Charles Lyell

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In a rude state of society all great calamities are regarded by the people as judgments of God on the wickedness of man.

Sir Charles Lyell (14 November 179722 February 1875) was the foremost geologist of his day. He is best known as the author of Principles of Geology, which popularized James Hutton's concepts of uniformitarianism. Lyell was a close and influential friend of Charles Darwin.

Quotes[edit]

The same land is sometimes raised up and sometimes depressed, and the sea also is simultaneously raised and depressed, so that it either overflows or returns into its own place again.

Principles of geology (1832) Vol.1[edit]

  • When we study history we obtain a more profound insight into human nature by instituting a comparison between the present and former states of society.
    • Chpt.1, p.1
  • The form of a coast, the configuration of the interior of a country, the existence and extent of lakes, valleys, and mountains, can often be traced to the former prevalence of earthquakes and volcanoes in regions which have long been undisturbed. To these remote convulsions the present fertility of some districts the sterile character of others, the elevation of land above the sea, the climate, and various peculiarities, may be distinctly referred.
    • Chpt.1, p.2
  • Many distinguishing features of the surface may often be ascribed to the operation at a remote era of slow and tranquil causes-to the gradual deposition of sediment in a lake or in the ocean, or to the prolific increase of testacea and corals therein.
    • Chpt.1, p.2
  • We find in certain localities subterranean deposits of coal consisting of vegetable matter formerly drifted into seas and lakes. ...These seas and The commercial prosperity and numerical strength of a nation may now be mainly dependent on the local distribution of fuel determined by that ancient state of things.
    • Chpt.1, p.2
  • A geologist should be well versed in chemistry, natural philosophy, mineralogy, zoology, comparative anatomy, botany; in short, in every science relating to organic and inorganic nature. ...But the brief duration of human life, and our limited powers, are so far from permitting us to aspire to such extensive acquisitions, that excellence even in one department is within the reach of few, and those individuals most effectually promote the general progress, who concentrate their thoughts on a limited portion of the field of inquiry.
    • Chpt.1, p.3
  • It was long ere the distinct nature and legitimate objects of geology were fully recognized, and it was at first confounded with many other branches of inquiry, just as the limits of history, poetry, and mythology were ill-defined in the infancy of civilization. Werner appears to have regarded geology as little other than a subordinate department of mineralogy and Desmarest included it under the head of Physical Geography. ...The first who endeavored to draw a clear line of demarcation between these distinct departments, was Hutton, who declared that geology was in no ways concerned with 'questions as to the origin of things.'
    • Chpt.1, p.4
  • The earliest doctrines of the Indian and Egyptian schools of philosophy agreed in ascribing the first creation of the world to an omnipotent and infinite Being. They concurred also in representing this Being, who had existed from all eternity, as having repeatedly destroyed and reproduced the world and all its inhabitants. ...We have no right to refer to mere chance the prevailing notion that the earth and its inhabitants had formerly undergone a succession of revolutions and catastrophes, interrupted by long intervals of tranquility.
    • Chpt.2, p.6
  • The marks of former convulsions on every part of the surface of our planet are obvious and striking. The remains of marine animals imbedded in the solid strata are so abundant, that they may be expected to force themselves on the observation of every people who have made some progress in refinement; and especially where one class of men are expressly set apart from the rest for study and contemplation. ...Those modern writers, who are disposed to disparage the former intellectual advancement and civilization of eastern nations, might concede some foundation of observed facts for the curious theories now under consideration, without indulging in exaggerated opinions of the progress of science; especially as universal catastrophes of the world, and exterminations of organic beings, in the sense in which they were understood by the Brahmin, are untenable doctrines.
    • Chpt.2, p.8
  • We know that the Egyptian priests were aware, not only that the soil beneath the plains of the Nile, but that also the hills bounding the great valley, contained marine shells; and it could hardly have escaped the observation of Eastern philosophers, that some soils were filled with fossil remains, since so many national works were executed on a magnificent scale by oriental monarchs in very remote eras.
    • Chpt.2, p.8
  • It is probable that the doctrine of successive destructions and renovations of the world merely received corroboration from such proofs; and that it was originally handed down, like the religious dogmas of most nations, from a ruder state of society. The true source of the system must be sought for in the exaggerated traditions of those partial, but often dreadful catastrophes, which are sometimes occasioned by various combinations of natural causes. Floods and volcanic eruptions, the agency of water and fire, are the chief instruments of devastation on our globe. ...it scarcely requires the passion for the marvelous, so characteristic of rude and half-civilized nations, still less the exuberant imagination of eastern writers, to augment them into general cataclysms and conflagrations.
