William Thomson.

The Man in the moon; or, Travels into the lunar regions (Volume 1) online

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"MAN IN THE MOON. I^ .Ji

L fiK)m my uncommon appearance^
I have a large face, as you may be-
hold on the pavement before you ;
and although I have neither bodv
nor limb, I want not power nor
lumanity. The firft of thefe will
Me for your advantage : the fecond
\v have mentioned in order to quiet

;^ihofe apprehenfions which are too

" afible in your countenance/



^ What art thou being without
Cody, faid the man of the people,

hat thus oppofefl my way? Your
^ace is round, and you fpeak ore

Miindo, Have you ever, friend, been
>:n parliaments

poV: As to your firft queftion, I an-
to hi, that I am the man of the

B 3 moon;



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"MAN IN THE MOON. I^^ . y i

fix)m my uncommon appearance-
I have a large face, as you may be-
hold on the pavement before you ;
and although I have neither body
nor limb, I want not power nor
humanity. The firft of thefe will
be for your advantage : the fecond
I have mentioned in order to quiet
thofe apprehenfions which are too
viiible in your countenance/

^ What art thou being without
body, faid the man of the pf:opLE,
that thus oppofeft my way? Your
face is round, and you fpeak ore
rotundo. Have you ever, friend, been
in parliament P'

* As to your firft queftion, I an-
swer, that I am the man of the
B 3 moon;



14 M A i: IN THE MOO N.

MOON' : as to the fecond, it refpe(5i:s
an idea that bears not any relation
to lunar politicks. In the mean time,
let us not wafte time in the gratifi-
cation of idle curiofity. You will find
that pafTion fufficiently excited and
gratified too before 1 leave you.
Delay not therefore one moment to
comply with my requeft. You fee
a large wart adorned with long hairs
towards the extremity of my nofe ;
let this be a refting-place in your
flight, and a fecurity in your fear.
The man of the moon is a very
honeft man : and I alFure you, upon
my word and honour, that I mean
to fet you down again upon this
terreftrial globe, a wifer, and better,
and confequently a happier man,
than you ever have been. It is true,

you



MAN IN THE MOON. I5

you have been a very impru-
dent fellow ; and a fource of in-
numerable calamities to my favour-
ite ifle, upon whofe furrounding
waves I exert my influence with
peculiar fatisfa6tion ; Vv^hether for
the purpofes of commerce, or, by
means of favourable tides and cur-
rents, to carry the Britiili thunder,
in an happy hour, againft the ene-
mies of libei'ty and of man. But
your political eiTors have already
been, in fome meafure, atoned for
by continued poverty, difappoint-
ment, and mortificadon. Indeed
they were rather the faults of your
fituation, than of your intention.
For where is there a poor devil,
deftitute of houfe or home, but
would extricate himfelf, if he could,
B 4 from



236187



1' 6 MAN IN THE MOON*

from want and contempt, even at
the expence of faction, civil com-
motion, infuiTCclion, and revoluti-
on ? Or, Charles, to fpeak in a lan-
guage familiar to your ears, who
that gets a bad hand at cards, but
would Vvifli to ihufile and cut them
over again ? You have naturally a
fund of good-humour and philan-
thropy, and alfo an excellent undcr-
flanding. The benevolence of your
difpolition merits fome refpite frprn
thofe inward torments which, under
that jolly appearance, have long
preyed upon your mind. The vi-
gour and extent of your capacity
will enable you to comprehend thofe
truths which I fhall difplay to your
yiew for your own benefit, and that
pf your country, and the whole

human



II A N IN THE MOON. 17

human race. Get up therefore on
that corneous excrefcence which I
have already pointed out, and ac-
company me in my return to the
moon.'

^ Truly, replied the man of tpie
PEOPLE, I can hardly be in a worfe
fituation than I am at prefent — fo I
comply with your requell. But
carry me foftly, if you pleafe, man of

THE MOON.' —

' Don't fqueeze fo hard, Charles;
your bodily fear has overcome all
reafon. Open your eyes, friend
F — X, and have courage to look down
on the world: St. Paul's is already
no bigger than its weather-cock.'

* Excufe



O

^



36187



jt MAN IN THE MOON.

* Excufe me. Sir, I am thinking
of an important affair.'

* Well, we fliall be at land in
the moon by and bye, if I can out-
fly that plane of eleclrical fire, that
purfues fo hard behind. For my own
part, I dread nought ; but for thee,
poor Charles, I confefs I am fome-
what concerned.'

The terror that had feized the
MAN OF THE PEOPLE now redoubled,
and he curfed the day of his birth.
* Other fmners, he exclaimed, are
puniflied on earth, in purgatory, or
in hell; but it was referved for me
to be tormented even in heaven.
What moved thee, O being, to whofe
nofe I now cling petrified with fear,

tQ



MAN IN THE MOON. I9

to fcduce me, with all my fins and
frailties about me, into the regions
of eledricalfire? For affuredlyjif this
mortal and corrupt body of mine fiiall
be involved in that fiery plane, like
fome odious reptile thrown into a
flamino; furnace, it will, in the twink-
ling of an eye,burfl with a loud crack
and offenfiyefmell into non-exiflence.
Reflore me, O humane and powerful
MAN OF THE moon! to my uativc
earth ; fo fliall the cities of London
and Weftminfter gratefully rev/ard
you with an oaken box^ and the thanks
of the houfe of commons fhall dif^
tinguifli your name among thepowers
of the fkies.'

But THE MAN OF THE MOON per-

ceiving that the god of thunder
Jiad fent out that eleftrical force, of

which



20 MAN IN THE MOON.

which he had been fomcwhat afraid,
for a purpofe very different from the
defcruclion of the poor Man of the
People, amufed himfelf, on the re-
mainder of his journey, by indulg-
ing his facetious humour.

^ Ch — s F — X, faid he, I would
willingly comply with thy requeft,
without the fmallcil view either to
the oaken box you mention, or to
the thanks of the houfe of commons,
if I were of opinion, that my com-
pliance would contribute in the lead
to your welf:U*e. But fhould I re-
ftore you with all your imperfections
and follies to the Britifh metropo-
lis, you would inevitably find your-
felf in the fame wretched fituation in
which you was when I perfuaded

you



MAN IN THE MOOl?. 21

you to beftride the wart on my nofe.
you would ftill, I am afraid, be ' a
mifcrablc vagabond, without a fhil-
ling in your purfe ; the fport of
every pafiion, the ilave of every
Jew.' If, on the other hand, I
ihall be able to carry you through
thefe perilous regions fafely into the
moon, and, by the fage inftruflions
which you w^ill there receive, to era-
dicate your reigning pailions, views,
and habits, you will be no longer a
flave to aclrefTes, Jews, or popular
applaufe; but, on the contrary, a
FRx^.E MAN and a king '. However,
if I could be fatisfied, rhat you could

make

' It mufl be obferved, in order to prevent
miHukes, that the Man of the Moon does not
mean, that Ch — F — x Hiould become king

of



22 MAN IN THE MOON,

make a fliift to live with tolerable
comfort, without undergoing a tho-
rough repair, I don't know but I
might be prevailed on to return im-
mediately on my fteps, and to fet
you down where I found you.'

' Why, truly, replied theman of
THE PEOPLE, at the time when you
heard the foliloquy which you have
juft quoted, I had drank too much
wine. It is true, I am frequently
in debt, and in difficulties ; but :in
avenue always opens by which I get
out of them. Beiides the lucky hits
I fometimes meet with at play, I re-

of England, or America, or even of VVeJlmin-
Jier; but that he fpeaks according to the ideas
and language too, of the noble philofophy of
the Scoicks.

ceive



MAN IN THE MOON. 23

ceive douceurs now and then from
certain very worthy gentlemen, who
are afflicted with an itch of fpeaking
in the fenate^ but whom nature cer-
tainly never defigned for orators.
Thefe gentlemen are often expofed
to the wit as well as the arguments of
their adverfaries in debate ; and they
would be perfectly overwhelmed
with their own dulnefs and confu-
iion, if fome friend did not rife oc-
cafionally in fupport of what had
been advanced by them, and expa-
tiate on their independence, their
virtues, and even their abilities,
Many a valuable bank-note have I
received, for affiftance of this kind,
from a prefent fecretary of ftate \

* It is fuppofed, that the Man of the Peo-
ple here alludes to Mr. Secretary T d.

