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Title: The Coming of Evolution - The Story of a Great Revolution in Science
Author: Judd, John Wesley, 1840-1916
Language: English
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The Cambridge Manuals of Science and Literature

THE COMING OF EVOLUTION



Cambridge University Press
London: Fetter Lane, E.C.
C. F. Clay, Manager

[Illustration]

Edinburgh: 100, Princes Street
London: H. K. Lewis, 136, Gower Street, W.C.
Berlin: A. Asher and Co.
Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus
New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Bombay and Calcutta: Macmillan and Co., Ltd.

All rights reserved



[Illustration: Charles Darwin]


THE COMING OF EVOLUTION

The Story of a Great Revolution in Science

by

JOHN W. JUDD
C.B., LL.D., F.R.S.

Formerly Professor of Geology and
Dean of the Royal College of Science



Cambridge:
at the University Press
1910

Cambridge:
Printed by John Clay, M.A.
At the University Press


    _With the exception of the coat of arms at the foot, the design
    on the title page is a reproduction of one used by the earliest
    known Cambridge printer, John Siberch, 1521_



CONTENTS


CHAP.                                                             PAGE

   I.  Introductory                                                  1

  II.  Origin of the Idea of Evolution                               5

 III.  The Development of the Idea of Evolution to the
       Inorganic World                                              14

  IV.  The Triumph of Catastrophism over Evolution                  20

   V.  The Revolt of Scrope and Lyell against Catastrophism         33

  VI.  _The Principles of Geology_                                  55

 VII.  The Influence of Lyell's Works                               68

VIII.  Early Attempts to establish the Doctrine of Evolution
       for the Organic World                                        82

  IX.  Darwin and Wallace: The Theory of Natural Selection          95

   X.  _The Origin of Species_                                     115

  XI.  The Influence of Darwin's Works                             136

 XII.  The Place of Lyell and Darwin in History                    149

       Notes                                                       160

       Index                                                       165


PLATES

Charles Darwin                                           _Frontispiece_

G. Poulett Scrope                                       _to face p. 35_

Charles Lyell                                               "   "   41

Alfred R. Wallace                                           "   "  110



CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTORY


When the history of the Nineteenth Century--'the Wonderful Century,' as
it has, not inaptly, been called--comes to be written, a foremost place
must be assigned to that great movement by which evolution has become
the dominant factor in scientific progress, while its influence has been
felt in every sphere of human speculation and effort. At the beginning
of the Century, the few who ventured to entertain evolutionary ideas
were regarded by their scientific contemporaries, as wild visionaries or
harmless 'cranks'--by the world at large, as ignorant 'quacks' or
'designing atheists.' At the end of the Century, evolution had not only
become the guiding principle of naturalists, but had profoundly
influenced every branch of physical science; at the same time,
suggesting new trains of thought and permeating the language of
philologists, historians, sociologists, politicians--and even of
theologians.

How has this revolution in thought--the greatest which has occurred in
modern times--been brought about? What manner of men were they who were
the leaders in this great movement? What the influences that led them to
discard the old views and adopt new ones? And, under what circumstances
were they able to produce the works which so profoundly affected the
opinions of the day? These are the questions with which I propose to
deal in the following pages.

It has been my own rare good fortune to have enjoyed the friendship of
all the great leaders in this important movement--of Huxley, Hooker,
Scrope, Wallace, Lyell and Darwin--and, with some of them, I was long on
terms of affectionate intimacy. From their own lips I have learned of
incidents, and listened to anecdotes, bearing on the events of a
memorable past. Would that I could hope to bring before my readers, in
all their nobility, a vivid picture of the characteristics of the men to
whom science and the world owe so much!

For it is not only by their intellectual greatness that we are
impressed. Every man of science is proud, and justly proud, of the
grandeur of character, the unexampled generosity, the modesty and
simplicity which distinguished these pioneers in a great cause. It is
unfortunately true, that the votaries of science--like the cultivators
of art and literature--have sometimes so far forgotten their high
vocation, as to have been more careful about the priority of their
personal claims than of the purity of their own motives--they have
sometimes, it must be sadly admitted, allowed self-interest to obscure
the interests of science. But in the story we have to relate there are
no 'regrettable incidents' to be deplored; never has there occurred any
event that marred the harmony in this band of fellow-workers, striving
towards a great ideal. So noble, indeed, was the great central
figure--Charles Darwin--that his senior Lyell and all his juniors were
bound to him by the strongest ties of admiration, respect and affection;
while he, in his graceful modesty, thought more of them than of himself,
of the results of their labours rather than of his own great
achievement.

It is not, as sometimes suggested, the striking out of new ideas which
is of the greatest importance in the history of science, but rather the
accumulation of observations and experiments, the reasonings based upon
these, and the writings in which facts and reasonings are presented to
the world--by which a merely suggestive hypothesis becomes a vivifying
theory--that really count in making history.

Talking with Matthew Arnold in 1871, he laughingly remarked to me 'I
cannot understand why you scientific people make such a fuss about
Darwin. Why it's all in Lucretius!' On my replying, 'Yes! Lucretius
guessed what Darwin proved,' he mischievously rejoined 'Ah! that only
shows how much greater Lucretius really was,--for he divined a truth,
which Darwin spent a life of labour in groping for.'

Mr Alfred Russel Wallace has so well and clearly set forth the essential
difference between the points of view of the cultivators of literature
and science in this matter, that I cannot do better than to quote his
words. They are as follows:--

    'I have long since come to see that no one deserves either
    praise or blame for the _ideas_ that come to him, but only for
    the _actions_ resulting therefrom. Ideas and beliefs are
    certainly not voluntary acts. They come to us--we hardly know
    _how_ or _whence_, and once they have got possession of us we
    cannot reject them or change them at will. It is for the common
    good that the promulgation of ideas should be free--uninfluenced
    by either praise or blame, reward or punishment.'

    'But the _actions_ which result from our ideas may properly be
    so treated, because it is only by patient thought and work that
    new ideas, if good and true, become adopted and utilized; while,
    if untrue or if not adequately presented to the world, they are
    rejected or forgotten[1].'[A]

_Ideas_ of Evolution, both in the Organic and the Inorganic world,
existed but remained barren for thousands of years. Yet by the labours
of a band of workers in last century, these ideas, which were but the
dreams of poets and the guesses of philosophers, came to be the accepted
creed of working naturalists, while they have profoundly affected
thought and language in every branch of human enterprise.

[A] For References see the end of the volume.



CHAPTER II

ORIGIN OF THE IDEA OF EVOLUTION


In all ages, and in all parts of the world, we find that primitive man
has delighted in speculating on the birth of the world in which he
lives, on the origin of the living things that surround him, and
especially on the beginnings of the race of beings to which he himself
belongs. In a recent very interesting essay[2], the author of _The
Golden Bough_ has collected, from the records of tradition, history and
travel, a valuable mass of evidence concerning the legends which have
grown out of these speculations. Myths of this kind would appear to fall
into two categories, each of which may not improbably be associated with
the different pursuits followed by the uncivilised races of mankind.

Tillers of the soil, impressed as they must have been by the great
annual miracle of the outburst of vegetable life as spring returns,
naturally adopted one of these lines of speculation. From the dead,
bare ground they witnessed the upspringing of all the wondrous beauty of
the plant-world, and, in their ignorance of the chemistry of vegetable
life, they imagined that the herbs, shrubs and trees are all alike built
up out of the materials contained in the soil from which they grow. The
recognition of the fact that animals feed on plants, or on one another,
led to the obvious conclusion that the _ultimate_ materials of animal,
as well as of vegetable, structures were to be sought for in the soil.
And this view was confirmed by the fact that, when life ceases in plants
or animals, all alike are reduced to 'dust' and again become a part of
the soil--returning 'earth to earth.' In groping therefore for an
explanation of the origin of living things, what could be more natural
than the supposition that the first plants and animals--like those now
surrounding us--were made and fashioned from the soil, dust or
earth--all had been 'clay in the hands of a potter.' The widely diffused
notion that man himself must have been moulded out of _red_ clay is
probably accounted for by the colour of our internal organs.

Thus originated a large class of legendary stories, many of them of a
very grotesque character. Even in many mediaeval sculptures, in this
country and on the continent, the Deity is represented as moulding with
his hands the semblance of a human figure out of a shapeless lump of
clay.

But among the primitive hunters and herdsmen a very different line of
speculation appears to have originated, for by their occupations they
were continually brought into contact with an entirely different class
of phenomena. They could not but notice that the creatures which they
hunted or tended, and slew, presented marked resemblances to
themselves--in their structures, their functions, their diseases, their
dispositions, and their habits. When dogs and horses became the servants
and companions of men, and when various beasts and birds came to be kept
as pets, the mental and even the moral processes characterising the
intelligence of these animals must have been seen by their masters to be
identical in kind with those of their own minds. Do we not even at the
present day compare human characteristics with those of animals, the
courage of the lion, the cunning of the fox, the fidelity of the dog,
and the parental affection of the bird? And the men, who depended for
their very existence on studying the ways of various animals, could not
have been less impressed by these qualities than are we.

Mr Frazer has shown how, from such considerations, the legends
concerning the relations of certain tribes of men with particular
species of animals have arisen, and thus the cults of 'sacred animals'
and of 'totemism' have been gradually developed. From comparisons of
human courage, sagacity, swiftness, strength or perseverance, with
similar qualities displayed by certain animals, it was an easy
transition to the idea that such characteristics were derived by
inheritance.

In the absence of any exact knowledge of anatomy and physiology, the
resemblances of animals to themselves would quite outbulk the
differences in the eyes of primitive men, and the idea of close
relationship in blood does not appear to have been regarded with
distaste. In their origin and in their destiny, no distinction was drawn
between man and what we now designate as the 'lower' animals. Primitive
man not only feels no repugnance to such kinship:--

    'But thinks, admitted to that equal sky,
    His faithful dog shall hear him company[3].'

It should perhaps be remembered, too, that, in the breeding of domestic
animals, the great facts of heredity and variation could not fail to
have been noticed, and must have given rise to reflection and
speculation. The selection of the best animals for breeding purposes,
and the consequent improvement of their stock, may well have suggested
the transmutation of one kind of animal into a different kind, just as
the crossing of different kinds of animals seems to have suggested the
possible existence of centaurs, griffins and other monstrous forms.

How early the principles of variation and heredity, and even the
possibility of improving breeds by selection, must have been appreciated
by early men is illustrated by the old story of the way in which the
wily Jacob made an attempt--however futile were the means he adopted--to
cheat his employer Laban[4].

Yet, in spite of observed tendencies to variation among animals and
plants, early man must have been convinced of the existence of distinct
kinds ('species') in both the vegetable and animal worlds; he recognised
that plants of definite kinds yielded particular fruits, and that
different kinds of animals did not breed promiscuously with one another,
but that, pairing each with its own kind, all gave rise to like
offspring, and thus arose the idea of distinct 'species' of plants and
animals.

It must be remembered, however, that for a long time 'the world' was
believed to be limited to a few districts surrounding the Eastern
Mediterranean, and the kinds or 'species' of animals and plants were
supposed to number a few scores or at most hundreds. This being the
case, the sudden stocking of 'the world' with its complement of animals
and plants would be thought a comparatively simple operation, and the
violent destruction of the whole a scarcely serious result. Even the
possibility of the preservation of pairs of all the different species,
in a ship of moderate dimensions, was one that was easily entertained
and was not calculated to awaken either surprise or incredulity.

But how different is the problem as it now presents itself to us! In the
year 1900 Professor S. H. Vines of Oxford estimated that the number of
'species' of plants that have been described could be little short of
200,000, and that future studies, especially of the lower microscopic
forms, would probably bring that number up to 300,000[5]. Last year, Mr
A. E. Shipley of Cambridge, basing his estimate on the earlier one of Dr
Günther, came to the conclusion that the number of described animals
must also exceed 300,000[6]. On the lowest estimate then we must place
the number of known species of plants and animals, living on the globe,
as 600,000! And if we consider the numbers of new forms of plants and
animals that every year are being described by naturalists--about 1500
plants and 1200 animals--if we take into account the inaccessible or as
yet unvisited portions of the earth's surface, the very imperfectly
known depths of the sea, and, in addition to these, the almost infinite
varieties of minute and microscopic forms, I think every competent judge
would consider _a million_ as being probably an estimate below, rather
than above, the number of 'species' now existing on the earth!

While some of these species are very widely distributed over the earth's
surface, or in the waters of the oceans, seas, lakes and rivers, there
are others which are as strikingly limited in their range. Many of the
myriad forms of insect-life pass their whole existence, and are
dependent for food, on a particular species of plant. Not a few animals
and plants are parasitical, and can only live in the interior or on the
outside of other plants and animals.

It will be seen from these considerations that in attempting to decide
between the two hypotheses of the _origin_ of species--the only ones
ever suggested--namely the fashioning of them out of dead matter, or
their descent with modification from pre-existing forms, we are dealing
with a problem of much greater complexity than could possibly have been
imagined by the early speculators on the subject.

The two strongly contrasted hypotheses to which we have referred are
often spoken of as 'creation' and 'evolution.' But this is an altogether
illegitimate use of these terms. By _whatever method_ species of plants
or animals come into existence, they may be rightly said to be
'created.' We speak of the existing plants and animals as having been
created, although we well know them to have been 'evolved' from seeds,
eggs and other 'germs'--and indeed from those excessively minute and
simple structures known as 'cells.' Lyell and Darwin, as we shall
presently see, though they were firmly convinced that species of plants
and animals were slowly developed and not suddenly manufactured, wrote
constantly and correctly of the 'creation' of new forms of life.

The idea of 'descent with modification,' derived from the early
speculations of hunters and herdsmen, is really a much nobler and more
beautiful conception of 'creation' than that of the 'fashioning out of
clay,' which commended itself to the primitive agriculturalists.

Lyell writing to his friend John Herschel, who like himself believed in
the derivation of new species from pre-existing ones by the action of
secondary causes, wrote in 1836:--

    When I first came to the notion, ... of a succession of
    extinction of species, and creation of new ones, going on
    perpetually now, and through an indefinite period of the past,
    and to continue for ages to come, all in accommodation to the
    changes which must continue in the inanimate and habitable
    earth, the idea struck me as the grandest which I had ever
    conceived, so far as regards the attributes of the Presiding
    Mind[7].'

And Darwin concludes his presentment of the doctrine of evolution in the
_Origin of Species_ in 1859 with the following sentence:--

    'There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several
    powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a
    few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone
    cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple
    a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have
    been, and are being, evolved[8].'

Compare with these suggestions the ideas embodied in the following
lines--ideas of which the crudeness cannot be concealed by all the
witchery of Milton's immortal verse:--

            'The Earth obey'd, and straight,
    Op'ning her fertile womb, teem'd at a birth
    Innumerous living creatures, perfect forms,
    Limb'd and full grown. Out of the ground up rose
    As from his lair, the wild beast, where he wons
    In forest wild, in thicket, brake, or den;
    Among the trees they rose, they walk'd;
    The cattle in the fields and meadows green:
    Those rare and solitary, these in flocks
    Pasturing at once, and in broad herds upsprung.
    The grassy clods now calv'd; now half appear'd
    The tawny lion, pawing to get free
    His hinder parts, then springs, as broke from bonds,
    And rampant shakes his brinded mane[9].'

Can anyone doubt for a moment which is the grander view of
'Creation'--that embodied in Darwin's prose, or the one so strikingly
pictured in Milton's poetry?

We see then that the two ideas of the method of creation, dimly
perceived by early man, have at last found clear and definite expression
from these two authors--Milton and Darwin. It is a singular coincidence
that these two great exponents of the rival hypotheses were both
students in the same University of Cambridge and indeed resided in the
same foundation--and that not one of the largest of that
University--namely Christ's College.



CHAPTER III

THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE IDEA OF EVOLUTION TO THE INORGANIC WORLD


We have seen in the preceding chapter that, with respect to the origin
of plants and animals--including man himself--two very distinct lines of
speculation have arisen; these two lines of thought may be expressed by
the terms 'manufacture'--literally making by hand, and 'development' or
'evolution,'--a gradual unfolding from simpler to more complex forms.
Now with respect to the _inorganic_ world two parallel hypotheses of
'creation' have arisen, like those relating to _organic_ nature; but in
the former case the determining factor in the choice of ideas has been,
not the avocations of the primitive peoples, but the nature of their
surroundings.

The dwellers in the valleys of the Euphrates and Tigris could not but be
impressed by the great and destructive floods to which those regions
were subject; and the inhabitants of the shores and islands of the
Aegean Sea, and of the Italian peninsula, were equally conversant with
the devastations wrought by volcanic outbursts and earthquake shocks. As
great districts were seen to be depopulated by these catastrophies,
might not some even more violent cataclysm of the same kind actually
destroy all mankind, with the animals and plants, in the comparatively
small area then known as 'the world'? The great flood, of which all
these nations appear to have retained traditions, was regarded as only
the last of such destructive cataclysms; and, in this way, there
originated the myth of successive destructions of the face of the earth,
each followed by the creation of new stocks of plants and animals. This
is the doctrine now known as 'Catastrophism,' which we find prevalent in
the earliest traditions and writings of India, Babylonia, Syria and
Greece.

But in ancient Egypt quite another class of phenomena was conspicuously
presented to the early philosophers of the country. Instead of sudden
floods and terrible displays of volcanic and earthquake violence, they
witnessed the annual gentle rise and overflowings of their grand river,
with its beneficent heritage of new soil; and they soon learned to
recognise that Egypt itself--so far as the delta was concerned--was 'the
gift of the Nile.'

From the contemplation of these phenomena, the Egyptian sages were
gradually led to entertain the idea that all the features of the
earth--as they knew it--might have been similarly produced through the
slow and constant action of the causes now seen in operation around
them. This idea was incorporated in a myth, which was suggested by the
slow and gradual transformation of an egg into a perfect, growing
organism. The birth of the world was pictured as an act of incubation,
and male and female deities were invented to play the part of parents to
the infant world. By Pythagoras, who resided for more than twenty years
in Egypt, these ideas were introduced to the Greek philosophers, and
from that time 'Catastrophism' found a rival in the new doctrine which
we shall see has been designated under the names of 'Continuity,'
'Uniformitarianism' or 'Evolution.' How, from the first crude notions of
evolution, successive thinkers developed more just and noble conceptions
on the subject, has been admirably shown by Professor Osborn in his
_From the Greeks to Darwin_ and by Mr Clodd in his _Pioneers of
Evolution_.

Poets, from Empedocles and Lucretius to Goethe and Tennyson, have sought
in their verses to illustrate the beauty of evolutionary ideas; and
philosophers, from Aristotle and Strabo to Kant and Herbert Spencer,
have recognised the principle of evolution as harmonising with, and
growing out of, the highest conceptions of science. Yet it was not till
the Nineteenth Century that any serious attempts were made to establish
the hypothesis of evolution as a definite theory, based on sound
reasoning from careful observation.

It is true that there were men, in advance of their age, who in some
cases anticipated to a certain extent this work of establishing the
doctrine of evolution on a firm foundation. Thus in Italy, the earliest
home of so many sciences, a Carmelite friar, Generelli, reasoning on
observations made by his compatriots Fracastoro and Leonardo da Vinci in
the Sixteenth Century, Steno and Scilla in the Seventeenth, and Lazzaro
Moro and Marsilli in the Eighteenth Century, laid the foundations of a
rational system of geology in a work published in 1749 which was
characterised alike by courage and eloquence. In France, the illustrious
Nicolas Desmarest, from his study of the classical region of the
Auvergne, was able to show, in 1777, how the river valleys of that
district had been carved out by the rivers that flow in them. Nor were
there wanting geologists with similar previsions in Germany and
Switzerland.

But none of these early exponents of geological theory came so near to
anticipating the work of the Nineteenth Century as did the illustrious
James Hutton, whose 'Theory of the Earth,' a first sketch of which was
published in 1785, was a splendid exposition of evolution as applied to
the inorganic world. Unfortunately, Hutton's theory was linked to the
extravagancies of what was known at that day as 'Vulcanism' or
'Plutonism,' in contradistinction to the 'Neptunism' of Werner. Hutton,
while rejecting the Wernerian notion of "the aqueous precipitation of
basalt," maintained the equally fanciful idea that the consolidation of
all strata--clays, sandstones, conglomerates, limestones and even
rock-salt--must be ascribed to the action of heat, and that even the
formation of chalk-flints and the silicification of fossil wood were due
to the injection of molten silica!

What was still more unfortunate in Hutton's case was that, in his
enthusiasm, he used expressions which led to his being charged with
heresy and even with being an enemy of religion. His writings were
further so obscure in style as often to lead to misconception as to
their true meaning, while his great work--so far as the fragment which
was published goes--contained few records of original observations on
which his theory was based.

Dr Fitton has pointed out very striking coincidences between the
writings of Generelli and those of Hutton, and has suggested that the
latter may have derived his views from the eloquent Italian friar[10].
But for this suggestion, I think that there is no real foundation.
Darwin and Wallace, as we shall see later, were quite unconscious of
their having been forestalled in the theory of Natural Selection by Dr
Wells and Patrick Matthew; and Hutton, like his successor Lyell, in all
probability arrived, quite independently, and by different lines of
reasoning, at conclusions identical with those of Generelli and
Desmarest.

Although, as we shall see, Hutton failed to greatly influence the
scientific thought of his day, yet all will now agree with Lyell that
'Hutton laboured to give fixed principles to geology, as Newton had
succeeded in doing to astronomy[11]'; and with Zittel that '_Hutton's
Theory of the Earth_ is one of the masterpieces in the history of
geology[12].'



CHAPTER IV

THE TRIUMPH OF CATASTROPHISM OVER EVOLUTION


There is no fact in the history of science which is more certain than
that those great pioneers of Evolution in the Inorganic
world--Generelli, Desmarest and Hutton--utterly failed to recommend
their doctrines to general acceptance; and that, at the beginning of
last century, everything in the nature of evolutionary ideas was almost
universally discredited--alike by men of science and the world at large.

The causes of the neglect and opprobrium which befel all evolutionary
teachings are not difficult to discover. The old Greek philosophers saw
no more reason to doubt the possibility of creation by evolution, than
by direct mechanical means. But, on the revival of learning in Europe,
evolution was at once confronted by the cosmogonies of Jewish and
Arabian writers, which were incorporated in sacred books; and not only
were the ideas of the sudden making and destruction of the world and all
things in it regarded as revealed truth, but the periods of time
necessary for evolution could not be admitted by those who believed the
beginning of the world to have been recent, and its end to be imminent.
Thus 'Catastrophic' ideas came to be regarded as _orthodox_, and
evolutionary ones as utterly irreligious and damnable.

There are few more curious facts in the history of science than the
contrast between the reception of the teaching of the Saxon professor
Werner, and those of Hutton, the Scotch philosopher, his great rival.
While the enthusiastic disciples of the former carried their master's
ideas everywhere, acting with missionary zeal and fervour, and teaching
his doctrines almost as though they were a divine revelation, the
latter, surrounded by a few devoted friends, saw his teachings
everywhere received with persistent misrepresentation, theological
vituperation or contemptuous neglect. Even in Edinburgh itself, one of
Werner's pupils dominated the teaching of the University for half a
century, and established a society for the propagation of the views
which Hutton so strongly opposed.

When it is remembered that Hutton wrote at a time when 'heresy-hunting'
in this country had been excited to such a dangerous extent, through the
excesses of the French Revolution, that his contemporary, Priestley, had
been hounded from his home and country for proclaiming views which at
that time were regarded as unscriptural, it becomes less difficult to
understand the prejudice that was excited against the gentle and modest
philosopher of Edinburgh.

We have employed the term 'Catastrophism' to indicate the views which
were prevalent at the beginning of last century concerning the origin of
the rock-masses of the globe and their fossil contents. These views were
that at a number of successive epochs--of which the age of Noah was the
latest--great revolutions had taken place on the earth's surface; that
during each of these cataclysms all living things were destroyed; and
that, after an interval, the world was restocked with fresh assemblages
of plants and animals, to be destroyed in turn and entombed in the
strata at the next revolution.

Whewell, in 1830, contrasted this teaching with that of Hutton and Lyell
in the following passage:--'These two opinions will probably for some
time divide the geological world into two sects, which may perhaps be
designated the "Uniformitarians" and the "Catastrophists." The latter
has undoubtedly been of late the prevalent doctrine.' It is interesting
to note, as showing the confidence felt in their tenets by the
'Catastrophists' of that day, that Whewell adds 'We conceive that Mr
Lyell will find it a harder task than he imagines to overturn the
established belief[13]!'

Some authors have suggested that the doctrine taught by Generelli,
Desmarest and Hutton, and later by Scrope and Lyell, for which Whewell
proposed the somewhat cumbrous term 'Uniformitarianism,' but which was
perhaps better designated by Grove in 1866 as 'Continuity[14],' was
distinct from, and subsidiary to, Evolution--and this view could claim
for a time the support of a very great authority.

In 1869, Huxley delivered an address to the Geological Society, in which
he postulated the existence of 'three more or less contradictory systems
of geological thought,' under the names of 'Catastrophism,'
'Uniformitarianism' and 'Evolution.' In this essay, distinguished by all
his wonderful lucidity and forceful logic, Huxley sought to establish
the position that evolution is a doctrine, distinct from and _in advance
of_ that of uniformitarianism, and that Hutton and Playfair--'and to a
less extent Lyell'--had acted unwisely in deprecating the extension of
Geology into enquiries concerning 'the beginning of things[15].'