    • Chpt.2, p.9
  • Humboldt relates the interesting fact, that after the annihilation of a large part of the inhabitants of Cumana, by an earthquake in 1766, a season of extraordinary fertility ensued, in consequence of the great rains which accompanied the subterranean convulsions 'The Indians,' he says, 'celebrated, after the ideas of an antique superstition, by festivals and dancing, the destruction of the world and the approaching epoch of its regeneration.'
    • Chpt.2, p.9
  • Respecting the cosmogony of the Egyptian priests, we gather much information from writers of the Grecian sects, who borrowed almost all their tenets from Egypt, and amongst others that of the former successive destruction and renovation of the world.
    • Chpt.2, p.10
  • We learn from Plutarch, that this was the theme of one of the hymns of Orpheus, so celebrated in the fabulous ages of Greece. It was brought by him from the banks of the Nile; and we even find in his verses, as in the Indian systems, a definite period assigned for the duration of each successive world. The returns of great catastrophes were determined by the period of the Annus Magnus, or great year, a cycle composed of the revolutions of the sun, moon, and planets, and terminating when these return together to the same sign whence they were supposed at some remote epoch to have set out. The duration of this great cycle was variously estimated. According to Orpheus, it was 120,000 years; according to others, 300,000 and by Cassander it was taken to be 300,000 years.
    • Chpt.2, p.10
  • We learn particularly from the Timaeus of Plato, that the Egyptians believed the world to be subject to occasional conflagrations and deluges, whereby the gods arrested the career of human wickedness, and purified the earth from guilt. After each regeneration, mankind were in a state of virtue and happiness, from which they gradually degenerated again into vice and immorality. From this Egyptian doctrine, the poets derived the fable of the decline from the golden to the iron age.
    • Chpt.2, p.11
  • The sect of Stoics adopted most fully the system of catastrophes destined at certain intervals to destroy the world. These they taught were of two kinds-the Cataclysm, or destruction by deluge, which sweeps away the whole human race, and annihilates all the animal and vegetable productions of nature; and the Ekpyrosis, or conflagration, which dissolves the globe itself. From the Egyptians also they derived the doctrine of the gradual debasement of man from a state of innocence. Towards the termination of each era the gods could no longer bear with the wickedness of men, and a shock of the elements or a deluge overwhelmed them; after which calamity, Astrea again descended on the earth, to renew the golden age.
    • Chpt.2, p.11
  • In a rude state of society all great calamities are regarded by the people as judgments of God on the wickedness of man.
    • Chpt.2, p.11
  • In the account given to Solon by the Egyptian priests, of the submersion of the island of Atlantis under the waters of the ocean, after repeated shocks of an earthquake, we find that the event happened when Jupiter had seen the moral depravity of the inhabitants.
    • Chpt.2, p.11
  • Now, when the notion had once gained ground, whether from causes before suggested or not, that the earth had been destroyed by several general catastrophes, it would next be inferred that the human race had been as often destroyed and renovated. And, since every extermination was assumed to be penal, it could only be reconciled with divine justice, by the supposition that man, at each successive creation, was regenerated in a state of purity and innocence.
    • Chpt.2, p.12
  • One extraordinary fiction of the Egyptian mythology was the supposed intervention of a masculo-feminine principle, to which was assigned the development of the embryo world, somewhat in the way of incubation. For the doctrine was, that when the first chaotic mass had been produced, in the form of an egg, by a self-dependent and eternal Being, it required the mysterious functions of this masculo-feminine demi-urgus to reduce the component elements into organized forms.
    • Chpt.2, p.12
  • The Egyptian philosophers ventured on the perilous task of seeking out some analogy to the mode of operation employed by the Author of Nature in the first creation of organized beings, and they compared it to that which governs the birth of new individuals by generation.
    • Chpt.2, p.12
  • It is not unreasonable nor derogatory to the attributes of Omnipotence, to imagine that some general laws may be observed in the creation of new worlds; and if man could witness the birth of such worlds, he might reason by induction upon the origin of his own. But in the absence of such data, an attempt has been made to fancy some analogy between the agents now employed to destroy, renovate, and perpetually vary the earth's surface, and those whereby the first chaotic mass was formed, and brought by supposed nascent energy from the embryo to the habitable state.
    • Chpt.2, p.13
  • In the Egyptian and Eastern cosmogonies, and in the Greek version of them, no very definite meaning can, in general, be attached to the term 'destruction of the world,' for sometimes it would seem almost to imply the annihilation of our planetary system, and at others a mere revolution of the surface of the earth.
