John William Dawson, a Canadian geologist and naturalist, born in Pictou, Nova Scotia, in October, 1820. He completed his studies at the university of Edinburgh, and on his return home devoted himself to the study of the natural history and geology of the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The results of these investigations are combined in his " Acadian Geology " (2d ed., 8vo, 1868). Since 1843 he has contributed largely to the proceedings of the geological society of London, and to various American and Canadian periodicals. He has written also monographs on special subjects connected with geology, such as his researches on the anatomy of the reptiles of the carboniferous series, entitled "Air-Breathers of the Coal Period," on "The Postpliocene Deposits of the St. Lawrence Valley," and their relations to the rival theories of the glacial period, and especially his studies in fossil botany. His two volumes on the Devonian and the carboniferous flora of eastern North America, published recently by the geological survey of Canada, illustrated with drawings by his daughter, are the most important contributions yet made to the palaeozoic botany of North America. His studies in the lower forms of animal life, both recent and fossil, have been numerous and valuable, and he is the discoverer of that oldest known form of animal life, the eozoon Canadense of the Lauren-tian limestones, in the investigation of which he was associated with Logan, Carpenter, and Sterry Hunt. He is the author also of "Ar-chaia, or Studies on the Cosmogony and Natural History of the Hebrew Scriptures" (1858), and " The Story of the Earth and Man " (1872), in the latter of which he combats the theory of the origin of species commonly called Darwinism. In 1850 he was appointed superintendent of education for Nova Scotia, in which position he reorganized the schools of that province.
In 1855 he was appointed principal and professor of natural history in the McGill university at Montreal, of which he has since become vice chancellor. He also organized and has managed for the past 16 years the Protestant normal school for the province of Quebec, and within the last three years he has established a school of practical science in his university. Dr. Dawson has the degree of LL. D. from McGill university, and is a fellow of the royal and geological societies of London, and a member of many other learned societies.