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Moon, as easily as a ray of light. What this process is, I cannot disclose without breaking my faith with Pythagoras; and if this were not the case, I should keep the secret, because I mean to reserve the Moon all to myself, as an inexhaustible mine, and am perfectly assured, that, if I once showed the way, the poor planet would be as much overrun with travellers as the Isthmus of Panama, the upper Nile, or California. Let it suffice, that I arrived safely in the Moon, on the first of April, 1852, but at what hour I cannot say, as time goes backwards in that planet, which is a great advantage to the ple, who can thus undo what they have done, without the least difficulty. While seeking for lodgings, the people gathered round in crowds, laughing most vociferously to see my walk-' ing forwards instead of backwards, as I found was the universal custom here. This, they assured me, was what they called "Progress"—in other words, growing wise by Experience, the safest of all guides, who always looks behind him, as everybody knows.
Having brought letters of introduction from Pythagoras, and a learned judge, who is well known in the Moon, I was soon on the best terms with the literary and scientific portion of the community, one of whom carried me to pay my respects to the man in the Moon, who, though not the actual legitimate sovereign, was a sort of Joe Smith or Brigham Young, and governed the people by inspiration. I found him a venerable old man, with a long beard, who, though bowed down by age, had yet a certain lustrous twinkling of the eyes that spoke volumes. He received me with great courtesy, and we had a long conversation on various subjects, in the course of which I discovered he was by no means either a madman or an ignoramus, as has been represented. Indeed, he complained to me of the great injustice that had been done him in this respect, and condescended to give me a sketch of his life, of which I shall offer only a few leading particulars.
He traced all the misfortunes of his life to being wiser than his neighbors, and always in advance of the rest of mankind, the consequence of which was, that everybody called him. mad, because he saw things they could not see, and foretold what never came to pass, owing to the obstinate, wayward stupidity of his fellow-creatures, who delighted in arresting events that ought to have happened according to all reasonable calculation. It was always a great object of his ambition, to understand matters incomprehensible to all others; to achieve undertakings that others pronounced impossible; and to develop mysteries which had turned the brains of all those
who had burnt their fingers with them. He assured me he had discovered the principle of perpetual motion, though he could never bring it into practical application; that he had actually taken the great Beast in Revelation by the horns; was acquainted with the occult mysteries of Spiritual Knockings, which he had taught several of his disciples, who had a predisposition to become "mediums ;" and with the process of making gold, which, however, he now never put practice, since the discoveries in California and Australia had so diminished the value of that metal, that it cost more to make it than it was worth. These studies, which had hitherto turned other men's brains, he assured me, were mere sport to him. "But alas!" said the old gentleman, "I at length found there were deeper mysteries, more profound depths of knowledge, than these. I undertook to search for the wisdom of Congress, and that did my business." He complained bitterly of the injustice done to himself and his people, first by the common saying, "I know no more than the man in the Moon," and secondly, by calling a species of madmen Lunatics, for it was plain to the meanest understanding, that the people of the Moon, inheriting the lost wits of all mankind, must of necessity be the wisest in the world. He also spoke with great indignation of the enormous fallacies set afloat by the astronomers, concerning the Moon, which he affirmed had no more to do with the tides, the changes of weather, the wits of men, or the shrinking of corned beef, than any of the other planets. I was surprised at his knowing so much about the earth, until he told me he got all the news from people who were every day banished from that quarter, for being wiser than their neighbors.
Having received a passport from the good old man, with full permission to travel where I pleased, accompanied by a caution against the common infirmity of travellers, which I have observed most implicitly, I mounted a Spiritual Telegraph, a great improvement on that of Mr. Morse, and was precipitated through the entire planet with such prodigious velocity, that when I had completed my flight, I found I knew no more of the country than an English traveller, after having made a tour of the United States. I therefore determined to go over the ground more leisurely, and adopt the mode of travelling universally practised here, as I mentioned before. I can assure my readers it is not without its advantages, at least in point of safety, since it is notorious that a great portion of the dangers, insults, and aggressions we encounter in this world approach us from the rear.
As I proceeded, I found the people separated into distinct classes, the first in rank of which were the Spiritual Knockers, who, by virtue of their communion with superior beings, carried their heads above their fellow-mortals, who kept only the lowest kind of company. I asked one of them, very civilly, what was the use of this kind of spiritual agency, and he answered me rather contemptuously-"Use, sir? I have already learned by direct communication with Sir Isaac Newton, that, since he became an inhabitant of the world of spirits, he has discovered that his system of gravity is only fit to be laughed at; and have been assured by Franklin that the moving principle of thought, impulse, and action, in all animals, rational as well as irrational, is electricity. Use, sir? I should like to know how I could have discovered all this without communication with the spirits?" I spoke of this as being only a revival of the visions of Swedenborg, which put him in a great passion. "Swedenborg!" exclaimed he. "Pooh! he only went half way; but we go the whole hog, as the spirits say in these parts."
