|Call Number||QH 138 W48 R63 1709|
|Title||An Essay towards a Natural History of Westmorland and Cumberland. Wherein an Account is Given of their Several Mineral and Surface Productions, with Some Directions how to Discover Minerals by the External and Adjacent Strata and Upper Covers, &c. To which is Annexed, A Vindication of the Philosophical and Theological Paraphrase of the Mosaick System of the Creation, &c. By Tho. Robinson, Rector of Ousby in Cumberland.|
|Short Title||An Essay|
|Title Page Quotation|
|Imprint||London: Printed for J. L. for W. Freeman, at the Bible against the Middle-Temple-Gate in Fleetstreet, 1709.|
|SFU Catalogue Original Bibliography||95, 118,  p. 13 x 20 cm. Calf over boards.|
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|Bibliographic Notes||Our copy has the price of 225 pounds written in pencil on the inside front cover right hand side; some (looks like) water damage to the pages (marking) ; last page ripped at bottom; a few pages with a small hole in them; handwritten marginalia (part 2 pages 50 & 88 – correcting some errors as in the errata at back); glued into the last page a small strip of paper on which Errata (from the printer, not the author) is printed; advertisements at back|
Thomas Robinson was a writer of natural history and philosophy and rector of Ousby, Cumberland, from 1672 until his death in 1719. He also served as a naval chaplain following an unsuccessful attempt to reopen the Newland mines near Keswick.
Robinson’s passion for mining, mineralogy, and the natural history of Cumberland and Westmorland is apparent in An Essay towards a Natural History, as are his “backward” theories of natural philosophy (ODNB). Robinson aims in this dense little book to describe the geological phenomena of Cumberland and Westmorland for the benefit of his countrymen (Preface, n. pag.), while he also provides a theological treatise attempting to prove the existence of God. The Essay contains chapters on mineralogy, geology, and other natural phenomena in places like Keswick, Penrith, Borrowdale, Bassenthwaite, Buttermere, Derwent River, and Skiddaw, as well as a list of rare local plants. The text also includes biblical analysis, a section on “Moral Conclusions,” a discussion of the concept of magnetism, and a theory of the chain of life. The Essay represents Robinson’s attempt to reconcile science and religion through geology--at one point, he wonders whether the shellfish found fossilized in the middle of the countryside are the result of Noah’s flood or the division of waters at creation. Alongside interesting arguments about the natural world, including an expression of faith in alchemy and the transformation of matter into animals, Robinson includes information about various mines and mining projects around Cumberland and Westmorland, such as coal, iron, copper, and black-lead, and local uses of mining products, such as black-lead for medicine. Although the Essay is not aimed at tourists, Robinson employs what will later become a standard for guidebook writers—a claim that one need not travel outside of England to find the best that the natural world has to offer. The volume concludes with a two-page advertisement for “Some Books Printed for and Sold by W. Freeman, at the Bible in Fleet-street.” The SFU LDC copy has some damage and some handwritten marginalia. Glued onto the last page is a strip of paper with a list of errata.
|Binding Colour||Dark brown|
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