Monday, July 30, 2012

Jules Verne, "The Sphinx of the Ice Fields" — Chapter I

[Jules Verne's Le Sphinx des glaces, published in 1897, was a sequel to Edgar Allan Poe's novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. Of the two existing English translations, the 1898 version by Mrs. Cashel Hoey, under the title An Antarctic Mystery, is by far the more complete, and is in many ways quite good. However, it omits as much as forty percent of the the original text, eliminating much of the descriptive material and some dialogue. I have begun a fairly extensive revision and completion of that translation, and will post chapters on the blog as they are completed.]

The Sphinx of the Ice Fields

By Jules Verne

Chapter I
The Kerguelen Islands

No doubt this tale of the Sphinx of Ice will be met with disbelief. No matter. It is good, I think, that it be put before the public, which is free to believe it or not.
It would be difficult to imagine a more appropriate place for the beginning of these marvelous and terrible adventures than the Desolation Islands. Their name was given to them, in 1779, by Captain Cook, and, indeed, given what I have seen during a stay of some weeks there, I can affirm that they deserve the lamentable title given them by the celebrated English navigator. Desolation Islands—that says it all.
I know that geographical nomenclature insists on the name of Kerguelen, generally adopted for the group which lies in 49° 45’ south latitude, and 69° 6’ east longitude. This is because, in the year 1772, the French baron Kerguelen was the first to report those islands in the southern part of the Indian Ocean. Indeed, the commander of the squadron on that voyage believed that he had found a new continent on the limit of the Antarctic seas, but in the course of a second expedition he recognized his error. There was only an archipelago. But trust me when I say that Desolation Islands is the only suitable name for this group of three hundred isles or islets in the midst of the vast expanse of ocean, which is constantly disturbed by austral storms
Nevertheless, the group is inhabited, and as of August 2, 1839, thanks to my presence at Christmas Harbour, the number of Europeans and Americans who formed the nucleus of the Kerguelen population had for two months even been increased by one unit. It I true, I only awaited an opportunity to leave the place, having completed the geological and mineralogical studies which had brought there.
Christmas Harbour belongs to the most important isle of the archipelago, with an area measuring four thousand five hundred kilometers square—half that of Corsica. It is quite secure, with straight and easy access. The ships can moor there in four fathoms of water. After having doubled, to the north, that Cape François that Table Mountain dominates from twelve hundred feet, look across the arch of basalt, largely hollow at its point. You will see a narrow bay, protected by islets against the furious winds from the east and west. At the base is carved Christmas Harbour. Let your ship make way directly starboard. When it is returned to its anchorage, it can rest on a single anchor, with ease in turning, as the bay is not covered by ice.
Moreover, the Kerguelens possess other fiords, and those by the hundreds. Their coasts are ragged, frayed like the hem of a poor woman's skirt, especially in the parts between the north and the south-east. Islands and islets abound. The soil, of volcanic origin, is composed of quartz, mixed with a bluish stone. In summer it is covered with green mosses, grey lichens, various hardy plants, especially wild saxifrage. Only one edible plant grows there, a kind of cabbage, with a very bitter flavor, that one would seek in vain in other countries.
There are indeed surfaces which are suited, as rookeries, for the habitat of royal and other penguins, innumerable bands of which people these environs. Dressed in yellow and white, their heads thrown back, their wings appearing like the sleeves of a robe, these stupid fowl resemble from afar a line of monks in a procession along the shoreline.
Let us add that the islands afford refuge to numbers of sea-calves, seals, and sea-elephants. The taking of those amphibious animals either on land or from the sea is profitable, and may lead to a trade which will bring a large number of vessels into these waters.
On the day already mentioned, I was strolling on the port when my host accosted me and said:
“Unless I am much mistaken, time is beginning to seem very long to you, Mr. Jeorling?”
The speaker was a big tall American, installed for twenty years at Christmas Harbour, who kept the only inn on the port.
“If you will not be offended, Mr. Atkins, I will acknowledge that I do find it long.”
“Not at all,” replied that gallant. “You can imagine that I ma as accustomed to answers of that kind as the rocks of the Cape are to the rolling waves.”
“And you resist them as well.”
“Of course. From the day of your arrival at Christmas Harbour, when you descended at the inn of Fenimore Atkins, at the sign of the Green Cormorant, I said to myself: In a fortnight, if not in a week, you would have enough of it, and would be sorry you had landed in the Kerguelens.”
“No, Mr. Atkins; I never regret anything I have done.”
“That’s a good habit, sir.”
“Besides, in wandering this group, I have gained by observing curious things. I have crossed the rolling plains, covered with hard stringy mosses, and I shall take away curious mineralogical and geological specimens with me. I have gone sealing, and taken sea-calves with your people. I have visited the rookeries where the penguin and the albatross live together in good fellowship, and that was well worth my while. You have given me now and again a dish of petrel, seasoned by your own hand, and very acceptable when one has a fine healthy appetite. I have found a friendly welcome at the Green Cormorant, and I am very much obliged to you. But, if I am right in my reckoning, it is two months since the Chilean two-master Penãs set me down at Christmas Harbour in mid-winter…
“And you want,” exclaimed the innkeeper, “to get back to your country, which is mine as well, Mr. Jeorling, to return to Connecticut, to see once more Hartford, our capital…”
“Doubtless, Mr. Atkins, for I have been a globe-trotter for close upon three years. One must come to a stop and take root at some time.”
“Yes! Yes! And when you have taken root, replied the American with a wink, you end up putting out branches!”
“Just so! master Atkins. However, as I have no more family, it is likely that I shall bring the line of my ancestors to an end! At forty I do not fancy putting out branches, as you have, my dear innkeeper, for you are a tree, and a fine tree at that…”
“An oak, and even a green oak, if you will, Mr. Jeorling.”
“And you were right to obey the law of nature! Now, if nature has given us the legs to walk… “
“She has also given us something to sit upon!” responded Fenimore Atkins, with a great laugh. “That’s why I am comfortably settled at Christmas Harbour. My companion Betsey has gratified me with ten children, who will present me with grandchildren in their turn, who will climb my calves like kittens.”
“Will you never return to your native land?… “
“What would I do there, Mr. Jeorling, and what could I have done?… The poverty!… Here, on the contrary, in these Desolation Islands, where I have never had the occasion to feel desolate, ease has come to me and mine.
“Without doubt, Master Atkins, and I congratulate you for it, since you are happy… Nevertheless, it is possible that one day the desire might take hold of you…”
“To uproot myself, Mr. Jeorling!… Come on!… An oak, I tell you, and just try to uproot an oak, when it is rooted to mid-trunk in the rock of Kerguelen!”
It was delightful to hear this worthy American, so completely acclimated to this archipelago, so vigorously tempered in the harsh inclemencies of its climate. He lived there, with his family, like the penguins in their rookeries,–the mother, a hearty matron, the sons, all strong, in thriving health, knowing nothing of the distempers or dilatations of the stomach. Business was good. The Green Cormorant, adequately stocked, had the practice of all ships, whalers and others, that dropped anchor at Kerguelen. He provided them with tallow, grease, tar, pitch, spices, sugar, tea, canned goods, whiskey, gin, brandy.
One would have looked in vain for a second inn at Christmas-Harbour. As for the sons of Fenimore Atkins, they were carpenters, sail-makers, fishermen, and hunted amphibians at the base of all the passes during the warm season. They were honest folk who had, without much ado, followed their destiny…
“Well, Master Atkins, let me assure you,” I declared, “I am delighted to have come from Kerguelen, and I will take away good memories… However, I will not be sorry to take to the sea again…”
“Come on, Mr. Jeorling, a little patience!” this philosopher told me. You should never desire or hasten the hour of separation. Do not forget, besides, that the fine weather will not be slow to return… In five or six weeks…
“In the meantime,” I cried, “the hills and the plains, the rocks and the shores will be covered with thick snow, and the sun will not have the strength to dissolve the mists on the horizon…”
“Why, Mr. Jeorling! You can already see the wild grass push up through its white jacket!… Look closely…”
“Yes, with a magnifying glass!… Between us, Atkins, do you dare to claim that your bays are not still ice-locked in this month of August, which is the February of our northern hemisphere?…”
