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Fourier, “Intermeshing of the Series by Cabalistic Gastronomy”

Intermeshing of the Series by Cabalistic Gastronomy.
In the course of the preceding sections and the Preface, we have had occasion to jest about a thesis several times repeated and laughable at first glance; it is that (224) in the societary regime gluttony is a source of wisdom, insight, and social accord. I can give that strange thesis the most regular proofs.
No passion has been more badly esteemed than gluttony. Can we presume that God considered as a vice the passion to which he gave the greatest influence? (There is none more generally dominant among the people.) Other passions, such as love and ambition, exert much more influence over the adult and virile ages, but gluttony never loses its sway over the various ages. It is the most permanent of passions, the only one which reigns from the cradle until the end of life. Already very powerful among the refined classes, it reigns as sovereign over the people and over children, who we see everywhere as slaves of their muzzles. We see the soldier make revolutions for whoever will get him drunk; and the savage, so scornful of the civilized, joins in their industry for the price of a flask of eau-de-vie, or sell his wife or daughter if need be, for a few bottles of strong liquor.
Would God have so enslaved humans so urgently to that passion, if he had not assigned it an eminent role in the mechanism to which he predestined us? And if that mechanism is Industrial Attraction, must it not be intimately linked with the gastronomic attraction called gluttony? In fact, it is gluttony which must form the general link in the Industrial Series, and be the soul of their emulative intrigues.
In the civilized state gluttony is not linked to industry, because the laboring [manouvrier] producer does not taste the exquisite goods that he has cultivated or manufactured. So among us that passion becomes the attribute of the idlers. For that reason alone would be vicious, if it were not already so because of the outlay and the excesses that it occasions.
In the societary state gluttony plays an entirely opposite role: it is no longer the recompense of idleness, but of industry; for the poorest grower takes part in the consumption of the precious goods. Moreover, it will influence only in order to preserve from excess by means of variety, to stimulate labor by uniting the intrigues of consumption with those of production, preparation and distribution (263). Production being the most important of the four, let us first pose the principle which must direct it; it is the generalization of gluttony. In fact:
If we could elevate the whole human race to gastronomic refinements, even of the most common dishes, such as cabbage and turnips, and give to each an ease which would permit them to refuse any foodstuffs that are mediocre in quality or preparation, each cultivated country would be, at the end of a few years, covered with delicious creations; for (94) there would be no place for the mediocre, such as the bitter melons, and bitter peaches, produced by certain soils where we will cultivate neither the melon nor the peach. Each canton will settle on the products that its soil can elevate to perfection; they will bring soil to the places that give bad qualities, or else they will plant the place in forests, in pastures or put it to other uses which can produce a product of good quality. It is not that the Passional Series does not consume the common sorts of food and fabric; but they want, even in the common things, such as broad beans and coarse cloth, a quality as perfect as possible, conforming to the proportions that nature has established in attraction in manufacturing [attraction manufacturière] (see 152).
The principle from which we must begin is that we will arrive at a general perfection of industry, by demand and by the universal refinement of the consumers, with regard to food and clothing, furniture and enjoyments. This principle is recognized even by the moralists; for we see the classics thunder against the bad taste of the public, given over to the melodramas and monstrosities that a society with uncluttered taste would scorn.
On this point, as on every other, morals is in contradiction with itself, for it wants us refined in literature and the arts, but it wants us coarse on the essential branch of the social system, that of the subsistences which are the part of relations (139 and 224) from which Industrial Attraction must sprout, in order to spread out from there in all the other branches. Thus the moralists, always as unfortunate in theory as in practice, have applied the principle of improvement, or the necessity of refined taste, to the last object to which we would apply it to, to the fine arts; and I place them at the last level in social politics, because the refinement that we have introduced there falls into a double vice:
1) It pervertsthe same arts which, by mercantile speculation, engage more and more in [the production of] fake diamonds, exaggerated romanticism, deviations of all sorts; this is a depravity that spreads to a genius given over more than ever to the spirit of system, and the scorn of nature or attraction.
2) If refinement reigns more or less in the arts, it is confined there, it does not spread into the primordial relations, those of consumption and preparation, from which it will be communicated to production (139 and 224). Thus the advance of good taste or refinement is completely distorted or neutralized by that moral blunder which wants to limit it to the arts before introducing it into gastronomy, from which it will spread everywhere, apart from the employment of the Passional Series.
In support of this double reproach, let us observe that Paris, which is the home of the fine arts, is also the home of bad taste in gastronomy. The Parisians consume the good and the bad indifferently; [1] it is an anthill of eight hundred thousand philosophers who only nourish themselves in order to curb their passions and promote the cunning of the merchants by a servile resignation to all the frauds, and all the poisons that commerce delights in inventing.
Another sort of depravity particular to France, which is also of Parisian origin, is the scorn of the feminine sex for gastronomy, a disdain that will grow. This will be a very great vice at the beginning of Harmony; for we cannot be keenly passionate about cultivation, fervently adopting the intrigues of the agricultural series, if we cannot be passionate in gastronomy, the initial path of Industrial Attraction. Preachers of morals and good taste persuade French ladies that gluttony is a passion of the bad sort; they must change their tune in Harmony, so they elevate themselves to cabalistic refinement, at least with regard to the ten passions allowed by civilized customs. The feminine sex is less corrupted in Germany, where it gives itself more frankly to the gluttony, even with regard to wines, that the fair sex in France hold it an honor to scorn.
All these tastes for moderation are only twistings of nature: it has prepared, in solid or liquid foodstuffs, a proper assortment to excite the three sexes; and what’s more an enmeshing of tastes, moving into the male tastes an eighth of the women, and in the female tastes an eighth of the men. That enmeshing exists even if it is disguised. I knew a maiden of nine years who loved garlic very much and ate cloves of it greedily. Doubtless as fifteen she would have weaned herself from this treat; but it proves that despite the judgments of fashion, women are endowed, in a suitable proportion, with all the tastes necessary for the intermeshing of the passional Series, according to the roles posited in the first section.
So it will be necessary to develop these tastes in the trial phalanx, to make their natural penchants bloom among women, who are often strongly opposed to good taste. It will be first with regard to gastronomy that we must recall them to nature, if we want to attain without delay the intermeshing of the industrial series and the balancing of the passions. A young girl loves garlic despite teasing; speculate on this taste for a double intermeshing. We could see the workings of:
1) The alliance of the sexes in a series; for the series which cultivates the bulbous legumes, onion, garlic, shallot, leek, and scallion, will usually be masculine. It is necessary, by intermeshing, to introduce there at least 1/8 women; and it is in youth that we must seek them, for it is at not much more than six that girls develop a taste for garlic.
2) The alliance of labors in the individual;. A young girl loves garlic and does not like to study grammar. Her parents want her to renounce garlic and devote herself to study; this will doubly vex her nature; seek rather to develop it in a double sense. After having placed her in cabalistic connection at the table and in the garden with the enthusiasts of garlic, present to her the ode in honor of garlic, by Count Marcellus: she will hasten to read it, if she is strongly aroused against garlic’s detractors. Take advantage of this reading to acquaint her superficially with lyric poetry, with the distinctions between stanzas and free verse; perhaps she will become interested in poetry before grammar, and one will soon lead to the study of the other. Thus societary education combines the cabalistic spirit and odd penchants to awake in the child the taste for study, and leads her indirectly to what she would have stubbornly rejected without the support of some stimulation by intrigue.
I insist on the principle of linking all these intrigues to gluttony, which is for children the natural path of initiative and intermeshing in industry. Doubtless there are other resources to put in play, but that one is of the first rank in childhood. The trial phalanx, being unaware of this principle, will go down a false road: it will only advance by tortoise’s steps; and, if it commits one other serious fault, it will fail.
[1] The assertion may seem insulting to the Parisians, but I will support it with decisive facts.
Since 1826, the bakers and pastry chefs of Paris have only half-cooked all their dough. So Paris was very uncultivated in gastronomy, at a time when we fully cooked bread and pastry! Those times, however, those of Grimods and Berchoux are found guilty of gastro-stupidity, if the present fashions are consistent with sane doctrines. Must we tell the secret of that monstrosity? It is that half-baked dough retains more water, is heavier and keeps better in case of slumps. This half-baking serves the interests of the merchants, but not that of the consumers. If the Parisians were not Vandals in gastronomy, we would have seen the great majority rise up against that mercantile impertinence, and demand the necessary baking; but they have been made to believe that this is the good sort, the English variety which comes from England.
In 1797, they were also accustomed, by English fashion, to eat meat half-raw, with forks bent backwards and nearly impossible to handle. It is again Anglomania which accustomed them to banish at lunch the fine dishes of their country, and replace them with a vileness called tea, a drug to which the English necessarily accustom themselves, because they have no good wine, or good fruit, except at enormous expense. They are reduced to tea, like the sick, and butter, like the little children to whom a poor mother gives buttered toast.
Can we call these beings “gastronomes” [who are] without distinct taste, submissive to all the stupid ideas suggested to them by fashion and mercantile cunning? Witness the vogue of the rancid paste called vermicelli, which has become the popular soup in Paris, because it makes money for the grocer and saves time for the cook. That is the knowledge of Parisians in gastronomy, submission to every rascal who wants to dupe them; and nowhere do we see so many falsifications of liquids, wine, vinegar, liqueurs, beer, milk, oil, sugar, etc.: their meat is heated and corrupted by the forced courses of the animal that the merchant wants to make skip a step; their pastures are steeped with the perfume of a certain product with which one manures the gardens of the suburbs; they have some good fruit because commerce cannot counterfeit them like their wines, made with wood-dye, potash mercantile, litharge, lees, esprit 3/6, cooked wine, molasses, licorice, alum honey, iris and other poisons of which the worst is the wine of Languedoc St.-Gilles. What’s more, their farmer are ignorant to the point of spoiling half of the potatoes from the day of the harvest: of twenty baskets taken to the market, you will find ten of them inedible from bitterness, acidity, or viscosity. Is there a nation more profane, more barbaric in gastronomy? A child of five, raised in Harmony, will find fifty shocking faults in the dinner of a so-called gastronome from Paris. What is there to say about their other Anglomanias, their writing where we only see some “u”s, uuuuuuuuuuu…?
[Working translation by Shawn P. Wilbur]

