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Memoir of Sir Andrew Crombie Ramsay
Chapter V - The Survey of the Snowden Region


We have now to enter upon the records of three of the most active years of Sir Andrew Ramsay's life, during which he achieved his chief geological triumph —the unravelling of the complicated history of the ancient volcanic region of which Snowdon forms the centre. Though the details of one working season were closely similar to those of another, the story has so much interest in the progress of the geological investigation of the British Isles, that even at the risk of a certain amount of repetition it will be most appropriate to keep the doings of each year distinct.

By the middle of April 1848 the work of the previous winter was at last happily at an end. It had been an exceedingly onerous time for Ramsay, and he confessed now and then that he had nearly reached the limits of his powers of endurance. Before the season closed he was fain sometimes to shirk an evening reception or discourse and take refuge in the reading of Boswell's Life of Johnson, or some other favourite. It was, therefore, with no little alacrity that he packed his portmanteau and started for the field again on the 18th April. From that time till the middle of December, with the exception of a little break to attend the British Association meeting, and a few weeks spent in Scotland, he remained in Wales, working out the geological structure of Caernarvonshire.

Beginning his campaign with a tour of inspection along the south coast, he made his first visit to the Isle of Wight, and spent some pleasant days with Forbes and Bristow rambling along the base of the Dorsetshire cliffs. They had among the incidents of this excursion an experience of one of the difficulties >n the life of a geological surveyor in the more bucolic parts of England. They were crossing a farm when the farmer rushed on them with angry execrations and violent flourishings of a large spade, with which he threatened to make an end of them if they did not instantly move off his land. In vain they endeavoured to expostulate and to explain their object. The infuriated tenant only became the more defiant. Next day he had not cooled down, but now swung round a still more lethal weapon, would listen to no remonstrance, and had at last to be brought to his senses by a summons before a magistrate.

After brief visits to Aveline and Jukes in the Breidden district, and tracing some new lines there himself, he passed on to Selwyn at Port Madoc and Dolgelli. Room may be found here for his memorandum of one day in this visit of inspection.

'8th June.—Up again to the hills south-west of Craig y Cae. Got in some faults and a lot of strange dykes and spots of squirted traps. Selwyn and I separated and took different ground, and often met again to compare and compile. A lovely day, and the effects over the valley of Dolgellaw and the towering range of Cader Idris most strange and glorious. At last all the lower clouds (which long hung like a half-fallen curtain in the foreground, behind which the sun gloriously illumined the distant glens and precipices) cleared away, and all along the ridge of Cader and the giant slopes of Aran Mowddy the shadows of scattered clouds flitted by like the images of huge flying dragons. I like th;s plan of separation and meeting. It is pleasant to get alone among the shattered rocks, where one can soliloquise, sing, and shout at will without any man to think you a fool. Home to dinner at six."

On the 14th of the same month he took up his quarters at Llanberis, for the purpose of himself attacking Snowdon and the surrounding region. The year before, during the preliminary traverses with the Director-General, he had been able to take a general or bird's-eye view of this picturesque district, and had seen enough of its geology to recognise the extraordinary interest as well as the extreme complexity of its problems. He had determined to devote himself heart and soul to their solution, and now at the earliest opportunity, in full vigour of body and Bind, he had come back to carry his resolve into effect. His life and work at Llanberis may be best pictured in a few extracts from his diary.

'21st June.—Out north to Marchllyn Mawr. Descended to the lake. While minutely examining this section, and hammering along, out jumped a trilobite and a lingula, some 600 or 700 feet down in these "Cambrians," as we called them. So here at a blow vanishes the idea, which we all believed, that the rocks are unfossiliferous beneath the trappy series. Therefore Barmouth, Longmynd, and Llanberis purple lower ground, if one, still do not present the beginning of life, unless a lingula and trilobite were first called into existence where now reposes Marchllyn Mawr.

'30th.—Out after breakfast to touch up part of the sandstones and make out part of the Snowdon section on the ridge above the Pass of Llanberis. What with the interminglings of ash and slate, I see it will be a matter of extreme difficulty, especially as the rocks are much rolled.

'1st July.—Stormy and cold. Up the Pass of Llanberis. Set to work to trace the steep ridge of Llechog. Up and down twice, and half up and down several times. Steep work, consequently not much to show for it. I climbed up and down places that from the road seemed impracticable.'

These labours were for a brief interval suspended while Ramsay went to Swansea to attend the meeting of the British Association. Under the hospitable roof of Mr. Dillwyn (whose son had married one of De la Beche's daughters), and with Sir Henry himself as a guest in the house, he spent a memorably pleasant week. He acted again as one of the secretaries of Section C, and read a paper ' On some Points connected with the Physical Geology of the Silurian District between Builth and Pen y bont, Radnorshire.'

'11th October.—Splendid morning. Started at half-past nine for the hills at the top of the Pass, and sent Gibbs to search the ridge of Snowdon. Sir H. and Forbes [who had recently joined him at Llanberis] followed about half-past ten for the top. While at work on the side of Crib goch I heard Selwyn's well-known shrill shout, and soon discovered him on the top of a crag on Crib goch. So we joined and compared notes, and soon put matters straight at Glas lyn. We then passed on to the top, often standing to discuss, and just as we got to the bottom of the peak descried our party coming down. We stayed nearly an hour up, and then followed. Forbes was making a bad sketch where the path turns down to Pen y gwryd ; Sir H. and Gibbs fossilising.

'20th.—Gibbs and I started at half past nine up Snowdon. Went down to the copper mine at Llyn-du-r'Arddu. We climbed up the face of the cliff there, just by the great fault—a fearful place. It was frozen over in many places with ice and snow. It took us a whole hour to climb it, and we were frequently obliged to stop when hi a secure position to beat our hands to warm them. We had often to cut steps in the rock and ice. Gibbs never for a moment lost his coolness, but I got a little nervous for two or three minutes. Once up half-way it was impossible to return; we were obliged to go up. Had a foot or hand given way one or both of us would have been smashed Parted on the other side of the ridge. I walked across Snowdon to Beddgelert. The top was covered with snow ; fine view. Got to Beddgelert by six, just before Selwyn's dinner.

'2nd November.—Out on the ridge on the north-east end of Crib goch. Sometimes misty, but on the whole a good day. Finished all that side as far up as the upper end of the Pass, and to the brook that runs from Llyn Llydaw. Excellent day's work, especially as it fairly finished all that side of the Pass.

'15th.—Up the Pass and up Glyder by the new path I discovered yesterday opposite Pont y grorn-lech. This mountain begins to be as familiar to me as Charing Cross, and shows evident symptoms of at length beginning to be licked into geological shape.

Had a grand find of large Orthides to-day in the ashy sandstones above the nodular trap. Gibbs and I climbed to the summit of that huge tower-like precipice, from which the masses of volcanic breccia have fallen, misnamed a cromlech. It is a fearful cliff to look down, but wide and quite secure at the summit.'

To geologists, and especially to those who are familiar with Sir Andrew Ramsay's name as a writer on glacial phenomena, and who remember his early descriptions of the ice-work in the Pass of Llanberis, it may be of interest to know that he seems to have been at work for some months in that district before his attention was arrested by its glaciation. We have seen how he curtly dismissed Buckland's views when these were criticised adversely at the Geological Society. While he makes many notes about other geological matters observed by him on ground which he was examining for the first time, or mapping in detail, he never alludes to the superficial phenomena which a few years later so fascinated him. The first reference to the subject in his diary occurs under date 3rd August 1848, on the occasion of a visit of Robert Chambers2 to him at Llanberis. It runs as follows : ' Selwyn, Reeks, and Smyth up Snowdon; Chambers and I out on glacial excursion up the Pass, etc. Very instructive work.' Next day he remarks that the party, including Chambers, 'started for Llyn Idwal, and walked across the hills to Llanberis. Splendid examples of glacial action.' Chambers had come purposely to see the evidence of glaciers in the Welsh valleys, and to compare it with what he was now familiar with in Scotland. It looks as if this visit of his had really for the first time turned his companion's eyes from the rocks themselves to the study of the manner in which they have been worn and striated by ice. Ramsay seems to have been still much in the state of mind so well described by himself a few years later. ' We recollect well the unbelief and ridicule that greeted the announcements of Agassiz and Buck-land in 1840-41, that glaciers once occupied the greater valleys of the Highlands of Scotland and of Wales, and how sceptics and shallow wits, whose geology perhaps rarely extended beyond the precincts of turnpike roads, attributed the grooving and striation of the rocks to cart-wheels and hob-nailed boots, and the ice-polished rock surfaces to the sliding of the caudal corduroys of Welshmen on the rocks, to slickensides and sea-waves, and to every cause, indeed, but the true one.'

