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- The Consolidator - 6/33 -
I was told, I need take no Bills of Exchange with me, nor Letters of Credit; for that upon my first Arrival, the Inhabitants would be very civil to me: That they never suffered any of Our World to want any thing when they came there: That they were very free to show them any thing, and inform them in all needful Cases; and that whatever Rarities the Country afforded, should be expos'd immediately.
I shall not enter into the Customs, Geography, or History of the Place, only acquaint the Reader, That I found no manner of Difference in any thing Natural, except as hereafter excepted, but all was exactly as is here, an Elementary World, peopled with Folks, as like us as if they were only Inhabitants of the same Continent, but in a remote Climate.
The Inhabitants were Men, Women, Beasts, Birds, Fishes, and Insects, of the same individual Species as Ours, the latter excepted: The Men no wiser, better, nor bigger than here; the Women no handsomer or honester than Ours: There were Knaves and honest Men, honest Women and Whores of all Sorts, Countries, Nations and Kindreds, as on this side the Skies.
They had the same Sun to shine, the Planets were equally visible as to us, and their Astrologers were as busily Impertinent as Ours, only that those wonderful Glasses hinted before made strange Discoveries that we were unacquainted with; by them they could plainly discover, That this World was their Moon, and their World our Moon; and when I came first among them, the People that flockt about me, distinguisht me by the Name of, the Man that came out of the Moon.
I cannot, however, but acquaint the Reader, with some Remarks I made in this new World, before I come to any thing Historical.
I have heard, that among the Generallity of our People, who being not much addicted to Revelation, have much concern'd themselves about Demonstrations, a Generation have risen up, who to solve the Difficulties of Supernatural Systems, imagine a mighty vast Something, who has no Form but what represents him to them as one Great Eye: This infinite Optick they imagine to be Natura Naturans, or Power-forming; and that as we pretend the Soul of Man has a Similitude in quality to its Original, according to a Notion some People have, who read that so much ridicul'd Old Legend, call'd Bible, That Man was made in the Image of his Maker: The Soul of Man, therefore, in the Opinion of these Naturallists, is one vast Optick Power diffus'd through him into all his Parts, but seated principally in his Head.
From hence they resolve all Beings to Eyes, some more capable of Sight and receptive of Objects than others; and as to things Invisible, they reckon nothing so, only so far as our Sight is deficient, contracted or darkened by Accidents from without, as Distance of Place, Interposition of Vapours, Clouds, liquid Air, Exhalations, &c. or from within, as wandring Errors, wild Notions, cloudy Understandings, and empty Fancies, with a Thousand other interposing Obstacles to the Sight, which darken it, and prevent its Operation; and particularly obstruct the perceptive Faculties, weaken the Head, and bring Mankind in General to stand in need of the Spectacles of Education as soon as ever they are born: Nay, and as soon as they have made use of these Artificial Eyes, all they can do is but to clear the Sight so far as to see that they can't see; the utmost Wisdom of Mankind, and the highest Improvement a Man ought to wish for, being but to be able to see that he was Born blind; this pushes him upon search after Mediums for the Recovery of his Sight, and away he runs to School to Art and Science, and there he is furnisht with Horoscopes, Microscopes, Tellescopes, Caliscopes, Money-scopes, and the D---l and and all of Glasses, to help and assist his Moon-blind Understanding; these with wonderful Skill and Ages of Application, after wandring thro' Bogs and Wildernesses of Guess, Conjectures, Supposes, Calculations, and he knows not what, which he meets with in Physicks, Politicks, Ethicks, Astronomy, Mathematicks, and such sort of bewildring Things, bring him with vast Difficulty to a little Minute-spot, call'd Demonstration; and as not one in Ten Thousand ever finds the way thither, but are lost in the tiresome uncouth Journey, so they that do, 'tis so long before they come there, that they are grown Old and good for little in the Journey; and no sooner have they obtained a glimering of this Universal Eye-sight, this Eclaricissment General, but they Die, and have hardly time to show the way to those that come after.
Now, as the earnest search after this thing call'd Demonstration fill'd me with Desires of seeing every thing, so my Observations of the strange multitude of Mysteries I met with in all Men's Actions here, spurr'd my Curiosity to examine, if the Great Eye of the World had no People to whom he had given a clearer Eye-sight, or at least, that made a better use of it than we had here.
If pursuing this search I was much delighted at my Arrival into China, it cannot be thought strange, since there we find Knowledge as much advanc'd beyond our common Pitch, as it was pretended to be deriv'd from a more Ancient Original.
We are told, that in the early Age of the World, the Strength of Invention exceeded all that ever has been arrived to since: That we in these latter Ages, having lost all that pristine Strength of Reason and Invention, which died with the Ancients in the Flood, and receiving no helps from that Age, have by long Search arriv'd at several remote Parts of Knowledge, by the helps of reading Conversation and Experience; but that all amounts to no more than faint Imitations, Apings, and Resemblances of what was known in those masterly Ages.
