Unless otherwise noted this is based on W.S.C. Copeman, Andrew Ure, M.D., F.R.S. (1778–1857), Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine 44:655–62, 1951, and on W.V. Farrar, Andrew Ure, F.R.S., and the Philosophy of Manufactures, Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 27(2):199–324, Feb. 1973.
Farrar, W.V., Andrew Ure, F.R.S., and the Philosophy of Manufactures, Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 27(2):199–324, 1973.
Anon., Ure’s obituary, Gentlemen’s Magazine, N.S. II:243, 1857.
Farrar, Ref. 2, p. 300. Ure attributed this in some measure to the favourable report of his teaching the artisans which was given by Charles Dupin in his Tour through Great Britain (1817). The schools following Ure’s model included the Edinburgh School of Arts, the Conservatory of Arts in Paris, and the Mechanics’ Institutions in London and other cities. See Ure, A., New System of Geology, p. xxxviii, 1829.
Ref. 3, p. 242.
Ure, A., Outlines of Natural or Experimental Philosophy, 1809. This short booklet described his lectures for those who would take the course. The topics covered reflect a great breadth and depth of scientific knowledge gained by both reading and experimentation.
Imperial Dictionary of Universal Biography III:857, 1865.
See Ure, A., The Revenue in Jeopardy from Spurious Chemistry, especially iii, v and 33, 1843. In order to serve the national interest, Ure consumed much time and money on these analyses. Such time and money could have generated more income if invested in non-government work.
For Michael Faraday’s remarks, and a similar view expressed by E.D. Clark, see W.S.C. Copeman, Ref. 1., pp. 659–660.
A review of Ure’s New System of Geology in Quarterly Journal of Science, Literature and Art, N.S. Vol. V, p. 113, Jan.–Mar. 1829, stated that Ure ‘has been long esteemed among men of science for his able and intrepid refutation of numerous errors current in some of our chemical systems.’ The review was possibly by the editor, William Brande, himself a chemistry professor at the Royal Institution, as well as a friend of Ure’s.
An obituary, in Gentlemen’s Magazine, Ref. 3, likewise noted that Ure’s ‘skill and accuracy as an analytical chemist were well-known.’
Ward, T.H., Men of the Reign, p. 904, 1885.
Copeman, Ref. 1, p. 658.
Dictionary of Scientific Biography and Dictionary of National Biography, articles on Ure. Hereafter these well-known dictionaries will be referred to as DSB and DNB respectively.
Ure, A., Dictionary of Arts, Manufacturers and Mines, title page, 1839.
Anon., Dr Andrew Ure: A Slight Sketch, p. 17–18, 1874.
Ref. 16 may have been written by William Beattie, according to Sarjeant, W.A.S., Geologists and the History of Geology, III:2310, 1980. Beattie was a Scottish medical doctor and possibly knew Ure from their early years at Edinburgh University.
Catalogue of the Royal Society. Farrar says there were many more journal articles than listed here. See Farrar, Ref. 2, p. 304.
Ure claimed that this was the first scientific book on pharmacology. See Copeman, Ref. 1, p. 658.
This was a virtual rewrite of William Nicholson’s outdated work by the same title. Ure’s version reached a fourth edition in 1835. French, German, Spanish and Russian translations were also published. The 1841 American edition became and remained the standard chemistry textbook in the USA for many years. See Copeman, Ref. 1, p. 659.
This was a two-volume translation of the French work of Claude Louis and A.B. Berthollet.
Ure, A., A new System of Geology, in which the Great Revolutions of the Earth and Animated Nature are reconciled at once to Modern Science and Sacred History, 1829. As the focus of this study, hereafter it will be referred to simply as Geology.
This work was based on a tour Ure made of the manufacturing districts of Lancashire, Derbyshire and Cheshire, and it embodied one of the first clear recognitions of the cultural impact of the ‘industrial revolution’ (DSB on Ure). In it Ure displayed a concern that factories be places where workers were well-paid, healthy, educated (in secular and Christian knowledge) and godly in character. He was especially concerned about good education for poor children. He was convinced, and presented some of the evidence that led him to that conviction, that British factories were generally doing well in these areas, though there was room for improvement. Most historians would say that he was overly optimistic about factory conditions. See, for example, Reeve, R.M., The Industrial Revolution 1750–1850, especially pp. 65–66 and 76, 1971. The third edition of the book appeared in 1847 and a reprint was done in 1967. It was also translated in French and German. See Copeman, Ref. 1, p. 661.
