A Voyage to the Moon
George Tucker

Part 2 out of 4

covered with feathers, like those of the South Sea islands, and was so
fashioned, by means of a tight thick quilting, as to make the wearer, at
a little distance, very much resemble an overgrown bird, except that the
legs were somewhat too thick. Their arms were concealed under the wings;
and the resemblance was yet further increased, by marks with beaks adapted
to the particular plumage: some personating doves, some magpies; others
again, hawks, parrots, &c., according to their natural figure, humour,
&c.; while the deception was still further assisted by their extraordinary
agility, compared with ours, by means of which they could, with ease,
hop eighteen or twenty feet. I told the Brahmin that some of the Indians
of our continent showed a similar taste in dress, by decorating themselves
with horns like the buffalo, and with tails like horses; which furnished
him with a further argument in favour of a common origin.

We spent above an hour in examining these curious habiliments, and in
inquiring the purposes and uses of the several parts. Sometimes I was
induced, through the Brahmin, to criticise their taste and skill, having
been always an admirer of simplicity in female attire. But I remarked
on this occasion, as on several others, subsequently, that the people of
the moon were neither very thankful for advice, nor thought very highly
of the judgment of those who differ from them in opinion.

After having rambled over the city about six hours, our appetites told
us it was time to return to our lodgings; and here I met with a new
cause of wonder. The family with whom we were domesticated, belonged
to a numerous and zealous sect of religionists, and were, in their way,
very worthy, as well as pious people. Their dinner consisted of several
dishes of vegetables, variously served up; of roots, stalks, seeds,
flowers, and fruits, some of which resembled the productions of the
earth; and in particular, I saw a dish of what I at first took to be
very fine asparagus, but supposed I was mistaken, when I saw them eat
the coarse fibrous part alone. On tasting it, however, in the ordinary
way, I found it to be genuine, good asparagus; but I perceived that the
family looked extremely shocked at my taste. After the other dishes were
removed, some large fruit, of the peach kind, were set on the table,
when the members of the family, having carefully paired off the skin,
ate it, and threw the rest away. They in like manner chewed the shells
of some small grayish nuts, and threw away the kernels, which to me were
very palatable. The younger children, consisting of two boys and a girl,
exchanged looks with each other at the selections I made, and I thought
I perceived in the looks of the mother, still more aversion than surprise.
I found too, that my friend the Brahmin abstained from all these things,
and partook only of those vegetables and fruits of which both they and I
ate alike. Some wine was offered us, which appeared to me to be neither
more nor less than vinegar; and, what added to my surprise, a bottle,
which they said was not yet fit to drink, seemed to me to be pretty good,
the Brahmin having passed it to me for my judgment, as soon as they
pronounced upon it sentence of condemnation.

After we arose from this strange scene, and had withdrawn to our chamber,
I expressed my surprise to my companion at this contrariety in the tastes
of the Terrestrials and Lunarians: whereupon he told me, that the
difference was rather apparent than real.

"These people," said he, "belong to a sect of Ascetics in this country,
who are persuaded 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. You may see that those peaches, which
were so disdainfully thrown into the yard, are often secretly picked up
by the children, who obey the impulses of nature, and devour them most
greedily. Even in the old people themselves, there is occasionally some
backsliding into the depravity of worldly appetite. You might have
perceived, that while the old man was abusing the wine you drank as
unripe, and making wry faces at it, he still kept tasting it; and if I
had not reached it to you, he would probably, before he had ceased his
meditations, have finished half the bottle. It must be confessed, that
although religion cherishes our best feelings, it also often proves a
cloak for the worst."

I told him that our clergy were superior to this weakness, most of them
manifesting a proper sense of the bounty of Providence, by eating and
drinking of the best, (not very sparingly neither); and that in New-York,
we considered some of our preachers the best judges of wine among us. Soon
afterwards, we again sallied forth in quest of adventures, and bent our
course towards the suburbs.

We had not gone far, before we saw several persons looking at a man
working hard at a forge, in a low crazy building. On approaching him, we
found he was engaged in making nails, an operation which he performed
with great skill and adroitness; and as soon as he had made as many
as he could take up in his hand at once, he carried them behind his
little hovel, and dropped them into a narrow deep well. Some of the
by-standers wished to beg a few of what he seemed to value so lightly,
and others offered to give him bread or clothes in exchange for his
nails, but he obstinately resisted all their applications; in fact,
little heeding them, although he was almost naked, had a starved, haggard
appearance, and evidently regarded the food they proffered with a
wishful eye.

The lookers on told us the blacksmith had been for years engaged in this
business of nail-making; he worked with little intermission, scarcely
allowing himself time for necessary sleep or refreshment; that all the
fruits of his incessant labour were disposed of in the manner we had
just seen; and that he had already three wells filled with nails, which
he had carefully closed. He had, moreover, a large and productive farm,
the increase arising from which, was laid out in exchange for the metal
of which his nails were made. He had, we were informed, so much attachment
to these pieces of metal, that he was often on the point of starvation
before he would part with one.

I observed to the Brahmin, that it was a singular, and somewhat
inexplicable, species of madness.

"True," he replied; "this man's conduct cannot be explained upon any
rational principles--but he is one of the Glonglims, of which I have
spoken to you; and examples are not wanting on our planet, of conduct
as irreconcilable to reason. This man is making an article which is
scarce, as well as useful, in this country, where gravity is less than
it is with us: the force of the wind is very great, and the metal is
possessed but by a few. Now, if you suppose these nails to be pieces
of gold and silver, his conduct will be precisely that of some of our
misers, who waste their days and nights in hoarding up wealth which they
never use, nor mean to use; but, denying themselves every comfort of
life, anxiously and unceasingly toil for those who are to come after
them, though they are so far from feeling, towards these successors,
any peculiar affection, that they often regard them with jealousy and

While we thus conversed, there stepped up to us a handsome man, foppishly
dressed in blue trowsers, a pink vest, and a red and white turban; who,
after having shaken my companion by the ears, according to the custom of
the country among intimate friends, expressed his delight at seeing him
again in Morosofia. He then went on, in a lively, humorous strain, to
ridicule the nail-smith, and told us several stories of his singular
attachment to his nails. In the midst of these sallies, however, a harsh
looking personage in brown came up, upon which the countenance of our
lively acquaintance suddenly changed, and they walked off together.

"I apprehend," said the Brahmin, "that my gay acquaintance yonder
continues as he formerly was. The man in brown, who so unseasonably
interrupted his pleasantry, is an officer of justice, and has probably
taken him before a magistrate, to answer some one of his numerous
creditors. You must know," added he, "that the people of the moon,
however irrational themselves, are very prompt in perceiving the
absurdities of others: and this lively wit, who, as you see, wants neither
parts nor address, acts as strangely as the wretch he has been ridiculing.
He inherited a large estate, which brought him in a princely revenue;
and yet his desires and expenses so far outgo his means, that he is
always in want. Both he and the nailmaker suffer the evils of poverty--
of poverty created by themselves--which, moreover, they can terminate
when they please; but they must reach the same point by directly opposite
roads. The blacksmith will allow himself nothing--the beau will deny
himself nothing: the one is a slave to pleasure--the other, the victim
of fear. I told you that there were but few whose estates produced the
metal of which these nails are made; and this thoughtless youth happens
to be one. A few years since, he wanted some of the blacksmith's nails
to purchase the first rose of the season, and pledged his mines to pay,
at the end of the year, three times the amount he received in exchange;
and although, if he were to use but half his income for a single year,
the other half would discharge his debts. I apprehend, from what I have
heard, that he has, from that time to this, continued to pay the same
exorbitant interest. When I was here before, I prevailed on him to take
a ride with me into the country, and, under one pretext or another,
detained him ten days at a friend's house, where he had no inducement
to expense. When he returned, he found his debts paid off; but knowing
he was master of so ready and effectual an expedient, he, the next day,
borrowed double the sum at the old rate. Since that time his debts have
accumulated so rapidly, that he will probably now be compelled to
surrender his whole estate."

"Is he also a Glonglim?" I asked.

"Assuredly: what man, in his entire senses, could act so irrationally?"

"There is nothing on earth that exceeds this," said I.

"No," said the Brahmin; "human folly is every where the same."


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

After we had been in the moon about forty eight hours, the sun had sunk
below the horizon, and the long twilight of the Lunarians had begun. I will
here take occasion to notice the physical peculiarities of this country,
which, though very familiar to those who are versed in astronomy, may not
be unacceptable to the less scientific portion of my readers.

The sun is above the horizon nearly a fortnight, and below it as long; of
course the day here is equal to about twenty-seven of ours. The earth
answers the same purpose to half the inhabitants of the moon, that the moon
does to the inhabitants of the earth. The face of the latter, however, is
more than twelve times as large, and it has not the same silvery appearance
as the moon, but is rather of a dingy pink hue, like that of her iron when
beginning to lose its red heat. As the same part of the moon is always
turned to the earth, one half of her surface is perpetually illuminated by
a moon ten times as large to the eye as the sun; the other hemisphere is
without a moon. The favoured part, therefore, never experiences total
darkness, the earth reflecting to the Lunarians as much light as we
terrestrials have a little before sunrise, or after sunset. But our planet
presents to the Lunarians the same changes as the moon does to us,
according to its position in relation to the sun. It always, however,
appears to occupy nearly the same part of the heavens, when seen from the
same point on the moon's surface; but its altitude above the horizon is
greater or less, according to the latitude of the place from which it is
seen: so that there is not a point of the heavens which the earth may not
be seen permanently to occupy, according to the part of the moon from which
the planet is viewed.

From the length of time that the sun is above the horizon, the continued
action of his rays, in those climates where they fall vertically, or nearly
so, would be intolerable, if it was not for the high mountains, from whose
snow-clad summits a perpetual breeze derives a refreshing coolness, and for
the deep glens and recesses, in which most animals seek protection from his
meridian beams. The transitions from heat to cold are less than one would
expect, from the length of their days and nights--the coolness of the one,
as well as the heat of the other, being tempered by a constant east wind.
The climate gradually becomes colder as we approach the Poles; but there is
little or no change of seasons in the same latitude.

The inhabitants of the moon have not the same regularity in their meals, or
time for sleep, as we have, but consult their appetites and inclinations
like other animals. But they make amends for this irregularity, by a very
strict and punctilious observance of festivals, which are regulated by the
motions of the sun, at whose rising and setting they have their appropriate
ceremonies. Those which are kept at sunrise, are gay and cheerful, like the
hopes which the approach of that benignant luminary inspires. The others
are of a grave and sober character, as if to prepare the mind for serious
contemplation in their long-enduring night. When the earth is at the full,
which is their midnight, it is also a season of great festivity with them.

_Eclipses of the sun_ are as common with the Lunarians as those of the
moon are with us--the same relative position of the three bodies producing
this phenomenon; but an _eclipse of the earth_ never takes place, as
the shadow of the moon passes over the broad disc of our planet, merely as
a dark spot.

The inhabitants of the moon can always determine both their latitude and
longitude, by observing the quarter of the heavens in which the earth is
seen: and, as the sun invariably appears of the same altitude at their
noon, the inhabitants are denominated and classed according to the length
of their shadows; and the terms _long shadow_, or _short shadow_, are
common forms of national reproach among them, according to the relative
position of the parties. I found the climate of those whose shadows are
about the length of their own figure, the most agreeably to my own
feelings, and most like that of my own country.

