Abstract

‘There is no science whose value can be adequately estimated by economists and utilitarians of the lower order’

Hugh Miller 1841

‘It is most important that the opportunity afforded by the appointment of a new Director of the Museum of Practical Geology should not be lost for furthering the general scheme for bringing science and art to bear upon the productive industry of the Country. . .

. . .as it so often happens that the person who through great difficulties, and by his own exertions has succeeded in realizing one idea, does not readily merge this in a larger one, so Mr H. De la Beche cannot be said to have extended the usefulness of his Department, but has rather counteracted the plans of the Commissioners by confining his attention to simple Geology.

It becomes of the utmost importance that whoever is appointed now should be made thoroughly aware of the views of Government and accept the office with a clear understanding that he will be counted upon to work them out. He should further consider himself not in the light of a simple Geologist, but as the head of a Government educational establishment for the diffusion of Science generally as applied to productive industry.’ (‘Copy of a letter of Prince Albert to Lord Palmerston when my good friend the latter appointed me Director General of the Geological Survey May 1855.

R. I. Murchison’)

Perhaps the range of attitudes has not changed all that much in the last hundred

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