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Darwin and Modern Science (1909)

Edited by A.C. Seward


By By J.W. JUDD, C.B., LL.D., F.R.S.

(Mr Francis Darwin has related how his father occasionally came up from Down to spend a few days with his brother Erasmus in London, and, after his brother's death, with his daughter, Mrs Litchfield. On these occasions, it was his habit to arrange meetings with Huxley, to talk over zoological questions, with Hooker, to discuss botanical problems, and with Lyell to hold conversations on geology. After the death of Lyell, Darwin, knowing my close intimacy with his friend during his later years, used to ask me to meet him when he came to town, and "talk geology." The "talks" took place sometimes at Jermyn Street Museum, at other times in the Royal College of Science, South Kensington; but more frequently, after having lunch with him, at his brother's or his daughter's house. On several occasions, however, I had the pleasure of visiting him at Down. In the postscript of a letter (of April 15, 1880) arranging one of these visits, he writes: "Since poor, dear Lyell's death, I rarely have the pleasure of geological talk with anyone.")

In one of the very interesting conversations which I had with Charles Darwin during the last seven years of his life, he asked me in a very pointed manner if I were able to recall the circumstances, accidental or otherwise, which had led me to devote myself to geological studies. He informed me that he was making similar inquiries of other friends, and I gathered from what he said that he contemplated at that time a study of the causes producing SCIENTIFIC BIAS in individual minds. I have no means of knowing how far this project ever assumed anything like concrete form, but certain it is that Darwin himself often indulged in the processes of mental introspection and analysis; and he has thus fortunately left us--in his fragments of autobiography and in his correspondence--the materials from which may be reconstructed a fairly complete history of his own mental development.

There are two perfectly distinct inquiries which we have to undertake in connection with the development of Darwin's ideas on the subject of evolution:

FIRST. How, when, and under what conditions was Darwin led to a conviction that species were not immutable, but were derived from pre-existing forms?

SECONDLY. By what lines of reasoning and research was he brought to regard "natural selection" as a vera causa in the process of evolution?

It is the first of these inquiries which specially interests the geologist; though geology undoubtedly played a part--and by no means an insignificant part--in respect to the second inquiry.

When, indeed, the history comes to be written of that great revolution of thought in the nineteenth century, by which the doctrine of evolution, from being the dream of poets and visionaries, gradually grew to be the accepted creed of naturalists, the paramount influence exerted by the infant science of geology--and especially that resulting from the publication of Lyell's epoch-making work, the "Principles of Geology"--cannot fail to be regarded as one of the leading factors. Herbert Spencer in his "Autobiography" bears testimony to the effect produced on his mind by the recently published "Principles", when, at the age of twenty, he had already begun to speculate on the subject of evolution (Herbert Spencer's "Autobiography", London, 1904, Vol. I. pages 175-177.); and Alfred Russel Wallace is scarcely less emphatic concerning the part played by Lyell's teaching in his scientific education. (See "My Life; a record of Events and Opinions", London, 1905, Vol. I. page 355, etc. Also his review of Lyell's "Principles" in "Quarterly Review" (Vol. 126), 1869, pages 359-394. See also "The Darwin-Wallace Celebration by the Linnean Society" (1909), page 118.) Huxley wrote in 1887 "I owe more than I can tell to the careful study of the "Principles of Geology" in my young days." ("Science and Pseudo Science"; "Collected Essays", London, 1902, Vol. V. page 101.) As for Charles Darwin, he never tired--either in his published writings, his private correspondence or his most intimate conversations--of ascribing the awakening of his enthusiasm and the direction of his energies towards the elucidation of the problem of development to the "Principles of Geology" and the personal influence of its author. Huxley has well expressed what the author of the "Origin of Species" so constantly insisted upon, in the statements "Darwin's greatest work is the outcome of the unflinching application to Biology of the leading idea and the method applied in the "Principles" to Geology ("Proc. Roy. Soc." Vol. XLIV. (1888), page viii.; "Collected Essays" II. page 268, 1902.), and "Lyell, for others, as for myself, was the chief agent in smoothing the road for Darwin." ("Life and Letters of Charles Darwin" II. page 190.)

We propose therefore to consider, first, what Darwin owed to geology and its cultivators, and in the second place how he was able in the end so fully to pay a great debt which he never failed to acknowledge. Thanks to the invaluable materials contained in the "Life and Letters of Charles Darwin" (3 vols.) published by Mr Francis Darwin in 1887; and to "More Letters of Charles Darwin" (2 vols.) issued by the same author, in conjunction with Professor A.C. Seward, in 1903, we are permitted to follow the various movements in Darwin's mind, and are able to record the story almost entirely in his own words. (The first of these works is indicated in the following pages by the letters "L.L."; the second by "M.L.")

From the point of view of the geologist, Darwin's life naturally divides itself into four periods. In the first, covering twenty-two years, various influences were at work militating, now for and now against, his adoption of a geological career; in the second period--the five memorable years of the voyage of the "Beagle"--the ardent sportsman with some natural-history tastes, gradually became the most enthusiastic and enlightened of geologists; in the third period, lasting ten years, the valuable geological recruit devoted nearly all his energies and time to geological study and discussion and to preparing for publication the numerous observations made by him during the voyage; the fourth period, which covers the latter half of his life, found Darwin gradually drawn more and more from geological to biological studies, though always retaining the deepest interest in the progress and fortunes of his "old love." But geologists gladly recognise the fact that Darwin immeasurably better served their science by this biological work, than he could possibly have done by confining himself to purely geological questions.

From his earliest childhood, Darwin was a collector, though up to the time when, at eight years of age, he went to a preparatory school, seals, franks and similar trifles appear to have been the only objects of his quest. But a stone, which one of his schoolfellows at that time gave to him, seems to have attracted his attention and set him seeking for pebbles and minerals; as the result of this newly acquired taste, he says (writing in 1838) "I distinctly recollect the desire I had of being able to know something about every pebble in front of the hall door--it was my earliest and only geological aspiration at that time." ("M.L." I. page 3.) He further suspects that while at Mr Case's school "I do not remember any mental pursuits except those of collecting stones," etc..."I was born a naturalist." ("M.L." I. page 4.)

The court-yard in front of the hall door at the Mount House, Darwin's birthplace and the home of his childhood, is surrounded by beds or rockeries on which lie a number of pebbles. Some of these pebbles (in quite recent times as I am informed) have been collected to form a "cobbled" space in front of the gate in the outer wall, which fronts the hall door; and a similar "cobbled area," there is reason to believe, may have existed in Darwin's childhood before the door itself. The pebbles, which were obtained from a neighbouring gravel-pit, being derived from the glacial drift, exhibit very striking differences in colour and form. It was probably this circumstance which awakened in the child his love of observation and speculation. It is certainly remarkable that "aspirations" of the kind should have arisen in the mind of a child of 9 or 10!

When he went to Shrewsbury School, he relates "I continued collecting minerals with much zeal, but quite unscientifically,--all that I cared about was a new-NAMED mineral, and I hardly attempted to classify them." ("L.L." I. page 34.)

There has stood from very early times in Darwin's native town of Shrewsbury, a very notable boulder which has probably marked a boundary and is known as the "Bell-stone"--giving its name to a house and street. Darwin tells us in his "Autobiography" that while he was at Shrewsbury School at the age of 13 or 14 "an old Mr Cotton in Shropshire, who knew a good deal about rocks" pointed out to me "...the 'bell-stone'; he told me that there was no rock of the same kind nearer than Cumberland or Scotland, and he solemnly assured me that the world would come to an end before anyone would be able to explain how this stone came where it now lay"! Darwin adds "This produced a deep impression on me, and I meditated over this wonderful stone." ("L.L." I. page 41.)

The "bell-stone" has now, owing to the necessities of building, been removed a short distance from its original site, and is carefully preserved within the walls of a bank. It is a block of irregular shape 3 feet long and 2 feet wide, and about 1 foot thick, weighing probably not less than one-third of a ton. By the courtesy of the directors of the National Provincial Bank of England, I have been able to make a minute examination of it, and Professors Bonney and Watts, with Mr Harker and Mr Fearnsides have given me their valuable assistance. The rock is a much altered andesite and was probably derived from the Arenig district in North Wales, or possibly from a point nearer the Welsh Border. (I am greatly indebted to the Managers of the Bank at Shrewsbury for kind assistance in the examination of this interesting memorial: and Mr H.T. Beddoes, the Curator of the Shrewsbury Museum, has given me some archaeological information concerning the stone. Mr Richard Cotton was a good local naturalist, a Fellow both of the Geological and Linnean Societies; and to the officers of these societies I am indebted for information concerning him. He died in 1839, and although he does not appear to have published any scientific papers, he did far more for science by influencing the career of the school boy!" It was of course brought to where Shrewsbury now stands by the agency of a glacier--as Darwin afterwards learnt.

We can well believe from the perusal of these reminiscences that, at this time, Darwin's mind was, as he himself says, "prepared for a philosophical treatment of the subject" of Geology. ("L.L." I. page 41.) When at the age of 16, however, he was entered as a medical student at Edinburgh University, he not only did not get any encouragement of his scientific tastes, but was positively repelled by the ordinary instruction given there. Dr Hope's lectures on Chemistry, it is true, interested the boy, who with his brother Erasmus had made a laboratory in the toolhouse, and was nicknamed "Gas" by his schoolfellows, while undergoing solemn and public reprimand from Dr Butler at Shrewsbury School for thus wasting his time. ("L.L." I. page 35.) But most of the other Edinburgh lectures were "intolerably dull," "as dull as the professors" themselves, "something fearful to remember." In after life the memory of these lectures was like a nightmare to him. He speaks in 1840 of Jameson's lectures as something "I...for my sins experienced!" ("L.L." I. page 340.) Darwin especially signalises these lectures on Geology and Zoology, which he attended in his second year, as being worst of all "incredibly dull. The sole effect they produced on me was the determination never so long as I lived to read a book on Geology, or in any way to study the science!" ("L.L." I. page 41.)

The misfortune was that Edinburgh at that time had become the cockpit in which the barren conflict between "Neptunism" and Plutonism" was being waged with blind fury and theological bitterness. Jameson and his pupils, on the one hand, and the friends and disciples of Hutton, on the other, went to the wildest extremes in opposing each other's peculiar tenets. Darwin tells us that he actually heard Jameson "in a field lecture at Salisbury Craigs, discoursing on a trap-dyke, with amygdaloidal margins and the strata indurated on each side, with volcanic rocks all around us, say that it was a fissure filled with sediment from above, adding with a sneer that there were men who maintained that it had been injected from beneath in a molten condition." ("L.L." I. pages 41-42.) "When I think of this lecture," added Darwin, "I do not wonder that I determined never to attend to Geology." (This was written in 1876 and Darwin had in the summer of 1839 revisited and carefully studied the locality ("L.L." I. page 290.) It is probable that most of Jameson's teaching was of the same controversial and unilluminating character as this field-lecture at Salisbury Craigs.

There can be no doubt that, while at Edinburgh, Darwin must have become acquainted with the doctrines of the Huttonian School. Though so young, he mixed freely with the scientific society of the city, Macgillivray, Grant, Leonard Horner, Coldstream, Ainsworth and others being among his acquaintances, while he attended and even read papers at the local scientific societies. It is to be feared, however, that what Darwin would hear most of, as characteristic of the Huttonian teaching, would be assertions that chalk-flints were intrusions of molten silica, that fossil wood and other petrifactions had been impregnated with fused materials, that heat--but never water--was always the agent by which the induration and crystallisation of rock-materials (even siliceous conglomerate, limestone and rock-salt) had been effected! These extravagant "anti- Wernerian" views the young student might well regard as not one whit less absurd and repellant than the doctrine of the "aqueous precipitation" of basalt. There is no evidence that Darwin, even if he ever heard of them, was in any way impressed, in his early career, by the suggestive passages in Hutton and Playfair, to which Lyell afterwards called attention, and which foreshadowed the main principles of Uniformitarianism.

As a matter of fact, I believe that the influence of Hutton and Playfair in the development of a philosophical theory of geology has been very greatly exaggerated by later writers on the subject. Just as Wells and Matthew anticipated the views of Darwin on Natural Selection, but without producing any real influence on the course of biological thought, so Hutton and Playfair adumbrated doctrines which only became the basis of vivifying theory in the hands of Lyell. Alfred Russel Wallace has very justly remarked that when Lyell wrote the "Principles of Geology", "the doctrines of Hutton and Playfair, so much in advance of their age, seemed to be utterly forgotten." ("Quarterly Review", Vol. CXXVI. (1869), page 363.) In proof of this it is only necessary to point to the works of the great masters of English geology, who preceded Lyell, in which the works of Hutton and his followers are scarcely ever mentioned. This is true even of the "Researches in Theoretical Geology" and the other works of the sagacious De la Beche. (Of the strength and persistence of the prejudice felt against Lyell's views by his contemporaries, I had a striking illustration some little time after Lyell's death. One of the old geologists who in the early years of the century had done really good work in connection with the Geological Society expressed a hope that I was not "one of those who had been carried away by poor Lyell's fads." My surprise was indeed great when further conversation showed me that the whole of the "Principles" were included in the "fads"!) Darwin himself possessed a copy of Playfair's "Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory", and occasionally quotes it; but I have met with only one reference to Hutton, and that a somewhat enigmatical one, in all Darwin's writings. In a letter to Lyell in 1841, when his mind was much exercised concerning glacial questions, he says "What a grand new feature all this ice work is in Geology! How old Hutton would have stared!" ("M.L." II. page 149.)

