Woodward, John; An Essay towards a Natural History Of The Earth, And Terrestrial Bodyes, Especialy Minerals: As also of the Sea, Rivers, and Springs. With an Account of the Universal Deluge: And of the Effects that it had upon the Earth. By John Woodward, M.D. Professor of Physick in Gresham-College: Fellow of the College of Physicians, and of the Royal-Society. 1st Edition. London: Printed for Ric. Wilkin, 1695. Octavo, pp. 12, 277, 2 pages ads.
The work is complete and in the original paneled calf with a later calf spine and gilt spine title label. The binding is tight and clean, The text has toning to the first pages, a light water stain along the upper margin of first and last pages. Armorial book plate of Lt. Col. A Babington Peale (Indian Staff Corps) on paste down and second free end sheet has a penciled signature with the lower half of the end sheet lost and replaced with a later paper. The rare first edition in good condition.
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Woodward (1665-1728) was an English physician, geologist and mineralogist. Woodward's interests varied widely over natural history and antiquities, but he is generally considered the first major figure in English geology. On excursions he studied both plants and minerals, and especially fossils. He formed a large collection of fossils and minerals, some of which were sent to him from abroad. His work, Essay Toward a Natural History of the Earth, was first published in 1695 and the work established his reputation as a geologist. In it he advanced a theory to explain stratification (and the fossils embedded in strata) by the deposit of debris out of the deluge. He insisted that fossils were the remains of once living animals and plants, and he related fossils to specific rock formations. Woodward thought that in order for fossils to get inside the solid earth, the crust must once have been dissolved and this could only have happened during the deluge. Once the crust was in dissolution, the remnants of living things settled out in the mire and eventually solidified in the rock.