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occur to several people much about the same time, and a reasonable person will look upon his work with great suspicion unless he can confirm it with the support of others who have gone before him. Still I knew of nothing in the least resembling it, and was so afraid of what I was doing, that though I could see no flaw in the argument, nor any loophole for escape from the conclusion it led to, yet I did not dare to put it forward with the seriousness and sobriety with which I should have treated the subject if I had not been in continual fear of a mine being sprung upon me from some unexpeeted quarter. I am exceedingly glad now that I knew nothing of Professor Hering's lecture, for it is much better that two people should think a thing out as far as they can independently before they become aware of each other's work; but if I had seen it, I should either, as is most likely, not have written at all, or I should have pitched my book in another key.
Among the additions I intended making while the book was in the press, was a chapter on Mr. Darwin's provisional theory of Pangenesis, which I felt convinced must be right if it was Mr. Darwin's, and which I was sure, if I could once understand it, must have an important bearing on Life and Habit. I had not as yet seen that the principle I was contending for was Darwinian, not neo-Darwinian. My pages still teemed with allusions to “natural selection, and I sometimes allowed myself to hope that Life and Habit was going to be an adjunct to Darwinism which no one would welcome more gladly than Mr. Darwin himself. At this time I had a visit from a friend, who kindly called to answer a question of mine, relative, if I remember rightly, to “ Pangenesis.
Pangenesis.” He came, 26th September 1877. One of the first things he said was, that the theory which had pleased him more than anything he
had heard of for some time was one referring all life to memory. I said that was exactly what I was doing myself, and inquired where he had met with his theory. He replied that Professor Ray Lankester had written a letter about it in Nature some time ago, but he could not remember exactly when, and had given extracts from a lecture by Professor Ewald Hering, who had originated the theory. I said I should not look at it, as I had completed that part of my work, and was on the point of going to press. I could not recast my work if, as was most likely, I should find something, when I saw what Professor Hering had said, which would make me wish to rewrite my own book; it was too late in the day and I did not feel equal to making any radical alteration; and so the matter ended with
little said upon either side. I wrote, however, afterwards to my friend asking him to tell me the number of Nature which contained the lecture if he could find it, but he was unable to do so, and I was well enough content.
A few days before this I had met another friend, and had explained to him what I was doing. He told me I ought to read Professor Mivart's Genesis of Species, and that if I did so I should find there were two sides to “natural selection.” Thinking, as so many people doand no wonder-that“ natural selection” and evolution were much the same thing, and having found so many attacks upon evolution produce no effect upon me, Í declined to read it. I had as yet no idea that a writer could attack neo-Darwinism without attacking evolution. But my friend kindly sent me a copy; and when I read it, I found myself in the presence of arguments different from those I had met with hitherto, and did not see my way to answering them. I had, however, read only a small part of Professor Mivart's work, and was not fully awake to the position, when the
friend referred to in the preceding paragraph called on me.
When I had finished the Genesis of Species I felt that something was certainly wanted which should give a definite aim to the variations whose accumulation was to amount ultimately to specific and generic differences, and that without this there could have been no progress in organic development. I got the latest edition of the Origin of Species in order to see how Mr. Darwin met Professor Mivart, and found his answers in many respects unsatisfactory. I had lost my original copy of the Origin of Species, and had not read the book for some years. I now set about reading it again, and came to the chapter on instinct, where I was horrified to find the following passage:
“But it would be a serious error to suppose that the greater number of instincts have been acquired by habit in one generation and then transmitted by inheritance to the succeeding generations. It can be clearly shown that the most wonderful instincts with which we are acquainted, namely, those of the hive-bee and of many ants, could not possibly have been acquired by habit.” 1
This showed that, according to Mr. Darwin, I had fallen into serious error, and my faith in him, though somewhat shaken, was far too great to be destroyed by a few days' course of Professor Mivart, the full importance of whose work I had not yet apprehended. I continued to read, and when I had finished the chapter felt sure that I must indeed have been blundering. The concluding words, “ I am surprised that no one has hitherto advanced this demonstrative case of neuter insects against the well-known doctrine of inherited habit as advanced by Lamarck, were positively awful. · Origin of Species, 6th ed., 1876, p. 206. • Ibid., p. 233.
There was a quiet consciousness of strength about them which was more convincing than any amount of more detailed explanation. This was the first I had heard of any doctrine of inherited habit as having been propounded by Lamarck (the passage stands in the first edition, the well-known doctrine of Lamarck,” p. 242); and now to find that I had been only busying myself with a stale theory of this long-since exploded charlatan-with my book three parts written and already in the press-was a serious scare.
On reflection, however, I was again met with the overwhelming weight of the evidence in favour of Structure and habit being mainly due to memory. I accordingly gathered as much as I could second-hand of what Lamarck had said, reserving a study of his Philosophie Zoologique for another occasion, and read as much about ants and bees as I could find in readily accessible works. In a few days I saw my way again; and now, reading the Origin of Species more closely, and I may say more sceptically, the antagonism between Mr. Darwin and Lamarck became fully
apparent to me, and I saw how incoherent and unworkable in practice the later view was in comparison with the earlier. Then I read Mr. Darwin's answers to miscellaneous objections, and was met, and this time brought up, by the passage
, beginning “ In the earlier editions of this work,” etc., on which I wrote very severely in Life and Habitfor I felt by this time that the difference of opinion between us was radical, and that the matter must be fought out according to the rules of the game. After this I went through the earlier part of my book, and cut out the expressions which I had used inadvertently, and which were inconsistent with a teleological view. This
Origin of Species, 6th ed., 1876, p. 171.
necessitated only verbal alterations; for, though I had not known it, the spirit of the book was throughout teleological.
I now saw that I had got my hands full, and abandoned my intention of touching upon “ Pangenesis." I took up the words of Mr. Darwin quoted above, to the effect that it would be a serious error to ascribe the greater number of instincts to transmitted habit. I wrote chapter 11 of Life and Habit, which is headed
Instinct as Inherited Memory”; I also wrote the four subsequent chapters, “ Instincts of Neuter Insects," “Lamarck and Mr. Darwin,” “Mr. Mivart and Mr. Darwin," and the concluding chapter, all of them in the month of October and the early part of November 1877, the complete book leaving the binder's hands 4th December 1877, but, according to trade custom, being dated 1878. It will be seen that these five concluding chapters were rapidly written, and this may account in part for the directness with which I said anything I had to say about Mr. Darwin; partly this, and partly I felt I was in for a penny and might as well be in for a pound. I therefore wrote about Mr. Darwin's work exactly as I should about any one else's, bearing in mind the inestimable services he had undoubtedly-and must always be counted to have-rendered to evolution.