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WALLACE ON "DARWINISM."

(even the science of it) may exceed that of the scientist both in accuracy and extent. Such a course would often save the specialist from humiliation, and spare the* public the infliction of some very queer science, which, not infrequently, fails to dovetail with every-day facts.

 

WALLACE ON "DARWINISM."
By the LORD BISHOP OF CARLISLE.

HAVE read with deep interest, as doubtless have many other persons, Mr. Wallace's volume entitled Darwinism, which appeared in the month of March last year. No one has a higher right to teach the world on this recondite subject; and when it is borne in mind that Mr. Wallace was himself an independent discoverer of the principle associated with the name of Darwin, and that, nevertheless, no sentence indicative of rivalry or jealousy—in fact, no sentence laying claim to original discovery—occurs throughout the book, it is impossible not to be struck with a feeling of reverence toward a writer who combines such remarkable ability with no less remarkable modesty. Reference is made to this point in an article in the Contemporary Review (August, 1889) by Prof. Romanes, who writes thus:

It was in the highest degree dramatic that the great idea of natural selection should have occurred independently and in precisely the same form to two working naturalists; that these naturalists should have been countrymen; that they should have agreed to publish their theory on the same day; and last, but not least, that, through the many years of strife and turmoil which followed, these two English naturalists consistently maintained toward each other such feelings of magnanimous recognition that it is hard to say whether we should most admire the intellectual or the moral qualities which, in relation to their common labors, they have displayed.

Prof. Romanes further lays stress upon the fact that, whereas opinion has lately tended, as between the two naturalists, toward Wallace and away from Darwin, there is no sign of triumph in the book.

If ever there was an occasion (writes Prof. Romanes) when a man of science might have felt himself justified in expressing a personal gratification at the turning of a tide of scientific opinion, assuredly such an occasion is the present; and, in whichever direction the truth may eventually be found to lie, historians of science should not omit to notice that in the very hour when his life-long belief is gaining so large a measure of support, Mr. Wallace quietly accepts the fact without one word of triumph.

It is very pleasant to read this record of forgetfulness of self in the feeling of complete devotion to the cause of science and of truth; possibly instances of such self-forgetfulness are not so uncommon as they are sometimes supposed to be.