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Title: The Destiny of Man - Viewed in the Light of His Origin
Author: Fiske, John, 1842-1901
Language: English
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Copyright, 1884,





This Essay



Having been invited to give an address before the Concord School of
Philosophy this summer, upon some subject relating to the question of
immortality there under discussion, it seemed a proper occasion for
putting together the following thoughts on the origin of Man and his
place in the universe. In dealing with the unknown, it is well to take
one's start a long way within the limits of the known. The question of a
future life is generally regarded as lying outside the range of
legitimate scientific discussion. Yet while fully admitting this, one
does not necessarily admit that the subject is one with regard to which
we are forever debarred from entertaining an opinion. Now our opinions
on such transcendental questions must necessarily be affected by the
total mass of our opinions on the questions which lie within the scope
of scientific inquiry; and from this point of view it becomes of
surpassing interest to trace the career of Humanity within that segment
of the universe which is accessible to us. The teachings of the doctrine
of evolution as to the origin and destiny of Man have, moreover, a very
great speculative and practical value of their own, quite apart from
their bearings upon any ultimate questions. The body of this essay is
accordingly devoted to setting forth these teachings in what I conceive
to be their true light; while their transcendental implications are
reserved for the sequel.

As the essay contains an epitome of my own original contributions to the
doctrine of evolution, I have added at the end a short list of
references to other works of mine, where the points here briefly
mentioned are more fully argued and illustrated. The views regarding the
progress of human society, and the elimination of warfare, are set forth
at greater length in a little book now in the press, and soon to appear,
entitled "American Political Ideas."

PETERSHAM, September 6, 1884.


     I. Man's Place in Nature as affected by the Copernican Theory.
    II. As affected by Darwinism.
   III. On the Earth there will never be a Higher Creature than Man.
    IV. The Origin of Infancy.
     V. The Dawning of Consciousness.
    VI. Lengthening of Infancy and Concomitant Increase of Brain-Surface.
   VII. Change in the Direction of the Working of Natural Selection.
  VIII. Growing Predominance of the Psychical Life.
    IX. The Origins of Society and of Morality.
     X. Improvableness of Man.
    XI. Universal Warfare of Primeval Men.
   XII. First checked by the Beginnings of Industrial Civilisation.
  XIII. Methods of Political Development, and Elimination of Warfare.
   XIV. End of the Working of Natural Selection upon Man. Throwing off
             the Brute-Inheritance.
    XV. The Message of Christianity.
   XVI. The Question as to a Future Life.



Man's Place in Nature, as affected by the Copernican Theory.

When we study the Divine Comedy of Dante--that wonderful book wherein
all the knowledge and speculation, all the sorrows and yearnings, of the
far-off Middle Ages are enshrined in the glory of imperishable verse--we
are brought face to face with a theory of the world and with ways of
reasoning about the facts of nature which seem strange to us to-day, but
from the influence of which we are not yet, and doubtless never shall
be, wholly freed. A cosmology grotesque enough in the light of later
knowledge, yet wrought out no less carefully than the physical theories
of Lucretius, is employed in the service of a theology cumbrous in its
obsolete details, but resting upon fundamental truths which mankind can
never safely lose sight of. In the view of Dante and of that phase of
human culture which found in him its clearest and sweetest voice, this
earth, the fair home of man, was placed in the centre of a universe
wherein all things were ordained for his sole behoof: the sun to give
him light and warmth, the stars in their courses to preside over his
strangely checkered destinies, the winds to blow, the floods to rise, or
the fiend of pestilence to stalk abroad over the land,--all for the
blessing, or the warning, or the chiding, of the chief among God's
creatures, Man. Upon some such conception as this, indeed, all theology
would seem naturally to rest. Once dethrone Humanity, regard it as a
mere local incident in an endless and aimless series of cosmical
changes, and you arrive at a doctrine which, under whatever specious
name it may be veiled, is at bottom neither more nor less than Atheism.
On its metaphysical side Atheism is the denial of anything psychical in
the universe outside of human consciousness; and it is almost
inseparably associated with the materialistic interpretation of human
consciousness as the ephemeral result of a fleeting collocation of
particles of matter. Viewed upon this side, it is easy to show that
Atheism is very bad metaphysics, while the materialism which goes with
it is utterly condemned by modern science.[1] But our feeling toward
Atheism goes much deeper than the mere recognition of it as
philosophically untrue. The mood in which we condemn it is not at all
like the mood in which we reject the corpuscular theory of light or Sir
G.C. Lewis's vagaries on the subject of Egyptian hieroglyphics. We are
wont to look upon Atheism with unspeakable horror and loathing. Our
moral sense revolts against it no less than our intelligence; and this
is because, on its practical side, Atheism would remove Humanity from
its peculiar position in the world, and make it cast in its lot with the
grass that withers and the beasts that perish; and thus the rich and
varied life of the universe, in all the ages of its wondrous duration,
becomes deprived of any such element of purpose as can make it
intelligible to us or appeal to our moral sympathies and religious

And yet the first result of some of the grandest and most irrefragable
truths of modern science, when newly discovered and dimly comprehended,
has been to make it appear that Humanity must be rudely unseated from
its throne in the world and made to occupy an utterly subordinate and
trivial position; and it is because of this mistaken view of their
import that the Church has so often and so bitterly opposed the teaching
of such truths. With the advent of the Copernican astronomy the
funnel-shaped Inferno, the steep mountain of Purgatory crowned with its
terrestrial paradise, and those concentric spheres of Heaven wherein
beatified saints held weird and subtle converse, all went their way to
the limbo prepared for the childlike fancies of untaught minds, whither
Hades and Valhalla had gone before them. In our day it is hard to
realize the startling effect of the discovery that Man does not dwell at
the centre of things, but is the denizen of an obscure and tiny speck of
cosmical matter quite invisible amid the innumerable throng of flaming
suns that make up our galaxy. To the contemporaries of Copernicus the
new theory seemed to strike at the very foundations of Christian
theology. In a universe where so much had been made without discernible
reference to Man, what became of that elaborate scheme of salvation
which seemed to rest upon the assumption that the career of Humanity was
the sole object of God's creative forethought and fostering care? When
we bear this in mind, we see how natural and inevitable it was that the
Church should persecute such men as Galileo and Bruno. At the same time
it is instructive to observe that, while the Copernican astronomy has
become firmly established in spite of priestly opposition, the
foundations of Christian theology have not been shaken thereby. It is
not that the question which once so sorely puzzled men has ever been
settled, but that it has been outgrown. The speculative necessity for
man's occupying the largest and most central spot in the universe is no
longer felt. It is recognized as a primitive and childish notion. With
our larger knowledge we see that these vast and fiery suns are after all
but the Titan like _servants_ of the little planets which they bear with
them in their flight through the abysses of space. Out from the awful
gaseous turmoil of the central mass dart those ceaseless waves of gentle
radiance that, when caught upon the surface of whirling worlds like
ours, bring forth the endlessly varied forms and the endlessly complex
movements that make up what we can see of life. And as when God revealed
himself to his ancient prophet He came not in the earthquake or the
tempest but in a voice that was still and small, so that divine spark
the Soul, as it takes up its brief abode in this realm of fleeting
phenomena, chooses not the central sun where elemental forces forever
blaze and clash, but selects an outlying terrestrial nook where seeds
may germinate in silence, and where through slow fruition the mysterious
forms of organic life may come to take shape and thrive. He who thus
looks a little deeper into the secrets of nature than his forefathers of
the sixteenth century may well smile at the quaint conceit that man
cannot be the object of God's care unless he occupies an immovable
position in the centre of the stellar universe.


Man's Place in Nature, as affected by Darwinism.

When the Copernican astronomy was finally established through the
discoveries of Kepler and Newton, it might well have been pronounced the
greatest scientific achievement of the human mind; but it was still more
than that. It was the greatest revolution that had ever been effected in
Man's views of his relations to the universe in which he lives, and of
which he is--at least during the present life--a part. During the
nineteenth century, however, a still greater revolution has been
effected. Not only has Lyell enlarged our mental horizon in time as much
as Newton enlarged it in space, but it appears that throughout these
vast stretches of time and space with which we have been made acquainted
there are sundry well-marked changes going on. Certain definite paths of
development are being pursued; and around us on every side we behold
worlds, organisms, and societies in divers stages of progress or
decline. Still more, as we examine the records of past life upon our
globe, and study the mutual relations of the living things that still
remain, it appears that the higher forms of life--including Man
himself--are the modified descendants of lower forms. Zoölogically
speaking, Man can no longer be regarded as a creature apart by himself.
We cannot erect an order on purpose to contain him, as Cuvier tried to
do; we cannot even make a separate family for him. Man is not only a
vertebrate, a mammal, and a primate, but he belongs, as a genus, to the
catarrhine family of apes. And just as lions, leopards, and
lynxes--different genera of the cat-family--are descended from a common
stock of carnivora, back to which we may also trace the pedigrees of
dogs, hyænas, bears, and seals; so the various genera of platyrrhine and
catarrhine apes, including Man, are doubtless descended from a common
stock of primates, back to which we may also trace the converging
pedigrees of monkeys and lemurs, until their ancestry becomes
indistinguishable from that of rabbits and squirrels. Such is the
conclusion to which the scientific world has come within a quarter of a
century from the publication of Mr. Darwin's "Origin of Species;" and
there is no more reason for supposing that this conclusion will ever be
gainsaid than for supposing that the Copernican astronomy will some time
be overthrown and the concentric spheres of Dante's heaven reinstated in
the minds of men.

It is not strange that this theory of man's origin, which we associate
mainly with the name of Mr. Darwin, should be to many people very
unwelcome. It is fast bringing about a still greater revolution in
thought than that which was heralded by Copernicus; and it naturally
takes some time for the various portions of one's theory of things to
become adjusted, one after another, to so vast and sweeping a change.
From many quarters the cry goes up,--If this be true, then Man is at
length cast down from his high position in the world. "I will not be
called a mammal, or the son of a mammal!" once exclaimed an acquaintance
of mine who perhaps had been brought up by hand. Such expressions of
feeling are crude, but the feeling is not unjustifiable. It is urged
that if man is physically akin to a baboon, as pigs are akin to horses,
and cows to deer, then Humanity can in nowise be regarded as occupying a
peculiar place in the universe; it becomes a mere incident in an endless
series of changes, and how can we say that the same process of evolution
that has produced mankind may not by and by produce something far more
perfect? There was a time when huge bird-like reptiles were the lords of
creation, and after these had been "sealed within the iron hills" there
came successive dynasties of mammals; and as the iguanodon gave place to
the great Eocene marsupials, as the mastodon and the sabre-toothed lion
have long since vanished from the scene, so may not Man by and by
disappear to make way for some higher creature, and so on forever? In
such case, why should we regard Man as in any higher sense the object of
Divine care than a pig? Still stronger does the case appear when we
remember that those countless adaptations of means to ends in nature,
which since the time of Voltaire and Paley we have been accustomed to
cite as evidences of creative design, have received at the hands of Mr.
Darwin a very different interpretation. The lobster's powerful claw, the
butterfly's gorgeous tints, the rose's delicious fragrance, the
architectural instinct of the bee, the astonishing structure of the
orchid, are no longer explained as the results of contrivance. That
simple but wasteful process of survival of the fittest, through which
such marvellous things have come into being, has little about it that is
analogous to the ingenuity of human art. The infinite and eternal Power
which is thus revealed in the physical life of the universe seems in
nowise akin to the human soul. The idea of beneficent purpose seems for
the moment to be excluded from nature, and a blind process, known as
Natural Selection, is the deity that slumbers not nor sleeps. Reckless
of good and evil, it brings forth at once the mother's tender love for
her infant and the horrible teeth of the ravening shark, and to its
creative indifference the one is as good as the other.

In spite of these appalling arguments the man of science, urged by the
single-hearted purpose to ascertain the truth, be the consequences what
they may, goes quietly on and finds that the terrible theory must be
adopted; the fact of man's consanguinity with dumb beasts must be
admitted. In reaching this conclusion, the man of science reasons upon
the physical facts within his reach, applying to them the same
principles of common-sense whereby our everyday lives are successfully
guided; and he is very apt to smile at the methods of those people who,
taking hold of the question at the wrong end, begin by arguing about all
manner of fancied consequences. For his knowledge of the history of
human thinking assures him that such methods have through all past time
proved barren of aught save strife, while his own bold yet humble method
is the only one through which truth has ever been elicited. To pursue
unflinchingly the methods of science requires dauntless courage and a
faith that nothing can shake. Such courage and such loyalty to nature
brings its own reward. For when once the formidable theory is really
understood, when once its implications are properly unfolded, it is seen
to have no such logical consequences as were at first ascribed to it. As
with the Copernican astronomy, so with the Darwinian biology, we rise to
a higher view of the workings of God and of the nature of Man than was
ever attainable before. So far from degrading Humanity, or putting it on
a level with the animal world in general, the Darwinian theory shows us
distinctly for the first time how the creation and the perfecting of Man
is the goal toward which Nature's work has all the while been tending.
It enlarges tenfold the significance of human life, places it upon even
a loftier eminence than poets or prophets have imagined, and makes it
seem more than ever the chief object of that creative activity which is
manifested in the physical universe.


On the Earth there will never be a Higher Creature than Man.

In elucidating these points, we may fitly begin by considering the
question as to the possibility of the evolution of any higher creature
than Man, to whom the dominion over this earth shall pass. The question
will best be answered by turning back and observing one of the most
remarkable features connected with the origin of Man and with his
superiority over other animals. And let it be borne in mind that we are
not now about to wander through the regions of unconditional
possibility. We are not dealing with vague general notions of
development, but with the scientific Darwinian theory, which alleges
development only as the result of certain rigorously defined agencies.
The chief among these agencies is Natural Selection. It has again and
again been illustrated how by the cumulative selection and inheritance
of slight physical variations generic differences, like those between
the tiger and the leopard, or the cow and the antelope, at length arise;
and the guiding principle in the accumulation of slight physical
differences has been the welfare of the species. The variant forms on
either side have survived while the constant forms have perished, so
that the lines of demarcation between allied species have grown more and
more distinct, and it is usually only by going back to fossil ages that
we can supply the missing links of continuity. In the desperate struggle
for existence no peculiarity, physical or psychical, however slight, has
been too insignificant for natural selection to seize and enhance; and
the myriad fantastic forms and hues of animal and vegetal life
illustrate the seeming capriciousness of its workings. Psychical
variations have never been unimportant since the appearance of the first
faint pigment-spot which by and by was to translate touch into vision,
as it developed into the lenses and humours of the eye.[2] Special
organs of sense and the lower grades of perception and judgment were
slowly developed through countless ages, in company with purely physical
variations of shape of foot, or length of neck, or complexity of
stomach, or thickness of hide. At length there came a wonderful
moment--silent and unnoticed, as are the beginnings of all great
revolutions. Silent and unnoticed, even as the day of the Lord which
cometh like a thief in the night, there arrived that wonderful moment at
which psychical changes began to be of more use than physical changes to
the brute ancestor of Man. Through further ages of ceaseless struggle
the profitable variations in this creature occurred oftener and oftener
in the brain, and less often in other parts of the organism, until by
and by the size of his brain had been doubled and its complexity of
structure increased a thousand-fold, while in other respects his
appearance was not so very different from that of his brother apes.[3]
Along with this growth of the brain, the complete assumption of the
upright posture, enabling the hands to be devoted entirely to prehension
and thus relieving the jaws of that part of their work, has coöperated
in producing that peculiar contour of head and face which is the chief
distinguishing mark of physical Man. These slight anatomical changes
derive their importance entirely from the prodigious intellectual
changes in connection with which they have been produced; and these
intellectual changes have been accumulated until the distance,
psychically speaking, between civilized man and the ape is so great as
to dwarf in comparison all that had been achieved in the process of
evolution down to the time of our half-human ancestor's first
appearance. No fact in nature is fraught with deeper meaning than this
two-sided fact of the extreme physical similarity and enormous psychical
divergence between Man and the group of animals to which he traces his
pedigree. It shows that when Humanity began to be evolved an entirely
new chapter in the history of the universe was opened. Henceforth the
life of the nascent soul came to be first in importance, and the bodily
life became subordinated to it. Henceforth it appeared that, in this
direction at least, the process of zoölogical change had come to an end,
and a process of psychological change was to take its place. Henceforth
along this supreme line of generation there was to be no further
evolution of new species through physical variation, but through the
accumulation of psychical variations one particular species was to be
indefinitely perfected and raised to a totally different plane from that
on which all life had hitherto existed. Henceforth, in short, the
dominant aspect of evolution was to be not the genesis of species, but
the progress of Civilization.

As we thoroughly grasp the meaning of all this, we see that upon the
Darwinian theory it is impossible that any creature zoologically
distinct from Man and superior to him should ever at any future time
exist upon the earth. In the regions of unconditional possibility it is
open to any one to argue, if he chooses, that such a creature may come
to exist; but the Darwinian theory is utterly opposed to any such
conclusion. According to Darwinism, the creation of Man is still the
goal toward which Nature tended from the beginning. Not the production
of any higher creature, but the perfecting of Humanity, is to be the
glorious consummation of Nature's long and tedious work. Thus we
suddenly arrive at the conclusion that Man seems now, much more clearly
than ever, the chief among God's creatures. On the primitive barbaric
theory, which Mr. Darwin has swept away, Man was suddenly flung into the
world by the miraculous act of some unseen and incalculable Power acting
from without; and whatever theology might suppose, no scientific reason
could be alleged why the same incalculable Power might not at some
future moment, by a similar miracle, thrust upon the scene some mightier
creature in whose presence Man would become like a sorry beast of
burden. But he who has mastered the Darwinian theory, he who recognizes
the slow and subtle process of evolution as the way in which God makes
things come to pass, must take afar higher view. He sees that in the
deadly struggle for existence which has raged throughout countless aeons
of time, the whole creation has been groaning and travailing together in
order to bring forth that last consummate specimen of God's handiwork,
the Human Soul.

To the creature thus produced through a change in the direction in which
natural selection has worked, the earth and most of its living things
have become gradually subordinated. In all the classes of the animal and
vegetal worlds many ancient species have become extinct, and many modern
species have come into being, through the unchecked working of natural
selection, since Man became distinctively human. But in this respect a
change has long been coming over the face of nature. The destinies of
all other living things are more and more dependent upon the will of
Man. It rests with him to determine, to a great degree, what plants and
animals shall remain upon the earth and what shall be swept from its
surface. By unconsciously imitating the selective processes of Nature,
he long ago wrought many wild species into forms subservient to his
needs. He has created new varieties of fruit and flower and cereal
grass, and has reared new breeds of animals to aid him in the work of
civilization; until at length he is beginning to acquire a mastery over
mechanical and molecular and chemical forces which is doubtless destined
in the future to achieve marvellous results whereof today we little
dream. Natural selection itself will by and by occupy a subordinate
place in comparison with selection by Man, whose appearance on the earth
is thus seen more clearly than ever to have opened an entirely new
chapter in the mysterious history of creation.


The Origin of Infancy.

But before we can fully understand the exalted position which the
Darwinian theory assigns to man, another point demands consideration.
The natural selection of psychical peculiarities does not alone account
for the origin of Man, or explain his most signal difference from all
other animals. That difference is unquestionably a difference in kind,
but in saying this one must guard against misunderstanding. Not only in
the world of organic life, but throughout the known universe, the
doctrine of evolution regards differences in kind as due to the gradual
accumulation of differences in degree. To cite a very simple case, what
differences of kind can be more striking than the differences between a
nebula, a sun, a planet like the earth, and a planet like our moon? Yet
these things are simply examples of cosmical matter at four different
stages of cooling. The physical differences between steam, water, and
ice afford a more familiar example. In the organic world the perpetual
modification of structures that has been effected through natural
selection exhibits countless instances of differences in kind which have
risen from the accumulation of differences in degree. No one would
hesitate to call a horse's hoof different in kind from a cat's paw; and
yet the horse's lower leg and hoof are undoubtedly developed from a
five-toed paw. The most signal differences in kind are wont to arise
when organs originally developed for a certain purpose come to be
applied to a very different purpose, as that change of the fish's
air-bladder into a lung which accompanied the first development of land
vertebrates. But still greater becomes the revolution when a certain
process goes on Until it sets going a number of other processes,
unlocking series after series of causal agencies until a vast and
complicated result is reached, such as could by no possibility have been
foreseen. The creation of Man was one of these vast and complicated
results due to the unlocking of various series of causal agencies; and
it was the beginning of a deeper and mightier difference in kind than
any that slowly evolving Nature had yet witnessed.

