Sir Roderick Impey Murchison correspondence, 1829-1871

Mss.B.M93

Date: 1829-1871 | Size: 0.5 Linear feet, 72 items

Abstract

Series I is a miscellaneous collection of letters concerning geology, geological exploration of Russia, entomology, glaciers, appointments in the British Museum, Geological Society of London business, Royal Geographical Society, references to David Livingstone, and zoology. Series II consists of letters written from America, to Murchison, discussing geology, natural history, and contemporary topics.

Background note

Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (1792-1871, APS 1860), geologist, geographer, and advocate of exploration, devoted the bulk of his scientific career to stratigraphy and promoting a catastrophist view of geological change. The Silurian System (1839) was a milestone work exploring fossil-bearing strata in Wales and western England, and The Geology of Russia and the Ural Mountains (1845, with Alexander von Keyserling and Edouard de Verneuil) established the Permian System. Murchison's scientific career was littered with theoretical, personal, and political disputes; most significant were rivalries with Charles Lyell and Adam Sedgwick regarding, respectively, uniformitarianism and the Cambrian-Silurian boundary. Murchison was an advocate of imperial expansion and exploration; he viewed science as a nationalistic endeavor.

The Murchisons were a highland clan, stripped of their lands after participating in the 1715 and 1745 rebellions. After seventeen lucrative years as a surgeon in the employ of the East India Company, Kenneth Murchison returned to Scotland, purchased the Tarradale estate in Eastern Ross, and married Barbara Mackenzie in 1791. Roderick was born at Tarradale on February 19, 1792; a brother, Kenneth, followed two years later. The elder Kenneth Murchison died in 1796 after a period of physical decline; Barbara Murchison moved her family to Edinburgh and married Colonel Robert Macgregor Murray, a friend of her late husband. Roderick Murchison was sent to Durham for grammar school in 1799 and in 1805 entered the Great Marlow military college in Buckinghamshire. Murchison lacked a rigorous formal scientific education, but during his schooling he developed a keen interest in practical studies, including topographical appraisal, which were invaluable to his later geological studies.

In 1807 Murchison was gazetted ensign in the 36th infantry. The regiment saw action in Portugal (fighting with distinction at Roliça and Vimeiro in 1808) and Spain (retreating to Corunna with Sir John Moore in 1809). Beginning in the autumn of 1809, Murchison served as aid-de-camp to his uncle, General Sir Alexander Mackenzie, in Sicily and Armagh. Despite seeing action in the Peninsular War (which provided fodder for after-dinner conversations in later years), Murchison's military career was filled with frustrating near-misses: he purchased a captaincy but went on half-pay with the peace of 1814; he was in Paris when Napolean escaped Elba; he transferred to a cavalry troop hoping to see action, but they did not participate in the fighting. After the Battle of Waterloo he resigned his commission.

In 1815, shortly before his retirement, Murchison married Charlotte Hugonin. His future occupation was uncertain. He briefly considered ordination and during a tour of the continent he studied art and antiquities in Rome and Naples. Returning to the United Kingdom, he sold Tarradale, settled in Durham and devoted himself to fox-hunting. Loans from Charlotte's father enabled a lavish lifestyle and questionable financial speculation. In 1822 the Murchisons moved to Leicestershire and in 1823 relocated to London. The following year Murchison began attending lectures at the Royal Institution, inspired to explore the physical sciences by Sir Humphry Davy. In January of 1825 Murchison was admitted as a fellow of the Geological Society and by the end of the year his first paper was read to the Society.

Murchison spent the summer of 1826 in Yorkshire and the Scottish coasts and wrote a monograph demonstrating that Jurassic English formations were the same age as the Scottish Brora coalfield. In 1827, he travelled the Highlands with Adam Sedgwick. In 1828, he visited France and Italy with Charles Lyell and Charlotte Murchison, who actively participated in fossil collection, landscape sketching, and communication with francophone locals. In 1829, Murchison and Sedgwick visited the Alps. Previously sympathetic to Lyell's gradualism, Murchison was converted to Sedgwick's catastrophist views of geologic processes, beliefs which he would hold and defend for the remainder of his career.

