London: T.W. for Richard Wilkin, 1702. 12mo. [xiv], 277,  pp., including imprimatur and 2 pages of advertisements. Second edition. Contemporary calf, elaborate gilt spine. Presentation inscription from the author on the fly-leaf ("Ex dono autoris amici mei plurissme. . . ." From the library of the Earl of Stradbroke with his oval engraved bookplate and his inscription dated 1827 on the paste-down. A beautiful copy. Item #12643
Second edition of what is considered the beginning of scientific geology in England. This influential book presents the orthodox contemporary views of earth's structure. Woodward describes how he took every opportunity to examine digging operations, and dispatched questionnaires to all parts of the world. "The information was a valuable contribution towards the knowledge of the regularity of the earth's structure everywhere" (Wolfe, History of Science, Technology and Philosophy, pp. 352, 364).
In this work, Woodward (1665-1728) recognized the existence of various strata in the earth's crust and the true nature of fossils, failing only to make the assumptions regarding the method of formation of the rocks that earned William Smith the title of father of English geology. His most important contribution to science is his catalogue of the fossils which in the course of long years he had collected in England, and which now form an interesting portion of the Sedgwick Museum at Cambridge.