scientific knowledge and in the cultivation of those scientific tastes which pervaded all the better classes of communities for many years. Much had already been done, therefore, to prepare the way, and the public mind was fully awake to the interests and importance of a geological survey, when the Albany Institute, in 1834, memorialized the Legislature for some action in that direction.
These memorials were referred to a committee of the Legislature, who recommended a resolution by which the Secretary of State was "requested to report to the Legislature at its next session the most expedient method of obtaining a complete geological survey of the State, which shall furnish a scientific and perfect account of its rocks, soils, and minerals, and of their localities; a list of all its mineralogical, botanical, and zoölogical productions, and provide for procuring and preserving specimens of the same; together with an estimate of the expenses which may attend the prosecution of the design, and of the cost of publication of an edition of three thousand copies of the report, drawings, and geological map of the results."
In pursuance of the request contained in this resolution, the Secretary of State, Hon. John A. Dix, presented a report at the following session of the Legislature, which contained much valuable information with reference to what had already been done toward developing the mineral resources of the State, giving a summary of our knowledge of the subject at that time, and discussing several questions of great interest; for example, the salt and salt-bearing formations, our mineral springs, and the probabilities of finding coal within the limits of the State. He also gave a statement of what had been done in other States, and of work in a similar direction elsewhere in progress or in contemplation.
Under their distinctive heads he discussed the botany and zoölogy of the State, and gave reasons why each one should receive due attention. Under the head of Zoölogy the subject was treated under the following subdivisions: Quadrupeds, Birds, Fishes, Testacea, Zoöphytes, etc., and lastly the Insects.
The report concluded with the recommendation of a plan for the Geological Survey by a subdivision of the State into four districts,
- Senate Document No. 15, 1834.
- Under this head the Secretary of State said: "Our shells, whether of marine, lake, river, or land production, deserve a very critical examination, more especially as the fossil remains of this extensive tribe of animals, both of living and extinct species, are considered as affording the most certain criteria for determining the priority of existing geological formations in the order of time. There is no department of our natural history which, for scientific purposes, requires more careful investigation. Specimens should be preserved for systematic classification and arrangement; and it is by no means improbable that these collections, with the fossil specimens, which may be found imbedded in our rocks and soils, will be instrumental in showing the identity of formations here and in the Old World, which have hitherto been considered entirely different in their geological character."
- The First District consisted of the counties of Suffolk, Queens, Kings, Richmond,