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- The Consolidator - 5/33 -
ever seem'd to incline to the hazardous Attempt of the Voyage to the Moon, at least not in such a hair-brain'd manner.
However, the Engine has been very accurately Re-built and finish'd; and the People are now oblig'd by a Law, to send up new Feathers every three Years, to prevent the Mischiefs which happen'd by that Prince aforesaid, keeping one Set so long that it was dangerous to venture with them; and thus the Engine is preserved fit for use.
And yet has not this Engine been without its continual Disasters, and often out of repair; for though the Kings of the Country, as has been Noted, have done riding on the back of it, yet the restless Courtiers and Ministers of State have frequently obtained the Management of it, from the too easy Goodness of their Masters, or the Evils of the Times.
To Cure this, the Princes frequently chang'd Hands, turn'd one Set of Men out and put another in: But this made things still worse; for it divided the People into Parties and Factions in the State, and still the Strife was, who should ride in this Engine; and no sooner were these Skaet-Riders got into it, but they were for driving all the Nation up to the Moon: But of this by it self.
Authors differ concerning the Original of these Feathers, and by what most exact Hand they were first appointed to this particular use; and as their Original is hard to be found, so it seems a Difficulty to resolve from what sort of Bird these Feathers are obtained: Some have nam'd one, some another; but the most Learned in those Climates call it by a hard Word, which the Printer having no Letters to express, and being in that place Hierogliphical, I can translate no better, than by the Name of a Collective: This must be a Strange Bird without doubt; it has Heads, Claws, Eyes and Teeth innumerable; and if I should go about to describe it to you, the History would be so Romantick, it would spoil the Credit of these more Authentick Relations which are yet behind.
'Tis sufficient, therefore, for the present, only to leave you this short Abridgement of the Story, as follows: This great Monstrous Bird, call'd the Collective, is very seldom seen, and indeed never, but upon Great Revolutions, and portending terrible Desolations and Destructions to a Country.
But he frequently sheds his Feathers; and they are carefully pickt up, by the Proprietors of those Lands where they fall; for none but those Proprietors may meddle with them; and they no sooner pick them up but they are sent to Court, where they obtain a new Name, and are called in a Word equally difficult to pronounce as the other, but Very like our English Word, Representative; and being placed in their proper Rows, with the Great Feather in the Center, and fitted for use, they lately obtained the Venerable Title of, The Consolidators; and the Machine it self, the Consolidator; and by that Name the Reader is desir'd for the future to let it be dignified and distinguish'd.
I cannot, however, forbear to descant a little here, on the Dignity and Beauty of these Feathers, being such as are hardly to be seen in any part of the World, but just in these remote Climates.
And First, Every Feather has various Colours, and according to the Variety of the Weather, are apt to look brighter and clearer, or paler and fainter, as the Sun happens to look on them with a stronger or weaker Aspect. The Quill or Head of every Feather is or ought to be full of a vigorous Substance, which gives Spirit, and supports the brightness and colour of the Feather; and as this is more or less in quantity, the bright Colour of the Feather is increased, or turns languid and pale.
Tis true, some of those Quills are exceeding empty and dry; and the Humid being totally exhal'd, those Feathers grow very useless and insignificant in a short time.
Some again are so full of Wind, and puft up with the Vapour of the Climate, that there's not Humid enough to Condence the Steam; and these are so fleet, so light, and so continually fluttering and troublesome, that they greatly serve to disturb and keep the Motion unsteddy.
Others either placed too near the inward concealed Fire, or the Head of the Quill being thin, the Fire causes too great a Fermentation; and the Consequence of this is so fatal, that sometimes it mounts the Engine up too fast, and indangers Precipitation: But 'tis happily observed, That these ill Feathers are but a very few, compar'd to the whole number; at the most, I never heard they were above 134 of the whole number: As for the empty ones, they are not very dangerous, but a sort of Good-for-nothing Feathers, that will fly when the greatest number of the rest fly, or stand still when they stand still. The fluttering hot-headed Feathers are the most dangerous, and frequently struggle hard to mount the Engine to extravagant heights; but still the greater number of the Feathers being stanch, and well fixt, as well as well furnisht, they always prevail, and check the Disorders the other would bring upon the Motion; so that upon the whole Matter, tho' there has sometims been oblique Motions, Variations, and sometimes great Wandrings out of the way, which may make the Passage tedious, yet it has always been a certain and safe Voyage; and no Engine was ever known to miscarry or overthrow, but that one mentioned before, and that was very much owing to the precipitate Methods the Prince took in guiding it; and tho' all the fault was laid in the Feathers, and they were to blame enough, yet I never heard any Wise Man, but what blam'd his Discretion, and particularly, a certain great Man has wrote three large Tracts of those Affairs, and call'd them, The History of the Opposition of the Feathers; wherein, tho' it was expected he would have curst the Engine it self and all the Feathers to the Devil, on the contrary, he lays equal blame on the Prince, who guided the Chariot with so unsteddy a hand, now as much too slack, as then too hard, turning them this way and that so hastily, that the Feathers could not move in their proper order; and this at last put the Fire in the Center quite out, and so the Engine over-set at once. This Impartiality has done great Justice to the Feathers, and set things in a clearer light: But of this I shall say more, when I come to treat of the Works of the Learned in this Lunar World.
