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A Voyage to the Moon by George Tucker

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A
VOYAGE TO THE MOON:
WITH
SOME ACCOUNT
OF THE
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS, SCIENCE AND PHILOSOPHY,
OF THE
PEOPLE OF MOROSOFIA,
AND
OTHER LUNARIANS.

BY GEORGE TUCKER (JOSEPH ATTERLEY)

"It is the very error of the moon,
She comes more near the earth than she was wont,
And makes men mad."--_Othello_.

1827

CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

Atterley's birth and education--He makes a voyage--
Founders off the Burman coast--Adventures in
that Empire--Meets with a learned Brahmin from
Benares.

CHAPTER II.

The Brahmin's illness--He reveals an important secret
to Atterley--Curious information concerning the
Moon--The Glonglims--They plan a voyage to
the Moon.

CHAPTER III.

The Brahmin and Atterley prepare for their voyage--
Description of their travelling machine--Incidents
of the voyage--The appearance of the earth;
Africa; Greece--The Brahmin's speculations on
the different races of men--National character.

CHAPTER IV.

Continuation of the voyage--View of Europe; Atlantic
Ocean; America--Speculations on the future
destiny of the United States--Moral reflections--
Pacific Ocean--Hypothesis on the origin of the
Moon.

CHAPTER V.

The voyage continued--Second view of Asia--The
Brahmin's speculations concerning India--Increase
of the Moon's attraction--Appearance of the Moon
--They land on the Moon.

CHAPTER VI.

Some account of Morosofia, and its chief city, Alamatua
--Singular dresses of the Lunar ladies--Religious
self-denial--Glonglim miser and spendthrift.

CHAPTER VII.

Physical peculiarities of the Moon--Celestial phenomena
--Farther description of the Lunarians--National
prejudice--Lightness of bodies--The Brahmin
carries Atterley to sup with a philosopher--
His character and opinions.

CHAPTER VIII.

A celebrated physician: his ingenious theories in physics:
his mechanical inventions--The feather-hunting Glonglim.

CHAPTER IX.

The fortune-telling philosopher, who inspected the
finger nails: his visiters--Another philosopher,
who judged of the character by the hair--The
fortune-teller duped--Predatory warfare.

CHAPTER X.

The travellers visit a gentleman farmer, who is a great
projector: his breed of cattle: his apparatus for
cooking--He is taken dangerously ill.

CHAPTER XI.

Lunarian physicians: their consultation--While they
dispute the patient recovers--The travellers visit
the celebrated teacher Lozzi Pozzi.

CHAPTER XII.

Election of the Numnoonce, or town-constable--
Violence of parties--Singular institution of the Syringe
Boys--The prize-fighters--Domestic manufactures.

CHAPTER XIII.

Description of the Happy Valley--The laws, customs,
and manners of the Okalbians--Theory of population
--Rent--System of government.

CHAPTER XIV.

Further account of Okalbia--The Field of Roses--
Curious superstition concerning that flower--The
pleasures of smell traced to association, by a
Glonglim philosopher.

CHAPTER XV.

Atterley goes to the great monthly fair--Its various
exhibitions; difficulties--Preparations to leave the
Moon--Curiosities procured by Atterley--Regress
to the Earth.

CHAPTER XVI.

The Brahmin gives Atterley a history of his life.

CHAPTER XVII.

The Brahmin's story continued--The voyage concluded
--Atterley and the Brahmin separate--Atterley
arrives in New-York.

Appendix: Anonymous Review of _A Voyage to the
Moon,_ reprinted from _The American Quarterly
Review_ No. 5 (March 1828)

APPEAL TO THE PUBLIC.

Having, by a train of fortunate circumstances, accomplished a voyage, of
which the history of mankind affords no example; having, moreover, exerted
every faculty of body and mind, to make my adventures useful to my
countrymen, and even to mankind, by imparting to them the acquisition
of secrets in physics and morals, of which they had not formed the
faintest conception,--I flattered myself that both in the character
of traveller and public benefactor, I had earned for myself an immortal
name. But how these fond, these justifiable hopes have been answered,
the following narrative will show.

On my return to this my native State, as soon as it was noised abroad
that I had met with extraordinary adventures, and made a most wonderful
voyage, crowds of people pressed eagerly to see me. I at first met their
inquiries with a cautious silence, which, however, but sharpened their
curiosity. At length I was visited by a near relation, with whom I felt
less disposed to reserve. With friendly solicitude he inquired "how much
I had made by my voyage;" and when he was informed that, although I had
added to my knowledge, I had not improved my fortune, he stared at me a
while, and remarking that he had business at the Bank, as well as an
appointment on 'Change, suddenly took his leave. After this, I was not
much interrupted by the tribe of inquisitive idlers, but was visited
principally by a few men of science, who wished to learn what I could
add to their knowledge of nature. To this class I was more communicative;
and when I severally informed them that I had actually been to the
Moon, some of them shrugged their shoulders, others laughed in my face,
and some were angry at my supposed attempt to deceive them; but all,
with a single exception, were incredulous.

It was to no purpose that I appealed to my former character for veracity.
I was answered, that travelling had changed my morals, as it had changed
other people's. I asked what motives I could have for attempting to
deceive them. They replied, the love of distinction--the vanity of being
thought to have seen what had been seen by no other mortal; and they
triumphantly asked me in turn, what motives Raleigh, and Riley, and
Hunter, and a hundred other travellers, had for their misrepresentations.
Finding argument thus unavailing, I produced visible and tangible proofs
of the truth of my narrative. I showed them a specimen of moonstone.
They asserted that it was of the same character as those meteoric stones
which had been found in every part of the world, and that I had merely
procured a piece of one of these for the purpose of deception. I then
exhibited some of what I considered my most curious Lunar plants: but
this made the matter worse; for it so happened, that similar ones were
then cultivated in Mr. Prince's garden at Flushing. I next produced
some rare insects, and feathers of singular birds: but persons were
found who had either seen, or read, or heard of similar insects and
birds in Hoo-Choo, or Paraguay, or Prince of Wales's Island. In short,
having made up their minds that what I said was not true, they had an
answer ready for all that I could urge in support of my character; and
those who judged most christianly, defended my veracity at the expense
of my understanding, and ascribed my conduct to partial insanity.

There was, indeed, a short suspension to this cruel distrust. An old
friend coming to see me one day, and admiring a beautiful crystal which
I had brought from the Moon, insisted on showing it to a jeweller, who
said that it was an unusually hard stone, and that if it were a diamond,
it would be worth upwards of 150,000 dollars. I know not whether the
mistake that ensued proceeded from my friend, who is something of a wag,
or from one of the lads in the jeweller's shop, who, hearing a part of
what his master had said, misapprehended the rest; but so it was, that
the next day I had more visiters than ever, and among them my kinsman,
who was kind enough to stay with me, as if he enjoyed my good fortune,
until both the Exchange and the Banks were closed. On the same day,
the following paragraph appeared in one of the morning prints:

"We understand that our enterprising and intelligent traveller,
JOSEPH ATTERLEY, Esquire, has brought from his Lunar Expedition,
a diamond of extraordinary size and lustre. Several of the most
experienced jewellers of this city have estimated it at from
250,000 to 300,000 dollars; and some have gone so far as to say
it would be cheap at half a million. We have the authority of a
near relative of that gentleman for asserting, that the satisfactory
testimonials which he possesses of the correctness of his narrative,
are sufficient to satisfy the most incredulous, and to silence
malignity itself."

But this gleam of sunshine soon passed away. Two days afterwards, another
paragraph appeared in the same paper, in these words:

"We are credibly informed, that the supposed diamond of the _famous_
traveller to the Moon, turns out to be one of those which are found
on Diamond Island, in Lake George. We have heard that Mr. A----y
means to favour the public with an account of his travels, under
the title of 'Lunarian Adventures;' but we would take the liberty
of recommending, that for _Lunarian_, he substitute _Lunatic_."

Thus disappointed in my expectations, and assailed in my character,
what could I do but appeal to an impartial public, by giving them a
circumstantial detail of what was most memorable in my adventures, that
they might judge, from intrinsic evidence, whether I was deficient either
in soundness of understanding or of moral principle? But let me first
bespeak their candour, and a salutary diffidence of themselves, by one
or two well-authenticated anecdotes.

During the reign of Louis the XIVth, the king of Siam having received
an ambassador from that monarch, was accustomed to hear, with wonder
and delight, the foreigner's descriptions of his own country: but the
minister having one day mentioned, that in France, water, at one time
of the year, became a solid substance, the Siamese prince indignantly
exclaimed,--"Hold, sir! I have listened to the strange things you have
told me, and have hitherto believed them all; but now when you wish to
persuade me that water, which I know as well as you, can become hard, I
see that your purpose is to deceive me, and I do not believe a word you
have uttered."

But as the present patriotic preference for home-bred manufactures, may
extend to anecdotes as well as to other productions, a story of domestic
origin may have more weight with most of my readers, than one introduced
from abroad.

The chief of a party of Indians, who had visited Washington during
Mr. Jefferson's presidency, having, on his return home, assembled his
tribe, gave them a detail of his adventures; and dwelling particularly
upon the courteous treatment the party had received from their "Great
Father," stated, among other things, that he had given them ice, though
it was then mid-summer. His countrymen, not having the vivacity of our
ladies, listened in silence till he had ended, when an aged chief stepped
forth, and remarked that he too, when a young man, had visited their
Great Father Washington, in New-York, who had received him as a son, and
treated him with all the delicacies that his country afforded, but had
given him no ice. "Now," added the orator, "if any man in the world could
have made ice in the summer, it was Washington; and if he could have made
it, I am sure he would have given it to me. Tustanaggee is, therefore, a
liar, and not to be believed."

In both these cases, though the argument seemed fair, the conclusion was
false; for had either the king or the chief taken the trouble to satisfy
himself of the fact, he might have found that his limited experience had
deceived him.

It is unquestionably true, that if travellers sometimes impose on the
credulity of mankind, they are often also not believed when they speak
the truth. Credulity and scepticism are indeed but different names for
the same hasty judgment on insufficient evidence: and, as the old woman
readily assented that there might be "mountains of sugar and rivers
of rum," because she had seen them both, but that there were "fish
which could fly," she never would believe; so thousands give credit
to Redheiffer's patented discovery of perpetual motion, because they
had beheld his machine, and question the existence of the sea-serpent,
because they have not seen it.

I would respectfully remind that class of my readers, who, like the
king, the Indian, or the old woman, refuse to credit any thing which
contradicts the narrow limits of their own observation, that there are
"more secrets in nature than are dreamt of in their philosophy;" and
that upon their own principles, before they have a right to condemn me,
they should go or send to the mountains of Ava, for some of the metal
with which I made my venturous experiment, and make one for themselves.

As to those who do not call in question my veracity, but only doubt my
sanity, I fearlessly appeal from their unkind judgment to the sober and
unprejudiced part of mankind, whether, what I have stated in the following
pages, is not consonant with truth and nature, and whether they do not
there see, faithfully reflected from the Moon, the errors of the learned
on Earth, and "the follies of the wise?"

JOSEPH ATTERLEY.

_Long-Island, September_, 1827.

VOYAGE TO THE MOON.

CHAPTER I.

_Atterley's birth and education--He makes a voyage--Founders off the
Burman coast--Adventures in that Empire--Meets with a learned Brahmin
from Benares._

Being about to give a narrative of my singular adventures to the world,
which, I foresee, will be greatly divided about their authenticity,
I will premise something of my early history, that those to whom I am
not personally known, may be better able to ascertain what credit is
due to the facts which rest only on my own assertion.

