Karl Alois Kneller.

Christianity and the leaders of modern science; a contribution to the history of culture in the nineteenth century online

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ecoudez ainsi vous-meme les enseignements (ib. 7 J 9)-

2 Vom Rath in Verhandlungen des naturhistorischen Vereins fur
Rheinland-Westfalen XXXIII, Bonn 1876, Sitzungsberichte 235.


He published in 1841 a map of the -last named island,
and, seizing a favourable opportunity, made in 1842 an
excursion to TenerifTe, the geological investigation of
which was materially furthered by him in spite of the
shortness of his stay. On February i8 th 1843 he wit-
nessed from a neighbouring island the earthquake which
devastated Guadeloupe. "From the elevated point on
which I stood I could observe the huge clouds of dust,
which, spreading over the island, announced that a
terrible disaster had fallen upon it." The towns were
laid in ruins, 2000 persons being engulfed in the cata-
strophe. Deville's scientific collections and papers were
destroyed. At the instance of the French government
he published, after five months' study, a monograph on
the disaster. After his return to France, which was
necessitated by the uncongenial climate, he set to work
to record the results of his investigations in a great
work. However he did not get much further than the
first volume, for he soon became convinced that he could
not restore from memory the lost notes of his diary.
He published many works on the mineral springs of
France and other scientific subjects; he was drawn to
Naples by the eruption of Vesuvius in 1855, an d began
there his epoch-making work on the Funnels of Vol-
canoes, by which earlier views were materially modified
and the laws of volcanic outbreaks definitely formulated.
He pursued his investigations on volcanoes in the Lipari
Islands and in Sicily. The last decade of his life was
devoted more particularly to meteorological research.
He founded numerous weather-stations in Algiers and

An expression of Deville's religious feeling has already
been given in the words quoted from his discourse on

Kneller, Christianity. I 7


Elie de Beaumont. Another testimony to it had already
appeared elsewhere l .

On the 5 th October 1883 there died at Frohsdorf
near Vienna, far from his native France from which he
had voluntarily exiled himself, one of the most distin-
guished palaeontologists of the nineteenth century,
Joachim Barrande 2 . All over the learned world
the death of this man was felt to be a heavy loss to

"In every land in which Palaeontology has a place", writes
Ferdinand Roemer 3 , "the announcement of this death will
be received with sympathy and sorrow. For who is there
to whom his name is unknown? Who is there but has con-
templated with a mixture of admiration and astonishment
the long row of mighty quartos that bear his name, mar-
velling, even though he be ignorant of their contents, that
such a mass of work could proceed from a single pen ? But
what student of palaeontological remains is there that has
not occasion, almost every day of his life, to consult Bar-
rande's works, and to thank him for the almost inexhau-
stible ocean of information which he has brought together
in them?"

The investigator who is praised in this wise was born
on his father's estate near Sangues, in the department
of Haute-Loire. A strong Legitimist, he left France
in 1830 with the banished royal family, and settled in
Bohemia as tutor to Count Chambord. From 1833 he
devoted himself to the investigation of the geological and
palaeontological conditions of that country. Supported

1 P. 217. Cf. Revue des quest, scient. L, Louvain 1901, 100.

2 F. Roemer in Neues Jahrbuch fur Mineralogie, Geologic und
Palaontologie, Stuttgart 1884. I. C. de la Vallee-Poussin in
Revue des quest, scient. XVI, Bruxelles-Paris 1884, 571.

3 Ante i.


by the kingly generosity of his former pupil he achieved
wonderful results.

"By the epoch-making work of Joachim Barrande", says
Von Zittel *, "Bohemia became a classic ground of the
oldest fossil-bearing formations." A preliminary sketch of
the Bohemian silurian basin, issued in 1846, was followed in
1852 by the first volume of his great work on the silurian
system in Bohemia. There is practically nothing that can
bear comparison with it in the whole literature of Palae-
ontology. In 22 mighty quarto volumes, with u 60 wonder-
fully executed tables, Barrande from 1852 to his death in
1883 described the trilobites and other crustaceans, molluscs
and brachiopoda, to be found in the Bohemian silurian basin."

Barrande investigated in the first place the geological
formation of the Bohemian silurian district. He re-
cognised it as a tolerably regularly formed basin of
elliptical shape, consisting of several successive layers
and veins. The earliest layers appeared on the outer
circumference, the latest in the middle.

