Letter from Geikie to Murray, 5 Dec 1874

Author(s): Geikie, Sir Archibald


Geikie Profr

Edinburgh Decr. 5th. 1874

My dear Sir

Your letter and friendly
criticism deserve my best
thanks. I have read the
passage carefully to which
you probably refer viz on
pp 356-7. It cost me some
trouble in the writing .
I weighed every word well, &
I am convinced that my
judgement is perfectly true.

But it is another question
whether this judgement should
appear in the Life. and on
this I am willing and

anxious to be guided by friends
of greater experience than
myself. The two men now
living who probably knew
Murchison most intimately
in his scientific life are Mr.
Ramsay and Mr. Reeks. They
have neither made any
comment on the passage
in question but I have
written to them both, asking
their special attention to it

I am sorry that the
passage should seem to
you “ too bitter ”. Certainly

such a feeling was very
far indeed from my
thoughts. My struggle
was to tell the honest
truth with as little
damage to Murchison as
possible. I daresay you
have probably no notion
of the extent to which he
irritated his scientific con-temporaries
by his assumption
of superiority, and by constantly
pulling them up for not noticing
his own work sufficiently . Like
all his friends I had abundant

personal experience of it and
his vast correspondence has
brought innumerable and
often very painful examples
of the same thing before
me . I must in honesty
let this feature of his
character appear : to many
people it was his salient
one . But of course I shall
only be too glad if it
can be done in a gentler
way than I have done it.
Perhaps a few verbal changes
might meet your wishes.

I enclose a sample of
Murchison's field sketches

Yours very truly

Arch Geikie

John Murray Esqr


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Letter from Geikie to Murray, 5 Dec 1874. 2023. In The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved June 2023, from

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Letter from Geikie to Murray, 5 Dec 1874

Document Information

Document ID 239
Title Letter from Geikie to Murray, 5 Dec 1874
Year group 1850-1900
Genre Personal writing
Year of publication 1874
Place of publication Edinburgh
Wordcount 304

Author information: Geikie, Sir Archibald

Author ID 60
Title Sir
Forenames Archibald
Surname Geikie
Gender Male
Year of birth 1835
Place of birth Edinburgh
Occupation Geologist, historian
Father's occupation Musician, shopowner
Education Some university
Locations where resident Edinburgh