William Simpson.

The man from Mars; his morals, politics and religion online

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ment. A moment's reflection explained the matter. The
Earth had shaken. So trifling, however, was the dis-
turbance about me that it had not been felt. But I had
lost my focus, and Mars was already on its backward
journey. My grand holiday was over.

I immediately lowered the telescope and replaced its
protecting dome. Gathering the few hasty notes I had
prepared during my observation, for future reference and
elaboration, I made my way to an apartment of my cabin
which serves me for a library and bed chamber. A num-


ber of shelves filled with books occupy one of its sides.
My bed rests in a corner. An easy chair stands besides
a table in the center, and under a window, proportion-
ately large, fronting the south, is placed a cushioned
lounge of some pretentions to comfort and luxury, I
threw myself upon this, after laying away my papers, and
the lower panes of my window being on a level with my
head, I looked out into the night.

The moon in its last quarter was just peeping over a
near mountain. Its light, partly obstructed by a net-
work of tree-tops, was throwing figures of light and shade
over the adjacent opening, so that the ground appeared
to have spread upon it a collosal carpet, with fantastic
decorations of ebony and silver. The air had grown a
trifle cooler. A gentle breeze was stirring out of the
West, and the silence, that had recently fallen so myster-
iously upon me, was being followed now by a normal
condition of unrest. As the moon rose higher, its fanci-
ful shadows upon the ground dissolved, and the level
plateau adjacent to my window was uniformly covered
with a clear, bright light. Looking again, and quite
sensibly impressed with the changed condition of things
about me, I descried the figure of a man, not far from my


window ; and, strange to say, I was neither alarmed nor
startled at his presence. His face, of which I saw but
little more than its profile, was turned upward looking at
the moon, and its expression was unmistakably one of
admiration and wonder. His long, and apparently well-
cared-for hair and beard, reflected a golden sheen under
the light above. His arms were folded, and his shape
and attitude impressed me as being majestic.

While fixing my gaze intently on this strange form, an
expression of something wanting about it took possession
of me, when presently I observed with surprise, that
although standing under the bright and unobstructed
light of the moon, no shadow was visible about it. He
remained for some time as immovable as a statute, gazing
upon our satellite as one who had never before looked
upon so wondrous a sight, and then, with the air of one
on unfamiliar ground, he made an inquiring survey of my
cabin, and then directed his careful footsteps toward my


This strange figure entered my cabin, and without
introduction or sign of salutation seated himself in my
easy chair as though he were a member of my household,
an apparent rudeness which will be explained as I
proceed. I had now the first opportunity to get a good
survey of my visitor. He was a person of surpassing
loveliness. His face was of that spiritual kind which is
seldom seen off the canvass of some of our art masters,
and it reflected a kindness of heart that is never realized
except by the purest religious fancy. His form was so
high and elaborate in its development, that I have only
seen an approach to it in the best models. His singular
attractiveness I can only compare to that affinity which
comes of pure sexual love, captivating the beholder with
a presence which drives away all thought but it. His
complexion had that ruddy clearness and transparency
indicative of perfect health. The hair ot his head and
beard, — both long and waving over shoulders and breast,
— was of a hue that can be best described as the color of

the; man from mars. 85

the ripe filbert, with the fineness and lustre of unwoven
silk. His hands, although scrupulously clean and finel}-
shaped, bore the unmistakable signs of manual toil ; and
yet he had the superior air and manner of one whose
mission it was to instruct. As he sat before me I felt like
a child in the presence of a loved and loving parent. M}^
impression of him was entirely correct, since his first word
of utterance to me was a term of endearment.

"My brother," said he, "you have a beautiful world.
That moon of yours is magnificent."