    • Chpt.2, p.16
  • From the works now extant of Aristotle, and from the system of Pythagoras... we might certainly infer that these philosophers considered the agents of change now operating in Nature, as capable of bringing about in the lapse of ages a complete revolution; and the Stagyrite even considers occasional catastrophes happening at distant intervals of time as part of the regular and ordinary course of Nature.
    • Chpt.2, p.17
  • He [ Aristotle ] refers to many examples of changes now constantly going on, and insists emphatically on the great results which they must produce in the lapse of ages. He instances particular cases of lakes that had dried up, and deserts that had at length become watered by rivers and fertilized. He points to the growth of the Nilotic delta since the time of Homer, to the shallowing of the Palus Maeotis within sixty years from his own time... He alludes, ...to the upheaving of one of the Eolian islands, previous to a volcanic eruption. The changes of the earth, he says, are so slow in comparison to the duration of our lives, that they are overlooked; and the migrations of people after great catastrophes, and their removal to other regions, cause the event to be forgotten. ...He says [twelfth chapter of his Meteorics] 'the distribution of land and sea in particular regions does not endure throughout all time, but it becomes sea in those parts where it was land, and again it becomes land where it was sea, and there is reason for thinking that these changes take place according to a certain system, and within a certain period.' The concluding observation is as follows: 'As time never fails, and the universe is eternal, neither the Tanais, nor the Nile, can have flowed for ever. The places where they rise were once dry, and there is a limit to their operations, but there is none to time. So also of all other rivers; they spring up and they perish; and the sea also continually deserts some lands and invades others The same tracts, therefore, of the earth are not some always sea, and others always continents, but every thing changes in the course of time.'
    • Chpt.2, p.17
  • It seems, then, that the Greeks had not only derived from preceding nations, but had also, in some slight degree, deduced from their own observations, the theory of great periodical revolutions in the inorganic world.
    • Chpt.2, p.18
  • Strabo,... enters largely, in the Second Book of his Geography, into the opinions of Eratosthenes and other Greeks on one of the most difficult problems in geology, viz., by what causes marine shells came to be plentifully buried in the earth at such great elevations and distances from the sea. He notices, amongst others, the explanation of Xanthus the Lyclian, who said that the seas had once been more extensive, and that they had afterwards been partially dried up, as in his own time many lakes, rivers, and wells in Asia had failed during a season of drought. Treating this conjecture with merited disregard, Strabo passes on to the hypothesis of Strato, the natural philosopher, who had observed that the quantity of mud brought down by rivers into the Euxine was so great, that its bed must be gradually raised, while the rivers still continued to pour in an undiminished quantity of water. He therefore conceived that, originally, when the Euxine was an inland sea, its level had by this means become so much elevated that it burst its barrier near Byzantium, and formed a communication with the Propontis, and this partial drainage had already, he supposed, converted the left side into marshy ground, and that, at last, the whole would be choked up with soil. So, it was argued, the Mediterranean had once opened a passage for itself by the Columns of Hercules into the Atlantic, and perhaps the abundance of sea-shells in Africa, near the Temple of Jupiter Ammon, might also be the deposit of some former inland sea, which had at length forced a passage and escaped.
    • (1832) Vol.1 Chpt.2, p.20
  • But Strabo rejects this theory as insufficient to account for all the phenomena, and he proposes one of his own, the profoundness of which modern geologists are only beginning to appreciate. 'It is not,' he says, 'because the lands covered by seas were originally at different altitudes, that the waters have risen, or subsided, or receded from some parts and inundated others. But the reason is, that the same land is sometimes raised up and sometimes depressed, and the sea also is simultaneously raised and depressed, so that it either overflows or returns into its own place again. We must therefore ascribe the cause to the ground, either to that ground which is under the sea, or to that which becomes flooded by it, but rather to that which lies beneath the sea, for this is more moveable, and, on account of its humidity, can be altered with great celerity. It is proper,' he observes in continuation, 'to derive our explanations from things which are obvious, and in some measure of daily occurrence, such as deluges, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and sudden swellings of the land beneath the sea;' for the last raise up the sea also, and when the same lands subside again, they occasion the sea to be let down. And it is not merely the small, but the large islands also, and not merely the islands, but the continents, which can be lifted up together with the sea; and both large and small tracts may subside, for habitations and cities, like Bure, Bizona, and many others, have been engulfed by earthquakes.'
    • Chpt.2, p.21
  • In another place, this learned geographer (Strabo), in alluding to the tradition that Sicily had been separated by a convulsion from Italy, remarks, that at present the land near the sea in those parts was rarely shaken by earthquakes, since there were now open orifices whereby fire and ignited matters and waters escaped; but formerly, when the volcanoes of Etna, the Lipari Islands, Ischia, and others, were closed up, the imprisoned fire and wind might have produced far more vehement movements. The doctrine, therefore, that volcanoes are safety valves, and that the subterranean convulsions are probably most violent when first the volcanic energy shifts itself to a new quarter, is not modern.
