James Hutton quotes

Born
3 June 1726, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.

Died
26 March 1797.

Occupation
Geologist, physician.

James Hutton was a Scottish geologist, physician, chemical manufacturer, naturalist, and experimental agriculturalist. He originated the theory of uniformitarianism—a fundamental principle of geology—that explains the features of the Earth’s crust.

In matters of science, curiosity gratified begets not indolence, but new desires.
– James Hutton
There is no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end.
– James Hutton
With such wisdom has nature ordered things in the economy of this world, that the destruction of one continent is not brought about without the renovation of the earth in the production of another.
– James Hutton
It is the little causes, long continued, which are considered as bringing about the greatest changes of the earth.
– James Hutton
The past history of our globe must be explained by what can be seen to be happening now. No powers are to be employed that are not natural to the globe, no action to be admitted except those of which we know the principle.
– James Hutton
A soil adapted to the growth of plants, is necessarily prepared and carefully preserved; and, in the necessary waste of land which is inhabited, the foundation is laid for future continents, in order to support the system of the living world.
– James Hutton
The result, therefore, of this physical enquiry is that we find no vestige of a beginning, no prospect of an end.
– James Hutton
We are not to suppose, that there is any violent exertion of power, such as is required in order to produce a great event in little time; in nature, we find no deficiency in respect of time, nor any limitation with regard to power. But time is not made to flow in vain; nor does there ever appear the exertion of superfluous power, or the manifestation of design, not calculated in wisdom to effect some general end.
– James Hutton
Man is made for science; he reasons from effects to causes, and from causes to effects; but he does not always reason without error. In reasoning, therefore, from appearances which are particular, care must be taken how we generalize; we should be cautious not to attribute to nature, laws which may perhaps be only of our own invention.
– James Hutton
As there is not in human observation proper means for measuring the waste of land upon the globe, it is hence inferred, that we cannot estimate the duration of what we see at present, nor calculate the period at which it had begun; so that, with respect to human observation, this world has neither a beginning nor an end.
– James Hutton
The globe of this earth… is… not just a machine but also a organised body as it has a regenerative power.
– James Hutton
Error, never can be consistent, nor can truth fail of having support from the accurate examination of every circumstance.
– James Hutton
When we trace the part of which this terrestrial system is composed, and when we view the general connection of those several parts, the whole presents a machine of a peculiar construction by which it is adapted to a certain end. We perceive a fabric, erected in wisdom, to obtain a purpose worthy of the power that is apparent in the production of it.
– James Hutton