17 SEPTEMBER 1831, Page 18

M. DE LA BECHE'S Geological Manual is the first and

best work of the kind. Geology is now sufficiently advanced to require that its facts should be collected in some compendious form ; that its various theories and systems should receive some general no- tice as far as they are connected with facts ; and that the whole should be combined in an elementary shape for the purposes of instruction. As well as we are enabled to judge, M. DE LA BECHE has performed his task with a perfect knowledge of all that has been ascertained in geology, and with considerable judgment and taste in the manner of doing it. They who are accustomed to consider geology as little more than the hobby of certain gentlemen who go about with a bag and a hammer, and are to be heard clinking at the edge of cliffs and at the bottom of quarries, will be surprised at the multitude of profound inquiries here embraced, and at the extraordinary, mass of curious facts that are brought together. Geology is in science an infant, but it is an infant Hercules. It has now ad,- vaiieed so Tar as in many of its points to link itself with . the pro- foundest queStions in natural philosophy. There is no study more interesting in its results, or in the pursuit of it. The geologist is not confined to the cloSet or the school—his book is the mountain and the river, the valley and the lake, the mine and the volcano : he searches for the history of the earth in her bosom ; and when it is written, it may be in some sort said to be her autobiography —for she furnishes all the materials.

If we may be allowed to hint a fault in the conduct of M. DE LA. BE CHB'S work, we would say, that in those parts of it where he is expounding the theories of foreign writers, he has not been suffi- ciently careful to make the language his own: the consequence of the remains of a foreign idiom is, a want of clearness in some parts which more particularly demanded a lucid style.

We are glad to see, that in the classification of rocks, M. DE LA BECHE has rejected all the theoretical nomenclatures and divisions, and chosen one which is not too rigid, and yet sufficiently distinct for all practical purposes. The work is accompanied with upwards of a hundred wood-cuts descriptive of geological objects : they might be better done, but as they are they will be found useful. On the whole, we may re- mark that so much geological science was never before com- pressed in so small a space.