My



24 M A N I N T H E MOON.

My good friend admiral Kcppel, too,
has often ackowledged the grateful
favour of my pancgyricks, by means
of the expreilive though iilent elo-
quence of the golden efFigics of his
majefly's head. But what will, per-
liaps, appear extraordinay to an in-
habitant of another planet, there is
a fwine-herd ^ in parliament, to
whom I am more indebted than to
all the dull patriotic fpeakers put
together. The gratitude of that
fellow is unbounded. It is true, it
requires the utmoft efforts of my
genius to put a plaufible face on his
grofs flupidities, abfurdities, falfe
affertions, (I mean m'ljiakes) and
contradiclions ; and he was once, in

3 Probably Sir J h M y.



MAN IN THE MOON. 2$

particular, fo hard run by a humour-
on s Irifhman "^^ that not one word
had your moft obfequious paflenger
to urge in his defence. However,
I llarted up on my legs, and with
great vociferation bawled out, To
order^ To order : which the fwine-herd
took in very good part, as I under-
ftood, by a violent fqueeze of his
hand, as we came out of the Houfe,
on a divifion, amidft the crowd into
the lobby. On the whole, I am now
fo much reconciled to an extempo-
rary kind of life, by tlie power of
habic, that my precarious fubliilencc
very feldom gives me any uneaiinefs.
Befides, I am in great hopes that
our fleet v/ill Q;0 to the devil before

o

"^ The Editor iin!i<>inc3 tiiat the Man of the
People here alludes to Mr. Courtenay.

Vol. I. C Gibraltar.



26 iM A N IN THE M O I*.

Gibraltar. A difafter of this kind
would raife fuch an alarm and dif-
coritent throughout Great-Britain,
as would in all probability commit
the whole revenues of the empire
into thofe identical hands, which at
prefent fo eagerly grafp thefe facred
hairs which fprout from the corne-
ous excrefcence, which I have now
the honour to prefs, on your moft
venerable nofe. By the bye, as you
have a power over tides and currents,
could you not give a favourable turn
to my affairs without all this trouble
of conducting me to the Moon ?*

The man of the moon pretended
to be greatly fhocked at this requeft.
He knit his brows into fo terrible a
frown, that the man of the people

fliook



MAN IN THE MOON. 27

fhook for fear. His hands let go
the hairs on the wart to which he
clung, and he was in danger of fall-
ing headlong into the moon, when
his powerful and gracious conductor,
in commiferation both of his fears
and frailties, attracted him, by a
fecret power, fo ftrongly to his cor-
neous feat, that he fluck faft like a
crab embracing the fliarp point of
fome fubmarine rock, covered over
with the luxuriant vegetables of
the fea.

The reader will be apt to conclude
from what is here related concerning
the prefumptuous feliiihnefs of C —
F — , that he is a very bad man : that
the dark gloom v/hich fits on his
countenance is but a f^iint emblem
C 2 of



2S MAN' IN TH":^ MOON'.

of the blackncfs of his heart and"
confcicnce : that he is a devil incar-
nate, let loofe from the infernal re-
gions, by incenfed Providence, for
the puniiliment of a guilty people.
But fhut your eyes, my good friend!
and enter with candour into your
own heart. You, Sir, who are un-
der the neceflity of felling out to-
morrow the greater part of your
flock in the funds, do you wifh to
hear, this evening, good news from
Gibraltar ' ? My lord bifliop ! That
inoffenilve and worthy perfonage,
the Archbifhop of Canterbury, lies
dangcrouily ill, and is excruciated
with the moil grievous pains : would

^ It would feem that this was written in the
month of Odobcr, or in the beginning of
.November^ i"782..

