James Hutton FRSE ( /ˈhʌtən/; 3 June 1726 – 26 March 1797) was
a Scottish geologist, physician, chemical manufacturer, naturalist,
and experimental agriculturalist. He originated the theory of
uniformitarianism—a fundamental principle of geology—that explains
the features of the Earth's crust by means of natural processes over
geologic time. Hutton's work established geology as a science, and as
a result he is referred to as the "
Father of Modern Geology".
Through observation and carefully reasoned geological arguments,
Hutton came to believe that the
Earth was perpetually being formed; he
recognised that the history of
Earth could be determined by
understanding how processes such as erosion and sedimentation work in
the present day. His theories of geology and geologic time, also
called deep time, came to be included in theories which were called
plutonism and uniformitarianism. Some of his writings anticipated the
1 Early life and career
1.1 Farming and geology
Edinburgh and canal building
2 Later life and death
3 Theory of rock formations
3.1 Search for evidence
5 Opposing theories
6 Acceptance of geological theories
7 Other contributions
Earth as a living entity
10 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
Early life and career
Hutton was born in
Edinburgh on 3 June 1726, OS one of five children
of Sarah Balfour and William Hutton, a merchant who was
Treasurer. Hutton's father died in 1729, when he was three.
He was educated at the High School of
Edinburgh (as were most
Edinburgh children) where he was particularly interested in
mathematics and chemistry, then when he was 14 he attended the
Edinburgh as a "student of humanity", studying the
classics. He was apprenticed to the lawyer George Chalmers WS when he
was 17, but took more interest in chemical experiments than legal
work. At the age of 18, he became a physician's assistant, and
attended lectures in medicine at the University of Edinburgh. After
three years he went to the
University of Paris
University of Paris to continue his
studies, taking the degree of
Doctor of Medicine
Doctor of Medicine at Leiden University
in 1749 with a thesis on blood circulation.:2
After his degree Hutton returned to London, then in mid-1750 went back
Edinburgh and resumed chemical experiments with close friend, James
Davie. Their work on production of sal ammoniac from soot led to their
partnership in a profitable chemical works,:2 manufacturing the
crystalline salt which was used for dyeing, metalworking and as
smelling salts and had been available only from natural sources and
had to be imported from Egypt. Hutton owned and rented out properties
in Edinburgh, employing a factor to manage this business.
Farming and geology
Hutton inherited from his father the
Berwickshire farms of
Slighhouses, a lowland farm which had been in the family since 1713,
and the hill farm of Nether Monynut.:2–3 In the early 1750s he
moved to Slighhouses and set about making improvements, introducing
farming practices from other parts of Britain and experimenting with
plant and animal husbandry.:2–3 He recorded his ideas and
innovations in an unpublished treatise on The Elements of
This developed his interest in meteorology and geology. In a 1753
letter he wrote that he had "become very fond of studying the surface
of the earth, and was looking with anxious curiosity into every pit or
ditch or bed of a river that fell in his way". Clearing and draining
his farm provided ample opportunities. The mathematician John Playfair
described Hutton as having noticed that "a vast proportion of the
present rocks are composed of materials afforded by the destruction of
bodies, animal, vegetable and mineral, of more ancient formation". His
theoretical ideas began to come together in 1760. While his farming
activities continued, in 1764 he went on a geological tour of the
Scotland with George Maxwell-Clerk, ancestor of the
famous James Clerk Maxwell.
Edinburgh and canal building
In 1768 Hutton returned to Edinburgh, letting his farms to tenants but
continuing to take an interest in farm improvements and research which
included experiments carried out at Slighhouses. He developed a red
dye made from the roots of the madder plant.
He had a house built in 1770 at St John's Hill, Edinburgh, overlooking
Salisbury Crags. This later became the Balfour family home and, in
1840, the birthplace of the psychiatrist James Crichton-Browne. Hutton
was one of the most influential participants in the Scottish
Enlightenment, and fell in with numerous first-class minds in the
sciences including mathematician John Playfair, philosopher David Hume
and economist Adam Smith. Hutton held no position in the
Edinburgh and communicated his scientific findings
through the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was particularly friendly
with physician and chemist Joseph Black, and together with Adam Smith
they founded the Oyster Club for weekly meetings.
