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Science and popular education in the 1830s: the role of the Bridgewater Treatises

  • Jonathan Topham (a1)

As is widely known, the Bridgewater Treatises on the Power, Wisdom and Goodness of God as Manifested in the Creation (1833–36) were commissioned in accordance with a munificent bequest of the eighth Earl of Bridgewater, the Rev. Francis Henry Egerton (1756–1829), and written by seven leading men of science, together with one prominent theological commentator. Less widely appreciated is the extent to which the Bridgewater Treatises rank among the scientific best-sellers of the early nineteenth century. Their varied blend of natural theology and popular science attracted extraordinary contemporary interest and ‘celebrity’, resulting in unprecedented sales and widespread reviewing. Much read by the landed, mercantile and professional classes, the success of the series ‘encouraged other competitors into the field’, most notably Charles Babbage's unsolicited Ninth Bridgewater Treatise (1837). As late as 1882 the political economist William Stanley Jevons was intending to write an unofficial Bridgewater Treatise, and even an author of the prominence of Lord Brougham could not escape having his Discourse of Natural Theology (1835) described by Edward Lytton Bulwer as ‘the tenth Bridgewater Treatise’.

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The SDUK papers and Whewell papers are quoted with the kind permission of the Librarian of University College London and the Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge. I wish to thank John Brooke, Geoffrey Cantor, Jack Morrell, Jim Secord and an anonymous referee for their comments, references and assistance in the writing of this paper.

1 See, for example, Brock, W. H., ‘The selection of the authors of the Bridgewater Treatises’, Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London (1967), 21, 162–79; Gundry, D. W., ‘The Bridgewater Treatises and their authors’, History (1946), 31, 140–52; Dahm, J. J., ‘Science and Religion in Eighteenth Century England: The Early Boyle Lectures and the Bridgewater Treatises’, Ph.D. Thesis, Case Western Reserve University, 1969 (Dissertation Abstracts No. 70–05086); and Gillispie, C. C., Genesis and Geology: A Study in the Relations of Scientific Thought, Natural Theology, and Social Opinion in Great Britain, 1790–1850, New York, 1959, 209–16.

2 Each of the Treatises passed through several large editions, the series totalling more than 60,000 copies in print by 1850. Details of the publication history and a full bibliography of more than 150 contemporary reviews are given in my forthcoming Lancaster University thesis: ‘“An Infinite Variety of Arguments”: The Bridgewater Treatises and British Natural Theology in the 1830s’.

3 ‘Analysis and notices of books’, London Medical Gazette (1838), 22, 809. One such competitor was Charles Mountford Burnett, whose The Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God, as Displayed in the Animal Creation, London, 1838, not only borrowed the Bridgewater title, but was largely ‘made up of quotations from the Bridgewater Treatises and other similar productions’. ‘Mr. Burnett's Power, &c. of God’, British and Foreign Medical Review (1839), 7, 227–8 (227). Bakewell, Frederick C. described his Natural Evidence of a future Life, 2nd edn, London, 1840, as ‘a contribution to natural theology designed as a sequel to the Bridgewater Treatises’. Bushnan, J. S. advertised his Introduction to the Study of Nature, Illustrative of the Attributes of the Almighty, as Displayed in the Creation, London, 1834, as being uniform with the Bridgewater Treatises. Literary notices’, Magazine of Natural History, (1834), 7, 96. See also [Anon.], Of the Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God, as Shewn in the Works of the Creation, London and Worcester, 1835, which was described as ‘Bridgewater Treatise for the young and thoughtful enquirer’. ‘Critical notices of new publications’, Analyst (1835), 2, 441.

4 Jevons, H. A., Letters and Journal of William Stanley Jevons, London, 1886, 451. I am endebted to Dr W. H. Brock for this reference.

5 [Bulwer, E. L.], ‘Lord Brougham’, Monthly Chronicle (1838), 1, 249–58 (257).

6 See Topham, , op. cit. (2), ch. 5.

7 The authors were selected by Davies Gilbert, President of the Royal Society; William Howley, Archbishop of London; and Charles James Blomfield, Bishop of London. See Brock, , op. cit. (1) and Topham, , op. cit. (2), ch. 3.

8 This interpretation is supported by J. D. Yule, who considers that ‘in general, as works of natural theology, the Bridgewater Treatises were unoriginal; they were probably superfluous – and certainly they were insignificant’. Yule also argues that some of the Treatises were ‘valuable popular accounts of the subjects of which they treated quite apart from their having had any theological interest’. Yule, J. D., ‘The impact of Science on British Religious Thought in the Second Quarter of the Nineteenth Century’, Ph.D. Thesis, University of Cambridge, 1976 (BLLD Accession No. D17081/76), 189n.

