Page:Transactions of the Geological Society, 1st series, vol. 2.djvu/400

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Dr. Mac Culloch on the Geology of

In the mass of geological reading which is in the hands of every one, most of the places referred to for characteristic examples are in foreign countries, always of difficult access to the many, and rendered more so at present from the circumstances of the times.

Our own country, perhaps, exhibits a greater variety of mineralogical products and geological facts than any equal space on the globe, condensed in their position and easy of access. It is desirable therefore that a record should be kept of such circumstances, that the student may not be sent to Siberia or Bohemia for that information which he may acquire in Arran or the Grampians; and that the humble task of recording the domestic habitats of interesting particulars may be countenanced by a Society which we trust is destined to add somewhat to the interest already taken in this pursuit, and to the general progress of geological knowledge.

In matters of terminology I have felt an inconvenience not peculiar to myself, which I have been unable to remedy without appearing to attack hypotheses that I would willingly have let alone, as the language of controversy is unpleasing, and appears rather calculated to retard than promote the progress of an infant science; not only by warping the impressions which the mind receives, but by diverting it from legitimate observation to the more amusing occupation of attack and defence.

I allude here chiefly to Werner's great divisions of rocks. If we describe the several rocks by the terms which he has applied to them, we begin by admitting the very matter to be proved. A worse consequence follows; the adoption of the terminology insensibly leads to a belief in the hypothesis, and becomes inimical to that independent and free spirit of observation which the infancy of any physical investigation more especially requires. To describe appearances without adopting this systematical language requires a cir-