But there is no doubt that Huxley at a later period was led to qualify,
and indeed to largely modify, the views maintained in that address. In a
footnote to an essay written in April 1887, he asserts 'What I mean by
"evolutionism" is consistent and thoroughgoing uniformitarianism'; and
in the same year he wrote in his _Reception of the Origin of
Species_[16]: 'Consistent uniformitarianism postulates evolution, as
much in the organic as in the inorganic world[17].'

It is not difficult to trace the causes of this change in the attitude
of mind with which Huxley regarded the doctrine of 'uniformitarianism.'
He assures us 'I owe more than I can tell to the careful study of the
_Principles of Geology_[18],' and again 'Lyell was for others as for me
the chief agent in smoothing the road for Darwin[19].' From the perusal
of the letters of Lyell, published in 1881, Huxley learned that the
author of the _Principles of Geology_ had, at a very early date, been
convinced that evolution was true of the organic as well as of the
inorganic world--though he had been unable to accept Lamarckism, or any
other hypothesis on the subject that had, up to that time, been
suggested. There can be little doubt, however, that a chief influence in
bringing about the change in Huxley's views was his intercourse with
Darwin--who was, from first to last, an uncompromising 'uniformitarian.'

We are fully justified, then, in regarding the teaching of Hutton and
Lyell (to which Whewell gave the name of 'uniformitarianism') as being
identical with evolution. The cockpit in which the great battle between
catastrophism and evolution was fought out, as we shall see in the
sequel, was the Geological Society of London, where doughty champions of
each of the rival doctrines met in frequent combat and long maintained
the struggle for supremacy.

Fitton has very truly said that 'the views proposed by Hutton failed to
produce general conviction at the time; and several years elapsed before
any one showed himself publicly concerned about them, either as an enemy
or a friend[20].' Sad is it to relate that, when notice was at last
taken of the memoir on the 'Theory of the Earth,' it was by bitter
opponents--such 'Philistines' (as Huxley calls them) as Kirwan, De Luc
and Williams, who declared the author to be an enemy of religion. Not
only did Hutton, unlike the writers of other theories of the earth, omit
any statement that his views were based on the Scriptures, but, carried
away by the beauty of the system of continuity which he advocated, he
wrote enthusiastically 'the result of this physical enquiry is that we
find no vestige of a beginning--no prospect of an end[21].' This was
unjustly asserted to be equivalent to a declaration that the world had
neither beginning nor end; and thus it came about that Wernerism,
Neptunism and Catastrophism were long regarded as synonymous with
Orthodoxy, while Plutonism and 'Uniformitarianism' were looked upon with
aversion and horror as subversive of religion and morality.

Almost simultaneously with the foundation of the Wernerian Society of
Edinburgh (in 1807) was the establishment in London of the Geological
Society. Originating in a dining club of collectors of minerals, the
society consisted at first almost exclusively of mineralogists and
chemists, including Davy, Wollaston, Sir James Hall, and later, Faraday
and Turner. The bitter but barren conflict between the Neptunists and
the Plutonists was then at its height, and it was, from the first,
agreed in the infant society to confine its work almost entirely to the
collection of facts, eschewing theory. During the first decade of its
existence, it is true, the chief papers published by the society were on
mineralogical questions; but gradually geology began to assert itself.
The actual founder and first president of the society, Greenough, had
been a pupil of Werner, and used all his great influence to discourage
the dissemination of any but Wernerian doctrines--foreign geologists,
like Dr Berger, being subsidised to apply the Wernerian classification
and principles to the study of British rocks. Thus, in early days, the
Geological Society became almost as completely devoted to the teaching
of Wernerian doctrines as was the contemporary society in Edinburgh.

Dr Buckland used to say that when he joined the Geological Society in
1813, 'it had a very _landed_ manner, and only admitted the professors
of geology in Oxford and Cambridge on sufferance.'

But, gradually, changes began to be felt in this aristocratic body of
exclusive amateurs and wealthy collectors of minerals. William Smith,
'the Father of English Geology'--though he published little and never
joined the society--exercised a most important influence on its work. By
his maps, and museum of specimens, as well as by his communications, so
freely made known, concerning his method of 'identifying strata by their
organic remains,' many of the old geologists, who were not aware at the
time of the source of their inspiration, were led to adopt entirely new
methods of studying the rocks. In this way, the accurate mineralogical
and geognostical methods of Werner came to be supplemented by the
fruitful labours of the stratigraphical palaeontologist. The new school
of geologists included men like William Phillips, Conybeare, Sedgwick,
Buckland, De la Beche, Fitton, Mantell, Webster, Lonsdale, Murchison,
John Phillips and others, who laid the foundations of British
stratigraphical geology.

But these great geological pioneers, almost without exception,
maintained the Wernerian doctrines and were firm adherents of
Catastrophism. The three great leaders--the enthusiastic Buckland, the
eloquent Sedgwick, and the indefatigable Conybeare--were clergymen, as
were also Whewell and Henslow, and they were all honestly, if
mistakenly, convinced that the Huttonian teaching was opposed to the
Scriptures and inimical to religion and morality. Buckland at Oxford,
and Sedgwick at Cambridge, made geology popular by combining it with
equestrian exercise; and Whewell tells us how the eccentric Buckland
used to ride forth from the University, with a long cavalcade of mounted
students, holding forth with sarcasm and ridicule concerning 'the
inadequacy of existing causes[22].'

And Sedgwick at Cambridge was no less firmly opposed to evolutionary
doctrine, eloquently declaiming at all times against the unscriptural
tenets of the Huttonians.

I cannot better illustrate the complete neglect at that time by leading
geologists in this country of the Huttonian teaching than by pointing to
the Report drawn up in 1833, by Conybeare, for the British Association,
on 'The Progress, Actual State and Ulterior Prospects of Geological
Science[23].' This valuable memoir of 47 pages opens with a sketch of
the history of the science, in which the chief Italian, French and
German investigators are referred to, but the name of Hutton is not even
mentioned!

And if positive evidence is required of the contempt which the early
geologists felt for Hutton and his teachings, it will be found in the
same author's introduction to that classical work, the _Outlines of
Geology_ (1822), in which he says of Hutton, after praising his views
on granite veins and "trap rocks":--

    'The wildness of many of his theoretical views, however, went
    far to counterbalance the utility of the additional facts which
    he collected from observation. He who could perceive in geology
    nothing but the _ordinary_ operation of actual causes, carried
    on in the same manner through infinite ages, without the trace
    of a beginning or the prospect of an end, must have surveyed
    them through the medium of a preconceived hypothesis alone[24].'

John Playfair, the brilliant author of the _Illustrations of the
Huttonian Theory_, died in 1819; under happier conditions his able work
might have done for Inorganic Evolution what his great master failed to
accomplish; but the dead weight of prejudice and the dread of anything
that seemed to savour of infidelity was, at the time of the great
European struggle against revolutionary France, too great to be removed
even by his lucid statements and eloquent advocacy. James Hall and
Leonard Horner, two faithful disciples of Hutton, who had joined the
infant Geological Society, forsook it early, the former leaving it on
account of the quarrel with the Royal Society, the latter retaining his
fellowship and interest, but going to live at Edinburgh. Greenough, 'The
Objector General,' as he was called, was left, fanatically opposing any
attempt to stem the current that had set so strongly in favour of
Wernerism and Neptunism, and the Catastrophic doctrines which all
thought to be necessary conclusions from them. The great heroic workers
of that day--while they were laying well and truly the foundations of
historical geology--were, one and all, indifferent to, or violently
opposed to, the Huttonian teaching. Neither Fitton nor John Phillips,
who at a later date showed sympathy with evolutionary doctrines, were
the men to fight the battle of an unpopular cause.

Attempts have been made by both Playfair and Fitton to explain how it
was that Hutton's teaching failed to arrest the attention it deserved.
The former justly asserted that the world was tired of the performances
issued under the title of 'theories of the earth'; and that the
condensed nature of Hutton's writings, with their 'embarrassment of
reasoning and obscurity of style[25]' are largely responsible for the
neglect into which they fell.

Fitton, in 1839, wrote in the _Edinburgh Review_, 'The original work of
Hutton (in two volumes) is in fact so scarce that no very great number
of our readers can have seen it. No copy exists at present in the
libraries of the Royal Society, the Linnean, or even the Geological
Society of London[26]!' He also points out that Hutton's work, and even
the more lucid _Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory_, were almost
unknown on the continent, owing to the isolation of Great Britain during
the war; and he even suggests that the popularity of Playfair in this
country may have not improbably led to the neglect of the original work
of Hutton[27].

On the continent, indeed, the authority of Cuvier was supreme, and in
his _Essay on the Theory of the Earth_, prefixed to his _Opus
magnum_--the _Ossemens Fossiles_--the great naturalist threw the whole
weight of his influence into the scale of Catastrophism. He maintained
that a series of tremendous cataclysms had affected the globe--the last
being the Noachian deluge--and that the floods of water that overspread
the earth, during each of these events, had buried the various groups of
animals, now extinct, that had been successively created.

If anything had been wanted in England to support and confirm the views
that were then supposed to be the only ones in harmony with the
Scriptures, it was found in the great authority of Cuvier. As Zittel
justly says, Cuvier's theory of 'World-Catastrophies'--'which afforded a
certain scientific basis for the Mosaic account of the "Flood," was
received with special cordiality in England, for there, more than in any
other country, theological doctrines had always affected geological
conceptions[28].' Britain, which had produced the great philosopher,
Hutton, had now become the centre of the bitterest opposition to his
teachings!

But 'the darkest hour of night is that which precedes the dawn,' and
while the forces of reaction in this country appeared to be triumphant
over Hutton's teaching, there was in preparation, to use the words of
Darwin, a 'grand work' ... 'which the future historian will recognise as
having produced a revolution in natural science.'



CHAPTER V

THE REVOLT OF SCROPE AND LYELL AGAINST CATASTROPHISM


The year 1797, in which the illustrious Hutton died, leaving behind him
the noble fragments of a monumental work, was signalised by the birth of
two men, who were destined to bring about the overthrow of
Catastrophism, and to establish, upon the firm foundation of reasoned
observation, the despised doctrine of Uniformitarianism or Evolution--as
outlined by Generelli, Desmarest and Hutton. These two men were George
Poulett Thomson (who afterwards took the name of Scrope) and Charles
Lyell. Both of them were, from their youth upwards, brought under the
strongest influences of the prevalent anti-evolutionary teachings; but
both emancipated themselves from the effects of these teachings, being
led gradually by their geological travels and observations, not only to
reject their early faith, but to become the champions of Evolution.

There was a singular parallel between the early careers of these two
men. Both were the sons of parents of ample means, and were thus freed
from the distractions of a business or profession, while throughout life
they alike remained exempt from family cares. Each of them received the
ordinary education of the English upper classes--Scrope at Harrow, and
Lyell at Salisbury, in a school conducted by a Winchester master on
public-school lines. In due course, the two young men proceeded to the
University--Scrope to Cambridge, to come under the influence of the
sagacious and eloquent Sedgwick, and Lyell to Oxford, to catch
inspiration from the enthusiastic but eccentric Buckland. On the opening
up of the continent, by the termination of the French wars, each of the
young men accompanied his family in a carriage-tour (as was the fashion
of the time) through France, Switzerland and Italy; and both utilised
the opportunities thus afforded them, to make long walking excursions
for geological study. They both returned again and again to the
continent for the purpose of geological research, and in the year 1825,
at the age of 28, found themselves associated as joint-secretaries of
the Geological Society. By this time they had arrived at similar
convictions concerning the causes of geological phenomena--convictions
which were in direct opposition to the views of their early teachers,
and equally obnoxious to all the leaders of geological thought in the
infant society which they had joined.

[Illustration: G Poulett Scrope]

It is interesting to note that each of these two young geologists
arrived independently, _as the result of their own studies and
observations_, at their conclusions concerning the futility of the
prevailing catastrophic doctrines. This I am able to affirm, not only
from their published and unpublished letters, but from frequent
conversations I had with them in their later years.

Scrope, who was slightly the elder of the two friends, spent a
considerable time in that wonderful district of France--the Auvergne--in
the year 1821, and though he had not seen the map and later memoirs of
Desmarest, he pourtrayed the structure of the country in a series of
very striking panoramic views, and was led, independently of the great
French observer, to the same conclusions as his concerning the volcanic
origin of the basalts and the formation of the valleys by river-action.
Scrope was at that time equally ignorant of the views propounded both by
Generelli and by Hutton.

By April 6th, 1822, Scrope had completed his masterly work _The Geology
and Extinct Volcanoes of Central France_, and had despatched it to
England. It would be idle to speculate now as to what might have been
the effect of that work--so full of the results of accurate observation,
and so suggestive in its reasoning--had it been published at that time.
It is quite possible that much of the credit now justly assigned to
Lyell, would have belonged to his friend. Unfortunately, however,
Scrope, instead of seeing his work through the press, determined first
to make another tour in Italy. He arrived at Naples just in time to
witness and describe the grandest eruption of Vesuvius in modern times,
that of October 1822. What he witnessed then--the blowing away of the
whole upper part of the mountain and the formation of a vast crater 1000
feet deep--made a profound impression on Scrope's mind. His interest
thus strongly aroused concerning igneous phenomena, Scrope continued his
travels and observations on the volcanic rocks of the peninsula of Italy
and its islands, and was thus led to a number of important conclusions
in theoretical geology, which he embodied in a work, published in 1825,
entitled _Considerations on Volcanos: the probable causes of their
phenomena, the laws which determine their march, the disposition of
their products, and their connexion with the present state and past
history of the globe; leading to the establishment of a New Theory of
the Earth_.

It is only right to point out that, in calling this book a _new_ 'Theory
of the Earth,' Scrope had no intention of comparing it with Hutton's
great work, with which he was at that time altogether unacquainted.
Nevertheless, his conclusions, though independently arrived at, were
almost identical with those of the great Scotch philosopher. But Scrope
made the same mistake as Hutton had done before him. He allowed his
theoretical conclusions to precede, instead of following upon an account
of the observations on which they were based. Scrope's book is certainly
one of the most original and suggestive contributions ever made to
geological science; but the very speculative character of a large
portion of the work led to the neglect of the really valuable hypotheses
and acute observations which it contained. In the preface, however, the
author gives a most striking and complete summary of the doctrine of
Evolution as opposed to Catastrophism, in the inorganic world, as will
be shown by the following extracts:--

    Geology has for its business a knowledge of the processes which
    are in continual or occasional operation within the limits of
    our planet, and the application of these laws to explain the
    appearances discovered by our Geognostical researches, so as
    from these materials to deduce conclusions as to the past
    history of the globe.

    The surface of the globe exposes to the eye of the Geognost
    abundant evidence of a variety of changes which appear to have
    succeeded one another during an incalculable lapse of time.

    These changes are chiefly,

    I. Variations of level between different constituent parts of
    the solid surface of the globe.

    II. The destruction of former rocks, and their reproduction
    under another form.

    III. The production of rocks _de novo_ upon the earth's surface.

    Geologists have usually had recourse for the explanation of
    these changes to the supposition of sundry violent and
    extraordinary catastrophes, cataclysms, or general revolutions
    having occurred in the physical state of the earth's surface.

    As the idea imparted by the term Cataclysm, Catastrophe, or
    Revolution, is extremely vague, and may comprehend any thing you
    choose to imagine, it answers for the time very well as an
    explanation; that is, it stops further inquiry. But it has also
    the disadvantage of effectually stopping the advance of science,
    by involving it in obscurity and confusion.

    If, however, in lieu of forming guesses as to what may have been
    the possible causes and nature of these changes, we pursue that,
    which I conceive the only legitimate path of geological inquiry,
    and begin by examining the laws of nature which are actually in
    force, we cannot but perceive that numerous physical phenomena
    are going on at this moment on the surface of the globe, by
    which various changes are produced in its constitution and
    external characters; changes extremely analogous to those of
    earlier date, whose nature is the main object of geological
    inquiry.

    These processes are principally,

    I. The Atmospheric phenomena.

    II. The laws of the circulation and residence of Water on the
    exterior of the globe.

    III. The action of Volcanos and Earthquakes.

    The changes effected before our eyes, by the operation of these
    causes, in the constitution of the crust of the earth are
    chiefly--

    I. The Destruction of Rocks.

    II. The Reproduction of others.

    III. Changes of Level.

    IV. The Production of New Rocks from the interior of the globe
    upon its surface.

    Changes which in their general characters bear so strong an
    analogy to those which are suspected to have occurred in the
    earlier ages of the world's history, that, until the processes
    which give rise to them have been maturely studied under every
    shape, and then applied with strict impartiality to explain the
    appearances in question; and until, after a long investigation,
    and with the most liberal allowances for all possible
    variations, and an unlimited series of ages, they have been
    found wholly inadequate to the purpose, it would be the height
    of absurdity to have recourse to any gratuitous and unexampled
    hypothesis for the solution of these analogous facts[29].

It was not till 1826, four years after the completion of the work, that
Scrope managed to publish his book on the Auvergne, and to tear himself
away from the speculative questions by which he had become obsessed. No
one could be more candid than he was in acknowledging the causes of his
failure to impress his views upon his contemporaries. Writing in 1858,
he said of his _Considerations on Volcanos_:--

    'In that work unfortunately were included some speculations on
    theoretic cosmogony, which the public mind was not at that time
    prepared to entertain. Nor was this my first attempt at
    authorship, sufficiently well composed, arranged or even
    printed, to secure a fair appreciation for the really sound and,
    I believe, original views on many points of geological interest
    which it contained. I ought, no doubt, to have begun with a
    description of the striking facts which I was prepared to
    produce from the volcanic regions of Central France and Italy,
    in order to pave the way for a favourable reception, or even a
    fair hearing, of the theoretical views I had been led from these
    observations to form[30].'

He adds that 'this obvious error was pointed out in a very friendly
manner' in a notice of the memoir on _The Geology of Central France_,
which was contributed by Lyell to the _Quarterly Review_ in 1827[31].

Scrope's geological career however--though one of so much promise--was
brought to a somewhat abrupt termination. In 1821 he had married the
last representative and heiress of the Scropes, the old Earls of
Wiltshire, and soon afterwards he settled down at the family seat of
Castle Combe, eventually devoting his attention almost exclusively to
social and political questions. From 1833 to 1868, when he retired from
Parliament, he was member for Stroud; and though he seldom took part in
the debates, he became famous as a writer of political tracts, thus
acquiring the sobriquet of 'Pamphlet Scrope.' He himself used to relate
an amusing incident at his own expense. His great friend Lord
Palmerston, on being greeted with the question, 'Have you read my last
pamphlet?' replied mischievously, 'Well Scrope, I hope I have!'

It is sad to relate that, owing to a carriage accident, Scrope's wife
became a confirmed invalid and he had no child to succeed to the estate.
Though cut off by other duties from the geological world, Scrope
maintained his correspondence with his old friend Lyell, and, as we
shall see in the sequel, was able to render him splendid service by the
luminous though discriminating reviews of the _Principles of Geology_ in
the _Quarterly Review_. Throughout his life, however, Scrope preserved a
love of geology, and occasionally contributed to the literature of the
science; and in his closing years, when unable to travel himself, he
gave to others the means of carrying on the researches in which he had
from the first been so deeply interested.

       *       *       *       *       *

Fortunately for science, Lyell's devotion to geological study was not,
like Scrope's, interrupted by the claims made upon him by social and
political questions. Feeling though he did, with his friend, the deepest
sympathy in all liberal movements, and being especially interested in
the reform of educational methods, his geological work always had the
first claim on his time and attention, and nothing was allowed to
interfere with his scientific labours.

[Illustration: Cha Lyell]

Charles Lyell was the eldest son of a Scottish laird, whose forbears,
after making a fortune in India, had purchased the estate of Kinnordy in
Strathmore, on the borders of the Highlands. Lyell's father was a man
of culture, a good classical scholar, a translator and commentator on
Dante, and a cryptogamic botanist of some reputation.

Lyell's mother, an Englishwoman from Yorkshire, was a person of great
force of character; this she showed when, on coming to Kinnordy, she
found drunkenness so prevalent among the lairds of this part of
Scotland, as to cause a fear on her part, that her husband might be
drawn into the dangerous society: she therefore induced him, when their
son Charles was only three months old, to abandon their Scottish home,
and settle in the New Forest of Hampshire. Thus it came about that the
future geologist, though born in Scotland, became, by education, habits
and association, English.

Charles Lyell's attention was first drawn to geology by seeing the
quartz-crystals and chalcedony exposed in the broken chalk-flints, which
he, as a boy of ten, used to roll down, in company with his
school-fellows, from the walls of Old Sarum. Like Charles Darwin, too,
he became an ardent and enthusiastic collector of insects, and grew to
be a tall and active young fellow, a keen sportsman, with only one
drawback--a weakness of the eyes which troubled him through all his
after life.

It was when at the age of seventeen he went to Oxford and came under the
influence of Dr Buckland that Lyell first became deeply engrossed in
geology.

Lyell used to tell many amusing stories of the oddities of his old
teacher and friend Buckland. In his lectures, both in the University and
on public platforms, Buckland would keep his audience in roars of
laughter, as he imitated what he thought to be the movements of the
iguanodon or megatherium, or, seizing the ends of his long clerical
coat-tails, would leap about to show how the pterodactyle flew. Lyell
became greatly attached to Buckland, who used to take him privately on
geological expeditions. On one of these occasions, they were dining at
an inn, where a gentleman at another table became greatly scandalised by
Buckland's conversation and manners. The professor, seeing this, became
more outrageous than ever, and on parting with Lyell for the night took
the candle and placed it between his teeth, so as to illuminate the
mouth-cavity exclaiming, 'There Lyell, practise this long enough and you
will be able to do it as well as I do.' When Buckland had retired, the
stranger revealed himself to Lyell as an old friend of his father's,
adding 'I hope you will never be seen in the company of that buffoon
again.' 'Oh! Sir,' said the startled undergraduate, 'that is my
professor at Oxford!' But Buckland did not always originate the fun, for
Lyell told me that, when the professor visited Kinnordy in his company,
he led him a long tramp under promise of showing him 'diluvium
intersected by whin dykes,' and, in the end, pointed to fields in a
boulder-clay country separated by gorse ('whin') hedges ('dykes').

Buckland, as shown by his _Vindiciae Geologicae_ (1820) and his
_Bridgewater Treatise_ (1836), was the most uncompromising of the
advocates for making all geological teaching subordinate to the literal
interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis; and in his _Reliquiae
Diluvianae_ (1823) he stoutly maintained the view that all the
superficial deposits of the globe were the result of the Noachian
deluge! He was indeed the great leader of the Catastrophists, and it is
not surprising to find Lyell, while still under his influence, scoffing
at 'the Huttonians[32].'

That Buckland greatly influenced Lyell in his youth, especially by
inoculating him with his splendid enthusiasm for geology, there can be
no doubt; and Lyell, far as he departed in after life from the views of
his teacher, never forgot his indebtedness to the Oxford professor. Even
in 1832, in publishing the second edition of the first volume of his
_Principles_, he dedicated it to Buckland, as one 'who first instructed
me in the elements of geology, and by whose energy and talents the
cultivation of science in the country has been so eminently
promoted[33].'

On leaving Oxford in 1819, at the age of twenty-two, Lyell joined the
Geological Society. What were the dominant opinions at that time on
geological theory among the distinguished men, who were there laying
the foundations of stratigraphical geology, we have already seen. Lyell,
in his frequent visits to the continent, became a friend of the
illustrious Cuvier, whose strong bias for Catastrophism was so forcibly
shown in his writings and conversation.

What then, we may ask, were the causes which led Lyell to abandon the
views in which he had been instructed, and to become the great champion
of Evolutionism?

It has often been assumed that Lyell was led by the study of Hutton's
works to adopt the Uniformitarian' doctrines. But there is ample
evidence that such was not the case. As late as the year 1839, Lyell
wrote of Hutton, 'Though I tried, I doubt whether I fairly read half his
writings, and skimmed the rest[34]'; and he emphatically assured Scrope
'Von Hoff has assisted me most[35].'

The fact is certain that Lyell, quite independently, arrived at the same
conclusions as Hutton, _but by totally different lines of reasoning_.

As early as 1817, when Lyell was only twenty years of age, he visited
the Norfolk coast and was greatly impressed by the evidence of the waste
of the cliffs about Cromer, Aldborough, and Dunwich; and three years
later we find him studying the opposite kind of action of the sea in the
formation of new land at Dungeness and Romney Marsh. All through his
life there may be seen the results of these early studies in a tendency
which he showed to _overrate marine action_; the chief defect in his
early views consisting in not fully realising the importance of that
subaerial denudation--of which Hutton was so great an exponent. But it
was in his native county of Forfarshire that Lyell found the most
complete antidote to the Catastrophic teachings. Buckland had taught him
that the 'till' of the country had been thrown down, just 4170 years
before, by the Noachian deluge: while Cuvier had asserted that the study
of freshwater limestones proved them to differ from any recent deposit
by their crystalline character, the absence of shells and the presence
of plant-remains, as well as by the occasional occurrence in them of
bands of flint. As the result of this, Cuvier and Brongniart had
declared that _the freshwater of the ancient world possessed properties
which are not observed in that of modern lakes_[36]. Lyell visited
Kinnordy from time to time between 1817 and 1824, and found on his
father's estate and other localities in Strathmore a number of small
lakes, lying in hollows of the boulder clay. These were being drained
and their deposits quarried for the purpose of 'marling' the land; the
excavations thus made showed that, under peat containing a boat hollowed
out of the trunk of a tree, there were calcareous deposits, sometimes 16
to 20 feet in thickness, which passed into a rock, solid and
crystalline in character as the materials of the older geological
formations and containing the stems and fruits of the freshwater plant
_Chara_ (Stone wort).

