Anonymous.

Symmes's Theory of Concentric Spheres online

. (page 1 of 9)
Online LibraryAnonymousSymmes's Theory of Concentric Spheres → online text (page 1 of 9)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


CONCENTRIC SPHERES ***




Produced by Chris Curnow, Daniel Lowe and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive)





Transcriber's Note: Italic text is denoted by _underscores_ and bold
text by =equal signs=.




SYMMES'S THEORY OF CONCENTRIC SPHERES;

DEMONSTRATING THAT THE EARTH IS HOLLOW, HABITABLE WITHIN, AND WIDELY
OPEN ABOUT THE POLES.

_By a Citizen of the United States._


"There are more things in Heaven and EARTH, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy!" SHAKSPEARE.

"If this man be erroneous, who appears to be so sanguine and
persevering in his opinions, what withholds us but our sloth, our
self-will, and distrust in the right cause, that we do not give him
gentle meetings and a gentle dismission; that we debate not and
examine the matter thoroughly, with liberal and frequent audience; if
not for his sake, yet for our own; seeing that no man who hath tasted
learning, but will confess the many ways of profiting by those, who,
not content with stale receipts, are able to manage and set forth new
positions to the world. And were they but as the dust and cinders of
our feet, so long as in that notion, they may yet serve to polish
and brighten the armory of truth; even for that respect they are not
utterly to be cast away." MILTON.


CINCINNATI:
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY MORGAN, LODGE AND FISHER.
1826.




DISTRICT OF OHIO, TO WIT.


BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the fourth day of April, in the year of our
Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty six and in the fiftieth year
of the American independence, MESSRS. MORGAN, LODGE AND FISHER, of said
District, hath deposited in this office, the title of a book, the right
whereof they claim as proprietors, in the words and figures following,
to wit:

"Symmes's theory of concentric spheres; demonstrating that the earth
is hollow, habitable within, and widely open about the poles: by a
citizen of the United States. 'There are more things in Heaven and
Earth Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy' Shakespeare, 'If
this man be erroneous who appears to be so sanguine and persevering
in his opinions, what withholds us but our sloth, our self-will, and
distrust in the right cause, that we do not give him gentle meetings
and a gentle dismission; that we debate not and examine the matter
thoroughly, with liberal and frequent audience: if not for his sake,
yet for our own; seeing that no man who has tasted learning but will
confess the many ways of profiting by those, who, not content with
stale receipts, are able to manage and set forth new positions to the
world. And were they but as the dust and cinders of our feet, so long
as in that notion, they may yet serve to polish and brighten the armory
of truth: even for that respect, they are not utterly to be cast away.'
Milton."

In conformity to the act of Congress of the United States, entitled "An
act for the encouragement of learning by securing the copies of Maps,
Charts and Books to the proprietors of such copies during the times
therein mentioned;" and also of the act entitled "An act supplementary
to an act entitled an act for the encouragement of learning by securing
the copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the authors and proprietors
of such copies, during the times therein mentioned, and extending
the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving and etching
historical and other prints."

Attest, WILLIAM KEY BOND, CLERK.




ADVERTISEMENT.


The writer of the following work is said to be a resident of the Miami
country. After reading Captain Symmes's numbers, and hearing some of
his lectures, he wrote the work, it seems, in the first place without
the idea of publication; but afterwards corrected and enlarged it, and
left it with a friend of Captain Symmes for publication, sometime in
the autumn of the year 1824. The nett profits were then, as now, to be
paid to Captain Symmes, towards enabling him to promote and establish
his principles: but owing to the absence of the author, and other
circumstances, it has remained unpublished till now.

The author has chosen to present the work anonymously; and has
obtained the promise of Captain Symmes to forbear criticising it in
manuscript,――reserving any remarks or corrections, he may wish to make,
for future publication. Some _errors of the press_ will doubtless be
discovered; as (in the absence of both Compiler and Theorist) there was
no _proof-reader_ at hand, sufficiently versed in the New Theory, at
all times, to detect them.

