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Symzonia; Voyage of Discovery, by Adam Seaborn (pseud. John Cleves Symmes?), [1820], at

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The Author departs from Token Island, in search of an internal continent.—Wind, weather, and other phenomena of the internal seas.—Great alarm of the crew.—Discovery of an inhabited country.

We were soon under weigh again, and steered due north, as well to seek for a new region of land, as to get into a more temperate climate; it being obvious that the internal equator must correspond in phenomena to the external pole, and consequently the more we approached the former, and receded from the latter, the cooler we should find the weather.

Soon after leaving the island, the weather became exceedingly unpleasant; the atmosphere was loaded with dense black clouds, and we were annoyed with torrents of rain, together with very vivid lightning and heavy thunder. We lay to the greater part of three days, thinking it imprudent to run into unexplored seas in dark weather. The fourth day it brightened up a little, when we pushed on to the northward.

After two days of unsettled weather, we

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were favoured with a fine westerly wind, blowing steady and pleasant like a trade wind, which continued during the remainder of this passage. For three days more we continued steering to the northward, when we found the weather delightfully pleasant. We had the direct rays of the sun nearly one fourth part of the time, and its reflected light the remainder. This last was the most pleasant, being something between sunshine and bright moonlight, without the glare of the one or the indistinctness of the other. Satisfied with the climate, I determined to keep in it, and run before the wind due east, until I discovered land, or circumnavigated this part of the globe.

I found the latitude this day, carefully computed from the sun's altitude, with due allowance for refraction, to be 65° 17´ south internal. We ran on very pleasantly for seven days, but saw nothing. It was now the 17th December. The sun had nearly attained its most southern declination, and would soon be receding to the north.

The curious fact, that we could see the sun directly but for a short part of the day, at this season of the year, in a high southern

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latitude, astonished and alarmed my officers and people. It was a matter of continual debate amongst them on the forecastle, where Slim and even Albicore sometimes took a part in those grave and learned disquisitions. In one of their conferences, Slim advanced the opinion, that, as the sun was now near its extreme southern declination, and we could see it but a small part of the time, we must be in some great hole in the earth; and that when the sun returned to the north, which would soon take place, we should for a certainty be involved in total darkness, and never be able to find our way out again. This idea struck the whole ship's company with horror. Even Albicore was infected with the panic. Will Mackerel and Jack Whiffle were the only ones among them who expressed a ready determination to stand by their commander, wheresoever he might lead them. Numerous propositions were advanced and rejected by this council on the forecastle; but it was finally concluded that they would go aft in a body, and insist upon my immediately returning to Seaborn's Land, or they would heave me overboard, without further delay.

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I was accordingly called from my cabin to hear this wise determination of my people. After hearing what they had to say, I asked them very coolly, how they intended to proceed when they had thrown me overboard? There was no one of them who could determine the ship's place, who had a sufficient knowledge of astronomy and natural philosophy, to account for the extraordinary phenomena that constantly occurred, or who had skill enough to ascertain any one point of the compass. How then were they to find their way home without my aid? Perceiving that this made a deep impression on their minds, I proceeded to dispel their fears, by assuring them that I felt no more disposition to perish in a sea of utter darkness than they did, but that so far from my having any apprehension of such an event, it appeared to me that we should find the winter in that region much more pleasant than at Seaborn's Land, if we could but discover land and a harbour, where we could moor in safety; that I had never been in a climate so perfectly agreeable to my feelings; that the air was so soft, so elastic, and temperate, it was a luxury to sit still and inhale

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the sweet breath of heaven; that so far from being in haste to get out of so salubrious a climate, I should be glad to pass my days in it; and, at all events, the sun would be no further north after the expiration of a month, than at the time of our departure from Boneto's station. Finally, I told them that, should I not make any discovery by the 1st of January, I would then return to Seaborn's Land, where, in the quarters erected for Mr. Boneto's party, we could all winter very comfortably; but, on the other hand, should they persist in their mutinous course, I would break my instruments, throw my books overboard. and leave them to help themselves as they could.