you



MAN I N THE MOO N. 29

you forfeit all your hopes of fuc-
ceeding to the primacy, if by that
facrifice you could refiiore him to
perfect health ? Mod grave and noble
doclors in phyfic ! Which of you all
would prevent, if he could, by a
fecret volition, that muft remain
eternally unknown to the world,
the rife or progrefs of any epidemical
difeafe? When will the [gentlemen
of the long robe bend their eflbrts
toeftablilh harmony and peace among
contending neighbours ? Concealed
from every human eye, and without
all regard to the gratitude of indi-
viduals, or to the applaufe of the
VA'orld^ O reader! whofoever thou
art, what portion of thine ov/n cafe,
or pleafure, or fortune, or fame
wouldft thou fecretly and w^illingly
C 3 rcfign,



3^ T\l A N I N T H E M O O N.

rcfign, in order to relieve private
diflrefs, or to fecure public profpe-
rity ? Pafs not, gentle reader, any
fevere cenfure on the author of thefe
queftions.

** As Rochefaucault his mnxims drew
From nature, I believe them true ;
They argue no corrupted mind

In him : The fault is in mankind.

^ — In all dillrefles of our friends
We firfl confult our private ends.
While nature, kindly bent to eafe us*.
Points out fome circumflance to pleafe us."

But while I confefs the extreme fel-
fiflinefs of human nature, and ac-
knowledge that a fmall grain of felf-
intereft over-balances for the moft

* Verfes on the death of Dr. Swiftj by the
Pean himfelf.

part.



MAN IN THE MOON, 3I

part, the generous influence of focial
affeclion ; I admire that benevolent
wifdom, which fortifies the power
of fympathy by a complacency in
gratitude, and the love of praife :
thus, miniftring by the ftrongeft
impulfes of felf-love itfelf, to the
various exigencies of mankind.

Being apprehenfive that there
might be fome of my readers (for
there are men who read every thing
but their own hearts) who might
imagine that it is impoffible that any
man of common benevolence Ihould
be capable of fo much wickednefs
as is implied in the above-mentioned
requeft of Charles F — x, to the Man
of the Moon, I have made the pre-
fent digrefllon, in order to vindicate
C 4 the



32 MAN IN THE M O N.

the truth and fidelity of this narra-
tive. And for the fame end, it is
neceffary that I fay a few words to
thofe who may think it incredible,
that a perfon oi fo much good fenfe

2>THE N'lAN OF THE PEOPLE, fhould

make fo Grange a requcft to the
Lunar Genius, even after that ce-
leftial being had expreifed a predi-
lection for the Britilli Ifles, in the
flrongeft language.

There is, in mankind, a difpoii-
tion to imagine that they are more
beloved and efteemed than they
really are. This propenfity is fo
ftrong, as is generally known in-
deed, in THE >TAN OF TIIE PEOPLE,

that it is in reality, one of the great-
eft, if not the very greateft of all

his



MAN IN THE MOON. 33

his foibles. This foolifh conceit has
been the caufe of many misfortunes
to himfelf, and to his country. It
was this that made him quarrel with
Lord North in the Treafury. It
was this that prompted him to reiign,
on the moft frivolous pretences, his
late office of Secretary of State.
Through this wxaknefs he fondly
fancies that the people of Great-
Britain look up to him as to their
tutelar god : and this, ftill more than
his neceilities, is at the bottom of
all the noife, and buftie, and ilrife,
he occafions in the world. The
expreffions of regard and affecTdon
which had fallen from the man of
THE MOON, had perfuaded him that,
in order to gratify the fmallefl wifli
of his heart, he would not hefitatc

to



34- MAN IN" THE MOON.

to wreck the whole Britilh navy on
the rocky coafts of Andalufia, or
bury it in the depths of the ocean.

The man of the moon having:
fufficlently teftified his difapprobatiou
of the liorrid wifh that had been
exprefled by the Englifh Patriot,
refumed his jocular ftrain. ' The
lightning gains upon us : I fear fome
difafter. I would willingly return
to the earth; but from the ftrong
attraction with which I feel myfelf
drawn to my own planet, I judge
that it will be fafeft to make direclly,
according to my firll intention, to
the Moon.'