I have indicated, as the moment at which the creation of mankind began,
the moment when psychical variations became of so much more use to our
ancestors than physical variations that they were seized and enhanced by
natural selection, to the comparative neglect of the latter. Increase of
intellectual capacity, in connection with the developing brain of a
single race of creatures, now became the chief work of natural selection
in originating Man; and this, I say, was the opening of a new chapter,
the last and most wonderful chapter, in the history of creation. But the
increasing intelligence and enlarged experience of half-human man now
set in motion a new series of changes which greatly complicated the
matter. In order to understand these changes, we must consider for a
moment one very important characteristic of developing intelligence.

The simplest actions in which the nervous system is concerned are what
we call reflex actions. All the visceral actions which keep us alive
from moment to moment, the movements of the heart and lungs, the
contractions of arteries, the secretions of glands, the digestive
operations of the stomach and liver, belong to the class of reflex
actions. Throughout the animal world these acts are repeated, with
little or no variation, from birth until death, and the tendency to
perform them is completely organized in the nervous system before birth.
Every animal breathes and digests as well at the beginning of his life
as he ever does. Contact with air and food is all that is needed, and
there is nothing to be learned. These actions, though they are performed
by the nervous system, we do not class as psychical, because they are
nearly or quite unattended by consciousness. The psychical life of the
lowest animals consists of a few simple acts directed toward the
securing of food and the avoidance of danger, and these acts we are in
the habit of classing as instinctive. They are so simple, so few, and so
often repeated, that the tendency to perform them is completely
organized in the nervous system before birth. The animal takes care of
himself as soon as he begins to live. He has nothing to learn, and his
career is a simple repetition of the careers of countless ancestors.
With him heredity is everything, and his individual experience is next
to nothing.

As we ascend the animal scale till we come to the higher birds and
mammals, we find a very interesting and remarkable change beginning. The
general increase of intelligence involves an increasing variety and
complication of experiences. The acts which the animal performs in the
course of its life become far more numerous, far more various, and far
more complex. They are therefore severally repeated with less frequency
in the lifetime of each individual. Consequently the tendency to perform
them is not completely organized in the nervous system of the offspring
before birth. The short period of ante-natal existence does not afford
time enough for the organization of so many and such complex habitudes
and capacities. The process which in the lower animals is completed
before birth is in the higher animals left to be completed after birth.
When the creature begins its life it is not completely organized.
Instead of the power of doing all the things which its parents did, it
starts with the power of doing only some few of them; for the rest it
has only latent capacities which need to be brought out by its
individual experience after birth. In other words, it begins its
separate life not as a matured creature, but as an infant which needs
for a time to be watched and helped.


The Dawning of Consciousness.

Here we arrive at one of the most wonderful moments in the history of
creation,--the moment of the first faint dawning of consciousness, the
foreshadowing of the true life of the soul. Whence came the soul we no
more know than we know whence came the universe. The primal origin of
consciousness is hidden in the depths of the bygone eternity. That it
cannot possibly be the product of any cunning arrangement of material
particles is demonstrated beyond peradventure by what we now know of the
correlation of physical forces.[4] The Platonic view of the soul, as a
spiritual substance, an effluence from Godhood, which under certain
conditions becomes incarnated in perishable forms of matter, is
doubtless the view most consonant with the present state of our
knowledge. Yet while we know not the primal origin of the soul, we have
learned something with regard to the conditions under which it has
become incarnated in material forms. Modern psychology has something to
say about the dawning of conscious life in the animal world. Reflex
action is unaccompanied by consciousness. The nervous actions which
regulate the movements of the viscera go on without our knowledge; we
learn of their existence only by study, as we learn of facts in outward
nature. If you tickle the foot of a person asleep, and the foot is
withdrawn by simple reflex action, the sleeper is unconscious alike of
the irritation and of the movement, even as the decapitated frog is
unconscious when a drop of nitric acid falls on his back and he lifts up
a leg and rubs the place. In like manner the reflex movements which make
up the life of the lowest animals are doubtless quite unconscious, even
when in their general character they simulate conscious actions, as they
often do. In the case of such creatures, the famous hypothesis of
Descartes, that animals are automata, is doubtless mainly correct. In
the case of instincts also, where the instinctive actions are completely
organized before birth, and are repeated without variation during the
whole lifetime of the individual, there is probably little if any
consciousness. It is an essential prerequisite of consciousness that
there should be a period of delay or tension between the receipt of an
impression and the determination of the consequent movement. Diminish
this period of delay and you diminish the vividness of consciousness. A
familiar example will make this clear. When you are learning to play a
new piece of music on the piano, especially if you do not read music
rapidly, you are intensely conscious of each group of notes on the page,
and of each group of keys that you strike, and of the relations of the
one to the other. But when you have learned the piece by heart, you
think nothing of either notes or keys, but play automatically while your
attention is concentrated upon the artistic character of the music. If
somebody thoughtlessly interrupts you with a question about Egyptian
politics, you go on playing while you answer him politely. That is,
where you had at first to make a conscious act of volition for each
movement, the whole group of movements has now become automatic, and
volition is only concerned in setting the process going. As the delay
involved in the perception and the movement disappears, so does the
consciousness of the perception and the movement tend to disappear.
Consciousness implies perpetual discrimination, or the recognition of
likenesses and differences, and this is impossible unless impressions
persist long enough to be compared with one another. The physical organs
in connection with whose activity consciousness is manifested are the
upper and outer parts of the brain,--the cerebrum and cerebellum. These
organs never receive impressions directly from the outside world, but
only from lower nerve-centres, such as the spinal cord, the medulla, the
optic lobes, and other special centres of sensation. The impressions
received by the cerebrum and cerebellum are waves of molecular
disturbance sent up along centripetal nerves from the lower centres, and
presently drafted off along centrifugal nerves back to the lower
centres, thus causing the myriad movements which make up our active
life. Now there is no consciousness except when molecular disturbance is
generated in the cerebrum and cerebellum faster than it can be drafted
off to the lower centres.[5] It is the surplus of molecular disturbance
remaining in the cerebrum and cerebellum, and reflected back and forth
among the cells and fibres of which these highest centres are composed,
that affords the physical condition for the manifestation of
consciousness. Memory, emotion, reason, and volition begin with this
retention of a surplus of molecular motion in the highest centres. As we
survey the vertebrate sub-kingdom of animals, we find that as this
surplus increases, the surface of the highest centres increases in area.
In the lowest vertebrate animal, the amphioxus, the cerebrum and
cerebellum do not exist at all. In fishes we begin to find them, but
they are much smaller than the optic lobes. In such a highly organized
fish as the halibut, which weighs about as much as an average-sized man,
the cerebrum is smaller than a melon-seed. Continuing to grow by adding
concentric layers at the surface, the cerebrum and cerebellum become
much larger in birds and lower mammals, gradually covering up the optic
lobes. As we pass to higher mammalian forms, the growth of the cerebrum
becomes most conspicuous, until it extends backwards so far as to cover
up the cerebellum, whose functions are limited to the conscious
adjustment of muscular movements. In the higher apes the cerebrum begins
to extend itself forwards, and this goes on in the human race. The
cranial capacity of the European exceeds that of the Australian by forty
cubic inches, or nearly four times as much as that by which the
Australian exceeds the gorilla; and the expansion is almost entirely in
the upper and anterior portions. But the increase of the cerebral
surface is shown not only in the general size of the organ, but to a
still greater extent in the irregular creasing and furrowing of the
surface. This creasing and furrowing begins to occur in the higher
mammals, and in civilized man it is carried to an astonishing extent.
The amount of intelligence is correlated with the number, the depth, and
the irregularity of the furrows. A cat's brain has a few symmetrical
creases. In an ape the creases are deepened into slight furrows, and
they run irregularly, somewhat like the lines in the palm of your hand.
With age and experience the furrows grow deeper and more sinuous, and
new ones appear; and in man these phenomena come to have great
significance. The cerebral surface of a human infant is like that of an
ape. In an adult savage, or in a European peasant, the furrowing is
somewhat marked and complicated. In the brain of a great scholar, the
furrows are very deep and crooked, and hundreds of creases appear which
are not found at all in the brains of ordinary men. In other words, the
cerebral surface of such a man, the seat of conscious mental life, has
become enormously enlarged in area; and we must further observe that it
goes on enlarging in some cases into extreme old age.[6]

Putting all these facts together, it becomes plain that in the lowest
animals, whose lives consist of sundry reflex actions monotonously
repeated from generation to generation, there can be nothing, or next to
nothing, of what we know as consciousness. It is only when the life
becomes more complicated and various, so that reflex action can no
longer determine all its movements and the higher nerve-centres begin to
be evolved, that the dawning of consciousness is reached. But with the
growth of the higher centres the capacities of action become so various
and indeterminate that definite direction is not given to them until
after birth. The creature begins life as an infant, with its partially
developed cerebrum representing capabilities which it is left for its
individual experience to bring forth and modify.


Lengthening of Infancy, and Concomitant Increase of Brain-Surface.

The first appearance of infancy in the animal world thus heralded the
new era which was to be crowned by the development of Man. With the
beginnings of infancy there came the first dawning of a conscious life
similar in nature to the conscious life of human beings, and there came,
moreover, on the part of parents, the beginning of feelings and actions
not purely self-regarding. But still more, the period of infancy was a
period of plasticity. The career of each individual being no longer
wholly predetermined by the careers of its ancestors, it began to become
teachable. Individuality of character also became possible at the same
time, and for the same reason. All birds and mammals which take care of
their young are teachable, though in very various degrees, and all in
like manner show individual peculiarities of disposition, though in most
cases these are slight and inconspicuous. In dogs, horses, and apes
there is marked teachableness, and there are also marked differences in
individual character.

