But surely it should be added that the Coryphæus of this ignorant mob, the fugelman of the shouts, was one of the most accomplished naturalists and geologists now living—the American Dana—who, after years of independent study extending over numerous reefs in the Pacific, gave his hearty assent to Darwin's views, and, after all that had been said, deliberately reaffirmed that assent in the year 1885.
Darwin's speculation may be right or wrong, but I submit that that which has not happened can not even begin to be known, except by those who have miraculous gifts to which we poor scientific people do not aspire. The overthrow of Darwin's views may have been whispered by those who hoped for it; and they were perhaps wise in not raising their voices above a whisper. Incorrect statements, if made too loudly, are apt to bring about unpleasant consequences.
Sixth. Mr. Murray's views, published in 1880, are said to have met with "slow and sulky acquiescence" (p. 252). I have proved that they can not be said to have met with general acquiescence of any sort, whether quick and cheerful, or slow and sulky; and if this assertion is meant to convey the impression that Mr. Murray's views have been ignored, that there has been a conspiracy of silence against them, it is utterly contrary to notorious fact.
Professor Geikie's well-known "Text-book of Geology" was published in 1882, and at pages 457-9 of that work there is a careful exposition of Mr. Murray's views. Moreover, Professor Geikie has specially advocated them on other occasions, notably in a long article on "The Origin of Coral Reefs," published in two numbers of "Nature" for 1883, and in a presidential address delivered in the same year. If, in so short a time after the publication of his views, Mr. Murray could boast of a convert so distinguished and influential as the Director of the Geological Survey, it seems to me that this wonderful conspiration de silence (which has about as much real existence as the Duke of Argyll's other bogie, "the Reign of Terror") must have ipso facto collapsed. I wish that, when I was a young man, my endeavors to upset some prevalent errors had met with as speedy and effectual backing.
- Professor Geikie, however, though a strong, is a fair and candid advocate. He says of Darwin's theory, "That it may be possibly true, in some instances, may be readily granted." For Professor Geikie, then, it is not yet overthrown—still less a dream.