“I acknowledge that, Mr. Jeorling. But again I say have patience! The winter has been mild this year. The ships will soon show up, in the east or in the west, for the fishing season is near.”
“May heaven attend you, Master Atkins, and may it guide safely to port the ship which cannot tarry… the schooner Halbrane!…
"Captain Len Guy, replied the innkeeper. He is a gallant sailor, although he is English—there are fine folks everywhere–and he takes in his supplies at the Green Cormorant."
“You think that the Halbrane…”
“Will be reported within eight days off Cape Francois, Mr. Jeorling, or, if it is not, it will be because there is no longer a Captain Len Guy, and if there is no longer a Captain Len Guy, it is because the Halbrane has sunk under full sail between the Kerguelens and the Cape of Good Hope!”
With that, and a haughty gesture, indicating that such a turn of events was hardly possible, Master Fenimore Atkins left me.
I hoped that the predictions of my innkeeper would not be slow in coming to pass, for the season advanced. As he said, there were already visible symptoms of the summer season–summery for these waters, at least. Let the site of the principal island be roughly the same in latitude as that of Paris in Europe and Quebec City in Canada, very well! But it is a question of the southern hemisphere, and, we know it well, thanks to the elliptical orbit that the earth describes, of which the sun occupies one of the foci, that hemisphere is colder I winter than the northern hemisphere, and also warmer than it in summer. What is certain is that the wintry period is terrible in the Kerguelens because of the storms, and because the seas are frozen for several months, although the temperature there is not extraordinarily harsh, – being on an average two degrees centigrade in winter, and seven in summer, as in the Falklands or at Cape Horn.
It goes without saying that, during that period, Christmas-Harbour and the other ports no longer shelter a single ship. In the era of which I speak, steamers were still rare. As for sailing ships, concerned to not let themselves be captured by the ice, they went in search of the ports of South America, on the west coast of Chili, or those of Africa, – most generally Cape-Town of the Cape of Good Hope. A few row boats, some taken by the frozen waters, others beached and encrusted in ice to the tip of their masts, was all that the surface of Christmas-Harbour offered to my view.
However, if the differences in temperature were not great in the Kerguelens, the climate there was still damp and cold. Very frequently, especially in the western parts, the group is assailed by squalls from the north or west, mixed with hail or rain. To the east, the skies are clearer, although the light there is half veiled, and on that side the snow line on the mountain ridges is at fifty feet above the sea.
Thus, after the two months that I had just passed in the Kerguelen archipelago, I awaited nothing so much as the occasion to depart again on the schooner Halbrane, the qualities of which my enthusiastic innkeeper never ceased to extol to me, from both the social and maritime points of view.
“You will never find better!” he repeated day and night. “Of all the long captain in the long history of the English fleets, not a one is comparable to my friend Len Guy, either for bravery, or for skill!… If he showed himself more forthcoming, plus talkative, he would be perfect!”
Thus I had resolved to take the recommendation of Master Atkins. My passage would be booked as soon as the schooner had dropped anchor in Christmas-Harbour. After a rest of six to seven days, she would take to the sea again, headed for Tristan da Cunha, whence she carried a cargo of tin and copper ore.
My plan was to remain a few weeks of the summer season on that island. From there, I intended to set out for Connecticut. However, I did not fail to take into due account the share that belongs to chance in human affairs, for it is wise, as Edgar Poe has said, always “to reckon with the unforeseen, the unexpected, the inconceivable, which have a very large share (in those affairs), and chance ought always to be a matter of strict calculation.”
And if I quote our great American author, it is because, although I am a very practical sort, of a very serious character and a hardly imaginative nature, I nonetheless admire that genial poet of human peculiarities.
Besides, to return to the Halbrane, or rather to the occasions that would be offered me to embark at Christmas-Harbour, I feared no disappointment. At that time, the Kerguelens were visited every year by a large number of ships – at least five hundred. The whale fishery gave fruitful results, as one will judge by the fact that an elephant of the sea can provide a ton of oil, that is to say a return equal to that of a thousand penguins. It is true that in recent years not more than a dozen ships land at this archipelago, since the abusive destruction of the cetaceans has so drastically reduced their number.
Thus, I had no uncertainty about the opportunities that would present themselves to leave Christmas-Harbour, even if, the Halbrane failing to make its rendezvous, captain Len Guy did not arrive to clasp the hand of his chum Atkins.
Each day, I went for a walk around the port. The sun was beginning to grow strong. The rocks, volcanic terraces and columns, shed bit by bit their white winter gown. On the beaches, on the basalt cliff, grew a wine-colored moss, and, offshore, snaked ribbons of seaweed fifty or sixty yards long. On the flats, toward the far end of the bay, some grasses raised their time points – and amongst them the lyella, which was of Andean origin, those produced by the Fuegian flora, and also the only shrub on this soil, the gigantic cabbage of which I have already spoken, so precious for its anti-scorbutic properties.
As for land mammals, although marine mammals abound in these parts, I did not encounter a single one, nor any batrachians or reptiles. There were only a few insects – butterflies and other species – and even these did not fly, for before they could put their wings to use, the atmospheric currents would carry them away and onto the rolling billows of these seas.
Once or twice, I had gone out in one of these solid longboats in which the fishermen face the gales that beat the rocks of the Kerguelen like catapults. With these boats, one could attempt the crossing to Cape-Town, and reach that port, if one had the time. But let me assure you, I had no intention of leaving Christmas-Harbour under those conditions… No! I would pin my hopes on the schooner Halbrane, and that without delay.
In the course of these promenades around the bay, my curiosity attempted to grasp all the various aspects of that rugged coast, that bizarre, colossal, skeleton, all made up of igneous formations, whose bluish bones emerged through  holes in winter’s white shroud…
What impatience gripped me, sometimes, despite the wise counsels of my innkeeper, so happy with his existence in his house at Christmas-Harbour! It is a rare breed, in this world, that the practice of life has made into philosophers. However, in Fenimore Atkins, the muscular system did not prevail over the nervous system. Perhaps he also possessed less intelligence than instinct. Such people are better armed against the jolts of life, and it is possible, when all is said and done, that their chances of finding happiness here below are more considerable.
“And the Halbrane…?” I would say to Atkins each morning.
“The Halbrane, Mr. Jeorling?” he would respond to me in a positive tone. “Of course, it will arrive today, and if not today, it will be tomorrow!… In any event, there will certainly come a day, will there not, which will be the eve of the day when the flag of captain Len Guy will fly at the entrance to Christmas-Harbour!”
Certainly, in order increase the field of view, I would have had to climb the Table-Mount. By an ascent of twelve hundred feet, one obtained a range of thirty-four or thirty-five miles, and, even through the haze, perhaps the schooner would have been glimpsed twenty-four hours sooner? But to climb that mountain, with its flanks still puffy with snow to the very summit… only a fool would have thought of it.
In my rambles on the shore, I put numerous amphibians to flight, sending them plunging into the newly released waters. But the penguins, heavy and impassive creatures, did not decamp at my approach. Was it not for the air of stupidity that characterizes them, one would have been tempted to speak to them, on the condition of speaking their shrill, deafening tongue. As for the black petrels, the black and white puffins, the grebes, the terns, and the scoters, they were quick to take wing.
One day, I was permitted to witness the departure of an albatross, saluted by the very best croaks of the penguins,—like a friend who no doubt abandoned them forever. These powerful fliers can cover stages of two hundred leagues, without taking a moment’s rest, and with such rapidity that they sweep through vast spaces in a few hours.
That albatross, motionless upon a high rock, at the end of the bay at Christmas-Harbour, watched the sea as the surf broke violently on the reefs.
Suddenly, the bird rose with a great sweep into the air, its claws folded beneath it, its head stretched out like the prow of a ship, uttering its shrill cry: a few moments later it was reduced to a black speck in the vast height and disappeared behind the misty curtain of the south.

