External world supposed to have been peopled by the outcasts

It was the 2d of January, 1818, that I set out on this delightful
visit. A native boat came alongside to convey me, into which I stepped
with no more sense of fear than might be excited on going among the
spirits of the blessed; so perfectly did the appearance, manners,
conduct, and expression of countenance of this people accord with my
ideas of purity and goodness.

On the way to the place of assembly, which was about one hundred
miles by water from the harbour where the ship lay, much occurred
to gratify my senses, instruct my mind, and delight my heart. We
ascended the river, the banks of which, and all the country near them,
appeared like one beautiful and highly cultivated garden, with neat
low buildings scattered throughout the scene. No crowded cities,
the haunts of vice and misery, hung like wens upon the lovely face
of nature. An appearance of equality in the condition and enjoyments
of the people pervaded the country. The buildings were all of them
large enough for comfort and convenience, but none of them so large,
or so charged with ornament, as to appear to have been erected as
monuments of the pride and folly of the proprietor.

Great numbers of small cattle and other domestic animals enriched
the view, and a profusion of flowers, tastefully arranged in the
vicinity of every house, filled the air with perfume, and charmed
the eye with their variegated beauties. No fogs or vapours obscured
the charming prospect, nor formed in wainrows [3] to ornament the
scene, the mild influence of the sun not being sufficient to produce
rapid exhalations, nor the nights cold enough to condense them into
vapour. Nature’s fairest landscape requires no mantle to obscure its
beauties, or to heighten their effect.

The active inhabitants all seemed engaged in something useful. Some
were tending their cattle; some cultivating vegetables, fruits,
and flowers, while others practised the mechanic arts.

As we passed on through this enchanting country, Surui, the eldest of
my conductors, instructed me in the civil polity, customs, manners,
and habits of this people. From him I learned, that in Symzonia all
power emanated from the people; that the affairs of the nation were
directed by

1. A chief, who was honoured with the title of Best Man, and who held
his situation for life, unless impeached of crime; but whose issue
was considered ineligible to the same office for one generation after
his decease.

2. An ordinary council of one hundred worthies, who assembled twice
in each year, and oftener when circumstances made it necessary,
to give advice to the Best Man.

3. A grand council of worthies, who assembled once in four years,
to admit members to their body, collect the sense of the nation
on all public affairs, and aid the Best Man with their judgment in
the appointment of Efficients to discharge the executive duties of
the state.

The Best Man could only be elected by an unanimous vote of the grand

The Worthies are of three orders–the Good, the Wise, and the Useful.

The first, who have the title of Good, are such as have, by active
benevolence, exemplary conduct, and constant efforts to promote the
happiness of their fellow beings, obtained an expression of the public
voice, that they are superior to the generality of men. When any such
spontaneous testimony is given in favour of a man, it becomes the
duty of the worthies of the district to which he belongs, to make
the fact known to the grand council. The council examine minutely
into the grounds of the popular opinion, and if they find it well
founded, and that the man is truly good, benevolent, and virtuous,
they admit him a member by the title of Good.

The second class of worthies, are such as have in like manner been
ascertained to have promoted the interests of society by improvements
in science, and the advancement of useful knowledge. Such men, if free
from vice, although not distinguished by benevolence, or the highest
class of virtues, are admitted to the order of worthies by the title
of Wise. This class corresponds to that of the philosophers of the
external world.

The third, are all such as have manifested superior skill and diligence
in their respective callings, with evident and constant good will
towards their fellow men; such as have introduced useful inventions
and improvements in the arts, set good examples to their neighbours,
and are free from vicious propensities: these, on being found justly
entitled to such characters, are admitted to the order of worthies
by the title of Useful.

The executive department is managed by Efficients, who are appointed
by the Best Man assisted by the Grand Council; and, in the interval
of their session, if vacancies occur, by the ordinary council of
One Hundred.

It is the duty of the worthies to notice the conduct of the people
in their respective districts, to aid the feeble and distressed;
if any such be found, to encourage the wavering, and reward the
meritorious. Whenever any one of them discovers a man of retired but
useful life, active but unobtrusive benevolence, extensive usefulness,
with that modest shunning of the public exhibition of his doings which
is necessary to possess the public in his favour, it becomes the duty
of the Worthy to name him to the Grand Council, as a man of modest
and exemplary merit; and if his character is, on, investigation, found
to be agreeable to the representation, he is admitted accordingly.

Amongst the standing rules of this body, Surui mentioned the fallowing:

1st. Any man setting forth pretensions to superior merit, with a view
to obtain a place among the worthies, is to be recorded as a vain man,
and to be forever debarred the privilege of membership.

2d. Any man convicted of taking measures to gain a false reputation
for merit, or of secretly influencing any person or persons to exert
themselves to forward his nomination to the Grand Council, is to be
recorded as a deceitful man, and to be thereby forever disqualified.

3d. Any man known to have been guilty of unjust or oppressive conduct
towards any of those within his sphere of influence, or to have
persecuted any who have been placed within the control of his power,
to be recorded as a tyrannical man, and considered as wholly unfit
to have any agency in the government of his fellow beings.