9 Gillispie, , op. cit. (1), 210.

10 Bell, C. to Bell, G. J., 3 09 1831, Bell, G. J., Letters of Sir Charles Bell, Selected from his Correspondence, London, 1870, 320. I give a more detailed account of the authors' intentions in Topham, , op. cit. (2), ch. 4.

11 Dahm, , op. cit. (1), 195.

12 Hinton, D. A., ‘Popular Science in England, 1830–1870’, Ph.D. Thesis, University of Bath, 1979 (BLLD Accession No. D31987/80), 193.

13 I have dealt with the working-class context in Topham, , op. cit. (2), ch. 7.

14 Knight, C., Passages of a Working Life During Half a Century, 3 vols., London, 18631865, ii, 123. Both Bell (1827–35) and Roget (1827–48) were long-standing members of the General Committee. Grobel, M. C., ‘The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge’, MA Thesis, University College London, 1933, Appendix II.

15 Brown, S. J., Thomas Chalmers and the Godly Commonwealth in Scotland, Oxford, 1982; Hilton, B., The Age of Atonement: The Influence of Evangelicalism on Social and Economic Thought, 1785–1865, Oxford, 1988.

16 Rowley, to Whewell, , 25 03 1833, Trinity College, Cambridge, Add. Ms. a. 6648. The society had no established library, but sold its books biannually. Joseph Rowley retired from the Grammar School in 1812, and it seems most likely that the society met at the Lancaster Castle prison, where he was chaplain until his death. It was said that ‘many young men anxious of self-improvement, have reason to remember with gratitude the assistance they derived from Mr. Rowley's free instruction and sympathy’. ‘Death of the Rev. Joseph Rowley, M.A.’, Lancaster Guardian (1864), 27, 9 01, 4b–c.

17 ‘Useful books’, Johnstone's Edinburgh Magazine (1833), 1, 95100 (95).

18 ‘Works on natural history’, Magazine of Natural History (1835), 8, 471.

19 Even a comfortably middle-class £10-householder, who would have been enfranchised after 1832, might easily have had as little as 48s per week. See the sample domestic budgets in Peel, C. S., ‘Homes and habits’, in Early Victorian England (ed. Young, G. M.), 2 vols., London, 1934, i, 79151 (especially 104–8, 126–34).

20 ‘The Bridgewater Treatises – the universe and its author’, Quarterly Review (18331834), 50, 134 (2–3).

21 Ibid., 2.

22 ‘Review’, Youth's Instructor and Guardian (1838), 22, 61–3 (63).

23 ‘The Bridgewater Treatises on Natural Theology’, Christian Reformer (1834), 1, 146–52 (147, emphasis mine).

24 E.g. ‘Dr. Buckland's geology and mineralogy considered with reference to natural theology’, Congregational Magazine (1837), 13, 42–7 (42); and ‘Kirby on instinct’, Medico-Chirurgical Review (1835), 23, 400–13; (1836), 24, 79–93, 358–65 (400).

25 [Brewster, D.], ‘Whewell's Astronomy and General Physics’, Edinburgh Review (18331834), 58, 422–57 (424).

26 Ibid., 422. Congregational Magazine, op. cit. (24), 43.

27 See Combe, G., The Constitution of Man in Relation to External Objects, 9th edn, Edinburgh, 1866, vviii; Gibbon, C., The Life of George Combe, London, 1878, 255–64; and Cooter, R., Phrenology in the British Isles: An Annotated, Historical, Bibliography and Index, London, 1989, 164.

28 Congregational Magazine, op. cit. (24), 42. William Pickering, the publisher of the Bridgewater Treatises, had built his reputation on the quality of his publications, rather than their cheapness, and he evidently had no intention of changing that. Topham, , op. cit. (2), ch. 5; McDonnell, J. M., ‘William Pickering, (1796–1854), Antiquarian Bookseller, Publisher, and Book Designer: A Study in the Early Nineteenth-century Book Trade’, Ph.D. Thesis, Polytechnic of North London, 1983, 98.

29 Medico-Chirurgical Review, op. cit. (24), 400.

30 Op. cit. (25), 427.

31 ‘Babbage's Ninth Bridgewater Treatise’, British Critic (1837), 22, 8894 (88).

32 ‘Infidelity in disguise – geology’, Church of England Quarterly Review (1837), 2, 450–91 (490n).

33 British and Foreign Medical Review, op. cit. (3), 227.

34 ‘Review’, Naturalist (18361837), 1, 274–8 (276).

35 Op. cit. (17), 95.

36 ‘Books on the table’, Spectator (1833), 6, 360.