To be continued…

[Working translation by Shawn P. Wilbur, based in part
on the 1898 translation by
Mrs. Cashel Hoey.]

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Life and Astonishing Adventures of John Daniel (1770)

One of my very favorite imaginary voyage tales is: 


L  I  F  E



A Smith at Royston in Hertfordshire,
For a Course of Seventy Years.


The melancholy Occasion of his Travels, His Shipwreck with one Companion on a desolate Island. Their way of Life. His accidental discovery of a Woman for his Companion. Their peopling the Island.


A Description of a most surprising Eagle, invented by his Son Jacob, on which he flew to the Moon, with some Account of its Inhabitants. His return, and accidental Fall into the Habitation of a Sea Monster, with whom he lived two Years. His further Excursions in Search of England. His Residence in Lapland, and Travels to Norway, from whence he arrived at Aldborough, and farther Transactions till his Death, in 1711. Aged 97.

...which manages to take a series of fairly familiar plots elements in some directions that are peculiar even for the genre. I'm overdue to bind a second Corvus Edition of this, but the pdf is available online.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Samuel Leavitt, "Anti-Malthus" (1880-1881)

[Anti-Malthus was originally published in The Phrenological Journal and Science of Health, August 1880, pages 72-76 and January 1881, pages 32-28. The author, Samuel Leavitt, was an associate of Joshua King Ingalls and George Jacob Holyoake. His work appeared in various of the Oneida colony publications, and in The Arena. In his Reminiscences, Joshua King Ingalls wrote:

I should apologize perhaps to Mr. Samuel Leavitt, for not mentioning his name before. But he has been met on so many different platforms, I scarce know where to place him, particularly. We were in accord on the land and interest problems: but differed politically on the tariff and the greenback questions, although I acted as treasurer for the Liberty Bell, which he published in the Peter Cooper Presidential campaign. He advocated rational divorce for mismated couples. He has been a newspaper man ever since I knew him. He was the author of "Caliban and Shylock," "Peace Maker Grange," a social romance, and "Our Money War," a most elaborate and exact statement of the history of our money metallic or paper, since the existence of our nation, with a bias in favor of fiat money.

Notice, near the end of this essay, Leavitt's prediction that "a Central Council or a 'Pantarch' will probably guide the movements and actions of the earth's twenty or thirty billion inhabitants." The use of Stephen Pearl Andrews' term is probably not accidental, and the vision here is perhaps not so far off from Andrews' Pantarchy.]


