In Europe at the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century, geology began to emerge definitely from the shadows of speculation as a science in something approaching the modern sense. If any one man among the number who contributed to this emergence were to be denominated as its founder, historians of the science would doubtless agree that that honor belongs more clearly to the Scot, James Hutton, than to any other.
His contemporary, Werner, at Freiberg, was much more influential at the time, but it is Hutton’s work rather than Werner’s that history has approved. Werner, trained in law and in mineralogy, drawing pupils from the entire civilized world of that period and, in the words of Geikie, so teaching mineralogy that it “embraced the whole of nature, the whole of human history, the whole interests and pursuits and tendencies of mankind,” . . .