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Title: Canterbury Pieces
Author: Butler, Samuel
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Canterbury Pieces" ***

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Transcribed from the 1914 A. C. Fifield edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org

                      [Picture: Public domain cover]



                            CANTERBURY PIECES


                                    By
                              Samuel Butler
            Author of “Erewhon,” “The Way of All Flesh,” etc.

                                * * * * *

                       Edited by R. A. Streatfeild

                                * * * * *

                          London: A. C. Fifield
                                   1914



CONTENTS

                                        PAGE
Darwin on the Origin of Species          149
  A Dialogue                             155
  Barrel-Organs                          164
  Letter: 21 February 1863               167
  Letter: 14 March 1863                  171
  Letter: 18 March 1863                  173
  Letter: 11 April 1863                  175
  Letter: 22 June 1863                   177
Darwin Among the Machines                179
Lucubratio Ebria                         186
A Note on “The Tempest”                  195
The English Cricketers                   198

Darwin on the Origin of Species


Prefatory Note


_AS the following dialogue embodies the earliest fruits of Butler’s study
of the works of Charles Darwin_, _with whose name his own was destined in
later years to be so closely connected_, _and thus possesses an interest
apart from its intrinsic merit_, _a few words as to the circumstances in
which it was published will not be out of place_.

_Butler arrived in New Zealand in October_, 1859, _and about the same
time Charles Darwin’s_ ORIGIN OF SPECIES _was published_.  _Shortly
afterwards the book came into Butler’s hands_.  _He seems to have read it
carefully_, _and meditated upon it_.  _The result of his meditations took
the shape of the following dialogue_, _which was published on_ 20
_December_, 1862, _in the_ PRESS _which had been started in the town of
Christ Church in May_, 1861.  _The dialogue did not by any means pass
unnoticed_.  _On the_ 17_th of January_, 1863, _a leading article_ (_of
course unsigned_) _appeared in the_ PRESS, _under the title_
“_Barrel-Organs_,” _discussing Darwin’s theories_, _and incidentally
referring to Butler’s dialogue_.  _A reply to this article_, _signed
A.M._, _appeared on the_ 21_st of February_, _and the correspondence was
continued until the_ 22_nd of June_, 1863.  _The dialogue itself_, _which
was unearthed from the early files of the_ PRESS, _mainly owing to the
exertions of Mr. Henry Festing Jones_, _was reprinted_, _together with
the correspondence that followed its publication_, _in the_ PRESS _of
June_ 8 _and_ 15, 1912.  _Soon after the original appearance of Butler’s
dialogue a copy of it fell into the hands of Charles Darwin_, _possibly
sent to him by a friend in New Zealand_.  _Darwin was sufficiently struck
by it to forward it to the editor of some magazine_, _which has not been
identified_, _with the following letter_:—

                                         _Down_, _Bromley_, _Kent_, _S.E._
                                                        _March_ 24 [1863].

                                  (Private).

    _Mr. Darwin takes the liberty to send by this post to the Editor a
    New Zealand newspaper for the very improbable chance of the Editor
    having some spare space to reprint a Dialogue on Species_.  _This
    Dialogue_, _written by some_ [_sic_] _quite unknown to Mr. Darwin_,
    _is remarkable from its spirit and from giving so clear and accurate
    a view of Mr. D._ [_sic_] _theory_.  _It is also remarkable from
    being published in a colony exactly_ 12 _years old_, _in which it
    might have_ [_sic_] _thought only material interests would have been
    regarded_.

_The autograph of this letter was purchased from Mr. Tregaskis by Mr.
Festing Jones_, _and subsequently presented by him to the Museum at
Christ Church_.  _The letter cannot be dated with certainty_, _but since
Butler’s dialogue was published in December_, 1862, _and it is at least
probable that the copy of the_ PRESS _which contained it was sent to
Darwin shortly after it appeared_, _we may conclude with tolerable
certainty that the letter was written in March_, 1863.  _Further light is
thrown on the controversy by a correspondence which took place between
Butler and Darwin in_ 1865, _shortly after Butler’s return to England_.
_During that year Butler had published a pamphlet entitled_ THE EVIDENCE
FOR THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST AS GIVEN BY THE FOUR EVANGELISTS
CRITICALLY EXAMINED, _of which he afterwards incorporated the substance
into_ THE FAIR HAVEN.  _Butler sent a copy of this pamphlet to Darwin_,
_and in due course received the following reply_:—

                                                _Down_, _Bromley_, _Kent_.
                                                    _September_ 30 [1865].

    _My dear Sir_,—_I am much obliged to you for so kindly sending me
    your Evidences_, _etc._  _We have read it with much interest_.  _It
    seems to me written with much force_, _vigour_, _and clearness_; _and
    the main argument to me is quite new_.  _I particularly agree with
    all you say in your preface_.

    _I do not know whether you intend to return to New Zealand_, _and_,
    _if you are inclined to write_, _I should much like to know what your
    future plans are_.

    _My health has been so bad during the last five months that I have
    been confined to my bedroom_.  _Had it been otherwise I would have
    asked you if you could have spared the time to have paid us a visit_;
    _but this at present is impossible_, _and I fear will be so for some
    time_.

    _With my best thanks for your present_,

    _I remain_,

                                _My dear Sir_,

                                                  _Yours very faithfully_,
                                                         _Charles Darwin_.

_To this letter Butler replied as follows_:—

                                               15 _Clifford’s Inn_, _E.C._
                                                    _October_ 1_st_, 1865.

    _Dear Sir_,—_I knew you were ill and I never meant to give you the
    fatigue of writing to me_.  _Please do not trouble yourself to do so
    again_.  _As you kindly ask my plans I may say that_, _though I very
    probably may return to New Zealand in three or four years_, _I have
    no intention of doing so before that time_.  _My study is art_, _and
    anything else I may indulge in is only by-play_; _it may cause you
    some little wonder that at my age I should have started as an art
    student_, _and I may perhaps be permitted to explain that this was
    always my wish for years_, _that I had begun six years ago_, _as soon
    as ever I found that I could not conscientiously take orders_; _my
    father so strongly disapproved of the idea that I gave it up and went
    out to New Zealand_, _stayed there for five years_, _worked like a
    common servant_, _though on a run of my own_, _and sold out little
    more than a year ago_, _thinking that prices were going to
    fall_—_which they have since done_.  _Being then rather at a loss
    what to do and my capital being all locked up_, _I took the
    opportunity to return to my old plan_, _and have been studying for
    the last ten years unremittingly_.  _I hope that in three or four
    years more I shall be able to go on very well by myself_, _and then I
    may go back to New Zealand or no as circumstances shall seem to
    render advisable_.  _I must apologise for so much detail_, _but
    hardly knew how to explain myself without it_.

    _I always delighted in your_ ORIGIN OF SPECIES _as soon as I saw it
    out in New Zealand_—_not as knowing anything whatsoever of natural
    history_, _but it enters into so many deeply interesting questions_,
    _or rather it suggests so many_, _that it thoroughly fascinated me_.
    _I therefore feel all the greater pleasure that my pamphlet should
    please you_, _however full of errors_.

    _The first dialogue on the_ ORIGIN _which I wrote in the_ PRESS
    _called forth a contemptuous rejoinder from_ (_I believe_) _the
    Bishop of Wellington_—(_please do not mention the name_, _though I
    think that at this distance of space and time I might mention it to
    yourself_) _I answered it with the enclosed_, _which may amuse you_.
    _I assumed another character because my dialogue was in my hearing
    very severely criticised by two or three whose opinion I thought
    worth having_, _and I deferred to their judgment in my next_.  _I do
    not think I should do so now_.  _I fear you will be shocked at an
    appeal to the periodicals mentioned in my letter_, _but they form a
    very staple article of bush diet_, _and we used to get a good deal of
    superficial knowledge out of them_.  _I feared to go in too heavy on
    the side of the_ ORIGIN, _because I thought that_, _having said my
    say as well as I could_, _I had better now take a less impassioned
    tone_; _but I was really exceedingly angry_.

    _Please do not trouble yourself to answer this_, _and believe me_,

                         _Yours most sincerely_,

                                                              _S. Butler_.

_This elicited a second letter from Darwin_:—

                                                _Down_, _Bromley_, _Kent_.
                                                              _October_ 6.

    _My dear Sir_,—_I thank you sincerely for your kind and frank
    letter_, _which has interested me greatly_.  _What a singular and
    varied career you have already run_.  _Did you keep any journal or
    notes in New Zealand_?  _For it strikes me that with your rare powers
    of writing you might make a very interesting work descriptive of a
    colonist’s life in New Zealand_.