"He next sought to investigate with the greatest zeal the
organic contents of the different veins, and their subdivisions.
He collected fossils as no one ever did either before or
after him. He kept in his pay all the year round an army
of collectors and labourers; he worked numerous quarries
for no other purpose. He thus brought together a collection
of fossils the like of which has not been gathered from
any other area of palaeozoic strata. It contains some
5000 species, and numerous examples of almost every one
of these." 2

After years of preparation he began the publication of
his work. "Its appearance", says Roemer, "was received
by his colleagues with amazed admiration. It was difficult
to know what to admire most, the fulness of the new ma-

1 Gesch. der Geologic und Palaontologie 598.

2 Roemer ante 3.



terials, the keen observation, the careful description, the
comprehensive knowledge of all relevant literature or, finally,
the unsurpassed fidelity to nature and the clearness of the
drawings. The volume not merely gives a description of
the Bohemian trilobites, but brings forward for comparison
everything that was previously known from other countries
concerning these remarkable animals. The description thus
assumes the proportion of a great monograph on trilo-

When Barrande began his work in Geology there
were 1 3 species of trilobites known ; at his death he
bequeathed to the Bohemian museum 5000 species,
3060 of which he had himself examined and described.
In order to attain such results he had to exercise an
indomitable patience and pertinacity, for the trilobites
break up very easily after the death of the animal.
You may find thousands of fragments before you meet
a specimen in which the parts preserve their original
arrangement. To attain certainty in respect of one
particular kind of trilobite (Dalmanites socialis) took a
ten years' search although traces of it were to be found
at every step. Occasionally in his excavations he would
encounter for years only the same types at the place
of his search and then there suddenly would come to
light a quite new and important fossil.

Barrande was a fervent and practical Catholic. His
religious temper of mind finds frequent expression in
his great work. We take as an instance a passage in
which he is writing of instinct and intelligence as they
present themselves in the animal kingdom. In the con-
trivances which enable the nautilus to swim, he con-
tends, we discern clear tokens of a shaping intelligence,
an intelligence which does not reside in the tiny creature


"We are forced then to the conclusion that the marvellous
structure and organs of the cephalopoda are the work of
a Mind superior not only to them but to man. This great
Mind, author not only of these but of all the other wonders
of life, can be no other than the Creator and Sovereign
Lord of all things. . . . Man, created in the image of God,
possesses moral freedom and an intellect to which we find
no parallel among the lower animals. He can show works
of his mind and hand which almost justify his assumption
of the proud title, King of Nature. But in all his creations
in science or art he is confined within the limits of his
finite nature. The devices in which he seeks to embody
his thought, bear tokens of their limited and imperfect author,
fail to attain their purpose at one effort, and often demand -
as in the case of the steam-engine a long course of modi-
fication and development before reaching even a moderate
degree of effectiveness.

"By contrast the lower animals may be compared to
slaves, set by the Creator to do a day's work, which is in
all its details mapped out and prescribed. They possess
only a sufficient endowment of intelligence to enable them
to perform the tasks assigned them. But, as it were by way
of compensation, their faculties go out directly to the ends
prescribed them without any preliminary feeling and fumbling.
Such an order of things, so simple and at the same time
infallible, can proceed only from an infinite Intelligence.
We have already observed that in many instances the human
mind cannot reach so far even as to understand it, although
perceiving its results so clearly." *

In the dedication of a later volume Barrande observes
that "from the point of view of our religious belief"
Astronomy, the sublimest of the natural sciences, con-

1 De tels precedes, a la fois simples et infaillibles , ne peuvent
deriver que d'une intelligence infinie. Nous venons de constater
que, dans certains cas, 1'homme n'est pas en etat de les comprendre,
meme en voyant leurs effets (Barrande, Systeme Silurien II,
texte 5 e partie, chap. 19 E, Prague-Paris 1877, 1495).


fesses sisterhood with Palaeontology. "Both reveal to
us, each in its manner and measure, the power and
glory of the Creator." *

The dedication in question bears the date Dec. 8 th
1 88 1, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. A friend
of Barrande's, observing this, concluded that it had been
his wish to complete his great work under the pro-
tection of the Mother of God. He asked Barrande if
this was the case, and was told that his inference was
perfectly just 2 .

