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DUKING the War of the Rebellion, anew and influential
club was established in the city of Baltimore in the State
of Maryland. It is well known with what energy the
taste for military matters became developed among that
nation of ship-owners, shopkeepers, and mechanics.
Simple tradesmen jumped their counters to become ex-
temporized captains, colonels, and generals, without hav-
ing ever passed the School of Instruction at West Point;
nevertheless, they quickly rivaled their compeers of the
old continent, and, like them, carried oil victories by
dint of lavish expenditure in ammunition, money, and

But the point in which the Americans singularly dis-
tanced the Europeans was. in the scieree of gunnery.
Not, indeed, that their 1 weaponc retained a higher degree
of perfection than thei?s. but t:iat they exhibited un-
heard-of dimensions, and couboqi-ieiitly attained hitherto
unheard-of ranges. In p-.* ; nt of .grazing, plunging, ob-
lique, or enfilading, or points-blank firing, the English,
French, and Prussians have nothing to learn; but their
cannon, howitzers, and mortars are mere pocket-pistols
compared with the formidable engines of the American

This fact need surprise no one. The Yankees, the
first mechanicians in the world, are engineers just as

2 FROM Till-: KAUTII T< > Till-: MOON.

the Italians are musicians and the Germans metaphysicians

by right of birth. Nothing is more natural, therefore,
than to perceive them applying their audacious ingenuity
to the science of gunnery. Witness the marvels of Par-
rott, Dahlgren, and Rodman. The Armstrong, Palliser,
and Beaulieu guns were compelled to bow before theii
transatlantic rivals.

Now when an American has an idea, he directly seek?
a second* American to share it. If there be three, they


elect a president and two secretaries. Given four, they
name a keeper of records, and the office is ready for work:
five, they convene a general meeting, and the club is full}
constituted. So things were managed in Baltimore.
The inventor of a new cannon associated himself with the
caster and the borer. Thus was formed the nucleus of
the "Gun Club.' In a single month after its formation
it numbered 1,833 effective members and 30,565 corre-
sponding members.

One condition was imposed as a sine qua non upon
every candidate for admission into the association, and
that was the condition of having designed, or (more or
less) perfected a cannon; or, in default of a cannon, at
least a firearm of some description. , It may, however, be
mentioned that -weie ra^-nt'Qiis-' of r'erolvers, five-shoot-
ing carbines, and similar small arms, met with but little
consideration. Artilier/sts' always- .commanded the chief
place of favor.

The estimation in V:iii-c;i toe^e gentlemen were held,
according to one of the most scientific exponents of the
Gun Club, was "proportional to the masses of their guns,
and in the direct ratio of the square of the distances at-
tained by their projectiles.'

The Gun Club once founded, it is easy to conceive the
result of the inventive genius of the Americans. Their
military weapons attained colossal proportions, and their


projectiles, exceeding the prescribed limits, unfortunately
occasionally cut in two some unoffending pedestrians.
These inventions, in fact, left far in the rear the timid
instruments of European artillery.

It is but fair to add that these Yankees, brave as they
have ever proved themselves to be, did not confine them-
selves to theories and formulae, but that they paid heavily,
in propria persona^ for their inventions. Among them
were to be counted officers of all ranks, from lieutenants
to generals; military men of every age, from those who
were just making their debut in the profession of arms up
to those who had grown old on the gun-carriage. Many
had found their rest on the field of battle whose names
figured in the "Book of Honor" of the Gun Club; and of
those who made good their return the greater proportion
bore the marks of their indisputable valor. Crutches,
wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc jaws,
silver craniums, platinum noses, were all to be found in
the collection; and it was calculated by the great statisti-
cian Pitcairn that throughout the Gun Club there was
not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two
legs between six.

Nevertheless, these valiant artillerists took no particu-
lar account of these little facts, and felt justly proud
when the despatches of a battle returned the number of
victims at tenfold the quantity of the projectiles ex-

One day, however sad and melancholy day! peace was
signed between the survivors of the war; the thunder of
the guns gradually ceased, the mortars were silent, the
howitzers were muzzled for an indefinite period, the can-
non, with muzzles depressed, were returned into the
arsenal, the shot were repiled, all bloody reminiscences
were effaced ; the cotton-plants grew luxuriantly in the
well-manured fields, all mourning garments were laid

4 FROM THE K MIT II 7'o T11K .

aside, together with grief; and the (inn Club was rele*
gated to profound inactivity.

