Woodward, John; An Essay Toward a Natural History of the Earth: and Terrestrial Bodies, Especially 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. Ric. Wilkin at the Kings-Head in St. Paul's Church-yard, London, 1695. Octavo, pp.14, 277, 2 (ads).
The work is complete and in a later full brown calf with gilt title and date on spine. The binding is tight and very clean with bright titles. The text is very clean with original owner’s signature and Durham location penned on outer margin of title page and small design on verso of title page. In very good condition.
John Woodward 1665-1728) was an English naturalist, geologist and mineralogist and is considered the first major figure in English geology. Woodward was an early supporter in the ideas first proposed by Steno and Hooke on the organic origin of fossils. However Woodward could not find a satisfactory explanation on how fossils became embedded in the earth's crust, if they were once the remains of living animals once found on the surface.
He concluded that the Earth’s rocks had liquified during Noah’s Great Flood of Genesis. As the earth's rocks dissolved, all the drowned animals and plants would sink down until their density was equaled by that of the surrounding solution. The rocks would become solid again and stratified, with the animals remains now trapped as fossils within the strata. Within this work Woodward insisted that fossils were the remains of once living animals and plants, and he related fossils to specific rock formations.
Woodward presented his hypothesis in his 1695 work “An Essay toward a Natural History of the Earth”. The work was well received and went through several editions and translations.
When Woodward died, he bequeathed funds and his fossil collection to establish a “Professorship of Fossils” at Cambridge University.