By the 15th November, however, he had been led to recognise everywhere the peculiar smoothing and polishing produced by moving ice ; for on that date, with regard to the summit of the tower-like precipice referred to in the citation above, he remarks that this summit ' is, as usual, well grooved with glacial undulations.' Yet it is noteworthy that these are the only allusions to glaciation in the jottings of his first year's work in North Wales. He had evidently not yet realised the nature and force of the proofs of former glaciers in this country. He had never been abroad. The revelation which the first sight of a living glacier dashes upon the mind of a geologist was still to come to him. And thus we find him passing day after day up and down the Pass of Llanberis, heedless of the ice-worn knolls and perched boulders which he was soon so enthusiastically to visit and revisit, and so lovingly to sketch and map and describe.

It has been the custom for foreign governments from time to time to send delegates over to this country for the purpose of personally seeing how the work of the Geological Survey is carried on, with a view to the initiation or improvement of geological surveys in their own countries, or for other purposes where a knowledge of detailed geological mapping may be desirable. During Ramsay's long stay this year at Llanberis he had two such foreign visits. In June A. Sismonda, the well-known Tuscan geologist, accompanied by a young French friend, was awaiting him in his room one evening on his return, drenched and weary, from a long tramp on the hills, and they subsequently accompanied him to his work in the field. 'Sismonda not being much of a climber,' Ramsay writes, ' preferred the road to the rocky sides of the hills. He is still of the Elie de Beaumont school, believes in prodigious terrestrial actions down to the end of late Tertiary time, working with a force of which we have now no experience — earthquakes shaking, traps heaving, and currents sweeping. At night I got the Frenchman and him into a hot political argument, the Frenchman being republican, the other monarchical. Their animated countenances and rapid gestures were most unlike anything one sees in an English debate.'

In August the advent of two bearded Austrians, with large slouched hats, made some sensation among the peasants of Llanberis. One of these visitors was the distinguished Franz Ritter von Hauer, so long Director of the Geological Survey of Austria, and now head of the great Museum of Vienna; the other was Dr. Moritz Homes, a well-known Austrian geologist and palaeontologist, '''hey accompanied Ramsay in some of his tramps over Snowdon, and received much Survey information from him for a report they were making to their Government. The diary records the ravenous appetites of the party at the evening meals after long days in the keen mountain air, and speaks of 'ogres devouring fish and legs of mutton.'

Not the least pleasant episodes in the Llanberis life were the occasional visits of members of the Survey staff. Selwyn, who was stationed at Beddgelert, would sometimes work over the hills and spend the evening and night with Ramsay, who in turn occasionally crossed the watershed, and landed in time for dinner at Beddgelert. Edward Forbes, who had recently married, brought his bride to Llanberis, and Ramsay took a room in their cottage while they remained there. But no colleague was so welcome as his worthy chief. On an October evening a car arrived at Llanberis with luggage, but no traveller. Ramsay, however, recognised the old portmanteau, and, sure enough, immediately after up came Sir Henry 'shouting and making as much noise as possible.' They had long consultations together on Survey plans and prospects, and one Sunday the Director-General became specially communicative to his younger associate. The conversation is thus reported : ' A walk in the light rain with Sir H., more than usually agreeable. He was very kind and confidential, speaking in the strongest manner about his. wish that I should succeed him, and recommending me to write some good memoir speedily for our work, to strengthen my case. "It is not Phillips," he said, "nor any other man on the Survey you have to fearflbut such as Murchison and Lyell, who would make an effort. Lyell has so often of late asked me how I did this and that, that I begin to be suspicious." He further said he would try to get an increase of pay for me, and that independently of Oldham, on the ground of my larger charge. I said I would fain see the others with larger pay. He replied, "You must have it first.'"

How cordial the relations were between the chief and his lieutenant may be gathered from two notes of De la Beche of this period :—

London, 18th November 1848.

My dear Ramsay—It is refreshing and a comfort to get letters from your honest self, instead of some that I do receive, and from those whom I have laboured to benefit. I even got one three or four days since, containing a passage which looked marvellous like a charge of impeding your fair fame. At least, I cannot make anything else of it. But, mind you, this is strictly between ourselves.

You give a capital account of yourself and your rocky parliaments, making me long to be climbing the hills instead of wending amid sooty streets. However, I believe I am usefully here for the good cause; for the new building is getting on famously, and, among other things, the lecture-room has turned out famously as to light, sound, and accommodation-space.—Ever sincerely,

H. T. De la Beche.

London, 7th December 1848.

My dear Ramsay—Yours rejoiceth the cockles of my heart. Those great 'dones' of yours were right welcome, as is also the intelligence that you will be shortly up here. I have much to consult my geological son about—fossil proceedings, etc. etc. . . .— Ever sincerely, H. T. De la Beche.

As reminiscences of the winter season of 1848 49 in London, a few jottings from Ramsay's diary may be inserted here. Besides the completion of their official map-work and memoir-writing, the geologists of the Survey were wont to signalise their assembling in London by a dinner, where they wore their official buttons and sang songs which were written by them for the occasion. Of the earliest of these annual gatherings no continuous record has been preserved, but from the year 1850 onwards the original songs have been entered in 'Ye Recorde Boke off ye Royale Hammereres, off whyche Anciente Ordere Tooballcane and Thorr were erlie Knyghtes.' The subjects chosen for these metrical effusions generally bore reference to some of the work that had been in progress during the previous year, or to some incidents in the life of some of the staff. For a number of years Ramsay never failed to bring his contribution to the hilarity of the after-dinner minstrelsy, sometimes producing as many as four original songs, and singing them with great vigour. Some of these compositions will find a place in later pages. The chronicle does not show that De la Beche ever ventured into rhyme, though he figures prominently in many of the songs. But his successor, Murchison, used to write, and, to the best of his ability, sing his song at the annual dinner; while Forbes, Smyth, Jukes, Salter, Baily, and many of the later members of the staff were frequent rhymesters.

The dinner this year (1849) was held in Covent Garden, and Ramsay records of it: ' We sat down some twenty, Sir H. in the chair, Oldham vice. A right jolly dinner; some capital songs, all original; Salter's and Smyth's best.'

The meetings of the Geological Society are briefly noticed in the diary. Thus under date the 3rd January we get an amusing glimpse of the Council: ' Geological Council to-day. Tough fighting about the Museum Committees. Greenough at five began to speak, and said he could not speak for less than an hour. Dismay reigned. However, he was stopped, and the debate adjourned. Club dinner after; small but pleasant party. I sat between Sir Charles Lyeli and Forbes. So-so night at the Society after. I spoke a few words on the Ridgeway cutting. Sir Roderick Murchison was there—the first time I have seen him for nearly two years. He has given up the wig on the Continent, and looks much better in consequence."

Sir Henry's tenure of office as President of the Society would terminate at the anniversary in February, and Lyell had been nominated as his successor. The new President takes the chair at the annual dinner which is held on the evening of the anniversary, and it is his part to invite such official or other guests as he may wish to be present. Lyell had now this arduous and troublesome duty to discharge. Ramsay writes under date the 10th February : ' Lyell with us a long time, anxious and waiting. He is beating up prodigiously for big-wigs to attend the Geological dinner, and will be miserable unless Sir Robert Peel be there. Sir R. ran over the new Museum this morning with Sir H. and Dr. Buckland. He was (says Sir H.) "charmed." He said the building of it was an act performed in his administration on which he could always look back with pleasure.'

The anniversary of the Geological Society took place on the 16th February, when De la Beche gave his second and concluding annual address before vacating the Presidency. In this discourse he announced his expectation that the complicated district of North Wales would be completely surveyed during that year. In this hope he made rather too little allowance for the excessive and difficult detail which the area contained, for it was not found possible to finish the region until the summer of next year. He referred to the publication of the maps of Cardiganshire and Montgomeryshire, and to the fact that those of other parts of North Wales were in the hands of the engraver. Dorsetshire and Derbyshire were nearly completed, and the mapping of the Tertiary deposits had advanced into Hampshire.

Ramsay's account of this anniversary meeting was as follows: 'Sir H.'s speechifying day—the Geological Anniversary. Prestwich was awarded the Wollaston medal. In rising to present it. Sir H. upset two large oil-lamps that stood on the table before him and made a prodigious smash. All the house laughed, and poor P. was a trille discomposed. He has a glorious head. Sir H.'s speech was said to be excellent. I was obliged to run off to lecture. Went down from College to the dinner at the Thatched House Tavern. I sat betwixt Playfair and Captain James. Reeks, Bristow, Smyth, M'Coy, Tylor, Austen, Forbes, and I were all in a lump. Lyell made a poor speaker in the emir. Sedgwick made a magnificent speech, the Archbishop a goodish one, Van der Weyer a good one, Sir H. a good one, Buckland a fair, Sir Robert Peel a splendid one, Murchison an indifferent one, from trying too much.'

