Critiques and Addresses
Thomas Henry Huxley

Part 5 out of 6

manhood. Let every man who tries to answer it seriously, ask himself
whether he can be satisfied with the Baal of authority, and with all
the good things his worshippers are promised in this world and the
next. If he can, let him, if he be so inclined, amuse himself with
such scientific implements as authority tells him are safe and will
not cut his fingers; but let him not imagine he is, or can be, both a
true son of the Church and a loyal soldier of science.

And, on the other hand, if the blind acceptance of authority appears
to him in its true colours, as mere private judgment _in excelsis_,
and if he have the courage to stand alone, face to face with the abyss
of the Eternal and Unknowable, let him be content, once for all, not
only to renounce the good things promised by "Infallibility," but even
to bear the bad things which it prophesies; content to follow reason
and fact in singleness and honesty of purpose, wherever they may lead,
in the sure faith that a hell of honest men will, to him, be more
endurable than a paradise full of angelic shams.

Mr. Mivart asserts that "without a belief in a personal God, there is
no religion worthy of the name." This is a matter of opinion. But
it may be asserted, with less reason to fear contradiction, that the
worship of a personal God, who, on Mr. Mivart's hypothesis, must
have used language studiously calculated to deceive His creatures and
worshippers, is "no religion worthy of the name." "Incredibile est,
Deum illis verbis ad populum fuisse locutum quibus deciperetur," is a
verdict in which, for once, Jesuit casuistry concurs with the healthy
moral sense of all mankind.

Having happily got quit of the theological aspect of evolution, the
supporter of that great truth who turns to the scientific objections
which are brought against it by recent criticism, finds, to his
relief, that the work before him is greatly lightened by the
spontaneous retreat of the enemy from nine-tenths of the territory
which he occupied ten years ago. Even the Quarterly Reviewer not only
abstains from venturing to deny that evolution has taken place, but he
openly admits that Mr. Darwin has forced on men's minds "a recognition
of the probability, if not more, of evolution, and of the certainty of
the action of natural selection" (p. 49).

I do not quite see, myself, how, if the action of natural selection is
_certain_, the occurrence of evolution is only _probable_; inasmuch as
the development of a new species by natural selection is, so far as
it goes, evolution. However, it is not worth while to quarrel with
the precise terms of a sentence which shows that the high watermark of
intelligence among those most respectable of Britons, the readers of
the _Quarterly Review_, has now reached such a level that the next
tide may lift them easily and pleasantly on the once-dreaded shore of
evolution. Nor, having got there, do they seem likely to stop, until
they have reached the inmost heart of that great region, and accepted
the ape ancestry of, at any rate, the body of man. For the Reviewer
admits that Mr. Darwin can be said to have established:

"That if the various kinds of lower animals have been evolved
one from the other by a process of natural generation or
evolution, then it becomes highly probable, _a priori_, that
man's body has been similarly evolved; but this, in such a
case, becomes equally probable from the admitted fact that he
is an animal at all" (p. 65).

From the principles laid down in the last sentence, it would follow
that if man were constructed upon a plan as different from that of any
other animal as that of a sea-urchin is from that of a whale, it
would be "equally probable" that he had been developed from some other
animal as it is now, when we know that for every bone, muscle, tooth,
and even pattern of tooth, in man, there is a corresponding bone,
muscle, tooth, and pattern of tooth, in an ape. And this shows one
of two things--either that the Quarterly Reviewer's notions of
probability are peculiar to himself; or, that he has such an
overpowering faith in the truth of evolution, that no extent of
structural break between one animal and another is sufficient to
destroy his conviction that evolution has taken place.

But this by the way. The importance of the admission that there is
nothing in man's physical structure to interfere with his having been
evolved from an ape, is not lessened because it is grudgingly made and
inconsistently qualified. And instead of jubilating over the extent of
the enemy's retreat, it will be more worth while to lay siege to his
last stronghold--the position that there is a distinction in kind
between the mental faculties of man and those of brutes; and that, in
consequence of this distinction in kind, no gradual progress from
the mental faculties of the one to those of the other can have taken

The Quarterly Reviewer entrenches himself within formidable-looking
psychological outworks, and there is no getting at him without
attacking them one by one.

He begins by laying down the following proposition: "'Sensation' is
not 'thought,' and no amount of the former would constitute the most
rudimentary condition of the latter, though sensations supply the
conditions for the existence of 'thought' or 'knowledge'" (p. 67).

This proposition is true, or not, according to the sense in which the
word "thought" is employed. Thought is not uncommonly used in a sense
co-extensive with consciousness, and, especially, with those states
of consciousness we call memory. If I recall the impression made by a
colour or an odour, and distinctly remember blueness or muskiness, I
may say with perfect propriety that I "think of" blue or musk; and,
so long as the thought lasts, it is simply a faint reproduction of the
state of consciousness to which I gave the name in question, when it
first became known to me as a sensation.

Now, if that faint reproduction of a sensation, which we call the
memory of it, is properly termed a thought, it seems to me to be
a somewhat forced, proceeding to draw a hard and fast line of
demarcation between thoughts and sensations. If sensations are
not rudimentary thoughts, it may be said that some thoughts are
rudimentary sensations. No amount of sound constitutes an echo, but
for all that no one would pretend that an echo is something of totally
different nature from a sound. Again, nothing can be looser, or more
inaccurate, than the assertion that "sensations supply the conditions
for the existence of thought or knowledge." If this implies that
sensations supply the conditions for the existence of our memory of
sensations or of our thoughts about sensations, it is a truism which
it is hardly worth while to state so solemnly. If it implies that
sensations supply anything else, it is obviously erroneous. And if it
means, as the context would seem to show it does, that sensations are
the subject-matter of all thought or knowledge, then it is no less
contrary to fact, inasmuch as our emotions, which constitute a
large part of the subject-matter of thought or of knowledge, are not

More eccentric still is the Quarterly Reviewer's next piece of

"Altogether, we may clearly distinguish at least six kinds of
action to which the nervous system ministers:--

"I. That in which impressions received result in appropriate
movements without the intervention of sensation or thought, as
in the cases of injury above given.--This is the reflex action
of the nervous system.

"II. That in which stimuli from without result in sensations
through the agency of which their due effects are wrought

"III. That in which impressions received result in
sensations which give rise to the observation of sensible
objects.--Sensible perception.

"IV. That in which sensations and perceptions continue to
coalesce, agglutinate, and combine in more or less complex
aggregations, according to the laws of the association of
sensible perceptions.--Association.

"The above four groups contain only indeliberate operations,
consisting, as they do at the best, but of mere _presentative_
sensible ideas in no way implying any reflective or
_representative_ faculty. Such actions minister to and form
_Instinct_. Besides these, we may distinguish two other kinds
of mental action, namely:--

"V. That in which sensations and sensible perceptions are
reflected on by thought, and recognized as our own, and
we ourselves recognized by ourselves as affected and

"VI. That in which we reflect upon our sensations or
perceptions, and ask what they are, and why they are.--Reason.

"These two latter kinds of action are deliberate operations,
performed, as they are, by means of representative ideas
implying the use of a _reflective representative_ faculty.
Such actions distinguish the _intellect_ or rational faculty.
Now, we assert that possession in perfection of all the first
four _(presentative)_ kinds of action by no means implies
the possession of the last two _(representative)_ kinds.
All persons, we think, must admit the truth of the following

"Two faculties are distinct, not in degree but _in kind_,
if we may possess the one in perfection without that fact
implying that we possess the other also. Still more will
this be the case if the two faculties tend to increase in
an inverse ratio. Yet this is the distinction between the
_instinctive_ and the _intellectual_ parts of man's nature.

"As to animals, we fully admit that they may possess all the
first four groups of actions--that they may have, so to speak,
mental images of sensible objects combined in all degrees of
complexity, as governed by the laws of association. We deny to
them, on the other hand, the possession of the last two
kinds of mental action. We deny them, that is, the power of
reflecting on their own existence, or of inquiring into the
nature of objects and their causes. We deny that they know
that they know or know themselves in knowing. In other words,
we deny them _reason_. The possession of the presentative
faculty, as above explained, in no way implies that of the
reflective faculty; nor does any amount of direct operation
imply the power of asking the reflective question before
mentioned, as to 'what' and 'why.'" _(Loc. cit_. pp. 67, 68.)

Sundry points are worthy of notice in this remarkable account of the
intellectual powers. In the first place the Reviewer ignores emotion
and volition, though they are no inconsiderable "kinds of action to
which the nervous system ministers," and memory has a place in his
classification only by implication. Secondly, we are told that the
second "kind of action to which the nervous system ministers" is "that
in which stimuli from without result in sensations through the agency
of which their due effects are wrought out.--Sensation." Does this
really mean that, in the writer's opinion, "sensation" is the "agent"
by which the "due effect" of the stimulus, which gives rise to
sensation, is "wrought out"? Suppose somebody runs a pin into me. The
"due effect" of that particular stimulus will probably be threefold;
namely, a sensation of pain, a start, and an interjectional expletive.
Does the Quarterly Reviewer really think that the "sensation" is the
"agent" by which the other two phenomena are wrought out?

But these matters are of little moment to anyone but the Reviewer
and those persons who may incautiously take their physiology, or
psychology, from him. The really interesting point is this, that when
he fully admits that animals "may possess all the first four groups
of actions," he grants all that is necessary for the purposes of
the evolutionist. For he hereby admits that in animals "impressions
received result in sensations which give rise to the observation
of sensible objects," and that they have what he calls "sensible
perception." Nor was it possible to help the admission; for we have
as much reason to ascribe to animals, as we have to attribute to our
fellow-men, the power, not only of perceiving external objects as
external, and thus practically recognizing the difference between the
self and the not-self; but that of distinguishing between like
and unlike, and between simultaneous and successive things. When a
gamekeeper goes out coursing with a greyhound in leash, and a hare
crosses the field of vision, he becomes the subject of those states
of consciousness we call visual sensation, and that is all he receives
from without. Sensation, as such, tells him nothing whatever about
the cause of these states of consciousness; but the thinking faculty
instantly goes to work upon the raw material of sensation furnished to
it through the eye, and gives rise to a train of thoughts. First comes
the thought that there is an object at a certain distance; then arises
another thought--the perception of the likeness between the states of
consciousness awakened by this object to those presented by memory,
as, on some former occasion, called up by a hare; this is succeeded
by another thought of the nature of an emotion--namely, the desire
to possess the hare; then follows a longer or shorter train of other
thoughts, which end in a volition and an act--the loosing of the
greyhound from the leash. These several thoughts are the concomitants
of a process which goes on in the nervous system of the man. Unless
the nerve-elements of the retina, of the optic nerve, of the brain, of
the spinal chord, and of the nerves of the arms went through certain
physical changes in due order and correlation, the various states
of consciousness which have been enumerated would not make their
appearance. So that in this, as in all other intellectual operations,
we have to distinguish two sets of successive changes--one in the
physical basis of consciousness, and the other in consciousness
itself; one set which may, and doubtless will, in course of time,
be followed through all their complexities by the anatomist and the
physicist, and one of which only the man himself can have immediate

As it is very necessary to keep up a clear distinction between
these two processes, let the one be called _neurosis_, and the other
_psychosis_. When the gamekeeper was first trained to his work, every
step in the process of neurosis was accompanied by a corresponding
step in that of psychosis, or nearly so. He was conscious of seeing
something, conscious of making sure it was a hare, conscious of
desiring to catch it, and therefore to loose the greyhound at the
right time, conscious of the acts by which he let the dog out of the
leash. But with practice, though the various steps of the neurosis
remain--for otherwise the impression on the retina would not result
in the loosing of the dog--the great majority of the steps of the
psychosis vanish, and the loosing of the dog follows unconsciously, or
as we say, without thinking about it, upon the sight of the hare.
No one will deny that the series of acts which originally intervened
between the sensation and the letting go of the dog were, in the
strictest sense, intellectual and rational operations. Do they cease
to be so when the man ceases to be conscious of them? That depends
upon what is the essence and what the accident of those operations,
which, taken together, constitute ratiocination.

