Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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LYELL, Sir Charles, bart., English geologist, born in Kinnordy, Forfarshire, 14 November, 1797 : died in Lea-don, 22 February, 1875. He was the eldest son of Charles Lyell, of Kinnordy, and was graduated at Oxford in 1819. He then studied law, and was admitted to the bar, but abandoned the profession and gave himself to his favorite study of geology. He made extensive geological tours in Europe in 1824, and a, gain in 1828-'30, giving the results of his observations in the " Transactions of the Gee-logical Society" and elsewhere. In 1830 appeared the first volume of his great work, " The Principles of Geology," which in scientific circles attracted much attention. The second volume appeared in 1832, and the third in 1833. Meantime he was named professor of geology at King's college, London, but he filled the office only for a short time. Another remarkable work from his pen appeared in 1838, entitled " The Elements of Geology." These works, which effected a revolution in geological science, went counter to the universally accepted Huttonian theory, that the former changes of the earth and its inhabitants were due to causes differing in kind and intensity from those now in operation, and taught that the true key to the interpretation of the geological movements was to be found in a correct knowledge of the changes now going on. Sir Charles visited this continent on two occasions, and made extensive explorations in the United States, Canada, and Nova Scotia. His " Travels in North America" appeared in 1841, and his "Second Visit to the United States," in which he treats of the social as well as geological characteristics of the New World, was published in 1845. Sir Charles was president of the Geological society in 1836 and 1850, and in 1864 of the British association. In 1848 he was honored with knighthood, and in 1864 he was made a baronet. In 1855 his own university conferred upon him the title of D. C. L., and from Cambridge he received the degree of LL.D. His latest work was " The Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man, with Remarks on Theories of the Origin of Species by Variation " (1863).
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