    • Chpt.2, p.21
  • We learn from a passage in Strabo, that it was a dogma of the Gaulish Druids that the universe was immortal, but destined to survive catastrophes both of fire and water. That this doctrine was communicated to them from the East, with much of their learning, cannot be doubted.
    • Chpt.2, p.22
  • Pliny had no theoretical opinions of his own concerning changes of the earth's surface... But his enumeration of the new islands which had been formed in the Mediterranean, and of other convulsions, shows that the ancients had not been inattentive observers of the changes which had taken place on the earth within the memory of man.
    • Chpt.2, p.22
  • We shall now conclude our remarks on the opinions entertained before the Christian era... the observation of the present course of nature presented too many proofs of alterations continually in progress on the earth to allow philosophers to believe that nature was in a state of rest or that the surface had remained and would continue to remain unaltered.
    • Chpt.2, p.22
  • Amongst those [works] of the tenth century, of which fragments are now extant, is a system of mineralogy by Avicenna, a physician in whose arrangement there is considerable merit. In the same century also, Omar, surnamed 'El Aalem,' or 'the Learned,' wrote a work on 'the Retreat of the Sea.' It appears that on comparing the charts of his own time with those made by the Indian and Persian astronomers two thousand years before, he had satisfied himself that important changes had taken place since the times of history in the form of the coasts of Asia, and that the extension of the sea had been greater at some former periods. He was confirmed in this opinion by the numerous salt springs and marshes in the interior of Asia,-a phenomenon from which Pallas, in more recent times, has drawn the same inference.
    • Chpt.3, p.24
  • Von Hoff has suggested, with great probability, that the changes in the level of the Caspian (some of which there is reason to believe have happened within the historical era), and the geological appearances in that district, indicating the desertion by that sea of its ancient bed, had probably led Omar to his theory of a general subsidence. But whatever may have been the proofs relied on, his system was declared contradictory to certain passages in the Koran, and he was called upon publicly to recant his errors; to avoid which persecution he went into voluntary banishment from Samarkand.
    • Chpt.3, p.25
  • It was not till the earlier part of the sixteenth century that geological phenomena began to attract the attention of the Christian nations. At that period a very animated controversy sprung up in Italy, concerning the true nature and origin of marine shells, and other organized fossils, found abundantly in the strata of the peninsula.
    • Chpt.3, p.26
  • The excavations made in 1517, for repairing the city of Verona, brought to light a multitude of curious petrifactions, and furnished matter for speculation to different authors, and among the rest to Fracastoro, who declared his opinion, that fossil shells had all belonged to living animals, which had formerly lived and multiplied, where their exuviæ are now found. He exposed the absurdity of having recourse to a certain 'plastic force,' which it was said had power to fashion stones into organic forms; and, with no less cogent arguments, demonstrated the futility of attributing the situation of the shells in question to the Mosaic deluge, a theory obstinately defended by some. That inundation, he observed, was too transient, it consisted principally of fluviatile waters; and if it had transported shells to great distances, must have strewed them over the surface, not buried them at vast depths in the interior of mountains. His clear exposition of the evidence would have terminated the discussion for ever, if the passions of mankind had not been enlisted in the dispute; and even though doubts should for a time have remained in some minds, they would speedily have been removed by the fresh information obtained almost immediately afterwards, respecting the structure of fossil remains, and of their living analogues.
    • Chpt.3, p.26
  • The clear and philosophical views of Fracastoro were disregarded, and the talent and argumentative powers of the learned were doomed for three centuries to be wasted in the discussion of these two simple and preliminary questions: first, whether fossil remains had ever belonged to living creatures; and secondly, whether, if this be admitted, all the phenomena could be explained by the Noachian deluge.
    • Chpt.3, p.27
  • It had been the consistent belief of the Christian world, down to the period now under consideration, that the origin of this planet was not more remote than a few thousand years; and that since the creation the deluge was the only great catastrophe by which considerable change had been wrought on the earth's surface. On the other hand, the opinion was scarcely less general, that the final dissolution of our system was an event to be looked for at no distant period.
    • Chpt.3, p.27
  • The era, it is true, of the expected millennium had passed away; and for five hundred years after the fatal hour, when the annihilation of the planet had been looked for, the monks remained in undisturbed enjoyment of rich grants of land bequeathed to them by pious donors, who, in the preamble of deeds beginning 'appropinquante mundi termino'-'appropinquante magno judicii die,' left lasting monuments of the popular delusion.