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Gastrolatry / Gastronomy / Gastrosophy

These entries are from the Dictionary Of Phalansterian Sociology:

GASTROLATRY. — Ignoble role of the man who only knows how to play with his jaw. — New Industrial World, 259. Theory of Universal Unity, 109.
— See: Gluttony.
GASTRONOMY. — In civilization gastronomy can only play a very subordinate role, nearer to debauchery than to wisdom. — New Industrial World, 258.
— Conditions which render gastronomy honorable and praiseworthy.  X. 251.
— Gastronomy is a seed of attraction more effective than any other. N. 260, 382.
GASTROSOPHY. — Gastrosophy is gastronomy applied to industrial attraction and to hygiene.
— Gastronomy, which in civilization is only a simple and contemptible sensuality, becomes in harmony a science of high social politics, called Gastrosophy, high gastronomic wisdom, profound and sublime theory of social equilibrium. — Theory of Universal Unity, III. 139.
— Gastrosophy or hygienic wisdom engendered by the 4 functions: Gastronomy, Cooking, Preserving, Cultivation. — New Industrial World, 258.
— Graded gastronomy is the mechanism organized to work promptly as mechanism of attraction in a trial phalanx. — New Industrial World, 102. – Motifs by which the gastronomic passion has a strong influence for the success of the beginnings of Harmony. — New Industrial World, 261.
— Necessity of speculating on gastronomy to make industrial attractions bloom. New Industrial World, 300. Is disdained today by women. — New Industrial World, 206. — But will be the most powerful emulative mechanism in education in the combined order. Livret d’Annonce, 31.
— Gastronomy or gastrosophy will be the source of refinements in the quality of products, which will allow the poorest Harmonian to claim to be better served than the kings of Civilization. — New Industrial World, 273.
— Utility of the gastrosophic antiennefor classifying temperaments from an early age. — New Industrial World, 343.
— Combined gastronomy envisioned in its political, material and passional sense. — Theory of the Four Movements, 236, 243, 253.
— Wonders composite, serial gastronomy. Melons that never deceive. — Theory of Universal Unity, III. 47.
— Problem of bi-composite gastronomy. The triumph of the tough poultry. — Theory of Universal Unity, III. 135.
— Major or gastrosophic war. (The word “war” is used in the sense of rivalry.) — Theory of Universal Unity, IV. 352. See: Industrial armies.
Gastrosophy is derided by the Civilized, even though it is their guilty pleasure, for the love of good food reigns as much in the philosopher as in the prelate who rants against the pleasures of the table. — Theory of Universal Unity, IV. 418.
— Gastrosophy demands the cooperation of four sciences: chemical,  agronomical, medicinal and culinary. — Theory of Universal Unity, IV. 420.
— See: gourmandise, hygiene.

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Paschal Grousset, “The Dream of an Irreconcilable” (1869)

I’ve posted a working translation of Paschal Grousset’s 1869 The Dream of an Irreconcilable, an odd little political “utopia” of sorts, which begins with the narrator falling asleep over his newspaper, as he reads the new revisions to the French constitution, explores in a novel fashion some of the details of a rather Paris Commune-like post-revolutionary future, and then ends with one last jab at the current regime. Translation is, in this case, simply the first step in making the work intelligible, since it is full to overflowing with topical references and in jokes, which I’ve now started to explore and will eventually document in an annotated edition. Grousset, who is probably best known for his work as a writer of adventure fiction and a collaborator of Jules Verne, was a radical journalist, a communard deported to New Caledonia, and an escapee from the penal colony there. The Dream originally appeared as an issue of Le Diable à Quatre (The Devil to Pay).

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Charles Fourier, Cardinal and the Principal Movements in the Harmony of the Universe

I am aware that it is very humiliating for an age in possession of so much physical and mathematical science, to be branded with ignorance concerning other branches of knowledge; to be openly accused of entertaining false notions on many subjects, and of not being initiated even in the most elementary details of several very important sciences; such, for instance, as the four following:—
Industrial Association.
Passional Attraction.
Aromal Mechanism.
Universal Analogy.
If the pride of modern learning feel offended at this sweeping declaration, let it reflect upon the following table of distinctions in the branches of universal unity; from which it will become apparent that the genius of modern science has hardly penetrated into one-tenth part of the system of Nature.
A Table of the Cardinal and the Principal Movements in the Harmony of the Universe.
4. The Material branch of Universal Movement.—The theory of astronomy only explains the effectsand not the causes of material movement or attraction.
3. The Aromal branch of Universal Movement.—This branch relates to the distribution of the different sorts of aroma or imponderable fluid, known and unknown, operating actively and passively on the different orders of creation in the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms. These different sorts of imponderable fluid are not known systematically, nor are the causes of their influence respectively attached to them at all understood, particularly as regards the conjugations of planets which are regulated according to the laws of aromal affinity.
2. The Organic branch of Universal Movement.—The laws according to which the creator regulates and distributes forms, properties, colours, flavours, &c., to all the substances which have been, or are to be created on the different globes of the universe. Up to the present time nothing has been known concerning the distribution of different properties to those creatures in actual existence, nor of the causes and effects of such productions as may be expected in future creations.
1. The Instinctual branch of Universal Movement: or the Laws of Necessity, according to which the passions and instincts are distributed to different orders of beings in the creation. Neither the mode of distribution nor the causes which regulate the distribution of instinctive faculties are known to our Divines and Philosophers.
And, finally, the passional or social branch of universal movement: or the laws which govern the organization and succession of different forms of society on different globes. Neither the causes nor the effects of this pivotal or leading branch of universal movement and harmony are known to our men of learning and influence. They have no idea of the laws of unity which harmonize the passions of mankind without thwarting them by repressive discipline.
From this general view of universal movement it is quite clear that one of the five primordial branches only is known to our men of science, and even that has been but partially discovered, for, the science of Astronomy only explains the effectsof material attraction and not the causes. One half, therefore, of one of the five primordial branches of universal attraction, or one-tenth part only of the laws of universal movement, is all that our leading men of science can explain.
The aromal branch of universal movement is hardly dreamed of by Philosophers, and scientific corporations: it has never been a subject of systematic investigation; and yet its influence is of a very superior order in the material harmony of the universe, which our learned Astronomers have only partially explained, for want of a knowledge of aromal affinities or the natural functions of the imponderable fluids in planetary attraction.
By putting the following questions to our Astronomers, we should certainly reduce them to a confession of ignorance:—
1. What are the law, which regulate the distribution of satellites and their respective conjugations with the primary planets? Why is it that the planet Uranus, which is hardly one-fourth the size of Jupiter, has a greater number of satellites?
2. What are the laws of planetary conjugation? How is it that Vesta the smallest of all planets does not revolve as a moon round one of the others; not even, round the enormous Jupiter to which it is so nearly located.
3. What is the law which regulates the position of the planets with respect to the sun? Why should Uranus, being considerably less than Jupiter, be immensely more distant from the sun? and why should our earth, being even smaller than Uranus, be nearer to the sun than Jupiter?
These and many other questions on the laws of universal harmony, are beyond the learning of our great men, for all their science is confined to the analysis of general effects, but of first causes, they know nothing. As I have already said, they have not yet discovered one-tenth part of the laws of universal nature. Newton certainly commenced the study of attraction as a universal law, but he commenced at the wrong end of the subject. It has been very well said, but ill attended to, that “the proper study of mankind is man,” and that is certainly true; for the study of human nature, or the scientific analysis and synthesis of passional attraction is the real key to the study of universal attraction and repulsion, or the law of universal movement and harmony.
As a mathematician, Newton did all that we had a right to expect from him, but, on seeing the brilliant success which attended his labours in the study of material attraction, our men of science might have been led to augur well of a similar investigation of the laws of moral or passional attraction. This would have led them on to the discovery of Nature’s laws with regard to the causes and effect. of movement and harmony in the aromal the organic and the instinctual spheres of attraction.
It would have been very natural to suppose in accordance with the unity of system which governs the universe, that, as a regular analysis of material attraction or gravitation had explained the material branch of harmony and unity in Nature, a systematic calculation embracing analytical and synthetical views of passional attraction, might reveal to us the natural method of realizing unity and harmony in the moral branch of universal activity.
This method of investigation has been entirely neglected, and thence it is that the world is in total darkness with respect to moral and social harmony.
*        *        *        *        *        *
The real science of association is inseparable from that of universal unity, or unity of man with man, with God, and with the universe. It is for this reason that I deem it necessary to treat of universal analogy, or unity of man with the universe, and the immortality of the soul, or unity of man with God, as well as of social science, or unity of man with man.
This method may perhaps displease Atheists and Materialists who are now become so numerous and intolerant, particularly in France; but, as I believe unity of doctrine to be the only true basis of progress, I must be allowed to think for myself on these subjects, and those who do not think proper to examine or concur in my views of analogy and immortality, may deem them merely conjectural, and confine their attention to that branch of unity which they deem most important; namely, the unity of man with man, which is the special object of social science.
Source: The Morning Star,  No. 8 (December 30, 1840) 59-60; translated from The Theory of Universal Unity.