Such are the most striking natural appearances on one side of this
satellite. On the other there is some difference. The sun pursues the same
path in the corresponding latitudes of both hemispheres; but being without
any moon, they have a dull and dreary night, though the light from the
stars is much greater than with us. The science of astronomy is much
cultivated by the inhabitants of the dark hemisphere, and is indebted to
them for its most important discoveries, and its present high state of

If there is much rivalship among the natives of the same hemisphere, who
differ in the length of their shadows, they all unite in hatred and
contempt for the inhabitants of the opposite side. Those who have the
benefit of a moon, that is, who are turned towards the earth, are lively,
indolent, and changeable as the face of the luminary on which they pride
themselves; while those on the other side are more grave, sedate, and
industrious. The first are called the Hilliboos, and the last the
Moriboos--or bright nights, and dark nights. And this mutual animosity is
the more remarkable, as they often appeared to me to be the same race, and
to differ much less from one another than the natives of different
climates. It is true, that enlightened and well educated men do not seem to
feel this prejudice, or at least they do not show it: but those who travel
from one hemisphere to the other, are sure to encounter the prejudices of
the vulgar, and are often treated with great contempt and indignity. They
are pointed at by the children, who, according as they chance to have been
bred on one side or the other say, "There goes a man who never saw
Glootin," as they call the earth; or, "There goes a Booblimak," which means
a night stroller.

All bodies are much lighter on the moon than on the earth; by reason of
which circumstance, as has been mentioned, the inhabitants are more active,
and experience much less fatigue in ascending their precipitous mountains.
I was astonished at first at this seeming increase in my muscular powers;
when, on passing along a street in Alamatua, soon after my arrival, and
meeting a dog, which I thought to be mad, I proposed to run out of his way,
and in leaping over a gutter, I fairly bounded across the street. I
measured the distance the next day, and found it to be twenty-seven feet
five inches; and afterwards frequently saw the school-boys, when engaged in
athletic exercises, make running leaps of between thirty and forty feet,
backwards and forwards. Another consequence of the diminished gravity here
is, that both men and animals carry much greater burdens than on the earth.

The carriages are drawn altogether by dogs, which are the largest animals
they have, except the zebra, and a small buffalo. This diminution of
gravity is, however, of some disadvantage to them. Many of their tools are
not as efficient as ours, especially their axes, hoes, and hammers. On the
other hand, when a person falls to the ground, it is nearly the same thing
as if an inhabitant of the earth were to fall on a feather bed. Yet I saw
as many instances of fractured limbs, hernia, and other accidents there, as
I ever saw on the earth; for when they fall from great heights, or miscarry
in the feats of activity which they ambitiously attempt, it inflicts the
same injury upon them, as a fall nearer the ground does upon us.

After we had been here sufficiently long to see what was most remarkable in
the city, and I had committed the fruit of my observations to paper, the
Brahmin proposed to carry me to one of the monthly suppers of a philosopher
whom he knew, and who had obtained great celebrity by his writings and

We accordingly went, and found him sitting at a small table, and apparently
exhausted with the labour of composition, and the ardour of intense
thought. He was a small man, of quick, abrupt manners, occasionally very
abstracted, but more frequently voluble, earnest, and disputatious. He
frankly told us he was sorry to see us, as he was then putting the last
finish to a great and useful work he was about to publish: that we had thus
unseasonably broken the current of his thoughts, and he might not be able
to revive it for some days. Upon my rising to take my leave, he assured me
that it would be adding to the injury already done, if we then quitted him.
He said he wished to learn the particulars of our voyage; and that he, in
turn, should certainly render us service, by disclosing some of the results
of his own reflections. He further remarked, that he expected six or eight
friends--that is, (correcting himself,) "enlightened and congenial minds,"
to supper, on the rising of a constellation he named, which time, he
remarked, would soon arrive. Finding his frankness to be thus seasoned with
hospitality, we resumed our seats. It soon appeared that he was more
disposed to communicate information than to seek it; and I became a patient
listener. If the boldness and strangeness of his opinions occasionally
startled me, I could not but admire the clearness with which he stated his
propositions, the fervour of his elocution, and the plausibility of his

The expected guests at length arrived; and various questions of morals and
legislation were started, in which the disputants seemed sometimes as if
they would have laid aside the character of philosophers, but for the
seasonable interposition of the Brahmin. Wigurd, our host, often laboured
with his accustomed zeal, to prove that every one who opposed him, was
either a fool, or biassed by some petty interest, or the dupe of blind

After about two hours of warm, and, as it seemed to me, unprofitable
discussion, we were summoned to our repast in the adjoining room. But
before we rose from our seats, our host requested to know of each of us if
we were hungry; and, whether it were from modesty, perverseness, or really
because they had no appetite, I know not, but a majority of the company, in
which I was included, voted that their hour of eating was not yet come:
upon which Wigurd remarked that his own vote, as being at home, and the
Brahmin's, as being at once a philosopher and a stranger, should each count
for two; and by this mode of reckoning there was a casting vote in favour
of going to supper.

We found the table covered with tempting dishes, served up in a costly and
tasteful style, and a sprightly, well-looking female prepared to do the
honours of the feast. She reproved our host for his delay, and told him the
best dish was spoiled, by being cold. I was fearful of a discussion; but he
sat down without making a reply, and immediately addressing the company,
descanted on the various qualities of food, and their several adaptations
to different ages, constitutions, and temperaments. He condemned the absurd
practice which prevailed, for the master or mistress of the house to lavish
entreaties on their guests to eat that which they might be better without;
and insisted, at the same time, that the guests ought not to consult their
own tastes exclusively. He maintained, that the only course worthy of
rational and benevolent beings, was for every man to judge for his
neighbour as well as for himself; and, should any collision arise between
the different claimants, then, if any one were guided by that decision,
which an honest and unbiassed judgment would tell him was right, they would
all come to the same just and harmonious result.

"But," added he, "you have not yet been sufficiently prepared for this
disinterested operation. As ye have proved this night that ye are not yet
purged of the feelings and prejudices of a vicious education, I will
perform this office for you all, and set you an example, by which ye may
hereafter profit. To begin, then, with you--(addressing himself to a
corpulent man, of a florid complexion, at the lower end of the table:)--As
you already have a redundancy of flesh and blood, I assign the _soupe
maigre_ to you; while to our mathematical friend on this side, whose
delicate constitution requires nourishment, I recommend the smoking ragout.
This cooling dish will suit your temperament," said he to a third; "and
this stimulating one, yours," to a fourth. "Those little birds, which cost
me five pieces, I shall divide between my terrestrial friend here (looking
at the Brahmin) and myself, we being the most meritorious of the company,
and it being of the utmost importance to society, that food so wholesome
should give nourishment to our bodies, and impart vigour and vivacity to
our minds."

From this decision there was no appeal, and no other dissent than what was
expressed by a look or a low murmur. But I perceived the corpulent
gentleman and the wan mathematician slily exchange their dishes, by which
they both seemed to consider themselves gainers. The dish allotted to me,
being of a middling character, I ate of it without repining; though, from
the savoury fumes of my right-hand neighbour's plate, I could not help
wishing I had been allowed to choose for myself.

This supper happening near the middle of the night, (at which time it was
always pretty cool,) a cheerful fire blazed in one side of the room and I
perceived that our host and hostess placed themselves so as to be at the
most agreeable distance, the greater part of the guests being either too
near or too far from it.

After we had finished our repast, various subjects of speculation were
again introduced and discussed, greatly to my amusement. Wigurd displayed
his usual ingenuity and ardour, and baffled all his antagonists by his
vehemence and fluency. He had two great principles by which he tested the
good or evil of every thing; and there were few questions in which he could
not avail himself of one or the other. These were, general _utility_
and _truth_.

By a skilful use of these weapons of controversy, he could attack or defend
with equal success. If any custom or institution which he had denounced,
was justified by his adversaries, on the ground of its expediency, he
immediately retorted on them its repugnancy to sincerity, truth, and
unsophisticated nature; and if they, at any time, resorted to a similar
justification for our natural feelings and propensities, he triumphantly
showed that they were inimical to the public good. Thus, he condemned
gratitude as a sentiment calculated to weaken the sense of justice, and to
substitute feeling for reason. He, on the other hand, proscribed the little
forms and courtesies, which are either founded in convenience, or give a
grace and sweetness to social intercourse, as a direct violation of honest
nature, and therefore odious and mean. He thus was able to silence every
opponent. I was very desirous of hearing the Brahmin's opinion; but, while
he evidently was not convinced by our host's language, he declined engaging
in any controversy.

After we retired, my friend told me that Wigurd was a good man in the main,
though he had been as much hated by some as if his conduct had been
immoral, instead of his opinions merely being singular. "He not long ago,"
added the Brahmin "wrote a book against marriage, and soon afterwards
wedded, in due form, the lady you saw at his table. She holds as strange
tenets as he, which she supports with as much zeal, and almost as much
ability. But I predict that the popularity of their doctrines will not
last; and if ever you visit the moon again, you will find that their glory,
now at its height, like the ephemeral fashions of the earth, will have
passed away."


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

On returning to our lodgings, we, acting under the influence of long habit,
went to bed, though half the family were up, and engaged in their ordinary
employments. One consequence of the length of the days and nights here is,
that every household is commonly divided into two parts, which watch and
sleep by turns: nor have they any uniformity in their meals, except in
particular families, which are regulated by clocks and time-pieces. The
vulgar have no means of measuring smaller portions of time than a day or
night, (each equal to a fortnight with us,) except by observing the
apparent motion of the sun or the stars, in which, considering that it is
nearly thirty times as slow as with us, they attain surprising accuracy.
They have the same short intervals of labour and rest in their long night
as their day--the light reflected from the earth, being commonly sufficient
to enable them to perform almost any operation; and, ere our planet is in
her second quarter, one may read the smallest print by her light.

To compensate their want of this natural advantage, the inhabitants of
Moriboozia are abundantly supplied with a petroleum, or bituminous liquid,
which is found every where about their lakes, or on their mountains, and
which they burn in lamps, of various sizes, shapes, and constructions. They
have also numerous volcanoes, each of which sheds a strong light for many
miles around.

We slept unusually long; and, owing in part to Wigurd's good cheer, I awoke
with a head-ache. I got up to take a long walk, which often relieves me
when suffering from that malady; and, on ascending the stairs, I met our
landlord's eldest daughter, a tall, graceful girl of twenty. I found she
was coming down backwards, which I took to be a mere girlish freak, or
perhaps a piece of coquetry, practised on myself: but I afterwards found,
that about the time the earth is at the full, the whole family pursued the
same course, and were very scrupulous in making their steps in this awkward
and inconvenient way, because it was one of the prescribed forms of their

As my head-ache became rather worse, than better, from my walk, the Brahmin
proposed to accompany me to the house of a celebrated physician, called
Vindar, who was also a botanist, chemist, and dentist, to consult him on my
case; and thither we forthwith proceeded. I found him a large, unwieldy
figure, of a dull, heavy look, but by no means deficient in science or
natural shrewdness. He confirmed my previous impression that I ought to
lose blood, and plausibly enough accounted for my present sensation of
fulness, from the inferior pressure of the lunar atmosphere to that which I
had been accustomed. He proposed, however, to return to my veins a portion
of thinner blood in place of what he should take away, and offered me the
choice of several animals, which he always kept by him for that purpose.
There were two white animals of the hog kind, a male and a female lama,
three goats, besides several birds, about the size of a turkey, some
tortoises, and other amphibious animals. He professed himself willing, in
case I had any foolish scruples against mixing my blood with that of
brutes, to purify my own, and put it back; but I obstinately declined both
expedients; whereupon he opened a vein in my arm, and took from it about
fourteen ounces of blood. Finding myself, weakened as well as relieved, by
the operation, he invited me to rest myself; and while I was recovering my
strength, he discoursed with the Brahmin and myself on several of his
favourite topics. On returning home, I committed to paper some of the most
remarkable of his opinions, which it may be as well to notice, that those
who have since propounded, or may hereafter propound, the same to the
world, may not claim the merit of originality.

