Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/791

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PROF. G. F. WRIGHT AND HIS CRITICS.

clusions are not drawn, and the reader is cautioned against hasty judgment. It is not easy to see how the scanty and fragmentary evidence connecting man with the Ice age could have been more fairly stated. Only six examples in all are given, and no case is brought forward in whose favor a considerable mass of evidence can not be quoted. None is new. They have been before the scientific world and the general public more or less for several years, and their evidence, pro and con, has been sifted and resifted, so that its value can now be fairly well estimated. And we are audacious enough to believe that there are men as competent to estimate it as any of the self-appointed judges who have taken on themselves to sit in judgment on the author. Yet more, our temerity goes so far as to lead us to prefer the calm and temperate conclusions of such men to the contemptuous and almost passionate utterances of others, learned and able we admit, but evidently carried away by a common impulse or (we say it reluctantly, but the facts irresistibly suggest it) acting under instructions which they can not resist. Their zeal has outrun their discretion.

Coming down to details, we note that the critics are not always agreed among themselves. One of them, a distinguished archaeologist,[1] admitting that "as a glacialist the author stands among the first in the country," goes on to assert that the well-known gravels at Trenton, N. J., where Dr. Abbott has been for years finding very rude argillite implements, are of doubtful date and "require more study before we can assign their probable age." But an equally distinguished geologist, "the head of the glacial division of the United States Survey," says "the Trenton gravel is strictly contemporaneous with the Belvidere moraine," thus making it coeval with the greatest extension of the ice. Not even Dr. Abbott himself has claimed a greater age for the gravels and their contained implements than this; and Prof. Wright is yet more moderate in his estimates, assigning them to the later or even to the last stages of the era of ice. Until, therefore, it is definitely proved that all the investigators are mistaken who believe that they have really taken these implements from undisturbed strata, we think our author is justified in his conclusions.

If it would not be too presumptuous in an outsider, we would remind the distinguished archæologist that the whole problem is not contained in the position of the tools. Other elements are concerned, and it is not logical to insinuate a doubt concerning one line of argument and to remain silent on all the rest, or to quote his own negative experience against positive testimony.

It would be tedious to dwell on the details of similar finds in


  1. ↑ Science, October 28, 1892.