With the help of Robert Brown the botanist, and of analyses made by
Daubeny, with the advice of his life-long friend, Faraday, Lyell was
able to demonstrate that from the waters of the Forfarshire lakes,
containing the most minute proportions of calcareous salts, a limestone,
identical in all respects with those of the older rocks of the globe,
had been deposited, with excessive slowness, by the action of
plant-life[37]. He was thus enabled to supply a complete refutation of
the views put forward by Buckland and Cuvier.

Thus while Hutton had been led to his conclusion concerning evolution in
the inorganic world, by studying the waste going on in the weathered
crags and the flooded rivers of his native land, Lyell's conversion to
the same views was mainly brought about by the study of changes due to
the action of the sea along the English coasts, and by studying the
evidence of constant, though slow, deposition of limestone-rocks, by the
seemingly most insignificant of agencies.

Lyell however did not by any means neglect the study of the action of
rain and rivers. During his visits to Forfarshire, he had his initials
and the date cut by a mason on many portions of the rocky river-beds
about his home. Fifty years afterwards (in 1874) I visited with him the
several localities, to ascertain what amount of waste had resulted from
the constant flow of water over these hard rocks. It was in most cases
singularly small, the inscriptions being still visible, though deprived
of their sharpness; even the sandy detritus carried along by the
streams, being buoyed up by the water, had not been able in half a
century to wear away a thickness of half-an-inch of the hard rock. The
most singular result we noticed was, that the leaden small shot fired by
sportsmen, in the Highland tracts, whence these streams flowed, had
collected in great numbers in hollows formed by the young geologist's
inscriptions.

By his father's request, Lyell after leaving Oxford studied for the bar,
but there is no doubt that his main interest was in geological study. He
had made the acquaintance of Dr Mantell, and carried on a number of
researches in the south of England either alone or with that
geologist[38]. Four years after joining the Geological Society, in which
he was a constant worker, he became one of the secretaries. This was in
1823 when he was only 26 years of age. His frequent visits to Paris and
to various parts of the continent enabled him to exchange ideas with
many foreign naturalists, and it is clear from his correspondence that
at this early period he had abandoned the Catastrophic doctrines of his
teachers and friends.

Let us now consider the outside influences which were at work on Lyell's
mind in these early days. In the year 1818, the eminent palaeontologist
Blumenbach induced the University of Göttingen to offer a prize for an
essay on '_The investigation of the changes that have taken place in the
earth's surface conformation since historic times, and the applications
which can be made of such knowledge in investigating earth revolutions
beyond the domain of history._' A young German, Von Hoff, won the prize
by a most able book, displaying great erudition, entitled _The History
of those Natural Changes in the Earth's Surface, which are proved by
Tradition_. The first volume of this work appeared in 1822, and treated
of the results produced on the land by the action of the sea; the second
volume, published in 1824, dealt with the effects of volcanoes and
earthquakes. Von Hoff's learned work was confined to the collection of
data from classical and other early authors bearing on these subjects,
and to reasonings based on these records; for, unfortunately, he did not
possess the means necessary for travelling and making observations in
the districts described by him. Lyell acknowledges the great assistance
afforded to him by these two volumes of Von Hoff's work, but, unlike
that author, he was able to visit the various localities referred to,
and to draw his own conclusions as to the nature of the changes which
must have taken place. It is pleasant to be able to relate that the
debt which he owed to Von Hoff was fully repaid by Lyell; for the
learned German's third volume appeared after the issue of the
_Principles of Geology_, and as Zittel assures us 'its influence on Von
Hoff is quite apparent in the third volume of his work[39].'

At this period, too, Lyell had the advantage of travelling both on the
continent and in various parts of Great Britain with the eminent French
geologist, Constant Prevost, who had shown his courage by opposing some
of the catastrophic teachings of the illustrious Cuvier himself.

Still more important to Lyell were the opportunities he enjoyed for
comparing his conclusions with those of Scrope, who had joined the
Geological Society in 1824, and became a joint secretary with Lyell in
the following year. From both of them, in their old age, I heard many
statements concerning the closeness and warmth of their friendship, and
the constant interchange of ideas which took place between them at this
time.

From Scrope, Lyell heard of the occurrence of great beds of freshwater
limestone in the Auvergne, on a far grander scale than in Strathmore,
with many other facts concerning the geology of Central France, which so
greatly excited him as in the end to alter all his plans concerning the
publication of his own book. As soon as Scrope's great work on Auvergne
was published, Lyell undertook the preparation of a review for the
_Quarterly_--and this review was a very able and discriminating
production.

Although Lyell did not derive his views concerning terrestrial evolution
directly from Hutton, as is sometimes supposed, there were two respects
in which he greatly profited when he came to read Hutton's work at a
later date.

In the first place, he was very deeply impressed by the necessity of
avoiding the _odium theologicum_, which had been so strongly, if
unintentionally, aroused by Hutton, of whom he wrote, 'I think he ran
unnecessarily counter to the feelings and prejudices of the age. This is
not courage or manliness in the cause of Truth, nor does it promote
progress. It is an unfeeling disregard for the weakness of human nature,
for it is our nature (for what reason heaven knows), but as _it is_
constitutional in our minds, to feel a morbid sensibility on matters of
religious faith, I conceive that the same right feeling which guards us
from outraging too violently the sentiments of our neighbours in the
ordinary concerns of the world and its customs, should direct us still
more so in this[40].'

In the second place, Lyell was warned by the fate of Hutton's writings
that it was hopeless to look for success in combatting the prevailing
geological theories, unless he cultivated a literary style very
different from that of the _Theory of the Earth_. Lyell's father had to
a great extent guided his son's classical studies, and at Oxford, where
Lyell took a good degree in classics, he practised diligently both prose
and poetic composition. Lyell once told me that his tutor Dalby
(afterwards a Dean) had put Gibbon's _Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire_ into his hand with certain passages marked as 'not to be read.'
When he had studied the whole work (of course including the marked
passages) he said he conceived a profound admiration for the author's
literary skill--and this feeling he retained throughout his after life.
It is not improbable, indeed, that Lyell learned from Gibbon that a
'frontal attack' on a fortress of error is much less likely to succeed
than one of 'sap and mine.' Lyell was always most careful in the
composition of his works, sparing no pains to make his meaning clear,
while he aimed at elegance of expression and logical sequence in the
presentation of his ideas. The weakness of his eyes was a great
difficulty to him, throughout his life, and, when not employing an
amanuensis, he generally wrote stretched out on the floor or on a sofa,
with his eyes close to the paper.

The relation of Lyell's views to those of Hutton, may best be described
in the words of his contemporary, Whewell, whose remarks written
immediately after the publication of the first volume of the
_Principles_, lose nothing in effectiveness from the evident, if
gentle, note of sarcasm running through them:--

    'Hutton for the purpose of getting his continents above water,
    or manufacturing a chain of Alps or Andes, did not disdain to
    call in something more than common volcanic eruptions which we
    read of in newspapers from time to time. He was content to have
    a period of paroxysmal action--an extraordinary convulsion in
    the bowels of the earth--an epoch of general destruction and
    violence, to usher in one of restoration and life. Mr Lyell
    throws away all such crutches, he walks alone in the path of his
    speculations; he requires no paroxysms, no extraordinary
    periods; he is content to take burning mountains as he finds
    them; and, with the assistance of the stock of volcanoes and
    earthquakes now on hand, he undertakes to transform the earth
    from any one of its geological conditions to any other. He
    requires time, no doubt; he must not be hurried in his
    proceedings. But, if we will allow him a free stage in the wide
    circuit of eternity, he will ask no other favour; he will fight
    his undaunted way through formations, transition and
    flötz--through oceanic and lacustrine deposits; and does not
    despair of carrying us triumphantly from the dark and venerable
    schist of Skiddaw, to the alternating tertiaries of the Isle of
    Wight, or even to the more recent shell-beds of the Sicilian
    coasts, whose antiquity is but, as it were, of yester-myriad of
    years[41].'

Never, surely, did words written in a tone of banter constitute such
real and effective praise!

But though it is certain that Lyell did not _derive_ his evolutionary
views from Hutton, yet when he came to write his historical introduction
to the _Principles_, he was greatly impressed by the proofs of genius
shown by the great Scotch philosopher, and equally by the brilliant
exposition of those views by Playfair in his _Illustrations_. To the
former he gave unstinted praise for the breadth and originality of his
views, and to the latter for the eloquence of his writings--adopting
quotations chosen from these last, indeed, as mottoes for his own work.

It is only just to add that for the violent prejudices excited by some
of his contemporaries against Hutton's writings--as being directed
against the theological tenets of the day and therefore subversive of
religion--there is really no foundation whatever; and every candid
reader of the _Theory of the Earth_ must acquit its author of any such
design. The passage quoted on page 51 could only have been written by
Lyell at a time when he was still unacquainted with Hutton's works, and
was misled by common report concerning them. It is interesting to note,
however, that the passage occurs in a letter written in December 1827,
that is after the first draft of the _Principles of Geology_ had been
'delivered to the publisher,' and before the preparation of the
historical introduction, which would appear to have led to the first
perusal of Hutton's great work, and that of his brilliant illustrator,
Playfair.



CHAPTER VI

'THE PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGY'


We have seen that as early as the year 1817, when he visited East
Anglia, Lyell began to experience vague doubts concerning the soundness
of the 'Catastrophist' doctrines, which had been so strongly impressed
upon him by Buckland. And these doubts in the mind of the undergraduate
of twenty years of age gradually acquired strength and definiteness
during his frequent geological excursions, at home and abroad, during
the next ten years. At what particular date the design was formed of
writing a book and attacking the predominant beliefs of his
fellow-geologists, we have no means of ascertaining exactly; but from a
letter written to his friend Dr Mantell, we find that at one time Lyell
contemplated publishing a book in the form of 'Conversations in
Geology[42],' without putting his name to it. This was probably
suggested by the manner in which Copernicus and Galileo sought to
circumvent theological opposition in the case of Astronomical Theory.

But this plan appears to have been soon abandoned; and by the end of the
year 1827, when he had reached the age of thirty, Lyell had sent to the
printer the first manuscript of the _Principles of Geology_, proposing
that it should appear in the course of the following year in two octavo
volumes[43].

A great and sudden interruption to this plan occurred however, for just
at this time Lyell was engaged in writing his review for the _Quarterly_
of Scrope's work on _The Geology of Central France_, and while doing
this his interest was so strongly aroused by the accounts of the
phenomena exhibited in the Auvergne, that he was led for a time to
abandon the task of seeing his own book through the press; and, having
induced Murchison and his wife to accompany him, set off on a visit to
that wonderful district. He also felt that, before completing the second
part of his book, he needed more information concerning the Tertiary
formations, especially in Italy.

Lyell had been very early convinced of the supreme importance of travel
to the geologist. In a letter to his friend Murchison he said:--'We must
preach up travelling, as Demosthenes did "delivery" as the first, second
and third requisites for a modern geologist, in the present adolescent
state of the science[44].'

And Professor Bonney has estimated that so far did he himself practise
what he preached, that no less than one fourth of the period of his
active life was spent in travel[45].

The joint excursion of Lyell and Murchison to the Auvergne was destined
to have great influence on the minds of these pioneers in geological
research; both became satisfied from their studies that, with respect to
the excavation of the valleys of the country, Scrope's conclusions were
irresistible; and in a joint memoir this position was stoutly maintained
by them.

It is interesting to notice the impression made by these two great
geologists on one another during this joint expedition.

Murchison wrote that he had seen in Lyell 'the most scrupulous and
minute fidelity of observation combined with close application in the
closet and ceaseless exertion in the field[46].'

But I recollect that Lyell once told me how difficult Murchison found it
to restrain himself from impatience, when his companion's attention was
drawn aside by his entomological ardour. In an early letter, indeed, we
find that Murchison often expressed a wish that Lyell's sisters had been
with them to attend to the insect-collecting and thus leave Lyell free
for geological work[47].

On the other hand, Lyell informed me that Murchison had rendered him a
great service in showing how much a geologist could accomplish by
taking advantage of riding on horseback, and he declared in his letters
that he 'never had a better man to work with than Murchison';
nevertheless he ridiculed his 'keep-moving-go-it-if-it-kills-you' system
as--quoting from the elder Matthews--he called it[48].

On parting from Murchison and his wife, after the Auvergne tour, Lyell
proceeded to Italy and for more than a year he was busy studying the
Tertiary deposits of Lombardy, the Roman states, Naples and Sicily, and
conferring with the Italian geologists and conchologists. Thus it came
about that he was not free to resume the task of seeing the _Principles_
through the press till February 1829.

Immediately after his return to England Lyell was compelled, with the
assistance of his companion Murchison, to defend their conclusions
concerning the excavations of valleys by rivers from a determined attack
of Conybeare, who was backed up by Buckland and Greenough; the old
geologists endeavoured to prove that the river Thames had never had any
part in the work of forming its valley[49]. It is interesting to find
that, on this occasion, Sedgwick, who was in the chair, was so far
influenced by the arguments brought forward by the young men, as to lend
some aid to those who had come to be called the 'Fluvialists,' in
contradistinction to the 'Diluvialists'; he went so far as to suggest
that, with regard to the floods which the Catastrophist invoked, it
would be wiser at present to 'doubt and not dogmatise[50].'

To what extent the MS. of the _Principles_, sent to the publisher in
1827, was added to and altered two years later, we have no means of
knowing; but that the work was to a great extent rewritten would appear
from a letter sent to Murchison by Lyell, just before his return to
England. In it, he says:--

'My work is in part written, and all planned. It will not pretend to
give even an abstract of all that is known in geology, but it will
endeavour to establish _the principle of reasoning_ in the science; and
all my geology will come in as illustration of my views of those
principles, and as evidence strengthening the system necessarily arising
out of the admission of such principles, which, as you know, are neither
more nor less than that _no causes whatever_ have from the earliest time
to which we can look back to the present, ever acted, but those that are
_now acting_, and that they never acted with different degrees of energy
from that which they now exert'; but in 1833, in dedicating his third
volume to Murchison, he refers to the MS., completed in 1827, as a
'first sketch only of my _Principles of Geology_[51].'

At one period, Lyell contemplated again delaying publication till he had
visited Iceland. In the end, however, after declining to act as
professor of geology in the new 'University of London' (University
College), he set himself down steadily to the task of seeing the book
through the press. It was at this time that Lyell experienced a singular
piece of good fortune, comparable with that which befel Darwin thirty
years afterwards, by his book falling into the hands of a very
sympathetic reviewer. John Murray, who had undertaken the publication of
the _Principles_, was also the publisher of the _Quarterly Review_, and
Lockhart, the editor of that publication, undertook that an early notice
of the book should appear, if the proof-sheets were sent to the
reviewer. Buckland and Sedgwick were successively approached on the
subject of reviewing Lyell's book, but both declined on the ground of
'want of time'; though I strongly suspect that their real motive in
refusing the task was a disinclination to attack--as they would
doubtless have felt themselves compelled to do--a valued personal
friend. Conybeare was, fortunately, thought to be out of the question,
as Lockhart said he 'promises and does not perform in the reviewing
line.'

Very fortunately at this juncture, Lockhart, who was in the habit of
attending the Geological Society and listening to the debates (for as he
used to say to his friends whom he took with him from the Athenaeum,
'though I don't care for geology, yet I _do_ like to see the fellows
fight') thought of Scrope. Although he had practically retired from the
active work of the Geological Society at this time, Scrope was known as
an effective writer, and, happily for the progress of science, he
undertook the review of Lyell's book.

Although, of course, Lyell had no voice in the choice of a reviewer for
the _Principles_, yet he could not fail to rejoice in the fact that it
had fallen to his friend, who so strongly sympathised with his views, to
introduce it to the public. While the book was being printed and the
review of it was in preparation, a number of letters passed between
Lyell and Scrope, and the latter, before his death, gave me the
carefully treasured epistles of his friend, with the drafts of some of
his replies. These letters, some of which have been published, throw
much light on the difficulties with which Lyell had to contend, and the
manner in which he strove to meet them.

As we have already seen, many of the leaders in the Geological Society
at that day besides being strongly inclined to Wernerian and Cataclysmal
views, had an honest, however mistaken, dread lest geological research
should lead to results, apparently not in harmony with the accounts
given in Genesis of the Creation and the Flood. Lyell, as this
correspondence shows, was most anxious to avoid exciting either
scientific or theological prejudice. He wrote, 'I conceived the idea
five or six years ago' (that is in 1824 or 5) that 'if ever the Mosaic
geology could be set down without giving offence, it would be in an
historical sketch[52],' and 'I was afraid to point the moral ... about
Moses. Perhaps I should have been tenderer about the Koran[53].' He
further says 'full _half_ of my history and comments was cut out, and
even many facts, because either I, or Stokes, or Broderip, felt that it
was anticipating twenty or thirty years of the march of honest feeling
to declare it undisguisedly[54].'

Under these circumstances the publication by Scrope of his two long
notices of the _Principles_ in the _Review_ which was regarded as the
champion of orthodoxy, was most opportune. A very clear sketch was given
in these reviews of the leading facts and the general line of argument;
and at the same time the allowing of prejudice or prepossession to
influence the judgment on such questions was very gently deprecated[55].

But Scrope's reviews did not by any means consist of an indiscriminate
advocacy of Lyell's views. In one respect--that of the great importance
of subaerial action as contrasted with marine action--Scrope's views
were at this time in advance of those of Lyell, and he called especial
attention to the direct effects produced by rain in the earth-pillars of
Botzen. These Lyell had not at the time seen, but took an early
opportunity of visiting. Scrope, too, was naturally much more
speculative in his modes of thought than Lyell, and argued for the
probably greater intensity in past times of the agencies causing
geological change, and for the legitimacy of discussing the mode of
origin of the earth. Lyell, like Hutton, argued that he saw '_no signs_
of a beginning,' but his characteristic candour is shown when he
wrote:--

'All I ask is, that at any given period of the past, don't stop enquiry,
when puzzled, by a reference to a "beginning," which is all one with
"another state of nature," as it appears to me. But there is no harm in
your attacking me, provided you point out that it is the _proof_ I deny,
not the _probability_ of a beginning[56].'

Lyell clearly foresaw the opposition with which his book would be met
and wisely resolved not to be drawn into controversy. He wrote:--

'I daresay I shall not keep my resolution, but I will try to do it
firmly, that when my book is attacked ... I will not go to the expense
of time in pamphleteering. I shall work steadily on Vol. II, and
afterwards, if the work succeeds, at edition 2, and I have sworn to
myself that I will not go to the expense of giving time to combat in
controversy. It is interminable work[57].'

In order to maintain this resolve, Lyell, the moment the last sheet of
the volume was corrected, set off for a four months' tour in France and
Spain. While absent from England, he heard little of what was going on
in the scientific world; but, on his return, Lyell was told by Murray
that in the three months before the _Quarterly Review_ article appeared,
650 copies of the volume, out of the 1500 printed, had been sold, and he
anticipated the disposal of many more, when the review came out. This
expectation was realised and led to the issue of a second edition of the
first volume, of larger size and in better type.

Lyell, from the first, had seen that it would be impossible to avoid the
conclusion that the principles which he was advancing with respect to
the inorganic world must be equally applicable to the organic world. At
first he only designed to touch lightly on this subject, in the
concluding chapters of his first volume, and to devote the second volume
to the application of his principles to the interpretation of the
geological record. He, however, found it impossible to include the
chapters on changes in the organic world in the first volume and then
decided to make them the opening portion of the second volume.

It is evident, however, that as the work progressed, the interest of the
various questions bearing on the origin of species grew in his mind.
While Lyell found it impossible to accept the explanation of origin
suggested by Lamarck, he was greatly influenced by the arguments in
favour of evolution advanced by that naturalist; and as he wrote chapter
after chapter on the questions of the modification and variability of
species, on hybridity, on the modes of distribution of plants and
animals, and their consequent geographical relations, and discussed the
struggle of existence going on everywhere in the organic world, in its
bearings on the question of 'centres of creation,' he found the second
volume growing altogether beyond reasonable limits. His intense interest
in this part of his work is shown by his remark, 'If I have succeeded so
well with inanimate matter, surely I shall make a lively thing when I
have chiefly to talk of living beings[58]?'

By December 1831, Lyell had come to the resolution to publish the
chapters of his work which dealt with the changes going on in the
organic world as a volume by itself. This second volume of the
_Principles_ he gracefully dedicated to his friend Broderip, who had
rendered him such valuable assistance in all questions connected with
Natural History.

This volume appeared in January 1832, at the same time that a second
edition of the first volume was also issued. The reception of the second
volume by the public appears to have been not less favourable than that
of the first.

In March 1831, Lyell had accepted the Professorship of Geology in King's
College, London. In addition to his desire to aid in the work of
scientific education, in which he had always taken so great an interest,
Lyell seems to have felt that the task of presenting his views in a
popular form would be aided by his having to expound them to a
miscellaneous audience. For two years, these lectures were delivered,
and attracted much attention; the favourable impressions produced by
them on a man of the world have been recorded by Abraham Hayward, and on
more scientific thinkers by Harriet Martineau.

The third volume of the _Principles_ was not completed till a second
edition of the second volume had been issued. This third volume,
appearing in May 1833, dealt with the classification of the Tertiary
strata, to which Lyell had devoted so much labour, studying conchology
under Deshayes, and visiting all the chief Tertiary deposits of Europe
for the collection of materials. The application of the principles
enunciated in the two earlier volumes to the unravelling of the past
history of the globe, constituted the chief task undertaken in this part
of the great work. But not a few controversial questions were dealt
with, and the famous 'metamorphic theory' was advanced in opposition to
the Wernerian hypothesis of 'primitive formations.' The volume was
appropriately dedicated to Murchison, who had been Lyell's companion in
the famous Auvergne excursion, which had produced such an effect on his
mind.

Within a twelvemonth, a third edition of the whole work in four small
volumes was issued, and in the end no less than twelve editions of the
_Principles of Geology_ were issued, in addition to portions separately
published under the titles of _Manual_, _Elements_, and _Student's
Elements of Geology_, of all of which a number of editions have
appeared. Lyell was always the most painstaking and conscientious of
authors. He declared 'I must write what will be read[59],' and he spared
no labour in securing accuracy of statement combined with elegance of
diction. His father, a good classical and Italian scholar, had done much
towards assisting him to attain literary excellence, and at Oxford,
where he took a good degree in classics, he was greatly impressed by the
style of Gibbon's writings, and practised both prose and poetic
compositions with great diligence.

Both Darwin and Huxley always maintained that the real charm and power
of Lyell's work are only to be found in the _first edition_[60]. As new
discoveries were made or more effective illustrations of his views
presented themselves to his mind, passage after passage in the work was
modified by the author or replaced by others; and the effects of these
constant changes--however necessary and desirable in themselves--could
not fail to be detrimental to the book as a work of art. He who would
form a just idea of the greatness of Lyell's masterpiece, must read the
first edition, of course bearing in mind, all the while, the state of
science at the time it was written.



CHAPTER VII

THE INFLUENCE OF LYELL'S WORKS


Although the _Principles of Geology_ was received by the public with
something like enthusiasm--due to the cogency of its reasoning and the
charm of its literary style--there were not wanting critics who attacked
the author on the ground of his heterodox views. It had come to be so
generally understood, that every expression of geological opinion
should, by way of apology, be accompanied by an attempt to 'harmonise'
it with the early chapters of Genesis, that the absence of any
references of this kind was asserted to be a proof of 'infidelity' on
the part of the author.

But Lyell's sincere and earnest efforts to avoid exciting theological
prejudice, and the striking illustrations, which he gave in his
historical introduction, of the absurdities that had resulted from these
prejudices in the past, were not without effect. This was shown in a
somewhat remarkable manner in 1831, when, in response to an invitation
given to him, he consented to become a candidate for the Chair of
Geology at King's College, London, then recently founded.

The election was in the hands of an Archbishop, two Bishops and two
Doctors of Divinity, and Lyell relates their decision, as communicated
to him, in the following words:--

    'They considered some of my doctrines startling enough, but
    could not find that they were come by otherwise than in a
    straightforward manner, and (as _I_ appeared to think) logically
    deducible from the facts, so that whether the facts were true or
    not, or my conclusions logical or otherwise, there was no reason
    to infer that I had made my theory from any hostile feeling
    towards revelation[61].'

The appointment was, in the end, made with only one dissentient, and it
is pleasing to find that Conybeare, the most determined opponent of
Lyell's evolutionary views, was extremely active in his efforts in his
support. The result was equally honourable to all parties, and affords a
pleasing proof of the fact that in the half century which had elapsed
since the persecution of Priestley and Hutton, theological rancour must
have greatly declined. But while the reception of the _Principles of
Geology_ by the general public was of such a generally satisfactory
character, Lyell had to acknowledge that his reasoning had but little
effect in modifying the views of his distinguished contemporaries in
the Geological Society.

The admiration felt for the author's industry and skill, in the
collection and marshalling of facts and of the observations made by him
in his repeated travels, were eloquently expressed by the generous
Sedgwick, as follows:--

    'Were I to tell "the author" of the instruction I received from
    every chapter of his work, and of the delight with which I rose
    from the perusal of the whole, I might seem to flatter rather
    than to speak the language of sober criticism; but I should only
    give utterance to my honest sentiments. His work has already
    taken, and will long maintain a distinguished place in the
    philosophic literature of this country[62].'