Now ratiocination is resolvable into predication, and predication
consists in marking, in some way, the existence, the co-existence,
the succession, the likeness and unlikeness, of things or their ideas.
Whatever does this, reasons; and if a machine produces the effects of
reason, I see no more ground for denying to it the reasoning power,
because it is unconscious, than I see for refusing to Mr. Babbage's
engine the title of a calculating machine on the same grounds.

Thus it seems to me that a gamekeeper reasons, whether he is conscious
or unconscious, whether his reasoning is carried on by neurosis alone,
or whether it involves more or less psychosis. And if this is true
of the gamekeeper, it is also true of the greyhound. The essential
resemblances in all points of structure and function, so far as they
can be studied, between the nervous system of the man and that of the
dog, leave no reasonable doubt that the processes which go on in the
one are just like those which take place in the other. In the dog,
there can be no doubt that the nervous matter which lies between
the retina and the muscles undergoes a series of changes, precisely
analogous to those which, in the man, give rise to sensation, a train
of thought, and volition.

Whether this neurosis is accompanied by such psychosis as ours, it is
impossible to say; but those who deny that the nervous changes, which,
in the dog, correspond with those which underlie thought in a man, are
accompanied by consciousness, are equally bound to maintain that those
nervous changes in the dog, which correspond with those which underlie
sensation in a man, are also unaccompanied by consciousness. In other
words, if there is no ground for believing that a dog thinks, neither
is there any for believing that he feels.

As is well known, Descartes boldly faced this dilemma, and
maintained that all animals were mere machines and entirely devoid of
consciousness. But he did not deny, nor can anyone deny, that in this
case they are reasoning machines, capable of performing all those
operations which are performed by the nervous system of man when he
reasons. For even supposing that in man, and in man only, psychosis is
superadded to neurosis--the neurosis which is common to both man
and animal gives their reasoning processes a fundamental unity.
But Descartes's position is open to very serious objections, if the
evidence that animals feel is insufficient to prove that they really
do so. What is the value of the evidence which leads one to believe
that one's fellow-man feels? The only evidence in this argument of
analogy, is the similarity of his structure and of his actions to
one's own. And if that is good enough to prove that one's fellow-man
feels, surely it is good enough to prove that an ape feels. For the
differences of structure and function between men and apes are utterly
insufficient to warrant the assumption, that while men have those
states of consciousness we call sensations, apes have nothing of the
kind. Moreover, we have as good evidence that apes are capable of
emotion and volition as we have that men other than ourselves are. But
if apes possess three out of the four kinds of states of consciousness
which we discover in ourselves, what possible reason is there for
denying them the fourth? If they are capable of sensation, emotion,
and volition, why are they to be denied thought (in the sense of

No answer has ever been given to these questions. And as the law of
continuity is as much opposed, as is the common sense of mankind, to
the notion that all animals are unconscious machines, it may safely be
assumed that no sufficient answer ever will be given to them.

There is every reason to believe that consciousness is a function
of nervous matter, when, that nervous matter has attained a certain
degree of organization, just as we know the other "actions to which
the nervous system ministers," such as reflex action and the like, to
be. As I have ventured to state my view of the matter elsewhere, "our
thoughts are the expression of molecular changes in that matter of
life which is the source of our other vital phenomena."

Mr. Wallace objects to this statement in the following terms:--

"Not having been able to find any clue in Professor Huxley's
writings to the steps by which he passes from those vital
phenomena, which consist only, in their last analysis, of
movements by particles of matter, to those other phenomena
which we term thought, sensation, or consciousness; but,
knowing that so positive an expression of opinion from him
will have great weight with many persons, I shall endeavour
to show, with as much brevity as is compatible with clearness,
that this theory is not only incapable of proof, but is also,
as it appears to me, inconsistent with accurate conceptions of
molecular physics."

With all respect for Mr. Wallace, it appears to me that his remarks
are entirely beside the question. I really know nothing whatever, and
never hope to know anything, of the steps by which the passage from
molecular movement to states of consciousness is effected; and I
entirely agree with the sense of the passage which he quotes from
Professor Tyndall, apparently imagining that it is in opposition to
the view I hold.

All that I have to say is, that, in my belief, consciousness and
molecular action are capable of being expressed by one another, just
as heat and mechanical action are capable of being expressed in terms
of one another. Whether we shall ever be able to express consciousness
in foot-pounds, or not, is more than I will venture to say; but
that there is evidence of the existence of some correlation between
mechanical motion and consciousness, is as plain as anything can be.
Suppose the poles of an electric battery to be connected by a platinum
wire. A certain intensity of the current gives rise in the mind of a
bystander to that state of consciousness we call a "dull red light"--a
little greater intensity to another which we call a "bright red
light;" increase the intensity, and the light becomes white; and,
finally, it dazzles, and a new state of consciousness arises, which we
term pain. Given the same wire and the same nervous apparatus, and the
amount of electric force required to give rise to these several states
of consciousness will be the same, however often the experiment
is repeated. And as the electric force, the light-waves, and the
nerve-vibrations caused by the impact of the light-waves on the
retina, are all expressions of the molecular changes which are taking
place in the elements of the battery; so consciousness is, in the same
sense, an expression of the molecular changes which take place in that
nervous matter, which is the organ of consciousness.

And, since this, and any number of similar examples that may be
required, prove that one form of consciousness, at any rate, is, in
the strictest sense, the expression of molecular change, it really
is not worth while to pursue the inquiry, whether a fact so easily
established is consistent with any particular system of molecular
physics or not.

Mr. Wallace, in fact, appears to me to have mixed up two very distinct
propositions: the one, the indisputable truth that consciousness is
correlated with molecular changes in the organ of consciousness;
the other, that the nature of that correlation is known, or can be
conceived, which is quite another matter. Mr. Wallace, presumably,
believes in that correlation of phenomena which we call cause and
effect as firmly as I do. But if he has ever been able to form the
faintest notion how a cause gives rise to its effect, all I can say is
that I envy him. Take the simplest case imaginable--suppose a ball in
motion to impinge upon another ball at rest. I know very well, as a
matter of fact, that the ball in motion will communicate some of its
motion to the ball at rest, and that the motion of the two balls after
collision is precisely correlated with the masses of both balls and
the amount of motion of the first. But how does this come about? In
what manner can we conceive that the _vis viva_ of the first ball
passes into the second? I confess I can no more form any conception
of what happens in this case, than I can of what takes place when the
motion of particles of my nervous matter, caused by the impact of a
similar ball, gives rise to the state of consciousness I call pain. In
ultimate analysis everything is incomprehensible, and the whole object
of science is simply to reduce the fundamental incomprehensibilities
to the smallest possible number.

But to return to the Quarterly Reviewer. He admits that animals
have "mental images of sensible objects, combined in all degrees of
complexity, as governed by the laws of association." Presumably, by
this confused and imperfect statement the Reviewer means to admit
more than the words imply. For mental images of sensible objects,
even though "combined in all degrees of complexity," are, and can be,
nothing more than mental images of sensible objects. But judgments,
emotions, and volitions cannot by any possibility be included under
the head of "mental images of sensible objects."

If the greyhound had no better mental endowment than the Reviewer
allows him, he might have the "mental image" of the "sensible
object"--the hare--and that might be combined with the mental images
of other sensible objects, to any degree of complexity, but he would
have no power of judging it to be at a certain distance from him; no
power of perceiving its similarity to his memory of a hare; and no
desire to get at it. Consequently he would stand stock still, and the
noble art of coursing would have no existence. On the other hand,
as that art is largely practised, it follows that greyhounds alone
possess a number of mental powers, the existence of which, in any
animal, is absolutely denied by the Quarterly Reviewer.

Finally, what are the mental powers which he reserves as the especial
prerogative of man? They are two. First, the recognition of "ourselves
by ourselves as affected and perceiving.--Self-consciousness."

Secondly. "The reflection upon our sensations and perceptions, and
asking what they are and why they are.--Reason."

To the faculty defined in the last sentence, the Reviewer, without
assigning the least ground for thus departing from both common usage
and technical propriety, applies the name of reason. But if man is not
to be considered a reasoning being, unless he asks what his sensations
and perceptions are, and why they are, what is a Hottentot, or an
Australian black fellow; or what the "swinked hedger" of an ordinary
agricultural district? Nay, what becomes of an average country squire
or parson? How many of these worthy persons who, as their wont is,
read the _Quarterly Review_, would do other than stand agape, if you
asked them whether they had ever reflected what their sensations and
perceptions are, and why they are?

So that if the Reviewer's new definition of reason be correct, the
majority of men, even among the most civilized nations, are devoid of
that supreme characteristic of manhood. And if it be as absurd as I
believe it to be, then, as reason is certainly not self-consciousness,
and as it, as certainly, is one of the "actions to which the nervous
system ministers," we must, if the Reviewer's classification is to be
adopted, seek it among those four faculties which he allows animals
to possess. And thus, for the second time, he really surrenders, while
seeming to defend, his position.

The Quarterly Reviewer, as we have seen, lectures the evolutionists
upon their want of knowledge of philosophy altogether. Mr. Mivart
is not less pained at Mr. Darwin's ignorance of moral science. It is
grievous to him that Mr. Darwin (and _nous autres_) should not
have grasped the elementary distinction between material and formal
morality; and he lays down as an axiom, of which no tyro ought to be
ignorant, the position that "acts, unaccompanied by mental acts
of conscious will directed towards the fulfilment of duty," are
"absolutely destitute of the most incipient degree of real or formal

Now this may be Mr. Mivart's opinion, but it is a proposition which,
really, does not stand on the footing of an undisputed axiom. Mr. Mill
denies it in his work on Utilitarianism. The most influential writer
of a totally opposed school, Mr. Carlyle, is never weary of denying
it, and upholding the merit of that virtue which is unconscious; nay,
it is, to my understanding, extremely hard to reconcile Mr. Mivart's
dictum with that noble summary of the whole duty of man--"Thou shalt
love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and
with all thy strength; and thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
According to Mr. Mivart's definition, the man who loves God and his
neighbour, and, out of sheer love and affection for both, does all he
can to please them, is, nevertheless, destitute of a particle of real

And it further happens that Mr. Darwin, who is charged by Mr. Mivart
with being ignorant of the distinction between material and formal
goodness, discusses the very question at issue, in a passage which
is well worth reading (vol. i.p. 87), and also comes to a conclusion
opposed to Mr. Mivart's axiom. A proposition which has been so much
disputed and repudiated, should, under no circumstances, have been
thus confidently assumed to be true. For myself, I utterly reject
it, inasmuch as the logical consequence of the adoption of any such
principle is the denial of all moral value to sympathy and affection.
According to Mr. Mivart's axiom, the man who, seeing another
struggling in the water, leaps in at the risk of his own life to save
him, does that which is "destitute of the most incipient degree of
real goodness," unless, as he strips off his coat, he says to himself,
"Now mind, I am going to do this because it is my duty and for no
other reason;" and the most beautiful character to which humanity
can attain, that of the man who does good without thinking about it,
because he loves justice and mercy and is repelled by evil, has no
claim on our moral approbation. The denial that a man acts morally
because he does not think whether he does so or not, may be put upon
the same footing as the denial of the title of an arithmetician to the
calculating boy, because he did not know how he worked his sums. If
mankind ever generally accept and act upon Mr. Mivart's axiom, they
will simply become a set of most unendurable prigs; but they never
have accepted it, and I venture to hope that evolution has nothing so
terrible in store for the human race.