37 G[reenwood], F. W. P., ‘Dr. Roget's Bridgewater Treatise’, Christian Examiner, and General Review (1836), 20, 137–53 (153).

38 [Taylor, W. C.], ‘Bridgewater Treatises’, Athenaeum (1833), No. 282, 184.

39 ‘Whewell's application of astronomy and physics to natural theology’, Spectator (1833), 6, 331–2.

40 See especially Desmond, A., The Politics of Evolution: Morphology, Medicine and Reform in Radical London, Chicago, 1989; and idem, ‘Artisan resistance and evolution in Britain, 1819–1848’, Osiris (1987), n, 3, 77110.

41 General overviews are given in Tylecote, M., The Mechanics' Institutes of Lancashire and Yorkshire Before 1851, Manchester, 1957; Harrison, J. F. C., Learning and Living, 1790–1960, London, 1961; Simon, B., Studies in the History of Education, London, 1960; Royle, E., ‘Mechanics' institutes and the working classes, 1840–1860’, Historical Journal (1971), 14, 305–21; and Inkster, I., ‘The social context of an educational movement: a revisionist approach to the English mechanics' institutes, 1820–1850’, Oxford Review of Education (1976), 2, 277307.

42 Brougham, H., Objects, Advantages, and Pleasures of Science, in Library of Useful Knowledge: Natural Philosophy, 4 vols., London, 18291838, i, 140 (34, 36, 39, 40).

43 Brougham, H., Discourse of Natural Theology, London, 1835, 2. Brougham took on the publication himself, with the assistance of Charles Bell. The complete edition occupied five volumes (of which the above is the first) and was entitled Paley's Natural Theology Illustrated, London, 18351839.

44 Ultimately this interpretation can be traced to Young, R. M.'s influential paper ‘Natural theology, Victorian periodicals, and the fragmentation of a common context’, in Darwin's Metaphor: Nature's Place in Victorian Culture, Cambridge, 1985, 126–63. Similar arguments are developed by Brooke, J. H., ‘The natural theology of the geologists: some theological strata’, in Images of the Earth: Essays in the History of the Environmental Sciences (ed. Jordanova, L. J. and Porter, R.), Chalfont St Giles, 1979; and by Morrell, J. B. and Thackray, A., Gentleman of Science: Early Years of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Oxford, 1981, especially 224–9.

45 Desmond, A. (1989), op. cit. (40), 406. Another part of the SDUK constituency was Evangelical in religion, and, as G. S. Kitteringham has noticed, the inclusion of natural theology in the early publications of the Society ‘was controversial in a period where evangelicals emphasized revelation and believed that the teaching of natural theology on its own was Deistic’. Kitteringham, G. S., ‘Studies in the Popularization of Science in England, 1800–30’, Ph.D. Thesis, Kent University, 1981 (BLLD Accession No. D40577/82), 60.

46 Barnes, B. and Shapin, S., ‘Science, nature and control: interpreting mechanics' institutes’, Social Studies of Science (1977), 7, 3174, especially 55–6. For criticisms of this argument see Russell, C. A., Science and Social Change, 1700–1900, London, 1983, especially 151–73; Garner, A. D. and Jenkins, E. W., ‘The English mechanics' institutes: the case of Leeds, 1824–42’, History of Education (1984), 13, 139–52; and Watson, M. I., ‘The origins of the mechanics' institutes of North Lancashire’, Journal of Educational Administration and History (1987), 19, 1225.

47 Chalmers, T., ‘On mechanic schools, and on political economy as a branch of popular education’, in On the Christian and Civic Economy of Large Towns, 3 vols., Glasgow, 18211826, iii, 378408 (378–9).

48 Ibid., 379.

49 Op. cit. (39), 332.

50 Quoted in Kitteringham, , op. cit. (45), 329.

51 ‘The collection of a library at little cost is generally a task of greater difficulty than that of procuring a suitable building.’ [Duppa, B. F.], A Manual for Mechanics' Institutes, London, 1839, 102.

52 Tylecote, M., op. cit. (41), 73.

53 In view of the central role which the libraries played in the life of mechanics' institutes, it is surprising to find so little written on their history. Some details are given in Tylecote, op. cit. (41), and in the various localized studies which exist. There is yet to appear a detailed comparative study of mechanics' institutes libraries which discusses the authors and titles of the books which were prevalent in them. D. A. Hinton makes some important comparisons between a number of mechanics' institute libraries at different periods, but this is restricted to a comparison of subjects rather than individual books. Hinton, , op. cit. (12), ch. 7.