I was born in the village of Huntingdon, on Long-Island, on the 11th day
of May, 1786. Joseph Atterley, my father, formerly of East Jersey, as it
was once called, had settled in this place about a year before, in
consequence of having married my mother, Alice Schermerhorn, the only
daughter of a snug Dutch farmer in the neighbourhood. By means of the
portion he received with my mother, together with his own earnings,
he was enabled to quit the life of a sailor, to which he had been bred,
and to enter into trade. After the death of his father-in-law, by whose
will he received a handsome accession to his property, he sought, in the
city of New-York, a theatre better suited to his enlarged capital. He
here engaged in foreign trade; and, partaking of the prosperity which
then attended American commerce, he gradually extended his business, and
finally embarked in our new branch of traffic to the East Indies and
China. He was now very generally respected, both for his wealth and fair
dealing; was several years a director in one of the insurance offices;
was president of the society for relieving the widows and orphans of
distressed seamen; and, it is said, might have been chosen alderman,
if he had not refused, on the ground that he did not think himself
qualified.

My father was not one of those who set little value on book learning,
from their own consciousness of not possessing it: on the contrary, he
would often remark, that as he felt the want of a liberal education
himself, he was determined to bestow one on me. I was accordingly, at
an early age, put to a grammar school of good repute in my native village,
the master of which, I believe, is now a member of Congress; and, at the
age of seventeen, was sent to Princeton, to prepare myself for some
profession. During my third year at that place, in one of my excursions
to Philadelphia, and for which I was always inventing pretexts, I became
acquainted with one of those faces and forms which, in a youth of twenty,
to see, admire, and love, is one and the same thing. My attentions were
favourably received. I soon became desperately in love; and, in spite of
the advice of my father and entreaties of my mother, who had formed other
schemes for me nearer home, I was married on the anniversary of my
twenty-first year.

It was not until the first trance of bliss was over, that I began to
think seriously on the course of life I was to pursue. From the time
that my mind had run on love and matrimony, I had lost all relish for
serious study; and long before that time, I had felt a sentiment bordering
on contempt for the pursuits of my father. Besides, he had already taken
my two younger brothers into the counting-house with him. I therefore
prevailed on my indulgent parent, with the aid of my mother's intercession,
to purchase for me a neat country-seat near Huntingdon, which presented a
beautiful view of the Sound, and where, surrounded by the scenes of my
childhood, I promised myself to realise, with my Susanna, that life of
tranquil felicity which fancy, warmed by love, so vividly depicts.

If we did not meet with all that we had expected, it was because we had
expected too much. The happiest life, like the purest atmosphere, has
its clouds as well as its sunshine; and what is worse, we never fully
know the value of the one, until we have felt the inconvenience of the
other. In the cultivation of my farm--in educating our children, a son
and two daughters, in reading, music, painting--and in occasional visits
to our friends in New-York and Philadelphia, seventeen years glided
swiftly and imperceptibly away; at the end of which time death, in
depriving me of an excellent wife, made a wreck of my hopes and enjoyments.
For the purpose of seeking that relief to my feelings which change of
place only could afford, I determined to make a sea voyage; and, as one
of my father's vessels was about to sail for Canton, I accordingly
embarked on board the well-known ship the _Two Brothers_, captain
Thomas, and left Sandy-hook on the 5th day of June, 1822, having first
placed my three children under the care of my brother William.

I will not detain the reader with a detail of the first incidents of
our voyage, though they were sufficiently interesting at the time they
occurred, and were not wanting in the usual variety. We had, in singular
succession, dead calms and fresh breezes, stiff gales and sudden squalls;
saw sharks, flying-fish, and dolphins; spoke several vessels: had a
visit from Neptune when we crossed the Line, and were compelled to
propitiate his favour with some gallons of spirits, which he seems
always to find a very agreeable change from sea water; and touched at
Table Bay and at Madagascar.

On the whole, our voyage was comparatively pleasant and prosperous, until
the 24th of October; when, off the mouths of the Ganges, after a fine
clear autumnal day, just about sunset, a small dark speck was seen in
the eastern horizon by our experienced and watchful captain, who, after
noticing it for a few moments, pronounced that we should have a hurricane.
The rapidity with which this speck grew into a dense cloud, and spread
itself in darkness over the heavens, as well as the increasing swell of
the ocean before we felt the wind, soon convinced us he was right. No
time was lost in lowering our topmasts, taking double reefs, and making
every thing snug, to meet the fury of the tempest. I thought I had
already witnessed all that was terrific on the ocean; but what I had
formerly seen, had been mere child's play compared with this. Never can
I forget the impression that was made upon me by the wild uproar of the
elements. The smooth, long swell of the waves gradually changed into an
agitated frothy surface, which constant flashes of lightning presented
to us in all its horror; and in the mean time the wind whistled through
the rigging, and the ship creaked as if she was every minute going to
pieces.

About midnight the storm was at its height, and I gave up all for lost.
The wind, which first blew from the south-west, was then due south, and
the sailors said it began to abate a little before day: but I saw no
great difference until about three in the afternoon; soon after which
the clouds broke away, and showed us the sun setting in cloudless majesty,
while the billows still continued their stupendous rolling, but with a
heavy movement, as if, after such mighty efforts, they were seeking
repose in the bosom of their parent ocean. It soon became almost calm;
a light western breeze barely swelled our sails, and gently wafted us
to the land, which we could faintly discern to the north-east. Our ship
had been so shaken in the tempest, and was so leaky, that captain Thomas
thought it prudent to make for the first port we could reach.

At dawn we found ourselves in full view of a coast, which, though not
personally known to the captain, he pronounced by his charts to be a
part of the Burmese Empire, and in the neighbourhood of Mergui, on the
Martaban coast. The leak had now increased to an alarming extent, so
that we found it would be impossible to carry the ship safe into port.
We therefore hastily threw our clothes, papers, and eight casks of
silver, into the long-boat; and before we were fifty yards from the
ship, we saw her go down. Some of the underwriters in New York, as I
have since learnt, had the conscience to contend that we left the ship
sooner than was necessary, and have suffered themselves to be sued for
the sums they had severally insured. It was a little after midday when
we reached the town, which is perched on a high bluff, overlooking
the coasts, and contains about a thousand houses, built of bamboo,
and covered with palm leaves. Our dress, appearance, language, and
the manner of our arrival, excited great surprise among the natives,
and the liveliest curiosity; but with these sentiments some evidently
mingled no very friendly feelings. The Burmese were then on the eve
of a rupture with the East India Company, a fact which we had not before
known; and mistaking us for English, they supposed, or affected to
suppose, that we belonged to a fleet which was about to invade them,
and that our ship had been sunk before their eyes, by the tutelar divinity
of the country. We were immediately carried before their governor,
or chief magistrate, who ordered our baggage to be searched, and finding
that it consisted principally of silver, he had no doubt of our hostile
intentions. He therefore sent all of us, twenty-two in number, to prison,
separating, however, each one from the rest. My companions were released
the following spring, as I have since learnt, by the invading army of
Great Britain; but it was my ill fortune (if, indeed, after what has
since happened, I can so regard it) to be taken for an officer of high
rank, and to be sent, the third day afterwards, far into the interior,
that I might be more safely kept, and either used as a hostage or offered
for ransom, as circumstances should render advantageous.

The reader is, no doubt, aware that the Burman Empire lies beyond the
Ganges, between the British possessions and the kingdom of Siam; and
that the natives nearly assimilate with those of Hindostan, in language,
manners, religion, and character, except that they are more hardy and
warlike.

I was transported very rapidly in a palanquin, (a sort of decorated
litter,) carried on the shoulders of four men, who, for greater despatch,
were changed every three hours. In this way I travelled thirteen days,
in which time we reached a little village in the mountainous district
between the Irawaddi and Saloon rivers, where I was placed under the
care of an inferior magistrate, called a Mirvoon, who there exercised
the chief authority.

This place, named Mozaun, was romantically situated in a fertile valley,
that seemed to be completely shut in by the mountains. A small river,
a branch of the Saloon, entered it from the west, and, after running
about four miles in nearly a straight direction, turned suddenly round
a steep hill to the south, and was entirely lost to view. The village
was near a gap in the mountain, through which the river seemed to have
forced its way, and consisted of about forty or fifty huts, built of
the bamboo cane and reeds. The house of my landlord was somewhat larger
and better than the rest. It stood on a little knoll that overlooked
the village, the valley, the stream that ran through it, and commanded
a distant view of the country beyond the gap. It was certainly a lovely
little spot, as it now appears to my imagination; but when the landscape
was new to me, I was in no humour to relish its beauties, and when my
mind was more in a state to appreciate them, they had lost their novelty.

My keeper, whose name was Sing Fou, and who, from a long exercise of
magisterial authority, was rough and dictatorial, behaved to me somewhat
harshly at first; but my patient submission so won his confidence and
good will, that I soon became a great favourite; was regarded more as
one of his family than as a prisoner, and was allowed by him every
indulgence consistent with my safe custody. But the difficulties in the
way of my escape were so great, that little restraint was imposed on
my motions. The narrow defile in the gap, through which the river rushed
like a torrent, was closed with a gate. The mountains, by which the
valley was hemmed in, were utterly impassable, thickly set as they were
with jungle, consisting of tangled brier, thorn and forest trees, of
which those who have never been in a tropical climate can form no adequate
idea. In some places it would be difficult to penetrate more than a
mile in the day; during which time the traveller would be perpetually
tormented by noxious insects, and in constant dread of beasts of prey.

The only outlet from this village was by passing down the valley along
the settlements, and following the course of the stream; so that there
was no other injunction laid on me, than not to extend my rambles far
in that direction. Sing Fou's household consisted of his wife, whom I
rarely saw, four small children, and six servants; and here I enjoyed
nearly as great a portion of happiness as in any part of my life.

It had been one of my favourite amusements to ramble towards a part of
the western ridge, which rose in a cone about a mile and a half from the
village, and there ascending to some comparatively level spot, or point
projecting from its side, enjoy the beautiful scenery which lay before
me, and the evening breeze, which has such a delicious freshness in a
tropical climate.

Nor was this all. In a deep sequestered nook, formed by two spurs of this
mountain, there lived a venerable Hindoo, whom the people of the village
called the Holy Hermit. The favourable accounts I received of his
character, as well as his odd course of life, made me very desirous
of becoming acquainted with him; and, as he was often visited by the
villagers, I found no difficulty in getting a conductor to his cell. His
character for sanctity, together with a venerable beard, might have
discouraged advances towards an acquaintance, if his lively piercing eye,
a countenance expressive of great mildness and kindness of disposition,
and his courteous manners, had not yet more strongly invited it. He was
indeed not averse to society, though he had seemed thus to fly from it;
and was so great a favourite with his neighbours, that his cell would
have been thronged with visitors, but for the difficulty of the approach
to it. As it was, it was seldom resorted to, except for the purpose of
obtaining his opinion and counsel on all the serious concerns of his
neighbours. He prescribed for the sick, and often provided the medicine
they required--expounded the law--adjusted disputes--made all their little
arithmetical calculations--gave them moral instruction--and, when he
could not afford them relief in their difficulties, he taught them
patience, and gave them consolation. He, in short, united, for the simple
people by whom he was surrounded, the functions of lawyer, physician,
schoolmaster, and divine, and richly merited the reverential respect in
which they held him, as well as their little presents of eggs, fruit, and
garden stuff.