To me this was a happy beginning. Here was,
thought I, a man after my own heart, whose soul was
above the common things of life. I could compare notes
with him touching my study of Mars. Providence had
then sent me, at last, what I had so wanted, — some one
to share and enjoy with me the triumphs of my labor ; so
I immediately said to him : " As to the moon, it is cer-
tainly very serviceable as a night reflector of the sun's
light; but, since its size is comparatively insignificant,
and its surface desolate and uninhabited, it is thus an
object of ver>' little importance among heavenly bodies.
Speaking of magnificent planets, what do you think of


' ' Mars stdts me, ' ' said my visitor.

Thinking my question too general, I inquired : ' ' Do
you think Mars inhabited ? ' '

"I am a good proof that it is," said he. "I left that
planet — ^let me see — by your time, about one hour ago."

"I either misunderstood you, or you are not serious.
It is impossible. ' '

"Ah, my brother," said he, "you are very little
advanced in a knowledge of the properities of intelligence.
I am here by a process as yet unknown to you, and
which may be best described in your language as rejflec-
tion. I am here by reflection. That is to say, my
natural body is at my home, on the planet, which you
call Mars. Its spiritual counterpart is here. You have
already an inkling of this strange faculty of transfering
intelligence, in some of the phenomena on which is
founded your spiritualistic creed. We, of the planet
Mars, have been in the enjoyment of this discovery for
centuries ; and while you of the Earth are only able by
your appliances of science to measure the size of our
planet, compute its distance, estimate the shape and
extent of its orbit, and indulge in some vague conjectures
appertaining to its condition, we have been making a


close and interesting study of your social affairs, includ-
ing, of course, your morals, politics and religion. You
have only measured us as a planet. We have measured
you as a people, and at least one of us, as you perceive,
has mastered your language. Besides, our development
is over ten thousand years ahead of yours. We can tell
you more of your history than you know yourselves. At
a period of yours described by your writers as the stone
age, we had converted electricity into a motor and illum-
inating agent. I know your thoughts. You are sur-
prised at what I have said, and wish me to tell you some-
thing of the planet upon which I reside.

"It will interest you to know that about the equatorial
regions of Mars is found its highest civilization and
densest settlement. Your torrid zone, and the corres-
ponding section of our planet, are widely different. In
ours, the cUmate is delightfully and evenly temperate.
The extent of our surface, as you know, is very much less
than yours, but the uniform quality of our land for culti-
vation, and the smaller water surface, compared with
yours, supports a population whose numbers would
astonish you. You may as well discharge your mind of
the many conjectures which ascribe to each planet a qual-


ity of matter and intelligence peculiar to itself. The
whole universe is a unit, as 3'our spectroscope, and the
bodies from space that fall from time to time upon 5-our
surface, must have suggested to you. Variable states of
density and temperature modify the forms and organs of
animal and vegetable life, but matter is everywhere the

"Your chemists have just arrived at that point of
knowledge where ours were forty centuries ago. Yours
recognize over sixty forms of matter as simple and
elementary, while ours have reduced them all to one, —
the unit out of which all creation is formed. From this
you may infer that our discovery of the compound nature
of the metals enables us to make them at pleasure. This
was a most fortunate and timely knowledge for us, since
they are distributed very sparsely on our planet. It will
no doubt be a strange thing to tell you, that we make
gold at a less cost than iron, and that consequently it is
the cheapest metal in use. You are about to ask me
whether we make diamonds. We have made them for
centuries. Our factories turn them out in masses for the
ornamental parts of buildings, for which they are remark-
ably adapted on account of their brilliancy and indestruct-



My strange visitor rested a little here, with the evident
intention of reading my thoughts, and of enjoying my
surprise. While I was marvelling what great things
chemical science must have done in other ways, he
appeared to anticipate my question.

' ' My brother, ' ' said he, ' 'we are indebted to the science
of chemistry for more than I can readily enumerate.
With us, as with you, a large number of common and
abundant substances differ only a trifle in chemical com-
position from others which are in great demand for the
purposes of life. The science of chemistry enables us to
convert one into the other at will. Thus, from wood we
manufacture sugar, starch, and any number of other
useful commodities. By the double decomposition of air
and water we generate a heat which, for economy and
easy regulation, is better than anything the universe
affords. The clumsy, unclean and inconvenient use of
wood and coal for fuel is with us a practice of the past.

