves, seals, and sea-elephants. The taking of those amphibious animals either on land or from the sea is profitable, and may lead to a trade which will bring a large number of vessels into these waters.
On the day already mentioned, I was strolling on the port when my host accosted me and said:
“Unless I am much mistaken, time is beginning to seem very long to you, Mr. Jeorling?”
The speaker was a big tall American, installed for twenty years at Christmas Harbour, who kept the only inn on the port.
“If you will not be offended, Mr. Atkins, I will acknowledge that I do find it long.”
“Not at all,” replied that gallant. “You can imagine that I ma as accustomed to answers of that kind as the rocks of the Cape are to the rolling waves.”
“And you resist them as well.”
“Of course. From the day of your arrival at Christmas Harbour, when you descended at the inn of Fenimore Atkins, at the sign of the Green Cormorant, I said to myself: In a fortnight, if not in a week, you would have enough of it, and would be sorry you had landed in the Kerguelens.”
“No, Mr. Atkins; I never regret anything I have done.”
“That’s a good habit, sir.”
“Besides, in wandering this group, I have gained by observing curious things. I have crossed the rolling plains, covered with hard stringy mosses, and I shall take away curious mineralogical and geological specimens with me. I have gone sealing, and taken sea-calves with your people. I have visited the rookeries where the penguin and the albatross live together in good fellowship, and that was well worth my while. You have given me now and again a dish of petrel, seasoned by your own hand, and very acceptable when one has a fine healthy appetite. I have found a friendly welcome at the Green Cormorant, and I am very much obliged to you. But, if I am right in my reckoning, it is two months since the Chilean two-master Penãs set me down at Christmas Harbour in mid-winter…
“And you want,” exclaimed the innkeeper, “to get back to your country, which is mine as well, Mr. Jeorling, to return to Connecticut, to see once more Hartford, our capital…”
“Doubtless, Mr. Atkins, for I have been a globe-trotter for close upon three years. One must come to a stop and take root at some time.”
“Yes! Yes! And when you have taken root, replied the American with a wink, you end up putting out branches!”
“Just so! master Atkins. However, as I have no more family, it is likely that I shall bring the line of my ancestors to an end! At forty I do not fancy putting out branches, as you have, my dear innkeeper, for you are a tree, and a fine tree at that…”
“An oak, and even a green oak, if you will, Mr. Jeorling.”
“And you were right to obey the law of nature! Now, if nature has given us the legs to walk… “
“She has also given us something to sit upon!” responded Fenimore Atkins, with a great laugh. “That’s why I am comfortably settled at Christmas Harbour. My companion Betsey has gratified me with ten children, who will present me with grandchildren in their turn, who will climb my calves like kittens.”
“Will you never return to your native land?… “
“What would I do there, Mr. Jeorling, and what could I have done?… The poverty!… Here, on the contrary, in these Desolation Islands, where I have never had the occasion to feel desolate, ease has come to me and mine.
“Without doubt, Master Atkins, and I congratulate you for it, since you are happy… Nevertheless, it is possible that one day the desire might take hold of you…”
“To uproot myself, Mr. Jeorling!… Come on!… An oak, I tell you, and just try to uproot an oak, when it is rooted to mid-trunk in the rock of Kerguelen!”
It was delightful to hear this worthy American, so completely acclimated to this archipelago, so vigorously tempered in the harsh inclemencies of its climate. He lived there, with his family, like the penguins in their rookeries,–the mother, a hearty matron, the sons, all strong, in thriving health, knowing nothing of the distempers or dilatations of the stomach. Business was good. The Green Cormorant, adequately stocked, had the practice of all ships, whalers and others, that dropped anchor at Kerguelen. He provided them with tallow, grease, tar, pitch, spices, sugar, tea, canned goods, whiskey, gin, brandy.
One would have looked in vain for a second inn at Christmas-Harbour. As for the sons of Fenimore Atkins, they were carpenters, sail-makers, fishermen, and hunted amphibians at the base of all the passes during the warm season. They were honest folk who had, without much ado, followed their destiny…
“Well, Master Atkins, let me assure you,” I declared, “I am delighted to have come from Kerguelen, and I will take away good memories… However, I will not be sorry to take to the sea again…”
“Come on, Mr. Jeorling, a little patience!” this philosopher told me. You should never desire or hasten the hour of separation. Do not forget, besides, that the fine weather will not be slow to return… In five or six weeks…
“In the meantime,” I cried, “the hills and the plains, the rocks and the shores will be covered with thick snow, and the sun will not have the strength to dissolve the mists on the horizon…”
“Why, Mr. Jeorling! You can already see the wild grass push up through its white jacket!… Look closely…”
“Yes, with a magnifying glass!… Between us, Atkins, do you dare to claim that your bays are not still ice-locked in this month of August, which is the February of our northern hemisphere?…”
“I acknowledge that, Mr. Jeorling. But again I say have patience! The winter has been mild this year. The ships will soon show up, in the east or in the west, for the fishing season is near.”
“May heaven attend you, Master Atkins, and may it guide safely to port the ship which cannot tarry… the schooner Halbrane!…
“Captain Len Guy, replied the innkeeper. He is a gallant sailor, although he is English—there are fine folks everywhere–and he takes in his supplies at the Green Cormorant.”
“You think that the Halbrane…”
“Will be reported within eight days off Cape Francois, Mr. Jeorling, or, if it is not, it will be because there is no longer a Captain Len Guy, and if there is no longer a Captain Len Guy, it is because the Halbrane has sunk under full sail between the Kerguelens and the Cape of Good Hope!”
With that, and a haughty gesture, indicating that such a turn of events was hardly possible, Master Fenimore Atkins left me.
I hoped that the predictions of my innkeeper would not be slow in coming to pass, for the season advanced. As he said, there were already visible symptoms of the summer season–summery for these waters, at least. Let the site of the principal island be roughly the same in latitude as that of Paris in Europe and Quebec City in Canada, very well! But it is a question of the southern hemisphere, and, we know it well, thanks to the elliptical orbit that the earth describes, of which the sun occupies one of the foci, that hemisphere is colder I winter than the northern hemisphere, and also warmer than it in summer. What is certain is that the wintry period is terrible in the Kerguelens because of the storms, and because the seas are frozen for several months, although the temperature there is not extraordinarily harsh, – being on an average two degrees centigrade in winter, and seven in summer, as in the Falklands or at Cape Horn.
It goes without saying that, during that period, Christmas-Harbour and the other ports no longer shelter a single ship. In the era of which I speak, steamers were still rare. As for sailing ships, concerned to not let themselves be captured by the ice, they went in search of the ports of South America, on the west coast of Chili, or those of Africa, – most generally Cape-Town of the Cape of Good Hope. A few row boats, some taken by the frozen waters, others beached and encrusted in ice to the tip of their masts, was all that the surface of Christmas-Harbour offered to my view.
However, if the differences in temperature were not great in the Kerguelens, the climate there was still damp and cold. Very frequently, especially in the western parts, the group is assailed by squalls from the north or west, mixed with hail or rain. To the east, the skies are clearer, although the light there is half veiled, and on that side the snow line on the mountain ridges is at fifty feet above the sea.
Thus, after the two months that I had just passed in the Kerguelen archipelago, I awaited nothing so much as the occasion to depart again on the schooner Halbrane, the qualities of which my enthusiastic innkeeper never ceased to extol to me, from both the social and maritime points of view.
“You will never find better!” he repeated day and night. “Of all the long captain in the long history of the English fleets, not a one is comparable to my friend Len Guy, either for bravery, or for skill!… If he showed himself more forthcoming, plus talkative, he would be perfect!”
Thus I had resolved to take the recommendation of Master Atkins. My passage would be booked as soon as the schooner had dropped anchor in Christmas-Harbour. After a rest of six to seven days, she would take to the sea again, headed for Tristan da Cunha, whence she carried a cargo of tin and copper ore.
My plan was to remain a few weeks of the summer season on that island. From there, I intended to set out for Connecticut. However, I did not fail to take into due account the share that belongs to chance in human affairs, for it is wise, as Edgar Poe has said, always “to reckon with the unforeseen, the unexpected, the inconceivable, which have a very large share (in those affairs), and chance ought always to be a matter of strict calculation.”
And if I quote our great American author, it is because, although I am a very practical sort, of a very serious character and a hardly imaginative nature, I nonetheless admire that genial poet of human peculiarities.
Besides, to return to the Halbrane, or rather to the occasions that would be offered me to embark at Christmas-Harbour, I feared no disappointment. At that time, the Kerguelens were visited every year by a large number of ships – at least five hundred. The whale fishery gave fruitful results, as one will judge by the fact that an elephant of the sea can provide a ton of oil, that is to say a return equal to that of a thousand penguins. It is true that in recent years not more than a dozen ships land at this archipelago, since the abusive destruction of the cetaceans has so drastically reduced their number.
Thus, I had no uncertainty about the opportunities that would present themselves to leave Christmas-Harbour, even if, the Halbrane failing to make its rendezvous, captain Len Guy did not arrive to clasp the hand of his chum Atkins.
Each day, I went for a walk around the port. The sun was beginning to grow strong. The rocks, volcanic terraces and columns, shed bit by bit their white winter gown. On the beaches, on the basalt cliff, grew a wine-colored moss, and, offshore, snaked ribbons of seaweed fifty or sixty yards long. On the flats, toward the far end of the bay, some grasses raised their time points – and amongst them the lyella, which was of Andean origin, those produced by the Fuegian flora, and also the only shrub on this soil, the gigantic cabbage of which I have already spoken, so precious for its anti-scorbutic properties.
As for land mammals, although marine mammals abound in these parts, I did not encounter a single one, nor any batrachians or reptiles. There were only a few insects – butterflies and other species – and even these did not fly, for before they could put their wings to use, the atmospheric currents would carry them away and onto the rolling billows of these seas.
Once or twice, I had gone out in one of these solid longboats in which the fishermen face the gales that beat the rocks of the Kerguelen like catapults. With these boats, one could attempt the crossing to Cape-Town, and reach that port, if one had the time. But let me assure you, I had no intention of leaving Christmas-Harbour under those conditions… No! I would pin my hopes on the schooner Halbrane, and that without delay.
In the course of these promenades around the bay, my curiosity attempted to grasp all the various aspects of that rugged coast, that bizarre, colossal, skeleton, all made up of igneous formations, whose bluish bones emerged through  holes in winter’s white shroud…
What impatience gripped me, sometimes, despite the wise counsels of my innkeeper, so happy with his existence in his house at Christmas-Harbour! It is a rare breed, in this world, that the practice of life has made into philosophers. However, in Fenimore Atkins, the muscular system did not prevail over the nervous system. Perhaps he also possessed less intelligence than instinct. Such people are better armed against the jolts of life, and it is possible, when all is said and done, that their chances of finding happiness here below are more considerable.
“And the Halbrane…?” I would say to Atkins each morning.
“The Halbrane, Mr. Jeorling?” he would respond to me in a positive tone. “Of course, it will arrive today, and if not today, it will be tomorrow!… In any event, there will certainly come a day, will there not, which will be the eve of the day when the flag of captain Len Guy will fly at the entrance to Christmas-Harbour!”
Certainly, in order increase the field of view, I would have had to climb the Table-Mount. By an ascent of twelve hundred feet, one obtained a range of thirty-four or thirty-five miles, and, even through the haze, perhaps the schooner would have been glimpsed twenty-four hours sooner? But to climb that mountain, with its flanks still puffy with snow to the very summit… only a fool would have thought of it.
In my rambles on the shore, I put numerous amphibians to flight, sending them plunging into the newly released waters. But the penguins, heavy and impassive creatures, did not decamp at my approach. Was it not for the air of stupidity that characterizes them, one would have been tempted to speak to them, on the condition of speaking their shrill, deafening tongue. As for the black petrels, the black and white puffins, the grebes, the terns, and the scoters, they were quick to take wing.
One day, I was permitted to witness the departure of an albatross, saluted by the very best croaks of the penguins,—like a friend who no doubt abandoned them forever. These powerful fliers can cover stages of two hundred leagues, without taking a moment’s rest, and with such rapidity that they sweep through vast spaces in a few hours.
That albatross, motionless upon a high rock, at the end of the bay at Christmas-Harbour, watched the sea as the surf broke violently on the reefs.
Suddenly, the bird rose with a great sweep into the air, its claws folded beneath it, its head stretched out like the prow of a ship, uttering its shrill cry: a few moments later it was reduced to a black speck in the vast height and disappeared behind the misty curtain of the south.
To be continued…
[Working translation by Shawn P. Wilbur, based in part
on the 1898 translation by
Mrs. Cashel Hoey.]

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The Life and Astonishing Adventures of John Daniel (1770)

One of my very favorite imaginary voyage tales is: 

THE
L  I  F  E
A N D
ASTONISHING ADVENTURES
O F
JOHN DANIEL,
A Smith at Royston in Hertfordshire,
For a Course of Seventy Years.
CONTAINING,
The melancholy Occasion of his Travels, His Shipwreck with one Companion on a desolate Island. Their way of Life. His accidental discovery of a Woman for his Companion. Their peopling the Island.
ALSO
A Description of a most surprising Eagle, invented by his Son Jacob, on which he flew to the Moon, with some Account of its Inhabitants. His return, and accidental Fall into the Habitation of a Sea Monster, with whom he lived two Years. His further Excursions in Search of England. His Residence in Lapland, and Travels to Norway, from whence he arrived at Aldborough, and farther Transactions till his Death, in 1711. Aged 97.

…which manages to take a series of fairly familiar plots elements in some directions that are peculiar even for the genre. I’m overdue to bind a second Corvus Edition of this, but the pdf is available online.

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Filed under 1770s, imaginary voyages, lunar adventures, robinsonades

Samuel Leavitt, “Anti-Malthus” (1880-1881)

[Anti-Malthus was originally published in The Phrenological Journal and Science of Health, August 1880, pages 72-76 and January 1881, pages 32-28. The author, Samuel Leavitt, was an associate of Joshua King Ingalls and George Jacob Holyoake. His work appeared in various of the Oneida colony publications, and in The Arena. In his Reminiscences, Joshua King Ingalls wrote:

I should apologize perhaps to Mr. Samuel Leavitt, for not mentioning his name before. But he has been met on so many different platforms, I scarce know where to place him, particularly. We were in accord on the land and interest problems: but differed politically on the tariff and the greenback questions, although I acted as treasurer for the Liberty Bell, which he published in the Peter Cooper Presidential campaign. He advocated rational divorce for mismated couples. He has been a newspaper man ever since I knew him. He was the author of “Caliban and Shylock,” “Peace Maker Grange,” a social romance, and “Our Money War,” a most elaborate and exact statement of the history of our money metallic or paper, since the existence of our nation, with a bias in favor of fiat money.
Notice, near the end of this essay, Leavitt’s prediction that “a Central Council or a ‘Pantarch’ will probably guide the movements and actions of the earth’s twenty or thirty billion inhabitants.” The use of Stephen Pearl Andrews’ term is probably not accidental, and the vision here is perhaps not so far off from Andrews’ Pantarchy.]
Anti-Malthus
Samuel Leavitt
I
ANTI-MALTHUS COLONIZE THE WHOLE EARTH WITH GOOD AND WISE PEOPLE; AND THUS FULFILL ITS NORMAL DESTINY. WHAT POPULATION WILL THE EARTH CONTAIN?
This essay is not, as might be supposed, a studied effort to refute the special doctrines of Malthus. It is simply an effort toward the rebuttal of one of his main propositions, namely, that great and immediate effort is necessary toward curtailing the natural increase of the human family. Two simple questions will be discussed in this writing.
1. Is there in the aggregate, or in any large portion of the earth, a real overpopulation? 2. What means shall be used to fill the earth with good and wise people?
As to the first point, the facts concerning the actual population of the various countries will be at once considered.
The area of dry land upon the globe is in round numbers about 51,590,000 square miles, equaling 33,000,000,000 square acres.
The human family is now reckoned to number 1,400,000,000 or about one billion and a half. China, which is so often referred to as over-populated, has 3,742,000 square miles, much of it waste, and 446,000,000 inhabitants, according to a recent report of Prof. Schem. This gives the Chinese five acres apiece. Japan has about 150,000 square miles or 96,000,000 acres, say two and five-sevenths acres for each person.
Saxony, in the German Empire, has 3,698,500 acres and 2,556,244 people; or about an acre and a half apiece. Belgium is said to have one person for each acre.
So then, this globe, filled as to its dry land, with people, would contain about thirty-three billions if populated at the Belgic rate; twenty-two billions at the Saxon rate; twelve billions at the Japanese rate, and six and a half billions at the Chinese rate, yet people go snuffling around, bewailing the swift coming of “the crack of doom,” when we have as yet less than a billion and a half of fellow-creatures around us here; and have no evidence that the number was ever greater than that,
The greatest evil accruing from this idea is, that it gives hard-hearted people an excuse for still further hardening their hearts against their poorer fellows, and—as in the case of the attitude of some European nations toward their foreign dependencies calmly and stolidly watching the slow starvation of millions of famine-stricken wretches.
THE CONTRADICTIONS OF MALTHUS.
As to Malthus, he was not a bad man, and he was a hard-working, careful, patient student and collector of facts. But he would see nothing except from an aristocratic standpoint: was quite firmly convinced that the many were born ready saddled and bridled that the few might ride.” As to England, for instance, it never occurred to him that millions of poor workers could comfortably subsist upon the ground wasted by the nobility and gentry in parks; and that millions more could have a comfortable living in the cities, if the factory owners would be content with a fair share of the profit upon the labor of their “hands,” and by greatly diminishing the hours of labor give employment to these other millions.
A favorite statement of Malthus is, “Population always increases where the means of subsistence increases.” This might have been a saying of important significance at his time, when the subsistence of a community was usually gathered from its immediate neighborhood. Now, however, when the telegraph informs the ends of the earth instantly, when any species of food becomes scarce at any point, and steamers and rail cars can speedily supply the need from any region enjoying a surplus, such a statement becomes quite meaningless.
The main natural checks to population, according to Malthus, are, moral restraints, vice, and misery. He seemed to put much more reliance upon the latter than upon the former, His chief critic, the celebrated Godwin, justly remarked that he should have added “bad human laws and institutions” to his list of existing checks. A specimen of the faulty reasoning of Malthus is found in his statement concerning the population of Australia. He gets his facts from Capt. Cooke, with regard to the scarcity of population on that huge island; and sagely says:
“By what means the inhabitants of this country are reduced to such numbers as it can subsist, is not perhaps very easy to guess.” He thus takes it for granted (forming the conclusion from the supposed love that he evolved from his inner consciousness) that the straggling savages who peopled Australia, in his day, numbered exactly so many human creatures as the island was capable of feeding.
The philosopher is certainly right in the abstract, where he maintains that if human propagation were maintained at its now usual rate, after the “millennium” had arrived, and vice, disease, and misery had ceased to check it, there would be danger of a genuine worldwide overpopulation. We know that in “the good time coming” there will be some new checks. But we also know that they will be natural, and will in no sense militate against the welfare of individuals or communities. We already get an inkling of what these checks will be, in the fact that families of the highest culture and refinement are not as prolific, though they make no attempt to check propagation, as those in the same nation that are subjected to all manner of hardship and privation, short of that extreme distress that always effectually checks population.
We may be sure of one thing—at let those of us who believe in Divine Providence—that as fast as there is any actual necessity for checks (a necessity never yet really reached), the good and wise will be shown what checks to use, and will faithfully adopt them. All the talk of Malthus about the food supply of barbarians and nomads goes for nothing. Following his absurd “law” that population always increases where the means of subsistence increases,” he doubtless gravely decided that the few wandering tribes of Indians on this continent represented fully the population that it was capable of sustaining. Nomads never really try to obtain the principal part of the subsistence that even they know to be contained in the earth beneath their feet.
HOW TO MAKE THE WHOLE EARTH HEALTHY.
O that I could send a glad cry of surprise and discovery throughout the nations: “Increase, multiply, replenish the wide earth! Fill it with wise and good people! It is not yet one-tenth full. It will never be thoroughly healthy and habitable until it is thoroughly filled by intelligent and virtuous human creatures, who will remove all nuisances by a wise culture and drainage of every arable acre.”
Here is an idea that is reliable, and is quite opposite to the whole tenor of Malthusianism: namely, that we should hasten to populate the globe densely, in order to make it truly habitable. “How horrible! what madness!” exclaim the disciples of this prophet of despair; “the very day the earth gets full, the people will begin to starve, if not before, in spite of your millennium.”
Our cheerful answer is: “Trust in the Lord (or in Nature, if you prefer), and do good. Commit thy way unto Him!”
There is now and then a streak of light in the writings of Malthus that relieves the murkiness of his pictures. The following from his Chapter II. really goes quite against his main arguments. He says: “It has been observed that many countries at the period of their greatest degree of populousness have lived in the greatest plenty and have been able to export grain; . . . . and that, as Lord Kaimes observes, ‘A country can not easily become too populous; because agriculture has the signal property of producing food in proportion to the number of consumers.'”
This is a practically opposite statement to that previously given, viz.: “Population always increases where the means of subsistence increases.”
Malthus pays a merited tribute to the monasteries of Europe, where, he says, the agricultural monks have done wonders in fertilizing waste and barren places. Truly here is a genuine work of use for religious devotees The Romanist monks called Trappists have a grand enthusiasm in this direction, similar to that of the old Benedictines. Already have they made many sterile regions blossom like the rose. What a noble work to fertilize the earth for coming happy generations! If people will insist upon being martyrs, they can not select a better form of self-sacrifice. But there is really little need for such work while the greater part of the fertile land is still untilled. Beautiful, smiling wildernesses, the world over, are fairly crying out for human culture and appreciation, and proffering unbounded sustenance from their teeming bosoms.
Careful estimates show that the Valley of Orinoco alone, where an acre of bananas will feed a village, would supply nourishment for the whole population of the world. What nonsense, then, to raise the alarm about over-population. Rather let those who feel an interest in the general welfare busy themselves very specially in scattering the multitudes now gathered in a few regions throughout the unoccupied fertile places.
As the most striking novelty in this writing is the demand that the earth be really filled with good and wise people as soon as possible, in order that it may be made perfectly healthy, the substantiation of that theory must be my main object. It seems a strange statement that: Wise human creatures are Nature’s great disinfectant! and this can be proved; and a very important part of the proof is obtainable from the recently developed facts concerning what is called the “Dry earth system of treating sewage.”
There is nothing more wonderful in modern discovery—or rather re-discovery, for Moses tried to teach these things to humanity thousands of years ago—than the disintegrating and disinfecting effect of applying dry earth to animal and vegetable refuse. The man of philosophic and philanthropic mind, who has used the same earth from six to ten times in an earth closet, and found the disinfective and disintegrative effect as complete the last time as the first, has visions rise before him of the future blessedness of our race and the redemption of the earth under our feet that are quite joyous. Such a man stands aghast as he beholds the waste going on around him, in the destruction of soils and the materials that would recuperate them.
I believe that by the help of this system every living creature can be made to give back to the earth an amount of fertilization, that, added to that derivable from air sunshine and water will fully equal what it takes from the earth. In this fact, if a fact, we have a solution of economical and agricultural questions, worth all the libraries that have been written about the preservation of soils. It explodes also some of the theories of Malthus.
PROPER COLONIZATION.
Now as to the methods of distributing the population of the earth, some say that the poor and foolish can not be organized into successful colonies. Such point to the failure of Robert Owen. But a colony is not necessarily a socialistic community. Ancient and modern history are full of accounts of colonies that were successful. Every migration of portions of tribes has been of that nature. Even socialistic colonies, such as those of Shakers, etc., have been very successful in our country.
Those who establish harmonious colonies do a work like that of Sisters of Mercy on a battle-field; the latter move over the field, soothing the wounded, without considering the nationality of the combatants or the cause of their quarrel. So the founder of a colony need not consider the politics of the people he removes to an improved situation, nor the politics of those among whom he puts them. We should remember when we wander through the miserable slums of a city, that while the inhabitants of these places are half starved, the humming insects and the singing birds are the sole occupants of millions of fertile acres, which would afford these suffering humans happy homes and abundant sustenance. Many will reply that thousands of these people are so shiftless that they would do no better on the soil than they do in the slum. Here comes in the reorganization of society again, and the time will come when men who are able financiers and industrial managers will feel themselves as much bound to exercise their peculiar gifts for human advancement, as a few clergymen, and also some artists, literary men, etc., now do to exercise their peculiar gifts to that end.
As the steam-engine, telegraphy, and discoveries and inventions are rapidly making “all the world akin,” the fact of being our brother’s keeper is more and more forced upon the conscience of Christendom. The time will be when men and women who are not wise or energetic enough to put themselves in fitting surroundings will be persuaded to suffer themselves to be organized into some sort of association by the wise and good, who will lead them to the green pastures and beside the still waters of the less populous parts of the country. Then we shall have such grand work done all over the land as glorious William Penn did, when he drew a multitude after him to the sylvan land of Pennsylvania and the city of Brotherly Love, and made it the model city of the world, though that is not saying much. The possible majesty of an organized colonization movement is seen in the fact that in 1878, when very few European emigrants came to the United States, 800,000 of our people went west of the Mississippi. Through lack of just those elements that colony migration would have given them, these isolated settlers endured fearful privations. Thousands, having lost the savings of a life-time in the universal destruction brought upon us by our rulers, between 1873 and 1878, had gathered up the wrecks of their fortunes, and some in wagons, some on foot, pushed for the wilderness—an incoherent multitude. Thousands who had money enough and brains enough to make very valuable and successful members of skillfully-organized colonies soon found themselves out of money, health, and hope, living in holes in the ground. They had staked their last dollar on this great risk, and were now forced (when past middle age in many cases) to return East and begin life again as “hands” in factory, shop, and Store. The money they wasted would have taken them, under a true cooperative system, in palace cars to palace homes on the prairies. What a grand work to organize such, and save them from such destruction! What a blessedness! Let each rich philanthropic man say: I will be an Industrial Moses! I will stand right here in my lot and organize my employés in co-operative workshops like Godin’s, or lead a multitude, in shape of a thoroughly-equipped colony, into the new country.
THE MOUNTAINS AND DESERTS TO BE TILLED AND FILLED.
And now to return to the means of getting the whole earth ready for an immense population. Whoever even admits the truth of the “dry earth” doctrine will see that we have small occasion as yet to fear over-population. When such means are in thorough use, there need be no waste, no malaria. All available food material will be used. But the world’s population must be held under very strict control if there is to be at no place either famine or over-production. Many new expedients will be adopted. The earth will be gathered by great machines from the vast alluvial deposits, where it is wasted (for instance, from the deltas of the Amazon, Nile, Ganges), and deposited on the barren plains. This very work was done on a large scale by the “mound builders,” who once peopled this country.
Great discoveries will be made in agricultural chemistry. Many materials now wasted will be replaced by others that are cheaper and more available. We used to say, “The fire wood will be used up”—then came the coal; we said, “The whales will all be destroyed”— then came coal-oil; now we have been saying, “The coal and coal-oil will run out”—and here comes electricity to take their place.
In the future the world’s work will be done, more and more, by machinery; therefore, human creatures will need much less food than now, as their energies will not be so exhausted by hard work. All the wildernesses, deserts, and mountains, up to the snow line, will be turned to use in some way for human sustenance. The waters of the ocean w ill be ransacked for edible fish, and its inedible monsters will be exterminated (as will be all those of the land). All inland seas, lakes, ponds, and streams will be stocked with fish, and vast water spaces will be covered with human habitations, as in China.
A thousand or ten thousand years from now, a Central Council or a ‘Pantarch’ will probably guide the movements and actions of the earth’s twenty or thirty billion inhabitants, just as the wonderful train-controller, perched high at the north end of the Union depot in New York, controls, by manipulating rows of buttons connected with the telegraphic instruments, all the trains of the three great railroads centering there. Whereas now able men control the distribution of money, produce, goods, etc., over the world, in a way that suits their selfish aims, so then will the same thing be done by men actuated by pure benevolence. That Central Council or Bureau will be in electric communication with every corner of the earth, and will be continually sending forth messages of information, warning and exhortation.
S. LEAVITT.


