Speaking for Nature

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0041435/00001

Material Information

Title: Speaking for Nature Mary Somerville and the Science of Empire
Physical Description: 1 online resource (347 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Meyer, Michal
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010


Subjects / Keywords: author, britain, empire, history, nature, religion, science, somerville, women
History -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: History thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: SPEAKING FOR NATURE: MARY SOMERVILLE AND THE SCIENCE OF EMPIRE Mary Somerville (1780-1872) established her public reputation as a mathematician in Britain and the United States in the early 1830s with the publication of Mechanism of the Heavens (1831). From her position as a member of elite scientific circles, Somerville launched into writing about the sciences for an educated audience at a time when science was considered part of the broader culture. Taken together, her books, On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences (1834), Physical Geography (1848), and On Molecular and Microscopic Science (1869) covered a broad scientific terrain. Somerville kept her work up to date with the help of a network of scientific friends and acquaintances. This dissertation examines how Somerville s science incorporated and reflected cultural assumptions and issues of the day, from fears about social stability to the role of the empire, from the status of animals to political economy. This science as communication also carried aesthetic and religious values. In Mechanism of the Heavens, Somerville coated Pierre-Simon Laplace s celestial mechanics with natural theology, thus making Newton s legacy safe for a British audience worried by French radicalism. Physical Geography was a book made for empire that incorporated the knowledge of those who were expanding the empire s physical boundaries as well as its knowledge boundaries. Physical Geography also showcased how science, commerce, and nature were connected against the backdrop of empire. Underlying much of Somerville s work was her faith in progress, which was guaranteed by the same determinism that kept the planets on their course, which were in turn part of the law-like processes of nature guaranteed by God.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Michal Meyer.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local: Adviser: Gregory, Frederick G.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2010
System ID: UFE0041435:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0041435/00001

Material Information

Title: Speaking for Nature Mary Somerville and the Science of Empire
Physical Description: 1 online resource (347 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Meyer, Michal
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2010


Subjects / Keywords: author, britain, empire, history, nature, religion, science, somerville, women
History -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: History thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: SPEAKING FOR NATURE: MARY SOMERVILLE AND THE SCIENCE OF EMPIRE Mary Somerville (1780-1872) established her public reputation as a mathematician in Britain and the United States in the early 1830s with the publication of Mechanism of the Heavens (1831). From her position as a member of elite scientific circles, Somerville launched into writing about the sciences for an educated audience at a time when science was considered part of the broader culture. Taken together, her books, On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences (1834), Physical Geography (1848), and On Molecular and Microscopic Science (1869) covered a broad scientific terrain. Somerville kept her work up to date with the help of a network of scientific friends and acquaintances. This dissertation examines how Somerville s science incorporated and reflected cultural assumptions and issues of the day, from fears about social stability to the role of the empire, from the status of animals to political economy. This science as communication also carried aesthetic and religious values. In Mechanism of the Heavens, Somerville coated Pierre-Simon Laplace s celestial mechanics with natural theology, thus making Newton s legacy safe for a British audience worried by French radicalism. Physical Geography was a book made for empire that incorporated the knowledge of those who were expanding the empire s physical boundaries as well as its knowledge boundaries. Physical Geography also showcased how science, commerce, and nature were connected against the backdrop of empire. Underlying much of Somerville s work was her faith in progress, which was guaranteed by the same determinism that kept the planets on their course, which were in turn part of the law-like processes of nature guaranteed by God.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Michal Meyer.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2010.
Local: Adviser: Gregory, Frederick G.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2010
System ID: UFE0041435:00001

This item has the following downloads:

Full Text




2 2010 Michal Meyer


3 For my father, and in memory of my mother


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank Frederic k Greg ory, Charlotte Porter, an d Bernard Lightman who read all the chapters in their various states of disarra y and out of order, and despite this managed to make constructive comments. I would like to add ex tra thanks to Frederick Gregory, my advisor, for his toil on my footnotes. My thanks go out to you all for remaining on my committee after that experience. Id like to thank Colin Harris, superintendent of the Special Collections Reading Room at the New Bodleian, for his cheerful helpfulness. I am truly grateful to th e archivists at the John Murray Archive at the National Library of Scotla nd for giving me access to letters that had not yet been fully processed. The Royal Society prov ided access to the Herschel papers, while the archivist there gave gratefully received advice on how to handle old letters on this, my first, visit to an archive. I would also like to thank So merville Colleges Paul Franci s, who was kind enough to give me a personal tour of Somerville College and a llowed me to photograph the Colleges collection of Somervilles paintings. In additi on, Id like to thank Robert J. Malone for a job and for moral support and Jane Dominguez, UFs College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Senior Art and Publications Production Specialist, for her advice. I am also grateful to my family and friends who endured several years of my complaints and never once complained back. No more complaining, I promise.


5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................................................................................................... 4LIST OF FIGURES .........................................................................................................................7ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................... ...............8 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................. 11Somerville as Domestic Scientific Icon ..................................................................................22Plan of the Dissertation ...................................................................................................... .....302 GOD IN TRANSLATION: MARY SOMERVILLE AND THE MORAL GUARDIANSHIP OF SCIENCE ........................................................................................... 35History of Astronomy and Natu ral Theology in Britain .........................................................38The Social Role of Knowledge ............................................................................................... 42Knowledge: Means and Ends and the Mcanique Cleste .....................................................53Laplaces Astronomy and Somervilles Public Natural Theology ......................................... 56Preliminary Dissertation ...................................................................................................... ...70Stability in Change: God and Government ............................................................................. 74Response to Mechanism ......................................................................................................... 83Conclusion .................................................................................................................... ..........903 LANDSCAPES OF GEOGRAPHY: SCIENCE, POLITICS, AND ART ............................. 95Landscapes of Youth ........................................................................................................... .102Political Landscapes .............................................................................................................112The Power of Landscape ...................................................................................................... 117Progress and Unification: The Landscape of Geography and Empire ................................. 131Conclusion .................................................................................................................... ........1414 MOVING KNOWLEDGE: CIRCULATING SCIE NCE IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE ...... 150Romanticism and Empire ..................................................................................................... 153Conceptions of Empire ......................................................................................................... 156The Growth of Knowledge ...................................................................................................160Science and Knowledge ........................................................................................................ 162Leading up to Physical Geography ......................................................................................164Writing the Book: Connectio ns and Circulations ................................................................. 173From Personal to General Circulat ions in Empire and Science ...........................................181Circulation and Specialization in On Molecular and Microscopic Science .........................189Somerville, Babbage, and Whewell: Science, Technology, and the Great Exhibition ........ 196


6 Conclusion .................................................................................................................... ........2075 CONDUCTING SCIENCE: THE DIFFERENT ROLES OF PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY ..................................................................................................................... .212Worlds of Physical Geography Recreations, Man and Nature ...........................................216Conducting Science versus Conduct in Science ................................................................... 230Conducting Nature ............................................................................................................. ...247Human Conduct and Extinction ............................................................................................ 254Conclusion .................................................................................................................... ........2666 RELIGION, SCIENCE, AND PROGRESS: IN PRIVATE AND IN PUBLIC ................... 271Threats to Empire and Defe nse by the Protestant Race ........................................................ 273Private Choice of Religion and the Public Life of Science ..................................................281Backwards, Forwards, and Not-Yet: The Problem with Evolution ...................................... 292Animals in Somervilles Life ................................................................................................306Conclusion .................................................................................................................... ........3177 CONCLUSION .................................................................................................................... .325LIST OF REFERENCES .............................................................................................................332Primary Sources ............................................................................................................... .....332Secondary Sources ................................................................................................................338BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................................347


7 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2-1 Thomas Phillips, a well-known society painter, also painted Samuel Taylor Coleridge, L ord Byron, Sir Jospeh Ba nks, Humphry Davy, and Michael Faraday, amongst others. ..................................................................................................................943-1 Jedburgh Abbey From The Border An tiquities of England and Scotland; Comprising Specimens of Arch itecture and Sculpture, and Other Vestiges of Former Ages .................................................................................................................................1443-2 Undated oil painting by Mary Somerville. Wooded landscape with attending cattle in foreground. ................................................................................................................... ....1453-3 Undated oil painting by Mary Somerville. An extensive landscape of river valley and distant mountains. ............................................................................................................ 1463-4 Undated oil painting by Mary Somerville. River scene with chapel by five-arched bridge ..............................................................................................................................1473-5 Undated oil painting by Mary Some rville. Thatched hut by a river. ............................... 1483-6 Undated oil painting by Mary Somerville. Self portrait, seated in an armchair writing. ...................................................................................................................... .......1496-1 Plate of Actinomma Drymodes, from Haeckel. ............................................................... 3206-2 Plate of Aulacantha Scolymantha, from Haeckel. ........................................................... 3216-3 Plate of Dictyopodium Trilobum, from Haeckel. ............................................................ 3226-4 Plate of Haliomma Echinaster, from Haeckel. ................................................................. 3236-5 Plate of Physophora Hydrostatica, from Voght. .............................................................. 324


8 Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy SPEAKING FOR NATURE: MARY SOMERVI LLE AND THE SCIENCE OF EMPIRE By Michal Meyer May 2010 Chair: Frederick Gregory Major: History Mary Somerville (1780-1872) established her pu blic reputation as a mathematician in Britain and the United States in the early 1830s with the publication of Mechanism of the Heavens (1831). From her position as a member of elite scientific circles, Somerville launched into writing about the sciences for an educated audience at a time when science was considered part of the broader culture Taken together, her books, On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences (1834), Physical Geography (1848), and On Molecular and Microscopic Science (1869) covered a broad scientific terrain. Somerville kept her work up to date with the help of a network of scientific friends and acquaintances. This disserta tion examines how Somervilles science incorporated and reflected cultural assumptions and issues of the day, from fears about social stability to the role of the empire, from the status of animals to political economy. This science as communication also carrie d aesthetic and religious values. In Mechanism of the Heavens, Somerville coated Pierre-Simon Laplaces celestial mechanics with natural theology, thus making Newtons legacy safe for a British audience worried by French radicalism. Physical Geography was a book made for empire that incorporated the knowledge of t hose who were expanding the empi res physical boundaries as well as its knowledge boundaries. Physical Geography also showcased how science, commerce, and nature were connected against the backdrop of empire. Underlying much of Somervilles


9 work was her faith in progress, which was guaranteed by the same determinism that kept the planets on their course, which were in turn part of the law-like processes of nature guaranteed by God.


10 Citation of Mary Somervilles correspondence is from the Somerville Collection, Department of Special Collections & West ern Manuscripts, Bodleian Library, Oxford University, unless otherwise not ed. Elizabeth Chambers Patters on sorted and catalogued the Somerville Collection at the Bodleian Library, wh ich was originally deposited at Somerville College by Sir Brian Fairfax-Lucy. Patterson placed th e material into several sections: Scientific Writings is labeled MSSW; Autobiography is MA SU; Family Papers is MSFP; Inner Family Papers is MSIF; other letters to Somerville are ge nerally listed as MS followed by the first letter of the writers surname; Business Papers are listed as MSBUS or MSCB. A number following the section provides the number of the fold er in which the letters are found. A broader categorization of the collection is provided by the letter c followed by three numbers. Thus, letters from Mary Somerville to her son Woronz ow Greig are all listed as c. 361, followed by the various MSIF folder numbers; letters to Greig s wife, Agnes Graham Gr eig, are listed as c. 363, followed by the MSIF folder numbers.


11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Born to a fam ily whose finances did not matc h their family connections (a pattern that Somerville was to continue through out her life with her friends a nd acquaintances), Mary Fairfax grew up in Burntisland, a seaport close to Ed inburgh, with an indulgent, though conventional mother, a father often absent on naval dutie s, and one older and one younger brother. Her education was sporadic. Her father, home from na val duties, returned to find his eight-year old daughter unable to write, and a bad reader bu rdened with a strong Scotch accent. William Fairfax, sent to sea at age ten and thus missi ng much of a formal education, insisted that Somerville read a chapter of the Bible and part of the Spectator newspaper aloud each morning after breakfast. Humes History of England was also required reading.1 The house boasted two small globes, and Some rville learned how to use them from the village schoolmaster, but she was not allowed to study the Latin and navigation the schoolmaster expected his male students to learn. Until the age of fourteen or so, Somerville met with little or no encouragement in her desire for learning. A su mmer visit to relations in Jedburgh allowed her to meet her uncle, the liberal Church of Scotland minister Thomas Somerville, where for the first time she met with sympathy in her desire to lear n. Somerville never analyzed this desire, only commenting that she thought it unjust that women should have been given a desire for knowledge if it were wrong to acquire it.2 In 1804 Somerville married a cousin, Captain Samuel Greig of the Russian navy.3 The couple lived in London until Greigs death in 1807, at which time Somerville returned to 1 Mary Somerville, Personal Recollections, from Early Life to Old Age, of Mary Somerville (Boston, 1874), 20. 2 Ibid., 28. 3 Greigs father had been one of a group of British naval officers sent to Russia in 1763 to help reorganize the Russian navy.


12 Scotland with two young boys and the financial independence to pursue her mathematical studies. Somervilles marriage in 1812 to William Somerville, first cousin and son of the liberal minister, provided Somerville with a supportive e nvironment in which to continue her studies. William Somerville, a doctor by training and a cheerful if undistinguished participant in scientific circles by inclination, of ten acted as a scientific go between in those situations, such as the initial request for Somerville to translate Lapl ace, in which Somerville could not participate. In 1816, the family moved to London after Willia m Somerville was appointed inspector of the Army Medical Board.4 Until 1838 and the familys move to Italy for William Somervilles health and for financial reasons, the Somerv illes were a part of Londons scientific and intellectual life, which included, among others, Ch arles Babbage, of calculating engine fame, Lady Bryon and her daughter Ada (whom Somervil le tutored), author Maria Edgeworth, poet Joanna Baillie, geologist Charles Lyell, astr onomer John Herschel, and until their deaths, Henry Kater, William Hyde Woolaston, and Thomas Young. By 1827, the year Henry Brougham asked Somerville to translate Mcanique Cleste, Somervilles reputation and skills were firmly established within th e scientific communit y. The 1831 publication of Mechanism of the Heavens brought broader recognition and a position from which to establish her reputation as a writer on science. Mary Somervilles long life (1780-1872) spanned political, cultural and scientific changes. In the doing of science, her claim to fame rested on two papers published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London the first in 1826 and the second in 1845, and, especially, to her publ ication in 1831 of Mechanism of the Heavens, which cemented her position 4 The family at this time included Woronzow Greig, the eldest son of Somerville and her first husbandthe younger having diedplus two daughters, Margaret and Martha. A boy born to the Somervilles in 1814 died within a few months. Margaret died in 1823, while another daughter, Mary, was born in 1817.


13 in the public mind as a woman of science.5 Mechanism was a translation, reworking, and amplification of parts of Pierre-Simon Laplaces Mcanique Cleste the major work in astronomical physics of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. As a highly mathematical work, Mechanism was incomprehensible to those untrained in higher mathematics, but the reputation she established from it and it s long, descriptive introdu ction allowed her to step into a new role, that of scie ntific author. Her following three books, On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences (first published 1834; final edition, 1877), Physical Geography (first published 1848; final edition, 1877), and On Molecular and Mi croscopic Science (1869) covered a broad and rapidly changing spectrum of ninet eenth-century scie ntific knowledge. As an author, Somerville joined the growing number of men and women who wrote about science. With the exception of mathematics, almo st of all of this writingwhether written by practitioners of science or knowledgeable obser verswas accessible to a general, educated audience. Some well-known men of science who wrote about their work included Charles Lyell, John Herschel, Michael Faraday, and David Brewst er, while those who wrote about science but did not practice it included a number of wome n, most famously Jane Marcet, a friend of Somerville. Marcets Conversations on Chemistry (first edition, 1806) influenced a young bookbinder named Michael Faraday, whose own discoveries later found their way into Somervilles work. The nineteenth century, at least in the English-speaking world, saw a flowering of publications on science for all ages and levels of educati on. Sciences prestige was 5 The first paper connected to one of the pressing scientific issues of the day, the nature and effects of magnetism, and was titled, On the Magnetizing Power of the More Refrangible Rays. The second paper, On the Action of the Rays of the Spectrum on Vegetable Juices, returned to th e action of light. The first paper was read by Somervilles husband William, a member of the Royal Society, and the second by John Herschel, a good friend and scientific advisor of Somerville. Neither of the two papers published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London withstood the test of time. Mary Somerville, On th e Magnetizing Power of the More Refrangible Rays, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 116 (1826): 132-139; Mary Somerville, On the Action of the Rays of the Spectrum on Vegetable Juices, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 136, (1846): 111-120.


14 two-fold, due to its association with progress and its links to natural theolog y, which can be loosely defined as finding God through nature. With the death of the diffusion model, a one-way process from knowledge makers to passive knowledge receivers, the term popul ar science, becomes murky. Ralph OConnor argues that popular science is best used as an umbrella termdescriptive but without analytic power.6 Within that, science as communication, can be used to analyze the processes by which science made its way into broader cultural understanding.7 Victorian Britain has become a locus of study of popular science, al ong with the various people who pr oduced it, those who consumed it, and the various strategies used by producers to reach consumers.8 Somervilles books covered most of the known sciences of the day and taken together constitute a cosmography, the scie nce that deals with the order of nature. Her books appealed to a middle class and upper-middle class audience eager for scientific knowledge. Throughout much of this period some knowledge of scien ce was considered part and parcel of being educated. Fashionable men and women read the latest scientific bestsellers, which ranged from 6 Ralph OConnor, Reflections on Popular Science in Britain: Genres, Categories, and Historians, Isis 100, no. 2 (2009): 340. For how popularization has been understood by historians, see Bernard Lightman, Victorian Popularizers of Science: Designing Nature for New Audiences (Chicago, 2007), 14-17. For women as popularizers of science, see, for example, Barbara Gates, Retelling the Story of Science, Victorian Literature and Culture 21 (1993): 289-306; Ann B. Shteir, Elegant Recr eations: Configuring Science Writing for Women, Victorian Science in Context ed. Bernard Lightman (Chicago, 1997), 236-55. 7 OConnor, Reflections on Popular Science in Britain, 343. For an example of the various ways science functioned as communication, see James A. Secord, Victorian Sensation, The Extrao rdinary Publication, Reception, and Secret Authorship of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (Chicago, 2003). 8 For a broad-ranging study of Victorian popularizers and their strategies, which includes various literary approaches, different vehicles for sc iencefrom periodicals to demonstrationsand the popularizers themselves, see Lightman, Victorian Popularizers of Science Over the past several years, interest has extended into the twentieth century. For a broa d approach see Peter Bowler, Science for All: The Popularization of Science in Early Twentieth-century Britain (Chicago, 2009). For science in nineteenth-century periodicals see Science in the Nineteenth-century Periodical: Reading the Magazine of Nature (Cambridge, 2004) and Science Serialized: Representations of the Sciences in Nineteenth-century Periodical (Cambridge, 2004). For science popularization within religious contexts see Aileen Fyfe, Science and Salvation: Evangelical Popular Science Publishing in Victorian Britain (Chicago, 2004), Jonathan Topham, The W esleyan-Methodist Magazine and religious monthlies in early nineteenth-century Britain, in Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical (Cambridge, 2004), 67-90.


15 Robert Chambers anonymous Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844) to Charles Darwins The Origin of Species (1859), and they provided so me of the topics of polite conversation. Somervilles books tended to appe al to those who either had found a place for themselves in an industrializing and empire-build ing Britain or were in the process of finding such a place. For such people, progress was axio matic, a progress scientific, industrial, moral, and political. As a female writer on science, Somerville was highly unusual in having a strong scientific reputation of her own. During her lifetime, Somerville was showered with medals and memberships of scientific societies in Brita in, Italy, and the Unite d States, including a government pension (1835), honorary membership in the Royal Astronomic Society (1835), the Patrons Medal of the Royal Geographic Society (1869), membership in the Royal Academy at Dublin (1834), the Genevan Soci t de Physique et dHistoire Naturelle (1834), the American Philosophical Society (in 1869, the same year as Darwin).9 Some of Somervilles books were publishe d in the United States, Germany, and Italy.10 Her reputation in the United States was such that Charles Wilkes, the commander of the first US sea-based science expedition (1838-1842) could write to Somerville in 1838 describing the scientific outfitting of the expedition and the inclusion of two natura lists, a conchologist, geologist, botanist, and philologist He told Somerville not to ha ve excessively high expectations, but that our govt have [sic] spared no money in the wish to make it perfect but we are greatly 9 See Elizabeth C. Patterson, Mary Somerville and the Cultivation of Science, 1815-1840 (The Hague, 1983), 15556, 142, 194. For American Philosophical Society see Elizabeth C. Patterson, The Case of Mary Somerville: An Aspect of Nineteenth-Century Science, Proceedings, American Philosophical Society, 118, no. 3 (1974): 269. 10 Mechanism of the Heavens was not published in the United States, but its long introduction, the Preliminary Dissertation, was. On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences and Physical Geography were published in the United States. On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences and Physical Geography were translated and published in Italy. On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences was translated and published in France. Physical Geography was


16 deficient in the things that old England possesse s in abundance, we trust that our exertions will somewhat make us amends.11 The ex-United States Charg dAffaires in Italy, William B. Kinney, in 1854 also wrote Somerville, sending her a copy of the American edition of Physical Geography as a further token of appreciation by the American public.12 Somervilles broad appeal in both Britain and the United States lay not only in he r publications, but also in her figure as a self-educated woman who in many ways epitomized the power of education and who could also be lauded as a domestic icon. At the turn of the century, Somerville, like many scientific figures who were not memorialized for their discoveries, was fadi ng from memory. The ve ry occasional article appeared, such as one in 1948 by J. N. L. Ba ker on Somerville and geography, but not until the 1983 publication of Elizabeth Chambers Pattersons Mary Somerville and the Cultivation of Science, 1815-1840, did a scientific biography of Somerv ille appear. Pattersons work placed Somerville as a figure in London scientific circ les from the late 1810s until the Somervilles move to Italy in 1838, a time when much scientific discussion was carried out over dinner tables and during social visits. Patterson especially focused on Somervilles own scientific work and barely touched on Somervilles lif e and work after the move to Italy. Since then Kathryn A. Neeleys Science, Illumination, and the Female Mind (2001) has tackled Somerville and her writings from a more literary perspective, incl uding gender, and links Somervilles work and aspects of its reception with the literary sublime associated with the seventeenth-century poetry translated and published in Germany. See also footnote 5, chapter three. On Molecular and Microscopic Science was published only in Britain. 11 Charles Wilkes to Somerville, August 18, 1838, c.372, MSW-3. 12 Wm. B Kinney to Somerville, June 28, 1854, c.371, MSK-2. Kinn ey served as Charg d Affaires from 1850 to 1853. He does not identify himself as the ex-Charg dAffaires in the letter, but the letter writer is unlikely to have been another person.


17 of Milton. In The Public Worth of Mary So merville (2006), Claire Brock has examined Somervilles scientific status in the 1830s, showing how opposition to her pension was linked to perceptions of her not contribu ting to science or to knowledge of science. The nineteenth century, as Brock points out, had a hard time assessing Somervilles contributions to science. So has the twentieth century. James A. Secord provid es insight into Somervilles life and work in his introduction to the Collected Works of Mary Somerville He writes that Somervilles books suggest the need for a revalu ation of the basic categories discovery, diffusion, originality, expertisethat have been used to chart the intellectual history of the nineteenth century.13 Certainly, over the last several years, writers on Somerville have taken up that challenge. Given the already existing lit erature on Somerville and on the writing of science for various audiences, where does this dissertation fit? It is not a biography of Mary Somerville per se, neither is it focused on the actual science in Somervilles books Rather, it is a study of how Somervilles science, including things that we to day might not consider scientific, was located within broader cultural concerns. That is, what were the assumptions embedded in her work and how were they articulated in her writings. That surrounding social and cultural issues ma y influence the doing of science is nothing new. As early as 1931, Boris Hessen presented hi s The Social and Economic Roots of Newtons Principia .14 More recently, Alexei Kojevnikov, in his work on twentieth-century physicist David Bohm, shows how Bohms socialist lean ings and his understand ing of collectivism influenced his theory on partic le behavior in condensed matte r physics. Kojevnikov writes that Without the special philosophical, linguistic, an d metaphorical resources associated with the 13 James A. Secord, ed. Collected Works of Mary Somerville (Bristol, 2004), 1:xvii. 14 Hessen presented his paper at the Second International Congress of the History of Science, held in London in 1931.


18 concept of collectivism it would have been harder for physicists to conceptualize the states of particles beyond that of the ol der categories of understanding.15 This concept of cultural resources that may underlie and influence the re presentation of science and the way culture intersects with science in various ways is an im portant one in this dissertation, and each chapter, one way or another, takes up this theme. A re lated question is how the resources deployed by Somerville legitimized the science for her audi ence. Tracking reader response is notoriously difficult and time consuming and in many cases I rely on the far more limited approach of reviews of Somervilles work and letters to and from Somerville to try and get at audience response. In Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (1984) Raymond Williams begins the entry on culture with the statement that culture is one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language. Williams concludes that that the sense of the word indicates a complex argument about the relations between ge neral human development and a particular way of life, and between both and the works a nd the practices of art and intelligence. 16 In this dissertation, culture is used in the sense of the kind of br oad resourcesunderstandings of progress, empire, nature, religion, animals, domestication, art, and so onthat Somerville could draw on in her scientific writi ngs. (Of course, many of these understandings were themselves shifting during the eighteenth a nd nineteenth centuries.) To use a mechanical metaphor, if science ma y be likened to wate r rushing through pipes (which is itself occasionally used as an analogy for understanding the behavior of electricity), what are the pipes made of that carry the science? The ninet eenth-century publishing industry 15 Alexei Kojevnikov, David Bohm and Collective Movement, Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences 33, no. 1 (2002): 161-192. 16 Raymond Williams, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Societ y, 2nd ed. (New York, 1983), 87, 91.


19 was a profit-driven industryauthors had to write books that sold, which meant creating coherent and understandable frameworks for vari ous audiences. In this sense there is a clear separation between the doing of science and the br oader integration of scie ntific knowledge into specific societies and their cultural fabric as defined by Williams. In Somervilles case I argue that the science was carried by and made accepta ble to a British and American public through her use of a generalized natural theology in her writing, which in effect made science safe for all audiences. In addition, her understanding of sc ience as having as its ultimate objective the improvement, both moral and material, of all human ity put science firmly at the center of the nineteenth-century liberal obsession with progr ess. Somerville firmly linked progress to the British Empireher prestige in the United States highlights the parallels between the American and British versions of manifest destiny, which clearly appear in some of the American reviews of Physical Geography Further, Somervilles understanding of nature as existing within the sphere of human influence and as a spiritual resource (via the processes of nature) and an artistic and moral resource (via physical landscapes) create d within her work a nature in which both art and domestication could work to the benefit of humanity. Some explanation of terms important to this dissertation is required, specifically the Whig approach to science; landscape, the British Empi re; and conduct. A political element enters into how science was approached. This split between Whig and Tory, between progressive and conservative impulses, influenced how the natura l and the social worlds were woven together. Somervilles liberal opinions solidified in ear ly adulthood and she remained a staunch Whig throughout her life. Her understanding of the natu ral world, via science, aesthetics, and her religious impulses, fitted easily into a progress-oriented view of the world, but one that was still bound to Romantic influences. The split between the two impulses can most easily be found in


20 the response to the role of knowledge; early nineteenth-century approaches divided between a liberal understanding of increased knowledge acting as a force for stability and a conservative fear of knowledge as potentially destabilizing. Such impulses could spill over into the presentation of science, such as in Somervilles Mechanism of the Heavens Landscape acted as a way of understanding nature and peoples place in it. On a physical level were aspects of the land itselfsuch as British estate gardens and the Highlands of Scotlandon which meanings could be built, fr om the borderless understandings of physical geography as a science to the aesthetic and mora l power of landscape paintings. On the level of metaphor, landscape could act as guidepost to progress in science, in effect translating spatial understandings of a physical world into that of a landscape of knowledge. The British Empire played a crucial role in Somervilles worldview. A firm believer in the progressive mission of the empirecommerce a nd the spread of knowledge acted to benefit Great Britain and the subjects of the empire, the empire with its power and prestige also allowed the doing of science, in effect opening up much of the world to explorers of the natural world. In this way, the empire could act as both an implicit and explicit sponsor of science. With close connections via family and friends to the navy and army and the empire in India, Somerville was also wide awake to the military aspects of empi re, which she viewed as necessary to retaining Britains place in the world. Any threat to that prestige, whether from the growing power of Russia or the United States, or from events in India, brought an imme diate reaction. She also kept a close eye on politics, and was a keen critic of any parliamentary activity that might affect


21 Britain or it empire, whether radi cals in parliament or government actions in India. She told her son that she wished to see him in parliament, for there is no carreer [sic] like it.17 If science is communication, then who is communicating and their conduct is important. Conduct on the part of humans and on the part of nature played a role in Somervilles thinking about nature and those who explored and explained nature. Conduct is not simply communication for behavior plays a role and be havior can be judged. Somerville acted as a conductora guideto science and she also judged the conduct of those who appeared in her books. Allied to conduct was the concept of domestication, which was closely tied to improvement. Nature, that is certain physical la ndscapes and animals, could be domesticated, and in turn domestication could be linked to the conduct of the empire over the lands, people, and animals under its influence. Science was also carried by Somervilles own persona. Somerville the expert could not be separated from Somerville the woman; the publi c life of women required delicate navigation. Somerville was well aware of this and often took pa ins to highlight her non-scientific virtues. In the first draft of her autobiography she began wit h, My life has been domestic and quiet. I have no events to record that could interest the public . Her self-professed motive for writing was not to regale readers with her scientific glories but rather to show my country women that self education is possible under the most unfavourable and even discouraging circumstances.18 Science was not the focus, but rather the mo re private world of female self-education. Mary Somerville came to early womanhood during th e conservative backlash to the French Revolution. It was this conservati ve backlash and the Tory strangl ehold on the Edinburgh of her 17 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, May 6,1833, c. 361, MSIF1; Somerville to John Murray, September 16, 1857, John Murray Archive: Acc.12604, N RR Transit Folder, National Library of Scotland; Somerville to Woronzow Greig, May 28, 1845, c. 361, MSIF3.


22 youth that turned her into a lif e-long Whig. These impressions were formed in the 1790s and remained a strong force throughout her life. He r abhorrence of oppressi on and cruelty extended to peoples treatment of animals. Unfairness, or the perception of unfairness, re mained a powerful force in Somervilles life, from the education of women to vivisection, th e first of which she st rongly supported and the second as strongly rejected. It likely also influenced her views on slaveryshe remained staunchly anti-slavery throughout her life, both in her scientif ic works and in her personal correspondence. On a personal and moral level the cr uelty of slavery and its inequality horrified her. She could find no justification for it in science, as some did, as she was firmly in the camp of the monogeniststhose who believed that humans were all of one origin and species. Somerville as Domestic Scientific Icon Oscar W ilde, in extolling Somervilles scientific prowess in a review of Phyllis Brownes Mrs Somerville and Mary Carpenter (1887) for Womans World further acclaimed her domestic skills and rejected stupidity as the proper basis for the domestic virtues. Somerville, considered simply in the light of a wife and a mother was no less admirable than Somerville the mathematician. Those reading Phyllis Br ownes book on Somerville will find that the greatest woman-mathematician of any age was a clever needlewoman, a good housekeeper, and a most skilful cook.19 Such descriptions were more common than not. After Somervilles death in 1872, Henry Holland, an old friend of Somerville, wrote in the The Times in a way that conflated Somervilles public and private virtues. Her government pension for scientific contributions was, he wrote, 18 Mary Somerville, first draft of au tobiography, 1, c. 355, MSAU-2. 19 Oscar Wilde, Literary and Other NotesII, Woman's World 1 (1888), from unabridged republication by Source Book Press (New York, 1970), 82.


23 fully sanctioned by the feelings of the scientific community, as well as by those who knew her other various attainments and the virtues and gra ces of her private life. Holland also pointed out that Somerville was admirable in needlework also.20 Many people remarked on Somervilles private virtues, her humility and modesty and how her scientific skills did not diminish her feminine virtues. The placing of a bust of Somerville at the Royal Society paid proud tribute to the powers of the Female Mind, and at the same time establish[es] an imperishable record of the perf ect compatibility of the most exemplary discharge of the softer duties of domes tic life with the deepest researches in Mathematical Philosophy.21 Jane Marcet, when informing Somerville that the natural history society in Geneva had made her an honorary member, added that the honor Somervil le confer[ed] upon our sex is still greater, for with talents and acquirements of masculin e magnitude you unite the most sensitive and retiring modesty of the female sex.22 By the 1880s, and certainly by the time Wilde wrote his review, issues surrounding masculinity and the boundary cr ossing of women in the publi c sphere generated anxiety.23 Yet this firm placing of Somerville back in th e domestic sphere whenever her intellectual accomplishments were mentioned dates back to the 1830s. The earlier pe riod, however, as shown by Marcet and the conversation around Somerville s bust, shows a complementarity that became fraught by the 1880s. 20 Henry Holland, The Times 4 December 1872. 21 J. G Children to William Somerville on the Duke of Sussexs approval of the placing of a bust of Somerville in the meeting room of the Royal Society, February 19, 1832, c. 375 MSDIP-2. 22 Jane Marcet to Somerville, April 6, 1834, c.371, MSM-2. 23 See Stephanie Green, Oscar Wildes The Womans Word, Victorian Periodicals Review 30, no. 2 (1997): 102-120; Elaine Showalter, ed., Speaking of Gender (New York, 1989); Elaine Showalter, Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Sicle (New York, 1990).


24 When Somerville first made her public name, such female qualities were important in the presentation of Somerville the writer and explicat or of science. Somerville did not write in the maternal traditionwhich was going out of fash ion by the time she began writing for a broader audiencewhere the science was put in the format of conversational narra tives and letters and where the learning took place in the home. In this tradition the mother was presented as a rational educator who taught her children science as a part of her educ ational duties. The maternal teacher, writes Ann Shteir, was a figure of power and expertise for her children, also an exemplar of female knowledge and inte llectual authority for adult readers.24 Somerville made her name first as an expert mathematician, not as a woman attempting to illuminate the public or their children.25 She began her popular writi ng career as a recognized expert. Allen Thomson, the anatomist and embr yologist, regularly dipped into Somervilles Connexion of the Physical Sciences for knowledge and for a connection to Somerville herself. I take a little of Mrs Somerv illes second edition [of On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences ] very often, for a little of such a book, so concise and so replete with facts, goes a great way; how elegantly and simply it is written and how accurately it is expressed; how like it is to herself in every respect! how superior to so me of the Bridgewater treatises!26 24 Ann B. Shteir, Cultivating Women, Cultivating Science: Floras Daughters and Botany in England 1760-1860 (Baltimore, 1996), 102. See also Lightman, Victorian Popularizers on the maternal tradition, especially chapter three. Somervilles friend Jane Marcet wrote in this tradition, being best known for her Conversations on Chemistry (1806), which went through multiple editions. 25 By the 1830s Shteir writes that the familiar format, poetic passages, generalist narratives with stories and digressionsbecame identified with women. Shteir, Cultivating Women 103. Such writing was also not treated as scientific. 26 See Claire Brock, The public worth of Mary Somerville, The British Journal for the History of Science 39, no. 2 (2006): 255-272, for Somerv illes pleasure in the mathematical intricacies of Mechanism of the Heavens that made it unintelligible for anyone not already skilled in mathematics. Even Connexion of the Physical Sciences could prove to be hard work. Somervilles friend, Mary Berry, after reading the first edition of On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences wrote Somerville that she had improved in the virtue of humility. Mary Berry to Somerville, 18 September 1834, c.369, MSB-6. Letter from Allen Thomson to John Murray, 29th May, 1835, National Library of Scotland, Acc12604/2187 (interim number only).


25 This comparison to the Bridgewater treatises must have included William Whewells treatise on astronomy, the closest in topic to Somervilles book. So mervilles expertise was taken seriously by the scientific community, yet Thomsons reference to Somerville the woman hints at another aspect of Somervilles reputation, one that hinged on pe rceptions of her domesticity. Her compatriots were well aware of this tensi on between the public and private spheres for women. Charles Lyell believed that had Somerville been married to a mathematician rather than a doctor, the world would never have heard he r name. [W]e should never have heard of her work. She would have merged it in her husbands, and passed it off as his. This was not due to any inherent female inferiority but rather to the nature of social relations at the time. A man may desire fame, reputation, and even glory, for th e sake of sharing it with the one he loves. A woman cannot share it with her husband, it will be th e utmost she can do not to make him of less importance by it.27 Female fame carried danger; it could not be sh ared and thus laid its owner open to charges of self-aggrandizement. Certainly many women wrote under their husbands namethe first English translation of Kosmos did not carry the name of its translator, Elizabeth Sabine, but rather that of her husband, Edward Sabine, the well-known researcher of terrestrial magnetism. Somerville avoided this social peril by emphasizing her disinterested approach, that is, her love of the subject for its own sake and minimizing her financial stake in the success of her books. No hint of the familys dire financial state dur ing much of the 1830s ever reached the public. 27 Charles Lyell, Life, Letters and Journals of Sir Charles Lyell (London, 1881), 1:325. The quotation comes from a journal he wrote for Mary Horner, his fiance. Lyell approved of female education, writing to Somervilles eldest daughter, Martha, after reading Personal Recollections that: The work cannot fail to be of particular educational value at the present time when so much is doing to place women in the position due to them, as it is quite clear from different anecdotes given by your mother that the prejudi ces which prevented the cultivation of the female intellect arose in part from an honest conviction of the general low standard of mind belonging to the sex.The late John Stuart Mills work on this subject ha s done much good. Charles Lyell to Martha Somerville, December 6, 1873, c. 371, MSL-6.


26 Certainly Somerville believed in science as a good in itself, as a discipline for the mind, and enjoyed knowledge for its own sake. For Lyell, writing on Mechanism of the Heavens, this was the surprising and fine part of the work, that Somervilles deep knowledge was acquired for mere pleasure, just as others read a poem.28 A different kind of pleasure was taken by Some rvilles admirers late in her life. Many of those who wrote to her in her ol d age took pleasure in her inte llectual and physical health. The British Museums Nevil Maskelyne, who as a school boy had once received a copy of her book as a prize, marveled to find the eighty-six year old Somervilles handwr iting so clear and firm and bespeaking the use and I trust the happy enjoyment of a long golden evening to your most useful and nobly spent, and theref ore I doubt not wisely happy life.29 After Somervilles death, the Duke of Argyll remembered the pleasant pictur e of that beautiful old age from his visits to her. 30 After Somervilles death, Frances Power Cobbe wrote an article titled Blessed Old Age in the Echo with an emphasis on Somerville being bot h the very type and model of womanly excellence and a model for showing how beautifu l and blessed may be those years of old age. Science was barely mentioned; rather, the daugh ter, wife, mother, and friend, [who] was dutiful, devoted, tender and true, showed the goodne ss of Somerville the wo man. Somerville the mathematician and writer on science was mentio ned only to show how such a woman, while not receiving the same rewards as would have been bestowed on a man in such circumstances, would 28 Lyell, Life, Letters and Journals 1:371 29 Nevil Maskelyne to Somerville, July 25, 1866, c. 371, MSM-3. 30 Duke of Argyll to Martha Somerville, December 4, 1873, c.369, MSA-1. An 1849 edition of Physical Geography in my possession has two short pieces of printed news on Somerville pasted onto the pa ge opposite that of the dedication to Sir John Herschell. The first piece of news is dated 1870 and states that Somerville, the most pleasant and lucid of writers was in enjoyment of good health in mind and body. The second piece, from 1871, quoted a letter stating that Somerville was still full of vigour, an d working away at her mathematical researches.


27 still rejoice in having done good, even if it be inadequately rewarded. The life of Somerville the exemplar of womanhood was celebrated rath er than any non-domestic accomplishments. The reward of such a life was an old age of wisd om, cheerfulness, unselfishness, and faith where different aspects of lifeintellect heart, conscience, and a devout spiritwere held in balance. In essence, Cobbe treated Somerv ille as a role model who by her very existence, gave courage to thousands of her sex, strengthened the hands of all who have str uggled for the cause of religious freedom, of mercy to the brutes, of th e better education and re moval of the political disabilities of women.31 Even during her life, her very person became loaded with moral, scientific, and domestic meanings, in some ways parallel to the way nature itself became loaded with meaning. Though Somerville kept up with the latest science, late in life she was considered a figurehead rather than an active participant. Those who were most active in science at the time, such as John Tyndall and T. H. Huxley, were not ye t in their teens when Somervil le made her name. Yet other obituaries did focus more on Somervilles scie nce, often mentioning her scientific work. The Times obituary, which focused almost completely on her scientific work, was deemed insufficient by Somervilles old friend, Henry Holland, who responded with his piece in The Times The pension, which The Times wrote, was bestowed in r ecognition of her services to science [which was] the nations tribute to her worth, was in Hollands pen fully sanctioned by the feelings of the scientific co mmunity, as well as by those who knew her other various attainments and the virtues and graces of her private life. For Holland, it was important to mention that Somerville was the gentlest an d kindest of human beings; qualities well attested 31 Frances Power Cobbe, Blessed Old Age, Echo, December 3, 1872. No pa ge number is listed.


28 even by her features and conversatio n, but expressed still more in all the habits of her domestic and social life.32 The differences may be due to different understa ndings of practitioners of science. By the 1870s science was on the way to professionalization and to developing its own code of behavior and ethics. Science and the objectivity of the sciences were what mattered. The Times obituary writer treated Somerville as a scientist; dwelling on domestic details was at best irrelevant. Holland was of an older generation for whom scie nce was not a profession, social connections mattered, and a womans scientific accomplishments had to be unde rgirded by feminine virtues. Somerville was intensely worried about her public reception. After reading a biography of Francis Jeffrey, one of the founders of the Edinburgh Review she wrote to her son of her dislike of the use of private sources in public works. T he more I read of the lives of eminent men, the more I am convinced that their character suffers fr om the publication of their letters, and that it is indelicate and injudicious to br ing before a gossiping and indiffe rent public the sacredness of home and their private affairs. Somerville added that she would be intensely grieved if she were dragged before an inquisitive public.33 Such considerations of reputation con cerned John Murray as he was preparing Somervilles posthumous Personal Recollections. I never was more nervous as to the probable reception of a work by the public than I am in rega rd to this. My deep regard & respect for the 32 The Times obituary mentioned Mrs. Somerville had ta ken her place among the original investigators of nature. In the year 1826 she presen ted to the Royal Society a paper on The magnetizing power of the more refrangible solar rays and detailed her various publications and their reception and described her as a toiler in the scientific field. This obituary did get certain facts wrong, su ch as her date of birth and her first husbands scientific influence, which was nil. The Times December 2, 1872. Sir Henry Holland, The Times December 4, 1872. Holland also added that Somerville was noted for her needlework. 33 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, D ecember 1, 1852, c. 361, MSIF-3.


29 author makes me dread the chance of any criticism from the press .34 Cobbe, who co-edited Somervilles Personal Recollections with Martha Somerville, took the opposite position to Somerville and told Martha Somerville that with out insight into home or private affairs and feelings, readers would believe that Somerville was a cold hearted person, and encouraged Martha to include letters. Cobbe also advised her to remove a ny anti-Darwinian references as those would hurt her reputation.35 The presentation of Somerville, by herself and by others, helped her create in her published works a connection between the feminine, science, and progress. And when it came to Somervilles conceptualization of progress, mora lity, animals, gender, domestication, and empire all played a role. In Physical Geography a book in part dedicated to the idea of empire and progress, Somerville avoided the more overt approach of Thomas Stamford Raffles, who founded the trading post of Singapore and the Zo ological Society of London and its associated zoological gardens, an institution devoted to im perial acquisition and to domination. The capture and display of exotic wild animals from all pa rts of the globe was a vi vid reminder of the raw power of empire, what Harriet Ri tvo calls a rhetoric of dominion.36 Somerville, instead, focused on domestication, on the soft side of empire. This more feminine approach to em pire produced a focus on protection and domestication and on feminine virtues. At the same time, from this softer position, Somerville could publicly glorify the mascu line exploits of empire thro ugh exploration narratives and 34 John Murray to Martha Somerville, February 20, 1873, c.373, MSBUS-3 35 Frances Power Cobbe to Martha Somerville, April 17, 1 873, c. 358, MSFP-19; advi ce from Cobbe on removing anti-Darwinian evolution refere nces from Sally Mitchell, Frances Power Cobbe: Victorian Feminist, Journalist, Reformer (Charlottesville, Va., 2004), 217. 36 Harriet Ritvo, The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age (Cambridge, 1987), 210, 215. The zoological gardens opened in 1828.


30 privately encourage her son to hunt and to write remarkably war-lik e letters, such as one written of the London exposition in 1862. Of all the wonde rful things in the exposition I should best like to have seen the Armstrong guns & the machin ery for I am anxious that my country should be armed to the teeth in these warlike time when it may be brought into war in a moment by the American hatred of us. Somerville was especial ly worried by what she viewed as Russian and American threats to British hegemony and the lo ss of British prestige in Europe. In my younger days we were first she insisted to her son, and added that in her old ag e she did not enjoy Britains falling off.37 Somervilles own conducther public and private virtueswas important in her public reception. Admirers rarely failed to point out vi rtues and behaviors that were not considered scientific. In this sense Somerville the expert was not separated from Somerville the woman. Her very person became loaded with moral, scientific, and domestic meanings. Somervilles domestication of science gave her a position from which she could switch between glorifying masculine exploits and a more feminine appr oach, one where caresuch as her section on philanthropy in the final chapter of Physical Geographyplayed a role. Plan of the Dissertation Chapter two examines how and why such a mathematical work as Mechanism of the Heavens made an impression on both the scientific community and the broader public. Newtons stature in British culture still cast a long shadow and Laplaces work was seen as completing that of Newtonsfinally putting the heavens and the pl anets in their proper places. In suspicious British eyes, however, French intellectual pr oductions might contain unwelcome radical and atheistic associations. Against the background of the problem of knowledge, which was fed by 37 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, July 22, 1862, c. 361, MSIF-5; August 22, 1859, c. 361, MSIF4.


31 fears of lower-class disorder created via the consumpti on of inappropriate knowledge, Somerville created a work that reached back to British traditions in natural theology and combined them with the latest deterministic under standings of the heavens, courtesy of Laplace. In turn, such an approach made stability and progress as inev itable in the physical world of the heavens and the earth as in the human world of politics. Somervilles understanding of progress drew on the Scottish Enlightenment and its developmental ideas of progress and of political economy, which in turn connect ed knowledge and commerce. Chapters three to five focus mostly on Physical Geography with some reference to Molecular and Microscopic Science Somerville cheered on the march of progress as exemplified in the British Empire. At a time when science was still considered a part of the general culture and some knowledge of the subject was expected of cultivated persons, her writing was laid on a base of Scottish Enlight enment with its accompanying conceptions of commerce and civilization, scienc e and circulation, and progress and cultivation. A global view of the world was produced, connected via the grow ing British Empire and set within the moral context of Protestantism. Physical geography wa s a perfect science for empire, covering, as it did, both the organic and inorga nic aspects of the globe and embracing science and commerce while seemingly ignoring human boundaries. Somerville was also influenced by Romanticism, and the tension between that and a utilitarian science is explored in the role of technology. Writing at a time when religion had not yet been expelled from scie ntific works, Somerville used the processes of nature as a way of approaching God. Chapter three uses conceptions of landscap eboth painted, in print, and naturalto explore Somervilles understanding of the social and natural worlds, which appear most clearly in Physical Geography Somerville trained as a landscape pa inter with Alexander Nasmyth, one


32 of the foremost Scottish landscape painters of th e late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Landscape, based as it was on judgments that we re moral, scientific and aesthetic, provided Somerville with a framework for understanding the world, including her conceptions of civilization and empire. Ideas of progress remained central, and were tied to empire via the very subject of physical geography. Physical Geography, covering as it did the science of the globe, also highlighted the ways in which aspects of sc ience, commerce, and nature were connected in the context of the British Empire. While much has been written on the connections amongst scientists and the practices of science to empiremost recently Imperial Nature: Joseph Hooker and the Practices of Victorian Science by Jim Endersby (2008)little has been written on the creation of scientific works for general audiences and how such potentially disparate objects were united within the context of empire for a reading public. Natu re is always mediated in the sense that someone must speak for it. As a young woman Somerville knew and loved the poems of Ossian and human constructed landscapes both dramaticas in the Highlandsand domesticas in country house gardens. Such poetic and physical articulati ons of nature taught Somerville how to speak for the nature that appeared in her books, which produced a science bound to moral and aesthetic values. Chapter four focuses on the con cept of circulation, both in Physical Geography and Molecular and Microscopic Science, and the moral and religious freight carried along with the science. Two levels of circulation appear in Somervilles work, beginning with a circulation of knowledge and commerce that was guaranteed by the British Empire and understood through the lens of political economy. This connection be tween knowledge and commerce led to a tension between science as the carrier of progress, ma terial and non-material, and what today we call technology. Today, conceptions of non-materi al progress tend to be excluded from


33 understanding of science with the modern spl it into pure and applied sciencethe former notable for what it excludes and the latter for its focus on control and usefulnessbut for much of the nineteenth century, and pa rtly as result of writers on science such as Somerville, science was seen as a vector of non-ma terial progress. The second leve l of circulation was knowledge circulation through science, or what was by th e end of the nineteenth century considered boundary crossing. This boundary crossingjoining s eemingly disparate parts of sciencehad been cheered in Physical Geography but by the time Molecular and Microscopic Science appeared in 1869 Somervilles unif ying tendencies (in this case the organic and inorganic worlds of the very small) were frowned upon. By comb ining the organic and inorganic, Somerville rejected a materialism that was becoming increas ingly mainstream in science. The failure of Somervilles final book showed that not only scie nce itself was rapidly changing, so were the values carried along with it. Chapter five returns to a focus on Physical Geography with a view to understanding conduct, both on the part of science, the writer s of science, and society. Conduct then becomes useful in discussing nature, empire, religion, progress and human relations with nature. Two other works on physical geography, broadly construed, are included for purposes of comparison: Rosina Zornlins Recreations in Physical Geogr aphy, or the Earth as it is (first edition, 1840) and George Perkins Marshs Man and Nature; or, Physical Geography as Modified By Human Action (1864). Zornlin and Marshs work show the use of other strategies in writing about similar subjects where concepts of progress are central. Zornlin, whose primary approach was religious, offered herself as a conductor to scie nce, whereas Somerville highlighted the conduct of those doing science and linked domestication of nature to cu ltivation and development. Her understandings of cultivation and nature then led her to see some extinctons as natural, while


34 others, due to bad conduct on the part of humans, were selfish and unnatural. Each of the three viewed the human-nature rela tionship differently. For Zornlin God guaranteed a beneficial relationship between humans and a nature specifically designed for human use. Somerville, who personally knew only the long-domes ticated landscapes of Britain and parts of the continent, gave nature a certain au tonomy, but could see no true conf lict between humans and nature. Marsh, a Vermonter, saw the effects of domesti cation on wild lands and the damage caused and could imagine only a state of perpetual conf lict between humans a nd nature, one managed by civilization and technology. Chapter six takes a step back from the books themselves to examine religion in Somervilles life and work. Religion in this case is considered both as personal belief and as an institution. Having abandoned traditional Presbyte rian beliefs, Somerville could see no longlasting conflict between scienc e and religion, for God guaranteed the universal laws of nature. This universality applied also to aesthetics a nd morals, which caused Somerville to reject Darwinian evolution, though not evolution in general. Religious belief also wove its way into her understandings of the imperishabili ty of both matter and soul.


35 CHAPTER 2 GOD IN TRANSLATION: MARY SOMERVILLE AND THE MORAL GUARDIANSHIP OF SCIENCE On February 14, 1834, Charles Greville, regi strar of the Privy Council, m et Mary Somerville at an evening party. Greville had sp ent the morning reading an Anglican religious sermon on education by a friend of SomervilleAd am Sedgwick, the Cambridge geologist. In the sermon, Sedgwick wrote of the well-known sc ientific figures of the day, William Whewell and George Biddell Airy. Also mentioned was Somerville, who Sedgwick, according to Greville, described as one of the great luminaries of th e present day. Greville knew of Somerville as a mathematician and a translator of the Marquis de Laplaces Mcanique Cleste a highly mathematical work of celestial mechanics view ed as completing Isaac Newtons great project of unifying the earth and the heavens. For Greville, the subject of astronomy is so sublime that one shrinks into a sense of nothingness in contemplating it, and cant help regarding those who have mastered the mighty process and advanced the limits of the science as bein gs of another order. As such, Somerville fascinated Greville, who could not take [his] eyes off this woman. Yet Greville left the party with mixe d feelings, and confided to his diary his surprise and something like incredulity, all involuntary and very foolish, for he found the great mathematician a mincing, smirking person, fan in hand, gliding ab out the room, talking not hings and nonsense. Especially shocking was the juxtaposition of a womans everyday pleasure in social chatter combined with the knowledge that this particular woman had Laplace as her plaything and Newton her acquaintance, which gave too striking a contrast not to torment the brain. It was Newtons mantle, trimmed and flounced by Muradan.1 1 Charles C. F. Greville, The Greville Memoirs, A Journal of the Reigns of King George IV and King William IV ed. Henry Reeves (New York, 1875), 2:219.


36 This disconnect between Grevil les expectations of a woman deeply immersed in higher mathematics and heavenly objects and the torment Somervilles actual behavior caused him provides a way of examining assumptions about the cultural place of science, specifically astronomy, during this time. In 1831 the publication of Somervilles Mechanism of the Heavens gave her a place in the British cultural landscape.2 Somerville never intended he r book to be an original mathematical work in its own right, but ra ther a prcis and translation of Laplaces Mcanique Cleste. This chapter examines the cultural contex t of Somervilles translation of Laplace, beginning with the problem of knowle dge in the early nineteenth centu ry and the part it played in the lead up to Mechanism of the Heavens How knowledge was used and who should have it proved contentious following the French Revolution and even the post-Napoleonic years. Revolutionary fears combined with economic depressions and civil unrest created uncertainty and concern among the middling and upper classes. For liberals, edu cation of the lower ordersthe right kind of educationprovided a solution. Science had a special role to play, but a particular kind of science, which led to God, gave useful knowledge and improved the mind. Somerv ille, with her liberal sympathies and deep scientific knowledge, played a role with her translation of Laplaces Mcanique Celeste considered the final jewel in the crown of the Newtonian project of putting the heavens and earth into good mathematical and physical order. But So mervilles translation was not simply a purely scientific projectmathematics alone could not explain such fascination with Somerville as Greville displayed. 2 Mechanism of the Heavens, Somervilles first book, was not Somervilles first appearance in print. Her published answers to mathematical prize questions had appeared in the New Series of the Mathematical Repository in 1811, 1812, and 1816. In addition, a paper, On the Magnetizing Power of the More Refrangible Solar Rays, appeared in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London in 1826, see note five, chapter one.


37 How did translating an abstruse mathematical work make Somervilles public name? Translation, from the historians pe rspective, is a process that be gins with motive and ends with public response to the transla tion. Three question arise: 1) W hy was this text important to translate? 2) What cultural niche did the transl ation end up occupying in its host society? 3) And how did the translation affect the position of the translator?3 The social role of knowledge in the early ni neteenth century, particularly in Scotland, forms a backdrop to Somervilles intellectual development within the Edinburgh liberal milieu. Edinburgh-educated Henry Broughams focus on edu cation for the lower orders, via the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, led to hi s request of Somerville to translate Laplace for the Societys cheap and anonymous ly authored book series. The astronomy that Somerville presented to th e British public showed the inevitability of both stability and progress. Laplac e, seen by wary Englishmen as an atheist, strained the strong connections between astronomy and British natural theology. Somervilles challenge was to show how Laplaces widely heralded achievement fit within a framework of science acceptable to the British. In addition Somerv illes book played a role in debate s about the decline of science in England and in highlighting th e need for mathematical reform. Somervilles translation included a long, wide-ranging, and completely original introductionwhich she called the Preliminary Dissertation. The Preliminary Dissertation reassured the British reader that God still prov ided the certainty of a predictable though not changeless universe and that the mathematics of the notorious atheist Laplaceas translated by Somervilleprovided a scientif ic underpinning to that stability. In turn, God ensured the 3 Much of the interest in translations by historians of sc ience has focused on the faithfulness of the translation. See Marwa S. Elshakry, Knowledge in Motion: The Cultural Politics of Modern Science Translations in Arabic, Isis 99 (2008): 701730, where Elshakry encourages study of the local embeddedness of knowledge production. See especially 703.


38 everlasting dependability of the universe through the choice of a particular configuration of force, matter, and law over two other options one an anarchy of badly behaved planets colliding and the other a sterile despotism of planets retracing their exact course through time. Astronomy, in this cultural conf iguration, could even provide a role model for good government, which to be good must be stable, ye t at the same time allow change. While conservative Tories feared change and radicals embraced it, Somerville belonged to that group sympathetic to liberal reform that grounded change in stability and used science to buttress the inevitability of steady progress. History of Astronomy and Na tural Theology in Britain Ever since Newton, astronomy bore heavy cult ural baggage in Britain. Newton, of whom the poet Alexander Pope wrote, Nature and Natu res laws lay hid in night;/ God said, Let Newton be! and all was light, and his univers al gravitation became a foundation stone for British natural theology. Following on the English Civil War and the swirl of linked political, religious, and scientific ideas ranging from democracy to pantheism and absolutism to materialism, moderate reformers such as Robe rt Boyle and early members of what became the Royal Society sought to connect religious and political appro aches with Newtons celestial mechanics and Boyles corpuscular philosophy. Scien ce, as embodied in a pa rticular relationship between nature and God, modeled earthly rela tions among people, society, and government. Both Boyle and Newton rejected Cartesian mechanism and the lack of a role for God in the natural world, along with Descartess support fo r French absolutist ki ngship. A remote God implied a remote yet powerful king. On the other hand, radical support for natural magic and a


39 nature saturated with the spirit of God implied a far more even social structure and no necessity for strong political or religious leadership.4 Newtonianism, as constructed by Newton and the early Royal Society, followed a middle path, acceptable to an increasingl y commercial society and its reli gious and political authorities. God played a role by giving motion to matte r and through his creation and design of the universe; science, through bette r trade and manufacture, would increase the wealth of the land. Newtons science easily fitted into the pulpit and ministers often linked the harmony of the heavens and the order found therenow understood via Newtons lawswith social stability and hierarchy. During the early nineteenth century, those seek ing to change society and those promoting moderate reform again linked social unrest and new celestial knowledge. Whereas the titanic figure of Newton had anchored the theological as pects of astronomy, and thus its social aspects as well, Laplace, the perfecter of Newt ons physics, could not play that role. Many British feared the atheism and materialis m they assumed lurked in French science, influential not on only in the higher mathematic s and astronomy, but also in the morphology and transmutationism of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Etienne Geoffroy St. Hilaire, which by the early 1830s had become influential amongst those in the medical community excluded from the oligarchic and patronage-driven Royal College of Surgeons and Royal College of Physicians.5 4 The history of seventeenth and early eighteenth cent ury connections between Newt ons science, religion, and society included here is based on Margaret C. Jacobs work For an in depth examination of the scientific and social consequences of the English Civil War and Restoration and the role of Newtonianism see Jacobs The Cultural Meaning of the Scientific Revolution (Philadelphia, 1988) and The Newtonians and the English Revolution, 16891720 (Ithaca, N.Y., 1976). 5 For more on the French influence on English medical men see Adrian Desmond, Lamarckism and Democracy: Corporation, Corruption and Compar ative Anatomy in the 1830s, in History, Humanity, and Evolution, Essays for John C. Greene ed. James R. Moore (Cambridge, 1989), 99-130. Desmond locates the origin of scientific naturalismwhere only material causes mattered and all natural theology was excludedin the 1830s amongst those excluded medical men, mainly in London, rather than as a result of Darwins publication of Origin of Species


40 Naturalistic explanations of development a nd structure in and across species threatened assumptions of divine creation of life. Social upheaval sharpened pre-existing fears raised by the bloody c onsequences of the French Revolution. Such disturbances included the failed passage of the first two reform bills in 1831the failure of the latter bill led to ri otingand the tumultuous passage of the 1832 Reform Act, which gave increase d political representation to the industrial cities and increased the individual male franchise. Thus the role of religion in providing a fram ework of meaning for astronomy and the part Somerville played as cultural translator of Lapla ces work intersected with some of the urgent issues of the day. Linking astronomy with moral and intellectual elevatio n and with religion was common during this period, even among non-practitioners of science. Lord Mahon, historian, author, and Tory member of parliament, and a man with no especial predilection for science, told a Manchester audience of his views in 1848. In no one pursuit does man elevate himsel f more above his frail being here below, and manifest more clearly the immortal spar k within him, than in those studies of astronomy which enable him to calcu late, with unerring precision, the exact second of time when one of those celestial bodies appears to eclipse the other in the sky, or to tell the precise instant of time when one of those gr eat fixed stars should seem to shoot across the disc of his tele scope. Are not these achievements of the human mind worthy of praise, of celebration, of attainme nt? Sure I am, too, that no one study, if properly pursued, is better adapted to raise up our minds in humble adoration to that Almighty Being, who has made us what we are, and has permitted us, though at an infinite distance, to pursue the study and knowledge of his works.6 Knowledge of the laws of heaven, and ther efore the figure of Laplace, were important questions in the cultural life of Britain for non-scientists and scientists. Three prior partial in 1859. See also Desmond, The Politics of Evolution, Morphology, Medicine, and Reform in Radical London (Chicago, 1989). 6 Philip Henry Stanhope, Lord Viscount Mahon, Address Delivered to the Members of the Manchester Athenaeum on the 11th November 1848, The Importance of Literature to Men of Business (London, 1852), 200.


41 translations of Mcanique Cleste existed and another was in the works. The translations include A Treatise upon Analytical Mechan ics, being the First Book of the Mecanique Celeste of P. S. Laplace, by the Reverend John Toplis and published in 1814. Toplis was the schoolmaster at Nottingham Grammar School and a graduate of Cambridge University. He recognized the advances made by continental mathematics, as opposed to that of an English mathematics still overshadowed by Newton and his fluxions, and hoped that the time is not far distant when the analytical sciences will again flourish in the c ountry of their illustriou s founder. His work was intended to introduce those unacquainted with continental analysis to the subject.7 Somervilles friend Thomas Young published Elementary Illustrations of the Celestial Mechanics of La Place in 1821, a translation of the first book of the first volume of Laplaces work. The perceived backwardness of English science as compared to French science concerned scientific reformers, who hailed Somervilles work for its gloriously complicated mathematics. Somervilles book could be used to prove that Bri tish science had both declin ed (since its author had not passed through any British institutions of science, therefore such institutions were incapable of producing brilliant mathematicians) a nd not declined (since its author was British), depending on political preference. This will be followed up in a later section. 7 John Toplis, A Treatise upon Analytical Mechanics, being the First Book of the Mecanique Celeste of P. S. Laplace (Nottingham: 1814), v-vi. No publisher is listed and the book lacks a dedication; Toplis may have paid the costs of publication himself or set up a subscription. Other translations are Elementary Illustrations of the Celestial Mechanics of La Place published in 1821 by Somervilles friend Thomas Young; A Treatise on Celestial Mechanics, by P. S. La Place by Reverend Henry H. Harte, the first book of which was published in 1822 and the second in 1827. This information is taken from Alexander Young, The Varieties Of Human Greatness. Discourse On The Life And Character Of The Hon. Nathaniel Bowditch, Ll.D., F.R.S., Delivered In The Church On Church Green, March 25, 1838 (Boston, 1838), 49. Bowditch s translation of Laplace was wr itten during the 1810s, but the first volume was only published in 1829, as only then co uld the self-educated Bowditch afford to pay for the printing (although the Ameri can Academy had offered to pay for the printing, Bowditch refused). Bowditch also combined an interest in elite mathematics with a more practical, educational bent. His American Practical Navigator was first published in 1812 and was widely used by sailors.


42 The Social Role of Knowledge In the e arly part of the nineteenth century, the British government taxed certain kinds of knowledge. A tax on paper limited the opportunities for cheap books; an additional tax on publications with political content further raised barriers to readership and provided a way to police content. With taxation, as well as pros ecution of seditious or blasphemous publications, the government aimed to restrict a wide availa bility of printed knowledge to the middling and upper classes. Such people were considered suffi ciently sophisticated a nd discerning to handle potentially dangerous texts. The lower orders, on th e other hand, were believed to lack the ability to discriminate between safe and dangerous knowledge and would be easily swayed by religiously or politically charged works. Those in control of the langua ge assumed literacy to have a profound impact on the mental and moral ch aracter of the individual and by extension of his society.8 That is, words could improve a reader or lead them astray. An illegal, unstamped radical press existe d, promoting the kind of knowledge that threatened conservative interest s. Producers of this cheap, mainly urban, working class literature, with titles such as Republican, or Voice of the People and Poor Mans Guardian, championed radical agendas such as universal male suffrage and attacked the privileges of the established church.9 In 1831 a mock a dvertisement in the Republican, or Voice of the People supported the Reform Bill as well as major liberal figures, incl uding future prime ministers Earl Grey and John Russell. The paper characterized Russells Purge as recommended by radical physicians as a 8 David Vincent, Literacy and Popular Culture: England 1750-1914 (Cambridge, 1993), 6. 9 The unstamped press maintained their popularity while taxes remained high. In 1836 stamp duty dropped from four pence to one penny, allowing the stamped press to increase its circulation. See Aled Jones, The Press and the Printed Word, in A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Britain ed. Chris Williams, (Oxford, 2004), for more on the radical press.


43 cure for monarchy, aristocracy, [and one that] strengthens the Cause of the People.10 Thus, while opposed to conservative structures, radica ls might support Whig reform until disappointed by the limited nature of that reform. Such newspa pers then played a role in the radical politics that developed into the Chartist movement during the 1830s.11 This was the kind of education of the lower orders that frightened Tories. When it came to approved knowledge, by the 1790s evangelical Protes tant organizations were one of the few sources of cheap books and c hurch schools one of the few ways for working class children to learn to read.12 Excluding chapbooks (small booklets with content that ranged from almanacs to nursery rhymes) and ballads, re ligious tracts were the only publications easily affordable by the working classes. In Engla nd, cross-denominational re ligious squabbling over control of schooling limited the educational options fo r the children of lower classes to Sunday schools, charity schools, and dames schools. Scotlands more comprehensive system of education dated to 1696, by which time every pari sh was required by law to provide schooling paid for by taxes on owners and tenants.13 Secular knowledge remained expensive, and, following on the Napoleonic wars and political unrest, potentially dangerous. In 1815, J ohn Playfair, professor of natural philosophy at Edinburgh University, acknowledged the chilling effect of th e French Revolution and the consequent fear of knowledge amongst some. 10 Quotation from John Strachan, Advertising and Satirical Culture in the Romantic Period (Cambridge, 2007), 88. Originally published in the Republican, or Voice of the People, April 2, 1831. 11 Jones, The Press and the Printed Word, 370. 12 Fyfe Science and Salvation 10. 13 Attendance at the Scottish schools was not compulsory, nor was it free, but proportionally more children received the basics of an education in Scotland than did in England. See Robert Stewart, Henry Brougham, 1778-1868, His Public Career (London, 1985), 121. Sunday schools and charity schools did little more than teach students to read the Bible. In dames schools, female instructors charged parents small amount s of money to teach the rudiments of reading and writing.


44 When danger is all around, every thing is of course suspected; and when the ordinary connection between causes and effects cannot be traced, men have no means of distinguishing between the probable and the improbable; so that their opinions are dictated by their prejudices, their impressions, and their fears The progress of knowledge was supposed by many to be the cause of the disorder; panegyrics on ignorance a nd prejudice were openly pronounced; the serious and the gay joined in declaiming against reason and philosophy.14 Playfair here specifically named his fello w professor John Robisona rabid opponent of Unitarian chemist Joseph Priestleys religious, scientific, and political viewswho regarded circulating libraries as Nurseri es of Sedition and Impiety. He called for the banning of public meetings, and a sterner response to irreligion.15 From 1797 to 1800, Robison was senior scientific contributor to the Supplement to the Third Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica in which he attacked atheistic French science and Laplace. In describing the stability of the solar system, eternally oscillating around a mean as de scribed by Laplace, Robis on wrote, it strikes the mind of a Newton, and indeed any heart posse ssed of sensibility to moral or intellectual excellence, as a mark of wisdom prompted by be nevolence. But De La Plac e and others, infected with the Theophobia Gallica engendered by our licentious desires, are eager to point it out as a mark of fatalism.16 Robison deplored the fact that Laplace was Newtons great successor, given the atheism of the former and the beliefs of th e latter. Newton, Robis on wrote, one of the most pious of mankind was set at th e head of the atheistical sect.17 14 The Works of John Playfair, Esq. (Edinburgh, 1822), 4:158-9. The quotation originally appeared in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 7 (1815). 15 J. B. Morrell, Professors Robison and Playfair, and the 'Theophobia Gallica': Natural Philosophy, Religion and Politics in Edinburgh, 1789-1815, Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 26 (1971): 47-8. Quotation originally from Robisons Proofs Of A Conspiracy Against All The Religions And Governments Of Europe, Carried On In The Secret Meetings Of Free Masons, Illuminati, And Reading Societies, Collected From Good Authorities 4th ed. (New York, 1798), 204. 16 Morell, Professors Robison and Playfair, 49-50. Quotation originally from Supplement to the Third Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2nd ed. (Edinburgh, 1803), 53. 17 Ibid ., 51. Quotation originally from Robison, Elements of Mechanical Philosophy being the substance of a course of lectures on that science (Edinburgh, 1804), 694.


45 Robison was not alone in his views. As late as 1817, following a failed harvest, soaring prices, riots, the suspension of habeas corpus and restrictions on public meetings, a magistrate banned a meeting of a mineralogical society on the grounds that mineralogy might lead to atheism.18 In July 1819 an issue of the Tory The Quarterly Review attacked the materialist science of William Lawrence, then an up-andcoming London surgeon and teacher at the Royal College of Surgeons, for his modern French philosophy and its mischievous opinions, along with his fondness for drawing comparisons between brute animals and man.19 The Royal College suspended Lawrence and forced him to withdraw his Lectures on the Physiology, Zoology, and History of Man (1819), in which Lawrence put forth his arguments.20 In the 1810s and early 1820s, only some liber als championed the expansion of knowledge as a bulwark against radicalism rather than as it s inciter. Such people saw ignorance as a greater threat than knowledge. For example, in a brief overview of human history full of death, destruction, and rapine, the Secession Church of Scotland writer and educator Thomas Dick wrote that, Such, however, are the natu ral consequences of the reign of Ignorance over the human mind.21 The solution for every lover of scien ce and of mankind was to endeavor to 18 Stewart, Henry Brougham (London, 1985), 115. 19 George DOyley, The Quarterly Review 22 (1819): 4, 20. Marilyn Butler, in her introduction to the 1818 edition of Mary Shelleys Frankenstein places Shelleys science within the context of a public dispute in 1817 between the materialist Lawrence and the vitalist John Abernethy. Lawr ence acted as Percy Shelley s physician for a time. See especially, xvi-xx, xxxi in Mary Shelley, Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus ed. Marilyn Butler (Oxford, 1998). For more on Lawrence and Abernethy, see Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder : How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science (New York, 2008), 307-13. 20 In addition, the Lord Chancellor, Lord Eldon declared the book blasphemous in 1822, when Lawrence tried to enforce copyright. Books declared blasph emous automatically claimed no copyri ght and as a result Lawrences book was pirated without legal repercussions. See Desmond, Lamarckism and Democracy, 120. By the 1830s Lawrence was resurrecting his career and in 1846 became pr esident of the Royal College of Surgeons. 21 Dick wrote that in the 1810s and early 1820s the subject would have presented a more novel aspect than it did in 1833, when the diffusion of knowledge has become an object of general attention. Thomas Dick, On the Improvement of Society by the Diffusion of Knowledge: or, An Illustration of the Advantages which would Result from a More General Dissemination of Rational and Scientific Information Among All ranks (New York, 1833), 3. Although Dicks book was published in England in 1833, he writes in the introduction that the plan and outline of


46 remove those obstructions which have impeded th e progress of useful know ledge, and to direct the intellectual energies of his fellow-men to the prosecution of objects worthy of the high station they hold in the scale of existence.22 Educators such as Dick placed such support for education within a narrative of progress, progress that had broade ned to include all strata of society and could be deployed in either a posi tive or a preventative se nseknowledge could lead to benefits and it could also prevent the conseque nces of ignorance. That is, knowledge (the right kind) acted as an ordering force, rather like ea rly nineteenth-century co nceptions of gravity, and enforced a non-dogmatic, broad church stability.23 Rooted in the Scottish Enlightenment, Scots such as Dick and Henry Brougham championed this approach. Another Scot took an even more active approach. George Birbeck, the Glasgow-based professor of natural history, began offering public lectures on the mechanical arts to working men in around 1800 and, after hi s move to London, helped establish the London Mechanics Institute in 1823.24 As early as 1776, Scottish political economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith crystalli zed the issues of knowledge in an industrializing society when he described the efficiencies in th e division of labor as being acqui red at the expence[sic] of intellectual, social, and martial virtues. But in every improved and civilized society this is the the work was composed in about 1815. As such, the quotes are used as much to illuminate progressive understandings of education in the earlier part of the century as in the 1830s. For a biographical summary of Dick, see Fyfe, Science and Salvation, 280. 22 Dick, On the Improvement of Society, 24. Unsurprisingly, Dick placed on his title page Sir Franci s Bacons words, Knowledge is Power. 23 See also the article by a Member of the Church of England, in Thoughts on Popular Education, Edinburgh Review 43 (1825): 242-8. Titled it begins with what the auth or sees as a surge against popular education and then proceeds to knock down arguments against popular education. 24 The Glasgow Mechanics Institution, which grew our of Bi rbecks mechanics class, established itself in 1823. The 1820s saw the birth of dozens of m echanics institutes around Britain.


