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´╗┐Title: Evolution and Ethics, and Other Essays
Author: Huxley, Thomas Henry
Language: English
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THE discourse on "Evolution and Ethics," reprinted in the first half of
the present volume, was delivered before the University of Oxford, as
the second of the annual lectures founded by Mr. Romanes: whose name I
may not write without deploring the untimely death, in the flower of
his age, of a friend endeared to me, as to so many others, by his
kindly nature; and justly valued by all his colleagues for his powers
of investigation and his zeal for the advancement of knowledge. I well
remember, when Mr. Romanes' early work came into my hands, as one of
the secretaries of the Royal Society, how much I rejoiced in the
accession to the ranks of the little army of workers in science of a
recruit so well qualified to take a high place among us.

It was at my friend's urgent request that I agreed to undertake the
lecture, should I be honoured with an official proposal to give it,
though I confess not without misgivings, if only on account of the
serious fatigue and hoarseness which public speaking has for some
years caused me; while I knew that it would be my fate to follow the
most accomplished and facile orator of our time, whose indomitable
youth is in no matter more manifest than in his penetrating and
musical voice. A certain saying about comparisons intruded itself
somewhat importunately.

And even if I disregarded the weakness of my body in the matter of
voice, and that of my mind in the matter of vanity, there remained a
third difficulty. For several reasons, my attention, during a number
of years, has been much directed to the bearing of modern scientific
thought on the problems of morals and of politics, and I did not care
to be diverted from that topic. Moreover, I thought it the most
important and the worthiest which, at the present time, could engage
the attention even of an ancient and renowned University.

But it is a condition of the Romanes foundation that the lecturer
shall abstain from treating of either Religion or Politics; and it
appeared to me that, more than most, perhaps, I was bound to act, not
merely up to the letter, but in the spirit, of that prohibition. Yet
Ethical Science is, on all sides, so entangled with Religion and
Politics that the lecturer who essays to touch the former without
coming into contact with either of the latter, needs all the dexterity
of an egg-dancer; and may even discover that his sense of clearness
and his sense of propriety come into conflict, by no means to the
advantage of the former.

I have little notion of the real magnitude of these difficulties when I
set about my task; but I am consoled for my pains and anxiety by
observing that none of the multitudinous criticisms with which I have
been favoured and, often, instructed, find fault with me on the score
of having strayed out of bounds.

Among my critics there are not a few to whom I feel deeply indebted for
the careful attention which they have given to the exposition thus
hampered; and further weakened, I am afraid, by my forgetfulness of a
maxim touching lectures of a popular character, which has descended to
me from that prince of lecturers, Mr. Faraday. He was once asked by a
beginner, called upon to address a highly select and cultivated
audience, what he might suppose his hearers to know already. Whereupon
the past master of the art of exposition emphatically replied

To my shame as a retired veteran, who has all his life profited by
this great precept of lecturing strategy, I forgot all about it just
when it would have been most useful. I was fatuous enough to imagine
that a number of propositions, which I thought established, and which,
in fact, I had advanced without challenge on former occasions, needed
no repetition.

I have endeavoured to repair my error by prefacing the lecture with
some matter--chiefly elementary or recapitulatory--to which I have
given the title of "Prolegomena" I wish I could have hit upon a
heading of less pedantic aspect which would have served my purpose;
and if it be urged that the new building looks over large for the
edifice to which it is added, I can only plead the precedent of the
ancient architects, who always made the adytum the smallest part of
the temple.

If I had attempted to reply in full to the criticisms to which I have
referred, I know not what extent of ground would have been covered by
my pronaos. All I have endeavoured to do, at present, is to remove
that which seems to have proved a stumbling-block to many--namely, the
apparent paradox that ethical nature, while born of cosmic nature, is
necessarily at enmity with its parent. Unless the arguments set forth
in the Prolegomena, in the simplest language at my command, have some
flaw which I am unable to discern, this seeming paradox is a truth, as
great as it is plain, the recognition of which is fundamental for the
ethical philosopher.

We cannot do without our inheritance from the forefathers who were the
puppets of the cosmic process; the society which renounces it must be
destroyed from without. Still less can we de with too much of it; the
society in which it dominates must be destroyed from within.

The motive of the drama of human life is the necessity, laid upon every
man who comes into the world, of discovering the mean between
self-assertion and self-restraint suited to his character and his
circumstances. And the eternally tragic aspect of the drama lies in
this: that the problem set before us is one the elements of which can
be but imperfectly known, and of which even an approximately right
solution rarely presents itself, until that stern critic, aged
experience, has been furnished with ample justification for venting
his sarcastic humour upon the irreparable blunders we have already

I have reprinted the letters on the "Darkest England" scheme, published
in the "Times" of December, 1890, and January, 1891; and subsequently
issued, with additions, as a pamphlet, under the title of "Social
Diseases and Worse Remedies," because, although the clever attempt to
rush the country on behalf of that scheme has been balked, Booth's
standing army remains afoot, retaining all the capacities for mischief
which are inherent in its constitution. I am desirous that this fact
should be kept steadily in view; and that the moderation of the
clamour of the drums and trumpets should not lead us to forget the
existence of a force, which, in bad hands, may, at any time, be used
for bad purposes.

In 1892, a Committee was "formed for the purpose of investigating the
manner in which the moneys, subscribed in response to the appeal made
in the book entitled 'In Darkest England and the Way out,' have been
expended." The members of this body were gentlemen in whose competency
and equity every one must have complete confidence; and in December,
1892, they published a report in which they declare that, "with the
exception of the sums expended on the 'barracks' at Hadleigh," the
moneys in question have been "devoted only to the objects and expended
in the methods set out in that appeal, and to and in no others."

Nevertheless, their final conclusion runs as follows: "(4) That whilst
the invested property, real and personal, resulting from such Appeal
is so vested and controlled by the Trust of the Deed of January 30th,
1891, that any application of it to purposes other than those declared
in the deed by any 'General' of the Salvation Army would amount to a
breach of trust, and would subject him to the proceedings of a civil
and criminal character, before mentioned in the Report, ADEQUATE LEGAL

The passage I have italicised forms part of a document dated December
19th, 1892. It follows, that, even after the Deed of January 30th,
1891, was executed, "adequate legal safeguards" "to prevent the
misapplication of the property" did not exist. What then was the state
of things, up to a week earlier, that is on January 22nd, 1891, when
my twelfth and last letter appeared in the "Times"? A better
justification for what I have said about-the want of adequate security
for the proper administration of the funds intrusted to Mr. Booth
could not be desired, unless it be that which is to be found in the
following passages of the Report (pp. 36 and 37):--

"It is possible that a 'General' may be forgetful of his duty, and
sell property and appropriate the proceeds to his own use, or to
meeting the general liabilities of the Salvation Army. As matters now
stand, he, and he alone, would have control over such a sale. Against
such possibilities it appears to the Committee to be reasonable that
some check should be imposed."

Once more let it be remembered that this opinion given under the hand
of Sir Henry James, was expressed by the Committee, with the Trust
Deed of 1891, which has been so sedulously flaunted before the public,
in full view.

The Committee made a suggestion for the improvement of this very
unsatisfactory state of things; but the exact value set upon it by the
suggestors should be carefully considered (p.37).

"The Committee are fully aware that if the views thus expressed are
carried out, the safeguards and checks created will not be sufficient
for all purposes absolutely to prevent possible dealing with the
property and moneys inconsistent with the purposes to which they are
intended to be devoted."

In fact, they are content to express the very modest hope that "if the
suggestion made be acted upon, some hindrance will thereby be placed in
the way of any one acting dishonestly in respect of the disposal of
the property and moneys referred to."

I do not know, and, under the circumstances, I cannot say I much care,
whether the suggestions of the Committee have, or have not, been acted
upon.  Whether or not, the fact remains that an unscrupulous "General"
will have a pretty free hand, notwithstanding "some" hindrance.

Thus, the judgment of the highly authoritative, and certainly not
hostile, Committee of 1892, upon the issues with which they concerned
themselves is hardly such as to inspire enthusiastic confidence. And
it is further to be borne in mind that they carefully excluded from
their duties "any examination of the principles, government, teaching,
or methods of the Salvation Army as a religious organization, or of
its affairs" except so far as they related to the administration of
the moneys collected by the "Darkest England" appeal.

Consequently, the most important questions discussed in my letters were
not in any way touched by the Committee. Even if their report had been
far more favourable to the "Darkest England" scheme than it is; if it
had really assured the contributors that the funds raised were fully
secured against malversation; the objections, on social and political
grounds, to Mr.  Booth's despotic organization, with its thousands of
docile satellites pledged to blind obedience, set forth in the
letters, would be in no degree weakened. The "sixpennyworth of good"
would still be out-weighed by the "shillingsworth of harm"; if indeed
the relative worth, or unworth, of the latter should not be rated in
pounds rather than in shillings.

What would one not give for the opinion of the financial members of
the Committee about the famous Bank; and that of the legal experts
about the proposed "tribunes of the people"?

        July, 1894.





EVOLUTION AND ETHICS [1893]. . . . . . . . . . . . .46


SCIENCE AND MORALS [1886]. . . . . . . . . . . . . 117


CAPITAL--THE MOTHER OF LABOUR [1890] . . . . . . . 147



Preface. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
The Struggle for Existence in Human Society. 195
Letters to the Times . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
Legal Opinions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 312
The Articles of War of the Salvation Army. . 321







IT may be safely assumed that, two thousand years ago, before Caesar
set foot in southern Britain, the whole country-side visible from the
windows of the room in which I write, was in what is called "the state
of nature." Except, it may be, by raising a few sepulchral mounds,
such as those which still, here and there, break the flowing contours
of the downs, man's hands had made no mark upon it; and the thin veil
of vegetation which overspread the broad-backed heights and the
shelving sides of the coombs was unaffected by his industry. The
native grasses and weeds, the scattered patches of gorse, contended
with one another for the possession of the scanty surface soil; they
fought against the droughts of summer, the frosts of winter, and the
furious gales which swept, with unbroken force, now from the [2]
Atlantic, and now from the North Sea, at all times of the year; they
filled up, as they best might, the gaps made in their ranks by all
sorts of underground and overground animal ravagers. One year with
another, an average population, the floating balance of the unceasing
struggle for existence among the indigenous plants, maintained itself.
It is as little to be doubted, that an essentially similar state of
nature prevailed, in this region, for many thousand years before the
coming of Caesar; and there is no assignable reason for denying that
it might continue to exist through an equally prolonged futurity,
except for the intervention of man.

Reckoned by our customary standards of duration, the native vegetation,
like the "everlasting hills" which it clothes, seems a type of
permanence. The little Amarella Gentians, which abound in some places
to-day, are the descendants of those that were trodden underfoot, by
the prehistoric savages who have left their flint tools, about, here
and there; and they followed ancestors which, in the climate of the
glacial epoch, probably flourished better than they do now. Compared
with the long past of this humble plant, all the history of civilized
men is but an episode.

Yet nothing is more certain than that, measured by the liberal scale
of time-keeping of the universe, this present state of nature, however
it may seem to have gone and to go on for ever, is [3] but a fleeting
phase of her infinite variety; merely the last of the series of
changes which the earth's surface has undergone in the course of the
millions of years of its existence. Turn back a square foot of the
thin turf, and the solid foundation of the land, exposed in cliffs of
chalk five hundred feet high on the adjacent shore, yields full
assurance of a time when the sea covered the site of the "everlasting
hills"; and when the vegetation of what land lay nearest, was as
different from the present Flora of the Sussex downs, as that of
Central Africa now is.* No less certain is it that, between the time
during which the chalk was formed and that at which the original turf
came into existence, thousands of centuries elapsed, in the course of
which, the state of nature of the ages during which the chalk was
deposited, passed into that which now is, by changes so slow that, in
the coming and going of the generations of men, had such witnessed
them, the contemporary, conditions would have seemed to be unchanging
and unchangeable.

    * See "On a piece of Chalk" in the preceding volume of these
    Essays (vol.  viii. p. 1).

But it is also certain that, before the deposition of the chalk, a
vastly longer period had elapsed; throughout which it is easy to
follow the traces of the same process of ceaseless modification and of
the internecine struggle for existence of living things; and that even
when we can get no further [4] back, it is not because there is any
reason to think we have reached the beginning, but because the trail
of the most ancient life remains hidden, or has become obliterated.

Thus that state of nature of the world of plants which we began by
considering, is far from possessing the attribute of permanence. Rather
its very essence is impermanence. It may have lasted twenty or thirty
thousand years, it may last for twenty or thirty thousand years more,
without obvious change; but, as surely as it has followed upon a very
different state, so it will be followed by an equally different
condition. That which endures is not one or another association of
living forms, but the process of which the cosmos is the product, and
of which these are among the transitory expressions. And in the living
world, one of the most characteristic features of this cosmic process
is the struggle for existence, the competition of each with all, the
result of which is the selection, that is to say, the survival of
those forms which, on the whole, are best adapted, to the conditions
which at any period obtain; and which are, therefore, in that respect,
and only in that respect, the fittest.* The acme reached by the cosmic
[5] process in the vegetation of the downs is seen in the turf, with
its weeds and gorse. Under the conditions, they have come out of the
struggle victorious; and, by surviving, have proved that they are the
fittest to survive.

    * That every theory of evolution must be consistent not merely
    with progressive development, but with indefinite persistence
    in the same condition and with retrogressive modification, is a
    point which I have insisted upon repeatedly from the year 1862
    till now. See Collected Essays, vol. ii. pp. 461-89; vol. iii.
    p. 33; vol. viii. p. 304. In the address on "Geological
    Contemporaneity and Persistent Types" (1862), the
    paleontological proofs of this proposition were, I believe,
    first set forth.

That the state of nature, at any time, is a temporary phase of a
process of incessant change, which has been going on for innumerable
ages, appears to me to be a proposition as well established as any in
modern history.

Paleontology assures us, in addition, that the ancient philosophers
who, with less reason, held the same doctrine, erred in supposing that
the phases formed a cycle, exactly repeating the past, exactly
foreshadowing the future, in their rotations. On the contrary, it
furnishes us with conclusive reasons for thinking that, if every link
in the ancestry of these humble indigenous plants had been preserved
and were accessible to us, the whole would present a converging series
of forms of gradually diminishing complexity, until, at some period in
the history of the earth, far more remote than any of which organic
remains have yet been discovered, they would merge in those low groups
among which the Boundaries between animal and vegetable life become

    * "On the Border Territory between the Animal and the Vegetable
    Kingdoms," Essays, vol. viii. p. 162

[6] The word "evolution," now generally applied to the cosmic process,
has had a singular history, and is used in various senses.* Taken in
its popular signification it means progressive development, that is,
gradual change from a condition of relative uniformity to one of
relative complexity; but its connotation has been widened to include
the phenomena of retrogressive metamorphosis, that is, of progress
from a condition of relative complexity to one of relative uniformity.

As a natural process, of the same character as the development of a
tree from its seed, or of a fowl from its egg, evolution excludes
creation and all other kinds of supernatural intervention. As the
expression of a fixed order, every stage of which is the effect of
causes operating according to definite rules, the conception of
evolution no less excludes that of chance.  It is very desirable to
remember that evolution is not an explanation of the cosmic process,
but merely a generalized statement of the method and results of that
process. And, further, that, if there is proof that the cosmic process
was set going by any agent, then that agent will be, the creator of it
and of all its products, although supernatural intervention may remain
strictly excluded from its further course.

So far as that limited revelation of the nature of things, which we
call scientific knowledge, has [7] yet gone, it tends, with constantly
increasing emphasis, to the belief that, not merely the world of
plants, but that of animals; not merely living things, but the whole
fabric of the earth; not merely our planet, but the whole solar
system; not merely our star and its satellites, but the millions of
similar bodies which bear witness to the order which pervades
boundless space, and has endured through boundless time; are all
working out their predestined courses of evolution.

    * See "Evolution in Biology," Essays, vol. ii. p. 187

With none of these have I anything to do, at present, except with that
exhibited by the forms of life which tenant the earth. All plants and
animals exhibit the tendency to vary, the causes of which have yet to
be ascertained; it is the tendency of the conditions of life, at any
given time, while favouring the existence of the variations best
adapted to them, to oppose that of the rest and thus to exercise
selection; and all living things tend to multiply without limit, while
the means of support are limited; the obvious cause of which is the
production of offspring more numerous than their progenitors, but with
equal expectation of life in the actuarial sense. Without the first
tendency there could be no evolution.  Without the second, there would
be no good reason why one variation should disappear and another take
its place; that is to say there would be no selection. Without the [8]
third, the struggle for existence, the agent of the selective process
in the state of nature, would vanish.*

    * Collected Essays, vol. ii. passim.

Granting the existence of these tendencies, all the known facts of the
history of plants and of animals may be brought into rational
correlation.  And this is more than can be said for any other
hypothesis that I know of.  Such hypotheses, for example, as that of
the existence of a primitive, orderless chaos; of a passive and
sluggish eternal matter moulded, with but partial success, by
archetypal ideas; of a brand-new world-stuff suddenly created and
swiftly shaped by a supernatural power; receive no encouragement, but
the contrary, from our present knowledge. That our earth may once have
formed part of a nebulous cosmic magma is certainly possible, indeed
seems highly probable; but there is no reason to doubt that order
reigned there, as completely as amidst what we regard as the most
finished works of nature or of man.** The faith which is born of
knowledge, finds its object in an eternal order, bringing forth
ceaseless change, through endless time, in endless space; the
manifestations of the cosmic energy alternating between phases of
potentiality and phases of explication. It may be that, as Kant
suggests,*** every cosmic [9] magma predestined to evolve into a new
world, has been the no less predestined end of a vanished predecessor.

    **Ibid., vol. iv. p. 138; vol. v. pp. 71-73.
    ***Ibid., vol. viii. p. 321.


Three or four years have elapsed since the state of nature, to which I
have referred, was brought to an end, so far as a small patch of the
soil is concerned, by the intervention of man. The patch was cut off
from the rest by a wall; within the area thus protected, the native
vegetation was, as far as possible, extirpated; while a colony of
strange plants was imported and set down in its place. In short, it
was made into a garden. At the present time, this artificially treated
area presents an aspect extraordinarily different from that of so much
of the land as remains in the state of nature, outside the wall.
Trees, shrubs, and herbs, many of them appertaining to the state of
nature of remote parts of the globe, abound and flourish. Moreover,
considerable quantities of vegetables, fruits, and flowers are
produced, of kinds which neither now exist, nor have ever existed,
except under conditions such as obtain in the garden; and which,
therefore, are as much works of the art of man as the frames and
glasshouses in which some of them are raised. That the "state of Art,"
thus created in the state of nature by man, is sustained by and
dependent on him, would at once become [10] apparent, if the watchful
supervision of the gardener were withdrawn, and the antagonistic
influences of the general cosmic process were no longer sedulously
warded off, or counteracted. The walls and gates would decay;
quadrupedal and bipedal intruders would devour and tread down the
useful and beautiful plants; birds, insects, blight, and mildew would
work their will; the seeds of the native plants, carried by winds or
other agencies, would immigrate, and in virtue of their long-earned
special adaptation to the local conditions, these despised native
weeds would soon choke their choice exotic rivals. A century or two
hence, little beyond the foundations of the wall and of the houses and
frames would be left, in evidence of the victory of the cosmic powers
at work in the state of nature, over the temporary obstacles to their
supremacy, set up by the art of the horticulturist.

It will be admitted that the garden is as much a work of art,* or
artifice, as anything that can be mentioned. The energy localised in
certain human bodies, directed by similarly localised intellects, has
produced a collocation of other material bodies which could not be
brought about in the state of nature. The same proposition is true of
all the

    * The sense of the term "Art" is becoming narrowed; "work of
    Art" to most people means a picture, a statue, or a piece of
    bijouterie; by way of compensation "artist" has included in its
    wide embrace cooks and ballet girls, no less than painters and

[11] works of man's hands, from a flint implement to a cathedral or a
chronometer; and it is because it is true, that we call these things
artificial, term them works of art, or artifice, by way of
distinguishing them from the products of the cosmic process, working
outside man, which we call natural, or works of nature. The
distinction thus drawn between the works of nature and those of man,
is universally recognized; and it is, as I conceive, both useful and


No doubt, it may be properly urged that the operation of human energy
and intelligence, which has brought into existence and maintains the
garden, by what I have called "the horticultural process," is,
strictly speaking, part and parcel of the cosmic process. And no one
could more readily agree to that proposition than I. In fact, I do not
know that any one has taken more pains than I have, during the last
thirty years, to insist upon the doctrine, so much reviled in the
early part of that period, that man, physical, intellectual, and
moral, is as much a part of nature, as purely a product of the cosmic
process, as the humblest weed.*

    * See "Man's Place in Nature," Collected Essays, vol. vii., and
    "On the Struggle for Existence in Human Society" (1888), below.

But if, following up this admission, it is urged [12] that, such being
the case, the cosmic process cannot be in antagonism with that
horticultural process which is part of itself--I can only reply, that
if the conclusion that the two are, antagonistic is logically absurd,
I am sorry for logic, because, as we have seen, the fact is so. The
garden is in the same position as every other work of man's art; it is
a result of the cosmic process working through and by human energy and
intelligence; and, as is the case with every other artificial thing
set up in the state of nature, the influences of the latter, are
constantly tending to break it down and destroy it. No doubt, the
Forth bridge and an ironclad in the offing, are, in ultimate resort,
products of the cosmic process; as much so as the river which flows
under the one, or the seawater on which the other floats.
Nevertheless, every breeze strains the bridge a little, every tide
does something to weaken its foundations; every change of temperature
alters the adjustment of its parts, produces friction and consequent
wear and tear.  From time to time, the bridge must be repaired, just
as the ironclad must go into dock; simply because nature is always
tending to reclaim that which her child, man, has borrowed from her
and has arranged in combinations which are not those favoured by the
general cosmic process.

Thus, it is not only true that the cosmic energy, working through man
upon a portion of [13] the plant world, opposes the same energy as it
works through the state of nature, but a similar antagonism is
everywhere manifest between the artificial and the natural. Even in
the state of nature itself, what is the struggle for existence but the
antagonism of the results of the cosmic process in the region of life,
one to another?*

    * Or to put the case still more simply. When a man lays hold of
    the two ends of a piece of string and pulls them, with intent
    to break it, the right arm is certainly exerted in antagonism
    to the left arm; yet both arms derive their energy from the
    same original source.


Not only is the state of nature hostile to the state of art of the
garden; but the principle of the horticultural process, by which the
latter is created and maintained, is antithetic to that of the cosmic
process. The characteristic feature of the latter is the intense and
unceasing competition of the struggle for existence. The
characteristic of the former is the elimination of that struggle, by
the removal of the conditions which give rise to it. The tendency of
the cosmic process is to bring about the adjustment of the forms of
plant life to the current conditions; the tendency of the
horticultural process is the adjustment of the conditions to the needs
of the forms of plant life which the gardener desires to raise.

The cosmic process uses unrestricted multiplication [14] as the means
whereby hundreds compete for the place and nourishment adequate for
one; it employs frost and drought to cut off the weak and unfortunate;
to survive, there is need not only of strength, but of flexibility and
of good fortune.

The gardener, on the other hand, restricts multiplication; provides
that each plant shall have sufficient space and nourishment; protects
from frost and drought; and, in every other way, attempts to modify
the conditions, in such a manner as to bring about the survival of
those forms which most nearly approach the standard of the useful or
the beautiful, which he has in his mind.

If the fruits and the tubers, the foliage and the flowers thus
obtained, reach, or sufficiently approach, that ideal, there is no
reason why the status quo attained should not be indefinitely
prolonged. So long as the state of nature remains approximately the
same, so long will the energy and intelligence which created the
garden suffice to maintain it. However, the limits within which this
mastery of man over nature can be maintained are narrow. If the
conditions of the cretaceous epoch returned, I fear the most skilful
of gardeners would have to give up the cultivation of apples and
gooseberries; while, if those of the glacial period once again
obtained, open asparagus beds would be superfluous, and the training
of fruit [15] trees against the most favourable of mouth walls, a
waste of time and trouble.

But it is extremely important to note that, the state of nature
remaining the same, if the produce does not satisfy the gardener, it
may be made to approach his ideal more closely. Although the struggle
for existence may be at end, the possibility of progress remains. In
discussions on these topics, it is often strangely forgotten that the
essential conditions of the modification, or evolution, of living
things are variation and hereditary transmission. Selection is the
means by which certain variations are favoured and their progeny
preserved. But the struggle for existence is only one of the means by
which selection may be effected. The endless varieties of cultivated
flowers, fruits, roots, tubers, and bulbs are not products of
selection by means of the struggle for existence, but of direct
selection, in view of an ideal of utility or beauty. Amidst a multitude
of plants, occupying the same station and subjected to the same
conditions, in the garden, varieties arise. The varieties tending in a
given direction are preserved, and the rest are destroyed. And the
same process takes place among the varieties until, for example, the
wild kale becomes a cabbage, or the wild Viola tricolor, a prize



The process of colonisation presents analogies to the formation of a
garden which are highly instructive. Suppose a shipload of English
colonists sent to form a settlement, in such a country as Tasmania was
in the middle of the last century. On landing, they find themselves in
the midst of a state of nature, widely different from that left behind
them in everything but the most general physical conditions. The
common plants, the common birds and quadrupeds, are as totally
distinct as the men from anything to be seen on the side of the globe
from which they come. The colonists proceed to put an end to this
state of things over as large an area as they desire to occupy.  They
clear away the native vegetation, extirpate or drive out the animal
population, so far as may be necessary, and take measures to defend
themselves from the re-immigration of either. In their place, they
introduce English grain and fruit trees; English dogs, sheep, cattle,
horses; and English men; in fact, they set up a new Flora and Fauna and
a new variety of mankind, within the old state of nature. Their farms
and pastures represent a garden on a great scale, and themselves the
gardeners who have to keep it up, in watchful antagonism to the old
regime. Considered as a whole, the colony is a composite unit
introduced into the old state of nature; and, [17] thenceforward, a
competitor in the struggle for existence, to conquer or be vanquished.

Under the conditions supposed, there is no doubt of the result, if the
work of the colonists be carried out energetically and with
intelligent combination of all their forces. On the other hand, if
they are slothful, stupid, and careless; or if they waste their
energies in contests with one another, the chances are that the old
state of nature will have the best of it. The native savage will
destroy the immigrant civilized man; of the English animals and plants
some will be extirpated by their indigenous rivals, others will pass
into the feral state and themselves become components of the state of
nature. In a few decades, all other traces of the settlement will have


Let us now imagine that some administrative authority, as far superior
in power and intelligence to men, as men are to their cattle, is set
over the colony, charged to deal with its human elements in such a
manner as to assure the victory of the settlement over the
antagonistic influences of the state of nature in which it is set
down. He would proceed in the same fashion as that in which the
gardener dealt with his garden. In the first place, he would, as far
as possible, put a [18] stop to the influence of external competition
by thoroughly extirpating and excluding the native rivals, whether
men, beasts, or plants. And our administrator would select his human
agents, with a view to his ideal of a successful colony, just as the
gardener selects his plants with a view to his ideal of useful or
beautiful products.

In the second place, in order that no struggle for the means of
existence between these human agents should weaken the efficiency of
the corporate whole in the battle with the state of nature, he would
make arrangements by which each would be provided with those means;
and would be relieved from the fear of being deprived of them by his
stronger or more cunning fellows.  Laws, sanctioned by the combined
force of the colony, would restrain the self-assertion of each man
within the limits required for the maintenance of peace. In other
words, the cosmic struggle for existence, as between man and man,
would be rigorously suppressed; and selection, by its means, would be
as completely excluded as it is from the garden.

At the same time, the obstacles to the full development of the
capacities of the colonists by other conditions of the state of nature
than those already mentioned, would be removed by the creation of
artificial conditions of existence of a more favourable character:
Protection against extremes of heat and cold would [19] be afforded by
houses and clothing; drainage and irrigation works would antagonise
the effects of excessive rain and excessive drought; roads, bridges,
canals, carriages, and ships would overcome the natural obstacles to
locomotion and transport; mechanical engines would supplement the
natural strength of men and of their draught animals; hygienic
precautions would check, or remove, the natural causes of disease.
With every step of this progress in civilization, the colonists would
become more and more independent of the state of nature; more and
more, their lives would be conditioned by a state of art. In order to
attain his ends, the administrator would have to avail himself of the
courage, industry, and co-operative intelligence of the settlers; and
it is plain that the interest of the community would be best served by
increasing the proportion of persons who possess such qualities, and
diminishing that of persons devoid of them. In other words, by
selection directed towards an ideal.

Thus the administrator might look to the establishment of an earthly
paradise, a true garden of Eden, in which all things should work
together towards the well-being of the gardeners: within which the
cosmic process, the coarse struggle for existence of the state of
nature, should be abolished; in which that state should be replaced by
a state of art; [20] where every plant and every lower animal should
be adapted to human wants, and would perish if human supervision and
protection were withdrawn; where men themselves should have been
selected, with a view to their efficiency as organs for the
performance of the functions of a perfected society. And this ideal
polity would have been brought about, not by gradually adjusting the
men to the conditions around them, but by creating artificial
conditions for them; not by allowing the free play of the struggle for
existence, but by excluding that struggle; and by substituting
selection directed towards the administrator's ideal for the selection
it exercises.


But the Eden would have its serpent, and a very subtle beast too. Man
shares with the rest of the living world the mighty instinct of
reproduction and its consequence, the tendency to multiply with great
rapidity. The better the measures of the administrator achieved their
object, the more completely the destructive agencies of the state of
nature were defeated, the less would that multiplication be checked.

On the other hand, within the colony, the enforcement of peace, which
deprives every man of the power to take away the means of existence
from another, simply because he is the stronger, [21] would have put
an end to the struggle for existence between the colonists, and the
competition for the commodities of existence, which would alone
remain, is no check upon population.

Thus, as soon as the colonists began to multiply, the administrator
would have to face the tendency to the reintroduction of the cosmic
struggle into his artificial fabric, in consequence of the
competition, not merely for the commodities, but for the means of
existence. When the colony reached the limit of possible expansion,
the surplus population must be disposed of somehow; or the fierce
struggle for existence must recommence and destroy that peace, which
is the fundamental condition of the maintenance of the state of art
against the state of nature.

Supposing the administrator to be guided by purely scientific
considerations, he would, like the gardener, meet this most serious
difficulty by systematic extirpation, or exclusion, of the superfluous.
The hopelessly diseased, the infirm aged, the weak or deformed in body
or in mind, the excess of infants born, would be put away, as the
gardener pulls up defective and superfluous plants, or the breeder
destroys undesirable cattle. Only the strong and the healthy,
carefully matched, with a view to the progeny best adapted to the
purposes of the administrator, would be permitted to perpetuate their



Of the more thoroughgoing of the multitudinous attempts to apply the
principles of cosmic evolution, or what are supposed to be such, to
social and political problems, which have appeared of late years, a
considerable proportion appear to me to be based upon the notion that
human society is competent to furnish, from its own resources, an
administrator of the kind I have imagined. The pigeons, in short, are
to be their own Sir John Sebright.* A despotic government, whether
individual or collective, is to be endowed with the preternatural
intelligence, and with what, I am afraid, many will consider the
preternatural ruthlessness, required for the purpose of carrying out
the principle of improvement by selection, with the somewhat drastic
thoroughness upon which the success of the method depends.  Experience
certainly does not justify us in limiting the ruthlessness of
individual "saviours of society"; and, on the well-known grounds of
the aphorism which denies both body and soul to corporations, it seems
probable (indeed the belief is not without support in history) that a
collective despotism, a mob got to believe in its own divine right by
demagogic missionaries, would be capable of more thorough [23] work in
this direction than any single tyrant, puffed up with the same
illusion, has ever achieved.  But intelligence is another affair. The
fact that "saviours of society" take to that trade is evidence enough
that they have none to spare. And such as they possess is generally
sold to the capitalists of physical force on whose resources they
depend. However, I doubt whether even the keenest judge of character,
if he had before him a hundred boys and girls under fourteen, could
pick out, with the least chance of success, those who should be kept,
as certain to be serviceable members of the polity, and those who
should be chloroformed, as equally sure to be stupid, idle, or
vicious. The "points" of a good or of a bad citizen are really far
harder to discern than those of a puppy or a short-horn calf; many do
not show themselves before the practical difficulties of life
stimulate manhood to full exertion. And by that time the mischief is
done. The evil stock, if it be one, has had time to multiply, and
selection is nullified.

    * Not that the conception of such a society is necessarily based
    upon the idea of evolution. The Platonic state testifies to the


I have other reasons for fearing that this logical ideal of
evolutionary regimentation--this pigeon-fanciers' polity--is
unattainable. In the absence of any such a severely scientific
administrator as we have been dreaming of, human society [24] is kept
together by bonds of such a singular character, that the attempt to
perfect society after his fashion would run serious risk of loosening
them. Social organization is not peculiar to men. Other societies,
such as those constituted by bees and ants, have also arisen out of
the advantage of co-operation in the struggle for existence; and their
resemblances to, and their differences from, human society are alike
instructive. The society formed by the hive bee fulfils the ideal of
the communistic aphorism "to each according to his needs, from each
according to his capacity." Within it, the struggle for existence is
strictly limited.  Queen, drones, and workers have each their allotted
sufficiency of food; each performs the function assigned to it in the
economy of the hive, and all contribute to the success of the whole
cooperative society in its competition with rival collectors of nectar
and pollen and with other enemies, in the state of nature without. In
the same sense as the garden, or the colony, is a work of human art,
the bee polity is a work of apiarian art, brought about by the cosmic
process, working through the organization of the hymenopterous type.

Now this society is the direct product of an organic necessity,
impelling every member of it to a course of action which tends to the
good of the whole. Each bee has its duty and none [25] has any rights.
Whether bees are susceptible of feeling and capable of thought is a
question which cannot be dogmatically answered. As a pious opinion, I
am disposed to deny them more than the merest rudiments of
consciousness.* But it is curious to reflect that a thoughtful drone
(workers and queens would have no leisure for speculation) with a turn
for ethical philosophy, must needs profess himself an intuitive
moralist of the purest water. He would point out, with perfect
justice, that the devotion of the workers to a life of ceaseless toil
for a mere subsistence wage, cannot be accounted for either by
enlightened selfishness, or by any other sort of utilitarian motives;
since these bees begin to work, without experience or reflection, as
they emerge from the cell in which they are hatched. Plainly, an
eternal and immutable principle, innate in each bee, can alone account
for the phenomena. On the other hand, the biologist, who traces out
all the extant stages of gradation between solitary and hive bees, as
clearly sees in the latter, simply the perfection of an automatic
mechanism, hammered out by the blows of the struggle for existence
upon the progeny of the former, during long ages of constant

    * Collected Essays, vol. i., "Animal Automatism"; vol. v.,
    "Prologue," pp. 45 et seq.



I see no reason to doubt that, at its origin, human society was as much
a product of organic necessity as that of the bees.* The human family,
to begin with, rested upon exactly the same conditions as those which
gave rise to similar associations among animals lower in the scale.
Further, it is easy to see that every increase in the duration of the
family ties, with the resulting co-operation of a larger and larger
number of descendants for protection and defence, would give the
families in which such modification took place a distinct advantage
over the others. And, as in the hive, the progressive limitation of
the struggle for existence between the members of the family would
involve increasing efficiency as regards outside competition.

But there is this vast and fundamental difference between bee society
and human society. In the former, the members of the society are each
organically predestined to the performance of one particular class of
functions only. If they were endowed with desires, each could desire
to perform none but those offices for which its organization specially
fits it; and which, in view of the good of the whole, it is proper it
should do. So long as a new queen does not make her appearance,
rivalries, and competition are absent from the bee polity.

    * Collected Essays, vol v., Prologue, pp. 50-54,

[27] Among mankind, on the contrary, there is no such predestination to
a sharply defined place in the social organism. However much men may
differ in the quality of their intellects, the intensity of their
passions, and the delicacy of their sensations, it cannot be said that
one is fitted by his organization to be an agricultural labourer and
nothing else, and another to be a landowner and nothing else.
Moreover, with all their enormous differences in natural endowment,
men agree in one thing, and that is their innate desire to enjoy the
pleasures and to escape the pains of life; and, in short, to do
nothing but that which it pleases them to do, without the least
reference to the welfare of the society into which they are born. That
is their inheritance (the reality at the bottom of the doctrine of
original sin) from the long series of ancestors, human and semi-human
and brutal, in whom the strength of this innate tendency to
self-assertion was the condition of victory in the struggle for
existence. That is the reason of the aviditas vitae*--the insatiable
hunger for enjoyment--of all mankind, which is one of the essential
conditions of success in the war with the state of nature outside; and
yet the sure agent of the destruction of society if allowed free play

    * See below. Romanes' Lecture, note 7.

The check upon this free play of self-assertion, or natural liberty,
which is the necessary condition for the origin of human society, is
the product [28] of organic necessities of a different kind from those
upon which the constitution of the hive depends. One of these is the
mutual affection of parent and offspring, intensified by the long
infancy of the human species.  But the most important is the tendency,
so strongly developed in man, to reproduce in himself actions and
feelings similar to, or correlated with, those of other men. Man is
the most consummate of all mimics in the animal world; none but
himself can draw or model; none comes near him in the scope, variety,
and exactness of vocal imitation; none is such a master of gesture;
while he seems to be impelled thus to imitate for the pure pleasure of
it.  And there is no such another emotional chameleon. By a purely
reflex operation of the mind, we take the hue of passion of those who
are about us, or, it may be, the complementary colour. It is not by
any conscious "putting one's self in the place" of a joyful or a
suffering person that the state of mind we call sympathy usually
arises; * indeed, it is often contrary to one's sense of [29] right,
and in spite of one's will, that "fellow-feeling makes us wondrous
kind," or the reverse. However complete may be the indifference to
public opinion, in a cool, intellectual view, of the traditional sage,
it has not yet been my fortune to meet with any actual sage who took
its hostile manifestations with entire equanimity. Indeed, I doubt if
the philosopher lives, or ever has lived who could know himself to be
heartily despised by, a street boy without some irritation. And,
though one cannot justify Haman for wishing to hang Mordecai on such a
very high gibbet, yet, really, the consciousness of the Vizier of
Ahasuerus, as he went in and out of the gate, that this obscure Jew
had no respect for him, must have been very annoying.**

    * Adam Smith makes the pithy observation that the man who
    sympathises with a woman in childbed, cannot be said to put
    himself in her place. ("The Theory of the Moral Sentiments,"
    Part vii. sec. iii. chap. i.) Perhaps there is more humour than
    force in the example; and, in spite of this and other
    observations of the same tenor, I think that the one defect of
    the remarkable work in which it occurs is that it lays too much
    stress on conscious substitution, too little on purely reflex

    ** Esther v. 9-13. ". . . but when Haman saw Mordecai in the
    king's gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was
    full of indignation against Mordecai. . . . And Haman told them
    of the glory of his riches . . . and all the things wherein the
    king had promoted him . . . Yet all this availeth me nothing,
    so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate."
    What a shrewd exposure of human weakness it is!

It is needful only to look around us, to see that the greatest
restrainer of the anti-social tendencies of men is fear, not of the
law, but of the opinion of their fellows. The conventions of honour
bind men who break legal, moral, and religious bonds; and, while
people endure the extremity of physical pain rather than part with
life, shame drives the weakest to suicide.

Every forward step of social progress brings [30] men into closer
relations with their fellows, and increases the importance of the
pleasures and pains derived from sympathy. We judge the acts of others
by our own sympathies, and we judge our own acts by the sympathies of
others, every day and all day long, from childhood upwards, until
associations, as indissoluble as those of language, are formed between
certain acts and the feelings of approbation or disapprobation. It
becomes impossible to imagine some acts without disapprobation, or
others without approbation of the actor, whether he be one's self, or
any one else. We come to think in the acquired dialect of morals. An
artificial personality, the "man within," as Adam Smith* calls
conscience, is built up beside the natural personality. He is the
watchman of society, charged to restrain the anti-social tendencies of
the natural man within the limits required by social welfare.

    * "Theory of the Moral Sentiments," Part iii. chap. 3. On the
    Influence and Authority of Conscience.


I have termed this evolution of the feelings out of which the
primitive bonds of human society are so largely forged, into the
organized and personified sympathy we call conscience, the ethical
process.* So far as it tends to

    * Worked out, in its essential features, chiefly by Hartley and
    Adam Smith, long before the modern doctrine of evolution was
    thought of. See Note below, p. 45.

[31] make any human society more efficient in the struggle for
existence with the state of nature, or with other societies, it works
in harmonious contrast with the cosmic process. But it is none the
less true that, since law and morals are restraints upon the struggle
for existence between men in society, the ethical process is in
opposition to the principle of the cosmic process, and tends to the
suppression of the qualities best fitted for success in that

    * See the essay "On the Struggle for Existence in Human Society"
    below; and Collected Essays, vol. i. p. 276, for Kant's
    recognition of these facts.

It is further to be observed that, just as the self-assertion,
necessary to the maintenance of society against the state of nature,
will destroy that society if it is allowed free operation within; so
the self-restraint, the essence of the ethical process, which is no
less an essential condition of the existence of every polity, may, by
excess, become ruinous to it.

Moralists of all ages and of all faiths, attending only to the
relations of men towards one another in an ideal society, have agreed
upon the "golden rule," "Do as you would be done by." In other words,
let sympathy be your guide; put yourself in the place of the man
towards whom your action is directed; and do to him what you would
like to have done to yourself under the circumstances. However much
one may admire the generosity of such a rule of [32] conduct; however
confident one may be that average men may be thoroughly depended upon
not to carry it out to its full logical consequences; it is
nevertheless desirable to recognise the fact that these consequences
are incompatible with the existence of a civil state, under any
circumstances of this world which have obtained, or, so far as one can
see, are, likely to come to pass.

For I imagine there can be no doubt that the great desire of every
wrongdoer is to escape from the painful consequences of his actions.
If I put myself in the place of the man who has robbed me, I find that
I am possessed by an exceeding desire not to be fined or imprisoned;
if in that of the man who has smitten me on one cheek, I contemplate
with satisfaction the absence of any worse result than the turning of
the other cheek for like treatment.  Strictly observed, the "golden
rule" involves the negation of law by the refusal to put it in motion
against law-breakers; and, as regards the external relations of a
polity, it is the refusal to continue the struggle for existence. It
can be obeyed, even partially, only under the protection of a society
which repudiates it. Without such shelter, the followers of the
"golden rule" may indulge in hopes of heaven, but they must reckon with
the certainty that other people will be masters of the earth.

What would become of the garden if the [33] gardener treated all the
weeds and slugs, and birds and trespassers as he would like to be
treated, if he were in their place?


Under the preceding heads, I have endeavoured to represent in broad,
but I hope faithful, outlines the essential features of the state of
nature and of that cosmic process of which it is the outcome, so far
as was needful for my argument; I have contrasted with the state of
nature the state of art, produced by human intelligence and energy, as
it is exemplified by a garden; and I have shown that the state of art,
here and elsewhere, can be maintained only by the constant
counteraction of the hostile influences of the state of nature.
Further, I have pointed out that the "horticultural process," which
thus sets itself against the "cosmic process" is opposed to the latter
in principle, in so far as it tends to arrest the struggle for
existence, by restraining the multiplication which is one of the chief
causes of that struggle, and by creating artificial conditions of
life, better adapted to the cultivated plants than are the conditions
of the state of nature. And I have dwelt upon the fact that, though
the progressive modification, which is the consequence of the struggle
for existence in the state of nature, is at an end, such modification
may still be effected [34] by that selection, in view of an ideal of
usefulness, or of pleasantness, to man, of which the state of nature
knows nothing.

I have proceeded to show that a colony, set down in a country in the
state of nature, presents close analogies with a garden; and I have
indicated the course of action which an administrator, able and
willing to carry out horticultural principles, would adopt, in order
to secure the success of such a newly formed polity, supposing it to
be capable of indefinite expansion. In the contrary case, I have shown
that difficulties must arise; that the unlimited increase of the
population over a limited area must, sooner or later, reintroduce into
the colony that struggle for the means of existence between the
colonists, which it was the primary object of the administrator to
exclude, insomuch as it is fatal to the mutual peace which is the
prime condition of the union of men in society.

I have briefly described the nature of the only radical cure, known to
me, for the disease which would thus threaten the existence of the
colony; and, however regretfully, I have been obliged to admit that
this rigorously scientific method of applying the principles of
evolution to human society hardly comes within the region of practical
politics; not for want of will on the part of a great many people; but
because, for one reason, there is no hope that mere human beings will
ever possess enough intelligence to select the fittest. And I [35]
have adduced other grounds for arriving at the same conclusion.

I have pointed out that human society took its rise in the organic
necessities expressed by imitation and by the sympathetic emotions;
and that, in the struggle for existence with the state of nature and
with other societies, as part of it, those in which men were thus led
to close co-operation bad a great advantage.* But, since each man
retained more or less of the faculties common to all the rest, and
especially a full share of the desire for unlimited
self-gratification, the struggle for existence within society could
only be gradually eliminated. So long as any of it remained, society
continued to be an imperfect instrument of the struggle for existence
and, consequently, was improvable by the selective influence of that
struggle. Other things being alike, the tribe of savages in which
order was best maintained; in which there was most security within the
tribe and the most loyal mutual support outside it, would be the

    * Collected Essays, vol. v., Prologue, p. 52.

I have termed this gradual strengthening of the social bond, which,
though it arrest the struggle for existence inside society, up to a
certain point improves the chances of society, as a corporate whole,
in the cosmic struggle--the ethical process. I have endeavoured to
show that, when the ethical process has advanced so far as to secure
[36] every member of the society in the possession of the means of
existence, the struggle for existence, as between man and man, within
that society is, ipso facto, at an end. And, as it is undeniable that
the most highly civilized societies have substantially reached this
position, it follows that, so far as they are concerned, the struggle
for existence can play no important part within them.* In other words,
the kind of evolution which is brought about in the state of nature
cannot take place.

    * Whether the struggle for existence with the state of nature
    and with other societies, so far as they stand in the relation
    of the state of nature with it, exerts a selective influence
    upon modern society, and in what direction, are questions not
    easy to answer. The problem of the effect of military and
    industrial warfare upon those who wage it is very complicated.

I have further shown cause for the belief that direct selection, after
the fashion of the horticulturist and the breeder, neither has played,
nor can play, any important part in the evolution of society; apart
from other reasons, because I do not see how such selection could be
practised without a serious weakening, it may be the destruction, of
the bonds which hold society together. It strikes me that men who are
accustomed to contemplate the active or passive extirpation of the
weak, the unfortunate, and the superfluous; who justify that conduct
on the ground that it has the sanction of the cosmic process, and is
the only way of ensuring the progress of the race; who, if [37] they
are consistent, must rank medicine among the black arts and count the
physician a mischievous preserver of the unfit; on whose matrimonial
undertakings the principles of the stud have the chief influence;
whose whole lives, therefore, are an education in the noble art of
suppressing natural affection and sympathy, are not likely to have any
large stock of these commodities left. But, without them, there is no
conscience, nor any restraint on the conduct of men, except the
calculation of self-interest, the balancing of certain present
gratifications against doubtful future pains; and experience tells us
how much that is worth. Every day, we see firm believers in the hell
of the theologians commit acts by which, as they believe when cool,
they risk eternal punishment; while they hold back from those which am
opposed to the sympathies of their associates.


That progressive modification of civilization which passes by the name
of the "evolution of society," is, in fact, a process of an
essentially different character, both from that which brings about the
evolution of species, in the state of nature, and from that which
gives rise to the evolution of varieties, in the state of art.

There can be no doubt that vast changes have taken place in English
civilization since the reign [38] of the Tudors. But I am not aware of
a particle of evidence in favour of the conclusion that this
evolutionary process, has been accompanied by any modification of the
physical, or the mental, characters of the men who have been the
subjects of it. I have not met with any grounds for suspecting that
the average Englishmen of to-day are sensibly different from those
that Shakspere knew and drew. We look into his magic mirror of the
Elizabethan age, and behold, nowise darkly, the presentment of

During these three centuries, from the reign of Elizabeth to that of
Victoria, the struggle for existence between man and man has been so
largely restrained among the great mass of the population (except for
one or two short intervals of civil war), that it can have had little,
or no, selective operation. As to anything comparable to direct
selection, it has been practised on so small a scale that it may also
be neglected. The criminal law, in so far as by putting to death or by
subjecting to long periods of imprisonment, those who infringe its
provisions, prevents the propagation of hereditary criminal
tendencies; and the poor-law, in so far as it separates married
couples, whose destitution arises from hereditary defects of
character, are doubtless selective agents operating in favour of the
non-criminal and the more effective members of society. But the
proportion of the population which they influence [39] is very small;
and, generally, the hereditary criminal and the hereditary pauper have
propagated their kind before the law affects them. In a large
proportion of cases, crime and pauperism have nothing to do with
heredity; but are the consequence, partly, of circumstances and,
partly, of the possession of qualities, which, under different
conditions of life, might have excited esteem and even admiration.  It
was a shrewd man of the world who, in discussing sewage problems,
remarked that dirt is riches in the wrong place; and that sound
aphorism has moral applications. The benevolence and open-handed
generosity which adorn a rich man, may make a pauper of a poor one;
the energy and courage to which the successful soldier owes his rise,
the cool and daring subtlety to which the great financier owes his
fortune, may very easily, under unfavourable conditions, lead their
possessors to the gallows, or to the hulks. Moreover, it is fairly
probable that the children of a "failure" will receive from their
other parent just that little modification of character which makes
all the difference. I sometimes wonder whether people, who talk so
freely about extirpating the unfit, ever dispassionately consider
their own history. Surely, one must be very "fit," indeed, not to know
of an occasion, or perhaps two, in one's life, when it would have been
only too easy to qualify for a place among the "unfit."

[40] In my belief the innate qualities, physical, intellectual, and
moral, of our nation have remained substantially the same for the last
four or five centuries. If the struggle for existence has affected us
to any serious extent (and I doubt it) it has been, indirectly,
through our military and industrial wars with other nations.


What is often called the struggle for existence in society (I plead
guilty to having used the term too loosely myself), is a contest, not
for the means of existence, but for the means of enjoyment. Those who
occupy the first places in this practical competitive examination are
the rich and the influential; those who fail, more or less, occupy the
lower places, down to the squalid obscurity of the pauper and the
criminal. Upon the most liberal estimate, I suppose the former group
will not amount to two per cent. of the population. I doubt if the
latter exceeds another two per cent.; but let it be supposed, for the
sake of argument, that it is as great as five per cent.*

    * Those who read the last Essay in this volume will not accuse
    me of wishing to attenuate the evil of the existence of this
    group, whether great or small.

As it is only in the latter group that any thing comparable to the
struggle for existence in the state of nature can take place; as it is
[41] only among this twentieth of the whole people that numerous men,
women, and children die of rapid or slow starvation, or of the
diseases incidental to permanently bad conditions of life; and as
there is nothing to prevent their multiplication before they are
killed off, while, in spite of greater infant mortality, they increase
faster than the rich; it seems clear that the struggle for existence
in this class can have no appreciable selective influence upon the
other 95 per cent. of the population.

What sort of a sheep breeder would he be who should content himself
with picking out the worst fifty out of a thousand, leaving them on a
barren common till the weakest starved, and then letting the survivors
go back to mix with the rest? And the parallel is too favourable;
since in a large number of cases, the actual poor and the convicted
criminals are neither the weakest nor the worst.

In the struggle for the means of enjoyment, the qualities which ensure
success are energy, industry, intellectual capacity, tenacity of
purpose, and, at least, as much sympathy as is necessary to make a man
understand the feelings of his fellows. Were there none of those
artificial arrangements by which fools and knaves are kept at the top
of society instead of sinking to their natural place at the bottom,*
the struggle for the means [42] of enjoyment would ensure a constant
circulation of the human units of the social compound, from the bottom
to the top and from the top to the bottom.  The survivors of the
contest, those who continued to form the great bulk of the polity,
would not be those "fittest" who got to the very top, but the great
body of the moderately "fit," whose numbers and superior propagative
power, enable them always to swamp the exceptionally endowed minority.

    * I have elsewhere lamented the absence from society of a
    machinery for facilitating the descent of incapacity.
    "Administrative Nihilism." Collected Essays, vol. i. p. 54.

I think it must be obvious to every one, that, whether we consider the
internal or the external interests of society, it is desirable they
should be in the hands of those who are endowed with the largest share
of energy, of industry, of intellectual capacity, of tenacity of
purpose, while they are not devoid of sympathetic humanity; and, in so
far as the struggle for the means of enjoyment tends to place such men
in possession of wealth and influence, it is a process which tends to
the good of society. But the process, as we have seen, has no real
resemblance to that which adapts living beings to current conditions
in the state of nature; nor any to the artificial selection of the

[43] To return, once more, to the parallel of horticulture. In the
modern world, the gardening of men by themselves is practically
restricted to the performance, not of selection, but of that other
function of the gardener, the creation of conditions more favourable
than those of the state of nature; to the end of facilitating the free
expansion of the innate faculties of the citizen, so far as it is
consistent with the general good.  And the business of the moral and
political philosopher appears to me to be the ascertainment, by the
same method of observation, experiment, and ratiocination, as is
practised in other kinds of scientific work, of the course of conduct
which will best conduce to that end.

But, supposing this course of conduct to be scientifically determined
and carefully followed out, it cannot put an end to the struggle for
existence in the state of nature; and it will not so much as tend, in
any way, to the adaptation of man to that state. Even should the whole
human race be absorbed in one vast polity, within which "absolute
political justice" reigns, the struggle for existence with the state
of nature outside it, and the tendency to the return to the struggle
within, in consequence of over-multiplication, will remain; and,
unless men's inheritance from the ancestors who fought a good fight in
the state of [44] nature, their dose of original sin, is rooted out by
some method at present unrevealed, at any rate to disbelievers in
supernaturalism, every child born into the world will still bring with
him the instinct of unlimited self-assertion. He will have to learn
the lesson of self-restraint and renunciation. But the practice of
self-restraint and renunciation is not happiness, though it may be
something much better.

That man, as a "political animal," is susceptible of a vast amount of
improvement, by education, by instruction, and by the application of
his intelligence to the adaptation of the conditions of life to his
higher needs, I entertain not the slightest doubt. But so long as he
remains liable to error, intellectual or moral; so long as he is
compelled to be perpetually on guard against the cosmic forces, whose
ends are not his ends, without and within himself; so long as he is
haunted by inexpugnable memories and hopeless aspirations; so long as
the recognition of his intellectual limitations forces him to
acknowledge his incapacity to penetrate the mystery of existence; the
prospect of attaining untroubled happiness, or of a state which can,
even remotely, deserve the title of perfection, appears to me to be as
misleading an illusion as ever was dangled before the eyes of poor
humanity. And there have been many of them.

