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the result of law, not of miraculous interposition, as suns and worlds and all the natural phenomena around us generally. He saw that what naturalists call a species differs from what naturalists call a variety, merely in the way of being a little more distinctly marked, a little less like its nearest congeners elsewhere. He recognised the perfect gradation of forms by which in many cases one species after another merges into the next on either side of it. He observed the analogy between the modifications induced by man and the modifications induced by nature. In fact, he was a thoroughgoing and convinced evolutionist, holding every salient opinion which Society still believes to have been due to the works of Charles Darwin. In one point only, a minor point to outsiders, though a point of cardinal importance to the inner brotherhood of evolutionism, he did not anticipate his more famous successor. He thought organic evolution was wholly due to the direct action of surrounding circumstances, to the intercrossing of existing forms, and above all to the actual efforts of animals themselves. In other words, he had not discovered natural selection, the cardinal idea of Charles Darwin's epoch-making book. For him, the giraffe had acquired its long neck by constant reaching up to the boughs of trees; the monkey had acquired its opposable thumb by constant grasping at the neighbouring branches; and the serpent had acquired its sinuous shape by constant wriggling through the grass of the meadows. Charles Darwin improved upon all that by his suggestive hint of survival of the fittest, and in so far, but in so far alone, he became the real father of modern biological evolutionism.


From the days of Lamarck to the day when Charles Darwin himself. published his wonderful Origin of Species,' this idea that plants and animals might really have grown, instead of having been made all of a piece, kept brewing everywhere in the minds and brains of scientific thinkers. The notions which to the outside public were startlingly new when Darwin's book took the world by storm, were old indeed to the thinkers and workers who had long been familiar with the principle of descent with modification and the speculations of the Lichfield doctor or the Paris philosopher. Long before Darwin wrote his great work, Herbert Spencer had put forth in plain language every idea which the drawing-room biologists attributed to Darwin. The supporters of the development hypothesis, he said seven years earlier-yes, he called it the 'development hypothesis' in so many words can show that


modification has effected and is effecting great changes in all organisms, subject to modifying influences.' They can show, he goes on (if I may venture to condense so great a thinker), that any existing plant or animal, placed under new conditions, begins to undergo adaptive changes of form and structure; that in successive generations these changes continue, till the plant or animal acquires totally new habits; that in cultivated plants and domesticated animals changes of the sort habitually occur; that the differences thus caused, as for example in dogs, are often greater than those on which species in the wild state are founded, and that throughout all organic nature there is at work a modifying influence of the same sort as that which they believe to have caused the differences of species—'an influence which, to all appearance, would produce in the millions of years and under the great variety of conditions which geological records imply, any amount of change.' What is this but pure Darwinism, as the drawing-room philosopher still understands the word? And yet it was written seven years before Darwin published the 'Origin of Species.'

The fact is, one might draw up quite a long list of Darwinians before Darwin. Here are a few of them-Buffon, Lamarck, Goethe, Oken, Bates, Wallace, Lecoq, Von Baer, Robert Chambers, Matthew, and Herbert Spencer. Depend upon it, no one man ever yet of himself discovered anything. As well say that Luther made the German Reformation, that Lionardo made the Italian Renaissance, or that Robespierre made the French Revolution, as say that Charles Darwin, and Charles Darwin alone, made the evolutionary movement, even in the restricted field of life only. A thousand predecessors worked up towards him; a thousand contemporaries helped to diffuse and to confirm his various principles.

Charles Darwin added to the primitive evolutionary idea the special notion of natural selection. That is to say, he pointed out that while plants and animals vary perpetually and very indefinitely, all the varieties so produced are not equally adapted to the circumstances of the species. If the variation is a bad one, it tends to die out, because every point of disadvantage tells against the individual in the struggle for life. If the variation is a good one, it tends to persist, because every point of advantage similarly tells in the individual's favour in that ceaseless and viewless battle. It was this addition to the evolutionary concept, fortified by Darwin's powerful advocacy of the general principle of

descent with modification, that won over the whole world to the 'Darwinian theory.' Before Darwin, many men of science were evolutionists; after Darwin, all men of science became so at once, and the rest of the world is rapidly preparing to follow their leadership.

As applied to life, then, the evolutionary idea is briefly this-that plants and animals have all a natural origin from a single primitive living creature, which itself was the product of light and heat acting on the special chemical constituents of an ancient ocean. Starting from that single early form, they have gone on developing ever since, from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous, assuming ever more varied shapes, till at last they have reached their present enormous variety of tree and shrub, and herb and seaweed, of beast and bird, and fish and creeping insect. Evolution throughout has been one and continuous, from nebula to sun, from gas-cloud to planet, from early jelly-speck to man or elephant. So at least evolutionists say—and of course they ought to know most about it.

