Life, Letters, and Journals of Sir Charles Lyell, Bart, Volume 1

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Gregg International Publishers, 1881 - Geologists - 475 pages

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Page 465 - In regard to the origination of new species, I am very glad to find that you think it probable that it may be carried on through the intervention of intermediate causes. I left this rather to be inferred, not thinking it worth while to offend a certain class of persons by embodying in words what would only be a speculation.
Page 249 - Cuvier's sanctum sanctoium yesterday, and it is truly characteristic of the man. In every part it displays that extraordinary power of methodising which is the grand secret of the prodigious feats which he performs annually without appearing to give himself the least trouble. But before I introduce you to this study, I should tell you that there is first the Museum of Natural History opposite his house, and admirably arranged by himself, then the Anatomy Museum connected with his dwelling. In the...
Page 45 - Pope's imitation: — What's property, dear Swift? you see it alter From you to me, from me to Peter Walter; Or in a mortgage prove a lawyer's share; Or in a jointure vanish from the heir- . . . Shades, that to Bacon could retreat afford, Become the portion of a booby lord; And Helmsley, once proud Buckingham's delight, Slides to a scrivener and a city knight.
Page 234 - ... no causes whatever have from the earliest time to which we can look back, to the present, ever acted, but those now acting ; and that they never acted with different degrees of energy from that which they now exert.
Page 75 - Mont Blanc is the monarch of mountains: They crowned him long ago, On a throne of rocks, in a robe of clouds, With a diadem of snow.
Page 234 - It will not pretend to give even an abstract of all that is known in geology, but it will endeavour to establish the principle of reasoning in the science ; and all my geology will come in as illustration of my views of those principles, and as evidence strengthening the system necessarily arising out of the admission of such principles...
Page 250 - ... which everything on that subject is systematically arranged, so that in the same work he often takes the round of many apartments. But the ordinary studio contains no book-shelves. It is a longish room, comfortably furnished, lighted from above, and furnished with eleven desks to stand to, and two low tables, like a public office for so many clerks. But all is for the one man, who multiplies himself as author, and admitting no one into this room, moves as he finds necessary, or as fancy inclines...
Page 271 - If I have said more than some will like, yet I give you my word that full half of my history and comments was cut out, and even many facts ; because either I, or Stokes, or Broderip felt that it was anticipating twenty or thirty years of the march of honest feeling to declare it undisguisedly.
Page 168 - His theories delighted me more than any novel I ever read, and much in the same way, for they address themselves to the imagination, at least of geologists who know the mighty inferences which would be deducible were they established by observations. But though I admire even his flights, and feel none of the odium theologicum which some modern writers in this country have visited him with, I confess I read him rather as I hear an advocate on the wrong side, to know what can be made of the case in...
Page 168 - Again, the following remarkable passage occurs in the postscript of a letter addressed to Sir John Herschel in 1836 :— " In regard to the origination of new species, I am very glad to find that you think it probable that it may be carried on through the intervention of intermediate causes.

About the author (1881)

Lyell was born in Kinnordy, Scotland. His father was a naturalist, and Lyell grew up surrounded by books on natural history, geology, and other sciences. He entered Oxford University at the age of 19 after a boarding-school education that was periodically interrupted by poor health. There his interest in geology was heightened. Although he studied law, he gave up legal work to study rocks and fossils. His contribution to geology is twofold. First, he showed that the earth is constantly changing, not by a series of worldwide catastrophes followed by new creations, but by slow, gradual processes. Like James Hutton, he believed and taught that present-day processes were the ones that shaped the past. It was the worldwide publication of Lyell's treatises and texts that led to the general acceptance of the principle of uniformitarianism, first put forth by Hutton. Second, Lyell contributed the principle of faunal succession and the notion of the time sequence of events. These were evidenced from spatial relationships among strata, faults, and intrusions. The data on which Lyell's contributions are based were gathered on numerous field excursions, most notably in southern Europe, the United States, and Canada. During these trips, Lyell collected numerous samples that he and his wife meticulously categorized and labeled. His writings show that he was also interested in, and concerned about, human problems, as well as problems of science. He touches upon social reforms in England and the problems of slavery in the United States. Lyell was a prolific writer, summarizing his thoughts, contributions, and achievements in these major works: "Principles of Geology" (1830, 1831, 1833), "Antiquity of Man," and "Travels in America." His health and strength declined after the death of his wife in 1873, and he died two years later. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

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