Some few of the move advanced and inveterate theorists
set themselves again to work upon calculations regarding
the laws of projectiles. They reverted invariably to
gigantic shells and howitzers of unparalleled caliber. Still
in default of practical experience what was the value of
mere theories? Consequently, the clubrooms became
deserted, the servants dozed in the antechambers, the
newspapers grew mouldy on the tables, sounds of snoring
came from dark corners, and the members of the Gun
Club, erstwhile so noisy in their seances, were reduced
to silence by this disastrous peace and gave themselves up
wholly to dreams of a Platonic kind of artillery.

"This is horrible!'' said Tom Hunter one evening,
while rapidly carbonizing his wooden legs in the fireplace
of the smoking-room; "nothing to do! nothing to look
forward to! what a loathsome existence! When again
shall the guns arouse us in the morning with their de-
lightful reports?"

"Those days are gone by/' said jolly Bilsby, trying to
extend his missing arms. "It was delightful once upon
a time! One invented a gun, and hardly was it cast,
when one hastened to try it in the face of the enemy!
Then one returned to camp with a word of encouragement
from Sherman or a friendly shake of the hand from
McClellan. But now the generals are gone back to their
counters; and in place of projectiles, they despatch bales
of cotton. By Jove, the future of gunnery in America is

"Ay! and no war in prospect!" continued the famous
James T. Maston, scratching with his steel hook his
gutta-percha cranium. "Not a cloud in the horizon!
and that too at such a critical period in the progress of
the science of artillery! Yes, gentlemen! I who address


you have myself this very morning perfected a model
(plan, section, elevation, etc.) of a mortar destined to
change all the conditions of warfare!"

"No! is it possible?' 3 replied Tom Hunter, his thoughts
reverting involuntarily to a former invention of the Hon.
J. T. Maston, by which, at its first trial, he had succeeded
in killing three hundred and thirty-seven people.

"Fact!" replied he. ''Still, what is the use of so many
studies worked out, so many difficulties vanquished? It's
mere waste of time! The New World seems to have
mad up its mind to live in peace; and our bellicose
Tribune predicts some approaching catastrophes arising
out of this scandalous increase of population. v

"Nevertheless," replied Colonel Blomsberry, "they are
always struggling in Europe to maintain the principle of
nationalities. v


"Well, there might be some field for enterprise down
there; and if they would accept our services "

"What are you dreaming of ?" screamed Bilsby; "work
at gunnery for the benefit of foreigners?"

"That would be better than doing nothing here," re-
turned the colonel.

"Quite so," said J. T. Maston; "but still we need not
dream of that expedient.'

"And why not?" demanded the colonel.

"Because their ideas of progress in the Old World are
contrary to our American habits of thought. Those
fellows believe that one can't become a general without
having served first as an ensign; which is as much as to
say that one can't point a gun without having first cast it
oneself !"

"Ridiculous!" replied Tom Hunter, whittling with his
bowie-knife the arms of his easy-chair; "but if that be

6 FHO.V Till-: AM// 777 To Till-:

the case there, all that is left for us is to plant tobacco
and distill whale-oil/

''What!" roared J. T. Maston, "shall we not employ
these remaining years of our life in perfecting firearm.-?
Shall there never be a fresh opportunity of trying the
ranges of projectiles? Shall the air never again be
lighted with the glare of our guns? No international
difficulty ever arise to enable us to declare war against
some transatlantic power? Shall not the French sink one
of our steamers, or the English, in defiance of the rights
of nations, hang a few of our countrymen?"

"No such luck," replied Colonel Blomsberry; "noth-
ing of the kind is likely to happen; and even if it did,
we should not profit by it. American susceptibility is
fast declining, and we are all going to the dogs."

"It is too true," replied J. T. Maston, with fresh
violence; "there are a thousand grounds for fighting,
and yet we don't fight. We save up our arms and legs
for the benefit of nations who don't know what to do with
them! But stop without going out of one's way to find
a cause for war did not North America once belong to
the English?"