From the first evening that I joined the party which I saw clambering up
the path that led to the Hermit's cell, I found myself strongly attached
to this venerable man, and the more so, from the mystery which hung
around his history. It was agreed that he was not a Burmese. None deemed
to know certainly where he was born, or why he came thither. His own
account was, that he had devoted himself to the service of God, and in
his pilgrimage over the east, had selected this as a spot particularly
favourable to the life of quiet and seclusion he wished to lead.

There was one part of his story to which I could scarcely give credit.
It was said that in the twelve or fifteen years he had resided in this
place, he had been occasionally invisible for months together, and no
one could tell why he disappeared, or whither he had gone. At these
times his cell was closed; and although none ventured to force their
way into it, those who were the most prying could hear no sound indicating
that he was within. Various were the conjectures formed on the subject.
Some supposed that he withdrew from the sight of men for the purpose
of more fervent prayer and more holy meditation; others, that he visited
his home, or some other distant country. The more superstitious believed
that he had, by a kind of metempsychosis, taken a new shape, which, by
some magical or supernatural power, he could assume and put off at
pleasure. This opinion was perhaps the most prevalent, as it gained a
colour with these simple people, from the chemical and astronomical
instruments he possessed. In these he evidently took great pleasure,
and by their means he acquired some of the knowledge by which he so
often excited their admiration.

He soon distinguished me from the rest of his visitors, by addressing
questions to me relative to my history and adventures; and I, in turn,
was gratified to have met with one who took an interest in my concerns,
and who alone, of all I had here met with, could either enter into my
feelings or comprehend my opinions. Our conversations were carried on
in English, which he spoke with facility and correctness. We soon found
ourselves so much to each other's taste, that there was seldom an evening
that I did not make him a visit, and pass an hour or two in his company.

I learnt from him that he was born and bred at Benares, in Hindostan;
that he had been intended for the priesthood, and had been well instructed
in the literature of the east. That a course of untoward circumstances,
upon which he seemed unwilling to dwell, had changed his destination,
and made him a wanderer on the face of the earth. That in the neighbouring
kingdom of Siam he had formed an intimacy with a learned French Jesuit,
who had not only taught him his language, but imparted to him a knowledge
of much of the science of Europe, its institutions and manners. That after
the death of this friend, he had renewed his wanderings; and having been
detained in this village by a fit of sickness for some weeks, he was
warned that it was time to quit his rambling life. This place being
recommended to him, both by its quiet seclusion, and the unsophisticated
manners of its inhabitants, he determined to pass the remnant of his days
here, and, by devoting them to the purposes of piety, charity, and
science, to discharge his duty to his Creator, his species, and himself;
"for the love of knowledge," he added, "has long been my chief source of
selfish enjoyment."

Our tastes and sentiments accorded in so many points, that our acquaintance
ripened by degrees into the closest friendship. We were both
strangers--both unfortunate; and were the only individuals here who had any
knowledge of letters, or of distant parts of the world. These are, indeed,
the main springs of that sympathy, without which there is no love among
men. It is being overwise, to treat with contempt what mankind hold in
respect: and philosophy teaches us not to extinguish our feelings, but to
correct and refine them. My visits to the hermitage were frequently renewed
at first, because they afforded me the relief of variety, whilst his
intimate knowledge of men and things--his remarkable sagacity and good
sense--his air of mingled piety and benignity,--cheated me into
forgetfulness of my situation. As these gradually yielded to the lenitive
power of time, I sought his conversation for the positive pleasure it
afforded, and at last it became the chief source of my happiness. Day after
day, and month after month, glided on in this gentle, unvarying current,
for more than three years; during which period he had occasionally thrown
out dark hints that the time would come when I should be restored to
liberty, and that he had an important secret, which he would one day
communicate. I should have been more tantalized with the expectations that
these remarks were calculated to raise, had I not suspected them to be a
good-natured artifice, to save me from despondency, as they were never made
except when he saw me looking serious and thoughtful.

CHAPTER II.

_The Brahmin's illness--He reveals an important secret to Atterley--
Curious information concerning the Moon--The Glonglims--They plan a
voyage to the Moon._

About this period, one afternoon in the month of March, when I repaired
to the hermitage as usual, I found my venerable friend stretched on his
humble pallet, breathing very quickly, and seemingly in great pain. He
was labouring under a pleurisy, which is not unfrequent in the mountainous
region, at this season. He told me that his disease had not yielded to
the ordinary remedies which he had tried when he first felt its approach,
and that he considered himself to be dangerously ill. "I am, however,"
he added, "prepared to die. Sit down on that block, and listen to what
I shall say to you. Though I shall quit this state of being for another
and a better, I confess that I was alarmed at the thought of expiring,
before I had an opportunity of seeing and conversing with you. I am the
depository of a secret, that I believe is known to no other living mortal.
I once determined that it should die with me; and had I not met with you,
it certainly should. But from our first acquaintance, my heart has been
strongly attracted towards you; and as soon as I found you possessed
of qualities to inspire esteem as well as regard, I felt disposed to
give you this proof of my confidence. Still I hesitated. I first wished
to deliberate on the probable effects of my disclosure upon the condition
of society. I saw that it might produce evil, as well as good; but on
weighing the two together, I have satisfied myself that the good will
preponderate, and have determined to act accordingly. Take this key,
(stretching out his feverish hand,) and after waiting two hours, in
which time the medicine I have taken will have either produced a good
effect, or put an end to my sufferings, you may then open that blue
chest in the corner. It has a false bottom. On removing the paper which
covers it, you will find the manuscript containing the important secret,
together with some gold pieces, which I have saved for the day of
need--because--(and he smiled in spite of his sufferings)--because
hoarding is one of the pleasures of old men. Take them both, and use
them discreetly. When I am gone, I request you, my friend, to discharge
the last sad duties of humanity, and to see me buried according to the
usages of my caste. The simple beings around me will then behold that
I am mortal like themselves. And let this precious relic of female
loveliness and worth, (taking a small picture, set in gold, from his
bosom,) be buried with me. It has been warmed by my heart's blood for
twenty-five years: let it be still near that heart when it ceases
to beat. I have yet more to say to you; but my strength is too much
exhausted."

The good old man here closed his eyes, with an expression of patient
resignation, and rather as if he courted sleep than felt inclined to it:
and, after shutting the door of his cell, I repaired to his little
garden, to pass the allotted two hours. Left to my meditations, when
I thought that I was probably about to be deprived for ever of the
Hermit's conversation and society, I felt the wretchedness of my situation
recur with all its former force. I sat down on a smooth rock under a
tamarind tree, the scene of many an interesting conference between the
Brahmin and myself; and I cast my eyes around--but how changed was every
thing before me! I no longer regarded the sparkling eddies of the little
cascade which fell down a steep rock at the upper end of the garden, and
formed a pellucid basin below. The gay flowers and rich foliage of this
genial climate--the bright plumage and cheerful notes of the birds--were
all there; but my mind was not in a state to relish them. I arose, and in
extreme agitation rambled over this little Eden, in which I had passed so
many delightful hours.

Before the allotted time had elapsed--shall I confess it?--my fears for
the Hermit were overcome by those that were purely selfish. It occurred
to me, if he should thus suddenly die, and I be found alone in his cell,
I might be charged with being his murderer; and my courage, which, from
long inaction, had sadly declined of late, deserted me at the thought.
After the most torturing suspense, the dial at length showed me that the
two hours had elapsed, and I hastened to the cell.

I paused a moment at the door, afraid to enter, or even look in; made one
or two steps, and hearing no sound, concluded that all was over with the
Hermit, and that my own doom was sealed. My delight was inexpressible,
therefore, when I perceived that he still breathed, and when, on drawing
nearer, I found that he slept soundly. In a moment I passed from misery
to bliss. I seated myself by his side, and there remained for more than
an hour, enjoying the transition of my feelings. At length he awoke, and
casting on me a look of placid benignity, said,--"Atterley, my time is
not yet come. Though resigned to death, I am content to live. The worst
is over. I am already almost restored to health." I then administered to
him some refreshments, and, after a while, left him to repose. On again
repairing to the garden, every object assumed its wonted appearance. The
fragrance of the orange and the jasmine was no longer lost to me. The
humming birds, which swarmed round the flowering cytisus and the beautiful
water-fall, once more delighted the eye and the ear. I took my usual
bath, as the sun was sinking below the mountain; and, finding the Hermit
still soundly sleeping, I threw myself on a seat, under the shelter of
some bamboos, fell asleep, and did not awake until late the next morning.

When I arose, I found the good Brahmin up, and, though much weakened by
his disease, able to walk about. He told me that the Mirvoon, uneasy at
my not returning as usual in the evening, had sent in search of me, and
that the servant, finding me safe, was content to return without me. He
advised me, however, not to repeat the same cause of alarm. Sing Fou, on
hearing my explanation, readily forgave me for the uneasiness I had
caused him. After a few days, the Brahmin recovered his ordinary health
and strength; and having attended him at an earlier hour than usual,
according to his request on the previous evening, he thus addressed
me:--

"I have already told you, my dear Atterley, that I was born and educated
at Benares, and that science is there more thoroughly understood and
taught than the people of the west are aware of. We have, for many
thousands of years, been good astronomers, chymists, mathematicians, and
philosophers. We had discovered the secret of gunpowder, the magnetic
attraction, the properties of electricity, long before they were heard of
in Europe. We know more than we have revealed; and much of our knowledge
is deposited in the archives of the caste to which I belong; but, for
want of a language generally understood and easily learnt, (for these
records are always written in the Sanscrit, that is no longer a spoken
language,) and the diffusion which is given by the art of printing,
these secrets of science are communicated only to a few, and sometimes
even sleep with their authors, until a subsequent discovery, under more
favourable circumstances, brings them again to light.

"It was at this seat of science that I learnt, from one of our sages,
the physical truth which I am now about to communicate, and which he
discovered, partly by his researches into the writings of ancient Pundits,
and partly by his own extraordinary sagacity. There is a principle of
repulsion as well as gravitation in the earth. It causes fire to rise
upwards. It is exhibited in electricity. It occasions water-spouts,
volcanoes, and earthquakes. After much labour and research, this principle
has been found embodied in a metallic substance, which is met with in the
mountain in which we are, united with a very heavy earth; and this
circumstance had great influence in inducing me to settle myself here.

"This metal, when separated and purified, has as great a tendency to
fly off from the earth, as a piece of gold or lead has to approach it.
After making a number of curious experiments with it, we bethought
ourselves of putting it to some use, and soon contrived, with the aid
of it, to make cars and ascend into the air. We were very secret in
these operations; for our unhappy country having then recently fallen
under the subjection of the British nation, we apprehended that if we
divulged our arcanum, they would not only fly away with all our treasures,
whether found in palace or pagoda, but also carry off the inhabitants,
to make them slaves in their colonies, as their government had not then
abolished the African slave trade.

"After various trials and many successive improvements, in which our
desires increased with our success, we determined to penetrate the
aerial void as far as we could, providing for that purpose an apparatus,
with which you will become better acquainted hereafter. In the course
of our experiments, we discovered that this same metal, which was repelled
from the earth, was in the same degree attracted towards the moon; for in
one of our excursions, still aiming to ascend higher than we had ever
done before, we were actually carried to that satellite; and if we had
not there fallen into a lake, and our machine had not been water-tight,
we must have been dashed to pieces or drowned. You will find in this
book," he added, presenting me with a small volume, bound in green
parchment, and fastened with silver clasps, "a minute detail of the
apparatus to be provided, and the directions to be pursued in making
this wonderful voyage. I have written it since I satisfied my mind that
my fears of British rapacity were unfounded, and that I should do more
good than harm by publishing the secret. But still I am not sure,"
he added, with one of his faint but significant smiles, "that I am
not actuated by a wish to immortalize my name; for where is the mortal
who would be indifferent to this object, if he thought he could attain it?
Read the book at your leisure, and study it."

