Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/800

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seldom leave a lasting sore on the mind of a generous foe. Any such is usually healed by the ready and full apology which quickly follows.

But a combatant who stoops to employ weapons which his opponent disdains to use, places himself thereby outside of the pale of honorable warfare; and the controversialist who descends to the use of unparliamentary language in debate is self-excluded from further participation.

It is with regret that we write this, but it is due to all who cherish the honor of their science and the credit of American geologists to enter an earnest and serious protest against the adoption of a tone so bitter and language so unusual as those which characterize the article above referred to. We are unable to fully fathom the motives which led the writer to transgress so far the limits of judicial calmness and social courtesy, and we believe that his own manly feeling will sooner or later awaken and provoke his regret. Meanwhile the only result will be to arouse sympathy with the author, whose calm, dispassionate, and logical replies place the theologian-geologist on a marked vantage-ground above his professional but younger and overzealous brother. We regret that the American Anthropologist[1] has stooped to allow its pages to be disfigured with words which in no conceivable circumstances can be applicable by one scientist to another, or used by one in reference to another. It is difficult, without speaking too strongly, to characterize fitly so flagrant a breach of the unwritten code.

This critic has, of course, a perfect right to find fault, if he so desires, with any part or parts of the author's work. This he sees fit to do in regard to his measurements of the motion of the Muir Glacier. But he has done so in terms unnecessarily offensive and contemptuous. He contrasts the "blundering attempts" of Wright with the "excellent measurements" of Reid. The former gave seventy and the latter seven feet a day.[2] The difference is of course great and surprising; but the dogmatism of our young geologist is not very well timed, for admittedly the two measurements do not relate to the same part of the glacier. Moreover, we may be permitted to hazard the inoffensive remark on the other side that, after all, Prof. Wright's figures are more in harmony with some other known facts than are the smaller ones. We must presume that this critic is aware, though he has apparently for the moment forgotten, that, though the Alpine glaciers move at only a few feet daily in August, yet those of the arctic lands have a much more rapid rate. Thus the gigantic glacier of Jakobshavn, in Disco Bay, two and a half miles wide, has a move-

  1. American Anthropologist, January, 1893.
  2. Ibid., p. 89.