Between 1767 and 1774 Hutton had close involvement with the
construction of the Forth and Clyde canal, making full use of his
geological knowledge, both as a shareholder and as a member of the
committee of management, and attended meetings including extended site
inspections of all the works. At this time he is listed as living on
Bernard Street in Leith. In 1777 he published a pamphlet on
Considerations on the Nature, Quality and Distinctions of Coal and
Culm which successfully helped to obtain relief from excise duty on
carrying small coal.
In 1783 he was a joint founder of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Later life and death
The memorial to
James Hutton at his grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard
From 1791 Hutton suffered extreme pain from stones in the bladder and
gave up field work to concentrate on finishing his books. A dangerous
and painful operation failed to resolve his illness. He died in
Edinburgh and was buried in the vault of Andrew Balfour, opposite the
vault of his friend Joseph Black, in the now sealed south-west section
Greyfriars Kirkyard commonly known as the Covenanter's Prison.
Hutton did not marry and had no legitimate children. Around 1747
he had a son by a Miss Edington, and though he gave his child James
Smeaton Hutton financial assistance, he had little to do with the boy
who went on to become a post-office clerk in London.
Theory of rock formations
Hutton developed several hypotheses to explain the rock formations he
saw around him, but according to Playfair he "was in no haste to
publish his theory; for he was one of those who are much more
delighted with the contemplation of truth, than with the praise of
having discovered it". After some 25 years of work, his Theory of
the Earth; or an Investigation of the Laws observable in the
Composition, Dissolution, and Restoration of Land upon the Globe was
read to meetings of the Royal Society of
Edinburgh in two parts, the
first by his friend
Joseph Black on 7 March 1785, and the second by
himself on 4 April 1785. Hutton subsequently read an abstract of his
dissertation Concerning the System of the Earth, its Duration and
Stability to Society meeting on 4 July 1785, which he had printed
and circulated privately. In it, he outlined his theory as
The solid parts of the present land appear in general, to have been
composed of the productions of the sea, and of other materials similar
to those now found upon the shores. Hence we find reason to conclude:
1st, That the land on which we rest is not simple and original, but
that it is a composition, and had been formed by the operation of
2nd, That before the present land was made, there had subsisted a
world composed of sea and land, in which were tides and currents, with
such operations at the bottom of the sea as now take place. And,
Lastly, That while the present land was forming at the bottom of the
ocean, the former land maintained plants and animals; at least the sea
was then inhabited by animals, in a similar manner as it is at
Hence we are led to conclude, that the greater part of our land, if
not the whole had been produced by operations natural to this globe;
but that in order to make this land a permanent body, resisting the
operations of the waters, two things had been required;
1st, The consolidation of masses formed by collections of loose or
2ndly, The elevation of those consolidated masses from the bottom of
the sea, the place where they were collected, to the stations in which
they now remain above the level of the ocean.
Search for evidence
Hutton's Section on Edinburgh's Salisbury Crags
In 1785 at
Glen Tilt in the Cairngorm mountains in the Scottish
Highlands, Hutton found granite penetrating metamorphic schists, in a
way which indicated that the granite had been molten at the time. This
demonstrated to him that granite formed from the cooling of molten
rock rather than it precipitating out of water as others at the time
believed, and therefore the granite must be younger than the
He went on to find a similar penetration of volcanic rock through
sedimentary rock in Edinburgh, at Salisbury Crags, adjoining
Arthur's Seat – this area of the Crags is now known as Hutton's
Section. He found other examples in
Galloway in 1786, and on
Isle of Arran
Isle of Arran in 1787.
Unconformity on Arran
Unconformity at Jedburgh. Photograph (2003) below Clerk of
Eldin illustration (1787).