He maintained that the number of our senses was greater than that commonly
assigned to us. That we had, for example, a sense of acids, of alkalies, of
weight, and of heat. That acid substances acted upon our bodies by a
peculiar set of nerves, or through some medium of their own, was evident
from this, that they set the teeth on edge, though these, from their hard
and bony nature, are insensible to the touch. That astringents shrivelled
up the flesh and puckered the mouth, even when their taste was not
perceived. That when the skin shrunk on the application of vinegar, could
it be said that it had not a peculiar sense of this liquid, or rather of
its acidity, since the existence of the senses was known only by effects
which external matter produced on them? That the senses, like that of
touch, were seated in most parts of the body, but were most acute in the
mouth, nose, ears, and eyes. He showed some disposition to maintain the
popular notions of the Greeks and Romans, that the rivers and streams are
endowed with reason and volition; and endeavoured to prove that some of
their windings and deviations from a straight line, cannot be explained
upon mechanical principles.

Vindar is, moreover, a projector of a very bold character; and not long ago
petitioned the commanding general of an army, suddenly raised to repel an
incursion of one of their neighbours, to march his troops into
Goolo-Tongtoia, for the purpose of digging a canal from one of their
petroleum lakes into Morosofia, and conducting it, by smaller streams, over
that country, for the purpose of warming it during their long cool nights.

He has, too, a large grist and saw mill, which are put in motion by the
explosion of gunpowder. This is conveyed, by a sufficiently ingenious
machine, in very small portions, to the bottom of an upright cylinder,
which is immediately shut perfectly close. A flint and steel are at the
same time made to strike directly over it, and to ignite the powder. The
air that is thus generated, forces up a piston through a cylinder, which
piston, striking the arm of a wheel, puts it in motion, and with it the
machinery of the mills. A complete revolution of the wheel again prepares
the cylinder for a fresh supply of gunpowder, which is set on fire, and
produces the same effect as before.

He told me he had been fifteen years perfecting this great work, in which
time it had been twice blown up by accidents, arising from the carelessness
or mismanagement of the workmen; but that he now expected it would repay
him for the time and money he had expended. He had once, he said, intended
to use the expansive force of congelation for his moving power; but he
found, after making a full and accurate calculation, that the labourers
required to keep the machine supplied with ice, consumed something more
than twice as much corn as the mill would grind in the same time. He then
was about to move it to a fine stream of water in the neighbourhood, which,
by being dammed up, so as to form a large pond, would afford him a
convenient and inexhaustible supply of ice. But the millwright, after the
dam was completed, having artfully obtained his permission to use the waste
water, and fraudulently erected there a common water-mill, which soon
obtained all the neighbouring custom, he had sold out that property, and
resorted to the agency of gunpowder, which is quite as philosophical a
process as that of congelation, and much less expensive. In answer to an
inquiry of the Brahmin's, he admitted, that though he had been able, by the
force of congelation, to burst metallic tubes several inches thick, he had
never succeeded in making it put the lightest machinery into a continued

Having now nearly recovered, and being, I confess, somewhat bewildered by
the variety and complexity of these ingenious projects, I felt disposed to
take my leave; but Vindar insisted on conducting us into an inner
apartment, to see his _poetry box_. This was a large piece of furniture,
profusely decorated with metals of various colours, curiously and
fantastically inlaid. It contained a prodigious number of drawers,
which were labelled after the manner of those in an apothecary's shop,
(from whence he denied, however, that he first took the hint,) and the
labels were arranged in alphabetical order.

"Now," says he, "as the excellence of poetry consists in bringing before
the mind's eye what can be brought before the corporeal eye, I have here
collected every object that is either beautiful or pleasing in nature,
whether by its form, colour, fragrance, sweetness, or other quality, as
well as those that are strikingly disagreeable. When I wish to exhibit
those pictures which constitute poetry, I consult the appropriate cabinet,
and I take my choice of those various substances which can best call up the
image I wish to present to my reader. For example: suppose I wish to speak
of any object that is white, or analogous to white, I open the drawer that
is thus labelled, and I see silver, lime, chalk, and white enamel, ivory,
paper, snow-drops, and alabaster, and select whichever of these substances
will best suit the measure and the rhyme, and has the most soft-sounding
name. If the colour be yellow, then there are substances of all shades of
this hue, from saffron and pickled salmon to brimstone and straw. I have
sixty-two red substances, twenty-seven green ones, and others in the same
proportion. It is astonishing what labour this box has saved me, and how
much it has added to the beauty and melody of my verse.

"You perceive," he added, "the drawer missing. That contained substances
offensive to the sight or smell, which my maid, conducted to it by her
nose, conceived to be some animal curiosities I had been collecting, in a
state of putrefaction and decay, and did not hesitate to throw them into
the fire. I afterwards found myself very much at a loss, whenever my
subject led me to the mention of objects of this character, and I therefore
spoke of them as seldom as possible." After bestowing that tribute of
admiration and praise which every great author or inventor expects, in his
own house, and not omitting his customary medical fee, we took our leave.

We had not long left Vindar's house, before we saw a short fat man in the
suburbs, preparing to climb to the top of a plane tree, on which there was
one of the tail feathers of a sort of flamingo. He was surrounded by
attendants and servants, to whom he issued his commands with great rapidity
and decision, occasionally intermingling with his orders the most
threatening language and furious gesticulations. Some offered to get a
ladder, and ascend, and others to cut down the tree; all of which he
obstinately rejected. He swore he would get the feather--he would get it by
climbing--and he would climb but one way, which way was on the shoulders of
his men. His plan was to make a number of them form a solid square, and
interlock their arms; then a smaller number to mount upon their shoulders,
on whom others were in like manner placed, and so on till the pyramid was
sufficiently high, when he himself was to mount, and from the shoulders of
the highest pluck the darling object of his wishes. He had in this way, I
afterwards learnt, gathered some of the richest flowers of the bignonia
scarlatina, as well as such fruits as had tempted him by their luscious
appearance, and at the same time frightening all the birds from their
nests, which he commonly destroyed: and although some of his attendants
were occasionally much hurt and bruised in this singular amusement, he
still persevered in it. He had continued it for several years, with no
intermission, except a short one, when he was engaged in breaking a young
llana in the place of an old one, which had been many years a favourite,
but was now in disgrace, because, as he said, he did not think it so safe
for going down hill, but in reality, because he liked the figure and
movements of the young one better.

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 life.

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 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._

As we returned to our lodgings, we saw a number of persons, some of whom
were entering and some leaving a neat small dwelling; and on joining the
throng, we learnt that a famous fortune-teller lived there, who, at
stated periods, opened his house to all that were willing to pay for
being instructed in the events of futurity, or for having the secrets of
the present or past revealed to them. On entering the house, and
descending a flight of steps, we found, at the farther end of a dark
room, lighted with a chandelier suspended from the ceiling, an elderly
man, with a long gray beard, and a thin, pale countenance, deeply
furrowed with thought rather than care. He received us politely, and
then resumed the duties of his vocation. His course of proceeding was to
examine the finger nails, and, according to their form, colour,
thickness, surface, and grain, to determine the character and destinies
of those who consulted him. I was at once pleased and surprised at the
minuteness of his observation, and the infinite variety of his
distinctions. Besides the qualities of the nails that I have mentioned,
he noticed some which altogether eluded my senses, such as their
milkiness, flintiness, friability, elasticity, tenacity, and
sensibility; whether they were aqueous, unctious, or mealy; with many
more, which have escaped my recollection.

A modest, pensive looking girl, apparently about seventeen, was timidly
holding forth her hand for examination, at the time we entered.
Avarabet, (for that was the name of this philosopher,) uttered two or
three words, with a significant shake of his head, upon which I saw the
rising tear in her eyes. She withdrew her hand, and had not courage to
let him take another look.

A fat woman, of a sanguine temperament, holding a little girl by the
hand, then stepped up and showed her fingers. He pronounced her amorous,
inconstant, prone to anger, and extravagant; that she had made one man
miserable, and would probably make another. She also abruptly withdrew,
giving manifest signs of one of the qualities ascribed to her.

An elderly matron then approached, holding forth one trembling, palsied
hand, with a small volume in the other. Avarabet hesitated for some
time; examined the edges as well as the surface of the nails; drew his
finger slowly over them, and then said,--"You have a susceptible heart;
you are in sorrow, but your affliction will soon have an end." It was
easy to see, in the look of the applicant, signs of pious resignation,
and a lively hope of another and a better state of existence.

I thought I perceived in the scene that was passing before us, an
exhibition that is not uncommon on our earth, of cunning knavery
imposing on ignorance and credulity; and I expressed my opinion to the
Brahmin; but he assured me that the class of persons in the moon, who
were resorted to on account of their supposed powers of divination, was
very different from the similar class in Asia or Europe, and that
oracular art was here regularly studied and professed as a branch of
philosophy. "You would be surprised," said he, "to find how successful
they have been in investing their craft with the forms and trappings of
science, the parade of classification, and the mystery imparted by
technical terms. By these means they have given plausibility enough to
their theories, to leave many a one in doubt, whether it is really a new
triumph of human discovery, or merely a later form of empiricism. Its
professors are commonly converts to their own theories, at least in a
great degree; for, strange as it may seem, there can mingle with the
disposition to deceive others, the power of deceiving one's self; and
while they exercise much acuteness and penetration in discovering, by
the air, look, dress, and manner of those who consult them, the leading
points in the history or character of persons of whom they have no
previous knowledge, they at the same time persuade themselves that they
see something indicative of their circumstances in their finger nails.
Such is the equivocal character of the greater part of their sect: but
there are some who are mere honest dupes to the pretensions of the
science; and others again, who have not one tittle of credulity to
extenuate their impudent pretensions.

