Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/304

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in a gravel-bed near Gray's Inn Lane, in London. The world in general paid no heed to this; if the attention of theologians was called to it, they dismissed it summarily with a reference to the Deluge of Noah; but the specimen was labeled, the circumstances regarding it were recorded, and both specimen and record carefully preserved.

In 1723 Jussieu addressed the French Academy on The Origin and Uses of Thunder-stones. He showed that recent travelers from various parts of the world had brought a number of weapons and other implements of stone to France, and that they were essentially similar to what in Europe had been known as "thunder-stones": a year later this fact was clinched into the scientific mind of France by the Jesuit Lafitau, who published a work showing the similarity between the customs of aborigines then existing in other lands and those of the early inhabitants of Europe. So began, in these works of Jussieu and Lafitau, the science of comparative ethnography.

In 1730 Mahudel presented a paper to the French Academy of Inscriptions on the so-called "thunder-stones," and also presented a series of plates which showed that these were stone implements, which must have been used at an early period in human history.

In 1778 Buffon, in his Époques de la Nature, intimated his belief that "thunder-stones" were made by early races of men; but he did not press this view, and the reason for his reserve was obvious enough: he had already one quarrel with the theologians on his hands, which had cost him dear—public retraction and humiliation; his declaration, therefore, attracted little notice.

In the year 1800 another fact came into the minds of thinking men in England. In that year John Frere presented to the London Society of Antiquaries sundry flint implements found in the clay-beds near Hoxne; that they were of human make was certain, and, in view of the undisturbed depths in which they were found, the theory was suggested that the men who made them must have lived at a very ancient geological epoch; yet even this discovery and theory passed like a troublesome dream, and soon seemed to be forgotten.

About twenty years later Dr. Buckland published a discussion of the subject, in the light of various discoveries in the drift and in caves. It received wide attention, but theology was hushed to silence by his soothing concession that these striking relics of human handiwork, associated with the remains of various extinct animals, were proofs of the Deluge of Noah.

In 1823 Boué, of the Vienna Academy of Sciences, showed to Cuvier sundry human bones found deep in the alluvial deposits of the upper Rhine, and suggested that they were of an early geological period; this Cuvier virtually, if not explicitly, denied: