National Geographic : 1901 May
GEORGE M. DAWSON IN the death of Dr. George M. Daw son the Dominion of Canada has sustained a great loss in the do mains of geographic science and ot affairs, for Dr. Dawson was not only one of her leading scientific men, but took an active part in her political matters. Dawson was born at Pictou, Nova Scotia, in 1849, his father being the George M. Dawson celebrated geologist, Sir William Daw son. After a thorough training at Mc Gill University and at the Royal School of Mines of London, he commenced his long career of geographic and geologic explorations as geologist and botanist on the Northwest Boundary Commis- sion in 1873. Two years later he joined the Geological Survey of Canada, and for nine years was engaged in the ex ploration of British Columbia, the Yu kon Valley, and the high plains of the northwest. While his work was pri marily geological, still we owe to him, more than to any other explorer, our present knowledge of the northwestern part of North America. In 1883 he was appointed assistant director of the Geo logical Survey, and in 1895 became its director, which position he held until his death, on March 2, 1901. During his quarter century of active work many duties were imposed upon Mr. Dawson and many were the honors he received. In 1891 and 1892 he served on the Bering Sea Commission, and for his services received the order of Com panion of St. Michael and St. George. In 1891 he received from the Royal Society of England, of which he was a fellow, the Bigsby medal for his re searches in geology, and degrees were conferred upon him by Queens College and McGill University. In 1893 he was elected President of the Royal So ciety of Canada. Dr. Dawson's work was mainly that of an explorer, and for that he had, in spite of his physical defect, wonderful ability and fitness. To draw broad and accurate generalizations from the slight data obtained by the explorer requires close observation, great breadth of vision, and high reasoning powers, and in the selection of Dawson for this work the Canadian authorities made no mistake. He has laid down with great accuracy the leading geographic and geologic features of the Canadian Northwest, and thus constructed a skeleton on which future work will supply the details. H. G.