Ohio History Journal

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I want, if I can, to carry you back to the day when the

West was new, when the outposts of the nation were on the

Mississippi; when the boundless forests were scarred but here

and there with clearings; when Cincinnati, the thriving town

between Third street and the river was the undoubted and un-

rivaled Queen City of the West. Those were the days of strong

men. The War of 1812 was just over. The pioneer, the path-

finder, the surveyor, the Indian fighter, the Revolutionary vet-

eran-and he of the second British war-such men as Return J.

Meigs, Duncan McArthur, Jacob Burnet, Nathaniel Massie and

Robert Lucas were in the high places in the hearts of the people;

the day when education was scant and difficult, when schools

were far apart, and colleges were just beginning to point their

spires to the western sky. In those days religion found greater

depth in the souls of men than the shallow soundings of today.

New lands, new settlements, new dangers, the problems of a new

civilization developed strong minds, created original intellects

and imaginations not imprisoned by the four sides of a safe

deposit box nor slipped in between the thumbed pages of a de-

posit book. And it was in that day of strength and crudity that

lived the man who promulgated the daring, ingenious theory of

cosmography, which in the light of better learning we know

as the absurd, foolish theory of "Symmes' Hole."

The Theory of Concentric Spheres! We all remember the

shaft in the park at Hamilton bearing the globe open through the

poles, commemorating Captain John Cleves Symmes and his

theory-keeping in memory a man who believed that the world

is hollow and habitable within, and that there are great holes at

the poles through which one may get down on to the inner side !

Captain John Cleves Symmes, he of the theory of Eccen-