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- The Consolidator - 4/33 -
understood themselves, witness Malbranch, Mr. Lock, Hobbs, the Honourable Boyle and a great many others, besides Messieurs Norris, Asgil, Coward, and the Tale of a Tub.
This great Searcher into Nature has, besides all this, left wonderful Discoveries and Experiments behind him; but I was with nothing more exceedingly diverted, than with his various Engines, and curious Contrivances, to go to and from his own Native Country the Moon. All our Mechanick Motions of Bishop Wilkins, or the artificial Wings of the Learned Spaniard, who could have taught God Almighty how to have mended the Creation, are Fools to this Gentleman; and because no Man in China has made more Voyages up into the Moon than my self, I cannot but give you some Account of the easyness of the Passage, as well as of the Country.
Nor are his wonderful Tellescopes of a mean Quality, by which such plain Discoveries are made, of the Lands and Seas in the Moon, and in all the habitable Planets, that one may as plainly fee what a Clock it is by one of the Dials in the Moon, as if it were no farther off than Windsor-Castle; and had he liv'd to finish the Speaking-trumpet which he had contriv'd to convey Sound thither, Harlequin's Mock-Trumpet had been a Fool to it; and it had no doubt been an admirable Experiment, to have given us a general Advantage from all their acquir'd Knowledge in those Regions, where no doubt several useful Discoveries are daily made by the Men of Thought for the Improvement of all sorts of humane Understanding, and to have discoursed with them on those things, must have been very pleasant, besides, its being very much to our particular Advantage.
I confess, I have thought it might have been very useful to this Nation, to have brought so wonderful an Invention hither, and I was once very desirous to have set up my rest here, and for the Benefit of my Native Country, have made my self Master of these Engines, that I might in due time have convey'd them to our Royal Society, that once in 40 Years they might have been said to do something for Publick Good; and that the Reputation and Usefulness of the so so's might be recover'd in England; but being told that in the Moon there were many of these Glasses to be had very cheap, and I having declar'd my Resolution of undertaking a Voyage thither, I deferred my Design, and shall defer my treating of them, till I give some Account of my Arrival there.
But above all his Inventions for making this Voyage, I saw none more pleasant or profitable, than a certain Engine formed in the shape of a Chariot, on the Backs of two vast Bodies with extended Wings, which spread about 50 Yards in Breadth, compos'd of Feathers so nicely put together, that no Air could pass; and as the Bodies were made of Lunar Earth which would bear the Fire, the Cavities were fill'd with an Ambient Flame, which fed on a certain Spirit deposited in a proper quantity, to last out the Voyage; and this Fire so order'd as to move about such Springs and Wheels as kept the Wings in a most exact and regular Motion, always ascendant; thus the Person being placed in this airy Chariot, drinks a certain dozing Draught, that throws him into a gentle Slumber, and Dreaming all the way, never wakes till he comes to his Journey's end.
Of the Consolidator.
These Engines are call'd in their Country Language, Dupekasses; and according to the Ancient Chinese, or Tartarian, Apezolanthukanistes; in English, a Consolidator.
The Composition of this Engine is very admirable; for, as is before noted, 'tis all made up of Feathers, and the quality of the Feathers, is no less wonderful than their Composition; and therefore, I hope the Reader will bear with the Description for the sake of the Novelty, since I assure him such things as these are not to be seen in every Country.
The number of Feathers are just 513, they are all of a length and breadth exactly, which is absolutely necessary to the floating Figure, or else one side or any one part being wider or longer than the rest, it would interrupt the motion of the whole Engine; only there is one extraordinary Feather which, as there is an odd one in the number, is placed in the Center, and is the Handle, or rather Rudder to the whole Machine: This Feather is every way larger than its Fellows, 'tis almost as long and broad again; but above all, its Quill or Head is much larger, and it has as it were several small bushing Feathers round the bottom of it, which all make but one presiding or superintendent Feather, to guide, regulate, and pilot the whole Body.
Nor are these common Feathers, but they are pickt and cull'd out of all parts of the Lunar Country, by the Command of the Prince; and every Province sends up the best they can find, or ought to do so at least, or else they are very much to blame; for the Employment they are put to being of so great use to the Publick, and the Voyage or Flight so exceeding high, it would be very ill done if, when the King sends his Letters about the Nation, to pick him up the best Feathers they can lay their Hands on, they should send weak, decay'd, or half-grown Feathers, and yet sometimes it happens so; and once there was such rotten Feathers collected, whether it was a bad Year for Feathers, or whether the People that gather'd them had a mind to abuse their King; but the Feathers were so bad, the Engine was good for nothing, but broke before it was got half way; and by a double Misfortune, this happen'd to be at an unlucky time, when the King himself had resolv'd on a Voyage, or Flight to to the Moon; but being deceiv'd, by the unhappy Miscarriage of the deficient Feathers, he fell down from so great a height, that he struck himself against his own Palace, and beat his Head off.
