Manner of making cloth

The friendly reception which had been given to me by the Best Man,
and his commands that information should be freely communicated to
the stranger, were a sufficient introduction for me to the notice
and kind offices of this benevolent people. They required no other
evidence that my rank was sufficiently elevated to render me a fit
associate for them, than the fact that the Best Man had found my
conversation so interesting as to induce him to pass several hours
in my company. I was visited by all classes of the community, and
gave scope to my eager desire to possess myself of all the useful
knowledge and science possessed by the most intelligent of the people.
I gave my attention in the first instance almost exclusively to the
Wise, in expectation of finding their conversation most instructive;
but I soon found that like our philosophers they were more given to
abstract theories than to practical knowledge, and would contend for
hours to establish some fanciful hypothesis, to the neglect of plain
and practical subjects of inquiry. I therefore turned my attention
to the Good and the Useful, who never spoke on subjects they did not
understand, and whose information, though not so abstruse as that of
the Wise, extended to all matters of established utility. Moreover they
could be implicitly relied on; for having no favourite hypotheses to
maintain, and no selfish ends to answer, they explained every thing
to me frankly and in an intelligible manner.
In this way, and by frequent interviews with the Best Man, as also
by actual observation, I ascertained the following, among numberless
other interesting facts:
That the fatal sin cupidity, which drove our first parents out of
Paradise, is almost wholly unknown to the pure and uncontaminated
Internals. They view the gifts of a bountiful Providence as
an abundant supply of good things for the benefit of all, and
sufficient to gratify all the rational wants of all the creatures
for whom they are provided. They admire and adore the beneficence
which could find pleasure in creating intelligent beings, and in
providing for all their wants; and are emulous to approximate towards
the spirit of love and goodness to which they are indebted for all
their blessings. They are continually striving to improve themselves
in this respect, by unceasing efforts to render one another, and all
creatures within the sphere of their influence, happier and better;
instead of exerting all their faculties, like the Externals, to gain
advantages over their fellow men, to acquire the means of gratifying
the worst passions of their nature, or to advance their own pleasures
by rendering others miserable.
All the real wants of men in society are provided for in the most
simple and natural manner. Usefulness is the test of value. That
artificial wealth which exists amongst the Externals, and depends
for its support upon their capricious passions, has no place with
the Symzonians; our whole list of fancy articles, all our ornaments,
every description of things which are only calculated to gratify pride
or vanity, are considered by them as worse than useless. They wear
garments because they defend the body, and are necessary to decency;
but it never occurred to their simple minds, that the fairest work
of an Infinite Being could be improved by trinkets and fripperies of
man’s device. Their judgments are not so much perverted, nor their
tastes so much depraved. Therefore, having ascertained a mode of
providing necessary raiment in the most convenient manner, they one
and all adopted it, and, by dressing alike, they maintain a perfect
equality in their wants in that respect
Their cloth is a beautiful substance, manufactured in a peculiar
manner, by a process resembling that employed by the natives of the
South Sea Islands, and not unlike our mode of making paper.

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The material is found in caves and amongst the rocks of the mountains,
where a species of insects, larger than our spider, produce it in
great abundance. They form webs somewhat like those of spiders,
but of a firmer texture, and more compactly woven. These webs have
the properties of asbestos, owing probably to the insects subsisting
upon that or some similar substance. The inhabitants collect them
with great care, and lay them in a mould of the dimensions of the
piece of cloth to be made, placing so many of them one upon another
as the intended thickness of the cloth requires. This done, a fluid
preparation which hardens by the influence of fire, without losing
its elasticity, is poured over it. It is then pressed firmly together,
and passed over a heated cylinder, which completes the operation.
This cloth is extremely convenient. Being incombustible, like asbestos,
it is only necessary to pass a garment through the fire to purify
it perfectly. It is also very durable; and being exquisitely white,
it corresponds admirably with the delicate complexions of the people,
and the mild light of the region they inhabit.
All the divisions of labour necessary to the convenience and welfare of
society, are here perfectly understood. The community is not bewildered
by a voluminous and complex system of political economy, consisting
of abstract principles, buried in abstract and unintelligible words,
and rendered too intricate to be understood by those who have common
sense, or too inapplicable to civilized society to be adopted by those
who have any sort of sense–invented by the Wise men of one country
to mislead the politicians of another, and to depress the Good and
the Useful.
Their circulating medium consists of tokens for every variety of
things, and every description of services. These tokens are originally
issued by the government, for services performed and articles supplied
for the national benefit. One description represents one day’s labour;
a second, a standard measure of grain; a third, a small measure of
pulse; a fourth, a given quantity of a particular fruit; a fifth,
a measure of cloth, and so forth. There being a sufficient variety
to represent all the articles which are in common use, they have all
the advantages of exchange, without the trouble of delivery when the
things are not wanted for actual consumption.
When, by any circumstances, the supply of any particular article in
any district falls short of the demand to such a degree, that the
tokens will not command what they represent, it is the business of
the government to draw from the more fruitful districts a sufficiency
to equalize the value, either by direct purchase, or by requiring
the contributions of the fruitful districts in kind, and sending the
articles to the place of scarcity, or by receiving the contributions
of the district in which scarcity prevails in tokens, and thus raising
their value, or by both these operations in extreme cases.
Commerce is practised only for the common convenience of society. The
accumulation of wealth, and indulgence in luxury, being disreputable,
and a bar to admission to the distinguished orders, an overreaching
and avaricious spirit is not generated by traffic, as in the external
world, but every operation of trade and transfer is performed on the
most reasonable terms, which will enable him who performs it to live
upon an equality with his fellow-men.
All contributions are required directly from the people, that every
one may know the full extent of his proportion of the expense of
government. Every man under the age of one hundred years, is rated at
the same amount, unless he have young children; in which case the tax
is reduced in proportion to the number of such children, according to
a graduated scale. This tax is so light that nothing but a criminal
want of industry or frugality can hinder any one from paying it.
The whole revenue of government requires no more than one or two
days labour of each man per annum; and as the government exists for
the sole purpose of preserving the freedom of the citizens, in the
pursuit of happiness, and in the enjoyment of all those privileges
and immunities which are compatible with the well-being of society,
all are equally indebted for its benefits. Property being altogether a
matter of secondary consideration, is not considered a proper object
of taxation. In case of an accumulation of good things in the hands of
an individual, beyond his wants, the surplus is in general voluntarily
devoted by him to the use and benefit of his fellow-beings, in some
shape or other, for the promotion of his own happiness. Doing good
is here considered as the highest of earthly gratifications. When a
man is more than one hundred years of age, he is considered to have
performed his full share of public service, and to be entitled to
exemption for the remainder of his days.