47 state into which the labouring poor must necessarily fall un less the government take some pains to prevent it.25 For proponents of general e ducation, mental illumina tion and good government were tightly linked. While despotic gove rnments discouraged the work of the intellect in order to safeguard their power, enlightened governments required an educated populace, which is the most solid basis of a good government, and the greatest security for its permanence.26 This approach did not so much praise the positive benefits of education; rather, it warned of the negative results that would ensue without it. Where education was wanting, the three horsemen of despotism, instability, and i gnorance would continue to rule th e world. In Britain, despotism and ignorance were often combin ed with Catholicism to form a triumvirate opposed to enlightenment, good government, and Protestantism.27 What did the progress of knowledge mean in practice? The working classes had little leisure for reading and might well prefer knowledge directly useful to their own lives and work. What use might celestial mechanics have in the life of a mechanic, even if he had the leisure hours necessary to learn mathematics? In addition, such works would be far out of the financial reach of working class families. To take the second point first, reformers su ch as Brougham set up organizations to support the cheap production of secular knowledge in the 1820s. The university -educated Brougham was a founder of the liberal Edinburgh Review (est. 1802), became a Whig parliamentarian in 1810, helped establish the non-confessional University of London in 1828, and was Lord Chancellor 25 Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations ed. R. H. Campbell, A. S. Skinner, and W. B. Todd, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1975), originally published in 1776. Cited in Anand C. Chitnis The Scottish Enlightenment and Early Victorian English Society (London, 1986), 6. 26 Dick, On the Improvement of Society, 25. 27 See chapter six for more on Catholicism as a category in Somervilles work.


48 from 1830 to 1834. In 1826 Brougham was one of the founders of and the driving force behind the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, which produced a cheap series called The Library of Useful Knowledge aimed at the working classes. Broughams education experiences at the Univer sity of Edinburgh exposed him to the best of the Scottish Enlightenment and to advanced mathematics. His teachers included common sense philosopher Dugald Stewart, chemist Joseph Black, and natural philosopher and mathematician John Playfair. In 1808, the latter wr ote a lengthy review on the first four volumes of Laplaces Mcanique Cleste in the Edinburgh Review, which played a significant role in introducing this work to the British public.28 In addition, his education exposed Brougham to Robisons conservative views. Robison told Brougham that he desired his students to not only learn the Laws of Nature, but that they should also perceive that these Laws were beautiful Marks of Wisdom, prompted by Beneficence. Such a view was, at all times, proper, and, in the present day cannot be too much kept in sight, when our Neighbours on the Continent are doing everything in their power, by their Colleges of Natural History, to banish th e thought of an Artist, the Author and Preserver of this fair World.29 Broughams strong interests in science led him to submit a paper, Experiments and Observations on the Inflection, Reflection, and Co lours of Light, to the Royal Society in 1796, which was published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. The Royal Society published two more papers of Brougham during the period 1796-1798, and he became a fellow of the Society in 1803. Broughams time at Edinburgh exposed him to th e fear of suspect knowledge exemplified by men such as Robison, but he also took to h eart Playfairs response to the mistakes of the 28 The Edinburgh Review article was reprinted in The Works Of John Playfair, Esq., vol. 4 and Playfair quotations from his review come from the latter publication. 29 Morrell, Professors Robison and Playfair, 51. Cited in letter from John Robison to Henry Brougham, April 3, 1804, Edinburgh University Library, La. II. 583/11.


49 French Revolution, that when reason and philosophy have erred, it is by themselves alone that their errors can be corrected.30 The solution was not to retreat in to a citadel of knowledge with a select few and close the gates ag ainst all comers, but rather to use the tools of knowledge to spread knowledge. As one of the four founders of and contributors to the Edinburgh, he wrote anonymously on the benefits of education and was a contributor on scientific subjects.31 Without the cushion of family wealth, Brougha m turned to the law as a profession. In 1805 he moved to London, where prospects for a Whig ba rrister proved brighter than in smaller Tory ruled Edinburgh. He quickly involved himself in politics and in 1810 became a member of parliament after the Duke of Bedfor d offered him the borough of Camelford.32 Brougham made himself the hero of the unrepresented commercia l towns of the north of England and championed moderate reform and education. In both he faced opposition from radicals and conservative Tories; the former (including Benthamites such as Jeremy Bentham himself and James Mill) believed he did not go far enough while the latter considered reform the thin edge of a radical, materialist, and atheistic wedge.33 In 1825 Brougham publicly brought forth the id ea of cheap improving publications and preempted criticisms of the march of mind. I nstruction in the principles upon which the arts depend, will repay in actual prof it to those who live by the arts far more than the cost of learning. An artisan, a dyer, an engine-maker, will gain the more in money or moneys worth for 30 Playfair, The Works of John Playfair, 4:159. 31 For Broughams role in the establishment of the Edinburgh Review see Stewarts Henry Brougham, chapter 1. Reviewers were often anonymous at this time. 32 At the time, there were three ways to become a member of parliament: in an open election in a popular constituency, by buying a seat, or by the patronage of a borough monger such as Bedford. Stewart, Henry Brougham, 59. Brougham lost his seat in 1812 after Bedford sold the seat elsewhere. Brougham did not return to parliament until 1816, after Lord Darlington, who owned seven seats in the Commons, offered one to Brougham. Ibid. 79-80, 97. 33 Ibid., 115 for the rupture with the Benthamites and radicals.


50 being an expert chemist or mechanician; and a farm-servant, or baili ff, for knowing the economy and diseases of cattle.34 The potential audience for publications of th e SDUK came into existence as a result of Enlightenment conceptions of development and ra tionality, the French Re volution, the Industrial Revolution and the development of industrial ci ties such as Manchester and population growth. Their interaction produced a new class, the work ing classes, a broad category that included unskilled factory workers and skilled artisans. Hard economic times on the heels of the Napoleonic Wars produced unrest, as in the Peterloo massacre in 1819, and a reaction by those frightened by radical and democratic challenge s to society. The Tory government responded with the Six Acts, which included the taxes on knowledge as well as the prevention of large gatherings and the disarming of the populace. Liberal reformers argued that suppression of knowledge would be ineffective and instead proposed providing useful knowledge that woul d improve morals, stim ulate intellectual appetites, and be of practical use to th eir readersknowledge as both means and ends.35 Conservatives, at best, doubted the usefulness of this kind of education, a nd, at worst, feared its potential for radicalizing the lower orders. In 1830 Tory Frasers Magazine for Town and 34 Henry Brougham, Practical Observations Upon the Education of the People, in Works of Henry Lord Brougham, (Edinburgh, 1872), 8:433-4. The Observations were originally printed in 1825 for the London Mechanics Institute. 35 The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge was only part of the knowledge movement, often known as the March of Mind. It included lending libraries, readin g rooms, Mechanics Institutes, and charities. For a good background to the creation of the SDUK and for the SDUKs work, s ee Rebecca Brookfield Kinraides 2006 dissertation, The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge and the Democratization of Learning in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain (Ph.D. diss. University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2006). The Mechanics Institutes were another branch of the knowledge movement, which grew out of George Birbecks free lectures in 1799 on scientific subjects for working men. Birbeck, professor of natural philosophy at the Anderson Institute in Glasgow, later moved to London and in 1823 helped establish the London M echanics Institute. Mechanics Institutes soon spread around the country and many established their own libraries, in the main financially supported (and often controlled) by their middle and upper class sponsors. Lecturers gave talks on scientific subjects and on technical and manufacturing subjects. In order to encourage the formation of Mechanics Institutes, the SDUK produced a guide


51 Country took an axe to the sprouting idea of the march of intellect. This mania for educating the people was comparable to a South Sea bubbl e, or a South American mining bubblethough one with the public good in mindand of the same or der as radical reform of church and state, and the ideas of Thomas Paine.36 The perceived grandiose claims of those in favor of universal education provided Frasers with an opening for attack. General and scientific education is now the thing In fact, say its advocates, we cannot help their becoming learned if we would. Mechanics Institutions have sprung up everywhere of themselves. There is no damping the ardour of the people for knowledge and philosophy. The schoolmast er is abroad, and no body sent him. It was the special hand of Heaven, no doubt; no, this is not the way these gentlemen consider human affairsit is the progress of reason, legitimate reason, and truth. In short, mechanics and artisans will be philosophers, and there is no preventing it; so in order to meet the demand and accommoda te them, a large building has been got up in London, where classical knowledge and philosophy is to be sold dear, for the benefit of the mechanical and trading cla sses, and every possible good is to flow from the universal diffusion of philosophy and scie ntific education.37 While Frasers acknowledge[d] fully the pleasures and advantages of liberal knowledge, and desired a wide a diffusion of it as is at all consistent with the wants and happiness of civil society, it questioned the application of much of this knowledge to certain orders of society.38 Frasers entertain[ed] serious doubts, yea, more than doubts to both Broughams plan to educate the lower orders and the creation of London University. Those cheated by the claims of universal education is that numerous class of persons constantly rising out of the lower orders to establishing such institutions. Ideally, members of thes e institutes would buy and read the publications of the SDUK. See Kinraide, The Society fo r the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, 10-14 for further information. 36 On the March of the Intellect and Universal Education, Frasers Magazine for Town and Country 2, no.8 (1830): 161. 37 Ibid., 162. On the next page Frasers further dismissed what it viewed as the charlatanism of the knowledge movement, which takes the trading and mechanical orders under its especial patronage, and duly bewailing their lack of science and philosophy, holds out to them in langua ge about as fulsome, and scarcely as satisfactory, as the eloquence of a recruiting sergeant, the brightest prospects and most pleasing hopes from the acquisition of useful knowledge, at least in Mechanics Institutions; but, above all, if they can muster funds to procure a good education at the London University. 38 Ibid., 162, 163.


52 by means of their mechanical or trading industry and practical skill and seduced by the promised blessings of scient ific and literary education.39 Such schemes for turning the world ups ide down, which among others included universal education always begin by making those discontented with their condition, and, by stirring up their natural envy, [make] them disrespect the orde rs placed above them in the natural scale of civil society When they have effected this, the demagogues endeavour to inflame the ambition of those whom they have made discontented.40 Frasers perfectly articulated Tory conservatism viewed such educa tion as not only wasting the money of the lower classes, but also possibly leading to radicalization. Fears of atheism and materialism as a conse quence of education loomed larger in the imagination than in real life a nd also found an outlet in an 1835 Frasers outburst in which an anonymous contributor described London University as that spa wn of Infidel liberalism and Atheistic apathy.41 Education for the masses also came in for sustained criticism in fictional form. A quintessential example worth quoting at length comes from Thomas Love Peacocks Crotchet Castle (1831), which lampooned both the idea of mass education via the SDUK (the Steam Intellect Society) and one of its major figures, Brougham. God bless my soul, sir! exclaimed the Reverend Doctor Folliott, bursting, one fine May morning, into the breakfast-room at Crotchet Castle, I am out of all patience with this march of mind. Here ha s my house been nearly burned down by my cook taking it into her head to study hydr ostatics in a sixpenny tract, published by the Steam Intellect Society, and written by a learned friend who is for doing all the worlds business as well as his own, and is equally well qualified to handle every branch of human knowledge. I have a great abomination of this learned friend; as author, lawyer, a nd politician My cook must read his rubbish in bed; 39 Ibid., 163. 40 Ibid., 64. 41 Scottish Universities, Frasers 14, no. 3 (1836): 323.


53 and, as might naturally be expected, sh e dropped suddenly fast asleep, overturned the candle, and set the curtains in a blaze.42 Criticisms of the march of mind appeared to have little practical effect; even Frasers later published a positive article on Mechan ics Institutes, which offered classes to working-class men on subjects ranging from astronomy to geology. The lack of control by the working classes over their education limited the infl uence of the SDUK and Mech anics Institutes. Brougham admitted that [members of Mechanics Instit utes] should have the principal share in the management. This seems necessary for securing both the success and th e independence of the system.43 Neither Brougham nor the SDUK could follo w such advice with action; in 1846 the Society wound itself up after Brougham deci ded to produce an expensive Biographical Dictionary few people wanted to buy and saddled the Society with far more debt than it could repay.44 Knowledge: Means and Ends and the Mcaniq ue Cleste Broughams interest in celestial mechanics was life long. At the age of seventy-seven he published an Analytical View of Sir Isaac Newtons Principia which aimed to provide those with very moderate mathematical acquirements guidance to the Principia the greatest monument of human genius.45 In 1827, Brougham wrote Somervilles husband, William, proposing that 42 Thomas Love Peacock, Crotchet Castle (London, 1831), 19-20. Peacock pu blished the book anonymously. 43 Ibid., 439. 44 The SDUKs publications, both books and magazines, did sell in large quantities, though competition from the growing market for cheap books gradually reduced its audience. Early sales of the Penny Cyclopedia, begun in 1832, were tremendous; early on its circ ulation reached 200,000, more than thr ee times that of its closest competitor, produced by the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge. Stewart, Henry Brougham 193. Original source for circulation figures, G. Boyce, J. Curran and P. Wright (eds.), Newspaper History from the Seventeenth Century to the Present Day (London, 1978), 100. 45 Henry Lord Brougham and E. J. Routh, Analytical View of Sir Isaac Newtons Principia, (London, 1855), xx, xix. The nineteenth century saw a rash of biographies of Newton for the figure of Newton was used to argue for different understandings of the man of science. See Rebekah Higgitts Recreating Newton: Newtonian Biography and the Making of Nineteenth Century History of Science (London, 2007).


54 Somerville write an account of the Mcanique Cleste for the SDUK. A translation of Laplaces work was one a part of Broughams projecthe hoped to find someone at Cambridge to do the equivalent for the Principia. The kind of thing wanted is such a descri ption of that divine work as will both explain to the unlearned th e sort of thing it isthe plan, the vast merit, the wonderful truths unfolded or methodizeda nd the calculus by which all this is accomplished, and will also give a somewhat deeper insight to the uninitiated No one without trying can conceive how far we may carry ignorant readers into an understanding of the depths of science Brougham added that he believed that less than twenty people in England understood Laplaces work and believed that Somervilles tr anslation would greatly increase that number.46 Broughams letter raises two questions: Why transl ate a work for a working class audience that only a very few within the educated e lite understood, and why choose Somerville? Somerville and Brougham knew each other; th e two had met in Edinburgh around 1812, though she had long known his sister. Somerville descri bes this period as the most brilliant of the Edinburgh Review and viewed its founders and cont ributors, many of whom she knew personally, as men of consummate talent with the most liberal principles.47 Leonard Horner, who became one of Somervilles frie nds, not only helped establish the Edinburgh Review, but in 1821 he founded the School of Arts at Edinburgh, which taught working men.48 After the death of her first husband Somerv ille returned to Scotland with two young boys and with financial and social independence. Sh e took to higher mathem atics, eventually buying an expensive library of works suggested to her by William Wallace, then mathematics master at 46 Letter from Henry Brougham to William Somerville, March 27, 1827, c.369.19 MSB-13. 47 Somerville, Personal Recollections, 80-81. 48 Unlike Glasgows Mechanics Institution, in the School of Arts middle and upper class subscribers retained control, rather than members. R. D. Anderson, Education and the Scottish People, 1750-1918 (Oxford, 1995), 159. On their move to London in 1816, Horner provided the Some rvilles with an introduction to the London scientific


55 the Royal Military College at Great Marlow and a protg of Playfair.49 At this time, she also met Playfair, who took an interest in her studie s. He advised her and she became a great favorite of his.50 Somerville fitted in well with the Edinburgh Review group; their political views were similar and the Edinburgh Review promoted education in gene ral, including education for women. Wallace, self-educated and also encouraged by Playfair, provided Somerville with direct help; the two started a mathematical co rrespondence while Wallace was editor of the Mathematical Repository and Somerville submitted answers to prize questions in the magazine. Both Wallace and Playfair knew French mathematics, which used the continental calculus rather than Newtons fluxions, then still in use in England. In 1812 Somerville married her first cousin, a do ctor sympathetic to her desire to learn. She did not confine herself to mathematics, but also studied mineral ogy, with the support of another University of Edinburgh professor, R obert Jameson, who was professor of natural history and a supporter of the Wernerian geological system.51 The Somerville family moved to London in 1816 and quickly found themselves in the mainstream of London scientific society. By 1827 the scientifically inclined community kne w of Somervilles mathematical skills, as did community via his London-based friends Jane and Alexander Marcet, who were a part of that community. See Patterson, Mary Somerville, 11-12. 49 Somerville, Personal Recollections 80-1. Somervilles new library included works by Biot, Laplace, Poisson, Euler, Lacroix, Clairault, Callet, Lagrange. Personal Recollections, 79. Such a collection of books on calculus, probability, algebra, and astronomy provided a strong ba ckground for Somervilles later translation. Somerville engaged Wallaces brother as a tutor and they read Mcanique Cleste together, though Somerville soon found that her mathematical knowledge was as good as her tutors. Somerville, Personal Recollections, 82. 50 Patterson, Mary Somerville 4. 51 Abraham Gottlob Werner called his approach, in which rocks originally precipitated from a primal sea, geognosy. This empirical approach was turned into a theory of the earth in Britain, one called Neptunism, that stood in opposition to James Huttons speculative theory based on internal heat. Playfair supported his friend Huttons theory, which held that slow gradual processes still ongo ing created the physical world, a cyclical process of deposition, uplift and erosion.


56 much of the Parisian mathematical eliteSomervill e was sent a lock of Laplaces hair after his death in 1827.52 The means thus existed for the creation of a rigorous mathematical work aimed at an audience of working-class self-improvers. Bu t did the audience exist? Brougham certainly believed so, and his belief grew out of the role that science, an d astronomy, played in the culture at large. Somerville shared Broughams assumptions about the role and power of science, of knowledge of science as a stabilizi ng and clarifying force in culture. Somerville was one of the few people in Britain able to undertake the project, and she came from the same cultural milieu as Brougham and shared his liberal assumptions. In addition, Somerville was self-educated, surely a plus for Brougham in his que st for general self-improvement. Science at this time was still a protean forceharnessed properly it would lead to a middle-class utopia of stability and progress. Science also harmonized with religion broadly conceived, uniting Calvinists and deists, Angli cans and Dissenters. Brougham insisted that SDUK publications eschew relig ious content because he knew well the effects of factional religious fighting in overturning attempts to cr eate a school system in England. But belief, via a generalized theology of nature and the emotive language of religion, was allowed a place at the table of knowledge.53 Laplaces Astronomy and Somervilles Public Natural Theology The equating of stability and astronomy dated to the sevent ee nth century; the nineteenth century gave that equation a new form. Newton re quired occasional godly in tervention to keep 52 Patterson, Mary Somerville, 49. Original source is a letter from Franois Magendie to Mary Somerville, 1827, c.371.21 MSM-1. 53 Fighting between Dissenters and the established Church of England over religious instruction in schools blocked the creation of a comprehensive school system in England for much of the nineteenth century. The Education Act was not passed until 1870.


57 the universe running smoothly. The three-body pr oblemthe interdependent motions of the earth-moon-sun systemcould not be solved by Ne wtons system of universal gravitation. Much less, then, could Newtons universal gravitation sust ain the stability of the solar system. A major problem was that of secular inequalities, or very slow modifications of a planets orbit that only became noticeable over the course of centuries and which could not be well predicted using the Newtonian system. Rather than turn to heavenly intervention, Laplace at first proposed to modify slightly the laws of gravity. One of Laplaces biographers, Charles Coulston Gillespie, characterizes the nineteenth-cen tury view of Laplace as the vi ndicator of the solar systems stability, but only by 1785 had the stability of th e Newtonian system become his core concern.54 In addition, Gillispie states that Laplaces articu lation of the origin of the solar system was never in any sense evolutionary or developmental, but rather an attempt to account for the origins of the solar system given what was then known about orbits and orbital planes.55 Later writers, such as Robert Chambers in his Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844), put Laplaces work into a pre-Darwinian evolutionary cont ext. Somerville, as will be seen, did not see Laplaces work as a developmental schema, but ra ther used its focus on heavenly stability as a guarantor of a purely earthly (b ut non-biological) progress. Laplaces aims, however, were purely deterministic and causal and he never put forth any developmental arguments, even in the more speculative last chapter of his Exposition du Systme du Monde His arguments there involved stability of the solar system and the pr obability of causes. Are the movements of the 54 Charles Coulston Gillispie, Pierre-Simon Laplace, 1749-1827: A Life in Exact Science (Princeton, 1997), 29, 124. The inequalities of Saturn and Jupiter were particularly problematic and astronomers were forced to include corrections for their motions. One of La places great triumphs was to show ma thematically that the acceleration of Jupiter was offset by the deceleration of Saturn and that eventually the two planets w ould reverse their accelerations. For more on Laplace and his life, see also Roger Hahns Pierre Simon Laplace 1749-1827: A Determined Scientist (Cambridge, Mass., 2005), particularly on Laplaces early training for the prie sthood and shift into the center of scientific life in Paris. 55 Gillispie, Pierre-Simon Laplace, 173-5.


58 planets and satellites by ch ance? Laplace the calculator said no, and he provided an answer in an original fluid atmosphere of the sun contracting and condensing into the individual planets on the same plane as the suns equator. Such a process explained also the appearance of comets and the existence of satellites.56 Modern-day readers familiar with the equati ng of probability and chance must take care when it comes to Laplaces idea of probability. As the authors of a history of probability, The Empire of Chance, write, for Laplace probabilities measure human ignorance, not genuine chance; necessary causes, how ever hidden, governed all events.57 In this case, given astronomical observations and the sophisticated mathematics of the day (including probability in error theory) human ignorance was sufficiently sma ll that conclusions abou t the creation of the solar system might be reached.58 Laplaces Trait de Mcanique Cleste was not a completely original work. Published in four volumes from 1799 to 1805 (the fifth vol ume was published in parts between 1823 and 1825), Gillispie characterizes it as part textbook, part referenc e book, part almanac, and part collection of research papers.59 The work reinforced conceptions of the solar system as stable and determined by purely physical causes unc onnected to God. In his 1808 review of Mecanique Cleste, Playfair wrote of how the stars and planet s and the steadiness and regularity of their 56 Ibid ., 174-5. 57 Gerd Gigerenzer and others, The Empire of Chance: How Probability Changed Science and Everyday Life ( Cambridge; New York, 1989), 11. 58 Laplace was one of the major figures in understanding and characterizing errors in astronomical measurements. In Laplaces determinism, errors and uncertainty were only considered epistemically, and as a function of lack of precision, rather than having anything to say about th e universe itself. In this way determinism and probability mingled quite happily and remained unquestioned for much of the nineteenth century. The quantum revolution in the early twentieth century finally destroyed the connection between the two and enshrined uncertainty and its associated probability theory as an ontological aspect of matter on the small scale. See Swijtink, et al., Empire of Chance for more on error theory and its use in astronomy. S ee also chapter three for more on the role of probability and astronomy in underpinning conceptions of progress.


59 movements, deeply impress the imagination, a nd afford a noble exercise to the understanding and a little later of Mecanique Cleste as a work the most impor tant, without doubt, that has distinguished the conclusion of the last or the commencement of the present century.60 Playfair made a point of mentioning that because of the wo rk of mathematicians, especially Laplace, not a single inequality is left unexpl ained and of the perfect conf ormity established between theory and observation.61 Laplace made the universe predictable and showed that though planetary orbits vary over time, they oscill ate in an expected and limited way around a mean. Here, wrote Playfair, we have again another general property, by which the stability of our system is maintained; by which every great altera tion is excluded. Playfair felt compelled to add that it is a permanence which depends on co nditions that are not necessary in themselves; and therefore we are authorized to consider such permanence as an argument of design in the construction of the universe. Playfair linked astronomical stability to Divine intentions and connected science to religion in a deistic fashion whereby God se ts in motion the laws of the universe. Laplaces failure to mention this is regarded by Playfair as the renowned Frenchmans only blemish in his great work. 62 Laplace took a very different view of God and science compared to that of many early to mid nineteenth-century British natural philosoph ers. Referring to God, he reportedly told Napoleon Bonaparte, I have no need of that hyp othesis, and offered no place for a deity in his 59 Gillispie, Pierre-Simon Laplace, 184. 60 Playfair, The Works Of John Playfair, 4:261, 262. Playfair also felt it nece ssary to inform his readers on whose shoulders Laplace has stood in order to develop his math ematics, those of Euler, DAlembert, and Lagrange. 61 Ibid., 291. 62 Ibid., 293-4, 319.


60 science or his life.63 More specifically, Laplaces purely natu ralistic explanation of the origins of the solar system later marked him as an atheis t and materialist. In 1800 he was listed in the Dictionnaire des athes anciens et modernes. In the English-speaking world Laplace was often singled out. For example, in an 1853 literary not ice of Glasgow minister s John Forbes address to the Paisley Young Mens Ch ristian Association, Laplace wa s taken for granted as an Atheist, which was, all in all, a horrid c ondition. Earlier, in 1846, Laplaces atheism was also taken for granted in the American religious magazine, The New Englander .64 Certainly by 1833, Laplaces reputation as an atheist was both assumed and deploredThomas Chalmers in his Bridgewater Treatise wrote of Laplace as treating the inverse law of gravitation as an essential property of matter and by this attempting to reduce the strength of the argument for a designing cause.65 The man might be criticized, but his science was characterize d as affording an example, which is yet solitary in the history of human knowledge, of a theory entirely complete.66 Astronomy as a science was given a special place. Indeed, nothing can be more certain than the doctrines of Astronomy, wrote Alexander Young in 1838, in an address given at a church in 63 Roger Hahn writes that while Laplace s statement may well be apocryphal it should be taken seriously since it accords perfectly with Laplaces lifelong scientific approach. See Roger Hahn, Laplace and the Mechanistic Universe, God & Nature, Historical Essays on the Encounter between Christianity and Science, eds. David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers (Berkeley, Calif., 1986), 256. 64 M. Pierre, Dictionnaire des athes anciens et modernes (Paris, 1800), 231-2, fr om Hahn, Laplace and the Mechanistic Universe, 272. Literary Notices, on Atheism, practical and speculative; its guilt and unreasonableness, by John Forbes, Macphails Edinburgh Ecclestiastical Journal and Literary Review vol. 15, no. 89 (1853): 318. An Apology for Physical Science, The New Englander 4, no. 16 (1846): 551. Both articles treat science positively, yet, the latter particularly, also defend it from charges of necessarily being atheistic and argue for a natural theology perspective where knowledge of nature could lead to God. See also Ronald L. Numbers Science and Christianity in Pulpit and Pew (Oxford, 2007), 49 for further links between Laplace and atheism. 65 Thomas Chalmers, On The Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God, As Manifested in The Adaptation Of External Nature to the Moral And Intellectual Constitution Of Man 3rd. ed. (London, 1834), 17. Chalmers volume was the first of the Bridgewater Treatises. Chalmers was an influential educator concerned with mass education and a minister in the Church of Scotland who led an exodus from that church into the new Free Church in 1843. 66 Playfair, The Works Of John Playfair 4:315-16.


61 Boston to celebrate the life of Nathaniel Bowditch, the American translator of Laplace. Such doctrines rest on impregnable foundations, on th e demonstrations of mathematical evidence, than which nothing, except the evidence of c onsciousness, can be more satisfactory and conclusive.67 Since scientific inquiries were associated with moral elevation, the status of the individual inquirer became important.68 Herschel, Brougham, and William Whewell, all men of science, publicly associated moral elevat ion with scientific enquiry, not simply knowledge of science. Whewell defended his position by differentiating between inductive and deductive science; men such as Newton who made connections between s eemingly disparate parts of nature were great inductive thinkers who recognized the role of the Creator in natu re. Deductive thinkers, that is, mathematical thinkers like Laplace, unfolded the thoughts of great men like Newton, but did not struggle with the general laws of nature or how they came to be. As a result, they saw no place for God as the originator of natural laws.69 Could Laplace be enlisted in the attempt to provide safe and uplifti ng knowledge to those in Britain yearning to educate themselves? While in 1808 Playfair, writing for an elite, could pass over Laplaces atheism with only a mention of his blemish, in the 1820s the risk of 67 Alexander Young, The Varieties Of Human Greatness. Discourse On The Life And Character of the Hon. Nathaniel Bowditch, Ll.D., F.R.S., Delivered In The Church On Church Green, March 25, 1838 (Boston, 1838), 11. Young met Somerville in London while visiting with Bowditc hs son. He wrote that it is highly honorable to the sex, that the best, may I not say, the only Exposition of La Place's work that has appeared in England, is from the pen of a female, the accomplished Mary Somerville, wife of Dr. Somerville, of Chelsea Hospital; a lady, who to profound acquisitions in science, and a practical skill in seve ral of the elegant arts, adds the faithful discharge of all household duties. On visiting her house in 1833, in. company with a son of Dr. Bowditch, I remember observing that the walls of the drawing-rooms were hung round with the beautiful productions of her own pencil. 51. 68 There was opposition to associating morality and science by High Church theologians at Oxford. See Richard Yeos Defining Science, William Whewell, Natural Knowledge, and Public Debate in Early Victorian Britain (Cambridge, 1993), chapter five on Moral scientists. 69 See William Whewell, Astronomy and General Physics Considered with Reference to Natural Theology 5th ed. (London: William Pickering, 1836), 304-8; see John Herschel, A Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy (London, 1830); See also Yeo, Defining Science, 1204.


62 uneducated or semi-educated men of the lower orders taking the wrong me ssage from Laplaces science was a possibility. Somerville began work on Mechanism of the Heavens in 1827 and published it in 1831. She translated and clarified Lapla ces text, excluding the parts of Mcanique Celeste concerned with the rotation of the earth, th e tides, and the attraction of spheroids, although discussion of some of these topics was included in the Pre liminary Dissertation. Laplace was notorious for being difficult to understand. Another of his translat ors, Nathaniel Bowditch, said of his efforts, Whenever I meet in La Place with the words Thus it plainly appears, I am sure that hours, and perhaps days, of hard study will alone enable me to discover how it plainly appears.70 Somerville did not simply translate; she added di agrams and additional text where necessary to make the work more comprehensible for her readers. She did not tamely translate the language of Laplace, but rather explain[ed ] the methods through which Laplace arrived at the results of his glorious labours, according to a reviewer in the Monthly Review In addition she included the more recent work of JosephLouis Lagrange, Simon Denis Poisson, and the comte de Pontcoulant.71 Convinced of her mathematical capabilities, Some rville was unsure of her ability to meet Broughams requirements. She worked in secret, hiding her papers when visitors came, and agreed to publish only if Brougham and John Hersch el, a foremost astronom er and a close friend, felt the manuscript worthy. As a deeply learned and math ematical work, the two-volume Mechanism of the Heavens established Somervilles public reputation as an e lite figure in the British scientific world, though 70 Nathaniel Bowditch, Mcanique Cleste by the Marquis de la Place, Translated, with a Commentary, by Nathaniel Bowditch LL.D., Volume IV, with a Memoir of the Translator, by his Son, Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch (Boston, 1839), 44-5.


63 her status as a more than able mathematician was already well establis hed among French savants and the British scientific ci rcles of which Somerville was a part. By 1834, and with the encouragement of friends, she had completed the second volume of Mechanism of the Heavens which included the rotation of the earth and planet s, tidal theory, and attr action of spheroids, but this was never published.72 Mechanism of the Heavens was originally intended as a doub le translation, from French to English, and from elite mathematics to terms understandable by a self-improving layman interested in astronomy and mathematics. It fail ed in the second and Some rville intended it to fail. Somervilles views on soci ety required a leisured elite who could appreciate the higher mathematics, which could never be understood except by those who had the time and had taken the trouble to already reach a high level of mathematics.73 Such views were also grounded in the historical, developmental, and economic approach of the Scottish Enlightenment. John Millar, Adam Smiths student and later professor of law at Glasgow Un iversity, wrote of a society passing through the four states of developm enthunting, pasturage, farming, and commerce that in the last state calls forth [the] pursuit of the several conveniences of life; and the various branches of manufacture, togeth er with commerce, its insepara ble attendant, and with science and literature, the natural offspring of ease and affluence .74 71 Review of Mechanism of the Heavens The Monthly Review 1, no. 1 (1832): 137. 72 Elite mathematical works sold poorly due to their small audience. Somervilles publisher, John Murray, likely did not wish to assume the financial risk involved, and Somerville could not afford to. It was also a very expensive work, selling for one pound and ten shillings. See Ja mes A. Secords introduction to volume 2 of Collected Works of Mary Somerville (Bristol, 2004) for information on this and Somervilles other unpublished mathematical works. 73 For more on Somervilles views on how science was practiced and its basis in ideas of the Scottish Enlightenment, see chap ters three and four. 74 John Millar, The Origin of the Distinction of Ranks 4th ed. (Edinburgh, 1806), 3-4. This work was originally published in 1771. Millars scientific friends included chemist William Cullen and James Watt.


64 Somerville told Brougham that Laplaces wo rk could never be popularized since any reader must already be competent in calculus.75 In balancing the useful and elevating, Somerville preferred the elevating. Science, according to Somerville, must ever afford occupation of consummate interest and of elevated meditation.76 Reflecting on her accomplishments at the end of her life, Somerville wrote of Mechanism of the Heavens and its effect on her status: By this my name will be alone remembered.77 Unlike the anonymous writers for the SDUK series, the books title page read Mechanism of the Heavens by Mrs. Somerville. On reading the manuscript, Brougham quickly realized that the SDUK could not publish the work; instead John Murray agreed to publish it at his own risk.78 Somerville was well aware that her work both supported the SDUKs mission and departed from it. Somerville dedicated her book to Brougham and in doing so acknowledged that while it had unavoidably exceeded the SDUKs remit, his Lordship still thinks it may tend to promote the views of the Society in its present form. To concur with that Society in the diffusion of useful knowledge, would be the highest ambition of the author.79 Somerville did not dismiss the practical, but the more down to earth uses of astronomy in the Pr eliminary Dissertation were given in specific contexts: that of the British Empire. Somerville wrot e of transits of Jupiters satellites used to set the longitude of various placesallowing sailors a far more precise knowledge of their ships positionwhich by the aid of science alone, enables him to trav erse the ocean, spreading the light of knowledge 75 Somerville, Personal Recollections 163. 76 Mary Somerville, Preliminary Dissertation, Mechanism of the Heavens (London, 1831), vi. From facsimile in Collected Works of Mary Somerville 2:vi. 77 Somerville, notes for autobiography, c.356.6 MSAU-4, cited in Patterson, Mary Somerville, 89. 78 William Somerville established the connection with Mu rray. Williams younger brother and Murray had been good friends. Murray also had a reputation for successfully publishing scientific works. Patterson, Mary Somerville, 73-75. 79 Somerville, Preliminary Dissertation, dedication page.


65 and the blessings of civilization over the most remote regions, a nd to return loaded with the productions of another hemisphere.80 Somerville here joined the British empire of knowledge and influence with that of trade, a succinct de scription that Somerville later expanded upon in her later book, Physical Geography.81 Somerville used astronomy to shed light on human history, such as the dating of particular hieroglyphs according to where the sun was placed in the zodiac in ancient Egypt, and to provide a solid foundation for weights and measures. So solid are the foundati ons for standards of weights and length, both in Engl and and France, that should the national standards of the two countries be lost in the vicissi tudes of human affairs, both may be recovered, since they are derived from natural standards presumed to be invariable.82 Somerville made the solar system and wider universe a familiar place for readers, giving the sun and most of the planets atmospheres; describing how the sun would look to someone on Uranus and its cold temperatures; and explaining that the climate of Venus more resembles our own, except that it would be much too hot for anim al and vegetable life as they exist here, while on Mercury the temperature would boil merc ury. While sympathetic to the idea of extra terrestrial life, Somerville told her readers that the planets, though kindred with the earth, are totally unfit for the habitation of such a be ing as man. Briefly, she mentioned the nebular hypothesisthat the luminous but i ndistinct areas of the night s ky would gradually collapse and form new star systemsbut added that real knowledge of this hypothesis would only come 80 Ibid., xviii. On xxiv Somerville adds that eclipses by the moon of stars is now of most importance to navigators in measuring the longitude. 81 See chapter three for more detailed discussion of this. 82 Ibid., xlviii, xlix. The natural standard for length in Brita in was based on the length of a pendulum that swung at a certain frequency and certain temperature in the latitude of London; that of weight based on the weight of a certain amount of water at a certain temperature and pressure. The French based their length (the meter) on a tiny fraction of


66 with further detailed observations, which J ohn Herschel had begun. She found it reasonable to infer that the millions of specks of light ar e suns like our own, likely attended by systems of opaque bodies, revolving about them as the planets do about ours. 83 Somerville turned her readers into inhabitants of a tiny planet in the wider universe, where the earth, so small as to be i nvisible from Uranus, allows man to soar beyond the vast dimensions of the system to which his planet be longs, and assumes the diameter of its orbit as the base of a triangle, whose apex extends to the stars.84 Though unusable by the SDUK, Mechanism of the Heavens was later used by Cambridge University as a textbook for its advanced students in mathematics. So while the work could not be used by reformers anxious to educate the populace at large, it could be used by reformers of a different stripemathematical reformers. As a re sult, the work was translated from one context into anotherfrom useful knowledge to elite ma thematics, but it was also received, at times, within the context of a more popular work, as will be seen later. Since at least 1808, reformers proclaimed a dec line of science in Br itain. The nation that produced Newton had since ceded the mathematics and physical astronomy crown to France. In 1808, Playfair wrote that in the list of the mathematicians and philosophers, to whom that science, for the last sixty or seventy years, has been indebted for its improvements, hardly a name from Great Britain falls to be mentioned. When it came to the higher mathematics British mathematicians knew they were not on a footin g with their brethren on the Continent, and Playfair blamed in particular Oxford and Camb ridge Universities for their failures in teaching the meridian passing through Formentera and Greenwich. These quantities were assumed to be invariant through time. 83 Ibid., lvi-lix, lxvi, lxvi. Somervilles friend John He rschel, son of William, was involved in these kinds of astronomical mappings of star systems. 84 Ibid., xxx.


67 mathematics, and to a lesser extent, the Royal Society.85 Both Playfair and Brougham in their articles in the Edinburgh Review before 1820 harped on the decline of sciences.86 Recalling Broughams request many years later, Somerville wrote, with too much self deprecation, that she had natur ally concluded that my selfacquired knowledge was so far inferior to that of the men who had been educated in our universities that it would be the height of presumption to attempt to write on such a subject.87 Somervilles friendships at the time included such mathematical reformers as Hers chel and Charles Babbage. Given her earlier connections to Playfair and such mathematical friendships, it is likely that Somerville was perfectly aware of the state of mathematical education at Cambridge University and of the level of her own skills. To add to her reputation and confidence, Somerville had written an experimental paper on magnetism and light rays which in 1826 th e Royal Society published in its Philosophical Transactions the first such paper by a named woman. During the 1810s a variety of mathematic al reformers attempted to bring British mathematics up to continental standards. Apart from John Toplis, mathematical reformers included such men as Cambridge University gr aduates Charles Babbage, John Herschel, George Peacock, and William Whewell. By the 1820s fears of a decline of scien ce permeated the views of many reformers, including astronomer Francis Baily. Mechanism of the Heavens became embroiled in the controversy. Upon publication, Baily wrote to Somervilles husband, William, congratulating his wife on a book that is highl y honourable to herself and will be of great benefit to the public: not only as tending to their improvement but as removing the imputation of 85 Playfair, The Works Of John Playfair, 4:321-2, 327. 86 Roy M. Macleod, Of Medals and Men: A Reward System in Victorian Science, 1826-1914, Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 26, no. 1 (1971): 81. 87 Somerville, Personal Recollections 162-163.


68 the Decline of Science in this country.88 Whewell wrote to say that he looked upon the book as one of the most remarkable which our age ha s produced; which would be highly valuable from any one and which derives a peculiar interest fr om its writer I am glad that our young mathematicians in Trinity [a college at Camb ridge University], will have easy access to a book which will be very good for them as soon as they can read it.89 In 1830 the scientific and wider world found themselves in turmoil. Babbages Reflections on the Decline of Science in England (1830) and the failure of reform at the Royal Society, leading to the election of th e Duke of Sussex, the kings brother and a man generally unacquainted with science, as president of the Society roiled the British scientific world. Babbage had articulated a fear that British scien ce was in decline from its heyday of Newton and the early Royal Society. What brought this fear into focus in England was, ironically, the final defeat of Napoleon. With connections between France and Britain resumed it became very clear that Britain was woefully behind the French in ma thematics. The British had been victorious in battle yet defeated in science. The analyti cal mathematics of Laplace represented French mathematical superiority. Politically, a succession of bad harv ests and rising prices led to riots in the countryside and disturbances in the towns. Farther afield, in 1830 Charles X was forced off the French throne, and this was followed in August by uprisings in Br ussels. The Poles were soon in revolt against the Russians, and in Spain and Portugal libera l factions pitted themselves against their governments. The election of a Whig government, headed by Earl Grey, in August of 1830 was 88 Francis Baily to William Somerville, December 17 1831, c.369, MSBC-4. 89 William Whewell to William Somerville, 1831 (no day and month), c. 372, MSW-2. Peacock wr ote to Somerville on February 14, 1832 to say that he and Whewell had already taken steps to introduce it into the course of our studies in Cambridge. c.371, MSP-1.


69 followed by the very public failure of reform in the Royal Society in December, when the Duke of Sussex beat off the reformers candidate, John Herschel. The reception in 1831 of Mary Somervilles book must be seen in this context. Unsuitable for the SDUK, it could be used for very differe nt purposes. According to Elizabeth Patterson, it was an important first step in remedying Englis h ignorance of French analysis and physical astronomy. Its inspiration had come not from the universities, whose backward mathematical practices these philosophers had criticized, nor from the Royal Society ., but from proponents of a self-help movement Its creator had not been a university-educated mathematician but a self-taught Scotswoman.90 I would go farther than Patterson and argue that the very fact that Somerville was female, and therefore automatically apart from the politic al maneuverings at the Royal Society and at the universities, stood her and her book in good stead. A book on such a s ubject, celestial mechanics, written by a woman could not help but attract interest. As a woma n, she was considered to have no political alliances. Indeed, when commenting on the Tory prime ministers bestowal of a two hundred pound annual pension on Mary Somerville (the Somervilles being known as staunch Whigs) in 1835, Frasers Magazine wrote that, We say nothing of Mrs. Somerville for a ladys politics go for little; and the lady in question well deserves to fi nd favour in the eyes of men of all parties.91 Lacking all political si gnificance and troublesome allegiances, acknowledged for her mathematical brilliance, Mary Somerville was the perfect outsider, her very person a foil for use by the reformers in their battle to overhaul the Royal Society and mathematical education at the universities. Politically powerless, Somerville could not be accused of ulterior motives. 90 Patterson, Mary Somerville, 31. 91 Shewing how the Tories and the Whigs Extend their Patronage to Science and Literature, Frasers Magazine 12, no. 72 (1835): 706.


70 Unusually for female scientific translators of th at time, Somervilles name was a part of the books power, while her political powerlessness gave the book more power than it otherwise might have had. Preliminary Dissertation The reviewer of Mechanism of the H eavens in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society was both delighted by the most comple te account of the discoveries of the continental mathematicians in physical astr onomy and hoped Somervilles example would encourage others to work in a field which has been too much neglected in England.92 On its publication Mechanism of the Heavens played a role in elite mathematics on both sides of the decline of scie nce debate. The book, through its Preliminary Dissertation, also ensured the cultural translation of Laplaces work to a larger a udience than elite mathematicians. While much of the mathematics proved incompre hensible to non-mathematicians, the sixty-five page Preliminary Dissertation set out in plain English much more than the core concerns of the two-volume bookdeducing all the phenomena of the so lar system from the abstract laws of motion.93 At the same time it reassured readers by showing how well Laplaces work translated into the context of British natural theology. The Preliminary Dissertation was never published separately in England, although Somerville printed fifty copies for friends. In th e United States, Carey and Lea in Philadelphia pirated the Preliminary Dissertation and published it separately in 1832 as A Preliminary Dissertation on the Mechanism of the Heavens.94 Its impact proved greater than might be 92 Review of Mechanism of the Heavens, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 2, no.1 (1832): 712. Facsimile in Somerville, Collected Works, 1: (no pagination). 93 Somerville, Introduction to Book I, Mechanism of the Heavens 1:1-2. Facsimile in Somerville, Collected Works 2: (no pagination). 94 See also Secords introduction to volume one of Mechanism of the Heavens in Collected Works 2:ix-xvi.


71 expected given Mechanism of the Heavens small print run of 750 copies and exorbitant price of one pound ten shillings. Influence came via reviews in the heavy hitting journals of the day such as the Quarterly Review and the Edinburgh Review, and through Somervilles next book, On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences (1834). The Preliminary Dissert ation made its way with only minor changes into Somervilles second book, which went through 10 editions and sold 17,500 copies.95 Somerville begins her Preliminary Dissertati on by recapping what is known: knowledge of external objects is based entirely on experi ence; experience provide s facts which may be compared and used to establish relations; from there, by induction, general laws are developed. Yet such an approachscientifica lly rigorous though it might becan still lead to error, such as the belief that heavier objects fall to earth mo re quickly than lighter ones. Newtons studies showed him that the forces acti ng on objects on or near the earths surface are identical to those that keep the moon in its orbit, and induction led him to conclude th at as the moon is kept in her orbit by the attraction of the ea rth, so the planets might be re tained in their orbits by the attraction of the sun. Somerville then concluded the paragraph with: By such steps he was led to the discovery of one of those powers with wh ich the Creator has explai ned that matter should reciprocally act upon matter.96 95 Number of editions and copies sold found in Secords introduction to the Connection of the Physical Sciences in Collected Works : 4:xi. The final edition was updated and edited afte r Somervilles death by Arabella Buckley, who later told the publisher that It has been a complicated pi ece of work. Arabella Buckley to John Murray, December 26, 1876, John Murray Archives. Cited in Lightman, Victorian Popularizers of Science, 98. The connection between the Preliminary Dissertation and On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences was publicly recognized. In an 1834 review of the latter book published in the Edinburgh Review David Brewster wrote that Somerville added the Preliminary Dissertation to Mechanism of the Heavens for those who were not mathematicians and that the interest which this work excited in the scientific world, created a de sire on the part of its less gifted readers to possess a still more popular and enlarged view of th e subjects of which it treats [t ]he author has ther efore recast this preliminary dissertation ; and by introducing the subjects of Meteorology, Electricity, Galvanism, and Magnetism, she has produced the present work. See Edinburgh Review 59, no. 119 (1834): 154. 96 Somerville, Preliminary Dissertation, v.


72 Thus from the very first page Somerville makes clear that the work is grounded in a familiar theological framework. Natural theology found a place not in the context of the doing of science, but in the context of understanding the m eaning of things and of first causes. Astronomy and the workings of the universe, and human knowledge of them, were secured and ordered by the use of such language. Such language also act ed to provide a broader audience for science than it might otherwise have had. Many popular b ooks on science written for a general audience throughout the nineteenth centuryeven after the publication of Origin of Species and the professionalization of British scie ncemade use of natural theo logy. A generalized language of belief caused no sectarian offense and was part of a long-standing tradit ion in Britain that allowed writers easily to br ing in elements of wonder.97 The United States had a similar culture of science. Thus a nephew of the celebrated American Unitarian William Channing desired to visit Somerville because she was a person whose writings have excited such deep admiration.98 But more was intended than an anodyne nod to a Creator. For Somerville, scientific contemplation was in some sense akin to re ligious contemplation and both could elevate individuals morally, spiritu ally, and aesthetically. The contemplation of the works of creati on elevates the mind to the admiration of whatever is great and noble, accomplishing th e object of all study, which is to inspire the love of truth, of wisdom, of beauty, especi ally of goodness, and of that supreme and eternal mind By th e love of delightful contemplation and pursuit of these transcendent aims for their own sake only, the mind of man is raised from low and perishable objects, a nd prepared for those high destinies which are appointed for all those who are capable of them.99 97 See Lightman, Victorian Popularizers of Science chapter four. 98 Henry Bowditch to Somerville. The letter is dated May 1, but is without year. Henry Bowditch, son of Nathaniel Bowditch, visited Somerville in February 1835, so the visit must have been some time after that. Bowditch provided Channing with a letter of introduction to Somerville. c.369, MSB-12. 99 Somerville, Preliminary Dissertation, vi.


73 Wonder, and a sense of the sublime, when rhet orically made a part of science, proved a powerful technique of appreciati on. A Miltonic sense of elevation, of the universe spread before one, could make a highly mathematical scie nce into a wondrous religious spectacle.100 For example, Somerville wrote of the goodness of the great First Cause in cr eating the capacities in man that allow him to use the globe he inhab its as base wherewith to measure the magnitude and distance of the sun and the planets, and make th e diameter of the earths orbit the first step of a scale by which he may ascend to the starry fi rmament. Such an approach was the closest human beings could come to looking at their planet from the outside, as it were, before satellite imagery allowed us to look down upon our planet Somerville later described how a voyager to the moon would see the earth with all the varieties of cloud, land, and water coming successively into view.101 The faculty of imagination was thus used to draw in mathematically inexperienced readers. Somervilles many literary friends could make neither head nor tail of the mathematical part of the work, but took great pride in Somervilles work and deeply appreciated the Preliminary Dissertation. The wr iter Maria Callicot, in describing her feel ings after reading, wrote: What a happiness to all of us who have so long known and loved you to see you take your place among the benefactors of our race; to see that as you were always able, you have now been willing to assist us in our course heavenward by removing 100 Kathryn Neeley provides a detailed discussion of Somerv illes use of the sublime. See chapter three, Science as Exact Calculation and Elevated Meditation. Neeley locates Somervilles work as lying within the poetic tradition associating the study of nature with the sublimeincluding th at of the scientific poets of the eighteenth century, as well as Milton. Their credo, writes Neel ey, combines the greatness and goodne ss of the Creator seen via the starry heavens and the human abilities that allow them to understand Gods work. See Neeley, Mary Somerville 111. 101 Somerville, Preliminary Dissertation, vi-vii, xxxv.


74 part of the veil which has hidden the most sublime and the most beneficent works of God from his creatures.102 Maria Edgeworth, the popular Irish writer of Castle Rackrent and the Absentee told Somerville of aspects of the work that struck her, including: the millions of years that light must take to reach us from the nebulae; that if a star may be extinguished or lit more than three years must pass before we would notice; and that of the moderate sized man who would weigh about two tuns[sic] at the surface of the sun. As a reader, Edgeworth was fully aware of Somervilles language usage and writes of a beautiful sentence as well as a sublime idea, in which Somerville described sounds fading with altitude. So that at a very small height above the surface of the earth the noise of the tempest ceas es and the thunder is heard no more in those boundless regions where the heaven ly bodies accomplish their peri ods in eternal and sublime silence.103 The Preliminary Dissertation allowed entry for a non-mathematical audience to the completion of the Newtonian project made suitable for a British public. Stability in Change: God and Government Som erville took her readers beyond the traditi onal mechanical view of the universe as perfectly made clockwork, where all parts worked in synchronicity at all times unaffected by any form of instability. After describing the movement of Saturns rings, Somerville added that the rings could not maintain their stability if they were of uniform thickness, for the smallest disturbance would destroy the equilibrium, which would become more and more deranged till at last they fell to Saturns surface. Stability in this sense did not mean perfection of kind and size; 102 Maria Callcott to Somerville, 6 Decem ber 1832, c. 370, MSC-2. Callco tt was the author of many books, including (as Maria Graham) Journal of a Residence in India and Journal of a Residence in Chile during the Year 1822 where she experienced and wrote abou t an earthquake. Callcot was a fascin ating figure, a talented artist and keen observer of the natural world. Her description of the Valaparaiso earthquakeof the land being elevatedled her into a dispute with the president of the Geological Society, George Greenough, in which she was later vindicated by Lyell and Darwin. The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Scie nce: Pioneering Lives from Ancient Times to the Mid-20th Century eds. Marilyn Ogilvie and Joy Ha rvey (New York, 2000), 223.


75 indeed, this led to instability. Stability was based on the robustne ss of difference, of a balancing out of differently sized objects. The rings then, must be irregular solid s of unequal breadth in different parts of the circumference.104 Change leading to stability remains a common theme. Of the moons motion Somerville wrote that even if its speed of rotation and or bit had not been nicely balanced in the beginning of the moons motion, the earths attraction would have modified that motion back into balance. Theory and evidence are combined to show how things must be and to show that this is how they truly are. Eternal balance is ensured through temporary, thou gh long term, imbalances. The motion of the moons rotation, just like that of it s orbit, cannot be completely uniform, for then the moon would not always show the same f ace to earth. The lack of uniformity of each guarantees that change is embedded in stability. On the very next page Somerville combines the innumerable vicissitudes that prevail throughout cr eation and the immutabil[ility] of earths rotation as shown by both theory and observation.105 The heavens do foretell stability, even in the deep time of geology. Playfair, Somervilles mentor, was a friend of Scottish Enlightenment figure James Hutton and an admirer and explicator of the latters geological graduali sm. This gradualism, with respect to human observation, this world has neither a beginning nor an end, was championed by Somervilles friend and fellow Scot Charles Lyell in his Principles of Geology (1830).106 Somerville, in allaying fears that any disturbing forces such as collision with a comet might affect the earths 103 Maria Edgeworth to Somerville, March 31 1832, c. 370, MSE-1. 104 Somerville, Preliminary Dissertation, xxxiii, xxxiv. 105 Ibid., xxxv, xxxvi. The innumerable vicissitudes include the descent of rivers to the seas, evaporation, volcanic eruptions, the movement of other planets and the moon, and the trade winds.


76 equilibrium and cause a rushing of the seas to the new equatorallie d astronomical stability with geological deep time. Since a major change in the earths axes is incompatible with the law of equilibrium, earthly changes of retreating se as and changing landscapes and such geological phenomena[,] must be ascribed to an internal cause. Change, comes from th e earth, not the heavens. Somerville wrote: Thus amidst the mighty revolutions which have swept innumerable races of organized beings from the earth, which have elevated plains, and buried mountains in the ocean, the rotation of the earth, and the positi on of the axis on its surface, have undergone but slight variations.107 Even if a comet should hit the earth, given Somervilles estimate of 11,200,000 comets that move within the then known so lar system, and the 1,400 that pa ss through the earths orbit, Somerville assured her readers that the mischief would be local, and equilibrium soon restored.108 Geological change marked time in a way that the heavens could not, given that there is every reason to be a ssured, that the great laws of th e universe are immutable like their Author, while traces left by geolog ical change on earth give that information as to the origin of things which we in vain look for in the other pa rts of the universe. Yet, at the same time the turbulent earth, given that it likely formed at the same time as the other planets, show[s] that creation is the work of Him with whom a t housand years are as one day, and one day as a thousand years.109 106 James Hutton, Abstract of a Dissertation Concerning the System of the Earth, its Duration, and Stability in Philosophy of Geohistory: 1785-1970 ed. Claude C. Albritton (Stroudsburg, PA, 1975), 50. Cited in Alexander Broadie, The Scottish Enlightenment: The Historical Age of the Historical Nation (Edinburgh, 2001), 211. 107 Somerville, Preliminary Dissertation, xl. 108 Ibid., lxii-lxiii. 109 Ibid., lxix-lxx.


77 In this way, Somerville clearly indicated to her readers that a Mosaic chronology did not underpin a God-created universe and that de ep geological time, though literally opposed to Biblical creation, acted as a signpost to astronomi cal stability and to the ultimate guarantor of that stability.110 Ultimately, stability is God-given. Math ematics, Somerville writes, easily shows that matter might move according to an infinite va riety of laws, and the laws of gravity that affect the universe we have knowledge of, ar e not, in themselves, inevitable. Given the opportunities for different laws and given the ob vious stability of our universe, it may be concluded, that gravitation must have been selected by Divine wisdom out of an infinity of other laws, as being the most simple, and that which gives the greatest stability to the celestial motions.111 Somerville did not intend theology to be a part of science, much less the doing of science. In her writings, God acts as a guarantor of stability, not si mply as first cause. In effect, the intelligibility of science rests on this guarantee. No developmental system appeared in Mechanism of the Heavens Somerville did refer to the planets initial momentum when projected into space, but th e focus is all on change within stability as an eternal cycle of sine and cosine embodied within that grand cycle which probably embraces millions of years, yet they never will exceed what is requisite for the stability and 110 There was isolated theological opposition to this approach. Dean Cockburn of York Cathedral denounced Somerville by name for her position on geology after her publication of Physical Geology in 1848. See Personal Recollections 375. This episode is also reco unted in Andrew Dickson Whites History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (New York, 1922), 1:224. White used Somerville as an example of church control over science. In fact there was a broad range of views amongst geologizing churchmen and churchmen who commented on science. For further information see John M. Lynch (ed.) Creationism and Scriptural Geology, 18171857 (Bristol, 2002). By 1839, evangelist and science popularizer Rosina Zornlin could take for granted a nonScriptural geological timeframe in Recreations in Geology (London, 1839). In 1851, the physicist David Brewster, in a speech saturated with natural theology, went as far as to say of fossil geology that the bones, and the integuments, and the meanest products of animal life have thus become sainted relics showing both matchless skill and benevolent adaptation of God. Address Delivered to the Members of the Edinburgh Philosophical Institution, 1851, in The Importance of Literature to Men of Business (London, 1852), 323. Fyfe, in Science and Salvation argues that at least one section of th e religious community, the evangelicals, did not oppose the sciences, but were concerned by the ways science was presented and interpreted. 111 Somerville, Preliminary Dissertation, vxiii.


78 harmony of the whole.112 Developmental systems could only ex ist on earth, within the historicaleconomic basis of Smith and Millar and could only apply to humans.113 For Brougham, Somerville, Dick, and Playfair, knowledge of science was means and ends, change and stability, an arena in which pressing cultural problems might be hashed out. A single system of knowledge encompassed astronomy, go vernment, and political economy, all under the same laws. Astronomy, or rather more narrowly the mechanism by which the heavens worked, was important specifically because of the su ccess of Newton and his followersthe last and greatest of whom was Laplacein creating a unif ied, law-like system in which change was encompassed within stability and certaint y. Playfair, in his 1808 review of the Mcanique Cleste for the Edinburgh Review, wrote how anarchy and misrule are eternally proscribed in a project founded by Newton and completed by Laplace, and marks the highest point to which man has yet ascended in the scal e of intellectual attainment. 114 Language was an important part of the pr oject, and Brougham applied the language of science to many topics. Brougham managed to combine liberal progressive hopes with the certainties of astronomy. [T]he time is approaching (not rapidly, or by violent changes, but slowly and quietly, like all those arrangements of nature which tend to the substantial improvement of the species), when the es tablishment of equal rights, and rational systems of regular government over the w hole of Europe, shall reduce to complete order all the circumstances that a ffect the intercourse of nations; so as to subject their whole movements to certain general and invariab le laws, to reduce every eccentricity of course, and to correct all accidental inequalities or alterations in the system.115 112 Ibid., xii, xv The ether, which Somerville accepted as given, might in tim e act as a braking force, but not on any time scale known to humans. 113 See chapters three and four for more on this. 114 Playfair Review of Laplace, Mcanique Celeste The Works of John Playfair 4:316, 317. 115 Brougham, Balance of Power, Works of Henry Lord Brougham 8:28.


79 The language reduced the principles of gove rnment to the certainties of astronomynot via the specific laws of gravity but via equally po werful laws of society. This association of the knowable and ordered universe with society was attractive to progressives such as Somerville and Brougham. Science, particularly the determinis tic science of Laplace, could be used both to characterize society and to underpin the progres s so central and esse ntial to Somervilles conception of society. Harnessing this science to successfully run in tandem with a specifically British version of natural theology was Somervilles triumph.116 The text of the Preliminary Dissertation went far beyond the scope of Laplaces Mcanique Celeste and Somervilles mathematical translation, e xplication, and clarification. It gave readers without mathematical experience an up-to-date pict ure of the state of phys ical sciences. Without Laplace, Brougham, and Somervilles translation of Mcanique Celeste this work would likely never have been published, nor, if published, ha d the same impact. The partnership between mathematical aspects of astronomy and the br oader state of science proved particularly successful for Somerville. Herschel regarded it as by far the best condensed view of the Newtonian philosophy which has yet appeared.117 The work also impressed mathematicians. Using Laplaces work as a template, the mathematician Augustus de Morgan told So merville he hoped she would soon expand her Preliminary Dissertation and write a Systm du Monde for your Mcanique Celeste on a still wider plan than that ad opted in the Introduction.118 Somerville did go on to write On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences (1834) where, using the la test research, she included 116 See chapter three for details of how the certainties of astronomy guaranteed human progress. 117 John Herschel, Review of Mechanism of the Heavens The Quarterly Review 47 (1831): 550. In Collected Works, 1: (no pagination). 118 Augustus de Morgan to Somerville, November 22, 1831, c. 370, MSD-3.


80 gravitation, planetary orbits, sate llites, the earth, tides, molecula r forces, weather, sound, light, heat, plant and animal distributi on, and electricity and magnetism. Connexion brought the researches of people such as Michael Faraday before a broad audience and, given that this material as a cohesive whole was not even taught in universities, helped define physics in Britain by the subjects included in its remit.119 Thus science as a whole, mathematicians, ad vanced students at Cambridge University, and a public interested in science benefitted from Broughams request for a translation of Mecanique Cleste. The translation, by both putting Laplaces work into English and making it more comprehensible, aided British mathematics and brought Somerville public fame, a fate few female translators were lucky e nough to experience in their lifetime. As a translation, and as a translation by a woman, it played a role in the decline of science debate in Britain. By placing Laplaces work within the familiar context of natural theology, and by using the language of wonder and the sublime, Somerville created an audience that, if not able to understand the mathematics, proved predisposed to a completely deterministic world view that was inevitably progressive and guaranteed by Gods benevolen ce. Astronomical stability equated social stability. Herschel, in his review of Mechanism of the Heavens for the Quarterly Review focused on the theme of stability. Newton, he wrote, could have formed no idea of the stability of the solar system, of the limits of change which disallow the subversion of any essential feature of that happily balanced order. This noble theorem forms a beautiful and animated comment on the cold and abstract announcement of the general la w of gravitation. Herschel then imagined a 119 See Secords introduction to Collected Works, 4:ix. Secord adds that the book pl ayed a role in the debates about the wave theory of light and became a key work in transforming the natural philosophy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries into the physics of the nineteenth, ix.


81 thousand systems equally subject to law but which would have ended in destruction or proved hostile to life where a succession of changes re ducible to no apparent rule; variety without progressive improvement and seasons of capricious temperature; planets and moons of portentous size and aspect, glaring and disappearing at uncertain in tervals, and every aspect of the system wearing the appearan ce of anarchy though obeying the la ws of gravity. To this he opposed our own world with its orderly a nd established returns of phenomena and the impossibility of it, in its natural progress tu rning into such a badly behaved planet. In our system, with its moderate amount of the eccentric ities and inclinations, and in the individual attachment and allegiance of each member to its immediate superior, we must look to the safeguards of this glorious arrang ement. Herschel gave an example of a lack of such safeguards, where if the earth and Mars formed a system similar to the earth and moon, a collision would likely occur which would afford a tragic epoch in the history of so ill-adjusted a system.120 A despotic yet stable system without any pe rturbations and with undeviating orbits and unalterable periods is mathematically possibl e, moving through the same unvarying round for ever. Our more preferable system, moving in spi rals of excessive intricacy has its laws, which distinguish it from confusion, and its lim its, which preserve it from degenerating into anarchy. This stability, which appears at first sight pregnant only with subversion and decay, is ultimately based on the master-workman.121 William Whewell, in reviewing On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences (1834) also connected astronomy to stability and poked fun at the French for their fears of a disordered and dangerous heavens produced by the close passag e of a comet in 1832. The apprehenhensions 120 Herschel, Review of Mechanism of the Heavens 538-9. 121 Ibid., 540-1.


82 with regards to Bielas comet, which were entertai ned by our neighbors, tout le monde of Paris, were of a kind somewhat peculiar. The arrival of the comet, with its fiery train, produced a commotion scarcely inferior to that which was excited among the good people of Strasburg by the stranger in the red-plush in expressibles. Greater than th e fear of burning, poisoning, or drowning, was the terror excited by the combination of terms pertubations and orbite de la terre. Whewell added that in response to the fears, Arago wrote an article to calm the panic arising from these horrible imaginings.122 Several of the Scots reformersBrougham, Je ffrey, Sir James Mackintoshcarried on the ideas of men such as Dugald Stewart in the pages of the Edinburgh Review In 1809 Jeffrey wrote on the need for balance between the differe nt parts of governmentthe three branches of the legislature, the king, the commons and th e lords, and how dis tractions and dreadful conclusions would eventuate if that balance wa s not maintained. Give the yeomanry too much power in the Commons and the result would be anarchy, for the kings and Lords would join in opposition and reject bills from the Commons. Pr esumably, too much power on the other side would lead to despotism. In 1820, Sir James Mackintosh took up the same arguments in the Edinburgh Review .123 Liberal Scots and their ideas found a ready home in Holland House, the aristocratic center of English Whiggery.124 The heavens and government were not interchang eable, but both were part of deterministic law-like systems and parallels between the two might be made in discussions about stability and 122 William Whewell, Review of On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences The Quarterly Review 51, no. 101 (1834): 58. Inexpressibles was the euphemistic word for breeches; the strangers sartorial taste startled Strasburgs inhabitants. 123 Francis Jeffrey, Parliamentary Reform, Edinbu rgh Review, 14 (1809): 300. Cited in Chitnis, The Scottish Enlightenment, 108; 115. 124For the Scottish influence on Holland House, see Stewart, Henry Brougham and, especially, Chitnis, The Scottish Enlightenment


83 certainty. In addition, knowledge of the heav ens and knowledge of government, and knowledge of a more general description would improve the morals, expand the u nderstanding, and refine the taste of the population. As such it became pa rt of the developmental approach inherited by many early nineteenth-century Scottish re formers, who linked commerce, knowledge, and increasing prosperity.125 Response to Mechanism Despite several suggestions to do so, including from the reviewer of the Literar y Gazette Somervilles Preliminary Dissertation was never separately published in Britain, though it was pirated in the United States. Her next book, Connexion of the Physical Sciences, did incorporate and expand on the Preliminary Dissertation. Several heavy hitters in the l iterary journal world reviewed Mechanism of the Heavens : the Monthly Review the Journal des Savans, the Athenaeum the Royal Astronomical Society in its Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society the Edinburgh Review, the Quarterly Review and the Literary Gazette .126 The Athenaeum provided the only negative review, mocking Somervilles attempts, admitting th at while Somerville is a person of very extraordinary talents she had r ashly undertaken and imperfectly completed the work and that 125 Scottish Enlightenment thinkers such as Smith and Millar were not historical determinists in the sense of believing progress inevitable (see Broadie, The Scottish Enlightenment, 77). Their inheritors arguments, however, did assume a deterministic cast; much of this served purely polemical purposes, but it is likely that the determinism emphasized by Laplace influenced them. For example, Br ougham wrote of the spread of political liberties as inevitable even in counties where arbitrary power deems itse lf most secure. In England, any attempt to check its progress would only bring about the sudden destruction of him who should be insane enough to make it. Works of Henry Lord Brougham 8:463; ibid., 434. Brougham wanted political economy discussed in Mechanics Institutes and produced as part of cheap tracts, believing that true knowledge of population, wages, and their role in commerce and manufacturing would lead the working classe s into greater harmony with the middle classes and, along with Whiggish political principles, lead to the good order of society. Ibid., 423. 126 Both the Edinburgh Review and the The Quarterly Review were serious periodicals that covered a broad range of topics, including science. Politically, the Edinburgh Review was Whig while the Quarterly was Tory. John Herschel reviewed Mechanism of the Heavens for the Quarterly Thomas Galloway for the Edinburgh Review, and the French savant Jean Baptiste Biot for the Journal des Savans The other reviewers are not known. For the many responses in the reviews to Somerville as female author and mathematician, see Neeley, Mary Somerville


84 she had assigned to herself a task considerably beyond [her].127 The Athenaeum reviewer was also the only one to point out that the laboring classes could not read the book. While the Literary Gazette provided only a short review, it highlighted the Preliminary Dissertation which cannot fail to stimulate ma ny readers to pursue for themselves the investigation of the phenomena it describes. Like several of the other reviews, astronomy was put in the context of a subject that elevated the mind above the selfish objects and angry passions of this earth, and taught the wis dom, the power, and the beneficence of God, the Creator of all these things.128 The Monthly Reviews notice of Somervilles work was mostly of long extracts from the book, but also took a similar tack to the Literary Gazette in viewing astronomy as elevating and the study whic h connects man to the First Cause.129 Thomas Galloway, in the Edinburgh Review viewed the great va riety and importance of the subjects of physical astronomy as putting it beyond the purview of the SDUK; instead, Somerville was a benefactor of science for ma king such abstruse analysis more easily understood. Due to its difficulty, Galloway viewed the work as unsuitable for those without a solid background in mathematics, but that the Preliminary Disser tation was eminently calculated to inspire a taste for the pleasures and pursuits of science.130 Historian Claire Brock points out that Mary Somerville relis hed the specialist aspect of her writings and valued the difficulties which prevented the ordinary reader from obtaining ultimate insight into celestial mechanics. Some rvilles work was not useful or improving and she denied her readers ultimate understanding of abstruse concepts and was thus unable to 127 Review of Mechanism of the Heavens Athenaeum, January 21, 1832, 44. 128 Review of Mechanism of the Heavens Literary Gazette December 17, 1831, 807. 129 Review of Mechanism of the Heavens, Monthly Review (January 1832): 141. 130 Thomas Galloway, Review of Mechanism of the Heavens Edinburgh Review 55, no. 109 (1832): 3,7.


85 adhere to the rules of clarity and ex planation requisite for popularization.131 Given its small print run, a price that put it well out of the reach of a wo rking-class man, and its higher mathematics, this was certainly true of Mechanism of the Heavens yet Connexion of the Physical Sciences expanded on the Preliminary Dissertation a nd gave Somerville a broader readership. Despite the very real elitism of Somervilles work, she was associated with the useful knowledge movement. George Birbeck, one of the pillars of the useful knowledge movement and founder of the London Mechanics Institute, wrote to Somerville in 1834, expressing his delight that Somerville planned to attend the anniversary of the Londons Mechanics Institute.132 This association with useful knowledge gave Somerville a place from which to launch her following books. Viscount Mahon counted Somerville as one of those who spread knowledge to others. Mrs. Somerville,is not more remarkable for th e depth and accuracy of her own scientific knowledge, than for the still higher and rarer gifts of making the avenues to that knowledge clear and delightful to others. Mahon also counted the Glasgow astronomer John P. Nichol amongst that company, who had written popular works, which make the first steps in that science easy of attainment, and within the reach of all.133 Yet, Nichol criticized Somerville in his own address to the Stirling School of Arts in his examinati on of popular education an d what it should consist 131 Claire Brock, The public worth of Mary Somerville, British Journal for the History of Science, 39, no. 2 (2006): 255, 256. Brock examines the reception of Somerville s work within the context of political arguments over civil list pensions for literary and scientific figures. Radical MP Charles Buller argued in parliament that since Somervilles work was not or iginal and did not benefit her readers sh e should not receive a pension. Buller, according to Brock was also the author of the scathing review in the Athenaeum. Somerville did receive a pension of two hundred pounds, later raised to three hundred. In his decision for scientific pensions, Prime Minister Robert Peel, a moderate Tory, with a keen interest in mathematic s and sensitive to the decline of science debates, wanted more recognition of science. 132 George Birbeck to Somerville, May 17, 1834, c. 369, MSB-9. The Mechanics Magazine gave Connexion a positive review and recommended it for the hu mble but intelligent mechanic. Review of On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences Mechanics Magazine 20, no. 530 (1834): 442. 133 Lord Mahon, Address Delivered To The Memb ers Of The Manchester Athenaeum, 197-8.


86 of. Take up, for instance, a good and extensive treatise on astronomysay Mrs. Somervilles most excellent treatise on Celest ial Mechanics,turn over its page s, observe them one after the other full of symbols as unintelligible apparently, and uninviting as a work in Arabic,who shall pretend to teach this to a popular audience ? Nichol went on to compare Somervilles work to the mysteries of ancient Egyptia n civilization, only now being unde rstood, which was quite as repellant of the general reader, as Mrs. Somervilles algebra! Seeker s after knowledge, from Nichols perspective, should not need to know hieroglyphics to understand ancient Egyptian in the same way they should not need to know the higher algebra in order to understand something of astronomy. While the first might be unfortunate how much worse to be shut out from an appreciation of that grand Law of Nature, whose discovery we owe to Newton, unless we have mastered the peculiar method of reasoning which enabled him to derive it from other truths.134 Somervilles sin, then, was to exclude people from science. Nichols declaimed that in exposing Astronomyor any similar scienceso that its truths be gene rally understood, we do not teach what is written in that volume of Mrs. Somervilles, or other books of corresponding aim. I say, emphatically, that we do not use such books, because we do not desire to teach what is in them.135 A truly popular teacher in Nichols view takes no tice only of the nature of the Law itself and not the means by which it wa s discovered. Of even more value to Nichol was what might be considered the non-scientific as pects of science: the wonders of the Heavens that almost immediate tracing by Gods finger, by which, through all space and time, his glory and majesty shall be declared! For Nichol, mens hearts shall warm beneath the midnight skies, and feel 134 John P. Nichol, Address Deliv ered at the Soiree of the Stirling School of Arts, on the 10th of January 1849, The Importance of Literature to Men of Business (London, 1852), 217-219. 135 Ibid,. 220.


87 awed by a sense of the order prevailing through th eir august hosts before any accounting of how the science came to be. Higher mathematics were at best unnecessary to reach the essence of astronomy and its awe and grandeur.136 Whereas for Somerville, a complete acquaintance with Physical Astronomy can only be attained by those who are well versed in the higher branches of mathematical and mechanical science: such alone can appreciate the true beauty of the results, and of the means by which these results are obtai ned, and only such people can estimate the delight of arriving at truth, whether it be in th e discovery of a world, or of a new property of numbers.137 A fundamental difference in perspective ex isted between Somerville and Nichol. For Somerville, with her Scottish Enlightenment heritage, works such as Mechanism of the Heavens were the pinnacle of development and required a le isured elite to appreciate and understand. Yet, the mission to educate was as much a part of the Scottish Enlightenment, and Somerville drew on that heritage as well in the Preliminary Dissertation and in her following publications. Unlike Nichol, she did not believe that religious awe and a sublime experience must come before the science. The two approaches marched hand in hand. Nichol, along with August Comte, J. S. M ill, and later Robert Chambers, the anonymous author of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844), and Herbert Spencer, wished an even closer merger between astronomy and society via the nebular hypothesis. Developed during the 1830s through a merger of William Herschels earlier published observations of nebulae with their luminous cloud-like appearanceand Laplace s probabilistic account of the origin of the solar system in 1813, the nebular hypothesis pr ovided a developmental and progressive view 136 Ibid., 219. 137 Somerville, Preliminary Dissertation, vii.