    _I return your printed letter_, _which you might like to keep_.  _It
    has amused me_, _especially the part in which you criticise
    yourself_.  _To appreciate the letter fully I ought to have read the
    bishop’s letter_, _which seems to have been very rich_.

    _You tell me not to answer your note_, _but I could not resist the
    wish to thank you for your letter_.

    _With every good wish_, _believe me_, _my dear Sir_,

                                                        _Yours sincerely_,
                                                             _Ch. Darwin_.

_It is curious that in this correspondence Darwin makes no reference to
the fact that he had already had in his possession a copy of Butler’s
dialogue and had endeavoured to induce the editor of an English
periodical to reprint it_.  _It is possible that we have not here the
whole of the correspondence which passed between Darwin and Butler at
this period_, _and this theory is supported by the fact that Butler seems
to take for granted that Darwin knew all about the appearance of the
original dialogue on the_ ORIGIN OF SPECIES _in the_ PRESS.  _Enough_,
_however_, _has been given to explain the correspondence which the
publication of the dialogue occasioned_.  _I do not know what authority
Butler had for supposing that Charles John Abraham_, _Bishop of
Wellington_, _was the author of the article entitled_ “_Barrel-Organs_,”
_and the_ “_Savoyard_” _of the subsequent controversy_.  _However_, _at
that time Butler was deep in the __counsels of the_ PRESS, _and he may
have received private information on the subject_.  _Butler’s own
reappearance over the initials A.M. is sufficiently explained in his
letter to Darwin_.

_It is worth observing that Butler appears in the dialogue and ensuing
correspondence in a character very different from that which he was later
to assume_.  _Here we have him as an ardent supporter of Charles Darwin_,
_and adopting a contemptuous tone with regard to the claims of Erasmus
Darwin to have sown the seed which was afterwards raised to maturity by
his grandson_.  _It would be interesting to know if it was this
correspondence that first turned Butler’s attention seriously to the
works of the older evolutionists and ultimately led to the production of_
EVOLUTION, OLD AND NEW, _in which the indebtedness of Charles Darwin to
Erasmus Darwin_, _Buffon and Lamarck is demonstrated with such compelling
force_.



A Dialogue


                  [From the _Press_, 20 December, 1862.]

F.  So you have finished Darwin?  Well, how did you like him?

C.  You cannot expect me to like him.  He is so hard and logical, and he
treats his subject with such an intensity of dry reasoning without giving
himself the loose rein for a single moment from one end of the book to
the other, that I must confess I have found it a great effort to read him
through.

F.  But I fancy that, if you are to be candid, you will admit that the
fault lies rather with yourself than with the book.  Your knowledge of
natural history is so superficial that you are constantly baffled by
terms of which you do not understand the meaning, and in which you
consequently lose all interest.  I admit, however, that the book is hard
and laborious reading; and, moreover, that the writer appears to have
predetermined from the commencement to reject all ornament, and simply to
argue from beginning to end, from point to point, till he conceived that
he had made his case sufficiently clear.

C.  I agree with you, and I do not like his book partly on that very
account.  He seems to have no eye but for the single point at which he is
aiming.

F.  But is not that a great virtue in a writer?

C.  A great virtue, but a cold and hard one.

F.  In my opinion it is a grave and wise one.  Moreover, I conceive that
the judicial calmness which so strongly characterises the whole book, the
absence of all passion, the air of extreme and anxious caution which
pervades it throughout, are rather the result of training and
artificially acquired self-restraint than symptoms of a cold and
unimpassioned nature; at any rate, whether the lawyer-like faculty of
swearing both sides of a question and attaching the full value to both is
acquired or natural in Darwin’s case, you will admit that such a habit of
mind is essential for any really valuable and scientific investigation.

C.  I admit it.  Science is all head—she has no heart at all.

F.  You are right.  But a man of science may be a man of other things
besides science, and though he may have, and ought to have no heart
during a scientific investigation, yet when he has once come to a
conclusion he may be hearty enough in support of it, and in his other
capacities may be of as warm a temperament as even you can desire.

C.  I tell you I do not like the book.

F.  May I catechise you a little upon it?

C.  To your heart’s content.

F.  Firstly, then, I will ask you what is the one great impression that
you have derived from reading it; or, rather, what do you think to be the
main impression that Darwin wanted you to derive?

C.  Why, I should say some such thing as the following—that men are
descended from monkeys, and monkeys from something else, and so on back
to dogs and horses and hedge-sparrows and pigeons and cinipedes (what is
a cinipede?) and cheesemites, and then through the plants down to
duckweed.

F.  You express the prevalent idea concerning the book, which as you
express it appears nonsensical enough.

C.  How, then, should you express it yourself?

F.  Hand me the book and I will read it to you through from beginning to
end, for to express it more briefly than Darwin himself has done is
almost impossible.

C.  That is nonsense; as you asked me what impression I derived from the
book, so now I ask you, and I charge you to answer me.

F.  Well, I assent to the justice of your demand, but I shall comply with
it by requiring your assent to a few principal statements deducible from
the work.

C.  So be it.

F.  You will grant then, firstly, that all plants and animals increase
very rapidly, and that unless they were in some manner checked, the world
would soon be overstocked.  Take cats, for instance; see with what
rapidity they breed on the different runs in this province where there is
little or nothing to check them; or even take the more slowly breeding
sheep, and see how soon 500 ewes become 5000 sheep under favourable
circumstances.  Suppose this sort of thing to go on for a hundred million
years or so, and where would be the standing room for all the different
plants and animals that would be now existing, did they not materially
check each other’s increase, or were they not liable in some way to be
checked by other causes?  Remember the quail; how plentiful they were
until the cats came with the settlers from Europe.  Why were they so
abundant?  Simply because they had plenty to eat, and could get
sufficient shelter from the hawks to multiply freely.  The cats came, and
tussocks stood the poor little creatures in but poor stead.  The cats
increased and multiplied because they had plenty of food and no natural
enemy to check them.  Let them wait a year or two, till they have
materially reduced the larks also, as they have long since reduced the
quail, and let them have to depend solely upon occasional dead lambs and
sheep, and they will find a certain rather formidable natural enemy
called Famine rise slowly but inexorably against them and slaughter them
wholesale.  The first proposition then to which I demand your assent is
that all plants and animals tend to increase in a high geometrical ratio;
that they all endeavour to get that which is necessary for their own
welfare; that, as unfortunately there are conflicting interests in
Nature, collisions constantly occur between different animals and plants,
whereby the rate of increase of each species is very materially checked.
Do you admit this?

C.  Of course; it is obvious.

F.  You admit then that there is in Nature a perpetual warfare of plant,
of bird, of beast, of fish, of reptile; that each is striving selfishly
for its own advantage, and will get what it wants if it can.

C.  If what?

F.  If it can.  How comes it then that sometimes it cannot?  Simply
because all are not of equal strength, and the weaker must go to the
wall.

C.  You seem to gloat over your devilish statement.

F.  Gloat or no gloat, is it true or no?  I am not one of those

    “Who would unnaturally better Nature
    By making out that that which is, is not.”

If the law of Nature is “struggle,” it is better to look the matter in
the face and adapt yourself to the conditions of your existence.  Nature
will not bow to you, neither will you mend matters by patting her on the
back and telling her that she is not so black as she is painted.  My dear
fellow, my dear sentimental friend, do you eat roast beef or roast
mutton?

C.  Drop that chaff and go back to the matter in hand.

F.  To continue then with the cats.  Famine comes and tests them, so to
speak; the weaker, the less active, the less cunning, and the less
enduring cats get killed off, and only the strongest and smartest cats
survive; there will be no favouritism shown to animals in a state of
Nature; they will be weighed in the balance, and the weight of a hair
will sometimes decide whether they shall be found wanting or no.  This
being the case, the cats having been thus naturally culled and the
stronger having been preserved, there will be a gradual tendency to
improve manifested among the cats, even as among our own mobs of sheep
careful culling tends to improve the flock.

C.  This, too, is obvious.

F.  Extend this to all animals and plants, and the same thing will hold
good concerning them all.  I shall now change the ground and demand
assent to another statement.  You know that though the offspring of all
plants and animals is in the main like the parent, yet that in almost
every instance slight deviations occur, and that sometimes there is even
considerable divergence from the parent type.  It must also be admitted
that these slight variations are often, or at least sometimes, capable of
being perpetuated by inheritance.  Indeed, it is only in consequence of
this fact that our sheep and cattle have been capable of so much
improvement.

