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Memoir of Sir Andrew Crombie Ramsay
Chapter VII - The Geological Survey in Scotland


The general awakening of the country, after the Great Exhibition of 1851, to the national importance of cultivating science for industrial if not for theoretical purposes, showed itself in Scotland, among other ways, in an agitation for the extension of the Geological Survey to that part of the United Kingdom. The movement never needed to be vigorously pushed, for the mapping of Scotland had from the beginning been contemplated as part of the duty of the Geological Survey of Great Britain. But two serious impediments had hitherto stood in the way of even making a commencement of the work. In the first place, the Ordnance Survey of Scotland was so far behind that the maps, on which alone a geological investigation could be properly based, had not been available ; and in the second place, even if maps could have been obtained, the staff of the Geological Survey was so small that it was hardly possible to spare any officers for breaking ground in Scotland. In response to the agitation on the subject, De la Beche instructed Ramsay to go to Scotland and see for himself the actual state of affairs. Writing to his lieutenant on the 26th July 1853, he said: 'The Survey (Geological) of Scotland has been long ordered (vide votes in Parliament), but we could never enter upon it, because there were no proper maps, not enough to continue the work upon we had commenced it. Now let us see if there are the needful maps, and a fair prospect of not being compelled to break the work off if commenced. You have been sent in your official capacity to examine and report to me on this matter, so that it maybe seen how far it may be expedient to commence the Survey of Scotland next year, your report and other needful inquiries enabling those who will have to decide on the subject to obtain a correct view of it.'

In accordance with these instructions, Ramsay went to Scotland in that year, and spent the month of August there making the necessary inquiries, and at the same time visiting some of his relatives and old friends. lie found that in the central part of Scotland, where upon the coal-bearing formations and among the great industrial districts it was desirable to begin, the Ordnance maps were exceedingly backward, but that there was a prospect of obtaining unfinished proofs of them in the course of next year. It was subsequently arranged that he himself should go north and begin the geological survey in the summer or autumn of 1854. 11 is letters during this brief expedition north of the Tweed show how impossible it was to escape from the pressure of official work. Sir Henry was getting old and less able than he had been to keep himself in touch with the field-work, though to the last he continued his tours of inspection, and even in the summer of 1854 was down in County Cork exploring with Jukes the coast-line about Bearhaven. But it was essential for the progress of the service that Ramsay should constantly keep himself in communication with his men. Thus he dragged at each remove a lengthening chain of correspondence. A few extracts from his notes to Aveime, some of them written when he was really on holiday visits m Scotland, may here be given. 'What has become of you ? What are the prospects of the work? [Completion of part of the Welsh ground.] Is it done or nearly done, or does it look as if it would be done; and have you been able to solve your difficulties? Sir H. wanted to disturb you. I wrote trying to stave him oft. . . . I have been away a day and night among the islands of the Forth in a steamer belonging to the Commissioners of Northern Lights, and landed on the Bell Rock. It is Old Red Sandstone and twelve miles from shore. I will send your sections, maps, etc., in a day or two. It is not easy to find quiet here. When I get to Hamilton I will send you a Cader sheet; I have none here. Yesterday I got some fine specimens of foliated mica and chlorite schists by Loch Lomond and Arrochar. The glacial phenomena beat anything I ever saw. It is wonderful.'

At this point of the narrative, when the operations of the Geological Survey are to be described in Scotland, it may be of advantage to look for a moment at the state of the progress of the work at that time in England. The whole of Wales had been completed and published, together with Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, and Derbyshire. Portions of some other counties had also been published, and the field-work was now being pushed into Lancashire and Yorkshire, north of a line drawn from Liverpool to Sheffield, and into the counties of Nottingham, Leicester, Northampton, Oxford, Buckingham, Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, and Kent.

The staff at this time in England consisted of Sir Henry de la Beche, Director-General, A. C. Ramsay, Local Director for Great Britain; W. T. Aveline and H. W. Bristow, geologists; W. H. Baily, J. W. Salter, H. H. Howell, and E. Hull, assistant geologists; R. Gibbs, general assistant; and J. Rhind. The Irish staff, under the Local Director, J. Beete Jukes, consisted of W. L. Willson, geologist; A. Wyley, G. V. Dunoyer, F. J. Foot, G. H. Kinahan, S. Medlicott, and J. O'Kelly, assistant geologists; and James Flanagan and Pierce Hoskins, specimen-collectors.

The maps and sections of North Wales having been completed and published, the next labour was the preparation of a connected description of the geology of that region. No one but Ramsay could undertake this onerous duty. He was familiar with the Principality from Holyhead to Caermarthen; many square miles of it he had himself surveyed, and he had inspected at various times almost all the rest of the ground. Still he could not be expected to know all the details of tracts which he had not personally mapped. He accordingly applied to his colleagues, more especially to Aveline, Selwyn, Jukes, and Salter, for notes regarding their several districts, and these, together with the memoranda he had himself made, he proceeded to weave into a continuous Memoir. This task continued to be his chief indoor labour for some years. Ill-health eventually seriously delayed its completion, and the Memoir did not finally make its appearance until some twelve years later. To do the editorial work of this volume satisfactorily it was desirable that he should plant himself for a time in some central part of the region to be described, so that he might easily verify any doubtful points by actually visiting the ground. Accordingly he took up his quarters during part of the summer of 1854 at his old station, Llanberis. A few passages from his letters will give a picture of his life and work there. Writing to Aveline on the 7th June he tells how an illness there had retarded him, and adds: 'If I can walk a mile or two to-day I shall try several more to-morrow, and if that succeed, leave this suddenly. I have now got to that part of the Memoir that deals with the Bala beds and Caradoc, from Mallwyd all round by Yspytty Evan to Conway, and am especially hard up for information in places. Will you turn up your note-books and copy out any descriptions of the structure of the rocks, etc. ? Never mind digesting them into regular description more than you like; only give me any notes you have, and I'll quote them in your own words when I can. I am at present incorporating what Jukes gave me about the Bala Limestone and ash, and of course what I chiefly want is anything about the rocks above that.' Again on the 16th he writes to the same correspondent: 'On Monday, after an early dinner, I took a gig to the top of the Pass, and then started across the hills for Ffestiniog, in part over a bit of country I had not been on before. I was anxious to see it before describing its rocks. I passed by the lakes called Llyniau, under the west end of Moel Siabod, and through the upper part of Dolwydd-elan, and down by Manod-bach. The greenstones are right. I reached Martha's about ten at night, and got a hearty reception and supper. Next morning a commercial gent gave me a lift to Trawsfynydd, where I struck into the country, and went over Craig-y-Das-Eithen and down by the back of Penmaen and Cwm Eisen to Tyn-y-groes, where I dined, and went on to Dolgelli. Next morning Byers and I had a scramble till 6 p.m., when I got a return car as far as the crossroads near Ffestiniog. I slept at Ffestiniog, and next morning walked up Cwm Orthin and over Cvnicht to Cwm Gwynant, near Beddgelert I had never been on Cvnicht before, and learned a few things for the Memoir. I then walked to the top of the Pass, where I found a return car and reached Llanberis at half-past eight. It was a day's work that.'

