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SKETCH OF PROF. BENJAMIN SILLIMAN LL.D.

of books and philosophical and chemical apparatus. Professor Silliman applied for the privilege of going as purchasing agent, suggesting that his salary, which would be continued, and the agent's commission would pay his expenses, and he would, at the same time, have an opportunity of improving in his profession. His proposition was accepted; armed with a multitude of letters of introduction, the general effect of which he found to be equivalent to an order—"Sir: Please to give the bearer a dinner, and charge the same to yours," etc.—he spent a year in Europe. He performed experiments with Frederick Accum, the German chemist, and attended the lectures of Dr. George Pearson on chemistry, materia medica, and therapeutics, in London; heard Drs. Hope, Gregory, and Murray, in chemistry and geology; subscribed to Dr. Munroe's and attended Dr. Barclay's courses in anatomy, at Edinburgh; visited the Continent, and made the acquaintance of the most eminent scientific men of the day. Geological science at that time, he says, in his "Reminiscences," "did not exist among us, except in the minds of a very few individuals, and instruction was not attainable in any public institutions." In Edinburgh there were learned and eloquent geologists and lecturers, and ardent and successful explorers, and the contest between the Wernerians and the Huttonians was at its height. Professor Silliman was interested in the discussions, and, giving his attention to the subject, reached a standard of attainment in geology which he believed he could not have gained at home. He read the arguments on both sides, and came to the conclusion on which geologists are generally now tacitly agreed, that "both theories were founded in truth, and that the crust of the earth had been formed and greatly modified by the combined, or sometimes antagonistic and conflicting, powers of fire and water."

Professor Silliman had already attended to the care of the modest collections of minerals belonging to the college. There were a few metallic ores which had been named by Dr. Adam Seybert, of Philadelphia; a small collection which Dr. Semper had brought from England, containing some beautiful specimens, particularly in the lime family; and his own collections made in the mines of Derbyshire and Cornwall, in England, and local specimens obtained in his rambles among the trap-rocks of the Scottish capital, with a purchased suite of Italian polished marbles, all of which "when arranged, labeled, and described in illustration of the mineral portion of the chemical lectures, served to awaken an interest in the subject of mineralogy, and to produce both aspirations and hopes looking toward a collection which should by-and-by deserve the name of a cabinet." One of the first things to be done after returning home was to study the geology of the vicinity of New Haven, in the light of the knowledge that had been gained in Edinburgh. The result of this survey was a report, printed in the first volume of the "Transactions" of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, in which an attentive reperusal