Skip to main content

Notebook No.4, May 1827- June 1827

Identifier: Coll-203/A1/4

Scope and Contents

This notebook is a mix of geological observations, ruminations, and illustrations, Lyell also writes on law, society, and the church. A light natural leather journal, the cover reads "Index inside C" in ink. The notebook is written in pencil and ink.

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, often followed by the modern spelling in brackets.

Lyell's Own Index

p. 1, Index
p. 9, Sirius light of
p. 9, Silicified wood
p. 10, Irish elk
p. 11, Ichthyosaurus
p. 11, Magnesian limest[one]
p. 12, D[itt]o freshwater
p. 12, Chrystallisation[sic] [Crystallization] rearrangement 18.2
p. 12, Grignon shells
p. 13, Fish. number. of.
p. 13, Desmarest map
p. 13, Scrope[’]s Panor[amic] views
p. 13, Snow in Auvergne 17 [and]
p. 14, Flagst[one] of Paris lava
p. 16, Clermont distant from Paris
p. 17, Auvergne pictures qu[…]
p. 18, Crystalline rearrangement
p. 18, Magnesian limest[one]
p. 18, Do [Ditto] has shells common to Mount[ai]n
p. 18, Silicified wood. Opal
p. 19, Do [Ditto] in various strata
p. 19, Wood between mono and dicotyled[ons]
p. 20, Oolitic structure
p. 20, Magnesian limest[one] like Mount[ai]n
p. 20, Obsidian aquatic. Jamieson[sic] [Jameson]
p. 21, Coal shale roofing slate
p. 21, Trachyte granite form[ation]
p. 21, Solenhofen [sic] and other fossils
p. 21, Echinus in all form??
p. 21, Solenhofen [sic] freshw[ater]??
p. 21, Pressure tide
p. 22, Clowes ½ printing of Lond[on]
p. 22, Music
p. 24, Bank note. plan to improve
p. 24, Stereotype only 20 y[ear]s old
p. 25, Printing at Clowes
p. 26, Clerical instru[ments][?] at S[ain]t Bees?
p. 26, Peperins
p. 27, Silicified wood
p. 27, Egypt chalk oolitic
p. 28, Monte Bolea fish, how enab[le]d
p. 28, Pholadomya discov[ered]
p. 29, Shells in deep sea
p. 29, Littoral shells alone known
p. 30, Time. Scriptural geol[og]y
p. 30, Crag shells. Dillwyn.
p. 31, Paper Nautilus
p. 31, to 34 Thiersch on Education
p. 35, Elephants bones Ferussac
p. 36, Antrim basalt same as Miezen
p. 36, Pisolite Auvergne
p. 37, D’o [Ditto]
p. 38, Wardour vale
p. 40, Serpentine Boue
p. 40, with Euphotide
p. 41, Needles in I[sle] of W[ight] [gone]
p. 41, Volcano Owyhee
p. 42, Clowes Printing Press. Pl[ace]
p. 43, Waste of cliffs
p. 43, Xch[?] Hd + Pool Bay section
p. 43, D[itt]o dilu[vium] contains chalk
p. 43, Modern Causes why unknown
p. 44, Dor [and] Cantal Etna?
p. 44, Volcanic rock of Auvergne 27.
p. 44, Trap why altern[ates] not rocks
p. 44, Sexes in insects.
p. 45, Bentham fallacies Bingham
p. 45, Volcanoes in granite 27.
p. 45, Compression of lava
p. 45, Inns of Court Irish
p. 45, Extinct animals – a beginning
p. 46, Crag. Taylor legendum
p. 46, Lava prismatic yet cellular
p. 46, Gyps[um] and silicif[ie]d wood Purbeck
p. 46, Hot Springs sinter
p. 47, Fossil animal large Ohio
p. 48, Aysac lava
p. 48, Hot Springs in Auvergne
p. 48, Solfatara very ancient
p. 48, Stalactites form slowly?
p. 49, Obsidian [Mexican]
p. 49, Silicified wood in Antigua
p. 49-53, Thiersch on Education contin[ued]
p. 54, Bulletin des Sci[ences] legendum
p. 54, Temperature changed w[oul]d lower water
p. 54, Pressure rise of L[ake] Superior
p. 54, L[ake] Superior on prim[...] and sandst[one]
p. 54, Whales fossil
p. 54, Dante extracts. first.
p. 55, List of bones N[orth] Sarum
p. 56, Bones near Thames Trimmer
p. 57, Dante contin[ue]d
p. 57, Grey weather N[orth] Downs
p. 58, Cave animals all in diluv[ium]
p. 58, Kentish rag like oolite
p. 58, D’o [Ditto] cov[ere]d by dil[uvium] in wh[ite] chalk
p. 58, D’o [Ditto] like firestone
p. 58, D’o [Ditto] Portland shells
p. 59, Kentis[h] rag[stone] Fossils Boughton
p. 60, Fossils of Trans[ition] and Mount[ain]
p. 61, Division of Science Bacon
p. 61, Ammonite large
p. 61, Diluvium in [Supese] [Et cetera] weald
p. 62, Change of beds [crystaline][sic] [crystalline] [fooer][?]
p. 62, Auvergne beds how far like old
p. 62, Caves in limest[one] only
p. 62, Cone in Cone
p. 63, Gypsum [vale][?] of [Wardon][?]
p. 63, D’o [Ditto] Purbeck
p. 63, Hint
p. 63, Waste cliffs
