Kirwan, Richard; Elements of Mineralogy. By Richard Kirwan, Esq. F.R.S. & M.R.I.A. of the Academies of Stockholm, Upsala, Berlin, Manchester, Philadelphia, &c. Second Edition, with considerable improvements and additions. Vol. I. Earths and Stones. Vol. II. Salts, Inflammables, and Metallic Substances. London: Printed by J. Nichols, For P. Elmsly, in the Strand. 1794-1796.
The set is complete and in a recent half calf over cloth with gilt titles. The bindings are tight with very light soiling to cloth, the text is clean with minor toning to some signatures and a rubber stamp of the London Merchants Institute on titles. Over all in very good condition.
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Kirwan (1733-1812), an Irish mineralogist and chemist was a founding member of the Royal Irish Academy and eventually its president. He was a staunch opponent of Hutton's geological theories, a view expressed in his work "Geological Essays", 1799. Kirwan; was called upon by the parliament in 1792 to participate in a committee to purchase the mineral collection of Nathanael Gottfried Leske. To negotiate the matter he traveled to Germany where he met and quickly became a supporter of Abraham Gottlob Werner theories. Kirwan was so enthusiastic about Werner's theories, that when he became involved in setting up the newly acquired collection in Ireland, he arranged its specimens according to his friend's ideas of classification. In the preface, Kirwan states that it was this experience that allowed him to write the the second edition of the “Elements”, an enlarged and entirely rewritten work based upon Wernerian theories. The book's considerable enlargement is due to the many more analyses and descriptions the author was able to include because of his access of the Leskean minerals. The arrangement of the text follows closely that of the first edition.