The existence of angular unconformities had been noted by Nicolas
Steno and by French geologists including Horace-Bénédict de
Saussure, who interpreted them in terms of
Neptunism as "primary
formations". Hutton wanted to examine such formations himself to see
"particular marks" of the relationship between the rock layers. On the
1787 trip to the
Isle of Arran
Isle of Arran he found his first example of Hutton's
Unconformity to the north of Newton Point near Lochranza, but
the limited view meant that the condition of the underlying strata was
not clear enough for him, and he incorrectly thought that the
strata were conformable at a depth below the exposed outcrop.
Later in 1787 Hutton noted what is now known as the Hutton or "Great"
Unconformity at Inchbonny, Jedburgh, in layers of sedimentary
rock. As shown in the illustrations to the right, layers of
greywacke in the lower layers of the cliff face are tilted almost
vertically, and above an intervening layer of conglomerate lie
horizontal layers of Old Red Sandstone. He later wrote of how he
"rejoiced at my good fortune in stumbling upon an object so
interesting in the natural history of the earth, and which I had been
long looking for in vain." That year, he found the same sequence in
An eroded outcrop at
Siccar Point showing sloping red sandstone above
vertical greywacke was sketched by Sir James Hall in 1788.
In the Spring of 1788 he set off with
John Playfair to the
Berwickshire coast and found more examples of this sequence in the
valleys of the Tour and Pease Burns near Cockburnspath. They then
took a boat trip from
Dunglass Burn east along the coast with the
geologist Sir James Hall of Dunglass. They found the sequence in the
cliff below St. Helens, then just to the east at
Siccar Point found
what Hutton called "a beautiful picture of this junction washed bare
by the sea". Playfair later commented about the experience,
"the mind seemed to grow giddy by looking so far into the abyss of
time". Continuing along the coast, they made more discoveries
including sections of the vertical beds showing strong ripple marks
which gave Hutton "great satisfaction" as a confirmation of his
supposition that these beds had been laid horizontally in water. He
also found conglomerate at altitudes that demonstrated the extent of
erosion of the strata, and said of this that "we never should have
dreamed of meeting with what we now perceived".
Hutton reasoned that there must have been innumerable cycles, each
involving deposition on the seabed, uplift with tilting and erosion
then undersea again for further layers to be deposited. On the belief
that this was due to the same geological forces operating in the past
as the very slow geological forces seen operating at the present day,
the thicknesses of exposed rock layers implied to him enormous
stretches of time.
Though Hutton circulated privately a printed version of the abstract
of his Theory (Concerning the System of the Earth, its Duration, and
Stability) which he read at a meeting of the Royal Society of
Edinburgh on 4 July 1785; the full account of his theory as read
at 7 March 1785 and 4 April 1785 meetings did not appear in print
until 1788. It was titled Theory of the Earth; or an Investigation of
the Laws observable in the Composition, Dissolution, and Restoration
of Land upon the Globe and appeared in Transactions of the Royal
Society of Edinburgh, vol. I, Part II, pp. 209–304, plates I
and II, published 1788. He put forward the view that "from what
has actually been, we have data for concluding with regard to that
which is to happen thereafter." This restated the Scottish
Enlightenment concept which
David Hume had put in 1777 as "all
inferences from experience suppose ... that the future will
resemble the past", and
Charles Lyell memorably rephrased in the 1830s
as "the present is the key to the past". Hutton's 1788 paper
concludes; "The result, therefore, of our present enquiry is, that we
find no vestige of a beginning,–no prospect of an end." His
memorably phrased closing statement has long been celebrated.
(It was quoted in the 1989 song “No Control" by songwriter and
professor Greg Graffin.)
Following criticism, especially the arguments from
Richard Kirwan who
thought Hutton's ideas were atheistic and not logical, Hutton
published a two volume version of his theory in 1795,
consisting of the 1788 version of his theory (with slight additions)
along with a lot of material drawn from shorter papers Hutton already
had to hand on various subjects such as the origin of granite. It
included a review of alternative theories, such as those of Thomas
Burnet and Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon.
The whole was entitled An Investigation of the Principles of Knowledge
and of the Progress of Reason, from Sense to
Science and Philosophy
when the third volume was completed in 1794. Its 2,138 pages
prompted Playfair to remark that "The great size of the book, and the
obscurity which may justly be objected to many parts of it, have
probably prevented it from being received as it deserves.”