THE PUBLISHERS.

_Cincinnati, April, 1826._




To the Public.


The following little treatise, was written in the autumn of the year
eighteen hundred and twenty-four; when from the urgency of my common
avocation, and from a desire to remain _incognito_, the manuscript was
placed in the hands of a friend of Captain Symmes for publication.
As it was not my intention to seek a publisher, or make advances to
facilitate its progress, I left the country for a considerable length
of time, without paying any further attention to the subject. Various
difficulties intervening, delayed the publication, until _subsequent
events_, have destroyed my chief inducement; which was, that these
speculations, compiled from a cursory examination of facts, should go
forth as a harbinger, merely, and not "_follow in the wake_," of public
investigation.

THE AUTHOR.

_March, 1826._




Preface.


The author of the following pages does not write because he is a
learned man; he is conscious of the reverse; and that his merits
give him no claim to that appellation; neither does he make this
attempt because he is well acquainted with either the new, or the old
theories of the earth; but, from having observed that the Theory of
Concentric Spheres has been before the world for six or seven years,
without attracting the attention of the scientific, except in a very
few instances;――few besides the author himself having come forward to
advocate its correctness. The newspaper scribblers, who have noticed
the theory at all, have almost uniformly appeared to consider it as
a fit subject on which to indulge their wit, the sallies of which,
clothed in all the humour and satire their fancies could suggest, have
in some degree had a tendency to throw around it an air of levity very
unfavourable to serious investigation. But to deal in sarcasm is not
always reasoning; and the truth is not to be ascertained by indulging
in ridicule.

Considerations of this nature, first induced the author to devote a
short time to the task of investigating a subject, to which he had paid
but little attention, and to give the several papers, published by
Captain Symmes, a cursory examination; in the course of which, he noted
such of Symmes's principles and proofs as attracted his attention, as
they occurred; and has since presumed to arrange them in such order as
his own fancy suggested; supposing that, as they had struck forcibly
on his mind, they might perhaps attract the attention of some other
person, whose habits of thinking may be similar to his own. He has
in a few instances inserted, in addition to those which he has seen
advanced by Captain Symmes, such reasons and proofs in support of
the theory as occurred to him at the time. However, he has no claim
to originality; as he has made a liberal use of the publications of
Captain Symmes, as well as the remarks made on them by others, which
came in his way.

The reader will not look for a complete analysis of the theory in this
short treatise; it is not intended as such by the author, his object
being merely to attract the attention of the learned, who are in the
habit of indulging in more abstruse researches into the operation
and effect of natural causes; and should it be found to merit the
attention of such, it is hoped their enquiries may be so directed as to
accelerate the march of scientific improvement, enlarge the field of
philosophic speculation, and open to the world new objects of ambition
and enterprise.

Should he therefore be fortunate enough to make any observations, or
indulge in any reflections, in the course of the following chapters,
that may merit the attention of the reader, he hopes they may in some
degree atone for the many defects which will doubtless be discovered;
with a sincere wish, that gentlemen of literature and science, who have
made deeper researches than he pretends to, will have the goodness to
correct them.

The author does not write for Fame: as anonymous compilers (and it is
the author's wish to be considered in no other light) can never expect
their true names to be inscribed on her records: neither do pecuniary
considerations influence him, as he expects to reap no profit from the
publication.

Should it attract public curiosity to such a degree, as to induce the
sale of more copies than will be sufficient to meet the expense of
printing, it is the author's desire, and he does hereby direct, and
fully authorize the publishers, to pay over the nett profits to Captain
Symmes, for the purpose of enabling him further to prosecute his
studies; and to aid him in the accomplishment of his designs.

Whether Captain Symmes has hit upon an important truth in the economy
of nature, as respects the organization of matter, it is not for
the author to determine; to the more scientific we must look for a
solution of the problem; to them it is submitted. The following pages
are presented with no other intention, than as a hint to elicit the
attention of others, who are qualified to investigate, and improve the
subject. Should they, on examination, consider the matter worthy of
their investigation, it will doubtless receive the attention which its
importance so greatly demands. If it be erroneous, it is hoped they
will detect, and expose its fallacy to the world; giving at the same
time rational and satisfactory explanations of the many facts, and
appearances which Captain Symmes adduces as proofs of his positions.

