4.14a Hamilton 1774

William Hamilton, Observations On Mount Vesuvius, Mount Etna, And Other Volcanos, London 1774

Fa 170-3741 raro III

The Observations On Mount Vesuvius, Mount Etna, And Other Volcanos, first published in London in 1772, are based on the volcanological observations that Lord William Hamilton, a diplomat in the service of England based in Naples, communicated to the Royal Society as a corresponding member, in letters between 1766 and 1771. The Hertziana Library owns the edition published in 1774. Missing from this copy are the view of Mount Etna that precedes the title page, two plates showing the eruption of Vesuvius in 1767, the depiction of Stromboli with the active volcano, and a map of the Gulf of Naples. Table III, less spectacular than the others, shows seven views of Vesuvius with the gradual growth of a small mountain within the crater. It thus illustrates one of the central theories formulated by Hamilton in his third letter, namely ‘that Mountains are produced by volcanos, and not Volcanos by mountains’ (p. 52). This systematic presentation is taken up, in a different way, in the work Campi Phlegræi of 1776, which already differs from the first publication in its considerably larger format and numerous colour illustrations (also on show here). [PH]

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