HIGGINS, William Mullinger (1808-1882), geologist & scientific author. ALS [to E.W.Brayley] 1833

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HIGGINS, William Mullinger (1808-1882), geologist and scientific author. Autograph letter signed to an unnamed correspondent [fragment of addressee name on recto indicates to Edward William Brayley], one side 4to, 6 Bond Court, Walbrook [London], August 26th 1833, thanking him for “the use of the History of Devonshire” adding that he has “enclosed a few remarks upon the Geology of the neighbourhood of Kings Bridge, but I fear that my observations have not been sufficiently extensive to be of any use. Should you however think them worthy a place in the Magazine you will use them – if not return them”. Two punch holes to blank left margin, corners creased from mounting.

William Mullingar Higgins FGS was a geologist and miscellaneous science author, born in Chatham, Kent, the son of William and Elizabeth Higgins. In the 1830s he was a lecturer in Natural Philosophy at Guy's Hospital London, and later styled himself as an architect. He is probably best known for his book The Mosaical and Mineral Geologies illustrated and compared published in 1832, but also published other books on geology, physical geography, mining, electricity etc.

His correspondent can be deduced from a fragment of the address panel on the back of the letter as Edward William Brayley FRS (1801-1870) writer and lecturer on science, the eldest son of the topographer Edward Wedlake Brayley (1773–1854), plus the fact that this letter came from a small collection of letters written to Brayley. Edward William Brayley contributed Outlines of the Geology, Physical Geography and Natural History of Devonshire as Book III in Volume 1 of The history of Devonshire from the earliest period to the present, by the Rev. Thomas Moore, published in 3 volumes between 1829-1833.

Higgins’ address of 6 Bond Court Walbrook is interesting as this was the home until 1830 of the vaccinator and writer Dr John Walker, a leading member of the Medical Society of Guy's Hospital. It is likely that 6 Bond Court belonged to Guy’s Hospital and was made available to Higgins when a lecturer at the Hospital in the 1830s.