THE EARTH IS FLAT
Note: No changes were made in the grammar or style. The exceptions being are type-setters mistakes.
The Arizona Republic 1899
Ebenezer Breach Gives Reasons to Show It Is Not Round.
Mr. Ebenezer Breach of this town has just written to the presidents of the leading American universities and colleges seeking to enlist them on his side in an argument that is just now exercising the greatest minds in England, namely, the question of the earth’s shape, writes a Portsmouth correspondent. Mr. Breach, in his letter to the American men of learning, has prepared what he is pleased to call a list of Breach-loaded arguments, which go to show that, whatever may be said about the theory he expands. Mr. Breach is without his equal among the first earthites of modern times. So ingenious are the arguments advanced by Mr. Breach that the man who calls on him in a scoffing mood comes away rather perturbed in mind to find that he is half persuaded to believe there is something in the flat earth theory after all.
The talk I had with Mr. Breach, supplemented by the information contained in the letters to the American professors, gave me a comprehensive idea of the subtle reasoning that underlies the easy conversational arguments of Mr. Breach. To give the gist of those arguments, Mr. Breach’s idea is that the earth is the central and greatest object of the universe; that its surface is the top of a colossal pillar, its mountains and hollows forming excrescences and indentations as on the top of a Madeina cake; that this top surface of the monstrous pillar is circular in shape, and that above – a mere matter of only 5,000 miles or so distant – a crystal sea, circular and co-extensive with the earth’s surface, through which we behold the celestial bodies revolving in one plane. One of the illustrations I send gives an idea of this. The roughly and rapidly improvised circular disc of the table represents the top of the earth; the paper patches are the continents. The piece of mechanism held in the right hand was constructed to show the spiral course from the center to the circumference, like a coiled watch spring, marking the course of the planets. The north is the center. The south is the circumference all the way round. There is perpetual ice at the north center and at the south, the sun performing its course above the intermediate parts.
“And the pillar which constitutes the earth, Mr. Breach, upon what does that rest?”
“Ah!” he replied with a smile, “that I cannot say. Job was once humiliated by that question, asked by God. ‘Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened?’ Thus showing conclusively that the earth had foundations and wasn’t a revolving body.”
“Ship have sailed around the world?” I quarrelled.
“Quite so. You take a point in my disk. A ship by continued sailing, either east or west, is bound to come back to the point of starting. She would have sailed round the world. Nothing is clearer.”
“But the fact that you see a ship’s masts at sea before the hull?”
“An optical illusion. Believe me, it proves nothing. Cape Teneriffe can be seen a hundred and twenty miles. If the earth were a globe that cape should be a mile and three-quarters out of sight.
“If ships go out to sea sailing over an orange shaped ocean,” he continued, “they should as often be seen mountains high above the range of vision as they constantly seen hull down, owing to angular vision. We can only see distinctly for three miles. By telescope the ship will appear again as a sheet of glass. I have proved this by lightships and other things.”
“But at sunrise you see the sun rising out of the water, if you are up early enough, and at sunset it dips behind the horizon to the west.”
Mr. Breach smiled. “It is the law of perspective,” he replied. “Two parallels will meet at a given point.”
“How do you account for the day and night?”
“Easily enough. When the sun is in the arc of the spiral course, which is above our flat earth, we have day; when it is in the opposite we get night. It is foolish to imagine that the sun goes underneath the earth, as foolish as the false teaching that the earth rotates round the sun.
“The earth is the greatest of all things created,” he continued. “It was created first, is immovable, and all other bodies were made for it. The sun was made first of the subsidiary bodies to give light to the world.”
“But the sun is of greater proportion?”
“No,” he said, laughing at my folly. “Modern astronomers say so, but they are wrong. God created the sun to light the world. Whoever heard of a light being made bigger than the place to be lighted? We never carry a room round the candle, but always the candle round the room.”
The ingenuity and originality of the argument silenced me.
“All plains are flat,” continued Mr. Breach. “Take the Sahara for instance. If you go to geology you will find all strata in flat layers, not in convex, as they would be in a curved body. Look at the case of rivers. The Nile drops only one foot in 1,000 miles. Rivers cannot flow uphill, as they would have to do in mounting the curvature of the world.”
But what excited Mr. Breach even more than the globular “fallacy” was that the earth should be supposed to revolve.
“Why,” he exclaimed, “if the world went around the oceans would be whisked away in a moment. If water is dropped on a spinning top it would at once be thrown off. According to the false theory, ships must be upside down at Australia. Ridiculous! All wells would be emptied of their contents and Niagara would be upturned and tumble upwards.
“If the earth is revolving at about 1,100 miles an hour as it taught,” he continued, “why do not balloonists make an easy and swift passage to America by rising into the air and waiting till the new world comes round? Instead of that they go slowly with the wind, either in the direction of the supposed revolution of the earth or against it. Aeronauts have informed me, too, that they see the surface of the earth as the shape of a saucer, concave, not convex, as it wound be if bulged out round. You watch a lark rising. When high up it poises itself in the air, moving neither in one direction nor another. Yet it remains exactly over the field it rose from if the earth revolved 1,000 miles an hour, that field ought to be 100 miles away in a few minutes.
“Volcano substances thrown a mile or so into the air fall near the edge of the crater. They ought, at least be left some little way behind. All burning mountains, in fact,” Mr. Breach went on, “deny the revolution of the earth, as they would be extinguished by the tremendous velocity, just like a candle swiftly carried through a room. A burning mountain being merely a burning match head compared with the size of the world, ought to be snuffed out with a fraction of a revolution at 1,100 miles an hour.
“The round earthites have to adopt an imaginary axis for their world to revolve upon, but no solid body could revolve upon an imaginary axis. The fact is, the round revolving world is just as imaginary as their imaginary axis, imaginary cause, imaginary effect.”
Among the numerous converts claimed by Mr. Breach to his theory of a flat earth is no less august a personage than the Prince of Wales. His steadfast opponent is Sir Robert Ball, who is preparing to deliver a lecturer broadside that he declares will shatter Mr. Breach’s flat-earth fortifications. As Mr. Breach is so devout a believer in his theory that he is spreading the flat-earth arguments across the American continent it is likely that the worthy hostilities will become world-wide. Nothing would please Mr. Breach more. – Galveston News.