Almost all of Barrande's works bear the dates of
great Catholic feasts. Thus the various sectional parts
of Vol. II are dated: September 15 th 1852 (Octave of

1 La Paleontologie de recente origine est humblement placee
vers le has de 1'echelle des connaissances humaines, dont le sommet
est couronne par 1'antique et noble Astronomic. Mais, au point de
vue de nos croyances, ces deux sciences sont rapprochees et liees par
une intime connexion. Tandis que 1'Astronomie ncus expose les
splendeurs de la Creation, dans I'immensite des Cieux, la Paleonto-
logie nous revele modestement d'autres merveilles , non moins ad-
mirables, dans 1'apparition et la succession progressive des formes
de la vie, sur notre globe terrestre. L'une et 1'autre de ces sciences
nous raconte done a sa maniere, suivant ses attributions, la puissance
et la gloire du Createur (ib. VI, i e partie [1881], Dedication).

2 Comme j'entretenais alors une correspondance avec le venerable
savant, je lui ecrivis que cette date du 8 decembre par lui choisie
me faisait entendre son intention de placer I'achevement de ses tra-
vaux sous 1'egide de I'lmmaculee Conception. Quelques jours plus
tard il me repondait sur ce point par ces mots qui sont une pro-
fession de foi : "Monsieur, vous m'avez bien compris" (de la Vallee-
Poussin in Revue des quest, scient. XVI, Bruxelles-Paris 1884, 9).
Charles de la Vallee-Poussin (f 1903) was for almost forty years
Professor of Mineralogy and Geology in the University of Lyons.
He also composed valuable treatises on geological subjects. Cf. L. Henry,
who was likewise a zealous Catholic, in the Revue generale XXXIX,
Bruxelles 1903, 681 700.


the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin) ; "Easter Day, April I st
1877." Vol. Ill is dated May 3O th 1867 (Ascension Day),
Vol. V July I st 1879. This last is the Octave of John
the Baptist and, at Paris, a Feast of the Blessed Virgin
which had a special significance for the exiled savant:
Notre Dame de Bonne Delivrance. Other sections ex-
hibit September 28 th 1877: Feast of Venceslas, patron-
saint of Bohemia, March 25 th 1871 (Feast of the Annun-
ciation); December 8 th 1881 (Feast of the Immaculate

"We mourn in Joachim Barrande", says H. B. Geinitz,
"a man, venerable for his noble struggle to attain truth
and justice, for the self-sacrifice with which he laboured
for the advancement of science; a master of all huma-
nistic and realistic culture, a loyal colleague, and a
generous friend" 1 and let us add, in the interest of
historical fact, a fervent Catholic.

1 Sitzungsberichte und Abhandlungen der naturwissenschaftlichen
Gesellschaft Isis in Dresden, Jahrgang 1883, II, Dresden 1883, 67.
In his memorial speech on Barrande, Geinitz (ib. 65) lays par-
ticular stress on his teaching as to evolution : "Im allgemeinen stehen
die aus Barrrandes gewissenhaften Untersuchungen samtlicher siluri-
schen Faunen gewonnenen Resultate im Gegensatz zu der Evo-
lutionstheorie, und folgende Sa'tze konnen als augenscheinlich
nachgewiesen betrachtet werden : I. Die generischen Typen und spe-
zifischen Formen der silurischen Faunen sind in den Hauptgegenden
in groOer Anzahl erschienen, ohne daO man ihren Ursprung auf eine
praexistierende Form zurlickzufiihren vermochte, weil eine solche dort
nirgends bekannt ist. 2. Beim Erscheinen derselben nach vollstan-
digen Unterbrechungen sind fast alle auftretenden Arten neu, und
man kann nirgends in den neuen Faunen eine Liicke erkennen, welche
sich der Abwesenheit derjenigen Arten zuschreiben lieCe, die einem
ortlichen Abstammungszusammenhange entsprachen. 3. Im Gegen-
teil hat sich ein Maximum der Formen in gewissen Gegenden un-
mittelbar nach einer vollstandigen Unterbrechung gezeigt. 4. In andern


A name of high eminence among more recent geo-
logists is that of Gabriel Auguste Daubree (f 1896) *.
"Not often", says Lapparent, "has a life consecrated
exclusively to science been so rich in honour and re-
cognition. No mark of public respect was lacking to
it. In complete possession of his faculties, full of years
and of honours, he quitted the world with the calm re-
signation of a true Christian. "He was President of
the Academy of Sciences, Director of the Higher School
for Mining, Professor in the Jardin des Plantes, and
Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour. At the outset
of his career he was commissioned to visit England,
Sweden, and Norway. A study of the metalliferous
strata of Scandinavia, which he published at this time,
won warm praise from Berzelius, the first of all authori-
ties on that subject. During his Professorate at Strass-
burg he produced a very exhaustive study of the geo-
logy of Lower Alsasce, and in 1841 a masterly study
of tin-bearing formations. He had remarked that in
the neighbourhood of tin-deposits fluoric minerals are
always to be found, from which he inferred that fluor-
spar plays a part in the formation of tinstone veins. He
proceeded with his investigations from this point of view,
and succeeded in producing artificially various mineral
substances. He showed by examples that in order
to the formation of minerals it is not necessary to
postulate forces and circumstances no longer to be met

