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Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, Louis Agassiz: his life and correspondence, third edition, Chapter 1: 1807-1827: to Aet. 20. (search)
e of Lausanne. choice of profession. medical school of Zurich. life and studies there. University of Heidelberg. studies interrupted by illness. return to Switzerland. occupations during convalescence. Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz was born May 28, 1807, at the village of Motier, on the Lake of Morat. His father, Louis Rodwas a clergyman; his mother, Rose Mayor, was the daughter of a physician whose home was at Cudrefin, on the shore of the Lake of Neuchatel. The parsonages in Switzerland are frequently pretty and picturesque. That of Motier, looking upon the lake and sheltered by a hill which commands a view over the whole chain of the Bernese in 1832 were drawn in great part from the same source. As the distance and expense made it impossible for Agassiz to spend his vacations with his family in Switzerland, it soon became the habit for him to pass the holidays with his new friend at Carlsruhe. For a young man of his tastes and acquirements a more charming home-li
Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, Louis Agassiz: his life and correspondence, third edition, Chapter 2: 1827-1828: Aet. 20-21. (search)
n know nothing; this does not, however, lessen the animation of the talk. More often, these gentlemen tell us of their travels, etc. I enjoy especially our visits to M. Martius, because he talks to us of his journey to Brazil, from which he returned some years ago, bringing magnificent collections, which he shows us whenever we call upon him. Friday is market day here, and I never miss going to see the fishes to increase my collection. I have already obtained several not to be found in Switzerland; and even in my short stay here I have had the good fortune to discover a new species, of which I have made a very exact description, to be printed in some journal of natural history. Were my dear Cecile here, I should have begged her to draw it nicely for me. That would have been pleasant indeed. Now I must ask a stranger to do it, and it will have by no means the same value in my eyes. . . . To his brother Auguste. Munich, December 26, 1827. . . . After my long fast from news o
Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, Louis Agassiz: his life and correspondence, third edition, Chapter 3: 1828-1829: Aet. 21-22. (search)
ters of this lake. Among others, I was much pleased to find a cat-fish, taken in the lake by one of the island fishermen, and also a kind of chub, not found in Switzerland, and called by the fishermen here Our Lady's Fish, because it occurs only on the shore of an island where there is a convent, the nuns of which esteem it a great me first recall one or two points touched upon before in our correspondence, which should now be fully discussed. 1st. You remember that when I first left Switzerland I promised you to win the title of Doctor in two years, and to be prepared (after having completed my studies in Paris) to pass my examination before the ConseiI have in view is to continue the career on which I have started, and to publish as soon as possible my natural history of the fresh-water fishes of Germany and Switzerland. I propose to issue it in numbers, each containing twelve colored plates accompanied by six sheets of letter-press. . . . In the middle of September there is t
Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, Louis Agassiz: his life and correspondence, third edition, Chapter 4: 1829-1830: Aet. 22-23. (search)
o not coincide altogether with existing circumstances. I intend to stay with you until the approach of summer, not only with the aim of working upon the text of my book, but chiefly in order to take advantage of all the fossil collections in Switzerland. For that purpose I positively need a draughtsman, who, thanks to my publisher, is not in my pay, and who must accompany me in future wherever I go. Since there is no room at home, please see how he can be lodged in the neighborhood. I have,both parties, lasted for sixteen years, and was then only interrupted by the departure of Agassiz for America. During this whole period Mr. Dinkel was occupied as his draughtsman, living sometimes in Paris, sometimes in England, sometimes in Switzerland, wherever, in short, there were specimens to be drawn. In a private letter, written long afterward, he says, in speaking of the break in their intercourse caused by Agassiz's removal to America: For a long time I felt unhappy at that separati
Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, Louis Agassiz: his life and correspondence, third edition, Chapter 5: 1830-1832: Aet. 23-25. (search)
dy seen in Paris all those persons whom you thought it essential to see; unless you are strangely mistaken in their good-will, you will be no less sure of it in Switzerland than in Paris, and since you cannot take part in their society, your relations with them will be the same at the distance of a hundred leagues as they are now. public. I should be sorry to lose all right to them, because I hope they may have another final destination. I do not despair of seeing the different parts of Switzerland united at some future day by a closer tie, and in case of such a union a truly Helvetic university would become a necessity; then, my aim would be to make my collection the basis of that which they would be obliged to found for their courses of lectures. It is really a shame that Switzerland, richer and more extensive than many a small kingdom, should have no university, when some states of not half its size have even two; for instance, the grand duchy of Baden, one of whose universitie
Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, Louis Agassiz: his life and correspondence, third edition, Chapter 6: 1832: Aet. 25. (search)
tressing thought that I may be acting contrary to their wishes and their will. But they have not the means to help me, and had proposed that I should return to Switzerland and give lessons either in Geneva or Lausanne. I had already resolved to follow this suggestion in the course of next summer, and had also decided to part withof my interest in the fossil and the fresh-water fishes, being allowed me, with the understanding, also, that I should be permitted to have these collections in Switzerland and work them up there. From Paris, also, it would not be so easy to transfer myself to Germany, whereas I could consider Neuchatel as a provisional position fthe day after your letter reached me. The conditions offered me are, indeed, very tempting, but I am too little French by character, and too anxious to live in Switzerland, not to prefer the place you can offer me, however small the appointments, if they do but keep me above actual embarrassment. I say thus much only in order to
Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, Louis Agassiz: his life and correspondence, third edition, Chapter 7: 1834-1837: Aet. 27-30. (search)
hatel, as well as his paper on the fossil Echini belonging to the Neocomien group of the Neuchatel Jura, accompanied by figures. Not long after, he published in the Memoirs of the Helvetic Society his descriptions of fossil Echini peculiar to Switzerland, and issued also the first number of a more extensive work, Monographie d'echinodermes. During this year he received a new evidence of the sympathy of the English naturalists, in the Wollaston medal awarded to him by the London Geological Sohe former traced the ancient limits of the Alpine glaciers as defined by the frame-work of debris or loose material they had left behind them; and Charpentier went farther, and affirmed that all the erratic boulders scattered over the plain of Switzerland and on the sides of the Jura had been thus distributed by ice and not by water, as had been supposed. Agassiz was among those who received this hypothesis as improbable and untenable. Still, he was anxious to see the facts in place, and C
Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, Louis Agassiz: his life and correspondence, third edition, Chapter 9: 1837-1839: Aet. 30-32. (search)
w theory you advocate to explain transported blocks by moraines; for supposing it adequate to explain the phenomena of Switzerland, it would not apply to the granite blocks and transported gravel of England, which I can only explain by referring to currents of water. During the same summer Mrs. Buckland writes from Interlaken, in the course of a journey in Switzerland with her husband. . . We have made a good tour of the Oberland and have seen glaciers, etc., but Dr. Buckland is as far as evee erratics, by Guyot; while the third and final portion, by E. Desor, should treat of the erratic phenomena outside of Switzerland. The first volume alone was completed. Unlooked for circumstances made the continuation of the work impossible, and the five thousand specimens of the erratic rocks of Switzerland collected by Professor Guyot, in preparation for his part of the publication, are now deposited in the College of New Jersey, at Princeton. In the following summer of 1839 Agassiz to
Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, Louis Agassiz: his life and correspondence, third edition, Chapter 10: 1840-1842: Aet. 33-35. (search)
e was to all the prominent geologists of the day, he said: Among the older naturalists, only one stood by me. Dr. Buckland, Dean of Westminster, who had come to Switzerland at my urgent request for the express purpose of seeing my evidence, and who had been fully convinced of the ancient extension of ice there, consented to accompahe mountains of Scotland, Wales, and the north of England, the valleys were in many instances traversed by terminal moraines and bordered by lateral ones, as in Switzerland. Nor were any of the accompanying phenomena wanting. The characteristic traces left by the ice, as well known to him now as the track of the game to the huntestribution, and that the drift material and the erratic boulders, scattered over the whole country, were due to exactly the same causes as the like phenomena in Switzerland. On the 4th of November, 1840, he read a paper before the Geological Society of London, giving a summary of the scientific results of their excursion, followed
Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, Louis Agassiz: his life and correspondence, third edition, Chapter 11: 1842-1843: Aet. 35-36. (search)
because I judge from what you will call incomplete evidence. Your Venez voir! still sounds in my ears. . . . Murchison remained for many years an opponent of the glacial theory in its larger application. In the discourse to which the above letter makes allusion (Address at the Anniversary Meeting of the Geological Society of London, 1842 Extract from Report in vol. 33 of the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal.) is this passage: Once grant to Agassiz that his deepest valleys of Switzerland, such as the enormous Lake of Geneva, were formerly filled with snow and ice, and I see no stopping place. From that hypothesis you may proceed to fill the Baltic and the northern seas, cover southern England and half of Germany and Russia with similar icy sheets, on the surfaces of which all the northern boulders might have been shot off. So long as the greater number of the practical geologists of Europe are opposed to the wide extension of a terrestrial glacial theory, there can be l
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