I listened to this recital with astonishment; and doubted at first,
whether the Brahmin's late severe attack had not had the effect of
unsettling his brain: but on looking in his face, the calm self-possession
and intelligence which it exhibited, dispelled the momentary impression.
I was all impatience to know the adventures he met with in the moon,
asking him fifty questions in a breath, but was most anxious to learn
if it had inhabitants, and what sort of beings they were.

"Yes," said he, "the moon has inhabitants, pretty much the same as the
earth, of which they believe their globe to have been formerly a part.
But suspend your questions, and let me give you a recital of the most
remarkable things I saw there."

I checked my impatience, and listened with all my ears to the wonders
he related. He went on to inform me that the inhabitants of the moon
resembled those of the earth, in form, stature, features, and manners,
and were evidently of the same species, as they did not differ more than
did the Hottentot from the Parisian. That they had similar passions,
propensities, and pursuits, but differed greatly in manners and habits.
They had more activity, but less strength: they were feebler in mind as
well as body. But the most curious part of his information was, that a
large number of them were born without any intellectual vigour, and
wandered about as so many automatons, under the care of the government,
until they were illuminated with the mental ray from some earthly brains,
by means of the mysterious influence which the moon is known to exercise
on our planet. But in this case the inhabitant of the earth loses what
the inhabitant of the moon gains--the ordinary portion of understanding
allotted to one mortal being thus divided between two; and, as might be
expected, seeing that the two minds were originally the same, there is a
most exact conformity between the man of the earth and his counterpart in
the moon, in all their principles of action and modes of thinking.

These Glonglims, as they are called, after they have been thus imbued
with intellect, are held in peculiar respect by the vulgar, and are
thought to be in every way superior to those whose understandings are
entire. The laws by which two objects, so far apart, operate on each
other, have been, as yet, but imperfectly developed, and the wilder
their freaks, the more they are the objects of wonder and admiration.
"The science of _lunarology_," he observed, "is yet in its infancy.
But in the three voyages I have made to the moon, I have acquired so
many new facts, and imparted so many to the learned men of that planet,
that it is, without doubt, the subject of their active speculations
at this time, and will, probably, assume a regular form long before the
new science of phrenology of which you tell me, and which it must, in
time, supersede. Now and then, though very rarely, the man of the earth
regains the intellect he has lost; in which case his lunar counterpart
returns to his former state of imbecility. Both parties are entirely
unconscious of the change--one, of what he has lost, and the other of
what he has gained."

The Brahmin then added: "Though our party are the only voyagers of which
authentic history affords any testimony, yet it is probable, from obscure
hints in some of our most ancient writings in the Sanscrit, that the
voyage has been made in remote periods of antiquity; and the Lunarians
have a similar tradition. While, in the revolutions which have so changed
the affairs of mankind on our globe, (and probably in its satellite,)
the art has been lost, faint traces of its existence may be perceived
in the opinions of the vulgar, and in many of their ordinary forms of
expression. Thus it is generally believed throughout all Asia, that the
moon has an influence on the brain; and when a man is of insane mind, we
call him a lunatic. One of the curses of the common people is, 'May the
moon eat up your brains;' and in China they say of a man who has done
any act of egregious folly, 'He was gathering wool in the moon.'"

I was struck with these remarks, and told the Hermit that the language
of Europe afforded the same indirect evidence of the fact he mentioned:
that my own language especially, abounded with expressions which could
be explained on no other hypothesis;--for, besides the terms "lunacy,"
"lunatic," and the supposed influence of the moon on the brain, when we
see symptoms of a disordered intellect, we say the mind _wanders_,
which evidently alludes to a part of it rambling to a distant region, as
is the moon. We say too, a man is "_out of his head_," that is, his
mind being in another man's head, must of course be out of his own.
To "know no more than the man in the moon," is a proverbial expression
for ignorance, and is without meaning, unless it be considered to refer
to the Glonglims. We say that an insane man is "distracted;" by which we
mean that his mind is drawn two different ways. So also, we call a
lunatic _a man beside himself_, which most distinctly expresses the two
distinct bodies his mind now animates. There are, moreover, many other
analogous expressions, as "moonstruck," "deranged," "extravagant," and
some others, which, altogether, form a mass of concurring testimony that
it is impossible to resist.

"Be that as it may," said he, "whether the voyage has been made in former
times or not, is of little importance: it is sufficient for us to know
that it has been effected in our time, and can be effected again. I am
anxious to repeat the voyage, for the purpose of ascertaining some facts,
about which I have been lately speculating; and I wish, besides, to
afford you ocular demonstration of the wonders I have disclosed; for,
in spite of your good opinion of my veracity, I have sometimes perceived
symptoms of incredulity about you, and I do not wonder at it."

The love of the marvellous, and the wish for a change, which had long
slumbered in my bosom, were now suddenly awakened, and I eagerly caught
at his proposal.

"When can we set out, father?" said I.

"Not so fast," replied he; "we have a great deal of preparation to make.
Our apparatus requires the best workmanship, and we cannot here command
either first-rate articles or materials, without incurring the risk of
suspicion and interruption. While most of the simple villagers are
kindly disposed towards me, there are a few who regard me with distrust
and malevolence, and would readily avail themselves of an opportunity
to bring me under the censure of the priesthood and the government.
Besides, the governor of Mergui would probably be glad to lay hold of
any plausible evidence against you, as affording him the best chance of
avoiding any future reckoning either with you or his superiors. We must
therefore be very secret in our plans. I know an ingenious artificer
in copper and other metals, whose only child I was instrumental in curing
of scrofula, and in whose fidelity, as well as good will, I can safely
rely. But we must give him time. He can construct our machine at home,
and we must take our departure from that place in the night."

CHAPTER III.

_The Brahmin and Atterley prepare for their voyage--Description of their
machine--Incidents of the voyage--The appearance of the earth; Africa;
Greece--The Brahmin's speculations on the different races of men--National
character._

Having thus formed our plan of operations, we the next day proceeded to
put them in execution. The coppersmith agreed to undertake the work
we wanted done, for a moderate compensation; but we did not think it
prudent to inform him of our object, which he supposed was to make some
philosophical experiment. It was forthwith arranged that he should
occasionally visit the Hermit, to receive instructions, as if for the
purpose of asking medical advice. During this interval my mind was
absorbed with our project; and when in company, I was so thoughtful
and abstracted, that it has since seemed strange to me that Sing Fou's
suspicions that I was planning my escape were not more excited. At
length, by dint of great exertion, in about three months every thing
was in readiness, and we determined on the following night to set out
on our perilous expedition.

The machine in which we proposed to embark, was a copper vessel, that
would have been an exact cube of six feet, if the corners and edges
had not been rounded off. It had an opening large enough to receive
our bodies, which was closed by double sliding pannels, with quilted
cloth between them. When these were properly adjusted, the machine
was perfectly air-tight, and strong enough, by means of iron bars running
alternately inside and out, to resist the pressure of the atmosphere,
when the machine should be exhausted of its air, as we took the precaution
to prove by the aid of an air-pump. On the top of the copper chest
and on the outside, we had as much of the lunar metal (which I shall
henceforth call _lunarium_) as we found, by calculation and experiment,
would overcome the weight of the machine, as well as its contents,
and take us to the moon on the third day. As the air which the machine
contained, would not be sufficient for our respiration more than about
six hours, and the chief part of the space we were to pass through was
a mere void, we provided ourselves with a sufficient supply, by condensing
it in a small globular vessel, made partly of iron and partly of lunarium,
to take off its weight. On my return, I gave Mr. Jacob Perkins, who
is now in England, a hint of this plan of condensation, and it has
there obtained him great celebrity. This fact I should not have thought
it worth while to mention, had he not taken the sole merit of the
invention to himself; at least I cannot hear that in his numerous public
notices he has ever mentioned my name.

But to return. A small circular window, made of a single piece of thick
clear glass, was neatly fitted on each of the six sides. Several pieces
of lead were securely fastened to screws which passed through the bottom
of the machine; as well as a thick plank. The screws were so contrived,
that by turning them in one direction, the pieces of lead attached
to them were immediately disengaged from the hooks with which they
were connected. The pieces of lunarium were fastened in like manner
to screws, which passed through the top of the machine; so that by
turning them in one direction, those metallic pieces would fly into
the air with the velocity of a rocket. The Brahmin took with him a
thermometer, two telescopes, one of which projected through the top
of the machine, and the other through the bottom; a phosphoric lamp,
pen, ink, and paper, and some light refreshments sufficient to supply
us for some days.

The moon was then in her third quarter, and near the zenith: it was, of
course, a little after midnight, and when the coppersmith and his family
were in their soundest sleep, that we entered the machine. In about an hour
more we had the doors secured, and every thing arranged in its place, when,
cutting the cords which fastened us to the ground, by means of small steel
blades which worked in the ends of other screws, we rose from the earth
with a whizzing sound, and a sensation at first of very rapid ascent: but
after a short time, we were scarcely sensible of any motion in the machine,
except when we changed our places.

The ardent curiosity I had felt to behold the wonderful things which the
Brahmin related, and the hope of returning soon to my children and native
country, had made me most impatient for the moment of departure; during
which time the hazards and difficulties of the voyage were entirely
overlooked: but now that the moment of execution had arrived, and I found
myself shut up in this small chest, and about to enter on a voyage so new,
so strange, and beset with such a variety of dangers, I will not deny that
my courage failed me, and I would gladly have compromised to return to
Mozaun, and remain there quietly all the rest of my days. But shame
restrained me, and I dissembled my emotions.

At our first shock on leaving the earth, my fears were at their height; but
after about two hours, I had tolerably well regained my composure, to which
the returning light of day greatly contributed. By this time we had a full
view of the rising sun, pouring a flood of light over one half of the
circular landscape below us, and leaving the rest in shade. While those
natural objects, the rivers and mountains, land and sea, were fast receding
from our view, our horizon kept gradually extending as we mounted: but ere
10 o'clock this effect ceased, and the broad disc of the earth began
sensibly to diminish.

It is impossible to describe my sensations of mingled awe and admiration at
the splendid spectacle beneath me, so long as the different portions of the
earth's surface were plainly distinguishable. The novelty of the situation
in which I found myself, as well as its danger, prevented me indeed at
first from giving more than a passing attention to the magnificent scene;
but after a while, encouraged by the Brahmin's exhortation, and yet more by
the example of his calm and assured air, I was able to take a more
leisurely view of it. At first, as we partook of the diurnal motion of the
earth, and our course was consequently oblique, the same portion of the
globe from which we had set out, continued directly under us; and as the
eye stretched in every direction over Asia and its seas, continents and
islands, they appeared like pieces of green velvet, the surrounding ocean
like a mirror, and the Ganges, the Hoogley, and the great rivers of China,
like threads of silver.

About 11 o'clock it was necessary to get a fresh supply of air, when
my companion cautiously turned one of the two stop-cocks to let out
that which was no longer fit for respiration, requesting me, at the
same time, to turn the other, to let in a fresh supply of condensed
air; but being awkward in the first attempt to follow his directions,
I was so affected by the exhaustion of the air through the vent now
made for it, that I fainted; and having, at the same time, given freer
passage to the condensed air than I ought, we must in a few seconds
have lost our supply, and thus have inevitably perished, had not the
watchful Hermit seen the mischief, and repaired it almost as soon as
it occurred. This accident, and the various agitations my mind had
undergone in the course of the day, so overpowered me, that at an early
hour in the afternoon I fell into a profound sleep, and did not awake
again for eight hours.