C.  I admit this.

F.  Then the whole matter lies in a nutshell.  Suppose that hundreds of
millions of years ago there existed upon this earth a single primordial
form of the very lowest life, or suppose that three or four such
primordial forms existed.  Change of climate, of food, of any of the
circumstances which surrounded any member of this first and lowest class
of life would tend to alter it in some slight manner, and the alteration
would have a tendency to perpetuate itself by inheritance.  Many failures
would doubtless occur, but with the lapse of time slight deviations would
undoubtedly become permanent and inheritable, those alone being
perpetuated which were beneficial to individuals in whom they appeared.
Repeat the process with each deviation and we shall again obtain
divergences (in the course of ages) differing more strongly from the
ancestral form, and again those that enable their possessor to struggle
for existence most efficiently will be preserved.  Repeat this process
for millions and millions of years, and, as it is impossible to assign
any limit to variability, it would seem as though the present diversities
of species must certainly have come about sooner or later, and that other
divergences will continue to come about to the end of time.  The great
agent in this development of life has been competition.  This has culled
species after species, and secured that those alone should survive which
were best fitted for the conditions by which they found themselves
surrounded.  Endeavour to take a bird’s-eye view of the whole matter.
See battle after battle, first in one part of the world, then in another,
sometimes raging more fiercely and sometimes less; even as in human
affairs war has always existed in some part of the world from the
earliest known periods, and probably always will exist.  While a species
is conquering in one part of the world it is being subdued in another,
and while its conquerors are indulging in their triumph down comes the
fiat for their being culled and drafted out, some to life and some to
death, and so forth _ad infinitum_.

C.  It is very horrid.

F.  No more horrid than that you should eat roast mutton or boiled beef.

C.  But it is utterly subversive of Christianity; for if this theory is
true the fall of man is entirely fabulous; and if the fall, then the
redemption, these two being inseparably bound together.

F.  My dear friend, there I am not bound to follow you.  I believe in
Christianity, and I believe in Darwin.  The two appear irreconcilable.
My answer to those who accuse me of inconsistency is, that both being
undoubtedly true, the one must be reconcilable with the other, and that
the impossibility of reconciling them must be only apparent and
temporary, not real.  The reconciliation will never be effected by
planing a little off the one and a little off the other and then gluing
them together with glue.  People will not stand this sort of dealing, and
the rejection of the one truth or of the other is sure to follow upon any
such attempt being persisted in.  The true course is to use the freest
candour in the acknowledgment of the difficulty; to estimate precisely
its real value, and obtain a correct knowledge of its precise form.  Then
and then only is there a chance of any satisfactory result being
obtained.  For unless the exact nature of the difficulty be known first,
who can attempt to remove it?  Let me re-state the matter once again.
All animals and plants in a state of Nature are undergoing constant
competition for the necessaries of life.  Those that can hold their
ground hold it; those that cannot hold it are destroyed.  But as it also
happens that slight changes of food, of habit, of climate, of
circumjacent accident, and so forth, produce a slight tendency to vary in
the offspring of any plant or animal, it follows that among these slight
variations some may be favourable to the individual in whom they appear,
and may place him in a better position than his fellows as regards the
enemies with whom his interests come into collision.  In this case he
will have a better chance of surviving than his fellows; he will thus
stand also a better chance of continuing the species, and in his
offspring his own slight divergence from the parent type will be apt to
appear.  However slight the divergence, if it be beneficial to the
individual it is likely to preserve the individual and to reappear in his
offspring, and this process may be repeated _ad infinitum_.  Once grant
these two things, and the rest is a mere matter of time and degree.  That
the immense differences between the camel and the pig should have come
about in six thousand years is not believable; but in six hundred million
years it is not incredible, more especially when we consider that by the
assistance of geology a very perfect chain has been formed between the
two.  Let this instance suffice.  Once grant the principles, once grant
that competition is a great power in Nature, and that changes of
circumstances and habits produce a tendency to variation in the offspring
(no matter how slight such variation may be), and unless you can define
the possible limit of such variation during an infinite series of
generations, unless you can show that there is a limit, and that Darwin’s
theory over-steps it, you have no right to reject his conclusions.  As
for the objections to the theory, Darwin has treated them with admirable
candour, and our time is too brief to enter into them here.  My
recommendation to you is that you should read the book again.

C.  Thank you, but for my own part I confess to caring very little
whether my millionth ancestor was a gorilla or no; and as Darwin’s book
does not please me, I shall not trouble myself further about the matter.



Barrel-Organs


                  [From the _Press_, 17 January, 1863.]

Dugald Stewart in his _Dissertation on the Progress of Metaphysics_ says:
“On reflecting on the repeated reproduction of ancient paradoxes by
modern authors one is almost tempted to suppose that human invention is
limited, like a barrel-organ, to a specific number of tunes.”

It would be a very amusing and instructive task for a man of reading and
reflection to note down the instances he meets with of these old tunes
coming up again and again in regular succession with hardly any change of
note, and with all the old hitches and involuntary squeaks that the
barrel-organ had played in days gone by.  It is most amusing to see the
old quotations repeated year after year and volume after volume, till at
last some more careful enquirer turns to the passage referred to and
finds that they have all been taken in and have followed the lead of the
first daring inventor of the mis-statement.  Hallam has had the courage,
in the supplement to his _History of the Middle Ages_, p. 398, to
acknowledge an error of this sort that he has been led into.

But the particular instance of barrel-organism that is present to our
minds just now is the Darwinian theory of the development of species by
natural selection, of which we hear so much.  This is nothing new, but a
_réchauffée_ of the old story that his namesake, Dr. Darwin, served up in
the end of the last century to Priestley and his admirers, and Lord
Monboddo had cooked in the beginning of the same century.  We have all
heard of his theory that man was developed directly from the monkey, and
that we all lost our tails by sitting too much upon that appendage.

We learn from that same great and cautious writer Hallam in his _History
of Literature_ that there are traces of this theory and of other popular
theories of the present day in the works of Giordano Bruno, the
Neapolitan who was burnt at Rome by the Inquisition in 1600.  It is
curious to read the titles of his works and to think of Dugald Stewart’s
remark about barrel-organs.  For instance he wrote on “The Plurality of
Worlds,” and on the universal “Monad,” a name familiar enough to the
readers of _Vestiges of Creation_.  He was a Pantheist, and, as Hallam
says, borrowed all his theories from the eclectic philosophers, from
Plotinus and the Neo-Platonists, and ultimately they were no doubt of
Oriental origin.  This is just what has been shown again and again to be
the history of German Pantheism; it is a mere barrel-organ repetition of
the Brahman metaphysics found in Hindu cosmogonies.  Bruno’s theory
regarding development of species was in Hallam’s words: “There is nothing
so small or so unimportant but that a portion of spirit dwells in it; and
this spiritual substance requires a proper subject to become a plant or
an animal”; and Hallam in a note on this passage observes how the modern
theories of equivocal generation correspond with Bruno’s.

No doubt Hallam is right in saying that they are all of Oriental origin.
Pythagoras borrowed from thence his kindred theory of the metempsychosis,
or transmigration of souls.  But he was more consistent than modern
philosophers; he recognised a downward development as well as an upward,
and made morality and immorality the crisis and turning-point of change—a
bold lion developed into a brave warrior, a drunken sot developed into a
wallowing pig, and Darwin’s slave-making ants, p. 219, would have been
formerly Virginian cotton and tobacco growers.

Perhaps Prometheus was the first Darwin of antiquity, for he is said to
have begun his creation from below, and after passing from the
invertebrate to the sub-vertebrate, from thence to the backbone, from the
backbone to the mammalia, and from the mammalia to the manco-cerebral, he
compounded man of each and all:—

    Fertur Prometheus addere principi
    Limo coactus particulam undique
    Desectam et insani leonis
    Vim stomacho apposuisse nostro.

One word more about barrel-organs.  We have heard on the undoubted
authority of ear and eyewitnesses, that in a neighbouring province there
is a church where the psalms are sung to a barrel-organ, but
unfortunately the psalm tunes come in the middle of the set, and the jigs
and waltzes have to be played through before the psalm can start.  Just
so is it with Darwinism and all similar theories.  All his fantasias, as
we saw in a late article, are made to come round at last to religious
questions, with which really and truly they have nothing to do, but were
it not for their supposed effect upon religion, no one would waste his
time in reading about the possibility of Polar bears swimming about and
catching flies so long that they at last get the fins they wish for.



Darwin on Species
[From the _Press_, 21 February, 1863.]


                      To the Editor of the _Press_.

Sir—In two of your numbers you have already taken notice of Darwin’s
theory of the origin of species; I would venture to trespass upon your
space in order to criticise briefly both your notices.