88 of the universe from its birth through the condensa tion of luminous fluid into stars to its current state. Nichol, in his popular writings from 1836 championed this progressive science and its societal equivalent, social reform.138 In this he was not worlds away from Somerville, though Somerville avoided discussion of the nebular hypot hesis as a developmental system in her work, grounding progress against a celes tial background of divinely or dained stability and never explicitly mentioni ng social forces. Exactly where to locate a guarantee for stab ility was under dispute. Nichol preferred progress in his heavens and placed social reform before the more elite science of Somerville in taking his science of progress straight to the masses via his journalism and public lectures.139 In 1836 Nichol wrote of the luminous fluid: Is it too adventurous to guess concerning the meaning of this flickering and bewilder ing mass? What mysteries are hi dden within its enormous bosom! Will it remain amorphous for evera seeming chaos in the midst of orderor is it in progress towards a more perfect organization? Nichol then went on to postulate how the universe evolved from disorder to or der. For Nichol, permanence flow[s] directly out of the hypothesis of nebular generation. 140 This approach gave the origin of th e universe a natura listic aspect, and was at odds with Somervilles divine guara ntor in the Preliminary Dissertation. Nichol saw himself as a spokesman for a progr essive science with e normous implications for societyif individuals unders tood the iron laws of society, vi a such sciences as astronomy, political economy, and statistics, they would be tter understand their ro le, no matter how small, 138 For a thorough discussion of Nichol and the development of the nebular hypothesis see Simon Schaffers The Nebular Hypothesis and the Science of Progress, in History, Humanity, and Evolution ed. James R. Moore (Cambridge, 1989), 131-164. 139 See, for example, Nichols Views of the Architecture of the Heavens (Edinburgh, 1837) and his 1836 article in the Benthamite Westminster Review State of Discovery and Specula tion Concerning the Nebulae. 140 John Pringle Nichol State of Discovery and Speculation Concerning the Nebulae, Westminster Review, 3 and 25, no. 2 (1836): 396, 402.


89 and a more stable and progressive society w ould evolve. Such an approach was common among reformers, including Brougham, and appeared imp licitly in the Prelim inary Dissertation. In Somervilles description of the solar system, not everyone could be the sun or Jupiter. Stability of the solar system and stability of the class system both relied on every object knowing its place. Language was an important part of the project, not only translating from French to English but from one culture to anothe r. In the discussion about pop ular knowledge, landscape metaphors were often used to position scientific know ledge. Whewell, in assessing Somervilles Connexion begins with language and its role in producing a picture in the mind. The result is an extended landscape metaphor of genera l knowledge of science. The long-drawn vistas, the level sunbeam s, the shining ocean, spreading among ships and palaces, woods and mountains, ma y make the painting offer to the eye a noble expanse magnificently occupied; while, even in the foreground, we cannot distinguish whether it is a broken column or a sleeping shepherd which lies on the earth In like manner, language may be so employed that it shall present to us science as an extensive a nd splendid prospect, in which we see the relative positions and bearings of many parts, though we do not trace any portion into exact detailthough we do not obtain from it prec ise notions of optical phenomena, or molecular actions.141 Whewell here describes and approves a wa y of making science known to a broader audience. Nichol, in arguing against Somervilles approach, also used landscape for his purposes. Is yon illustrious pioneer, who has reached a virgin pinnacle, and now is filling his heart with the splendours of the landscape he has won, of no greater service to his race, than by inducing a few to come afte r him, and across rock and marsh to toil also with weary foot, towards a region, on ce thought inaccessible ? Must he send to us no report, no description, no painting, of the grand prospect opened first to his eye, and which, in that case, except with regard to two or three in a generation, can have no relation to humanity?142 Such British tropes of explora tion, missionary service, and th at of moral sojourner fitted easily into understandings of landscape. Scie nce was a part of the British landscape, and 141 Whewell, Review of On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences 55.


90 landscape was a quintessentially British way of characterizing knowledge, so cial and scientific. Landscape, a descriptive approach to characte rizing public knowledge of science, served Somerville as an organizing principle, whic h is the topic of the next chapter. Conclusion Let us return to Grevilles surprise on meeting Somerville. Amongst her friends and acquaintances Somerville was not known as a typical bluestoc king. Scottish physicist David Brewsterto whom Somerville showed parts of the manuscript described Somerville as the most extraordinary woman in Europe. As a Mathematician of the very first rank, she combined her skills with the gentleness of a woman, and all the simplicity of a child.143 Her friend, Maria Edgeworth described Somerville as slightly made, fair hair, pink colour; small grey round, intelligent smiling eyes; very pleasing countenance, remarkably soft voice, strong but well-bred Scotch accent. Somerville was nat urally modest yet with a degree of self possession, not in the least awkw ard and with a prepossessing charm to her manner and not one to induce dread of her superior scientific learning.144 Sydney Smith, who first made his name with the Edinburgh Review knew little about sciencedescribed Somervilles work as Light and stars and nebulae of which I know naught yet said of Somervil le that she avoids all depth in converse. He also viewed Somerville as the social magnet, adding that he would bear the husband for her.145 142 Nichol, Address Delivered at the Soiree of the Stirling School of Arts, 220. 143 University of St. Andrews Library, James David Forbes Papers: David Brewster to J. D. Forbes, September 11, 1829. Cited in Patterson, Mary Somerville, 53. 144 Maria Edgeworth to Miss Ruxton, January 17, 1822, c. 370, MSE-1. 145 Maria Edgeworth to Harriet Edgeworth. C. Colvin, Maria EdgeworthLetters from England 1813-1844 (Oxford, 1971), 60. Cited in Patterson, Mary Somerville, 4. Edgeworth recounted a conversation with Smith in which Smith discussed Somerville.


91 Somerville did have such a reputation as to make it possible for William Makepeace Thackeray to use her in Vanity Fair one of his main characters, Amelia, found herself sometime during the 1830s in company where s ome of the ladies were very blue and wellinformed, reading Mrs. Somerville a nd frequenting the Royal Institution.146 Typically, Somerville discussed scientific topics only amongst scientifically interested friends and acquaintances. Such co nversations gave her deep satisfaction; as late as her eightyeighth year she recounted with pleasure a conve rsation she had with th e physicist John Tyndall. It was an evening of great enjoyment to me who never met with a soul more capable of talking on any branch of science.147 A childhood and young adulthood spent with little support for or approval of her scientific inclin ations must have left her wary in conversation. In addition, Somerville deliberately crafted a domestic persona for herself, one often aided by those who wrote about her. A reviewer of Mechanism of the Heavens wrote that Somervilles mathematics had not interfered with the discha rge of [her] ordinary duties while Herschel added that in the natural and commendable wish to embody her acqui red knowledge in a useful and instructive form she seems entirely to have lost sight of herself.148 In effect, Somervilles science would have to speak for itself, for she, as a woman, co uld not be its spokesman. The result, as Greville shows, occasionally produced surprise and consternation when those who read her works or knew her by reputation first met her. Herschel may have put his finger on the core of Grevilles response. While a man might pursue science for the love of glory, and even meaner and more selfish motives, a woman 146 William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair (London, 1906), 697. 147 Somerville to John Herschel, 26 June 1868. Letter number 376, Herschel Papers, Royal Society. 148 Review of Mechanism of the Heavens, Monthly Review 133; Herschel, Review of Mechanism of the Heavens 548.


92 given to scientific pursuits is unwarped by such base motives. A woman who pursued science at high levels and who was a disinterested worshi pper at that sacred shri ne of science created higher moral expectations than an equivalent man. 149 Astronomy in particular was associated with a moral, uplifting vision and bound up in cultu ral ideas of stability. Greville expected a goddess, not a domesticated Scotswoman who deli ghted in talk of clothes and fashion. For Greville and other non-mathematicians, Somervilles own words mattered. Laplace and his mathematics allowed Somerville to gain public scientific stature and in turn she reflected back a particular vision of the universe; in this sense the Preliminary Dissertation was as important as the translation itself. Newtons wo rk, with its basis in natural theology, was now completed by Laplace and given a renewed groundi ng in a generalized language of natural theology by Somerville. The language of natural theology remained a powerful force for some time in British science. As late as 1851, Scottish physicist David Brewster could give a speech to the Edinburgh Philosophical Institution that di rectly linked theology and astronomy. To know nothing of the planet which is now our home, or of those celestial regions which may yet be our abode, and to remain willingly ignorant of the ve ry elements which we breathe is to do violence to the immortal natures which we inheri t, and to display the most culpable indifference to the future destiny of our being.150 If translation is movement, Somerville hersel f was also physically translated into new contexts. The Royal Society, which rejected the presence of living women, requested a bust of Somerville, made by one of the most fashionable sculptors of the day, Sir Francis Chantrey. Paid for by Somervilles scientific friends and suppor ters and approved of by the president of the 149 Herschel, Review of Mechanism of the Heavens 551. 150 David Brewster, Address Delivered to the members of the Edinburgh Philosophical Institution, in The Importance of Literature to Men of Business (London, 1852), 290.


93 Royal Society, it established an imperisha ble record of Somervilles translation.151 John Murray, Somervilles publisher, regularly gathered writers and artists in his drawing room, such men as Byron, Scott, Moore, Campbell, S outhey, Gifford, Hallam, Lockhart, Washington Irving, and Mrs. Somerville; and, more than this, he invited such artists as Laurence, Wilkie, Phillips, Newton, and Pickersgill to meet them a nd to paint them, that they might hang for ever on his walls.152 Somerville was one of those immorta lized on the walls of Murrays dining room. 151 J. G. Children to William Somerville, February 19, 1832 on the Duke of Sussexs approval of the placing of a bust of Somerville in a meeting room of the Royal Society, c.375, MSDIP-2. The bust also showed the perfect compatibility of the most exemplary discharge of the softer duties of domestic life with the deepest researches in Mathematical Philosophy. The list of subscribers to th e bust included, amongst others: Davies Gilbert, John William Lubbock, John George Children, John Edward Gr ay, William Daniel Conybeare, Marshall Hall, Peter Mark Roget, Hudson Gurney, Francis Baily, William Buckland, Baden Powell, Richard Murchison, Isaac Goldsmid, David Brewster, John Rennie, Charles Babbage, Charles Lyell, Michael Fa raday, Charles Bell, John Herschel, and John Murray. 152 Henry Curwen, A History Of Booksellers, The Old and the New (London, 1873), 180-1. See also Samuel Smiles, A Publisher and His Friends Memoir and Correspondence of John Murray; with an Account of the Origin and Progress of the House, 1768-1843 vol. 1 (London, 1891), 271. Who painted Somerville is not listed, though letters from the Somerville Collection show that Thomas Phillips painted Somervilles portrait. The full names of Murrays authors are: Lord Byron, Sir Walter Sc ott, Thomas Moore, John Campbell, Robert Southey, William Gifford, Henry Hallam, John Gibson Lockhart. The painters are: David Wilkie, Thomas Phillips, Gilbert Stuart Newton, and Henry William Pickersgill. Who Laur ence was is unknown.


94 Figure 2-1. Thomas Phillips, a well-known societ y painter, also painted Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, Sir Jospeh Ba nks, Humphry Davy, and Michael Faraday, amongst others. National Portrait Gallery, London. (Source: Lithograph of Mary Somerville by Mary Dawson Turner (ne Palgrave), after Thomas Phillips, 1830s.)


95 CHAPTER 3 LANDSCAPES OF GEOGRAPHY: SCIENCE, POLITICS, AND ART In 1833 Madam e de Laplace, the widow of th e famous mathematician, took Somerville on a visit to a French estate. Somerville, with her two daughters, was on an extended visit to France, where they mingled with many of the established scientific figures of the day. Somerville found herself charmed and described the park as bei ng English in style, very handsome and richly planted and entirely of grass[,] a rare thing in France where there is so little verdure it is done with infinite taste and must have been at a gr eat expense, quite in E nglish style of luxury, hothouses, hot-beds, fruit walls, flowers and in the park shady and grassy walks for summer, sheltered and gravel walks for winter. During this period Somerville also visited Jean-Jacques Rousseaus house and viewed the table on which he had written The New Eloise She and her daughters went for a long walk around Montmore ncy, and her daughters insisted on finding milk fresh from the cow to drink. 1 For Somerville landscaped gardens, landscape pa intings and their aesthetics, and wild nature combined to form her unde rstanding of the social and the natural world, an understanding evident in Somervilles third published book, Physical Geography (1848), which continued the focus on connections that began with Connexion of the Physical Sciences Unlike the best-known physical geographer, Alexander von Humboldt, Somerville never tr aveled to many of the places she discussed, nor did she carry out the kinds of experiments that historian Susan Faye Cannon described as Humboldtian scienc e, the collection of masses of data, carefully measured, and covering everything from worldwide geoma gnetic measurements to meteorological 1 Somerville to William Somerville, May 31, 1833, c. 362, MSIF-12.


96 measurements on land and sea.2 Instead, like many popularizers, she made use of the results of the men (almost always) who made those measurements. The nineteenth-century subject of physical geography covered far more than geography today. Somerville defined it as: a description of the earth, th e sea, and the air, with th eir inhabitants animal and vegetable, of the distribution of these organized beings, and the causes of that distribution. Political and ar bitrary divisions are disreg arded, the sea and the land are considered only with resp ect to those great features that have been stamped upon them by the hand of the Almighty, and man himself is viewed but as a fellowinhabitant of the globe with other created things, yet influencing them to a certain extent by his actions, and influenced in return.3 A shorter definition was given by Henry Holla nd, a reviewer of the first edition of Physical Geography He described it as that bran ch of science which embraces all matter, in all its forms of existence, organized or inorganic, forming the great globe on which we dwell .4 Such a broad definition included geology, natural hi story, astronomy, meteorology, and oceanography. Rather than being a compilation of topics, Physical Geography is a synthesis, based on the work of individual explorers such as Joseph Pentland, men embedded in national institutions such as the British navys Edward Sabine and the United States Navys Matthew Maury, the scientific figures who were part of Somervilles networ k of correspondents, and the growing number of 2 Susan Faye Cannon, Science in Culture: The Early Victorian Period (New York, 1978). See chapter three, Humboldtian Science, for a description of this approach. As an example, Cannon gives Humboldt's 1807 essay where he pointed out that the study of fossil plant dist ribution enabled one to trace the ancient connection of continents, the primordial history of the globe, (83). Such a study would have to include meteorology, geology, astronomy, and botany. 3 Mary Somerville, Physical Geography 2nd. edition (London, 1849), 1. Later editions were to begin with a definition of physical geography, possibly as a result of a m ild criticism by Henry Holland in his review of the first edition. Holland wrote, There is a certain deficiency in this portion of Mrs Somerville's work. She enters too abruptly on her theme, without due definition of its objects, or adequate notice of the great preliminaries we have just mentioned. Review of Physical Geography The Quarterly Review 83, no. 166 (1848): 310. 4 Holland, Review of Physical Geography, 306.


97 scientific books and journals. Physical Geography was the second most popular of Somervilles books, running through seven editions, with a to tal print run of 16,000 copies in Britain.5 Physical Geography furnishes a strong example of the interconnections and influences of culture on the science of the da y, specifically among Romanticism, imperialism, industry, and science. Somervilles Romanticism grew out of her childhood experiences of nature and from her interactions with the products of the Scottish Enlightenment. In addition, her British upper-class understandings of how landscape sh aped political, emotional, and scientific views of nature ended up in her work.6 This Romanticism, combined with her love of animals, predisposed her to see not only natures influe nce on humanity, but also humanitys influence on nature. Her political views in general grew out of opposition to the Tory hegemony in Edinburgh in the late eighteenth century and the common social injusti ces of the time. Somervilles Romanticism was of the kind that lauded progresscommercial, scientific, and industr ialyet lamented the destruction of particular kinds of man-made lands capes, and also showed th e beginnings of what 5 Secord, Collected Works 5:xi. Most popular was On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences with 17,500 copies; see Secords introduction to Connexion in Collected Works 4:xi. The second to last edition of Physical Geography (1870) was revised by the naturalist and traveler, Henry Walter Bates, who had travelled to South America with Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-discover, with Darwin, of evol ution by natural selection. The last edition (1877) has no editor listed, though a Richardson appears in the publisher's accounts. (Ledger G, p.415, John Murray Archive). British editions are as follows, April 1848, June 1849, April 1851, February 1858, November 1862, May 1870, April 1877. Editions were also published in the Unites States by Blanchard and Lea, though Somerville never received payment for these editions. The bo ok was also translated into German and Italian and went through at least two editions in Italy. 6 While it is not known if Somerville read any of the major Romantic figuresthough she adored Lord Byrons poetryRalph Waldo Emerson records meeting and speaking with her in London in his English Traits (London: 1857), 165. In 1817, on her first trip to the continent Somerville met Alexander von Humboldt in Paris. In 1824, on a brief trip to the continent following the death of her el dest daughter, Somerville met Humboldt in Bonn, where she also met Wilhelm Schlegel. Humboldts second volume of Kosmos appeared the year before Somervilles Physical Geography which alarmed Somerville. She thought of burning the manuscript, but John Herschel again acted as guide and reassured her. On publication of the second edition of Physical Geography in 1849, Somerville sent a copy to Humboldt, who responded that Somervilles work was better suited to English readers, while his was better suited to German. Alexander von Humboldt to Somerville, July 12, 1849, c. 370 MSH-6 and Somerville, Personal Recollections 287-8.


98 we today would consider environmental awareness combined with a belief in humanitys right to make use of nature. Today, it is considered a truism that the scien ce of empire lay at the center of nineteenthcentury geography.7 In his introduction to the facsimile of the first edition of Physical Geography James Secord writes of the book that It is at once a significant contribution to geology and natural history and an endorseme nt of the virtues of civilization and empire.8 What exactly made up Somervilles conceptions of civilization and empi re and the place of science will be discussed in this chapter, while th e ways in which empire acted as a guarantor for the circulation of science, technology, and progr ess will be discussed in the next chapter. Certainly, styles of empire underwent cha nge throughout the century. During most of Somervilles life, India was the focus of empire, and she died before the scramble for Africa and the more aggressive forms of imperialism a llowed by technology colore d the nature of the British Empire.9 Closer to home, India played a role in her family that Somerville was well aware ofa brother, uncles, and a nephew all served in India. Further, imperialism in the form of commerce affected her. In Physical Geography, Somerville embeds commercethe lifeblood of empirein science and industry. All were grounded in a strong assumption of progress. For Somerville, the certainty of progress did not come from the actions and discoveries of individuals, but from society a nd from the new science of social statistics. Ensuring progress had 7 See Felix Driver, Geography Militant: Cultures of Exploration and Empire (Oxford, 2001); Visions of Empire: Voyages, Botany, and Representations of Nature, eds. David Philip Miller and Peter Hanns Reill, (Cambridge, 1996); Tony Ballantyne, Science, Empire and the European Exploration of the Pacific (Burlington, Vt., 2004); Geography and Imperialism, 1820-1940 eds. Morag Bell, Robin A. Butlin and Michael Heffernan (Manchester, 1995). 8 Secord, introduction to Physical Geography in Collected Works 5:ix. 9 The scramble for Africa took off in the last quarter of the nineteenth century See Daniel Headrick's The Tentacles of Progress: Technology Transfer in the Age of Imperialism, 1850-1940 (New York, 1988) for the new technologies that allowed the European empires of Britain, France, and Germany to move into Africa.


99 a price in the partial lo ss of individual free will, but it was a price worth paying. The certainty of progress is constant throughout Somervilles work, yet her private correspondence shows a woman who was a close observer of the trials and tribulations of Britain and its empire, perhaps especially so after her move to Italy in 1838. These tribulations, such as the Catholic Aggression of 1850, Russian imperial designs, and even the growing power of the United States, led her to privately question the inevitab ility of progress, at least from the British perspective.10 Historians have not paid significant attention to locating the influences on Physical Geography Elizabeth Patterson barely mentioned Physical Geography, focusing, as she did, on Somervilles years at the center of scientific lif e in Britain. Patterson did an excellent job of locating Somerville within the scientific culture of the day, but in general she ignored the role of science as part of the wider public culture. In addition, Patterson provided only one final and very short chapter on Somervilles life after l eaving London, titled Outside the Mainstream of Science. Pattersons perspective, moreover, is fo cused solely on the persona l practice of science within a scientific community, rather than any cultural transmission of science. She wrote that, The wonder is that Mary Somerville did any science at all after leaving England. But she continued with her studies and her work, under great disadvantage and far removed from the scene of discoveries and researches.11 Here the concept of place plays an important role; scientific work is best conducted in a location that is filled with others doing the same kind of work. Science can only take place in certain lo cations that play host to networks of people 10 The Catholic Aggression was the term used by those who opposed Pope Pius IX reestablishing the Catholic hierarchy in England, a hierarchy which had been disestablished in the sixteenth century. See chapter six for Somervilles views on Catholicism within the context of progress. 11 Patterson, Mary Somerville, 193.

PAGE 100

100 engaged in the talking about and the doing of science. Dinner partie s, letters, visits, all play a part in the transmission of scien ce within a scientific community. Ironically, then, Physical Geography, a book written and updated for new editions mainly in Italy did prove successful. Of course, it was not an original work of research, but Somerville remained reliant on her scientific connections for much of the information she incorporated into the book and occasionally complained about the lack of scientific society while living in Italy. Later, the book was also intended for use as a textbook in Great Britain, the United States, and India and might be considered to have a greater influence on science in te rms of the education of future scientists than her more mathemati cal work, which was written and published while Somerville still lived in London. Thus, a broader conception of science practice than simply localization in scientific centers such as London is essential in studying Somervilles work. Marie Sanderson, in her article on Somervilles Physical Geography, focuses specifically on Somervilles science in the book, es pecially meteorology and climatology.12 J. N. L. Baker gives a history of physical geography as a discip line in the nineteenth century and Somervilles place within that developing discipline.13 Katherine Neeley devotes a chapter to Physical 12 Marie Sanderson, Mary Somerville: Her Work in Physi cal Geography, Geographical Review, 64, no. 3 (1974): 410-420. As part of a general overview of her life, Sander son discusses Somerville's conception of a heat budget and her recognition of the importance of solar energy. 13 J. N. L. Baker, Mary Somerville and Geography in England, The Geographical Journal, 111, no. 4/6 (1948): 207-222. While Somerville complained of plagiarism in her fifth edition as a reason why her books had not sold as well as they ought, Baker places the issue not in the nu mber of physical geography books aimed at a general audience, but rather within the problematic disciplinary boundaries of physical geography itself. Baker writes: The truth was that Mary Somerville's book failed for reasons which could not be known to her when she published it. On the one hand she embarked on an elaborate study of a branch of the subject just at the time when geologists were claiming it as their own and beginning to teach it seriously in English universitie s. It soon ceased to be part of academic geography though geographers continued to talk ab out it and claim it as part of their subject. Baker gives the example of sections at the British Association for th e Advancement of Science, where at first Geology and Geography appeared as one section. In 1839 Section C, formerly Geology and Geography, became Geology and Physical Geography. The change clearly suggests a not unnatural conflict of interests in the section as originally constituted. Geography does not appear as a separate Section (E) until 1851... Thus physical geography became divorced from geography and when Mary Somervilles book appeared there was no geography. When geography was revived it was as a popular subject concerned largely with travel and exploration. Academic geography, in

PAGE 101

101 Geography a chapter which also includes Somervilles final book on science, On Molecular and Microscopic Science While Neeley does give a description of the contents of the book, her focus remains on Somervilles use of language, the rhet oric of science borrowed from the eighteenthcentury scientific poetsthe id ea that science was a pathway to God, a form of elevated meditation, and that detailed examination of natu re revealed the intricacy, drama, harmony, and beauty that God had incorporated into the design of universe.14 While this rhetoric is a powerful force in Somervilles writing, there rema in other influences worth examining. In terms of structure, this chapter uses l andscapes as its orga nizing principle. Here, landscape operates in three different ways: the physical landscapes of the world, the sociocultural landscapes of Somervilles life, and lands cape as an aesthetic approach to the world. I begin with the physical landscape of Some rvilles youth and aspects of the Scottish Enlightenment that influenced her, move to th e political landscape of Edinburgh, with examples of her political inclinations la ter in life, and then combine th ese to develop Somervilles own ideas of physical landscapes and the picturesque. I will then attempt to tie together aspects of Somervilles thought that appears in Physical Geography, specifically Romanticism, its emphasis on unity, and its connections to landscape, and will touch on how Somerville embedded progress in the physical landscape of commerce, industry, morality, science, and empire. The moral aspects of science in Somervill es work drew some of their power from the moral and aesthetic values em bedded in ideas of landscape. turn, became little more than political geography. (215 -217). Not until after Somerv ille's death did geography become a discipline in its own right. 14 Neeley, Mary Somerville, 130-1.

PAGE 102

102 Landscapes of Youth The physical lands cape surrounding her childhood influenced Somervilles approach to nature for the rest of her life. Burntisland, the young Somervilles home, was a quiet seaport opposite Edinburgh and at the time little touched by industry. Somerv illes later recollections of the area give it an almost idyllic quality: townsp eople pasturing their cattle on the grassy plains east of the town, heather covered hi lls, and a bay with a sandy beach.15 While chores, such as feeding the poultry, picking fruit for preserving, and looking after th e dairy were a necessary part of the young Somervilles life, along with a spell at a boarding sc hool in Musselburgh, sufficient time was left to wander along the seashore and around the countryside. Reading Somervilles recollections of her time spent wa ndering gives a sense of almost absolute freedom. It must be remembered, however, that Somerville wrote her autobiography in the last years of her life, and she lived to ninety-two. While a golden glow of nostalgia is li kely, there are other aspects of her early life in which her descriptions are far less ro sy, such as her life at boarding school, where schoolmates regularly bathed her eyes to hide the evidence of her crying. Nonetheless, whatever her real feelings at the time, whether loneliness at the lack of socially suitable friends or undiluted happiness at escaping from her sc hool, Somervilles wanderings gave her an experience of nature that was direct and not mediated via other people. Sh e wrote: I never cared for dolls, and had no one to play with me. I am used myself in the garden, which was much frequented by birds. I knew most of them, their flight and their habits.16 This love of birds continued throughout her life; late in life Somerville desc ribed the sorrow she felt at the death of 15 Somerville, Personal Recollections 10. 16 Ibid., 18.

PAGE 103

103 a pet sparrow, which she had trai ned to sit on her shoulder and eat out of her mouth, a subject that will be followed up in chapter six. Somervilles father spent a significant amount of time tending his flowers, which were given the prime spots in the garden, yet the garden was not simply a place of beauty, for it also fed the family with its fruit trees and vegetables Utility was matched with pleasure. In addition, nature itself could be improved. When the grass in front of the house was considered lacking because it did not form a fine even turf, it was dug up and sown with better seed. Yet, even here, nature was not something passive that was simply acted on by peopleSomerville recollected how the new and better grass was accompanied by unwanted thistles and groundsel, which in turn attracted large numbers of goldf inches, birds that Somerville enjoyed watching. Somerville grew up with a sense of nature as something to be acted on and something which acted in its own right.17 Somerville described her young childhood as being allowed to grow up a wild creature.After a year spent confined within a boarding school between th e ages of eleven and twelve which she hated, Somerville returned ho me and was like a wild animal escaped out of a cage.18 The use of the term wild suggests untame d, that there were no limits placed on how she experienced the world around her. Somerville now ranged far beyond the garden and explored the countryside on her own. She spent h ours wading in rock pools examining starfish and sea urchins, making collections of shells and of plant fossils, co llecting birds eggs, and learning the common names of all the plants ar ound. Somerville writes of her fossil collecting: There was a small pier on the sands for shipping limestone brought from the coal mines inland. I was astonished to see the su rface of these blocks of stone covered 17 Ibid., 18, 15-6. 18 Ibid., 17, 25.

PAGE 104

104 with beautiful impressions of what seemed to be leaves; how they got there I could not imagine, but I picked up the broken bits, and even large pieces, and brought them to my repository.19 This repository included seashells and birds e ggs. Watching marine life, writes Somerville, gave curiosity and amusement to an otherwise lonely life. She waded amongst seaweed and, with a few exceptions, knew the names of none, t hough I was well acquainte d with and admired many of these beautiful plants.20 Learning clearly was not necessary to a deep appreciation of nature. Nature could also be terrifying. Somervi lle dreaded lightning and thunder, and when watching the magnificent displays of the Aurora which frequently occurred, they seemed to be so nearly allied to lightning that I was somewhat afraid of them. At an earlier period of my life there was a comet, which I dreaded exceedingly.21 Somervilles unlearned experience of nature was of power, beauty, and human interaction. The landscape and its natural treasures of fossils and shells also helped provide the curiosity th at was such a feature of Somerville throughout her life. At the age of thirteen or fourteen, Somerville visited Jedburgh and for the first time met her uncle-by-marriage, Thomas Somerville, minist er of the Scottish church at Jedburgh, who became her father-in-law on the occasion of her second marriage. Of the experience, Somerville wrote: For the first time in my life, I met in my uncle, a friend who approved of my thirst for knowledge.22 In such an accommodating setting, So merville was again exposed to the proximity of the beautiful and the useful. The mini sters garden was full of vegetables and fruit 19 Ibid., 25. 20 Ibid., 26. 21 Ibid., 30. 22 Ibid., 37.

PAGE 105

105 trees, some so old that it was said they ha d been planted by the monks of Jedburgh Abbey, historic inhabitants of the fine ancient abbey which borde red the familys garden and which still served as the parish church (see image at end of chapter).23 The eighteenth century had seen a tremendous in crease in interest in architectural relics. Antiquarians sought to preserve the past a nd were soon followed by well-off travelers who wanted to enjoy the scenery. By the end of the eighteenth century certain landscapes had become well-known in their own right, su ch as Tintern Abbey and th e Wye Valley, already famous before William Wordsworth wrote Lines, writte n a few miles above Tintern Abbey. In this approach to nature, nature becomes more than simply a physical landscape, it becomes a vital part of mental life, or, as Stephen Hebron desc ribes Wordsworths poetic response, not only a meditation on the past but also a confident look to the future, and the landscape becomes part of the interplay between the poets memories and the progre ss of his thoughts. It is a declaration of faith, a visionary belief in the sustaining power of the natural world .24 Wordsworth wrote his poem a few years afte r Somervilles first visit to Jedburgh, but by that time emotional responses to landscapes we re common. Of course, it is also likely that Somerville, writing late in life, cast this kind of landscape in a stronger light than when she first experienced it. Yet, this is also the point that Hebron makes, that landscapes could be used and later reused by memory to influence emotions. 23 Ibid., 38. 24 Stephen Hebron, The Romantics and the British Landscape (London, 2006), 16,17. In chapter three, Hebron describes the changing view of Scotland; the English in the first half of the eighteenth century viewed Scotland as possessed of two evilsa miserable climate and miserable inhabitants. By the end of the eighteenth century, Scotland was viewed as a picturesque destination, a pl ace of unspoiled simplicity. The Scottish literature that appealed to travelers in the latter part of the eighteenth an d early nineteenth century included that of Walter Scott, Robert Burns, and Ossian.

PAGE 106

106 Views of the ruined abbey combined with th e Jed valley gave Somerville a rich visual experience. Of the Jed valley, she wrote: The precipitous banks of red sandstone are richly clothed in ve getation, some of the trees ancient and very fine, especially the magnificent one called the capon tree, and the lofty king of the wood, remnants of the fine forests which at one time had covered the country. An inland scene was new to me, and I was never tired of admiring the tree-crowned scaurs or precipices, where the rich glow of the red sandstone harmonized so well with the autumnal tints of the foliage.25 Such experiences provided a view of nature and the landscapes of that nature that influenced her for the rest of her life. Of a t our of the Scottish Highlands as a young adult, she wrote of herself as a great admirer of the poe t Ossian and viewed the grand and beautiful scenery with awe; and my father, who was of a romantic disposition, smiled at my enthusiastic admiration of the eagles as they soared above the mountains.26 Ossian was a powerful cultural influence in the last third of the of the eighteenth century, and even into the nineteenth and twentieth century. What are described as the Ossianic publications include: Fragments of Ancient Poetry, (1760), Fingal (1762), Temora, (1763), and The Works of Ossian, the Son of Fingal (1765). At the time of publica tion they were generally accepted as authentic translations into English of the songs of third-century Gaelic bards. Controversy as to their authenticity soon erupted however, with the most famous doubter being Samuel Johnson, who in the 1770s launched an atta ck on James Macpherson, the translator of the Gaelic poetry, and whom Johnson cons idered a complete cheat. In 1805, the Report on Ossian showed that whatever McPherson had produced, it was certainly not a literal translation. It is generally accepted today that Macpherson s work ranged from something approaching 25 Somerville, Personal Recollections 39. 26 Ibid., 66.

PAGE 107

107 conventional translation through free adaptation, loosely based on authentic plots and incidents, to complete fabrication.27 By the early nineteenth centur y, despite the general acceptanc e that these works were not simple translations, they remained popular and in fluential. Macphersons work influenced the German Romantics, including H lderlin, Herder, and Goethe.28 Also influenced were some of the English Romantic poets such as William Wordsworth, although he later repudiated the Ossianic influence. Walter Scott, despite rec ognizing the question of au thenticity, wrote of the Ossianic publications as be ing immensely influential on European poetry of the era.29 What explains such influence, not only on major litera ry figures but also on such unimportant people as the young Mary Somerville? John Dwyer argue s that the poems fuelled important sociocultural fires which could perhaps be dampened but not easily extinguished by accusations of forgery.30 In other words, Macphersons work reflected (and also influenced) late 27 Howard Gaskill, Introduction to Ossian Revisited ed. Howard Gaskill (Edinburgh, 1991), 6. Also published in 1805 and influential in destroying the authenticity of the Ossianic publications was The Poems of Ossian by Malcolm Laing, which examined Macphersons work for modern influences. Gaskill locates the origins of the Ossianic publications with the rise of the Scottish Enlightenment, with Macpherson motivated by a desire to preserve the literary patrimony of the Highlands for a culture badly damaged by the Jacobite rebellion and also to show the world that Scotlandconsidered in the main as ba rbaric by the English for the first half of the eighteenth centurydid have a valuable culture worth preserving. Richard Sher argues that some of the strident opposition to Macpherson and his supporters was due to anti-Scottish sentiment amongst the English. This was based on religion since the Scots tended to be Presbyterians or Catholic ra ther than Anglican, and also on resentment at Scottish success (all the more remarkable given that the battle at Culloden, which broke the Jacobi te rebellion, was fought in 1746), exemplified by the Scottish Enlightenment, the popul arity of Scottish writers such as John Home, pensions given to Scotsmen such as David Hume, and the success of Scots in England. Sher writes that a key component of this national prejudice was the belief that the Scots constituted a conspiracy or a cabal to advance their own interests at the expense of all other . Sher, Percy, Shaw, and the Ferguson Cheat, Ossian Revisited, 213. 28 Gaskill, Ossian Revisited, 1-2; Gaskill, Hlderlin and Ossian, London German Studies IV, ed. R. A. Wisbey, 1992 ; Gaskill, German Ossianism: A Reappraisal? German Life and Letters, 42 (1989): 329-4; Uwe Bker, The Marketing of Macpherson: The International book trad e and the first Phase of German Ossian Reception, Ossian Revisited, 73-93. Whether or not Goethe should be considered as part of the Romantic movement as defined by Schelling and the Schlegel brothers, the fact remains that he was an influential figure in it. See, for example, Robert J. Richard's The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe (Chicago, 2002). 29 Fiona J. Stafford, Dangerous Success: Ossian Wordsworth, and English Romantic Literature, Ossian Revisited, 50. 30 John Dwyer, The Melancholy Savage: Text and Context in the Poems of Ossian Ossian Revisited 164.

PAGE 108

108 Enlightenment culture far more than it reflected th ird century Gaelic culture, especially in its use of the sublime and the sentimental, both powerfu l tools of the late Enlightenment in shaping ideas of culture, social relati ons, and relations to nature. The sublime played an important part in Somervilles books. Of Physical Geography, Neeley writes that Somerville puts the reader in the position of spectator or audience at the contest of conflicting forces in nature. Sometimes the theme is explicitly cast as theater Sometimes it is a spectacle of richness, plentitude, and exuberance. Sometimes it is a landscape of desolation. Either way, Somerv ille is able to create a sense of drama and evoke the sublime in her description of natural forces. In nature as epic theater, we see drama, spectacle, and conflict at both the microscopic and macroscopic levels.31 Neeley recognizes the influence of Ossian and writes that th e poems most likely played a formative role in developing [Somerville s] mastery of the scientific sublime.32 Indeed, Hugh Blair, member of the Scottish literati, professo r at Edinburgh University, moderate minister in the Church of Scotland, close fr iend of Somervilles maternal grandfather and admirer of the young Somervilles landscape paintings, was the man w ho did the most to give a critical seal of approval to the poems through his influential preface to Macphersons work. That Ossian is a master of the sublime is evidenced, according to Blair, in those passages in which he demonstrates the for ce of nature or natures man, the mighty Fingal. Sublimity may also be seen in th e entire machinery of the epic, including godlike opponents who shake the ground with their blows; marvellous ghosts whose thundering steps are felt across the oceans; and a natural environment harsh and untamed.33 31 Neeley, Mary Somerville 143. 32 Ibid., 52. Neeley also writes about other possible influences, including Hester Chapones Letters on the Improvement of the Mind (1772), which advised young women on their studies and recommended history as a way of compensating for little personal experience and poetry for encouraging the imagination. 33 Dwyer, The Melancholy Savage, 177.

PAGE 109

109 Yet the Ossianic sublime on its own is unlikely to completely explain Somervilles attachment to the poems. Another possible reason for Somervilles intere st in Ossian was the poems portrayal of the treatment of women, wh at Dwyer describes as a remarkably refined attitude towards the female sex.34 Eighteenth-century readers commented on this aspect of the poem, with Blair, for example, using the term the utmost tenderness in describing how Ossians father spoke about his love for his first wife.35 In these poems affection, respect, trust, and friendship can exist between men and women. Dwyer writes that moderate eighteenth-century Scottish writers and moralists, men such as Blair, were moving away from the earlier focu s on a rather stern civic ethics and towards a greater engagement with feeling and sentimen t, leading to a focus on different kinds of relationships, such as that between parent and children, siblings, fr iends, and, most of all, to that of love between a man and a woman. This bond in the Ossian poems had an ethical aspect and was felt by men such as Blair to have the potential to reconstitute social relations, an approach that would allow a greater cultural space for women.36 In addition, it is likely th at the poems and writings about the poems as part of the Scottish Enlightenment influenced not only Somervilles l iterary techniques but also helped form and reinforce her attitudes to gender, social hierarchies, and relations to nature. Neeley adds that the Ossianic influence on Somerville may well have incl uded that of the sense of nature speaking to 34 Ibid., 168. 35 Hugh Blair, Dr. Blairs Critical Disse rtation on the Poems of Ossian, in The Poems of Ossian (Boston, 1861) 120. 36 Dwyer, The Melancholy Savage, 197. Jessica Riskin in Science in the Age of Sensibility: The Sentimental Empiricists of the French Enlightenment (Chicago, 2002) examines the role of sentiment in Enlightenment France. Sentiment and its uses was not limited to the Scottish Enlightenment.

PAGE 110

110 her [which] seems to have stayed with her throu ghout her lifetime37 Certainly, nature speaks in the Ossianic poems, but peoples actions also speak through the language of nature. For example, during a battle in Ireland agai nst the Scandinavian enemy, F air Ryno as lightning gleamed along: dark Fillan rushed like the shade of autumn. Or, on Rynos death, His son! that was like a beam of fire by night on a hill; when the fo rests sink down in its course, and the traveller trembles at the sound! But the winds drive it be yond the steep. It sinks from sight, and darkness prevails.38 Nature is never unmediated; even when it appears to speak directly, it speaks via Ossian, who is in turn heavily mediated by McPherson. Nature plays a large role in the poems, but it is the bard, Ossi an, who really speaks of, and for, nature. The moral functions of Ossian the bard were of great importance to men such as Blair. It was the ethical combined with the aesthetic func tion of the bard, writes Dwyer, which gave him a particular status in the social group to which he belonged.39 Somerville, in her books, takes on the role of bard, speaking for nature in moral, aesthetic as well as scientific terms. Just as a bard required certain skills to be respected, a nineteenthcentury translator of science required certain skills, skills that could only be developed in a certain kind of society. The kind of society developing in Scotla nd in the second half of the eighteenth century was of great importance to the Scottish literati, including moderate Presbyterian ministers such as Blair, who wrote about issues of rank and authority and sought to defend social hierarchies.40 Ossian was even put to use justifying the va rious stages of society and of its social stratifications, specifically those existing in the second half of th e eighteenth century. 37 Neeley, Mary Somerville 178. 38 Fingal, an Ancient Epic Poem in Six Books (London, 1796), 278, 247. 39 Dwyer, The Melancholy Savage, 180. 40 Ibid., 197.

PAGE 111

111 Macpherson, himself, uses Ossian to differentia te between three different periods of history: early stages of society, such as that of Ossi an, where people were connected to each other through ties of blood and friendship; the middle st ages, where private property caused the decay of these links and the developm ent of artificial links; and, finally, the modern period, which provided security, law, government and a strong social hierarc hy. This period allowed some the leisure to cultivate the mind, and to restore it with reflection, to a primeval dignity of sentiment, and thus linked the first and third periods by completely bypassing the second.41 Such a statement would likely have met with the approval of Somerville, who was a great believer in social hierarchy. The structural underpinnings of scie nce, who could do science, and what was required for science to be produced, was precisely this kind of modern society, which for a few produced freedom from the n eed to pursue money allied to a stable, sophisticated society that could s upport a scientific culture. The ki nd of society characteristic of Macphersons second stage is perhaps represente d in a letter to Somerville from an American acquaintance, Henry Bowditch, after his return to the United States. [T]he atmosphere of America is chiefly com posed of base political partisanship and love of money.Here and there is a [group] of chosen ones who discuss subjects of sublimer import, but they are few and ra dicalism is the epithet applies to them. I would see among our young men that quiet yet earnest state of being, found among students in Europe, where, w ithout undue hope or foolish fear beautiful science is pursued for herself alone.42 For Bowditch, the kind of society Somerville and her scientific friends provided is directly opposed to the vulgarity and pursuit of money. Of course, to pursue scie nce for herself alone required sufficient leisure and money to allow for such reflection, the lack of which proved to be a major problem to Somerville, as will be seen in the next chapter. 41 Ibid., 198. Quotation from James Macpherson, The Works of Ossian, the Son of Fingal (London, 1765), 2:xv.

PAGE 112

112 Somervilles belief in a strong social hier archy to maintain standards comes through clearly in a letter in which she describes her daughters and her own position. I should call them [Mary and Martha Somerville], (and perhaps myself ) aristocratical republicans; they delight in every thing that is liberal, but ar e revolted at the idea of plebian vulgarity; they admire antiquity of family and high blood, but detest ar istocratical pride and consequence.43 In the first draft of her autobiography, as well as in the published vers ion, she wrote that her liberal opinions both in religion and in politic s have increased with my years, yet I never was republican. I always considered a highly educated aristocracy e ssential not only for good government but for the refinement of a people.44 Somervilles approach to science was influen ced by her youthful experiences of nature and her experiences of aspects of the Scottish Enlightenment. It involved an openness to nature unmediated by others, but a nature that was of ten shaped to or influenced by human purposes, such as family gardens and river valleys. Soci ally, her approach was mediated through the Scottish Enlightenment via literary objects such as the much beloved poems of Ossian. Political Landscapes As a wom an, Somerville was not considered by her society to have any politics that counted, at least not publicly, yet in her corr espondence and in her autobiography, Somerville was a self-declared Whig. According to her au tobiography, it was the political and religious landscape of 1790s Scotland that turned her in to a committed Whig. Somerville refers to injustices and maladministration at home as a driving force for political dissension. Coming from 42 Henry Bowditch to Somerville, May 5 1838, c. 369, MSB-12. Henry Bowditch was the son of Nathaniel Bowditch, mathematician and Amer ican translator of Laplace. 43 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, April 24, 1833, c. 361, MSIF-1. 44 First draft of autobiography, 31, c. 355, MSAU-2.

PAGE 113

113 a strongly Tory family, she wrote that it was what she considered the unjustified abuse of Whigs (including by her father) that turned her into a Whig. The unjust and exaggerated abuse of the Libe ral party made me a Liberal. From my earliest years my mind revolted against oppr ession and tyranny, and I resented the injustice of the world in denying all those privileges of education to my sex which were so lavishly bestowed on men. My liberal opinions, both in religion and politics, have remained unchanged (or ra ther, have advanced ) throughout my life.45 In the paragraph just before the quoted secti on, Somerville writes that her father once told her that if a man should cut off his pigtail (the Li berals wore their hair short), then the head should go with it. Interestingly, she combines educational injustices against women with the general oppression and illiberality of Scotland at this time. Much the same narrative drove George Combe, the Edinburgh-based lawyer and phrenological educator, to become a liberal. In his autobiography he describes how his father had assisted a poor widow and her two sons, one of whom was press ganged into the navy. It is impossible to describe the horror and indignation with which this event filled me. It gave the first rude shock to my f eelings, which had hitherto been those of respect, towards the ruling powers of the St ate... This incident converted me from a loyal, trusting, natural to ry child (I say natural for I had heard nothing of political parties in those days,) in to a demagogue and reformer; and innumerable acts of a harsh and occasionally of an immoral ch aracter perpetrated in name of the government subsequently deepened the impression.46 45 Somerville, Personal Recollections 47. 46 Combe Collection, National Library of Scotland, MS 7433, 23. Similarities (and differences) between Combe and Somerville are worth examining for a more detailed picture of political experiences at this time. Both belonged to the same generation, Combe being eight years younger, both turned against what might be considered their political birthright, both made education an important part of their lives, and both believed in reform and progress. Roger Cooter, in his work on George Combe, argues that Combe in consciously and publicly rejecting Calvinism for a belief in phrenology, merely rejected the outward trappi ng and rituals of Calvinism and secularized its core messages of predestination and the idea of the elect. In many ways, phreno logy offered an acceptable form of Calvinism to the reforming and rising classes. To men of Combes backgrou nd, the immediacy of understanding promised by phrenologys surface reve lation was no less revolutionary than Calvins ambition to have men know the moral state of their souls and the wishes of Go d without recourse to confessors or scholars. The Cultural Meaning of Popular Science: Phrenology and the Organization of Consent in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Cambridge, 1984), 118. No mediators between aspirants to knowledge and the knowledge itself were required in the religious terms of Calvinism or in the scientific terms of phrenology. While in Combes case it may have been a simple (or not so simple) swap of science, in this case phrenology, for Calvinism, in Somervilles case, science would be the medium of progress, but a medium that required a guide of moral, religious, and aesthetic sensitivity.

PAGE 114

114 At the time, Edinburgh was not a comfortable pl ace for reformers, a response, in large part, to the French Revolution. According to He nry Cockburn, then a young Scottish lawyer and Whig, Every thing rung, and was connected, w ith the Revolution in France; which, for above twenty years, was, or was made, the all in all. Every thing, not this or that thing, but literally every thing, was soaked in this one event.47 According to Cockburn, Scottish Toryism defined itself as in opposition to all innovation and all re formers were tarred with the Jacobin brush; a public adherence to Whiggism entailed risks, especially for those involved in the legal profession. Thomas Muir, another solicitor, had been transported to Botany Bay for sedition, simply for his politics. Private dinner partie s of Whigs were spied upon and names taken, and Cockburn added that he doubted whether any public meetings of a political nature were held between 1795 and 1820.48 This, then, was the background against which Somerville formed her political opinions. On her return to Scotland after the death of her first husband in 18 07, she met and began to move in the small Whig circle of Edinburgh, wh ich included men involved with the Edinburgh Review the Whig periodical, men such as Henry Brougham, the Whig reformer (founder of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge and la ter Lord Chancellor) and Sydney Smith. Of the liberal men running the Review she wrote, Their powerful arti cles gave a severe and lasting blow to the oppressive and illiberal spirit which had hitherto prevailed.49 Underlying Somervilles reformist tendencies were concerns shared by both Whigs and Tories, concerns about stabil ity, preventing revolution, and c ontrolling the lower classes. 47 Henry Cockburn, Memorials of his Time (Edinburgh, 1856) 80. Cockburn went on to become Solicitor General for Scotland under the Grey administration in 1830. 48 Ibid., 83-9. 49 Somerville, Personal Recollections 81.

PAGE 115

115 Somerville supported the reform parliament of 1830, but also found much to worry her, including interference by Irish members, the ne wness of the political machinery, and overall a medleyof despotism and liberty.50 From 1838, Somerville lived mainly in Italy. She supported the unification of Italy and admired some of the leading politicians suppor ting unification. Her daughter, Martha, wrote of this period in the late 1850s. She lived to see this great re volution My mother had always firm faith in this result, and it was with inexpressible pleasure she watched its completion. Our intimacy with the leading politicians both in Tuscany and Piedmont naturally added to our interest. Ricasoli, Menabrea, Peruzz i, Minghetti, &c., we knew intimately, as well as Camillo Cavour, the greatest statesman Italy ever produced.51 Somervilles admiration of two of the great figures of Ital ian independence, Cavour and Giuseppe Garibaldi, contrasts with her dislike of that other figure of independence, Giuseppe Mazzini, whom she described as that wretch Mazzini.52 By the 1850s Garibaldi had given up on liberating Italy without the help of the Pied montese monarchy, whereas Mazzini rejected the monarchy and opposed Cavour. From Somervilles liberal perspective, a top down revolution with aristocratic support was to be preferred to a bottom up one. Somerville also found Garibaldis personality far more appealing, describing the scene of the injured hero being carried ashore in 1862 as one where Garibaldi was calm, exceedingly dignified and gentlemanly and so gentle and kind that he fascinates everyone.53 Support for a constitutional, but not republic an, government in Italy and opposition to interference by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as well as the British Empire on behalf of the 50 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, May 6, 1833, c.361, MSIF-1. 51 Somerville, Personal Recollections 316-317. 52 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, July 29, 1857, c. 361, MSIF-4.

PAGE 116

116 Austrians, co-existed happily with Somervill es support and belief in the British Empire. For Somerville, the empire was a guarantor of progress and this rosy view of empire permeates Physical Geography. Yet Somerville was also an inheritor of less positive assessments of empire. Eighteenth-century books on geography had not ta ken such a sanguine view of empire and its connections to commerce. William Guthries Geographical Grammar (1770) argued that the then unhappy state of England, the remarkable self-dissatisfaction of the English, which too often proceeds to acts of su icide, was due to too much commerce. Robert J. Mayhew in Enlightenment Geography writes that Guthries analysis was similar to that of many who were part of the Scottish Enlightenment, especia lly Adam Ferguson, who worried that commerce would damage the civic virtue of the nation. Commercial expansi on could be just as dangerous as a geographic expansion of empi re. Guthrie wrote: Great Britain is at present that kingdom in Europe which enjoys the greates t prosperity and glory. She ought to be the more attentive therefore to preserve so brillia nt an existence. The spirit of conquest neither suits with her physical situation, nor with her political constitution. The problem lay in the military an empire required, which would lead to the loss of liber ty and to the establishment of an absolute monarchy. Such Enlightenment concerns over liberty were part of an unease at Britains role in the American Revolution.54 Responses to the revolution varied from the Lo rds Protest of 1775, which maintained that we cannot look upon our fellow subjects in America in any other light but as freemen driven to 53 On Mazzinis opposition to Cavour see George Macaulay Trevelyans Garibaldi and the Making of Italy (London, 1912), 39-40. Quotation from Somervilles letter to Woronzow Greig, October 6, 1862, c. 361, MSIF-5. 54 See chapter nine of Robert J. Mayhews, Enlightenment Geography, The Political Languages of British Geography, 1650-1850 (New York, 2000). Quotations from Guthrie, 172, originally from Guthries A New Geographical, Historical, and Commercial Grammar third edition (London, 1771), 175, 62.

PAGE 117

117 resistance by acts of oppression and violence, to the burning of the effigies of American leaders.55 Inherent in the imperial project were con cepts of virtue, morality, and liberty, all of which came into question in a war that was being waged against British colonists who insisted on their own claims to virtue, morality, and liberty. In addition, mercantilism lay at the heart of the imperial project and its role in encouraging luxury and profligacy came under scrutiny, especially in terms of thei r corrupting effects on virtue.56 From a political perspective, Physical Geography incorporated a commercial and expansionist approach to empire, couched not in the language of virtue, bu t in the language of progress. This shift is accomplished by a focus on circulation, a circulation not only of goods, but also of an accompanying knowledge that incl uded scientific knowledge. This theme will be taken up in the next chapter. The Power of Landscape Landscapes, whether the physical landscapes of youth or the political and literary landscapes of Scotland, influenced Som erville, w ho carried these influences into her views of gender, progress, science, and technology. This section examines politic al representations of physical landscapes and the influences on Somerv illes own landscape paintings as a source for her views. Understandings of progressimprovements both ma terial and moralplayed a central role in how Somerville connected conceptions of landscap e to the role of science and technology. But, first, a note on the use of term technology, which is anachronistic for this time period. Somerville, and others who wrote on what we would call technology, such as her friends Charles 55 Kathleen Wilson, The Sense of the People: Politics, Culture, and Imperialism in England, 1715-1785 (Cambridge, 1995), 247, 244; quotation in Liverpool General Advertiser Nov. 17, 1775. 56 Wilson, The Sense of the People, see chapter four on th e American Revolution.

PAGE 118

118 Babbage and William Whewell, tended to use terms such as manufactures and machinery. For example the title of Babbages book on industry is On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures (London, 1833). The concept of technology ha ving its own domain separate from that of the manufacturing sphere did not yet exist. I begin with the word technology as it is a familiar one, but this section will show that the components of what we might consider technologyas a branch of knowledge in its ow n rightdo not map directly onto Somervilles conceptions. When, therefore, I refer to techno logy in Somervilles thoug ht, I mean Somervilles broad understanding of material improvement set within a developmental framework, and often guaranteed by the British Empire. Geography, landscape, and even landscap e paintings contain political and scientific/technological implicat ions, and in the case of Physical Geography, implications for empire. In his book, Landscape, Nature, and the Body Politic Kenneth Robert Olwig stresses the connections between landscapes and political de sires. For instance: It was at this time [eighteenth century Britain] that the land in lands cape was reduced to the status of a stage floor upon which to envision progressive scenes of (nation-state/imperial) improvement for a country now reified as countryside.57 Adding to this view, Nigel Everett, in his The Tory View of Landscape, sets up a tension between benevolence a nd progress, where benevolence (Tory in nature) saw Englishness tied to th e land in complex webs of hierarchy and responsibility and where everyone from gentleman to dairymaid owed responsibility and rece ived a just due. This idealization of a busy, conten ted rural life unpolluted by im provement and, especially, unindustrialized, was tied in a very visual sense to the concept of landscape and was opposed to a narrowly commercial conception of life and associ ated with a romantic sensibility to the ideas 57 Kenneth Robert Olwig, Landscape, Nature, and the Body Politic: From Britains Renaissance to Americas New World (Madison, Wis., 2002), 226.

PAGE 119

119 of continuity and tradition felt to be embodi ed in certain kinds of English landscape.58 Though Somerville was a Whig, this concept of continui ty plays into her views of landscape and is clearly articulated in Physical Geography. The very term landscape originally had a nonvisual meaning. Olwig makes the case that landscape painting in the seventeenth century wa s of representing, and making concrete, the more abstract, social idea of landscape expressed by representati ve legal bodies and the law they generated.59 In the battle between centralizing and ab solutizing monarchies such as that of James I (James VI of Scotland) and a parliament that felt it represented and owed allegiance to the land rather than the king, visual strategies were deployed as a t ool to create images of unified physical landscapes that reflected attempts to er ase these customary separations (such as between England and Scotland).60 Later, I will argue that books like Somervilles Physical Geography, global in its intent, also erased traditional sepa rations and recreated them for a growing British Empire. 58 Everett, Nigel, The Tory View of Landscape (New Haven, Conn, 1994), 1. For landscape gardening, painting, and the connections between them in the eighteenth century, see British and American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century, eds. Robert P. Maccubbin and Peter Martin (Willia msburg, Va., 1984), especially, William A. Brogden, The Ferme Orne and Changing Attitudes to Agricultural Improvement, 39-43; and Mavis Batey, The High Phase of English Landscape Gardening, 44-50. Specifically, Batey argues th at from the 1780s landscape theory blossomed, associated as it was with the growing emphasis on the picturesque, in itself sparked by the growing fondness for the kind of travel that focused on scenery. For the uses to which gardens or landscapes could be put see David R. Coffin, The English Garden: Meditation and Memorial (Princeton, 1994). For example, the British were more likely to turn to a garden or wilderness as part of a confessional experience. I n the Catholic countries of France and Italy contemplation and meditation were the functions of the church and the confessional, not the garden, whereas nonconformists like John Wesley would turn to gardens or wildernesses as their confessional where they personally sought their deity without the intervention of a priest in a Catholic or Anglican confessional (2). 59 Olwig, Landscape, Nature, and the Body Politic 25. 60 Olwig writes that King James I saw the amalgamation of once-independent countries or lands into subunits of progressively larger states as an ongoin g process that would soon lead to the creation of the unified state of Britain. The subjection of Scotland to England, according to a 1607 speech by James to Parliament, would thus mean that Scotland would with time become but as Cumberland and Northumberland. Olwig, Landscape, Nature, and the Body Politic, 49.

PAGE 120

120 As an early example of this process in action, Olwig uses the Danish conquest of Dithsmarschen (now in the northern Netherlands ) in the sixteenth century. After conquest, its traditional landscape representation as a political and representati ve body shifted to that of a physical representationa province of the Danish state mapped and pictorialized as part of Danish territory. Using armies first, and then text, maps, and graphi cs, this geographical imperative tied together territories such as D ithmarschen, Schleswig-Holstein, and the Danish state as both a union of people and territory.61 From visually representing landscapes as physic al land, it was not a grea t step to physically changing the landscape. In eighteenth-century Britain, this occurred wh en a politically and financially powerful gentry physically changed the land, transforming it, writes Olwig, into what came to be perceived as the natural countryside of Britain.62 The natural countryside that Somerville so admired was created by those at the top of the social hierarchy, a creation of which Somerville was well aware. While the nineteenth century is seen as the century of indus trialization, of poor laws, of political economy and progress at all costs, th ese beginnings, as well as their oppositions, were firmly situated in the eighteen th century. Increasing wealth flow ing in from India and the West Indies created a monied group w hose wealth was not tied to la nd. Such people did not, however, ignore land. Instead, they set about buying landed estates a nd engaging in conspicuous consumption, which often included the complete remodeling of the surrounding countryside. The 61 Olwig, Landscape, Nature, and the Body Politic 30. For visual representations and the manipulation of physical landscapes as a way of shaping national identity in nineteen th-century Germany, see Alon Confino, The Nation in the Mind, in The Nation as a Local Metaphor: Wrttemberg, Imperial Germany, and National Memory, 1871-1918 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1997). 62 Ibid., 98.

PAGE 121

121 newly monied class and the gentry took up earlier ideas and techniques of developing the British nation and transferred them to the smaller scale of their own estates.63 Land improvement and the responses to it en capsulate the various eighteenth-century views on landscape and the beliefs, moral, economi c, and political, that were embedded in the land, including views on progress. For some, land improvements could be seen not as public benefits but clever schemes to enrich only a few. Enclosures, where previously public lands were fenced off and often ended in the hands of already well-off landowners, only made the lot of the poor even more miserable. Contrasted to this was the Tory image of benevolence and public good, a generally static conception where modera te levels of work produced a humble and contented happiness, where the local squire or la ndowner held the best interests of his social inferiors to heart and was generous to the poor, who were considered to be a constant part of the landscape and to whom a duty was owed.64 The Whig perception of improvement was very different. Enclosure meant turning weedridden unproductive lands to good use by those who had the knowledge to do so. The end result, however, was the clear demarcation of what Ever ett describes as personal property from the common, the rustic, the public. Furthermore, the Whig conception of landscape did not differentiate between power over pr ivate property and the aesthetic values associated with that 63 Olwig writes that the eighteenth century saw the revival of the Britain that had been identified with the court a century earlier and it likewise saw the revival of British Palladian architecture. Olwig, Landscape, Nature, and the Body Politic, 104. The decrease in royal power and the increase in power of par liament and its landed members, according to Olwig, led to renewed suppo rt for political and geographic unificati on. As a project of James I, there was initially great opposition to what was seen as increasing the royal power. Geographical power and representations could sometimes take extreme forms. On e case discussed by Everett is that of Milton Abbey, transformed in great part by Capability Brown, one of the eighteenth centurys best-known landscape designers. Joseph Damer, the first Baron Milton, with a fortune based on his familys money lending activities in Ireland, began transforming his Dorset estate in 1763. To that end a new mansion was built, a large park created, a market town that stood in the way of Miltons views, both visually and aesthetically, was destroyed, a grammar school over which Milton had no rights was relocated, and the historic abbey turned into his own private chapel. Everett, The Tory View of Landscape 53-56. 64 Everett, The Tory View of Landscape 61-3.

PAGE 122

122 land. The two went hand-in-hand in the case of su ch figures as Capability Brown, who created vistas through the use of artificial lakes, tree belts screening unwanted views, and ha-has (hidden ditches that kept out unwanted livestock and humans) to give a sense of uninterrupted ownership and control as far as th e owners eye could see.65 For Mary Somerville the tensions between these two approaches, the Whig rush to progress and the Tory impulse to conserve, produced a tension that, as will be shown later in this sectio n, was visible in her work and in her letters. Somerville was trained as a painter by Al exander Nasmyth, the best-known Scottish landscape painter in the eighteenth century (f rom whom she first learned of Euclid and perspective). In her autobiogra phy, Somerville writes that Nasm yth said that the cleverest young lady he ever taught was Miss Mary Fairfax.66 The Edinburgh-based Nasmyth came from a family long interested in architecture and la ndscape gardening. Nasmyth added a technical bent and, especially, painting to the family interest s, becoming the founder of the landscape painting school of Scotland.67 His fascination with scientific progress, along with his mathematical knowledge and technical interests led him into technical pursu its, which included improvements to bridge building, hot compression riveting, paddle steamers, screw propellers and steam engine design.68 This mingling of interests in art, science, and technology was also characteristic of Mary Somerville, and it is likely that she received some of her earliest exposure to these topics while a student of Nasmyth. In her autobiography, she wr ites of him, Mr Nasmyth besides being a good 65 Ibid., 38-39. 66 Somerville, Personal Recollections 49. 67 J. C. B. Cooksey, Alexander Nasmyth: A Man of the Scottish Renaissance, (Haddington, Scotland, 1991), 7. 68 Ibid., 67.

PAGE 123

123 artist, was clever, well-informed, a nd had a great deal of imagination.69 This experience, combined with her early experi ences of the countryside around Burntisland, likely shaped her approach to landscape. Her incl usive approach also ignited her passion for photography in 1843, when she asked her astronomer friend and photogr aphy pioneer John Herschel for information on the subject, especially the new daguerreotype process, and on his rese arches. Next year, on a visit to England her fascination had increas ed and Herschel helped her get photographic apparatus and books sufficient to ke ep me busy for a very long time.70 Of course, as with any visual medium, viewers must learn how to see. The Scottish Common Sense philosopher Dugald Stewart, a good friend of Nasmyth, argued that it was poems such as The Seasons, one of the first landscape poems, that taught people to see their surroundings in a painterly way. In Stewarts own words: The intellectual eye is purged of its film; and things the most familiar and unnoticed disclose charms invisible befo re. The same objects and events which were lately beheld with indifference, o ccupy now all the powers and capacities of the soul; the contrast between the present and the past serving only to enhance and to endear so unlooked for an acquisition.71 It was such artists as Nasm yth who helped lead people to physically appreciate the landscape of Scotland. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Nasm yth was a friend of Scotlands most famous poet, Robert Burns, and painted his portrait. Improving the landscape was as important for a landscape painter like Nasmyth as it was for the great Whig landowners. For the Scottish 69 Somerville, Personal Recollections 49 Somerville continued to paint throughout her life. Several of her landscapes now hang in Somerville College, Oxford. Nasymth was also a liberal thinker, which may well have endeared him to Somerville. 70 Somerville to John Herschel, 12 November 1843, letter number 34? (only the first two digits can be made out); 31 July 1844, letter number 349; September 1844, letter number 350. Herschel Papers, Royal Society Archives. 71 Dugald Stewart, Philosophical Essays 2nd edition (Edinburgh, 1816), 526.

PAGE 124

124 Archibald Alison, author of Essays on the Nature and Principles of Taste (1790) views were composed to allow the compositions of form, more pure and more perfect than any that nature ever presents Ideal beauty is at last per ceived, which it is the loftiest ambition of the artist to feel and to express and whic h is capable of producing emotions of a more exquisite and profound delight, than nature herself is ever destined to awaken.72 Somervilles views of improving the environment with technology have parallels with this visual approach of improving nature. Such views, as will be evident in the next chapter, were accompanied by a moral improvement as a consequence of the emotions produced. Both the paintbrush and technology were tools to impr ove on nature for human material and moral benefit. Alison is quite explicit in his view of the moral benefits of a fine landscape, no aspect of which is not fitted to awaken us to moral em otionto lead us, when once the key of our imagination is struck, to trains of fascinating and of endless imagery; and in the indulgence of them to make our bosoms e ither glow with conceptions of mental excellence, or melt in the dr eams of moral good there is not a cord perhaps, of the human heart which may not be awakened by their influence.73 72 Archibald Alison, Essays on the Nature and Principles of Taste (New York, 1853), 454. Cooksey writes that Alisons approach was vital to understanding Nasmyths work. Unimproved nature would never rival the artists vision, and the licence to improve, according to principles of picturesque composition, were given credence by a respected Scottish writer. Cooksey, Alexander Nasmyth, 48. Batey, in The High Phase of English Landscape Gardening, describes the shift from the more controlled lands capes of capability Brown to that of the picturesque in the 1790s, where the non-uniformity of nature itself was us ed to great effect. Ultimately, though, this kind of landscape was as natural as that of Browns. The pictures que also links to the Romantic in terms of the kinds of landscapes that were appreciatedthe Highlands, the Lake District, the Wye Valley. Scenery and the representation of scenery were becoming inextricably linked. A description of people trained to view landscapes through picturesque lens and thus decide on their worthiness is given by Jane Austen in her novel, Northanger Abbey, which was written in the late 1790s. When the heroine confesses her lack of knowledge and inability to draw, a lecture on the picturesque immediately follo wed, in which his instructions were so clear that she soon began to see beauty in every thing admired by him; and her attention was so earnest that he became perfectly satis fied of her having a great deal of natural taste. He talked of fore-grounds, dist ances, and second distances; side-screens and perspectives; lights and shades . Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (London, 1870), 88. 73 Alison, Essays on the Nature and Principles of Taste 455. Nasmyth, though some of his paintings did extend to the Romantic, was part of the Picturesque tradition. Cooksey, Alexander Nasmyth 51.

PAGE 125

125 Interestingly, Nasmyth was also a well-re garded landscape designe r and was called upon by the Scottish gentry and nobility to create landscapes on their estates. Olwig notes that the seventeenth-century formalized garden turned into the eighteenth-century landscaped garden where the gardens were oriented toward the surrounding countrysid e and were consciously blended with it as natural landscape scen ery. The boundary between garden and countryside was deliberately blurred by erecting the fence in a ditch, below eye level, so that there seemed to be no barrier between the garden and the outside world.74 In this way, boundaries could be erased. Somerville painted for the rest of her life. As a teenager she impressed Hugh Blair. Blair, a friend of Somerville s grandfather and promoter of James Macphersons work, wrote to thank the appr oximately sixteen-year old Somerville for the loan of some of her landscape paintings. The two morning and evening viewsone of Lochness, and the other of Elc ho Castlewhich make fine companions were also highly admired. I found the placidity of the scene in Elcho Castle, with the cottages among the trees, dwelt most on my imagination, thought he gaiety and brightness of the morning sky in the other has also exquisite beauty.75 Somervilles house in London contai ned her paintings. When living in Rome she visited nearby villas for painting sessions, while in Tuscany she painted mountain views.76 Somervilles own landscape paintings (unda ted) show a powerful, though occasionally tranquil, nature (see end of chapter for several of her paintings).77 Nature, in its power, was also an experience that was strongly felt, even later in life. For example, So merville wrote to her son 74 Olwig, Landscape, Nature, and the Body Politic 100-101. 75 Somerville, Personal Recollections 58-59. 76 Somerville to Woronzow Grieg, July 25, 1840, c. 361, MSIF-2; Somerville to Woronzow Greig, May 28, 1845, c. 361, MSIF-3, c. 361. 77 For Somervilles paintings today hanging at Somerville College, see appendix.

PAGE 126

126 of a storm over Lake Cuomo: I never in my life shall forget the magnificence of the lightning and the grandeur of the thunder that night, it ne ver ceased so that you might have read... & there was a perpetual roar for about 5 hours. I have quite got the better of my fears and was on the balcony as long as the wind and rain would permit & then at the window.78 Less dramatic aspects of nature were also enjoyed. You have no idea of the beauty of th e country just now our table is covered with violets & anemonies &... and many other wild flowers. The fields at the... Doria Villa are covered with them and now I have added drawing to my other amusements.79 For the woman trained in the techniques of re presenting landscape, it might not be too far fetched to ask whether this approach can be exte nded to science. That is, are there connections between Somervilles unifying approach to science and its spiritually uplifting aspects and landscape painting? Furthermore, can the pers pective of a person su rveying the surrounding landscape from the landscaped garden be translat ed to Somervilles pers pectives in her books, a combination of both being in the science but also to a certain extent, a G ods eye view of a globe without barriers? In early nineteenthcentury Britain placing knowledge within a spatial context was common. Both Nichols and Whewells responses to Somervilles work as discussed in the previous chapter fit into this approach. Literary historian Alice Jenkins indicates that such an approach was used when writers wanted to use a shift of rhetorical gear to indicate a shift of perspective, often to a broad ove rview of a particular argument.80 Somervilles own work in On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences itself derived from the Preliminary Dissertation, made 78 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, A ugust 13, 1839, c. 361, MSIF-2. 79 Somerville letter to Woronzow Greig, 25 February 1839, c. 361, MSIF-2. 80 Alice Jenkins, Space and the March of Mind, Literature and the Physical Sciences in Britain, 1815-1850 (Oxford, 2007), 30. Jenkins briefly discusses the reception of Connexion within this context in chapter three.

PAGE 127

127 use of this spatial approach in its linking of the branches of the physical sciences. Such a landscape of knowledge gave the reader a place from which to survey the field, as it were, and any improvements made. Despite Somervilles belief in progress, when the drive to improve clashed with a landscape she held dear, it was clear where her sympathies lay. In spring we went to Burntisland which I found sadly changed. Enormous shoals of herrings had come up the Firth, the very sea was rippled by them birds and whales were seen spouting in various directions, the scene was animated and interesting but the primitive simplicity of the little town was gone. Multitudes of strangers had come to profit by the fishery and speculators built ugly brick houses [in the area] for salting and smoking the fi sh, the fields in the vicinity were manured with the offall(sic) and the fish themselves; the air was tainted, the place became uninhabitable & our house and gardens were sold.81 Part of the reason for Somervilles disgust might be due to the emphasis on a purely commercial progress, one that did not necessarily contribute to what she saw as the advance of humanityan advance that was technological, mora l, and spiritual. But even in the situation where the case might appear to be more clear cut, as with railways she also opposed their infringement on the landscapes that she held most dear. In a letter to her brother, then living in Scotland, she describes her feelings at the change s railways bring. I have just heard thatyou have been worried to death [by] these detest able railroads coming unde r your very eyes, it is really hard that no nook the most reti red is free form their annoyance.82 Somervilles rejection of some of the products of indus trialization is perhaps not surprising. She did not come from the industrializing middle classes, but rather from the poorer an d more junior parts of the landholding gentry who went into th e professions of the church or the military. Childhood visits to the estates of relatives along with her own wanderings in the coastlands around Edinburgh fed 81 Somerville, first draft of autobiography, 59-60, c. 355, MSAU-2. 82 Somerville to Henry Fairfax, Febr uary 23, 1846, c. 357, MSFP-6.

PAGE 128

128 her a vision of wild lands and Brit ish estate gardens, which in turn were associated and valued for their moral, aesthetic, and emotional value, combined with an acknowledgment of them as human created and improved; that is, improved nature must have a specific purpose that went beyond the purely commercial. Somerville even studied French theater a nd painting via the same framework. After visiting an exhibition of painting in Paris in 1833, Somerville described them as second rate compared to English art. Forming judgments in a foreign country proved difficult, for here is virtue enough to reject what is bad and wicke dness enough to paint them. So in society all our acquaintances deprecate the immorality of the French press and stage, yet these works sell and the theatres are always full. Art must al so serve the same purposes as landscapes.83 Somervilles dedication to certain kinds of lands cape at the expense of progress, even the progress of women, is made clear by her reaction to the French laws of inheritance while visiting France in 1833. While acknowledging the fairness of an equal division of property, especially to women, Somerville, whose name appeared first in J. S. Mills petition to parliament to give women the vote, laments in a letter to her son Woronzow Greig that if such a law were ever adopted in England, then: adieu to the beauty of the country[,] the old trees will be cut down, the fine parks destroyed, the beautiful houses and castles demolished and the whole turned into as dreary a waste as France where no cotta ges or gentlemans seats breaks the monotony of eternal ill cultivated [land] without hedgerows.84 83 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, April 24, 1833, c. 361, MSIF-1. Somerville described the paintings as ones that could easily be found in Oliver Goldsmiths the Vicar of Wakefield (originally published in 1766) and in Victor Hugo. Goldsmith describes one family portrait where members were represented as Venus, an Amazon, an Alexander the Great figure, and two Cupids, with lots of diamonds and rich clothes, and all carried out on a massive scale. Oliver Goldsmith, Vicar of Wakefield, edited by Michael MacMillan (London, 1897), 53. 84 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, February 28, 1833, c. 36 1, MSIF-1. On March 31, 1868 Mill wrote to Somerville requesting permission to list her name at the head of his petition. He wrote again July 12, 1869, thanking Somerville and adding that her name gave to the petition the weight and importance derived from the signature which headed it. c.371, MSM-4.