p. 63, Pholadomya
p. 64, Rivers in Vivanas snow
p. 65, Plan of Essays
p. 65, Dunes on coast of France
p. 66, Dante contin[ued] bis
p. 67, Fisherton Anger plan of R.
p. 68, Silicif[ied] wood V.D. land and matrix
p. 68, Mod[ern] causes concealed because tropics
p. 68, Corals sh[oul]d not be called zoophytes
p. 69, D’o [Ditto] Mod[ern] causes.
p. 70, Shells cov[ere]d with incrust[ation][sic] [encrustation] C[ape] of G[ood] H[ope] et cetera
p. 71, Teredo. works fast newly introd[uc]ed
p. 72, I[sle] of Wight [Camtiden] its junct[ion]
p. 72, Living 1st Decade useless
p. 73, Dante contin[ued]
p. 73, What volc[ani]c district has become ext[inc]t
p. 73, Tubes like [Drig or Daig][?], Africa
p. 73, [and] 74 Sansego bones [Et cetera]
p. 73, [and] 74 Alkali in basalt
p. 75, Geol[ogy] Theories [and] controv[ersies] why violent?
p. 76, Dr. Johnson ag[ains]t Nat[ura]l Hist[or]y and Milton
p. 77, D’o [Ditto] v Cowley
p. 77, Burke Playfair [and] [ors][?] slow writers
p. 85, L.[Lake] Superior [and] N.[North] American lakes to
p. 85, L[ord] Bacon on Truth in science
p. 86, D’o [Ditto] religion sh[oul]d not be mixed up with
p. 88, Costume legend[u]m
p. 88, N[umber]s misplaced of specimens
p. 89, [and] Norfolk Coast
p. 89, Exhumation: Mr Peel
p. 89, Sansego bones
p. 89, Tides on Norf[ol]k coast
p. 90, Waste of cliffs
p. 90, Millst[one] Grit below clay slate
p. 91, Age of trees
p. 91, Temperature
p. 92, Oligarchy [and] Arist[ocrac]y
p. 92, Canadian hunters, beavers
p. 93, Waste of cliffs
p. 94, Love of knowledge interested
p. 94, Nat[ural] Hist[or]y. Dr. Johnson
p. 94, Revol[ving] of Earth on Axis not revol
p. 94, ving with Atmosphere. Rasselas
p. 94, Marriage late and early
p. 94, Age of trees on Etna
p. 94, Yarmouth new harbour
p. 95, Dante contin[ue]d
p. 95, Bookseller science French.
p. 95, Latin modern barbarous Porson
p. 95, Deer in N[orth] Amer[ican] lakes.
p. 96, Maestricht volules
p. 96, Cave in Italy
p. 96, Attornies Lond[o]n Univ[ersit]y
p. 97, Oxf[or]d Statute repealed
p. 97, London Univ[ersit]y v. Coll[ege] Surg[eon]
p. 98, Attornies pay a fine instead of Ed[ucatio]n
p. 98, Attornies must come to town now
p. 98, Attornies pay 500 [pounds] [and] 800 premium
p. 99, Attornies conveyances?
p. 99, Attornies managing burroughs.
p. 99, Lond[o]n Univ[ersit]y. heads on it
p. 100, Amici’s [and] Tully’s micros[cope]
p. 100, Charo
p. 100, Legendum. Bonnet
p. 100, Legendum. Yeats on Ed[ucatio]n
p. 100, Attornies bad ed[ucatio]n articles
p. 101, Irish barristers in Lond[o]n q[uer]y
p. 101, Attornies cannot go to Oxf[or]d [Et cetera]
p. 101, Writers in Scotl[an]d
p. 101, Professors and Assistants Ed[inburgh]
p. 102, Mines in Cornwall tin
p. 102, Mines in Electric effects
p. 102, Apprentiships [sic]
p. 102, Exhumation
p. 103, Oxf[or]d and Camb[ridge]. Increase of
p. 103, Dissenters
p. 103, Attornies
p. 104, Engeneers [sic] [Engineers]
p. 104, [Professions][?] deemed liberal by fashion
p. 105, Should a man extend his range
p. 105, Church fashionable in Eng[lan]d
p. 106, University Educ[a]tion. London Un[iversity]
p. 107, Red Sandt[one] Devon De la Beche
p. 107, Siliceous Sinter
p. 108, Abridge labour [and] you lengthen life.
p. 108, Att[orn]ies
p. 108, Engeneers [sic] [Engineers]
p. 109, Attornies
p. 109, What if suit conduct[e]d by one
p. 110, Attornies privileged commun[ity]
p. 111, Attornies their different offices
p. 111, Man not amphibious [Et cetera]
p. 111, Legendum
p. 111, Apprentiships [sic]
p. 111, Degrees test of conduct [Jooke][?]
p. 112, Attornies managing boroughs.
p. 112, Att[orn]ies, East Bekford [sic] [Beckford]
p. 112, privileged comm[unitie]s
p. 112, Dissenters number
p. 112, London Univ[ersit]y chambers [Et cetera]
p. 113, Annus magnus
p. 113, Daines Barrington on age of trees
p. 113, Att[orn]ies privileged comm[une]s
p. 114, Man may be ancient tho’ no old cities.
p. 114, Dolimitic [sic] [Dolomitic][?] on lavas test of different ages
p. 115, Carbonif[erou]s limest[one] burned of marble by trap
p. 115, Calc[ulation] Gr[oss] at great height in Alps Brong[niart]
p. 115, Legend[u]m De Basterot in Bourdeaux tertia[ry]