54 In most mechanics' institutes new books were selected by a library committee. Members were normally able to make suggestions for purchases in a book kept in the library, but library committees were not bound by such suggestions. Even books donated to the institute might be rejected as unsuitable, although this was probably a rare occurrence.

55 Duppa, , op. cit. (51), 50, 51. See also George Dawson's evidence in the Report of the Select Committee on Public Libraries, 1849, Q.1214.

56 The book-list was compiled by Long, George (18001879) and Falconer, Thomas (18051882). Grobel, M. C., op. cit. (14), Bibliography. George Long also edited the Society's Quarterly Journal of Education (18311835), in which, rather surprisingly, the Bridgewater Treatises were not reviewed.

57 Duppay, , op. cit. (51), p. vi. There is some discussion concerning the importance of the SDUK recommendations in Hinton, , op. cit. (12), especially 223, 236–7, 263. Hinton is sceptical of the extent to which the Manual affected book selections, but there is little direct evidence either way.

58 The main Quaker, Baptist, Congregational and Unitarian chapel libraries in Leeds possessed none of the Bridgewater Treatises, and all reports suggest that that was also the case at the Church of England Central Library. Topham, , op. cit. (2), ch. 5.

59 Only a minority of the library catalogues provide such information, and even the minute-books do not usually reveal the sources of books. Evidence exists for only two of the institutes in Table 1. At Bradford Mechanics' Institution the Treatises were purchased by the library, while the Glasgow Mechanics' Institution received its copies as gifts. Thomas Chalmers presented the Glasgow Institute with a copy of his own Treatise, and the remaining Treatises were given by a certain Hugh Cogan.

60 [Duppa, B. F.], op. cit. (51), 53.

61 Derham, William's Physico-theology (1713) and Astro-theology (1715) appeared quite regularly. Ray, John's Wisdom of God in the Works of the Creation (1690), Clarke, Samuel's Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God (1705), and Wollaston, William's Religion of Nature Delineated (1724) were less often present.

62 Especially common were Hervey, James's Meditations and Contemplations (17461747), Sturm, Christopher Christian's Reflections on the Works of God (1772), and Duncan, Henry's Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons (18361837). Of nineteenth-century natural theology, Paley, 's (1802) was almost universal; Sumner, John Bird's Treatise on the Records of Creation (1816) was popular, as were Chalmers, ' Astronomical Discourses (1817) and Thomas Dick's several works. Although not as widespread as the Bridgewater Treatises, Brougham, and Bell, 's Paley's Natural Theology Illustrated (18351839) was very prevalent. The works of scriptural geologists, such as George Fairholme, William Higgins, and John Pye Smith, appeared in several institutes. Scott, William's Harmony of Phrenology with Scripture (1836) and Epps, John' Evidence of Christianity Deduced from Phrenology (1828) both occasionally appeared on the shelves.

63 Chalmers' Treatise was catalogued variously under ‘Metaphysics’, ‘Theology’, or ‘Moral Philosophy’. Only one of the libraries in this study catalogued the Treatises solely as ‘Theology’, although others catalogued some or all of the Treatises under ‘Theology’ in addition to their respective sciences.

64 The other series which appeared in the Nottingham abbreviation list included Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopaedia, the SDUK's Library of Entertaining Knowledge, John Murray's Family Library, and Sir William Jardine's Naturalist Library.

65 [Duppa, B. F.] op. cit. (51), 49.

66 Tylecote, , op. cit. (41), 60. See also Watson, , op. cit. (46), passim.

67 Tylecote, , op. cit. (41), 224–40 passim. See also Keighley, W., Keighley, Past and Present; or, an Historical, Topographical, and Statistical Sketch of the Town, Parish and Environs of Keighley, Keighley, 1879, 204–14.

68 Rules and Regulations of the Keighley Mechanics' Institution, Keighley, [1825?], 7.

69 Annual Report of the Keighley Mechanics' Institution, Keighley, 1834, 5.

70 While the Mechanics' and Apprentices' Libraries at Sheffield and Edinburgh were run democratically by working-men, they relied heavily on middle-class support, and at Sheffield books ‘containing principles subversive of the Christian religion’ were excluded. At the village library in Dukinfield four-fifths of the committee were working-men, but books of controversial divinity were none the less banned. Some radical workers criticized this kind of caution and sought greater independence. The most notable instance of a genuinely working-class mechanics' institute is the Manchester New Mechanics' Institute, founded in 1829 by disgruntled working-class members of the grossly paternalistic Manchester Mechanics' Institution. The institute folded in 1833, and there is unfortunately no extant library catalogue. See Kirby, R. G., ‘An early experiment in workers' self education: the Manchester New Mechanics' Institute, 1829–35’, in From Artisan to Graduate: Essays to Commemorate the Foundation in 1824 of the Manchester Mechanics' Institute (ed. Cardwell, D. S. L.), Manchester, 1974, 8798. For an account of radical working-class reactions to the science of the Broughamites, see Topham, , op. cit. (2), ch. 7.

