Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/305

This page has been validated.

great as he was in his own field, he was not a great geologist; he, in fact, led geology astray for many years. Moreover, he lived in a time of reaction; it was the period of the restored Bourbons—of the Voltairean King Louis XVIII, governing to please orthodoxy. Boué's discovery was, therefore, at first opposed, then enveloped in studied silence.

Cuvier evidently thought, as Voltaire had felt under similar circumstances, that "among wolves one must howl a little"; and his leading disciple, Élie de Beaumont, who succeeded him in the sway over geological science in France, was even more opposed to the new view than his great master had been. Boué's discoveries were, accordingly, apparently laid to rest forever.[1]

In 1825 Kent's Cavern, near Torquay, was explored by the Rev. Mr. McEnery, a Roman Catholic clergyman, who seems to have been completely overawed by orthodox opinion in England and elsewhere; for, though he found human bones and implements mingled with remains of extinct animals, he kept his notes in manuscript, and they were only brought to light more than thirty years later by Mr. Vivian.

The coming of Charles X, the last of the French Bourbons, to the throne, made the orthodox pressure even greater. It was the culmination of the reactionary period—the time in France when a clerical committee, sitting at the Tuileries, took such measures as were necessary to hold in check all science that was not perfectly "safe"; the time in Austria when Kaiser Franz made his famous declaration to sundry professors, that what he wanted of them was simply to train obedient subjects, and that those who did not make this their purpose would be dismissed; the time in Germany when Nicholas of Russia and the princelings and ministers under his control, from the King of Prussia downward, put forth all their might in behalf of "scriptural science"; the time in Italy when a scientific investigator, arriving at any conclusion distrusted by the Church, was sure of losing his place and in danger of losing his liberty; the time in England when what little science was taught was held in due submission to Archdeacon Paley's doctrines and the Thirty-nine Articles; the time in the United States when the first thing essential in science was, that it be adjusted to the ideas of revival preachers.

Yet men devoted to scientific truth labored on; and in 1828

  1. For the general history of early views regarding stone implements, see the first chapters in Cartailhac, La France Préhistorique; also Joly, L'Homme avant les Métaux; also Lyell, Lubbock, and Evans. For lightning-stones in China, see citation from a Chinese encyclopædia of 1662, in Tylor, Early History of Mankind, p. 209. On the universality of this belief on the surviving use of stone implements even into civilized times, and on their manufacture to-day, see ibid., chapter viii. For the treatment of Boué's discovery, see especially Mortillet, Le Préhistorique, Paris, 1885, p. 11.