But, if an action, the motive of which is nothing out affection or
sympathy, may be deserving of moral approbation and really good, who
that has ever had a dog of his own will deny that animals are capable
of such actions? Mr. Mivart indeed says:--"It may be safely affirmed,
however, that there is no trace in brutes of any actions simulating
morality which are not explicable by the fear of punishment, by the
hope of pleasure, or by personal affection" (p. 221). But it may
be affirmed, with equal truth, that there is no trace in men of any
actions which are not traceable to the same motives. If a man does
anything, he does it either because he fears to be punished if he
does not do it, or because he hopes to obtain pleasure by doing it, or
because he gratifies his affections[1] by doing it.

[Footnote 1: In separating pleasure and the gratification of
affection, I simply follow Mr. Mivart without admitting the justice of
the separation.]

Assuming the position of the absolute moralists, let it be granted
that there is a perception of right and wrong innate in every man.
This means, simply, that when certain ideas are presented to his
mind, the feeling of approbation arises; and when certain others, the
feeling of disapprobation. To do your duty is to earn the approbation
of your conscience, or moral sense; to fail in your duty is to feel
its disapprobation, as we all say. Now, is approbation a pleasure or
a pain? Surely a pleasure. And is disapprobation a pleasure or a pain?
Surely a pain. Consequently all that is really meant by the absolute
moralists is that there is, in the very nature of man, something which
enables him to be conscious of these particular pleasures and pains.
And when they talk of immutable and eternal principles of morality,
the only intelligible sense which I can put upon the words, is that
the nature of man being what it is, he always has been, and always
will be, capable of feeling these particular pleasures and pains. _A
priori_, I have nothing to say against this proposition. Admitting its
truth, I do not see how the moral faculty is on a different footing
from any of the other faculties of man. If I choose to say that it is
an immutable and eternal law of human nature that "ginger is hot
in the mouth," the assertion has as much foundation of truth as the
other, though I think it would be expressed in needlessly pompous
language. I must confess that I have never been able to understand why
there should be such a bitter quarrel between the intuitionists and
the utilitarians. The intuitionist is, after all, only a utilitarian
who believes that a particular class of pleasures and pains has an
especial importance, by reason of its foundation in the nature of man,
and its inseparable connection with his very existence as a thinking
being. And as regards the motive of personal affection: Love, as
Spinoza profoundly says, is the association of pleasure with that
which is loved.[1] Or, to put it to the common sense of mankind,
is the gratification of affection a pleasure or a pain? Surely a
pleasure. So that whether the motive which leads us to perform
an action is the love of our neighbour, or the love of God, it is
undeniable that pleasure enters into that motive.

[Footnote 1: "Nempe, Amor nihil aliud est, quam Laetitia, concomitante
idea causae externae."--_Ethices_ III. xiii.]

Thus much in reply to Mr. Mivart's arguments. I cannot but think
that it is to be regretted that he ekes them out by ascribing to the
doctrines of the philosophers with whom he does not agree, logical
consequences which have been over and over again proved not to flow
from them: and when reason fails him, tries the effect of an injurious
nickname. According to the views of Mr. Spencer, Mr. Mill, and Mr.
Darwin, Mr. Mivart tells us, "_virtue is a mere kind of retrieving;"
_ and, that we may not miss the point of the joke, he puts it in
italics. But what if it is? Does that make it less virtue? Suppose I
say that sculpture is a "mere way" of stone-cutting, and painting
a "mere way" of daubing canvas, and music a "mere way" of making a
noise, the statements are quite true; but they only show that I see no
other method of depreciating some of the noblest aspects of humanity,
than that of using language in an inadequate and misleading sense
about them. And the peculiar in appropriateness of this particular
nickname to the views in question, arises from the circumstance which
Mr. Mivart would doubtless have recollected, if his wish to ridicule
had not for the moment obscured his judgment--that whether the law
of evolution applies to man or not, that of hereditary transmission
certainly does. Mr. Mivart will hardly deny that a man owes a large
share of the moral tendencies which he exhibits to his ancestors;
and the man who inherits a desire to steal from a kleptomaniac, or a
tendency to benevolence from a Howard, is, so far as he illustrates
hereditary transmission, comparable to the dog who inherits the desire
to fetch a duck out of the water from his retrieving sire. So that,
evolution, or no evolution, moral qualities are comparable to a "kind
of retrieving;" though the comparison, if meant for the purposes of
casting obloquy on evolution, does not say much for the fairness of
those who make it.

The Quarterly Reviewer and Mr. Mivart base their objections to the
evolution of the mental faculties of man from those of some lower
animal form, upon what they maintain to be a difference in kind
between the mental and moral faculties of men and brutes; and I
have endeavoured to show, by exposing the utter unsoundness of their
philosophical basis, that these objections are devoid of importance.

The objections which Mr. Wallace brings forward to the doctrine of
the evolution of the mental faculties of man from those of brutes
by natural causes, are of a different order, and require separate

If I understand him rightly, he by no means doubts that both the
bodily and the mental faculties of man have been evolved from those of
some lower animal; but he is of opinion, that some agency beyond that
which has been concerned in the evolution of ordinary animals, has
been operative in the case of man. "A superior intelligence has guided
the development of man in a definite direction and for a special
purpose, just as man guides the development of many animal and
vegetable forms."[1] I understand this to mean that, just as the
rock-pigeon has been produced by natural causes, while the
evolution of the tumbler from the blue rock has required the special
intervention of the intelligence of man, so some anthropoid form may
have been evolved by variation and natural selection; but it could
never have given rise to man, unless some superior intelligence had
played the part of the pigeon-fancier.

[Footnote 1: The limits of Natural Selection as applied to Man _(loc.
cit_. p. 359).]

According to Mr. Wallace, "whether we compare the savage with the
higher developments of man, or with the brutes around him, we are
alike driven to the conclusion, that, in his large and well-developed
brain, he possesses an organ quite disproportioned to his
requirements" (p. 343); and he asks, "What is there in the life of the
savage but the satisfying of the cravings of appetite in the simplest
and easiest way? What thoughts, idea, or actions are there that raise
him many grades above the elephant or the ape?" (p. 342). I answer Mr.
Wallace by citing a remarkable passage which occurs in his instructive
paper on "Instinct in Man and Animals."

"Savages make long journeys in many directions, and, their
whole faculties being directed to the subject, they gain a
wide and accurate knowledge of the topography, not only
of their own district, but of all the regions round about.
Everyone who has travelled in a new direction communicates his
knowledge to those who have travelled less, and descriptions
of routes and localities, and minute incidents of travel, form
one of the main staples of conversation around the evening
fire. Every wanderer or captive from another tribe adds to
the store of information, and, as the very existence of
individuals and of whole families and tribes depends upon
the completeness of this knowledge, all the acute perceptive
faculties of the adult savage are directed to acquiring and
perfecting it. The good hunter or warrior thus comes to know
the bearing of every hill and mountain range, the directions
and junctions of all the streams, the situation of each tract
characterized by peculiar vegetation, not only within the
area he has himself traversed, but perhaps for a hundred miles
around it. His acute observation enables him to detect the
slightest undulations of the surface, the various changes of
subsoil and alterations in the character of the vegetation
that would be quite imperceptible to a stranger. His eye is
always open to the direction in which he is going; the mossy
side of trees, the presence of certain plants under the shade
of rocks, the morning and evening flight of birds, are to
him indications of direction almost as sure as the sun in the
heavens" (pp. 207-8).

I have seen enough of savages to be able to declare that nothing can
be more admirable than this description of what a savage has to learn.
But it is incomplete. Add to all this the knowledge which a savage
is obliged to gain of the properties of plants, of the characters and
habits of animals, and of the minute indications by which their course
is discoverable: consider that even an Australian can make excellent
baskets and nets, and neatly fitted and beautifully balanced spears;
that he learns to use these so as to be able to transfix a quartern
loaf at sixty yards; and that very often, as in the case of the
American Indians, the language of a savage exhibits complexities which
a well-trained European finds it difficult to master: consider that
every time a savage tracks his game, he employs a minuteness of
observation, and an accuracy of inductive and deductive reasoning
which, applied to other matters, would assure some reputation to a man
of science, and I think we need ask no further why he possesses such a
fair supply of brains. In complexity and difficulty, I should say that
the intellectual labour of a "good hunter or warrior" considerably
exceeds that of an ordinary Englishman. The Civil Service Examiners
are held in great terror by young Englishmen; but even their ferocity
never tempted them to require a candidate to possess such a knowledge
of a parish, as Mr. Wallace justly points out savages may possess of
an area a hundred miles, or more, in diameter.

But suppose, for the sake of argument, that a savage has more brains
than seems proportioned to his wants, all that can be said is that
the objection to natural selection, if it be one, applies quite
as strongly to the lower animals. The brain of a porpoise is quite
wonderful for its mass, and for the development of the cerebral
convolutions. And yet since we have ceased to credit the story of
Arion, it is hard to believe that porpoises are much troubled with
intellect: and still more difficult is it to imagine that their big
brains are only a preparation for the advent of some accomplished
cetacean of the future. Surely, again, a wolf must have too much
brains, or else how is it that a dog, with only the same quantity and
form of brain, is able to develop such singular intelligence? The wolf
stands to the dog in the same relation as the savage to the man; and,
therefore, if Mr. Wallace's doctrine holds good, a higher power must
have superintended the breeding up of wolves from some inferior stock,
in order to prepare them to become dogs.

Mr. Wallace further maintains that the origin of some of man's mental
faculties by the preservation of useful variations is not possible.
Such, for example, are "the capacity to form ideal conceptions of
space and time, of eternity and infinity; the capacity for intense
artistic feelings of pleasure in form, colour, and composition; and
for those abstract notions of form and number which render geometry
and arithmetic possible." "How," he asks, "were all or any of these
faculties first developed, when they could have been of no possible
use to man in his early stages of barbarism?"

Surely the answer is not far to seek. The lowest savages are as
devoid of any such conceptions as the brutes themselves. What sort of
conceptions of space and time, of form and number, can be possessed by
a savage who has not got so far as to be able to count beyond five or
six, who does not know how to draw a triangle or a circle, and has not
the remotest notion of separating the particular quality we call
form, from the other qualities of bodies? None of these capacities
are exhibited by men, unless they form part of a tolerably advanced
society. And, in such a society, there are abundant conditions by
which a selective influence is exerted in favour of those persons who
exhibit an approximation towards the possession of these capacities.

The savage who can amuse his fellows by telling a good story over the
nightly fire, is held by them in esteem and rewarded, in one way or
another, for so doing in other words, it is an advantage to him to
possess this power. He who can carve a paddle, or the figure-head of
a canoe better, similarly profits beyond his duller neighbour. He
who counts a little better than others, gets most yams when barter
is going on, and forms the shrewdest estimate of the numbers of an
opposing tribe. The experience of daily life shows that the conditions
of our present social existence exercise the most extraordinarily
powerful selective influence in favour of novelists, artists, and
strong intellects of all kinds; and it seems unquestionable that
all forms of social existence must have had the same tendency, if we
consider the indisputable facts that even animals possess the power of
distinguishing form and number, and that they are capable of deriving
pleasure from particular forms and sounds. If we admit, as Mr. Wallace
does, that the lowest savages are not raised "many grades above the
elephant and the ape;" and if we further admit, as I contend must be
admitted, that the conditions of social life tend, powerfully, to
give an advantage to those individuals who vary in the direction of
intellectual or aesthetic excellence, what is there to interfere
with the belief that these higher faculties, like the rest, owe their
development to natural selection?

Finally, with respect to the development of the moral sense out of the
simple feelings of pleasure and pain, liking and disliking, with which
the lower animals are provided, I can find nothing in Mr. Wallace's
reasonings which has not already been met by Mr. Mill, Mr. Spencer, or
Mr. Darwin.

