Youth's Magazine,  3rd ser. 10 (1837), 296–303.

Conversations at Carringford Lodge. No. V. Why am I Here?  [5/8]

R C, Penryn, pseud.  [Richard Cope]


Serial, Short Fiction

Relevant illustrations:



Observation, Astronomy, Reading, Reasoning, Wonder, Anatomy, Design, Matter Theory, Mineralogy, Botany, Cell Theory, Microbiology, Providence, Physiology, Plenitude, Invertebrate Zoology, Fieldwork, Museums, Mineralogy, Palaeontology, Utility, Anthropocentrism, Engineering

People mentioned:

Thomas Thomson , John Lindley , Christoph C Sturm , Antoni van Leeuwenhoek , Abraham Trembley , Georges L Leclerc, comte de Buffon , Henry Home (Lord Kames)

Publications cited:

Prout 1834 , Hughes 1750

    Mr Ravenstone provides his son with written comments on his essay. He reflects that, while astronomical knowledge is based on observation ('We make a great mistake in supposing books to be the sources rather than the media of knowledge'), it also requires the 'exercise of other faculties of the mind'. Urges that the world is replete with subjects for observation: 'We know, comparatively, little of the wonders of creation, for much remains, and will still remain, to be explored'. (297) Discourses on some of the more minute aspects of the natural world. These include animal tissues, the molecular basis of matter, the cellular nature of fungi, and the minuteness of 'animalcules'. These instances are used to illustrate 'the special providence of God' (299). Discusses sensibility in animals, and 'the class of zoophytes, which partakes of the nature of animals and plants'. Refers in his descriptions of zoophytes not only to published sources, but to his own observations on trips to the coast, and to their planned 'visit to the British Museum, where we may see several specimens' (301). Urges that botany and 'fossils and minerals' are also interesting subjects for study (302). Observes of the last two that these sciences not only excite the 'wonder at the wisdom and power of God, and the adaptation of the treasures of the earth to the uses of man', but that they can also 'promote his health and comfort, and aid his views in his commercial transactions'. Reports that '[t]o the granite stone of Cornwall, London is indebted for the handsome Waterloo bridge'. Argues that '[a]ll nature becomes our instructer [sic], and the works of nature, rightly improved, lead us to God'. (303)

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