Nevertheless, in the same address to the Geological Society, in which
these words were spoken, Sedgwick goes on to argue forcibly against the
doctrine of continuity, and to assert his firm belief in the occurrence
of frequent interruptions of the geological record by great convulsions.

Whewell was equally enthusiastic with Sedgwick, concerning the value of
the body of facts collected by Lyell, declaring that he had established
a new branch of science, 'Geological Dynamics'; but he also believed
with Sedgwick, that the evolutionary doctrine was as obnoxious to true
science as he thought it was to Scripture.

These were the views of all the great leaders of geological science at
that day, and in 1834, after the completion of the _Principles_, when a
great discussion took place in the Geological Society on the subject of
the effects ascribed by him to existing causes, Lyell says that
'Buckland, De la Beche, Sedgwick, Whewell, and some others treated them
with as much ridicule as was consistent with politeness in my
presence[63].'

It is interesting to be able to infer from Lyell's accounts of these
days, that the sagacious De la Beche was beginning to weaken in his
opposition to evolutionary views, and that Fitton and John Phillips were
inclined to support him, but neither of them was ready to come forward
boldly as the champions of unpopular opinions. John Herschel, who
sympathised with Lyell in all his opinions, was absent at the Cape,
Scrope was absorbed in the stormy politics of that day, and it was not
till Darwin returned from his South American voyage in 1838, that Lyell
found any staunch supporter in the frequent lively debates at the
Geological Society.

It is pleasing, however, to relate that this strong opposition to his
theoretical teachings, did not lessen the esteem, or interfere with the
friendship, felt for Lyell by his contemporaries. During all this time
he held the office of Foreign Secretary to the Society, and in 1835 was
elected President, retaining the office for two years.

The general feeling of the old geologists with respect to Lyell's
opinions was very exactly expressed by Professor Henslow, when in
parting from young Darwin on his setting out on his voyage, he referred
to the recently published first volume of the _Principles_ in the
following terms:--

'Take Lyell's new book with you and read it by all means, for it is very
interesting, but do not pay any attention to it, except in regard to
facts, for it is altogether wild as far as theory goes.'

(I quote the words as repeated to me by Darwin, in a conversation I had
with him on August 7th, 1880, of which I made a note at the time. Darwin
has himself referred to this conversation with Henslow in his
autobiography[64].)

Except in a few cases, this was the attitude maintained by all the old
geologists who were Lyell's contemporaries. Even as late as 1895 we find
the amiable Prestwich protesting strongly against 'the _Fetish_ of
uniformity[65],' and I well remember about the same time being solemnly
warned by a geologist of the old school against 'poor old Lyell's fads.'

It was not, indeed, till a new generation of geologists had arisen,
including Godwin-Austen, Edward Forbes, Ramsay, Jukes, Darwin, Hooker
and Huxley, that the real value and importance of Lyell's teaching came
to be recognised and acknowledged.

The most important influence of Lyell's great work is seen, however, in
the undoubted fact that it inspired the men, who became the leaders in
the revolution of thought which took place a quarter of a century later
in respect to the organic world. Were I to assert that if the
_Principles of Geology_ had not been written, we should never have had
the _Origin of Species_, I think I should not be going too far: at all
events, I can safely assert, from several conversations I had with
Darwin, that he would have most unhesitatingly agreed in that opinion.

Darwin's devotion to his 'dear master' as he used to call Lyell, was of
the most touching character, and it was prominently manifested in all
his geological conversations. In his books and in his letters he never
failed to express his deep indebtedness to his 'own true love' as he
called the _Principles of Geology_. In what was Darwin's own most
favourite work, the _Narrative of the Voyage of the Beagle_, he wrote
'To Charles Lyell, Esq., F.R.S., this second edition is dedicated with
grateful pleasure, as an acknowledgment that the chief part of whatever
scientific merit this Journal and the other works of the author may
possess, has been derived from studying the well-known, admirable
_Principles of Geology_.'

How Lyell's first volume inspired Darwin with his passion for geological
research, and how his second volume was one of the determining causes in
turning his mind in the direction of Evolution, we shall see in the
sequel. In 1844, Darwin wrote to Leonard Horner how 'forcibly impressed
I am with the infinite superiority of the Lyellian School of Geology
over the continental,' he even says, 'I always feel as if my books came
half out of Lyell's brain'; adding 'I have always thought that the great
merit of the _Principles_ was that it altered the whole tone of one's
mind, and therefore that, when seeing a thing never seen by Lyell one
yet saw it partially through his eyes[66].' About the same time Darwin
wrote, 'I am much pleased to hear of the call for a new edition of the
_Principles_: what glorious good that work has done[67]!' And in the
_Origin of Species_ he gives his deliberate verdict on the book,
referring to it as 'Lyell's grand work on the _Principles of Geology_,
which the future historian will recognise as having produced a
revolution in Natural Science[68].'

Darwin seemed always afraid, such was his sensitive and generous nature,
that he did not sufficiently acknowledge his indebtedness to Lyell. He
wrote to his friend in 1845:

    'I have long wished not so much for your sake as for my own
    feelings of honesty, to acknowledge more plainly than by mere
    reference, how much I geologically owe you. Those authors,
    however, who like you educate people's minds as well as teach
    them special facts, can never, I should think, have full justice
    done them except by posterity, for the mind thus insensibly
    improved can hardly perceive its own upward ascent.'

Very heartily, as I can bear witness from long intercourse with him, was
this deep affection of Darwin reciprocated by the man who was addressed
by him in his letters as 'Your affectionate pupil.' But a stranger who
conversed with Lyell would have thought that he was the junior and a
disciple; so profound was his reverence for the genius of Darwin.

There can be no doubt that Lyell's extreme caution in statement, and his
candour in admitting and replying to objections, had much to do with his
acquirement of that authority with general, no less than with
scientific, readers, which he so long enjoyed. In his candour he
resembled his friend Darwin; but his caution was carried so far that,
even after full conviction had entered his mind on a subject, he would
still hesitate to avow that conviction. He was always obsessed by a
feeling that there still _might be_ objections, which he had not
foreseen and met, and therefore felt it unsafe to declare himself. No
doubt the peculiarly trying circumstances under which his work was
written--a seemingly hopeless protest against ideas held unswervingly by
teachers and fellow-workers--led to the creation in him of this habit of
mind.

Darwin, with all his candour, was of a far more sanguine and optimistic
temperament than Lyell, and the difference between them, in this
respect, often comes out in their correspondence.

Thus Darwin, from the horrors he had witnessed in South America, had
come to entertain a most fanatical hatred of slavery--his abhorrence of
which he used to express in most unmeasured terms. Lyell, in his travels
in the Southern United States, was equally convinced of the
undesirability of the institution; but he thought it just to state the
grounds on which it was defended, by those who had been his hosts in the
Slave-states. Even this, however, was too much for Darwin, and he felt
that he must 'explode' to his friend 'How could you relate so placidly
that atrocious sentiment' (it was of course only quoted by Lyell) 'about
separating children from their parents; and in the next page speak of
being distressed at the whites not having prospered: I assure you the
contrast made me exclaim out. But I have broken my intention (that is
not to write about the matter), so no more of this odious deadly
subject[69].'

It was just the same in their mode of viewing scientific questions. Thus
in 1838, while they were in the midst of the fierce battle with the 'Old
Guard' at the Geological Society, Lyell wrote to his brother-in-arms as
follows:--

    'I really find, when bringing up my Preliminary Essays in
    _Principles_ to the science of the present day, so far as I know
    it, that the great outline, and even most of the details, stand
    so uninjured, and in many cases they are so much strengthened
    by new discoveries, especially by yours, that we may begin to
    hope that the great principles there insisted on will stand the
    test of new discoveries[70].'

To which the younger and more ardent Darwin warmly replied:--

    '_Begin to hope_: why, the _possibility_ of a doubt has never
    crossed my mind for many a day. This may be very
    unphilosophical, but my geological salvation is staked on it ...
    it makes me quite indignant that you should talk of
    _hoping_[71].'

When talking with Lyell at this time about the opposition of the old
school of geologists to their joint views, Darwin said, 'What a good
thing it would be if every scientific man was to die at sixty years old,
as afterwards he would be sure to oppose all new doctrines[72].'

In conversations that I had with him late in life, Darwin several times
remarked to me, that 'he had seen so many of his friends make fools of
themselves by putting forward new theoretical views in their old age,
that he had resolved quite early in life, never to publish any
speculative opinions after he was sixty.' But both in conversation and
in his writings he always maintained that Lyell was an exception to all
such rules, seeing that at last he adopted the theory of Natural
Selection in his old age, thus displaying the most 'remarkable candour.'

All who had the pleasure of discussing geological questions with Lyell
will recognise the truth of the portrait drawn of his old friend by
Darwin, about a year before his own death.

He says:--

    'His mind was characterised, as it appeared to me, by clearness,
    caution, sound judgment, and a good deal of originality. When I
    made a remark to him on Geology, he never rested until he saw
    the whole case clearly, and often made me see it more clearly
    than I had done before.'

And he sums up his admiration of the 'dear old master' in the words

    'The science of Geology is enormously indebted to Lyell--more
    so, as I believe, than to any other man who ever lived[73].'

Alfred Russel Wallace is scarcely less emphatic than Charles Darwin
himself in his expression of affection and admiration for Lyell, and his
indebtedness to the _Principles of Geology_.

In his Autobiography, Wallace writes:--

    'With Sir Charles I soon felt at home, owing to his refined and
    gentle manners, his fund of quiet humour, and his intense love
    and extensive knowledge of natural science. His great liberality
    of thought and wide general interests were also attractive to
    me; and although when he had once arrived at a definite
    conclusion, he held by it very tenaciously until a considerable
    body of well-ascertained facts could be adduced against it, yet
    he was always willing to listen to the arguments of his
    opponents, and to give them careful and repeated
    consideration[74].'

Of the influence of the _Principles of Geology_ in leading him to
evolution, he wrote:

    'Along with Malthus I had read, and been even more deeply
    impressed by, Sir Charles Lyell's immortal _Principles of
    Geology_; which had taught me that the inorganic world--the
    whole surface of the earth, its seas and lands, its mountains
    and valleys, its rivers and lakes, and every detail of its
    climatic conditions--were and always had been in a continual
    state of slow modification. Hence it became obvious that the
    forms of life must have become continually adjusted to these
    changed conditions in order to survive. The succession of fossil
    remains throughout the whole geological series of rocks is the
    record of the change; and it became easy to see that the extreme
    slowness of these changes was such as to allow ample opportunity
    for the continuous automatic adjustment of the organic to the
    inorganic world, as well as of each organism to every other
    organism in the same area, by the simple processes of "variation
    and survival of the fittest." Thus was the fundamental idea of
    the "origin of species" logically formulated from the
    consideration of a series of well ascertained facts[75].'

Nor were the two men (who, like Aaron and Hur so steadily sustained the
hands of Darwin in his long vigil), behind the two authors of Natural
Selection themselves in their devotion to Lyell. How touching is
Hooker's tribute of affection on the death of his friend, 'My loved, my
best friend, for well nigh forty years of my life. To me the blank is
fearful, for it never will, never can be filled up. The most generous
sharer of my own and my family's hopes, joys, and sorrows, whose
affection for me was truly that of a father and brother combined[76].'

And Huxley speaking of Lyell, the day after his death said, 'Sir Charles
Lyell would be known in history as the greatest geologist of his time.
Some days ago I went to my venerable friend, and put before him the
results of the _Challenger_ expedition. Nothing could then have been
more touching than the conflict between the mind and the material body,
the brain clear and comprehending all; while the lips could hardly
express the views which the busy mind formed[77].'

How well do I recollect my last visit to Lyell a day or two after this
farewell interview with Huxley, the glow of gratitude which lighted up
the noble features as with trembling lips he told me how 'Huxley had
repeated his whole Royal Institution lecture at his bedside.'

Huxley was a most devoted student of Lyell. Speaking to his fellow
geologists in 1869 he said, 'Which of us has not thumbed every page of
the _Principles of Geology_[78]?' and writing in 1887 on the reception
of the _Origin of Species_, he said:--

    'I have recently read afresh the first edition of the
    _Principles of Geology_; and when I consider that this
    remarkable book had been nearly thirty years in everybody's
    hands, and that it brings home to any reader of ordinary
    intelligence a great principle and a great fact--the principle,
    that the past must be explained by the present, unless good
    cause be shown to the contrary; and the fact, that, so far as
    our knowledge of the past history of life on our globe goes, no
    such cause can be shown--I cannot but believe that Lyell, for
    others, as for myself, was the chief agent in smoothing the road
    for Darwin. For consistent uniformitarianism postulates
    evolution as much in the organic as in the inorganic world. The
    origin of a new species by other than ordinary agencies would be
    a vastly greater 'catastrophe' than any of those which Lyell
    successfully eliminated from sober geological speculation[79].'

How strongly Lyell had become convinced, as early as 1832, of the truth
and importance of the doctrine of Evolution--in the _organic_ as well as
in the inorganic world--in spite of his emphatic rejection of the theory
of Lamarck, we shall show in the next chapter. It was this conviction,
as we shall see, which led to his friendly encouragement of Darwin in
his persevering investigations and to his constant solicitude that the
results of his friend's labours should not be lost through delay in
their publication.



CHAPTER VIII

EARLY ATTEMPTS TO ESTABLISH THE DOCTRINE OF EVOLUTION FOR THE ORGANIC
WORLD


In studying the history of Evolutionary ideas, it is necessary to keep
in mind that there are two perfectly distinct lines of thought, the
origin and development of which have to be considered.

_First._ The conviction that species are not immutable, but that, by
some means or other, new forms of life are derived from pre-existing
ones.

_Secondly._ The conception of some process or processes, by which this
change of old forms into new ones may be explained.

Buffon, Kant, Goethe, and many other philosophic thinkers, have been
more or less firmly persuaded of the truth of the first of these
propositions; and even Linnaeus himself was ready to make admissions in
this direction. It was impossible for anyone who was convinced of the
truth of the doctrine of continuity or evolution in the _inorganic_
world, to avoid the speculation that the same arguments by which the
truth of that doctrine was maintained must apply also to the _organic_
world.

Hence we find that directly the _Principles of Geology_ was published,
thinkers, like Sedgwick and Whewell, at once taxed Lyell with holding
that 'the creation of new species is going on at the present day,' and
Lyell replied to the latter:--

    'It was impossible, I think, for anyone to read my work and not
    to perceive that my notion of uniformity in the existing causes
    of change always implied that they must for ever produce an
    endless variety of effects, _both in the animate and inanimate
    world_[80].'

And to Sedgwick, Lyell wrote:--

    'Now touching my opinion,' concerning the creation of new
    species at the present day, 'I have no right to object, _as I
    really entertain it_, to your controverting it; at the same time
    you will see, on reading my chapter on the subject, that I have
    studiously avoided laying down the doctrine dogmatically as
    capable of proof. I have admitted that we have only data for
    _extinction_, and I have left it to be inferred, instead of
    enunciating it even as my opinion, that the place of lost
    species is filled up (as it was of old) from time to time by new
    species. I have only ventured to say that had new mammalia come
    in, we could hardly have hoped to verify the fact[81].'

That Lyell was convinced of the truth of the doctrine of the evolution
of species is shown by his correspondence with friends and sympathisers
like Scrope and John Herschel. But he wrote:

    'If I had stated ... the possibility of the introduction or
    origination of fresh species being a natural, in
    contradistinction to a miraculous process, I should have raised
    a host of prejudices against me, which are unfortunately opposed
    at every step to any philosopher who attempts to address the
    public on these mysterious subjects[82].'

That Lyell was justified in not increasing the difficulties which would
retard the reception of his views, by introducing matter, which he still
regarded as of a more or less speculative character, I think everyone
will be prepared to admit. Darwin had to contend with the same
difficulty in writing the _Origin of Species_. To have included the
question of the origin of mankind _prominently_ in that work would have
raised an almost insurmountable barrier to its reception. He says in his
autobiography, 'I thought it best, in order that no honourable man
should accuse me of concealing my views, to add that by the work "light
would be thrown on the origin of man and his history." It would have
been useless and injurious to the success of the book to have paraded,
without giving evidence, my conviction with respect to his origin[83].'

Huxley and Haeckel have both borne testimony to the fact that Lyell, at
the time he wrote the _Principles_, was firmly convinced that new
species had originated by evolution from old ones. Indeed in a letter to
John Herschel in 1836 he goes very far in the direction of anticipating
the lines in which enquiries on the _method_ of evolution must proceed,
having even a prevision of the doctrine of _mimicry_, long afterwards
established by Bates and others. Lyell wrote:--

    'In regard to the origination of new species, I am very glad to
    find that you think it probable that it may be carried on
    through the intervention of intermediate causes. I left this
    rather to be inferred, not thinking it worth while to offend a
    certain class of persons by embodying in words what would only
    be a speculation.... One can in imagination summon before us a
    small part at least of the circumstances that must be
    contemplated and foreknown, before it can be decided what powers
    and qualities a new species must have in order to enable it to
    endure for a given time, and to play its part in due relation to
    all other beings destined to coexist with it, before it dies
    out.... It may be seen that unless some slight additional
    precaution be taken, the species about to be born would at a
    certain era be reduced to too low a number. There may be a
    thousand modes of ensuring its duration beyond that time; one,
    for example, may be the rendering it more prolific, but this
    would perhaps make it press too hard upon other species at other
    times. Now if it be an insect it may be made in one of its
    transformations to resemble a dead stick, or a leaf, or a
    lichen, or a stone, so as to be somewhat less easily found by
    its enemies; or if this would make it too strong, an occasional
    variety of the species may have this advantage conferred on it;
    or if this would be still too much, one sex of a certain
    variety. Probably there is scarcely a dash of colour on the wing
    or body of which the choice would be quite arbitrary, or which
    might not affect its duration for thousands of years. I have
    been told that the leaf-like expansions of the abdomen and
    thighs of a certain Brazilian Mantis turn from green to yellow
    as autumn advances, together with the leaves of plants among
    which it seeks its prey. Now if species come in succession, such
    contrivances must sometimes be made, and such relations
    predetermined between species, as the Mantis, for example, and
    plants not then existing, but which it was foreseen would exist
    together with some particular climate at a given time. But I
    cannot do justice to this train of speculation in a letter, and
    will only say that it seems to me to offer a more beautiful
    subject for reasoning and reflecting on, than the notion of
    great batches of new species all coming in and afterwards going
    out at once[84].'

We have cited this very remarkable passage, as it affords striking
evidence of how deeply Lyell had thought on this great question at a
very early period. Nevertheless it is certain that when he wrote the
second volume of the _Principles_, he had not been able to satisfy
himself that any hypothesis of the _mode_ of evolution, that had up to
that time been suggested, could be regarded as satisfactory.

The only serious attempt to _explain_ the derivation of new species from
old ones that came before Lyell was that of the illustrious Lamarck.

Very noteworthy was the work of that old wounded French soldier,
afflicted in his later years as he was by blindness. By his early
labours, Lamarck had attained a considerable reputation as a botanist,
and later in life he turned his attention to zoology, and then to
palaeontology and geology. In zoology, he did for the study of
invertebrate animals what his great contemporary Cuvier was
accomplishing for the vertebrates; but, with regard to the origin of
species, he arrived at conclusions directly at variance with those of
his distinguished rival.

We are indebted to Professor Osborn[85] for calling attention to that
remarkable, but little known work of Lamarck's--_Hydrogéologie_--published
in 1802, seven years before his _Philosophie Zoologique_ appeared. This
work is especially interesting as showing to how great an extent--as in
the case of Darwin, Wallace and others--it was geological phenomena which
played an important part in leading Lamarck to evolutionary convictions.
"In Geology," Professor Osborn writes,

    'Lamarck was an ardent advocate of uniformity, as against the
    Cataclysmal School. The main principles are laid down in his
    _Hydrogéologie_, that all the revolutions of the earth are
    extremely slow. "For Nature," he says, "time is nothing. It is
    never a difficulty, she always has it at her disposal; and it is
    for her the means by which she has accomplished the greatest as
    well as the least results[86]."'

On the subject of subaerial denudation (the action of rain and rivers in
wearing down the earth's surface), Lamarck's views were as clear and
definite as those of Hutton himself; though it is almost certain that he
could never have seen, or even heard of, the writings of the great
Scottish philosopher. On some other questions of geological dynamics,
however, it must be confessed that Lamarck's views and speculations were
rather crude and unsatisfactory.

In his _Philosophie Zoologique_, published in the same year that Charles
Darwin was born (1809), Lamarck brought forward a great body of evidence
in favour of evolution, derived from his extensive knowledge of botany,
zoology and geology. He showed how complete was the gradation between
many forms ranked as species, and how difficult it was to say what forms
should be classed as 'varieties' and what as 'species.'

But when he came to indicate a possible method by which one species
might be derived from another, he was less happy in his suggestions. He
recognised the value of the evidence derived from the study of the races
which have arisen among domestic animals, and from the crossing of
different forms. But his main argument was derived from the acknowledged
fact that use or disuse may cause the development or the partial atrophy
of organs--the case of the 'blacksmith's arm.' Unfortunately some of the
suggestions made by Lamarck, in this connexion--like that of the
elongation of the giraffe's neck to enable it to browse on high
trees--were of a kind that made them very susceptible to ridicule. His
theory was of course dependent on the admission that acquired characters
were transmitted from parents to children, and in the absence of any
suggestion of 'selection,' it did not appeal strongly to thinkers on
this question.

Lyell first became acquainted with the writings of Lamarck in 1827. As
he was returning from the Oxford circuit for the last time--having now
resolved to give up law and devote himself to geological work
exclusively--he wrote to his friend Mantell as follows:--

    'I devoured Lamarck _en voyage_.... His theories delighted me
    more than any novel I ever read, and much in the same way, for
    they address themselves to the imagination, at least of
    geologists who know the mighty inferences which would be
    deducible were they established by observations. But though I
    admire even his flights, and feel none of the _odium
    theologicum_ which some modern writers in this country have
    visited him with, I confess I read him rather as I hear an
    advocate on the wrong side, to know what can be made of the case
    in good hands. I am glad he has been courageous enough and
    logical enough to admit that his argument, if pushed as far as
    it must go, if worth anything, would prove that men may have
    come from the Ourang-Outang. But after all, what changes species
    may really undergo! How impossible will it be to distinguish and
    lay down a line, beyond which some of the so-called extinct
    species have never passed into recent ones. That the earth is
    quite as old as he supposes, has long been my creed, and I will
    try before six months are over to convert the readers of the
    _Quarterly_ to that heterodox opinion[87].'

Lyell was at that time at work on his review for the _Quarterly_ of
Scrope's _Central France_, and was also completing the 'first sketch'
of the _Principles_. But it is evident that as the result of continued
study of Lamarck's book, Lyell found it, in spite of its fascination, to
embody a theory which he could not but regard as unsound and not
calculated to prove a solution of the great mystery of evolution.
Accordingly when the second volume of the _Principles_ was issued in
1832, it was found to contain in its opening chapters a very trenchant
criticism of Lamarck's theory.

It is only fair to remember, however, that in 1863, after Lyell had
accepted the theory of Natural Selection he wrote to Darwin:

    'When I came to the conclusion that after all Lamarck was going
    to be shown to be right, and that we must "go the whole orang" I
    re-read his book, and remembering when it was written, I felt I
    had done him injustice[88].'

It is interesting also to notice that Darwin, like Lyell, gradually came
to entertain a higher opinion of the merit of Lamarck's works, than he
did on his first perusal of them. In 1844, Darwin wrote to Hooker,
'Heaven forfend me from Lamarck nonsense!' and in the same year he
speaks of Lamarck's book as 'veritable rubbish,' an 'absurd though
clever work[89].' When, after the publication of the _Origin of
Species_, Lyell referred to the _conclusions_ arrived at in that work as
similar to those of Lamarck, Darwin expressed something like
indignation, and he wrote to their 'mutual friend' Hooker, 'I have
grumbled a bit in my answer to him' (Lyell) 'at his _always_ classing my
book as a modification of Lamarck's, which it is no more than any author
who did not believe in the immutability of species[90].' In this case,
as is so frequently seen in the writings of Darwin, it is evident that
he attaches infinitely less importance to the establishment of the
_fact_ of the evolution of species, than to the demonstration of a
possible _mode of origin_ of that evolution. But that later in life
Darwin came to take a more indulgent view of the result of Lamarck's
labours is shown by a passage in his 'Historical Sketch' prefixed to the
_Origin_, in 1866. Lamarck, he says, 'first did the eminent service of
arousing attention to the probability of all change in the organic
world, as well as in the inorganic world, being the result of law and
not of miraculous interposition[91].'

In the opinion of Dr Schwalbe and others there are indications in
Darwin's later writings that he had come into much closer relation with
the views of Lamarck, than was the case when he wrote the _Origin_[92].

It is interesting, however, to note that Erasmus Darwin, the grandfather
of Charles, published independently and contemporaneously, views on the
nature and causes of evolution in striking agreement with those of
Lamarck; but perhaps the poetical form, in which he chose to embody his
ideas, led to their receiving less attention than they deserved.

As is now well known a number of writers during the earlier years of the
nineteenth century published statements in favour of evolutionary views,
and in several cases the theory of natural selection was more or less
distinctly outlined. In addition to Geoffroy and Isidore Saint Hilaire
and d'Omalius d'Halloy on the continent, a number of writers in this
country, such as Dr Wells, Mr Patrick Matthew, Dr Pritchard, Professor
Grant, Dean Herbert, all expressed views in favour of evolution, even,
in some cases, foreshadowing Natural Selection as the method. But these
authors attached so little importance to their suggestions, that they
did not even take the trouble to place them on permanent record, and it
is certain that neither Lyell nor Darwin was acquainted with their
writings at the time they were themselves working at the subject.

