Conversations at Carringford Lodge. No. I. What am I? [1/8]
R C, Penryn, pseud. [Richard Cope]
Serial, Short Fiction
Education, Utility, Piety, Mathematics, Horticulture, Endeavour, Immaterialism, Human Species, Reason, Animal Behaviour, Instinct, Theology of Nature
James Hervey , James Burnett (Lord Monboddo)
Mr Ravenstone wishes to 'educate his family in that sort of knowledge which might render them useful members of society, and furnish their minds with a rich supply of topics for profitable contemplation' (160). The family has lived for centuries at Carringford Lodge, and has been renowned for its piety and social deference. The children possess 'common talents', and Mr Ravenstone has no expectation that 'one would be the greatest mathematician of the age'. He wishes to educate them in a 'natural' and, therefore, informal manner. (161) The narrator relates a conversation between Mr Ravenstone and his eldest son Edwin about the cultivation of his garden, in which the father applies the lesson of 'industry and perseverance' to the religious life (162). They discuss the nature of the human species and the difference between it and other animal species, drawing a sharp distinction between human reason and animal instinct.
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