71 Considering that the purchase of Roget's Treatise represented 7 per cent of the Dukinfield Village Library's annual book budget in 1835, it was obviously very desirable. One of the patrons boasted of the books in the library that ‘they are almost all modern, containing the latest information; they are all excellent authors, and have the advantage of being chosen with an express reference to the wishes and wants of the working man’. Duppa, , op. cit. (51), 63.

72 ‘Bridgewater Treatises – mechanism of the hand’, Mechanics' Magazine (1834), 21, 376–9 (377).

73 Ibid., 379.

74 Information about lectures appears in Coates, T., Report of the State of Literary, Scientific and Mechanical Institutions, London, 1841, 5861, 106–12; in Tylecote, , op. cit. (41); and in several localized studies. Attempts to generalize have been made by Hinton, , op. cit. (12), 138–66; and Kitteringham, , op. cit. (45), 313–46.

75 Duppa, , op. cit. (51), 237.

76 Rupke, N. A., The Great Chain of History: William Buckland and the English School of Geology (1814–1849), Oxford, 1983, 20. I am indebted to an anonymous referee for identifying Dr Lloyd.

77 Inkster, I., ‘Science and the mechanics' institutes, 1820–1850: the case of Sheffield’, Annals of Science (1975), 32, 451–74 (463). See the biography in Boase, F., Modern English Biography, 6 vols., Truro, 18921921; and the obituary in Geological Magazine (1891), III, 8, 432. Some of Mackintosh's lectures are described in Inkster, I., ‘Culture, institutions, and urbanity: the itinerant science lecturer in Sheffield, 1790–1850’, in Essays in the Economic and Social History of South Yorkshire (ed. Pollard, S. and Holmes, C.), Sheffield, 1976, 218–32 (225).

78 Mackintosh, D., Supplement to the Bridgewater Treatises, 2nd edn, London, 1843, 4.

79 Birlebeck, to Whewell, , 16 04 1833, Trinity College, Cambridge, Add. Ms. a.20131.

80 For the organization of the society see Grobel, , op. cit. (14); and Smith, H., The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, 1826–1846: A Social and Bibliographical Evaluation, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1974. For the LUK see Webb, R. K., The British Working-Class Reader, 1790–1848: Literary and Social Tension, London, 1955, 6872; Altick, R. D., The English Common Reader: A Social History of the Mass Reading Public, 1800–1900, Chicago, 1957, 269–76; Hays, J. N., ‘Science and Brougham's Society’, Annals of Science (1964), 20, 227–41; Hinton, , op. cit. (12), especially 218–19; and Kitteringham, , op. cit. (45), 5867.

81 The first number, Brougham, 's Objects, Advantages, and Pleasures of Science (1827), had sold 42,000 copies by December 1833. By 1835 each number was selling only about 4000 copies. See Smith, , op. cit. (80), 29; and Webb, , op. cit. (80), 70.

82 R. K. Webb's conclusion is that ‘sales [of the Society's publications] among the working classes were very small and proportionately of no importance at all’, but that ‘some of the little treatises on science were adequate and probably instructed a fair number of people especially interested’. Webb, , op. cit. (80), 72.

83 Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, A Prospectus, London, [1827?], 1. Quoted in Kitteringham, , op. cit. (45), 60.

84 Quoted in Kitteringham, , op. cit. (45), 60.

85 Knight, , op. cit. (14), ii, 152.

86 On Roget's treatises see Grobel, , op. cit. (14), 168–70, 681–3. The referees were much pleased with all Roget's treatises. See SDUK papers, University College, London. The two Electricity numbers each sold 25,000 copies by 1833; Galvanism sold 20,000 copies by the same date. The individual scientific numbers of the LUK were later republished as Natural Philosophy, 4 vols., London, 18291838; Roget's treatises appeared in volume 2, Bell's in volume 4.

87 See Grobel, , op. cit. (14), 174–6. The Society considered asking Bell to undertake the cheap publication of anatomical plates for use by medical students, but although he drew up a plan, and organized the engraving of several specimen plates, the Committee abandoned the scheme. See Grobel, , op. cit. (14), 235–6; Bell, to Coates, , 28 12 1832; ‘Anatomical Plates – Charles Bell's Report’, 11 1832, University College London, SDUK Papers 29; Bell, to Coates, , 1 02, 8 03, 18 05, 24 08, 10 12 1833, University College London, SDUK Papers 30 (References hereinafter given in the form UCL, SDUK 30). Bell also prepared a life of John Hunter for the Society, which was apparently never published. Bell, to Coates, , [12 1832], UCL, SDUK 29; Bell, to Coates, , 7 01, 10 07 1833, UCL, SDUK 30.