That which lies before the human race is a [45] constant struggle to
maintain and improve, in opposition to the State of Nature, the State
of Art of an organized polity; in which, and by which, man may develop
a worthy civilization, capable of maintaining and constantly improving
itself, until the evolution of our globe shall have entered so far
upon its downward course that the cosmic process resumes its sway;
and, once more, the State of Nature prevails over the surface of our

     Note: (See p. 30).--It seems the fashion nowadays to ignore
Hartley; though, a century and a half ago, he not only laid the
foundations but built up much of the superstructure of a true theory
of the Evolution of the intellectual and moral faculties. He speaks of
what I have termed the ethical process as "our Progress from
Self-interest to Self-annihilation." Observations on Man (1749), vol.
ii p. 281.



                  EVOLUTION AND ETHICS.

             [The Romanes Lecture, 1893.]

Soleo enim et in aliena castra transire, non tanquam transfuga sed
tanquam explorator. (L. ANNAEI SENECAE EPIST. II. 4.)

THERE is a delightful child's story, known by the title of "Jack and
the Bean-stalk," with which my contemporaries who are present will be
familiar.  But so many of our grave and reverend Juniors have been
brought up on severer intellectual diet, and, perhaps, have become
acquainted with fairyland only through primers of comparative
mythology, that it may be needful to give an outline of the tale. It
is a legend of a bean-plant, which grows and grows until it reaches
the high heavens and there spreads out into a vast canopy of foliage.
The hero, being moved to climb the stalk, discovers that the leafy
expanse supports a world composed of the same elements as that below
but yet strangely new; and his adventures there, on which I may not
dwell, must [47] have completely changed his views of the nature of
things; though the story, not having been composed by, or for,
philosophers, has nothing to say about views.

My present enterprise has a certain analogy to that of the daring
adventurer. I beg you to accompany me in an attempt to reach a world
which, to many, is probably strange, by the help of a bean. It is, as
you know, a simple, inert-looking thing. Yet, if planted under proper
conditions, of which sufficient warmth is one of the most important,
it manifests active powers of a very remarkable kind. A small green
seedling emerges, rises to the surface of the soil, rapidly increases
in size and, at the same time, undergoes a series of metamorphoses
which do not excite our wonder as much as those which meet us in
legendary history, merely because they are to be seen every day and
all day long.

By insensible steps, the plant builds itself up into a large and
various fabric of root, stem, leaves, flowers, and fruit, every one
moulded within and without in accordance with an extremely complex
but, at the same time, minutely defined pattern. In each of these
complicated structures, as in their smallest constituents, there is an
immanent energy which, in harmony with that resident in all the
others, incessantly works towards the maintenance ,of the whole and
the efficient performance of the part which it has to play in the
economy of nature.

[48] But no sooner has the edifice, reared with such exact
elaboration, attained completeness, than it begins to crumble. By
degrees, the plant withers and disappears from view, leaving behind
more or fewer apparently inert and simple bodies, just like the bean
from which it sprang; and, like it, endowed with the potentiality of
giving rise to a similar cycle of manifestations. Neither the poetic
nor the scientific imagination is put to much strain in the search
after analogies with this process of going forth and, as it were,
returning to the starting-point. It may be likened to the ascent and
descent of a slung stone, or the course of an arrow along its
trajectory. Or we may say that the living energy takes first an upward
and then a downward road. Or it may seem preferable to compare the
expansion of the germ into the full-grown plant, to the unfolding of a
fan, or to the rolling forth and widening of a stream; and thus to
arrive at the conception of "development," or "evolution." Here, as
elsewhere, names are "noise and smoke"; the important point is to have
a clear and adequate conception of the fact signified by a name. And,
in this case, the fact is the Sisyphaean process, in the course of
which, the living and growing plant passes from the relative
simplicity and latent potentiality of the seed to the full epiphany of
a highly differentiated type, thence to fall back to simplicity and

[49] The value of a strong intellectual grasp of the nature of this
process lies in the circumstance that what is true of the bean is true
of living things in general. From very low forms up to the highest--in
the animal no less than in the vegetable kingdom--the process of life
presents the same appearance [Note 1] of cyclical evolution. Nay, we
have but to cast our eyes over the rest of the world and cyclical
change presents itself on all sides.  It meets us in the water that
flows to the sea and returns to the springs; in the heavenly bodies
that wax and wane, go and return to their places; in the inexorable
sequence of the ages of man's life; in that successive rise, apogee,
and fall of dynasties and of states which is the most prominent topic
of civil history.

As no man fording a swift stream can dip his foot twice into the same
water, so no man can, with exactness, affirm of anything in the
sensible world that it is.[Note 2] As he utters the words, nay, as he
thinks them, the predicate ceases to be applicable; the present has
become the past; the "is" should be "was." And the more we learn of
the nature of things, the more evident is it that what we call rest is
only unperceived activity; that seeming peace is silent but strenuous
battle. In every part, at every moment, the state of the cosmos is the
expression of a transitory adjustment of contending forces; a scene,
of strife, in which all the combatants fall in turn. What is [50] true
of each part, is true of the whole. Natural knowledge tends more and
more to the conclusion that "all the choir of heaven and furniture of
the earth" are the transitory forms of parcels of cosmic substance
wending along the road of evolution, from nebulous potentiality,
through endless growths of sun and planet and satellite; through all
varieties of matter; through infinite diversities of life and thought;
possibly, through modes of being of which we neither have a
conception, nor are competent to form any, back to the indefinable
latency from which they arose. Thus the most obvious attribute of the
cosmos is its impermanence. It assumes the aspect not so much of a
permanent entity as of a changeful process in which naught endures
save the flow of energy and the rational order which pervades it.

We have climbed our bean-stalk and have reached a wonderland in which
the common and the familiar become things new and strange. In the
exploration of the cosmic process thus typified, the highest
intelligence of man finds inexhaustible employment; giants are subdued
to our service; and the spiritual affections of the contemplative
philosopher are engaged by beauties worthy of eternal constancy.

But there is another aspect of the cosmic process, so perfect as a
mechanism, so beautiful as a work of art. Where the cosmopoietic energy
[51] works through sentient beings, there arises, among its other
manifestations, that which we call pain or suffering. This baleful
product of evolution increases in quantity and in intensity, with
advancing grades of animal organization, until it attains its highest
level in man. Further, the consummation is not reached in man, the
mere animal; nor in man, the whole or half savage; but only in man,
the member of an organized polity. And it is a necessary consequence
of his attempt to live in this way; that is, under those conditions
which are essential to the full development of his noblest powers.

Man, the animal, in fact, has worked his way to the headship of the
sentient world, and has become the superb animal which he is, in
virtue of his success in the struggle for existence. The conditions
having been of a certain order, man's organization has adjusted itself
to them better than that of his competitors in the cosmic strife. In
the case of mankind, the self-assertion, the unscrupulous seizing upon
all that can be grasped, the tenacious holding of all that can be
kept, which constitute the essence of the struggle for existence, have
answered. For his successful progress, throughout the savage state,
man has been largely indebted to those qualities which he shares with
the ape and the tiger; his exceptional physical organization; his
cunning, his sociability, his curiosity, and his imitativeness; his
ruthless and [52] ferocious destructiveness when his anger is roused
by opposition.

But, in proportion as men have passed from anarchy to social
organization, and in proportion as civilization has grown in worth,
these deeply ingrained serviceable qualities have become defects.
After the manner of successful persons, civilized man would gladly
kick down the ladder by which he has climbed. He would be only too
pleased to see "the ape and tiger die." But they decline to suit his
convenience; and the unwelcome intrusion of these boon companions of
his hot youth into the ranged existence of civil life adds pains and
griefs, innumerable and immeasurably great, to those which the cosmic
process necessarily brings on the mere animal. In fact, civilized man
brands all these ape and tiger promptings with the name of sins; he
punishes many of the acts which flow from them as crimes; and, in
extreme cases, he does his best to put an end to the survival of the
fittest of former days by axe and rope.

I have said that civilized man has reached this point; the assertion
is perhaps too broad and general; I had better put it that ethical man
has attained thereto. The science of ethics professes to furnish us
with a reasoned rule of life; to tell us what is right action and why
it is so.  Whatever differences of opinion may exist among experts
there is a general consensus that the ape and [53] tiger methods of
the struggle for existence are not reconcilable with sound ethical

The hero of our story descended the bean-stalk, and came back to the
common world, where fare and work were alike hard; where ugly
competitors were much commoner than beautiful princesses; and where
the everlasting battle with self was much less sure to be crowned with
victory than a turn-to with a giant. We have done the like. Thousands
upon thousands of our fellows, thousands of years ago, have preceded
us in finding themselves face to face with the same dread problem of
evil. They also have seen that the cosmic process is evolution; that
it is full of wonder, full of beauty, and, at the same time, full of
pain. They have sought to discover the bearing of these great facts on
ethics; to find out whether there is, or is not, a sanction for
morality in the ways of the cosmos.

Theories of the universe, in which the conception of evolution plays a
leading part, were extant at least six centuries before our era.
Certain knowledge of them, in the fifth century, reaches us from
localities as distant as the valley of the Ganges and the Asiatic
coasts of the Aegean. To the early philosophers of Hindostan, no less
than to those of Ionia, the salient and characteristic feature of the
phenomenal world was its [54] changefulness; the unresting flow of all
things, through birth to visible being and thence to not being, in
which they could discern no sign of a beginning and for which they saw
no prospect of an ending. It was no less plain to some of these
antique forerunners of modern philosophy that suffering is the badge
of all the tribe of sentient things; that it is no accidental
accompaniment, but an essential constituent of the cosmic process. The
energetic Greek might find fierce joys in a world in which "strife is
father and king;" but the old Aryan spirit was subdued to quietism in
the Indian sage; the mist of suffering which spread over humanity hid
everything else from his view; to him life was one with suffering and
suffering with life.

In Hindostan, as in Ionia, a period of relatively high and tolerably
stable civilization had succeeded long ages of semi-barbarism and
struggle. Out of wealth and security had come leisure and refinement,
and, close at their heels, had followed the malady of thought. To the
struggle for bare existence, which never ends, though it may be
alleviated and partially disguised for a fortunate few, succeeded the
struggle to make existence intelligible and to bring the order of
things into harmony with the moral sense of man, which also never
ends, but, for the thinking few, becomes keen er with every increase
of knowledge and with every step towards the realization of a worthy
ideal of life.

[55] Two thousand five hundred years ago, the value of civilization was
as apparent as it is now; then, as now, it was obvious that only in
the garden of an orderly polity can the finest fruits humanity is
capable of bearing be produced. But it had also become evident that
the blessings of culture were not unmixed. The garden was apt to turn
into a hothouse. The stimulation of the senses, the pampering of the
emotions, endlessly multiplied the sources of pleasure. The constant
widening of the intellectual field indefinitely extended the range of
that especially human faculty of looking before and after, which adds
to the fleeting present those old and new worlds of the past and the
future, wherein men dwell the more the higher their culture.  But that
very sharpening of the sense and that subtle refinement of emotion,
which brought such a wealth of pleasures, were fatally attended by a
proportional enlargement of the capacity for suffering; and the divine
faculty of imagination, while it created new heavens and new earths,
provided them with the corresponding hells of futile regret for the
past and morbid anxiety for the future. [Note 3] Finally, the
inevitable penalty of over-stimulation, exhaustion, opened the gates
of civilization to its great enemy, ennui; the stale and flat
weariness when man delights-not, nor woman neither; when all things
are vanity and vexation; and life seems not worth living except to
escape the bore of dying.

[56] Even purely intellectual progress brings about its revenges.
Problems settled in a rough and ready way by rude men, absorbed in
action, demand renewed attention and show themselves to be still
unread riddles when men have time to think. The beneficent demon,
doubt, whose name is Legion and who dwells amongst the tombs of old
faiths, enters into mankind and thenceforth refuses to be cast out.
Sacred customs, venerable dooms of ancestral wisdom, hallowed by
tradition and professing to hold good for all time, are put to the
question. Cultured reflection asks for their credentials; judges them
by its own standards; finally, gathers those of which it approves into
ethical systems, in which the reasoning is rarely much more than a
decent pretext for the adoption of foregone conclusions.

One of the oldest and most important elements in such systems is the
conception of justice. Society is impossible unless those who are
associated agree to observe certain rules of conduct towards one
another; its stability depends on the steadiness with which they abide
by that agreement; and, so far as they waver, that mutual trust which
is the bond of society is weakened or destroyed. Wolves could not hunt
in packs except for the real, though unexpressed, understanding that
they should not attack one another during the chase. The most
rudimentary polity is a pack of men living under the like tacit, or
expressed, [57] understanding; and having made the very important
advance upon wolf society, that they agree to use the force of the
whole body against individuals who violate it and in favour of those
who observe it. This observance of a common understanding, with the
consequent distribution of punishments and rewards according to
accepted rules, received the name of justice, while the contrary was
called injustice. Early ethics did not take much note of the animus of
the violator of the rules.  But civilization could not advance far,
without the establishment of a capital distinction between the case of
involuntary and that of wilful misdeed; between a merely wrong action
and a guilty one. And, with increasing refinement of moral
appreciation, the problem of desert, which arises out of this
distinction, acquired more and more theoretical and practical
importance. If life must be given for life, yet it was recognized that
the unintentional slayer did not altogether deserve death; and, by a
sort of compromise between the public and the private conception of
justice, a sanctuary was provided in which he might take refuge from
the avenger of blood.

The idea of justice thus underwent a gradual sublimation from
punishment and reward according to acts, to punishment and reward
according to desert; or, in other words, according to motive.
Righteousness, that is, action from right motive, [58] not only became
synonymous with justice, but the positive constituent of innocence and
the very heart of goodness.

Now when the ancient sage, whether Indian or Greek, who had attained to
this conception of goodness, looked the world, and especially human
life, in the face, he found it as hard as we do to bring the course of
evolution into harmony with even the elementary requirement of the
ethical ideal of the just and the good.

If there is one thing plainer than another, it is that neither the
pleasures nor the pains of life, in the merely animal world, are
distributed according to desert; for it is admittedly impossible for
the lower orders of sentient beings, to deserve either the one or the
other. If there is a generalization from the facts of human life which
has the assent of thoughtful men in every age and country, it is that
the violator of ethical rules constantly escapes the punishment which
he deserves; that the wicked flourishes like a green bay tree, while,
the righteous begs his bread; that the sins of the fathers are visited
upon the children; that, in the realm of nature, ignorance is punished
just as severely as wilful wrong; and that thousands upon thousands of
innocent beings suffer for the crime, or the unintentional trespass of

Greek and Semite and Indian are agreed upon [59] this subject. The book
of Job is at one with the "Works and Days" and the Buddhist Sutras;
the Psalmist and the Preacher of Israel, with the Tragic Poets of
Greece. What is a more common motive of the ancient tragedy in fact,
than the unfathomable injustice of the nature of things; what is more
deeply felt to be true than its presentation of the destruction of the
blameless by the work of his own hands, or by the fatal operation of
the sins of others?  Surely Oedipus was pure of heart; it was the
natural sequence of events--the cosmic process--which drove him, in
all innocence, to slay his father and become the husband of his
mother, to the desolation of his people and his own headlong ruin. Or
to step, for a moment, beyond the chronological limits I have set
myself, what constitutes the sempiternal attraction of Hamlet but the
appeal to deepest experience of that history of a no less blameless
dreamer, dragged, in spite of himself, into a world out of joint
involved in a tangle of crime and misery, created by one of the prime
agents of the cosmic process as it works in and through man?

Thus, brought before the tribunal of ethics, the cosmos might well seem
to stand condemned. The conscience of man revolted against the moral
indifference of nature, and the microcosmic atom should have found the
illimitable macrocosm guilty. But few, or none, ventured to record
that verdict.

[60] In the great Semitic trial of this issue, Job takes refuge in
silence and submission; the Indian and the Greek, less wise perhaps,
attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable and plead for the defendant.
To this end, the Greeks invented Theodicies; while the Indians devised
what, in its ultimate form, must rather be termed a Cosmodicy. For,
although Buddhism recognizes gods many and lords many, they are
products of the cosmic process; and transitory, however long enduring,
manifestations of its eternal activity.  In the doctrine of
transmigration, whatever its origin, Brahminical and Buddhist
speculation found, ready to hand[Note 4] the means of constructing a
plausible vindication of the ways of the cosmos to man. If this world
is full of pain and sorrow; if grief and evil fall, like the rain,
upon both the just and the unjust; it is because, like the rain, they
are links in the endless chain of natural causation by which past,
present, and future are indissolubly connected; and there is no more
injustice in the one case than in the other. Every sentient being is
reaping as it has sown; if not in this life, then in one or other of
the infinite series of antecedent existences of which it is the latest
term. The present distribution of good and evil is, therefore, the
algebraical sum of accumulated positive and negative deserts; or,
rather, it depends on the floating balance of the account. For it was
not thought necessary that a complete settlement [61] should ever take
place. Arrears might stand over as a sort of "hanging gale;" a period
of celestial happiness just earned might be succeeded by ages of
torment in a hideous nether world, the balance still overdue for some
remote ancestral error. [Note 5]

Whether the cosmic process looks any more moral than at first, after
such a vindication, may perhaps be questioned. Yet this plea of
justification is not less plausible than others; and none but very
hasty thinkers will reject it on the ground of inherent absurdity.
Like the doctrine of evolution itself, that of transmigration has its
roots in the world of reality; and it may claim such support as the
great argument from analogy is capable of supplying.

Everyday experience familiarizes us with the facts which are grouped
under the name of heredity. Every one of us bears upon him obvious
marks of his parentage, perhaps of remoter relationships. More
particularly, the sum of tendencies to act in a certain way, which we
call "character," is often to be traced through a long series of
progenitors and collaterals. So we may justly say that this
"character"--this moral and intellectual essence of a man--does
veritably pass over from one fleshly tabernacle to another, and does
really transmigrate from generation to generation. In the new-born
infant, the character of the stock lies latent, and the Ego is little
more [62] than a bundle of potentialities. But, very early, these
become acutalities; from childhood to age they manifest themselves in
dulness or brightness, weakness or strength, viciousness or
uprightness; and with each feature modified by confluence with another
character, if by nothing else, the character passed on to its
incarnation in new bodies.

The Indian philosophers called character, as thus defined,
"karma."[Note 6] It is this karma which passed from life to life and
linked them in the chain of transmigrations; and they held that it is
modified in each life, not merely by confluence of parentage, but by
its own acts. They were, in fact, strong believers in the theory, so
much disputed just at present, of the hereditary transmission of
acquired characters. That the manifestation of the tendencies of a
character may be greatly facilitated, or impeded, by conditions, of
which self-discipline, or the absence of it, are among the most
important, is indubitable; but that the character itself is modified
in this way is by no means so certain; it is not so sure that the
transmitted character of an evil liver is worse, or that of a
righteous man better, than that which he received. Indian philosophy,
however, did not admit of any doubt on this subject; the belief in the
influence of conditions, notably of self-discipline, on the karma was
not merely a necessary postulate of its theory of retribution, but it
presented [63] the only way of escape from the endless round of

The earlier forms of Indian philosophy agreed with those prevalent in
our own times, in supposing the existence of a permanent reality, or
"substance," beneath the shifting series of phenomena, whether of
matter or of mind. The substance of the cosmos was "Brahma," that of
the individual man "Atman;" and the latter was separated from the
former only, if I may so speak, by its phenomenal envelope, by the
casing of sensations, thoughts and desires, pleasures and pains, which
make up the illusive phantasmagoria of life. This the ignorant take
for reality; their "Atman" therefore remains eternally imprisoned in
delusions, bound by the fetters of desire and scourged by the whip of
misery. But the man who has attained enlightenment sees that the
apparent reality is mere illusion, or, as was said a couple of
thousand years later, that there is nothing good nor bad but thinking
makes it so. If the cosmos is just "and of our pleasant vices makes
instruments to scourge us," it would seem that the only way to escape
from our heritage of evil is to destroy that fountain of desire whence
our vices flow; to refuse any longer to be the instruments of the
evolutionary process, and withdraw from the struggle for existence. If
the karma is modifiable by self-discipline, if its coarser desires,
one after another, can be extinguished, the ultimate [64] fundamental
desire of self-assertion, or the desire to be, may also be destroyed.
[Note 7] Then the bubble of illusion will burst, and the freed
individual "Atman" will lose itself in the universal "Brahma."

Such seems to have been the pre-Buddhistic conception of salvation, and
of the way to be followed by those who would attain thereto. No more
thorough mortification of the flesh has ever been attempted than-that
achieved by the Indian ascetic anchorite; no later monachism has so
nearly succeeded in reducing the human mind to that condition of
impassive quasi-somnambulism, which, but for its acknowledged
holiness, might run the risk of being confounded with idiocy.

And this salvation, it will be observed, was to be attained through
knowledge, and by action based on that knowledge; just as the
experimenter, who would obtain a certain physical or chemical result,
must have a knowledge of the natural laws involved and the persistent
disciplined will adequate to carry out all the various operations
required. The supernatural, in our sense of the term, was entirely
excluded. There was no external power which could affect the sequence
of cause and effect which gives rise to karma; none but the will of
the subject of the karma which could put an end to it.

Only one rule of conduct could be based upon the remarkable theory of
which I have endeavoured to give a reasoned outline. It was folly to
continue [65] to exist when an overplus of pain was certain; and the
probabilities in favour of the increase of misery with the
prolongation of existence, were so overwhelming. Slaying the body only
made matters worse; there was nothing for it but to slay the soul by
the voluntary arrest of all its activities.  Property, social ties,
family affections, common companionship, must be abandoned; the most
natural appetites, even that for food, must be suppressed, or at least
minimized; until all that remained of a man was the impassive,
extenuated, mendicant monk, self-hypnotised into cataleptic trances,
which the deluded mystic took for foretastes of the final union with

The founder of Buddhism accepted the chief postulates demanded by his
predecessors. But he was not satisfied with the practical annihilation
involved in merging the individual existence in the unconditioned--the
Atman in Brahma. It would seem that the admission of the existence of
any substance whatever--even of the tenuity of that which has neither
quality nor energy and of which no predicate whatever can be
asserted--appeared to him to be a danger and a snare. Though reduced
to a hypostatized negation, Brahma was not to be trusted; so long as
entity was there, it might conceivably resume the weary round of
evolution, with all its train of immeasurable miseries. Gautama got
rid of even that [66] shade of a shadow of permanent existence by a
metaphysical tour de force of great interest to the student of
philosophy, seeing that it supplies the wanting half of Bishop
Berkeley's well-known idealistic argument.

Granting the premises, I am not aware of any escape from Berkeley's
conclusion, that the "substance" of matter is a metaphysical unknown
quantity, of the existence of which there is no proof. What Berkeley
does not seem to have so clearly perceived is that the non-existence
of a substance of mind is equally arguable; and that the result of the
impartial applications of his reasonings is the reduction of the All
to coexistences and sequences of phenomena, beneath and beyond which
there is nothing cognoscible. It is a remarkable indication of the
subtlety of Indian speculation that Gautama should have seen deeper
than the greatest of modern idealists; though it must be admitted
that, if some of Berkeley's reasonings respecting the nature of spirit
are pushed home, they reach pretty much the same conclusion. [Note 8]

Accepting the prevalent Brahminical doctrine that the whole cosmos,
celestial, terrestrial, and infernal, with its population of gods and
other celestial beings, of sentient animals, of Mara and his devils,
is incessantly shifting through recurring cycles of production and
destruction, in each of which every human being has his transmigratory
[67] representative, Gautama proceeded to eliminate substance
altogether; and to reduce the cosmos to a mere flow of sensations,
emotions, volitions, and thoughts, devoid of any substratum. As, on
the surface of a stream of water, we see ripples and whirlpools, which
last for a while and then vanish with the causes that gave rise to
them, so what seem individual existences are mere temporary
associations of phenomena circling round a centre, "like a dog tied to
a post." In the whole universe there is nothing permanent, no eternal
substance either of mind or of matter. Personality is a metaphysical
fancy; and in very truth, not only we, but all things, in the worlds
without end of the cosmic phantasmagoria, are such stuff as dreams are
made of.

What then becomes of karma? Karma remains untouched. As the peculiar
form of energy we call magnetism may be transmitted from a loadstone
to a piece of steel, from the steel to a piece of nickel, as it may be
strengthened or weakened by the conditions to which it is subjected
while resident in each piece, so it seems to have been conceived that
karma might be transmitted from one phenomenal association to another
by a sort of induction. However this may be, Gautama doubtless had a
better guarantee for the abolition of transmigration, when no wrack of
substance, either of Atman or of Brahma, was left behind; when, in
short, a man had but to [68] dream that he willed not to dream, to put
an end to all dreaming.

This end of life's dream is Nirvana. What Nirvana is the learned do
not agree. But, since the best original authorities tell us there is
neither desire nor activity, nor any possibility of phenomenal
reappearance for the sage who has entered Nirvana, it may be safely
said of this acme of Buddhistic philosophy--"the rest is silence."

[Note 9] Thus there is no very great practical disagreement between
Gautama and his predecessors with respect to the end of action; but it
is otherwise as regards the means to that end. With just insight into
human nature, Gautama declared extreme ascetic practices to be useless
and indeed harmful.  The appetites and the passions are not to be
abolished by mere mortification of the body; they must, in addition,
be attacked on their own ground and conquered by steady cultivation of
the mental habits which oppose them; by universal benevolence; by the
return of good for evil; by humility; by abstinence from evil thought;
in short, by total renunciation of that self-assertion which is the
essence of the cosmic process.

Doubtless, it is to these ethical qualities that Buddhism owes its
marvellous success.[Note 10] A system which knows no God in the
western sense; which denies a soul to man; which counts the belief in
immortality a blunder and the hope of it a sin; [69] which refuses any
efficacy to prayer and sacrifice; which bids men look to nothing but
their own efforts for salvation; which, in its original purity, knew
nothing of vows of obedience, abhorred intolerance, and never sought
the aid of the secular arm; yet spread over a considerable moiety of
the Old World with marvellous rapidity, and is still, with whatever
base admixture of foreign superstitions, the dominant creed of a large
fraction of mankind.

Let us now set our faces westwards, towards Asia Minor and Greece and
Italy, to view the rise and progress of another philosophy, apparently
independent, but no less pervaded by the conception of evolution.[Note

The sages of Miletus were pronounced evolutionists; and, however dark
may be some of the sayings of Heracleitus of Ephesus, who was probably
a contemporary of Gautama, no better expressions of the essence of the
modern doctrine of evolution can be found than are presented by some
of his pithy aphorisms and striking metaphors. [Note 12] Indeed, many
of my present auditors must have observed that, more than once, I have
borrowed from him in the brief exposition of the theory of evolution
with which this discourse commenced.

But when the focus of Greek intellectual activity shifted to Athens,
the leading minds [70] concentrated their attention upon ethical
problems.  Forsaking the study of the macrocosm for that of the
microcosm, they lost the key to the thought of the great Ephesian,
which, I imagine, is more intelligible to us than it was to Socrates,
or to Plato. Socrates, more especially, set the fashion of a kind of
inverse agnosticism, by teaching that the problems of physics lie
beyond the reach of the human intellect; that the attempt to solve
them is essentially vain; that the one worthy object of investigation
is the problem of ethical life; and his example was followed by the
Cynics and the later Stoics. Even the comprehensive knowledge and the
penetrating intellect of Aristotle failed to suggest to him that in
holding the eternity of the world, within its present range of
mutation, he was making a retrogressive step. The scientific heritage
of Heracleitus passed into the hands neither of Plato nor of
Aristotle, but into those of Democritus. But the world was not yet
ready to receive the great conceptions of the philosopher of Abdera.
It was reserved for the Stoics to return to the track marked out by
the earlier philosophers; and, professing themselves disciples of
Heracleitus, to develop the idea of evolution systematically. In doing
this, they not only omitted some characteristic features of their
master's teaching, but they made additions altogether foreign to it.
One of the most influential of these importations was the
transcendental [71] theism which had come into vogue. The restless,
fiery energy, operating according to law, out of which all things
emerge and into which they return, in the endless successive cycles of
the great year; which creates and destroys worlds as a wanton child
builds up, and anon levels, sand castles on the seashore; was
metamorphosed into a material world-soul and decked out with all the
attributes of ideal Divinity; not merely with infinite power and
transcendent wisdom, but with absolute goodness.

The consequences of this step were momentous. For if the cosmos is the
effect of an immanent, omnipotent, and infinitely beneficent cause,
the existence in it of real evil, still less of necessarily inherent
evil, is plainly inadmissible. [Note 13] Yet the universal experience
of mankind testified then, as now, that, whether we look within us or
without us, evil stares us in the face on all sides; that if anything
is real, pain and sorrow and wrong are realities.

It would be a new thing in history if a priori philosophers were
daunted by the factious opposition of experience; and the Stoics were
the last men to allow themselves to be beaten by mere facts. "Give me
a doctrine and I will find the reasons for it," said Chrysippus. So
they perfected, if they did not invent, that ingenious and plausible
form of pleading, the Theodicy; for the purpose of showing firstly,
that there is no such [72] thing as evil; secondly, that if there is,
it is the necessary correlate of good; and, moreover, that it is
either due to our own fault, or inflicted for our benefit. Theodicies
have been very popular in their time, and I believe that a numerous,
though somewhat dwarfed, progeny of them still survives. So far as I
know, they are all variations of the theme set forth in those famous
six lines of the "Essay on Man," in which Pope sums up Bolingbroke's
reminiscences of stoical and other speculations of this kind--

    "All nature is but art, unknown to thee;
     All chance, direction which thou canst not see;
     All discord, harmony not understood;
     All partial evil, universal good;
     And spite of pride, in erring reason's spite,
     One truth is clear: whatever is is right."

Yet, surely, if there are few more important truths than those
enunciated in the first triad, the second is open to very grave
objections. That there is a "soul of good in things evil" is
unquestionable; nor will any wise man deny the disciplinary value of
pain and sorrow. But these considerations do not help us to see why
the immense multitude of irresponsible sentient beings, which cannot
profit by such discipline, should suffer; nor why, among the endless
possibilities open to omnipotence--that of sinless, happy existence
among the rest--the actuality in which sin and misery abound should be
that selected.

[73] Surely it is mere cheap rhetoric to call arguments which have
never yet been answered by even the meekest and the least rational of
Optimists, suggestions of the pride of reason. As to the concluding
aphorism, its fittest place would be as an inscription in letters of
mud over the portal of some "stye of Epicurus"[Note 14]; for that is
where the logical application of it to practice would land men, with
every aspiration stifled and every effort paralyzed. Why try to set
right what is right already? Why strive to improve the best of all
possible worlds? Let us eat and drink, for as today all is right, so
to-morrow all will be.

But the attempt of the Stoics to blind themselves to the reality of
evil, as a necessary concomitant of the cosmic process, had less
success than that of the Indian philosophers to exclude the reality of
good from their purview.  Unfortunately, it is much easier to shut
one's eyes to good than to evil.  Pain and sorrow knock at our doors
more loudly than pleasure and happiness; and the prints of their heavy
footsteps are less easily effaced. Before the grim realities of
practical life the pleasant fictions of optimism vanished.  If this
were the best of all possible worlds, it nevertheless proved itself a
very inconvenient habitation for the ideal sage.

The stoical summary of the whole duty of man, "Live according to
nature," would seem to imply that the cosmic process is an exemplar
for human [74] conduct. Ethics would thus become applied Natural
History. In fact, a confused employment of the maxim, in this sense,
has done immeasurable mischief in later times. It has furnished an
axiomatic foundation for the philosophy of philosophasters and for the
moralizing of sentimentalists. But the Stoics were, at bottom, not
merely noble, but sane, men; and if we look closely into what they
really meant by this ill-used phrase, it will be found to present no
justification for the mischievous conclusions that have been deduced
from it.

In the language of the Stoa, "Nature" was a word of many meanings.
There was the "Nature" of the cosmos and the "Nature" of man. In the
latter, the animal "nature," which man shares with a moiety of the
living part of the cosmos, was distinguished from a higher "nature."
Even in this higher nature there were grades of rank. The logical
faculty is an instrument which may be turned to account for any
purpose. The passions and the emotions are so closely tied to the
lower nature that they may be considered to be pathological, rather
than normal, phenomena. The one supreme, hegemonic, faculty, which
constitutes the essential "nature" of man, is most nearly represented
by that which, in the language of a later philosophy, has been called
the pure reason. It is this "nature" which holds up the ideal of the
supreme good and demands absolute submission of the will to its
behests. It is [75] which commands all men to love one another, to
return good for evil, to regard one another as fellow-citizens of one
great state. Indeed, seeing that the progress towards perfection of a
civilized state, or polity, depends on the obedience of its members to
these commands, the Stoics sometimes termed the pure reason the
"political" nature. Unfortunately, the sense of the adjective has
undergone so much modification, that the application of it to that
which commands the sacrifice of self to the common good would now
sound almost grotesque. [Note 15]

But what part is played by the theory of evolution in this view of
ethics?  So far as I can discern, the ethical system of the Stoics,
which is essentially intuitive, and reverences the categorical
imperative as strongly as that of any later moralists, might have been
just what it was if they had held any other theory; whether that of
special creation, on the one side, or that of the eternal existence of
the present order, on the other.[Note 16] To the Stoic, the cosmos had
no importance for the conscience, except in so far as he chose to
think it a pedagogue to virtue. The pertinacious optimism of our
philosophers hid from them the actual state of the case. It prevented
them from seeing that cosmic nature is no school of virtue, but the
headquarters of the enemy of ethical nature. The logic of facts was
necessary to convince them [76] that the cosmos works through the
lower nature of man, not for righteousness, but against it. And it
finally drove them to confess that the existence of their ideal "wise
man" was incompatible with the nature of things; that even a passable
approximation to that ideal was to be attained only at the cost of
renunciation of the world and mortification, not merely of the flesh,
but of all human affections. The state of perfection was that
"apatheia"[Note 17] in which desire, though it may still be felt, is
powerless to move the will, reduced to the sole function of executing
the commands of pure reason. Even this residuum of activity was to be
regarded as a temporary loan, as an efflux of the divine
world-pervading spirit, chafing at its imprisonment in the
flesh,-until such time as death enabled it to return to its source in
the all-pervading logos.

I find it difficult to discover any very great difference between
Apatheia and Nirvana, except that stoical speculation agrees with
pre-Buddhistic philosophy, rather than with the teachings of Gautama,
in so far as it postulates a permanent substance equivalent to
"Brahma" and "Atman;" and that, in stoical practice, the adoption of
the life of the mendicant cynic was held to be more a counsel of
perfection than an indispensable condition of the higher life.

Thus the extremes touch. Greek thought and [77] Indian thought set out
from ground common to both, diverge widely, develop under very
different physical and moral conditions, and finally converge to
practically the same end.

The Vedas and the Homeric epos set before us a world of rich and
vigorous life, full of joyous fighting men

     That ever with a frolic welcome took
     The thunder and the sunshine ....

and who were ready to brave the very Gods themselves when their blood
was up. A few centuries pass away, and under the influence of
civilization the descendants of these men are "sicklied o'er with the
pale cast of thought"--frank pessimists, or, at best, make-believe
optimists. The courage of the warlike stock may be as hardly tried as
before, perhaps more hardly, but the enemy is self. The hero has
become a monk. The man of action is replaced by the quietist, whose
highest aspiration is to be the passive instrument of the divine
Reason. By the Tiber, as by the Ganges, ethical man admits that the
cosmos is too strong for him; and, destroying every bond which ties
him to it by ascetic discipline, he seeks salvation in absolute
renunciation.[Note 18]

Modern thought is making a fresh start from the base whence Indian and
Greek philosophy set out; and, the human mind being very much what
[78] it was six-and-twenty centuries ago, there is no ground for
wonder if it presents indications of a tendency to move along the old
lines to the same results.

We are more than sufficiently familiar with modern pessimism, at least
as a speculation; for I cannot call to mind that any of its present
votaries have sealed their faith by assuming the rags and the bowl of
the mendicant Bhikku, or the cloak and the wallet of the Cynic. The
obstacles placed in the way of sturdy vagrancy by an unphilosophical
police have, perhaps, proved too formidable for philosophical
consistency. We also know modern speculative optimism, with its
perfectibility of the species, reign of peace, and lion and lamb
transformation scenes; but one does not hear so much of it as one did
forty years ago; indeed, I imagine it is to be met with more commonly
at the tables of the healthy and wealthy, than in the congregations of
the wise. The majority of us, I apprehend, profess neither pessimism
nor optimism. We hold that the world is neither so good, nor so bad,
as it conceivably might be; and, as most of us have reason, now and
again, to discover that it can be. Those who have failed to experience
the joys that make life worth living are, probably, in as small a
minority as those who have never known the griefs that rob existence
of its savour and turn its richest fruits into mere dust and ashes.

[79] Further, I think I do not err in assuming that, however diverse
their views on philosophical and religious matters, most men are
agreed that the proportion of good and evil in life may be very
sensibly affected by human action. I never heard anybody doubt that
the evil may be thus increased, or diminished; and it would seem to
follow that good must be similarly susceptible of addition or
subtraction. Finally, to my knowledge, nobody professes to doubt that,
so far forth as we possess a power of bettering things, it is our
paramount duty to use it and to train all our intellect and energy to
this supreme service of our kind.

Hence the pressing interest of the question, to what extent modern
progress in natural knowledge, and, more especially, the general
outcome of that progress in the doctrine of evolution, is competent to
help us in the great work of helping one another?

The propounders of what are called the "ethics of evolution," when the
"evolution of ethics" would usually better express the object of their
speculations, adduce a number of more or less interesting facts and
more or less sound arguments in favour of the origin of the moral
sentiments, in the same way as other natural phenomena, by a process
of evolution. I have little doubt, for my own part, that they are on
the right track; but as the immoral sentiments have no less been
evolved, there is, so far, as much natural sanction for the [80] one
as the other. The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as
the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the
evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is
incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is
preferable to what we call evil than we had before. Some day, I doubt
not, we shall arrive at an understanding of the evolution of the
Aesthetic faculty; but all the understanding in the world will neither
increase nor diminish the force of the intuition that this is
beautiful and that is ugly.

There is another fallacy which appears to me to pervade the so-called
"ethics of evolution." It is the notion that because, on the whole,
animals and plants have advanced in perfection of organization by
means of the struggle for existence and the consequent "survival of
the fittest;" therefore men in society, men as ethical beings, must
look to the same process to help them towards perfection. I suspect
that this fallacy has arisen out of the unfortunate ambiguity of the
phrase "survival of the fittest." "Fittest" has a connotation of
"best;" and about "best" there hangs a moral flavour. In cosmic
nature, however, what is "fittest" depends upon the conditions. Long
since [Note 19], I ventured to point out that if our hemisphere were
to cool again, the survival of the fittest might bring about, in the
vegetable kingdom, a population of more and more stunted and humbler
[81] and humbler organisms, until the "fittest" that survived might be
nothing but lichens, diatoms, and such microscopic organisms as those
which give red snow its colour; while, if it became hotter, the
pleasant valleys of the Thames and Isis might, be uninhabitable by any
animated beings save those that flourish in a tropical jungle. They,
as the fittest, the best adapted to the changed conditions, would

Men in society are undoubtedly subject to the cosmic process. As among
other animals, multiplication goes on without cessation, and involves
severe competition for the means of support. The struggle for
existence tends to eliminate those less fitted to adapt themselves to
the circumstances of their existence. The strongest, the most
self-assertive, tend to tread down the weaker. But the influence of
the cosmic process on the evolution of society is the greater the more
rudimentary its civilization.  Social progress means a checking of the
cosmic, process at every step and the substitution for it of another,
which may be called the ethical process; the end of which is not the
survival of those who may happen to be the fittest, in respect of the
whole of the conditions which obtain, but of those who are ethically
the best.[Note 20]

As I have already urged, the practice of that which is ethically
best--what we call goodness or virtue--involves a course of conduct
which, in all [82] respects, is opposed to that which leads to success
in the cosmic struggle for existence. In place of ruthless
self-assertion it demands self-restraint; in place of thrusting aside,
or treading down, all competitors, it requires that the individual
shall not merely respect, but shall help his fellows; its influence is
directed, not so much to the survival of the fittest, as to the
fitting of as many as possible to survive. It repudiates the
gladiatorial theory of existence. It demands that each man who enters
into the enjoyment of the advantages of a polity shall be mindful of
his debt to those who have laboriously constructed it; and shall take
heed that no act of his weakens the fabric in which he has been
permitted to live. Laws and moral precepts are directed to the end of
curbing the cosmic process and reminding the individual of his duty to
the community, to the protection and influence of which he owes, if
not existence itself, at least the life of something better than a
brutal savage.

It is from neglect of these plain considerations that the fanatical
individualism [Note 21] of our time attempts to apply the analogy of
cosmic nature to society. Once more we have a misapplication of the
stoical injunction to follow nature; the duties of the individual to
the state are forgotten, and his tendencies to self-assertion are
dignified by the name of rights. It is seriously debated whether the
members of a community are justified in using [83] their combined
strength to constrain one of their number to contribute his share to
the maintenance of it; or even to prevent him from doing his best to
destroy it. The struggle for existence which has done such admirable
work in cosmic nature, must, it appears, be equally beneficent in the
ethical sphere. Yet if that which I have insisted upon is true; if the
cosmic process has no sort of relation to moral ends; if the imitation
of it by man is inconsistent with the first principles of ethics; what
becomes of this surprising theory?

Let us understand, once for all, that the ethical progress of society
depends, not on imitating the cosmic process, still less in running
away from it, but in combating it. It may seem an audacious proposal
thus to pit the microcosm against the macrocosm and to set man to
subdue nature to his higher ends; but I venture to think that the
great intellectual difference between the ancient times with which we
have been occupied and our day, lies in the solid foundation we have
acquired for the hope that such an enterprise may meet with a certain
measure of success.

The history of civilization details the steps by which men have
succeeded in building up an artificial world within the cosmos.
Fragile reed as he may be, man, as Pascal says, is a thinking reed:
[Note 22] there lies within him a fund of energy operating
intelligently and so far akin to that which pervades the universe,
that it is competent [84] to influence and modify the cosmic process.
In virtue of his intelligence, the dwarf bends the Titan to his will.
In every family, in every polity that has been established, the cosmic
process in man has been restrained and otherwise modified by law and
custom; in surrounding nature, it has been similarly influenced by the
art of the shepherd, the agriculturist, the artisan. As civilization
has advanced, so has the extent of this interference increased; until
the organized and highly developed sciences and arts of the present
day have endowed man with a command over the course of non-human
nature greater than that once attributed to the magicians. The most
impressive, I might say startling, of these changes have been brought
about in the course of the last two centuries; while a right
comprehension of the process of life and of the means of influencing
its manifestations is only just dawning upon us.  We do not yet see
our way beyond generalities; and we are befogged by the obtrusion of
false analogies and crude anticipations. But Astronomy, Physics,
Chemistry, have all had to pass through similar phases, before they
reached the stage at which their influence became an important factor
in human affairs. Physiology, Psychology, Ethics, Political Science,
must submit to the same ordeal. Yet it seems to me irrational to doubt
that, at no distant period, they will work as great a revolution in
the sphere of practice.

[85] The theory of evolution encourages no millennial anticipations.
If, for millions of years, our globe has taken the upward road, yet,
some time, the summit will be reached and the downward route will be
commenced. The most daring imagination will hardly venture upon the
suggestion that the power and the intelligence of man can ever arrest
the procession of the great year.

Moreover, the cosmic nature born with us and, to a large extent,
necessary for our maintenance, is the outcome of millions of years of
severe training, and it would be folly to imagine that a few centuries
will suffice to subdue its masterfulness to purely ethical ends.
Ethical nature may count upon having to reckon with a tenacious and
powerful enemy as long as the world lasts. But, on the other hand, I
see no limit to the extent to which intelligence and will, guided by
sound principles of investigation, and organized in common effort, may
modify the conditions of existence, for a period longer than that now
covered by history. And much may be done to change the nature of man
himself. [Note 23] The intelligence which has converted the brother of
the wolf into the faithful guardian of the flock ought to be able to
do something towards curbing the instincts of savagery in civilized

But if we may permit ourselves at larger hope of abatement of the
essential evil of the world than was possible to those who, in the
infancy of [86] exact knowledge, faced the problem of existence more
than a score of centuries ago, I deem it an essential condition of the
realization of that hope that we should cast aside the notion that the
escape from pain and sorrow is the proper object of life.

We have long since emerged from the heroic childhood of our race, when
good and evil could be met with the same "frolic welcome;" the
attempts to escape from evil, whether Indian or Greek, have ended in
flight from the battle-field; it remains to us to throw aside the
youthful overconfidence and the no less youthful discouragement of
nonage. We are grown men, and must play the man

     "...strong in will
     To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield,"

cherishing the good that falls in our way, and bearing the evil, in
and around us, with stout hearts set on diminishing it. So far, we all
may strive in one faith towards one hope:

     "... It may be that the gulfs will wash us down,
     It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,

     ... but something ere the end,
     Some work of noble note may yet be done." [Note 24]



Note 1 (p. 49).

I have been careful to speak of the "appearance" of cyclical evolution
presented by living things; for, on critical examination, it will be
found that the course of vegetable and of animal life is not exactly
represented by, the figure of a cycle which returns into itself. What
actually happens, in all but the lowest organisms, is that one part of
the growing germ (A) gives rise to tissues and organs; while another
part (B) remains in its primitive condition, or is but slightly
modified. The moiety A becomes the body of the adult and, sooner or
later, perishes, while portions of the moiety B are detached and, as
offspring, continue the life of the species.  Thus, if we trace back
an organism along the direct line of descent from its remotest
ancestor, B, as a whole, has never suffered death; portions of it,
only, have been cast off and died in each individual offspring.

Everybody is familiar with the way in which the "suckers" of a
strawberry plant behave. A thin cylinder of living tissue keeps on
growing at its free end, until it attains a considerable length. At
[88] successive intervals, it develops buds which grow into strawberry
plants; and these become independent by the death of the parts of the
sucker which connect them. The rest of the sucker, however, may go on
living and growing indefinitely, and, circumstances remaining
favourable, there is no obvious reason why it should ever die. The
living substance B, in a manner, answers to the sucker. If we could
restore the continuity which was once possessed by the portions of B,
contained in all the individuals of a direct line of descent, they
would form a sucker, or stolon, on which these individuals would be
strung, and which would never have wholly died.

A species remains unchanged so long as the potentiality of development
resident in B remains unaltered; so long, e.g., as the buds of the
strawberry sucker tend to become typical strawberry plants. In the case
of the progressive evolution of a species, the developmental
potentiality of B becomes of a higher and higher order. In
retrogressive evolution, the contrary would be the case. The phenomena
of atavism seem to show that retrogressive evolution that is, the
return of a species to one or other of its earlier forms, is a
possibility to be reckoned with. The simplification of structure,
which is so common in the parasitic members of a group, however, does
not properly come under this head. The worm-like, limbless Lernoea has
no resemblance to any of the stages of development of the many-limbed
active animals of the group to which it belongs. [89] Note 2 (p. 49).

Heracleitus says,[Greek phrase Potamo gar ouk esti dis embenai to suto]
but, to be strictly accurate, the river remains, though the water of
which it is composed changes--just as a man retains his identity
though the whole substance of his body is constantly shifting.

This is put very well by Seneca (Ep. lvii. i. 20, Ed. Ruhkopf):
"Corpora nostra rapiuntur fluminum more, quidquid vides currit cum
tempore; nihil ex his quae videmus manet. Ego ipse dum loquor mutari
ista, mutatus sum. Hoc est quod ait Heraclitus 'In idem flumen bis non
descendimus.' Manet idem fluminis nomen, aqua transmissa est. Hoc in
amne manifestius est quam in homine, sed nos quoque non minus velox
cursus praetervehit."

Note 3 (p. 55).

"Multa bona nostra nobis nocent, timoris enim tormentum memorin
reducit, providentia anticipat. Nemo tantum praesentibus miser est."
(Seneca, Ed. v.  7.)

Among the many wise and weighty aphorisms of the Roman Bacon, few sound
the realities of life more deeply than "Multa bona nostra nobis
nocent." If there is a soul of good in things evil, it is at least
equally true that there is a soul of evil in things good: for things,
like men, have "les defauts de leurs qualites." It is one of the last
lessons one learns from experience, but not the least important, that
a [90] heavy tax is levied upon all forms of success, and that failure
is one of the commonest disguises assumed by blessings.

Note 4 (p. 60).

"There is within the body of every man a soul which, at the death of
the body, flies away from it like a bird out of a cage, and enters
upon a new life ... either in one of the heavens or one of the hells
or on this earth.  The only exception is the rare case of a man having
in this life acquired a true knowledge of God. According to the
pre-Buddhistic theory, the soul of such a man goes along the path of
the Gods to God, and, being united with Him, enters upon an immortal
life in which his individuality is not extinguished. In the latter
theory his soul is directly absorbed into the Great Soul, is lost in
it, and has no longer any independent existence. The souls of all
other men enter, after the death of the body, upon a new existence in
one or other of the many different modes of being. If in heaven or
hell, the soul itself becomes a god or demon without entering a body;
all superhuman beings, save the great gods, being looked upon as not
eternal, but merely temporary creatures. If the soul returns to earth
it may or may not enter a new body; and this either of a human being,
an animal, a plant, or even a material object. For all these are
possessed of souls, and there is no essential difference between these
souls and the souls of men--all being alike mere sparks of the Great
Spirit, who is [91] the only real existence." (Rhys Davids, Hibbert
Lectures, 1881, p. 83.)

For what I have said about Indian Philosophy, I am particularly
indebted to the luminous exposition of primitive Buddhism and its
relations to earlier Hindu thought, which is given by Prof. Rhys
Davids in his remarkable Hibbert Lectures for 1881, and Buddhism
(1890). The only apology I can offer for the freedom with which I have
borrowed from him in these notes, is my desire to leave no doubt as to
my indebtedness. I have also found Dr. Oldenberg's Buddha (Ed. 2,
1890) very helpful. The origin of the theory of transmigration stated
in the above extract is an unsolved problem. That it differs widely
from the Egyptian metempsychosis is clear. In fact, since men usually
people the other world with phantoms of this, the Egyptian doctrine
would seem to presuppose the Indian as a more archaic belief.

Prof. Rhys Davids has fully insisted upon the ethical importance of
the transmigration theory. "One of the latest speculations now being
put forward among ourselves would seek to explain each man's
character, and even his outward condition in life, by the character he
inherited from his ancestors, a character gradually formed during a
practically endless series of past existences, modified only by the
conditions into which he was born, those very conditions being also,
in like manner, the last result of a practically endless series of
past causes. Gotama's; speculation might be stated in the same words.
But it attempted also to explain, in a way different from [92] that
which would be adopted by the exponents of the modern theory, that
strange problem which it is also the motive of the wonderful drama of
the book of Job to explain--the fact that the actual distribution here
of good fortune, or misery, is entirely independent of the moral
qualities which men call good or bad. We cannot wonder that a teacher,
whose whole system was so essentially an ethical reformation, should
have felt it incumbent upon him to seek an explanation of this
apparent injustice. And all the more so, since the belief he had
inherited, the theory of the transmigration of souls, had provided a
solution perfectly sufficient to any one who could accept that
belief." (Hibbert Lectures, p. 93.) I should venture to suggest the
substitution of "largely" for "entirely" in the foregoing passage.
Whether a ship makes a good or a bad voyage is largely independent of
the conduct of the captain, but it is largely affected by that
conduct. Though powerless before a hurricane he may weather a bad

Note 5 (P. 61).

The outward condition of the soul is, in each new birth, determined by
its actions in a previous birth; but by each action in succession, and
not by the balance struck after the evil has been reckoned off against
the good. A good man who has once uttered a slander may spend a
hundred thousand years as a god, in consequence of his goodness, and
when the power of his good actions is exhausted, may be born [93] as a
dumb man on account of his transgression; and a robber who has once
done an act of mercy, may come to life in a king's body as the result
of his virtue, and then suffer torments for ages in hell or as a ghost
without a body, or be re-born many times as a slave or an outcast, in
consequence of his evil life.

"There is no escape, according to this theory, from the result of any
act; though it is only the consequences of its own acts that each soul
has to endure. The force has been set in motion by itself and can
never stop; and its effect can never be foretold. If evil, it can
never be modified or prevented, for it depends on a cause already
completed, that is now for ever beyond the soul's control. There is
even no continuing consciousness, no memory of the past that could
guide the soul to any knowledge of its fate.  The only advantage open
to it is to add in this life to the sum of its good actions, that it
may bear fruit with the rest. And even this can only happen in some
future life under essentially them same conditions as the present one:
subject, like the present one, to old age, decay, and death; and
affording opportunity, like the present one, for the commission of
errors, ignorances, or sins, which in their turn must inevitably
produce their due effect of sickness, disability, or woe. Thus is the
soul tossed about from life to life, from billow to billow in the
great ocean of transmigration.  And there is no escape save for the
very few, who, during their birth as men, attain to a right knowledge
of the Great Spirit: and thus enter into immortality, or, as the later
[94] philosophers taught, are absorbed into the Divine Essence." (Rhys
Davids, Hibbert Lectures, pp. 85, 86.)

The state after death thus imagined by the Hindu philosophers has a
certain analogy to the purgatory of the Roman Church; except that
escape from it is dependent, not on a divine decree modified, it may
be, by sacerdotal or saintly intercession, but by the acts of the
individual himself; and that while ultimate emergence into heavenly
bliss of the good, or well-prayed for, Catholic is professedly
assured, the chances in favour of the attainment of absorption, or of
Nirvana, by any individual Hindu are extremely small.

Note 6 (P. 62).

"That part of the then prevalent transmigration theory which could not
be proved false seemed to meet a deeply felt necessity, seemed to
supply a moral cause which would explain the unequal distribution here
of happiness or woe, so utterly inconsistent with the present
characters of men." Gautama "still therefore talked of men's previous
existence, but by no means in the way that he is generally represented
to have done." What he taught was "the transmigration of character."
He held that after the death of any being, whether human or not, there
survived nothing at all but that being's "Karma," the result, that is,
of its mental and bodily actions. Every individual, whether human or
divine, was the last inheritor and the last result of the Karma of a
long series of past individuals--"a series [95] so long that its
beginning is beyond the reach of calculation, and its end will be
coincident with the destruction of the world." (Rhys Davids, Hibbert
Lectures, p. 92.)

In the theory of evolution, the tendency of a germ to develop according
to a certain specific type, e.g. of the kidney bean seed to grow into
a plant having all the characters of Phaseolus vulgaris, is its
"Karma." It is the "last inheritor and the last result" of all the
conditions that have affected a line of ancestry which goes back for
many millions of years to the time when life first appeared on the
earth. The moiety B of the substance of the bean plant (see Note 1) is
the last link in a once continuous chain extending from the primitive
living substance: and the characters of the successive species to
which it has given rise are the manifestations of its gradually
modified Karma. As Prof. Rhys Davids aptly says, the snowdrop "is a
snowdrop and not an oak, and just that kind of snowdrop, because it is
the outcome of the Karma of an endless series of past existences."
(Hibbert Lectures, p. 114.)