But evolution, according to the evolutionists, does not even stop there. Psychology as well as biology has also its evolutionary explanation: mind is concerned as truly as matter. If the bodies of animals are evolved, their minds must be evolved likewise. Herbert Spencer and his followers have been mainly instrumental in elucidating this aspect of the case. They have shown, or they have tried to show (for I don't want to dogmatise on the subject), how mind is gradually built up from the simplest raw elements of sense and feeling; how emotions and intellect slowly arise; how the action of the environment on the organism begets a nervous system of ever greater and greater complexity, culminating at last in the brain of a Newton, a Shakespeare, or a Mendelssohn. Step by step, nerves have built themselves up out of the soft tissues as channels of communication between part and part. Sense-organs of extreme simplicity have first been formed on the outside of the body, where it comes most into contact with external nature. Use and wont have fashioned them through long ages into organs of taste and smell and touch; pigment spots, sensitive to light or shade, have grown by infinite gradations into the human eye or into the myriad facets of bee and beetle ; tremulous nerve-ends, responsive sympathetically to waves of sound, have tuned themselves at last into a perfect gamut in the developed ear of men and mammals. Meanwhile corresponding percipient centres have grown up in the brain, so that the

coloured picture flashed by an external scene upon the eye is telegraphed from the sensitive mirror of the retina, through the many-stranded cable of the optic nerve, straight up to the appropriate headquarters in the thinking brain. Stage by stage the continuous process has gone on unceasingly, from the jelly-fish with its tiny black specks of eyes, through infinite steps of progression, induced by ever-widening intercourse with the outer world, to the final outcome in the senses and the emotions, the intellect and the will, of civilised man. Mind begins as a vague consciousness of touch or pressure on the part of some primitive, shapeless, soft creature; it ends as an organised and co-ordinated reflection of the entire physical and psychical universe on the part of a great cosmical philosopher.

Last of all, like diners-out at dessert, the evolutionists take to politics. Having shown us entirely to their own satisfaction the growth of suns, and systems, and worlds, and continents, and oceans, and plants, and animals, and minds, they proceed to show us the exactly analogous and parallel growth of communities, and nations, and languages, and religions, and customs, and arts, and institutions, and literatures. Man, the evolving savage, as Tylor, Lubbock, and others have proved for us, slowly putting off his brute aspect derived from his early ape-like ancestors, learned by infinitesimal degrees the use of fire, the mode of manufacturing stone hatchets and flint arrowheads, the earliest beginnings of the art of pottery. With drill or flint he became the Prometheus to his own small heap of sticks and dry leaves among the tertiary forests. By his nightly camp-fire he beat out gradually his excited gesturelanguage and his oral speech. He tamed the dog, the horse, the cow, the camel. He taught himself to hew small clearings in the woodland, and to plant the banana, the yam, the bread-fruit, and the coco-nut. He picked and improved the seeds of his wild cereals till he made himself from grass-like grains his barley, his oats, his wheat, his Indian corn. In time, he dug out ore from mines, and learnt the use first of gold, next of silver, then of copper, tin, bronze, and iron. Side by side with these long secular changes, he evolved the family, communal or patriarchal, polygamic or monogamous. He built the hut, the house, and the palace. He clothed or adorned himself first in skins and leaves and feathers; next in woven wool and fibre; last of all in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. He gathered into hordes, tribes, and nations; he chose himself a king, gave himself laws, and built up great empires in Egypt, Assyria, China,


and Peru. He raised him altars, Stonehenges and Karnaks. His picture-writing grew into hieroglyphs and cuneiforms, and finally emerged, by imperceptible steps, into alphabetic symbols, the raw material of the art of printing. His dug-out canoe culminates in the iron-clad and the Great Eastern;' his boomerang and slingstone in the Woolwich infant; his boiling pipkin and his wheeled car in the locomotive engine; his picture-message in the telephone and the Atlantic cable. Here, where the course of evolution has really been most marvellous, its steps have been all more distinctly historical; so that nobody now doubts the true descent of Italian, French, and Spanish from provincial Latin, or the successive growth of the trireme, the Great Harry,' the Victory,' and the Minotaur 'from the coracles or praus of prehistoric antiquity.




The grand conception of the uniform origin and development of all things, earthly or sidereal, thus summed up for us in the one word evolution, belongs by right neither to Charles Darwin nor to any other single thinker. It is the joint product of innumerable workers, all working up, though some of them unconsciously, towards a grand final unified philosophy of the cosmos. In astronomy, Kant, Laplace, and the Herschels; in geology, Hutton, Lyell, and the Geikies; in biology, Buffon, Lamarck, the Darwins, Huxley, and Spencer; in psychology, Spencer, Romanes, Sully, and Ribot; in sociology, Spencer, Tylor, Lubbock, and De Mortillet-these have been the chief evolutionary teachers and discoverers. But the use of the word evolution itself, and the establishment of the general evolutionary theory as a system of philosophy applicable to the entire universe, we owe to one man alone-Herbert Spencer. Many other minds -from Galileo and Copernicus, from Kepler and Newton, from Linnæus and Tournefort, from D'Alembert and Diderot, nay, even, in a sense, from Aristotle and Lucretius-had been piling together the vast collection of raw material from which that great and stately superstructure was to be finally edified. But the architect who placed each block in its proper niche, who planned and designed the whole elevation, who planted the building firmly on the rock and poised the coping-stone on the topmost pinnacle, was the author of the System of Synthetic Philosophy,' and none other. It is a strange proof of how little people know about their own ideas, that among the thousands who talk glibly every day of evolution, not ten per cent. are probably aware that both word and conception are alike due to the commanding intelligence and vast generalising power of Herbert Spencer.


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