88 Bell, C., The Hand: Its Mechanism and Vital Endowments as Evincing, Design, London, 1833, p. xi.

89 Brougham, to Bell, , n.d. 1827, Bell, , op. cit. (10), 295.

90 Brougham, , op. cit. (43), 2. See also Bell, , op. cit. (88), p. x.

91 Knight, , op. cit. (14), ii, 123.

92 When the first part of Bell's treatise was published in August 1827, the LUK's sales were already falling. However, by December 1829 the first part of Bell's treatise had sold 25,025 copies, while the previous number in the Library (Mechanics, Part II: The Elements of Machinery) had sold only 22,350 copies. By 1833 the first part of Animal Mechanics had sold 30,000 and the second part 20,000 copies. See Grobel, , op. cit. (14), 681–3; Webb, , op. cit. (80), 70.

93 [Brougham, H.], ‘Natural theology – Society of Useful Knowledge’, Edinburgh Review (1827), 46, 515–26 (519, 524).

94 Ibid., 519.

95 Ibid., 521.

96 Roget, to Coates, , 10 01 1829, UCL, SDUK 25; Smith, Southwood to Coates, , 6 02 1829; Smith, Southwood to Matthew Davenport Hill, 12 02 1829, UCL, SDUK 26; Coates, to Roget, , 6 06 1829, UCL, SDUK 18, fols. 147–8. See Grobel, , op. cit. (14), 176–80; and Desmond, (1989), op. cit. (40), 118.

97 Roget, to Coates, , 8 06 1829, UCL, SDUK 26.

98 Bell, to Coates, , 2 09 1829, UCL, SDUK 26.

99 On the dangerous science of William Lawrence see L. Jacyna, S., ‘Immanence or transcendence: theories of life and organization in Britain, 1790–1835’, Isis (1983), 74, 311–29; and Desmond, , Politics, op. cit. (40).

100 Brook, C. W., Carlile and the Surgeons, Glasgow, 1943; Wiener, J. H., Radicalism and Freethought in Nineteenth Century Britain: The Life of Richard Carlile, London, 1983; Cooler, R., The Cultural Meaning of Popular Science: Phrenology and the Organization of Consent in Nineteenth Century Britain, Cambridge, 1984; and Desmond, , ‘Artisan’, op. cit. (40).

101 Coates, to Smith, Southwood, 11 09 1829, UCL, SDUK 18, fols. 175–6.

102 Smith, Southwood to Coates, , 29 09 1829, UCL, SDUK 26.

103 [Smith, T. S.], Animal Physiology, London, 1829, 1.

104 Adrian Desmond argues from this incident that ‘the entire Broughamite educational empire suffered from a radical-Whig ideological split, with the radicals arguing for a more materialist self-determining nature, and the Paleyites promoting a delegated divine power of arrangement’. Desmond, A., ‘Lamarkism and democracy: corporations, corruption and comparative anatomy in the 1830s’, in History, Humanity and Evolution: Essays for John C. Greene (ed. Moore, J. R.), Cambridge, 1989, 99130 (118).

105 [Bell, C.], Animal Mechanics, London, 18271829, 33.

106 ‘We have taken mechanics in their application to mechanical structure in the living body, because they give obvious proofs of design, and in a manner that admits of no cavil. Yet, although those proofs are very clear in themselves, they are not so well calculated to warm and exalt our sentiments, as these which we have now to offer, in taking a wider view of the animal economy.’ Ibid.

107 Ibid., 45.

108 Ibid.

109 [Carlile, R.], ‘Design: is there any, beyond the animal or moral world?Lion (1829), 3, 281–4.

110 ‘It was said in 1830 that a middle-class household with an income of £200–£300 p.a. could not afford a taxed daily paper at 7d. per issue, and it was evidently to such people that the penny magazines mainly appealed.’ Williams, R., The Long Revolution, London, 1961, 190.

111 There is an interesting discussion of ‘The Science Content of Improvement Journals’ in Hinton, , op. cit. (12), 266340. On the Penny Magazine see Washington, W. D., ‘The Penny Magazine: A Study of the Genesis and Utilitarian Application of the Popular Miscellany’, Ph.D. Thesis, Ohio State University, 1967 (UM Order No. 68–08893); Bennett, S., ‘Revolutions in thought: serial publication and the mass market for reading’, in The Victorian Periodical Press: Samplings and Soundings (ed. Shattock, J. and Wolff, M.), Leicester, 1982, 225–57; and Bennett, S., ‘The editorial character and readership of the Penny Magazine: an analysis’, Victorian Periodicals Review (1984), 17, 127141.