_August, A. D. 1824._




Apology TO CAPTAIN SYMMES.

SIR――

To you I would apologize for the liberties I have taken with your
Theory, and your publications in relation to it, which have made
their appearance in the newspapers of the day. When I commenced this
compilation, in support of your doctrine of Concentric Spheres, I
had no view to its publication. I had collected all the papers on
the subject, upon which I could lay my hands, with the intention of
investigating the Theory for my own satisfaction: but the scattered
and irregular order in which I found them, and in which they must
necessarily appear in detached Newspaper essays, published at different
and distant times, induced me to attempt a methodical arrangement, for
the purpose of facilitating my own enquiries. When I had completed
this, the same reasons, added to the consideration, that you have not
only invited, but solicited the investigation of your theory, declaring
it "as free as air," to every person, to make such use of it as he may
think proper, influenced me to conclude on publishing the result of
my investigations. Having come to this determination, I have added a
Preface, an Introductory chapter, and a few things in conclusion, to
make it look more like a Book.

As I have not seen all your publications in the newspapers, if I have
not fully understood, or if I have misrepresented your theory in any
particular, I assure you it has been done unintentionally――it has
arisen entirely from my want of adequate information; and I hope you
will, in the spirit of candour and good nature, pardon and correct any
errors into which I may have fallen. Had an opportunity offered, and
could I have done it with propriety, I should certainly have submitted
the manuscript to your revision, previous to its publication. However,
as this sketch is only intended to elicit further investigation, and
can only live until a formal and systematic treatise shall appear from
your pen, I hope you will permit it to pass as the Pioneer to a more
complete demonstration of your Theory of Concentric Spheres.

I AM SIR,

_One of the believers in that Theory_,――

THE AUTHOR.

1824.




CONTENTS.


CHAPTER I.

Containing an introductory glance at some of the different Theories
and Opinions which have been embraced respecting the formation of the
Earth, and the reception which those Theories met with from the world
when first promulgated.


CHAPTER II.

Symmes's Theory; comprehending his description of the form of the
earth, and of the other orbs in the Universe; his principles of
gravity, and the points wherein he differs from the old or generally
received theories.


CHAPTER III.

Symmes's Theory supported by arguments drawn from the principles
inherent in matter, and the consequences resulting from motion; tending
to show that, from necessity, matter must form itself into concentric
circles or spheres, such as Symmes describes the earth to be composed
of.


CHAPTER IV.

Arguments in support of Symmes's Theory, drawn from Celestial
appearances.


CHAPTER V.

The Theory of Concentric Spheres, supported by arguments drawn from
Terrestrial facts; such as the migration of animals to and from the
arctic regions, and from refraction, and the variation of the compass,
observed in high northern latitudes.


CHAPTER VI.

Facts tending to illustrate and prove the existence of a _mid-plane
space_, situated between the concave and convex surfaces of the sphere.


CHAPTER VII.

Several objections, made to the Theory of Concentric Spheres,
answered, particularly the one that it contravenes religious opinions;
demonstrating that the earth, and the other orbs of the universe, are
formed on the best possible plan for the maintenance and support of
organic life.


CHAPTER VIII.

General observations on the Theory of Concentric Spheres, with a few
suggestions to the Congress of the United States, to authorize and fit
out an Expedition for the discovery of the Interior Regions; or, at
least, to explore the northern parts of the continent of America.


CHAPTER IX.

A few brief suggestions, relative to the description, tonnage, and
number of vessels, necessary to be equipped for a voyage of discovery
to the interior regions of the earth; the number of men necessary to be
employed on board, articles necessary for the outfit, and the probable
expense attending the same; also, as to the route most proper to be
pursued to accomplish the object of the expedition.


CHAPTER X.

