M J M—
Education, Natural History, Piety, Amusement, Collecting, Ethnography, Ornithology, Botany, Fieldwork
Introduces as a true tale the contrast between the families of Mr Hamilton, 'an intelligent man' who 'made a point of devoting a regular portion of time to the [...] instruction of his lovely family' and of Mr and Mrs Montague, who were 'desirous of being thought very fashionable and very dashing' (277). Describes a visit to each family. To the children of the Montagues, 'the beauties of the earth around them, the rich feast afforded by an examination of the works of God, the stores of interesting and useful knowledge which books afford, and the very bible itself' were nothing. In contrast to the 'useless trumpery, or senseless ornaments' of the Montagues, the Hamiltons had on display an ostrich egg, various artefacts of the North American Indians, Sandwich Islanders, and Greenlanders, a collection of shells belonging to the youngest girl, 'some stuffed birds from different parts of the world, each displaying the wonderful hand of God', caged canaries, and 'a hortus siccus, in which some very curious specimens of dried plants and flowers were well preserved' (280–81). After tea, the Hamiltons went for a walk into the country: 'Oft did the father pause, while his children gathered round, to examine the streaky petal, the jagged leaf, or the many-stamined blossom; while the scientific lesson and the pious reflection, sweetly blending, fell from his lips' (281). At evening prayers, the family 'joined to sing the praises of Him whose works of nature, and providence, and grace, they had been admiring' (282).
© 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 <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]