Castle Builders [1/2]
Extract, Miscellaneous, Serial
New Monthly Magazine
Engineering, Navigation, Exploration, Observatories, Education, Schools, Mathematics, Utility
The narrator praises the restorative effect on the mind of building castles in the air. Remarks: 'Last night, after a series of complicated operations, and begging a question or two, I cut an excellent canal, from the Nicaragua lake into the Pacific ocean, communicating with the gulph of Nicoya. [...] I drew for money to carry on my work upon the sums allotted and expended for Northern expeditions, which I again collected into masses for my purpose, and found that I was possessed of ample funds; that Capt. Parry need labour no more among the Polar ice, that our merchants might ship goods to Panama via the gulph of Florida' (26). Describes another castle in the air, in which he purchased Fonthill Abbey and 'completed the edifice on its original model', including an observatory in the tower with 'a great telescope, to which Herschel's at Slough, might serve as an eye-glass' (26–27). Describes setting up there a school for one hundred boys, arranging that the students 'should learn something more than to be tolerable classics and mathematicians—something adapted to fit them for the active purposes of life' in accordance with 'the state of modern discoveries and the present enlightened era' and eschewing 'past superstitions' (27).
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