A short Biographical sketch of Captain Symmes; with some observations
on the treatment which he has met with in the advancement of his
theory.




THE THEORY OF =CONCENTRIC SPHERES=.




CHAPTER I.

_Containing an introductory glance at some of the different Theories
and Opinions which have been advanced respecting the formation of the
Earth, and the reception which those Theories met with from the world
when first promulgated._


It often happens, that those who have been early taught to believe a
certain set of principles and doctrines as true, whether in philosophy,
religion, or politics, adhere to them with the utmost pertinacity
during the remainder of their lives. Any new theory, or principle, is
resisted with peculiar energy; and, however inconsistent or untrue
their favorite systems may be, they are disposed to make principles and
facts bend to them; and would sooner call in question the general and
immutable laws of nature, than the correctness of their own opinions.
Perhaps this pertinacious adherence to prevalent and received opinions
has retarded the progress of philosophic improvement more than the want
of bold, original, and enquiring genius.

In former times those who cultivated science, or rather those who were
called learned, generally based their philosophy on the doctrines of
Aristotle; which, as they had been taught to reverence them from their
infancy, had become almost interwoven with their constitutions. Hence,
though time has unfolded to us their errors, during several centuries,
suspicion never hinted their fallibility. The doctrine of the
revolutions of the earth, and other planets; of gravitation, magnetism,
and other properties now known to belong to matter; have each in their
turn met with a strong opposition from the most learned men living at
the time of their discovery. But, notwithstanding this opposition,
in all ages, a few bold, enquiring minds have had the firmness to
dissent from the established doctrines of the schoolmen, and to lay
the foundation of new systems, the correctness of which subsequent
improvements in science have more or less demonstrated to the world.

Although nearly six thousand years have elapsed since man has been
placed upon the earth, he yet knows but little of its formation.
Notwithstanding all our enterprise, all our boasted acquirements, and
discoveries, its true form yet remains uncertain; and although admitted
that it is not quite eight thousand miles in diameter, we still have
never explored its extent. A space of nearly forty degrees of latitude
remains as little known to us, as if it were a part of the surface
of Saturn, or an orb revolving round a star of the eighth magnitude.
We know nothing of the inhabitants of those regions, or what kind of
animate beings exist in them.

It was a prevailing opinion among the ancients, the correctness of
which they for ages never called in question, that the temperate zones
of our globe were alone habitable.――The torrid zone they imagined was
composed of nothing but sandy deserts, scorched up by the vertical and
insupportable beams of a burning sun. The frigid zones, they believed
were begirt with eternal snows, and "thick ribbed ice," which rendered
them inaccessible to man, and incapable of supporting animal or
vegetable life. Hence none ventured to approach them.

Subsequent discoveries have, however, taught us the errors of the
ancients. We now know that the torrid zone teems with organic
life; and possesses, in many parts, a population more dense than
the temperate, and is equally well adapted to its support: nay, we
even find the temperature of that region to be such that it contains
mountains capped with perpetual snows, which the beams of a July sun do
not dissolve. It has also been ascertained that the frigid zones are
partially inhabited: but it seems that a certain timid dread, perhaps
in part attributable to the prejudices imbibed from our ancestors, has
prevented our exploring the extent of those regions. However, as far
as civilized man has yet ventured to penetrate towards the poles, we
find that plants grow, flowers bloom, and human beings make a permanent
residence; nay, even the untutored savages who reside there tell us
that other human beings reside yet further to the north; and animals
are known to migrate in that direction. Reasoning then from analogy,
and from what we know, we have no ground to conclude that such a vast
extent of surface has been created by an all-wise Providence for no
other purpose, than to be eternally clothed with mountains of ice. Such
a conclusion comports not with the general economy _we do know_ to
exist throughout his works.