To Salter, on the 28th of the same month, he writes: 'Though deep in ice' (he had been preparing a paper on the Welsh glaciers for the British Association), ' that was only occasional work ; I am deeper in the Memoir, and have got a great deal done. In consequence of last year's finishing strokes to the traps, between the Bala road and Arenig bach, I was obliged to re-write a good part and to re-arrange the order of description. That is all done now, and much more, including, of course, the Lingula Flags, which, however, I do not consider finished without your advice there-anent again. Your notes are of the highest value. I have used them freely, quoting you, but putting them necessarily into more current or running English. This will be submitted to you in good time. I have also used Jukes's notes about the Bala country, altering and abolishing a little, and adding considerably. I think I must send you that to read and comment upon soon, for I repeat that you can give me much help both there and in the Berwyns. Not a soul has given ine a single note about the latter.

To the same correspondent, on the 13th August, ne sends thanks for congratulations on the birth of a son on the 6th of that month, and adds : ' I hope to be at Llanfairynghornwy for a day by Thursday at latest en route to Ireland, where I want to have a touch at the six-inch maps before beginning in Scotland. . . . This Memoir I do not mean to say will be done (with so much at present on my shoulders), but I do hope to finish it next winter and early spring. . . . Were we to go down together next spring [into Wales], and possibly take Jukes and Aveline with us, then putting all our experience and knowledge together, we might through the year produce such results as would throw a strong and steady light on Ireland. I believe that no man single-handed could do so in two or three months, and I believe that if you ask Forbes (if he be in London) he will agree with me, for our opinions, I have observed, always pretty well coincided in such matters.'

The journey to Ireland referred to in the foregoing extract was chiefly for the purpose of personally inspecting the system of mapping followed by Jukes and his colleagues. From the commencement of the Survey in Ireland maps on the scale of six inches to a mile had been used as the field-maps. In England and Wales the general map on the scale of one inch to a mile had alone been available for geological purposes ; but as the six-inch scale was now extended to Scotland, it was proposed to carry on the geological investigation of that part of the United Kingdom on the larger scale. It will be readily understood that the substitution of a map embracing thirty-six times the area of that which had been used in England and Wales would necessitate numerous modifications of the system of mapping applicable to the smaller scale ; much more detail could be expressed and abundant notes could be inserted, which in the case of the one-inch scale required to be written in the note-book.

De la Beche, though he had consented to the adoption of the larger scale in Scotland, was rather inclined to disparage it. But as that scale was to be employed, Ramsay clearly realised that it was his duty to profit by the experience of those of his colleagues who had been using it for years. ' It would be a great mistake on my part,' he wrote to his chief, ' to omit seeing what they do, and how they do it, in Ireland. It does not follow that the same rules should be applied in Scotland; but whether or no, I want to see how they keep, cut, use, and abuse their maps, what their port folios are like, how they handle them in the field, and twenty other things that may save us much time and trouble in Scotland, and which only eyesight can instruct upon.'

De la Beche's bodily and mental powers were visibly failing, though his natural gaiety of temperament showed little abatement. His declining vigour appeared more especially in the uncertainty and vacillation of his official decisions. He had both verbally and in writing agreed that Ramsay should begin the survey of Scotland, but afterwards, when all the arrangements had been made, he was afraid to go on with the proposal, lest there might be some questioning on the subject at headquarters. Ramsay, however, knowing how fully the matter had been discussed and approved by Sir Henry, determined to persevere in the course which had been fixed upon. In pursuance of that resolution he crossed to Ireland to see Jukes and his men at work, and at the same time to have one more conference with the chief, who had joined the survey party in the south-west of County Cork. The story of the interview is told in a letter to Mrs. Ramsay of the 25th August: 'Yesterday after breakfast, Jukes,


Joseph Mete Jukes

Willson, Kinahan, and I drove in a car to Glengariff; Mrs. Jukes rode out with us for a mile or two on Dolly, and two dogs were also of the party, Carlo the setter, and Tommy the Scotch terrier. We dropped the other men en route, and Jukes and I drove on to Glengariff. It is not a town, but a tourists' inn in a lovely valley. It puts one in mind of Loch Lomond, only the water is salt and the hills not so high. There we found Sir Henry, Rose, Kendall, and Carry Smyth. After shaking hands, " So you've come here," quoth the Governor. "Yes, I could not help it!" "I think you might," and then he showed me how it was impossible to begin Scotland; he had no objections to my going down to open the ground (not to map it), but it was impossible to authorise any one accompanying me, for Cardwell had said this and that and the other thing. I asked him the meaning of his letters urging me to go down and get something published. Just at that moment a question arose about Kennedy and Medlicott. Jukes and Sir H. had a long discussion, during which I had ample time to quiet all vestiges of rising wrath, and to arrange my plan of argument, which was so effectively done, that when Sir H. and I set-to again, I got him to agree to everything I wanted. I go down when I please, and get Aveline to follow me ! So far well, with three cheers for diplomacy and honesty combined! Sir H. is more to be pitied than railed against; for his mind is far, far gone, though you would not think so under ordinary circumstances.'

The few days spent with Jukes and his colleagues gave Ramsay a good idea of the way in which geological mapping on the six-inch scale could be carried on, while at the same time it presented him for the first time in his life with some vivid examples of Irish scenery and Irish manners and habits. Writing to his wife from near Bantryon the 27th August he says : 'The weather still continues splendid. We had a long walking and caring day yesterday through a beautiful country, wild and rocky. They call it here cultivated in places ; but to my eye a great part of it is a sad spectacle. You see as many houses without as with roofs, and few gates swing on their hinges. But the people are fine-looking, those of them that get plenty to eat, tall and stout, with long arms and upright gait. The women are often pretty, and they can do what few English women can, they walk erect and graceful, with long steps. They do not hobble or amble or mince; they walk.

'I am just about starting for Glengariff, and tomorrow will be at Killarney. I bathe every morning, and am quite recovering all my swimming powers. I swim right away out to sea on my face, and return on my back by way of a change.'

After coming back from Ireland he wrote to Aveline on the 1st September: 'I purpose starting for Scotland next week, and think of beginning about Dunbar, but am not as yet certain. I shall return to the meeting of the British Association at Liverpool, and some time after that (not very long) I certainly expect to want you in Scotland, both that we may make a good beginning, and also that when I am obliged to leave (going back and forward) I may have a representative at work.'

The British Association met this year at Liverpool, and Edward Forbes, who had recently left the staff of the Geological Survey to succeed his old master, Jameson, in the Natural History Chair in the University of Edinburgh, was President of the Geological section. Ramsay came to the meeting to support his friend and read two papers. In one of these he made known the startling conclusion to which he had come, that in Permian time glaciers existed in this country, and had left behind them the remarkable breccias and boulder-beds of the Malvern and Abberley hills. The progress of the Survey across Worcestershire into the central parts of the midlands had given him ample opportunity of studying these breccias. He still further elaborated his observations, and communicated them in the following February (1855) to the Geological Society. He was now in the full tide of glacial enthusiasm. The old Welsh glaciers had acquired renewed interest from his experiences in Switzerland, and he had endeavoured to track their course and measure their thickness by the markings they had left upon the rocks. He obtained renewed proofs of the two periods of glaciation he had already indicated, and now found that at the time of its greatest extension the ice had actually passed across some of the larger valleys, such as those of Llanberis and Nant Francon. He ascertained by direct measurements of the heights of the striation on the rocks that the ice of the greater glaciers was about 1300 feet thick.

