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A Manual of Elementary Geology, or, The Ancient Changes of the Earth and its Inhabitants as Illustrated by Geological Monuments

188 pages
Library of Alexandria
In consequence of the rapid sale of the third edition of the "Manual," of which 2000 copies were printed in January last, a new edition has been called for in less than a twelvemonth. Even in this short interval some new facts of unusual importance in palæontology have come to light, or have been verified for the first time. Instead of introducing these new discoveries into the body of the work, which would render them inaccessible to the purchasers of the former edition, I have given them in a postscript to this Preface (printed and sold separately), and have pointed out at the same time their bearing on certain questions of the highest theoretical interest. As on former occasions, I shall take this opportunity of stating that the "Manual" is not an epitome of the "Principles of Geology," nor intended as introductory to that work. So much confusion has arisen on this subject, that it is desirable to explain fully the different ground occupied by the two publications. The first five editions of the "Principles" comprised a 4th book, in which some account was given of systematic geology, and in which the principal rocks composing the earth's crust and their organic remains were described. In subsequent editions this book was omitted, it having been expanded, in 1838, into a separate treatise called the "Elements of Geology," first re-edited in 1842, and again recast and enlarged in 1851, and entitled "A Manual of Elementary Geology." Although the subjects of both treatises relate to geology, as their titles imply, their scope is very different; the "Principles" containing a view of the modern changes of the earth and its inhabitants, while the "Manual" relates to the monuments of ancient changes. In separating the one from the other, I have endeavoured to render each complete in itself, and independent; but if asked by a student which he should read first, I would recommend him to begin with the "Principles," as he may then proceed from the known to the unknown, and be provided beforehand with a key for interpreting the ancient phenomena, whether of the organic or inorganic world, by reference to changes now in progress.