While I slept, the good Brahmin had contrived to manage both stop-cocks
himself. The time of my waking would have been about 11 o'clock at night,
if we had continued on the earth; but we were now in a region where there
was no alternation of day and night, but one unvarying cloudless sun. Its
heat, however, was not in proportion to its brightness; for we found that
after we had ascended a few miles from the earth, it was becoming much
colder, and the Brahmin had recourse to a chemical process for evolving
heat, which soon made us comfortable: but after we were fairly in the great
aerial void, the temperature of our machine showed no tendency to change.

The sensations caused by the novelty of my situation, at first checked
those lively and varied trains of thought which the bird's-eye view of so
many countries passing in review before us, was calculated to excite: yet,
after I had become more familiar with it, I contemplated the beautiful
exhibition with inexpressible delight. Besides, a glass of cordial, as well
as the calm, confiding air of the Brahmin, contributed to restore me to my
self-possession. The reader will recollect, that although our motion, at
first, partook of that of the earth's on its axis, and although the
_positive_ effect was the same on our course, the _relative_ effect was
less and less as we ascended, and consequently, that after a certain
height, every part of the terraqueous globe would present itself to our
view in succession, as we rapidly receded from it. At 9 o'clock, the whole
of India was a little to the west of us, and we saw, as in a map, that
fertile and populous region, which has been so strangely reduced to
subjection, by a company of merchants belonging to a country on the
opposite side of the globe--a country not equal to one-fourth of it, in
extent or population. Its rivers were like small filaments of silver; the
Red Sea resembled a narrow plate of the same metal. The peninsula of India
was of a darker, and Arabia of a light and more grayish green.

The sun's rays striking obliquely on the Atlantic, emitted an effulgence
that was dazzling to the eyes. For two or three hours the appearance
of the earth did not greatly vary, the wider extent of surface we could
survey, compensating for our greater distance; and indeed at that time
we could not see the whole horizon, without putting our eyes close to
the glass.

When the Brahmin saw that I had overcome my first surprise, and had
acquired somewhat of his own composure, he manifested a disposition
to beguile the time with conversation. "Look through the telescope,"
said he, "a little from the sun, and observe the continent of Africa,
which is presenting itself to our view." I took a hasty glance over
it, and perceived that its northern edge was fringed with green; then
a dull white belt marked the great Sahara, or Desert, and then it exhibited
a deep green again, to its most southern extremity. I tried in vain
to discover the pyramids, for our telescope had not sufficient power
to show them.

I observed to him, that less was known of this continent than of the
others: that a spirit of lively curiosity had been excited by the
western nations of Europe, to become acquainted with the inhabited
parts of the globe; but that all the efforts yet made, had still left
a large portion almost entirely unknown. I asked if he did not think it
probable that some of the nations in the interior of Africa were more
advanced in civilization than those on the coast, whose barbarous custom
of making slaves of their prisoners, Europeans had encouraged and
perpetuated, by purchasing them.

"No, no," said he; "the benefits of civilization could not have been so
easily confined, but would have spread themselves over every part of that
continent, or at least as far as the Great Desert, if they had ever
existed. The intense heat of a climate, lying on each side of the Line,
at once disinclines men to exertion, and renders it unnecessary. Vegetable
diet is more suited to them than animal, which favours a denser population.
Talent is elicited by the efforts required to overcome difficulties
and hardships; and their natural birth-place is a country of frost and
snow--of tempests--of sterility enough to give a spur to exertion, but
not enough to extinguish hope. Where these difficulties exist, and give
occasion to war and emulation, the powers of the human mind are most
frequently developed."

"Do you think then," said I, "that there is no such thing as natural
inferiority and differences of races?"

"I have been much perplexed by that question," said he. "When I regard
the great masses of mankind, I think there seems to be among them some
characteristic differences. I see that the Europeans have every where
obtained the ascendancy over those who inhabit the other quarters of
the globe. But when I compare individuals, I see always the same passions,
the same motives, the same mental operations; and my opinion is changed.
The same seed becomes a very different plant when sowed in one soil or
another, and put under this or that mode of cultivation."

"And may not," said I, "the very nature of the plant be changed, after a
long continuance of the same culture in the same soil?"

"Why, that is but another mode of stating the question. I rather think,
if it has generally degenerated, it may, by opposite treatment, be also
gradually brought back to its original excellence."

"Who knows, then," said I, "what our missionaries and colonization
societies may effect in Africa."

He inquired of me what these societies were; and on explaining their
history, observed: "By what you tell me, it is indeed a small beginning;
but if they can get this grain of mustard-seed to grow, there is no
saying how much it may multiply. See what a handful of colonists have
done in your own country. A few ship-loads of English have overspread
half a continent; and, from what you tell me, their descendants will
amount, in another century, to more than one hundred millions. There is
no rule," he continued, "that can be laid down on this subject, to which
some nations cannot be found to furnish a striking exception. If mere
difficulties were all that were wanting to call forth the intellectual
energies of man, they have their full share on the borders of the Great
Desert. There are in that whitish tract which separates the countries
on the southern shores of the Mediterranean from the rest of Africa,
thousands of human beings at this moment toiling over that dreary ocean
of sand, to whom a draught of fresh water would be a blessing, and the
simplest meal a luxury.

"Perhaps, however, you will say they are so engrossed with the animal
wants of hunger and thirst, that they are incapable of attending to any
thing else. Be it so. But in the interior they are placed in parallel
circumstances with the natives of Europe: they are engaged in struggles
for territory and dominion--for their altars and their homes; and this
state of things, which has made some of them brave and warlike, has made
none poets or painters, historians or philosophers. There, poetry has not
wanted themes of great achievement and noble daring; but heroes have
wanted poets. Nor can we justly ascribe the difference to the enervating
influence of climate, for the temperature of the most southern parts of
Africa differs little from that of Greece. And the tropical nations, too,
of your own continent, the Peruvians, were more improved than those who
inhabited the temperate regions. Besides, though the climate had instilled
softness and feebleness of character, it might also have permitted the
cultivation of the arts, as has been the case with us in Asia. On the
whole, without our being able to pronounce with certainty on the subject,
it does seem probable that some organic difference exists in the various
races of mankind, to which their diversities of moral and intellectual
character may in part be referred."--By this time the Morea and the
Grecian Archipelago were directly under our telescope.

"Does not Greece," said I, "furnish the clearest proof of the influence
of moral causes on the character of nations? Compare what that country
formerly was, with what it now is. Once superior to all the rest of the
habitable globe, (of which it did not constitute the thousandth part,)
in letters, arts, and arms, and all that distinguishes men from brutes;
not merely in their own estimation, (for all nations are disposed to rate
themselves high enough,) but by the general consent of the rest of the
world. Do not the most improved and civilized of modern states still take
them as their instructors and guides in every species of literature--in
philosophy, history, oratory, poetry, architecture, and sculpture? And
those too, who have attained superiority over the world, in arms, yield
a voluntary subjection to the Greeks in the arts. The cause of their
former excellence and their present inferiority, is no doubt to be found
in their former freedom and their present slavery, and in the loss of
that emulation which seems indispensable to natural greatness."

"Nay," replied he, "I am very far from denying the influence of moral
causes on national character. The history of every country affords
abundant evidence of it. I mean only to say, that though it does much,
it does not do every thing. It seems more reasonable to impute the changes
in national character to the mutable habits and institutions of man,
than to nature, which is always the same. But if we look a little nearer,
we may perhaps perceive, that amidst all those mutations in the character
of nations, there are still some features that are common to the same
people at all times, and which it would therefore be reasonable to
impute to the great unvarying laws of nature. Thus it requires no
extraordinary acuteness of observation, no strained hypothesis, to
perceive a close resemblance between the Germans or the Britons of
antiquity and their modern descendants, after the lapse of eighteen
centuries, and an entire revolution in government, religion, language,
and laws. And travellers still perceive among the inhabitants of modern
Greece, deteriorated and debased as they are by political servitude,
many of those qualities which distinguished their predecessors: the
same natural acuteness--the same sensibility to pleasure--the same
pliancy of mind and elasticity of body--the same aptitude for the arts
of imitation--and the same striking physiognomy. That bright, serene
sky--that happy combination of land and water, constituting the perfection
of the picturesque, and that balmy softness of its air, which have proved
themselves so propitious to forms of beauty, agility, and strength, also
operate benignantly on the mind which animates them. Whilst the fruit
is still fair to the eye, it is not probable that it has permanently
degenerated in fragrance or flavour. The great diversities of national
character may, perhaps, be attributed principally to moral and accidental
causes, but partly also to climate, and to original diversities in the
different races of man."

CHAPTER IV.

_Continuation of the voyage--View of Europe; Atlantic Ocean; America--
Speculations on the future destiny of the United States--Moral reflections
--Pacific Ocean--Hypothesis on the origin of the Moon._

By this time the whole Mediterranean Sea, which, with the Arabian Gulf,
was seen to separate Africa from Europe and Asia, was full in our view.
The political divisions of these quarters of the world were, of course,
undistinguishable; and few of the natural were discernible by the naked
eye. The Alps were marked by a white streak, though less bright than the
water. By the aid of our glass, we could just discern the Danube, the
Nile, and a river which empties itself into the Gulf of Guinea, and which
I took to be the Niger: but the other streams were not perceptible. The
most conspicuous object of the solid part of the globe, was the Great
Desert before mentioned. The whole of Africa, indeed, was of a lighter hue
than either Asia or Europe, owing, I presume, to its having a greater
proportion of sandy soil: and I could not avoid contrasting, in my mind,
the colour of these continents, as they now appeared, with the complexions
of their respective inhabitants.

I was struck too, with the vast disproportion which the extent of the
several countries of the earth bore to the part they had acted in history,
and the influence they had exerted on human affairs. The British islands
had diminished to a speck, and France was little larger; yet, a few
years ago it seemed, at least to us in the United States, as if there
were no other nations on the earth. The Brahmin, who was well read in
European history, on my making a remark on this subject, reminded me that
Athens and Sparta had once obtained almost equal celebrity, although
they were so small as not now to be visible. As I slowly passed the
telescope over the face of Europe, I pictured to myself the fat, plodding
Hollander--the patient, contemplative German--the ingenious, sensual
Italian--the temperate Swiss--the haughty, superstitious Spaniard--the
sprightly, self-complacent Frenchman--the sullen and reflecting Englishman
--who monopolize nearly all the science and literature of the earth,
to which they bear so small a proportion. As the Atlantic fell under our
view, two faint circles on each side of the equator, were to be perceived
by the naked eye. They were less bright than the rest of the ocean. The
Brahmin suggested that they might be currents; which brought to my memory
Dr. Franklin's conjecture on the subject, now completely verified by this
circular line of vapour, as it had been previously rendered probable by
the floating substances, which had been occasionally picked up, at great
distances from the places where they had been thrown into the ocean. The
circle was whiter and more distinct, where the Gulf Stream runs parallel
to the American coast, and gradually grew fainter as it passed along the
Banks of Newfoundland, to the coast of Europe, where, taking a southerly
direction, the line of the circle was barely discernible. A similar circle
of vapour, though less defined and complete, was perceived in the South
Atlantic Ocean.