    • Chpt.3, p.28
  • But there was sufficient spirit of toleration and candor amongst the Italian ecclesiastics to allow the subject to be canvassed with much freedom They entered warmly themselves into the controversy often favoring different sides of the question and however much we may deplore the loss of time and labor devoted to the defense of untenable positions it must be conceded that they displayed far less polemic bitterness than certain writers who followed them beyond the Alps two centuries and a half later
    • Chpt.3, p.28
  • The system of scholastic disputations encouraged in the Universities of the middle ages had unfortunately trained men to habits of indefinite argumentation, and they often preferred absurd and extravagant propositions, because greater skill was required to maintain them; the end and object of such intellectual combats being victory and not truth.
    • Chpt.3, p.28
  • Opponents of Fracastoro met his arguments by feigning imaginary causes, which differed from each other rather in name than in substance. Andrea Mattioli, for instance, an eminent botanist, the illustrator of Dioscorides, embraced the notion of Agricola, a German miner, that a certain 'materia pinguis' or 'fatty matter,' set into fermentation by heat, gave birth to fossil organic shapes. Yet Mattioli had come to the conclusion, from his own observations, that porous bodies, such as bones and shells, might be converted into stone, as being permeable to what he termed the 'lapidifying juice.'
    • Chpt.3, p.29
  • Falloppio of Padua conceived that petrified shells had been generated by fermentation in the spots where they were found, or that they had in some cases acquired their form from 'the tumultuous movements of terrestrial exhalations.' Although a celebrated professor of anatomy, he taught that certain tusks of elephants dug up in his time at Puglia were mere earthy concretions, and, consistently with these principles, he even went so far as to consider it not improbable, that the vases of Monte Testaceo at Rome were natural impressions stamped in the soil.
    • Chpt.3, p.29
  • The title of a work of Cardano's, published in 1552, 'De Subtilitate' (corresponding to what would now be called Transcendental Philosophy), would lead us to expect, in the chapter on minerals, many far fetched theories characteristic of that age; but when treating of petrified shells, he decided that they clearly indicated the former sojourn of the sea upon the mountains.
    • Chpt.3, p.29
  • Cesalpino, a celebrated botanist, conceived that fossil shells had been left on the land by the sea, and had concreted into stone during the consolidation the soil; and in the following year (1597), Simeone Majoli went still farther, and coinciding for the most part with views of Cesalpino, suggested that the shells and matter of the Veronese, and other districts, might have cast up, upon the land, by volcanic explosions, like those gave rise, in 1538, to Monte Nuovo, near Puzzuoli.- This hint was the first imperfect attempt to connect the position fossil shells with the agency of volcanoes, a system more fully developed by Hooke, [Antonio] Lazzaro Moro, Hutton, and other writers. Two years afterwards, Imperati advocated the animal origin of fossilized shells, yet admitted that stones could vegetate by force of 'an internal principle,' and, as evidence of this, he referred to the teeth of fish, and spines of echini found petrified.
  • Palissy, a French writer on 'the Origin of Springs from Rain-water' and of other scientific works, undertook, in 1580, to combat the notions of many of his contemporaries in Italy, that petrified shells had all been deposited by the universal deluge. 'He was the first,' said Fontenelle, when, in the French Academy, he pronounced his eulogy nearly a century and a half later, 'who dared assert' in Paris, that fossil remains of testacea and fish had once belonged to marine animals.
    • Chpt.3, p.31
  • Fabio Colonna deserves to be distinguished; for, although he gave way to the dogma that all fossil remains were to be referred to the Noachian deluge, he resisted the absurd theory of Stelluti, who taught that fossil wood and ammonites were mere clay, altered into such forms by sulfurous waters and subterranean heat; and he pointed out the different states of shells buried in the strata, distinguishing between, first, the mere mould or impression; secondly, the cast or nucleus; and thirdly, the remains of the shell itself. He had also the merit of being the first to point out, that some of the fossils had belonged to marine, and some to terrestrial testacea.
    • Chpt.3, p.31
  • The most remarkable work of that period was published by Steno... The treatise bears the quaint title of 'De Solido intra Solidum contento naturaliter (1669,)' by which the author intended to express 'On Gems, Crystals, and organic Petrifactions enclosed within solid Rocks.' ...Steno had compared the fossil shells with their recent analogues, and traced the various gradations from the state of mere calcification, when their natural gluten only was lost, to the perfect substitution of stony matter. He demonstrated that many fossil teeth found in Tuscany belonged to a species of shark; and he dissected, for the purpose of comparison, one of these fish recently taken from the Mediterranean. That the remains of shells and marine animals found petrified were not of animal origin was still a favorite dogma of many, who were unwilling to believe that the earth could have been inhabited by living beings long before many of the mountains were formed.
