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A Voyage to the Moon by George Tucker

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cosmogony, to which we can only refer the reader; wearied, however, by
these and other discussions, Atterley slept for six hours, and on
awaking, found the Brahmin busy in calculating their progress; after
which the latter lay down and soon fell into a tranquil sleep, having
previously requested that he might be awakened at the expiration of
three hours, or sooner if any thing of moment should occur. Atterley
now looked down again through the telescope, and found the earth
surprisingly diminished in its apparent dimensions, from the increased
rapidity of their ascent; the eastern coasts of Asia were still full
in view, as well as the whole figure of that extensive continent--of
New-Holland, of Ceylon and of Borneo; but the smaller islands were

"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

After having again composed himself to rest for about four hours,
Atterley was awakened by the Brahmin, in whose arms he found himself,
and, on looking around, discovered that he was lying on what had been
the ceiling of the chamber, which still, however, felt like the
bottom. The reason of this phenomenon was thus explained to him by the
Brahmin--"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 (to) 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 whole face of the moon, Atterley now found to be entirely changed,
and on looking through the upper telescope, the earth presented an
appearance not very dissimilar; but the outline of her continents and
oceans was still perceptible in different shades, and capable of being
readily recognised; the bright glare of the sun, however, made the
surfaces of both bodies somewhat 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

After gazing for some time on this magnificent spectacle, with
admiration and delight, one of their balls of _lunarium_ was let
off for the purpose of checking their velocity. At this time the
Brahmin supposed they were not more than four thousand miles from the
nearest point of the moon's surface. In about four hours more, her
apparent magnitude was so great, that they could see her by looking
out of either of the 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
by 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."

The Brahmin now pointed out the necessity of looking out for some
cultivated field, in one of the valleys they were approaching, where
they might rely on being not far distant from some human habitation,
and on escaping the perils necessarily attendant on a descent amongst
rocks, trees, and buildings. A gentle breeze now arising, as appeared
by their horizontal motion, which wafted them at the rate of about ten
miles an hour, over a ridge of mountains, a lake, a thick wood, &c.
they at length reached a cultivated region, which the Brahmin
recognised as the country of the Morosofs, the place they were anxious
to visit. By now letting off two balls of lead to the _Earth_,
they descended rapidly; and when they were sufficiently near the
ground to observe that it was a fit place for landing, opened the door
of their Balloon, and found the air of the moon inconceivably sweet
and refreshing. They now let loose one of their lower balls, which
somewhat retarded their descent; and in a few minutes more, being
within twenty yards of the ground, they let go the largest ball of
lunarium, which, having a cord attached to it, served in lieu of a
grapnel; by this they drew themselves down, were disengaged from the
machine in a twinkling, and landed "safe and sound" on, we presume,
"_luna firma!_"

Having seen our travellers securely deposited in the moon, we may
remark, that in the passage from the earth, various topics of an
interesting and important character were canvassed by the Brahmin and
his companion; one, _on the causes of national superiority_,
suggested by the views of Africa, and a comparison between that
benighted country and others more illuminated, is especially worthy of
attention, as containing a condensed and philosophical view of the
subject; eloquently and perspicuously conveyed.

The view of America, suggests some remarks on the _political
peculiarities of the United States_, with speculations on their
future destiny.

A lively description of the contrast between the circumstances of the

"The shuddering tenant of the frigid zone,"

and the gay, voluptuous native of the Sandwich, and other isles within
the tropics--the one passing his life in toil, privation, and care--the
other in ease, abundance, and enjoyment--leads to a similar conclusion
to that expressed by Goldsmith:--

"And yet, perhaps, if countries we compare,
And estimate the blessings which they share,
Though patriots flatter, still shall wisdom find
An equal portion dealt to all mankind."

A disquisition also takes place--_whether India or Egypt were the
parent of the Arts?_

This leads them to refer to the strange custom in the country of the
Brahmin, which impels the widow to throw herself on the funeral pile,
and be consumed with her husband:--

"I told him," says Atterley, "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 fire-arms, 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

Other topics of interest are also discussed with the like ingenuity.