112 ‘Lord Brougham on Natural Theology’, Eclectic Review (1835), in, 14, 165–85 (185n); Knight, , op. cit. (14), ii, 192; Washington, W. D., op. cit. (111), 181ff.

113 There were also a couple of extracts from Brougham and Bell's Paley's Natural Theology Illustrated.

114 The Bridgewater Treatises were often used as a scientific resource in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal (18321956), and extracts were on several occasions incorporated into the original scientific articles written by Robert Chambers. See Secord, J. A., ‘Behind the veil: Robert Chambers and Vestiges’, in History, Humanity and Evolution: Essays for John C. Greene (ed. Moore, J. R.), Cambridge, 1990, 165–94. The Treatises also provided scientific articles for the Mirror of Literature (18221847) and Holt's Magazine: A Journal of Literature, Science and Education (18361837).

115 See for instance the articles ‘Digestion’ and ‘Nutrition’ (Prout's Treatise); ‘Megatheriidae’ and ‘Dinotherium’ (Buckland's Treatise); and ‘Man’ (Bell's Treatise).

116 Allen, W. O. B. and McClure, E., Two Hundred Years of the SPCK, 1698–1898, London, 1898; and Clarke, W. K. Lowther, A History of the SPCK, London, 1959. Concerning tracts see Knickerbocker, D. R., ‘The Popul; Religious Tract in England, 1790–1830’, D.Phil. Thesis, University of Oxford, 1981; Neuberg, V. E., Popular Literature: A History and Guide from the Beginning of Printing to the Year 1897, Harmondsworth, 1977, 249–64; Webb, , op. cit. (80), 73–4; and Altick, , op. cit. (80), 99108.

117 An excellent account of the Hackney Phalanx, and their views on natural theology and natural science, is given in Corsi, P., Science and Religion: Baden Powell and the Anglican Debate, 1800–1860, Cambridge, 198

118 Knickerbocker, , op. cit. (116), 288–94.

119 Ibid., 292.

120 Gascoigne, J., Cambridge in the Age of Enlightenment: Science, Religion and Politics from the Restoration to the french Revolution, Cambridge, 1989, 237–69.

121 Allen, and McClure, , op. cit. (116), 190.

122 Dalziel, M., Popular Fiction One Hundred Years Ago: An Unexplored Tract of Literary History, London, 1957, 10. On the foundation of the Saturday Magazine see Clarke, , op. cit. (116), 182–3; Webb, , op. cit. (80), 73–4, 77–8; and Washington, , op. cit. (111), 147–8, 165.

123 Classified Catalogue of Books in the Library of the Lancaster Church of England Instruction Society, Lancaster, 1857. The library contained two of the Treatises.

124 Quoted from Chalmers, T., Discourses on the Christian Revelation viewed in connexion with Modern Astronomy, Glasgow, 1817; reprinted, Edinburgh, 1859, 16.

125 Freeman, J., Life of the Rev. William Kirby, London, 1852, 34–7; and Churton, E., A Memoir of Joshua Watson, 2 vols., London, 1861, i, 28. The tract is not listed in the British Library; nor does it appear in the collection of tracts published by the Society for the Reformation of Principles, namely Jones, W. (ed.), The Scholar Armed Against the Errors of the Time; Or, a Collection of Tracts on the Principles and Evidences of Christianity, the Constitution of the Church, and the Authority of Civil Government, 2 vols., London, 1795.

126 Saturday Magazine (1836), 9, 226. See also ‘Local distribution of animals’, Ibid., 181; and ‘Instinct’, Ibid., 221.

127 ‘Garden snails’, Ibid., 179.

128 Ibid., 189.

129 On the range of evangelical attitudes to natural theology see Hilton, B., op. cit. (15), especially ch. 5.

130 Laqueur, T. W., Religion and Respectability: Sunday School and Working-Class Culture, 1780–1850, New Haven, 1976, 36–9, 116–17.

131 <, W. M.>, ‘On the union of natural with revealed theology in popular instruction’, Sunday School Teachers' Magazine (1833), 11, 4, 641–52 (642). The correspondent later altered his position slightly in response to criticism. <, W. M.> ‘The union of natural with revealed theology. Answer to orthodox’, Sunday School Teachers' Magazine (1834), 11, 5, 90–3.