Murchison turned his attention to Wales and western England and the "greywacke" formations underlying the Old Red Sandstone. Between 1831 and 1836 Murchison and Sedgwick conducted fieldwork in Wales and Devon. Fossils in the greywacke formed a sequence with those in the Old Red Sandstone, making the greywacke part of the oldest fossiliferous classification known at the time. Though he coined the term "Silurian" in 1835 (in honor of a Welsh tribe), it was not until 1839 that Murchison published The Silurian System, based upon his own fieldwork and that of others. Murchison revised The Silurian System and republished it as Siluria in 1854, 1859, and 1867, incorporating the latest geological and paleontological discoveries.

After their fieldwork in west England, and a subsequent trip to Germany and the Boulonnais, Murchison and Sedgwick defined the Devonian System (between the Carboniferous and Silurian) in "On the Physical Structure of Devonshire" (1839).

Accompanied by French paleontologist Edouard de Verneuil, Murchison travelled to Russia three times. This work, along with fieldwork conducted in Scandinavia, formed the basis of The Geology of Russia and the Ural Mountains, published by Murchison, de Verneuil, and Alexander von Keyserling in 1845. The book set forth the Permian System, another Paleozoic strata separating Carboniferous rocks from the Mesozoic strata.

Murchison's last major geological work focused upon the highlands of Scotland. The region was a geological puzzle: Torridon sandstone, "fundamental gneiss," quartzites, limestones, and schists occurred in unexpected sequences. In 1858, 1859, and 1860, Murchison conducted fieldwork with Charles Peach, Andrew Ramsay, and Archibald Geikie, respectively. Murchison and Geikie jointly wrote a paper, read to the Geological Society in 1861, positing that Moine schists were metamorphosed Silurian strata. A decade and a half after Murchison's death, Geikie conceded that their conclusions were incorrect; ironically, catastrophic processes of displacement (rather than patient metamorphosis) explained the curious geological landscape of the highlands.

Murchison was a strong advocate for exploration. He organized all major British expeditions between 1850 and 1870. He was a proponent of arctic exploration (a subject much in the public eye after the loss of Franklin's expedition). He supported the African exploration of Speke, Grant, Baker, and Livingstone, who dedicated Missionary Travels (1857) to Murchison. Based upon explorers' reports, he was able to predict geographical features of Africa. Murchison believed geology in general (and his Silurian System in particular) had practical implications. If Silurian strata predated terrestrial vegetation, then their presence in a region precluded the presence of coal; fruitless excavation could be avoided and industrial needs could be met more efficiently. In 1845 he predicted the discovery of gold in Australia, citing parallels between the Cordillera and Ural regions. In the 1854 edition of Siluria, Murchison set forth conditions under which gold and coal might be found.

In 1855, Murchison was appointed Director-General of the Geological Survey. In his official capacity, he appointed colonial geological surveyors, and he was able to offer more general government patronage to specific geologists and the wider field. Murchison believed that colonial expansion could serve the scientific community (as science also served the empire) and sometimes argued in favor of specific territorial annexations.

Murchison's fieldwork was his great strength. He could ascertain the dominant geological features of an area and thus grasp the "big picture." He could perceive parallels in different regions, enabling him to extrapolate African and Australian geography. When dealing with sister disciplines, such as paleontology and petrology, Murchison relied upon the expertise of others. Perhaps influenced by his early military training in topography, Murchison's preference for taking in the overall landscape lead him to ignore details. He employed the geological strategies of the 1820s throughout his career, an approach that proved particularly inadequate to explain the geology of the Scottish highlands.

A practicing Anglican, Murchison perceived some tension between his religious beliefs and scientific inquiries. He doubted the divinity of Christ, but in Siluria he asserted belief in a creator and the majestic nature of geography as evidence thereof. He rejected Darwin's theory of evolution and accepted the idea of successive creations, mitigating some of the religious questions raised by his geological observations and informing his catastrophist views.

