Publisher Information: Calcutta: W. Thacker, 1850. First edition.
Hutton, Thomas. The chronology of creation; or, geology and scripture reconciled. [2, half-title], xvi, [2, errata], 503pp. Half-title printed in red. Hand-colored lithograph frontispiece and 3 handcolored plates. Calcutta: W. Thacker & Co., 1850. 227 x 139 mm. Original green blind-stamped cloth, gilt-lettered spine, light rubbing. Minor dust-soiling, but very good. Ownership signature on half-title.
First Edition. A rebuttal of Buckland's Geology and Mineralogy Considered With Reference to Natural Theology (1837). Hutton, a strict Biblical literalist, rejected the more liberal views of earth history and species development expressed by Buckland, who
"particularly emphasized William Paley's position that the world was not made for man alone but for the pleasure of all species of life; in relation to the object to be attained, all organic mechanisms are equally good, are evidence of beneficent adaptation. He reasserted that it is futile to try to reconcile geological epochs with the days of creation in Genesis . . . As a geological system Buckland chose, possibly borrowing from De la Beche and Conybeare, progressive development from an initially hot earth, with discontinuous assemblages of organic life being created and dying out. To express a secular development while simultaneously rejecting continuous progress and transmutation, he deliberately kept the rhetoric of the Great Chain of Being, but with missing links or gaps in the present creation being filled up by fossil organisms from past time periods. This was a noteworthy change from Cuvier, and a major step in the conversion of a balanced Malthusian ecology into a system maintaining its balance while it changed over time" (Dictionary of Scientific Biography).
Buckland's advocacies of change over time-an idea basic to evolutionary theory-were anathema to Hutton, who refused to accept Buckland's theory of successive creations.
"[W]ith regard to our Earth having arisen out of the 'wreck and ruins' of a former world, there is decidedly not the slightest foundation for such a belief to be gathered from any sentence in the Mosaic narrative, but, on the contrary, when we are told that 'in the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth,'-we are told so in reference solely to our own actual planet, and not to any world which may have preceded it. The materials from which our Earth was at length produced, were apparently called into being expressly for that purpose. We are not taught to believe that in the beginning, God created a Heaven and an Earth, from whose ruins our world was at length phoenix-like to spring forth; but that they were created with reference to the present system alone, for in the whole narrative of Creation nothing appears to be brought forward but what has strict and sole reference to us, and to the Earth which we now inhabit" (Hutton, pp. 53-54).
Hutton's book was first published in India, where he was a captain in the Bengal Army. A London edition was issued in 1851. Morton, G. R., "Nineteenth Century Opponents of Geology and Evolution,"