His new theories placed him into opposition with the then-popular
Neptunist theories of Abraham Gottlob Werner, that all rocks had
precipitated out of a single enormous flood. Hutton proposed that the
interior of the
Earth was hot, and that this heat was the engine which
drove the creation of new rock: land was eroded by air and water and
deposited as layers in the sea; heat then consolidated the sediment
into stone, and uplifted it into new lands. This theory was dubbed
"Plutonist" in contrast to the flood-oriented theory.
As well as combating the Neptunists, he also opened up the concept of
deep time for scientific purposes, in opposition to Catastrophism.
Rather than accepting that the earth was no more than a few thousand
years old, he maintained that the
Earth must be much older, with a
history extending indefinitely into the distant past. His main
line of argument was that the tremendous displacements and changes he
was seeing did not happen in a short period of time by means of
catastrophe, but that processes still happening on the
Earth in the
present day had caused them. As these processes were very gradual, the
Earth needed to be ancient, to allow time for the changes. Before
long, scientific inquiries provoked by his claims had pushed back the
age of the earth into the millions of years – still too short
when compared with the accepted 4.6 billion year age in the 21st
century, but a distinct improvement.
Acceptance of geological theories
It has been claimed that the prose of Principles of Knowledge was so
obscure that it also impeded the acceptance of Hutton's geological
theories. Restatements of his geological ideas (though not his
thoughts on evolution) by
John Playfair in 1802 and then Charles Lyell
in the 1830s popularised the concept of an infinitely repeating cycle,
though Lyell tended to dismiss Hutton's views as giving too much
credence to catastrophic changes.
It was not merely the earth to which Hutton directed his attention. He
had long studied the changes of the atmosphere. The same volume in
which his Theory of the
Earth appeared contained also a Theory of
Rain. He contended that the amount of moisture which the air can
retain in solution increases with temperature, and, therefore, that on
the mixture of two masses of air of different temperatures a portion
of the moisture must be condensed and appear in visible form. He
investigated the available data regarding rainfall and climate in
different regions of the globe, and came to the conclusion that the
rainfall is regulated by the humidity of the air on the one hand, and
mixing of different air currents in the higher atmosphere on the
Earth as a living entity
The idea that the
Earth is alive is found in philosophy and religion,
but the first scientific discussion was by James Hutton. In 1785, he
stated that the
Earth was a superorganism and that its proper study
should be physiology. Although his views anticipated the Gaia
hypothesis, proposed in the 1960s by scientist James Lovelock, his
idea of a living
Earth was forgotten in the intense reductionism of
the 19th century.
Hutton also advocated uniformitarianism for living creatures –
evolution, in a sense – and even suggested natural selection as
a possible mechanism affecting them:
"...if an organised body is not in the situation and circumstances
best adapted to its sustenance and propagation, then, in conceiving an
indefinite variety among the individuals of that species, we must be
assured, that, on the one hand, those which depart most from the best
adapted constitution, will be the most liable to perish, while, on the
other hand, those organised bodies, which most approach to the best
constitution for the present circumstances, will be best adapted to
continue, in preserving themselves and multiplying the individuals of
their race." – Investigation of the Principles of Knowledge,
Hutton gave the example that where dogs survived through "swiftness of
foot and quickness of sight... the most defective in respect of those
necessary qualities, would be the most subject to perish, and that
those who employed them in greatest perfection... would be those who
would remain, to preserve themselves, and to continue the race".
Equally, if an acute sense of smell became "more necessary to the
sustenance of the animal... the same principle [would] change the
qualities of the animal, and.. produce a race of well scented hounds,
instead of those who catch their prey by swiftness". The same
"principle of variation" would influence "every species of plant,
whether growing in a forest or a meadow". He came to his ideas as the
result of experiments in plant and animal breeding, some of which he
outlined in an unpublished manuscript, the Elements of Agriculture. He
distinguished between heritable variation as the result of breeding,
and non-heritable variations caused by environmental differences such
as soil and climate.