Murchison was active in the service of various scientific societies and acquired an array of royal honors. He was an elected fellow of the Geological Society and Royal Society, and served as the President of the Royal Geographical Society of London and the British Association and Director-General of the Geological Survey. He received honorary degrees from Oxford, Cambridge, and Dublin, and was an honorary member of various foreign societies. He won the Copley Medal, Brisbane Prize, and Wollaston Medal. He was knighted in 1846, created Knight Commander, Order of Bath in 1863 and, after a quarter century of lobbying, created Baronet in 1866. He was also honored by foreign sovereigns, most notably in Russia with the orders of St. Anne and St. Stanislaus.

Murchison's career was marked by a series of professional disagreements, which typically had a personal or political element, and to which he typically responded by vigorously campaigning to recruit supporters for his position. He clashed with Charles Babbage (who severed his relationship with the British Association after Murchison retracted an offer of the Presidency of the organization), Sir Henry De la Beche (who objected to the Devonian System as defined by Murchison and Sedgwick), James Niccol (who disagreed that highland schists belonged to the Silurian), Louis Agassiz (who supported theories of continental glaciation), and Thomas Henry Huxley (who advocated theories of Devonian vertebrates which threatened Murchison's geological conclusions). His most significant rivalries were with fellow geologists Charles Lyell and Adam Sedgwick.

Despite their divergent working styles and theoretical conclusions, Murchison and Lyell remained on generally friendly terms. Murchison praised Lyell's Principles of geology, the third volume of which was dedicated to Murchison. However, the relationship became strained in the 1830s. Lyell felt Murchison was patronizing and that he attempted to claim credit for the course of Lyell's career and the development of his ideas. He considered Murchison too political, more concerned with honors than science. A liberal supporter of democratic institutions, Lyell's politics were sharply different from those of the Tory Murchison. In 1850, Murchison formally renounced the conclusions he and Lyell had reached in 1828; instead of erosion, he now argued that earth movements were responsible for the formation of the Auvergne valleys. Lyell's gradualism was the "piddling" school. During the 1860s Murchison was gratified that uniformitarians acknowledged the effects of occasional catastrophes, though this theoretical victory would be short-lived.

Murchison felt great pride in (and ownership of) the Silurian and eagerly sought to prove that the earliest fossils belonged to this period. He placed new fossils in his system and claimed a portion of the Cambrian, defined by Sedgwick, in fact belonged to the Silurian. Murchison characteristically bolstered his viewpoint with tireless advocacy. Sedgwick objected on grounds scientific (Murchison had confused strata in two places) and political (accusing the Geological Society of tampering with a paper, he broke with the organization). The friendship was permanently soured and British geologists were split between the two camps. Charles Lapworth finally ended the controversy in 1879 by proposing an Ordovician System between the Silurian and Cambrian.

Despite his well-known professional rivalries, Murchison did not demand ideological purity in his friends. Though he dismissed Agassiz's geological theories, Murchison relied upon his expertise as a paleontologist. Ramsay and Geikie rejected the catastrophists' view of mountain building, erosion, and glaciation, but both benefitted from Murchison's patronage and ultimately ushered in more progressive scientific views. Murchison was himself socially progressive, insofar as he was instrumental in convincing the Royal Geographic Society to award its Gold Medal to women (Lady Franklin and Mary Somerville) he considered deserving. He used his wealth and influence to support scientific inquiry. After the 1939 death of Charlotte's father, the Murchisons used her inheritance to move into a mansion, 16 Belgrave Square, and transform it into an intellectual salon. Shortly before his death Murchison donated £6000 to the University of Edinburgh, half the endowment for a chair of geology (initially held by his protégé Archibald Geikie). He bequeathed £1000 each to the Geological and Geographical Societies.

Thanks to his network of supporters, Murchison enjoyed a good (if not uncontroversial) reputation during his life. The hagiographic Life of Sir Roderick I. Murchison (1875), written by Geikie, elided some of Murchison's professional mistakes. Various terrestrial geographical features (including an island in British Columbia, a waterfall in Uganda, and mountains in British Columbia and Antarctica) are named for Murchison, as is a lunar crater. Despite accolades during his life and praise after his death, many of Murchison's scientific arguments (including catastrophism and the mechanisms responsible for creating highland schists) were proven incorrect.

