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MAN IN THE MOON.
“O quantum est in rebus inane !”
Saturday, 19th Nov. 1803.
The Compiler peruses the Manuscript left by the Man in the Moon, in
which he finds a supernatural Account of his own Birth, and the Doctrine of good and evil Spirits established, with their Influences on certain sublunary Movements now going on.
I WAS no sooner left alone than I felt curiosity, a leading feature in the character of all men, but more particularly in a collector of news, begin to operate. I disposed of a pinch of snuff, which was between the fore finger and thumb of my right hand with astonishing celerity into the left receptacle of my nose, and after snuffing the candles in great literary agitation, untied the manuscript, and read as follows:
“ It may be expected that I should give my readers some account of my situation, and office in the Moon, with a prospectus of my plan. On the first subject I am forbid to be very explicit at present, all that I can say is, that having little other occupation, I em
ploy my time in perusing the actions, (that is) the blunders, exploits, follies, mistakes, and mischances of busy and impertinent man, which I am enabled to do to advantage, by means of a perfection of vision peculiar to an inhabitant of the moon, and which is so far y exceeding the optics of any creature of the earth, and
of your modern aeronauts, that there is not the smallest danger of my taking a forest for a gooseberry bush.
“I am enabled likewise, by this clearness of vision, to see things in the dark, and to penetrate into the most concealed places with the facility of a moonbeam, you must doubtless imagine that I am often amused with the blindman's buff going on below me among great politicians, philosophers, and men of business, and frequently smile at their running their wrong
heads one against the other. What adds to the entertainment is, my acquaintance with the invisible movers of these performers, who dance them about like puppets, just as they please; but of this more hereafter. I shall now offer to you the plan of my lunar observations: they will be taken upon the greater and lesser circles of the sphere, upon religion, morals, and the occurrences of the political world; they will include at times critiques on the works of literature, the productions of the drama, and the merits of actors, but they shall never be offensive to the feelings of any, or wantonly severe. I am too well acquainted with the infirmities of human beings, and with the havoc self-interest, pride, and vanity make
among society, for, situated as I am, the region between the earth and moon is open to my contemplation, and I have opportunities of discoursing (and indeed am personally acquainted) with those innumerable invisible agents who are the friends or enemies of man.
- Asmodeus, the most ingenious of the devils, has already in part laid open, in his correspondence with the facetious Don Cleofas Perez de Zambullo, the secret influence of those potent contrivers, who tempt and perplex poor human beings into error.
Each department has a chief, as described by the Diable Boiteux; they are always busy, and never neglect an opportunity to do mischief. I am enabled by this knowledge to tell you, that it is to Astorath, the famous political devil, you owe the happy facility you possess of invention and intrigue. It was that demon who watched over the pregnancy of your mother, and attended her deli
, very, when, observing you to be a little ugly infant, (you will pardon my sincerity) he instantly claimed you as his own, a fit subject of experiment, and seating himself one night in November upon a heavy black cloud, that hung over the chimney of your house of nativity, he dexterously mixt up the ingredients which he meant to transfuse into your mind; genius, malice, envy, spleen, the love of mischief, and of li.centious liberty made up the hotch potch, and I am sure you must admit that it was the devil of a composition ; he was so adroit, that the good spirit (who, by the by, your mother had frightened away with scolding at her nurse) came too late to your assist, ance, and had only time to throw in a single virtue, INTREPIDITY, which answered the devil's purpose better than if it had been left out.
“ You will, doubtless, wonder why of all people I have picked you out as the publisher of my opinions; the reason however is obvious; it is to bring good out of evil."
At this line, I found the end of my nose turn itself up with a sort of galvanic twitch, and discovered, by a broken glass before me, that I“ grinned horribly a ghastly smile."
“ It is my design to soften the asperities of your nature, and to neutralize the acidities of your dispo, sition, in short, to lay the devil."
At this I laid down the manuscript, and took a pinch of snuff.
“ I know that I shall be blamed by many of my acquaintance for endeavouring to make them better and happier than they are; however, the promise of my liberty is paramount to every other consideration, and, after all, I have a regard for my fellow creatures, and am out of the power of any evil spirit to do me harm, May the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, which emanates from the supreme fountain of goodness, more or less, into the mind of man, which is ever the same, and though sometimes
annoyed and disturbed, convinces, survives, and over, comes, that constitutes the understanding of the wise man, is the common sense of the unlearned, and dis, owned only by the hardened fool, spread its pure intelligence into all bosoms, that every one may be filled with the full glory of reason, and feel and acknowledge its benign influence and almighty power,
« It is this SPIRIT OF TRUTH which maintains a country, that resides in the characters of the rulers and the governed, when they have good will towards each other; that makes them consistent in virtue and honesty; that branches out into the spirit of the laws, and constitutes the best and suręst defence in danger, THE INDEPENDENT SPIRIT OF A NATION,
“ The mighty Leviathan, and Belphegor, demons of the first order, are now at work; they animate the breast of an ambitious man to acts of outrage, but let the SPIRIT OF TRUTH oppose them, and they disa appear,
“ It is then with good spirits that Englishmen must meet the foe; the brave unequalled SPIRIT of her tars will do wonders, and the spirit of the soldiery move whole columns of associated hearts in the defence of their country, for PARTY SPIRIT is laid, and the spirit of unanimity must conquer.
« One thing is, however, of most weighty consideration to Englishmen at the present moment, and that