Ramsay continued frequently to attend the Royal Institution Friday evening discourses. He thus chronicles the evening of the 9th February: 'Went to the Royal Institution to hear Owen on Limbs. I stood on the steps. The lecture seemed to be admirable. Much of it I highly admired, and much of it I did not understand. The theatre was quite full. I saw many I knew : Dr. Fitton looking good humoured, Sir Roderick looking anxious to keep awake, Dr Mantell looking eager, Dr. Macdonald looking jolly and anxious for a hole in Owen's coat, Sir Henry looking attentive and queer when Owen came to the orthodox peroration, Sir Charles and Lady Lyell looking knightly, Lady S--looking vulgar, Nicol looking Scotch, with a doubt in his eye, and Mrs. F--looking at her dress.'

The Red Lions kept up their London dinners, which were sometimes specially mirthful. Thus on the 19th April Ramsay writes: 'Walked over to Anderton's with Reeks to dine with the Red Lions. Capital party, Lankester in the chair. I sat between him and Sheean, a barrister, and the great original of the Mulligan of Ballymulligan. He seems a capital fellow, though, and sang some excellent songs. Turn-berry sang well, and put the whole table in a roar. I scarcely recollect a better evening. Owen was capital, and made a most humorous speech, contrasting the pleasure of sitting in this snowy night, so cosy and merry round the table, with the horrors of the Royal Society then sitting, where the members, on cold benches, in a room with newly-lighted smoke-belching fires, sat listening to a dull paper, with the prospect of one still duller before them. Percy enjoyed himself in his usual hearty style.'

Of the dinner-parties and receptions, room can be found here for the mention of two only.

'18th February. — Sir Roderick Murchison's dinner at seven. When I walked into the drawing-room Lady Murchison came running up to me with both her hands out, and made me sit down beside her. . . . Sedgwick was there, Pentland, and Lockhart, Sir Walter's son-in-law. I was delighted to meet him. We had a capital evening. Lockhart was most amusing and interesting. He told a strange story of Lord Brougham, who, it appears, never goes home from any party without first going and taking tea with Lola Montes! I wish I could recollect half the things he said. He is a thorough man of the world and of society, and most gentlemanly, though a trifle abrupt in manner. I did not altogether like the way he spoke of my old friend Dr. Chalmers and his posthumous works.

'2nd March.—Went to Barlow's. A crowd there ; among others Dilke and his wife, Baden Powell and his wife, Lady Shelley, Miss Grant, Captain and Mrs. Smyth, Warington and Miss Smyth. Louis Blanc! Some ladies made a demi-lion of Aim. I was ashamed of them, and wondered Barlow could ask such a man to his house. I would be ashamed to have so foolish and mischievous a fellow in mine. He is a little pragmatical individual, insignificant in person, and insignificant in any appearance of an enlarged intellect. Petitesse is the word that expresses him in all things.'

In the prospect of soon taking the field again, he wrote to Aveline from London on 27th March :—

My dear Talbot—My lectures will be over this week. I shall examine the class on Tuesday, and as soon after as possible, that is to say, when I have got rid of Gibbs and the fossils, I shall fly to the country. It will probably take me all that week after Tuesday to finish with Gibbs. Then I join Jukes for a few days. Thereafter I shall go to the Shrewsbury country, principally to look at the Silurians and traps that Smyth traced in, before publishing the map. A few days should do that. I then purpose taking you by storm on my way to Caernarvonshire, so that I may see what sort of strange ground you are on, and also that we may hold a grand geological palaver. I fancy it will be well-nigh the end of April ere I can reach you. Where do you think you may have progressed to by that time ?

But it was the usual fate of such prospective plans of work that they could not be carried out within the specified time. It was the 20th April before Ramsay could leave London. He first joined Jukes, who had been at work in the Staffordshire coal-field, and who was now about to run some horizontal sections in the Dudley district. These two friends were becoming every year more closely knit together in intimate friendship. Ramsay, for instance, writes: ' Jukes rises daily in my esteem; he is a noble fellow.' It was while this Midland work was in progress that the official intimation reached Ramsay of his election into the Royal Society. As far back as the 21st April he had heard from his kind-hearted chief that he was one of the fifteen candidates selected by the Council. He might well regard himself as fortunate in reaching this honour after not more than eight years spent in the active prosecution of scientific work.

On the completion of the section-running with Jukes he once more made some critical traverses across the Wrekin country, and it was the 20th June before he found himself back at Llanberis to resume the survey of Caernarvonshire. Some extracts from his diary and letters will show the nature and progress of his occupation during the campaign of 1849.

'2nd June.—A jolly day on Glyder; clear but cold. Got a clearer notion of things to-day than I had in weeks of work towards the close of last year among the fogs.

'29th.—Y Glyder fawr; glorious day, but extremely warm. Scarce seem to have made any impression on it yet, it is so tough and difficult to climb.

'20th.—Across the hills by Mynydd Perfedd, nearly to the Ogwen, and from thence making out the section up to Twll-du—a most rough and craggy walk. A glorious day, which I perfectly enjoyed. Lunched on the banks of Llyn Idwal. Then scrambled up to Twll-du, as far up the gap as I could go—full of rare rock-plants. Thence I scrambled up the cliff, and got home by half-past six. Found twelve or thirteen letters.

'6th July.—Took horse and rode to Caernarvon [to have the accounts sworn-to before a magistrate], and got them off to Reeks. As I rode home I found them busy on this side of Caernarvon sinking for coal. I hallooed to a man to hold my horse a moment while I ran into the field and talked with the sinkers, etc. They have gone down seventy yards or so, the first seven yards in drift. They asked my opinion. I told them to let me know when they came to the coal, and I would come down and eat it.

11th.—Over the hills tracing the Bwlch-y-gywion trap, and so back by the felspar stuff up some hideous banks. It was exceedingly fatiguing, but I got a good day's work done.'

Llanberis, 12th July 1849.

My dear Talbot—At length since Monday last we have had fine weather here, and I have worked so hard that I am quite fatigued to-day, and stay at home to despatch some maps, and knock off the arrears of correspondence. I think the ground I am at present at work on is really the most fatiguing I have yet experienced in Wales. It is not merely walking up and along steep places, but actual climbing, hands and feet, and on hills so high that it often takes two or three hours to get to the district in the first instance. I fancied ere I came I should be done ere this, but I haven't more than a half or two-thirds finished yet.

'16th.—Started at half-past ten, and by dint of sharp walking was at Twll-du by twelve. Down to Llyn Idwal, and traced all the lines round and through the lake and down to the lower margin of Llyn Ogwen, and then up by the Pass-y-benglog and the west ridge of Cwm Bochlwyd, tracing a line to the top of Y Glyder fawr. It was dreadfully tough work, and it was past six by the time I got to the top of Glyder, so that though I would fain have carried on my line, I was somewhat tired both in the legs and of the subject, and therefore deemed it wiser to leave its prosecution for a fresh day. Overtook a nice-looking young fellow in the Pass with a knapsack on his back, and entering into conversation, we walked down together. It lightened the way a bit. Dined at nine.

'26th.—Immediately after breakfast started on a long tramp round by Capel Curig way, tracing the outside boundary of the Glyder fawr trap, and intending to come home over Trefan. But it was too far, and, besides, the work would lead in another direction. So I came back down that rough hillside above the lake and Pen-y-gwryd. It is a terribly stony place. I got into the Pass about six, and was shortly after right well pleased to spy a large two-horse return car coming down the road. Jumped therein. Just about Pont-y-gromlech heard a shouting, and looking up the side of Glyder, saw all my fellow-lodgers and Dent rushing down the hill. They all got in or on the affair, two hanging on behind like footmen. So with mickle laughter we drove home to dinner.

'6th August.—As I could not sleep quiet in my grave had I not been up Snowdon, to see that bit on the Beddgelert side of Cwm-y-Clogwyn that bothered Selwyn and me so much, I revisited it to-day, and came back over the top. No one was there but myself.

' 10th.—Started from Llanberis at nine. Met a Capel Curig car, and changed into it at the top of the Pass, and was at work by half-past eleven or twelve on this side of Y Glyder fach. The mist persecuted me dreadfully. It came rolling down as soon as I got up a considerable height, and then, when I began to descend a little, would partially clear up; but rushing down again, I was forced to try the section on the low ground, and then having made out a certain amount of that, I traced a line up the hill. No sooner had the mist got me well up than, shifting his quarters, he rushed down the valley, obscured Y Trefan, thicker and thicker, boiling and seething, and if I but looked at a bit of ground, down he came upon it and enveloped my head in the mist. At last 1 was fain to leave about seven. When once I was well down in the valley the white clouds all cleared away from the hills, as far as I could see, though when once or twice I looked back with a speculating eye, I could just see the hill-tops suddenly get partially obscured, as if old Kuhleborn were saying, "You needn't come here, young man, or I'll be down upon you in no time." Got home to the inn about half-past eight, and had a "rough tea."