But in the non-human animal world all these phenomena are but slightly
developed. They are but the dim adumbrations of what was by and by to
bloom forth in the human race. They can scarcely be said to have served
as a prophecy of the revolution that was to come. One generation of dumb
beasts is after all very like another, and from studying the careers of
the mastodon, the hipparion, the sabre-toothed lion, or even the
dryopithecus, an observer in the Miocene age could never have foreseen
the possibility of a creature endowed with such a boundless capacity of
progress as the modern Man. Nevertheless, however dimly suggestive was
this group of phenomena, it contained the germ of all that is preëminent
in humanity. In the direct line of our ancestry it only needed that the
period of infancy should be sufficiently prolonged, in order that a
creature should at length appear, endowed with the teachableness, the
individuality, and the capacity for progress which are the peculiar
prerogatives of fully-developed Man.[7] In this direct line the manlike
apes of Africa and the Indian Archipelago have advanced far beyond the
mammalian world in general. Along with a cerebral surface, and an
accompanying intelligence, far greater than that of other mammals, these
tailless apes begin life as helpless babies, and are unable to walk, to
feed themselves, or to grasp objects with precision until they are two
or three months old. These apes have thus advanced a little way upon the
peculiar road which our half-human forefathers began to travel as soon
as psychical variations came to be of more use to the species than
variations in bodily structure. The gulf by which the lowest known man
is separated from the highest known ape consists in the great increase
of his cerebral surface, with the accompanying intelligence, and in the
very long duration of his infancy. These two things have gone hand in
hand. The increase of cerebral surface, due to the working of natural
selection in this direction alone, has entailed a vast increase in the
amount of cerebral organization that must be left to be completed after
birth, and thus has prolonged the period of infancy. And conversely the
prolonging of the plastic period of infancy, entailing a vast increase
in teachableness and versatility, has contributed to the further
enlargement of the cerebral surface. The mutual reaction of these two
groups of facts must have gone on for an enormous length of time since
man began thus diverging from his simian brethren. It is not likely that
less than a million years have elapsed since the first page of this new
chapter in the history of creation was opened: it is probable that the
time has been much longer. In comparison with such a period, the whole
recorded duration of human history shrinks into nothingness. The
pyramids of Egypt seem like things of yesterday when we think of the
Cave-Men of western Europe in the glacial period, who scratched pictures
of mammoths on pieces of reindeer-antler with a bit of pointed flint.
Yet during an entire geologic æon before these Cave-Men appeared on the
scene, "a being erect upon two legs," if we may quote from Serjeant
Buzfuz, "and wearing the outward semblance of a man and not of a
monster," wandered hither and thither over the face of the earth,
setting his mark upon it as no other creature yet had done, leaving
behind him innumerable tell-tale remnants of his fierce and squalid
existence, yet too scantily endowed with wit to make any written
disclosure of his thoughts and deeds. If the physiological annals of
that long and weary time could now be unrolled before us, the principal
fact which we should discern, dominating all other facts in interest and
significance, would be that mutual reaction between increase of cerebral
surface and lengthening of babyhood which I have here described.

Thus through the simple continuance and interaction of processes that
began far back in the world of warm-blooded animals, we get at last a
creature essentially different from all others. Through the complication
of effects the heaping up of minute differences in degree has ended in
bringing forth a difference in kind. In the human organism physical
variation has well-nigh stopped, or is confined to insignificant
features, save in the grey surface of the cerebrum. The work of cerebral
organization is chiefly completed after birth, as we see by contrasting
the smooth ape-like brain-surface of the new-born child with the
deeply-furrowed and myriad-seamed surface of the adult civilized brain.
The plastic period of adolescence, lengthened in civilized man until it
has come to cover more than one third of his lifetime, is thus the
guaranty of his boundless progressiveness. Inherited tendencies and
aptitudes still form the foundations of character; but individual
experience has come to count as an enormous factor in modifying the
career of mankind from generation to generation. It is not too much to
say that the difference between man and all other living creatures, in
respect of teachableness, progressiveness, and individuality of
character, surpasses all other differences of kind that are known to
exist in the universe.


Change in the Direction of the Working of Natural Selection.

In the fresh light which these considerations throw upon the problem of
man's origin, we can now see more clearly than ever how great a
revolution was inaugurated when natural selection began to confine its
operations to the surface of the cerebrum. Among the older incidents in
the evolution of organic life, the changes were very wonderful which out
of the pectoral fin of a fish developed the jointed fore-limb of the
mammal with its five-toed paw, and thence through much slighter
variation brought forth the human arm with its delicate and crafty hand.
More wondrous still were the phases of change through which the
rudimentary pigment-spot of the worm, by the development and
differentiation of successive layers, gave place to the
variously-constructed eyes of insects, mollusks, and vertebrates. The
day for creative work of this sort has probably gone by, as the day for
the evolution of annulose segments and vertebrate skeletons has gone
by,--on our planet, at least. In the line of our own development, all
work of this kind stopped long ago, to be replaced by different methods.
As an optical instrument, the eye had well-nigh reached extreme
perfection in many a bird and mammal ages before man's beginnings; and
the essential features of the human hand existed already in the hands of
Miocene apes. But different methods came in when human intelligence
appeared upon the scene. Mr. Spencer has somewhere reminded us that the
crowbar is but an extra lever added to the levers of which the arm is
already composed, and the telescope but adds a new set of lenses to
those which already exist in the eye. This beautiful illustration goes
to the kernel of the change that was wrought when natural selection
began to confine itself to the psychical modification of our ancestors.
In a very deep sense all human science is but the increment of the power
of the eye, and all human art is the increment of the power of the
hand.[8] Vision and manipulation,--these, in their countless indirect
and transfigured forms, are the two coöperating factors in all
intellectual progress. It is not merely that with the telescope we see
extinct volcanoes on the moon, or resolve spots of nebulous cloud into
clusters of blazing suns; it is that in every scientific theory we frame
by indirect methods visual images of things not present to sense. With
our mind's eye we see atmospheric convulsions on the surfaces of distant
worlds, watch the giant ichthyosaurs splashing in Jurassic oceans,
follow the varied figures of the rhythmic dance of molecules as chemical
elements unite and separate, or examine, with the aid of long-forgotten
vocabularies now magically restored, the manners and morals, the laws
and superstitions, of peoples that have ceased to be.[9] And so in art
the wonderful printing-press, and the engine that moves it, are the
lineal descendants through countless stages of complication, of the
simple levers of primitive man and the rude stylus wherewith he engraved
strange hieroglyphs on the bark of trees. In such ways, since the human
phase of evolution began, has the direct action of muscle and sense been
supplemented and superseded by the indirect work of the inquisitive and
inventive mind.


Growing Predominance of the Psychical Life.

Let us note one further aspect of this mighty revolution. In its lowly
beginnings the psychical life was merely an appendage to the life of the
body. The avoidance of enemies, the securing of food, the perpetuation
of the species, make up the whole of the lives of lower animals, and the
rudiments of memory, reason, emotion, and volition were at first
concerned solely with the achievement of these ends in an increasingly
indirect, complex, and effective way. Though the life of a large portion
of the human race is still confined to the pursuit of these same ends,
yet so vast has been the increase of psychical life that the simple
character of the ends is liable to be lost sight of amid the variety,
the indirectness, and the complexity of the means. But in civilized
society other ends, purely immaterial in their nature, have come to add
themselves to these, and in some instances to take their place. It is
long since we were told that Man does not live by bread alone. During
many generations we have seen thousands of men, actuated by the noblest
impulse of which humanity is capable, though misled by the teachings of
a crude philosophy, despising and maltreating their bodies as clogs and
incumbrances to the life of the indwelling soul. Countless martyrs we
have seen throwing away the physical earthly life as so much worthless
dross, and all for the sake of purely spiritual truths. As with
religion, so with the scientific spirit and the artistic spirit,--the
unquenchable craving to know the secrets of nature, and the yearning to
create the beautiful in form and colour and sound. In the highest human
beings such ends as these have come to be uppermost in consciousness,
and with the progress of material civilization this will be more and
more the case. If we can imagine a future time when warfare and crime
shall have been done away with forever, when disease shall have been for
the most part curbed, and when every human being by moderate labour can
secure ample food and shelter, we can also see that in such a state of
things the work of civilization would be by no means completed. In
ministering to human happiness in countless ways, through the pursuit of
purely spiritual ends, in enriching and diversifying life to the utmost,
there would still be almost limitless work to be done. I believe that
such a time will come for weary and suffering mankind. Such a faith is
inspiring. It sustains one in the work of life, when one would otherwise
lose heart. But it is a faith that rests upon induction. The process of
evolution is excessively slow, and its ends are achieved at the cost of
enormous waste of life, but for innumerable ages its direction has been
toward the goal here pointed out; and the case may be fitly summed up in
the statement that whereas in its rude beginnings the psychical life was
but an appendage to the body, in fully-developed Humanity the body is
but the vehicle for the soul.


The Origins of Society and of Morality.

One further point must be considered before this outline sketch of the
manner of man's origin can be called complete. The psychical development
of Humanity, since its earlier stages, has been largely clue to the
reaction of individuals upon one another in those various relations
which we characterize as social.[10] In considering the origin of Man,
the origin of human society cannot be passed over. Foreshadowings of
social relations occur in the animal world, not only in the line of our
own vertebrate ancestry, but in certain orders of insects which stand
quite remote from that line. Many of the higher mammals are gregarious,
and this is especially true of that whole order of primates to which we
belong. Rudimentary moral sentiments are also clearly discernible in the
highest members of various mammalian orders, and in all but the lowest
members of our own order. But in respect of definiteness and permanence
the relations between individuals in a state of gregariousness fall far
short of the relations between individuals in the rudest human society.
The primordial unit of human society is the family, and it was by the
establishment of definite and permanent family relationships that the
step was taken which raised Man socially above the level of gregarious
apehood. This great point was attained through that lengthening of the
period of helpless childhood which accompanied the gradually increasing
intelligence of our half-human ancestors. When childhood had come to
extend over a period of ten or a dozen years--a period which would be
doubled, or more than doubled, where several children were born in
succession to the same parents--the relationships between father and
mother, brethren and sisters, must have become firmly knit; and thus the
family, the unit of human society, gradually came into existence.[11]
The rudimentary growth of moral sentiment must now have received a
definite direction. As already observed, with the beginnings of infancy
in the animal world there came the genesis in the parents of feelings
and actions not purely self-regarding. Rudimentary sympathies, with
rudimentary capacity for self-devotion, are witnessed now and then among
higher mammals, such as the dog, and not uncommonly among apes. But as
the human family, with its definite relationships, came into being,
there must necessarily have grown up between its various members
reciprocal necessities of behaviour. The conduct of the individual could
no longer be shaped with sole reference to his own selfish desires, but
must be to a great extent subordinated to the general welfare of the
family. And in judging of the character of his own conduct, the
individual must now begin to refer it to some law of things outside of
himself; and hence the germs of conscience and of the idea of duty. Such
were no doubt the crude beginnings of human morality.