Though he saw his "principle of variation" as explaining the
development of varieties, Hutton rejected the idea that evolution
might originate species as a "romantic fantasy", according to
palaeoclimatologist Paul Pearson. Influenced by deism, Hutton
thought the mechanism allowed species to form varieties better adapted
to particular conditions and provided evidence of benevolent design in
nature. Studies of Charles Darwin's notebooks have shown that Darwin
arrived separately at the idea of natural selection which he set out
in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species, but it has been speculated
that he had some half-forgotten memory from his time as a student in
Edinburgh of ideas of selection in nature as set out by Hutton, and by
William Charles Wells and
Patrick Matthew who had both been associated
with the city before publishing their ideas on the topic early in the
1785. Abstract of a dissertation read in the Royal Society of
Edinburgh, upon the seventh of March, and fourth of April, MDCCLXXXV,
Concerning the System of the Earth, Its Duration, and Stability.
Edinburgh. 30pp. at Oxford Digital Library.
1788.The theory of rain. Transactions of the Royal Society of
Edinburgh, vol. 1, Part 2, pp. 41–86.
1788. Theory of the Earth; or an investigation of the laws observable
in the composition, dissolution, and restoration of land upon the
Globe. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, vol. 1, Part 2,
pp. 209–304. at Internet Archive.
1792. Dissertations on different subjects in natural philosophy.
Edinburgh & London: Strahan & Cadell. at Google Books
1794. Observations on granite. Transactions of the Royal Society of
Edinburgh, vol. 3, pp. 77–81.
1794. A dissertation upon the philosophy of light, heat, and fire.
Edinburgh: Cadell, Junior, Davies. at e-rara (ETH-Bibliothek)
1794. An investigation of the principles of knowledge and of the
progress of reason, from sense to science and philosophy. Edinburgh:
Strahan & Cadell. at (VIRGO) University of Virginia Library)
1795. Theory of the Earth; with proofs and illustrations. Edinburgh:
Creech. 3 vols. at e-rara (ETH-Bibliothek)
1797. Elements of Agriculture. Unpublished manuscript.
1899. Theory of the Earth; with proofs and illustrations, vol III,
Edited by Sir Archibald Geikie. Geological Society, Burlington House,
London. at Internet Archive
Street sign in the
Kings Buildings complex in
Edinburgh to the memory
of James Hutton
A street was named after Hutton in the
Kings Buildings complex (a
series of science buildings linked to
Edinburgh University) in the
early 21st century.
The punk band
Bad Religion quoted
James Hutton with "no vestige of a
beginning, no prospect of an end" in their song "No Control".
James Hutton Institute
Climate of Scotland
Geology of Scotland
Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle, a book by
Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould that
reassesses Hutton's work
^ a b 14 June 1726 New Style.
James Hutton biography".
Science Hall of Fame. National Library of
Scotland. Retrieved 2018-03-24.
^ Waterston, Charles D; Macmillan Shearer, A (2006). Former Fellows of
the Royal Society of
Edinburgh 1783–2002: Biographical Index (PDF).
I. Edinburgh: The Royal Society of Edinburgh.
^ University of Edinburgh. "Millennial Plaques: James Hutton".
(Hutton's Millennial Plaque, which reads, "In honour of James Hutton
1726–1797 Geologist, chemist, naturalist, father of modern geology,
alumnus of the University," is located at the main entrance of the
Grant Institute). Archived from the original on 1 November 2007.
External link in publisher= (help)
^ a b David Denby (11 October 2004). "Northern Lights: How modern life
emerged from eighteenth-century Edinburgh". The New Yorker. Review of
James Buchan's Crowded With Genius (Capital of the Mind in the UK). In
1770, James Hutton, an experimental farmer and the owner of a sal
ammoniac works, began poking into the peculiar shapes and textures of
the Salisbury Crags, the looming, irregular rock formations in
Edinburgh. Hutton noticed something astonishing—fossilized fish
remains embedded in the rock. The remains suggested that volcanic
activity had raised the mass from some depth in the sea. In 1785, he
delivered a lecture to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, which included
the remarkable statement that "with respect to human observation, this
world has neither a beginning nor an end." Coolly discarding Biblical
accounts of creation, the book that he eventually published, Theory of
the Earth, helped to establish modern geology.
