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THE COMFORTS OF A VOYAGE.
Imaginative reader! have you ever been in a gale of wind on the edge of the Bay of Biscay 1 If not, and you are fond of variety, it is really worth your while to take a trip to Lisbon or Madeira for the chance of meeting with one. Calculate your season well in December or January, when the south-wester has properly set in, and you will find it one of the finest and most uncomfortable things in the world. My gale lasted from Sunday till Wednesday evening, which is somewhat long perhaps for amusement, but it gave ample room for observation and philosophy. I think I still hear that ineffable hubbub of plates and glasses breaking, chairs and tables falling, women screaming, sailors piping, officers swearing, the wind whistling, and the sea roaring, which awakened me about two o'clock on Monday morning, from one of those sweet dreams, wherein, through infinite changes and indistinct combinations of imagery, thy loved form, Eugenia, for ever prevails in its real and natural beauty. The Atlantic was gushing in through my port, in a very refreshing manner, and ebbing and flowing under and around my bed with every roll of the ship. My clothes were floating on the face of the waters. I turned to sleep again, but the sea came with that awful dead sledge-hammer beat, which makes a landsman's heart tremble, and the impertinent quota- -tion of some poor scholar in the next cabin, about quatuor aut septem digitos, brushed every atom of Morphic dust from my eyes. I sat bolt upright,
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and for some time contemplated, by the glimmering of the sentry's lantern, the huge disarray of my pretty den; I fished for my clothes, but they were bathing; I essayed to rise, but I could find no resting place for the sole of a rheumatic foot. However, I was somewhat consoled by a sailor, who came to bale out the water at daybreak;— "A fine breeze, sir, only its dead on end for us; and to be sure, I minds the Apollo and thirty-two marchantmen were lost somewhere in these here parts." It was kindly meant of Jack, no doubt, though he was out of his latitude by eight degrees at least. Coleridge.
RIGHT OF DISCOVERY VINDICATED.
Thus were the European worthies who first discovered America clearly entitled to the soil; and not only entitled to the soil, but likewise to the eternal thanks of these infidel savages, for having come so far, endured so many perils by sea and land, and taken such unwearied pains, for no other purpose but to improve their forlorn, uncivilized, and heathenish condition—for having made them acquainted with the comforts of life— for having introduced among them the light of religion; and, finally, for having hurried them out of the world, to enjoy its reward!
But as argument is never so well understood by us selfish mortals, as when it comes home to ourselves, and as I am particularly anxious that
this question should be put to rest for ever, I will suppose a parallel case, by way of arousing the candid attention of my readers.
Let us suppose then, that the inhabitants of the moon, by astonishing advancement in science, and by a profound insight into that ineffable lunar philosophy, the mere flickerings of which have of late years dazzled the feeble optics, and addled the shallow brains of the good people of our globe—let us suppose, I say, that the inhabitants of the moon, by these means, had arrived at such a command of their energies, such an enviable state of perfectibility, as to control the elements and navigate the boundless regions of space. Let us suppose a roving crew of these soaring philosophers, in the course of an aerial voyage of discovery among the stars, should chance to alight upon this outlandish planet.
And here I beg my readers will not have the uncharitableness to smile, as is too frequently the fault of volatile readers, when perusing the grave speculations of philosophers. I am far from indulging in any sportive vein at present; nor is the supposition I have been making so wild as many may deem it. It has long been a very serious and anxious question with me, and many a time and oft, in the course of my overwhelming cares and contrivances for the welfare and protection of this my native planet, have I lain awake whole nights, debating in my mind whether it were most probable we should first discover and civilize the moon, or the moon discover and civilize our globe. Neither would the prodigy of sailing in the air and cruising among the stars be a whit more astonishing and incomprehensible to us, than was the European mystery of navigating floating castles through the world of waters to the simple savages. We have already discovered the art of coasting along the aerial shores of our planet, by means of balloons, as the savages had of venturing along their coasts in canoes; and the disparity between the former and the aerial vehicles of the philosophers from the moon, might not be greater than that between the bark canoes of the savages and the mighty ships of their discoverers.
I might here pursue an endless chain of similar speculations; but as they would be unimportant to my subject, I abandon them to my reader, particularly if he be a philosopher, as matters well worthy his attentive consideration.
To return then to my supposition—let us suppose that the aerial visitants I have mentioned, possessed of vastly superior knowledge to ourselves, that is to say, possessed of superior knowledge in the art of extermination—riding on hippogriffs—defended with impenetrable armour —armed with concentrated sunbeams, and provided with vast engines to hurl enormous moon stones: in short, let us suppose them, if our vanity will permit the supposition, as superior to us in knowledge, and consequently in power, as the Europeans were to the Indians when they first discovered them. All this is very possible, it is only our self-sufficiency that makes us think otherwise; and I warrant the poor savages, before they had any knowledge of the white men, armed in all the terrors of glittering steel and
tremendous gunpowder, were as perfectly convinced that they themselves were the wisest, the most virtuous, powerful, and perfect of created beings, as are, at this present moment, the lordly inhabitants of old England, the volatile populace of France, or even the self-satisfied citizens of this most enlightened republic.
Let us suppose, moreover, that the aerial voyagers, finding this planet to be nothing but a howling wilderness, inhabited by us poor savages and wild beasts, shall take formal possession of it, in the name of his most gracious and philosophic excellency the man in the moon. Finding, however, that their numbers are incompetent to hold it in complete subjection, on account of the ferocious barbarity of its inhabitants; they shall take our worthy President, the King of England, the Emperor of Hayti, the mighty Buonaparte, and the great King of Bantam, and returning to their native planet, shall carry them to court, as were the Indian chiefs led about as spectacles in the courts of Europe.
Then, making such obeisance as the etiquette of the court requires, they shall address the puissant man in the moon in, as near as I can conjecture, the following terms :—
"Most serene and mighty potentate, whose dominions extend as far as the eye can reach, who rideth on the Great Bear, useth the sun as a looking-glass, and maintaineth unrivaled control over tides, madmen, and sea-crabs; we thy liege subjects, have just returned from a voyage of discovery, in the course of which we have landed and taken possession of that obscure little dirty