English captain: Earth as Hollow Sphere?

I’m reading Jules Verne’s A Journey to the Center of the Earth. I’m in Chapter 27, “The Central Sea,” where I come across this passage (written in the voice of Henry, the first-person narrator):

I know Verne was a meticulous writer and included much real science and speculation in his novels, so I’m wondering if this “English captain” is a real person. In fact, I’m pretty sure he is, since Henry referenced him so obliquely.

Does anyone know more about the captain and his ideas? The novel was written in 1871.

This site has a history of the hollow Earth theories. The guy who came up with the dual suns Pluto and Proserpine was Scottish mathematician Sir John Leslie.

I not sure, but you could try http://jv.gilead.org.il/evans/literary.html and search for captain.

That site says (with proper footnotes):
<quote>Both Dumas and Verne’s fictional speculations on this matter have been noted by scholars, who invariably attribute them to a common 19th-century source. In 1818, a certain Yankee (not British) infantry captain named John Cleves Symmes (not “Synness”) attracted world-wide attention, sparked international controversy, and inspired numerous hollow-earth stories both during his lifetime and after when he made the following appeal: “To All the World! I declare the Earth is hollow, and habitable within; containing a number of concentrick [sic] spheres, one within the other, and that is it open at the poles 12 or 16 degrees; I pledge my life in support of this truth, and am ready to explore the hollow if the world will support and aid me in this undertaking.” <end quote>

Google’s your friend. Try him out.

Symmes it as. You can read about him in Martin Gardner’s book “Fads and Fallaces in the Name of Science”. There are a lot of references to him in 19th and early 20th century science fiction.