I suppose you have probably learned that there is a supposed new mineral coming out with the name Sillimanite. I have had little hand in it except to forward the mineral to your good friend Prof. Dewey. As to the name, I shall most cordially concur in it. But I did not first find the mineral. I believe Dr. Porter is the discoverer. It resembles Fibrolite or delicate Tremolite. If Prof. D. has not hinted the subject to you, do not let him know that I have.
Brown Augite occurs in granite in Goshen, some of the crystals 6 inches long & 3 broad. More particulars in my paper.
As I write this Sabbath evening, I take the liberty to propose to you a case of conscience. I have frequently found that my botanical and geological pursuits when zealously attended to, although generally conducive to he[paper torn], still to have the effect of diminishing spiritual [paper torn] mind and for a time of deadening religious sensibil [paper torn] to render me less solicitous to fulfil the duties of [paper torn][min]istry. So much so indeed sometimes as to make me fearful I was not in the way of duty and to suspect I might be worshipping idols. And if these pursuits be the right eye that must be plucked out, let them not be spared however painful the effort. Now the thought has occurred to me that you might have had the same trials to go through & therefore might be able to counsel me. Pray tell me if you can the remedy in such a case. Must these pursuits be altogether abandoned? Or is there such a thing as pursuing them with a supreme reference to the glory of God? Or does the difficulty lie in attending to them too eagerly? I put these enquiries to you because a mere theologist, it seems to me, could not answer them satisfactorily. There is however this difference between your case & mine. You attend to these subjects professionally, I only relaxationally.
Yours respectfully & sincerely,
Professor Silliman Edward Hitchcock