II
ANTI-MALTHUS—No. 2 MILLENNIAL BULLETINS
“The Vision is for many days.”
In the PHRENOLOGICAL JOURNAL for last August there was an article entitled, “Anti-Malthus: Colonize the Whole Earth with Good and Wise People; and thus Fulfill its Normal Destiny.” The points maintained were these:
1: There are thirty-three billion acres of dry land upon our globe, and a billion and a half of people. Filled with people at the Belgic rate it would contain nearly thirty billions; at the Saxon rate, twenty-two billions; at the Japanese rate, twelve billions; at the Chinese rate, six and a half billions.
2. It was shown that Malthus was unreasonable and inconsistent in maintaining that there is any present danger of over-population of the earth,
3. It was averred that wise and good human creatures are Nature’s great disinfectant; and that the earth will not be thoroughly healthy, and therefore habitable, until it is completely filled with such people, who will drain its swamps, and by the highest culture prevent all malaria.
4. After showing how the earth would be prepared for such an immense population, through the growth of science and art, the following statement w as made in conclusion: “A thousand or ten thousand years from now a Central Council or a ‘Pantarch’ will probably guide the movements and actions of the earth’s twenty or thirty billions of inhabitants; just as the wonderful train-controller, perched high at the north end of the Union depot in New York, controls, by manipulating rows of buttons connected with the telegraphic instruments, all the trains of the three great railroads centering there. Whereas now able men control the distribution of money, produce, goods, etc., over the world, in a way that suits their selfish aims: so then will the same thing be done by men actuated by pure benevolence. That Central Council or bureau will be in electric communication with every corner of the earth, and will be continually sending forth messages of information, warning, and exhortation.” The object of the present article is to furnish illustrations of the probable nature of the bulletins that will be issued from that central office when the population shall have reached twenty billions. These illustrations will be given as quotations from the daily official newspaper organ of the Central Council, and some discussion of each will be added.
“BULLETIN 1.—Population too thick in Van Diemen’s Land. Make room for them in Patagonia.”
Of course, such an exigency and such an event as are here supposed must seem very remote, when we consider the sparse population of those countries, and the seeming undesirableness of Patagonia as a place of residence. But population is already pushing in there from Buenos Ayres.
“BULLETIN 2.—Too many oranges raised in the world. The Valley of the Amazon must for five years raise them only for home consumption.”
Here we begin to catch a glimpse of the fact that the long prophesied “Millennium,” or blissful condition of the race, could not possibly be realized until the uses of steam, electricity, etc., had been discovered. Granted the fact that the earth could not be healthy until filled with good and wise people; we come next upon the fact that the immense population proposed could not be kept in harmonious working order without the swift means of intercommunication furnished by those agencies. Furthermore, that a much higher plane of morality than any single race has yet displayed would have to be reached by the whole race before any imaginable external machinery would avail to preserve the peace and prosperity of such a vast aggregation of nations, which must all yield implicit obedience to the wise laws and instructions issuing from the sages gathered at the grand center: for otherwise, no matter how well-intentioned most communities might be, a single inharmonic member in the family of nations would cause a break in the orchestration—dire confusion, famine, pestilence, and starvation through a large section of the earth.
Higher morality—loftier manhood and womanhood—is, therefore, the one remaining need, before “the good time coming” can be ushered in. As the writer stood in the gallery of Machinery Hall, in the Worlds Fair at Philadelphia, he said: Before me here is the physical basis for the Millennium. But all these fruits of science and art are now monopolized by the few shrewd and forceful. It remains, therefore, for the masses to be so morally and intellectually elevated that they will be strong and good and wise enough to enter upon their rightful inheritance in the elements of production and the means of distribution, including those results of human genius. The farmers in India, Ireland, Persia, and the “seven years of (practical) famine in a land of plenty” in this country—1873-80—show how useless it would be to fill the earth with people until a general high morality makes decent self-government and national government possible.
But this necessary dissertation leaves no room to discuss the orange crop, and this subject must be passed with a bare allusion to the fact that either the Orinoco or Amazon basin could feed the present population of the earth.
“BULLETIN 3.—A bad case of coast fever at the mouth of the Congo River Africa. The authorities must account for this oversight.”
[The mouth of the Congo will then be as healthy as our White Mountains are now.]
This, again, seems extravagant to the superficial observer, as it is well known that a white person can now scarcely live at all in that malaria-soaked region. But what is malaria? It is simply a noxious gas liberated from abnormally rotting animal or vegetable substances— when no longer serviceable in their organic shapes. Covering these substances lightly with dry earth quickly and wonderfully dissolves them into their original elements, and makes useful fructifying manure of them, without letting any atom escape to poison living organisms. Think you that there will be malarious fever in any part of beautiful, fertile Africa when twenty billions of the wise and good inhabit the earth? No, indeed! Why, even now, in densely-peopled portions of China, the well-instructed peasant carries a basket to gather from the high way anything of a manurial nature he may observe in passing.
“BULLETIN 4.—The people of France must elevate their spiritual and esthetic tone so as to bring them to a lower breeding ratio, or prepare to begin, four years from now, to send annually to Kamschatka their surplus population, to the amount of a million a year. Their normal limit, at present, is two hundred millions which is now considerably exceeded.”
In just such a manner would population need to be regulated and transferred: and the absolute necessity of a central guidance becomes more apparent as we proceed. France, for various well-known reasons, is now stationary as to population. Under improved conditions the country would naturally fill up; and that mercurial race, so hard to control, might then need the prospect of a large forced emigration from “La Belle France” to the less genial region mentioned, to induce them to curtail their increase. But, of course, in the universally bettered conditions of those times, life in Kamschatka would be more enjoyable than it now is in the most favored regions.
“BULLETIN 5.—Too many foreign airships and air-palaces gather in summer over the lake regions of Italy, Scotland, and Ireland, over the Yellowstone and other American parks and resorts around the higher peaks of the Andes in South America, the Himalayas in Asia, and the Mountains of the Moon in Africa. They obscure the view and are otherwise a nuisance.”
Of course, we all know that the occurrence of such events is only a question of time. The first steam-lifting balloon was a sure prophecy of the swift-moving, heavy-freighted airpalace.
The clustering of such vehicles about the most attractive places in summer is a natural event.
“BULLETIN 6.—The State of Virginia, U. S., will be under censure for sparse population and inferior cultivation of the region once known as The Dismal Swamp,’ if another case of chills and fever occurs there.”
O, ye shiverers! beside all malaria-breeding places, does it seem impossible for you to realize the possibility of such immunity from this poison fiend—this evil “Prince of the Power of the Air?” Behold how many old-settled regions, once redolent of miasma, are now even under imperfect care and cultivation, apparently quite free from it. The English literature of Shakespeare’s time abounds with allusions to the ague-smitten people of districts of Britain now quite exempt from such evils. But what a new departure it would be to have the officials of States and counties instructed by the higher authorities to bring more population into them in order to increase their healthfulness! This would present a refreshing contrast to the methods adopted by soil monopolists in Scotland and Ireland, who drive the population from whole counties, to turn the land into sheep and cattle ranges and game preserves. How utterly depressing to the people driven out is the idea that they are cumberers of the ground.” How encouraging, on the other hand, to the people invited, would be a call for population, when those invited were assured that they could not only prosper in the new home, but also promote the prosperity of their new neighbors—and even the health of those neighbors.
How encouraging, by the way, is this call for a twenty-fold peopling of the earth, to the wretched multitudes of the city tenement-houses; who have, indeed, reason to think that they are cumberers of the ground. But, alas! how few are “good and wise!”—or have a chance to be!
“BULLETIN 7.—The Khan of Tartary is notified that if we can’t prevent portions of reclaimed desert from being again denuded of trees and other vegetation, and relaxing into barrenness steps will be taken to put a better man in his place.”
[It will be observed that the perfect Millennium has not yet arrived.]
In the first article considerable space was devoted to the methods by which wastes and wildernesses and deserts would be reclaimed and made fertile. That process is in progress in portions of our own country. The so called desert lands, this side of the Rocky Mountains, are being rapidly reclaimed, and the rain belt is widening as the soil is broken up and tree-planting progresses. Unfortunately thousands are ruined “in mind, body, and estate,” who, trusting to the lying reports of land and railroad agents, rely too soon upon these recuperative agencies. But we can not yet begin to see the limits of the improvements that will accrue in this regard from agricultural chemistry, irrigation, artesian wells, etc. As to chemistry, for instance, some one has discovered, lately, that vast spaces on Long Island need only the addition of a certain cheap chemical element to make them yield bountiful harvests.
“BULLETIN 8.—A case of miscarriage in the Island of Sumatra is another warning to women not to spend all night dancing during their last month. Twenty billions of people is little enough to keep the earth healthy and happy. The nice balances of population can not be maintained if such mishaps become frequent again.”
That seems extravagant, even as a fancy, concerning the good time coming. But who shall say what is impossible in such directions? We know that there are Indian races existing, among whom miscarriages are of very rare occurrence, and whose women are occupied only for a few hours in parturition. The time prophesied will surely come, when “a man shall be more precious than fine gold”—yea, even an infant. It appears strange, again, that this preciousness of humanity, this dignity of human nature, should occur when the earth is full of people, rather than when population is scant. But this seems ordained, and careful study of all the facts shows that it is natural. Yet how stupendous, how overwhelmingly glorious the idea, that instead of nations slaughtering each other with all the enginery of war that diabolical ingenuity can invent; instead of rulers of such “civilized” nations as England tacitly encouraging famine and starvation in its dependent Indias and Irelands, as “a means of bringing population down to the proper number;” instead of infanticide and foeticide being encouraged not only in heathen India and China, but also in Christian Europe and America; instead of the strong everywhere ruthlessly destroying and shortening the lives of the weak by forcing them to overwork and hurtful work: a time should come when human creatures would be so precious that a foeticide occurring in an island of the Asiatic Seas would be bulletined throughout the twenty billions of the earth s inhabitants as a rare and shocking event!
“BULLETIN 9.—A stranger was found yesterday wandering near Behring’s Straits, American side, after ten in the morning, without his breakfast—no one having offered him any. He had missed the morning air-ferry-ship, and had been overlooked. Such occurrences take the bloom from our boasted New Civilization.”
That certainly opens a vista of felicity in the high-noon of our glorious planet, that is delightful to contemplate. There is nothing impossible about this. Given a world full of wise and good people, producing abundant food for all—guarding carefully against accidents to any—and the necessary conditions are obtained. Even now abundance of nourishment for all living people always exists on the earth. If “man to man would brother be,” it would be properly distributed. Listen to this description of the waste of natural products in South America, which contains vast unoccupied acres of the most fertile lands in the world. Col. George Earl Church, of London, in a report to the Governments of Brazil and Bolivia, says:
“Only the ocean fringe of South America had been, to a limited extent, developed by modern methods of transit; the Pacific coast represented simply the sharp slope of an uninterrupted mountain wall from Panama to Patagonia, and neither man nor beast could travel across the snow-swept barrier, abreast of the head waters of the Amazon in Peru and Bolivia, without scaling the passes at an elevation in no place lower, and in most of the passes as high, as the loftiest peak of the Alps; Peru, with a Babel-like ambition, was then working heavenward with its gigantic railway system, ignoring the fact that its richest and most extensive lands are on the Atlantic slope. Alone of all the South American States, the Argentine Republic appeared to appreciate the problem of opening the interior, and, with the force of its credit and energy, pushed its railways toward the heart of the continent. . . . I found millions of sheep, llamas, and alpacas, browsing upon the mountain sides, and not a cargo of wool was exported; vast herds of cattle roamed the plains, and yet an ox-hide was worth scarcely more than a pound of leather in the European market; hundreds of tons of the richest coffee in the world were rotting on the bushes, and only about ten tons per annum were sent abroad as a rare delicacy; abundant crops of sugar in the river districts were considered a misfortune by the planter, because there was no market; the valleys of Cochabamba were rich in cereal wealth, unsalable when the crop was too great for home consumption; not a valley or mountain-side but gave agricultural, medicinal, and other products, such as commanded ready sale in any foreign market; sixty-five kinds of rare and beautiful cabinet woods stood untouched by man in the great virgin forests of the north and east. The mountains were weighed down with silver, copper, tin, and other metals, and the people gazing upon a wealth sufficient to pay the national debts of the world, and yet unavailable for lack of means of communication.”
“BULLETIN 10.—The Central Office is happy to announce that the Caucasian is now the only race on the earth. The last specimen of an inferior breed—a mixture of Malay, Creole, and Esquimaux —died last week in New Zealand.”
It is all very fine”—humane, brotherly to extol the other races, but the fact remains that the Caucasian is by far the highest. It seems scarcely possible that the perfect life hoped for can be realized on this globe until the other races have gradually passed away, as the North American Indian is now doing. We must be just and generous to these races, and give them every chance of improvement while they remain; but if it is their fate to pass away we can not prevent it. It seems apparent, for instance, from the history of South America, that their intermingling by marriage with us only produces an inferior mongrel, and hinders the advent of the perfect human being. They must “go.”
“BULLETIN 11.—The North Pole Summer Sanitariums and Ice Cures being inconveniently crowded of late years, large establishments of the sort are rapidly springing up at the South Pole, on the Asiatic side, with daily air-ship lines to all principal points south of the Equator.”
There is nothing extraordinary about this, when already we find the wealthy yachtsmen of England taking their summer trips around the North Cape of Sweden, the most northerly point of Western Europe.
“BULLETIN 12.—The wool crop is getting short. Sheep-raising is not pushed properly on some of the higher slopes of the Andes, Rocky Mountains, Himalayas, and Balkans.”
Thus will the watchful eyes of the Central Sages continually take in the situation on every rood of terra firma; every rood will be to them a holy rood”—to be guarded with religious care. The resources of our planet—its capacities for making twenty or thirty billion people comfortable and happy—are immeasurable, when once wisdom and goodness are permanently assured for the whole race. The Infinite One now, when at length it seems safe to do so, has opened the eyes of our keenest men to secrets of art and nature, the possession of which gives them powers such as our forefathers would have considered Divine,” or miraculous. These powers will not long be monopolized by Rothschilds, Goulds, Vanderbilts, and Bonanza kings.
“BULLETIN 13.—A large part of the people of New Orleans, U. S., turned out on Wednesday to bid farewell to a woman who had been banished to Nova Zembla, for wasting a bucket of slops, by emptying it from a steamer into the Mississippi, instead of consigning it to the proper manurial receptacle.”
Well, it must be acknowledged that this is rather straining a point, as to the mass of the population attending this farewell. But the idea about such a waste being considered reprehensible in that “Beautiful Hereafter” is “solid.” A storm of indignation will soon arise against the system of agriculture that has sent the virgin soil of so many of our States to Europe, in the shape of tobacco, cotton, wheat, etc., and so much more of our fertility to the sea through the sewers of our cities.
“BULLETIN 14.—The Central Council takes pleasure in announcing that apparently as a result of the solar convulsions of recent years, and the consequent violent, but harmless perturbations of our planet, several new, warm streams have been for some time pouring from the Equator to both poles. Those of the Pacific converging at Behring’s Straits pour through into the Arctic region a current so hot that it is hardly endurable as a hot bath The American Gulf Stream and the Japanese Curo Siwo are much hotter than before. As a consequence, the climate is so changing in those northern regions that upper British America, Siberia, and some of the Antarctic lands are becoming quite pleasant and fruitful regions. If this process continues a few years, we may be able to announce the possibility of raising the earth’s population to twenty-five billions. Other causes, as yet unexplainable, have produced an increase of direct sun-heat in those regions. P. S. Another fact noticeable is a diminished heat in the Torrid Zone.”
“BULLETIN 15.—The electric light towers of the world generally will have to be more carefully treated. Complaints come in from various quarters that travelers along very prominent highways are frequently unable to read their newspapers at night.”
“BULLETIN 16.—The people of a village on the banks of the Niger River, Africa, were horror-struck lately, at observing an odor of decaying, malaria-breeding vegetation, issuing from the garden of a citizen. Investigation showed a rank undergrowth of rotting weeds. The man excused himself on the plea that being a poet he had been for a fortnight in a fine frenzy of imaginative creation, and had neglected his weeds. Excuse not received. He was sent to the Antarctic Fisheries, where high cultivation of the soil is not called for, and there is no chance to waste the food-producing gases.”
“BULLETIN 17.—A melancholy circumstance is reported from the Bernese Alps. A lovely maiden of eighteen years told her first, and therefore true, love three years ago that she believed in long engagements, and did not wish to marry him for at least five years. Not willing of course, to think of marrying any but his ‘own and only one,’ fearing that his admiration for the other sex might overcome his resolution in that unprecedented long interval, he built himself a stone hut high up in the Alps, and subsists as a goat-herdsman, and occasionally visits his whimsical betrothed. Girls should be careful how they trifle with these sacred matters.”
The above, soberly considered, must be counted as a legitimate illustration of the fact that on a paradisaical planet, there will be an absolute lack of tragedies; and incidents that seem laughably trivial to us, as matters of national consideration, will be the only variations from the uniform felicity. In that blissful time the first love will be usually the only love. For all young people will be then thoroughly instructed in physiology, phrenology, psychometry, hygiene, etc., so that they will guard their hearts until a true mate appears. Moreover, all then living in associated homes, will have an abundance of young folks to choose from, and will thus avoid the haphazard marriages that inevitably result from the isolation of our present modes of life.
“BULLETIN 18.—It has chanced, ‘in the whirligig of time,’ that Boston, once so proud of its superiority, is now the most barbarous place on the earth. A middle-aged citizen so far forgot himself in the heat of argument yesterday, as to call another citizen ‘a liar.'”
“BULLETIN 19.—In the present active state of human sympathy, people need to be careful about making demands upon it. Several air-ships arriving lately at Tobolsk from the North, containing people who said that they had tasted no strawberries and cream this year—the people of that place immediately stripped their vines of the delicious berries to present them to the strangers, and so had none for themselves for a week afterward.”
“BULLETIN 20.—On and after the 10th prox. the Society of Sky Painters will present a series of paintings by the new process upon the zenith on each clear day; passing around the earth from east to west. They will begin at Siam; and knowing by telegraph how far each picture is seen, will make them continuous by beginning the next at the farthest point at which the picture of the previous ray was plainly visible. The panorama will illustrate the battles of Armageddon—the last great battles between right and wrong, truth and error, reason and madness, vice and virtue, selfishness and benevolence, religion and atheism order and disorder. These were fought upon the soil of North America, and their representation will form very striking pictures.”
Now all this will seem very fanciful to some, very absurd to others. But every one of these bulletins” is somewhat founded upon existing facts. Even if all the fancywork be set aside, the truth remains, that the doctrine concerning the filling of the earth with good and wise people is incontrovertible.
SAMUEL LEAVITT.


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Fourier’s response to the Gazette de France — II

SECOND PART OF FOURIER’S REFUTATION OF THE GAZETTE OF FRANCE.

For some time past the secret influence of the philosophic Pandemonium had enjoined the discipline of general science in the press, concerning the science of “attractive industry,” but the indiscreet Gazette has disobeyed the word. It is proverbially noted for its gossiping propensity, and notwithstand the tactics of obscurism, one of its scribes, inspired with a new idea, has aimed a fatal blow of calumny against my principle, by charging them with insult to our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
The cause of this attack was a speech made by one of my partisans, at a scientific meeting on the subject of attractive industry; alter which, the orator, Mr. V. Considerant, took part in a religious controversy, a subject quite foreign from my science; and, therefore, whatever may have been said on such a question, does not, in the least, affect my responsibility. I never interfere with the religious opinions of those who adopt my principles of science, nor do I deem it necessary for me to do so.
Why should I be more intolerant than the Pope himself, who forms alliances and enters into contract with people who deny the Divinity of Christ? The agent of the Pope, in contracting for a loan with an Israelite banker, does not make s point of attacking his religion; and why should I, a simple individual of no authority, take upon myself to force conformity with my religious feelings and opinions? Some of my partisans are Jews; and what have I to do with that? My science, being purely industrial, is equally free to all religious sects; and though I am myself a Christian, I only teach the science of attractive industry; and neither my religion, nor my science, are affected by the peculiar opinions on religion held by those who advocate my theory.
If, then, it were true, (but it is not.) that the orator, Mr. V. Considerant, had professed opinions in opposition to the Gospel, my principles could not be held responsible for his errors, or for any opinions contrary to my own.
But the fiery Gazette has brought my name in question, and declaimed against what its scribes are pleased to call Fourierism, indicating my theory of attractive industry. Amongst a number of perfidious misrepresentations, the scribes have manufactured and inserted a dozen lines or more, in which Jesus Christ is really insulted, but, by the scribe of the Gazette, who has falsely attributed them to Mr. Considerant, whose written and spoken opinions are diametrically opposed to those attributed to him by the impious journalist.
Mr. Considerant immediately threatened the Gazette with an action for libel and defamation, if his own reply were not immediately inserted; but the perfidious journal, not daring to refuse insertion, evaded the effect of justice, by an unfair manœuvre in the printing, and a delay of three weeks time in its edition for the provinces.
These scribes say that “I wish to be the God of the material World,” and sometimes they dub me with the title of “Messiah.” What a pity it is they do not add a handsome pension to these Godlike honors!
Is it, then, pretending to deity one‘s-self, when one simply follows the divine precept,—“Seek, and ye shall find?” and having discovered any of the laws of God and Nature, is it infringing on the power of God merely to explain those laws to man? Did Kepler and Newton pretend to be gods when they discovered and made known the laws of God concerning our solar system and the mechanical equilibrium of celestial bodies?
On the contrary, I am, perhaps, the only person who has fully ruined those who really usurp the right of God. I have proclaimed the principle of a Universal Providence, and, in virtue of that principle, the necessity of seeking for the pre-ordained laws of harmony and unity relating to society, instead of trusting to the arbitrary laws of man. Jesus Christ himself repeatedly enjoined us to seek for God’s social code of laws, and predicted its discovery when truly sought; and if those who take credit to themselves for ultra-piety, had sufficient hope and faith in Providence, they would adhere to the letter of the Gospel dispensation, and believe our Saviour, who assures us that his Heavenly Father’s Providence extends even to the numbering of the hairs of our heads. It is, indeed, injurious to our Maker to doubt his Providence in pre-ordaining laws of social harmony for man, when he see that, from the greatest to the smallest works of his creation, he has provided laws of unity and harmony for their correlative conditions. Having provided laws of social unity for the enormous globes revolving in infinity, and also for the smallest insects inhabiting those globes, how is it possible to think he would neglect to make a similar provision for the social regulation of mankind? “ Has he not provided for the fowls of the air, and how much more worthy are we than they?”
It is impious, then, to doubt the Providence of God; and Jesus Christ has told us that our duty is to ” seek that we may find” the code of social harmony and justice which our Heavenly Father has prepared for us Irma all eternity. It is, in fact, impossible to think that God has not provided for the most imperious of our wants, a code of harmony for human society, to regulate industrial economy, producing an abundance of worldly comforts, for the happiness of all in perfect justice, and applicable to all the nations of the earth without exception.
The discovery of this code of social laws, is the task assigned to us by Christ himself, concerning this probationary state in which we should prepare for an hereafter; but philosophy has left us neither faith nor‘ hope in the universality of God’s providence, nor a spirit of charity extending to the whole of human-kind.
Philosophy only talks of gaining riches for one or two nations of the earth, leaving the rest to languish in ignorance and misery. Forgetting that God is the Creator of the I whole universe, and that his laws are made for all his creatures,—from the greatest to the smallest, the planet to the insect,—our modem legislators and philosophers have usurped the power of God; neglected the study of his laws of harmony, and made society the tool of men like Bartholus, Cujas, Mirabeau, and Target, of whom it may be said with truth, that they usurp the power of God in governing society by arbitrary rule, instead of following the precepts of the Gospel, and studying the will of Heaven: for, not only do they themselves refuse to study the will of God revealed to us in his eternal laws of mental, moral, and mechanical attraction, but they even vilify and persecute whoever questions their sophistical infallibility.
Christ has plainly told us what we are to think of such scribes and philosophers. “Ye hypocrites,” says he, “well did Essias prophecy of you, saying,—This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honor me -with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the mmandments of men.”—(St. Matth. xv. 7, 8, 9.)
It is utterly false, then, to say that I pretend to be a God, either of the Material or the spiritual world. I render to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar; and to God, that which belongs to God, the right of legislating for humanity. But why should the scribes of the Gazette accuse me of wishing to be the “God of the material world” more particularly? This is a point requiring explanation.
It is said that my principles are subversive of Christianity, because they tend to harmonize in regular development, those passions or sources of activity in the human soul, which Christ enjoined us to subdue and mortify. Now, in the first place, nothing could tend more to subdue the passions in perfect harmony, than my science of passional mechanism and attractive industry, which prevents excess by infinite variety of action ; and as for the doctrine of mortification, it is not true that Christ intended it to last for ever. It was only meant to last during the periods of social incoherency which mark the progress from the fall of man to the full regeneration; and in these periods of ignorance, privation and injustice, it is absolutely necessary; but when, ” by seeking, we have found the kingdom of Heaven and its justice,” which means the laws of moral equilibrium in the physical and mental activity or human society, there will be no longer any need of an oppressive discipline to make us pure in heart and mind. We shall then be governed by a law of love in expansive equilibrium, infinitely more efficient than the law of fear, and compressive self-denial.
We must, of course, admit that the law of self-denial and positive restraint is absolutely necessary in the present state of things; but Christ, in telling us to “seek the kingdom of heaven and its justice, that all worldly comforts may be added unto us,” has also given a foretaste of physical enjoyment to those who manifested faith in his prediction. At the feast of Cana, did he not change the water into excellent wine? and did he not multiply the loaves and fishes to feed the multitude whose faith had led them to the desert with him? This miracle, he worked to recompense their faith in trusting to his power without anxiety for their own comfort. He himself took pleasure in speaking of his own dependency: “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no where to repose his head.”
He also rebuked those who accused him of faring sumptuously; saying,—“John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine ; and ye say, He hath a Devil. The Son of Man is come eating nd drinking and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of all her children.” It is evident, therefore, that he deemed wisdom quite compatible with worldly comfort, and in order to join precept with example, he took his seat at a table served with delicacies, in the house of a publican who invited him; and when the courtezan anointed his hair with perfume, he rebuked the publican who blamed her for her services. To the woman herself he said, “Thy sins are forgiven: thy faith hath saved thee.” Compassionating with the sex that is most oppressed, he pardoned Magdalene and the adulteress, rebuking those who had accused .them. Nor did he forget to say, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”—(St. Matth. xi. 30.)
It is clear, then, that our Redeemer was no enemy to riches and refinement; all he commanded was, that to worldly pleasures we should add a genuine faith in universal providence, and a proper use of heaven’s bounty, in seeking for the kingdom of justice and the science of social harmony.
Nor be it said that Christ, in speaking of the kingdom of Heaven and its justice, alluded to a future life alone, where worldly comforts are spoken of in allegory, for he knew well that neither food nor raiment would be wanting there. lt is not, then, of a future state he speaks, in promising us worldly blessings: and, the better to prevent mistake, he adds, ” Let those hear who have ears to hear,” meaning that his parables were true both ways, and that there are two kingdoms of heaven; one already in existence, and another to be finally established upon earth.
Philosophers deny all this, and ridicule the notion of a better state of things, because it has been hidden from their mental vision; and the unreflecting public fondle the delusion. This state of things is spoken of in Scripture, where it says—” They are as the blind leading the blind.”
St. Mark has tnily said of these, ” Ye neither understand the Scriptures, nor the power of God.”
A single instance of the power of God is quite enough to prove that the pretensions of philosophy to regulate society are incomparably deficient. The sole power of distributing our faculties, gives our Maker the facility of rendering any social law attractive and complete; while philosophers, who have no such power, can never make us like their schemes in opposition to our nature.
On the other hand, we are sure to err in misery by submitting to the arbitrary laws of human reason, which are not attractive to our innate feelings: for philosophy has not the power of altering our faculties, so as to adapt them to a liking for oppression, poverty, prisons, hulks, taxation, and anxiety, with all the other “graces” of human legislation and “liberal perfection.”
These considerations are alone sufficient to inform us that God must have originally made a plan for social happiness, and that it is our duty to obey the Gospel, in “seeking for the kingdom of Heaven and its justice,” revealed to us in all the laws of natural phenomena in matter and in mind.
Such will be the mechanism of passional attractionand industrial economy. And Jesus no doubt alluded to the scientific mission of an interpreter of these laws, when he Said, “ I speak to you in parables; but he who will come after me, will speak to you in spirit and in truth.” He who wished “that the things of Cæsar should be given unto Cæsar, and that the things of God be rendered unto God,” also wished that human reason should be left to do the work imposed on it by God; and thus reveal to 111811 the kingdom of Heaven and its justice, in the scientific mechanism of attractive industry based upon the principles of moral and religious unity.
As John the Baptist came before Christ with the mission of precursor, to announce the coming of the word, so another was to come after Christ with the mission of coadjutor, to study and reveal the laws of social mechanism by which peace and plenty will reward the general practico of truth and justice, and the human race commence the work of absolute regeneration.
This is the task of the Messiah, of whom M. de Lamartine, in his conversations with Indy Esther Stanhope on Mount Lebanon, spoke as being ” yet to come,” affirming “that those who are now living will see him with their own eyes, and for whose mission all things seem to be preparing in the world.”
But here, again, we may apply the words of Christ, ” Do not ye after their works, for they say and do not.”—St. Matthew, xxiii. 3.)
If it be true ” that a man is soon to appear with an extraordinary mission in science, and that, as all things are prepared in this world for his coming, we shall certainly see him in person;” how comes it, that when he has actually made his appearance and proved his mission by revealing a new science that will solve all the problems of social and political harmony,—how comes it, say, that all the learned world refuse to hear him, and absolutely form a coalition of obscurism to prevent the public from acquiring a knowledge of his science, or even of his existence, though he can prove that he has nrictly followed the injunctions of our Saviour, and that he speaks in the simple, clear, and natural spirit of mathematical truth which children may understand ; and the science which he thus reveals will teach us how to banish from the earth those hideous social ulcers, poverty, crime, slavery, mercantile fraud, and all the moral evils so much loathed in the sight of God?
 We have many philosophers who speak and write piously, because piety is now-a-days a political instrument; but it is not so easy to find people who are really pious in fulfilling the commands of Christ. If our philosophers were truly pious, they would say, “This theory of attractive industry should be carefully examined and tested by experience, for, if it be really true and practicable, its results would be prodigious.Besides creating wealth in great abundance, it would totally eradicate the germs of revolution; and of moral and religious discipline, it certainly affords the most secure foundation. In our present moral theories, we do indeed inculcate a love of honest industry, but then we must admit that little has been done to render it attractive. This author says he has discovered the science of attractive industry in conformity with the natural impulsions of mankind, and that, besides being proved by all the principles of science, his theory may easily be tested by a limited experiment on a single parish containing three or four hundred families. This is a great advantage compared to the dangers of political reforms affecting a whole nation by every new experiment. Should the experiment fail altogether, it will only affect a single parish, and if it be found defective in some of its parts only, we can probably correct its defects, and improve it as a whole.”
This would be the language of impartiality, but it is not to be expected from the learned corporations of this bouted centre of civilization, Paris.
The title of “Messiah” is, however, as applied by M. de Lamartine, in speaking of the man whose mission was announced by Christ, improperly applied to a mission of mere science. John the Baptist was the prophet whose mission was that of a pre-cursor to Jesus Christ, and my mission is that of the prophet post-cursorand coadjutor, announced by Christ to solve the Christian problem, and complete the scientific part of human regeneration with respect to industry alone and social equity; but I am not a Messiah, though the Gazette de France, in its furious attacks, accuses me of being in pretension both a “God” and a “Messiah.”
There is nothing mystical in a purely scientific mission; and though the function of a prophet and coadjutor in human regeneration has fallen to my lot, it is not the Irission of one specially elected, like John the Baptist, but a mission open to all the human race, any one of whom was free to study and interpret the social code of laws devised by God to introduce on earth “the kingdom of Heaven and its justice,” whenever human reasonshould perform the task imposed by Christ, of “seeking till we find; asking that it may be given; and knocking that it may be opened unto us;” to see and understand the laws of social harmony and passional attraction.
I have performed this mission in accordance with the bidding of our Saviour, by leaving the beaten track of arbitrary speculation and the cunning of philosophers, of whom the world’s Redeemer said,—“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”—(SL Mal. xii. 34.) ” Woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites, for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity-.”—(St. Matth. xxiii. 27, 28.)
These words are truly applicable to those philosophers of our day, who laud the present state of civilization as the beau-ideal of society, though it is based on the most odious principles, such as the following, which are openly professed:
“It is absolutely necessary to keep the multitude in poverty in order to enrich the few, and, not being able to prevent the horrors of this state of things, we must learn to look upon them as necessary evils.”These maxims are indeed worthy of a sect which holds the principles of sceptical philosophy, and publicly asserts ” that the mass of the people can never be happy until the last of the kings shall have been strangled with the gut-strings of the last of priests,” and whose watch-word in the work of human massacre, is “Down with the impostor,” (écrasez l’infâme,) meaning Jesus Christ. ls it a wonder, then, that these philosophers oppose my doctrine, which was announced by Christ himself as the industrial mechanism of truth and the spirit of social harmony, to he revealed by the interpreter of God’s social code, who was to come after Christ?
Let me not be misunderstood in saying this; for I ask nothing for myself, neither mediately nor immediately. My mission is to speak the truth, and minister to the Holy Ghost. Jesus Christ has said, ” He that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you, hut the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever l have said unto you.” —(St. John, xiv. 24, 25, 26.) Now the literal meaning of the words Holy Ghost being the spirit of truth, it is clear that every principle of truth and harmony is an emanation of the Holy Ghost, or the universal spirit of truth, and, in this sense, the science of social harmony is the social “comforter,” explaining all things relating to the practice of truth and justice upon earth.
We may again repeat with Christ, that “the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”—(St. John, iii. 19.) This is true of the present state of philosophy, containing at least one hundred thousand different and contradictory systems, none of which will bear the light of a comparison with that science of social mechanism and attractive industry it has been my lot to discover; and which consists in harmonizing all our instincts and desires by means of an industrial and domestic combination, the leading springs of which are,—@
1. Regularly graduated scales of discord and natural inequalities.
2. The proper combination of series and groups in the functions of industry.
3. Variety of occupation, and ii free choice of function, subject only to real skill and due qualification.
Whether this be or be not the true principle of industrial mechanism and social harmony, there can be no doubt that the present age, so frequently convulsed by the disastrous innovations of unsound philosophy, has need of some new science to secure stability and peaceful progress. After trusting to political and moral theories in vain for centuries and centuries past in misery, it is natural to try another mode of innovation, which, if even inefficient, is at least secure from danger and convulsion. Those who have property at stake might certainly to tire of a philosophy which only serves to generate iniquity, and oppose the influence of pernicious doctrines by s principle which is, in all respects, the very opposite. The arbitrary doctrines of philosophy would vanish into darkness and oblivion as soon as the real principles of social policy were practically tested; for this is the principle of which Christ has said, “Et portæ inferi non prævolebunt.”
What are these “Gates of Hell” of which he speaks? there are, at least, two which are easily recognized: intolerant philosophy, and j the spirit of self-righteousness which is not less intolerant. Both of these are worshippers at the same shrine of superstition: that of a PASSIVE and INERT resignation to the principle of evil and the honors of competitive society. The one tells us that “crime and misery are the necessary results of civilization, and that we must submit to them patiently without hoping to avoid them;” the other tells us ” that we must resign ourselves to suffering in this world, in order to obtain our reward in the next:” but those who preach these doctrines, take very good care not to follow them themselves. They invariably secure for themselves as much as they can of the comforts of life, and then deliberately tell their starving brethren to suffer patiently the wrongs which they endure.
It is no doubt proper to resign ourselves with patience and forbearing, as long as society remains in ignorance and poverty; but Christ himself has told us that this state of things was not to be perpetual, and that it was our duty to escape from it as soon as possible, by seeking the kingdom of Heaven and its justice, that all worldly comforts might be added unto us abundantly.—He expressly told us also to be active in our faith, and not to indulge our idleness in a passive and inert resignation to the principle of evil; but to seek that mechanism of the science of attractive industry and combined economy.
What can be the cause of this passive and inert resignation to the principle of evil, in the church? During eighteen centuries the ministers of Christ have warned us against the baneful doctrine. of philosophy;  was it not their duty, therefore, to follow the injunctions of our Saviour, and seek, till they discovered, the science of social harmony, and its principles of truth and practical equity? But, supposing their efforts to have been constant, thong inadequate, is it not, at least, their duty to protect the man who has devoted thirty-eight years of a laborious life to the seeking and discovering of the principles of justice and social regeneration?
The Church has evidently lost her equilibrium: she has been betrayed into the hands of vain philosophy; for those who call themselves the “pillars of the Church,” are neither more nor less than skeptical philosophers.
What are these scribes of the Gazette, but sceptics in disguise, forming a pandemonium of obscurism? proscribing every attempt at social progress, and supporting the monopoly of privilege and sophistry.—Its proceedings in 1829 were more scandalous than those of any other journal published in Paris. It is a well known fact, that the most abominable system of intimidation was used to terrify those amongst the public functionaries who did not generally purchase the Gazette.
These pretended champions of religion, are betraying both the monarch and the Church, for no party is more deeply interested in the welfare of the people, than the clergy of the Church of Rome, and the King of the French nation, who is more or less suspected by all the kings of Europe.
The vessel of St. Peter has evidently lost its rudder, for, during the last half century, it has been so badly governed, that the clergy have lost almost all their former influence; and as for the throne of France, it is so far humbled, that it dares not venture to resist the influence of American chicanery, which has recently constrained us to admit a doubtful claim upon our treasury.
All parties, then, are equally interested in the progress of truth and general prosperity; and, as all the schemes of fanciful philosophy have failed, it is but rational to expect a contrary result from the practical application of those principles which are, in all their bearings, the very opposite of incoherency and individualism.
It is in vain for the blind members of the Church to think, that if it were possible to establish harmony and justice in society, Christ himself would have revealed to us the science of its organization; for, I have already proved that he commanded us to seek it in ourselves, and by the aid of human reason, in connexion with an ACTIVE faith in Providence and all his promises.
Ministers of the Church,—you whose mission it is to call sinners to repentance—are you not sinning, yourselves, against the doctrines of Christianity? By adopting the tactics of sceptical obscurism, and opposing my theory by your premeditated silence, are you not opposing the will of your master, who announced the scientific mission of human regeneration?
You are witnesses to the declining influence of Christian principles and the spreading influence of mystical and sceptical philosophy; and though you may deem these systems of philosophy too absurd to be generally introduced, still it is your duty to be active in your opposition; for the general aberrations of material and inductive philosophy may give rise to sects whose doctrines would be no less offensive than the Atheism of the Owenites, and the spoliating tendencies of St. Simonism in its doctrines of inheritance. If you remain blind to the duties of your mission, you will shortly have in Europe as many heterogeneous sects of religious doctrines as there are in America, and civil war is almost the inevitable product of this religious anarchy.
In this dilemma, your only safety lies in bringing into practical consistence my principles. which will rapidly supersede the influence of your natural enemies, the sceptical philosophers.
You need not be alarmed at the risk of fostering an error; for, one single experiment would prove it to be true or false without endangering the present constitution of society. Remember, also. that the most useful discoveries have been generally ill received at first: the simple grain of coffee, and that very useful root the potato, were prohibited as poisons, by the learning of a Parliament. The first inventors of steam-engine were most of them insulted, and some of them were even put to death. Columbus was banished for announcing even the probable existence of a New Continent, and the thunder of an excommunication was hurled upon his head from the Holy See of I Rome; then, surely, you should pause before you condemn.
And yet, we can hardly expect to find wisdom and discernment in the Church, when we see the Universal Bishop stigmatising equally both friends and foes. In the last index, published at Rome, we find names classed together without any rule of justice. The Church, in her distress, has lost her mental equilibrium and discernment. She has inconsiderately classed the name of the celebrated Christian poet, De Lamartine, with that of St. Simon, the avowed opponent of the Roman clergy; and to make the matter worse, my name has been connected with the enemies of property, although my principles would introduce at least twenty-four new source of security to private property, in addition to those which are already in existence.
It is a strange anomaly, that the Christian Pontiff should denounce the only man who has demonstrated, by mathematic revelation, the necessary existence of a God, and the universality of Providence. Before my discovery, the very existence of Deity was questioned in the name of science; but this delusion of Atheism, arising from the aberrations of reason, is now completely dissipated in the sphere of real science. These errors of the Church prove that vain philosophy has stolen its way into the Vatican, and the bewildered Pope of Rome is now the dupe of scepticism.
This language may be deemed severe, but no one has so good a right as I to call the Church to an account for her neglect of duty. lam, perhaps the only innovator, having every chance of founding a new religious sect, who has not thought of doing such a thing. My doctrine satisfies, at once, the natural desires of both soul and body, in this world and in the next: l have had, therefore, several chances of founding a religious sect, which no man ever had before.
But my mission is not to create a new sect; in fact, I look upon all religious schisms as brands of discord: and, as my task is to conciliate all parties in both Church and State, by the institution of attractive industry and social equity, I am opposed to all the arts of policy which would cause disturbance, and class me amongst mere turbulent agitators. I disavow also, beforehand, whoever might, when I am gone, make any such abuse of my conciliatory principles, which serve invariably the interests of all parties.
[To those who have “ears to hear,” and “eyes to see,” nothing can be more beautifully clear than Fourier’s elucidation of the Gospel; but many there are, within and without the pale of the Christian Church, whose mental visions is too much obscured to recognize the light. The Church itself has long been more or less eclipsed by negative philosophy; but soon, we feel convinced, the shadow of uncertainty will gradually vanish, and leave the type of unity to re-assert her mission by dispensing light and heat, in spirit and in truth, to all the human race.]