I do not propose to follow the Quarterly Reviewer and Mr. Mivart
through the long string of objections in matters of detail which they
bring against Mr. Darwin's views. Everyone who has considered
the matter carefully will be able to ferret out as many more
"difficulties;" but he will also, I believe, fail as completely as
they appear to me to have done, in bringing forward any fact which is
really contradictory of Mr. Darwin's views. Occasionally, too, their
objections and criticisms are based upon errors of their own. As, for
example, when Mr. Mivart and the Quarterly Reviewer insist upon the
resemblances between the eyes of _Cephalopoda_ and _Vertebrata_,
quite forgetting that there are striking and altogether fundamental
differences between them; or when the Quarterly Reviewer corrects Mr.
Darwin for saying that the gibbons, "without having been taught,
can walk or run upright with tolerable quickness, though they move
awkwardly, and much less securely than man." The Quarterly Reviewer
says, "This is a little misleading, inasmuch as it is not stated that
this upright progression is effected by placing the enormously long
arms behind the head, or holding them out backwards as a balance in

Now, before carping at a small statement like this, the Quarterly
Reviewer should have made sure that he was quite right. But he happens
to be quite wrong. I suspect he got his notion of the manner in which
a gibbon walks from a citation in "Man's Place in Nature." But at
that time I had not seen a gibbon walk. Since then I have, and I can
testify that nothing can be more precise than Mr. Darwin's statement.
The gibbon I saw walked without either putting his arms behind his
head or holding them out backwards. All he did was to touch the ground
with the outstretched fingers of his long arms now and then, just as
one sees a man who carries a stick, but does not need one, touch the
ground with it as he walks along.

Again, a large number of the objections brought forward by Mr. Mivart
and the Quarterly Reviewer apply to evolution in general, quite as
much as to the particular form of that doctrine advocated by Mr.
Darwin; or, to their notions of Mr. Darwin's views and not to what
they really are. An excellent example of this class of difficulties
is to be found in Mr. Mivart's chapter on "Independent Similarities
of Structure." Mr. Mivart says that these cannot be explained by
an "absolute and pure Darwinian," but "that an innate power and
evolutionary law, aided by the corrective action of natural selection,
should have furnished like needs with like aids, is not at all
improbable" (p. 82).

I do not exactly know what Mr. Mivart means by an "absolute and
pure Darwinian;" indeed Mr. Mivart makes that creature hold so many
singular opinions that I doubt if I can ever have seen one alive. But
I find nothing in his statement of the view which he imagines to
be originated by himself, which is really inconsistent with what I
understand to be Mr. Darwin's views.

I apprehend that the foundation of the theory of natural selection is
the fact that living bodies tend incessantly to vary. This variation
is neither indefinite, nor fortuitous, nor does it take place in all
directions, in the strict sense of these words.

Accurately speaking, it is not indefinite, nor does it take place in
all directions, because it is limited by the general characters of the
type to which the organism exhibiting the variation belongs. A whale
does not tend to vary in the direction of producing feathers, nor a
bird in the direction of developing whalebone. In popular language
there is no harm in saying that the waves which break upon the
sea-shore are indefinite, fortuitous, and break in all directions.
In scientific language, on the contrary, such a statement would be
a gross error, inasmuch as every particle of foam is the result of
perfectly definite forces, operating according to no less definite
laws. In like manner, every variation of a living form, however
minute, however apparently accidental, is inconceivable except as the
expression of the operation of molecular forces or "powers" resident
within the organism. And, as these forces certainly operate according
to definite laws, their general result is, doubtless, in accordance
with some general law which subsumes them all. And there appears to
be no objection to call this an "evolutionary law." But nobody is the
wiser for doing so, or has thereby contributed, in the least degree,
to the advance of the doctrine of evolution, the great need of which
is a theory of variation.

When Mr. Mivart tells us that his "aim has been to support the
doctrine that these species have been evolved by ordinary _natural
laws_ (for the most part unknown), aided by the _subordinate_ action
of 'natural selection'" (pp. 332-3), he seems to be of opinion that
his enterprise has the merit of novelty. All I can say is that I have
never had the slightest notion that Mr. Darwin's aim is in any way
different from this. If I affirm that "species have been evolved by
variation[1] (a natural process, the laws of which are for the most
part unknown), aided by the subordinate action of natural selection,"
it seems to me that I enunciate a proposition which constitutes the
very pith and marrow of the first edition of the "Origin of Species."
And what the evolutionist stands in need of just now, is not an
iteration of the fundamental principle of Darwinism, but some light
upon the questions, What are the limits of variation? and, If
a variety has arisen, can that variety be perpetuated, or even
intensified, when selective conditions are indifferent, or perhaps
unfavourable, to its existence? I cannot find that Mr. Darwin has ever
been very dogmatic in answering these questions. Formerly, he seems
to have inclined to reply to them in the negative, while now his
inclination is the other way. Leaving aside those broad questions of
theology, philosophy, and ethics, by the discussion of which neither
the Quarterly Reviewer nor Mr. Mivart can be said to have damaged
Darwinism--whatever else they have injured--this is what their
criticisms come to. They confound a struggle for some rifle-pits with
an assault on the fortress.

[Footnote 1: Including under this head hereditary transmission.]

In some respects, finally, I can only characterize the Quarterly
Reviewer's treatment of Mr. Darwin as alike unjust and unbecoming.
Language of this strength requires justification, and on that ground I
add the remarks which follow.

The Quarterly Reviewer opens his essay by a careful enumeration of
all those points upon which, during the course of thirteen years of
incessant labour, Mr. Darwin has modified his opinions. It has often
and justly been remarked, that what strikes a candid student of Mr.
Darwin's works is not so much his industry, his knowledge, or even
the surprising fertility of his inventive genius; but that unswerving
truthfulness and honesty which never permit him to hide a weak place,
or gloss over a difficulty, but lead him, on all occasions, to point
out the weak places in his own armour, and even sometimes, it appears
to me, to make admissions against himself which are quite unnecessary.
A critic who desires to attack Mr. Darwin has only to read his works
with a desire to observe, not their merits, but their defects, and
he will find, ready to hand, more adverse suggestions than are likely
ever to have suggested themselves to his own sharpness, without Mr.
Darwin's self-denying aid.

Now this quality of scientific candour is not so common that it needs
to be discouraged; and it appears to me to deserve other treatment
than that adopted by the Quarterly Reviewer, who deals with Mr. Darwin
as an Old Bailey barrister deals with a man against whom he wishes
to obtain a conviction, _per fas aut nefas_, and opens his case by
endeavouring to create a prejudice against the prisoner in the minds
of the jury. In his eagerness to carry out this laudable design, the
Quarterly Reviewer cannot even state the history of the doctrine
of natural selection without an oblique and entirely unjustifiable
attempt to depreciate Mr. Darwin. "To Mr. Darwin," says he, "and
(through Mr. Wallace's reticence) to Mr. Darwin alone, is due the
credit of having first brought it prominently forward and demonstrated
its truth." No one can less desire than I do, to throw a doubt upon
Mr. Wallace's originality, or to question his claim to the honour of
being one of the originators of the doctrine of natural selection; but
the statement that Mr. Darwin has the sole credit of originating the
doctrine because of Mr. Wallace's reticence is simply ridiculous. The
proof of this is, in the first place, afforded by Mr. Wallace himself,
whose noble freedom from petty jealousy in this matter, smaller folk
would do well to imitate; and who writes thus:--"I have felt all my
life, and I still feel, the most sincere satisfaction that Mr. Darwin
had been at work long before me, and that it was not left for me to
attempt to write the 'Origin of Species.' I have long since measured
my own strength, and know well that it would be quite unequal to that
task." So that if there was any reticence at all in the matter, it
was Mr. Darwin's reticence during the long twenty years of study which
intervened between the conception and the publication of his theory,
which gave Mr. Wallace the chance of being an independent discoverer
of the importance of natural selection. And, finally, if it be
recollected that Mr. Darwin's and Mr. Wallace's essays were published
simultaneously in the _Journal of the Linnaean Society_ for 1858, it
follows that the Reviewer, while obliquely depreciating Mr. Darwin's
deserts, has in reality awarded to him a priority which, in legal
strictness, does not exist.

Mr. Mivart, whose opinions so often concur with those of the Quarterly
Reviewer, puts the case in a way, which I much regret to be obliged to
say, is, in my judgment, quite as incorrect; though the injustice may
be less glaring. He says that the theory of natural selection is,
in general, exclusively associated with the name of Mr. Darwin, "on
account of the noble self-abnegation of Mr. Wallace." As I have said,
no one can honour Mr. Wallace more than I do, both for what he has
done and for what he has not done, in his relation to Mr. Darwin. And
perhaps nothing is more creditable to him than his frank declaration
that he could not have written such a work as the "Origin of Species."
But, by this declaration, the person most directly interested in the
matter repudiates, by anticipation, Mr. Mivart's suggestion that Mr.
Darwin's eminence is more or less due to Mr. Wallace's modesty.



Considering that Germany now takes the lead of the world in scientific
investigation, and particularly in biology, Mr. Darwin must be well
pleased at the rapid spread of his views among some of the ablest and
most laborious of German naturalists.

[Footnote 1: "The Natural History of Creation." By Dr. Ernst Haeckel
(_Natuerliche Schoepfungs-Geschichte._--Von Dr. Ernst Haeckel, Professor
an der Universitaet Jena.) Berlin, 1868.]

Among those, Professor Haeckel, of Jena, is the Coryphaeus. I know of
no more solid and important contributions to biology in the past seven
years than Haeckel's work on the _Radiolaria_, and the researches of
his distinguished colleague Gegenbaur, in vertebrate anatomy; while
in Haeckel's _Generelle Morphologie_ there is all the force,
suggestiveness, and, what I may term the systematizing power, of Oken,
without his extravagance. The _Generelle Morphologie_ is, in fact, an
attempt to put the doctrine of Evolution, so far as it applies to
the living world, into a logical form; and to work out its practical
applications to their final results. The work before us, again, may
be said to be an exposition of the _Generelle Morphologie_ for an
educated public, consisting, as it does, of the substance of a series
of lectures delivered before a mixed audience at Jena, in the session

"The Natural History of Creation,"--or, as Professor Haeckel admits
it would have been better to call his work, "The History of the
Development or Evolution of Nature,"--deals, in the first six
lectures, with the general and historical aspects of the question,
and contains a very interesting and lucid account of the views of
Linnaeus, Cuvier, Agassiz, Goethe, Oken, Kant, Lamarck, Lyell, and
Darwin, and of the historical filiation of these philosophers.

The next six lectures are occupied by a well-digested statement of Mr.
Darwin's views. The thirteenth lecture discusses two topics which are
not touched by Mr. Darwin, namely, the origin of the present form of
the solar system, and that of living matter. Full justice is done to
Kant, as the originator of that "cosmic gas theory," as the Germans
somewhat quaintly call it, which is commonly ascribed to Laplace. With
respect to spontaneous generation, while admitting that there is no
experimental evidence in its favour, Professor Haeckel denies the
possibility of disproving it, and points out that the assumption that
it has occurred is a necessary part of the doctrine of Evolution. The
fourteenth lecture, on "Schoepfungs-Perioden und Schoepfungs-Urkunden,"
answers pretty much to the famous disquisition on the "Imperfection of
the Geological Record" in the _Origin of Species_.

The following five lectures contain the most original matter of any,
being devoted to "Phylogeny," or the working out of the details of the
process of Evolution in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, so as
to prove the line of descent of each group of living beings, and to
furnish it with its proper genealogical tree, or "phylum."

The last lecture considers objections and sums up the evidence in
favour of biological Evolution.

I shall best testify to my sense of the value of the work thus briefly
analysed if I now proceed to note down some of the more important
criticisms which have been suggested to me by its perusal.

I. In more than one place, Professor Haeckel enlarges upon the service
which the _Origin of Species_ has done, in favouring what he terms
the "causal or mechanical" view of living nature as opposed to the
"teleological or vitalistic" view. And no doubt it is quite true that
the doctrine of Evolution is the most formidable opponent of all
the commoner and coarser forms of Teleology. But perhaps the most
remarkable service to the philosophy of Biology rendered by Mr. Darwin
is the reconciliation of Teleology and Morphology, and the explanation
of the facts of both which his views offer.