After this episode, it is time for us to return to our travellers,
whose feelings, the moment they touched the ground, repayed them for
all they had endured. Atterley looked around with the most intense
curiosity; but nothing he saw, "surprised him so much, as to find so
little that was surprising:"--vegetation, insects, and other animals,
were pretty much of the same character as those he had before seen;
but, on better acquaintance, he found the difference greater than he
had at first supposed. Having refreshed themselves with the remains of
their stores, and secured the door of the machine, they bent their
course to the town of Alamatua, about three miles distant, which
seemed to contain about two thousand houses, and to be not quite as
large as Albany; the people were tall and thin, and of a pale,
yellowish complexion; their garments light, loose, and flowing, and
not very different from those of the Turks; they subsist chiefly on a
vegetable diet, live about as long as we do on the earth,
notwithstanding the great difference of climate, and other
circumstances; and do not, in their manners, habits, or character,
differ more from the inhabitants of this globe, than some of the
latter do from one another; their government, anciently monarchical,
is now popular; their code of laws very intricate; their language,
naturally soft and musical, has been yet further refined by the
cultivation of letters; and they have a variety of sects in religion,
politics, and philosophy.

The lunarians do not, as Butler has it--

"When the sun shines hot at noon,
Inhabit cellars under ground,
Of eight miles deep and eighty round."

But, one half of their houses is beneath the surface, partly for the
purpose of screening them from the continued action of the sun's rays,
and partly on account of the earthquakes caused by volcanoes. The
windows of the houses consisted of openings in the wall, sloping so
much upwards, that, whilst they freely admitted the light and air, the
sun was completely excluded. As soon as they were espied by the
natives, great curiosity was of course excited; not, however, to so
troublesome an extent, as might have been, from the circumstance of
the Brahmin's having visited the moon before. Hence he was soon
recognised by some of his acquaintances, and conducted to the house of
the governor, by whom they were graciously received, and who "began a
course of interesting inquiries regarding the affairs of the earth;"
but a gentleman, whom they afterwards understood to be one of the
leaders of the popular party, coming in, he soon despatched them;
having, however, first directed an officer to furnish them with all
that was necessary for their accommodation, at the public expense;
"which act of hospitality, they had reason to fear, occasioned him
some trouble and perplexity at the succeeding election."

A more minute description follows, of the dress of the male and female
lunarians, especially of that of the latter, to which we can merely
refer the reader. There is one portion, however, of the inhabitants,
with whom the reader must be made acquainted, inasmuch as they form
some of the author's most prominent characters. A large number of
lunarians, it seems, are born without any intellectual vigour, and
wander about like so many automatons, under the care of the
government, until illumined by the mental ray, from some terrestrial
brain, through the mysterious influence which the moon is known to
exercise on our planet. But, in this case, the inhabitant of the earth
loses what he of the moon gains, the ordinary portion of understanding
being divided between two; and, "as might be expected, 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."

"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

The belief of the influence of the moon on the human intellect, the
Brahmin remarks, may be perceived in the opinions of the vulgar, and
in many of the ordinary forms of expression; and he takes occasion to
remark, that these very opinions, as well as some obscure hints in the
Sanscrit, give countenance to the idea, that they were not the only
voyagers to the moon; but that, on the contrary, the voyage had been
performed in remote antiquity; and the Lunarians, we are told, have a
similar tradition. Many ordinary forms of expression are adduced in
support of these ideas.

"Thus," says the Brahmin, "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.[8]

"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."

Leaving this ingenious _badinage_ with the defence of the serious
and sentimental Schiller,

"Hoher Sinn liegt oft in Kindischen Spiele,"

we return to our travellers, who, at their lodgings, meet with an
instance of _lunar puritanism_--the family eating those portions
of fruits, vegetables, &c., which are thrown away by us, and _vice
versa_, "from a persuasion that all pleasure received through the
senses is sinful, and that man never appears so acceptable in the sight
of the Deity, as when he rejects all the delicacies of the palate, as
well as other sensual gratifications, and imposes on himself that food
to which he feels naturally most repugnant."

_Avarice_ is satirized by the story of one of these Glonglims, who
is occupied in making nails, and then dropping them into a well--refusing
to exchange them for bread or clothes, notwithstanding his starved,
haggard appearance, and evident desire for the food proffered:--

"Mettant toute sa gloire et son souverain bien
A grossir un tresor qui ne lui sert de rien."