Murchison was a passionate man and inspired strong feelings in others, collecting close friends and harsh detractors throughout his life. His scientific feuds were not without personal and political dimensions and Murchison never hesitated to defend his position, but neither were they purely dogmatic. He was willing to examine new evidence and refine his opinions.

Murchison suffered a stroke in November of 1870, from which he partially recovered. He died of bronchitis in his London home on October 22, 1871. He was buried in Brompton Cemetery in London alongside his wife, who had died two years earlier.

Bibliography

T. G. Bonney, "Murchison, Sir Roderick Impey, baronet (1792–1871)," rev. Robert A. Stafford, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004, online edition May 2009), accessed 28 July 2010, doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/19555.

Michael Collie and John Diemer, Murchison in Moray: A Geologist on Home Ground, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society Vol. 85, Pt. 3 (1995), accessed 28 July 2010, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1006602.

Edmund W. Gilbert and Andrew Goudie, "Sir Roderick Impey Murchison, Bart, KCB 1792–1871," The Geographical Journal Vol. 137, No. 4 (Dec. 1971): 505-511, accessed 2 August 2010, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1797146.

Leroy E. Page, "The Rivalry between Charles Lyell and Roderick Murchison," The British Journal for the History of Science Vol. 9, No. 2, Lyell Centenary Issue: Papers Delivered at the Charles Lyell Centenary Symposium, London, 1975 (July 1976): 156-165, accessed 28 July 2010, http://www.jstor.org/stable/4025803.

Henry C. Rawlinson, "Address to the Royal Geographical Society," Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London Vol. 16, No. 4 (1871–1872): 291-377, accessed 28 July 2010, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1799549.

Collection Information

Physical description

77 items.

Provenance

Series I purchased from Fleming (Sotheby; £40) and accessioned, 01/20/1958 (1958 145c ms). See in-house shelf list for additional accession numbers and dates.

Series II purchased from Geological Society of London (£14.35) and accessioned, 11/24/1964 (1965 160ph).

Location of originals:

Series II originals in Geological Society of London.

Early American History Note

This manuscript collection falls outside the geographic scope of the Early American guide (British North America and the United States before 1840). It may be of interest to scholars interested in global history, international relations, imperialism, or the U.S. in the world.

Indexing Terms


Corporate Name(s)

  • British Museum (Natural History)
  • Geological Society of London
  • Royal Geographical Society (Great Britain)

Family Name(s)

  • Kirk, John, -- Sir, -- 1824?-1904.
  • Vanuxem, Lardner.

Personal Name(s)

  • Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873
  • Babbage, Charles, 1791-1871
  • Bates, Henry Walter, 1825-1892
  • Buckland, William, 1784-1856
  • Dana, James Dwight, 1813-1895
  • Everett, Edward, 1794-1865
  • Falconer, Hugh, 1808-1865
  • Faraday, Michael, 1791-1867
  • Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866
  • Hall, James
  • Harlan, Richard, 1796-1843
  • Hunt, Robert, 1807-1887
  • Lardner, Dionysius, 1793-1859
  • Lea, Isaac, 1792-1886
  • Livingstone, David, 1813-1873
  • Mantell, Gideon Algernon, 1790-1852
  • Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871
  • Owen, Richard, 1804-1892
  • Palmerston, Henry John Temple, Viscount, 1784-1865
  • Rogers, Henry D. (Henry Darwin), 1806-1866
  • Ross, P. Campbell
  • Silliman, Benjamin, 1779-1864
  • Watson, Hewett Cottrell, 1804-1881
  • Webster, Thomas, 1773-1844

Subject(s)

  • Beyond Early America
  • Entomology.
  • Geology -- Soviet Union -- Surveys.
  • Geology.
  • Glaciers.
  • Natural history
  • Zoology.


Detailed Inventory

Series I. Correspondence
1829-18710.25 Linear Feet1 box.; 42 items.

Abstract: This is a miscellaneous collection of letters concerning geology, geological exploration of Russia, entomology, glaciers, appointments in the British Museum, Geological Society of London business, Royal Geographical Society, references to David Livingstone, and zoology.

Provenance: Purchased from Fleming (Sotheby; £40) and accessioned, 01/20/1958 (1958 145c ms). See in-house shelf list for additional accession numbers and dates.