This was a greatly broadened version of his Dictionary of Chemistry. See DSB on Ure. It went through several revisions and enlargements before the seventh four-volume edition appeared in 1875. It was translated into almost every European language, including Russian and Spanish. The vastness of research Ure put into it is reflected in the fact that the French translation involved nineteen collaborators, all expert in their own specialized subjects. See Copeman, Ref. 1, p. 661.
This was the first and only work published in an intended series. A posthumous edition appeared in 1861 and a German translation came out in 1834.
This reported the results of his sensational public experiment on the electrically-induced activation of the muscles of an executed murderer. The article was republished by three French journals, according to the Royal Society Catalogue.
Copeman, Ref. 1, p. 655–56.
Farrar, Ref. 2, p. 303.
Ure, Ref. 22, p. vii. Though his intention was ‘careful merely to quote his authorities, and to acknowledge his obligations’ and generally he did mention a person’s name when using their material (which was usually set in a different print type), he could have avoided one criticism of his work by footnoting the actual sources far more often than he did.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. vii–viii.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 618, 89–90 (here he gives a quantitative description of the make-up of the major kinds of rock found in the primitive crustal rocks), and 165 (where he said that ‘I have examined with great care many specimens of coals of the purest quality’).
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 55–71, 481–9. In this he relied heavily on the Meteorological Essays (1823) of John Daniell, the leading scientist in this field at the time. Daniell was one of those influenced by Ure’s 1817 journal article on the latent heat of vapour, mentioned above. See Anonymous, Dr Andrew Ure: A Slight Sketch, p. 8, 1874.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. xiv, 366–67, 470, 481.
The lack of reference to Young is noteworthy in light of the facts that both were Scottish, both attended Edinburgh University and Ure, like Young, gave considerable space to a discussion of the Kirkdale Cave (Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 567–80). However, contrary to Young, Ure favoured Buckland’s interpretation that it had been an antediluvian hyaena den.
Ure, Ref. 22, p. 616.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 290, vii, 153, 480, 377.
Lyell wrote this comment about Ure in a letter to his sister just prior to the publication of Ure’s book. See Lyell, K.M., Life, Letters and Journals of Sir Charles Lyell, Bart., I:238, 1881.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. xiii.
In discussing the primitive atmosphere he stated, ‘On a subject so transcendent and mysterious as the state of the new born atmosphere, it becomes not man to dogmatize. It is, therefore in perfect humility, that I offer the following suggestions’ (Ure, Ref. 22, p. 69). Of the primeval ocean and its relation to land he wrote, ‘In attempting to search into the secondary causes which may have been called into action, when the channel of the sea was hollowed out, and the mountains were upheaved from the abyss, it behooves us to walk with the most humble circumspection … The reproach of presumption will indeed be incurred, if we do not travel closely to the inductive path. We must, above all, beware lest we be misled by vague analogy’ (Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 73). He was also restrained in his remarks about the origin of and nature of coal (Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 163–174), the origin of valleys (Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 355–357), and the restructuring of the earth during the Flood (Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 437–438).
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 615.
DSB on Ure, 547. Scott wrote the article on Ure. Scott also said that Ure wrote ‘a series of tendentious pamphlets, in which his fellow scientists were frequently castigated.’ But Scott cited no sources to support this assertion and I could find no such pamphlets in any library catalogue or reference made to them by any other primary or secondary sources which Scott did provide.
Farrar, Ref. 2, pp. 301, 306. Farrar made many critical remarks about Ure’s character, but more often than not they were assertions without documentation. Some of Farrar’s negative assertions that I was able to check for accuracy proved to be inaccurate. For example, in discussing Ure’s Philosophy of Manufactures (1835) Farrar (p. 318) accused Ure of asserting that working at 150 degrees (F) was not unhealthy. In fact, Ure never made such a general statement but instead described (on pages 392–393) one particular case of women, called ‘stove girls’, whose job was to supervise the drying of wet dyed cloth in very hot rooms, which they were in for only a few minutes at a time. This was an enviable job among women in the factory and all such stove girls in the factories observed appeared to be in perfect health. On page 316, Farrar said that Ure’s last chapter on the commercial economy of the factory system was ‘a diatribe’ in favour of free trade. However, although Ure clearly favoured free trade, the tone of the chapter is calm and respectful, not bitterly critical of all other views of commerce.

Copeman, Ref. 1. pp. 657–658, 661–662.
Another of Ure’s biographer said that ‘his conversation was always most interesting and instructive.’ See Anon, Ref. 16, p. 17.
