Mellonta Tauta

On Board Ballon “Skylark,” April 1, 2848

NOW, my dear friend- now, for your sins, you are to suffer the infliction of a
long gossiping letter. I tell you distinctly that I am going to punish you for all
your impertinences by being as tedious, as discursive, as incoherent and as
unsatisfactory as possible. Besides, here I am, cooped up in a dirty balloon, with
some one or two hundred of the canaille, all bound on a pleasure excursion,
(what a funny idea some people have of pleasure!) and I have no prospect of
touching terra firma for a month at least. Nobody to talk to. Nothing to do.
When one has nothing to do, then is the time to correspond with ones friends.
You perceive, then, why it is that I write you this letter- it is on account of my
ennui and your sins.

Get ready your spectacles and make up your mind to be annoyed. I mean to
write at you every day during this odious voyage.

Heigho! when will any Invention visit the human pericranium? Are we forever
to be doomed to the thousand inconveniences of the balloon? Will nobody
contrive a more expeditious mode of progress? The jog-trot movement, to my
thinking, is little less than positive torture. Upon my word we have not made
more than a hundred miles the hour since leaving home! The very birds beat us
at least some of them. I assure you that I do not exaggerate at all. Our motion, no
doubt, seems slower than it actually is- this on account of our having no objects
about us by which to estimate our velocity, and on account of our going with the
wind. To be sure, whenever we meet a balloon we have a chance of perceiving
our rate, and then, I admit, things do not appear so very bad. Accustomed as I
am to this mode of travelling, I cannot get over a kind of giddiness whenever a
balloon passes us in a current directly overhead. It always seems to me like an
immense bird of prey about to pounce upon us and carry us off in its claws. One
went over us this morning about sunrise, and so nearly overhead that its dragrope actually brushed the network suspending our car, and caused us very
serious apprehension. Our captain said that if the material of the bag had been
the trumpery varnished “silk” of five hundred or a thousand years ago, we
should inevitably have been damaged. This silk, as he explained it to me, was a
fabric composed of the entrails of a species of earth-worm. The worm was
carefully fed on mulberries- kind of fruit resembling a water-melon- and, when
sufficiently fat, was crushed in a mill. The paste thus arising was called papyrus
in its primary state, and went through a variety of processes until it finally
became “silk.” Singular to relate, it was once much admired as an article of
female dress! Balloons were also very generally constructed from it. A better
kind of material, it appears, was subsequently found in the down surrounding
the seed-vessels of a plant vulgarly called euphorbium, and at that time
botanically termed milk-weed. This latter kind of silk was designated as silkbuckingham, on account of its superior durability, and was usually prepared for
use by being varnished with a solution of gum caoutchouc- a substance which in
some respects must have resembled the gutta percha now in common use. This
caoutchouc was occasionally called Indian rubber or rubber of twist, and was no
doubt one of the numerous fungi. Never tell me again that I am not at heart an

Talking of drag-ropes- our own, it seems, has this moment knocked a man
overboard from one of the small magnetic propellers that swarm in ocean below
us- a boat of about six thousand tons, and, from all accounts, shamefully
crowded. These diminutive barques should be prohibited from carrying more
than a definite number of passengers. The man, of course, was not permitted to
get on board again, and was soon out of sight, he and his life-preserver. I rejoice,
my dear friend, that we live in an age so enlightened that no such a thing as an
individual is supposed to exist. It is the mass for which the true Humanity cares.
By-the-by, talking of Humanity, do you know that our immortal Wiggins is not
so original in his views of the Social Condition and so forth, as his
contemporaries are inclined to suppose? Pundit assures me that the same ideas
were put nearly in the same way, about a thousand years ago, by an Irish
philosopher called Furrier, on account of his keeping a retail shop for cat peltries
and other furs. Pundit knows, you know; there can be no mistake about it. How
very wonderfully do we see verified every day, the profound observation of the
Hindoo Aries Tottle (as quoted by Pundit)- “Thus must we say that, not once or
twice, or a few times, but with almost infinite repetitions, the same opinions
come round in a circle among men.”

