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two telescopes, one of which projected through the top of the machine, and the other through the bottom ; a phosphoric lamp, pen, ink, and paper, and some light refreshments sufficient to supply us for some days.
*** The moon was then in her third quarter, and near the zenith : it was, of course, a little after midnight, and when the coppersmith and his family were in their soundest sleep, that we entered the machine. In about an hour more we had the doors secured, and every thing arranged in its place, when, cutting the cords which fastened us to the ground, by means of small steel blades which worked in the ends of other screws, we rose from the earth with a whizzing sound, and a sensation at first of very rapid ascent : but after a short time, we were scarcely sensible of any motion in the machine, except when we changed our places."
After the apprehensions of Atterley, occasioned by the novelty and danger of his situation, had partly subsided, he was enabled, with mingled awe and admiration, to contemplate the mag. nificent spectacle beneath him. As the earth turned round its axis, during their ascent, every part of its surface came successively under view. At nine o'clock, the whole of India was to the west of them; its rivers resembling small filaments of silver, and the Red Sea a narrow plate of the same metal. The peninsula of India was of a dark, and Arabia of a light, grayer green, and the sun's rays striking on the Atlantic, emitted an effulgence dazzling to the eyes. On looking, some time afterwards, through the telescope, they observed the African Continent, at its northern edge; fringed, as it were, with green ; “ then a dull white belt marked the great Sahara or Desert, and then it exhibited a deep green to its most southern extremity.” The Morea and Grecian Archipelago now fell under their telescope, and gradually the whole Mediterranean, and Arabian Gulf-the great media separating Africa from Europe and Asia ; "the political divisions of these quarters of the world were of course undistinguishable, and few of the natural were discernible by the naked eye. The Alps were marked by a white streak, though less bright than the water.” By the aid of the glass they could just discern the Danube, the Nile, and “a river which empties itself into the Gulf of Guinea,” and which Atterley took to be the Niger; but the other streams were not perceptible. The most conspicuous object of the solid part of the globe was the great Desert; the whole of Africa, however, appeared of a brighter hue than either Asia or Europe.
“I was struck too, with the vast disproportion which the extent of the several countries of the earth bore to the part they had acted in history, and the influence they had exerted on human affairs. The British islands had diminished to a speck, and France was little larger ; yet, a few years ago it seemed, at least to us in the United States, as if there were no other nations on the earth. The Brahmin, who was well read in European bistory, on my making a remark on this subject, reminded me that Athens and Sparta had once obtained almost equal celebrity, although they were so small as not now to be visible. As I slowly passed the telescope over the face of Europe, I pictured to myself the fat, plodding Hollander-the patient, contemplative German)--the ingenious, sensual Italian—the temperate Swiss--the haughty, superstitious Spaniard-the spright.
ly, self-complacent Frenchman-the sullen and reflecting Englishman-who monopolise nearly all the science and literature of the earth, to which they bear so small a proportion. As the Atlantic fell under our view, two faint circles on cach side of the equator, were to be perceived by the naked eye. They were less bright than the rest of the ocean. The Bralimin suggested that they might be currents ; which brought to my memory Dr. Franklin's conjecture on the subject, now completely verified by this circular line of vapour, as it had been previously rendered probable by the floating substances, which had been occasionally picked up, at great distances from the places where they had been thrown into the ocean. The circle was whiter and more distinct, where the Gulf Stream runs parallel to the American coast, and gradually grew fainter as it passed along the Banks of Newfoundland, to the coast of Europe, where, taking a southerly direction, the line of the circle was barely discernible. A similar circle of va. pour, though less defined and complete, was perceived in the South Atlantic Ocean." By degrees the travellers saw one half of the broad
of the Pacific, which glistened like quicksilver or polished steel, and subsequently the middle of the Pacific lay immediately beneath them; the irregular distribution of land and water on the globe, the expanse of Ocean here, being twice as large as in any other part, gives occasion to some amusing discussions on the various theories of cosmogony, to which we can only refer the reader; wearied, however, by these and other discussions, Atterley slept for six hours, and on awaking, found the Brahmin busy in calculating their progress; after which the latter lay down and soon fell into a tranquil sleep, having previously requested that he might be awakened at the expiration of three hours, or sooner if any thing of moment should occur. Atterley now looked down again through the telescope, and found the earth surprisingly diminished in its apparent dimensions, from the increased rapidity of their ascent; the eastern coasts of Asia were still full in view, as well as the whole figure of that extensive continent—of NewHolland, of Ceylon and of Borneo ; but the smaller islands were invisible.
