Full text: Wilkins, John: A discovery of a new world

I anſwer, 1. ’Tis not perhaps impoſſible, that a man
may be able to Fly, by the application of Wings to his
own body; as Angels are pictur’d, as Mercury and Dæda-
lus are feigned, and as hath been attempted by divers,
particularly by a Turk in Conſtantinople, as Busbequius relates.

2. If there be ſuch a great Ruck in Madagaſcar, as Mar- cus Polus the Venetian mentions, the Feathers in whoſe
Wings are twelve Foot long, which can ſoop up a Horle
and his Rider, or an Elephant, as our Kites do a Mouſe; why then ’tis but teaching one of theſe to carry a man, and
he may ride up thither, as Ganimed does upon an Eagle.

43.1.

Mr. Bur.
ton.
Melanch.
pa. 2. ſect. 2
mem. 3.
Lib. 3.
c. 40.

3. Or if neither of theſe ways will ſerve; yet I do ſeri-
only, and upon good grounds, affirm it poſſible to make a
Flying Chariot; in which a Man may ſit, and give ſuch a
motion unto it, as ſhall convey him through the Air. And
this perhaps might be made large enough to carry divers
Men at the ſame time, together with Food for their Via-
ticum, and commodities for Traffick. It is not the bigneſs
of any thing in this kind, that can hinder its motion, if
the raotive Faculty be anſwerable thereunto. We ſee a
great Ship ſwims as well as a ſmall cork, and an Eagle flies
in the Air as well as a little gnat.

This Engine may be contrived from the ſame Principles
by which Architas made a wooden Dove, and Regiomontanus
a wooden Eagle.

I conceive it were no difficult matter (if a man had lei-
ſure) to ſhew more particularly the means of compoſing it.

The perfecting of ſuch an Invention, would be of ſuch ex-
cellent uſe, that it were enough, not only to make a man
Famous, but the Age alſo where he lives. For beſides the
ſtrange diſcoveries that it might occaſion in this other
World, it would be alio of inconceivable advantage for
Travelling, above any other conveyanee that is now in uſe.

So that notwithſtanding all theſe ſeeming impoſſibilities,
’tis likely enough, that there may be a means invented of
Journying to the Moon; and how happy ſhall they be,
that are firſt ſucceſsful in this attempt?

--------Fæliceſque animæ, quas nubila ſupra,
Et turpes fumos, plenumque vaporibus orbem,
Inſeruit cælo ſancti ſcintilla Promethei.

Having thus finiſhed this Diſcourſe, I chanced upon a
late fancy to this purpoſe under the feigned Name of Do-
mingo Gonſales, written by a late Reverend and Learned
Biſhop: In which (beſides ſundry partlculars wherein this

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