HUTTON, James. ~ The Theory of the Earth; or an Investigation of the Laws observable in the Composition, Dissolution and Restoration of Land upon the Globe. In: ‘Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Vol. I, 1788’, pp. 209-304 + plates I-II with explanation leaf.
First edition, first printing of this important work. Whole volume: Pp.vii, , [ix]-xii, 100, 304, 1 leaf [explanation of plates for Theory of the Earth], -336, 209 pp, 1 leaf [errata; directions to binder]; 4 plates (at p. 40, two at p. 304, at p. 334)]. 4to., contemporary full tree calf, rebacked. Some rubbing and bumping to corners and edges and occasional foxing, tiny tear at bottom of margin on two leaves, not affecting text, otherwise very good.
Hutton gave his ground breaking address in a paper read to the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1785 and this 1788 printing was the Society’s first publication of it. In 1795 an enlarged version of it appeared in two volumes but this is the first presentation, and thus has massive importance as the initial means of dissemination of his important theory of uniformitarianism - that the formation of the earth is one continuous process.