[Source: The Phalanx, 1, 14 (July 13, 1844) 205-209.]

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Terrence, “A Short Introduction to the Works of Charles Fourier” (1848)

A SHORT INTRODUCTION  TO THE 
WORKS OF CHARLES FOURIER.
BY TERENCE
 
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“In Nature and in State, it is easier to change many things than one.” BACON.Essay on Health.
“Entertain variety of delights rather than surfeit of them.Idem.
“ And let the main portion of the lands employed to gardens or to corn be to a common stock, and to be laid in, and stored up, and then delivered out in proportion.” BACON.On Plantations.
“Fourierism, which is diametrically opposed to Communism.”Morning Chronicle, March, 1848.

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INTRODUCTION
TO THE
WORKS OF CHARLES FOURIER.
At a moment when the extraordinary and sudden events of Paris have stirred the political condition of Europe from its very foundation, and have commenced “‘hat is professedly a social revolution, the following rapid sketch of what is termed the social science, or in a wider sense, “The Theory of Universal Unity,” may not be without interest to the public, as it may help them to a clearer comprehension of what is now occurring, and enable them to distinguish between those acts of the Provisional Government which are inspired by a spirit of communism, and those which emanate from the school of Fourier.
The whole of the English press, in mentioning the tendencies of the late revolution, have attributed them to the Communist doctrines disseminated through the medium of the works of various authors, among whom they include Fourier; being, however, so little acquainted with his views, that they are even ignorant of the real orthography of his name;for they have, with few exceptions, most amusingly agreed in spelling it with two rs, thus—Fourrier. This point, though minor in appearance, is in reality most important as an argument against them; for this error originated in a ridiculous and ignorant criticism made several years back, which criticism seemingly has remained the only source of information which the guides (?) of public opinion have deigned to consult on the subject.
Now this accusation of communism arises from a very general, although most erroneous notion; for Fourier, whatever may be. thought of the practicability of his whole system, is, as we will presently prove, the only author who presents a definite, just, and unanswerable argument in favour of the existence of property, and he who alone has sought efficient because equitable means of rendering its enjoyment perpetual.
Fourier, from his earliest childhood, evinced the profoundest love for truth and justice; and though educated at a period when professions of atheism were in full vogue, he always breathed the purest religious sentiments, free however from intolerance and cant. On looking around him, he found all things subjected to a Divine Harmony, save the social relations of man, in which fraud, misery, and vice were but too much the predominant features. Yet, that such was the final destiny of mankind, his notions of divine justice would not for one instant allow him to suppose. Trusting, therefore, to the words of Christ: “Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you;”—”There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be known;” and seeing how completely society, in its present form, is devoid of truth, justice, and happiness, he determined to devote his life to the research of the natural or Divine social form, in which God’s will being done on earth as it is in Heaven, these blessings should exclusively reign; and after several years of incessant labour, he produced to the world what all who have studied itproclaim a most wonderful and complete system of universal science.
The metaphysical foundation of Fourier’s theory, (and we must crave the indulgent reader’s patience for a few paragraphs that may perchance be deemed abstruse,) is as follows:—All that exists, being the work of one great Creator, must bear upon it the impress of His harmonious mind, and be therefore analogous, though never identical in its various forms; accordingly, Fourier, taking a complete survey of all the natural sciences and arts, finds a perfect analogy between the harmonies of sound, of colours, of curves, of numerical and grammatical functions, &c., distributed according to a certain series or regular distribution of parts, into groups, varieties, genera, species, orders, and classes; hence his science of Universal Analogy, the radiant spring of poetry,—and its manifestation, the serial Law, for the development of which we must refer to his works, or those of his disciples. Fourier, with this guide, arguing with true mathematical precision, from what was known to what was as yet unknown, boldly dived into the past and the future, and foretold most of the discoveries which have since shed so much glory on the scientific men of our age; among these may be numbered Levenier’s planet, instantaneous communications with all parts of the globe, painless operations, &e. &c.
Carrying out these views in his vast investigations of nature, he found that all things were formed of three principles, corresponding to the three essential functions of motion: one active or spiritual (the moving force,)—one passiveor material (the moved force,)—and one neuter or regulative (the directing force). His theory of Production may serve as an illustration of this division of parts; for Production, in its widest sense, the source of the activity and the wealth of nations, is, like all other things, a compound of these three elements, viz. :
1. Labour, the activeprinciple.
2. Capital, the passive principle, on or by which labour acts; land, buildings, money, machinery, implements, &c. &c.
3. Talent, the neuter principle, by which labour and capital are directed.
Now, if the rights of anyone of these principles remain unsatisfied, the other two are endangered, and impeded in their progress. According to Fourier, the fault of society has hitherto been in overlooking the rights of labour and talent, granting all permanent advantages to capital alone, which has in consequence indirectly but greatly suffered. The Communists, on the other hand, in their reaction against the exclusiveness of capital, commit a similar error in an opposite direction.. The exclusive reign of capital occasions unperfect production, pauperism, and revolt. Communism, or the negation of individual property, by destroying emulation, and compressing superior minds, without raising the interior, would be a death-blow to the ideal and the sublime, and both are subversive of all justice and liberty; yet both represent equally legitimate rights, which can only be satisfied by the free association of the three essential elements of production, whereby every individual may reap the fruits of the seed he has sown, by participating in the profits of the common produce, each in proportion to the amount of capital, labour, or talent employed in its creation, every member being thus personally interested in the success of the whole. The creative powers resulting from unity of purpose and action are thus substituted for the fearful and destructive antagonism which now reigns between the employers and the employed. (The practical difficulty of such an arrangement will be mentioned hereafter.) This proportionality, according to capital, time, and skill, is evidently in direct opposition to the principle of Communism, which is based on an absolute equality of rights; and Fourier is so far from denying the rights of property, that it is chiefly to large capitalists that he addresses himself, inviting them to combine freely, and carry out his views, promising them in return a new and happy social era, in which they will be the first to benefit largely; for one of his fundamental principles is, that the science of society must accept and classify all existing interests, and the social transformation be such, that those who reap the greatest advantages in our present state, shall profit still further instead of losing by the new order of things.
But this is only one branch of Fourier’s vast system of scientific and social reform. Analysing with great acuteness, the past and present history of humanity, and examining the fundamental character of the five social phases, viz., 1, Edenism; 2, Savagism; 3, Patriarcate; 4, Barbarianism; and 5, Civilization, through which it has successively passed,—he ascertained (as any unprejudiced mind might have done before him,) that Man had as yet never been placed in a social medium in accordance with his nature, though he had gradually advanced towards a superior state of society, according to the natural law of progression. Yet man, with all his passions[1] or tendencies, which according to circumstances urge him on to virtue or to vice, and which, in spite of human institutions, have maintained their dominion in all countries and all ages,—man, we say, with all his passions, is the work of God. The social form, essentially variable in its nature, differing at the beginning and at the end of the same age, differing on the opposite sides of the same mountain or river, is the work of man. If man, and the social conditions he is placed in, clash, whose is the fault, and whose work must we modify? Surely not God’s!
As well might our tailors and shoemakers propose one model of their own creation, as a standard whereby all men were to be dressed, as our philosophers and constitution-framers pretend that man, as created by God, is imperfect, and must be made to bend to fanciful and oppressive institutions of theirinvention, which centuries have proved to be inefficient in producing the desired end. This misconception of man’s nature has forced them to uphold their false institutions by means of constraint and tyranny, thus forming a lamentable scission between the lovers of order and those of liberty, and keeping the world in a constant state of turmoil and warfare.
The important point is, however, to fully understand the nature of Man, the primary element of society, and the social problem then resolves itself into the following terms:
“Man and his passions being given, to determine the social conditions in which these may be harmoniously developed, so as to produce the greatest and most beneficial results by the smallest means.”
Now man is himself, according to what we have said above, a compound of three principles;
1. The Passions, active or motive principle.
2. The Body, passive or material principle.
3. The Intellect, neuter or regulative principle.
The body is the mere instrument or tool through the medium of which the passions act; and the intellect is the principle by which man judges, ( and by which he governs and directs the other two.
The passions, again, are composed of three principles—the material or sensual; the spiritual or affective; and the directing or distributivesubdivided into twelve radical passions, summed up in one pivotal passion, which, like white and black among colours, is, in its positive form, the result of the combination of all the others, while, in its negative form, it is the result of their absence.[2]
Most of those passions, the 10th, 11th, and 12th especially, are in civilization, productive of more harm than good; for instance, the love of change, termed by Fourier la papillonneor butterfly passion, in a society where each member is chained exclusively to one profession or trade, is a vice, breeding inconsistency, fickleness, inattention, and discontent; yet nature in her goodness meant it as a preservative against monotony, and excess in the development of anyone of his faculties, moral, intellectual, or physical, at the expense of the others, by instilling into him a strong desire to give a full and harmonious development to all in their turns. For a full comprehension of this psychological analysis, we must refer to the works of Fourier, or those of his school. Musicians will, however, understand us when we say, that the four affective passions are the cardinal, corresponding to the four notes which form the main chord and the sensitive note, in the octave. The three distributive correspond to the subordinate chord, and the five sensitive to the five semi-tones.
As the different combinations of the twelve semi-tones of the chromatic scale are sufficient to produce an infinite variety of melodies and harmonies; or, as all shades are the result of the various combinations of the prismatic colours, so the different proportions and combinations of these 12, or rather (including the pivots) 14 radical passions, form the various characters or temperaments which constitute humanity; and as Providence has balanced the number of the sexes, so also has it counterpoised the various springs of action among mankind, so that unityand harmony shall be the result, as soon as man, rightly and religiously using his reason and free-will, shall, by doing for society what he has lately done for locomotion, have sought, discovered, and practically established the conditions in which these passions or springs of action may act according to the eternal laws of God, and be productive of good instead of evil. A permanent revelation is granted as a light to guide us in this research,—Good being the heavenly sign that humanity is fulfilling its destinies,—Evil the invariable sign of its deviation therefrom; and who will deny that Evil has hitherto had the ascendancy?
Fourier, by this analysis of the nature of man, which all his disciples consider as unimpeachable, seems alone among philosophers to have carried into practice that admirable maxim of the ancients, “Know thyself,” and I has therefore alone afforded us the means of organizing society in accordance with that nature.
The 14 radical passions of man, being his data, Fourier seeks, by what external or social conditions they can best be satisfied and utilized. And first, he finds it will be necessary to offer to the sensitive passions none but the purest objects of gratification so that our senses, by which we are put into communication with the outward world, may carry correct notions only, to our soul and intellect. This duty falls chiefly to the lot of industry and the fine arts. Secondly, the effective passions must find their full development, which can only be attained by opening numerous gradual posts of honour, proportionate to each individual’s peculiar merit, so as to gratify the passion of ambition; and by increasing the general wealth of the community sufficiently to ensure the right of living by one’s labour to every man, woman, and child, and thus allow in all cases of love-unions, freed from those heart-rending anxieties which now attend most parents as to the future prospects of their children. Thirdly, in order to give due satisfaction to the distributive passions now productive of so much evil, corporative rivalship must be awakened in the community, but so organized as never to degenerate into personal jealousy and hatred. The various social duties must be performed no longer by individuals, but by friendly groups in order to satisfy the noble passion of enthusiasm, which requires numbers for its full development, and which doubles and triples our energies. Above all, constant variety must be introduced into our occupations, that we may call forth and satisfy alternately all the faculties of our soul and mind. And finally, the noblest of all passions, Uniteeism, the warm fountain of religion, philanthropy, charity, and self-sacrifice, must find a constant channel to flow in, for the benefit of others, thus counteracting the chilling influence of its opposite, individualism, whose function is the mere preservation of the individual.
By the Association of many interests, forces, and abilities alone, can all these conditions be realized; and civilization, though founded on the spirit of individualism, or the “chacun chez soi, chacun pour soi” system, has instinctively felt this; for in all great works, such as canals, railways, insurances, clubs, &c., it has always recourse to the fruitful principle of association, although, till this year, strictly confining it to capital.
Seeking what was to be the main-spring of action which was to introduce life and motion in the new social medium, and finding that Attractionwas the great principle by which God gave motion and form to the materialworld, Fourier was led by universal analogy to suspect that the spiritual and socialworld might perchance be subjected to the same principle. This led him, by a succession of calculations, to the discovery Of what he called passional or spiritual Attraction, by which discovery he did for the whole range of science, including that of society, what Newton had already done for astronomy and natural philosophy, by his discovery of material or· physical Attraction, of which Locke even then said, “That admirable discovery of Mr. Newton, may be counted as the basis of natural philosophy; and how much further it could guide us in other things, if rightly pursued, is not yet known.”—(Conduct of the Understanding, § xlii.)
“The law of attraction,” says Fourier,” governs the whole universe, the plant, the insect, and the stars, accomplishing their revolutions. The animals obey a Divine law revealed by instinct, by attraction; all nature groups itself, associates in an harmonious concert, and accomplishes its destiny attractively. Man alone, ignorant of this Divine law, still struggles with his instincts, his desires, his passions, and attractions. In the midst of universal association and the harmony of worlds, human societies are sunk in discord and antagonism: their labours are repugnant; their relationships conflictive. Attraction, not being obeyed, becomes for man a source of suffering and .chastisement. His miseries are aggravated by the knowledge of enjoyments he does not possess. Like a bee, transported to a barren rock, languishing from want of flowers to call forth its industry, man, being out of his destiny, is not the less capable of fulfilling it, and suffers in proportion to the distance separating him from harmony and unity.
“Attraction in the hands of God is like a magic wand, which enables him to obtain by love and pleasure, what man can only obtain by violence. It transforms the most repugnant functions into pleasure. What can be more repugnant than the care of a new-born infant, crying, helpless, and unclean? What does God do to transform so repulsive a duty into pleasure!’ He gives the mother impassioned attraction for these unclean offices; he simply uses his magical prerogative-the impress of attraction. Thenceforth repugnant functions disappear, and are changed into pleasures.
“We see God confine himself to the simple lever of attraction to direct the planets and the stars, creatures immeasurably greater than ourselves; is man then alone excluded from the happiness of being guided to social unity by attraction? Why this interruption in the scale of the system of the universe? Why does attraction, the divine interpreter of unity in the highest and the lowest orders of creation, the law of stars and animals, sufficient to conduct them to harmony, not suffice for man, who is a creature between the planets and the animals? Where is the unity of the Divine system, if the law of general harmony, if attraction, is not applicable to societies of the human species, as well as to those of stars and animals, if attraction is not applicable to agricultural and manufacturing industry, which is the pivot of the social mechanism?
“Industry, the torment of the servant and the slave, nevertheless causes the delight of various creatures, bees, beavers, wasps and ants, wholly free to prefer idleness; but God has provided them with a social mechanism which attracts them to industry, their source of happiness. !Why should he not have granted us the same privilege? What a difference between their industrial condition and ours! A Russian, an Algerine, works from fear of the whip and the bastonade; an Englishman, a Frenchman, from fear of famine, which threatens their families; the Greeks and Romans, whose liberty has been so much vaunted among us, laboured as slaves under the fear of punishment, as the negroes do now in our colonial possessions.
“Such is the happiness of man in the absence of an attractive law of industry; such is the effect of human laws; it reduces humanity to envy the lot of the industrious animals, for whom attraction changes their labours into pleasures. What would have been our happiness had God assimilated us to these animals, had he impressed on us passional attraction for the exercise of all the labour to which we are destined? Our life would be a series of delights, whence would arise immense riches; while in ignorant subversion of attractive industry, we are nothing but a. society of galley-slaves, of whom some few escape from drudgery and maintain themselves in idleness. These are hateful to the mass, which tends, like them, to emancipate itself from labour: from thence arise revolutionary , ferments, agitators, who promise the people leisure, wealth, and happiness, “and who by some revulsion, having once obtained this for themselves, enslave the multitude anew to maintain themselves in the rank of idlers, or privileged directors of the industrious classes, which is a sort of idleness.”
According to the law of unity, the analogy of man with the creation, the Divine plan consists in a law of attractive industry, flowing from a mode of association in which all interests agree and harmonize instead of injuring each other in perpetual conflict as in the present state.
On this condition only, the unity of the creation will be demonstrated; man will be in accordance with himself, with the universe, and with God.
Armed with this knowledge, and strengthened in his researches by his implicit trust in the infinite goodness of Providence, he confidently proposes a new social order in harmony with man’s nature, or attractions, “which,” says he, “are always in proportion to his destiny;” a social order in which, however, all that is good in present or past ages is sacredly retained, but so organized as to ensure the greatest sum of happiness to the great mass of mankind; in which, through the power of association, whereby unity of interest and action, as well as vast economies and positive wealth can alone be attained: and Attractive industry, under which term he comprises all incentives to the productive energies of man, viz., agricultural, domestic, manufacturing and commercial labour, education, science and art, freed from all that now tends to make them repulsive,—the various blessings of this earth shall be so multiplied, that an abundant share of them may become the lot of the poor, allowing at the Bame time for an incredible increase in those of the rich; in which the various tastes and attractions of mankind are so admirably balanced, that the satisfaction of all prevents excess[3] in the satisfaction of each, and that the cardinal or affective passions (conjugal and parental love, friendship and ambition), nay, the very pleasures of the senses, shall, by finding legitimate satisfaction, establish the happiness of the individual, furthering at the same time the welfare of the community; for the individual and collective interests are so intimately connected, that the misery or advantage of the one invariably reflects on the other.
THE PHALANSTERY.
But instead of beginning his reforms from above, and according to constitutional customs, applying to a whole nation ideas which, if erroneous or incomplete, would be productive of the greatest evils, Fourier, considering the Commune (parish, village), with its agriculture, trades, professions, magistrates and clergy, as the primary element of society, rationally proposes to begin the social reform by a reform of the Commune, or indeed of a single commune, which, if unsuccessful, will have been productive of no considerable injury even to the shareholders; whereas its success, like that of the first steamer, the first railroad, the first electric telegraph, the first painless operation, would soon lead to new and more complete attempts in all parts of the globe, and thus peacefullyrealize that regeneration of society which he so confidently anticipated. (See a remarkable passage in chap. iii. of “Butler’s Analogy of Religion,” in which he describes the general influence such a community would have over the face of the earth.)
A series of calculations led him to consider that in an assemblage of 400 families of different ranks and fortunes, (about 1800 or 2000 individuals of all ages,) all the varieties of character and tastes necessary to fulfill the various industrial, artistic, and social functions, would be found united. Such, therefore, is the number he fixes on for his model community, which, from its being associated, like the famous Macedonian legion, by ties of affection and interest, he terms a Phalanx. The collective property of the Phalanx consists of about one league square, indivisible in itself, but represented by transferable shares, on the principle of railroads, canals, water-works, and other joint-stock concerns. Instead, however, of covering the land with 400 small and uncomfortable houses or huts, all more or less deficient in water, fire, and light; 400 , kitchens, 400 cellars, 400 barns, a number of ill-constructed stables, &c. >&c.; a sumptuous palace, termed a Phalanstery, (abode of the Phalanx,) is, at a far less cost, erected near the centre, in which onekitchen, divided !!into compartments, as at a restaurant, or a club-house, and in which a few professed cooks, with every convenience at their command, is substituted for the 400 small or miserable kitchens employing as many hands, thus withdrawn from productive labour. This palace, of an imposing and varied aspect, in which beauty is no where neglected, nor utility sacrificed, and consisting of various suites of apartments of all prices, to suit all fortunes and tastes, is imposed throughout of a double row of buildings, to prevent its extending over too long a space, which , would necessarily render communications difficult and it encloses within its circuit vast courts adorned with trees and fountains. In the centre, from which rises a majestic tower, containing the observatory, the clock, the industrial flags and signals, &c., are placed the public halls, saloons, and libraries, the seat of the Government, and the apartments of the wealthy. This part of the building surrounds a spacious garden, in which are placed the green houses for the cultivation of the rarest species of plants and flowers, and which serves as a winter promenade, especially for the aged and the infirm. On the right and on the left there extend two wings, gracefully recoiling on themselves, and which contain apartments gradually diminishing in price as they remove further from the centre, yet all combining neatness and comfort; and the extreme ends of the wings are appropriated to noisy occupations, assemblages of children, and all that might otherwise disturb the rest of the population.
The internal communications are managed by a wide and covered gallery on the first floor, winding round the whole extent of the building, and extending over the courts in colonnades. This gallery, which communicates with all parts of the Phalanstery, and is warmed in winter, ventilated in summer, is as it were the street, and at the same time the pictureand statue galleryand museum of the Phalanx. (The Long-gallery at Windsor may give some slight notion of what is here meant.) By means of tubes concealed in its flooring and walls, it distributes to all parts cold and warm water, heat and light; it also communicates by subterraneous passages with the workshops, stables, farm-yards, storehouses, dairies, barns, &c., which are, for convenience sake, placed at the other side of the road; and thus the population are never exposed to those sudden changes of temperature which, in our ill-constructed, filthy towns, are productive of so many colds and coughs, and pleurisies, and inflammations of the lungs, from which even the noble lady leaving the ballroom to enter her carriage is not exempt. Thus arrangement does away immediately with the need of those nuisances of civilization, the umbrella, the comforter, the clog. The constant out-door activity of the population will ensure their robust health, and the street gallery will, on minor occasions, free them from the annoyances and injurious influences of our muddy, comfortless streets.
In all the arrangements of the Phalanstery, comfort and convenience are always combined with elegance. Thus, the large public banquet or dining-rooms have several smaller ones adjoining them, for the accommodation of private parties of friends or industrial groups; and each family or individual may, moreover, without increase of expense, take their meals as at present in their private apartments. But for a full description of all the various details of this noble building we must again refer to Fourier’s own works, or Victor Considerant’s “Destinee Sociale.” (See also People’s Journal, Nos. 12 and 14.)
The Church—the temple of Spiritual Harmony, and the Opera—the school of Material and Artistic Harmony, complete the centre of Phalansterian Unity.
The same principles of unity are carried out in the distribution of the soil. Instead of covering the land with ditches and enclosures, and deadwalls,—instead of forcing it to produce what the nature of the soil is not suited for, at a vast expense of labour, and money laid out on manure, often brought from far,—instead of leaving waste fine tracts of land which a small outlay might soon cover with verdant crops, or luxuriant groves, the body of agriculturists analyse every portion of the common estate, and distribute the agricultural, horticultural, and agricultural labours according to the natural qualities of the soil and various expositions. The force of association allows of all these works being carried out on a large scale, the most perfect instruments of tillage being substituted for the paltry and imperfect ones still so much in use, from the poverty or prejudice of the farmers; besides every facility being offered by the unitary stables, for the collecting, classifying, and proper distribution of manure, without the present ruinous expense. Soiling, the rotation of crops, and judicious irrigation, can likewise be carried to the highest pitch of perfection, on an estate of 5,000 or 6,000 acres in extent, to the cultivation of which nearly 2,000 persons devote Rome portion, however small, of their time; and no portion of the soil is subjected, as at present, to the caprices of ignorance, or the necessities of individual poverty. Thus it is already easy to see that the profits of association are two-fold: negative, consisting in economies of time, labour, and produce; and positive, from an actual increase in the produce, consequent on the concentration of power, and the superiority of the methods and implements which a large body can command; for the bounteous earth asks only to be courted, and is prodigal in her gifts to those who bestow on her some portion of their attention, but often barren and cheerless as an abandoned lover, when neglected by man. Great however, as the increase of the general wealth of the community would already be, it might not still allow of a sufficiency for all, nor would the happiness of the individual yet be complete, for man is a creature compounded of matter and spirit, and the mere gratification of his material wants cannot satisfy him. Fourier would have only done a small portion of his duty towards man if, after having so acutely analysed his nature, he had not sought the means of satisfying his seven spiritual as well as his five sensitive or materialpassions, which latter he considered as the subordinate; nor would he have been true to the system of nature, had he not sought in all things to substitute attraction for constraint.