"When I was here before, I remember a physician, who acquired great
celebrity by affecting to cure diseases by examining a lock of the
patient's hair; and, not content with merely pronouncing on the nature
of the disease, and suggesting the remedy, he would enter into an
elaborate, and often plausible course of reasoning, in defence of his
system. That system was briefly this: that the hair derived its length,
strength, hue, and other properties, from the brain; which opinion he
supported by a reference to acknowledged facts--as, that it changes its
hue with the difference of the mental character in the different stages
of life; that violent affections of the mind, such as grief or fear,
have been known to change it in a single night. Science on this, as on
other occasions, is merely augmenting and methodizing facts that the
mass of mankind had long observed--as, that red hair had always been
considered indicative of warm temperament; that affliction, and even
love, were believed to create baldness; and that in great terror, the
hair stands on end. The different ages too, are distinguished as much by
their hair as their complexion, their facial angle, or in any other way.
He was led to this theory first, by observing at school that a boy of a
stiff, bristly head of hair, was remarkably cruel. He professed to have
been able, from a long course of observation, to assign to every
different colour and variety of hair, its peculiar temperament and
character. One mental quality was indicated by its length, another by
its fineness, and others again as it chanced to be greasy, or lank, or
curled. He would also blow on it with a bellows, to see how the parts
arranged themselves: hold it near the fire, and watch the operation of
its crisping by the heat: and although he had often been mistaken in his
estimates of character, by the rules of his new science, he did not lose
the confidence of his disciples on that account--some of them refusing
to believe the truth, rather than to admit themselves mistaken; and
others insisting that, if his science was not infallible, it very rarely

It was now our turn to submit our hands to Avarabet for examination. He
discovered signs of the loftiest virtues and most heroic enterprise in
the Brahmin; and, near the bottom of one of his nails, a deep-rooted
sorrow, which would leave him only with his life. A transient shade of
gloom on the Brahmin's countenance was soon succeeded by a piercing,
inquisitive glance cast on the diviner. He saw the other's eyes directed
on the miniature which he always wore, and which discovered itself to
Avarabet as he stooped forward. A smile of contempt now took the place
of his first surprise, and he seemed in a state of abstraction, during
the continued rhapsodies of the oracle.

My hand was next examined; but little was said of me, except that I had
been a great traveller, and should be so again; that I should encounter
many dangers and difficulties; that I possessed more intelligence than
sensibility, and more prudence than generosity. Thus he discovered in me
great courage, enterprise, and constancy of purpose.

A hale, robust, well-set man, now bursting through the crowd, and
thrusting out his hand, abruptly asked the wise man to tell him, if he
could, in what part of the country he lived. Avarabet mentioned a
distant district on the coast of Morosofia.

"Good," said the other; "and what is my calling?"

After a slight pause, he replied, that he got his living on the water.

"Good again. Shall I ever be rich?"

"No, not very:--never."

"Better and better," rejoined the inquirer, at the same time giving vent
to a loud and hearty laugh. Surely, thought I, sailors are every where
the same sort of beings, rough and boisterous as the elements they
roam over.

"And what is your opinion of me farther?"

"You are bold, frank, improvident, credulous and good-natured."

"Excellent, indeed! Now, what will you say, old sham wisdom, when I tell
you that I never made a voyage in my life; was never two days' journey
from this spot, and am seldom off my own dominion? That I own the forest
of Tongloo, where I sometimes hunt, from morning till night, and from
night till morning, twelve out of the thirteen days in the year? That my
wealth, which was considerable when I came to my estate, has, by my
habits of life, greatly increased, and that I am bent upon adding to it
yet more? I drink nothing but water; and have come here only to win a
wager, that you were not as knowing as you pretended to be, and that I
could impose on you. You thus have a specimen of my candour,
improvidence, and credulity." So saying, he leaped on his zebra, gave a
sort of huntsman's shout, and was off in a twinkling.

This adventure created great tumult in the crowd, a few enjoying the
jest, but the greater number manifesting ill-will and resentment towards
the sportsman. The Brahmin and I took advantage of the confusion, to
withdraw unnoticed by the bystanders. After remaining at our lodgings
long enough to take rest and refreshment, and to make minutes of what we
had seen, we proposed to spend the remainder of the night in the
country, the weather being more pleasant at this time in that climate,
than when the sun is above the horizon.

We accordingly set out when the earth was in her second quarter, and it
was about two of our days before sunrise. After walking about three
miles, the freshness of the morning air, the fragrance of the flowers,
and the music of innumerable birds, whose unceasing carols testified
their joy and delight at the approach of a more genial month, we came to
a large, well cultivated farm, in which a number of coarse looking men
were employed, with the aid of dogs, cross-bows, and other martial
weapons, in hunting down llamas, and a small kind of buffalo, which, in
one of our former walks, we had seen quietly feeding on a rich and
extensive pasture. We inquired of some stragglers from the throng, the
meaning of what we saw; but they were too much occupied with their sport
to afford us any satisfaction. We walked on, indulging our imaginations
in conjecture; but had not proceeded more than a quarter of a mile,
before we beheld a similar scene going on to our left, by the same
ill-looking crew. Our curiosity was now redoubled, and we resolved to
wait a while on the highway, for the chance of some passenger more at
leisure to answer our inquiries, and more courteously inclined than
these fierce marauders. We had not stopped many minutes, before a
well-dressed man, wearing the appearance of authority, having ridden up,
we asked him to explain the cause of their violent, and seemingly
lawless proceedings.

"You are strangers, I see, or you would have understood that I am
exercising my baronial privilege of doing myself justice. These cattle
belong to the owners of a neighbouring estate, by whom I and my tenants
have been injured and insulted; and, according to the usage in such
cases, I have given the signal to my people to lay hold on what they can
of his flocks and herds, and, to quicken their exertions, I give them
half of what they catch."

"And how does your neighbour bear this in the mean time?" said the

"Oh, for that matter," said the other, "he is not at all behindhand, and
I lose nearly as many cattle as I get. But it gives me much more
pleasure to kill one of his buffaloes or llamas, than it does pain me
when he kills one of mine. I consider how much it will vex him, and that
some of his vassals are thereby deprived of their sustenance. I have
upwards of thirty strong men employed in ranging this plain and wood,
and during the last year they took for me four hundred head."

"Indeed!--and how many did you lose in the same time?

"Not above three hundred and eighty."

"But very inferior?" said the Brahmin.

"Why, no," replied he: "as my pastures are richer and more luxuriant
than his, two of my cattle are worth perhaps three of his."

"Is this custom," asked the Brahmin, "an advantage or a tax on your

"A tax, indeed! Why it is worth from four to five hundred head a-year."

"And how much is it worth to your neighbour?"

"I presume nearly as much."

"Do your vassals get rich by the bounty you give them?"

"As to that matter, some who are lucky succeed very well, and the rest
make a living by it."

"And what do they give you for the privilege of hunting your neighbour's

"Nothing at all: I even lose my customary rent from those who engage in

"And it is the same case with your neighbour?"

"Certainly," said he.

"Then," said the Brahmin, "it seems to me, if you would agree to lay
aside this old custom, you would both be considerable gainers. I see you
look incredulous, but listen a moment. Each one would, in that case,
instead of having half his neighbour's cattle, have all his own; and,
being kept in their native pastures, they would be less likely to stray
away, and you could therefore slay and eat as you wanted them; whereas,
in your hunting matches many more are either killed or maimed than are
wanted for present use, and they are consequently consumed in waste. You
would, moreover, be a gainer by the amount of the labour of these thirty
boors, whom you keep in this employment, and who very probably acquire
habits of ferocity, licentiousness, and waste, which are not very
favourable to their obedience or fidelity."

The proprietor, having pondered a while upon my friend's remarks, in a
tone of exultation said,--"Do you think, then, I could ever prevail on
my people to forbear, when they saw a likely flock, from laying violent
hands on it; or could I resist so favourable an opportunity of revenge?
Nay, more; if we were then tamely to tie up our hands, do you think that
Bulderent and his men would consent to do the same? No, no, old man," he
continued, with great self-complacency, "your arguments appear plausible
at first, but when closely considered, they will not stand the lest of
experience. They are the fancies of a stranger--of one who knows more of
theory than practice. Had you lived longer among us, you would have
known that your ingenious project could never be carried into execution.
If I observed it, Bulderent would not; and if he observed it, I verily
believe I could not--and thus, you see, the thing is altogether
impracticable." As one soon tires of preaching to the winds, the Brahmin
contented himself with asking his new acquaintance to think more on the
subject at his leisure; and we proceeded on our walk.


_The travellers visit a gentleman farmer, who is a great projector: his
breed of cattle: his apparatus for cooking: he is taken
dangerously ill._

After we had gone about half a mile farther, our attention was arrested
by a gate of very singular character. It was extremely ingenious in its
structure, and, among other peculiarities, it had three or four latches,
for children, for grown persons, for those who were tall and those who
were short, and for the right hand as well as the left. In the act of
opening, it was made to crush certain berries, and the oil they yielded,
was carried by a small duct to the hinge, which was thus made to turn
easily, and was prevented from creaking. While we were admiring its
mechanism, an elderly man, rather plainly dressed, on a zebra in low
condition, rode up, and showed that he was the owner of the mansion to
which the gate belonged, and that he was not displeased with the
curiosity we manifested. We found him both intelligent and obliging. He
informed us that he was an experimental farmer; and when he learnt that
we were strangers, and anxious to inform ourselves of the state of
agriculture in the country, he very civilly invited us to take our next
meal with him. Our walk having now made us hungry and fatigued, we
gladly accepted of his hospitality; whereupon he alighted, and walked
with us to his lodgings.

He was very communicative of his modes of cultivation and management,
but chiefly prided himself on his success in improving the size of his
cattle. He informed us that he had devoted sixteen years of his life to
this object, and had then in his farm-yard a buffalo nearly as heavy as
three of the ordinary size. His practice was to kill all the young
animals which were not uncommonly large and thrifty; to cram those he
kept, with as much food as they would eat, and to tempt their appetites
by the variety of their nourishment, as well as of the modes of
preparing it.

"All this," said he, "costs a great deal, it is true; but I am paid for
it by the additional price." I was struck with this notable triumph of
industry and skill in the goodly art of husbandry--that art which I
venerate above every other; and I was all anxiety to receive from him
some instructions which I might, in case I should have the good fortune
to get safely back, communicate to my friends on Long-Island, who had
never been able even to double the common size, and who boasted greatly
of that: but a hesitating look, and a few inquiries on the part of my
sly friend, checked my enthusiasm.

"Have you always," he asked, "had the same number of acres in grain and
grass under your new and old system?"

"Pretty nearly," says the other. "My new breed, however, though fewer,
consume more than their predecessors."

"How many head did you formerly sell in a year?"

"About thirty."

"How many do you now sell?"

"Though for some years I have not sold more than nine or ten, I expect
to exceed that number in another year."

"Which you expect will yield you more than the thirty did formerly?"

"Certainly; because such meat as mine commands an extraordinary price."

"So long," replied the Brahmin, "as this is novelty, you may receive a
part of the price which men are ever ready to pay for it; but as soon as
others profit by your example, your meat falls to the ordinary rate, and
then, if I understand you aright, as you will have somewhat less in
quantity than you formerly had, your gross receipts will be less, to say
nothing of your additional labour and expense."

"But who has the skill," quickly rejoined the other, "of which I can
boast? and who would take the same trouble, although they had
the skill?"

"But stop here a moment," said our host, "till I go to see how my last
improved oil-cake is relished by my cattle."

The Brahmin then turning to me, said,--"This gentleman may, indeed,
improve his fortune by the business of a grazier; but the same pains and
unremitting attention would always be sure of a liberal reward, though
the system on which they were exerted was not among the best. Nothing,
my dear Atterley, is more true than the saying of your wise book--_that
all flesh is grass;_ and it always takes the same quantity of one to
make a given quantity of the other, whether that given quantity may be
in the form of a single individual, or two or three. But in the former
case, great labour is required to force nature beyond her ordinary
limits, and the same labour must be unceasingly kept up, or she will
certainly relapse to her original dimensions. This system may do, as our
host here tells us it actually does, for the moon, but it is not suited
to our earth. If, however, you are ambitious of a name among the
speculative men of your country, this little stone," added he, stooping,
and picking up a small stone from the ground, "will answer your purpose
quite as well as any improvement in husbandry. It is precisely of the
same species as those which we threw over in our aerial voyages, and
which, though correctly called moon-stones by the vulgar, (who are
oftener right than the learned suppose,) some of the western
philosophers declared to have been gravitated in the atmosphere."