"Undoubtedly,' 1 replied Tom Hunter, stamping his
crutch with fury.

"Well, then/' replied J. T. Maston, "why should not
England in her turn belong to the Americans?"

"It would be but just and fair,' 1 returned Colonel

"Go and propose it to the President of the United
States," cried J. T. Maston, "and see how he will receive

"Bah!'' growled Bilsby between the four teeth which
the war had left him; "that will never do!"

"By Jove!" cried J. T. Maston, "he mustn't count on
my vote at the next election!"


"Nor on ours/' replied unanimously all the bellicose

"Meanwhile," replied J. T. Maston, "allow me to say
that, if I cannot get an opportunity to try rny new mor-
tars on a real field of battle, I shall say good-by to the
members of the Gun Club, and go and bury myself in the
prairies of Arkansas!"

"In that case we will accompany you," cried the others,

Matters were in this unfortunate condition, and the
club was threatened with approaching dissolution, when
an unexpected circumstance occurred to prevent so de-
plorable a catastrophe.

On the morrow after this conversation every member of
the association received a sealed circular couched in the
following terms:

"BALTIMORE, October 3.

"The president of the Gun Club has the honor to in-
form his colleagues that, at the meeting of the 5th in-
stant, he will bring before them a communication of an
extremely interesting nature. He requests, therefore,
that they will make it convenient to attend in accordance
with the present invitation. Very cordially,


8 //,*' M/ ////; AM /,-/// TO riif: M<><>.\.


ON the 5th of October, at eight P.M., a dense crowd
pressed toward the saloons of the Gun Club at No. ^1
Union Square. All the members of the association resi-
dent in Baltimore attended the invitation of their presi-
dent. As regards the corresponding members, notices were
delivered by hundreds throughout the streets of the city,
and, large as was the great hall, it was quite inadequate
to accommodate the crowd of savants. They overflowed
into the adjoining rooms, down the narrow passages, into
the outer courtyards. There they ran against the vulgar
herd who pressed up to the doors, each struggling to
reach the front ranks, all eager to learn the nature of the
important communication of President Barbicane; all
pushing, squeezing, crushing with that perfect freedom of
action which is peculiar to the masses when educated in
ideas of "self-government. ' :

On that evening a stranger who might have chanced to
be in Baltimore could not have gained admission for love
or money into the great hall. That was reserved exclu-
sively for resident or corresponding members; no one else
could possibly have obtained a place; and the city mag-
nates, municipal councilors, and "select men" were com-
pelled to mingle with the mere townspeople in order to
catch stray bits of news from the interior.


Nevertheless the vast hall presented a curious spectacle.
Its immense area was singularly adapted to the purpose.
Lofty pillars formed of. cannon, superposed upon huge



mortars as a base, supported the fine ironwork of the
arches, a perfect piece of cast-iron lacework. Trophies
of blunderbuses, matchlocks, arquebuses, carbines, all
kinds of firearms, ancient and modern, were picturesquely
interlaced against the walls. The gas lit up in full glare
myriads of revolvers grouped in the form of lustres, while
groups of pistols, and candelabra formed of muskets
bound together, completed this magnificent display of
brilliance. Models of cannon, bronze castings, sights
covered with dents, plates battered by the shots of the
Gun Club, assortments of rammers and sponges, chaplets
of shells, wreaths of projectiles, garlands of howitzers
in short, all the apparatus of the artillerist, enchanted the
eye by this wonderful arrangement and induced a kind of
belief that their real purpose was ornamental rather than

At the further end of the saloon the president, assisted
by four secretaries, occupied a large platform. His
chair, supported by a carved gun-carriage, was modeled
upon the pounerous proportions of a 32-inch mortar. It
was pointed at an angle of ninety degrees, and suspended
upon trundions, so that the president could balance him-
self upon it as upon a rocking-chair, a very agreeable
fact in the very hot weather. Upon the table (a huge
iron plate supported upon six carronades) stood an ink-
stand of exquisite elegance, made of a beautifully chased
Spanish piece, and a sonnette, which, when required,
could give forth a report equal to that of a revolver.
During violent debates this novel kind of bell scarcely
sufficed to drown the clamor of these excitable artillerists.

