Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/689

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THE PROGRESS OF ANTHROPOLOGY.

chair of a section or department. In clear memory of the admirable addresses which you have had the privilege of hearing from Prof. Flower, and just now from Dr. McDonnell, I cannot doubt that that practice is a very good one; but I would venture to say, to use a term of philosophy, that it looks very much better from an objective than from a subjective point of view. But I found that my resolution, like a great many good resolutions that I have made in the course of my life, came to very little, and that it was thought desirable that I should address you in some way. But I must beg of you to understand that this is no formal address. I have simply announced it as a few introductory remarks, and I must ask you to forgive whatever of crudity and imperfection there may be in the mode of expression of what I have to say, although naturally I shall do my best to take care that there is neither crudity nor inaccuracy in the substance of it. It has occurred to me that I might address myself to a point in connection with the business of this department which forces itself more or less upon the attention of everybody, and which, unless the bellicose instincts of human nature are less marked on this side of St. George's Channel than on the other, may possibly have something to do with the large audiences we are always accustomed to see in the anthropological department. In the Geological Section I have no doubt it will be pointed out to you, or, at any rate, such knowledge may crop up incidentally, that there are on the earth's surface what are called loci of disturbance, where, for long ages, cataclysms and outbursts of lava and the like take place. Then everything subsides into quietude; but a similar disturbance is set up elsewhere. In Antrim, at the middle of the Tertiary epoch, there was such a great centre of physical disturbance. We all know that at the present time the earth's crust, at any rate, is quiet in Antrim, while the great centres of local disturbance are in Sicily, in Southern Italy, in the Andes, and elsewhere. My experience of the British Association does not extend quite over a geological epoch, but it does go back rather longer than I care to think about; and, when I first knew the British Association, the locus of disturbance in it was the Geological Section. All sorts of terrible things about the antiquity of the earth, and I know not what else, were being said there, which gave rise to terrible apprehensions. The whole world, it was thought, was coming to an end, just as I have no doubt that, if there were any human inhabitants of Antrim in the middle of the Tertiary epoch, when those great lava-streams burst out, they would not have had the smallest question that the whole universe was going to pieces. Well, the universe has not gone to pieces. Antrim is, geologically speaking, a very quiet place now, as well cultivated a place as one need see, and yielding abundance of excellent produce; and so, if we turn to the Geological Section, nothing can be milder than the proceedings of that admirable body. All the difficulties that they seemed to have encountered at first have died away, and statements that were the hor-