Gegenden ist ein relatives Maximum auf ein absolutes Minimum ge-
folgt. 5. In andern Fallen endlich folgt auf ein sehr entwickeltes
Maximum ein Minimum ohne eine Spur von Filiation."

1 A. de Lapparent in Bulletin de la Societe geologique de
France 3 e serie, XXV, Paris 1897, 2 45 2 4 '> also in the Revue des
quest, scient. XL, Louvain 1896, 89 102.


with in nature. During a visit to the Baths of Plom-
bieres, a place in which Roman remains are to be found,
he discovered in cracks in the walls crystalline minerals
which for the most part exhibited all the properties of
zeolites. The gradual operation of the luke-warm and
slightly mineral water had in process of time produced
this formation. Daubree also won great distinction by
his studies of meteorites.

"His career was in every respect a fortunate one",
alike through his achievements in science, his indepen-
dence of life, and his domestic happiness. "He himself
gave expression to fervent gratitude for his lot in a
fragment which was discovered among his papers, and
which exhibits great elevation and at the same time a
profoundly Christian turn of thought." 1

The name of a still living French geologist, who has
of late years attained a wide reputation in Germany,
calls for a passing mention. Albert DeLapparent,
President of the last Assembly of Catholic Scientists
at Munich, and Professor of the Catholic Institute at
Paris, stands among the leaders of his science. His
Traite de Geologic, published in 1883, not merely super-
seded all other French manuals, but gained a European
reputation and circulation. It would be discourteous
to pry into his intimate life, but the part he has taken

1 La carriere de Daubree a etc favorisee de toutes fagons. . . .
Lui-meme s'est plu a le reconnaitre dans des pages d'une grande
elevation , que ses enfants ont retrouvees panni ses papiers , et ou
le Chretien confiant se revele d'une maniere explicite (Revue des
quest, scient. XL 99100). Cf. Bulletin de la Societe geologique
de France 3 e serie, XXV 258 : Sa fin a etc douce . . ., ses faculty's
etaient demeurees intactes , et le sentiment chretien , tres nettement
exprime, lui adoucissait le grand passage.


in the foundation of Conferences of St. Vincent de Paul
is a matter of public knowledge 1 .

If we turn from France to take a glance at her neigh-
bours we find that the first, or at all events one of the
first geologists of Italy, Antonio Stoppani, was a
priest 2 .

In Belgium the great pioneer of Geology is on all
hands admitted to have been Jean Baptistejulien
D'Omalius D'Halloy 3 (f 1875), a highly interesting
figure. "If we glance back to the beginning of the
career of the man who is honoured to-day", says Du-
pont 4 , u we come upon one of the finest passages in the
history of science. It was the period when the lines
of positive Geology were being laid, and the part filled
by D'Omalius in the work of initiation was a very re-
markable one. To him belongs the honour of having
co-ordinated all the geological elements of Western
Europe in a unified scheme. He was engaged on the
work from 1804 to 1814. His first publication, a de-
scription of the district between the Rhine and Pas de
Calais, laid the foundations of our national Geology.

1 He composed the Rapport sur 1'histoire de la Conference de
Saint-Medard 1868, C h. Clair, Pierre Olivaint, pretre de la Comp.
de Jesus, Paris-Bruxelles 1878, 81. Cf. Natur und Offenbarung XLV,
Miinster 1899, 34 ff -

2 Sansoni inR. Istituto Lombardo di scienze e lettere. Rendi-
conti Set. II, vol. XXVI, Milano 1893, 98 127. A. M. Cornelio,
Vita di A. Stoppani, Torino 1898.

3 E. Dupont in the Annuaire of the Belgian Academy XLII,
Bruxelles 1876, 181 ff. Bulletin de la Societe geologique de France
3 e serie, VI, Paris 1877 1878, 453 467. - The family originally
came from the village of Omal (Hesbaye) ; Halloy is a village in
which one branch of the family resided.