p. 115, Crag in M[on]t de la[ns][?] [Moliere][?] Phillip 1162 [Et cetera]
p. 116, Domite and Trachyte Daubeny
p. 116, Antrim trap same age as Dor
p. 116, most recent rock in G[rea]t B[asi]n
p. 116, Are degrees bad as monopolies
p. 117, Heads of colleges Bad ins[tructio]n[?] at Ox[ford] [and] Camb[ridge]
p. 117, Exhumation. Peel’s emerit[u]s[?]
p. 118, Craters of ancient form[ations] and limest[on]e volc[anic]
p. 118, Any solvent in Paris silicates?
p. 118, Silex in Auvergne
p. 118, Waste gyps[um] decompo[sition].
p. 118, Brongniart on freshw[ate]r form[atio]n] ledend[u]m
p. 119, Dante contin[ue]d
p. 119, Pictures L[or]d Grosvenors [...] [Phils][?]
p. 119, Mrs Siddons by Sir J. Reynolds
p. 120, Professors Lond[o]n Univ[ersi]ty
p. 121, Brora ammonite like human skull
p. 121, Strata from slow, bored shells
p. 121, Faujas S[ain]t Fonds Maestricht elk
p. 121, Crag contains elephants bones
p. 121, Maestricht rock in chalk
p. 122, Crag near Montpelier [sic] [Montpellier]
p. 122, Tertiary strata in Italy
p. 122, Palm wood structure
p. 122, Chert, definition
p. 123, Crag of Sarhy[…]d beaver. coal.
p. 123, Val d’Arno
p. 124, Cetacea why not formed
p. 125, Conglome[rate] of Mezen. B. [Ronx]
p. 125, King’s Proclam[atio]n ag[ains]t Vice [and] Immoral[i]ty
p. 126, That of Frauds
p. 126, Evidence at L. [Sefs[...]s][?] [Frausporte][?]
p. 126, Wilts [Sess[…]s] council
p. 126, City buried in [Antrim][?] marshes
p. 127, Scotch educ[ate]d at Oxford [burn][?] Ch. Of England
p. 127, Att[orn]ies queries
p. 128, Clerk of the Peace
p. 128, Silex Resinite
p. 128, Basins of Loire and Seine
p. 129, Clinkstone
p. 129, Wilts [...] manufacturing. why.
p. 129, Lava of Pariou trees
p. 129, Vivarrais volc[ani]c. [Et cetera]
p. 130, Beulah Scrope[‘]s theory of it.
p. 130, Recent cones in Valle delle bue et cetera
p. 131, Lava on Etna cascading
p. 131, District unexpl[aine]d in Cantal
p. 131, Lucretius on men growing from earth
p. 131, Sessions from criminal briefs.
p. 131, Att[orn]ies profits
p. 133, Attornnies Why bills high 133.2 [and]
p. 133, Rule of Barristers
p. 133, Sessions [gains[ of barristers
p. 133, Att[orn]ies
p. 134, Firis[…][?] Warminster. [whit[e]s][?] trees from
p. 134, D’o [Ditto]. D’o [Ditto] [and] Blackd[og][?] own same.
p. 134, Silicified wood in Portland
p. 134, Fish from bitum[inous] shale Isleben
p. 134, Fish skeleton and [luth] in chalk W.
p. 135, Indigestible, fin of balista
p. 135, Warminster and Blackdown firest[one]
p. 135, Melania Chub farm
p. 139+130, Chrystallizing chalcedrous
p. 135, Chalk fossils. D’o [Ditto] firest[one]
p. 135, Tricks of dealers
p. 135, Egypt fossils
p. 137, [Alegonia][?] from Sincapore [sic] [Singapore]
p. 137, Cetacea 2. beneath chalk
p. 137, Stonesfield fern
p. 137, Q[uer]y of Dr. Fowler
p. 138, Marble of Nonette Auvergne
p. 138, Att[orn]ies
p. 138, Apprentiships
p. 138, Diluvium Warminst[er]
p. 138, Geology not cosmogony
p. 139, Elevation in Geol[og]y why unseen