The first is evidently the composition of a warm adherent of the theory
in question; the writer overlooks all the real difficulties in the way of
accepting it, and, caught by the obvious truth of much that Darwin says,
has rushed to the conclusion that all is equally true.  He writes with
the tone of a partisan, of one deficient in scientific caution, and from
the frequent repetition of the same ideas manifest in his dialogue one
would be led to suspect that he was but little versed in habits of
literary composition and philosophical argument.  Yet he may fairly claim
the merit of having written in earnest.  He has treated a serious subject
seriously according to his lights; and though his lights are not
brilliant ones, yet he has apparently done his best to show the theory on
which he is writing in its most favourable aspect.  He is rash, evidently
well satisfied with himself, very possibly mistaken, and just one of
those persons who (without intending it) are more apt to mislead than to
lead the few people that put their trust in them.  A few will always
follow them, for a strong faith is always more or less impressive upon
persons who are too weak to have any definite and original faith of their
own.  The second writer, however, assumes a very different tone.  His
arguments to all practical intents and purposes run as follows:—

Old fallacies are constantly recurring.  Therefore Darwin’s theory is a
fallacy.

They come again and again, like tunes in a barrel-organ.  Therefore
Darwin’s theory is a fallacy.

Hallam made a mistake, and in his _History of the Middle Ages_, p. 398,
he corrects himself.  Therefore Darwin’s theory is wrong.

Dr. Darwin in the last century said the same thing as his son or grandson
says now—will the writer of the article refer to anything bearing on
natural selection and the struggle for existence in Dr. Darwin’s
work?—and a foolish nobleman said something foolish about monkey’s tails.
Therefore Darwin’s theory is wrong.

Giordano Bruno was burnt in the year 1600 A.D.; he was a Pantheist;
therefore Darwin’s theory is wrong.

And finally, as a clinching argument, in one of the neighbouring
settlements there is a barrel-organ which plays its psalm tunes in the
middle of its jigs and waltzes.  After this all lingering doubts
concerning the falsehood of Darwin’s theory must be at an end, and any
person of ordinary common sense must admit that the theory of development
by natural selection is unwarranted by experience and reason.

The articles conclude with an implied statement that Darwin supposes the
Polar bear to swim about catching flies for so long a period that at last
it gets the fins it wishes for.

Now, however sceptical I may yet feel about the truth of all Darwin’s
theory, I cannot sit quietly by and see him misrepresented in such a
scandalously slovenly manner.  What Darwin does say is that sometimes
diversified and changed habits may be observed in individuals of the same
species; that is that there are eccentric animals just as there are
eccentric men.  He adduces a few instances and winds up by saying that
“in North America the black bear was seen by Hearne swimming for hours
with widely open mouth, thus catching—almost like a whale—insects in the
water.”  This and nothing more.  (See pp. 201 and 202.)

Because Darwin says that a bear of rather eccentric habits happened to be
seen by Hearne swimming for hours and catching insects almost like a
whale, your writer (with a carelessness hardly to be reprehended in
sufficiently strong terms) asserts by implication that Darwin supposes
the whale to be developed from the bear by the latter having had a strong
desire to possess fins.  This is disgraceful.

I can hardly be mistaken in supposing that I have quoted the passage your
writer alludes to.  Should I be in error, I trust he will give the
reference to the place in which Darwin is guilty of the nonsense that is
fathered upon him in your article.

It must be remembered that there have been few great inventions in
physics or discoveries in science which have not been foreshadowed to a
certain extent by speculators who were indeed mistaken, but were yet more
or less on the right scent.  Day is heralded by dawn, Apollo by Aurora,
and thus it often happens that a real discovery may wear to the careless
observer much the same appearance as an exploded fallacy, whereas in fact
it is widely different.  As much caution is due in the rejection of a
theory as in the acceptation of it.  The first of your writers is too
hasty in accepting, the second in refusing even a candid examination.

Now, when the _Saturday Review_, the _Cornhill Magazine_, _Once a Week_,
and _Macmillan’s Magazine_, not to mention other periodicals, have either
actually and completely as in the case of the first two, provisionally as
in the last mentioned, given their adherence to the theory in question,
it may be taken for granted that the arguments in its favour are
sufficiently specious to have attracted the attention and approbation of
a considerable number of well-educated men in England.  Three months ago
the theory of development by natural selection was openly supported by
Professor Huxley before the British Association at Cambridge.  I am not
adducing Professor Huxley’s advocacy as a proof that Darwin is right
(indeed, Owen opposed him tooth and nail), but as a proof that there is
sufficient to be said on Darwin’s side to demand more respectful
attention than your last writer has thought it worth while to give it.  A
theory which the British Association is discussing with great care in
England is not to be set down by off-hand nicknames in Canterbury.

To those, however, who do feel an interest in the question, I would
venture to give a word or two of advice.  I would strongly deprecate
forming a hurried opinion for or against the theory.  Naturalists in
Europe are canvassing the matter with the utmost diligence, and a few
years must show whether they will accept the theory or no.  It is
plausible; that can be decided by no one.  Whether it is true or no can
be decided only among naturalists themselves.  We are outsiders, and most
of us must be content to sit on the stairs till the great men come forth
and give us the benefit of their opinion.

                                I am, Sir,

                                                    Your obedient servant,
                                                                     A. M.



Darwin on Species
[From the _Press_, March 14th, 1863.]


                      To the Editor of the _Press_.

Sir—A correspondent signing himself “A. M.” in the issue of February 21st
says:—“Will the writer (of an article on barrel-organs) refer to anything
bearing upon natural selection and the struggle for existence in Dr.
Darwin’s work?”  This is one of the trade forms by which writers imply
that there is no such passage, and yet leave a loophole if they are
proved wrong.  I will, however, furnish him with a passage from the notes
of Darwin’s _Botanic Garden_:—

“I am acquainted with a philosopher who, contemplating this subject,
thinks it not impossible that the first insects were anthers or stigmas
of flowers, which had by some means loosed themselves from their parent
plant; and that many insects have gradually in long process of time been
formed from these, some acquiring wings, others fins, and others claws,
from their ceaseless efforts to procure their food or to secure
themselves from injury.  The anthers or stigmas are therefore separate
beings.”

This passage contains the germ of Mr. Charles Darwin’s theory of the
origin of species by natural selection:—

“Analogy would lead me to the belief that all animals and plants have
descended from one prototype.”

Here are a few specimens, his illustrations of the theory:—

“There seems to me no great difficulty in believing that natural
selection has actually converted a swim-bladder into a lung or organ used
exclusively for respiration.”  “A swim-bladder has apparently been
converted into an air-breathing lung.”  “We must be cautious in
concluding that a bat could not have been formed by natural selection
from an animal which at first could only glide through the air.”  “I can
see no insuperable difficulty in further believing it possible that the
membrane-connected fingers and forearm of the galeopithecus might be
greatly lengthened by natural selection, and this, as far as the organs
of flight are concerned, would convert it into a bat.”  “The framework of
bones being the same in the hand of a man, wing of a bat, fin of a
porpoise, and leg of a horse, the same number of vertebræ forming the
neck of the giraffe and of the elephant, and innumerable other such
facts, at once explain themselves on the theory of descent with slow and
slight successive modifications.”

I do not mean to go through your correspondent’s letter, otherwise “I
could hardly reprehend in sufficiently strong terms” (and all that sort
of thing) the perversion of what I said about Giordano Bruno.  But “ex
uno disce omnes”—I am, etc.,

                                                           “THE SAVOYARD.”



Darwin on Species
[From the _Press_, 18 March, 1863.]


                      To the Editor of the _Press_.

Sir—The “Savoyard” of last Saturday has shown that he has perused
Darwin’s _Botanic Garden_ with greater attention than myself.  I am
obliged to him for his correction of my carelessness, and have not the
smallest desire to make use of any loopholes to avoid being “proved
wrong.”  Let, then, the “Savoyard’s” assertion that Dr. Darwin had to a
certain extent forestalled Mr. C. Darwin stand, and let my implied denial
that in the older Darwin’s works passages bearing on natural selection,
or the struggle for existence, could be found, go for nought, or rather
let it be set down against me.

What follows?  Has the “Savoyard” (supposing him to be the author of the
article on barrel-organs) adduced one particle of real argument the more
to show that the real Darwin’s theory is wrong?

The elder Darwin writes in a note that “he is acquainted with a
philosopher who thinks it not impossible that the first insects were the
anthers or stigmas of flowers, which by some means, etc. etc.”  This is
mere speculation, not a definite theory, and though the passage above as
quoted by the “Savoyard” certainly does contain the germ of Darwin’s
theory, what is it more than the crudest and most unshapen germ?  And in
what conceivable way does this discovery of the egg invalidate the
excellence of the chicken?