When the coast of my own beloved country first presented itself to my
view, I experienced the liveliest emotions; and I felt so anxious to see
my children and friends, that I would gladly have given up all the
promised pleasures of our expedition. I even ventured to hint my feelings
to the Brahmin; but he, gently rebuking my impatience, said--

"If to return home had been your only object, and not to see what not one
of your nation or race has ever yet seen, you ought to have so informed
me, that we might have arranged matters accordingly. I do not wish you
to return to your country, until you will be enabled to make yourself
welcome and useful there, by what you may see in the lunar world. Take
courage, then, my friend; you have passed the worst; and, as the proverb
says, do not, when you have swallowed the ox, now choke at the tail.
Besides, although we made all possible haste in descending, we should,
ere we reached the surface, find ourselves to the west of your continent,
and be compelled then to choose between some part of Asia or the Pacific
Ocean."

"Let us then proceed," said I, mortified at the imputation on my courage,
and influenced yet more, perhaps, by the last argument. The Brahmin then
tried to soothe my disappointment, by his remarks on my native land.

"I have a great curiosity," said he, "to see a country where a man, by
his labour, can earn as much in a month as will procure him bread, and
meat too, for the whole year; in a week, as will pay his dues to the
government; and in one or two days, as will buy him an acre of good land:
where every man preaches whatever religion he pleases; where the priests
of the different sects never fight, and seldom quarrel; and, stranger
than all, where the authority of government derives no aid from an army,
and that of the priests no support from the law."

I told him, when he should see these things in operation with his
own eyes, as I trusted he would, if it pleased heaven to favour our
undertakings, they would appear less strange. I reminded him of the
peculiar circumstances under which our countrymen had commenced their
career.

"In all other countries," said I, "civilization and population have
gone hand in hand; and the necessity of an increasing subsistence
for increasing numbers, has been the parent of useful arts and of
social improvement. In every successive stage of their advancement,
such countries have equally felt the evils occasioned by a scanty and
precarious subsistence. In America, however, the people are in the full
enjoyment of all the arts of civilization, while they are unrestricted
in their means of subsistence, and consequently in their power of
multiplication. From this singular state of things, two consequences
result. One is, that the progress of the nation in wealth, power, and
greatness, is more rapid than the world has ever before witnessed.
Another is, that our people, being less cramped and fettered by their
necessities, and feeling, of course, less of those moral evils which
poverty and discomfort engender, their character, moral and intellectual,
will be developed and matured with greater celerity, and, I incline
to think, carried to a higher point of excellence than has ever yet
been attained. I anticipate for them the eloquence and art of Athens--the
courage and love of country of Sparta--the constancy and military prowess
of the Romans--the science and literature of England and France--the
industry of the Dutch--the temperance and obedience to the laws of the
Swiss. In fifty years, their numbers will amount to forty millions; in
a century, to one hundred and sixty millions; in two centuries, (allowing
for a decreasing rate of multiplication,) to three or four hundred
millions. Nor does it seem impossible that, from the structure of their
government, they may continue united for a few great national purposes,
while each State may make the laws that are suited to its peculiar habits,
character, and circumstances. In another half century, they will extend
the Christian religion and the English language to the Pacific Ocean.

"To the south of them, on the same continent, other great nations will
arise, who, if they were to be equally united, might contend in terrible
conflicts for the mastery of this great continent, and even of the world.
But when they shall be completely liberated from the yoke of Spanish
dominion, and have for some time enjoyed that full possession of their
faculties and energies which liberty only can give, they will probably
split into distinct States. United, at first, by the sympathy of men
struggling in the same cause, and by similarity of manners and religion,
they will, after a while, do as men always have done, quarrel and fight;
and these wars will check their social improvement, and mar their
political hopes. Whether they will successively fall under the dominion
of one able and fortunate leader, or, like the motley sovereignties of
Europe, preserve their integrity by their mutual jealousy, time only can
show."

"Your reasoning about the natives of Spanish America appears very
probable," said the Brahmin; "but is it not equally applicable to your
own country ?"

I reminded him of the peculiar advantages of our government. He shook
his head.

"No, Atterley," said he, "do not deceive yourself. The duration of every
species of polity is uncertain; the works of nature alone are permanent.
The motions of the heavenly bodies are the same as they were thousands
of years ago. But not so with the works of man. He is the identical animal
that he ever was. His political institutions, however cunningly devised,
have always been yet more perishable than his structures of stone and
marble. This is according to all past history: and do not, therefore,
count upon an exception in your favour, that would be little short of
the miraculous. But," he good-naturedly added, "such a miracle may take
place in your system; and, although I do not expect it, I sincerely
wish it."

We were now able to see one half of the broad expanse of the Pacific,
which glistened with the brightness of quicksilver or polished steel.

"Cast your eyes to the north," said he, "and see where your continent
and mine approach so near as almost to touch. Both these coasts are
at this time thinly inhabited by a rude and miserable people, whose
whole time is spent in struggling against the rigours of their dreary
climate, and the scantiness of its productions. Yet, perhaps the Indians
and the Kamtschadales will be gradually moulded into a hardy, civilized
people: and here may be the scene of many a fierce conflict between your
people and the Russians, whose numbers, now four times as great as yours,
increase almost as rapidly."

He then amused me with accounts of the manners and mode of life of the
Hyperborean race, with whom he had once passed a summer. Glancing my eye
then to the south,--"See," said I, "while the Kamtschadale is providing
his supply of furs and of fish, for the long winter which is already
knocking at the door of his hut, the gay and voluptuous native of the
Sandwich and other islands between the tropics. How striking the contrast!
The one passes his life in ease, abundance, and enjoyment; the other in
toil, privation, and care. No inclemency of the seasons inflicts present
suffering on these happy islanders, or brings apprehensions for the
future. Nature presents them with her most delicious fruits spontaneously
and abundantly; and she has implanted in their breast a lively relish for
the favours she so lavishly bestows upon them."

The Brahmin, after musing a while, replied: "The difference is far less
than you imagine. Perhaps, on balancing their respective pleasures and
pains, the superior gain of the islander will be reduced to nothing: for,
as to the simplest source of gratification, that of palatable food, if
nature produces it more liberally in the islands, she also produces there
more mouths to consume it. The richest Kamtschadale may, indeed, oftener
go without a dinner than the richest Otaheitan; but it may be quite the
reverse with the poorest. Then, as to quality of the food: if nature
has provided more delicious fruits for the natives of tropical climates,
she has given a sharper appetite and stronger digestion to the Hyperborean,
which equalizes the sum of their enjoyments. A dry crust is relished, when
an individual is hungry, more than the most savoury and delicate dainties
when he is in a fever; and water to one man, is a more delicious beverage
than the juice of the grape or of the palm to another. As to the necessity
for labour, which is ever pressing on the inhabitants of cold countries,
it is this consequent and incessant activity which gives health to their
bodies, and cheerful vigour to their minds; since, without such exercise,
man would have been ever a prey to disease and discontent. And, if no
other occupation be provided for the mind of man, it carves out employment
for itself in vain regrets and gloomy forebodings--in jealousy, envy, and
the indulgence of every hateful and tormenting passion: hence the
proverb,--'If you want corn, cultivate your soil; if you want weeds, let
it alone.'

"But again: the native of those sunny isles is never sensible of the
bounty of Providence, till he is deprived of it. Here, as well as every
where else, desire outgoes gratification. Man sees or fancies much that
he cannot obtain; and in his regret for what he wants, forgets what he
already possesses. What is it to one with a tooth-ache, that a savoury
dish is placed before him? It is the same with the mind as the body: when
pain engrosses it in one way, it cannot relish pleasure in another. Every
climate and country too, have their own evils and inconveniences."

"You think, then," said I, "that the native of Kamtschatka has the
advantage?"

"No," he rejoined, "I do not mean to say that, for the evils of his
situation are likewise very great; but they are more manifest, and
therefore less necessary to be brought to your notice."

It was now, by our time-pieces, about two o'clock in the afternoon--that
is, two hours had elapsed since we left terra firma; and, saving a few
biscuits and a glass of cordial a-piece, we had not taken any sort of
refreshment. The Brahmin proposed that we now should dine; and, opening
a small case, and drawing forth a cold fowl, a piece of dried goat's
flesh, a small pot of ghee, some biscuits, and a bottle of arrack
flavoured with ginger and spices, with a larger one of water, we ate as
heartily as we had ever done at the hermitage; the slight motion of our
machine to one side or the other, whenever we moved, giving us nearly
as much exercise as a vessel in a smooth sea. The animal food had been
provided for me, for the Brahmin satisfied his hunger with the ghee,
sweetmeats, and biscuit, and ate sparingly even of them. We each took
two glasses of the cordial diluted with water, and carefully putting
back the fragments, again turned our thoughts to the planet we had left.

The middle of the Pacific now lay immediately beneath us. I had never
before been struck with the irregular distribution of land and water on
our globe, the expanse of ocean here being twice as large as in any
other part; and, on remarking this striking difference to the Brahmin,
he replied:

"It is the opinion of some philosophers in the moon, that their globe
is a fragment of ours; and, as they can see every part of the earth's
surface, they believe the Pacific was the place from which the moon was
ejected. They pretend that a short, but consistent tradition of the
disruption, has regularly been transmitted from remote antiquity; and
they draw confirmation of their hypothesis from many words of the Chinese,
and other Orientals, with whom they claim affinity."

"Ridiculous!" said I; "the moon is one-fourth the diameter of the earth;
and if the two were united in one sphere, the highest mountains must
have been submerged, and of course there would have been no human
inhabitants; or, if any part of the land was then bare, on the waters
retiring to fill up the chasm made by the separation of so large a body
as the moon, the parts before habitable would be, instead of two, three,
or at most four miles, as your Himalah mountains are said to be, some
twenty or thirty miles above the level of the ocean."

"That is not quite so certain," said he: "we know not of what the interior
of the earth is composed, any more than we could distinguish the contents
of an egg, by penetrating one hundredth part of its shell. But we see,
that if one drop of water be united with another, they form one large
drop, as spherical as either of the two which composed it: and on the
separation of the moon from the earth, if they were composed of mingled
solids and fluids, or if the solid parts rested on fluid, both the
fragment and the remaining earth would assume the same globular appearance
they now present.

"On this subject, however, I give no opinion. I only say, that it is not
contradicted by the facts you have mentioned. The fluid and the solid
parts settling down into a new sphere, might still retain nearly their
former proportion: or, if the fragment took away a greater proportion
of solid than of fluid, then the waters retiring to fill up the cavity,
would leave parts bare which they had formerly covered. There are some
facts which give a colour to this supposition; for most of the high
mountains of the earth afford evidence of former submersion; and those
which are the highest, the Himalah, are situated in the country to which
the origin of civilization, and even the human species itself, may be
traced. The moon too, we know, has much less water than the earth: and
all those appearances of violence, which have so puzzled cosmogonists,
the topsy-turvy position in which vegetable substances are occasionally
found beneath the soil on which they grew, and the clear manifestations
of the action of water, in the formation of strata, in the undulating
forms it has left, and in the correspondent salient and retiring angles
of mountains and opposite coasts, were all caused by the disruption;
and as the moon has a smaller proportion of water than the earth, she
has also the highest mountains."

"But, father," said I, "the diameter of the earth being but four times
as large as that of the moon, how can the violent separation of so large
a portion of our planet be accounted for? Where is the mighty agent to
rend off such a mass, and throw it to thirty times the earth's diameter?"