The Teleology which supposes that the eye, such as we see it in man
or one of the higher _Vertebrata_, was made with the precise structure
which it exhibits, for the purpose of enabling the animal which
possesses it to see, has undoubtedly received its death-blow.
Nevertheless it is necessary to remember that there is a wider
Teleology, which is not touched by the doctrine of Evolution, but is
actually based upon the fundamental proposition of Evolution. That
proposition is, that the whole world, living and not living, is the
result of the mutual interaction, according to definite laws, of the
forces possessed by the molecules of which the primitive nebulosity of
the universe was composed. If this be true, it is no less certain that
the existing world lay, potentially, in the cosmic vapour; and that a
sufficient intelligence could, from a knowledge of the properties of
the molecules of that vapour, have predicted, say the state of the
Fauna of Britain in 1869, with as much certainty as one can say what
will happen to the vapour of the breath in a cold winter's day.

Consider a kitchen clock, which ticks loudly, shows the hours,
minutes, and seconds, strikes, cries "cuckoo!" and perhaps shows the
phases of the moon. When the clock is wound up, all the phenomena
which it exhibits are potentially contained in its mechanism, and a
clever clockmaker could predict all it will do after an examination of
its structure.

If the evolution theory is correct, the molecular structure of the
cosmic gas stands in the same relation to the phenomena of the world
as the structure of the clock to its phenomena.

Now let us suppose a death-watch, living in the clock-case, to be a
learned and intelligent student of its works. He might say, "I find
here nothing but matter and force and pure mechanism from beginning to
end," and he would be quite right. But if he drew the conclusion that
the clock was not contrived for a purpose, he would be quite wrong.
On the other hand, imagine another death-watch of a different turn of
mind. He, listening to the monotonous "tick! tick!" so exactly like
his own, might arrive at the conclusion that the clock was itself a
monstrous sort of death-watch, and that its final cause and purpose
was to tick. How easy to point to the clear relation of the whole
mechanism to the pendulum, to the fact that the one thing the clock
did always and without intermission was to tick, and that all the rest
of its phenomena were intermittent and subordinate to ticking! For
all this, it is certain that kitchen clocks are not contrived for the
purpose of making a ticking noise.

Thus the teleological theorist would be as wrong as the mechanical
theorist, among our death-watches; and, probably, the only death-watch
who would be right would be the one who should maintain that the
sole thing death-watches could be sure about was the nature of the
clock-works and the way they move; and that the purpose of the clock
lay wholly beyond the purview of beetle faculties.

Substitute "cosmic vapour" for "clock," and "molecules" for "works,"
and the application of the argument is obvious. The teleological
and the mechanical views of nature are not, necessarily, mutually
exclusive. On the contrary, the more purely a mechanist the speculator
is, the more firmly does he assume a primordial molecular arrangement,
of which all the phenomena of the universe are the consequences; and
the more completely is he thereby at the mercy of the teleologist,
who can always defy him to disprove that this primordial molecular
arrangement was not intended to evolve the phenomena of the universe.
On the other hand, if the teleologist assert that this, that, or
the other result of the working of any part of the mechanism of the
universe is its purpose and final cause, the mechanist can always
inquire how he knows that it is more than an unessential incident--the
mere ticking of the clock, which he mistakes for its function. And
there seems to be no reply to this inquiry, any more than to the
further, not irrational, question, why trouble oneself about matters
which are out of reach, when the working of the mechanism itself,
which is of infinite practical importance, affords scope for all our

Professor Haeckel has invented a new and convenient name,
"Dysteleology," for the study of the "purposelessnesses" which are
observable in living organisms--such as the multitudinous cases of
rudimentary and apparently useless structures. I confess, however,
that it has often appeared to me that the facts of Dysteleology cut
two ways. If we are to assume, as evolutionists in general do,
that useless organs atrophy, such cases as the existence of lateral
rudiments of toes, in the foot of a horse, place us in a dilemma. For,
either these rudiments are of no use to the animal, in which case,
considering that the horse has existed in its present form since the
Pliocene epoch, they surely ought to have disappeared; or they are of
some use to the animal, in which case they are of no use as arguments
against Teleology. A similar, but still stronger, argument may be
based upon the existence of teats, and even functional mammary glands,
in male mammals. Numerous cases of "Gynaecomasty," or functionally
active breasts in men, are on record, though there is no mammalian
species whatever in which the male normally suckles the young. Thus,
there can be little doubt that the mammary gland was as apparently
useless in the remotest male mammalian ancestor of man as in living
men, and yet it has not disappeared. Is it then still profitable
to the male organism to retain it? Possibly; but in that case its
dysteleological value is gone.

II. Professor Haeckel looks upon the causes which have led to the
present diversity of living nature as twofold. Living matter, he tells
us, is urged by two impulses: a centripetal, which tends to preserve
and transmit the specific form, and which he identifies with heredity;
and a centrifugal, which results from the tendency of external
conditions to modify the organism and effect its adaptation to
themselves. The internal impulse is conservative, and tends to the
preservation of specific, or individual, form; the external impulse is
metamorphic, and tends to the modification of specific, or individual,

In developing his views upon this subject, Professor Haeckel
introduces qualifications which disarm some of the criticisms I should
have been disposed to offer; but I think that his method of stating
the case has the inconvenience of tending to leave out of sight
the important fact--which is a cardinal point in the Darwinian
hypothesis--that the tendency to vary, in a given organism, may have
nothing to do with the external conditions to which that individual
organism is exposed, but may depend wholly upon internal conditions.
No one, I imagine, would dream of seeking in the direct influence of
the external conditions of his life for the cause of the development
of the sixth finger and toe in the famous Maltese.

I conceive that both hereditary transmission and adaptation need to be
analysed into their constituent conditions by the further application
of the doctrine of the Struggle for Existence. It is a probable
hypothesis, that what the world is to organisms in general, each
organism is to the molecules of which it is composed. Multitudes of
these, having diverse tendencies, are competing with one another for
opportunity to exist and multiply; and the organism, as a whole, is as
much the product of the molecules which are victorious as the Fauna,
or Flora, of a country is the product of the victorious organic beings
in it.

On this hypothesis, hereditary transmission is the result of the
victory of particular molecules contained in the impregnated germ.
Adaptation to conditions is the result of the favouring of the
multiplication of those molecules whose organizing tendencies are
most in harmony with such conditions. In this view of the matter,
conditions are not actively productive, but are passively permissive;
they do not cause variation in any given direction, but they permit
and favour a tendency in that direction which already exists.

It is true that, in the long run, the origin of the organic molecules
themselves, and of their tendencies, is to be sought in the external
world; but if we carry our inquiries as far back as this, the
distinction between internal and external impulses vanishes. On the
other hand, if we confine ourselves to the consideration of a single
organism, I think it must be admitted that the existence of an
internal metamorphic tendency must be as distinctly recognized as
that of an internal conservative tendency; and that the influence of
conditions is mainly, if not wholly, the result of the extent to which
they favour the one, or the other, of these tendencies.

III. There is only one point upon which I fundamentally and entirely
disagree with Professor Haeckel, but that is the very important one
of his conception of geological time, and of the meaning of the
stratified rocks as records and indications of that time. Conceiving
that the stratified rocks of an epoch indicate a period of depression,
and that the intervals between the epochs correspond with periods
of elevation of which we have no record, he intercalates between the
different epochs, or periods, intervals which he terms "Ante-periods."
Thus, instead of considering the Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, and
Eocene periods, as continuously successive, he interposes a
period before each, as an "Antetrias-zeit," "Antejura-zeit,"
"Antecreta-zeit," "Antecocen-zeit," &c. And he conceives that the
abrupt changes between the Faunae of the different formations are due
to the lapse of time, of which we have no organic record, during their

The frequent occurrence of strata containing assemblages of organic
forms which are intermediate between those of adjacent formations, is,
to my mind, fatal to this view. In the well-known St. Cassian beds,
for example, Palaeozoic and Mesozoic forms are commingled, and,
between the Cretaceous and the Eocene formations, there are similar
transitional beds. On the other hand, in the middle of the Silurian
series, extensive unconformity of the strata indicates the lapse of
vast intervals of time between the deposit of successive beds, without
any corresponding change in the Fauna.

Professor Haeckel will, I fear, think me unreasonable, if I say that
he seems to be still overshadowed by geological superstitions; and
that he will have to believe in the completeness of the geological
record far less than he does at present. He assumes, for example, that
there was no dry land, nor any terrestrial life, before the end of the
Silurian epoch, simply because, up to the present time, no indications
of fresh water, or terrestrial organisms, have been found in rocks of
older date. And, in speculating upon the origin of a given group, he
rarely goes further back than the "Ante-period," which precedes that
in which the remains of animals belonging to that group are found.
Thus, as fossil remains of the majority of the groups of _Reptilia_
are first found in the Trias, they are assumed to have originated in
the "Antetriassic" period, or between the Permian and Triassic epochs.

I confess this is wholly incredible to me. The Permian and the
Triassic deposits pass completely into one another; there is no sort
of discontinuity answering to an unrecorded "Antetrias;" and, what
is more, we have evidence of immensely extensive dry land during the
formation of these deposits. We know that the dry land of the Trias
absolutely teemed with reptiles of all groups except Pterodactyles,
Snakes, and perhaps Tortoises; there is every probability that true
Birds existed, and _Mammalia_ certainly did. Of the inhabitants of the
Permian dry land, on the contrary, all that have left a record are a
few lizards. Is it conceivable that these last should really
represent the whole terrestrial population of that time, and that
the development of Mammals, of Birds, and of the highest forms of
Reptiles, should have been crowded into the time during which the
Permian conditions quietly passed away, and the Triassic conditions
began? Does not any such supposition become in the highest degree
improbable, when, in the terrestrial or fresh-water Labyrinthodonts,
which lived on the land of the Carboniferous epoch, as well as on
that of the Trias, we have evidence that one form, of terrestrial life
persisted, throughout all these ages, with no important modification?
For my part, having regard to the small amount of modification (except
in the way of extinction) which the Crocodilian, Lacertilian, and
Chelonian _Reptilia_ have undergone, from the older Mesozoic times to
the present day, I cannot but put the existence of the common stock
from which they sprang far back in the Palaeozoic epoch; and I should
apply a similar argumentation to all other groups of animals.

IV. Professor Haeckel proposes a number of modifications in Taxonomy,
all of which are well worthy of consideration. Thus he establishes a
third primary division of the living world, distinct from both
animals and plants, under the name of the _Protista_, to include the
_Myxomycetes_, the _Diatomaceae_, and the _Labyrinthulae_, which are
commonly regarded as plants, with the _Noctilucae_, the _Flagellata_,
the _Rhizopoda_, the _Protoplasta_, and the _Monera_, which are most
generally included within the animal world. A like attempt has been
made, by other writers, to escape the inconvenience of calling these
dubious organisms by the name of plant or animal; but I confess,
it appears to me, that the inconvenience which is eluded in one
direction, by this step, is met in two others. Professor Haeckel
himself doubts whether the _Fungi_ ought not to be removed into his
_Protista_. If they are not, indeed, the _Myxomycetes_ render the
drawing of every line of demarcation between _Protista_ and Plants
impossible. But if they are, who is to define the _Fungi_ from the
_Algae_? Yet the sea-weeds are surely, in every respect, plants.
On the other hand, Professor Haeckel puts the sponges among the
_Coelenterata_ (or polypes and corals), with the double inconvenience,
as it appears to me, of separating the sponges from their immediate
kindred, the _Protoplasta_, and destroying the definition of the
_Coelenterata_. So again, the _Infusoria_ possess all the characters
of animality, but it can hardly be said that they are as clearly
allied to the worms as they are to the _Noctilucae_.

On the whole, it appears to me to be most convenient to adhere to
the old plan of calling such of these low forms as are more animal in
habit, _Protozoa_, and such as are more vegetal, _Protophyta_.