As a consequence of the influences brought to bear on his mind during his two years' residence in Edinburgh, Darwin, who had entered that University with strong geological aspirations, left it and proceeded to Cambridge with a pronounced distaste for the whole subject. The result of this was that, during his career as an under-graduate, he neglected all the opportunities for geological study. During that important period of life, when he was between eighteen and twenty years of age, Darwin spent his time in riding, shooting and beetle-hunting, pursuits which were undoubtedly an admirable preparation for his future work as an explorer; but in none of his letters of this period does he even mention geology. He says, however, "I was so sickened with lectures at Edinburgh that I did not even attend Sedgwick's eloquent and interesting lectures." ("L.L." I. page 48.)

It was only after passing his examination, and when he went up to spend two extra terms at Cambridge, that geology again began to attract his attention. The reading of Sir John Herschel's "Introduction to the Study of Natural Philosophy", and of Humboldt's "Personal Narrative", a copy of which last had been given to him by his good friend and mentor Henslow, roused his dormant enthusiasm for science, and awakened in his mind a passionate desire for travel. And it was from Henslow, whom he had accompanied in his excursions, but without imbibing any marked taste, at that time, for botany, that the advice came to think of and to "begin the study of geology." ("L.L." I. page 56.) This was in 1831, and in the summer vacation of that year we find him back again at Shrewsbury "working like a tiger" at geology and endeavouring to make a map and section of Shropshire--work which he says was not "as easy as I expected." ("L.L." I. page 189.) No better field for geological studies could possibly be found than Darwin's native county.

Writing to Henslow at this time, and referring to a form of the instrument devised by his friend, Darwin says: "I am very glad to say I think the clinometer will answer admirably. I put all the tables in my bedroom at every conceivable angle and direction. I will venture to say that I have measured them as accurately as any geologist going could do." But he adds: "I have been working at so many things that I have not got on much with geology. I suspect the first expedition I take, clinometer and hammer in hand, will send me back very little wiser and a good deal more puzzled than when I started." ("L.L." I. page 189.) Valuable aid was, however, at hand, for at this time Sedgwick, to whom Darwin had been introduced by the ever-helpful Henslow, was making one of his expeditions into Wales, and consented to accept the young student as his companion during the geological tour. ("L.L." I. page 56.) We find Darwin looking forward to this privilege with the keenest interest. ("L.L." I. page 189.)

When at the beginning of August (1831), Sedgwick arrived at his father's house in Shrewsbury, where he spent a night, Darwin began to receive his first and only instruction as a field-geologist. The journey they took together led them through Llangollen, Conway, Bangor, and Capel Curig, at which latter place they parted after spending many hours in examining the rocks at Cwm Idwal with extreme care, seeking for fossils but without success. Sedgwick's mode of instruction was admirable--he from time to time sent the pupil off on a line parallel to his own, "telling me to bring back specimens of the rocks and to mark the stratification on a map." ("L.L." I. page 57.) On his return to Shrewsbury, Darwin wrote to Henslow, "My trip with Sedgwick answered most perfectly," ("L.L." I. page 195.), and in the following year he wrote again from South America to the same friend, "Tell Professor Sedgwick he does not know how much I am indebted to him for the Welsh expedition; it has given me an interest in Geology which I would not give up for any consideration. I do not think I ever spent a more delightful three weeks than pounding the north-west mountains." ("L.L." I. pages 237-8.)

It would be a mistake, however, to suppose that at this time Darwin had acquired anything like the affection for geological study, which he afterwards developed. After parting with Sedgwick, he walked in a straight line by compass and map across the mountains to Barmouth to visit a reading party there, but taking care to return to Shropshire before September 1st, in order to be ready for the shooting. For as he candidly tells us, "I should have thought myself mad to give up the first days of partridge- shooting for geology or any other science!" ("L.L." I. page 58.)

Any regret we may be disposed to feel that Darwin did not use his opportunities at Edinburgh and Cambridge to obtain systematic and practical instruction in mineralogy and geology, will be mitigated, however, when we reflect on the danger which he would run of being indoctrinated with the crude "catastrophic" views of geology, which were at that time prevalent in all the centres of learning.

Writing to Henslow in the summer of 1831, Darwin says "As yet I have only indulged in hypotheses, but they are such powerful ones that I suppose, if they were put into action but for one day, the world would come to an end." ("L.L." I. page 189.)

May we not read in this passage an indication that the self-taught geologist had, even at this early stage, begun to feel a distrust for the prevalent catastrophism, and that his mind was becoming a field in which the seeds which Lyell was afterwards to sow would "fall on good ground"?

The second period of Darwin's geological career--the five years spent by him on board the "Beagle"--was the one in which by far the most important stage in his mental development was accomplished. He left England a healthy, vigorous and enthusiastic collector; he returned five years later with unique experiences, the germs of great ideas, and a knowledge which placed him at once in the foremost ranks of the geologists of that day. Huxley has well said that "Darwin found on board the "Beagle" that which neither the pedagogues of Shrewsbury, nor the professoriate of Edinburgh, nor the tutors of Cambridge had managed to give him." ("Proc. Roy. Soc." Vol. XLIV. (1888), page IX.) Darwin himself wrote, referring to the date at which the voyage was expected to begin: "My second life will then commence, and it shall be as a birthday for the rest of my life." ("L.L." I. page 214.); and looking back on the voyage after forty years, he wrote; "The voyage of the 'Beagle' has been by far the most important event in my life, and has determined my whole career;...I have always felt that I owe to the voyage the first real training or education of my mind; I was led to attend closely to several branches of natural history, and thus my powers of observation were improved, though they were always fairly developed." ("L.L." I. page 61.)

Referring to these general studies in natural history, however, Darwin adds a very significant remark: "The investigation of the geology of the places visited was far more important, as reasoning here comes into play. On first examining a new district nothing can appear more hopeless than the chaos of rocks; but by recording the stratification and nature of the rocks and fossils at many points, always reasoning and predicting what will be found elsewhere, light soon begins to dawn on the district, and the structure of the whole becomes more or less intelligible." ("L.L." I. page 62.)

The famous voyage began amid doubts, discouragements and disappointments. Fearful of heart-disease, sad at parting from home and friends, depressed by sea-sickness, the young explorer, after being twice driven back by baffling winds, reached the great object of his ambition, the island of Teneriffe, only to find that, owing to quarantine regulations, landing was out of the question.

But soon this inauspicious opening of the voyage was forgotten. Henslow had advised his pupil to take with him the first volume of Lyell's "Principles of Geology", then just published--but cautioned him (as nearly all the leaders in geological science at that day would certainly have done) "on no account to accept the views therein advocated." ("L.L." I. page 73.) It is probable that the days of waiting, discomfort and sea- sickness at the beginning of the voyage were relieved by the reading of this volume. For he says that when he landed, three weeks after setting sail from Plymouth, in St Jago, the largest of the Cape de Verde Islands, the volume had already been "studied attentively; and the book was of the highest service to me in many ways..." His first original geological work, he declares, "showed me clearly the wonderful superiority of Lyell's manner of treating geology, compared with that of any other author, whose works I had with me or ever afterwards read." ("L.L." I. page 62.)

At St Jago Darwin first experienced the joy of making new discoveries, and his delight was unbounded. Writing to his father he says, "Geologising in a volcanic country is most delightful; besides the interest attached to itself, it leads you into most beautiful and retired spots." ("L.L." I. page 228.) To Henslow he wrote of St Jago: "Here we spent three most delightful weeks...St Jago is singularly barren, and produces few plants or insects, so that my hammer was my usual companion, and in its company most delightful hours I spent." "The geology was pre-eminently interesting, and I believe quite new; there are some facts on a large scale of upraised coast (which is an excellent epoch for all the volcanic rocks to date from), that would interest Mr Lyell." ("L.L." I. page 235.) After more than forty years the memory of this, his first geological work, seems as fresh as ever, and he wrote in 1876, "The geology of St Jago is very striking, yet simple: a stream of lava formerly flowed over the bed of the sea, formed of triturated recent shells and corals, which it has baked into a hard white rock. Since then the whole island has been upheaved. But the line of white rock revealed to me a new and important fact, namely, that there had been afterwards subsidence round the craters, which had since been in action, and had poured forth lava." ("L.L." I. page 65.)

It was at this time, probably, that Darwin made his first attempt at drawing a sketch-map and section to illustrate the observations he had made (see his "Volcanic Islands", pages 1 and 9). His first important geological discovery, that of the subsidence of strata around volcanic vents (which has since been confirmed by Mr Heaphy in New Zealand and other authors) awakened an intense enthusiasm, and he writes: "It then first dawned on me that I might perhaps write a book on the geology of the various countries visited, and this made me thrill with delight. That was a memorable hour to me, and how distinctly I can call to mind the low cliff of lava beneath which I rested, with the sun glaring hot, a few strange desert plants growing near, and with living corals in the tidal pools at my feet." ("L.L." I. page 66.)

But it was when the "Beagle", after touching at St Paul's rock and Tristan d'Acunha (for a sufficient time only to collect specimens), reached the shores of South America, that Darwin's real work began; and he was able, while the marine surveys were in progress, to make many extensive journeys on land. His letters at this time show that geology had become his chief delight, and such exclamations as "Geology carries the day," "I find in Geology a never failing interest," etc. abound in his correspondence.

Darwin's time was divided between the study of the great deposits of red mud--the Pampean formation--with its interesting fossil bones and shells affording proofs of slow and constant movements of the land, and the underlying masses of metamorphic and plutonic rocks. Writing to Henslow in March, 1834, he says: "I am quite charmed with Geology, but, like the wise animal between two bundles of hay, I do not know which to like best; the old crystalline groups of rocks, or the softer and fossiliferous beds. When puzzling about stratification, etc., I feel inclined to cry 'a fig for your big oysters, and your bigger megatheriums.' But then when digging out some fine bones, I wonder how any man can tire his arms with hammering granite." ("L.L." I. page 249.) We are told by Darwin that he loved to reason about and attempt to predict the nature of the rocks in each new district before he arrived at it.

This love of guessing as to the geology of a district he was about to visit is amusingly expressed by him in a letter (of May, 1832) to his cousin and old college-friend, Fox. After alluding to the beetles he had been collecting--a taste his friend had in common with himself--he writes of geology that "It is like the pleasure of gambling. Speculating on first arriving, what the rocks may be, I often mentally cry out 3 to 1 tertiary against primitive; but the latter have hitherto won all the bets." ("L.L." I. page 233.)

Not the least important of the educational results of the voyage to Darwin was the acquirement by him of those habits of industry and method which enabled him in after life to accomplish so much--in spite of constant failures of health. From the outset, he daily undertook and resolutely accomplished, in spite of sea-sickness and other distractions, four important tasks. In the first place he regularly wrote up the pages of his Journal, in which, paying great attention to literary style and composition, he recorded only matters that would be of general interest, such as remarks on scenery and vegetation, on the peculiarities and habits of animals, and on the characters, avocations and political institutions of the various races of men with whom he was brought in contact. It was the freshness of these observations that gave his "Narrative" so much charm. Only in those cases in which his ideas had become fully crystallised, did he attempt to deal with scientific matters in this journal. His second task was to write in voluminous note-books facts concerning animals and plants, collected on sea or land, which could not be well made out from specimens preserved in spirit; but he tells us that, owing to want of skill in dissecting and drawing, much of the time spent in this work was entirely thrown away, "a great pile of MS. which I made during the voyage has proved almost useless." ("L.L." I. page 62.) Huxley confirmed this judgment on his biological work, declaring that "all his zeal and industry resulted, for the most part, in a vast accumulation of useless manuscript." ("Proc. Roy. Soc." Vol. XLIV. (1888), page IX.) Darwin's third task was of a very different character and of infinitely greater value. It consisted in writing notes of his journeys on land--the notes being devoted to the geology of the districts visited by him. These formed the basis, not only of a number of geological papers published on his return, but also of the three important volumes forming "The Geology of the voyage of the 'Beagle'". On July 24th, 1834, when little more than half of the voyage had been completed, Darwin wrote to Henslow, "My notes are becoming bulky. I have about 600 small quarto pages full; about half of this is Geology." ("M.L." I. page 14.) The last, and certainly not the least important of all his duties, consisted in numbering, cataloguing, and packing his specimens for despatch to Henslow, who had undertaken the care of them. In his letters he often expresses the greatest solicitude lest the value of these specimens should be impaired by the removal of the numbers corresponding to his manuscript lists. Science owes much to Henslow's patient care of the collections sent to him by Darwin. The latter wrote in Henslow's biography, "During the five years' voyage, he regularly corresponded with me and guided my efforts; he received, opened, and took care of all the specimens sent home in many large boxes." ("Life of Henslow", by L. Jenyns (Blomefield), London, 1862, page 53.)

Darwin's geological specimens are now very appropriately lodged for the most part in the Sedgwick Museum, Cambridge, his original Catalogue with subsequent annotations being preserved with them. From an examination of these catalogues and specimens we are able to form a fair notion of the work done by Darwin in his little cabin in the "Beagle", in the intervals between his land journeys.

