National Geographic : 1896 Aug
MISCELLANEA seems to be no satisfactory explanation of the fact that the powerful Ushant light was not visible at the time of the recent disaster. Henry Gannett, Chief Geographer of the Geological Survey, Geographer of two censuses, President of the Board of Geographic Names, and author of several standard works, is a leading geographer of America. Born August 24, 1846, he this month rounds out a half-century of fruitful life. A recent brochure of the " Bulletin, Department of Geology, University of California," is a description of the Great Valley of California, with a criticism of the theory of isostasy, by F. Leslie Ransome. As indicated by the initial paragraph, the memoir is primarily a critical discussion of the well-known geologic doctrine enunciated by Dutton-the doctrine that the earth-crust is in a state analogous to that of hydrostatic equilibrium, and that it is warped or deformed by transfer of load through the action of streams, as, for example, from the Rocky mountains into the gulf of Mexico. The author opposes this doctrine and appeals to the facts of the Californian valley for support. The memoir is scholarly and the critical remarks are gratifyingly courteous, and it is notable as a careful review of the literature pertaining to isostasy. No geographer concerned with the study of the greater terrestrial movements can fail to find it of use. The memoir forms pages 371-428 of volume I of a highly creditable series of publications emanating from the University of California " at irregular intervals in the form of separate papers * * * which embody the results of research by some competent investigator." Several of these memoirs, especially those by Professor Andrew C. Lawson, are note worthy contributions to scientific geography. In his letter to the National Geographic Society on the occasion of its recent field meeting at Charlottesville, Va., Dr W. C. N. Randolph, of the University of Virginia, called attention to the extraordinary productive ness of that region in respect of illustrious men. "Across the river in front of us," he said, "Jefferson was born; around its turn is the birth place of General Rogers Clarke, who, through Virginia, gave to the Great Republic the Northwest. Over there, a short mile and a half away, lived Monroe; a mile west of the city lived William Wirt, the famous lawyer, orator, and author, while seven miles further west Meriwether Lewis, of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, was born. Down these "little mountains," as the old people love to call them, was born the game-cock of the Carolinas, General Sumter; further on dwelt James Madison and Zachary Taylor, the latter the hero of Buena Vista, and both of them Presidents of the United States. In the same county were born the Bar bours, one of them one of the most honored of our representatives at the Court of St. James, the other a distinguished member of the Supreme Bench. Further on, in Fauquier county, was born John Marshall, the greatest of our Chief Justices. He took the frazelled threads of American jurisprudence and twisted them into a rope so strong that it has never been broken, so flexible that it has never been oppressive, so sound that at the end of nearly a hundred years it shows no evidence of decay." He thought he might be pardoned if he requested that, in making up the list of products of the beautiful Piedmont plateau, account might be taken of the many illustrious men to whom it has given birth.