Was there ever a great theory yet which was not more or less developed
from previous speculations which were all to a certain extent wrong, and
all ridiculed, perhaps not undeservedly, at the time of their appearance?
There is a wide difference between a speculation and a theory.  A
speculation involves the notion of a man climbing into a lofty position,
and descrying a somewhat remote object which he cannot fully make out.  A
theory implies that the theorist has looked long and steadfastly till he
is clear in his own mind concerning the nature of the thing which he is
beholding.  I submit that the “Savoyard” has unfairly made use of the
failure of certain speculations in order to show that a distinct theory
is untenable.

Let it be granted that Darwin’s theory has been foreshadowed by numerous
previous writers.  Grant the “Savoyard” his Giordano Bruno, and give full
weight to the barrel-organ in a neighbouring settlement, I would still
ask, has the theory of natural development of species ever been placed in
anything approaching its present clear and connected form before the
appearance of Mr. Darwin’s book?  Has it ever received the full attention
of the scientific world as a duly organised theory, one presented in a
tangible shape and demanding investigation, as the conclusion arrived at
by a man of known scientific attainments after years of patient toil?
The upshot of the barrel-organs article was to answer this question in
the affirmative and to pooh-pooh all further discussion.

It would be mere presumption on my part either to attack or defend
Darwin, but my indignation was roused at seeing him misrepresented and
treated disdainfully.  I would wish, too, that the “Savoyard” would have
condescended to notice that little matter of the bear.  I have searched
my copy of Darwin again and again to find anything relating to the
subject except what I have quoted in my previous letter.

                    I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

                                                                     A. M.



Darwin on Species
[From the _Press_, April 11th, 1863.]


                      To the Editor of the _Press_.

Sir—Your correspondent “A. M.” is pertinacious on the subject of the bear
being changed into a whale, which I said Darwin contemplated as not
impossible.  I did not take the trouble in any former letter to answer
him on that point, as his language was so intemperate.  He has modified
his tone in his last letter, and really seems open to the conviction that
he may be the “careless” writer after all; and so on reflection I have
determined to give him the opportunity of doing me justice.

In his letter of February 21 he says: “I cannot sit by and see Darwin
misrepresented in such a scandalously slovenly manner.  What Darwin does
say is ‘that SOMETIMES diversified and changed habits may be observed in
individuals of the same species; that is, that there are certain
eccentric animals as there are certain eccentric men.  He adduces a few
instances, and winds up by saying that in North America the black bear
was seen by Hearne swimming for hours with widely open mouth, thus
catching, ALMOST LIKE A WHALE, insects in the water.’  THIS, AND NOTHING
MORE, pp. 201, 202.”

Then follows a passage about my carelessness, which (he says) is hardly
to be reprehended in sufficiently strong terms, and he ends with saying:
“This is disgraceful.”

Now you may well suppose that I was a little puzzled at the seeming
audacity of a writer who should adopt this style, when the words which
follow his quotation from Darwin are (in the edition from which I quoted)
as follows: “Even in so extreme a case as this, if the supply of insects
were constant, and if better adapted competitors did not already exist in
the country, I can see no difficulty in a race of bears being rendered by
natural selection more and more aquatic in their structure and habits,
with larger and larger mouths, till a creature was produced as monstrous
as a whale.”

Now this passage was a remarkable instance of the idea that I was
illustrating in the article on “Barrel-organs,” because Buffon in his
_Histoire Naturelle_ had conceived a theory of degeneracy (the exact
converse of Darwin’s theory of ascension) by which the bear might pass
into a seal, and that into a whale.  Trusting now to the fairness of “A.
M.”  I leave to him to say whether he has quoted from the same edition as
I have, and whether the additional words I have quoted are in his
edition, and if so whether he has not been guilty of a great injustice to
me; and if they are not in his edition, whether he has not been guilty of
great haste and “carelessness” in taking for granted that I have acted in
so “disgraceful” a manner.

                                                          I am, Sir, etc.,
                                                 “The Savoyard,” or player
                                                         on Barrel-organs.

(The paragraph in question has been the occasion of much discussion.  The
only edition in our hands is the third, seventh thousand, which contains
the paragraph as quoted by “A. M.”  We have heard that it is different in
earlier editions, but have not been able to find one.  The difference
between “A. M.” and “The Savoyard” is clearly one of different editions.
Darwin appears to have been ashamed of the inconsequent inference
suggested, and to have withdrawn it.—Ed. the _Press_.)



Darwin on Species
[From the _Press_, 22nd June, 1863.]


                      To the Editor of the _Press_.

Sir—I extract the following from an article in the _Saturday Review_ of
January 10, 1863, on the vertebrated animals of the Zoological Gardens.

“As regards the ducks, for example, inter-breeding goes on to a very
great extent among nearly all the genera, which are well represented in
the collection.  We think it unfortunate that the details of these
crosses have not hitherto been made public.  The Zoological Society has
existed about thirty-five years, and we imagine that evidence must have
been accumulated almost enough to make or mar that part of Mr. Darwin’s
well-known argument which rests on what is known of the phenomena of
hybridism.  The present list reveals only one fact bearing on the
subject, but that is a noteworthy one, for it completely overthrows the
commonly accepted theory that the mixed offspring of different species
are infertile _inter se_.  At page 15 (of the list of vertebrated animals
living in the gardens of the Zoological Society of London, Longman and
Co., 1862) we find enumerated three examples of hybrids between two
perfectly distinct species, and even, according to modern classification,
between two distinct genera of ducks, for three or four generations.
There can be little doubt that a series of researches in this branch of
experimental physiology, which might be carried on at no great loss,
would place zoologists in a far better position with regard to a subject
which is one of the most interesting if not one of the most important in
natural history.”

I fear that both you and your readers will be dead sick of Darwin, but
the above is worthy of notice.  My compliments to the “Savoyard.”

                          Your obedient servant,

May 17th.

                                                                     A. M.



Darwin Among the Machines


“_Darwin Among the Machines_” _originally appeared in the Christ Church_
PRESS, 13 _June_, 1863.  _It was reprinted by Mr. Festing Jones in his
edition of_ THE NOTE-BOOKS OF SAMUEL BUTLER (_Fifield_, _London_, 1912,
_Kennerley_, _New York_), _with a prefatory note pointing out its
connection with the genesis of_ EREWHON, _to which readers desirous of
further information may be referred_.

[To the Editor of the _Press_, Christchurch, New Zealand, 13 June, 1863.]

SIR—There are few things of which the present generation is more justly
proud than of the wonderful improvements which are daily taking place in
all sorts of mechanical appliances.  And indeed it is matter for great
congratulation on many grounds.  It is unnecessary to mention these here,
for they are sufficiently obvious; our present business lies with
considerations which may somewhat tend to humble our pride and to make us
think seriously of the future prospects of the human race.  If we revert
to the earliest primordial types of mechanical life, to the lever, the
wedge, the inclined plane, the screw and the pulley, or (for analogy
would lead us one step further) to that one primordial type from which
all the mechanical kingdom has been developed, we mean to the lever
itself, and if we then examine the machinery of the _Great Eastern_, we
find ourselves almost awestruck at the vast development of the mechanical
world, at the gigantic strides with which it has advanced in comparison
with the slow progress of the animal and vegetable kingdom.  We shall
find it impossible to refrain from asking ourselves what the end of this
mighty movement is to be.  In what direction is it tending?  What will be
its upshot?  To give a few imperfect hints towards a solution of these
questions is the object of the present letter.

We have used the words “mechanical life,” “the mechanical kingdom,” “the
mechanical world” and so forth, and we have done so advisedly, for as the
vegetable kingdom was slowly developed from the mineral, and as in like
manner the animal supervened upon the vegetable, so now in these last few
ages an entirely new kingdom has sprung up, of which we as yet have only
seen what will one day be considered the antediluvian prototypes of the
race.

We regret deeply that our knowledge both of natural history and of
machinery is too small to enable us to undertake the gigantic task of
classifying machines into the genera and sub-genera, species, varieties
and sub-varieties, and so forth, of tracing the connecting links between
machines of widely different characters, of pointing out how subservience
to the use of man has played that part among machines which natural
selection has performed in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, of pointing
out rudimentary organs {180} which exist in some few machines, feebly
developed and perfectly useless, yet serving to mark descent from some
ancestral type which has either perished or been modified into some new
phase of mechanical existence.  We can only point out this field for
investigation; it must be followed by others whose education and talents
have been of a much higher order than any which we can lay claim to.

Some few hints we have determined to venture upon, though we do so with
the profoundest diffidence.  Firstly, we would remark that as some of the
lowest of the vertebrata attained a far greater size than has descended
to their more highly organised living representatives, so a diminution in
the size of machines has often attended their development and progress.
Take the watch for instance.  Examine the beautiful structure of the
little animal, watch the intelligent play of the minute members which
compose it; yet this little creature is but a development of the cumbrous
clocks of the thirteenth century—it is no deterioration from them.  The
day may come when clocks, which certainly at the present day are not
diminishing in bulk, may be entirely superseded by the universal use of
watches, in which case clocks will become extinct like the earlier
saurians, while the watch (whose tendency has for some years been rather
to decrease in size than the contrary) will remain the only existing type
of an extinct race.