PAGE 129

129 Domestic, private life and its continuities and sentiments provided as much in the way of connection as did physical landscapes. In Physical Geography Somerville combines progress, private life, and landscape in one short para graph, again to the detriment of women. Among the objects which tend to the improve ment of our race, the flower-garden and the park adorned with native and forei gn trees have no small share: they are the greatest ornaments of the British Islands; and the love of a country life, which is so strong a passion, is chiefly owing to the la w of primogeniture, by which the head of a family is secured in the possession a nd transmission of his undivided estate, and therefore each generation ta kes pride and pleasure in adorning the home of its forefathers.85 Again, the role of human-mediated nature in improving people is acknowledged, along with the costs to women. Equally approvingly, she wrote of the tec hnological spirit of improvement that sought to annihilate space and tim e. The first paragraph of the first edition of Physical Geography (1848) ran thus: The change produced in the civilized worl d within a few years, by the application of the powers of nature to locomotion, is so astonishing, that it leads to a consideration of the influence of man on the material world, his relation with regard to animate and inanimate beings, a nd the causes which have had the greatest effect on the physical, moral, and inte llectual condition of the human race.86 The improvements of manufacturing and industry fascinated Somerville. In the same letter to her publisher where she passes on news about the Lyells, who were off to study volcanoes in Sicily and Naples, she thanks Murray for sending her a book on th e life of George Stephenson, the pioneer of locomotive steam engines.87 In addition, the unpub lished manuscript of Somervilles autobiography describes, at the ve ry least, a strong in terest in technology. She 85 Somerville, Physical Geography 3rd. ed. (1853), 487. 86 Somerville, Physical Geography 1st. ed. (1848), 1. 87 Somerville to John Murray, December 8, 1857, John Murray Archive: Acc.12604, NRR Transit Folder, National Library of Scotland.

PAGE 130

130 writes that on the trip to London after her husba nd was appointed to the Army Medical Board, they stopped at Birmingham to see Watt and Bo ltons manufactory of steam engines at Soho. Mr Bolton showed us everything the engines were of various forms some in action, but although the action was b eautifully smooth, it showed a power that was almost fearful. Since these early form s of the steam engine I have lived to see that all but omnipotent instrument change the locomo tion of the whole ci vilized world by sea and land... No man has had such influence or produced so great a revolution in the civilized world as George Stevenson by the invention of rail ways. Self educated, of the most amiable and noble characte r, of unconquerable perseverance and resolution he overcame the fiercest oppositi on the bitterest ridicule and triumphed at last on the 15th November 1830 when he opened the Liverpool and Manchester Railway driving the first locomotive himself at the rate of 27 miles an hour followed by seven others all of his own cons truction each with its train of carriages carrying altogether 600 passengers.88 Words such as revolution, omnipotent, triumph, certainly do not show a negative view of technology. Indeed, Somerville was well aware of how much her own writing endeavors depended on the steamship and its rapid transport of written sheets to her publisher and of letters, information, and people to her. Physical Geography while including many sublime descriptions of nature, also includes passages such as the following, where she approvingly declares: Vain would be the attempt to enumerate the improvements in machinery and mechanics, the canals and railroads that have been made, the harbours that have been improved one of our most disti nguished engineers declares that we are scarcely beyond the threshold in improve ment; to stand stil l is to retrograde.89 The concept of improvement was used by Some rville to judge whether change was good or bad, at least from her perspective. Improvement itself incorporated as pects of the aesthetic, moral, and political. Humanity should control nature, but one should do so based on a proper use and improvement of nature, one where physical changes were reflected in human mental 88 First draft manuscript of autobiography, 72-3, c. 355, MSAU-2. Patterson believes the dates given by Somerville for this visit are wrong. 89 Somerville, Physical Geography 3rd. ed. (1853), 500.

PAGE 131

131 changes. As such, progress was bui lt on a base of interconnected moral, material, and scientific improvement, one located in an understa nding of the roles of landscape. Progress and Unification: The Landscape of Geography and Empire Landscape and visual representations also ha ve implications for ge ography m ore broadly, and for empire. Olwig views landscape painting as a visual way of unifyi ng disparate areas. Can the same be argued for Somervilles book, as well as Alexander Keith Johnstons Atlas of Physical Geography, published around the same time as Somervilles Physical Geography? Initially, Johnston, Somervilles publisher, and So merville herself intended to incorporate some of Johnsons maps in the second edition of Physical Geography, but in the event, Johnston published separate smaller and cheaper versions of his Atlas to be used with Somervilles book, while Somerville incorporated some of the work of Johnstons sources in textual form, especially the ethnographic maps of Gustaf Kombsts Physical Atlas.90 Can Somervilles Physical Geography and atlases such as Johnstons be treated as visualizations of a unifying tendency of empi re? If so, who was the visualization aimed at? Certainly not the people who ha d empire imposed on them, for they were not the audience for such works; rather the target was the middle and upper middle classes who ran the bureaucracies 90 On 28 June 1848, Johnston wrote to Somerville about his delight at the plans for an enlarged Physical Geography that would include maps from his publication.As nothing can be better calculated than your work to disseminate a knowledge of Physical Ge ography, the objects of my recent labours, I have great pleasure in granting the permission you request, namely to copy on a small scale, suitable for your book any of the illustrations in my Atlas which you may think desirable for its elucidation. He added that he would be glad to superintend the drawing and execution of the reductions, if that wa s acceptable to Somervilles publisher (c. 371, MSJ-2). Somervilles use of Johnstons Physical Atlas began with the second edition of Physical Geography in 1849. The New Bodleian Library has a copy of Johnstons Physical Atlas. It is large, likely imperial folio, and can only be picked up with two hands. Johnston published versions of this as well as other atlases he produced for both a general and a school market. Elementary School Atlas of General and Descriptive Geography; The Geographical distribution of material wealth; The Handy Royal Atlas of Modern Geography exhibiting the present condition of geographical discovery and research in the several countries, em pires, and states of the world; Sc hool Atlas of Classical Geography. Patterson writes that Johnsons School Atlas of Ancient, Modern and Physical Geography was published to be used with Somervilles book. Patterson, Mary Somerville, The British Journal for the History of Science 4, no. 4. (1969): 325. Johnston appears to have been a very prolific producer of all kinds of maps over much of the nineteenth century, yet he appears little discussed in history of science and geography.

PAGE 132

132 of first the East India Company and then the British Empire (includi ng Indians trained by the British)men such as Somervilles uncles, brothe r, and nephew. In a letter to her surviving brother Henry (who served in the ar my) she writes of how glad she is that he intends to send his son as a writer to India, and compares his actions to her good friend John Herschel, who was highly pleased to be offered a writership in Indi a for his eldest son. Desp ite the wealth of the Herschel family, Somerville added, eleven child ren make it necessary for Herschel to find a living for even the eldest. In addition, Herschels wife had two brothers in India who declared the place perfectly healthy and that India is the only place for advancement in these times.91 Such statements underscored the value the empire ha d for those of the upper classes who had little money or many children. Just as an industria lizing economy offered opportunities for the rising middle classes, as well as commodities for the empire, the expanding British Empire offered opportunities to the upper classes. In a long footnote in the secti on titled Advance of Science in Physical Geography Somerville expands on the connectio ns between science and empire. In a summary of the state of science she wrote that we cannot refrain from making special menti on of one to which science in general and our best national interests owe a lasting debt of gratitudethe Hydrography department of the Admiralty The Lords of the Admiralty have profited of a long period of tranquility to extend our know ledge over almost every region of the globe, conferring thereby an immense service on geogra phical science, and placing in the hands of our Royal and Commercial marine a collection of charts and nautical instructions unparalleled in the hist ory of navigation .92 In addition to thanking the government for its re cent liberality to science, Somerville also thanks the East India Company for the encouragement which science has in every department 91 Somerville to Henry Fairfax, March 3, 1848, c. 357, MSFP-6. 92 Somerville, 3rd. ed. Physical Geography (1853) 498.

PAGE 133

133 met with from the East India Company [the memb ers of which] have always shown themselves ready to contribute in a most liberal spirit to the extension of our knowledge of their widely extended empire. Somerville went on to lis t trigonometric surveys, establishment of observatories, formation of scientific societies, natural history collections, physical researches, and astronomical observations as part of th e Companys contributi ons, and finished by remarking that such actions must place the East India Company in the first rank of those mighty Potentates of the earth to whom science will both now and in after ages feel placed under the most lasting obligations.93 Secord writes that Physical Geography came to be used in colo nial education and notes that in 1855 James Robert Ballantyne issued extracts from it in a series entitled Reprints for the Pandits, and fifteen years la ter it became the main textbook fo r the government schools in India.94 It was a book designed for the uses of empire. One of the main uses of science, especia lly geography, was its ability to redraw the boundaries of knowledge, and in the case of ge ography, to literally erase boundaries in the service of empire. Physical geography, in its incorporation of geology and geography in its description of the earth, sea, and air, and all its inhabitants, coul d act as a unifying force within empire. The outcome of such unifying tendencie s was progress, which was also a cause of unifying tendencies. 93 Ibid., 499. 94 Secord, Collected Works 5:xiv. Francis Power Cobbe writes on the adoption of Somervilles work by colonial schools in India in Blessed Old Age, Echo December 3, 1872. Michael S. Dods on describes the works that made up Ballantynes Reprints for the Pandits, in Re-Presented for the Pand its: James Ballantyne, Useful Knowledge, and Sanskrit Scholarship in Benares College during the Mid-Nineteenth Century, Modern Asian Studies 36, no. 2 (2002): 257-298. One of the works is listed as Physical Geography but the author of that work is not listed. Reprints for the Pandits was aimed at Indian students at the Benares College who belonged to the cultural and religious elites of the area. It is likely (but not certain) that the book used was Somervilles.

PAGE 134

134 In Physical Geography Somerville grounded human progress in religion and in the new science of social statistics. So cial statistics makes its first ap pearance in the second edition of 1849, in the final part of the book devoted to th e section on man. The subject, as framed by the founder of social statis tics, the Belgian Lambert-Adolphe-Jacques Quetelet, dealt with social regularities over time, such as the constancy of th e number of marriages in Belgium, the relative invariability of the number of crimes and the number of people who forgot to write addresses on an envelope. Somerville wrote: The uniformity with which the number of marriages in Belgium occurred in 20 years, places the neutralizati on of the free-will of the individual man beyond a doubt, and is one of the many instances of the im portance of average quan tities in arriving at general laws.95 From such a basis in social statistics and the social laws it uncovered, Somerville constructed in her book a scientif ic world-view of human progre ss that incorporated race and religion and was embedded in the British Empire. It did this by giving uni fying laws to society, laws believed based on the same kinds of laws th at governed the heavens. These laws stabilized society, and gave progress, as unde rstood by the nineteenth century, a firm base. Progress, in its turn, found another foundation in Pr otestantism, one connected to an individual idea of liberty as opposed to Catholic oppression.96 Quetelet was a long-time acquaintance a nd correspondent of Somerville. His, and Somervilles, interest in the number of marriages in Belgiumor of any other kind of social statistics in the early nineteenth centurywas due to a developing belief that society was a more fundamental construct than either governme nt or state and was itself subject to lawlike 95 Somerville, Physical Geography 3rd. ed. (1853), 489. 96 For more on the religious aspect s of progress, see chapter six.

PAGE 135

135 behavior.97 When considering people and progress, this idea of society, of people in the aggregate and their behavior could not be ignored. This approach, however, did mean limiting free will. According to Somerville in Physical Geography Scientific discoveries and social combinations, which put in practice great social principles, are not without a de cided influence; but these cause s of action, coming from man, are placed out of the sphere of free will of each: so that individual impulse has less to do with the progress of mankind than is gene rally believed. When society has arrived at a certain point of advancement, certain discoveries will naturally be made.98 Discoveries, therefore, belong to the age in which they are made at least as much as they belong to any individual. To quote Somerville again, The time had come for the in vention of printing, and printing was invented; and the same observation is applicable to many objects in the physical, as well as to the moral world.99 What is gained by this loss of free will? For Somerville, a committed Whig, what was gained was a law of progress. In triguingly, Quetelet, the social st atistician, had trained as an astronomerwith all the mathematics and statistics that requiredand it was the certainties of the physical world that he translated into the so cial world. He wrote, Accustomed to considering the laws of the material world, and struck with the admirable harmony that reigns there, they [philosophers] can not be persuaded that sim ilar laws do not exist in the animate world.100 How was science and progress connected at this time? A reviewer of the first edition of Physical Geography (1848) gives a good account of this connection. Sir Henry Holland, writing 97 Theodore Porter, The Rise of Statistical Thinking 1820-1900 (Princeton, N.J., 1986), 27. 98 Somerville, Physical Geography 3rd ed. (1853), 490. 99 Ibid., 490-1. 100 Quetelet, quoted in Porter, The Rise of Statistical Thinking, 44.

PAGE 136

136 in the Quarterly Review, equated the growth of the sciences with the progress of civilization. He did this by focusing on what is necessary for both the advancement of science and the advancement of civilization, which he considered to be the specialization and division of labor. Science, progress, and civilization are thus all connected to an indus trial society, and of course at that time Britain was the most indus trialized country in the world. Holland, however, reversed course by introdu cing the new science of physical geography as a science that unifies, that br ings different parts of science t ogether rather than dividing them. Knowledge of the subordinate part s is necessary to reach the w hole, giving unity to seeming disseverment, and carrying the mind forward to future connexions hitherto unexplored and unseen. Thus it may rightly take place as one of the highest departments of human knowledge, with Somervilles being the first work in English to come before the periodical that encompasses this great subject.101 The newness of the subject is emphasized. For in stance, it is only late ly that its boundary has been defined. In writing of the mutual bene fits of linking Johnsons atlas with Somervilles book, the reviewer notes that the atlas is a recent undertaking, a nd not yet known or studied in accordance with its importance. And twice the reviewer writes that Somervilles is the first such book to appear in English. The review is almost uniformly positive, going as far as to give her treatment of the topic priority over Al exander von Humboldt (the author of Kosmos published shortly before Somervilles book). In some respects her scheme of treatin g these topics so far resembles that since adopted by Humboldt, that we may give Mrs. Some rville credit for partial priority of design102 101 Holland, Review of Physical Geography 306. 102 Ibid., 307.

PAGE 137

137 Thus physical geography, the subj ect, plays a vital role in progress, for by unifying the different parts of science it brings into focus the fo rest of science, rather than the individual trees of the disciplines that make it up.103 By making science as a whol e clearly visible, physical geography brings progress into focus for all who ta ke the trouble to lear n about it, likely from Somervilles book. In an age of in creasing specialization, unificati on was especially prized as a mark of progress. Only a small fraction of the review is de voted to human geography, a chapter titled the Distribution, Condition, and future Prospects of the Human Race. Holland wrote that it is too important in its own right and too different from the rest of the book to be included in the review. He could not, however, refrain from mentioning th at is a theme full of wonder and interest, pride and humiliation and never more so than at the time in which we are now living, when, with new and mightier powers which man has fo rmed for himself from the physical elements surrounding him, we find all old institutions and usages wrecked on the shore of an uncertain futurity.104 As the previous section shows, geogr aphy has never been non politicized. As a graphical representation in maps, or as an art form in landscape painting it gave a strong sense of place as well showing where power lay. In book form it converted a pictorial representation into a narrative of such relations, one that could be extended from individual or group power over land and all that implied for rela tionships between groups and could then be put in the harness of progress. A purely commercial or material progress, however, could not be considered true progress, as Somerville makes clear in Physical Geography. 103 William Whewells review of Somervilles On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences also commented approvingly on the removal of boundaries in that work. Whewell, On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences, 589, 60.

PAGE 138

138 The advantages of colonization and commerce to the less civilized part of the world are incalculable, as well as to those at home, not only by furnishing an exchange of manufactures, important as this is, bu t by the immense acce ssion of knowledge of the earth and its inhabitants, that has been thus attained.105 This knowledge of the earth and its inhabitants was created by those who had brought colonization and commerce to the globe. In this way progress was tied to globalization, but it was also tied to a very non-utilitarian conception of knowledge and educa tion, to an empire of knowledge. Somerville writes that the collective wisdom and experience of Europe and the United States of America is now brought to bear on the subject s of the highest importance in annual meetings, where the common pursuit of truth is as beneficial to the moral as to the intellectual character, and the noble objects of investiga tion are no longer confined to a philosophic few, but are becoming wide ly diffused among all ranks of society .106 Almost by definition the pursuit of science was of moral benefit. In the year of her death, Somerville, by then so weak she was unable to walk without help, wrote to her publisher that he would soon have her autobiography. She added, How I rejoice in the safety of Dr Livingstone.107 This empire of knowledge was built on th e backs of explorers, including those who physically explored the globe, such as Li vingstone, who was both mi ssionary and explorer, and those who explored its secrets. In Somervill es hands this knowledge of places and parts of the world was universalized and, like a lands cape painting, given a certain perspective. Somervilles book appears decentered at first glan ce because it examines systems, geological and biological, the oceans, indeed the whole world, w ith no place or space se emingly preferred above the other. Chapter headings and subheadings such as Position of the Eart h in the Solar System, 104 Holland, Review of Physical Geography 339-340. 105 Ibid., 496. 106 Ibid., 497.

PAGE 139

139 Africa, American Continent, Nature and Ch aracter of Mineral Vein s, Distribution of Insects, The Distribution, Condition, and future Prospects of the Human Race, gives a sense of inclusivity. But at second gl ance, the products and desires of empirefrom map making to gold huntingare also integral parts of the book. Th e concerns of empire are especially visible in parts of the book related to mineral geology. In an 1849 letter to her pub lisher telling him that she had sent sheets of the manuscript for the sec ond edition she adds a throwaway line that ties together science, empire, and physical geogra phy. tell [Sir Charles Lyell, the famous geologist] that as gold hunting is much more profitable than b ook making I strongly advise him to explore the Decan [sic] [in India]and move the eastern boundaries of our Indian Empire where he may find gold enough to make his fortune and pay the national debt.108 Some of this was recognized by Henry Holland, the reviewer of Physical Geography in the Quarterly Review While much of the thirty-five page review focuses on Somerville, also included is Keith Johnsons The Physical Atlas: a Series of Maps and Illustrations of the Geographical Distribution of Natural Ph enomena, embracing Geology, Hydrography, Meteorology, and Natural History and Freidrich Hoffmanns Physikalische Geographie Other articles published in this issue of the Quarterly are also noteworthy. A Narrative of Events in Borneo and Celebes, down to the Occupation of Labuan by Captain Rodney Mundy, R.N.; Sarawak, its Inhabitants and Productions by Hugh Low, Colonial Secretary at Labuan. These are followed by many historical, military, and po litical reviews on vari ous parts of Europe. Similar topics are grouped together. Thus the long review on Somerville, including Johnson and Hoffmann, which leads the issue, is immedi ately followed by the reviews on Borneo and 107 Somerville to John Murray, August 1872, John Murray Archive: Acc.12604, NRR Transit Folder, 120, National Library of Scotland.

PAGE 140

140 Sarawak. Such a placement indicates a greater co nnection between these topics and the ones that follow. This scientific romanticism of unification of disparate elements is connected with mapmaking, colonial adventures and products. Physical geogra phys parentage is thus both highly philosophical and deeply embedded in empire and its needs. Holland e xplicitly stated that physical geography excludes all those artif icial lines and names with which man has covered the earth for political de marcation or other social purpos es. The fluctuations of boundary from conquest and migration the works eff ected by the art or industry of manare wholly alien to its course of inquiry.109 This is more than slightly deceptive, for the review itself, both in how articles are grouped together and in the writing on progress and civilization, shows how deeply dug were the roots of physical geography in the growing industrial society of the time. Yet this industrial society also relied heavily on the ideas of pr ogress and civilization, especially in the context of the British Empire. Such ideas required a book like Physical Geography, a book that made certain boundaries disappear and opened up the world to the needs of empire. While certain borders might be ignored in her book, in real life Somerville had to deal with geographical divisions. Somerville completed the manuscript of Physical Geography in London in 1848, one of the worlds most progressive spot s, after temporarily l eaving Italy due to the revolutions of 1848. In a final irony for a woman who equated progress an d science and valued the role of those whose financia l resources meant they could devot e themselves to science, she complained about the high cost of living in Lo ndon, which prevented her from socializing with old friends and reduced the family to a diet of boiled mutton. For the rich there is no country 108 Somerville to John Murray, March 3, 1849, John Murray Archive: Acc.12604, NRR Transit Folder, 120, National Library of Scotland. 109 Holland, Review of Physical Geography 309.

PAGE 141

141 like England and for men who have to make their way in the world but for the poor there is none so bad, the very servants look down upon you .110 Money, it seemed, was necessary to enjoy the benefits of civilization. Conclusion Som ervilles Physical Geography, the science of the globe, brings together aspects of early to mid-nineteenth century British culture. In 1849, a reviewer for the Tory literary magazine Blackwoods wrote of the book and its author that In surveying and grouping together whatever has been seen by the eyes of others, or detect ed by their laborious inve stigations, she is not surpassed by any one.111 Surveying and grouping implies the making of choices, of what to include, of what is foreground and what is background. Landscape provided a framework through which the earth and its inhabitants mi ght be understood, based as it was in moral, aesthetic, and scientific judgments. In turn, th ese intersected with the concerns of the British Empire. Somerville, landscape painter, member of the elite scientific world, part of a family rooted in the concerns of empire, refracted many issues of the day, including progress, commercial and scientific, and moral. Somerville s experiences as a child and young woman in Scotland shaped her political views, central to which were progress and education, and her response to nature, which had to be underst ood through the picturesque. This imaginative response combined an emotional, including aest hetic and moral, response with relationships between different parts of the landscapephysical as in the Highlands or po etical as in Ossian and structured these relations. In this sense land scape is always created by people, even when viewing a seemingly untouched nature. With this approach nature could not speak for itself, 110 Somerville to Henry Fairfax, September 1848, c. 357, MSFP-6. 111 Physical Geography, Blackwoods Magazine 66, no. 408 (1849): 457.

PAGE 142

142 humans had to speak for nature. Somerville, wi th her paintings and books, spoke for nature and interpreted it within the context of empire, sc ience, and progress. Landscape, whether created with soil or paint brushes, acts to reinforce st ability and knowledge. Somervilles confidence in landscape gave her confidence in what she observe d, whether natures laws or the view before her waiting to be painted, and the ability to create spacesin books and paintingsthat readers and viewers could rely on. Relig ion acted as the frame(work) in which science was done. Somerville grounded the inevitability of progres s in the certainties of astronomy and the growing science of statistics. Quetelet, who sent Somerville copies of his latest work, played a role in applying statistics to people.112 Just as the motions of th e planets are allowed freedom within certain boundaries, human fr ee will was limited; the former guaranteed stability, the latter progress. How true wrote an anonymous owner of the third edit ion at the top of the section titled Mans Free Will.113 The same words are repeated next to a paragraph that plainly states that the laws regulating human affairs are inde pendent of human will. A more profound study of the social system will have the effect of limiting more and more the sphere in which mans freewill is excercised, for the Supreme Being could not grant him a power which tends to overthrow the laws impressed on all the parts of creation. Also marked is a paragraph on the same page that links civilization and me ntal superiority of the cul tivated races with emigration, colonization, and commerce.114 While the eighteenth century worried about the influence of empire, a major strand of thought in the ninet eenth century believed empire necessary to 112 Somerville, Personal Recollections 158. 113 Somerville, Physical Geography 3rd. ed. (1853), 489. This copy is in th e authors possession and is the U.S. pirated edition of Murrays 1851 edition. Somerville put these words within quotation marks. They may be a translation of Qu etelets work. 114 Ibid., 492.

PAGE 143

143 progress. The role of commerce and circulati on of knowledge will be followed up in the next chapter.

PAGE 144

144 Figure 3-1. Jedburgh Abbey From The Border Antiquities of E ngland and Scotland; Comprising Specimens of Arch itecture and Sculpture, and Other Vestiges of Former Ages, Accompanied by Descriptions. Publis hed in 1814, this work was written by Sir Walter Scott. (Source: From Special Collection Hepburn q30-31, Glasgow University Library.)

PAGE 145

145 Figure 3-2. Undated oil painting by Mary Somerville. Wooded landscape with attending cattle in foreground. (Source: Somerville College. Photograph taken by author in 2007.)

PAGE 146

146 Figure 3-3. Undated oil painting by Mary Somervill e. An extensive landscape of river valley and distant mountains. (Source: Somerville College. Photograph taken by author in 2007.)

PAGE 147

147 Figure 3-4. Undated oil painting by Mary Somervill e. River scene with chapel by five-arched bridge.. (Source: Somerville College. Photograph taken by author in 2007.)

PAGE 148

148 Figure 3-5. Undated oil painting by Mary Somerv ille. Thatched hut by a river. (Source: Somerville College. Photograph taken by author in 2007.)

PAGE 149

149 Figure 3-6. Undated oil painting by Mary Somerville. Se lf portrait, seated in an armchair writing. (Source: Somerville College. Photograph taken by author in 2007.)

PAGE 150

150 CHAPTER 4 MOVING KNOWLEDGE: CIRCULATING SCIE NCE IN THE BRITISH EMPIRE In 1846 Som erville lamented via letter to John Herschel on how very hard [it is] to be old in the present day. The sixty-five year old was not complaining about any creeping infirmities, but rather the rapid rate of progress. So many discoveries ar e [being made] in the physical world and such a rail road pace is kept up by the political, even the moral[,]though neither lagging behind[,] has made immens e progress in my days. Somerv ille, with her deep faith in moral, scientific and political progress, was full of hopefulness for the future she would not see, but had much pleasure in anticipating.1 Somervilles faith in progress was based in the developmental approach of the Scottish Enlightenment, laws of progress grounded in soci al statistics, and the circulation of knowledge. This chapter focuses on the circulation of scien tific knowledge using Somervilles works. I use Physical Geography (first publication in 1848) as an exam ple of what was being circulated and how it was circulated through the British Empire, while I use Molecular and Microscopic Science (1869) to examine Somervilles understandings of circulation within science. Thus circulation, or movement, works at two levelson a geographical global scale in the former case and on a conceptual level in the latter. Scie nce, as historian James Secord argues, is communication. Communication requires movement and translation.2 In Somervilles case, knowledge was a practice of communication, wh ere the practice involved the creation and production of her books and communication involved not simply what today we would consider scientific knowledge. Both kinds of movement carried moral a nd religious freight. The progress of a commercial society in uniti ng the globe underpins aspects of Physical Geography while the 1 Somerville to John Herschel, 23 February 1846, letter number 353, Herschel Papers, Royal Society. 2 James A. Secord, Knowledge in Transit, Isis 95, no.4 (2004): 654-672.

PAGE 151

151 progress of science in uniting different aspects of nature ties together Molecular and Microscopic Science. Somervilles conceptions of science, articula ted for a general audience, relied heavily on an understanding of empire and political econom y for their success. The background to this circulation is thus the British Empire and I begin with the changing conceptions of the empire, from Adam Smith and Edmund Burke to the liber al champions of empire, and how Romanticism might be used as a way of erasing older con ceptions of society in order to integrate and homogenize empire. Rather than an empire of strict metropol e and periphery, or an empire preoccupied with others and the creation of otherness, my focu s is more on domestication of others, what historian of empire David Cannadine describes as a focus on the familiar and domestic; as well as the different and exotic: indeed it was in large part a bout the domestication of the exoticthe comprehending and the reorde ring of the foreign in parallel, analogous, equivalent, resemblant terms.3 While Cannadine does not discu ss science, in this approach science becomes an integral part of empire in terms of domestica ting the nature of the empire, of ordering it and putting it in familia r terms. The empire played a cr ucial role in the production of scientific knowledge; ty ing science to an increase of knowle dgewith its moral, practical, and improving connotationsgave much of nineteenth -century exploration a scientific cast. Jessica Harland-Jacobs follows up this idea of connectivity in terms of the empire in her work on Freemasons and the British Empire. The circulation of Freemasons through the empire and their self-described universalis tic and civilizational project has pa rallels with that of the role 3 David Cannadine, Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire (London, 2001), xix.

PAGE 152

152 Somerville gave science in its civilizational a nd global approach. Both required the empire and its ability to move people and knowledge around the world.4 Somerville integrated Romanticism with the Whiggish penchant for improvement. Improvement provides a framework for how sc ientific knowledge was conceptualized and connected to manufacturing and political economy. These connectio ns are especially important in examining the circulation of scientific knowledge thr ough the British Empire using Somervilles books, especially Physical Geography. Along with the focus on circulation, I will also examine the process by which Somerville became a part of the knowledge production process, especially the lead up to Physical Geography and its publication, which will include the failure of family finances as an example of the failure of the scientific model for Somerville. The focus on circulation shifts from the large to the very small in examining the response to Somervilles final scientific work, Molecular and Microscopic Science (1869). Somervilles kind of science, with its circulation through bounda riesfrom the inorganic to the organic of the very smallran into trouble as the nature of science changed with the enforcement of disciplinary boundaries and the growing emphasis on professionalization. Circulation is far easier through a homogenous lands cape viewed from only one possi ble perspective. By the end of the nineteenth century, the scientific land scape had changed considerably; increasingly, professional experts built and maintained boundari es for their disciplines creating a patchwork of perspectives and excluding non-professional boundary crossers. Finally, I examine the Great Exhibition of 1851 to study how the empires very success raised a (moral) tension between science as knowledge and political economy as conceived 4 Jessica Harland Jacobs, All in the Family: Freemasonry and the British Empire in the Mid-Nineteenth Century, The Journal of British Studies 42 (2003): 477-78, 479. See also Jessica L. Harland Jacobs, Builders of Empire: Freemasonry and British Imperialism, 1717-1927 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2007).

PAGE 153

153 through industry. It was a tension left unresol ved by Somerville, since a focus on circulation never brought the two into conflict. In effect, the Great Exhi bition acted as a pause button, bringing goods and knowledge to a temporary st andstill in London. It wa s William Whewellin observing the Great Exhibition, wh ich brought the products of the world to rest in one place who rearticulated the relationship between the two by creating technology as a category with science the dominant partner. Romanticism and Empire One of the often forgotten im plications of uni fication is the necessity of disunifying older connections. When Walter Scott finished Waverley in 1814, the Highland culture he described during the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 was already fading. In Romantic Imperialism Saree Makdisi argues that Scotts r ecreation of a disappear ing culture took on a life of its own and came to be seen as the real thing, where Scotts Waverely contributed not onl y to the invention of a new Highland reality, but also to the constr uction and colonization of a Highland past to go with it.5 The present day (1814) conditions of the Highla nds were irrelevant in this creation of a culture presented as being lost. In this lostness Waverely shares similarities with the Ossian poems, both in its glorification of the past and in its physical irrecovera bility. In addition, while both may be physically lost, both can be recalled vi a literary texts. But wh ile Ossian was set in the far past, Waverely presented an irrecoverable recent histor y at the same time as the Highlands were being cleared of their people to allow the creation of landed estates on the English model of ownership.6 5Saree Makdisi, Romantic Imperialism: Universal Empire and the Culture of Modernity (Cambridge, 1998), 71. Makdisis argument was that Romanticism was co-created w ith modernization as part of and in opposition to the modernizing project of the nineteenth -century British Empire. Romantic sp aces allowed a temporary escape from industrializing Britain. 6The shift to an English approach encour aged chieftains turned la ndowners to see their clansmen turned tenants as a drag on their lands poten tial wealth generating activities. Many of these tenants were replaced by sheep, a better

PAGE 154

154 Just as with Ossian, the main character, Waverl ey, is aware of the lostness of the Highland culture in which he finds himself; unlike Ossian, he is an outsider to that culture. He treats this culture almost as if he were in a Romantic landscape painting. He had now time to give himself up to th e full romance of his situation. Here he sate[sic] on the banks of an unknown lake, under the guidance of a wild native, whose language was unknown to him, on a visit to the den of some renowned outlaw, a second Robin Hood, perhaps, or Adam o Gordon, and that at deep midnight, through scenes of difficulty and toil What a variety of incidents for the exercise of a romantic imagination 7 Scott was well aware of the changes an in creasingly commercial society brought. This progress and its overturning of the old order play s a role in many of his novels and was based on Scotts knowledge of those Scot tish Enlightenment figures who posited a developmental view of society and made possible hist orical studies of societies.8 The Highlands that Somerville saw on a tour she took around the turn of the century was not the Scotland of Ossian or of Waverely, it was a society under going massive change and displacement as part of its incorporation into the empire and improvement of its lands.9 For a lowland Scot such as Somerville, the romantic recreations of Ossian and Waverely served to create a Highlands that could be safely enjoyed and nostalgically mourned at the same time at no source of profit. For the effects of the clearances see Eric Richards, The Highland Clearances: People, Landlords and Rural Turmoil (Edinburgh, 2008); John Prebble, The Highland Clearances (London, 1973). 7Walter Scott, Waverley Novels: Waverley (London, 1895), 1:173. It seems as if Scott was well aware of how deliberately he was creating this lost worl d. In the 1829 preface, which is includ ed in the 1895 edition, he wrote that It naturally occurred to me, that the ancient traditions and high spirits of a people, who, living in a civilized age and country, retained so strong a tincture of manners belonging to an early period of society, must afford a subject favourable for romance (x). In e ffect, they are living fossils. 8 See previous chapters for more on the Scottish Enlightenment. For Scotts historical approach in his writings, see Peter D. Garside, Scott and the Philosophical Historians, Journal of the History of Ideas 36 (1975): 497-512; Stephen Bann, The Clothing of Clio: A Study of Representation of History in Nineteenth-Century Britain and France (Cambridge, 1984). For the influence of Scott in the creation of the evolutionary narratives of Robert Chambers Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844) and John Pringle Nichols Views of the Architecture of the Heavens (1837), see Secord, Victorian Sensation, 88-92. 9 Somerville does not give the date of this tour with her parents in her Personal Recollections but it must have been before her marriage in 1804 and after 1796.

PAGE 155

155 cost. The picture of the Highlands, thus frame d, could provide aesthetic moral, and emotional nourishment from a source safely in the past with out worrying about the current state and status of its present day inhabitants. A recreated pa st was mapped onto the present to allow the unproblematic creation of a new Highlands. In this, there are similarities as to how images were used (see previous chapter) to create certain ae sthetic and moral spaces; however, the potential danger provided by a large Highland space was much greater than that of a small space chosen for a landscape painting Waverley could not have been written in the eighteenth century when the threat of uprising was temporally much closer. Somerville had a personal connection to Scott. Somervilles father-in-law, Thomas Somerville, was a friend of Scotts and lived on ly twelve miles away from him. Somerville herself spent time at Abbotsford, Scotts home, listening to amusing ta les, ancient legends, ghost and witch stories.10 Such stories could be safely enjoyed as an amusement and consigned to the past, along with much of the Highlands. Such a reassignment to the past allowed an empty present that could be filled. Since these people and their cultures we re gone, they could be mourned without guilt, for nothing was being lost in the creation of a new world. This world, that of the growing empire, required new connections based in a commercial society. At the same time these older connections could be cherished and given a place within a developmental framework. After visiting Ravenna in 1843, Somerville confided to her son that she preferred the history of the ear ly Christians and the Middle Ages to that of the equally visible Etruscan and Roman remains. 10Somerville, Personal Recollections, 96. Somerville discovered the authorship of the anonymously written Waverley via her son, who told her that he and Scotts son Charles would wait until Scott had left the dining room and then sneak in and read the manuscripts.

PAGE 156

156 I like the history of the middle ages becau se one feels that there is something in common between them and us, their name s still exist in their descendants who inhabit the very palaces they dwelt in thei r very portraits by the great masters still hang in their halls, whereas we know not hing about the Greeks and Romans but their public deed, their privat e life is a blank to us.11 Such an approach domesticated the past and allowe d it to be used as a resource and backdrop to an increasingly inter-connected commercial world. Conceptions of Empire Many m ajor thinkers of the late eighteen th centuryAdam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, Edmund Burkewere skeptical about the benef its of empire. These three doubted European claims of superiority an d retained a deep skepticism as to whether empires such as those of Britain and France could or shoul d unilaterally change less powerful societies. In addition, this skepticism was matched with an awareness of their own societys political and moral failings.12 The nineteenth century saw the erosion and disapp earance of this skepticism as industrial and economic success fed a belief in the inexorabilit y of progresssocial, material, and moralas well as a belief in European superiority.13 Nineteenth-century intellectuals such as J. S. Mill and Harriet Martineau combined a belief in the rightness of the imperial projec t along with a belief in political economy as a guarantor of the success of progress and empire. For much of the nineteenth century the imperial project was und erlain by an ideology th at connected empire, progress, and political economy. While the latter part of eighteenth century may have worried about an excess of luxury, by 1825 periodicals such as the Whig Edinburgh Review were using political economy as a tool to 11 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, October 27, 1843, c. 361, MSIF-3. 12Jennifer Pitts, A Turn to Empire: The Rise of Impe rial Liberalism in Britain and France (Princeton, N.J., 2005), 7, 14. 13See Pitt on the turn to liberal conceptions of empire; see David Armitage, The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (Cambridge, 2000) for the development of conceptions of empire.

PAGE 157

157 extol the benefits of w ealth accumulation. In the view of Francis Jeffrey, the author of a review of J. R. McCullochs book on political economy, this ineluctably led to education, progress, extensive trade, and many other benefits. Political Economy, is the science of Wealth, Trade and Population:and its end and object is, to show how Industry may be employed to the best advantage or how, with the least labour and the least waste of materi als, the greatest quantity of comfort and enjoyment may be created for the use of man. If there be any certainty in such a science as this, and if it can really reveal and establish to its disciples any truths that ar e not already known to all thinking men, it is needless to say, that, in practical value and importance it must far transcend anything to which the name of science has hitherto been given among men. It is no longer doubtful, however, we think, that it answers both these conditions: And even this gives but an imperfect idea of its actual worth and importance. Though directly conversant only about wealth and indus try-though having for its immediate object but the bodily comforts and worldly enjoyments of men, it is certain that it is at the same time the best nurse of all elegance and refi nement, the surest guarantee for justice, order and freedom, and the only safe ba sis for every species of moral and intellectual improvement.14 Science is here defined as a nything that can be encompassed within a law-like rational system. Commerce and manufacturi ng, social relations, ideas of societal development and progress are all combined into one system governed by comprehensible laws to create the science of political economy. Within this syst em, industry, justice, a nd moral and intellectual improvement are connected via th e science of political economy, which also shifts the position 14 Francis Jeffrey, A Discou rse on the Rise, Progress, Peculiar Object s, and Importance of Political Economy: Containing an Outline of a Course of Lectures on the Princi ples and Doctrines of that Science. By J. R. MCulloch, Esq., Edinburgh Review 43, no. 85 (1825): 2. The article is in es sence a propaganda piece for political economy as a science, and even more as a moral science. The author also views knowledge of political economy as improving relations between the lower classes and their employers, esp ecially at a time when knowledge was available to all. On page 11 Jeffrey writes, Of all the derangements that can well take place in a civilized community, one of the most embarrassing and discreditable would be that which arose from the working classes becoming more intelligent than their employers. It would end undoubtedly, as it ough t to end-in a mutual exchange of property and conditionbut could not fail, in the mean time, to give rise to great and unseemly disorders. In a manufacturing country like this, there is always a tendency to disagreement between the labourers and their empl oyers; and after a certain degree of intelligence has become general, and the means of communication have been ma de easy, there is really nothing, in our apprehension, that can prevent the perpetual hazard of the most frightful disorders, but to instruct both parties in the true principles of the relation by which they are connected. W. D. Sockwells Contribution of Henry Brougham to Classical Political Economy, History of Political Economy 23, no 4 (1991): 645-673 argues that Brougham played a large role, alongside McCulloch, Ha rriet Martineau, and James Mill, in popularizing the doctrines of political economy in the first half of the nineteenth century.

PAGE 158

158 on wealth to now being a positive good for societ y. Political economy as a guarantor for all kinds of improvement raised the questi on of how this would actually o ccur in the world. While not as effusive as the Edinburgh Review s writer, Harriet Martineau (1802-1876) wa s one of the first and most influential in articul ating on a popular level how pol itical economy was thought to work in the empire.15 Her essays, set in various corners of the empire, such as South Africa, the South Pacific, the Carribbean, and Ceylon (Sri Lanka), sought to show how the principles of political economy properly applie d produced the greatest good for the greatest number, and how monopolies, whether in the form of slavery or the East India Co mpany, could only produce material and moral misery. Martineaus familyUnitarian textile manuf acturers from Norwichwere part of the industrializing middle classes. It was this group who most fu lly developed and supported the development of political economy as a way of jus tifying their rise to prominence and power. In her study of the development of political economy, Maxine Berg writes that: Middle-class economic and political perspec tives actively eulogised the progress of science and technology. But, challenged on both sides by Tory and radical working-class opinions, the middle class had to find an explanation for the economic and social impact of the machine. Expressions of wonde r at the technical perfection of the machine were not adequa te. It was thus the middle class took to itself a scientific theory, political econom y. This theory was expected to provide answers by employers, politicians and middle-class ideologists.16 Writers such as Martineau made use of politic al economy to provide a vision of a British Empire that took for granted that the empirei f it ran on the best prin ciples of political 15 In her introduction to Martineaus writings on the British Empire, Deborah Logan writes that The popular reception of her Illustrations of Political Economy (1832-4) was such that she literally shot from provincial obscurity as the little, deaf woman from Norwich, as Lo rd Chancellor Brougham termed her, to Londons literary lion of the season, a fame that spread quickly throughout Europe and the United States. Harriet Martineau, Harriet Martineaus Writing on the British Empire ed. Deborah Logan (London, 2004), 1:xvi. 16 Maxine Berg, The Machinery Question and the Maki ng of Political Economy, 1815-1848 (Cambridge, 1980) 17.

PAGE 159

159 economycould be nothing but a force for good.17 In Ireland, especially, Martineau saw only good coming from English and Scottish settlers br inging more than just physical capital. Of a journey to Ireland Martineau wrot e: The further we proceed, the more of them [settlers] we find; and we must say that, as far as our observation goes, they seem to be heartily welcome. Furthermore, it is with great pleasure that we see our country men scattered over these western wilds, each a center of industr y and a source of plenty. The Irish purchasers [of deeply mortgaged estates] furnish a practical answer to the want of native capit al and the English and Scotch open up a prospect of national union, political peace, and social rege neration in that part of the United Kingdom which th e most sorely needs it.18 In this way, empire and political economy w ould spread, producing leisure and time for learning, a necessary basis for the development of science. Somerville in her books did not write for Irish laborers, but rather for the middle cl asses and above. However, both Martineau and Jeffrey, McCullochs reviewer, viewed polit ical economy as the ground on which knowledge could grow and then circulate. 17 Martineau recognized the damage done to British col onies by bad policies. For example, in Cinnamon and Pearls she wrote of the monopolistic effects on Ceylon and on the poverty of its inhabitants who should, by right, be the natural owners of the native wealth of their region And why is all this injustice and tyranny? That a few, a very few, may engross a resource which should enrich the many. Harriet Martineaus Writing on the British Empire 1:156. 18 Martineau, Letter XIV. English Settlers in th e Wilds of the West. September 7, 1852, Harriet Martineaus Writing 4:125, 128-9. In 1829, Scott reflected on the union between Britain and Ireland (the Act of Union between the two was passed in 1800) in similar terms, but from the opposite position, that of making the Irish known to their English neighbors. He cited the succes s of Maria Edgeworth, the Irish-bor n friend of Somerville whose popular books portrayed Irish characters, as encouraging him to write Waverley. . Miss Edgeworth, whose Irish characters have gone so far to make the English familiar with the character of their gay and kindhearted neighbours of Ireland, that she may be truly said to have done more towards completing the Union, than perhaps all the legislative enactments by which it has been followed up I felt that something might be attempted for my own country something which might introduce her natives to those of the sister kingdom, in a more favourable light than they had been placed hitherto, and tend to procure sympathy for their vi rtues and indulgence for their foibles. General preface to Scott, Waverley Novels, 1:xiii. Ironically, integration cannot be said to apply to the perceived effects of Scotts own novels, as by this point in time Scotla nd was an integral part of the union; the time of English suspicion of the Scots was past (see previous chapter for anti-Scots prejudice in the eighteenth century).

PAGE 160

160 An assumption of the political economy of people such as Martineau was that the circulation of knowledge took place within the context of empire, one that would ideally be free of monopolies. This circulation over time provide d an ever-ascending sp iral of improvement moral and materialand would provide the leisur e necessary to the cultivation of knowledge. The Growth of Knowledge Knowledge, and its circulation, was of particular concern to reform ers such as Brougham, who felt that the Knowledge Tax, a two-hundred-per cent tax on newspapers, impeded the spread of knowledge from the metropole of London to the peripheries.19 There is an article of first necessity. Me n, in a civilized state of society, can no more live without it, than they can live without bread or clothes: in a savage condition, they can make some shift to do without even these bodily necessaries, and to drag on a comfortless existence, on shell-fish, and raw flesh, and roots uncooked, while they shelter themselves in the caves and bushes from the inclemency of the weather; but bread and raim ent are essential to civilized life. It is so with the article of consumption to whic h we are alluding; not only can we not be at ease without it, but we are not safe from a thousand impositions, if we have not the free use of it. We derive from he nce protection agains t tricks cunningly contrived for our ruin, and we are there by enabled to rely upon ourselves for the safety of our most important interests. Nay, the moral ch aracter of society depends upon our use of this same article: it fo rms the only sure foundation of all moral discipline, and all religious improvement. In a word, there is nothing within the whole range of the human desires, which men ought more anxiously and unremittingly to seek the possession of, and nothing which all men of common understanding do more eagerly desire to have, and more prize when obtained. There is nothing more essential to our ha ppiness, or our virtue; nothing which it is more absolutely necessary to diffuse, easily and cheaply and rapidly and freely, among every class of every community.20 Knowledge and the spread of knowledge is abso lutely essential to ci vilization, and to all classes within that civiliza tion. In addition, it provides a basis for moral and religious 19 Brougham was not only concerned for the lower classes who could not afford to buy newspapers, but also for the consequent difficulties of starting up new papers, a very expensive undertaking when stamp tax had to be paid in advance. The lack of variety of papers was as much a problem as who could afford them. 20 Lord Broughams Speech, on presenting the London Petiti on against the Taxes on Knowledge, in the House of Lords. London: 1835. The British and Foreign Review 1, no. 1 (1835): 157-8. Th e tax, according to Brougham, was a four pence tax on a two pence newspaper.

PAGE 161

161 improvement. It is based, ultimately, in an i ndustrializing society, one based on steam printing and its production of cheap books. Though in this article Brougham focused more on political knowledge, it was an approach that included all the classes and it treated knowledge not as part of social status but as a necessity for progress. Brougham also viewed the physical ci rculation of people as useful for diffusing knowledge, especially if the ci rculation of knowledge via ne wspapers was limited. [T]hey whom their morning studies over the breakfast tabl e chiefly affect during th e rest of the day, are persons who mix but little with any classes of the community, beyond a small circle of people very like themselves subject to the same prej udices, of no greater capacity or information .21 Amongst reformers, knowledge and its spread and circulation was necessary for civilization and its material and moral progress. The circulation of suitably educat ed persons was also important as shown by Martineau in her political economy essays. For example, she described how an American missionary in Ceylon persuaded the East India Company representative to give up the cinnamon monopoly while a Catholic priest spoke of the benefits of wise and skilful strangers in teaching the Ceylonese the arts of life. In an other essay, a ships capta in, the first to reach a Pacific island, brought knowledge and thus carried the islanders on their way to becoming men and Christians by [his] bringing commerce to their shores.22 Of course, knowledge had to be the right kind of knowledge, not radi cally altering British society. Interestingly, there was a broad agreement amongst those of different political stripes as to the general features of the mental qualitie s separating the lower and upper classes, which affected the kind of knowledge thou ght appropriate for the lower clas ses. Of most importance for 21 Brougham, Lord Broughams Speech, The British and Foreign Review, 167. Brougham is here focusing on the London-based upper classes. 22 Martineau, Harriet Martineaus Writing, 1:199, 246.

PAGE 162

162 science was the active use of knowledge and experience by th e superior classes versus the passive and automatic way the inferior classes reacted to experience. The result was a head-hand dichotomy in society that spilled over into scienc e, where, write historians Steven Shapin and Harry Barnes, In society, as in the body, the head was reflective, manipulative and controlling; the hand, unreflective, mechanical, determined by instructions.23 Thus, circulation of knowledge was necessary to all classes, but knowledge for the lower classes had to be guided by more reflective h eads, such as Brougham and the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, which produced books on science. Science and Knowledge Despite the price of new spapers, the cons umption of knowledge, in cluding scientific knowledge, rapidly increased in the nineteenth ce ntury due to increasing literacy, an increasing number of affordable publications ranging from books to periodicals, and the acceptance of knowledge as being something that was, at least in principle, accessible to all (see chapter two). Of course, there were dissenters, especially to the view that the cons umption of scientific knowledge by the lower orders could be of si gnificant benefit. Tory literary magazine Frasers dissent was discussed in chapter two. Implicit in views such as Frasers was that science was neither a profession nor a commodity. Scien ce was practiced by gentlemen who had a disinterested dedication to their subject, and thus science was tied to status rather than commerce. When it came to rewarding such men of science for their disinterested dedication, money was not part of the equation. 23 Steven Shapin, and Harry Barnes, H ead and Hand: Rhetorical Resources in British Pedagogical Writing, 17701850, Oxford Review of Education, 2, no. 3 (1976): 234. This view, according to Shapin and Barnes, implied that: Things simply happen to the lower orders; material is impressed upon their minds The sensually-based, superficial and simple thought of the lower orders did not allow them to produce mediated responses to experience, or to make deep connections between different pieces of in formation, such as would pe rmit them to be generalized for use as resources in a wide range of contexts (235).

PAGE 163

163 National rewards, to be valuable, must not be too numerous; and, as a general rule, they ought to be rather given in any other form than that of money and that the primary object in presenting it should be to address, not the gr oss interests of the man, but the dignified feelings of the ph ilosopher. Men of lett ers and science live on reputation. To them the character may not be estimated against gold .24 While views such as Frasers on the value of knowledge for a ll were of minimal effect, its understanding of science as a prac tice of gentlemen had wide curren cy at the time, even amongst those such as Charles Babbage, who sought closer connections between science and manufacturing. Babbages Economy of Machinery and Manufactures (1832) put manufacturing firmly in the arena of political economy, and al so within the understa nding of almost every person possessing a tolerable education. Science was not exempt; for example, Babbage wrote that a study of the nature of th e gases produced in iron making ma y elucidate many points in the economy of the metallurgic art.25 Science was also put in the ha rness of political economy. In the last chapter of the book, titled On the Future Prospects of Manufactures, as Connected with Science, Babbage expanded his argument. He wrote that it is impossible not to perceive that the arts and manufactures of the country are intimately connected with the progress of the severe sciences; and that, as we advance in the career of improvement, every step requires, for its success, that this connection s hould be rendered more intimate.26 For Babbage, one of the main links between science and manufacturing is po litical economy. Simply put, the goal of making manufacturing more efficient and its products cheaper required the input of science, especially, mathematics, physics, and chemistry. The same app lies to the individuals involved in science and manufacturing. Unlike William Whew ell (see later in this chapter) Babbage did not create a 24 Babbage on Machinery and Manufactures, Frasers 8, no. 44 (1833): 175. 25 Charles Babbage Economy of Machines and Manufactures originally published 1832, in The Works of Charles Babbage edited by Martin Campbell-Kelly, (New York, 1989), 8:vi, 168. 26 Ibid., 261.

PAGE 164

164 theoretical framework linking science and manuf acturing; for Babbage, the connection was all for the benefit of manufacturing and to ma ke manufacturing as successful as possible. [T]he efforts for the improvement of its manufacture which any country can make with the greatest probability of success, must arise from the combined exertions of all those skilled in theory, as well as in the practice of the arts; each labouring in that department for which his natural cap acity and acquired habits have rendered him most fit.27 Babbage extended his views as far as the members of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, where he argued that one of the main be nefits of such meetings was that it circulated people, bringing different kinds of people together. [T]he man of science will derive pr actical information from the great manufacturersthe chemist will be indebted to the same source for substances which exist in such minute quantity And persons of wealth and property, resident in each neighbourhood visited by these great migratory assemblies, will derive greater advantages than either of t hose classes, from the real instruction they may procure respecting the produce and ma nufactures of their country, and the enlightened gratification which is ever attendant on the acquisition of knowledge.28 Here science is not only put in the service of political econom y, it is also made part of a circulation of materials and knowle dge. It is an acknowledgment of the dual roles of science, the role it plays in political econom y and the role it plays in th e circulation of knowledge for knowledges sake, knowledge as a commodity that can be circulated whether as knowledge or as objects. In the next three sect ions I will explore circulation of knowledge in Somervilles own life and also how that ci rculation was mapped onto Physical Geography and then onto the empire. Leading up to Physical Geography The personal circulation of knowledge played a m ajor role in the creation of Physical Geography Physical geography might be considered a surprising choice for a woman with her 27 Ibid., 261.

PAGE 165

165 eyes fixed on the heavens. Somervilles previous book, Connexion of the Physical Sciences (1834), still largely focused on astronomy in trac ing out the shape of the physical sciences. Yet she had long shown an inclination towards the subject. As early as 1832 she had shown an interest in plant life a nd begun collecting information.29 Mineralogy had been a subject of interest since her acquaintance with Robert Jameson, professor and supporter of the Wernerian geological system. After marriage Somerville had taken lessons in the subject from a Mrs. Lowry in London, who had a large mineralogical coll ection. The Somervilles own collection was enlarged during their 1817 tour of the contin ent and on the death of Thomas Hyde Wollaston, who left Somerville models of all crystals then known and who had taught her how to use a goniometer, an instrument he invented for meas uring the angles betwee n faces of a crystal.30 Yet her interests in mineralogy soon shifted to geology. Though still occasionally occupied with the structure of the mineral productions of the earth, I became far more interested in the formation of the earth itself. Geologists had excited public attention a nd had shocked the clergy and the saints by proving beyond a doubt, that the seven days of creation is an eastern myth for enormous geological periods, nevertheless th e contest was even more keen than it is at the present time with the pre-adamites.31 Geology was simply becoming a more exciting topic than mineralogy. Friendships with men such as Charles Lyell also brought the most recent geological work to Somervilles notice long before she began thinking of Physical Geography.32 Exploration, and the scientific 28 Ibid., 263-4. 29 W. J. Broderip to Somerville, March 15, 1832, c.369, MSB-12. Broderip, a naturalist, sent Somerville information on plants of the Himalayas after her husband told him at a Geological Society meeting that she was anxious for information. 30 Somerville, Personal Recollections 106, 127, 129. Mineral collecting was a popular past time, and until the geological usefulness of fossils for dating was recognized, minerals played a major role in geology. 31 First draft of Somervilles autobiography, 112-3. 32 Lyell described a dinner party in 1832 where those present included geologists Roderick Murchison, Adam Sedgwick, and William Conybeare, the So mervilles, and Charles Babbage. In Life, Letters and Journals of Sir

PAGE 166

166 discoveries associated with it, was also a favorite topic of Somervilles. In a letter to her fatherin-law Somerville wrote that she and her husband saw a great d eal of the Royal Navys Edward Sabine and William Edward Parry, who were preparing for an expedition. They are confident there is a north west passage but it must be much to the so uth of where they were; a new expedition is already preparing, again to be unde r the command of Captn. Parry. Another letter relates the failure of an expedition to find the North West Passage but that the explorers have made out some very curious and highly interes ting facts respecting the daily variation of the magnet. In September 1835, Somerville sent a lett er to her son with a whole page on planned Arctic and Antarctic expeditions A Captain Black had come to dinner, a man, Somerville wrote glowingly, who had made a perilous voyage to the Icy sea, down a new river, among new savages, and when he came to its mouth found su ch a quantity of ice all along the coast that he could not get to the sea beyond.33 In Personal Recollections Somerville writes that Parry ga ve her minerals and seeds from Melville Island and invited her and her husband to see the ships prepared for their next voyage (for which Somerville made large quantities of orange marmalade).34 Somerville relied on Sabines work on geomagnetism for parts of Physical Geography. Somerville, then, was part of a social network in which geology and all the aspect s of science relating to expeditions such as Charles Lyell (London, 1881), 1:373. Lyell wrote of seeing much of Wollaston and Somerville during this period. (374.) He also visited the Somervilles in Italy in 1857. 33 Somerville to Thomas Somerville, 22 December, 182? (year unknown) and 18 October 1825, c. 360, MSFP-44; Somerville to Woronzow Greig, 16 September 1835, c. 361, MSIF-1. Edward Sabine made his name due to his magnetic measurements and support for the magnetic crusade. See Charles Babbage, Reflections on the Decline of Science and on Some of its Causes (London, 1830), 77-79, for criticism of the quality of Sabines skills in practical astronomy. His observations, in Babbages view, agreed too well with each other. For information on Sabines role in the magnetic crusade during the 1830s, an attempt to establish a world-wide network of geomagnetic observatories, see John Cawoods, T he Magnetic Crusade: Science and Politics in Early Victorian Britain, Isis, 70 (1979): 493-518. 34 Somerville, Personal Recollections 136-7.

PAGE 167

167 Sabine and Parrys were discussed within this social network. As such, the difficulty due to gender in attending meetings of the scientific so cieties was not the hindrance it would have been later in the century as science pr ofessionalized and as conversations about the contents of science moved out of dining rooms and into laboratories.35 Since the 1820s, then, Somerville had been awar e of the latest work in the geographical and geological sciences. During the 1830s, another impetus for writing made its presence strongly felt. In 1835, the Somerville finances were devastated. Somervilles husband had stood security for a large amount of money for James Wemyss, a family relation, and now had to pay up. The family had been in a difficult financia l situation ever since they had moved to London the cost of London combined with the cost of entertaining and being entertained by their many scientific and literary friends tende d to run ahead of their income.36 The result was a scramble for money, and Somerville cast about for ways of us ing her scientific knowledge and reputation for profit. On July 13 she wrote to her son, Woronzow Greig, that after having put the house on a plan of strict economy which is a ll I can do[,] I am quite ready to begin to write again if I knew what, but it is not likely that I shall be as su ccessful a second time. Two days later she wrote again: I am looking about for a subject for writ ing but can fix on none that is likely to succeed, 35 For information on the changing conversational nature of science during the nineteenth century, see James A. Secord, How Scientific Conver sation Became Shop Talk, in Science in the Marketplace (Chicago, 2007), 23-59. Secord writes: Men of science were increasingly exclud ed from the highest social circles not because their knowledge was more specialized than it had been but because the purpose of conversation among the elite had been transformed (52). 36 In a letter to her surviving son, Wo ronzow, Somerville described their fina ncial situation and her reaction to it: when I think of the blighted hopes of my poor girls I cannot restrain my tears. They have high and noble minds to meet the good and the bad but that they should be crushed by the luxury and dissipation of a villain wrings from me molten drops of indignation I have been too long a passive spectator in events & transactions which concern me more nearly than any one else but now that the existence of my children is at stake I shall take the management of affairs into my own hands and it will go hard if things ar e not better managed than they have been Years have passed in a struggle with expenses which from our numerous acquaintance & proximity to London we have neither been able to meet nor to fly from an evil great in itself, and aggravated by my unfortunate celebrity, as well as the necessity of introducing the girls. Somerville to Woronzow Greig, July 8, 1835, c. 361, MSIF-1.

PAGE 168

168 pray turn it in your mind, I must have somethi ng to do for I cannot be idle. On August 12 the subject was still on her mind and she wrote to Greig: I have been painting successfully I think for I dont know how it is I have no inclination to authorship at pr esent, yet I wish I knew of a good profitable subject, think of it.37 Up until that point Somervilles focus had been on the mathematical sciences, and Connexion was such a deeply synthetic workand up to date with discoveriesthat only new editions would be required. A strictly math ematical work aimed at a mathematically knowledgeable reader was reputatio n enhancing but financially us eless, and in addition Murray was likely unwilling to publish further mathematical works for this reason.38 Somerville accepted the generally held conceptions that science was pursued by disinterested persons, who might even be women. Unfortunately, this model failed Somerville when the familys finances failed. For the rest of her life, though, Somerville was careful to present the public persona of a disinterested pursuer of knowledge, while keeping a very close eye on the financial success of her books. Somerville was so worried about finances th at she made plans to visit a politically connected acquaintance to inquire into the possibilities of getting he r pensionawarded in 1835continued to her daughters after her death. Somerville received three hundred and sixty pounds for the second edition of Connexion only a few months after the familys financial catastrophe, a welcome supplement but not enough to set the family back on its feet. Yet, at the very least, income from a new book, along with in stallments of her pension, might be put to 37 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, 13 July, 15 July, 12 August 1835, c. 361, MSIF-1. 38 On her death Somerville left unpublished mathematical manuscripts.

PAGE 169

169 paying off the familys debt.39 She did not expect any book to completely solve her familys financial problems. Closely following the fortunes of her book in the marketplace, Somerville knew that even authors with much higher print runs had difficulty earning a living. Historian Bernard Lightman, in his book on Victorian populari zers, describes how financially precarious a career as a full time writer on science could be. Even for someone like J. G. Wood, a clergyman turned prolific and successful writer of natural history who be gan his writing career in the 1850swhen the market for popular science books was larger than in the 1830sfinancial success was elusive. Sixty-four-thousand copies of two editions of his Common Objects of the Country were published within ten years of the fi rst printing in February 1858. In comparison, only 13,500 copies of eight editions of Connexion were sold by 1848. Total profits to Somerville of the book (up until 1866) were 1,488 pounds, eight shillings, and nine pence. In a good year, Wood could earn a net income of four hundred and fifty pounds, yet during the 1870s he was forced to apply to the Royal Li terary Fund for financial relief.40 Publications, then, could not solve Somerville s financial problems, but they could reduce them and they provided, along with painting, oc cupation. The problem, however, remained that of finding a topic. One possibility was a series of scientific articles for the Quarterly Review Somerville had already written an article on comets, which she sent off to John Murray, the Quarterly Reviews owner, before the familys finances fell apart. Somerville wrote her article on speculation rather than Murray or the Quarterly Reviews editor, John Lockhart, requesting 39 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, August 17, July 13, 1835, c. 361, MSIF-1. Somerville was fifty-five years old with two unmarried daughters. 40 Lightman, Victorian Popularizers of Science On Wood, see 174-176. Somervilles print run and profits, c. 373, MSBUS-2. Lightman adds that Wood sold the copyright of his work to his publishers, rather than taking a share of the profits. It was a certain, though limited, income, as opposed to relying on public demand and the potentially creative accounting practices of publishers. Somerville, on the other hand split the profits with Murray, receiving two thirds of the profits to Murrays third. See chapter five for more on Wood and his use of Somervilles work and reputation.

PAGE 170

170 the piece. However, as Halleys comet was scheduled to return in the fall of that year it certainly seemed a reasonable hope that the Quarterly Review would run an article on it.41 While editing the comet essay over the summ er, Somerville received a visit by the younger John Murray, who told her that the publisher wish ed her to undertake a series of reviews on scientific subjects, so things begin to look up. Somerville ev en had hopes of being able to repay some of the family debt. She continued in th e same letter to Greig: I cannot tell you how anxious I am about the success of my first re view so much depends on it. Professor Moll happened to dine with us the day the proof sheets arrived and was so much pleased with it that he thought it a pity to leave out a ny, so that gives me some hopes.42 Here were combined two themes that remained entwined for the much of her life, scientific acclaim and support and financial distress. Moll s support was important to Somerville. The Dutch astronomer had a written a response to Charles Babbages Reflections on the Decline of Science in England, and on Some of Its Causes denying any decline, and had physically helped Somerville by rummaging through the Astronomical Societys library for texts useful to Somerville, who as a woman could not visit the library.43 Somerville, herself, took a declinist position on science in Britain, ironically so given that Mechanism of the Heavens was used as proof by some that th ere had been no decline in science. She made her position public only after the argument ha d become irrelevant. In Physical 41 Patterson, Mary Somerville 166. Patterson adds that Somerville intended to include in her essay a history of comets along with a section on cometary theory. The article, after significant shortening (Somer ville refers to having to cut off the Comets tail in a letter to her son on Se ptember 16, 1835, c. 361, MSIF -1) appeared in the December issue of the Quarterly Review. Despite it being a Tory publication, the Somervilles did have connections to the Quarterly Review Murray was responsible for the journal and its editor, John Gilbert Lockhart, was related to Somerville (Patterson, 73). 42 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, September 16, 1835, c. 361, MSIF-1. 43 Moll might have changed his mind after his experiences in Astronomical Societys library. Patterson, Mary Somerville 167, quotes a letter from him to Somerville describing the deplorable state of the library.

PAGE 171

171 Geography she wrote : It must be confessed that Great Britain for a long time remained behind the nations of the continent in fostering scien tific enterprise and research . and The conclusion of a long war, in opening the scien tific repositories of the continent to our countrymen, showed us how much our great inst itutions [with the ex ception of the national observatory] were behindhand, not only in extent and utility, but in the liberality with which they were conducted.44 Here Somerville was criticizing the traditional British scientific model, one where government was relatively uninvolved (with the excep tion of subjects that impinged on the navy) as opposed to the centralized French system, one approved of by Babbage.45 Yet the British approach was the system Somerville was most comfortable with; science as a profession with professional talk was not to her liking. Somervill e lived most of her adult life at a time when science was part of dinner party c onversation and reviews of scientif ic books appeared in literary magazines. Some knowledge of science was expected of cultured, educated people. Yet by the end of her life scie nce was on the way to becoming professionalized. This was not the science Somerville knew and loved. During a dinner party in Pari s during the early 1830s Somerville recounted her disgust at the physiolo gist Franois Magendies coarse manners. She wrote that his conversation was horridly prof essional; many things were said on subjects discussed not fit for women to hear.46 The professional talk almost certainly included vivisection, to which Somerville became pa ssionately opposed. For her science was about education, a way of improving people, and never what she considered a cruel and barbaric 44 Somerville, Physical Geography 3rd ed. (1853), 497. 45 Babbage, Reflections on the Decline of Science in England Babbage also approved of the Prussian government in its attention to science, 25-34. See also John Herschel, Treatise on Sound, in the Encylopaedia Metropolitana (London, 1830) on Herschels view that British mathematics and chemistry and fallen behind that of the continent. 46 Somerville, Personal Recollections 192.

PAGE 172

172 practice. To make her point, in the same paragr aph, she writes, Majendie [sic] and the French school of anatomy made themselves odious by thei r cruelty, and failed to prove the true anatomy of the brain and nerves, while Sir Charles Bell did succeed, and thus made one of the greatest physiological discoveries of the age without to rturing animals, which his gently and kindly nature abhorred.47 Science had a moral dimension connected to societal concerns; professionalism stripped away that moral dimension. But Somervilles kind of science required personal financial resources, and she was left to scramble for ways of earning money. A financ ial improvement appeared almost secure by 24 December 1835, when Somerville again wrote to her son: I am glad to say that my article in the Quarterly is approved of, for I trust they will gi ve me more to do. By 1 March, she was busy with an article for the next number of the Quarterly[,] which I hope to finish tomorrow[;] it will astonish the minds of the multitude it is su ch a queer subject, but you shall see. The article was to be on meteors, yet in April she wrote: I fear Lockhart will not have the grace to insert my article on meteors in the next Quarterly which is vile after all my trouble. The article never did appear, nor did the series of scientific reviews. Somerville was left to cast about again for a scientific subject that would make use of her skills, her desire to be occupied in scientific subjects, and the need to improve the family finances. Why the series never worked out is unclear.48 47 Ibid., 193. Some care must be taken with certain of Somervilles views in Personal Recollections Francis Power Cobbe, journalist, close friend, and strong supporter of anti-vivisection, played a role in editing Somervilles autobiography for publication. While Somerville was an opponent of animal cruelty, the British anti-vivisection movement developed only in the second half of the nineteenth century as a response to the increasing importance of physiology as a discipline and the animal experimentation it required. See chapter five for more on this and on Cobbes relationship with Somerville. Somerville, or Cobbe, might be reading back into history certain sentiments that might not yet have existed. However, I think the po int about Somervilles approach to science still stands. 48 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, 24 December 1835; 1 March 1836; 6 April 18 36, c. 361, MSIF-1.

PAGE 173

173 When exactly Somerville hit on the idea of physical geography for a book is unknown, but certainly it was before leaving England in 1838 due her husbands illness, and she was at work writing the first volume of the book not long after arriving in Ital y. Certainly interest in the subject and financial needs combined with Somervilles desire for work. Financial remuneration would not come from any mathema tical works, satisfying though that might have been to her. Indeed, with her scientific reput ation already established, there was satisfaction to be found in creating what Neeley describes as the conceptual landscape of science, that is, a synthesizing and articulating of physical geography and physics as scientific disciplines. Here, Neeley views William Whewells review of Connexion and Henry Hollands review of Physical Geography as acknowledging Somervilles expert role in crea ting that landscape, though she does not closely examine how Somerville constructed that landscape, except in the literary sense.49 Writing the Book: Connections and Circulations As Neeley points out, writing Physical Geography took Som erville beyond the bounds of her own scientific knowledge, to the point where she relied on a much larger circle of friends and acquaintances for information than was the case in On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences .50 In Somervilles own words, she had undertak en a book more fit for the combination of a Society than for a single hand to accomplish.51 Up until the move to Italy, Somerville had relied on direct and indirect contacts with scientific friends, men such as Charles Babbage, John Herschel, Michael Faraday, Charles Lyell, a nd until their deaths Thomas Young and William Hyde Wollaston, for the latest disc overies and theories. Moving to Italy, on the periphery of the scientific world, meant less physical access to su ch people and a greater reliance on published 49 Neeley, Mary Somerville 157. 50 Ibid., 131. 51 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, 29 August, 1841, from Personal Recollections 249.

PAGE 174

174 works, which were sent by friends, her publis her John Murray, and accesse d via the Grand Duke of Tuscanys library. Indeed, Physical Geography is filled with references to works Somerville consulted. Somerville had always relied on a network of friends and acquaintances not only to keep up to date on science but also to offer advice, and even judgment, on her own work.52 This network changed over time as her first circle of supporters (Wollaston, Young, Henry Kater) died and were replaced by younger men.53 Somerville never appeared bodily at the specific locations in which science was discussed by the community of scientific figures, such as the meetings of the British Association for the Advancement of Scie nce, to which she was invited.54 Barred by social convention from a ttending the meetings of many of the scientific societies, she relied on (male) others to comment, advise a nd judge her work through the more private and domestic medium of letters and direct meetings. The geographical shift to Ital y did not change her scientif ic network, if anything it increased it, mainly as a result of the need to solicit information for Physical Geography and later for On Molecular and Microscopic Science Indeed, it is likel y that Somervilles connections to the British scien tific center of her day would have become far more tenuous but for her books; they allowed, more, they required, her to keep up to date, to stay plugged in to 52 In terms of judgment of Somervilles work, the best-known example is her request to Henry Brougham, the Whig reformer and one of the founders of the Society for Diffusing Useful Knowledge who solicited the manuscript that became Mechanism of the Heavens She stipulated that if the work was not good enough the manuscript was to be burned. 53 William Hyde Wollaston died in December 1828; T homas Young in May 1829 ; Henry Kater in 1835. 54 For example, she was specifically invited by Whewell to attend the 1833 BAAS meeting and by Francis Jeffrey to attend the 1834 meeting in Edinburgh.

PAGE 175

175 the scientific networks throughout her years in Italy.55 It was possibly the only way for her to maintain her scientific identity. Despite her connections, Somerville did worry ab out the effect of distance on her work. In a letter to her son several years before the publication of th e first edition of Physical Geography, she wrote: [M]y last sheets will be sent on Tuesday or Friday next[.] I have taken fright about it I should not like to fail and do discredit it to the family by being laughed at Do you think it would be possible to get Ca ptn Beaufort or any geographer equally able to read it over, corr ect the errors and give an opinion whether it is worth printing or not for here am I without a soul whose opinion I can either ask or relie(sic) upon and almost without the necessa ry maps or books of reference I fear I am foolhardy, but then if I can do any thing for the family I would sacrifice my own selfishness.56 Even after several successful editions, Somerv ille felt her scientific isolation, as shown by the following (written in 1858): Sir Henry Holland took home my MSS and r ead it on his journey and I have this day had a letter from him about it which is more than gratifying, I really am delighted with what he says of it for under the disadvantage of writing here I was very nervous about it. It might have b een fuller. But what there is is good and without fault 57 Yet Somerville was well aware of how the world was becoming less isolated and more connected via steam. In the scramble to update th e work for the new edition being adopted by the Council of Education she wrote Murray in 1857 to send her various works and added, sent by 55 Somerville received information from a variety of sources, including T. H. Huxley on the antiquity of the human race (Somerville to John Mu rray, March 14, 1862, Somerville/Murray letters, John Murray Archive:Acc.12604, NRR Transit Folder 120, National Library of Scotland). Even as late as the late 1860s, she asked Murray for the latest works, including Ernst Haeckel. While living in Florence she had access to the journals in the Grand Dukes library. She also received the pro ceedings of the Royal Institution. 56 Somerville to Woronzow Grieg, June 3, 1842, c. 361, MSIF-2. 57 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, November 27, 1858, c. 361, MSIF-4.

PAGE 176

176 steam I shall have it in a fortnight.58 In her autobiography she wrote of her second husbands sister who was forbidden to marry her choice, an army officer quartered in Malta, as she was not allowed to go to that outlandish place Steam has changed our ideas of distance since that time.59 Such connections allowed her the large netw ork of informants required for her work. Somerville also used these informants to a dvise her and judge her work. Why did so many people go out of their way to help Somerville? Frie ndship and esteem played a role, especially in the case of men such as John Herschel. Somerville originally met Herschel soon after her second marriage in 1812. Her mathematical mentor, W illiam Wallace, took the couple to visit William Herschel and his telescope, and it is ther e that Somerville met the young John Herschel. Somerville ranked him as a dear friend and he was often the first person she turned to for scientific advice. After the appearan ce of the first volume of Humboldts Kosmos (1845), Somerville was prepared to give up on Physical Geography but on the advice of her husband, who suggested she contact Herschel for his opinio n, she sent the manuscript to him, who advised her to publish it.60 Following criticism of the manuscript of Molecular and Microscopic Sciences Herschel was also the first pers on Somerville turned to for advice.61 Both times Herschel advised her to publish. Edward Sabine, who eventually became president of the Royal Society, became a longterm friend of Somervilles and regularly sent he r copies of all his work. To Sabine and his 58 Somerville to John Murray, March 28, 1857, Somerville/Murray letters, John Murray Archive:Acc.12604, NRR Transit Folder 120, National Library of Scotland. 59 Somerville, Personal Recollections 38. 60 Herschel read Kosmos and in 1847 advised Somerville to rethink the section on man as it appeared very similar to Humboldts.