There was indeed one work which, during the time that the _Origin of
Species_ was in preparation, attracted much popular attention. In 1844,
Robert Chambers, who was favourably known as the author of some
geological papers, wrote a book which excited a great amount of
attention--the well-known _Vestiges of Creation_. This work was a very
bold pronouncement of evolutionary views. Beginning with a statement of
the nebular hypothesis of Kant and Laplace, it discussed the question of
the origin of life--when life became possible on a cooling globe--and,
arguing strongly in favour of the view that all plants and animals, as
the conditions under which they existed change, had given rise to new
forms, better adapted to their environment, insisted that the whole
living creation had been gradually developed from the simplest types.

Chambers published his book anonymously, being naturally afraid of the
prejudices that would be excited against him--especially in his own
country--by a work so outspoken, and it was not till after his death
that its authorship was definitely known.

The _Vestiges of Creation_ met with very different receptions at the
hands of the general public and from the scientific world, at the time
it was published. The former were startled but captivated by its
fearless statements and suggestive lines of thought; while the latter
were repelled and incensed by the want of judgment, too frequently
shown, in accepting as indisputable, facts and experiments which really
rested on a very slender basis or none at all. So popular was the book,
however, that it passed through twelve editions, the last being
published after the appearance of the _Origin of Species_.

It is interesting to read Darwin's judgment in later life on this once
famous book; he says:--

    'The work from its powerful and brilliant style, though
    displaying in the earlier editions little accurate knowledge and
    a great want of scientific caution, immediately had a very wide
    circulation. In my opinion it has done excellent service in this
    country in calling attention to the subject, in removing
    prejudice, and in thus preparing the ground for the reception of
    analogous views[93].'

If we enquire what was the attitude of scientific naturalists towards
the doctrine of Evolution, immediately before the occurrence of the
events to be recorded in the next chapter, we shall find some diversity
of opinion to exist. The late Professor Newton, an eminent
ornithologist, has asserted that, at this period, many systematic
zoologists and botanists had begun to feel great 'searchings of heart'
as to the possibility of maintaining what were the generally prevalent
views concerning the reality and immutability of species. Huxley,
however, declared that he and many contemporary biologists were ready to
say 'to Mosaists and Evolutionists a plague to both your houses!' and
were disposed to turn aside from an interminable and fruitless
discussion, to labour in the fields of ascertainable fact[94].



CHAPTER IX

DARWIN AND WALLACE: THE THEORY OF NATURAL SELECTION


Charles Darwin was the grandson of Erasmus Darwin, who, as we have seen,
arrived independently at conclusions concerning the origin of species
very similar to those of Lamarck, and embodied his views in poems,
which, at the time of their publication, achieved a considerable
popularity. In the younger philosopher, however, imagination was always
kept in subjection by a determination to '_prove_ all things' and 'to
hold fast that which is good'; though, in other respects, there were not
wanting indications of the existence of hereditary characteristics in
the grandson.

Born at Shrewsbury and educated in the public school of that town,
Charles Darwin from the first exhibited signs of individuality in his
ideas and his tastes. The rigid classical teaching of his school did not
touch him, but, with the aid of his elder brother, he surreptitiously
started a chemical laboratory in a garden tool-house. From his earliest
infancy he was a collector, first of trifles, like seals and franks, but
later of stones, minerals and beetles.

At the outset, only the desire to possess new things animated him, then
a wish to put names to them, but, at a very early period, a passion
arose for learning all he could about them. Thus when only 9 or 10 years
of age, he had 'a desire of being able to know something about every
pebble in front of the hall-door,' and at 13 or 14, when he heard the
remark of a local naturalist, 'that the world would come to an end
before anyone would be able to explain how' a boulder (the 'bell-stone'
of local-fame) came to be brought from distant hills--the lad had such a
deep impression made on his mind, that he says in after life, 'I
_meditated_ over this wonderful stone[95].'

At the age of 16, he was sent to Edinburgh University to prepare himself
for the work of a doctor--the profession of his father and grandfather.
But here his independence of character again asserted itself. He found
most of the lectures 'intolerably dull,' so he occupied himself with
other pursuits, making many friendships among the younger naturalists
and doing a little in the way of biological research himself.

That he was not altogether destitute of ambition in the eyes of his
companions, however, is, I think, indicated by an amusing circumstance.
In the library of Charles Darwin, which is carefully preserved at
Cambridge, there is a copy of Jameson's _Manual of Mineralogy_,
published in 1821, which was evidently used by the young student in his
classwork at Edinburgh. In this a quizzical fellow-student has written
'Charles Darwin Esq., M.D., F.R.S.'--mischievously adding 'A.S.S.'! Even
for geology, the science to which in all his after life he became so
deeply devoted, young Darwin conceived the most violent aversion; and as
he listened to Jameson's Wernerian outpourings at Salisbury Crags, he
'determined never to attend to geology,' registering the terrible vow
'never as long as I lived to read a book on Geology, or in any way to
study the science[96].'

As it became evident that Charles Darwin would never make a doctor, his
father, after two years' trial, sent him to Cambridge with the object of
his qualifying for a clergyman. But at Christ's College, in that
University, he again took his own line--which was not that of
divinity--riding, shooting and beetle-hunting being his chief delights.
Nevertheless, at Cambridge as at Edinburgh, he seems to have shown an
appreciation for good and instructive society, and in Henslow, the
judicious and amiable Professor of Botany, the young fellow found such
sympathy and kindly help that he came to be distinguished as 'the man
who walks with Henslow[97].'

After achieving a 'pass degree,' Darwin went back to the University for
an extra term, and by the advice of Henslow began to 'think about' the
despised Science of Geology. He was introduced to that inspiring
teacher, Sedgwick, with whom he made a geological excursion into Wales;
but though he said he 'worked like a tiger' at geology, yet he, when he
got the chance of shooting on his uncle's estate, had to make the
confession, 'I should have thought myself mad to give up the first days
of partridge-shooting for geology or any other science[98].'

There is a sentence in one of the letters written at this time which
suggests that, even at this early period in his geological career,
Darwin had begun to experience some misgivings concerning the
catastrophic doctrines of his teachers and contemporaries. He says:--

    'As yet I have only indulged in hypotheses, but they are such
    powerful ones that I suppose, if they were put into action but
    for one day, the world would come to an end[99].'

Was he not poking fun at other hypotheses besides his own?

Darwin's real scientific education began when, after some hesitation on
his father's part, he was allowed to accept the invitation, made to him
through his friend Henslow, to accompany, at his own expense, the
surveying ship _Beagle_ in a cruise to South America and afterwards
round the world. In the narrow quarters of the little 'ten-gun brig,'
he learned methodical habits and how best to economise space and time;
during his long expeditions on shore, rendered possible by the work of a
surveying vessel, he had ample opportunities for observing and
collecting; and, above all, the absence of the distractions from quiet
meditation, afforded by a long sea-voyage, proved in his case
invaluable. Very diligently did he work, accumulating a vast mass of
notes, with catalogues of the specimens he sent home from time to time
to Henslow. He had received no careful biological training, and Huxley
considered that the voluminous notes he made on zoological subjects were
almost useless[100]. Very different was the case, however, with his
geological notes. He had learned to use the blowpipe, and simple
microscope, as well as his hammer and clinometer; and the notes which he
made concerning his specimens, before packing them up for Cambridge,
were at the same time full, accurate and suggestive.

Darwin has recorded in his autobiography the wonderful effect produced
on his mind by the reading of the first volume of Lyell's
_Principles_--an effect very different from that anticipated by
Henslow[101]. From that moment he became the most enthusiastic of
geologists, and never fails in his letters to insist on his preference
for geology over all other branches of science. Again and again we find
him recording observations that he thinks will 'interest Mr Lyell' and
he says in another letter:--

    'I am become a zealous disciple of Mr Lyell's views, as known in
    his admirable book. Geologising in South America, I am tempted
    to carry parts to a greater extent even than he does[102].'

Before reaching home after his voyage, the duration of which was
fortunately extended from two to five years, he had sent home letters
asking to be elected a fellow of the Geological Society; and,
immediately on his arrival, he gave up his zoological specimens to
others and devoted his main energies for ten years to the working up of
his geological notes and specimens.

It may seem strange that the grandson of Erasmus Darwin should in early
life have felt little or no interest in the question of the 'Origin of
Species,' but such was certainly the case. He tells us in his
autobiography that he had read his grandfather's _Zoonomia_ in his
youth, without its producing any effect on him, and when at Edinburgh he
says he heard his friend Robert Grant (afterwards Professor of Zoology
in University College, London) as they were walking together 'burst
forth in high admiration of Lamarck and his views on Evolution'--yet
Darwin adds 'I listened in silent astonishment, and as far as I can
judge without any effect on my mind[103].'

The reason of this indifference towards his grandfather's works is
obvious. All through his life, Darwin, like Lyell, showed a positive
distaste for all speculation or theorising that was not based on a good
foundation of facts or observations. In this respect, the attitude of
Darwin's mind was the very opposite of that of Herbert Spencer--who,
Huxley jokingly said, would regard as a 'tragedy'--'the killing of a
beautiful theory by an ugly fact.' Darwin tells us himself that, while
on his first reading of _Zoonomia_ he 'greatly admired' it--evidently on
literary grounds--yet 'on reading it a second time after an interval of
ten or fifteen years, I was much disappointed; _the proportion of
speculation being so large to the facts given_.' Huxley who knew Charles
Darwin so well in later years said of him that:--

    'He abhors mere speculation as nature abhors a vacuum. He is as
    greedy of cases and precedents as any constitutional lawyer, and
    all the principles he lays down are capable of being brought to
    the test of observation and experiment[104].'

What then, we may ask, were the facts and observations which turned
Darwin's mind towards the great problem that came to be the work of his
after life? I think it is possible from the study of his letters and
other published writings to give an answer to this very interesting
question.

In November 1832, Darwin returned to Monte Video, from a long journey in
the interior of the South American Continent, bringing with him many
zoological specimens and a great quantity of fossil bones, teeth and
scales, dug out by him with infinite toil from the red mud of the
Pampas--these fossils evidently belonging to the geological period that
immediately preceded that of the existing creation. The living animals
represented in his collection were all obviously very distinct from
those of Europe--consisting of curious sloths, anteaters, and
armadilloes--the so-called 'Edentata' of naturalists. And when young
Darwin came to examine and compare his _fossil_ bones, teeth and scales
he found that they too must have belonged to animals (megatherium,
mylodon, glyptodon, etc.) quite distinct from but of strikingly similar
structure to those now living in South America. What could be the
meaning of this wonderful analogy? If Cuvier and his fellow
Catastrophists were correct in their view that, at each 'revolution'
taking place on the earth's surface, the whole batch of plants and
animals was swept out of existence, and the world was restocked with a
'new creation,' why should the brand-new forms, at any particular
locality, have such a 'ghost-like' resemblance to those that had gone
before? It is interesting to note that, just at the same time, a similar
discovery was made with respect to Australia. In caves in that country,
a number of bones were found which, though evidently belonging to
'extinct' animals, yet must have belonged to forms resembling the
kangaroos and other 'pouched animals' (marsupials) now so distinctive of
that continent. But of this fact Darwin was not aware until after his
return to England in 1836.

Among the objects sent from home, which awaited Darwin on his return to
Monte Video, was the second volume of Lyell's _Principles_, then newly
published; this book, while rejecting Lamarckism, was crowded with facts
and observations concerning variation, hybridism, the struggle for
existence, and many other questions bearing on the great problem of the
origin of species. I think there can be no doubt that from this time
Darwin came to regard the question of species with an interest he had
never felt before.

It is of course not suggested that, at this early date, Darwin had
formed any definite ideas as to the _mode_ in which new species might
possibly arise from pre-existing ones or even that he had been converted
to a belief in evolution. Indeed in 1877 he wrote 'When I was on board
the _Beagle_ I believed in the permanence of species' yet he adds 'but
as far as I can remember _vague doubts_ occasionally flitted across my
mind.' Such 'vague doubts' could scarcely have failed to have arisen
when, as happened during all his journeys from north to south of the
South American Continent, he found the same curious correspondence
between existing and late fossil forms of life again and again
illustrated.

But towards the end of the voyage, an even stronger element of doubt as
to the immutability of species was awakened in his mind. When he came to
study the forms of life existing in the Galapagos Islands, off the west
coast of South America, he was startled by the discovery of the
following facts. Each small island had its own 'fauna' or assemblage of
animals--this being very strikingly shown in the case of the reptiles
and birds. And yet, though the _species_ were different, there was
obviously a very wonderful 'family likeness' to one another between the
forms in the several islands and between them all and the animals living
in the adjoining portion of the continent. Surely this could not be
accidental, but must indicate relationships due to descent from common
ancestors!

Charles Darwin returned to England in 1836, and at once made the
acquaintance of Lyell. He says in one place, 'I saw a great deal of
Lyell' and in another that 'I saw more of Lyell than of any other man,
both before and after my marriage.' In one of his letters he writes,
'You cannot conceive anything more thoroughly good natured than the
heart-and-soul manner in which he put himself in my place and thought
what would be best to do[105].' For two years Darwin was comparatively
free from the distressing malady which clouded so much of his after
life. And, during that time, he engaged very heartily with Lyell in
those combats at the Geological Society (of which he had become one of
the Secretaries) in which their joint views concerning the truth of
continuity or evolution in the inorganic world were defended against the
attacks of the militant catastrophists. Darwin, however, did not act on
the defensive alone, but brought forward a number of papers strongly
supporting his new friend's views.

There can be little doubt that, while thus engaged, and in constant
friendly intercourse with Lyell, Darwin must have felt--like other
earnest thinkers on geology at that day--that the principles they were
advocating of 'continuity' in the inorganic world must be equally
applicable to the organic world--and thus that the question of evolution
would acquire a new interest for him.

But it was undoubtedly the revision of the notes made on board the
_Beagle_, and the study of the specimens which had been sent home by him
from time to time, that produced the great determining influence on
Darwin's career. All through the voyage he had endeavoured, with as much
literary skill as he could command, to record with accuracy the
observations he made, and the conclusions to which, on careful
reflection, they seemed to point. And on his return to England, these
patiently written journals were revised and prepared for publication
forming that charming work _A Naturalist's Voyage. Journal of Researches
into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries visited during the
Voyage of H.M.S. 'Beagle' round the world._

As Darwin, with the specimens before him, revised his notes, and
reconsidered the impressions made on his mind, the 'vague doubts' he had
entertained, from time to time, concerning the immutability of species,
would come back to him with new force and cumulative effect. 'I then
saw,' he says, 'how many facts indicated the common descent of species,'
and further, 'It occurred to me in 1837, that something might perhaps be
made out on this question by patiently accumulating and reflecting on
all sorts of facts which could possibly have any bearing on it.' In July
of that year, he opened his first note-book on the subject[106]--the
note-books being soon replaced by a series of portfolios, in which
extracts from the various works he read, facts obtained by
correspondence, the records of experiments and observation, and ideas
suggested by constant meditation were slowly accumulated for twenty
years. Mr Francis Darwin has published a series of extracts from the
note-book of 1837, which amply prove that by this time Charles Darwin
had become 'a convinced evolutionist[107].'

Fifteen months after this 'systematic enquiry' began, Darwin happened to
read the celebrated work of Malthus _On Population_, for amusement, and
this served as a spark falling on a long prepared train of thought. The
idea that as animals and plants multiply in geometrical progression,
while the supplies of food and space to be occupied remain nearly
constant, and that this must lead to a 'struggle for existence' of the
most desperate kind, was by no means new to Darwin, for the elder De
Candolle, Lyell and others had enlarged upon it; yet the facts with
regard to the human race, so strikingly presented by Malthus, brought
the whole question with such vividness before him that the idea of
'Natural Selection' flashed upon Darwin's mind. This hypothesis cannot
be better or more succinctly stated than in Huxley's words.

    'All _species_ have been produced by the development of
    _varieties_ from common stocks: by the conversion of these,
    first into _permanent races_ and then into _new species_, by the
    process of _natural selection_, which process is essentially
    identical with that artificial selection by which man has
    originated the races of domestic animals--the _struggle for
    existence_ taking the place of man, and exerting, in the case of
    natural selection, that selective action which he performs in
    artificial selection[108].'

With characteristic caution, Darwin determined not to write down 'even
the briefest sketch' of this hypothesis, that had so suddenly presented
itself to his mind. His habit of thought was always to give the fullest
consideration and weight to any possible objection that presented itself
to his own mind or could be suggested to him by others. Though he was
satisfied as to the truth and importance of the principle of natural
selection, there is evidence that for some years he was oppressed by
difficulties, which I think would have seemed greater to him than to
anyone else. In my conversations with Darwin, in after years, it always
struck me that he attached an exaggerated importance to the merest
suggestion of a view opposed to that he was himself inclined to adopt;
indeed I sometimes almost feared to indicate a _possible_ different
point of view to his own, for fear of receiving such an answer as 'What
a very striking objection, how stupid of me not to see it before, I must
really reconsider the whole subject.'

While a divinity student at Cambridge, Darwin had been much struck with
the logical form of the works both of Euclid and of Paley. The rooms of
the latter he seems to have actually occupied at Christ's College and
the works of the great divine were so diligently studied that their deep
influence remained with him in after life[109].

I think it must have been the remembrance of the arguments of Paley on
the 'proofs of design' in Nature, that seem in after life to have
haunted Darwin so that for long he failed to recognise fully that the
principle of natural selection accounted not only for the _adaptation_
of an organism to its environment, but at the same time explains that
_divergence_, which must have taken place in species in order to give
rise to their wonderfully varied characters.

It was not till long after he came to Down in 1842, he tells us in his
autobiography, that his mind freed itself from this objection. He
says:--

    'I can remember the very spot in the road, whilst in my
    carriage, when to my joy the solution occurred to me,'

and he compares the relief to his mind as resembling the effect produced
by 'Columbus and his egg[110].' Some may think the 'solution' of
Columbus was itself not a very satisfactory one; and I am inclined to
regard the difficulties of which Darwin records so sudden and dramatic a
removal as more imaginary than real!

There can be no doubt that, as pointed out by the late Professor Alfred
Newton[111], there was among naturalists during the second quarter of
the nineteenth century a feeling of dissatisfaction with respect to
current ideas concerning the origin of species, accompanied in many
cases with one of expectation that a solution might soon be found.
Others, however, despairingly regarded it as 'the mystery of mysteries'
for which it was hopeless to attempt to find a key. There was, however,
one man, who simultaneously with Darwin was meditating earnestly on the
problem and who eventually reached the same goal.

Alfred Russel Wallace was born thirteen years after Darwin, and a
quarter of a century after Lyell. He did not possess the moderate income
that permits of entire devotion to scientific research--an advantage,
the importance of which in their own cases, both Lyell and Darwin were
always so ready to acknowledge. Wallace, after working for a time as a
land-surveyor and then as a teacher, at the age of 26 set off with
another naturalist, H. W. Bates, on a collecting tour in South
America--hoping by the sale of specimens to cover the expenses of
travel. Like Lyell and Darwin, he was an enthusiastic entomologist, and
had conceived the same passion for travel. He had, as we have already
seen, been deeply impressed by reading the _Principles of Geology_, and
after spending four years in South America undertook a second collecting
tour, which lasted twice that time, in the Malay Archipelago.

[Illustration: Alfred R. Wallace]

Before leaving England in 1848, Wallace had read and been impressed by
reading the _Vestiges of Creation_, and there can be no doubt that from
that period the question of evolution was always more or less distinctly
present in his mind. While in Sarawak in the wet season, he tells us, 'I
was quite alone with one Malay boy as cook, and during the evenings and
wet days I had nothing to do but to look over my books and ponder over
the problem which was rarely absent from my thoughts.' He goes on to
say that by 'combining the ideas he had derived from his books that
treated of the distribution of plants and animals with those he obtained
from the great work of Lyell' he thought 'some valuable conclusions
might be reached[112].' Thus originated the very remarkable paper, _On
the Law which has regulated the Introduction of New Species_, the main
conclusion of which was as follows: 'Every species has come into
existence coincident both in space and time with a pre-existing closely
allied species.' As Wallace has himself said, 'This clearly pointed to
some kind of evolution ... but the _how_ was still a secret.'

This essay was published in the _Annals and Magazine of Natural History_
in September 1855. It attracted much attention from Lyell and Darwin and
later from Huxley. One important result of it was that Darwin and
Wallace entered into friendly correspondence. But although Darwin in his
letters to Wallace informed him that he had been engaged for a long time
in collecting facts which bore on the question of the origin of species,
he gave no hint of the theory of natural selection he had conceived
seventeen years before--indeed his friends Lyell and Hooker appear at
that time to have been the only persons, outside his family circle, whom
he had taken into his confidence.

In the spring of 1858, Wallace was at Ternate in the island of Celebes,
where he lay sick with fever, and as his thoughts wandered to the
ever-present problem of species, there suddenly recurred to his memory
the writings of Malthus, which he had read twelve years before. Then and
there, 'in a sudden flash of insight' the idea of natural selection
presented itself to his mind, and after a few hours' thought the chief
points were written down, and within a week the matter was 'copied on
thin letter-paper' and sent to Darwin by the next post, with a letter to
the following effect[113]. Wallace stated that the idea seemed new to
himself and he asked Darwin, if he also thought it new, to show it to
Lyell, who had taken so much interest in his former paper. Little did
Wallace think, in the absence of all knowledge on his part of Darwin's
own conclusions, what stir would be made by his paper when it arrived in
England!

Wallace's essay was entitled _On the Tendency of Varieties to depart
indefinitely from the Original Type_, and it is a singularly lucid and
striking presentment, in small compass, of the theory of Natural
Selection.

Had these two men been of less noble and generous nature, the history of
science might have been dishonoured by a painful discussion on a
question of priority. Fortunately we are not called upon for anything
like a judicial investigation of rival claims; for Darwin as soon as he
read the essay saw that--as Lyell had often warned him might be the
case--he was completely forestalled in the publication of his theory.
The letter and paper arrived at a sad time for Darwin--he was at the
moment very ill, there was 'scarlet fever raging in his family, to which
an infant son had succumbed on the previous day, and a daughter was ill
with diphtheria[114].' Darwin at once wrote hurriedly to Lyell enclosing
the essay and saying:

    'I never saw a more striking coincidence; if Wallace had my MS.
    sketch written out in 1842, he could not have made a better
    short abstract! Even his terms now stand as heads of my
    chapters. Please return me the MS., which he does not say he
    wishes me to publish, but I shall, of course, at once write and
    offer to send to any journal. So all my originality, whatever it
    may amount to, will be smashed, though my book, if it ever have
    any value, will not be deteriorated, as all the labour consists
    in the application of the theory. I hope you will approve of
    Wallace's sketch, that I may tell him what to say[115].'

And Wallace--what was the line taken by him in the unfortunate
complication that had thus arisen? From the very first his action was
all that is generous and noble. Not only did he, from the first,
entirely acquiesce in the course taken by Lyell and Hooker, but, writing
in 1870, when the fame of Darwin's work had reached its full height, he
said:--

    'I have felt all my life and I still feel, the most sincere
    satisfaction that Mr Darwin had been at work long before me, and
    that it was not left for me to attempt to write _The Origin of
    Species_. I have long since measured my own strength and know
    well that it would be quite unequal to that task. For abler men
    than myself may confess, that they have not that untiring
    patience in accumulating, and that wonderful skill in using,
    large masses of facts of the most varied kind,--that wide and
    accurate physiological knowledge,--that acuteness in devising
    and skill in carrying out experiments,--and that admirable style
    of composition, at once clear, persuasive and
    judicial,--qualities which in their harmonious combination mark
    out Mr Darwin as the man, perhaps of all men now living, best
    fitted for the great work he has undertaken and
    accomplished[116].'

And fifty years after the joint publication of the theory of Natural
Selection to the Linnean Society he said:

    '_I_ was then (as often since) the "young man in a hurry," _he_'
    (Darwin) 'the painstaking and patient student, seeking ever the
    full demonstration of the truth he had discovered, rather than
    to achieve immediate personal fame[117].'

And when he referred to the respective shares of Darwin and himself to
the credit of having brought forward the theory of natural selection, he
actually suggests as a fair proportion '_twenty years to one
week_'--those being the periods each had devoted to the subject[118]!

Never surely was such a noble example of personal abnegation! We admire
the generosity, though we cannot accept the estimate, for do we not know
that, for at least half the period of Darwin's patient quest, Wallace
had spent in deeply pondering upon the same great question?



CHAPTER X

THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES


In the preceding chapter I have endeavoured to show how the hypothesis
of Natural Selection originated in the minds of its authors, and must
now invite attention to the way in which it was introduced to the world.
What has been said earlier with respect to the labours and writings of
Hutton, Scrope and Lyell may serve to indicate the great importance of
the _manner_ of presentment of new ideas--the logical force and literary
skill with which they are brought to the notice of scientific
contemporaries and the world at large.

There are some striking passages in Darwin's naive 'autobiography and
letters' which indicate the beginnings of his ambition for literary
distinction. It must always be borne in mind in reading this
autobiography, however, that it was not intended by Darwin for
publication, but only for the amusement of the members of his own
family. But the charming and unsophisticated self-revelations in it will
always be a source of delight to the world.