After much delay the Geological Survey was at last extended to Scotland in the autumn of 1854, and the Local Director himself undertook the task of beginning the work. The state of the Ordnance Survey county maps on the six-inch scale left little choice as to the district where geological work should be started. Ramsay finally determined to commence on the coast at Dunbar, where he could trace in the base of the Carboniferous system, and, working gradually westwards, might clear the way for the further prosecution of the work by his staff next year. His rambles led him into some of the lonely valleys of the Lammermuir Hills and along the picturesque shores of East Lothian. He had had no quiet geological work in Scotland since his old Arran days, and there was so much of interest and novelty in thus breaking ground for the Geological Survey of Scotland that, repressing his strong desire to be back once more with his young wife and children, he persevered with the work until the keen frosts of December drove him at last southward. A few pictures of this working-season at Dunbar may be gleaned from his letters to Mrs. Ramsay.

'The Old Red Conglomerate here [among the Lammermuir Hills] is the most wonderful deposit I ever saw, and horribly icy-looking. It is so soft, too, you might dig it out with a pickaxe. The greater part of it is almost indistinguishable from Drift. Examine the enclosed stones and give me an account of their colours. Merely write me their colours and then throw them away. Whatever colours they are, it does not in any way affect my mapping, but it would be a satisfaction to be certified on the subject. Are they grey mostly, and is there any purple and green? [In explanation of these directions it requires to be stated that Ramsay was to a considerable extent 'colour-blind.' He was often made conscious of this defect when discussing the Survey maps with his colleagues, for he could not distinguish between some of the colours, reds and greens being especially mistaken.] They are fragments from the stones that make up this tremendous brecciated conglomerate on which I walked on Friday all day without any prospect of gett:ng to the end of it. It forms great wild, heathy hills, stretching far away south into Berwickshire. It is so incoherent that it is everywhere traversed by the most remarkable ravines, deep, steep, and often without water in them. These have been made by successions of winter floods, and sometimes in the course of ages, the drainage having taken a new direction, they have become permanently dry.'

'Surely this place is "Cranford." I by no means understand the constitution of its society. Yesterday the only person besides myself at dinner was a Mr. Combes. He was a stout little gray-haired man in black, who from his appearance might be a clergyman with a black neckerchief, a schoolmaster, a professor in a Scotch college, a physician, a surgeon, a country gentleman, a retired merchant, a first-class skipper, or anything you like, not great or noble. Well, the conversation got animated, and our host made an occasional mal a propos remark and thoroughly enjoyed the talking. The little man discussed history, English, Scotch, and Roman, the styles and merits of Hume, Smollet, Robertson, Gibbon, and Scott, of the Pictorial History, of Mackintosh, Fox, and Macaulay, of the novel-writers, including Fielding, Smollet, Miss Burney, Misses Porter, and all the moderns, the history of poetry as shown in the writings of Dryden, Pope, Burns, Ramsay, Tannahill, Fergusson, etc. And, besides, he had been in India, and had voyaged about, that was clear. Well, he and I walked home ; we shook hands, and he turned into a house in the street, and I looked above the door, and saw thereon Combes, CandlKiaker!'

'With a large section of society intellect is not to be endured, especially if it dare in any way to think a little differently from the common herd. Do you know, it costs me no small trouble to keep out of hot water even with? Our style of thought is so utterly diverse that there is almost no chance of our agreeing on any possible subject. I never heard an interesting conversation in their house except from others. But I have a great respect for them and much affection. How curious is the difference when one gets away among men of learning and science! They do not see merely the outside. They reflect and reason, and whether correctly or not, still it is reflection and reason. I never saw Goodsir2 but once before, and that for five minutes. We were at once friends, and I feel that I love him, for we have a community of thought, though our sciences are quite different. He is so unassuming, simple 'in manner, gentle, and kind. I have much to learn from some of these men.'

'This is a bright sunny day, with a westerly wind and white waves dashing on the red cliffs and islets below the Castle. The Castle is the merest fragment of a ruin—-a few walls some three or four yards thick on a rocky promontory. Lauderdale House looks upon them, still entire, but deserted by the Karl, the windows closed up or broken. It faces the sea, and its back looks down the long street very drearily. The family left the town when the Reform Bill put an end to their borough influence. A winged sphinx sits on the roof, and wonders how long it will be before it will fall in.'

'The wind is rising strongly from the east. The sea gets white. The square-sailed fishing-boats come scudding in for shelter, and two large three-masted steam-screws are scudding up the Firth with all sails set forward. I write during breakfast. One of the boats seems unable to make Dunbar Harbour, and is running for shelter into Belhaven Bay. The men's wives are looking out across the walls. . . . That little boat has beat up to windward after all. She is now under shelter of the Castle ; down goes the square sail, off go the oilskins, and out go four oars, and she will be in dock in a twinkling.

'Heigh ho! A boat after all has been upset on Tyne Sands. Three men are drowned and two saved. I saw a woman pass crying, and afterwards a sailor, looking very grave. I feared something.

'The tumult of the waves is wonderful to look at. They come rolling in, and swallow up the rocky islets that guard the shore, breaking over them in great sheets of white water. The roar, the great masses of spray, and the labouring vessels dimly seen scudding up the Firth—everything seems to bespeak disaster.'

Before he left Dunbar the Director had completed about a third of the area he had assigned to himself to be mapped from that station. The Geological Survey of Scotland was thus fairly launched. Ramsay, however, was never again able to find time to resume the mapping of any area north of the Tweed. [The only time that he took the maps himself into the field was some ten years later, when, while spending a few days with his friend Mr. J. Carrick Moore in Wigtownshire, he mapped the end of the peninsula which terminates in Corsewall Point.] All that his increasing official duties permitted him to accomplish was to come down year after year and inspect the work of his colleagues, completed and in progress.

While stationed at Dunbar a calamity befell him which all through the rest of his life he never ceased to deplore. His cherished friend, Edward Forbes, who only a few short months before had succeeded to the Professorship of Natural History at Edinburgh and who had presided so genially and actively over the Geological Section at the recent meeting of the British Association at Liverpool, was cut off on the 18th November after only a few days' illness. Ramsay thus announces the sad news to his wife: 'I have just received a brief note from James Forbes telling me that Edward died on Saturday at a quarter to five. I can scarce realise it. My grief breaks out in short fits, and then I struggle to suppress its signs. O Louisa! what a terrible blow, and how seemingly inscrutable. In the flower of life, with a dear wife and children, and in the new opening of another phase of a great and useful career! The more I think of him, the more I feel that, next to you, he has exercised more influence on me than any other person I ever knew. He was so earnest and so good. I wish I may be able in some small degree to imitate his worth. We had much in common, but, as a man of science, his station was much greater than mine can ever be. Forbes never lost a friend. His goodness as well as his greatness make him so universally lamented.'