Samuel Leavitt



This essay is not, as might be supposed, a studied effort to refute the special doctrines of Malthus. It is simply an effort toward the rebuttal of one of his main propositions, namely, that great and immediate effort is necessary toward curtailing the natural increase of the human family. Two simple questions will be discussed in this writing.
1. Is there in the aggregate, or in any large portion of the earth, a real overpopulation? 2. What means shall be used to fill the earth with good and wise people?
As to the first point, the facts concerning the actual population of the various countries will be at once considered.
The area of dry land upon the globe is in round numbers about 51,590,000 square miles, equaling 33,000,000,000 square acres.
The human family is now reckoned to number 1,400,000,000 or about one billion and a half. China, which is so often referred to as over-populated, has 3,742,000 square miles, much of it waste, and 446,000,000 inhabitants, according to a recent report of Prof. Schem. This gives the Chinese five acres apiece. Japan has about 150,000 square miles or 96,000,000 acres, say two and five-sevenths acres for each person.
Saxony, in the German Empire, has 3,698,500 acres and 2,556,244 people; or about an acre and a half apiece. Belgium is said to have one person for each acre.
So then, this globe, filled as to its dry land, with people, would contain about thirty-three billions if populated at the Belgic rate; twenty-two billions at the Saxon rate; twelve billions at the Japanese rate, and six and a half billions at the Chinese rate, yet people go snuffling around, bewailing the swift coming of "the crack of doom," when we have as yet less than a billion and a half of fellow-creatures around us here; and have no evidence that the number was ever greater than that,
The greatest evil accruing from this idea is, that it gives hard-hearted people an excuse for still further hardening their hearts against their poorer fellows, and—as in the case of the attitude of some European nations toward their foreign dependencies calmly and stolidly watching the slow starvation of millions of famine-stricken wretches.


As to Malthus, he was not a bad man, and he was a hard-working, careful, patient student and collector of facts. But he would see nothing except from an aristocratic standpoint: was quite firmly convinced that the many were born ready saddled and bridled that the few might ride." As to England, for instance, it never occurred to him that millions of poor workers could comfortably subsist upon the ground wasted by the nobility and gentry in parks; and that millions more could have a comfortable living in the cities, if the factory owners would be content with a fair share of the profit upon the labor of their "hands," and by greatly diminishing the hours of labor give employment to these other millions.
A favorite statement of Malthus is, "Population always increases where the means of subsistence increases." This might have been a saying of important significance at his time, when the subsistence of a community was usually gathered from its immediate neighborhood. Now, however, when the telegraph informs the ends of the earth instantly, when any species of food becomes scarce at any point, and steamers and rail cars can speedily supply the need from any region enjoying a surplus, such a statement becomes quite meaningless.
The main natural checks to population, according to Malthus, are, moral restraints, vice, and misery. He seemed to put much more reliance upon the latter than upon the former, His chief critic, the celebrated Godwin, justly remarked that he should have added "bad human laws and institutions" to his list of existing checks. A specimen of the faulty reasoning of Malthus is found in his statement concerning the population of Australia. He gets his facts from Capt. Cooke, with regard to the scarcity of population on that huge island; and sagely says:
"By what means the inhabitants of this country are reduced to such numbers as it can subsist, is not perhaps very easy to guess." He thus takes it for granted (forming the conclusion from the supposed love that he evolved from his inner consciousness) that the straggling savages who peopled Australia, in his day, numbered exactly so many human creatures as the island was capable of feeding.
The philosopher is certainly right in the abstract, where he maintains that if human propagation were maintained at its now usual rate, after the "millennium" had arrived, and vice, disease, and misery had ceased to check it, there would be danger of a genuine worldwide overpopulation. We know that in "the good time coming" there will be some new checks. But we also know that they will be natural, and will in no sense militate against the welfare of individuals or communities. We already get an inkling of what these checks will be, in the fact that families of the highest culture and refinement are not as prolific, though they make no attempt to check propagation, as those in the same nation that are subjected to all manner of hardship and privation, short of that extreme distress that always effectually checks population.
We may be sure of one thing—at let those of us who believe in Divine Providence—that as fast as there is any actual necessity for checks (a necessity never yet really reached), the good and wise will be shown what checks to use, and will faithfully adopt them. All the talk of Malthus about the food supply of barbarians and nomads goes for nothing. Following his absurd "law" that population always increases where the means of subsistence increases," he doubtless gravely decided that the few wandering tribes of Indians on this continent represented fully the population that it was capable of sustaining. Nomads never really try to obtain the principal part of the subsistence that even they know to be contained in the earth beneath their feet.


O that I could send a glad cry of surprise and discovery throughout the nations: "Increase, multiply, replenish the wide earth! Fill it with wise and good people! It is not yet one-tenth full. It will never be thoroughly healthy and habitable until it is thoroughly filled by intelligent and virtuous human creatures, who will remove all nuisances by a wise culture and drainage of every arable acre."
Here is an idea that is reliable, and is quite opposite to the whole tenor of Malthusianism: namely, that we should hasten to populate the globe densely, in order to make it truly habitable. "How horrible! what madness!" exclaim the disciples of this prophet of despair; "the very day the earth gets full, the people will begin to starve, if not before, in spite of your millennium."
Our cheerful answer is: "Trust in the Lord (or in Nature, if you prefer), and do good. Commit thy way unto Him!"
There is now and then a streak of light in the writings of Malthus that relieves the murkiness of his pictures. The following from his Chapter II. really goes quite against his main arguments. He says: "It has been observed that many countries at the period of their greatest degree of populousness have lived in the greatest plenty and have been able to export grain; . . . . and that, as Lord Kaimes observes, 'A country can not easily become too populous; because agriculture has the signal property of producing food in proportion to the number of consumers.'"
This is a practically opposite statement to that previously given, viz.: "Population always increases where the means of subsistence increases."
Malthus pays a merited tribute to the monasteries of Europe, where, he says, the agricultural monks have done wonders in fertilizing waste and barren places. Truly here is a genuine work of use for religious devotees The Romanist monks called Trappists have a grand enthusiasm in this direction, similar to that of the old Benedictines. Already have they made many sterile regions blossom like the rose. What a noble work to fertilize the earth for coming happy generations! If people will insist upon being martyrs, they can not select a better form of self-sacrifice. But there is really little need for such work while the greater part of the fertile land is still untilled. Beautiful, smiling wildernesses, the world over, are fairly crying out for human culture and appreciation, and proffering unbounded sustenance from their teeming bosoms.
Careful estimates show that the Valley of Orinoco alone, where an acre of bananas will feed a village, would supply nourishment for the whole population of the world. What nonsense, then, to raise the alarm about over-population. Rather let those who feel an interest in the general welfare busy themselves very specially in scattering the multitudes now gathered in a few regions throughout the unoccupied fertile places.
As the most striking novelty in this writing is the demand that the earth be really filled with good and wise people as soon as possible, in order that it may be made perfectly healthy, the substantiation of that theory must be my main object. It seems a strange statement that: Wise human creatures are Nature's great disinfectant! and this can be proved; and a very important part of the proof is obtainable from the recently developed facts concerning what is called the "Dry earth system of treating sewage."
There is nothing more wonderful in modern discovery—or rather re-discovery, for Moses tried to teach these things to humanity thousands of years ago—than the disintegrating and disinfecting effect of applying dry earth to animal and vegetable refuse. The man of philosophic and philanthropic mind, who has used the same earth from six to ten times in an earth closet, and found the disinfective and disintegrative effect as complete the last time as the first, has visions rise before him of the future blessedness of our race and the redemption of the earth under our feet that are quite joyous. Such a man stands aghast as he beholds the waste going on around him, in the destruction of soils and the materials that would recuperate them.
I believe that by the help of this system every living creature can be made to give back to the earth an amount of fertilization, that, added to that derivable from air sunshine and water will fully equal what it takes from the earth. In this fact, if a fact, we have a solution of economical and agricultural questions, worth all the libraries that have been written about the preservation of soils. It explodes also some of the theories of Malthus.


