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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/179

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165
AGNOSTICISM: A REJOINDER

body of truth ultimately established. If I cite Buffon, Linnseus, Lamarck, and Cuvier, as having each and all taken a leading share in building up modern biology, the statement that every one of these great naturalists disagreed with, and even more or less contradicted, all the rest is quite true; but the supposition that the latter assertion is in any way inconsistent with the former, would betray a strange ignorance of the manner in which all true science advances.

Dr. Wace takes a great deal of trouble to make it appear that I have desired to evade the real questions raised by his attack upon me at the Church Congress. I assure the reverend principal that in this, as in some other respects, he has entertained a very erroneous conception of my intentions. Things would assume more accurate proportions in Dr. Wace's mind if he would kindly remember that it is just thirty years since ecclesiastical thunderbolts began to fly about my ears. I have had the "Lion and the Bear" to deal with, and it is long since I got quite used to the threatenings of episcopal Goliaths, whose crosiers were like unto a weavers beam. So that I almost think I might not have noticed Dr. Wace's attack, personal as it was; and although, as he is good enough to tell us, separate copies are to be had for the modest equivalent of twopence, as a matter of fact, it did not come under my notice for a long time after it was made. May I further venture to point out that (reckoning postage) the expenditure of twopence-halfpenny, or, at the most, threepence, would have enabled Dr. Wace so far to comply with ordinary conventions as to direct my attention to the fact that he had attacked me before a meeting at which I was not present? I really am not responsible for the five months' neglect of which Dr. Wace complains. Singularly enough, the Englishry who swarmed about the Engadine, during the three months that I was being brought back to life by the glorious air and perfect comfort of the Maloja, did not, in my hearing, say anything about the important events which had taken place at the Church Congress; and I think I can venture to affirm that there was not a single copy of Dr. Wace's pamphlet in any of the hotel libraries which I rummaged in search of something more edifying than dull English or questionable French novels.

And now, having, as I hope, set myself right with the public as regards the sins of commission and omission with which I have been charged, I feel free to deal with matters to which time and type may be more profitably devoted.

The Bishop of Peterborough indulges in the anticipation that Dr. Wace will succeed in showing me "that a scientist dealing with questions of theology or biblical criticism may go quite as far astray as theologians often do in dealing with questions