“I strained my eye to no purpose, to follow the indentations of the coast, according to the map before me; the great bays and promontories could alone be perceived. The Burman Empire, in one of the insignificant villages of which I had been confined for a few years, was now reduced to a speck. The agreeable hours I had passed with the Brahmin, with the little daughter of Sing Fou, and my rambling over the neighbouring heights, all recurred to my mind, and I almost regretted the pleasures I had relinquished. I tried with more success to beguile the time by making notes in my journal; and after having devoted about an hour to this object, I returned to the telescope, anil now took occasion to examine the figure of the earth near the Poles, with a view of discovering whether its form fivoured Captain Symmes's theory of an aperture existing there ; and I am convinced that that ingenious gentleman is mistaken. Time passed so heavily during these solitary occupations, that I looked at my watch every five minutes, and could scarcely be persuaded it was not out of order. I then took up my little Bible, (which had always been my travelling companion,) read a few chapters in St. Matthew, and found my feelings tranquillized, and my courage increased. The desired hour at lengtli arrived; when, on waking the old man, he alertly raised himself up, and at the first view of the diminished appearance of the earth, observed that our journey was a third over, as 10 time, but not as to distance.”
VOL. 111.--NO, 5.
After having again composed himself to rest for about four hours, Atterley was awakened by the Brahmin, in whose arms he found himself, and, on looking around, discovered that he was lying on what had been the ceiling of the chamber, which still, however, felt like the bottom. The reason of this phenomenon was thus explained to him by the Brahmin—we have, while you were asleep, passed the middle point between the earth's and the moon's attraction; and we now gravitate less towards our own planet than (to) her satellite. I took the precaution to move you, before you fell by your own gravity, from what was lately the bottom, to that which is now so, and to keep you in this place until you were retained in it by the moon's attraction; for though your fall would have been, at this point, like that of a feather, yet it would have given you some shock and alarm. The machine, therefore, has undergone no change in its position or course; the change is altogether in our feelings.”
The whole face of the moon, Atterley now found to be entirely changed, and on looking through the upper telescope, the earth presented an appearance not very dissimilar; but the outline of her continents and oceans was still perceptible in different shades, and capable of being readily recognised; the bright glare of the sun, however, made the surfaces of both bodies somewhat dim and pale.
“ After a short interval, I again looked at the moon, and found not only its magnitude very greatly increased, but that it was beginning to present a more beautiful spectacle. The sun's rays fell obliquely on her disc, so that by a large part of its surface not reflecting the light, I saw every object on it, so far as I was enabled by the power of my telescope. Its mountains, lakes, seas, continents, and islands, were faintly, though not indistinctly, traced ; and every moment brought forth something new to catch my eye, and awaken my curiosity. The whole face of the moon was of a silvery hue, relieved and varied by the softest and most delicate shades. No cloud nor speck of vapour intercepted my view. One of my exclamations of delight awakened the Brahmin, who quickly arose, and looking down on the resplendent orb below us, observed that we must soon be. gin to slacken the rapidity of our course, by throwing out ballast. The moon's dimensions now rapidly increased ; the separate mountains, which formed the ridges and chains on her surface, began to be plainly visible through the telescope ; whilst, on the shaded side, several volcanoes appeared upon her disc, like the flashes of our fire-fly, or rather like the twinkling of stars in a frosty night. He remarked, that the extraordinary clearness and brightness of the ob. jects on the moon's surface, was owing to her having a less extensive and more transparent atmosphere than the earth : adding— The difference is so great, that some of our astronomical observers have been induced to think she has none. If that, however, had been the case, our voyage would have been impracticable.'”
After gazing for some time on this magnificent spectacle, with admiration and delight, one of their balls of lunarium was let off for the purpose of checking their velocity. At this time the Brahmin supposed they were not more than four thousand miles from the nearest point of the moon's surface. In about four hours more, her apparent magnitude was so great, that they could see her by looking out of either of the side windows.
“Her disc had now lost its former silvery appearance, and began to look more like that of the earth, when seen at the same distance. It was a most gratifying spectacle to behold the objects successively rising to our view, and steadily enlarging in their dimensions. The rapidity with which we approached the moon, impressed me, in spite of myself, with the alarming sensation of falling ; and I found myself alternately agitated with a sense of this danger, and with impatience to take a nearer view of the new objects that greeted my eyes. The Brahmin was wholly absorbed in calculations for the purpose of adjusting our velocity to the distance we had to go, his estimates of which, however, were in a great measure conjectural; and ever and anon he would let off a ball of the lunar metal.