And this is followed by a picture of _reckless prodigality_ in
another Glonglim.

We pass over the description of the physical peculiarities of the
moon, which seem to be according to the received opinions of
astronomers, as well as the satire on _National Prejudices_, in
the persons of the Hilliboos and Moriboos, and that on the Godwinian
system of morals.

An indisposition experienced by Atterley, occasions his introduction
to Vindar,[9] a celebrated physician, botanist, &c., on whose opinions
we have a keen satire.

On leaving Vindar's house, they observed a short man, (Napoleon,)
preparing to climb to the top of a plane tree, on which there was one
of the tail feathers of a flamingo; and this he would only mount in
one way--on the shoulders of his men:--

"I could not see this rash Glonglim attempt to climb that dangerous
ladder, without feeling alarm for his safety. At first all seemed to
go on very well; but just as he was about to lay hold of the gaudy
prize, there arose a sudden squall, which threw both him and his
supporters into confusion, and the whole living pyramid came to the
ground together. Many were killed--some were wounded and bruised.
Polenap himself, by lighting on his men, who served him as cushions,
barely escaped with life. But he received a fracture in the upper part
of his head, and a dislocation of the hip, which will not only prevent
him from ever climbing again, but probably make him a cripple for

"The Brahmin and I endeavoured to give the sufferers some assistance;
but this was rendered unnecessary, by the crowd which their cries and
lamentations brought to their relief. I thought that the author of so
much mischief would have been stoned on the spot; but, to my surprise,
his servants seemed to feel as much for his honour as their own
safety, and warmly interfered in his behalf, until they had somewhat
appeased the rage of the surrounding multitude."

The _absurdities_ of the _physiognomical system_ of Lavater,
and of the _craniological system_ of MM. Gall and Spurzheim, were
not likely to escape animadversion, in a work of general satire,
fruitful as they have already been in such themes. The representative
of the former, is a fortune-telling philosopher, Avarabet, (Lavater,)
whose course of proceeding was, to examine the finger nails, and,
according to their form, colour, thickness, surface, grain, and other
properties, to determine the character and destinies of those who
consulted him; and that of the latter, a physician, who judged of the
character of disposition or disease, by the examination of a lock of
the hair. The upshot of the story is, as might be anticipated, that
the fortune-telling philosopher is caught, and exposed in his own

The _impolicy of privateers, and of letters of marque and
reprisals_, is next animadverted on, by the story of two
neighbours, who are at variance, and whose dependants are occupied in
laying hold of what they can of each other's flocks and herds, and
doing as much mischief as possible, by which both parties, of
necessity, suffer.

A visit to a projector in building, husbandry, and cookery, introduces
us to some inventions not unworthy of the occupation, of the courtiers
of _La Reine Quinte_, or of the Professors of the Academy of

The doctrine of the aerial formation of meteoric stones, receives,
too, a passing notice from our author, who is clearly no supporter of
it. It was a long time before the ancients received credit for their
stories of showers of stones; and all were ready to joke with Butler,
at the story of the Thracian rock, which fell in the river Aegos:--

"For Anaxagoras, long agon,
Saw hills, as well as you i'th' moon,
And held the sun was but a piece
Of red hot iron as big as Greece.
Believ'd the heavens were made of stone,
Because the sun had voided one:
And, rather than he would recant
Th' opinion, suffered banishment."

A difficulty surrounds the subject, however we view it.
_Aerolites_, as they have been designated, have now been found in
almost every region and climate of the globe--from Arabia to the
farthest point of Baffin's Bay; and this very circumstance would seem
to be opposed to their aerial origin, unless we are to suppose that
they can be formed in every state, and in the opposite extremes of the
atmosphere. The Brahmin assigns them a lunar origin, and adds, "our
party were greatly amused at the disputations of a learned society in
Europe, in which they undertook to give a mathematical demonstration,
that they could not be thrown from a volcano of the earth, nor from
the moon, but were suddenly formed in the atmosphere. I should as soon
believe, that a loaf of bread could be made and baked in the

