Wright’s “Ice Age In North America And Its Bearings On The Antiquity Of Man” -- By: Charles H. Hitchcock

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 047:185 (Jan 1890)
Article: Wright’s “Ice Age In North America And Its Bearings On The Antiquity Of Man”
Author: Charles H. Hitchcock

Wright’s “Ice Age In North America And Its Bearings On The Antiquity Of Man”1

Prof. Charles H. Hitchcock

In 1874 Mr. James Geikie, of the Geological Survey of Scotland, published a book entitled, “The Great Ice Age and its Relations to the Antiquity of Man.” From long continued observations of his own and from a collation of facts stated by others, he was able to present a well-written sketch of the great winter which formerly prevailed over much of the northern hemisphere. For a quarter of a century earlier the generality of writers had accepted the views of the older geologists, that the coldness of the climate had resulted from the multitudinous icebergs originating in the remote north and floating southerly over a submerged continent. To these Mr. Geikie’s book came like a revelation; for he does not even take the pains to refute the iceberg theory, and all the facts are explained upon the assumption of the presence of a thick mantle of glacial ice, covering more than the existing terra firma because of a continental elevation. The book had a wide circulation, and would seem to have been an important factor in convincing the public of the truth of the glacier theory, besides awakening an interest in the study of surface geology.

It was in this same year that the Rev. G. F. Wright, then settled as pastor over the Free Congregational Church in Andover, Mass., commenced that special study of glacial phenomena which has eventuated in the publication of the book now under review. It was not his first thought of geological subjects, as the writer knows by correspondence with him at least a dozen years earlier. He had been a student of various scientific questions that must be discussed in their relations to theology and biblical interpretation, from the very beginning of his ministry; and these investigations show themselves in the interest taken in “Darwiniana “by the late Professor Asa Gray (whose index was prepared by Mr. Wright); in the “Logic of Christian Evidences,” “Studies in Science and Religion,” “Divine Authority of the Bible,” etc. The appearance of Geikie’s book undoubtedly stimulated Mr. Wright in the prosecution of researches in glacial geology, as it certainly did his friend Warren Upham, who contributes to this book the Appendix respecting the Probable Cause of Glaciation.

The first subject taken up by our author was the origin of the curious “Indian ridges “visible from his residence, together with the analogous deposits scattered over the neighborhood in Eastern New England. Next came the study of the boundary of the glaciated area in Pennsylvania, in company with the late Professor H. Carvill Lewis,...

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