Now, if it be true as is hinted before, That the Chinese Empire was Peopled long before the Flood; and that they were not destroyed in the General Deluge in the Days of Noah; 'tis no such strange thing, that they should so much out-do us in this sort of Eye-sight we call General Knowledge, since the Perfections bestow'd on Nature, when in her Youth and Prime met with no General Suffocation by that Calamity.
But if I was extreamly delighted with the extraordinary things I saw in those Countries, you cannot but imagine I was exceedingly mov'd, when I heard of a Lunar World; and that the way was passable from these Parts.
I had heard of a World in the Moon among some of our Learned Philosophers, and Moor, as I have been told, had a Moon in his Head; but none of the fine Pretenders, no not Bishop Wilkins, ever found Mechanick Engines, whose Motion was sufficient to attempt the Passage. A late happy Author indeed, among his Mechanick Operations of the Spirit, had found out an Enthusiasm, which if he could have pursued to its proper Extream, without doubt might, either in the Body or out of the Body, have Landed him somewhere hereabout; but that he form'd his System wholly upon the mistaken Notion of Wind, which Learned Hypothesis being directly contrary to the Nature of things in this Climate, where the Elasticity of the Air is quite different and where the pressure of the Atmosphere has for want of Vapour no Force, all his Notion dissolv'd in its Native Vapour call'd Wind, and flew upward in blew Strakes of a livid Flame call'd Blasphemy, which burnt up all the Wit and Fancy of the Author, and left a strange stench behind it, that has this unhappy quality in it, that every Body that Reads the Book, smells the Author, tho' he be never so far off; nay, tho' he took Shipping to Dublin, to secure his Friends from the least danger of a Conjecture.
But to return, to the happy Regions of the Lunar Continent, I was no sooner Landed there, and had lookt about me, but I was surpriz'd with the strange Alteration of the Climate and Country; and particularly a strange Salubrity and Fragrancy in the Air, which I felt so Nourishing, so Pleasant and Delightful, that tho' I could perceive some small Respiration, it was hardly discernable, and the least requisite for Life, supplied so long that the Bellows of Nature were hardly imployed.
But as I shall take occasion to consider this in a Critical Examination into the Nature, Uses and Advantages of Good Lungs, of which by it self, so I think fit to confine my present Observations to things more particularly concerning the Eye-sight.
I was, you may be sure, not a little surprized, when being upon an Eminence I found my self capable by common Observation, to see and distinguish things at the distance of 100 Miles and more, and seeking some Information on this point, I was acquainted by the People, that there was a certain grave Philosopher hard by, that could give me a very good Account of things.
It is not worth while to tell you this Man's Lunar Name, of whether he had a Name, or no; 'tis plain, 'twas a Man in the Moon; but all the Conference I had with him was very strange: At my first coming to him, he askt me if I came from the World in the Moon? I told him, no: At which he began to be angry, told me I Ly'd, he knew whence I came as well as I did; for he saw me all the way. I told him, I came to the World in the Moon, and began to be as surly as he. It was a long time before we could agree about it, he would have it, that I came down from the Moon; and I, that I came up to the Moon: From this, we came to Explications, Demonstrations, Spheres, Globes, Regions, Atmospheres, and a Thousand odd Diagrams, to make the thing out to one another. I insisted on my part, as that my Experiment qualified me to know, and challeng'd him to go back with me to prove it. He, like a true Philosopher, raised a Thousand Scruples, Conjectures, and Spherical Problems, to Confront me; and as for Demonstrations, he call'd 'em Fancies of my own. Thus we differ'd a great many ways; both of us were certain, and both uncertain; both right, and yet both directly contrary; how to reconcile this Jangle was very hard, till at last this Demonstration happen'd, the Moon as he call'd it, turning her blind-side upon us three Days after the Change, by which, with the help of his extraordinary Glasses, I that knew the Country, perceived that side the Sun lookt upon was all Moon, and the other was all world; and either I fancy'd I saw or else really saw all the lofty Towers of the Immense Cities of China: Upon this, and a little more Debate, we came to this Conclusion, and there the Old Man and I agreed, That they were both Moons and both Worlds, this a Moon to that, and that a Moon to this, like the Sun between two Looking-Glasses, and shone upon one another by Reflection, according to the oblique or direct Position of each other.
This afforded us a great deal of Pleasure; for all the World covet to be found in the right, and are pleas'd when their Notions are acknowledg'd by their Antagonists: It also afforded us many very useful Speculations, such as these;
1. How easy it is for Men to fall out, and yet all sides to be in the right?
2. How Natural it is for Opinion to despise Demonstration?
3. How proper mutual Enquiry is to mutual Satisfaction?
From the Observation of these Glasses, we also drew some Puns, Crotchets and Conclusions.
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