With this genesis of the family, the Creation of Man may be said, in a
certain sense, to have been completed. The great extent of cerebral
surface, the lengthened period of infancy, the consequent capacity for
progress, the definite constitution of the family, and the judgment of
actions as good or bad according to some other standard than that of
selfish desire,--these are the attributes which essentially distinguish
Man from other creatures. All these, we see, are direct or indirect
results of the revolution which began when natural selection came to
confine itself to psychical variations, to the neglect of physical
variations. The immediate result was the increase of cerebrum. This
prolonged the infancy, thus giving rise to the capacity for progress;
and infancy, in turn, originated the family and thus opened the way for
the growth of sympathies and of ethical feelings. All these results have
perpetually reacted upon one another until a creature different in kind
from all other creatures has been evolved. The creature thus evolved
long since became dominant over the earth in a sense in which none of
his predecessors ever became dominant; and henceforth the work of
evolution, so far as our planet is concerned, is chiefly devoted to the
perfecting of this last and most wonderful product of creative energy.


Improvableness of Man.

For the creation of Man was by no means the creation of a perfect being.
The most essential feature of Man is his improvableness, and since his
first appearance on the earth the changes that have gone on in him have
been enormous, though they have continued to run along in the lines of
development that were then marked out. The changes have been so great
that in many respects the interval between the highest and the lowest
men far surpasses quantitatively the interval between the lowest men and
the highest apes. If we take into account the creasing of the cerebral
surface, the difference between the brain of a Shakespeare and that of
an Australian savage would doubtless be fifty times greater than the
difference between the Australian's brain and that of an orang-outang.
In mathematical capacity the Australian, who cannot tell the number of
fingers on his two hands, is much nearer to a lion or wolf than to Sir
Rowan Hamilton, who invented the method of quaternions. In moral
development this same Australian, whose language contains no words for
justice and benevolence, is less remote from dogs and baboons than from
a Howard or a Garrison. In progressiveness, too, the difference between
the lowest and the highest races of men is no less conspicuous. The
Australian is more teachable than the ape, but his limit is nevertheless
very quickly reached. All the distinctive attributes of Man, in short,
have been developed to an enormous extent through long ages of social

This psychical development of Man is destined to go on in the future as
it has gone on in the past. The creative energy which has been at work
through the bygone eternity is not going to become quiescent to-morrow.
We have learned something of its methods of working, and from the
careful observation of the past we can foresee the future in some of its
most general outlines. From what has already gone on during the historic
period of man's existence, we can safely predict a change that will by
and by distinguish him from all other creatures even more widely and
more fundamentally than he is distinguished today. Whenever in the
course of organic evolution we see any function beginning as incidental
to the performance of other functions, and continuing for many ages to
increase in importance until it becomes an indispensable strand in the
web of life, we may be sure that by a continuance of the same process
its influence is destined to increase still more in the future. Such has
been the case with the function of sympathy, and with the ethical
feelings which have grown up along with sympathy and depend largely upon
it for their vitality. Like everything else which especially
distinguishes Man, the altruistic feelings were first called into
existence through the first beginnings of infancy in the animal world.
Their rudimentary form was that of the transient affection of a female
bird or mammal for its young. First given a definite direction through
the genesis of the primitive human family, the development of altruism
has formed an important part of the progress of civilization, but as yet
it has scarcely kept pace with the general development of intelligence.
There can be little doubt that in respect of justice and kindness the
advance of civilized man has been less marked than in respect of
quick-wittedness. Now this is because the advancement of civilized man
has been largely effected through fighting, through the continuance of
that deadly struggle and competition which has been going on ever since
organic life first appeared on the earth. It is through such fierce and
perpetual struggle that the higher forms of life have been gradually
evolved by natural selection. But we have already seen how in many
respects the evolution of Man was the opening of an entirely new chapter
in the history of the universe. In no respect was it more so than in the
genesis of the altruistic emotions. For when natural selection, through
the lengthening of childhood, had secured a determinate development for
this class of human feelings, it had at last originated a power which
could thrive only through the elimination of strife. And the later
history of mankind, during the past thirty centuries, has been
characterized by the gradual eliminating of strife, though the process
has gone on with the extreme slowness that marks all the work of
evolution. It is only at the present clay that, by surveying human
history from the widest possible outlook, and with the aid of the habits
of thought which the study of evolution fosters, we are enabled
distinctly to observe this tendency. As this is the most wonderful of
all the phases of that stupendous revolution in nature which was
inaugurated in the Creation of Man, it deserves especial attention here;
and we shall find it leading us quite directly to our conclusion. From
the Origin of Man, when thoroughly comprehended in its general outlines,
we shall at length be able to catch some glimpses of his Destiny.


Universal Warfare of Primeval Men.

In speaking of the higher altruistic feelings as being antagonistic to
the continuance of warfare, I did not mean to imply that warfare can
ever be directly put down by our horror of cruelty or our moral
disapproval of strife. The actual process is much more indirect and
complex than this. In respect of belligerency the earliest men were
doubtless no better than brutes. They were simply the most crafty and
formidable among brutes. To get food was the prime necessity of life,
and as long as food was obtainable only by hunting and fishing, or
otherwise seizing upon edible objects already in existence, chronic and
universal quarrel was inevitable. The conditions of the struggle for
existence were not yet visibly changed from what they had been from the
outset in the animal world. That struggle meant everlasting slaughter,
and the fiercest races of fighters would be just the ones to survive and
perpetuate their kind. Those most successful primitive men, from whom
civilized peoples are descended, must have excelled in treachery and
cruelty, as in quickness of wit and strength of will. That moral sense
which makes it seem wicked to steal and murder was scarcely more
developed in them than in tigers or wolves. But to all this there was
one exception. The family supplied motives for peaceful coöperation.[12]
Within the family limits fidelity and forbearance had their uses, for
events could not have been long in showing that the most coherent
families would prevail over their less coherent rivals. Observation of
the most savage races agrees with the comparative study of the
institutions of civilized peoples, in proving that the only bond of
political union recognized among primitive men, or conceivable by them,
was the physical fact of blood-relationship. Illustrations of this are
found in plenty far within the historic period. The very township, which
under one name or another has formed the unit of political society among
all civilized peoples, was originally the stockaded dwelling-place of a
clan which traced its blood to a common ancestor. In such a condition of
things the nearest approach ever made to peace was a state of armed
truce; and while the simple rules of morality were recognized, they were
only regarded as binding within the limits of the clan. There was no
recognition of the wickedness of robbery and murder in general.

This state of things, as above hinted, could not come to an end as long
as men obtained food by seizing upon edible objects already in
existence. The supply of fish, game, or fruit being strictly limited,
men must ordinarily fight under penalty of starvation. If we could put a
moral interpretation upon events which antedated morality as we
understand it, we should say it was their duty to fight; and the
reverence accorded to the chieftain who murdered most successfully in
behalf of his clansmen was well deserved. It is worthy of note that, in
isolated parts of the earth where the natural supply of food is
abundant, as in sundry tropical islands of the Pacific Ocean, men have
ceased from warfare and become gentle and docile without rising above
the intellectual level of savagery. Compared with other savages, they
are like the chimpanzee as contrasted with the gorilla. Such exceptional
instances well illustrate the general truth that, so long as the method
of obtaining food was the same as that employed by brute animals, men
must continue to fight like dogs over a bone.


First checked by the Beginnings of Industrial Civilization.

But presently man's superior intelligence came into play in such wise
that other and better methods of getting food were devised. When in
intervals of peace men learned to rear flocks and herds, and to till the
ground, and when they had further learned to exchange with one another
the products of their labour, a new step, of most profound significance,
was taken. Tribes which had once learned how to do these things were not
long in overcoming their neighbours, and flourishing at their expense,
for agriculture allows a vastly greater population to live upon a given
area, and in many ways it favours social compactness. An immense series
of social changes was now begun. Whereas the only conceivable bond of
political combination had heretofore been blood-relationship, a new
basis was now furnished by territorial contiguity and by community of
occupation. The supply of food was no longer strictly limited, for it
could be indefinitely increased by peaceful industry; and moreover, in
the free exchange of the products of labour, it ceased to be true that
one man's interest was opposed to another's. Men did not at once
recognize this fact, and indeed it has not yet become universally
recognized, so long have men persisted in interpreting the conditions of
industrial life in accordance with the immemorial traditions of the time
when the means of subsistence were strictly limited, so that one man's
success meant another's starvation. Our robber tariffs--miscalled
"protective"--are survivals of the barbarous mode of thinking which
fitted the ages before industrial civilization began. But although the
pacific implications of free exchange were very slowly recognized, it is
not the less true that the beginnings of agriculture and commerce marked
the beginnings of the greatest social revolution in the whole career of
mankind. Henceforth the conditions for the maintenance of physical life
became different from what they had been throughout the past history of
the animal world. It was no longer necessary for men to quarrel for
their food like dogs over a bone; for they could now obtain it far more
effectively by applying their intelligence to the task of utilizing the
forces of inanimate nature; and the due execution of such a task was in
no wise assisted by wrath and contention, but from the outset was rather
hindered by such things.

Such were the beginnings of industrial civilization. Out of its
exigencies, continually increasing in complexity, have proceeded,
directly or indirectly, the arts and sciences which have given to modern
life so much of its interest and value. But more important still has been
the work of industrial civilization in the ethical field. By furnishing
a wider basis for political union than mere blood-relationship, it
greatly extended the area within which moral obligations were recognized
as binding. At first confined to the clan, the idea of duty came at
length to extend throughout a state in which many clans were combined
and fused, and as it thus increased in generality and abstractness, the
idea became immeasurably strengthened and ennobled. At last, with the
rise of empires, in which many states were brought together in pacific
industrial relations, the recognized sphere of moral obligation became
enlarged until it comprehended all mankind.


Methods of Political Development, and Elimination of Warfare.

