Page:Armatafragment00ersk.djvu/13

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truth, when it breaks in too suddenly, con founds the understanding, as vision is over powered by a sudden burst of light. I thought it best therefore for the moment to practise an evasion, and answered, as the truth indeed was, that I had been obliged to commit myself to the waves from a sinking vessel; that there being more brass than wood on my quadrant, I could not venture to use it as a raft to save me; and that if I had hung my time-piece round my neck, I should from its weight have only discovered the longitude of the bottom. Well, then, said a profound philosopher, waving for the present all localities, let us know something at least of this famous Terra Incognita.—No, Sir, I replied, you will soon, I believe, be looking for it through your telescope. I resolved, in short, to shut myself up in silence until I addressed myself, as I now do, to the whole public of this great country, and through that public to the whole civilized world.

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