"The formation of the surface of the earth is one continuous process which can be studied entirely from terrestrial materials without cosmological or supernatural intervention" (PMM)

    James Hutton. Theory of the Earth, with Proofs and Illustrations. London: Cadell, Junior and Davies; Edinburgh: William Creech, 1795. First edition of the first two volumes (the third and final volume was published posthumously in 1899 from manuscripts left behind by Hutton). Two octavo volumes. viii, 620; viii, 567, [1, blank] pages. With six folding engraved plates inserted at the rear of both volumes (four in the back of volume I, two in the back of volume II). Modern half brown calf over contemporary marbled boards (original binding has been rebacked and re-cornered). Spines tooled in gilt in compartments two red morocco gilt lettering labels. Some rubbing, toning to boards, some foxing in text and plates. Still, a fine copy.

    This work is an expansion of a lecture Hutton delivered to the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1785 (published in 1788) in which he explains the concept of uniformitarianism, wherein the formation of the earth is a continual process, which can be observed scientifically, without the need for non-scientific tools, spiritual or otherwise. He also proposed the theory of Vulcanism, wherein volcanoes act as a sort of "safety valve" against enormous underground heat expansion, thus preventing the continents from rising too far. Printing and the Mind of Man 247.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    10th Wednesday
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