April 2d. – Spoke to-day the magnetic cutter in charge of the middle section of floating
telegraph wires. I learn that when this species of telegraph was first put into
operation by Horse, it was considered quite impossible to convey the wires over
sea, but now we are at a loss to comprehend where the difficulty lay! So wags
the world. Tempora mutantur– excuse me for quoting the Etruscan. What would
we do without the Atalantic telegraph? (Pundit says Atlantic was the ancient
adjective.) We lay to a few minutes to ask the cutter some questions, and
learned, among other glorious news, that civil war is raging in Africa, while the
plague is doing its good work beautifully both in Yurope and Ayesher. Is it not
truly remarkable that, before the magnificent light shed upon philosophy by
Humanity, the world was accustomed to regard War and Pestilence as
calamities? Do you know that prayers were actually offered up in the ancient
temples to the end that these evils (!) might not be visited upon mankind? Is it
not really difficult to comprehend upon what principle of interest our forefathers
acted? Were they so blind as not to perceive that the destruction of a myriad of
individuals is only so much positive advantage to the mass!

April 3d. – It is really a very fine amusement to ascend the rope-ladder leading to the
summit of the balloon-bag, and thence survey the surrounding world. From the
car below you know the prospect is not so comprehensive- you can see little
vertically. But seated here (where I write this) in the luxuriously-cushioned open piazza of the summit, one can see everything that is going on in all directions. Just now
there is quite a crowd of balloons in sight, and they present a very animated
appearance, while the air is resonant with the hum of so many millions of
human voices. I have heard it asserted that when Yellow or (Pundit will have it)
Violet, who is supposed to have been the first aeronaut, maintained the
practicability of traversing the atmosphere in all directions, by merely ascending
or descending until a favorable current was attained, he was scarcely hearkened
to at all by his contemporaries, who looked upon him as merely an ingenious
sort of madman, because the philosophers (!) of the day declared the thing
impossible. Really now it does seem to me quite unaccountable how any thing so
obviously feasible could have escaped the sagacity of the ancient savans. But in
all ages the great obstacles to advancement in Art have been opposed by the so-called men of science. To be sure, our men of science are not quite so bigoted as
those of old:- oh, I have something so queer to tell you on this topic. Do you
know that it is not more than a thousand years ago since the metaphysicians
consented to relieve the people of the singular fancy that there existed but two
possible roads for the attainment of Truth!
Believe it if you can! It appears that
long, long ago, in the night of Time, there lived a Turkish philosopher (or
Hindoo possibly) called Aries Tottle. This person introduced, or at all events
propagated what was termed the deductive or a priori mode of investigation. He
started with what he maintained to be axioms or “self-evident truths,” and
thence proceeded “logically” to results. His greatest disciples were one Neuclid,
and one Cant. Well, Aries Tottle flourished supreme until advent of one Hog,
surnamed the “Ettrick Shepherd,” who preached an entirely different system,
which he called the a posteriori or inductive. His plan referred altogether to
Sensation. He proceeded by observing, analyzing, and classifying facts instantiae naturae, as they were affectedly called- into general laws. Aries Tottle’s mode, in a word, was based on noumena; Hog’s on phenomena. Well, so
great was the admiration excited by this latter system that, at its first
introduction, Aries Tottle fell into disrepute; but finally he recovered ground
and was permitted to divide the realm of Truth with his more modern rival. The
savans now maintained the Aristotelian and Baconian roads were the sole
possible avenues to knowledge. “Baconian,” you must know, was an adjective
invented as equivalent to Hog-ian and more euphonious and dignified.

Now, my dear friend, I do assure you, most positively, that I represent this
matter fairly, on the soundest authority and you can easily understand how a
notion so absurd on its very face must have operated to retard the progress of all
true knowledge- which makes its advances almost invariably by intuitive
bounds. The ancient idea confined investigations to crawling; and for hundreds
of years so great was the infatuation about Hog especially, that a virtual end was
put to all thinking, properly so called. No man dared utter a truth to which he
felt himself indebted to his Soul alone. It mattered not whether the truth was
even demonstrably a truth, for the bullet-headed savans of the time regarded
only the road by which he had attained it. They would not even look at the end.
“Let us see the means,” they cried, “the means!” If, upon investigation of the
means, it was found to come under neither the category Aries (that is to say
Ram) nor under the category Hog, why then the savans went no farther, but
pronounced the “theorist” a fool, and would have nothing to do with him or his