ORGANIZATION OF LABOUR.
As yet, labour, the destiny of man, has been looked upon as an evil, and only resorted to through the compulsion of law or necessity; and this has I led to the general belief that repose, or inertion, is the state man is most inclined to. Yet man is essentially an active being; and generally none are more so than the professedly idle. For behold a group of children in their hours of recreation, when perfectly free, if so inclined, to indulge in sloth and indolence. How active are they in the pursuit of pleasure! how laborious the occupations to which they voluntarily subject themselves! And how great their courage and endurance in overcoming difficulties of their own choice or creation! What also can be more fatiguing, more laborious than a fox-hunt or a steeple-chase? and what more monotonous, more tedious than fishing? Yet these occupations are the delight of many. It is not, therefore, labour in itself that is repulsive, since on the contrary it is so frequently resorted to as a source of supreme pleasure, for voluntary labour is ever attractive. We must therefore seek for its repulsiveness in the form in which it presents itself, in its mere accessories. We have already seen that there are implanted in man three distributive passions-the spirit of rivalry, or emulation; enthusiasm, or blind zeal; and the love of change. These passions not having had as yet a legitimate development, have generally been proscribed by our philosophers, who presumed to correct these works of God, while their duty was to seek how they might be properly directed to ultimate good. Now labour, as it has hitherto been constituted, gives satisfaction to none of these. The spirit of rivalry has found development only in the various forms of gambling (cards, dice, racing, stock-jobbing, &c.) or in religious, political, and legal discussions, which have generally led to bloodshed and ruin. Enthusiasm, which is chiefly awakened by large masses, united by some common interest or sentiment, finds, alas! its most complete development in a body whose chief function is destruction—the army. And the satisfaction of the love of change, so essential to the full development of an our faculties, is the privilege of a few rich only, who, using it in the mere pursuit of unproductive and egotistical pleasure, often find it an insupportable burthen.
But let us enter into the field of civilized labour. What do we see? A man, a woman, or a child spending a whole day in a solitary field, ploughing, digging, or weeding incessantly; or a human being, changed into an animated machine, spending whole days, years, a life, in making the eighteenth part of a pin, or feeding with flax a spinning machine, which performs the really creativepart of the work! What enthusiasm can be awakened in the workman’s breast, and renew his energy, in the performance of such duties? What spirit of rivalry can call forth his ingenuity? and by what means can he develop the faculties of his head, of his heart, the several talents which perchance lay dormant in his bosom? If we add to this the poverty of the workman’s fare and dress, the unsightliness and impurity of the generality of workshops, and the offensiveness of their atmosphere, we cannot wonder that labour should be considered a hardship, and only resorted to through the dread of starvation. Yet these conditions, not being inherent to labour, can and should be removed, and perhaps attraction, or the pleasure men feel in exercising their various faculties in occupations of their own choice, may, by a change in its mechanism, give to production an impetus which society has been in vain striving for three thousand years to attain by violence. Fourier, to satisfy these three passions or impulses implanted in us by the hand of God, proposes what is only feasible in an association of 1500 or 2000 persons of every age, rank, and fortune, viz., that all the branches of human activity, agricultural, domestic, manufacturing and commercial labour, education, science, and art, shall, as is already the case in most manufactures, be subdivided into classes, species, varieties, sub-varieties, &c., until the minutest subdivision be reached; but instead of condemning a few individuals to adopt exclusively one of these subdivisions, which makes life dwindle down to the limits of thirty or forty years of moral and physical misery, he leaves them all open to the free choice of the population, who, following the true bent of their nature, or their attractions, form friendly groups for the accomplishment of any particular variety or sub-variety. As these groups are formed of persons who have a liking for their occupation, they work with enthusiasm and zeal, as is the case when men assemble for their pleasure, however laborious it may be in itself (racing, cricket, rowing, &c.). If at the same time, rivalryor emulation can be excited between two groups engaged in almost identical occupations, the exertions of both will become extraordinary, and the work will be incomparably more joyously, more quickly, and more perfectly performed, than if the members of each group had undertaken a small share of the work, and accomplished it alone.
But enthusiasm, from its very intensity, is of short duration, rarely exceeding the limits of two hours. Once this fire extinguished, the attention lags, energy fails, and indifference ensues; and unless some fresh occupation arouse the spirits anew, they fall into a torpor which borders on stupidity. An opera of four hours’ duration would become tedious. How much more so a mere material occupation! With the exception therefore of the sciences and fine arts, few employments will last more than two hours; nor in this new organization is it likely they could be of a much longer duration; for groups of workmen are always substituted for individuals, and it is evident that the work which would employ one mall for twelve hours, would only employ six men for two hours, independently of the influence of enthusiasm and rivalry, which more than double the active energies of man, and cannot be awakened in solitary and long-continued labour. After two hours’ work, more or less, the group breaks up, and each member proceeds to join some other group of his own choice, which he again quits for another, and so on in succession through the course of the day. This breaking up of the groups prevents any jealousy, however strong, between any two industrial bodies, from turning, as at present, into hatred between persons; for it may happen that the very individuals who were corporatively opposed in the morning, may in the afternoon be amicably leagued together in the pursuit of some common occupation. The simplicity of the work entrusted to each group being, in consequence of its extreme subdivision, very great, it will require no long apprenticeship; so that every individual, man, woman, or child, may, after having given satisfactory proofs of competence, belong to twenty o thirty different groups, and yet attain more or less excellence in each. The gardens and orchards are placed, as nearly as the nature of the soil, will allow, in the immediate vicinity of the Phalanstery, the remoter portions of the domain being reserved for fields, pastures, and woods; and as all the manufactories and workshops arc on the opposite side of the road, but little time will he lost in moving from one group to another. Conveyances are moreover provided for those groups whose occupations may require their presence at the limits of the domain, the greatest distance of which from the Phalanstery is always under two miles.
Our abilities can only be justly and soundly appreciated by our peers; hence to each group belongs exclusively the right of electing its director or chief. Thus, mathematicians must be elected exclusively by mathematicians, agriculturists by agriculturists, and musicians, painters, or architects by those who are alone competent judges, from their pursuing similar avocations. The election of the most talented is thus ensured in each particular group; for ever) member is personally interested in the perfect fairness of the choice, as the placing of an incompetent person at the head of the group would injure it materially, by diminishing its productive powers, and morally, by calling down upon it the criticisms and jeers of rival groups, The chiefs of the groups elect from among themselves the chiefs of the varieties to which they belong. These again choose the chief of the species; and thus, by a series of progressive elections, we arrive at the chiefs or ministers of the principal branches of human activity (agriculture, manufactures, education, commerce, &c.), who form the general council or Regency of the Community.
To ensure a just equilibrium between all the labours essential to the welfare of the Community, a larger share of artificial attraction, such as honours, privileges, superior remuneration, &c., will be superadded to those functions which of themselves are less attractive. But this rule is subject to some exceptions, in order to leave a scope for the satisfaction of the passion of Uniteeism, or social charity and self-sacrifice.
Thus labour, now so repugnant, is rendered attractive by the mere fact of every man, woman, and child being enabled to follow the true bent of their inclination in the choice of their several occupations and industrial companions; and of giving due satisfaction to the three distributive passions, viz., those of rivalry, enthusiasm, and variety, or discord, concord, and modulation. Add to these spiritual attractions to activity, the material charms offered by a participation in the fruits of the united exertions of the members of each group, and above all, the substitution of airy, comfortable, neat, and even handsome workshops, enlivened by various artistic ornaments and the delights of music, for the filthy, cheerless, dark dens in which so many emaciated and demoralized human beings now perform their monotonous and health-destroying duties j and we think that all unprejudiced minds will freely admit that industry may become attractive, yea attractive, when, by a good and natural organization, every useful occupation shall have become a pleasure, and every pleasure a useful occupation.
In the division of profits among the three elements of production, the rights of capitalare, as at present, proportionate to the original investments. Those of labour are calculated upon the number of hours each member has worked; and those of talent are determined by the rank held in the industrial hierarchy. Thus, an operation which may at first sight have appeared of a most complicated nature, is, from the admirable organization of Phalansterian society, reduced to a simple arithmetical problem, termed Fellowship, or Partnership, which any school boy may solve.
It is needless to say that, enriched as the Phalanx would be by both positive and negative wealth, (increased produce and economies of all sorts,) it could easily afford to advance to every man, woman, or child, a minimum in food, lodging, and clothing, as a substitute for the natural rights of hunting, fishing, pasturage, gathering, &e., enjoyed by, the savage, but which are incompatible with an organized society. That this advance of the first necessaries of life would be no inducement to idleness where industry is rendered more attractive than pleasures are in civilisation, will be evident to all those who have examined a group of idlers, for, as we have already stated, idlers are often the most active of men, and in order to become most useful members of society, and more than repay the advance made to them, only require labour to be presented in an attractive form, with a constant change of occupation; for they have generally the love of varietyas their dominant passion. Should such an anomaly as a perfectly inert man present itself, the Phalanx will consider him as a madman, and as such he will, like the infant, the aged, and the sick, have an incontestable right to their assistance.
We must however admit that this minimum can only be ensured where labour is attractive, for were it guaranteed to every member of civilised society, in which labour takes its most repulsive forms, the whole population would soon fall into the most complete idleness. The English poor laws, which constitute a sort of minimum, tacitly acknowledging in all men the rights of subsistence, though most inadequate even to the first wants of nature, have however had a decidedly pernicious effect on the population. There is no liberty without the minumum; there is no minimum without attractive industry.
Such is a rapid and most imperfect sketch of Fourier’s system of organizing labour, in which attraction is substituted for the compulsion of law or want, and by which the produce may be increased ten fold without injury to the labourer. It may be summed up in the following terms:
Collective labour universally substituted for individual labour; and its natural consequence:
Shortand varied occupations substituted for long-protracted and tedious occupations.
WOMAN.
It is manifest that in a society where all its members, men, women, and children, are guaranteed a respectable maintenance through their own industry, the condition of woman will be materially altered, and that the gentler half of humanity will cease to be held in thraldom by the physicallystronger. But there would be so much to say on this subject, that we prefer reserving it for a special article. Suffice it to say, that even in marriage, woman would still retain her individuality and independence, and no longer be absorbed in the person of her husband, and often brutalized by his power. Her property, her earnings, her inheritances, all would remain indisputably her own, and be subject to no marital influences. The great equalizer, Love, would of course make all things common between those whose union originated in the heart; and in the Phalanstery there would be no other unions; but the law would not step in and say to the wife, “All that was yours belongs henceforth to your husband; your duty is for the future resignation and obedience to his will and his caprices.” And let it be observed, that every step towards the complete emancipation of woman is likewise a step in the progress of humanity; and that, were civilised nations suddenly to exchange monogamy and the civil rights of the wife for polygamy, or the seraglio, they would in a short period relapse into barbarianism. Independence and the general education of the mind and heart of woman will do more towards the extirpation of vice than all the moral treatises that were ever penned by hoary-headed men; and modesty and virtue will reign universally, when woman, the protecting angel of our infancy, the fairest dream of our youth, the companion of our life, being fully emancipated and conscious of her supreme worth, shall universally receive that esteem, love, and reverence, to which she is so eminently entitled.
Then will the chivalrous sentiments which cast such a charm and lustre over the early parts of modern times, and which were, alas! rather the creation of poetic minds than a genuine picture of the social habits, be in truth realised; for when woman, becoming free, no longer depends upon marriage to obtain a certain standing in life, a feeling which but too often induces her to form a union against the inspirations of her heart, man will be aware that to obtain her, he must win her affections, deserve her esteem, and far from commanding and tyrannising in what is essentially the dominion of woman, must in Love subject himself to her will. These principles will no doubt seem far from orthodox to the stronger sex, who in framing the laws of marriage, have been careful to reserve for themselves the lion’s share; but let them consider well that they may yet be the gainers by the change; for woman, restored to her rights and dignity, will no longer have recourse to the cunning and duplicity by which she now but too frequently regains the influence of which she has been so unjustly deprived. If any man doubt this influence. obtained by double dealing and deceit, let him but examine attentively the domestic circle of his neighbours and friends, though it were better he shut his eyes against his own.
While on this subject we will briefly state that the few pages in which Fourier treats of matrimonial doctrines have called forth the most bitter and no doubt virtuous animadversions of our modern Tartuffes, who instead of attentively studying the system as a whole, in order to be able to judge fairly, even though unfavourably, of its parts, act like boys with a book of medical or natural science, seeking out certain passages with the help of the index, and then, taking their own impure minds and our corrupt civilisation as a standard, build thereon a system of turpitude and vice by which they alarm innocent and unsuspecting minds, and thus deter them from the study of a science which bears in it the germs of the future regeneration of mankind. But, to pacify the pure minded, thus alarmed by mere sophisms, we will simply assert that Fourier has striven to introduce into the relations of love that same truthfulness and sincerity which he makes the basis of all-our other relations in life; and though he foresaw that in a purer state of society, in which all impediments are removed from genuine unions of the heart, and in which that monstrous legal prostitution, that infamy of infamies, the “mariage de convenance” is utterly unknown, some modifications may without danger take place in matrimonial institutions. Though he foresaw this, still, unlike Plato, Owen, and St. Simon, he always strenuously maintained that the present conjugal institutions should be most religiously preserved for three or four generations after the general establishment of harmony upon earth; and even then only altered when all those whom the question most vitally interests, viz., husbands, fathers, magistrates, and the clergy, shall have agreed, after due consideration, that a change would be desirable and unattended with peril. Still, unlike the above-named philosophers, he lays down no positive or dogmatic rule on this subject, but merely states that such and such forms of conjugal relations, which he describes, may possibly, and in all probability will be, the result of the serial or natural organization of labour, which is alone proposed by him as an absoluterule. The pertinacity with which all his opponents-attack him on this point only betrays their utter ignorance of his works; and more than one has been surprised in perusing them carefully, neither to find as the rule of this new social order the polygamy of the Patriarchs, nor the revolting community of women paired off yearly by lots, proposed by the divine Plato.
EDUCATION.
The most beautiful and interesting part of the economical portion of I’ Fourier’s Theory is perhaps his system of Education, of which we will also make a separate article. The tender care with which he seeks out and awakens the tastes and talents of children from their earliest infancy, and directs them to the beautiful and the good—the paternal solicitude with which he keeps from them all that might corrupt their innocent minds, or awaken dangerous passions before the naturalage of puberty (17 or 18),—measures which are impracticable in the incoherence of civilisation, where everything, books, pictures, conversations, bad examples, and legions of human beings living chiefly by the corruption of youth, tends daily, hourly, to awaken in the child’s mind ideas which are pollution and death to body and soul, but which become possible and easy in association; and finally, the social use he makes of the activity, talents, and propensities, of what he so quaintly and profoundly, but alas! in civilisation, so satirically terms the neuter sex, are well deserving- of the attention of all philanthropists and thinkers, and above all, of mothers, the only competent judges in matters of infantine education.
We will not enter either into any details respecting the balance of population, a question which Fourier has treated with truly scientific, humane, : and religious sentiment, vastly distinct from that which presides over the cheerless, cruel, heartless theory of Malthus, who makes all the nobler feelings of the soul subservient to the mere materialnecessaries of life (and these how scanty!); who subjects spirit to matter, and finds no other means of keeping population on a level with the means of subsistence, than moral restraint, or a prudential restraint from marriage, which is nothing short of an absolute crushing of the heart, an abstaining from the two gentler affective passions, love and familism; neither will we show how several phalansteries, grouping round a phalanstery of the second degree or borough, form a canton,—several cantons grouping round a phalanstery of the third degree or town, form a shire,—several shires a province, several provinces a nation, several nations a continent, and finally, all the continents grouping round the Capital of the globe, (probably Constantinople, from its favourable position,) the superior centre of all the social relations of spherical unity, which, being the brain and the heart of the globe (to assimilate it to the human frame), will receive life from, and distribute it to, all parts through the means of its nerves (the electric telegraph), and of its vast arteries (lakes, rivers, canals, railways); neither will we speak of the amelioration of climates, through the gradual cultivation of the deserts, and reclaiming of unwholesome marshes, by means of industrial armies substituted for those numerous armies of destruction which society, as yet unable to organize labour and production, has displayed so much ingenuity in organizing; for the reader will find all these questions admirably treated in the works of Fourier and of his now numerous disciples. But we will close this short sketch of so vast a subject by saying, that Fourier’s system, unlike the Commonwealth of Plato, More’s Utopia, Cabet’s Icaria, and all other social schemes, is not the offspring of a blind though well-meaning imagination; it is the genuine discovery of Nature’s laws, the bearing out of what Newton so wonderfully began; it carries the precision of the mathematical and natural sciences, the warmth of feeling and beauty of the fine arts, the elegancies of refined life, and more than the aspirations of the democrat into our social relations: it acknowledges that all parties, however opposite, are founded on a partial truth, a legitimate right, only unjustbecause exclusive, but to which a well organized society should and could give entire satisfaction, and it seeks the law by which these partial and contending truths may be combined in one sublime and harmonious unity. In it, all the vital questions of the day—the rights of property, the rights of labour, universal suffrage, the extinction of pauperism, general sanatory measures, public education, protection of women, universal peace, &c. &c.—find their only logical, only complete solution; and by its means alone can the struggle between capital and labour cease, or rather be converted into a friendly and beneficial emulation—a struggle which may otherwise burst forth into a fearful conflict, equally destructive to both parties; for, says Bacon, “The matter of seditions is of two kinds: much poverty and much discontent;” and again, “The rebellions of the bellyare the worst,”
The free association of the three essential elements of production, whereby every individual, man, woman, or child, may participate in the produce, each in proportion to the Capital, Labour, or Talent employed in its creation; and the Organization of Labour, in which attraction or pleasure is the great incentive to activity, developing at the same time, the physical, moral, and intellectual faculties of every member of society, each in proportion to his or her natural endowments:—such are the two leading features of Fourier’s Model Community or Phalanx, the experimental establishment of which on one square league, is the great hope and final object of the most ardent endeavours of his school.
We have, of course, in this short pamphlet, given a most incomplete and unsatisfactory view’ of this vast subject; tut our aim was merely to clear the Phalansterian. doctrines from the accusation of communism and immorality. For further information, we must refer all who have the happiness of mankind at heart, to the various publications of the “Ecole Sociétaire.” Though Fourier’s own works might be considered too voluminous and abstruse to begin with, there are many concise and popular views of his theory, the perusal of which would amply repay the few hours spent on them, and probably add as many converts in different degrees as there were readers. By these simple means the Phalansterian ranks are daily increasing, drawing their chief recruits from among scientific and literary men and artists. The central school at Paris which twenty years ago consisted of a deaf man, a lady, and a child, has lately been enabled to publish a daily paper, “La Démocratie Pacifique,” which has within the last six weeks increased its daily sale from 1,500 to 25,000; a monthly review, “La Phalange,” in which Fourier’s principles of universal unity are applied with great success to the higher questions of religion, science, literature, and art; and the works continually issued by them are sufficiently numerous and varied to suit every degree of knowledge and satisfy every taste.
We should, indeed, advise every student of Fourier, to begin by some of the simpler works of his disciples; for Fourier’s own writings, like those of Newton, are, from their inherent abstruseness, and the novelty of the doctrines they present, difficult to be understood and appreciated without some preparation. The following works are among those we chiefly recommend:—
l.Exposition Abrégée, by Victor Considerant, 9d.;
or, Organisation du Travail, by M. Briancourt, 10d.
or, Exposition de Victor Hennequin.
2.Solidarité, by R. Renaud, 1s. 3d.;
or, Notions Élémentaires, by H. Gorsse, 1s. 6d.
3.—Destinée Sociale, by V. Considerant, 14s.
4.—Le Fou du Palais Royal, Cantagrel, 4s.
5.—Visite au Phalanstere, by M. Briancourt.
6.—Vie de Fourier, Ch. Pellarin, 5s.
7.—Nouveau Monde Industriel, Ch. Fourier, 6s.
8.—Théorie de L’Unité Universelle,       20s.
9.—Théorie des Quatre Mouvements,     6s.
10.—La Phalange, a Monthly Review, publishing Fourier’s numerous manuscripts.
Fourier’s doctrines had made but little progress in England, till within the last month, owing no doubt to their abstruseness, and the dread entertained in this country of what is termed socialism. But be it remembered, that Newton’s sublime doctrines were long held up to public odium by Leibnitz, as subversive of true religion, and that the same accusations of absurdity, immorality, or imposture have always been the lot of great and glorious novelties; nor were the first Christians themselves dealt With more ceremoniously at the hands of the pagans of antiquity.
However this may be, the English sketches of the Phalansterian system are few and imperfect, being limited, we believe, to the following:—
“Attractive Industry,” by Abel Transon; with a sketch of Fourier’s Life, by H. Doherty. “Fourier and his System,” translated by T. Wood, which though good in parts, is imperfect as a whole. Four brief articles, in Vol. I. of People’s Journal, by Tito Pagliardini. A Translation of “Exposition Abrégée,” in the Topic, June 1st, 1847. The article, “Fourier,” in supplement to Penny Cyclopedia, and “Morell’s History of Modern Philosophy,” 2nd edition, 1847, though it is evident from the concluding remarks, Vol. II., page 388 and 389, that the author had taken but a hurried and incomplete view of the subject, which is the more to be regretted, in consequence of his general tone of impartiality.
The Morning Chronicle which, from being the most retrograde and shortsighted paper in London, has, since it recently changed hands, become one of the most enlightened, has also given, in its numbers of 29th and 31st March and 1st April, a short but impartial summary of the practical portion of Fourier’s views. A Society termed the Phalansterian Association, is however formed with a view to translating and publishing Fourier’s works and those of his disciples. All communications, on this subject, are received at 55, Rupert Street, Haymarket, and at P. Rolandi’s, Bookseller, Berners Street, where also the above-named works can be obtained.


[1] By Passion, Fourier means any motive, or spring of action whatever—the source of all our virtues as well as of our vices; for, like all other movements in nature, the passions are subjected to a twofold. development (Dualité de mouvement): one harmonic or direct, the other subversive or indirect. The action of the passions is harmonic when in accordance with, and subversive when opposed to, the Divine will. But as all the social conditions in which man has hitherto been placed, have been opposed to his real nature and tendencies, his passions have in general taken the subversive direction; hence the exclusively unfavourable acceptation in which the word passion is at present generally taken.
[2] Before we continue our account of his views, we must warn the reader that Fourier, like all inventors, has presumed to adopt a few new words in order to express new ideas; and carrying mathematical precision into the science of society, has even ventured to use mathematical formulae. This boldness on his part has, however, called forth the censure of many plain, straight-forward, practical men, and has even, we areassured, deterred many from paying due attention to his system. We have more reasons than one for supposing that the same practical men have avoided, on a similar plea, the study of algebra, geometry, astronomy, and especially of chemistry, natural history, and botany; for these sciences, though already overladen with hard and barbarous words, to wit—dodecahedron, megatheridae hypogenous, caspidate, pinnatifid, papiilionaceous—are daily adding to their stock. We confess ourselves, however, at a loss to account for the immunity granted on this point to the inventors of steam-engines, railways, and pomatums, as well as to the reporters of the money-market and city-news. The chief sins of Fourier in this respect, are the terms of Phalanstery, Cabalist, Composite, Unitecism, aroma!, pivotal, serial law, binivers, with about a dozen others, together with a peculiar use of the letters X, Y, and K, (in imitation of algebraists,) which, however, we must confess, add greatly to the precision and clearness of his formulae. We must likewise in justice to him state, that all these terms are as clearly defined in his works as the geometrical terms are in the books of Euclid, and that his formulae and tables are wonderfully clear and concise even for those whose scientific education has been neglected.
[3] How frequently does a repast, from being too much prolonged, degenerate into an orgia! Yet if, when the necessities of nature were duly satisfied, any important or attractive occupation were immediately to follow the banquet, such ns a religious or political meeting, a ball, an opera, or any scientific or artistic pursuit, this excess would be presented, to the great advantage of each individual, as also of the moral and physical condition of society in general; hence tile utility of the alternating passion, and the need of so arranging society as to give it due satisfaction.