When making his first original observations among the volcanic cones and
craters of St Jago in the Cape-de-Verde Islands, he says 'It then first
dawned on me that I might perhaps write a book on the geology of the
different countries visited, and this made me thrill with delight[119].'
He tells us concerning his regular occupations on board the _Beagle_,
that 'during some part of the day, I wrote my Journal and took much
pains in describing carefully and vividly all that I had seen: and this
was good practice[120].'

'Later in the voyage' he says 'FitzRoy' (the Captain of the _Beagle_)
'asked me to read some of my Journal and declared it would be worth
publishing, so here was a second book in prospect[121]!'

Darwin's first published writings were the extracts from his letters
which Henslow read to the Philosophical Society of Cambridge, and those
which Sedgwick submitted to the Geological Society. At Ascension, on the
voyage home, a letter from Darwin's sisters had informed him of the
commendation with which Sedgwick had spoken to his father of these
papers, and he wrote fifty years afterwards: 'After reading this letter,
I clambered over the mountains of Ascension with a bounding step, and
made the volcanic rocks ring under my geological hammer.' When in 1839
his charming _Journal of Researches_ was published he records that 'The
success of this my first literary child always tickles my vanity more
than that of any of my other books[122].'

As a matter of fact, no one could possibly be more diffident and modest
about his actual literary performances than was Charles Darwin. I have
heard him again and again express a wish that he possessed 'dear old
Lyell's literary skill'; and he often spoke with the greatest enthusiasm
of the 'clearness and force of Huxley's style.' On one occasion he
mentioned to me, with something like sadness in his voice, that it had
been asserted 'there was a want of connection and continuity in the
written arguments,' and he told me that, while engaged on the _Origin_,
he had seldom been able to write, without interruption from pain, for
more than twenty minutes at a time!

Charles Darwin never spoke definitely to me about the nature of the
sufferings that he so patiently endured. On the occasion of my first
visit to him at Down he wrote me a letter (dated August 25th, 1880) in
which, after giving the most minute and kindly directions concerning the
journey, he arranged that his dog-cart should bring me to the house in
time for a 1 o'clock lunch, telling me that to catch a certain train for
return, it would be necessary to leave his house a little before 4
o'clock. But he added significantly:--

    'But I am bound to tell you that I shall not be able to talk
    with you or anyone else for this length of time, however much I
    should like to do so--but you can read newspaper or take a
    stroll during part of the time.'

His constant practice, whenever I visited him, either at Down or at his
brother's or daughter's house in London, was to retire with me, after
lunch, to a room where we could 'talk geology' for about three quarters
of an hour. At the end of that time, Mrs Darwin would come in smilingly,
and though no word was spoken by her, Darwin would at once rise and beg
me to read the newspaper for a time, or, if I preferred it, to take a
stroll in the garden; and after urging me to stay 'if I could possibly
spare the time,' would go away, as I understood to lie down. On his
return, about half an hour later, the discussion would be resumed where
it had been left off, without further remark.

Mr Francis Darwin has told us that the nature and extent of his father's
sufferings--so patiently and uncomplainingly borne--were never fully
known, even to his own children, but only to the faithful wife who
devoted her whole life to the care of his health. As is well known,
Darwin seldom visited at other houses, besides those of immediate
relatives, or the hydropathic establishment at which he sought relief
from his illness. But he was in the habit of sometimes, when in London,
calling upon David Forbes the mineralogist (a younger brother of Edward
Forbes) then living in York Street, Portman Square. The bonds of union
between Charles Darwin and David Forbes were, first, that they had both
travelled extensively in South America, and secondly, that both were
greatly interested in methods of preserving and making available for
future reference all notes and memoranda collected from various sources.
David Forbes devoted to the purpose a large room with the most elaborate
system of pigeon-holes, about which he told me that Darwin was greatly
excited. He also mentioned to me that, on one or more occasions, while
Darwin was in his house, pains of such a violent character had seized
him that he had been compelled to lie down for a time and had occasioned
his host the greatest alarm.

It must always therefore be remembered, in reading Darwin's works, what
were the sad conditions under which they were produced. It seems to be
doubtful to what extent his ill-health may be regarded as the result of
an almost fatal malady, from which he suffered in South America, or as
the effect of the constant and prolonged sea-sickness of which he was
the victim during the five years' voyage. But certain it is that his
work was carried on under no ordinary difficulties, and that it was only
by the exercise of the sternest resolution, in devoting every moment of
time that he was free from pain to his tasks, that he was able to
accomplish his great undertakings.

I do not think, however, that any unprejudiced reader will regard
Darwin's literary work as standing in need of anything like an apology.
He always aims--and I think succeeds--at conveying his meaning in simple
and direct language; and in all his works there is manifest that
undercurrent of quiet enthusiasm, which was so strikingly displayed in
his conversation. It was delightful to witness the keen enjoyment with
which he heard of any new fact or observation bearing on the pursuits in
which he was engaged, and his generous nature always led him to attach
an exaggerated value to any discovery or suggestion which might be
brought to his knowledge--and to appraise the work of others above his
own.

The most striking proof of the excellence and value of Darwin's literary
work is the fact that his numerous books have attained a circulation, in
their original form, probably surpassing that of any other scientific
writings ever produced--and that, in translations, they have appealed to
a wider circle of readers than any previous naturalist has ever
addressed!

We have seen that the idea of Natural Selection 'flashed on' Darwin's
mind in October 1838, and although he was himself inclined to think that
his _complete_ satisfaction with it, as a solution of the problem of
the origin of species, was delayed to a considerably later date, yet I
believe that this was only the result of his over-cautious temperament,
and we must accept the date named as being that of the real birth of the
hypothesis.

At this early date, too, it is evident that Darwin conceived the idea
that he might accomplish for the principle of evolution in the organic
world, what Lyell had done, in the _Principles_, for the inorganic
world. To cite his own words, 'after my return to England it appeared to
me that by following the example of Lyell in Geology, and by collecting
all facts which bore in any way on the variation of animals and plants
under domestication and nature, some light might perhaps be thrown on
the whole subject[123].' 'In June 1842,' he says, 'I first _allowed_
myself' (how significant is the phrase!) 'the satisfaction of writing a
brief abstract of my theory in pencil in 35 pages[124].'

For many years it was thought that this first sketch of Darwin's great
work had been lost. But after the death of Mrs Darwin in 1896, when the
house at Down was vacated, the interesting MS. was found 'hidden in a
cupboard under the stairs which was not used for papers of any value but
rather as an overflow of matters he did not wish to destroy[125].' By
the pious care of his son, this interesting MS.--hurriedly written and
sometimes almost illegible--has been given to the world, and it proves
how completely Darwin had, at that early date, thought out the main
lines of his future _opus magnum_.

Darwin, however, had no idea of publishing his theory to the world until
he was able to support it by a great mass of facts and observations.
Lyell, again and again, warned him of the danger which he incurred of
being forestalled by other workers; while his brother Erasmus constantly
said to him, 'You will find that some one will have been before
you[126]!'

The utmost that Darwin could be persuaded to do, however, was to enlarge
his sketch of 1842 into one of 230 pages. This he did in the summer of
1844. His manner of procedure seems to have been that, keeping to the
same general arrangement of the matter as he had adopted in his original
sketch, he elaborated the arguments and added illustrations. Each of the
35 pages of the pencilled sketch, as it was dealt with, had a vertical
line drawn across it and was thrown aside. While the 'pencilled sketch'
of 1842 was little better than a collection of memoranda, which, though
intelligible to the writer at the time, are sometimes difficult either
to decipher or to understand the meaning of, the expanded work of 1844
was a much more connected and readable document, which Darwin caused to
be carefully copied out. The work was done in the summer months, while
he was absent from home, and unable therefore to refer to his abundant
notes--Darwin speaks of it, therefore, as 'done from memory.'

The two sketches, as Mr Francis Darwin points out, were each divided
into two distinct parts, though this arrangement is not adopted in the
_Origin of Species_, as finally published. Charles Darwin on many
occasions spoke of having adopted the _Principles of Geology_ as his
model. That work as we have seen consisted of a first portion
(eventually expanded from one to two volumes), in which the general
principles were enunciated and illustrated, and a second portion
(forming the third volume), in which those principles were applied to
deciphering the history of the globe in the past. I think that Darwin's
original intention was to follow a similar plan; the first part of his
work dealing with the evidences derived from the study of variation,
crossing, the struggle for existence, etc., and the second to the proofs
that natural selection had really operated as illustrated by the
geological record, by the facts of geographical distribution, and by
many curious phenomena exhibited by plants and animals. Although this
plan was eventually abandoned--no doubt wisely--when the _Origin_ came
to be written, we cannot but recognise in it another illustration of the
great influence exercised by Lyell and his works on Darwin--an influence
the latter was always so ready to acknowledge.

On the 5th July 1844, Darwin wrote a letter to his wife in which he
said, 'I have just finished my sketch of my species theory. If, as I
believe, my theory in time be accepted, even by one competent judge, it
will be a considerable step in science.' He goes on to request his wife,
'in case of my sudden death' to devote £400 (or if found necessary £500)
to securing an editor and publishing the work. As editor he says 'Lyell
would be the best, if he would undertake it,' and later, 'Lyell,
especially with the aid of Hooker (and if any good zoological aid),
would be best of all.' He then suggests other names from which a choice
might be made, but adds 'the editor must be a geologist as well as
naturalist.' Fortunately for the world Mrs Darwin was never called upon
to take action in accordance with the terms of this affecting
document[127].

It must be remembered that, at this time, Darwin was hard at work on the
three volumes of the _Geology of the Beagle_, and on the second and
revised edition of his _Journal of Researches_. This which he considered
his 'proper work' he stuck to closely, whenever his health permitted. He
had hoped to complete these books in three or four years, but they
actually occupied him for _ten_, owing to constant interruptions from
illness. His occasional neglect of this task, and indulgence in his
'species work,' as he called it, was always spoken of at this time by
Darwin as 'idleness.' And when the geological and narrative books were
finished, Darwin took up the systematic study of the Barnacles
(_Cirripedia_), both recent and fossil, and wrote two monumental works
on the subject. These occupied eight years, two out of which he
estimated were lost by interruptions from illness. So absorbed was he in
this work, that his children regarded it as the _necessary occupation_
of a man,--and when a visitor in the house was seen not to be so
employed one of them enquired of their mother, 'When does Mr ---- do
_his_ Barnacles?' Huxley has left on record his view that in devoting so
long a time to the study of the Barnacles Darwin 'never did a wiser
thing,' for it brought him into direct contact with the principles on
which naturalists found 'species[128].' And Hooker has expressed the
same opinion.

Daring these years of labour in geology and zoology--interrupted only by
the 'hours of idleness'--devoted to 'the species question,' Darwin,
though leading at Down almost the life of a hermit, was nevertheless in
frequent communication with two or three faithful friends who followed
his labours with the deepest interest. Cautious as was Darwin himself,
he found in his life-long friend Lyell, a still more doubting and
critical spirit, and it is clear from what Darwin says that he derived
much help by laying new ideas and suggestions before him. The year
before Darwin's death he wrote of Lyell, 'When I made a remark to him on
Geology, he never rested till he saw the whole case clearly, and often
made me see it more clearly than I had done before.'

Lyell's father was a botanist of considerable repute, the friend of Sir
William Hooker and his distinguished son Dr (now Sir Joseph) Hooker.
While Darwin was writing his _Journal of Researches_, he handed the
proof-sheets to Lyell with permission to show them to his father, who
was a man of great literary judgment. The elder Lyell, in turn, showed
them to young Mr Hooker, who was then preparing to join Sir James Ross,
in his celebrated Antarctic voyage with H.M. ships _Erebus_ and
_Terror_. Hooker was then working hard to take his doctor's degree
before joining the expedition as surgeon, but he kept Darwin's
proof-sheets under his pillow, so as to get opportunities of reading
them 'between waking and rising.' Before leaving England, however,
Hooker in 1839 casually met and was introduced to Darwin, and thus
commenced a friendship which resulted in such inestimable benefits to
science. Before sailing with the Antarctic expedition the young surgeon
received from Charles Lyell, as a parting gift, 'a copy of Darwin's
_Journal_ complete'; and he tells us that the perusal stimulated in him
'an enthusiasm in the desire to travel and observe[129].'

On Hooker's return from the voyage in 1843, a friendly letter from
Darwin commenced that remarkable correspondence, which will always
afford the best means of judging of the development of ideas in Darwin's
mind. Hooker's wide knowledge of plants--especially of all questions
concerning their distribution--was of invaluable assistance to Darwin,
at a time when his attention was more particularly absorbed by geology
and zoology, while botany had not as yet received much attention from
him. Hooker's experience, gained in travel, his sound judgment and
balanced mind made him a judicious adviser, while his caution and
candour fitted him to become a trenchant critic of new suggestions,
scarcely inferior in that respect to Lyell.

Darwin does not appear to have made the acquaintance of Huxley till a
considerably later date; but we find the great comparative anatomist had
in 1851 already become so deeply impressed by Darwin, that he said in
writing to a friend he 'might be anything if he had good health[130].'
Huxley used to visit Darwin at Down occasionally, and I have often heard
the latter speak of the instruction and pleasure he enjoyed from their
intercourse.

For many years of his life, Darwin used to come to London and stay with
his brother or daughter for about a week at a time, and on these
occasions--which usually occurred about twice in the year I believe--he
would meet Lyell to 'talk Geology,' Hooker for discussions on Botany,
and Huxley for Zoology.

For twenty years Darwin had 'collected facts on a wholesale scale, more
especially with respect to domesticated productions, by printed
enquiries, by conversations with skilful breeders and gardeners, and by
extensive reading.' 'When,' he added, 'I see the list of books of all
kinds which I read and abstracted, including whole series of Journals
and Transactions, I am surprised at my industry[131].' In September 1854
the Barnacle work was finished and 10,000 specimens sent out of the
house and distributed, and then he devoted himself to arranging his
'huge pile of notes, to observing and experimenting in relation to the
transmutation of species.'

It was early in 1856 when this work had been completed, that, again
urged by Lyell, he actually commenced writing his book. It was planned
as a work on a considerable scale and, if finished, would have reached
dimensions three or four times as great as did eventually the _Origin of
Species_. Working steadily and continuously he had got as far as Chapter
X, completing more than one half the book, when as he says Wallace's
letter and essay came 'like a bolt from the blue.'

Oppressed by illness, anxiety and perplexity, as we have seen that
Darwin was at the time, he fortunately consented to leave
matters--though with great reluctance--in the hands of his friends
Lyell and Hooker. They took the wise course of reading Wallace's paper
at the Linnean Society on July 1st, 1858, at the same time giving
extracts from Darwin's memoir written in 1844, and the abstract of a
letter written by Darwin in 1857 to the distinguished American botanist,
Asa Gray. This solution of the difficulty happily met with the complete
approval of Wallace; and, as the result of the episode, Darwin came to
the conclusion that it would not be wise to defer full publication of
his views, until the extensive work on which he was engaged could be
finished, but an 'abstract' of them must be prepared and issued with as
little delay as possible.

For a time there was hesitation, as Darwin's correspondence with Lyell
and Hooker shows, between the two plans of sending this 'abstract' to
the Linnean Society in a series of papers or of making it an independent
book. But Darwin entertained an invincible dislike to submitting his
various conclusions to the judgment of the Council of a Society, and, in
the end, the preparation of the 'Abstract' in the form of a book of
moderate size, was decided on. This was the origin of Darwin's great
work.

The sickness at Down had led to the abandonment of the house for a time,
and, three weeks after the reading of the joint paper at the Linnean
Society, we find Darwin temporarily established at Sandown, in the Isle
of Wight, where the writing of the _Origin of Species_ was commenced.
The work was resumed in September when the family returned to Down, and
from that time was pressed forward with the greatest diligence.

For the first half of the book, the task before Darwin was to condense,
into less than one half their dimensions, the chapters he had already
written for the large work as originally projected. But for the second
half of the book, he had to expand directly from the essay of 1844.

So closely did Darwin apply himself to the work, that, by the end of
March 28th, 1859, he was able to write to Lyell telling him that he
hoped to be ready to go to press early in May, and asking advice about
publication: he says, 'My Abstract will be about five hundred pages of
the size of your first edition of the _Elements of Geology_.' Lyell
introduced Darwin to John Murray, who had issued all his own works, and
the present representative of that publishing firm has placed on record
a very interesting account of the ever thoughtful and considerate
relations between Darwin and his publishers, which were maintained to
the end[132].

The MS. of the book seems to have been practically finished early in
May, and Darwin's health then broke down for a time, so completely that
he had to retire to a hydropathic establishment. By June 21st he was
able to write to Lyell 'I am working very hard, but get on slowly, for I
find that my corrections are terrifically heavy, and the work most
difficult to me. I have corrected 130 pages, and the volume will be
about 500. I have tried my best to make it clear and striking, but very
much fear that I have failed; so many discussions are and must be very
perplexing. _I have done my best._ If you had all my materials, I am
sure you would have made a splendid book. I long to finish, for I am
certainly worn out[133].' On September 10th the last proof was corrected
and the preparation of the index commenced. At the meeting of the
British Association in Aberdeen, Lyell made the important announcement
of the approaching publication of the great work. On November 24th the
book was issued, 1250 copies having been printed, and Darwin wrote to
Murray, 'I am infinitely pleased and proud at the appearance of my
child.' The edition was sold out in a day, and was followed early in the
next year by the issue of 3000 copies; and untold thousands have since
appeared.

The writing of such a work as the _Origin of Species_, in so short a
time--especially taking into consideration the condition of its author's
health--was a most remarkable feat. It would, of course, not have been
possible but for the fact that Darwin's mind was completely saturated
with the subject, and that he had command of such an enormous body of
methodically arranged notes. He showed the greatest anxiety to convince
his scientific contemporaries, and at the same time to make his meaning
clear to the general reader. With the former object, both MS. and
printed proofs were submitted to the criticism of Lyell and Hooker; and
the latter end was obtained by sending the MS. to a lady friend, Miss G.
Tollet--she, as Darwin says 'being an excellent judge of style, is going
to look out errors for me.' Finally the proofs of the book were
carefully read by Mrs Darwin herself.

The splendid success achieved by the work is a matter of history. Its
clearness of statement and candour in reasoning pleased the general
public; critics without any profound knowledge of natural history were
beguiled into the opinion that they _understood_ the whole matter! and,
according to their varying tastes, indulged in shallow objection or
slightly offensive patronage. The fully-anticipated, theological
vituperation was of course not lacking, but most of the 'replies' to
Darwin's arguments were 'lifted' from the book itself, in which
objections to his views were honestly stated and candidly considered by
the author.

The best testimony to the profound and far-reaching character of the
scientific discussions of the _Origin of Species_ is found in the fact
that both Hooker and Huxley, in spite of their wide knowledge and long
intercourse with Darwin, found the work, so condensed were its
reasonings, a 'very hard book' to read, one on which it was difficult to
pronounce a judgment till after several perusals!

It would be idle to speculate at the present day whether the cause of
Evolution would have been better served by the publication, as Darwin at
one time proposed, of a 'Preliminary Essay,' like that of 1844, or by
the great work, which had been commenced and half completed in 1858,
rather than by the 'abstract,' in which the theory of Natural Selection
was in the end presented to the world. Probably the more moderate
dimensions of the _Origin of Species_ made it far better suited for the
general reader; while the condensation which was necessitated did not in
the end militate against its influence with men of science. It will I
think be now generally conceded that the great success of this grand
work was fully deserved. A subject of such complexity as that which it
dealt with could only be adequately discussed in a manner that would
demand careful attention and thought on the part of the reader; and
Darwin's well-weighed words, carefully balanced sentences, and guarded
reservations are admirably adapted to the accomplishment of the
difficult task he had undertaken. The _Origin of Species_ has been read
by the millions with pleasure, and, at the same time, by the deepest
thinkers of the age with conviction.

It is scarcely possible to refer to the literary style of Darwin's work
without a reference to a misconception arising from that very candid
analysis of his characteristics which he wrote for the satisfaction of
his family, but which has happily been given to the world by his son. In
his early life Darwin was exceedingly fond of music, and took such
delight in good literature, especially poetry, that when on his journeys
in South America he found himself able to carry only one book with him,
the work chosen was the poems of Milton--the former student of his own
Christ's College, Cambridge. But towards the end of his life, Darwin had
sadly to confess that he found that he had quite lost the capacity of
enjoying either music or the noblest works of literature.

Some have argued that Darwin's scientific labours must have actually
proved destructive to his artistic and literary tastes, and have even
gone so far as to assert--in spite of numerous examples to the
contrary--that there is a natural antithesis between the mental
conditions that respectively favour scientific and artistic excellence.

But I think there is a very simple explanation of the loss by Darwin of
his powers of enjoyment of music and poetry, a loss which he evidently
greatly deplored. His scientific undertaking was so gigantic, and, at
the same time, his health was so broken and precarious, that he felt his
only chance of success lay in utilizing, for the tasks before him, every
moment that he was free from acute suffering and retained any power of
working. Consequently, when the self-imposed task of each day was
completed, he found himself in a state of mental collapse. Now to
appreciate the beauties of fine music or the work of a great writer
certainly demands that the mind should be fresh and unjaded, whereas, at
the only times Darwin had for relaxation, he was quite unfitted for
these higher delights. We are not surprised then to learn that he sought
and found relief in listening to his wife's reading of some pleasant
novel or in the nightly game of backgammon, as the only means of resting
his wearied brain.

No one who had the privilege of conversing with Darwin in his later
years can doubt of his having retained to the end the full possession of
his refined tastes as well as his great mental powers. His love for and
sympathy with every movement tending to progress--especially in the
scientific and educational world--his devotion to his friends, with no
little indulgence of indignation for what he thought false or mean in
others, these were his conspicuous characteristics, and they were
combined with a gentle playfulness and sense of humour, which made him
the most delightful and loveable of companions.



CHAPTER XI

THE INFLUENCE OF DARWIN'S WORKS


In two essays 'On the Coming of Age of the Origin of Species[134],' and
'On the Reception of the Origin of Species[135],' published in 1880 and
1887 respectively, Huxley has discussed the course of events following
the publication of Darwin's great work, he having the advantage of being
one of the chief actors in those events. There is a striking parallelism
between the manner that the _Principles of Geology_ had been received
thirty years earlier, and the way that the _Origin of Species_ was met,
both by Darwin's scientific contemporaries and the reading public.

At the outset, as we have already intimated, Lyell and Darwin were
equally fortunate, in that each found a critic, in one of the chief
organs of public opinion, who was at the same time both competent and
sympathetic. The story of the lucky accident by which this came about in
Darwin's case has been told by Huxley himself[136].

    'The _Origin_ was sent to Mr Lucas, one of the staff of the
    _Times_ writers at that time, in what was I suppose the
    ordinary course of business. Mr Lucas, though an excellent
    journalist, ... was as innocent of any knowledge of science as a
    babe, and bewailed himself to an acquaintance on having to deal
    with such a book. Whereupon, he was recommended to ask me to get
    him out of the difficulty, and he applied to me accordingly,
    explaining, however, that it would be necessary for him formally
    to adopt anything I might be disposed to write, by prefacing it
    with two or three paragraphs of his own.'

    'I was too anxious to seize upon the opportunity thus offered of
    giving the book a fair chance with the multitudinous readers of
    the _Times_, to make any difficulty about conditions; and being
    then very full of the subject, I wrote the article faster, I
    think, than I ever wrote anything in my life, and sent it to Mr
    Lucas who duly prefixed his opening sentences[137].'

Many journalists, however, were less conscientious than Mr Lucas, and
most of the other early notices of the book were pretty equally divided
between undiscriminating praise of it as a novelty and foolish
reprobations of its 'wickedness.'

It was fortunate that Darwin followed the strong advice given to him by
Lyell, and did not attempt to reply to the adverse criticisms; for the
only effect of these was to arouse curiosity and thus to increase the
circulation of the book.

Although Darwin had wisely avoided the danger of exciting prejudice
against his work by definitely applying the theory of Natural Selection
to the case of man--simply remarking, in order to avoid the charge of
concealing his views, that 'light would be thrown on the origin of man
and his history'--yet friends and foes alike at once drew what was the
necessary corollary from the theory. It is as amusing, as it is
surprising at the present day, to recall the storm of prejudice which
was excited. At the British Association Meeting at Oxford in 1860, after
an American professor had indignantly asked the question, 'Are we a
fortuitous concourse of atoms?' as a comment on Darwin's views, Dr
Samuel Wilberforce, the Bishop of Oxford, ended a clever but flippant
attack on the _Origin_ by enquiring of Huxley, who was present as
Darwin's champion, if it 'was through his grandfather or his grandmother
that he claimed his descent from a monkey?'

Huxley made the famous and well-deserved retort:--

    'I asserted--and I repeat--that a man has no reason to be
    ashamed of having an ape for his grandfather. If there were an
    ancestor whom I should feel ashamed in recalling, it would
    rather be a _man_--a man of restless and versatile
    intellect--who not content with success in his own sphere of
    activity, plunges into scientific questions with which he has no
    real acquaintance, only to obscure them by an aimless rhetoric,
    and distract the attention of his hearers from the real point at
    issue by eloquent digressions and skilled appeals to religious
    prejudice[138].'

The violent attack on Darwin's views by the once-famous Bishop of Oxford
was outdone, a few years later, by an even more absurd outburst on the
part of Benjamin Disraeli, who--after stigmatising Darwinism as the
question 'Is man an ape or an angel?'--declared magniloquently to the
episcopal chairman, 'My Lord, I am on the side of the angels!'