The "gentleman farmer and projector," being attacked, during their
visit, with cholera morbus, and considering himself _in extremis_,
a consultation of physicians takes place, in which one portrait
will be obvious--that of Dr. Shuro, who asserts disease to be
a unit; and that it is the extreme of folly, to divide diseases into
classes, which tend but to produce confusion of ideas, and an
unscientific practice. The enthusiasm of the justly celebrated
individual--the original of this portrait, was so great, that the
slightest data were sufficient for the formation of some of his most
elaborate _hypotheses_--for _theories_ they could not properly
be called; and, accordingly, many of his beautiful and ingenious
superstructures are now prostrated, leaving, in open day, the
insufficiency of their foundation. One of the most striking
examples of this nature, was his belief that the black colour of
the negro is a disease, which depletion, properly exercised, might
be capable of remedying--a scheme not a whit more feasible, than
that of the courtiers of _La Reine Quinte_, referred to by
Rabelais, "who made blackamoors white, as fast as hops, by just
rubbing their stomachs with the bottom of a pannier."

The satire here is not so fortunately displayed, as in other
instances, owing probably to the difficulty of saying any thing new on
so hackneyed a subject; for it has ever happened, that,--

"The Galenist and Paracelsian,
Condemn the way each other deals in."

The affair concludes, by the Doctors quarrelling; and, in the mean
time, the patient, profiting by some simple remedies administered by
the Brahmin, and an hour's rest, was so much refreshed, that he
considered himself out of danger, and had no need of medical

_Pestolozzi's system of education_, is with justice satirized;
since, instead of affording facilities to the student, as the
superficial observer might fancy, it retards his acquisition of
knowledge, by teaching him to exercise his external senses, rather
than his reflection.[10]

In a _menagerie_ attached to an academy, in which youths of
maturer years were instructed in the fine arts, the travellers had an
opportunity of observing the vain attempts of education, to control
the natural or instinctive propensities.

"Naturam expellas furca tamen usque recurret."

"For nature driven out, with proud disdain,
All powerful goddess, will return again."

The election of a town constable, exhibits the violence of _Lunar
Politics_ to be much the same as the terrestrial, and seems to have
some allusion to an existing and important controversy amongst
ourselves. The _prostitution of the press_ is satirized by the
story of a number of boys dressed in black and white--wearing the
badges of the party to which they respectively belong, and each
provided with a syringe and two canteens, the one filled with rose
water, and the other with a black, offensive, fluid: the rose water
being squirted at the favourite candidates and voters--the other fluid
on the opposite party. All these were under regular discipline, and at
the word of command discharged their syringes on friend or foe, as the
case might be.

The "_glorious uncertainty of the law_" (proverbial with us,)
falls also under notice. In Morosofia, it seems, a favourite mode of
settling private disputes, whether concerning person, character, or
property, is by the employment of prize fighters who hire themselves
to the litigants:--

"And out of foreign controversies
By aiding both sides, fill their purses:
But have no int'rest in the cause
For which th' engage and wage the laws
Nor farther prospect than their pay
Whether they lose or win the day."

The chapter concludes with a discussion between an old man and his
wife, in which the _policy of encouraging manufactures_, is

In an account of Okalbia--a happy valley--similar only in name to that
in _Rasselas_, the author seems to sketch his views of a _perfect
commonwealth_, and glances at some important questions of
_politics_ and _political economy_. Prudential restraints are
considered sufficient to obviate a _redundancy of population_--and
on _Ricardo's theory of rent_, the author holds the same opinions
as those already expressed in this Journal.

Some useful hints are also afforded on the subject of _legislation
and jurisprudence_.

After having passed a week amongst the singular and happy Okalbians,
whom our travellers found equally amiable, intelligent, and
hospitable, they returned to Alamatua.

Jeffery's _theory of beauty_, as developed in the article
_beauty_, of the _supplement to the Encyclopaedia Britannica_,
in which he denies the existence of original beauty and refers
it to association, is ridiculed by an extension of a similar kind
of reasoning to the smell.