p. 146, Earthquakes what effect submarine
p. 146, Lord Mansfield maxim for Poor laws
p. 146, Oath of Att[orn]ies of honesty
p. 146, Volcanic ashes from Vesuvius [Et cetera]
p. 140, Dead bodies in Bavaria exposed
p. 140, Vallies [sic] [Valleys] excavation of
p. 140, Legend[u]m Mills on Educ[atio]n Enc. Brit[ish
p. 140, Transcrip[tio]n[?] of matter Smollet
p. 140, Age of trees oak Surrey
p. 140, Strutt Legendum
p. 141, Olives at Tibur Rome
p. 141, Extent to wh[ich] sand may be furrowed
p. 141, Storm Nov[ember] 1824. Crisis 146.2
p. 141, Horsham stone 147 &
p. 142, Grooving of oolite Castle Combe
p. 142, Aristocratic feeling in Engl[an]d
p. 142, Mortgages render n[ea]r depend[an]t
p. 142, Aristocratic feeling in Italy.
p. 144, Legend[u]m Raffles on vol[cani]c ashes Java
p. 144, Large crystals in lava of Ischia
p. 144, Chippenham oolite disturbed
p. 144, Viscid bitumen Auvergne
p. 144, Architecture
p. 144, Kelloways Sommerford
p. 145, Lamarck volc[anoe]s
p. 145, Salt ves[uvius] bis.
p. 145, G[…]h of sandst[one] coast Messina
p. 145, Stromboli M[onte] Bolea
p. 147, Age of trees
p. 147, Druid sandstone
p. 147, [Barrows][?] on chalk waste not.
p. 147, Table of queries at end of vol[ume]
p. 148, England before drainage Tacitus
p. 148, River flow from older to younger beds
p. 148, Prejudices in Geol[og]y
p. 148, Bagshot sand proof of elevat[io]n mod[er]n
p. 148, Primiogeniture spinsters
p. 149, Mastodon in chalk. Ed. Phil. Journ[al]
p. 149, Strata only when water has existed
p. 149, Temperature from earth Fourier.
p. 149, Val de Bagnes Eds Phil. Journ.
p. 150, Legendum in Geol[og]y.
p. 150, Stat[e] of Disturb[ance] affects primiogenit[ure] how
p. 150, Mathematical lectures in Lond[o]n
p. 150, Bagshot sand
p. 151, Shells pulveriz[ed only in Shallows
p. 151, Consolidation of modern rock
p. 151, Flemming [sic] [Fleming] reference to
p. 151, Oolite Structure of Castle Comb[e]s
p. 153, Ischia eruption large crystals
p. 153, Volc[ani]c ashes see Raffles
p. 153, Legend[u]m Raffles. Java.
p. 153, Change of fluid. lias crystal[ize]d
p. 153, Age of Trees durability of wood
p. 153, Oolite Castle Combe disturbed
p. 153, Springs submarine silex
p. 153, Bitumen[ous] [ris eid] in Auvergne
p. 154, Castle Combe tour
p. 155, Architecture Greek [and] Goths
p. 155, Legendum V. Buch or Lamarck
p. 155, Messina mod[er]n form[ation] of stone
p. 155, Stromboli high as Etna. dead fish.
p. 156, Monte Bolea fish. Theory.
p. 156, Delos limest[on]e isle? [clu[e]d][?]
p. 157, [Volcanic][?] tablets to Neptune
p. 157, Floods in N[orth] of Italy [Courier][?]
p. 157, Apes not found fossils
p. 157, Subseq[en]t change of strata Tunbridge.
p. 158, D’o [Ditto] by diff[eren]t minerals
p. 158, Tabular view of the conversion of
p. 158, diff[eren]t org[anisms] ren[dered] into minerals
p. 158, Tunbridge sand
p. 160, Silicified chalk fossils. Chalk
p. 160, Human remains if silicif[ie]d
p. 161, Silicification.
p. 161, Destruction. frysitas
End of Index. To C.