But in spite of attacks like these and numerous bitter pasquinades and
comic cartoons--perhaps to some extent in consequence of them--Darwin's
views became widely known and eagerly discussed, so that the circulation
of the _Origin of Species_ went up by leaps and bounds. Nevertheless, as
Huxley said, 'years had to pass away before misrepresentation, ridicule
and denunciation, ceased to be the most notable constituents of the
multitudinous criticisms of his work which poured from the press.'

Among his contemporary men of science Darwin could at first count few
converts. Hooker, whose candid and valuable criticisms of his friend's
work had been continued up to the very end during its composition, did
an eminent service to the cause of Evolution by publishing, almost
simultaneously with the _Origin of Species_, his splendid memoir on _The
Flora of Australia, its Origin, Affinities, and Distribution_, in which
similar views were, not obscurely, indicated. Of Lyell, Darwin's other
friend and counsellor, Huxley justly says:

    'Lyell, up to that time a pillar of the antitransmutationists
    (who regarded him, ever afterwards, as Pallas Athene may have
    looked at Dian, after the Endymion affair), declared himself a
    Darwinian, though not without putting in a serious _caveat_.
    Nevertheless, he was a tower of strength and his courageous
    stand for truth as against consistency, did him infinite
    honour[139].'

Huxley himself accepted the theory of Natural Selection--but not without
some important reservations--these, however, did not prevent him from
becoming its most ardent and successful champion. Darwin used to
acknowledge Huxley's great service to him in undertaking the defence of
the theory--a defence which his own hatred of controversy and the state
of his health made him unwilling to undertake--by laughingly calling him
'my general agent!' while Huxley himself in replying to the critics,
declared that he was 'Darwin's bulldog.'

Although, at first, Darwin was able to enumerate less than a dozen
naturalists who were prepared to accept his views, while influential
leaders of thought in science--like Richard Owen in this country and
Louis Agassiz in America--were bitterly opposed to them, the theory
gradually obtained supporters especially among the younger cultivators
of botany, zoology and geology.

It is evident that Darwin for some time regarded his 'abstract,' as he
called the _Origin of Species_, as only a temporary expedient--one to be
superseded by the publication of the much more extended work, designed
and commenced long before. Although the _Origin_ was only published late
in November 1859, and he was called upon immediately to prepare a
second edition, we find that on January 1st, 1860, Darwin began to
arrange his materials for dealing with the first great division of his
subject, 'the variation of animals and plants under domestication.' So
numerous and important were his notes and records of experiments,
however, that he soon found that to expand the whole of the 'abstract,'
on the same scale, would be an impossible task for any one man, however
able and diligent. Unwilling that the results of some of his special
researches should be lost, he wisely determined to issue them as
separate books. The first of these to appear was that on the
_Fertilisation of Orchids_, a beautiful illustration of the relation of
insects to flowers in producing crossing. He had been more than twenty
years working and experimenting on this subject, his interest in it
having been quickened by having read an almost forgotten book of the
botanist Sprengel. Almost at the same time, and in following years, he
wrote papers for the Linnean Society on dimorphic and trimorphic forms
of flowers, and their bearing on the question of cross-fertilisation.
These papers were the foundation of his well-known work, _The Different
Forms of Flowers on Plants of the same Species_. In the same way, a
paper read in 1864 to the Linnean Society was subsequently expanded into
_The Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants_.

Owing to delays caused by the preparation and publication of these books
and frequent interruptions from sickness, the work on variation did not
appear till 1868. It was a very extensive piece of work in two volumes,
and, at its end, Darwin tentatively propounded a hypothesis to account
for the facts of Heredity and Variation to which he gave the name of
'pangenesis.'

Charles Darwin had reached the age of fifty, when he wrote the _Origin
of Species_. At a very early period in his career, he had resolved that
he would never start a new theory or revise an old one after he was
sixty; as he used laughingly to say, 'I have seen too many of my friends
make fools of themselves by doing that.' But as he approached this
'fatal age,' one more subject of a theoretical and highly controversial
nature remained to be dealt with, namely, the question of the
application of the theory of natural selection to man, both as regards
his physical structure and his intellectual and moral characteristics.

Darwin tells us that in 1837 or '38, as soon as he had become 'convinced
that species were mutable productions,' he 'could not avoid the belief
that man must come under the same law[140].' From that time, he began
collecting facts bearing on the question. As each of his children was
born, he examined closely the signs of dawning intelligence, and made
notes of the manner in which new sensations and passions were exhibited
by them. His dog and other animals, for whom he always showed the
greatest fondness, were closely watched with the object of noting
correspondences between their mental and moral processes and their modes
of exhibiting them and our own; while visits were made by him to the
Zoological Gardens with the same object. By reading and correspondence
also, an enormous mass of notes was collected, and on February 4th,
1868, having seen his great work on Variation under Domestication
published, Darwin was able to make the entry in his diary, 'Began work
on Man.'

As was usual with most of his works, Darwin underestimated the time
required to complete it. Through all the years 1867--'68, '69 and '70 we
find the entries in his diary 'working at _Descent of Man_,' and only
early in the year 1871 was the book finished. His original plan of
compressing his notes on the expression of the Emotions into a chapter
at the end of the book proved to be impracticable, and the material was
reserved for a new work. This work, _The Expression of the Emotions in
Man and Animals_, was commenced directly the _Descent of Man_ was out of
hand, a rough copy was finished by April 27th, 1871, but the last proofs
were not corrected till August 23rd, 1873.

In dealing with the question of the origin of the human race, Darwin
was led to propound his views concerning Sexual selection, the results
of the preferences shown by males and females, respectively, not only
among mankind, but in various other animals. It was with respect to some
of the conclusions contained in this work that Wallace found himself
unable to follow Darwin. Wallace maintained that while man's body could
have been developed by Natural Selection, his intellectual and moral
nature must have had a different origin. He also declined to adopt the
theory of sexual selection, so far as it depends on preferences
exhibited by females for beauty in the males. Wallace, however, in some
respects has always been disposed to attach more importance to Natural
Selection, as the greatest, if not the only factor in evolution, than
Darwin himself.

It will be seen that although Darwin had in all probability thought out
all his important theoretical conclusions before 1869, when he reached
the 'fatal age,' yet, owing to various delays, the books, in which he
embodied his views, had not all appeared till more than four years
later.

Lyell, who was a convinced evolutionist before the publication of the
_Principles of Geology_, as is shown by his letters,--and the fact is
strongly insisted on both by Huxley and Haeckel[141],--was slow in
coming into _complete_ agreement with Darwin concerning the theory of
Natural Selection. While he followed his friend's investigations with
the deepest interest, his less sanguine nature led him often to despair
of the possibility of solving 'the mystery of mysteries.' As Darwin
wrote only a year before his own death, Lyell 'would advance all
_possible_ objections to my suggestions, and _even after these were
exhausted_ would long _remain dubious_[142].' It is evident from the
correspondence that Darwin was at times tempted to become impatient with
the friend, for whose advocacy of his views he so deeply longed.
Fourteen years after the publication of the _Origin of Species_,
however, Lyell, in his _Antiquity of Man_, gave in his adhesion to
Darwin's theory but, even then, not in the unqualified manner that the
latter desired. Yet I have reason to know that some years before his
death, Lyell was able to assure his friend of his _complete_ agreement,
and Darwin, six years after the loss of his friend, wrote, 'His candour
was highly remarkable. He exhibited this by becoming a convert to the
Descent theory, though he had gained much fame by opposing Lamarck's
views, _and this after he had grown old_.' Darwin adds that Lyell,
referring to the '_fatal_ age' of sixty, said 'he hoped that now he
might be allowed to live[143]!'

When I first came into personal relations with Darwin, after the death
of Lyell in 1875, he was in the habit of deprecating any idea of his
writing on theoretical questions. He used to talk of 'playing with
plants and such things,' and undoubtedly derived the greatest pleasure
from his ingenious experimental researches. The result of this 'play' in
which Darwin took such delight is seen in his books on the _Power of
Movement in Plants_ and _Insectivorous Plants_; full of the records of
ingenious experiments and patient observation.

It was a great relief to Darwin that his friend Wallace was able in 1871
to undertake the preparation of a work on _The Geographical Distribution
of Animals_, for, on many points, the views held by Wallace on this
subject were more in accordance with Darwin's own, than were those of
Lyell and Hooker. Nevertheless, on all questions connected with the
geographical distribution of plants, and the causes by which they were
brought about, Darwin always expressed the fullest confidence in
Hooker's judgment, and the greatest satisfaction with his results.

With regard to another great division of his work, that dealing with the
imperfection, but yet great value, of the geological record, Darwin was
always anxious, when I met him, to learn of any new discoveries. But he
felt that he had done all that was possible in his outline of the
subject in the _Origin_, and that he must leave to palaeontologists all
over the world the filling in of these outlines. So great was the
delight with which he used to hear of new discoveries in palaeontology,
that I often recall our conversations in these later days, when so many
interesting forms of extinct animal and vegetable life--veritable
'missing links'--are being discovered in all parts of the globe, and
wish that he could have known of them. They are indeed 'Facts for
Darwin.'

Very happy indeed was Charles Darwin in the last years of his useful
life, in returning to his oldest 'love'--geology. In studying the action
of earthworms he found a geological study in which his rare powers of
ingenious experimentation could be employed with profit. His earliest
published memoir had dealt with the question, and for more than forty
years with dogged perseverance, he had laboured at it from time to time.
It was delightful to watch his pleasure as he examined what was going on
in the flower-pots full of mould in his study, and when his book was
published and favourably received, he rejoiced in it as 'the child of
his old age[144].'

Charles Darwin's death took place rather more than twenty-two years
after the publication of the _Origin of Species_. Before he passed away,
he had the satisfaction of knowing that the doctrine of evolution had
come to be--mainly through his own great efforts--the accepted creed of
all naturalists and that even for the world at large it had lost its
imaginary terrors. As Huxley wrote a few days after our sad loss, 'None
have fought better, and none have been more fortunate, than Charles
Darwin. He found a great truth trodden underfoot, reviled by bigots, and
ridiculed by all the world; he lived long enough to see it, chiefly by
his own efforts, irrefragably established in science, inseparably
incorporated with the common thoughts of men, and only hated and feared
by those who would revile, but dare not. What shall a man desire more
than this[145]?'

More than a quarter of a century has passed since these words were
written. How during that period the influence of Darwin's writings on
human thought has grown, in an accelerated ratio, will be seen by anyone
who will turn the pages of the memorial volume--_Darwin and Modern
Science_--published fifty years after the _Origin of Species_. Therein,
not only zoologists, botanists and geologists, but physicists, chemists,
anthropologists, psychologists, sociologists, philologists,
historians--and even politicians and theologians--are found testifying
to the important part which Darwin's great work has played, in
revolutionising ideas and moulding thought in connexion with all
branches of knowledge and speculation.



CHAPTER XII

THE PLACE OF LYELL AND DARWIN IN HISTORY


From the account given in the foregoing pages, it will be seen
that--without detracting from the merits of their predecessors or the
value of the labours of their contemporaries--we must ascribe the work
of establishing on a firm foundation of observation and reasoning the
doctrine of evolution--both in the inorganic and the organic world--to
the investigations and writings of Lyell and Darwin.

Lyell had to oppose the geologists of his day, who led by Buckland in
this country and by Cuvier on the continent, were almost, without
exception, hopelessly wedded to the doctrines of 'Catastrophism,' and
bitterly antagonistic to all ideas savouring of continuity or evolution.
And, in the same way, Darwin, at the outset, found himself face to face
with a similarly hostile attitude, on the part of biologists, with
respect to the mode of appearance of new species of plants and animals.

While Darwin doubtless derived his inspiration, and much valuable aid,
from the _Principles of Geology_, and its gifted author, yet Lyell, with
all his clearness of vision, logical faculty and literary skill, did not
possess the strong faith and resolute courage--to say nothing of that
wonderful tenacity of purpose and power of research which were such
striking characteristics of Darwin--which would have enabled him to do
for the organic what he did for the inorganic world. If it be true, as
Darwin used to suggest, that the _Origin of Species_ might never have
been written had not Lyell first produced the _Principles of Geology_, I
believe it is no less certain that the crowning of Lyell's great
edifice, by the full application of his principles to the world of
living beings, could only have been accomplished by a man possessing, in
unique combination, the powers of observation, experiment, reasoning and
criticism, joined to unswerving determination, which distinguished
Darwin.

Starting from Lyell's most advanced post, Darwin boldly advanced into
regions in which his friend was unable to lead, and indeed long
hesitated to follow. Together, for nearly forty years, the two
men--influencing one another 'as iron sharpeneth iron'--thought and
communed and worked, aided at all times by the wide knowledge and
judicious criticism of the sagacious Hooker; and together the fame of
these men will go down to posterity.

There is a tendency, when a great man has passed from our midst, to
estimate his merits and labours with undiscriminating, and often perhaps
exaggerated, admiration; and this excessive praise is too often followed
by a reaction, as the result of which the idol of one generation becomes
almost commonplace to the next. A still further period is required
before the proper position of mental perspective is reached by us, and a
just judgment can be formed of the man's real place in history. The
reputations of both Lyell and Darwin have, I think, passed through both
these two earlier phases of thought, and we may have arrived at the
third stage.

There was one respect in which both Lyell and Darwin failed to satisfy
many both of their contemporaries and successors. Lyell, like Hutton,
always deprecated attempts to go back to a 'beginning,' while Darwin,
who strongly supported Lyell in his geological views, was equally averse
to speculations concerning the 'origin of life on the globe.'
Scrope[146], and also Huxley[147] in his earlier days, held the opinion
that it was legitimate to assume or imagine a beginning, from which,
with ever diminishing energy, the existing 'comparatively quiet
conditions,' thought to characterise the present order of the world,
would be reached. Both Lyell and Darwin insisted that geology is a
historical science, and must be treated as such quite distinct from
Cosmogony. And in the end, Huxley accepted the same view[148].
'Geology,' he asserted, 'is as much a historical science as
archaeology.'

The sober historian has always had to contend against the traditional
belief that 'there were giants on the earth in those days!' The love of
the marvellous has always led to the ascription of past events to the
work of demigods who were not of like powers and passions with
ourselves. Hence the invention of those 'catastrophies'--in which the
reputations of deities as well as of men and women have often suffered.
It is the same tendency in the human mind which makes it so difficult to
conceive of all the changes in the earth's surface-features and its
inhabitants being due to similar operations to those still going on
around us.

Lyell's views have constantly been misrepresented by the belief being
ascribed to him that 'the forces operating on the globe have never acted
with greater intensity than at the present day.' But his real position
in this matter was a frankly 'agnostic' one. 'Bring me evidence,' he
would have said, 'that changes have taken place on the globe, which
cannot be accounted for by agencies still at work _when operating
through sufficiently long periods of time_, and I will abandon my
position.' But such evidence was not forthcoming in his day, and I do
not think has ever been discovered since. Professor Sollas has very
justly said, 'Geology has no need to return to the catastrophism of its
youth; in becoming evolutional it does not cease to remain essentially
uniformitarian[149].'

Alfred Russel Wallace, who has always been as stout a defender of the
views of Lyell as he has of those of Darwin, has given me his permission
to quote from a letter he wrote me in 1888. After referring to what he
regards as the weak and mistaken attacks on Lyell's teachings, 'which
have of late years been so general among geologists,' he says:--

    'I have always been surprised when men have advanced the view
    that volcanic action _must_ have been greater when the earth was
    hotter, and entirely ignore the numerous indications that both
    subterranean and meteorological forces, even in Palaeozoic
    times, were of the same order of magnitude as they are now--and
    this I have always believed is what Lyell's teaching implies.'

I believe that Mr Wallace's expression, adopted from the mathematicians,
'the same order of magnitude,' would have met with Lyell's complete
acquiescence. He was not so unwise as to suppose that, in the limited
periods of human history, we must necessarily have had experience--even
at Krakatoa or 'Skaptar Jokull'--of nature's greatest possible
convulsions, but he fought tenaciously against any admission of
'cataclysms' that would belong to a totally different category to those
of the present day.

Apart from theological objections, the most formidable obstacle to the
reception of evolutionary ideas had always been the prejudice against
the admission of vast duration of past geological time. It was
unfortunate that, even when rational historical criticism had to a great
extent neutralised the effect of Archbishop Usher's chronology, the
mathematicians and physicists, assuming certain sources of heat in the
earth and sun could have been the only possible ones, tried to set a
limit to the time at the disposal of the geologist and biologist.
Happily the discovery of radio-activity and the new sources of heat
opened up by that discovery, have removed those objections, which were
like a nightmare to both Geology and Biology.

Lyell used to relate the story of a man, who, from a condition of dire
poverty, suddenly became the possessor of vast wealth, and when
remonstrated with by friends on the inadequacy of a subscription he had
offered, the poor fellow exclaimed sadly, 'Ah! you don't know how hard
it is to get the chill of poverty out of one's bones.'

Geologists and biologists alike have long been the victims of this
'chill of poverty,' with respect to past time. So long as physicists
insisted that one hundred millions, or forty millions, or even ten
millions of years, must be the limit of geological time, it was not
possible to avoid the conclusion stated by Lord Salisbury in 1894, 'Of
course, if the mathematicians are right the biologists cannot have what
they demand[150].' But now geologists and biologists may alike feel
that the liberty with respect to _space_, which is granted ungrudgingly
to the astronomer, is no longer withheld from them in regard to _time_.
We can say with old Lamarck:--

    'For Nature, Time is nothing. It is never a difficulty, she
    always has it at her disposal; and it is for her the means by
    which she has accomplished the greatest as well as the least
    results. For all the evolution of the earth and of living
    beings, Nature needs but three elements--Space, Time and
    Matter[151].'

Darwin, equally with Lyell, has suffered from a reaction following on
extravagant and uninformed praise of his work. The fields in which he
laboured single-handed, have yielded to hundreds of workers in many
lands an abundant harvest. New doctrines and improved methods of enquiry
have arisen--Mutationism, Mendelism, Weismannism, Neo-Lamarckism,
Biometrics, Eugenics and what not--are being diligently exploited. But
all of these vigorous growths have their real roots in Darwinism. If we
study Darwin's correspondence, and the successive essays in which he
embodied his views at different periods, we shall find, variation by
mutation (or _per saltum_), the influence of environment, the question
of the inheritance of acquired characters and similar problems were
constantly present to Darwin's ever open mind, his views upon them
changing from time to time, as fresh facts were gathered.

No one could sympathise more fully than would Darwin, were he still with
us, in these various departures. He was compelled, from want of
evidence, to regard variations as spontaneous, but would have heartily
welcomed every attempt to discover the laws which govern them; and
equally would he have delighted in researches directed to the
investigation of the determining factors, controlling conditions and
limits of inheritance. The man who so carefully counted and weighed his
seeds in botanical experiments, could not but rejoice in the refined
mathematical methods now being applied to biological problems.

Let us not 'in looking at the trees, lose sight of the wood.' Underlying
all the problems, some of them very hotly discussed at the present day,
there is the great central principle of Natural Selection--which if not
the sole factor in evolution, is undoubtedly a very important and potent
one. It is only necessary to compare the present position of the Natural
History sciences with that which existed immediately before the
publication of the _Origin of Species_, to realise the greatness of
Darwin's achievement.

The fame of both Lyell and Darwin will endure, and their names will
remain as closely linked as were the two men in their lives, the two
devoted friends, whose remains found a meet resting-place, almost side
by side, in the Abbey of Westminster. Very touching indeed was it to
witness the marks of affection between these two great men; an affection
which remained undiminished to the end. Lyell was twelve years senior to
Darwin, and died seven years before his friend. During the last year of
Lyell's life, I spent the summer with him at his home in Forfarshire.
How well do I recollect the keenness with which--in spite of a
near-sightedness that had increased with age almost to blindness--he
still devoted himself to geological work. The 264 note-books, all
carefully indexed, were in constant use, and visits were made to all the
haunts of his youth, with the frequent pathetic appeal to me, 'You must
lend me your eyes.' In spite of age and weakness, he would insist on
clambering up the steepest hills to show me where he had found glacial
markings, and would eagerly listen to my report on them. But the _great_
delight of those days was the arrival of a letter from Darwin! Lyell was
the recipient of many honours, and he declined many more, when he feared
that they might interfere with the work to which he had devoted his
life, but the distinction he prized most of all was that conferred on
him by his life-long friend, who used to address him as 'My dear old
Master,' and subscribe himself 'Your affectionate pupil.'

During the seven years that elapsed after the death of Lyell, I saw
Darwin from time to time, for he loved to hear 'what was doing' in his
'favourite science.' On board the _Beagle_, before he had met the man
whose life and work were to be so closely linked with his own, he was in
the habit of specially treasuring up any 'facts that would interest Mr
Lyell'; in middle life he declared that 'when seeing a thing never seen
by Lyell, one yet saw it partially through his eyes[152]'; and never, I
think, did we meet after the friend was gone, without the oft repeated
query, 'What would Lyell have said to that?'

These reminiscences of the past, in which I have ventured to indulge,
may not inappropriately conclude with a reference to the last interview
I was privileged to have with him, who was 'the noblest Roman of them
all!' On the occasion of his last visit to London, in December, 1881,
Charles Darwin wrote asking me to take lunch with him at his daughter's
house, and to have 'a little talk' on geology. Greatly was I surprised
at the vigour which he showed on that afternoon, for, contrary to his
usual practice, he did not interrupt the conversation to retire and rest
for a time, though I suggested the desirability of his doing so, and
offered to stay. His brightness and animation, which were perhaps a
little forced, struck me as so unusual that I laughingly suggested that
he was 'renewing his youth.' Then a slight shade passed over his
countenance--but only for a moment--as he told me that he had 'received
his warning.' The attack, to which his son has alluded, as being the
prelude to the end[153], had occurred during this visit to town; and he
intimated to me that he knew his heart was seriously affected. Never
shall I forget how, seeing my concern, he insisted on accompanying me to
the door, and how, with the ever kindly smile on his countenance, he
held my hand in a prolonged grasp, that I sadly felt might perhaps be
the last. And so it proved.

And now all the world is united in the conviction which Darwin so
modestly expressed concerning his own career, 'I believe that I have
acted rightly in steadily following and devoting myself to science!'

For has not that _devotion_ resulted in a complete reform of the
Natural-History Sciences! The doctrine of the 'immutability of
species'--like that of 'Catastrophism' in the inorganic world--has been
eliminated from the Biological sciences by Darwin, through his _steadily
following_ the clues found by him during his South American travels; and
continuity is now as much the accepted creed of botanists and zoologists
as it is of geologists. As a result of the labours of Darwin, new lines
of thought have been opened out, fresh fields of investigation
discovered, and the infinite variety among living things has acquired a
grander aspect and a special significance. Very justly, then, has Darwin
been universally acclaimed as 'the Newton of Natural History.'



NOTES


In the following references, L.L.L. indicates the "Life and Letters of
Sir Charles Lyell" by Mrs K. Lyell (1881), D.L.L. the "Life and Letters
of Charles Darwin" by F. Darwin (1887), M.L.D. "More Letters of Charles
Darwin" edited by F. Darwin and A. C. Seward (1903), and H.C.E. Huxley's
"Collected Essays."

[1] The Darwin-Wallace Celebration, Linn. Soc. (1908), p. 10.

[2] Darwin and Modern Science (1909), pp. 152-170.

[3] Pope, Essay on Man, Ep. I. lines 111-2.

[4] Genesis, Chap. XXX. verses 31-43.

[5] Brit. Assoc. Rep. 1900 (Bradford), pp. 916-920.

[6] _Ibid._ 1909 (Winnipeg), pp. 491-493.

[7] L.L.L. Vol. I. p. 468.

[8] Origin of Species, Chap. XV. end.

[9] Milton, Paradise Lost, Bk. VII. lines 454-466.

[10] Edinb. Rev. LXIX. (July 1839), pp. 446-465.

[11] Principles of Geology, Vol. I. (1830), p. 61.

[12] Zittel, Hist. of Geol. &c. Eng. transl. p. 72.

[13] Quart. Rev. Vol. XLVIII. (March 1832), p. 126.

[14] Brit. Assoc. Rep. 1866 (Nottingham).

[15] H.C.E. Vol. VIII. p. 315.

[16] _Ibid._ p. 190.

[17] D.L.L. Vol. II. pp. 179-204.

[18] H.C.E. Vol. V. p. 101.

[19] D.L.L. Vol. II. p. 190.

[20] Edinb. Rev. Vol. LXIX. (July 1839), p. 455 _note_.

[21] 'Theory of the Earth,' Vol. II. p. 67.

[22] L.L.L. Vol. I. p. 272.

[23] Brit. Assoc. Rep. 1833 (Cambridge), pp. 365-414.

[24] Outlines of the Geology of England and Wales, p. xliv.

[25] Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory, p. iii.

[26] Edinb. Rev. LXIX. (July 1839), p. 455 _note_.

[27] _Ibid._

[28] Zittel, Hist. of Geol. &c. Eng. transl. p. 141.

[29] Considerations on Volcanoes, &c. (1825), pp. iv-vi.

[30] Volcanoes of Central France, 2nd Ed. (1858), p. vii.

[31] See Quart. Rev. Vol. XXXVI. (Oct. 1827), pp. 437-485.

[32] L.L.L. Vol. I. p. 46.

[33] Principles of Geology, Vol. II. 2nd Ed.

[34] L.L.L. Vol. II. pp. 47-8.

[35] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 268.