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Charles Fourier, Framework for the Integral Study of Nature

Modern sophists, particularly in France, have generally aimed at explaining the unity of system which is remarkable in universal nature, and yet the philosophical world never was farther removed from the right line of study on this subject than at present. There is hardly a correct idea abroad
concerning the fundamental basis of universalism or general unity, which may be thus resumed:—
Unity of man with man,
Unity of man with God,
Unity of man with the universe.
In this book it will be demonstrated that philosophers have either purposely or unwittingly neglected to study the first of these three primordial branches of unity: that of man with man, or man in society, and particularly of man with himself or his own passions, which, in the present incoherent slate of social organization, are in a slate of general deviation and discord, hurrying headlong to ruin those individuals who suffer them to rule.
This duplicity of action, or discord of man with his own nature, has given birth to a science called morale, which mistakes the duplicity of action in human nature for a sign of innate depravity, and the irretrievable destiny of mankind. This science teaches us to resist the impulse of our passions, and be constantly at war with our natural inclinations; and, as a necessary consequence, it places man in a state or opposition to his Maker, who created those inclinations; for those passions and instincts which animate all living beings were given to them by God as the laws of their being, and guides to their respective destinies.
To this it is objected by metaphysical casuists, that reason was given to man to control his passions; whence it would follow, 1st—That God had subjected us to the rule of two guides, which are eminently dissimilar and irreconcileable, i. e., reason and passion. (This constitutes a thorough discrepancy in theory.)
2nd—That God would be absolutely unjust towards 99 men in every 100 to whom he has not given enough reason tp govern their passions. In all countries it has been observed that the mass of the people are almost devoid of reason; and, therefore, according to this doctrine, there is a great lack of distributive justice on the part of Deity. (This constitutes a thorough discrepancy in distributive unity.)
3rd—God, in giving us reason as a means of counter-balancing the passions, would have acted very injudiciously; for it is notoriously evident that reason is totally inadequate to the government of the passions, even amongst the fell’ who have been most richly endowed with it, for those very men who talk most about reason, such as Voltaire and other philosophers, have been more subject to the impulse of their passions than any other men. (This fact constitutes a thorough discrepancy in the practical part of moralism.)
So that the boasted science of moralism sets out by a complete negation of the first branch of unity, and places man in a triple state of duplicity with himself and his fellow-beings; a principle winch is as monstrous as it is arbitrary, and which aims at nothing less than accusing Deity of a triple and wilful duplicity in creating the passions.
There is nothing admissible in these three hypotheses of moralism: they will be duly analysed and fully refuted in the three first sections of this book, wherein it will be demonstrated that all the aberrations of metaphysical sophistry have originated in one grand error; that of omitting the study of passional attraction, the analytical and synthetical calculation of which would have led to the discovery of their natural functions in the equilibrium of passion and reason, which are as perfectly accordant with each other in an associative medium as they are necessarily discordant in competitive society.
Being ignorant of the first primordial branch of unity, that of man with himself and his fellow-beings, it is not extraordinary that philosophers should be ignorant of the second and third branches of universal unity; unity of man with his Maker and with the universe. The study of the first branch being incomplete, the two others were necessarily undiscovered.
Thus, therefore, has the whole system of nature been unknown to philosophy, and the genius of man has been limited to an imperfect knowledge of a few secondary branches of nature’s laws, such as the theory of gravitation or material attraction, which is only a fragment at the third primordial branch of general unity. Newton’s discovery ought to have led the way from the study of material to that of passional attraction, in order to discover what were the natural laws of passional affinity; what was the domestic and social organization which God had pre-ordained, as being best adapted to the natural and harmonic development of human instincts and passions; what was the true Slate of industrial activity, for it has ever been abundantly evident that the present state of things is out of harmony with nature.
It has been vaguely laid down as a general principle, that man is made for society; but it has not been clearly stated that society may be organized on two fundamentally different principles: that of association and that of individualism, or competition and cooperation. The difference between the two is exactly analogous to, and correlative with, the difference between truth and falsehood, riches and poverty, justice and injustice, light and darkness, brutality and refinement; and, to go from the medium to the two extremes in the creation, the difference is analogous to that which distinguishes the planet from the comet, in the solar system, and the creeping caterpillar from the beauteous butterfly, in the world of insects.
The natural method of speculation on this subject is exceedingly simple.
There can be but two fundamentally different modes of organizing industry, namely, the divisional system of culture by isolated families and individuals as we see it now, and the associative system of culture and industry, by means of numerous bodies acting in co·operative unity, and possessing an exact science of equitable repartition to each individual, according to the respective faculties of industrial production, i. e, capital, science, and labour.
We have only to ask ourselves which of these two modes of social activity is the one especially designed by God? The competitive or the co-operative organization? There can be no room for hesitation in deciding this question. As the Supreme Economist, God must necessarily prefer the associative state of society, which is the most perfectly economical, and, in order to facilitate the establishment of this perfect state of society, the Creator must have pre-ordained a scientific basis of co·operative organization, the discovery of which was the task of human genius.
If association be the law of justice and the will of God, it follows as a matter of course that the competitive state should be the very contrary, and generate every thing which is in contradiction with justice and truth; in a word, it naturally engenders effects which are diabolical and contrary to the spirit of truth, and such are its natural results as they are manifested in poverty, fraud, violence, oppression, carnage, &c. &c.
And, moreover, since it is evident that every variety of competitive society, patriarchal, barbarian, and civilized, only tend to perpetuate these diabolical results in defiance of scientific discoveries, it is quite clear that our only resource is in the adoption of co-operative principles and organization.
The present generation ought to have turned its attention to the problem of association, but neither statesmen nor economists have thought seriously of doing so, and philosophers are too deeply enamoured of their own theories to think of abandoning the long cherished sophisms.
At length, however, the discovery is made, and what is more, it is made completely, in all its degrees; but it has one great blemish in the eyes of philosophy: it is in direct contradiction with all previous systems of social mechanism, and it dispenses at once with those uncertain sciences called politics, metaphysics, moralism, and economism.

