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SKETCH OF PROF. BENJAMIN SILLIMAN LL.D.

inculcated. . . . Nor did be deem it necessary to suppose that the author of Genesis, however instructed by a higher light, was himself cognizant of the truths of geology, especially the truth of the great antiquity of the globe, and the length of time consumed in the geological changes." The idea of the length of geological time, as presented in his lectures, was novel to the majority of his auditors, and evidently shocked the prejudices of many of them, but he maintained it with vigor, and generally left a good impression regarding it in the end. Concerning the opponents of these ideas among the clergy, he wrote to Dr. Hitchcock in 1837: "I believe, with you, if they were masters of our subject, they would think as we do. Some of them are candid and forbearing; others find no insuperable difficulties; others are silent because they feel that they do not understand the matter; but a few are loud, confident, and uncharitable, while it is obvious they know not whereof they affirm, . . . but I see a strong purpose on the part of some to hold no terms with geology, and to insist upon the literal and limited understanding of the history; but they will find themselves deserted, for the matter will in time come right." Of a particular attack on the geological theory he wrote to Professor Hitchcock: "You and I know that any attempt to impair geological evidence, or to reconcile it with the popular view of time, must be abortive. No matter how violent or bitter our assailant may be, doubtless he will be more so in proportion to his ignorance of geology and to the strength of his prejudices."

Mrs. Silliman died in January, 1850, and Professor Silliman was married a second time, in the following year, to Mrs: Sarah I. Webb, of Woodstock, Connecticut. His death was apparently induced by a neuralgic attack which he incurred from attending a meeting on behalf of the Sanitary Commission, on the 13th of November, 1864. He was confined to the house for several days, but seemed afterward to recover, and made several calls in the neighborhood; but on the 24th—Thanksgiving-day—he died, instantly and without a struggle, just as he had remarked that he might perhaps go out to church. The disease from which he died was supposed to be an affection of the heart.

Professor Silliman, says his biographer, Professor Fisher, would have been the last to claim that he had that rare insight of genius which divines the secrets of Nature. His whole turn was more practical than speculative. "His perceptions were quick, his judgment sound, and all his mental operations were marked by good sense." His qualities "well fitted him for his peculiar work, and that was to collect and diffuse scientific truth. . . . Nor is he without merit as an investigator, although his distinction does not lie here. He was never very careful to claim for himself the credit of scientific discovery. At the same time, he took delight in bringing honor to the discoveries of others." He prepared an edition of Henry's "Chemistry," which