On returning to London for the winter of 1854-55, the various members of the Geological Survey were concerned to find how greatly their esteemed chief had altered for the worse since they had last seen him. Ramsay notes: 'Sir Henry is wofully changed. He is so feeble now that he has to be carried in in his chair, and wheeled to his room. lie looks shrunk, and his face is doubly lined; neither is its expression


Edward Forbes

improved.' Nevertheless, the veteran stuck to his post, presided over meetings of the teachers of the school, had all the latest Survey maps submitted to him, and took the keenest interest still in all the field-work. He was specially pleased with the field-maps on which Ramsay had traced the first beginnings of the survey of Scotland, and expressed his approval not only to him, but also to his colleagues. ' Ramsay is advancing,' he said, ' and showing much official aptitude.' Not only so, but he manifested much interest in the Local Director's glacial work, of which he had previously been inclined to make light. ' He was delighted,' says Ramsay, ' with the Swiss and Welsh moraine matter compared side by side, and actually gave some obscure hints, as if I should be obliged some day to be over a good deal in Ireland, apparently meaning that I should by and by have the charge of both Surveys.'

De la Beche had often previously spoken to Ramsay on the subject of the next Director-General. In their more confidential moments he had assured him that his 'geological son' should succeed him, and that he had put that wish so definitely in writing that he felt certain that the Government would follow his advice. For years, therefore, Ramsay had come to regard the reversion of the office as secured to himself. But during the year that preceded the time at which we have now arrived various circumstances had occurred to shake the confidence of his belief on this matter. Sir Henry's failing powers, mental as well as bodily, had led him to take, on more than one occasion, a course which Ramsay, feeling strongly that it would be detrimental to the best interests of the service, opposed as firmly, though of course as courteously, as he could. The chief was now apt to be impatient and somewhat exacting, as well as inclined perhaps to push official routine and regulation further than his able subordinates thought necessary or desirable. Ramsay had an exceedingly difficult and delicate task to discharge. He sympathised with his colleagues, and was entirely loyal to the Survey, at the same time that he had a strong affection for his chief, and a keen sense of the duty of subordination and discipline. So long as he could be side by side with Sir Henry, there was little risk of serious difference. The veteran's sense of what was just and fitting was so strong, and his confidence in his lieutenant so entire, that he soon came to an amicable agreement when they argued a question together. But Ramsay had occasion to be much in the field, and his place was apt to be taken by other counsellors, whose advice did not always coincide with his. Certain it is that towards the end of 1854 De la Beche, feeling that his own days were numbered, and being desirous of playing some part in the nomination of a successor, perhaps also somewhat displeased because Ramsay had recently withstood the promulgation of a vexatious ordinance, fixed his thoughts for a time upon a geologist other than his lieutenant as the proper person to succeed him, and there is reason to believe that he privately communicated his views on this matter to the Minister in whose hands the appointment lay.

Up to the very end Sir Henry came to the Museum, even though he could not leave the chair in which he was wheeled into the building, and his loud voice and hearty laugh could be heard all over the place. He had still his joke for each member of the staff, and his kindly word of inquiry and encouragement for the attendants and cleaners. ' Well, Mr. --, are you happy ?' he would ask of some newcomer, as he was wheeled across the Museum floor to his own room facing Piccadilly. He appeared for the last time on Wednesday, the nth April. It was his intention to be back on the following Saturday, but he became rapidly worse next day, and died on the morning of Friday, the 13th.

From the allusions which have been made in the foregoing chapters some more or less adequate picture may be formed of the character and work of this remarkable man. His scientific achievements placed him in the very front rank of English geologists. His kindliness of heart and gleefulness of spirit endeared him to all who came into close contact with him. The very failings which have been already indicated did not alienate the affectionate regard of his associates. Even Ramsay, who perhaps suffered more than any one else from these failings, loved him to the last, and mourned for him as for one of the most leal-hearted friends he had ever had.

It is not necessary or desirable for the purposes of this biography to enter into the details of the appointment of a successor to De la Beche in the Geological Survey and the establishment at Jermyn Street. It is enough to say that Ramsay soon saw that the hopes he had cherished for so many years were doomed to utter disappointment. He found, moreover, that vigorous efforts were being made in favour of a most estimable man of good family, but possessing only a very slender acquaintance with geology. As there seemed some possibility that these efforts might be successful, and that the Survey, Museum, and School might thus be placed in must incompetent hands, Ramsay proposed at a meeting of the professors that Sir Roderick Murchison should be their next chief. This suggestion being agreed to, was communicated to Mr. Cardwell, who approved of it. Thereafter, and apparently with a view of strengthening the application in favour of Murchison's appointment, a memorial urging his claims was prepared by Dr. Fitton, who obtained numerous signatures to it from leading men of science, including Sedgwick, and this document was sent in to Government. Within less than a month from De la Beche's death Murchison was appointed to succeed to the office, and he entered on his duties on the 5th May. Ramsay did not allow even his intimate friends to know how bitter was his disappointment at the loss of the prize which his own chief had taught him to believe would certainly be his. It was one of the most trying episodes in his life. But to the distinguished geologist who now, as it were, supplanted him he brought the most unswerving loyalty, and remained his faithful colleague up to the last.

Before this important matter was definitely settled Ramsay had started once more for the field. There were two departments of the surveying now in progress in which he took a special interest—the Permian mapping of the midlands and the revision of parts of Wales. He first went over the recent Permian work, and while so doing sought for further light upon the question of Permian glaciers, which he had brought fully before the Geological Society on the 21st February in this year. The subject had been rather laughed at by De la Beche, who said, 'As to the scratching of breccia fragments—"'tis their nature to—a tumble-down house will give plenty of them; and then as to old localities for the fragments, independently of not having cakes which have been eaten, who the dickens, in such places, can say what rocks are beneath the sprawl of New Reds?' Lyell, however, took a much more serious view of the matter, and with that eager enthusiasm so characteristic of him, threw himself into it, and endeavoured to master all the evidence. He asked Ramsay to go over the ground with him, and the request was readily granted. ' Lyell is brimful of these Permian glaciers,' Ramsay wrote to Aveline; and after taking the author of the Principles of Geology over the ground, he tells in his diary how at dinner Lyell, who had been ruminating on the subject for some days, at last declared that to his mind and eye the breccias told of river-ice rather than of glaciers and icebergs. This dinner took place on the eve of another continental journey, which Ramsay had planned for the purpose of comparing some of the more notable breccias of Germany with those which he had been studying in England. Starting with Mrs. Ramsay at the beginning of August, they made their way by Heidelberg to Eisenach, spent some ten days there examining the Rothliegendes and other formations of Thuringia, and made a brief visit to Berlin.

The revision of some of the Survey work in Wales was a subject that had lain very near to Ramsay's heart for some years before the time at which this narrative has arrived. We have seen how imperfect he knew the maps of South Wales to be, owing to the want of any proper subdivisions among the older Palaeozoic formations. At the time when that ground was mapped the importance of such subdivisions had not been recognised. It was enough, in Sir Henry De la Beche's opinion, if these ancient rocks were distinguished on the maps by some one common colour. But as the work advanced northwards, and the true significance of the labours of Murchison and Sedgwick began to be perceived, it was seen to be eminently desirable to separate at least some of the larger groups. The great break between Lower and Upper Silurian, which Ramsay had detected near Builth, was one of which he early saw the importance. Sedgwick and M'Coy had shown in 1852 that rocks which had been grouped by the Survey with the Caradoc sandstone in the Lower Silurian series contained such an assemblage of fossils as linked them rather with the Upper Silurian. Hence it was that Ramsay, who felt himself responsible for the mapping of Shropshire and the adjacent tracts of Wales, and was anxious that the Survey maps should be made as accurate as possible, deputed W. T. Aveline and J. W. Salter to re-examine that region.