Besides writing up his notes, it is evident that he was able to accomplish a considerable amount of study of his specimens, before they were packed up for despatch to Henslow. Besides hand-magnifiers and a microscope, Darwin had an equipment for blowpipe-analysis, a contact-goniometer and magnet; and these were in constant use by him. His small library of reference (now included in the Collection of books placed by Mr F. Darwin in the Botany School at Cambridge ("Catalogue of the Library of Charles Darwin now in the Botany School, Cambridge". Compiled by H.W. Rutherford; with an introduction by Francis Darwin. Cambridge, 1908.)) appears to have been admirably selected, and in all probability contained (in addition to a good many works relating to South America) a fair number of excellent books of reference. Among those relating to mineralogy, he possessed the manuals of Phillips, Alexander Brongniart, Beudant, von Kobell and Jameson: all the "Cristallographie" of Brochant de Villers and, for blowpipe work, Dr Children's translation of the book of Berzelius on the subject. In addition to these, he had Henry's "Experimental Chemistry" and Ure's "Dictionary" (of Chemistry). A work, he evidently often employed, was P. Syme's book on "Werner's Nomenclature of Colours"; while, for Petrology, he used Macculloch's "Geological Classification of Rocks". How diligently and well he employed his instruments and books is shown by the valuable observations recorded in the annotated Catalogues drawn up on board ship.

These catalogues have on the right-hand pages numbers and descriptions of the specimens, and on the opposite pages notes on the specimens--the result of experiments made at the time and written in a very small hand. Of the subsequently made pencil notes, I shall have to speak later. (I am greatly indebted to my friend Mr A. Harker, F.R.S., for his assistance in examining these specimens and catalogues. He has also arranged the specimens in the Sedgwick Museum, so as to make reference to them easy. The specimens from Ascension and a few others are however in the Museum at Jermyn Street.)

It is a question of great interest to determine the period and the occasion of Darwin's first awakening to the great problem of the transmutation of species. He tells us himself that his grandfather's "Zoonomia" had been read by him "but without producing any effect," and that his friend Grant's rhapsodies on Lamarck and his views on evolution only gave rise to "astonishment." ("L.L." I. page 38.)

Huxley, who had probably never seen the privately printed volume of letters to Henslow, expressed the opinion that Darwin could not have perceived the important bearing of his discovery of bones in the Pampean Formation, until they had been studied in England, and their analogies pronounced upon by competent comparative anatomists. And this seemed to be confirmed by Darwin's own entry in his pocket-book for 1837, "In July opened first notebook on Transmutation of Species. Had been greatly struck from about the month of previous March on character of South American fossils..." ("L.L." I. page 276.)

The second volume of Lyell's "Principles of Geology" was published in January, 1832, and Darwin's copy (like that of the other two volumes, in a sadly dilapidated condition from constant use) has in it the inscription, "Charles Darwin, Monte Video. Nov. 1832." As everyone knows, Darwin in dedicating the second edition of his Journal of the Voyage to Lyell declared, "the chief part of whatever scientific merit this journal and the other works of the author may possess, has been derived from studying the well-known and admirable "Principles of Geology".

In the first chapter of this second volume of the "Principles", Lyell insists on the importance of the species question to the geologist, but goes on to point out the difficulty of accepting the only serious attempt at a transmutation theory which had up to that time appeared--that of Lamarck. In subsequent chapters he discusses the questions of the modification and variability of species, of hybridity, and of the geographical distribution of plants and animals. He then gives vivid pictures of the struggle for existence, ever going on between various species, and of the causes which lead to their extinction--not by overwhelming catastrophes, but by the silent and almost unobserved action of natural causes. This leads him to consider theories with regard to the introduction of new species, and, rejecting the fanciful notions of "centres or foci of creation," he argues strongly in favour of the view, as most reconcileable with observed facts, that "each species may have had its origin in a single pair, or individual, where an individual was sufficient, and species may have been created in succession at such times and in such places as to enable them to multiply and endure for an appointed period, and occupy an appointed space on the globe." ("Principles of Geology", Vol. II. (1st edition 1832), page 124. We now know, as has been so well pointed out by Huxley, that Lyell, as early as 1827, was prepared to accept the doctrine of the transmutation of species. In that year he wrote to Mantell, "What changes species may really undergo! How impossible will it be to distinguish and lay down a line, beyond which some of the so-called extinct species may have never passed into recent ones" (Lyell's "Life and Letters" Vol. I. page 168). To Sir John Herschel in 1836, he wrote, "In regard to the origination of new species, I am very glad to find that you think it probable that it may be carried on through the intervention of intermediate causes. I left this rather to be inferred, not thinking it worth while to offend a certain class of persons by embodying in words what would only be a speculation" (Ibid. page 467). He expressed the same views to Whewell in 1837 (Ibid. Vol. II. page 5.), and to Sedgwick (Ibid. Vol. II. page 36) to whom he says, of "the theory, that the creation of new species is going on at the present day"--"I really entertain it," but "I have studiously avoided laying the doctrine down dogmatically as capable of proof" (see Huxley in "L.L." II. pages 190-195.))

After pointing out how impossible it would be for a naturalist to prove that a newly DISCOVERED species was really newly CREATED (Mr F. Darwin has pointed out that his father (like Lyell) often used the term "Creation" in speaking of the origin of new species ("L.L." II. chapter 1.)), Lyell argued that no satisfactory evidence OF THE WAY in which these new forms were created, had as yet been discovered, but that he entertained the hope of a possible solution of the problem being found in the study of the geological record.

It is not difficult, in reading these chapters of Lyell's great work, to realise what an effect they would have on the mind of Darwin, as new facts were collected and fresh observations concerning extinct and recent forms were made in his travels. We are not surprised to find him writing home, "I am become a zealous disciple of Mr Lyell's views, as known in his admirable book. Geologising in South America, I am tempted to carry parts to a greater extent even than he does." ("L.L." I. page 263.)

Lyell's anticipation that the study of the geological record might afford a clue to the discovery of how new species originate was remarkably fulfilled, within a few months, by Darwin's discovery of fossil bones in the red Pampean mud.

It is very true that, as Huxley remarked, Darwin's knowledge of comparative anatomy must have been, at that time, slight; but that he recognised the remarkable resemblances between the extinct and existing mammals of South America is proved beyond all question by a passage in his letter to Henslow, written November 24th, 1832: "I have been very lucky with fossil bones; I have fragments of at least six distinct animals...I found a large surface of osseous polygonal plates...Immediately I saw them I thought they must belong to an enormous armadillo, living species of which genus are so abundant here," and he goes on to say that he has "the lower jaw of some large animal which, from the molar teeth, I should think belonged to the Edentata." ("M.L." I. pages 11, 12. See "Extracts of Letters addressed to Prof. Henslow by C. Darwin" (1835), page 7.)

Having found this important clue, Darwin followed it up with characteristic perseverance. In his quest for more fossil bones he was indefatigable. Mr Francis Darwin tells us, "I have often heard him speak of the despair with which he had to break off the projecting extremity of a huge, partly excavated bone, when the boat waiting for him would wait no longer." ("L.L." I. page 276 (footnote).) Writing to Haeckel in 1864, Darwin says: "I shall never forget my astonishment when I dug out a gigantic piece of armour, like that of the living armadillo." (Haeckel, "History of Creation", Vol. I. page 134, London, 1876.)

In a letter to Henslow in 1834 Darwin says: "I have just got scent of some fossil bones...what they may be I do not know, but if gold or galloping will get them they shall be mine." ("M.L." I. page 15.)

Darwin also showed his sense of the importance of the discovery of these bones by his solicitude about their safe arrival and custody. From the Falkland Isles (March, 1834), he writes to Henslow: "I have been alarmed by your expression 'cleaning all the bones' as I am afraid the printed numbers will be lost: the reason I am so anxious they should not be, is, that a part were found in a gravel with recent shells, but others in a very different bed. Now with these latter there were bones of an Agouti, a genus of animals, I believe, peculiar to America, and it would be curious to prove that some one of the genus co-existed with the Megatherium: such and many other points depend on the numbers being carefully preserved." ("Extracts from Letters etc.", pages 13-14.) In the abstract of the notes read to the Geological Society in 1835, we read: "In the gravel of Patagonia he (Darwin) also found many bones of the Megatherium and of five or six other species of quadrupeds, among which he has detected the bones of a species of Agouti. He also met with several examples of the polygonal plates, etc." ("Proc. Geol. Soc." Vol. II. pages 211-212.)

Darwin's own recollections entirely bear out the conclusion that he fully recognised, WHILE IN SOUTH AMERICA, the wonderful significance of the resemblances between the extinct and recent mammalian faunas. He wrote in his "Autobiography": "During the voyage of the 'Beagle' I had been deeply impressed by discovering in the Pampean formation great fossil animals covered with armour like that on the existing armadillos." ("L.L." I. page 82.)

The impression made on Darwin's mind by the discovery of these fossil bones, was doubtless deepened as, in his progress southward from Brazil to Patagonia, he found similar species of Edentate animals everywhere replacing one another among the living forms, while, whenever fossils occurred, they also were seen to belong to the same remarkable group of animals. (While Darwin was making these observations in South America, a similar generalisation to that at which he arrived was being reached, quite independently and almost simultaneously, with respect to the fossil and recent mammals of Australia. In the year 1831, Clift gave to Jameson a list of bones occurring in the caves and breccias of Australia, and in publishing this list the latter referred to the fact that the forms belonged to marsupials, similar to those of the existing Australian fauna. But he also stated that, as a skull had been identified (doubtless erroneously) as having belonged to a hippopotamus, other mammals than marsupials must have spread over the island in late Tertiary times. It is not necessary to point out that this paper was quite unknown to Darwin while in South America. Lyell first noticed it in the third edition of his "Principles", which was published in May, 1834 (see "Edinb. New Phil. Journ." Vol. X. (1831), pages 394-6, and Lyell's "Principles" (3rd edition), Vol. III. page 421). Darwin referred to this discovery in 1839 (see his "Journal", page 210.)

That the passage in Darwin's pocket-book for 1837 can only refer to an AWAKENING of Darwin's interest in the subject--probably resulting from a sight of the bones when they were being unpacked--I think there cannot be the smallest doubt; AND WE MAY THEREFORE CONFIDENTLY FIX UPON NOVEMBER, 1832, AS THE DATE AT WHICH DARWIN COMMENCED THAT LONG SERIES OF OBSERVATIONS AND REASONINGS WHICH EVENTUALLY CULMINATED IN THE PREPARATION OF THE "ORIGIN OF SPECIES". Equally certain is it, that it was his geological work that led Darwin into those paths of research which in the end conducted him to his great discoveries. I quite agree with the view expressed by Mr F. Darwin and Professor Seward, that Darwin, like Lyell, "thought it 'almost useless' to try to prove the truth of evolution until the cause of change was discovered" ("M.L." I. page 38.), and that possibly he may at times have vacillated in his opinions, but I believe there is evidence that, from the date mentioned, the "species question" was always more or less present in Darwin's mind. (Although we admit with Huxley that Darwin's training in comparative anatomy was very small, yet it may be remembered that he was a medical student for two years, and, if he hated the lectures, he enjoyed the society of naturalists. He had with him in the little "Beagle" library a fair number of zoological books, including works on Osteology by Cuvier, Desmarest and Lesson, as well as two French Encyclopaedias of Natural History. As a sportsman, he would obtain specimens of recent mammals in South America, and would thus have opportunities of studying their teeth and general anatomy. Keen observer, as he undoubtedly was, we need not then be surprised that he was able to make out the resemblances between the recent and fossil forms.)

It is clear that, as time went on, Darwin became more and more absorbed in his geological work. One very significant fact was that the once ardent sportsman, when he found that shooting the necessary game and zoological specimens interfered with his work with the hammer, gave up his gun to his servant. ("L.L." I. page 63.) There is clear evidence that Darwin gradually became aware how futile were his attempts to add to zoological knowledge by dissection and drawing, while he felt ever increasing satisfaction with his geological work.

The voyage fortunately extended to a much longer period (five years) than the two originally intended, but after being absent nearly three years, Darwin wrote to his sister in November, 1834, "Hurrah! hurrah! it is fixed that the 'Beagle' shall not go one mile south of Cape Tres Montes (about 200 miles south of Chiloe), and from that point to Valparaiso will be finished in about five months. We shall examine the Chonos Archipelago, entirely unknown, and the curious inland sea behind Chiloe. For me it is glorious. Cape Tres Montes is the most southern point where there is much geological interest, as there the modern beds end. The Captain then talks of crossing the Pacific; but I think we shall persuade him to finish the coast of Peru, where the climate is delightful, the country hideously sterile, but abounding with the highest interest to the geologist...I have long been grieved and most sorry at the interminable length of the voyage (though I never would have quitted it)...I could not make up my mind to return. I could not give up all the geological castles in the air I had been building up for the last two years." ("L.L." I. pages 257-58.)

In April, 1835, he wrote to another sister: "I returned a week ago from my excursion across the Andes to Mendoza. Since leaving England I have never made so successful a deeply I have enjoyed it; it was something more than enjoyment; I cannot express the delight which I felt at such a famous winding-up of all my geology in South America. I literally could hardly sleep at nights for thinking over my day's work. The scenery was so new, and so majestic; everything at an elevation of 12,000 feet bears so different an aspect from that in the lower country...To a geologist, also, there are such manifest proofs of excessive violence; the strata of the highest pinnacles are tossed about like the crust of a broken pie." ("L.L." I. pages 259-60.)