Another considerable innovation is the proposition to divide the class
Pisces into the four groups of _Leptocardia, Cyclostomata, Pisces_,
and _Dipneusta_. As regards the establishment of a separate class for
the Lancelet _(Amphioxus)_, I think there can be little doubt of the
propriety of so doing, inasmuch as it is far more different from all
other fishes than they are from one another. And there is much to
be said in favour of the same promotion of the _Cyclostomata_, or
Lampreys and Hags. But considering the close relation of the
Mudfish with the _Ganoidei_, and the wide differences between the
_Elasmobranchii_ and the _Teleostei_, I greatly doubt the propriety of
separating the _Dipneusta_, as a class, from the other _Pisces_.

Professor Haeckel proposes to break up the vertebrate sub-kingdom,
first, into the two provinces of _Leptocardia_ and _Pachycardia;
Amphioxus_ being in the former, and all other vertebrates in the
latter division. The _Pachycardia_ are then divided into _Monorhina_,
which contains the Cyclostome fishes, distinguished by their single
nasal aperture; and _Amphirhina_, comprising the other _Vertebrata_,
which have two nasal apertures. These are further subdivided into
_Anamnia (Pisces, Dipneusta, Amphibia)_ and _Amniota (Reptilia, Aves,
Mammalia)_. This classification undoubtedly expresses many of the most
important facts in vertebrate structure in a clear and compendious
way; whether it is the best that can he adopted remains to be seen.

With much reason the Lemurs are removed altogether from the
_Primates_, under the name of _Prosimiae_. But I am surprised to
find the _Sirenia_ left in one group with the _Cetacea_, and the
_Plesiosauria_ with the _Ichthyosauria_; the ordinal distinctness of
these having, to my mind, been long since fully established.

V. In Professor Haeckel's speculations on Phylogeny, or the genealogy
of animal forms, there is much that is profoundly interesting, and
his suggestions are always supported by sound knowledge and great
ingenuity. Whether one agrees or disagrees with him, one feels that
he has forced the mind into lines of thought in which it is more
profitable to go wrong than to stand still.

To put his views into a few words, he conceives that all forms of life
originally commenced as _Monera_, or simple particles of protoplasm;
and that these _Monera_ originated from not-living matter. Some of the
_Monera_ acquired tendencies towards the Protistic, others towards the
Vegetal, and others towards the Animal modes of life. The last became
animal _Monera_. Some of the animal _Monera_ acquired a nucleus, and
became amoeba-like creatures; and, out of certain of these, ciliated
infusorium-like animals were developed. These became modified into two
stirpes: A, that of the worms; and B, that of the sponges. The latter
by progressive modification gave rise to all the _Coelenterata_; the
former to all other animals. But A soon broke up into two principal
stirpes, of which one, _a_, became the root of the _Annelida,
Echinodermata_, and _Arthropoda_, while the other, _b_, gave rise to
the _Polyzoa_ and _Ascidioida_, and produced the two remaining stirpes
of the _Vertebrata_ and the _Mollusca_.

Perhaps the most startling proposition of all those which Professor
Haeckel puts before us is that which he bases upon Kowalewsky's
researches into the development of _Amphioxus_ and of the
_Ascidioida_, that the origin of the _Vertebrata_ is to be sought
in an Ascidioid form. Goodsir long ago insisted upon the resemblance
between _Amphioxus_ and the Ascidians; but the notion of a genetic
connection between the two, and especially the identification of the
notochord of the _Vertebrate_ with the axis of the caudal appendage of
the larva of the Ascidian, is a novelty which, at first, takes one's
breath away. I must confess, however, that the more I have pondered
over it, the more grounds appear in its favour, though I am not
convinced that there is any real parallelism between the mode
of development of the ganglion of the _Ascidian_ and that of the
_Vertebrate_ cerebro-spinal axis.

The hardly less startling hypothesis that the _Echinoderms_ are
coalesced worms, on the other hand, appears to be open to serious
objection. As a matter of anatomy, it does not seem to me to
correspond with fact; for there is no worm with a calcareous skeleton,
nor any which has a band-like ventral nerve, superficial to which lies
an ambulacral vessel. And, as a question of development, the formation
of the radiate _Echinoderm_ within its vermiform larva seems to me
to be analogous to the formation of a radiate Medusa upon a Hydrozoic
stock. But a Medusa is surely not the result of the coalescence of as
many organisms as it presents morphological segments.

Professor Haeckel adduces the fossil _Crossopodia_ and _Phyllodocites_
as examples of the Annelidan forms, by the coalescence of which
the Echinoderms may have been produced; but, even supposing the
resemblance of these worms to detached starfish arms to be perfect,
it is possible that they may be the extreme term, and not the
commencement, of Echinoderm development. A pentacrinoid Echinoderm,
with a complete jointed stalk, is developed within the larva of
_Antedon_. Is it not possible that the larva of _Crossopodia_ may have
developed a vermiform Echinoderm?

With respect to the Phylogeny of the _Arthropoda_, I find myself
disposed to take a somewhat different view from that of Professor
Haeckel. He assumes that the primary stock of the whole group was
a crustacean, having that _Nauplius_ form in which Fritz Mueller
has shown that so many _Crustacea_ commence their lives. All the
_Entomostraca_ arose by the modification of some one or other of these
Naupliform "_Archicarida_." Other _Archicarida_ underwent a further
metamorphosis into a _Zoaea_-form. From some of these "_Zoeopoda_"
arose all the remaining Malacostracous _Crustacea_; while, from
others, was developed some form analogous to the existing _Galeodes_,
out of which proceeded, by gradual differentiation, all the
_Myriapoda, Arachnida,_ and _Insecta_.

I should, be disposed to interpret the facts of the embryological
history and of the anatomy of the _Arthropoda_ in a different manner.
The _Copepoda_, the _Ostracoda_, and the _Branchiopoda_ are
the _Crustacea_ which have departed least from the embryonic or
_Nauplius_-forms; and, of these, I imagine that the _Copepoda_
represent the hypothetical _Archicarida_ most closely. _Apus_ and
_Sapphirina_ indicate the relations of these Archaeocarids with the
_Trilobita_, and the _Eurypterida_ connect the _Trilobita_ and the
_Copepoda_ with the _Xiphosura_. But the _Xiphosura_ have such close
morphological relations with the _Arachnida_, and especially with the
oldest known Arachnidan, _Scorpio_, that I cannot doubt the existence
of a genetic connection between the two groups. On the other hand, the
_Branchiopoda_ do, even at the present day, almost pass into the
true _Podophthalmia_, by _Nebalia_. By the _Trilobita_, again, the
_Archicarida_ are connected with such _Edriophthalmia_ as _Serolis_.
The _Stomapoda_ are extremely modified _Edriophthalmia_ of the
amphipod type. On the other side, the _Isopoda_ lead to the
_Myriapoda_, and the latter to the _Insecta_. Thus the Arthropod
phylum, which suggests itself to me, is that the branches of the
_Podophthalmia_, of the _Insecta_ (with the _Myriapoda_), and of the
_Arachnida_, spring separately and distinctly from the Archaeocarid
root--and that the _Zoaea_-forms occur only at the origin of the
Podophthalmous branch.

The phylum of the _Vertebrata_ is the most interesting of all, and is
admirably discussed by Professor Haeckel. I can note only a few points
which seem to me to be open to discussion. The _Monorhina_, having
been developed out of the _Leptocardia_, gave rise, according to
Professor Haeckel, to a shark-like form, which was the common stock
of all the _Amphirhina_. From this "Protamphirhine" were developed, in
divergent lines, the true Sharks, Rays, and _Chimaerae_; the Ganoids,
and the _Dipneusta_. The _Teleostei_ are modified _Ganoidei_. The
_Dipneusta_ gave rise to the _Amphibia_, which are the root of all
other _Vertebrata_, inasmuch as out of them were developed the first
_Vertebrata_ provided with an amnion, or the _Protamniota_. The
_Protamniota_ split up into two stems, one that of the _Mammalia_, the
other common to _Reptilia_ and _Aves_.

The only modification which it occurs to me to suggest in this
general view of the Phylogeny of the _Vertebrata_ is, that the
"Protamphirhine" was possibly more ganoid than shark-like. So far as
our present information goes the Ganoids are as old as the Sharks;
and it is very interesting to observe that the remains of the oldest
Ganoids, _Cephalaspis_ and _Pteraspis_, have as yet displayed no trace
of jaws. It is just possible that they may connect the _Monorhina_,
with the Sturgeons among the _Amphirhina_. On the other hand,
the Crossopterygian Ganoids exhibit the closest connection with
_Lepidosiren_, and thereby with the _Amphibia_. It should not be
forgotten that the development of the Lampreys exhibits curious points
of resemblance with that of the _Amphibia_, which are absent in
the Sharks and Rays. Of the development of the _Ganoidei_ we have
unfortunately no knowledge, but their brains and their reproductive
organs are more amphibian than are those of the Sharks.

On the whole, I am disposed to think that the direct stem of ascent
from the _Monorhina_ to the _Amphibia_ is formed by the Ganoids and
the Mudfishes; while the Osseous fishes and the Sharks are branches in
different directions from this stem.

What the _Protamniota_ were like, I do not suppose any one is in a
position to say, but I cannot think that the thoroughly Lacertian
_Protorosaurus_ had anything to do with them. The reptiles which are
most amphibian in their characters, and therefore, probably, most
nearly approach the _Protamniota_, are the _Ichthyosauria_ and the

That the _Didelphia_ were developed out of some ornithodelphous form,
as Professor Haeckel supposes, seems to be unquestionable; but the
existing Opossums and Kangaroos are certainly extremely modified and
remote from their ancestors the "_Prodidelphia_," of which we have
not, at present the slightest knowledge. The mode of origin of the
_Monodelphia_ from these is a very difficult problem, for the most
part left open by Professor Haeckel. He considers the _Prosimiae_, or
Lemurs, to be the common stock of the _Deciduata_, and the _Cetacea_
(with which he includes the _Sirenia_) to be modified _Ungulata_. As
regards the latter question, I have little doubt that the _Sirenia_
connect the _Ungulata_ with the _Proboscidea_; and none, that the
_Cetacea_ are extremely modified _Carnivora_. The passage between the
Seals and the _Cetacea_ by _Zeuglodon_ is complete. I also think
that there is much to be said for the opinion, that the _Insectivora_
represent the common stock of the _Primates_ (which passed into
them by the _Prosimiae_), the _Cheiroptera_, the _Rodentia_, and the
_Carnivora_. And I am greatly disposed to look for the common root
of all the _Ungulata_, as well, in some ancient non-deciduate Mammals
which were more like _Insectivora_ than anything else. On the other
hand, the _Edentata_ appear to form a series by themselves.

The latter part of this notice of the _Natuerliche
Schoepfungs-Geschichte_, brings so strongly into prominence the points
of difference between its able author and myself, that I do not like
to conclude without reminding the reader of my entire concurrence with
the general tenor and spirit of the work, and of my high estimate of
its value.



Professor Fraser has earned the thanks of all students of philosophy
for the conscientious labour which he has bestowed upon his new
edition of the works of Berkeley; in which, for the first time, we
find collected together every thought which can be traced to the
subtle and penetrating mind of the famous Bishop of Cloyne; while the
"Life and Letters" will rejoice those who care less for the idealist
and the prophet of tar-water, than for the man who stands out as one
of the noblest and purest figures of his time: that Berkeley from whom
the jealousy of Pope did not withhold a single one of all "the virtues
under heaven;" nor the cynicism of Swift, the dignity of "one of the
first men of the kingdom for learning and virtue;" the man whom the
pious Atterbury could compare to nothing less than an angel; and whose
personal influence and eloquence filled the Scriblerus Club and the
House of Commons with enthusiasm for the evangelization of the North
American Indians; and even led Sir Robert Walpole to assent to the
appropriation of public money to a scheme which was neither business
nor bribery.[2]

[Footnote 1: "The Works of George Berkeley, D.D., formerly Bishop
of Cloyne, including many of his Works hitherto unpublished, with
Preface, Annotations, his Life and Letters, and an Account of his
Philosophy." By A.C. Fraser. Four vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

[Footnote 2: In justice to Sir Robert, however, it is proper to remark
that he declared afterwards, that he gave his assent to Berkeley's
scheme for the Bermuda University only because he thought the House of
Commons was sure to throw it out.]