^ a b c d
American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History (2000). "James Hutton:
The Founder of Modern Geology". Earth: Inside and Out. Archived from
the original on 3 March 2016. "The result, therefore, of this physical
enquiry", Hutton concluded, "is that we find no vestige of a
beginning, no prospect of an end".
^ Kenneth L. Taylor (September 2006). "Ages in Chaos:
James Hutton and
the Discovery of Deep Time". The Historian (abstract).
Book review of
Stephen Baxter, ISBN 0-7653-1238-7. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
^ a b c d e Dean 1992
^ "Business and Related Interests". James Hutton.org.uk. Retrieved 11
April 2008. [permanent dead link]
^ "Farming and Hutton the Geologist". James Hutton.org.uk. Retrieved 3
October 2010. [permanent dead link], Playfair
^ Campbell, Lewis; Garnett, William (1882). The Life of James Clerk
Maxwell. London: Macmillan and Company. p. 18.
^ "Return to Edinburgh". James Hutton.org.uk. Retrieved 11 April
2008. [permanent dead link]
^ "Hutton's Contemporaries and The Scottish Enlightenment". James
Hutton.org.uk. Retrieved 11 April 2008. [permanent dead link]
^ "Williamson's directory for the City of Edinburgh, Canongate, Leith
and suburbs". National Library of Scotland. 1773–74. p. 36.
Retrieved 2017-12-02. CS1 maint: Date format (link)
^ "The Forth and Clyde Canal". James Hutton.org.uk. Retrieved 11 April
2008. [permanent dead link]
^ a b BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX OF FORMER FELLOWS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF
EDINBURGH 1783 – 2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July
2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
^ "Settled and Unsettled". James Hutton.org.uk. Retrieved 9 December
2010. [permanent dead link]
^ "Theory of the Earth". James Hutton.org.uk. Archived from the
original on 8 September 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2008.
^ a b c d Theory of the
Earth full text (1788 version)
^ a b Concerning the System of the
Earth Archived 7 September 2008 at
the Wayback Machine. abstract
^ a b Robert Macfarlane (13 September 2003). "Glimpses into the abyss
of time". The Spectator. Review of Repcheck's The Man Who Found Time.
Hutton possessed an instinctive ability to reverse physical processes
– to read landscapes backwards, as it were. Fingering the white
quartz which seamed the grey granite boulders in a Scottish glen, for
instance, he understood the confrontation that had once occurred
between the two types of rock, and he perceived how, under fantastic
pressure, the molten quartz had forced its way into the weaknesses in
the mother granite.
^ "Glen Tilt". Scottish Geology. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
^ Scottish Geology – Hutton's Section at Salisbury Crags[permanent
Scottish Geology – Hutton's Rock at Salisbury Crags
^ Cliff Ford (1 September 2003). "Hutton's Section at Hoyrood Park".
Geos.ed.ac.uk. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
^ "Hutton's Unconformity".
Isle of Arran
Isle of Arran Heritage Museum. 2014.
Retrieved 20 November 2017.
Unconformity – Lochranza, Isle of Arran, UK – Places
of Geologic Significance on Waymarking.com". Retrieved 20 October
^ a b c d Keith Montgomery (2003). "
Siccar Point and Teaching the
History of Geology" (PDF). University of Wisconsin. Retrieved 26 March
^ Hugh Rance (1999). "Hutton's unconformities" (PDF). Historical
Geology: The Present is the Key to the Past. QCC Press. Retrieved 20
^ "Jedburgh: Hutton's Unconformity".
Jedburgh online. Archived from
the original on 9 August 2010. Whilst visiting Allar's Mill on the Jed
Water, Hutton was delighted to see horizontal bands of red sandstone
lying 'unconformably' on top of near vertical and folded bands of
^ "Hutton's Journeys to Prove his Theory". James-hutton.org.uk.
Archived from the original on 2 August 2012. Retrieved 3 May
^ "Hutton's Unconformity". Snh.org.uk. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
John Playfair (1999). "Hutton's Unconformity". Transactions of the
Royal Society of Edinburgh, vol. V, pt. III, 1805, quoted in Natural
History, June 1999. Archived from the original on 2012-07-08.