"And is this really the origin," said I, "of that strange phenomenon,
which has furnished so much matter of speculation to the sages both of
Europe and America?"

"Nothing is more true," replied he. "These stones are common to the
earth and to the moon; and some of those which have been so carefully
analyzed by your most celebrated chemists, and pronounced different from
any known mineral production of the earth, were small fragments of a
very common rock in the mountains of Burma. In our first voyages we had
taken some of them with us as ballast; and those which we first threw
over, we afterwards learnt from the public journals, fell in France,
some of the others fell in India, but the greater number in the ocean.
Those which have fallen at other times, have been real fossils of the
moon, and either such stones as this I hold in my hand, or such metallic
substances as are repelled from that body, and attracted towards the
earth; and it is the force with which they strike the earth, which first
suggested the idea of a thunder-bolt.

"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 atmosphere."

Finding that our landlord prided himself on his interior management, as
well as on that without doors, we expressed a wish to see some of his
household improvements. He readily consented, and conducted us at once
into his kitchen, and showed us inventions and contrivances out of
number, for saving fuel, and meat, and labour; in short, for saving
every thing but money. The large room into which he carried us, appeared
as a vast laboratory, from the infinite variety of pots, pans, skillets,
knives, forks, ladles, mortars, sieves, funnels, and other utensils of
metal, glass, pottery, and wood. The steam which he used for cooking,
was carried along a pipe under a succession of kettles and boilers,
descending in regular gradation, by which a great saving of fuel was
effected; and, to perfect this part of the apparatus, the pipe could be
removed, to give place to one of the size suited to the occasion.

His seven-guest pipe was now in use. The wood, which was all cut to the
same length, and channelled out to admit the free passage of the air,
was then duly placed in the stove, and set on fire; but the heat not
passing very readily through all the sinuosities of the pipe, he ordered
his head cook to screw on his exhauster. The man, in less than ten
minutes, unscrewed a plate at the farther end, and fixed on an air-pump,
made for the purpose, on which the door of the stove suddenly slammed
to. Our host saw the accident, and hurrying to open the stove, fell over
a heap of channelled logs, and cut a gash in his forehead. The cook ran
to help him up; and after he was on his legs, and his forehead wiped,
the stove was opened, when the fire, which had been deprived of its
aliment, was entirely extinguished. I thought he was hardly sorry for
the accident, as it afforded him an occasion of showing how ingeniously
he kindled a fire. He had an electric machine brought to him, by means
of which he set fire to a few grains of gunpowder; this lighted some
tinder, which again ignited spirits, whose blaze reached the lower
extremity of his lamp. Taking the precaution of keeping the stove open
this time, the air was again exhausted at the farther end of the pipe,
and in a little time the flame was seen to ascend even to the air-pump,
and to scorch the parts made of wood; whereupon I saw a glow of triumph
on his face, which amply compensated him for his wound and vexation.
There was a grand machine for roasting, that carried the fire round the
meat, the juices of which, he said, by a rotary motion, would be thrown
to the surface, and either evaporate or be deteriorated. Here was also
his digestor, for making soup of rams' horns, which he assured me
contained a good deal of nourishment, and the only difficulty was in
extracting it. He next showed us his smoke-retractor, which received the
smoke near the top of the chimney, and brought it down to be burnt over
again, by which he computed that he saved five cords and a half of wood
in a year. The fire which dressed his victuals, pumped up, by means of a
steam engine, water for the kitchen turned one or more spits, as well as
two or three mills for grinding pepper, salt, &c.; and then, by a
spindle through the wall, worked a churn in the dairy, and cleaned the
knives: the forks, indeed, were still cleaned by hand; but he said he
did not despair of effecting this operation in time, by machinery. I
mentioned to him our contrivance of silver forks, to lessen this labour;
but he coldly remarked, that he imagined science was in its infancy
with us.

He informed us that he had been ten years in completing this ingenious
machine; and certainly, when it was in full operation, I never saw
exultation and delight so strongly depicted in any human face. The
various sounds and sights, that met the ear and eye, in rapid
succession, still farther worked on his feelings, and heightened his
raptures. There was such a simmering, and hissing, and bubbling of
boiled, and broiled, and fried--such a whirling, and jerking, and
creaking of wheels, and cranks, and pistons--such clouds of steam, and
vapours, and even smoke, notwithstanding all of the latter that was
burnt,--that I almost thought myself in some great manufactory.

After having suffered as much as we could well bear, from the heat and
confined air of this laboratory of eatables, and passed the proper
number of compliments on the skill and ingenuity they displayed, we
ascended to his hall, to partake of that feast, to prepare which we had
seen all the elements and the mechanical powers called into action.
There were a few of his city acquaintances present, besides ourselves:
but whether it was owing to the effect of the steam from the dishes on
our stomachs, or that this scientific cookery was not suited to our
unpractised palates, I know not, but we all made an indifferent repast,
except our host, who tasted every dish, and seemed to relish them all.

After sitting some time at table, conversing on the progress of science,
its splendid achievements, and the pleasing prospects which it yet dimly
showed in the future, our hospitable entertainer, perceiving we were
fatigued with the labours of the day, invited us to take our next
_lallaneae_, or sleep, with him, for which hospitality we felt very
grateful. We were then shown to a room, in which there were marks of the
same fertile invention, in saving labour and promoting convenience; but
we were too sleepy to take much notice of them. Our beds were filled
with air, which is quite as good as feathers, except that when the
leather covering gets a hole in it, from ripping, or other accidents, it
loses its elasticity with its air--an accident which happened to me this
very night; for a mouse having gnawed the leather where the housemaid's
greasy fingers had left a mark, I sunk gently down, not to soft repose,
but on the hard planks, where I uncomfortably lay until the bell warned
us to rise for breakfast.

As soon as I was dressed, I walked out into a large garden, and, as the
sun was not yet so high as to make it sultry, was enjoying the balmy
sweetness of the air, and the flowering shrubs, which in beauty and
fragrance almost exceeded those of India, when I saw a servant run by
the garden wall, enter the stable, and bring out a zebra. On inquiring
the cause, I was made to understand that our noble host was taken
suddenly ill. I immediately returned to the house, and found the
domestics running to and fro, and manifesting the greatest anxiety, as
well as hurry, in their looks. I went into the Brahmin's room, and found
him dressed. He went out, and after some time, informed me that our kind
host had a violent _cholera morbus_, in consequence of the various kinds
of food with which he had overloaded his stomach at dinner; that he
considered himself near his last end, and was endeavouring to arrange
his affairs for the event.

I could not help meditating on the melancholy uncertainty of human life,
when I contrasted the comforts, the pleasures, the pride of conscious
usefulness and genius felt by this gentleman a short time since, with
the agony which that trying and bitter hour brings to the stoutest and
most callous heart--when it must quit this state of being for another,
of which it knows so little, and over which fear and doubt throw a gloom
that hope cannot entirely dispel.


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

While I indulged in these sad meditations, and felt for my host while I
felt no less for myself, I saw the physician approach who had been sent
for. He was a tall, thin man, with a quick step, a lively, piercing eye,
a sallow complexion, and very courteous manners, and always willing to
display the ready flow of words for which he was remarkable. I felt
great curiosity to witness the skill of this Lunar Aesculapius, and he
was evidently pleased with the interest I manifested. It turned out that
he was well acquainted with the Brahmin; and learning from the latter my
wish, he conducted me into the room of our sick host. We found him lying
on a straw bed, and strangely altered within a few hours. The physician,
after feeling his pulse, (which, as every country has its peculiar
customs, is done here about the temples and neck, instead of the
wrist)--after examining his tongue, his teeth, his water, and feces,
proposed bleeding. We all walked to the door, and ventured to oppose the
doctor's prescription, suggesting that the copious evacuations he had
already experienced, might make bleeding useless, if not dangerous.

"How little like a man of sense you speak," said the other; "how readily
you have chimed in with the prejudices of the vulgar! I should have
expected better things from you: but the sway of empiricism is destined
yet to have a long struggle before it receives its final overthrow. I
have attacked it with success in many quarters; but when it has been
prostrated in one place, it soon rises up in another. Have you, my good
friend, seen my last essay on morbid action?"

The Brahmin replied, that he had not yet had an opportunity of meeting
with it.

"I am sorry you have not," said the other. "I have there completely
demonstrated that disease is an 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. Sir," continued he, in
a more animated tone, "there is a beautiful simplicity in this theory,
which gives us assurance of its conformity to nature and truth. It needs
but to be seen to be understood--but to be understood, to be approved,
and carried into successful operation."

The Brahmin asked him if this unit did not present different symptoms on
different occasions.

"Certainly," he replied: "from too much or too little action, in this
set of vessels or that, it is differently modified, and must be treated

"This unit, then," said my friend, "assumes different forms, and
requires various remedies? Is there not, then, a convenience in
separating these modifications (or _forms_, if you prefer it) from one
another, by different names?"

"Stop, my friend; you do not apprehend the matter. I will explain." At
this moment two other gentlemen, of a grave aspect and demeanour,
entered the room. They also were physicians of great reputation in the
city. They appeared to be formal and reserved towards one another, but
they each manifested still more shyness and coldness towards the learned
Shuro. They entered the sick chamber, and having informed themselves of
the state of the patient, all three withdrew to a consultation.

They had not been long together, before their voices grew, from a
whisper, so loud, that we could distinctly hear all they said. "Sir,"
says Dr. Shakrack, "the patient is in a state of direct debility: we
must stimulate, if we would restore a healthy action. Pour in the
_stimulantia_ and _irritentia_, and my life for it, the patient
is saved."

"Will you listen to me for one moment?" says Dr. Dridrano, the youngest
of the three gentlemen. "It may be presumption for one of my humble
pretensions to set myself in opposition to persons of your age,
experience, and celebrity; but I am bound, by the sacred duties of the
high functions I have undertaken to perform, to use my poor abilities in
such a way as I can, to advance the noble science of medicine, and, in
so doing, to give strength to the weak, courage to the disheartened, and
comfort to the afflicted. Gentlemen, I say, I hope if my simple views
should be found widely different from yours, you will not impute it to a
presumption which is as foreign to my nature as it would be unsuited to
your merits. I consider the human body a mere machine, whose parts are
complicated, whose functions are various, and whose operations are
liable to be impeded and frustrated by a variety of obstacles. There is,
you know, one set of tubes, or vessels, for the blood; another for the
lymph; another for the sweat; and so on. Now, although each of these
fluids has its several channels, yet, if by any accident any one of them
is obstructed, and there is so great an accumulation of the obstructed
fluid that it cannot find vent by its natural channel, or duct, then you
must carry off the redundancy by some other; for you well know, that
that which can be carried off by one, can be carried off by all.
Gentlemen, I beg you not to turn away; hear me for a moment. Then, if
the current of the blood be obstructed, I make large draughts of urine,
or sweat or saliva, or of the liquor amnii; and I find it matters little
which of these evacuants I resort to. This system, to which, with
deference to your longer experience, I have had the honour of giving
some celebrity in Morosofia, explains how it is that such various
remedies for the same disease have been in vogue at different times.
They have all had in town able advocates. I could adduce undeniable
testimonials of their efficacy, because, in fact, they are all
efficacious; and it seems to me a mere matter of earthshine, whether we
resort to one or the other mode of restoring the equilibrium of the
human machine; all that we have to do, being to know when and to what
extent it is proper to use either. Determine, then, gentlemen,--you, for
whose maturer judgment and years I feel profound respect,--whether we
shall blister, or sweat, or bleed, or salivate."