PAGE 177

177 works, Somerville wrote, I chiefly owe what I know on the subject [of terrestrial magnetism].62 Somerville also relied heavily on Lyell s work for her geology. As early as 1834, Lyell was reading and commenting on proofs of the Connexion .63 Roderick Murchison helped revise the geological sect ion of the 1862 edition.64 Friends and acquaintances from the United States also sent information. For example, Benjamin Silliman, editor of the American Journal of Science sent Somerville memoirs on physical geogr aphy that had appeared in the United States.65 Such men were more than happy to provide Somerville with information and then check the proofs of relevant parts of the manuscript. It was a win-win situation, for Somerville got the information she needed with almost a guarantee of accuracy, while the work of these men, and their names, received wide exposur e in a highly respectable form.66 Obligations did not flow onl y one way. Somerville provid ed introductions, especially during the years the Somervilles lived in London. Introductions were given to visiting scholars, 61 Somerville, Personal Recollections 286. Herchels advice on Molecular and Microscopic Science appears in a letter from Agnes Greig to Somerville, February 4, 1868, c. 364, MSIF-25. 62 Somerville, Personal Recollections 138. 63 For example, in her notebook (likely writte n between the first and second edition of Physical Geography as Somerville lists certain maps from Alexander Keith Johnstons atlas that she wishes to use, which were planned for the second edition), she writes: The extinction & introduction of species has been & is, the result of a slow & gradual change in the organic world Lyell (33). Page 30 and page 31 contain information on volcanoes and the rise of land that she also refers to Lyell. Further notes on ex tinction also refer to Lyell (c.353, MSSW-9). Lyell also read Mechanism of the Heavens before publication and as a published author advised Somerville, though he was dismayed by the amount of algebra. Patterson, Mary Somerville, 78. 64 Somerville, Physical Geography 5th ed. (1862), preface. 65 Benjamin Silliman to Somerville, July 10, 1860, c.37 2, MSS-5. In another letter Silliman discussed with Somerville the sad affairs in the South: It is sad indeed to see people acting in such important matters under the influence of passion and in a cause so weak and degrad ing as the purpose of esta blishing a Slave Oligarchy (March 1861, c.372, MSS-5). 66 When Somerville asked Benjamin Carpenter for permission to use some of his woodcuts in Microscopic Science he responded that the copyright belonged to his publisher but that he had pointed out to his publisher (Churchill) that providing permission would introduce [Carpenters book] to a large circle of new readers; and that in no way could your publication injure the sale of mine. Benjamin Carpenter to Somerville, November 19, 1864, c.370, MSC-2.

PAGE 178

178 such as the American medical student Henry Bo wditch; inquiries to French colleagues, while visiting France, as to the possibi lity of getting William Whewells Bridgewater Treatise translated into French; and even using her Ru ssian connections via her first husband to help Whewell with his grand tidal project. The young Jame s Forbes, the newly elected chair of natural philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, in 18 33 asked Somerville if he could see sheets of Connexion before publication to profit by its contents and to be able to give some account of them, to his students. Forbes was beginning his scientific career and realized Somerville could be helpful to him. Other men of her sons generati on also became part of he r circle of scientific friends. Mathematician J. W. Lubbock had been at Trinity College with Greig and Somerville and Lubbock corresponded, spoke, and corrected each others mathematical work. Indeed, while in London, Somerville had become part of the scientif ic circuit, and scientific visitors sought her out. It was this social ballast, built up duri ng the years in London, that allowed her to successfully continue a public sc ientific persona from Italy.67 Somerville also made connections with the It alian scientific community. In 1849 she wrote of Vincenzio Antinori, the Galileo scholar, and Giovanni Amici being most attentive and accompany[ing] us to everything that was interesting in science and art. She also met the Grand Duke of Tuscany, whose knowledge of science for a prince is very remarkable and his anxiety for the improvement of his country very great. And she was invited to attend a scientific 67 Bowditch wrote to Somerville in 1835, thanking her for her kindness while in London (February 24, 1835, c. 369, MSB-12). Bowditch, in turn, gave introductions to Somerville to friends of his, such as Harvard professor George Tickner and his wife, who were visiting London. On Whewell s request for Somerville to inquire into translating his treatise into French, Wren Library, Add.msa212 123-129. On his request to Somerville for Russian assistance in his tidal work, Somerville responded, I assure you no one will be more zealous to forward your words than Admiral Greig [brother of Somervilles first husband] who takes a lively interest in every branch of science, and especially in the theory of the Tides which is so intimately connected wi th his profession, and as the Emperor generally consults him on these affairs I trust he may be of use to you on th is occasion. February 6, 183 4, Wren Library, Add.msa212 123-129. On Forbes, a letter written to Dr. Somerville carries the request for Somervilles Connexion sheets, August 20, 1833, c.370, MSF-2. See also Patterson for Forbess desire to persuade Somerville of the validity of his election, at a very young age, to the chair of natural philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, 113.

PAGE 179

179 meeting in Pisa, though whether she attended is unknown, though unlikely. Giovanni Donati, the astronomer who discovered the comet named afte r him in 1858 also provided Somerville with information for her new edition of Connexion The comet insists upon notice being taken of it in my new edition so I wrote to get informa tion from Sign Donati and he not only came immediately but brought me 5 pages he had written to me about it.68 Somerville also returned the favor. When the king of Italy sent a diplomat ic and scientific mission to Persia in 1862, some of the members, including her friend zoologist Filippo de Filippi, asked Somerville to ask John Murray to send them anything printed recently on Persia.69 To keep the editions updated, Somerville re lied not only on her friends and acquaintances but also on the published work of explorers and scientific men. Such works were published not only in the publicati ons of the Royal Geographical Soci ety (founded in 1830) or in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, for the published works of such people found a ready market in the profit-driv en book industry of Britain and America, and reviews of such books were common.70 A panicky letter by Somerville written in 1857 gives an example of the kind of published and personal resources she used. At the time her publisher John Murray asked her to quickly produce a new edition as Physical Geography was being adopted as a textbook by Council of Education and the book needed updating. The letter was to Joseph Pentland, a friend from the London days who had made a name as an explorer by surveying part of the Bolivian Andes, and 68 Letters from Somerville to Woronzow Greig, June 14, 1849, c.360, MSIF-3; October 5, 1858, c.361, MSIF-4. 69 Letter from Martha Somerville to John Murray, April 9, 1862, Somerville/Murray letters, John Murray Archive:Acc.12604, NRR Tr ansit Folder 120, National Library of Scotland. 70 There were a number of publishers who specialized in science as well those for whom science made up a profitable segment of their total publications. John Murray was one of the latter, having published Lyells Principles of Geology as well as some of Jane Austens books.

PAGE 180

180 was appointed the British consul general to Boliv ia for a time. As Somervilles man in England, Pentland, in effect, acted as go between for Somerville and Murra y and usher the editions of Physical Geography through the press. Somerville asked him for David Livingstones book on Africa and anything else on the m ountains and lakes of Africa that Murray could th ink of. In the meantime, Mathew Maurys book on the Atlantic would do for information on the Atlantic. She also asked for information on the canal and the ra ilway in central America, and the plans for a way to India by the Euphrates by the military man and explorer Francis Rawdon Chesney. In addition she wanted information on the Australi an and Californian goldmines. She wrote: An addition must be made to the article on the arct ic regions[,] what books shall I write [to Murray] for?71 Without Pentlands help as a source of in formation and a mobilizer of information and books, Somerville would not have been able to update Physical Geography. For a start, the subject was far broader than Connexion and the number of knowledge makers in physical geography was far greater than that of Connexion In effect, Physical Geography outgrew her social network in a way that Connexion never did. While she did not personally know many of those whose work she used in Physical Geography, she did begin correspondences with some of them, including the U.S. Navys Matthew Fontaine Maury, whose book Physical Geography of the Sea (first edition 1855) was likely the one she used to update her own book.72 Murrays role as publisher should also not be underestimated. Very soon after that letter to Pentland, Somerville wrote Murray that the gold mines in Australia were not discovered when 71 Somerville to John Murray. Somerville/Murray letters John Murray Archive:Acc.12604, NRR Transit Folder 120, National Library of Scotland. 72 Somerville was not the only woman to write on physical geography. Rosina Zornlin wrote Recreations in Physical Geography a more elementary work than Somervilles. Somervilles network of contacts was far deeper than Zornlins, who relied entirely on already published works. See Chapter five Somerville was unusual as a woman writer on science in terms of the depth and breadth of her network.

PAGE 181

181 the last edition was printed which will show you how far it is behind. You who are on the spot best know what is new, and can help me greatly.73 As a successful publisher, Murray knew what was new, what was popular, and what would be useful to one of his writers. In addition, the India House directors of the Ea st India Company gave her permission to make use of their library. Few people could have commanded the resour ces Somerville did. By the time she began serious work on Physical Geography, her name was established in Britain and in the United States. Somerville relied on personal connections not only in getting information for her books but also in getting manuscripts to the printers. At various times she relied on the British Embassy in Turin, a nephew of the Piedmontese states man and liberal Camillo Cavour, and on British scientific friends visiting Italy, a popular st op for those seeking rest and refreshment and scientific excitement, such as climbing Vesuvius and geologizing.74 From Personal to General Circulations in Empire and Science Som erville was part of a Victorian networ k that gathered and produced scientific knowledge within the context of the British Em pire and an industrializing society that encouraged the circulation of goods, knowledge, and people. Historian Jane Camerini places the doers of science, those who went out into th e field, such as Charles Darwin, Joseph Dalton Hooker, Alfred Russel Wallace, and Thomas Henry Huxley firmly within a social network of opportunities and obligations that connected them to two overa rching features of the Victorian 73 Somerville to John Murray, March 28, 1857, Somerville/Murray letters, John Murray Archive:Acc.12604, NRR Transit Folder 120, National Library of Scotland. 74 A letter to Murray dated November 11, 1861 from Somerville informs him that she has sent the manuscript via the British Embassy in Turin. On March 1, Somerville wrote to Murray that Cavours nephew was traveling to London and would bring her manuscript for Connexion to Murray. In a letter dated August 29, 1841 Somerville wrote her son that Brougham would send Murray the manuscript of the first volume of Physical Geography and that alterations can be forwarded by Holland. All letters are in Somerville/Murray letters, John Murray Archive:Acc.12604, NRR Tr ansit Folder 120, National Library of Scotland.

PAGE 182

182 context: colonialism and industrialization.75 Whether it was Wallace situated in the colonial network of the East Indies, Darwin and Huxl ey on naval survey ships, or Hooker at Kew Gardens, the empires center of economic botany, such figures received and gave knowledge. But this network also stretched to those who synthesized such knowledge for the public, such as Somerville, and publishers such as the Murrays (f ather and son), whose publications ranged from Somervilles books to Darwins to Jane Austens. Somerville was well aware of the network she was a part of and in general made sure to thank those whose work she relied on. In the introduction to the third edition of Physical Geography (1853, U.S. edition), she wrote: the author acknowledges her obligations to Baron Humboldts invaluable Cosmos, with Colonel Sabines excellent notesand to the works of M. Elie de Beaumont, Sir Charles Lyell, and Sir He nry de la Beche; to the researches of Messrs. Campbell, Thomson. Strachey, and Dr. Hooker in the Himalayas; and to pape rs in the periodical journals of Europe, India, and America. She also thanked Joseph Pentland for his help and Beaumont, Lucien Bonaparte, and Dr. Weddell for valuable information on the subjects of Geology, Ornithology, and Botanical Geography.76 Pentland not only mobilized information and publ ications for Somerville and helped keep her up to date, he also kept her updated on the doings of her scientific friends In a single letter in 1857, he told Somerville that the Murrays were well, John Herschel poorly and in the country, Charles Babbage working to complete the calcul ating machine; he provided updates on David Brewster, the Scottish natural philosopher, and his wife; he ad ded that Francis Beaufort, the retired naval hydrographer, was feeling better, an d that Roderick Murchison, the geologist, was 75 Jane Camerini, Remains of the Da y: Early Victorians in the Field, Victorian Science in Context ed. Bernard Lightman (Chicago, 1997), 355.

PAGE 183

183 flourishing. Pentland added that he hadnt yet seen George Biddell Airy, the Astronomer Royal, and that William Whewell was about somewhere. He also sent a new volume of Whewells History of the Inductive Sciences which he thought would be useful to Somerville.77 A good example of the flow of information is gi ven in a letter from Somerville to her son, in which a missionary relative, James Graham, offered to go to the Astronomical Society on Somervilles behalf to pick up a valuable book given by T. H. Huxley to Somerville on sea animals for updating parts of her Physical Geography.78 Meanwhile, Somerville had sent an updated version of the manuscript of the work to Murray via Queens messenger, in effect a diplomatic courier. Murray objected to new add itions to the work for financial reasons, but Somerville told her son that the additions must stand, most important in the geological chapter which must not be omitted, nor must the new discoveries in our north American colonies, nor the travels in Africa, Australia & China,. as it is now improved I believe it is the best Phys Geo. work that there is, but if curtailed I will not have another edition at all.79 For Somerville, her ability to be up to date was connected to her social and scientific networks, and her reputation was based on her making use of these networks. Personal connections and the movements of missi onaries, explorers, an d scientists within the context of the British Empi re provided the flow of inform ation, via print and people, so 76 Somerville, Physical Geography 3rd. ed. (1853), viii. Somerville also relied on Darwins Journal of Travels in South Americ a and his work on corals and volcanoes, see especially 113, 114. 77 Joseph Pentland to Somerville, July 10, 1857, c.371, MSP-3. 78 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, December 5, 1861, c.361, MSIF -5. Graham himself was a product of movement within the empire. He was also a Scot, the brother of Agnes Graham, wife of Somervilles son Woronzow Greig, and became a missionary and Lay Secretar y of the London Society for the Pr omotion of Christianity amongst the Jews. He lived in Jerusalem from 1853 to 1857 and was one of the earliest photographers of Jerusalem, giving some of his photographs to Somerville. He exhibited his work at the 1855 and 1864 Crystal Palace Exhibitions and some of the photographs also ended up with the Palestine Exploration Fund, which aimed to investigate the archaeology, geography, geology, and natural history of the area. See Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography ed. John Hannavy (New York, 2007), 1:605-6, which also includes information about his connections to the Pre-Raphaelites.

PAGE 184

184 important to Somervilles work. Much of this flow was facilitated via th e post office (the penny post was introduced in 1840) and steam ships. Somerville commented on how quickly and cheaply she received books posted to her in It aly. On a broader level she marveled at the telegraph between New York and California, finished in 1861, that was to be continued through the British and Russian territories of North Amer ica, across the Behring Strait and finally into India. We shall get our firs t intelligence of our Indian empire through Petersburg, is not that a miracle!!80 Somerville had strong connections to the grow ing British Empire via family and friends. She took great pride in the navy and the empire it supported and felt partic ularly strongly about India, especially when British control was thre atened, as in the rebellion in 1857. About that she wrote: People say it is the loss of America all ov er again. The loss of India will reduce us to a 4th rate power and under abler hands we were the 1st. It makes me very unhappy to live to see England fall who in my youth saw her in the zenith of her glory.81 Somerville tended to see the Empire as an unm itigated good in its role of circulator of commerce, knowledge, and civilization. This is most clearly seen in Physical Geography, where she wrote: Commerce has not less influence on mankind than colonization, with which it is intimately connected; and the narrow limits of the British Islands have rendered it necessary for its inhabitants to exert their industry. The rich es of our mines is a principal cause of our manufacturing and co mmercial wealth; but even with these natural advantages, more is due not only to our talents and en terprise, but to our high character for faith and honor.82 79 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, December 5, 1861, c.361, MSIF-5. 80 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, No vember 22, 1861, c.361, MSIF-5. 81 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, July 29, 1857, c.361, MSIF-4. 82 Somerville, Physical Geography 3rd. ed. (1853), 495.

PAGE 185

185 This commerce and manufacturing, along with fa ith, honor and science, were circulated around a world increasingly influenced by western Europe and Britain. Such ideas of circulation date back to the Enlightenment.83 Philosophers such as A. R. J. Turgot and the Marquis de Condorcet viewed social progress as dependent on connections th at allowed the circulation of people, goods, and ideas.84 In the nineteenth century progress became linked to economic growth, so that science could also be circulated in a similar way to capital. To quote historian of technology Rosalind Williams: [Science] consists of ideas that are universal counters, the same in all places, independent of personality Knowledge, like merchandise, could be accumulated and bundled in one place, transported to another, and consumed there without any alteration in character.85 Yet ideas must be embodied in something to be transportable, whether in a book, a letter, a person, or a microscope. A book may appear far more transparent in terms of ideas than does a microscope. A microscope appears to have a lot mo re material weight, since if you wish to look at something very small you must carry it with you, whereas ideas or cultural replications in books can be carried round in the head and applie d to the worldthere is less apparent material mediation. Somervilles Physical Geography was produced in London and shipped around the English-speaking world. It was also translated into German and Italian and published in those 83 Rosalind Williams, Nature Out of Control: Cultural Origins and Environmental Implications of Large Technological Systems, in Cultures of Control, ed. Miriam R. Levin (Amsterdam, 2000), 41-68. 84 Ibid. Williams regards the eighteenth-century Fren ch thinkers as technological determinists. The philosophes identified the spread of Enlightenment with diffusion of ideas in space through the intensification and acceleration of global systems of communication. Social progress was assumed to depend upon the construction of connective systems: communication and transportation grids, layer upon layer of roadways for the circulation of people, goods, and ideas (45). In addition, there were strong links be tween Turgots Physiocrat be liefs and the necessity of circulation. Williams argues that since Physiocrats grounded all wealth and value in agriculture, that wealth must be thoroughly cycled through the rest of society to be useful (47). 85 Ibid., 45-7.

PAGE 186

186 countries.86 Blanchard and Lea in the United States printed several editions (without paying copyrightinternational copyright no t being enforceable at the time).87 Somervilles book, in its circulation around the world, was a physical embodiment of the ideas within. Like Charles Babbage, Some rville linked manufacturing and science via knowledge, but in her case firmly in the context of empire. What did this mean in the real world? Examples provided by Somerville of the use of sc ience to help along the circulation of goods and knowledge included the completion of a canal jo ining the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The commerce produced by the union of the two oceans combined with the recently discovery of gold in California, would turn a country so little known...[into] a new centre of civilization, whose influence will be diffused over the wide Pacific. A footnote at the bottom of the page links gold and science directly th rough geological knowledge, itself, of course, gathered via the circulations of geol ogists around the world.88 Rivers, of course, also played a major part in circulation historicall y, and still did so in those areas not dominated by the railways. While Somerville admired the wildness of rivers in human-controlled landscapes as pi cturesque, rivers also provided a greater influence on the location and fortunes of the human race than almost any other physical cause, and since their velocity has been overcome by steam navigation, they have become the highway of the nations. While the rivers of Europe are particularly favorable to naviga tion and progress, those in Africa are far less so, part of the reason, along with slavery, why Somerville believed Africa lagged 86 The German translator was Adolph Barth. In 1850 he wrote to Somerville that he had been faithful to the original English text. Only in a few cases I have taken the liberty of adding some supplementary notes and of altering some passages of less importance, either where our German readers required a more detailed explanation of the subject, or where the opinions of sufficiently renowned authorities differ ed somewhat from the statem ents of the English text. Adolph Barth to Somerville, October 30, 1850, c.369, MSB-4. In Italy, Barbera published at least three editions of Somervilles book as Geografia Fisica 87 Unfortunately I have found no German or Italian responses to Physical Geography

PAGE 187

187 Europe in civilization.89 To progress, to be civilized and take part in material, social, and moral progress required the circulation of books, micr oscopes, missionaries, and steamboats around the world. Within them, these objects carried know ledge. The point of the circulation was to circulate, for by this knowledge increas ed, all to the benefit of humanity. The concept of unhindered circulation is par ticularly apt for a book where political and arbitrary divisions are disregarded.90 Place as place becomes less important when the focus is on movement and barriers become invisible. In th is way the empire itself becomes invisible as the circulation within it is highl ighted. But this universalization car ries the risk of dissolving the local and the particular. Somerville appeared to have felt that risk for she wrote in the section of Physical Geography titled The Distribution, Condition, and future Prospects of the Human Race, about the civilizing effect s of the British garden. The fo llowing quotation appeared in the previous chapter, in the discus sion linking progress and landscape, but it is worthwhile repeating part of it here with a different emphasis. Am ong the objects which tend to the improvement of our race, the flower-garden and the park adorned with native and foreign trees have no small share: they are the greatest orna ments of the British Islands .91 Here the local is given a place within the universal, but, as the previous chapte r showed, even that local is mediated via the cultivation of the mind and was used for moral purposes. In this sense the local anchors the universal, but also partakes of the universal circ ulation. The valued trees that adorn that very local space of a British country ga rden are many of them foreign, brought to England as part of 88 Physical Geography, 3rd ed. (1853), 495-6. 89 Ibid., 494, 41-2, 223, 230-5. 90 Somerville, Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1849), 1. 91 Somerville Physical Geography 3rd. ed. (1853), 487.

PAGE 188

188 that circulation of objects and knowledge. In this sense, it might be that all local knowledge becomes valueless unless it can be put into the system of circulation.92 Certainly on a broad scale Somerville is quite clear that a great transition was occurring. In Physical Geography (1853) she wrote: Poetry of the highest stamp has fled before the utilitarian spirit of the age; yet there is as much talent in the world, and imagin ation too though directed to different and more important objects, because the whole aspect of the moral world is altered. The period is come for one of those impor tant changes in the minds of men which occur from time to time, and form great epochs in the history of the human race.93 That sense of change was due in large part to the circulation of knowledge and of people and objects. The present state of transition has been imperceptibly in progress, aided by many concurring circumstances, among which the incr easing intelligence of the lower orders, and steam travelling, have been the most efficient.94 In addition, Steam, which annihilates time and space is instrumental in bringing nati ons together. The facility of communication is rapidly assimilating national character.95 It is a kind of homogenization that Somerville assumed would be cosmopolitan in nature, rather than the more modern fear of a homogenization down to the lowest common denominator. It would be based in multiple metropol es as society in most of the capitals is formed on the same model, and would be assisted by the widespread study of modern languages by the well-educated which woul d act to remove one of the great barriers to the assimilation of character amongst nations .96 Technology, or rather at this point in time 92 Interestingly, the sixth and last edition of Physical Geography (1870, and revised by H. W. Bates) has less on the benefits of circulation and civilization and more on the da ngers caused by circulation and colonization. This will be followed up in chapter five. 93 Somerville Physical Geography 3rd. ed. (1853), 504. 94 Ibid., 504. 95 Ibid., 496. 96 Ibid ., 496.

PAGE 189

189 what was called the manufacturing arts, played a vital role in f acilitating progress. Yet it is the kind of progress that encourages uniformity. Circulation and Specialization in On Molecular and Microscopic Science This very broad focus apparent in Physical Geography had for Somerville a corollary in the tiny focus provided by the microscope. In co mparing the focus, however, we find that the circulation of science and knowledge that knit the globe together and is unproblematic in Physical Geography becomes a problem in Somervilles final scientific work, On Molecular and Microscopic Science where that circulati on of knowledge is applied to science itself. Specialization, including the in struments of specialization, ma de Somervilles attempts at circulation and unificatio n difficult to sustain. In 1869 a writer for the Monthly Microscopical Journal reviewed On Molecular and Microscopic Science (1869). The reviewer was puzzled by the book and wrote that, the author makes no more than an incidental allusion to the microscope. No form of instrument is described, and no instructions are given as to the collection, preparation, or mounting of microscopic objects.97 The reviewer also assumed that the lack of microscopes would surprise many of the books readers. Othe r criticisms followed: the b ooks lack of uniform design, orthographical errors, and the m eager amount of space given to Infusoria and Rotifera the latter a favorite, according to the review er, of microscopists. The revi ewer did admire some of the beautiful and expensive plates of the microsc opic animals in the book, which would, of course, have required a microscope to draw. The ignorant author, of course, was the then octogenarian Somerville. On Molecular and Microscopic Science was a financial and personal disa ppointment to Somerville. Her two 97 Review of On Molecular and Microscopic Science The Monthly Microscopic Journal 1 (1869): 120-1.

PAGE 190

190 previous books had sold well and had gone throu gh multiple editions; this book sold badly and a second edition was never called for. The space be tween what went wrong from the reviewers perspective and what went right from Somerville s offers a glimpse into competing views of science and its communication. Somerville and the reviewer had very different expectations of the work. Somerville was attempting to finish off the cosmography she had begun with her first book on the physical sciences, On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences (1834), then continued with Physical Geography (1848), and ended with On Molecular and Microscopic Science (1869) While her books on physics had focuse d only on the laws of the non-living, Physical Geography lacked universal laws ap plicable to organisms; On Molecular and Microscopic Science linked the living and the non-liv ing world through universal laws. As early as 1860 she wrote to her son a bout plans for a future book: Secretly I am writing a sequel or last chapter to th e Phys. Sc as I think that on matter feeble, and the recent microscopic discoveries are so wonderful that a new cr eation is brought to light.98 New discoveries gave Somerville an opportunity to not simply update her book, but to incorporate a whole new creation into her science. Benj amin Carpenter (1813-1885), physiologist, naturalist and microscopist who described and classified the single-celled Foraminifera and who in 1850 wrote On the Mutual Relations of the Vital and P hysical Forces, proved a valuable resource for Somerville.99 In June of 1860 she wrote of Carpente r, the celebrated writer on microscopic 98 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, January 1, 1860, c.361, MSIF-5. 99 This was published in the Transactions of the Royal Society In 1865 he published On the Correlation of the Physical and Vital Forces in the Quarterly Journal of Science Carpenter aimed to show that the vital forcesthe causes of physiological phenomenawere generated in living bodies through the non-organic means of the transformation of primarily h eat, but also light and chemical reactions. This vital force provided a link between the organic and inorganic and as a force was indestructible. In this sense Carpenters work postdates the slightly earlier work of Julius Mayer (1845), though in 1850 he was not aware of Mayers work. Such force acted to convert simple elements like oxygen and carbon into complex organic forms. See On the Co rrelation of the Physical and Vital Forces, published in The Correlation and Conservation of Forces, A Series of Expositions by Prof. Grove, Prof. Helmholtz, Dr. Mayer, Dr. Faraday, Prof. Liebig, and Dr. Carpenter (New York, 1865), 401-433.

PAGE 191

191 discoveries, that he has kindly sent me some of his papers whic h have been of the greatest use to me He has proved the correlation betw een the physical vital and molecular forcesan immense step.100 This linkage, based on the indestructib ility of force and connections between the causes of physiological phenomenavital forcesand molecular forces meshed with Somervilles own anti-materialist approach, one where life was not reducible to matter in motion. Discoveries in physics and of new animal forms led her to attempt to find connections between the two areas, and in th e same year she linked them in a request to Pentland to send more books and journals on the subjects I am writing about, namely microscopic observations on the lowest classes of vegetables & animals and on the connection & co rrelation of the vital and physical forces.101 Somervilles was an integrative worldview, one where precision, calculation, morals and knowledge all played a role in science. It was an approach that saw the objects that helped make science, such as microscopes and telescopes, as secondary, at least in terms of communication. Somervilles view of science saw it deeply embe dded in ideas of circulation of knowledge and commerce, the kind of circulation provided by th e British Empire. It saw science as a common good, one that transcended disciplinary, national, and geographic boundaries, and spoke to more than simply professional scientists or deeply committed amateurs. In content it drew on and synthesized the latest scientif ic findings of the day, and in worldview connected science, industry, commerce, and the British Empire. Somerville knew the importance of instruments. She owned a telescope, a small one made by a self-taught Scottish ploughw right. She knew how to make observations, and also knew how 100 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, June 14, 1860, c.361, MSIF-5. 101 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, August 8,1860, c.361, MSIF-5.

PAGE 192

192 to use a sextant.102 But instruments, unless they were necessary to the explanation of an experiment, were made invisible, and when they did appear, there was no sense of how to use them. Instruments got in the way, changed the focus, as it were, of science. Monthly Microscopical Journal took a different approach to science. It was the journal of the Royal Microscopical Society, established a little more th an thirty years earlier after a Dr. Bowerbank said, God bless the microscope; let us have a So ciety. In the words of the President of the Society in 1870, the microscope was the most important instrument ever yet bestowed by art upon the investigator of nature.103 It was a society and a journal that revolved around the microscope. The anonymous reviewer of Somervilles book clearly sets out the limitations of the journal when he states at the very beginning of the review: With the Molecular or rather the Physics portion of the present work we have no immediate concern.104 With this statement he defines disciplinary boundaries, for the molecula r section deals with th e very small of the inorganic world and includes such subjects as Dynamic Absorption and Radiation, Rubidium and Caesium, and the Spectra of Fixed Stars, a nd therefore irrelevant to a journal dedicated to the uses of the microscope. Somervilles viewpoint was different. Rather than separating, she preferred to unite. A short paragraph at the beginning of the second part of the book is used by Somerville to link the two very disparate sections. The study of the indefinitely small in the vegetable and animal creation, is as interesting as the relation between the powers of nature and the particles of matter. The connection, for Somerville, is that th e organic world of the very small is composed 102 Somerville, Personal Recollections 99, 118, 151. 103 The Presidents Address The Monthly Microscopic Journal, 3 (1870): 113, 117. 104 Review of On Molecular and Microscopic Science Monthly Microscopic Journal 1 (1869): 120.

PAGE 193

193 of very small bits of matter from the inor ganic world, carbon, hydroge n, oxygen and nitrogen.105 This casual boundary crossing from the organic to th e inorganic and back le d the reviewer of the Monthly Microscopic Journal to view the book as lacking unifor mity of design. But it was part of Somervilles approach to science. She wrote: No mere physical powers are capable of form ing directly out of inorganic elements, the living organism whose passage thr ough the cycle of germination, growth, reproduction and decay, serves so pre-eminen tly to distinguish between it and inert matter. Plants, indeed, borrow materials from the inorganic, and powers from the physical world, to mold them into living stru ctures, but both are re stored at death to the great storehouse of nature.106 Somerville was not alone in linking the organic and inorganic at the small scale. A few years after the books publicati on, the physicist John Tyndall ha d created experiments using beams of light to show the existence of submicroscopic germs and their lack of existence in sterilized sealed containers, a strong argument against spontaneous generation and an argument for the organic nature of many airborne particles.107 Somerville knew Tyndall and corresponded with him; indeed, in the preface he is one of the five people she thanks who have aided in revising some of the sheets for press. She makes significant use of his work on heat in the first part of her book, and in her corrections for a second edition (w hich never appeared) Somerville included Tyndall as one of the three men she wanted to review the work in case of her death. Unlike Tyndall, Somerville was no scientific materialist; she never accepted Darwins theory of evolution in its entire ty, one of the three pillars of sc ientific naturalism, and if asked would likely have opposed the professionalization agenda of men such as Tyndall and T. H. 105 Mary Somerville, On Molecular and Microscopic Science, (London, 1869), 1:167. 106 Ibid., 168. 107 W. H. Dallinger, Professor Tyndalls Experiments on Spontaneous Generation, and Dr. Bastians Position, T he American Naturalist 1876, 10 :715-22.

PAGE 194

194 Huxley.108 But similarities did exist. As part of his 1874 presidential address to the British Association for the Advancem ent of Science meeting in Befast, Ireland, Tyndall said: Believing, as I do, in the continuity of nature, I cannot stop abruptly where our microscopes cease to be of use. Here the vision of the mind authoritatively supplements the vision of the eye. By a necessity engendered and justified by science I cross the boundary of the experimental evidence, and discern in that Matter which we, in our ignorance of its latent powers, and notwithstanding our professed reverence for its Creator, have hitherto covered with opprobrium, the promise and potency of all terrestrial Life.109 Tyndall was the kind of materialist Somerville could appreciate, the kind who also circulated through scientific boundaries and who allowed a vision of the mind.110 Somerville herself wrote: Every atom in the human frame, as well as in that of other animals, undergoes a periodical change by conti nual waste and renovation; but the same frame remains: the abode is changed, not the inhabitant. Ye t it is generally as sumed that the living principle of animals is extinguished when the abode finally crumbles into dust, a tacit acknowledgment of the doc trine of materialism To suppose that the vital spark is evanescent, while there is every reason to believe that the atoms of matter are imperishable, is admitting the superiority of matter over mind.111 This, Somerville was not willing to do, for science was broader than the concerns of the materialists. She added that admitting the superiority of matter was altogether at variance with the result of geological sequen ce, and quoted Lyell in his The Geological Evidences of the 108 See next chapter for Somerville and evolution. The other two pillars of scientific naturalism are the atomic theory of matter and conservation of energy. On scientific naturalism see Bernard Lightman, Victorian Sciences and Religions: Discordant Harmonies, Osiris, 2nd Series, Science in Theistic Contexts: Cognitive Dimensions, 16 (2001): 346. 109 John Tyndall, The Belfast Address, in Fragments of Science: A Series of Detached Essays, Addresses and Reviews (New York: Appleton, 1896), 1:191. In Ruth Barton, John Tyndall, Pantheist: A Rereading of the Belfast Address, Osiris 2nd series, 3 (1987): 120. 110 Tyndall rejected a crude, simplistic materialism that focused only on bits of matter. He was influenced by both German and American Romantic philosophers and wrote in 1870 to an Am erican admirer that my science owes a great debt to Emerson, Fichte, and Carlyle, three men who care little for science. But th ere were stirred the forces that were latent within me, and that these forces took th e scientific direction was a mere accident. Letter reprinted in The Atlantic Monthly 73 (1894): 281. 111 Somerville, On Molecular and Microscopic Science 2:12.

PAGE 195

195 Antiquuity of Man (1863) in that sensation, instinct, th e intelligence of the higher mammalia bordering on reason, and lastly the improvable reason of Man himself, presents us with a picture of the ever-increasing do minion of mind over matter.112 A review of Somervilles book in The Popular Science Review criticized exactly this aspect of her approach and baldly stated that this would be in itself alone enough to condemn the whole work as one devoid of the philosophic feeling which the subject demands.113 The chemist Henry Roscoe reviewed Somervilles final book for the Edinburgh Review 114 Unlike the reviewer of the microscopy journal, Roscoe finds the biological part of the book better than the inorganic part for two reasons One, that Somerville had not sufficiently emphasized the conservation of energy as the keystone upon which the st ature of our modern science rests.115 Secondly, biological science did not requir e the same emphasis on principle as the physical sciences, since it wa s not as advanced. The physical sciences, writes Roscoe, have already passed into the truly scientific stage, where co-ordination is the all-absorbing necessity.116 To order knowledge and coordinate it wa s more important than to circulate it. Roscoes focus on a truly scientific stage has parallels with Hermann Helmholtz and his approach to science and its prof essionalization. Using Goethe and Goethes science, Helmholtz defined for himself and his audience what good science was and how it should be done. 112 Ibid., 12. The quotation from Lyell is found in his The Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man (Philadelphia, 1863), 506 in the second edition. 113 Molecular and Microscopic Science, The Popular Science Review, A Quarterly Miscellany of Entertaining and Instructive Articles on Scientific Subjects 8 (1869): 169. The review also critic ized the many typographical errors and its density, remarking that it becomes quite a labour to read (169) and lack of generalization. 114 Henry E. Roscoe, Somerville on Molecular Science Edinburgh Review 130, no. 265 (1869): 137-163. 115 Ibid., 138. 116 Ibid., p. 155

PAGE 196

196 Romantic science, including that of Goethe, be longed to the pre-scientific stage, and, while useful in giving inspiration and directions of interest, was useless in the doing of science.117 Professionalization shifted the context of science. For Somerville the borders were different. Despite a Romantic love of landscap e, Somerville supported and cheered on a world being remade by political econom y, manufacturing, and empire. She could do this by locating the world that was being displaced (the Highlan ds, Ireland) into a past carefully framed by morals and aesthetics, which could then be us ed as a mental resource and placed within a progressive developmental framework. For Somerville, bordersthe boxing off of fields of knowledge were far more diffuse and did not lo ck science away into a world of its own. Somervilles view was global and integrative and sc ience was a major part of that, but connected to and circulating through th e other concerns of empires cience never stood alone. Yet by 1869, conceptions of science were changing. In addition, the material success of Britain and its empire were raising questions about the connec tions between science and manufacturing. Somerville, Babbage, and Whewell: Science, T echnology, and the Great Exhibition In The Machinery Question and the Making of Political Economy Maxine Berg argues that the battle for political economy was fi nished by 1848the machine had won. Part of winning that battle was making ma chinery, or rather the circulat ion of it and its products, a necessary part of science, empire, and the world, which Somerville had done in Physical Geography Yet, what to make of this success? Un like science, or rath er natural philosophy, 117 Michal Meyer, Visions of Goethe: On the Scientific Uses of Romanticism, unpublished paper, 2005. Huxley, in the first issue of Nature on 4 November 1869, meditated on an essay by Goethe on nature that carried strong pantheistic overtones. Most of the piece is given over to Go ethes essay, but Huxley conc ludes by placing the poets vision above the work of scientists. [I]t may be, that long after the theories of the philosophers whose achievements are recorded in these pages, are obsolete, the vision of the poet will remain as a truthful and efficient symbol of the wonder and the mystery of Nature. Inspiration may come from poetic vision, but, at least in the terms set out by Huxley, had little to say to method, of how science should be done. A few years later Huxley stopped referring to nature in animate and purposeful terms, possibly, according to Oma Stanley, as a result of reading J. S. Mills essay

PAGE 197

197 which had a long history of mo ral and religious connections, manufacturing and political economy appeared secular in nature Unlike science, in and of its elf, manufacturing had no moral basis; it was not a moral good in and of itself, but rather the uses to which it could be put could have moral benefits. There is a hi nt of this split in the section on the cultivation of science in Physical Geography, where Somerville wrote that science had never been so successfully cultivated as at the present time: the collective wisdom and experience of Europe and the United States of America in annual meetings, where the common pursuit of truth is is as beneficial to the moral as to the intellectual character, and the noble objects of investiga tion are no longer confined to a philosophic few, but are becoming wide ly diffused among all ranks of society. .118 Here science in its very essence was mo rally beneficial. There is no mention of manufacturing here. This top down model with a cosmopolitan elite spreading enlightenment elides a previous focus on manufacturing and circulation and removes political economy from the picture. Yet in the contex t of empire, manufacturingdue to its successhad to be somehow put in a safe place. The early Victorian era had inherited varied approaches to science. One was natural philosophy as a purely contemplative approach aimed only at understanding the natural world. Another was the Baconian program that saw empiri cism married to utility and expressed in an experimental natural philosophy geared to the production of effects, the electrical performances in the eighteenth and nineteenth century being good examples.119 The last was an approach that matured in the Industrial Revolution into a thir d way that owed little to natural philosophyit Nature, which stripped away vitalistic aspects. See Om a Stanley, T. H. Huxleys Treatment of Nature, Journal of the History of Ideas 18, no. 1 (1957): 120-7. 118 Somerville, Physical Geography, 3rd. ed. (1853), 496-97. 119 Peter Dear, What Is the History of Science the History Of ? Early Modern Roots of the Ideology of Modern Science Isis 96, no 3 (2005): 397. Dear views the Baconian program as combining two incommensurables

PAGE 198

198 too dealt with effects (based in manufacturing and artisanship) but within a more limited framework that did not seek to understand the underlying causes be hind the effect. It was purely practical and utilitarian it did not seek meaning, only results, such as the improvement of machines and manufacture. An example of this a pproach is included in the section on external influences on man. Somervi lle wrote that while man cannot create power ., but dexterously ava ils himself of the power of nature to subdue nature. Air, fire, water, steam, grav itation, his own musc ular strength, and that of animals rendered obedient to his will, are the instruments by which he has converted the desert into a garden, drained marshes, cut canals, made roads, turned the course of rivers, cleared away fore sts in one country, a nd planted them in another.120 The success of empire, its circulation, and accep tance of the tenets of political economy raised the issue of locating and connecting the thir d approach to that of the first. Somerville dodged the issue by falling back on a Romantic space and landscape, kept either safely in the past or safely by an aristocratic elite in the form of landscape gardens which tend[s] to the improvement of our race or by subsuming both appr oaches within the empire, which in the form of Britain, is inferior to none in many th ings, and superior to all in some .121 Somerville also elided the difference between science and manufactur ing in order to create a balance between the useful and the beautiful. The fine arts do not keep pace with scien ce, though they have not been altogether left behind. Painting, like poetry, must come spontaneously, because a feeling for it depends upon innate sympathies in the hum an mind. Nothing external could affect us, unless there were corresponding ideas w ithin .Those elevated sentiments which constitute genius are given to few; yet somethi ng akin, though inferior in degree, exists in most men. Consequentl y, though culture may not inspire genius, it cherishes and calls forth the natural percep tion of what is good and beautiful, and natural philosophy and utilitythrough language, resulting in the Baconian program speaking only in terms of mechanical tools. 120 Somerville, Physical Geography 3rd. ed. (1853), 486. 121 Ibid., 500.

PAGE 199

199 by that means improves the tone of the national mind, and forms a counterpoise to the all-absorbing useful and commercial.122 Instead of science, culture becomes the carrier of non-material progress once science is folded into the useful and commercial. Somerville, for whom the elevating aspects of science was important, never appears to ha ve satisfactorily reconciled the relationship between science and manufacturing. Others found a simple answer to the moral issues involved by simply placing science in the superior position. For example, according to Frasers This dependence of the popular and the practical on an an terior profound science runs th rough much of the business of lifein the mechanics and chemis try of manufactures and throughout all the departments of industry and art.123 In 1851 an article on sanitation in the Quarterly Review took a similar approach of theoretical knowledge appearing first, then fo llowed by useful applications. Writing of the growing force of the Sanitary Idea, the anonymous writer said of it: Of that growing Idea we also rapidly sket ched the progressfrom its origins in the theoretic dogma of the Preventability of Disease to its embodiment in the practical formula of Sanitary Consolidation. Of these two fundamental propositions, standing to each other in the relation of Science to Art, or of ascertained Law to the means of its Technical fulfillment, the first is now, happily, too universally recognized to stand in need of further demonstration.124 The word technology is not used; instead, we have the unproblematic technical fulfillment of an idea. Indeed, the word technology itself was in general not used. Johnsons A Dictionary of the English Language (1824) has the definition of technology as simply A description or discourse upon arts, while A New Dictionary of the English Language (1839) has no entry for technology. Johnsons Dictionary of 1836 also ca rried no entry for technology. The meaning of 122 Ibid., 502. 123 The Bridgewater Treatises, Frasers 8, no. 2 (1833), 276. 124 Sanitary Consolidation, The Quarterly Review 88, no. 176 (1851): 227.

PAGE 200

200 technology as the practical arts collectively is first recorded in 1859 within the context of commerce and exploration in the British Empire.125 Even Charles Babbage, at the very end of his book on manufacturing, sl ips into the moral language of science. In On the Future Prospect s of Manufactures, as Connected with Science, Babbage writes that if science has called into real existence th e visions of the poet the accumulating knowledge of ages ., the philosophe r has conferred on the moralist an obligation of surpassing weight. The obligation is the resistless evidence of immeasurable design, a design that almost certainly includes intelligent li fe on other worlds. It is unthinkable that no living eye should be gladdened by [natures] form s of beauty, that no intellectual being should expand its faculties in deciphering their laws.126 Babbage finished his book on the economy of machinery and manufacturing by focusing on the contemplative aspects of natural philosophy, thus giving manufacturing and commerce great power, but to science giving morality. Yet manufacturing and commerce were on far gr eater display than science. In 1851, the same year that the article on sanitation appeare d, the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations showcased the arts and industr y of the world and highlighted the superior productions of Western Europe a nd especially Great Britain. The Great Exhibition itself could not have occurred without Britains Empire and its ability to knit together much of the world through military and trade means. Just as th e Great Exhibition showcased the wares of the premier countries of the world, it showcased Gr eat Britains premier pos ition in the world. 125 Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language (London, 1824), Charles Richardson, A New Dictionary of the English Language (London, 1839), Johnsons Dictionary (Boston, 1836). The Oxford English Dictionary locates the first use of technology as the practical arts collectively in 1859 with the explorer Richard Burton and his statement in the Journal of the Royal Geographic Society 29 (1859): 437. Little valued in European technology it [the chakazi, or jackass copal] is exported to Bombay, where it is converted into an inferior varnish. 126 Babbage, Economy of Machinery and Manufactures 268, 269.

PAGE 201

201 Somerville never saw the Great Exhibition, bu t her scientific friend William Whewell did and then wrote the General Bearing of the Great Exhibition, a public lecture seemingly designed as a summing up of the Great Exhi bition and an analysis of its importance.127 In this published talk, Whewell did what neither Somerv ille nor Babbage was able to dohe created a framework in which science and manufacturing were linked via a web of knowledge and morality and, in effect, creati ng the modern meaning of technology as dependent on science. Whewell, along with the political economist Rich ard Jones, opposed abstract and theory-based political economy, a criticism leve led at David Ricardo, yet he did not reject the discipline as a whole and instead sought a more inductivist and real world basis for it.128 Whewells vocation was as critic of science, in the same wa y that poetry and literat ure had their critics.129 In addition, as Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, a mini ster in the Church of England, and as having held the position of professor of moral philosoph y, he was concerned with the moral status of science. Whewell, a philosophical idealist himself, disagreed with the simple idealism of the Quarterly Review He also disagreed with Babbages ahis torical view of the relations between 127 Whewell was asked by the Council of the Society of Ar ts to write on the exhibition. He was not the only man asked to write on it, others, all experts, wrote on specific parts of the exhibition, on the natural materials displayed, on the machinery, and so on. Whewell, however, wrote about the whole exhibition. 128 Malthus and Ricardos Inductivist Critics: Four Letters to William Whewell by N. B. de Marchi and R. P. Sturges, Economica New Series, 40, no. 160 (1973): 379-93. The authors write, Whewell and Jones in their later work sought actively to reconstruct economic science on inductive lines. Ricardo was a chief object of their criticism because, they allege, he had r easoned upon premises which were base d on only the most causal observation . (381). 129 Yeo, Defining Science: William Whewell, 55. Born the son of a master carpenter and sent to Cambridge University on a fifty pound scholarship in 1812, W illiam Whewell (1794-1866) made his life and work at Cambridge University, especially Trinity College. During hi s life he wrote on a variety of topics, from the history and philosophy of science to translations of Grotius and on Gothic architecture. Regarded as a polymath by friends and enemies alike, he lived at a time of increasing specialization in the sciences. His three-volume work, A History of the Inductive Sciences (published in 1837) was a history and a summing up of all the sciences then in existence, written for an educated yet not specialist audience. Whewell did practice science, at least for a time. His researches on the tides, where he attempted to chart the motions of the worlds oceans and where high tides occurred at the same time won him a medal from the Royal Society in 1837 He also worked in math ematical applications to mineralogy, and was appointed professor of mineralogy in 1828.

PAGE 202

202 science and technologyone purely based on the resu lts of the Industrial Revolution and laissez fare economics.130 The Great Exhibition gave Whewell a plat form from which he could articulate his own views to a wider public. In An Empire on Display Peter Hoffenberg argues that exhibitions such as the Crystal Palace helped create experts who could provide a map to the meaning of such exhibitions and put order to such huge collections of machinery, ma nufactured goods, minerals, foods, fine arts, and handmade wares brought to the Crysta l Palace from all over the world.131 Whewell, already one of the leading figures in British natural philosophy, could give meaning to what people saw at the Great Exhibition from a new position of expe rtise. Acknowledging Prince Alberts role in creating the Exhibition, Whewell wr ites that Albert clearly saw th at there was a Royal Road to knowledge, and that the Exhi bition provided that road.132 Yet it was Whewell, by the very act of writing and presenting his General Bearing of the Great Exhibition, who created the royal road. Whewell, a translator of poetr y and a master of language, fi rst grounded his authority over machinery in language and in comparing the act of making to anal ysis of the act. [L]anguage is picturesque and affecting first; it is philosoph ical and critical afterwards:it is first concrete, then abstract:it acts first, it analyses afterwards. And this is the case, not with words only, but with works also. The Poet, as the 130 The fourth edition of Babbages Economy was published in 1835, and, according to Martin Campbell-Kelly, there were no significant changes between 1832 and 1835, so Babbages views may be taken to be unchanged during that time. In 1851, Babbage published The Exposition of 1851, which appeared soon after the opening of the Great Exhibition. It contained many of the themes of his scie ntific life, themes that had appeared in an earlier book, Reflections on the Decline of Science published in 1830. These themes include reform, with economic reform the basis for more general reform, and the status of science. There is nothing contained within that work that contradicts Babbages earlier views on science and technology. 131 Peter H. Hoffenberg, An Empire on Display: English Indian, and Australian Exhibitions from the Crystal Palace to the Great War (Berkeley, Calif., 2001), 70. 132 William Whewell, The General Bearing of the Gr eat Exhibition on the Progress of Art and Science in Lectures on the Result of the Exhibition, Delivered before the Society of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce (London: 1852), 4.

PAGE 203

203 Greeks called him, was the Maker as our English fathers, also, were wont to call him. And mans power of making may s how itself not only in the beautiful texture of language, the grand machinery of the epic, the sub lime display of poetical imagery; but in those material works which supply the originals in the Textures of soft wool, or fine linen, or glo ssy silk in the Machinery mighty as a thunderbolt to rend the oak.133 Historically, the making of things came befo re the understanding of things. Makers of brass and iron objects existed before the chemical knowledge of metals existed. The objects in the Great Exhibition were articulate utterances of the human mind to be read and enjoyed and, when over and gone, subjected to analysis to discover underlying princi ples. The critic of material art endeavours to discern the laws of material nature; to learn how man can act by these, operating through the medi um of matter, and thus pr oduce beauty and utility, and power.134 To shift wholly into the world of science, the role of science is simply to discover the laws of operative power in material productions, whether formed by man or brought into being by Nature herself.135 For Whewell, Art was the mother of Scie nce: the vigorous and comely mother of a daughter of far loftie r and serener beauty.136 Lofty implies a broad swathe of knowledge under the gaze of science, while serene implies a certain disinterestedness, a relu ctance to turn science to money grubbing activities or to engage in cont roversy. Socially, then, lofty and serene could be embodied only in gentlemen. As for relations between mother Art and daughter Science, the intellectual and better educated head, which included the upper cla sses, directed the actions of the hand, those who did the work, generally manual in nature, that requi red less education and 133 Ibid., 4. 134 Ibid., 5. 135 Ibid., 6. 136 Ibid., 6.

PAGE 204

204 less thinking, and was the pr ovince of the lower classes.137 Unsurprisingly, then, Whewell, an educator himself, gave science and its intellectual pursuits a hi gher status than any artisanal making of things unaccompanied by an intellectua l understanding of the hows and whys of the matter. It would seem that science and the artisanal, while connected genealogically, were irreparably separated by class. Fu rthermore, science best speaks for the artisanal, just as the upper classes speak for the benefit of the lower. With this approach, the moral mantle of scien ce could be spread to the manufacturing arts. Whereas Somerville located the moral aspects of commerce and manufacturing not in the commerce and manufacturing itself but through its movementvia colonization, missionaries, scientiststhrough the empire, Whewell yoked the ma nufacturing arts to sc ience, with science speaking for these technical arts. Whewell was one of those persons well qualified to draw from the spectacle the series of scie ntific morals which it offers, and explained what you ought to learn from such an exhibition of art.138 Whewell invited his audience to picture the simultaneity of the Great Exhibition everything gathered into one place at one time for everyone to seeversus one person spending a lifetime traveling the world to see the workshops and the arts of all the nations. The second is clearly inferior to the first, according to Whewel l. As historian Richard Bellon makes clear, the Great Exhibition was a localized form of globalization, intended to collapse physical and temporal distances, which required cooperative effort to bring objects and the people to see them together.139 Though an exhibition and a book are very di fferent objects, there are parallels. 137 Shapin and Barnes, Head and Hand, 246. 138 Whewell, The General Bearing of the Great Exhibition, 7-8. 139 Richard Bellon, Science at the Crystal Focus of the World, in Fyfe and Lightman, eds. Science in the Market Place 308. Bellons chapter examines the failure of the exhibitions scientific aspirations in terms of educating its visitors, who often treated the exhibition as purely entertainment and spectacle.

PAGE 205

205 Somerville was part of a network of people and knowledge drawn from a ll over the world, which she synthesized and embodied in a book and which then moved through the world. The Great Exhibition brought objects from around the world to one location, which were then put into a network of knowledge given meaning by Whewell and to which people came. The disadvantage of such an approach as th e Great Exhibition was that the machines and their productions were ripped out of their local context. Whewell never addressed this issue of the contextless object. Yet what might a sightseer at the Crystal Palace make of an Otaheitian headdress. What role could they assign to it or to its wearer? Or to a shiny machine laid out for their inspection? Could they imagine it dirty and grease stained, surrounded by workers, and producing whatever it was made to produce? Removing context gave Whewell the power to recontextualize, to combine the un iversality of the Great Exhibiti on and its objects in a way that gave science primacy, in much the same way that removing barriers in Physical Geography allowed Somerville to restructure the globe. Removing the underpinnings of industry allowed Whewell to ask certain questions. Whewell wrote that the most beautiful produc ts, the gorgeous silks and fine porcelains, come from the Orient, and Eur opean craftsmen could not match such skill and beauty. What then, shall we say of ourselves? Wherein is our superiority, he asked. More importantly, what advantages did all the accumulated skill and cap ital of the Industrial Revolution provide when measured up against the technical skills of China. For Whewell, the superiority lay not in the quality of the product itself but in its intended recipient. Social structures played an important role in cultural superiority, and not just the skill inhering in the product itself. Of nations such as Persia and India, he writes: There Art labours for the rich alone there the multitude produce

PAGE 206

206 only to give splendour and grace to the despot or the warrior whose slav es they are, and who they enrich. Contrast this w ith the British approach where the most exquisite and the most expensive machinery was brought into play where operations on the most common materials were to be performed, because these were to be executed on the widest scaleTh is therefore is the meaning of the vast and astonishing prevalence of machine-wo rk in this country:that the machine with its million figures works for millions of purchasers, while in remote countries, where magnificence and savagery stand side by side, tens of thousands work for one here the man who is powerful in the weapons of peace, capital, and machinery, uses them to give comfort and enjoyment to the public, whose servant he is, and thus becomes rich while he enriches others with his good.140 For Whewell, this was a clinching argument fo r Britains lead position when it came to the social progress of nations. Whewell was not maki ng a utilitarian argument but rather a social argument on how the uses of science and arts c ould help society progress. Science could be a moral force, and in its primacy over the practical arts could harness these arts for progressive purposes. For Somerville, once science became purely part of the useful or commercial, its moral power disappeared. In addition, when circulatio n comes to a haltwhen the pause button is pressedmoral aspects of th at circulation disappear. The Great Exhibition offered Whewell opportunities for a purely scientific progress, by showing how the scientific daughter was supers eding the artisanal mother. The new chemical manufactories were the whole foundation, the entire creator of the art. Finally, progress had reached the point where the cult urally superior science, an exact philosophical science, may legislate for art. Whewell raphsodized over the ne w chemical sciences: So rapidly in this case has the tree of Art blossomed from the root of Science; upon so gi gantic a scale have the truths of Science been embodied in the domain of Art.141 140 Whewell, The General Bearing of the Great Exhibition, 14-15. 141 Ibid., 22.

PAGE 207

207 A tree as metaphor may also be seen as a ma p. Whewell interwove science, machinery and manufacturing, and Empire, all drawn from the Crystal Palace, to pr ovide his hearers and listeners with a map. It is a map of social and ma terial progress, colored by the subtle embrace of the Empire in its abilities to clearly show this progress by annihilating space and time. In Whewells lecture the empire appeared as a means, not an end. Somerville, grounded in her conceptions of circ ulation and political economy within the British Empire, was unable to create a completely stable relationship between science and manufacturing outside of the context of circulation, thereby placing the moral progress she gave to science in a precarious positi on once the developmental laws of progress (based on the laws of astronomy) could be questioned, as they were with the shift to a more biologically determined approach, as in Darwins evolution.142 Whewell, with his perspec tive of the world coming to Londonthe periphery moving to th e center and pausing there to be examinedwas able to create a morally stable relationship between the two; scie nce would now rule.143 Conclusion Despite its imperial backdrop, Physical Geography did well in the United States, with educational institutions in particular making use of it.144 An 1849 review published by the Unitarian Christian Examiner and Religious Miscellany goes some way to explaining the books success. After all, a statement by the reviewer that the cultivation of scientific taste in a commercial community like ours is of great impor tance, followed by speculation on the future 142 See chapter six for more on this within the context of evolution. 143 As Bellon argues in his chapter on the Great Exhibition (cf. n. 139), its creators and organizers could not control the meanings that people took away from the exhibition. In addition, the constraints of time and space and politics (the Chinese government refused to participate and th e Chinese exhibition was organized by a British Board of Trade official) meant that any scientific aspirations could easily be overlo oked by visitors. In this sense, Whewell may have succeeded in recreating the relationship between the manufacturing arts and science only for his listeners and readers, not for the mass of visitors.

PAGE 208

208 importance of Maurys oceanographic workthat t he toils of the sea will be lightened, and valuable information will be gained in relati on to the trade-winds of the Atlanticshows obvious links with Somervilles work. 145 After reviewing Physical Geography, the author ends with his own thoughts on the subject of physical geography. Suppose every meridian on the earths surf ace to be marked by the iron bands of the railroad or the smoke of the stea mship, suppose each of its parallels of latitude to be made visible by the fine wi res of the telegraph, so that every degree of its area should be bounded, north and south, east and west, by the lines of intelligence, and suppose the Christian spirit to have taken possession of only two or three of the more powerful nations of the earth, and what ignorance or vice could stand up against the intolerable blaze which would be kindled round every hearth-stone?146 Tightly linking commerce, colonization and Ch ristianitytopics close to Somervilles heartthe reviewer then adds scientific control to the mix. When we consider the beautiful proportion which marks all the works of God, we are constrained to believe that there is some relation between the size of our planet and mans ability to subj ugate and enjoy it. Nature has other forces in store, which he will hereafter di scover and apply as dexterously as he now uses steam, wind, or electricity.147 This is a parallel world to Somervilles British Empire. Two levels of circulation appear in Somerville s work. The first, guaranteed by the British Empire, was the circulation of knowledge and commerce throughout the globe, while the second was that of knowledge circulation through scienc e, though both were linked to the idea of progress and development. The first showed r eaders how the human world worked against the 144 See conclusion of chapter five for more on this. 145 Somervilles Physical Geography, The Christian Examiner and Religious Miscellany 46 (1849): 64-5. 146 Ibid., 74. 147 Ibid., 75.

PAGE 209

209 backdrop of a globalized world. The second, thou gh a failure as a commercial venture and among her scientific peers, showed how scie nce as done by humans worked, at least from Somervilles perspective. A commercial society was necessary to this circulation and part of making such a society appear inevitable and necessary was by putting it in an historical context of a Romantic world, now lost in the past, giving way to the inevitab ility of a commercial society, one grounded in a progressive view of empire that grew increasingly common in th e first third of the nineteenth century. This progressive view was, in tur n, grounded in political economy, which guaranteed the progress of society and also viewed the empire as a guarant or of that progress. Within a progressive commercial society, sc ience is part of the circulation of knowledge and things. Somerville became part of the movement of knowledge as a result of her communication network, which expanded after her move to It aly in 1838 and the requirements of writing Physical Geography, which itself was partially due to th e failure of Somervilles model of science, one that required fina ncial security and leisure. Somervilles connections, which included scientists, explorers, naval men, and her publisher, were vital to Physical Geography. Knowledge moved back and forth via the circulation of letters, books, journals, and people through the medium of steam ships, post offi ce, and even Queens messenger. This was embedded within a commercial global circulatio n which acted to homogenize the world via the tools of industry, steam and telegraph. Somerv illes belief in progress assumed a beneficial homogenization, based on increasing e ducation and led from the top down. While Somervilles conception of knowledge ci rculation within empire reflected many of the assumptions of the day, changing assumptions within science on circulation within science proved problematic in On Molecular and Microscopic Science Somerville attempted to link the

PAGE 210

210 living and the non-living through uni versal laws and ignored grow ing disciplinary boundaries when she combined the very small of the inorgani c world with the very small of the organic in one book. Somerville, aging and ensconced in Italy, had not fallen behind the scientific times in terms of knowledge; in fact, according to Hersch el, she might be rushing ahead too fast. In 1863 he gently chided her on her conservations a nd correlations. [Y]ou will have to make allowances for what perhaps you will call my anti quated prejudices, he wrote. I cannot adopt the language about these same forces correlat ions and conservations which is in vogue. There may be a shadowing forth of truth but I think we are in far too great a hurrythat our talk is getting ahead of our know ledge a great deal too fast an d that we are losing ourselves among words which carry no clear ideas.148 But Somerville was falling behind in how knowledge was organized, and her integrative world vi ew that sought for laws applicable to both the organic and inorganic and rejected a purely materialistic approach was no longer acceptable. For Somerville, science did have a moral aspect within the context of the empire and how it circulated knowledge. This moral aspect was no t shared by the manufacturing arts, which had been tightly connected to progress via a commerci al society and what that society could provide. The success of the empire and the influence of what came to be called technology, however, meant that some attempts were made to give a moral cast to technology. Somerville failed in reconciling the relationship between science and technology. William Whewell, in the context of 148 John Herschel to Somerville, July 30, 1863, letter number 369, Herschel Papers, Royal Society. Somerville did rewrite her original introduction (now unknown) to Microscopic and Molecular Science to better suit Herschels concerns. She wrote to Herschel with her new introductio n. The investigations which have revealed the most refined and wonderful relations between light, heat, electricity, and highly elastic media, together with chemical action applied so successfully to organic and inorganic substances, have shown new and unexpected connections between these agencies and the ultimate atoms and molecu les of matter. Besides the microscopic examinations of that marvelous creation invisible to the unaided eye of man, has penetrated into the deepest recesses of living beings, and thus to the indefinitely great, a new accession of th e indefinitely small has been brought within the powerful grasp of modern science . Somerville to John Herschel, August 25, 1863, letter 371, Herschel Papers, Royal Socity. The published version reduced even further the links between the living and the non-living.

PAGE 211

211 the Great Exhibition of 1851, created a framewor k in which science and technology were linked by making technology dependent on science. On a purely practical level, Somerville was well aware of the goals of such exhibitions, as when she commented on the 1861 National Exposition held in Florence in the newly uni fied Italy (excluding Rome and Venice). All the Italian world is going, she told her son. While a miniature thing compared to Crystal Palace, she added that such as it is it will do much good to the people and is very popular. Somerville was well aware of the context of the exposition, of binding Italy into a nation and the promotion of liberalism and free trade.149 Such an approach tied understandings of science to material progress that also served a moral progress. 149 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, September 3, 1861, c.36 1, MSIF-5. For the context of the 1861 exposition and the role played by the rising middle class intent on commerce and the elim ination of protectionism, see Alberts Boimes Art in an Age of Civil Struggle, 1848-1871 (Chicago, 2007), 389.

PAGE 212

212 CHAPTER 5 CONDUCTING SCIENCE: THE DIFFERENT ROLES OF PHYSIC AL GEOGRAPHY In 1858, Somerville, herself partial to a whisky before bed, found herself much annoyed at the drunkenness and bad conduct of the Scotch, by the statistics there are more natural children there than in any country in Europe, and people say that since biggots[sic] will not let the people have any innocent amusement on a Sunday the only holiday they have, they take to vice. Somerville, a Scot herself, added that she should like to defend my country but I cannot & I am mortified.1 This example of bad conduct sharply contrasts with a positive example set by her scientific friend Sir John Herschel during Somervilles visit in 1848 The charm of the conversation is only equaled[sic] by its variety every subject Sir John touches turns to doubly refined gold, profound, brilliant amiable and highly factual, I could never end in admiring and praising him.2 For Somerville, conduct played an important ro le and colored her approach to society and science. In this she was far from alone; J ohn Wilson Croker, who wrote to the Tory Prime Minister, Robert Peel, in suppor t of a pension for Somerville de scribed the naval actions of Somervilles father and his role in the victory over the Dutch navy at Camperdown and added that The child and gran dchildren of Sir W. Fairfax have a degree of merit, exclusive of Mrs. Somerville's literary reputation.3 Physical geographythe study of the earth and its inhabitants was a quintessential nineteenth-century science. Thos e who wrote for a scientifically inclined gene ral audience found 1 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, October 5, 1858, c.361, MSIF-4. 2 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, January 1, 1848, c.361, MSIF-3. 3 John Wilson Croker to Robert Peel, The Croker Papers: The Correspondence and Diaries of the Late Right Honorable John Wilson Croker ed. Louis J. Jennings (New York, 1884), 2:58. The editor lists the date of the 1835 letter as probably January 18.

PAGE 213

213 in the subject a suitable vehicle for discussing nature, empire, religion, and progress. This chapter focuses on the notion of conduct to de velop connections amongst these topics. There are two senses in which such a metascientific focus can be helpfulconduct in terms of the authors function as a guide to their subject, and conduc t or behavior of those appearing in the text. Apart from Somerville, who published her first edition of Physical Geography in 1848, I wish to include two other writers on the physical world, Rosina Zornlin (1794?-1859), and George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882) for co mparative purposes. Henry Holland, the Quarterly Reviews reviewer of the first edition of Physical Geography, had commented that Somervilles was the first book in English on the subject. He was wrong. In 1840 Rosina Zornlin had published a book called Recreations in Physical Ge ography, or the Earth as it is a book which, like Somervilles, went through se veral editions. Holla nd either was not aware of this book or chose not to consider it as a worthwhile book on physical geography. Zornlin was the invalid daughter of a wealthy broker who wrote elem entary books on many scientific subjects.4 Somerville and Zornlin each produced a book differe nt in tone, scope, and assumptions about the role of science, and a comparison of the two high lights the differing didactic styles that science popularizers took. Zornlin viewed herself as a guide for her r eaders and ignored those doing the science. Somerville focused on the conduct of those doing the science and elided her role as guide. Conduct allowed both authors to place nature and sc ience securely within the British Empire and also allowed the empire a place in science. Both books gave readers the ability to put things whether lichens, animals, or explorersinto a European-created world order that included the 4 Rosina Zornlin, Recreations in Physical Geography, or the Earth as it is (London: 1840). The fourth and final edition of Recreations in Physical Geography appeared in 1851. Lightman, Victorian Popularizers 109.

PAGE 214

214 latest scientific evidence. As books on science for a non-specialized audience, these works were part of a knowledge industry that fed a growing public appe tite for useful and improving knowledge. Marsh, one of the first major figures to focus on the effects of humans on nature, published Man and Nature; or, Physical Geography as Modified By Human Action in 1864. A welltraveled American who helped found the Smithsoni an Institution, served as U.S. minister to Turkey and later to a newly uni fied Italy, he relied on his ow n experiences and knowledge of human interaction with nature on a global scale as well as work s published in various languages, from ancient Greek to Scandinavian languages. His book was not aimed at any scientific elite, but rather at the group Marsh described as edu cated, observing, and thinking men, to whom he could make practical suggestions. Somervilles book about the physical world ai med to deliberately eschew artificial divisions such as pol itical boundaries; yet it what is essentially a moral essay on humanity and thus helps us see what boundaries Somerville did acknowledge between the artificial and the natural. For example, Somerville created artificial versus natural categories of extinction based partially on Lye lls work. In addition, she juxtaposed the na tural boundaries of living things against the human artificial extension of those boundaries through particular kinds of human conduct, such as cultivation. Indeed, cultivation as a word takes on many forms in Physical Geography, and often acts as a synonym for progress, underscoring its understanding as a necessary foundation of civilization. In the case of Marsh, a similar civilizational framework produced a different relationship to nature. While Somerville and Zornlin both gave commerce a central place in their work, the effects of man on nature are lim ited by, in the formers case, a Ro mantic view of nature, and in

PAGE 215

215 the latters, a theology of nature that allowed no conflict. Ma rshs book, unhindered by either concern, resulted in a kind of conduct based on endless conflict between man and nature, manageable only via technocratic means. As will become evident below, human activit ies constantly erupt from the pages of Somervilles book. Put more precisely, the focus is often dragged back to human activity, underlining the difficulties of tr eating humans as simply anot her species on the earth. For example, a chapter on the oceans gives a long section to the experiences of James Clark Ross and his recent discovery voyage to Antarctica on the Erebus and the Terror. Two different approaches underlie this inclus ion: firstly, the juxtaposition of humans and the conduct of discovery with the consequent gradual fading of the human as the new knowledge emerges into focus; secondly, the way a human-centered narr ative fits into conceptions of empire. A comparison of Somervilles work with Zornlins will examine their varying understandings of the roles played by author an d public in representing and creating science. A theology of nature played a more overt role in Zornlins work and was interwoven with the commercial and scientific. The consequence was that, for Zornlin, science produced no emotional effect of its own, as it did with Somerville. The global knowledge presented by Zornlin produced a dualismconceptions of natu re and civilization were at odds with each other, but were mediated via a theology of na ture. In addition, Somerv illes strongly synthetic approach to building connections highlighted an unanswerable question of species distribution, of why these species in these places, a question that appeared inevitable in Somervilles book, but not in Zornlins, despite the identical subject matter. I begin with the subject matter of the vari ous books, though focus mostly on Somervilles, before shifting the focus to conduct in the next three sections. Secti on three focuses on human

PAGE 216

216 conduct in presenting science to an audience and on the conduct of those who do science. Sections four and five examine how humans behave towards nature and the underlying assumptions that drive the three authors. Worlds of P hysical Geography, Recreations Man and Nature By definition, physical geography was a planet ary science, one whose study was the whole world. Mary Louise Pratt characterizes the de velopment of what she calls a planetary consciousness in the eighteen th century, exemplified by th e publication of Linnaeuss Systema Naturae (1735) and the French scientific expediti on to South America, which set out in 1735 to measure a degree of longitude near the equator. While Linnaeus sought to create a framework into which all plants on the planetknown and unknownmight eventually be fitted, the French team sought to gain knowledge of the shape of the earth. This new approach, writes Pratt, was marked by the construction of global-scale m eaning through the descriptive apparatuses of natural history. 5 If natural history is extended to geology and the physical processes of the world, then this is a good description of Physical Geography In many ways the book is a taxonomic exercise that gave readers the abil ity to put thingsrocks, human varieties, landscapesinto a European-created order and it included the la test scientific evidence. Historian of geography W. E. Marsden characterizes a temporal change in geographical texts in the nineteenth century as shifting from religious imperatives driving British interventions in the first half to that of imperial imperative s in the second half. Both imperatives existed in Somervilles work, and were intertwined, as characterized by the Protestant basis of progress and 5 Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation, ( London, 1992), 15. This approach, according to Pratt, also includ ed a shift in focus from coastal and sea expl oration toward interior exploration. For the nineteenth century this might be considered a little narr ow. Scientific exploration of the seas continued. The Beagles voyage, quite apart from Darwins researches, wa s designed to produce charts of use to the British Admiralty; the North-West Passage remained a preoccupa tion for much of the centur y; and James Clark Rosss exploration of the Antarctic seas (along with the French Dumont dUrville and the American Wilkes expeditions of the late 1830s to early 1840s) show that seas and coastlines were not neglected.

PAGE 217

217 the benefits of imperial ism via trade and commerce.6 In announcing the publication of Physical Geography as part of his 1848 presidential address to the Royal Geographic Society, W. J. Hammond picked up on this aspect of Somervilles work when he stated that, the progress of civilization and the moral improvement of [the human] character hold out the hope that no retrograde movement is now possible, and, qu oting Somerville, the diffusion of Christian virtue and knowledge ensures the progressive advancement of man in those high moral and intellectual qualities that constitute his true dignity.7 The economy of nature was used throughout the eighteenth century to refer to the organization and governing principles of life, a major part of physical geography.8 It assumed God as housekeeper whose job was to keep things in order and functioning.9 And while the word ecology did not make an appearance until 1866, Somervilles conceptions of physical geography included what environmental historian Donald Worster calls a comprehensive way of looking at the earths fabric of life: a point of view that sought to describe all of the living organisms of the earth as an interacting whole .10 Worster locates the origins of the modern eco logical inclination in the Enlightenment. Two contradictory strands of control over nature versus coexistence with nature appeared, which he 6 W. E. Marsden, Rooting racism into the educational experience of childhood and youth in the nineteenthand twentiethcenturies History of Education 19 (1990): 333-53. 7 W. J. Hamilton, Address at the Anniversary Meeting, May 22, 1848, by W. J. Hamilton, Esq. President, The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 18 (1848): xlii. Hammond listed the new books of that year, for physical geography, including Johnstons Physical Atlas the translation of the second volume of Humboldts Kosmos as well as Somervilles book. 8 According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word economy traces back to ancient Greek, where the word described household management. 9 Donald Worster, Natures Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas (Cambridge, 1994), 37. 10 Ibid., x.

PAGE 218

218 calls the imperial (control based) versus the arcadian (contemplative) tendencies.11 Yet, contra Worster, both were products of human i ngenuity, and in literary, pictorial, and physical terms the arcadian approach was a space that allo wed for moral and aesthetic reflection, often by the upper classes within the cont ext of an empire. Nor were both mutually exclusive; in Somervilles Physical Geography both approaches, simply stated, had their place. Apart from its base in political economy a nd assumption of human control, Somervilles Physical Geography was imperial in nature in the simp le sense that it relied on the knowledge produced by the empire. Such knowledge was ac quired by men (mainly) on the business of the British Empire and by those who studied the physical spaces opened by the empire.12 Despite the utilitarian basis of political economy, many of its practitioners possessed the assumption that its goal was non-utilitarian in natu rethe moral and material impr ovement of humanity, one that required a certain amount of w ealth and leisure as a basis.13 Somerville saw herself as an improver, providing moral and scientific knowledge to her readers. It was a role her class and background suited her to, an upperclass domesticator of science who showed its safety and 11 Ibid., 2. Gilbert White (1720-1793), the founder of the arcadian approach in England, appears to have played a role similar to Scott and Ossian in providing a history that could be used. His book, The Natural History of Selborne (1789), made little impact until 1830, when, writes Worster, it was suddenly discovered by a new generation that looked back with envy to the graceful, balanced life of the parson-naturalist as opposed to that of an industrializing society (14). Of course, the nature that White described was that of a rural landscape heavily modified by humans. Worster sets up a useful but problematic dichotomy between his two traditions, specifically what he describes as a Christian anti-Arcadian tradition that removed all spir itual qualities from nature and distanced it from human feeling. Opposing it was a pagan-influenced approach, such a Virgils pastoral poetry. Worster also has a tendency to universalize technological change, assuming widespread technological change in Britain at a time when it was highly localized. In addition he is occasi onally Whiggish, such as when he states that the majority of naturalists in the eighteenth century naively persisted in extolling only the precision of the economy of nature. . (43). 12 See chapter three on circulation for further information. Somervilles book went through seven editions, the second-to-last in 1870, which was updated by H. W. Bate s, the assistant secretary of the Royal Geographical Society. The last edition, after Somervilles death, is not included. 13 This is not to say that value judgments based on co mmerce did not appear. For example, Jamaica is the most valuable of the British possession in the West Indies, du e to its sugar plantations. Western upper Canada in many respects is one of the most valuable of the British colonies in the west, due to the ability to grow every sort of European grain that requires a hot summer. In Physical Geography 2nd. ed. (1849), 1:196, 212.