Darwin anticipated with intense pleasure his visit to the Galapagos Islands. On July 12th, 1835, he wrote to Henslow: "In a few days' time the "Beagle" will sail for the Galapagos Islands. I look forward with joy and interest to this, both as being somewhat nearer to England and for the sake of having a good look at an active volcano. Although we have seen lava in abundance, I have never yet beheld the crater." ("M.L." I. page 26.) He could little anticipate, as he wrote these lines, the important aid in the solution of the "species question" that would ever after make his visit to the Galapagos Islands so memorable. In 1832, as we have seen, the great discovery of the relations of living to extinct mammals in the same area had dawned upon his mind; in 1835 he was to find a second key for opening up the great mystery, by recognising the variations of similar types in adjoining islands among the Galapagos.

The final chapter in the second volume of the "Principles" had aroused in Darwin's mind a desire to study coral-reefs, which was gratified during his voyage across the Pacific and Indian Oceans. His theory on the subject was suggested about the end of 1834 or the beginning of 1835, as he himself tells us, before he had seen a coral-reef, and resulted from his work during two years in which he had "been incessantly attending to the effects on the shores of South America of the intermittent elevation of the land, together with denudation and the deposition of sediment." ("L.L." I. page 70.)

On arriving at the Cape of Good Hope in July, 1836, Darwin was greatly gratified by hearing that Sedgwick had spoken to his father in high terms of praise concerning the work done by him in South America. Referring to the news from home, when he reached Bahia once more, on the return voyage (August, 1836), he says: "The desert, volcanic rocks, and wild sea of Ascension...suddenly wore a pleasing aspect, and I set to work with a good- will at my old work of Geology." ("L.L." I. page 265.) Writing fifty years later, he says: "I clambered over the mountains of Ascension with a bounding step and made the volcanic rocks resound under my geological hammer!" ("L.L." I. page 66.)

That his determination was now fixed to devote his own labours to the task of working out the geological results of the voyage, and that he was prepared to leave to more practised hands the study of his biological collections, is clear from the letters he sent home at this time. From St Helena he wrote to Henslow asking that he would propose him as a Fellow of the Geological Society; and his Certificate, in Henslow's handwriting, is dated September 8th, 1836, being signed from personal knowledge by Henslow and Sedgwick. He was proposed on November 2nd and elected November 30th, being formally admitted to the Society by Lyell, who was then President, on January 4th, 1837, on which date he also read his first paper. Darwin did not become a Fellow of the Linnean Society till eighteen years later (in 1854).

An estimate of the value and importance of Darwin's geological discoveries during the voyage of the "Beagle" can best be made when considering the various memoirs and books in which the author described them. He was too cautious to allow himself to write his first impressions in his Journal, and wisely waited till he could study his specimens under better conditions and with help from others on his return. The extracts published from his correspondence with Henslow and others, while he was still abroad, showed, nevertheless, how great was the mass of observation, how suggestive and pregnant with results were the reasonings of the young geologist.

Two sets of these extracts from Darwin's letters to Henslow were printed while he was still abroad. The first of these was the series of "Geological Notes made during a survey of the East and West Coasts of South America, in the years 1832, 1833, 1834 and 1835, with an account of a transverse section of the Cordilleras of the Andes between Valparaiso and Mendoza". Professor Sedgwick, who read these notes to the Geological Society on November 18th, 1835, stated that "they were extracted from a series of letters (addressed to Professor Henslow), containing a great mass of information connected with almost every branch of natural history," and that he (Sedgwick) had made a selection of the remarks which he thought would be more especially interesting to the Geological Society. An abstract of three pages was published in the "Proceedings of the Geological Society" (Vol. II. pages 210-12.), but so unknown was the author at this time that he was described as F. Darwin, Esq., of St John's College, Cambridge"! Almost simultaneously (on November 16th, 1835) a second set of extracts from these letters--this time of a general character--were read to the Philosophical Society at Cambridge, and these excited so much interest that they were privately printed in pamphlet form for circulation among the members.

Many expeditions and "scientific missions" have been despatched to various parts of the world since the return of the "Beagle" in 1836, but it is doubtful whether any, even the most richly endowed of them, has brought back such stores of new information and fresh discoveries as did that little "ten-gun brig"--certainly no cabin or laboratory was the birth-place of ideas of such fruitful character as was that narrow end of a chart-room, where the solitary naturalist could climb into his hammock and indulge in meditation.

The third and most active portion of Darwin's career as a geologist was the period which followed his return to England at the end of 1836. His immediate admission to the Geological Society, at the beginning of 1837, coincided with an important crisis in the history of geological science.

The band of enthusiasts who nearly thirty years before had inaugurated the Geological Society--weary of the fruitless conflicts between "Neptunists" and "Plutonists"--had determined to eschew theory and confine their labours to the collection of facts, their publications to the careful record of observations. Greenough, the actual founder of the Society, was an ardent Wernerian, and nearly all his fellow-workers had come, more or less directly, under the Wernerian teaching. Macculloch alone gave valuable support to the Huttonian doctrines, so far as they related to the influence of igneous activity--but the most important portion of the now celebrated "Theory of the Earth"--that dealing with the competency of existing agencies to account for changes in past geological times--was ignored by all alike. Macculloch's influence on the development of geology, which might have had far-reaching effects, was to a great extent neutralised by his peculiarities of mind and temper; and, after a stormy and troublous career, he retired from the society in 1832. In all the writings of the great pioneers in English geology, Hutton and his splendid generalisation are scarcely ever referred to. The great doctrines of Uniformitarianism, which he had foreshadowed, were completely ignored, and only his extravagances of "anti-Wernerianism" seem to have been remembered.

When between 1830 and 1832, Lyell, taking up the almost forgotten ideas of Hutton, von Hoff and Prevost, published that bold challenge to the Catastrophists--the "Principles of Geology"--he was met with the strongest opposition, not only from the outside world, which was amused by his "absurdities" and shocked by his "impiety"--but not less from his fellow- workers and friends in the Geological Society. For Lyell's numerous original observations, and his diligent collection of facts his contemporaries had nothing but admiration, and they cheerfully admitted him to the highest offices in the society, but they met his reasonings on geological theory with vehement opposition and his conclusions with coldness and contempt.

There is, indeed, a very striking parallelism between the reception of the "Principles of Geology" by Lyell's contemporaries and the manner in which the "Origin of Species" was met a quarter of a century later, as is so vividly described by Huxley. ("L.L." II. pages 179-204.) Among Lyell's fellow-geologists, two only--G. Poulett Scrope and John Herschel (Both Lyell and Darwin fully realised the value of the support of these two friends. Scrope in his appreciative reviews of the "Principles" justly pointed out what was the weakest point, the inadequate recognition of sub- aerial as compared with marine denudation. Darwin also admitted that Scrope had to a great extent forestalled him in his theory of Foliation. Herschel from the first insisted that the leading idea of the "Principles" must be applied to organic as well as to inorganic nature and must explain the appearance of new species (see Lyell's "Life and Letters", Vol. I. page 467). Darwin tells us that Herschel's "Introduction to the Study of Natural Philosophy" with Humboldt's "Personal Narrative" "stirred up in me a burning zeal" in his undergraduate days. I once heard Lyell exclaim with fervour "If ever there was a heaven-born genius it was John Herschel!")-- declared themselves from the first his strong supporters. Scrope in two luminous articles in the "Quarterly Review" did for Lyell what Huxley accomplished for Darwin in his famous review in the "Times"; but Scrope unfortunately was at that time immersed in the stormy sea of politics, and devoted his great powers of exposition to the preparation of fugitive pamphlets. Herschel, like Scrope, was unable to support Lyell at the Geological Society, owing to his absence on the important astronomical mission to the Cape.

It thus came about that, in the frequent conflicts of opinion within the walls of the Geological Society, Lyell had to bear the brunt of battle for Uniformitarianism quite alone, and it is to be feared that he found himself sadly overmatched when opposed by the eloquence of Sedgwick, the sarcasm of Buckland, and the dead weight of incredulity on the part of Greenough, Conybeare, Murchison and other members of the band of pioneer workers. As time went on there is evidence that the opposition of De la Beche and Whewell somewhat relaxed; the brilliant "Paddy" Fitton (as his friends called him) was sometimes found in alliance with Lyell, but was characteristically apt to turn his weapon, as occasion served, on friend or foe alike; the amiable John Phillips "sat upon the fence." Only when a new generation arose--including Jukes, Ramsay, Forbes and Hooker--did Lyell find his teachings received with anything like favour.

We can well understand, then, how Lyell would welcome such a recruit as young Darwin--a man who had declared himself more Lyellian than Lyell, and who brought to his support facts and observations gleaned from so wide a field.

The first meeting of Lyell and Darwin was characteristic of the two men. Darwin at once explained to Lyell that, with respect to the origin of coral-reefs, he had arrived at views directly opposed to those published by "his master." To give up his own theory, cost Lyell, as he told Herschel, a "pang at first," but he was at once convinced of the immeasurable superiority of Darwin's theory. I have heard members of Lyell's family tell of the state of wild excitement and sustained enthusiasm, which lasted for days with Lyell after this interview, and his letters to Herschel, Whewell and others show his pleasure at the new light thrown upon the subject and his impatience to have the matter laid before the Geological Society.

Writing forty years afterwards, Darwin, speaking of the time of the return of the "Beagle", says: "I saw a great deal of Lyell. One of his chief characteristics was his sympathy with the work of others, and I was as much astonished as delighted at the interest which he showed when, on my return to England, I explained to him my views on coral-reefs. This encouraged me greatly, and his advice and example had much influence on me." ("L.L." I. page 68.) Darwin further states that he saw more of Lyell at this time than of any other scientific man, and at his request sent his first communication to the Geological Society. ("L.L." I. page 67.)

"Mr Lonsdale" (the able curator of the Geological Society), Darwin wrote to Henslow, "with whom I had much interesting conversation," "gave me a most cordial reception," and he adds, "If I was not much more inclined for geology than the other branches of Natural History, I am sure Mr Lyell's and Lonsdale's kindness ought to fix me. You cannot conceive anything more thoroughly good-natured than the heart-and-soul manner in which he put himself in my place and thought what would be best to do." ("L.L." I. page 275.)

Within a few days of Darwin's arrival in London we find Lyell writing to Owen as follows:

"Mrs Lyell and I expect a few friends here on Saturday next, 29th (October), to an early tea party at eight o'clock, and it will give us great pleasure if you can join it. Among others you will meet Mr Charles Darwin, whom I believe you have seen, just returned from South America, where he has laboured for zoologists as well as for hammer-bearers. I have also asked your friend Broderip." ("The Life of Richard Owen", London, 1894, Vol. I. page 102.) It would probably be on this occasion that the services of Owen were secured for the work on the fossil bones sent home by Darwin.

On November 2nd, we find Lyell introducing Darwin as his guest at the Geological Society Club; on December 14th, Lyell and Stokes proposed Darwin as a member of the Club; between that date and May 3rd of the following year, when his election to the Club took place, he was several times dining as a guest.

On January 4th, 1837, as we have already seen, Darwin was formally admitted to the Geological Society, and on the same evening he read his first paper (I have already pointed out that the notes read at the Geological Society on Nov. 18, 1835 were extracts made by Sedgwick from letters sent to Henslow, and not a paper sent home for publication by Darwin.) before the Society, "Observations of proofs of recent elevation on the coast of Chili, made during the Survey of H.M.S. "Beagle", commanded by Captain FitzRoy, R.N." By C. Darwin, F.G.S. This paper was preceded by one on the same subject by Mr A. Caldcleugh, and the reading of a letter and other communications from the Foreign Office also relating to the earthquakes in Chili.

At the meeting of the Council of the Geological Society on February 1st, Darwin was nominated as a member of the new Council, and he was elected on February 17th.

The meeting of the Geological Society on April 19th was devoted to the reading by Owen of his paper on Toxodon, perhaps the most remarkable of the fossil mammals found by Darwin in South America; and at the next meeting, on May 3rd, Darwin himself read "A Sketch of the Deposits containing extinct Mammalia in the neighbourhood of the Plata". The next following meeting, on May 17th, was devoted to Darwin's Coral-reef paper, entitled "On certain areas of elevation and subsidence in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, as deduced from the study of Coral Formations". Neither of these three early papers of Darwin were published in the Transactions of the Geological Society, but the minutes of the Council show that they were "withdrawn by the author by permission of the Council."

Darwin's activity during this session led to some rather alarming effects upon his health, and he was induced to take a holiday in Staffordshire and the Isle of Wight. He was not idle, however, for a remark of his uncle, Mr Wedgwood, led him to make those interesting observations on the work done by earthworms, that resulted in his preparing a short memoir on the subject, and this paper, "On the Formation of Mould", was read at the Society on November 1st, 1837, being the first of Darwin's papers published in full; it appeared in Vol. V. of the "Geological Transactions", pages 505-510.)

During this session, Darwin attended nearly all the Council meetings, and took such an active part in the work of the Society that it is not surprising to find that he was now requested to accept the position of Secretary. After some hesitation, in which he urged his inexperience and want of knowledge of foreign languages, he consented to accept the appointment. ("L.L." I. page 285.)

At the anniversary meeting on February 16th, 1838, the Wollaston Medal was given to Owen in recognition of his services in describing the fossil mammals sent home by Darwin. In his address, the President, Professor Whewell, dwelt at length on the great value of the papers which Darwin had laid before the Society during the preceding session.