As further support for this conclusion, it should be born in mind that although Hitchcock, a prominent American geologist, largely rejected Ure’s views, he did commend Ure’s temperate expression of them. See Edward Hitchcock, The Historical and Geological Deluges Compared, The American Biblical Repository IX(25):113, 1837.
A.G. Werner (1750–1817) founded the Neptunist school of geology. This taught that the earth was once covered by water. As this primordial ocean receded over millions of years, the minerals were precipitated into different layers. The rival theory was Plutonism or Vulcanism, which recognised that many rocks, e.g. granite, had cooled from molten rock. See ‘Werner, Abraham Gottlob’, Encyclopædia Britannica 12:582–583, 15th ed., 1992.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. xxxiii–xxxiv.
James Hutton (1726–1797) founded the classical uniformitarian theory: ‘the present is key to the past’. This states that current landforms are the result of deposition, sedimentation, upthrusting and erosion, all happening at present rates over eons. These processes were cyclical, contrary to Werner’s directional theory. See ‘Hutton, James’, Encyclopædia Britannica 6:176–177, 15th ed., 1992.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. xxi–xxii.
Ure, Ref. 22, p. xiii.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 86, also xxxix–xliii and 183–184. This was, in fact, one of the stated purposes of Ure’s book (xxxviii).
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. x–xi, 16.
Bacon, F., Novum Organum, translated by Johnson, A., p. 43, 1859 (Book I, pt. lxv).
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. xiv–xv.
Ure, Ref. 22, p. xviii.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 471.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. xviii.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. xix–xx.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 15–16.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. vii–viii.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. xxxvii.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. xxxix.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. xl–xli and lv.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 13–15, 86. He accepted Ussher’s date of creation (4004 BC), knowing that people would scoff at him. But he asked, if the earth was made for man, why we need to imagine a more distant beginning for earth or the universe of stars, planets, etc., which were the result of one and the same creative mandate.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 11, 82.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 7–10. In support of his notion of the primitive earth, he quoted Isaac Newton’s Opticks (pp. 400 and 402, 1931 edition). Later Ure continued, ‘Had we been told that Deity, in the beginning, created a chaos out of which symmetry was to be educed through a long series of material transmutations, then philosophy might have proffered her conjectures concerning the order of evolution; but ancient chaos is merely a mythological fiction, disavowed alike by the word and wisdom of God … Chaos is, in fact, a dogma borrowed by Pythagoras from the Persian Magi’ (Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 12).
In reference to this miraculous creation of plants on Day 3, he wrote (Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 81–2) that such an idea ‘does not seem to have been made a stumbling-block by the Botanical student, as the first arrangement of the mineral strata, has been by the Geologist … No Botanist or Zoologist, of sane reputation, inculcates that plants and animals acquired their perfect and unvarying forms, through successive organic deposition and catastrophes, as geognostic theorist have taught with regard to the primitive structure of the earth.’ In a further rejection of evolution (biological, geological or astronomical) he added, ‘the achievement of creation, by distinct and independent acts, was performed on each of six successive days; demonstrating that it was not the result of a blind necessity, or a spontaneous, and therefore continuous, though irregular aggregation chaotic atoms’ (Ure, Ref. 22, p. 12).

Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 17–51, 82. In a lengthy discussion of the undulation theory of light (with reference to M. Arago’s experiments), Ure argued that light had existence before the sun became the primary light-bearer for earth on Day 4. He added that had Moses written Genesis 1 on the basis of sense perception and Egyptian education he would not have put the creation of light before the sun. Obviously, it would appear that Ure had not adequately pondered the fact that he was being a bit loose and inconsistent in his interpretation by putting the creation of the sun on Day 1 and of its luminosity on Day 4. Using the interpretation of sun spots by Herschel, a leading astronomer of Ure’s day, Ure rejected Buffon’s theory that the sun was the molten parent of the other planets (Ure, Ref. 22, pp. xxxv–xxxvii).
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 89–92.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 129–130.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 495, 599–602, 51–70.
In support of this Ure cited
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 436–39, 470–4, 505–6.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 130, 169, 594–5.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 498, 602–604. Concerning the Egyptian desert he argued that according to historical records, the fertility of Egypt was much greater at the times of Cleopatra and Caesar Augustus. If the Flood had been more ancient than the date set by Moses, then Egypt should have long before their times become an uninhabitable desert.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 505–6.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. liii, 130, 349, 439.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 373–4. In contrast, he said this about the theory of the earth evolving from a nebulous cloud: ‘I am not conscious of having employed in the preceding investigation, any causes whose operation is not both actual and sufficient to explain the appearances. I leave others to speculate about the igneous origin of the globe, and its having spontaneously evolved during an indefinite period of refrigeration, successive orders of organic forms. This hypothesis is founded neither on natural or revealed knowledge; nor will it accord with those great and sudden crises of temperature, which innumerable monuments attest’ (Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 498).