Nor had the Sons of this Prince much better Success, tho' the first of them was a Prince mightily belov'd by his Subjects; but his Misfortunes chiefly proceeded from his having made use of one of the Engines so very long, that the Feathers were quite worn out, and good for nothing: He used to make a great many Voyages and Flights into the Moon, and then would make his Subjects give him great Sums of Money to come down to them again; and yet they were so fond of him, That they always complyed with him, and would give him every thing he askt, rather than to be without him: But they grew wiser since.
At last, this Prince used his Engine so long, it could hold together no longer; and being obliged to write to his Subjects to pick him out some new Feathers, they did so; but withall sent him such strong Feathers, and so stiff, that when he had placed 'em in their proper places, and made a very beautiful Engine, it was too heavy for him to manage: He made a great many Essays at it, and had it placed on the top of an old Idol Chappel, dedicated to an old Bramyn Saint of those Countries, called, Phantosteinaschap; in Latin, chap. de Saint Stephano; or in English, St. Stephen's: Here the Prince try'd all possible Contrivances, and a vast deal of Money it cost him; but the Feathers were so stiff they would not work, and the Fire within was so choaked and smother'd with its own Smoak, for want of due Vent and Circulation, that it would not burn; so he was oblig'd to take it down again; and from thence he carried it to his College of Bramyn Priests, and set it up in one of their Publick Buildings: There he drew Circles of Ethicks and Politicks, and fell to casting of Figures and Conjuring, but all would not do, the Feathers could not be brought to move; and, indeed, I have observ'd, That these Engines are seldom helpt by Art and Contrivance; there is no way with them, but to have the People spoke to, to get good Feathers; and they are easily placed, and perform all the several Motions with the greatest Ease and Accuracy imaginable; but it must be all Nature; any thing of Force distorts and dislocates them, and the whole Order is spoiled; and if there be but one Feather out of place, or pincht, or stands wrong, the D---l would not ride in the Chariot.
The Prince thus finding his Labour in vain, broke the Engine to pieces, and sent his Subjects Word what bad Feathers they had sent him: But the People, who knew it was his own want of Management, and that the Feathers were good enough, only a little stiff at first, and with good Usage would have been brought to be fit for use, took it ill, and never would send him any other as long as he liv'd: However, it had this good effect upon him, That he never made any more Voyages to the Moon as long as he reign'd.
His Brother succeeded him; and truly he was resolved upon a Voyage to the Moon, as soon as ever he came to the Crown. He had met with some unkind Usage from the Religious Lunesses of his own Country; and he turn'd Abogratziarian, a zealous fiery Sect something like our Anti-every-body-arians in England. 'Tis confest, some of the Bramyns of his Country were very false to him, put him upon several Ways of extending his Power over his Subjects, contrary to the Customs of the People, and contrary to his own Interest; and when the People expressed their Dislike of it, he thought to have been supported by those Clergy-men; but they failed him, and made good, that Old English Verse;
That Priests of all Religions are the same.
He took this so hainously, that he conceiv'd a just Hatred against those that had deceiv'd him; and as Resentments seldom keep Rules, unhappily entertain'd Prejudices against all the rest; and not finding it easy to bring all his Designs to pass better, he resolved upon a Voyage to the Moon.
Accordingly, he sends a Summons to all his People according to Custom, to collect the usual quantity of Feathers for that purpose; and because he would be sure not be used as his Brother and Father had been, he took care to send certain Cunning-men Express, all over the Country, to bespeak the People's Care, in collecting, picking and culling them out, these were call'd in their Language, Tsopablesdetoo; which being Translated may signify in English, Men of Zeal, or Booted Apostles: Nor was this the only Caution this Prince used; for he took care, as the Feathers were sent up to him, to search and examine them one by one in his own Closet, to see if they were fit for his purpose; but, alas! he found himself in his Brother's Case exactly; and perceived, That his Subjects were generally disgusted at his former Conduct, about Abrogratzianism, and such things, and particularly set in a Flame by some of their Priests, call'd, Dullobardians, or Passive-Obedience-men, who had lately turn'd their Tale, and their Tail too upon their own Princes; and upon this, he laid aside any more Thoughts of the Engine, but took up a desperate and implacable Resolution, viz. to fly up to the Moon without it; in order to this, abundance of his Cunning-men were summon'd together to assist him, strange Engines contriv'd, and Methods propos'd; and a great many came from all Parts, to furnish him with Inventions and equivalent for their Journey; but all were so preposterous and ridiculous, that his Subjects seeing him going on to ruin himself, and by Consequence them too, unanimously took Arms; and if their Prince had not made his Escape into a foreign Country, 'tis thought they would have secur'd him for a Mad-man.
And here 'tis observable, That as it is in most such Cases, the mad Councellors of this Prince, when the People begun to gather about him, fled; and every one shifted for themselves; nay, and some of them plunder'd him first of his Jewels and Treasure, and never were heard of since.
From this Prince none of the Kings or Government of that Country have
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