On March 7th, Darwin read before the Society the most important perhaps of all his geological papers, "On the Connexion of certain Volcanic Phenomena in South America, and on the Formation of Mountain-Chains and Volcanoes as the effect of Continental Elevations". In this paper he boldly attacked the tenets of the Catastrophists. It is evident that Darwin at this time, taking advantage of the temporary improvement in his health, was throwing himself into the breach of Uniformitarianism with the greatest ardour. Lyell wrote to Sedgwick on April 21st, 1837, "Darwin is a glorious addition to any society of geologists, and is working hard and making way, both in his book and in our discussions." ("The Life and Letters of the Reverend Adam Sedgwick", Vol. I. page 484, Cambridge, 1890.)

We have unfortunately few records of the animated debates which took place at this time between the old and new schools of geologists. I have often heard Lyell tell how Lockhart would bring down a party of friends from the Athenaeum Club to Somerset House on Geological nights, not, as he carefully explained, that "he cared for geology, but because he liked to while the fellows fight." But it fortunately happens that a few days after this last of Darwin's great field-days, at the Geological Society, Lyell, in a friendly letter to his father-in-law, Leonard Horner, wrote a very lively account of the proceedings while his impressions were still fresh; and this gives us an excellent idea of the character of these discussions.

Neither Sedgwick nor Buckland were present on this occasion, but we can imagine how they would have chastised their two "erring pupils"--more in sorrow than in anger--had they been there. Greenough, too, was absent-- possibly unwilling to countenance even by his presence such outrageous doctrines.

Darwin, after describing the great earthquakes which he had experienced in South America, and the evidence of their connection with volcanic outbursts, proceeded to show that earthquakes originated in fractures, gradually formed in the earth's crust, and were accompanied by movements of the land on either side of the fracture. In conclusion he boldly advanced the view "that continental elevations, and the action of volcanoes, are phenomena now in progress, caused by some great but slow change in the interior of the earth; and, therefore, that it might be anticipated, that the formation of mountain chains is likewise in progress: and at a rate which may be judged of by either actions, but most clearly by the growth of volcanoes." ("Proc. Geol. Soc." Vol. II. pages 654-60.)

Lyell's account ("Life, Letters and Journals of Sir Charles Lyell, Bart.", edited by his sister-in-law, Mrs Lyell, Vol. II. pages 40, 41 (Letter to Leonard Horner, 1838), 2 vols. London, 1881.) of the discussion was as follows: "In support of my heretical notions," Darwin "opened upon De la Beche, Phillips and others his whole battery of the earthquakes and volcanoes of the Andes, and argued that spaces at least a thousand miles long were simultaneously subject to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and that the elevation of the Pampas, Patagonia, etc., all depended on a common cause; also that the greater the contortions of strata in a mountain chain, the smaller must have been each separate and individual movement of that long series which was necessary to upheave the chain. Had they been more violent, he contended that the subterraneous fluid matter would have gushed out and overflowed, and the strata would have been blown up and annihilated. (It is interesting to compare this with what Darwin wrote to Henslow seven years earlier.) He therefore introduces a cooling of one small underground injection, and then the pumping in of other lava, or porphyry, or granite, into the previously consolidated and first-formed mass of igneous rock. (Ideas somewhat similar to this suggestion have recently been revived by Dr See ("Proc. Am. Phil. Soc." Vol. XLVII. 1908, page 262.).) When he had done his description of the reiterated strokes of his volcanic pump, De la Beche gave us a long oration about the impossibility of strata of the Alps, etc., remaining flexible for such a time as they must have done, if they were to be tilted, convoluted, or overturned by gradual small shoves. He never, however, explained his theory of original flexibility, and therefore I am as unable as ever to comprehend why flexiblility is a quality so limited in time.

"Phillips then got up and pronounced a panegyric upon the "Principles of Geology", and although he still differed, thought the actual cause doctrine had been so well put, that it had advanced the science and formed a date or era, and that for centuries the two opposite doctrines would divide geologists, some contending for greater pristine forces, others satisfied, like Lyell and Darwin, with the same intensity as nature now employs.

"Fitton quizzed Phillips a little for the warmth of his eulogy, saying that he (Fitton) and others, who had Mr Lyell always with them, were in the habit of admiring and quarrelling with him every day, as one might do with a sister or cousin, whom one would only kiss and embrace fervently after a long absence. This seemed to be Mr Phillips' case, coming up occasionally from the provinces. Fitton then finished this drollery by charging me with not having done justice to Hutton, who he said was for gradual elevation.

"I replied, that most of the critics had attacked me for overrating Hutton, and that Playfair understood him as I did.

"Whewell concluded by considering Hopkins' mathematical calculations, to which Darwin had often referred. He also said that we ought not to try and make out what Hutton would have taught and thought, if he had known the facts which we now know."

It may be necessary to point out, in explanation of the above narrative, that while it was perfectly clear from Hutton's rather obscure and involved writings that he advocated slow and gradual change on the earth's surface, his frequent references to violent action and earthquakes led many-- including Playfair, Lyell and Whewell--to believe that he held the changes going on in the earth's interior to be of a catastrophic nature. Fitton, however, maintained that Hutton was consistently uniformitarian. Before the idea of the actual "flowing" of solid bodies under intense pressure had been grasped by geologists, De la Beche, like Playfair before him, maintained that the bending and folding of rocks must have been effected before their complete consolidation.

In concluding his account of this memorable discussion, Lyell adds: "I was much struck with the different tone in which my gradual causes was treated by all, even including De la Beche, from that which they experienced in the same room four years ago, when Buckland, De la Beche(?), Sedgwick, Whewell, and some others treated them with as much ridicule as was consistent with politeness in my presence."

This important paper was, in spite of its theoretical character, published in full in the "Transactions of the Geological Society" (Ser. 2, Vol. V. pages 601-630). It did not however appear till 1840, and possibly some changes may have been made in it during the long interval between reading and printing. During the year 1839, Darwin continued his regular attendance at the Council meetings, but there is no record of any discussions in which he may have taken part, and he contributed no papers himself to the Society. At the beginning of 1840, he was re-elected for the third time as Secretary, but the results of failing health are indicated by the circumstance that, only at one meeting early in the session, was he able to attend the Council. At the beginning of the next session (Feb. 1841) Bunbury succeeded him as Secretary, Darwin still remaining on the Council. It may be regarded as a striking indication of the esteem in which he was held by his fellow geologists, that Darwin remained on the Council for 14 consecutive years down to 1849, though his attendances were in some years very few. In 1843 and 1844 he was a Vice- president, but after his retirement at the beginning of 1850, he never again accepted re-nomination. He continued, however, to contribute papers to the Society, as we shall see, down to the end of 1862.

Although Darwin early became a member of the Geological Dining Club, it is to be feared that he scarcely found himself in a congenial atmosphere at those somewhat hilarious gatherings, where the hardy wielders of the hammer not only drank port--and plenty of it--but wound up their meal with a mixture of Scotch ale and soda water, a drink which, as reminiscent of the "field," was regarded as especially appropriate to geologists. Even after the meetings, which followed the dinners, they reassembled for suppers, at which geological dainties, like "pterodactyle pie" figured in the bill of fare, and fines of bumpers were inflicted on those who talked the "ologies."

After being present at a fair number of meetings in 1837 and 1838, Darwin's attendances at the Club fell off to two in 1839, and by 1841 he had ceased to be a member. In a letter to Lyell on Dec. 2nd, 1841, Leonard Horner wrote that the day before "At the Council, I had the satisfaction of seeing Darwin again in his place and looking well. He tried the last evening meeting, but found it too much, but I hope before the end of the season he will find himself equal to that also. I hail Darwin's recovery as a vast gain to science." Darwin's probably last attendance, this time as a guest, was in 1851, when Horner again wrote to Lyell, "Charles Darwin was at the Geological Society's Club yesterday, where he had not been for ten years-- remarkably well, and grown quite stout." ("Memoirs of Leonard Horner" (privately printed), Vol. II. pages 39 and 195.)

It may be interesting to note that at the somewhat less lively dining Club- -the Philosophical--in the founding of which his friends Lyell and Hooker had taken so active a part, Darwin found himself more at home, and he was a frequent attendant--in spite of his residence being at Down--from 1853 to 1864. He even made contributions on scientific questions after these dinners. In a letter to Hooker he states that he was deeply interested in the reforms of the Royal Society, which the Club was founded to promote. He says also that he had arranged to come to town every Club day "and then my head, I think, will allow me on an average to go to every other meeting. But it is grievous how often any change knocks me up." ("L.L." II. pages 42, 43.)

Of the years 1837 and 1838 Darwin himself says they were "the most active ones which I ever spent, though I was occasionally unwell, and so lost some time...I also went a little into society." ("L.L." I. pages 67, 68.) But of the four years from 1839 to 1842 he has to confess sadly "I did less scientific work, though I worked as hard as I could, than during any other equal length of time in my life. This was owing to frequently recurring unwellness, and to one long and serious illness." ("L.L." I. page 69.)

Darwin's work at the Geological Society did not by any means engage the whole of his energies, during the active years 1837 and 1838. In June of the latter year, leaving town in somewhat bad health, he found himself at Edinburgh again, and engaged in examining the Salisbury Craigs, in a very different spirit to that excited by Jameson's discourse. ("L.L." I. page 290.) Proceeding to the Highlands he then had eight days of hard work at the famous "Parallel Roads of Glen Roy", being favoured with glorious weather.

He says of the writing of the paper on the subject--the only memoir contributed by Darwin to the Royal Society, to which he had been recently elected--that it was "one of the most difficult and instructive tasks I was ever engaged on." The paper extends to 40 quarto pages and is illustrated by two plates. Though it is full of the records of careful observation and acute reasoning, yet the theory of marine beaches which he propounded was, as he candidly admitted in after years ("M.L." II page 188.), altogether wrong. The alternative lake-theory he found himself unable to accept at the time, for he could not understand how barriers could be formed at successive levels across the valleys; and until the following year, when the existence of great glaciers in the district was proved by the researches of Agassiz, Buckland and others, the difficulty appeared to him an insuperable one. Although Darwin said of this paper in after years that it "was a great failure and I am ashamed of it"--yet he retained his interest in the question ever afterwards, and he says "my error has been a good lesson to me never to trust in science to the principle of exclusion." ("M.L." II. pages 171-93.)

Although Darwin had not realised in 1838 that large parts of the British Islands had been occupied by great glaciers, he had by no means failed while in South America to recognise the importance of ice-action. His observations, as recorded in his Journal, on glaciers coming down to the sea-level, on the west coast of South America, in a latitude corresponding to a much lower one than that of the British Islands, profoundly interested geologists; and the same work contains many valuable notes on the boulders and unstratified beds in South America in which they were included.

But in 1840 Agassiz read his startling paper on the evidence of the former existence of glaciers in the British Islands, and this was followed by Buckland's memoir on the same subject. On April 14, 1841, Darwin contributed to the Geological Society his important paper "On the Distribution of Erratic Boulders and the Contemporaneous Unstratified Deposits of South America", a paper full of suggestiveness for those studying the glacial deposits of this country. It was published in the "Transactions" in 1842.

The description of traces of glacial action in North Wales, by Buckland, appears to have greatly excited the interest of Darwin. With Sedgwick he had, in 1831, worked at the stratigraphy of that district, but neither of them had noticed the very interesting surface features. ("L.L." I. page 58.) Darwin was able to make a journey to North Wales in June, 1842 (alas! it was his last effort in field-geology) and as a result he published his most able and convincing paper on the subject in the September number of the "Philosophical Magazine" for 1842. Thus the mystery of the bell-stone was at last solved and Darwin, writing many years afterwards, said "I felt the keenest delight when I first read of the action of icebergs in transporting boulders, and I gloried in the progress of Geology." ("L.L." I. page 41.) To the "Geographical Journal" he had sent in 1839 a note "On a Rock seen on an Iceberg in 16 deg S. Latitude." For the subject of ice- action, indeed, Darwin retained the greatest interest to the end of his life. ("M.L." II. pages 148-71.)

In 1846, Darwin read two papers to the Geological Society "On the dust which falls on vessels in the Atlantic, and On the Geology of the Falkland Islands"; in 1848 he contributed a note on the transport of boulders from lower to higher levels; and in 1862 another note on the thickness of the Pampean formation, as shown by recent borings at Buenos Ayres. An account of the "British Fossil Lepadidae" read in 1850, was withdrawn by him.

At the end of 1836 Darwin had settled himself in lodgings in Fitzwilliam Street, Cambridge, and devoted three months to the work of unpacking his specimens and studying his collection of rocks. The pencilled notes on the Manuscript Catalogue in the Sedgwick Museum enable us to realise his mode of work, and the diligence with which it was carried on. The letters M and H, indicate the assistance he received from time to time from Professor Miller, the crystallographer, and from his friend Henslow. Miller not only measured many of the crystals submitted to him, but evidently taught Darwin to use the reflecting goniometer himself with considerable success. The "book of measurements" in which the records were kept, appears to have been lost, but the pencilled notes in the catalogue show how thoroughly the work was done. The letter R attached to some of the numbers in the catalogue evidently refers to the fact that they were submitted to Mr Trenham Reeks (who analysed some of his specimens) at the Geological Survey quarters in Craig's Court. This was at a later date when Darwin was writing the "Volcanic Islands" and "South America".