A description of a _Lunar fair_ follows, which, like a
terrestrial, is the resort of the busy, the idle, the knavish, and the
gay: some in pursuit of pleasure; others again, without any settled
purpose, carried along by the vague desire of meeting with something
to relieve them from the pain of idleness. _Political contests_
are here represented under the character of gambling transactions, and
if we mistake not, there is a distinct allusion to more than one
important contest in the annals of this country.

Having now satisfied his curiosity, Atterley became anxious to return
to his native planet, and accordingly urged the Brahmin to lose no
time in preparing for their departure. They were soon, however,
informed that a man high in office, by way of affecting political
sagacity, had proposed to detain them, on the ground that when such
voyages as their's were shown to be practicable, the inhabitants of
the earth, who were so much more numerous than those of the moon,
might invade the latter with a large army, for the purpose of rapine
and contest; but notwithstanding the influence of this sapient
politician, they finally obtained leave to quit the moon whenever they
thought proper.

Having taken a "respectful or affectionate" leave of all their
lunarian friends, and got every thing in readiness,--at midnight of
the twentieth of August, they again entered their copper
_balloon_, and after they had ascended until the face of the moon
looked like one vast lake of melted silver, with here and there small
pieces of grayish dross floating on it, Atterley reminded the Brahmin
of a former promise to detail the history of his early life, to which
he assented:--of this, perhaps the most interesting part of the book,
to the general reader, we regret that our limits will only admit of
our giving a very condensed and imperfect narrative.

Gurameer, the Brahmin, was born at Benares. He was the only son of a
priest of Vishnu, of rank, and was himself intended for the
priesthood. At school, he meets with a boy of the name of _Balty
Mahu_, between whom and himself a degree of rivalry, and
subsequently the most decided enmity, existed--a circumstance that
decided the character of Gurameer's subsequent life. They afterwards
met at college, where a more extended theatre was afforded for the
exercise of Balty Mahu's malignity. During a vacation, Gurameer, being
on a visit to an uncle in the country, one day, when the family had
gone to witness a grand spectacle in honour of an important festival
in their calendar, which he could not himself attend consistently with
the rules of his caste, was tempted to visit the deserted Zenana, or
ladies' apartment, where he accidentally meets with a beautiful young
female. The acquaintance, thus begun, soon ripened into intimacy, by
means of walks in the garden, contrived by Fatima, one of his female
cousins. At length they are constrained to separate. Veenah (for so
the young lady is named) returns to Benares, whither Gurameer soon
follows her. On making his father acquainted with his attachment, the
latter endeavours to persuade him to overcome it, and informs him that
Veenah's father is avaricious, and a bigot, and hence, that he would
probably be prejudiced against him, owing to some imputations which
had been cast on Gurameer's religious creed, and industriously
circulated by his old enemy, Balty Mahu, who proves to be the cousin
of Veenah These considerations prevail upon Gurameer to defer any
application to Veenah's father, until the suspicions regarding his
faith had either died away or been falsified by his scrupulous
observance of all religious duties. This resolution he determines to
communicate to his mistress. Accordingly, in the evening, he betakes
himself to the quarter of the city where Veenah's father lives; and,
walking to and fro before the house, soon discovers that he is
recognised. By a cord, let down from the window, he conveys a letter
to her, which, the following evening, she answers; and thus a regular
correspondence was kept up, which, by the exercise it afforded to
their imaginations, and the difficulties attendant upon it, inflamed
their passion to the highest pitch. He had, however, soon the
misfortune to be discovered by Balty Mahu, and, in consequence, Veenah
is debarred from pen and ink, but contrives to acquaint her lover that
their intercourse has been discovered, by a short note, written with a
burnt stick. Gurameer now goes in despair to Veenah's father, from
whom he experiences a haughty repulse, and who, in the following
night, secretly leaves the city, with his daughter, embarking on the
Ganges, and taking measures to prevent the discovery of the place of
his retreat. At the expiration of two or three months, an end is put
to Gurameer's doubts and apprehensions, by his return, with his
daughter and son-in-law--a rich Omrah, four times her age. After the
first ebullitions of rage have subsided, his love returns; but he is
never able to succeed in obtaining an interview with Veenah. By his
cousin Fatima, he learns the circumstances of Veenah's marriage, and
the deceptions which had been practised on her, aided by the unbounded
authority which parents exercise in eastern countries. The unhappy
Veenah, as firm in her principles as she was gentle in disposition,
refuses to see him. "Tell him," said she, "that Heaven has forbidden
it, and to its decrees we are bound to submit I am now the wife of
another, and it is our duty to forget all that is past. But if this be
possible, my heart tells me it can be only by our never meeting!"

