Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/133

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Dawson
Dawson
121

who survived him, together with three sons (the eldest being Dr. George Mercer Dawson, C.M.G., now director of the Geological Survey of Canada) and two daughters, both married.

Dawson was one of the most industrious of men, and in his lifetime got through an immense amount of work. His constitution was good, his frame strong, his temperament and nervous system calm, his memory retentive. Great as his services have been to geology, those to education were perhaps even greater, for he not only took the lead in developing McGill College from an almost infant institution to a flourishing society and university, but also threw himself heartily into all educational and many philanthropic movements in Montreal. Clear-headed, far-sighted, strong in will and tenacious in purpose, a lucid and persuasive speaker, he won rather than forced his way by his courtesy and tact. He took a leading part in the movement for the improvement of women's education, which, beginning in 1871, ultimately resulted in the establishment of the Royal Victoria College, and as chairman of the normal school committee he brought the whole school system of the province to a higher level of efficiency.

Yet, notwithstanding all these labours and his duties as a teacher of geology, most conscientiously fulfilled, Dawson found time for independent work at his favourite science and for many contributions to its literature. His separate papers exceed 150, and he was the author of several books, a list of which is given below. Some among them deal with biblical questions and the relations of geology and theology, in regard to which his position was distinctly conservative. Most of his writings, however, are strictly scientific. The geology of the carboniferous system and the study of fossil plants interested him more than any other special department, and to these many of his papers are devoted; but his range was wide, for he paid great attention to everything connected with the glacial epoch and with prehistoric times, and yet took an active part in the discussion as to the true nature of Eozoon Canadense. This curious structure, the discovery of which was announced by Sir William Edmond Logan [q. v.] in 1859, was then studied by Sterry Hunt from the chemical side, by William Benjamin Carpenter [q. v.] from the zoological, and by Dawson, both in the field and under the microscope. All these regarded it as representing a fossil organism of Laurentian age, probably a foraminifer. This view was opposed by King and Rowney in Great Britain, by Moebius in Germany, and others, but for a considerable time the weight of the arguments advanced by Dawson and Carpenter, expressed in papers published by the Geological Society of London in vols. xxi-xxiii. xxvi. xxxii. xxxv., caused it to be generally adopted. Now, however, this singular structure is more generally believed to be of mineral origin.

While geology formed Dawson's special study, he was a naturalist in the old sense of the word, besides being well acquainted with general literature. The following is a list of his books:

  1. 'Handbook of the Geography and Natural History of Nova Scotia,' 1848; 3rd ed. 1802.
  2. 'Scientific Agriculture in Nova Scotia,' Halifax, 1852; enlarged ed. 1857.
  3. 'Acadian Geology: the Geological Structure, Organic Remains, Mineral Resources of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island,' 1855; 4th ed. 1891.
  4. 'Archaia; or, Studies of the Cosmogony and Natural History of the Hebrew Holy Scriptures,' 1860.
  5. 'Agriculture for Schools,' 1864.
  6. 'Handbook of Zoology, with Examples from Canadian Species, recent and fossil. Pt. 1, Invertebrata,' 1870; 3rd ed. revised and enlarged, 1886.
  7. 'The Story of the Earth and Man,' 1873; llth ed. 1894.
  8. 'Nature and the Bible: Lectures delivered in New York,' 1875.
  9. 'The Dawn of Life; being the History of the oldest known Fossil Remains and their Relations to Geological Time and to the Development of the Animal Kingdom,' 1875.
  10. 'The Origin of the World according to Revelation and Science,' 1877; 6th ed. 1893.
  11. 'The Chain of Life in Geological Time,' 3rd and revised ed. 1881.
  12. 'Lecture Notes on Geology and Outline of the Geology of Canada,' 1880.
  13. 'Fossil Men and their Modern Representatives: an attempt to illustrate the Charncters and Condition of Pre-historic Men in Europe by those of the American Races,' 1880; 3rd ed. 1888.
  14. 'Facts and Fancies in Modern Science,' 1882.
  15. 'Egypt and Syria, their Physical Features in relation to Bible History,' 1885; a 2nd ed. enlarged and revised.
  16. 'Modern Science in Bible Lands.' 1888; 3rd ed. 1895.
  17. 'Handbook of Geology for the use of Students,' 1889.
  18. 'Modern Ideas of Evolution as related to Revelation and Science,' 6th ed. 1890.
  19. 'The Geological History of Plants ' (International Scientific Series), 1892.
  20. 'The Canadian Ice Age,' 1893.
  21. 'Some Salient Points in the Science of the Earth,' 1893.
  22. 'The Meeting-place of Geology and History,' 1894.
  23. 'Eden Lost and Won: Studies of the Early History and Final Destiny of Man as taught in Nature and Revelation,'