Proposition of a Wise man to make slaves of the Author and his people

The extraordinary strength and vigour of the faculties of this people
enabled them to effect, in a short time, what would occupy the most
intelligent of the externals for years. I can convey an idea of them
only, by calling to the recollection of the reader the talent at
computation manifested by Zera Colburn, who, at the age of 10 years,
calculated the sum of any given number of figures in the twinkling
of an eye, as though he arrived at the result by intuition.

The faculties of the Symzonians all seemed to be nearly perfect. They
are obviously as much superior to ours, as Colburn’s powers, of
calculation were greater than those of other untaught boys; which, no
doubt, results from their strict conformity to the law of their nature.

With such powers of mind, it need not be matter of surprise that all
my books were very soon translated into their language, and numerous
copies of them printed, and distributed amongst the most learned
and discreet, with instructions to report as to their fitness for
general circulation.

This examination and report brought me into serious difficulty. A
certain Wise man presented a memorial to the Best Man, in council,
in which he attempted to prove, from the books which I had put into
his hands, my large size, dingy complexion, carnivorous appetite,
and my own account of the sensual habits and propensities of my race,
that we were actually the offspring of the wicked who had been expelled
from Symzonia for their vices, and that we ought to be subjected to
the penalty denounced by their laws in such cases.

On inquiry, I found the penalty alluded to in the Wise man’s memorial,
was nothing less than the delivering of such persons to the most
severe of the Useful class, to be kept at hard work, poorly fed,
and debarred from intercourse with the pure–in the hope that in
process of time, their gross appetites might be scourged out of them.

All the horrors of a rice swamp, with but a peck of corn a week for
subsistence, sprang up in my affrighted imagination. I immediately set
about an elaborate petition to the Best Man, in which I endeavoured
to refute the arguments advanced by the Wise man, and to show that my
dingy complexion was owing to my seafaring life on the external world,
whereby I was much sunburnt; and that the Wise man had been led into
error by mistaking a work of imagination, for real history.

I admitted that there was a race on the external world, inhabitants of
some islands far to the north, who, from their vicinity to the place
of exile, might be the descendants of the outcasts, but who, in my
opinion, were more probably the descendants of the Belzubians, being a
restless, turbulent people, much given to depredations upon the rights
and property of others, of insatiable ambition, inordinate avarice,
and excessive vanity; who made war their chief occupation, maintaining
vast fleets and armies; who plundered the feeble, enslaved the unwary,
and levied contributions by force or fraud upon the whole human race:




That these islanders were a distinct people, who were regardless
of the rights of others, being governed by cupidity, whereby they
had become detestable to all the rest of the externals, and to my
nation in particular, to so great a degree, that our Wise men (who
have the control in the government, the Good and Useful being held in
but little estimation by the wise and the useless in my country) had
repeatedly ordained a non-intercourse, in the vain hope of bringing
these supposed descendants of the Belzubians to a sense of justice;
and that we were at this time only secure from their attacks, by an
invention for blowing them into the air, if they ventured to assail
our shores; that the book which had misled the Wise man was written
by one of this people, and had no reference to my country.

Before I had completed my work to my satisfaction, I received the
agreeable intelligence, that the Best Man, supported by all the Good
and most of the Useful of his council, had ordered the name of the Wise
man who made the proposition, to be erased from the list of Worthies,
as a cruel monster, for seriously proposing the infliction, upon
strangers who had voluntarily thrown themselves upon the hospitality
of the country, of penalties enacted only to render the consequences
of the return of the outcasts too frightful to be encountered by them.

This was the only unpleasant occurrence during my stay. The days flew
on with astonishing rapidity, so agreeably were they passed. The
Symzonians slept but about three hours in the four-and-twenty, and
considered me a very gross and sluggish being because I could not do
without six hours sleep. With the exception of this short interval,
every moment was occupied in conversation, study, observation,
or amusement. Statistics, geography, botany, ærology, geology,
mineralogy, zoology, ornithology, ichthiology, conchology, and
entomology, in turn demanded and received my attention.