Now, it cannot be maintained, even, that by the crawling system the greatest
amount of truth would be attained in any long series of ages, for the repression
of imagination was an evil not to be compensated for by any superior certainty
in the ancient modes of investigation. The error of these Jurmains, these Vrinch,
these Inglitch, and these Amriccans (the latter, by the way, were our own
immediate progenitors), was an error quite analogous with that of the wiseacre
who fancies that he must necessarily see an object the better the more closely he
holds it to his eyes. These people blinded themselves by details. When they
proceeded Hoggishly, their “facts” were by no means always facts- a matter of
little consequence had it not been for assuming that they were facts and must be
facts because they appeared to be such. When they proceeded on the path of the
Ram, their course was scarcely as straight as a ram’s horn, for they never had an
axiom which was an axiom at all. They must have been very blind not to see this,
even in their own day; for even in their own day many of the long “established”
axioms had been rejected. For example- “Ex nihilo nihil fit”; “a body cannot act
where it is not”; “there cannot exist antipodes”; “darkness cannot come out of
light”- all these, and a dozen other similar propositions, formerly admitted
without hesitation as axioms, were, even at the period of which I speak, seen to
be untenable. How absurd in these people, then, to persist in putting faith in
“axioms” as immutable bases of Truth! But even out of the mouths of their
soundest reasoners it is easy to demonstrate the futility, the impalpability of
their axioms in general. Who was the soundest of their logicians? Let me see! I
will go and ask Pundit and be back in a minute…. Ah, here we have it! Here is a
book written nearly a thousand years ago and lately translated from the Inglitch which, by the way, appears to have been the rudiment of the Amriccan. Pundit
says it is decidedly the cleverest ancient work on its topic, Logic. The author
(who was much thought of in his day) was one Miller, or Mill; and we find it
recorded of him, as a point of some importance, that he had a mill-horse called
Bentham. But let us glance at the treatise!

Ah!- “Ability or inability to conceive,” says Mr. Mill, very properly, “is in no
case to be received as a criterion of axiomatic truth.” What modern in his senses
would ever think of disputing this truism? The only wonder with us must be,
how it happened that Mr. Mill conceived it necessary even to hint at any thing so
obvious. So far good- but let us turn over another paper. What have we here?-
“Contradictories cannot both be true- that is, cannot co-exist in nature.” Here Mr.
Mill means, for example, that a tree must be either a tree or not a tree- that it
cannot be at the same time a tree and not a tree. Very well; but I ask him why.
His reply is this- and never pretends to be any thing else than this- “Because it is
impossible to conceive that contradictories can both be true.” But this is no
answer at all, by his own showing, for has he not just admitted as a truism that
“ability or inability to conceive is in no case to be received as a criterion of
axiomatic truth.”

Now I do not complain of these ancients so much because their logic is, by their own showing, utterly baseless, worthless and fantastic altogether, as because of their pompous and imbecile proscription of all other roads of Truth, of all other means for its attainment than the two preposterous paths- the one of creeping and the one of crawling – to which they have dared to confine the Soul that loves nothing so well as to soar.

By the by, my dear friend, do you not think it would have puzzled these ancient
dogmaticians to have determined by which of their two roads it was that the
most important and most sublime of all their truths was, in effect, attained? I
mean the truth of Gravitation. Newton owed it to Kepler. Kepler admitted that
his three laws were guessed at– these three laws of all laws which led the great
Inglitch mathematician to his principle, the basis of all physical principle- to go
behind which we must enter the Kingdom of Metaphysics. Kepler guessed- that
is to say imagined. He was essentially a “theorist”- that word now of so much
sanctity, formerly an epithet of contempt. Would it not have puzzled these old
moles too, to have explained by which of the two “roads” a cryptographist
unriddles a cryptograph of more than usual secrecy, or by which of the two
roads Champollion directed mankind to those enduring and almost innumerable
truths which resulted from his deciphering the Hieroglyphics.

One word more on this topic and I will be done boring you. Is it not passing
strange that, with their eternal prattling about roads to Truth, these bigoted
people missed what we now so clearly perceive to be the great highway- that of
Consistency? Does it not seem singular how they should have failed to deduce
from the works of God the vital fact that a perfect consistency must be an
absolute truth! How plain has been our progress since the late announcement of
this proposition! Investigation has been taken out of the hands of the groundmoles and given, as a task, to the true and only true thinkers, the men of ardent
imagination. These latter theorize. Can you not fancy the shout of scorn with
which my words would be received by our progenitors were it possible for them
to be now looking over my shoulder? These men, I say, theorize; and their
theories are simply corrected, reduced, systematized- cleared, little by little, of
their dross of inconsistency- until, finally, a perfect consistency stands apparent
which even the most stolid admit, because it is a consistency, to be an absolute
and an unquestionable truth.

