The world without water, 1694. The world without water. Drawing made by Thomas Burnet in 1694. Thomas Burnet was the first Englishman to attempt a scientific account of the origin of the earth. His treatise, Telluris Thoeoria Sacra, is a curious blend of geography and archaeology, which aroused considerable interest at the time. California is shown as an Island, but no Northwest passage, an unusual concession for an Englishman of this era.