Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/788

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Mass., as early as 1876, when his first paper was read before the Boston Society of Natural History. Largely through him the late Prof. H. Carvill Lewis was brought into the work, and our author's studies on the Muir Glacier in Alaska gave us most of our early knowledge of a region previously almost a terra incognita to science.

Qualifications thus won by hard work in the field secure for the author, Prof. Wright, no mean place among glacial geologists, and entitle him to at least respectful attention. It is therefore somewhat surprising to note the storm of criticism and even abuse with which the work has been assailed by certain geologists.

Far be it from us to deprecate criticism, even if severe. Equally far is it from the desire of the author. But we feel justified in the name of science in entering a protest, and a strong one, against the style and manner of the articles which have appeared in condemnation of the work and in denunciation of the writer.

In thus protesting against so unusual and apparently concerted an attack we do not wish in any way to defend the author from so much criticism as is just and courteous. The book is far from perfect. We can not acquit the writer of apparent haste in its completion. Besides inaccurate expressions there are in some places insufficient statements of the divergences of opinion. Many of these have been already pointed out, and have received all the blame that is due, and in no measured terms. The title, for instance, should have run, The Glacial Era and Man, for of its ten chapters only one is closely connected with human history. It is scarcely correct to write of the great interlobate moraines as medial (page 100). We presume that our author means that their material was carried on the ice during its flow. This was in great part true, but they did not exist as medial moraines at any time, and were only formed at the melting end of the ice-sheet. Nor do we think that any evidence worth consideration can be adduced in support of the supposition of a great southern subsidence to explain the origin of the loess in the Mississippi Valley. We think that Prof. Wright should have recognized the fact that northern drift had been reported from Kentucky many years before his visit (page 212), and the expression "I have traced the limit of southern bowlders for thousands of miles across the country" is certainly unfortunate. It is, perhaps, literally true in the sense intended, but it is liable to misconstruction, and has been misconstrued. We might also object to his use of the word "preglacial." In this, however, he has many companions among geological writers.

We may further add that his explanation of the relation of the névé to the glacier has been assailed with justice, and is quite indefensible. There is, however, little occasion here to expose