Table of contents, B.M93p, Accession Number 1971 418ms
  
Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "My dear Sir"
May 17, 1829 

Murchison/Sedgwick work on the Isle of Arran is prepped for Transactions; requests a species name.

Babbage, Charles, 1791-1871.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey] Murchison
December 22, 1830 

Searching for a mislaid meteor.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to [Thomas] Webster
December 6, 1832 

Regarding paleontological bent work. For reply, see Webster's letter of December 7, 1842 (not a part of this collection). Originally dated 1842, revised to follow Michael Collie and John Diemer (Murchison in Moray, Transactions of the APS v. 85, pt. 3, p127).

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to Mademoiselle Duvancel
May 5, 18333 p.

Murchison, then president of the Geological Society, discusses the deep sense of loss that geology and all of the sciences have suffered with the death of Georges Cuvier. Appeals to English geologists to raise a monument to Cuvier.

Provenance: 1993 - 1917ms. Purchased from Main Street Fine Books and Manuscripts, Galena, Illinois, with money from the Carlier Fund, November 1993.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to James [de Carle] Sowerby
December 27, 1837 

Discusses sketches.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to James de C[arle] Sowerby
March 6, 1838 

Regarding accuracy of sketches.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "Dear Shepherd"
September 21, 1844 

Discusses gold in Siberia, communication with Sir Robert Peel.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to Lady Morley
April 23, 1845Pasted onto the letter is a newspaper clipping outlining Murchison's inaugural address as President of the British Association (?), with Prince Albert expected to attend.

Expresses gratitude for a "proposal to include me in the body guard of the distinguished Lady."

General physical description: Pasted onto the letter is a newspaper clipping outlining Murchison's inaugural address as President of the British Association (?), with Prince Albert expected to attend.

Palmerston, Henry John Temple, Viscount, 1784-1865. Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to Sir Roderick [Impey Murchison] and reply
October 4, 1846 

Note from Palmerston (much obliged for Murchison's letter). Reverse side has a note by Murchison, dated 1846, about why Palmerston wrote him and an address delivered by Murchison, with the Palmerstons and Prince Consort in attendance.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to [Sir Richard] Owen
March 6, 1847 

Hopes to arrange for a meeting.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "My dear Sir Francis"
March 29, 1847 

2 page letter regarding the recipient's error on the matter of Lyell and volcanoes. 1 page note about price of the letter and its contents.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "My dear Sir"
Thursday morning, [1847] 

References an article in the paper about Grand Duke Constantine visiting Murchison, other social plans, and travel to Wales and Scotland.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to [Thomas Sopwith]
March 24, 1852 

1 page letter, 1 page note on price and contents. Recipient annotated in pencil. Offered presidency of an Australian gold company, speculated on value of his name and potential for enriching himself in the past.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "My dear Sir"
December 31, 1856 

Note written from Broadlands.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to [William] Broderip
October 2, 1858 

References "Owen's Meeting" and Times reporting.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "My dear Sir"
February 13, 1861 

Letter of introduction regarding "distinguished mathematician" M. Elafanti (?).

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "Sir"
August 13, 1861 

Hotel paper; missed opportunities to meet, receive response.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "My dear Mr. Watson"
January 18, 1862 

Cannot extend a dinner invitation at Belgrave Square while Lady Murchison is in Brighton, offers alternatives in the interim.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "My dear Sir"
February 11, 1862 

A new name to add as "a faithful delineator of geological features in Nature."

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "Dear Sir"
July 8, 1863 

In reply to recipient's letter, explanation of organizational rules.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to [William Gifford Palgrave]
February 23, 1864 

Includes praise for "instructive & elegant" narratives of Arctic exploration.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "My dear Sir"
April 20, 1864 

Committee business.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to [Hugh] Falconer
June 10, 1864 

Has now read manuscript, urges attendance at meeting, invitation to dine.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Note
October 31, 1865 

Note of a reply to Revered E. H. Cooper (?) stating he (Murchison) had nothing to do with British Museum appointments.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Biographical note
January 3, 1865 

Biographical note: specific mention of military captaincy, Silurian System, Geological Society and Royal Geographical Society presidencies. Reply sent to Mr. Delvett (?)