"But chemistry has done for us an immeasurably
greater service. It has enabled us to provide for our-
selves a food supply by the process of synthesis, which,
in the extremety of crop shortage or failure, we can


resort to as a means of averting famine. You are aware,
in your present stage of chemical knowledge, that all food
products are composed of four simple ingredients, Carbon,
Oxygen, Hydrogen and Nitrogen, found in abundant
supply in the atmosphere and its natural mixture. These,
with two or three earthy matters from the soil, are the
constituents of all food. We forestall the slow assimula-
tion of these by the organs of animals and plants, and by
our chemical skill are enabled to combine them in proper
proportion to form the proximate elements of all varieties
of food, wanting in nothing but the taste and flavor of
the natural supply, and on that account, only used when
compelled by necessity,

* ' Our advance in sytithetic chemistry has enabled us
to imitate nature's products in many of their organic
forms. Besides those nitrogen compounds which we
manufacture as life sustainers, we produce many sub-
stances which are equivalent to those you obtain exclu-
sively from animal and vegetable life. We obtain in this
way substitutes for leather, horn, ivory, and also fats and
oils, albumen, gluten, starch, etc., etc.; most of these
better and in more convenient forms for industrial and
culinary uses than nature furnishes them. Our textile


fabrics are entirely derived from vegetable growth, and
we give them a quality of slow or quick conduction of
heat to accord with their purposes of summer or winter

' ' You may safely infer from what I have said that we
slaughter no animals for food or raiment. Such demoral-
izing cruelty we have never practiced. The ferocious
examples of beasts and birds of prey we have never
known, and we have no extensive wastes over which they
could live and flourish. Our animals which are limited
in variety compared with yours are all domesticated, and
our treatment of them is so uniformly kind, that instead
of avoiding us they court our society. We have a clean
and beautiful creature, much smaller than your cow, which
gives us milk. It is remarkably intelligent, and is often
admitted into our households to nurse our infants, who
become very fond of them. Our city parks are provided
with these animals and it is a common sight to see them
gamboling with children and quietly submitting them-
selves to their nourishment.

" It is a part of our religion to believe that every living
cieature is related, though distantly, to ourselves, and to
those of them especially which are brought into our


sendee, we owe not only an obligation of kindness, but
the care of attention in sickness and old age. We have
accordingly established places of retirement for them.
The kind relations existing for ages between us and all
animal kind has modified their conduct to us in a wa)^
that would be striking to you, and would lead you to
believe that they possess more intelHgence than you have
given them credit for. They come to us in their troubles,
and submit in the most human way to medical treatment
in their hospitals. You would be interested to note the
friendly familiarity existing between us and our birds,
who in brilliancy of plumage and song are far ahead of
yours. They abound in our city parks, and one has only
to open the window and whistle and they will come flying
into the appartment, engaging themselves in a concert of
song, perched about on the furniture, as a happy privi-
lege. On any other occassion when one comes silent and
alone we know what it portends, and it is tenderly carried
to the bird hospital."

"You have," I ventured to enquire, "railroads and
boats for transportation?"

"We have neither," answered my visitor, "nor do we
require them, for reasons easily explained. There are


two conditions of our planet which render the navigation
of the air entirely safe and successful. They are the
greater density of our atmosphere, and the diminished
force of gravity compared with yours. Our air ships, as
you would call them, are easily made to sustain and move
large cargoes, by vacuum chambers and electric motors.
Our inventors have long since surmounted the difficulties
of adverse wind currents, and these vessels, of both
public and private use, may be seen constantly moving
about in all directions, and at all altitudes, with but few
serious accidents.