Gurameer now fell into a state of settled melancholy, and consented to
travel, more for the purpose of pleasing his parents, than from any
concern for his own health; but travelling had little effect--"he
carried a barbed arrow in his heart; and the greater the efforts to
extract it, the more they rankled the wound." When so much emaciated
that he was not expected to live a month, he took a voyage, coastwise,
to Madras; and, on his arrival there, learned that Balty Mahu had
recently left that place. This intelligence operated like a charm; the
desire of revenge roused all his energies and became his master
passion. He immediately set off in pursuit; but, although often near,
could never overtake him. His health rapidly improves; and at length
he hears that the old Omrah's health is rapidly declining. This
information awakens new thoughts and hopes, and Balty Mahu is
forgotten. He hastens hack to Benares; and when near the city, hears
two merchants, in conversation, remark that the Omrah is dead, and
that his widow was the next day to perform the _Suttee_. He
immediately mounts his horse, and reaches the city the next morning at
sunrise. In the street he mixes with the throng;--hears Veenah pitied,
her father blamed, and himself lamented. He now sees Veenah approach
the funeral pile, who, at the well known sound of his voice, shrieked
out, "he lives! he lives!" and would have attempted to save herself
from the flames; but the shouts of the surrounding multitude, and the
sound of the instruments, drowned her voice. He now attempts to
approach the pile for the purpose of rescuing her, but is forcibly
held back until the wretched Veenah is enveloped in flames. On his
again attempting to reach the pile, he was charged with profanation;
and, on Balty Mahu's making his appearance and encouraging the charge,
in frantic desperation he seizes a scymetar from one of the guards,
and plunges it in his breast. The influence of his friends, and the
sacred character of persons of his caste, saved the Brahmin from
capital punishment; but he was banished from Hindostan. He now removed
to the kingdom of Ava, where he continued so long as his parents
lived, after which he visited several countries, both of Asia and
Europe; and in one of his journeys, having discovered Lunarium Ore in
the mountain near Mogaun, he determined to pass the remainder of his
days in that secluded retreat.--"So ends this strange, eventful

When the Brahmin terminated his narrative, the extended map beneath
them was already assuming a distinct and varied appearance:--

"The Brahmin, having applied his eye to the telescope, and made a
brief calculation of our progress, considered that twenty-four hours
more, if no accident interrupted us, would end our voyage; part of
which interval I passed in making notes in my journal, and in
contemplating the different sections of our many peopled globe, as
they presented themselves successively to the eye. It was my wish to
land on the American continent, and, if possible, in the United
States. But the Brahmin put an end to that hope, by reminding me that
we should be attracted towards the Equator, and that we had to choose
between Asia, Africa, and South America; and that our only course
would be, to check the progress of our car over the country of
greatest extent, through which the equinoctial circle might pass.
Saying which, he relapsed into his melancholy silence, and I betook
myself once more to the telescope. With a bosom throbbing with
emotion, I saw that we were descending towards the American continent.
When we were about ten or twelve miles from the earth, the Brahmin
arrested the progress of the car, and we hovered over the broad
Atlantic. Looking down on the ocean, the first object which presented
itself to my eye, was a small one-masted shallop, which was buffetting
the waves in a south-westerly direction. I presumed it was a
New-England trader, on a voyage to some part of the Republic of
Colombia: and, by way of diverting my friend from his melancholy
reverie, I told him some of the many stories which are current
respecting the enterprise and ingenuity of this portion of my
countrymen, and above all, their adroitness at a bargain.

