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Hugh Miller Commemoration at Cromarty

Nature volume 142, page 637 (08 October 1938) | Download Citation



THE cottage at Cromarty in which Hugh Miller was born on October 10, 1802, was handed over to the National Trust for Scotland on September 26. The occasion was of interest not only to geologists but also to many who have been attracted to his writings by their highly individual style and charm, and to those who are interested in the religious history of Scotland in the nineteenth century. Few geologists have appealed to such a large reading public as did Hugh Miller; his assured place in the history of the science depends perhaps no less upon the stimulus and influence of his work than on its actual scientific content. His apprenticeship to a stonemason turned his attention to the geology, and particularly to the sedimentary rocks, of the northeast of Scotland. He made the Old Red Sandstone a familiar term all over the world, and his book with that title "amazed and delighted" such an eminent geologist as Buckland. Many of his other books were original attempts to make palæontology a contribution to Christian apologetics; Miller, as editor of the Witness, played a large part in the “non-intrusionist” movement in the Church of Scotland. Other collectors such as Robert Dick of Thurso (an acute observer who might, one feels, have rivalled Miller as a writer) looked upon Miller as their mouthpiece, and their new specimens and information were often made known through him. Miller's lack of orthodox anatomical knowledge was balanced by a “natural insight”, and, even though much of his writing is now disregarded, his contributions to geology and to English letters form a durable record.

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