J. A. (John Adolphus) Etzler.

The paradise within the reach of all men, without labour, by powers of nature and machinery : an address to all intelligent men online

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Online LibraryJ. A. (John Adolphus) EtzlerThe paradise within the reach of all men, without labour, by powers of nature and machinery : an address to all intelligent men → online text (page 7 of 14)
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with them through an endless variety of pleasures and



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gratifications of senses, of feelings, of fancy, of intellect.
There will be a continual feast, parties of pleasures,
novelties, delights, and instructive occupations. INIan
may rove about in the gardens, in pleasant walks of
crystal, and between flowers and vegetables of infinite
variety and appearance ; he may amuse bimself in
ampbitheatrical and level places, filled and bordered
with every thing that art and nature can produce for
the delight of man ; he may glide in elegant gondolas
upon water clear as crystal, beautified and enlivened
with fishes and swarms of land and aquatic birds, bor-
dered with the most beautiful sceneries, reflected again
in the water. Is he fond of gardening ? — He may fol-
low his inclination in the most agreeable manner; he
may arrange and cultivate flowers, shrubs, trees, as
fancy and notion, or curiosity for experiments dictates
him; there will never be an end in objects and new
experiments. Is he fond of mechanical occupation ? —
He may exercise his dispositions and talents to an ex-
tent beyond the present conceptions : he may form
models and moulds, and see the objects multiplied for
use and show to any extent, without any further trouble.
Is he gifted with talents for drawing, painting, sculp-
tures, &c. ? — He needs but to make one model of every
figure, and it may then be nmltiplied to any desired
number, by moulds, etching and printing machines.
Is he fond of music? — Where could he find more op-
portunity than in such a life ? He may at once delight
and be delighted, by performances of his own and in
company with other musicians: instruments and means
are at his disposal unknown yet ; and his compositions
may be repeated and multiplied by mechanical plays



So

ali(\ machines. The cominunities will have means to
command and procure whatever is to be found in the
whole world for enjoyment,amusement, and instruction.
The gardens, and the vast and numerous halls, are
•adapted to I'eceive the objects. Is somebody inclined to
the study and amusement of botany .''—lie may see,
in a botanical garden, the plants in their natural state,
and read whatever is known of the qualities and uses
and organism of any one, in a particular book for every
one, kept in a box at the side of the plant. Has one a
notion to instruct and amuse himself of natural history
and curiosities ? — He may go into the museum in one
of the hulls, where he may see displayed all what na-
im^e exhibits to man on the whole globe; he may read
there the ample description and history of every indi-
vidual or object in a particular book being at the side
of it. Has any body a taste for mineralogy ? — He may
gratify it to his satisfaction in properly arranged and
described collections of minerals. He may read and
study the ancient world in petrifactions of organic be-
ings that are extinguished, arranged in their natural
•connexions with each other and with those of the pre-
sent world. Does he seek information in the history of
.nations ? — He may see it, as much as there is known
of it, displayed and explained on proper maps, with
streams, branches, and ramifications of different colours,
representing the times, and nations and their branches,
from the remotest antiquity down to our time, by a cer-
tain system of signs; he may see there, at one glance,
the rise, increase, conquests, dominions, influences of
some, and the downfall, subversions, and subjections of
others ; the character, religion, system of state, man-

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ners and customs, occupations, resources, geographical
situations, productions, climate, manner of living, &c,,
of every people known in ancient and modern history;
there he may trace the origin of the present nations,
and their various relations to each other. Will he
amuse and instruct himself in the details of history ? —
He may read books on every nation. Will he take
information in geography? — He may go into the hall,
where not only maps and books are, but also large
globes and maps in reliefs, representing mountains and
heights of land in their natural proportion, also the ex-
tent of notable large places of any description. Galle-
ries of pictures and prospects may be exhibited every
where in the square. In particular halls may land-
scapes and prospects of foreign countries be represented
in their natural size and appearance, by large camera
obscura and clara, so that he may see all the most no-
table curiosities, cities, and prospects in the world, with-
out travelling thither. Has he a notion for reading ?
— He may go to the reading-hall, where many thou-
sand selected books on all subjects of reason and fancy
are stored. Has he a mind to make himself acquainted
with physics, chemistry, anatomy, mathematics, astro-
nomy ? — He may go into the auditories and labora-
tories, and see the experiments and observations made
and explained. Will he hear and partake of philoso-
phical and other speculative disquisitions and dis-
courses ? — Ho may gratify his desire everyday, because
there will never be a want of objects, nor of curiosity^
Will he sport in the news of the day?— He may
amply satisfy his curiosity by reading the news of every
day from all parts of the world, and also telegraphical