The result of the labours of these two members of the staff was to establish beyond any doubt that the break between the Lower and Upper Silurian series of formations in that part of Britain was complete, and that the so-called 'Caradoc' of Murchison and 'Bala' of Sedgwick were palceontological equivalents, the one of the other. It was then evident that the boundary-lines thus established, and which were put on the Survey maps, would need to be carried into South Wales, where hitherto no attempt had been made to show any stratigraphical subdivisions in the series of formations below the Wenlock group. And this southward extension became all the more necessary after Aveline had separated out the 'Tarannon shales' below the Wenlock group, and had shown what a persistent zone they formed in North Wales. Hence at last, and after much objection on De la Beche's part, who, as we have seen, was weary of these repeated re-examinations of Wales, Ramsay obtained his chief's authority in 1855 to send Aveline into South Wales for the purpose of inserting the more glaring omissions on the maps and improving the representation of the associated igneous rocks. How keen was the interest that Ramsay took in this work is shown by the voluminous correspondence which he carried on with his colleague in Wales. For weeks together every second or third day he would write to Aveline when at work in North Wales, commenting on the last report received from him, and suggesting localities for re-examination or points to be kept in view. Two of these letters may be cited as examples.

London, 12th April 1855.

My dear Talbot—I have Sir Henry's consent for you to have a turn in Pembrokeshire when you have done with the Wenlock line. The business will be first to do the Cambrian line, and secondly to walk across each bit of trap in the country, tap it and note down whether it is hornblendic or felspathic, melted or felspathic ash. Except errors stare you in the face, don't bother about them; but of that more. This job is urgent now, because Sir Henry has decided to change the colouring, and to colour all greenstones green, and all felspathic traps and granites shades of red. I am glad of it, for it gives us a good opportunity of improving the Pembrokeshire maps, and with Sir H.'s determination about the colouring, there is no escape from the necessity of looking at it. I suspect, indeed I know, there will be mapping to do in the great St. David's lump of trap. There are all kinds there, unseparated and only indicated by one colour. Once you get to Llandovery I think you will rapidly finish the Wenlock line. But don t neglect to map such sandstones as are needful.—Ever sincerely,

Andw. C. Ramsay.

Ashby de la Zouche, 17th June 1855.

My dear Talboots—The Pembrokeshire fragments of map] will follow this by to-morrow's post. The plain green [colour on the map] is intended to represent greenstone, and the striped green, felspathic trap. In the parcel are fragments drawn by me on an enlarged scale for the purpose of mapping when on the ground. I know that all the traps between St. David's Head and Pen-berry are intrusive greenstones, and you need not visit them unless you like. I fear that the trap on which St. David's stands will want looking to and separation into kinds all the way from east to west. I think you will find most of the long strips greenstone, but I recollect that some of them between Aberpwll (four miles north - east of St. David's Head) and Mathry are felspathic ash. I once stayed a week at a public-house at Mathry.

St. David's Island is mostly greenstones, but some felspar; Lower Solva and Whitchurch, felspar and quartz, I think ; in fact, a granite without its mica. I think Trefgarn is greenstone, but am not sure. I suspect there are both kinds near St. Dogwells. At Wolfe's Castle there was a public-house, where I put up a horse daily. Sir Henry did most of the Preseley traps. You will find remarks of his on the maps that may help you a little.

Are the Cambrians coloured on the copy of the Map you have with you? On Nos. 1 to 5 you will find some useful hints about them near St. David's, and on Nos. 6 and 7 you will find them mapped in some sort of way pretty carefully. You must judge for yourself whether it will now and then be needful to cut it fine and alter old lines. I have a notion that most of mine are good, viz. all those west of St. Lawrence and Mathry; all between Little Newcastle and Trefgarn ; also those between Fishguard, Newport, and the River Gwaen. The rest I know l:ttle about, though I did some of them.

Finally, do not spare horse-flesh or car-hire to do it quickly.

As soon as it was possible for him to join his trusted colleague, Ramsay made his way into Pembrokeshire. He had not been back there since his early days in the Survey. The inspection had thus a double interest for him. To Mrs. Ramsay from Dale, on the 13th November, he writes : ' We were to-day at West Angle Bay in a sailing boat, which I had the satisfaction of steering—a thing that always gives me supreme delight. I have a passion for steering boats in a good breeze, and we had one. The only alloy to Talbot and myself was -'s stupidity with the sailors; he gave them so much good advice!' On the 18th, having reached St. David's, he announced to his wife that 'no guests being expected, the provision was rather scarce, consisting of four very brown and dry mutton-chops. However, with the help of two apple-dumpling's, some cheese, bread, and butter, we felt that we had in truth nothing to complain of. It was dark when we got into the town, but I recognised the old houses, especially the first on the road, Captain Propert's, who in old days took the first French prisoner when Pembrokeshire was invaded [in 1797], and tying him to his saddle-bow, rode with him to Haverfordwest. This morning, Sunday, after breakfast I walked down to the Cathedral, and sat in my old stall on the right of the bass vicar-choral, and sang bass just as I used to do fourteen and a half years ago. Mr. Richards preached. He was then a curate, and is now a canon. He was the only clergyman in the church. The congregation consisted of about ten or a dozen women, four or five men, and some boys. The church looked so old, older than any church you ever saw, and though something has been done to it, it still looks sadly neglected. . . . When I came here I had just entered the Survey a month or two before. Sir Henry sent me alone to this extreme corner of South Wales. Except one or two slight acquaintances in the English part of Pembrokeshire, I knew no one in Wales then. Truly, I did not see in a vision that in eleven years I should progress from this igneous and Cambrian county to the extreme northern igneous and Cambrian county of Wales, and there find my mate. I was then twenty-seven, and thought every day a holiday, and nothing about marriage at all, except that I thought if a man were rich enough it would be better to be married than single.

'From St. David's I went to Fishguard, and stayed there all the winter of 1841 and spring of 1842. Mr. De la Beche, Kendall and Rose, and Aveline and Rees were all at Fishguard till the autumn of 1841.

In the spring of 1842 I joined Sir Henry De la Beche at Caermarthen after three weeks spent en route at Cardigan and Newcastle Emlyn. From Caermarthen in the same summer Sir H. went to Llangadoc, and I to Llandeilo to join little James, whose bones are now bleaching in the deserts of Australia. From thence Sir H. and I went together to Llandovery. In a fortnight I was sent to Pumpsaint, when Johnes called on me next day to invite me to a picnic given in one of the caves of the Gogofau. There was a ball in the evening. That autumn I spent at Ross and Mitcheldean, and returned to Dolaucothi at Christmas. I think, were I to go on, the association of ideas would carry me on all through my life up till the day of our marriage, which (except some that have succeeded) was, I think, the best day in it, for (as I know, and by the consent of my relatives) it procured me the dearest little wife in Christendom.'

