Henry Livingston, Jr.
1791 New-York Magazine; or Literary Repository

Love as conducted on the nearby planets; equality of women

Van Deusen-Kosinski Collection

New-York Magazine; or, Literary Repository
April, 1791, p.189-90

Astronomical Intelligence
By R

For the New-York Magazine.

Messrs Editors:

You have permission to publish the following amazing Discoveries.   R-.


IN the month of February, 1789, a most excentric idea entered the head of professor Zeritef Shoralow, of the royal academy for celestial observations at Moscow. He caused a tube of 234 feet in length, and 29 feet in diameter, to be constructed of planks, and made perfectly smooth and circular within as the interior part of a fuzee. Instead of glass lens to furnish this enormous telescope, and which no vitrisical manufactory upon earth could supply, he formed them from the purest, transparent ice, carefully cut from the river Wolga. These pieces were five feet in thickness, and of the diameter of the cylinder. Their proper diminutions he effected by the application of warm substances. It was not till after thirteen days unwearied attention that they were perfectly finished and rendered fit for optical purposes.

This huge machine was constructed on a hill adjacent to the city of Moscow, and was suspended so mechanically nice, that it could with ease be easily turned to any part of the heavens.

It was on the 25th of February, in a night uncommonly serene, that Professor Zeritef Shoralow, wrapped in threefold thicknesses of fur, turned his gigantic tube full on the planet Jupiter; when, to his astonishment, he found that immense frozen globe brought as it were within reach of his hand for inspection. The mountains, rivers, houses, men, women, and even the very hens and chickens were perfectly apparent.

Inured as the Muscovite was to ice and snow, the shivering appearance that every thing put on at near five hundred millions of miles distance from the sun frighted him. The sole employment of the men appeared to consist in procuring fuel, and of the women in heaping it on the fires. Lovers confabulated swathed in redoubled flannels; and frequently, when the mutual kiss was attempted a cement of ice completed the contact.

From these frigid scenes, the astronomer, shivering with sympathetic cold, turned his telescope to glowing Mercury. Every thing was in contrast to Jupiter. There eternal frost held his dreary reign; every pulse beat low, and life was almost afraid to avow its existence. Here all was glowing sunshine and hurly burly. Lawyers were worse than loquacious; coquettes fidgeted in frenzy; and the very ducks danced on the mud. The heat appeared intense. Joints of meat were roasted before the sun as on our globe at a kitchen fire, and apple-pyes and custards were baking on every stone wall. The professor had already thrown off two of his fur gowns when the planet Mars caught his attention.

Ye that delight in blue coats with white or scarlet facings, or gold or silver epaulets, red feathers with black tops, or black feathers with red tops; hats cocked, hats flopped, or infantry caps; muskets, small swords, broad swords, bayonets, howitzers, royals, long twelves and forty eight pounders; behold a banquet for you all! In this region every thing wore the appearance of hostility: Farmers plowed in gaters, dropped feed corn from cartouch-boxes, and digged potatoes with spontoons. The very women flew above in the stile militairie. Their mops were made to resemble spunges, the rims of their spinning-wheels looked like trucks, and their sapawn-pots were thirteen inch shells.

Professor Zeritef Shoralow saw a love scene, where the lady resisted as a beseiged citadel, and the gallant made his approaches by zig-zag and countermine.

"Hail happy region, where woman for once is the governing animal, and men appear, perhps as they ever ought, tagging humbly in their rear! Charming Venus! thine is the realm where masculinity dares not rear its audacious front, but lovely femalism is all in all!" Thus exclaimed the Russian sage when the beauteus orb of Venus met his enraptured eye.

In an elegant dome, where every lattice and portal were thrown wide open, that all might see and hear (for ladies love to be heard & seen) were seated an assembly of matrons to legislate for the community. The speaker, in conformity to the order of the house, was dressed in a rich purple gown with a train of three yards in length; a petticoat most tastefully flounced, a camels hair shawl glittering with undulated rows of diamonds, ear-rings of the purest pearls, and a tete and bishop protuberant and enchanting beyond description.

The secretary was observed to make her minutes with a quill from the wing of a sparow, and dipped her ink out of a reservoir of real horn.

They appeared to be in warm debate; and the professor, by looking at a paper over the shoulder of a lady dressed in cross-barred muslin, found the subject to be, whether the men in future might be entertained as obsequious humble companions, or, be driven absolutely out of doors, and employed in unremitted drudery. A major appeared for the latter measure; but the satirical Shoralow could not help remarking, that several very engaging damsels offered their services as overseers of the poor Yahoos.

Love, and all its delectable concomitants were utterly unknown there; as that passion exists but where equality is found or understood. The dear virago's had thrust the wretched males too far from them to admit of even an artificial reciprocity of situation.

Many philosophers assert that love in the female aeconomy acts as a powerful absorbent; and, that where it is genuinely felt a thousand disagreeable pettishnesses are perfectly unknown. Zeritof Shoralow, it is said, now inclines to this opinion from the multiplicity of not very bewitching freaks he observed among the Venusian ladies.

Besides caprice, petulancy & ill-nature, the want of personal attention was general. Where there was no admirer to please, nor rival to mortify, to what purpose even the affection of amiability?

The accurate Muscovite in the memoir addressed to his college, has observed, that the female, on this planet from imperial women down to the humble mosquito, had uncontended domination. The ferocious heifer gored the bull from the pasture; rams fled before heroic ewes; the tremendous goose stalked before the suppliant gander; and champion hens crowed over dejected he-biddies.

The enlightened Shoralow was going on with observations to gratify and enrich his native planet, when a southern breeze blew mildly on him - warm vapours floated far and wide - and a trickling stream was all that remained of materials that drew such unexpected information from our neighbour worlds.

Guaranteed to be Henry's by pseudonym R, as well as by style. This piece was also published in the Country Journal and Poughkeepsie Advertiser, of September 15, 1789, also with the pseudonym of R.

See also:
    Journal of Alexander the Great
    Baby House
    Memoirs of a Pine Tree


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