87

news. A tachigraphy, with peculiarly adapted charac-
ters, and lithography may be united, and printing esta-
blishments, by which the composing of words may be
effected as quick as one speaks, and the copies multi-
plied without labour.

Whatan endless variety of highly instructive, useful,
and amusing objects are there presented for one's gra-
tification ! — The past and present world, the history of
nature, not as imagined by the superstitious and igno-
rant, but such as nature shows herself to the think-
ing observer ; the mysterious and instructive opera-
tions of nature ; the history of man, from antiquity
down to us; the documental remnants of his former sci-
ences, arts, customs, ideas, manners of living, &c. ; the
endless variety of organic beings, their organisms, na-
ture, and use for men ; the unorganic substances in na-
ture, and their various uses ; the phenomena in atmo-
sphere and water ; the visible universe of millions of
worlds at night, beheld through mighty telescopes and
explained; the worlds of beings presented to the eyes
by microscopes ; optical instructive amusements of
various kinds, views of landscapes and prospects with-
out end; drawing, painting, sculpture, modelling, gar-
dening, music, reading, theatrical sceneries of endless
kinds, for amusing and cultivating the mind and the
finer feelings; discourses, lectures, conversations, news
of the day ; parlies of pleasures of various kinds, social
plays and amusements of mind and body.

Can it be supposed with any shadow of reason, that
man, in such circumstances, ever may grow weary of
his time ? There is no laborious study or occupation ;
it is but by amusement, by gratifying the curiosity



natural to man and child, thai man will thus get
acquainted and familiar uith all knowledg^c of thing^s,
that the whole world may present to the human obser-
vation ; he has but to look at the objects, and receive
the instruction about them by written or oral commu-
nications ; he may see and handle them himself,
whenever he has a desire to do so. The objects of
human knowledges, nature herself, are displayed be-
fore him ; they require no labour to sec and observe
them ; he may familiarize himself in the same manneir
as he does now with the products of his field and work-
shop, or the articles in a market. They are so vast
and numberless, so instructive, so important to use,
reason, fancy, and feelings of man, that they alford a
never-ending variety and novelty. And knowledge
begets knowledge, ideas beget new ideas; the dor-
mant faculties of men will be roused, a spirit of in-
quiry kindled. Every day will bring forth new know-
ledges to every individual ; the desire of knowing
more, of communicating to others what has struck and
amused the mind, is natural ; conversation will turn
upon the subjects that are the most interesting to the
mind, and will generate mutually new ideas and know-
ledges. What an immense store and variety of sub-
jects of the highest importance will then animate the
conversation ! There will be hardly any time left for
trivial phrases, and discourses, and occupations. The
child will learn thus more, and in a more impressive
manner, than what the most learned men at present
have acquired with the most laborious study ; it will
learn the knowledges of things in the same nianner
us it learns its mother tongue, that is, without being



89

conscious of learning, without disagreeable exertion,
without compulsion. It is hut the light of true know-
ledges, of knowledges of real things, the free and un-
fettered exercise of the mental faculties, that can
gradually dispel the gloom of superstition, errors and
ignorance, the bane of human life, the disgrace of any
people, and the greatest curse of the whole mankind
yet.

