The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two.

VIII. The Literature of Science

§ 42. Adam Sedgwick

Adam Sedgwick, whose personality made a deep impression on his university, was appointed Woodwardian professor of geology in 1818, and threw himself, with surprising vigour, into a subject which, to him, at that time, was almost new. He was great as a teacher and as an exponent of his science, being gifted with eloquence, and, as founder of the Sedgwick museum, he greatly enlarged the collection got together by John Wood-ward, who established the professorship. From 1819 to 1823, he worked chiefly in the south and east of England; then, he turned his attention to Lake-land and, afterwards, in 1827, to Scotland (with Murchison). In 1829, he went abroad with Murchison, visiting parts of Germany and the eastern Alps, the result being an important joint paper on the latter (1829–30). In the long vacation of 1831, he attacked the problem of the ancient rocks in the northern part of Wales, which, owing to the absence of good maps or easy communication, the complicated structure of the country and the frequent rarity or imperfect preservation of its fossils, presented exceptional difficulties. In that and the following summer (as well as in some later visits), he ascertained the general succession of the rocks from the base of the Cambrian to the top of the Bala, or of the whole series afterwards called Cambrian and lower Silurian (more recently Ordovician). Laborious fieldwork became more difficult after an illness in 1839; but he continued to extend and publish the results of his investigations in Wales, in the Lake district and in the Permo-Triassic strata of north-eastern England. Though he was a liberal in politics, his inclinations as a geologist were conservative.