Now as to the methods of distributing the population of the earth, some say that the poor and foolish can not be organized into successful colonies. Such point to the failure of Robert Owen. But a colony is not necessarily a socialistic community. Ancient and modern history are full of accounts of colonies that were successful. Every migration of portions of tribes has been of that nature. Even socialistic colonies, such as those of Shakers, etc., have been very successful in our country.
Those who establish harmonious colonies do a work like that of Sisters of Mercy on a battle-field; the latter move over the field, soothing the wounded, without considering the nationality of the combatants or the cause of their quarrel. So the founder of a colony need not consider the politics of the people he removes to an improved situation, nor the politics of those among whom he puts them. We should remember when we wander through the miserable slums of a city, that while the inhabitants of these places are half starved, the humming insects and the singing birds are the sole occupants of millions of fertile acres, which would afford these suffering humans happy homes and abundant sustenance. Many will reply that thousands of these people are so shiftless that they would do no better on the soil than they do in the slum. Here comes in the reorganization of society again, and the time will come when men who are able financiers and industrial managers will feel themselves as much bound to exercise their peculiar gifts for human advancement, as a few clergymen, and also some artists, literary men, etc., now do to exercise their peculiar gifts to that end.
As the steam-engine, telegraphy, and discoveries and inventions are rapidly making "all the world akin," the fact of being our brother's keeper is more and more forced upon the conscience of Christendom. The time will be when men and women who are not wise or energetic enough to put themselves in fitting surroundings will be persuaded to suffer themselves to be organized into some sort of association by the wise and good, who will lead them to the green pastures and beside the still waters of the less populous parts of the country. Then we shall have such grand work done all over the land as glorious William Penn did, when he drew a multitude after him to the sylvan land of Pennsylvania and the city of Brotherly Love, and made it the model city of the world, though that is not saying much. The possible majesty of an organized colonization movement is seen in the fact that in 1878, when very few European emigrants came to the United States, 800,000 of our people went west of the Mississippi. Through lack of just those elements that colony migration would have given them, these isolated settlers endured fearful privations. Thousands, having lost the savings of a life-time in the universal destruction brought upon us by our rulers, between 1873 and 1878, had gathered up the wrecks of their fortunes, and some in wagons, some on foot, pushed for the wilderness—an incoherent multitude. Thousands who had money enough and brains enough to make very valuable and successful members of skillfully-organized colonies soon found themselves out of money, health, and hope, living in holes in the ground. They had staked their last dollar on this great risk, and were now forced (when past middle age in many cases) to return East and begin life again as "hands" in factory, shop, and Store. The money they wasted would have taken them, under a true cooperative system, in palace cars to palace homes on the prairies. What a grand work to organize such, and save them from such destruction! What a blessedness! Let each rich philanthropic man say: I will be an Industrial Moses! I will stand right here in my lot and organize my employés in co-operative workshops like Godin's, or lead a multitude, in shape of a thoroughly-equipped colony, into the new country.


And now to return to the means of getting the whole earth ready for an immense population. Whoever even admits the truth of the "dry earth" doctrine will see that we have small occasion as yet to fear over-population. When such means are in thorough use, there need be no waste, no malaria. All available food material will be used. But the world's population must be held under very strict control if there is to be at no place either famine or over-production. Many new expedients will be adopted. The earth will be gathered by great machines from the vast alluvial deposits, where it is wasted (for instance, from the deltas of the Amazon, Nile, Ganges), and deposited on the barren plains. This very work was done on a large scale by the "mound builders," who once peopled this country.
Great discoveries will be made in agricultural chemistry. Many materials now wasted will be replaced by others that are cheaper and more available. We used to say, "The fire wood will be used up"—then came the coal; we said, "The whales will all be destroyed"— then came coal-oil; now we have been saying, "The coal and coal-oil will run out"—and here comes electricity to take their place.
In the future the world's work will be done, more and more, by machinery; therefore, human creatures will need much less food than now, as their energies will not be so exhausted by hard work. All the wildernesses, deserts, and mountains, up to the snow line, will be turned to use in some way for human sustenance. The waters of the ocean w ill be ransacked for edible fish, and its inedible monsters will be exterminated (as will be all those of the land). All inland seas, lakes, ponds, and streams will be stocked with fish, and vast water spaces will be covered with human habitations, as in China.
A thousand or ten thousand years from now, a Central Council or a 'Pantarch' will probably guide the movements and actions of the earth's twenty or thirty billion inhabitants, just as the wonderful train-controller, perched high at the north end of the Union depot in New York, controls, by manipulating rows of buttons connected with the telegraphic instruments, all the trains of the three great railroads centering there. Whereas now able men control the distribution of money, produce, goods, etc., over the world, in a way that suits their selfish aims, so then will the same thing be done by men actuated by pure benevolence. That Central Council or Bureau will be in electric communication with every corner of the earth, and will be continually sending forth messages of information, warning and exhortation.


