Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/368

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those to whose advanced views he felt that the scientific world could not entirely subscribe, and admirably illustrating what he interpreted to be the prevailing opinion, as shown by the following quotation:

Although this Darwinian hypothesis is looked upon by many as striking at the root of all vital faith, and is the bête noire of all those good men who deplore and condemn the materialistic tendency of modern science, still the purity of life of the author of the "Origin of Species," his enthusiastic devotion to the study of truth, the industry and acumen which have marked his researches, the candor and caution with which his suggestions have been made, all combine to render the obloquy and scorn with which they have been received in many quarters, peculiarly unjust and in bad taste.

This was also the first year of the American Naturalist, edited by those four pupils of Agassiz—Packard, Morse, Hyatt and Putnam—of whom two are still spared. The introduction of the charming first volume of this characteristic American publication is sufficient proof that at the time of its issue even the younger men felt that there were two distinct schools of thought relative to the "Origin of Species"—Those who are familiar with this introduction will remember that it is illuminated with one of Morse's inimitable sketches, a snail peering through a binocular microscope, symbolical, doubtless, of the slowness of perception of those who clung to this archaic instrument and possibly also of those who cling to archaic ideas.

The following year, 1868, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, which in 1860 had elected Darwin to membership, published the first important direct contribution to the subject of evolution made by one not directly under the influence of the Boston academies. This contribution, "On the Origin of Genera," was made by Cope, who for several years had been submitting papers to the academy of a descriptive and semi-speculative character, and largely dealing with the classification of reptiles. I believe that I am perfectly safe in saying that no academy in America has ever published a paper that reflects more to its credit than this extraordinary essay of Cope. It is apologetically issued as a fragment, but in it there are shown an intimate acquaintance with anatomical detail that is almost supernatural, an independence of thought that is extraordinary, a power of analysis that stuns the reader, an estimate of the weak and the strong points of the Darwinism theory that is masterly, an agility of logic that marks its author as a dangerous antagonist, an energy to reach the truth, and an impetuosity to convince others of truth, that is prophetic, indeed, that is completely demonstrative of pent-up mental power, which must have been most disturbing to those of his academy who had nestled down into positions of comfortable intellectuality.

We now enter upon the five years of acute activity.

On December 15, 1871, Cope attended a meeting of the American Philosophical Society, and presented his paper on "The Method of Creation of Organic Forms." In a fortnight a reply was given, which began with a quotation from Job: "I am a brother to dragons and a