"'Methinks,' says the Brahmin, 'you are describing a native of Canton
or Pekin. But,' added he, after a short pause, 'though to a
superficial observer man appears to put on very different characters,
to a philosopher he is every where the same--for he is every where
moulded by the circumstances in which he is placed. Thus; let him be
in a situation that is propitious to commerce, and the habits of
traffic produce in him shrewdness and address. Trade is carried on
chiefly in towns, because it is there carried on most advantageously.
This situation gives the trader a more intimate knowledge of his
species--a more ready insight into character, and of the modes of
operating on it. His chief purpose is to buy as cheap, and to sell as
dear, as he can; and he is often able to heighten the recommendations
or soften the defects of some of the articles in which he deals,
without danger of immediate detection; or, in other words, big
representations have some influence with his customers. He avails
himself of this circumstance, and thus acquires the habit of lying;
but, as he is studious to conceal it, he becomes wary, ingenious, and
cunning. It is thus that the Phenicians, the Carthagenians, the Dutch,
the Chinese, the New-Englanders, and the modern Greeks, have always
been regarded as inclined to petty frauds by their less commercial
neighbours.' I mentioned the English nation.

"'If the English,' said he, interrupting me; 'who are the most
commercial people of modern times, have not acquired the same
character, it is because they are as distinguished for other things as
for traffic: they are not merely a commercial people--they are also
agricultural, warlike, and literary; and thus the natural tendencies
of commerce are mutually counteracted.'

"We afterwards descended slowly; the prospect beneath us becoming more
beautiful than my humble pen can hope to describe, or will even
attempt to portray. In a short time after, we were in sight of
Venezuela. We met with the trade winds and were carried by them forty
or fifty miles inland, where, with some difficulty, and even danger,
we landed. The Brahmin and myself remained together two days, and
parted--he to explore the Andes, to obtain additional light on the
subject of his hypothesis, and I, on the wings of impatience, to visit
once more my long-deserted family and friends. But before our
separation, I assisted my friend in concealing our aerial vessel, and
received a promise from him to visit, and perhaps spend with me the
evening of his life. Of my journey home, little remains to be said.
From the citizens of Colombia, I experienced kindness and attention,
and means of conveyance to Caraccas; where, embarking on board the
brig Juno, captain Withers, I once more set foot in New-York, on the
18th of August, 1826, after an absence of four years, resolved, for
the rest of my life, to travel only in books, and persuaded, from
experience, that the satisfaction which the wanderer gains from
actually beholding the wonders and curiosities of distant climes, is
dearly bought by the sacrifice of all the comforts and delights of

We have thus placed before the reader an analysis of this interesting
Satirical Romance. The time and space we have occupied sufficiently
indicate the favourable sentiments respecting it with which we have
been impressed. Of the execution of the satires, from the several
extracts we have given, the reader will himself be enabled to judge.
This is of course unequal, but generally felicitous. In the personal
allusions which occur through the work, the author exhibits, as we
have before noticed, a freedom from malice and all uncharitableness,
and in many of them has attained that happy _desideratum_ which
Dryden considered a matter of so much difficulty:--

"How easy is it," he observes, "to call rogue and villain, and that
wittily! But how hard to make a man appear a fool, a blockhead, or a
knave, without using any of those opprobrious terms! To spare the
grossness of the names, and to do the thing yet more severely, is to
draw a full face, and to make the nose and cheeks stand out, and yet
not to employ any depth of shadowing. This is the mystery of that
noble trade, which yet no master can teach to his apprentice; he may
give the rules, but the scholar is never the nearer in his practice;
neither is it true, that this fineness of raillery is offensive. A
witty man is tickled, while he is hurt, in this manner, and a fool
feels it not: the occasion of an offence may possibly be given, but he
cannot take it. If it be granted, that, in effect, this way does more
mischief--that a man is secretly wounded, and, though he be not
sensible himself, yet the malicious world will find it out for him,
yet, there is still a vast difference betwixt the slovenly butchering
of a man, and the fineness of a stroke that separates the head from
the body, and leaves it standing in its place. A man may be capable,
as Jack Ketch's wife said of his servant, of a plain piece of work, a
bare hanging; but to make a malefactor die sweetly, was only belonging
to her husband."[11]