    • Chpt.3, p.31
  • Scilla, a Sicilian painter, published in l670, a work on the fossils of Calabria, illustrated by good engravings. This was written in Latin, with great spirit and elegance, and it proves the continued ascendency of dogmas often refuted; for we find the wit and eloquence of the author chiefly directed against the obstinate incredulity of naturalists, as to the organic nature of fossil shells.
    • Chpt.3, p.32
  • Steno conceded, as Fabio Colonna had done before him, that all marine fossils might have been transported into their present situation at the time of the Noachian deluge. He maintained that fossil vegetables had been once living plants, and he hinted that they might, in some instances, indicate the distinction between fluvial and marine deposits. He also inferred that the present mountains had not existed ever since the origin of things, suggesting that many strata of submarine origin had been accumulated in the interval between the creation and deluge. Here he displayed his great anxiety to reconcile his theory with the Scriptures; for he at the same time advanced an opinion, which does not seem very consistent with such a doctrine, viz., that there was a wide distinction between the shelly, and nearly horizontal beds at the foot of the Apennines, and the older mountains of highly inclined stratification. Both, he observed, were of sedimentary origin; and a considerable interval of time must have separated their formation. Tuscany, according to him, had successively passed through six different states; and to explain these mighty changes, he called in the agency of inundations, earthquakes, and subterranean fires.
    • Chpt.3, p.32
  • Scarcely any step had been made in approximating to sound theories since the time of Fracastoro, more than a hundred years having been lost, in writing down the dogma that organized fossils were mere sports of nature. An additional period of a century and a half was now destined to be consumed in exploding the hypothesis, that organized fossils had all been buried in the solid strata by the Noachian flood. Never did a theoretical fallacy, in any branch of scienc, interfere more seriously with accurate observation and the systematic classification of facts.
    • Chpt.3, p.33
  • The old diluvialists were induced by their system to confound all the groups of strata together instead of discriminating,—to refer all appearances to one cause and to one brief period, not to a variety of causes acting throughout a long succession of epochs. ...Under the influence of such prejudices, three centuries were of as little avail, as a few years in our own times, when we are no longer required to propel the vessel against the force of an adverse current.
    • Chpt.3, p.34
  • It may be well to forewarn our readers that in tracing the history of geology from the close of the seventeenth to the end of the eighteenth century they must expect to be occupied with accounts of the retardation as well as of the advance of the science. ...It will be necessary to dwell on futile reasoning and visionary hypothesis because the most extravagant systems were often invented or controverted by men of acknowledged talent.
    • Chpt.3, p.34
  • A sketch of the progress of Geology is the history of a constant and violent struggle between new opinions and ancient doctrines sanctioned by the implicit faith of many generations and supposed to rest on scriptural authority. The inquiry, therefore, although highly interesting to one who studies the philosophy of the human mind, is singularly barren of instruction to him who searches for truths in physical science.
    • Chpt.3, p.34
  • Quirini, in 1676, contended in opposition to Scilla, that the diluvian waters could not have conveyed heavy bodies to the summit of mountains, since the agitation of the sea never (as Boyle had demonstrated) extended to great depths, and still less could the testacea, as some pretended, have lived in these diluvian waters, for 'the duration of the flood was brief, and the heavy rains must have destroyed the saltness of the sea! He was the first writer who ventured to maintain that the universality of the Noachian cataclysm ought not to be insisted upon. ...Visionary as was this doctrine, it gained many proselytes even amongst the more sober reasoners of Italy and Germany, for it conceded both that fossil bodies were organic, and that the diluvial theory could not account for them.
    • Chpt.3, p.35
  • Dr. Plot, in his 'Natural History of Oxfordshire.' (1677) attributed to a 'plastic virtue latent in the earth' the origin of fossil shells and fishes; and Lister, to his accurate account of British shells, in 1678, added the fossil species, under the appellation of turbinated and bivalve stones. 'Either,' said he, 'these were terriginous, or if otherwise, the animals they so exactly represent have become extinct. This writer appears to have been the first who was aware of the continuity over large districts of the principal groups of strata in the British series, and who proposed the construction of regular geological maps.
    • Chpt.3, p.35
  • 'The Posthumous Works of Robert Hooke M.D.,'... appeared in 1705, containing 'A Discourse of Earthquakes'... His treatise... is the most philosophical production of that age, in regard to the causes of former changes in the organic and inorganic kingdoms of nature. 'However trivial a thing,' he says, 'a rotten shell may appear to some, yet these monuments of nature are more certain tokens of antiquity than coins or medals, since the best of those may be counterfeited or made by art and design, as may also books, manuscripts, and inscriptions, as all the learned are now sufficiently satisfied has often been actually practised,' &c.; 'and though it must be granted that it is very difficult to read them and to raise a chronology out of them, and to state the intervals of the time wherein such or such catastrophes and mutations have happened, yet it is not impossible.