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "My dear Dr. Kirk"
January 31, 1866 

Regarding African research.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to Sir William [Denison]
April 7, 1867 

Left for summer holidays, arrangements for key and correspondence.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "My dear Sir"
June 23, 1867 

Royal Geographical Society paper. Appreciation and an invitation.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to Admiral Irminger
July 28, 1867 

Letter of introduction for Edward Whymper.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to [Henry Walter] Bates
December 10, 1867 

Belgrave Square paper. Reference to the Times.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to [Henry Walter] Bates
December 10, 1867 

Reference to a letter from the Earl of Dunmore (?)

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to [Richard Henry] Major
March 18, 1868 

Appreciation for The Life of Prince Henry, reciprocal offer of Siluria.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to [Sir Edwin Henry] Landseer
January 1, 1870 

Belgrave Square paper.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to [Henry Walter] Bates
January 24, 1871 

Change in handwriting may be due to a stroke.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to [Henry Walter] Bates
March 21, 1871 

Regarding Belker's (?) letters.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to [Henry Walter] Bates
May 18, 1871 

Geological Survey of England and Wales paper.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to [Henry Walter] Bates
July 3, 1871 

References a visit from the Emperor of Brazil, who inquired about Bates and [Alfred Russel] Wallace, recommends Bates make contact so he can call upon His Majesty.

Whewell, William, 1794-1866.
Letter to "Dear Murchison"
January 12, undated 

Request for books.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "My dear General"
Monday, undated 

Regarding plans to dine together.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to [Robert Hunt]
undated 

Regarding an unforwarded letter, lack of Italian topographical maps.

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to an unknown recipient
undated 

Belgrave Square paper (no earlier than 1839).

Murchison, Roderick Impey, Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to an unknown recipient
undated 

Building instructions, with reference to the Jermyn Street Geological Museum.

Stafford, Robert A..
Letter to Stephen Catlett
October, 1983 

Corrections to dating and attributions of APS materials. Per handwritten note, corrections were made June 1, 1984.

Series II. Reproductions
1830-18670.25 Linear Feet1 box.; 34 items, photocopies.

Abstract: These are letters written from America, to Murchison, discussing geology, natural history, and contemporary topics.

Provenance: Purchased from Geological Society of London (£14.35) and accessioned, 11/24/1964 (1965 160ph).

Location of originals: Originals in Geological Society of London.

Table of contents, 509.G29
1965 

List of 1964 acquisitions from the Geological Society of London.

Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey] Murchison
February 22, 1830 

Gifts sent on the ship the Alexander from Philadelphia to Liverpool. Particular attention paid to shells and fossils, hope for samples in return. Copy of the freshly-published poem "The Deluge" (with "geological and minerological allusions") and a request for further distribution. Some general discussion of finances and will.

Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey] Murchison
April 14, 1830 

Follow up to the earlier shipment of "Deluge" and shells. Promises to forward a forthcoming American Quarterly Review with "my notions of Geology, and of its importance."

Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey] Murchison
May, 1830 

Request for assistance: feedback, securing copyright.

Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey] Murchison
September 23, 1831 

Reply to Murchison's letter from Liverpool. Appreciates feedback, will correct map as noted. Americans are "beginning to take to geology" and Featherstonhaugh plans to promote Murchison's name among them.

Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey] Murchison
October 28, 1831 

Re: letter from Buckland, reasons why casts and writing was not presented to the Geological Society. Authenticity questioned; asks for Murchison's support.

Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey] Murchison
March 18, 1832 

Details of fossils and casts forwarded.

Harlan, Richard, 1796-1843.
Letter to [Sir] R[oderick] I[mpey] Murchison
May 18, 1832 

Forwarded casts, fossils, descriptions, on the advice of mutual acquaintance Featherstonhaugh.

Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey] Murchison
September 2, 1833 

Praise for Murchison's address in the July Philosophical Magazine. Complaints about the state of American geology, subscribers' failure to pay for Featherstonhaugh's journal. Discussion of efforts in Washington.