'11th.—Started after breakfast and began to trace lines from Y Trefan up to Y Glyder fach. Just as I got to the top of the ridge, a gale of wind came on, accompanied by a deluge of rain and a thick mist. I couldn't see thirty yards. A compass was nearly useless, for the ground was so rough that I could not walk in a given direction ten yards, and the place was cliffy on sundry sides. By and by, calculating how the wind blew, I turned my face to it and began carefully to descend, and after two hours' cautious work, in difficult rocky ground, the mist suddenly partially opened, and I found myself just above the north end of Llyn-y-Cwm. So I descended to the Pass amid falling waters and sheets of rain, and trudged down to Llanberis soaked to the skin, with my boots full of water. Dined at nine.

'15th.—Out on the ridge of Glyder Fach tracing round the lines in the direction of the east side of Cwm Tryfan. Dreadfully wet. Yet I worked on in desperation, and as there were some intervals between the heavy storms of rain, I got a good deal done. Home by seven well soaked.

'24th.—Out shortly after nine intending to have noted the section along the north side of the valley of the Llugwy. But in true geological fashion, I got led on and on to the top of Carnedd Llewelyn, and then taking advantage of the fine day, I walked all along the ridge to Carnedd Dafydd, and across Braich-du down to Llyn Ogwen. A glorious day and magnificent views of the Nant Francon range, with Snowdon at the back ; also all the country down to Cader, Aran Mowddy, etc. Home at seven.'

Capel Curig, 30th August 1849.

My dear Aveline—I am in despair about getting away from here. With one clear day I could slash in a lot of country, all up as far as the watershed of Carnedd Llewelyn and Carnedd Dafydd, so that I am loath to leave to see you, lest that very day should occur when I am away. Clear hill-tops are so scarce that one day when they are so is worth a fortnight of foggy weather. I have promised to make a run to Aber to look for lodgings for Jukes to occupy immediately after his marriage, and if possible I shall work my way there to-morrow, and next day trace a line from Bangor to Caernarvon, which would enable me to colour in a large piece of map, and so make the work look somewhat more forward. Early next week, then, I might perhaps manage to see you, for I am anxious to do so before going to Brummagem, where I act the swell groomsman to Jukes. It rains to-day without intermission.—Ever yours sincerely,

Andw. C. Ramsay.

Among the letters that came to him in this season of gloomy weather, the following note from De la Beche may be quoted :—

57 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin, August 1849.

My dear Ramsay—Here I am once again. We had a famous passage last evening, and to-day I start, with Oldham, to the south.

If you go to the Wisdom Meeting [the meeting of the British Association at Birmingham], we can talk over some of our matters; and if not, I would get down to you afterwards. Matters are in good train at the Muzzy, and all going right, as it looks now; trumps will turn up there, I trust, next spring.

Rattling by the skirts of the Welsh hills last evening, the clouds seemed somewhat low, and looking up the valley of the Conway, I thought of the wet bother you have lately had, and of the troublesome quarters you are now in. 'Tis very tiresome for you. Once out of the high grounds of Wales, and we shall rapidly move ahead. -—Very sincerely, H. T. De i.a Beche.

Ramsay did attend the ' Wisdom Meeting,' making a rapid journey thither, and acting with Jukes and Oldham as Secretaries of the Geological Section. But he was soon back at work again in North Wales. After carrying his boundary-lines from the Llanberis district northwards, until he had joined them up to those which had been mapped from Bangor, he left Llanberis on the 3rd September and stationed himself at Capel Curig, with the view of working out the structure of the group of mountains rising to the east of Nant Francon. Mr. Aveline was at work in the district lying to the north-east, and the two colleagues wrere enabled before the end of the season to join up their lines. Mr. Selwyn, having completed the survey of the ground lying between the Snowdon range on the north and Ffestiniog and Tremadoc on the south, was now at work in the Lleyn peninsula from Pwlheli. But there were still several portions of boundary to be settled along his northern limits. Ramsay had thus occasion to visit both his comrades from the central station of Capel Curig.

'6th September.—Attacked the side of Carnedd Dafydd; a hard day's work ; was not home till half-past seven. I found the coffee-room full; Quakers in it who had been botanising.

'8th. — Started for Carnedd Llewelyn; glorious day and glorious day's work. Finished this side of the hill, all the way to the watershed, and was twice on the top.

'2nd October.—To Pen-y-gwryd. Struck up and had my last rap at old Glyder. I was sorry to part with him. Many a bright and many a stormy day have I passed on his sides, and as I scaled his cliffs many a happy hour have I spent en route home searching for ferns. The day was glorious, bright and warm. The world scarcely ever before seemed more bright and beautiful. I regained my voice and sang. I perfectly regained the use of my legs, and scaled the rocks strong and fearless as of yore.'

Capel Curig, 26th October 1849.

My dear Aveline— . . . What precious weather since Monday till to-day! I got a good slash of work done to-day. In a few more days I must have a meet with you again to join up west of Llyn Crafnant and east of Llyn Geirionydd. I met Sir H. on Saturday at Bangor, and stayed with him till Monday. We had a short rap at Anglesey at very old rocks—older than the Cambrian.- Yours ever sincerely,

Andw. C. Ramsay.

The last sentence of this letter has a peculiar interest to geologists. It shows that the first impression made on Ramsay's mind by the older rocks of Anglesey was that they were pre-Cainbrian. He afterwards came to regard them as altered Cambrian ; but his original and unbiassed judgment on the subject is now recognised to have been the true one.

Capel Curig, 31st October 1849.

My dear Bill [His brother William.] — ... Winter does indeed approach, and it often looks sufficiently savage here, specially when the wind comes roaring down the glen, driving the rain before it in sheets for four whole days. Then ho! to see the rivers burst their bounds, and the lakes rise up a yard or two! Then old Kuhleborn reigns triumphant, and I, the enchanted knight, fall in love with all the female waiters and chambermaids, the daughters being lantern -jawed.

Then besides, I have work to do, and have begun to read up for the production of a third Introductory Lecture. What awful stuff the Wernerian disciples wrote, to be sure! I am busy analysing Jameson's (of Edinburgh) old writings. He was a disciple and pupil of Werner's, a favourite pupil, and by St. Anthony a Tours, I protest t' ye, it is about as easy to extract buttermilk from millstones, as to make sense out of the maze of words in which they lost themselves. And all that, too, under the guise of extreme exactitude!

But, somehow or other, o' nights, after a tough day in the air, I don't feel inclined for that dry work, or indeed for any serious work whatever. What then? Why, I have generally lots of letters to write, both of Survey import and in the friendly way. There's the home-circle, Sharpe, his honour Judge Johnes, Playfair's jewel, Mrs. Forbes, the Rev. W R. S. Williams, our vicar, Dr. Falconer of Bath, and many others which (that I may not now weary myself writing lists of names, and so deprive my mother of the continuation of that inestimable catalogue with which, she will be glad to hear, I must fill my next letter) I forbear to mention. Then 1 now and then write verses. And yet again, when these delights fail, have I not some rare and delectable books, poets, and historiographers? For, look ye, how can a man weary with the choice and truth-telling histories of Alcofribas Nasier at his elbow, purchased by me at Birmingham for the small sum of 6s. 6d., and containing more wisdom and erudition than all the collected works of Hume and Smollet, Gibbon, Herodotus, Titus Plinius, Ferguson, Aristotle, Macaulay, Justinian (see his Pandects), Aulus Gellius, Avicenna, Froissart, Mrs. Trimmer, Bishop Stillingfleet, MachiJ-velli, Lamartine, Fox of ye Martyrology, Dean Swift, Phillip de Commines, Jean Paul Richter, Gawain Douglas, Knickerbocker, Anthony Count Hamilton, Barbour, the Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela, Ruddiman, Plutarchus, Mosheim, Mrs. Trollope, Thuanus, Rev. Thomas Burnett, Major Sabine, and many others, whose names I shall continue in my next letter ?--Yours affectionately, A. C. R.

'2nd November.—Magnificent day. Got a splendid day's work done, taking up the Llynbodgynwydd ash, and carrying it all round nearly to Trefriw, and so back by Llyn Geirionydd. It was a glorious day's work, and a glorious day to work in, so still and sunny. Speaking of peace, I conceived a sonnet on the way home, when I saw the mountains rise high and solemn into the sky in the twilight.'

