From William Stevenson to William Kemp   2 September 1851


2nd. Septr 185⁠⟨⁠1⁠⟩⁠

Mr. Wm. Kemp | Galashiels

My Dear Sir

It is now a very lon⁠⟨⁠g⁠⟩⁠ time since I had the pleasure of receiving a letter from you.— I tru⁠⟨⁠st⁠⟩⁠ that you continue to enjoy you⁠⟨⁠r⁠⟩⁠ usual good health and that yo⁠⟨⁠u⁠⟩⁠ still continue as opportunity offe⁠⟨⁠rs⁠⟩⁠ to prosecute your geological researches.—

Having lately received from Sir R. I. Murchison a copy of his paper on the Silurian rocks of the South of Scotland, I thought there still might be a possibility of finding some organic traces amon⁠⟨⁠g⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠the [almost all of line excised]⁠⟩⁠ Lammermuirs, although I had ⁠⟨⁠of⁠⟩⁠ten looked in vain for anything ⁠⟨⁠of⁠⟩⁠ this character.— I accordingly ⁠⟨⁠la⁠⟩⁠id down upon a map the lines ⁠⟨⁠of⁠⟩⁠ strike of the greywacke so far ⁠⟨⁠as⁠⟩⁠ I had observed the same, with ⁠⟨⁠a⁠⟩⁠ view of finding out, if possible, ⁠⟨⁠th⁠⟩⁠e continuation of the slate beds ⁠⟨⁠at⁠⟩⁠ Grierston in which numerous ⁠⟨⁠g⁠⟩⁠raptolites have been found.— ⁠⟨⁠Th⁠⟩⁠is done I selected the course of ⁠⟨⁠t⁠⟩⁠he Dye above Longformacus as ⁠⟨⁠be⁠⟩⁠ing most suitable for examining ⁠⟨⁠t⁠⟩⁠hose particular strata which I was ⁠⟨⁠le⁠⟩⁠d to infer were probably the ⁠⟨⁠eq⁠⟩⁠uivalents of the Grierston beds.— A few days ago I devoted a day ⁠⟨⁠to⁠⟩⁠ a very close examination and ⁠⟨⁠w⁠⟩⁠as rewarded by the discovery of ⁠⟨⁠[line excised]⁠⟩⁠

I observed also a great variety o⁠⟨⁠f⁠⟩⁠ very curious markings such as I have no doubt must have had an organic origin, altho’ all trace⁠⟨⁠s⁠⟩⁠ of organic matter has disappeared⁠⟨⁠.⁠⟩⁠ Numerous blanched spots occur in some of the slates, containing a spe⁠⟨⁠ck⁠⟩⁠ of protoxide of iron in the centre just as is seen in similar spot⁠⟨⁠s⁠⟩⁠ from the fossiliferous strata of the Old Red.— I was also much interested in observing some of the slates marked exactly as a⁠⟨⁠t⁠⟩⁠ Thornilee quarry.— The beds so marked are seen in the Dye about half a mile below Horseupcleugh ⁠⟨⁠[&?]⁠⟩⁠ from their position nearly in the continuation of the strike of the Thornilee strata I have no doubt as to their being true equivalents ⁠⟨⁠[one line missing]⁠⟩⁠ ⁠⟨⁠g⁠⟩⁠raptolite are exposed in the cours⁠⟨⁠e o⁠⟩⁠f the Dye about a mile below ⁠⟨⁠B⁠⟩⁠yrecleugh thus corresponding pret⁠⟨⁠ty n⁠⟩⁠early with the continuation of the ⁠⟨⁠G⁠⟩⁠rierston beds, supposing the strikes ⁠⟨⁠to⁠⟩⁠ be on an average persistent in ⁠⟨⁠t⁠⟩⁠he directions observed.—