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John Ross Browne, “The Great Steam Duck” (1841)

THE GREAT STEAM DUCK
OR A
CONCISE DISCUSSION
Of a most useful and extraordinary invention for
AERIAL NAVIGATION.
BY A MEMBER OF THE L. L. B. B.
“Tis not anger, but justice, makes us write:
Such sons of darkness must be dragged to light.” Walter Harte—Essay on Satire.
LOUISVILLE:
Printed by order of the Louisville Literary Brass Band.
1841



THE GREAT STEAM-DUCK
I
N an essay published some time ago in one our periodicals, I took occasion to animadvert on the absurdities of a plan for navigating the air, recently presented to the public by an ingenious aëronaut of St. Louis. If, in the course of the present lecture, I find it convenient to repeat part of this essay, I shall do so with the belief, or least the hope, that none of you have read it. I shall also confine myself as closely as possible to this sublunary sphere, tho’ my subject is throughout susceptible of the highest flights of imagination.
The principles upon which aërostation, or the art of navigating the air, has been founded, are of some antiquity; altho’ the application of them to practice seems to be altogether of modern discovery. The peculiar property of the atmosphere which induced philosophers to make such experiments as finally led to this discovery, has long been known. It was an axiom among chemists and philosophers, before the seventeenth century, that ‘any body which is specifically or bulk for bulk, lighter than the atmospheric air encompassing the earth will be buoyed up by it and ascend; but as the density of the atmosphere decreases, on account of the diminished pressure of the superincumbent air, and the elastic property which it possesses at different elevations above the earth, this body can rise only to a height in which the surrounding air will be of the same specific gravity with itself.’ Other facts have since led to the discovery that in this situation the encasing body will either float or be driven in the direction of the wind or current of air to which it is exposed. Henry Cavendish, by his experiments on the specific gravity of the air, furnished material for the structure of a system which was first carried into practice by the French philosophers of the eighteenth century. We know that long previous to this era, one of the heathen gods attempted to reach the sun by means of artificial wings; but got a considerable fall in consequence of that luminary burning the wax by which they were attached; and, also that Rasselas Prince of Abbasynia witnessed a most deplorable calamity in his happy valley; but with the exception of some suggestions in Bishop Wilkins’ “Daedalus,” nothing possessing the least claim to a probability of success was either suggested or carried into execution until the time of Dr. Black, of Edinburgh.
By using a solution of soap so as to render the instrument of his experiment sufficiently light, this philosopher succeeded after the utmost perseverance in floating a bladder, and thus creating the first inflammable air-balloon ever known.
For the best statistics of the progress of art in France we are indebted to Lord Wm. Lennox, who has lately with much research collected a number of facts tending to elucidate the history of aerial navigation. Monk Mason has published at greater length an erudite work on ballooning; but for all practical purposes it is too voluminous. According to the former, France had the honor of having given birth to the first aëronauts who experimented on a large scale. These were two brothers of Annody, Stephen and Joseph Montgolfier, paper makers by trade. They distinguished themselves in 1782 by exhibiting their great aërostatic machines, which have since excited such attention.[1]
M. Pilatre de Rozier was the first aëronaut who ventured to ascend in a balloon.
Though aërostation progressed rapidly in France, no authentic account is given of aerial experiments in England until the close of the year 1783; and in fact they did not become frequent until 1784. Zambecarri, an Italian, made the first attempt, or rather the first of any promise. Vincent Lunardi performed the first aerial voyage. It took place in May 1784.
The most distinguished English adventurers from that time forward, were Mr. Sheldon, Mr. Saddler, Lieut. Harris and Capt. Snowden.
Of the French those best known are Monsieur Blanchard, the Marquis D’Arauds, Messieurs De Rozier and Romain, and the Chevalier De L’Epinard.
Having disposed of the distinguished foreign aëronauts let us proceed to examine the claims of our American adventurers.
The first aerial voyage in America was made by Mr. Blanchard, who ascended from Philadelphia on the 9th of January 1793, in the presence of General Washington and a multitude of people. Since that time ballooning has been as prevalent in the U. States as in any other country; and it is needless to mention our aëronauts consecutively.
Of those who have ever enlightened the world on aërostation none is more justly eulogized than Mr. Green. His system however is so generally known that it needs no description. Let it suffice to say this aëronaut is now making experiments which promise the most satisfactory success.
We learn from the American Magazine that “about three years ago a Mr. H. Strait of Rensselaer county N. York, made a communication to Prof. Silliman of New Haven, Ct. editor of the American Journal of Science and Arts, on Aerial navigation, which was lately published in that periodical. Little has been said of the plan of Mr. Strait, as to whether it was practicable or would probably be useful. But in this age of enquiry, it seems proper to lay before the public every project which is not evidently so visionary as to promise no useful results whatever. Mr. Strait, like all others who have formed plans with some labor and attention, thinks his project quite practicable, and with some improvements capable of becoming the means of frequent conveyance and transportation.
His plan is to have the united assistance of inflammable or rarified air and the percussion of wings. The first is to supply the means of ascent, and this power is to be governed at pleasure by the percussion of wings; the latter to be so constructed as to be moved with the greatest facility, whatever the size or shape. The materials of which they are made should be light, strong, durable and capable of elasticity. He thinks they may be made so as to be very little heavier, in proportion to their surface, than birds’ wings, and equally movable. They are also to supercede the need of a parachute, and to regulate ascent and descent, to insure and assist progress, and to prevent fatal consequences from the rarified air envelope bursting, or being torn. A description is given of the wings as to shape, construction, connexion with the balloon, and their operation; and he supposes their motion will be easy, and in a great measure independent of weight, shape, or size, and the percussion powerful and constant. He also shows the manner in which the wings are to be fastened to the balloon; but supposes a sufficiency of rarified air to overcome the weight of the balloon, its apparatus and load.
He is of opinion that the form of the balloon should be similar to that of the vessel which tracts in the denser medium of water. The wings he proposes to fasten about five feet below the balloon. The car is to be attached to the wings. The pilot is to stand upright if he chooses, and so that his hands shall come upon, or have full command of the wings for moving them.”
An improvement on this plan was lately presented to the citizens of this place in the shape of a miniature model by a Mr. Angleson. This gentleman, like many before him, did not discover till too late that the invention which he was honestly exhibiting as his own, was several years old, and if well investigated, probably several centuries.
In a pamphlet published some time ago, by Mr. Richard Oglesby Davidson, we are informed that the author is the true and original inventor of the Aërostat. To this assertion we may reply in the words of a Roman satirist—”Obsecro tuum est? vetus credideram!”—”Is it thine? I thought the invention was an old one!”
Mr. Davidson very wisely determined in his own mind, when he first conceived the thought and plan of the Aërostat, not to disclose them until after he had experimented on and established their practicability. ‘Because,’ he adds, ‘I was aware of the fact that hitherto inventors and discoverers have been deprived of their rights by designing interlopers, who happened to have the means for experimenting on, and consequently forestalling the true and original discoverers, both as to the honor and profits of their intellectual labor; and secondly, to save my feelings the chagrin and mortification occasioned by the exposition, ridicule, and derision invariably heaped upon all innovations.’
Again he says: ‘I had no means for experimenting on my theory, and to keep it to myself, under the daily apprehension of its being discovered by some one else, placed me in a peculiar situation indeed.’ To remove this difficulty, he has disclosed his secret to an enlightened public, trusting to their generosity and to the practicability of his invention, to furnish him with means for the experiment. He offers FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS for and in consideration of the loan of FIVE THOUSAND—predicated on his chance of success—as flattering a speculation for the monied man as ever a Gregory or a Sylvester offered; and, in this financial revolution and bank-plague, the speculator who has no other use for five thousand dollars could not dispose of them better or to greater advantage than by accepting the proposal.
Proceed we next to examine the gentleman’s claims to originality. He introduces his disclosure by a historical sketch of aëronautic navigation, from the time of Friar Bacon, in the thirteenth century, to that of himself in the nineteenth century—an era in which ‘a great number of extraordinary and useful inventions have marked, as with the finger of inspiration,’ the mighty march of intellect. Richard Oglesby Davidson’s sketch is ingenious and shows some research; but it is deficient in one point—it cannot make him the inventor of the “aërostat—a point which he labors so assiduously to prove.
If he examines the annals of modem improvement a little more closely than he seems to have done, he will at once perceive that he has been preceded, and that the honor of the invention is due to another—perhaps a less learned explorer in the ‘airy world,’ but one who has certainly carried the science to greater perfection than Mr. Richard Oglesby Davidson or any of his predecessors. It is not for me to say whether the invention referred to was or was not original—for few things can now claim that title—and some have even doubted whether there is such a trait at all in the human mind as originality—but the description given of the aërostat, though less prolix, and therefore falling under Mr. Richard Oglesby Davidson’s strictures on ‘abstract theories,’ is substantially the same as that of the American Eagle. Let an extract suffice:
‘It has long been considered,’ says the author, ‘that steam cannot be employed successfully in aëronautical navigation; but I have proof incontestible that this is a crude prejudice, based upon neither equity nor justice. [For on[2]] November, 1839 [I] invented an extraordinary Flying Duck. This animal partakes of rara avis, and is shaped like the ordinary wild duck, but has greater breadth of wing and beam. I have constructed its wings of whale-bone and very stout silk, and plastered them with a certain slippery compound, to ease their motion. In the breast, or craw, are the works; and the hind part is partitioned off into berths; a large window in the stern giving light.’ There is but one material difference between this Aërostat and that of Mr. Richard Oglesby Davidson, but it constitutes a vast superiority, viz.: The propelling power in the former is steam—that in the latter is manual labor; and it must be evident to the most casual observer, that steam is infinitely superior, no human power being able to endure the exertion necessary to raise itself. The Steam Duck, exclusive of other advantages, is a self-propeller—i. e., the machinery being the only foreign aid—and, from its peculiar construction, is capable of enduring all the dangers of flood and storm.
Although Mr. Richard Oglesby Davidson endeavors to prove that we must adhere in every particular to nature, yet it has frequently been found convenient to depart from it—as in the formation of the wings of this Aërostat. As it is, let us see their affinity to nature:
‘The principle of ascending the air by means of a balloon,’ says the learned aëronaut, ‘grows out of the atmosphere, and is susceptible of the clearest demonstration. But instead of its aiding the world in discovering the means for navigating the air, I have no doubt that it operates as a blind in the matter. In itself it is perfectly sui generis. It acts upon no natural principles; it employs no power, natural or artificial; nor does it imitate any animal belonging to the three great elements, earth, water, and air.’
We cannot coincide with Mr. Richard Oglesby Davidson in many points of this paragraph. Instead of the balloon operating as a blind as regards discoveries for navigating the air; by what means, we ask, in the absence of the balloon, could we have discovered the actual resistance of the air?—the height to which it extends?—how and in what manner it ceases to support life?—the invaluable uses of aëromancy and of the gases?—and numberless other branches of the sciences of Aëronautical navigation?
‘How then,’ he suggests, ‘is man to carry himself upon the atmosphere with safety and expedition?’ I answer, by adopting a principle founded in, and imitating a model in creating his machine, and employing a power furnished By nature. Now he has not only answered the question to the satisfaction of every one, but imitated a model, so closely indeed that he has hatched an Eagleout of a Duck, and produced by the process, a most wonderful specimen in ornithology.
Literally speaking, the American Eagle is a noble bird—
‘The emblem of the brave and free?’ but a question arises, in ‘following nature,’ whether he can fly as fast or swim as buoyantly as the common duck? Every ornithologist knows he cannot. Therefore, in the same ratio as the duck can fly faster and swim better than the eagle, is the original Aërostat or Steam Duck superior in model and construction to the American Eagle.
Mr. Richard Oglesby Davidson, after some philosophical reflections on the probable resistance of that airy nothing, which has proved too subtle for the unsuitable means hitherto suggested by the ingenuity of man, proceeds with a very ingenious, though somewhat intricate account of the construction and mode of operation of the Aërostat. It is formed as the bird from which it derives its name. The chief framing of the body is made of whalebone covered with oiled silk or varnished linen. The wings are jointed and moved by cranks acted upon by a series of compound levers. The rudder is formed like a shovel and made out of thin plank. The internal machinery is propelled by the conductor who seats himself in the centre of the Aërostat when it is ‘in transitu.’
The great obstacle to this plan is, that, governed by a certain law of gravity, the conductor could not raise his own weight, much less that of a machine several hundred pounds heavier; but Mr. Richard Oglesby Davidson seems to have calculated his power otherwise.
Anticipating its progress through the air, he says:
‘Each revolution of the cranks of the large wheels produces four strokes with the wings, the points of which describe sections of a circle twelve feet in length. This motion of the wings raises the Aërostat gradually at an angle of about five degrees, during the space of fifteen minutes; in which time it has traversed a distance of six or seven miles. It is now at a point sufficiently elevated above all obstacles connected with the earth, and the conductor regulates the application of the power so as to maintain his altitude; and the motion of the wings and the influence of gravitation move the Aërostat through the atmosphere at the rate of 100 miles an hour.
Imagine him for a moment, poetically describing his flight in the language of Cowper. He is taking a voyage to heaven in his “American Eagle.”
I bid adieu to bolts and bars,
And soar with angels to the stars,
Like him of old to whom ‘twas given,
To mount on flery wheels to heaven.
“Boötes’ wagon” slow with cold,
Appals me not; nor to behold
The sword that vast Orion draws,
Or even the Scorpion’s horrid claws.
Beyond the Sun’s bright orb I fly,
And far beneath my feet descry
Night’s sable goddess, seen with awe,
Whom her winged dragons draw.
Thus ever wondering at my speed,
Augmented still as I proceed,
I pass the planetary sphere,
The Milky Way—and now appear
Heaven’s crystal battlements, her door
Of massy pearl and emerald floor.
But here I cease; for never can
The tongue of once a mortal man,
In suitable description trace,
The pleasures of that happy place!
To return to the matter of fact part of our subject:—It is a well known principle in mechanics that the influence of friction is such as to prohibit all possibility of increasing the power with a similar increase in the velocity of the machine acted upon by the propeller. Hence instead of gaining power at every revolution, by his levers, steel-wheels and elastic wood-springs, he would lose nearly four-fold, besides the resistance or friction, which may be subtracted as one-fifth part of the original power—allowing the cranks propelled by the conductor to produce four revolutions or strokes with the wings—and this loss is calculated without reference to any diminution of power in raising the wings or giving the onward impetus. And yet the learned Aëronaut pens such a paragraph as this: ‘The machinery of the aërostat is in nature a compound lever, and without entering into a mathematical calculation or demonstration of its power, it is sufficient for my present purpose to state that nothing, or but very little, is lost of the power applied to the cranks, in its passage to the wings. And it will be recollected the wings move four times as fast, or, in other words, make four strokes while the cranks perform one revolution. Then I am safe in saying that, in this case, there is a facility imparted to the wings equal in effect to four times the power applied to the cranks.’ This is a bold assertion for an experienced mechanist. Let us suppose one wheel, three feet in diameter, with cogs or band, stationed so as to act upon several smaller wheels, compound levers and springs—the whole directly or indirectly uniting their powers to propel a wheel of Similar dimensions to the original one; will the first or propelling power, be increased, in effect or otherwise, by their agency? It is obvious that in a case like this, the more complicated the machinery, the greater is the friction, and consequently the greater the decrease of power. Then allowing, as all must, that a wheel of similar dimensions to the original one, loses more or less power, varying according to the combination machinery intervening, in being acted upon by the propelling agent, what power will be lost by a wheel, under the same circumstances, and only one-fourththe diameter. The result is apparent: it has not one-fourth the original power.—Hence we cannot ‘take it for granted’ that Mr. Richard Oglesby Davidson’s power is sufficient to put his wings in motion, although he does endeavor to prove that in this case the velocity is power. He calculates largely on the assistance to be derived from the atmosphere in driving down the tail or rudder and thus elevating the head so as to give the aërostat an upward direction—by which means, he opines, the American Eagle will nearly fly of itself. And in another version of the plan, he seems to think that under the arrangement stated, the blowing of the wind instead of being a disadvantage, will aid the conductor in going directly against it.—’The stronger it blows the faster will be the speed of the aërostat.’ This sounds not unlike the invention which caused such commotion a few years ago amongst the ship builders of the East. A hull was fitted up with wheelhouses, paddles, flywheel, &c. and other appurtenances of a steam-ship. In the middle, instead of a mast, stood a wind-mill, to which cog-wheels or bands from the axle of the flywheel below, were attached and thus caused the paddles to revolve as if propelled by steam. The intention was that it should so far gain upon the wind as to make rapid progress against the most stormy opposition, and in calm weather createa wind to drive itself, increasing in its velocity until it had raised a gale.
The great misfortune was that, like a pedestrian climbing a slippery hill, every two steps forward produced three steps back; and we are sorry to think Mr. Davidson’s Eagle would share the same fate.
What, it may be asked, is the remedy? We answer, a different organization of the powers employed; a less complex quantity of machinery; a total distrust of manual labor; and a model founded upon principles the most practicable and convenient.
Although Mr. Richard Oglesby Davidson patriotically calls upon his countrymen, and asks them if they will suffer this invention—aye, this new invention—‘for it has never been tried in any age or country, nor by any person living or dead’—to remain untried, and has secured himself the patent by Act of Congress—yet the laurel can no longer sit upon his brow after the following disclosure from the MS of the true inventor, whom modesty forbids me to name, dated Nov. 1839.
‘There are five reasons why the Steam Duckis superior to any other model or version that can be founded on it:
‘1st. It is an original invention.
‘2d. Its construction is peculiarly adapted to aerial navigation.
‘3d. The velocity of the duck is greater than that of any other bird.
‘4th. There is no danger from flood or storm.
‘5th. The machinery is simple; the propelling power is furnished by nature, and is inexhaustible as long as material is supplied; and the whole is founded upon the strictest philosophical principles.
‘The Steam Duck is fifteen feet long from beak to tail, and six feet in diameter at the base or thickest part. It is constructed in the form of a Mallard Duck, a fowl well known for its swiftness of wing and powers of swimming—and the frame work is of light seasoned hickory, and is covered with canvas varnished and airtight.—The wings are not complex—they have but one joint, but are so constructed and worked as to revolve with the necessary motion. This end is attained by having them made similar to the shutter windmill. Thus when they describe an ellipsis, the whole power except the Weight of the wings, is used in raising the Aërostat; and while the impetus given by each revolution or ellipsis shoots the Aërostat several feet in the air, the wings will have elevated themselves for another start downwards. (Here it may be remarked that Mr. Richard Oglesby Davidson has miscalculated his power, although he does allow a loss of nine feet out of twelve, in every stroke of the wing. Constructed as his wings are, their resistance against the atmosphere in their upward motion, added to their weight, would indubitably destroy the advantage gained by the stroke downward.) I have ascertained that the total weight of the wings is not more than five pounds, including the resistance of the atmosphere. Hence the impetus, allowing half a secondfor every stroke, would not suffer any thing to be detracted from the advantage gained by the downward or main stroke.
‘The internal machinery is as remarkable for its simplicity as the external. A small, light, and powerful engine is placed in the breast or craw. The piston moves upward; and drives two slight flywheels, on the spokes of which are two sliding pins describing a circle, as they revolve, of any convenient diameter. These pins, one being at each side, are attached by globular joints to the shoulders of the wings, which extend inward about a foot; and by sliding the pins so as to produce a larger or a smaller circle inside, the outward motion of the wings can be varied. The [es]cap[e]-pipe, passing along the bottom, is conducted out of a small hole under the tail or rudder, and thus gives an additional impetus to the Aërostat, every puff.
‘The fire-place and grate are in front of the boilers; and to save all possible power, by lightening, the ashes and cinders as soon as created fall through a hole in the breast and are lost in the air.
‘In the engine-room is a small partition for fuel, which may be coal or wood; but the latter is preferable, when good and well seasoned, from its efficacy in raising steam.
‘Separated by a partition from the front or engine-room, is a small cabin containing two berths, a table, two chairs, a library of selected and scientific books, thermometer, &c, and other accommodations appertaining to a well furnished study. (We think this is a proper place to say a word on Mr. Richard Oglesby Davidson’s apparent want of consideration. He speaks of the advantages to be derived from being provided with a thermometer, telescope, &c., as if the conductor were not under the penalty of breaking his neck or being dashed to atoms, should he for an instant leave his work. Now the fact—exclusive of any other obstacle to his mode of Aërostation—that he could not spare a hand, even though called by nature, to scratch his head or blow his nose, ought to deter him from making the experiment.)
I have made a calculation to ascertain the power of the Steam Duck, which, I think proves conclusively that success is inevitable:
Engine Room
A light and powerful engine…………….             200
Fireplace, boiler, &c………………………..            50
Poker, tongs and shovel………………….            10
Sundries…………………………………………            10
Cabin
Chairs, tables &c……………………………            50
Candlesticks, snuffers &c………………            5
Books, and papers………………………….            10
Thermometer and other scientific apparatus…..………………………………         20
Two berths—or in case of a lady adven-turer accompanying, say one…….             50
405
Power of engine wings in raising
the Aërostat or Steam Duck          700
To spare …………………………………..lbs. 305
‘From this table it will be seen that exclusive of its own weight, the machinery can give a velocity to the wings of the Steam Duck equal to 120 strokes in a minute, by which I conclude it would travel with amazing swiftness—say two hundred miles an hour. I make this calculation with suitable deduction for the resistance of the atmosphere.
But this description has already occupied an undue portion of our time.
Without any intention to damp the ardor of modern explorers in the airy regions, we must say that we have very little faith in artificial flying, or the means of navigating the air by mechanical contrivances of any sort. We fully concur in what a late philosopher says on the subject. ‘Man,’ he observes, ‘should be satisfied with the earth and water, to aid him in passing from one region to another. The air is so light that I believe it is not practicable to travel in it, except before the wind. From the time of Daedalus, there have occasionally been projects and attempts for imitating the mode of conveyance of the birds of the air. But they have not been successful. The hazard is too great to justify the experiment. When balloons were invented forty years ago in France, it was predicted that it would soon become common to journey this way; but heavy bodies cannot be transported through the air. The ostrich never flies: it is too ponderous to rise on so attenuated an element.’
The manuscript before alluded to seems to evince more sanguine hopes of success.
‘In conclusion,’ it adds, winding up with the account of the great Steam Duck, ‘nothing has been said of the danger to which the Aëronaut is exposed from sportsmen and others given to the destruction of the feathered tribe.
Flying over an immense tract of country, it is not to be expected that a bird of this description, so rare and wonderful, can escape the unerring bullet of the rifleman or the scattering charge of the cockney. But any one of common sense can perceive that there never was a real bird with a scape-pipe in the situation described; nor wings shaped and constructed as those of the “steam duck”: yet it might not be amiss to attach to the works an alarm bell, which would prevent all possibility of mistake.’
Many other obstacles of a less serious nature remain to be overcome before Aërostation can attain any degree of perfection. A new and less complex construction in the formation of the Aërostat must be carried into effect; the atmosphere must be conquered; the absurd doctrines of enthusiasts cast aside as leading to error and failure; the visionary schemes of theorists given up for sound and practical experience; an adherence to the laws of nature closely observed; the resources of art and of science ransacked for auxiliary powers; various antidotes resorted to for the annihilation of natural obstacles; and a true and logical system of reasoning substituted for the absurd sophistry with which the world of invention is now enslaved and benighted.
When all these improvements are effected; when men suffer themselves to be guided by reason; when knowledge usurps the place of ignorance; then may we safely prophesy that the triumph of ingenuity is at hand; and that at some future period man can display the mighty offspring of his genius in the face of high heaven itself, and
“—cleave the ethereal plain,
The pride, the wonder of the main.”


[1] In this lecture, before the Lyceum, I stated that for a concise and accurate sketch of the aëronauts from the time of the Montgolflers to that of Mr. Gypson, I was indebted to a late number of the London Review; and with that understanding quoted it at some length. As it has already appeared in the papers of the day, I do not deem it necessary to present here more than an abstract of the statistics therein given.
[2] In the interest of euphony we here insert these words which do not appear in the original. [ed.]

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An Aerio-Nautical Man, “Recollections of Six Days’ Journey in the Moon” (1844)