Peace, vexed soul! there is a God above.
What though an evil destiny hath blighted
Thy fervent hope, quenching the dawning love
That, like a penetrating sunbeam, lighted
Life's shadowy path; beyond thy narrow care
The world is bright as ever. Look around!
The earth is strewn with flowers, how passing fair!
The ringing voices of the brooks resound
In the low valleys, moss-grown rock and cam,
And the tall water-reeds reflected rest
On the deep bosom of the mountain tarn,
Telling of peace: the far-off mountain crest,
Piercing the sky, how strong, though tempest-riven!
Calleth aloud of rest, and points the way to heaven.

'19th.-—A tremendous day's work with Selwyn, all across Dolwyddelan, up Cwm Penanmen, and round by Pwll Francon and Bettws y coed.'

Capel Curig, 26th November 1849.

My dear Willie—The lines you allude to are Cowper's—Would I describe a preacher, such as Paul, I would describe him sober, grave, sincere, etc.

You will find them, I think, in 'The Sofa. [The lines thus quoted from memory are not quite accurately given, and occur not in 'The Sofa,' but in 'The Timepiece,' line 395.] It is a fine description. Martin Luther, however, is my favourite among more modern divines. A man also ' sober, grave, sincere' ; but not always grave — a great divine and reformer and eke a great composer of sacred music, one who was not always grave, but sang his ballad 'with a full round mouth,' and was fond of a cask of good beer, as his letter to the Elector of Saxony (I think) proves, when he thanked him for one while attending a congress of divines. It is always worth living in the world while good beer remains in it. We may thank our Saxon ancestors for that blessing.

'28th.—After breakfast started for the hills above Llyn Bychan on the west side of the fault; finished them ; re-mapped Mynydd Danlyn, and crossed to the other side by the lower end of Llyn Crafnant. While loitering about, taking a final look, I spied Aveline coming down anxiously, with his hat pulled over his eyes, his coat-collar turned up, his gaiters hanging about his heels, taking long strides and looking out ahead, but never holloaing, as another man might have done. So we joined and walked merrily down to Trefriw together.

'4th December.—Had a long consultation with Aveline and Jukes [at Aber] on the maps, and proved that Snowdon, Glyder, and all are not lower than the Bala lime and ashes. Jukes and I then started for the hills, and had a splendid day among the intrusive traps. Aveline returned to Trefriw, and Selwyn came up from Clynnog fawr. Joking and making fun all of us all night.'

The campaign in Wales had thus lasted for fully six months, and was prolonged even into the stormy and inclement weather of December. It had been eminently successful, for a large tract of rough mountainous ground and complicated geology had been finished, and Ramsay had been able to join up the boundary-lines of his area with those of his colleagues on each side of him. And thus, turning his face southwards, and paying a short visit of inspection to Bristow in Dorsetshire, he was back in London before the end of December, to begin the indoor labours of another winter.

As before, we may take a few extracts from his diary of these winter months. The Geological Society continued to offer its fortnightly meeting as a rallying-point for the geologists in London. The Friday evening discourses of the Royal Institution, and the receptions of its genial Secretary thereafter, formed additional favourite gathering places. On the 1st March Murchison gave the discourse, and Ramsay records that this veteran geologist ' was quite nervous in the early part of his lecture, hesitating and leaving his sentences unfinished. But as he warmed he improved, and by and by got on very well A week later Edward Forbes occupied the same position, and his appearance is thus chronicled in the diary : ' The place was just about full. Forbes never appeared to such advantage. He lectured in first-rate style, coolly and boldly. The subject was "The Distribution of Fresh-water Fishes and Plants," which he treated certainly in a most masterly manner, showing that it depended on recent geological revolutions.' The next Friday is thus recorded: 'Royal Institution at night. The Astronomer-Royal lectured to a crowded audience, Prince Albert in the chair. Airy forgot himself, and lectured an hour and three-quarters! The Prince fell asleep.' The following Friday it was Ramsay's own turn to undergo the ordeal of addressing this critical and sometimes somnolent assembly. His account of the evening is as follows: I had half an hour's quietness in the little private room behind the theatre. At nine I was introduced, the Duke of Northumberland in the chair, the French Ambassador on his right, Mr. Hamilton on his left, and in the front row were Lord Overstone, Sir John and Lady Herschel, Wheatstone, Faraday, Murchison, etc. etc. It was literally a brilliant audience, with many ladies. The place was full, and they listened with great attention, occasionally quietly applauding, which gave me encouragement. I felt I was doing it easily. The praise I got from Herschel, Faraday, De la Beche, and others was almost too much to be good for me.' Faraday ran up to him at the close, shook him by both hands, and asked, ' Where did you learn to lecture?

The subject of this discourse was ' The Geological Phenomena that have produced or modified the Scenery of North Wales.' The most interesting feature in it, considered with reference to the development of Ramsay's geological opinions, was undoubtedly the prominence now assigned by him to glacial action in connection with the landscapes of this country. This was the first occasion, so far as we know, when he made public profession of his belief in the former existence of glaciers in Wales, and gave at the same time new and original proofs of their presence, particularly instancing cases where mountain-lakes were still held back by ridges of terminal moraine, and where large blocks of rock were perched on ice-worn crags, where they must have been quietly deposited by the ice.

The annual festival of the Geological Survey took place on the 16th January 1850, and is thus recorded

'Anniversary Survey dinner day. Sir Henry in the chair, Reeks vice. It passed off right jollily; lots of original songs from Forbes, Jukes, Baily, Smyth, Oldham, Hunt, Salter, and myself. I sang two.' One of his ditties was entitled the 'Song of the Geologues of the Woods,' and the concluding verse may be taken as a sample of its style :—

The Survey needs no strangers
No scurvy council's bother;
We'll work with Daddy De La Beche,
And stick to one another;
With six-inch sections, maps, reports,
We yet shall see the day
When Carlisle Shall blandly smile,
And double all our pay,
And every man shall keep his wife when he doubles all our pay.

The last day of April found Ramsay once more with Selwyn and Jukes at Merchlyn in North Wales. There were still various unfinished parts of his area to revisit and complete, likewise sundry lines regarding which he had to confer with his colleagues. The progress of the work rendered it necessary that some of the ground already surveyed should be gone over again in the light of fresh evidence. And after the surveys were completed there remained the laborious task of running horizontal sections across the area, including the most rugged and mountainous ground. These occupations, together with occasional visits of inspection, kept him busy in Wales until December— a long spell of field-work, only interrupted by a brief visit to London, the meeting of the British Association at Edinburgh, and an excursion to Dublin for the purpose of seeing his friend Oldham married. The life he led during those nine months is told in his diary and letters.

'4th May.—Out on the hills with Selwyn as far as the cliffs under Carnedd Llewelyn, and down by Melynllyn and Llyn dulyn. Got some good work done. Selwyn executed a most perilous feat of cliff-climbing ; a slip and he would have been slain.

'15th.—Out again by Fawnog du and Carnedd Llewelyn. Its bald head was powdered with snow. Yet the sun shone almost warmly, and having finished my work, I lay down on a big stone on Cefn-yr-Arrig and gazed on the deep shadows of Yr Elen and Ffynnon Caseg, the peaks of Carnedd Dafydd, and Y Glyder fawr, the great flats of Anglesey, and the distant outlines of Man and Ireland; and as I looked I felt my heart soften, and I arose a better man again. Came home over Y Foel Fras, probably the last time I shall be on it.'

On the 18th of the same month he wrote to Aveline asking if he could recollect how many years the Survey had been at work in Glamorganshire, for, said he, ' in six weeks or so all this North Wales will be done, and I want, if possible, to compare times.'

On the 31st, in a letter to Salter from Caernarvon, he writes, ' Selwyn and I are here putting a final touch to all the difficulties and erst-seeming contradictions on this side the Straits. Marry, it comes out smoothly, except in so far that I fell on top o' the Rivals yesterday, and so bruised my right shoulder that even writing is not a pleasant exercise for the arm. That is the beginning, I fear; what say you? Is it not terrible to think that now, when just finishing Wales, it is yet possible that I may this summer be found at the base of a cliff, with a bloody crown and my heels in the air?'

On the 6th June, while still revising with Selwyn from Caernarvon, he writes thus to Aveline : ' One long fine day will do for us here now, and a day or two's drawing. Then hey! for the sections. But first I purpose a run to Malvern for two days, to put in some alluvium left out by Phillips, and without which we can't publish that quarter sheet. I am a little bothered, but glad too, as I never saw the Malvern section.