^ Elizabeth Lincoln Mathieson (13 May 2002). "The Present is the Key
to the Past is the Key to the Future". The Geological Society of
America. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
^ Keith Stewart Thomson. "Vestiges of James Hutton". American
Scientist online, V. 89 No. 3 p. 212, May/June 2001
doi:10.1511/2001.3.212. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. It
is ironic that Hutton, the man whose prose style is usually dismissed
as unreadable, should have coined one of the most memorable, and
indeed lyrical, sentences in all science: "(in geology) we find no
vestige of a beginning,—no prospect of an end." In those simple
words, Hutton framed a concept that no one had contemplated, that the
rocks making up the earth today have not, after all, been here since
Creation. External link in work= (help)
Greg Graffin (1989). "Lyrics, No Control". No Control. there's no
vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end (Hutton, 1795)
^ Theory of the Earth, Volume 1 at Project Gutenberg
^ Theory of the Earth, Volume 2 at Project Gutenberg
^ a b c d Paul N. Pearson (16 October 2003). "In Retrospect". Nature
V. 425 #6959, p. 665. Comments on Hutton's 3-volume 1794 work, An
Investigation of the Principles of Knowledge and of the Progress of
Reason, from Sense to
Science and Philosophy. External link in
^ Geikie, Archibald (1897). The Founders of Geology. London: Macmillan
and Company. p. 166.
^ a b Lovelock, James (1979). GAIA – A new look at life on Earth.
Oxford University Press. pp. viii, 10.
^ Lovelock, J. E. (1965). "A physical basis for life detection
experiments". Nature. 207 (7): 568–570. Bibcode:1965Natur.207..568L.
doi:10.1038/207568a0. PMID 5883628.
^ Connor, Steve (16 October 2003). "The original theory of
evolution... were it not for the farmer who came up with it, 60 years
before Darwin". The Independent. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
^ Dean, Dennis R. (1992).
James Hutton and the History of Geology.
Cornell University Press. p. 265.
^ Keith Stewart Thomson (May–June 2001). "Vestiges of James Hutton".
American Scientist V. 89 #3 p. 212.
Baxter, Stephen (2003). Ages in Chaos:
James Hutton and the Discovery
of Deep Time. New York: Tor Books, 2004. ISBN 0-7653-1238-7.
Published in the UK as Revolutions in the Earth:
James Hutton and the
True Age of the World. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
Dean, Dennis R. (1992).
James Hutton and the history of geology.
Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN 9780801426667.
Playfair, John (1822). "Biographical Account of the late James Hutton,
M.D.". The Works of John Playfair, Esq. vol. IV. Edinburgh:
Repcheck, Jack (2003). The Man Who Found Time:
James Hutton and the
Discovery of the Earth's Antiquity. London and Cambridge,
Massachusetts: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-3189-9 (UK),
ISBN 0-7382-0692-X (US)
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Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article
Wikisource has the text of the 1885–1900 Dictionary of National
Biography's article about Hutton, James (1726-1797).
James Hutton.org.uk, links to James Hutton – The Man and The
James Hutton Trail.
James Hutton and
Uniformitarianism (scroll down)
James Hutton's memorial in Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh
First Publication of Theory of the Earth
Accessible Historical Perspective on
James Hutton at the Wayback
Machine (archived 8 May 2006)
Gould, Stephen Jay. "B16: The History of Life: Source Book".
pp. 137, 138, 139, 140. Retrieved 17 July 2014. chapter=
James Hutton at Project Gutenberg
Works by or about
James Hutton at Internet Archive
O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "James Hutton", MacTutor
Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews .
Digitized volumes at the Linda Hall Library:
Hutton's (1788), "Theory of the Earth." Transactions of the Royal
Society of Edinburgh, Vol. 1, no. 20.
Hutton's (1795–1899), Theory of the earth, with proofs and
illustrations, 3 vols.
John Playfair (1802), Illustrations of the Huttonian theory of the
John Playfair (1815), Explication de Playfair sur la théorie de la
terre par Hutton (French)
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