Man will then soon learn, that he knew hitherto not
one thousandth part of what he might and ought to
know for his own benefit, and that he knew hitherto
not one millionth part of what he was persuaded to
know. Nature is veiled in myvSteries to our immediate
perceptions. Our own life, the whole nature around us,
continually active and pov;erful, are mysteries to us.
A great deal is unveiled by assiduous observations and
experiments of studious men in the latter times. An
infinite greater deal is yet to be unveiled and applied
to our great benefit, to the melioration of human life.
It is hardly one century ago, that men would have
been roasted alive, without pity, as sorcerers, not
merely by the rabble, but by the sentence of the judges
and laws of the then most civilized countries, ours not
excepted, had they shown physical experiments that
are known since. These, our forefathers, committed
such horrid barbarities with all the gravity and honesty
that any of us may be capable of, and would have
looked upon any man as a horrid monster of infidelity,
who had dared to deny the possibility of such a crime.
Such are the necessary consequences of ignorance,
prejudice, and stupid adherence to custom. Is, per-
haps, our present generation free of irrationality and

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90

error? — Have \vc, pcrliap?, readied now the summit
of liiiman wisdom, and need no more to look out for
any menial or physical improvement? — This is ex-
actly the way of thinkinu^ that ever barred the road to
intelligence. Let us see whether we have some reason
to suppose that we are just arrived at the period where
every thing is so good and perfect, that there is no
occasion to trouble ourselves any more about making
improvements, that we have a right to treat all those
as fools who attempt any thing towards the improve-
ment of the human condition, and that we disgrace
ourselves in paying any attention to new ideas. — A iine
apology for mental sloth and stupidity !

Not one ten thousandth part of men in the most ci-
vilized countries are actually engaged in any study or
investigation of nature. — Still, is there any other source
of true and useful knowledges!* — Only a few profes-
sional men of learning occupy themselves with teaching
natural philosophy, chemistry, and the other branches
of the sciences of nature, to a very limited extent, for
very limited purposes, with very limited means. The
rest of men have to pass their lives in drudgery and
trivial occupations, and in ignorance, in many erro-
neous notions of nature, for want of means, time, and
chance for information.

What would be the increase of knowledges, if a
large community, with unlimited means, might follow
the natural impulse of curiosity in investigating na-
ture ? — Is it not most probable, that they would dis-
cover in one year more than hitherto in centuries? —
Man is a product of nature. His life is depending
from the air he breathes, from the nourishments he



91

tales, from various causes that surround him, visibly
and invisibly. His life is liable to many evils, and to
a very uncertain duration. He may remove or avoid
the causes of many, if not of all evils ; he may in-
vigorate and prolong his life. The more he learns to
know the causes of evils, and the means of health and
happiness, the more it will be in his power to increase
his happiness, to preserve his health, and to prolong
his life. AVho knows to what happy results a general
spirit of investigation, with unboimded means, may
lead ? — The ancients, among whom sciences flourished
the most, knew probably more of nature already, thau
we know now of it. In this new state of men, every
thing that may be, found contributive to health and
happiness, may be applied immediately after its being
known. The more man understands to read in the
infinite book of nature, the only fountain of true
knowledges, the more eagerly he will read in it, and
the more he will learn of it.

Can it be apprehended yet, that man, in this new,
infinitely happier state of life, will grow weary of his
time for want of occupation?

What immense difterence between such a life, and
that which has hitherto been the lot of man ? — A life
of information, of ten thousand times a larger sphere of
activity, and of continual enjoyments, and satisfac-
tions in endless variety, and of but friendly social inter-
..course ;— and a life of drudger}^, of trivial occupations,
of tediousness, vexation, anxiety, want, and fear of
want, and of general poverty in resources for pleasures
and enjoyments, of general ignorance in the most im-
portant knowledges of things, of opposite interests in



92

society, of enmities, mutual distviist, mutual injus-
tices, and crimes and barbarities !

But some are taugbt to say, a life of enjoyments,
pleasures, and luxury, a life of happiness and wealth,
will enervate and corrupt men. — Poor men ! They can-
not think, perhaps, of enjoyments and luxury, with-
out recollecting what they know or heard of the poor
enjoyments and miseries of grog-shops, gambling-
houses and bordels, where men, tired of their tedious
life, and impatient of their misfortune, seek to drown
their minds in oblivion for a short time, by making
themselves crazy and miserable. Or they will allege
examples of nations in ancient history, which kept
themselves in a state of independence while they were
poor and had to live in ignorance, by hard labour and
robbery, like the ancient Romans and other nations,
but lost their independence in the course of political
events, or by corruption, caused by relative want and
avidity of influential individuals after more wealth,
information, and seductive means, were introduced. —
Poor logic, that does not look at the real causes and
consequences! — As well might we prefer the state of
our savage Indians to our own. We are rising into a
most powerful people, while we do not despise the
comforts of life, when these unfortunate savages, by-
all their hard life, dwindle away to nothing.