'Our work here fearfully differs from Sir Henry's, and the worst of it is that he has, I think, published his opinion in his Anniversary address. It is about certain black slates which he puts under the Cambrian : they being, in fact, the Lingula (Silurian) beds brought against it again by a fault. It will be not a very agreeable job convincing him of this.'

The visit to Malvern and a hurried journey to London took up only some ten days, and by the 22nd June he was back once more at Llanberis to begin the arduous task of running sections. This operation was conducted with a theodolite and chain, the surveyor having the assistance of two men. The line of section having been determined in such wise as to cross the most instructive or important geological structures, and generally the loftiest summits, was drawn upon the map, and the surveyor then proceeded to measure on the ground the horizontal distances, and fix the relative heights of the various points along the selected line. These measurements were entered in a field-book, from which the section was afterwards plotted on a scale, vertical and horizontal, of six inches to a mile. When the outline of the ground had in this manner been correctly drawn, the geological structure was inserted from the maps and note-books, and, where needful, a final visit was made to the ground, and minor details were adjusted on the section. These operations, it may easily be believed, required both care and skill. They provided a further means of checking the accuracy of the maps, and when successfully completed, they furnished the surveyor with a valuable additional store of materials for the preparation of the written description of the geology of the district which he had mapped. How Ramsay fared with his sections across the Snowdon area he must be allowed to tell in his own words.

'25th June.—Out with my men to begin section from the top of Snowdon to the sea. Dodged the cliffs at the top, till from the Capel Curig road, attempting to make them chain back a bit to Pen Wyddfa, one of them refused, and I got exasperated, and discharged him on the spot. The fool was afraid to go over ground that I had danced over to show him the way ten minutes before. Home, annoyed at these Welsh blockheads.

'26th.—Got a new man and began, leaving the cliff till I had tried them. Came across over Craig du'r Arddu and found them more daring than myself; this will do.

'28th.—Out on the hills in a strong joyous mood. Did a tremendous day's work, chaining right along the face of the cliff from the top of Snowdon to the top of the Capel Curig path, and astonishing the sightseers by the strange peaky, cliffy places 1 planted myself on with my theodolite. Went to the top after, and took the angles of all the lakes and principal hills round. Home at seven. Went up Snowdon in an hour and a half, and down in an hour.

'8th July.—Out early. Carried on the section right down to the sea at Llanfair.'

The section-line that was now being traced ran on the one side from the top of Snowdon parallel with the Llanberis valley to the Menai Strait at Llanfair, whence it was afterwards continued across Anglesey. On the other side it was prolonged south-eastwards into the country mapped by Selwyn, and was carried by him into Merionethshire, across Cynicht, Moel Wyn, and Aran Mowddwy, and was continued by Aveline across Montgomerysh're. The plotting and

I final drawing of his part of the section occupied Ramsay's time in wet weather at Llanberis. The section, engraved by J. W. Lowry,3 is one of the most striking in the whole series published by the Geological Survey. The geological structure is portrayed by Ramsay and Selwyn with a boldness and vigour, and at the same time with an artistic feeling, which had hardly been equalled in geological section-drawing.

The meeting of the British Association at Edinburgh offered a brief but pleasant break in these labours, as will be gathered from the following jottings.

'1st August.—Murchison in the chair of Section C. Old Jameson2 was there, and in the chair for a while. He looked just like a baked mummy. I spoke twice. We had some good papers ; Forbes's first-rate, and Mr. Bryce 3 read a good paper as the mouthpiece of the Glasgow Natural History Society. What a rough, strong, clever-looking man Hugh Miller4 is! My mother was there with Jess, looking very happy and venerable.

'3rd.—This has been a glorious day. Went down to Granton at seven and embarked on board the Pharos steam-yacht, belonging to the Cominissioners of Northern Lights. Dr. Robinson, Strickland, Dr. Johnston of Durham, Oldham, Allan. M'William. Williamson, and many others there,—a most lively and amusing part}'. We got into boats by and by at the Bell Rock [Lighthouse], and fairly effected a landing. A wonderful sight that tower, rising direct from the waters, so far away at sea! Then we went to the Isle of May and the Bass Rock, where we landed and saw its wonderful covering of live birds. There we picked up Lord Wrottesley1 and his daughter. Then to Inchkeith, and so home. We breakfasted, lunched, dined, and had tea on board, and gorgeous meals they were. Some splendid speeches were made, and altogether it was quite an event in one's life. Strickland had a gannet knocked down with a hammer, to take away with him. In the evening to Robert Chambers's : a large assemblage.

'6th. —Breakfasted at Chambers's. Sopwith very funny; he is witty. Opened the Section by giving a very short abstract of my paper. Sedgwick and Murchison then spoke of the labours of the Survey. I spent the rest of the day at the Ethnographical Section. Latham spoke a splendid paper to the few gentlemen round the table, Mrs. Latham and I frequently making the whole audience. Went to the soiree in the Music Hall. When just over, Forbes and I, to Sir David Brewster's great disgust, got up a dance in the Assembly Rooms. We had nice little partners, but neither of us knew their names.'

After the close of the Association meethig he spent a few days in Glasgow with the old familiar faces. One little touch may be quoted from his diary : ' hen the parting. My mother came upstairs.'

"Come back as soon as you can, for you'll not have to come often now," she said, and I was obliged to break away and retire to my own room for a little.' By the 16th August he was back once more at Llanberis, whence he transferred himself to Bethesda, in order to get at various outlying pieces of ground around Carnedd Dafydd that remained still incompletely surveyed.

De la Beche, who was never happier than when he was able to report the completion of a large number of square miles, began to be fidgety about the length of time taken by the section-work in Wales, and the consequent diminution of the area of ground surveyed. Ramsay complained to Aveline on the 27th August that it was unfortunate to be carrying on this work 'against the grain with the governor, for he would fain take us away and leave the thing unfinished. I shall get away by the middle of September. You will not get off so soon, I suppose. About a week ought to finish my mapping out of doors. Two days indoors or three, some bad weather (as to-day), and a diabolical section from Bettws over Pen Llithrig - y-Wrach, Carnedd Llewelyn, and the sea—the thing is done."

'5th September.—Out by Carnedd Dafydd, tracing in the drift. Got a good many wrinkles on the subject. It must have been 2000 feet high at least. Came down on the Carn Llafa side of Carnedd Dafydd and corrected these alternations by means of the faults —a most troublesome bit of work. Home at half-past six.

'11th.—Did a glorious day's work with Howell1 up as far as Aber, getting all Jukes's ugly bits of sandstone, etc., perfectly explained—a succession of domes cut off by faults. Home at half-past seven—a long, long walk.

'12th.—Up by the coach to Cwm Idwal. At the top we found a splendid haul of fossils, and 1 made a grand discovery respecting the drift. [He here gives the section across Llyn Idwal, afterwards published in Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc. vol. viii. (1852), p. 375, showing the drift capping the summits above the lake and a moraine forming the barrier of the water]. The moraines of these valleys are subsequent to the drift, because, if previous, they would have been smothered in it. But, as I before proved, the roches moutonndes are previous to it, because they are covered by it up to great heights. The drift on top of Cwm Idwal is 2500 feet high, and it reaches probably a parallel height on Cwm Llafar, being thence connected all the way with the drift of the sea-side.'

By the end of this month he was at Dolgelli, helping Selwyn to put some finishing touches to the mapping of the Cader Idris region. On the 12th October he was able to make to Salter an important announcement touching the troublesome regulation as to receipts for travelling charges. ' Henceforth and for ever you take no more receipts for travelling expenses, and in place thereof you must make out a travelling charges bill. I've got it all in right order, and by a magnificent stroke of genius have got Sir Henry's formal consent thereto.'

His colleague Oldham had determined to resign the charge of the IrisB Geological Survey, and to accept the direction of the Geological Survey of India.


Thomas Oldham

As a preliminary step he arranged to be married, and asked Ramsay to support him on the wedding day as groomsman. So the Welsh work was laid aside for a week, and Ramsay for the first time went to Ireland. He says of his reception at the house of the bridegroom that he was formally introduced to the family, including ' Mr. Neptune Oldham, a big Newfoundland dog, who was sitting on a chair at table, finally shaking hands with the dog, who presented me with his paw in the most courteous manner. We all got at home with each other at once.' One after another of his colleagues was thus quitting the ranks of bachelorhood, and he could not help heaving a sigh now and then, and wondering if his own time were ever to come. Writing to Oldham a day or two after the marriage, these feelings escaped in verse :—

Thomas hath found what he desired,
The maid his heart did fix on;
He by an angel was inspired
When he popped to Miss Dixon.

Another bachelor hath passed,
And I, for lack of gold, boys,
Ah, woe is me ! am falling fast
Into the vale of old, boys.