April 4th. – The new gas is doing wonders, in conjunction with the new improvement with gutta percha. How very safe, commodious, manageable, and in every respect
convenient are our modern balloons! Here is an immense one approaching us at
the rate of at least a hundred and fifty miles an hour. It seems to be crowded
with people- perhaps there are three or four hundred passengers- and yet it soars to an elevation of nearly a mile, looking down upon poor us with sovereign contempt. Still a hundred or even two hundred miles an hour is slow travelling after all. Do you remember our flight on the railroad across the Kanadaw continent?-
fully three hundred miles the hour- that was travelling. Nothing to be seen
though nothing to be done but flirt, feast and dance in the magnificent saloons.
Do you remember what an odd sensation was experienced when, by chance, we
caught a glimpse of external objects while the cars were in full flight? Every
thing seemed unique- in one mass. For my part, I cannot say but that I preferred
the travelling by the slow train of a hundred miles the hour. Here we were
permitted to have glass windows- even to have them open- and something like a
distinct view of the country was attainable…. Pundit says that the route for the
great Kanadaw railroad must have been in some measure marked out about nine
hundred years ago! In fact, he goes so far as to assert that actual traces of a road
are still discernible traces referable to a period quite as remote as that mentioned.
The track, it appears was double only; ours, you know, has twelve paths; and
three or four new ones are in preparation. The ancient rails were very slight, and
placed so close together as to be, according to modern notions, quite frivolous, if
not dangerous in the extreme. The present width of track- fifty feet- is
considered, indeed, scarcely secure enough. For my part, I make no doubt that a
track of some sort must have existed in very remote times, as Pundit asserts; for
nothing can be clearer, to my mind, than that, at some period- not less than
seven centuries ago, certainly- the Northern and Southern Kanadaw continents
were united; the Kanawdians, then, would have been driven, by necessity, to a
great railroad across the continent.

April 5th. – I am almost devoured by ennui. Pundit is the only conversible person on board; and he, poor soul! can speak of nothing but antiquities. He has been occupied all the day in the attempt to convince me that the ancient Amriccans governed
– did ever anybody hear of such an absurdity?- that they existed in a
sort of every-man-for-himself confederacy, after the fashion of the “prairie dogs”
that we read of in fable. He says that they started with the queerest idea
conceivable, viz: that all men are born free and equal- this in the very teeth of the
laws of gradation so visibly impressed upon all things both in the moral and
physical universe. Every man “voted,” as they called it- that is to say meddled
with public affairs- until at length, it was discovered that what is everybody’s
business is nobody’s, and that the “Republic” (so the absurd thing was called)
was without a government at all. It is related, however, that the first
circumstance which disturbed, very particularly, the self-complacency of the
philosophers who constructed this “Republic,” was the startling discovery that
universal suffrage gave opportunity for fraudulent schemes, by means of which
any desired number of votes might at any time be polled, without the possibility
of prevention or even detection, by any party which should be merely villainous
enough not to be ashamed of the fraud. A little reflection upon this discovery
sufficed to render evident the consequences, which were that rascality must
predominate- in a word, that a republican government could never be any thing
but a rascally one. While the philosophers, however, were busied in blushing at
their stupidity in not having foreseen these inevitable evils, and intent upon the
invention of new theories, the matter was put to an abrupt issue by a fellow of
the name of Mob, who took every thing into his own hands and set up a
despotism, in comparison with which those of the fabulous Zeros and
Hellofagabaluses were respectable and delectable. This Mob (a foreigner, by-the-by), is said to have been the most odious of all men that ever encumbered the
earth. He was a giant in stature- insolent, rapacious, filthy, had the gall of a
bullock with the heart of a hyena and the brains of a peacock. He died, at length,
by dint of his own energies, which exhausted him. Nevertheless, he had his uses,
as every thing has, however vile, and taught mankind a lesson which to this day
it is in no danger of forgetting- never to run directly contrary to the natural
analogies. As for Republicanism, no analogy could be found for it upon the face
of the earth- unless we except the case of the “prairie dogs,” an exception which
seems to demonstrate, if anything, that democracy is a very admirable form of
government- for dogs.

