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

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The Author loads the Explorer with seal skins, and sails from Seaborn's Land—Discovers Albicore's Islands.—Transactions at those islands.—He determines to conceal his discoveries from the world.—His reasons for this determination, and measures to effect it.—Sails for Canton.

We continued on the coast of Seaborn's Land until February 18th, when, having taken on board one hundred thousand seal skins, which were as many as we could stow without taking down our machinery, and that I did not think it prudent to do on that side of the icy hoop, we took our departure from Boneto's station, leaving all the animals that remained alive on one of the largest islands, to stock it for the benefit of future adventurers. We steered due north, and soon lost sight of the coast.

On the second day we fell in with extensive fields of ice, which compelled us to haul up, first N. W., then W. N. W., and at one time due west. This was somewhat alarming; but ultimately we realized the

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correctness of my supposition, that the range of land must keep an open passage to leeward of it; and on the 1st of March, 1819, I had the satisfaction to observe in latitude 69° 15´ south, with a clear open sea.

I now hauled up due east, to run down my longitude with the greater despatch in this high latitude, where the degrees of longitude are small. This was fortunate: for by running on this parallel we discovered on the third day a group of small islands, forming a fine harbour, and well stocked with seal. Here we anchored. The islands were high broken rocks of granite and whinstone, apparently dislocated from their primitive bed, and thrown up by some volcanic eruption, or by the efforts of elastic gases generated in the 'mid-plane cavity,' to escape through this outer crust of the earth.

Some scanty tussoc, and a few mountain plants and mosses in the most favoured spots, formed the only evidence of vegetation observable in these dreary islands. I named them Albicore's Islands, they having been first discovered by that vigilant officer; and determined to avail myself

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of the discovery to extend the profits of my voyage, by adding as many seal skins to my cargo as could be stowed in the space occupied by the steam engine and boiler, which I took to pieces, and placed in the bottom of the ship for ballast and dunnage. By caulking in the paddle ports I also gained the place between the double sides, and rendered the ship to outward observation like an ordinary vessel, ketch rigged.

We remained at Albicore's Islands six weeks, in which time we obtained seventeen thousand skins. Having taken these on board, and performed the important ceremony of taking possession of the islands for the United States, by hoisting the stripes and stars upon them in the usual manner, I was ready to depart. for Canton.

Being now about to visit a place where I should meet many of my countrymen and persons full of curiosity from every part of the world, who would be very inquisitive as to the discoveries I had made, I was led to reflect maturely on the consequences which might result from a disclosure of them; and the advantages which might be derived to myself, my friends, and my officers

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and people, by withholding all knowledge of them from the world.

At length, having made up my own mind on the subject, I called my officers and people together, and stated to them that if we should on our return to the United States, or at Canton, declare the discoveries we had made, we should in the first place expose ourselves to the charge of being impostors and outrageous falsifiers; in the second place, our countrymen, and even the Europeans, who would give us no credit for our bravery and enterprise, would avail themselves of all the information we might communicate, to fit out expeditions to Seaborn's Land, and possibly to Belzubia, and thus reap the harvest of our planting; but, worse than all, after thus appropriating to themselves the benefits of our skill and perseverance, they would assert that they had made all those discoveries, call all those places by new names, and affirm that we had never been there at all.

On the other hand, by concealing the knowledge of these discoveries in our own breasts, we could derive extensive benefits therefrom during the remainder of our lives. To effect this, they had only to bind themselves

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to me by oath, to keep this matter a. profound secret, and when they had been a sufficient time on shore, or had spent most of their money, I would fit out the Explorer, or another and better vessel, under the command of Mr. Boneto or Mr. Albicore, in which all should share according to their present standing on my books, and for which I should have money enough out of my profits from the present voyage. This would give us all a certain resource for the good things of this life; whereas if we made our adventures public, the business would be overdone in a year or two, and we should then have to look to the moon or some of the planets for room for further discoveries.

All assented to my proposal except Mr. Slim, who objected that an extra judicial oath would not be binding, that it would be a dereliction of duty on my part to withhold from mankind the knowledge of the most valuable part of the world, and finally, that he was principled against taking oaths. Slim was not open to persuasion. There was no moving him. He had gloated his imagination with the figure he should cut when, in consequence of having been an

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officer with me on this voyage, he should get command of a ship for a voyage to the sea of wealth, have the merchants crowding round him to obtain the benefit of the valuable information he possessed, and hear the delightful sound of 'Captain Slim.'

All my other officers and men took the prescribed obligation, whereby they bound themselves not to disclose by word, deed, writing, or sign, any of the discoveries or occurrences of this voyage, after our departure from off South Georgia, without my consent and approbation first obtained in writing. Slim's conduct was thought by all to be very unreasonable, and many of the men would willingly have thrown him overboard: but, with some difficulty, I pacified them, and persuaded them that Slim would think better of the matter before we reached Canton, if not, I would, while there, confine him to his state-room, and prevent his doing mischief. in the hope that he would become more rational on the homeward passage. This important matter settled, we bore up for Canton.

Next: Chapter XVIII