"There are no large oceans like yours on Mars, and
our rivers are so small as not to serve the purposes of
commerce. You will perceive, then, that our facilities for
navigating the air were bestowed upon us as a means of
transportation, in lieu of the convenient waterways which
5^ou enjoy. As you may anticipate, from the small size
of our rivers, there are no extensive mountainous water
sheds upon our surface. Instead of your immense, deso-
late, and storm-beaten seas, we have a series of lakes,
everywhere varying in size, but none of them larger than
seventy-five of your miles long, and forty broad.

"The relative density between water and an animal


body being such on our planet as to render the possibility
of drowning by accident impossible, the fear and horror
existing with you of involuntary immersion in the depths
is entirely unknown. Our numerous lakes are therefore
scenes of the most enjoyable, and what would be with
you, reckless diversion. The upsetting of a boat with its
load of excursionists, no matter where, results in merely
a harmless frolic. The human body there sinks in the
water only a little above its middle, and we have contrived,
by web-like fastenings to the hands and feet, a means of
propulsion so rapid as to nearly equal our speediest loco-
motion on the land. During our long summers, when
the temperature of the water is agreeable, lake journeys,
especially by the young, are among the most popular
amusements. This, to you, strange condition of density'-
is producti^'e of a state of affairs partaking of the humor-
ous, although leading to much domestic perplexity and
annoyance. Our children take to the water in the
summer season as naturally as your water fowl, and the
loss of offspring upon the lakes, at that tender age which
precludes their knowledge of the return direction, is the
source of an immense amount of parental disturbance and
worr3\ The straying of children upon the waters is

the; man from mars. 95

attended, however, with but Httle danger ; since, if by
an}^ possibility they remain undiscovered during the
night, they can, owing to the buoyancy of their bodies,
sleep tranquilly and deHghtfully upon their backs, resting
upon the cushions of the waters until rescued, as they
are sure to be on the succeeding day, by one of the
numerous airships constantly skimming the surface.

"Our land is generally rolUng, and there is a constant
water movement in the channels connecting these small
bodies of water, not in a uniform direction toward the sea,
as with you, but in all directions, thus saving to us a
power for mechanical purposes than which nothing better
can be conceived.

"Our cities, as you may imagine, are not located as
yours are ; but, since one place is as good as another for a
distributing point, the rule has been to build them up
where conditions are favorable, chiefly considered of which
have been the health, comfort, and pleasure of their
inhabitants. It would be doing us injustice to believe
that, with our long period of development and progress,
we have not achieved something far ahead of you in the
sanitary and labor-saving appliances about us, especially in
our metropolitan districts. In the first place, we use no


wood whatever in the construction of our buildings,
having discovered long ago a tendency during its slow
decay to absorb and retain the germs of disease and
uncleanliness. Neither is its durability satisfactory ; and
its ready inflammability and lack of strength render it
unfitted for our purposes. We use, instead, a metallic
alloy unknown to you, which is susceptible of a high
polish, as inoxidizable as gold, and with that character of
penetrability which permits fastening with nails and
shaping by tools, with even greater exactness than you
work with wood.

" Our cities are built with uniformity. Their growth
is invariably from the center outward. Their location is
not a matter of chance, as 3'ours generally is. No site is
chosen without the thorough examination and approval
of a sanitary commission, whose knowledge and sincerity
we respect. Their foundation is made by the laying out
of a large circular enclosure for the location of all public
buildings, among which, in the center and more magnifi-
cent than all in its imposing loftiness and artistic finish, is
our temple of worship. From this center radiate a set of
wide and uniform thoroughfares, and these are crossed at
regular intervals by circular ones, which begin at the


center and are repeated to the circumferance as a series of
concentric rings."

The man from Mars became silent for a moment, and I
observed that for the first time his face was clouded a
little. He had spoken of a temple of worship, and it had
started in my mind a wish to hear something of the
society and morals of his people, and how they compared
with us ; so I said to him : "I am grateful to you for
your kindness in describing some of the material
surroundings of your people, but I would like very much
to know something of your inner lives, of your thoughts
and beliefs, and how they affect your social condition."