It was about the month of March, 1837, that Darwin completed this work upon his rocks, and also the unpacking and distribution of his fossil bones and other specimens. We have seen that November, 1832, must certainly be regarded as the date when he FIRST realised the important fact that the fossil mammals of the Pampean formation were all closely related to the existing forms in South America; while October, 1835, was, as undoubtedly, the date when the study of the birds and other forms of life in the several islands of the Galapagos Islands gave him his SECOND impulse towards abandoning the prevalent view of the immutability of species. When then in his pocket-book for 1837 Darwin wrote the often quoted passage: "In July opened first note-book on Transmutation of Species. Had been greatly struck from about the month of previous March on character of South American fossils, and species on Galapagos Archipelago. These facts (especially latter), origin of all my views" ("L.L." I. page 276.), it is clear that he must refer, not to his first inception of the idea of evolution, but to the flood of recollections, the reawakening of his interest in the subject, which could not fail to result from the sight of his specimens and the reference to his notes.

Except during the summer vacation, when he was visiting his father and uncle, and with the latter making his first observations upon the work of earthworms, Darwin was busy with his arrangements for the publication of the five volumes of the "Zoology of the 'Beagle'" and in getting the necessary financial aid from the government for the preparation of the plates. He was at the same time preparing his "Journal" for publication. During the years 1837 to 1843, Darwin worked intermittently on the volumes of Zoology, all of which he edited, while he wrote introductions to those by Owen and Waterhouse and supplied notes to the others.

Although Darwin says of his Journal that the preparation of the book "was not hard work, as my MS. Journal had been written with care." Yet from the time that he settled at 36, Great Marlborough Street in March, 1837, to the following November he was occupied with this book. He tells us that the account of his scientific observations was added at this time. The work was not published till March, 1839, when it appeared as the third volume of the "Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of H.M. Ships 'Adventure' and 'Beagle' between the years 1826 and 1836". The book was probably a long time in the press, for there are no less than 20 pages of addenda in small print. Even in this, its first form, the work is remarkable for its freshness and charm, and excited a great amount of attention and interest. In addition to matters treated of in greater detail in his other works, there are many geological notes of extreme value in this volume, such as his account of lightning tubes, of the organisms found in dust, and of the obsidian bombs of Australia.

Having thus got out of hand a number of preliminary duties, Darwin was ready to set to work upon the three volumes which were designed by him to constitute "The Geology of the Voyage of the 'Beagle'". The first of these was to be on "The Structure and Distribution of Coral-reefs". He commenced the writing of the book on October 5, 1838, and the last proof was corrected on May 6, 1842. Allowing for the frequent interruptions through illness, Darwin estimated that it cost him twenty months of hard work.

Darwin has related how his theory of Coral-reefs which was begun in a more "deductive spirit" than any of his other work, for in 1834 or 1835 it "was thought out on the west coast of South America, before I had seen a true coral-reef." ("L.L." I. page 70.) The final chapter in Lyell's second volume of the "Principles" was devoted to the subject of Coral-reefs, and a theory was suggested to account for the peculiar phenomena of "atolls." Darwin at once saw the difficulty of accepting the view that the numerous and diverse atolls all represent submerged volcanic craters. His own work had for two years been devoted to the evidence of land movements over great areas in South America, and thus he was led to announce his theory of subsidence to account for barrier and encircling reefs as well as atolls.

Fortunately, during his voyage across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, in his visit to Australia and his twelve days' hard work at Keeling Island, he had opportunities for putting his theory to the test of observation.

On his return to England, Darwin appears to have been greatly surprised at the amount of interest that his new theory excited. Urged by Lyell, he read to the Geological Society a paper on the subject, as we have seen, with as little delay as possible, but this paper was "withdrawn by permission of the Council." An abstract of three pages however appeared in the "Proceedings of the Geological Society". (Vol. II. pages 552-554 (May 31, 1837).) A full account of the observations and the theory was given in the "Journal" (1839) in the 40 pages devoted to Keeling Island in particular and to Coral formations generally. ("Journal (1st edition), pages 439-69.)

It will be readily understood what an amount of labour the book on Coral reefs cost Darwin when we reflect on the number of charts, sailing directions, narratives of voyages and other works which, with the friendly assistance of the authorities at the Admiralty, he had to consult before he could draw up his sketch of the nature and distribution of the reefs, and this was necessary before the theory, in all its important bearings, could be clearly enunciated. Very pleasing is it to read how Darwin, although arriving at a different conclusion to Lyell, shows, by quoting a very suggestive passage in the "Principles" (1st edition Vol. II. page 296.), how the latter only just missed the true solution. This passage is cited, both in the "Journal" and the volume on Coral-reefs. Lyell, as we have seen, received the new theory not merely ungrudgingly, but with the utmost enthusiasm.

In 1849 Darwin was gratified by receiving the support of Dana, after his prolonged investigation in connection with the U.S. Exploring Expedition ("M.L." II. pages 226-8.), and in 1874 he prepared a second edition of his book, in which some objections which had been raised to the theory were answered. A third edition, edited by Professor Bonney, appeared in 1880, and a fourth (a reprint of the first edition, with introduction by myself) in 1890.

Although Professor Semper, in his account of the Pelew Islands, had suggested difficulties in the acceptance of Darwin's theory, it was not till after the return of the "Challenger" expedition in 1875 that a rival theory was propounded, and somewhat heated discussions were raised as to the respective merits of the two theories. While geologists have, nearly without exception, strongly supported Darwin's views, the notes of dissent have come almost entirely from zoologists. At the height of the controversy unfounded charges of unfairness were made against Darwin's supporters and the authorities of the Geological Society, but this unpleasant subject has been disposed of, once for all, by Huxley. ("Essays upon some Controverted Questions", London, 1892, pages 314-328 and 623- 625.)

Darwin's final and very characteristic utterance on the coral-reef controversy is found in a letter which he wrote to Professor Alexander Agassiz, May 5th, 1881: less than a year before his death: "If I am wrong, the sooner I am knocked on the head and annihilated so much the better. It still seems to me a marvellous thing that there should not have been much, and long-continued, subsidence in the beds of the great oceans. I wish that some doubly rich millionaire would take it into his head to have borings made in some of the Pacific and Indian atolls, and bring home cores for slicing from a depth of 500 or 600 feet." ("L.L." III. page 184.)

Though the "doubly rich millionaire" has not been forthcoming, the energy, in England, of Professor Sollas, and in New South Wales of Professor Anderson Stuart served to set on foot a project, which, aided at first by the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and afterwards taken up jointly by the Royal Society, the New South Wales Government, and the Admiralty, has led to the most definite and conclusive results.

The Committee appointed by the Royal Society to carry out the undertaking included representatives of all the views that had been put forward on the subject. The place for the experiment was, with the consent of every member of the Committee, selected by the late Admiral Sir W.J. Wharton--who was not himself an adherent of Darwin's views--and no one has ventured to suggest that his selection, the splendid atoll of Funafuti, was not a most judicious one.

By the pluck and perseverance of Professor Sollas in the preliminary expedition, and of Professor T. Edgeworth David and his pupils, in subsequent investigations of the island, the rather difficult piece of work was brought to a highly satisfactory conclusion. The New South Wales Government lent boring apparatus and workmen, and the Admiralty carried the expedition to its destination in a surveying ship which, under Captain (now Admiral) A. Mostyn Field, made the most complete survey of the atoll and its surrounding seas that has ever been undertaken in the case of a coral formation.

After some failures and many interruptions, the boring was carried to the depth of 1114 feet, and the cores obtained were sent to England. Here the examination of the materials was fortunately undertaken by a zoologist of the highest repute, Dr G.J. Hinde--who has a wide experience in the study of organisms by sections--and he was aided at all points by specialists in the British Museum of Natural History and by other naturalists. Nor were the chemical and other problems neglected.

The verdict arrived at, after this most exhaustive study of a series of cores obtained from depths twice as great as that thought necessary by Darwin, was as follows:--"The whole of the cores are found to be built up of those organisms which are seen forming coral-reefs near the surface of the ocean--many of them evidently in situ; and not the slightest indication could be detected, by chemical or microscopic means, which suggested the proximity of non-calcareous rocks, even in the lowest portions brought up."

But this was not all. Professor David succeeded in obtaining the aid of a very skilful engineer from Australia, while the Admiralty allowed Commander F.C.D. Sturdee to take a surveying ship into the lagoon for further investigations. By very ingenious methods, and with great perseverance, two borings were put down in the midst of the lagoon to the depth of nearly 200 feet. The bottom of the lagoon, at the depth of 101 1/2 feet from sea- level, was found to be covered with remains of the calcareous, green sea- weed Halimeda, mingled with many foraminifera; but at a depth of 163 feet from the surface of the lagoon the boring tools encountered great masses of coral, which were proved from the fragments brought up to belong to species that live within AT MOST 120 feet from the surface of the ocean, as admitted by all zoologists. ("The Atoll of Funafuti; Report of the Coral Reef Committee of the Royal Society", London, 1904.)

Darwin's theory, as is well known, is based on the fact that the temperature of the ocean at any considerable depth does not permit of the existence and luxuriant growth of the organisms that form the reefs. He himself estimated this limit of depth to be from 120 to 130 feet; Dana, as an extreme, 150 feet; while the recent very prolonged and successful investigations of Professor Alexander Agassiz in the Pacific and Indian Oceans lead him also to assign a limiting depth of 150 feet; the EFFECTIVE, REEF-FORMING CORALS, however, flourishing at a much smaller depth. Mr Stanley Gardiner gives for the most important reef-forming corals depths between 30 and 90 feet, while a few are found as low as 120 feet or even 180 feet.

It will thus be seen that the verdict of Funafuti is clearly and unmistakeably in favour of Darwin's theory. It is true that some zoologists find a difficulty in realising a slow sinking of parts of the ocean floor, and have suggested new and alternative explanations: but geologists generally, accepting the proofs of slow upheaval in some areas-- as shown by the admirable researches of Alexander Agassiz--consider that it is absolutely necessary to admit that this elevation is balanced by subsidence in other areas. If atolls and barrier-reefs did not exist we should indeed be at a great loss to frame a theory to account for their absence.

After finishing his book on Coral-reefs, Darwin made his summer excursion to North Wales, and prepared his important memoir on the glaciers of that district: but by October (1842) we find him fairly settled at work upon the second volume of his "Geology of the 'Beagle'--Geological Observations on the Volcanic Islands, visited during the Voyage of H.M.S. 'Beagle'". The whole of the year 1843 was devoted to this work, but he tells his friend Fox that he could "manage only a couple of hours per day, and that not very regularly." ("L.L." I. page 321.) Darwin's work on the various volcanic islands examined by him had given him the most intense pleasure, but the work of writing the book by the aid of his notes and specimens he found "uphill work," especially as he feared the book would not be read, "even by geologists." (Loc. cit.)

As a matter of fact the work is full of the most interesting observations and valuable suggestions, and the three editions (or reprints) which have appeared have proved a most valuable addition to geological literature. It is not necessary to refer to the novel and often very striking discoveries described in this well-known work. The subsidence beneath volcanic vents, the enormous denudation of volcanic cones reducing them to "basal wrecks," the effects of solfatarric action and the formation of various minerals in the cavities of rocks--all of these subjects find admirable illustration from his graphic descriptions. One of the most important discussions in this volume is that dealing with the "lamination" of lavas as especially well seen in the rocks of Ascension. Like Scrope, Darwin recognised the close analogy between the structure of these rocks and those of metamorphic origin--a subject which he followed out in the volume "Geological Observations on South America".

Of course in these days, since the application of the microscope to the study of rocks in thin sections, Darwin's nomenclature and descriptions of the petrological characters of the lavas appear to us somewhat crude. But it happened that the "Challenger" visited most of the volcanic islands described by Darwin, and the specimens brought home were examined by the eminent petrologist Professor Renard. Renard was so struck with the work done by Darwin, under disadvantageous conditions, that he undertook a translation of Darwin's work into French, and I cannot better indicate the manner in which the book is regarded by geologists than by quoting a passage from Renard's preface. Referring to his own work in studying the rocks brought home by the "Challenger" (Renard's descriptions of these rocks are contained in the "Challenger Reports". Mr Harker is supplementing these descriptions by a series of petrological memoirs on Darwin's specimens, the first of which appeared in the "Geological Magazine" for March, 1907.), he says:

"Je dus, en me livrant a ces recherches, suivre ligne par ligne les divers chapitres des "Observations geologiques" consacrees aux iles de l'Atlantique, oblige que j'etais de comparer d'une maniere suivie les resultats auxquels j'etais conduit avec ceux de Darwin, qui servaient de controle a mes constatations. Je ne tardai pas a eprouver une vive admiration pour ce chercheur qui, sans autre appareil que la loupe, sans autre reaction que quelques essais pyrognostiques, plus rarement quelques mesures au goniometre, parvenait a discerner la nature des agregats mineralogiques les plue complexes et les plus varies. Ce coup d'oeil qui savait embrasser de si vastes horizons, penetre ici profondement tous les details lithologiques. Avec quelle surete et quelle exactitude la structure et la composition des roches ne sont'elles pas determinees, l'origne de ces masses minerales deduite et confirmee par l'etude comparee des manifestations volcaniques d'autres regions; avec quelle science les relations entre les faits qu'il decouvre et ceux signales ailleurs par ses devanciers ne sont'elles pas etablies, et comme voici ebranlees les hypotheses regnantes, admises sans preuves, celles, par exemple, des crateres de soulevement et de la differenciation radicale des phenomenes plutoniques et volcaniques! Ce qui acheve de donner a ce livre un incomparable merite, ce sont les idees nouvelles qui s'y trouvent en germe et jetees la comme au hasard ainsi qu'un superflu d'abondance intellectuelle inepuisable." ("Observations Geologiques sur les Iles Volcaniques...", Paris, 1902, pages vi., vii.)