As the Survey was now creeping eastward across the southern English counties, the Local Director could compare the scenery and associations of that district with those of the more ancient rocks of other parts of the country, and send home descriptions to his wife. Thus, while travelling through southern Hampshire with Bristow, he writes: 'What a striking country we came through to-day to an eye like mine, which delights in raking up images of the past! Far-spreading brown heather and moors, with little mosses and marshes and marshy-banked streams, broken up with grassy swells covered with native oaks and other trees, make a true piece of old England. Wasn't it William Rufus who is said to have laid all the New Forest waste and depopulated it to turn it into a hunting ground? I scarcely believe that, in its full extent, for the district forms as a whole one of the worst soils in England, and it is not likely ever to have been thickly populated in these early times. I think its villainous flint-gravelly soil is the reason why it has remained forest-land so long.'

From Lewes, in Sussex, he wrote: ' It is here, you know, that the Russian prisoners are. I have not seen any of them. The soldiers are kept in prison, but allowed to walk out under guard. The officers live in lodgings about the town. I have not told you what a beautiful town it is, clean and airy, such as you see nowhere out of England. The houses are built of brick or of chalk-flints. The streets are hilly, and gardens and trees are scattered about the town. A grey old castle, built by the son of William the Conqueror, stands in the middle of it. The River Ouse runs through the town. The surrounding valleys are full of pretty hamlets, snug farms, and well-grown trees, and the sweeping, green, bare chalk-downs swell all around, from the tops of which (800 feet) your eye ranges far across the lower undulations of the Weald of Sussex to the northern escarpment of the Chalk hills twenty miles off.'

The preparation of the great Welsh Memoir was still Ramsay's chief indoor employment. During wet weather in summer-time, when field-work was impossible, he sat down resolutely to his note-books, maps, and manuscript. In winter he was able to work more continuously on the subject. With the view of securing undisturbed quiet, so unattainable in London, he used to take quarters with his wife and children in some place where one of the surveyors was at work, so that he might have the relaxation of an occasional day in the field. Thus part of the winter of 1855-56 was spent at Cheltenham, where Mr. E. Hull was at that time stationed, and where Ramsay saw much of his valued friend, Thomas Wright, so widely known for his admirable labours among the Jurassic echinoderms and ammonites. In later years he pitched his autumn camp in Scotland.

Among the colleagues with whom he had to consult continually and in great detail was J. W. Salter, whose remarkable knowledge of Palaeozoic fossils was of essential service in working out the stratigraphy. But with all his knowledge, it was not always easy to obtain from this palaeontologist the definite information which the field-men required. In particular, there was at this time a struggle to get him to draw up tables or lists of the fossils actually named from each locality and horizon. Without these it was clearly impossible to make progress either with the revision of the field-work, or with the preparation of the Memoir. Many were the remonstrances and entreaties addressed to him by Ramsay on the subject. The following-letter may serve as a sample :—

Cheltenham. 30th January 1856.

My dear Salter—I shall be up to the Anniversary, and shall hear your paper.

I have not lost my interest in the South Wales question. Quite the reverse ; for it occupies most of my Silurian thoughts. I have thought much over it, and latterly talked over it with Talbot, and formed my conclusions, which, in many respects, are not dissimilar from yours. But I do not consider my conclusions yet conclusive, nor do I yours, nor Talbot's, and he knows more about it than any of us. However, we are in a fair way. Lists, Lists, Lists, are what we want, and what you want, and without lists the fight is not two-thirds done. You nearly shook us about these Bwlch Trebannon beds being Upper; but not quite, for we could not reconcile it to our consciences that they could be anything but Lower. However, by help of lists and physics, we'll purge the whole question, and have it all straight next spring. As to unconformities I say nothing, and w ink my mental eye. Therefore let us have lists. I shall be up in a week or eight days.—Ever sincerely, A. C. Ramsay.

In London it was difficult to carry on continuous literary labour, so many colleagues had questions to ask, and so many callers were desirous of a chat or of information. Nevertheless, he contrived to send off to the editor of the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal a review of the fifth edition of Lyell's Manual of Elementary Geology. This article appeared anonymously, but its authorship was manifest. It was obviously written by a man of wide practical acquaintance with geology, who could speak familiarly of the geological features of many parts of the British Isles of which no account had yet been published; who could appeal forcibly to evidence of glaciation in central Scotland, mentioning localities that had never been cited before ; who could refer to places all over Wales from Anglesey to Pembrokeshire, some of which no geologist out of the Survey had ever visited; who knew Charnwood Forest, had rambled across Shropshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, and Derbyshire, had extended bis observations into Switzerland, and had studied the drifts of the Oberland. There was only one man in Britain who had this range of personal experience, and that was A. C. Ramsay. Lyell had no difficulty in at once recognising the writer. At a party at Dr. Fitton's on the 2nd April Ramsay met Lady Lyell. ' She told me,' he says, ' that to-day Sir Charles had received a review of his Elements which bore internal evidence of its authorship, and which, he said, was the best thing that had been done, being the only good review that had ever appeared of any of his works since Poulett Scrope wrote one.'3 So pleased was Lyell that a few days afterwards he sent the subjoined letter:—

53 Harley Street, London, 6th April 1856.

My dear Ramsay—I have had time since I saw you to read over more carefully your article in the New Phil\ which gives me much pleasure, independently of what is said of my book, for it is no small satisfaction to find a younger man of wide experience, and one who has explored different regions, arriving at similar conclusions on many theoretical points still controverted here, and more so on the continent.

The opinion at p. 313, that neither the Silurian nor Cambrian rocks show traces of a beginning, is one of those useful confessions of faith; also, that the greater the age of a formation, the less chance is there of its deltas being preserved, p. 314; also that the present margins of old formations are the result of denudation, ibid., etc. ; but, above all, p. 306, Titanic agency, etc.

I agree with Dr. Hooker that this article in its style is extremely good, apart from scientific depth. He says it is so thoroughly English. But for that matter I always maintain that your first paper on Arran left nothing to be desired.

The small number of the fresh-water formations prior to the Tertiary cannot be too much insisted upon, and you have brought it out well. The ' Letten-kohle' of the Trias near Stuttgart is a near approach to an estuarine deposit, to say no more; and it is near that coaly deposit that the Microlesfes or Triassic manmiifer was found in a bone-bed, the exact circumstances of which I examined last year, and will tell you about some day.

Your O opposite the 'Upper Cretaceous' is too often forgotten when the progressive development advocates reason on the absence of Upper Cretaceous mammalia.

In regard to the Carboniferous delta, I would rather accept the idea of many contemporaneous rivers debouching in one sea, than suppose the coal-fields of the United States to have been all once united, as H. D. Rogers supposes. Assuming these coal-fields to be deltas, it is no doubt strange that we have so few terrestrial fossils; that it should have been left for mo and Dawson to discover the first land shell, and in America the first reptilian bones. Land snakes may have existed on the then continents, even without offending against the laws of progressive development, but when we find them, and helices, and other signs of land creatures, the time will come for speculating on the absence of higher vertebrata.

