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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/564

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546
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

SKETCH OF GABRIEL DE MORTILLET.

"THE Ecole d'Anthropologie feels with a profound emotion the loss of the eminent master, one of its glories, whose labors have contributed in so large a measure to honor and magnify it, and to extend and confirm its legitimate authority, and who had the exceedingly rare merit of constituting a science which by means of him has become a French science—that of prehistoric archæology." Such is the eminently fitting tribute spoken by the professors of the Paris École d'Anthropologie through their Revue Mensuelle to the memory of Gabriel de Mortillet.

Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet was born at Meylan, Isère, France, August 29, 1821, and died September 25, 1898. He began his studies with the Jesuits at Chambéry, and continued them in Paris at the Museum of Natural History and at the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers. He was interested in the revolutionary movements of 1848; and in the insurrectionary demonstration of the 13th of June, 1849, which followed the presentation by Ledru Rollin, on the 11th, of a resolution of impeachment against President Louis Napoleon for repressing the republican movement in Rome, it was with his help that the eminent deputy was enabled to escape arrest. In the same year he was condemned for a press offense and took refuge in Savoy. During his exile he classified the collections of the Natural History Museum in Geneva; had charge of the arrangement of the Museum at Annecy in 1854; directed an exploitation of hydraulic lime in Italy; and served as geological adviser in the construction of the northern railways of that country. He was also associated with Agassiz in his studies of the glaciers of Switzerland. He returned to Paris in 1864, and in 1867 was charged with the organization of the first hall or prehistoric department of the History of Labor at the Universal Exposition of 1867. In 1868 he was called to the Museum of National Antiquities at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where he continued till 1885. It is specially mentioned that he carried this institution safely through the perils of the war of 1870-'71. While engaged in these museum tasks he was struck with the insufficiency of the then universally accepted paleontological and prehistoric classifications, and his attention became fully absorbed in the subject. He held long consultations with Edouard Lartet, the eminent paleontologist and his learned friends concerning it. As a result of these deliberations, after careful study of the formations and specimens, he proposed a scheme of classification in 1869, which was completed at the congress held in Brussels in 1872, and has become generally accepted in its fundamentals, after having withstood the