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Let it suffice that the so-called translation begins on p. 131 and ends on p. 216 of Mr. Darwin's book. There is new matter on each one of the pp. 132-139, while almost the whole of pp. 147-152 inclusive, and the whole of
pp. 211-216 inclusive, are spurious-that is to say, not what they purport to be, not translations from an article that was published in February 1879, and before Evolution, Old and New, but interpolations not published till six months after that book.
Bearing in mind the contents of two of the added passages and the tenor of the concluding sentence quoted above,' I could no longer doubt that the article had been altered by the light of and with a view to Evolution, Old and New.
The steps are perfectly clear. First Dr. Krause published his article in Kosmos and my book was announced (its purport being thus made obvious), both in the month of February 1879. Soon afterwards arrangements were made for a translation of Dr. Krause's essay, and were completed by the end of April. Then my book came out, and in some way or other Dr. Krause happened to get hold of it. He helped himself --not to much, but to enough; made what other additions to and omissions from his article he thought would best meet Evolution, Old and New, and then fell to condemning that book in a finale that was meant to be crushing. Nothing was said about the revision which Dr. Krause's work had undergone, but it was expressly and particularly declared in the preface that the English translation was an accurate version of what appeared in the February number of Kosmos, and no less expressly and particularly stated that my book was published subsequently to this. Both these statements are untrue; they are in Mr. Darwin's favour and prejudicial to myself.
Page 42 of this volume.
All this was done with that well-known“ happy simplicity of which the Pall Mall Gazette, 12th December 1879, declared that Mr. Darwin was a master.” The final sentence, about the “ weakness of thought and mental anachronism which no one can envy, especially successful. The reviewer in the Pall Mall Gazette just quoted from gave it in full, and said that it was thoroughly justified. He then mused forth a general gnome that the “confidence of writers who deal in semi-scientific paradoxes is commonly in inverse proportion to their grasp of the subject.” Again my vanity suggested to me that I was the person for whose benefit this gnome was intended. My vanity, indeed, was well fed by the whole transaction; for I saw that not only did Mr. Darwin, who should be the best judge, think my work worth notice, but that he did not venture to meet it openly. As for Dr. Krause's concluding sentence, I thought that when a sentence had been antedated, the less it contained about anachronism the better.
Only one of the reviews that I saw of Mr. Darwin's Life of Erasmus Darwin showed any knowledge of the fačts. The Popular Science Review for January 1880, in flat contradiction to Mr. Darwin's preface, said that only part of Dr. Krause's article was being given by Mr. Darwin. This reviewer had plainly seen both Kosmos and Mr. Darwin's book.
In the same number of the Popular Science Review, and immediately following the review of Mr. Darwin's book, there is a review of Evolution, Old and New. The writer of this review quotes the passage about mental anachronism as quoted by the reviewer in the Pall Mall Gazette, and adds immediately: “This anachronism has been committed by Mr. Samuel Butler in a ... little volume now before us, and it is doubtless to this, which
appeared while his own work was in progress (italics mine); that Dr. Krause alludes in the foregoing passage. Considering that the editor of the Popular Science Review and the translator of Dr. Krause's article for Mr. Darwin are one and the same person, it is likely the Popular Science Review is well informed in saying that my book appeared before Dr. Krause's article had been transformed into its present shape, and that my book was intended by the passage in question.
Unable to see any way of escaping from a conclusion which I could not willingly adopt, I thought it best to write to Mr. Darwin, stating the facts as they appeared to myself, and asking an explanation, which I would have gladly strained a good many points to have accepted. It is better, perhaps, that I should give my letter and Mr. Darwin's answer in full. My letter ran thus:
“ 2nd January 1880. CHARLES DARWIN, ESQ., F.R.S., ETC.
DEAR SIR,-Will you kindly refer me to the edition of Kosmos which contains the text of Dr. Krause's article on Dr. Erasmus Darwin, as translated by Mr. W. S. Dallas?
“I have before me the last February number of Kosmos, which appears by your preface to be the one from which Mr. Dallas has translated, but his translation contains long and important passages which are not in the February number of Kosmos, while many passages in the original article are omitted in the translation.
“ Among the passages introduced are the last six pages of the English article, which seem to condemn by anticipation the position I have taken as regards Dr. Erasmus Darwin in my book, Evolution, Old and New, and which I believe I was the first to take. The concluding, and therefore, perhaps, most prominent
Evolution,” etc. sentence of the translation you have given to the public Stands thus:
“Erasmus Darwin's system was in itself a most significant first step in the path of knowledge which his grandson has opened up for us, but to wish to revive it at the present day, as has actually been seriously attempted, shows a weakness of thought and a mental anachronism which no one can envy.'
“ The Kosmos which has been sent me from Germany contains no such passage. “ As you have stated in your preface that my
book Evolution, Old and New, appeared subsequently to Dr. Krause's article, and as no intimation is given that the article has been altered and added to since its original appearance, while the accuracy of the translation as though from the February number of Kosmos is, as you expressly say, guaranteed by Mr. Dallas's scientific reputation together with his knowledge of German,' your readers will naturally suppose that all they read in the translation appeared in February last, and therefore before Evolution, Old and New, was written, and therefore independently of, and necessarily without reference to, that book.
“I do not doubt that this was actually the case, but have failed to obtain the edition which contains the passage above referred to, and several others which appear in the translation.
“I have a personal interest in this matter, and venture, therefore, to ask for the explanation, which I do not doubt you will readily give me. - Yours faithfully, S. BUTLER. The following is Mr. Darwin's answer:
3rd January 1880. MY DEAR SIR,-Dr. Krause, soon after the appearance of his article in Kosmos, told me that he intended to
publish it separately and to alter it considerably, and the altered MS. was sent to Mr. Dallas for translation. This is so common a practice that it never occurred to me to state that the article had been modified; but now I much regret that I did not do so. The original will soon appear in German, and I believe will be a much larger book than the English one; for, with Dr. Krause's consent, many long extracts from Miss Seward were omitted (as well as much other matter), from being in my opinion superfluous for the English reader. I believe that the omitted parts will appear as notes in the German edition. Should there be a reprint of the English Life, I will state that the original as it appeared in Kosmos was modified by Dr. Krause before it was translated. I may add that I had obtained Dr. Krause's consent for a translation, and had arranged with Mr. Dallas before your book was announced. I remember this because Mr. Dallas wrote to tell me of the advertisement.-I remain, yours faithfully, C. DARWIN.'
This was not a letter I could accept. If Mr. Darwin had said that by some inadvertence, which he was unable to excuse or account for, a blunder had been made which he would at once correct so far as was in his power by a letter to the Times or the Athenaeum, and that a notice of the erratum should be printed on a flyleaf and pasted into all unsold copies of the Life of Erasmus Darwin, there would have been no more heard about the matter from me; but when Mr. Darwin maintained that it was a common practice to take advantage of an opportunity of revising a work to interpolate a covert attack upon an opponent, and at the same time to misdate the interpolated matter expressly stating that it appeared months sooner than it