This rise of empires, this coalescence of small groups of men into
larger and larger political aggregates, has been the chief work of
civilization, when looked at on its political side.[13] Like all the
work of evolution, this process has gone on irregularly and
intermittently, and its ultimate tendency has only gradually become
apparent. This process of coalescence has from the outset been brought
about by the needs of industrial civilization, and the chief obstacle
which it has had to encounter has been the universal hostility and
warfare bequeathed from primeval times. The history of mankind has been
largely made up of fighting, but in the careers of the most progressive
races this fighting has been far from meaningless, like the battles of
kites and crows. In the stream of history which, beginning on the shores
of the Mediterranean Sea, has widened until in our day it covers both
sides of the Atlantic and is fast extending over the remotest parts of
the earth,--in this main stream of history the warfare which has gone on
has had a clearly discernible purpose and meaning. Broadly considered,
this warfare has been chiefly the struggle of the higher industrial
civilization in defending itself against the attacks of neighbours who
had not advanced beyond that early stage of humanity in which warfare
was chronic and normal. During the historic period, the wars of Europe
have been either contests between the industrial and the predatory types
of society, or contests incident upon the imperfect formation of large
political aggregates. There have been three ways in which great
political bodies have arisen. The earliest and lowest method was that of
_conquest without incorporation_. A single powerful tribe conquered and
annexed its neighbours without admitting them to a share in the
government. It appropriated their military strength, robbed them of most
of the fruits of their labour, and thus virtually enslaved them. Such
was the origin of the great despotic empires of Oriental type. Such
states degenerate rapidly in military strength. Their slavish
populations, accustomed to be starved and beaten or massacred by the
tax-gatherer, become unable to fight, so that great armies of them will
flee before a handful of freemen, as in the case of the ancient Persians
and the modern Egyptians. To strike down the executive head of such an
assemblage of enslaved tribes is to effect the conquest or the
dissolution of the whole mass, and hence the history of Eastern peoples
has been characterized by sudden and gigantic revolutions.

The second method of forming great political bodies was that of
_conquest with incorporation_. The conquering tribe, while annexing its
neighbours, gradually admitted them to a share in the government. In
this way arose the Roman empire, the largest, the most stable, and in
its best days the most pacific political aggregate the world had as yet
seen. Throughout the best part of Europe, its conquests succeeded in
transforming the ancient predatory type of society into the modern
industrial type. It effectually broke up the primeval clan-system, with
its narrow ethical ideas, and arrived at the broad conception of rights
and duties coextensive with Humanity. But in the method upon which Rome
proceeded there was an essential element of weakness. The simple device
of representation, by which political power is equally retained in all
parts of the community while its exercise is delegated to a central
body, was entirely unknown to the Romans. Partly for this reason, and
partly because of the terrible military pressure to which the frontier
was perpetually exposed, the Roman government became a despotism which
gradually took on many of the vices of the Oriental type. The political
weakness which resulted from this allowed Europe to be overrun by
peoples organized in clans and tribes, and for some time there was a
partial retrogression toward the disorder characteristic of primitive
ages. The retrogression was but partial and temporary, however; the
exposed frontier has been steadily pushed eastward into the heart of
Asia; the industrial type of society is no longer menaced by the
predatory type; the primeval clan-system has entirely disappeared as a
social force; and warfare, once ubiquitous and chronic, has become local
and occasional.

The third and highest method of forming great political bodies is that
of _federation_. The element of fighting was essential in the two lower
methods, but in this it is not essential. Here there is no conquest, but
a voluntary union of small political groups into a great political
group. Each little group preserves its local independence intact, while
forming part of an indissoluble whole. Obviously this method of
political union requires both high intelligence and high ethical
development In early times it was impracticable. It was first attempted,
with brilliant though ephemeral success, by the Greeks, but it failed
for want of the device of representation. In later times it was put into
operation, with permanent success, on a small scale by the Swiss, and on
a great scale by our forefathers in England. The coalescence of shires
into the kingdom of England, effected as it was by means of a
representative assembly, and accompanied by the general retention of
local self-government, afforded a distinct precedent for such a gigantic
federal union as men of English race have since constructed in America.
The principle of federation was there, though not the name. And here we
hit upon the fundamental contrast between the history of England and
that of France. The method by which the modern French nation has been
built up has been the Roman method of conquest with incorporation. As
the ruler of Paris gradually overcame his vassals, one after another, by
warfare or diplomacy, he annexed their counties to his royal domain, and
governed them by lieutenants sent from Paris. Self-government was thus
crushed out in France, while it was preserved in England. And just as
Rome achieved its unprecedented dominion by adopting a political method
more effective than any that had been hitherto employed, so England,
employing for the first time a still higher and more effective method,
has come to play a part in the world compared with which even the part
played by Rome seems insignificant. The test of the relative strength of
the English and Roman methods came when England and France contended for
the possession of North America. The people which preserved its
self-government could send forth self-supporting colonies; the people
which had lost the very tradition of self-government could not. Hence
the dominion of the sea, with that of all the outlying parts of the
earth, fell into the hands of men of English race; and hence the
federative method of political union--the method which contains every
element of permanence, and which is pacific in its very conception--is
already assuming a sway which is unquestionably destined to become

Bearing all this in mind, we cannot fail to recognize the truth of the
statement that the great wars of the historic period have been either
contests between the industrial and the predatory types of society or
contests incident upon the imperfect formation of great political
aggregates. Throughout the turmoil of the historic period--which on a
superficial view seems such a chaos--we see certain definite tendencies
at work; the tendency toward the formation of larger and larger
political aggregates, and toward the more perfect maintenance of local
self-government and individual freedom among the parts of the aggregate.
This two-sided process began with the beginnings of industrial
civilization; it has aided the progress of industry and been aided by
it; and the result has been to diminish the quantity of warfare, and to
lessen the number of points at which it touches the ordinary course of
civilized life. With the further continuance of this process, but one
ultimate result is possible. It must go on until warfare becomes
obsolete. The nineteenth century, which has witnessed an unprecedented
development of industrial civilization, with its attendant arts and
sciences, has also witnessed an unprecedented diminution in the strength
of the primeval spirit of militancy. It is not that we have got rid of
great wars, but that the relative proportion of human strength which has
been employed in warfare has been remarkably less than in any previous
age. In our own history, of the two really great wars which have
permeated our whole social existence,--the Revolutionary War and the War
of Secession,--the first was fought in behalf of the pacific principle
of equal representation; the second was fought in behalf of the pacific
principle of federalism. In each case, the victory helped to hasten the
day when warfare shall become unnecessary. In the few great wars of
Europe since the overthrow of Napoleon, we may see the same principle at
work. In almost every case the result has been to strengthen the pacific
tendencies of modern society. Whereas warfare was once dominant over the
face of the earth, and came home in all its horrid details to
everybody's door, and threatened the very existence of industrial
civilization; it has now become narrowly confined in time and space, it
no longer comes home to everybody's door, and, in so far as it is still
tolerated, for want of a better method of settling grave international
questions, it has become quite ancillary to the paramount needs, of
industrial civilization. When we can see so much as this lying before us
on the pages of history, we cannot fail to see that the final extinction
of warfare is only a question of time. Sooner or later it must come to
an end, and the pacific principle of federalism, whereby questions
between states are settled, like questions between individuals by due
process of law, must reign supreme over all the earth.


End of the Working of Natural Selection upon Man. Throwing off the

As regards the significance of Man's position in the universe, this
gradual elimination of strife is a fact of utterly unparalleled
grandeur. Words cannot do justice to such a fact. It means that the
wholesale destruction of life, which has heretofore characterized
evolution ever since life began, and through which the higher forms of
organic existence have been produced, must presently come to an end in
the case of the chief of God's creatures. It means that the universal
struggle for existence, having succeeded in bringing forth that
consummate product of creative energy, the Human Soul, has done its work
and will presently cease. In the lower regions of organic life it must
go on, but as a determining factor in the highest work of evolution it
will disappear.

The action of natural selection upon Man has long since been essentially
diminished through the operation of social conditions. For in all grades
of civilization above the lowest, "there are so many kinds of
superiorities which severally enable men to survive, notwithstanding
accompanying inferiorities, that natural selection cannot by itself
rectify any particular unfitness." In a race of inferior animals any
maladjustment is quickly removed by natural selection, because, owing to
the universal slaughter, the highest completeness of life possible to a
given grade of organization is required for the mere maintenance of
life. But under the conditions surrounding human development it is
otherwise.[14] There is a wide interval between the highest and lowest
degrees of completeness of living that are compatible with maintenance
of life.

Hence the wicked flourish. Vice is but slowly eliminated, because
mankind has so many other qualities, beside the bad ones, which enable
it to subsist and achieve progress in spite of them, that natural
selection--which always works through death--cannot come into play. The
improvement of civilized man goes on mainly through processes of direct
adaptation. The principle in accordance with which the gloved hand of
the dandy becomes white and soft while the hand of the labouring man
grows brown and tough is the main principle at work in the improvement
of Humanity. Our intellectual faculties, our passions and prejudices,
our tastes and habits, become strengthened by use and weakened by
disuse, just as the blacksmith's arm grows strong and the horse turned
out to pasture becomes unfit for work. This law of use and disuse has
been of immense importance throughout the whole evolution of organic
life. With Man it has come to be paramount.

If now we contrast the civilized man intellectually and morally with the
savage, we find that, along with his vast increase of cerebral surface,
he has an immensely greater power of representing in imagination objects
and relations not present to the senses. This is the fundamental
intellectual difference between civilized men and savages.[15] The power
of imagination, or ideal representation, underlies the whole of science
and art, and it is closely connected with the ability to work hard and
submit to present discomfort for the sake of a distant reward. It is
also closely connected with the development of the sympathetic feelings.
The better we can imagine objects and relations not present to sense,
the more readily we can sympathize with other people. Half the cruelty
in the world is the direct result of stupid incapacity to put one's self
in the other man's place. So closely inter-related are our intellectual
and moral natures that the development of sympathy is very considerably
determined by increasing width and variety of experience. From the
simplest form of sympathy, such as the painful thrill felt on seeing
some one in a dangerous position, up to the elaborate complication of
altruistic feelings involved in the notion of abstract justice, the
development is very largely a development of the representative faculty.
The very same causes, therefore, deeply grounded in the nature of
industrial civilization, which have developed science and art, have also
had a distinct tendency to encourage the growth of the sympathetic

But, as already observed, these emotions are still too feebly developed,
even in the highest races of men. We have made more progress in
intelligence than in kindness. For thousands of generations, and until
very recent times, one of the chief occupations of men has been to
plunder, bruise, and kill one another. The selfish and ugly passions
which are primordial--which have the incalculable strength of
inheritance from the time when animal consciousness began--have had but
little opportunity to grow weak from disuse. The tender and unselfish
feelings, which are a later product of evolution, have too seldom been
allowed to grow strong from exercise. And the whims and prejudices of
the primeval militant barbarism are slow in dying out from the midst of
peaceful industrial civilization. The coarser forms of cruelty are
disappearing, and the butchery of men has greatly diminished. But most
people apply to industrial pursuits a notion of antagonism derived from
ages of warfare, and seek in all manner of ways to cheat or overreach
one another. And as in more barbarous times the hero was he who had
slain his tens of thousands, so now the man who has made wealth by
overreaching his neighbours is not uncommonly spoken of in terms which
imply approval. Though gentlemen, moreover, no longer assail one another
with knives and clubs, they still inflict wounds with cruel words and
sneers. Though the free--thinker is no longer chained to a stake and
burned, people still tell lies about him, and do their best to starve
him by hurting his reputation. The virtues of forbearance and
self-control are still in a very rudimentary state, and of mutual
helpfulness there is far too little among men.