We are constrained to acknowledge, notwithstanding our improvements
in science, that, comparatively, we know but little of the economy of
nature. Within a few years past, almost an entire revolution has taken
place in the world respecting the philosophy of light and heat――a
change which affects the theory both of their nature, and of their
causes:――They are now believed to be two distinct things, and that the
sun communicates neither, but merely gives activity, in some manner not
yet known, to the principles, or matter, of light and heat with which
our elements abound. If this be the case, as I believe is now admitted
by the learned world, we cannot undertake to say, that the intensity or
the absence of either, is necessarily dependant alone on the altitude
of the sun, under any particular latitude; or on our nearness to, or
remoteness from, the centre of the system:――For aught we know, both
may be connected with arrangements that require but few of the sun's
rays to make them answer the purposes of organic life. For aught we can
tell, the planet Georgium Sidus, which rolls eighteen hundred millions
of miles distant from the orb of day, may, nevertheless, be favoured
with as brilliant light, and as genial warmth as our little globe;
and for aught we know the interior of this planet, in the concavity of
the spheres, under the equator, may enjoy the same light and heat that
fructify and bless the equatorial climes on the convex surface.

During a period of several thousand years the ancients were of
opinion that the earth was a perfect plane, at rest, and supported
below by an unknown something; that it was bounded on all sides by an
impassable barrier, and covered with the blue canopy of heaven, in
which the sun, moon, and stars performed their diurnal revolutions
for the sole use and service of a few frail mortals. They believed
that the sun, every morning rose out of the Eastern sea; and in the
evening plunged into the Western ocean; that the stars were lighted
up in the evening by some kind deity, and extinguished before the
appearance of the sun. For ages none doubted the correctness of such
a theory. At length, however, from an attentive examination of the
regular appearances and revolutions of the heavenly bodies, some of
the Babylonians adopted the opinion that the earth was spherical;
revolving at regular periods round the sun, as the centre of the
universe. In this they were followed by Pythagoras and others. But
those efforts of genius, for the most part, met no other reward than
the execrations of the exasperated multitude. Such innovations were
deemed an impious crime against the gods, and could only be atoned for
by the sacrifice of their lives. In those times the people of every
nation, like the untutored Indian of our North Western wilderness at
this day, considered their own country to be situated in the centre of
the world, and they, the most favoured people. Even in later times,
when the system of the Babylonians, and that of Pythagoras, were
revived by Copernicus; and, when new discoveries respecting the form
and revolutions of the earth, and other parts of the universe, were
made by Galileo, not more than two hundred years since, we find an
ignorant and bigoted world alarmed at such opinions. We find Galileo,
that incomparable philosopher, cited before the court of Inquisition,
accused of heresy, and thrown into prison. The charge of heresy against
him was supported by alleging that he maintained the two following
positions, viz.

1. "That the sun is the centre of the world, and immoveable by a local
motion;" and

2. "That the earth is not the centre of the world, nor immoveable, but
that it moves with a diurnal motion."

These positions he was not permitted to maintain or defend, but was
ordered to renounce them; and was prohibited from vindicating them
either in conversation or writing. However strange and impious these
doctrines appeared at that time, subsequent ages have confirmed their
correctness.

When Columbus advanced the theory of a western continent, he was
ridiculed, persecuted, and contemned, by nearly all the literati of
Europe. It was an idea which had never before entered their minds. But,
notwithstanding all their opposition and ridicule, the correctness
of his "visionary theory," as they were pleased to call it, was
demonstrated by the actual discovery of this vast continent, which is
now sustaining millions of the very happiest of the human race.

Many of the important discoveries of the immortal Newton, at the
time they were first promulgated to the world, were denounced as the
splendid visions of a madman; but, subsequent ages have done him
justice.

Much as we may feel ourselves elated on account of the new lights which
have since been shed upon us, by the further progress and developement
of science; yet, when I reflect on the unkind treatment which Captain
Symmes and his new theory have received in our own day, I cannot help
fearing that we are still, in some degree, under the influence of the
same feelings and prejudices which brought the earlier philosophers to
the torture, and the prison. This theory differs much less from the
one now commonly received, than the doctrines of those philosophers


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Online LibraryAnonymousSymmes's Theory of Concentric Spheres → online text (page 1 of 9)