4 Ante 181.

j. B. j. D'OMALIUS. 267

He next turned his attention to that classic ground of
his science, the Paris Basin, and put the crown on his
work by the issue, at the age of thirty-one, of a geo-
logical chart of the French Empire."

Von Zittel l adds his word of corroboration to this
estimate :

"The Belgian scientist supplemented in a striking fashion
the work of Cuvier and of Brongniart. The outcome of his
incessant scientific 'tramps' in all directions between 1804
and 1814 was a geological chart of France and of the neigh-
bouring districts of Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland. It
was an invaluable basis for the more detailed special surveys
of Dufrenoy and De Beaumont. ..."

D'Omalius was born on February 6 th 1783. He was
of noble family, and, after the fashion of his day and
station, was sent to Paris in 1801 to finish his education,
his parents desiring that by intercourse with the best
society, study of French literature and frequentation of
the theatre he should acquire that polish and distinction
of manner on which the aristocratic classes set a per-
haps extravagant value. But the son's natural bent
carried him in a very different direction. He had read
Buffon, and was all aflame with enthusiasm for scientific
research. The first visit he paid was not to the theatre
but to the Jardin des Plantes where Fourcroy was
lecturing on Chemistry, and "Citizen" Lacepede on
Geology. "What a delight it is", he wrote home, u to
see and hear this master of the secrets of nature,
the friend and the continuator of Buffon ! How lucidly
and beautifully he handles his subjects! If I can ma-
nage it, I will not miss a single lecture." 2 He kept

1 Geschichte der Geologic und Palaontologie 152.

2 Dupont ante 186.


his vow, and neither tragedies nor comedies could allure
him away from science. His parents however were not
at all pleased. They were afraid that he would return to
them with his head full of unpractical learning, and they
wrote him continual letters of remonstrance and rebuke.
D'Omalius would reply that he was all good will to fol-
low their advice, but of what avail was good will ! As for
literature, it was so hard in Paris to find what one wanted !
Let his father and mother pronounce on the business
themselves! He had most conscientiously attended a
lecture on literature although it clashed with Fourcroy's
course. But he "soon found that literature was not for
him". He then determined to make a trial of the courses
at St. Antoine. But there the Professor "talked the
whole time, if you please, about poetry!" How could
all the good will in the world sacrifice Fourcroy to
poetry? In short, despite all the remonstrances from
home he could not tear himself away from "Fourcroy
and Company" as his mother angrily termed them, either
during his first visit, or again during his second in 1803,
and his third in 1805. The young noble lived in Paris
in the simplest manner, made all his journeys and ex-
cursions on foot, and paid no more than six francs
a month for his room, and thirty-three for his pension.
He was caught in the wave of enthusiasm aroused by
Napoleon Bonaparte, and to the grave displeasure of his
father sent him letters addressed "To Citizen D'Omalius
at Halloy".

His journeys home were always slow and circuitous ;
he transformed them into a geological survey of Northern
France. His first publications on the subject attracted
considerable notice, and confirmed D'Omalius in his
project of extending his survey and researches over the

j. B. j. D'OMALIUS. 269

whole of France. His family began to think more
kindly of Geology when D'Omalius was commissioned
to execute a geological map of France, and was on that
ground dispensed from service in the army. He con-
tinued his labours, and by 1813 had travelled more
than 25000 kilometres in France and Italy, when, owing
to the disturbed state of affairs on the Continent, his
father insisted that these dangerous expeditions should
be abandoned. D'Omalius obeyed, and, as it were,
turned down the last page of this phase of his career.

In the next phase he would seem to have utterly for-
gotten science. The great map of France slumbered
in oblivion in the archives at Paris. Its author was at
the time Governor of Namur, and for all his learning
and predicted "unpractically" made a most excellent
administrator. A law-book, published by him, gives ample
evidence that scientific research had not weakened his
hold on the everyday realities of life. After the Revo-
lution on 1830 he retired from public life. He return-
ed at once to science. He now devoted himself less
to independent research than to keeping up with the
progress of the science. He published a manual of
Geology, and gave much attention to problems at once
scientific and philosophical e. g. the theory of evolution,
and the conception of a "vital principle". His intellectual
activity never weakened or wavered. At 91 years of
age he was able to pronounce a discourse in the Belgian
Academy, and a fortnight later he set out on a scientific
excursion. It ended fatally. He was found lying un-
conscious in the open air, and never recovered from
the stroke.

"In religion", says Dupont, "D'Omalius was a prac-
tical Catholic. The dogmas and duties, taught by the

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