Oh, many a sheep's eye have I thrown,
Have cast full many a lamb's eye,
But never yet have chanced on one
That cared to take a Rams-eye.

Would that the gods might yet be kind,
Nor longer try their tricks on;
Then haply even I might find
Just something like Miss Dixon.

The fascination of glacial geology was now at length beginning to influence Ramsay's geological bent and to tinge all his views of Welsh scenery He had practically finished the survey of the solid rocks. Their problems, though by no means all solved, had at least been so far settled as to allow of the preparation of maps and sections for the engraver. The compilation of the descriptive memoir of the region would be a laborious task, involving years of interrupted application, and many renewed visits to the ground. But the glaciation of these Welsh mountains had all the charm of novelty. Buckland, Darwin, and others had described some of the proofs of former glaciers, but no one had yet attempted to trace the story of the successive changes of geography and of climate recorded in the various glacial deposits. We now find in Ramsay's note-books and diaries frequent reference to the subject. While stationed at Bethesda he made numerous observations and compiled many notes relating to the ice-markings on the rocks, the distribution of the drift, the grouping of perched blocks, and the position and heights of moraines. He was in this way gradually accumulating materials for his first essay on the glacial phenomena of this country which he communicated a year later to the Geological Society.

There still remained a portion of Anglesey to be surveyed before the maps of North Wales could be regarded as complete and ready to be prepared for the engraver. De la Beche had himself traced the lines across some parts of that county, and other portions had been mapped by W. W. Smyth. Ramsay and Selwyn early in November crossed into Anglesey with the object of filling in the unfinished portions and completing the whole. The following letter from De la Beche gave them his impressions of the structure of the ground immediately after they had begun their work:—

London, 11th November 1850.

My dear Ramsay—Touching the mica-slates, chlorite-slates, and other matters of the lower ground in Anglesey, they are, of course, what they can be proved to be; and no matter what they may be, let us get at the fact. Pray keep a bright look-out for the conglomerates ; they are most valuable in such investigations. You have probably examined that beneath so much of the Cambrians as is to be seen on the banks of the Menai, near Bangor. The conglomerates nearer Llanberis show clearly that the matter of the Cambrians there is, in part at least, compounded of older detrita rocks—kinds of quartz-rock being among them. If it be really right that the Bangor beds are these said affairs brought up again, probably similar pebbles will present themselves. Here, then, we have evidence of detrital beds consolidated before so much of the Cambrians as such conglomerates may form the base of.

I know not how you have attacked the ground, but if I had been with you, which I very much regret is not the case (there are, however, matters of more pressing importance now under consideration here), I should have made you master of the country at Holyhead Island, and have proceeded across country to Amlwch, though not quite direct. Taking up the black shales (graptolitic) based upon conglomerates of variable character, but sometimes containing pieces as large as one's head, to these succeed a parcel of trappean affairs— limestones beautifully laminated; above these, shales and more arenaceous rocks, sometimes purplish, and so on to the northern coast, where heavy conglomerates with some impure limestones cover all. A better section is no doubt to be obtained on the sea-coast by means of a boat, but such means of conveyance are now (November) out of the question. The two sections confirm each other, some beautiful granite veins and alterations near them requiring a little caution.

At Amlwch the sections are capital, on the coast especially; the Parys mine, a continuation of the graptolitic slates. Near the place with an unpronounceable name, to which I direct thee, there are some capital conglomerates. Pray look the pebbles well over. Henslow called these Old Red; they are not so.

The upper purple beds occupy a position very like similar beds in Ireland—the highest of the series there known to us in Wicklow, Wexford, and Waterford. The date of the granitic intrusions of Anglesey is clearly that of the Irish country noticed—anterior to the deposit of the Old Red Sandstone. These upper purple beds will interest you, not that there is anything in purple and (their common associates) greenish beds ; they are found of all ages. The upper purple beds in Ireland, the position of which is undoubted, often remind one of the Cambrians of Bray Head and other places.

It seems to me, before anything be written or published, it will be needful for you and self to go over some of the main sections and points. This you will be the better able to do after your present examinations.

I have not the maps with me; indeed I am writing away from the Museum, and therefore cannot point out more distinctly where 1 would wish you to look. There are some capital cases of smashing on the coast from granitic intrusions beyond (southward of) the range of the rocks holding the Parys mountain mines—really good things ; so is the whole coast. I believe I have walked or boated the whole in Anglesey. I should like a run with you in Anglesey, and, please the small porcines, we will have one, whether the lower rocks be Tertiaries turned topsy-turvy or superfine elders. I am called to attend to other things.—Yours sincerely,

H. T. De la Beche.

It will be obvious from this letter that the Director-General had recognised conglomerates at the base of the Cambrian series of Anglesey, that he wished to keep an open mind as to the relations and age of the rocks underlying these conglomerates (which he seems to have been inclined to class as pre-Cambrian), and that he had observed the presence of trappean or volcanic intercalations among the older Palaeozoic formations of the island. It was unfortunate that on all these points, where he was undoubtedly right, his able lieutenant came to differ from him. Selwyn, indeed, clearly detected the unconformability of the lowest Cambrian strata upon an older series of schists. But on the maps as finally published Ramsay's views prevailed. No pre-Cambrian rocks were there shown. The crystalline schists were classed as ' altered Cambrian,' and the existence of volcanic breccias and other proofs of volcanic action were not recognised.

Apart from the geological work, there is a peculiar interest in these few weeks of Survey doings in Anglesey, for now, unconsciously, Ramsay was approaching one of the momentous epochs of his life. During the day he and Selwyn traversed the rocky northern coast of the island, charmed with ' the cliffy foregrounds, the white breakers, the great misty plains of Anglesey, and the snow-covered mountains rising beyond so still and grandly.' At night they had the shelter of little inns, sometimes of the homeliest kind. In the course of their traverses they received an invitation to make, for a day or two, the rectory of Llanfairynghornwy their headquarters. The following notes from his diary convey Ramsay's first impressions of this hospitable household : ' The house is somewhat characteristic, being full of all sorts of odds and ends, and not in the highest order, yet everything telling that they are people who do not exclusively busy themselves with externals. There is a character about the family. Mr. Williams is one of the best specimens of a Welsh clergyman I have met, polished and conversational, not at all deep, but very agreeable, and, I should say, conscientious and hard-working. Mrs. Williams is a remarkable woman. She was engaged [when the two geologists arrived] enlarging a map of Palestine for the use of a school her daughter takes care of. They all assist at wrecks, etc., and she has made a survey of the Skerries, taking the angles with a prismatic compass. They [afterwards] made me explain the glacial theory, and were, I think, interested, especially Miss Louisa, who is certainly a very clever girl.'

The geologists were asked to come back and spend Christmas at the rectory. This pleasant visit is thus referred to in a letter to William Ramsay, written from Llanfairynghomwy on Christmas Day: ' We were detained at Bangor at work till the last moment, and when done we threw ourselves into the rail, and fled away here yesterday evening to eat a Christmas pie with our jolly friends the Williamses, and eke a goose with apple sauce. Marry, come up ; I'll stay a day or two and make myself merry when I am here, for we've been working extra hard. They (the W'ms.) are bricks, and no mistake. It is no ioke to enter into a contention with one of the young ladies, Miss Louisa ; she is so witty that you might just as well cut your eye-teeth before you begin.' From the very first he was greatly interested in this bright, clever daughter of the house. In his diary he makes frequent reference to her: ' Wit and a sense of the ludicrous is her characteristic ; sense she has a good deal of, and warmheartedness no end of.' 'Commenced the year (1851) dancing a polka in the hotel ball-room, Chester. Trifling and merry enough, I believe, with the witty Louisa for a partner; not ominous, I opine, of future partnership.' Whether 'ominous' or not, the acquaintance developed into sincere affection on both sides, and he found here at last the loving and devoted woman who a year and a half afterwards was to become his wife. But these pleasant dissipations, so fitly closing a long and arduous season of field-work, soon came to an end; and by the 5th of January Ramsay was once more at his post in the Survey Office in London.

The building in jermyn Street was now rapidly approaching completion. The collections at Craig's Court were being transferred to their new home. Already the offices of the Survey had been removed.

