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article bears the title of a ' Contribution to the History of the Descent Theory’; and Dr. Krause has kindly allowed my brother Erasmus and myself to have a translation made of it for publication in this country.”
Then came a note as follows:
“Mr. Dallas has undertaken the translation, and his scientific reputation, together with his knowledge of German, is a guarantee for its accuracy.
I ought to have suspected inaccuracy where I found so much consciousness of accuracy, but I did not. However this may be, Mr. Darwin pins himself down with every circumstance of preciseness to giving Dr. Krause's article as it appeared in Kosmos,-the whole article, and nothing but the article. No one could know this better than Mr. Darwin.
On the second page of Mr. Darwin's preface there is a small-type note saying that my work, Evolution, Old and New, had appeared since the publication of Dr. Krause's article." Mr. Darwin thus distinctly precludes his readers from supposing that any passage they might meet with could have been written in reference to,
or by the light of, my book. If anything appeared condemnatory of that book, it was an undesigned coincidence, and would show how little worthy of consideration I must be when my opinions were refuted in advance by one who could have no bias in regard to them,
Knowing that if the article I was about to read appeared in February, it must have been published before my book, which was not out till three months later, I saw nothing in Mr. Darwin's preface to complain of, and felt that this was only another instance of my absurd vanity having led me to rush to conclusions without sufficient grounds, -as if it was likely, indeed, that Mr. Darwin should think what I had said of sufficient importance to be affected by it. It was plain that some one besides myself, of whom I as yet knew nothing, had been writing about the elder Darwin, and had taken much the same line concerning him that I had done. It was for the benefit of this person, then, that Dr. Krause's paragraph was intended. I returned to a becoming sense of my own insignificance, and began to read what I supposed to be an accurate trans
I lation of Dr. Krause's article as it originally appeared, before Evolution, Old and New, was published. On pp. 3 and 4 of Dr. Krause's part of Mr. Darwin's
4 book (pp. 133 and 134 of the book itself), I detected a sub-apologetic tone which a little surprised me, and a notice of the fact that Coleridge
when writing on Stillingfleet had used the word “Darwinising. Mr. R. Garnett had called my attention to this, and I had mentioned it in Evolution, Old and New, but the
paragraph only struck me as being a little odd.
When I got a few pages farther on (p. 147 of Mr. Darwin's book), I found a long quotation from Buffon about rudimentary organs, which I had quoted in Evolution, Old and New. I observed that Dr. Krause used the same edition of Buffon that I did, and began his quotation two lines from the beginning of Buffon's paragraph, exactly as I had done; also that he had taken his nominative from the omitted part of the sentence across a full stop, as I had myself taken it. A little lower I found a line of Buffon's omitted which I had given, but I found that at that place I had inadvertently left two pair of inverted commas which ought to have come out,' having intended to end my quotation, but changed my mind and continued it without erasing the commas. It seemed to me that these commas had
Evolution, Old and New, p. 120, line 5 [Shrewsbury Edition, p. 104).
bothered Dr. Krause, and made him think it safer to leave something out, for the line he omits is a very good one. I noticed that he translated “ Mais comme nous voulons toujours tout rapporter à un certain but,” “But we, always wishing to refer,” etc., while I had it, “But we, ever on the look-out to refer,” etc.; and “Nous ne faisons pas attention que nous altérons la philosophie," “ We fail to see that thus we deprive
, philosophy of her true character,” whereas I had “We fail to see that we thus rob philosophy of her true character.” This last was too much; and though it might turn out that Dr. Krause had quoted this passage before I had done so, had used the same edition as I had, had begun two lines from the beginning of a paragraph as I had done, and that the later resemblances were merely due to Mr. Dallas having compared Dr. Krause's German translation of Buffon with my English, and very properly made use of it when he thought fit, it looked prima facie more as though my quotation had been copied in English as it stood, and then altered, but not quite altered enough. This, in the face of the preface, was incredible; but so many points had such an unpleasant aspect, that I thought it better to send for Kosmos and see what I could make out.
At this time I knew not one word of German. On the same day, therefore, that I sent for Kosmos I began to acquire that language, and in the fortnight before Kosmos came had got far enough forward for all practical purposes, that is to say, with the help of a translation and a dictionary, I could see whether or no a German passage was the same as what purported to be its translation.
When Kosmos came I turned to the end of the article to see how the sentence about mental anachronism and weakness of thought looked in German. I found
nothing of the kind, the original article ended with some innocent rhyming doggerel about somebody going on and exploring something with eagle eye; but ten lines from the end I found a sentence which corresponded with one six pages from the end of the English translation. After this there could be little doubt that the whole of these last six English pages were spurious
What little doubt remained was afterwards removed by my finding that they had no place in any part of the genuine article. I looked for the passage about Coleridge's using the word “Darwinising”; it was not to be found in the German. I looked for the piece I had quoted from Buffon about rudimentary organs; but there was nothing of it, nor indeed any reference to Buffon. It was plain, therefore, that the article which Mr. Darwin had given was not the one he professed to be giving. I read Mr. Darwin's preface over again to see whether he left himself any loophole. There was not a chink or cranny through which escape was possible. The only inference that could be drawn was either that some one had imposed upon Mr. Darwin, or that Mr. Darwin, although it was not possible to suppose him ignorant of the interpolations that had been made, nor of the obvious purpose of the concluding sentence, had nevertheless palmed off an article which had been added to and made to attack Evolution, Old and New, as though it were the original article which appeared before that book was written. I could not and would not believe that Mr. Darwin had condescended to this. Nevertheless, I saw it was necessary to sift the whole matter, and began to compare the German and the English articles paragraph by paragraph.
On the first page I found a passage omitted from the English, which with great labour I managed to get through, and can now translate as follows:
Evolution,” etc. “ Alexander Von Humboldt used to take pleasure in recounting how powerfully Forster's pictures of the South Sea Islands and St. Pierre's illustrations of Nature had provoked his ardour for travel and influenced his career as a scientific investigator. How much more impressively must the works of Dr. Erasmus Darwin, with their reiterated foreshadowing of a more lofty interpretation of Nature, have affected his grandson, who in his youth assuredly approached them with the devotion due to the works of a renowned poet.” 1
I then came upon a passage common to both German and English, which in its turn was followed in the English by the sub-apologetic paragraph which I had been struck with on the first reading, and which was not in the German, its place being taken by a much longer passage which had no place in the English. A little farther on I was amused at coming upon
the following, and at finding it wholly transformed in the supposed accurate translation:
“How must this early and penetrating explanation of rudimentary organs have affeĉted the grandson when he read the poem of his ancestor! But indeed the biological remarks of this accurate observer in regard to certain definite natural objects must have produced a still deeper impression upon him, pointing, as they do, to questions which have attained so great a prominence at the present day; such as, Why is any creature anywhere such as we actually see it, and nothing else? Why has such and such a plant poisonous juices? Why has such and such another thorns? Why have birds and fishes light-coloured breasts and dark backs, and, Why does every creature resemble the one from which it sprung? ”2
I will not weary the reader with further details as to the omissions from and additions to the German text. Kosmos, February 1879, p. 397.
· Ibid., p. 404. .