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Perhaps you would like to hear the very little that I can say per contra, and this only applied to the beginning, in which (as it struck me) there was not flow enough till you get to Mirzapore on the Ganges (but the Thugs were most interesting), where the stream seemed to carry you on equably with longer sentences and longer facts and discussions, &c. In another edition (and I am delighted to hear that Murray has sold all off), I would consider whether this part could not be condensed. Even if the meteorology was put in foot-notes, I think it would be an improvement. All the world is against me, but it makes me very unhappy to see the Latin names all in Italics, and all mingled with English names in Roman type ; but I must bear this burden, for all men of Science seem to think it would corrupt the Latin to dress it up in the same type as poor old English. Well, I am very proud of my book; but there is one bore, that I do not much like asking people whether they have seen it, and how they like it, for I feel so much identified with it, that such questions become rather personal. Hence, I cannot tell you the opinion of others. You will have seen a fairly good review in the 'Athenæum.'
What capital news from Tasmania : it really is a very remarkable and creditable fact to the Colony.* I am always building veritable castles in the air about emigrating, and Tasmania has been my head-quarters of late; so that I feel very proud of my adopted country: it is really a very singular and delightful fact, contrasted with the slight appreciation of science in the old country. I thank you heartily for your letter this morning, and for all the gratification your Dedication has given me; I could not help thinking how much would despise you for not having dedicated it to some great man, who would have done you and it some good in the eyes of the world. Ah, my dear Hooker, you were very soft on this head, and justify what I say about not caring enough for
* This refers to an unsolicited grant by the Colonial Government towards the expenses of Sir J. Hooker's · Flora of Tasmania.'
your own fame.
I wish I was in every way more worthy of your good opinion. Farewell. How pleasantly Mrs. Hooker and you must rest from one of your many labours.
Again farewell: I have written a wonderfully long letter.
P.S.- I have just looked over my rambling letter; I see that I have not at all expressed my strong admiration at the amount of scientific work, in so many branches, which you have effected. It is really grand. You have a right to rest on your oars; or even to say, if it so pleases you, that "your meridian is past;” but well assured do I feel that the day of your reputation and general recognition has only just begun to dawn,
(In September, 1854, his Cirripede work was practically finished, and he wrote to Dr. Hooker:
“I have been frittering away my time for the last several weeks in a wearisome manner, partly idleness, and odds and ends, and sending ten thousand Barnacles out of the house all over the world. But I shall now in a day or two begin to look over my old notes on species. What a deal I shall have to discuss with you ; I shall have to look sharp that I do not ‘progress' into one of the greatest bores in life, to the few like you with lots of knowledge."]
THE GROWTH OF THE ORIGIN OF Species.'
On page 67, the growth of the Origin of Species' has been briefly described in my father's words. The letters given in the present and following chapters will illustrate and amplify the history thus sketched out.
It is clear that in the early part of the voyage of the Beagle he did not feel it inconsistent with his views to express himself in thoroughly orthodox language as to the genesis of new species. Thus in 1834 he wrote * at Valparaiso : "I have already found beds of recent shells yet retaining their colour at an elevation of 1300 feet, and beneath, the level country is strewn with them. It seems not a very improbable conjecture that the want of animals may be owing to none having been created since this country was raised from the sea.”
This passage does not occur in the published ` Journal,' the last proof of which was finished in 1837 ; and this fact harmonizes with the change we know to have been proceeding in his views. But in the published ‘Journal' we find passages which show a point of view more in accordance with orthodox theological natural history than with his later views. Thus, in speaking of the birds Synallaxis and Scytalopus (ist edit. p. 353; 2nd edit. p. 289), he says: “When finding, as in this case, any animal which seems to play so insignificant a part in the great scheme of nature, one is apt to wonder why a distinct species should have been created.”
* MS. Journals, p. 465.
A comparison of the two editions of the 'Journal' is instructive, as giving some idea of the development of his views on evolution.
It does not give us a true index of the mass of conjecture which was taking shape in his mind, but it shows us that he felt sure enough of the truth of his belief to allow a stronger tinge of evolution to appear in the second edition. He has mentioned in the Autobiography (p. 68) that it was not until he read Malthus that he got a clear view of the potency of natural selection. This was in 1838–a year after he finished the first edition (it was not published until 1839), and five years before the second edition was written (1845). Thus the turning-point in the formation of his theory took place between the writing of the two editions.
I will first give a few passages which are practically the same in the two editions, and which are, therefore, chiefly of interest as illustrating his frame of mind in 1837.
The case of the two species of Molothrus (1st edit. p. 61; 2nd edit. p. 53) must have been one of the earliest instances noticed by him of the existence of representative species—a phenomenon which we know (Autobiography,' p. 68) struck him deeply. The discussion on introduced animals (ist edit. p. 139; 2nd edit. p. 120) shows how much he was impressed by the complicated interdependence of the inhabitants of a given area.
An analogous point of view is given in the discussion (1st edit. p. 98; 2nd edit. p. 85) of the mistaken belief that large animals require, for their support, a luxuriant vegetation; the incorrectness of this view is illustrated by the comparison of the fauna of South Africa and South America, and the vegetation of the two continents. The interest of the discussion is that it shows clearly our à priori ignorance of the conditions of life suitable to any organism.
There is a passage which has been more than once quoted as bearing on the origin of his views. It is where he discusses the striking diserence between the species of mice on
THE NATURALIST'S VOYAGE,'
the east and west of the Andes (ist edit. p. 399): "Unless we suppose the same species to have been created in two different countries, we ought not to expect any closer similarity between the organic beings on the opposite sides of the Andes than on shores separated by a broad strait of the sea." In the 2nd edit. p. 327, the passage is almost verbally identical, and is practically the same.
There are other passages again which are more strongly evolutionary in the 2nd edit., but otherwise are similar to the corresponding passages in the ist edition. Thus, in describing the blind Tuco-tuco (ist edit. p. 60; 2nd edit. p. 52), in the first edition he makes no allusion to what Lamarck might have thought, nor is the instance used as an example of modi. fication, as in the edition of 1845.
A striking passage occurs in the 2nd edit. (p. 173) on the relationship between the "extinct edentata and the living sloths, ant-eaters, and armadillos."
“This wonderful relationship in the same continent between the dead and the living, will, I do not doubt, hereafter throw more light on the appearance of organic beings on our earth, and their disappearance from it, than any other class of facts.”
This sentence does not occur in the ist edit., but he was evidently profoundly struck by the disappearance of the gigantic forerunners of the present animals. The difference between the discussions in the two editions is most instructive. In both, our ignorance of the conditions of life is insisted on, but in the second edition, the discussion is made to lead up to a strong statement of the intensity of the struggle for life. Then follows a comparison between rarity * and extinction, which introduces the idea that the preservation and dominance of existing species depend on the degree in which they are adapted to surrounding conditions. In the first edition,
* In the second edition, p. 146, the destruction of Niata cattle by droughts is given as a good example of our ignorance of the causes of rarity or extinction. The passage does not occur in the first edition.