Note 7 (p. 64).

"It is interesting to notice that the very point which is the weakness
of the theory--the supposed concentration of the effect of the Karma
in one new being--presented itself to the early Buddhists themselves
as a difficulty.  They avoided it, partly by explaining that it was a
particular thirst in the creature dying (a craving, Tanha, which plays
other [96] wise a great part in the Buddhist theory) which actually
caused the birth of the new individual who was to inherit the Karma of
the former one. But, how this too place, how the craving desire
produced this effect, was acknowledged to be a mystery patent only to
a Buddha." (Rhys Davids, Hibbert Lectures, P. 95.)

Among the many parallelisms of Stoicism and Buddhism, it is curious to
find one for this Tanha, "thirst," or "craving desire" for life.
Seneca writes (Epist. lxxvi. 18): "Si enim ullum aliud est bonum quam
honestum, sequetur nos aviditas vitae aviditas rerum vitam
instruentium: quod est intolerabile infinitum, vagum."

Note 8 (P. 66).

"The distinguishing characteristic of Buddhism was that it started a
new line, that it looked upon the deepest questions men have to solve
from an entirely different standpoint. It swept away from the field of
its vision the whole of the great soul theory which had hitherto so
completely filled and dominated the minds of the superstitious and the
thoughtful alike. For the first time in the history of the world, it
proclaimed a salvation which each man could gain for himself and by
himself, in this world, during this life, without any the least
reference to God, or to Gods, either great or small. Like the
Upanishads, it placed the first importance on knowledge; but it was no
longer a knowledge of God, it was a clear perception of the real
nature, as [97] they supposed it to be, of men and things. And it added
to the necessity of knowledge, the necessity of purity, of courtesy,
of uprightness, of peace and of a universal love far reaching, grown
great and beyond measure." (Rhys Davids, Hibbert Lectures, p. 29.)

The contemporary Greek philosophy takes an analogous direction.
According to Heracleitus, the universe was made neither by Gods nor
men; but, from all eternity, has been, and to all eternity, will be,
immortal fire, glowing and fading in due measure. (Mullach, Heracliti
Fragmenta, 27.) And the part assigned by his successors, the Stoics,
to the knowledge and the volition of the "wise man" made their
Divinity (for logical thinkers) a subject for compliments, rather than
a power to be reckoned with. In Hindu speculation the "Arahat," still
more the "Buddha," becomes the superior of Brahma; the stoical "wise
man" is, at least, the equal of Zeus.

Berkeley affirms over and over again that no idea can be formed of a
soul or spirit--"If any man shall doubt of the truth of what is here
delivered, let him but reflect and try if he can form any idea of
power or active being; and whether he hath ideas of two principal
powers marked by the names of will and understanding distinct from
each other, as well as from a third idea of substance or being in
general, with a relative notion of its supporting or being the subject
of the aforesaid power, which is signified by the name soul or spirit.
This is what some hold but, so far as I can see, the words will, soul,
spirit, do not stand for different ideas or, in truth, for any idea at
all, but for something which is very different from ideas, and which,
being an agent, cannot be like unto or represented by Any idea
whatever [though it must be owned at the same time, that we have some
notion of soul, spirit, and the operations of the mind, such as
willing, loving, hating, inasmuch as we know or understand the meaning
of these words". (The Principles of Human Knowledge, lxxvi. See also
sections lxxxix., cxxxv., cxlv.)

It is open to discussion, I think, whether it is possible to have
"some notion" of that of which we can form no "idea."

Berkeley attaches several predicates to the "perceiving active being
mind, spirit, soul or myself" (Parts I. II.) It is said, for example,
to be "indivisible, incorporeal, unextended, and incorruptible." The
predicate indivisible, though negative in form, has highly positive
consequences. For, if "perceiving active being" is strictly
indivisible, man's soul must be one with the Divine spirit: which is
good Hindu or Stoical doctrine, but hardly orthodox Christian
philosophy. If, on the other hand, the "substance" of active
perceiving "being" is actually divided into the one Divine and
innumerable human entities, how can the predicate "indivisible" be
rigorously applicable to it?

Taking the words cited, as they stand, the amount to the denial of the
possibility of any knowledge of substance. "Matter" having been
resolved into mere affections of "spirit", "spirit" melts away into an
admittedly inconceivable and unknowable [99] hypostasis of thought and
power--consequently the existence of anything in the universe beyond a
flow of phenomena is a purely hypothetical assumption. Indeed a
pyrrhonist might raise the objection that if "esse" is "percipi"
spirit itself can have no existence except as a perception,
hypostatized into a "self," or as a perception of some other spirit.
In the former case, objective reality vanishes; in the latter, there
would seem to be the need of an infinite series of spirits each
perceiving the others.

It is curious to observe how very closely the phraseology of Berkeley
sometimes approaches that of the Stoics: thus (cxlviii.) "It seems to
be a general pretence of the unthinking herd that they cannot see God.
. . But, alas, we need only open our eyes to see the Sovereign Lord of
all things with a more full and clear view, than we do any of our
fellow-creatures . .  . we do at all times and in all places perceive
manifest tokens of the Divinity: everything we see, hear, feel, or any
wise perceive by sense, being a sign or effect of the power of God" .
. . cxlix. "It is therefore plain, that nothing can be more evident to
any one that is capable of the least reflection, than the existence of
God, or a spirit who is intimately present to our minds, producing in
them all that variety of ideas or sensations which continually affect
us, on whom we have an absolute and entire dependence, in short, in
whom we live and move and have our being." cl. "[But you will say hath
Nature no share in the production of natural things, and must they all
be ascribed to the immediate and sole operation of God? ... if by
Nature is [100] meant some being distinct from God, as well as from
the laws of nature and things perceived by sense, I must confess that
word is to me an empty sound, without any intelligible meaning annexed
to it.] Nature in this acceptation is a vain Chimaera introduced by
those heathens, who had not just notions of the omnipresence and
infinite perfection of God."

Compare Seneca (De Beneficiis, iv. 7):

"Natura, inquit, haec mihi praestat. Non intelligis te, quum hoc
dicis, mutare Nomen Deo? Quid enim est aliud Natura quam Deus, et
divina ratio, toti mundo et partibus ejus inserta? Quoties voles tibi
licet aliter hunc auctorem rerum nostrarum compellare, et Jovem illum
optimum et maximum rite dices, et tonantem, et statorem: qui non, ut
historici tradiderunt, ex eo quod post votum susceptum acies Romanorum
fugientum stetit, sed quod stant beneficio ejus omnina, stator,
stabilitorque est: hunc eundem et fatum si dixeris, non mentieris, nam
quum fatum nihil aliud est, quam series implexa causarum, ille est
prima omnium causa, ea qua caeterae pendent." It would appear,
therefore, that the good Bishop is somewhat hard upon the "heathen,"
of whose words his own might be a paraphrase.

There is yet another direction in which Berkeley's philosophy, I will
not say agrees with Gautama's, but at any rate helps to make a
fundamental dogma of Buddhism intelligible.

"I find I can excite ideas in my mind at pleasure, and vary and shift
the scene as often as I think fit. It is no more than willing, and
straightway this or that idea arises in my fancy: and by the same
power [101] it is obliterated, and makes way for another. This making
and unmaking of ideas doth very properly denominate the mind active.
This much is certain and grounded on experience. . ." (Principles,

A good many of us, I fancy, have reason to think that experience tells
them very much the contrary; and are painfully familiar with the
obsession of the mind by ideas which cannot be obliterated by any
effort of the will and steadily refuse to make way for others. But
what I desire to point out is that if Gautama was equally confident
that he could "make and unmake" ideas--then, since he had resolved
self into a group of ideal phantoms--the possibility of abolishing
self by volition naturally followed.

Note 9 (P. 68).

According to Buddhism, the relation of one life to the next is merely
that borne by the flame of one lamp to the flame of another lamp which
is set alight by it. To the "Arahat" or adept "no outward form, no
compound thing, no creature, no creator, no existence of any kind,
must appear to be other than a temporary collocation of its component
parts, fated inevitably to be dissolved."--(Rhys Davids, Hibbert
Lectures, p. 211.)

The self is nothing but a group of phenomena held together by the
desire of life; when that desire shall have ceased, "the Karma of that
particular chain of lives will cease to influence any longer any
distinct individual, and there will be no more birth; [102] for birth,
decay, and death, grief, lamentation, and despair will have come, so
far as regards that chain of lives, for ever to an end."

The state of mind of the Arahat in which the desire of life has ceased
is Nirvana. Dr. Oldenberg has very acutely and patiently considered
the various interpretations which have been attached to "Nirvana" in
the work to which I have referred (pp. 285 et seq.). The result of his
and other discussions of the question may I think be briefly stated

1. Logical deduction from the predicates attached to the term
"Nirvana" strips it of all reality, conceivability, or perceivability,
whether by Gods or men. For all practical purposes, therefore, it
comes to exactly the same thing as annihilation.

2. But it is not annihilation in the ordinary sense, inasmuch as it
could take place in the living Arahat or Buddha.

3. And, since, for the faithful Buddhist, that which was abolished in
the Arahat was the possibility of further pain, sorrow, or sin; and
that which was attained was perfect peace; his mind directed itself
exclusively to this joyful consummation, and personified the negation
of all conceivable existence and of all pain into a positive bliss.
This was all the more easy, as Gautama refused to give any dogmatic
definition of Nirvana. There is something analogous in the way in
which people commonly talk of the "happy release" of a man who has
been long suffering from mortal disease. According to their own views,
it must always be extremely doubtful whether the man will be any
happier after the "release" [103] than before. But they do not choose
to look at the matter in this light.

The popular notion that, with practical, if not metaphysical,
annihilation in view, Buddhism must needs be a sad and gloomy faith
seems to be inconsistent with fact; on the contrary, the prospect of
Nirvana fills the true believer, not merely with cheerfulness, but
with an ecstatic desire to reach it.

Note 10 (P. 68.)

The influence of the picture of the personal qualities of Gautama,
afforded by the legendary anecdotes which rapidly grew into a
biography of the Buddha; and by the birth stories, which coalesced
with the current folk-lore, and were intelligible to all the world,
doubtless played a great part. Further, although Gautama appears not
to have meddled with the caste system, he refused to recognize any
distinction, save that of perfection in the way of salvation, among
his followers; and by such teaching, no less than by the inculcation
of love and benevolence to all sentient beings, he practically
levelled every social, political, and racial barrier. A third
important condition was the organization of the Buddhists into
monastic communities for the stricter professors, while the laity were
permitted a wide indulgence in practice and were allowed to hope for
accommodation in some of the temporary abodes of bliss. With a few
hundred thousand years of immediate paradise in sight, the average man
could be content to shut his eyes to what might follow.


Note 11 (P. 69).

In ancient times it was the fashion, even among the Greeks themselves,
to derive all Greek wisdom from Eastern sources; not long ago it was
as generally denied that Greek philosophy had any connection, with
Oriental speculation; it seems probable, however, that the truth lies
between these extremes.

The Ionian intellectual movement does not stand alone. It is only one
of several sporadic indications of the working of some powerful mental
ferment over the whole of the area comprised between the Aegean and
Northern Hindostan during the eighth, seventh, and sixth centuries
before our era. In these three hundred years, prophetism attained its
apogee among the Semites of Palestine; Zoroasterism grew and became
the creed of a conquering race, the Iranic Aryans; Buddhism rose and
spread with marvellous rapidity among the Aryans of Hindostan; while
scientific naturalism took its rise among the Aryans of Ionia. It
would be difficult to find another three centuries which have given
birth to four events of equal importance. All the principal existing
religions of mankind have grown out of the first three: while the
fourth is the little spring, now swollen into the great stream of
positive science. So far as physical possibilities go, the prophet
Jeremiah and the oldest Ionian philosopher might have met and
conversed. If they had done so, they would probably have disagreed a
good deal; and it is interesting to reflect that their discussions
might have [105] embraced Questions which, at the present day, are
still hotly controverted.

The old Ionian philosophy, then, seems to be only one of many results
of a stirring of the moral and intellectual life of the Aryan and the
Semitic populations of Western Asia. The conditions of this general
awakening were doubtless manifold; but there is one which modern
research has brought into great prominence. This is the existence of
extremely ancient and highly advanced societies in the valleys of the
Euphrates and of the Nile.

It is now known that, more than a thousand--perhaps more than two
thousand--years before the sixth century B.C., civilization had
attained a relatively high pitch among the Babylonians and the
Egyptians. Not only had painting, sculpture, architecture, and the
industrial arts reached a remarkable development; but in Chaldaea, at
any rate, a vast amount of knowledge had been accumulated and
methodized, in the departments of grammar, mathematics, astronomy, and
natural history. Where such traces of the scientific spirit are
visible, naturalistic speculation is rarely far off, though, so far as
I know, no remains of an Accacian, or Egyptian, philosophy, properly
so called, have yet been recovered.

Geographically, Chaldaea occupied a central position among the oldest
seats of civilization. Commerce, largely aided by the intervention of
those colossal pedlars, the Phoenicians, had brought Chaldaea into
connection with all of them, for a thousand years before the epoch at
present under consideration. And in the ninth, eighth and seventh
[106] centuries, the Assyrian, the depositary of Chaldaean
civilization, as the Macedonian and the Roman, at a later date, were
the depositories of Greek culture, had added irresistible force to the
other agencies for the wide distribution of Chaldaean literature, art,
and science.

I confess that I find it difficult to imagine that the Greek
immigrant--who stood in somewhat the same relation to the Babylonians
and the Egyptians as the later Germanic barbarians to the Romans of
the Empire--should not have been immensely influenced by the new life
with which they became acquainted.  But there is abundant direct
evidence of the magnitude of this influence in certain spheres. I
suppose it is not doubted that the Greek went to school with the
Oriental for his primary instruction in reading, writing, and
arithmetic; and that Semitic theology supplied him with some of his
mythological lore. Nor does there now seem to be any question about
the large indebtedness of Greek art to that of Chaldaea and that of

But the manner of that indebtedness is very instructive. The obligation
is clear, but its limits are no less definite. Nothing better
exemplifies the indomitable originality of the Greeks than the
relations of their art to that of the Orientals. Far from being
subdued into mere imitators by the technical excellence of their
teachers, they lost no time in bettering the instruction they
received, using their models as mere stepping stones on the way to
those unsurpassed and unsurpassable achievements which are all their
own. The shibboleth of Art is [107] the human figure. The ancient
Chaldaeans and Egyptians, like the modern Japanese, did wonders in the
representation of birds and quadrupeds; they even attained to
something more than respectability in human portraiture. But their
utmost efforts never brought them within range of the best Greek
embodiments of the grace of womanhood, or of the severer beauty of

It is worth while to consider the probable effect upon the acute and
critical Greek mind of the conflict of ideas, social, political, and
theological, which arose out of the conditions of life in the Asiatic
colonies. The Ionian polities had passed through the whole gamut of
social and political changes, from patriarchal and occasionally
oppressive kingship to rowdy and still more burdensome mobship--no
doubt with infinitely eloquent and copious argumentation, on both
sides, at every stage of their progress towards that arbitrament of
force which settles most political questions. The marvellous
speculative faculty, latent in the Ionian, had come in contact with
Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Phoenician theologies and cosmogonies; with
the illuminati of Orphism and the fanatics and dreamers of the
Mysteries; possibly with Buddhism and Zoroasterism; possibly even with
Judaism. And it has been observed that the mutual contradictions of
antagonistic supernaturalisms are apt to play a large part among the
generative agencies of naturalism.

Thus, various external influences may have contributed to the rise of
philosophy among the Ionian Greeks of the sixth century. But the
assimilative [108] capacity of the Greek mind--its power of
Hellenizing whatever it touched--has here worked so effectually, that,
so far as I can learn, no indubitable traces of such extraneous
contributions are now allowed to exist by the most authoritative
historians of Philosophy.  Nevertheless, I think it must be admitted
that the coincidences between the Heracleito-stoical doctrines and
those of the older Hindu philosophy are extremely remarkable. In both,
the cosmos pursues an eternal succession of cyclical changes. The
great year, answering to the Kalpa, covers an entire cycle from the
origin of the universe as a fluid to its dissolution in fire--"Humor
initium, ignis exitus mundi," as Seneca has it. In both systems, there
is immanent in the cosmos a source of energy, Brahma, or the Logos,
which works according to fixed laws. The individual soul is an efflux
of this world-spirit, and returns to it. Perfection is attainable only
by individual effort, through ascetic discipline, and is rather a
state of painlessness than of happiness; if indeed it can be said to
be a state of anything, save the negation of perturbing emotion. The
hatchment motto "In Coelo Quies" would serve both Hindu and Stoic; and
absolute quiet is not easily distinguishable from annihilation.

Zoroasterism, which, geographically, occupies a position intermediate
between Hellenism and Hinduism, agrees with the latter in recognizing
the essential evil of the cosmos; but differs from both in its
intensely anthropomorphic personification of the two antagonistic
principles, to the one of which it ascribes all the good; and, to the
other, all the evil.

[109] In fact, it assumes the existence of two worlds, one good and one
bad; the latter created by the evil power for the purpose of damaging
the former.  The existing cosmos is a mere mixture of the two, and the
"last judgment" is a root-and-branch extirpation of the work of

Note 12 (p. 69).

There is no snare in which the feet of a modern student of ancient lore
are more easily entangled, than that which is spread by the similarity
of the language of antiquity to modern modes of expression. I do not
presume to interpret the obscurest of Greek philosophers; all I wish
is to point out, that his words, in the sense accepted by competent
interpreters, fit modern ideas singularly well.

So far as the general theory of evolution goes there is no difficulty.
The aphorism about the river; the figure of the child playing on the
shore; the kingship and fatherhood of strife, seem decisive. The
[Greek phrase osod ano kato mie] expresses, with singular aptness, the
cyclical aspect of the one process of organic evolution in individual
plants and animals: yet it may be a question whether the Heracleitean
strife included any distinct conception of the struggle for existence.
Again, it is tempting to compare the part played by the Heracleitean
"fire" with that ascribed by the moderns to heat, or rather to that
cause of motion of which heat is one expression; and a little
ingenuity might find a foreshadowing of the doctrine of the
conservation of energy, in the saying [110] that all the things are
changed into fire and fire into all things, as gold into goods and
goods into gold.

Note 13 (p. 71).

Pope's lines in the Essay on Man(Ep. i. 267-8),

     All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
     Whose body Nature is, and God the soul,"

simply paraphrase Seneca's "quem in hoc mundo locum deus obtinet, hunc
in homine animus: quod est illic materia, id nobis corpus est."--(Ep.
lxv. 24); which again is a Latin version of the old Stoical doctrine,
[Greek phrase eis apan tou kosou meros diekei o nous, kataper aph emon
e psuche].

So far as the testimony for the universality of what ordinary people
call "evil" goes, there is nothing better than the writings of the
Stoics themselves. They might serve, as a storehouse for the epigrams
of the ultra-pessimists. Heracleitus (circa 500 B.C.) says just as
hard things about ordinary humanity as his disciples centuries later;
and there really seems no need to seek for the causes of this dark
view of life in the circumstances of the time of Alexander's
successors or of the early Emperors of Rome. To the man with an
ethical ideal, the world, including himself, will always seem full of

Note 14 (P. 73).

I use the well-known phrase, but decline responsibility for the libel
upon Epicurus, whose doctrines [111] were far less compatible with
existence in a style than those of the Cynics. If it were steadily
borne in mind that the conception of the "flesh" as the source of
evil, and the great saying "Initium est salutis notitia peccati," are
the property of Epicurus, fewer illusions about Epicureanism would
pass muster for accepted truth.

Note 15 (P. 75).

The Stoics said that man was a [Greek phrase zoon logikon politikon
philallelon], or a rational, a political, and an altruistic or
philanthropic animal. In their view, his higher nature tended to
develop in these three directions, as a plant tends to grow up into
its typical form. Since, without the introduction of any consideration
of pleasure or pain, whatever thwarted the realization of its type by
the plant might be said to be bad, and whatever helped it good; so
virtue, in the Stoical sense, as the conduct which tended to the
attainment of the rational, political, and philanthropic ideal, was
good in itself, and irrespectively of its emotional concomitants.

Man is an "animal sociale communi bono genitum." The safety of society
depends upon practical recognition of the fact. "Salva autem esse
societas nisi custodia et amore partium non possit," says Seneca. (De.
Ira, ii. 31.)

Note 16 (P. 75).

The importance of the physical doctrine of the Stoics lies in its
clear recognition of the universality [112] of the law of causation,
with its corollary, the order of nature: the exact form of that order
is an altogether secondary consideration.

Many ingenious persons now appear to consider that the incompatibility
of pantheism, of materialism, and of any doubt about the immortality
oxf the soul, with religion and morality, is to be held as an
axiomatic truth. I confess that I have a certain difficulty in
accepting this dogma. For the Stoics were notoriously materialists and
pantheists of the most extreme character; and while no strict Stoic
believed in the eternal duration of the individual soul, some even
denied its persistence after death. Yet it is equally certain that of
all gentile philosophies, Stoicism exhibits the highest ethical
development, is animated by the most religious spirit, and has exerted
the profoundest influence upon the moral and religious development not
merely of the best men among the Romans, but among the moderns down to
our own day.

Seneca was claimed as a Christian and placed among the saints by the
fathers of the early Christian Church; and the genuineness of a
correspondence between him and the apostle Paul has been hotly
maintained in our own time, by orthodox writers. That the letters, as
we possess them, are worthless forgeries is obvious; and writers as
wide apart as Baur and Lightfoot agree that the whole story is devoid
of foundation.

The dissertation of the late Bishop of Durham (Epistle to the
Philippians) is particularly worthy of study, apart from this
question, on account of [113] evidence which it supplies of the
numerous similarities of thought between Seneca and the writer of the
Pauline epistles. When it is remembered that the writer of the Acts
puts a quotation from Aratus, or Cleanthes, into the mouth of the
apostle; and that Tarsus was a great seat of philosophical and
especially stoical learning (Chrysippus himself was a native of the
adjacent town of Soli), there is no difficulty in understanding the
origin of these resemblances. See, on this subject, Sir Alexander
Grant's dissertation in his edition of The Ethics of Aristotle (where
there is an interesting reference to the stoical character of Bishop
Butler's ethics), the concluding pages of Dr. Weygoldt's instructive
little work Die Philosophie der Stoa, and Aubertin's Seneque et Saint

It is surprising that a writer of Dr. Lightfoot's stamp should speak
of Stoicism as a philosophy of "despair." Surely, rather, it was a
philosophy of men who, having cast off all illusions, and the
childishness of despair among them, were minded to endure in patience
whatever conditions the cosmic process might create, so long as those
conditions were compatible with the progress towards virtue, which
alone, for them, conferred a worthy object on existence. There is no
note of despair in the stoical declaration that the perfected "wise
man" is the equal of Zeus in everything but the duration of his
existence. And, in my judgment, there is as little pride about it,
often as it serves for the text of discourses on stoical arrogance.
Grant the stoical postulate that there is no good except virtue; grant
that [114] the perfected wise man is altogether virtuous, in
consequence of being guided in all things by the reason, which is an
effluence of Zeus, and there seems no escape from the stoical

Note 17 (p. 76).

Our "Apathy" carries such a different set of connotations from its
Greek original that I have ventured on using the latter as a technical

Note 18 (P. 77).

Many of the stoical philosophers recommended their disciples to take
an active share in public affairs; and in the Roman world, for several
centuries, the best public men were strongly inclined to Stoicism.
Nevertheless, the logical tendency of Stoicism seems to me to be
fulfilled only in such men as Diogenes and Epictetus.

Note 19 (P. 80).

"Criticisms on the Origin of Species," 1864. Collected Essays, vol. ii.
p.  91.[1894.]

Note 20 (P. 81).

Of course, strictly speaking, social life, and the ethical process in
virtue of which it advances towards perfection, Are part and parcel of
the general process of evolution, just as the gregarious habit of in
[115] numerable plants and animals, which has been of immense
advantage to them, is so. A hive of bees is an organic polity, a
society in which the part played by each member is determined by
organic necessities. Queens, workers, and drones are, so to speak,
castes, divided from one another by marked physical barriers. Among
birds and mammals, societies are formed, of which the bond in many
cases seems to be purely psychological; that is to say, it appears to
depend upon the liking of the individuals for one another's company.
The tendency of individuals to over self-assertion is kept down by
fighting.  Even in these rudimentary forms of society, love and fear
come into play, and enforce a greater or less renunciation of
self-will. To this extent the general cosmic process begins to be
checked by a rudimentary ethical process, which is, strictly speaking,
part of the former, just as the "governor" in a steam-engine is part
of the mechanism of the engine.

Note 21 (p. 82).

See "Government: Anarchy or Regimentation," Collected Essays, vol. i.
pp.  413-418. It is this form of political philosophy to which I
conceive the epithet of "reasoned savagery" to be strictly

Note 22 (p. 83).

"L'homme n'est qu'un roseau, le plus faible de la nature, mais c'est
un roseau pensant. Il ne faut [116] pas que l'univers entier s'arme
pour l'ecraser. Une vapour, une goutte d'eau, suffit pour le tuer.
Mais quand l'univers l'ecraserait, l'homme serait encore plus noble
que ce qui le tue, parce qu'il sait qu'il muert; et l'avantage que
l'univers a sur lui, l'univers n'en sait rien."--Pensees de Pascal.

Note 23 (p. 85).

The use of the word "Nature" here may be criticised. Yet the
manifestation of the natural tendencies of men is so profoundly
modified by training that it is hardly too strong. Consider the
suppression of the sexual instinct between near relations.

Note 24 (p. 86).

A great proportion of poetry is addressed by the young to the young;
only the great masters of the art are capable of divining, or think it
worth while to enter into, the feelings of retrospective age. The two
great poets whom we have so lately lost, Tennyson and Browning, have
done this, each in his own inimitable way; the one in the Ulysses,
from which I have borrowed; the other in that wonderful fragment
"Childe Roland to the dark Tower came."


(Note: Section III came from a different source than the
other sections and thus does not have page numbers.)







(Atlantic Monthly for July, August, and October, 1860, reprinted in


Novelties are enticing to most people; to us they are simply annoying.
We cling to a long-accepted theory, just as we cling to an old suit of
clothes.  A new theory, like a new pair of breeches (the Atlantic still
affects the older type of nether garment), is sure to have hard-fitting
places; or, even when no particular fault can be found with the
article, it oppresses with a sense of general discomfort. New notions
and new styles worry us, till we get well used to them, which is only
by slow degrees.

Wherefore, in Galileos time, we might have helped to proscribe, or to
burn--had he been stubborn enough to warrant cremation--even the great
pioneer of inductive research; although, when we had fairly recovered
our composure, and bad leisurely excogitated the matter, we might have
come to conclude that the new doctrine was better than the old one,
after all, at least for those who had nothing to unlearn.

Such being our habitual state of mind, it may well be believed that the
perusal of the new book "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural
Selection" left an uncomfortable impression, in spite of its plausible
and winning ways. We were not wholly unprepared for it, as many of our
contemporaries seem to have been. The scientific reading in which we
indulge as a relaxation from severer studies had raised dim
forebodings.  Investigations about the succession of species in time,
and their actual geographical distribution over the earths surface,
were leading up from all sides and in various ways to the question of
their origin. Now and then we encountered a sentence, like Prof. Owens
"axiom of the continuous operation of the ordained becoming of living
things," which haunted us like an apparition. For, dim as our
conception must needs be as to what such oracular and grandiloquent
phrases might really mean, we felt confident that they presaged no good
to old beliefs. Foreseeing, yet deprecating, the coming time of
trouble, we still hoped that, with some repairs and makeshifts, the old
views might last out our days. Apres nous le deluge.  Still, not to lag
behind the rest of the world, we read the book in which the new theory
is promulgated. We took it up, like our neighbors, and, as was natural,
in a somewhat captious frame of mind.

Well, we found no cause of quarrel with the first chapter. Here the
author takes us directly to the barn-yard and the kitchen-garden. Like
an honorable rural member of our General Court, who sat silent until,
near the close of a long session, a bill requiring all swine at large
to wear pokes was introduced, when he claimed the privilege of
addressing the house, on the proper ground that he had been "brought up
among the pigs, and knew all about them"--so we were brought up among
cows and cabbages; and the lowing of cattle, the cackle of hens, and
the cooing of pigeons, were sounds native and pleasant to our ears. So
"Variation under Domestication" dealt with familiar subjects in a
natural way, and gently introduced "Variation under Nature," which
seemed likely enough. Then follows "Struggle for Existence"--a
principle which we experimentally know to be true and cogent--bringing
the comfortable assurance, that man, even upon Leviathan Hobbess theory
of society, is no worse than the rest of creation, since all Nature is
at war, one species with another, and the nearer kindred the more
internecine--bringing in thousandfold confirmation and extension of the
Malthusian doctrine that population tends far to outrun means of
subsistence throughout the animal and vegetable world, and has to be
kept down by sharp preventive checks; so that not more than one of a
hundred or a thousand of the individuals whose existence is so
wonderfully and so sedulously provided for ever comes to anything,
under ordinary circumstances; so the lucky and the strong must prevail,
and the weaker and ill-favored must perish; and then follows, as
naturally as one sheep follows another, the chapter on "Natural
Selection," Darwins cheval de bataille, which is very much the
Napoleonic doctrine that Providence favors the strongest
battalions--that, since many more individuals are born than can
possibly survive, those individuals and those variations which possess
any advantage, however slight, over the rest, are in the long-run sure
to survive, to propagate, and to occupy the limited field, to the
exclusion or destruction of the weaker brethren. All this we pondered,
and could not much object to. In fact, we began to contract a liking
for a system which at the outset illustrates the advantages of good
breeding, and which makes the most "of every creatures best."

Could we "let by-gones be by-gones," and, beginning now, go on
improving and diversifying for the future by natural selection, could
we even take up the theory at the introduction  of the actually
existing species, we should be well content; and so, perhaps, would
most naturalists be. It is by no means difficult to believe that
varieties are incipient or possible species, when we see what trouble
naturalists, especially botanists, have to distinguish between
them--one regarding as a true species what another regards as a
variety; when the progress of knowledge continually increases, rather
than diminishes, the number of doubtful instances; and when there is
less agreement than ever among naturalists as to what is the basis in
Nature upon which our idea of species reposes, or how the word is to be
defined.  Indeed, when we consider the endless disputes of naturalists
and ethnologists over the human races, as to whether they belong to one
species or to more, and, if to more, whether to three, or five, or
fifty, we can hardly help fancying that both may be right--or rather,
that the uni-humanitarians would have been right many thousand years
ago, and the multi-humanitarians will be several thousand years later;
while at present the safe thing to say is, that probably there is some
truth on both sides.

"Natural selection," Darwin remarks, "leads to divergence of character;
for the more living beings can be supported on the same area, the more
they diverge in structure, habits, and constitution" (a principle
which, by-the-way, is paralleled and illustrated by the diversification
of human labor); and also leads to much extinction of intermediate or
unimproved forms. Now, though this divergence may "steadily tend to
increase," yet this is evidently a slow process in Nature, and liable
to much counteraction wherever man does not interpose, and so not
likely to work much harm for the future. And if natural selection, with
artificial to help it, will produce better animals and better men than
the present, and fit them better to the conditions of existence, why,
let it work, say we, to the top of its bent There is still room enough
for improvement. Only let us hope that it always works for good: if
not, the divergent lines on Darwin's lithographic diagram of
"Transmutation made Easy," ominously show what small deviations from
the straight path may come to in the end.

The prospect of the future, accordingly, is on the whole pleasant and
encouraging. It is only the backward glance, the gaze up the long vista
of the past, that reveals anything alarming. Here the lines converge as
they recede into the geological ages, and point to conclusions which,
upon the theory, are inevitable, but hardly welcome. The very first
step backward makes the negro and the Hottentot our
blood-relations--not that reason or Scripture objects to that, though
pride may. The next suggests a closer association of our ancestors of
the olden time with "our poor relations" of the quadrumanous family
than we like to acknowledge. Fortunately, however--even if we must
account for him scientifically --man with his two feet stands upon a
foundation of his own. Intermediate links between the Bimana and the
Quadrumana are lacking altogether; so that, put the genealogy of the
brutes upon what footing you will, the four-handed races will not serve
for our forerunners--at least, not until some monkey, live or fossil,
is producible with great-toes, instead of thumbs, upon his nether
extremities; or until some lucky geologist turns up the bones of his
ancestor and prototype in France or England, who was so busy "napping
the chuckie-stanes" and chipping out flint knives and arrow-heads in
the time of the drift, very many ages ago--before the British Channel
existed, says Lyell [III-1]--and until these men of the olden time are
shown to have worn their great-toes in the divergent and thumblike
fashion. That would be evidence indeed: but, until some testimony of
the sort is produced, we must needs believe in the separate and special
creation of man, however it may have been with the lower animals and
with plants.

No doubt, the full development and symmetry of Darwin's hypothesis
strongly suggest the evolution of the human no less than the lower
animal races out of some simple primordial animal--that all are equally
"lineal descendants of some few beings which lived long before the
first bed of the Silurian system was deposited." But, as the author
speaks disrespectfully of spontaneous generation, and accepts a
supernatural beginning of life on earth, in some form or forms of being
which included potentially all that have since existed and are yet to
be, he is thereby not warranted to extend his inferences beyond the
evidence or the fair probability. There seems as great likelihood that
one special origination should be followed by another upon fitting
occasion (such as the introduction of man), as that one form should be
transmuted into another upon fitting occasion, as, for instance, in the
succession of species which differ from each other only in some
details. To compare small things with great in a homely illustration:
man alters from time to time his instruments or machines, as new
circumstances or conditions may require and his wit suggest. Minor
alterations and improvements he adds to the machine he possesses; he
adapts a new rig or a new rudder to an old boat: this answers to
Variation. "Like begets like," being the great rule in Nature, if boats
could engender, the variations would doubtless be propagated, like
those of domestic cattle. In course of time the old ones would be worn
out or wrecked; the best sorts would be chosen for each particular use,
and further improved upon; and so the primordial boat be developed into
the scow, the skiff, the sloop, and other species of water-craft--the
very diversification, as well as the successive improvements, entailing
the disappearance of intermediate forms, less adapted to any one
particular purpose; wherefore these go slowly out of use, and become
extinct species: this is Natural Selection. Now, let a great and
important advance be made, like that of steam navigation: here, though
the engine might be added to the old vessel, yet the wiser and
therefore the actual way is to make a new vessel on a modified plan:
this may answer to Specific Creation. Anyhow, the one does not
necessarily exclude the other.  Variation and natural selection may
play their part, and so may specific creation also. Why not?

This leads us to ask for the reasons which call for this new theory of
transmutation. The beginning of things must needs lie in obscurity,
beyond the bounds of proof, though within those of conjecture or of
analogical inference. Why not hold fast to the customary view, that all
species were directly, instead of indirectly, created after their
respective kinds, as we now behold them--and that in a manner which,
passing our comprehension, we intuitively refer to the supernatural?
Why this continual striving after "the unattained and dim?" why these
anxious endeavors, especially of late years, by naturalists and
philosophers of various schools and different tendencies, to penetrate
what one of them calls "that mystery of mysteries," the origin of

To this, in general, sufficient answer may be found in the activity of
the human intellect, "the delirious yet divine desire to know,"
stimulated as it has been by its own success in unveiling the laws and
processes of inorganic Nature; in the fact that the principal triumphs
of our age in physical science have consisted in tracing connections
where none were known before, in reducing heterogeneous phenomena to a
common cause or origin, in a manner quite analogous to that of the
reduction of supposed independently originated species to a common
ultimate origin--thus, and in various other ways, largely and
legitimately extending the domain of secondary causes.  Surely the
scientific mind of an age which contemplates the solar system as
evolved from a common revolving fluid mass--which, through experimental
research, has come to regard light, heat, electricity, magnetism,
chemical affinity, and mechanical power as varieties or derivative and
convertible forms of one force, instead of independent species--which
has brought the so-called elementary kinds of matter, such as the
metals, into kindred groups, and pertinently raised the question,
whether the members of each group may not be mere varieties of one
species--and which speculates steadily in the direction of the ultimate
unity of matter, of a sort of prototype or simple element which may be
to the ordinary species of matter what the Protozoa or what the
component cells of an organism are to the higher sorts of animals and
plants--the mind of such an age cannot be expected to let the old
belief about species pass unquestioned. It will raise the question, how
the diverse sorts of plants and animals came to be as they are and
where they are and will allow that the whole inquiry transcends its
powers only when all endeavors have failed Granting the origin to be
super natural or miraculous even, will not arrest the inquiry All real
origination the philosophers will say, is supernatural, their very
question is, whether we have yet gone back to the origin and can affirm
that the present forms of plants and animals are the primordial, the
miraculously created ones.  And, even if they admit that, they will
still inquire into the order of the phenomena, into the form of the
miracle You might as well expect the child to grow up content with what
it is told about the advent of its infant brother Indeed, to learn that
the new comer is the gift of God, far from lulling inquiry, only
stimulates speculation as to how the precious gift was bestowed That
questioning child is father to the man--is philosopher in

Since, then questions about the origin of species will be raised, and
have been raised--and since the theorizings, however different in
particulars, all proceed upon the notion that one species of plant or
animal is somehow derived from another, that the different sorts which
now flourish are lineal (or unlineal) descendants of other and earlier
sorts--it now concerns us to ask, What are the grounds in Nature, the
admitted facts, which suggest hypotheses of derivation in some :shape
or other? Reasons there must be, and plausible ones, for the persistent
recurrence of theories upon this genetic basis. A study of Darwins
book, and a general glance at the present state of the natural
sciences, enable us to gather the following as among the most
suggestive and influential. We can only enumerate them here, without
much indication of their particular bearing. There is--

1. The general fact of variability, and the general tendency of the
variety to propagate its like--the patent facts that all species vary
more or less; that domesticated plants and animals, being in conditions
favorable to the production and preservation of varieties, are apt to
vary widely; and that, by interbreeding, any variety may be fixed into
a race, that is, into a variety which comes true from seed. Many such
races, it is allowed, differ from each other in structure and
appearance as widely as do many admitted species; and it is practically
very difficult, even impossible, to draw a clear line between races and
species. Witness the human races, for instance.  Wild species also
vary, perhaps about as widely as those of domestication, though in
different ways. Some of them apparently vary little, others moderately,
others immoderately, to the great bewilderment of systematic botanists
and zoologists, and increasing disagreement as to whether various forms
shall be held to be original species or strong varieties. Moreover, the
degree to which the descendants of the same stock, varying in different
directions, may at length diverge, is unknown. All we know is, that
varieties are themselves variable, and that very diverse forms have
been educed from one stock.

2. Species of the same genus are not distinguished from each other by
equal amounts of difference. There is diversity in this respect
analogous to that of the varieties of a polymorphous species, some of
them slight, others extreme. And in large genera the unequal
resemblance shows itself in the clustering of the species around
several types or central species, like satellites around their
respective planets. Obviously suggestive this of the hypothesis that
they were satellites, not thrown off by revolution, like the moons of
Jupiter, Saturn, and our own solitary moon, but gradually and
peacefully detached by divergent variation. That such closely-related
species may be only varieties of higher grade, earlier origin, or more
favored evolution, is not a very violent supposition. Anyhow, it was a
supposition sure to be made.

3. The actual geographical distribution of species upon the earths
surface tends to suggest the same notion. For, as a general thing, all
or most of the species of a peculiar genus or other type are grouped in
the same country, or occupy continuous, proximate, or accessible areas.
So well does this rule hold, so general is the implication that kindred
species are or were associated geographically, that most trustworthy
naturalists, quite free from hypotheses of transmutation, are
constantly inferring former geographical continuity between parts of
the world now widely disjoined, in order to account thereby for certain
generic similarities among their inhabitants; just as philologists
infer former connection of races, and a parent language, to account for
generic similarities among existing languages. Yet no scientific
explanation has been offered to account for the geographical
association of kindred species, except the hypothesis of a common

4. Here the fact of the antiquity of creation, and in particular of the
present kinds of the earths inhabitants, or of a large part of them,
comes in to rebut the objection that there has not been time enough for
any marked diversification of living things through divergent
variation--not time enough for varieties to have diverged into what we
call species.

So long as the existing species of plants and animals were thought to
have originated a few thousand years ago, and without predecessors,
there was no room for a theory of derivation of one sort from another,
nor time enough even to account for the establishment of the races
which are generally believed to have diverged from a common stock. Not
so much that five or six thousand years was a short allowance for this;
but because some of our familiar domesticated varieties of grain, of
fowls, and of other animals, were pictured and mummified by the old
Egyptians more than half that number of years ago, if not earlier.
Indeed, perhaps the strongest argument for the original plurality of
human species was drawn from the identification of some of the present
races of men upon these early historical monuments and records.

But this very extension of the current chronology, if we may rely upon
the archaeologists, removes the difficulty by opening up a longer
vista. So does the discovery in Europe of remains and implements of
prehistoric races of men, to whom the use of metals was unknown--men of
the stone age, as the Scandinavian archaeologists designate them. And
now, "axes and knives of flint, evidently wrought by human skill, are
found in beds of the drift at Amiens (also in other places, both in
France and England), associated with the bones of extinct species of
animals." These implements, indeed, were noticed twenty years ago; at a
place in Suffolk they have been exhumed from time to time for more than
a century; but the full confirmation, the recognition of the age of the
deposit in which the implements occur, their abundance, and the
appreciation of their bearings upon most interesting questions, belong
to the present time. To complete the connection of these primitive
people with the fossil ages, the French geologists, we are told, have
now "found these axes in Picardy associated with remains of Elephas
primigenius, Rhinoceros tichorhinus, Equus fossilis, and an extinct
species of Bos."[III-2] In plain language, these workers in flint lived
in the time of the mammoth, of a rhinoceros now extinct, and along with
horses and cattle unlike any now existing--specifically different, as
naturalists say, from those with which man is now associated.  Their
connection with existing human races may perhaps be traced through the
intervening people of the stone age, who were succeeded by the people
of the bronze age, and these by workers in iron.[III-3] Now, various
evidence carries back the existence of many of the present lower
species of animals, and probably of a larger number of plants, to the
same drift period. All agree that this was very many thousand years
ago. Agassiz tells us that the same species of polyps which are now
building coral walls around the present peninsula of Florida actually
made that peninsula, and have been building there for many thousand

5.  The overlapping of existing and extinct species, and the seemingly
gradual transition of the life of the drift period into that of the
present, may be turned to the same account. Mammoths, mastodons, and
Irish elks, now extinct, must have lived down to human, if not almost
to historic times.  Perhaps the last dodo did not long outlive his huge
New Zealand kindred. The aurochs, once the companion of mammoths, still
survives, but owes his present and precarious existence to mans care.
Now, nothing that we know of forbids the hypothesis that some new
species have been independently and supernaturally created within the
period which other species have survived.  Some may even believe that
man was created in the days of the mammoth, became extinct, and was
recreated at a later date. But why not say the same of the aurochs,
contemporary both of the old man and of the new? Still it is more
natural, if not inevitable, to infer that, if the aurochs of that olden
time were the ancestors of the aurochs of the Lithuanian forests, so
likewise were the men of that age the ancestors of the present human
races.  Then, whoever concludes that these primitive makers of rude
flint axes and knives were the ancestors of the better workmen of the
succeeding  stone age, and these again of the succeeding artificers in
brass and iron, will also be likely to suppose that the Equus and Bos
of that time, different though they be, were the remote progenitors of
our own horses and cattle. In all candor we must at least concede that
such considerations suggest a genetic descent from the drift period
down to the present, and allow time enough--if time is of any account--
for variation and natural selection to work out some appreciable
results in the way of divergence into races, or even into so-called
species. Whatever might have been thought, when geological time was
supposed to be separated from the present era by a clear line, it is
now certain that a gradual replacement of old forms by new ones is
strongly suggestive of some mode of origination which may still be
operative. When species, like individuals, were found to die out one by
one, and apparently to come in one by one, a theory for what Owen
sonorously calls "the continuous operation of the ordained becoming of
living things" could not be far off.

That all such theories should take the form of a derivation of the new
from the old seems to be inevitable, perhaps from our inability to
conceive of any other line of secondary causes in this connection. Owen
himself is apparently in travail with some transmutation theory of his
own conceiving, which may yet see the light, although Darwins came
first to the birth.  Different as the two theories will probably be,
they cannot fail to exhibit that fundamental resemblance in this
respect which betokens a community of origin, a common foundation on
the general facts and the obvious suggestions of modern science.
Indeed--to turn the point of a pungent simile directed against
Darwin--the difference between the Darwinian and the Owenian hypotheses
may, after all, be only that between homoeopathic and heroic doses of
the same drug.

If theories of derivation could only stop here, content with explaining
the diversification and succession of species between the teritiary
period and the present time, through natural agencies or secondary
causes still in operation, we fancy they would not be generally or
violently objected to by the savants of the present day. But it is
hard, if not impossible, to find a stopping-place. Some of the facts or
accepted conclusions already referred to, and several others, of a more
general character, which must be taken into the account, impel the
theory onward with accumulated force. Vires (not to say virus) acquirit
eundo. The theory hitches on wonderfully well to Lyells uniformitarian
theory in geology--that the thing that has been is the thing that is
and shall be--that the natural operations now going on will account for
all geological changes in a quiet and easy way, only give them time
enough, so connecting the present and the proximate with the farthest
past by almost imperceptible gradations--a view which finds large and
increasing, if not general, acceptance in physical geology, and of
which Darwins theory is the natural complement.

So the Darwinian theory, once getting a foothold, marches; boldly on,
follows the supposed near ancestors of our present species farther and
yet farther back into the dim past, and ends with an analogical
inference which "makes the whole world kin." As we said at the
beginning, this upshot discomposes us. Several features of the theory
have an uncanny look. They may prove to be innocent: but their first
aspect is suspicious, and high authorities pronounce the whole thing to
be positively mischievous. In this dilemma we are going to take advice.
Following the bent of our prejudices, and hoping to fortify these by
new and strong arguments, we are going now to read the principal
reviews which undertake to demolish the theory--with what result our
readers shall be duly informed.


"I can entertain no doubt, after the most deliberate study and
dispassionate judgment of which I am capable, that the view which most
naturalists entertain, and which I formerly entertained, namely, that
each species has been independently created, is erroneous. I am fully
convinced that species are not immutable; but that those belonging to
what are called the same genera are lineal descendants of some other
and generally extinct species, in the same manner as the acknowledged
varieties of any one species are the descendants of that species.
Furthermore, I am convinced that Natural Selection has been the main,
but not exclusive, means of modification."

This is the kernel of the new theory, the Darwinian creed, as recited
at the close of the introduction to the remarkable book under
consideration.  The questions, "What will he do with it?" and "How far
will he carry it?" the author answers at the close of the volume:

"I cannot doubt that the theory of descent with modification embraces
all the members of the same class." Furthermore, "I believe that all
animals have descended from at most only four or five progenitors, and
plants from an equal or lesser number."

Seeing that analogy as strongly suggests a further step in the same
direction, while he protests that "analogy may be a deceitful guide,"
yet he follows its inexorable leading to the inference that--

"Probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this ear have
descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first

In the first extract we have the thin end of the wedge driven a little
way; in the last, the wedge driven home.

We have already sketched some of the reasons suggestive of such a
theory of derivation of species, reasons which gave it plausibility,
and even no small probability, as applied to our actual world and to
changes occurring since the latest tertiary period. We are well pleased
at this moment to find that the conclusions we were arriving at in this
respect are sustained by the very high authority and impartial judgment
of Pictet, the Swiss paleontologist. In his review of Darwins
book[III-5] -- the fairest and most admirable opposing one that has
appeared--he freely accepts that ensemble of natural operations which
Darwin impersonates under the now familiar name of Natural Selection,
allows that the exposition throughout the first chapters seems "a la
fois prudent et fort," and is disposed to accept the whole argument in
its foundations, that is, so far as it relates to what is now going on,
or has taken place in the present geological period--which period he
carries back through the diluvial epoch to the borders of the
tertiary.[III-6]  Pictet accordingly admits that the theory will very
well account for the origination by divergence of nearly-related
species, whether within the present period or in remoter geological
times; a very natural view for him to take, since he appears to have
reached and published, several years ago, the pregnant conclusion that
there most probably was some material connection between the
closely-related species of two successive faunas, and that the numerous
close species, whose limits are so difficult to determine, were not all
created distinct and independent.  But while thus accepting, or ready
to accept, the basis of Darwins theory, and all its legitimate direct
inferences, he rejects the ultimate conclusions, brings some weighty
arguments to bear against them, and is evidently convinced that he can
draw a clear line between the sound inferences, which he favors, and
the unsound or unwarranted theoretical deductions, which he rejects. We
hope he can.

This raises the question, Why does Darwin press his theory to these
extreme conclusions? Why do all hypotheses of derivation converge so
inevitably to one ultimate point? Having already considered some of the
reasons which suggest or support the theory at its outset--which may
carry it as far as such sound and experienced naturalists as Pictet
allow that it may be true--perhaps as far as Darwin himself unfolds it
in the introductory proposition cited at the beginning of this
article--we may now inquire after the motives which impel the theorist
so much farther. Here proofs, in the proper sense of the word, are not
to be had. We are beyond the region of demonstration, and have only
probabilities to consider. What are these probabilities? What work will
this hypothesis do to establish a claim to be adopted in its
completeness? Why should a theory which may plausibly enough account
for the diversification of the species of each special type or genus be
expanded into a general system for the origination or successive
diversification of all species, and all special types or forms, from
four or five remote primordial forms, or perhaps from one? We accept
the theory of gravitation because it explains all the facts we know,
and bears all the tests that we can put it to. We incline to accept the
nebular hypothesis, for similar reasons; not because it is proved--thus
far it is incapable of proof--but because it is a natural theoretical
deduction from accepted physical laws, is thoroughly congruous with the
facts, and because its assumption serves to connect and harmonize these
into one probable and consistent whole. Can the derivative hypothesis
be maintained and carried out into a system on similar grounds? If so,
however unproved, it would appear to be a tenable hypothesis, which is
all that its author ought now to claim. Such hypotheses as, from the
conditions of the case, can neither be proved nor disproved by direct
evidence or experiment, are to be tested only indirectly, and therefore
imperfectly, by trying their power to harmonize the known facts, and to
account for what is otherwise unaccountable. So the question comes to
this: What will an hypothesis of the derivation of species explain
which the opposing view leaves unexplained?

Questions these which ought to be entertained before we take up the
arguments which have been advanced against this theory. We can barely
glance at some of the considerations which Darwin adduces, or will be
sure to adduce in the future and fuller exposition which is promised.
To display them in such wise as to indoctrinate the unscientific reader
would require a volume. Merely to refer to them in the most general
terms would suffice for those familiar with scientific matters, but
would scarcely enlighten those who are not. Wherefore let these trust
the impartial Pictet, who freely admits that, "in the absence of
sufficient direct proofs to justify the possibility of his hypothesis,
Mr. Darwin relies upon indirect proofs, the bearing of which is real
and incontestable;" who concedes that "his theory accords very well
with the great facts of comparative anatomy and zoology--comes in
admirably to explain unity of composition of organisms, also to explain
rudimentary and representative organs, and the natural series of genera
and species--equally corresponds with many paleontological data--agrees
well with the specific resemblances which exist between two successive
faunas, with the parallelism which is sometimes observed between the
series of paleontological succession and of embryonal development,"
etc.; and finally, although he does not accept the theory in these
results, he allows that "it appears to offer the best means of
explaining the manner in which organized beings were produced in epochs
anterior to our own."

What more than this could be said for such an hypothesis? Here,
probably, is its charm, and its strong hold upon the speculative mind.
Unproven though it be, and cumbered prima facie with cumulative
improbabilities as it proceeds, yet it singularly accords with great
classes of facts otherwise insulated and enigmatic, and explains many
things which are thus far utterly inexplicable upon any other
scientific assumption.

We have said that Darwins hypothesis is the natural complement to
Lyells uniformitarian theory in physical geology. It is for the organic
world what that is for the inorganic; and the accepters of the latter
stand in a position from which to regard the former in the most
favorable light.  Wherefore the rumor that the cautious Lyell himself
has adopted the Darwinian hypothesis need not surprise us. The two
views are made for each other, and, like the two counterpart pictures
for the stereoscope, when brought together, combine into one apparently
solid whole.

If we allow, with Pictet, that Darwins theory will very well serve for
all that concerns the present epoch of the worlds history--an epoch in
which this renowned paleontologist includes the diluvial or quaternary
period--then Darwins first and foremost need in his onward course is a
practicable road from this into and through the tertiary period, the
intervening region between the comparatively near and the far remote
past.  Here Lyells doctrine paves the way, by showing that in the
physical geology there is no general or absolute break between the two,
probably no greater between the latest tertiary and the quaternary
period than between the latter and the present time. So far, the
Lyellian view is, we suppose, generally concurred in. It is largely
admitted that numerous tertiary species have continued down into the
quaternary, and many of them to the present time. A goodly percentage
of the earlier and nearly half of the later tertiary mollusca,
according to Des Hayes, Lye!!, and, if we mistake not, Bronn, still
live. This identification, however, is now questioned by a naturalist
of the very highest authority. But, in its bearings on the new theory,
the point here turns not upon absolute identity so much as upon close
resemblance. For those who, with Agassiz, doubt the specific identity
in any of these cases, and those who say, with Pictet, that "the later
tertiary deposits contain in general the debris of species very nearly
related to those which still exist, belonging to the same genera, but
specifically different," may also agree with Pictet, that the
nearly-related species of successive faunas must or may have had "a
material connection." But the only material connection that we have an
idea of in such a case is a genealogical one. And the supposition of a
genealogical connection is surely not unnatural in such cases--is
demonstrably the natural one as respects all those tertiary species
which experienced naturalists have pronounced to be identical with
existing ones, but which others now deem distinct For to identify the
two is the same thing as to conclude the one to be the ancestor of the
other No doubt there are differences between the tertiary and the
present individuals, differences equally noticed by both classes of
naturalists, but differently estimated By the one these are deemed
quite compatible, by the other incompatible, with community of origin
But who can tell us what amount of difference is compatible with
community of origin?  This is the very question at issue, and one to be
settled by observation alone Who would have thought that the peach and
the nectarine came from one stock? But,  this being proved is it now
very improbable that both were derived from the almond, or from some
common amygdaline progenitor? Who would have thought that the cabbage,
cauliflower, broccoli kale, and kohlrabi are derivatives of one
species, and rape or colza, turnip, and probably ruta-baga, of  another
species? And who that is convinced of this can long undoubtingly hold
the original distinctness of turnips from cabbages as an article of
faith? On scientific grounds may not a primordial cabbage or rape be
assumed as the ancestor of all the cabbage races, on much the same
ground that we assume a common ancestry for the diversified human
races? If all Our breeds of cattle came from one stock why not this
stock from the auroch, which has had all the time between the diluvial
and the historic periods in which to set off a variation perhaps no
greater than the difference between some sorts of domestic cattle?