"My brother," said he, "you wish me to make a
comparison between our society and yours. I can scarcely
do so without the risk of giving you pain. "With our
greater advancement, we look back upon you as travelers
over the same rough paths. Your journey is even a more
difficult one than ours. In your present state, you appear
to us as a world of discord, confusion, and strife. While
we were long ago resolved into a single, homogeneous
people, you are still divided into nations and countries,
unridden yet of the barbarous pride of combat. We
have but one religion. Yours are many and antagonistic.


I shall briefly make for you the comparison you wish,
hoping that it may bring no sense of pain to you, for, to
speak the truth, the cruelty, the intense individual selfish-
ness, and the strange superstitions of the inhabitants of
the Earth will pass away out of the ages to come. ' '



"Comparing your society with ours," began my
celestial visitor, " is like describing the difference between
your present intellectual condition, and the state you
were in during your cave-dwelling period. In review of
your progress, we recognize two chief agencies at work
which have regenerated us, viz : the steady growth of
human sympathy, and the fading out of old superstitions.
In our advanced development, with the first of these, we
have achieved a state of things in our society quite likely
beyond your hopes. For instance, that feeling of regard
and afl&nity for each other which is seldom found among
you, except in the midst of family ties, we hold one for
another among all. If I were to select from among you
a domestic circle, the most refined and correct, its distur-
bance and anxiety from the sorrows and misfortunes of
one of its members would scarcely represent the feeling
in a body of our people for the misfortunes of any. We
are shocked at your cruel indifference to the feeUngs of
one another. When we see one of you sinking by the


wayside, by means of one of the evils which you naturally
inherit ; or overwhelmed, perhaps, with the penalties of a
misadventure, and looked upon by his fellows regardless
of his smitten condition, we can find no parallel to it
among ourselves, except in the traditions that have come
to us out of our remote ages.

' ' Your national antagonisms, your cruel wars, and the
immense sums wasted by you in maintaining millions of
your people, trained for the sole purpose of slaughtering
their fellows, we regard as the one most disgraceful relic
of your former supremely barbarous state. While, by
the process of social development, all your most cruel
brutalisms have disappeared within the range of your higher
civilization, the remaining one, of sending masses of 3^our
people into deadly combat for the settlement of political
and religious questions, is retained for reasons which are
not wholly in concurrence with our sense of right. In
the first place, no element of justice enters into the arbi-
tration of a question, whose settlement rests entirely upon
the physical strength of the contestants ; and all intena-
tional settlements by this means are but temporary, when
the winning party has not coincidentally a prevailing
sense ot justice in its favor. All your wars and battles,


without a result on the side of equity and truth, have been
fought in vain. Your bloody misjudgments of one
century often are, and are ever like to be, reviewed and
resubmitted to the same sanguinary and delusive arbitra-
tion in a succeeding one. In these brutal encounters you
stain your hands and garments in the blood of your fellow
men without remorse, because the wild instincts of your
nature have never been suppressed in that particular
direction. Those of you in authority, both civil and
religious, have this to answer for. For the sake of a
concurrence in the selfish schemes of your rulers, they
have instituted a series of glittering rewards for the most
skillful of their wholesale murderers and you have in that
way been educated to honor most, those who could deal
the heaviest blows.

" We cannot take a survey of the motives which have
instituted nearly all these sanguinary and dreadful
encounters among you, without a sense of horror. Your
civilization has witnessed only a single one of these
terrible conflicts, wherein a purely humane question was
involved. Your religions have not only been used to
sanction this dire carnage, but have even themselves been
participants in the slaughter of millions of your people.


You are not yet freed from the savagery of your remote
fathers, who, ages ago, entered those fierce contests
between tribe and tribe, with strong personal interests in
the outcome. The loss or gain of a battle meant to them
either a share of spoils or probable torture and death.
Yet you have kept aUve this inclination to collective

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Online LibraryWilliam SimpsonThe man from Mars; his morals, politics and religion → online text (page 5 of 14)