Hardly any epoch in the intellectual history of England is more
remarkable in itself, or possesses a greater interest for us in these
latter days, than that which coincides broadly with the conclusion of
the seventeenth and the opening of the eighteenth century.

The political fermentation of the preceding age was gradually working
itself out; domestic peace gave men time to think; and the toleration
won by the party of which Locke was the spokesman, permitted a freedom
of speech and of writing such as has rarely been exceeded in later

Fostered by these circumstances, the great faculty for physical and
metaphysical inquiry, with which the people of our race are naturally
endowed, developed itself vigorously; and at least two of its products
have had a profound and a permanent influence upon the subsequent
course of thought in the world. The one of these was English
Freethinking; the other, the Theory of Gravitation.

Looking back to the origin of the intellectual impulses of which these
were the results, we are led to Herbert, to Hobbes, to Bacon; and to
one who stands in advance of all these, as the most typical man of his
time--Descartes. It is the Cartesian doubt--the maxim that assent may
properly be given to no propositions but such as are perfectly
clear and distinct--which, becoming incarnate, so to speak, in the
Englishmen, Anthony Collins, Toland, Tindal, Woolston, and in the
wonderful Frenchman, Pierre Bayle, reached its final term in Hume.

And, on the other hand, although the theory of Gravitation set
aside the Cartesian vortices--yet the spirit of the "Principes de
Philosophie" attained its apotheosis when Newton demonstrated all the
host of heaven to be but the elements of a vast mechanism, regulated
by the same laws as those which govern the falling of a stone to the
ground. There is a passage in the preface to the first edition of the
"Principia" which shows that Newton was penetrated, as completely
as Descartes, with the belief that all the phenomena of nature are
expressible in terms of matter and motion.

"Would that the rest of the phenomena of nature could be deduced by
a like kind of reasoning from mechanical principles. For many
circumstances lead me to suspect that all these phenomena may depend
upon certain forces, in virtue of which the particles of bodies, by
causes not yet known, are either mutually impelled against one another
and cohere into regular figures, or repel and recede from one another;
which forces being unknown, philosophers have as yet explored nature
in vain. But I hope that, either by this method of philosophizing, or
by some other and better, the principles here laid down may throw some
light upon the matter."[1]

[Footnote 1: "Utinam caetera naturae phaenomena ex principiis
mechanicis, eodem argumentandi genere, derivare licet. Nam multa me
movent, ut nonnihil suspicer ca omnia ex viribus quibusdam pendere
posse, quibus corporum particulae, per causas nondum cognitas, vel in
se mutuo impelluntur et secundum figuras regulares cohaerent vel ab
invicem fugantur et reced ent: quibus viribus ignotis, Philosophi
hactenus Naturam frustra tentarunt. Spero autem quod vel huic
philosophandi modo, vel veriori, alicui, principia hic posita lucem
aliquam praebebunt."--Preface to First Edition of _Principia_, May 8,

But the doctrine that all the phenomena of nature are resolvable into
mechanism is what people have agreed to call "materialism;" and when
Locke and Collins maintained that matter may possibly be able
to think, and Newton himself could compare infinite space to the
sensorium of the Deity, it was not wonderful that the English
philosophers should be attacked as they were by Leibnitz in the famous
letter to the Princess of Wales, which gave rise to his correspondence
with Clarke.[1]

[Footnote 1: "Collection of Papers which passed between the late
learned Mr. Leibnitz and Dr. Clarke."--1717.]

"1. Natural religion itself seems to decay [in England] very much.
Many will have human souls to be material; others make God Himself a
corporeal Being.

"2. Mr. Locke and his followers are uncertain, at least, whether the
soul be not material and naturally perishable.

"3. Sir Isaac Newton says that space is an organ which God makes use
of to perceive things by. But if God stands in need of any organ to
perceive things by, it will follow that they do not depend altogether
upon Him, nor were produced by Him.

"4. Sir Isaac Newton and his followers have also a very odd opinion
concerning the work of God. According to their doctrine, God Almighty
wants to wind up His watch from time to time; otherwise it would cease
to move.[1] He had not, it seems, sufficient foresight to make it a
perpetual motion. Nay, the machine of God's making is so imperfect,
according to these gentlemen, that He is obliged to clean it now
and then by an extraordinary concourse, and even to mend it as a
clockmaker mends his work."

[Footnote 1: Goethe seems to have had this saying of Leibnitz in his
mind when he wrote his famous lines--

"Was waer' ein Gott der nur von aussen stiesse Im Kreis das All am
Finger laufen liesse."]

It is beside the mark, at present, to inquire how far Leibnitz paints
a true picture, and how far he is guilty of a spiteful caricature of
Newton's views in these passages; and whether the beliefs which Locke
is known to have entertained are consistent with the conclusions which
may logically be drawn from some parts of his works. It is undeniable
that English philosophy in Leibnitz's time had the general character
which he ascribes to it. The phenomena of nature were held to be
resolvable into the attractions and the repulsions of particles
of matter; all knowledge was attained through the senses; the mind
antecedent to experience was a _tabula rasa_. In other words, at the
commencement of the eighteenth century, the character of speculative
thought in England was essentially sceptical, critical, and
materialistic. Why "materialism" should be more inconsistent with the
existence of a Deity, the freedom of the will, or the immortality
of the soul, or with any actual or possible system of theology, than
"idealism," I must declare myself at a loss to divine. But in the
year 1700 all the world appears to have been agreed, Tertullian
notwithstanding, that materialism necessarily leads to very dreadful
consequences. And it was thought that it conduced to the interests of
religion and morality to attack the materialists with all the weapons
that came to hand. Perhaps the most interesting controversy which
arose out of these questions is the wonderful triangular duel between
Dodwell, Clarke, and Anthony Collins, concerning the materiality of
the soul, and--what all the disputants considered to be the necessary
consequence of its materiality--its natural mortality. I do not think
that anyone can read the letters which passed between Clarke and
Collins, without admitting that Collins, who writes with wonderful
power and closeness of reasoning, has by far the best of the argument,
so far as the possible materiality of the soul goes; and that, in this
battle, the Goliath of Freethinking overcame the champion of what was
considered Orthodoxy.

But in Dublin, all this while, there was a little David practising
his youthful strength upon the intellectual lions and bears of Trinity
College. This was George Berkeley, who was destined to give the same
kind of development to the idealistic side of Descartes' philosophy,
that the Freethinkers had given to its sceptical side, and the
Newtonians to its mechanical side.

Berkeley faced the problem boldly. He said to the materialists: "You
tell me that all the phenomena of nature are resolvable into matter
and its affections. I assent to your statement, and now I put to you
the further question, 'What is matter?' In answering this question you
shall be bound by your own conditions; and I demand, in the terms of
the Cartesian axiom, that in turn you give your assent only to such
conclusions as are perfectly clear and obvious."

It is this great argument which is worked out in the "Treatise
concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge," and in those "Dialogues
between Hylas and Philonous," which rank among the most exquisite
examples of English style, as well as among the subtlest of
metaphysical writings; and the final conclusion of which is summed
up in a passage remarkable alike for literary beauty and for calm
audacity of statement.

"Some truths there are so near and obvious to the mind that
a man need only open his eyes to see them. Such I take this
important one to be, viz., that all the choir of heaven and
furniture of the earth--in a word, all those bodies which
compose the mighty frame of the world--have not any substance
without a mind; that their being is to be perceived or known;
that consequently, so long as they are not actually perceived
by me, or do not exist in my mind or that of any other created
spirit, they must either have no existence at all or else
subsist in the mind of some eternal spirit; it being
perfectly unintelligible, and involving all the absurdity
of abstraction, to attribute to any single part of them an
existence independent of a spirit."[1]

[Footnote 1: "Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge,"
Part I. Sec. 6.]

Doubtless this passage sounds like the acme of metaphysical paradox,
and we all know that "coxcombs vanquished Berkeley with a grin;" while
common-sense folk refuted him by stamping on the ground, or some such
other irrelevant proceeding. But the key to all philosophy lies in the
clear apprehension of Berkeley's problem--which is neither more nor
less than one of the shapes of the greatest of all questions, "What
are the limits of our faculties?" And it is worth any amount of
trouble to comprehend the exact nature of the argument by which
Berkeley arrived at his results, and to know by one's own knowledge
the great truth which he discovered--that the honest and rigorous
following up of the argument which leads us to materialism, inevitably
carries us beyond it.

Suppose that I accidentally prick my finger with a pin. I immediately
become aware of a condition of my consciousness--a feeling which I
term pain. I have no doubt whatever that the feeling is in myself
alone; and if anyone were to say that the pain I feel is something
which inheres in the needle, as one of the qualities of the
substance of the needle, we should all laugh at the absurdity of the
phraseology. In fact, it is utterly impossible to conceive pain except
as a state of consciousness.

Hence, so far as pain is concerned, it is sufficiently obvious
that Berkeley's phraseology is strictly applicable to our power of
conceiving its existence--"its being is to be perceived or known," and
"so long as it is not actually perceived by me, or does not exist in
my mind, or that of any other created spirit, it must either have no
existence at all, or else subsist in the mind of some eternal spirit."

So much for pain. Now let us consider an ordinary sensation. Let the
point of the pin be gently rested upon the skin, and I become aware
of a feeling or condition of consciousness quite different from the
former--the sensation of what I call "touch." Nevertheless this touch
is plainly just as much in myself as the pain was. I cannot for a
moment conceive this something which I call touch as existing apart
from myself, or a being capable of the same feelings as myself. And
the same reasoning applies to all the other simple sensations. A
moment's reflection is sufficient to convince one that the smell, and
the taste, and the yellowness, of which we become aware when an
orange is smelt, tasted, and seen, are as completely states of our
consciousness as is the pain which arises if the orange happens to
be too sour. Nor is it less clear that every sound is a state of the
consciousness of him who hears it. If the universe contained only
blind and deaf beings, it is impossible for us to imagine but that
darkness and silence should reign everywhere.

It is undoubtedly true, then, of all the simple sensations that,
as Berkeley says, their "_esse_ is _percipi_"--their being is to be
"perceived or known." But that which perceives, or knows, is mind
or spirit; and therefore that knowledge which the senses give us is,
after all, a knowledge of spiritual phenomena.

All this was explicitly or implicitly admitted, and, indeed, insisted
upon, by Berkeley's contemporaries, and by no one more strongly than
by Locke, who terms smells, tastes, colours, sounds, and the like,
"secondary qualities," and observes, with respect to these "secondary
qualities," that "whatever reality we by mistake attribute to them
[they] are in truth nothing in the objects themselves."

And again: "Flame is denominated hot and light; snow, white and cold;
and manna, white and sweet, from the ideas they produce in us; which
qualities are commonly thought to be the same in these bodies; that
those ideas are in us, the one the perfect resemblance of the other
as they are in a mirror; and it would by most men be judged very
extravagant if one should say otherwise. And yet he that will consider
that the same fire that at one distance produces in us the sensation
of warmth, does at a nearer approach produce in us the far different
sensation of pain, ought to bethink himself what reason he has to say
that his idea of warmth, which was produced in him by the fire,
is actually in the fire; and his idea of pain which the same fire
produced in him in the same way, is not in the fire. Why are whiteness
and coldness in snow, and pain not, when it produces the one and the
other idea in us; and can do neither but by the bulk, figure, number,
and motion of its solid parts?"[1]

[Footnote 1: Locke, "Human Understanding," Book II. chap. viii. Sec.Sec. 14,

Thus far then materialists and idealists are agreed. Locke and
Berkeley, and all logical thinkers who have succeeded them, are of
one mind about secondary qualities--their being is to be perceived or
known--their materiality is, in strictness, a spirituality.

