Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/13

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AMERICAN ZOÖLOGISTS AND EVOLUTION.

indeed has been the argument to render as coadjutors the very men who so thoroughly opposed Darwin at the outset. It seems unnecessary to point out the mode of work adopted by the class above described. Their honor involved as soon as their name had been attached to a supposed new species, and any deviation from the type oftentimes persistently overlooked, what wonder, when every local variety received a new name and that name stamped upon a supposed valid creation—what wonder, I repeat, that whole groups of animals have been so thoroughly scourged by such work that few have the courage to engage in the task of revision?

Emerson's reflections on the science of England in 1847 would apply with far more propriety to our country even at a much later date, where in his words "one hermit finds this fact and another finds that, and lives and dies ignorant of its value." With the noble examples of Dana, Wyman, Leidy, and Burnett, before them, they did not profit. In fact, the labors of these honored men, and early in the century Lesueur and others, gave the country its largest claim to recognition abroad. The second period dates from the advent of Agassiz in this country. With his presence a gradual but entire change took place. He rendered the study a dignity rather than a pastime, No longer were the triflers to fling their loose work before the academies unrebuked. The protests he uttered in this Association were the means of elevating the tone of the communications. In fact, nothing indicates the poverty of our attainments in zoology more than an examination of the volumes preceding Agassiz's presence and the succeeding volumes. With his honest repudiation of all that was bad, he frightened away the lighter chaff, and there was but little solid work left to take its place. Agassiz made men, and his example, and the methods of work taught by him, spread to other parts of the country. He brought the American student into intimate acquaintance with the classical work of European naturalists. In his public lectures the names of Cuvier, Von Baer, Leuckart, and others, became familiar. The public caught the enthusiasm of this great teacher, and money was lavishly given by the citizens and the State in aid of his scientific undertakings. Agassiz's earnest protest against evolution checked the too hasty acceptance of this theory among American students. But even the weight of his powerful opposition could not long retard the gradual spread of Darwin's views; and now his own students,-last to yield, have, with hardly an exception, adopted the general view of derivation as opposed to that of special creation. The results of his protest have been beneficial in one sense. They have prompted the seeking of proofs in this country, and now our students are prepared to show the results of their work in evidence of the laws of progressive development, and it is mainly this work that I wish to review. So much is claimed for birthplace that, in the way of history, it may not be amiss to call attention to