Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/799

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PROF. G. F. WRIGHT AND HIS CRITICS.

chiefly by the labors of Mr. Leverett, until the terminal moraine now almost coincides, in Ohio at least, with the southern margin of the drift area.

Far be it from us to impute unworthy motives to any one of these critics. We would, if we could, believe that they are all impelled solely by a love of truth and a regard for the public good. But we regret that they have not made this less questionable. Criticism of a former colleague in terms so unsparing is sure, whether justly or unjustly, to be interpreted according to its obvious spirit. We unwillingly think of words so ugly as "jealousy," "conspiracy," "concerted attack," etc., but we warn these critics that they will hear them if they have not already come to their ears. They may fancy that they are the sole proprietors of the field, but there are men of science in the land whose voices will be heard in loud and earnest protest, and whose voices when heard will carry weight with their brethren and with the public. American geologists will not be silenced by official insolence or warned off their fields of investigation by "notices of trespass" from self-appointed owners. The whole tone of the discussion on one side is far from honorable to science, and will not redound to the credit of American geology.

We have said enough. We will not touch on that part of the controversy springing out of the author's connection with the United States Geological Survey. It may be right to estimate a man's work by the number of days for which he was paid.[1] This is probably the official method of reckoning, but we will remind the critic who dwells on this point that amateurs are in the habit of spending time and money very freely without hope of recompense and, indeed, without keeping any record. Probably this fact lies at the bottom of the discrepancy on which so much stress has been laid.

There is one article which demands a few special words. It comes from the pen of a much younger man than Prof. Wright, and allowance should perhaps be made on this ground. We observe that in his reply the professor seems to be conscious of this, and to have restrained his pen. But, after granting so much, we can not acquit this gentleman of forgetting the courtesy due to an older man and an older geologist than himself. Energy of expression may be forgiven in the heat of argument, especially if it arises from strength of conviction. Even authoritative and dictatorial assertion without condescending to give reasons, however illogical, is not unpardonable in an opponent. Hard blows received in fair fight may leave scars, but their memory does not rankle; and hard words hastily spoken, though not pleasant,


  1. Dial, January 1, 1893, p. 7.