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Charles Fourier, The Critical State of Civilization (2 of 2)

There never was a greater want of useful discoveries in the civilized world than at present. Society is now afflicted with four disastrous elements of a comparatively modern date, which aggravate the primithve causes of human suffering. These modern elements of social misery are,
1. The new pestilence and its complications.[1]
2. The insalubrious effects of injudicious culture and the destruction of Forests.
3. The permanency of revolutionary ferment
4. The alarming increase of public debts and stock-jobbing speculation.
This quadruple plague proves that civilization and refinement are progressing like the lobster, backwards instead of forwards. Instead of approaching nearer to human happiness, society is daily becoming more and more miserable.
To these elements of social calamity we must add another which is worse than all; namely—The charlatanism of the scientific world which is more baneful in its effects on society than all the other social evils taken collectively, for it not only misleads public opinion, by advocating the present system which engenders so many evils, but it offers the most obstinate resistance to all effective plans of improvement.
The modern sect of economists are constantly lauding the present system of society and the incoherent principles of free trade, as the beau ideal of social perfection, and the pride of modern genius. If we believe them, the science of social progress has attained the limits of perfection in their refined sophistry concerning the wealth of nations.
To refute; these pseudo-economists we have only to point to the practical results of their doctrines, as they are embodied in the evils just now mentioned. If we take one of these evils alone, the increase of national debts and the penury of governments, where are we to look for a remedy? Can politicians and economists remedy the evil. Their arbitrary speculations only serve to increase national burdens, for those countries in which economists are the most numerous and their doctrines, have the greatest influence, are also the most oppressed by the weight of nominal property. France and England for instance. *  *  *  *
What folly it is for the present generation to pin their faith to the sophisms of these economists, who delude them. selves and society by visionary speculations concerning free-trade, and persuade the public that all truly progressive principles are impracticable. We shall prove however, in this work, that there are numerous modes of improving society on associative principles, though all plans of incoherent progress can only tend to enslave the people and increase the despotic power of money monopoly.
The exact sciences, mathematics, chemistry, &c., are progressing rapidly in real discoveries, and far from pretending to have already attained perfection, their votaries very modestly avow that much more remains yet to be discovered in every branch of these sciences. The philosophers and economists of the present day have adopted a very different line of conduct. The more their doctrines increase the real evils of society, the more they persist in their visionary mode of speculation, the absolute failure of which, after 30 years experience, proves that a new science is necessary to save society from ruin. *   *   *   *
If men had any real faith in the universality of Providence, they would be convinced that God has provided a natural code of laws for the government of society, and that It is I possible to discover those principles which are best adapted to the domestic and industrial prosperity of mankind.
I do not mention the principles of government, because the grand error of philosophical speculation on that subject, during the last three thousand years, has consisted in agitating questions of government, instead of studying the principles of social organization, The true method of progress would not give umbrage to any government, for all are desirous of seeing industry progress and prosperity increase, as the best sources of peace and security in society.
It is well known that domestic and industrial association if it were practicable, would realize an immense increase of wealth and comfort: The creator, therefore, must know this better than we; what, then, must be his intention in this respect? There are but two fundamentally different modes of social organization: the present system of incoherent industry and the associative method of organization. Which of these states of Society is the natural destiny of man? All the mental, moral, material, and religious advantages indicate the latter to be our real destiny upon Earth, and therefore it was the duty of philosophers to study the natural principles of association, which would have been easily discovered by a diligent inquiry,
But such an inquiry, concerning the laws of nature would have been in direct opposition to the arbitrary speculations of moral, political, metaphysical, and economical science, based as they are upon uncertain philosophy. A want of faith in Providence has caused men to trust to human reason instead of studying the divine will as it is revealed to us in the laws of nature. *   *   *   *
Let us examine more minutely the present state of society and the evils generated by political ignorance. This will give us an idea of the insufficiency of arbitrary science and the necessity of a new policy to save us from ruin.
1stly…. The Plague and its additional complications.
1. The inhabitants of Northern Europe think themselves secure from the effects of this pestilential disease, because it has been generally confined to the coast of Spain, but in spite of quarantine regulations, the yellow fever will sooner or later be imported to England and France, for it is becoming more and more prevalent in the West Indies, while medical men are still ignorant, both of the nature of the malady and the means of curing it.
2. The old pestilence peculiar to the Levant is likely to become more prevalent in Europe, since the increase of intercourse between the Turks and the Christians.
3. The typhus fever, which decimates both the negro and the while population of America is another specimen of modern perfection, which is already said to increase the malignity M the yellow fever.
4. The cholera morbus is approaching from the East. It has already reached Bagdad, and will no doubt be speedily transmitted to us through the medium of our amiable allies, the Turks, who, from their filthy habits and blind belief in fatalism, will soon have allowed the Indian and the Egyptian plagues to unite, and these two united to the typhus and the yellow-fever, will form a compound of pestilential elements, and a new plague of more malignant and disastrous effects than any of the simple infections. These are the material results of our present system of progress, and our philosophers are deluding themselves and the public with  declamatory twaddle about progress. This one positive symptom of decline is enough to undeceive all thinking people; but we will enumerate three others.
As a set-off to these positive signs of decline, great stress is laid on partial degrees of progress, such as the discovery of vaccination, which has almost entirely neutralised the effects of the small-pox. That is certainly an advantage, but it is not enough to counterbalance the very serious evils which are rapidly increasing around us. The general of an army might as well boast of having taken a thousand prisoners in the field of battle, after losing several thousands of his own men, as for, statesmen to boast of progress in the present state of things. How is it that the statesmen of the present age, who are constantly talking of the balance of power and the progress of civilization, do not perceive that both the political and the material world are receding ten times as much of the one hand as they are progressing on the other? I shall often have occasion to remind them of this curious result of their learned theories concerning the progress of commerce and the balance of power.
2ndly: The insalubrious effects of injudicious culture and the destruction of forests. The seasons are now completely deranged in their alternations; they are subject to sudden transitions and periodical excess which cause permanent injury to the culture In Europe. The chief cause of these pernicious irregularities and inclemencies of the seasons, is the reckless manner in which the great mountains in Europe have been deprived of their forest wood. This one blunder alone will be the cause of very serious injury to the agricultural interests of Europe so long as it remains unrepaired; and as that is not likely to be very soon, we have nothing but an increase of bad harvests to expect for a long time to come.
There has been already so much said on this subject that it would be difficult for me to make the picture worse than it has been made by others, unless I add that the evil is often increased by those unexpected seasons which are generally deemed favourable. For instance; after a series of bad seasons from 1816 to 1821, the mild winter and the early spring of 1822 were mistaken for a return to a healthy state of alternation in the seasons, but the result proved the contrary. After experiencing a series of winters which were prolonged to the month of June, our planet seemed in 1822, to have had no winter season; and this irregularity was the cause of an Immense increase of vermin, in addition to premature and persevering droughts and innumerable hurricanes, Which devastated, not two or three parishes here and there, but whole provinces; so that, after all the fine appearances of crops, and the high expectations of the people, the harvest was one of the most indifferent.
These multiplied irregularities, and their disastrous consequences sufficiently prove the material derangement and decline of our planet, and the urgency of a general system of progressive improvement, but how are our natural philosophers to discover a remedy which they never think of looking for? Which of our philosophers is likely to speculate concerning the causes of decline and irregularity in the material functions of our planet, when none of them has ever yet thought of calculating and classifying the mere effects of evil, either in the physical or in the political department?
The political world is evidently not less diseased than the physical world, as we shall clearly show in our next article.

[1] Formerly the pestilential disease which ravaged different parts of the world from time to time was of a comparatively simple nature, and commonly called the Plague, but it has now assumed a quadruple developement: namely,
1. The Ancient Plague or Mediterranean Pestilence.
2. The Yellow fever or American Pestilence.
3. The Typhus fever or European Pestilence.
4. The Cholera-morbus or East Indian Pestilence, which is rapidly progressing towards Turkey and Africa, and will soon be in Europe. (The reader must bear in mind that Fourier made this prediction in 1822, and in 1831 it was fully realized.)

