John Murray (science lecturer)

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John Murray (c. 1786 – 1851) was a science writer, lecturer, traveller and Scriptural geologist during the early years of scientific development.

He was born in Stranraer, Galloway, the son of a sea-captain. He seemed to develop an interest in science early in life, and in 1815 published Elements of Chemical Science as Applied to Arts and Manufactures.

Murry held geology as quite valuable because of it is beneficial in excavating, agriculture, and in constructing canals, roads, and rail lines. Geology showed features of God's creation and facets of His creative influence and insight that it supported Biblical revelation. Beginning in 1816, he gave several sciences lectures a year at the Surry Intuition and Mechanics’ Institutes becoming “one of the best lecturers in the world,’ according to Lord Brougham.

He was particularly interested in the design of miner's safety lamps. He was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and of the Geological Society of London, the Linnean Society of London, and Royal Horticultural Society. Also, the Meteorological society of London, The British Association for the Advancement of Science and the Mechanics' institutes of Exeter, Davonport, Portsmouth and Bristol.[1] In the 1830s he was a prominent scriptural geologist, promoting a reconciliation between the geological record and the Genesis creation narrative.[2]

He travelled extensively, but lived in Hull most of his life. He was a loyal member of the Church of Scotland and a strong Calvinist. He moved back to Stranraer in 1850, but a severe illness drained his health and finances and he died an invalid on June 28, 1851.[3]


  • (1815) The Elements of Chemical Science as applied to the arts and manufactures and natural phenomena.
  • (1830) A Treatise on Pulmonary Consumption; its prevention and remedy.
  • (1831) [1840] The Truth of Revelation, 276 pages; second edition, 380 pages.
  • (1838) Portrait of Geology, 214 pages.


  1. ^  Prosser, Richard Bissell (1894). "Murray, John (1786-1851)". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 39. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
  2. ^ Prosser, R. B. (2004). "John Murray". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2011-08-02. 
  3. ^ "Obituary: John Murray". The Mining Journal: 336–337. 12 July 1851.