Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/801

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
779
PROF. G. F. WRIGHT AND HIS CRITICS.

ment of fifty feet per day in the middle. The glacier of Karajak, four miles across, moves at thirty feet daily, while one at Upernavik travels at ninety-nine feet every twenty-four hours. Combining all these statements we recommend waiting before criticising.

The severe and caustic animadversions above criticised certainly show on the part of the critic a courage almost amounting to recklessness, but he has not always tempered his zeal with truth. In his anxiety to discover "unhistoric statements," as Prof. Huxley once called them, in Prof. Wright's book, he has not been sufficiently careful that his "finds" were in undisturbed strata, that they did not come from a talus, or had not been inserted at a later date. But what shall we say if they prove to have been inserted by himself for subsequent exhumation, Cardiff-giant fashion? Let us read what he says in the review here under consideration (page 92): "Prof. Wright conveys the implication that the Claymont argillite indicates the existence of early glacial or preglacial man, and that the Calaveras skull and the Nampa image in like manner indicate preglacial or Tertiary man, the implication being, however, deceptively guarded by indefinite expressions and meaningless cross-references."

We have already quoted (page 770) Prof. Wright's language regarding the Claymont tool, and will only express our surprise that any one possessing our critic's command of the English language could extract from it the above meaning.

As to the other two instances, we will trespass on our reader's patience by giving here also Prof. Wright's own words (page 299): "I can only say that the amount of erosion since the lava eruption of western Idaho is not excessive, and very likely may be brought within ten or twenty thousand years." And in regard to the Calaveras lava he writes (page 230), "The question of absolute time can not be considered separately without much further study." Then, following a suggestion of Prof. Prestwich, adopted by Mr. Becker, he infers, "not that man is so extremely ancient in California, but that many of these plants and animals have continued to a more recent date than has ordinarily been supposed."

Consideration of the above extracts on both sides renders it incomprehensible how Prof. Wright's language can be interpreted to imply a belief in preglacial or Tertiary man. The whole tenor of his book is opposed to this belief, and those geologists who are familiar with the long rows of figures whereby this very critic is accustomed to express his date for the Ice age and the yet longer array which gives the date assigned by him to the preglacial or Tertiary period, will be amused at his nervous apprehension here expressed about ten or twenty thousand years.

The zeal of the proselyte is proverbial, and the readiness with which he forgets his former faith. But this gentleman will excuse