Recollections of Six Days’ Journey in the Moon,
By an Aerio-Nautical Man.
1844
INASMUCH as this terrestrial world of ours has lately been so thoroughly explored by all sorts of ingenious and inquisitive travellers, who have left nothing for those that may come after them either to describe or invent, it has happened that those who, like myself, are fond of new sights and new sensations, can find little or nothing here below to awaken their wonder or produce any excitement. Even the remotest regions of the earth have been so thoroughly explored, that it may be said with perfect truth, of my countrymen most especially, that they are more intimately acquainted with the interior of Asia and Africa than the land of their birth, and know a great deal more about Paris, London, Florence and Rome, than any of our great emporiums.
Being a devoted lover of travelling, partly on account of the agreeable dissipation of mind it produces, but more especially the dignity and consequence derived from breathing the air of foreign lands, I have been seriously aggrieved at this lamentable exhaustion of novelty, and more than once, like Alexander, sat down and wept that there were no more worlds to explore. The planets and other heavenly bodies most especially attracted my attention, and of these the Moon, which is at the bottom of so many sublunary influences, and without whose aid the adepts of Natural Philosophy would be so often at a loss to account for various phenomena, appeared to me the most interesting. I wished, if possible, to ascertain the fact of such influence, and the mode in which it is exercised on the tides, the growth of grain and vegetables, and above all, the wits of mankind; and I was anxious for an intercourse with the Man in the Moon, who from his great age, and other collateral circumstances must, notwithstanding the perpetual insinuations about his ignorance, have acquired a prodigious mass of knowledge and experience. In short, I became exceedingly unhappy at that mysterious non-intercourse which it would seem had been rendered eternal between the different planets, and to tell the honest truth, nearly lost my wits in devising expedients to surmount it, by applying some of the new principles of science to this interesting object. While in this painful state of mind, I accidentally saw in one of the public papers a notice of some ingenious experiments in a new and hitherto unknown science, called Aeriotism, or the faculty of self-suspension in the air. It immediately occurred to me that I might convert this interesting discovery to my purpose, and pursuing the hint, I instituted a series of experiments which finally resulted in complete success, and enabled me to accomplish my long cherished object of a visit to the MOON, from which I have just returned, after a most refreshing tour of six days, five hours, and forty-seven minutes. No time has been lost in laying the results of this journey before the enlightened public, of late so surfeited with all kinds of fictions, that it must needs feel a desire for a little wholesome truth, if only for the sake of novelty, I can not but flatter myself the information communicated will be entirely new, as hitherto we have known nothing of this planet, except from Astronomers and anonymous scribblers; of the former of whom I wish to speak with all possible respect, but who, I must be permitted to say, have told some strange stories about volcanoes and what not. As to the latter, I pledge my word to my readers I am the first native of this world who ever visited that planet, without losing his wits irrevocably; and that these egregious romancers know no more of the subject, than divers of those English travellers who have deluded mankind with pretended accounts of their discoveries and inventions, know of the country.
It is not my intention to disclose the progress and final success of my experiments in Aeriotism, inasmuch as I contemplate extending my visits to all the other planets in succession, and do not wish to be forestalled by others, since it can not be doubted that were I to divulge the secret, they would all in a short time be overrun by inquisitive Englishmen, who, according to custom, would leave the poor people scarcely a remnant of character, especially, as judging by those of the moon, they are far more refined, polite, moral and intelligent than those of that country, and withal better fed and more comfortable. It will be sufficient, I trust, to insure the utmost confidence in my veracity, merely to state, as the basis of my process, that I followed the example of the aforesaid travellers, more especially the renowned “Boz,” in procuring through the exertions of my numerous friends and admirers, divers public demonstrations of admiration, and a prodigious number of complimentary notices, whereby I at length became so puffed up with self-conceit, that I grew specifically lighter than the air, and felt just as I have sometimes done in my sleep, when dreaming of flying over the heads of my fellow creatures with a pair of imaginary wings. I became so light and airy, that I could not keep my feet to the ground without great difficulty, and was once blown across Cayuga Lake by a sudden gust of wind. I was fain to wear heavy leaden soles to my boots, by means of which, though sometimes blown down, like the little witches bought by children at the toy-shops, I always popt up again in an instant, my head being so much lighter than my heels. Having thus surmounted the great obstacle of specific gravity, the next difficulty was to propel myself forward, and above all govern my motions while in progress through the air. I succeeded beyond my most sanguine anticipations, by an ingenious application of machinery and mesmerism, which I shall keep a profound secret, lest future travellers should follow in my track, and contradict all I say, as they are too apt to do, in order to appear wiser than their betters.
Having perfected my machinery, and furnished myself with a bladder bag of a whip-syllabub, the lightest food I could think of, together with a map of the Moon, and some cheap publications to supply me with light reading by the way, I left this world, on the night of the sixth full Moon, in the year 1844, when there was not a cloud in the sky and the air was calm, and commenced my daring undertaking. The first step, I found was every thing; I rose slowly and with great difficulty, until gradually receding from the attraction of the earth, I was borne along with such inconceivable swiftness, that had I not provided against the contingency, by an ingenious process of shortening sail, I should soon have left my breath behind me. As I rose in the air, I also found the great advantage of the Bozzian process I had undergone, for had not my head been already as light as a feather, I should inevitably have become so dizzy in looking down from such a fearful height, that I might probably have lost all consciousness, or at least become totally incapable of distinguishing truth from falsehood.
For the same reason that I have not explained the minutiae of my machinery, I shall refrain from all detail of the particulars of my journey through the air, the dangers I encountered and my expedients for avoiding them. It is sufficient to my purpose at present, merely to state, that after having encountered a vast deal of difficulty in crossing the milky way, where the stars are as close together as the thousand islands in the St. Lawrence, and having my whiskers scorched by too near an approach to the Dog star, I proceeded on at a great rate, but was much alarmed to find that the Moon sailed much faster than I did, and seriously contemplated lying to in her track and awaiting her coming round again. Fortunately however, while debating the subject, I suddenly found myself rapidly approaching the land, and just at the dawn of day distinctly heard the cocks crowing. In a few minutes I was so near, as to be obliged to shorten sail, and immediately after landed, where I found the Moon, like a fly in a spider web, so entangled in the beard of the comet which was marauding through the skies about this time, that she could not budge an inch. Had it not been for this providential circumstance, I verily believe I should never have overtaken her. I had almost forgot to mention having been nearly demolished by a falling star which just grazed my head, and gave a great light, but no heat that I could discover. It may be proper also to state that I reached the Moon in two days and ten hours, in consequence of its being caught by the beard of the comet, being exactly half the time it would take, according to the calculations of Astronomers, for the planet to fall to the earth, if let go suddenly. Admitting then, that the Moon was thus arrested half way on her nightly course, I must have travelled at a pretty good rate, to overtake her in so short a period. As this planet is said to be unequal in its motions, it is possible however it did not travel at this time as fast as usual.
Having a great deal of business on hand, as I contemplated a visit to the other planets, and had but little time to do it in, I determined to proceed in my inquiries into the state of the country and the character of its inhabitants without delay. Accordingly, availing myself of that facility of locomotion, I had acquired by applying the principles of Aeriotism to practical purposes, I managed in the course of six days, to distance all previous travellers, even those who have heretofore visited my own country, and become miraculously acquainted with its morals, manners, institutions and government, as it were by intuition.
Beginning with the geography of the country, I shall content myself with stating that the map of the Moon I carried with me, and which exhibited all the latest discoveries in the science of astronomy, is extremely inaccurate in many essential particulars. The physiognomy of this planet strikingly resembles the human face on a great scale, and hence doubtless the vulgar error of the Man in the Moon, who I assure my readers is only a creature of the imagination. The sockets of the eyes are two large seas, and the protuberances of the cheek bones and nose, nothing more than high mountains, one of the latter of which, having a reddish appearance, has doubtless been mistaken for a volcano by the astronomers. I pledge my word, however, there is no such thing as a volcano in the whole planet. I had also occasion to notice that the portion of the moon which astronomers call the land is water, and their water good solid terra firma. Numerous other blunders have been committed, which I forbear to notice out of respect for the learned.
The Moon comprises several states and kingdoms, the former republican, the latter generally, though not always despotic. These mutually abhor each other, and are perpetually quarrelling, and not unfrequently falling together by the ears, about which is the most enlightened and happy, or other matters still more difficult to decide, or still more insignificant. On one occasion, I found two nations cutting each other’s throats most valiantly, and mutually desolating fields and habitations without mercy. On inquiring the occasion of this violent animosity, I found the people knew nothing at all about it, except that they were ordered to do so by their respective sovereigns, one of whom was an infant, the other a madman. In another part of the Moon, I found them at loggerheads about the honor and interests of the country, concerning which scarcely any two agreed in opinion; or rather there were two parties who differed altogether on the subject, one maintaining that the honor of the nation consisted altogether in its interests, the other that the interests of the nation consisted entirely in its honor. I was not a little struck with the resemblance I observed in these and many other particulars between the inhabitants of the earth and those of the Moon, which at first I ascribed to that family likeness which is found in all creatures of the same species. Further inquiries have however satisfied me, that the people of the Moon are the genuine descendants of Adam and Eve, and that their ancestors were certainly accomplices in erecting the Tower of Babel. The proofs and deductions through which I arrived at this conclusion, I shall, however, reserve for a separate dissertation.
The most remarkable kingdom in this planet, I found to be an island, called the Isle of Engines, in what is vulgarly supposed to be the left eye of the Man in the Moon, which, as I observed before, is a great sea of salt water. It is not so large as some of the other states, but has extended its dependencies to the utmost bounds of the great ocean in which it lies. I heard so much of it, at every step in my progress, that I became extremely anxious to pay it a visit, and accordingly took the first opportunity that offered, embarking on a magnetic steamboat, which progressed at the rate of an hundred miles an hour, against winds and currents. Touching this word, “progressed,” I would observe that it is in general use among all classes, is incorporated with all their dictionaries, and recognized as legitimate by the most learned and illustrious of all their academies, which is exclusively composed of persons who have lost their wits in searching for the Philosopher’s Stone, Perpetual Motion, the wisdom of Congress, and the first principles of Political Economy.
This island which is called by its inhabitants the most free, happy, and enlightened of all the countries of the Moon, I found not a little worthy the study of an enlightened traveller. Every thing is done there by machinery; and the men themselves, if not machines, are as much their slaves, as the genius of Aladdin’s lamp. These machines have in a great measure taken the place of men, and snatched the bread from their mouths, because they work so much cheaper and faster. I saw several which I was assured by the proprietor of a manufactory who was reckoned worth millions, could do the work of a thousand men. I asked what became of the thousand men in the meantime; upon which he entered into a long dissertation to prove, that they were infinitely benefitted by the cheapness of every thing occasioned by these labor-saving machines. I took the liberty of observing that the capital of a large portion of mankind was labor; and that if they could get no work, or were deprived of its adequate rewards, it was of little consequence to them that things were cheap, as they would have no money to purchase them. The millionaire looked at me with surprise, mingled as I thought with contempt, and answered rather superciliously, “My good friend, I perceive you don’t understand the first principles of Political Economy.” I acknowledged my ignorance, and begged him to enlighten me: whereupon, he went on to entangle himself in a web of knotty arguments, sufficient to confound the whole universe, but by which he imagined that he had demonstrated his whole theory. “You see,” concluded he, “the thing is as clear—as clear as”—”mud,” said I, perceiving he halted for a comparison.
Believing, however, in the truth of the old proverb, “that the proof of the pudding is in the eating,” I determined to see a little further into this matter; so I left the Political Economist, and proceeded through the various departments of his immense establishment, where I found hundreds, I might almost say, thousands of men, women and children, male and female, employed in tending the machinery. They could not be said to govern, but to be directed by it; and it seemed that their very souls had transmigrated into the Steam Engines and Spinning Jennies. There were a great many female children, not more than seven or eight years old, half-clothed, and, if I might judge from their wretched squalid appearance, less than half-fed, but who, as I understood, labored sixteen or eighteen hours of the day, at this monotonous employment, which seemed to consist in perpetual watchfulness, and all for a pittance which I am afraid to name, lest no one should believe me. As I stood contemplating the scene, the millionaire came suddenly behind me, and said, “ah!—Mr.—Mr.—I forget your name—I think you said you came from the United States. I think I have heard of such a place some where or other, though I can’t tell where. They say it is a large country almost as big as this; but it is a great pity they tolerate slavery there. Now, in this free and happy land, there is no such thing as a slave. The moment a man, woman, or child touches this sacred soil of freedom, the chains fall from their limbs, and they stand redeemed, regenerated and disenthralled by the irresistible genius of universal emancipation.” At this moment of sublime exultation, it happened that a little pale, emaciated girl, apparently worn out with toil and hunger, or both, was observed to fall asleep, as she was standing watching the evolutions of a Spinning Jenny. Upon this a fellow came up and pinched her until she awoke with a scream, and the millionaire directed that a deduction of three pence should he made from her wages, which, on inquiry, I found amounted to two shillings a week.
I had the curiosity to follow a family to their home. It consisted of the husband, his wife, and three children, two of them girls, neither apparently over ten years of age. They had labored eighteen hours a day for months past. Yet returned to a wretched home, where two other families beside themselves lived in the same room. The weather was cold, yet they were without fire and almost destitute of any other clothing than dirty rags; their food was of the most miserable kind, and entirely insufficient to satisfy the cravings of hunger; a wretched straw bed lay in one corner, when they had eaten their scanty meal, they laid themselves down altogether, supplying the want of covering by a mutual communication of animal heat. Turning from the scene in sickening disgust, mingled with indignation, I proceeded towards my lodgings, when I was attracted by a concourse of splendid equipages, before the doors of a great public building, into which a considerable number of people were entering. Prompted by curiosity, I followed the crowd into a splendid hall, where I found a large assemblage of distinguished persons, who, as I soon learned, were holding a meeting to raise funds for some philanthropic society, whose name I forget, but whose object was enlightening the minds or relieving the necessities of people some where at the antipodes. A Royal Duke, as I afterwards learned, presided on the occasion, and a most eloquent address was delivered, in which the orator lauded the philanthropy of his country to the skies, and praised the illustrious individuals there met together, for their munificent liberality. After this, several thousand winds were subscribed; the meeting broke up, and I observed that as his Royal Highness came forth, a family similar in wretchedness, ignorance and poverty to that I have described, begged his charity. But he had done enough for one day; he had got his name before the public as a Prince of unparalleled humanity, and passed on muttering something about the poor rates. For my part, I honestly confess, that I went away with my respect for that much calumniated maxim, about charity beginning at home, greatly increased.
I look upon this island to be the best study in the Moon, for a politician, a philosopher, and a philanthropist; but the desire to anticipate other travellers who may possibly find their way to that planet and forestall my work, obliges me to curtail it in many interesting particulars, which I may probably supply in a future edition. At present I shall only say, that while this nation pretends to be the freest under the sun, it abounds in a species of slaves more abjectly wretched by far than those of any other country; that while it affects to take precedence of the rest of the world in learning, science and knowledge, a large portion of the people of all ages are in a state of most unparalleled ignorance; that while its power and glory are said to have reached far above all that have gone before it, such are the discontents of the people that the laws can only be executed by a military force; and that finally while boasting of its happiness, it comprises a portion of actual misery, greater than that of any other nation of the Moon or the Earth.
II.
In our last, we left the Aeronaut in the Isle of Engines, in the Moon. Next, as we have already intimated, he visits and describes a certain Republic in that bright world.
[Ed. Mess.
Having enjoyed the hospitalities of the Island as far as my time would permit—that is to say, having paid dearer for my accommodations than I ever did any where else, notwithstanding the wonder working machinery,—I took passage in the magnetic vessel, for the purpose of visiting a famous Republic of which I heard such terrible accounts in the Island, that I felt a great curiosity to see it with my own eyes; for I could scarcely believe, that a people so ignorant and vicious could exist in a state of society and civilization. I had observed too, that the people of the Island were especially vain of their superiority over all others in the Moon, which they took care to maintain by an ingenious process of elevating themselves at the expense of other people. This Republic, or Confederation as it is called, lies at the western extremity of the Ocean, at a distance of about three thousand miles, yet we reached it in about twenty-four hours. I inquired of the Captain if they knew any thing about steamboats, and he told me they were used about a hundred years ago, but had now become, as he expressed it in the common phrase of the inhabitants of the Moon, “obsolete ideas.”
Arriving at a great city, called the emporium, I was agreeably surprised to find what a great man I was. As soon as the better sort of people learned I was a traveller, and had come from the Isle of Engines, they took the horses from the hackney coach in which I was proceeding to my lodgings, and dragged me along with the most enthusiastic demonstrations of admiration and applause. At the hotel I was met by a committee, the chairman of which made a long speech, in which he complimented me in such high terms on my literary eminence, that if I had not been a remarkably modest man I should have been quite out of countenance, and concluded his address by respectfully inquiring when it would suit my convenience to partake of a public dinner. In less than six hours, I had invitations enough to last me six weeks, and received so many other proofs of profound devotion, especially from the ladies, who, by the way, were remarkably handsome, that I could not help thinking there must be a severe scarcity of great men in the Republic, and finally came to the conclusion, that the people who made such a fuss with me, must labor under a deep sense of their inferiority.
This I however soon found was by no means the case, for they turned out to be almost as great boasters as the inhabitants of the Isle of Engines, and called themselves the most enlightened nation under the sun, as indeed they are in many respects. It seems they were formerly subject to the sovereign of the Isle of Engines, but became independent some fifty or sixty years ago, after a struggle in which they displayed great gallantry and perseverance. They are justly proud of this achievement, and boast much of their independence, which is however merely political, for I found them little better than abject slaves to the fashions and opinions of the Isle of Engines, frequently adopting them long after they have become obsolete ideas, (to use the Captain’s expression,) like menials who strut about in the cast-off clothes of their masters.
It is proper to premise, that the Moon is separated into two great divisions, called the Old and New World; of the latter of which, the Great Republic considers itself, and justly too, the representative—being the most powerful and enlightened state in that quarter. The inhabitants of these two great divisions either really have, or pretend to have, a great contempt for each other, the people of the Old World looking upon those of the New as mere upstarts of yesterday, without any ancestors, ancestral monuments, or ancestral achievements. Those of the New World, on the other hand, have various flings at the aforesaid old gentleman. They call him a superannuated dotard, strutting about in the threadbare garments of ha ancestors, and living upon their reputation, instead of establishing one of his own. They say he is always looking backwards, if not going backwards too, while they are perpetually going ahead, and looking straight forwards. That one nibbles at the dry crust of memory, while the other luxuriates on the luscious banquet of hope; and that, in short, one lives in the past, the other in the future.
Almost all their jealousies and antipathies nay he traced to those sources, though it must be confessed, they are combined with others, arising from the opposition of great national interests, and above all, of political principles, the states of the New World being for the most part Republics—those of the Old, Monarchies. They are perpetually disputing about the superiority of these modes of government; the Monarchists stigmatizing the Republicans as semi-barbarians, anarchists and agrarians; the latter returning the compliment by dabbing the others ignorant, spiritless slaves, without courage to assert their freedom, or sense enough to enjoy it if attained.
But notwithstanding this, I soon observed, that the people of the New World, with all their pride of liberty, had not achieved its last and greatest triumph, that of independence of mind. They still cherish a sort of sneaking deference, a paltry spirit of imitation in respect to the inhabitants of the Old World, which is perpetually leaking out in spite of all their boastings of superiority. I scarcely met a man or woman, especially among those of the more enlightened classes, who ventured to adopt an opinion in opposition to the authority of the Old World, or a dress not sanctioned by its example. Both their tastes and opinions seem entirely subservient to foreign example, and the influence of the Isle of Engines is at this moment far more despotic over the minds, manners, and morals of the people of these her ancient colonies, than was her political authority at any period of their dependence.
The government of this Great Republic of the Moon is strictly democratic, while almost all the early education, as well as subsequent reading, of its inhabitants inculcates the usages of monarchy. Their political principles are those of perfect equality, while their domestic habits and associations are almost all founded on a broad and palpable distinction of rank. In theory they are all the same, in practice they are all different. At an election poll, the servant is equal to his master; in the drawing room he waits on him at table, and does his bidding. One might be tempted to conclude, that it was impossible any system of society or government could subsist for any length of time in the midst of such incongruities, and this has uniformly been asserted by the philosophers of the Old World of the Moon. But it is singular how easy it is for all these apparent contradictions to become reconciled by custom and practice, the two great agents in smoothing down the asperities of conflicting principles. Strange to say, these Republicans seem to get along very well, though it would be easy to prove such a result absolutely impossible. Setting aside their penitent propensity to adopt the opinions, and follow the fashions of those they affect to despise; their ignorant, vulgar admiration of foreigners, especially literary tourists, and inferior writers of the Isle of Engines; and their profound devotion to those titles of nobility which are incompatible with their government and institutions, they may be called an enlightened people, among whom intelligence is far more widely diffused than elsewhere; whose morals, though tinted, have not reached the incurable corruption of the Old World of the Moon; whose portion of happiness is most assuredly at least equal; and whose progress in numbers, wealth and prosperity, is unparalleled in the history of mankind. I could give such examples of the growth of states and cities, as would without doubt place me on a level with the celebrated Baron Munchausen, notwithstanding the sage and highly original remark of my Lord Byron, so often quoted by his admirers, that “Truth is strange—stranger than fiction.” I will therefore only venture to give one example. Travelling along the banks of a great river, to the examination of which I had devoted a full half hour, I was overcome by heat and fatigue and fell asleep, in the midst of a sublime forest of primeval trees, whose heads seemed almost to reach the skies. On waking and looking about, I found myself, to my utter astonishment, in the midst of a thriving town, with a canal and a rail road running side by side, and the stumps standing in the streets. The impression on my mind at first was, that I had taken one of Peter Claus’s naps, but I trust the reader will believe me when I declare, on the veracity of a traveller, that on looking at my watch, I found I had slept only two hours.
Intending this as a mere sketch of my personal travels and adventures, it will not be expected that I should here aspire to a complete development of the state of trade, science, literature, the fine arts, and the general statistics of the various countries of the Moon it was my fortune to visit. These I shall reserve for a separate work, to be published in one hundred and seventy-five numbers, embellished with original designs borrowed from every accessible source, and so cheap that purchasers will wonder at the sum they have paid when they come to the end of the series. The reader must therefore be content with a few general observations, commencing with the subject of money, that being the first principle of all things among the inhabitants of the Moon.
The ordinary currency is paper money, though there is one remarkable exception which came to my knowledge in a way I shall hereafter explain. In some places, I found it greatly depreciated, but the people having no other standard of value to compare with it, were quite ignorant of the fact, and so delighted with the high prices they received for every thing, that they actually forgot what they paid. They consequently all fancied themselves growing rich apace, and were so happy, that they turned every man out of office, as a common disturber of the public peace of mind, who had the audacious wisdom to predict that such a state of things could not last forever. In some places the privilege of making paper money was confined to a few; in others I believe every man manufactured it for himself, it was so plenty. In all these places, particularly the latter, there was nothing seen but paper money, and such was the scarcity of silver and gold, that the only specimen I saw, was a shilling carefully preserved in a cabinet of curious medals collected by a learned antiquary, who had written a dissertation to prove that the Aboriginals of the country were acquainted with the art of coining money. In most of the countries I visited, there were two great parties, one called the hard money men, the other the shin-plaster dynasty, with which opprobrious epithet the believers in paper money were scandalized by their opponents. Sometimes one, sometimes the other gained the ascendancy; but I was told by a person of veracity, that paper money maintained its stand through all these vicissitudes, which puzzled me not a little. The shinplaster boys insinuated that the others were called hard money men, because it was so hard to get at their money; while the latter retorted by asserting that the others never paid their debts at all except by act of Congress. This is all I mean to say on the subject at present, with the single exception of an anecdote I shall relate, too curious to be omitted, without great injustice to the reader.
I had heard of a strange people, that lived among the recesses of a range of high mountains at a great distance and were considered a hundred years at least behind the spirit of the age. They were held to be little better than barbarians and infidels, for they knew nothing about running in debt without paying, and did not believe in paper money. It was my intention to pay these people a flying visit, but finding this great Republic of the west extended in every direction so far that it seemed impossible ever to get out of it, I reluctantly relinquished my design. It happened, however, that I luckily fell in with one of these originals, of whom I bought a superb beaver skin as a present to my wife on my return home. On offering payment in paper money he declined to my great surprise, and continued turning up his nose contemptuously, at a new bank note, just from the mint, which I pressed on his acceptance. I assured him it was as good as the bank, and far preferable to silver or gold, which were considered obsolete ideas. He shook his head however, and at length asked me with great gravity—
“Can you convert it into silver spoons?
“No—I believe not,” replied I.
“Or watches?”
“I cant say I have ever known such a thing done.”
“Or any thing useful or ornamental?”
“They make very excellent shin-plasters.”
“Are they intrinsically of any earthly value?”
“Not that I know of, with this single exception. Yet you may exchange them for every thing valuable.”
“That is to say if any body will take them. Pray give me my beaver skin. I can at all events make it into a cap, a waistcoat, or something useful.” Saying this, he almost snatched it from my hand, and left me wondering at his blindness as well as pitying his deplorable ignorance of first principles of circulation and currency.
The inhabitants of the Moon have made great progress in science, arts and literature. In one nation especially, they paint exquisite pictures, though there is not a man among them that can make a tolerable box to pack them in. They carve the most exquisite statues; yet are totally ignorant of the most common machinery for raising blocks of marble from the quarries. They can unroll the most ancient manuscript without injuring it, but a common tack, or a scientific horse shoe, is beyond their comprehension, or beneath their attention. In short, they are as deficient in the useful mechanical, as we of the United States are rather flippantly said to be in the fine arts. I should here observe, that these remarks are confined to one nation of the Moon in particular, which is celebrated throughout the whole planet for its taste and skill in the fine arts, most especially music. The rest take pride in various other matters in which they fancy they excel all their neighbors, consoling themselves with the idea that the progress of the fine arts is coeval with that of luxury and effeminacy, and that where greater honors are paid to fiddlers and prima donnas, than to the benefactors of mankind, or the giver of freedom to nations, the former will become plenty, the latter very scarce. However this may be, it is certain that the nation of fiddlers and prima donnas both pities and envies its neighbors, while they, in return, despise and imitate it to the extent of their ability. Of the vast progress made by the inhabitants of the Moon in science and knowledge, it will be sufficient to state, in order to convey some faint idea of the truth, that they are so far in advance of those of our Earth, that they have discarded nearly one half the knowledge we hold to be essential to the reputation of a wise man, and consider a great portion of the other half, of extremely questionable utility. It is beginning to be a prevailing opinion among the philosophers, that the world has been on the wrong tack for the last six thousand years; that society is altogether constituted on erroneous principles, and that it will soon be absolutely necessary, either to re-organize the old, or make an entire new world, founded on the solid basis of human experience. As respects the sciences, I was surprised to find them so far in advance of us, that they had nearly completed the circle, and were fast returning to those venerable exploded systems, which in the benighted ages of ignorance and superstition, were considered as no better than arrant witchcraft and necromancy, the diabolical progeny of an incestuous communion with the powers of darkness. There are men of such stupendous, scientific attainments among them, that they can tell what others are thinking of without dealing with the devil, and the gift of second-sight, or clairvoyance, as it is there called, has become so common, that it is much more usual to meet with people who cannot see what is to be seen, than such as can see what was once invisible to all but those who, in the days of ignorance and superstition, were supposed to partake of supernatural powers. Every day some new science is discovered, which renders easy what was considered impossible before, and I have little doubt that if they continue on for half a century more in the same rapid pace, they will be able to dispense altogether with a Supreme Being, and construct not only worlds, but people to live in them, on purely scientific principles.
With regard to the Literature of the Moon, I have only space to say, that it has ceased to be a separate avocation. Every man is there his own author, and as for booksellers, if any one should be silly enough to publish a book for the purpose of even giving it away, it would be considered a gross insult, as conveying a direct insinuation that men could not do this for themselves. In truth, the entire system is reversed. Authors give a premium to their readers for their trouble; and critics always prepare their strictures before the work is written, having in the course of the development of the human mind, discovered that it is much better to teach an author what is right, before he has done wrong, than to arraign and punish him afterwards. It is moreover a curious fact, for which I can vouch the very best authority, that there are at least ten critics to one author, all gaining not only fame but bread, by correcting his faults or proclaiming his beauties, without the least expense of taste or judgment.
At the period I visited the Great Republic, (which by the way is too young to have been christened, and is yet without a specific name,) the better sort of people, to wit, those who had most money, or credit, were laboring under a singular sort of monomania, that is to say, they were what is called music mad. A few days after my arrival at the Great Emporium, walking one bright moonlight evening* through a fashionable street, I encountered a vast crowd of people, pushing and thronging after a person, who was stalking along with much dignity, and huzzaing with great vociferation, while they scattered flowers in his path, and the ladies showered bouquets on his head from the open windows. Feeling somewhat curious to know who this could be, I ventured to inquire of a respectable looking man, who had ensconced himself by my side, behind the stone steps of a hotel, to get out of the way of the crowd.
“I suppose, that is some great hero, just returned from a victory over the enemies of his country,” said I.
“Not at all,” replied the old gentleman with a look of surprise.
“Some illustrious patriot, who has passed his life in the service of the State!”
“Not at all, sir.”
“Some great public benefactor, who has ensured the happiness of his countrymen by freeing them from despotism and securing their rights and property by a wise system of laws and government?
“Not at all, sir.”
“Surely then he must have done some glorious act, or achieved some great triumph of virtue or intellect.”
“Not at all, sir,” again replied the old gentleman with a significant smile. “He is only the greatest fiddler in the world, and has just got through a piece of music, so difficult that every body pronounced it impossible.”
“Indeed! You must be a very musical people.”
“That depends on the people of the Old World, from whom we derive all our tastes and opinions. On the arrival of the next magnetic packet, we shall all become deaf for aught I know.”
Here we were interrupted by a shout that rent the skies, and looking in that direction, I saw the great fiddler elevated on the shoulders of six ladies dressed in the most fashionable mode, and fiddling in great style. Whereupon all the people fell down and worshipped his fiddle.
“Really,” said I to my companion, “You are indeed a very musical people. What will be the consequence of such enthusiasm?”
“That we shall have plenty of fiddlers, and a special scarcity of heroes, poets, statesmen and public benefactors. The ambition of our great men will be confined to playing the fiddle. Sir,” continued he, “do you see that decrepit old man, stealing along unnoticed through the crowd, as if ashamed of himself or his countrymen? That man bore a great share in giving freedom to his country, which owes him a debt of gratitude it can never pay. Yet you see he passes unnoticed. Good night, sir, I am going home to learn to play the fiddle.”
It was originally my intention to spend six weeks, or two months in making a thorough investigation of this new, or at least hitherto unvisited region. But it unluckily, or rather luckily happened, that at the close of my six days’ researches, on opening my pocket for some purpose or other, I was suddenly appalled at the sight of a polite invitation from a bank to call and pay a note which would become due the sixteenth of the month. It wanted only three days of the time, and not a moment was to be lost. Accordingly, I set forth with the least possible delay, and having the advantage of my previous experience, arrived just in time to borrow the money of a friend, thus preserving my credit triumphantly, and fairly becoming entitled to a new discount. I found little trouble in my descent, and confidently assure my readers, that if they can only once arrive at the Moon they will find no difficulty in getting back again.
END
Source:
Southern Literary Messenger, July & August, 1844

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A Voyage from Pole to Pole by way of the Center of the Earth (1721) — I I