That considerable differences are often discernible between tertiary
individuals and their supposed descendants of the present day affords
no argument against Darwins theory, as has been rashly thought, but is
decidedly in its favor. If the identification were so perfect that no
more differences were observable between the tertiary and the recent
shells than between various individuals of either, then Darwins
opponents, who argue the immutability of species from the ibises and
cats preserved by the ancient Egyptians being just like those of the
present day, could triumphantly add a few hundred thousand years more
to the length of the experiment and to the force of their argument.

As the facts stand, it appears that, while some tertiary forms are
essentially undistinguishable from existing ones, others are the same
with a difference, which is judged not to be specific or aboriginal;
and yet others show somewhat greater differences, such as are
scientifically expressed by calling them marked varieties, or else
doubtful species; while others, differing a little more, are
confidently termed distinct, but nearly-related species. Now, is not
all this a question of degree, of mere gradation of difference? And is
it at all likely that these several gradations came to be established
in two totally different ways--some of them (though naturalists cant
agree which) through natural variation, or other secondary cause, and
some by original creation, without secondary cause? We have seen that
the judicious Pictet answers such questions as Darwin would have him
do, in affirming that, in all probability, the nearly-related species
of two successive faunas were materially connected, and that
contemporaneous species, similarly resembling each other, were not all
created so, but have become so. This is equivalent to saying that
species (using the term as all naturalists do, and must continue to
employ the word) have only a relative, not an absolute fixity; that
differences fully equivalent to what are held to be specific may arise
in the course of time, so that one species may at length be naturally
replaced by another species a good deal like it, or may be diversified
into two, three, or more species, or forms as different as species.
This concedes all that Darwin has a right to ask, all that he can
directly infer from evidence. We must add that it affords a locus
standi, more or less tenable, for inferring more.

Here another geological consideration comes in to help on this
inference.  The species of the later tertiary period for the most part
not only resembled those of our days--many of them so closely as to
suggest an absolute continuity--but also occupied in general the same
regions that their relatives occupy now. The same may be said, though
less specially, of the earlier tertiary and of the later secondary; but
there is less and less localization of forms as we recede, yet some
localization even in palaeozoic times. While in the secondary period
one is struck with the similarity of forms and the identity of many of
the species which flourished apparently at the same time in all or in
the most widely-separated parts of the world, in the tertiary epoch, on
the contrary, along with the increasing specialization of climates and
their approximation to the present state, we find abundant evidence of
increasing localization of orders, genera and species, and this
localization strikingly accords with the present geographical
distribution of the same groups of species Where the imputed
forefathers lived their relatives and supposed descendants now flourish
All the actual classes of the animal and vegetable kingdoms were
represented in the tertiary faunas and floras and in nearly the same
proportions and the same diversities as at present The faunas of what
is now Europe, Asia America and Australia, differed from each other
much as they now differ: in fact--according to Adolphe Brongniart,
whose statements we here condense[III-7]--the inhabitants of these
different regions appear for the most part to have acquired, before the
close of the tertiary period, the characters which essentially
distinguish their existing faunas. The Eastern Continent had then, as
now, its great pachyderms, elephants, rhinoceros, hippopotamus; South
America, its armadillos, sloths, and anteaters; Australia, a crowd of
marsupials; and the very strange birds of New Zealand had predecessors
of similar strangeness.

Everywhere the same geographical distribution as now, with a difference
in the particular area, as respects the northern portion of the
continents, answering to a warmer climate then than ours, such as
allowed species of hippopotamus, rhinoceros, and elephant, to range
even to the regions now inhabited by the reindeer and the musk-ox, and
with the serious disturbing intervention of the glacial period within a
comparatively recent time. Let it be noted also that those tertiary
species which have continued with little change down to our days are
the marine animals of the lower grades, especially mollusca. Their low
organization, moderate sensibility, and the simple conditions of an
existence in a medium like the ocean, not subject to great variation
and incapable of sudden change, may well account for their continuance;
while, on the other hand, the more intense, however gradual, climatic
vicissitudes on land, which have driven all tropical and subtropical
forms out of the higher latitudes and assigned to them their actual
limits, would be almost sure to extinguish such huge and unwieldy
animals as mastodons, mammoths, and the like, whose power of enduring
altered circumstances must have been small.

This general replacement of the tertiary species of a country by others
so much like them is a noteworthy fact. The hypothesis of the
independent creation of all species, irrespective of their antecedents,
leaves this fact just as mysterious as is creation itself; that of
derivation undertakes to account for it. Whether it satisfactorily does
so or not, it must be allowed that the facts well accord with that
hypothesis. The same may be said of another conclusion, namely, that
the geological succession of animals and plants appears to correspond
in a general way with their relative standing or rank in a natural
system of classification. It seems clear that, though no one of the
grand types of the animal kingdom can be traced back farther than the
rest, yet the lower classes long preceded the higher; that there has
been on the whole a steady progression within each class and order; and
that the highest plants and animals have appeared only in relatively
modern times. It is only, however, in a broad sense that this
generalization is now thought to hold good. It encounters many apparent
exceptions, and sundry real ones. So far as the rule holds, all is as
it should be upon an hypothesis of derivation.

The rule has its exceptions. But, curiously enough, the most striking
class of exceptions, if such they be, seems to us even more favorable
to the doctrine of derivation than is the general rule of a pure and
simple ascending gradation. We refer to what Agassiz calls prophetic
and synthetic types; for which the former name may suffice, as the
difference between the two is evanescent.

"It has been noticed," writes our great zoologist, "that certain types,
which are frequently prominent among the representatives of past ages,
combine in their structure peculiarities which at later periods are
only observed separately in different, distinct types. Sauroid fishes
before reptiles, Pterodactyles before birds, Ichthyosauri before
dolphins, etc.  There are entire families, of nearly every class of
animals, which in the state of their perfect development exemplify such
prophetic relations.

The sauroid fishes of the past geological ages are an example of this
kind These fishes which preceded the appearance of reptiles present a
combination of ichthyic and reptilian characters not to be found in the
true members of this class, which form its bulk at present. The
Pterodactyles, which preceded the class of birds, and the Ichthyosauri,
which preceded the Cetacea, are other examples of such prophetic
types."--(Agassiz, "Contributions, Essay on Classification," p. 117.)

Now, these reptile-like fishes, of which gar-pikes are the living
representatives, though of earlier appearance, are admittedly of higher
rank than common fishes. They dominated until reptiles appeared, when
they mostly gave place to (or, as the derivationists will insist, were
resolved by divergent variation and natural selection into) common
fishes, destitute of reptilian characters, and saurian reptiles--the
intermediate grades, which, according to a familiar piscine saying, are
"neither fish, flesh, nor good red-herring," being eliminated and
extinguished by natural consequence of the struggle for existence which
Darwin so aptly portrays. And so, perhaps, of the other prophetic
types. Here type and antitype correspond. If these are true prophecies,
we need not wonder that some who read them in Agassizs book will read
their fulfillment in Darwins.

Note also, in this connection, that along with a wonderful persistence
of type, with change of species, genera, orders, etc., from formation
to formation, no species and no higher group which has once
unequivocally died out ever afterward reappears. Why is this, but that
the link of generation has been sundered? Why, on the hypothesis of
independent originations, were not failing species recreated, either
identically or with a difference, in regions eminently adapted to their
well-being? To take a striking case. That no part of the world now
offers more suitable conditions for wild horses and cattle than the
pampas and other plains of South America, is shown by the facility with
which they have there run wild and enormously multiplied, since
introduced from the Old World not long ago. There was no wild American
stock. Yet in the times of the mastodon and megatherium, at the dawn of
the present period, wild-horses--certainly very much like the existing
horse--roamed over those plains in abundance. On the principle of
original and direct created adaptation of species to climate and other
conditions, why were they not reproduced, when, after the colder
intervening era, those regions became again eminently adapted to such
animals? Why, but because, by their complete extinction in South
America, the line of descent was there utterly broken? Upon the
ordinary hypothesis, there is no scientific explanation possible of
this series of facts, and of many others like them.  Upon the new
hypothesis, "the succession of the same types of structure within the
same areas during the later geological periods ceases to be mysterious,
and is simply explained by inheritance." Their cessation is failure of

Along with these considerations the fact (alluded to on page 98) should
be remembered that, as a general thing, related species of the present
age are geographically associated. The larger part of the plants, and
still more of the animals, of each separate country are peculiar to it;
and, as most species now flourish over the graves of their by-gone
relatives of former ages, so they now dwell among or accessibly near
their kindred species.

Here also comes in that general "parallelism between the order of
succession of animals and plants in geological times, and the gradation
among their living representatives" from low to highly organized, from
simple and general to complex and specialized forms; also "the
parallelism between the order of succession of animals in geological
times and the changes their living representatives undergo during their
embryological growth," as if the world were one prolonged gestation.
Modern science has much insisted on this parallelism, and to a certain
extent is allowed to have made it out. All these things, which conspire
to prove that the ancient and the recent forms of life "are somehow
intimately connected together in one grand system," equally conspire to
suggest that the connection is one similar or analogous to generation.
Surely no naturalist can be blamed for entering somewhat confidently
upon a field of speculative inquiry which here opens so invitingly; nor
need former premature endeavors and failures utterly dishearten him.

All these things, it may naturally be said, go to explain the order,
not the mode, of the incoming of species. But they all do tend to bring
out the generalization expressed by Mr. Wallace in the formula that
"every species has come into existence coincident both in time and
space with preexisting closely-allied species." Not, however, that this
is proved even of existing species as a matter of general fact. It is
obviously impossible to prove anything of the kind. But we must concede
that the known facts strongly suggest such an inference. And--since
species are only congeries of individuals, since every individual came
into existence in consequence of preexisting individuals of the same
sort, so leading up to the individuals with which the species began,
and since the only material sequence we know of among plants and
animals is that from parent to progeny--the presumption becomes
exceedingly strong that the connection of the incoming with the
preexisting species is a genealogical one.

Here, however, all depends upon the probability that Mr. Wallaces
inference is really true. Certainly it is not yet generally accepted;
but a strong current is setting toward its acceptance.

So long as universal cataclysms were in vogue, and all life upon the
earth was thought to have been suddenly destroyed and renewed many
times in succession, such a view could not be thought of. So the
equivalent view maintained by Agassiz, and formerly, we believe, by
DOrbigny, that irrespectively of general and sudden catastrophes, or
any known adequate physical cause, there has been a total depopulation
at the close of each geological period or formation, say forty or fifty
times or more, followed by as many independent great acts of creation,
at which alone have species been originated, and at each of which a
vegetable and an animal kingdom were produced entire and complete,
full-fledged, as flourishing, as wide-spread, and populous, as varied
and mutually adapted from the beginning as ever afterward--such a view,
of course, supersedes all material connection between successive
species, and removes even the association and geographical range of
species entirely out of the domain of physical causes and of natural
science. This is the extreme opposite of Wallaces and Darwin s view,
and is quite as hypothetical. The nearly universal opinion, if we
rightly gather it, manifestly is, that the replacement of the species
of successive formations was not complete and simultaneous, but partial
and successive; and that along the course of each epoch some species
probably were introduced, and some, doubtless, became extinct. If all
since the tertiary belongs to our present epoch, this is certainly true
of it: if to two or more epochs, then the hypothesis of a total change
is not true of them.

Geology makes huge demands upon time; and we regret to find that it has
exhausted ours--that what we meant for the briefest and most general
sketch of some geological considerations in favor of Darwins hypothesis
has so extended as to leave no room for considering "the great facts of
comparative anatomy and zoology" with which Darwins theory "very well
accords," nor for indicating how "it admirably serves for explaining
the unity of composition of all organisms, the existence of
representative and rudimentary organs, and the natural series which
genera and species compose." Suffice it to say that these are the real
strongholds of the new system on its theoretical side; that it goes far
toward explaining both the physiological and the structural gradations
and relations between the two kingdoms, and the arrangement of all
their forms in groups subordinate to groups, all within a few great
types; that it reads the riddle of abortive organs and of morphological
conformity, of which no other theory has ever offered a scientific
explanation, and supplies a ground for harmonizing the two fundamental
ideas which naturalists and philosophers conceive to have ruled the
organic world, though they could not reconcile them; namely, Adaptation
to Purpose and Conditions of Existence, and Unity of Type. To reconcile
these two undeniable principles is the capital problem in the
philosophy of natural history; and the hypothesis which consistently
does so thereby secures a great advantage.

We all know that the arm and hand of a monkey, the foreleg and foot of
a dog and of a horse, the wing of a bat, and the fin of a porpoise, are
fundamentally identical; that the long neck of the giraffe has the same
and no more bones than the short one of the elephant; that the eggs of
Surinam frogs hatch into tadpoles with as good tails for swimming as
any of their kindred, although as tadpoles they never enter the water;
that the Guinea-pig is furnished with incisor teeth which it never
uses, as it sheds them before birth; that embryos of mammals and birds
have branchial slits and arteries running in loops, in imitation or
reminiscence of the arrangement which is permanent in fishes; and that
thousands of animals and plants have rudimentary organs which, at least
in numerous cases, are wholly useless to their possessors, etc., etc.
Upon a derivative theory this morphological conformity is explained by
community of descent; and it has not been explained in any other way.

Naturalists are constantly speaking of "related species," of the
"affinity" of a genus or other group, and of "family
resemblance"--vaguely conscious that these terms of kinship are
something more than mere metaphors, but unaware of the grounds of their
aptness. Mr. Darwin assures them that they have been talking derivative
doctrine all their lives--as M. Jourdain talked prose--without knowing

If it is difficult and in many cases practically impossible to fix the
limits of species, it is still more so to fix those of genera; and
those of tribes and families are still less susceptible of exact
natural circumscription. Intermediate forms occur, connecting one group
with another in a manner sadly perplexing to systematists, except to
those who have ceased to expect absolute limitations in Nature. All
this blending could hardly fail to suggest a former material connection
among allied forms, such as that which the hypothesis of derivation

Here it would not be amiss to consider the general principle of
gradation throughout organic Nature--a principle which answers in a
general way to the Law of Continuity in the inorganic world, or rather
is so analogous to it that both may fairly be expressed by the
Leibnitzian axiom, Natura non agit saltatim. As an axiom or
philosophical principle, used to test modal laws or hypotheses, this in
strictness belongs only to physics. In the investigation of Nature at
large, at least in the organic world, nobody would undertake to apply
this principle as a test of the validity of any theory or supposed law.
But naturalists of enlarged views will not fail to infer the principle
from the phenomena they investigate--to perceive that the rule holds,
under due qualifications and altered forms, throughout the realm of
Nature; although we do not suppose that Nature in the organic world
makes no distinct steps, but only short and serial steps--not
infinitely fine gradations, but no long leaps, or few of them.

To glance at a few illustrations out of many that present themselves.
It would be thought that the distinction between the two organic
kingdoms was broad and absolute.  Plants and animals belong to two very
different categories, fulfill opposite offices and, as to the mass of
them are so unlike that the difficulty of the ordinary observer would
be to find points of comparison Without entering into details which
would fill an article, we may safely say that the difficulty with the
naturalist is all the other way--that all these broad differences
vanish one by one as we approach the lower confines of the two
kingdoms, and that no absolute distinction whatever is now known
between them. It is quite possible that the same organism may be both
vegetable and animal, or may be first the one and then the other. If
some organisms may be said to be at first vegetables and then animals,
others, like the spores and other reproductive bodies of many of the
lower Algae, may equally claim to have first a characteristically
animal, and then an unequivocally vegetable existence. Nor is the
gradation restricted to these simple organisms. It appears in general
functions, as in that of reproduction, which is reducible to the same
formula in both kingdoms, while it exhibits close approximations in the
lower forms; also in a common or similar ground of sensibility in the
lowest forms of both, a common faculty of effecting movements tending
to a determinate end, traces of which pervade the vegetable
kingdom--while, on the other hand, this indefinable principle, this

"Animula vagula, blandula, Hospes comesque corporis,"

graduates into the higher sensitiveness of the lower class of animals.
Nor need we hesitate to recognize the fine gradations from simple
sensitiveness and volition to the higher instinctive and to the other
psychical manifestations of the higher brute animals. The gradation is
undoubted, however we may explain it.

Again, propagation is of one mode in the higher animals, of two in all
plants; but vegetative propagation, by budding or offshoots, extends
through the lower grades of animals. In both kingdoms there may be
separation of the offshoots, or indifference in this respect, or
continued and organic union with the parent stock; and this either with
essential independence of the offshoots, or with a subordination of
these to a common whole; or finally with such subordination and
amalgamation, along with specialization of function, that the same
parts, which in other cases can be regarded only as progeny, in these
become only members of an individual.

This leads to the question of individuality, a subject quite too large
and too recondite for present discussion. The conclusion of the whole
matter, however, is, that individuality--that very ground of being as
distinguished from thing--is not attained in Nature at one leap. If
anywhere truly exemplified in plants, it is only in the lowest and
simplest, where the being is a structural unit, a single cell,
member-less and organless, though organic--the same thing as those
cells of which all the more complex plants are built up, and with which
every plant and (structurally) every animal began its development. In
the ascending gradation of the vegetable kingdom individuality is, so
to say, striven after, but never attained; in the lower animals it is
striven after with greater though incomplete success; it is realized
only in animals of so high a rank that vegetative multiplication or
offshoots are out of the question, where all parts are strictly members
and nothing else, and all subordinated to a common nervous centre--is
fully realized only in a conscious person.

So, also, the broad distinction between reproduction by seeds or ova
and propagation by buds, though perfect in some of the lowest forms of
life, becomes evanescent in others; and even the most absolute law we
know in the physiology of genuine reproduction--that of sexual
cooperation--has its exceptions in both kingdoms in parthenogenesis, to
which in the vegetable kingdom a most curious and intimate series of
gradations leads. In plants, likewise, a long and finely graduated
series of transitions leads from bisexual to unisexual blossoms; and so
in various other respects. Everywhere we may perceive that Nature
secures her ends, and makes her distinctions on the whole manifest and
real but everywhere without abrupt breaks We need not wonder therefore
that gradations between species and varieties should occur; the more
so, since genera, tribes, and other groups into which the naturalist
collocates species, are far from being always absolutely limited in
Nature, though they are necessarily represented to be so in systems.
From the necessity of the case, the classifications of the naturalist
abruptly define where Nature more or less blends. Our systems are
nothing, if not definite. They express differences, and some of the
coarser gradations. But this evinces not their perfection, but their
imperfection. Even the best of them are to the system of Nature what
consecutive patches of the seven colors are to the rainbow.

Now the principle of gradation throughout organic Nature may, of
course, be interpreted upon other assumptions than those of Darwins
hypothesis--certainly upon quite other than those of a materialistic
philosophy, with which we ourselves have no sympathy. Still we conceive
it not only possible, but probable, that this gradation, as it has its
natural ground, may yet have its scientific explanation. In any case,
there is no need to deny that the general facts correspond well with an
hypothesis like Darwins, which is built upon fine gradations.

We have contemplated quite long enough the general presumptions in
favor of an hypothesis of the derivation of species. We cannot forget,
however, while for the moment we overlook, the formidable difficulties
which all hypotheses of this class have to encounter, and the serious
implications which they seem to involve. We feel, moreover, that
Darwins particular hypothesis is exposed to some special objections. It
requires no small strength of nerve steadily to conceive, not only of
the diversification, but of the formation of the organs of an animal
through cumulative variation and natural selection. Think of such an
organ as the eye, that most perfect of optical instruments, as so
produced in the lower animals and perfected in the higher! A friend of
ours, who accepts the new doctrine, confesses that for a long while a
cold chill came over him whenever he thought of the eye. He has at
length got over that stage of the complaint, and is now in the fever of
belief, perchance to be succeeded by the sweating stage, during which
sundry peccant humors may be eliminated from the system. For ourselves,
we dread the chill, and have some misgivings about the consequences of
the reaction.  We find ourselves in the "singular position"
acknowledged by Pictet--that is, confronted with a theory which,
although it can really explain much, seems inadequate to the heavy task
it so boldly assumes, but which, nevertheless, appears better fitted
than any other that has been broached to explain, if it be possible to
explain, somewhat of the manner in which organized beings may have
arisen and succeeded each other. In this dilemma we might take
advantage of Mr. Darwins candid admission, that he by no means expects
to convince old and experienced people, whose minds are stocked with a
multitude of facts all regarded during a long course of years from the
old point of view. This is nearly our case. So, owning no call to a
larger faith than is expected of us, but not prepared to pronounce the
whole hypothesis untenable, under such construction as we should put
upon it, we naturally sought to attain a settled conviction through a
perusal of several proffered refutations of the theory. At least, this
course seemed to offer the readiest way of bringing to a head the
various objections to which the theory is exposed. On several accounts
some of these opposed reviews especially invite examination. We
propose, accordingly, to conclude our task with an article upon "Darwin
and his Reviewers."


The origin of species, like all origination, like the institution of
any other natural state or order, is beyond our immediate ken. We see
or may learn how things go on; we can only frame hypotheses as to how
they began.

Two hypotheses divide the scientific world, very unequally, upon the
origin of the existing diversity of the plants and animals which
surround us. One assumes that the actual kinds are primordial; the
other, that they are derivative. One, that all kinds originated
supernaturally and directly as such, and have continued unchanged in
the order of Nature; the other, that the present kinds appeared in some
sort of genealogical connection with other and earlier kinds, that they
became what they now are in the course of time and in the order of

Or, bringing in the word species, which is well defined as "the
perennial succession of individuals," commonly of very like
individuals--as a close corporation of individuals perpetuated by
generation, instead of election--and reducing the question to
mathematical simplicity of statement:  species are lines of individuals
coming down from the past and running on to the future; lines receding,
therefore, from our view in either direction.  Within our limited
observation they appear to be parallel lines, as a general thing
neither approaching to nor diverging from each other.

The first hypothesis assumes that they were parallel from the unknown
beginning and will be to the unknown end. The second hypothesis assumes
that the apparent parallelism is not real and complete, at least
aboriginally, but approximate or temporary; that we should find the
lines convergent in the past, if we could trace them far enough; that
some of them, if produced back, would fall into certain fragments of
lines, which have left traces in the past, lying not exactly in the
same direction, and these farther back into others to which they are
equally unparallel. It will also claim that the present lines, whether
on the whole really or only approximately parallel, sometimes fork or
send off branches on one side or the other, producing new lines
(varieties), which run for a while, and for aught we know indefinitely
when not interfered with, near and approximately parallel to the parent
line. This claim it can establish; and it may also show that these
close subsidiary lines may branch or vary again, and that those
branches or varieties which are best adapted to the existing conditions
may be continued, while others stop or die out. And so we may have the
basis of a real theory of the diversification of species and here
indeed, there is a real, though a narrow, established ground to build
upon But as systems of organic Nature, both doctrines are equally
hypotheses, are suppositions of what there is no proof of from
experience, assumed in order to account for the observed phenomena, and
supported by such indirect evidence as can be had.

Even when the upholders of the former and more popular system mix up
revelation with scientific discussion--which we decline to do--they by
no means thereby render their view other than hypothetical. Agreeing
that plants and animals were produced by Omnipotent fiat does not
exclude the idea of natural order and what we call secondary causes.
The record of the fiat--"Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb
yielding seed," etc., "and it was so;" "let the earth bring forth the
living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping thing and beast of
the earth after his kind, and it was so"--seems even to imply them.
Agreeing that they were formed of "the dust of the ground," and of thin
air, only leads to the conclusion that the pristine individuals were
corporeally constituted like existing individuals, produced through
natural agencies. To agree that they were created "after their kinds"
determines nothing as to what were the original kinds, nor in what
mode, during what time, and in what connections it pleased the Almighty
to introduce the first individuals of each sort upon the earth.
Scientifically considered, the two opposing doctrines are equally

The two views very unequally divide the scientific world; so that
believers in "the divine right of majorities" need not hesitate which
side to take, at least for the present. Up to a time quite within the
memory of a generation still on the stage, two hypotheses about the
nature of light very unequally divided the scientific world. But the
small minority has already prevailed:  the emission theory has gone
out; the undulatory or wave theory, after some fluctuation, has reached
high tide, and is now the pervading, the fully-established system.
There was an intervening time during which most physicists held their
opinions in suspense.

The adoption of the undulatory theory of light called for the extension
of the same theory to heat, and this promptly suggested the hypothesis
of a correlation, material connection, and transmutability of heat,
light, electricity, magnetism, etc.; which hypothesis the physicists
held in absolute suspense until very lately, but are now generally
adopting. If not already established as a system, it promises soon to
become so. At least, it is generally received as a tenable and probably
true hypothesis.

Parallel to this, however less cogent the reasons, Darwin and others,
having shown it likely that some varieties of plants or animals have
diverged in time into cognate species, or into forms as different as
species, are led to infer that all species of a genus may have thus
diverged from a common stock, and thence to suppose a higher community
of origin in ages still farther back, and so on. Following the safe
example of the physicists, and acknowledging the fact of the
diversification of a once homogeneous species into varieties, we may
receive the theory of the evolution of these into species, even while
for the present we hold the hypothesis of a further evolution in cool
suspense or in grave suspicion. In respect to very many questions a
wise mans mind rests long in a state neither of belief nor unbelief.
But your intellectually short-sighted people are apt to be
preternaturally clear-sighted, and to find their way very plain to
positive conclusions upon one side or the other of every mooted

In fact, most people, and some philosophers, refuse to hold questions
in abeyance, however incompetent they may be to decide them. And,
curiously enough, the more difficult, recondite, and perplexing, the
questions or hypotheses are--such, for instance, as those about organic
Nature--the more impatient they are of suspense. Sometimes, and
evidently in the present case, this impatience grows out of a fear that
a new hypothesis may endanger cherished and most important beliefs.
Impatience under such circumstances is not unnatural, though perhaps
needless, and, if so, unwise.

To us the present revival of the derivative hypothesis, in a more
winning shape than it ever before had, was not unexpected. We wonder
that any thoughtful observer of the course of investigation and of
speculation in science should not have foreseen it, and have learned at
length to take its inevitable coming patiently; the more so, as in
Darwins treatise it comes in a purely scientific form, addressed only
to scientific men. The notoriety and wide popular perusal of this
treatise appear to have astonished the author even more than the book
itself has astonished the reading world Coming as the new presentation
does from a naturalist of acknowledged character and ability and marked
by a conscientiousness and candor which have not always been
reciprocated we have thought it simply right to set forth the doctrine
as fairly and as favorably as we could There are plenty to decry it and
the whole theory is widely exposed to attack For the arguments on the
other side we may look to the numerous adverse publications which
Darwin s volume has already called out and especially to those reviews
which propose directly to refute it. Taking various lines and
reflecting very diverse modes of thought, these hostile critics may be
expected to concentrate and enforce the principal objections which can
be brought to bear against the derivative hypothesis in general, and
Darwins new exposition of it in particular.

Upon the opposing side of the question we have read with attention--1.
An article in the North American Review for April last; 2. One in the
Christian Examiner, Boston, for May; 3. M. Pictets article in the
Bibliotheque Universelle, which we have already made considerable use
of, which seems throughout most able and correct, and which in tone and
fairness is admirably in contrast with--4. The article in the Edinburgh
Review for May, attributed--although against a large amount of internal
presumptive evidence--to the most distinguished British comparative
anatomist; 5. An article in the North British Review for May; 6. Prof.
Agassiz has afforded an early opportunity to peruse the criticisms he
makes in the forthcoming third volume of his great work, by a
publication of them in advance in the American Journal of Science for

In our survey of the lively discussion which has been raised, it
matters little how our own particular opinions may incline. But we may
confess to an impression, thus far, that the doctrine of the permanent
and complete immutability of species has not been established, and may
fairly be doubted.  We believe that species vary, and that "Natural
 works; but we suspect that its operation, like every analogous natural
operation, may be limited by something else. Just as every species by
its natural rate of reproduction would soon completely fill any country
it could live in, but does not, being checked by some other species or
some other condition--so it may be surmised that variation and natural
selection have their struggle and consequent check, or are limited by
something inherent in the constitution of organic beings.

We are disposed to rank the derivative hypothesis in its fullness with
the nebular hypothesis, and to regard both as allowable, as not
unlikely to prove tenable in spite of some strong objections, but as
not therefore demonstrably true. Those, if any there be, who regard the
derivative hypothesis as satisfactorily proved, must have loose notions
as to what proof is. Those who imagine it can be easily refuted and
cast aside, must, we think, have imperfect or very prejudiced
conceptions of the facts concerned and of the questions at issue.

We are not disposed nor prepared to take sides for or against the new
hypothesis, and so, perhaps, occupy a good position from which to watch
the discussion and criticise those objections which are seemingly
inconclusive.  On surveying the arguments urged by those who have
undertaken to demolish the theory, we have been most impressed with a
sense of their great inequality. Some strike us as excellent and
perhaps unanswerable; some, as incongruous with other views of the same
writers; others, when carried out, as incompatible with general
experience or general beliefs, and therefore as proving too much; still
others, as proving nothing at all; so that, on the whole, the effect is
rather confusing and disappointing. We certainly expected a stronger
adverse case than any which the thoroughgoing opposers of Darwin appear
to have made out. Wherefore, if it be found that the new hypothesis has
grown upon our favor as we proceeded, this must be attributed not so
much to the force of the arguments of the book itself as to the want of
force of several of those by which it has been assailed. Darwins
arguments we might resist or adjourn; but some of the refutations of it
give us more concern than the book itself did.

These remarks apply mainly to the philosophical and theological
objections which have been elaborately urged, almost exclusively by the
American reviewers. The North British reviewer, indeed, roundly
denounces the book as atheistical, but evidently deems the case too
clear for argument. The Edinburgh reviewer, on the contrary, scouts all
such objections--as well he may, since he records his belief in "a
continuous creative operation," a constantly operating secondary
creational law," through which species are successively produced; and
he emits faint, but not indistinct, glimmerings of a transmutation
theory of his own;[III-8] so that he is equally exposed to all the
philosophical objections advanced by Agassiz, and to most of those
urged by the other American critics, against Darwin himself.

Proposing now to criticise the critics, so far as to see what their
most general and comprehensive objections amount to, we must needs
begin with the American reviewers, and with their arguments adduced to
prove that a derivative hypothesis ought not to be true, or is not
possible, philosophical, or theistic.

It must not be forgotten that on former occasions very confident
judgments have been pronounced by very competent persons, which have
not been finally ratified. Of the two great minds of the seventeenth
century, Newton and Leibnitz, both profoundly religious as well as
philosophical, one produced the theory of gravitation, the other
objected to that theory that it was subversive of natural religion. The
nebular hypothesis--a natural consequence of the theory of gravitation
and of the subsequent progress of physical and astronomical
discovery--has been denounced as atheistical even down to our own day.
But it is now largely adopted by the most theistical natural
philosophers as a tenable and perhaps sufficient hypothesis, and where
not accepted is no longer objected to, so far as we know, on
philosophical or religious grounds.

The gist of the philosophical objections urged by the two Boston
reviewers against an hypothesis of the derivation of species--or at
least against Darwins particular hypothesis-- is, that it is
incompatible with the idea of any manifestation of design in the
universe, that it denies final causes.  A serious objection this, and
one that demands very serious attention.

The proposition, that things and events in Nature were not designed to
be so, if logically carried out, is doubtless tantamount to atheism.
Yet most people believe that some were designed and others were not,
although they fall into a hopeless maze whenever they undertake to
define their position.  So we should not like to stigmatize as
atheistically disposed a person who regards certain things and events
as being what they are through designed laws (whatever that expression
means), but as not themselves specially ordained, or who, in another
connection, believes in general, but not in particular Providence. We
could sadly puzzle him with questions; but in return he might equally
puzzle us. Then, to deny that anything was specially designed to be
what it is, is one proposition; while to deny that the Designer
supernaturally or immediately made it so, is another: though the
reviewers appear not to recognize the distinction.

Also, "scornfully to repudiate" or to "sneer at the idea of any
manifestation of design in the material universe,"[III-9] is one thing;
while to consider, and perhaps to exaggerate, the difficulties which
attend the practical application of the doctrine of final causes to
certain instances, is quite another thing: yet the Boston reviewers, we
regret to say, have not been duly regardful of the difference. Whatever
be thought of Darwins doctrine, we are surprised that he should be
charged with scorning or sneering at the opinions of others, upon such
a subject. Perhaps Darwins view is incompatible with final causes--we
will consider that question presently-- but as to the Examiners charge,
that he "sneers at the idea of any manifestation of design in the
material universe," though we are confident that no misrepresentation
was intended, we are equally confident that it is not at all warranted
by the two passages cited in support of it.  Here are the passages:

"If green woodpeckers alone had existed, or we did not know that there
were many black and pied kinds, I dare say that we should have thought
that the green color was a beautiful adaptation to hide this
tree-frequenting bird from its enemies."

"If our reason leads us to admire with enthusiasm a multitude of
inimitable contrivances in Nature, this same reason tells us, though we
may easily err on both sides, that some contrivances are less perfect.
Can we consider the sting of the wasp or of the bee as perfect, which,
when used against many attacking animals, cannot be withdrawn, owing to
the backward serratures, and so inevitably causes the death of the
insect by tearing out its viscera?"

If the sneer here escapes ordinary vision in the detached extracts (one
of them wanting the end of the sentence), it is, if possible, more
imperceptible when read with the context. Moreover, this perusal
inclines us to think that the Examiner has misapprehended the
particular argument or object, as well as the spirit, of the author in
these passages. The whole reads more naturally as a caution against the
inconsiderate use of final causes in science, and an illustration of
some of the manifold errors and absurdities which their hasty
assumption is apt to involve--considerations probably equivalent to
those which induced Lord Bacon to liken final causes to "vestal
virgins." So, if any one, it is here Bacon that "sitteth in the seat of
the scornful." As to Darwin, in the section from which the extracts
were made, he is considering a subsidiary question, and trying to
obviate a particular difficulty, but, we suppose, is wholly unconscious
of denying "any manifestation of design in the material universe." He
concludes the first sentence:

--"and consequently that it was a character of importance, and might
have been acquired through natural selection; as it is, I have no doubt
that the color is due to some quite distinct cause, probably to sexual

After an illustration from the vegetable creation, Darwin adds:

"The naked skin on the head of a vulture is generally looked at as a
direct adaptation for wallowing in putridity; and so it may be, or it
may possibly be due to the direct action of putrid matter; but we
should be very cautious in drawing any such inference, when we see that
the skin on the head of the clean-feeding male turkey is likewise
naked. The sutures in the skulls of young mammals have been advanced as
a beautiful adaptation for aiding parturition, and no doubt they
facilitate or may be indispensable for this act; but as sutures occur
in the skulls of young birds and reptiles, which have only to escape
from a broken egg, we may infer that this structure has arisen from the
laws of growth, and has been taken advantage of in the parturition of
the higher animals."

All this, simply taken, is beyond cavil, unless the attempt to explain
scientifically how any designed result is accomplished savors of

In the other place, Darwin is contemplating the patent fact that
"perfection here below" is relative, not absolute--and illustrating
this by the circumstance that European animals, and especially plants,
are now proving to be better adapted for New Zealand than many of the
indigenous ones--that "the correction for the aberration of light is
said, on high authority, not to be quite perfect even in that most
perfect organ, the eye." And then follows the second extract of the
reviewer. But what is the position of the reviewer upon his own
interpretation of these passages? If he insists that green woodpeckers
were specifically created so in order that they might be less liable to
capture, must he not equally hold that the black and pied ones were
specifically made of these colors in order that they might be more
liable to be caught? And would an explanation of the mode in which
those woodpeckers came to be green, however complete, convince him that
the color was undesigned?

As to the other illustration, is the reviewer so complete an optimist
as to insist that the arrangement and the weapon are wholly perfect
(quoad the insect) the normal use of which often causes the animal
fatally to injure or to disembowel itself? Either way it seems to us
that the argument here, as well as the insect, performs hari-kari. The
Examiner adds:

"We should in like manner object to the word favorable, as implying
that some species are placed by the Creator under unfavorable
circumstances, at least under such as might be advantageously

But are not many individuals and some races of men placed by the
Creator "under unfavorable circumstances, at least under such as might
be advantageously modified?" Surely these reviewers must be living in
an ideal world, surrounded by "the faultless monsters which our world
neer saw," in some elysium where imperfection and distress were never
heard of! Such arguments resemble some which we often hear against the
Bible, holding that book responsible as if it originated certain facts
on the shady side of human nature or the apparently darker lines of
Providential dealing, though the facts are facts of common observation
and have to be confronted upon any theory.

The North American reviewer also has a world of his own--just such a
one as an idealizing philosopher would be apt to devise--that is, full
of sharp and absolute distinctions: such, for instance, as the
"absolute invariableness of instinct;" an absolute want of intelligence
in any brute animal; and a complete monopoly of instinct by the brute
animals, so that this "instinct is a great matter" for them only, since
it sharply and perfectly distinguishes this portion of organic Nature
from the vegetable kingdom on the one hand and from man on the other:
most convenient views for argumentative purposes, but we suppose not
borne out in fact.

In their scientific objections the two reviewers take somewhat
different lines; but their philosophical and theological arguments
strikingly coincide. They agree in emphatically asserting that Darwins
hypothesis of the origination of species through variation and natural
selection "repudiates the whole doctrine of final causes," and "all
indication of design or purpose in the organic world . . . is neither
more nor less than a formal denial of any agency beyond that of a blind
chance in the developing or perfecting of the organs or instincts of
created beings. . . . It is in vain that the apologists of this
hypothesis might say that it merely attributes a different mode and
time to the Divine agency--that all the qualities subsequently
appearing in their descendants must have been implanted, and have
remained latent in the original pair." Such a view, the Examiner
declares, "is nowhere stated in this book, and would be, we are sure,
disclaimed by the author."

We should like to be informed of the grounds of this sureness. The
marked rejection of spontaneous generation--the statement of a belief
that all animals have descended from four or five progenitors, and
plants from an equal or lesser number, or, perhaps, if constrained to
it by analogy, "from some one primordial form into which life was first
breathed"--coupled with the expression, "To my mind it accords better
with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that
the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of
the world should have been due to secondary causes," than "that each
species has been independently created"--these and similar expressions
lead us to suppose that the author probably does accept the kind of
view which the Examiner is sure he would disclaim. At least, we
charitably see nothing in his scientific theory to hinder his adoption
of Lord Bacons "Confession of Faith" in this regard-- "That,
notwithstanding God hath rested and ceased from creating, yet,
nevertheless, he doth accomplish and fulfill his divine will in all
things, great and small, singular and general, as fully and exactly by
providence as he could by miracle and new creation, though his working
be not immediate and direct, but by compass; not violating Nature,
which is his own law upon the creature."

However that may be, it is undeniable that Mr. Darwin has purposely
been silent upon the philosophical and theological applications of his
theory.  This reticence, under the circumstances, argues design, and
raises inquiry as to the final cause or reason why. Here, as in higher
instances, confident as we are that there is a final cause, we must not
be overconfident that we can infer the particular or true one. Perhaps
the author is more familiar with natural-historical than with
philosophical inquiries, and, not having decided which particular
theory about efficient cause is best founded, he meanwhile argues the
scientific questions concerned--all that relates to secondary
causes--upon purely scientific grounds, as he must do in any case.
Perhaps, confident, as he evidently is, that his view will finally be
adopted, he may enjoy a sort of satisfaction in hearing it denounced as
sheer atheism by the inconsiderate, and afterward, when it takes its
place with the nebular hypothesis and the like, see this judgment
reversed, as we suppose it would be in such event.

Whatever Mr. Darwins philosophy may be, or whether he has any, is a
matter of no consequence at all, compared with the important questions,
whether a theory to account for the origination and diversification of
animal and vegetable forms through the operation of secondary causes
does or does not exclude design; and whether the establishment by
adequate evidence of Darwin s particular theory of diversification
through variation and natural selection would essentially alter the
present scientific and philosophical grounds for theistic views of
Nature. The unqualified affirmative judgment rendered by the two Boston
reviewers, evidently able and practised reasoners, "must give us
pause." We hesitate to advance our conclusions in opposition to theirs.
But, after full and serious consideration, we are constrained to say
that, in our opinion, the adoption of a derivative hypothesis, and of
Darwins particular hypothesis, if we understand it, would leave the
doctrines of final causes, utility, and special design, just where they
were before. We do not pretend that the subject is not environed with
difficulties. Every view is so environed; and every shifting of the
view is likely, if it removes some difficulties, to bring others into
prominence. But we cannot perceive that Darwins theory brings in any
new kind of scientific difficulty, that is, any with which
philosophical naturalists were not already familiar.

Since natural science deals only with secondary or natural causes, the
scientific terms of a theory of derivation of species--no less than of
a theory of dynamics--must needs be the same to the theist as to the
atheist.  The difference appears only when the inquiry is carried up to
the question of primary cause--a question which belongs to philosophy.
Wherefore, Darwin s reticence about efficient cause does not disturb
us. He considers only the scientific questions. As already stated, we
think that a theistic view of Nature is implied in his book, and we
must charitably refrain from suggesting the contrary until the contrary
is logically deduced from his premises. If, however, he anywhere
maintains that the natural causes through which species are diversified
operate without an ordaining  and directing intelligence, and that the
orderly arrangements and admirable adaptations we see all around us are
fortuitous or blind, undesigned results--that the eye, though it came
to see, was not designed for seeing, nor the hand for handling--then,
we suppose, he is justly chargeable with denying, and very needlessly
denying, all design in organic Nature; otherwise, we suppose not.  Why,
if Darwins well-known passage about the eye[III-10] equivocal though
some of the language be--does not imply ordaining and directing
intelligence, then he refutes his own theory as effectually as any of
his opponents are likely to do. He asks:

"May we not believe that [under variation proceeding long enough,
generation multiplying the better variations times enough, and natural
selection securing the improvements] a living optical instrument might
be thus formed as superior to one of glass as the works of the Creator
are to those of man?"

This must mean one of two things: either that the living instrument was
made and perfected under (which is the same thing as by) an intelligent
First Cause, or that it was not. If it was, then theism is asserted;
and as to the mode of operation, how do we know, and why must we
believe, that, fitting precedent forms being in existence, a living
instrument (so different from a lifeless manufacture) would be
originated and perfected in any other way, or that this is not the
fitting way? If it means that it was not, if he so misuses words that
by the Creator he intends an unintelligent power, undirected force, or
necessity, then he has put his case so as to invite disbelief in it.
For then blind forces have produced not only manifest adaptions of
means to specific ends--which is absurd enough--but better adjusted and
more perfect instruments or machines than intellect (that is, human
intellect) can contrive and human skill execute--which no sane person
will believe.

On the other hand, if Darwin even admits--we will not say adopts--the
theistic view, he may save himself much needless trouble in the
endeavor to account for the absence of every sort of intermediate form.
Those in the line between one species and another supposed to be
derived from it he may be bound to provide; but as to "an infinite
number of other varieties not intermediate, gross, rude, and
purposeless, the unmeaning creations of an unconscious cause," born
only to perish, which a relentless reviewer has imposed upon his
theory--rightly enough upon the atheistic alternative--the theistic
view rids him at once of this "scum of creation." For, as species do
not now vary at all times and places and in all directions, nor produce
crude, vague, imperfect, and useless forms, there is no reason for
supposing that they ever did. Good-for-nothing monstrosities, failures
of purpose rather than purposeless, indeed, sometimes occur; but these
are just as anomalous and unlikely upon Darwins theory as upon any
other. For his particular theory is based, and even over-strictly
insists, upon the most universal of physiological laws, namely, that
successive generations shall differ only slightly, if at all, from
their parents; and this effectively excludes crude and impotent forms.
Wherefore, if we believe that the species were designed, and that
natural propagation was designed, how can we say that the actual
varieties of the species were not equally designed? Have we not similar
grounds for inferring design in the supposed varieties of species, that
we have in the case of the supposed species of a genus? When a

naturalist comes to regard as three closely related species what he
before took to be so many varieties of one species how has he thereby
strengthened our conviction that the three forms are designed to have
the differences which they actually exhibit? Wherefore so long as
gradatory, orderly, and adapted forms in Nature argue design, and at
least while the physical cause of variation is utterly unknown and
mysterious, we should advise Mr. Darwin to assume in the philosophy of
his hypothesis that variation has been led along certain beneficial
lines. Streams flowing over a sloping plain by gravitation (here the
counterpart of natural selection) may have worn their actual channels
as they flowed; yet their particular courses may have been assigned;
and where we see them forming definite and useful lines of irrigation,
after a manner unaccountable on the laws of gravitation and dynamics,
we should believe that the distribution was designed.

To insist, therefore, that the new hypothesis of the derivative origin
of the actual species is incompatible with final causes and design, is
to take a position which we must consider philosophically untenable. We
must also regard it as highly unwise and dangerous, in the present
state and present prospects of physical and physiological science. We
should expect the philosophical atheist or skeptic to take this ground;
also, until better informed, the unlearned and unphilosophical
believer; but we should think that the thoughtful theistic philosopher
would take the other side. Not to do so seems to concede that only
supernatural events can be shown to be designed, which no theist can
admit--seems also to misconceive the scope and meaning of all ordinary
arguments for design in Nature. This misconception is shared both by
the reviewers and the reviewed. At least, Mr. Darwin uses expressions
which imply that the natural forms which surround us, because they have
a history or natural sequence, could have been only generally, but not
particularly designed--a view at once superficial and contradictory;
whereas his true line should be, that his hypothesis concerns the order
and not the cause, the how and not the why of the phenomena, and so
leaves the question of design just where it was before.

To illustrate this from the theists point of view: Transfer the
question for a moment from the origination of species to the
origination of individuals, which occurs, as we say, naturally. Because
natural, that is, "stated, fixed, or settled," is it any the less
designed on that account? We acknowledge that God is our maker--not
merely the originator of the race, but our maker as individuals--and
none the less so because it pleased him to make us in the way of
ordinary generation. If any of us were born unlike our parents and
grandparents, in a slight degree, or in whatever degree, would the case
be altered in this regard?

The whole argument in natural theology proceeds upon the ground that
the inference for a final cause of the structure of the hand and of the
valves in the veins is just as valid now, in individuals produced
through natural generation, as it would have been in the case of the
first man, supernaturally created. Why not, then, just as good even on
the supposition of the descent of men from chimpanzees and gorillas,
since those animals possess these same contrivances? Or, to take a more
supposable case: If the argument from structure to design is convincing
when drawn from a particular animal, say a Newfoundland dog, and is not
weakened by the knowledge that this dog came from similar parents,
would it be at all weakened if, in tracing his genealogy, it were
ascertained that he was a remote descendant of the mastiff or some
other breed, or that both these and other breeds came (as is suspected)
from some wolf? If not, how is the argument for design in the structure
of our particular dog affected by the supposition that his wolfish
progenitor came from a post-tertiary wolf, perhaps less unlike an
existing one than the dog in question is to some other of the numerous
existing races of dogs, and that this post-tertiary came from an
equally or more different tertiary wolf? And if the argument from
structure to design is not invalidated by our present knowledge that

individual dog was developed from a single organic cell, how is it
invalidated by the supposition of an analogous natural descent, through
a long line of connected forms, from such a cell, or from some simple
animal, existing ages before there were any dogs?

Again, suppose we have two well-known and apparently most decidedly
different animals or plants, A and D, both presenting, in their
structure and in their adaptations to the conditions of existence, as
valid and clear evidence of design as any animal or plant ever
presented: suppose we have now discovered two intermediate species, B
and C, which make up a series with equable differences from A to D. Is
the proof of design or final cause in A and D, whatever it amounted to,
at all weakened by the discovery of the intermediate forms? Rather does
not the proof extend to the intermediate species, and go to show that
all four were equally designed? Suppose, now, the number of
intermediate forms to be much increased, and therefore the gradations
to be closer yet--as close as those between the various sorts of dogs,
or races of men, or of horned cattle: would the evidence of design, as
shown in the structure of any of the members of the series, be any
weaker than it was in the case of A and D? Whoever contends that it
would be, should likewise maintain that the origination of individuals
by generation is incompatible with design, or an impossibility in
Nature. We might all have confidently thought the latter, antecedently
to experience of the fact of reproduction. Let our experience teach us

These illustrations make it clear that the evidence of design from
structure and adaptation is furnished complete by the individual animal
or plant itself, and that our knowledge or our ignorance of the history
of its formation or mode of production adds nothing to it and takes
nothing away.  We infer design from certain arrangements and results;
and we have no other way of ascertaining it. Testimony, unless
infallible, cannot prove it, and is out of the question here. Testimony
is not the appropriate proof of design: adaptation to purpose is. Some
arrangements in Nature appear to be contrivances, but may leave us in
doubt. Many others, of which the eye and the hand are notable examples,
compel belief with a force not appreciably short of demonstration.
Clearly to settle that such as these must have been designed goes far
toward proving that other organs and other seemingly less explicit
adaptations in Nature must also have been designed, and clinches our
belief, from manifold considerations, that all Nature is a preconcerted
arrangement, a manifested design. A strange contradiction would it be
to insist that the shape and markings of certain rude pieces of flint,
lately found in drift-deposits, prove design, but that nicer and
thousand-fold more complex adaptations to use in animals and vegetables
do not a fortiori argue design.

We could not affirm that the arguments for design in Nature are
conclusive to all minds. But we may insist, upon grounds already
intimated, that, whatever they were good for before Darwins book
appeared, they are good for now. To our minds the argument from design
always appeared conclusive of the being and continued operation of an
intelligent First Cause, the Ordainer of Nature; and we do not see that
the grounds of such belief would be disturbed or shifted by the
adoption of Darwins hypothesis. We are not blind to the philosophical
difficulties which the thoroughgoing implication of design in Nature
has to encounter, nor is it our vocation to obviate them It suffices us
to know that they are not new nor peculiar difficulties--that, as
Darwin s theory and our reasonings upon it did not raise these
perturbing spirits, they are not bound to lay them. Meanwhile, that the
doctrine of design encounters the very same difficulties in the
material that it does in the moral world is Just what ought to be

So the issue between the skeptic and the theist is only the old one,
long ago argued out--namely, whether organic Nature is a result of
design or of chance. Variation and natural selection open no third
alternative; they concern only the question how the results, whether
fortuitous or designed, may have been brought about. Organic Nature
abounds with unmistakable and irresistible indications of design, and,
being a connected and consistent system, this evidence carries the
implication of design throughout the whole. On the other hand, chance
carries no probabilities with it, can never be developed into a
consistent system, but, when applied to the explanation of orderly or
beneficial results, heaps up improbabilities at every step beyond all
computation. To us, a fortuitous Cosmos is simply inconceivable.  The
alternative is a designed Cosmos.

It is very easy to assume that, because events in Nature are in one
sense accidental, and the operative forces which bring them to pass are
themselves blind and unintelligent (physically considered, all forces
are), therefore they are undirected, or that he who describes these
events as the results of such forces thereby assumes that they are
undirected. This is the assumption of the Boston reviewers, and of Mr.
Agassiz, who insists that the only alternative to the doctrine, that
all organized beings were supernaturally created just as they are, is,
that they have arisen spontaneously through the omnipotence of

As to all this, nothing is easier than to bring out in the conclusion
what you introduce in the premises. If you import atheism into your
conception of variation and natural selection, you can readily exhibit
it in the result.  If you do not put it in, perhaps there need be none
to come out. While the mechanician is considering a steamboat or
locomotive-engine as a material organism, and contemplating the fuel,
water, and steam, the source of the mechanical forces, and how they
operate, he may not have occasion to mention the engineer. But, the
orderly and special results accomplished, the why the movements are in
this or that particular direction, etc., is inexplicable without him.
If Mr. Darwin believes that the events which he supposes to have
occurred and the results we behold were undirected and undesigned, or
if the physicist believes that the natural forces to which he refers
phenomena are uncaused and undirected, no argument is needed to show
that such belief is atheism. But the admission of the phenomena  and of
these natural processes and forces does not necessitate any such
belief, nor even render it one whit less improbable than before.

Surely, too, the accidental element may play its part in Nature without
negativing design in the theists view. He believes that the earths
surface has been very gradually prepared for man and the existing
animal races, that vegetable matter has through a long series of
generations imparted fertility to the soil in order that it may support
its present occupants, that even beds of coal have been stored up for
mans benefit Yet what is more accidental, and more simply the
consequence of physical agencies than the accumulation of vegetable
matter in a peat bog and its transformation into coal? No scientific
person at this day doubts that our solar system is a progressive
development, whether in his conception he begins with molten masses, or
aeriform or nebulous masses, or with a fluid revolving mass of vast
extent, from which the specific existing worlds have been developed one
by one What theist doubts that the actual results of the development in
the inorganic worlds are not merely compatible with design but are in
the truest sense designed re suits? Not Mr. Agassiz, certainly, who
adopts a remarkable illustration of design directly founded on the
nebular hypothesis drawing from the position and times of the
revolution of the world, so originated direct evidence that the
physical world has been ordained in conformity with laws which obtain
also among living beings But the reader of the interesting
exposition[III-12] will notice that the designed result has been
brought to pass through what, speaking after the manner of men, might
be called a chapter of accidents.

A natural corollary of this demonstration would seem to be, that a
material connection between a series of created things--such as the
development of one of them from another,  or of all from a common
stock--is highly compatible with their intellectual connection, namely,
with their being designed and directed by one mind. Yet upon some
ground which is not explained, and which we are unable to conjecture,
Mr. Agassiz concludes to the contrary in the organic kingdoms, and
insists that, because the members of such a series have an intellectual
connection, "they cannot be the result of a material differentiation of
the objects themselves,"[III-13] that is, they cannot have had a
genealogical connection. But is there not as much intellectual
connection between the successive generations of any species as there
is between the several species of a genus, or the several genera of an
order? As the intellectual connection here is realized through the
material connection, why may it not be so in the case of species and
genera? On all sides, therefore, the implication seems to be quite the
other way.

Returning to the accidental element, it is evident that the strongest
point against the compatibility of Darwins hypothesis with design in
Nature is made when natural selection is referred to as picking out
those variations which are improvements from a vast number which are
not improvements, but perhaps the contrary, and therefore useless or
purposeless, and born to perish. But even here the difficulty is not
peculiar; for Nature abounds with analogous instances. Some of our race
are useless, or worse, as regards the improvement of mankind; yet the
race may be designed to improve, and may be actually improving. Or, to
avoid the complication with free agency--the whole animate life of a
country depends absolutely upon the vegetation, the vegetation upon the
rain. The moisture is furnished by the ocean, is raised by the suns
heat from the oceans surface, and is wafted inland by the winds. But
what multitudes of raindrops fall back into the ocean--are as much
without a final cause as the incipient varieties which come to
nothing!  Does it therefore follow that the rains which are bestowed
upon the soil with such rule and average regularity were not designed
to support vegetable and animal life? Consider, likewise, the vast
proportion of seeds and pollen, of ova and young--a thousand or more to
one--which come to nothing, and are therefore purposeless in the same
sense, and only in the same sense, as are Darwins unimproved and unused
slight variations. The world is full of such cases; and these must
answer the argument--for we cannot, except by thus showing that it
proves too much.