“After a few hours, we were so near the moon that every object was seen in our glass, as distinctly as the shells or marine plants through a piece of shallow sea-water, though the eye could take in but a small part of her surface, and the horizon, which bounded our view, was rapidly contracting. On letting the air escape from our machine, it did not now rush out with the same violence as before, which showed that we were within the moon's atmosphere. This, as well as ridding ourselves of the metal balls, aided in checking our progress. By and by we were within a few miles of the highest mountains, when we threw down so much of our ballast, that we soon appeared almost stationary. The Brahmin remarked, that he should avail himself of the currents of air we might meet with, to select a favourable place for landing, though we were necessarily attracted towards the same region, in consequence of the same half of the moon's surface being always turned towards the earth.”
The Brahmin now pointed out the necessity of looking out for some cultivated field, in one of the valleys they were approaching, where they might rely on being not far distant from some human habitation, and on escaping the perils necessarily attendant on a descent amongst rocks, trees, and buildings. A gentle breeze now arising, as appeared by their horizontal motion, which wafted them at the rate of about ten miles an hour, over a ridge of mountains, a lake, a thick wood, &c. they at length reached a cultivated region, which the Brahmin recognised as the country of the Morosofs, the place they were anxious to visit. By now letting off two balls of lead to the Earth, they descended rapidly; and when they were sufficiently near the ground to observe that it was a fit place for landing, opened the door of their Balloon, and found the air of the moon inconceivably sweet and refreshing. They now let loose one of their lower balls, which somewhat retarded their descent; and in a few minutes more, being within twenty yards of the ground, they let go the largest ball of lunarium, which, having a cord attached to it, served in lieu of a grapnel; by this they drew themselves down, were disengaged from the machine in a twinkling, and landed “safe and sound” on, we presume, “luna firmu!”
Having seen our travellers securely deposited in the moon, we may remark, that in the passage from the earth, various topics of an interesting and important character were canvassed by the Brahmin and his companion; one, on the causes of national superiority, suggested by the views of Africa, and a comparison between that benighted country and others more illuminated, is especially worthy of attention, as containing a condensed and phi
losophical view of the subject; eloquently and perspicuously conveyed.
The view of America, suggests some remarks on the political peculiarities of the Uniled States, with speculations on their future destiny.
A lively description of the contrast between the circumstances of the Kamtschadale
“The shuddering tenant of the frigid zone,” and the gay, voluptuous native of the Sandwich, and other isles within the tropics—the one passing his life in toil, privation, and care-the other in ease, abundance, and enjoyment-leads to a similar conclusion to that expressed by Goldsmith :
“And yet, perbaps, if countries we compare,
And estimate the blessings which they share,
An equal portion dealt to all mankind.” A disquisition also takes place--whether India or Egypt were the parent of the Arts.?
This leads them to refer to the strange custom in the country of the Brahmin, which impels the widow to throw herself on the funeral pile, and be consumed with her husband :
“I told him," says Atterley, “that it had often been represented as compulsory-or, in other words, that it was said that every art and means were resorted to, for the purpose of working on the mind of the woman, by her relatives, aidcd by the priests, who would be naturally gratified by such signal triumphs of religion over the strongest feelings of nature. He admitted that these engines were sometimes put in operation, and that they impelled to the sacrifice, some who were wavering ; but insisted, that in a mujority of instances, the Sutlee was voluntary.
“"Women,' said he, are brought up from their infancy, to regard our sex as their superiors, and to believe that their greatest merit consists in entire devotion to their husbands. Under this feeling, and having, at the same time, their attention frequently turned to the chance of such a calamity, they are better prepared to meet it when it occurs. How few of the officers in your western armies, ever hesitate to march, at the head of their men, on a forlorn hope? and how many even court the danger for the sake of the glory? Nay, you tell me that, according to your code of honour, if one man insults another, he who gives the provocation, and he who receives it, rather than be disgraced in the eyes of their countrymen, will go out, and quietly shoot at each other with fire-arms, till one of them is killed or wounded ; and this too, in many cases, when the injury has been merely nominal. If you show such a contempt of death, in deference to a custom founded in mere caprice, can it be wondered that a woman should show it, in the first paroxysms of her grief for the loss of him to whom was devoted every thought, word, and action of her life, and who, next to her God, was the object of her idolatry? My dear Atterley,' he continued, with emotion, ‘you little know the strength of woman's love!"" Other topics of interest are also discussed with the like ingenuity.
After this episode, it is time for us to return to our travellers, whose feelings, the moment they touched the ground, repayed them for all they had endured. Atterley looked around with the most intense curiosity ; but nothing he saw, “surprised him so