Nevertheless in all these respects some improvement has been made, along
with the diminution of warfare, and by the time warfare has not merely
ceased from the earth but has come to be the dimly remembered phantom of
a remote past, the development of the sympathetic side of human nature
will doubtless become prodigious. The manifestation of selfish and
hateful feelings will be more and more sternly repressed by public
opinion, and such feelings will become weakened by disuse, while the
sympathetic feelings will increase in strength as the sphere for their
exercise is enlarged. And thus at length we see what human progress
means. It means throwing off the brute-inheritance,--gradually throwing
it off through ages of struggle that are by and by to make struggle
needless. Man is slowly passing from a primitive social state in which
he was little better than a brute, toward an ultimate social state in
which his character shall have become so transformed that nothing of the
brute can be detected in it. The ape and the tiger in human nature will
become extinct. Theology has had much to say about original sin. This
original sin is neither more nor less than the brute-inheritance which
every man carries with him, and the process of evolution is an advance
toward true salvation. Fresh value is thus added to human life. The
modern prophet, employing the methods of science, may again proclaim
that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Work ye, therefore, early and
late, to prepare its coming.


The Message of Christianity.

Now what is this message of the modern prophet but pure
Christianity?--not the mass of theological doctrine ingeniously piled up
by Justin Martyr and Tertullian and Clement and Athanasius and
Augustine, but the real and essential Christianity which came, fraught
with good tidings to men, from the very lips of Jesus and Paul! When did
St. Paul's conception of the two men within him that warred against each
other, the appetites of our brute nature and the God-given yearning for
a higher life,--when did this grand conception ever have so much
significance as now? When have we ever before held such a clew to the
meaning of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount? "Blessed are the meek, for
they shall inherit the earth." In the cruel strife of centuries has it
not often seemed as if the earth were to be rather the prize of the
hardest heart and the strongest fist? To many men these words of Christ
have been as foolishness and as a stumbling-block, and the ethics of the
Sermon on the Mount have been openly derided as too good for this world.
In that wonderful picture of modern life which is the greatest work of
one of the great seers of our time, Victor Hugo gives a concrete
illustration of the working of Christ's methods. In the saintlike career
of Bishop Myriel, and in the transformation which his example works in
the character of the hardened outlaw Jean Valjean, we have a most
powerful commentary on the Sermon on the Mount. By some critics who
could express their views freely about "Les Misérables" while hesitating
to impugn directly the authority of the New Testament, Monseigneur
Bienvenu was unsparingly ridiculed as a man of impossible goodness, and
as a milksop and fool withal. But I think Victor Hugo understood the
capabilities of human nature, and its real dignity, much better than
these scoffers. In a low stage of civilization Monseigneur Bienvenu
would have had small chance of reaching middle life. Christ himself, we
remember, was crucified between two thieves. It is none the less true
that when once the degree of civilization is such as to allow this
highest type of character, distinguished by its meekness and kindness,
to take root and thrive, its methods are incomparable in their potency.
The Master knew full well that the time was not yet ripe,--that he
brought not peace, but a sword. But he preached nevertheless that gospel
of great joy which is by and by to be realized by toiling Humanity, and
he announced ethical principles fit for the time that is coming. The
great originality of his teaching, and the feature that has chiefly
given it power in the world, lay in the distinctness with which he
conceived a state of society from which every vestige of strife, and the
modes of behaviour adapted to ages of strife, shall be utterly and
forever swept away. Through misery that has seemed unendurable and
turmoil that has seemed endless, men have thought on that gracious life
and its sublime ideal, and have taken comfort in the sweetly solemn
message of peace on earth and good will to men.

I believe that the promise with which I started has now been amply
redeemed. I believe it has been fully shown that so far from degrading
Humanity, or putting it on a level with the animal world in general, the
doctrine of evolution shows us distinctly for the first time how the
creation and the perfecting of Man is the goal toward which Nature's
work has been tending from the first. We can now see clearly that our
new knowledge enlarges tenfold the significance of human life, and makes
it seem more than ever the chief object of Divine care, the consummate
fruition of that creative energy which is manifested throughout the
knowable universe.


The Question as to a Future Life.

Upon the question whether Humanity is, after all, to cast in its lot
with the grass that withers and the beasts that perish, the whole
foregoing argument has a bearing that is by no means remote or
far-fetched. It is not likely that we shall ever succeed in making the
immortality of the soul a matter of scientific demonstration, for we
lack the requisite data. It must ever remain an affair of religion
rather than of science. In other words, it must remain one of that class
of questions upon which I may not expect to convince my neighbour, while
at the same time I may entertain a reasonable conviction of my own upon
the subject.[16] In the domain of cerebral physiology the question might
be debated forever without a result. The only thing which cerebral
physiology tells us, when studied with the aid of molecular physics, is
against the materialist, so far as it goes. It tells us that, during the
present life, although thought and feeling are always manifested in
connection with a peculiar form of matter, yet by no possibility can
thought and feeling be in any sense the products of matter. Nothing
could be more grossly unscientific than the famous remark of Cabanis,
that the brain secretes thought as the liver secretes bile. It is not
even correct to say that thought goes on in the brain. What goes on in
the brain is an amazingly complex series of molecular movements, with
which thought and feeling are in some unknown way correlated, not as
effects or as causes, but as concomitants. So much is clear, but
cerebral physiology says nothing about another life. Indeed, why should
it? The last place in the world to which I should go for information
about a state of things in which thought and feeling can exist in the
absence of a cerebrum would be cerebral physiology!

The materialistic assumption that there is no such state of things, and
that the life of the soul accordingly ends with the life of the body, is
perhaps the most colossal instance of baseless assumption that is known
to the history of philosophy. No evidence for it can be alleged beyond
the familiar fact that during the present life we know Soul only in its
association with Body, and therefore cannot discover disembodied soul
without dying ourselves. This fact must always prevent us from obtaining
direct evidence for the belief in the soul's survival. But a negative
presumption is not created by the absence of proof in cases where, in
the nature of things, proof is inaccessible.[17] With his illegitimate
hypothesis of annihilation, the materialist transgresses the bounds of
experience quite as widely as the poet who sings of the New Jerusalem
with its river of life and its streets of gold. Scientifically speaking,
there is not a particle of evidence for either view.

But when we desist from the futile attempt to introduce scientific
demonstration into a region which confessedly transcends human
experience, and when we consider the question upon broad grounds of
moral probability, I have no doubt that men will continue in the future,
as in the past, to cherish the faith in a life beyond the grave. In past
times the disbelief in the soul's immortality has always accompanied
that kind of philosophy which, under whatever name, has regarded
Humanity as merely a local incident in an endless and aimless series of
cosmical changes. As a general rule, people who have come to take such a
view of the position of Man in the universe have ceased to believe in a
future life. On the other hand, he who regards Man as the consummate
fruition of creative energy, and the chief object of Divine care, is
almost irresistibly driven to the belief that the soul's career is not
completed with the present life upon the earth. Difficulties on theory
he will naturally expect to meet in many quarters; but these will not
weaken his faith, especially when he remembers that upon the alternative
view the difficulties are at least as great. We live in a world of
mystery, at all events, and there is not a problem in the simplest and
most exact departments of science which does not speedily lead us to a
transcendental problem that we can neither solve nor elude. A broad
common-sense argument has often to be called in, where keen-edged
metaphysical analysis has confessed itself baffled.

Now we have here seen that the doctrine of evolution does not allow us
to take the atheistic view of the position of Man. It is true that
modern astronomy shows us giant balls of vapour condensing into fiery
suns, cooling down into planets fit for the support of life, and at last
growing cold and rigid in death, like the moon. And there are
indications of a time when systems of dead planets shall fall in upon
their central ember that was once a sun, and the whole lifeless mass,
thus regaining heat, shall expand into a nebulous cloud like that with
which we started, that the work of condensation and evolution may begin
over again. These Titanic events must doubtless seem to our limited
vision like an endless and aimless series of cosmical changes. They
disclose no signs of purpose, or even of dramatic tendency;[18] they
seem like the weary work of Sisyphos. But on the face of our own planet,
where alone we are able to survey the process of evolution in its higher
and more complex details, we do find distinct indications of a dramatic
tendency, though doubtless not of purpose in the limited human sense.
The Darwinian theory, properly understood, replaces as much
teleology[19] as it destroys. From the first dawning of life we see all
things working together toward one mighty goal, the evolution of the
most exalted spiritual qualities which characterize Humanity. The body
is cast aside and returns to the dust of which it was made. The earth,
so marvellously wrought to man's uses, will also be cast aside. The day
is to come, no doubt, when the heavens shall vanish as a scroll, and the
elements be melted with fervent heat. So small is the value which Nature
sets upon the perishable forms of matter! The question, then, is reduced
to this: are Man's highest spiritual qualities, into the production of
which all this creative energy has gone, to disappear with the rest? Has
all this work been done for nothing? Is it all ephemeral, all a bubble
that bursts, a vision that fades? Are we to regard the Creator's work as
like that of a child, who builds houses out of blocks, just for the
pleasure of knocking them down? For aught that science can tell us, it
may be so, but I can see no good reason for believing any such thing. On
such a view the riddle of the universe becomes a riddle without a
meaning. Why, then, are we any more called upon to throw away our belief
in the permanence of the spiritual element in Man than we are called
upon to throw away our belief in the constancy of Nature? When
questioned as to the ground of our irresistible belief that like causes
must always be followed by like effects, Mr. Mill's answer was that it
is the result of an induction coextensive with the whole of our
experience; Mr. Spencer's answer was that it is a postulate which we
make in every act of experience;[20] but the authors of the "Unseen
Universe," slightly varying the form of statement, called it a supreme
act of faith,--the expression of a trust in God, that He will not "put
us to permanent intellectual confusion." Now the more thoroughly we
comprehend that process of evolution by which things have come to be
what they are, the more we are likely to feel that to deny the
everlasting persistence of the spiritual element in Man is to rob the
whole process of its meaning. It goes far toward putting us to permanent
intellectual confusion, and I do not see that any one has as yet
alleged, or is ever likely to allege, a sufficient reason for our
accepting so dire an alternative.