Finally, it is worth noticing that, though natural selection is
scientifically explicable, variation is not. Thus far the cause of
variation, or the reason why the offspring is sometimes unlike the
parents, is just as mysterious as the reason why it is generally like
the parents. It is now as inexplicable as any other origination; and,
if ever explained, the explanation will only carry up the sequence of
secondary causes one step farther, and bring us in face of a somewhat
different problem, but which will have the same element of mystery that
the problem of variation has now.  Circumstances may preserve or may
destroy the variations man may use or direct them but selection whether
artificial or natural no more originates them than man originates the
power which turns a wheel when he dams a stream and lets the water fall
upon it The origination of this power is a question about efficient
cause. The tendency of science in respect to this obviously is not
toward the omnipotence of matter, as some suppose, but to ward the
omnipotence of spirit.

So the real question we come to is as to the way in which we are to
conceive intelligent and efficient cause to be exerted, and upon what
exerted. Are we bound to suppose efficient cause in all cases exerted
upon nothing to evoke something into existence--and this thousands of
times repeated, when a slight change in the details would make all the
difference between successive species? Why may not the new species, or
some of them, be designed diversifications of the old?

There are, perhaps, only three views of efficient cause which may claim
to be both philosophical and theistic:

1.  The view of its exertion at the beginning of time, endowing matter
and created things with forces which do the work and produce the

2.  This same view, with the theory of insulated interpositions, or
occasional direct action, engrafted upon it--the view that events and
operations in general go on in virtue simply of forces communicated at
the first, but that now and then, and only now and then, the Deity puts
his hand directly to the work.

3.  The theory of the immediate, orderly, and constant, however
infinitely diversified, action of the intelligent efficient Cause.

It must be allowed that, while the third is preeminently the Christian
view, all three are philosophically compatible with design in Nature.
The second is probably the popular conception. Perhaps most thoughtful
people oscillate from the middle view toward the first or the
third--adopting the first on some occasions, the third on others. Those
philosophers who like and expect to settle all mooted questions will
take one or the other extreme. The Examiner inclines toward, the North
American reviewer fully adopts, the third view, to the logical extent
of maintaining that "the origin of an individual, as well as the origin
of a species or a genus, can be explained only by the direct action of
an intelligent creative cause." To silence his critics, this is the
line for Mr. Darwin to take; for it at once and completely relieves his
scientific theory from every theological objection which his reviewers
have urged against it.

At present we suspect that our author prefers the first conception,
though he might contend that his hypothesis is compatible with either
of the three. That it is also compatible with an atheistic or
pantheistic conception of the universe, is an objection which, being
shared by all physical, and some ethical or moral science, cannot
specially be urged against Darwins system. As he rejects spontaneous
generation, and admits of intervention at the beginning of organic
life, and probably in more than one instance, he is not wholly excluded
from adopting the middle view, although the interventions he would
allow are few and far back. Yet one interposition admits the principle
as well as more. Interposition presupposes particular necessity or
reason for it, and raises the question, when and how often it may have
been necessary. It might be the natural supposition, if we had only one
set of species to account for, or if the successive inhabitants of the
earth had no other connections or resemblances than those which
adaptation to similar conditions, which final causes in the narrower
sense, might explain. But if this explanation of organic Nature
requires one to "believe that, at innumerable periods in the earths
history, certain elemental atoms have been commanded suddenly to flash
into living tissues," and this when the results are seen to be strictly
connected and systematic, we cannot wonder that such interventions
should at length be considered, not as interpositions or interferences,
but rather--to use the reviewers own language--as "exertions so
frequent and beneficent that we come to regard them as the ordinary
action of Him who laid the foundation of the earth, and without whom
not a sparrow falleth to the ground."[III-14] What does the difference
between Mr. Darwin and his reviewer now amount to? If we say that
according to one view the origination of species is natural, according
to the other miraculous, Mr. Darwin agrees that "what is natural as
much requires and presupposes an intelligent mind to render it so--
that is, to effect it continually or at stated times--as what is
supernatural does to effect it for once."[III-15] He merely inquires
into the form of the miracle, may remind us that all recorded miracles
(except the primal creation of matter) were transformations or actions
in and upon natural things, and will ask how many times and how
frequently may the origination of successive species be repeated before
the supernatural merges in the natural.

In short, Darwin maintains that the origination of a species, no less
than that of an individual, is natural; the reviewer, that the natural
origination of an individual, no less than the origination of a
species, requires and presupposes Divine power. A fortiori, then, the
origination of a variety requires and presupposes Divine power. And so
between the scientific hypothesis of the one and the philosophical
conception of the other no contrariety remains. And so, concludes the
North American reviewer, "a proper view of the nature of causation
places the vital doctrine of the being and the providence of a God on
ground that can never be shaken."[III-16] A worthy conclusion, and a
sufficient answer to the denunciations and arguments of the rest of the
article, so far as philosophy and natural theology are concerned. If a
writer must needs use his own favorite dogma as a weapon with which to
give coup de grace to a pernicious theory, he should be careful to
seize his edge-tool by the handle, and not by the blade.

We can barely glance at a subsidiary philosophical objection of the
North American reviewer, which the Examiner also raises, though less
explicitly.  Like all geologists, Mr. Darwin draws upon time in the
most unlimited manner. He is not peculiar in this regard. Mr. Agassiz
tells us that the conviction is "now universal, among well-informed
naturalists, that this globe has been in existence for innumerable
ages, and that the length of time elapsed since it first became
inhabited cannot be counted in years;" Pictet, that the imagination
refuses to calculate the immense number of years and of ages during
which the faunas of thirty or more epochs have succeeded one another,
and developed their long succession of generations.  Now, the reviewer
declares that such indefinite succession of ages is "virtually
infinite," "lacks no characteristic of eternity except its name," at
least, that "the difference between such a conception and that of the
strictly infinite, if any, is not appreciable." But infinity belongs to
metaphysics. Therefore, he concludes, Darwin supports his theory, not
by scientific but by metaphysical evidence; his theory is "essentially
and completely metaphysical in character, resting altogether upon that
idea of the infinite which the human mind can neither put aside nor
comprehend."[III-17] And so a theory which will be generally regarded
as much too physical is transferred by a single syllogism to

Well, physical geology must go with it: for, even on the soberest view,
it demands an indefinitely long time antecedent to the introduction of
organic life upon our earth. A fortiori is physical astronomy a branch
of metaphysics, demanding, as it does, still larger "instalments of
infinity," as the reviewer calls them, both as to time and number.
Moreover, far the greater part of physical inquiries now relate to
molecular actions, which, a distinguished natural philosopher informs
us, "we have to regard as the results of an infinite number of in
finitely small material particles, acting on each other at infinitely
small distances"--a triad of infinities--and so physics becomes the
most metaphysical of sciences.  Verily, if this style of reasoning is
to prevail--

"Thinking is but an idle waste of thought,
	  And naught is everything, and everything is naught."

The leading objection of Mr. Agassiz is likewise of a philosophical
character. It is, that species exist only "as categories of
thought"--that, having no material existence, they can have had no
material variation, and no material community of origin. Here the
predication is of species in the subjective sense, the inference in the
objective sense. Reduced to plain terms, the argument seems to be:
Species are ideas; therefore the objects from which the idea is derived
cannot vary or blend, and cannot have had a genealogical connection.

The common view of species is, that, although they are generalizations,
yet they have a direct objective ground in Nature, which genera,
orders, etc., have not. According to the succinct definition of
Jussieu--and that of Linnaeus is identical in meaning--a species is the
perennial succession of similar individuals in continued generations.
The species is the chain of which the individuals are the links. The
sum of the genealogically-connected similar individuals constitutes the
species, which thus has an actuality and ground of distinction not
shared by genera and other groups which were not supposed to be
genealogically connected. How a derivative hypothesis would modify this
view, in assigning to species only a temporary fixity, is obvious. Yet,
if naturalists adopt that hypothesis, they will still retain Jussieus
definition, which leaves untouched the question as to how and when the
"perennial successions" were established. The practical question will
only be, How much difference between two sets of individuals entitles
them to rank under distinct species? and that is the practical question
now, on whatever theory. The theoretical question is--as stated at the
beginning of this article--whether these specific lines were always as
distinct as now.

Mr. Agassiz has "lost no opportunity of urging the idea that, while
species have no material existence, they yet exist as categories of
thought in the same way [and only in the same way] as genera, families,
orders, classes," etc. He

"has taken the ground that all the natural divisions in the animal
kingdom are primarily distinct, founded upon different categories of
characters, and that all exist in the same way, that is, as categories
of thought, embodied in individual living forms. I have attempted to
show that branches in the animal kingdom are founded upon different
plans of structure, and for that very reason have embraced from the
beginning representatives between which there could be no community of
origin; that classes are founded upon different modes of execution of
these plans, and therefore they also embrace representatives which
could have no community of origin; that orders represent the different
degrees of complication in the mode of execution of each class, and
therefore embrace representatives which could not have a community of
origin any more than the members of different classes or branches; that
families are founded upon different patterns of form, and embrace,
representatives equally independent in their origin; that genera are
founded upon ultimate peculiarities of structure, embracing
representatives which, from the very nature of their peculiarities,
could have no community of origin; and that, finally, species are based
upon relations--and proportions that exclude, as much as all the
preceding distinctions, the idea of a common descent.

"As the community of characters among the beings belonging to these
different categories arises from the intellectual connection which
shows them to be categories of thought, they cannot be the result of a

material differentiation of the objects themselves. The argument on
which these views are founded may be summed up in the following few
words:  Species, genera, families, etc., exist as thoughts, individuals
as facts."[III-18]

An ingenious dilemma caps the argument:

"It seems to me that there is much confusion of ideas in the general
statement of the variability of species so often repeated lately. If
species do not exist at all, as the supporters of the transmutation
theory maintain, how can they vary? And if individuals alone exist, how
can the differences which may be observed among them prove the
variability of species?"

Now, we imagine that Mr. Darwin need not be dangerously gored by either
horn of this curious dilemma. Although we ourselves cherish
old-fashioned prejudices in favor of the probable permanence, and
therefore of a more stable objective ground of species, yet we
agree--and Mr. Darwin will agree fully with Mr. Agassiz--that species,
and he will add varieties, "exist as categories of thought," that is,
as cognizable distinctions--which is all that we can make of the phrase
here, whatever it may mean in the Aristotelian metaphysics. Admitting
that species are only categories of thought, and not facts or things,
how does this prevent the individuals, which are material things, from
having varied in the course of time, so as to exemplify the present
almost innumerable categories of thought, or embodiments of Divine
thought in material forms, or--viewed on the human side--in forms
marked with such orderly and graduated resemblances and differences as
to suggest to our minds the idea of species, genera, orders, etc., and
to our reason the inference of a Divine Original? We have no clear idea
how Mr. Agassiz intends to answer this question, in saying that
branches are founded upon different plans of structure, classes upon
different mode of execution of these plans, orders on different degrees
of complication in the mode of execution, families upon different
patterns of form, genera upon ultimate peculiarities of structure, and
species upon relations and proportions. That is, we do not perceive how
these several "categories of thought" exclude the possibility or the
probability that the individuals which manifest or suggest the thoughts
had an ultimate community of origin.

Moreover, Mr. Darwin might insinuate that the particular philosophy of
classification upon which this whole argument reposes is as purely
hypothetical and as little accepted as is his own doctrine. If both are
pure hypotheses, it is hardly fair or satisfactory to extinguish the
one by the other. If there is no real contradiction between them,
nothing is gained by the attempt.

As to the dilemma propounded, suppose we try it upon that category of
thought which we call chair. This is a genus, comprising a common chair
(Sella vulgaris), arm or easy chair (S. cathedra), the rocking-chair
(S.  oscillans)--widely distributed in the United States--and some
others, each of which has sported, as the gardeners say, into many
varieties. But now, as the genus and the species have no material
existence, how can they vary? If only individual chairs exist, how can
the differences which may be observed among them prove the variability
of the species? To which we reply by asking, Which does the question
refer to, the category of thought, or the individual embodiment? If the
former, then we would remark that our categories of thought vary from
time to time in the readiest manner. And, although the Divine thoughts
are eternal, yet they are manifested to us in time and succession, and
by their manifestation only can we know them, how imperfectly! Allowing
that what has no material existence can have had no material connection
or variation, we should yet infer that what has intellectual existence
and connection might have intellectual variation; and, turning to the
individuals, which represent the species, we do not see how all this
shows that they may not vary. Observation shows us that they do.
Wherefore, taught by fact that successive individuals do vary, we
safely infer that the idea must have varied, and that this variation of
the individual representatives proves the variability of the species,
whether objectively or subjectively regarded.

Each species or sort of chair, as we have said, has its varieties, and
one species shades off by gradations into another. And--note it
well--these numerous and successively slight variations and gradations,
far from suggesting an accidental origin to chairs and to their forms,
are very proofs of design.

Again, edifice is a generic category of thought. Egyptian, Grecian,
Byzantine, and Gothic buildings are well-marked species, of which each
individual building of the sort is a material embodiment. Now, the
question is, whether these categories or ideas may not have been
evolved, one from another in succession, or from some primal, less
specialized, edificial category. What better evidence for such
hypothesis could we have than the variations and grades which connect
these species with each other? We might extend the parallel, and get
some good illustrations of natural selection from the history of
architecture, and the origin of the different styles under different
climates and conditions. Two considerations may qualify or limit the
comparison. One, that houses do not propagate, so as to produce
continuing lines of each sort and variety; but this is of small moment
on Agassizs view, he holding that genealogical connection is not of the
essence of a species at all. The other, that the formation and
development of the ideas upon which human works proceed are gradual;
or, as the same great naturalist well states it, "while human thought
is consecutive, Divine thought is simultaneous." But we have no right
to affirm this of Divine action.

We must close here. We meant to review some of the more general
scientific objections which we thought not altogether tenable. But,
after all, we are not so anxious just now to know whether the new
theory is well founded on facts, as whether it would be harmless if it
were. Besides, we feel quite unable to answer some of these objections,
and it is pleasanter to take up those which one thinks he can.

Among the unanswerable, perhaps the weightiest of the objections, is
that of the absence, in geological deposits, of vestiges of the
intermediate forms which the theory requires to have existed. Here all
that Mr. Darwin can do is to insist upon the extreme imperfection of
the geological record and the uncertainty of negative evidence. But,
withal, he allows the force of the objection almost as much as his
opponents urge it--so much so, indeed, that two of his English critics
turn the concession unfairly upon him, and charge him with actually
basing his hypothesis upon these and similar difficulties--as if he
held it because of the difficulties, and not in spite of them; a
handsome return for his candor!

As to this imperfection of the geological record, perhaps we should get
a fair and intelligible illustration of it by imagining the existing
animals and plants of New England, with all their remains and products
since the arrival of the Mayflower, to be annihilated; and that, in the
coming time, the geologists of a new colony, dropped by the New Zealand
fleet on its way to explore the ruins of London, undertake, after fifty
years of examination, to reconstruct in a catalogue the flora and fauna
of our day, that is, from the close of the glacial period to the
present time. With all the advantages of a surface exploration, what a
beggarly account it would be! How many of the land animals and plants
which are enumerated in the Massachusetts official reports would it be
likely to contain?

Another unanswerable question asked by the Boston reviewers is, Why,
when structure and instinct or habit vary-- as they must have varied,
on Darwins hypothesis--they vary together and harmoniously, instead of
vaguely? We cannot tell, because we cannot tell why either varies at
all. Yet, as they both do vary in successive generations--as is seen
under domestication--and are correlated, we can only adduce the fact.
Darwin may be precluded from our answer, but we may say that they vary
together because designed to do so. A reviewer says that the chance of
their varying together is inconceivably small; yet, if they do not, the
variant individuals must all perish. Then it is well that it is not
left to chance. To refer to a parallel case: before we were born,
nourishment and the equivalent to respiration took place in a certain
way. But the moment we were ushered into this breathing world, our
actions promptly conformed, both as to respiration and nourishment, to
the before unused structure and to the new surroundings.

"Now," says the Examiner, "suppose, for instance, the gills of an
aquatic animal converted into lungs, while instinct still compelled a
continuance under water, would not drowning ensue?" No doubt.
But--simply contemplating the facts, instead of theorizing--we notice
that young frogs do not keep their heads under water after ceasing to
be tadpoles. The instinct promptly changes with the structure, without
supernatural interposition--just as Darwin would have it, if the
development of a variety or incipient species, though rare, were as
natural as a metamorphosis.

"Or if a quadruped, not yet furnished with wings, were suddenly
inspired with the instinct of a bird, and precipitated itself from a
cliff, would not the descent be hazardously rapid?" Doubtless the
animal would be no better supported than the objection. But Darwin
makes very little indeed of voluntary efforts as a cause of change, and
even poor Lamarck need not be caricatured. He never supposed that an
elephant would take such a notion into his wise head, or that a
squirrel would begin with other than short and easy leaps; yet might
not the length of the leap be increased by practice?

The North American reviewers position, that the higher brute animals
have comparatively little instinct and no intelligence, is a heavy blow
and great discouragement to dogs, horses, elephants, and monkeys. Thus
stripped of their all, and left to shift for themselves as they may in
this hard world, their pursuit and seeming attainment of knowledge
under such peculiar difficulties are interesting to contemplate.
However, we are not so sure as is the critic that instinct regularly
increases downward and decreases upward in the scale of being. Now that
the case of the bee is reduced to moderate proportions,[III-19] we know
of nothing in instinct surpassing that of an animal so high as a bird,
the talegal, the male of which plumes himself upon making a hot-bed in
which to batch his partners eggs--which he tends and regulates the beat
of about as carefully and skillfully as the unplumed biped does an

As to the real intelligence of the higher brutes, it has been ably
defended by a far more competent observer, Mr. Agassiz, to whose
conclusions we yield a general assent, although we cannot quite place
the best of dogs "in that respect upon a level with a considerable
proportion of poor humanity," nor indulge the hope, or indeed the
desire, of a renewed acquaintance with the whole animal kingdom in a
future life.

The assertion that acquired habitudes or instincts, and acquired
structures, are not heritable, any breeder or good observer can
     That "the human mind has become what it is out of a developed
instinct," is a statement which Mr. Darwin nowhere makes, and, we
presume, would not accept. That he would have us believe that
individual animals acquire their  instincts gradually,[III-21] is a
statement which must have been penned in inadvertence both of the very
definition of instinct, and of everything we know of in Mr. Darwins

It has been attempted to destroy the very foundation of Darwins
hypothesis by denying that there are any wild varieties, to speak of,
for natural selection to operate upon. We cannot gravely sit down to
prove that wild varieties abound. We should think it just as necessary
to prove that snow falls in winter. That variation among plants cannot
be largely due to hybridism, and that their variation in Nature is not
essentially different from much that occurs in domestication, and, in
the long-run, probably hardly less in amount, we could show if our
space permitted.

As to the sterility of hybrids, that can no longer be insisted upon as
absolutely true, nor be practically used as a test between species and
varieties, unless we allow that hares and rabbits are of one species.
That such sterility, whether total or partial, subserves a purpose in
keeping species apart, and was so designed, we do not doubt. But the
critics fail to perceive that this sterility proves nothing whatever
against the derivative origin of the actual species; for it may as well
have been intended to keep separate those forms which have reached a
certain amount of divergence, as those which were always thus

The argument for the permanence of species, drawn from the identity
with those now living of cats, birds, and other animals preserved in
Egyptian catacombs, was good enough as used by Cuvier against
St.-Hilaire, that is, against the supposition that time brings about a
gradual alteration of whole species; but it goes for little against
Darwin, unless it be proved that species never vary, or that the
perpetuation of a variety necessitates the extinction of the parent
breed. For Darwin clearly maintains--what the facts warrant--that the
mass of a species remains fixed so long as it exists at all, though it
may set off a variety now and then. The variety may finally supersede
the parent form, or it may coexist with it; yet it does not in the
least hinder the unvaried stock from continuing true to the breed,
unless it crosses with it. The common law of inheritance may be
expected to keep both the original and the variety mainly true as long
as they last, and none the less so because they have given rise to
occasional varieties. The tailless Manx cats, like the curtailed fox in
the fable, have not induced the normal breeds to dispense with their
tails, nor have the Dorkings (apparently known to Pliny) affected the
permanence of the common sort of fowl.

As to the objection that the lower forms of life ought, on Darwins
theory, to have been long ago improved out of existence, and replaced
by higher forms, the objectors forget what a vacuum that would leave
below, and what a vast field there is to which a simple organization is
best adapted, and where an advance would be no improvement, but the
contrary. To accumulate the greatest amount of being upon a given
space, and to provide as much enjoyment of life as can be under the
conditions, is what Nature seems to aim at; and this is effected by

Finally, we advise nobody to accept Darwins or any other derivative
theory as true. The time has not come for that, and perhaps never will.
We also advise against a similar credulity on the other side, in a
blind faith that species--that the manifold sorts and forms of existing
animals and vegetables--"have no secondary cause." The contrary is
already not unlikely, and we suppose will hereafter become more and
more probable. But we are confident that, if a derivative hypothesis
ever is established, it will be so on a solid theistic ground.

Meanwhile an inevitable and legitimate hypothesis is on trial--an
hypothesis thus far not untenable--a trial just now very useful to
science, and, we conclude, not harmful to religion, unless injudicious
assailants temporarily make it so.

One good effect is already manifest; its enabling the advocates of the
hypothesis of a multiplicity of human species to perceive the double
insecurity of their ground. When the races of men are admitted to be of
one species, the corollary, that they are of one origin, may be
expected to follow. Those who allow them to be of one species must
admit an actual diversification into strongly-marked and persistent
varieties, and so admit the basis of fact upon which the Darwinian
hypothesis is built; while those, on the other hand, who recognize
several or numerous human species, will hardly be able to maintain that
such species were primordial and supernatural in the ordinary sense of
the word.

The English mind is prone to positivism and kindred forms of
materialistic philosophy, and we must expect the derivative theory to
be taken up in that interest. We have no predilection for that school,
but the contrary. If we had, we might have looked complacently upon a
line of criticism which would indirectly, but effectively, play into
the hands of positivists and materialistic atheists generally. The
wiser and stronger ground to take is, that the derivative hypothesis
leaves the argument for design, and therefore for a designer, as valid
as it ever was; that to do any work by an instrument must require, and
therefore presuppose, the exertion rather of more than of less power
than to do it directly; that whoever  would be a consistent theist
should believe that Design in the natural world is coextensive with
Providence, and hold as firmly to the one as he does to the other, in
spite of the wholly similar and apparently insuperable difficulties
which the mind encounters whenever it endeavors to develop the idea
into a system, either in the material and organic, or in the moral
world. It is enough, in the way of obviating objections, to show that
the philosophical difficulties of the one are the same, and only the
same, as of the other.





THE first act of a new-born child is to draw a deep breath. In fact, it
will never draw a deeper, inasmuch as the passages and chambers of the
lungs, once distended with air, do not empty themselves again; it is
only a fraction of their contents which passes in and out with the
flow and the ebb of the respiratory tide. Mechanically, this act of
drawing breath, or inspiration, is of the same nature as that by which
the handles of a bellows are separated, in order to fill the bellows
with air; and, in like manner, it involves that expenditure of energy
which we call exertion, or work, or labour. It is, therefore, no mere
metaphor to say that man is destined to a life of toil: the work of
respiration which began with his first breath ends only with his last;
nor does one born in the purple get off with a lighter task than the
child who first sees light under a hedge.

[148] How is it that the new-born infant is enabled to perform this
first instalment of the sentence of life-long labour which no man may
escape?  Whatever else a child may be, in respect of this particular
question, it is a complicated piece of mechanism, built up out of
materials supplied by its mother; and in the course of such
building-up, provided with a set of motors--the muscles. Each of these
muscles contains a stock of substance capable of yielding energy under
certain conditions, one of which is a change of state in the nerve
fibres connected with it. The powder in a loaded gun is such another
stock of substance capable of yielding energy in consequence of a
change of state in the mechanism of the lock, which intervenes between
the finger of the man who pulls the trigger and the cartridge. If that
change is brought about, the potential energy of the powder passes
suddenly into actual energy, and does the work of propelling the
bullet. The powder, therefore, may be appropriately called work-stuff,
not only because it is stuff which is easily made to yield work in the
physical sense, but because a good deal of work in the economical sense
has contributed to its production. Labour was necessary to collect,
transport, and purify the raw sulphur and saltpetre; to cut wood and
convert it into powdered charcoal; to mix these ingredients in the
right proportions; to give the mixture the proper grain, and so on.
The powder [149] once formed part of the stock, or capital, of a
powder-maker: and it is not only certain natural bodies which are
collected and stored in the gunpowder, but the labour bestowed on the
operations mentioned may be figuratively said to be incorporated in

In principle, the work-stuff stored in the muscles of the new-born
child is comparable to that stored in the gun-barrel. The infant is
launched into altogether new surroundings; and these operate through
the mechanism of the nervous machinery, with the result that the
potential energy of some of the work-stuff in the muscles which bring
about inspiration is suddenly converted into actual energy; and this,
operating through the mechanism of the respiratory apparatus, gives
rise to an act of inspiration. As the bullet is propelled by the
"going off" of the powder, as it might be said that the ribs are
raised and the midriff depressed by the "going off" of certain
portions of muscular work-stuff. This work-stuff is part of a stock or
capital of that commodity stored up in the child's organism before
birth, at the expense of the mother; and the mother has made good her
expenditure by drawing upon the capital of food-stuffs which furnished
her daily maintenance.

Under these circumstances, it does not appear to me to be open to doubt
that the primary act of outward labour in the series which necessarily
accompany [150] the life of man is dependent upon the pre-existence of
a stock of material which is not only of use to him, but which is
disposed in such a manner as to be utilisable with facility. And I
further imagine that the propriety of the application of the term
'capital' to this stock of useful substance cannot be justly called in
question; inasmuch as it is easy to prove that the essential
constituents of the work-stuff accumulated in the child's muscles have
merely been transferred from the store of food-stuffs, which everybody
admits to be capital, by means of the maternal organism to that of the
child, in which they are again deposited to await use. Every
subsequent act of labour, in like manner, involves an equivalent
consumption of the child's store of work-stuff--its vital capital; and
one of the main objects of the process of breathing is to get rid of
some of the effects of that consumption. It follows, then, that, even
if no other than the respiratory work were going on in the organism,
the capital of work-stuff, which the child brought with it into the
world, must sooner or later be used up, and the movements of breathing
must come to an end; just as the see-saw of the piston of a
steam-engine stops when the coal in the fireplace has burnt away.

Milk, however, is a stock of materials which essentially consists of
savings from the food-stuffs supplied to the mother. And these savings
are [151] in such a physical and chemical condition that the organism
of the child can easily convert them into work-stuff. That is to say,
by borrowing directly from the vital capital of the mother, indirectly
from the store in the natural bodies accessible to her, it can make
good the loss of its own. The operation of borrowing, however,
involves further work; that is, the labour of sucking, which is a
mechanical operation of much the same nature as breathing. The child
thus pays for the capital it borrows in labour; but as the value in
work-stuff of the milk obtained is very far greater than the value of
that labour, estimated by the consumption of work-stuff it involves,
the operation yields a large profit to the infant. The overplus of
food-stuff suffices to increase the child's capital of work-stuff; and
to supply not only the materials for the enlargement of the "buildings
and machinery" which is expressed by the child's growth, but also the
energy required to put all these materials together, and to carry them
to their proper places. Thus, throughout the years of infancy, and so
long thereafter as the youth or man is not thrown upon his own
resources, he lives by consuming the vital capital provided by others.
To use a terminology which is more common than appropriate, whatever
work he performs (and he does a good deal, if only in mere locomotion)
is unproductive.

[152] Let us now suppose the child come to man's estate in the
condition of a wandering savage, dependent for his food upon what he
can pick up or catch, after the fashion of the Australian aborigines.
It is plain that the place of mother, as the supplier of vital
capital, is now taken by the fruits, seeds, and roots of plants and by
various kinds of animals. It is they alone which contain stocks of
those substances which can be converted within the man's organism into
work-stuff; and of the other matters, except air and water, required
to supply the constant consumption of his capital and to keep his
organic machinery going. In no way does the savage contribute to the
production of these substances. Whatever labour he bestows upon such
vegetable and animal bodies, on the contrary, is devoted to their
destruction; and it is a mere matter of accident whether a little
labour yields him a great deal--as in the case, for example, of a
stranded whale; or whether much labour yields next to nothing--as in
times of long-continued drought. The savage, like the child, borrows
the capital he needs, and, at any rate, intentionally, does nothing
towards repayment; it would plainly be an improper use of the word
"produce" to say that his labour in hunting for the roots, or the
fruits, or the eggs, or the grubs and snakes, which he finds and eats,
"pro duces" or contributes to "produce" them. The same thing is true
of more advanced tribes, who [153] are still merely hunters, such as
the Esquimaux. They may expend more labour and skill; but it is spent
in destruction.

When we pass from these to men who lead a purely pastoral life, like
the South American Gauchos, or some Asiatic nomads, there is an
important change. Let us suppose the owner of a flock of sheep to live
on the milk, cheese, and flesh which they yield. It is obvious that
the flock stands to him in the economic relation of the mother to the
child, inasmuch as it supplies him with food-stuffs competent to make
good the daily and hourly losses of his capital of workstuff. If we
imagine our sheep-owner to have access to extensive pastures and to be
troubled neither by predacious animals nor by rival shepherds, the
performance of his pastoral functions will hardly involve the
expenditure of any more labour than is needful to provide him with the
exercise required to maintain health. And this is true, even if we
take into account the trouble originally devoted to the domestication
of the sheep. It surely would be a most singular pretension for the
shepherd to talk of the flock as the "produce" of his labour in any
but a very limited sense. In truth, his labour would have been a mere
accessory of production of very little consequence. Under the
circumstances supposed, a ram and some ewes, left to themselves for a
few years, would probably generate as large a flock; [154] and the
superadded labour of the shepherd would have little more effect upon
their production than upon that of the blackberries on the bushes
about the pastures. For the most part the increment would be
thoroughly unearned; and, if it is a rule of absolute political ethics
that owners have no claim upon "betterment" brought about
independently of their own labour, then the shepherd would have no
claim to at least nine-tenths of the increase of the flock.

But if the shepherd has no real claim to the title of "producer," who
has?  Are the rams and ewes the true "producers"? Certainly their
title is better if, borrowing from the old terminology of chemistry,
they only claim to be regarded as the "proximate principles" of
production. And yet, if strict justice is to be dispensed, even they
are to be regarded rather as collectors and distributors than as
"producers." For all that they really do is to collect, slightly
modify, and render easily accessible, the vital capital which already
exists in the green herbs on which they feed, but in such a form as to
be practically out of the reach of man.

Thus, from an economic point of view, the sheep are more comparable to
confectioners than to producers. The usefulness of biscuit lies in the
raw flour of which it is made; but raw flour does not answer as an
article of human diet, and biscuit does. So the usefulness of mutton
lies mainly in certain chemical compounds which it [155] contains: the
sheep gets them out of grass; we cannot live on grass, but we can on

Now, herbaceous and all other green plants stand alone among
terrestrial natural bodies, in so far as, under the influence of
light, they possess the power to build up, out of the carbonic acid
gas in the atmosphere, water and certain nitrogenous and mineral
salts, those substances which in the animal organism are utilised as
work-stuff. They are the chief and, for practical purposes, the sole
producers of that vital capital which we have seen to be the necessary
antecedent of every act of labour. Every green plant is a laboratory
in which, so long as the sun shines upon it, materials furnished by
the mineral world, gases, water, saline compounds, are worked up into
those foodstuffs without which animal life cannot be carried on. And
since, up to the present time, synthetic chemistry has not advanced so
far as to achieve this feat, the green plant may be said to be the
only living worker whose labour directly results in the production of
that vital capital which is the necessary antecedent of human labour.*
Nor is this statement a paradox involving perpetual motion, because
the energy by which the plant does its work is supplied by the
sun--the primordial capitalist so far as we are concerned. But [156]
it cannot be too strongly impressed upon the mind that sunshine, air,
water, the best soil that is to be found on the surface of the earth,
might co-exist; yet without plants, there is no known agency competent
to generate the so-called "protein compounds," by which alone animal
life can be permanently supported. And not only are plants thus
essential; but, in respect of particular kinds of animals, they must
be plants of a particular nature. If there were no terrestrial green
plants but, say, cypresses and mosses, pastoral and agricultural life
would be alike impossible; indeed, it is difficult to imagine the
possibility of the existence of any large animal, as the labour
required to get at a sufficiency of the store of food-stuffs,
contained in such plants as these, could hardly extract from them an
equivalent for the waste involved in that expenditure of work.

    * It remains to be seen whether the plants which have no
    chlorophyll, and flourish in darkness, such as the Fungi, can
    live upon purely mineral food.

We are compact of dust and air; from that we set out, and to that
complexion must we come at last. The plant either directly, or by some
animal intermediary, lends us the capital which enables us to carry on
the business of life, as we flit through the upper world, from the one
term of our journey to the other. Popularly, no doubt, it is
permissible to speak of the soil as a "producer," just as we may talk
of the daily movement of the sun.  But, as I have elsewhere remarked,
propositions which are to bear any deductive strain that may be put
upon them must run the risk of [157] seeming pedantic, rather than
that of being inaccurate. And the statement that land, in the sense of
cultivable soil, is a producer, or even one of the essentials of
economic production, is anything but accurate. The process of
water-culture, in which a plant is not "planted" in any soil, but is
merely supported in water containing in solution the mineral
ingredients essential to that plant, is now thoroughly understood;
and, if it were worth while, a crop yielding abundant food-stuffs
could be raised on an acre of fresh water, no less than on an acre of
dry land. In the Arctic regions, again, land has nothing to do with
"production" in the social economy of the Esquimaux, who live on seals
and other marine animals; and might, like Proteus, shepherd the flocks
of Poseidon if they had a mind for pastoral life. But the seals and
the bears are dependent on other inhabitants of the sea, until,
somewhere in the series, we come to the minute green plants which
float in the ocean, and are the real "producers" by which the whole of
its vast animal population is supported.* Thus, when we find set forth
as an "absolute" [158] truth the statement that the essential factors
in economic production are land, capital and labour--when this is
offered as an axiom whence all sorts of other important truths may be
deduced--it is needful to remember that the assertion is true only
with a qualification. Undoubtedly "vital capital" is essential; for,
as we have seen, no human work can be done unless it exists, not even
that internal work of the body which is necessary to passive life.
But, with respect to labour (that is, human labour) I hope to have
left no doubt on the reader's mind that, in regard to production, the
importance of human labour may be so small as to be almost a vanishing
quantity. Moreover, it is certain that there is no approximation to a
fixed ratio between the expenditure of labour and the production of
that vital capital which is the foundation of all wealth. For, suppose
that we introduce into our suppositious pastoral paradise beasts of
prey and rival shepherds, the amount of labour thrown upon the
sheep-owner may increase almost indefinitely, and its importance as a
condition of production may be enormously augmented, while the
quantity of produce remains stationary. Compare for a moment the
unimportance of the shepherd's labour, under the circumstances first
defined, with its indispensability in countries in which the water for
the sheep has to be drawn from deep [159] wells, or in which the flock
has to be defended from wolves or from human depredators. As to land,
it has been shown that, except as affording mere room and standing
ground, the importance of land, great as it may be, is secondary. The
one thing needful for economic production is the green plant, as the
sole producer of vital capital from natural inorganic bodies. Men
might exist without labour (in the ordinary sense) and without land;
without plants they must inevitably perish.

    * In some remarkable passages of the Botany of Sir James Ross's
    Antarctic voyage, which took place half a century ago, Sir
    Joseph Hooker demonstrated the dependence of the animal life of
    the sea upon the minute, indeed microscopic, plants which float
    in it: a marvellous example of what may be done by
    water-culture. One might indulge in dreams of cultivating and
    improving diatoms, until the domesticated bore the same
    relation to the wild forms, as cauliflowers to the primitive
    Brassica oleracea, without passing beyond the limits of fair
    scientific speculation.

That which is true of the purely pastoral condition is a fortiori true
of the purely agricultural* condition, in which the existence of the
cultivator is directly dependent on the production of vital capital by
the plants which he cultivates. Here, again, the condition precedent
of the work of each year is vital capital. Suppose that a man lives
exclusively upon the plants which he cultivates. It is obvious that he
must have food-stuffs to live upon, while he prepares the soil for
sowing and throughout the period which elapses between this and
harvest. These food-stuffs must be yielded by the stock remaining over
from former crops. The result is the same as before--the pre-existence
of vital capital is the necessary antecedent of labour. Moreover, the
amount of labour which contributes, as an accessory condition, to the
production [160] of the crop varies as widely in the case of
plant-raising as in that of cattle-raising. With favourable soil,
climate and other conditions, it may be very small, with unfavourable,
very great, for the same revenue or yield of food-stuffs.

    * It is a pity that we have no word that signifies plant-culture
    exclusively. But for the present purpose I may restrict
    agriculture to that sense.

Thus, I do not think it is possible to dispute the following
proposition:  the existence of any man, or of any number of men,
whether organised into a polity or not, depends on the production of
foodstuffs (that is, vital capital) readily accessible to man, either
directly or indirectly, by plants. But it follows that the number of
men who can exist, say for one year, on any given area of land, taken
by itself, depends upon the quantity of food-stuffs produced by such
plants growing on the area in one year. If a is that quantity, and b
the minimum of food-stuffs required for each man, A/B=N, the maximum
number of men who can exist on the area. Now the amount of production
(a) is limited by the extent of area occupied; by the quantity of
sunshine which falls upon the area; by the range and distribution of
temperature; by the force of the winds; by the supply of water; by the
composition and the physical characters of the soil; by animal and
vegetable competitors and destroyers. The labour of man neither does,
nor can, produce vital capital; all that it can do is to modify,
favourably or unfavourably, the conditions of its production. The most
important of these-- [161] namely, sunshine, range of daily and
nightly temperature, wind--are practically out of men's reach.* On the
other hand, the supply of water, the physical and chemical qualities
of the soil, and the influences of competitors and destroyers, can
often, though by no means always, be largely affected by labour and
skill. And there is no harm in calling the effect of such labour
"production," if it is clearly understood that "production" in this
sense is a very different thing from the "production" of food-stuffs
by a plant.

    * I do not forget electric lighting, greenhouses and hothouses,
    and the various modes of affording shelter against violent
    winds: but in regard to production of food-stuffs on the large
    scale they may be neglected. Even if synthetic chemistry should
    effect the construction of proteids, the Laborato ry will
    hardly enter into competition with the Farm within any time
    which the present generation need trouble itself about.

We have been dealing hitherto with suppositions the materials of which
are furnished by everyday experience, not with mere a priori
assumptions. Our hypothetical solitary shepherd with his flock, or the
solitary farmer with his grain field, are mere bits of such
experience, cut out, as it were, for easy study. Still borrowing from
daily experience, let us suppose that either sheep-owner or farmer,
for any reason that may be imagined, desires the help of one or more
other men; and that, in exchange for their labour, he offers so many
sheep, or quarts of milk, or pounds of [162] cheese, or so many
measures of grain, for a year's service. I fail to discover any a
priori "rights of labour" in virtue of which these men may insist on
being employed, if they are not wanted. But, on the other hand, I
think it is clear that there is only one condition upon which the
persons to whom the offer of these "wages" is made can accept it; and
that is that the things offered in exchange for a year's work shall
contain at least as much vital capital as a man uses up in doing the
year's work. For no rational man could knowingly and willingly accept
conditions which necessarily involve starvation. Therefore there is an
irreducible minimum of wages; it is such an amount of vital capital as
suffices to replace the inevitable consumption of the person hired.
Now, surely, it is beyond a doubt that these wages, whether at or
above the irreducible minimum, are paid out of the capital disposable
after the wants of the owner of the flock or of the crop of grain are
satisfied; and, from what has been said already, it follows that there
is a limit to the number of men, whether hired, or brought in any other
way, who can be maintained by the sheep owner or landowner out of his
own resources. Since no amount of labour can produce an ounce of
foodstuff beyond the maximum producible by a limited number of plants,
under the most favourable circumstances in regard to those conditions
which are not affected by labour, it follows [163] that, if the number
of men to be fed increases indefinitely, a time must come when some
will have to starve. That is the essence of the so-called Malthusian
doctrine; and it is a truth which, to my mind, is as plain as the
general proposition that a quantity which constantly increases will,
some time or other, exceed any greater quantity the amount of which is

The foregoing considerations leave no doubt about the fundamental
condition of the existence of any polity, or organised society of men,
either in a purely pastoral or purely agricultural state, or in any
mixture of both states. It must possess a store of vital capital to
start with, and the means of repairing the consumption of that capital
which takes place as a consequence of the work of the members of the
society. And, if the polity occupies a completely isolated area of the
earth's surface, the numerical strength of that polity can never
exceed the quotient of the maximum quantity of food-stuffs producible
by the green plants on that area, in each year, divided by the
quantity necessary for the maintenance of each person during the year.
But, there is a third mode of existence possible to a polity; it may,
conceivably, be neither purely pastoral nor purely agricultural, but
purely manufacturing. Let us suppose three islands, like Gran Canaria,
Teneriffe and Lanzerote, in the Canaries, to be quite cut off from the
rest of the world. Let Gran Canaria be [164] inhabited by
grain-raisers, Teneriffe by cattle-breeders; while the population of
Lanzerote (which we may suppose to be utterly barren) consists of
carpenters, woollen manufacturers, and shoemakers. Then the facts of
daily experience teach us that the people of Lanzerote could never
have existed unless they came to the island provided with a stock of
food-stuffs; and that they could not continue to exist, unless that
stock, as it was consumed, was made up by contributions from the vital
capital of either Gran Canaria, or Teneriffe, or both. Moreover, the
carpenters of Lanzerote could do nothing, unless they were provided
with wood from the other islands; nor could the wool spinners and
weavers or the shoemakers work without wool and skins from the same
sources. The wood and the wool and the skins are, in fact, the capital
without which their work as manufacturers in their respective trades
is impossible--so that the vital and other capital supplied by Gran
Canaria and Teneriffe is most indubitably the necessary antecedent of
the industrial labour of Lanzerote. It is perfectly true that by the
time the wood, the wool, and the skins reached Lanzerote a good deal
of labour in cutting, shearing, skinning, transport, and so on, would
have been spent upon them. But this does not alter the fact that the
only "production" which is essential to the existence of the
population of Teneriffe and Gran Canaria is that effected by the [165]
green plants in both islands; and that all the labour spent upon the
raw produce useful in manufacture, directly or indirectly yielded by
them--by the inhabitants of these islands and by those of Lanzerote
into the bargain--will not provide one solitary Lanzerotian with a
dinner, unless the Teneriffians and Canariotes happen to want his
goods and to be willing to give some of their vital capital in
exchange for them.

Under the circumstances defined, if Teneriffe and Gran Canaria
disappeared, or if their inhabitants ceased to care for carpentry,
clothing, or shoes, the people of Lanzerote must starve. But if they
wish to buy, then the Lanzerotians, by "cultivating" the buyers,
indirectly favour the cultivation of the produce of those buyers.

Thus, if the question is asked whether the labour employed in
manufacture in Lanzerote is "productive" or "unproductive" there can
be only one reply. If anybody will exchange vital capital, or that
which can be exchanged for vital capital, for Lanzerote goods, it is
productive; if not, it is unproductive.

In the case of the manufacturer, the dependence of labour upon capital
is still more intimate than in that of the herdsman or agriculturist.
When the latter are once started they can go on, without troubling
themselves about the existence of any other people. But the
manufacturer depends on pre-existing capital, not only at the [166]
beginning, but at the end of his operations. However great the
expenditure of his labour and of his skill, the result, for the
purpose of maintaining his existence, is just the same as if he had
done nothing, unless there is a customer able and willing to exchange
food-stuffs for that which his labour and skill have achieved.

There is another point concerning which it is very necessary to have
clear ideas. Suppose a carpenter in Lanzerote to be engaged in making
chests of drawers. Let us suppose that a, the timber, and b, the grain
and meat needful for the man's sustenance until he can finish a chest
of drawers, have to be paid for by that chest. Then the capital with
which he starts is represented by a + b. He could not start at all
unless he had it; day by day, he must destroy more or less of the
substance and of the general adaptability of a in order to work it up
into the special forms needed to constitute the chest of drawers; and,
day by day, he must use up at least so much of b as will replace his
loss of vital capital by the work of that day.  Suppose it takes the
carpenter and his workmen ten days to saw up the timber, to plane the
boards, and to give them the shape and size proper for the various
parts of the chest of drawers. And suppose that he then offers his
heap of boards to the advancer of a + b as an equivalent for the wood
+ ten days' supply of vital capital? The latter will surely say: "No.
[167] I did not ask for a heap of boards. I asked for a chest of
drawers. Up to this time, so far as I am concerned, you have done
nothing and are as much in my debt as ever." And if the carpenter
maintained that he had "virtually" created two-thirds of a chest of
drawers, inasmuch as it would take only five days more to put together
the pieces of wood, and that the heap of boards ought to be accepted
as the equivalent of two-thirds of his debt, I am afraid the creditor
would regard him as little better than an impudent swindler. It
obviously makes no sort of difference whether the Canariote or
Teneriffian buyer advanced the wood and the food-stuffs, on which the
carpenter had to maintain himself; or whether the carpenter had a stock
of both, the consumption of which must be recouped by the exchange of
a chest of drawers for a fresh supply. In the latter case, it is even
less doubtful that, if the carpenter offered his boards to the man who
wanted a chest of drawers, the latter would laugh in his face. And if
he took the chest of drawers for himself, then so much of his vital
capital would be sunk in it past recovery. Again, the payment of goods
in a lump, for the chest of drawers, comes to the same thing as the
payment of daily wages for the fifteen days that the carpenter was
occupied in making it. If, at the end of each day, the carpenter chose
to say to himself "I have 'virtually' created, by my day's labour, a
fifteenth of what I shall get for the chest [168] of
drawers--therefore my wages are the produce of my day's labour"--there
is no great harm in such metaphorical speech, so long as the poor man
does not delude himself into the supposition that it represents the
exact truth.  "Virtually" is apt to cover more intellectual sins than
"charity" does moral delicts. After what has been said, it surely must
be plain enough that each day's work has involved the consumption of
the carpenter's vital capital, and the fashioning of his timber, at
the expense of more or less consumption of those forms of capital.
Whether the a + b to be exchanged for the chest has been advanced as a
loan, or is paid daily or weekly as wages, or, at some later time, as
the price of a finished commodity--the essential element of the
transaction, and the only essential element, is, that it must, at
least, effect the replacement of the vital capital consumed. Neither
boards nor chest of drawers are eatable; and, so far from the
carpenter having produced the essential part of his wages by each
day's labour, he has merely wasted that labour, unless somebody who
happens to want a chest of drawers offers to exchange vital capital,
or something that can procure it, equivalent to the amount consumed
during the process of manufacture.*

    * See the discussion of this subject further on.

That it should be necessary, at this time of day, to set forth such
elementary truths as these may [169] well seem strange; but no one who
consults that interesting museum of political delusions, "Progress and
Poverty," some of the treasures of which I have already brought to
light, will doubt the fact, if he bestows proper attention upon the
first book of that widely-read work. At page 15 it is thus written:

"The proposition I shall endeavour to prove is: that wages, instead of
being drawn from capital, are, in reality, drawn from the product of
the labour for which they are paid."

Again at page 18:--

"In every case in which labour is exchanged for commodities,
production really precedes enjoyment . . . wages are the
earnings--that is to say, the makings--of labour--not the advances
of capital."

And the proposition which the author endeavours to disprove is the
hitherto generally accepted doctrine

     ..."that labour is maintained and paid out of existing capital,
        before the product which constitutes the ultimate object is
        secured" (p. 16).

The doctrine respecting the relation of capital and wages, which is
thus opposed in "Progress and Poverty," is that illustrated in the
foregoing pages; the truth of which, I conceive, must be plain to any
one who has apprehended the very simple arguments by which I have
endeavoured to [170] demonstrate it. One conclusion or the other must
be hopelessly wrong; and, even at the cost of going once more over
some of the ground traversed in this essay and that on "Natural and
Political Rights,"* I propose to show that the error lies with
"Progress and Poverty"; in which work, so far as political science is
concerned, the poverty is, to my eye, much more apparent than the

    * Collected Essays, vol. i. pp. 359-382.

To begin at the beginning. The author propounds a definition of
wealth:  "Nothing which nature supplies to man without his labour is
wealth" (p. 28).  Wealth consists of "natural substances or products
which have been adapted by human labour to human use or gratification,
their value depending upon the amount of labour which, upon the
average, would be required to produce things of like kind" (p. 27).
The following examples of wealth are given:--

     . . . "Buildings, cattle, tools, machinery, agricultural and
           mineral products, manufactured goods, ships, waggons,
           furniture, and the like" (p. 27).

I take it that native metals, coal and brick clay, are "mineral
products"; and I quite believe that they are properly termed "wealth."
But when a seam of coal crops out at the surface, and lumps of coal
are to be had for the picking up; or when native copper lies about in
nuggets, or [171] when brick clay forms a superficial stratum, it
appears to me that these things are supplied to, nay almost thrust
upon, man without his labour. According to the definition, therefore,
they are not "wealth." According to the enumeration, however, they are
"wealth": a tolerably fair specimen of a contradiction in terms. Or
does "Progress and Poverty" really suggest that a coal seam which
crops out at the surface is not wealth; but that if somebody breaks
off a piece and carries it away, the bestowal of this amount of labour
upon that particular lump makes it wealth; while the rest remains "not
wealth"? The notion that the value of a thing bears any necessary
relation to the amount of labour (average or otherwise) bestowed upon
it, is a fallacy which needs no further refutation than it has already
received.  The average amount of labour bestowed upon warming-pans
confers no value upon them in the eyes of a Gold-Coast negro; nor
would an Esquimaux give a slice of blubber for the most elaborate of

So much for the doctrine of "Progress and Poverty" touching the nature
of wealth. Let us now consider its teachings respecting capital as
wealth or a part of wealth. Adam Smith's definition "that part of a
man's stock which he expects to yield him a revenue is called his
capital" is quoted with approval (p. 32); elsewhere capital is said to
be that part of wealth "which [172] is devoted to the aid of
production" (p. 28); and yet again it is said to be

     . . . "wealth in course of exchange,* understanding exchange to
           include, not merely the passing from hand to hand, but
           also such transmutations as occur when the reproductive
           or transforming forces of nature are utilised for the
           increase of wealth" (p. 32).

    * The italics are the author's.

But if too much pondering over the possible senses and scope of these
definitions should weary the reader, he will be relieved by the
following acknowledgment:--

     . . . "Nor is the definition of capital I have suggested of
           any importance" (p. 33).

The author informs us, in fact, that he is "not writing a text-book,"
thereby intimating his opinion that it is less important to be clear
and accurate when you are trying to bring about a political revolution
than when a merely academic interest attaches to the subject treated.
But he is not busy about anything so serious as a textbook: no, he "is
only attempting to discover the laws which control a great social
problem"--a mode of expression which indicates perhaps the high-water
mark of intellectual muddlement. I have heard, in my time, of "laws"
which control other "laws"; but this is the first occasion on which
"laws" which "control a problem" have come under my notice. Even the
disquisitions "of [173] those flabby writers who have burdened the
press and darkened counsel by numerous volumes which are dubbed
political economy" (p. 28) could hardly furnish their critics with a
finer specimen of that which a hero of the "Dunciad," by the one flash
of genius recorded of him, called "clotted nonsense."

Doubtless it is a sign of grace that the author of these definitions
should attach no importance to any of them; but since, unfortunately,
his whole argument turns upon the tacit assumption that they are
important, I may not pass them over so lightly. The third I give up.
Why anything should be capital when it is "in course of exchange," and
not be capital under other circumstances, passes my understanding. We
are told that "that part of a farmer's crop held for sale or for seed,
or to feed his help, in part payment of wages, would be accounted
capital; that held for the care of his family would not be" (p. 31).
But I fail to discover any ground of reason or authority for the
doctrine that it is only when a crop is about to be sold or sown, or
given as wages, that it may be called capital. On the contrary,
whether we consider custom or reason, so much of it as is stored away
in ricks and barns during harvest, and remains there to be used in any
of these ways months or years afterwards, is customarily and rightly
termed capital.  Surely, the meaning of the clumsy phrase that capital
is "wealth in the [174] course of exchange" must be that it is "wealth
capable of being exchanged" against labour or anything else. That, in
fact, is the equivalent of the second definition, that capital is
"that part of wealth which is devoted to the aid of production."
Obviously, if you possess that for which men will give labour, you can
aid production by means of that labour. And, again, it agrees with the
first definition (borrowed from Adam Smith) that capital is "that part
of a man's stock which he expects to yield him a revenue." For a
revenue is both etymologically and in sense a "return." A man gives
his labour in sowing grain, or in tending cattle, because he expects a
"return"--a "revenue"--in the shape of the increase of the grain or of
the herd; and also, in the latter case, in the shape of their labour
and manure which "aid the production" of such increase. The grain and
cattle of which he is possessed immediately after harvest is his
capital; and his revenue for the twelvemonth, until the next harvest,
is the surplus of grain and cattle over and above the amount with
which he started. This is disposable for any purpose for which he may
desire to use it, leaving him just as well off as he was at the
beginning of the year. Whether the man keeps the surplus grain for
sowing more land, and the surplus cattle for occupying more pasture;
whether he exchanges them for other commodities, such as the use of
the land (as rent); or labour (as [175] wages); or whether he feeds
himself and his family, in no way alters their nature as revenue, or
affects the fact that this revenue is merely disposable capital.

That (even apart from etymology) cattle are typical examples of
capital cannot be denied ("Progress and Poverty," p. 25); and if we
seek for that particular quality of cattle which makes them "capital,"
neither has the author of "Progress and Poverty" supplied, nor is any
one else very likely to supply, a better account of the matter than
Adam Smith has done. Cattle are "capital" because they are "stock
which yields revenue." That is to say, they afford to their owner a
supply of that which he desires to possess.  And, in this particular
case, the "revenue" is not only desirable, but of supreme importance,
inasmuch as it is capable of maintaining human life. The herd yields a
revenue of food-stuffs as milk and meat; a revenue of skins; a revenue
of manure; a revenue of labour; a revenue of exchangeable commodities
in the shape of these things, as well as in that of live cattle.  In
each and all of these capacities cattle are capital; and, conversely,
things which possess any or all of these capacities are capital.

Therefore what we find at page 25 of "Progress and Poverty" must be
regarded as a welcome lapse into clearness of apprehension:--

"A fertile field, a rich vein of ore, a falling stream which supplies
power, may give the possessor advantages [176] equivalent to the
possession of capital; but to class such things as capital would be to
put an end to the distinction between land and capital."