I have drawn but the sketch of domestic life within
our immediate reach. But man is not to be confined
to domestic life; he may roam over the whole world,
not in hardships, perils, and deprivations, but, with
his family and friends, in all security, refinements of
social life, comforts and luxury, as well as he may



93

enjoy at home. Large, commodious vehicles for car-
rying many thousand tons, running over peculiarly
adapted level roads, at the rate of forty miles per hour,
or 1000 miles per day, may transport men and things,
small houses, and whatever may serve for his comfort
and ease, by land. Floating islands, constructed of
logs, or of wooden stuffs, prepared in a similar manner
as it is to he done with stone, and of live trees, which
may he reared so as to interweave each other and
strengthen the whole, may he covered with gardens
and palaces, propelled hy powerful engines, and run
at equal rate through seas and oceans. Thus, man
may move with the celerity of birds' flight, in terres-
trial paradises, from one climate to another, and see
the world in all its variety, exchanging with distant
peoples the surplus of productions. The journey from
one pole to another may then be performed in a fort-
night ; the visit to a transmarine country in one week
or two ; a journey around the world in one or two
months, by land and water. What new objects of in-
quiry will then be afforded, and in what rapid succes-
sion will the knowledges of men increase ?-^But not
only the surface of the globe may be soon explored,
but also (he interior of the earth. Man will have the
means to search the bowels of the earth, and make the
best use of it for his life. New sciences, new concep-
tions of the earth, of nature in general, and of all her
productions, will arise. Man may search into the
earth, without labour or danger, many miles deep,
and discover new things not known, and never ima-
gine yet.

3y searching through the whole Nature after her



94

hidden operations, under ground, over tlie whole sur-
face of the globe, in her general and individual or-
ganizations, by magnifying glasses, by experiments
and observations of physics, chemistry, and of all
objects of curiosity, on extensive plans, with un-
bounded means, and thousands and myriads of ob-
servers, men will discover gradually keys for disclosing
one secret of nature after another, and apply the dis-
coveries to his benefit. Who may say where such
endeavours may end, which all, through mighty ex-
citements and instruction, must be highly pleasant.

What objects for enterprising men will here be pre-
sented ? — There are boundless fields for human acti-
vity of superior order ; there are excitements and
objects of the utmost importance for exercising the
faculties of reason and fancy ; there the human being
may and will rise higher and higher above brutes, and
make himself more and more lord of nature.

How trifling, how insignificant, how tedious must
all our present occupations and pursuits appear, when
we compare them to this new sphere of actions ! —

There is no fear of wars, robbery and murder, any
more. The powers and means of such a magnitude
are here contemplated but for creating a paradisaical
life; but they might also be used as the most terrible
and irresistible weapons of protection. Wisdom and
humanity will, however, never glory in the needless
destruction and misery of fellow-men. Men of such
exalted station of culture and happiness, as the new
means afford, may to foreign people of a lower station
of intelligence, tender with one hand large and sub-
stantial benefits, and improve gradually their mental



95

stale, until they become worthy associates ; while,
with the other hand, they may keep them in awe by the
exhibilion of destructive power; and thus effect, like
gods, respect, awe, and gratitude, among all peoples
with whom they have intercourse.

