although much improved; but the future is full of promise. In filling out this record, America, I believe, will do her full share, and thus aid in the solution of the great problems now before us.
I have endeavored to define clearly the different periods in the history of paleontology. If I may venture, in conclusion, to characterize the present period in all departments of science, its main feature would be a belief in universal laws. The reign of Law, first recognized in the physical world, has now been extended to Life as well. In return, Life has given to inanimate Nature the key to her profounder mysteries—Evolution, which embraces the universe.
What is to be the main characteristic of the next period? No one now can tell. But, if we are permitted to continue in imagination the rapidly converging lines of research pursued to-day, they seem to meet at the point where organic and inorganic nature become one. That this point will yet be reached, I can not doubt.
INSTEAD of delaying the discussion by a series of resolutions, I ask your permission to develop, at some length, the question as it strikes me in its entirety; and, that you may know the drift of my argument, I will begin by stating the conclusion at which I have arrived, viz., that the Interoceanic Canal should be constructed in the Isthmus of Panama, between the Bay of Colon and the Gulf of Panama. This canal, using merely the water of the ocean, should have no appreciable current, and it should be of the same level as the average tide in the Bay of Colon, where the rise and fall are hardly perceptible. To show you why I am firmly convinced of this, I will enter with some detail into the labors of your second sub-committee, over which I had the honor of presiding, and of which you warmly received the report presented by M. Voisin Bey. The report of this sub-committee, which is to be printed, will show you how impartially, with what scrupulous care, with what exhaustive discussion, and finally with what unanimity its decisions were taken. I am wrong in saying decisions, for none were taken. Of every one of the plans submitted then to its examination, and now to your vote, it showed up the advantages and the difficulties, the strong and the weak side; it prepared no form of resolution, giving to each of its members full liberty to express an opinion, as you can now. It is therefore in my personal name
- The Interoceanic Canal. Speech delivered by M. Charles de Fourcy before the Technique Committee of the Paris International Congress, on May 28, 1879.