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Notebook No.2, 1825- 1826

Identifier: Coll-203/A1/2

Scope and Contents

This notebook is complete, written by Lyell in ink, and featuring diverse subjects like fine art, museums, education, reform, and notes on geological advancements from Europe.

The following table of contents is Lyell's own words, copied from Lyell's own "Index", found at the beginning and end of the notebook, transcribed from digital surrogates using the platform Transkribus. When known, Lyell's abbreviations and contractions have been expanded using brackets []. When writing is unclear, and transcription is not possible, this is denoted using [...]. Quotation marks are Lyell's own notation for ditto, as is the abbreviation "d'o". The inclusion of [sic] indicates the misspelling of a word is deliberate and taken from the notebook.

Lyell's Own Index

p. 1, Journals and transact[ions]. If good cannot be too many
p. 2, 4, Brit[ish] Mus[eum]
p. 3, Férussac's Journal
p. 3, 12, 60, Coll[ege] of Surgeons
p. 4, Bodleian Lib[rarie]s
p. 4, Societies Officers
p. 6, 13, Glasgow Mus[eum]
p. 6, 8, Edinburgh
p. 7, Mining in France and Engl[and]
p. 8, Societies
p. 8, 14, Ireland, Phil[osophical?] Inst[itute]
p. 9, Subdiv[ision] of Sciences
p. 10, Foreign Science
p. 10, Communication
p. 11, Amer[ican] Journals
p. 12, America, Theology
p. 17, Celibacy of Clergy
p. 17, National [Emulation]
p. 16,17, Phrases
p. 20, Ireland
p. 21, Ed[ucation]
p. 36, Works of art in Catholic countries and England
p. 44, Institutions sh[oul]d be open on holiday
p. 48, 62, Loddiges
p. 50, Edinburgh exhibition of fine arts
p. 55, Italy, present
p. 60, Thefts at museum
p. 60, College of Surgeons
p. 62, Scotland
p. 64, Freshw[ater] formation near Strasburgh [sic] containing Lophiodons
p. 65, England, extinct animals
p. 66, Climate of n[orthern] hemisph[ere]
p. 68, Weald clay, thickness
p. 68, Palaeolithic size of diff
p. 69, Reptiles, age of
p. 70, Ichthyosaurus
p. 71, Brander, extract from on Ha[mpshire] foss[il] shells
p. 74, Lophiodons, Cuvier on
p. 76, Cuvier on Potamides
p. 77, Thickness of freshw[ater] shells
[unpaginated] W Broderip on the British animals


  • Creation: 1825- 1826


Historical Context

Lyell kept this notebook when he was 27 and 28 years of age, while balancing work with the Geological Society, private geological study, and his legal work on the Western Circuit. During this time, publisher John Murray invited Lyell to write for the Tory Quarterly Review, despite his known Whig sympathies. He uses his essays to advocate the cause of moderate reform, criticising the lack of government support for the sciences, and the unreformed state of the ancient universities. He particularly laments the clerical domination of higher education in England and larger issues of University education. In December of 1825, Lyell resigns as secretary of the Geological Society but is appointed its foreign secretary. He devotes more time to legal work on the Western Circuit, but also begins to plan a book expounding his belief that geology would only become scientific, if it were based on directly witnessable modern causes.

In February 1826 he is Elected Fellow of the Royal Society. He reads two papers at the Geological Society on Tertiary exposures of the Hampshire Coast, and publishes an essay in Quarterly Review on the Geological Society's publications, praising the society for abandoning speculative theorizing in favour of careful observation. In August, Lyell’s parents return to live permanently at Kinnordy.


185 folios

92 Leaves

1 volume

Archivist's Note

Description created by Elise Ramsay, Project Archivist; Nicky Monroe, Cataloguing Volunteer, November 2020 Reviewed by Elise Ramsay, Project Archivist, April 2021

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

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