An Account of a Voyage
from the Arctic to the Antarctic Pole
by way
of the
Center of the Earth.
[continued from Part I]
Chapter V.
Of some monstrous Fish that we saw in these Seas; of the tragic & lamentable Accident that happened to two Sailors of the crew; of the 7 inaccessible Isles, & what the Author saw there with a great Spyglass.
We saw nothing worthy of remark on the route that we took to get back on board our vessel. We found among the Rocks a large quantity of birds, which nearly let us take them in our hands, & of which we carried as many as we could. As the Coast where we were anchored was very exposed to great tempests & very impetuous Winds, we feared that by remaining there too long, we would be at some hour broken against the Rocks. We resolved, animated by the desire to make some discovery, to leave instead.
We made a great provision of the roots of which I have already spoken, there being in that place a prodigious quantity, & having raised the anchor, with a little South-east Wind, we sailed toward the West, because when the air was clear & calm, we had always thought we saw some land on that side.
After having sailed happily enough for almost twenty-four hours, we found ourselves between several very dangerous Reefs. There were several Rocks just below the surface, but as the Wind had nearly fallen, & as we sailed very slowly, we avoided them without much difficulty. There was a Rock which rose above the water to a height of around four feet, on the point of which we saw a large bird with black plumage much like a Stork. It was perched on one leg, with its tail spread out like a Peacock. It appeared immobile as a statue on its pedestal. We took several shots without touching it, which did not move it in the least. This bird must have been brought there by the ice, & awaited the passage of some more in order to return.
Some time later, the Wind having fallen completely, we found ourselves in a fog so thick that it was quite dark, which obliged us to drop anchor. This fog was nearly hot. In the past I had always believed that these Climes were uninhabitable because of the great rigor of the cold, but although it made itself felt acutely, there were some frequent intervals where the air turned milder, & was very bearable everywhere.
We remained in the darkness more than twelve hours, after which the weather cleared, the same Wind began to blow again, & we sailed towards the West as before. We found that we were then at sixty & seven degrees six minutes of southern Latitude. There was at that latitude a great number of large, four-winged Flying Fish, with two wings which were towards the head were very large & like the wings of bats, & two which were towards the tail appeared twice as small. Three of these Fish came around our Vessel fluttering & plunging constantly. They exceeded by far the size & length of the most powerful Steers, & notwithstanding that they rose very high & often remained in the air a pregnant minute before plunging, they were very greedy & voracious, flying always with their great maws open, where we saw two rows of short, but very keen teeth. Two of our Sailors were seated close to one another on the Deck toward the Stern, when one of these three Monsters, shooting up suddenly very high, seized them both from behind, & knocked them into the Sea. The one who fell first was torn to pieces & devoured, & the second, who swam around the Ship & to whom we were about to throw a rope, in order to pull him up to us, was attacked by the other two. One took him by the head, & the other by the feet, & each pulling from its side with an extreme fury, they soon split his miserable body, the entrails & blood of which made a long streak in the Sea. That tragic Adventure caused us all a very keen grief, & all the more because these men were two of our best Sailors. After these cruel Animals had followed us a good half hour, we lost them all at once from view.
A short time after we encountered a very great tempest which kept us alert more than six hours. However being carried always towards the West we came to discover four Isles, & shortly after three others. They were all seven on the same line, & not very distant from one another. We first formed the intention of landing there, but it was impossible for us to execute our project, for we found as we approached that around these Isles the Sea abounded with Sandbanks, & Rocks very close to one another, & it was replete with currents that crossed from all sides, making that Sea the most dangerous, in the judgment of our Pilot, that he had ever seen.
We dropped anchor at the point of a great Sandbank which was in front of us, in order to have the time to consider together what route we should take. However, we wanted to consider these Isles carefully. They were full of little mounds which appeared in the distance a vermillion red, & some which shone like rubies. We attributed the cause to some very fiery vapor which was then all around us. We saw on the fifth Isle, which was the largest on the East side, a Rock of round shape which rose very high in a straight line, & which being equally large in height & at base resembled a great, lovely Column. A little bit closer were some grottos & high Rocks very tight & close to one another, which depicted perfectly the ruins of a great & magnificent Castle, at one of the extremities of which we saw like a great, round Tower, from which rose a thick & black vapor which rose so high & with such rapidity into the air, which seemed to join with the clouds, & forming only one body with them. I took my great spyglass, & I discovered in that thick smoke, some large gleams like stars, which were in a perpetual movement. A few moments later, I saw issue from that Rock some large torrents of flame, which like a raging Wind spreading far & wide, caused us a general alarm. I do not believe that Mt. Etna in Sicily, nor Mt. Vesuvius in Italy, ever vomited anything so terrible. These dreadful flames having lasted around three minutes, faded & left after them only some sparks & a light smoke.
We had not yet remained there twenty-four hours, when we noticed that the Sea that surrounded these Isles was all frozen, although where we were we did not feel the least cold. We resolved to make our way back to sea, & to give a wide berth to the dangerous obstacles that we had before us, until we could surely continue our route towards the West. Fortunately we came to the end of it with a favorable Wind, & we entered finally into a broad Sea, where we began to see some great pieces of ice floating.
Chapter VI.
Of the great Promontory or Cape which is always covered with clouds; of the miraculous Jet of water that was seen there; of the large & deep Cavern over which passed a deep & wide Torrent, extraordinary Combat between two white Bears & three Seals.
In less than two hours the Sea was all covered with ice bergs, & we maneuvered constantly to avoid them as much as possible. There was one which was around five or six musket-shots from us, & so enormous that it looked like a small Island. Breaking into pieces, it made more noise in shattering than a battery of several canons which had been fired all at once. But these floes of ice decreased gradually in number. To our great fortune, we found ourselves suddenly free, but a short time after we were surprised by a calm which would last fifteen hours. The whole surface of the Sea was smoother than a glass mirror.
A good league from the place where we were forced to rest awaiting the Wind, there was a large Rock with three peaks, which we went to reconnoiter with the longboat. It was surrounded by a small pitch, ten or twelve feet wide, all bordered along the water with tall, broad grass, & covered up to the foot of the mountain with shells, among which we found a large quantity of little oysters, the shells of which were very black. We opened them, & some of which had an excellent taste, which caused us to take aboard as many as possible. We were curious to climb to the top of that Rock. Its summit was a sort of platform between three points, on which we saw many feathers from birds scattered here & there. We discovered, in some holes, nests which were only an interweaving of moss, grass & feathers. There were in all only two eggs, as white, but considerably larger than a hen’s eggs. The white was of a pale green, & the yolk of a dark red. Apart from a certain acrid taste that they left in the throat, they would have been good enough to eat.
We had not been returned long to the Vessel, when a light Wind began to rise. At first we prevailed, but in a few hours it had strengthened so much that we were afraid of having a rough storm. It was the same Wind that we had had before, yet we left it out of fear. We sailed for the time being with such speed that we covered a great distance in one hour. Looking out at the horizon, we saw on the West side a tall & thick cloud which seemed to touch the Sea, but which was always approaching us. We discovered a Cape, of very high land, above which there were some thick clouds lost to view, as we intended, before returning to the old world, to make some more new discoveries, we went to drop Anchor in the most convenient place, in order to go ashore. There was a gentle slope by which we ascended easily. Coming to the top, we found a large quantity of gravel & small stones. The ground was all sandy & rocky, & we could not extend our view very far, because at that end of the Cape the Country rose gradually. When we arrived at the greatest height, we discovered some great Plains as far as the eye could see, dotted with many little Lakes, & bordered in the distance by some & high mountains, covered with snow & very crystalline.
Rather close & right across from us there were two small hills, behind which we saw a great Jet of water, shooting rapidly into the air like a tall & fine column, which, crowned by a thick foam, fell again around itself in a multitude of little streams, which, soon dispersing into a great cloud of water, fell back to earth. From the place where we were, we could not see from whence they came. So, hastening our steps, we traveled beyond the hills, & three Jets of water presented themselves to our view. They rose from three little Rocks, arranged in a triangle in the midst of a large pile of loose gravel & stones. The largest of these was the one which we had first seen, rising in the air to a height of around two hundred & fifty feet, but the two smaller ones barely surpassed seven or eight feet. Their waters, falling back to earth, formed a little River, which after winding nine hundred or a thousand paces, cast themselves into one of the Lakes of which I have just spoken. Its water was very clear & very good to drink. The air was very mild, & the extreme cold must make itself felt even later in these Countries.
We must note that these Lakes were all connected by some Streams which flowed from one into another. Consequently we could only advance in this Country by making long detours, which is why we left them on the left & went a little to the right. Everything there was so waterless & arid that not the least bit of grass nor the smallest shrug grew there. A heavy offshore Wind began at that time to blow with such vehemence & whipped up so much sand & dust, that we were forced to stop from time to time, & shut our eyes for fear of being blinded. But, fortunately, this soon passed, & we entered a bottomland, where the earth was very black & covered all over with a long & slender plant, with nodes like a cane. It grew by creeping long distances over the earth, & sprouting at intervals a little bouquet of seeds of a very lovely yellow. That Plant was very pretty.
After having walked five or six hundred paces we heard a noise like that of a great waterfall, & in fact we saw soon afterwards, a deep torrent which issued from between two very high Rocks, rushing down from a height of more than three hundred feet, & then formed a little River, whose waters ran with an extreme swiftness, carrying with it a very great quantity of stones & gravel. As we considered how we could pass it, we saw to one side of a small rise a way down, at the bottom of which there was a sort of Thicket. It was of small, dense shrubs which were armed with thorns & small leaves of a deep red. They partially hid from us the entrance to a Cavern. We considered for some time, not daring at first to risk ourselves in a place which could be fatal to us, but the two boldest of us entering, we all followed, & after walking for some time in the darkness, we discovered suddenly a very large & very spacious underground, divided in various great Vaults of different heights, all carved by Nature from the Rock. There were some higher & more extensive than those of the largest Churches, with large Rocks arranged at unequal distances supporting these enormous & heavy trunks of stone, with the light entering from on high through a large number of openings, of which some were long like slits or large crevasses, & the others nearly round or square, from which hung long-stemmed grasses, the leaves of which were are large as those of a fig tree. It appeared that the warm air that we breathed in that cavern contributed considerably to making them grow. The largest & highest of all these Vaults was, from top to bottom, all inlaid with black & white. The black marks were much larger than the white; but the white shone like crystal, & as there was above, towards the middle, a very large round opening, this created a charming effect. The ground was smooth nearly everywhere, except towards one of the extremities, where it rose imperceptibly. We saw countless birds, white like swans, & larger than sparrows. They thought so little of escaping or flying away that they almost let us walk on their bodies. We took as many of them as we wanted. They were just a ball of fat, very delicate to eat.
When we came to the end, we found an outlet which led us into the countryside, & below, in a very dark spot, we saw a big, round whole, a bit like a well. We cast in several very large rocks, which made no sound as they fell, which surprised us. But some moments later, there suddenly flew from the hole a very big bird, completely black, which, extending its wings, frightened us with their size. Exiting the cavern, it let out three awful cries with which all the vaults resounded. It carried in its beak something big & long, but it didn’t give us time to make out what it could be. The well must have been of a prodigious depth, & that there was some hole or recess within where that bird perhaps had its nest, or else it had found something there for its sustenance.
We left soon after it, but we had much trouble ascending, because the slope was very rough & full of very coarse gravel & sharp stones. When we were at the top we knew we were above the torrent, because it passed over the Cavern & just at the middle.
We were only a quarter of a league from the Cavern, when we saw two white bears come out from between two beautiful hills green as a meadow from below, the summit of which was all covered with that species of thorn of which I have spoken, which had small, bright red leaves. They entered into a sunken path full of sand, along a hillside which led straight to the Sea. They constantly searched the ground with their snouts, apparently seeking some roots. We followed them at a distance, always having our weapons ready in case they were needed, although we had noticed several times that the bears did not attack men. We were soon within view of the Sea.
The Coast at this point formed a small Gulf, & the shore seemed covered with shells. We saw beside the water three seals, asleep on the sand, one of which slept half in the water & half on land. However the Bears, which had taken a little detour came steadily into that place, & rummaging always with their muzzles among the shells, didn’t seem to look in front of them. But the largest, finding itself suddenly next to one of these seals, attacked it high up on the neck, & the first bite made its blood flow to the ground. That animal, waking with a start, shook itself so violently that it pulled free, & it pierced the belly of the Bear with the great fangs that it had in its lower jaw. The bear furiously bit it & cruelly tore it everywhere it could reach. The other two seals coming to the aid of the first, the combat became general between these five animals, but the first of the seals lost so much blood that it fled into the Sea, & the others following it, they left to the two Bears the field of battle & all the honor of the victory.
There were a great number of these seals in this area. I saw some that were eight feet long & proportionally large. They were amphibians, & marked like Tigers in black & white, with bits of yellow, gray & red. Their skin was covered with short fur. They had a very large head & four feet with five undivided claws, like the feet of geese & joined by a black skin. Their tail was very short, & they were well pleased to lay in the sand along the Sea.
We left our two Bears still rummaging among the sea shells, & we followed the beach, coming round to the side where we had left our vessel. As soon as we set foot on the height which formed the point of the Cape, we were astonished to see that the land before us was all wet, while the one that we left was quite dry. The thick cloud which covered it, & which always covered it while we were there, at times secreted a thick dew like a light, very fine rain, while all around the air was very clear & very calm, I have never been able to understand what could have been the cause of it, there must be some occult & attractive virtue in these lands which always maintains above them, even despite the strongest winds, those thick vapors.
Chapter VII.
Of the Strait of the Bears; of the marvelous rock archway or natural bridge; of the appalling precipice we saw between some high mountains near the Strait of the Bears; of the thunderous subterranean noises accompanied by flashes that we heard in a large Rock far out to Sea.
After having visited a part of the Cape, we wanted to penetrate into the continent, but we did not judge it proper to risk ourselves so long among the mountains, in an unknown country, which had for inhabitants only savage beasts & some birds. Therefore, we resolved to go there by sea. For that purpose, we re-embarked, & with a light east wind we followed the Cape along the west side, & at the end of five or six hours we were surrounded by so many pieces of ice that we feared being forced to drop anchor, but the wind, redoubling its force, drove us towards the west, & we continued our course. We were, however, obliged to bear more to the right, because of a great number of shoals & sandbanks that were along the cape.
We sailed comfortably enough for forty-eight hours, after which we began to see a great gulf which the sea penetrated inland, through a strait which was only a good quarter of a league wide. I named it the Strait of the Bears, because we saw a very great quantity of them there.
There occurred at that moment a thing which struck us with its singularity. You should know that in this straitthere was a current that went from oneshore to another. Twenty to twenty-five of these bears stood at the edge of the water & seemed to await the passage of a great sheet of ice which we saw approaching from far off.Chance dictating that it should float close to them, they all jumped onto it with an incredible swiftness, & the current having borne them to the other side, they jumped back to land with the same agility. This manner of crossing the water demonstrated clearly in these animals much intelligence & reasoning, despite the opinion of certain philosophers.
We went a long way into the gulf, & dropped anchor, despite the presence of the bears, in a place where there were four great piles of ice, which the waves had driven against the coast & heaped on top of one another. Everything we saw around us was covered in snow. Close to a league from there was a chain of very dense mountains, which enclosed in a ring a small lake. On its eastern side, some pieces of rock being detached at the bottom by the succession of time, had left a great opening all across in the form of an arch, by which the waters of the lake flowed into the surrounding country. so that from a distance we thought we saw a bridge with a single arch, & that much more because the rock which remained above was so flat & even. I was curious to climb it, & to make a true bridge of it nothing was lacking but the guard rails.
There was at that time an extreme, cold accompanied from time to time by a snow fine as dust, & consequently the air was very dark & obscure. But then it became very clear & very calm, a beautiful luminous exhalation rose on the side we thought of as south, like a bright dawn, & the cold decreased in such a manner that the snow melting evaporated from the base of mountains. We saw in this place ina very pretty river, lined on both sides with little reeds like rushes, which after having wound through several twists & turns in the country, went on to flow into the gulf a bit above us.
Having climbed towards its source we saw that it fell from the heights of a large mountain, very thin & flat from above. As the slope was easy, I soon climbed it, & I saw on its summit a little lake from which the river flowed. That lake could have been one hundred feet in diameter. Its eastern part was covered by thin ice, & for its small size it seemed extremely deep. Its water was very sweet & clear. All of that would have been an ample matter for consideration & reasoning by people versed in the science of natural things.
That mountain formed a very narrow & tight glen between two ranks of hillocks, which was covered to the bottom with fine, delicate grass. It led to a sort of long & wide esplanade of solid rock, at the edge of which a terrifying precipice presented itself. All around there were only high & awful rocks, at the base of which impetuously rolled, through holes & crevasses, some great, foaming torrents, which, after crossing one another, went on to rush down all together to the bottom. The great depth of that plunge froze us in terror. I can say that the sole recollection of it which remains to me still makes me tremble, & I do not believe that there is such a precipice in the whole rest of the Universe.
As the country on that side was allrocks, as far as we could judge, we turned to the right, that is to say, toward the Gulf. It was only stones & sand interspersed everywhere with a multitude of little brooks which were very difficult to cross. But, finally, after much trouble, we came to the top of a wide, flat & very smooth slope, which led straight to the sea. Reaching the bottom, we sat down to rest on some small rocks along the shore. We saw there, half a cannon shot out to sea, a very large mountain of rock, around which was a thick fog. We had hardly been seated there a quarter of an hour, when a great noise, like something from a subterranean wind, struck our ears, & it seemed to us to come from that mountain. It lasted around two minutes & then suddenly ceased. But a half an hour later the mountain began to emit from all sides, about three feet above the water, an almost endless number of little lights, which whirled furiously in the air, and then vanished like lightning. Then, a few moment later, a furious noise was heard repeatedly, like great claps of thunder. We saw & heard the same thing, four times in succession, in the space of an hour. We noticed that the mountain did not give off any smoke, at the summit or at any other place, & that the fog that surrounded it being entirely dissipated, the air all around it returned to its original serenity.
Chapter VIII.
Of a beautiful & spacious Plain enclosed by three great hills; of a very beautiful & strange Plant; of some ruins; of the curious remains of an ancient Wall in the vicinity of the Sea; of a marvelous Echo; of the crowned Bird which made its nest underground.
I had seen, by means of my spyglass, that on the other side of the gulf the country was much less mountainous & more beautiful. I enlisted some of my traveling companions to explore there with me, & we did so soon after. First we found a plain which was very flat & smooth, but stony, & it seemed to me to that one could extract from it some stone very suitable for building. I even saw in some places large holes, nearly filled in, which could have been taken for quarries.
At that point we were opposite a great hill which limited our view. I climbed to a height to see if I could discover what was beyond it, & I saw three large hills which formed an irregular angle, which enclosed a lovely & spacious plain. We had little trouble descending to it. It was so perfectly flat over its whole extent that we could not see the least rise, or the least depression. The grass which covered it was all moist, as if an abundant dew had fallen recently.
I saw along the slopes a multitude of long white stripes, bright as quicksilver, which crossed a hundred ways, from top to bottom & from the bottom to top. I approached & saw on all sides a species of snail, four times larger than those of our climates, which carried on their back a shell of a very lovely green. These snails had a black body, a long tail, & a small head without horns. Gliding along the earth they left a track of thick, white slime, which made the long lines of which I just spoke. They gnawed quite happily on a plant which grew on the plain, & which was so beautiful & so strange that it deserves to be described here.
It grew to the height of about a cubit, & shot forth twenty five or thirty leaves, very close at the base, but which expanded considerably at the top. These leaves were the width of a span, with points all around as hard & sharp as thorns. They were a very beautiful pale green, & full of large veins in the most beautiful aurora that one could hope to see. We uprooted some, but with much difficulty, because of the spines with which they were armed, & we were surprised to see that their root had the veritable shape of a melon, with a skin of a gray-brown divided by ribs, & as rough to the touch as shagreen. Inside the flesh was soft, whitish, spongy & and had a disagreeable odor, which did not prevent us from tasting it. But if it was not very good to eat, it was certainly something to look at. I have seen more than a hundred of the snails gnaw at a bunch of these plants.
At a corner of that plain, at the angle on the side toward the sea, there was a sort of stone vault, but one so low that it was necessary to bend nearly double in order to pass through the archway. We arrived in a long space, all paved with fine stone, brown like potter’s clay, & around three paces wide. A few hundred yards away, in a place full of sand & gravel, we saw the remains of a tower, beside which appeared, sunk in the earth, a large round rock, concave in shape, like a large globe, which had tree starts on its surface, embossed & all in a line. I could not imagine what that could be.
That stone was at the end of the ruins of a long wall, which extended all the way to the sea. The wall was at least threeand a half feet thick, but it was only raised above the ground a good half foot. There was, however, a section of it close tot eh sea which came up to or waists, & in which was set a large piece of red marble in the shape of a hexagon, where we saw engraved an angle with a sort of serpent in the middle, & all around, bizarre ornaments & outlines. I noted that the stones of the tower & the wall were joined so tightly that it did not appear that there had ever been lime or cement between them. Although during the time that we had been in those climes we had encountered no inhabitants, it is beyond doubt that there must have been some at some time. All these things were incontestable proofs of it, & I was that much more persuaded of it since I had seen several places that seemed to me very fit for cultivation, & where the cold was not unbearable.
We discovered by chance a marvelous echo close to these ruins, for on striking one of the stones with a rock, the sound was repeated six, seven, & eight times along the shore. Moreover, a fine seaport could have been made here. Advancing steadily along this coast, we came to a great beach which was at least three leagues long. There were little sandbanks scattered along it, & there was in the middle of the bay a lovely little island, long & narrow, all covered with deep green reeds. Its shores were all covered with seashells, although there was not a single one on the side where we were.
After that beach, the sea made a great bend in the land, in the crook of which were three high mountains. The one in the middle, which was the highest, extended so far onto the shore that it left hardly three feet of land to pass around it. Beside the sea there was a large hole or recess, like a deep grotto, where I saw the skeletons of two four-legged animals. After examining them closely, I decided that they must be the skeletons of bears, but that they must have been monstrous in size. One occupied the entry & nearly prevented passage, the other was all the way in the back, & I found between the walls a large bird’s nest, with some eggs.
From that place we left the sea & those mountains on our left, & went to the right, farther into that country & it was a sandy region nearly all covered with a sort of white moss, & from place to place we saw the early elevated by little mounds, like in the country where there are moles, but I could never discover what sort of animal made them. Then we saw before us a large brook, doubtless formed by the melting snow which flowed abundantly from the nearby mountains, & as it was impossible for us to cross it, we were obliged to take a rather long detour, & even to walk a long distance along a hillside in soft & half melted snow. But what gave us the courage to advance was a large & beautiful prairie which was nearly across from us, all sown with little yellow flowers, & bordered by a long hill where we saw something like a little hedgerow of deep green shrubs; the yellow flowers gave off a very pleasant odor.
As I amused myself considering them, a large bird suddenly came out from between the shrubs. Fearless, it came to stand thirty paces from us. It was roughly the size of a goose, & strutted proudly as a cock, head high, lifting its feet high with every step, its talons appeared long & pointed. Its plumage was gray, & it had almost no tail. It bore on its head a big bunch of black & white feathers, which very tall &, widening in a circle at the top, resembled a sort of great crown. Its beak was red, thick & short. After it had scavenged for a while on the prairie, it took a bunch of grass in its mouth, & flew off toward the rise. I followed it with my eye & saw it enter a hole at the base. I advanced quickly & noticed that this hole was deep, & twisted far down into the earth. I gathered from this that its nest was there, & noted that there were other holes nearby that were as deep & of the same sort along the base of the hill. But we did not see the bird again, or any others of its species.
Chapter IX.
Of a great & beautiful Harbor formed by a rocky enclosure on the same Gulf of which we just spoke; of a great & high Mountain which appeared suspended in the air;of an Archipelago or several islands clustered together; of a large & tall Column of Fire on the Sea & of a Phenomenon which had the shape of the Sun.
Having resolved to advance a little farther into the continent, we set out to traverse a great expanse all full of a species of heather, at the end of which there were some large hills of red rock. The soil was nearly the same color, so that after having walked for some time, our shoes and stockings were all covered with a thick, red dust. As soon as we had passed these hills, we discovered first some broad lands that were dry & waterless & very sandy, which in the distance offered to view only some dreadful rocks, some of which were so high, that their summits were hidden in the clouds. All of this so strongly decreased our enthusiasm for penetrating farther that, changing our plans on the spot, we turned in the direction of the sea, with the plan of following it until we came to the Strait of Bears, close to where our vessel was at anchor.
With that aim, we threaded our way through a large valley where the trail was very lovely & smooth. We found there a great number of birds, with a plumage of gray, mixed with a bit of black. They were roughly the size of our pigeons, & and had a hooked beak like parrots. They let us take them in our hands, so we took as many of them back aboard the ship as possible. Soon after, we talked about returning to the old world, but by a plurality of voices, we resolved to first see the western part of the gulf, for we had noted that it extended far from the coast to the west.
So we left the strait with a good north-east wind, & and sailed very happily for more than twenty-four hours, bearing towards the west. But, the wind dropping suddenly, we endured a calm which lasted six hours. We had almost always stayed close to land, & we were then very close to the shore, but we could distinguish nothing of it because of a heavy fog which reigned along the coast. The sea & the fog appeared to be of the same color. However, at the end of a couple of hours, the fog had entirely dissipated, & we saw across from us a great & vast enclosure of rocks, which, advancing inland, formed a circlealmost entirely flooded by the sea, which rested between two tall & terrible mountains, whose summits touched the clouds. It was doubtless the most beautiful & and the largest basin of water in the world, where one could very earily moor more than three hundred and fifty vessels, sheltered from the winds as in a safe & magnificent port.
The entry was hardly fifteen hundred feet wide. The mountains of the enclosure were of medium height, & of nearly white rock, & there were all around, at intervals, large holes in the shape of church-windows, which tunneled clear through, & by which we could see the country on the other side. All that we could see from the place that we were made the finest prospect imaginable. The two large mountains of the entry appeared all covered, up to their summits, with green moss.
I entered, sixth, this fine harbor in the longboat. We saw all around, in holes in the rock, several birds’ nests. The water was very clear & appeared to us to be extremely deep everywhere.
The wind, rising again, turned due East, & after continuing our route for two or three hours, we found ourselves between two very long sand banks, where there was so little water that we had all the trouble in the world exiting again. Finally, we pulled ourselves from there, & we discovered on our left, in the middle of the sea, a collection of rocks which together formed a large mass. There was one of them which, tilting dramatically, thrust a very long point towards the north. There was at the base, a bit above the water, a very large indentation or recess, beneath which the sea entered very far, & as there reigned there a thick vapor, like a cloud around the foot of the rocks, it was impossible to see from afar the part that attached to them, so that they seemed to us to be suspended in the air, until we could consider it all from a closer vantage. That rock appeared to me very worth of attention. It seems impossible that it simply fell into the sea, carried by its own weight. I noticed that all around these rocks the water was thick & green, & seemed like some sort of swamp.
We were hardly half a league from there when the wind rose again dramatically, & we sailed so rapidly that we were soon within sight of a very large number of little islands, placed close together. With the aid of my spyglass, I counted up to twenty-five. They all appeared green as the prairies. We landed on the one which was closest to us, because we saw on its shores a prodigious quantity of seashells. We found there many of that species of small oysters of which I spoke in the sixth chapter.
We did not judge it proper to venture any farther among these islands, for as they were very close together, there was a multitude of breakers, & swirling water, which we believed to indicate many dangerous chasms. So we left them on our left, & at the end of fifteen hours we were in the westernmost end of the gulf. The coastline was very high, & we anchored in its shadow in order to be sheltered from them winds, for there seemed to be a storm brewing, & in fact, soon after some large & black clouds darkened the sky in such a manner that it was nearly like night.
As I considered one cloud, which had a strange shape, it suddenly opened up, & offered to my eyes a really brilliant fire, in the shape of a circle, like the sun, but almost twice as big. In the space of a few minutes this phenomenon made three or four rapid movements from the north to the south. At the same time, I perceived on the edge of the horizon a long series of clouds, some of which came gradually to fall into a perpendicular line just above the sea, without, however, breaking off from the others. It made a bank of very clear & transparent vapor, which the sea pushed steadily towards us. When it was near upon is, it seemed the color ofpale fire. Itlooked like a monstrouscolumn of fire, which at one end touched the sea & at the other touched the clouds, moved over the surface of the waters. After a quarter-hour it disappeared & nothing remained but a light smoke, which soon dissipated completely. However, the circular fire made itself seen from time to time through the gaps in the clouds, & formed shortly after a beautiful arc in the air composed of two colors, a light yellow &a green which included a bit of blue. That arc, reflecting in the sea, made a perfect circle of extraordinary beauty.
The wind increasing dramatically, the sea became very rough, & the waves broke on the coast with a furious rage, so that it seemed like all the winds were raging. Also, a frightening tempest was upon us which made that beautiful arc & the phenomenon that it made disappear in a very short. We were fortunate to be stationed, as we were, under cover from the force of the winds. After that storm had passed & the sky cleared, I went on shore to see the surroundings, but there was nothing to see but rocks on rocks & mountains on mountains, the summits & ridges of which were all covered with snow. In short it was a country of amazing dryness & sterility, where the cold was to be feltmost keenly.
Having advanced about a thousand paces, I saw some sort of fox come out of a hole which was at the foot of a hill, but it was a fox much larger than the ordinary varieties. Its whole pelt was nearly russet. The end of its nose was white & so were its four legs, up to just above the joint. It came fearlessly to graze on a sort of white moss, which was eight paces from me. It was a female, for a moment later five or six of its young, all marked like it, came out of the same hole & also came to feed around her. But one of my companions coming toward the same place, all these animals took fright & bolted rapidly into their den.
Chapter X.
The Author & his companions set sail for the old world; some time after they find in their path a dreadful reef; they arrive at the Cape of Good Hope; extraordinary adventure that happened to the Author some days after landing.
Although in the various journeys we had made in the Antarctic Lands, we had not penetrated far into the country, we had, however seen enough to easily judge the rest; & as for several reasons it was not possible for us to stay there any longer, we prepared ourselves to depart, or rather, to return to the old world. We resolved to take ourselves to the Cape of Good Hope. We thus set sail with a good West Wind, which in no time brought us out of the Gulf & the Strait. We raised all our sails, & because the Wind was strong, we went a long distance in a few hours. We took our bearings & found ourselves at sixty-two degrees six minutes of Southern latitude, & when we again met the Sun for the first time, it was about noon.
At about three o’clock, we found ourselves between two very rapid currents, which made us fear that there was some dangerous reef in the vicinity. I took my spyglass, & I saw an endless number of points of Rocks above the water, in the midst of which there were in various places several strong currents, which in their fury raised a thick & boiling foam. We took all imaginable precautions. Our Vessel still half-entered into one of these currents, but a sudden turn of the rudder, given at the right moment, drew us back, & we finally had the good fortune to escape so dangerous a pitch without any other accident, & we arrived fortunately at the Cape of Good Hope at the end of a few day, at ten in the morning, the fifth of July, in the year seventeen hundred & fourteen.
Upon entering the house where I was going to stay, I learned that someone had just been buried, a young man who four or five months since had come from Batavia. When I was told his name, I recalled that he had been known to me, & one of my good friends. Thus I acquainted myself very precisely with all the peculiarities of his death.
Having one night regaled five or six of his friends, & drunk with them a bit more than was right. He was attacked towards midnight by a very violent headache accompanied by very sharp pains in all of his limbs. He went up to his room & went to bed, & around an hour later someone went to see if he needed anything. He was found stone dead.
They had watched over him for only two days, & then they had buried him.
At that moment I recalled, fortunately, what I had been told in the past, that when he was ten or twelve years old, he had fallen into a lethargy in the house of his Father & Mother, & that he had remained three days & three nights without giving the least sign of life. I went then without losing a moment of time to ask permission to disinter him, which I obtained easily.
I took myself to the Cemetery, & I worked at the grave & casket with all diligence. Then we carried him to the house, where we put him in a good, warm bed. I noticed that he did not have that great pallor that dead bodies ordinarily have, & that he even had a sort of little redness in the middle of the left cheek, he remained more than six hours without making the least movement. I desired, however, to remain constantly at his bedside. Finally, he made a little sigh, & right away I wanted to give him a spoonful of an excellent liqueur that I had brought for that purpose, but his teeth were clenched so tight that I could not make a single drop enter. Shortly after, he raised his left arm a little, & I put the spoon back between his teeth, which I opened enough to let him swallow, & in fact he did swallow something, & a moment later opened his eyes, but without having any knowledge of his circumstances.
Finally, he returned to himself all at once, & after introducing myself, & briefly recounting all that had taken place. He expressed all possible gratitude for the great service that I had just rendered him, & was astonished that his host had buried him so promptly. He then told me that he had a Valet, who through his alleged death had doubtless remained the master of some jewelry worth a rather considerable amount of money & of some merchandise that he had. I went in search of him, but did not find him. Doubtless, from the moment when he learned that his Master could well not be dead, he had found the means of escape, or had hidden himself so well that it was not possible to find him, no matter how thorough our search and research. In this way the poor young man saw himself stripped of everything, even his clothes were not found.
Fortunately there was in the Cape a man of my acquaintance, with whom I had previously done some business, who at my recommendation was happy to advance what he needed, as we awaited the imminent arrival of some Vessels of the East India Company, which should stop at the Cape, in order to return to Holland, we resolved to go there together. They arrived at the end of three weeks, & we embarked a few days later, & by the grace of God we came fortunately to Amsterdam.
E N D
[Working translation by Shawn P. Wilbur; original title: Relation d’un voyage du
 pole arctique au pole antarctique par le centre du monde
]

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Edward Berwick, “Farming in the Year 2000 A. D. (1890)

Here’s yet another short sequel to Bellamy’s novel, by Edward Berwick. It appeared in the June 1890 issue of the Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine, to which Berwick submitted a number or articles. His work also appeared in The Outlook and The Arena.

FARMING IN THE YEAR 2000 A. D.

