Discusses CD's Glen Roy paper; would like to see the theory put beyond dispute. Tells of Mr Stables' observations on the parallel roads. Discusses geological features of Scotland which he is sure are marine in origin.
January 2d 1840
My Dear Sir,
My friend Mr Robertson of Inverugie House is anxious to become a member of the geological society, and has asked me to propose him; and I have much pleasure in doing so for one who prosecutes the science with so much zeal. It is no small advantage to have a friend in this retired corner, who buys and lends all the best geological works published in England, and in Germany and France, and I therefore hope that you will put your name to the enclosed certificate—as he would like your name to be given, being an ardent admirer of yours, and adheres to all your conclusions regarding gradual elevation, at home and abroad. He has already made some interesting observations on the great drift, raised beaches and submarine peat of this province. I have asked Mr Murchison to be the third person, and if necessary Lonsdale will add his name, I am sure, as he proposed to give his name to an ammonite discovered and ascertained to be new by Mr R, from the Lias fragments still existing here. He will for the present be a non-resident member.
I have to thank you for your most interesting paper on Glen Roy, which I read with
great interest, and but for my hurried departure from this
country I should have sent you a few
remarks—altho' of no value. I was forced out of that country by bad
weather even for the west. It is only a few days since I got it, and that
evening Mr Stables Junior of Cawdor Castle, who has wandered
over much of Scotland and is a good botanist, and knows something of geology, was with
me, and the conversation turned on your theory, which he was quite inclined to admit,
(he has not seen the roads) having seen similar appearances along the steep shores of Loch Carron which enters deeply into the west coast of
Ross-shire—and near Dingwal on the east, where he describes single lines
almost 60 feet broad, as passing round the Ord Hill, and along the
sides of the valley W. of the Strath Peffer Spa. That
in Loch Carron he drew, without looking at your woodcut, as if he had made a copy
Had I had leasure when the days get longer I should certainly have gone and seen this. Pray keep it in view.—
I am at a loss to say how important I think the theory to be, and I feel very desirous
to see it put beyond dispute. The explanation of the non-occurrence of sea shells is not
satisfactory to my mind, as I saw great banks of diluvial clay that would
preserve shells for ever. No person here entertains a doubt of the great drift that
covers so much of these counties being marine, and none but
This great drift extends far up the valley of the Dee—and also of the Spey. Strathspey is full of gravel, often forming flat hills all of the same height and arranged as if by currents from the west their long diameter being E & W. I took much interest in tracing it in the Deep valleys at the foot of the Cairngorm, as it seemed to afford both there and on the Findhorn the natural soil of the native pine forests—such as those of Rothemurcus, Abernethy, Dulsie &c
If you ever visit this country I much wish you would accompany Mr Gordon Minister of Birnie and examine the terraces on the side of the vale of Rothes, which opens from that of the Spey near Elgin, & has given passage to many boulders.
I expect to leave this for London next week & probably will sail by the Ireland
packet of Feby
- f1 1147.f1Alexander Robertson, elected a Fellow of the Geological Society 5 February 1840.
- f2 1147.f2A proposal apparently never carried out.
- f3 1147.f3See letter from J. G. Malcolmson, 7 October 1839.
- f4 1147.f4Malcolmson departed for India to join the firm of Forbes and Co. of Bombay. He died in March 1844 in Dhoolia (Gentleman's Magazine n.s. 21 (1844): 670).
- f5 1147.f5William Alexander Stables, agent for Cawdor.
- f6 1147.f6Fleming 1826, pp. 219–20.
- f7 1147.f7Rothiemurchus and Abernethy forests are on the northwest foothills of the Cairngorm mountains.
- f8 1147.f8The letter is incomplete. CD has copied in pencil the phrase ‘from … boulders.’ from the missing part of the letter. The final paragraph is written above the salutation.
- f9 1147.f9J. Anderson 1841 and MacCulloch 1830.