"The Vision is for many days."

In the PHRENOLOGICAL JOURNAL for last August there was an article entitled, "Anti-Malthus: Colonize the Whole Earth with Good and Wise People; and thus Fulfill its Normal Destiny." The points maintained were these:
1: There are thirty-three billion acres of dry land upon our globe, and a billion and a half of people. Filled with people at the Belgic rate it would contain nearly thirty billions; at the Saxon rate, twenty-two billions; at the Japanese rate, twelve billions; at the Chinese rate, six and a half billions.
2. It was shown that Malthus was unreasonable and inconsistent in maintaining that there is any present danger of over-population of the earth,
3. It was averred that wise and good human creatures are Nature's great disinfectant; and that the earth will not be thoroughly healthy, and therefore habitable, until it is completely filled with such people, who will drain its swamps, and by the highest culture prevent all malaria.
4. After showing how the earth would be prepared for such an immense population, through the growth of science and art, the following statement w as made in conclusion: "A thousand or ten thousand years from now a Central Council or a 'Pantarch' will probably guide the movements and actions of the earth's twenty or thirty billions of inhabitants; just as the wonderful train-controller, perched high at the north end of the Union depot in New York, controls, by manipulating rows of buttons connected with the telegraphic instruments, all the trains of the three great railroads centering there. Whereas now able men control the distribution of money, produce, goods, etc., over the world, in a way that suits their selfish aims: so then will the same thing be done by men actuated by pure benevolence. That Central Council or bureau will be in electric communication with every corner of the earth, and will be continually sending forth messages of information, warning, and exhortation." The object of the present article is to furnish illustrations of the probable nature of the bulletins that will be issued from that central office when the population shall have reached twenty billions. These illustrations will be given as quotations from the daily official newspaper organ of the Central Council, and some discussion of each will be added.
"BULLETIN 1.—Population too thick in Van Diemen's Land. Make room for them in Patagonia."
Of course, such an exigency and such an event as are here supposed must seem very remote, when we consider the sparse population of those countries, and the seeming undesirableness of Patagonia as a place of residence. But population is already pushing in there from Buenos Ayres.
"BULLETIN 2.—Too many oranges raised in the world. The Valley of the Amazon must for five years raise them only for home consumption."
Here we begin to catch a glimpse of the fact that the long prophesied "Millennium," or blissful condition of the race, could not possibly be realized until the uses of steam, electricity, etc., had been discovered. Granted the fact that the earth could not be healthy until filled with good and wise people; we come next upon the fact that the immense population proposed could not be kept in harmonious working order without the swift means of intercommunication furnished by those agencies. Furthermore, that a much higher plane of morality than any single race has yet displayed would have to be reached by the whole race before any imaginable external machinery would avail to preserve the peace and prosperity of such a vast aggregation of nations, which must all yield implicit obedience to the wise laws and instructions issuing from the sages gathered at the grand center: for otherwise, no matter how well-intentioned most communities might be, a single inharmonic member in the family of nations would cause a break in the orchestration—dire confusion, famine, pestilence, and starvation through a large section of the earth.
Higher morality—loftier manhood and womanhood—is, therefore, the one remaining need, before "the good time coming" can be ushered in. As the writer stood in the gallery of Machinery Hall, in the Worlds Fair at Philadelphia, he said: Before me here is the physical basis for the Millennium. But all these fruits of science and art are now monopolized by the few shrewd and forceful. It remains, therefore, for the masses to be so morally and intellectually elevated that they will be strong and good and wise enough to enter upon their rightful inheritance in the elements of production and the means of distribution, including those results of human genius. The farmers in India, Ireland, Persia, and the "seven years of (practical) famine in a land of plenty" in this country—1873-80—show how useless it would be to fill the earth with people until a general high morality makes decent self-government and national government possible.
But this necessary dissertation leaves no room to discuss the orange crop, and this subject must be passed with a bare allusion to the fact that either the Orinoco or Amazon basin could feed the present population of the earth.
"BULLETIN 3.—A bad case of coast fever at the mouth of the Congo River Africa. The authorities must account for this oversight."
[The mouth of the Congo will then be as healthy as our White Mountains are now.]
This, again, seems extravagant to the superficial observer, as it is well known that a white person can now scarcely live at all in that malaria-soaked region. But what is malaria? It is simply a noxious gas liberated from abnormally rotting animal or vegetable substances— when no longer serviceable in their organic shapes. Covering these substances lightly with dry earth quickly and wonderfully dissolves them into their original elements, and makes useful fructifying manure of them, without letting any atom escape to poison living organisms. Think you that there will be malarious fever in any part of beautiful, fertile Africa when twenty billions of the wise and good inhabit the earth? No, indeed! Why, even now, in densely-peopled portions of China, the well-instructed peasant carries a basket to gather from the high way anything of a manurial nature he may observe in passing.
"BULLETIN 4.—The people of France must elevate their spiritual and esthetic tone so as to bring them to a lower breeding ratio, or prepare to begin, four years from now, to send annually to Kamschatka their surplus population, to the amount of a million a year. Their normal limit, at present, is two hundred millions which is now considerably exceeded."
In just such a manner would population need to be regulated and transferred: and the absolute necessity of a central guidance becomes more apparent as we proceed. France, for various well-known reasons, is now stationary as to population. Under improved conditions the country would naturally fill up; and that mercurial race, so hard to control, might then need the prospect of a large forced emigration from "La Belle France" to the less genial region mentioned, to induce them to curtail their increase. But, of course, in the universally bettered conditions of those times, life in Kamschatka would be more enjoyable than it now is in the most favored regions.
"BULLETIN 5.—Too many foreign airships and air-palaces gather in summer over the lake regions of Italy, Scotland, and Ireland, over the Yellowstone and other American parks and resorts around the higher peaks of the Andes in South America, the Himalayas in Asia, and the Mountains of the Moon in Africa. They obscure the view and are otherwise a nuisance."
Of course, we all know that the occurrence of such events is only a question of time. The first steam-lifting balloon was a sure prophecy of the swift-moving, heavy-freighted airpalace.
The clustering of such vehicles about the most attractive places in summer is a natural event.