While engaged in his study of banded lavas, Darwin was struck with the analogy of their structure with that of glacier ice, and a note on the subject, in the form of a letter addressed to Professor J.D. Forbes, was published in the "Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh". (Vol. II. (1844-5), pages 17, 18.)

From April, 1832, to September, 1835, Darwin had been occupied in examining the coast or making inland journeys in the interior of the South American continent. Thus while eighteen months were devoted, at the beginning and end of the voyage to the study of volcanic islands and coral-reefs, no less than three and a half years were given to South American geology. The heavy task of dealing with the notes and specimens accumulated during that long period was left by Darwin to the last. Finishing the "Volcanic Islands" on February 14th, 1844, he, in July of the same year, commenced the preparation of two important works which engaged him till near the end of the year 1846. The first was his "Geological Observations on South America", the second a recast of his "Journal", published under the short title of "A Naturalist's Voyage round the World".

The first of these works contains an immense amount of information collected by the author under great difficulties and not unfrequently at considerable risk to life and health. No sooner had Darwin landed in South America than two sets of phenomena powerfully arrested his attention. The first of these was the occurrence of great masses of red mud containing bones and shells, which afforded striking evidence that the whole continent had shared in a series of slow and gradual but often interrupted movements. The second related to the great masses of crystalline rocks which, underlying the muds, cover so great a part of the continent. Darwin, almost as soon as he landed, was struck by the circumstance that the direction, as shown by his compass, of the prominent features of these great crystalline rock-masses--their cleavage, master-joints, foliation and pegmatite veins--was the same as the orientation described by Humboldt (whose works he had so carefully studied) on the west of the same great continent.

The first five chapters of the book on South America were devoted to formations of recent date and to the evidence collected on the east and west coasts of the continent in regard to those grand earth-movements, some of which could be shown to have been accompanied by earthquake-shocks. The fossil bones, which had given him the first hint concerning the mutability of species, had by this time been studied and described by comparative anatomists, and Darwin was able to elaborate much more fully the important conclusion that the existing fauna of South America has a close analogy with that of the period immediately preceding our own.

The remaining three chapters of the book dealt with the metamorphic and plutonic rocks, and in them Darwin announced his important conclusions concerning the relations of cleavage and foliation, and on the close analogy of the latter structure with the banding found in rock-masses of igneous origin. With respect to the first of these conclusions, he received the powerful support of Daniel Sharpe, who in the years 1852 and 1854 published two papers on the structure of the Scottish Highlands, supplying striking confirmation of the correctness of Darwin's views. Although Darwin's and Sharpe's conclusions were contested by Murchison and other geologists, they are now universally accepted. In his theory concerning the origin of foliation, Darwin had been to some extent anticipated by Scrope, but he supplied many facts and illustrations leading to the gradual acceptance of a doctrine which, when first enunciated, was treated with neglect, if not with contempt.

The whole of this volume on South American geology is crowded with the records of patient observations and suggestions of the greatest value; but, as Darwin himself saw, it was a book for the working geologist and "caviare to the general." Its author, indeed, frequently expressed his sense of the "dryness" of the book; he even says "I long hesitated whether I would publish it or not," and he wrote to Leonard Horner "I am astonished that you should have had the courage to go right through my book." ("M.L." II. page 221.)

Fortunately the second book, on which Darwin was engaged at this time, was of a very different character. His "Journal", almost as he had written it on board ship, with facts and observations fresh in his mind, had been published in 1839 and attracted much attention. In 1845, he says, "I took much pains in correcting a new edition," and the work which was commenced in April, 1845, was not finished till August of that year. The volume contains a history of the voyage with "a sketch of those observations in Natural History and Geology, which I think will possess some interest for the general reader." It is not necessary to speak of the merits of this scientific classic. It became a great favourite with the general public-- having passed through many editions--it was, moreover, translated into a number of different languages. Darwin was much gratified by these evidences of popularity, and naively remarks in his "Autobiography", "The success of this my first literary child tickles my vanity more than that of any of my other books" ("L.L." I. page 80.)--and this was written after the "Origin of Species" had become famous!

In Darwin's letters there are many evidences that his labours during these ten years devoted to the working out of the geological results of the voyage often made many demands on his patience and indomitable courage. Most geologists have experience of the contrast between the pleasures felt when wielding the hammer in the field, and the duller labour of plying the pen in the study. But in Darwin's case, innumerable interruptions from sickness and other causes, and the oft-deferred hope of reaching the end of his task were not the only causes operating to make the work irksome. The great project, which was destined to become the crowning achievement of his life, was now gradually assuming more definite shape, and absorbing more of his time and energies.

Nevertheless, during all this period, Darwin so far regarded his geological pursuits as his PROPER "work," that attention to other matters was always spoken of by him as "indulging in idleness." If at the end of this period the world had sustained the great misfortune of losing Darwin by death before the age of forty--and several times that event seemed only too probable--he might have been remembered only as a very able geologist of most advanced views, and a traveller who had written a scientific narrative of more than ordinary excellence!

The completion of the "Geology of the 'Beagle'" and the preparation of a revised narrative of the voyage mark the termination of that period of fifteen years of Darwin's life during which geological studies were his principal occupation. Henceforth, though his interest in geological questions remained ever keen, biological problems engaged more and more of his attention to the partial exclusion of geology.

The eight years from October, 1846, to October, 1854, were mainly devoted to the preparation of his two important monographs on the recent and fossil Cirripedia. Apart from the value of his description of the fossil forms, this work of Darwin's had an important influence on the progress of geological science. Up to that time a practice had prevailed for the student of a particular geological formation to take up the description of the plant and animal remains in it--often without having anything more than a rudimentary knowledge of the living forms corresponding to them. Darwin in his monograph gave a very admirable illustration of the enormous advantage to be gained--alike for biology and geology--by undertaking the study of the living and fossil forms of a natural group of organisms in connection with one another. Of the advantage of these eight years of work to Darwin himself, in preparing for the great task lying before him, Huxley has expressed a very strong opinion indeed. ("L.L." II. pages 247-48.)

But during these eight years of "species work," Darwin found opportunities for not a few excursions into the field of geology. He occasionally attended the Geological Society, and, as we have already seen, read several papers there during this period. His friend, Dr Hooker, then acting as botanist to the Geological Survey, was engaged in studying the Carboniferous flora, and many discussions on Palaezoic plants and on the origin of coal took place at this period. On this last subject he felt the deepest interest and told Hooker, "I shall never rest easy in Down churchyard without the problem be solved by some one before I die." ("M.L." I. pages 63, 64.)

As at all times, conversations and letters with Lyell on every branch of geological science continued with unabated vigour, and in spite of the absorbing character of the work on the Cirripedes, time was found for all. In 1849 his friend Herschel induced him to supply a chapter of forty pages on Geology to the Admiralty "Manual of Scientific Inquiry" which he was editing. This is Darwin's single contribution to books of an "educational" kind. It is remarkable for its clearness and simplicity and attention to minute details. It may be read by the student of Darwin's life with much interest, for the directions he gives to an explorer are without doubt those which he, as a self-taught geologist, proved to be serviceable during his life on the "Beagle".

On the completion of the Cirripede volumes, in 1854, Darwin was able to grapple with the immense pile of MS. notes which he had accumulated on the species question. The first sketch of 35 pages (1842), had been enlarged in 1844 into one of 230 pages ([The first draft of the "Origin" is being prepared for Press by Mr Francis Darwin and will be published by the Cambridge University Press this year (1909). A.C.S.]); but in 1856 was commenced the work (never to be completed) which was designed on a scale three or four times more extensive than that on which the "Origin of Species" was in the end written.

In drawing up those two masterly chapters of the "Origin", "On the Imperfection of the Geological Record," and "On the Geological Succession of Organic Beings", Darwin had need of all the experience and knowledge he had been gathering during thirty years, the first half of which had been almost wholly devoted to geological study. The most enlightened geologists of the day found much that was new, and still more that was startling from the manner of its presentation, in these wonderful essays. Of Darwin's own sense of the importance of the geological evidence in any presentation of his theory a striking proof will be found in a passage of the touching letter to his wife, enjoining the publication of his sketch of 1844. "In case of my sudden death," he wrote, "...the editor must be a geologist as well as a naturalist." ("L.L." II. pages 16, 17.)

In spite of the numerous and valuable palaeontological discoveries made since the publication of "The Origin of Species", the importance of the first of these two geological chapters is as great as ever. It still remains true that "Those who believe that the geological record is in any degree perfect, will at once reject the theory"--as indeed they must reject any theory of evolution. The striking passage with which Darwin concludes this chapter--in which he compares the record of the rocks to the much mutilated volumes of a human history--remains as apt an illustration as it did when first written.

And the second geological chapter, on the Succession of Organic Beings-- though it has been strengthened in a thousand ways, by the discoveries concerning the pedigrees of the horse, the elephant and many other aberrant types, though new light has been thrown even on the origin of great groups like the mammals, and the gymnosperms, though not a few fresh links have been discovered in the chains of evidence, concerning the order of appearance of new forms of life--we would not wish to have re-written. Only the same line of argument could be adopted, though with innumerable fresh illustrations. Those who reject the reasonings of this chapter, neither would they be persuaded if a long and complete succession of "ancestral forms" could rise from the dead and pass in procession before them.

Among the geological discussions, which so frequently occupied Darwin's attention during the later years of his life, there was one concerning which his attitude seemed somewhat remarkable--I allude to his views on "the permanence of Continents and Ocean-basins." In a letter to Mr Mellard Reade, written at the end of 1880, he wrote: "On the whole, I lean to the side that the continents have since Cambrian times occupied approximately their present positions. But, as I have said, the question seems a difficult one, and the more it is discussed the better." ("M.L." II. page 147.) Since this was written, the important contribution to the subject by the late Dr W.T. Blanford (himself, like Darwin, a naturalist and geologist) has appeared in an address to the Geological Society in 1890; and many discoveries, like that of Dr Woolnough in Fiji, have led to considerable qualifications of the generalisation that all the islands in the great ocean are wholly of volcanic or coral origin.

I remember once expressing surprise to Darwin that, after the views which he had originated concerning the existence of areas of elevation and others of subsidence in the Pacific Ocean, and in face of the admitted difficulty of accounting for the distribution of certain terrestrial animals and plants, if the land and sea areas had been permanent in position, he still maintained that theory. Looking at me with a whimsical smile, he said: "I have seen many of my old friends make fools of themselves, by putting forward new theoretical views or revising old ones, AFTER THEY WERE SIXTY YEARS OF AGE; so, long ago, I determined that on reaching that age I would write nothing more of a speculative character."

Though Darwin's letters and conversations on geology during these later years were the chief manifestations of the interest he preserved in his "old love," as he continued to call it, yet in the sunset of that active life a gleam of the old enthusiasm for geology broke forth once more. There can be no doubt that Darwin's inability to occupy himself with field- work proved an insuperable difficulty to any attempt on his part to resume active geological research. But, as is shown by the series of charming volumes on plant-life, Darwin had found compensation in making patient and persevering experiment take the place of enterprising and exact observation; and there was one direction in which he could indulge the "old love" by employment of the new faculty.

We have seen that the earliest memoir written by Darwin, which was published in full, was a paper "On the Formation of Mould" which was read at the Geological Society on November 1st, 1837, but did not appear in the "Transactions" of the Society till 1840, where it occupied four and a half quarto pages, including some supplementary matter, obtained later, and a woodcut. This little paper was confined to observations made in his uncle's fields in Staffordshire, where burnt clay, cinders, and sand were found to be buried under a layer of black earth, evidently brought from below by earthworms, and to a recital of similar facts from Scotland obtained through the agency of Lyell. The subsequent history of Darwin's work on this question affords a striking example of the tenacity of purpose with which he continued his enquiries on any subject that interested him.

In 1842, as soon as he was settled at Down, he began a series of observations on a foot-path and in his fields, that continued with intermissions during his whole life, and he extended his enquiries from time to time to the neighbouring parks of Knole and Holwood. In 1844 we find him making a communication to the "Gardener's Chronicle" on the subject. About 1870, his attention to the question was stimulated by the circumstance that his niece (Miss L. Wedgwood) undertook to collect and weigh the worm-casts thrown up, during a whole year, on measured squares selected for the purpose, at Leith Hill Place. He also obtained information from Professor Ramsay concerning observations made by him on a pavement near his house in 1871. Darwin at this time began to realise the great importance of the action of worms to the archaeologist. At an earlier date he appears to have obtained some information concerning articles found buried on the battle-field of Shrewsbury, and the old Roman town of Uriconium, near his early home; between 1871 and 1878 Mr (afterwards Lord) Farrer carried on a series of investigations at the Roman Villa discovered on his land at Abinger; Darwin's son William examined for his father the evidence at Beaulieu Abbey, Brading, Stonehenge and other localities in the neighbourhood of his home; his sons Francis and Horace were enlisted to make similar enquiries at Chideock and Silchester; while Francis Galton contributed facts noticed in his walks in Hyde Park. By correspondence with Fritz Muller and Dr Ernst, Darwin obtained information concerning the worm-casts found in South America; from Dr Kreft those of Australia; and from Mr Scott and Dr (afterwards Sir George) King, those of India; the last-named correspondent also supplied him with much valuable information obtained in the South of Europe. Help too was obtained from the memoirs on Earthworms published by Perrier in 1874 and van Hensen in 1877, while Professor Ray Lankester supplied important facts with regard to their anatomy.