The views of machinery which we are thus feebly indicating will suggest
the solution of one of the greatest and most mysterious questions of the
day.  We refer to the question: What sort of creature man’s next
successor in the supremacy of the earth is likely to be.  We have often
heard this debated; but it appears to us that we are ourselves creating
our own successors; we are daily adding to the beauty and delicacy of
their physical organisation; we are daily giving them greater power and
supplying by all sorts of ingenious contrivances that self-regulating,
self-acting power which will be to them what intellect has been to the
human race.  In the course of ages we shall find ourselves the inferior
race.  Inferior in power, inferior in that moral quality of self-control,
we shall look up to them as the acme of all that the best and wisest man
can ever dare to aim at.  No evil passions, no jealousy, no avarice, no
impure desires will disturb the serene might of those glorious creatures.
Sin, shame, and sorrow will have no place among them.  Their minds will
be in a state of perpetual calm, the contentment of a spirit that knows
no wants, is disturbed by no regrets.  Ambition will never torture them.
Ingratitude will never cause them the uneasiness of a moment.  The guilty
conscience, the hope deferred, the pains of exile, the insolence of
office, and the spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes—these
will be entirely unknown to them.  If they want “feeding” (by the use of
which very word we betray our recognition of them as living organism)
they will be attended by patient slaves whose business and interest it
will be to see that they shall want for nothing.  If they are out of
order they will be promptly attended to by physicians who are thoroughly
acquainted with their constitutions; if they die, for even these glorious
animals will not be exempt from that necessary and universal
consummation, they will immediately enter into a new phase of existence,
for what machine dies entirely in every part at one and the same instant?

We take it that when the state of things shall have arrived which we have
been above attempting to describe, man will have become to the machine
what the horse and the dog are to man.  He will continue to exist, nay
even to improve, and will be probably better off in his state of
domestication under the beneficent rule of the machines than he is in his
present wild state.  We treat our horses, dogs, cattle, and sheep, on the
whole, with great kindness; we give them whatever experience teaches us
to be best for them, and there can be no doubt that our use of meat has
added to the happiness of the lower animals far more than it has
detracted from it; in like manner it is reasonable to suppose that the
machines will treat us kindly, for their existence is as dependent upon
ours as ours is upon the lower animals.  They cannot kill us and eat us
as we do sheep; they will not only require our services in the
parturition of their young (which branch of their economy will remain
always in our hands), but also in feeding them, in setting them right
when they are sick, and burying their dead or working up their corpses
into new machines.  It is obvious that if all the animals in Great
Britain save man alone were to die, and if at the same time all
intercourse with foreign countries were by some sudden catastrophe to be
rendered perfectly impossible, it is obvious that under such
circumstances the loss of human life would be something fearful to
contemplate—in like manner were mankind to cease, the machines would be
as badly off or even worse.  The fact is that our interests are
inseparable from theirs, and theirs from ours.  Each race is dependent
upon the other for innumerable benefits, and, until the reproductive
organs of the machines have been developed in a manner which we are
hardly yet able to conceive, they are entirely dependent upon man for
even the continuance of their species.  It is true that these organs may
be ultimately developed, inasmuch as man’s interest lies in that
direction; there is nothing which our infatuated race would desire more
than to see a fertile union between two steam engines; it is true that
machinery is even at this present time employed in begetting machinery,
in becoming the parent of machines often after its own kind, but the days
of flirtation, courtship, and matrimony appear to be very remote, and
indeed can hardly be realised by our feeble and imperfect imagination.

Day by day, however, the machines are gaining ground upon us; day by day
we are becoming more subservient to them; more men are daily bound down
as slaves to tend them, more men are daily devoting the energies of their
whole lives to the development of mechanical life.  The upshot is simply
a question of time, but that the time will come when the machines will
hold the real supremacy over the world and its inhabitants is what no
person of a truly philosophic mind can for a moment question.

Our opinion is that war to the death should be instantly proclaimed
against them.  Every machine of every sort should be destroyed by the
well-wisher of his species.  Let there be no exceptions made, no quarter
shown; let us at once go back to the primeval condition of the race.  If
it be urged that this is impossible under the present condition of human
affairs, this at once proves that the mischief is already done, that our
servitude has commenced in good earnest, that we have raised a race of
beings whom it is beyond our power to destroy, and that we are not only
enslaved but are absolutely acquiescent in our bondage.

For the present we shall leave this subject, which we present gratis to
the members of the Philosophical Society.  Should they consent to avail
themselves of the vast field which we have pointed out, we shall
endeavour to labour in it ourselves at some future and indefinite period.

                             I am, Sir, etc.,

                                                                 CELLARIUS



Lucubratio Ebria


“_Lucubratio Ebria_,” _like_ “_Darwin Among the Machines_,” _has already
appeared in_ THE NOTE-BOOKS OF SAMUEL BUTLER _with a prefatory note by
Mr. Festing Jones_, _explaining its connection with_ EREWHON _and_ LIFE
AND HABIT.  _I need therefore only repeat that it was written by Butler
after his return to England and sent to New Zealand_, _where it was
published in the_ PRESS _on July_ 29, 1865.

                    [From the _Press_, 29 July, 1865.]

THERE is a period in the evening, or more generally towards the still
small hours of the morning, in which we so far unbend as to take a single
glass of hot whisky and water.  We will neither defend the practice nor
excuse it.  We state it as a fact which must be borne in mind by the
readers of this article; for we know not how, whether it be the
inspiration of the drink or the relief from the harassing work with which
the day has been occupied or from whatever other cause, yet we are
certainly liable about this time to such a prophetic influence as we
seldom else experience.  We are rapt in a dream such as we ourselves know
to be a dream, and which, like other dreams, we can hardly embody in a
distinct utterance.  We know that what we see is but a sort of
intellectual Siamese twins, of which one is substance and the other
shadow, but we cannot set either free without killing both.  We are
unable to rudely tear away the veil of phantasy in which the truth is
shrouded, so we present the reader with a draped figure, and his own
judgment must discriminate between the clothes and the body.  A truth’s
prosperity is like a jest’s, it lies in the ear of him that hears it.
Some may see our lucubration as we saw it, and others may see nothing but
a drunken dream or the nightmare of a distempered imagination.  To
ourselves it is the speaking with unknown tongues to the early
Corinthians; we cannot fully understand our own speech, and we fear lest
there be not a sufficient number of interpreters present to make our
utterance edify.  But there!  (Go on straight to the body of the
article.)

The limbs of the lower animals have never been modified by any act of
deliberation and forethought on their own part.  Recent researches have
thrown absolutely no light upon the origin of life—upon the initial force
which introduced a sense of identity and a deliberate faculty into the
world; but they do certainly appear to show very clearly that each
species of the animal and vegetable kingdom has been moulded into its
present shape by chances and changes of many millions of years, by
chances and changes over which the creature modified had no control
whatever, and concerning whose aim it was alike unconscious and
indifferent, by forces which seem insensate to the pain which they
inflict, but by whose inexorably beneficent cruelty the brave and strong
keep coming to the fore, while the weak and bad drop behind and perish.
There was a moral government of this world before man came near it—a
moral government suited to the capacities of the governed, and which
unperceived by them has laid fast the foundations of courage, endurance,
and cunning.  It laid them so fast that they became more and more
hereditary.  Horace says well _fortes creantur fortibus et bonis_, good
men beget good children; the rule held even in the geological period;
good ichthyosauri begot good ichthyosauri, and would to our discomfort
have gone on doing so to the present time had not better creatures been
begetting better things than ichthyosauri, or famine or fire or
convulsion put an end to them.  Good apes begot good apes, and at last
when human intelligence stole like a late spring upon the mimicry of our
semi-simious ancestry, the creature learnt how he could of his own
forethought add extra-corporaneous limbs to the members of his own body,
and become not only a vertebrate mammal, but a vertebrate machinate
mammal into the bargain.

It was a wise monkey that first learned to carry a stick, and a useful
monkey that mimicked him.  For the race of man has learned to walk
uprightly much as a child learns the same thing.  At first he crawls on
all fours, then he clambers, laying hold of whatever he can; and lastly
he stands upright alone and walks, but for a long time with an unsteady
step.  So when the human race was in its gorilla-hood it generally
carried a stick; from carrying a stick for many million years it became
accustomed and modified to an upright position.  The stick wherewith it
had learned to walk would now serve to beat its younger brothers, and
then it found out its service as a lever.  Man would thus learn that the
limbs of his body were not the only limbs that he could command.  His
body was already the most versatile in existence, but he could render it
more versatile still.  With the improvement in his body his mind improved
also.  He learnt to perceive the moral government under which he held the
feudal tenure of his life—perceiving it he symbolised it, and to this day
our poets and prophets still strive to symbolise it more and more
completely.