"BULLETIN 6.—The State of Virginia, U. S., will be under censure for sparse population and inferior cultivation of the region once known as The Dismal Swamp,' if another case of chills and fever occurs there."
O, ye shiverers! beside all malaria-breeding places, does it seem impossible for you to realize the possibility of such immunity from this poison fiend—this evil "Prince of the Power of the Air?" Behold how many old-settled regions, once redolent of miasma, are now even under imperfect care and cultivation, apparently quite free from it. The English literature of Shakespeare's time abounds with allusions to the ague-smitten people of districts of Britain now quite exempt from such evils. But what a new departure it would be to have the officials of States and counties instructed by the higher authorities to bring more population into them in order to increase their healthfulness! This would present a refreshing contrast to the methods adopted by soil monopolists in Scotland and Ireland, who drive the population from whole counties, to turn the land into sheep and cattle ranges and game preserves. How utterly depressing to the people driven out is the idea that they are cumberers of the ground." How encouraging, on the other hand, to the people invited, would be a call for population, when those invited were assured that they could not only prosper in the new home, but also promote the prosperity of their new neighbors—and even the health of those neighbors.
How encouraging, by the way, is this call for a twenty-fold peopling of the earth, to the wretched multitudes of the city tenement-houses; who have, indeed, reason to think that they are cumberers of the ground. But, alas! how few are "good and wise!"—or have a chance to be!
"BULLETIN 7.—The Khan of Tartary is notified that if we can't prevent portions of reclaimed desert from being again denuded of trees and other vegetation, and relaxing into barrenness steps will be taken to put a better man in his place."
[It will be observed that the perfect Millennium has not yet arrived.]
In the first article considerable space was devoted to the methods by which wastes and wildernesses and deserts would be reclaimed and made fertile. That process is in progress in portions of our own country. The so called desert lands, this side of the Rocky Mountains, are being rapidly reclaimed, and the rain belt is widening as the soil is broken up and tree-planting progresses. Unfortunately thousands are ruined "in mind, body, and estate," who, trusting to the lying reports of land and railroad agents, rely too soon upon these recuperative agencies. But we can not yet begin to see the limits of the improvements that will accrue in this regard from agricultural chemistry, irrigation, artesian wells, etc. As to chemistry, for instance, some one has discovered, lately, that vast spaces on Long Island need only the addition of a certain cheap chemical element to make them yield bountiful harvests.
"BULLETIN 8.—A case of miscarriage in the Island of Sumatra is another warning to women not to spend all night dancing during their last month. Twenty billions of people is little enough to keep the earth healthy and happy. The nice balances of population can not be maintained if such mishaps become frequent again."
That seems extravagant, even as a fancy, concerning the good time coming. But who shall say what is impossible in such directions? We know that there are Indian races existing, among whom miscarriages are of very rare occurrence, and whose women are occupied only for a few hours in parturition. The time prophesied will surely come, when "a man shall be more precious than fine gold"—yea, even an infant. It appears strange, again, that this preciousness of humanity, this dignity of human nature, should occur when the earth is full of people, rather than when population is scant. But this seems ordained, and careful study of all the facts shows that it is natural. Yet how stupendous, how overwhelmingly glorious the idea, that instead of nations slaughtering each other with all the enginery of war that diabolical ingenuity can invent; instead of rulers of such "civilized" nations as England tacitly encouraging famine and starvation in its dependent Indias and Irelands, as "a means of bringing population down to the proper number;" instead of infanticide and foeticide being encouraged not only in heathen India and China, but also in Christian Europe and America; instead of the strong everywhere ruthlessly destroying and shortening the lives of the weak by forcing them to overwork and hurtful work: a time should come when human creatures would be so precious that a foeticide occurring in an island of the Asiatic Seas would be bulletined throughout the twenty billions of the earth s inhabitants as a rare and shocking event!
"BULLETIN 9.—A stranger was found yesterday wandering near Behring's Straits, American side, after ten in the morning, without his breakfast—no one having offered him any. He had missed the morning air-ferry-ship, and had been overlooked. Such occurrences take the bloom from our boasted New Civilization."
That certainly opens a vista of felicity in the high-noon of our glorious planet, that is delightful to contemplate. There is nothing impossible about this. Given a world full of wise and good people, producing abundant food for all—guarding carefully against accidents to any—and the necessary conditions are obtained. Even now abundance of nourishment for all living people always exists on the earth. If "man to man would brother be," it would be properly distributed. Listen to this description of the waste of natural products in South America, which contains vast unoccupied acres of the most fertile lands in the world. Col. George Earl Church, of London, in a report to the Governments of Brazil and Bolivia, says:
"Only the ocean fringe of South America had been, to a limited extent, developed by modern methods of transit; the Pacific coast represented simply the sharp slope of an uninterrupted mountain wall from Panama to Patagonia, and neither man nor beast could travel across the snow-swept barrier, abreast of the head waters of the Amazon in Peru and Bolivia, without scaling the passes at an elevation in no place lower, and in most of the passes as high, as the loftiest peak of the Alps; Peru, with a Babel-like ambition, was then working heavenward with its gigantic railway system, ignoring the fact that its richest and most extensive lands are on the Atlantic slope. Alone of all the South American States, the Argentine Republic appeared to appreciate the problem of opening the interior, and, with the force of its credit and energy, pushed its railways toward the heart of the continent. . . . I found millions of sheep, llamas, and alpacas, browsing upon the mountain sides, and not a cargo of wool was exported; vast herds of cattle roamed the plains, and yet an ox-hide was worth scarcely more than a pound of leather in the European market; hundreds of tons of the richest coffee in the world were rotting on the bushes, and only about ten tons per annum were sent abroad as a rare delicacy; abundant crops of sugar in the river districts were considered a misfortune by the planter, because there was no market; the valleys of Cochabamba were rich in cereal wealth, unsalable when the crop was too great for home consumption; not a valley or mountain-side but gave agricultural, medicinal, and other products, such as commanded ready sale in any foreign market; sixty-five kinds of rare and beautiful cabinet woods stood untouched by man in the great virgin forests of the north and east. The mountains were weighed down with silver, copper, tin, and other metals, and the people gazing upon a wealth sufficient to pay the national debts of the world, and yet unavailable for lack of means of communication."
"BULLETIN 10.—The Central Office is happy to announce that the Caucasian is now the only race on the earth. The last specimen of an inferior breed—a mixture of Malay, Creole, and Esquimaux —died last week in New Zealand."