With nerves unstrung by that horrent nightmare, which had replunged me into the cruel vortex of nineteenth century antagonism and brutality, I cast around for some method of restoring my usual equanimity. An excursion into the country would, it appeared to me, serve the double purpose of acting as a nervous sedative, and of enabling me to realize something of the conditions of rural life in this year 2000 A. D.
Repairing to Dr. Leete’s study, I found him busily conning those pages of Storiot’s History of the Nineteenth Century in which agriculture was discussed. Having expressed to him my desire, I added, “Your methods of distribution and finance have proved so interesting to me that I long intensely to learn something of your performance of that more vital function, production.”
“Ah, Mr. West,” replied the Doctor, “that reminds me that I have very much wished to consult you upon what has always seemed to me a great mystery. This history of Storiot’s gives one to understand that the distaste for a farmer’s vocation was so great in your nineteenth century as to result in an exodus that left the rural districts almost depopulated. Can this be true? If so, it becomes yet more incomprehensible when one reconstructs mentally one of our overgrown yet crowded cities. The dense canopies of soot and impure gases, overhanging them like a funeral pall, were themselves danger-signals, warning the unwary that life’s most precious possession, health, was imperiled. Then the mud and dust, the squalor and malodorousness, the grime and filth of your back alleys and byways,—aye, often even of your main thoroughfares,—must have acted as repellents and nauseants to one accustomed to sweet country air. To complete this uninviting catalogue, one must add the deplorably insanitary condition of your dwellings. Why, Storiot actually affirms that the consort of Queen Victoria was literally poisoned in, Windsor Castle by sewage miasma; while, about the same time, over one hundred students of Princeton College were attacked by typhus fever from a similar cause. So late as 1889 a Hygienic Congress, sitting in the City of Paris, condemned 77,000 out of its 79,000 houses as defective in sanitation. And this in a city vaunting itself the center of civilization, whose system of sewers was world renowned, the pride of the poet Hugo. Presuming all this true, there must have been some remarkable fatuity to induce men to migrate from the sweet purity of God’s ‘un-man-stifled places,’ to coop themselves in such vile wildernesses of brick.”
“Though I can refute nothing of your historian’s indictment against the abominations of our cities,” I replied dejectedly, “I can perhaps solve your problem by a reference to that root of all our nineteenth century evils, the greedy grab for money. Money, if we ruin our bodies! Money, if we sell our souls! Incredible and monstrous as it may seem to you, there were among our farming community the same mutual jealousy, suspicion, and antagonism that embittered and impeded all other walks of life; the same blind, misdirected, feverish energy, unintelligently over-producing certain staples, which had to be sold at unremunerative prices. Hence heavy labor, long protracted, often repulsive and even brutal, was compulsory to obtain a bare sustenance. Some few evaded this curse by the successful substitution of the sweat of some one else’s brow; but, as a rule, the farmer and his family were debarred from almost all social recreation, and precluded by excessive fatigue from mental culture at home. Add to this that his business was the sport of the weather, to the inclemencies of which he was often exposed; that he was harassed by plagues innumerable, beetle and bug, mildew and mould, canker-worm and caterpillar; and bled impartially by rodent, rent-collector, and tax-gatherer. One theorist even proposed to make land bear the whole tax of the nation, promising a consequent millennium.”
“Stop,” said Doctor Leete, “that’s explanation enough. You will find our farming as diametrically different to that of your nineteenth century as is our storekeeping. Nothing you have said previous to this portrayal of the farmers woes has so made me realize how dim were your dawnings of science. I had failed to remember that your scientists could barely foretell the weather a few hours ahead, and that your farmers looked to birds, insects, and even trees for intimations of hard winters or early springs. Now, our meteorologists furnish accurate forecasts for the entire year, and our tillers of the soil shape their course accordingly. But let us continue our talk on the road, where both eye and ear can be busy.”
Seating ourselves in a light, beautifully appointed electric curricle, the doctor touched the ubiquitous contact button, and sped us rapidly westward along the smooth, broad, tree-shaded avenue. Crossing the sinuous Charles, with its sculpin-haunted bridges, our road was bordered on either hand with an endless succession of snuggest villas, lawn-begirt and flower-adorned. glorious in their greenery, the ideal of everything homelike and hospitable. More miles and more, and the same pleasing vista still charmed the eye, until I began to think that Boston must have taken the American continent. I noticed, however, that the gardens were becoming more extensive, and occasionally fairy palaces of iron and glass, covering acres of ground, diversified the scene; while every few miles magnificent assembly halls reared their inviting porticos at the roadside. In vain I looked around for some of the old familiar waste places and solitudes, for which my eyes seemed to long.
“How soon, Doctor Leete,” I asked, “shall we reach your farming district?”
“You are now in the heart of it,” he replied.
Rubbing my eyes to make sure I was awake, I stared at my companion in amazement. Where were all the shabby barns, the dilapidated outbuildings, pigsties, hen-houses, calf-sheds, stables, the malodorous middens and muckheaps, inseparable from nineteenth century farmsteads? Then it flashed across me that I had seen neither sheep nor cow,—no, not even a solitary hog, since I awoke from my century’s trance.
“You appear dazed!” said the Doctor. “What is it that strikes you as specially wonderful?”
“Why, the absence of all live stock, to be sure! Where do you keep your cows and pigs, your horses and sheep? Our farmers’ chief business was to provide provender for his livestock. Here I see no livestock. Nothing but garden, garden, garden!”
“You don’t see them because we have none!”
“Have none? Then whence came that juicy cutlet which I had for breakfast? Savory as the fattest of fat venison fed on the Delectable Mountains! “
A smile wreathed the Doctor’s face as he replied:
“It is satisfactory to hear so pronounced an opinion from one so qualified to judge. As we never taste flesh, it has been necessarily a doubtful point as to whether our edible fungi were really superior to animal food. Your morning meal was blood-guiltless; your juicy cutlet was but a slice from an agaric. In your age one class of savages was held in especial abhorrence. Your flesh crept and your blood curdled as you whispered the word “cannibal,” even when applied to a sailor, starvation-crazed on mid-ocean. Our generation similarly abhors all flesh-eaters. But do not suppose that we affect any contempt for the science of cookery, because we eschew meat. Man is what he is by virtue of his education and environment, and food is no inconsiderable part of that environment. Our cooks prepare purely vegetable dishes, compared to which, we opine, the rarest fleshpots of your Egypt were but as carrion. If Storiot is right, your much esteemed fillet of beef had to be flavored with mushrooms, and that highly valued dainty of the gourmand, the paté de foie gras, depended for its piquancy on the added aroma of a fungous tuber. No! the farmer of today,—and his name is Legion, agriculture being by far the most popular of all vocations, —performs none of that repulsive and brutalizing labor in connection with live stock which constituted farming in your day. Growing and stacking huge ricks of hay, and threshing endless bushels of grain, for the maintenance of his horses and bullocks, his hogs and sheep, during winter; collecting and distributing all kinds of unsavory fertilizers; daily tending and caring for his flocks and herds,—made up a farmer’s life. How needless was all this labor, let the stalwart frames and ruddy countenances of this generation witness. Even you had the example of Daniel and his friends, who, preferring a pulse diet, refused the king’s meat; but whose countenances were fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. I believe also that the nourishing and nitrogenous bean was a staple food of your poorer Bostonians. Under our improved dietetic regime, we not only have succeeded in maintaining a population of thirty from the same acreage that on a meat diet fed one, but we have effectually banished that demon of the nineteenth century, dyspepsia: the demon that tortured the body, embittered the soul, and envenomed the pen of your great master of satire, Carlyle.”
“But,” queried I, “if you thus eliminate all live stock from your farming system, how are your fields and gardens fertilized?”
The smile of conscious power and adequate knowledge again illumined the Doctor’s visage, as he replied:
“In the first place, by that endless natural supply, the refuse of cities. This, suitably deodorized by dry earth, is delivered by our pneumatic transmitters to such lands as need renewing, and there distributed by electric carry-alls. If I am rightly informed, this supply was in your day not only allowed to waste, but actually discharged into your rivers, poisoning alike air and water; while at the same time your lack of nitrogenous fertilizers put you to immense expense in the mining and transportation of nitrates. These, by the aid of our slave of the lamp, electricity, we obtain in any quantity from that omnipresent and inexhaustible nitrogen mine, the atmosphere; of course, combining the nitric acid thence obtained with the necessary bases.
“This reminds me of another laborious, ever-recurring piece of work, from which that same slave of the lamp has freed our agriculturists; the cutting and cleaving of cord-wood for heating the wintry air of your abodes. Not only our artificial light and heat, but all the motive power of our machinery is supplied by electricity. Fields are plowed, seeds sown, crops harvested, all by that same swift servitor, whom your contemporaries had but just learned to harness. Fluvial and tidal forces furnish ample energy for all purposes: so that cold water literally boils our kettles, warms our hands, and even smelts the most refractory ores. You may judge then how easy the farmer’s yoke, how light his burden today; especially when you remember that all anxiety and care as to marketing his crops, or providing for his family’s present and future, have under our social system become utterly needless.”
“You are, my dear Doctor, indeed favored above mortals!” I gladly assented. “But you have not yet by any means exhausted Farmer Hayseed’s catalogue of woes. Tares sprung up and choked his wheat; codlin moth or curculio rendered hateful his pleasant fruits; cut worm, wire worm, gopher, squirrel, scale bug, locust, and fly ravaged his fields and stripped his trees, robbing him of half his due reward. If your system and science have extirpated these I shall hail you as victors indeed.”
“What appeared impossible, and was impossible in your chaos of antagonism,” replied the Doctor, “has become not only possible, but easy, with our system of harmonious co-operation. In your day the farmer who, by trap and poison, would rid his fields of vermin, was checkmated by the neighbor who was too lazy or apathetic to do the like. The lazy man’s fields bred vermin enough to more than restock the runs and burrows that the diligent man had emptied. One orchardist by endless vigilance strove to keep his trees healthy; his neighbor, perhaps out of sheer spite, neglected his; and scale bug, curculio, or codlin moth migrated in myriads to the vigilant man’s orchard. With weeds the same:—what industry kept free, idleness reseeded. Now, by united effort, not a weed goes to seed, not a noxious insect lives within our borders. Entomology became so thoroughly understood that, by giving favorable environment to certain predatory varieties, the noxious species were long ago exterminated. We thus reap the full reward of our toil. Moreover, there is no attempt made to produce crops that are unfitted for the locality. Distribution is so rapid and easy that we can utilize natural adaptations to the utmost, and thus results a perfection not known in your age. This is accomplished the more readily in that our command of chemistry ensures us that needful supply of the requisite fertilizing ingredients which renders us independent of soil constituents. Add to all these advantages an abundance of competent labor, plus the absolute possession of the unbounded and untiring energy of our slave of the lamp, and the horticulture of today has been made possible.”
Here the Doctor slackened the speed of our curricle, as we neared one of those immense palaces of crystal I had previously noticed. Alighting, we entered a portico, tastefully lit by transparent mosaics; thence passed into a glorious sylvan cloister, extending all around the building, rich with the verdure of the tropics, through which flashed the starry wings of strange, bright birds, and among whose arches echoed their warbled melodies.
“This,” said Dr. Leete, with a glow of pride, “is one of our winter promenades. This is the ornate fringe of the useful center, devoted as you see to such vegetables as need artificial heat. Below is a crypt allotted to the culture of agarics and fungous tubers, such as delighted your palate this morning. Our slave of the lamp automatically maintains the required temperature, and in winter prolongs the day to the extent required for continuous growth. So that here we fear not even the Shaksperian enemies, ‘Winter and rough weather.”‘
Words fail to picture the marvel of horticultural perfection on which I gazed. Tender care and exquisite taste were displayed everywhere, as though each plant had been ranged by an artist.
The Doctor read my admiring look, and gave utterance to my thought.
“Yes, our gardeners are all artists. I believe in the nineteenth century they were not included in that denomination. But surely if to reproduce nature on canvas be art, to embellish nature, which is the true gardener’s office, is yet higher art. And I think, Mr. West, you will be hardly disposed to deny, after what you have seen today of rural Massachusetts, that we have been fairly successful in embellishing nature.”
“Success! Yes, your success to me is miraculous! The incomprehensible part of it to me is where the money—”
“Ah,” broke in the Doctor, “there comes in your old-world bogey again! It was an eternal question as to money?—money?—money? You want to ask where the means to promote and carry out such schemes are found. You forget how much more rapid psychical evolution is than physical. In your century a Harvard professor could say with reason, ‘Only a small fraction of the human race have as yet, by thousands of years of struggle, been partially emancipated from poverty, ignorance, and brutishness.’ Our change of social polity has multiplied that fraction many fold. Now our people are all emancipated from that vilest of slavery. The office of brains nowadays is not to aggrandize and exalt their fortunate possessorat the expense of the debasement of his fellows. We find our highest gratification in self-devotion to the uplifting of t hose who are less richly endowed; and reap a harvest of admiration and love consequent on that only pious course. Thus we have a population capable of the grandest achievements in art or science; a population free from all internal and external cares and anxieties, eager to concentrate thought, time, and energy on such productive work as you have glanced at today. Usefulness is with us the sole title to nobility. With you the typical ‘good fellow’ was one who had money, no matter how acquired, that he was ready to squander in ostentatious idleness or profligacy. For such characters our age finds neither name nor place. Whether our methods be happier, whether they result in success, you have now seen enough to judge.”
The look of admiration with which I could but behold the magnificent triumph of art-aided nature before me was a sufficiently eloquent reply.
As we rode homewards I gathered many further details from Doctor Leete as to the crops grown in different districts. These, of course, remained a great deal as in the nineteenth century. The Doctor was specially enthusiastic over a visit he had lately paid to California, in his capacity of National Sanitary Inspector. Fruit forming so large a part of the nation’s sustenance, it was one of his duties to learn and teach the newest and best methods of its growth and preservation.
“After your nineteenth century experience,” said he! “you can have no conception of the glories of that American paradise. All your visions of vine and fig tree, of myrtle, and palm, and orange, your grapes of Eshcol and clusters of Mamre, are belittled by the Edenic reality! Blossom-clad rose fields for perfume, hills purpled with wealth of the vine, terraces silvered with olives, or gold with the orange’s glow, plains where the peach and the pear shared the bounteous soil with the prune, mountain sides where the racy apple stored up the sun’s kisses for winter. No more dread of drought, as in your day, no more crying of a parched earth to a pitiless sky, but intelligent man working in happy harmony with bounteous nature; the State overspread with a network of waterways, wealth-bearing, life-giving, making even the deserts kind and hospitable, and the barren hillside a fruitful grove. All this and more, because man has, after centuries of strife and antagonism, learned at last the wisdom and policy of mutual help; a lesson long taught him by the practical socialism of the ant, the bee, and even of that type of envenomed malice, the wasp.”

Edward Berwick.

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Filed under 1890s, Edward Bellamy, Edward Berwick, Sequels to Looking Backward

Dyer D. Lum and Solomon Schindler, “A Journalist’s Confession” (1890)

In this exchange from The Open Court (April 10 and May 1, 1890) Dyer D. Lum and Rabbi Solomon Schindler square off over Edward Bellamy’s ideas in a set of sequels to Looking Backward. Schindler was a Boston radical, a proponent of Bellamyite Nationalism, and a regular contributor to The Arena. Dyer was a regular contributor to Liberty and The Index. Their exchange is a nice window into the basic conflict between the state socialists and anarchists at the turn of the centry.

A JOURNALIST’S CONFESSION. BOSTON, A. D., 2001.[COMMUNICATED THROUGH DYER D LUM.]

You will be surprised, my dear Dr. Leete, to learn that I have severed my connection with the “Trumpet of Liberty,” but such is the fact. Your kindness in the past, your earnest zeal in laboring to secure sufficient subscribers to reimburse the executive power for expense incurred, as well as your unfailing optimism even when circumstances looked dark, all alike convince me that I would be derelict to favors received were I not to lay before you the reasons which have actuated me in this final step. Nor are the reasons purely sentimental, though I know that if I should place them upon that ground I could at once command the tender sympathies of your generous and trusting heart And if my private criticisms herein as to the wisdom of our mode of conducting newspapers should seem to lean toward treason, I can but simply throw myself upon your good nature.
The imperative necessity of first securing enough subscribers to guarantee cost before permission to publish could be obtained, necessarily made the venture in a large degree local. To the circulars sent out the replies from a distance were, as we expected, not very encouraging; the utter lack of advertising, if I may he permitted that antique word, prevented the fact from being widely known, as well as the character and scope of our work, and at the same time deprived us of means to collect names. In fact, my dear doctor, while in no wise depreciating the calm security we now possess of knowing that our material wants will he easily gratified, it still seems to me, but without indorsing Carlyle’s allusion to ”pig’s wash,” that this security of the stomach tends to confine our efforts within narrower circles and restrict our intellectual horizon within the boundaries of personal intercourse. Without means to reach unknown inquirers, our work and progress has been largely retarded.
But the “Trumpet,” fortunately, having a goodly subscription list, and I being elected editor, these difficulties were surmounted, even if it prevented a material reduction in terms or increase of attractions. But here a greater difficulty arose. You remember the biting sarcasms in works of a former age in which the clergy were assailed for being necessarily subservient to the pews whence arose their support. I fancy I can put myself in the place of a clergyman under those semi-barbarous conditions prevailing before government kindly relieved us of the care of overlooking our own morals. For even under our resplendent liberty, which I have done so much to trumpet, I have found myself continually treading on tender corns and drawing forth indignant protests from my constituency. Our beloved institutions have not fostered criticism; on the contrary, the tendency is plainly toward its repression. Though our presses continually issue books, they, like papers, find great difficulty in reaching beyond a merely local market, which while heightening cost necessarily limits circulation. To write for the “pews” only, so to speak, restricts independence; while independence either curtails my list of readers or changes its personnel, in either case depriving the paper of an assured and solid basis.
To antagonize those within immediate reach, whom everything tends to render extremely conservative toward speculations relative to wider personal liberty, and without means to reach others at a distance to whom such thoughts might he welcome, is but one of the many difficulties I have encountered. Individual initiative having long since gone out of fashion, in the collapse of the ancient system of political economy, it becomes more and more difficult to assert it in the economy of intellect. I am aware that the field of journalism is regarded as exempted from the general rule of authoritative direction and, like the clergy, left to personal merit to win success; still the universal tendency of all our institutions to militant measures and direction largely invalidates the theory. This tendency to centralization, which has become the crowning glory of our civilization, is strikingly manifest even in journalism, despite its theoretical exemption.
The subscribers being, so to speak, stockholders, and persons whose everyday occupations and mode of living tend to disparage individual initiative, the first effect of anything blasphemous to the sacred shrine of the commonplace is the appointment of a committee, or board of directors, by the subscribers whose chief functions consist in promoting solidarity among the enrolled subscribers. Theoretically, I had become convinced that this was the flower of our civilization and frequently elucidated its philosophy at Shawmut College, but my later experience has not led me to be enraptured with its fragrance. Each one, in so far as individuality has survived, to however slight a degree, feels not only competent but authorized to express himself editorially; for those most fervent in presenting the superiority of collective wisdom are equally convinced that they are its organs.
When I accepted the position as editor, I believed that this reservation of journalism from collective control was wise, but what was excluded in theory reappears in practice. If you could but look over the articles I have received from the stockholders whom I represent, the “pews” to whom I preach, you might be tempted to change the name of the paper to the “Scrap Book,” or face the problem of reducing material cost without increasing intellectual costiveness. You see my dilemma: if I insert them I am publishing contradictory principles, if I exclude them I am flying in the face of our great and glorious institutions by looking backward to outgrown conditions, wherein some of your semi-barbarous forefathers were wont to prate of the inseparableness of personal initiative and responsibility.
That our social system can be criticised by writers for its compulsory enlistment for three years to secure ample supply for social demand for sewer-ditchers, night scavengers, domestic service, etc., you would undoubtedly agree with me in regarding as only coming from those in whom our beneficent institutions had not eradicated as yet the hereditary taint of being “born tired,” a complaint of which we read in some ancient authors. Yet, whatever its source, such criticisms are received, though generally concealed in allegory. Thus, recently, I bad to reject a story of considerable literary excellence, wherein was described a fancied society where parity of conditions rendered free competition equitable, and remuneration for work was determined in open market by intensity and degree of repugnance overcome, thus unsocially offered the highest inducements to disagreeable labor. I saw at once the anarchistic character of the work, and promptly suppressed it as treasonous.
I have also come to the conclusion, my dear Dr. Leete, that the newspaper is obsolete. For current gossip and small talk we already have abundant vehicles; for criticism on public polity there is no room, even if there were need, nor would it be wise to tolerate it in a community where individuality is subordinated to general welfare and protection constitutes the genius of ail institutions. Our general news we receive officially, all alike, as it is given to us, and the official bulletins meet all demands that may arise which public safety and morality deem wisdom to publish. Titles of heavier treatises than the ephemeral requirements of newspapers may always be found in the official record of publications distributed among our purchasing agencies, to those who have time to search through their voluminous bulk, and even if a title should prove misleading, a common misfortune for which I can suggest no adequate remedy, our material prosperity is so well assured that credit so wasted will not injure anyone.
Finding, therefore, that our present legally instituted scheme of journalism is incompatible with our social constitution, to preserve which all else must be sacrificed, in that it cannot be successfully conducted without individual initiative, control, and responsibility, I gladly cease the struggle to return to my chair of philosophy of history at Shawmut College. My own opinion is that the collective direction now so simplified over production and exchange in material fabrics, should be logically extended to the production and exchange of the more subtle fabrics of the brain if our glorious institutions are to permanently remain on a solid and immovable basis, To admit anarchy in thought, and insist on artificial regulation of relations which are horn of thought, is plainly illogical and dangerous to collective liberty. A social system once instituted must be preserved at all hazards; to preserve is as essential as to create; and this is the more evident when we are the creators and know the result to be to our social well being.
Happily, the compulsory solidarity to which civilization has now attained in material wealth, and the moralization of militancy a century ago, effected by political high-priests, already gives every indication of being dominant in the intellectual sphere before the close of this newly-opened century. Having organized liberty, having brought the spirit of freedom down from abstract heights to add a local habitation to its name, by excluding individual initiative and personal responsibility in economics, having substituted the kind fraternalism of direction for the wild freedom of competition, let us hasten the rapidly nearing day when intellect will also reject these survivals of a ruder age—a day wherein we will reach the culminating point of our civilization, where looking forward will be synonymous with looking backward!

Yours for organized and instituted liberty.

JULIAN WEST.

P. S.—Edith sends love; the baby is well, J. W.


A JOURNALIST’S CONFESSION. BOSTON, 2001.
DR. LEETE’S ANSWER TO JULIAN WEST.
(COMMUNICATED THROUGH S. SCHINDLER.)

My Dear Julian:—Your last letter, although I noticed therein your ill-hidden feeling of disappointment and the pain which the failure in your journalistic enterprise has caused you, made me rather smile than grieve for you. I hope, dear Julian, that you will pardon my apparent lack of sympathy, and if you will accept from me a fatherly word, there may he a chance that the wound which your pride has received may soon heal. The short and long of your letter is that, although at your time you had never received a journalistic training, you have ventured to enter upon a journalistic enterprise even before you had made yourself thoroughly familiar with our present conditions, and that you have failed. Owing to your marvelous appearance among us, we gave you something to do which we thought would meet with your taste. We thought that as a teacher of ancient history and especially of the history of the nineteenth century, you might do some good to the community and thus give an equivalent for the support the community grants to yon. Yet, before hardly a year has passed by, before you could have hardly familiarized yourself with the needs and wants of our present time you have had the presumption—pardon the harshness of my expression—to criticize us and to teach us what we ought to do. Again, owing to the sensation which your sudden appearance among us had created, quite a number of good-natured people were found ready to subscribe for the Trumpet, as you pleased to call your paper. Good naturedly they were satisfied to give you a chance and to hear what you had to say to them. If you had ever considered it worth your while to ask me about it, I would have told you to leave well enough alone; I would have told you that as little as an Indian, at your time, could have been made a member of your civilized society by merely taking him from the prairies and dropping him into the streets of Boston, so little can a person that has been reared in different conditions and under the former system of individualism at once comprehend our social conditions, sympathize with them, and appreciate them; I would have told you that first of all you ought to learn the A B C of journalism; I would have told you that, although every one of us has indeed the right of expressing his opinion, nobody must think that his opinion is the ne plus ultra of human wisdom or that after he has expressed it the whole world must at once become convinced of it. If you then had heeded my advice, you would have escaped the ridicule that always attaches to failure and the consequent pain caused by the disappointment. You did not ask me, but you went to work, got up a subscription-list and began to issue the paper. What kind of a paper? A journal after the fashion of the last century and not after the fashion of ours. Would you have expected in the year 1890 a paper to flourish that was issued in the style of the year 1790? This misplacement of time which we all find quite natural in you has been the sole cause of your failure. I do not wonder that the journals as we have them do not suit you, and that therefore you desired to establish one that would suit your taste better but you forgot that the style which would suit you because you bad become accustomed to it must not necessarily suit everybody else.
At your time, a paper contained four distinct departments.
1. The department most interesting to the public was the news department. People wanted and needed to know what has happened all over the world and many more things did happen then than do to-day. At your time, columns of a newspaper were filled with the description of crimes that bad been committed, of wars that were waged to-day nothing of the kind occurs. At your time, people wished to be informed what the members of the aristocracy or the plutocracy were doing, how they amused themselves, what dresses the rich ladies wore, what summer resorts they were seeking, etc. Who would care for such trash to-day? At your time, the quotations of the market, the rising and the falling of stocks had an all absorbing interest. It was necessary for every business man, for every manufacturer, for every capitalist to know whether gold has gone down one point or silver has risen to-day we have no exchange, money has ceased to be the pendulum on the clock work of human society and such events do not occur. Whatever remains as “News” and what is of interest to the public is supplied by the “National Bulletin.”
2. The second department of your newspapers and the one which interested the editors and the stockholders most was the advertising department. Your pronounced individualism and the spirit of competition which arose in consequence of it made it a necessity to push oneself before the eye of the public. “Don’t care for anybody else but buy from John Jones,” was the tenor of all your advertisements. If people had something to sell or if they wanted to buy an article if they were seeking help or were wanting employment they had to make use of the advertising columns of your newspapers. This, of course, does not apply to us. Whatever articles a person wishes to purchase, be can find in our distributing department and whatever help is to be employed, can be obtained at the National Employment Bureau. There being no demand for advertising columns the supply of course has ceased.
3. The third department of your newspapers was the belletristic department. It reached its highest development at the close of the last century. There was not a newspaper in the land that would not supply its readers with stories of all kinds, mostly of a sensational nature. The novelists who wrote for a journal were told that they must not write stories that contain more than about 40,000 to 50,000 words, that after every 1000 words the reader must be kept in suspense in order that he may be induced to buy the next paper, which was to contain the continuation. This kind of newspaper literature flourished because people had absolutely no time to sit down and read a book. If they intended to feed their imagination they had to snatch away a moment here and a moment there; this want the newspaper supplied. People could read such a story while they were riding in the street cars, or while they were eating their luncheon, As every person was obliged to buy a newspaper anyway, if he wished to be informed of the occurrences of the day, the novel which be bought with the paper did not cost him anything extra. All this is changed to-day. We have our comfortable libraries, we have sufficient means to buy a book that we wish to own, and what is more, we have the time to read it carefully. Your newspapers struggling for existence were obliged to cater to the public taste and to embody in their columns all that might induce people to patronize them. In our days, it would be considered absurd to cut up a story into a number of daily or weekly installments. You complain that yon were obliged to reject a story that was sent to you for publication on account of the tendencies which it contained and which ran counter to the supposed sentiments of your patrons. I am astonished that a person was found indeed who would endeavor to publish a literary production in this way and I am rather inclined to think that the writer, knowing your antiquated ideas of newspapers, merely wished to pass a good joke on you.
4. The fourth department of your newspapers was finally the editorial department. The editor made use of his opportunities and offered to his readers his comments and opinions on all matters of public interest. You were accustomed to be awed by authority and the editorial of a newspaper of large circulation was not taken as the opinion of the one man who wrote it, hut as the expression of the public itself. Again, because you had no time to consider carefully a topic, the editorials, at your time, had to he short and brisk. The government, furthermore, was always supposed to stand in opposition to the public will, even when chosen by an overwhelming majority of the people the administration was always looked upon with suspicion, and fault was found with almost every step which a president or a governor took. If officials pleased a certain party, they could be sure to displease the other, and thus as each party had its organ, the editorial columns were devoted to a constant warfare for or against the government. At your time, this was not more than natural, because every act of the government needed careful watching, inasmuch as individual interests were at stake. The suspicion was always near that the motives of an administration were sordid, and that having come in possession of power he would use it to enrich himself at the expense of others. All this has been changed. our officials are not suspected, they are rather honored, admired, and their work appreciated by the public. They need not to be watched, because although the wealth of the whole country is in their hands, they cannot make more use of it for themselves than you can or I. The trouble with you, my dear Julian, is that your ingrained individualistic tendencies are still blinding you and that on account of your early education you cannot understand how a government should not need the watching or the criticism of the press. What was a necessity and a very good thing at your age has ceased to he so in ours. If some of us think that he has a suggestion to make he can do so by bringing it to the notice of the superior officer, through whom it will reach headquarters, or if he thinks that his propositions have not received the proper attention he can publish what he has to say in pamphlet form. If it is good it will spread without much advertising; one will tell the other, and in a short time the people will see to it that his proposed reforms are brought about. If, on the other band, his propositions seem good only to him and to a few others and will not strike the people as founded upon common sense, they will fall flat and be ignored.
Now, in fact, we have not got newspapers or a press as you had them, nor do we need them. We are satisfied to let you have your way, but if you have failed in your enterprise, please do not lay the blame before our doors, but see to it first whether it does not lie with you.
One more point of your letter I cannot help touching. You say, somewhat sneeringly, that a social system once instituted must be preserved at all hazards, merely because some time ago it has been created. As soon as we shall find that the social order which surrounds us ceases to be beneficial to us: as soon as we shall find that any individual or any class of individuals is unduly benefitted by it while another individual or another class of individuals is unduly debarred by it from happiness, we shall surely change it and not hesitate a moment. No, no, my dear Julian, do not borrow troubles. Behold what a glorious institution ours is! Learn by your own experience! Supposing a person would have come to you in the 19th century as you came to us, could he have found at once a place in which to make himself useful? Or, supposing that you, at your time, should have been infected with the ambit on of becoming an editor, how would you have succeeded at your time without a thorough knowledge of the work? You might have undertaken the task, as did many of your contemporaries. As you were rich you could have pushed the enterprise with money, but supposing you had failed to strike the right chord, supposing that your editorials would not have met with public approbation, you would have become beggared. With the loss of your fortune you would have lost your self on the top of the coach, you would have been compelled to take your turn on the rope and your former friends would have had no sympathy with you; at best they might have thrown to you a gift of charity. Now, although unsuccessful, you can return to the work for which you have some fitness, and after a time, you may try again to climb upon an editorial chair. Yours truly,

LEETE, M. D.

P. S. Mother and myself send love to Edith and the baby

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Filed under 1890s, Dyer D. Lum, Edward Bellamy, Sequels to Looking Backward, Solomon Schindler