They may safely extend the benefits of these new
means for human happiness upon all men on earih,
without fearing any derogation or danger to them-
selves; for the world is yet large enough to afford su-
perabundance of all necessaries and comforts of human
life, for many ages to come, for the whole human kind,
even by the most rapid increase of population. The
seas and ocean, and all sterile spots on the globe, may
be rendered fruitful. The surface of the globe is about
200 millions of square miles, of which the half has no
winter, that is, the belt of the globe, between about
thirty degrees of north and south latitude, and may
yield every where several crops in a year. So there
are about 100 millions of square miles of the most
delightful climate, and may produce the greatest
luxuriancy and variety of vegetables. It is known
that there, in some parts, one or two square rods may
produce sufficient food for one man. But suppose, in
the possible highest slate of culture, it should require
ten square rods for every human individual, an esti-
mation by no means out of reason, when we consider
our new means for superior culture, and the richest
soil artificially made, that never is deficient of plenty
of water, the unparalleled great quantity of food that
may be raised thereby, and that more than one of the
most luxuriant crops is afforded every year, and the
comparatively small wants of a man for his food, if



96

properly managed : at this rate, one acl-e would
nourish sixteen liuman individuals, and one square
mile about 10,000. The most splendid and spacious
habitations would hardly occupy one-sixteenth part of
the area. Thus 100 millions of square miles might
nourish 1 ,000,000,000,000 of human individuals, that
is, about 1000 times as many as there are actually
living on earth ; and all might enjoy all the happiness
that human nature be capable of, and this world may
afford for man. I am but speaking of the means
known to me ; but who might assert that they may not
be still farther extended ? — Chemistry, and other
knowledges of nature, may teach other ways for mul-
tiplying and accelerating the productions of nature for
the nourishment of man.

Therefore, there is no cause for envy, fear, and en-
mity, between man and man, or between nation and
nation, except ignorance and error.

All men may plentifully partake of the benefits no/-
ture affords to human enjoyment, by a wise applica-
tion of her powers and means. It would be as ridi-
culous then, to dispute and quarrel about the means
for our life, than it would be now about water for to
drink along mighty rivers, or about the permission of
breathing air in the atmosphere, or about sticks in our
extensive woods. Whatever we may buy now by-
money, has its value derived from labour bestowed
\ipon it, or from its scarcity. Where there is no la-
bour required, an<l no want to be feared, there is no
occasion for buying or disputing possession, just as it
is with water, or air, or other articles of no value,
though necessary to life^



97

Tins happy period is to he loolvcd foi- at iio grestt
distance ; it may he eftected \\ithin ten years. How-
ever, the first ohject we have in immediate view is to
gain wealth, or its representative, money, in order to
procure wliat we want for our purposes.

We are used to estimate every thing by the price of
money it may cost or bring ; every gain or loss is mea-
sured by the difference between the price of purchase
and sale. It is therefore natural that it will be ques-
tioned, what pecuniary profit is to be obtained by these
means ? — ^Though the answer to this question is but
of inferior merit, as it tends not immediately to the
improvement of the human condition, but merely to
transient, limited advantages of individuals, — yet it
will probably serve to elucidate, to the most common
conceptions, the benefits of these means in the most
striking manner.

There is no exact estimation of the pecuniary profit
to be made, because this depends from localities, cir-
cumstances, price of labour and materials, from con-
junctures of commerce, from ihe extent of application,
and various other particulars. But a general estimation
at the highest or lowest calculation, according to general
experience of prices of the concerning articles, may be
formed. I shall make here the lowest estimation of
gain, without however being positive, leaving it to
others to correct or complete the calculation, after they
are acquainted with the particulars of the enterprise.

The beginning of the execution of the proposals is
to be made under all the most favourable circumstances
that can be selected, as well with respect to locality as
to other pecuniary matters. It will also no special

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98

proof requircj that by too small a principal, and by too
narrow a limit in the oxecution of such a plan,, the
gain would be of little consideration.

There are many enterprises of roads, canals, manu-
factories, &c., executed in our country, at expenses of
millions of dollars, which were brought up by volun-
tary associations, with shares of fifty dollars, and le^s,
so that even the poor could participate in the. enterprise
without endanp;ering his small fortune. It may, there-
fore, be considered as a moderate sum, brought toge-
ther in a similar way, when rated at 200,000 to 300,000
dollars for the beginning, which may be sufficient to
create the first establishment for a whole community
of 3,000 or 4,000 individuals in the described manner.


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Online LibraryJ. A. (John Adolphus) EtzlerThe paradise within the reach of all men, without labour, by powers of nature and machinery : an address to all intelligent men → online text (page 7 of 14)