Symzonia; Voyage of Discovery, by Adam Seaborn (pseud. John Cleves Symmes?), , at sacred-texts.com
Recreations of the Symzonians.—Wonderful provision of nature for supplying the internal world with light.—Character and employments of the women of Symzonia.
I visited the place of recreation, a neat plain rotunda, in the centre of an extensive flower garden, where the young people, the middle aged, and the old occasionally convened, to extend their knowledge of one another, interchange their thoughts by conversation, listen to the most exquisite music, and practise a variety of graceful and elegant exercises. Being all very fond of music, they all join in that, by turns, as in other performances. Sometimes an hundred instruments, and many hundreds of the most exquisite voices, filled the whole place with the most enchanting sounds.
The exquisite beauty of the women, the graceful dignity of the men, the chaste decorum
and sincere politeness of all, charmed the mind, and delighted the heart. Here there were no temptations to vice by offers of seducing cordials, wines, agreeable decoctions, or other intoxicating drinks, as in our places of resort for recreation. The enjoyments of this refined people were intellectual and pure—not the debasing gratifications of animal passions and sensual appetites.
The soft reflected light of the sun, which was now no longer directly visible, gave a pleasing mellowness to the scene, that was inexpressibly agreeable, being about midway between a bright moonlight and clear sunshine. I had great cause to admire the wonderful provision of nature, by which the internal world enjoyed almost perpetual light, without being subject at any time to the scorching heats which oppress the bodies and irritate the passions of the inhabitants of the external surface.
When the sun has great southern declination, it is seen directly through the opening at the south pole, a little above the horizon—this gives an interval of bright light; and as the rays of heat are more refrangible
than those of light *, a sufficient degree of heat is experienced to ripen the most delicate fruits.
At this season, during night, the rays of the sun are reflected from the opposite rim of the polar opening, and afford so much light as to render the stars invisible. The full moon is never seen at this period; for while the sun is in south declination, the moon fulls to the north of the equator, to give light to the north polar region, and the northern internal hemisphere.
March and September are the darkest months. Both the sun and full moon are then in the equator, and shine very obliquely by refraction, into both polar openings. Yet, by reflection from side to side, they afford a faint light quite to the internal equator, where two reflected suns and moons are dimly seen at the same time. This circumstance had led the internals to suppose that there were actually duplicates of those luminaries. Their situation, it should be considered, did not admit of such observations
of the celestial bodies, as were necessary to correct that error.
During this season, the planets and stars of the southern hemisphere are visible, some directly, and others by reflection. This occasions great mistakes in their astronomical calculations, which they ascribe to the aberrations of the heavenly bodies. It never occurred to them that their field of vision was a limited internal concave sphere, and a great part of their firmament nothing but a reflection of the external heavens.
When the sun is in north declination, it is not seen at all to the south; but as it then shines into the north polar opening, its influence is felt at Symzonia by a repeated reflection, and being aided both by the powerful light of the moon, (which always fulls in high south declination, when the sun is near the northern tropic, and shines directly into the southern opening,) and by the direct and reflected light of the planets and stars of the southern hemisphere, gives light enough for all necessary purposes.
The women of Symzonia are not regarded as inferior in intellectual capacity, or
moral worth, to the other sex. The female character is there respected, for the qualities of the female mind are developed and employed. Their personal beauty exceeds my powers of description. I can liken their complexion to nothing but alabaster slightly tinged with rose. Compared with them the fairest of our fair are dingy. This may not be readily credited by some of our beauties but they have only to place themselves near the alabaster ornaments in their drawing rooms to realize the fact.
The domestic duties of the Symzonian women are very simple, pleasing, and easily performed. To prepare the frugal family meal requires no roasting heat, nor black array of pots, kettles, spits, and gridirons. The little culinary preparation which vegetables and fruits require; is neatly and conveniently done in silver vessels; for silver is abundant, and well adapted for utensils for household use. To arrange their basins of milk and honey, and set out their baskets of fruit for a family united in esteem and love, is a pleasurable exercise.
The preparation of clothing for a people
of such simple habits requires comparatively little labour. The garden occupies a portion of their time, but the greater part is devoted to the instruction of their children, the improvement of their own minds, religion, and social intercourse.
Their parterres are not designed for the idle gratification of the eye, but to support innumerable swarms of honey making insects; the Symzonians being as fond of the sweet which nature has provided as the Externals are of that which is wrung from the bloody sweat of slavery.
Symmetry in form, and elegance in arrangement, are much attended to by this people; they do not attempt to surpass nature in the creation of beauties, but endeavour to heighten the enjoyment of what is placed before them, and make a right use of whatever they possess.
Vessels of gold for domestic purposes are sometimes used by those who cannot easily procure silver. Gold is abundant in the beds of rivers near the mountains, but it is not esteemed, because of its softness and great weight. It is chiefly employed in the fastening of their vessels, in place of
iron, which is very rare, and much valued for its strength, and fitness for all the purposes of agriculture and mechanics.
183:* See Dr. Herschel's Experiments on the refrangibility of the rays of light and heat.