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

An Account of a Voyage
from the Arctic to the Antarctic Pole
by way
of the
Center of the Earth.
With the description of that perilous Passage, & of the
marvelous & astonishing things that were discovered
beneath the Antarctic Pole.
I. Departure of the Author from Amsterdam for Greenland; how the Author & his Companions began to realize that they were nearing the dreadful maelstrom which is under the Arctic Pole; description of the maelstrom.
II. How the Vessel was swallowed up at the center of the maelstrom; how they would find themselves in time under the Antarctic Pole, & how they knew that they were no longer under Northern Skies..
III. They land on the Coast, & penetrate about a league & a half into the country; description of the great Floating Island which is under the Antarctic Pole, & of the mountain of ice which is in the middle of a Pyramidal Figure, & which seems cut in facets; of the marvelous Meteors which appear from time to time around the Floating Island. 
IV. Of the marvelous lake whose waters are almost always warm, & of its five admirable Cascades; description of the Valley of White Roses, where they see a very remarkable Monument, a rare & singular Fountain, & some shrubs, very lovely & agreeable to the view.
V. Of some monstrous Fish that we saw in these Seas; 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.
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 through which passes a deep & wide Torrent; extraordinary Combat between two white Bears & three Seals.
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 subterrainean noises accompanied by flashes that we heard in a large Rock far out to Sea.
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.
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.
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.
Chapter I.
Departure of the Author from Amsterdam for Greenland; how the Author & his Companions began to realize that they were nearing the dreadful maelstrom which is under the Arctic Pole; description of the maelstrom.
Having always had, from my youth, a very great passion for Voyages, I have traveled, in order to satisfy my curiosity, through all the principal parts of the Old & New Worlds, & at the end of my last passage, I found myself in the great & famous City of Amsterdam, where I met with three or four great Merchants who told me that they were equipping a Vessel to carry them to Greenland to the Whale Fishery. At this news, I felt my natural inclinations rekindle, & I conceived at once the design to make that Voyage, having still not seen the icy Climates of the Frigid Zones. I commenced then & there to buy all that I believed necessary, & having put in order all my small equipage, I embarked on the third day of May, of the year seventeen hundred & fourteen.
We set off with a Favorable Wind & had perfect weather for some days, but on the tenth, towards evening, the Heavens darkened, & were covered in no time with dark & heavy clouds, & the Winds started to blow with such vehemence & fury that the crew was on the alert all the following night. That tempest carried us to the West so rapidly, despite all our maneuvers, that in the morning, around four o’clock, we found ourselves in view of the Coasts of the Isle of Iceland, which were only about three leagues distant. The Wind having dropped for the moment, a calm of twelve hours succeeded it, after which we resumed our route with a light South-East Wind. We we so fortunate in our sailing that within fourteen hours we perceived two Vessels which appeared to us to come from Greenland, & to take route to Holland. We were then at sixty-eight degrees, 17 minutes latitude. However, we quickly lost sight of the Vessels, for the weather changed suddenly, & we saw a fearsome Storm form to our East, which approached us in the space of a few minutes. We were first surround by an endless number of flashes, which were followed by appalling claps of thunder & a rain so heavy, strong & long, that the Heavens seemed to threaten the Earth with a second deluge. The darkness was so great that we could not distinguish objects from the Stern to the Prow. The waves were so heavy, & the Winds clattered with so much fury that our Pilot, although highly experienced, hardly knew what course to take. Finally, after we had been for a long time a mere hair’s breadth from death, that horrible tempest began to dissipate. The sun reappeared & we found ourselves in a wide Sea, filled everywhere with great blocks of ice, which rolled against & onto one another. We were afraid of being capsized or crushed. It became very cold, & we saw around us neither Isles nor Coasts.
We had lost our route & consulting our sextant, we found ourselves at seventy-three degrees twenty-two minutes. A light South Wind pushed us always towards the North, & carried us finally to a place where the Sea seemed to us to slope slightly, & where the thread of the water led us, albeit slowly, always to one side of the Pole. Then an old Sailor told us he had once heard a famous Pilot, who had roamed much in the Seas of the North, say that there was beneath the Arctic Pole a terrifying maelstrom, which could be seventy or eighty leagues in circumference. He reckoned this to be the most dangerous hazard in the world, in the midst of which there must be a terrible & bottomless gulf, where all the waters of these Seas rush, having communication by way of the center of the earth, with the Seas which are beneath the Antarctic Pole. This tale chilled us with fright, & we trembled in all the parts of our bodies, for we saw what the course of the water would bring us to, & that it was impossible for us to reverse that course.
We took counsel, & it was concluded that, although there was hardly any hope of salvation for us, it was nonetheless necessary to take every imaginable precaution, & to seal all the openings of the Vessel, to close off every avenue to the water. We performed this task right away, with an incredible eagerness & diligence, after which we all went up on Deck to see if together we could not find a way to avoid the hideous peril which threatened us.
For the moment the Sun did not set, & we always saw it turning around us on the edges of the Horizon, but it was a bit pale. We saw towards the West a rather long Coast, which had three Capes, of which the middle one extended much further into the Sea than the other two. We saw there many high Mountains all covered with snow & ice, & of which the middle-ground appeared to us all on fire. On this same coast, by turning towards the right, we saw a great mass of clouds, of an almost green color, mixed with a very dark gray, & one part of which descended so low that it almost touched the Sea. There came out from it an endless flight of birds, whose numbers, as they flew towards us, was increased so prodigiously that all the air around us was darkened. One flock detached itself from the mass, & passing immediately above our heads, they entered into such a furious battle against one another that they crushed one another cruelly, & with such force that three fell dead on our Deck. Their plumage was deep black, & their beaks were red as blood. From the head down to the tip of the tail they had a stripe white as the snow. But soon all these birds were lost from view.
One will perhaps ask how the birds could traverse these vast Seas, but it is to be presumed that they rest from time to time on those great pieces of ice that one finds in various places in the Northern Seas.
Meanwhile, we had to always follow the penchant of the waters, until suddenly our Vessel made something like a half turn to the left, & then we sailed with a circular movement, which informed us that we had entered into the maelstrom.
That swirling Sea abounded with countless numbers of small Fish, about the size of Herring. From the middle of the body to the tip of the tail, they were of a very beautiful gold color, & as they almost always swam upside down & just below the surface, & as the Sun reflecting on all those tails which were entirely out of the water, that turning resembled a watery Heavens all covered with an infinite number of golden stars in a perpetual movement. An object of that nature would doubtless charm those people who could contemplate it with a tranquil eye.
After having made several turns, we perceived, in the midst of the maelstrom, a sort of floating isle more white than snow, but as our circular movement drew us steadily towards the center, we recognized that the supposed Isle was only a high mass of foam that the waters, pouring & rushing into that abyss, formed on their surface. We judged then that it was time for us to retire within the Vessel, which we did in an instant, all descending into the heart of the ship, to await that which Heaven had ordained for us.
Chapter II
How the Vessel was swallowed up at the center of the maelstrom; how they would find themselves in time under the Antarctic Pole, & how they knew that they were no longer under Northern Skies.
We had hardly been in the hold ten or twelve minutes when we felt ourselves sink with inconceivable speed into that deep abyss. The horrible whistling & humming that we heard around us constantly, carrying terror & dread into our souls, little by little robbed us of all cognizance, & cast us into a sort of swoon, leaving us in no state to recognize how long we remained among the appalling torrents which roll so impetuously in those terrifying underground regions. Finally, however, being awakened from the daze into which we had sunk, & not knowing clearly if we were alive or dead, we soon returned to our senses. Listening, we heard nothing at all, & it seemed to us all that our Vessel was nearly without movement.
Our Pilot, being the boldest of us, ventured to go upstairs. He opened a hatch on the stern side, & climbed onto the Deck. We all followed him, one after another, & we were astonished to find ourselves on a calm Sea, & surrounded by a fog so thick it was impossible to distinguish any object at all around us. The fog & the Sea was of the same color, so that that it seemed to us that our vessel was suspended in the air. But little by little the air cleared & the day was almost like Summer in our Climes, a mere half hour after the Sun has gone down.
It is easy to imagine the joy that filled us, having thought ourselves lost without resources, seeing that we could still hope to return to our homeland. However, we did not know where we were, & our Pilot having gone up, we found ourselves seventy-one degrees & eight minutes southern latitude, which let us know that we were in the Southern Seas, under the Antarctic Pole.
For some time there was not the least bit of wind, & we applied ourselves to restoring, as much as was possible, all our cordage & sails. We still had sufficient provisions in our vessel for some time.
