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A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith
Letters 1841
Sydney Smith to Roderick Impey Murchison, 26 December 1841

Author's Preface
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Editor’s Preface
Letters 1801
Letters 1802
Letters 1803
Letters 1804
Letters 1805
Letters 1806
Letters 1807
Letters 1808
Letters 1809
Letters 1810
Letters 1811
Letters 1812
Letters 1813
Letters 1814
Letters 1815
Letters 1816
Letters 1817
Letters 1818
Letters 1819
Letters 1820
Letters 1821
Letters 1822
Letters 1823
Letters 1824
Letters 1825
Letters 1826
Letters 1827
Letters 1828
Letters 1829
Letters 1830
Letters 1831
Letters 1832
Letters 1833
Letters 1834
Letters 1835
Letters 1836
Letters 1837
Letters 1838
Letters 1839
Letters 1840
Letters 1841
Letters 1842
Letters 1843
Letters 1844
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
Combe Florey, Dec. 26th, 1841.
Dear Murchison,

Many thanks for your yellow book,* which has just come down to me. You have gained great fame, and I am very glad of it. Had it been in theology, I should have been your rival, and probably have been jealous of you; but as it is in geology, my benevolence and real goodwill towards you have fair play. I shall read you out aloud today; Heaven send I may understand you! Not that I suspect your perspicuity, but that my knowledge of your science is too slender for that advantage: a knowledge which just enables me to distinguish between the caseous and the cretaceous formations; or, as the vulgar have it, to “know chalk from cheese.”

* The yellow book was an inaugural address to the Dudley and Midland Geological Society.


There are no people here, and no events, so I have no news to tell you, except that in this mild climate my orange-trees are now out of doors, and in full bearing. Immediately before my window there are twelve large oranges on one tree. The trees themselves are not the Linnæan orange-tree, but what are popularly called the bay-tree, in large green boxes of the most correct shape, and the oranges well secured to them with the best packthread. They are universally admired, and, upon the whole, considered to be finer than the Ludovican orange-trees of Versailles.

Yours, my dear Murchison,
Sydney Smith.