From William Oliver to William Kemp   26 December 1842


26 Decr 1842

My Dear Sir

I was much pleased on Friday last to receive your note with Maclaren’s Sketch, a work I am very much pleased with, and which, with your leave, I shall retain sometime in order that I may become thoroughly acquainted with its contents.

I saw your observations upon Ruberslaw which, notwithstanding the broadside from such a heavy craft as Dr Buckland, I think are in no danger of being sunk. These great men are not infallible and are apt to become dictatorial in all departments of science from having become celebrated in one or two and I agree with you in thinking that they have some of the old spirit in them still, some of that esprit de corps which renders them somewhat touchy if any person below their own sphere takes the initiative in any department whatever, though it should be in the cut of a waistcoat or the tying of a cravat; but such petty squabbles are only the things of a day whilst truth is unchangeable—eternal.

I should have liked very much to have been with you at Ruberslaw but durst not propose a time for meeting you there as I anticipated engagements that would prevent me. I very much wish however, that you had come to Langraw. Indeed I hoped you wd. and beg you will never consider it necessary to be invited to come again but will oblige me by coming at all times whenever it may suit you; just like an old friend. Life is short, man, and folks may stand boggling at a distance from one another till the old fellow with the scythe comes and mows them off the face of the earth.

I have had several communications with Mr Milne of Edinb. about Geological matters in this neighbourhood; principally about the greenstone dyke which crosses the country here and the remains of the Holoptychius. Mr M. is preparing a paper on the geology of this county and a geological map. He intends reading the paper at the next meeting of the Royal Society.

I have been on the look out since I saw you for terraces and if I have not succeeded extensively in the main object I have at least become acquainted with the effects of strong ocean currents which are to be traced on our hills and think it most likely that the level space on each side of the cone of Weinburgh is as you mentioned a terrace. I am | very truly   Yours | Wm Oliver

Mr Wm Kemp | Galashiels

Please cite as “KEMP18,” in Ɛpsilon: The William Kemp Collection accessed on 30 November 2023,