After about four or five hours a light Northwest wind rose, but it was so terribly cold that the Sea was all frozen over in the space of a few moments. I can say that I have never felt a cold so penetrating, & I doubt that we could have withstood it if it had continued long. But, fortunately, a light, sweet rain suddenly began to fall, & we passed in a few minutes from the roughest Winter to Spring. Wise Providence, to make up for the lack of the Sun which strays for so long from these sad Climes, tempers their extreme cold with some warm vapors, which preserve the grasses, plants, & shrubs that we saw there even far into winter.
We sailed with all our canvas aloft, towards a great Coast that we could make out to the East, in the hope of being able to set foot on land somewhere, & we saw at one of its extremities, which advanced towards the Antarctic Pole, a light which rather resembled the aurora. We knew very well that this was not the precursor of the Sun, since several months must pass before it reappeared in these regions. We could no longer distinguish between the day & the night, or between morning & evening. However, the light was sufficient to prevent us from seeing the stars. Luminous vapors rose in the air during the absence of the Sun. Otherwise, the two cold zones would be by turns buried for six months in a terrible night.
As we sailed slowly toward that coast, we saw in four or five places, about the range of a musket from one another, heavy foam which rose high & furiously, forming above the surface of the Sea like little hills. These boilings of water & foam had so much strength, that as our vessel passed through them we thought we would be overturned. We could never understand what that Phenomenon could be, & we have not seen it since. However, the light of which I have just spoken, having little by little diffused the clouds that concealed it from us, rose suddenly, & shone so brightly before our eyes that we were all awestruck. It was a marvelous meteor, which formed a perfect oval of a very dark blue, & which was all studded with stars, of which the middle was the largest, & seemed to dominate all the others, as one can see in FIGURE A. That admirable Phenomenon increased the light on the Coast by half, so that we could see more distinctly all the objects around us. We were already very close, & having finally reached the Coast, we lowered the anchor, as we intended to go ashore.
Chapter III.
They land on the Coast, & penetrate about a league & a half into the country; description of the great Floating Island which is under the Antarctic Pole, & of the mountain of ice which is in the middle of a Pyramidal Figure, & which seems cut in facets; of the marvelous Meteors which appear from time to time around the Floating Island.
At the point where we dropped anchor, the coast was bordered everywhere with tall reeds, which out of the water appeared as tall as a pike & as large as an arm, & which ended in a very sharp point. They had nodes at intervals, & below these nodes hung large, wide, yellowish leaves, around the length of a Dutch ell. We lowered the longboat onto the sea to go ashore, & we had great difficulty passing through those reeds, because they were very dense & close to one another. We took all our firearms, as much to defend ourselves from ferocious beasts as to kill some game, if we chanced to encounter any.
We clambered up, because the terrain was steep, & found a beautiful Plain, all sown with a short & fine grass which gave off an agreeable aroma. The Plain was bounded by three great mountain ranges which extended out of sight to the right & left. These mountains appeared to us laid out like an Amphitheater, the second rank being higher than the first, & the third much higher than the second. The first range, the one closest to us, were properly only large hills, all covered with green moss. The mountains of the second were all covered with snow, & those of the third appeared in the distance a flaming red, which produced one of the most beautiful vistas that one can imagine.
When we had traversed the Plain, & gained the base of the hills, we went further, & saw that they formed in this place a large pen or enclosure around a full league in diameter. This enclosure was full of tall grass, so high that the two tallest men of our troop having entered there, we hardly saw the top of their heads. We noted that all around the enclosure there were in the hills large holes or dens, which we judged to be the retreats of some wild beasts, & indeed, a few moments later, we saw come out of the tall grass, two hundred paces from us, three white bears of prodigious size, which without turning to one side or the other, entered the den that was across from them. We did not think it proper after that to remain in this place, which seemed so perilous to us.
We came out onto the field, & advancing always towards the mountains, we found a small stream of fresh, clear water, on the banks of which we saw promenading a great number of birds roughly the size of quail. They were so tame that they let us take them in our hands. We killed a few of them, which we sent aboard our vessel.
By following this brook we were led gradually between two rocks, which we both very high & steep, & all covered from top to bottom with ice. We were shocked to feel an extreme cold there, & we could not understand how, starting from an atmosphere that was so mild & almost warm, we could enter one which was so harsh. We marched for the time being on a very hard-packed snow, & our little stream was entirely frozen in that space. The mountain which was on our right receiving on its icy surface all the light of the meteor of which I have spoken, & reflecting it on the mountain opposite it, they both shone in such a manner that our eyes were dazzled by it, & we could hardly see what was before us.
As soon as we came out from between these mountains, we felt a gentle & temperate breeze, & the stream flowed & wound as it had on the other side. Two hundred paces from there we saw it disappear into the earth, opposite a rock which had the shape of a large, round tower. Nature had dug a kind of Grotto there, which had three openings from top to bottom, in the form of Arches, & inside, in the middle we saw a great basin into which the stream burst by way of a subterranean tunnel. In that grotto were several niches, where we found the nests of birds, & in some of them we found eggs of a very pale green, three times larger than the eggs of ducks. The top of that rock was flat like a terrace, & full of an herb much like our purslane, but much larger. Its leaves were extremely wide & close to the thickness of a little finger, & its stalk was so long, that several hung the full length of the rock.
After admiring this work of Nature we did not judge it proper to push further forward, & we retraced the route to our vessel, but not by precisely the same road. We veered a little to the left, & after having walked for some little time, our ears were suddenly struck by horrible roars & howls which came from the same side where we had seen the three white bears. The air all around us resounded so loudly, that we judged that there must be a very great number of those wild animals in this place. We came gradually onto a flatt & stony terrain which led us towards a mass of large rocks placed very close to each other. They had red, green & blue veins almost like marble, & as we could see a sort of marsh to our right & to our left, we were forced to pass right across them. We found various paths which crossed one another as in a labyrinth, & so many that we were lost there for some time. But finally, one of us having found an exit, we left.
Hardly had we taken four strides, when a monstrous beast rushed at us from behind a small boulder. It had the shape & color of a toad, but it was infinitely larger. It had on its head a great crest of a pale, ugly blue & shot from time to time from its mouth a yellow & green foam. It turned towards the marsh & with a single bound, it plunged so deep into it that we no longer saw it. We did not doubt that there were several more in this place of the same species, & that these beasts might be very venomous.
We continued to walk with much difficulty down this rocky road, up to the beautiful plain where we had come ashore, & we went happily aboard ship, where we cooked the birds that we had taken. the flesh was very tough, but tasty enough & with a flavor like duck. We formed the intention of soon making a second trip & of taking these birds & all other species that we could find, in order to save the rest of our biscuit & the other provisions which could be preserved.
We observed with chagrin the vanishing of the beautiful meteor which had begun to appear when we arrived on that coast, & then we had a little rain mixed with snow & large hail which lasted more than fifteen hours. (We measured our time with an hourglass that we had been fortunate to find in the vessel.) The air became so cold that it was impossible for us to remain even an eighth of an hour on deck, but the rain having ceased, the air warmed so much that we seemed to breath an Autumn breeze, as it is in temperate climates, & another phenomenon appeared from the West side, which was not anywhere near as bright as the first, but still very beautiful. It formed an irregular zig-zag, & very much resembled a constellation. It had in the lower part a sort of tail which was very wide at the end, as one can see in FIGURE B.
 It should be noted, that since we had been at anchor, our view had always been limited towards the South, that is, from the side of the Antarctic Pole, by large, thick clouds which were finally dissipated by one of those beautiful luminous exhalations so frequent under the Poles, so much that that we suddenly discovered an isle which appeared to us to float on the surface of the waters, & that we in fact saw approach us to about the range of a cannon shot. That isle was nearly round, & was doubtless only a collection of those great pieces of ice that we saw in the seas, which are linked & frozen together. There was a great mountain of ice in the middle of which rose high in a pyramidal figure, & the pieces forming it were arranged by a surprising artifice, in such a way that it appeared all carved in facets like a diamond, with this difference, that the facets were proportional to the size, the isle was all covered with snow, & we saw on its banks at intervals that looked like little trees of ice, which flung out branches, laden with flockings of snow which served them in place of leaves & fruits. But on the mountain there was not the least bit of snow. All the ice was clear & transparent as crystal.
