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Charles Lyell and Modern Geology   By:

Charles Lyell and Modern Geology by Thomas George Bonney

First Page:

THE CENTURY SCIENCE SERIES

EDITED BY SIR HENRY E. ROSCOE, D.C.L., LL.D., F.R.S.

CHARLES LYELL

AND MODERN GEOLOGY

The Century Science Series.

EDITED BY SIR HENRY E. ROSCOE, D.C.L., F.R.S., M.P.

=John Dalton and the Rise of Modern Chemistry.= By Sir HENRY E. ROSCOE, F.R.S.

=Major Rennell, F.R.S., and the Rise of English Geography.= By CLEMENTS R. MARKHAM, C.B., F.R.S., President of the Royal Geographical Society.

=Justus von Liebig: his Life and Work (1803 1873).= By W. A. SHENSTONE, F.I.C., Lecturer on Chemistry in Clifton College.

=The Herschels and Modern Astronomy.= By AGNES M. CLERKE, Author of "A Popular History of Astronomy during the 19th Century," &c.

=Charles Lyell and Modern Geology.= By Rev. Professor T. G. BONNEY, F.R.S.

=Clerk Maxwell and Modern Physics.= By R. T. GLAZEBROOK, F.R.S., Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

In Preparation.

=Michael Faraday: his Life and Work.= By Professor SILVANUS P. THOMPSON, F.R.S.

=Humphry Davy.= By T. E. THORPE, F.R.S., Principal Chemist of the Government Laboratories.

=Pasteur: his Life and Work.= By M. ARMAND RUFFER, M.D., Director of the British Institute of Preventive Medicine.

=Charles Darwin and the Origin of Species.= By EDWARD B. POULTON, M.A., F.R.S., Hope Professor of Zoology in the University of Oxford.

=Hermann von Helmholtz.= By A. W. R√úCKER, F.R.S., Professor of Physics in the Royal College of Science, London.

CASSELL & COMPANY, LIMITED, London; Paris & Melbourne

[Illustration: HW: Charles Lyell]

THE CENTURY SCIENCE SERIES

CHARLES LYELL

AND MODERN GEOLOGY

BY

PROF. T. G. BONNEY

D.SC., LL.D., F.R.S., ETC.

New York MACMILLAN & CO. 1895

PREFACE.

The life of Charles Lyell is singularly free from "moving accidents by flood and field." Though he travelled much, he never, so far as can be ascertained, was in danger of life or limb, of brigand or beast. At home his career was not hampered by serious difficulties or blocked by formidable obstacles; not a few circumstances were distinctly favourable to success. Thus his biography cannot offer the reader either the excitement of adventure, or the interest of an unwearied struggle with adverse conditions. But for all that, as it seems to me, it can teach a lesson of no little value. Lyell, while still a young man, determined that he would endeavour to put geology then only beginning to rank as a science on a more sound and philosophical basis. To accomplish this purpose, he spared no labour, grudged no expenditure, shrank from no fatigue. For years he was training himself by observation and travel; he was studiously aiming at precision of thought and expression, till "The Principles of Geology" had been completed and published. But even then, though he might have counted his work done, he spared no pains to make it better, and went on at the task of improvement till the close of his long life.

My chief aim, in writing this little volume, has been to bring out this lesson as strongly and as clearly as possible. I have striven to show how Charles Lyell studied, how he worked, how he accumulated observations, how each journey had its definite purposes. Accordingly, I have often given his words in preference to any phrases of my own, and have quoted freely from his letters, diaries, and books, because I wished to show exactly how things presented themselves to his eyes, and how ideas were maturing in his mind. Regarded in this light, Lyell's life becomes an apologue, setting forth the beneficial results of concentrating the whole energy on one definite object, and the moral grandeur of a calm, judicial, truth seeking spirit.

In writing the following pages I have, of course, mainly drawn upon the "Life, Letters, and Journals," edited by Mrs... Continue reading book >>




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