Dr. Shuro, who had manifested his impatience at this long harangue, by
frequent interruptions, and which Dridrano's show of deference could
scarcely keep down, hastily replied: "You have manifestly taken the hint
of your theory from me; and because I have advanced the doctrine that
disease is an unit, you come forward now, and insist that remedy is an
unit too."

"You do me great honour, learned sir," said Dridrano. "Surely it would
be very unbecoming, in one of my age and standing, to set up a theory in
opposition to yours, but it would be yet more discreditable to be a
plagiarist; and, with all due respect for your superior wisdom, it does
seem to my feeble intellect, that no two theories can be more different.
You use several remedies for one disease: I admit several diseases, and
use one remedy."

"And does not darkness remind us of light," replied Shuro, "by the
contrast? heat of cold--north of south?"

"Gentlemen," then said Shakrack, who had been walking to and fro, during
the preceding controversy, "as you seem to agree so ill with each other,
I trust you will unite in adopting my course. Let us begin with this
cordial; we will then vary the stimulus, if necessary, by means of the
elixir, and you will see the salutary effects immediately. A loss of
blood would still farther increase the debility of the patient; and I
appeal to your candour, Dr. Shuro, whether you ever practised
venesection in such a case?"

"In such a case? ay, in what _you_ would call much worse. I was not long
since called in to a man in a dropsy. I opened a vein. He seemed from
that moment to feel relief; and he so far recovered, that after a short
time I bled him again. I returned the next day, and had I arrived half
an hour sooner, I should have bled him a third time, and in all human
probability have saved his life."

"If you had stimulated him, you might have had an opportunity of making
your favourite experiment a little oftener," said Shakrack.

"You are facetious, sir; I imagine you have been using your own panacea
somewhat too freely to-day."

"Not so," said his opponent, angrily; "but if you are not more guarded
in your expressions, I shall make use of yours, in a way you
won't like."

Upon which they proceeded to blows, Dridrano all the while bellowing, "I
beg, my worthy seniors, for the honour of science, that you
will forbear!"

The noise of the dispute had waked the patient, who, learning the cause
of the disturbance, calmly begged they would give themselves no concern
about him, but let him die in peace. The domestics, who had been for
some time listening to the dispute, on hearing the scuffle, ran in and
parted the angry combatants, who, like an abscess just lanced, were
giving vent to all the malignant humours that had been so long silently

In the mean while, the smooth and considerate Dr. Dridrano stept into
the sick room, with the view of offering an apology for the unmannerly
conduct of his brethren, and of tendering his single services, as the
other sages of the healing art could not agree in the course to be
pursued; when he found that the patient, profiting by the simple
remedies of the Brahmin, and an hour's rest, had been so much refreshed,
that he considered himself out of danger, and that he had no need of
medical assistance; or, at any rate, he was unwilling to follow the
prescriptions of one physician, which another, if not two others,
unhesitatingly condemned. Each one then received his fee, and hurried
home, to publish his own statement of the case in a pamphlet.

The Brahmin, who had never left the sick man's couch during his sleep,
now that he was out of danger, was greatly diverted at the dispute. But
he good-naturedly added, that, notwithstanding the ridiculous figure
they had that day made, they were all men of genius and ability, but had
done their parts injustice by their vanity, and the ambition of
originating a new theory. "With all the extravagance," said he, "to
which they push their several systems, they are not unsuccessful in
practice, for habitual caution, and an instinctive regard for human
life, which they never can extinguish, checks them in carrying their
hypotheses into execution: and if I might venture to give an opinion on
a subject of which I know so little, and there is so much to be known, I
would say, that the most common error of theorists is to consider man as
a machine, rather than an animal, and subject to one set of the laws of
matter, rather than as subject to them all.

"Thus," he continued, "we have been regarded by one class of theorists
as an hydraulic engine, composed of various tubes fitted with their
several fluids, the laws and functions of which have been deduced from
calculations of velocities, altitudes, diameters, friction, &c. Another
class considered man as a mere chemical engine, and his stomach as an
alembic. The doctrine of affinities, attractions, and repulsions, now
had full play. Then came the notion of sympathies and antipathies, by
which name unknown and unknowable causes were sought to be explained,
and ignorance was cunningly veiled in mystery. But the science will
never be in the right tract of improvement, until we consider,
conjointly, the mechanical operations of the fluids, the chemical agency
of the substances taken into the stomach, and the animal functions of
digestion, secretion, and absorption, as evinced by actual observation."
I told him that I believed that was now the course which was actually
pursued in the best medical schools, both of Europe and America.

Our worthy host, though very feeble, had so far recovered as to dress
himself, and receive the congratulations of his household, who had all
manifested a concern for his situation, that was at once creditable to
him and themselves. Expressing our gratitude for his kind attentions,
and promising to renew our visit if we could, we bade him adieu.

We took a different road home from the way we had come, and had not
walked far, before we met a number of small boys, each having a bag on
his back, as large as he could stagger under. Surprised at seeing
children of their tender years, thus prematurely put to severe labour, I
was about to rail at the absurd custom of this strange country, when my
friend checked me for my hasty judgment, and told me that these boys
were on their way to school, after their usual monthly holiday. We
attended them to their schoolhouse, which stood in sight, on the side of
a steep chalky hill. The Brahmin told me that the teacher's name was
Lozzi Pozzi, and that he had acquired great celebrity by his system of
instruction. When the boys opened their bags, I found that instead of
books and provisions, as I had expected, they were filled with sticks,
which they told us constituted the arithmetical lessons they were
required to practise at home. These sticks were of different lengths and
dimensions, according to the number marked on them; so that by looking
at the inscription, you could tell the size, or by seeing or feeling the
size, you could tell the number.

The master now made his appearance, and learning our errand, was very
communicative. He descanted on the advantages of this manual, and ocular
mode of teaching the science of numbers, and gave us practical
illustrations of its efficacy, by examining his pupils in our presence.
He told the first boy he called up, and who did not seem to be more than
seven or eight years of age, to add 5, 3, and 7 together, and tell him
the result. The little fellow set about hunting, with great alacrity,
over his bag, until he found a piece divided like three fingers, then a
piece with five divisions, and lastly, one with seven, and putting them
side by side, he found the piece of a correspondent length, and thus, in
less than eight minutes and a half, answered, "fifteen." The ingenious
master then exercised another boy in subtraction, and a third in
multiplication: but the latter was thrown into great confusion, for one
of the pieces having lost a division, it led him to a wrong result.

The teacher informed us that he taught geometry in the same way, and had
even extended it to grammar, logic, rhetoric, and the art of
composition. The rules of syntax were discovered by pieces of wood,
interlocking with each other in squares, dovetails, &c., after the
manner of geographical cards; and as they chanced to fit together, so
was the concordance between the several parts of speech ascertained. The
machine for composition occupied a large space; different sets of
synonymes were arranged in compartments of various sizes. When the
subject was familiar, a short piece was used; when it was stately or
heroic, then the longest slips that could be found were resorted to.
Those that were rounded at the ends were mellifluous; the jagged ones
were harsh; the thick pieces expressed force and vigour. Where the
curves corresponded at one end, they served for alliteration; and when
at the other, they answered for rhyme. By way of proving its progress,
he showed us a composition by a man who was deaf and dumb, in praise of
Morosofia, who, merely by the use of his eyes and hands, had made an
ingenious and high-sounding piece of eloquence, though I confess that
the sense was somewhat obscure. We went away filled with admiration for
the great Lozzi Pozzi's inventions.

Having understood that there was an academy in the neighbourhood, in
which youths of maturer years were instructed in the fine arts, we were
induced to visit it; but there being a vacation at that time, we could
see neither the professors nor students, and consequently could gain
little information of the course of discipline and instruction pursued
there. We were, however, conducted to a small _menagerie_ attached to
the institution, by its keeper, where the habits and accomplishments of
the animals bore strong testimony in favour of the diligence and skill
of their teachers.

We there saw two game-cocks, which, so far from fighting, (though they
had been selected from the most approved breed,) billed and cooed like
turtle-doves. There was a large zebra, apparently ill-tempered, which
showed his anger by running at and butting every animal that came in his
way. Two half-grown llamas, which are naturally as quiet and timid as
sheep, bit each other very furiously, until they foamed at the mouth.
And, lastly, a large mastiff made his appearance, walking in a slow,
measured gait, with a sleek tortoise-shell cat on his back; and she, in
turn, was surmounted by a mouse, which formed the apex of this
singular pyramid.

The keeper, remarking our unaffected surprise at the exhibition, asked
us if we could now doubt the unlimited force of education, after such a
display of the triumph of art over nature. While he was speaking, the
mastiff, being jostled by the two llamas still awkwardly worrying each
other, turned round so suddenly, that the mouse was dislodged from his
lofty position, and thrown to the ground; on seeing which, the cat
immediately sprang upon it, with a loud purring noise, which being heard
by the dog, he, with a fierce growl, suddenly seized the cat. The
llamas, alarmed at this terrific sound, instinctively ran off, and
having, in their flight, approached the heels of the zebra, he gave a
kick, which killed one of them on the spot.

The keeper, who was deeply mortified at seeing the fabric he had raised
with such indefatigable labour, overturned in a moment, protested that
nothing of the sort had ever happened before. To which we replied, by
way of consolation, that perhaps the same thing might never happen
again; and that, while his art had achieved a conquest over nature, this
was only a slight rebellion of nature against art. We then thanked him
for his politeness, and took our leave.


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

When we got back to the city, we found an unusual stir and bustle among
the citizens, and on inquiring the cause, we understood they were about
to elect the town-constable. After taking some refreshment at our
lodgings, where we were very kindly received, we again went out, and
were hurried along with the crowd, to a large building near the centre
of the city. The multitude were shouting and hallooing with great
vehemence. The Brahmin remarking an elderly man, who seemed very quiet
in the midst of all this ferment, he thought him a proper person to
address for information.

"I suppose," says he, "from the violence of these partisans, they are on
different sides in religion or politics?"

"Not at all," said the other; "those differences are forgotten at the
present, and the ground of the dispute is, that one of the candidates is
tall, and the other is short--one has a large foretop, and the other is
bald. Oh, I forgot; one has been a schoolmaster, and the other
a butcher."

Curiosity now prompted me to enter into the thickest of the throng; and
I had never seen such fury in the maddest contests between old George
Clinton and Mr. Jay, or De Witt Clinton and Governor Tompkins, in my
native State. They each reproached their adversaries in the coarsest
language, and attributed to them the vilest principles and motives. Our
guide farther told us that the same persons, with two others, had been
candidates last year, when the schoolmaster prevailed; and, as the
supporters of the other two unsuccessful candidates had to choose now
between the remaining two, each party was perpetually reproaching the
other with inconsistency. A dialogue between two individuals of opposite
sides, which we happened to hear, will serve as a specimen of the rest.