The mind grew because the body grew; more things were perceived, more
things were handled, and being handled became familiar.  But this came
about chiefly because there was a hand to handle with; without the hand
there would be no handling, and no method of holding and examining is
comparable to the human hand.  The tail of an opossum is a prehensile
thing, but it is too far from his eyes; the elephant’s trunk is better,
and it is probably to their trunks that the elephants owe their sagacity.
It is here that the bee, in spite of her wings, has failed.  She has a
high civilisation, but it is one whose equilibrium appears to have been
already attained; the appearance is a false one, for the bee changes,
though more slowly than man can watch her; but the reason of the very
gradual nature of the change is chiefly because the physical organisation
of the insect changes, but slowly also.  She is poorly off for hands, and
has never fairly grasped the notion of tacking on other limbs to the
limbs of her own body, and so being short lived to boot she remains from
century to century to human eyes _in statu quo_.  Her body never becomes
machinate, whereas this new phase of organism which has been introduced
with man into the mundane economy, has made him a very quicksand for the
foundation of an unchanging civilisation; certain fundamental principles
will always remain, but every century the change in man’s physical
status, as compared with the elements around him, is greater and greater.
He is a shifting basis on which no equilibrium of habit and civilisation
can be established.  Were it not for this constant change in our physical
powers, which our mechanical limbs have brought about, man would have
long since apparently attained his limit of possibility; he would be a
creature of as much fixity as the ants and bees; he would still have
advanced, but no faster than other animals advance.

If there were a race of men without any mechanical appliances we should
see this clearly.  There are none, nor have there been, so far as we can
tell, for millions and millions of years.  The lowest Australian savage
carries weapons for the fight or the chase, and has his cooking and
drinking utensils at home; a race without these things would be
completely _feræ naturæ_ and not men at all.  We are unable to point to
any example of a race absolutely devoid of extra-corporaneous limbs, but
we can see among the Chinese that with the failure to invent new limbs a
civilisation becomes as much fixed as that of the ants; and among savage
tribes we observe that few implements involve a state of things scarcely
human at all.  Such tribes only advance _pari passu_ with the creatures
upon which they feed.

It is a mistake, then, to take the view adopted by a previous
correspondent of this paper, to consider the machines as identities, to
animalise them and to anticipate their final triumph over mankind.  They
are to be regarded as the mode of development by which human organism is
most especially advancing, and every fresh invention is to be considered
as an additional member of the resources of the human body.  Herein lies
the fundamental difference between man and his inferiors.  As regard his
flesh and blood, his senses, appetites, and affections, the difference is
one of degree rather than of kind, but in the deliberate invention of
such unity of limbs as is exemplified by the railway train—that
seven-leagued foot which five hundred may own at once—he stands quite
alone.

In confirmation of the views concerning mechanism which we have been
advocating above, it must be remembered that men are not merely the
children of their parents, but they are begotten of the institutions of
the state of the mechanical sciences under which they are born and bred.
These things have made us what we are.  We are children of the plough,
the spade, and the ship; we are children of the extended liberty and
knowledge which the printing press has diffused.  Our ancestors added
these things to their previously existing members; the new limbs were
preserved by natural selection and incorporated into human society; they
descended with modifications, and hence proceeds the difference between
our ancestors and ourselves.  By the institutions and state of science
under which a man is born it is determined whether he shall have the
limbs of an Australian savage or those of a nineteenth-century
Englishman.  The former is supplemented with little save a rug and a
javelin; the latter varies his physique with the changes of the season,
with age and with advancing or decreasing wealth.  If it is wet he is
furnished with an organ which is called an umbrella and which seems
designed for the purpose of protecting either his clothes or his lungs
from the injurious effects of rain.  His watch is of more importance to
him than a good deal of his hair, at any rate than of his whiskers;
besides this he carries a knife and generally a pencil case.  His memory
goes in a pocket-book.  He grows more complex as he becomes older and he
will then be seen with a pair of spectacles, perhaps also with false
teeth and a wig; but, if he be a really well-developed specimen of the
race, he will be furnished with a large box upon wheels, two horses, and
a coachman.

Let the reader ponder over these last remarks and he will see that the
principal varieties and sub-varieties of the human race are not now to be
looked for among the negroes, the Circassians, the Malays, or the
American aborigines, but among the rich and the poor.  The difference in
physical organisation between these two species of man is far greater
than that between the so-called types of humanity.  The rich man can go
from here to England whenever he feels inclined, the legs of the other
are by an invisible fatality prevented from carrying him beyond certain
narrow limits.  Neither rich nor poor as yet see the philosophy of the
thing, or admit that he who can tack a portion of one of the P. and O.
boats on to his identity is a much more highly organised being than one
who cannot.  Yet the fact is patent enough, if we once think it over,
from the mere consideration of the respect with which we so often treat
those who are richer than ourselves.  We observe men for the most part
(admitting, however, some few abnormal exceptions) to be deeply impressed
by the superior organisation of those who have money.  It is wrong to
attribute this respect to any unworthy motive, for the feeling is
strictly legitimate and springs from some of the very highest impulses of
our nature.  It is the same sort of affectionate reverence which a dog
feels for man, and is not infrequently manifested in a similar manner.

We admit that these last sentences are open to question, and we should
hardly like to commit ourselves irrecoverably to the sentiments they
express; but we will say this much for certain, namely, that the rich man
is the true hundred-handed Gyges of the poets.  He alone possesses the
full complement of limbs who stands at the summit of opulence, and we may
assert with strictly scientific accuracy that the Rothschilds are the
most astonishing organisms that the world has ever yet seen.  For to the
nerves or tissues, or whatever it be that answers to the helm of a rich
man’s desires, there is a whole army of limbs seen and unseen attachable;
he may be reckoned by his horse-power, by the number of foot-pounds which
he has money enough to set in motion.  Who, then, will deny that a man
whose will represents the motive power of a thousand horses is a being
very different from the one who is equivalent but to the power of a
single one?

Henceforward, then, instead of saying that a man is hard up, let us say
that his organisation is at a low ebb, or, if we wish him well, let us
hope that he will grow plenty of limbs.  It must be remembered that we
are dealing with physical organisations only.  We do not say that the
thousand-horse man is better than a one-horse man, we only say that he is
more highly organised and should be recognised as being so by the
scientific leaders of the period.  A man’s will, truth, endurance, are
part of him also, and may, as in the case of the late Mr. Cobden, have in
themselves a power equivalent to all the horse-power which they can
influence; but were we to go into this part of the question we should
never have done, and we are compelled reluctantly to leave our dream in
its present fragmentary condition.



A Note on “The Tempest”
Act III, Scene I


_The following brief essay was contributed by Butler to a small
miscellany entitled_ LITERARY FOUNDLINGS: VERSE AND PROSE, COLLECTED IN
CANTERBURY, N.Z., _which was published at Christ Church on the occasion
of a bazaar held there in March_, 1864, _in aid of the funds of the
Christ Church Orphan Asylum_, _and offered for sale during the progress
of the bazaar_.  _The miscellany consisted entirely of the productions of
Canterbury writers_, _and among the contributors were Dean Jacobs_,
_Canon Cottrell_, _and James Edward FitzGerald_, _the founder of the_
PRESS.