Just so. But the fatal truth is that these things are capital; and
that there really is no fundamental distinction between land and
capital. Is it denied that a fertile field, a rich vein of ore, or a
falling stream, may form part of a man's stock, and that, if they do,
they are capable of yielding revenue? Will not somebody pay a share of
the produce in kind, or in money, for the privilege of cultivating the
first royalties for that of working the second; and a like equivalent
for that of erecting a mill on the third? In what sense, then, are
these things less "capital" than the buildings and tools which on page
27 of "Progress and Poverty" are admitted to be capital? Is it not
plain that if these things confer "advantages equivalent to the
possession of capital," and if the "advantage" of capital is nothing
but the yielding of revenue, then the denial that they are capital is
merely a roundabout way of self-contradiction?

All this confused talk about capital, however, is lucidity itself
compared with the exposition of the remarkable thesis, "Wages not
drawn from capital, but produced by labour," which occupies the third
chapter of "Progress and Poverty."

"If, for instance, I devote my labour to gathering birds' eggs or
picking wild berries, the eggs or berries I thus [177] get are my
wages. Surely no one will contend that, in such a case, wages are
drawn from capital. There is no capital in the case" (p. 34).

Nevertheless, those who have followed what has been said in the first
part of this essay surely neither will, nor can, have any hesitation
about substantially adopting the challenged contention, though they
may possibly have qualms as to the propriety of the use of the term
"wages."* They will have no difficulty in apprehending the fact that
birds' eggs and berries are stores of foodstuffs, or vital capital;
that the man who devotes his labour to getting them does so at the
expense of his personal vital capital; and that, if the eggs and the
berries are "wages" for his work, they are so because they enable him
to restore to his organism the vital capital which he has consumed in
doing the work of collection. So that there is really a great deal of
"capital in the case."

    * Not merely on the grounds stated below, but on the strength
    of Mr. George's own definition. Does the gatherer of eggs, or
    berries, produce them by his labour? If so, what do the hens
    and the bushes do?

Our author proceeds:--

"An absolutely naked man, thrown on an island where no human being has
before trod, may gather birds' eggs or pick berries" (p. 34).

No doubt. But those who have followed my argument thus far will be
aware that a man's vital capital does not reside in his clothes; and,
therefore, [178] they will probably fail, as completely as I do, to
discover the relevancy of the statement.


     . . . Or, if I take a piece of leather and work it up into a
           pair of shoes, the shoes are my wages--the reward of my
           exertion. Surely they are not drawn from capital--either
           my capital or anybody else's capital--but are brought
           into existence by the labour of which they became the
           wages; and, in obtaining this pair of shoes as the wages
           of my labour, capital is not even momentarily lessened
           one iota. For if we call in the idea of capital, my
           capital at the beginning consists of the piece of
           leather, the thread, &c. (p. 34).

It takes away one's breath to have such a concatenation of fallacies
administered in the space of half a paragraph. It does not seem to
have occurred to our economical reformer to imagine whence his
"capital at the beginning," the "leather, thread, &c." came. I venture
to suppose that leather to have been originally cattle-skin; and since
calves and oxen are not flayed alive, the existence of the leather
implies the lessening of that form of capital by a very considerable
iota. It is, therefore, as sure as anything can be that, in the long
run, the shoes are drawn from that which is capital par excellence; to
wit, cattle. It is further beyond doubt that the operation of tanning
must involve loss of capital in the shape of bark, to say nothing of
other losses; and that the use of the awls and knives of the shoemaker
involves loss of capital in the shape of the store of [179] iron;
further, the shoemaker has been enabled to do his work not only by the
vital capital expended during the time occupied in making the pair of
shoes, but by that expended from the time of his birth, up to the time
that he earned wages that would keep him alive.

"Progress and Poverty" continues:--

     . . . As my labour goes on, value is steadily added until,
           when my labour results in the finished shoes, I have my
           capital plus the difference in value between the
           material and the shoes. In obtaining this additional
           value--my wages--how is capital, at any time, drawn
           upon? (p, 34).

In return we may inquire, how can any one propound such a question?
Capital is drawn upon all the time. Not only when the shoes are
commenced, but while they are being made, and until they are either
used by the shoemaker himself or are purchased by somebody else; that
is, exchanged for a portion of another man's capital. In fact
(supposing that the shoemaker does not want shoes himself), it is the
existence of vital capital in the possession of another person and the
willingness of that person to part with more or less of it in exchange
for the shoes--it is these two conditions, alone, which prevent the
shoemaker from having consumed his capital unproductively, just as
much as if he had spent his time in chopping up the leather into
minute fragments.

Thus, the examination of the very case selected [180] by the advocate
of the doctrine that labour bestowed upon manufacture, without any
intervention of capital, can produce wages, proves to be a delusion of
the first magnitude; even though it be supported by the dictum of Adam
Smith which is quoted in its favour (p. 34)--

     . . . "The produce of labour constitutes the natural recompense
           or wages of labour. In that original state of things which
           precedes both the appropriation of land and the
           accumulation of stock, the whole produce of labour belongs
           to the labourer. He has neither landlord nor master to
           share with him" ("Wealth of Nations," ch. viii).

But the whole of this passage exhibits the influence of the French
Physiocrats by whom Adam Smith was inspired, at their worst; that is to
say, when they most completely forsook the ground of experience for a
priori speculation. The confident reference to "that original state of
things" is quite in the manner of the Essai sur l'Inegalie. Now, the
state of men before the "appropriation of land" and the "accumulation
of stock" must surely have been that of purely savage hunters. As, by
the supposition, nobody would have possessed land, certainly no man
could have had a landlord; and, if there was no accumulation of stock
in a transferable form, as surely there could be no master, in the
sense of hirer. But hirer and hire (that is, wages) are correlative
terms, like mother and child. As "child" implies "mother," so does
"hire" or "wages" imply a [181] "hirer" or "wage-giver." Therefore,
when a man in "the original state of things" gathered fruit or killed
game for his own sustenance, the fruit or the game could be called his
"wages" only in a figurative sense; as one sees if the term "hire,"
which has a more limited connotation, is substituted for "wage." If
not, it must be assumed that the savage hired himself to get his own
dinner; whereby we are led to the tolerably absurd conclusion that, as
in the "state of nature" he was his own employer, the "master" and the
labourer, in that model age, appropriated the produce in equal shares!
And if this should be not enough, it has already been seen that, in
the hunting state, man is not even an accessory of production of vital
capital; he merely consumes what nature produces.

According to the author of "Progress and Poverty" political economists
have been deluded by a "fallacy which has entangled some of the most
acute minds in a web of their own spinning."

"It is in the use of the term capital in two senses. In the primary
proposition that capital is necessary to the exertion of productive
labour, the term "capital" is understood as including all food,
clothing, shelter, &c.; whereas in the deductions finally drawn from
it, the term is used in its common and legitimate meaning of wealth
devoted, not to the immediate gratification of desire, but to the
procurement of more wealth--of wealth in the hands of employers as
distinguished from labourers" (p. 40).

[182] I am by no means concerned to defend the political economists who
are thus charged with blundering; but I shall be surprised to learn
that any have carried the art of self-entanglement to the degree of
perfection exhibited by this passage. Who has ever imagined that
wealth which, in the hands of an employer, is capital, ceases to be
capital if it is in the hands of a labourer? Suppose a workman to be
paid thirty shillings on Saturday evening for six days' labour, that
thirty shillings comes out of the employer's capital, and receives the
name of "wages" simply because it is exchanged for labour. In the
workman's pocket, as he goes home, it is a part of his capital, in
exactly the same sense as, half an hour before, it was part of the
employer's capital; he is a capitalist just as much as if he were a
Rothschild. Suppose him to be a single man, whose cooking and
household matters are attended to by the people of the house in which
he has a room; then the rent which he pays them out of this capital
is, in part, wages for their labour, and he is, so far, an employer.
If he saves one shilling out of his thirty, he has, to that extent,
added to his capital when the next Saturday comes round. And if he
puts his saved shillings week by week into the Savings Bank, the
difference between him and the most bloated of bankers is simply one
of degree.

At page 42, we are confidently told that [183] "labourers by receiving
wages" cannot lessen "even temporarily" the "capital of the employer,"
while at page 44 it is admitted that in certain cases the capitalist
"pays out capital in wages." One would think that the "paying out" of
capital is hardly possible without at least a "temporary" diminution
of the capital from which payment is made. But "Progress and Poverty"
changes all that by a little verbal legerdemain:--

     . . . "For where wages are paid before the object of the labour
           is obtained, or is finished--as in agriculture, where
           ploughing and sowing must precede by several months the
           harvesting of the crop; as in the erection of buildings,
           the construction of ships, railroads, canals, &c.--it is
           clear that the owners of the capital paid in wages cannot
           expect an immediate return, but, as the phrase is, must
           "outlay it" or "lie out of it" for a time which sometimes
           amounts to many years. And hence, if first principles are
           not kept in mind, it is easy to jump to the conclusion
           that wages are advanced by capital" (p. 44).

Those who have paid attention to the argument of former parts of this
paper may not be able to understand how, if sound "first principles
are kept in mind," any other conclusion can be reached, whether by
jumping, or by any other mode of logical progression. But the first
principle which our author "keeps in mind" possesses just that amount
of ambiguity which enables him to play hocus-pocus with it. It is
this; that "the creation of value does not depend upon the finishing
of the product" (p. 44).

[184] There is no doubt that, under certain limitations, this
proposition is correct. It is not true that "labour always adds to
capital by its exertion before it takes from capital its wages" (p.
44), but it is true that it may, and often does, produce that effect.

To take one of the examples given, the construction of a ship. The
shaping of the timbers undoubtedly gives them a value (for a
shipbuilder) which they did not possess before. When they are put
together to constitute the framework of the ship, there is a still
further addition of value (for a shipbuilder); and when the outside
planking is added, there is another addition (for a shipbuilder).
Suppose everything else about the hull is finished, except the one
little item of caulking the seams, there is no doubt that it has still
more value for a shipbuilder. But for whom else has it any value,
except perhaps for a fire-wood merchant? What price will any one who
wants a ship--that is to say, something that will carry a cargo from
one port to another--give for the unfinished vessel which would take
water in at every seam and go down in half an hour, if she were
launched? Suppose the shipbuilder's capital to fail before the vessel
is caulked, and that he cannot find another shipbuilder who cares to
buy and finish it, what sort of proportion does the value created by
the labour, for which he has paid out of his capital, stand to that of
his advances?

[185] Surely no one will give him one-tenth of the capital disbursed
in wages, perhaps not so much even as the prime cost of the raw
materials.  Therefore, though the assertion that "the creation of
value does not depend on the finishing of the product" may be strictly
true under certain circumstances, it need not be and is not always
true. And, if it is meant to imply or suggest that the creation of
value in a manufactured article does not depend upon the finishing of
that article, a more serious error could hardly be propounded.

Is there not a prodigious difference in the value of an uncaulked and
in that of a finished ship; between the value of a house in which only
the tiles of the roof are wanting and a finished house; between that
of a clock which only lacks the escapement and a finished clock?

As ships, house, and clock, the unfinished articles have no value
whatever--that is to say, no person who wanted to purchase one of
these things, for immediate use, would give a farthing for either. The
only value they can have, apart from that of the materials they
contain, is that which they possess for some one who can finish them,
or for some one who can make use of parts of them for the construction
of other things. A man might buy an unfinished house for the sake of
the bricks; or he might buy an incomplete clock to use the works for
some other piece of machinery.

Thus, though every stage of the labour [186] bestowed on raw material,
for the purpose of giving rise to a certain product, confers some
additional value on that material in the estimation of those who are
engaged in manufacturing that product, the ratio of that accumulated
value, at any stage of the process, to the value of the finished
product is extremely inconstant, and often small; while, to other
persons, the value of the unfinished product may be nothing, or even a
minus quantity. A house-timber merchant, for example, might consider
that wood which had been worked into the ribs of a ship was
spoiled--that is, had less value than it had as a log.

According to "Progress and Poverty," there was, really, no advance of
capital while the great St. Gothard tunnel was cut. Suppose that, as
the Swiss and the Italian halves of the tunnel approached to within
half a kilometre, that half-kilometre had turned out to be composed of
practically impenetrable rock--would anybody have given a centime for
the unfinished tunnel? And if not, how comes it that "the creation of
value does not depend on the finishing of the product"?

I think it may be not too much to say that, of all the political
delusions which are current in this queer world, the very stupidest
are those which assume that labour and capital are necessarily
antagonistic; that all capital is produced by labour and therefore, by
natural right, is the property of [187] the labourer; that the
possessor of capital is a robber who preys on the workman and
appropriates to himself that which he has had no share in producing.

On the contrary, capital and labour are, necessarily, close allies;
capital is never a product of human labour alone; it exists apart from
human labour; it is the necessary antecedent of labour; and it
furnishes the materials on which labour is employed. The only
indispensable form of capital--vital capital--cannot be produced by
human labour. All that man can do is to favour its formation by the
real producers. There is no intrinsic relation between the amount of
labour bestowed on an article and its value in exchange. The claim of
labour to the total result of operations which are rendered possible
only by capital is simply an a priori iniquity.







The letters which are here collected together were published in the
"Times" in the course of the months of December, 1890, and January,

The circumstances which led me to write the first letter are
sufficiently set forth in its opening sentences; and the materials on
which I based my criticisms of Mr. Booth's scheme, in this and in the
second letter, were wholly derived from Mr. Booth's book. I had some
reason to know, however, that when anybody allows his sense of duty so
far to prevail over his sense of the blessedness of peace as to write
a letter to the "Times," on any subject of public interest, his
reflections, before he has done with the business, will be very like
[189] those of Johnny Gilpin, "who little thought, when he set out, of
running such a rig." Such undoubtedly are mine when I contemplate
these twelve documents, and call to mind the distinct addition to the
revenue of the Post Office which must have accrued from the mass of
letters and pamphlets which have been delivered at my door; to say
nothing of the unexpected light upon my character, motives, and
doctrines, which has been thrown by some of the "Times'"
correspondents, and by no end of comments elsewhere.

If self-knowledge is the highest aim of man, I ought by this time to
have little to learn. And yet, if I am awake, some of my
teachers--unable, perhaps, to control the divine fire of the poetic
imagination which is so closely akin to, if not a part of, the
mythopoeic faculty--have surely dreamed dreams. So far as my humbler
and essentially prosaic faculties of observation and comparison go,
plain facts are against them. But, as I may be mistaken, I have
thought it well to prefix to the letters (by way of "Prolegomena") an
essay which appeared in the "Nineteenth Century" for January, 1888, in
which the principles that, to my mind, lie at the bottom of the
"social question" are stated. So far as Individualism and Regimental
Socialism are concerned, this paper simply emphasizes and expands the
opinions expressed in an address to the members of the Midland
Institute, delivered seventeen years earlier, [190] and still more
fully developed in several essays published in the "Nineteenth
Century" in 1889, which I hope, before long, to republish.*

    * See Collected Essays, vol. i. p. 290 to end; and this volume,
    p. 147.

The fundamental proposition which runs through the writings, which
thus extend over a. of twenty years, is, that the common a priori
doctrines and methods of reasoning about political and social
questions are essentially vicious; and that argumentation on this
basis leads, with equal logical force, to two contradictory and
extremely mischievous systems, the one that of Anarchaic
Individualism, the other that of despotic or Regimental Socialism.
Whether I am right or wrong, I am at least consistent in opposing both
to the best of my ability. Mr. Booth's system appears to me, and, as I
have shown, is regarded by Socialists themselves, to be mere
autocratic Socialism, masked by its theological exterior. That the
"fantastic" religious skin will wear away, and the Socialistic reality
it covers will show its real nature, is the expressed hope of one
candid Socialist, and may be fairly conceived to be the unexpressed
belief of the despotic leader of the new Trades Union, who has shown
his zeal, if not his discretion, in championing Mr. Booth's projects.
[See Letter VIII.]

Yet another word to commentators upon my letters. There are some who
rather chuckle, and [191] some who sneer, at what they seem to
consider the dexterity of an "old controversial hand," exhibited by
the contrast which I have drawn between the methods of conversion
depicted in the New Testament and those pursued by fanatics of the
Salvationist type, whether they be such as are now exploited by Mr.
Booth, or such as those who, from the time of the Anabaptists, to go
no further back, have worked upon similar lines.

Whether such observations were intended to be flattering or sarcastic,
I must respectfully decline to accept the compliment, or to apply the
sarcasm to myself. I object to obliquity of procedure and ambiguity of
speech in all shapes. And I confess that I find it difficult to
understand the state of mind which leads any one to suppose, that deep
respect for single-minded devotion to high aims is incompatible with
the unhesitating conviction that those aims include the propagation of
doctrines which are devoid of foundation--perhaps even mischievous.

The most degrading feature of the narrower forms of Christianity (of
which that professed by Mr. Booth is a notable example) is their
insistence that the noblest virtues, if displayed by those who reject
their pitiable formulae, are, as their pet phrase goes, "splendid
sins." But there is, perhaps, one step lower; and that is that men,
who profess freedom of thought, should fail to see and [192]
appreciate that large soul of goodness which often animates even the
fanatical adherents of such tenets. I am sorry for any man who can
read the epistles to the Galatians and the Corinthians without
yielding a large meed of admiration to the fervent humanity of Paul of
Tarsus; who can study the lives of Francis of Assisi, or of Catherine
of Siena, without wishing that, for the furtherance of his own ideals,
he might be even as they; or who can contemplate unmoved the steadfast
veracity and true heroism which loom through the fogs of mystical
utterance in George Fox. In all these great men and women there lay
the root of the matter; a burning desire to amend the condition of
their fellow-men, and to put aside all other things for that end. If,
in spite of all the dogmatic helps or hindrances in which they were
entangled, these people are not to be held in high honour, who are?

I have never expressed a doubt--for I have none--that, when Mr. Booth
left the Methodist connection, and started that organisation of the
Salvation Army upon which, comparatively recently, such ambitious
schemes of social reform have been grafted, he may have deserved some
share of such honour. I do not say that, so far as his personal
desires and intentions go, he may not still deserve it. But the
correlate of despotic authority is unlimited responsibility. If Mr.
Booth is to take [193] credit for any good that the Army system has
effected, he must be prepared to bear blame for its inherent evils. As
it seems to me, that has happened to him which sooner or later happens
to all despots: he has become the slave of his own creation--the
prosperity and glory of the soul-saving machine have become the end,
instead of a means, of soul-saving; and to maintain these at the
proper pitch, the "General" is led to do things which the Mr. Booth of
twenty years ago would probably have scorned.

And those who desire, as I most emphatically desire, to be just to Mr.
Booth, however badly they may think of the working of the organization
he has founded, will bear in mind that some astute backers of his
probably care little enough for Salvationist religion; and, perhaps,
are not very keen about many of Mr. Booth's projects. I have referred
to the rubbing of the hands of the Socialists over Mr. Booth's
success;* but, unless I err greatly, there are politicians of a
certain school to whom it affords still greater satisfaction. Consider
what electioneering agents the captains of the Salvation Army,
scattered through all our towns, and directed from a political
"bureau" in London, would make! Think how political adversaries could
be harassed by our local attorney--"tribune of the people," I mean;
and how a troublesome man, on the other side, could be "hunted [194]
down" upon any convenient charge, whether true or false, brought by
our Vigilance-familiar!**

    * See Letter VIII.
    ** See Letter II.

I entirely acquit Mr. Booth of any complicity in far-reaching schemes
of this kind; but I did not write idly when, in my first letter, I
gave no vague warning of what might grow out of the organised force,
drilled in the habit of unhesitating obedience, which he has created.


                         INTRODUCTORY ESSAY.



The vast and varied procession of events, which we call Nature, affords
a sublime spectacle and an inexhaustible wealth of attractive problems
to the speculative observer. If we confine our attention to that
aspect which engages the attention of the intellect, nature appears a
beautiful and harmonious whole, the incarnation of a faultless logical
process, from certain premises in the past to an inevitable conclusion
in the future. But if it be regarded from a less elevated, though more
human, point of view; if our moral sympathies are allowed to influence
our judgment, and we permit ourselves to criticise our great mother as
we criticise one another; then our verdict, at least so far as
sentient nature is concerned, can hardly be so favourable.

In sober truth, to those who have made a study of the phenomena of life
as they exhibited by the higher forms of the animal world, [196] the
optimistic dogma, that this is the best of all possible worlds, will
seem little better than a libel upon possibility. It is really only
another instance to be added to the many extant, of the audacity of a
priori speculators who, having created God in their own image, find no
difficulty in assuming that the Almighty must have been actuated by
the same motives as themselves. They are quite sure that, had any
other course been practicable, He would no more have made infinite
suffering a necessary ingredient of His handiwork than a respectable
philosopher would have done the like.

But even the modified optimism of the time-honoured thesis of
physico-theology, that the sentient world is, on the whole, regulated
by principles of benevolence, does but ill stand the test of impartial
confrontation with the facts of the case. No doubt it is quite true
that sentient nature affords hosts of examples of subtle contrivances
directed towards the production of pleasure or the avoidance of pain;
and it may be proper to say that these are evidences of benevolence.
But if so, why is it not equally proper to say of the equally numerous
arrangements, the no less necessary result of which is the production
of pain, that they are evidences of malevolence?

If a vast amount of that which, in a piece of human workmanship, we
should call skill, is [197] visible in those parts of the organization
of a deer to which it owes its ability to escape from beasts of prey,
there is at least equal skill displayed in that bodily mechanism of
the wolf which enables him to track, and sooner or later to bring
down, the deer. Viewed under the dry light of science, deer and wolf
are alike admirable; and, if both were non-sentient automata, there
would be nothing to qualify our admiration of the action of the one on
the other. But the fact that the deer suffers, while the wolf inflicts
suffering, engages our moral sympathies. We should call men like the
deer innocent and good, men such as the wolf malignant and bad; we
should call those who defended the deer and aided him to escape brave
and compassionate, and those who helped the wolf in his bloody work
base and cruel. Surely, if we transfer these judgments to nature
outside the world of man at all, we must do so impartially. In that
case, the goodness of the right hand which helps the deer, and the
wickedness of the left hand which eggs on the wolf, will neutralize
one another: and the course of nature will appear to be neither moral
nor immoral, but non-moral.

This conclusion is thrust upon us by analogous facts in every part of
the sentient world; yet, inasmuch as it not only jars upon prevalent
prejudices, but arouses the natural dislike to that which is painful,
much ingenuity has been exercised in devising an escape from it.

From the theological side, we are told that [198] this is a state of
probation, and that the seeming injustices and immoralities of nature
will be compensated by and by. But how this compensation is to be
effected, in the case of the great majority of sentient things, is not
clear. I apprehend that no one is seriously prepared to maintain that
the ghosts of all the myriads of generations of herbivorous animals
which lived during the millions of years of the earth's duration,
before the appearance of man, and which have all that time been
tormented and devoured by carnivores, are to be compensated by a
perennial existence in clover; while the ghosts of carnivores are to
go to some kennel where there is neither a pan of water nor a bone
with any meat on it. Besides, from the point of view of morality, the
last stage of things would be worse than the first. For the
carnivores, however brutal and sanguinary, have only done that which,
if there is any evidence of contrivance in the world, they were
expressly constructed to do.  Moreover, carnivores and herbivores
alike have been subject to all the miseries incidental to old age,
disease, and over-multiplication, and both might well put in a claim
for "compensation" on this score.

On the evolutionist side, on the other hand, we are told to take
comfort from the reflection that the terrible struggle for existence
tends to final good, and that the suffering of the ancestor is paid
for by the increased perfection of the progeny. There would be
something in this argument if, in [199] Chinese fashion, the present
generation could pay its debts to its ancestors; otherwise it is not
clear what compensation the Eohippus gets for his sorrows in the fact
that, some millions of years afterwards, one of his descendants wins
the Derby. And, again, it is an error to imagine that evolution
signifies a constant tendency to increased perfection. That process
undoubtedly involves a constant remodelling of the organism in
adaptation to new conditions; but it depends on the nature of those
conditions whether the direction of the modifications effected shall
be upward or downward. Retrogressive is as practicable as progressive
metamorphosis. If what the physical philosophers tell us, that our
globe has been in a state of fusion, and, like the sun, is gradually
cooling down, is true; then the time must come when evolution will
mean adaptation to an universal winter, and all forms of life will die
out, except such low and simple organisms as the Diatom of the arctic
and antarctic ice and the Protococcus of the red snow. If our globe is
proceeding from a condition in which it was too hot to support any but
the lowest living thing to a condition in which it will be too cold to
permit of the existence of any others, the course of life upon its
surface must describe a trajectory like that of a ball fired from a
mortar; and the sinking half of that course is as much a part of the
general process of evolution as the rising.

From the point of view of the moralist the [200] animal world is on
about the same level as a gladiator's show. The creatures are fairly
well treated, and set to fight--whereby the strongest, the swiftest,
and the cunningest live to fight another day. The spectator has no
need to turn his thumbs down, as no quarter is given. He must admit
that the skill and training displayed are wonderful. But he must shut
his eyes if he would not see that more or less enduring suffering is
the meed of both vanquished and victor. And since the great game is
going on in every corner of the world, thousands of times a minute;
since, were our ears sharp enough, we need not descend to the gates of
hell to hear--

    . . . sospiri, pianti, ed alti guai.
    Voci alte e floche, e suon di man con elle

--it seems to follow that, if the world is governed by benevolence, it
must be a different sort of benevolence from that of John Howard.

But the old Babylonians wisely symbolized Nature by their great
goddess Istar, who combined the attributes of Aphrodite with those of
Ares. Her terrible aspect is not to be ignored or covered up with
shams; but it is not the only one. If the optimism of Leibnitz is a
foolish though pleasant dream, the pessimism of Schopenhauer is a
nightmare, the more foolish because of its hideousness. Error which is
not pleasant is surely the worst form of wrong.

[201] This may not be the best of all possible worlds, but to say that
it is the worst is mere petulant nonsense. A worn-out voluptuary may
find nothing good under the sun, or a vain and inexperienced youth,
who cannot get the moon he cries for, may vent his irritation in
pessimistic moanings; but there can be no doubt in the mind of any
reasonable person that mankind could, would, and in fact do, get on
fairly well with vastly less happiness and far more misery than find
their way into the lives of nine people out of ten. If each and all of
us had been visited by an attack of neuralgia, or of extreme mental
depression, for one hour in every twenty-four--a supposition which
many tolerably vigorous people know, to their cost, is not
extravagant--the burden of life would have been immensely increased
without much practical hindrance to its general course. Men with any
manhood in them find life quite worth living under worse conditions
than these.

There is another sufficiently obvious fact, which renders the
hypothesis that the course of sentient nature is dictated by
malevolence quite untenable. A vast multitude of pleasures, and these
among the purest and the best, are superfluities, bits of good which
are to all appearances unnecessary as inducements to live, and are, so
to speak, thrown into the bargain of life. To those who experience
them, few delights can be more entrancing than such as are afforded by
natural [202] beauty, or by the arts, and especially by music; but
they are products of, rather than factors in, evolution, and it is
probable that they are known, in any considerable degree, to but a
very small proportion of mankind.

The conclusion of the whole matter seems to be that, if Ormuzd has not
had his way in this world, neither has Ahriman. Pessimism is as little
consonant with the facts of sentient existence as optimism. If we
desire to represent the course of nature in terms of human thought,
and assume that it was intended to be that which it is, we must say
that its governing principle is intellectual and not moral; that it is
a materialized logical process, accompanied by pleasures and pains,
the incidence of which, in the majority of cases, has not the
slightest reference to moral desert. That the rain falls alike upon
the just and the unjust, and that those upon whom the Tower of Siloam
fell were no worse than their neighbours, seem to be Oriental modes of
expressing the same conclusion.

In the strict sense of the word "nature," it denotes the sum of the
phenomenal world, of that which has been, and is, and will be; and
society, like art, is therefore a part of nature.  But it is
convenient to distinguish those parts of nature in which man plays the
part of immediate cause, as some thing apart; and, therefore, society,
like art, [203] is usefully to be considered as distinct from nature.
It is the more desirable, and even necessary, to make this
distinction, since society differs from nature in having a definite
moral object; whence it comes about that the course shaped by the
ethical man--the member of society or citizen--necessarily runs
counter to that which the non-ethical man--the primitive savage, or
man as a mere member of the animal kingdom--tends to adopt. The latter
fights out the struggle for existence to the bitter end, like any
other animal; the former devotes his best energies to the object of
setting limits to the struggle.*

In the cycle of phenomena presented by the life of man, the animal, no
more moral end is discernible than in that presented by the lives of
the wolf and of the deer. However imperfect the relics of prehistoric
men may be, the evidence which they afford clearly tends to the
conclusion that, for thousands and thousands of years, before the
origin of the oldest known civilizations, men were savages of a very
low type. They strove with their enemies and their competitors; they
preyed upon things weaker or less cunning than themselves; they were
born, multiplied without stint, and died, for thousands of generations
alongside the mammoth, the urus, the lion, and the hyaena, whose lives
were spent in the same way; [204] and they were no more to be praised
or blamed on moral grounds, than their less erect and more hairy

    * [The reader will observe that this is the argument of the
    Romanes Lecture, in brief.--1894.]

As among these, so among primitive men, the weakest and stupidest went
to the wall, while the toughest and shrewdest, those who were best
fitted to cope with their circumstances, but not the best in any other
sense, survived. Life was a continual free fight, and beyond the
limited and temporary relations of the family, the Hobbesian war of
each against all was the normal state of existence. The human species,
like others, plashed and floundered amid the general stream of
evolution, keeping its head above water as it best might, and thinking
neither of whence nor whither.

The history of civilization--that is, of society--on the other hand, is
the record of the attempts which the human race has made to escape
from this position. The first men who substituted the state of mutual
peace for that of mutual war, whatever the motive which impelled them
to take that step, created society. But, in establishing peace, they
obviously put a limit upon the struggle for existence. Between the
members of that society, at any rate, it was not to be pursued a
outrance. And of all the successive shapes which society has taken,
that most nearly approaches perfection in which the war of individual
against individual is most strictly limited.

[205] The primitive savage, tutored by Istar, appropriated whatever
took his fancy, and killed whomsoever opposed him, if he could. On the
contrary, the ideal of the ethical man is to limit his freedom of
action to a sphere in which he does not interfere with the freedom of
others; he seeks the common weal as much as his own; and, indeed, as
an essential part of his own welfare. Peace is both end and means with
him; and he founds his life on a more or less complete self-restraint,
which is the negation of the unlimited struggle for existence. He
tries to escape from his place in the animal kingdom, founded on the
free development of the principle of non-moral evolution, and to
establish a kingdom of Man, governed upon tile principle of moral
evolution. For society not only has a moral end, but in its
perfection, social life, is embodied morality.

But the effort of ethical man to work towards a moral end by no means
abolished, perhaps has hardly modified, the deep-seated organic
impulses which impel the natural man to follow his non-moral course.
One of the most essential conditions, if not the chief cause, of the
struggle for existence, is the tendency to multiply without limit,
which man shares with all living things. It is notable that "increase
and multiply" is a commandment traditionally much older than the ten;
and that it is, perhaps, the only one which has been spontaneously and
ex animo obeyed by [206] the great majority of the human race. But, in
civilized society, the inevitable result of such obedience is the
re-establishment, in all its intensity, of that struggle for
existence--the war of each against all--the mitigation or abolition of
which was the chief end of social organization.

It is conceivable that, at some. in the history of the fabled Atlantis,
the production of food should have been exactly sufficient to meet the
wants of the population, that the makers of the commodities of the
artificer should have amounted to just the number supportable by the
surplus food of the agriculturists. And, as there is no harm in adding
another monstrous supposition to the foregoing, let it be imagined
that every man, woman, and child was perfectly virtuous, and aimed at
the good of all as the highest personal good. In that happy land, the
natural man would have been finally put down by the ethical man. There
would have been no competition, but the industry of each would have
been serviceable to all; nobody being vain and nobody avaricious,
there would have been no rivalries; the struggle for existence would
have been abolished, and the millennium would have finally set in. But
it is obvious that this state of things could have been permanent only
with a stationary population. Add ten fresh mouths; and as, by the
supposition, there was only exactly enough before, somebody must go on
short rations. The [207] Atlantis society might have been a heaven
upon earth, the whole nation might have consisted of just men, needing
no repentance, and yet somebody must starve. Reckless Istar, non-moral
Nature, would have riven the ethical fabric. I was once talking with a
very eminent physician* about the vis medicatrix naturae. "Stuff!"
said he; "nine times out of ten nature does not want to cure the man:
she wants to put him in his coffin." And Istar-Nature appears to have
equally little sympathy with the ends of society. "Stuff! she wants
nothing but a fair field and free play for her darling the strongest."

    * The late Sir W. Gull

Our Atlantis may be an impossible figment, but the antagonistic
tendencies which the fable adumbrates have existed in every society
which was ever established, and, to all appearance, must strive for
the victory in all that will be. Historians point to the greed and
ambition of rulers, to the reckless turbulence of the ruled, to the
debasing effects of wealth and luxury, and to the devastating wars
which have formed a great part of the occupation of mankind, as the
causes of the decay of states and the foundering of old civilizations,
and thereby point their story with a moral.  No doubt immoral motives
of all sorts have figured largely among the minor causes of these
events. But beneath all this [208] superficial turmoil lay the
deep-seated impulse given by unlimited multiplication. In the swarms
of colonies thrown out by Phoenicia and by old Greece; in the ver
sacrum of the Latin races; in the floods of Gauls and of Teutons which
burst over the frontiers of the old civilization of Europe; in the
swaying to and fro of the vast Mongolian hordes in late times, the
population problem comes to the front in a very visible shape. Nor is
it less plainly manifest in the everlasting agrarian questions of
ancient Rome than in the Arreoi societies of the Polynesian Islands.

In the ancient world, and in a large part of that in which we live,
the practice of infanticide was, or is, a regular and legal custom;
famine, pestilence, and war were and are normal factors in the
struggle for existence, and they have served, in a gross and brutal
fashion, to mitigate the intensity of the effects of its chief cause.

But, in the more advanced civilizations, the progress of private and
public morality has steadily tended to remove all these checks. We
declare infanticide murder, and punish it as such; we decree, not
quite so successfully, that no one shall die of hunger; we regard
death from preventible causes of other kinds as a sort of constructive
murder, and eliminate pestilence to the best of our ability; we
declaim against the curse [209] of war, and the wickedness of the
military spirit, and we are never weary of dilating on the blessedness
of peace and the innocent beneficence of Industry. In their moments of
expansion, even statesmen and men of business go thus far. The finer
spirits look to an ideal civitas Dei; a state when, every man having
reached the point of absolute self-negation, and having nothing but
moral perfection to strive after, peace will truly reign, not merely
among nations, but among men, and the struggle for existence will be
at an end.

Whether human nature is competent, under any circumstances, to reach,
or even seriously advance towards, this ideal condition, is a question
which need not be discussed. It will be admitted that mankind has not
yet reached this stage by a very long way, and my business is with the
present. And that which I wish to point out is that, so long as the
natural man increases and multiplies without restraint, so long will
peace and industry not only permit, but they will necessitate, a
struggle for existence as sharp as any that ever went on under the
regime of war. If Istar is to reign on the one hand, she will demand
her human sacrifices on the other.

Let us look at home. For seventy years peace and industry have had
their way among us with less interruption and under more favourable
conditions than in any other country on the face of the earth. The
wealth of Croesus was nothing to [210] that which we have accumulated,
and our prosperity has filled the world with envy. But Nemesis did not
forget Croesus: has she forgotten us?

I think not. There are now 36,000,000 of people in our islands, and
every year considerably more than 300,000 are added to our numbers.*
That is to say, about every hundred seconds, or so, a new claimant to
a share in the common stock or maintenance presents him or herself
among us. At the present time, the produce of the soil does not
suffice to feed half its population.  The other moiety has to be
supplied with food which must be bought from the people of
food-producing countries. That is to say, we have to offer them the
things which they want in exchange for the things we want. And the
things they want and which we can produce better than they can are
mainly manufactures--industrial products.

    * These numbers are only approximately accurate. In 1881, our
    population amounted to 35,241,482, exceeding the number in 1871
    by 3,396,103. The average annual increase in the decennial.
    1871--1881 is therefore 339,610. The number of minutes in a
    calendar year is 525,600.

The insolent reproach of the first Napoleon had a very solid
foundation. We not only are, but, under penalty of starvation, we are
bound to be, a nation of shopkeepers. But other nations also lie under
the same necessity of keeping shop, and some of them deal in the same
goods as ourselves. Our customers naturally seek to get the most and
[211] the best in exchange for their produce. If our goods are
inferior to those of our competitors, there is no ground, compatible
with the sanity of the buyers, which can be alleged, why they should
not prefer the latter. And, if that result should ever take place on a
large and general scale, five or six millions of us would soon have
nothing to eat. We know what the cotton famine was; and we can
therefore form some notion of what a dearth of customers would be.

Judged by an ethical standard, nothing can be less satisfactory than
the position in which we find ourselves. In a real, though incomplete,
degree we have attained the condition of peace which is the main
object of social organization; and, for argument's sake, it may be
assumed that we desire nothing but that which is in itself innocent
and praiseworthy--namely, the enjoyment of the fruits of honest
industry. And lo! in spite of ourselves, we are in reality engaged in
an internecine struggle for existence with our presumably no less
peaceful and well-meaning neighbours. We seek peace and we do not
ensue it. The moral nature in us asks for no more than is compatible
with the general good; the non-moral nature proclaims and acts upon
that fine old Scottish family motto, "Thou shalt starve ere I want."
Let us be under no illusions, then. So long as unlimited multiplication
goes on, no social organization which has ever been devised, or is
likely to [212] be devised, no fiddle-faddling with the distribution
of wealth, will deliver society from the tendency to be destroyed by
the reproduction within itself, in its intensest form, of that
struggle for existence the limitation of which is the object of
society. And however shocking to the moral sense this eternal
competition of man against man and of nation against nation may be;
however revolting may be the accumulation of misery at the negative
pole of society, in contrast with that of monstrous wealth at the
positive pole;* this state of things must abide, and grow continually
worse, so long as Istar holds her way unchecked. It is the true riddle
of the Sphinx; and every nation which does not solve it will sooner or
later be devoured by the monster itself has generated.

The practical and pressing question for us, just now, seems to me to be
how to gain time. "Time brings counsel," as the Teutonic proverb has
it; and wiser folk among our posterity may see their way out of that
which at present looks like an impasse.

It would be folly to entertain any ill-feeling towards those neighbours
and rivals who, like ourselves, are slaves of Istar; but, if somebody
is to be starved, the modern world has no Oracle of Delphi to which
the nations can appeal for an [213] indication of the victim. It is
open to us to try our fortune; and, if we avoid impending fate, there
will be a certain ground for believing that we are the right people to
escape. Securus judicat orbis.

    * [It is hard to say whether the increase of the unemployed
    poor, or that of the unemployed rich, is the greater social
    evil. -- 1894]

To this end, it is well to look into the necessary condition of our
salvation by works. They are two, one plain to all the world and
hardly needing insistence; the other seemingly not so plain, since too
often it has been theoretically and practically left out of sight. The
obvious condition is that our produce shall be better than that of
others. There is only one reason why our goods should be preferred to
those of our rivals--our customers must find them better at the price.
That means that we must use more knowledge, skill, and industry in
producing them, without a proportionate increase in the cost of
production; and, as the price of labour constitutes a large element in
that cost, the rate of wages must be restricted within certain limits.
It is perfectly true that cheap production and cheap labour are by no
means synonymous; but it is also true that wages cannot increase
beyond a certain proportion without destroying cheapness.  Cheapness,
then, with, as part and parcel of cheapness, a moderate price of
labour, is essential to our success as competitors in the markets of
the world.

The second condition is really quite as plainly indispensable as the
first, if one thinks seriously [214] about the matter. It is social
stability.  Society is stable, when the wants of its members obtain as
much satisfaction as, life being what it is, common sense and
experience show may be reasonably expected. Mankind, in general, care
very little for forms of government or ideal considerations of any
sort; and nothing really stirs the great multitude to break with
custom and incur the manifest perils of revolt except the belief that
misery in this world, or damnation in the next, or both, are
threatened by the continuance of the state of things in which they
have been brought up. But when they do attain that conviction, society
becomes as unstable as a package of dynamite, and a very small matter
will produce the explosion which sends it back to the chaos of

It needs no argument to prove that when the price of labour sinks below
a certain point, the worker infallibly falls into that condition which
the French emphatically call la misere--a word for which I do not
think there is any exact English equivalent. It is a condition in
which the food, warmth, and clothing which are necessary for the mere
maintenance of the functions of the body in their normal state cannot
be obtained; in which men, women, and children are forced to crowd
into dens wherein decency is abolished and the most ordinary
conditions of healthful existence are impossible of attainment; in
which the [215] pleasures within reach are reduced to bestiality and
drunkenness; in which the pains accumulate at compound interest, in
the shape of starvation, disease, stunted development, and moral
degradation; in which the prospect of even steady and honest industry
is a life of unsuccessful battling with hunger, rounded by a pauper's

That a certain proportion of the members of every great aggregation of
mankind should constantly tend to establish and populate such a Slough
of Despond as this is inevitable, so long as some people are by nature
idle and vicious, while others are disabled by sickness or accident,
or thrown upon the world by the death of their bread-winners. So long
as that proportion is restricted within tolerable limits, it can be
dealt with; and, so far as it arises only from such causes, its
existence may and must be patiently borne.  But, when the organization
of society, instead of mitigating this tendency, tends to continue and
intensify it; when a given social order plainly makes for evil and not
for good, men naturally enough begin to think it high time to try a
fresh experiment. The animal man, finding that the ethical man has
landed him in such a slough, resumes his ancient sovereignty, and
preaches anarchy; which is, substantially, a proposal to reduce the
social cosmos to chaos, and begin the brute struggle for existence
once again.

Any one who is acquainted with the state of [216] the population of
all great industrial centres, whether in this or other countries, is
aware that, amidst a large and increasing body of that population, la
misere reigns supreme. I have no pretensions to the character of a
philanthropist, and I have a special horror of all sorts of
sentimental rhetoric; I am merely trying to deal with facts, to some
extent within my own knowledge, and further evidenced by abundant
testimony, as a naturalist; and I take it to be a mere plain truth
that, throughout industrial Europe, there is not a single large
manufacturing city which is free from a vast mass of people whose
condition is exactly that described; and from a still greater mass
who, living just on the edge of the social swamp, are liable to be
precipitated into it by any lack of demand for their produce. And,
with every addition to the population, the multitude already sunk in
the pit and the number of the host sliding towards it continually

Argumentation can hardly be needful to make it clear that no society
in which the elements of decomposition are thus swiftly and surely
accumulating can hope to win in the race of industries.

Intelligence, knowledge, and skill are undoubtedly conditions of
success; but of what avail are they likely to be unless they are
backed up by honesty, energy, goodwill, and all the physical and moral
faculties that go to the making of manhood, and unless they are
stimulated by hope of such [217] reward as men may fairly look to? And
what dweller in the slough of want, dwarfed in body and soul,
demoralized, hopeless, can reasonably be expected to possess these

Any full and permanent development of the productive powers of an
industrial population, then, must be compatible with and, indeed,
based upon a social organization which will secure a fair amount of
physical and moral welfare to that population; which will make for
good and not for evil. Natural science and religious enthusiasm rarely
go hand in hand, but on this matter their concord is complete; and the
least sympathetic of naturalists can but admire the insight and the
devotion of such social reformers as the late Lord Shaftesbury, whose
recently published "Life and Letters" gives a vivid picture of the
condition of the working classes fifty years ago, and of the pit which
our industry, ignoring these plain truths, was then digging under its
own feet.

There is, perhaps, no more hopeful sign of progress among us, in the
last half-century, than the steadily increasing devotion which has
been and is directed to measures for promoting physical and moral
welfare among the poorer classes. Sanitary reformers, like most other
reformers whom I have had the advantage of knowing, seem to need a
good dose of fanaticism, as a sort of moral coca, to keep them up to
the mark, and, doubtless, they have made many mistakes; but that the
[218] endeavour to improve the condition under our industrial
population live, to amend the drainage of densely peopled streets, to
provide baths, washhouses, and gymnasia, to facilitate habits of
thrift, to furnish some provision for instruction and amusement in
public libraries and the like, is not only desirable from a
philanthropic point of view, but an essential condition of safe
industrial development, appears to me to be indisputable. It is by
such means alone, so far as I can see, that we can hope to check the
constant gravitation of industrial society towards la misere, until
the general progress of intelligence and morality leads men to grapple
with the sources of that tendency. If it is said that the carrying out
of such arrangements as those indicated must enhance the cost of
production, and thus handicap the producer in the race of competition,
I venture, in the first place, to doubt the fact; but if it be so, it
results that industrial society has to face a dilemma, either
alternative of which threatens destruction.

On the one hand, a population the labour of which is sufficiently
remunerated may be physically and morally healthy and socially stable,
but may fail in industrial competition by reason of the dearness of
its produce.  On the other hand, a population the labour of which is
insufficiently remunerated must become physically and morally
unhealthy, and socially unstable; and though it [219] may succeed for
a while in industrial competition, by reason of the cheapness of its
produce, it must in the end fall, through hideous misery and
degradation, to utter ruin.

Well, if these are the only possible alternatives, let us for ourselves
and our children choose the former, and, if need be, starve like men.
But I do not believe that the stable society made up of healthy,
vigorous, instructed, and self-ruling people would ever incur serious
risk of that fate. They are not likely to be troubled with many
competitors of the same character, just yet; and they may be safely
trusted to find ways of holding their own.

Assuming that the physical and moral well-being and the stable social
order, which are the indispensable conditions of permanent industrial
development, are secured, there remains for consideration the means of
attaining that knowledge and skill without which, even then, the
battle of competition cannot be successfully fought. Let us consider
how we stand. A vast system of elementary education has now been in
operation among us for sixteen years, and has reached all but a very
small fraction of the population. I do not think that there is any
room for doubt that, on the whole, it has worked well, and that its
indirect no less than its direct benefits have been immense. But, as
might be expected, it exhibits the defects of all our educational
systems--fashioned [220] as they were to meet the wants of a bygone
condition of society. There is a widespread and, I think,
well-justified complaint that it has too much to do with books and too
little to do with things. I am as little disposed as any one can well
be to narrow early education and to make the primary school a mere
annexe of the shop. And it is not so much in the interests of
industry, as in that of breadth of culture, that I echo the common
complaint against the bookish and theoretical character of our primary

If there were no such things as industrial pursuits, a system of
education which does nothing for the faculties of observation, which
trains neither the eye nor the hand, and is compatible with utter
ignorance of the commonest natural truths, might still be reasonably
regarded as strangely imperfect. And when we consider that the
instruction and training which are lacking are exactly; those which
are of most importance for the great mass of our population, the fault
becomes almost a crime, the more that there is no practical difficulty
in making good these defects. There really is no reason why drawing
should not be universally taught, and it is an admirable training for
both eye and hand. Artists are born, not made; but everybody may be
taught to draw elevations, plans, and sections; and pots and pans are
as good, indeed better, models for [221] this purpose than the Apollo
Belvedere. The plant is not expensive; and there is this excellent
quality about drawing of the kind indicated, that it can be tested
almost as easily and severely as arithmetic. Such drawings are either
right or wrong, and if they are wrong the pupil can be made to see
that they are wrong. From the industrial point of view, drawing has
the further merit that there is hardly any trade in which the power of
drawing is not of daily and hourly utility.  In the next place, no
good reason, except the want of capable teachers, can be assigned why
elementary notions of science should not be an element in general
instruction. In this case, again, no expensive or elaborate apparatus
is necessary. The commonest thing--a candle, a boy's squirt, a piece
of chalk--in the hands of a teacher who knows his business, may be
made the starting-point whence children may be led into the regions of
science as far as their capacity permits, with efficient exercise of
their observational and reasoning faculties on the road. If object
lessons often prove trivial failures, it is not the fault of object
lessons, but that of the teacher, who has not found out how much the
power of teaching a little depends on knowing a great deal, and that
thoroughly; and that he has not made that discovery is not the fault
of the teachers, but of the detestable system of training them which
is widely prevalent.*

    * Training in the use of simple tools is no doubt desirable,
    on all grounds. From the point of view of "culture," the
    man whose "fingers are all thumbs" is but a stunted
    creature. But the practical difficulties in the way of
    introducing handiwork of this kind into elementary schools
    appear to me to be considerable.

[222] As I have said, I do not regard the proposal to add these to the
present subjects of universal instruction as made merely in the
interests of industry. Elementary science and drawing are just as
needful at Eton (where I am happy to say both are now parts of the
regular course) as in the lowest primary school. But their importance
in the education of the artisan is enhanced, not merely by the fact
that the knowledge and skill thus gained--little as they may amount
to--will still be of practical utility to him; but, further, because
they constitute an introduction to that special training which is
commonly called "technical education."

I conceive that our wants in this last direction may be grouped under
three heads: (1) Instruction in the principles of those branches of
science and of art which are peculiarly applicable to industrial
pursuits, which may be called preliminary scientific education. (2)
Instruction in the special branches of such applied science and art,
as technical education proper. (3) Instruction of teachers in both
these branches. (4) Capacity-catching machinery.

A great deal has already been done in each of these directions, but
much remains to be done. If elementary education is amended in the way
[223] that has been suggested, I think that the school boards will
have quite as much on their hands as they are capable of doing well.
The influences under which the members of these bodies are elected do
not tend to secure fitness for dealing with scientific or technical
education; and it is the less necessary to burden them with an
uncongenial task as there are other organizations, not only much
better fitted to do the work, but already actually doing it.

In the matter of preliminary scientific education, the chief of these
is the Science and Art Department, which has done more during the last
quarter of a century for the teaching of elementary science among the
masses of the people than any organization which exists either in this
or in any other country. It has become veritably a people's
university, so far as physical science is concerned. At the foundation
of our old universities they were freely open to the poorest, but the
poorest must come to them. In the last quarter of a century, the
Science and Art Department, by means of its classes spread all over
the country and open to all, has conveyed instruction to the poorest.
The University Extension movement shows that our older learned
corporations have discovered the propriety of following suit.

Technical education, in the strict sense, has become a necessity for
two reasons. The old apprenticeship system has broken down, partly by
[224] reason of the changed conditions of industrial life, and partly
because trades have ceased to be "crafts," the traditional secrets
whereof the master handed down to his apprentices. Invention is
constantly changing the face of our industries, so that "use and
wont," "rule of thumb," and the like, are gradually losing their
importance, while that knowledge of principles which alone can deal
successfully with changed conditions is becoming more and more
valuable. Socially, the "master" of four or five apprentices is
disappearing in favour of the "employer" of forty, or four hundred, or
four thousand, "hands," and the odds and ends of technical knowledge,
formerly picked up in a shop, are not, and cannot be, supplied in the
factory. The instruction formerly given by the master must therefore
be more than replaced by the systematic teaching of the technical

Institutions of this kind on varying scales of magnitude and
completeness, from the splendid edifice set up by the City and Guilds
Institute to the smallest local technical school, to say nothing of
classes, such as those in technology instituted by the Society of Arts
(subsequently taken over by the City Guilds), have been established in
various parts of the country, and the movement in favour of their
increase and multiplication is rapidly growing in breadth and
intensity. But there is much difference of opinion as to the best
[225] way in which the technical instruction, so generally desired,
should be given. Two courses appear to be practicable: the one is the
establishment of special technical schools with a systematic and
lengthened course of instruction demanding the employment of the whole
time of the pupils. The other is the setting afoot of technical
classes, especially evening classes, comprising a short series of
lessons on some special topic, which may be attended by persons
already earning wages in some branch of trade or commerce.

There is no doubt that technical schools, on the plan indicated under
the first head, are extremely costly; and, so far as the teaching of
artisans is concerned, it is very commonly objected to them that, as
the learners do not work under trade conditions, they are apt to fall
into amateurish habits, which prove of more hindrance than service in
the actual business of life.  When such schools are attached to
factories under the direction of an employer who desires to train up a
supply of intelligent workmen, of course this objection does not
apply; nor can the usefulness of such schools for the training of
future employers and for the higher grade of the employed be doubtful;
but they are clearly out of the reach of the great mass of the people,
who have to earn their bread as soon as possible. We must therefore
look to the classes, and especially to evening classes, as the great
instrument for the technical [226] education of the artisan. The
utility of such classes has now been placed beyond all doubt; the only
question which remains is to find the ways and means of extending

We are here, as in all other questions of social organization, met by
two diametrically opposed views. On the one hand, the methods pursued
in foreign countries are held up as our example. The State is exhorted
to take the matter in hand and establish a great system of technical
education. On the other hand, many economists of the individualist
school exhaust the resources of language in condemning and
repudiating, not merely the interference of the general government in
such matters, but the application of a farthing of the funds raised by
local taxation to these purposes. I entertain a strong conviction
that, in this country, at any rate, the State had much better leave
purely technical and trade instruction alone. But, although my
personal leanings are decidedly towards the individualists, I have
arrived at that conclusion on merely practical grounds. In fact, my
individualism is rather of a sentimental sort, and I sometimes think I
should be stronger in the faith if it were less vehemently advocated.*
I am unable to see that civil society is anything but a corporation
established [227] for a moral object only--namely, the good of its
members--and therefore that it may take such measures as seem fitting
for the attainment of that which the general voice decides to be the
general good. That the suffrage of the majority is by no means a
scientific test of social good and evil is unfortunately too true;
but, in practice, it is the only test we can apply, and the refusal to
abide by it means anarchy. The purest despotism that ever existed is
as much based upon that will of the majority (which is usually
submission to the will of a small minority) as the freest republic.
Law is the expression of the opinion of the majority; and it is law,
and not mere opinion, because the many are strong enough to enforce

    * In what follows I am only repeating and emphasizing
    opinions which I expressed seventeen years ago, in an
    Address to the members of the Midland Institute
    (republished in Critiques and Addresses in 1873, and in Vol.
    I. of these Essays ). I have seen no reason to modify them,
    notwithstanding high authority on the other side.

I am as strongly convinced as the most pronounced individualist can be,
that it is desirable that every man should be free to act in every way
which does not limit the corresponding freedom of his fellow-man. But
I fail to connect that great induction of political science with the
practical corollary which is frequently drawn from it: that the
State--that is, the people in their corporate capacity--has no
business to meddle with anything but the administration of justice and
external defence. It appears to me that the [228] amount of freedom
which incorporate society may fitly leave to its members is not a
fixed quantity, to be determined a priori by deduction from the
fiction called "natural rights"; but that it must be determined by,
and vary with, circumstances. I conceive it to be demonstrable that
the higher and the more complex the organization of the social body,
the more closely is the life of each member bound up with that of the
whole; and the larger becomes the category of acts which cease to be
merely self-regarding, and which interfere with the freedom of others
more or less seriously.

