Military men:: Napoleonic warfare and early members of the Geological Society
Edward P. F. Rose, 2009. "Military men:: Napoleonic warfare and early members of the Geological Society", The Making of the Geological Society of London, C. L. E. Lewis, S. J. Knell
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At the time the Geological Society was founded in 1807, Europe had entered the latter half of some 23 years of near-continuous warfare, in which the overall scale and intensity were wholly new. Wars from 1792 to 1815 affected the careers of many well-known geologists in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Influential early members of the Society included a significant number of men with periods of military service or education, or militarily-funded employment: four of its 11 primary founders, Jacques-Louis, Comte de Bournon, James Franck, George Bellas Greenough and Richard Phillips, as well as six of its first 23 Presidents – Greenough, Henry Grey Bennet, John MacCulloch, Roderick Impey Murchison, Henry Thomas De la Beche and Joseph Ellison Portlock. Several councillors, such as Thomas Frederick Colby and John William Pringle, and three of its first five executives – William Lonsdale, David Thomas Ansted and T. Rupert Jones – also had military affiliations. Largely as a consequence of Napoleonic warfare, from 1814 to 1845 national geological mapping in Britain was supported by military funding, and between 1819 and the end of the century geology was a subject taught at various times in all military training establishments within Britain.
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The Making of the Geological Society of London
Founded in 1807, the Geological Society of London became the world’s first learned society devoted to the Earth sciences. In celebration of the Society’s 200-year history, this book commemorates the lives of the Society’s 13 founders and sets geology in its national and European context at the turn of the nineteenth century. In Britain, geology was emerging as a subject in its own right from three closely related disciplines — chemistry, mineralogy and medicine — disciplines that reflect the principal professions and interests of the founders. The tremendous energy and cooperation of these 13 men, about whom little was previously known, quickly mobilized like-minded men around the country and fuelled the nation’s passion for geology; an enthusiasm that soon spread to America and Australia. Two previously unpublished works from this period, essential to understanding the founding of the Society, are reproduced here for the first time. The book closes with a review of the Society’s 2007 Bicentenary celebrations.