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

§ 48. Buckland

William Buckland was, perhaps, better known as a teacher and as an exponent of his science than for any very outstanding original investigation carried on by him in geology. Unlike Sedgwick, however, he had made a systematic study of his subject before he was appointed, in 1813, reader of mineralogy at Oxford. In this post, he so aroused the interest of his students that a readership in geology was specially endowed by the Treasury six years later, of which he was the first holder. He was a man of many accomplishments, and he by no means confined his attention to geology. He entered with great zest into many practical questions of the day, especially such as affected agriculture and sanitary science. In 1845, he was appointed dean of Westminster, and, shortly after this, his health began to decline.

We have mentioned above that men of science were less specialised at the earlier part of our period than they have now become. It is a peculiar feature of British science that many of its most successful researchers were amateurs—gifted not only with brains but with wealth. Many of those whose names we mention held no kind of professional or academic posts. Even the holding of professorial chairs in the earlier part of the nineteenth century usually involved teaching in more than one science. To the year 1866, the professor of anatomy at Cambridge was responsible for the teaching of zoology as well as for that of anatomy. In many other places, the professorship of zoology was respoinsible for what teaching there was in animal physiology, and, in the London hospitals, strictly scientific subjects were then taught by doctors in practice who were on the staff of the hospital. It was not till the year 1883 that Michael Foster was appointed to the professorship of physiology at Cambridge, though, as praelector in that subject at Trinity college, he had been building up a great physiological school for several years.