"Upon that subject," said he, "the Lunarian sages are much divided.
Many hypotheses have been suggested on the subject, some of which are
very ingenious, and all very fanciful: but the two most celebrated, and
into which all the others are now merged, are those of Neerlego and
Darcandarca; the former of whom, in a treatise extending to nine quarto
volumes, has maintained that the disruption was caused by a comet; and
the latter, in a work yet more voluminous, has endeavoured to prove, that
when the materials of the moon composed a part of the earth, this planet
contained large masses of water, which, though the particles cohered with
each other, were disposed to fly off from the earth; and that, by an
accumulation of the electric fluid, according to laws which he has
attempted to explain, the force was at length sufficient to heave the
rocks which encompassed these masses, from their beds, and to project
them from the earth, when, partaking of the earth's diurnal motion, they
assumed a spherical form, and revolved around it. And further, that
because the moon is composed of two sorts of matter, that are differently
affected towards the earth in its revolution round that planet, the same
parts of its surface always maintain some relative position to us, which
thus necessarily causes the singularity of her turning on her axis
precisely in the time in which she revolves round the earth."

"I see," said I, "that doctors differ and dispute about their own fancies
every where."

"That is," said he, "because they contend as vehemently for what they
imagine as for what they see; and perhaps more so, as their _perceptions_
are like those of other men, while their _reveries_ are more exclusively
their own. Thus, in the present instance, the controversy turns upon the
mode in which the separation was effected, which affords the widest field
for conjecture, while they both agree that such separation has taken
place. As to this fact I have not yet made up my mind, though it must
be confessed that there is much to give plausibility to their opinion.
I recognise, for instance, a striking resemblance between the animal
and vegetable productions of Asia and those of the moon."

"Do you think, father," said I, "that animal, or even vegetable life,
could possibly exist in such a disruption as is supposed?"

"Why not?" said he: "you are not to imagine that the shock would be felt
in proportion to the mass that was moved. On the contrary, while it would
occasion, in some parts, a great destruction of life, it would, in others,
not be felt more than an earthquake, or rather, than a succession of
earthquakes, during the time that the different parts of the mass were
adjusting themselves to a spherical form; whilst a few pairs, or even a
single pair of animals, saved in some cavity of a mountain, would be
sufficient, in a few centuries, to stock the whole surface of the earth
with as many individuals as are now to be found on it.

"After all," he added, "it is often difficult in science to distinguish
Truth from the plausibility which personates her. But let us not, however,
be precipitate; let us but hear both sides. In the east we have a saying,
that 'he who hears with but one ear, never hears well.'"

CHAPTER V.

_The voyage continued--Second view of Asia--The Brahmin's speculations
concerning India--Increase of the Moon's attraction--Appearance of the
Moon--They land on the Moon._

The dryness of the preceding discussion, which lay out of the course of
my studies, together with the effect of my dinner, began to make me a
little drowsy; whereupon the Brahmin urged me to take the repose which
it was clear I needed; remarking, that when I awoke, he would follow
my example. Reclining my head, then, on my cloak, in a few minutes my
senses were steeped in forgetfulness.

I slept about six hours most profoundly; and on waking, found the good
Brahmin busy with his calculations of our progress. I insisted on his
now taking some rest. After requesting me to wake him at the end of three
hours, (or sooner, if any thing of moment should occur,) and putting up
a short prayer, which was manifested by his looks, rather than by his
words, he laid himself down, and soon fell into a quiet sleep.

Left now to my own meditations, and unsupported by the example and
conversation of my friend, I felt my first apprehensions return, and
began seriously to regret my rashness in thus venturing on so bold an
experiment, which, however often repeated with success, must ever be
hazardous, and which could plead little more in its favour than a vain
and childish curiosity. I took up a book, but whilst my eye ran over the
page, I understood but little what I read, and could not relish even that.
I now looked down through the telescope, and found the earth surprisingly
diminished in her apparent dimensions, from the increased rapidity of our
ascent. The eastern coasts of Asia were still fully in view, as well as
the entire figure of that vast continent--of New Holland--of Ceylon, and
of Borneo; but the smaller islands were invisible. I strained my eye to
no purpose, to follow the indentations of the coast, according to the map
before me; the great bays and promontories could alone be perceived. The
Burman Empire, in one of the insignificant villages of which I had been
confined for a few years, was now reduced to a speck. The agreeable
hours I had passed with the Brahmin, with the little daughter of Sing Fou,
and my rambling over the neighbouring heights, all recurred to my mind,
and I almost regretted the pleasures I had relinquished. I tried, with
more success, to beguile the time by making notes in my journal; and after
having devoted about an hour to this object, I returned to the telescope,
and now took occasion to examine the figure of the earth near the Poles,
with a view of discovering whether its form favoured Captain Symmes's
theory of an aperture existing there; and I am convinced that that
ingenious gentleman is mistaken. Time passed so heavily during these
solitary occupations, that I looked at my watch every five minutes, and
could scarcely be persuaded it was not out of order. I then took up my
little Bible, (which had always been my travelling companion,) read a
few chapters in St. Matthew, and found my feelings tranquillized, and
my courage increased. The desired hour at length arrived; when, on waking
the old man, he alertly raised himself up, and at the first view of the
diminished appearance of the earth, observed that our journey was a third
over, as to time, but not as to distance. After a few moments, the Brahmin
again cast his eye towards his own natal soil; on beholding which, he
fetched a deep sigh, and, if I was not mistaken, I saw a rising tear.

"Alas!" said he, "my country and my countrymen, how different you are in
many respects from what I should wish you to be! And yet I do not love
you the less. Perhaps I love you the more for your faults, as well as
for your misfortunes.

"Our lot," continued he, "is a hard one. That quarter of the world has
sent letters, and arts, and religion abroad to adorn and benefit the
other four; and these, the chief of human blessings and glories, have
deserted us!"

I told him that I had heard the honours, which he claimed for India,
attributed to Egypt. He contended, with true love of country, great
plausibility, and an intimate knowledge of Oriental history, that letters
and the arts had been first transplanted from Asia into Egypt.

"No other part of Africa," said he, "saving Egypt, can boast of any
ancient monuments of the arts or of civilization. Even the pyramids,
the great boast of Egypt, are proofs of nothing more than ordinary patient
labour, directed by despotic power. Besides, look at that vast region,
extending five thousand miles from the Mediterranean to the Cape of Good
Hope, and four thousand from the Red Sea to the Atlantic. Its immense
surface contains only ignorant barbarians, who are as uncivilized now as
they were three thousand years ago. Is it likely that if civilization and
letters originated in Egypt, as is sometimes pretended, it would have
spread so extensively in one direction, and not at all in another?
I make no exception in favour of the Carthagenians, whose origin was
comparatively recent, and who, we know, were a colony from Asia."

I was obliged to admit the force of this reasoning; and, when he proceeded
to descant on the former glories and achievements of Asiatic nations,
and their sad reverses of fortune--while he freely spoke of the present
degradation and imbecility of his countrymen, he promptly resisted every
censure of mine. It was easy, indeed, to see that he secretly cherished
a hope that the day would come, when the whole of Hindostan would be
emancipated from its European masters, and assume that rank among nations
to which the genius of its inhabitants entitled it. He admitted that the
dominion of the English was less oppressive than that of their native
princes; but said, that there was this great difference between foreign
and domestic despotism,--that the former completely extinguished all
national pride, which is as much the cause as the effect of national
greatness.

I asked him whether he thought if his countrymen were to shake off the
yoke of the English, they could maintain their independence?

"Undoubtedly," said he. "Who would be able to conquer us?"

I suggested to him that they might tempt the ambition of Russia; and
cautiously inquired, whether the abstinence from animal food might not
render his country much less capable of resistance; and whether it might
not serve to explain why India had so often been the prey of foreign
conquest? Of this, however, he would hear nothing; but replied, with
more impatience than was usual with him--

"It is true, Hindostan was invaded by Alexander--but not conquered; and
that it has since submitted, in succession, to the Arabians, to the
Tartars, under Genghis Khan, and under Tamerlane; to the Persians, under
Nadir Shah, and, finally, to the British. But there are few countries
of Europe which have not been conquered as often. That nation from which
you are descended, and to which mine is now subject, furnishes no
exception, as it has been subjugated, in succession, by the Romans, the
Danes, the Saxons, the Normans. And, as to courage, we see no difference
between those Asiatics who eat animal food as you do, and those who
abstain from it as I do. I am told that the Scotch peasantry eat much
less animal food than the English, and the Irish far less than they; and
yet, that these rank among the best troops of the British. But surely a
nation ought not to be suspected of fearing death, whose very women show
a contempt of life which no other people have exhibited."

This led us to talk of that strange custom of his country, which impels
the widow to throw herself on the funeral pile of her husband, and to be
consumed with him. I told him that it had often been represented as
compulsory--or, in other words, that it was said that every art and means
were resorted to, for the purpose of working on the mind of the woman, by
her relatives, aided by the priests, who would be naturally gratified by
such signal triumphs of religion over the strongest feelings of nature. He
admitted that these engines were sometimes put in operation, and that
they impelled to the sacrifice, some who were wavering; but insisted, that
in a majority of instances the _Suttee_ was voluntary.

"Women," said he, "are brought up from their infancy, to regard our sex
as their superiors, and to believe that their greatest merit consists in
entire devotion to their husbands. Under this feeling, and having, at
the same time, their attention frequently turned to the chance of such a
calamity, they are better prepared to meet it when it occurs. How few of
the officers in your western armies, ever hesitate to march, at the head
of their men, on a forlorn hope? and how many even court the danger for
the sake of the glory? Nay, you tell me that, according to your code of
honour, if one man insults another, he who gives the provocation, and he
who receives it, rather than be disgraced in the eyes of their countrymen,
will go out, and quietly shoot at each other with firearms, till one of
them is killed or wounded; and this too, in many cases, when the injury
has been merely nominal. If you show such a contempt of death, in
deference to a custom founded in mere caprice, can it be wondered that
a woman should show it, in the first paroxysms of her grief for the
loss of him to whom was devoted every thought, word, and action of her
life, and who, next to her God, was the object of her idolatry? My dear
Atterley," he continued, with emotion, "you little know the strength of
woman's love!"

Here he abruptly broke off the conversation; and, after continuing
thoughtful and silent for some time, he remarked:

"But do not forget where we are. Nature demands her accustomed rest, and
let us prepare to indulge her. I feel little inclined to sleep at
present; yet, by the time you have taken some hours' repose, I shall
probably require the same refreshment."

I would willingly have listened longer; but, yielding to his prudent
suggestion, again composed myself to rest, and left my good monitor to
his melancholy meditations. When I had slept about four hours, I was
awakened by the Brahmin, in whose arms I found myself, and who, feeble
as he was, handled me with the ease that a nurse does a child, or rather,
as a child does her doll. On looking around, I found myself lying on what
had been the ceiling of our chamber, which still, however, felt like the
bottom. My eyes and my feelings were thus in collision, and I could only
account for what I saw, by supposing that the machine had been turned
upside down. I was bewildered and alarmed.

After enjoying my surprise for a moment, the Brahmin observed: "We have,
while you were asleep, passed the middle point between the earth's and the
moon's attraction, and we now gravitate less towards our own planet than
her satellite. I took the precaution to move you, before you fell by your
own gravity, from what was lately the bottom, to that which is now so,
and to keep you in this place until you were retained in it by the moon's
attraction; for, though your fall would have been, at this point, like
that of a feather, yet it would have given you some shock and alarm. The
machine, therefore, has undergone no change in its position or course;
the change is altogether in our feelings."

The Brahmin then, after having looked through either telescope, but for
a longer time through the one at the bottom, and having performed his
customary devotions, soon fell into a slumber, but not into the same
quiet sleep as before, for he was often interrupted by sudden starts,
of so distressing a character, that I was almost tempted to wake him.
After a while, however, he seemed more composed, when I betook myself
to the telescope turned towards the earth.

