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WILLIAM LONSDALE (1994-1871)

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Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 988 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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WILLIAM LONSDALE (1994-1871), English geologist and palaeontologist, was born at Bath on the 9th of September 1794. He was educated for the army and in 1810 obtained a commission as ensign in the 4th (King's Own) regiment. He served in the Peninsular War at the battles of Salamanca and Waterloo, for both of which he received medals; and he retired as lieutenant. Residing afterwards for some years at Batheaston he collected a series of rocks and fossils which he presented to the Literary and Scientific Institution of Bath. He became the first honorary curator of the natural history department of the museum, and worked until 182g when he was appointed assistant secretary and curator of the Geological Society of London at Somerset House. There he held office until 1842, when ill-health led him to resign. The ability with which he edited the publications of the society and advised the council " on every obscure and difficult point " was commented on by Murchison in his presidential address (1843). In 1829 Lonsdale read before the society an important paper " On the Oolitic District of Bath " (Trans. Geol. Soc. ser. 2, vol. iii.), the results of a survey begun in 1827; later he was engaged in a survey of the Oolitic strata of Gloucestershire (1832), at the instigation of the Geological Society, and he laid down on the one-inch ordnance maps the boundaries of the various geological formations. He gave particular attention to the study of corals, becoming the highest authority in England on the subject, and he described fossil forms from the Tertiary and Cretaceous strata of North America and from the older strata of Britain and Russia. In 1837 he suggested from a study of the fossils of the South Devon lime-stones that they would prove to be of an age intermediate between the Carboniferous and Silurian systems. This suggestion was adopted by Sedgwick and Murchison in 1839, and may be regarded as the basis on which they founded the Devonian system. Lonsdale's paper, " Notes on the Age of the Limestones of South Devonshire " (read 1840), was published in the same volume of the Transactions of the Geological Society (ser. 2, vol. v.) with Sedgwick and Murchison's famous paper " On the Physical Structure of Devonshire," and these authors observe that " the conclusion arrived at by Mr Lonsdale, we now apply without reserve both to the five groups of our North Devon section, and to the fossiliferous slates of Cornwall." The later years of Lonsdale's life were spent in retirement, and he died at Bristol on the rlth of November 1871. (H. B. Wo.) IONS-LE-SAUNIER, a town of eastern France, capital of the department of Jura, 76 m. N.N.E. of Lyons on the Paris-Lyons railway, on which it is a junction for Chalon-sur-Saone, D61e, Besancon and Champagnole. Pop. (1906) 10,648. The town is built on both sides of the river Valliere and is surrounded by the vine-clad hills of the western Jura. It owes its name to the salt mines of Montmorot, its western suburb, which have been used from a very remote period. The church of St Desire, a building of the 12th and 15th centuries, preserves a huge Romanesque crypt. The town is the seat of a prefects and of a court of assizes, and there are tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a chamber of commerce, lycees and training-colleges for both sexes, and a branch of the Bank of France. There is an establishment for the use of the mineral waters, which are sodio-chlorinated and have strengthening properties. The principal industry of the place is the manufacture of sparkling wines, the Etoile growth being the best for this purpose. Trade is in cheese, cereals, horses, cattle, wood, &c. Lons-le-Saunier, known as Ledo in the time of the Gauls, was fortified by the Romans, who added the surname Salinarius to the Gallic name. An object of contention owing to the value of its salt, it belonged for a long time during the medieval period to the powerful house of Chalon, a younger branch of that of Burgundy. It was burned in 1364 by the English, and again in 1637, when it was seized by the duke of Longueville for Louis XIII. It became definitively French in 1674. It was here that the meeting between Ney and Napoleon took place, on the return of the latter from Elba in 1815. Rouget de 1'Isle, the author of the Marseillaise, was born at Montaigu near this town, where there is a statue erected to him.
End of Article: WILLIAM LONSDALE (1994-1871)
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