April 6th. – Last night had a fine view of Alpha Lyrae, whose disk, through our captain’s spy-glass, subtends an angle of half a degree, looking very much as our sun doe to the naked eye on a misty day. Alpha Lyrae, although so very much larger
than our sun, by the by, resembles him closely as regards its spots, its atmosphere, and in many other particulars. It is only within the last century, Pundit tells me, that the binary relation existing between these two orbs began even to be suspected. The evident motion of our system in the heavens was (strange to say!) referred to
an orbit about a prodigious star in the centre of the galaxy. About this star, or at
all events about a centre of gravity common to all the globes of the Milky Way
and supposed to be near Alcyone in the Pleiades, every one of these globes was
declared to be revolving, our own performing the circuit in a period of
117,000,000 of years! We, with our present lights, our vast telescopic improvements, and so forth, of course find it difficult to comprehend the ground of an idea such as this. Its first propagator was one Mudler. He was led, we must
presume, to this wild hypothesis by mere analogy in the first instance; but, this
being the case, he should have at least adhered to analogy in its development. A
great central orb was, in fact, suggested; so far Mudler was consistent. This
central orb, however, dynamically, should have been greater than all its
surrounding orbs taken together. The question might then have been asked-
“Why do we not see it?”- we, especially, who occupy the mid region of the
cluster- the very locality near which, at least, must be situated this inconceivable
central sun. The astronomer, perhaps, at this point, took refuge in the suggestion
of non-luminosity; and here analogy was suddenly let fall. But even admitting
the central orb non-luminous, how did he manage to explain its failure to be
rendered visible by the incalculable host of glorious suns glaring in all directions
about it? No doubt what he finally maintained was merely a centre of gravity
common to all the revolving orbs but here again analogy must have been let fall.
Our system revolves, it is true, about a common centre of gravity, but it does this
in connection with and in consequence of a material sun whose mass more than
counterbalances the rest of the system. The mathematical circle is a curve
composed of an infinity of straight lines; but this idea of the circle- this idea of it
which, in regard to all earthly geometry, we consider as merely the
mathematical, in contradistinction from the practical, idea- is, in sober fact, the
practical conception which alone we have any right to entertain in respect to
those Titanic circles with which we have to deal, at least in fancy, when we
suppose our system, with its fellows, revolving about a point in the centre of the
galaxy. Let the most vigorous of human imaginations but attempt to take a
single step toward the comprehension of a circuit so unutterable! I would
scarcely be paradoxical to say that a flash of lightning itself, travelling forever
upon the circumference of this inconceivable circle, would still forever be
travelling in a straight line. That the path of our sun along such a circumference that the direction of our system in such an orbit- would, to any human
perception, deviate in the slightest degree from a straight line even in a million
of years, is a proposition not to be entertained; and yet these ancient astronomers
were absolutely cajoled, it appears, into believing that a decisive curvature had
become apparent during the brief period of their astronomical history during the
mere point- during the utter nothingness of two or three thousand years! How
incomprehensible, that considerations such as this did not at once indicate to
them the true state of affairs- that of the binary revolution of our sun and Alpha
Lyrae around a common centre of gravity!

April 7th. – Continued last night our astronomical amusements. Had a fine view of the five Neptunian asteroids, and watched with much interest the putting up of a huge impost on a couple of lintels in the new temple at Daphnis in the moon. It was
amusing to think that creatures so diminutive as the lunarians, and bearing so
little resemblance to humanity, yet evinced a mechanical ingenuity so much superior to our own. One finds it difficult, too, to conceive the vast masses which these people handle so easily, to be as light as our own reason tells us they actually are.

