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ALTHOUGH it is generally recognised that the Origin of Species has produced an effect both on the science and the philosophy of our age which is without a parallel in the history of thought, admirers of Mr. Darwin's genius are frequently surprised at the ignorance of his work which is displayed by many persons who can scarcely be said to belong to the uncultured classes. The reason of this ignorance is no doubt partly due to the busy life which many


of our bread-winners are constrained to live; but it is also, I think, partly due to mere indo

lence. There are thousands of educated persons

who, on coming home from their daily work, prefer reading literature of a less scientific character than that which is supplied by Mr. Darwin's works; and therefore it is that such persons feel these, works to belong to a category of books which is to them a very large onethe books, namely, which never are, but always

to be, read. Under these circumstances I have

thought it desirable to supply a short digest of the Origin of Species, which any man, of however busy a life, or of however indolent a disposition, may find both time and energy to follow.

With the general aim of the present abstract being thus understood, I shall start at the beginning of my subject by very briefly describing the theory of natural selection.

It is a

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