If a squatter, living ten miles away from any neighbour, chooses to
burn his house down to get rid of vermin, there may be no necessity
(in the absence of insurance offices) that the law should interfere
with his freedom of action; his act can hurt nobody but himself. But,
if the dweller in a street chooses to do the same thing, the State
very properly makes such a proceeding a crime, and punishes it as
such. He does meddle with his neighbour's freedom, and that seriously.
So it might, perhaps, be a tenable doctrine, that it would be
needless, and even tyrannous, to make education compulsory in a sparse
agricultural population, living in abundance on the produce of its own
soil; but, in a densely populated manufacturing country, struggling
for existence with competitors, every ignorant person tends to [229]
become a burden upon, and, so far, an infringer of the liberty of, his
fellows, and an obstacle to their success. Under such circumstances an
education rate is, in fact, a war tax, levied for purposes of defence.

That State action always has been more or less misdirected, and always
will be so, is, I believe, perfectly true. But I am not aware that it
is more true of the action of men in their corporate capacity than it
is of the doings of individuals. The wisest and most dispassionate man
in existence, merely wishing to go from one stile in a field to the
opposite, will not walk quite straight--he is always going a little
wrong, and always correcting himself; and I can only congratulate the
individualist who is able to say that his general course of life has
been of a less undulatory character. To abolish State action, because
its direction is never more than approximately correct, appears to me
to be much the same thing as abolishing the man at the wheel
altogether, because, do what he will, the ship yaws more or less. "Why
should I be robbed of my property to pay for teaching another man's
children?" is an individualist question, which is not unfrequently put
as if it settled the whole business. Perhaps it does, but I find
difficulties in seeing why it should. The parish in which I live makes
me pay my share for the paving and lighting of a great many streets
that I never pass through; [230] and I might plead that I am robbed to
smooth the way and lighten the darkness of other people. But I am
afraid the parochial authorities would not let me off on this plea;
and I must confess I do not see why they should.

I cannot speak of my own knowledge, but I have every reason to believe
that I came into this world a small reddish person, certainly without
a gold spoon in my mouth, and in fact with no discernible abstract or
concrete "rights" or property of any description. If a foot was not
set upon me, at once, as a squalling nuisance, it was either the
natural affection of those about me, which I certainly had done
nothing to deserve, or the fear of the law which, ages before my
birth, was painfully built up by the society into which I intruded,
that prevented that catastrophe. If I was nourished, cared for,
taught, saved from the vagabondage of a wastrel, I certainly am not
aware that I did anything to deserve those advantages. And, if I
possess anything now, it strikes me that, though I may have fairly
earned my day's wages for my day's work, and may justly call them my
property--yet, without that organization of society, created out of
the toil and blood of long generations before my time, I should
probably have had nothing but a flint axe and an indifferent hut to
call my own; and even those would be mine only so long as no stronger
savage came my way.

So that if society, having, quite gratuitously, [231] done all these
things for me, asks me in turn to do something towards its
preservation--even if that something is to contribute to the teaching
of other men's children--I really in spite of all my individualist
leanings, feel rather ashamed to say no. And if I were not ashamed, I
cannot say that I think that society would be dealing unjustly with me
in converting the moral obligation into a legal one. There is a
manifest unfairness in letting all the burden be borne by the willing

It does not appear to me, then, that there is any valid objection to
taxation for purposes of education; but, in the case of technical
schools and classes, I think it is practically expedient that such a
taxation should be local. Our industrial population accumulates in
particular towns and districts; these districts are those which
immediately profit by technical education; and it is only in them that
we can find the men practically engaged in industries, among whom some
may reasonably be expected to be competent judges of that which is
wanted, and of the best means of meeting the want.

In my belief, all methods of technical training are at present
tentative, and, to be successful, each must be adapted to the special
peculiarities of its locality. This is a case in which we want twenty
years, not of "strong government," but of cheerful and hopeful
blundering; and we may be [232] thankful if we get things straight in
that time.

The principle of the Bill introduced, but dropped, by the Government
last session, appears to me to be wise, and some of the objections to
it I think are due to a misunderstanding. The bill proposed in
substance to allow localities to tax themselves for purposes of
technical education--on the condition that any scheme for such purpose
should be submitted to the Science and Art Department, and declared by
that department to be in accordance with the intention of the

A cry was raised that the Bill proposed to throw technical education
into the hands of the Science and Art Department. But, in reality, no
power of initiation, nor even of meddling with details, was given to
that Department--the sole function of which was to decide whether any
plan proposed did or did not come within the limits of "technical
education." The necessity for such control, somewhere, is obvious. No
legislature, certainly not ours, is likely to grant the power of
self-taxation without setting limits to that power in some way; and it
would neither have been practicable to devise a legal definition of
technical education, nor commendable to leave the question to the
Auditor-General, to be fought out in the law-courts. The only
alternative was to leave the decision to an appropriate State
authority. If it is [233] asked what is the need of such control if
the people of the localities are the best judges, the obvious reply is
that there are localities and localities, and that while Manchester,
or Liverpool, or Birmingham, or Glasgow might, perhaps, be safely left
to do as they thought fit, smaller towns, in which there is less
certainty of full discussion by competent people of different ways of
thinking, might easily fall a prey to crocheteers.

Supposing our intermediate science teaching and our technical schools
and classes are established, there is yet a third need to be supplied,
and that is the want of good teachers. And it is necessary not only to
get them, but to keep them when you have got them.

It is impossible to insist too strongly upon the fact that the
efficient teachers of science and of technology are not to be made by
the processes in vogue at ordinary training colleges. The memory
loaded with mere bookwork is not the thing wanted--is, in fact, rather
worse than useless--in the teacher of scientific subjects. It is
absolutely essential that his mind should be full of knowledge and not
of mere learning, and that what he knows should have been learned in
the laboratory rather than in the library. There are happily already,
both in London and in the provinces, various places in which such
training is to be had, and the main thing at present is to make it in
the first place accessible, and in the next [234] indispensable, to
those who undertake the business of teaching. But when the well-trained
men are supplied, it must be recollected that the profession of
teacher is not a very lucrative or otherwise tempting one, and that it
may be advisable to offer special inducements to good men to remain in
it. These, however, are questions of detail into which it is
unnecessary to enter further.

Last, but not least, comes the question of providing the machinery for
enabling those who are by nature specially qualified to undertake the
higher branches of industrial work, to reach the position in which
they may render that service to the community. If all our educational
expenditure did nothing but pick one man of scientific or inventive
genius, each year, from amidst the hewers of wood and drawers of
water, and give him the chance of making the best of his inborn
faculties, it would be a very good investment.  If there is one such
child among the hundreds of thousands of our annual increase, it would
be worth any money to drag him either from the slough of misery, or
from the hotbed of wealth, and teach him to devote himself to the
service of his people. Here, again, we have made a beginning with our
scholarships and the like, and need only follow in the tracks already

The programme of industrial development briefly set forth in the
preceding pages is not what Kant calls a "Hirngespinnst," a cobweb
[235] spun in the brain of a Utopian philosopher. More or less of it
has taken bodily shape in many parts of the country, and there are
towns of no great size or wealth in the manufacturing districts
(Keighley, for example) in which almost the whole of it has, for some
time, been carried out, so far as the means at the disposal of the
energetic and public-spirited men who have taken the matter in hand
permitted. The thing can be done; I have endeavoured to show good
grounds for the belief that it must be done, and that speedily, if we
wish to hold our own in the war of industry. I doubt not that it will
be done, whenever its absolute necessity becomes as apparent to all
those who are absorbed in the actual business of industrial life as it
is to some of the lookers on.

Perhaps it is necessary for me to add that technical education is not
here proposed as a panacea for social diseases, but simply as a
medicament which will help the patient to pass through an imminent

An ophthalmic surgeon may recommend an operation for cataract in a man
who is going blind, without being supposed to undertake that it will
cure him of gout. And I may pursue the metaphor so far as to remark,
that the surgeon is justified in pointing out that a diet of
pork-chops and burgundy will probably kill his patient, though he may
be quite able to suggest a mode of living [236] which will free him
from his constitutional disorder.

Mr. Booth asks me, Why do you not propose some plan of your own?
Really, that is no answer to my argument that his treatment will make
the patient very much worse. [Note added in Social Diseases and Worse
Remedies, January, 1891.]


          LETTERS TO THE "Times"

                ON THE



The "Times," December 1st, 1890

SIR: A short time ago a generous and philanthropic friend wrote to me,
placing at my disposal a large sum of money for the furtherance of the
vast scheme which the "General" of the Salvation Army has propounded,
if I thought it worthy of support. The responsibility of advising my
benevolent correspondent has weighed heavily upon me, but I felt that
it would be cowardly, as well as ungracious, to refuse to accept it. I
have therefore studied Mr. Booth's book with some care, for the
purpose of separating the essential from the accessory features of his
project, and I have based my judgment--I am sorry to say an
unfavourable one--upon the data thus obtained. Before communicating my
conclusions to my friend, however, I am desirous to know what there
may be to be said in arrest of that judgment; [238] and the matter is
of such vast public importance that I trust you will aid me by
publishing this letter, notwithstanding its length.

There are one or two points upon which I imagine all thinking men have
arrived at the same convictions as those from which Mr. Booth starts.
It is certain that there is an immense amount of remediable misery
among us, that, in addition to the poverty, disease, and degradation
which are the consequences of causes beyond human control, there is a
vast, probably a very much larger, quantity of misery which is the
result of individual ignorance, or misconduct, and of faulty social
arrangements. Further, I think it is not to be doubted that, unless
this remediable misery is effectually dealt with, the hordes of vice
and pauperism will destroy modern civilization as effectually as
uncivilized tribes of another kind destroyed the great social
organization which preceded ours. Moreover, I think all will agree
that no reforms and improvements will go to the root of the evil
unless they attack it in its ultimate source--namely, the motives of
the individual man. Honest, industrious, and self-restraining men will
make a very bad social organization prosper; while vicious, idle, and
reckless citizens will bring to ruin the best that ever was, or ever
will be, invented.

The leading propositions which are peculiar to Mr. Booth I take to be

[239] (1) That the only adequate means to such reformation of the
individual man is the adoption of that form of somewhat corybantic
Christianity of which the soldiers of the Salvation Army are the
militant missionaries. This implies the belief that the excitement of
the religious emotions (largely by processes described by their
employers as "rousing" and "convivial") is a desirable and trustworthy
method of permanently amending the conduct of mankind.

I demur to these propositions. I am of opinion that the testimony of
history, no less than the cool observation of that which lies within
the personal experience of many of us, is wholly adverse to it.

   (2) That the appropriate instrument for the propagation and
maintenance of this peculiar sacramental enthusiasm is the Salvation
Army--a body of devotees, drilled and disciplined as a military
organization, and provided with a numerous hierarchy of officers,
every one of whom is pledged to blind and unhesitating obedience to
the "General," who frankly tells us that the first condition of the
service is "implicit, unquestioning obedience." "A telegram from me
will send any of them to the uttermost parts of the earth"; every one
"has taken service on the express condition that he or she will obey,
without questioning, or gainsaying, the orders from headquarters"
("Darkest England," p. 243).

[240] This proposition seems to me to be indisputable. History confirms
it.  Francis of Assisi and Ignatius Loyola made their great
experiments on the same principle. Nothing is more certain than that a
body of religious enthusiasts (perhaps we may even say fanatics)
pledged to blind obedience to their chief, is one of the most
efficient instruments for effecting any purpose that the wit of man
has yet succeeded in devising. And I can but admire the insight into
human nature which has led Mr. Booth to leave his unquestioning and
unhesitating instruments unbound by vows. A volunteer slave is worth
ten sworn bondsmen.

   (3) That the success of the Salvation Army, with its present force
of 9416 officers "wholly engaged in the work," its capital of three
quarters of a million, its income of the same amount, its 1375 corps
at home, and 1499 in the colonies and foreign countries (Appendix, pp.
3 and 4), is a proof that Divine assistance has been vouchsafed to its

Here I am not able to agree with the sanguine Commander-in-chief of
the new model, whose labours in creating it have probably interfered
with his acquisition of information respecting the fate of previous
enterprises of like kind.

It does not appear to me that his success is in any degree more
remarkable than that of Francis of Assisi or that of Ignatius Loyola,
than that [241] of George Fox, or even than that of the Mormons, in
our own time. When I observe the discrepancies of the doctrinal
foundations from which each of these great movements set out, I find
it difficult to suppose that supernatural aid has been given to all of
them; still more, that Mr. Booth's smaller measure of success is
evidence that it has been granted to him.

But what became of the Franciscan experiment?* If there was one rule
rather than another on which the founder laid stress, it was that his
army of friars should be absolute mendicants, keeping themselves
sternly apart from all worldly entanglements. Yet, even before the
death of Francis, in 1226, a strong party, headed by Elias of Cortona,
the deputy of his own appointment, began to hanker after these very
things; and, within thirty years of that time, the Franciscans had
become one of the most powerful, wealthy, and worldly corporations in
Christendom, with their fingers in every sink of political and social
corruption, if so be profit for the order could be fished out of it;
their principal interest being to fight their rivals, the Dominicans,
and to persecute such of their own brethren as were honest enough to
try to carry out their founder's plainest injunctions. We also know
what has become of Loyola's experiment. For two centuries the Jesuits
have been the hope of the enemies of the Papacy; whenever it becomes
too prosperous, they are sure to bring about a catastrophe by their
corrupt use of the political and social influence which their
organization and their wealth secure.

    * See note pp. 245-247]

[242] With these examples of that which may happen to institutions
founded by noble men, with high aims, in the hands of successors of a
different stamp, armed with despotic authority, before me, common
prudence surely requires that, before advising the handing over of a
large sum of money to the general of a new order of mendicants, I
should ask what guarantee there is that, thirty years hence, the
"General" who then autocratically controls the action, say, of 100,000
officers pledged to blind obedience, distributed through the whole
length and breadth of the poorer classes, and each with his finger on
the trigger of a mine charged with discontent and religious
fanaticism; with the absolute control, say, of eight or ten millions
sterling of capital and as many of income; with barracks in every town,
with estates scattered over the country, and with settlements in the
colonies--will exercise his enormous powers, not merely honestly, but
wisely? What shadow of security is there that the person who wields
this uncontrolled authority over many thousands of men shall use it
solely for those philanthropic and religious objects which, I do not
doubt, are alone in the mind of Mr. Booth? Who is to say that the
Salvation Army, in the year [243] 1920, shall not be a replica of what
the Franciscan order had become in the year 1260?

The personal character and the intentions of the founders of such
organizations as we are considering count for very little in the
formation of a forecast of their future; and if they did, it is no
disrespect to Mr.  Booth to say that he is not the peer of Francis of
Assisi. But if Francis's judgment of men was so imperfect as to permit
him to appoint an ambitious intriguer of the stamp of Brother Elias
his deputy, we have no right to be sanguine about the perspicacity of
Mr. Booth in a like matter.

Adding to all these considerations the fact that Mr. Llewelyn Davies,
the warmth of whose philanthropy is beyond question, and in whose
competency and fairness I, for one, place implicit reliance, flatly
denies the boasted success of the Salvation Army in its professed
mission, I have arrived at the conclusion that, as at present advised,
I cannot be the instrument of carrying out my friend's proposal.

Mr. Booth has pithily characterized certain benevolent schemes as
doing sixpennyworth of good and a shilling's worth of harm. I grieve
to say that, in my opinion, the definition exactly fits his own
project. Few social evils are of greater magnitude than uninstructed
and unchastened religious fanaticism; no personal habit more surely
degrades the conscience and the intellect than [244] blind and
unhesitating obedience to unlimited authority. Undoubtedly, harlotry
and intemperance are sore evils, and starvation is hard to bear, or
even to know of; but the prostitution of the mind, the soddening of
the conscience, the dwarfing of manhood are worse calamities. It is a
greater evil to have the intellect of a nation put down by organized
fanaticism; to see its political and industrial affairs at the mercy
of a despot whose chief thought is to make that fanaticism prevail; to
watch the degradation of men, who should feel themselves individually
responsible for their own and their country's fates, to mere brute
instruments, ready to the hand of a master for any use to which he may
put them.

But that is the end to which, in my opinion, all such organizations as
that to which kindly people, who do not look to the consequences of
their acts, are now giving their thousands, inevitably tend. Unless
clear proof that I am wrong is furnished, another thousand shall not
be added by my instrumentality.

              I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
                                  T. H. Huxley.



An authoritative contemporary historian, Matthew Paris, writes thus of
the Minorite, or Franciscan, Friars in England in 1235, just nine
years after the death of Francis of Assisi:--

"At this time some of the Minorite brethren, as well as some of the
Order of Preachers, unmindful of their profession and the restrictions
of their order, impudently entered the territories of some noble
monasteries, under pretense of fulfilling their duties of preaching,
as if intending to depart after preaching the next day. Under pretence
of sickness, or on some other pretext, however, they remained, and,
constructing an altar of wood, they placed on it a consecrated stone
altar, which they had brought with them, and clandestinely and in a
low voice performed mass, and even received the confessions of many of
the parishioners, to the prejudice of the priests.  And if by chance
they were not satisfied with this, they broke forth in insults and
threats, reviling every other order except their own, and asserting
that all the rest were doomed to damnation, and that they would not
spare the soles of their feet till they had exhausted the wealth of
their opposers, however great it might be. The religious men,
therefore, gave way to them in many points, yielding to avoid scandal,
and offending those in power. For they were the councillors and
messengers of the nobles, and even secretaries of the Pope, and
therefore obtained much [246] secular favour. Some, however, finding
themselves opposed by the Court of Rome, were restrained by obvious
reasons, and went away in confusion; for the Supreme Pontiff, with a
scowling look, said to them, 'What means this, my brethren?  To what
lengths are you going? Have you not professed voluntary poverty, and
that you would traverse towns and castles and distant places, as the
case required, barefooted and unostentatiously, in order to preach the
word of God in all humility? And do you now presume to usurp these
estates to yourselves against the will of the lords of these fees?
Your religion appears to be in a great measure dying away, and your
doctrines to be confuted."

Under date of 1243, Matthew writes:--

"For three or four hundred years or more the monastic order did not
hasten to destruction so quickly as their order [Minorites and
Preachers] of whom now the brothers, twenty-four years having scarcely
elapsed, had first built in England dwellings which rivalled regal
palaces in height. These are they who daily expose to view their
inestimable treasures, in enlarging their sumptuous edifices, and
erecting lofty walls, thereby impudently transgressing the limits of
their original poverty and violating the basis of their religion,
according to the prophecy of German Hildegarde. When noblemen and rich
men are at the point of death, whom they know to be possessed of great
riches, they, in their love of gain, diligently urge them, to the
injury and loss of the ordinary pastors, and extort confessions and
hidden wills, lauding themselves and their own order only, [247] and
placing themselves before all others. So no faithful man now believes
he can be saved, except he is directed by the counsels of the
Preachers and Minorites."--Matthew Paris's English History. Translated
by the Rev. J. A.  Giles, 1889, Vol. I.


The "Times," December 9th, 1890

Sir,--The purpose of my previous letter about Mr. Booth's scheme was
to arouse the contributors to the military chest of the Salvation Army
to a clear sense of what they are doing. I thought it desirable that
they should be distinctly aware that they are setting up and endowing
a sect, in many ways analogous to the "Ranters" and "Revivalists" of
undesirable notoriety in former times; but with this immensely
important difference, that it possesses a strong, far-reaching,
centralized organization, the disposal of the physical, moral, and
financial strength of which rests with an irresponsible chief, who,
according to his own account, is assured of the blind obedience of
nearly 10,000 subordinates. I wish them to ask themselves, Ought
prudent men and good citizens to aid in the establishment of an
organization which, under sundry, by no means improbable,
contingencies, may easily become a worse and more [248] dangerous
nuisance than the mendicant friars of the middle ages? If this is an
academic question, I really do not know what questions deserve to be
called practical. As you divined, I purposely omitted any
consideration of the details of the Salvationist scheme, and of the
principles which animate those who work it, because I desired that the
public appreciation of the evils, necessarily inherent in all such
plans of despotic social and religious regimentation should not be
obscured by the raising of points of less comparative, however great
absolute, importance.

But it is now time to undertake a more particular criticism of
"Darkest England." At the outset of my examination of that work, I was
startled to find that Mr. Booth had put forward his scheme with an
almost incredibly imperfect knowledge of what had been done and is
doing in the same direction. A simple reader might well imagine that
the author of "Darkest England" posed as the Columbus, or at any rate
the Cortez, of that region.  "Go to Mudie's," he tells us, and you
will be surprised to see how few books there are upon the social
problem. That may or may not be correct; but if Mr. Booth had gone to
a certain reading-room not far from Mudie's, I undertake to say that
the well-informed and obliging staff of the national library in
Bloomsbury would have provided him with more books on this topic, in
almost all European languages, than he would [249] read in three
months.  Has socialism no literature? And what is socialism but an
incarnation of the social question? Moreover, I am persuaded that even
"Mudie's" resources could have furnished Mr. Booth with the "Life of
Lord Shaftesbury" and Carlyle's works. Mr. Booth seems to have
undertaken to instruct the world without having heard of "Past and
Present" or of "Latter-Day Pamphlets"; though, somewhat late in the
day, a judicious friend calls his attention to them. To those of my
contemporaries on whom, as on myself, Carlyle's writings on this topic
made an ineffaceable impression forty years ago, who know that, for
all that time, hundreds of able and devoted men, both clerical and
lay, have worked heart and soul for the permanent amendment of the
condition of the poor, Mr. Booth's "Go to Mudie's" affords an apt
measure of the depth of his preliminary studies. However, I am bound
to admit that these earlier labourers in the field laboured in such a
different fashion, that the originality of the plan started by Mr.
Booth remains largely unaffected. For them no drums have beat, no
trombones brayed; no sanctified buffoonery, after the model of the
oration of the Friar in Wallenstein's camp dear to the readers of
Schiller, has tickled the ears of the groundlings on their behalf.
Sadly behind the great age of rowdy self-advertisement in which their
lot has fallen, they seem not to have advanced one whit [250] beyond
John the Baptist and the Apostles, 1800 years ago, in their notions of
the way in which the metanoia, the change of mind of the ill-doer, is
to be brought about. Yet the new model was there, ready for the
imitation of those ancient savers of souls. The ranting and roaring
mystagogues of some of the most venerable of Greek and Syrian cults
also had their processions and banners, their fifes and cymbals and
holy chants, their hierarchy of officers to whom the art of making
collections was not wholly unknown; and who, as freely as their modern
imitators, promised an Elysian future to contributory converts. The
success of these antique Salvation armies was enormous. Simon Magus
was quite as notorious a personage, and probably had as strong a
following as Mr. Booth. Yet the Apostles, with their old-fashioned
ways, would not accept such a success as a satisfactory sign of the
Divine sanction, nor depart from their own methods of leading the way
to the higher life.

I deem it unessential to verify Mr. Booth's statistics. The exact
strength of the population of the realm of misery, be it one, two, or
three millions, has nothing to do with the efficacy of any means
proposed for the highly desirable end of reducing it to a minimum. The
sole question for consideration at present is whether the scheme,
keeping specially in view the spirit in which it is to be worked, is
likely to do more good than harm.

[251] Mr. Booth tells us, with commendable frankness, that "it is
primarily and mainly for the sake of saving the soul that I seek the
salvation of the body" (p. 45), which language, being interpreted,
means that the propagation of the special Salvationist creed comes
first, and the promotion of the physical, intellectual, and purely
moral welfare of mankind second in his estimation. Men are to be made
sober and industrious, mainly, that, as washed, shorn, and docile
sheep, they may be driven into the narrow theological fold which Mr.
Booth patronizes. If they refuse to enter, for all their moral
cleanliness, they will have to take their place among the goats as
sinners, only less dirty than the rest.

I have been in the habit of thinking (and I believe the opinion is
largely shared by reasonable men) that self-respect and thrift are the
rungs of the ladder by which men may most surely climb out of the
slough of despond of want; and I have regarded them as perhaps the
most eminent of the practical virtues. That is not Mr. Booth's
opinion. For him they are mere varnished sins--nothing better than
"Pride re-baptised" (p. 46). Shutting his eyes to the necessary
consequences of the struggle for life, the existence of which he
accepts as fully as any Darwinian,* Mr. Booth tells men, whose evil
case is one of those consequences, that envy is a corner-stone of our
[252] competitive system. With thrift and self-respect denounced as
sin, with the suffering of starving men referred to the sins of the
capitalist, the gospel according to Mr. Booth may save souls, but it
will hardly save society.

    * See p. 100

In estimating the social and political influence which the Salvation
Army is likely to exert, it is important to reflect that the officers
(pledged to blind obedience to their "General") are not to confine
themselves to the functions of mere deacons and catechists (though,
under a "General" like Cyril, Alexandria knew to her cost what even
they could effect); they are to be "tribunes of the people," who are
to act as their gratuitous legal advisers; and, when law is not
sufficiently effective, the whole force of the army is to obtain what
the said tribunes may conceive to be justice, by the practice of
ruthless intimidation. Society, says Mr. Booth, needs "mothering"; and
he sets forth, with much complacency, a variety of "cases," by which
we may estimate the sort of "mothering" to be expected at his parental
hands. Those who study the materials thus set before them will, I
think, be driven to the conclusion that the "mother" has already
proved herself a most unscrupulous meddler, even if she has not fallen
within reach of the arm of the law.

Consider this "case." A, asserting herself to have been seduced twice,
"applied to our people. We hunted up the man, followed him to the
country, [253] threatened him with public exposure, and forced from
him the payment to his victim of [Pounds] 60 down, an allowance of
[Pounds] 1 a week, and an insurance policy on his life for [Pounds]
450 in her favour" (p. 222) .

Jedburgh justice this. We "constitute ourselves prosecutor, judge,
jury, sheriff's officer, all in one;" we "practice intimidation as
deftly as if we were a branch of another League; and, under threat of
exposure," we "extort a tolerably heavy hush-money in payment of our
silence. "

Well, really, my poor moral sense is unable to distinguish these
remarkable proceedings of the new popular tribunate from what, in
French, is called chantage and, in plain English, blackmailing. And
when we consider that anybody, for any reason of jealousy, or personal
spite, or party hatred, might be thus "hunted," "followed,"
"threatened," and financially squeezed or ruined, without a particle
of legal investigation, at the will of a man whom the familiar charged
with the inquisitorial business dare not hesitate to obey, surely it
is not unreasonable to ask how far does the Salvation Army, in its
"tribune of the people" aspect, differ from a Sicilian Mafia? I am no
apologist of men guilty of the acts charged against the person who
yet, I think, might be as fairly called a "victim," in this case, as
his partner in wrong-doing. It is possible that, in so peculiar a
case, Solomon himself might have been puzzled [254] to apportion the
relative moral delinquency of the parties. However that may be, the
man was morally and legally bound to support his child, and any one
would have been justified in helping the woman to her legal rights,
and the man to the legal consequences (in which exposure is included)
of his fault.

The action of the "General" of the Salvation Army in extorting the
heavy fine he chose to impose as the price of his silence, however
excellent his motives, appears to me to be as immoral as, I hope, it
is illegal.

So much for the Salvation Army as a teacher of questionable ethics and
of eccentric economics, as the legal adviser who recommends and
practices the extraction of money by intimidation, as the fairy
godmother who proposes to "mother" society, in a fashion which is not
to my taste, however much it may commend itself to some of Mr. Booth's

                  I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
                                      T. H. Huxley.



       The "Times," December 11th, 1890

Sir,--When I first addressed you on the subject of the projected
operations of the Salvation Army, all that I knew about that body was
derived from the study of Mr. Booth's book, from common repute, and
from occasional attention to the sayings and doings of his noisy
squadrons, with which my walks about London, in past years, have made
me familiar. I was quite unaware of the existence of evidence
respecting the present administration of the Salvation forces, which
would have enabled me to act upon the sagacious maxim of the American
humourist, "Don't prophesy unless you know." The letter you were good
enough to publish has brought upon me a swarm of letters and
pamphlets.  Some favour me with abuse; some thoughtful correspondents
warmly agree with me, and then proceed to point out how much worthier
certain schemes of their own are of my friend's support; some send
valuable encouragement, for which I offer my hearty thanks, and ask
them to excuse any more special acknowledgment. But that which I find
most to the purpose, just now, is the revelation made by some of the
documents which have reached me, of a fact of which I was wholly
ignorant--namely, that [256] persons who have faithfully and zealously
served in the Salvation Army, who express unchanged attachment to its
original principles and practice, and who have been in close official
relations with the "General" have publicly declared that the process
of degradation of the organization into a mere engine of fanatical
intolerance and personal ambition, which I declared was inevitable,
has already set in and is making rapid progress.

It is out of the question, Sir, that I should occupy the columns of
the "Times" with a detailed exposition and criticism of these pieces
justificatives of my forecast. I say criticism, because the assertions
of persons who have quitted any society must, in fairness, be taken
with the caution that is required in the case of all ex parte
statements of hostile witnesses. But it is, at any rate, a notable
fact that there are parts of my first letter, indicating the inherent
and necessary evil consequences of any such organization, which might
serve for abstracts of portions of this evidence, long since printed
and published under the public responsibility of the witnesses.

Let us ask the attention of your readers, in the first place, to "An
ex-Captain's Experience of the Salvation Army," by J. J. R. Redstone,
the genuineness of which is guaranteed by the preface (dated April
5th, 1888) which the Rev. Dr. Cunningham Geikie has supplied. Mr.
Redstone's story is well worth reading on its own account.

[257] Told in simple, direct language such as John Bunyan might have
used, it permits no doubt of the single-minded sincerity of the man,
who gave up everything to become an officer of the Salvation Army,
but, exhibiting a sad want of that capacity for unhesitating and blind
obedience on which Mr.  Booth lays so much stress, was thrown aside,
penniless--no, I am wrong, with 2s. 4d. for his last week's salary--to
shift, with his equally devoted wife, as he best might. I wish I could
induce intending contributors to Mr.  Booth's army chest to read Mr.
Redstone's story. I would particularly ask them to contrast the pure
simplicity of his plain tale with the artificial pietism and
slobbering unction of the letters which Mr. Ballington Booth addresses
to his "dear boy" (a married man apparently older than himself), so
long as the said "dear boy" is facing brickbats and starvation, as per

I confess that my opinion of the chiefs of the Salvation Army has been
so distinctly modified by the perusal of this pamphlet that I am glad
to be relieved from the necessity of expressing it. It will be much
better that I should cite a few sentences from the preface written by
Dr. Cunningham Geikie, who expresses warm admiration for the early and
uncorrupted work of the Salvation Army, and cannot possibly be accused
of prejudice against it on religious grounds:--

   (1) "The Salvation Army is emphatically a [258] family concern. Mr.
Booth, senior, is General; one son is chief of the staff, and the
remaining sons and daughters engross the other chief positions. It is
Booth all over; indeed, like the sun in your eyes, you can see nothing
else wherever you turn. And, as Dr. Geikie shrewdly remarks, 'to be
the head of a widely spread sect carries with it many advantages--not
all exclusively spiritual.'"

   (2) "Whoever becomes a Salvation officer is henceforth a slave,
helplessly exposed to the caprice of his superiors."

"Mr. Redstone bore an excellent character both before he entered the
army and when he left it. To join it, though a married man, he gave up
a situation which he had held for five years, and he served Mr. Booth
two years, working hard in most difficult posts. His one fault, Major
Lawley tells us, was, that he was 'too straight'--that is, too honest,
truthful, and manly--or, in other words, too real a Christian. Yet
without trial, without formulated charges, on the strength of secret
complaints which were never, apparently, tested, he was dismissed with
less courtesy than most people would show a beggar--with 2s. 4d. for
his last week's salary. If there be any mistake in this matter, I
shall be glad to learn it."

   (3) Dr. Geikie confirms, on the ground of information given
confidentially by other officers, [259] Mr. Redstone's assertion that
they are watched and reported by spies from headquarters.

   (4) Mr. Booth refuses to guarantee his officers any fixed amount of
salary. While he and his family of high officials live in comfort, if
not in luxury, the pledged slaves whose devotion is the foundation of
any true success the Army has met with often have "hardly food enough
to sustain life. One good fellow frankly told me that when he had
nothing he just went and begged."

At this point, it is proper that I should interpose an apology for
having hastily spoken of such men as Francis of Assisi, even for
purposes of warning, in connection with Mr. Booth. Whatever may be
thought of the wisdom of the plans of the founders of the great
monastic orders of the middle ages, they took their full share of
suffering and privation, and never shirked in their own persons the
sacrifices they imposed on their followers.

I have already expressed the opinion, that whatever the ostensible
purpose of the scheme under discussion, one of its consequences will
be the setting up and endowment of a new Ranter-Socialist sect. I may
now add that another effect will be--indeed, has been--to set up and
endow the Booth dynasty with unlimited control of the physical, moral,
and financial resources of the sect. Mr. Booth is already a printer
and publisher, who, it is plainly declared, utilizes the officers of
the [260] Army as agents for advertising and selling his publications;
and some of them are so strongly impressed with the belief that active
pushing of Mr. Booth's business is the best road to their master's
favour, that when the public obstinately refuse to purchase his papers
they buy them themselves and send the proceeds to headquarters. Mr.
Booth is also a retail trader on a large scale, and the Dean of Wells
has, most seasonably, drawn attention to the very notable banking
project which he is trying to float. Any one who follows Dean
Plumptre's clear exposition of the principles of this financial
operation can have little doubt that, whether they are, or are not,
adequate to the attainment of the first and second of Mr. Booth's
ostensible objects, they may be trusted to effect a wide extension of
any kingdom in which worldly possessions are of no value. We are, in
fact, in sight of a financial catastrophe like that of Law a century
ago. Only it is the poor who will suffer.

I have already occupied too much of your space, and yet I have drawn
upon only one of the sources of information about the inner working of
the Salvation Army at my disposition. Far graver charges than any here
dealt with are publicly brought in the others.

                   I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
                                       T. H. Huxley.

[261] P.S.-- I have just read Mr. Buchanan's letter in the Times of
to-day.  Mr. Buchanan is, I believe, an imaginative writer. I am not
acquainted with his works, but nothing in the way of fiction he has
yet achieved can well surpass his account of my opinions and of the
purport of my writings.


The "Times" December 20th, 1890

Sir,--In discussing Mr. Booth's projects I have hitherto left in the
background a distinction which must be kept well in sight by those who
wish to form a fair judgment of the influence, for good or evil, of
the Salvation Army. Salvationism, the work of "saving souls" by
revivalist methods, is one thing; Boothism, the utilization of the
workers for the furtherance of Mr.  Booth's peculiar projects, is
another. Mr. Booth has captured, and harnessed with sharp bits and
effectual blinkers, a multitude of ultra-Evangelical missionaries of
the revivalist school who were wandering at large. It is this
skilfully, if somewhat mercilessly, driven team which has dragged the
"General's" coach-load of projects into their present position.

[262] Looking, then, at the host of Salvationists proper, from the
"captains" downwards (to whom, in my judgment, the family hierarchy
stands in the relation of the Old Man of the Sea to Sinbad), as an
independent entity, I desire to say that the evidence before me,
whether hostile or friendly to the General and his schemes, is
distinctly favourable to them.  It exhibits them as, in the main,
poor, uninstructed, not unfrequently fanatical, enthusiasts, the
purity of whose lives, the sincerity of whose belief, and the
cheerfulness of whose endurance of privation and rough usage, in what
they consider a just cause, command sincere respect. For my part,
though I conceive the corybantic method of soul-saving to be full of
dangers, and though the theological speculations of these good people
are to me wholly unacceptable, yet I believe that the evils which must
follow in the track of such errors, as of all other errors, will be
largely outweighed by the moral and social improvement of the people
whom they convert. I would no more raise my voice against them (so
long as they abstain from annoying their neighbours) than I would
quarrel with a man, vigorously sweeping out a stye, on account of the
shape of his broom, or because he made a great noise over his work. I
have always had a strong faith in the principle of the injunction,
"Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn." If a
kingdom is worth a Mass, as a great [263] ruler said, surely the reign
of clean living, industry, and thrift is worth any quantity of
tambourines and eccentric doctrinal hypotheses. All that I have
hitherto said, and propose further to say, is directed against Mr.
Booth's extremely clever, audacious, and hitherto successful attempt
to utilize the credit won by all this honest devotion and
self-sacrifice for the purposes of his socialistic autocracy.

I now propose to bring forward a little more evidence as to how things
really stand where Mr. Booth's system has had a fair trial. I obtain
it, mainly, from a curious pamphlet, the title of which runs: "The New
Papacy.  Behind the Scenes in the Salvation Army," by an ex-Staff
Officer. "Make not my Father's house a house of merchandise" (John ii.
16). 1889. Published at Toronto, by A. Britnell. On the cover it is
stated that "This is the book which was burned by the authorities of
the Salvation Army." I remind the reader, once more, that the
statements which I shall cite must be regarded as ex parte; all I can
vouch for is that, on grounds of internal evidence and from other
concurrent testimony respecting the ways of the Booth hierarchy, I
feel justified in using them.

This is the picture the writer draws of the army in the early days of
its invasion of the Dominion of Canada:--

[264] "Then, it will be remembered, it professed to be the humble
handmaid of the existing churches; its professed object was the
evangelization of the masses. It repudiated the idea of building up a
separate religious body, and it denounced the practice of gathering
together wealth and the accumulation of property. Men and women other
than its own converts gathered around it and threw themselves heart
and soul into the work, for the simple reason that it offered, as they
supposed, a more extended and widely open field for evangelical
effort. Ministers everywhere were invited and welcomed to its
platforms, majors and colonels were few and far between, and the
supremacy and power of the General were things unknown . . .  Care was
taken to avoid anything like proselytism; its converts were never
coerced into joining its ranks...  In a word, the organization
occupied the position of an auxiliary mission and recruiting agency
for the various religious bodies.... The meetings were crowded, people
professed conversion by the score, the public liberally supplied the
means to carry on the work in their respective communities; therefore
every corps was wholly self-supporting, its officers were properly, if
not luxuriously, cared for, the local expenditure was amply provided,
and, under the supervision of the secretary, a local member, and the
officer in charge, the funds were disbursed in the towns where they
were collected, and the [265] spirit of satisfaction and confidence
was mutual all around" (pp. 4, 5).

Such was the army as the green tree. Now for the dry:--

"Those who have been daily conversant with the army's machinery are
well aware how entirely and radically the whole system has changed,
and how, from a band of devoted and disinterested workers, united in
the bonds of zeal and charity for the good of their fellows, it has
developed into a colossal and aggressive agency for the building up of
a system and a sect, bound by rules and regulations altogether
subversive of religious liberty and antagonistic to every (other?)
branch of Christian endeavour, and bound hand and foot to the will of
one supreme head and ruler.... As the work has spread through the
country, and as the area of its endeavours has enlarged, each leading
position has been filled, one after the other, by individuals strangers
to the country, totally ignorant of the sentiments and idiosyncrasies
of the Canadian people, trained in one school under the teachings and
dominance of a member of the Booth family, and out of whom every idea
has been crushed, except that of unquestioning obedience to the
General, and the absolute necessity of going forward to his bidding
without hesitation or question" (p. 6).

[266] "What is the result of all this? In the first place, whilst
material prosperity has undoubtedly been attained, spirituality has
been quenched, and, as an evangelical agency, the army has become
almost a dead letter...  In seventy-five per cent of its stations its
officers suffer need and privation, chiefly on account of the heavy
taxation that is placed upon them to maintain an imposing headquarters
and a large ornamental staff. The whole financial arrangements are
carried on by a system of inflation and a hand-to-mouth extravagance
and blindness as to future contingencies. Nearly all of its original
workers and members have disappeared" (p. 7). "In reference to the
religious bodies at large the army has become entirely antagonistic.
Soldiers are forbidden by its rules to attend other places of worship
without the permission of their officers...  Officers or soldiers who
may conscientiously leave the service or the ranks are looked upon and
often denounced publicly as backsliders...  Means of the most
despicable description have been resorted to in order to starve them
back to the service" (p. 8). "In its inner workings the army system is
identical with Jesuitism...  That 'the end justifies the means,' if
not openly taught, is as tacitly agreed as in that celebrated order"
(p. 9).

Surely a bitter, overcharged, anonymous libel, is the reflection which
will occur to many who read [267] these passages, especially the last.
Well, I turn to other evidence which, at any rate, is not anonymous.
It is contained in a pamphlet entitled "General Booth, the Family, and
the Salvation Army, showing its Rise, Progress, and Moral and
Spiritual Decline," by S. H.  Hodges, LL.B., late Major in the Army,
and formerly private secretary to General Booth (Manchester, 1890). I
recommend potential contributors to Mr.  Booth's wealth to study this
little work also. I have learned a great deal from it. Among other
interesting novelties, it tells me that Mr. Booth has discovered "the
necessity of a third step or blessing, in the work of Salvation. He
said to me one day, 'Hodges, you have only two barrels to your gun; I
have three'" (p. 31). And if Mr. Hodges's description of this third
barrel is correct--"giving up your conscience" and, "for God and the
army, stooping to do things which even honourable worldly men would
not consent to do" (p. 32)--it is surely calculated to bring down a
good many things, the first principles of morality among them.

Mr. Hodges gives some remarkable examples of the army practice with
the "General's" new rifle. But I must refer the curious to his
instructive pamphlet. The position I am about to take up is a serious
one; and I prefer to fortify it by the help of evidence which, though
some of it may be anonymous, cannot be sneered away. And I shall [268]
be believed, when I say that nothing but a sense of the great social
danger of the spread of Boothism could induce me to revive a scandal,
even though it is barely entitled to the benefit of the Statute of

On the 7th of July, 1883, you, Sir, did the public a great service by
writing a leading article on the notorious "Eagle" case, from which I
take the following extract:--

"Mr. Justice Kay refused the application, but he was induced to refuse
it by means which, as Mr. Justice Stephen justly remarked, were highly
discreditable to Mr. Booth. Mr. Booth filed an affidavit which appears
totally to have misled Mr. Justice Kay, as it would have misled any one
who regarded it as a frank and honest statement by a professed teacher
of religion."

When I addressed my first letter to you I had never so much as heard of
the "Eagle" scandal. But I am thankful that my perception of the
inevitable tendency of all religious autocracies towards evil was
clear enough to bring about a provisional condemnation of Mr. Booth's
schemes in my mind.  Supposing that I had decided the other way, with
what sort of feeling should I have faced my friend, when I had to
confess that the money had passed into the absolute control of a
person about the character of whose administration this [269]
concurrence of damnatory evidence was already extant?

I have nothing to say about Mr. Booth personally, for I know nothing.
On that subject, as on several others, I profess myself an agnostic.
But, if he is, as he may be, a saint actuated by the purest of
motives, he is not the first saint who, as you have said, has shown
himself "in the ardour of prosecuting a well-meant object" to be
capable of overlooking "the plain maxims of every-day morality." If I
were a Salvationist soldier, I should cry with Othello, "Cassio, I
love thee; but never more be officer of mine."

               I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
                                   T. H. Huxley.


The "Times," December 24th, 1890--

Sir,--If I have any strong points, finance is certainly not one of
them. But the financial, or rather fiscal, operations of the General
of the Salvation Army, as they are set forth and exemplified in "The
New Papacy," possess that grand simplicity which is the mark of
genius; [270] and even I can comprehend them--or, to be more modest, I
can portray them in such a manner that every lineament, however harsh,
and every shade, however dark, can be verified by published evidence.

Suppose there is a thriving, expanding colonial town, and that,
scattered among its artisans and labourers, there is a sprinkling of
Methodists, or other such ultra-evangelical good people, doing their
best, in a quiet way, to "save souls." Clearly, this is an outpost
which it is desirable to capture. "We," therefore, take measures to
get up a Salvation "boom" of the ordinary pattern. Enthusiasm is
roused. A score or two of soldiers are enlisted into the ranks of the
Salvation Army. "We" select the man who promises to serve our purposes
best, make a "captain" of him, and put him in command of the "corps."
He is very pleased and grateful; and indeed he ought to be. All he has
done is that he has given up his trade; that he has promised to work
at least nine hours a day in our service (none of your eight-hour
nonsense for us) as collector, bookseller, general agent, and anything
else we may order him to be. "We," on the other hand, guarantee him
nothing whatever; to do so might weaken his faith and substitute
worldly for spiritual ties between us. Knowing that, if he exerts
himself in a right spirit, his labours will surely be blessed, we
content ourselves with telling him that if, after all [271] expenses
are paid and our demands are satisfied each week, 25s. remains, he may
take it. And, if nothing remains, he may take that, and stay his
stomach with what the faithful may give him.  With a certain grim
playfulness, we add that the value of these contributions will be
reckoned as so much salary. So long as our "captain" is successful,
therefore, a beneficent spring of cash trickles unseen into our
treasury; when it begins to dry up we say, "God bless you, dear boy,"
turn him adrift (with or without 2s. 4d. in his pocket), and put some
other willing horse in the shafts.

The "General," I believe, proposes, among other things, to do away
with "sweating." May he not as well set a good example by beginning at
home? My little sketch, however, looks so like a monstrous caricature
that, after all, I must produce the original from the pages of my
Canadian authority. He says that a "captain" "has to pay 10 per cent.
of all collections and donations to the divisional fund for the
support of his divisional officer, who has also the privilege of
arranging for such special meetings as he shall think fit, the
proceeds of which he takes away for the general needs of the division.
Headquarters, too, has the right to hold such special meetings at the
corps and send around such special attractions as its wisdom sees fit,
and to take away the proceeds for the purposes it decides upon.

[272] He has to pay the rent of his building, either to headquarters or
a private individual; he has to send the whole collection of the
afternoon meeting of the first Sunday in the month to the 'Extension
Fund' at headquarters; he has to pay for the heating, lighting, and
cleaning of his hall, together with such necessary repairs as may be
needed; he has to provide the food, lodging, and clothing of his
cadet, if he has one; headquarters taxes him with so many copies of
the army papers each week, for which he has to pay, sold or unsold;
and when he has done this, he may take $6 (or $5, being a woman), or
such proportion of it as may be left, with which to clothe and feed
himself and to pay the rent and provide for the heating and lighting
of his quarters. If he has a lieutenant he has to pay him $6 per week,
or such proportion of it as he himself gets, and share the house
expenses with him. Now, it will be easily understood that at least 60
per cent. of the stations in Canada the officer gets no money at all,
and he has to beg specially amongst his people for his house-rent and
food. There are few places in the Dominion in which the soldiers do
not find their officers in all the food they need; but it must be
remembered that the value of the food so received has to be accounted
for at headquarters and entered upon the books of the corps as cash
received, the amount being deducted from any moneys that the officer
is able to take from the [273] week's collections. So that, no matter
how much may be specially given, the officer cannot receive more than
the value of $6 per week. The officer cannot collect any arrears of
salary, as each week has to pay its own expenses; and if there is any
surplus cash after all demands are met it must be sent to the 'war
chest' at headquarters."--"The New Papacy" (pp. 35, 36).

Evidently, Sir, "headquarters" has taken to heart the injunction about
casting your bread upon the waters. It casts the crumb of a day or
two's work of an emissary, and gets back any quantity of loaves of
cash, so long as "captains" present themselves to be used up and
replaced by new victims.  What can be said of these devoted poor
fellows except, O sancta simplicitas!

But it would be a great mistake to suppose that the money-gathering
efficacy of Mr. Booth's fiscal agencies is exhausted by the foregoing
enumeration of their regular operations. Consider the following
edifying history of the "Rescue Home" in Toronto:--

"It is a fine building in the heart of the city; the lot cost $7,000,
and a building was put up at a cost of $7,000 more, and there is a
mortgage on it amounting to half the cost of the whole. The land
to-day would probably fetch double its original price, and every year
enhances its value....In the first five months of its [274] existence
this institution received from the public an income of $1,812 70c.;
out of this $600 was paid to headquarters for rent, $590 52c. was
spent upon the building in various ways, and the balance of $622 18c.
paid the salaries of the staff and supported the inmates" (pp. 24,

Said I not truly that Mr. Booth's fisc bears the stamp of genius? Who
else could have got the public to buy him a "corner lot," put a
building upon it, pay all its working expenses: and then, not content
with paying him a heavy rent for the use of the handsome present they
had made him, they say not a word against his mortgaging it to half
its value? And, so far as any one knows, there is nothing to stop
headquarters from selling the whole estate tomorrow, and using the
money as the "General" may direct.

Once more listen to the author of "The New Papacy," who affirms that
"out of the funds given by the Dominion for the evangelization of the
people by means of the Salvation Army, one sixth had been spent in the
extension of the Kingdom of God, and the other five sixths had been
invested in valuable property, all handed over to Mr. Booth and his
heirs and assigns, as we have already stated" (p. 26).

And this brings me to the last point upon which I wish to touch. The
answer to all inquiries as to what has become of the enormous [275]
personal and real estate which has been given over to Mr. Booth is
that it is held "in trust." The supporters of Mr. Booth may feel
justified in taking that statement "on trust." I do not. Anyhow, the
more completely satisfactory this "trust" is, the less can any man who
asks the public to put blind faith in his integrity and his wisdom
object to acquaint them exactly with its provisions. Is the trust
drawn up in favour of the Salvation Army? But what is the legal status
of the Salvation Army? Have the soldiers any claim?  Certainly not.
Have the officers any legal interest in the "trust"? Surely not. The
"General" has taken good care to insist on their renouncing all claims
as a condition of their appointment. Thus, to all appearance, the
army, as a legal person, is identical with Mr. Booth. And, in that
case, any "trust" ostensibly for the benefit of the army is--what
shall we say that is at once accurate and polite?

I conclude with these plain questions--Will Mr. Booth take counsel's
opinion as to whether there is anything in such legal arrangements as
he has at present made which prevents him from disposing of the wealth
he has accumulated at his own will and pleasure? Will anybody be in a
position to set either the civil or the criminal law in motion against
him or his successors if he or they choose to spend every farthing in
ways very different from those contemplated by the donors?

[276] I may add that a careful study of the terms of a "Declaration of
Trust by William Booth in favour of the Christian Mission," made in
1878, has not enabled persons of much greater competence than myself
to answer these questions satisfactorily.*

                 I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
                                     T. H. Huxley.

    * See Preface to this volume, pp. ix-xiii.

On December 24th a letter appeared in the "Times" signed "J. S.
Trotter," in which the following passages appear:--

"It seems a pity to put a damper on the spirits of those who agree
with Professor Huxley in his denunciation of General Booth and all his
works. May I give a few particulars as to the 'book' which was
published in Canada? I had the pleasure of an interview with the
author of a book written in Canada. The book was printed at Toronto,
and two copies only struck off by the printers; one of these copies
was stolen from the printer, and the quotation sent to you by
Professor Huxley was inserted in the book, and is consequently a
forgery. The book was published without the consent and against the
will of the author.

[277] "So the quotation is not only 'a bitter, overcharged anonymous
libel,' as Professor Huxley intimates, but a forgery as well. As to
Mr. Hodges, it seems to me to be simply trifling with your readers to
bring him in as an authority. He was turned out of the army, out of
kindness taken on again, and again dismissed. If this had happened to
one of your staff, would his opinion of the 'Times' as a newspaper be
taken for gospel?"

But in the "Times" of December 29th Mr. J. S. Trotter writes:--

"I find I was mistaken in saying, in my letter of Wednesday, to the
'Times' that Mr. Hodges was dismissed from the service of General
Booth, and regret any inconvenience the statement may have caused to
Mr. Hodges."

And on December 30th the "Times" published a letter from Mr. Hodges in
which he says that Mr. Trotter's statements as they regard himself
"are the very reverse of truth.--I was never turned out of the
Salvation Army. Nor, so far as I was made acquainted with General
Booth's motives, was I taken on again out of kindness. In order to
rejoin the Salvation Army, I resigned the position of manager in a
mill where I was in [278] receipt of a salary of [Pounds] 250 per
annum, with house-rent and one third of the profits. Instead of this
Mr. Booth allowed me [Pounds] 2 per week and house-rent."


The "Times," December 26th, 1890

Sir,--I am much obliged to Mr. J. S. Trotter for the letter which you
published this morning. It furnishes evidence, which I much desired to
possess on the following points:--

   1. The author of "The New Papacy" is a responsible, trustworthy
person; otherwise Mr. Trotter would not speak of having had "the
pleasure of an interview" with him.

   2. After this responsible person had taken the trouble to write a
pamphlet of sixty-four closely printed pages, some influence was
brought to bear upon him, the effect of which was that he refused his
consent to its publication. Mr. Trotter's excellent information will
surely enable him to tell us what influence that was.

   3. How does Mr. Trotter know that any passage I have quoted is an
interpolation? Does he possess that other copy of the "two" which
alone, as he affirms, were printed?

[279] 4. If so, he will be able to say which of the passages I have
cited is genuine and which is not; and whether the tenor of the whole
uninterpolated copy differs in any important respect from that of the
copy I have quoted.

It will be interesting to hear what Mr. J. S. Trotter has to say upon
these points. But the really important thing which he has done is that
he has testified, of his own knowledge, that the anonymous author of
"The New Papacy" is no mere irresponsible libeller, but a person of
whom even an ardent Salvationist has to speak with respect.

            I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
                                T. H. Huxley.

[I may add that the unfortunate Mr. Trotter did me the further service
of eliciting the letter from Mr. Hodges referred to on p. 277--which
sufficiently establishes that gentleman's credit, and leads me to
attach full weight to his evidence about the third barrel.]

     January, 1891.



The "Times," December 27th, 1890

SIR,--In making use of the only evidence of the actual working of Mr.
Booth's autocratic government accessible to me, I was fully aware of
the slippery nature of the ground upon which I was treading. For, as I
pointed out in my first letter, "no personal habit more surely
degrades the conscience and the intellect than blind and unhesitating
obedience to unlimited authority." Now we have it, on Mr. Booth's own
showing that every officer of his has undertaken to "obey without
questioning or gainsaying the orders from headquarters." And the
possible relations of such orders to honour and veracity are
demonstrated not only by the judicial deliverance on Mr. Booth's
affidavit in the "Eagle" case, which I have already cited; not only by
Mr. Bramwell Booth's admission before Mr. Justice Lopes that he had
stated what was "not quite correct" because he had "promised Mr. Stead
not to divulge" the facts of the case (the "Times," November 4th,
1885); but by the following passage in Mr. Hodges's account of the
reasons of his withdrawal from the Salvation Army:--

"The general and Chief did not and could [281] not deny doing these
things; the only question was this, Was it right to practise this
deception? These points of difference were fully discussed between
myself and the Chief of the Staff on my withdrawal, especially the
Leamington incident, which was the one that finally drove me to
decision. I had come to the conclusion, from the first, that they had
acted as they supposed with a single eye to the good of God's cause,
and had persuaded myself that the things were, as against the devil,
right to be done, that as in battle one party captured and turned the
enemy's own guns upon them, so, as they were fighting against the
devil, it would be fair to use against him his weapons. And I wrote to
this effect to the "General" (p. 63)."