We considered all these things for quite a long time, & then we went to rest. After we had slept a few hours, wanting to go on deck, we were terrified to find the air all ablaze. But having cast a look in the direct of the isle, we knew that this great illumination proceeded from six amazing lights in the sky, which hung in the air at about an equal distance all around the mountain, like so many grand & magnificent chandeliers. They were all of the same shape & were each composed of four great globes of fire. The one on the bottom was the largest, the second, the third & the fourth being progressively smaller, as one can see in FIGURE C. All these luminous globes being infinitely multiplied in the facets of the mountain, made it appear to be all on fire. All these great & surprising objects taken together made an effect which ravished & enchanted the eye, & was of such strength, that we remained for some moments immobile as statues, struck with admiration & astonishment.
As we were still carefully contemplating  them, we perceived very high in the air three large birds which suddenly swooped down across from us on the coast. Their plumage was a mixture of gray & brown on their head. They had a large plume of three snow-white feathers, the ends of which were a very fine crimson, & their tails were longer than their bodies, & seemed a half-open fan. They were larger & broader than eagles, & after they had pecked & searched the grass for some time, they all three flew off rapidly toward the mountain of ice, & having flown around it for a long time, they mounted to its summit, & we saw them no longer. We judged that perhaps they had their nests there. They were very beautiful birds.
Chapter IV.
Of the marvelous lake whose waters are almost always warm, & of its five admirable Cascades; description of the Valley of White Roses, where they see a very remarkable Monument, a rare & singular Fountain, & some shrubs, very lovely & agreeable to the view.
As we were in a deep sleep, we were awakened by an impetuous wind, which gave such shocks to our vessel, that we all got up, fearing that our cable might be broken. But we no longer saw the floating isle, nor the beautiful phenomena which were all around. The sea was very rough, & full of large pieces of ice which piled up on one another, formed here & there small floating mountains.
As soon as the weather was better, which was not long, we resolved to make, as we had planned, a second trip into the country. Leaving two or three of us aboard ship, we took all our arms, & threaded a different path than the first time. It should be noted that this coast is very mountainous, but we found there a few small Plains & valleys. First we walked between some dry & sepia-colored rocks, where there was neither grass nor moss, & we found there frightful precipices, at the base of which rolled rough torrents with a dreadful noise. We were forced to travel some small paths, very narrow & very dangerous, but, finally, we fortunately came out of the place that we had entered, & we climbed a high mountain from which we could take a look in all directions. We saw Summer & Winter all at once, for on one side there were Plains where everything was frozen & covered with snow, & on the other valleys where a pleasant verdure reigned over all. The air there was so clear & so luminous, that without the aid of the Sun we could easily distinguish the smallest objects. We descended, & found all these places carpeted with a short & fine grass. Here & there we saw plants, which has long & thick foliage. We uprooted some of them, & the roots were round & smooth, almost as big around as your fist, & covered with a very thin black skin. The flesh was a reddish white & with a taste approaching that of the almond. We found a lot of it afterwards on the coast, near the place where we dropped anchor, which we ate instead of bread.
This place appeared so agreeable to us that we rested there for some time. From there we went between two long chains of mountains covered in moss from the foot all the way to the summit, which exuded a sort of odoriferous gum. That double chain was not straight, & formed a great elbow which entirely limited our view, but when we came to the end we suddenly discovered a lake, whose water was greenish, & nearly warm. It exhaled over all of its surface a multitude of little black vapors. We thought, & with reason, that the heat & the vapors proceeded from sulfurous & bituminous materials which must be in its depths. There was not the least little bit of grass on its banks. After following them for some time, we heard a noise & murmur which increased as we advanced, & finally we noted that the end of the lake was all bordered with small rocks, between which the water flowed down, caused the noise that we heard. We doubled our pace, & were very surprised to see five beautiful Cascades, of which the middle was the largest. It formed three great sheets of water, which fell on one another, at three roughly equal degrees of distance, & the water of all these Cascades merging a bit below, fell on a large, nearly flat rock, & falling from there, went on to be lost between the rocks which were below. Since this lake always remained equally full, despite all the water that flowed so abundantly from this side, it must have been the case that there were subterranean channels which constantly furnished it anew.
As we stood there in thought, there suddenly appeared, on a large Hill that was opposite us, a great herd of large & powerful Bears, white as snow. We noticed that there were two or three of them that were dappled with black all over their bodies. One of them descended the Hill, & having crossed a small Brook which was at the base, it slipped between two Rocks. Scarcely had it done so, than it began to make a certain cry, as if he called to the others, & they actually began to follow, jostling & hurrying one another. We had just lost sight of them, when we saw several Birds emerge from these same Rocks. They were soon followed by an even greater number, which all took flight towards some high, snow-covered mountains which were on our right. These Birds apparently had their nests in the cracks & fissures that we could see there, but they were in places that were so steep & so high that it was impossible to reach them.
Moving away from these five admirable Cascades, we descended with much difficulty down a mountain whose pitch was very steep into a long & narrow Plain, pierced all over by little holes which twisted deep into the earth. There must have been in this place a nearly infinite number of animals of some species, which doubtless was unknown to us, but we did not see even one. Walking among these holes, we heard a certain sound, as if there were caves or vaults beneath us. At the end of that Plain, we came out into a great Crossroads, where there were five different routes arranged in a star. We weighed for some time the choice of which we should take. There was one of them between mountains of a height so prodigious, that we were nearly terrified. One entered beneath a large & high portal, the structure of which was just a great piece of Rock, which being detached from one of the sides above, had follow across onto the other, & had perhaps remained suspended there for a very long time. That route was very sandy, & we sank in it up to the ankle. We followed another much more serviceable route. The mountains which lined it were of a nearly black Rock, with great white & gleaming veins, a bit like alum.
We found there above all a great quantity of a sort of Lizard. They were so tame that they constantly passed between our legs, & over our feet. They had a perfectly black head, a reddish body, & an extraordinarily long tail.
The more we advanced down this path, the more it widened. It led us finally into a very pretty and, & very spacious Valley, where we breathed a Spring air. It was covered all over with a plant like the violet. We saw on the majority, in the middle of the stem, a white flower of the size of a Ducatoon. That flower had eight serrated petals, the four largest above, & the smaller four below. The middle was covered with little red grains, It was not a bad likeness of a simple Rose, & had a very sweet odor. The tincture of these flowers, together with the green of their stems made a charming effect all through this Valley. A little Brook of very clear water wound towards the middle.
At the back of a hollow we perceived something white through the tall grass. Approaching, we saw to our great surprise, a small Building  of a singular structure. It was all of white stone. The upper part was a large, flat stone, in the shape of a triangle, set on six high columns about three feet, on an oval base which raised it four or five inches about the ground. On the triangular stone we saw an Inscription of bizarre characters, which were known to none of our party, & down low, on the circumference of the base, were spaced more of the same characters, but nearly effaced. This Monument gave rise in us to many speculations, for we could well see that it was not a Work of chance, but I leave the decision about it to those more clever than me. Leaving this place we walked right to the Brook I have just mentioned, & we followed it back towards its source. It came from a lovely Spring that was in a Grotto hollowed by nature in one of the mountains of the Valley.
I entered first. It was carpeted from top to bottom with a lovely green moss, & in the back of the grotto at the height of a man, we saw three channels in a line, & at equal distances. The water flowing out of these channels made a pleasant little murmur, which was like the twittering of birds, & fell into a sort of Basin, which being very full, poured out over all its banks, & gathering before a great crevasse which was in the Rock immediately in front of it, drained down. This Basin was around a foot deep, & in the bottom there were several small stones, red & flat & of different shapes, including square, round, triangular, & in the form of a heart. Wanting to take some, I could hardly endure the excessive cold of the water. Beside the Spring & within the Grotto, there was a round & very deep hole, about a span in width, which exhaled a steam so hot, that I thought it would burn my face. Being by chance close to both, it was not without an extreme astonishment that I saw emanate from nearly the same place hot & cold, all together.
There were in several places in this Valley, various very beautiful & very peculiar shrubs, & one among them of which I have given the picture in FIGURE E. Its leaves sprouted at three levels, equal distances from one another. They were all covered with a sort of down, which made them as soft to the touch as velvet, & they were edged all around with the most beautiful yellow in the world. Above the leaves, & precisely at the place where they were attached to the stalk, we saw some little red seeds sprout, each at the end of a very long stem. They were the size of peas, and formed a perfect circle, & at the top they bore a bouquet of these same seeds, very closely & tightly bunched, which was nearly the shape of a small Pinecone.
[Working translation by Shawn P. Wilbur]