For my own part, therefore, I believe in the immortality of the soul,
not in the sense in which I accept the demonstrable truths of science,
but as a supreme act of faith in the reasonableness of God's work. Such
a belief, relating to regions quite inaccessible to experience, cannot
of course be clothed in terms of definite and tangible meaning. For the
experience which alone can give us such terms we must await that solemn
day which is to overtake us all. The belief can be most quickly defined
by its negation, as the refusal to believe that this world is all. The
materialist holds that when you have described the whole universe of
phenomena of which we can become cognizant under the conditions of the
present life, then the whole story is told. It seems to me, on the
contrary, that the whole story is not thus told. I feel the omnipresence
of mystery in such wise as to make it far easier for me to adopt the
view of Euripides, that what we call death may be but the dawning of
true knowledge and of true life. The greatest philosopher of modern
times, the master and teacher of all who shall study the process of
evolution for many a day to come, holds that the conscious soul is not
the product of a collocation of material particles, but is in the
deepest sense a divine effluence. According to Mr. Spencer, the divine
energy which is manifested throughout the knowable universe is the same
energy that wells up in us as consciousness. Speaking for myself, I can
see no insuperable difficulty in the notion that at some period in the
evolution of Humanity this divine spark may have acquired sufficient
concentration and steadiness to survive the wreck of material forms and
endure forever. Such a crowning wonder seems to me no more than the fit
climax to a creative work that has been ineffably beautiful and
marvellous in all its myriad stages.

Only on some such view can the reasonableness of the universe, which
still remains far above our finite power of comprehension, maintain its
ground. There are some minds inaccessible to the class of considerations
here alleged, and perhaps there always will be. But on such grounds, if
on no other, the faith in immortality is likely to be shared by all who
look upon the genesis of the highest spiritual qualities in Man as the
goal of Nature's creative work. This view has survived the Copernican
revolution in science, and it has survived the Darwinian revolution.
Nay, if the foregoing exposition be sound, it is Darwinism which has
placed Humanity upon a higher pinnacle than ever. The future is lighted
for us with the radiant colours of hope. Strife and sorrow shall
disappear. Peace and love shall reign supreme. The dream of poets, the
lesson of priest and prophet, the inspiration of the great musician, is
confirmed in the light of modern knowledge; and as we gird ourselves up
for the work of life, we may look forward to the time when in the truest
sense the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of Christ, and
he shall reign for ever and ever, king of kings and lord of lords.


    C.P., Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy, 1874;
    U.W., The Unseen World, 1876;
    D., Darwinism and Other Essays, 1879;
    E.E., Excursions of an Evolutionist, 1884.

    1: C.P. ii. 432-451.
    2: C.P. ii. 89-91.
    3: C.P. ii. 318-321; D. 45.
    4: U.W. 40-42; D. 65-74; E.E. 278-282, 327, 336.
    5: C.P. ii. 154-159.
    6: C.P. ii. 133-135.
    7: D. 45-48; E.E. 306-319.
    8: C.P. ii. 310.
    9: E.E. 109-146.
    10: C.P. ii. 284-323.
    11: C.P. ii. 342-346, 358-363.
    12: C.P. ii. 202-208.
    13: C.P. ii. 213-224.
    14: C.P. ii. 334.
    15: C.P. ii. 312-315.
    16: U.W. 54; E.E. 289-291.
    17: U.W. 47-50; D. 75.
    18: D. 96-102.
    19: C.P. ii. 406.
    20: C.P. i. 45-71, 286; ii. 162; U.W. 6; D. 87-95.

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History. _Seventh Edition_. 12mo, $1.00. HARPER & BROTHERS, New York.



_With some Account of Ancient America and the Spanish Conquest. With a
steel portrait of Mr. Fiske, reproductions of many old maps, several
modern maps, facsimiles, and other illustrations. 2 vols. crown 8vo,

_LARGE-PAPER EDITION. Limited to 250 copies. 4 vols. 8vo, $16.00, net._

This work forms the beginning of Mr. Fiske's history of America. It is,
perhaps, the most important single portion yet completed by him, and
gives the results of vast research.


_With Plans of Battles, and a new Steel Portrait of Washington, engraved
by Willcox from a miniature never before reproduced. 2 vols. crown 8vo,
gilt top, $4.00._

The reader may turn to these volumes with full assurance of faith for a
fresh rehearsal of the old facts, which no time can stale, and for new
views of those old facts, according to the larger framework of ideas in
which they can now be set by the master of a captivating style and an
expert in historical philosophy.--_New York Evening Post_.

The freshness and vivid interest of the narrative and the comprehensive
generalization which springs naturally from the author's plan of a large
work on American history, of which the two volumes now published are no
more than a third or a fourth part, make it a book of new and permanent
interest.--_Springfield Republican_.


_Considered with some Reference to its Origins. With Questions on the
Text by Frank A. Hill, and Bibliographical Notes by Mr. Fiske. 12mo,
$1.00, net._

If this admirable volume (Fiske's "Civil Government") can be fairly
taught to our rising generation, the future, we believe, will show that
Mr. Fiske has never done more useful work than in its preparation.--_The
Congregationalist_ (Boston).


_With Map, Notes, etc. Crown 8vo, $2.00._

The author combines in an unusual degree the impartiality of the trained
scholar with the fervor of the interested narrator.... The volume should
be in every library in the land.--_The Congregationalist_ (Boston).

An admirable book.... Mr. Fiske has a great talent for making history
interesting to the general reader.--_New York Times_.


_Or, the Puritan Theocracy in its Relations to Civil and Religious
Liberty. Crown 8vo, $2.00._

It deals with the early colonial history of New England in the
entertaining and vivid style which has marked all of Mr. Fiske's
writings on American history, and it is distinguished, like them, by its
aggressive patriotism and its justice to all parties in controversy....
The whole book is novel and fresh in treatment, philosophical and wise,
and will not be laid down till one has read the last page, and remains
impatient for what is still to come.--_Boston Post_.


_In Riverside Library for Young People. With Maps. 16mo, 75 cents._

John Fiske's "War of Independence" is a miracle.... A book brilliant and
effective beyond measure.... It is a statement that every child can
comprehend, but that only a man of consummate genius could have
written.--Mrs. CAROLINE H. DALL, _in the Springfield Republican_.

The story of the Revolution, as Mr. Fiske tells it, is one of surpassing
interest. His treatment is a marvel of clearness and comprehensiveness;
discarding non-essential details, he selects with a fine historic
instinct the main currents of history, traces them with the utmost
precision, and tells the whole story in a masterly fashion. His little
volume will be a text-book for older quite as much as for young
readers.--_Christian Union_ (New York).


_Based on the Doctrine of Evolution, with Criticisms on the Positive
Philosophy. In two volumes. 8vo, $6.00._

"You must allow me to thank you for the very great interest with which I
have at last slowly read the whole of your work.... I never in my life
read so lucid an expositor (and therefore thinker) as you are; and I
think that I understand nearly the whole, though perhaps less clearly
about cosmic theism and causation than other parts. It is hopeless to
attempt out of so much to specify what has interested me most, and
probably you would not care to hear. It pleased me to find that here and
there I had arrived, from my own crude thoughts, at some of the same
conclusions with you, though I could seldom or never have given my
reasons for such conclusions."--CHARLES DARWIN.

This work of Mr. Fiske's may be not unfairly designated the most
important contribution yet made by America to philosophical
literature.--_The Academy_ (London).


If ever there was a spirit thoroughly invigorated by the "joy of right
understanding" it is that of the author of these pieces. Even the reader
catches something of his intellectual buoyancy, and is thus carried
almost lightly through discussions which would be hard and dry in the
hands of a less animated writer.... No less confident and serene than
his acceptance of the utmost logical results of recent scientific
discovery is Mr. Fiske's assurance that the foundations of spiritual
truths, so called, cannot possibly be shaken thereby.--_The Atlantic
Monthly_ (Boston).


_And Other Essays. 12mo, $2.00._

To each study the writer seems to have brought, besides an excellent
quality of discriminating judgment, full and fresh special knowledge,
that enables him to supply much information on the subject, whatever it
may be, that is not to be found in the volume he is noticing. To the
knowledge, analytical power, and faculty of clear statement, that appear
in all these papers, Mr. Fiske adds a just independence of thought that
conciliates respectful consideration of his views, even when they are
most at variance with the commonly accepted ones.--_Boston Advertiser_.


_12mo, $2.00._

Among our thoughtful essayists there are none more brilliant than Mr.
John Fiske. His pure style suits his clear thought. He does not write
unless he has something to say; and when he does write he shows not only
that he has thoroughly acquainted himself with the subject but that he
has to a rare degree the art of so massing his matter as to bring out
the true value of the leading points in artistic relief. It is this
perspective which makes his work such agreeable reading even on abstruse
subjects, and has enabled him to play the same part in popularizing
Spencer in this country that Littré performed for Comte in France, and
Dumont for Bentham in England. The same qualities appear to good
advantage in his new volume, which contains his later essays on his
favorite subject of evolution.... They are well worth reperusal.--_The
Nation_ (New York).


_Old Tales and Superstitions interpreted by Comparative Mythology. 12mo,

Mr. Fiske has given us a book which is at once sensible and attractive,
on a subject about which much is written that is crotchety or
tedious.--W.R.S. RALSTON, in _Athenæum_ (London).

A perusal of this thorough work cannot be too strongly recommended to
all who are interested in comparative mythology.--_Revue Critique_


_Viewed in the Light of his Origin. 16mo, gilt top, $1.00._

Mr. Fiske has given us in his "Destiny of Man" a most attractive
condensation of his views as expressed in his various other works. One
is charmed by the directness and clearness of his style, his simple and
pure English, and his evident knowledge of his subject.... Of one thing
we may be sure, that none are leading us more surely or rapidly to the
full truth than men like the author of this little book, who reverently
study the works of God for the lessons which he would teach his
children.--_Christian Union_ (New York).


_As Affected by Modern Knowledge. 16mo, gilt top, $1.00._

The charms of John Fiske's style are patent. The secrets of its fluency,
clearness, and beauty are secrets which many a maker of literary stuffs
has attempted to unravel, in order to weave like cloth-of-gold.... A
model for authors and a delight to readers.--_The Critic_ (New York).

*** _For sale by all Booksellers. Sent by mail, postpaid, on receipt of
price by the Publishers,_


_4 Park Street, Boston; 11 East 17th Street, New York._

       *       *       *       *       *

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