Now, I do not wish to say anything needlessly harsh, but I ask any
prudent man these questions. Could I, under these circumstances, trust
any uncorroborated statement emanating from headquarters, or made by
the General's order? Had I any reason to doubt the truth of Mr.
Hodges's naive confession of the corrupting influence of Mr. Booth's
system? And did it not behove me to pick my way carefully through the
mass of statements before me, many of them due to people whose moral
sense might, by possibility, have been as much blunted by the army
discipline in the [282] use of the weapons of the devil as Mr. Hodges
affirms that his was?

Therefore, in my third letter, I commenced my illustrations of the
practical working of Boothism with the evidence of Mr. Redstone,
fortified and supplemented by that of a non-Salvationist, Dr.
Cunningham Geikie. That testimony has not been challenged, and, until
it is, I shall assume that it cannot be. In my fourth letter, I cited
a definite statement by Mr. Hodges in evidence of the Jesuitical
principles of headquarters. What sort of answer is it to tell us that
Mr. Hodges was dismissed the army? A child might expect that some such
red herring would be drawn across the trail; and, in anticipation of
the stale trick, I added the strong prima facie evidence of the
trustworthiness of my witness, in this particular, which is afforded
by the "Eagle" case. It was not until I wrote my fourth letter to you,
Sir--until the exploitation of the "captains" and the Jesuitry of
headquarters could be proved up to the hilt--that I ventured to have
recourse to "The New Papacy." So far as the pamphlet itself goes, this
is an anonymous work; and, for sufficient reasons, I did not choose to
go beyond what was to be found between its covers. To any one
accustomed to deal with the facts of evolution, the Boothism of "The
New Papacy" was merely the natural and necessary development of the
Boothism of Mr. Redstone's case and of the [283] "Eagle" case.
Therefore, I felt fully justified in using it, at the same time
carefully warning my readers that it must be taken with due caution.

Mr. Trotter's useful letter admits that such a book was written by a
person with whom he had the "pleasure of an interview," and that a
version of it (interpolated, according to his assertion) was published
against the will of the author. Hence I am justified in believing that
there is a foundation of truth in certain statements, some of which
have long been in my possession, but which for lack of Mr. Trotter's
valuable corroboration I have refrained from using. The time is come
when I can set forth some of the heads of this information, with the
request that Mr. Trotter, who knows all about the business, will be so
good as to point out any error that there may be in them. I am bound
to suppose that his sole object, like mine, is the elucidation of the
truth, and to assume his willingness to help me therein to the best of
his ability.

   1. "The author of 'The New Papacy' is a Mr. Sumner, a person of
perfect respectability, and greatly esteemed in Toronto, who held a
high position in the Army. When he left, a large public meeting,
presided over by a popular Methodist minister, passed a vote of
sympathy with him."

[284] Is this true or false?

   2. "On Saturday last, about noon, Mr. Sumner, the author of the
book, and Mr. Fred Perry, the Salvation Army printer, accompanied by a
lawyer, went down to Messrs. Imrie and Graham's establishment, and
asked for all the manuscript, stereotype plates, &c., of the book. Mr.
Sumner explained that the book had been sold to the Army, and, on a
cheque for the amount due being given, the printing material was
delivered up."

Did these paragraphs appear in the "Toronto Telegram" of April 24th,
1889, or did they not? Are the statements they contain true or false?

3. "Public interest in the fate or probable outcome of that mysterious
book called 'The New Papacy; or, Behind the Scenes in the Salvation
Army,' continues unabated, though the line of proceedings by the
publisher and his solicitor, Mr. Smoke, of Watson, Thorne, Smoke, and
Masten, has not been altered since yesterday. The book, no doubt, will
be issued in some form. So far as known, only one complete copy
remains, and the whereabouts of this is a secret which will be
profoundly kept. It is safe to say that if the Commissioner kept on
guessing until the next anniversary, he would not strike the secluded
[285] location of the one volume among five thousand which escaped,
when he and his assistant, Mr. Fred Perry, believed they had cast
every vestige of the forbidden work into the fiery furnace. On Tuesday
last, when the discovery was made that a copy of 'The New Papacy' was
in existence, Publisher Britnell, of Yonge Street, was at once the
suspected holder, and in a short time his book-store was the resort of
army agents sent to reconnoitre" ("Toronto News," April 28th, 1889).

Is this a forgery, or is it not? Is it in substance true or false?

When Mr. Trotter has answered these inquiries categorically, we may
proceed to discuss the question of interpolations in Mr. Sumner's

          I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
                              T. H. Huxley.

[On the 26th of December a letter, signed J. T. Cunningham, late Fellow of
University College, Oxford, called forth the following commentary.]



The "Times," December 29th, 1890--

Sir,--If Mr. Cunningham doubts the efficacy of the struggle for
existence, as a factor in social conditions, he should find fault with
Mr. Booth and not with me.

"I am labouring under no delusion as to the possibility of inaugurating
the millennium by my social specific. In the struggle of life the
weakest will go to the wall, and there are so many weak. The fittest
in tooth and claw will survive. All that we can do is to soften the
lot of the unfit, and make their suffering less horrible than it is at
present" ("In Darkest England," p. 44).

That is what Mr. Cunningham would have found if he had read Mr. Booth's
book with attention. And, if he will bestow equal pains on my second
letter, he will discover that he has interpolated the word "wilfully"
in his statement of my "argument," which runs thus: "Shutting his eyes
to the necessary consequences of the struggle for life, the existence
of which he admits as fully as any Darwinian, Mr. Booth tells men
whose evil case is one of those consequences that envy is a
corner-stone of our competitive system." Mr.  [287] Cunningham's
physiological studies will have informed him that the process of
"shutting the eyes," in the literal sense of the words, is not always
wilful; and I propose to illustrate, by the crucial instance his own
letter furnishes, that the "shutting of the eyes" of the mind to the
obvious consequences of accepted propositions may also be involuntary.
At least, I hope so.

   1. "Sooner or later," says Mr. Cunningham, "the population problem
will block the way once more." What does this mean, except that
multiplication, excessive in relation to the contemporaneous means of
support, will create a severe competition for those means? And this
seems to me to be a pretty accurate "reflection of the conceptions of
Malthus" and the other poor benighted folks of a past generation at
whom Mr. Cunningham sneers.

   2. By way of leaving no doubt upon this subject, Mr. Cunningham
further tells us, "The struggle for existence is always going on, of
course; let us thank Darwin for making us realize it." It is pleasant
to meet with a little gratitude to Darwin among the epigoni who are
squabbling over the heritage he conquered for them, but Mr.
Cunningham's personal expression of that feeling is hasty. For it is
obvious that he has not "realized" the significance of Darwin's
teaching--indeed, I fail to discover in Mr.  Cunningham's letter any
sign that he has even "realized" what [288] he would be at. If the
"struggle for existence is always going on"; and if, as I suppose will
be granted, industrial competition is one phase of that struggle, I
fail to see how my conclusion that it is sheer wickedness to tell
ignorant men that "envy" is a corner-stone of competition can be

Mr. Cunningham has followed the lead of that polished and instructed
person, Mr. Ben Tillett, in rebuking me for (as the associates say)
attacking Mr.  Booth's personal character. Of course, when I was
writing, I did not doubt that this very handy, though not too clean,
weapon would be used by one or other of Mr. Booth's supporters. And my
action was finally decided by the following considerations: I happen
to be a member of one of the largest life insurance societies. There
is a vacancy in the directory at present, for which half a dozen
gentlemen are candidates. Now, I said to myself, supposing that one of
these gentlemen (whose pardon I humbly beg for starting the
hypothesis), say Mr. A., in his administrative capacity and as a man
of business, has been the subject of such observations as a Judge on
the Bench bestowed upon Mr. Booth, is he a person for whom I can
properly vote? And, if I find, when I go to the meeting of the
policy-holders, that most of them know nothing of this and other
evidences of what, by the mildest judgment, must be termed Mr. A.'s
unfitness for administrative [289] responsibilities, am I to let them
remain in their ignorance? I leave the answer and its application to
men of sense and integrity.

The mention of Mr. Cunningham's ally reminds me that I have omitted to
thank Mr. Tillett for his very useful and instructive letter; and I
hasten to repair a neglect which I assure Mr. Tillett was more
apparent than real. Mr.  Tillett's letter is dated December 20th. On
the 21st the following pregnant (however unconscious) commentary upon
it appeared in "Reynolds's Newspaper":-

"I have always maintained that the Salvation Army is one of the
mightiest Socialistic agencies in the country; and now Professor
Huxley comes in to confirm that view. How could it be otherwise? The
fantastic religious side of Salvationism will disappear in the course
of time, and what will be left?  A large number of men and women who
have been organized, disciplined, and taught to look for something
better than their present condition, and who have become public
speakers and not afraid of ridicule. There you have the raw materials
for a Socialist army."

Mr. Ben Tillett evidently knows Latin enough to construe proximus

I trust that the public will not allow themselves to be led away by
the false issues which are [290] dangled before them. A man really may
love his fellow-men; cherish any form of Christianity he pleases; and
hold not only that Darwinism is "tottering to its fall," but, if he
pleases, the equally sane belief that it never existed; and yet may
feel it his duty to oppose, to the best of his capacity, despotic
Socialism in all its forms, and, more particularly, in its Boothian

             I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
                                 T.H. Huxley.

[Persons who have not had the advantage of a classical education might
fairly complain of my use of the word epigoni. To say truth, I had
been reading Droysen's "Geschichte des Hellenismus," and the familiar
historical title slipped out unawares. In replying to me, however, the
late "Fellow of University College," Oxford, declares he had to look
the word out in a Lexicon. I commend the fact to the notice of the
combatants over the desirability of retaining the present compulsory
modicum of Greek in our Universities.]



The "Times," December 30th, 1890

Sir,--I am much obliged to Messrs. Ranger, Burton, and Matthews for
their prompt answer to my questions. I presume it applies to all money
collected by the agency of the Salvation Army, though not specifically
given for the purposes of the "Christian Mission" named in the deed of
1878; to all sums raised by mortgage upon houses and land so given;
and, further, to funds subscribed for Mr. Booth's various projects,
which have no apparent reference to the objects of the "Christian
Mission" as defined in the deed.  Otherwise, to use a phrase which has
become classical, "it does not assist us much." But I must leave these
points to persons learned in the law.

And, indeed, with many thanks to you, Sir, for the amount of valuable
space which you have allowed me to occupy, I now propose to leave the
whole subject. My sole purpose in embarking upon an enterprise which
was extremely distasteful to me was to prevent the skilful "General,"
or rather "Generals," who devised the plan of campaign from sweeping
all before them with a rush. I found the pass already held by such
stout defenders as Mr.  Loch and the Dean [292] of Wells, and, with
your powerful help, we have given time for the reinforcements, sure to
be sent by the abundant, though somewhat slowly acting, common sense
of our countrymen, to come up.

I can no longer be useful, and I return to more congenial occupations.

        I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
                            T. H. Huxley.

The following letter appeared in the "Times" of January 2nd, 1891:--

"Dear Mr. Tillett,--I have not had patience to read Professor Huxley's
letters. The existence of hunger, nakedness, misery, 'death from
insufficient food,' even of starvation, is certain, and no agency as
yet reaches it. How can any man hinder or discourage the giving of
food or help?  Why is the house called a workhouse? Because it is for
those who cannot work? No, because it was the house to give work or
bread. The very name is an argument. I am very sure what Our Lord and
His Apostles would do if they were in London. Let us be thankful even
to have a will to do the same.

"Yours faithfully,
Henry E. Card. Manning."



The "Times," January 3rd, 1891

SIR,--In my old favourite, "The Arabian Nights," the motive of the
whole series of delightful narratives is that the sultan, who refuses
to attend to reason, can be got to listen to a story. May I try
whether Cardinal Manning is to be reached in the same way? When I was
attending the meeting of the British Association in Belfast nearly
forty years ago, I had promised to breakfast with the eminent scholar
Dr. Hincks. Having been up very late the previous night, I was behind
time; so, hailing an outside car, I said to the driver as I jumped on,
"Now drive fast, I am in a hurry." Whereupon he whipped up his horse
and set off at a hand-gallop. Nearly jerked off my seat, I shouted,
"My good friend, do you know where I want to go?" "No, yer honner,"
said the driver, "but, any way, I am driving fast." I have never
forgotten this object-lesson in the dangers of ill-regulated
enthusiasm. We are all invited to jump on to the Salvation Army car,
which Mr. Booth is undoubtedly driving very fast. Some of us have a
firm conviction, not only that he is taking a very different direction
from that in which we wish to go, but that, before long, car and
driver will come to grief. Are we to accept [294] the invitation, even
at the bidding of the eminent person who appears to think himself
entitled to pledge the credit of "Our Lord and His Apostles" in favour
of Boothism?

   I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
                       T. H. Huxley.


The "Times," January 13th, 1891

SIR,--A letter from Mr. Booth-Clibborn, dated January 3rd, appeared in
the "Times" of yesterday. This elaborate document occupies three
columns of small print--space enough, assuredly, for an effectual
reply to the seven letters of mine to which the writer refers, if any
such were forthcoming.  Mr. Booth-Clibborn signs himself "Commissioner
of the Salvation Army for France and Switzerland," but he says that he
accepts my "challenge" without the knowledge of his chiefs.
Considering the self-damaging character of his letter, it was,
perhaps, hardly necessary to make that statement.

Mr. "Commissioner" Booth-Clibborn speaks of my "challenge." I presume
that he refers to my request for information about the authorship and
fate of "The New Papacy," in the letter [295] published in the "Times"
on December 27th, 1890. The "Commissioner" deals with this matter in
paragraph No. 4 of his letter; and I observe, with no little
satisfaction, that he does not venture to controvert any one of the
statements of my witnesses. He tacitly admits that the author of "The
New Papacy" was a person "greatly esteemed in Toronto," and that he
held "a high position in the army"; further, that the Canadian
"Commissioner" thought it worth while to pay the printer's bill, in
order that the copies already printed off might be destroyed and the
pamphlet effectually suppressed. Thus the essential facts of the case
are admitted and established beyond question.

How does Mr. Booth-Clibborn try to explain them away?

"Mr. Sumner, who wrote the little book in a hot fit, soon regretted it
(as any man would do whose conscience showed him in a calmer moment
when his 'respectability' returned with his repentance, that he had
grossly misrepresented), and just before it appeared offered to order
its suppression if the army would pay the costs already incurred, and
which he was unable to bear."

"The New Papacy" fills sixty closely printed duodecimo pages. It is
carefully written, and for the most part in studiously moderate
language; moreover, it contains many precise details and [296]
figures, the ascertainment of which must have taken much time and
trouble. Yet, forsooth, it was written in "a hot fit."

I sincerely hope, for the sake of his own credit, that Mr.
"Commissioner" Booth-Clibborn does not know as much about this
melancholy business as I do.  My hands are unfortunately tied, and I
am not at liberty to use all the information in my possession. I must
content myself with quoting the following passage from the preface to
"The New Papacy":--

"It has not been without considerable thought and a good deal of urging
that the following pages have been given to the public. But though we
would have shrunk from a labour so distasteful, and have gladly
avoided a notoriety anything but pleasant to the feelings, or
conducive to our material welfare, we have felt that in the interests
of the benevolent public, in the interests of religion, in the
interests of a band of devoted men and women whose personal ends are
being defeated, and the fruit of whose labour is being destroyed, and,
above all, in the interests of that future which lies before the
Salvation Army itself, if purged and purified in its executive and
returned to its original position in the ranks of Canadian Christian
effort, it is no more than our duty to throw such light as we are able
upon its true inwardness, and with that object and for the [297]
furtherance of those ends we offer our pages to the public view."

The preface is dated April 1889. According to the statement in the
"Toronto Telegram" which Mr. "Commissioner" Booth-Clibborn does not
dare to dispute, his Canadian fellow-"Commissioner" bought and
destroyed the whole edition of "The New Papacy" about the end of the
third week in April. It is clear that the writer of the paragraph
quoted from the preface was well out of a "hot fit," if he had ever
been in one, while he had not entered on the stage of repentance
within three weeks of that time. Mr. "Commissioner" Booth-Clibborn's
scandalous insinuations that Mr. Sumner was bribed by "a few
sovereigns," and that he was "bought off," in the face of his own
admission that Mr. Sumner "offered to order its suppression if the
army would pay the costs already incurred, and which he was unable to
bear" is a crucial example of that Jesuitry with which the officials
of the army have been so frequently charged.

Mr. "Commissioner" Booth-Clibborn says that when "London headquarters
heard of the affair, it disapproved of the action of the
Commissioner." That circumstance indicates that headquarters is not
wholly devoid of intelligence; but it has nothing to do with the value
of Mr. Sumner's evidence, which is all I am concerned about. Very
likely London headquarters will disapprove of its French [298]
"Commissioner's" present action. But what then? The upshot of all this
is that Mr. Booth-Clibborn has made as great a blunder as simple Mr.
Trotter did. The pair of Balaams greatly desired to curse, but have
been compelled to bless. They have, between them, completely justified
my reliance on Mr. Sumner as a perfectly trustworthy witness; and
neither of them has dared to challenge the accuracy of one solitary
statement made by that worthy gentleman, whose full story I hope some
day or other to see set before the public. Then the true causes of his
action will be made known.

Paragraph 2 of the "Commissioner's" letter says many things, but not
much about Mr. Hodges. The columns of the "Times" recently showed that
Mr. Hodges was able to compel an apology from Mr. Trotter. I leave it
to him to deal with the "Commissioner."

As to the "Eagle" case, treated of in paragraph No. 3, a gentleman
well versed in the law, who was in court during the hearing of the
appeal, has assured me that the argument was purely technical; that
the facts were very slightly gone into; and that, so far as he knows,
no dissenting comment was made on the strictures of the Judge before
whom the case first came.  Moreover, in the judgment of the Master of
the Rolls, fully recorded in the "Times" of February 14th, 1884, the
following passages occur:--

[299] "The case had been heard by a learned Judge, who had exercised
his discretion upon it, and the Court would not interfere with his
discretion unless they could see that he was wrong. The learned Judge
had taken a strong view of the conduct of the defendant, but
nevertheless had said that he would have given relief if he could have
seen how far protection and compensation could be given. And if this
Court differed from him in that view, and could give relief without
forfeiture, they would be acting on his own principle in doing so.
Certain suggestions had been made with that view, and the Court had to
consider the case under all the circumstances.... He himself (the
Master of the Rolls) considered that it was probable the defendant,
with his principles, had intended to destroy the property as a
public-house, and that it was not right thus to take property under a
covenant to keep it up as a public-house, intending to destroy it as
such.  He did not, however, think this was enough to deprive him of
all relief. The defendant could only expect severe terms."

Yet, Sir, Mr. "Commissioner" Booth-Clibborn, this high official of the
Salvation Army, has the audacity to tell the public that if I had made
inquiries I should have found that "in the Court of Appeal the Judge
reversed the decision of his predecessor as regards seven eighths of
the property, and the General was declared to have acted [300] all
along with straight forwardness and good faith."

But the nature of Mr. "Commissioner" Booth-Clibborn's conceptions of
straightforwardness and good faith is so marvellously illustrated by
the portions of his letter with which I have dealt that I doubt not
his statements are quite up to the level of the "Army" Regulations and
Instructions in regard to those cardinal virtues. As I pointed out must
be the case, the slave is subdued to that he works in.

For myself, I must confess that the process of wading through Mr.
"Commissioner's" verbose and clumsy pleadings has given me a "hot
fit," which, I undertake to say, will be followed by not so much as a
passing shiver of repentance. And it is under the influence of the
genial warmth diffused through the frame, on one of those rare
occasions when one may be "angry and sin not," that I infringe my
resolution to trouble you with no more letters. On reflection, I am
convinced that it is undesirable that the public should be misled, for
even a few days, by misrepresentations so serious.

I am copiously abused for speaking of the Jesuitical methods of the
superior officials of the Salvation Army. But the following facts have
not been, and, I believe, cannot be, denied:--

   1. Mr. Booth's conduct in the "Eagle" case has been censured by two
of the Judges.

[301] 2. Mr. Bramwell Booth admitted before Mr. Justice Lopes that he
had made an untrue statement because of a promise he had made to Mr.

    * This statement has been disputed, but not yet publicly. (See p. 305.)

And I have just proved that Mr. "Commissioner" Booth-Clibborn asserts
the exact contrary of that which your report of the judgment of the
Master of the Rolls tells us that distinguished judge said.

Under these circumstances, I think that my politeness in applying no
harder adjective than "Jesuitical" to these proceedings is not
properly appreciated.

      I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
                          T. H. Huxley.


The "Times," January 22nd, 1891

SIR,--I think that your readers will be interested in the accompanying
opinion, written in consultation with an eminent Chancery Queen's
Counsel, with which I have been favoured. It will be observed that
this important legal deliverance [302] justifies much stronger
language than any which I have applied to the only security (?) for
the proper administration of the funds in Mr. Booth's hands which
appears to be in existence.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
                           T. H. Huxley.

       1, Dr. Johnson's Buildings, Temple, E.C.,
                  January 14, 1891.


"I am of opinion, subject to the question whether there may be any
provision in the Charitable Trusts Acts which can be made available
for enforcing some scheme for the appropriation of the property, and
with regard to the real and leasehold properties whether the
conveyances and leases are not altogether void, as frauds on the
Mortmain Acts, that nothing can be done to control or to interfere
with Booth in the disposition or application of the properties or
moneys purported to be affected by the deed.

"As to the properties vested in Booth himself, it appears to me that
such are placed absolutely under his power and control both as to the
disposal and application thereof, and that there are no trusts for any
specific purposes declared which [303] could be enforced, and that
there are no defined persons nor classes of persons who can claim to
be entitled to the benefits of them, or at whose instance they could
be enforced by any legal process.

"As to the properties (if any) vested in trustees appointed by Booth,
it appears to me that the only person who has a locus standi to
enforce these trusts is Booth himself, and that he would have absolute
power over the trusts and the property, and might deal with the
property as he pleased, and that, as in the former case, nothing could
be done in the way of enforcing any trusts against him.

"As to the moneys contributed or raised by mortgage for the general
purposes of the mission, it appears to me that Booth may expend them
as he pleases, without being subject to any legal control, and that he
cannot even be compelled to publish any balance-sheets.

"Whether there are any provisions in the Charitable Trusts Acts which
could be made available for enforcing some scheme for the application
of the property or funds is a question to which I should require to
give a closer consideration should it become necessary to go into it;
but at present, after perusing these Acts, and especially 16 and 17
Vict. c. 137 and 18 and 19 Vict. c. 124, I cannot see how they could
be made applicable to the trusts as declared in this deed.

[304] "As to the Mortmain Acts, the matter is clearly charitable, and
unless in the conveyances and leases to Booth, or to the trustees (if
any) named by him, all the provisions of the Acts have been complied
with, and the deeds have been enrolled under the Acts, they would be
void. It is probable, however, that every conveyance and lease has
been taken without disclosing any charitable trust, for the purpose of
preventing it from being void on the face of it. It is to be noted
that the deed is a mere deed poll by Booth himself, without any other
party to it, who, as a contracting party, would have a right to
enforce it.

"Whether there are any objects of the trust I cannot say. If there is,
as the recital indicates, a society of enrolled members called 'The
Christian Mission,' those members would be objects of the trust, but
then, it appears to me, Booth has entire control and determination of
the application. And, as to the trusts enuring for the benefit of the
'Salvation Army,' I am not aware what is the constitution of the
'Salvation Army,' but there is no reference whatever to any such body
in the deed. I have understood the army as being merely the
missionaries, and not the society of worshippers.

"If there is no Christian Mission Society of enrolled members, then
there are no objects of the trust. The trusts are purely religious,
and trading is entirely beyond its purposes. Booth can [305] 'give
away' the property, simply because there is no one who has any right
to prevent his doing so.

"Ernest Hatton."

It is probably my want of legal knowledge which prevents me from
appreciating the value of the professed corrections of Mr. Hatton's
opinion contained in the letters of Messrs. Ranger, Burton, and
Matthews, "Times," January 28th and 29th, 1891.

The note on page 301 refers to a correspondence, incomplete at the
time fixed for the publication of my pamphlet, the nature of which is
sufficiently indicated by the subjoined extracts from Mr. Stead's
letter in the "Times" of January 20th, and from my reply in the
"Times" of January 24th. Referring to the paragraphs numbered 1, 2, at
the end of my letter XI., Mr. Stead says:--

"On reading this, I at once wrote to Professor Huxley, stating that, as
he had mentioned my name, I was justified in intervening to explain
that, so far as the second count in his indictment went--for the Eagle
dispute is no concern of mine--he had been misled by an error in the
reports of the case which appeared in the daily papers [306] of
November 4, 1885. I have his reply to-day, saying that I had better
write to you direct. May I ask you, then, seeing that my name has been
brought into the affair, to state that, as I was in the dock when Mr.
Bramwell Booth was in the witness-box, I am in a position to give the
most unqualified denial to the statement as to the alleged admission
on his part of falsehood? Nothing was heard in Court of any such
admission. Neither the prosecuting counsel nor the Judge who tried the
case ever referred to it, although it would obviously have had a
direct bearing on the credit of the witness; and the jury, by
acquitting Mr.  Bramwell Booth, showed that they believed him to be a
witness of truth. But fortunately the facts can be verified beyond all
gainsaying by a reference to the official shorthand-writer's report of
the evidence. During the hearing of the case for the prosecution,
Inspector Borner was interrupted by the Judge, who said:--

"'I want to ask you a question. During the whole of that conversation,
did Booth in any way suggest that that child had been sold?' Borner

"'Not at that interview, my Lord.'

"It was to this that Mr. Bramwell Booth referred when, after
examination, cross-examination, [307] and re-examination, during which
no suggestion had been made that he had ever made the untrue statement
now alleged against him, he asked and received leave from the Judge to
make the following explanation, which I quote from the official

"'Will you allow me to explain a matter mentioned yesterday in
reference to a question asked by your Lordship some days ago with
respect to one matter connected with my conduct? Your Lordship asked,
I think it was Inspector Borner, whether I had said to him at either
of our interviews that the child was sold by her parents, and he
replied "No." That is quite correct; I did not say so to him, and what
I wish to say now is that I had been specially requested by Mr. Stead,
and had given him a promise, that I would not under any circumstances
divulge the fact of that sale to any person which would ma ke it at
all probable that any trouble would be brought upon the persons who
had taken part in this investigation.' (Central Criminal Court Reports,
Vol.  CII., part 612, pp. 1,035-6.)

"In the daily papers of the following day this statement was
misreported as follows:--

"'I wish to explain, in regard to your Lordship's condemnation of my
having said "No" to [308] Inspector Borner when he asked me whether
the child had been sold by her parents--the reason why I stated what
was not correct was that I had promised Mr. Stead not to divulge the
fact of the sale to any person which would make it probable that any
trouble should be brought on persons taking part in this proceeding.'

"Hence the mistake into which Professor Huxley has unwittingly fallen.

"I may add that, so far from the statement never having been challenged
for five years, it was denounced as 'a remarkably striking lie' in the
'War Cry' of November 14th, and again the same official organ of the
Salvation Army of November 18th specifically adduced this misreport as
an instance of 'the most disgraceful way' in which the reports of the
trial were garbled by some of the papers. What, then, becomes of one
of the two main pillars of Professor Huxley's argument?"

In my reply, I point out that, on the 10th of January, Mr. Stead
addressed to me a letter, which commences thus: "I see in the 'Times'
of this morning that you are about to republish your letters on
Booth's book."

I replied to this letter on the 12th of January:--

[309] "Dear Mr. Stead,--I charge Mr. Bramwell Booth with nothing. I
simply quote the 'Times' report, the accuracy of which, so far as I
know, has never been challenged by Mr. Booth. I say I quote the
'Times' and not Mr. Hodges,* because I took some pains about the
verification of Mr. Hodges's citation.

    * This is a slip of the pen. Mr. Hodges had nothing to do
    with the citation of which I made use.

"I should have thought it rather appertained to Mr. Bramwell Booth to
contradict a statement which refers, not to what you heard, but to what
he said. However, I am the last person to wish to give circulation to
a story which may not be quite correct; and I will take care, if you
have no objection (your letter is marked 'private'), to make public as
much of your letter as relates to the point to which you have called
my attention.

           "I am, yours very faithfully,
                          T. H. Huxley."

To this Mr. Stead answered, under date of January 13th, 1891:--

"Dear Professor Huxley,--I thank you for your letter of the 12th inst.
I am quite sure you would not wish to do any injustice in this matter.
But, instead of publishing any extract from my letter, might I ask you
to read the passage as it [310] appears in the verbatim report of the
trial which was printed day by day, and used by counsel on both sides,
and by the Judge during the case? I had hoped to have got you a copy
to-day, but find that I was too late. I shall have it first thing
to-morrow morning. You will find that it is quite clear, and
conclusively disposes of the alleged admission of untruthfulness.
Again thanking you for your courtesy,

           "I am, yours faithfully,
                      W. T. Stead."

Thus it appears that the letter which Mr. Stead wrote to me on the 13th
of January does not contain one word of that which he ways it
contains, in the statement which appears in the "Times" to-day.
Moreover, the letter of mine to which Mr. Stead refers in his first
communication to me is not the letter which appeared on the 13th, as
he states, but that which you published on December 27th, 1890.
Therefore, it is not true that Mr. Stead wrote "at once." On the
contrary, he allowed nearly a fortnight to elapse before he addressed
me on the 10th of January 1891. Furthermore, Mr. Stead suppresses the
fact that, since the 13th of January, he has had in his possession my
offer to publish his version of the story; and he leads the reader to
suppose that my only answer was that he "had better write to [311] you
direct. All the while, Mr. Stead knows perfectly well that I was
withheld from making public use of his letter of the 10th by nothing
but my scruples about using a document which was marked "private"; and
that he did not give me leave to quote his letter of the 10th of
January until after he had written that which appeared yesterday.

And I add:--

As to the subject-matter of Mr. Stead's letter, the point which he
wishes to prove appears to be this--that Mr. Bramwell Booth did not
make a false statement, but that he withheld from the officers of
justice, pursuing a most serious criminal inquiry, a fact of grave
importance, which lay within his own knowledge. And this because he
had promised Mr. Stead to keep the fact secret. In short, Mr. Bramwell
Booth did not say what was wrong; but he did what was wrong.

I will take care to give every weight to the correction. Most people,
I think, will consider that one of the "main pillars of my argument,"
as Mr.  Stead is pleased to call them, has become very much



In referring to the course of action adopted by "General" Booth and
Mr.  Bramwell Booth in respect of their legal obligations to other
persons, or to the criminal and civil law, I have been as careful as I
was bound to be, to put any difficulties suggested by mere lay
commonsense in an interrogative or merely doubtful form; and to
confine myself, for any positive expressions, to citations from
published declarations of the judges before whom the acts of "General"
Booth came; from reports of the Law Courts; and from the deliberate
opinions of legal experts. I have now some further remarks to make on
these topics.

   I. The observations at p. 305 express, with due reserve, the
impression which the counsel's opinions, quoted by "General" Booth's
solicitors, made on my mind. They were written and sent to the printer
before I saw the letter from a "Barrister NOT Practising on the Common
Law Side," and those from Messrs. Clarke and Calkin and Mr. George
Kebbell, which appeared in the "Times" of February 3rd and 4th.

These letters fully bear out the conclusion which I had formed, but
which it would have [313] been presumptuous on my part to express,
that the opinions cited by "General" Booth's solicitors were like the
famous broken tea-cups "wisely ranged for show"; and that, as Messrs.
Clarke and Calkin say, they "do not at all meet the main points on
which Mr. Hatton advised." I do not think that any one who reads
attentively the able letter of "A Barrister NOT Practicing on the
Common Law Side" will arrive at any other conclusion; or who will not
share the very natural desire of Mr. Kebbell to be provided with clear
and intelligible answers to the following inquiries:--

   (1) Does the trust deed by its operation empower any one legally to
call upon Mr. Booth to account for the application of the funds?

   (2) In the event of the funds not being properly accounted for, is
any one, and, if so, who, in a position to institute civil or criminal
proceedings against any one, and whom, in respect of such refusal or
neglect to account?

   (3) In the event of the proceedings, civil or criminal, failing to
obtain restitution of misapplied funds, is or are any other person or
persons liable to make good the loss?

On December 24th, 1890, a letter of mine appeared in the "Times" (No.
V.  above) in which I put questions of the same import, and asked Mr.
Booth if he would not be so good as to take counsel's opinion on the
"trusts" of which so [314] much has been heard and so little seen, not
as they stood in 1878, or in 1888, but as they stand now? Six weeks
have elapsed, and I wait for a reply.

It is true that Dr. Greenwood has been authorized by Mr. Booth to
publish what he calls a "Rough outline of the intended Trust Deed"
("General Booth and His Critics," p. 120), but unfortunately we are
especially told that it "does not profess to be an absolutely accurate
analysis." Under these circumstances I am afraid that neither lawyers
nor laymen of moderate intelligence will pay much attention to the
assertion, that "it gives a fair idea of the general effect of the
draft," even although "the words in quotation marks are taken from it

These words, which I give in italics, (1) define the purposes of the
scheme to be "for the social and moral regeneration and improvement of
persons needy, destitute, degraded, or criminal, in some manner
indicated, implied, or suggested in the book called 'In Darkest
England.'" Whence I apprehend that, if the whole funds collected are
applied to "mothering society" by the help of speculative attorney
"tribunes of the people," the purposes of the trust will be
unassailably fulfilled. (2) The name is to be "Darkest England
Scheme," (3) the General of the Salvation Army is to be "Director of
the Scheme." Truly valuable information all this! But taking it for
what it is worth, the [315] public must not be misled into supposing
that it has the least bearing upon the questions to which neither I,
nor anybody else, has yet been able to obtain an intelligible answer,
and that is, where are the vast funds which have been obtained, in one
way or another, during the last dozen years in the name of the
Salvation Army? Where is the presumably amended Trust Deed of 1888? I
ask once more: Will Mr. Booth submit to competent and impartial legal
scrutiny the arrangements by which he and his successors are prevented
from dealing with the funds of the so-called "army chest" exactly as
he or they may please?

II. With respect to the "Eagle" case, I am advised that Dr. Greenwood,
whose good faith I do not question, has been misled into
misrepresenting it in the appendix to his pamphlet. And certainly, the
evidence of authoritative records which I have had the opportunity of
perusing, appears to my non-legal mind to be utterly at variance with
the statement to which Dr.  Greenwood stands committed. I may observe,
further, that the excuse alleged on behalf of Mr. Booth, that he
signed the affidavit set before him by his solicitors without duly
considering its contents, is one which I should not like to have put
forward were the case my own. It may be, and often is, necessary for a
person to sign an affidavit without [316] being able fully to
appreciate the technical language in which it is couched. But his
solicitor will always instruct him as to the effect of these terms.
And, in this particular case where the whole matter turns on Mr.
Booth's personal intentions, it was his plainest duty to inquire, very
seriously, whether the legal phraseology employed would convey neither
more nor less than such intentions to those who would act on the
affidavit, before he put his name to it.

III. With respect to Mr. Bramwell Booth's case, I refer the reader to
p. 311.

IV. As to Mr. Booth-Clibborn's misrepresentations, see above, pp. 298,

This much for the legal questions which have been raised by various
persons since the first edition of the pamphlet was published.


So far as I am concerned, there is little or nothing in this brochure
beyond a reproduction of the vituperative stuff which has been going
the round of those newspapers which favour "General" Booth for some
weeks. Those who do not want to see the real worth of it all will not
read [317] the preceding pages; and those who do will need no help
from me.

I fear, however, that in justice to other people I must put one of Dr.
Greenwood's paragraphs in the pillory. He says that I have "built up,
on the flimsy foundation of stories told by three or four deserters
from the Army" (p. 114), a sweeping indictment against General Booth.
This is the sort of thing to which I am well accustomed at the hands
of anonymous newspaper writers. But in view of the following easily
verifiable statements, I do not think that an educated and, I have no
doubt, highly respectable gentleman like Dr. Greenwood can, in cold
blood, contemplate that assertion with satisfaction.

The persons here alluded to as "three or four deserters from the army"

   (1) Mr. Redstone, for whose character Dr. Cunningham Geikie is
guarantee, and whom it has been left to Dr. Greenwood to attempt to

   (2) Mr. Sumner, who is a gentleman quite as worthy of respect as
Dr. Greenwood, and whose published evidence not one of the champions
of the Salvation Army has yet ventured to impugn.

   (3) Mr. Hodges, similarly libelled by that unhappy meddler Mr.
Trotter, who was compelled to the prompt confession of his error (see
p. 277).

   (4) Notwithstanding this evidence of Mr. Trotter's claims to
attention, Dr. Greenwood quotes a [318] statement of his as evidence
that a statement quoted by me from Mr. Sumner's work is a "forgery."
But Dr. Greenwood unfortunately forgets to mention that on the 27th of
December 1890 (Letter No. VII. above) Mr. Trotter was publicly
required to produce proof of his assertion; and that he has not
thought fit to produce that proof.

If I were disposed to use to Dr. Greenwood language of the sort he so
freely employs to me, I think that he could not complain of a handsome
scolding.  For what is the real state of the case? Simply this--that
having come to the conclusion, from the perusal of "In Darkest
England," that "General" Booth's colossal scheme (as apart from the
local action of Salvationists) was bad in principle and must produce
certain evil consequences, and having warned the public to that
effect, I quite unexpectedly found my hands full of evidence that the
exact evils predicted had, in fact, already shown themselves on a
great scale; and, carefully warning the public to criticize this
evidence, I produced a small part of it. When Dr. Greenwood talks
about my want of "regard to the opinion of the nine thousand odd who
still remain among the faithful" (p. 114), he commits an imprudence.
He would obviously be surprised to learn the extent of the support,
encouragement, and information which I have received from active and
sincere members of the Salvation Army [319] --but of which I can make
no use, because of the terroristic discipline and systematic espionage
which my correspondents tell me is enforced by its chief. Some of
these days, when nobody can be damaged by their use, a curious light
may be thrown upon the inner workings of the organization which we are
bidden to regard as a happy family, by these documents.

[320] (blank page)

          ARTICLES OF WAR,

To be signed by all who wish to be entered on the roll as soldiers.

Having received with all my heart the Salvation offered to me by the
tender mercy of Jehovah, I do here and now publicly acknowledge God to
be my Father and King, Jesus Christ to be my Saviour, and the Holy
Spirit to be my Guide, Comforter, and Strength; and that I will, by
His help, love, serve, worship, and obey this glorious God through all
time and through all eternity.

Believing solemnly that The Salvation Army has been raised up by God,
and is sustained and directed by Him, I do here declare my full
determination, by God's help, to be a true soldier of the Army till I

   I am thoroughly convinced of the truth of the Army's teaching.

   I believe that repentance towards God, faith in our Lord Jesus
Christ, and conversion by the Holy Spirit, are necessary to Salvation,
and that all men may be saved.

   I believe that we are saved by grace, through faith in our Lord
Jesus Christ, and he that believeth hath the witness of it in himself.
I have got it. Thank God!

   I believe that the Scriptures were given by inspiration of God, and
that they teach that not only does continuance in the favour of God
depend upon continued faith in, and obedience to, Christ, [322] but
that it is possible for those who have been truly converted to fall
away and be eternally lost.

   I believe that it is the privilege of all God's people to be
"wholly sanctified," and that "their whole spirit and soul and body"
may "be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
That is to say, I believe that after conversion there remain in the
heart of the believer inclinations to evil, or roots of bitterness,
which, unless overpowered by Divine grace, produce actual sin; but
these evil tendencies can be entirely taken away by the Spirit of God,
and the whole heart thus cleansed from anything contrary to the will
of God, or entirely sanctified, will then produce the fruit of the
Spirit only. And I believe that persons thus entirely sanctified may,
by the power of God, be kept unblamable and unreprovable before Him.

   I believe in the immortality of the soul; in the resurrection of
the body; in the general judgment at the end of the world; in the
eternal happiness of the righteous; and in the everlasting punishment
of the wicked.

THEREFORE, I do here, and now, and for ever, renounce the world with
all its sinful pleasures, companionship treasures, and objects, and
declare my full determination boldly to show myself a Soldier of Jesus
Christ in all places and companies, no matter what I may have to
suffer, do, or lose, by so doing.

   I do here and now declare that I will abstain from the use of all
intoxicating liquors, and also from the habitual use of opium,
laudanum, morphia, and all other baneful drugs, except when in illness
such drugs shall be ordered for me by a doctor.

   I do here and now declare that I will abstain from [323] the use of
all low or profane language; from the taking of the name of God in
vain; and from all impurity, or from taking part in any unclean
conversation or the reading of any obscene book or paper at any time,
in any company, or in any place.

   I do here declare that I will not allow myself in any falsehood,
deceit, misrepresentation, or dishonesty; neither will I practise any
fraudulent conduct, either in my business, my home, or in any other
relation in which I may stand to my fellow men, but that I will deal
truthfully, fairly, honourably, and kindly with all those who may
employ me or whom I may myself employ.

   I do here declare that I will never treat any woman, child, or
other person, whose life, comfort, or happiness may be placed within
my power, in an oppressive, cruel, or cowardly manner, but that I will
protect such from evil and danger so far as I can, and promote, to the
utmost of my ability, their present welfare and eternal salvation.

   I do here declare that I will spend all the time, strength, money,
and influence I can in supporting and carrying on this War, and that I
will endeavour to lead my family, friends, neighbours, and all others
whom I can influence, to do the same, believing that the sure and only
way to remedy all the evils in the world is by bringing men to submit
themselves to the government of the Lord Jesus Christ.

   I do here declare that I will always obey the lawful orders of my
Officers, and that I will carry out to the utmost of my power all the
Orders and Regulations of The Army; and further, that I will be an
example of faithfulness to its principles, advance to the utmost of my
ability its operations, and never allow, where I can prevent it, any
injury to its interests or hindrance to its success.

[324] And I do here and now call upon all present to witness that I
enter into this undertaking and sign these Articles of War of my own
free will, feeling that the love of Christ who died to save me
requires from me this devotion of my life to His service for the
Salvation of the whole world, and therefore wish now to be enrolled as
a Soldier of the Salvation Army.


_____________CORPS______________ 18___

                                      ______________________________ Corps
                                      ___________________________ Division
                                      _____________________ 18____


                       FORM OF APPLICATION
                    FOR AN APPOINTMENT AS AN

Name _____________________________________________________________________

Address __________________________________________________________________

1. What was your AGE last birthday? ___________________
   What is the date of your birthday? _________________

2. What is your height? __________________

3. Are you free from bodily defect or disease? ____

4. What serious illnesses have you had, and when? ________________________

5. Have you ever had fits of any kind? __________________
If so how long, and what kind? ___________________________________________

6. Do you consider your health good, and that you are strong enough for
the work of an officer? __________________________________________________
If not, or if you are doubtful, write a letter and explain the matter.

7. Is your doctor's certificate a full and correct statement so far as you
know? ___________________________________________________________

8. Are you, or have you ever been, married? ___________

9. When and where CONVERTED? ____________________________

10. What other Religious Societies have you belonged to? _________________

11. Were you ever a Junior Soldier? _____________________
If so, how long? ________________________________________

12. How long have you been enrolled as a SOLDIER? _______
and signed Articles of War? ____________________

13. If you hold any office in your Corps, say what and how long held? ____

14. Do you intend to live and die in the ranks of the Salvation Army? ____

                   - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

15. Have you ever been an open BACKSLIDER? ______________
If so, how long? ________________________________________

16. Why? _________________________________________________________________
Date of your Restoration? ___________________

17. Are you in DEBT? __________________
If so, how much? ______________________

18. How long owing? ______________________________________________________

19. Did you ever use Intoxicating Drink? _____________
If so, how long is it since you entirely gave up its use? ________________

20. Did you ever use Tobacco or Snuff? _________
If so, how long is it since you gave up using either? ____________________


21. What UNIFORM do you wear? ____________________________________________

22. How long have you worn it? ___________________________________________

23. Do you agree to dress in accordance with the direction of Headquarters?

24. Can you provide your own uniform and "List of Necessaries" before
entering the Service? ____________________________________________________


25. Are you in a Situation? _____________
If so, how long? ________________________

26. Nature of duties, and salary _________________________________________

27. Name and address of employer? ________________________________________

28. If out, date of leaving last situation? _________________________
How long there? _____________________________________________________

29. Why did you leave? ___________________________________________________

30. Name and address of last employer? ___________________________________

31. Can you start the SINGING? __________

32. Can you play any musical instrument? _________________
If so, what? _____________________________________________________________

33. Is this form filled up by you? ________________________
Can you read well at first sight? _________________________

34. Can you write SHORTHAND? _________________________
If so, what speed and system? ____________________________________________

35. Can you speak any language other than English? _______________________
If so, what? _____________________________________________________________

36. Have you had any experience and success in the JUNIOR SOLDIERS' WAR? _

37. If so, what? _________________________________________________________

38. Are you willing to sell the "WAR CRY" on Sundays? ____________

39. Do you engage not to publish any books, songs, or music except for the
benefit of the Salvation Army, and then only with the consent of
Headquarters? ________________

40. Do you promise not to engage in any trade, profession, or other money-
making occupation, except for the benefit of the Salvation Army, and then
only with the consent of Headquarters? _________________________

41. Would you be willing to go ABROAD if required? _______________________

42. Do you promise to do your utmost to help forward the Junior Soldiers'
work if accepted? _____________

43. Do you pledge yourself to spend not less than nine hours every day in
the active service of the Army, of which not less than three hours of each
week day shall be spent in VISITATION? ______________________

44. Do you pledge yourself to fill up and send to Headquarters forms as to
how your day is spent? ______________________


45. Have you read, and do you believe, the DOCTRINES printed on the other
side? ____________________

46. Have you read the "Orders and Regulations for Field Officers" of the
Army? ________________________________

If you have not got a copy of "Orders and Regulations," get one from
Candidates' Department at once. The price to Candidates is 2s. 6d.

47. Do you pledge yourself to study and carry out and to endeavour to
train others to carry out all Orders and Regulations of the Army? ________

48. Have you read the Order on page 3 of this Form as to PRESENTS and
TESTIMONIALS, and do you engage to carry it out? _________________________

49. Do you pledge yourself never to receive any sum in the form of pay
beyond the amount of allowances granted under the scale which  follows?

   ALLOWANCES-- From the day of arrival at his station, each officer is
entitled to draw the following allowances, provided the amount remains in
hand after meeting all local expenses, namely:

-- For Single Men: Lieutenants, 16s. weekly, and Captains, 18s.

-- for Single Women: Lieutenants, 12s. weekly, and Captains, 15s. weekly.

-- Married Men, 27s. per week, and ls. per week for each child under 14
years of age; in all cases without house-rent.

50. Do you perfectly understand that no salary or allowance is guaranteed
to you, and that you will have no claim against the Salvation Army, or
against any one connected therewith, on account of salary or allowances
not received by you? _____________________________________________________


51. Have you ever APPLIED BEFORE? ___  If so, when? ______________________

52. With what result? ____________________________________________________

53. If you have ever been in the service of the Salvation Army in any
position, say what? ______________________________________________________

54. Why did you leave? ___________________________________________________

55. Are you willing to come into TRAINING that we may see whether you
have the necessary goodness and ability for an Officer in the Salvation
Army, and should we conclude that you have not the necessary qualifications,
do you pledge yourself to return home and work in your Corps without
creating any dissatisfaction? ____________________________________________

56. Will you pay your own travelling expenses if we decide to receive you
in Training? _____________________________________________________________

57. How much can you pay for your maintenance while in Training? _________

58. Can you deposit [Pound] 1 so that we can provide you with a suit of
Uniform when you are Commissioned?

59. What is the shortest NOTICE you require should we want you? __________

60. Are your PARENTS willing that you should become an Officer? __________

61. Does any one depend upon you for support? _________ If so, who? ______

62. To what extent? ______________________________________________________

63. Give your parents', or nearest living relatives', full address _______


64. Are you COURTING? ________ If so, give name and address of the person:

65. How long have you been engaged? _____________ What is the person's age?

66. What is the date of Birthday? _______________________
How long enrolled as a SOLDIER? _________________________

67. What Uniform does the person wear? ___________________________________
How long worn? ______________________

68. What does the person do in the Corps? ________________________________

69. Has the person applied for the work? _________________________________

70. If not, when does the person intend doing so? ________________________

71. Do the parents agree to the person coming into Training? _____________


72. Do you understand that you may not be allowed to marry until three
years after your appointment as an Officer, and do you engage to abide
by this? __________________

73. If you are not courting, do you pledge yourself to abstain from
anything of the kind during Training and for at least twelve months
after your appointment as a Commissioned Field Officer? __________________

74. Do you pledge yourself not to carry on courtship with any one at the
station to which you are at the time appointed? __________________________

75. Do you pledge yourself never to commence, or allow to commence, or
break off anything of the sort, without first informing your Divisional
Officer, or Headquarters, of your intention to do so? ____________________

76. Do you pledge yourself never to marry any one marriage with whom would
take you out of the Army altogether? _____________________________________

77. Have you read, and do you agree to carry out, the following
Regulations as to Courtship and Marriage? ___________________

(a) "Officers must inform their Divisional Officer or Headquarters of
their desire to enter into or break off any engagement, and no Officer is
permitted to enter into or break off an engagement without the consent of
his or her D.O.

(b) "Officers will not be allowed to carry on any courtship in the Town in
which they are appointed; nor until twelve months after the date of their

(c) "Headquarters cannot consent to the engagement of Male Lieutenants,
until their Divisional Officer is prepared to recommend them for command
of a Station as Captain.

(d) "Before Headquarters can consent to the marriage of any Officer, the
Divisional Officer must be prepared to give him three stations as a married

(e) "No Officer accepted will be allowed to marry until he or she has been
at least three years in the field, except in cases of long-standing
engagements before application for the work.

(f) "No Male Officer will, under any circumstances, be allowed to marry
before he is twenty-two years of age, unless required by Headquarters for
special service.

(g) "Headquarters will not agree to the Marriage of any Male Officer
(except under extraordinary circumstances) until twelve months after
consenting to his engagement.

(h) "Consent will not be given to the engagement of any male Officer
unless the young woman is likely to make a suitable wife for an Officer,
and (if not already an Officer) is prepared to come into Training at once.

(i) "Consent will be given to engagements between Female Officers and
Soldiers, on condition that the latter are suitable for Officers, and are
willing to come into Training if called upon.

(j) "Consent will never be given to any engagement or marriage which would
take an Officer out of the Army.

(k) "Every Officer must sign before marriage the Articles of Marriage,
contained in the Orders and Regulations for Field Officers."



1. Officers are expected to refuse utterly, and to prevent, if possible,
even the proposal of any present or testimonial to them.

2. Of course, an Officer who is receiving no salary, or only part salary,
may accept food or other gifts, such as are needed to meet his wants; but
it is dishonourable for any one who is receiving their salary to accept
gifts of food also.


The principal Doctrines taught in the Army are as follows: --

1. We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament were given
by inspiration of God, and that they only constitute the Divine rule of
Christian faith and practice.

2. We believe there is only one God, who is infinitely perfect, the
Creator, Preserver, and Governor of all things.

3. We believe that there are three persons in the Godhead--the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Ghost, undivided in essence, coequal in power and glory,
and the only proper object of religious worship.

4. We believe that, in the person of Jesus Christ, the Divine and human
natures are united, so that He is truly and properly God, and truly and
properly man.

5. We believe that our first parents were created in a state of innocency,
but by their disobedience they lost their purity and happiness; and that,
in consequence of their fall, all men have become sinners, totally
depraved, and as such are justly exposed to the wrath of God.

6. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has, by His suffering and death,
made an atonement for the whole world, so that whosoever will may be

7. We believe that repentance towards God, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ,
and regeneration by the Holy Spirit, are necessary to Salvation.

8. We believe that we are justified by grace, through faith in our Lord
Jesus Christ, and that he that believeth hath the witness in himself.

9. We believe the Scriptures teach that not only does continuance in the
favour of God depend upon continued faith in, and obedience to, Christ,
but that it is possible for those who have been truly converted to fall
away and be eternally lost.

10. We believe that it is the privilege of all believers to be "wholly
sanctified," and that "the whole spirit and soul and body" may "be
preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." That is to
say, we believe that after conversion there remain in the heart of the
believer inclinations to evil, or roots of bitterness, which, unless
overpowered by Divine grace, produce actual sin; but that these evil
tendencies can be entirely taken away by the Spirit of God, and the whole
heart, thus cleansed from everything contrary to the will of God, or
entirely sanctified, will then produce the fruit of the Spirit only. And
we believe that persons thus entirely sanctified may, by the power of God,
be kept unblamable and unreprovable before Him.

11. We believe in the immortality of the soul; in the resurrection of the
body; in the general judgment at the end of the world; in the eternal
happiness of the righteous; and in the everlasting punishment of the



I HEREBY DECLARE that I will never, on any consideration, do anything
calculated to injure The Salvation Army, and especially, that I will
never, without first having obtained the consent of The General, take any
part in any religious services or in carrying on services held in
opposition to the Army.

I PLEDGE MYSELF to make true records, daily, on the forms supplied to me,
of what I do, and to confess, as far as I am concerned, and to report, as
far as I may see in others, any neglect or variation from the orders or
directions of The General.

I FULLY UNDERSTAND that he does not undertake to employ or to retain in
the service of The Army any one who does not appear to him to be fitted
for the work, or faithful and successful in it, and I solemnly pledge
myself quietly to leave any Army Station to which I may be sent, without
making any attempt to disturb or annoy The Army in any way, should The
General desire me to do so. And I hereby discharge The Army and The
General from all liability, and pledge myself to make no claim on account
of any situation, property, or interest I may give up in order to secure
an engagement in The Army.

I understand that The General will not be responsible in any way for any
loss I may suffer in consequence of being dismissed from Training; as I am
aware that the Cadets are received into Training for the very purpose of
testing their suitability for the work of Salvation Army Officers.

I hereby declare that the foregoing answers appear to me to fully express
the truth as to the questions put to me, and that I know of no other facts
which would prevent my engagement by The General, if they were known to

Candidate to sign here.........................................


               NOTICE TO CANDIDATES.

1. All Candidates are expected to fill up and sign this form themselves,
if they can write at all.

2. You are expected to have obtained and read "Orders and Regulations for
Field Officers" before you make this application.

3. Making this application does NOT imply that we can receive you as an
officer, and you are, therefore, NOT to leave your home, or give notice to
leave your situation, until you hear again from us.

4. If you are appointed as an Officer, or received into Training and it is
afterwards discovered that any of the questions in this form have not been
truthfully answered, you will be instantly dismissed.

5. If you do not understand any question in this form, or if you do not
agree to any of the requirements stated upon it, return it to
Headquarters, and say so in a straightforward manner.

6. Make the question for this appointment a matter of earnest prayer, as
it is the most important step you have taken since your conversion.

We must have your Photo. Please enclose it with your forms, and address
them to "Candidate Department," 101, Queen Victoria Street, London, E.C.

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