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 350, 471, 475.
Phillips, J., Illustrations of the Geology of Yorkshire, 1829. Pages 16–30 present his view of the global Flood.
William Smith, Phillips’ uncle, held a similar view of the geological effects of a global flood, apparently till the end of his life, though he never equated it with the Noachian Flood. See Phillips, J., Memoirs of William Smith, pp. 25–26, 1844.
See also Sheppard, T., William Smith: His maps and Memoirs, Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological and Polytechnic Society, N.S. Vol. XIX:175 and facing chart, 1914–1922.
Andrew Ure, Geology, p. 472, 1829.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 483–494, 599–603.
Not surprisingly, Hallum makes no mention of Ure in his history of the ice-age theory in the nineteenth century. See Hallum, A., Great Geological Controversies, pp. 87–104, 1992.
Earlier Ure had given a rather technical discussion of this, based on Daniell’s Meteorological Essays. See Andrew Ure, Geology, pp. 51–70, 1829. These clouds were not the only or even the major source of water for the Flood. Ure rejected the notion of any ‘super-aerial ocean’ as being contrary to the principles of meteorology. For Ure the Flood was largely the result of the sinking of the land mass and raising of the ocean bottom by volcanic and sedimentary processes (Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 475–76).
He estimated temperatures of about 120° F in the daytime and 110° F at night (Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 599).
He said the phenomena of heavy dew would have been similar to those experienced at the time in Lima and other regions of the world (Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 601).
This was far greater than the cooling effect envisaged as a result of the pre-Flood catastrophes.
He cited the work of Jens Esmark (1763–1839), a leading Norwegian old-earth geology professor, who on the basis of his studies in Norway had concluded that in the past, and on more than one occasion, the whole earth had been covered with ice and snow (and all the water on earth had been frozen), only to completely thaw later. Some of his research and his own peculiar theory of the earth appeared in his ‘Remarks tending to explain the Geological History of the Earth’, Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, Vol. II, pp. 107–121, Oct. 1826–Apr. 1827. Esmark likewise gets no mention by Hallum (Hallum, Ref. 85).
Parry was a famous naval explorer who sought to find the Northwest passage from the Atlantic to Pacific. See DNB on Parry.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 500–504.
Anon., Review of Ure’s Geology, British Critic VI(12):387–412, 1829.
Anon., Review of Ure’s Geology, Christian Remembrancer XI:584, 589, 1829.
This rather positive review by the Christian Remembrancer is in stark contrast to its scathing reviews of Bugg’s Scriptural Geology in 1826 (VIII:530–32) and Fairholme’s Geology of Scripture in 1833 (XV:390–399).
Quarterly Journal of Science, Literature and Art, N.S. Vol. V, pp. 113–132, Jan.–Mar. 1829. The review is not signed, but like the previously noted reviews of Granville Penn’s work, I think (for the same reasons as in Penn’s case) that it was probably done by William Brande, the longtime editor of the journal. Farrar suggested, solely on the basis of the style of language used in the review, that Ure wrote the review himself. See Farrar, Ref. 2, p. 312. Assessing style, however, is a very subjective task. Though Ure contributed a number of articles to the journal and was a personal friend of Brande’s, such a serious allegation seems a fanciful speculation, and quite out of keeping with the tenor of his life, as remarked by other biographers, and reflected by his Christian convictions as expressed in his Geology. Farrar’s idea would also implicate Brande, who as editor would have approved the review. But he offered no evidence that Brande would be an accomplice to such a deception.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 113–115.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 123–24.
Ure, Ref. 22, p. 126.
Ure, Ref. 22, p. 132.
‘H’, Anonymous letter to the editor, Magazine of Natural History II:465–6, 1829.
‘T.E.’, Anonymous letter to the editor, Magazine of Natural History III:90–92, 1830.
Sedgwick, A., Presidential Address to the Geological Society. Reprinted in Philosophical Magazine VII(40):289–315, 1830. Sedgwick’s criticisms of Ure’s Geology are found on pp. 310–313.
Sedgwick, Ref. 103, pp. 310–311.
