The Bridgewater Treatises
on the Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God,
As Manifested in the Creation.




THE series of Treatises, of which the present is one, is published under the following circumstances:

    The RIGHT HONOURABLE and REVEREND FRANCIS HENRY, EARL of BRIDGEWATER, died in the month of February, 1829; and by his last Will and Testament, bearing date the 25th of February, 1825, he directed certain Trustees therein named to invest in the public funds the sum of Eight thousand pounds sterling; this sum, with the accruing dividends thereon, to be held at the disposal of the President, for the time being, of the Royal Society of London, to be paid to the person or persons nominated by him. The Testator further directed, that the person or persons selected by the said President should be appointed to write, print, and publish one thousand copies of a work On the Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God, as manifisted in the Creation; illustrating such work by all reasonable arguments, as for instance the variety and formation of God's creatures in the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms; the effect of digestion, and thereby of conversion; the construction of the hand of man, and an infinite variety of other arguments; as also by discoveries ancient and modern, in arts, sciences, and the whole extent of literature. He desired, moreover, that the profits arising from the sale of the works so published should be paid to the authors of the works.

    The late President of the Royal Society, Davies Gilbert, Esq. requested the assistance of his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury and of the Bishop of London, in determining upon the best mode of carrying into effect the intentions of the Testator. Acting with their advice, and with the concurrence of a nobleman immediately connected with the deceased, Mr. Davies Gilbert appointed the following eight gentlemen to write separate Treatises on the different branches of the subject as here stated:

NOTICE affixed to the Bridgewater Treatises

Treatise I. The Rev. Thomas Chalmers, D.D., On the Moral and Intellectual Constitution of Man. (1835). First  published in 1833.

Treatise II. John Kidd, M.D. F.R.S., On the Adaptation of External Nature to the Physical Condition of Man. (1833)

Treatise III. The Rev. William Whewell, M.A. F.R.S., Astronomy and General Physics Considered with Reference to Natural Theology. (1833)

Treatise IV. Sir Charles Bell, K.G. H.F. R.S.L. & E. The Hand: Its Mechanism and Vital Endowments as Evincing Design. (1834)

Treatise V. Peter Mark Roget, M.D., On Animal and Vegetable Physiology.
Second Edition (1839)

Treatise VI. The Rev. William Buckland, D.D. F.R.S., On Geology and Mineralology. Second Edition (1837)

Treatise VII. The Rev. William Kirby, M.A. F.R.S., On the History, Habits, and Instincts of Animals. New Edition (1852). First published in 1835.

Treatise VIII. William Prout, M.D. F.R.S., Chemistry, Meterology, and the Function of Digestion, Considered With Reference to Natural Theology.
Second Edition (1834)

NOTE: The so-called Ninth Bridgewater Treatise: A Fragment (Second Edition, 1838) by Charles Babbage is not a part of the Bridgewater series, but is famous in its own right. It has been said by way of eulogy, that the computer age began with the publication of this book. Some notes on this treatise can be found here.