The four O, O, O, O, or cyphers, opposite the four lowest Palaeozoic groups, are significant. It was also well to insist on the numerous subdivisions of the Oolitic period, and of others, each separately equal to the ' Glacial and recent epochs.'

If I did not take for granted that the condensed essay on the glacial phenomena of Wales and other parts of the world was to appear even more full and expanded in your ' Survey Memoirs,' I should grudge its being given in an anonymous shape to any scientific journal. The distinctness of the molluscan fauna on the opposite shores of the Isthmus of Panama is well adverted to, and I suspect unanswerable. Notwithstanding the upraised marine deposits in the N. Polar regions, there is much low land, and so much sea, that we have only to suppose a few such peaks as now lift themselves up in the Antarctic regions (Mount Erebus, etc.), and I believe we have the required cold.

The quantity of reading and original observation adduced, quite naturally and without parade, in the last eight or nine page^H is prodigious, and not more than one in a hundred of the readers of the Mag. will know how to appreciate. The few will do justice to it. I am glad you paid a passing tribute to the ' illustrious' one who boldly led the way against the ridicule and scepticism of the ordinary crowd in regard to Welsh glaciers.

I am rather afraid, I confess, of D. Sharpe's paper, although in the Elements I led the way before Murchison in transporting Alpine blocks to the Jura by floating ice. But D. S. requires twice the upheaval that I asked for as having occurred since the Glacial Period. To raise mountains 9000 feet has probably required more than a part of one geological period, and Studer and others have in vain looked for marine shells in the Swiss drift. Fresh-water remains and extinct mammalia I believe they have discovered near Berne, but never at very high levels.

But I must conclude with thanking you for what would have been a treat had the Manual of Phillips instead of my own been the subject of your Essay. It has scarcely ever, in the course of twenty years, been my lot to be reviewed by writers who had any practical experience as original observers in the field, and I therefore value your criticism the more.—Ever truly yours, Cha. Lyell.

At the Anniversary Survey dinner in the spring of 1856, the first presided over by Murchison, who entered heartily into the merriment of the evening, Ramsay produced three new songs and a glee on geological topics. One of the subjects selected by him was his Permian boulder-clay, to which reference has already been made. The style of the composition may be inferred from one or two verses.

Few, few believe what I have told,
Men say that I am overbold.
What then? they sneered that Welshmen's tails
Had polished Buckland's rocks in Wales.

And when I'm dead, and these poor bones
Lie underneath the turf and stones,
The home of worms and churchyard mice,
Men then will swallow Permian ice.

Then, then I trust the old Survey,
Young hands and these, my friends, grown grey,
Will rear above my mouldering bones
Four monstrous Permian boulder-stones.

And, on a slab by ice worn smooth,
Record that in their early youth
The poor old boy beneath that lies
Loved well to walk and talk on ice.

The best of the Survey songs ever written by Ramsay was one which he produced next year (1857), and which may be conveniently inserted here. It refers to the geological expedition made some years previously by Murchison, Keyserling, and De Verneuil across Russia to the Ural Mountains, and was such a favourite ditty at the Survey anniversaries that its author was often asked to sing it.

The Lay of Sir Roderick the Bold and the Emperor of all the RUSSIAS
Air—' The Auld Wife ayont the Fire''

The auld rocks ayont the sea,
The auld rocks ayont the sea,
The auld rocks ayont the sea,
That rise upon the Ural.
There was a doughty Scottish knight,
A hammerman o' mickle might,
The Laird o' Taradale he hight,
Gaed singing 'Tooralooral,
The auld rocks ayont the sea,
The Russian rocks ayont the sea,
I'll map the rocks ayont the sea,
That rise upon the Ural.'

To Petersburg the knight he gaed;
The Czar cam down and to him said,
'Ye're welcome here to mak a raid,
Out ower as fair's the Ural.
Frae west to east in ilka hole
Ye'll cast an ee, and 'twill be droll
But you will find a bed o' coal,
And I'll sing Tooralooral.
The knight he cam across the sea,
The Scottish knight cam ower the sea,
To whack the Russian rocks for me,
Right out across the Ural.'

The knight he took a working squad—
De Verneuil and another lad,
Count Keyserling, and scoured like mad
(All singing Tooralooral)—
Silurian rocks and guid Auld Red,
Wi' fish and shells baith in ae bed,
And Permian strata overhead,
Right up against the Ural—
These auld rocks ayont the sea,
Wi' Oxford Clay ayont the sea,
Erratics o' the Glacial Sea,
Choke up against the Ural.

Then hame he cam, and left his mates,
And wrote a book wi' maps and plates,
And sections o' the Russian states
Frae Baltic Sea to Ural.
The Emperor he scratched his poll,—
"Tis bravely done ! but by my soul!!
I wish we had some beds o' coal !!!
Oh! Tooralooralooral !!!!
There's auld rocks ayont the sea,
There's British rocks ayont the sea
Hae lots o' coal, the worse for me,
There's nane beside the Ural!'

(Weeps).

In the summer of 1856 Ramsay had an opportunity of seeing his chief in the field, for they spent some weeks together in a series of geological peregrinations in the west of England and the borders of Wales. He thus notes his impressions to Mrs. Ramsay: 'I am very glad to have been with Sir Roderick, and to have seen him for many days in his genuine field-phase, of which I had no idea before. The impression he makes is most favourable. First, he is a very early bird ; and secondly, he is always so good humoured, mirthful, and almost boyish, for though awfully apt to deliver lectures and to talk far too much geology, yet he will often tell many queer anecdotes, and sometimes even talk nonsense. Another thing you will highly approve of—he is always anxious to get letters from his wife, and very frequent in his letters to her. I am certain they are very fond of each other.'

After attending the Cheltenham meeting of the British Association in August of this year, where he was President of the Geological Section, Ramsay took his wife and family to Scotland, and settled for some months in a cottage at Dalkeith, in Midlothian, where he could work at the Welsh Memoir and have an occasional day in the field with his colleagues, Mr. II. H. Howell and the writer of this biography,4 who at that time, and for some years later, constituted the whole staff of the Survey in Scotland. There could not be a more charming companion in the field than he. So long as the surveyor was untrained the Director would spare no pains in going over his mapping, sometimes spending almost as much time in the inspection as had been occupied in the original survey, and never resting satisfied until he saw that the structure of the country was adequately grasped and correctly mapped. In such educational visits the day passed almost wholly in geological conversation and discussion. But when once he recognised that his subordinate was a careful and conscientious worker and could be trusted, his confidence in him showed itself in many agreeable ways. He would then touch lightly on details, contenting himself with a look at some of the more important sections, and getting a clear notion of the general structure. He would launch out into disquisitions on theoretical questions, more especially on those which had recently been engaging his attention, and would astonish his young companion by the mass of information which he displayed, much of it not obtainable from books. He had a singular gift of conversation, which enabled him to draw out of a man who had any special knowledge to impart such information as served to elucidate geological questions. He not only ransacked books of travel, but he questioned the men themselves who had travelled, and stored up in his memory the facts, allusions, or suggestions which he thus obtained. It was this wide range of knowledge and broad view of geological principles which gave so much interest and value to his lectures, and which made the long talks with him in the field so inexpressibly instructive to those who were privileged to take part in them.