PAGE 219

219 suitability to a Victorian so ciety concerned about morality, improvement, and civilization. Indeed, a strong gender dynamic appears as Somerv ille the domesticator describes the gendered masculine exploits of various explorers. At the same time, the professionalizing te ndency in science beco mes clear during this period. The empire itself contributed to professi onalization in the move to a greater use of statistics and an increase in objectivity versus th e moral status of the scientist. Theodore Porter writes that, Reliance on numb ers and quantitative manipulations minimizes the need for intimate knowledge and personal tr ust. Quantification is well suited for communication that goes beyond the boundaries of locality and commun ity, as in that of an empire.14 Numbers also implied knowledge, knowledge of land area, height of mountains, length of rivers, and so on. Where that knowledge did not exist in Physical Geography it was replaced by vague statements such as The Burman [Burmese] Empire is said to be as large as France.15 As to the books themselves, their structure varied little throughout the various editions.16 Somervilles edition of Physical Geography stayed up to date and the increasing knowledge of particular branches of science ap peared clearly. So, for example, the ocean floor was an object of interest to Somerville, though in 1849 it was still so lit tle known that no inference can be drawn with regard to its heights and hollows and little could be said about it that was not based on general principles such as density of land versus density of water. She assured readers that 14 Theodore Porter, Trust in Numbers (Princeton, N.J., 1996) ix. For professionalization within the context of empire see Richard H. Grove, Green Imperialism: Colonial Expansion, Tropical Island Edens and the Origins of Environmentalism, 1600-1860 (Cambridge, 1995). While professionaliza tion is not a specific focus of Groves work, his discussion of the employment of Scottish surge ons by the East India Company shows professionalization in action. 15 Somerville, Physical Geography, 2nd. ed. (1849), 1:124. 16 The editions considered here are those published in 184 8, 1849, 1851, 1858, 1870. The 1853 American edition by Blanchard and Lea used here is from the 1851 British edition. Changes to the original 1851 text are noted in the American edition.

PAGE 220

220 Laplace had shown that no ocean instability could lead to a general i nundation of the world. By 1870, the shape of much of the ocean floor wa s known as were instances of many life forms.17 Henry Walter Bates, assistan t secretary of the Royal Geogr aphical Society, revised the 1870 edition, Somerville by this point not able to do the amount of work required for updating, although in the preface Somerville stated that not hing essential was altered, nor the general views entertained by the author. Instead Bates only modified the statements of facts and minor conclusions, in accordance with the results of recent scientific investigation.18 Somerville begins the editions with a broad focu s, situating the earth in the solar system and then giving the geological background of the pr esent day earth. The earth is far older than the traditional Biblical chronology. Who shall define the periods of those mornings and evenings when God saw that his work was good? and who shall declare the time alloted to the human race, when the generations of the mo st insignificant insect existed for unnumbered ages.19 Within the context of rock formation via sedi mentation and heat, a history of the earth is given via its strata and fossils, moving from early times to the present. In terms of geological information, Somerville explicitly stated her sources: Georges C uvier, Charles Lyell, Roderick Murchison, Henry de la Beche, Richard Owen, and Memoirs of the Geological Society.20 Species are fixed, though able to adapt to a ce rtain extent to different environments. The categorical denial of species transmutation in 1849immutability of species is a primordial law 17 Somerville, Physical Geography 2nd. ed. (1849), 1:227; Physical Geography 6th ed. (1870), 219-21. 18 Somerville wrote to Murray in October 1868 about the proposed new edition, telling him she was glad he had found someone to bring it out, for even if I could have undertaken it the means are entirely wanting in Naples. John Murray Archive: Acc. 12604, NRR Transit Folder, 120. Somerville, Physical Geography 6th ed. (1870), preface. 19 Somerville, Physical Geography 2nd. ed. (1849), 1:3. 20 Ibid., 1:44.

PAGE 221

221 of natureis removed in the 1870 edition, but without any acknowledgment of evolution.21 Monogenism of humansin the last chapter on the human raceis explicitly assumed.22 While Somerville presented this as scientific fact, the unity of the human species was by no means an agreed upon position during this pe riod. Polygenism, based either on real or perceived differences between races or as part of theological attempts to solve difficulties in the Bible (such as who Cain, son of Adam and Eve, married), or even on a combination of the two, was a position taken by some scientists and some theologians.23 Somerville was generally careful to point out where there were di sagreements between scientists and to make clear on which side her book stood. 24 Yet there was no room for other scientific opinions when it came to the unity of humanity. That paragraph firmly placing all humans as members of one species with one origin appeared in the first edition. The 1849, 1851, 1858 editions repeat the same paragraph of unitary human origin almost word for word. 25 The 1870 edition was the only edition in which 21 Ibid., 2:116, Physical Geography 6th ed. (1870), 385. 22 Somerville, Physical Geography 1st ed. (1848), 247. 23 For a summary of nineteenth-century views on the possibility of human life before the biblical Adam see David N. Livingstone, The Preadamite Theory and the Marriage of Science and Religion, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, v. 82, pt. 3. (Philadelphia, 1992).Such pre-Adamic discussion within the Christian context has a history dating back almost to the early Christian era, though not part of mainstream Christian thought. By the end of the eighteenth century the possible existence of humans outside the biblical chronological boundaries had shifted from one purely within a theological setting to on e that focused on the secular origins of humanity. In the English-speaking world, at least, this discussion was grounded in natural theology and often sought to integrate the findings of science with theology. It was during this period, Livingstone argues, that pre-Adamites connected polygenism to white superiority and the fixity of original racial differences. Monogenists, on the other hand, argued that the environment was a powerful agent in creating human varieties. Polygenetic arguments were based in geology, physical anthropology, and philology. 24 For example: There is no proof within the historical period that any entire mountain-chain has ever been raised at once, although it is generally admitted by our soundest geolog ists that such took place at remoter periods, and that by this means the great mountain-chains of our globe ha ve attained their present position: the contrary opinion, which has for its advocate Sir C. Lyell, will only admit that the elevation has been produced by a long-continued and reiterated succession of internal convulsi ons with intervals of repose. Somerville, Physical Geography 4th ed. (1858), 13. 25 The editions have very minor differences: personal and mental, in mankind in the 1848 edition and physical and mental, in the several races of mankind in the 1849 edition; the 1851 edition has physical and mental, in the

PAGE 222

222 the statement that anatomists had not been able to differentiate between the races was omitted, yet retained the strong imp lication of monogenism. The human family consists of six great groups, marked by distinctive characters. Many nations and sub-varie ties are included in each; distinguished from one another by difference of language, manners and mental qualities, yet bearing such a resemblance in general physiognomy and appearance as to justify a classification apparently anomalous.26 Connected to her staunch opposition to slav ery, this monogenic understanding likely also underpinned Somervilles belief in the material and moral progress of humanity as a whole, especially when that came via the British Em pire and Protestantism. Accepting polygenism could have implications for em pire and progress. Polygenist James Hunt, who in 1863 founded the Anthropological Society, linked degeneracy to colonization. The plural origins of humanity produced human groups adapted to the environment they found themselves in. Members of a particular race moved out of their climatic zone of origin must degenerate. Hunt believed that transplanting British colonists to very different climates would lead to degeneracy among the colonists.27 Monogenism allowed a greater malleability within humanity (and the greater spread of European colonists throughout the world) than did polygenism, for Hunts approach denied the possibility of progress via empire. Sandwiched between the first two general chapte rs on the earth and the forces that shaped it and the final chapter on humanity are ch apters on the physical landscape of the world, including mountains, tablelands, and lowlands of the various c ontinents. Next comes a chapter different races of men; Circassian in 1848 was replaced by C aucasian in 1849. The human race forms five great classes or families in 1848 changed to The human race forms five great varieties in 1849. 26 Somerville, Physical Geography 6th ed. (1870), 512. 27 Livingstone writes that James Hunt was influenced by the anatomist Robert Knox who in 1850 published The Races of Men in which he argued that degeneracy was an inev itable consequence of any individual or race moving out of its climatic zone of origin. Livingstone, The Preadamite Theory 31.

PAGE 223

223 on useful raw materials such as iron and coal; then several chapte rs on the watery segments of the world, separated into oceans, springs, rivers, and lakes; two chapters on meteorology; followed by several chapters on the vegetation of the earth, divided by co ntinents; a chapter on the distribution of insects; a chapter on mari ne animals; one on reptiles; a chapter on the distribution of birds; followed by the distribution of land mammals. Within these chapters Somerville was ever awar e of the utilitarian aspects of the world and of science, but at the same time she highli ghted what she considered to be the more contemplative, philosophical aspects of sc ience. Law-like behaviorgood conduct is an important component of the book as an organizing principle of science and a marker of who Somerville considered to be a great scientist. So, for example, Lyells geological work in understanding the role of heat and water in forming metamorphic rock and thus focusing only on gradual processes shaping the world over long time periodsthe creation of deep timeis described as models of ph ilosophical investigation.28 Somerville also praised Cuvier and Owen for their work in connecting ancient and modern creaturesa historical analogue of Physical Geography itself, which sought to connect the world. Cuvier will ever be celebrated as the f ounder of this branch of comparative anatomy, while Owen has brought it to the highest perfection.29 Somerville highlighted Owens work in using a portion of an unknown bone from New Zeala nd to characterize the now-extinct Moa, a large flightless bird. Somerville was impressed by the philosophical leap from a bone to a whole species based on the laws of comparative anatomy. In addition, Elie de Beaumont was praised as 28Somerville, Physical Geography, 2nd ed. (1849), 1:14. 29 Ibid., 1:33.

PAGE 224

224 one of the most philosophical of modern geol ogists, a man who, Somerville wrote, had worked on the structure of peninsulas.30 When possible, things are connected, whether species or landforms. Viewing things on a broad scale, it appears that there is also a very striking connexion between the physical geography or external aspect of different countries and their geol ogical structure. Here the close up view alternated with a distant, broad focus, for Somerville added that this global knowledge was reached via a minute comparison of the diffe rent parts of the land, by Ami Bou. This knowledge is put into further context when cons idered from a philosophical perspective. It follows, as a consequence of that law in Na tures operations [that of a limited number of fundamental geological/geographical forms], th at analogy of form and contour throws the greatest light on the constitution of count ries far removed from each other.31 Here, Somerville gave an example of how sh e thought science operated. The collection of minute observations combined to give a broad view out of which laws may be extracted and then applied to new situations. Even untutored i ndividuals might contribute to the stock of knowledge, such as that produced by the pi cturesque descriptions of a traveller.32 It was an elite view of science, but one to which almost anyone might contribute in small part, though this type of induction still required the philosophical mind to produce generalizations of all the mass of knowledge. This comparison of knowledge gathered from different places, as in Beaumonts 30 Ibid., 1:49, 56-7. While the German geologist Christian Leopold von Buch was de scribed as celebrated for his general view of the structur e of the globe, it was Beaumont who in his more global work came to the conclusion that parallel mountain ranges originated at the same time and whom Somerville described as philosophical. According to the The Encyclopdia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information (1910), Beaumont first read a paper on mountain ranges before the Academy of Sciences in 1829 and afterwards expanded this in a three-volume work published in 1852, Notice sur le systme des montagnes. Encyclopdia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Scien ces, Literature and General Information 11th ed. (Cambridge, 1910), 9:272. 31 Somerville, Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1849), 1:56. 32 Ibid., 1:55-6.

PAGE 225

225 examination of strata age on the edges of mount ains and the connection between age and parallel mountains, was given great value by Somerville. Despite her enthusiasm, Somerville was, however, cautious in accepting the argument on parallel mountain chains. She brought evidence from Germany and England (via Sedgwick and von Buch) to back Beaumonts cla im, yet still wrote that Beaum ont has shown, if not proved that parallel strata are contemporaneous. If confirmed, Beaumonts work would connect distant regions, which could no longer be considered insulated masses.33 Scientific speculation was allowed, as long as it was base d on some philosophical basis; so, for example, Somerville allowed the surmise (from Johnsons Physical Atlas ) that since southern Africa has similarities in form to the Deccan in India, the geology must be similar.34 As was often the case, purely scientif ic knowledge was linked to commerce and civilization (both inseparable to Somerville). So, after the s ection on peninsulas, Somerville wrote, The peninsular form of th e continents adds greatly to the extent of their coasts, of such importance to civilization and commerce. Here again Europe is superior with its deeply indented shore and inland seas so that it has a greater line of maritime coast, compared with its size, than any other quarter of the world.35 Global measurements are used to buttress this claim, the numbers that measure lengths of coastline versus land area around the world compared to each other. Time was Lyellian, that is inconceivable on human terms, but Somerville attempted to give a sense of the passage of time since the creation of the earth in a dramatic paragraph that 33 Ibid., 1:57 34 Ibid., 1:149. 35 Ibid., 1:50.

PAGE 226

226 tells us of mountains washed down into the sea with their forests and inhabitants; of lands raised from the bottom of the ocean loaded with the accumulated spoils of centuries; of torrents of water and torrents of fire. In th e ordinances of the heavens no voice declares a beginning, no sign points to an end.36 But at the end of the paragraph it is not the heavens that measure out the great lengths time, but the physical world. Time, which man measur es by days and years, nature measures by thousands of centuries.37 In this way natural theology is brought in and then pushed out, and, indeed, Somerville tended to us e science to give a general ap preciation of God through use of both the sublime and the scientific processes of the universe. She used Darwin to give a comparative sense of time passing, with an ex ample of the fossil trees Darwin found on the slopes of the Chilean Andes, and quotes his words. Vast and scarcely comprehensible as such changes must appear, yet they have all occurred within a recent period when compared with the history of the Cordillera; and the Cordillera itsel f is absolutely modern compared with many of the fossiliferous strata of Europe and America.38 Discussing humans gave Somerville the opportu nity to ride her hobbyhorse of education, especially self-education. At the beginning of the section on mi neral veins, she described her information sources for British mines; the two fi rst mentioned are J. Sopwith, a civil engineer and a Mr. Leithart, a mine agent.39 Leithhart was described as having been a working miner, and 36 Ibid., 1:38. 37 Ibid., 1:38. 38 Ibid., 1:186. Quotation from Darwins Journal of Travels in South America 39 Another example of Somervilles knack of meeting scien tifically inclined people, making friends of them, and making use of their knowledge. Somerville and Sopwith fi rst met on the London to Edinburgh stage when Sopwith recognized the similarity between the woman sitting in the stage and a bust of Somerville he had previously admired. He invited Somerville and he r husband to stay at his house in Newcastle and the two became friends. Sopwith visited Somerville in Naples in 1870. Sopwith wa s a friend of the Scottish phrenologist George Combe and of Robert Chambers and he wrote of them to Somerville. Somerville owned a copy of Robert Chambers Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844) and even lent it to friends. Despite her positive feelings on the subject she refused to include any mention of evolution in Physical Geography because she did not think it sufficiently established as a scientific subject. See chapter si x for more on Somervilles approach to evolution.

PAGE 227

227 as an instance of the intell igence that prevails among mine rs, notwithstanding the scanty opportunities of acquiring that knowledge which they are so generally eager to obtain [and] whose only education was at Sunday-school.40 Another way humans escaped the section devo ted to them was via the presentation of science as a work in progress. For example, Some rville uses Robert Were Foxs work on electric current in mineral veins and his conclusion that the direction of metallic veins was influenced by the direction of the earths magnetic field.41 She presented as a fact that almost all metallic deposits in the world are in parallel veins or fissu res tending from east to west, or from north-east to south-west. Exceptions are then provided, that if veins are found at right angles to those just mentioned, they are of a different kind of ore, or if of the same, then ve ry different in quantity. She then introduced de la Beche s geological work on the behavior of masses heated from below, where the creation of vertical fissures along with the sublimation and crystallization of minerals would occur, and added that even in this situati on electric currents would influence the directions of mineral veins. Yet, if de la Beches concepti ons were correct, that is, if veins were filled from below, the richest veins would be lowe st, which was not the case in many mines. Somerville concluded with: The primum mobile of the whole probably lies far beyond our globe: we must look to the suns heat, if not as th e sole cause of electrical currents, at least as combined with the earths rotation in their evolution.42 George Perkins Marshs focus was on humans w ho must learn to exercise the eye in learning to see. Just as with Somervilles landscap e painting, the mind must be trained to see. I 40 Somerville, Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1849), 1:289. 41 Somerville likely got this information via Foxs Observations on Mineral Veins: communicated to the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society, and taken from their Report for 1836 42 Somerville, Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1849), 1:290

PAGE 228

228 know no more important practical lessons than those relating to the em ployment of the sense of vision in the study of nature. And physical geography provided the best training.43 As a non-elite scientific writer, Marsh justified the writi ng of the book by arguing that his subjectthe effect of humans on the earthwas still in a general enough form to not require specialist knowledge. It wa s also a participatory science to which anyone trained in seeing might contribute. It may be profitably pursued by all; and every traveller, every lover of rural scenery, every agriculturalist who will wi sely use the gift of sight, may add valuable contributions to the common stock of knowledge on a subject which, as I hope to convince my readers, though l ong neglected, and now inartificially presented, is not only a very important, but a very interesting field of inquiry.44 While Somerville and Rosina Zornlin both em phasized how the existence of previous sciences such as geology and geography were necessary before physical geography could exist, Marsh went one step farther. For him, the ex istence of physical geogr aphy as a philosophical science and the recognition of th e effects of the earth on humans could then, and only then, raise the question of how humans might affect the earth. Indeed, until the influence of physical geography upon human life was recognized as a distinct branch of philosophical i nvestigation, there was no motive for the pursuit of such speculations; and it was desirable to inquire whether we have or can become the architects of our own abidi ng place, only when it was known how the mode of our physical, moral, and intellectua l being is affected by the character of the home which Providence has appointed, a nd we have fashioned, for our material habitation.45 Marshs chosen subject was in a pre-scientific phase as systematic observations were not yet sufficient and contained suggestion and spec ulation, rather than established and positive conclusions. Yet Marsh assumes that the subjec ts inherent interest and economic importance 43 George Perkins Marsh, Man and Nature; or, Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action 36, vi, 11-12. 44 Ibid., 13. 45 Ibid., 9.

PAGE 229

229 would be sufficient to keep his readers attent ion, despite the difficulties of measurement and the insufficiency of metrology.46 While humans played a major role in Somerville and Marshs work, Zornlin gave only a small amount of space to humans, focusing on thei r distribution. Zornlin agreed that man was a single species and, in a rare example of using a scientific expert to gi ve a strong scientific conclusion, she cited Pierre Fl ourens guarantee of the unity of human species. Unlike Somervilles, Zornlins work is filled with maps and illustrations: a map of the hemispheres, of animal and plant distributions, an illustration of a visual compar ison of mountain heights all over the world, and illustrations of single species or scenes where various aspects of nature are reproduced, such as Norway spruce firs growing in a rocky area by a stream. In the trivial sense, images can work as a focal point or as a point of entry into text. Also, Zornlin produced a more self-consciously popular work than Somervilles a nd illustrations provided edification as well as entertainment. The fact that Zornlins frontispiece is an illustration of mountains of varying heights from various parts of the world taken out of their geographic context and placed next to each other solely as a height comparison indicate s that these mountains had been measuredthat Europeans (mostly, if not all, in 1842) had gone out to regions close to home and remote and calculated their heights, and that these were consider ed important enough to publish. 47 46 Ibid., 10. 47 Zornlin, Recreations 2nd. ed. (1842), 117. Avr il M. C. Maddrell writes that comp arative illustration of mountains as a basis for scale was frequently used as frontispieces in nineteenth-century geography books. In addition, such comparisons lead to value judgments. Discourses of Race and Gender and the Comparative Meth od in Geography School Texts 1830-1918, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 16, no. 1 (1998): 84, 87. Illustrations also affected the price of the book. Of Somervilles books, only the last, On Molecular and Microscopic Science included plates and illustrations, which raised the costs of production. From its second edition, Physical Geography was explicitly linked to a cheap edition of Alexander Keith Johnstons Physical Atlas the larger, more expensive version of which was first published in the same year as the first edition of Physical Geography In Discourses of Race and Gender, Maddrell writes that im ages were used as a basis for mora l judgments in geography texts (85), though Zornlins images in Recreations in Physical Geography dont appear to carry much moral freight; illustrations of plants, such as corn, often display only the organism, without any context. Illustrations of vistas lack detail and appear very generic; those that include people use humans to give a sense of scale, e.g, Approach to

PAGE 230

230 A final point of comparison is the advert ising that accompanied both volumes, which speaks to the expected audience for each work. By its advertisi ng, Zornlins publisher classed her book with a broad range of works, all approve d by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. The books included elementary science and mathematics ( The Elements of Algebra chiefly intended for the use of schools and th e lower classes in Colleges,), Bible maps, The Lives of Eminent Christians poetry, modern history, Easy Lessons in Money Matters and so on. Somervilles book contained advertising relati ng only to science and included, Somervilles The Connexion of the Physical Sciences Humboldts Cosmos Brewsters The Martyrs of Science Lyells Principles of Geology Darwins Journal of Researches, and books by geologist Roderick Murchison and horticultural writer Jane Loudon.48 Zornlins publisher aimed her book at a religiously inclined and sc ientifically interested but mos tly ignorant audience. Murray aimed for a more scientifically sophisticated audience for Somervilles Physical Geography Conducting Science versus Conduct in Science All knowledge is hum an produced; how it is pr esented, however, gives insight into views on the relationship between nature and society and who can interpret nature for society The human element in Physical Geography clearly appears in who is credited with providing knowledge. Quite apart from the people thanked at the beginning of the book, certain names crop up in certain areas, for example, Charles Darwin, Joseph Pentland, Ba ron Humboldt, Eduard Petra (212), Mount Ararat (219), Fa ll of the Passaic at Patterson (314), and The Natural Bridge of Icononzo (332). There are two illu strations where humans are the focus: Plate of Heads and Craniums of the Human Races (116) and Australian Forest Scenery (386). The former shows three busts with accompanying skulls of a Caucasian, a Mongolian, and a Negro (all male). The faces are neutral, with perhaps the Caucasian appearing more serious. Interestingly, the facial stru cture of the Mongolian and the Negro are si milar, but the associated skulls are not, with the Negros appearing exaggerated. The second shows two Aboriginals lighting a fire in a forest by twirling a stick against a block of wood, the only image in the book where humans are shown engaged in an activity. 48 Zornlin, Recreations 2nd ed. (1842); Somerville, Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1849). Also in cluded in Murrays books for sale was Facts to Assist the Memory in Various Sciences Jane Loudon wrote horticultural works for nonexperts (and also published a work of science fiction, The Mummy! A Tale of th e Twenty-Second Century (1827)).

PAGE 231

231 Friedrich Poeppig, Philip Parker King on South America, H. D. Rogers, Charles Lyell, John Richardson on North America, Peter Anjou and Ferdinand Wrangell on Siberia, Paul Edmund Strzelecki on Australia, and Walter Mantell on New Zealand.49 Physical Geography was not only about a science, it wa s also about people doing science. As mentioned earlier, Somerville liked to highlight cases of scientific thinkers behaving philosophically, and occasionally such an approach was used to as an example of what science was. For example, Humphry Davy was lauded as the illustrious author of a miners safety lamp, which unlike the discovery of gunpowder, was not the unforeseen result of chance by new combinations of matter, but the solution of a question based on scientific experiment and induction, which it required the genius of a philosophic mind like his to arrive at.50 The human element of Physical Geography often appears in what is left out. Detailed descriptions of lands are followed by lacunae. Fo r example, following a description of the lands leading up to the Himalayas and part of the Hima layas Somerville notes that beyond this point nothing certain is known of the range, but it or so me of its branches are supposed to cross the southern provinces of the Chinese empire and to end in the volcanic isla nd of Formosa. Little more is known of the northern side of the mount ains . And at one point Somerville simply stated that a great part of the Alta chain is unknown to Eur opeans; the innumerable branches that penetrate the Chinese empire are completely so .51 Even Australia is described as little 49 Poeppig was a German naturalist who traveled in South America and wrote Travels in South America King, a naval hydrographer commanded the HMS Adventure and from 1826 to 1830 charted parts of the South American coast. H. D. Rogers was a geologist and mapmaker who produced a geological map of the United States and British North America for Alexander Keith Johnstons Physical Atlas John Richardson produced the Fauna Boreali Americana (published by Murray in 1829). Anjou and Wrangell both led Russian expeditions into Siberia in the 1820s. Strzelecki, a Pole, explored parts of Australia. Mantell collected specimens, including fossils, in New Zealand and sent them back to England. 50 Somerville, Physical Geography, 2nd ed. (1849), 1:295. On Davy and the lamp, see Holmes, Age of Wonder, chapter eight. 51 Ibid., 1:92, 100.

PAGE 232

232 known.52 Such exclusions serve to show the limits of European influe nce, especially that of the British Empire, and act as the textual equivalent s of blank spots on a map, highlighting the fact that this knowledge was created by people walking, measuring, and viewing such areas. Occasionally, the difficulties in creating knowledge are specifical ly emphasized, as in the arduous and enterprising researches of Sir Roderick Murchison [t o whom] we are indebted for almost all we know of these [Ural] mountains.53 In Africas case, the difficulties of exploration (often little known beyond the coastal areas) and the threat of disease were presented in a positive light. T he angel of Death, brooding over these regions in noisome exhalations, guards the in terior of that country from the aggressions of the Europeans .54 European aggression in this case wa s closely tied to slavery, one of the greatest of evils in Somervilles mind, and one that she opposed in several places in Physical Geography Soon after the passage just quoted, she wrote: Gold is found in the river-cour ses, and there are elephants in the forests; but man is the staple of their commercea disgrace to the savage who sells his fellowcreature, but a far greater disgrace to the more savage purchaser who dares to assume the sacred name of Christian.55 To make her point of the righteousness c onduct of commerce versus the evil conduct of slavery, Somerville immediately precedes this sent ence with several on the fertility of the land, the kingdoms and commercial ci ties it contains, the industry of the natives in irrigating the grounds, and the ample population despite the rudimentary state of agriculture. The human and commercial potential of the land was completely undercut by slavery, hence Somervilles use of 52 Ibid., 1:228. Yet even Australia is part of the progress narrative, for Somerville soon continued: It had become a prosperous country; and although new settlers in the more remote parts suffer the privations and difficulties incident to their position, yet there is educated society in the town s, with the comforts and luxur ies of civilized life (1:231). 53 Ibid., 1:112. 54 Ibid., 1:141.

PAGE 233

233 the term aggression to refer to Europeans in a way it was not used of other areas controlled or influenced by Europeans.56 Another way Somerville brought in humans in the sections of the book not specifically devoted to them was to describe the exploits of those who actually created the geographical knowledge. Explorers exposed themselves to gr eat risk in pursuing knowledge, which often seemed to be inseparable from adventure. When crossing one of the Himalayan passes, a certain Moorcroft and his guide had not only to walk barefooted, from the risk of slipping, but they were obliged to creep along the most frightful chasms, holding by twigs and tufts of grass, and sometimes they crossed deep and awful crevices on a branch of a tree, or on loose stones thrown across.57 Somerville may have extracted this anecdote from William Moorcrofts and George Trebecks Travels in the Himalayan Provinces of Hindustan and the Panjab; in Ladakh and Kashmir; in Peshawar, Kabul, K unduz, and Bokhara ...: From 1819 to 1825 (1841). Published by John Murray, it may have been one of the books sent by him to Somerville during her time in Italy. Such travel narratives, part adventure story and part quest for knowledge, played a role in their own right as knowledge resources that were eagerly read by the public.58 Occasionally, descriptions are drawn from pure travel literature, as in Harriet Martineaus account of her travels in Egypt and Syria.59 Scientific heroism was highli ghted in two different ways. Voyages of exploration, and perhaps especially the suffering and privations undergone by those who undertook such voyages, 55 Ibid., 1:145. 56 Ibid.,1:145. 57 Ibid., 1:93. 58 Mary Pratt writes that narrative travel accounts acted as mediators between a scientific network and the public. In Imperial Eyes, 29. 59 Somerville, Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1849), 1:132.

PAGE 234

234 acted to not only grab the readers interest via an emotive engageme nt but also to highlight what people were willing to do in the quest for know ledge. Readers learned about the world at the same time as they vicariously explored it through the likes of James Clark Ross and John Franklin and even the Russian Ferdinand Wra ngel. Somerville spent a page quoting Wrangels description of northern Siberia, a land of almost perpetual winter filled with the terrors of cold and hunger.60 Somerville gave over a page to a direct quotation from Ross intended to give a sense of the heroism involved in exploring the so uthern oceans and the edge of Antarctica and the proper behavior expected of British sailors. After providing a scenario where the imperiled ship was dashed by waves against the ice, the rudder damaged beyond use, and destruction seemingly inevitable, Ross, after expressing his admiration of his companions conduct, declared that throughout [the] period during which there appeared to be ve ry little hope that we should live the coolness, steady obedience, an d untiring exertions of each individual, were every way worthy of British seamen.61 The other way heroism was highlighted was not in the suffering endured (which may or may not have produced valuable knowledge) but vi a the noble aims of science. While discussing the Andes, Somerville took a historical detour for an episode celebrated in every way in the history of science. The eighteent h century French effort to meas ure an arc of the meridian as part of the controversy of the shape of the Earth conferred eternal honor on the body with which it originated, the French Academy of Sciences.62 Yet the expedition was a disaster, and known 60 Ibid., 118-9. 61 Ibid., 1:348. The quotation is taken from James Clark Rosss A Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern and Antarctic Regions, During the Years 1839-43 (London, 1847), 168-9. Murray, Somervilles publisher, also published Rosss book. 62 Somerville, Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1849), 1:161. For a discussion of French efforts to measure the shape of the earth, focusing on Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis, see Mary Terralls The Man Who Flattened the Earth: Maupertuis and the Sciences in the Enlightenment (Chicago, 2002).

PAGE 235

235 to be a disaster, for its members quarreled and ea ch individual member was forced to make his own way home, arriving long after the questi on was answered by Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuiss expedition to Lapland. The expedi tion was the consequen ce of international collaboration (French and Spanish) aimed at gaining knowledge of the shape of the earth. 63 This attempt at cosmopolitan conduct originating from the elite centers of Paris and Madrid as part of a philosophical quest was championed while the bad conduct of its members ignored. Zornlins approach to scientific conduct pr oved different. She ignored the conduct of those who created knowledge and grounded her work in natural theology, pr oviding a direct link between reader and the Creator of nature, unm ediated via knowledge creators. Instead, the conduct of the author is highlighted. Zornlins work was taken seriously in her own time. Cornelius S. Cart ee, the principal of Harvard School in Charlestown, Massachusetts, used it as a source in his textbook Elements Of Physical And Political Geography (1861).64 In 1850, Herbert Spencer, in denying the mental inferiority of women, used Somerville and Zo rnlin as examples of mental equality. In Social Statics he wrote A defender of her sex might name many whose achievements in government, in science, in literature, and in art, have obt ained no small share of renown In the exact sciences, Mrs. Somerville, Miss Herschel, a nd Miss Zornlin, have gained applause .65 In addition the Royal Geographic Societ y gave its seal of approval to popularizers such as Zornlin 63 La Condamines book, Journal du voyage fait par ordre du roi a lquateur (1751) was a model for Humboldts own exploration, and this may have influenced Somerville. From Alexander von Humboldt Personal Narrative: Of a Journey to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent translated and introduced by Jason Wilson (1995), 305. 64 Cartee wrote that he was chiefly indebted to the more recent works of Humboldt, Petermann, Milner, Johnston, Guyot, Miss R. M. Zornlin, and Mrs. Somerville. Cornelius S. Cartee, Elements Of Physical And Political Geography (Boston, 1861), 5. Zornlins book is found in the 1860 Catalogue of the Library of the U. S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y ., by Andr Freis, and in 1895 Catalogue of the Library of the Royal Geographical Society: Containing the Titles of All Works Up to December 1893. 65 Herbert Spencer, Social Statics: or, The Conditions essential to Happiness specified, and the First of them Developed (New York, 1865), 175. The American edition is a reprint of the 1850 English edition.

PAGE 236

236 as part of the presidential a ddress of Lord Colchester in 1846. After lamenting the dearth of scholarly books on physical geogra phy, Colchester praised severa l authors, including Zornlin. But while we regret the want of master ly English works on physical geography, we have some consolation in believing that this arises not from want of native talent, but from the comparative newness, if I may use the term, of the science itself in this country. In the mean time attention must be drawn to it as an important branch of education, and its first notions be rendere d popular There are two other small works by R. M. Zornlin, entitled one of them, Recreations in Physical Geography; and the other, The World of Waters: The ability displayed in these several publications is great; they are interesting compilations, and their appearance is a sign of a growing intere st for physical geography, which we cannot but hail with pleasure as th e forerunners of more importa nt labours in one of the most delightful and important fields of knowledge.66 While looking forward to the day when serious work in physical geography might be published in English, Colchester be lieved that elementary works were essential in cultivating a desire for more serious lear ning in physical geography. Elementary works are too often neglected as beneath notice; we are, however, of opinion, not only that they are of the greatest importance, but that they require, in order to be well digested and really useful, much greater ability than their compilers are apt to get credit for. A great deal in the pursuit of scie nce depends upon the early impression we receive in the study of its rudiments: when these are confused and repulsive they too frequently repre ss the desire for acquaintance with the subject; but when, on the contrary, they are clear and rendered attractive, they stimulate the wish for information, and thus pave the way for complete knowledge.67 Zornlins work, in this case, might be considered not only as a stepping-stone to a more serious engagement with the subject, but as a wa y of creating the subject as a science in the popular mind. It is a recognition that for a scie nce to exist, it cannot only exist amongst 66 Charles Abbot, Lord Colchester, Address at the Anniversary Meeting, May 25, 1846, by the Right Hon. The Lord Colchester, Capt. R.N., &c. &c., President, The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 16 (1846): 83. While definitions of popularization and populari zers were not fixed at this timeconnotations could be positive or negativethe way popular was used by Lord Colc hester was, I think, in the sense of widely known. For more on definitions of popular and popularization, see Lightman, Victorian Popularizers, 10-13; Morag Shiach, Discourse on Popular Culture: Class, Gender, and History in Cultural Analysis, 1730 to the Present (Stanford, Calif., 1989); and Raymond Williams, Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985)

PAGE 237

237 scientists, but must also be a part of the genera l public discourse of sc ience. Indeed, physical geography, as embedded as it is in conceptions of empire, requires public legitimation more so than many other sciences. As for those actually doing the science, that would require, according to Colchester, a division of labor based not on cl ass, but on nationality, with th e British providing much of the legwork and the Germans the analysis. [With] persevering research for which the Germans are remarkable, we may fairly anticip ate that while the attention of other countries possessing a large mercantile navy and extensive colonial relations is more exclusively turned towards exploration, the German geographers will devote their e fforts to a careful sifting of the immense accumulation of the facts of geographical science. .68 Interestingly enough, Zornlin, in the very first paragraph of her book, inverted the order of interest. It was public interest that was lacking, and Zornlin accounted for that lack directly via the subjects new status, which only recently rose to the dignity of a science, and to the consequent generally prevailing ignorance of its real objects, of the highly interesting views it unfolds, and of its gr eat practical utility.69 In such an account ther e is no co-creation of a science. It is the na tural philosophers who cr eate the science by doing, an d this doing is then diffused to a public by those such as Zornlin, who is qualified to do so by her knowledge gained from reading the texts produced by the doers of science. (Unlike Somerville, Zornlin claimed no interaction or friendships with the makers of the science.) She offered herself as an intermediary to a public in need of a translator, for the public was confused by the very name of the subject, which, to some persons, seems to assume a stra ngely forbidding aspect. Physical geography as 67 Abbot, Address at the Anniversary Meeting, 83. 68 Abbot, Address at the Anniversary Meeting, 81. 69 Zornlin, Recreations in Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1842), 1.

PAGE 238

238 a term might be understood as full of dry detail, and devoid of general interest, while the word physical, Zornlin thought, repelled through its sense of abstruse nature and hence unknowability except to experts.70 Such a view gives authors enormous power, for they act as the intermediary between two cultures, understanding both and enabling the natural philosophers to speak and the public to listen and understand. In this way, Zo rnlin deliberately cast herself not in the role of expert but in the role of an intermediary, unlike Somerville, who presented herself in the role of expert.71 Zornlin emphasized the usefulness of mediators su ch as herself in extending the boundaries of her readers, taking them beyond th e artificial boundaries of tradit ional geography and its political divisions, principal citi es, and towns, as well as the arra ngement of land and water into the natural divisions of the earth. The accumulation of observed phenomena and the going beyond artificial, that is, human-created boundaries, allowed the reader to arrive at the universal earth and to discover the laws by which the whole ear th is governed, and to reduce to a few general principles, the infinite variety of appearances displayed in the works of nature. Despite this universalism, artificial b oundaries prove most useful auxiliarie s, in assisting us to designate and distinguish any particular localit ies, which exhibit remarkable phenomena, and to which we are desirous of directing attention. And just as the artifi cial is used to build the natural, knowledge of the bits of nature, of the phenomena pres ented by every portion of the earth, with every 70 Ibid., 1. 71 Unlike many other female popularizers of the time, Zornlin did not use the maternal tradition in writing Recreations in Physical Geography (though she did use this approach in some of her other works, especially those for children) where conversation, letters, and dialogue were used to impart scientific knowledge. Bernard Lightman writes that this kind of informal format presented women who were knowledgeable about science in positions of authority, though their locus of authority was situated in the home and in their roles as religious and moral educators of the young. Natural theology played an important role in such works. Lightman, Victorian Popularizers 21.

PAGE 239

239 animal, every plant every mineral every vari ation in its atmosphere, is used to arrive at a perfect system of physical geograp hy, which is itself a human construct.72 Zornlin occasionally used everyday, domestic experiences to give a broader sense of earthly actions; for example, sh e compared the strength of s unlight reflected through a groundfloor versus a first-floor window both with and without a patio, and then, using this example, showed why mountains with table-lands attached reached high er temperatures than those without. This, she added, was why the snowlin e was higher on the northern side of the Himalayaswith the attached Tibetan plateauthan on the southern side. Using such strategies, Zornlin invited the reader to be more than simp ly passive, but to make comparisons with what they knew. Readers were also addressed directly, as in our readers will readily perceive that this is capable of a satisfactory explan ation, used as part of the explanation of varia tions in mountain temperature. The lack of dew on cloudy night s was a circumstance which has probably not escaped the notice of our readers.73 Such an approach relied on the everyday experiences of readers and encouraged them to broaden and generalize such expe riences to a global scale. Occasionally, there is the sense of actually experiencing travel. Of Mexico, Zornlin wrote, the traveler, passing down one of these magnifi cent ravines, finds himself almost suddenly transported from the midst of the productions of temperate climates, to those of the torrid zone.74 Imagination and sympathy were recommende d to readers, for it is accompanying in imagination travelers on their advent ures that kindle[s] in us a de sire to become acquainted with all that is remarkable on the face of the globe.75 Rather than begin a study of physical 72 Zornlin, Recreations in Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1842), 2, 3. 73 Ibid., 51, 37. 74 Ibid., 352. 75 Ibid., 5.

PAGE 240

240 geography with natural laws and regularities, Zornlin located th e origin of interest in the remarkable experiences of travelers. Science is not the beginning, but rather story and narrative. Yet, like Somerville, Zornlin began not with a story but with a very broad focus on the earth itself and its position in the universe; she also made less use of narrative than Somerville. Zornlin explained this by stating that the inquiring mind will be sparked by such adventures but will not be satisfied by them; it will want to know the why and how of th e marvels described in travel books. Here then physical geography comes to our aid; and not only does it afford an explanation of remarkable phenomena of ra re occurrence but also of various familiar but interesting facts in natura l history, daily passing before our view, though not unfrequently almost without notice, and without our having any perception of the constancy of the laws by which we are governed.76 By the end of the literary journey of physical geography, according to Zornlin, the student would be able to derive subjects for thought and admiration from all that surrounds him . In addition, physical geographyfor those who s eekcontains hidden treasures of wisdom, power, and goodness .77 The language used implied that the reader need ed a guide on this journey, that gathering knowledge required a helping hand, and that the rewards would be worthwhile. Somerville neither offered a helping hand nor promised any rewards. Zornlin further acted as a mediator between subject and reader when she reassured those who might be appa lled by the vastness of the theme, for the student is neither called upon to collect facts, nor to draw inferences from facts which have been observed by others he is merely invited to become acquainted with a few general principles, and to observe the ap plication of these to the works of nature.78 76 Ibid., 5. 77 Ibid., 6, 7. 78 Ibid.. 3.

PAGE 241

241 The ultimate purpose of the universal earth and its laws was theological, for the study of these laws possesses the advantage of fi xing the mind on Natures Ruler. The study of natures laws leads directly to the lawgiver, Zo rnlin wrote, and if these laws are found to be uniformly and universally carried into effect, we are further led to the perception of the continually watchful Providence, by which the natural world is governed and sustained.79 The religious message in Zornlins work wa s more overt than in Somervilles. Zornlin was an evangelical Anglican for whom a broadly defined natural theology whereby knowledge of God was sought thr ough natureplayed a prominent part.80 Natural theology played a role in promoting science thro ugh appealing to those worried by any perceived atheism and materialism in science, a not uncomm on complaint in some quarters. In advertising other books likely to appeal to readers of Zorn lin, her publisher, not incidentally, included the fact that all were approved by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Natural theology was thus not being presented to unbelievers in an attemp t to convince them of the existence of a benevolent God, but as another way for t hose already believers to reflect on God.81 Quite clearly, studying nature would lead to God. After describing the different temperatures thermometers would reach when placed on grass, garden mold, and gravel and the effects of dew formation, Zornlin added, thus we find, that the dew is most copiously deposited on the herbs of the field, which need this nourishment, while barren areas receive less dew. 79 Ibid., 4. 80 Lightman, Victorian Popularizers 108. 81 In Reconstructing Nature: The Engagement of Science and Religion (Oxford, 2000), John Brooke and Geoffrey Cantor write that reflection on the wonders of nature had real value, not to produce belief, but to confirm and enhance a pre-existing faith (152). Jonathan Topham discusses the various articulations of natural theology amongst the writers and readers of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine and how a strict natural theologywhere knowledge of God was sought through nature and excluded revelationwas opposed by some. Often natural theology was used simply as a way to gene rate feelings of religious awe. The W esleyan-Methodist Magazine and religious monthlies in early nineteenth-century Britain, in Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical (Cambridge, 2004), 67-90.

PAGE 242

242 Such is the economy of nature, and thus admirably has its All-wise creator adapted these, so as to effect the utmost possible benefit to His creatures; often, however, performing their part so silently, and almost imperceptibly, that th e closest investigati on is required .82 Close study of nature is thus required to get th is knowledge of Gods beneficence, and it here that Zornlin acted as mediator. Zornlin found that each object teems with evidence of the supreme goodness of the Author of Nature and order and harmony ar e found to pervade the whole. This theological progress via science is directly followed in th e next paragraph with material progress, for physical geography enables us to judge of the fitness of a ny country to provide man with food, and consequently for his habita tion; and forms a guide to direct in the choice of the place in which to fix his abode .83 Zornlins physical geography is bo th a vehicle for natural theology and a project of empire. She often used bits of ve rse to begin sections and to make a point, such as with the following piece by the eighteenth century poet, James Thomson, famous for The Seasons, who wrote of Henry the Navigator who heaven inspired, to lo ve of useful glory roused mankind, and in unbounded commerce mixed the world.84 Natural theology sandwiches the contents of the book, being emphasized in both the introduction and conclusion, concerned as Zornlin was to emphasize the theological safety of science to her audience. Her actions as author acted as a guarantee of sa fety. Physical geography could either lead an individual r eader to the works of God and then to God Himself or strengthen 82 Zornlin, Recreations in Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1842), 38. Another example of scientific knowledge being necessary to fully appreciate the wisdom of God given by Zo rnlin is that of the anatom ical structure of animals. Only by knowing anatomy can the careful knowledge s eeker come to a full appreciation of the beauty and excellence of the whole system of animals adaptation to their natural habitat. (110) 83 Ibid., 4, 5.

PAGE 243

243 a readers impression of Gods works in the wo rld and of the worlds order, beauty, and harmony where link unites with link, and al l combines to form one unbroken chain, one grand and comprehensive system.85 This is unification of nature directly in the service of religion, rather than Somervilles unification in the service of science with God acting as guarantor of the stab ility of science. Zornlins evocation of th e great chain of being is extended to human affairs and is put into an economic context. This order, this harmony, and bond of union may also in some measure be found to exist in the busy world, where ma n forms the principal actor: and where all, in their several vocations, may no t unfrequently, though sometimes, perhaps, unwittingly, reciprocally aid each other, whils t the whole is overruled to the benefit of the human species.86 Economic relations were then reflected directly back into science and physical geography via religion. [T]he scientific traveler is the firs t to penetrate into unknown and barbarous regions, often pursuing his course amid privations and dangers, which zeal and perseverance alone can enable him to en counter or overcome. His researches open the field for the devoted messenger of religion, by whose means friendly intercourse is established with the natives, and light and civili zation introduced. A mart is thus opened for the wares of the merchant and thus, not only is our commerce extended, but employment al so afforded for our manufacturing population at home.87 This was again, in a more compressed version, reflected back into science and then into commerce. The intelligent missionary residing in unknown lands, possesses frequent and favourable opportunities of adding to our stores of scientific knowledge, whilst the merchant 84 Ibid., 306. Despite the introduction, Zornlin rarely directly mentioned the empire in the body of the book. Zornlin seemed to have had a more commercial, utilitarian view of science than Somerville, who ties science strongly into empire. 85 Ibid., 400. 86 Ibid., 400. 87 Ibid., 400-1.

PAGE 244

244 spreads this information, and the benefits acc ruing from it, over the whole surface of the globe.88 Science, and the virtues associated with th e practitioner of science, such as zeal and perseverance, was assumed to be part of a global economic system that be nefitted all participants of that systemwhether savages or Englishm enbut especially the i ndustrial economy of Britain. It was a system in which everyone both had a role to play and was a link in holding that system togetherboth an actor a nd part of the structure. Unli ke Somerville, Zornlin did not glorify individual natural philosophers for their philosophic brilliance and contributions to science as science; instead, she presented a system in which the scientist and the savage, the missionary and the merchant, all played a role in maintaining that system. In turn, that human system was ultimately based on the operations of a natural world called into existence by God, whose works were, in turn, brought into view through science. As such, physical geography benefitted man both as an individual, and as a social being.89 One of the major differences between Zornin and Somerville was th at the former put no emotional affect or significance into science, a nd humans retained a subs idiary position. For this reason, she never told exciting stories about the doing of scie nce and discovery in the way Somerville did, as for Somerville science did ha ve a strong emotional resonance. Zornlin did mention scientists/explorers, but generally only as an aside. For example, in a section on severe weather, a Colonel Reid considered the charac ter of tornados, pamperas, and arched squalls. Such an example is one of several where Zornlin introduced someone to act as an expert, as a way of assuring the reader of the accuracy of her information.90 In the 1852 edition Rajah 88 Ibid., 401. 89 Ibid., 402. 90 Other examples include: in Tierra del Feugo fuschia an d veronica were observed by Captain King, in full flower, at the temp of 36 (1842 edition, 324); a species of frog seen by Mr. Swains on, is described by him, as certainly bigger than the head of an ordinary man (ibid., 349).

PAGE 245

245 Brooke is mentioned, but in a very different way from Somerville. Sir James Brooke has ascertained the existence of three species of oura ng-outan in Borneo; and he mentions that these animals build nests, or houses, in the trees, formed of twisted leaves and twigs, resembling rooks nests in everything but size.91 Unlike Somervilles account, there is no mention of what a wonderful civilizationa l job Rajah Brooke was doing, Was it that Zornlin was simply less personally connected to concep ts of progress and empire? Zornlin told of the experiences of only one traveler, that of the German embryologist Karl Ernst von Baer in Nova Zembla (Novaya Zemlya), not in order to valorize him but in order to give an almost religious sense of how the land affected the person. After quoting von Baer on losing the ability to measure by eye in the polar landscape and the sense of loneliness induced by the lack of plant life, which was by no means a sensation of fear, but rather a solemn and elevating one, and can only be compared with the mighty impression wh ich a visit to Alpine regions always leaves behind, Zornlin put von Baers experience into a dire ctly biblical context using her own words. The impression was, that the morning of creation was dawning for the first time, and that life was yet to follow .92 Zornlin typically put scientific knowledge and emotional experiences such as von Baers evoca tion of the sublime into religious terms. Even an organism as mundane as a lichen could be placed in a natural theological framework. When Sir John Franklin was explor ing the Arctic, the tripe de roche lichen formed the sole means of sustenance for ma ny days Wretched as this diet may appear, it is a circumstance which ca nnot fail to excite our admiration of the providing care of the wise and beneficent Au thor of Nature, that the various species of lichen and other cryptogamic plants, which are capable of thriving in cold 91 Ibid., 44, Zornlin, Recreations in Physical Geology 4th ed. (1851), 240. 92 Zornlin, Recreations in Physical Geology 2nd ed. (1842), 197.

PAGE 246

246 climates, are more adapted to afford nourishment to man than those of similar genera, growing in countries where the more nutritive vegetables abound.93 Thus the only mention of the Franklin expedition was used to show that lichens in cold climates would be more nutritious than their relatives in warmer climates. Somerville, on the other hand, after describing the conditions in whic h lichens will grow in the Arctic, comments on how lichens provide a perfect example of globa l geographic spread unaided by humansas they are of so little direct use to man and adds dismissively that they are a miserable substitute for food, as our intrepid countryman, Sir John Franklin, and his brave companions experienced in their perilous Arctic journeys.94 While both Somerville and Zornlin focus on the physical globe, human actions in changing nature when discussed are often put in a theo logical and commercial context by Zornlin and a scientific/commercial context by Somerville, and progress and improvement is often implicit in this change. Marshs Man and Nature, on the other hand, is a detailed historical examination of human actions on nature. Somerville and Zorn lin wrote about human activity and their consequences, but the subject was never a focus. Marshs premise assumed that humans have the power to change the world on a massive scale. Unlike Zornlin and Somerville, there was no assumption that this change was automatica lly good. Human conduct in terfered with the spontaneous arrangements of organic and inorgani c earth, that is, with a natural system of the world from which man was apart. Humanity wa s not a component of what Marsh called the harmonies of nature, though it might act to undo the damage it had created. In this sense Marsh 93 Ibid., 319. Somerville tended to limit herself to generalities when it came to a direct natural theology. For example, she wrote of the earth worm and its improvement of the soil and ended with thus the most feeble of living things is employed by Providence to accomplish the most important ends, and Providence has endowed those [plants] most essential to man with a greater flexibility of structure, so that the limits of their production can be extended by culture. Somerville, Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1849), 96, 201. 94 Somerville, Physical Geography 4th ed. (1858), 350.

PAGE 247

247 explicitly differentiates between what is toda y called first nature a nature unexposed to human influence (though he did not consider indigenous groups such a American In dians able to influence nature)and second natur ea nature influenced by humans.95 Certainly Somerville understood this difference, even if only implicit ly, via her understanding of the picturesque and its constructed yet seemingly na tural landscapes, and the difference was articulated in terms of conduct. Thus, she differentiated between huma n conduct towards nature and natures own conduct.96 Conducting Nature Connections cannot be created without at the sam e time creating limits and boundaries within nature, between humans and nature, among species, and even between kinds of extinctions. On a basic level, Somerville used a category of artificial versus natural extinction. The first, when highlighted, was deplored as a consequence of specific human actions. The second was taken for granted as a principle of nature, whether due to a changing environment over great periods of time or due to the inevitab le march of progressin this sense dinosaurs and Indians belonged to the same category. I wish to begin by examining what Somervill e meant by natural extinctions, which must commence with how nature operated. Here Somerv ille emphasized a natural system of checks and balances. For example, when she described coral growth and the animals that feed on the coral she noted that In all depa rtments of nature, the exuberant increase of any one class is checked and limited by others.97 Elsewhere she wrote that A re markable uniformity prevails in 95 See chapter 13 and 14 in David Lowenthals biography of Marsh, George Perkins Marsh, Prophet of Conservation (Seattle, 2000). 96 Interestingly, Marsh had a very diff erent view of landscape painting than did Somerville. The artist should aim only for realism, not for moral effects. See Lowenthal, George Perkins Marsh, 50. 97 Somerville. Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1849), 1:242.

PAGE 248

248 the organization and instincts of each species of an imal in its wild state. Many adapt themselves to change of climate: after some generations thei r habits and organization alter by degrees to suit the new condition in which they are placed, and insects maintain the balance among the species of the vegetable creation by preventing the tendency that pl ants have to encroach on one another.98 Thus nature, on its own, produ ces a self-regulating system. Somerville was clear that humans had the abil ity to change nature at the level of connectivity and beyond simply by clearing and building the physical landscape. Of Australia she wrote: There are large forests in the mountains a nd elsewhere, yet the moisture is wanting which clothes other countries in the same latitudes with rank vegetation. In the colonies, the clearing of a great extent of land has modified in some degree the mean annual temperature, so that the clim ate has become hotter and drier, and not thereby improved.99 Historians have shown that human-produced climatic change has a history, with a connection between land clearances and ra infall dating back to the ancient Greeks. 100 European empires in the eighteenth century began exer ting significant control over tropical dominions, such as India, Mauritius, and the Caribb ean, and importing European understandings and practices of agriculture and fo rest management. Local administrators, French and English, sounded the alarm from the second half of the eighteenth century as destructive practices damaged or destroyed forests and affected rainfall and climate first in islands such as St Helenaused by the East India Company as a s upply base and also f unctioning on a plantation modeland Mauritius, and then, in the nineteen th century in India. By 1850 British colonial 98 Somerville, Physical Geography 3rd ed. (1853) 451, Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1849) 2:215. 99 Somerville, Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1849) 1:232. 100 Theophrastus of Erasia wrote about deforestation and linked it to a decline in rainfall. See J. D. Hughes, Theophrastus as ecologist, Environmental Review 4 (1985): 291-307.

PAGE 249

249 administrators in the tropics were sounding the alarm about de forestation and its effects on climate and fertility and urged state intervention. 101 Yet none of this appeared in Somervilles work. She merely acknowledged th at cutting down forests created hotter drier climates and, in the 1870 edition, showed concern for me teorological effects in general. Limited change, continuity, and checks and balances characterize her view of nature. Organised beings are not scatte red promiscuously, but all classes of them have been originally placed in regions suited to their respective wants. She connected organic and inorganic processes: excess oxygen produced by tropical plants was carried by the winds to higher latitudes to give breath and heat to men and animals, while air currents from higher latitudes brought excess carbonic acid produced by animals to feed the tropical forests and jungles. Harmony exists between the animal and ve getable creations the exis tence of each is due to their reciprocal dependence. Few of the great cosmical phenomena have only one end to fulfil, they are the ministers of the manifold designs of Providence.102 A generalized theology of nature, where processes and matter have a purpos e, acted to produce a stable nature. Yet, periodically, an overturning occurred, and it is unclear whether this overturning came from nature or not. For example, when describi ng the coal strata and the Permian formation, Somerville wrote: The permian formation has a fo ssil flora and fauna peculiar to itself, mingled with those of the coal strata. Here the remnant of an earlier creation gradually tends to its final 101 See Richard H. Grove, Green Imperialism: Colonial expansion, tropical island Edens and the origins of environmentalism, 1600-1860 (Cambridge, 1995). Local concern over clim ate change at St. Helenas began in the early eighteenth century. European clim ate theories developed in the eighteen th century out of the Stephen Hales atmospheric researches. A Newtonian, whose work influen ced French and British administrators, especially Pierre Poivre in Mauritius, Hales studied the relationship betwee n vegetation and atmosphere. For further information see chapter four, Stephen Hales and some Newtonian antecedents of climactic environmentalism, 1700-1763 in Grove. 102 Somerville, Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1849), 2:95, 98.

PAGE 250

250 extinction, and a new one begins to appear.103 Natural causes do not appear and it was left to the reader to assume what Somerville explicitly stated elsewhere, that centers of creation appeared as the land gradually rose above the sea. Such an approach in a book careful to focus on purely natural operations put species creation in a neverland be tween science and theology.104 Nature was often perceived in contrast to human activity. Describing plains south of Siberia, Somerville contrasted the warm humid summers with the icy winters. The plains were in the most advanced state of cultiva tion, or in the wildest garb of nature.105 Nature could also be perceived as a lack, as for instance: The qua ntity of waste land in Europe is very great, and there are also many swamps.106 This perception was laden w ith moral weight. China was positively depicted because it was considered to be a highly cultivated countrywhere cultivation of land implies cultivation of people. Somerville stated that China is the most productive country on the face of the earth; an alluvial plain of 210,000 square miles, formed by one of the most extensive river systems in the old world, occupies its eastern part and perfectly irrigated by canals.107 Yet her highest praise was reserved for a pa rticularly British conception of landscape. Somerville described the Jordan Valley as having the appearance of pleasure-grounds with groves of wood and aromatic plants, but almost in a state of nature. Again: One side of the Lake of Tiberias in Galilee is sa vage; on the other there are gentle hills and wild romantic vales, adorned with palm trees, olives, and sycamor es a scene of calm solitude and pastoral 103 Ibid., 1:21. 104 See chapter six for more on this. 105 Ibid., 1:122. 106 Ibid., 1:114. 107 Ibid., 1:123.

PAGE 251

251 beauty.108 Another example was her description of Patagonia, where eastern Tierra del Fuego was more highly valued and described as superi or to the rest of eas tern Patagonia because it was covered with trees.109 Occasionally, comparisons let slip value judgmen ts as in the case where the highlands of Central America are compared to the lowlands. Th e vegetation of the highlands, due to its cooler climate, is there in perfection while the lo wlands, as in other c ountries where heat and moisture are in excess, and where nature is for the most part undisturbed, vegetation is vigorous to rankness: forests of gigantic timber seek the foul air above an impenetrable undergrowth .110 Tropical vegetation is aesthetica lly valued when it is pictures que, as in the islands of the Indian Archipelago, crowned by lo fty mountains, loaded with arom atic verdure, .watered by the purest streams, which descend in cascades ru shing through wild crevices. The whole is so densely covered with palms and other beautiful fo rms of tropical vegetation that they seem to realize a terrestrial paradise. Unlike the lowlands of Central America these islands had a long history in European consciousness first as fabled islands of ri ches and then, via the Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch, producers of spices, wood s, and minerals for the European market. 111 This semi-mythic status, perhaps a histori cal remnant of the early modern focus on marvels, makes itself felt in such statements as, A volume might be written on the beauty and riches of the Indian Archipel ago, soon followed by an admission that many of the islands are 108 Ibid., 1:134. 109 Ibid., 1:174. 110 Ibid.,1:193. For a history of the mixed views on the healthiness or unhealthiness of forests see Grove, Green Imperialism, 159. 111 Somerville, Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1849), 1:238. At the time the Indian Archipelago included Indonesia (excluding New Guinea), all of Borneo, and the Philippines. See Horace St. John, The Indian Archipelago: Its History and Present State vol. 1 (London, 1853). Going beyond fable, Marco Polo brought back news to Europe of these lands (2).

PAGE 252

252 hardly known, though this is then presented as an opportunity for intrepid explorers to gain knowledge. 112 Indeed, a few years later (1853) a two-volume work on the archipelago was published by Horace St. John. This work directly acknowledged the semi-mythic history of the archipelago in European consciousness and was itself triggered by the story of the English adventurer James Brooke, who in the la te 1830s made himself Rajah of Sarawak.113 Somerville, herself, made much of Brooke, describing him as both enterprising and philanthropic, and added that Borneo, of which Sarawak was a part, w ill in the course of time become the seat of a great nation, whose civilization will hand down to pos terity the name of Sir James Brooke .114 A semi-mythic paradise is here being civ ilized by a European, its people cultivated for productiveness in the same way as the land. Yet in Physical Geography nature could be valued in its own right under certain conditions, as when describing forests untouched by European hands that take on some of the aspects of a desired landscap e. [T]he Ohio flows for hundr eds of miles among magnificent trees, with an undergrowth of azaleas, rhodode ndrons, and other beautiful shrubs, matted together by creeping plants. There the American forests appear in all their glory. This glory included noble oaks and the most splendid of the magnolia tribe.115 112 Somerville, Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1849), 1:239. 113 St. John, The Indian Archipelago, v. St. John also relied on old tropes. But there are in the Eastern Archipelago the chief islands of the world, the most prolific soils, th e rarest products, the most picturesque and brilliant scenes (vi). When describing Brooke, St. John joined together romance, empire, and commerce in a seamless whole. There is a romance in all the history of the Indian Islands, but there is no episode more romantic than that of this Englishmans adventures in Borneoof his rising from the condition of a private gentleman to be the prince of an Indian state. Already the fruits of his enterprise are seen. He rules with bene ficent authority over a contented people. A provident liberality is stor ing up resources for the fu ture. Peace and abundance in Sarawak have made that a populous and blooming province amid th e general misery and decay of the Malayan countries. A new commerce is rising along the shore. Piracy is beginning to disappear, an d the influence of Great Britain is felt in a quarter of the East where the Dutch had long sought to extinguish it (vii-viii). 114 Somerville, Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1849), 1:239. 115 Ibid., 1:211-12.

PAGE 253

253 Yet two pages later, one para graph neatly moves from the inevitability of the sweeping away of the natural landscape in North America to the sweeping away of its original inhabitants. The greater part of the magnificent countries east of the Alleghannies is in a high state of cultivation and co mmercial prosperity, with natural advantages not surpassed in any country. Natu re, however, still maintains her sway in some parts, especially where pine-barrens and swamps prevail. The territory of the United States comprises 7,000,000 or 8,000,000 of square miles, the greater part of which is capable of producing everything that is useful to man, but not more than a twenty-sixth part of it has been cleared. The climate is generally healthy, the soil fertile, abounding in mineral treasures, and it possesses every advantage from navigable rivers and excellent harbours. The outposts of civilization have already advanced half-way to the Pacific, and th e tide of white men is continually and irresistibly pressing onwards to the ultimate extinction of the original proprietors of the soila melancholy, but not a solitary, instance of the rapi d extinction of a whole race.116 Cultivating nature was strongly tied to ideas of progress and civilization, and even applied to animals. Domestication, wrote Somerville, i s the cause of all our tame and useful animals; by high cultivation and training great changes have been produced in form; and in some instances habits and powers of perception are produced, approaching to reason, which remain hereditary as long as the breed is unchanged.117 Just as with people, animals were capable of a progressive ascent. Those animals that couldnt ascend were left behind, as were many of the original inhabitants [of Europe which] have been extirpated, while many of the rest have been more changed by the progress of civilization than that of any other quarter of the globe. 118 Since, for Somerville, progress was a principle comparable in some ways to physical laws, it exerted the same kind of effects as Lyells inexorable principles of nature. As the environment changed, species either adapted or died out, bu t from Somervilles perspective, this was an extinction based on the laws of nature. Cultivation and civilization changed the environment, and 116 Ibid., 1:218. 117 Somerville, Physical Geography 4th ed. (1858), 455. 118 Ibid., 313.

PAGE 254

254 what was not useful to cultivation died out including humans no longer adapted to their environment. Ever since Dutch sailors killed o ff the dodo in the seventeenth century, it was clear that humans could make species extinctan artificial extinction from Somervilles perspective as no forces of nature were involved, merely human hunting.119 Yet the expected extinction of American Indians was a natural extinction in th e Lyellian sense because the environment was changing around them. Progress changed the environment as it domesticated and cultivated nature and left behind those insufficiently cultivated, whether animals or humans. Human Conduct and Extinction There were extinctions about which Som erville was less sanguine, extinctions that she regarded as going against the grai n of progress. Somervilles tone was neutral in describing the killing of seals in the high latitudesshe described the seals ba sking behavior as leading them to become an easy prey to man, who has nearly extirpated the race in many places. But a page later she described the near-ex tinction of fur seals around the south coast of Australia as an indiscriminate slaughter of old and young. Of the Greenland whale she wrote that its capture was attended with much cruelty indeed the cu stom of killing the calf in order to capture the mother has ruined the fishery in several places. In Arctic America, the fur bearing animals faced unsparing destruction. Somervill e deplored what she saw as selfishness. When it came to hunting she lauded the activity as encouraging a daring and ac tive spirit in young men, but deplored the utter destruction of some races, in order to protect those destined for his pleasure, 119 The idea that agriculture might cause extincti ons was not new. In 1791, John Bruckners A Philosophical Survey of the Animal Creation discussed the destruction of insects as a consequence of cultivation. For one species, he wrote, to which the cultivation of some of the forests in America might be favourable, there are ten, perhaps, to which it would prove fatal. Bruckners view was that destru ction in nature increases th e good of the whole. John Bruckner, Philosophical Survey of the Animal Creation (London, 1768), 18-19.

PAGE 255

255 [it] is too selfish.120 None of these destructiv e activities aided progress a nd as such were to be deplored. Yet, buried in the middle of the secti on on man, Somerville voiced concern for the consequences of civilization for the globe as a whole. Drainage, cultivation, cutting down of fore sts, and even the introduction of new plants and animals, destroy some of the old, and alter the rela tions between those that remain. The inaccessible cliffs of th e Himalaya and Andes will afford a refuge to the eagle and condor, but the time will co me when the mighty forests of Bhotan, of the Amazon and Orinoco, will disappear with the myriads of their joyous inhabitants.121 A little earlier, a more positive assessment of humanity and nature was given. In discussing human populations Somerville added a footnote to reassure her readers ab out the possibility of overpopulation in Britain; a bounteo us nature and the actions of man would prevent it. We are ignorant of the immense treasures and inexhaustible resources of the natural worldthat the ingenuity of man is infinite, and will c ontinually discover new powers and innumerable combinations that will furnish sources of wealth and happiness to millions. The sentiment was continued, with a slight change of wording, in the 1858 edition. The 1870 edition lacked this footnote. In the 1849 edition, Somerville noted th at humanity will extirpate the noble creatures of the earth, but that it will always be subjec t to events beyond his controlGods great army erupting to destroy the harvestand will ever be the slave of the canker-worm and fly.122 The sentiments and words were echoed in the 1858 edition. Both the 1849 and 1858 editions finished with the diffusion of Christian virtues and knowledge ensuring progress and a final sentence on the individuality of man and consequent variety as a law of nature leading to different 120 Somerville, Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1849), 2:241, 242, 248, 332, 380. 121 Ibid., 2:380-81. 122 Ibid., 2:381. Gods great army includes insects th at destroy the harvest.

PAGE 256

256 religious opinions, which will, however, gradually become free of spiritual despotism.123 The 1870 edition, revised by Bates, finished differe ntly, joyous scientific and religious progress transmuting to a progress accelerated by technology and out of which only a part of nature may be saved. The paragraph above now appeared on the second to last page of the book, which then finished with It is true that the process of occupyi ng and replenishing th e earth, by the most active and restless section of our species, is advancing with accelerating rapidity. All the remaining central part of one of the largest cont inents of the earth is now fast filling up with civilized inhabitants. It is mapped into states, territories, and counties, and a line of iron road, over which pants the irresistible locomotive, spans the wide region from ocean to ocean. A migration of vastness unheard of before in the history of the globe, amounting to 400,000 souls per annum, streams from the shores of Europe to this rapidly advancing new continen t But it will be long indeed before the whole of the fertil e land of, the earth is occupied by a progressive, civilized people .The natural forest cl othing of a great portion of these continents, with its myriads of cu rious and beautiful forms of animal and vegetable life, is destined probably to disappear, and man alone, with his cultivated plants and domesticated animals, will o ccupy the place of the natural tenants: but there will remain many a r ugged valley in the lofty mountain ranges, and many a league of inaccessible swamp to serve an a refuge for a large portion of the native faunas and floras. We may hope, moreover, that with the increase of wealth, leisure, knowledge, and refinement, which happily, seems a secure prospect for the long vistas of the future, man will endea vour to preserve the equilibrium which exists in the meteorological forces and vital conditions of countries, when in their natural state, by fostering a due propor tion of woodland, and thus save from extinction the myriad beauteous forms of life which have shared with him the inheritance of this wonderful earth.124 In Somervilles work, the tension between na ture and civilization always existed, but it was a tension kept in control by a Creator w ho acted via the proce sses of nature. The 1870 edition upset this control slight ly. Several lines added to a lo ng paragraph on the influence of external circumstances on humanity shift a mo stly past tense human influence on the earths climate via domestication to a very present infl uence. In 1858 Somerville could write that the 123 Ibid., 2:362; Somerville, Physical Geography 4th ed. (1859), 514.

PAGE 257

257 power of external circumstances on man is not gr eater than his influence on the material word, courtesy of the powers of nature such as el ectricity, steam, fire, and so one, and allowing humanity to alter climate, winds, and rain, yet she could still ignore a ny conceptions of danger and place the most momentous effects in a fa r past as a result of the development of agriculture.125 The 1870 edition put human alterations very much in the present, with the added lines credited to Marshs influence.126 By combining Somervilles faith in civiliza tional progress and in natural processes as humanitys most direct connect ion to God with Marshs understanding of human impacts on the natural world, the1870 edition portrayed a confused future: a still progressive world where nature was allowed to remain unmolested only in thos e places too difficult to bother along with a purely utilitarian approach in mainta ining enough forest to sustain the physical processes between inorganic and organic matter. Zornlin took for granted human impacts on the natural environment. In various places, she listed species sent to extinction with little or no comment, such as that of the badger and large carnivores in Britain. Yet when describing the fauna of Britain, Zornlin began with the effects of cultivation and civilization which had effected a va st change in the fauna of the British isles.127 This assumption of the effects of civilization wa s made explicit in a section on the Middle East. The lion was anciently common in this territory; but this formidable animal appears to be unknown at the present day in this pa rt of Asia. In a country so anciently, and 124 Somerville, Physical Geography, 6th ed. (1870), 528-29. The intervening se ntence is This time is at present, however, extremely remote. 125 Somerville, Physical Geography, 4th ed. (1858), 491. 126 Somerville, Physical Geography, 6th ed. (1870), 526. The added lines, almost certainly Bates decision, include mans influence via his tendency to cut down forest-trees, the natural clothing of the laud, that he has produced the greatest amount of change on the surface of the earth. A footnote directs the reader to consult the excellent work by Mr. G. P. Marsh. 127 Zornlin, Recerations in Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1842), 105, 141, 136.

PAGE 258

258 so populously inhabited, as was Palestine, the native animals become in great measure lost to our view, and superseded by domestic species. Sheep, goats, oxen, camels, and asses, appear to have been included among the latter from the remotest antiquity; whilst among the w ild animals were the roebuck, antelope, hare, coney, jerboa, chameleon .128 As with Somerville, civilization implied a loss of nature, but it was a loss that could not be regretted. In comparing an extrem ely fertile part of eastern Afri ca and its indolent inhabitants to the less blessed British Isles, Zo rnlin concluded that, natural a dvantages are, however, usually bestowed in vain, if neglect ed or left unimproved by man.129 Zornlin made natural theology a powerful guide in her work, which allowed her to set up a distinction between the human-crea ted world and the natural world through the imperial side of the scientific project, a distin ction brought into focus via cult ivation. While the natural world created by God and filled with order and harmony is wondrous, it is also unimproved. In this way Zornlin created a natural worl d that is used to obtain knowle dge of God, while at the same time moving beyond the natural, as conceived by he r. The natural is the world of plants which arrive at perfection only under certain natural conditions. Some prefer a dry climate, others a moist, and still others a temperate, of which the greater portion being naturally confined within certain limits. By cultivation, man has been enable d to extend the natural limits of numerous species of plants, and to give them a wider rang e on the earths surface. Ho wever, to create this artificial distribution (which Zo rnlin explicitly stated would help settlers in distant or newly acquired lands and help in introducing new species into Britain) a detailed knowledge of the natural is required.130 The natural was required to pr oduce the human-created world. 128 Ibid., 210. 129 Ibid., 292. In only one case are human-nature interactions described in negative language, where the rapacity of man chased away the Greenland wh ales around Spitzbergen. (199) 130 Ibid., 5.

PAGE 259

259 In turn, this human-produced wo rld could affect the earths sy stems, for cultivation not unfrequently effects a change in the climate of any country; for if marshes are drained or the forests cleared, the temperature will be raised. Zornlin attributed this to how soils radiated heatswampy grounds and forests chill the air. Such effects were considered positive in North America, where the clearing of forests and the progress of civilization have improved the climate and rendered the winters milder. Defo restation had, however, proved destructive in warmer climates. Thus the sultry atmosphere and dreadful droughts experienced in the Cape Verde Islands, are attributed to the destruction of the trees in those islands. The dryness of the Sahara is attributed to its lack of mountain s and trees, which attract and condense moisture.131 Like Somerville and Zornlin and many others, Marsh adopted the Scottish Enlightenment concept of a developmental hierarchy of civili zation, where commerce played a major role. In addition, progress implied a civilizational ascent to agriculture, the orig inal wild plants and animals of which were gradually ennobled by th e art of man, while centuries of persevering labor were expelling the wild vegetation, and fitting the earth for th e production of more generous growths. Progress, however, inevitabl y subvert[ed] the original balance of its species. Humans outside of civilization had little effect on nature, thus the Indians in America prior to the British and French arrival barely disturbed the land. In th is way civilization is defined as upsetting the balance of nature a nd, as a consequence, Marsh did not consider humanity, or at least its civi lized portion, part of nature.132 131 Ibid., 52, 285. 132 Marsh, Man and Nature 2, iii-iv, 27. For related twentieth-century assumptions about who is closer to nature, that is, less civilized, see Donna Haraway, Primate Visions (New York, 1989) where in the chapter Womens Place is in the Jungle female primatologists are described as acting as the go betweensbeing female, they were closer to nature and could show the ape world to a masculine world. Racism also ran cl ose below the surface. It was important that the women be white. A colored woman would be too close to nature and would raise unsettling questions.