In front of the table benches arranged in zigzag form,
like the circumvallations of a retrenchment, formed a
succession of bastions and curtains set apart for the use of
the members of the club; and on this especial evening
one might say, "All the world was on the ramparts.' :

10 FliO.V Til 1-1 K. \RTII TO THE MOON.

The president was sufficiently well known, however, for
all to be assured that he would not put his colleagues to
discomfort without some very strong motive.

Impey Barbicane was a man of forty years of age, calm,
cold, austere; of a singularly serious and self-contained
demeanor, punctual as a chronometer, of imperturbable
t-mper and immovable character; by no means chivalrous,
yet adventurous withal, and always bringing practical ideas
to bear upon the very rashest enterprises; an essentially
New Englander, a Northern colonist, a descendant of the
old anti-Stuart Roundheads, and the implacable enemy
of the gentlemen of the South, those ancient cavaliers of
the mother country. In a word, he was a Yankee to the

Barbicane bad made a large fortune as a timber mer-
chant. Being nominated director of artillery during the
war, he proved himself fertile in invention. Bold in his
conceptions, he contributed powerfully to the progress of
that arm and gave an immense impetus to experimental

He was a personage of the middle height, having, by a
rare exception in the Gun Club, all his limbs complete.
His strongly marked features seemed drawn by square
and rule; and if it be true that, in order to judge of a
man's character one must look at his profile, Barbicane,
so examined, exhibited the most certain indications of
energy, audacity, and sang-froid.

At this moment he was sitting in his armchair, silent,
absorbed, lost in reflection, sheltered under his high-
crowned hat a k : ,nd of black silk cylinder which always
seems firmly screwed upon the head of an American.

Just when the deep-toned clock in the great hall struck
eight, Barbicane, as if he had been set in motion by a
spring, raised himself up. A profound silence ensued,


and the speaker, in a somewhat emphatic tone of voice,
commenced as follows:

"My brave colleagues, too long already a paralyzing
peace has plunged the members of the Gun Club in de-
plorable inactivity. After a period of years full of inci-
dents we have been compelled to abandon our labors, and
to stop short on the road of progress. I do not hesitate
to state, boldly, that any war which should recall us to
arms would be welcome!" (Tremendous applause!) "But
war, gentlemen, is impossible under existing circum-
stances; and, however we may desire it, many years may
elapse before our cannon shall again thunder in the field
of battle. We must make up our minds, then, to seek in
another train of ideas some field for the activity which
we all pine for.'

The meeting felt that the president was now approach-
ing the critical point, and redoubled their attention ac-

"For some months past, my brave colleagues, ?; con-
tinued Barbicane, "I have been asking myself whether,
while confining ourselves to our own particular objects,
we could not enter upon some grand experiment worthy
of the nineteenth century; and whether the progress of
artillery science would not enable us to carry it out to a
successful issue. I have been considering, working, cal-
culating; and the result of my studies is the conviction
that we are safe to succeed in an enterprise which to any
other country would appear wholly impracticable. This
project, the result of long elaboration, is the object of my
present communication. It is worthy of yourselves,
worthy of the antecedents of the Gun Club; and it can-
not fail to make some noise in the world. >:

A thrill of excitement ran through the meeting.

Barbicane, having by a rapid movement firmly fixed his
hat upon his head, calmly continued his harangue:

12 FROM Till-: AM/? 777 TO THE M<>(>X

. .

'There is no one among you, my brave colleagues, who
has not seen the .Moon, or, at least, heard speak of it.
Don't be surprised if I am about to to you re-
garding this Queen of the Night. It is perhaps reserved
for us to become the Colum buses of this unknown world.
Only enter into my plans, and second me with all your
power,, and I will lead you to its conquest, and its name
shall be added to those of the thirty -six States which com-
pose this Great Union.'

"Three cheers for the Moon!" roared the Gun Club,
with one voice.

