Sir Henry Thomas De La Beche, an English geologist, born near London in 1796, died in London, April 13, 1855. He was the only son of Col. Thomas de la Beche of Jamaica, and was educated for the army, which he entered in 1814, but soon afterward retired, and in 1818 married and settled in Dorsetshire. In 1817 he became a fellow of the geological society, of which he was subsequently elected secretary, and in 1847 president. During these and some succeeding years he investigated the geology of the counties of Devon, Dorset, and Pembroke; wrote " Observations on the Temperature and Depth of the Lake of Geneva;" and subsequently, in conjunction with the Rev. W. D. Conybeare, published an account of the piesiosaurus, under the title of " Discovery of a new Fossil Animal forming a Link between the Ichthyosaurus and Crocodile." In 1824 he visited his patrimonial estate in Jamaica, attempted to ameliorate the condition of his slaves, and wrote a paper on the geology of the island. Returning to England, he published in 1831 a "Geological Manual," in 1834 "Researches in Theoretical Geology," in 1835 "How to observe Geology," and in 1851 "The Geological Observer." He was appointed director general of the geological survey of the United Kingdom, ordered by the government about 1835; and when, in 1845, mainly by his exertions, a geological museum with free lectures was added thereto, he was nominated director of the museum of practical geology.
He was a member of various scientific commissions appointed by the government. Toward the close of his life he was knighted.