PAGE 260

260 The fact that, of all organic beings, man al one is to be regarded as essentially a destructive power, and that he wields energi es to resist which, naturethat nature whom all material life and all inorganic substance obeyis wholly impotent, tends to prove that, though living in phys ical nature, he is not of her, that he is of more exalted parentage, and belongs to a higher order of existences than those born of her womb and submissive to her dictates.133 Over and over, Marsh stated that man is outsi de nature: Human differs from brute action, too, in its influence upon the material world, because it is not c ontrolled by natural compensations and balances. The relationship is a battle that man mu st fight in order to progress. But man, the domestic animals that serve him, the field and garden plants the products of which supply him with food and clothing, cannot subsist and rise to th e full development of their higher properties, unless br ute and unconscious nature be effectually combated, and, in a great degree, vanquished by human art.134 Marsh, writing during the Civil War, literally described the relationship between man and nature as one of warfare and slavery. When the domesticated animal escapes from human jurisdiction he becomes again an unresisting subject of nature, a nd all his economy is governed by the same laws as that of his fellows which have ne ver been enslaved by man; but, so long as he obeys a human lord, he is an auxiliary in the warfare his master is ever waging against all existence except those which he can tame to a willing servitude.135 Nature is an active participant in this warfare, although a nature split into the organic and inorganic world. Man acts on nature and nature avenges herself through destructive energies hitherto kept in check by organic forces destined to be his best auxili aries, but which he has unwisely dispersed and driven from the field of action. Man as pres ented by Marsh is an outsider, stumbling unknowingly through a nature that is no friend of his. Nature looks after the 133 Marsh, Man and Nature 36. 134 Ibid., 42, 38. 135 Ibid., 79.

PAGE 261

261 wild plant but not the domestic : Nature fights in defence of her free children, but wars upon them when they have deserted her banners, and tamely submitted to the dominion of man. 136 Despite its publication date, Marshs book ma kes no mention of evolution. One brief mention of natural selection is used to dispose of any idea that species themselves might influence the evolution of other plant and animal species. While humanity might cause species to evolve via domestication, no other species has th e capacity to influence nature in that way. So while humanity is connected to nature via an antagonistic relationship, other species have no capacity to influence each other and are pawn s in the battle between man and nature. Unsurprisingly then, natural extinctions are not mentioned. In effect, nature has no autonomy except in its battle with humanity.137 To battle nature, humanity needs technology, th e kind that drains swamps and lakes and creates agriculture, that checks the drifting sand d une and turns them into plantations, and that fertilize the Saharan with artesian water. Such achievements are more gl orious than the proudest triumphs of war, but, thus far, they give but fa int hope that we shall yet make full atonement for our spendthrift waste of the bountie s of nature. In other words, the actions of humanity will counter the negative effects of previous human actions through ever improving technology.138 136 Ibid., 43, 69. 137 Ibid., 42-43. As an example of Marshs static views of nature, consider the following paragraph. The earth was not, in its natural condition, completely adapted to the use of man, but only to the sustenance of wild animals and wild vegetation. These live, multiply their kind in just proportion, and attain their perfect measure of strength and beauty, without producing or requiring any change in the natural arrangements of surface, or in each others spontaneous tendencies, except such mutual repression of excessive increase as may prevent the extirpation of one species by the encroachments of another. In short, without man, lower animal and spontaneous vegetable life would have been constant in type, distribution, and proportion, and the physical geography of the earth would have remained undisturbed for indefinite periods, and been subject to revolution only from possible, unknown cosmical causes, or from geological action (38). Very clearly the concept of evolution or progress does not apply to nature. According to Lowenthal, Marsh viewed evolution by natu ral selection as too speculative, but without rejecting evolution as a whole. In any case, Marsh felt that human actions on animals, such as domestication, was more powerful than any natural actions. See Lowenthal, George Perkins Marsh 305-308. 138 Marsh, Man and Nature 45.

PAGE 262

262 Neither Somerville or Zornlin used metaphors of warfare. For Zornlin a benificent God mediated the relationship between humans and nature, wh ile Somerville, a product of a worldBritain and Italythat had long been domesticated, and untraveled much beyond that world, could not see a conflict. Marsh, growing up in Vermont, saw the process by which a commercial society domesticated the landcutting down fore sts, introducing sheep, building. For humanitys benefit, Marsh argued, nature re quired management, even a natural nature, and when it came to forests Marsh cited forest management treatises and argued that the sooner a natural wood is brought into the st ate of an artificially regulated on e, the better it is for all the multiplied interests which depend on the wise administration of this branch of public economy.139 In a state of constant warfare, a controlled, managed nature was best for civilization. Marsh foresaw a technological interference with nature on a grand sc ale, allowing himself the indulgence of a scientific romance when he speculated on the eff ects of human induced climate change in the deserts of North Africa. T he most sanguine believer in indefinite human progress hardly expects that mans cunning will produce a blooming desert out of sandy plains. However, the digging of artesian wells might convert the wastes into fruitful garden. Geographers have argued that, if the soil were covered with fiel ds and forests, vegetation would call down moisture from the Libyan sky, and that the showers. .would in part be condensed over the arid wastes of Afri ca, and thus, without farther aid from man, bestow abundance on regions which nature seems to have condemned to perpetual desolation.140 139 Ibid., 233-34, 304. 140 Ibid., 445-446. Another example given by Marsh was that of a canal to the Dead Sea basin, which might well produce positive economic and meteorological effects. T he climate of Syria would be tempered, its precipitation and its fertility increased, the courses of its winds and the electrical condition of its atmosphere modified. The present organic life of the valley would be extinguished, and many tribes of plants and animals would emigrate from

PAGE 263

263 Terms such as prodigality, thriftlesness of humans and debt owed to nature, help create a commercial aspect to the relationship with nature.141 Overall, Marsh shared the same civilizational framework as Zorn lin and Somerville, one based on a commercial society based on progress, of which the most progressive were the most civilized (and hence most damaging to nature) and who were Europeans or Euro -Americans. Of colonization, he wrote: when such regions [previously unaffected by civilization] become the seat of organized commonwealths [it] is, therefore, a matter of the first importance, that, in commencing the process of fitting them for permanent civilized occupation, the transforming operations should be so conducted as not unnecessarily to derange and destroy what, in too many cases, it is beyond the power of man to rectify or restore.142 Marsh recommended using an artif icial balance to provide a se nse of the natural balance and used the craze for aquariums as an example. The parlor aquarium has taught even those to whom it is but an amusing toy, that the balance of animal and vegetable life must be preserved, and that the excess of either is fatal to the ot her, in the artificial tank as well as in natural waters.143 Unlike Zornlin, who highlighted the bounty of th e Biblical lands, Marsh compared present disrepair to previous fertility, as in areas of the Roman Empire caused largely by ignorance or disregard of the laws of nature. Other cause s included the host of temporal and spiritual tyrannies which she left as her dying curse to al l her wide dominion, and which, in some form of violence or of fraud, stil l brood over almost every soil subdued by the Roman legions.144 Here the Mediterranean to the new home which hu man art had prepared for them. He al so warned that the weight of that extra water might have unforeseen effects on the crust of the earth. (525-26) 141 Ibid., 7-8. 142 Ibid., 34. In some cases, as around the Mediterranean, too much damage has been caused and a human-mediated healing is impossible. Instead, geological change, not na tural change, will be required to restore the land (43). 143 Ibid., 103. 144 Ibid., 5.

PAGE 264

264 Marsh partook of the common nineteenth-century anti-Catholic sentiment of much of the Protestant world. His own religious views are lim ited to a handful of references to a creator whose job is merely to place life on the earth. Natu re had been preparing the earth as a habitation to which mans Creator should call hi m forth to enter into its possession.145 There is no theology of nature. At one point Marsh quotes part of a sermon by the Unitarian minister James Martineau (brother of Harriet Martineau) where the loss of the Christian (assumed Protestant) element of civilization leads on a dow nward path to war and revolution and loss of civilization and finally, failing to stand fast against man, they fi nally get embroiled with nature, and are thrust down beneat h her ever-living hand.146 Part of the progress of civilization was to in crease the purely economic value of nature and hence reduce wastage. A problem caused by civilization would be solved by more civilization, and technology. One of the greatest benefits to be expected from the improvements of civilization is, that increased facilities of communi cation will render it possi ble to transport to places of consumption much valuable materi al that is now wasted became the price at the nearest market will not pay freight. The cattle slaughtered in South America for their hides would feed millions of th e starring population of the Old World, if their flesh could be economically preserved and transported across the ocean.147 Technology also acted as savior in the inorganic world, crea ting worth from waste. After lauding the application of scie nce to industrial purposes he gave the wonderful commercial example of a mint officer charged with embezzli ng who replied that much gold was lost in the 145 Ibid., 35. Another example is the the myriad forms of life with which the Creator has peopled the earth (109). 146 Ibid., 44. 147 Ibid., 37. Also 49 for how more civilization is better as it causes less damage.

PAGE 265

265 process of making the coins, and when the s oot from furnaces was scraped up a good amount of gold was found there.148 Marsh emphasized the limitations on knowledge and used the limitations as a call for both more science and, if not exactly a call for restraint, a call for better considerat ion with respect to technological applications. Hu mans could not know all the co nsequences of their actions. Humans controlled nature, but not completely. I have more than once alluded to the collateral and unsought consequences of human action as being often more mo mentous than the direct and desired results.149 This uncertainty created the need fo r more science. The collection of phenomena must precede the analysis of them, and every new fact, illustrative of the action and reaction between humanity and the material world around it, is another step toward the determination of the great question, whether man is of nature or above her.150 Thus science could never be complete, since it was built on an ever changing landscape where human influence changed nature, which in turn created new phenomena which must be studied. This metascientific approach differed from Somerv illes who saw new vistas of knowledge open up, as with the new microscopic world, but accepted th at these new vistas had always existed. Marsh saw humans constructing and reconstructing natu re in the same way humans built and rebuilt science.151 For Somerville, nature was as much emotional as practical resource and occupied a stable physical and emotional space; for Marsh, nature, like the United States itself, was under 148 Ibid., 37 149 Ibid., 539. An example of possible unintended effects was the digging of a canal through the isthmus of Darien, which might affect the Gulf Stream, diverting it westwards into the Pacific, thus possibly pushing Europe into an Ice Age. (523) 150 Ibid., 549. 151 Modern examples of Marshs approach can be found in James R. Flemings The Climate Engineers: Playing God to Save the Planet, Wilson Quarterly (Spring 2007), 46-60. For how science professionalization increasingly limited the role of a theology of nature in popular scientific works, see Lightman, Victorian Popularizers of Science

PAGE 266

266 construction. Their differing understandings of na ture were based on di ffering kinds of human conduct. Marshs focus on technology reduced waste and led to a constantly renegotiated draw in the battle between humans and nature. For So merville, human conduct in nature could be positive or negative, depending on whether the conduc t was viewed as based in selfishness or in a progress in which cultivation played a role. Conclusion As late as 1898 Archibald Geikie, director general of the Geological Survey of the United Kingdom suggested Somervilles book as a textbook.152 Somervilles Physical Geography was used as a textbook in the U.S., along with Zornlins in the period 1848-1860.153 Somervilles book proved commercially successful in educationa l institutions in the United States, with publishers Lea and Blanchard adve rtising their second edition of Physical Geography with the statement that the great success of [Somerville s] work, and its introduction into many of the higher schools and academies, ha ve induced the publishers to pr epare a new and much improved edition.154 Somervilles empire-centered work was also used in British India and was last published in Britain in 1877. 155 152 Archibald Geikie, The Teaching of Geography, Suggestions Regarding Principles and Methods for the Use of Teachers (London, 1898), 47. 153 Beulah A. Mulliner, The Development of Physiography in American Textbooks, The Journal of Geography, A Monthly Magazine Devoted to the Interests of Teachers of Geography in Elementary, Secondary and Normal Schools 10 (1911-1912): 319-23, see especially 320. 154 Lea and Blanchard were successful enough with their first edition of Somervilles book to publish it again, advertising it in the back of W. F. Lynchs Narrative of the United States Expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea, (Philadelphia, 1850). 155 J. N. L. Baker, Mary Somerville and Geography in England, The Geographical Journal 111, no. 4/6 (1948): 207-222. Baker saw Somerville as a bridge between th e formative period of modern geography and its institutionalization in the universities from 1887. Somervilles book was recommended at Oxford during the 1890s (though physical geography was subsumed within the subject of geology). Physical geography was often a subject difficult to place. Its position within the BAAS sections around the middle of the century meant that it was separated from geography.

PAGE 267

267 Both Somerville and Zornlin produced successf ul books because their work grew out of and reflected certain understandings of commercial so cieties and science. Each took a different tack, Zornlins natural-theology based physical geography reassured readers that science was theologically safe and was praised by the Roya l Geographic Societys pr esident as helping to establish the science in the public mind. Somerv ille, an elite established figure in science, focused more on the processes of nature and those who produced the science. Marsh took a management oriented technocratic approach to nature, one that prove d influential in the development of U.S. national parks and forests. Ideas of conduct played major roles in a ll three books. For Somerville, progress changed the environment as it domesticated and cultiv ated nature. Those insufficiently cultivated humans and animalswere left behind. After Darwins Origin of Species was published in 1859 a scientifically legitimated view of nature as a background against which brutal struggles between individuals and species took root. An argument orig inally about development and cultivation through which nature was domesticat ed was then placed in a purely biological framework, of which, when it came to humans, one of the scientific princi ples was that of the doomed race consigned to extinction by evolu tionary theory. The underlying assumption was the inevitable extinction of these races due to the biological laws of evolution, which were, of course, adopted into the broad framework of pr ogress. Darwins concep tion of evolution made the idea of progress nonsensical, because progress by definition is directional and purposeful, and evolution can have no purpose beyond respon ding to the (non-purposeful) changes in the environment through natural selection. Yet many r eaders, scientific and non-scientific, assumed a teleology in Darwins work. In addition, the bi ological approach could be tied straight back into that of political economy. Take for exampl e, nineteenth-century Australian anthropologist

PAGE 268

268 Lorimer Fisons statement that as part of the process of evolution, at length we come to the civilized man with his personal rights and po ssessions and his gospel of political economy teaching him that self-seeking on the part of the i ndividual must result in the greater good of the greater number.156 For Somerville, it was not biological la w that condemned whole races, nor was there a wholesale struggle fo r survival, but rather the processes of nature (organic and inorganic) operating at a metascientific level and connected to God made progress inevitable. Many of Marshs assumptions were similar to Somervilles: that civilization was about conductimproving humans and domesticating nature; that humans influenced nature; that those outside civilizationas American Indians were considereddid not significantly influence nature; that in many ways humans, or at least the civilized portion of it, were not a part of nature. Marsh took such considerations farther than Somerville as he had no common theological framework of a created nature encompassi ng humans as part of a human time frame.157 For Somerville, humanitys actions in the world were not sufficient to cause significant harm, and she based her belief both on the limited power of current technology (when comparing the depths reached by the deepest mines to that of th e depth excavated by nature, she wrote How insignificant are all the works of man compared w ith nature!) and the theological significance of nature.158 For Somerville there were the objects of na ture and the processe s of nature, and the 156 R. McGreggor, The doomed race: a scie ntific axiom of the nineteenth century The Australian Journal of Politics and History 39 (1993): 1422. Here McGregor discusses only Australian Aborigines, but the argument can be extended to other native peoples in the way of progress, such as American Indians. Quotation from Lorimer Fison and A. W. Howitt, Kamilaroi and Kurnai (Melbourne, 1880), 128, quoted in McGreggor, 19. 157 Marsh was brought up as a Congregational Calvinist and retained a strong Puritanical streak, though Lowenthal describes the adult Marsh as mistrusting all organized relig ion. Like Somerville, he was attracted to Unitarianism, and inspired by James Martineaus Endeavours after the Christian Life (1858). See Lowenthal, George Perkins Marsh 375-377. 158 Somerville, Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1849), 1:296-97.

PAGE 269

269 latter would always reach beyond humanity and connect to God, and work for humanitys benefit. Thus, by her unseen ministers, electricity and reciprocal action, the great artificer Nature has adorned the depths of the earth and the heart of th e mountains with her most admirable works, filling the veins with metals, and building the atoms of matter, with the most elegant and delicat e symmetry, into innumerable crystalline forms of inimitable grace and beauty. The cal m and still exterior of the earth gives no indication of the activity that prevails in its bosom, where treasures are preparing to enrich futu re generations of man.159 While Marsh emphasized connectivity less th an Somerville, he concluded by connecting on the smallest possible scale the whole universe throughout time. In one of the few parts, where a Creator is mentioned, Marsh used science to finally move into theology through paraphrasing a part of Charles Babbages Ninth Bridgewater Treatise the effects of the least material change are never cancelled, but in some way perpetuated, so that no action can take pl ace in physical, moral, or intellectual nature, without leaving all matter in a differe nt state from what it would have been if such action had not occurred. Hence there exists in external material nature, an ineffaceable, imperishable reco rd, possibly legible even to created intelligence, of every act done, every word uttered, nay, of every wish and purpose and thought conceived by mortal man, from th e birth of our first parent to the final extinction of our race; so that the physical traces of our most secret sins shall last until time shall be merged in that eternity of which not science, but religion alone, assumes to take cognizance.160 It is a purely materialist apprec iation, however, yet one that is irrelevant in the practical world in which Marsh places people and their pr oblems with nature. For Zornlin, religion was used to bring humans in contact with nature; for Somerville the processes of nature and science were used to bring humanity into co ntact with God. In the context of Man and Nature, the connection with God or nature a nd its processes was irrelevant. 159 Ibid. 1:314. 160 Marsh, Man and Nature 548-9.

PAGE 270

270 For Marsh, more civilization was a good in itself but also good for nature as civilization caused less damage than a less civilized world. Ma rshs approach was highly dualistic; there was no mediator between man and nature. One result wa s that much of the complexity of animated nature for its own self, as appeared in Darwins work, was lost. Somervilles approach of using natural processes as a connection to God allowed some space for nature itself. Marsh, writing during the Civil War, saw the world as a battleground and knowledge a weapon. Man was presented as purely a disruptive el ement in the context of nature, yet also as one who can, via more knowledge, undo the damage th at nature cannot. In this sense humanity helps a nature unable to heal it self. Zornlin and Somerville repr esent humanity as an agent of change, though, in the case of Zornlin, not as one damaging to nature as a whole. In the case of Somerville, humans have the potential to damage the global system, but her faith in progress and her personal familiarity with only the long-domestic ated landscapes of Europe generally inclined her to optimism. Thus three books on the physi cal globe could understand the natural world in different ways because of how human conduct was seen to interact with nature.

PAGE 271

271 CHAPTER 6 RELIGION, SCIENCE, AND PROGRESS: IN P RIVATE AND IN PUBLIC Like many others in the 1840s, Somerville r ead Robert Chambers anonymously published Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844), the hugely popular work that brought evolution into the public consciousness. Somerville enjoyed the book, telling her son that she thought it a very powerful production & was highly pleased with it, but I can easily see that it will offend in some quarters, however it should be remembered that there has been as much opposition to the true system of astronomy and to ge ological facts as there can be to this. At all events free and open discussion of all natural and moral phenomena mu st lead to truth at last. Somerville wondered if Charles Babbage was the author, but added that she thought it unlikely since he would not bother to conceal his identity.1 Somerville assumed that for truth to emerge in both science and religionthe natural and moral worldsthe only requirement for progre ss is enquiring minds unfettered by dogma. Her underlying assumption is one where conflict betw een the two is temporary and dissolves upon further investigation. A long-time friend of Ba bbage, Somerville knew that the scientific reformer and critic of the Royal Society never hesitated to publish his opinions, whether on the decline of science, manufacturing, or (later) the handling of the Crystal Palace Exhibition. Somerville was far more cautious, separating her authorial public life from her private life. As such she could privately praise a book on evolution but never me ntion the subject in either Physical Geography or Microscopic and Molecular Science Previous chapters have discussed Somervilles world and how it fit together in her life and her science. Also discussed wa s Somervilles understanding of progressone that was situated 1 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, May 28, 1845, c. 361, MSIF-3. For a fascinating discussion of Vestiges and its impact, see Secord, Victorian Sensation

PAGE 272

272 within the Scottish Enlightenment and its ci vilizational and developmental approach and combined with political economy and its circul ation of goods and knowledge within the context of the British Empire. This chapter takes a cl oser look at religion. For Somerville, science was always more than simply an increase in knowle dge. In her notebook, which Neeley decribes as Somervilles conversation about science, Somervil le included an unattributed quotation: The ultimate object of all science is to improve the character and conditi on of the human race.2 Progress, moral and material, is implicit in this Knowledge cannot then be easily separated into categories of scientific and re ligious. Furthermore, for Somerville religion itself must be separated into religion as belief and religion as social frameworks. The first she regarded as personal while the latter played a role in her understanding of progress. Personal belief could also be connected to science via her sc ientific understandings of conservation. In the four sections of this chapter, I examine (1) Somervilles understanding of Protestantism in general as a guard ian of progress; (2) th e role religion played in her scientific life and private life; (3) her mixed response to evolution; (4 ) and her public and private response to animals. Out of these emerges a unified appro ach to sciences role in the broader culture, one in which science avoids controversy, is used to neutralize threats to progress, and which in turn is protected by the right kind of re ligion. In addition, her response to materialism from a religious and scientific framework, first discussed in chapter four, is further examined through her response to animals. Despite the seeming inevitability of progre ss in Somervilles published work, Somervilles private anxieties about progress were embodied in the threat posed via Irish Catholics. In Physical Geography she situated a progressive Protestant ism, with its role in protecting the 2 Neeley, Mary Somerville 7; Somerville, notebook, c. 352, MSSW-5, 55.

PAGE 273

273 empire, against a reactionary Catholicism. In her book she assured readers of ultimate success, but in private, an uncertainty crept into he r letters as to the certainty of progress. Religion was important to Somerville, even if she rejected her traditional Presbyterian upbringing for a broader theism based in Unitarian ism and infused with a Romantic approach to nature, one that meshed well with her public writi ngs on science. But this private approach also influenced how Somerville understood certain aspect s of science, particularly universalistic, lawlike aspects of science, and th eir connections to progress. Somervilles response to evolution, specifica lly Darwinian evolution, will be framed within both a scientific and reli gious approach, one ultimately ba sed in conduct and the centrality of progress. How Somerville unders tood the role of science and religion in advancing progress is then studied through the lens of her response to animals, which she viewed as far more than animated machines. Threats to Empire and Defense by the Protestant Race Som erville felt an almost existential respons e when faced with anything that potentially threatened empire and its role. Her conceptions of progress tightly linked empire and science. When either of the former was threatened, she responded in public with the latter in Physical Geography While in Somervilles published works progress seemed inevitable, a snake lurked in the garden of progress and its name was the Irish. For Somerville, the Catholic Irish provided a threat that science helped her neutralize. The threat was brutally explicated by W. R. Greg in the pages of Frasers in 1868. The careless, squalid, unaspir ing Irishman multiplies like rabbits: the frugal, foreseeing, self-respecting, ambitious Scot stern in his morality, spiritual in his faith, sagacious and disciplined in his intelligence, passes his best y ears in struggle and in celibacy,

PAGE 274

274 marries late, and leaves few behind him.3 The taint of social Darwinism did not appear in Physical Geography. Somerville wrote before On the Origin of Species (1859) appeared and never appropriated a biological approach to progre ss or race. Somerville did not think in terms of biology and inherent unfitness, but rather in terms of social progr ess and civilization. The threat, however, came from the same place. Her reactions to such threats mainly appeared in her personal corres pondence but in at least one case diffused into her work. With a basis in so cial statistics and the social laws it uncovered, Somerville constructed in Physical Geography a scientific world view of human progress that incorporated race and religion and was embedded in the British Empire and would act as a bulwark for the empire. Somerville created a dichotomy between Protestantism and defense of Empire (grounded in an individu al idea of liberty) and Cathol icism and threat to empire (grounded in a conception of oppression). Anti-Catholic prejudice was common amongst Br itish Protestants thr oughout much of the nineteenth century. Somerville herself was not anti-Catholic, though as a Protestant she considered Catholicism prey to superstition. But she was not a ma instream Protestant, being in belief, but not in practice, a Unitarian for much of her adult life. She had met Pope Pius VII and thought highly of him (though not of Gregory XVI, whom she met years later) and was on friendly terms with a Chaldean priest who lived with Italian friends and whose conversation gives me great pleasure and much information which will be useful in my next edition of the 3 W. R. Greg, On the Failure of Natur al Selection in the Case of Man, Fraser's, 78, no. 465 (1868): 361. For Somerville civilizational progress was not based on race. As James Secord points out the hideous Esquimaux and others low on the progress scale whose faces, according to Somerville, re flected their uncontrolled passions, civilization would improve their inner and outer selves. Secord, introduction to Physical Geography (2004), xiv. On the other hand, there were times Somerville believed progre ssive efforts should be focused closer to home. After reading an account of the tragic end of Captain Allen Gard iners missionary expedition to Tierra del Fuego, in which all the men died of starvation, she wrote to her brother that she hoped it will put a stop to such missions which never can do any good and both the money and men would be better employed in improving the people at home. Somerville to Henry Fairfax, Ma y 8, 1852, c.357, MSFP-6.

PAGE 275

275 Phys. Geog.4 Her pro-Italian feelings ran so high th at she told her son she would be very troubled if she had to pray for the defeat of th e english, which in conscience she would have to if Britain sided with the Austrians against the Piedmontese and French in the wars of Italian unification. 5 In Physical Geography racial success is intimately tied into nineteenth century ideas of progress and circulation, one that that is also tightly bound to Protestantism and is embodied in the geographical successes of the Germanic (or Teutonic) races as opposed to the failures of the Celtic race (or the Celts). In effect, anti-Cathol ic popular prejudice undergoe s a scientification in Physical Geography partly in response to Somervilles sense of threat to the British state. This sense of threat never appeared in Physical Geography, which is purely a success story for empire. In her personal letters, however, this success story becomes surprisingly fragile. Let us begin with her published words on the Teutons an d the Celts, where we see how progress is embodied in the geographical successes of the Ge rmanic races and the failures of the Celtic. At present the Teutonic race, including th e inhabitants of North America and the British colonies, considerably outnumber the Celtic, though its numbers were far inferior in ancient times. The Teutonic variety has subdued and even exterminated the other varieties in its progress towa rds the west; it is undoubtedly the most vigorous, both in body and mind, of all mankind, and s eems destined to conquer and civilize the whole world. It is a singular fact, whatev er the cause may be, that the Celts are invariably Roman Catholic, while the Teutonic population is inclined to Protestantism.6 4 Somerville, Personal Recollections 121-122; Somerville to Wo ronzow Grieg, December 4, 1849, c.36 1, MSIF-3. 5 Somerville to Woronzow Grieg, May 5, 1859, c.361, MSIF-4. Interestingly, Somerville used the term English rather than British here. Marjorie Morgan in National Identities and Travel in Victorian Britain (New York, 2001) writes that the word British tended to be used when di scussing imperial and commercial contexts (198). Its possible that Somerville, who closely identified herself with the British Empire and its aims, used the term english as a way of distancing herself from potential actions she disagreed with. In terms of identity, Somerville regarded herself as a Scotswoman. 6 Somerville, Physical Geography, 3rd. ed. (1853), 477. This text is from the third edition, published 1851 in England and 1853 in the Unites States, but also appeared in the second edition of 1849. Somerville would not have considered herself a Celt. Living in the Scottish lowlands (despite her English-born father) gave her a strong Scottish identity, but not a Celtic one. Changes in the following editions were minimal. In the 1870 edition, the text

PAGE 276

276 In addition, It is extraordinary that nations s hould lose their vitality without any apparent cause in Europe pure Celtic blood has been on the decline for 20 centuries, and even the mixed Celtic variety has not increased in proportion to the Teutonic, although exposed to the same external circumstances. She continues di fferentiating the two races and religions, when she focuses on Ireland. In Ireland th e difference in the organization of the two races is strongly marked: placed under the same circumstances, the Teutonic part of the population has prospered, which, unfortunately, has not been the case with the Celtic.7 Yet these words are mild in comparison to those sh e wrote in some of her letters. In a letter to her son written in 1851 that touched on the spr ead of Catholicism in Great Britain, she wrote: what a good thing the clearance of population & emigration from Ireland is[.] I hope it will go on & rid us of troublesome people.8 In another much later letter on the 1857 rebellion in India, she linked the weakness of the empire in India to other threats and wrote, I am grieved to see despotism and Catholicism likely to rule the world.9 The attacks could even be aimed at individuals; for example, in th is letter written in 1858: They say Wiseman [the most senior Catholic figure in England] is dying and althoug h I never can forgive the Catholic aggression, he is an accomplished man & eloquent writer and is to be succeeded by Irish Cullen who is only a violent bigotted [sic] priest.10 included while the Teutonic population is inclined to Protestantism, which consequently will go on increasing in its spread over the world with the inte llectual race that pr ofesses it. 517-518. 7 Ibid., 477, 478. Suggestively, one of Johnston's maps in the The Physical Atlas of Natural Phenomena (2nd ed., 1856) is titled Moral & Statistical Chart Showing the Geographical Distribution of Man According to Religious Belief, with the Principal Protestant Mission Stations in the Middle of the 19th. Century. 8 Somerville to Woronzow Grieg, October 20, 1851, c.361, MSIF-3. 9 Somerville to Woronzow Grieg, July 29, 1857, c.361, MS IF-4. In terms of despotism, Somerville saw the hand of Russia, an imperial competitor with Britain. 10 Somerville to Woronzow Grieg, June 3, 1858, c.361, MSIF-4. Wiseman was Archbishop of Westminster.

PAGE 277

277 In Physical Geography Somerville clearly sets out her vi ews on race; all are varieties of the same species, although Caucasians are considered the handsomest and most intellectual portion of mankind.11 At the same time, while Europeans, especially those of British Anglo Saxon stock, are seen as superior this superiority is partly du e to geography (and the lack of slavery). If neither race nor pers onal religious affiliation were a strong marker for progress, what then is the connection among race, religion and progress? One clue might be found closer to home, in a letter written in 1833 dur ing a Paris sojourn. France is in a singular state at present with regard to religion and morality; till they become protestants they will have neither; all kinds of strange ideas are springing up; you would be astonished at the numbers of St. Simonians, Knights of Malta12 Religion, or at least Somervilles kind of religion, could keep out all sorts of troublesome influences; without its protection, people were vulnerable morally, socially, and politically, making true progress ex tremely difficult. This was reli gion as a bulwark, rather than religion as personal faith. The public connection between race, religion, an d progress does not appear in the first edition of Physical Geography, published in 1848. That it appears from the second edition, published in 1849, was due to a strong German connection with British mapmaking, both in terms of collaboration and information flow. Gustav Kombsts An Ethnographic Map of Europe (originally published 1841) was in 1848 hand ily bundled with Alexander Keith Johnstons Physical Atlas (1848), from which Somervilles data on European races was drawn for her second edition of 1849.13 Johnston, an Edinburgh-based map publisher, visited the German 11 Somerville, Physical Geography 3rd ed. (1853), 471. 12 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, Fe bruary 28, 1833, c.361, MSIF-1. 13 Somerville continued to rely on Kombsts Ethnographic Map of Europe, the source for her writings on European races, which appeared in Johnstons Physical Atlas The fact that Kombsts work was still considered a reliable guide in the 1870 edition, even t hough he died in 184 6, suggests how acceptable his ideas were.

PAGE 278

278 cartographer Heinrich Berghaus at his Geographische Kunstsc hule in Potsdam 1842 to arrange printing his Physikalischer Atlas, which was in turn published by the Cartographical Institute in Gotha. Johnston printed some of the In stitutes works under license, including The Physical Atlas .14 Kombst, on behalf of Johnston, acted as a go-between the two publishers. Kombst was a liberal German migr who fled to Britain, ending up in Edinburgh as a teacher of German. During his British sojourn he produced his A n Ethnographic Map of Europe, which was positively reviewed by the Royal Geographical Societ ys journal. In public and private, Kombst wholeheartedly adopted Britis h liberal aims for the empire and civilization.15 Not everyone accepted Kombsts characterizatio n of the Celtic race as inferior. The authors of a book on the ancient S candinavians repeated some of Kombsts characterizations in his Ethnographic Map of Great Britain and Ireland but added a caveat. They omitted such of his moral and intellectual (psychological) characteris tics as we deemed inapplicable, either on account of their savouring too much of a preconceived theory, or of their being more attributable to the influence of social instit utions than to idiosyncrasy of race. The Irish reputation was so 14 The Cartographical Institute began printing geographical works in the beginning of the nineteenth century. In 1817, its popular and frequently republished Handatlas ber alle Theile der Erde nach dem neuesten Zustand und ber das Weltgebude began publication. M. Linke, M. Hoffman and J. A. Hellen, Two Hundred Years Of The GeographicalCartographical Institute In Gotha, The Geographical Journal 152, no. 1 (1986): 75, 76. Kombst (1806-1846) was a political refugee who taught German in Ed inburgh, according to Stuart Wallace in John Stuart Blackie: Scottish Scholar and Patriot (Edinburgh, 2006), 96. 15 Map-Illustrations of Physical Geography, The Journal for the Royal Geographical Society 13, part 1 (1843). The reviewer wrote that it displayed extensive and minute inquiry combined with considerable critical power and a high talent for classification (159). Kombsts views on empire were n eatly encapsulated in a paragraph from his autobiography: [M]y mind grew ever mo re and more awakened and strengthened by the view of this nation, this stirring activity, this manliness, this fearlessness, this self possessed confident advance, this well-trained strength, this commanding spirit . Here, for the first time in my life, I saw what a sense of independence and liberty can achieve in a vigor ous people In place of aversion and hatr ed, there grew within me, a disposition to envy a nation thatgreater than the Romansmakes its conquests, not to destroy, but to plant all over the world seeds of civilization Look at India It is scarcely eighty years since the English first got a firm hold on that country ; and now everythi ng there is already pre ssing on towards peace, and the arts of peace And what seeds of new states and new civilization has not England scattered in all directions during the long thirty years peace? And wherever the Englishman goes, thither Freedom accompanies him. Gustav Kombst, English Extracts, New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian June 13, 1849, 3. This piece was extracted from a review in the Athenaeum of Kombsts Reminiscences of My Life.

PAGE 279

279 firmly established by then that the authors could assume that when Kombst attributed want of respect for human life to the Celtic race, he had the Irish in view.16 For Somerville, Kombsts data came in ha ndy, though she ignored much of what Kombst described as physiological character, focusing instead on the consequences for progress. Why were Catholics, and Irish Catholics in particul ar, identified so closely with the opposite of progress? Catholic emancipation had begun in 1829 w ith the passing of the unpopular Catholic Emancipation Act. From that point, Catholics co uld vote, gain commissions in the military, and stand for public office. They could not go to the Anglican universities.17 The 1840s saw social unrest and the Irish potato famine, which drove many Irish to England and only added to the unrest as they would work for lower wages than English workers. The 1840s also saw some prominent Protestant figures, such as John Henry Newman, convert to Rome. The final insult occurred on 29 September 1850, when Pope Pius IX announced the reestablishment of the Catholic hierarchy in England, a hierarchy which had been disestablished in the sixteenth century. This event was called the Papal Aggressi on by those who felt threatened by a Catholic resurgence, which they believed threatened th e strong links between the British state and the Protestant Church of England. Somervilles c onceptions of progress and stability required a 16 Paul Henri Mallet, trans. Thom as Percy, I. A. Blackwell, Northern Antiquities: Or, An Historical Account of the Manners, Customs, Religion and Laws, Maritime Expeditions and Discoveries, Language and Literature of the Ancient Scandinavians (London, 1847), 34-35. Kombsts Ethnographic Map of Great Britain and Ireland was published as part of Johnston's edition of Berghaus's Physical Atlas (which included the work of David Brewster, James Forbes, J. P.Nichol, and others). In the atlas Kombst described his work as the first ethnographic map ever published. (D8). Kombsts language was stronger than So mervilles; he wrote approvingly of the Teutonic variety that it had conquered and trampled underfoot, nay, exterminated other groups. (D81). 17 Michael Wheeler, The Old Enemies: Catholic and Protestant in Nineteenth-Century English Culture (Cambridge, 2006), 37.

PAGE 280

280 strong church/state framework. Personal belief, however, was a private matter and excluded from consideration.18 Publicly, the response to the Papal A ggression was quick. The Bishop of London, Charles James Blomfield wrote that the Popes actions were both an insult to the clergy of England and an invasion of the supremacy of the crown. This territo rial aggression was brought home by the establishment of the Catholic Archbishopric of Westminster, which to most English symbolized the English nation itself. Pa rliament met at the Palace of Westminster; Westminster Abbey was where Englands monarchs and heroes were buried. To many Protestant English it appeared as though the P ope was deliberately provoking them.19 Somerville reacted strongly, writing that she was for every concession being made to the Catholics as long as it did not diminish the dignity of the crown and the safety of our faith. She was furious at the squabbles of the estab lished Protestant churches which she felt had allowed the Catholic church inroads and enraged at the Roman priests for throwing a firebrand that has set the country in a flame, returni ng evil for good. For Somerville, the only response that would diminish the Catholic threat in Brita in was to give the people a religious and moral education & if the clergy would do that, good would arise out of the present tumult.20 For the English, the most obvious Catholic gr oup was the Irish. The anti-Irish sentiment, made up of opposition to Irish self determination, perceived Irish backwardness, and the sheer number of Irish migrating to England, was brought into greater focus by the Popes act, for most of the Catholic clergy in England were Irish and most of their parishioners were Irish.21 18 Ibid., 4. 19 Ibid., 5, 6-7. 20 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, December 10, 1850, c.361, MSIF-3. 21 Wheeler, The Old Enemies 25-26.

PAGE 281

281 But Protestant opposition to Catholicism wa s not based solely on perceived religious threats. Liberty was identified with Protestantism and its focus on the individual conscience. Catholicism represented the suppression of that liberty. In the Protesta nt narrative of the day, liberty was equated with progress. Somervilles great hopes for a liberal Italian federation in 1848 were tempered by her beliefs in the inco mpatibility of a theocracy or government by priests with that of all progress.22 Religion, the right kind of religion, which in Somervilles case meant Protestantism, was the guarantor of progress. Catholicism, in the guise of the Irish Celts, brought race into the discussion of progress. Somerville, who saw her ro le as educating the publ ic on science, needed to ensure that her science did not disturb th e progress-oriented classes, for whom religion remained a powerful force. At a time when the use of natural theology in science was beginning to come under criticism, social statistics prov ided a stabilizing force, making science safe for religion. This stability was based on the certainty of the physical laws of planetary motion, which was made to undergird concepts of progress. Woven into this idea of progress, and strengthening it, was Protestantism and the protection it provided. Opposed to this was an anti-progress, one that Somerville located in a Catholicism that was physically embodied in the Irish Catholics. Science, via statistics, showed the inevitability of progress and the triumph of the right kind of religion. Private Choice of Religion and the Public Life of Science Until m eeting her liberal Church of Scotland un cle, Somervilles religious experiences had been of the more traditional Calvinist kind. In her autobiogr aphy, Somerville spent little time describing her youthful religious experiences, whic h, in the formal context of official religion, 22 Somerville, Personal Recollections 283. This, of course, might be a case of hindsight, though it does fit in with Somervilles beliefs during that period.

PAGE 282

282 she does not present positively. One personal an ecdote describes the time Somerville and her older brother failed to make a Sunday appearance at church. The minister, another uncle by marriage, sent a servant to inqui re whether the two were ill. T ypically, his sermons were gloomy and occasionally written to match unpleasant local events, such as linking the burning down of a neighborhood saw mill to hell fire. The minist er delivered lengthy sermons, occasionally interrupting himself to call out to his sleeping parishioners to sit up and behave themselves.23 As a result, Somerville took a dislike to long sermons and what she described as the gloomy doctrines of Calvinism, though she did retain a life-long preference for th e Scottish Presbyterian church over what she saw as the colder Anglican variety.24 In public life she presented herself as a defende r of the Protestant faith and a firm believer in its progressive mission. In private, she expressed a preference for a different kind of faith, a faith she at one time believed would be grounds for ostracism, were her views known. In 1819, three years after her move to London with her second husband, son of her liberal minister uncle, Somerville wrote to her father-i n-law about her disappointment with the Anglican Church. She was shocked by their creeds and struck with th eir litany being addressed almost exclusively to our Saviour.25 In this frame of mind, she came across th e Unitarian minister Thomas Belshams writings and attended a service by him, which, along with Unitarian Richard Prices writings, had very nearly decided my faith. Convinced of her disbelief in the Trinity and believing that the doctrine of original sin was inconsistent with the goodness of God, she turned to her uncle for guidance regarding certain theol ogical points on which she was s till undecided. Had Christ died as an expiation of our sins, or only as a martyr to prove the truth of what he taught. Equally 23 Somerville, Personal Recollections 33. 24 Somerville, first draft of autobiography, 25. 25 Somerville to Thomas Somerville, August 8, 1819, c.360, MSFP-44.

PAGE 283

283 important, in what beliefs should she bring up her three daughters, given the violent prejudices on these subjects and against sectarians of any kind however just their views may be. Given such difficulties, Somerville informed her father-i n-law that she intended to maintain an outward faade of orthodoxy and to regularly attend the Ang lican Church, while at the same time giving her daughters a more rational vi ews of the Gospel than is commonly preached. Finally, Somerville begged her father-in-law to not men tion her letter to anyone as it would make people say I had become an infide l[.] I never speak on the subject.26 Perceptions of infidelity of this sort had social consequences, of which Somerville was well aware. She confided to her uncle that the great hue and cry against unitarianism convinced her to keep absolutely silent in public about her beliefs acquaintances had repeatedly declared before me that nothing on earth wd. in duce them to sit in the same room with a unitarian or hold any correspondence with them, and that it is highly criminal to go even once to hear them speak[.]27 Somerville retained her interest in Unitarian ism later in life. She admired the American Unitarian William Channing and kept a hand-written copy of extracts from a sermon by him. The appeal of the Romantic dimensions of a natural world mixed with a relig ious response to that nature is clear. [T]he delight we find in the vast scenes of nature in the immensity of the heavens and the ocean, and especially in the ru sh and roar of mighty winds waves and torrents, when amidst our deep awe, a power within us to respond to the 26 Ibid. Somervilles relationship with her father-in-law wa s close and predated her second marriage. The first to provide encouragement to Somerville in her desire to learn, he also provided her with religious advice. Somerville wrote to him that it was an unspeakable delight to lay before her father-in-law every thought of my heart. He advised her on religious instruction for her children. She repl ied, I tell you that in the religious instruction of my children I have been pursuing the very plan suggested by you[.] at their early age all I can attempt is habitual veneration, gratitude and obedience to the Deity, with observance of his commands and attention to moral obligations . The plan included daily scriptural readings and church on Sundays, and simply avoiding any mention of Jesus as divine. Somerville to Thomas Somerville, March 2, 1821, c.360, MSFP-44. 27 Somerville to Thomas Somerville March 2, 1821, c.360, MSFP-44.

PAGE 284

284 omnipotence around us. Thus Gods infinity has its image in the soul The boundless creation fills us with awe and ad miration of the energy which sustains it.28 Yet, even in death, Somerville remained coy about her personal beliefs, or rather, her daughter remained coy. Her daught er Marthas description of her mothers beliefs in the autobiography went to great lengths to emphasize Somervilles religious credentials. My mother was profoundly and sincerely reli gious; hers was not a religion of mere forms and doctrines, but a solemn deep -rooted faith which influenced every thought, and regulated every action of her life. Great love and reverence towards God was the foundation of this pure fait h, which accompanied her from youth to extreme old age. and which was the mainspring of that extreme humility which was so remarkable a f eature of her character.29 This deep but imprecisely described faith was fully compatible with science, according to Martha Somerville. She rejected the notion of occasional interference by the Creator with his Work, and believed that from the first and invari ably He has acted according to a system of harmonious laws, some of which we are beginning faintly to recognise, others of which will be discovered in course of time, wh ile many must remain a mystery.30 This anodyne summary replaced a paragraph from the first draft of Somervilles autobiography, which might still have damaged Somervilles public reputation. Of her changing understanding of how God acted in nature, Somerville wrote: 28 Somervilles notebook from 1859, c.356, MSAU-4. This quotation comes from a loose sheet of paper tucked into the 1859 notebook. The handwriting is not Somervilles. The wr iting on that loose sheet is taken from and based on William E. Channings sermon Likeness to God, originally given in 1828 at the Ordination of Rev. F. A. Farley. This and other sermons were collected in The Works of William E. Channing, published in 1882. A nephew of Channing at one point visited Somerville with a letter of introduction provided by Henry Bowditch (Mr. Channing to Somerville, May 1, no year listed, c.c.370, MSC-3). The excerpts might have been sent by Henry Bowditch, who had previously sent her a sermon on war by Channing in 1835 after Somerville told him of her high opinion of Channing (Henry Bowditch to Somerville, February 24, 1835, c.369, MSB-12). The American Unitarian minister and friend of Channing Joseph Tuckerman sent Somerville a copy of Channings work in 1833 (Joseph Tuckerman to Somerville, November 3, 1833, c.372, MST-1). Tucker man also procured George Washingtons autograph for Somerville in 1834 (Joseph Tuckerman to Somerville, August 28, 1834, c.372, MST-1). 29 Somerville, Personal Recollections 374. 30 Ibid., 375.

PAGE 285

285 At this time my mother and I firmly belie ved that the path of the lightning might be changed by prayer, but I have since then learned that the Deity having once fixed the laws of the different powers of nature interferes no farther, but the laws which govern electricity are now so far known that by common precaution danger may be avoided to a certain degree.31 Privately, Martha Somerville believed that John Murray, Somervilles publisher, had concerns about the reception of Somervilles aut obiography. I am inclined to think you consider some of her remarks likely to offend many pe oples religious opinions especially in the controversial state religious thought is in at present.32 The letter most probably dates from 1873, prior to the publication of the autobiography, also in 1873. Just wh at the controve rsial state of religious thought was due to was not menti oned, though likely the letter referred to the ongoing debate over the merits of the German higher cr iticism of the Bible, precipitated over a decade earlier with the publication of Essays and Reviews in 1860.33 No record exists of Some rvilles res ponse to the Essays and Reviews although Somervilles close friend of later life, Fran ces Power Cobbe, believed Somerville would have approved. Cobbe, writing of Benjamin Jowett, one of the contributors, t hought Somerville would like him and the collection of essays produced by men in the Church but all beyond it.34 With affinities to traditional Deism, Somerville s belief system had similarities to that of her friend Charles Babbage. Babbages The Ninth Bridgewater Treatise, a Fragment (1837) presented God as the original calculating machine. Babbage rejected a God who interfered in the world and thus proved less than omniscient, and presented his calculating engine as an analogy to nature and miracles. By sh ifting a lever of the enginearranged before the machine began 31 Somerville, first draft autobiography, 15. 32 Martha Somerville to John Murray, February 25, John Mu rray Archive: Acc 12604, NRR Transit Folder, 120. 33 See Frederick Gregory, The Impact of Darwinian Evolution on Protestant Theology in the Nineteenth Century, in David Lindberg and Ronald Numbers, eds. God and Nature (Berkeley, Calif., 1986) 341, 372.

PAGE 286

286 calculating to occur at a specific time during the calculationa different set of mathematical laws could be set in motion for a certain period of time. Babbage explicitly compared miracles to changing the mathematical rules of hi s calculating machine. For example: It is more probable that any law, at the knowledge of which we have arrived by observation, shall be subject to one of t hose violations which, according to Humes definition, constitutes a miracle, than that it should not be so subjected. To show the probability of this, we may be allowe d again to revert to the Calculating Engine: and to assume that it is possible to set the machine, so that it shall calculate any algebraic law whatever: and also possible so to arrange it, that at any periods, however remote, the first law shall be in terrupted for one or more times, and be superseded by any other law; after which the original law shall again be produced, and no other deviation shall ever take place. 35 Through this approach both natural lawsw ithout interference by a Deityand miracles could coexist; that is, miracles were naturalized bu t remained part of Gods plan and all could be put in the context of progress. Babbage assumed his and Somervilles good friend John Herschel had a similar understanding of the operation of miracles in the world. In The Ninth Bridgewater Treatise he included a letter from Herschel to geologist and Somerville friend Charles Lyell quoting Herschels views of human per ceptions of Gods actions. The actions in this case were the creation of new species, presented as being indist inguishable from natural actions due to laws imposed by the intermediate action of God, equi valent perhaps to the prearrangement of a 34 Frances Power Cobbe to Somerville, August 15, no year listed, c.358, MSC01. 35 Charles Babbage, The Ninth Bridgewater Treatise, a Fragment 2nd ed. (London, 1838), 149-150. The first eight Bridgewater Treatises were requested from British scientif ic and religious figures using the eight thousand pounds left in 1829 by the Earl of Bridgewater in his will, wh ich were to fulfill the requirements of the theme, on the power, wisdom and goodness of God, as manifested in the creation. Babbage, upse t in particular by William Whewells treatise in which deductive ap proaches to science, such as Laplaces mathematical astronomy, were presented as more likely to lead to atheism, decided to mount his own defense of deductive science as being compatible with religion. Somerville was also annoyed by Whewells swipe at mathematicians, but kept her annoyance privatesee later this chapter. For an in depth discussion on the role of miracles from sc ientific perspectives during this period, see Walter Cannon, The Problem of Miracles in the 1830's, Victorian Studies 4, no. 1 (1960): 5-32. Whewell made his public name

PAGE 287

287 cosmic lever that could temporarily introduce new laws. Somervilles limited engagement with species creation in Physical Geography where species came into ex istence by divine fiatdid not support or oppose this understanding. Of course this was species crea tion without evolution, a topic never mentioned by Somerville in her publis hed works, but see later this chapter for her private views.36 Rarely, and in private, Somerville found herself in conflict with the religious views of her scientific friends and acquaintan ces. In one case, she shared he r feeling about Whewells views on extraterrestrial life in his essay Of the Plurality of Worlds (1853) with her son. Whewells book is below contempt and a very bad work for a clergyman to have written, Of course you know that he th inks the earth is the only part of the universe that is inhabited, that man is the sole object of Gods care because Christ was sent to this world only. I wonder he does not return to th e old doctrine of the sun going round the earth The fact is that the clergy had better mind their own business.37 with Astronomy and General Physics Considered with Reference to Natural Theology (1833), the third of the Bridgewater Treatises. 36 In his Ninth Bridgewater the letter from Herschel to Lyell that Babb age included referred to evolution, what Herschel described as that mystery of mysteries. Herschel wrote: For my own part, I cannot but think it an inadequate conception of the Creator, to assume it as granted that his combinations are exhausted upon any one of the theatres of their former exercise, though in this, as in all his other works, we are led, by all analogy, to suppose that he operates through a series of intermediate causes, and that in consequence the origination of fresh species, could it ever come under our cognizance, would be found to be a natural in contradistinction to a miraculous process-although we perceive no indications of any process actually in progress which is likely to issue in such a result (226-7). Cannon views Babbages mathematical representation of miracles as more than simply an analogy, rather as an idealist representation of the world, one th at would have offended both gradualist and catastrophist geologists by its ignoring of the physical world and its presumed God-given rationality and jumping straight to an Idealist representation. Cannon, The Problem of Miracles, 25. 37 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, June 26, 1855, c.361, MSIF-3. Somerville wrote the letter after reading David Brewsters response to Whewells book Brewster and Whewell were scientific sparring partners of many years standing, dating back to the decline of science debate in which they took opposing views. John Hedley Brooke views the argument as one originating in differing natura l theological strategies (Brewsters Scottish evangelism versus Whewells Anglicanism) that dealt with difficulties thrown up by geology (the deep time of the gradualists such as Lyell) and astronomy (the hug e scale of the universe). Brooke writes that differences were not primarily due to the pressures of an autonomous naturalism, but to the problem of conferring some meaning upon those aspects of creation which seemed most devoid of purpose: the immensity of space, the profusion of the heavenly bodies, and the immensity of geological time. Natural Theology and the Plurality of Worlds: Observations on the Brewster-Whewell Debate, Annals of Science 34, no. 3 (1977): 228. Religiously flavored scientific disagreements predated Darwin and design arguments took many forms.

PAGE 288

288 Somerville, reading physicist and acquaintance David Brewsters negative review of the anonymously written piecethough quickly attributed to Whewellin the North British Review was keen to know the works reception, a nd asked her son, what do you hear about it, or is it noticed at all. Six months later Some rville was still sufficiently frustrated by Whewells argument that she wrote to her son questioning Whewells sanity by comparing him to the followers of spirit rappers. I think Whewell must be mad too, he or the author of the Plurality of World is nicely set down in the Edin Review pray read it I think it conclu sive, but indeed it could be otherwise in a person of unprejudiced mind.38 Somerville found herself in greater sympathy wi th Scottish evangelist Brewster than the Cambridge-based Anglican Whewell. Both men were major figures in the scientific world of the day and their argument boiled down to what meani ng should be assigned to aspects of the natural world. Brewster, in arguing for a plurality of worlds, could not accept that much of creation existed without purposethe vast universe of modern astronomy must have God-given life beyond that found on the Earth. In addition, being a north-British Presbyterian, Brewster likely could not stomach the waste inherent in a unive rse created by God yet de void of life except in one place.39 On the other hand, Whewell required huma n theological uniqueness and could point to lifeless ages in the earths history as an argument that waste was a part of Gods plan.40 38 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, December 10, 1855, c. 361, MSIF-3. Somerville expe rienced spirit rapping for herself and believed it folly, though not doubting the physi cal experiences of the audience. Mr Hume is here and turning the people's heads, many have the folly to believe it to be spirits but there can be no doubt that he makes tables and chairs run about the room, & makes people feel hands touching them. Somerville to Woronzow Greig, October 29, 1855, c.361, MSIF-3. Somervilles Mr. Hume was most likely Daniel Dunglas Home, a well-known Scottish-American spirit rapper who vis ited Florence, then Somervilles place of residence, in 1855. See D. D. Home, Incidents in My Life 5th ed. (New York:, 1864), 126-28. 39 For more on Whewells and Br ewsters scientific and theological views in the plurality of life debate, see Michael J. Crowe, William Whewell: Pluralis m Questioned and The Whewell Debate: Pluralism Defended in The Extraterrestrial Life Debate, 1750-1900 (Mineola, N.Y., 1999), 265-299; 300-355. David Brewster, North British Review 21 (1854): 1-44. Brewsters daughter writes that her father viewed Of the Plurality of Worlds as quite disgusting and displaying ignorance. Margaret Maria Gordon, The Home Life of Sir David Brewster 3rd ed. (Edinburgh, 1881), 138. In The Science of Energy: A Cultural History of Energy Physics in Victorian Britain

PAGE 289

289 Somerville, with her Unitarian tendencies, was less concerned with the status of Jesus Christ than Whewell, and perceived Whewell as putting religious concer ns before scientific rigor. Certainly Brewster in More Worlds than One his 1854 book supporting a plurality of worlds, viewed Whewells scientif ic approach as idiosyncratic, and wrote of Whewells antipluralist position that its direct tendency is to ridicule and bring into contempt the grand discoveries in sidereal as tronomy by which the last centu ry has been distinguished.41 Neither Brewster nor Somerville viewed their positions as emerging from overtly theological concerns, yet Somerville could privately attack Wh ewell for imposing theology on science. Whewell was viewed as undermining two assumptions, both commonly accepted as scientific in nature (1) the principle of plentitude and (2) a progressive view of the history of the world. Somerville wrote in Physical Geography that the surface of the globe may be viewed as one mass of animal lifeperpet ually dyingperpetually renewed. A drop of stagnant water is a world within itself, an epitome of the earth and its successive geological races.42 Yet, just as Whewells argument inevita bly had a theological component, so did Brewsters who wrote: If God took a million of years to prepare th e Earth for man, the probability is, that all the planets were similarly prepared for inhabitants, and that they are now occupied by rational beings. If one or more of them are only in the act of being (Chicago, 1998) Crosbie Smith discusses the culture of the North British physicists in developing the physics behind the conservation of energy in the nineteenth century. Ideas of minimizing waste played a role grounded in both practical concernsincreasing the effi ciency of steam enginesand Presby terian theological concernswasting Gods gifts of the natural world was a sin. See pages 21-22, 101, 110, 311. See also Brooke, Natural Theology and the Plurality of Worlds, 263. 40 Crowe points out that Darwin was not the first to view waste as a vital part of natural processes, Crow, The Extraterrestrial Life Debate 352-3. 41 David Brewster, More Worlds than One: The Creed of the Philosopher and the Hope of the Christian (New York, 1854), 12-3. 42 Somerville. Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1849), 2:348.

PAGE 290

290 prepared, and are not yet the seat of intelligence, analogy forces us to the conclusion, that they will be inhabited like the Earth.43 As such, Whewells use of the lifeless ages of the earth as an argument for lifeless worlds elsewhere proved only that as the earth was in preparation for in tellectual life, so were other planets. The stakes, scientific and theological, we re high in the argumen t, between Whewells barren, disordered universe and an ordered, life-f illed one of Brewster. Science showed progress in the universe and hence Somerville viewed Whewells position as a retrograde step. Somerville, though very different fr om Brewster in her religious assumptions, thus felt justified in criticizing Whewell for inappropriately mixing science and theology and even bringing the two into potential disagreement by excluding ideas of progress.44 Despite significant religious differences, Somerville would likely have agreed w ith the self-taught geologist and Scottish Free Church Presbyterian Hugh Miller on the impossibility of science and religion coming into true conflict. The Christian has nothing to fear, the infi del nothing to hope, from the great truths of geology. It is assuredly not through any enlargement of mans little apprehension of the Infinite and the Eternal that man s faith in the scheme of salvation by a Redeemer need be shaken. We are in calculably more in danger from one unsubdued passion of our lower nature, even, the weakest and the least, than from all that the astronomer has yet discovered in the depths of heav en, or the geologist in the bowels of the earth. If ones heart be right, it is surely a good, not an evil, that ones view should be expanded; and geol ogy is simply an expansion of view in the direction of the eternity that hath gone by.45 43 Brewster, More Worlds than One, 206. 44 An example of a difference between Brewster and Some rville is Brewsters rejection of the developmental approaches to the stars and planets found in Vestiges stating instead that, the worlds were not made by the operation of law, but by the immediate agency of the Almighty. In More Worlds than One 232. For Somerville, God operated through laws that created th e solar system and other stars and worlds. 45 Hugh Miller, First Impressions of England and Its People (New York, 363.

PAGE 291

291 Somerville required a comprehensible, progressive universe, only in such a universe could science and theology easily coexist. Progress wa s vital to Somervilles understanding of the world and underpinned some of her annoyance with Whewell, who with his acceptance of waste dismissed any universal progressivism in his Of the Plurality of Worlds .46 In addition, Whewells categoriz ation of inductive (t he collection of sufficient empirical facts to allow the creati on of general propositions) and deductiv e sciences (such as mathematics) and the greater creativity and religi ous sensibility allowed to practit ioners of the former irritated the mathematically inclined Somerville. As earl y as 1833, she had register ed her dissatisfaction with Whewell. I am rather angry at [Whewell] for joining in the hue and cry against mathematics for irreligion; a vulgar a nd mawkish prejudice. A ll the philosophers were unbelievers before, and during the french revolution, the time when mathematics were cultivated with the great est success; the fault is owin g to the period, and not to the pursuit.47 Focusing on when science was done rather than on who did the research allowed Somerville to maintain her belief in progress. Somerville never made science her faith, but rather understood the relationship as of reciprocal benefit. For Somerville, meaning played an important role in the universe as a way of linking private belief and science. Science illuminated certain asp ects of religious and moral life while God as lawgiver created a framework for science. On a private and public level religion thus supported science. Yet theologically relate d assumptions did seep into her scientific understanding of the world, made easier by her belie f that science and religion could never come 46 Brooke writes that Whewells ulterior motive was nothing less than to protect a Providentialist interpretation of the history of the universe. Brooke, N atural Theology and the Plurality of Worlds, 265. 47 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, Paris, June 14, 1833, c. 361, MSIF-1. Greig at the end of that statement wrote on his mothers letter: refuted in the most decisive manner by the conduct character & feeling of Sir John W. Herschell. Somerville was responding to Whewells view th at deductive mathematics (such as that of Herschels mathematical work) was more likely to lead to atheism than inductive science.

PAGE 292

292 into true conflict. Such a position underpinned he r response to Darwinian evolution, specifically the consequences for human moral evolution. Backwards, Forwards, and Not-Yet: The Problem with Evolution In the various editions of Physical Geography, Som erville often mentions Darwins name in the context of his various discoveries and re search, but never evolution. In public Somerville took no notice of evolution, Darwinian or otherw ise, though in private sheat the very least accepted the transmutation of species as a scientific possibility.48 As to human evolution, four years after the publication of Origin of Species (1859) she half jokingly wr ote to her son that for my part although it does not disgust me to have a microscopic monad for my first ancestor, I dont fancy a guerilla(sic) for my grand papa.49 Somerville placed opposition to progressive transmutation in the same category as opposition to a non-Mosaic chronology and the nebular hypothesis; in her view, proponents were backward thinkers. Though a free and open discu ssion did not mean discu ssion within the pages of Physical Geography In finalizing details of her autobiography with her publisher, Somerville added that she would make mention of Darwins evolutionary work as it was too important a subject to be passed over, but it is much better to leave it out in the Phys. Geog. which is intended for schools and children.50 Physical Geography was not initially intended as a schoolbook. Only in 1857 did Somerville learn that it was to be officially used as such, yet the broader implication remained it was a book aimed at non-experts as a way of e ducating them to the pl ace of science in the world. Scientific controversy did not belong in such a book, especially since a number of 48 See note 1 in this chapter. 49 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, Se ptember 25, 1863, c.361, MSIF-6. 50 Somerville to John Murray, January 1869, Acc.12604/Box 184

PAGE 293

293 influential scientific thinke rsincluding the anatomist Richard Owenopposed it. On the other hand, the geological controversy regarding the age of the earth rais es the question of Somervilles easy acceptance of long geological epochs in Physical Geography. Somervilles acceptance was based on its general scientific ac ceptance, and the purely religious opposition to it was irrelevant. I remember the out cry on the proofs being publis hed that the creation in seven days was untenable, she wrote to her son. Dr Bu ckland at first wrote agai nst it but he retracted at last .51 Geology was now solely a question of empirical facts, accepted by those who had a foot in the scientific and religious worlds, such as the Oxford University geologist and Dean of Westminster William Buckland. Somerville believed that even human evolution would become accepted as a scientific question with scientific answers. I have no doubt, she wrote after Lyell published Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man (1863 ) [that] there is a hue and cry after Lyell but facts are stubborn things .52 While evolution never made its way into Physical Geography, the links between and within species in different parts of the worl d did, and served to undermine a purely static conception of biological order. W. E. Marsden writ es of the nineteenth century that geographical accounts of regions often reinforced notions of order and classification.53 Yet, in Somervilles case, the ordering of biogeographies in Physical Geography occasionally appeared to have the opposite effect, with the separa tions and connections of speci es between biological regions introducing an element of puzzlement. 51 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, May 12, 1863, c.361, MSIF-6. 52 Ibid., In Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man Lyell discussed the antiquity of man and also evolution, though he was ambivalent about human evolution. 53 W. E. Marsden, Rooting racism into the educational experience of childhood and youth in the nineteenthand twentiethcenturies History of Education, 19, no 4. (1990): 333-53.

PAGE 294

294 Species geographical divisions, according to Somerville, were as old as geology. Of cretaceous species found, she wrote: An approximation to recent time s is to be observed also in the arrangement of organized natu re, since at this early period, and even in the Silurian and oolitic epochs, the marine fauna was divided, as now, into distinct geographical provinces.54 Furthermore, Among the myriads of beings th at inhabited the earth and the ocean during the secondary fossiliferous epoch scarcely one species is to be found in the tertiary. Two planets could hardly differ more in their natural productions. This break in the law of continuity is the more remarkable, as hitherto some of the newlycreated animals were always introduced before the older were extinguished. This gradual repl acement was given as a consequence of changing climate and circumstances which became progre ssively less hospitable to old-established species, rather than any sudden change. Somerville added that, as observations and discoveries increased, this hiatus may be filled up. 55 Somerville frequently puts before her r eaders species change and species geography. Again, of the connections between the ancien t and modern animals of South America and Australiagiant kangaroos and wo mbats replaced by smaller versi ons in Australia and giant sloths replaced in South Ameri caSomerville wrote, In fact, there were giants in the land in those days. Were change of species possible, on e might almost fancy that these countries had escaped the wreck of time, and that their inhabitants had pined and dwindled under the change of circumstances.56 Change of species was highlighted a nd puzzled over, but the mechanism of change remained outside the realm of science. But at the same time it was put back into the 54 Somerville, Physical Geography 2nd ed. (1849), 1:27. 55 Ibid., 1:28. 56 Ibid.,1:33.

PAGE 295

295 scientific realm by appearing in a book on science and placed w ith an historical context of change. For example: During the latter part of the Pleiocene peri od old forms of animal and vegetable life were destroyed by these alterations in the surface of the earth, and the consequent change of temp erature; and when, in the progress of the Pleiocene period, the mountain-tops appeared as isla nds above the water, they were clothed with the flora and peopled by the animals they still retain; and new forms were added as the land rose and became dry and fitted to receive and maintain the races of animals now alive .57 A little later Somerville genera lized as to change and the introduction of new species. Every great geological change in the natu re of the strata was accompanied by the introduction of a new race of beings, and the gradual extinction of those that had previously existed, their structure and habits being no longer fitted for the new circumstances in which these changes had placed them. The change, however, never was abrupt; and it may be observed that there is no proof of progressive development of species by generation fr om a low to a high organization .58 While discussing botanical districts, Somerv ille wrote that, no similarity of existing circumstances can account for whole families of pl ants being confined to one particular country, or even to a very limited district Latitude, elevation, soil, and climate are totally inadequate to explain why such botanical dist ricts exist. The answer to plant and animal distribution must be looked for in those early geological periods wh en the earth first began to be tenanted by the present race of be ings. Somerville further explained that as the land rose above the sea at different times it was clothed with vegetation and peopled by animals that suited the area at that time. Thus alpine flora must be older than sea-level flora and thus many centers of creation existed. Therefore similar climates at great dist ances contain species that are representatives of one another, rarely identical In the case of the Painted Lady Butterfly, a species common to the whole world, she stated that it was evident from such circumstances that 57 Ibid., 1:35. 58 Ibid., 1:40.

PAGE 296

296 not only each group, but also each particular specie s, must have been originally created in the places they now inhabit, implying multiple crea tions of a single species. Older species may have been modified to a certain extent by the changing conditions, but So merville insisted on the immutability of species [as] a primordial law of nature. Yet shortly after, Somerville added that the existence of identical species in area s far distant to each ot her had not yet been accounted for. Somerville added more peculiarit ies difficult to account for, such as the thirty-eight British lichens and twenty-eight British mosses that were al so found in Australia, yet in no two parts of the world is the vegetation more dissimilar. In addition, such cryptogamous plants were not susceptible of cultivation, of little use to man, and of all others the most difficult to transport. Somerville continued to highlight differences that could not be explained by climate, such as the tropical regions of Asia where the influence of latitude vanishes altogether, and the peculiarities of the vegetation in different l ongitudes become more evident.Whenever there were similarities, or differences, betw een different parts of the globe, she mentioned them. So, the sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands south of New Zealand share no species with the northern hemisphere, but do share a species with far away Tierra del Fuego and the closer New Zealand. Campbell Island, south of the Auckland Islands, shared many of the same species with the Aucklands, yet a great change had taken place; 34 species had disappeared and were replaced by 20 new, all peculiar to Campbells Island alone, and some were found that hitherto had been supposed to belong to Antarctic America only. Somerville finished the section on Antarctic flora by stating that: It is a very remarkable circ umstance in the distributi on of plants, that there 59 Ibid., 2:113-5, 217, 1 14-6, 118. Somerville accounted for identical species in the Chilean Andes and Tiera del Fuego (and Arctic and Antarctic regions) despite their height differences by both areas rising from the sea at the same time. While the immutability of species was removed from the 1870 edition, the text still referred to centers

PAGE 297

297 should be so much analogy between the floras of places so far apart as Kerguelen Islands, the groups south from New Zealand, the Falkland Is lands, South Georgia, and Tierra del Fuego. When it came to birds, Somerville highlighted the peculiarities of Da rwins discoveries on the Galapagos Islands. Almost all the species shot by Darwin were peculiar, though bearing a st rong resemblance to American types; some birds were even confined to particular islands; and the gulls, one of the most widely dispersed families, are peculiar. But on this co mparatively recent volcanic group, only 500 miles distant from the coast of America, everything is peculiar.61 Yet the newness of the islands would requi re a more recent creation of animals and therefore implied a lack of conn ection of species with the main land. Another peculiar instance of how species were distributed was found in th e Indian Archipelago, wh ere only two species of squirrel existed in Java, which is remarkable, as the Sunda Islands [next door to Java] are rich in them.62 Taken individually, these examples do not add up to much, but considering the amount of space given to and interest shown in biogeogra phy, they do collectively indicate a puzzlement, of questions not yet answered. Th is is not meant to imply any prefiguring of Darwins work, merely to argue that readers were exposed to a difficulty that was a theo logical-scientific hybrid, one that could not be satisfactor ily answered within a scientific framework when the origin of species was considered to belong to the theological sphere. In Physical Geography, Somervilles of creation as land emerged from the ocean (385). Evolution was removed from any discussion by avoiding objections to or support of the subject. 60 Ibid., 2:119, 140, 198, 199, 200. 61 Ibid., 2:298. 62 Ibid., 2:324.

PAGE 298

298 theology of nature in general fitted comfortably with science, but when Somerville detailed species distribution and placed it within a histor ical-geological framework a tension did appear.63 Publicly, then, evolution was ignored, and this ignoring in troduced a certain tension. Privately, Darwins particular kind of evolution via natural selection rema ined a thorny issue, and in Somervilles view, controversial. Progr ess, especially moral progress, had to be deterministic and not accidental. Somervilles close friend Frances Power Cobbe wrote to Somerville that she was so very glad that you do not agree with Mr Darwins theories which would make our moral sense (& doubtless our religious feelings also) merely the accidental development of the instincts Accepting as I suppose we may all do now the evolution of animal life from lower to higher forms, I think that all attempts to trace our spiritual nature to such sources prove futile.64 In her autobiography Somerville gently questio ned one particular aspect of Darwins evolutionary framework, that of the evolution of morality. After mentioning that Murray, her publisher, had sent her The Descent of Man Somerville praised Darwins great knowledge and his kindly feelings towards animals, gave a succinct summary of her views on aesthetics in nature, and then praised Cobbes essay Darwinism in Morals for its powerful argument against Darwins evolutionary perspective on moralit y. Somerville emphasized her point by writing in praise of Cobbe, that no one admires Frances C obbe more than I do, and then moved on to her impressions of a recently published book on the progress of civilization.65 63 Of course, as early as 1844 the British public was exposed to a purely naturalistic evolution in Robert Chambers influential Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. For an examination of the publication of the book and the response to it, see Secords Victorian Sensation. 64 Frances Power Cobbe to Somerville, May 7, no year, c.358, MSC-01. 65 Somerville, Personal Recollections 357-59. Cobbe sent Somerville a copy of her Darwinism in Morals, and Other Essays. For more on Darwins views on social instincts an d the evolution of morality, see Robert J. Richards Darwin on Mind, Morals and Emotions in Cambridge Companion to Darwin (Cambridge, 2003), 92-115. Cobbe played a major editorial role in Personal Recollections after Somervilles death, though it is unlikely Martha Somerville would have accepted amendments that she kne w her mother would oppose. As such, Somervilles opinions expressed in Personal Recollections on evolution can be considered broadly accurate.

PAGE 299

299 To pick apart the connections between evol ution, aesthetics, mo rality, civilization and views on animals it is worth examining Cobbes essay and her friendship with Somerville in greater detail.66 Somerville praised Cobbe not only for her vigorous intellect as a moral philosopher, but also as a b rilliant, charming companion, and a warm, affectionate friend.67 She described Cobbe to her publisher, John Mu rray, as my most dear friend and constant correspondent.68 The two women shared similar social backgroun ds, interests in education and science, and a fierce opposition to cruelty to animals and, es pecially, vivisection. Cobbe met Somerville in Florence in 1860, where the Somerville family was then living. The two found common ground in their broad scientific interests, education fo r women, and treatment of animals and maintained a brisk rate of correspondence until Somervilles death.69 66 Darwinism in Morals originally appeared in Theological Review April 1871. Quotations and references use Darwinism in Morals, and Other Essays (Boston, 1883) an anthology composed of a number of Cobbes published essays. 67 Somerville, Personal Recollections 357-59. 68 Somerville to John Murray, May 23, 1863, John Murray Archive: Acc.12604, NRR Tr ansit Folder, 120, National Library of Scotland. 69 Cobbe wrote of the eighty-year old Somerville that she drew everyone nearer to her; and to younger women, whom she treated with motherly kindness, it was often impossible to forbear from passing an arm of protecting tenderness round the form which seemed so fragile, or caressing the aged hand which lay so readily in their own. Review of Personal Recollections Academy 3 January 1874, 1-2. This review of Personal Recollections was originally published in the Academy an English periodical, and was reproduced in facsimile in volume 1 of Collected Works of Mary Somerville, from which this quotation is taken. Letters from Cobbe to Somerville are held at the New Bodleian Library; the whereabouts of letters from Somerville to Cobbe are currently unknown. James Turner, in Reckoning with the Beast: Animals, Pain, and Humanity in the Victorian Mind (Baltimore, 1980), his work on Victorians and their response to animals, including vivisection, takes as given that Darwins evolution produced a cruel, godless version of nature in the minds of Victorians, and that Cobbe, like many of her contemporaries, surmounted her [religious] crisis by gr inding down science (90). This ignores the variety of responses to Darwins idea and the ability of many, including scientists, to retain a teleological core to evolution. Cobbe, in Darwinism in Morals, and Other Essays points out Darwins own convictions as to the importance of natural election fluctuated. Few students, we think, w ill pass over without respectful pause the passage where Mr. Darwin with so much candour explains that he now admits that in the earlier editions of his Origin of Species he probably attributed too much to the action of natural selec tion (8). If Darwin remained less than steadfast at all times, it was hardly surprising that other scientists did not all support the role of natural selection in evolution.