Lea, Isaac, 1792-1886.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey Murchison]
December 16, 1833 

Fossil samples sent (alas, not a complete collection); would be pleased to receive feedback on his writings.

Harlan, Richard, 1796-1843.
Letter to [Sir] R[oderick] I[mpey] Murchison
April 11, 1834 

Murchison elected corresponding member of the Geological Society of Pennsylvania. Harlan's "On certain Saurian fossils discovered in the U.S." forwarded for Murchison's perusal.

Rogers, Henry D. (Henry Darwin), 1806-1866.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey Murchison]
July 15, 1834 

Appreciation for Murchison's introcucing him to the Geological Section of the British Association; report of United States geology for Murchison's perusal; particular interest in Murchison's work on Welsh graywacke.

Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey Murchison]
November 4, 1834 

In French. Regarding fossils and scheduling.

Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey] Murchison
April 12, 1835 

Introduction of the bearer, William Pitt Adams.

Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey Murchison]
July 7, 1835 

In French. Regarding travel plans.

Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey Murchison]
October 6, 1835 

In French. Regarding fish fossils.

Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey Murchison]
February 24, 1837 

In French. Regarding a previous letter, a course on glaciers.

Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey Murchison]
[1838] 

In French. Regarding travel, fish fossils.

Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey Murchison]
March 4, 1840 

In French. Regarding Holoptychus, Old Red Sandstone ("Old Red d'Angleterre"), Silurian/Devonian organization.

Vanuxem, Lardner..
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey Murchison]
May 1, 1840 

Regarding Murchison's letter to Silliman and interest in visiting the U.S. to examine its geology.

Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey Murchison]
November 8, 1840 

In French. Regarding glaciers, Silurian and Devonian fish.

Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey Murchison]
May 4, 1845 

In French. Regarding specimens from St. Petersburg, Megra, and Riga; opinions on fish and reptiles.

Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey Murchison]
May 4, 1845 

In French. Regarding specimens from St. Petersburg, Megra, and Riga; opinions on fish and reptiles. Duplicate copy.

Hall, James, 1811-1898.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey Murchison]
January 29, 1847 

Regarding Silurian/Cambrian boundary.

Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey Murchison]
June 12, 1847 

In French. Regarding de Verneuil's work with fish fossils, travel to the United States.

Rogers, Henry D. (Henry Darwin), 1806-1866.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey Murchison]
December 1, 1848 

Regarding faults. Diagrams referenced are not included in this collection.

Silliman, Benjamin, 1779-1864.
Letter to Sir Roderick Impey Murchison
September 21, 1853 

Asked publisher to forward a copy of his observations (apologetically classified as a popular work); praise for Murchison's work in Wales.

Everett, Edward, 1794-1865.
Letter to Sir Roderick [Impey Murchison]
August 15, 1854 

Appreciation for Murchison's "extremely valuable and interesting work," which Everett received.

Silliman, Benjamin, 1779-1864.
Letter to Sir Roderick Impey Murchison
May 23, 1856 

Regrets on the death of Henry de la Beche, confidence in Murchison's stewardship of the Geological Survey, some quid pro quo.

Dana, James Dwight, 1813-1895.
Letter to Sir Roderick I[mpey] Murchison
July 9, 1856 

Appreciation for collection of British rocks and fossils; invitation to American Association meeting in August.

Everett, Edward, 1794-1865.
Letter to Sir Roderick [Impey Murchison]
August 10, 1857 

Regrets that, due to health concerns, Murchison canceled his planned trip to the United States.

Agassiz, Louis, 1807-1873.
Letter to Sir Rod[erick] I[mpey] Murchison
May 21, 1860 

Letter of introduction for an American mathematician (Peince?)

American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey Murchison]
February 4, 1861 

Appreciation for a collection of U.K. geological maps.

Featherstonhaugh, George William, 1780-1866.
Letter to [Sir Roderick Impey] Murchison
September 20, 1861 

Reflections upon Murchison's life, the rise of geology.

Campbell, P..
Letter to Sir Roderick I[mpey] Murchison
September 28, 1867 

Regarding coal mining in regions of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, and New South Wales.