The most numerous, as well as the most zealous of the Knockers, were spinsters of a certain age, who seemed inclined to make themselves amends for the absence of flesh and blood beaux, by midnight flirtations with spiritual ones. There were, also, some desperate widows, and not a few persons whom I should have mistaken for reverend divines, had they not been so sweet upon the ladies, who seemed to take them for spiritual beings, for they did not at all mind being alone with them at midnight in bed-chambers, in the investigation of these profound mysteries. The great bulk, however, of this sect consisted of people a little deficient in the furniture of the upper story. I expressed some commiseration for these to a sober, discreet person, who was a looker-on as well as myself, but he very coolly replied, "It is of very little consequence, for if they had not run mad about spiritual knockings, they would about something else equally absurd and ridiculous." One of the "mediums" asked me if I would not like to have a talk with my great great grandfather, but as he happened to have been Sus.-per-col., and no great credit to the family, I declined making his acquaintance.
Proceeding onwards, I arrived at a great city, where the inhabitants had made such rapid progress towards the perfection of everything, that they were compelled to go backwards in order to accommodate themselves to the pace of their neighbors. One of the most distinguished of the savans was a famous geologist, who had become so familiar with the materials of
which the world is composed, that he undertook to make one to suit himself, and avoid all the errors in the construction of the old one. Being the great lion of the place, I paid him a visit, and found him hard at work, but he confessed that thus far he had made but a poor business of it. "It is strange," said he; "I have got all the materials, but, somehow or other, I can't put them together. I find it is not so easy to make a world as I thought." The next visit I paid was to a man who had the reputation of being a great seaman, though his experience had been principally on land and in his closet, as I was told. I found him busy in constructing a theory of winds and currents, by which he assured me the time and dangers in navigating vessels would be greatly diminished, if not altogether avoided. He pointed out to me on the chart the course which the winds and currents ought to go, if they paid the least respect to his theory. "If," said he, "I could only get that obstinate old fogie, Experience, to be a little accommodating, I should establish my theory beyond controversy; but the mischief is, he won't pay the least attention to me; and what is still more provoking, the winds and currents are, if possi ble, yet more impracticable; they are as obstinate as mules and every navigator who, at my request, particularly attended to these matters, assures me they seem to delight in running counter to my directions. But never mind; the learned, who study these matters in their closets and understand them much better than these illiterate tarpaulins, have all complimented me on my theory, and what is still better, almost all the members of Congress have become my converts."
"What!" exclaimed I, "have you a Congress in the Moon?" "To be sure we have," replied he. "It is composed of men who have inherited the greatest possible portion of the lost wits of your planet, and who, I am happy to say, pay more regard to my theories than to the experience of all the officers of our navy put together. They are all men of Progress, and, between ourselves, sometimes are in such a hurry that they tread on their own noses."
This city abounded in lecturers on all sorts of subjects. There was a lecturer on political economy, whom I found discussing a project for getting immense treasure from all sorts of people, and enriching them by taking it away. There was another lecturing to a great crowd from a sand-hill, on socialism, and, who in order to exemplify his theory, heaped up great numbers of little sand-hills all exactly of a size; but unfortunately, as fast as he did this, a puff of wind disturbed the equilibrium of his system, and he was obliged to begin again.
There was a female lecturer, who, by virtue of having a considerable beard, had set up as a champion of the rights of women. She was backed by a parson, who quoted Scripture to show that the Bible was behind the spirit of the age; and I could not help thinking that this union of the gown and the petticoat foreboded an awful catastrophe to the breeches.
These anticipations were speedily realized; for my next plunge was into the midst of a Female Republic, established on the principles of the rights of women. As I approached this regenerated region, I heard a great buzzing in the air, something like that we observe on approaching a bee-hive. This, I found on my arrival, proceeded from the legislative hall, where the female deputies had met to discuss the fashions of caps and nether garments, becoming their elevated position. They were all talking at once; for even the speakeress had her tongue constantly in motion, crying" Order, ladies, order." But nobody seemed to hear her, or at least nobody minded her, and there was a perfect Babel. Finally, the previous question was called for, which threw several of its members into hysterics, and the house separated without adjournment. I was told they had been in session several weeks, but no question had as yet been put; and one of the first practical difficulties experienced in this new system of petticoat government, was found to be the utter impossibility of bringing a debate to a conclusion. At the hotel where I put up, I found the landlord rocking the cradle, and his wife dealing out mint juleps to a parcel of Rights-of-Women devotees, who were smoking and chewing tobacco, and swearing like troopers. I had hitherto been an enthusiastic admirer of the sex, insomuch that I cannot recollect the time, since I arrived at years of discretion, in which I was not desperately in love; and to such a pitch did I carry this devotion to the sex, that I have been three times cast in heavy damages, for breach of promises which I never made. But ever since I witnessed the scene just described, I never think of a pretty woman without feeling a little qualmish, as it were. Indeed I found the general complaint of the married women was, that their husbands no longer loved them; and of the married men, that their wives were always making love to them, thus infringing on their ancient inalienable rights. Certain it is, I never witnessed such a state of things, and was glad to get out of this Female Republic, most especially after a strapping damsel had made a demonstration towards me that I thought very suspicious. Leaving this last stage of Lunar Progress backwards, I next came to another large town, where I found all the people walking rapidly around in a circle, on reaching the end of