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has come over Mr. Darwin's critics. The mixture of ignorance and insolence which, at first, characterised a large proportion of the attacks with which he was assailed, is no longer the sad distinction of anti-Darwinian criticism. Instead of abusive nonsense, which merely discredited its writers, we read essays, which are, at worst, more or less intelligent and appreciative; while, sometimes, like that which appeared in the “North British Review "for 1867, they have a real and permanent value. The several publications of Mr. Wallace and Mr. Mivart contain discussions of some of Mr. Darwin's views, which are worthy of particular attention, not only on account of the acknowledged scientific competence of these writers, but because they exhibit an attention to those philosophical questions which underlie all physical science, which is as rare as it is needful. And the same may be said of an article in the “Quarterly Review" for July 1871, the comparison of which with an article in the same Review for July 1860, is perhaps the best evidence which can be brought forward of the change which has taken place in public opinion on “Darwinism.” The Quarterly Reviewer admits “the certainty of the action of natural selection” (p. 49); and further allows that there is and priori probability in favour of the evolution of man from some lower animal form, if these lower animal forms themselves have arisen by evolution.
Mr. Wallace and Mr. Mivart go much further than this. They are as stout believers in evolution as Mr. Darwin himself; but Mr. Wallace denies that man can have been evolved from a lower animal by that process of natural selection which he, with Mr. Darwin, holds to have been sufficient for the evolution of all animals below man; while Mr. Mivart, admitting that natural selection has been one of the conditions of the evolution of the animals below man, maintains that natural selection must, even in their case, have been supplemented by “some other cause”—of the nature of which, unfortunately, he does not give us any idea. Thus Mr. Mivart is less of a Darwinian than Mr. Wallace, for he has less faith in the power of natural selection. But he is more of an evolutionist than Mr. Wallace, because Mr. Wallace thinks it necessary to call in an intelligent agent—a sort of supernatural Sir John Sebright—to produce even the animal frame of man; while Mr. Mivart requires no Divine assistance till he comes to man's soul.
Thus there is a considerable divergence between Mr. Wallace and Mr. Mivart. On the other hand, there are some curious similarities between Mr. Mivart and the Quarterly Reviewer, and these are sometimes so close, that, if Mr. Mivartthought it worth while, I think he might make out a good case of plagiarism against the Reviewer, who studiously abstains from quoting him.
Both the Reviewer and Mr. Mivart reproach Mr. Darwin with being, “like so many other physicists,” entangled in a radically false metaphysical system, and with setting at nought the first principles of both philosophy and religion. Both enlarge upon the necessity of a sound philosophical basis, and both, I venture to add, make a conspicuous exhibition of its absence. The Quarterly Reviewer believes that man “differs more from an elephant or a gorilla than do these from the dust of the earth on which they tread,” and Mr. Mivart has expressed the opinion that there is more difference between man and an ape than there is between an ape and a piece of granite."
And even when Mr. Mivart (p. 86) trips in a matter of anatomy, and creates a difficulty for Mr. Darwin out of a supposed close similarity between the eyes of fishes and cephalopods, which (as Gegenbaur and others have clearly shown) does not exist, the Quarterly Reviewer adopts the argument without hesitation (p. 66).
There is another important point, however, in which it is hard to say whether Mr. Mivart diverges from the Quarterly Reviewer or not.
The Reviewer declares that Mr. Darwin has, “with needless opposition, set at nought the first principles of both philosophy and religion" (p. 90).
1 see the Table for March 11, 1871.
It looks, at first, as if this meant, that Mr. Darwin's views being false, the opposition to “religion” which flows from them must be needless. But I suspect this is not the right view of the meaning of the passage, as Mr. Mivart, from whom the Quarterly Reviewer plainly draws so much inspiration, tells us that “the consequences which have been drawn from evolution, whether exclusively Darwinian or not, to the prejudice of religion, by no means follow from it, and are in fact illegitimate” (p. 5).
I may assume, then, that the Quarterly Reviewer and Mr. Mivart admit that there is no necessary opposition between “evolution whether exclusively Darwinian or not,” and religion. But then, what do they mean by this last muchabused term On this point the Quarterly Reviewer is silent. Mr. Mivart, on the contrary, is perfectly explicit, and the whole tenor of his remarks leaves no doubt that by “religion” he means theology; and by theology, that particular variety of the great Proteus, which is expounded by the doctors of the Roman Catholic Church, and held by the members of that religious community to be the sole form of absolute truth and of saving faith.
According to Mr. Mivart, the greatest and most orthodox authorities upon matters of Catholic doctrine agree in distinctly asserting “derivative creation" or evolution; “and thus their teachings
harmonise with all that modern science can possibly require" (p. 305). I confess that this bold assertion interested me more than anything else in Mr. Mivart's book. What little knowledge I possessed of Catholic doctrine, and of the influence exerted by Catholic authority in former times, had not led me to expect that modern science was likely to find a warm welcome within the pale of the greatest and most consistent of theological organisations. And my astonishment reached its climax when I found Mr. Mivart citing Father Suarez as his chief witness in favour of the scientific freedom enjoyed by Catholics—the popular repute of that learned theologian and subtle casuist not being such as to make his works a likely place of refuge for liberality of thought. But in these days, when Judas Iscariot and Robespierre, Henry VIII. and Catiline, have all been shown to be men of admirable virtue, far in advance of their age, and consequently the victims of vulgar prejudice, it was obviously possible that Jesuit Suarez might be in like case. And, spurred by Mr. Mivart's unhesitating declaration, I hastened to acquaint myself with such of the works of the great Catholic divine as bore upon the question, hoping, not merely to acquaint myself with the true teachings of the infallible Church, and free myself of an unjust prejudice; but, haply, to enable myself, at a pinch, to put some Protestant bibliolater to