April 8th. – Eureka! Pundit is in his glory. A balloon from Kanadaw spoke us to-day and
threw on board several late papers; they contain some exceedingly curious
information relative to Kanawdian or rather Amriccan antiquities. You know, I
presume, that laborers have for some months been employed in preparing the
ground for a new fountain at Paradise, the Emperor’s principal pleasure garden.
Paradise, it appears, has been, literally speaking, an island time out of mind- that
is to say, its northern boundary was always (as far back as any record extends) a
rivulet, or rather a very narrow arm of the sea. This arm was gradually widened
until it attained its present breadth- a mile. The whole length of the island is nine
miles; the breadth varies materially. The entire area (so Pundit says) was, about
eight hundred years ago, densely packed with houses, some of them twenty
stories high; land (for some most unaccountable reason) being considered as
especially precious just in this vicinity. The disastrous earthquake, however, of
the year 2050, so totally uprooted and overwhelmed the town (for it was almost
too large to be called a village) that the most indefatigable of our antiquarians
have never yet been able to obtain from the site any sufficient data (in the shape
of coins, medals or inscriptions) wherewith to build up even the ghost of a
theory concerning the manners, customs, &c., &c., &c., of the aboriginal
inhabitants. Nearly all that we have hitherto known of them is, that they were a
portion of the Knickerbocker tribe of savages infesting the continent at its first
discovery by Recorder Riker, a knight of the Golden Fleece. They were by no
means uncivilized, however, but cultivated various arts and even sciences after a
fashion of their own. It is related of them that they were acute in many respects,
but were oddly afflicted with monomania for building what, in the ancient
Amriccan, was denominated “churches”- a kind of pagoda instituted for the
worship of two idols that went by the names of Wealth and Fashion. In the end,
it is said, the island became, nine tenths of it, church. The women, too, it
appears, were oddly deformed by a natural protuberance of the region just
below the small of the back- although, most unaccountably, this deformity was
looked upon altogether in the light of a beauty. One or two pictures of these singular women have in fact, been miraculously preserved. They look very odd, very– like something between a turkey-cock and a dromedary.

Well, these few details are nearly all that have descended to us respecting the
ancient Knickerbockers. It seems, however, that while digging in the centre of
the emperors garden, (which, you know, covers the whole island), some of the
workmen unearthed a cubical and evidently chiseled block of granite, weighing
several hundred pounds. It was in good preservation, having received,
apparently, little injury from the convulsion which entombed it. On one of its
surfaces was a marble slab with (only think of it!) an inscription- a legible
. Pundit is in ecstacies. Upon detaching the slab, a cavity appeared,
containing a leaden box filled with various coins, a long scroll of names, several
documents which appear to resemble newspapers, with other matters of intense
interest to the antiquarian! There can be no doubt that all these are genuine
Amriccan relics belonging to the tribe called Knickerbocker. The papers thrown
on board our balloon are filled with fac-similes of the coins, MSS., typography,
etc., etc. I copy for your amusement the Knickerbocker inscription on the marble

This Corner Stone of a Monument to the                                                            Memory of                                                                                                                 GEORGE WASHINGTON,                                                                                  was laid with appropriate ceremonies on the                                                       19TH DAY OF OCTOBER, 1847                                                                          the anniversary of the surrender of                                                                                Lord Cornwallis                                                                                                        to General Washington at Yorktown,                                                                                 A. D. 1781,                                                                                                                 under the auspices of the                                                                                        Washington Monument Association of the                                                                      city of New York.

This, as I give it, is a verbatim translation done by Pundit himself, so there can be no mistake about it. From the few words thus preserved, we glean several important items of knowledge, not the least interesting of which is the fact that a thousand years ago actual monuments had fallen into disuse- as was all very proper- the people contenting themselves, as we do now, with a mere indication of the design to erect a monument at some future time; a corner-stone being cautiously laid by itself
“solitary and alone” (excuse me for quoting the great American poet Benton!), as
a guarantee of the magnanimous intention. We ascertain, too, very distinctly,
from this admirable inscription, the how as well as the where and the what, of
the great surrender in question. As to the where, it was Yorktown (wherever that
was), and as to the what, it was General Cornwallis (no doubt some wealthy
dealer in corn). He was surrendered. The inscription commemorates the
surrender of- what? why, “of Lord Cornwallis.” The only question is what could
the savages wish him surrendered for. But when we remember that these
savages were undoubtedly cannibals, we are led to the conclusion that they
intended him for sausage. As to the how of the surrender, no language can be
more explicit. Lord Cornwallis was surrendered (for sausage) “under the
auspices of the Washington Monument Association”- no doubt a charitable
institution for the depositing of corner-stones.- But, Heaven bless me! what is the
matter? Ah, I see- the balloon has collapsed, and we shall have a tumble into the
sea. I have, therefore, only time enough to add that, from a hasty inspection of
the fac-similes of newspapers, etc., etc., I find that the great men in those days
among the Amriccans, were one John, a smith, and one Zacchary, a tailor.

Good-bye, until I see you again. Whether you ever get this letter or not is point
of little importance, as I write altogether for my own amusement. I shall cork the
MS. up in a bottle, however, and throw it into the sea.

Yours everlastingly,