The earth's appearance I found so diminished as not to exceed four times
the diameter of the moon, as seen from the earth, and its whole face was
entirely changed. After the first surprise, I recollected it was the
moon I was then regarding, and my curiosity was greatly awakened. On
raising myself up, and looking through the upper telescope, the earth
presented an appearance not very dissimilar; but the outline of her
continents and oceans were still perceptible, in different shades, and
capable of being easily recognised; but the bright glare of the sun made
the surfaces of both bodies rather dim and pale.

After a short interval, I again looked at the moon, and found not only
its magnitude very greatly increased, but that it was beginning to
present a more beautiful spectacle. The sun's rays fell obliquely on
her disc, so that by a large part of its surface not reflecting the light,
I saw every object on it, so far as I was enabled by the power of my
telescope. Its mountains, lakes, seas, continents, and islands, were
faintly, though not indistinctly, traced; and every moment brought
forth something new to catch my eye, and awaken my curiosity. The
whole face of the moon was of a silvery hue, relieved and varied by the
softest and most delicate shades. No cloud nor speck of vapour intercepted
my view. One of my exclamations of delight awakened the Brahmin, who
quickly arose, and looking down on the resplendent orb below us, observed
that we must soon begin to slacken the rapidity of our course, by
throwing out ballast. The moon's dimensions now rapidly increased; the
separate mountains, which formed the ridges and chains on her surface,
began to be plainly visible through the telescope; whilst, on the shaded
side, several volcanoes appeared upon her disc, like the flashes of
our fire-fly, or rather like the twinkling of stars in a frosty night.
He remarked, that the extraordinary clearness and brightness of the
objects on the moon's surface, was owing to her having a less extensive
and more transparent atmosphere than the earth: adding--"The difference
is so great, that some of our astronomical observers have been induced
to think she has none. If that, however, had been the case, our voyage
would have been impracticable."

After gazing at the magnificent spectacle, with admiration and delight,
for half an hour, the Brahmin loosed one of the balls of the lunar metal,
for the purpose of checking our velocity. At this time he supposed we
were not more than four thousand miles, or about twice the moon's
diameter, from the nearest point of her surface. In about four hours
more, her apparent magnitude was so great, that we could see her by
looking out of either of the dark side-windows. Her disc had now lost
its former silvery appearance, and began to look more like that of the
earth, when seen at the same distance. It was a most gratifying spectacle
to behold the objects successively rising to our view, and steadily
enlarging in their dimensions. The rapidity with which we approached the
moon, impressed me, in spite of myself, with the alarming sensation of
falling; and I found myself alternately agitated with a sense of this
danger, and with impatience to take a nearer view of the new objects that
greeted my eyes. The Brahmin was wholly absorbed in calculations for the
purpose of adjusting our velocity to the distance we had to go, his
estimates of which, however, were in a great measure conjectural; and
ever and anon he would let off a ball of the lunar metal.

After a few hours, we were so near the moon that every object was seen in
our glass, as distinctly as the shells or marine plants through a piece
of shallow sea-water, though the eye could take in but a small part of
her surface, and the horizon, which bounded our view, was rapidly
contracting. On letting the air escape from our machine, it did not now
rush out with the same violence as before, which showed that we were
within the moon's atmosphere. This, as well as ridding ourselves of the
metal balls, aided in checking our progress. By and bye we were within a
few miles of the highest mountains, when we threw down so much of our
ballast, that we soon appeared almost stationary. The Brahmin remarked,
that he should avail himself of the currents of air we might meet with,
to select a favourable place for landing, though we were necessarily
attracted towards the same region, in consequence of the same half of
the moon's surface being always turned towards the earth.

"In our second voyage," said he, "we were glad to get foothold any where;
for, not having lightened our machine sufficiently, we came down, with a
considerable concussion, on a barren field, remote from any human
habitation, and suffered more from hunger and cold, for nearly three days,
than we had done from the perils and privations of the voyage. The next
time we aimed at landing near the town of Alamatua, which stands, as you
may see, a little to the right of us, upon an island in a lake, and looks
like an emerald set in silver. We came down very gently, it is true, but
we struck one of the numerous boats which ply around the island, and had
nearly occasioned the loss of our lives, as well as of theirs. In our
last voyage we were every way fortunate. The first part of the moon we
approached, was a level plain, of great extent, divided into corn-fields,
on which, having lowered our grapnel, we drew ourselves down without
difficulty.

"We must now," continued he, "look out for some cultivated field, in one
of the valleys we are approaching, where we may rely on being not far
from some human abode, and on escaping the perils of rocks, trees, and
buildings."

While the Brahmin was speaking, a gentle breeze arose, as appeared by our
horizontal motion, which wafted us at the rate of about ten miles an hour,
in succession, over a ridge of mountains, a lake, a thick wood, and a
second lake, until at length we reached a cultivated region, recognised
by the Brahmin as the country of the Morosofs, the place we were most
anxious to reach.

"Let off two of the balls of lead to the earth," said he. I did so, and
we descended rapidly. When we were sufficiently near the ground to see
that it was a fit place for landing, we opened the door, and found the
air of the moon inconceivably sweet and refreshing. We now loosed one of
the lower balls, and somewhat checked our descent. In a few minutes more,
however, we were within twenty yards of the ground, when we let go the
largest ball of lunarium, which, having a cord attached to it, served us
in lieu of a grapnel. It descended with great force to the ground, while
the machine, thus lightened, was disposed to mount again. We, however,
drew ourselves down; and as soon as the machine touched the ground,
we let off some of our leaden balls to keep it there. We released
ourselves from the machine in a twinkling; and our first impulse was
to fall on our knees, and return thanks for our safe deliverance from
the many perils of the voyage.

CHAPTER VI.

_Some account of Morosofia, and its chief city Alamatua--Singular
dresses of the Lunar ladies--Religious self denial--Glouglim miser and
spendthrift._

My feelings, at the moment I touched the ground, repayed me for all I
had endured. I looked around with the most intense curiosity; but nothing
that I saw, surprised me so much as to find so little that was surprising.
The vegetation, insects and other animals, were all pretty much of the
same character as those I had seen before; but after I became better
acquainted with them, I found the difference to be much greater than I at
first supposed. Having refreshed ourselves with the remains of our stores,
and secured the door of our machine, we bent our course, by a plain road,
towards the town we saw on the side of a mountain, about three miles
distant, and entered it a little before the sun had descended behind the
adjacent mountain.

The town of Alamatua seemed to contain about two thousand houses, and to
be not quite as large as Albany. The houses were built of a soft shining
stone, and they all had porticoes, piazzas, and verandas, suited to the
tropical climate of Morosofia. The people were tall and thin, of a pale
yellowish complexion; and their garments light, loose, and flowing, and
not very different from those of the Turks. The lower order of people
commonly wore but a single garment, which passed round the waist. One
half the houses were under ground, partly to screen them from the continued
action of the sun's rays, and partly on account of the earthquakes caused
by volcanoes. The windows of their houses were different from any I had
ever seen before. They consisted of openings in the wall, sloping so
much upwards, that while they freely admitted the light and air, the sun
was completely excluded: and although those who were within could readily
see what was passing in the streets, they were concealed from the gaze of
the curious. In their hot-houses, it was common to have mirrors in the
ceilings, which at once reflected the street passengers to those who were
on the floor, and enabled the ostentatious to display to the public eye
the decorations of their tables, whenever they gave a sumptuous feast.

The inhabitants subsist chiefly on a vegetable diet; live about as long
as they do on the earth, notwithstanding the great difference of climate,
and other circumstances; and, in short, do not, in their manners, habits,
or character, differ more from the inhabitants of our planet, than some of
these differ from one another. Their government was anciently monarchical,
but is now popular. Their code of laws is said to be very intricate. Their
language, naturally soft and musical, has been yet further refined by the
cultivation of letters. They have a variety of sects in religion,
politics, and philosophy. The territory of Morosofia is about 150 miles
square. This brief sketch must content the reader for the present. I refer
those who are desirous of being more particularly informed, to the work
which I propose to publish on lunar geography; and, in the mean time,
some of the most striking peculiarities of this people, in opinions,
manners, and customs, will be developed in this, which must be considered
as my _personal narrative_.

As soon as we were espied by the inhabitants, we were surrounded by a
troop of little boys, as well as all the idle and inquisitive near us.
The Brahmin had not gone far, before he was met by some persons of his
acquaintance, who immediately recognised him, and seemed very much pleased
to see him again in the moon. They politely conducted us to the house of
the governor, who received us very graciously. He appeared to be about
forty-five years of age, was dressed in a pearl-coloured suit, and had a
mild, amiable deportment. He began a course of interesting inquiry about
the affairs of the earth; but a gentleman, whom we afterwards understood
was one of the leaders of the popular party, coming in, he soon despatched
us; having, however, first directed an officer to furnish us with all
that was necessary for our accommodation, at the public expense--which
act of hospitality, we have reason to fear, occasioned him some trouble
and perplexity at the succeeding election. We very gladly withdrew, as
both by reason of our long walk, and the excitement produced by so many
new objects, we were greatly fatigued. The officer conducted us to
respectable private lodgings, in a lightsome situation, which overlooked
the chief part of the city.

After a frugal, but not unpalatable repast, and a few hours' sleep,
the Brahmin took me round the city and a part of its environs, to make me
acquainted with the public buildings, streets, shops, and the appearance
of the inhabitants. I soon found that our arrival was generally known
and that we excited quite as much curiosity as we felt, though many of
the persons we met had seen the Brahmin before. I was surprised that we
saw none of their women; but the Brahmin told me that they were every
where gazing through their windows; and, on looking up, through these
slanting apertures I could often see their eyes peeping over the upper
edge of the window-sill.

I shall now proceed to record faithfully what I deem most memorable; not
as many travellers have done, from their recollection, after their return
home, but from notes, which I regularly made, either at the moment of
observation, or very shortly afterwards. When we first visited the shops,
I was equally gratified and surprised with what was familiar and what was
new; but I was particularly amused with those of the tailors and milliners.
In the lower part of their dress, the Lunarians chiefly resemble the
Europeans; but in the upper part, the Asiatics--for they shave the head,
and wear turbans; from which fact the Brahmin drew another argument in
favour of the hypothesis, that the moon was originally a part of the
earth. Some of the female fashions were so extremely singular and
fanciful, as to deserve particular mention.

One piece of their attire was formed of a long piece of light stiff
wood, covered with silk, and decorated with showy ornaments. It was
worn across the shoulders, beyond each of which it jutted out about half
a yard; and from either end a cord led to a ring running round the upper
part of the head, bearing no small resemblance to the yard of a ship's
mast, and the ropes used for steering it. Several other dresses I
saw, which I am satisfied would be highly disapproved by my modest
countrywomen. Thus, in some were inserted glasses like watch crystals,
adapted to the form and size of the female bosom. But, to do the Lunar
ladies justice, I understood that these dresses were condemned by the
sedate part of the sex, and were worn only by the young and thoughtless,
who were vain of their forms. I observed too, that instead of decorating
their heads with flowers, like the ladies of our earth, they taxed the
animal world for a correspondent ornament. Many of the head-dresses were
made of a stiff open gauze, occasionally stuck over with insects of the
butterfly and _coccinella_ species, and others of the gayest hues. At
other times these insects were alive; when their perpetual buzzing and
fluttering in their transparent cages, had a very animating effect. One
decoration for the head in particular struck my fancy: it was formed of a
silver tissue, containing fireflies, and intended to be worn in the night.

But the most remarkable thing of all, was the whim of the ladies in
the upper classes, of making themselves as much like birds as possible;
in which art, it must be confessed, they were wonderfully successful.
The dress used for this purpose, consisted of a sort of thick cloak,

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