"The moon, gentlemen, has beer carefully studied,' 1
continued Barbican e; "her mass, density, and weight;
her constitution, motions, distance, as well as her place in
the solar system, have all been exactly determined.
Selenographic charts have been constructed with a per-
fection which equals, if it does not even surpass, that of
our terrestrial maps. Photography has given us proofs of
the incomparable beauty of our satellite; in short, all is
known regarding the moon which mathematical science,
astronomy, geology, and optics can learn about her. But
tip to the present moment no direct communication has
been established with her.'

A violent movement of interest and surprise here
greeted this remark of the speaker.

"Permit me," he continued, "to recount to you briefly
how certain ardent spirits, starting on imaginary journeys,
have penetrated the secrets of our satellite. In the seven-
teenth century a certain David Fabricius boasted of hav-
ing seen with his own eyes the inhabitants of the moon.
In 1649 a Frenchman, one Jean Baudoin, published a
'Tourney performed from the Earth to the Moon by
Domingo Gonzalez/ a Spanish adventurer. At the same
period Cyrano de Bergerac published that celebrated
'Journeys in the Moon* which met with such success in


France. Somewhat later another Frenchman, named
Fontenelle, wrote 'The Plurality of Worlds/ a chef-
d'oeuvre of its time. About 1835 a small treatise, trans-
lated from the New York American, related how Sir John
Herschel, having been despatched to the Cape of Good
Hope for the purpose of making there some astronomical
calculations, had, by means of a telescope brought to per-
fection by means of internal lighting, reduced the ap-
parent distance of the moon to eighty yards ! He then
distinctly perceived caverns frequented by hippopotami,
green mountains bordered by golden lace-work, sheep
with horns of ivory, a white species of deer and inhabitants
with membranous wings, like bats. This brochure, the
work of an American named Locke, had a great sale.
But, to bring this rapid sketch to a close, I will only
add that a certain Hans Pfaal, of Rotterdam, launching
himself in a balloon filled with a gas extracted from
nitrogen, thirty-seven times lighter than hydrogen,
reached the moon after a passage of nineteen hours.
This journey, like all previous ones, was purely imag-
inary ; still, it was the work of a popular American author
-I mean Edgar Poe!'

' ' Cheers for Edgar Poe ! ' ' roared the assemblage, elec-
trified by their president's words.

"I have now enumerated,' said Barbicane, "the ex-
periments which I call purely paper ones, and wholly
insufficient to establish serious relations with the Queen
of Night. Nevertheless, I am bound to add that some
practical geniuses have attempted to establish actual com-
munication with her. Thus, a few days ago, a German
geometrician proposed to send a scientific expedition to
the steppes of Siberia. There, on those vast plains, they
were to describe enormous geometric figures, drawn in
characters of reflecting luminosity, among which was the
proposition regarding the 'square of the,*

14 FROM Till-: K MIT II TO Till'] MOON.

commonly called the 'Ass's Bridge' by the Frencn.
'Every intelligent being,' said the geometrician, 'must
understand the scientific meaning of that figure. The
Selenites, do they exist, will respond by a similar figure;
and, a communication being thus once established, it will
be easy to form an alphabet which shall enable us to con-
verse with the inhabitants of the moon. 7 So spoke the
German geometrician; but his project was never put into
practice, and up to the present day there is no bond in
existence between the earth and her satellite. It is re-
served for the practical genius of Americans to establish
a communication with the oidereal world. The means of
arriving thither are simple, easy, certain, infallible and
that is the purpose of my present proposal. ::

A storm of acclamations greeted these words. There
was not a single person in the whole audience who was
not overcome, carried away, lifted out of himself by the
speaker's words!

Long-continued applause resotn ued from all sides.

As soon as the excitement had partially subsided, Bar-
bicane resumed his speech in a somewhat graver voice.

"You know," said he, "what progress artillery science
has made during the last few years, and \\hat a degree of
perfection firearms of every kind have reached. More-
over, you are well aware that, in general lerms, the resist-
ing power of cannon and the expansive force of gunpow-
der are practically unlimited. Well! starting from this
principle, I ask myself whether, supposing sufficient
apparatus could be obtained constructed upon the condi-
tions of ascertained resistance, it might not be possible to
project a shot up to the moon?"

At these words a murmur of amazement escaped from

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