"Are you not a pretty fellow to vote for Bald-head, whom you have so
often called rogue and blockhead?"

"It becomes you to talk of consistency, indeed! Pray, sir, how does it
happen that you are now against him, when you were so lately sworn
friends, and used to eat out of the same dish?"

"Yes; but I was the butcher's friend too. I never abused him. You'll
never catch me supporting a man I have once abused."

"But I catch you abusing the man you once supported, which is rather
worse. The difference between us is this:--you professed to be friendly
to both; I professed to be hostile to both: you stuck to one of your
friends, and cast the other off; and I acted the same towards my
enemies." A crowd then rushed by, crying "Huzza for the Butcher's
knives! Damn pen and ink--damn the books, and all that read in them!
Butchers' knives and beef for ever!"

We asked our guide what these men were to gain by the issue of the

"Nineteenths of them nothing. But a few hope to be made deputies, if
their candidates succeed, and they therefore egg on the rest."

We drew near to the scaffold where the candidates stood, and our ears
were deafened with the mingled shouts and exclamations of praise and
reproach. "You cheated the corporation!" says one. "You killed two black
sheep!" says another. "You can't read a warrant!" "You let Dondon cheat
you!" "You tried to cheat Nincan!" "You want to build a watch-house!"
"You have an old ewe at home now, that you did not come honestly by!"
"You denied your own hand!"--with other ribaldry still more gross and
indecent. But the most singular part of the scene was a number of little
boys, dressed in black and white, who all wore badges of the parties to
which they belonged, and were provided with a syringe, and two canteens,
one filled with rose-water, and the other with a black liquid, of a very
offensive smell, the first of which they squirted at their favourite
candidates and voters, and the last on those of the opposite party. They
were drawn up in a line, and seemed to be under regular discipline; for,
whenever the captain of the band gave the word, "Vilti Mindoc!" they
discharged the dirty liquid from their syringes; and when he said "Vilti
Goulgoul!" they filled the air with perfume, that was so overpowering as
sometimes to produce sickness. The little fellows would, between whiles,
as if to keep their hands in, use the black squirts against one another;
but they often gave them a dash of the rose-water at the same time.

I wondered to see men submit to such indignity; but was told that the
custom had the sanction of time; that these boys were brought up in the
church, and were regularly trained to this business. "Besides," added my
informer, "the custom is not without its use; for it points out the
candidates at once to a stranger, and especially him who is successful,
those being always the most blackened who are the most popular." But it
was amusing to see the ludicrous figure that the candidates and some of
the voters made. If you came near them on one side, they were like roses
dripping with the morning dew; but on the other, they were as black as
chimney sweeps, and more offensive than street scavengers. As these
Syringe Boys, or Goulmins, are thus protected by custom, the persons
assailed affected to despise them; but I could ever and anon see some of
the most active partisans clapping them on the back, and saying, "Well
done, my little fellows! give it to them again! You shall have a
ginger-cake--and you shall have a new cap," &c. Surely, thought I, our
custom of praising and abusing our public men in the newspapers, is far
more rational than this. After the novelty of the scene was over, I
became wearied and disgusted with their coarseness, violence, and want
of decency, and we left them without waiting to see the result of
the contest.

In returning to our lodgings, the Brahmin took me along a quarter of the
town in which I had never before been. In a little while we came to a
lofty building, before the gate of which a great crowd were assembled.
"This," said my companion, "is one of the courts of justice." Anxious to
see their modes of proceeding in court, I pushed through the crowd,
followed by the Brahmin, and on entering the building, found myself in a
spacious amphitheatre, in the middle of which I beheld, with surprise,
several men engaged, hand to hand, in single combat. On asking an
explanation of my friend, he informed me that these contests were
favourite modes of settling private disputes in Morosofia: that the
prize-fighters I saw, hired themselves to any one who conceived himself
injured in person, character, or property. "It seems a strange mode of
settling legal disputes," I remarked, "which determines a question in
favour of a party, according to the strength and wind of his champion."

"Nor is that all," said the Brahmin, "as the judges assign the victory
according to certain rules and precedents, the reasons of which are
known only to themselves, if known at all, and which are often
sufficiently whimsical--as sometimes a small scratch in the head avails
more than a disabling blow in the body. The blows too, must be given in
the right time, as well as in the right place, or they pass for nothing.
In short, of all those spectators who are present to witness the powers
and address of the prize-fighters, not one in a hundred can tell who has
gained the victory, until the judges have proclaimed it."

"I presume," said I, "that the champions who thus expose their persons
and lives in the cause of another, are Glonglims?"

"There," said he, "you are altogether mistaken. In the first place, the
prize-fighters seldom sustain serious injury. Their weapons do not
endanger life; and as each one knows that his adversary is merely
following his vocation, they often fight without animosity. After the
contest is over, you may commonly see the combatants walking and talking
very sociably together: but as this circumstance makes them a little
suspected by the public, they affect the greater rage when in conflict,
and occasionally quarrel and fight in downright earnest. No," he
continued, "I am told it is a very rare thing to see one of these
prize-fighters who is a Glonglim; but most of their employers belong to
this unhappy race."

On looking more attentively, I perceived many of these beings among the
spectators, showing, by their gestures, the greatest anxiety for the
issue of the contest. They each carried a scrip, or bag, the contents of
which they ever and anon gave to their respective champions, whose wind,
it is remarked, is very apt to fail, unless thus assisted.

Having learnt some farther particulars respecting this singular mode of
litigation, which would be uninteresting to the general reader, I took
my leave, not without secretly congratulating myself on the more
rational modes in which justice is administered on earth.

When we had nearly reached our lodgings, we heard a violent altercation
in the house, and on entering, we found our landlord and his wife
engaged in a dispute respecting their domestic economy, and they both
made earnest appeals to my companion for the correctness of their
respective opinions. The old man was in favour of their children making
their own shoes and clothes; and his wife insisted that it would be
better for them to stick to their garden and dairy, with the proceeds of
which they could purchase what they wanted. She asserted that they could
readily sell all the fruits and vegetables they could raise; and that
whilst they would acquire greater skill by an undivided attention to one
thing, they who followed the business of tailors, shoemakers, and
seamstresses, would, in like manner, become more skilful in their
employments, and consequently be able to work at a cheaper rate. She
farther added, that spinning and sewing were unhealthy occupations; they
would give the girls the habit of stooping, which would spoil their
shapes; and that their thoughts would be more likely to be running on
idle and dangerous fancies, when sitting at their needles, than when
engaged in more active occupations.

This dame was a very fluent, ready-witted woman, and she spoke with the
confidence that consciousness of the powers of disputation commonly
inspires. She went on enlarging on the mischiefs of the practice she
condemned, and, by insensible gradations, so magnified them, that at
last she clearly made out that there was no surer way of rendering their
daughters sickly, deformed, vicious, and unchaste, than to set them
about making their own clothes.

After she had ceased, (which she did under a persuasion that she had
anticipated and refuted every argument that could be urged in opposition
to her doctrine,) the husband, with an emotion of anger that he could
not conceal, began to defend his opinion. He said, as to the greater
economy of his plan, there could be no doubt; for although they might,
at particular times, make more by gardening than they could save by
spinning or sewing, yet there were other times when they could not till
the ground, and when, of course, if they did not sew or spin, they would
be idle; but if they did work, the proceeds would be clear gain. He said
he did not wish his daughters to be constantly employed in making
clothes, nor was it necessary that they should be. A variety of other
occupations, equally indispensable, claimed their attention, and would
leave but a comparatively small portion of time for needlework: that in
thus providing themselves with employment at home, they at least saved
the time of going backwards and forwards, and were spared some trips to
market, for the sale of vegetables to pay, as would then be necessary,
for the work done by others. Besides, the tailor who was most convenient
to them, and who, it was admitted, was a very good one, was insolent and
capricious; would sometimes extort extravagant prices, or turn them into
ridicule; and occasionally went so far as to set his water-dogs upon
them, of which he kept a great number. He declared, that for his part he
would incur a little more expense, rather than he would be so imposed
upon, and subjected to so much indignity and vexation.

He denied that sewing would affect his daughters' health, unless,
perhaps, they followed it exclusively as an occupation; but, as they
would have it in their power to consult their inclinations and
convenience in this matter, they might take it up when the occasion
required, and lay it down whenever they found it irksome or fatiguing:
that as they themselves were inclined to follow this course, it was a
plain proof that the occupation was not unhealthy. He maintained that
they would stoop just as much in gardening, and washing and nursing
their children, as in sewing; and that we were not such frail or
unpliant machines as to be seriously injured, unless we persisted in one
set of straight, formal notions, but that we were adapted to variety,
and were benefited by it. That as to the practice being favourable to
wantonness and vice, while he admitted that idleness was productive of
these effects, he could not see how one occupation encouraged them more
than another. That the tailor, for example, whom he had been speaking
of, though purse-proud, overbearing, and rapacious, was not more immoral
or depraved than his neighbours, and had probably less of the libertine
than most of them. He admitted that evil thoughts would enter the mind
in any situation, and could not reasonably be expected to be kept out of
his daughters' heads (being, as he said, but women): yet he conceived
such a result as far less probable, if they were suffered to ramble
about in the streets, and to chaffer with their customers, than if they
were kept to sedate and diligent employment at home.

Having, with great warmth and earnestness, used these arguments, he
concluded, by plainly hinting to his wife that she had always been the
apologist of the tailor, in all their disputes; and that she could not
be so obstinately blind to the irrefragable reasoning he had urged, if
she were not influenced by her old hankering after this fellow, and did
not consult his interests in preference to those of her own family. Upon
this remark the old woman took fire, and, in spite of our presence, they
both had recourse to direct and the coarsest abuse.

The Brahmin did not, as I expected, join me in laughing at the scene we
had just witnessed; but, after some musing, observed: "There is much
truth in what each of these parties say. I blame them only for the
course they take towards each other. Their dispute is, in fact, of a
most frivolous and unmeaning character; for, if the father was to carry
his point, the girls would occasionally sell the productions of their
garden, and pay for making their clothes, or even buy them ready made.
Were the mother, on the other hand, to prevail, they would still
occasionally use their needles, and exercise their taste and skill in
sewing, spinning, knitting, and the like. Nay," added he, "if you had
not been so much engrossed with this angry and indecorous altercation,
you might have seen two of them at their needles, in an adjoining
apartment, while one was busy at work in the garden, and another up to
the elbows in the soap-suds--all so closely engaged in their several
pursuits, that they hardly seemed to know they were the subject of

I told the Brahmin that a dispute, not unlike this, had taken place in
my own country, a few years since; some of our politicians contending
that agricultural labour was most conducive to the national wealth,
whilst others maintained that manufacturing industry was equally
advantageous, wherever it was voluntarily pursued;--but that the
controversy had lately assumed a different character--the question now
being, not whether manufactures are as beneficial as agriculture, but
whether they deserve extraordinary encouragement, by taxing those who do
not give them a preference.

"That is," said the Brahmin, "as if our landlady, by way of inducing her
daughters to give up gardening for spinning, were to tell them, if they
did not find their new occupation as profitable as the old, she would
more than make up the difference out of her own pocket, which, though it
might suit the daughters very well, would be a losing business to
the family."


