This hollow-earth exploration began in grief, but I have to admit that I am experiencing a curious feeling of freedom, adding these comments to my text. What is to stop me from adding anything—for instance, an excerpt from the novel Symzonia: A Voyage of Discovery, by “Captain Adam Seaborn,” which was probably a pseudonym for John Cleves Symmes (although Seaborn, in the book, refers to him as “Symme”)? Nothing stops me—so—
In the year 1817, I projected a voyage of discovery, in the hope of finding a passage to a new and untried world. I flattered myself that I should open the way to new fields for the enterprise of my fellow-citizens, supply new sources of wealth, fresh food for curiosity, and additional means of enjoyment; objects of vast importance, since the resources of the known world have been exhausted by research, its wealth monopolized, its wonders of curiosity explored, its every thing investigated and understood!
The state of the civilized world, and the growing evidences of the perfectibility of the human mind, seemed to indicate the necessity of a more extended sphere of action. Discontent and uneasiness were every where apparent. The faculties of man had begun to dwindle for want of scope, and the happiness of society required new and more copious contributions.
I reasoned with myself as follows: A bountiful Providence provides food for the appetite which it creates; therefore the desire of mankind for a greater world to bustle in, manifested by their dissatisfaction with the one which they possess, is sufficient evidence that the means of gratification are provided. And who can doubt but that this is the time to find the means of satisfying so general a desire?
To which I will add only that “Seaborn’s” hypothesis that Providence satisfies every want seems to me hopelessly naïve, even if, in the present instance, the possibility of adding this page, this “greater world to bustle in,” would suggest otherwise.