But Locke draws a great distinction between the secondary qualities of
matter, and certain others which he terms "primary qualities." These
are extension, figure, solidity, motion and rest, and number; and he
is as clear that these primary qualities exist independently of the
mind, as he is that the secondary qualities have no such existence.

"The particular bulk, number, figure, and motion of the parts
of fire and snow are really in them, whether anyone's senses
perceive them or not, and therefore they may be called real
qualities, because they really exist in those bodies; but
light, heat, whiteness, or coldness, are no more really in
them, than sickness, or pain, is in manna. Take away the
sensation of them; let not the eyes see light or colours, nor
the ears hear sounds; let the palate not taste, nor the nose
smell; and all colours, tastes, odours and sounds, as they are
such particular ideas, vanish and cease, and are reduced to
their causes, i.e. bulk, figure, and motion of parts.

"18. A piece of manna of sensible bulk is able to produce in
us the idea of a round or square figure; and, by being removed
from one place to another, the idea of motion. This idea of
motion represents it as it really is in the manna moving; a
circle and square are the same, whether in idea or existence,
in the mind or in the manna; and thus both motion and figure
are really in the manna, whether we take notice of them or no:
this everybody is ready to agree to."

So far as primary qualities are concerned, then, Locke is as
thoroughgoing a realist as St. Anselm. In Berkeley, on the other
hand, we have as complete a representative of the nominalists and
conceptualists--an intellectual descendant of Roscellinus and of
Abelard. And by a curious irony of fate, it is the nominalist who is,
this time, the champion of orthodoxy, and the realist that of heresy.

Once more let us try to work out Berkeley's principles for ourselves,
and inquire what foundation there is for the assertion that extension,
form, solidity, and the other "primary qualities," have an existence
apart from mind. And for this purpose let us recur to our experiment
with the pin.

It has been seen that when the finger is pricked with a pin, a state
of consciousness arises which we call pain; and it is admitted that
this pain is not a something which inheres in the pin, but a something
which exists only in the mind, and has no similitude elsewhere.

But a little attention will show that this state of consciousness is
accompanied by another, which can by no effort be got rid of. I not
only have the feeling, but the feeling is localized. I am just as
certain that the pain is in my finger, as I am that I have it at all.
Nor will any effort of the imagination enable me to believe that the
pain is not in my finger.

And yet nothing is more certain than that it is not, and cannot be, in
the spot in which I feel it, nor within a couple of feet of that spot.
For the skin of the finger is connected by a bundle of fine nervous
fibres, which run up the whole length of the arm, with the spinal
marrow and brain, and we know that the feeling of pain caused by the
prick of a pin is dependent on the integrity of those fibres. After
they have been cut through close to the spinal cord, no pain will be
felt, whatever injury is done to the finger; and if the ends which
remain in connection with the cord be pricked, the pain which arises
will appear to have its seat in the finger just as distinctly as
before. Nay, if the whole arm be cut off, the pain which arises from
pricking the nerve stump will appear to be seated in the fingers, just
as if they were still connected with the body.

It is perfectly obvious, therefore, that the localization of the
pain at the surface of the body is an act of the mind. It is an
_extradition_ of that consciousness, which has its seat in the
brain, to a definite point of the body--which takes place without our
volition, and may give rise to ideas which are contrary to fact. We
might call this extradition of consciousness a reflex feeling, just
as we speak of a movement which is excited apart from, or contrary to,
our volition, as a reflex motion. Locality is no more in the pin than
pain is; of the former, as of the latter, it is true that "its being
is to be perceived," and that its existence apart from a thinking mind
is not conceivable.

The foregoing reasoning will be in no way affected, if, instead of
pricking the finger, the point of the pin rests gently against it, so
as to give rise merely to a tactile sensation. The tactile sensation
is referred outwards to the point touched, and seems to exist there.
But it is certain that it is not and cannot be there really, because
the brain is the sole seat of consciousness; and, further, because
evidence, as strong as that in favour of the sensation being in the
finger, can be brought forward in support of propositions which are
manifestly absurd.

For example, the hairs and nails are utterly devoid of sensibility,
as everyone knows. Nevertheless, if the ends of the nails or hairs
are touched, ever so lightly, we feel that they are touched, and the
sensation seems to be situated in the nails or hairs. Nay more, if a
walking-stick a yard long is held firmly by the handle and the other
end is touched, the tactile sensation, which is a state of our own
consciousness, is unhesitatingly referred to the end of the stick; and
yet no one will say that it _is_ there.

Let us now suppose that, instead of one pin's point resting against
the end of my finger, there are two. Each of these can be known to
me, as we have seen, only as a state of a thinking mind, referred
outwards, or localized. But the existence of these two states, somehow
or other, generates in my mind a host of new ideas, which did not make
their appearance when only one state was present.

For example, I get the ideas of co-existence, of number, of distance,
and of relative place or direction. But all these ideas are ideas of
relations, and imply the existence of something which perceives those
relations. If a tactile sensation is a state of the mind, and if
the localization of that sensation is an act of the mind, how is it
conceivable that a relation between two localized sensations should
exist apart from the mind? It is, I confess, quite as easy for me to
imagine that redness may exist apart from a visual sense, as it is to
suppose that co-existence, number, and distance can have any existence
apart from the mind of which they are ideas.

Thus it seems clear that the existence of some, at any rate, of
Locke's primary qualities of matter, such as number and extension,
apart from mind, is as utterly unthinkable as the existence of colour
and sound under like circumstances.

Will the others--namely, figure, motion and rest, and
solidity--withstand a similar criticism? I think not. For all these,
like the foregoing, are perceptions by the mind of the relations
of two or more sensations to one another. If distance and place are
inconceivable, in the absence of the mind, of which they are ideas,
the independent existence of figure, which is the limitation of
distance, and of motion, which is change of place, must be equally
inconceivable. Solidity requires more particular consideration, as it
is a term applied to two very different things, the one of which is
solidity of form, or geometrical solidity; while the other is solidity
of substance, or mechanical solidity.

If those motor nerves of a man by which volitions are converted into
motion were all paralysed, and if sensation remained only in the palm
of his hand (which is a conceivable case), he would still be able to
attain to clear notions of extension, figure, number, and motion, by
attending to the states of consciousness which might be aroused by the
contact of bodies with the sensory surface of the palm. But it does
not appear that such a person could arrive at any conception of
geometrical solidity. For that which does not come in contact with the
sensory surface is non-existent for the sense of touch; and a solid
body, impressed upon the palm of the hand, gives rise only to the
notion of the extension of that particular part of the solid which is
in contact with the skin.

Nor is it possible that the idea of outness (in the sense of
discontinuity with the sentient body) could be attained by such a
person; for, as we have seen, every tactile sensation is referred to
a point either of the natural sensory surface itself, or of some
solid in continuity with that surface. Hence it would appear that the
conception of the difference between the Ego and the non-Ego could
not be attained by a man thus situated. His feelings would be his
universe, and his tactile sensations his "moenia mundi." Time would
exist for him as for us, but space would have only two dimensions.

But now remove the paralysis from the motor apparatus, and give the
palm of the hand of our imaginary man perfect freedom to move, so as
to be able to glide in all directions over the bodies with which it is
in contact. Then with the consciousness of that mobility, the notion
of space of three dimensions--which is "_Raum_" or "room" to move with
perfect freedom--is at once given. But the notion that the tactile
surface itself moves, cannot be given by touch alone, which is
competent to testify only to the fact of change of place, not to its
cause. The idea of the motion of the tactile surface could not, in
fact, be attained, unless the idea of change of place were accompanied
by some state of consciousness, which does not exist when the tactile
surface is immoveable. This state of consciousness is what is termed
the muscular sense, and its existence is very easily demonstrable.

Suppose the back of my hand to rest upon a table, and a sovereign to
rest upon the upturned palm, I at once acquire a notion of extension,
and of the limit of that extension. The impression made by the
circular piece of gold is quite different from that which would be
made by a triangular, or a square, piece of the same size, and thereby
I arrive at the notion of figure. Moreover, if the sovereign slides
over the palm, I acquire a distinct conception of change of place
or motion, and of the direction of that motion. For as the sovereign
slides, it affects new nerve-endings, and gives rise to new states of
consciousness. Each of them is definitely and separately localized by
a reflex act of the mind, which, at the same time, becomes aware of
the difference between two successive localizations; and therefore of
change of place, which is motion.

If, while the sovereign lies on the hand, the latter being kept quite
steady, the fore-arm is gradually and slowly raised; the tactile
sensations, with all their accompaniments, remain exactly as they
were. But, at the same time, something new is introduced; namely, the
sense of effort. If I try to discover where this sense of effort seems
to be, I find myself somewhat perplexed at first; but, if I hold the
fore-arm in position long enough, I become aware of an obscure sense
of fatigue, which is apparently seated either in the muscles of the
arm, or in the integument directly over them. The fatigue seems to be
related to the sense of effort, in much the same way as the pain which
supervenes upon the original sense of contact, when a pin is slowly
pressed against the skin, is related to touch.

A little attention will show that this sense of effort accompanies
every muscular contraction by which the limbs, or other parts of the
body, are moved. By its agency the fact of their movement is known;
while the direction of the motion is given by the accompanying tactile
sensations. And, in consequence of the incessant association of the
muscular and the tactile sensations, they become so fused together
that they are often confounded tinder the same name.

If freedom to move in all directions is the very essence of that
conception of space of three dimensions which we obtain by the sense
of touch; and if that freedom to move is really another name for the
feeling of unopposed effort, accompanied by that of change of place,
it is surely impossible to conceive of such space as having existence
apart from that which is conscious of effort.

But it may be said that we derive our conception of space of three
dimensions not only from touch, but from vision; that if we do not
feel things actually outside us, at any rate we see them. And it was
exactly this difficulty which presented itself to Berkeley at the
outset of his speculations. He met it, with characteristic boldness,
by denying that we do see things outside us; and, with no less
characteristic ingenuity, by devising that "New Theory of Vision"
which has met with wider acceptance than any of his views, though it
has been the subject of continual controversies.[1]

[Footnote 1: I have not specifically alluded to the writings of
Bailey, Mill, Abbott, and others, on this vexed question, not because
I have failed to study them carefully, but because this is not a
convenient occasion for controversial discussion. Those who are
acquainted with the subject, however, will observe that the view I
have taken agrees substantially with that of Mr. Barley.]

In the "Principles of Human Knowledge," Berkeley himself tells us how
he was led to those views which he published in the "Essay towards the
New Theory of Vision."

"It will be objected that we see things actually without, or
at a distance from us, and which consequently do not exist in
the mind; it being absurd that those things which are seen at
the distance of several miles, should be as near to us as our
own thoughts. In answer to this, I desire it may be considered
that in a dream we do oft perceive things as existing at a
great distance off, and yet, for all that, those things are
acknowledged to have their existence only in the mind.

"But for the fuller clearing of this point, it may be worth
while to consider how it is that we perceive distance and
things placed at a distance by sight. For that we should in
truth see external space and bodies actually existing in it,
some nearer, others further off, seems to carry with it some
opposition to what hath been said of their existing nowhere
without the mind. The consideration of this difficulty it
was that gave birth to my 'Essay towards the New Theory of
Vision,' which was published not long since, wherein it is
shown that distance, or outness, is neither immediately of
itself perceived by sight, nor yet apprehended, or judged
of, by lines and angles or anything that hath any necessary
connection with it; but that it is only suggested to our
thoughts by certain visible ideas and sensations attending
vision, which, in their own nature, have no manner of
similitude or relation either with distance, or with things


Back to Full Books