' Pulh on then, Sir, I befeech
you, and don't interrupt yourfelf

by



M AN IN THE MOO N. 35

by any jfurther converfation : for I
proteft I was never at fo great a lofs
how to acquit myfelf either in com-
pany or debate : — I am almoft frantic
through fear. I doubt not^ Sir, but
you are a very honeft man : that, I
think. Sir, was your exprefiion ;
but you are alfo a terrible man. I
fliall never forget that frown, though
I Hve an hundred years. Willy Adam
with his dirk and piftol was a fmii-
ing infant, compared with the man
OF THE MOON, whcn he is angry. I
mufi; fet a guard on the door of my
lips, and be careful what I fay in
your prefence. But, good Sir ! if
an habit of intemperance in talking
fhall carry me into any Improper
difcourfe, have the generofity to
forgive it. In reality, 1 may be faid

to



36 MAN IN THE MOON,

to have fucked in this habit with my
mother's milk. I fuppofc, indeed,
I have a natural difpofition to chat-
ter : but this was greatly increafed
and confirmed by the over-weening
fondnefs of my father, who would
fay, whatever was the fubjedl of
converfation, Charles, what is your
opinion ? Liften to Charles/

' Would not you acl with Lord
Shelburne, Charles, on condition of
being fet down again in Great-Bri-
tain ?'

* No queflions, I befeech you,
good Sir.'

' C s F — X, prepare yourfelf

to difmount.'

' Where,



MAN IN THE MOON. ^f

« Where, Sir? In thefky?'

* No, Charles ; within a few mi-
nutes we fliall arrive at the lofty
ftimmit of the higheft mountain in-
the moon.'

The man of the people then-
adventured to lift up his eyes, and
beheld, at a fmall diftance, the lunar
orb, which feemed one mighty and'
immenfe colonnade, intended by the'
fovereign architect to fupport the
weight of the incumbent heavens.-
He had fcarcely caft his eyes on this*
glorious fpeclacle, v/hen he founds
himfelf Handing upright on the top
of a mountain, the higher part of
which was a folid rock of diamonds
The middle was covered over with

a ve2:e-

V



38 M A N I N T H E M O O N.

a vesrecable mould, the foft bed of
innumerable plants and flowers,
whofe fragrance raviihed the fenfes
with inexpreflible delight, and ftrong-
ly difpofed to a fpecies of enjoyment
ftill more voluptuous. The lower
part of this mountain was adorned
with a vaft variety of trees and
flirubs producing the moll delicious
fruits. Among thefe the nectar.
SHRUB was diflinguiflied for the
beauty of its foliage, and the divine
odours which the powerful rays of
the fun exhaled from its leaves and
flowers. A river, clear as cryflal,
narrow indeed, but deep and rapid,
precipitated itfelf down the lide of
the mountain, forming here and
there, on the frequent iiielves that
divcrfiiied this enchanting furface,

limpid



MAN IN THE MOON. 39

limpid pools which were filled with
what, in the lunar dialect, are called

THE FISFIES OF THE SUN ^, and

which ferved as fo many mirrors to
reflect and foften the brilliant picture
of which they formed a parr. The
rapid force of this river had, in the
coiirfe of asres, cut throudi the
mould that overfpread the lower
parts of the mountain to a great
thicknefs, and difcovered ftrata of
diamond on either lide, intermixed
with various petref actions, the bodies

' Concerning the tafte or flavour of this
fpccics ot iifh, I have not received any infor-
niaiion. But as to its fcales, they hold a mid-
dle place between fcales and feathers. And
they are beautifully adorned, like that mention-
ed in Mackintofh's Travels into Afia, &c. v/ith
^gures like the fpots on the peacock's tail.