We must remember also that in 1829 neither Sedgwick, nor Conybeare, nor Buckland had publicly rejected the Flood as the cause of the diluvial deposits and valleys of denudation. Such a totally negative critique was also in sharp contrast to Sedgwick’s 1834 edition of his Discourse on the Studies of the University, in which he considered as dangerous many of the ideas in William Paley’s Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy, while still showing respect for the contribution that Paley had made to the topic (see pp. 126–142) in the Discourse). It might be supposed that Sedgwick was more respectful in his criticism of Paley than of Ure because Paley was a revered, deceased thinker whose books were set texts for Cambridge. Ure, on the other hand, was not as well known and respected as Paley, though his status as a prominent member of the scientific community and member of the Geological Society made his book a betrayal of both, in Sedgwick’s opinion.
Sedgwick, Ref. 103, p. 312.
Sedgwick’s censure was especially harsh in light of his own recantation of what he called ‘geological heresy’ (belief that the Flood was the cause of the diluvium), which he made just one year later from the same chair of the Geological Society.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 272–278.
Fitton, W.H., Notes on the History of English Geology, Philosophical Magazine, N.S., II(7):55, 1833.
Robert Bakewell focused on this same mistake in a letter to the American geologist, Benjamin Silliman, charging Ure with being ‘profoundly ignorant of practical geology.’ See Farrar, Ref. 2, p. 323, footnote 55.
‘T.E.’, Ref 102, p. 90.
After citing a couple of other similar mistakes Sedgwick waxed eloquent, but with excessive exaggeration, ‘The goodly pile, Gentlemen, which many of you have helped to rear, after years of labour, has been pulled down and reconstructed: but with such unskilful hands that its inscriptions are turned upside down; and its sculptured figures have their heads to the ground, and their heels to the heavens; and the whole fabric, amid the fantastic ornaments by which it is degraded, has lost all the beauty and the harmony of its old proportions’. See Sedgwick, Ref. 103, p. 312.
Ure, Ref. 22, p. xlix.
Ure, Ref. 22, pp. 143.
Sedgwick, Ref. 103, p. 312.
This is precisely how Sedgwick himself described the geological record when writing in 1845 to Agassiz about his disdain for the theory of evolution. ‘Now I allow (as all geologists must do) a kind of progressive development. For example, the first fish are below the reptiles; and the first reptiles older than man.’ See Clark, J.W. and Hughes, T.M., The Life and Letters of Rev Adam Sedgwick II:86, 1980.

Buckland said fish were found in the transition strata in his Bridgewater Treatise I:294, 1836.
Conybeare W.D. and Phillips, W., Outlines of the Geology of England and Wales, p. 245, 1822. Conybeare and Phillips did not name the species of Caryophyllia. The fossil also was found in lower Mountain Limestone (p. 359).
Ure’s statement did reflect accurately the views of William Smith in 1817 and of Conybeare and Phillips in 1822. See T. Sheppard, William Smith: His Maps and Memoirs, Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological and Polytechnic Society, N.S., XIX, opposite page 137, 1914–1922. The Mountain Limestone was the lowest formation containing any fossils, according to Smith in 1817. Conybeare and Phillips said that ‘vertebral remains are very rare’ in the Mountain Limestone and the Old Red Sandstone below this formation ‘is generally destitute of organic remains.’ The only fossils they mentioned were anomiae and encrinites, which are both invertebrates, and some unspecified plants. See Conybeare and Phillips, Ref. 118, pp. 356, 363.
Sedgwick, Ref. 103, p. 313.
Conybeare and Phillips, Ref. 118, p. 268. The reviewer ‘T.E.’ (Ref. 102) had led me to discover this by his reply to ‘H.’, (Ref. 101) who had made the same criticism as Sedgwick did.
For example, regarding Ure’s plate 4, Sedgwick said, without giving any explicit details, that ‘of twelve species, seven are positively misplaced, the others are ill selected, and one of them is wrong named.’ See Sedgwick, Ref. 103, p. 313.
In spite of his reputation for meticulous accuracy in his science, evidently he frequently sent his manuscripts off to the printer in haste, without adequate proofreading. See Copeman, Ref. 1, p. 660.
  • Conybeare and Phillips, Ref. 118, p. lix–lx. The three views Conybeare discussed were:
    1. the theory, like Ure’s, that the primary rocks were formed in the initial creation of the earth on Day 1, the transition, secondary and tertiary strata were formed during the 1,600 years between Day 2 and the Flood, and the diluvium were laid down and the general appearance of the present continents were formed by the Flood,
    2. the gap theory in which the primary to tertiary were formed in the millions of years between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 and the rest was attributed to the Flood, and
    3. the day-age theory in which the primary to tertiary were formed during indefinitely long creation days of Genesis 1 and the rest by the Flood.