132 Ibid., 645. Quotation from 1 Thessalonians, 5.21.

133 Ibid. Quotation from Romans 1.18–20.

134 Chalmers, T., On the Power Wisdom and Goodness of God as Manifested in the Adaptation of External Nature to the Moral and Intellectual Constitution of Man, 2 vols., London, 1833, ii, 286. Quotation from 2 Timothy 3.15.

135 <A Teacher>, ‘Natural theology, viewed as a preparative to religious education’, Sunday School Teachers' Magazine (1834), 11, 5, 1319.

136 <Orthodox, >, ‘The use of natural theology in religious education’, Sunday School Teachers' Magazine (1833), 11, 4, 705–13 (705). See also <Orthodox, >, ‘The union of natural with revealed theology’, Sunday School Teachers' Magazine (1834), 11, 5, 151–5; <, C. F.>, ‘The inapplicability of literary and scientific attainments to the exercises of the Sunday School’, Sunday School Teachers' Magazine (1834), 11, 5, 203–7; and [Anon.], ‘Revealed and natural theology’, Sunday School Teachers' Magazine (1834), 11, 5, 253.

137 <, C. F.>, op. cit. (136), 203.

138 <Orthodox, > (1833), op. cit. (136), 708. Quotation from Colossians 2.8.

139 <Orthodox, > (1833), op. cit. (136), 710.

140 <, W. M.> (1833), op. cit. (131), 649. This was also the reason given for including an article on the arguments of natural theology in the Youth's Magazine. <Penryn, R. C.>, ‘The Existence of God’, Youth's Magazine, and Evangelical Miscellany (1837), 111, 10, 8490.

141 <, W. M.> (1833), op. cit. (131), 649.

142 Ibid., 651. As Thomas Laqueur has shown, this view of scientific knowledge was widely reflected in the practice of working-class Sunday schools. There were, however, some exceptions, such as the popular evening lectures on chemistry and electricity offered at the Leeds Ebenezer Methodist New Connexion Sunday school in 1848. Laqueur, , op. cit. (130), ch. 4.

143 [Anon.], ‘Review – the sacred history of the world’, Sunday School Teachers' Magazine (1835), 11, 6, 5762, 107–13 (57).

144 <, W. M.> (1833), op. cit. (131), 651.

145 [Anon.], ‘Review’, Youth's Instructor and Guardian (1838), n, 2, 61–3 (63).

146 <Esto, >, ‘Review – on the power, wisdom, and goodness of God’, Sunday School Teachers' Magazine (1837), 11, 8, 3642, 118–22, 180–6.

147 Kirby, W., On the Power, Wisdom and Goodness of God as Manifested in the Creation of Animals and in their History, Habits and Instincts, 2 vols., London, 1835, 73. Quotation from Acts 17.26.

148 <Esto, >, op. cit. (146), 119.

149 <Esto, >, op. cit. (146), 119.

150 Ibid., 181. It was, ‘Esto’ thought, ‘worthy of the slave-holder that he should borrow his argument from the infidel’.

151 Ibid., 119.

152 Ibid., 185.

153 Billington, L., ‘The religious periodical and newspaper press, 1770–1870’, in The Press in English Society from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Century (ed. Harris, M. and Lee, A.), London, 1986, 113–32 (121). On children's magazines see also Egoff, S. A., Children's Periodicals of the Nineteenth Century: A Survey and Bibliography, London, 1951; Altholz, J. L., The Religious Periodical Press in Britain, 1760–1900, New York and London, 1989; and Laqueur, , op. cit. (130).

154 <, C. F.>, op. cit. (136), 205.

155 Ibid., 206–7.

156 Knickerbocker, , op. cit. (116), especially 288–94. From the 1830s onwards the RTS showed increasing interest in popular science. In 1846 the Society published Thomas Dick's The Solar System, which was presented by at least one Sunday school as a prize. A study of the scientific publications of the RTS is a major desideratum.

157 Quoted in Altholz, , op. cit. (153), 53.

158 ‘Preface’, The Christian's Penny Magazine (1832), 1, 1.

159 The Journal of Literature, and Herald of Temperance (1837), produced in Warrington by an evangelical ‘Association for the Promotion of Useful Knowledge in Connection with Temperance’, was more interested in scriptural natural history and the death-bed scenes of infidels, than in the scientific natural theology of the Bridgewater Treatises, although one extract was made from Buckland's Treatise. The pattern is less pronounced in Ward's Miscellany (1837), which was published ‘under the superintendence of a Society for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Religion’. A number of extracts were taken from the Bridgewater Treatises, but the scientific articles were still more usually connected with the Scriptures, as typified by a series on ‘The Cosmogony of Moses’.

Editor's note. This essay was one of the joint winners in the Society's Singer Prize Competition.

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