Sends MS of his chapter on geology for Manual [Collected papers 1: 227–50]. Fears it may be too long. Does not much like it but can do no better. After hesitation, has recommended books. Defends his point that mere collection of rock specimens is "of hardly any use to Geology".
Down Farnborough Kent
Dear Sir John Herschel
I received your note this morning & forwarded it to
I have felt particular doubt about the propriety of recommending Books, but have done so after much hesitation, on the advice of others.—
I do not know whether each chapter will have any heading: I have sent one, for the chance of such being required.
If there be no objection, I should be glad, either before or after you have looked over the proofs, to be allowed to correct the press;: as my writing is often very incorrect.
If the request be not unreasonable, I should much like to have some few copies of my Chapter to send to friends, who have given me suggestions, & to keep by me to give to any voyager, having previously sometimes had applications to that effect: I should be very glad, also, to have one copy of the entire volume.
Pray believe me | dear Sir John | Yours sincerely |
To | Sir J. W. Herschel. Bart.
P.S. You may possibly be surprised at my having expressed myself rather strongly, that the mere collecting rock-specimens is hardly of any use to Geology. I have for some years come deliberately to this opinion, in which some other geologists, with whom I have discussed the point, concur with me. I could specify several large collections lately brought home, which no one person would take the trouble even of looking at. This is very mortifying to the collector & prevents him afterwards turning his attention to some other branch of Nat. Hist, in which mere collecting would be of service.—
- f1 1164.f1The date is based on CD's completion of his chapter on geology for the Admiralty manual (Herschel ed. 1849). On 20 March 1848, CD recorded that the chapter was finished (‘Journal’; Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix I).
- f2 1164.f2Robert Mallet contributed a chapter ‘On observation of earthquake phenomena’ to the Admiralty manual (Herschel ed. 1849).
- f3 1164.f3Possibly a reference to Mallet having dealt with the changes of level that often accompany earthquakes, a topic that CD also discussed in his chapter. Mallet may well have compressed or deleted some of his chapter, see Herschel ed. 1849, p. 227, in which the reader is referred to CD's chapter on geology.
- f4 1164.f4The manuscript evidently did not arrive, see letter to J. F. W. Herschel, 7 May .
- f5 1164.f5Herschel ed. 1849, p.157; Collected papers 1: 227–8.
- f6 1164.f6The Geological Society was then holding several large collections of fossils and mineralogical specimens that were uncatalogued and consequently unavailable for research purposes. During 1847 the museum committee, consisting of Charles Lyell, George Bellas Greenough, and John Morris, had drawn up a list of recommendations for reforms and future practice in arranging and cataloguing the collections (Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 4 (1848): cxxi–cxxxiv).