[36] Environs de Paris (1811), p. 56.

[37] Trans. Geol. Soc. 2nd Ser. Vol. II. pp. 73-96.

[38] See Mantell's Geology of the Isle of Wight and L.L.L. Vol. I. pp.
114-122.

[39] Hist. of Geol. &c. Eng. transl. p. 188.

[40] L.L.L. Vol. I. p. 173.

[41] British Critic and Theological Review (1830), p. 7 of the review.

[42] L.L.L. Vol. I. p. 177.

[43] Preface to Vol. III. of the 'Principles' (1833), p. vii.

[44] L.L.L. Vol. I. pp. 233-4.

[45] Charles Lyell and Modern Geology (1898), p. 214.

[46] Proc. Geol. Soc. Vol. I. p. 374.

[47] L.L.L. Vol. I. p. 196.

[48] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 197.

[49] Proc. Geol. Soc. Vol. I. pp. 145-9.

[50] L.L.L. Vol. I. p. 253.

[51] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 234.

[52] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 271.

[53] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 270.

[54] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 271.

[55] Quart. Rev. Vol. XLIII. (Oct. 1830), pp. 411-469 and Vol. LIII.
(Sept. 1835), pp. 406-448. Both these reviews are by Scrope. The Review
of the 2nd Vol. of the 'Principles,' Q.R. Vol. XLVII. (March 1832), pp.
103-132 is by Whewell.

[56] L.L.L. Vol. I. p. 270.

[57] _Ibid._ Vol. I. pp. 260-1.

[58] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 314.

[59] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 165.

[60] M.L.D. Vol. II. p. 232 and D.L.L. Vol. II. p. 190.

[61] L.L.L. Vol. I. pp. 316-7.

[62] Proc. Geol. Soc. Vol. I. pp. 302-3.

[63] L.L.L. Vol. II. p. 41.

[64] See also D.L.L. Vol. I. pp. 72-3.

[65] Nineteenth Century, Oct. 1895, and Controverted Questions in
Geology (1895), pp. 1-18.

[66] M.L.D. Vol. II. p. 117.

[67] D.L.L. Vol. I. pp. 337-8 and p. 342.

[68] Origin of Species, Chap. X. See also Darwin and Modern Science, pp.
337-385.

[69] D.L.L. Vol. I. pp. 341-2.

[70] L.L.L. Vol. II. p. 44.

[71] D.L.L. Vol. I. p. 296.

[72] _Ibid._ p. 72.

[73] _Ibid._ p. 71.

[74] A. R. Wallace, 'My Life, &c.' (1905), Vol. I. p. 433.

[75] The Darwin-Wallace Celebration, Linn. Soc. (1908), p. 118.

[76] L.L.L. Vol. II. p. 459.

[77] Report of lecture at Forrester's Hall.

[78] H.C.E. Vol. VIII. p. 312.

[79] D.L.L. Vol. II. p. 190.

[80] L.L.L. Vol. II. pp. 2, 3.

[81] _Ibid._ Vol. II. p. 36.

[82] _Ibid._ Vol. II. p. 5.

[83] D.L.L. Vol. I. p. 94.

[84] L.L.L. Vol. I. pp. 417-8.

[85] H. F. Osborn, 'From the Greeks to Darwin' (1894), p. 165.

[86] _Loc. cit._ pp. 467-469.

[87] L.L.L. Vol. I. p. 168.

[88] _Ibid._ Vol. II. p. 365.

[89] D.L.L. Vol. II. pp. 23, 29, 39.

[90] _Ibid._ Vol. III. p. 15 (see also pp. 11-14).

[91] 'Origin of Species,' 6th Ed. (1875), p. xiv.

[92] 'Darwin and Modern Science,' p. 125.

[93] 'Origin of Species,' 6th Ed. (1875), pp. xvi, xvii.

[94] M.L.D. Vol. I. p. 3.

[95] D.L.L. Vol. I. p. 41.

[96] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 41.

[97] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 52.

[98] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 58.

[99] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 58.

[100] H.C.E. Vol. II. p. 271.

[101] D.L.L. Vol. I. p. 73.

[102] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 263.

[103] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 38.

[104] H.C.E. Vol. II. p. 20.

[105] D.L.L. Vol. I. p. 275.

[106] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 83.

[107] _Ibid._ Vol. II. pp. 5-10.

[108] H.C.E. Vol. II. p. 71.

[109] D.L.L. Vol. I. p. 47.

[110] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 84.

[111] Macmillan's Magazine, Feb. 1888, p. 241.

[112] My Life, &c. Vol. I. p. 355.

[113] Darwin-Wallace Celebration, Linn. Soc. (1908), pp. 6-7.

[114] _Ibid._ pp. 14-16.

[115] D.L.L. Vol. II. pp. 116-7.

[116] 'Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection' (1871),
Preface, pp. iv, v.

[117] Darwin-Wallace Celebration, Linn. Soc. (1908), p. 7.

[118] _Ibid._ p. 7.

[119] D.L.L. Vol. I. p. 66.

[120] _Ibid._ Vol. I. pp. 62-3.

[121] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 66.

[122] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 66.

[123] D.L.L. Vol. I. p. 83.

[124] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 84.

[125] 'The Foundations of the Origin of Species' (1909), p. xv.

[126] Letter to A. R. Wallace, Christ's Coll. Mag. Vol. XXIII. (1909),
p. 229.

[127] D.L.L. Vol. II. pp. 16-18.

[128] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 347.

[129] D.L.L. Vol. II. pp. 19-21.

[130] Huxley's Life and Letters (1900), Vol. I. p. 94.

[131] D.L.L. Vol. I. p. 83.

[132] Science Progress, Vol. III. (1908), pp. 537-542.

[133] D.L.L. Vol. II. p. 160.

[134] H.C.E. Vol. II. pp. 227-243.

[135] D.L.L. Vol. II. pp. 179-204.

[136] _Ibid._ Vol. II. p. 255.

[137] The Review is republished in H.C.E. Vol. II. pp. 1-21.

[138] Huxley's Life and Letters, Vol. I. pp. 179-189.

[139] D.L.L. Vol. II. p. 185.

[140] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 93.

[141] See Haeckel's 'History of Creation.'

[142] D.L.L. Vol. I. p. 71.

[143] _Ibid._ Vol. I. p. 72.

[144] D.L.L. Vol. I. p. 98; Vol. III. pp. 217-218.

[145] H.C.E. Vol. II. p. 247.

[146] Quart. Rev. XLIII. pp. 464-467 and Vol. LIII. pp. 446-448.

[147] H.C.E. Vol. VIII. p. 315.

[148] H.C.E. Vol. V. p. 99.

[149] The Age of the Earth and other Geological Studies, p. 322.

[150] Brit. Assoc. Rep. 1894 (Oxford), p. 13.

[151] 'Hydrogéologie,' p. 67.

[152] M.L.D. Vol. II. p. 117.

[153] D.L.L. Vol. III. p. 356.



INDEX


Adaptation, in relation to divergence of species, Darwin's recognition
      of, 108, 109

Agriculturalists, ideas of creation, 5, 6

ARNOLD, MATTHEW, on Lucretius and Darwin, 3, 4

Auvergne, N. Desmarest on, 17;
  Scrope on, 35;
  visited by Lyell and Murchison, 56, 57;
  their memoir on, 58


'Beagle,' H.M.S., Darwin's voyage in, 98, 99;
  narrative of, 106

BONNEY, T. G., estimate of amount of Lyell's travels by, 56, 57

Botanical works of Darwin, 141

_British Critic_, Whewell's review of Lyell in, 53

BRODERIP, W. J., aid given to Lyell by, 65;
 Vol. II. of _Principles_ dedicated to, 65

BROWN, ROBERT, assistance to Lyell by, 47

BUCKLAND, Dr, on infant Geological Society, 26;
  champion of 'Catastrophism' in England, 27;
  his eccentricity, 42-44;
  'Equestrian Geology' of, 28;
  influence on Lyell, 34, 44;
  2nd edition of Vol. I. of _Principles_ dedicated to, 44;
  his opposition to Lyell, 71


Cambridge, Darwin at, 97, 98

CANDOLLE, A. P. DE, on struggle for existence, 107

Catastrophism, origin of idea of, 14, 15;
  defined, 22;
  origin of term, 22;
  connexion with orthodoxy, 21;
  championed by Buckland, Sedgwick &c., 27;
  by Cuvier, 31, 50, 102;
  opposition by Lyell and Darwin to, 105

Centres of Creation, Lyell's views on, 65

CHAMBERS, ROBERT, publishes _Vestiges of Creation_, 92;
  his reasons for anonymity, 93

Chemists, part played in early days of Geological Society by, 26

Christ's College, Cambridge, the home of Milton and Darwin, 13;
  of Paley, 108

CLODD, E., his _Pioneers of Evolution_, 16

Continuity, term for Evolution suggested by Grove, 23

CONYBEARE, W. D., advocacy of Catastrophism, 27;
  criticism of Hutton, 28;
  misconception of Hutton, 29;
  on formation of Thames Valley, 58;
  friendship with Lyell, 69

Creation, legends of, 5-7;
  use of term by Lyell and Darwin, 11;
  contrast of their views with those of Milton, 12, 13

Criticisms of the _Principles of Geology_, 68, 69, 70, 71;
  of the _Origin of Species_, 132-139

CUVIER, his strong support of Catastrophism, 31, 46, 50, 102


DARWIN, CHARLES, nobility of character, 3;
  his use of term 'Creation,' 11;
  on grandeur of idea of Evolution, 12;
  his devotion to Lyell and the _Principles of Geology_, 63, 73-75, 78;
  his horror of slavery, 76;
  opposition to Catastrophism, 77;
  opinion of Lamarck's works, 90, 91:
    on the _Vestiges of Creation_, 94;
  his dislike for speculation, 101;
  his optimism and courage, 77;
  his birth and education, 95, 96;
  life at Edinburgh, 97;
  at Cambridge, 97, 98;
  voyage in the 'Beagle,' 99, 100;
  first awakening to the idea of Evolution, 102, 104;
  work with Lyell at Geological Society, 105;
  begins 'species work,' 106;
  influence of Malthus's work on, 107;
  intercourse with Wallace, 113;
  action in respect to theory, 128, 129;
  his first literary ambitions, 116;
  difficulties of work caused by ill-health, 117, 118, 119;
  his loss of appreciation for music and literature, and its cause, 134,
      135;
  later writings on Evolution, 141, 144;
  his declining years, 147, 158, 159;
  his death, 147;
  present position of his theory of Natural Selection, 155, 156, 159

DARWIN, ERASMUS, his independent conception of Lamarckism, 91, 92;
  absence of influence on his grandson, 95, 101

DARWIN, ERASMUS (the younger), advice given to Charles on publication, 122

DARWIN, FRANCIS, edited _Life and Letters_ &c., 121;
  extracts from C.D.'s note-books &c., and _Foundations of the Origin of
      Species_, 123;
  on his father's health, 118

DARWIN, Mrs, her care of her husband's health, 118;
  read proofs of _Origin of Species_, 132

DAUBENY, C. G. B., assists Lyell in his researches, 47

DE LA BECHE, H., his attitude with respect to evolution, 71

DESHAYES, G. B., assists Lyell in conchological work, 66

DESMAREST, N., work in Auvergne, 17;
  evolutionary views of, 17, 20


Earthworms, Darwin's work on, 147

Edinburgh, Darwin's life at, 97;
  Wernerian Society at, founded by Jameson, 21, 25

Egypt, idea of inorganic evolution originated in, 15

Entomology, influence of, on Lyell, 42, 57;
  on Darwin, 96;
  on Wallace, 110

'Equestrian Geology,' popularity of, at Oxford, 27;
  at Cambridge, 28

Evolution, in _organic_ and _inorganic_ world, 14;
  how ideas originated, 15-16, 82, 83;
  revolution effected by, 1, 32, 159;
  causes of opposition to, 20, 21, 155;
  opposition of Sedgwick and Whewell, 83;
  support of Herschel, 83

Euclid, influence on Darwin, 108


FARADAY, M., assistance given to Lyell by, 47

FITTON, Dr, on supposed indebtedness of Hutton to Generelli, 18;
  and of Lyell to Hutton, 18;
  on causes of Hutton's failure to reform geology, 23, 25;
  his attitude towards Lyell's views, 30, 71

Fluvialists, 58

FORBES, DAVID, intercourse with Darwin, 119

Fossil bones, discovery of, in South America first suggests to Darwin
      mutability of species, 102

_Foundations of the Origin of Species_, 123

FRAZER, J. G., on legends of creation, 5, 7


Galapagos Islands, influence of study of fauna on Darwin, 104

GENERELLI, advocacy of Evolution, 17, 20

Geographical distribution, Lyell on, 65;
  Wallace on, 146

Geological Society, foundation of, 25;
  early history, 26;
  connexion of Lyell with, 44, 71:
    of Darwin, 100, 105:
    of Scrope, 50;
  discussions on rival doctrines at, 24, 25, 29, 30, 60, 76, 77, 105

Geology, Darwin's interest in, 96, 99, 124, 147, 158

GIBBON, his influence on Lyell, 52, 67

GREENOUGH, G. B., founds Geological Society and first President, 26;
  his strong support of Wernerism, 26, 29

GROVE, R., suggests term 'Continuity,' 23

GÜNTHER, Dr, his estimate of number of species of animals, 10


HAECKEL, E., credits Lyell with early conviction of Evolution, 84

HENSLOW, J. S., friendship for and help of Darwin, 97, 98, 99;
  opposition to Evolution, 27, 72

Heredity, early recognition of importance, 9

HERSCHEL, J., belief in Evolution, 12, 71;
  correspondence with Lyell, 12, 83, 85

HOFF, C. VON, influence of his works on Lyell, 49

HOOKER, J. D., friendship with Lyell's father, 126;
  voyage to Antarctic with Ross, 126;
  introduction to Darwin, 126;
  correspondence with, 127;
  assistance to Darwin, 126;
  advice to, 129;
  on origin of Australian flora, 139;
  friendship with Lyell, 79, 126

HUTTON, his _Theory of the Earth_, 17, 18, 19, 20;
  rarity of the book, 30;
  small influence of, 21;
  supposed infidelity and persecution of, 21, 22, 25, 69;
  Lyell's mistaken views on, 54;
  difference of his theory from Lyell's, 53

HUXLEY, T. H., early views on distinction of Uniformitarianism and
      Evolution, 23;
  later view of identity, 23, 24;
  influence of Darwin on, 24, 127, 144;
  on 1st edition of Principles, 67, 80, 81;
  argues for Lyell's belief in Evolution, 84;
  reviews _Origin of Species_, 136, 137;
  reply to Bishop of Oxford, 138;
  defence of Darwinism, 140;
  on Darwin's death, 147, 148;
  on Lyell's death, 80

Hybridity, Lyell's discussion on, 65, 103

Hypotheses of Creation, twofold character of, 5-8


Ideas _v._ Actions, Wallace on, 4

Independent discovery of Natural Selection by Wallace, 113;
  Darwin's letter on, 113

Italian geologists, their anticipation of evolutionary ideas, 17


JACOB, his frauds based on ideas of heredity and variation, 9

JAMESON, R., founds Wernerian Society 1807, 25;
  influence on Darwin, 97

_Journal of Researches_, by Darwin, 106;
  dedicated to Lyell, 72


King's College, London, Lyell professor at, 65, 66

Kinnordy, Lyell at, 42, 43, 46

KIRWAN, DE LUC, and WILLIAMS, opposition to Hutton, 25


LAMARCK, his _Hydrogéologie_, 87;
  _Philosophie Zoologique_, 88;
  Lyell's admiration of, 64, 89;
  criticism of theory, 64, 90;
  views of Darwin on, 90, 91;
  on geological time, 155

Lectures by Lyell, 65, 66

Linnean Society, papers of Darwin and Wallace at, 112, 129, 130

Literature, Lyell and, 52, 67;
  Darwin and, 116, 117, 120;
  his loss of interest in, 134, 135

LOCKHART and _Quarterly Review_, 60

LUCRETIUS, belief in Evolution, 3, 4

LYELL, CHARLES, use of term 'Creation,' 11;
  on grandeur of idea of Evolution, 12;
  birth and ancestry, 41;
  education, 34, 42;
  influence of Buckland on, 34, 42-44;
  on Cuvier, 46;
  change of views not due to Hutton's works, 45;
  but to travel and observation, 45;
  in East Anglia, 45;
  in Strathmore, 46, 47;
  abandons career as barrister for geology, 48;
  work with Dr Mantell, 48;
  visits to Continent, 48;
  influence of von Hoff's works, 49;
  of Scrope, 50;
  his remarks on Hutton's supposed heresies, 51, 54;
  influence of Gibbon on his literary style, 52;
  praise of Hutton and Playfair at later date, 53;
  review of Scrope's book on Auvergne, 56;
  visit to Auvergne with Murchison, 56;
  advocacy of travel for geologists, 56;
  journeys in Italy, 58;
  Lyell on Murchison, 57;
  Murchison on Lyell, 58;
  Lyell's avoidance of controversy, 63;
  differences of opinion with Scrope, 62, 63;
  attention to literary style, 65;
  professorship at King's College, London, 65, 69;
  lectures, 66;
  controversies at Geological Society, 71;
  aid of Darwin in discussions, 71;
  his friendship with Darwin, 73, 104, 105;
  his extreme caution, 75-77;
  candour in finally accepting Natural Selection, 77;
  opposition to his views, 83, 84;
  his belief in Evolution at an early date, 81, 84-86;
  his anticipation of 'Mimicry,' 85, 86;
  his action in Darwin-Wallace episode, 113, 129;
  induces Darwin to commence writing his work, 128;
  his attitude towards theory of Natural Selection, 139, 140, 145;
  great influence of Lyell's works on Darwin and Evolution, 150;
  misrepresentation of his views, 152-154;
  his declining years, 157;
  last hours, 80;
  Hooker's tribute to his memory, 79, 80

LYELL, CHARLES (the elder), botanist and student of Dante, 41;
  intercourse with the Hookers, 126


MALTHUS, _On Population_, influence of work on Darwin, 107;
  on Wallace, 112

Man, descent of, Darwin's work on, 142, 144;
  Wallace's views on, 144

MANTELL, Lyell's researches with, 48;
  correspondence with, 55, 89

MATTHEW, P., anticipation of theory of Natural Selection, 92

MILTON, description of creation, 13;
  Darwin's early love of his poetry, 134;
  at Christ's College, Cambridge, 13

Mimicry, doctrine of, Lyell's early recognition of importance, 85, 86

_Modern Science, Darwin and_, 148

MURCHISON, accompanies Lyell to Auvergne, 56;
  opinion of Lyell, 57;
  Lyell's opinion of, 57, 58;
  3rd Vol. of _Principles_ dedicated to, 66;
  correspondence with, 59

MURRAY, JOHN, and _Quarterly Review_, 60;
  publishes Lyell's works, 60;
  publishes Darwin's works, 130;
  his reminiscences of Darwin, 132

Music, Darwin's loss of power to appreciate, and its cause, 134, 135


Natural Selection, theory of, defined by Huxley, 106;
  forestalled by Wells, Matthew &c., 18, 19;
  first conception of by Darwin, 107;
  by Wallace, 112

'Neptunism' or 'Wernerism' and Catastrophism, 18

NEWTON, Professor A., on vague hopes of solution of 'species question'
      before Darwin, 94, 109


_Origin of Species_, first idea of, 121;
  plan proposed to follow _Principles_, 123;
  first sketch of 1842, enlarged draft of 1844, commencement of great
      treatise on Evolution in 1856, interruption by arrival of
      Wallace's papers, 128, 129;
  the 'Abstract' or _Origin of Species_ commenced, 130;
  finished, 131;
  reception of, 132-139;
  influence of, 1, 159

OSBORN, H. F., his _From the Greeks to Darwin_, 16;
  on Lamarck, 87


PALEY, his influence on Darwin, 108

PHILLIPS, JOHN, his attitude towards Lyell's views, 30, 71

Philosophers, on Evolution, 16, 82

PLAYFAIR, JOHN, his _Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory_, 29;
  explains the causes of Hutton's failure, 30

'Plutonism,' 'Vulcanism,' or 'Huttonism,' 18

Poets and Evolution, 16

PRESTWICH, Sir J., opposition to Lyell's views, 72

PREVOST, CONSTANT, aid to Lyell, 50;
  opposition to Cuvier, 50

PRIESTLEY, persecution of, 21, 69

_Principles of Geology_, first idea of, 55;
  early draft sent to publisher in 1827, 56;
  withdrawn and rewritten in 1830, 56;
  issue of first volume, 63;
  success, 64;
  review by Scrope, 60-62;
  decision to confine Vol. II. to Organic Evolution, 65;
  3rd volume, classification of Tertiaries and Metamorphic theory, 66;
  later editions, 66;
  _Elements, Manual and Student's elements_, 67;
  success of work, 67;
  Darwin's opinion on, 67;
  of Huxley, 67, 80, 81;
  Wallace on, 79;
  criticisms of, 68, 69, 70, 71

PYTHAGORAS, his evolutionary ideas, 16


_Quarterly Review_, articles by Lyell, 56, 89;
  by Scrope, 60, 62


Reviews, of the _Principles_ by Scrope, 56, 89;
  by Whewell, 22, 53;
  of the _Origin_ by Huxley, 136, 137


SCROPE, G. POULETT, education, 34;
  travels, 34;
  work in Auvergne, 35;
  in Italy, 35;
  delay in publishing, 35;
  work on volcanoes, 36;
  his just views on Evolution, 37-39;
  cause of want of recognition of his work, 39, 40;
  devotion to politics, 40;
  reviews of _Principles_, 41, 61;
  correspondence with and influence on Lyell, 50, 61;
  his differences of opinion from Lyell, 62, 63, 151;
  effects of his review, 64

SEDGWICK, A., advocates Catastrophism, 27, 28;
  opposition to Hutton, influence on Scrope, 34;
  on Darwin, 98;
  opposition to Lyell, 83;
  weakening of opposition to, 58;
  on _Principles_, 70, 71;
  dislike to Evolution, 83

SHIPLEY, A. E., estimate of number of species of animals, 10

Slavery, views of Lyell and Darwin, 76

SMITH, W., influence of his teaching on Geological Society, 27

SOLLAS, W. J., on Evolution and Uniformitarianism, 152, 153

Species, origin of idea of, 9;
  number of species of animals, 10;
  of plants, 11

Struggle for existence, Lyell on, 103, 107;
  de Candolle on, 107


_Theory of the Earth_, Hutton's, 17;
  Scrope's, 36

THOMPSON, G. P., _see_ Scrope, 33

Time geological, Lyell on, 154;
  Lamarck on, 155

TOLLET, Miss G., aids Darwin in revising _Origin of Species_, 132


Uniformitarianism, origin of the term, 14, 15, 22

Uniformity (or Continuity), Lyell's real views on, 62, 63;
  misconceptions of his views on, 151, 152, 155

University of London, Lyell's connexion with, 59, 65


Variation, early recognition of its importance, 9;
  Lyell's discussion of, 64, 103;
  Darwin's work on, 141

_Vestiges of Creation_, influence of, 93;
  Darwin on, 94;
  Wallace on, 110

VINES, S. H., estimate of number of species of plants, 10

Volcanoes, Scrope on, 36

Vulcanism, _see_ Plutonism &c., 18


WALLACE, ALFRED RUSSEL, on ideas and actions, 4;
  his early life, 110;
  in South America, 110;
  in Malay Archipelago, 110;
  influence of _Principles_ on, 79, 110;
  speculations at Sarawak, 111;
  influence of Malthus on, 112;
  conception of idea of Natural Selection, 111, 112;
  ignorance of Darwin's views, 112;
  statement on his relation to Darwin, 113, 114;
  his magnanimity, 114;
  on geographical distribution of animals, 146;
  his defence of Lyell's principle of Uniformity, 153

WELLS, Dr, his anticipation of theory of Natural Selection, 92

WERNER, success of his teachings, 21, 26, 27;
  his influence on early geologists, 26

Wernerian Society, founded, 1807, by Jameson, 21, 25

Wernerism, 18

WHEWELL, Dr, contrast of doctrines of Hutton and Lyell, 22, 53;
  originates terms 'Catastrophism,' 'Uniformitarianism,' 22;
  and 'Geological Dynamics,' 70;
  reviews _Principles_, 53;
  opposition to Evolution, 83

World, small part known to ancients, 9

Worms, Darwin's work on, 147


ZITTEL, K. VON, on Hutton's work, 19;
  on von Hoff and Lyell, 50

_Zoonomia_ of Erasmus Darwin, 101



Cambridge:

PRINTED BY JOHN CLAY, M.A.
AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS



       *       *       *       *       *



Transcribers' note:

General: Inconsistent capitalisation of Von in Von Hoff as in original
General: No period (full stop) after Mr, Mrs, Dr as in original
Page 24: ) added after 'uniformitarianism' to create matching pair
Pages 33, 171: Inconsistent spelling of Thomson/Thompson as in original.
Page 59: Missing anchor [50] added after dogmatise as this seemed the
      most likely place
Page 80: " changed to ' after [76] to create matching pair
Page 89: his changed to His in his theories delighted me
Page 94: eniment corrected to eminent
Page 102: re-stocked standardised to restocked
Page 111: . added after September 1855
Page 149: . added after plants and animals
Page 157: lifelong standardised to life-long
Page 167: Wernerianism standardised to Wernerism; index entry for
      Herschel, J., correspondence with Lyell corrected from
      non-existent page 183 to page 12





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