Now I think it would be well ⁠⟨⁠w⁠⟩⁠orth your while, when you can ⁠⟨⁠co⁠⟩⁠mmand the requisite leisure to ⁠⟨⁠lo⁠⟩⁠ok carefully over the strata betwe⁠⟨⁠en B⁠⟩⁠owland & Galashiels (particularly ne⁠⟨⁠ar Tor⁠⟩⁠woodlee) and see whether you ⁠⟨⁠ca⁠⟩⁠n fall in with any graptolites, or ⁠⟨⁠a⁠⟩⁠ny blanched spots or mysterious look⁠⟨⁠ing m⁠⟩⁠arkings of an apparently organic ⁠⟨⁠c⁠⟩⁠haracter.— If you find any markings ⁠⟨⁠li⁠⟩⁠ke those of Thornilee please mark ⁠⟨⁠t⁠⟩⁠he place & the directions of the dip ⁠⟨⁠or⁠⟩⁠ strike and let me know.—

I suspect we shall have to give ⁠⟨⁠[one line excised]⁠⟩⁠ to Murchison to be used by hi⁠⟨⁠m a⁠⟩⁠s the base of his grand Siluria⁠⟨⁠n⁠⟩⁠ System.— He appears to be mu⁠⟨⁠ch⁠⟩⁠ delighted with the discovery of Lower Silurian fossils in Ayrshire, Dumfries-shire, Galloway, &c. and wishes to have the whole Sout⁠⟨⁠h o⁠⟩⁠f Scotland greywacke annexed to the Silurian system.— My pre⁠⟨⁠sent⁠⟩⁠ impression is that the higher b⁠⟨⁠eds⁠⟩⁠ of the S. of Scotland greywacke c⁠⟨⁠o⁠⟩⁠rresponds to the Lower Silurian, but that the lower beds of the greywacke cannot be include⁠⟨⁠d⁠⟩⁠ within the Silurian system unles⁠⟨⁠s⁠⟩⁠ Sir Roderick gets an act authorisi⁠⟨⁠ng⁠⟩⁠ him to extend the limits of his system downwards.—

The entire thickness of the ⁠⟨⁠[one line excised]⁠⟩⁠ owing to the great number of ⁠⟨⁠s⁠⟩⁠harp foldings which the rocks ⁠⟨⁠h⁠⟩⁠ave undergone, the same beds ⁠⟨⁠a⁠⟩⁠re brought up again & again so ⁠⟨⁠as⁠⟩⁠ to present an immense apparent ⁠⟨⁠t⁠⟩⁠hickness.— It will require a very ⁠⟨⁠lo⁠⟩⁠ng time & much labour however ⁠⟨⁠b⁠⟩⁠efore the true order of succession ⁠⟨⁠&⁠⟩⁠ the true thickness of these strata ⁠⟨⁠a⁠⟩⁠re ascertained.—

I had the pleasure of ⁠⟨⁠v⁠⟩⁠isiting the Exhibition about ⁠⟨⁠   ⁠⟩⁠ weeks ago.— Such a sight! & such ⁠⟨⁠a⁠⟩⁠ study! But I must not attempt ⁠⟨⁠to⁠⟩⁠ say anything about it.— To ⁠⟨⁠co⁠⟩⁠nvey an idea of it to one who ⁠⟨⁠h⁠⟩⁠as not seen it is impossible, so ⁠⟨⁠t⁠⟩⁠hat I shall content myself with ⁠⟨⁠s⁠⟩⁠aying “go & see it if you ⁠⟨⁠possibly [one line missing]⁠⟩⁠

I have not yet got the fe⁠⟨⁠w⁠⟩⁠ days touring in the West Highlan⁠⟨⁠ds⁠⟩⁠ which I intended.— Mr. Purves ⁠⟨⁠is⁠⟩⁠ at present in London, but on his return I shall endeavour to move off.—

I hope John & Wm. continue to like Mallow.

With kindest regards to Miss Kemp and all your Son⁠⟨⁠s⁠⟩⁠ | I Remain | My Dear Sir | Yours Ever Truly | Wm. Stevenson

Please cite as “KEMP94,” in Ɛpsilon: The William Kemp Collection accessed on 23 February 2024,