4th. Any man known to have affected a servile devotion to men of
influence and power, or to have courted popularity by flattering the
prejudices or passions of the people, to be recorded as a hypocritical
man, and to be considered for ever unworthy of admission to the
distinguished orders.

5th. All persons guilty of crimes, all who infringe the rules of virtue
and morality, all who lead irregular lives, or who set a bad example
in society, are for ever excluded from a place among the worthies. The
last clause of this rule is understood to include old bachelors.

All the Efficients are appointed from the order of Worthies; no man
being considered eligible to a place of trust who has not by his
exemplary conduct, usefulness, and undeviating rectitude, acquired
the notice and confidence of the public.

The Grand Council being very numerous, transacts business by a
committee of three members from each district, to whom the other
members communicate such information and advice as they may deem
necessary. The recommendations to office are made by this body,
to whom the cause of each nomination, and the qualifications of
the persons nominated, are set forth in writing. The names of three
individuals are always sent up to the Best Man, with a description of
their qualifications and merits, for each office, of whom he select
and appoints the one who is, in his opinion, most deserving of it.

The exercise of intrigue and backstair influence being a bar to
office, the offices of government are filled with the most intelligent,
upright, and valuable men in the country, selected with the sole view
of promoting the best interests of the nation.

I could not refrain from expressing my admiration of a system so
wisely calculated to give the state the benefit of all the talents,
information, and tried integrity of the nation. Surui asked me with
apparent surprise, if we the Externals did not select men to fill
the places of honour, power, and trust, with the same scrupulous
attention to their character, purity of life, usefulness in society,
and goodness of heart. I was ashamed to acknowledge the truth,
and gave him a specimen of the veracity of an External by replying,
“yes, much the same, at least in the State of New-York, where I am
best acquainted.”

I inquired whether the order of Worthies was a numerous body, and was
informed that it embraced a majority of the men of mature age; all of
whom were called in turn according to the order of their admission,
to fill a place in the ordinary council of the Best Man. This council
consists of one hundred; fifty-five of whom must be of the Good,
forty of the Useful, and five of the Wise. Such persons, however, as
had failed to maintain the character which obtained their admission to
the order, might be excluded from a participation in the government;
and the Best Man had the power to pass their names when summoning
his ordinary council, provided he did not at any time pass more than
one-tenth of the names on the list: for that proportion was deemed
the utmost that could possibly deviate from the paths of rectitude.

It appeared to me to be a very troublesome form of government, which
required the assemblage once in four years of more than half the men of
the nation. But I found this to be a great mistake. Surui assumed me,
that the labour necessary to procure all the essential comforts and
rational embellishments of life, in this fruitful country, and with the
temperate habits of the people, required but a small proportion of the
labour which could be performed; that there was abundant leisure for
an annual assemblage of all the people, without any detriment to the
business of society; and that every member of it enjoyed an abundance
of the comforts of life, without excessive or constant labour. So far
was the quadrennial assembly of the worthies from being regarded as
an evil, that the arrival of the time of its occurrence was hailed
as a season of great enjoyment, instruction, and usefulness.

The numerous inlets of the sea, which intersected this beautiful
country in every direction, rendered travelling very easy and
expeditious; so that not only the Worthies, but also such of their
families as were of sufficient age to mingle with society, repaired
to the district of the assembly, in which none but the Good, the Wise,
and the Useful, were permitted to reside.–In the vessels in which they
are conveyed, they take a sufficient quantity of substantial provisions
for their own consumption, or to exchange for such as they may prefer
during their visit. They also carry tents, in which such as cannot be
accommodated in the houses of their friends reside, during their stay.

None but Worthies are permitted to enter the district of the assembly
during the sitting. The first month, of the assembly is passed in
devotional exercises, and the interchange of visits and civilities,
all vieing with one another in endeavours to advance the happiness of
those about them, and in conversing on matters important or useful to
the commonweal. After comparing ideas with one another for a month,
they appoint a committee from their number to sit in grand council
one month, and no longer. All but the committee then return home,
unless business, or a desire to offer their advice on some subject
to the particular notice of the committee, induces them to remain.

Surui described the enjoyments of the season of the grand assemblage
with the most enthusiastic expressions of delight.–None but the
Good, the Wise, the Useful, none but the virtuous and benevolent, are
then within the circuit of the district. The rarest gratifications
of which the human mind is susceptible in intellectual intercourse,
were then enjoyed without a sense of evil.

To me, who had been accustomed to see a great proportion of mankind
constantly devoted to hard labour, or incessantly applying to business,
to obtain a precarious subsistence; to see them, not content with
the efforts which might be made by day, wearing out their health and
lives in toil by the midnight lamp, and scarcely obtaining what are
considered the necessaries of life,–it was difficult to comprehend
how a great proportion of this people could leave their business
and their homes, to pass months in a non-productive state, without
oppressing the remainder of the people with intolerable burdens. But
I was told that the Worthies received nothing for their services, and
were able to provide without difficulty for themselves: all the revenue
of the country was devoted to the maintenance of the Efficients,
(who were paid for the time actually devoted to public affairs,)
and to works of public utility.