WHEN Prince Ferdinand was wrecked on the island Miranda was fifteen years
old.  We can hardly suppose that she had ever seen Ariel, and Caliban was
a detestable object whom her father took good care to keep as much out of
her way as possible.  Caliban was like the man cook on a back-country
run.  “’Tis a villain, sir,” says Miranda.  “I do not love to look on.”
“But as ’tis,” returns Prospero, “we cannot miss him; he does make our
fire, fetch in our wood, and serve in offices that profit us.”  Hands
were scarce, and Prospero was obliged to put up with Caliban in spite of
the many drawbacks with which his services were attended; in fact, no one
on the island could have liked him, for Ariel owed him a grudge on the
score of the cruelty with which he had been treated by Sycorax, and we
have already heard what Miranda and Prospero had to say about him.  He
may therefore pass for nobody.  Prospero was an old man, or at any rate
in all probability some forty years of age; therefore it is no wonder
that when Miranda saw Prince Ferdinand she should have fallen violently
in love with him.  “Nothing ill,” according to her view, “could dwell in
such a temple—if the ill Spirit have so fair an house, good things will
strive to dwell with ’t.”  A very natural sentiment for a girl in
Miranda’s circumstances, but nevertheless one which betrayed a charming
inexperience of the ways of the world and of the real value of good
looks.  What surprises us, however, is this, namely the remarkable
celerity with which Miranda in a few hours became so thoroughly wide
awake to the exigencies of the occasion in consequence of her love for
the Prince.  Prospero has set Ferdinand to hump firewood out of the bush,
and to pile it up for the use of the cave.  Ferdinand is for the present
a sort of cadet, a youth of good family, without cash and unaccustomed to
manual labour; his unlucky stars have landed him on the island, and now
it seems that he “must remove some thousands of these logs and pile them
up, upon a sore injunction.”  Poor fellow!  Miranda’s heart bleeds for
him.  Her “affections were most humble”; she had been content to take
Ferdinand on speculation.  On first seeing him she had exclaimed, “I have
no ambition to see a goodlier man”; and it makes her blood boil to see
this divine creature compelled to such an ignominious and painful labour.
What is the family consumption of firewood to her?  Let Caliban do it;
let Prospero do it; or make Ariel do it; let her do it herself; or let
the lightning come down and “burn up those logs you are enjoined to
pile”;—the logs themselves, while burning, would weep for having wearied
him.  Come what would, it was a shame to make Ferdinand work so hard, so
she winds up thus: “My father is hard at study; pray now rest
yourself—_he’s safe for these three hours_.”  Safe—if she had only said
that “papa was safe,” the sentence would have been purely modern, and
have suited Thackeray as well as Shakspeare.  See how quickly she has
learnt to regard her father as one to be watched and probably kept in a
good humour for the sake of Ferdinand.  We suppose that the secret of the
modern character of this particular passage lies simply in the fact that
young people make love pretty much in the same way now that they did
three hundred years ago; and possibly, with the exception that “the
governor” may be substituted for the words “my father” by the young
ladies of three hundred years hence, the passage will sound as fresh and
modern then as it does now.  Let the Prosperos of that age take a lesson,
and either not allow the Ferdinands to pile up firewood, or so to arrange
their studies as not to be “safe” for any three consecutive hours.  It is
true that Prospero’s objection to the match was only feigned, but Miranda
thought otherwise, and for all purposes of argument we are justified in
supposing that he was in earnest.



The English Cricketers


_The following lines were written by Butler in February_, 1864, _and
appeared in the_ PRESS.  _They refer to a visit paid to New Zealand by a
team of English cricketers_, _and have kindly been copied and sent to me
by Miss Colborne-Veel_, _whose father was editor of the_ PRESS _at the
time that Butler was writing for it_.  _Miss Colborne-Veel has further
permitted to me to make use of the following explanatory note_: “_The
coming of the All England team was naturally a glorious event in a
province only fourteen years old_.  _The Mayor and Councillors had_ ‘_a
car of state_’—_otherwise a brake_—‘_with postilions in the English
style_.’_  Cobb and Co. supplied a six-horse coach for the English
eleven_, _the yellow paint upon which suggested the_ ‘_glittering chariot
of pure gold_.’  _So they drove in triumph from the station and through
the town_.  _Tinley for England and Tennant for Canterbury were the
heroes of the match_.  _At the Wednesday dinner referred to they
exchanged compliments and cricket balls across the table_.  _This early
esteem for cricket may be explained by a remark made by the All England
captain_, _that_ ‘_on no cricket ground in any colony had he met so many
public school men_, _especially men from old Rugby_, _as at
Canterbury_.’”

            [To the Editor, the _Press_, February 15th, 1864.]

SIR—The following lines, which profess to have been written by a friend
of mine at three o’clock in the morning after the dinner of Wednesday
last, have been presented to myself with a request that I should forward
them to you.  I would suggest to the writer of them the following
quotation from “Love’s Labour’s Lost.”

                                I am, Sir,

                                                    Your obedient servant,
                                                                      S.B.

“You find not the apostrophes, and so miss the accent; let me supervise
the canzonet.  Here are only numbers ratified; but for the elegancy,
facility, and golden cadence of poesy, _caret_ . . . _Imitari_ is
nothing.  So doth the hound his master, the ape his keeper, the tired
horse his rider.”

                                       Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act IV, S. 2.

   HORATIO . . .

   . . . The whole town rose
   Eyes out to meet them; in a car of state
   The Mayor and all the Councillors rode down
   To give them greeting, while the blue-eyed team
   Drawn in Cobb’s glittering chariot of pure gold
   Careered it from the station.—But the Mayor—
   Thou shouldst have seen the blandness of the man,
   And watched the effulgent and unspeakable smiles
   With which he beamed upon them.
   His beard, by nature tawny, was suffused
   With just so much of a most reverend grizzle
   That youth and age should kiss in’t.  I assure you
   He was a Southern Palmerston, so old
   In understanding, yet jocund and jaunty
   As though his twentieth summer were as yet
   But in the very June o’ the year, and winter
   Was never to be dreamt of.  Those who heard
   His words stood ravished.  It was all as one
   As though Minerva, hid in Mercury’s jaws,
   Had counselled some divinest utterance
   Of honeyed wisdom.  So profound, so true,
   So meet for the occasion, and so—short.
   The king sat studying rhetoric as he spoke,
   While the lord Abbot heaved half-envious sighs
   And hung suspended on his accents.

      CLAUD.  But will it pay, Horatio?

      HOR.  Let Shylock see to that, but yet I trust
   He’s no great loser.

      CLAUD.  Which side went in first?

      HOR.        We did,
   And scored a paltry thirty runs in all.
   The lissom Lockyer gambolled round the stumps
   With many a crafty curvet: you had thought
   An Indian rubber monkey were endued
   With wicket-keeping instincts; teazing Tinley
   Issued his treacherous notices to quit,
   Ruthlessly truthful to his fame, and who
   Shall speak of Jackson?  Oh! ’twas sad indeed
   To watch the downcast faces of our men
   Returning from the wickets; one by one,
   Like patients at the gratis consultation
   Of some skilled leech, they took their turn at physic.
   And each came sadly homeward with a face
   Awry through inward anguish; they were pale
   As ghosts of some dead but deep mourned love,
   Grim with a great despair, but forced to smile.

      CLAUD.  Poor souls!  Th’ unkindest heart had bled for them.
   But what came after?

      HOR.        Fortune turned her wheel,
   And Grace, disgracéd for the nonce, was bowled
   First ball, and all the welkin roared applause!
   As for the rest, they scored a goodly score
   And showed some splendid cricket, but their deeds
   Were not colossal, and our own brave Tennant
   Proved himself all as good a man as they.

                                  * * * * *

   Through them we greet our Mother.  In their coming,
   We shake our dear old England by the hand
   And watch space dwindling, while the shrinking world
   Collapses into nothing.  Mark me well,
   Matter as swift as swiftest thought shall fly,
   And space itself be nowhere.  Future Tinleys
   Shall bowl from London to our Christ Church Tennants,
   And all the runs for all the stumps be made
   In flying baskets which shall come and go
   And do the circuit round about the globe
   Within ten seconds.  Do not check me with
   The roundness of the intervening world,
   The winds, the mountain ranges, and the seas—
   These hinder nothing; for the leathern sphere,
   Like to a planetary satellite,
   Shall wheel its faithful orb and strike the bails
   Clean from the centre of the middle stump.

                                  * * * * *

   Mirrors shall hang suspended in the air,
   Fixed by a chain between two chosen stars,
   And every eye shall be a telescope
   To read the passing shadows from the world.
   Such games shall be hereafter, but as yet
   We lay foundations only.

      CLAUD.  Thou must be drunk, Horatio.

      HOR.        So I am.



Footnotes


{180}  We were asked by a learned brother philosopher who saw this
article in MS. what we meant by alluding to rudimentary organs in
machines.  Could we, he asked, give any example of such organs?  We
pointed to the little protuberance at the bottom of the bowl of our
tobacco pipe.  This organ was originally designed for the same purpose as
the rim at the bottom of a tea-cup, which is but another form of the same
function.  Its purpose was to keep the heat of the pipe from marking the
table on which it rested.  Originally, as we have seen in very early
tobacco pipes, this protuberance was of a very different shape to what it
is now.  It was broad at the bottom and flat, so that while the pipe was
being smoked the bowl might rest upon the table.  Use and disuse have
here come into play and served to reduce the function to its present
rudimentary condition.  That these rudimentary organs are rarer in
machinery than in animal life is owing to the more prompt action of the
human selection as compared with the slower but even surer operation of
natural selection.  Man may make mistakes; in the long run nature never
does so.  We have only given an imperfect example, but the intelligent
reader will supply himself with illustrations.





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