Cornhill Magazine,  10 (1864), 299–310.

The Ethics of Friendship

[Coke Richardson]




Psychology, Chemistry, Mechanics, Mathematics, Natural Law, Prognostication

    Remarks that the 'laws of chemistry and mechanics are not more exact and immutable than the laws of psychology, but our knowledge of the data from which we deduce those laws is in the first instance reasonably accurate; in the last, owing to secondary causes and disturbing influences, which we know absolutely nothing of, and could not control if we did, our ignorance is great, and what we learn avails not much. We can foretell an eclipse, we can predict the result of a chemical combination, but of the secret of love, of the rise or fall of a friendship or a creed, even those who know humanity best can only guess'. Even if one could 'bottle different solutions of humanity, and then suddenly [...] admit the outer air, that is, the laws of their condition to act on them', the results would never be 'as sure as algebra' and would remain 'not chance but mystery'. (299)

© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020

Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <> [accessed ]