    • Chpt.3, p.36
  • Respecting the extinction of species, Hooke was aware that the fossil ammonites, nautili, and many other shells and fossil skeletons found in England, were of different species from any then known; but he doubted whether the species had become extinct, observing that the knowledge of naturalists of all the marine species, especially those inhabiting the deep sea, was very deficient. In some parts of his writings, however, he leans to the opinion that species had been lost; and in speculating on this subject, he even suggests that there might be some connection between the disappearance of certain kinds of animals and plants, and the changes wrought by earthquakes in former ages. Some species, he observes with great sagacity, are peculiar to certain places, and not to be found elsewhere. If, then, such a place had been swallowed up, it is not improbable but that those animate beings may have been destroyed with it; and this may be true both of aerial and aquatic animals: for those animated bodies, whether vegetables or animals, which were naturally nourished or refreshed by the air, would be destroyed by the water, &c. Turtles, he adds, and such large ammonites as are found in Portland, seem to have been the productions of the seas of hotter countries, and it is necessary to suppose that England once lay under the sea within the torrid zone! To explain this and similar phenomena, he indulges in a variety of speculations concerning changes in the position of the axis of the earth's rotation, a shifting of the earth's center of gravity, 'analogous to the revolutions of the magnetic pole,' &c. None of these conjectures, however, are proposed dogmatically, but rather in the hope of promoting fresh inquiries and experiments.
    • Chpt.3, p.37
  • It was objected to Hooke, that his doctrine of the extinction of species derogated from the wisdom and power of the Omnipotent Creator; but he answered, that as individuals die, there may be some termination to the duration of a species; and his opinions, he declared, were not repugnant to Holy Writ: for the Scriptures taught that our system was degenerating, and tending to its final dissolution; 'and as, when that shall happen, all the species will be lost, why not some at one time and some at another?'
    • Chpt.3, p.38
  • His [Hooke's] principal object was to account for the manner in which shells had been conveyed into the higher parts of 'the Alps, Apennines, and Pyrenean hills, and the interior of continents in general.' These and other appearances, he said, might have been brought about by earthquakes, 'which have turned plains into mountains, and mountains into plains, seas into land, and land into seas, made rivers where there were none before, and swallowed up others that formerly were, &c. &c.; and which, since the creation of the world, have wrought many great changes on the superficial parts of the earth, and have been the instruments of placing shells, bones, plants, fishes, and the like, in those places, where, with much astonishment, we find them.' This doctrine, it is true, had been laid down in terms almost equally explicit by Strabo, to explain the occurrence of fossil shells in the interior of continents, and to that geographer, and other writers of antiquity, Hooke frequently refers; but the revival and development of the system was an important step in the progress of modern science.
    • Chpt.3, p.38
  • Hooke enumerated all the examples known to him of subterranean disturbance, from 'the sad catastrophe of Sodom and Gomorrah' down to the Chilean earthquake of 1646. The elevating of the bottom of the sea, the sinking and submersion of the land, and most of the inequalities of the earth's surface, might, he said, be accounted for by the agency of these subterranean causes. He mentions that the coast near Naples was raised during the eruption of Monte Nuovo; and that in 1591, land rose in the island of St. Michael, during an eruption; and although it would be more difficult, he says, to prove, he does not doubt but that there had been as many earthquakes in the parts of the earth under the ocean, as in the parts of the dry land; in confirmation of which he mentions the immeasurable depth of the sea near some volcanoes. To attest the extent of simultaneous subterranean movements, he refers to an earthquake in the West Indies, in 1690, where the space of earth raised, or 'struck upwards' by the shock, exceeded the length of the Alps and the Pyrenees.
    • Chpt.3, p.39
  • As Hooke declared the favorite hypothesis of the day ('that marine fossil bodies were to be referred to Noah's flood') to be wholly untenable, he appears to have felt himself called upon to substitute a diluvial theory of his own, and thus he became involved in countless difficulties and contradictions. ...When ...he required a former 'crisis of nature' and taught that earthquakes had become debilitated, and that the Alps, Andes, and other chains, had been lifted up in a few months, his machinery was as extravagant and visionary as that of his most fanciful predecessors; and for this reason, perhaps, his whole theory of earthquakes met with undeserved neglect.