It is all very fine"—humane, brotherly to extol the other races, but the fact remains that the Caucasian is by far the highest. It seems scarcely possible that the perfect life hoped for can be realized on this globe until the other races have gradually passed away, as the North American Indian is now doing. We must be just and generous to these races, and give them every chance of improvement while they remain; but if it is their fate to pass away we can not prevent it. It seems apparent, for instance, from the history of South America, that their intermingling by marriage with us only produces an inferior mongrel, and hinders the advent of the perfect human being. They must "go."
"BULLETIN 11.—The North Pole Summer Sanitariums and Ice Cures being inconveniently crowded of late years, large establishments of the sort are rapidly springing up at the South Pole, on the Asiatic side, with daily air-ship lines to all principal points south of the Equator."
There is nothing extraordinary about this, when already we find the wealthy yachtsmen of England taking their summer trips around the North Cape of Sweden, the most northerly point of Western Europe.
"BULLETIN 12.—The wool crop is getting short. Sheep-raising is not pushed properly on some of the higher slopes of the Andes, Rocky Mountains, Himalayas, and Balkans."
Thus will the watchful eyes of the Central Sages continually take in the situation on every rood of terra firma; every rood will be to them a holy rood"—to be guarded with religious care. The resources of our planet—its capacities for making twenty or thirty billion people comfortable and happy—are immeasurable, when once wisdom and goodness are permanently assured for the whole race. The Infinite One now, when at length it seems safe to do so, has opened the eyes of our keenest men to secrets of art and nature, the possession of which gives them powers such as our forefathers would have considered Divine," or miraculous. These powers will not long be monopolized by Rothschilds, Goulds, Vanderbilts, and Bonanza kings.
"BULLETIN 13.—A large part of the people of New Orleans, U. S., turned out on Wednesday to bid farewell to a woman who had been banished to Nova Zembla, for wasting a bucket of slops, by emptying it from a steamer into the Mississippi, instead of consigning it to the proper manurial receptacle."
Well, it must be acknowledged that this is rather straining a point, as to the mass of the population attending this farewell. But the idea about such a waste being considered reprehensible in that "Beautiful Hereafter" is "solid." A storm of indignation will soon arise against the system of agriculture that has sent the virgin soil of so many of our States to Europe, in the shape of tobacco, cotton, wheat, etc., and so much more of our fertility to the sea through the sewers of our cities.
"BULLETIN 14.—The Central Council takes pleasure in announcing that apparently as a result of the solar convulsions of recent years, and the consequent violent, but harmless perturbations of our planet, several new, warm streams have been for some time pouring from the Equator to both poles. Those of the Pacific converging at Behring's Straits pour through into the Arctic region a current so hot that it is hardly endurable as a hot bath The American Gulf Stream and the Japanese Curo Siwo are much hotter than before. As a consequence, the climate is so changing in those northern regions that upper British America, Siberia, and some of the Antarctic lands are becoming quite pleasant and fruitful regions. If this process continues a few years, we may be able to announce the possibility of raising the earth's population to twenty-five billions. Other causes, as yet unexplainable, have produced an increase of direct sun-heat in those regions. P. S. Another fact noticeable is a diminished heat in the Torrid Zone."
"BULLETIN 15.—The electric light towers of the world generally will have to be more carefully treated. Complaints come in from various quarters that travelers along very prominent highways are frequently unable to read their newspapers at night."
"BULLETIN 16.—The people of a village on the banks of the Niger River, Africa, were horror-struck lately, at observing an odor of decaying, malaria-breeding vegetation, issuing from the garden of a citizen. Investigation showed a rank undergrowth of rotting weeds. The man excused himself on the plea that being a poet he had been for a fortnight in a fine frenzy of imaginative creation, and had neglected his weeds. Excuse not received. He was sent to the Antarctic Fisheries, where high cultivation of the soil is not called for, and there is no chance to waste the food-producing gases."
"BULLETIN 17.—A melancholy circumstance is reported from the Bernese Alps. A lovely maiden of eighteen years told her first, and therefore true, love three years ago that she believed in long engagements, and did not wish to marry him for at least five years. Not willing of course, to think of marrying any but his 'own and only one,' fearing that his admiration for the other sex might overcome his resolution in that unprecedented long interval, he built himself a stone hut high up in the Alps, and subsists as a goat-herdsman, and occasionally visits his whimsical betrothed. Girls should be careful how they trifle with these sacred matters."
The above, soberly considered, must be counted as a legitimate illustration of the fact that on a paradisaical planet, there will be an absolute lack of tragedies; and incidents that seem laughably trivial to us, as matters of national consideration, will be the only variations from the uniform felicity. In that blissful time the first love will be usually the only love. For all young people will be then thoroughly instructed in physiology, phrenology, psychometry, hygiene, etc., so that they will guard their hearts until a true mate appears. Moreover, all then living in associated homes, will have an abundance of young folks to choose from, and will thus avoid the haphazard marriages that inevitably result from the isolation of our present modes of life.
"BULLETIN 18.—It has chanced, 'in the whirligig of time,' that Boston, once so proud of its superiority, is now the most barbarous place on the earth. A middle-aged citizen so far forgot himself in the heat of argument yesterday, as to call another citizen 'a liar.'"
"BULLETIN 19.—In the present active state of human sympathy, people need to be careful about making demands upon it. Several air-ships arriving lately at Tobolsk from the North, containing people who said that they had tasted no strawberries and cream this year—the people of that place immediately stripped their vines of the delicious berries to present them to the strangers, and so had none for themselves for a week afterward."
"BULLETIN 20.—On and after the 10th prox. the Society of Sky Painters will present a series of paintings by the new process upon the zenith on each clear day; passing around the earth from east to west. They will begin at Siam; and knowing by telegraph how far each picture is seen, will make them continuous by beginning the next at the farthest point at which the picture of the previous ray was plainly visible. The panorama will illustrate the battles of Armageddon—the last great battles between right and wrong, truth and error, reason and madness, vice and virtue, selfishness and benevolence, religion and atheism order and disorder. These were fought upon the soil of North America, and their representation will form very striking pictures."
Now all this will seem very fanciful to some, very absurd to others. But every one of these bulletins" is somewhat founded upon existing facts. Even if all the fancywork be set aside, the truth remains, that the doctrine concerning the filling of the earth with good and wise people is incontrovertible.