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Charles Fourier on the Pear-Grower’s Series

This illustration of Fourier’s theory of the play of passional attractions and progressive series is something I have referred to in the past, in “The Lesson of the Pear-Growers’ Series.” Ian Patterson has done a lovely, complete translation of it for the Cambridge edition of The Theory of the Four Movements, but I’ve wanted for some time to spend enough time with the French to work up a usable translation of my own, since I expect to have recourse to the example again in forthcoming work. Working through Fourier’s prose is at once maddening and delightful, since there is frequently a whole lot going on. Hopefully, I’ve captured at least some of that. I have not translated the second section on the Parade Series, but can certainly recommend it, either in French or in English, to anyone who is intrigued by this bit.

The Theory of the Four Movements
Note A

I must anticipate one objection that will no doubt be addressed to me on the subject of that new domestic Order that I call the PROGRESSIVE SERIES. It will be said that the invention of such an order was a child’s reckoning, and that its arrangements seem mere amusements. Little matter, provided we reach the goal, which is to produce industrial attraction, and lead one another by the lure of pleasure to agricultural work, which is today a torment for the well-born. Its duties, such as plowing, rightly inspire in us a distaste bordering on horror, and the educated man is reduced to suicide, when the plow is his only resort. That disgust will be completely surmounted by the powerful industrial attraction that will be produced by the progressive Series of which I am going to speak.
If the arrangements of that Order rest only on some child’s reckonings, it is a remarkable blessing of Providence which has desired that the science most important to our happiness was the easiest to acquire. Consequently, in criticizing the theory of the progressives series for its extreme simplicity, we commit two absurdities: to criticize Providence for the ease that it has attached to the calculation of our Destinies, and to criticize the Civilized for the forgetfulness that causes them to miss the simplest and most useful of calculations. If it is a child’s study, our savants are below the children for not having invented that which required such feeble illumination; and such is the fault common to the Civilized who, all puffed up with scientific pretentions, dash ten times beyond their aim, and become, by an excess of science, incapable of grasping the simple processes of Nature.
We have never seen more striking evidence of it than that of the stirrup, an invention so simple that any child could make it; however, it took 5000 years before the stirrup was invented. The cavaliers, in Antiquity, tired prodigiously, and were subject to serious maladies for lack of a stirrup, and along the routes posts were placed to aid in mounting horses. At this tale, everyone is dumbfounded by the thoughtlessness of the ancients, a thoughtlessness that lasted 50 centuries, though the smallest child could have prevented it. We will soon see that the human race has committed, on the subject of the “passional series”, the same thoughtlessness, and that the least of our learned men would have been sufficient to discover that little calculation. Since it is finally grasped, every criticism of its simplicity will be, I repeat, a ridicule that the jokers will cast on themselves and on 25 scholarly centuries which have lacked it.
Let us come to the account I have promised; I will explain here only the material order of the series, without speaking in any way of their relations.
A “passional series” [considered as a group] is composed of persons unequal in all senses, in ages, fortunes, characters, insights, etc. The sectaries must be chose in a manner to form a contrast and a gradation of inequalities, from rich to poor, from learned to ignorant, [from young to old,] etc. The more the inequalities are graduated and contrasted, the more the series will lead to labor, produce profits, and offer social harmony.
[When a large mass of series is well-ordered, each of them] divide in various groups, whose order is the same as that of an army. To give the picture of it, I am going to suppose a mass of around 600 persons, half men and half women, all passionate about the same branch of industry, such as the cultivation of flowers or fruit. Take, for example, the series of the cultivation of pear trees: we will subdivide these 600 persons into groups which devote themselves to cultivating one or two species of pear; thus we will see a group of sectaries of butter-pears, one of sectaries of the bergamot, one of sectaries of the russet, etc. And when everyone will be enrolled in groups of their favorite pear (one can be a member of several), we will find about thirty groups which will be distinguished by their banners and ornaments, and will form themselves in three, or five, or seven divisions, for example :
Composed of 32 groups.
Divisions. Numeric PROGRESSION Types of culture.
1° Forward outpost. 2 groups. Quince and hard hybrids.
2° Ascending wing-tip 4 groups. Hard cooking pears.
3° Ascending wing. 6 groups. Crisp pears.
4° Center of Series. 8 groups. Soft pears.
5° Descending wing. 6 groups. Compact pears.
6° Descending wing-tip. 4 groups. Floury pears.
7° Rear outpost. 2 groups. Medlars and soft hybrids.
It does not matter if the series be composed of men or women, or children, or some mixture; the arrangement is always the same.
The series will take more or less that distribution, either of the number of groups, or the division of labor. The more it approaches that regularity in gradation and degradation, the better is will be harmonized and encourage labor. The canton which gains the most and gives the best product under equal conditions, is the one which has its series best graduated and contrasted.
If the series is formed regularly, like the one I just mentioned, we will see alliances between the corresponding divisions. Thus the ascending and descending wings will unite against the center of the series, and agree to make their productions prevail at the cost of those of the center; the two wingtips will be allies and unite with the center to combat the two wings. It will result from this mechanism that each of the groups will produce magnificent fruits over and over again.
The same rivalries and alliances are reproduced among the various groups of a division. If one wing is composed of six groups, three of men and three of women, there will be industrial rivalry between the men and the women, then rivalry within each sex between group 2, which is central, and the end groups, 1 and 3, which are united against it; then an of No. 2 groups, male and female, against the pretentions of groups 1 and 3, of both sexes; finally all the groups of the wing will rally against the pretentions of the groups of the wingtips and center, so that the series for the culture of pears will alone have more federal and rival intrigues than there are in the political cabinets of Europe.
Next come the intrigues of series against series and canton against canton, which will be organized in the same manner. We see that the series of pear-growers will be a strong rival of the series of apple-growers, but will ally with the series of cherry-growers, these two species of fruit trees offering no connection which could excite jealousy among heir respective cultivators.
The more we know how to excite the fire of the passions, struggles and alliances between the groups and series of a canton, the more we will see them ardently vie to labor and to raise to a high degree of perfection the branch industry about which they are passionate. From this results the general perfection of every industry, for there are means to form series in every branch of industry. If it is a question of a hybrid [ambiguous] plant, like the quince, which is neither pear nor apple, we place its group between two series for which it serves as link; this group of quinces is the advanced post of the series of pears and rear post of the apple series. It is a group mixed from two types, a transition from one to another, and it is incorporated into the two series. We find in the passions some hybrid and bizarre tastes, as we find mixed productions which are not of any one species. The Societary Order draws on all these quirks and makes use of every imaginable passions, God having created nothing that is useless.
I have said that the series cannot always be classified as regularly as I have just indicated; but we approach as closely as we can this method, which is the natural order, and which is the most effective for exalting the passions, counterbalancing them and bringing about labor. Industry becomes a diversion as soon as the industrious are formed in progressive series. They labor then less because of the lure of profit than as an effect of emulation and of other vehicles inherent in the spirit of the series [and at the blossoming of the Cabalist or tenth passion.]
From here arises a result that is very surprising, like all those of the Societary Order: the less that we concern ourselves with profit, the more we gain. In fact, the Series most strongly stimulated by intrigues, the one which would make the most pecuniary sacrifices to satisfy its self-esteem, will be the one that will give the most perfection and value to the product, and which, as a consequence, will have gained the most by forgetting to concern itself with interest and only thinking of passion; but if it has few rivalries, intrigues and alliances, little self-esteem and excitement, it will work [coldly, ] by interest more than by special passion, and its products and profits alike will be much inferior to those of a series with many intrigues. Therefore, its gains will be less, to the degree that it has been stimulated by the love of gain. [We must then plot a grouped series, organize intrigue, as regularly as we would a dramatic piece, and, in order to achieve this, the principal rule to follow is the gradation of inequalities.]
I have said, that in order to properly organize intrigues in the series and raise to the highest perfection the products of each of their groups, we must coordinate as much as possible the ascending and descending; I will give a second example to better etch that arrangement in the mind of the readers. I choose the parade series.

[Working translation by Shawn P. Wilbur]

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