  • Creation: May 1827- June 1827


Historical Context

This notebook, the first of 1827, was written by Lyell early in his geological career, when he was 30 years old, and unmarried. This comes after Lyell and Buckland made their discoveries in Scotland in 1824, but whilst he was also maintaining a law practice, funded by his father. Lyell was greatly involved with the Geological Society, serving as Secretary with George Poulett Scrope in 1825, and presenting papers on Tertiary exposures of the Hampshire coast in 1826. During the course of this notebook, Lyell began writing the first drafts of Principles of Geology. The first manuscript was delivered to the publisher at the close of 1827.

During this period, Lyell's eyes, weakened from a time spent in Tuscany as a youth, grew stronger, and allowed him to plan trips further afield to Europe. Most biographies point to this period of time when he resolved to dedicate his time to his geology work.

While working as a barrister on the western circuit, Lyell reads the evolutionary theories of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829) and realizes that the mutability of species would affect geology as much as the biological sciences. Lyell nonetheless concludes that the fossil record is too imperfect to support the theory of evolution, and that the physical world is a stable balanced system.


165 folios

82 Leaves

1 volume

Archivist's Note

Created by Elise Ramsay, Project Archivist; Nicky Monroe, November 2020 Reviewed by Elise Ramsay, Project Archivist; Erin McRae, Michael Lord Cataloguing Volunteers; April 2021



Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379