But where Ramsay met with a congenial spirit in those country rambles, geology formed only a part, and sometimes, if the rocks were not particularly difficult or attractive, only a small part of the conversation of the day. English literature was to him a vast and exhaustless garden, full of alleys green and sunny arbours, where from boyhood he had been wont to spend many a delightful hour. When he found among his colleagues one whose talk was not always of stones, but who had ranged like himself far and wide in literary fields, he opened out his inner soul, and his conversation glowed with an animation and power as well as a gleeful exuberance which astonished and charmed his companion. As the writer pens these lines, he recalls many a happy day spent with his Director among the hills and valleys of southern Scotland, when the discussion of the geology and the mapping were interspersed with endless comments on favourite authors, disquisitions on style, analyses of characters in fiction, and quotations of parallel passages in illustration of some thought that had arisen in the course of the talk. Ramsay had his favourite authors, for whom his affection increased every year. He knew Shakespeare so well that he would every now and then flash some apposite phrase or line from him to lighten up the sentence he was uttering. Among novelists his acquaintance was wide and varied, but he always put Scott far away at the head of them all. He had read the Waverley Novels so often, and remembered them so vividly, that their characters served in his memory as personages whom he could almost believe that he had actually known. How earnest he would grow as he discoursed on the plot of Ivanhoe and its relation to the known historical events of the time to which it was referred! His extensive knowledge of English scenery enabled him to picture vividly the surroundings of Gurth and Wamba, and to enlarge on Scott's marvellous power of seizing the dominant features and local characteristics of a landscape, which perhaps he had only seen casually, and straightway colouring them with a vivid glow of human interest. Among English poets one of his greatest favourites was Keats. He would sometimes speak as if he would rather have been the author of Hyperion than of any other poem in the language. The quaint conceits m the Ode to a Grecian Urn delighted him, and various lines in it were often on his lips—'for ever piping songs for ever new,' 'heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter,' 'beauty is truth, truth beauty.' How often have we been requested to proceed with a statement by the quotation, 'Therefore, ye soft pipes, play on!'

Here was yet another feature of Ramsay's mind which made these excursions singularly pleasant. Though not in any sense an antiquary, he knew a good deal about the history of architecture, and as has already been remarked, took a keen delight in visiting ruins and trying to form a mental picture of what they must have been before the gnawing tooth of time had dismantled them. Whatever, indeed, linked him with the past had a charm for him. He never willingly missed an opportunity of seeing a ruined castle or keep, a mouldering abbey, a grass-grown encampment, or a lonely cairn. If tradition or song invested any spot with a living interest, he would not consider his geological inspection complete if it had not included a visit to that site.

In Scotland, where so many ruins are scattered over the southern counties, and where tradition, legend, and ballad have given celebrity to so many localities, there was during the annual visits of inspection abundant opportunity afforded to the Local Director to indulge to the full his love of the memorials of a vanished past. His letters, written usually either when more or less wearied after a long day of walking, or when hurried in the morning by the preparations for the start, give only a faint glimpse of the enthusiasm which these old associations kindled in him on the ground, as, indeed, they convey a most imperfect picture of the bright sparkle and vivacious earnestness of his best conversation. The wild lonely tract of Lammermuir which he had partially explored from Dunbar afforded him exhaustless materials for indulging in his antiquarian tastes. In some parts of the district every prominent eminence has its circular earthen grass-covered ramparts of ancient Celtic forts, like the Maiden Castle, where Marmion had the nocturnal encounter with the Palmer. Legends still tell of foray and feud, and tradition faithfully points out the scenes of the incidents. After a ramble with the writer through this region, Ramsay wrote to his wife (27th September 1859): 'We have had to drive eighteen miles by a hilly road from Lauder to Duns, and to do as much work as we could upon the hills by the way. We came across a fine wild country growing into cultivation between the southern slopes of the Lammer-muirs and the English border. We passed a hill-top on the left, crowned with two cairns, where two brothers met and slew each other, unknowing who they were. And far away lay the dark field of Flodden, where Scotland bit the dust.

' Grieved was I to hear of Dr. Nichol's death. He was my first scientific friend when growing into man's estate, and but for him I might never have been such as I am.'

On the west side of Scotland historical and traditional associations enlivened not less the inspecting tours of the Local Director. In Ayrshire he could enjoy himself to the full. The geology had so much variety and interest that it furnished ample material for the most solid talk. The scenery embraced the hills of Kyle and Carrick, with the deep ravines of the Ayr and the Doon, while westward the whole panorama of the Arran mountains rose out of the blue firth. The light of song glowed all over the region. Every parish had its old castles, its legends, and traditions. I have never seen my friend more thoroughly happy than when he was rambling over that part of Scotland. Each day was full of new surprises and delights for him. In the morning we might be tracing out the sites of old Permian volcanoes, or following the succession of lava-sheets in the Old Red Sandstone, but before evening we were pretty sure to get into old ballads and traditions, suggested by the associations of the localities through which our work led us. The old castle of Auchendrane, perched so picturesquely in the ravine of the Doon, with its charming family circle and its hospitable host, so fine a sample of the antique world, filled him with rapturous delight, and formed many a time in later years the subject of his thoughts and his conversation.1 He was a welcome guest too at Dalquharran Castle, in the Girvan valley, where his love of the past was amply gratified, where his host could retail many reminiscences of men, manners, and customs that had long passed away, and where his hostess threw over the household the inexpressible charm of her own gentle and gracious presence.

In the eastern part of the district where the infant Nith turns southward into the dale which bears its name, he was much struck with these local associations, as may be seen in the following passages from a letter to Miss Johnes : ' The low bit of country in which I now write [New Cumnock] is 700 feet above the sea. "The wind is howling in turret and tree," or would do so if there were either turrets or trees here for it to howl in. We are in a great plain, once a lake, now filled with peat-moss, through which slowly flows the winding Nith near its sources. Great rounded green hills rise all around, some of them more than 2000 feet in height, and beyond and among them are vast moors and mosses, swelling and undulating for miles and miles, amid which " the hill-folk " took refuge in the days of Claver-house and the " bluidy Dalzell." Two days ago I was at Kirkconnel, on the Nith, some six miles from here. Old Kirkconnel, now desolate, is but a ruined church, mere foundations, with a churchyard full of mouldering tombstones, at the foot of the desolate hills. I searched them all, and removed the grass and moss from some, in hopes of finding thereon " Hie jacet Adamus Fleming," but in vain.

'I wish I were where Helen lies,
Night and day on me she cries;
O that I were where Helen lies,
On fair Kirkconnel Lea!

'Another theme of interest in these parts to human mortals is the aforesaid wide dreary mosses, where in old times the steadfast covenanting hill-folk used to bide the weather with Bibles in their bosoms when fleeing from Claverhouse, Dalzell, and the rampaging dragoons. Many a spot where after "testifying" they were shot and buried in the moss has been pointed out to me in my geological rambles, for even geologists have human interests.'

Until the year 1867, when the Geological Survey of Great Britain was divided into two, and a separate establishment was given to Scotland, Ramsay used to visit his staff in the north each year, inspecting the field-work, and enjoying a renewal of his acquaintance with his native country. After that year his visits were few, and ceased to have any inspecting duty connected with them.


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