PAGE 300

300 Darwinism in Morals did not attack Darw inian evolution in general. Originally appearing in Theological Review a progressive Unitarian magazine, the essay explicitly accepted descent by modification; Cobbe even argued th at modern science had the better claim to authority than traditional accounts of the Bible. When we compared it [biblical creation] with that of the slow evolution of order, beauty, life, joy, and intelligence, from the immeasurable past of the primal nebulas fiery cloud, we had no la nguage to express how infinitely more religious is the story of modern science than that of ancient tradition. 70 Religion, in the context of nineteenth-century understandings of nature and science, was also implicit for people such as Cobbe. It was not that Cobbe was trading religio n in for science, but rather her worldview, influenced by science and religion, viewed mode rn science as fully compatible with modern religion. Cobbe claimed her Darwinian mantle for phys ical evolution and found herself unalarmed by Darwins stepping beyond the realm of the physic al world into that of the mental and its sacred mysteries. Just as she welcomed Darwins discovery of the physical laws of evolution as a step towards a more just conception than we had hitherto possessed of the order of things, she welcomed the investigation of the moral unive rse. Should the resultin g explanations be as successful as Darwins prior work then we can but accept it.71 Cobbe then spent the rest of the essay building her case for what she perceived as Darwins lack of success in giving mora l judgment an evolutionary pedigree, based on her assumption that scientific and universally applicable were s ynonymous. Of particular concern was Darwins contention that human morality was, as Cobbe put it, merely tentative and provisional, the 70 Cobbe, Darwinism in Morals 6. 71 Ibid., 7.

PAGE 301

301 provincial prejudice, as we may de scribe it, of this little world and its temporary inhabitants .72 This abandonment of any claim to universalit y for a subject long considered part of the realm of philosophy would be especially troubli ng to a woman such as Somerville, who based her views of civilization and the British Empire on what she regarded as laws of progress, as universal as the laws of motion found in Somervill es translation of Lapl ace. Physical evolution might be acceptable if clad in the mantle of progress, but nothing could protect progress if Darwins moral evolution became part of the orde r of things. To be scientific, laws must be universal through time and place (with the possible exception of miracles courtesy of Babbages calculating machine). Evolution by law rather than Godly fiat wa s perfectly acceptable. Evolution of fleshy bodies might rest on solid ground with the goodwill of Cobbe and Somervi lle; however, treating evolution of the moral senses as akin to fashion was unacceptable. Science could not be ephemeral. In the same manner as various animal s have some sense of beauty, Darwin wrote, though they admire widely different objects, so they might have a sense of right and wrong, though led by it to follow widely different lines of conduct.73 Somerville, a landscape painter well aware of how nature was used to create the picturesque, slyly attacked Darwin on the subject of beauty. In Mr. Darwins book it is amusing to see how conscious the male bird s are of their beauty; they have reason to be so, but we scorn the vanity of the savage who decks himself in their spoils.74 Darwin had written As women everywhere deck themselves with these plum es, the beauty of such ornaments cannot be 72 Ibid., 15. 73 Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (London, 1871), 73. 74 Somerville, Personal Recollections 358.

PAGE 302

302 disputed.75 Somerville continued, Many women without remorse allow the life of a pretty bird to be extinguished in order that they may deck themselves with its corpse. In fact, humming birds and other foreign birds have become an articl e of commerce. Our kingfishers and many of our other birds are on the eve of extin ction on account of a cruel fashion.76 This kind of beauty was relegated to that of transient fashion, but So merville believed in an eternal God-given beauty of nature, completely, irrelative to mans admiration or appreciation, which was strikingly proved by the admirable sc ulpture on Diatoms and Foraminifera; beings whose very existence was unknown prior to the i nvention of the microscope. In her final scientific publication, On Molecular and Microscopic Science Somerville insisted that Murray, much to his puzzlement, include a number of expe nsive plates of these microscopic life forms, and included two as frontispieces, one to each volume.77 The dark blue background of the plates enhances the structural beauty of the im ages. At one point Somerville describes the Dictyopodium Trilobum as beautiful.78 At the very end of On Molecular and Microscopic Science in a page and a half section titled Recapitulation, Somerville linked the presen t to the far past via the Eozon, an animal which existed at a geological period whose remo teness in time carries us far back beyond the reach of imagination, [and which] only differs in size from a kind living in the present seas. She continued with a further linkage: at that mo st remote period of the earths existence, the 75 Darwin, Descent of Man 63. 76 Somerville, Personal Recollections 358. 77 Murray told Somerville that he was a good deal puzzled about the borrowing of so many illustrations. October 18, 1866. On May 28, 1867 he wrote Somerville: You are perhap s surprised not to have received proofs of your book ere thisbut the borrowing of the illustrations is so complicated an affair & the number so great . John Murray Archive:Acc.12604, NRR Transit Folder, 120, National Library of Scotland. 78 Somerville, Molecular and Microscopic Science 2:20. See end of chapter for imag es of plates, including that of Dictyopodium Trilobum. These ten plates were taken from Ernst Haeckel and Carl Voght.

PAGE 303

303 vivifying influence of the sun, the constitution an d motions of the atmosphere and ocean, and the vicissitudes of day and night, of life and death, were the sa me as at the present time.79 Somerville needed to ground her science in the et ernal, an approach that linked beauty and universal laws, both given by a Deity. Only a beau ty tied to eternal laws could transcend the temporary attractions of fashion. Both Darwin and Somerville gave power to nature; for Somerville it was a power moored in law, but for Darwin variation found in individuals in nature was far too important to ignore, and variation appeared to follow no law.80 Jonathan Smith, in Charles Darwin and Victorian Visual Culture argues that pro-and antiDarwinists were well aware of th e stakes in accepting or rejecti ng Darwins evolution: at stake was not just a particular unders tanding of science, but ways of understanding culture at the intersection of aesthetics, social relations, and beliefs. In the 1870s, John Ruskin, art and cultural critic, began opposing Darwinist und erstandings of beauty and aesth etic senses as not universal but contingent on evolution. 81 Somerville was an early, perceptive, yet quiet critic of the consequences of such an understanding. Evolutio n was all very well as a way of understanding development, but progress must drive the engine of evolution, and not be a contingent outcome of a world cobbled together out of changing bits and pieces. Despite such differences, Darwin shared with Somerville many assumptions about culture and civilization, especially the importance of domestication in the context of civilization and conduct. Of the descent of dogs from wolves a nd jackals he wrote: They may have lost in waryness [sic] and suspicion, yet they have progr essed in certain moral qualities, such as in 79 Ibid., 250. 80 Peter Bowler writes that Darwins focus on variation was unique at that time, What Darwin Disturbed: The Biology That Might Have Been, Isis, 2008, 99:562. 81 Jonathan Smith, Charles Darwin and Victorian Visual Culture (Cambridge, 2006).

PAGE 304

304 affection, trust-worthiness, temper, and probabl y in general intelligence. Not only animals improved with domestication, for humans who in many respects ma y be compared with those animals which have long been domesticated are most civilized when most highly domesticated.82 In the end, progress did play a role in The Descent of Man Out of habit, education, and experiences, mans sympathies b ecame more tender and widely diffused, so as to extend to the men of all races, to the imbecile, the maimed, an d other useless members of society, and finally to the lower animals,so would the standard of his morality rise higher and higher.83 Here progress is synonymous with civ ilization, both defined in moral te rms. The use of teleology was almost inevitable since nineteenth-century Britai n saw itself at the pinnacle of material and moral progress and defined progress in te rms of itself. Darwin could not easily place the evolutionary aspects of morality in biological evolutionary terms. In Darwins work a tension between morality and progress appeared that was absent in Somervilles work. At first, progress appears in evitable for Darwin. As tribes endowed with patriotism, courage, fidelity, and so on, defeat ot her tribes less moral, then the standard of morality and the number if well-endowed men will thus everywhere tend to rise and increase, and civilization would advance.84 Yet civilization also implie d a downside based on sympathy, for no civilized person would not take action to protect those weaker even to the detriment of the humanity itself. Using the example of small pox vaccination and those it saved, Darwin argued 82 Darwin, Descent of Man, 50, 222, 132. Bowler writes that Darwin, unlike many other naturalists went beyond ideals of domestication and progress to study animal domestication, What Darwin Disturbed, 562. 83 Darwin, Descent of Man, 104. Darwin did argue for a kind of use inheritance, characteristics acquired outside the framework of natural selection and able to be passed on to progeny. See Richards, Darwin on Mind, Morals and Emotions, 107. Darwin also relied on group fitness when it came to intellectual development, thus an individual who benefited the tribe through his actions improved the whole tribes fitness. Darwin developed this argument while working on social insects and then applied it to humans.

PAGE 305

305 that this tool of civilization a llowed the weaker members of civili zed societies to reproduce. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.85 Although Darwin treated civilized humans as analogous in some ways to domestic animals, he used the concept of sympathy and progr ess to take a step back from the implications. Sympathy, from Darwins perspectiv e, was an evolutionary product of social instincts that deepened and increased as a result of civilizati on, but it put civilization in danger. Despite the risk, urged by hard reason, sympathy could not be neglected without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. As a result we mu st bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind.86 Darwin then appears to backtrack, arguing that progress was not inevitable, that if the reckless, the vicious, and the otherwise infe rior members of society increased at a greater rate than the better class, then the nation will retrograde, as has oc curred too often in the history of the world. We must remember, he argue s, that progress is no invariable rule. It is most difficult to say why one civilised nation ri ses, becomes more powerful, and spreads more widely, than another; or why th e same nation progresses more at one time than at another. This approach was different from that of Somervill e, who did not base progress in any kind of biological law, but rather in unive rsal laws. However, she did fear a form of anti-progress, a fear 84 Darwin, Descent of Man, 166. 85 Ibid., 104, 168. 86 Ibid., 168-69.

PAGE 306

306 she couched in anti-Catholic sentiments as seen earlier in this chapter.87 Evolution, at least Darwins kind, proved both a scientific and theo logical problem because it had the potential to undermine progress and universal laws. Animals in Somervilles Life Ani mals did play a role in Somervilles th inking about progress a nd religion, one that evolved out of nineteenth century attitudes to pain and a disgus t at inflicting pain. Based on a sense of physical and emotional kinship among people and between humans and animals, it led to a widespread revulsion against cruelty to animals.88 As to Darwins understanding of sympathy: Sympathy beyond the conf ines of man, that is humanity to the lower animals, seems to be one of the latest moral acquisitions. It is apparently unfelt by savages, except towards their pets. .This virtue, one of the noblest with wh ich man is endowed, seems to arise incidentally from our sympathies becoming more tender and mo re widely diffused, until they are extended to all sentient beings.89 This revulsion at cruelty was shared by So merville, Cobbe, and Darwin, who wrote in Descent of Man every one has heard of the dog suffering under vivisection, who licked the hand of the operator; this man, unless he had a heart of stone, must have felt remorse to the last hour of his life. 90 Conduct remained important. 87 Ibid., 177. 88 Turner, Reckoning with the Beast 79. Nowhere did the Victorian revulsion from pain surface so openly as in the public outrage stirred up by scientific experiments on living animals . (83). 89 Darwin, Descent of Man 101. 90 Ibid., 40. At various points in The Descent of Man Darwin took a similar position to Somerville and Cobbe on animals. For example, Every one has seen how jealous a dog is of his master's affection, if lavished on any other creature; and I have observed the same fact with monkeys. This shows that animals not only love, but have the desire to be loved (41-2).

PAGE 307

307 Sixteen years after Somervilles death, Oscar Wilde could write, As a mathematician and a scientist, the translator and populariser of La Mecanique Celeste, and the author of an important book on physical geography, Mrs. Somerville is, of course, well known.91 Wilde, the new editor of Womans World wrote a review of Phyllis Brownes Mrs Somerville and Mary Carpenter (1887) for the fashion magazine, and much of his review focused on Somervilles attachment to animals.92 As the author of the pithy description of English fox hunting as the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable, Wilde fully approved of Somervilles views on protecting animals.93 By 1887, Wilde could comment that Somervilles scientific knowledge never warpe[ed] or dull[ed] the tenderness and humanity of her nature, acknowledging, perhaps, the impact of the rise of physiological research allied with vivise ction that was then taking place in Britain and influencing attitudes amongst scientists. Wilde went so far as to accept as possible, yet non-scientific, Somerv illes view of the status of animals. Indeed, she believed to some extent in the immortality of animals on the ground that, if animals have no future, it woul d seem as if some were created for uncompensated misery--an idea which does not seem to me to be either extravagant 91 Oscar Wilde, Literary and Other NotesII, 1 Woman's World (1888) from unabridged republication by Source Book Press (New York: Source Book Press, 1970), 82. 92 For more on Oscar Wilde and his editorship of Womans World see Stephanie Green, Oscar Wildes The Womans World, Victorian Periodicals Review 30, no. 2 (1997): 102-120. Green writes that under Wildes brief editorship the magazine took on a more serious cast, and included articles about women in education and politics and was proto-feminist in nature. Wildes review of Brownes book falls under this more serious category. Green briefly discusses Wildes review of Brown, focusing only on Wildes noting that the naming of an island after Somerville was a result of her marmalade making skills, not to her distinguished mathematical skills. See chapter three, Leading up to Physical Geography for the context of the marmalade making. With this approach, Green argues that Wilde both placed Somerville firmly within the domestic sphere and ironically inverts that relationship. Green writes, If Somerville is re-feminized by her marmalade, the marmalade is in turn problematized by her academic status, which creates her into 'other' than a woman (108). Of course, at the time of Somervilles marmalade making (during the 1820s), she did not have a public reputation as a mathematician, but by the 1880s such details were often forgotten. 93 Quotation is from Wildes play, A Woman of No Importance

PAGE 308

308 or fantastic, though it must be admitted that the optimism on which it is based receives absolutely no support from science.94 Of course, even human immortality could not receive support from a science grounded in materialism. And there were those who argued agai nst this aspect of science. J. G. Wood, the popular writer of natural history and opponent of biological material ism, argued for animal souls and therefore animal and human immortality in Man and Beast, Here and Hereafter (1875).95 Woods work is dense with anecdotes and he used Somervilles Personal Recollections and the support he found there for animal immortality to make a point about the compatibility of scientific reasoning and animal immortality. Wood made sure to give Somervilles scientific credentials, writing that Somerville had a mind trained to observation, to mathematical accuracy, to hard reasoning, and to that faculty which is so seldom seen in the female sex namely, the power of generalization. Having in effect given Somerville the voice of reason, Wood then compared the writings of the nineteen th-century French mystic Eugnie de Gurin with that of Somerville to argue that faith may lead one to belief in animal immortality while reason does not dissent.96 The one does not pretend to any pro cess of reason, but passes at once, per saltuni as it were, to the firm belief that the lower animals must have a future life. The other works her way to the same point through a consecutive train of reasoning, basing her arguments upon physical facts of which Madame de Gurin was entirely 94 Wilde, Literary and Other NotesII, 82. Somerville was not the only one to value animals. In the eighteenth century some did debate whether animals had an immortal soul. Bishop Joseph Butler (1692-1752) thought it possible that animals would partake of the afterlife. In 1736 he wrote in Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Matter of those opposed to the possibility of animal immortality who thought [it] an insuperable difficulty, that they should be immortal, and by consequence, capable of everlasting happiness. Now this manner of expression is both invidious and weak; but the th ing intended by it, is really no difficulty at all, either in the way of natural or moral consideration. Quotation taken from Analogy of Religion, Na tural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Matter ed. G. R. Crooks (New York, 1860), 100. 95 Lightman writes that J. G. Wood almost certainly intended to reject human evolution, at least in conjunction with materialism. Lightman, Victorian Popularizers of Science 186. Wood used Bishop Butlers work as a starting point for his own views. 96 J. G. Wood, Man and Beast, Here and Hereafter (New York, 1875), 138.

PAGE 309

309 ignorant. We instinctively agree with th e one, and we cannot disagree with the other.97 Despite the fact that Wood was a clergyman, sc ience appears to have the power of veto, an example of both the cultural power of science at this time and the expanding domain of science to an area previously cons idered part of religion. This immortality that Wilde in 1888 consider ed as unsupported by science, Somerville in the 1860s could still make a case for based on the indestructibility of ma tter in her autobiography and in Molecular and Microscopic Science Though Somerville would never publicly oppose current scientific approaches, specifically that of materialism, she did put forward her views as a scientific insider in her final scientific work. Molecular and Microscopic Science failed in the eyes of reviewers because it did not reflect th e science of the day as understood by scientists.98 As a scientific insider writing on science Somerville had failed in attempting to go beyond materialism, whereas Wood as an outsider could succeed. Wood could rely on Somervilles credibility in science to show that science was not opposed to immortality, while reviewers refused to accept Somerville s understanding of science. Somerville did not impose religion on science, rather her understanding of science and religion led her to a worldview in which univers al lawsin effect, scie ncewere guaranteed by God and in which nothing was truly destroyed. Fr om this perspective, a pure materialism was incoherent. Since domesticated animals were capab le of a kind of moral ascent Somerville could use them as a marker for human progress, one based in the laws of science. Since the atoms of matter are indestructible, as far as we know, it is difficult to believe that the spark which gives to their union life, memory, affection, intelligence, and fidelity, is evanescent. Ev ery atom in the human frame, as well as 97 Ibid., 138. 98 See Circulation and Specialization in On Molecular and Microscopic Science chapter four, for responses to the book.

PAGE 310

310 in that of animals, undergoes a peri odical change by continual waste and renovation; the abode is changed, not its in habitant. If animals have no future, the existence of many is most wretched; multitudes are starved, cruelly beaten, and loaded during life; many di e under a barbarous vivisec tion. I cannot believe that any creature was created for uncompensated misery; it would be contrary to the attributes of Gods mercy and justice.99 Somerville connected her death wi th the death and fate of anim als. She sorrowed at leaving the light of the stars the ai r the earth & sea, the beautiful cl othing of the earth, never to see a rose a lilly[sic] of the valley or a violet. Equa lly terrible was to leave animals who have been devoted to us without knowing their ultimate fate, though I firmly be lieve that the spark of life is never extinguished the particles of matter are indestructible. Rejecting a purely materialistic approach and combining that with the conserva tion of matter allowed her to create a space for animal immortality along with th e more orthodox human immortality.100 Animals were a useful marker for a number of reasons. By the 1860s it was unexceptionable to oppose cruelty to animals, and Somervilles love for her animals was not considered out of the ordinary. Yet it was only in the nineteenth century that domestic animals such as cats and dogs secured their position as beloved pets. Industrialization, the general acceptance of benevolence and sympathy as necessary qualities in polite society, pre-Darwinian evidence of similarities between man and beas t, and Benthamite utilitarianism focused on minimizing suffering all raised the status of anim als. Industrialization play ed a triple role: for employers of industrial labor, the clockwork rhythm s of city life clashed with traditional rural 99 Somerville, Personal Recollections 348-9. This statement is very similar to that found in On Molecular and Microscopic Science See chapter three footnote 109. The language here, however, is couched in a more emotional language. 100 Notebook, c. 356, MSAU-4. Some doubt remained. Is th e spark that gives them life evanescent? The fate of animals is a dark chapter, a stumbling block if they have no future, multitudes are miserably maltreated during their lives & die by vivisection or other torture surely God is just and merciful. Compare this to the published autobiography: I cannot believe that any creature was created for uncompensated misery; it would be contrary to the attributes of God's mercy and justice. Somerville, Personal Recollections 349. In the published version Somerville also noted happily that she was not the only believer in the immortality of the lower animals (349).

PAGE 311

311 entertainments such as bull baiting, and oppositio n to such blood sports first appeared in industrial areas rather than in rural heartlands. In addi tion, the rising urban landscape and the growing distance of many from th eir rural roots created a nostalgia for a rural way of life in which domestic animals played a central role. Fi nally, animal protection provided an outlet for those of the middle and upper classes disturbed by the cruelty the factory system inflicted on workers, especially women and children, but wh o remained unwilling to disturb the social and economic order. Animals provided a safe conduit for compassion.101 The rise of Romanticism and its allied con ceptions of nature as a space deliberately disconnected from industrializing society, where emotional and spir itual experiences were given equal if not greater weight than reason, provided room for the rec onceptualization of animals. No longer were animals simply animate machines or destined only for human us e; in the nineteenth century animals began to exist for their own sa ke. What began in the first few years of the nineteenth century as failed attempts to legally ban bullfighting turned into a minimal protection for domestic animals (excluding cats and dogs) in 1822 and the creation of the Society for the Protection of Animals in 1824. The increasing soci al prestige of the SPCA attracted middle class and upper class support and, in 1840, royal recognition; protecting animals became eminently respectable and even progressive.102 To a certain extent progress was predicated on the identification of the lower social orders with a certain animality. Before Darwin this identification was based on physiological 101 For geographical opposition to bull baiting see Commons Journals the official record of the House of Commons, May-June 1821. For general views on animals in British society at this time and on vivisection see Turner, Reckoning with the Beast and Harriet Ritvo, The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age (Cambridge, 1987). 102 Evangelical slavery opponent William Wilberforce helped lead the fight against bull baiting and was one of the founders of the Royal Society for the Protection of Anim als. In the United States, anti-slavery writers Harriet Beecher Stowe and Lydia Ma ria Child supported animal protection. See Turner, Reckoning with the Beast 35-6.

PAGE 312

312 similarities between animals and humans and the ri ghts of elites to govern the lower orders and an identification of domestic animals as servants.103 Turner writes that terms such as hardworking servants and t he labouring classes of dome sticated brutes were not uncommonly used to refer to domestic animals. More worryingly, from the perspective of the respectable classes, were the sava ge tendencies of a working class packed into industrial cities. Brutality to animals must inevitably extend to br utality to other humans and threaten the social order. Educating the lower classe s to behave better to animal s would lead to moral progress.104 Understandings of what was and was not cruel be havior to animals was to a certain extent grounded in the social order. Somerville might ra il against vivisection an d the extermination of birds by farmers, while at the same time encourag e her son to shoot grouse. As one example, in October 1861 Somerville wrote to her son that she hoped he was ridi ng his pony and shooting, adding that in Spezzia, Italy, where she was, the re is nothing to shoot but quail. Somerville complained that since everyone might shoot game it is destroyed on the main land. 105 Class mattered to Somerville when it came to conduct, fo r men such as her son did not kill for profit but as part of manly virtue. Cruelty was as much a function of who was doing what as what was being done; hunting by gentlemen instilled manly virtues, hunting a species to extinction for profit was both cruel and greedy. Conduct played a role herecruelty to animals was generally considered a lower-class vice that could be redu ced if not eliminated through education and a 103 The anatomically inclined painter George Stubbs went so far as to produce a book titled A Comparative Anatomical Exposition of the Human Body with that of a Tiger and a Common Fowl What was to be the first major illustrated comparative study was left unfinished on Stubbs death in 1806. For further information, see Terence Doherty, The Anatomical Works of George Stubbs (London, 1974). 104 Turner, Reckoning with the Beast 54. Turner relied heavily on the archives of the RSPCA and their reports which showed a belief in the connection between cruelty to animals and a subsequent cruelty to humans, for example, this statement from page 51 of the 1839 Annual Report that habitual cruelty to animals predisposes us to acts of cruelty towards our own species. Quotation from Turner, Reckoning with the Beast 55. 105 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, October 1861.

PAGE 313

313 moral march of progress. Almost by definition, the educated middle and upper classes did not practice cruelty to animals.106 Vivisection, practiced by scientific men, produced a terrible conflict. Turner argues that the particular horrors of vivisecti on in the nineteenth century were a consequence of who inflicted the pain. Not the thoug htlessness of an ignorant drover, but the deliberate calculation of a rational scientist in flicted this agony.107 Apart from the moral dimension of science, conduct was also important. Who got to define proper co nduct within science cha nged during the course of the nineteenth century. As science professionalized it deve loped its own code of ethics defended by professional men such as Huxley, w ho himself never practiced vivisection, rather than by a broader array of na tural philosophers who did not practice science for a living. Vivisections role in conduct moved John Murray, Somervilles publisher, to remove two sentences in Somervilles autobiography. In draft form, Somerville wrote of a day spent with the Cuviers during a visit to France in 1817, Georges Cuvier then be ing the foremost comparative anatomist in Europe. She took notice of two pr etty kittens that were playing with one another[,]when Mlle Cuvier said[,] I saved them from vivisection. I had never heard of vivisection before and no words can express my horror at the infe rnal barbarity. Accusations of vivisection in a book aimed at a general readership had to be treated with care. Murray responded to this with, This sentence conveys a serious imputation against Cuvier of vivisecting animals, and it was cut fr om the published version.108 Murray did keep Somervilles 106 Rob Boddice writes that, Men who pitted dogs against one another, for example, were thought by the agents of reform, a priori, as bad men: the actions of bad men were cruel. Men who chased the fox were, a priori, gentlemen: the actions of gentlemen could not be cr uel. In Manliness and the Morality Of Field Sports: E. A. Freeman And Anthony Trollope, 18691, The Historian 70, no. 1 (2008): 8. 107 Turner, Reckoning with the Beast 86. 108 Somerville, first draft of autobiography, 87. John Murray to Martha Somerville, c. 373, MSBUS-3. The letter is undated, but from context written in 1873,

PAGE 314

314 excoriations against French physiologist Franois Magendie, who was well known for vivisection and was absolutely abhorred for his cruel vivisecti ons. Yet even such a one as Magendie was not beyond reach of better behavior; Somerville added, more in the mode of wishful thinking, that they say he repented of them on his death bed.109 These references to vivisection refer to a time when it was uncommon. Vivisection was not widely practiced in Europe until after 1850 with the rise in prestige of physiology over that of comparative anatomy. In Britain and the United States, the new physiology was imported along with its practice of animal experimentation from after 1870.110 Yet the limited use of vivisection was irrelevant to Somerville, the fact that it existed was enough for someone for whom conduct was important and whose only personal relationship with God was through nature. For much of the nineteenth century Romanticism and its vi ew of nature allowed a productive intersection between science and religion for people like So merville. This approach became increasingly limited as materialism came to dominate later in the nineteenth century. Somervilles strong emotional response to nature began in childhood, and it included animals. In writing of a pet bird left to starve while she was away from home, Somerville added that my heart is deeply pained as I write this seventy years afterwards; my excessive love of the animal creation has been a source of unhappiness on various occasions.111 This aspect of nature never appeared in Somervilles scientific works, except in th e section on man in Physical Geography where she wrote of an hyena treated well by a friend that no animal forgets 109 Somerville, first draft of autobiography, 88-9. 110 Turner, Reckoning with the Beast 84, 89. 111 Somerville, First draft of autobiography, 48.

PAGE 315

315 kindness, and that there cannot be a greater mistake than the harsh and cruel means by which dogs and horses are too commonly trained .112 Humans owed nature a duty, one based in condu ct that avoided selfishness and cruelty. In addition, the connectivity within nature, whereb y human-introduced changes alter the relations between plants and animals, pres ented to the public a kind of pr oto-ecological view as early as 1849, with the second edition of Physical Geography. While Somervilles understanding of progress meant that man remained in power ove r nature, nature itself was not powerless and would always be capable of destroying humanitys work. The grub will take possession of the ground, and the locust will come from the desert a nd destroy the fairest prospects of the harvest. While described as Gods great army, this destruction was not presented as divine punishment but simply as part of created nature, to which humans were bound.113 Sir Henry Holland had compared Physical Geography to Humboldts Cosmos declaring it, though small in size, [it] is a true Kosmos in the nature of its design.114 Yet what the environmental historian Aaron Sachs describes as a connectiv e, Humboldtian ecology was different from Somervilles approach. Somerville also saw nature as connected but viewed it from a human, domesticating perspective, one wh ere conduct, and the social relations embodied in that conduct, guided behavior towards nature. While both dr ew spiritual sustenance from nature, Humboldt placed human society firmly in the natural world and recognized the autonomy of that natural world.115 112 Physical Geography (1849), 2: 379. 113 Physical Geography (1849), 2: 381. 114 Holland, Henry, Physical Geography, The Quarterly Review 83, no. 166 (1848): 307. 115 Aaron Sachs, The Humboldt Current: Nineteenth-Century Exploration and the Roots of American Environmentalism (New York, 2006), 30.

PAGE 316

316 Since science was a component of progress a nd conduct important in how one interacted with nature, a nature tortured fo r the sake of science was particul arly galling for Somerville. She wrote to the well-known British anatomist Richard Owen protesting the vivisection practiced in French veterinary schools and received a suppor tive response. While Owen did not regard all vivisection as outrageous, he followed in the footsteps of William Harvey and John Hunter and believed that once an experiment had been made with a clear and undoubt ed result, it was not right to repeat it. Yet he, too, regarded the vivisection practiced in France as putting Nature to the torture, and those who practi ce it resemble in mind the mediev al investigators of crime and heresy and obtain as small an amount of true testimony.116 Nature would never be completely domesticat ed and while civilized humans had the right to direct and control it, equa lly important was the obligation of good behavior, of protecting animals under human control and es pecially of preventing the extin ction of various species of birds. Somerville marveled at the number of singing birds in her youth for the farmers and gardeners were not cruel and avaric ious like those of the present day.117 Somervilles sensitivity to human behavior to wards nature made her an early supporter of protecting wild birds. In 1863 she wrote to her so n criticizing the behavi or of a country parson who had written to the Times saying that he liked to hear the birds sing but he liked his strawberries, that he liked the song of the black bird, but that he prefer red his cherries so we three wished he might be choked on a cherry st one for grudging the widows mite to the dear birds.118 In the 1858 edition of Physical Geography, Somerville explicitly set out the limits of 116 Richard Owen to Somerville, Octo ber 30, 1860, c.371, MSO-1. 117 Somerville, First draft autobiography, 12. 118 Somerville to Woronzow Greig, September 25, 1863. Turner writes that around midcentury, the treatment of birds began to be of interest, especially those birds that ate agricultural pests. In 1867, the first petition to protect wild birds reached the British parliament, Turner, Reckoning with the Beast 124. From about 1850 on in the United

PAGE 317

317 human control of nature, a limit based on the laws of nature. A farmer sees the rooks pecking a little of his grain, or digging at the roots of the springing corn, and poisons all in his neighbourhood. A few years after he is surprised to find his cr op destroyed by grubs. The works of the Creator are nicely ba lanced, and man cannot infri nge His laws with impunity.119 Human conduct to animals provided both a convenient marker of human progress and a way for Somerville to link to universal laws on a co smic scalevia conservationand personalvia immortality. Conclusion Som ervilles Romantic response to nature was incorporated as part of her belief system, which in turn was influenced by Unitarianism. Th e result was a worldview in which science and theology coexisted more or less harmoniousl y. This worldview required a comprehensible universe, where nature followed laws that were universal through time and space, and where the laws were understandable and predictable in their consequences Thus a progressive form of evolution was acceptable, but not Darwinia n evolution, and Somervilles opposition to Darwinian evolution was grounded in this unde rstanding of nature. Darwins evolution, particularly when it came to moral evolution, was perceived as lacking the required universality. Somervilles concern with self-presentation kept all discussion of evolution out of her published work; only in her autobiography did she ma ke elliptical mention of her beliefs, which States, articles began appearing in agricultural journals and horticultural reports on the role of birds in agriculture. Clarence Moores Weed and Ned Dearborn, Birds in Their Relations to Man: A Manual of Economic Ornithology for the United States and Canada (Philadelphia, 1903), 18. Their impact appears to have been minimal in changing behavior. Somerville received news of American science th rough such people as Benjam in Silliman, editor of the American Journal of Science By 1863 Somerville was well aware of the role birds played in agriculture. In the same letter to her son she wrote: The French in Normandy and elsewhere made the experiment [of killing birds] but the insects increased so much that government interfered and 200 pairs of sparrows were sent from England. Somerville to Woronzow Greig, September 25, 1863. 119 Somerville, Physical Geography 4th ed. (1858), 493. The 1870 edition changed the emphasis from the works of the Creator to the works of the Creation and His laws to the laws of equilibrium (528).

PAGE 318

318 were best expressed by her friend Frances Power Cobbe in her public response to Descent of Man This opposition was articulated through understa ndings of human progress and the role of conduct. The implications for progress or rather the non-existence of progress in Darwins work were addressed by categorizing it as non-scientific that is, lacking in universality. Somerville never thought biologically, rath er her view of nature was based in universal laws and understandings of conductthe relationships be tween humans and nature Progress was a vital part of that relationship and unde rpinned relationships between humans and animals, particularly domestic animals. Somervilles rejection of vivisection was based on her unde rstanding of progress and grounded in the conduct of humans to animals. Humans owed a duty to nature based in good behavior. Nature was viewed fr om a human perspectiv e of domestication. Whereas Darwin couched anxiety about progress in biological terms, Somervilles anxiety was expressed in terms of conduct. She regarded Protestantism as a guarantor of progress and opposed it to an anti-progressive Catholicism. Her anxiety about progress was located in the bodies and behavior of Irish Catholics. Human behavior towards nature mattered and humans could be judged on their behavior. Somervilles own conduct was important in the recep tion of her work and of herself. Later in life, various virtues were embodied in the figure of Somerville, especially that of domestic and scientific paragon. In death, one of the obituaries of Somerville merged scientific, religious, and personal virtues in the physical figure of Somerville. Her sharp mental facultiesmathematics in the morning and painting and reading in the afternoonwere combined with a woman who had never had a doubt of the immortal life and who believed death le d to the fairer garden-land concerning whose flowers and livi ng things and wonders of wis dom she was wont to speculate

PAGE 319

319 as of some orb hanging over her in the clear ev ening sky. The personal a nd the scientific were merged.120 120 Francis Power Cobbe, Echo Dec 3, 1872.

PAGE 320

320 Figure 6-1. Plate of Actinomma Dr ymodes, from Haeckel. (Source: Molecular and Microscopic Science (1869), 21.)

PAGE 321

321 Figure 6-2. Plate of Aulacantha Scolymantha, from Haeckel. (Source: Molecular and Microscopic Science (1869), 21.)

PAGE 322

322 Figure 6-3. Plate of Dictyopodium Trilobum, from Haeckel. (Source: Molecular and Microscopic Science (1869), 20.)

PAGE 323

323 Figure 6-4. Plate of Haliomma Echinaster, from Haeckel. (Source: Molecular and Micr oscopic Science (1869), 21.)

PAGE 324

324 Figure 6-5. Plate of Physophora Hydrostatica, from Voght. (Source: Molecular and Microscopic Science (1869), 109.)

PAGE 325

325 CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSION In her f inal years of life, Somerville still reta ined a zest for the romantic drama of science, as when describing the possibility of a navigabl e route through the north west passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific via the Arctic: It would be more than a dashing exploit to make a cruise on that unknown sea; it would be a discovery of va st scientific importance with regard to geography, magnetism, temperature, the general ci rculation of the atmosphere and oceans, as well as to natural history. I cannot but regret that I shall not live to hear the result of these voyages.1 In the interconnected British world of the ni neteenth century, knowledge of science was never simply about the knowledge itself. Often it was about locating oneself in the world, both the physical world and the social world. Somerv illes books communicated more than the latest scientific findings; rather they provided a framework in which certain things could exist in particular ways and be connected through science. Science could reflect meaning and particular ways of looking at the world. The mathematics of the heavens could re flect a God-guaranteed stability in a Britain worried about the politic al uses of knowledgecourtesy of Somervilles Mechanism of the Heavens that it lacked in France. While differences existed between Somervilles elite expectations of her reader swho tended to be already knowledgeable about and interested in scienceand John Pringle Nich ols less mathematical approach to astronomy, their audiences both received the same message: the world was governed by laws and to better understand their place in the world people must understand these laws. These laws could range from the explicitly social to the physical, with political economy, progress, empire, and the natural world included in this perspective. 1 Somerville, Personal Recollections 344.

PAGE 326

326 Somervilles work easily fit into Scottish Enlightenment traditions of civilizational development and political economy, which were in turn used by reformers to respond to fears surrounding knowledgepolitical and sc ientificthat might lead the lower orders astray. With a few exceptionssuch as the condemnation from Yo rk Cathedral of Somervilles long geological ages in Physical GeographySomervilles work proved relig iously uncontroversial to an audience trained to receive science in a light ga rb of natural theology. This approach allowed readers to safely acquaint themselves with ra pidly changing views of the worldfrom geological ages to new connections between seemingly dispar ate parts of nature, from a newly encountered microscopic world to an expanding empire th at embraced the circulation of knowledge and goods understood in terms of political economy. In f act, the strangeness of some new scientific discoveries combined with their easy acceptance could be equated by some with the strangeness of some commonly accepted religious practices, such as miracles. As late as 1872, the Reverend W. Greslet, in writing a section titled Things Incomprehensible, in a book written for The So ciety for Promoting Christian Knowledge, could use Somervilles scientific authorit y as parallel to that of an au thority in religion. Somervilles writing in On Molecular and Microscopic Science on the microscopic infusoria and their profligate habits (hundreds of millions in a single drop of water) and strange reproductive practices (splitting by continuous bisection) led Gr eslet to state that he accepted such strange occurrences on the authority of such persons as Professor Eh renberg, Professor Owen (whom Mrs. Somerville quotes) and Mrs. Somerville herself. There existed, Greslet argued, an analogy between our ignorance of the Natural world and our ignor ance of the Spiritual world.2 Both science and religion require d trusted authorities in order for strange occurrences to be 2 W. Greslet, Thoughts of the Bible (London, 1872), 98.

PAGE 327

327 accepted as a natural part of the world. Despite, at best, lukewarm reviews of On Molecular and Microscopic Science, Somerville could still act as a trusted scientific authority in a world in which neither science nor religion had erected mutually exclusive boundaries and both could be used to understand the universe. Somervilles understanding of the world began forming in a backwater where the natural landscape, from Burntisland to the Highla nds, had long been under human control and domestication. The political and aest hetic ideals that carried her th rough life formed here as well, from her strong liberal feelings to the emotional and moral uses of landscapes, whether visual or written. She was born into a family in which the empire was central and it remained a focus for Somerville, for whom its military, moral, and material power undergirded an empire of knowledge. In her eighties Somerville got great pleasure in climbing ove r and through a visiting Royal Navy ironclad, HMS Resistance, then captained by her nephew.3 The empirethrough its commercial and physical influence and control over ever-increasing landscapesin effect guaranteed understandings of pr ogress. Progress in turn was guaranteed by physical laws of astronomy transposed onto society via the developing science of sta tistics. Statistics allowed the mapping of physical certainties to social certainties, a task made easier by the ease with which astronomy and, especially, its fabled stability co uld be put to social work. Science acted to increase the power of stability and progress, for statisticsi n the motions of planets and peoplelaid down limits. Just as planets follo wed bounded paths, limits on free will provided boundaries on human actions, en masse. Progress was the consequence of these limits. Empire was felt as a strong, though often unseen, presence in Physical Geography, which brought Somervilles work down to earth. By eliding artificial boundaries, Somerville could 3 Somerville, Personal Recollections 332.

PAGE 328

328 impose the boundaries of science and of empire, that is, of knowledge produced by science, often in the service of empire. A reviewer in Blackwoods could make the case that Somervilles Physical Geography was more successful that Humboldts work in what it set out to do. Somervilles book does not assume so profound an aspect, nor has it so lofty an aim as Humboldts, but it excelled as a useful compendi um of the latest discoveries, and the soundest knowledge we possess, in the va rious subjects it embraces.4 Somerville was an authority, a woman who could clearly decide what was worthy of inclusion for her readers. Originality was not the point, but rather placing what was sound and of value in science before the public. Somerville acted as a gatekeeper for the rapidl y increasing knowledge and its circulation though the empire. Understandings of Somervilles position did change over timethe woman whose Mechanism of the Heavens could be used in arguments over the state of science in the early 1830s became a figure of scientif ic authority in her own right, and by the 1870s a trusted figure who could be appealed to for support, as in that of animal immortality by J. G. Wood. Socially, Somerville also retained her appeal. A magnet fo r visitors in London (American Charles Wilkes, who later headed the Wilkes expedition and wrot e to Somerville about it, was one of those who came to visit), she continued as such in Ital yas late as 1868 she met John Lubbock, son of her friend J. W. Lubbock, and John Tyndall, who spent an evening with he r while visiting an erupting Vesuvius.5 Somerville in her approach to science re mained consistent throughout her life. Her emotional and aesthetic delight in the vivid forces of nature also remained with her till the end of 4 Physical Geography, Blackwoods Magazine 66, no. 408 (1849): 456, 457. 5 Somerville, Personal Recollections 224; 343.

PAGE 329

329 her life. At 92, she avidly watched the eruption of Vesuvius from her Santa Lucia window and described it thus: The mountain was quite veiled for some days by vapour and ashes, but I could see the black smoke and silvery mass above it While looking at this, a magnificent column, black as jet, darted with inconceivable violence and velocity to an immense height; it gave a grand idea of the power that was still in action in the fiery caverns below.6 A science stripped down to materialism could not truly reflect Somervilles science, a complaint of hers in both On Molecular and Microscopic Science and in her autobiography. Darwinian evolution provided another concern, turning what Somerville considered universal aspects of nature into temporar y, contingent forces. Such concerns were influenced by broader cultural concerns and refracted back into the culture via science. Somerville linked the imperishability of the building bl ocks of matter to her insistence on an imperishable spark of life, and connected the latter to a nother scientific work, Lyells The Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man Somerville quoted Lyells own words in her own book: Lyell wrote that the geological sequences showed a picture of th e ever-increasing dominion of mind over matter.7 This mind over matter in turn was reflected in concerns over the tr eatment of animals and whether or not they had a soul. In this sense, animals acted as a safe channel for concerns over human existence. Concerns could ricochet th rough the broader cultural sphere (including science) and appear in different guises. Cultural concerns did make their way into wo rks on science and reflect ed cultural anxieties of a period, stability in the 1830s and the possi ble status of the soul in the 1860s and 1870s. While in many ways Somerville carried her late eighteenth-century origins and assumptions with 6 Ibid., 370-1. 7 The quotation from Lyell is found in The Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man ), 506. See note 110, chapter three for a fuller ve rsion of the quotation.

PAGE 330

330 her until the end of her life, her deep connections, via people and via her own personal interests, made her works foils for the scientific, political, a nd cultural issues of the day. For the nineteenth century, science, despite its growing status, was not seen to stand apart from the rest of the cultural fabric of society. Even in the 1880s, when science became a part of the public education system, there were those who fought to retain its association with the broader culture rather than reduce it to a purely utilitarian tec hnical and vocational approach. Cultural leaders in the 1880s such as T. H. Huxley and Matthew Arnold championed science and literature as part of the necessary cultural resources of society and worked for their inclusion in the growing public ed ucation system. Huxley consiste ntly supported the primacy of knowledge of scientific principl es and endorsed the moral benef its of science. These moral benefits, however, were now to th e practitioner of science, rather than to society-at-large. From this perspective, science was not seen as merely useful or technical knowledge but as a fundamental part of culture and in th is sense complementary to literature.8 Benjamin Jowett, the Oxford theologian and an author in Essays and Reviews, was one of those who asked for Huxleys advice on promoting natural sciences at Oxford.9 And as a member of the London School Board in 1870-1871, Huxley argued for scienc es role as that of demonstrating that nature was a place of order and hierarchy.10 8 While historically seen as opponents, Paul White argues that Huxley and Arnold were allies in their approach to a liberal education that focused on literature and principles of science rather than a focus on rote learning and practical applications. Whereas Ruth Barton viewed the two groups of liberal Anglicans and scientists as uneasy allies, White argues the friendships developed showed a shared focus on reforming education. See Paul White, Ministers of Culture: Arnold, Huxley, and Liberal Anglican Reform of Learning, History of Science 43 (2005): 115-138. See Ruth Barton, Huxley, Lubbock, and Half-a-Dozen Others: Professionals and Gentlemen in the Formation of the X-Club, 1851-1864, Isis 89, no. 3 (1998): 410-444. 9 Ibid., 124. 10 Ibid., 129. In terms of future research, a compar ative approach for North American and British science popularizers in the nineteenth and into the early twen tieth century might discover differing cultural concerns articulated both in their writings and via the contexts in which these writings were used. Another area might be the connections between science and the broader culture, specifically in regards to understandings of animal

PAGE 331

331 Somervilles views of science were broader. To her, the processes of nature belonged to science, aesthetics, and religi on. The woman who loved lightning over the lake and the volcanos fire, who once tried to paint li ght, and who followed the adventures of explorers on land and sea was the same woman who into her nineties kept up to date on the latest science, swam in the rarefied waters of higher mathematics, and assimilated and organized massive amounts of research and information for her books.11 Not only did these books incl ude the latest scientific knowledge, they also carried assumptions about the human-created world and its relations to nature. In her work, Somerville spoke for other practitioners of science. Somerville also spoke for nature, and, often, people listened. immortality. While scholarly work on the history of the s ouls of animals and animal immortality exists, it seems to be limited to the field of ethics and presented via scientific conceptions or cultural conceptions, rather than their interaction. See, for exam ple, Rod Preece, Thoughts out of Season on the History of Animal Ethics, Society & Animals, 15, no. 4 (2007): 365-378. 11 In Personal Recollections Somerville describes trying to paint sunsets after J. M. W Turner. Somerville also briefly mentions visiting Turners studio (244, 269).

PAGE 332

332 LIST OF REFERENCES Primary Sources Abbot, Lord Colchester, Charles. A ddress at the Anniversary Meeting, May 25, 1846, by the Right Hon. The Lord Colchester, Capt. R.N., &c. &c., President. The Journal of the Royal Geographic Society of London 16 (1846): xxxix lxxxv. Alison, Archibald. Essays on the Nature and Principles of Taste New York: Harper & Brothers, 1853. Austen, Jane. Northanger Abbey London: R. Bentley, 1870. Babbage on Machinery and Manufactures. Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country 8, no. 44 (1833): 167 175. Babbage, Charles. Reflections on the Decline of Scien ce in England, and on Some of Its Causes London, 1830. The Ninth Bridgewater Treatise, A Fragment London: John Murray, 1838. The Works of Charles Babbage. Vol. 8. 11 vols. New York: New York University Press, 1989. Blair, Hugh. The Poems of Ossian Boston: Crosby and Nichols, 1861. Bowditch, Nathaniel. Mcanique Cleste by the Marquis de la Place, Translated, with a Commentary, by Nathaniel Bowditch LL.D., Volu me IV, with a Memoir of the Translator, by his Son, Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch. Vol. 4. 4 vols. Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1839. Brewster, David. Address Delivered to the Memb ers of the Edinburgh Philosophical Institution, 1851. In The Importance of Literature to Men of Business 280 325. London: J.J. Griffin and Company, 1852. More Worlds than One: The Creed of the Philosopher and the Hope of the Christian New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1854. On the Connexion of th e Physical Sciences. The Edinburgh Review 59, no. 119 (1834): 154 71. The Plurality of Worlds. The Edinburgh Review 102, no. 208 (1855): 435 470. Brougham, Henry. Balance of Power. In Works of Henry Lord Brougham 8:1 50. Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black, 1872. Lord Broughams Speech, on Presenting th e London Petition Against the Taxes on Knowledge. The British and Foreign Review: or, European Quarterly Journal 1, no. 1 (1835): 157 172.

PAGE 333

333 Practical Observations Upon th e Education of the People. In Works of Henry Lord Brougham 8:418 64. Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black, 1872. Brougham, Henry, and Edward John Routh. Analytical View of Sir Isaac Newton's Principia London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1855. Bruckner, John. A Philosophical Survey of th e Animal Creation, an Essay London, 1768. Butler, Joseph. Analogy of Religion, Natural and Reveale d, to the Constitution and Course of Matter Edited by G. R. Crooks. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1860. Carpenter, Benjamin. On the Correlation of the Physical and Vital Forces. In The Correlation and Conservation of Forces, A Series of Exposi tions by Prof. Grove, Prof. Helmholtz, Dr. Mayer, Dr. Faraday, Prof. Liebig, and Dr. Carpenter, 401 433. New York: D. Appleton and company, 1865. Carte, Cornelius Soule. Elements of Physical and Political Geography Boston: Swan, Brewer & Tileston, 1861. Chalmers, Thomas. On the Power, Wisdom and Goodness of God as Manifested in the Adaptation of External Nature to the Moral and Intellectual Constitution of Man 3rd ed. London: William Pickering, 1834. Cobbe, Frances Power. Blessed Old Age. Echo, December 3, 1872. Darwinism in Morals, and Other Essays Boston: George H. Ellis, 1883. Review of Personal Recollections. Academy (January 3, 1874): 1 2. Cockburn, Henry. Memorials of His Time Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black, 1856. Croker, John Wilson The Croker Papers: The Corresponde nce and Diaries of the Late Right Honorable John Wilson Croker Edited by Louis J. Jennings. 2 vols. New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1884. Curwen, Henry. A History of Booksellers, the Old and the New London: Chatto and Windus, 1873. DOyley, George. An Enquiry into the Probability and Rationality of Mr. Hunter's Theory of Life. The Quarterly Review 22, no. 43 (1819): 1 34. Darwin, Charles. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex 2 vols. London: John Murray, 1871. Dick, Thomas. On the Improvement of Society by the Diffusion of Knowledge New York: Harper & Brothers, 1833. Galloway, Thomas. Review of Mechanism of the Heavens. The Edinburgh Review 55, no. 109 (1832): 1 25.

PAGE 334

334 Geikie, Sir Archibald. The Teaching of Geography. 2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1898. Gordon, Margaret Maria. The Home Life of Sir David Brewster Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1881. Greg, W. R. On the Failure of Natural Selection in the Case of Man. Frasers Magazine for Town and Country 78, no. 465 (1868): 353 362. Gresley, William. Thoughts on the Bible. London: J. Masters, 1872. Greville, Charles. The Greville Memoirs 2 vols. New York: D. Appleton, 1875. Hall, Robert H. Catalogue of the Library, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. 1873 Newburgh; N.Y.: C. Jannicky, 1876. Hamilton, W. J. Address at the Anniversar y Meeting, May 22, 1848, by W. J. Hamilton, Esq. President. The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 18 (1848): xxxi lxxii. Herschel, John. A Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy London: Longman, 1830. Herschel, John F. W. Review of Mechanism of the Heavens. The Quarterly Review 47, no. 94 (1832): 537 59. Holland, Henry. Review of Physical Geography. The Quarterly Review 83, no. 166 (1848): 305 40. John, Horace Stebbing Roscoe St. The Indian Archipelago: Its History and Present State 2 vols. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1853. Johnson, Samuel. A Dictionary of the English Language Edited by Henry John Todd and Alexander Chalmers. London, 1824. Kombst, Gustav. English Extracts. New Zealand Spectator and Cooks Strait Guardian 5, no. 403 (1849): 3. Letters. The Atlantic Monthly 73 (1894): 281. Literary Notices. Macphails Edinburgh Ecclesiastic al Journal and Li terary Review 15, no. 89 (1853): 318 19. Lyell, Charles. Life, Letters, and Journals of Sir Charles Lyell, Bart 2 vols. London: John Murray, 1881. The Geological Evidence of the Antiquity of Man Philadelphia: G.W. Childs, 1863.

PAGE 335

335 Mallet, Paul Henri. Northern Antiquities: Or, an Historical Account of the Manners, Customs, Religion and Laws, Maritime Expeditions and Discoveries, Language and Literature of the Ancient Scandinavians Translated by Thomas Percy a nd I. A. Blackwell. London: H. G. Bohn, 1847. Map-Illustrations of Physical Geography. The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society 13, no. 1 (1843): 156 160. Marsh, George Perkins. Man and Nature; or, Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action New York: Charles Scribner, 1864. Martineau, Harriet. Harriet Martineaus Writing on the British Empire Edited by Deborah Logan. 5 vols. London; Brookfield Vt .: Pickering & Chatto, 2004. Mill, Hugh Robert. Catalogue of the Library of the Royal Geographical Society London: John Murray, 1895. Millar, John. The Origin of the Distinction of Ranks Edinburgh: W. Blackwood, 1806. Miller, Hugh. First Impressions of England and its People New York: Gould and Lincoln, 1865. Nichol, John P. Address Delivered at the Soir ee of the Stirling School of Arts, on the 10th of January 1849. In The Importance of Literature to Men of Business 212 252. London: J.J. Griffin and Company, 1852. Nichol, John Pringle. Sta te of Discovery and Specula tion Concerning the Nebulae. The London and Westminster review 3 and 25, no. 2 (1836): 390 409. Views of the Architecture of the Heavens Edinburgh: William Tait, 1837. On the March of the Intellect and Universal Education. Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country 2, no. 8 (1830): 161 70. Peacock, Thomas Love. Crotchet Castle. London: T. Hookham, 1831. Physical Geography. Blackwood's Magazine 66, no. 408 (1849): 456 470. Playfair, John. Review of Laplace, Mecanique Celeste In The Works of John Playfair 4:262 330. Edinburgh: A. Constable & Co., 1822. Review of Mechanism of the Heavens The London Literary Gazette and Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences December 17, 1831. Review of Mechanism of the Heavens Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 2, no. 1 (1832): 71 2. Review of Mechanism of the Heavens The Athenaeum no. 221 (1832): 43 44.

PAGE 336

336 Review of Mechanism of the Heavens The Monthly Review 1, no.1 (1832): 133 141. Review of Molecular and Microscopic Science The Popular Science Review, A Quarterly Miscellany of Entertaining and Instruc tive Articles on Sc ientific Subjects 8 (1869): 168 70. Review of On Molecular and Microscopic Science The Monthly Microscopic Journal 1 (1869): 120 121. Review on The Connexion of the Physical Sciences Mechanic Magazine 20, no. 530 (1834): 442 7. Richardson, Charles. A New Dictionary of the English Language London: William Pickering, 1839. Roscoe, Henry E. Somerville on Molecular Science Edinburgh Review 130, no. 265 (1869): 137 63. Sanitary Consolidation. The Quarterly Review 88, no. 176 (1851): 227 257. S. C. An Apology for Physical Science. The New Englander 4, no. 16 (1846): 542 563. Scott, Walter. Waverley Novels: Waverley 2 vols. London: A. Constable & Co., 1895. Scottish Universities. Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country 14, no. 3 (1836): 315 32. Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus: The 1818 Text Edited by Marilyn Butler. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Shewing how the Tories and the Whigs Extend th eir Patronage to Science and Literature. Frasers Magazine for Town and Country 12, no. 72 (1835): 703 9. Smiles, Samuel. A Publisher and His Friends Memoir and Correspondence of John Murray; with an Account of the Origin and Progress of the House, 1768 1843 2 vols. London: John Murray, 1891. Somervilles Physical Geography. The Christian Examiner and Religious Miscellany 46 (1849): 58 75. Mechanism of the Heavens. London: John Murray, 1831. A facsimile edited and with an introduction by James A. Secord in Collected Works of Mary Somerville 9 vols. Bristol: Thoemmes, 2004. On Molecular and Microscopic Science 2 vols. London: John Murray, 1869. Personal Recollections, from Early Life to Old Age, of Mary Somerville Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1874. Physical Geography. 1st ed. London: John Murray, 1848.

PAGE 337

337 Physical Geography. 2 vols. 2nd ed. London: John Murray, 1849. Physical Geography. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: Blanchard and Lea, 1853. Physical Geography. 4th ed. London: John Murray, 1858. Physical Geography. Edited by Henry Walter Bates. 6th ed. London: John Murray, 1870. Spencer, Herbert. Social Statics on the Conditions Essential to Human Happiness New York: D. Appleton, 1865. Stanhope, Lord Viscount Mahon, Philip Henry. A ddress Delivered to the Members of the Manchester Athenaeum on th e 11th November 1848. In The Importance of Literature to Men of Business, 195 211. London: J.J. Griffin and Company, 1852. Stewart, Dugald. Philosophical Essays 2nd ed. Edinburgh: A. Constable & Co., 1816. Stubbs, George. The Anatomical Works of George Stubbs London: Secker and Warburg, 1974. Thackeray, William Makepeace. Vanity Fair London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1906. The Bridgewater Treatises. Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country 8, no. 2 (1833): 65 80. The Presidents Address. The Monthly Microscopic Journal 3 (1870): 113 133. Thoughts on Popular Education. The Edinburgh Review 43 (1825): 242 8. Whewell, William. Astronomy and General Physics Considered with Reference to Natural Theology 5th ed. London: William Pickering, 1836. On the Connexion of th e Physical Sciences. The Quarterly Review 51, no. 101 (1834): 54 68. The General Bearing of the Great Exhib ition on the Progress of Art and Science. In Lectures on the Results of the Great Exhibition of 1851 3 25. London: D. Bogue, 1852. White, Andrew Dickson. A History of the Warfare of Scie nce with Theology in Christendom 2 vols. D. Appleton and company, 1922. Wilde, Oscar. Literary and Other Notes. The Womans World (1888). Unabridged republication of The Womans World 82 83. New York: Source Book Press, 1970. Wood, John George. Man and Beast, Here and Hereafter New York: Harper and Brothers, 1875.

PAGE 338

338 Young, Alexander. The Varieties of Human Greatness. Disc ourse On The Life And Character of the Hon. Nathaniel Bowditch, Ll.D., F.R.S., Deli vered In The Church On Church Green, March 25, 1838. Boston: Charles C. Litt le and James Brown, 1838. Zornlin, Rosina M. Recreations in Geology London: John W. Parker, 1839. Recreations in Physical Ge ography, or the Earth as it is 2nd ed. London: John W. Parker, 1842. Recreations in Physical Ge ography, or the Earth as it is 4th ed. London: John W. Parker, 1851. Secondary Sources Anderson, Robert David. Education and the Scottish people, 1750-1918 Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995. Baker, J. N. L. Mary So merville and Geography in England. The Geographical Journal 111, no. 4/6 (1948): 207 222. Ballantyne, Tony. Science, Empire and the Europe an Exploration of the Pacific Aldershot Hants. England; Burlingt on Vt.: Ashgate, 2004. Barton, Ruth. John Tyndall, Pantheist: A Rereading of the Belfast Address. Osiris 3. 2nd Series (1987): 111 134. Huxley, Lubbock, and Half-a-Dozen Othe rs: Professionals and Gentlemen in the Formation of the X-Club, 1851-1864. Isis 89, no. 3 (1998): 410 444. Batey, Mavis. The High Phase of English Landscape Gardening. In British and American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century edited by Robert P. Maccubbin and Peter Martin, 44 50. Williamsburg Va.: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1984. Bell, Morag, Robin A. Butlin, and Michael J. Heffernan, eds. Geography and Imperialism, 18201940. Studies in Imperialism. Manchester; Ne w York: Manchester University Press, 1995. Bellon, Richard. Science at the Cr ystal Focus of the World. In Science in the Marketplace: Nineteenth-century Sites and Experiences edited by Aileen Fyfe and Bernard Lightman, 301 335. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. Berg, Maxine. The Machinery Question and the Maki ng of Political Economy: 1815-1848 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980. Boddice, Rob. Manliness and the Morality of Field Sports: E. A. Freeman and Anthony Trollope, 1869-1871. Historian 70, no. 1 (2008): 1 29.

PAGE 339

339 Boime, Albert. Art in an Age of Civil Struggle, 1848-1871 Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. Bowler, Peter. Science for All: The Popularization of Sc ience in Early Twentieth-century Britain Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009. Bowler, Peter J. What Darwin Disturbe d: The Biology That Might Have Been. Isis 99, no. 3 (2008): 560 567. Boyce, George, James Curran, and Pauline Wingate, eds. Newspaper History from the Seventeenth Century to the Present Day London: Constable, 1978. Bker, Uwe. The Marketing of Macpherson: Th e International Book Trade and the First Phase of German Ossian Reception. In Ossian Revisited edited by Howard Gaskill, 73 93. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ ersity Press, 1991. Broadie, Alexander. The Scottish Enlightenment: The Histor ical Age of the Historical Nation Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2001. Brock, Claire. The Public Worth of Mary Somerville. The British Journal for the History of Science 39, no. 2 (2006): 255 272. Brooke, John, and Geoffrey Cantor. Reconstructing Nature: The Engagement of Science and Religion New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Brooke, John Hedley. Natural Theology and the Plurality of Worlds: Observations on the Brewster-Whewell Debate. Annals of Science 34, no. 3 (1977): 221 286. Camerini, Jane. Remains of the Day: Early Victorians in the Field. In Victorian Science in Context, edited by Bernard Lightman, 354 377. Chi cago: University of Chicago Press, 1997. Cannadine, David. Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire Oxford: New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. Cannon, Susan Faye. Science in Culture: The Early Victorian Period New York: History of Science Publications, 1978. Cannon, Walter. The Problem of Miracles in the 1830's. Victorian Studies 4, no. 1 (1960): 5 32. Chitnis, Anand. The Scottish Enlightenment and Early Victorian English Society London: Dover N.H.: Croom Helm, 1986. Coffin, David. The English Garden: Meditation and Memorial. Princeton N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1994.

PAGE 340

340 Confino, Alon. The Nation as a Local Metaphor: Wrtte mberg, Imperial Germany, and National Memory, 1871-1918. Chapel Hill N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1997. Cooksey, J. Alexander Nasmyth, H.R.S.A., 1758-1840: A Man of the Scottish Renaissance Haddington Scotland: P. Harris, 1991. Cooter, Roger. The Cultural Meaning of Popular Scie nce: Phrenology and the Organization of Consent in Nineteenth-century Britain Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984. Crowe, Michael. The Extraterrestrial Life Debate, 1750-1900 Mineola N.Y.: Dover Publications, 1999. Dear, Peter. What Is the History of Science the History of? Early Modern Roots of the Ideology of Modern Science. Isis 96, no. 3 (2005): 390 406. Desmond, Adrian. Lamarckism and Democracy: Corporation, Corruption and Comparative Anatomy in the 1830s. In History, Humanity and Evolution: Essays for John C. Greene edited by James Moore, 99 130. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. The Politics of Evolution: Morphology, Medicine, and Reform in Radical London Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989. Dodson, Michael S. Re-Presented for the Pandit s: James Ballantyne, 'Useful Knowledge,' and Sanskrit Scholarship in Benares Colleg e during the Mid-Nineteenth Century. Modern Asian Studies 36, no. 2 (2002): 257 298. Driver, Felix. Geography Militant: Cultures of Exploration and Empire Oxford; Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 2001. Dwyer, John. The Melancholy Savage: Text an d Context in the Poems of Ossian. In Ossian Revisited edited by Howard Gaskill, 164 206. Ed inburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1991. Elshakry, Marwa S. Knowledge in Motion: The Cultural Politics of Modern Science Translations in Arabic. Isis 99, no. 4 (2008): 701 730. Everett, Nigel. The Tory View of Landscape New Haven Conn.: Yale University Press, 1994. Fyfe, Aileen. Science and Salvation Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004. Garside, Peter D. Scott and th e Philosophical Historians. Journal of the History of Ideas 36, no. 3 (1975): 497 512. Gaskill, Howard. Introduction. In Ossian Revisited edited by Howard Gaskill, 1 18. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ ersity Press, 1991.

PAGE 341

341 Gates, Barbara. Retelling the Story of Science. Victorian Litera ture and Culture 21 (1993): 289 306. Gigerenzer, Gerd, Zeno Swijtink, Theodore Porter, Lorraine Daston, John Beatty, and Lorenz Krger. The Empire of Chance: How Probabili ty Changed Science and Everyday Life Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989. Gillispie, Charles Coulston. Pierre-Simon Laplace: 1749-1827: A Life in Exact Science Princeton N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1997. Green, Stephanie. Oscar Wildes The Womans World. Victorian Periodicals Review 30, no. 2 (1997): 102 120. Greg, W. R. On the Failure of Natural Selection in the Case of Man. Frasers Magazine for Town and Country 78, no. 465 (1868): 353 362. Gregory, Frederick. The Impact of Darwin ian Evolution on Protestant Theology. In God and Nature, edited by David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers, 369 90. Berkeley Calif.: University of California Press, 1986. Grove, Richard. Green Imperialism: Colonial Expansion, Tropical Island Edens, and the Origins of Environmentalism, 1600-1860. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Hahn, Roger. Pierre Simon Laplace, 1749-1827: A Determined Scientist Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2005. Harland-Jacobs, Jessica. All in the Family: Fr eemasonry and the British Empire in the MidNineteenth Century. The Journal of British Studies 42 (2003): 448 482. Builders of Empire: Freemasonry and British Imperialism, 1717-1927. Chapel Hill N.C.: University of North Carolina P ress, 2007. Headrick, Daniel. The Tentacles of Progress: Technology Transfer in the Age of Imperialism, 1850-1940. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. Hebron, Stephen. The Romantics and the British Landscape. London: British Library, 2006. Higgitt, Rebekah. Recreating Newton: Newtonian Biography and the Making of Nineteenthcentury History of Science Science and Culture in the Nineteenth Century 2. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2007. Hoffenberg, Peter. An Empire on Display: English, Indian, and Australian Exhibitions from the Crystal Palace to the Great War Berkeley Calif.: University of California Press, 2001. Holmes, Richard. The Age of Wonder : How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science. New York: Pantheon Books, 2008.

PAGE 342

342 Hughes, J. D. Theophrastus as Ecologist. Environmental Review 4 (1985): 291-307. Jacob, Margaret. The Cultural Meaning of th e Scientific Revolution 1st ed. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988. The Newtonians and the English Revolution, 1689-1720 Ithaca N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1976. Jenkins, Alice. Space and the March of Mind: Literature and the Physic al Sciences in Britain, 1815-1850. Oxford: New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. Jones, Aled. The Press and the Printed Word. In A Companion to Nineteenth-century Britain edited by Chris Williams, 369 380. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2004. Kinraide, Rebecca Brookfield. The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge and the Democratization of Learning in Early Nineteen th-century Britain. Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin Madison, 2006. Kojevnikov, Alexei. David Bohm and Collective Movement. Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences 33, no. 1 (2002): 161 192. Lightman, Bernard. Victorian Popularizers of Science: Designing Nature for New Audiences Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 2007. Victorian Sciences and Religions: Discordant Harmonies. Osiris 16. 2nd Series (2001): 343 66. Linke, M., M. Hoffman, and J. A. Hellen. Two Hundred Years of the GeographicalCartographical Institute in Gotha. The Geographical Journal 152, no. 1 (1986): 75 80. Livingstone, David. The Preadamite Theory and the Ma rriage of Science and Religion Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, v. 82, pt. 3. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1992. Lowenthal, David. George Perkins Marsh, Prophet of Conservation Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2000. Maccubbin, Robert, and Peter Martin. British and American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century: Eighteen Illustrated Essays on Garden History Williamsburg Va.: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1984. MacLeod, Roy M. Of Medals and Men: A Rewa rd System in Victorian Science, 1826-1914. Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 26, no. 1 (1971): 81 105. Maddrell, Avril M. C. Discourses of Race and Gender and the Comparative Method in Geography School Texts 1830-1918. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 16, no. 1 (1998): 81 103.

PAGE 343

343 Makdisi, Saree. Romantic Imperialism: Universal Em pire and the Culture of Modernity Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Marchi, N. B. de, and R. P. St urges. Malthus and Ricardos Induc tivist Critics: Four Letters to William Whewell. Economica 40, no. 160. New Series (1973): 379 393. Marsden, W. E. Rooting Racism into the E ducational Experience of Childhood and Youth in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. History of Education 19 (1990): 333 353. Mayhew, Robert. Enlightenment Geography: The Political Languages of British Geography, 1650-1850. New York: St. Martins Press, 2000. McGreggor, R. The Doomed Race: A Scien tific Axiom of the Nineteenth Century. The Australian Journal of Politics and History 39 (1993): 14 22. Miller, David Philip, and Peter Hanns Reill, eds. Visions of Empire: Voyages, Botany, and Representations of Nature Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Mitchell, Sally. Frances Power Cobbe: Victorian Feminist, Journalist, Reformer Charlottesville Va.: University of Virginia Press, 2004. Morgan, Marjorie. National Identities and Travel in Victorian Britain New York: Palgrave, 2001. Morrell, J. B. Professors Robison and Pl ayfair, and the 'Theophobia Gallica': Natural Philosophy, Religion and Polit ics in Edinburgh, 1789-1815. Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 26 (1971): 43 63. Mulliner, Beulah A. The Development of Physiography in American Textbooks. The Journal of Geography: A Monthly Magazine Devoted to the Interests of Teachers of Geography in Elementary, Secondary and Normal Schools 10 (1911): 319 324. Neeley, Kathryn. Mary Somerville: Science, Il lumination, and the Female Mind Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Numbers, Ronald. Science and Christianity in Pulpit and Pew Oxford: New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. OConnor, Ralph. Reflections on Popular Scie nce in Britain: Genres, Categories, and Historians. Isis 100, no. 2 (2009): 333 345. Olwig, Kenneth. Landscape, Nature, and the Body Polit ic: From Britains Renaissance to Americas New World Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002. Patterson, Elizabeth C. Mary Somerville. The British Journal for the History of Science 4, no. 4 (1969): 311 339.

PAGE 344

344 The Case of Mary Somerville: An As pect of Nineteenth-century Science. Proceedings, American Philosophical Society 118, no. 3 (1974): 269 275. Patterson, Elizabeth Chambers. Mary Somerville and the Cultiv ation of Science, 1815-1840 Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1983. Pitts, Jennifer. A Turn to Empire: The Rise of Impe rial Liberalism in Britain and France Princeton N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2005. Porter, Theodore M. Trust in Numbers Princeton N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996. The Rise of Statistical Thinking, 1820-1900 Princeton N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1986. Pratt, Mary. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation London; New York: Routledge, 1992. Preece, Rod. Thoughts out of Season on the History of Animal Ethics. Society & Animals 15, no. 4 (2007): 365 378. Richards, Robert J. Darwin on Mind, Morals and Emotions. In The Cambridge Companion to Darwin edited by Jonathan Hodge and Gregor y Radick, 92 115. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. The Romantic Conception of Life: Scienc e and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002. Riskin, Jessica. Science in the Age of Sensibility: The Sentimental Empiricists of the French Enlightenment Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002. Ritvo, Harriet. The Animal Estate: The English and Ot her Creatures in the Victorian Age Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1987. Sachs, Aaron. The Humboldt Current: Nineteenth-cen tury Exploration and the Roots of American Environmentalism New York: Viking, 2006. Schaffer, Simon. The Nebular Hypothesi s and the Science of Progress. In History, Humanity, and Evolution: Essays for John C. Greene edited by James R. Moore, 131 164. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989. Secord, James A. How Scientific Conversation Became Shop Talk. In Science in the Marketplace edited by Aileen Fyfe and Bernard Lightman, 23 59. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. Introduction to Collected Works of Mary Somerville by Mary Somerville. Edited by James A. Secord. 9 vols. Bristol: Thoemmes, 2004. Knowledge in Transit. Isis 95, no. 4 (2004): 654 672.

PAGE 345

345 Victorian Sensation: The Extraordinary Pub lication, Reception, and Secret Authorship of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation Chicago; London: University of Chicago Press, 2003. Shapin, Steven, and Barry Barnes. Head and Hand: Rhetorical Resources in British Pedagogical Writing, 1770-1850. Oxford Review of Education 2, no. 3 (1976): 231 254. Sher, Richard. Percy, Shaw, and the Ferguson Cheat. In Ossian Revisted edited by Howard Gaskill. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1991. Showalter, Elaine Showalter. Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Sicle New York: Viking, 1990. Shteir, Ann B. Elegant Recreations: Conf iguring Science Writing for Women. In Victorian Science in Context edited by Bernard Lightman, 236 55. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1997. Smith, Crosbie. The Science of Energy: A Cultural History of Energy Physics in Victorian Britain Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998. Smith, Jonathan. Charles Darwin and Victorian Visual Culture Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Sockwell, W. D. Contributions of Henr y Brougham to Classical Political Economy. History of Political Economy 23, no. 4 (1991): 645 673. Stafford, Fiona J. Dangerous Success: Ossian, Wordsworth, and English Romantic Literature. In Ossian Revisited, edited by Howard Gaskill, 49 72. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1991. Stanley, Oma. T. H. Huxley's Treatment of Nature. Journal of the History of Ideas 18, no. 1 (1957): 120 127. Stewart, Robert. Henry Brougham, 1778-1868: His Public Career London: Bodley Head, 1985. Strachan, John. Advertising and Satirical Cultur e in the Romantic Period Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Topham, Jonathan. The Wesley an-Methodist Magazine and Re ligious Monthlies in Early Nineteenth-century Britain. In Science in the Nineteenth-century Periodical: Reading the Magazine of Nature 67-90. Cambridge Studies in Nine teenth-century Literature and Culture. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Trevelyan, George Macaulay. Garibaldi and the Making of Italy London: Longmans, Green, 1912.

PAGE 346

346 Turner, James. Reckoning with the Beast: Animals, Pa in, and Humanity in the Victorian Mind Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1980. Vincent, David. Literacy and Popular Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. Wallace, Stuart. John Stuart Blackie: Scot tish Scholar and Patriot. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006. Weed, Clarence Moores, and Ned Dearborn. Birds in their Relations to Man: A Manual of Economic Ornithology for the United States and Canada Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1903. Wheeler, Michael. The Old Enemies: Catholic and Protestant in Nineteenth-century English Culture. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. White, Paul. Ministers of Cultu re: Arnold, Huxley and Liberal A nglican Reform of Learning. History of Science 43 (2005): 115 138. Williams, Raymond. Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society Revised ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983. Williams, Rosalind. Nature Out of Control: Cultural Origins and Environmental Implications of Large Technological Systems. In Cultures of Control edited by Miriam R. Levin, 41 68. Amsterdam: Harwood, 2000. Wilson, Kathleen. The Sense of the People: Politics, Culture, and Imperialism in England, 17151785. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Worster, Donald. Natures Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas 2nd ed. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994. Yeo, Richard. Defining Science: William Whewell, Na tural Knowledge, and Public Debate in Early Victorian Britain Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

PAGE 347

347 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Michal Meyer was born in Rehovot Israel in 1969. She grew up in Israel, Australia, and New Zealand. In 1990, she received her Bachelor of Science degree, m ajoring in physics and minoring in mathematics, from Victoria University of Wellington. She received a Diploma in Applied Science (Atmospheric Science) from Vict oria University in 1991. After working as a weather forecaster for the New Zealand Meteorologi cal Service and as a j ournalist and magazine editor for the Jerusalem Post in 2003 she enrolled in the doc toral program in history at the University of Florida. She received a Master of Arts in 2005 and completed her Ph.D. in the history of science in May 2010.