This is hinted here only to inform the Reader, That this Engine is the safest Passage that ever was found out; and that saving that one time, it never miscarried; nor if the common Order of things be observed, cannot Miscarry; for the good Feathers are always Negatives, when any precipitant Motion is felt, and immediately suppress it by their number; and these Negative Feathers are indeed the Travellers safety; the other are always upon the flutter, and upon every occasion hey for the Moon, up in the Clouds presently; but these Negative Feathers are never for going up, but when there is occasion for it; and from hence these fluttering fermented Feathers were called by the Antients High-flying Feathers, and the blustering things seem'd proud of the Name.
But to come to their general Character, the Feathers, speaking of them all together, are generally very Comely, Strong, Large, Beautiful things, their Quills or Heads well fixt, and the Cavities fill'd with a solid substantial Matter, which tho' it is full of Spirit, has a great deal of Temperament, and full of suitable well-dispos'd Powers, to the Operation for which they are design'd.
These placed, as I Noted before, in an extended Form like two great Wings, and operated by that sublime Flame; which being concealed in proper Receptacles, obtains its vent at the Cavities appointed, are supplied from thence with Life and Motion; and as Fire it fell, in the Opinion of some Learned Men, is nothing but Motion, and Motion tends to Fire: It can no more be a Wonder, if exalted in the Center of this famous Engine, a whole Nation should be carried up to the World in the Moon.
'Tis true, this Engine is frequently assaulted with fierce Winds, and furious Storms, which sometimes drive it a great way out of its way; and indeed, considering the length of the Passage, and the various Regions it goes through, it would be strange if it should meet with no Obstructions: These are oblique Gales, and cannot be said to blow from any of the Thirty-two Points, but Retrograde and Thwart: Some of these are call'd in their Language, Pensionazima, which is as much as to say, being Interpreted, a Court-breeze; another sort of Wind, which generally blows directly contrary to the Pensionazima, is the Clamorio, or in English, a Country Gale; this is generally Tempestuous, full of Gusts and Disgusts, Squauls and sudden Blasts, not without claps of Thunder, and not a little flashing of Heat and Party-fires.
There are a great many other Internal Blasts, which proceed from the Fire within, which sometimes not circulating right, breaks out in little Gusts of Wind and Heat, and is apt to indanger setting Fire to the Feathers, and this is more or less dangerous, according as among which of the Feathers it happens; for some of the Feathers are more apt to take Fire than others, as their Quills or Heads are more or less full of that solid Matter mention'd before.
The Engine suffers frequent Convulsions and Disorders from these several Winds; and which if they chance to overblow very much, hinder the Passage; but the Negative Feathers always apply Temper and Moderation; and this brings all to rights again.
For a Body like this, what can it not do? what cannot such an Extension perform in the Air? And when one thing is tackt to another, and properly Cosolidated into one mighty Consolidator, no question but whoever shall go up to the Moon, will find himself so improv'd in this wonderful Experiment, that not a Man ever perform'd that wonderful Flight, but he certainly came back again as wise as he went.
Well, Gentlemen, and what if we are called High-flyers now, and an Hundred Names of Contempt and Distinction, what is this to the purpose? who would not be a High-flyer, to be Tackt and Consolidated in an Engine of such sublime Elevation, and which lifts Men, Monarchs, Members, yea, and whole Nations, up into the Clouds; and performs with such wondrous Art, the long expected Experiment of a Voyage to the Moon? And thus much for the Description of the Consolidator.
The first Voyage I ever made to this Country, was in one of these Engines; and I can safely affirm, I never wak'd all the way; and now having been as often there as most that have us'd that Trade, it may be expected I should give some Account of the Country; for it appears, I can give but little of the Road.
Only this I understand, That when this Engine, by help of these Artificial Wings, has raised it self up to a certain height, the Wings are as useful to keep it from falling into the Moon, as they were before to raise it, and keep it from falling back into this Region again.
This may happen from an Alteration of Centers, and Gravity having past a certain Line, the Equipoise changes its Tendency, the Magnetick Quality being beyond it, it inclines of Course, and pursues a Center, which it finds in the Lunar World, and lands us safe upon
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