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Symzonia; Voyage of Discovery, by Adam Seaborn (pseud. John Cleves Symmes?), [1820], at

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The Author examines the records of the Assembly.—Grounds of proposal for admittance to the order of Worthies—Shell fish of Symzonia.—Great quantities of Pearls, and the use to which they are applied.

I was allowed free access to the records of the Assembly: and, having made such proficiency in the Symzonian language as to read it with facility, I derived much amusement and instruction from the various recommendations for admittance to the distinguished orders which had been stated to the Grand Council and placed on record during a long course of ages. These records were much too voluminous to admit of my reading them in course. I therefore contented myself with opening them at hazard, and reading whatever chanced to present itself.

One man was proposed to be admitted to the order of Worthies by the title "Wise," because he had given evidence of superior imagination and ingenuity; he having fancied that he had discovered by

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studying the laws of matter and motion, that the Internals were inhabitants of the concave side of a hollow sphere; and, reasoning from analogy, that the convex or outer side of that sphere must be inhabited by a people enjoying a wider range of action, and more extended views of objects floating in unlimited space: that the suns, moons and stars, which they saw imperfectly by refraction and reflection, were only visible through a dense atmosphere in their world, but must of necessity be directly visible to the inhabitants of the External World in all their effulgence. He had written a book to explain his ingenious theory of an External World, in which he had endeavoured to show by various calculations, that his extravagant hypothesis was not absolutely beyond the limit of possibility.

This man was not proposed as one designated by the popular voice, but was named by a certain Wise man as one of retired habits and uncommon genius. The council unanimously rejected the application, and passed a vote of censure on him for troubling them with the dreams of a maniac or an enthusiast. The members of the council were generally of opinion that to

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suppose the outside of such a world to be inhabited was as absurd as to suppose men to dwell on the outside of their houses.

Another man was proposed as Wise, for devising a scheme to relieve the government from the trouble of superintending the distribution of things useful, in order to preserve equality in the comforts of the people throughout the land; and from constant attention to the emission and withdrawal of tokens, to maintain their regular value, and insure their proper effect. His plan was to substitute in place of the tokens a system of promissory obligations, to be issued by an association of individuals who should be always bound to redeem them. This plan, he contended, would greatly facilitate exchanges, and contribute to the convenience of government.

His scheme was promptly condemned, as a device to cheat the people, by causing perpetual fluctuations in the nominal price of things; and he was recorded as a designing man, unfit to be of the order of Worthies.

Another was proposed for admission as Wise, for composing a code of written laws, and writing a book to prove that the adoption

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of his project of numerous and particular laws in writing would conduce to the welfare of society, by enabling every one to know, with technical precision, what lie might and what he might not do.

This man's scheme, and the proposition founded upon it were both rejected. The council said, that as to all the matters embraced in this proposed system, public opinion, the established principles and habits of the people, the prevalent sense of rectitude and benevolence, had been and still was sufficient. Laws, if in accordance with these principles, could add nothing to their efficacy; and if inconsistent with them, they could not be enforced. The whole subject was at present plain; technical phrases would but darken and perplex it. Language was imperfect; words had different meanings; those who violated the spirit of these laws would contrive to evade the letter; the people would disagree in their judgments; the influence of public opinion would be destroyed; bad passions would be generated; more laws would be required; contest, disorder, and innumerable evils would be the consequence. The education and discipline to

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which the people were accustomed, the examples of the Good, the dictates of enlightened consciences, the sense of accountability to God, the simplicity, temperance, and practical piety of the people,—these formed the basis of good conduct, and upon these dependance might be safely placed.

The most frequent grounds of recommendation for the distinguished orders were regular and useful industry, temperate and exemplary lives, and constant endeavours to improve themselves and others.

Many were admitted for discoveries in botany, whereby the people were enabled to derive increased enjoyment from the vegetable world; many also became Worthies by advancing the knowledge of entomology, and finding how to guard against the ravages of insects, and how to turn the efforts of the myriads of almost invisible beings to harmless or useful ends.

I observed nothing of the nature of animals in use amongst this people as food, except oysters and other testaceous creatures, which have so little visible animation as to be considered by the Symzonians on an equality with vegetables, and to be provided like them for the nourishment of a

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higher order of life. They were probably led to this conclusion, by the vast profusion of shell-fish which abound in their waters. They are caught in astonishing quantities. The shells are employed in building, and to promote vegetation.

The pearls, which they afford in great abundance, and of large size, are used to glaze the walls of their apartments, being dissolved in a liquid, and laid on like paint. This process gives a smooth and elegant surface, like the inside of the pearl oyster-shell, which is inexpressibly delicate and agreeable in the soft light of this country, and at the same time renders the walls more durable.

I visited a maker of this pearl wash. My cupidity, I must confess, was greatly excited by the sight of large heaps of pearls, which would be of incalculable value in the external world. Even in the atmosphere of this pure region, I could not prevent my imagination from figuring the splendid palace, dashing equipage, and choice wines I should enjoy, and the unbounded respect and obsequious attention which would be paid to me by the great men of Gotham, on my return there with

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the enormous wealth which a cargo of these pearls would produce. I asked the workman for a specimen of the pearls, and he gave me a handful that were as large as peas, which I put in my pocket, intending to show them to the Best Man, as a sample of the article with which I should be glad to load my ship.

Next: Chapter XV