They all knew my determined and inflexible disposition, and that their best way was not to provoke it. The men went forward without reply. Albicore was the only one who opened his lips, and that was only to express his astonishment that he could have permitted himself to he led away from his duty for a moment, by any circumstance. It was all owing, he said, to that evil spirit, Slim, whose suggestion

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of total and perpetual darkness had frightened him.

We ran on for five days more, when "a sail ho!" rang through the ship. The stranger vessel was standing obliquely athwart our course, and we were soon near enough to see her distinctly from the deck. She had five masts, with narrow sails attached to each. When we were within three miles of the stranger, she tacked and stood from us to the southward, wind S. W. Feeling confident that the speed of my vessel was superior to that of any thing on the face of the globe, inside or out, I gave chace, in expectation of bringing her to, in a short time.

But here I experienced a mortifying instance of the vanity of human pretensions, however well they may appear to be founded. The stranger, although she did not appear to have half as much sail in proportion to her hull as the Explorer, went within four points of the wind so rapidly, that in two hours she could not be seen from the mast head. I was now at a loss how to proceed. The strange sail was standing about N. W. when first seen, but she might be outward bound, and in that case, by

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steering that course we should miss the desired land; on the other hand, the course we had been steering might carry us to the northward of our object, and pursuing the vessel in the direction in which she was last seen might lead to an equally unfortunate result. Will Mackerel was of opinion, that the Internals, on seeing so strange a looking vessel as ours, would run for the nearest land, and that we ought to follow her. I resolved at last to steer S. E. for two days, and if not successful, to return to the same place, and steer two days to the N. W. There proved to be no occasion for so much trouble; for at the moment I had decided what to do, the lookout at the mast head called out 'land ho!'

The sun was now just setting, which immediately brought on the darkest period of the night; and some heavy black clouds occasioned by the vicinity of the land, threatened stormy weather. We therefore stood back upon our track, to wait the return of bright light, that I might approach the inhabited country of the Internal World for the first time under favour of the brightest smile of heaven.

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After a few hours the clouds dispersed, and the reflected light became sufficiently strong to enable us to see dangers several miles, but not to admit of a clear distant view. We therefore drew slowly in with the land, to be ready to run in to the nearest harbour during the next interval of sunshine. When near the shore, we again hove to with the ship's head off shore. With my night glass I could discern buildings and moving objects on the land, which assured me that the country was inhabited.

I walked the deck with impatient yet pleasing anxiety. I was about to reach the goal of all my wishes; to open an intercourse with a new world and with an unknown people; to unfold to the vain mortals of the external world new causes for admiration at the infinite diversity and excellence of the works of an inscrutable Deity; to give to them fresh motives for adoration, and hopes of continued advancement in discovering the infinite works of God.

My imagination became fired with enthusiasm, and my heart elated with pride. I was about to secure to my name a conspicuous and imperishable place on the

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tablets of History, and a niche of the first order in the temple of Fame. I moved like one who trod on air; for whose achievements had equalled mine? The voyage of Columbus was but an excursion on a fish pond, and his discoveries, compared with mine, were but trifles; a summer sea and a strip of land, where common sense must have convinced any man of ordinary capacity that there must be land, unless Providence were in that one instance more wasteful of its works than in all its other doings. His was the discovery of a continent, mine of a new World!

My mind flew on the wings of thought to my native country; I compared my doings and my sensations with those of that swarm of sordid beings who waste their lives in Wall-street, or in the purlieus of the courts intent on gain, and scrambling for the wrecks of the property of their unfortunate fellow beings, or hiring out the efforts of their minds to perform such loathsome work as their employers would pay them for;—men who feel themselves ennobled by their wealth, or by their technical knowledge; who think themselves superior to the useful classes of society; from whom I

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had often heard the scornful observation, 'he is nothing but a shipmaster;' as if those men who live and thrive but by the infirmities and vices of society were enobled by their profession, and the hardy and adventurous mariner, whose occupation leads him to every climate and through every sea, to gather like the bee the useful and the delicious for the comfort and gratification of the native hive, should be degraded by his calling.

Next: Chapter VII