Adrian Desmond

Published On


Page Range

pp. 247–256


  • English

Print Length

10 pages

10. An Appeal to the Revolutionary Enemy

  • Adrian Desmond (author)
No prophet in his own land, “Citizen Saull” approached French savants. At home he had praised the July Revolution (1830), and would celebrate its anniversary yearly. And he introduced French-style funeral orations at radical funerals, as dissidents took over the last rites. He was known on the Continent, as a French-speaking wine importer, and as Robert Owen’s interlocutor in Paris. Unlike elite English geologists, the Parisians were more open to planetary explanations of stratal disposition. Republican geologists put him up for the Société Géologique de France and he was elected in 1834. His Essay on the Coincidence of Astronomical & Geological Phenomena (1836) was accordingly addressed to the Société. At home, marginal astrologers, looking to raise their status, extolled the book, not exactly the support Saull was looking for. Days after his induction into the Société, Saull was sending his coal-seam ferns to the fossil botanist Adolphe Brongniart, who made one a type species, Sigillaria saullii. Such immortalization raised Saul’s stock, and acted as a further imprimatur for his museum


Adrian Desmond


Adrian Desmond was educated at University College London and Harvard University, where he was Stephen Jay Gould's first history of science PhD student. He has two MSc's, one in history of science, another in vertebrate palaeontology, and a PhD for his work on radical Victorian evolutionists. For twenty years he was an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London. He is the multi-award-winning author of nine books, which include: The Hot-Blooded Dinosaurs, Archetypes and Ancestors: Palaeontology in Victorian London 1850-1875, The Politics of Evolution: Morphology, Medicine, and Reform in Radical London, Darwin, Huxley: The Devil’s Disciple, Huxley: Evolution’s High Priest, Darwin’s Sacred Cause (with James Moore)