^6 MAN IN THE MOO N.

of animals and vegetable?, incorpo-
rated with the flinty rock, and by a
chanofe which ou8:ht for ever to con-
found the fcepticifm of vain mortals,
retaining their form after they had
loft their fubftance. liere acrain I
muft interrupt my narrative, in order
to vindicate its fidelity*

Certain philofophers aiErm, with
their ufual dogmatifm, that in the
moon there are neither feas, lakes,
nor fens ; nor clouds, nor vapours,
that might generate rain ; or any
thing, in fliort, of a liquid fubftance.
But, I. Since the very bafts of aftro-
nomy is analogy^ why fliould men,
who are fo forward to after t a ftmi-
laritv between the earth and moon
with other planets, lightly reject the

belief



MAN IN THE MOON. 41

belief of the exiftence of lunar va-
pours ?

2. If there be nothing liquid in
the moon, how is it poffiblc that
there Ihould be any inhabitants in
that planet ? Whence ihould they ba
fupplied with food ?

3. Or, if you fuppofe that it is
a perfe6l defert, devoid of any beino-s
endowed with fenfe or motion, do
you not offend againft that 'analogy^
already mentioned, which is the
foundation of aftronomical reafon-



in2:r

o



4. Whence the nourifhment? And

what the ufc of thofe delicious fruits,

that grow in fuch luxuriance on the

V^L- I ^ moun.



42 MAN IN THE MOON.

mountain jufl now defcribcd, and
particularly of the neclarjhrubf

5. Do you call in queftion the
truth of all that is here related ? .Go
then, if we cannot fettle matters by
the power of argument, and from
the teftimony of the right honourable
MAN OF THE PEOPLE, who fortunate-
ly for the credit of this hiflory, is
yet alive, learn to refpecl: the autho-
rity of a writer, dignified by as noble
an office as was ever conferred on
any mortal.



CHAP



L 43 J



CHAP. II.

SOME ACCOUNT OF THE EDITOR OF
' THESE WONDERFUL TRAVELS.

WHOEVER prefers long fen-
tences made up of many and
mufical words, to that nervous,
though unadorned ftyle, which
conveys the various fentiments of
the writer directly and with preci-
fion to the mind of the reader, dif-
fers very much from me, the Edi-
tor of thefe excellent Converfations
between the Englifli orator and the
lunar fovercign. I am not naturally
inclined to obtrude my opinions on
the public, much lefs am I difpofed
to enter into any controverfy with
D 2 pro-



^if MANINTHE MOON.

profeflbrs of rhetoric, and the whole
tribe of ?neIodioiis authors^ who, with-
out any figure, may be juftly faid to
be in poirefTion of the public ear.
But in the preference I have juft
now avowed, I am certain of being
right; my confidence in this matter
being eilablifhed on authority which
is perfectly indifputable. But be-
fore I refer to this authority, it is
proper that I give fome account of
myfelf.

I am a Scotchman, the reprefen-
tative of a family though poor, yet
antient. There is a tradition, that
about three hundred years ago, we
were in poflelTion of an ellate of a
thoufand ?narks a year ; about fifty
Englifli pounds. This efl;at'e in the

Gourfe



MAN IN THE MOON. 45

courfe of time and population, was
fo divided and fubdivided among
the numerous branches of our pro-
lific race, that all that fell to the
ihare of my immediate anceftor was,
a fmall cottage, with five acres of
arable land, and a little track of
hilly and marHiy ground for fuel
and pafture. At a very early period
of life, my father married a young
lady, daughter to a neighbouring
gentleman, nearly in the fame cir-
cumftances with himfelf. Six fons
and an equal number of daughters
were the fruits of this connexion.
The fcanty produce of our little
pofFeflion, joined to all the conquefls
of the filliing-fpear and the gun,
would not have been fuiEcient to
inaintain a connexion between tlie
D 3 fouU



46 MAN IN THE M O O N.

fouls and bodies of fo numerous a
progeny, had they not been fecond-
ed by the culture of potatoes, then
juft imported into our part of the
country from Ireland, from which
kingdom it is feparated only by a
narrow channel. Yet, notwithftand-
ing thefe deprefling circumftances,
my father beheld the increafe of his
family with the moft perfed; com-
placency and delight. His helplefs
infants, the pledges of the pureft
love, if they iticreafed his cares,
increafed alfo his joys, and roufed
into exertion his whole force of
mind and body. I remember well,
with what raptures he bellowed on


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