This state of things appeared to me at first to be beyond the limits
of possibility in the external world. My mind was for some time
occupied by reflecting upon the extraordinary difference in the
natural condition of the internals and externals; and I commenced a
comparison of the varieties and objects of industry in the two worlds,
and of those necessities and habits which demanded the products of
labour. This brought me to a clear view of the matter. I perceived
that the greater part of the labour of the externals was devoted
to the production of things useless or pernicious; and that of the
things produced or acquired, the distribution, through defects in
our social organization, was so unequal, that some few destroyed,
without any increase of happiness to themselves, the products of the
toil of multitudes. Instead of devoting our time to useful purposes,
and living temperately on the wholesome gifts of Providence, like
the blest internals, so as to preserve our health and strengthen our
minds, thousands of us are employed in producing inebriating liquors,
by the destruction of wholesome articles of food, to poison the
bodies, enervate the minds, and corrupt the hearts, of our fellow
beings. Other thousands waste their strength to procure stimulating
weeds and narcotic substances from the extreme parts of the earth,
for the purpose of exciting diseased appetites, whereby, in the
case of those who possess good things, the ability to enjoy them is
destroyed. Still greater numbers give their industry and their lives
to the acquisition of mere matters of ornament, for the gratification
of pride, an insatiable passion, which is only stimulated to increase
its demands by every new indulgence. I saw that the internals owed
their happiness to their rationality, to a conformity with the laws
of nature and religion; and that the externals were miserable, from
the indulgence of inordinate passions, and subjection to vicious

I inquired of Surui how I should know the distinguished orders? what
badge or outward sign was worn by them? To which he replied, “They
are known by their undeviating rectitude of conduct: the good by
their benevolence, the wise by their knowledge, the useful by their
works.” In answer to my inquiries as to the condition of those who were
not of the order of Worthies, I was informed that it was very various,
according to their conduct. Most of the people, seeing the happy
condition of the Worthies, and being extremely desirous to partake
of the refined enjoyments of the grand assemblage, strove earnestly
to become deserving of a place among them; but some, giving way to
their carnal appetites and passions, fell into intemperate indulgences,
whereby they produced disease to their bodies, and a necessity for much
labour to supply their unreasonable consumption, and at the same time
an aversion to the performance of the labour which is necessary to the
preservation of health; that the constant exhortations and efforts of
the Worthy were found insufficient to restrain some of the youth from
forming such pernicious habits, so that before they were sufficiently
taught by experience and the examples before them, that to be good
is to be happy, they degenerated into vice. This too often led to
crime. To support their wastefulness, they infringed the rights of
others. When such men became, in the opinions of the select worthies,
incorrigible and dangerous to society, they were transported to a
land far distant to the north, the extreme limit of the world, where
a part of the year the heat is intense. There they continue in their
vicious course, pursuing the gratification of their sensual appetites,
and are punished with diseases of body which enervate their faculties,
inordinate passions which torture their minds, and fierce desires
which are incapable of being satisfied.–The influence of their gross
appetites and of the climate, causes them to lose their fairness of
complexion and beauty of form and feature. They become dark coloured,
ill favoured, and mis-shapen men, not much superior to the brute
creation. They retain, indeed, said Surui, some of the customs and
manners of Symzonia; and the ceremony of pulling the nose in salutation
by those who had strayed to the “icy hoop,” and were seen by Captain
Ross, of whom I had spoken, was no doubt a corruption of the graceful
mode of salutation practised where I then was. On my first appearance,
they had apprehended that I was of that outcast race; for it had been
observed by those who had conveyed delinquents to the place of exile,
that the descendants of the outcasts were enlarged in stature and
size, owing to the grossness of their habits, and at the same time
that they had lost their strength and activity. One of the pure race,
it was believed, was able to lift three times as much as any one of
the degenerates, or to leap three times as high. Their suspicions
of my being of the outcast tribe, were allayed by the testimony of
reverence to the Supreme Being which I had given, by falling on my
knees, and imploring the aid of heaven in my embarrassed situation;
whereby they knew that I could not be unworthy of their regard.

I felt not a little humbled by this account of the origin of the
northern internal people, and cautiously avoided any observation
that might discover, to my intelligent conductor, the suspicion which
darted through my mind, that we the externals were indeed descendants
of this exiled race; some of whom, penetrating the “icy hoop” near
the continent of Asia or America, might have peopled the external
world. The gross sensuality, intemperate passions, and beastly habits
of the externals, all testified against us.

I inquired of Surui where this place of exile was situated. He said
it was at the extreme northern part of the earth, as near the fountain
of light and heat as mortals could go, without danger of perishing by
fire: that they could only visit it in the temperate season, because
during the rest of the year, the sun was seen directly over head, when
the heat was so great as to render existence extremely painful. By this
account I knew that the place of exile must be situated somewhere on
the verge of the rim of the north polar opening, as there and there
only, could the sun be seen directly over head, without going to the
external tropic.