There was, therefore, all the bustle of preparation in the staff. Moreover, Sir Henry's great scheme for the foundation of a school of applied science seemed now at last almost certain to be carried out, and if so, it would involve considerable change in the positions, duties, and emoluments of a number of the officers of the establishment. Add to this that the Great Exhibition of 1851, which would open in a few months, was the subject of much consideration in several Government departments, and not least among ihe officers of the Museum of Practical Geology. Occasionally a minister would come to inspect progress. Prince Albert himself went carefully over the building and its contents, and took much interest in it. Among the official visits there was one which is thus narrated in the diary. '6th March.—Lord and Lady John Russell and two children came here to-day. He, cold and uninterested ; she, most charming and intelligent. When I was introduced, he merely bowed coldly. Ditto to all. Blewitt, the M.P. for Monmouth, he coldly bowed to. "Who would have thought," said Blewitt, "that I've sat beside that man and supported him for fourteen years ; he is a nice man to keep a party together ! " I had a good deal of conversation with Lady Russell, and was much pleased with her.'

The Anniversary gathering of the Survey this winter was the most successful that had yet been held. It is thus recorded: '18/// January 1851.—Busy at the Museum till nearly half-past five. Then off for a short walk, and so to the Imperial Hotel, Covent Garden, to the Annual dinner of the Royal Hammerers. And oh, wasn't it a jolly dinner! We were : Sir Henry, Forbes, Captain James, Captain Ibbetson, Smyth, Aveline, Bone, Baily, Bristow, Salter, Reeks, Selwyn,

James Forbes, Playfair, J. Arthur Phillips, Hunt Jukes, Oldham, and myself. Oldham sat on Sir H.'s right, and I beside him. After dinner the mirth became fast and continuous. One comical song followed another, all original. Forbes made me roar with laughter, chanting something at me about—

'I'll lay my head on a Bala Bala bed,
And wed a parson's daughter.

My songs were, one to the tune of " Trab, Trab ," (trap-trap, rap-rap, map-map), and the other, " O weel may the Survey speed," etc.' A verse or two of the second song, which was headed ' 1841-1851,' may be quoted :—

I joined the chief in Tenby Bay,
And shillings I caught nine,
'Twas three for breeks, and three for beer,
And shillings three to dine.

When first I left the Land o' Cakes
And took to wearing breeches,
I little thocht that I should join
This corps o' De la Beche's.

There's Forbes's men that work within,
And our field-working laddies,
Including Jukes, that shaved his chin
To please the Irish paddies.

When age has put our auld pipes out,
By precept and harangue,
New lads will rise without a doubt,
Will gar the hammers bang.

The Anniversary dinner of the Geological Society was this year chiefly memorable for one of the most wonderful exhibitions of Sedgwick's oratory. ' At the dinner,' says Ramsay, ' Forbes, Wilson, Aveline, Smyth, Sopwith, Captain James, Logan, and a few more of us got together. Hopkins, the new President, was in the chair. He was slow. Sedgwick made the great speech of the evening. By turns he made us cry and roar with laughter, as he willed. His pathos and his wit were equally admirable. Home at twelve.'

To the Geological Society Ramsay communicated this winter his first paper on glacial phenomena. For nearly three years he had been giving increased attention to this subject. Not only had he met with many new illustrations of the history of the glacial period, but his observations, now that his eyes were opened to the existence and significance of the facts, led him to perceive the meaning of many scattered surface-features in South Wales, to which, at the time he was surveying in that region, he had paid little heed. His paper was read on the 26th March 1851, and was entitled, ' On the Sequence of Events during the Pleistocene Period as evinced by the Superficial Accumulations and Surface-markings of North Wales.' His comment on the meeting of the Society runs as follows : ' Read my paper at the Society. No man objected but Hopkins, who said little, however, being President, and he only objected to one point, and praised all the rest. Sir H. made a capital speech, and I think made an impression on Hopkins on that very point that bothered him in my paper. Murchison, Lyell, and the rest scarce ventured to criticise my views, though they spoke well for the grasp and importance of the paper.'

A week after the reading of this essay the following entry occurs in the diary. ' Went over my Welsh glacier-maps at night. Walked up each valley with my mind's feet, and took Logan with me. He said at the close that he thought I had proved my case, but that before publication I bad better look at a few points again.' Whether it was this advice of the veteran Canadian geologist, or the criticism at the Society, or his own mature reflection that determined him, he withheld the publication of the paper for more than a year, and then issued it with a slightly altered title.1 The chief point insisted on in the paper was the fact that the so-called glacial period embraced two distinct glaciations : one widespread and prior to the deposition of the Drift; the other local in valleys and later than the Drift.

A subsequent meeting of the Society is thus described : ' Murchison had a paper on the Denudation and Drift of the Weald of Sussex. When the debating came, Lyell first spoke indifferently, unable to overcome the difficulties, but evidently feeling that Murchison's catastrophic solutions were the greatest difficulties of all. Then followed Sharpe, who said that one would suppose from M.'s reasoning that elephants were marine, instead of terrestrial animals. Then came Mantell, who, in a most eloquent speech, asked, if the great mammifers were annihilated by this catastrophe, how is it that their bones are always found scattered and in fragments ? Would not the ligaments and skin keep them at least so far together that we would find the principal parts of the skeleton near? Then followed Forbes on the same tack, then Dr. Fitton, asking for more facts and less theory, and then myself, showing how little dependence was to be placed on angularity or non-angularity of pebbles as a test of date. Every one came hard down upon him. . . . He thought he was to be received with praise, and every one opposed him.'

The Red Lions had a curious experience this season, of which the diary contains the subjoined account. ' At six went down with Forbes to the Red Lions at Soyer's. It appeared that he had a great dinner to the Press, etc., of all nations, and having made no provision for us, he dodged us into dining with them in the great hall. His first request was that we should dine at the same hour to save his cooks. There were all the Reds of note, including Owen, Latham, Dr. Smith, etc. etc. He appointed the best places at table for us, and made his people ply us with all sorts of good dishes and wine. It was a splendid joke. In the garden was a huge oven, in which half an ox was roasted. At a signal the covers were removed, and it was wheeled on to great dishes on a hand-barrow. Twelve cooks carried it, and a brass band marched before playing "The Roast Beef of Old England," while all the guests came up behind laughing. The Honourable Captain Fitzmaurice, Soyer had secured as principal toast-giver and speech-maker. This man had indicted him [the great French cook] as a nuisance, with his lights and bands o' nights. Soyer called thrice, but the Captain would not see him; at length he somehow forced himself into his presence, and lo! the gallant Captain now sat by his side, and returned thanks for the Army and Navy. The whole thing was so cleverly done that, save Latham, perhaps, all of us took it as a joke and laughed prodigiously. Before dinner, when some of us looked a little displeased, and Ibbetson and Henfrey remonstrated, Soyer looked round for the meekest man, and seizing Van Voorst, " Come," said he, " let us talk it over," and marched him away arm in arm.

'It was glorious to hear Jules Jamin reply for the press, so rich was he in French gnmace. Forbes I spirited up to reply for the Lions, which he did in a great row, but with great humour."

In spite of the multifarious London duties of this winter and spring, Ramsay contrived to secure a few days in the field, inspecting some of the joint work of Forbes and Bristow in the Isle of Wight and along the Dorsetshire coast. Of this pleasant but brief Easter excursion he records as follows:—

'Easter Monday.—At the railway-station met Lyell and Bristow. Forbes met us at Southampton, and so, by way of Lymington and Yarmouth, we got to Freshwater Gate by half-past six, and dined at half-past seven. I liked Lyell better; he was often anecdotical, but principally geological all day. He laughed tremendously when Bristow said his portmanteau was so heavy because it contained De la Beche's new "Geological Observer." [The first edition of this portly volume, not being divided into chapters, was a formidable piece of reading, more especially as Sir Henry's style was not always of the clearest. The book was sometimes irreverently called by outsiders 'The Jermyn Street Bible.' instruction, and so far from affecting the big-wig, is not afraid to learn anything from any one. The notes he takes are amazing; many a one he has had from me to-day. He is very helpless in the field without people to point things out to him; quite inexperienced and unable to see his way either physically or geologically. He could not map a mile, but understands all when explained, and speculates thereon well.' 'He wore spectacles half the day, and looked ten years older [in consequence]. Logan says it is vanity that prevents his always doing so. I think it is custom, and perhaps his wife.']

' 25th April.—Spent the whole day at Warbarrow. Forbes has certainly made a capital story of his divisions of the Purbecks, which we must follow if possible. We saw a splendid section all along the coast from thence to Kimeridge Bay, where we got at five, and came back in the fly.

'We all like Lyell much. He is anxious for instruction, and so far from affecting the big-wig, is not afraid to learn anything from any one. The notes he takes are amazing ; many a one he has had from me to-day. He is very helpless in the field without people to point things out to him; quite inexperienced and unable to see his way either physically or geologically. He could not map a mile, but understands all when explained, and speculates .thereon well. He wore spectacles half the day, and looked ten years older [in consequence]. Logan says it is vanity that prevents his always doing so. I think it is custom, and perhaps his wife.


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