From A. C. Ramsay 6 May 1863
6 May 1863
My dear Sir
Having nothing to do I am so lazy that I have neglected for some days to answer your welcome letter.1 In truth I have been here now 4 weeks trying to coax myself by idleness into my usual health. I have I hope partially succeeded but not thoroughly as yet. The prescription is however pleasant, viz a lovely place, old & well beloved friends a good library including plenty of novels, some pretty girls, my wife & one of my daughters,2 good trout streams and a horse to ride on when I want it.
I am very glad that you approve of my address.3 I supposed that if properly treated the subject would be sure to interest you both as a geologist & a Zoologist. Sir Charles Lyell writes me that he hopes I will continue the subject precisely as I began it if I continue President.4 Such was my intention with possible additions in the summing up. Sir Charles wishes that experienced Surveyors all over the Continent would each do the same for their own Countries, but from what I have seen of Continental Surveys the mapping has not been done in sufficient detail to admit of it. Sella who reported to the Italian government on the Subject said to me that all the Continental surveys were done too rapidly.5 For years I have had a diagram which I used in my lectures,6 something like one that you suggest, but with a considerable difference, & I thought of using it in my next address if I can find time to correct it up to date.7
It is like this8
It shows the number of species in each formation, the number of genera, & also the number of genera & species that pass from one formation to another, & is very instructive.
Logan has a splendid Case in Canada of a cliff overlapped in the way you mention.9 All the rocks concerned in the question are Old Silurian &c. I have no doubt he will send you a copy of the book when published.10 I know of no positive case in England, but we have something like it too. “Creeps” are certainly often over the land.
You do me too much honour in supposing that I can give a satisfactory philosophical discussion on these & the other points you mention, but it must be done some day, & if I live & thrive perhaps I may try my hand at it.
Have you seen Geikie’s new book on the Drift of Scotland?11 It seems excellent.
This South Welsh land is full of Scratched stones & boulders. When I mapped it 20 years ago I knew the erratics when I saw them but I had then never seen a glacier & was not up to the Scratched stones.12 There is a good field here still remaining for any one to work out in that way. For want of clear sections I cannot say whether the detritus is all or mostly iceberg work, or whether land ice did a deal of it. There are no mountains here, but all the country is hilly.
Ever sincly | Andrew C Ramsay
Glad CD likes his Presidential Address to Geological Society .
Will continue the practice [of discussing the break in succession of strata].
Has devised a diagram showing number of genera and species in each geological formation and the number that pass from formation to formation.
Describes the glaciated terrain of S. Wales.
- geological time, epochs
- higher groupings (‘family’, ‘class’, ‘order’ etc)
- ice, ice-action, icebergs, glaciers
- imperfection of geological record
- information, data, scientific description
- number of species
- number, increase and decrease
- positive attitude/assessment
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4143,” accessed on 28 July 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4143