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

The Brahmin, who was desirous of showing me what was most remarkable in
this country, during the short time we intended to stay, thought this a
favourable time to visit Okalbia, or the Happy Valley. The Okalbians are
a tribe or nation, who live separated from the rest of the Lunar world,
and whose wise government, prudence, industry, and integrity, are very
highly extolled by all, though, by what I can learn, they have few
imitators. They dwell about three hundred miles north of the city of
Alamatua, in a fertile valley, which they obtained by purchase about two
hundred years since, and which is about equal to twenty miles square,
that is, to four hundred square miles. A carriage and four well-broke
dogs, was procured for us, and we soon reached the foot of the mountain
that encloses the fortunate valley, in about fifty-two hours. We then
ascended, for about three miles, with far fatigue than I formerly
experienced in climbing the Catskill mountains of my native State, and
found ourselves on the summit of an extensive ridge, which formed the
margin of a vast elliptical basin, the bottom of which presented a most
beautiful landscape. The whole surface was like a garden, interspersed
with patches of wood, clumps of trees, and houses standing singly or in
groupes. A lake, about a mile across, received several small streams,
and on its edge was a town, containing about a thousand houses. After
enjoying the beauties of the scene for some minutes, we descended by a
rough winding road, and entered this Lunar Paradise, in about four
hours. Along the sides of the highway we travelled, were planted rows of
trees, not unlike our sycamores, which afforded a refreshing shade to
the traveller; and commonly a rivulet ran bubbling along one side or the
other of the road.

After journeying about eight miles, we entered a neat, well built town,
which contained, as we were informed, about fifteen thousand
inhabitants. The Brahmin informed me, that in a time of religious
fervour, about two centuries ago, a charter was granted to the founder
of a new sect, the Volbins, who had chanced to make converts of some of
the leading men in Morosofia, authorising him and his followers to
purchase this valley of the hunting tribe to whom it belonged, and to
govern themselves by their own laws. They found no difficulty in making
the purchase. It was then used as a mere hunting ground, no one liking
to settle in a place that seemed shut out from the rest of the world. At
first, the new settlers divided the land equally among all the
inhabitants, one of their tenets being, that as there was no difference
of persons in the next world, there should be no difference in sharing
the good things of this. They tried at first to preserve this equality;
but finding it impracticable, they abandoned it. It is said that after
about thirty years, by reason of a difference in their industry and
frugality, and of some families spending less than they made, and some
more, the number of land owners was reduced to four hundred, and that
fifty of these held one half of the whole; since which time the number
of landed proprietors has declined with the population, though not in
the same proportion. As the soil is remarkably fertile, the climate
healthy, and the people temperate and industrious, they multiplied very
rapidly until they reached their present numbers, which have been long
stationary, and amount to 150,000, that is, about four hundred to a
square mile; of these, more than one half live in towns and villages,
containing from one hundred to a thousand houses.

They have little or no commerce with any other people, the valley
producing every vegetable production, and the mountains every mineral,
which they require; and in fact, they have no foreign intercourse
whatever, except when they visit, or are visited from curiosity. Though
they have been occasionally bullied and threatened by lawless and
overbearing neighbours; yet, as they can be approached by only a single
gorge in the mountain, which is always well garrisoned, (and they
present no sufficient object to ambition, to compensate for the scandal
of invading so inoffensive and virtuous a people,) they have never yet
been engaged in war.

I felt very anxious to know how it was that their numbers did not
increase, as they were exempt from all pestilential diseases, and live
in such abundance, that a beggar by trade has never been known among
them, and are remarkable for their moral habits.

"Let us inquire at the fountain-head," said the Brahmin; and we went to
see the chief magistrate, who received us in a style of unaffected
frankness, which in a moment put us at our ease. After we had explained
to him who we were, and answered such inquiries as he chose to make:

"Sir," said I, through the Brahmin, who acted as interpreter, "I have
heard much of your country, and I find, on seeing it, that it exceeds
report, in the order, comfort, contentment, and abundance of the people.
But I am puzzled to find out how it is that your numbers do not
increase. I presume you marry late in life?"

"On the contrary," said he; "every young man marries as soon as he
receives his education, and is capable of managing the concerns of a
family. Some are thus qualified sooner, and some later."

"Some occasionally migrate, then?"

"Never. A number of our young men, indeed, visit foreign countries, but
not one in a hundred settles abroad."

"How, then, do your associates continue stationary?"

"Nothing is more easy. No man has a larger family than his land or
labour can support, in comfort; and as long as that is the case with
every individual, it must continue to be the case with the whole
community. We leave the matter to individual discretion. The prudential
caution which is thus indicated, has been taught us by our own
experience. We had gone on increasing, under the encouraging influence
of a mild system of laws, genial climate, and fruitful soil, until,
about a century ago, we found that our numbers were greater than our
country, abundant as it is, could comfortably support; and our seasons
being unfavourable for two successive years, many of our citizens were
obliged to banish themselves from Okalbia; and their education not
fitting them for a different state of society, they suffered severely,
both in their comforts and morals. It is now a primary moral duty,
enforced by all our juvenile instructors with every citizen, to adapt
his family to his means; and thus a regard which each individual has for
his offspring, is the salvation of the State."

"And can these prudential restraints be generally practised? What a
virtuous people! Love for one another brings the two sexes
together--love for their offspring makes them separate!"

"I see," said the magistrate, smiling, "you are under an error. No
separation takes place, and none is necessary."

"How, then, am I to believe.....?"

"You are to believe nothing," said he, with calm dignity, "which is
incompatible with virtue and propriety. I see that the most important of
all sciences--that one on which the well-being and improvement of
society mainly depends,--is in its infancy with you. But whenever you
become as populous as we are, and unite the knowledge of real happiness
with the practice of virtue, you will understand it. It is one of our
maxims, that heaven gives wisdom to man in such portions as his
situation requires it; and no doubt it is the same with the people of
your earth."

I did not, after this, push my inquiries farther; but remarked, aside to
the Brahmin,--"I would give a good deal to know this secret, provided it
would suit our planet."

"It is already known there," replied he, "and has been long practised by
many in the east: but in the present state of society with you, it might
do more harm than good to be made public, by removing one of the checks
of licentiousness, where women are so unrestrained as they are
with you."

Changing now the subject, I ventured to inquire how they employed their
leisure hours, and whether many did not experience here a wearisome
sameness, and a feeling of confinement and restraint.

"It is true," said the magistrate, "men require variety; but I would not
have you suppose he cannot find it here. He may cultivate his lands,
improve his mind, educate his children; these are his serious
occupations, affording every day some employment that is, at once, new
and interesting: and, by way of relaxation, he has music, painting, and
sculpture; sailing, riding, conversation, storytelling, and reading the
news of what is passing, both in the valley and out of it."

I asked if they had newspapers. He answered in the affirmative; and
added, that they contained minute details of the births, deaths,
marriages, accidents, state of the weather and crops, arbitrations,
public festivals, inventions, original poetry, and prose compositions.
In addition to which, they had about fifty of their most promising young
men travelling abroad, who made observations on all that was remarkable
in the countries they passed through, which they regularly transmitted
once a month to Okalbia. I inquired if they travelled at the public
expense or their own?

"They always pursue some profession or trade, by the profits of which
they support themselves. We have nothing but intellect and ingenuity to
export; for though our country produces every thing, there is no
commodity that we can so well spare. Their talents find them employment
every where; and the necessity they are under of a laborious exertion of
these talents, and of submitting to a great deal from those whose
customs and manners are not to their taste, and whom they feel inferior
to themselves, is a considerable check to the desire to go abroad, so
much so, that we hold out the farther inducement of political
distinction when they return."

"What, then! you have ambition among you?"

"Certainly; our institutions have only tempered it, and not vainly
endeavoured to extinguish it; and we find it employment in this way: Of
our youthful travellers, those who are most diligent in their vocation;
who give the most useful information, and communicate it in the happiest
manner, are made magistrates, on their return, and sometimes have
statues decreed to them. Besides, the name which their conduct or
talents procure them abroad, is echoed back to the valley, long before
their return, and has much influence in the general estimate of their

"But have you not many more competitors, than you have public offices?"

"There are, without doubt, many who desire office; but to manifest their
wish, would be one of the surest means of defeating it. We require
modesty, (at least in appearance,) moderation and disinterestedness, and
of course, the less pains a candidate takes to show himself off,
the better."

"But have they no friends, who can at once render them this service, and
relieve them from the odium of it?"

"There is, indeed, somewhat of this; but you must remember, that the
highest of our magistrates has comparatively little power. He has no
army, no treasury, no patronage; he merely executes the laws. But, as a
farther check on the immoderate zeal of friends, the expense of doing
this, as well as of maintaining him in office, is defrayed by those who
vote for him. There seems, at first view, but little justice in this
regulation; but we think, that as every one cannot have his way, those
who carry their point, and have the power, should also bear the burden:
besides, in this way the voices of the most generous and disinterested
prevail. We have," he added, "found this the most difficult part of our
government. We once thought that the very lively interest excited in the
electioneering contests, particularly for that of Gompoo, or chief
magistrate, was to be ascribed to the power he possessed; and we
resorted to various expedients to lessen it--such as dividing it among a
greater number--requiring a quick rotation of office--abridging the
powers themselves: but we discovered, that however small the power, the
distinction it gave to those who possessed it, was always an object of
lively interest with the ambitious, and indeed with the public in
general. We have, therefore, enlarged the power, and the term of holding
it, and make him who would attain it, purchase it by previous exertion
and self-denial: and we farther compel those who favour him, to lose as
well as gain. We array the love of money against the love of power; or
rather, one love of power to another. Moreover, as it is only by the
civic virtues that our citizens recommend themselves to popular favour,
there is nothing of that enthusiasm which military success excites among
the natives."

Our Washington then presented himself to my mind, and for a moment I
began to question his claim to the unexampled honours bestowed on him by
his countrymen, until I recollected that he was as distinguished by his
respect for the laws, and his sound views of national policy, as for his
military services.

I then inquired into the occupations and condition of those who were
without land; and was told that they were either cultivators of the
soil, or practised some liberal or mechanical art; and, partly owing to
the education they receive, and partly from the active competition that
exists among them, they are skilful, diligent, and honest. Now and then
there are some exceptions, according to the proverb, that _in the best
field of grain there will be some bad ears_. The land-owners sometimes
cultivate the soil with their own hands--sometimes with hired
labourers--and sometimes they rent them for about a third of their
produce. The smallest proprietors commonly adopt the first course; the
middling, the second; and the great landholders the third."

"But I thought," said I, "that all the land in the valley was of equal

"So it is; but what has that to do with rent?"

"Sir," said I, "our ablest writers on this subject have lately
discovered that there can be no rent where there is not a gradation of
soils, such as exists in every country of the earth."

"I see not," said he, "what could have led them into that error. It is
true, if there was inferior land, there would be a difference of rent in
proportion to the difference of fertility; and if it was so poor as
merely to repay the expense of cultivation, it would yield no rent at
all. But surely, if one man makes as much as several consume, (and this
he can easily do with us,) he will be able to get much of their labour
in exchange for this surplus, which is so indispensable to them, and to
get more and more, until the greatest number has come into existence


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