In conclusion, we must express our regret, that the author should not
have added notes to the work--the want of them will be seriously felt
by every one; some of the satires, indeed, must escape the reader,
unless he pay a degree of attention, which notes would have rendered
unnecessary. In his next edition, we trust that this deficiency may be
supplied; and we anticipate as much instruction and entertainment,
from the wide scope which such an undertaking will afford, as we have
derived from the perusal of the text. Cheerfully would we extend to
him, if required, the leisure claimed by Spenser, after he had
composed the first six books of his "_Faerie Queene_," provided
he would promise us similar conditions:--

"After so long a race as I have run
Through Faery Land, which those six books compile,
Give leave to rest me, being half foredonne,
And gather to myself new breath awhile;

"Then, as a steed refreshed after toyle,
Out of my prison will I break anew,
And stoutly will that second work assoyle,
With strong endeavour, and attention due."

* * * * *


[Footnote 1: Scott's Swift, vol. xi. p. 4]

[Footnote 2: Aristoph. in Pace. 130.]

[Footnote 3: Orlando furioso, Canto xxxiv. St. 68 and 69.]

[Footnote 4: Micromegas, Histoire Philosophique, chap. 8.]

[Footnote 5: Fuller, a learned contemporary of the Bishop, has given
us an amusing case of litigation, originating from this nourishing
character of odours.--

"A poor man, being very hungry, staid so long in a cook's shop, who
was dishing up meat, that his stomach was satisfied with only the
smell thereof. The choleric cook demanded of him to pay for his
breakfast, the poor man denied having had any; and the controversy was
referred to the deciding of the next man that should pass by, who
chanced to be the most notorious idiot in the whole city be, on the
relation of the matter, determined that the poor man's money should be
put betwixt two empty dishes, and the cook should be recompensed with
the jingling of the poor man's money, as he was satisfied with the
smell of the cook's meat."--_Fuller's Holy State_, lib. iii. c.

[Footnote 6: Aristophan. in pace. 137.]

[Footnote 7: The idea of the Glonglims is the author's. Ariosto makes
the lost intellect, of those who become insane upon the earth, ascend
to the moon, where it is kept _bottled_.--

"Era come un liquor suttile e molle,
Atto a esalar, se non si tien ben chiuso;
E si vedea raccolto in varie ampolle,
Qual piu, qual men capace, atte a quell' uso."

_Orlando furioso_, Cant. 34. St. 83.]

[Footnote 8: Our author might also have alluded to the old apology for
every thing inane or contemptible--"It is a tale of the man in the
moon." When that arch flatterer, John Lylie, published (in 1591) his
"_Endymion_, or _the man in the moon_"--a _court comedy_, as it
was afterwards called; in other words, intended for the gratification
of Queen Elizabeth, and in which her personal charms and attractions
are grossly lauded--he pleads guilty to its defect in plot, in the
following exquisite apologetic prologue:--

"Most high and happy Princess, we must tell you a tale of the man in
the moon; which, if it seem ridiculous for the method, or superfluous
for the matter, or for the means incredible, for three faults we can
make but one excuse,--it is a tale of the man of the moon."

"It was forbidden in old time to dispute of Chymera, because it was a
fiction: we hope in our times none will apply pastimes, because they
are fancies: for there liveth none under the sun that knows what to
make of the man in the moon. We present neither comedy, nor tragedy,
nor story, nor any thing, but that whosoever heareth may say this:--
'Why, here is a tale of the man in the moon.' Yet this is the man
designated by Blount, who re-published his plays in 1632, as the '_only
rare poet of that time, the witie, comicall, facetiously-quicke, and
unparallel'd John Lylie, Master of Arts!'"]

[Footnote 9: It is to be regretted that the author has not followed
the good example set him by Johnson, in his _Debates in the Senate
of Magna Lilliputia_, published in the Gentlemen's Magazine for
1738: the denominations of the speakers being formed of the letters of
their real names, so that they might be easily deciphered. This
neglect has obscured many of the author's most interesting satires.
Who could suppose from the letters alone, that _Wigurd_, _Vindar_,
and _Avarabet_, were respectively intended for _Godwin_, _Darwin_,
and _Lavater_?]

[Footnote 10: It is a curious circumstance, that Swift, in his
description of the Academy of Lagado, should have so completely
anticipated the Pestalozzian invention.]

[Footnote 11: Dryden's Essay on Satire]

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