When therefore the series of interesting monographs on plant-life had been completed, Darwin set to work in bringing the information that he had gradually accumulated during forty-four years to bear on the subject of his early paper. He also utilised the skill and ingenuity he had acquired in botanical work to aid in the elucidation of many of the difficulties that presented themselves. I well remember a visit which I paid to Down at this period. At the side of the little study stood flower-pots containing earth with worms, and, without interrupting our conversation, Darwin would from time to time lift the glass plate covering a pot to watch what was going on. Occasionally, with a humorous smile, he would murmur something about a book in another room, and slip away; returning shortly, without the book but with unmistakeable signs of having visited the snuff-jar outside. After working about a year at the worms, he was able at the end of 1881 to publish the charming little book--"The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms, with Observations on their Habits". This was the last of his books, and its reception by reviewers and the public alike afforded the patient old worker no little gratification. Darwin's scientific career, which had begun with geological research, most appropriately ended with a return to it.

It has been impossible to sketch the origin and influence of Darwin's geological work without, at almost every step, referring to the part played by Lyell and the "Principles of Geology". Haeckel, in the chapters on Lyell and Darwin in his "History of Creation", and Huxley in his striking essay "On the Reception of the Origin of Species" ("L.L." II. pages 179- 204.) have both strongly insisted on the fact that the "Origin" of Darwin was a necessary corollary to the "Principles" of Lyell.

It is true that, in an earlier essay, Huxley had spoken of the doctrine of Uniformitarianism as being, in a certain sense, opposed to that of Evolution (Huxley's Address to the Geological Society, 1869. "Collected Essays", Vol. VIII. page 305, London, 1896.); but in his later years he took up a very different and more logical position, and maintained that "Consistent uniformitarianism postulates evolution as much in the organic as in the inorganic world. The origin of a new species by other than ordinary agencies would be a vastly greater 'catastrophe' than any of those which Lyell success fully eliminated from sober geological speculation." ("L.L." II. page 190.)

Huxley's admiration for the "Principles of Geology", and his conviction of the greatness of the revolution of thought brought about by Lyell, was almost as marked as in the case of Darwin himself. (See his Essay on "Science and Pseudo Science". "Collected Essays", Vol. V. page 90, London, 1902.) He felt, however, as many others have done, that in one respect the very success of Lyell's masterpiece has been the reason why its originality and influence have not been so fully recognised as they deserved to be. Written as the book was before its author had arrived at the age of thirty, no less than eleven editions of the "Principles" were called for in his lifetime. With the most scrupulous care, Lyell, devoting all his time and energies to the task of collecting and sifting all evidence bearing on the subjects of his work, revised and re-revised it; and as in each edition, eliminations, modifications, corrections, and additions were made, the book, while it increased in value as a storehouse of facts, lost much of its freshness, vigour and charm as a piece of connected reasoning.

Darwin undoubtedly realised this when he wrote concerning the "Principles", "the first edition, my old true love, which I never deserted for the later editions." ("M.L." II. page 222.) Huxley once told me that when, in later life, he read the first edition, he was both surprised and delighted, feeling as if it were a new book to him. (I have before me a letter which illustrates this feeling on Huxley's part. He had lamented to me that he did not possess a copy of the first edition of the "Principles", when, shortly afterwards, I picked up a dilapidated copy on a bookstall; this I had bound and sent to my old teacher and colleague. His reply is characteristic:

October 8, 1884.

My Dear Judd,

You could not have made me a more agreeable present than the copy of the first edition of Lyell, which I find on my table. I have never been able to meet with the book, and your copy is, as the old woman said of her Bible, "the best of books in the best of bindings."

Ever yours sincerely,

T.H. Huxley.

I cannot refrain from relating an incident which very strikingly exemplifies the affection for one another felt by Lyell and Huxley. In his last illness, when confined to his bed, Lyell heard that Huxley was to lecture at the Royal Institution on the "Results of the 'Challenger' expedition": he begged me to attend the lecture and bring him an account of it. Happening to mention this to Huxley, he at once undertook to go to Lyell in my place, and he did so on the morning following his lecture. I shall never forget the look of gratitude on the face of the invalid when he told me, shortly afterwards, how Huxley had sat by his bedside and "repeated the whole lecture to him.")

Darwin's generous nature seems often to have made him experience a fear lest he should do less than justice to his "dear old master," and to the influence that the "Principles of Geology" had in moulding his mind. In 1845 he wrote to Lyell, "I have long wished, not so much for your sake, as for my own feelings of honesty, to acknowledge more plainly than by mere reference, how much I geologically owe you. Those authors, however, who like you, educate people's minds as well as teach them special facts, can never, I should think, have full justice done them except by posterity, for the mind thus insensibly improved can hardly perceive its own upward ascent." ("L.L." I. pages 337-8.) In another letter, to Leonard Horner, he says: "I always feel as if my books came half out of Lyell's brain, and that I never acknowledge this sufficiently." ("M.L." II. page 117.) Darwin's own most favourite book, the "Narrative of the Voyage", was dedicated to Lyell in glowing terms; and in the "Origin of Species" he wrote of "Lyell's grand work on the "Principles of Geology", which the future historian will recognise as having produced a revolution in Natural Science." "What glorious good that work has done" he fervently exclaims on another occasion. ("L.L." I. page 342.)

To the very end of his life, as all who were in the habit of talking with Darwin can testify, this sense of his indebtedness to Lyell remained with him. In his "Autobiography", written in 1876, the year after Lyell's death, he spoke in the warmest terms of the value to him of the "Principles" while on the voyage and of the aid afforded to him by Lyell on his return to England. ("L.L." I. page 62.) But the year before his own death, Darwin felt constrained to return to the subject and to place on record a final appreciation—one as honourable to the writer as it is to his lost friend:

"I saw more of Lyell than of any other man, both before and after my marriage. His mind was characterised, as it appeared to me, by clearness, caution, sound judgment, and a good deal of originality. When I made any remark to him on Geology, he never rested until he saw the whole case clearly, and often made me see it more clearly than I had done before. He would advance all possible objections to my suggestion, and even after these were exhausted would remain long dubious. A second characteristic was his hearty sympathy with the work of other scientific men...His delight in science was ardent, and he felt the keenest interest in the future progress of mankind. He was very kind-hearted...His candour was highly remarkable. He exhibited this by becoming a convert to the Descent theory, though he had gained much fame by opposing Lamarck's views, and this after he had grown old."


Those who knew Lyell intimately will recognise the truth of the portrait drawn by his dearest friend, and I believe that posterity will endorse Darwin's deliberate verdict concerning the value of his labours.

It was my own good fortune, to be brought into close contact with these two great men during the later years of their life, and I may perhaps be permitted to put on record the impressions made upon me during friendly intercourse with both.

In some respects, there was an extraordinary resemblance in their modes and habits of thought, between Lyell and Darwin; and this likeness was also seen in their modesty, their deference to the opinion of younger men, their enthusiasm for science, their freedom from petty jealousies and their righteous indignation for what was mean and unworthy in others. But yet there was a difference. Both Lyell and Darwin were cautious, but perhaps Lyell carried his caution to the verge of timidity. I think Darwin possessed, and Lyell lacked, what I can only describe by the theological term, "faith--the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Both had been constrained to feel that the immutability of species could not be maintained. Both, too, recognised the fact that it would be useless to proclaim this conviction, unless prepared with a satisfactory alternative to what Huxley called "the Miltonic hypothesis." But Darwin's conviction was so far vital and operative that it sustained him while working unceasingly for twenty-two years in collecting evidence bearing on the question, till at last he was in the position of being able to justify that conviction to others.

And yet Lyell's attitude—and that of Hooker, which was very similar—proved of inestimable service to science, as Darwin often acknowledged. One of the greatest merits of the "Origin of Species" is that so many difficulties and objections are anticipated and fairly met; and this as to a great extent the result of the persistent and very candid--if always friendly—criticism of Lyell and Hooker.

I think the divergence of mental attitude in Lyell and Darwin must be attributed to a difference in temperament, the evidence of which sometimes appears in a very striking manner in their correspondence. Thus in 1838, while they were in the thick of the fight with the Catastrophists of the Geological Society, Lyell wrote characteristically: "I really find, when bringing up my Preliminary Essays in "Principles" to the science of the present day, so far as I know it, that the great outline, and even most of the details, stand so uninjured, and in many cases they are so much strengthened by new discoveries, especially by yours, that we may begin to hope that the great principles there insisted on will stand the test of new discoveries." (Lyell's "Life, Letters and Journals", Vol. II. page 44.) To which the more youthful and impetuous Darwin replies: "BEGIN TO HOPE: why the POSSIBILITY of a doubt has never crossed my mind for many a day. This may be very unphilosophical, but my geological salvation is staked on makes me quite indignant that you should talk of HOPING." ("L.L." I. page 296.)

It was not only Darwin's "geological salvation" that was at stake, when he surrendered himself to his enthusiasm for an idea. To his firm faith in the doctrine of continuity we owe the "Origin of Species"; and while Darwin became the "Paul" of evolution, Lyell long remained the "doubting Thomas."

Many must have felt like H.C. Watson when he wrote: "How could Sir C. Lyell...for thirty years read, write, and think, on the subject of species AND THEIR SUCCESSION, and yet constantly look down the wrong road!" ("L.L." II. page 227.) Huxley attributed this hesitation of Lyell to his "profound antipathy" to the doctrine of the "pithecoid origin of man." ("L.L." II. page 193.) Without denying that this had considerable influence (and those who knew Lyell and his great devotion to his wife and her memory, are aware that he and she felt much stronger convictions concerning such subjects as the immortality of the soul than Darwin was able to confess to) yet I think Darwin had divined the real characteristics of his friend's mind, when he wrote: "He would advance all possible objections...AND EVEN AFTER THESE WERE EXHAUSTED, WOULD REMAIN LONG DUBIOUS."

Very touching indeed was the friendship maintained to the end between these two leaders of thought--free as their intercourse was from any smallest trace of self-seeking or jealousy. When in 1874 I spent some time with Lyell in his Forfarshire home, a communication from Darwin was always an event which made a "red-letter day," as Lyell used to say; and he gave me many indications in his conversation of how strongly he relied upon the opinion of Darwin--more indeed than on the judgment of any other man--this confidence not being confined to questions of science, but extending to those of morals, politics, and religion.

I have heard those who knew Lyell only slightly, speak of his manners as cold and reserved. His complete absorption in his scientific work, coupled with extreme short-sightedness, almost in the end amounting to blindness, may have permitted those having but a casual acquaintance with him to accept such a view. But those privileged to know him intimately recognised the nobleness of his character and can realise the justice and force of Hooker's words when he heard of his death: "My loved, my best friend, for well nigh forty years of my life. The most generous sharer of my own and my family's hopes, joys and sorrows, whose affection for me was truly that of a father and brother combined."

But the strongest of all testimonies to the grandeur of Lyell's character is the lifelong devotion to him of such a man as Darwin. Before the two met, we find Darwin constantly writing of facts and observations that he thinks "will interest Mr Lyell"; and when they came together the mutual esteem rapidly ripened into the warmest affection. Both having the advantage of a moderate independence, permitting of an entire devotion of their lives to scientific research, they had much in common, and the elder man--who had already achieved both scientific and literary distinction--was able to give good advice and friendly help to the younger one. The warmth of their friendship comes out very strikingly in their correspondence. When Darwin first conceived the idea of writing a book on the "species question," soon after his return from the voyage, it was "by following the example of Lyell in Geology" that he hoped to succeed ("L.L." I. page 83.); when in 1844, Darwin had finished his first sketch of the work, and, fearing that his life might not be spared to complete his great undertaking, committed the care of it in a touching letter to his wife, it was his friend Lyell whom he named as her adviser and the possible editor of the book ("L.L." II. pages 17-18.); it was Lyell who, in 1856, induced Darwin to lay the foundations of a treatise ("L.L." I. page 84.) for which the author himself selected the "Principles" as his model; and when the dilemma arose from the receipt of Wallace's essay, it was to Lyell jointly with Hooker that Darwin turned, not in vain, for advice and help.

During the later years of his life, I never heard Darwin allude to his lost friend--and he did so very often--without coupling his name with some term of affection. For a brief period, it is true, Lyell's excessive caution when the "Origin" was published, seemed to try even the patience of Darwin; but when "the master" was at last able to declare himself fully convinced, he was the occasion of more rejoicing on the part of Darwin, than any other convert to his views. The latter was never tired of talking of Lyell's "magnanimity" and asserted that, "To have maintained in the position of a master, one side of a question for thirty years, and then deliberately give it up, is a fact to which I much doubt whether the records of science offer a parallel." ("L.L." II. pages 229-30.)

Of Darwin himself, I can safely affirm that I never knew anyone who had met him, even for the briefest period, who was not charmed by his personality. Who could forget the hearty hand-grip at meeting, the gentle and lingering pressure of the palm at parting, and above all that winning smile which transformed his countenance--so as to make portraits, and even photographs, seem ever afterwards unsatisfying! Looking back, one is indeed tempted to forget the profoundness of the philosopher, in recollection of the loveableness of the man.

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