    • Chpt.3, p.40
  • Leibnitz, the great mathematician, published his 'Protogaea' in 1680. He imagined this planet to have been originally a burning luminous mass, and that ever since its creation it has been undergoing gradual refrigeration. Nearly all the matter of the earth was at first encompassed by fire. When the outer crust had at length cooled down sufficiently to allow the vapors to be condensed, they fell and formed a universal ocean, investing the globe, and covering the loftiest mountains. Further consolidation produced rents, vacuities, and subterranean caverns, and the ocean, rushing in to fill them, was gradually lowered. The principal feature of this theory, the gradual diminution of the original heat, and of an ancient universal ocean, were adopted by Buffon and De Luc, and entered under different modifications, into a great number of succeeding systems.
    • Chpt.3, p.45

The Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man (1863)[edit]

  • So long as physiologists continued to believe that man had not existed on the earth above six thousand years, they might, with good reason, withhold their assent from the doctrine of a unity of origin of so many distinct races; but the difficulty becomes less and less, exactly in proportion as we enlarge our ideas of the lapse of time during which different communities may have spread slowly, and become isolated, each exposed for ages to a peculiar set of conditions, whether of temperature, or food, or danger, or ways of living.
    • Ch.20, p.386
  • If, in spite of the fact that all these attributes have been faithfully handed down unaltered for hundreds of generations, we are to believe that, in the course of time, they have all diverged from one common stock, how shall we resist the arguments of the transmutationist, who contends that all closely allied species of animals and plants have in like manner sprung from a common parentage, albeit that for the last three or four thousand years they may have been persistent in character?
    • Ch.20, p.387-388
  • So long as Geology had not lifted up a part of the veil... it was easy to treat these questions as too transcendental... But it is no longer possible to restrain curiosity from attempting to pry into the relations which connect the present state of the animal and vegetable worlds, as well as of the various races of mankind, with the state of the fauna and flora which immediately preceded.
    • Ch.20, p.388
  • What Lamarck then foretold has come to pass; the more new forms have been multiplied, the less are we able to decide what we mean by a variety, and what by a species. In fact, zoologists and botanists are not only more at a loss than ever how to define a species, but even to determine whether it has any real existence in nature, or is a mere abstraction of the human intellect, some contending that it is constant within certain narrow and impassable limits of variability, others that it is capable of indefinite and endless modification.
    • Ch.20, p.389
  • Lamarck, after having first studied botany with success, had then turned his attention to conchology, and soon became aware that in the newer (or tertiary) strata of the earth's crust there were a multitude of fossil species of shells... He also observed that other shells were so nearly allied to living forms, that it was difficult not to suspect that they had been connected by a common bond of descent. He therefore proposed that the element of time should enter into the definition of a species, and that it should run thus: 'A species consists of individuals all resembling each other, and reproducing their like by generation, so long as the surrounding conditions do not undergo changes sufficient to cause their habits, characters, and forms to vary. He came at last to the conclusion, that none of the animals and plants now existing were primordial creations, but were all derived from pre-existing forms, which, after they may have gone on for indefinite ages reproducing their like, had, at length, by the influence of alterations in climate and in the animate world, been made to vary gradually, and adapt themselves to new circumstances, some of them deviating, in the course of ages, so far from their original type as to have claims to be regarded as new species.
    • Ch.20, p.389-390
  • Lamarck taught not only that species had been constantly undergoing changes from one geological period to another, but that there also had been a progressive advance of the organic world from the earliest to the latest times, from beings of the simplest to those of more and more complex structure and from the lowest instincts up to the highest, and, finally, from brute intelligence to the reasoning powers of Man. The improvement in the grade of being had been slow and continuous, and the human race itself was at length evolved out of the most highly organised and endowed of the inferior mammalia.
    • Ch.20, p.390-391
  • I pointed out in 1832, as the two great flaws in Lamarck's attempt to explain the origin of species, first that he had failed to adduce a single instance of the initiation of a new organ in any species of animal or plant; and secondly, that variation, whether taking place in the course of nature or assisted artificially by the breeder and horticulturist, had never yet gone so far as to produce two races sufficiently remote from each other in physiological constitution as to be sterile when intermarried, or, if fertile, only capable of producing sterile hybrids, &c.
    • Ch.20, p.391-392
  • In my account of his [Lamarck's] theory, I did not, at the time, fully appreciate the deep conviction which it displays of the slow manner in which geological changes have taken place, and the insignificance of thirty or forty centuries in the history of a species, and that, too, at a period when very narrow views were entertained of the extent of past time by most of the ablest geologists, and when great revolutions of the earth's crust, and its inhabitants, were generally attributed to sudden and violent catastrophes.
    • Ch.20, p.392-393
  • I endeavoured to sketch out (and it was, I believe, the first systematic attempt to accomplish such a task) the laws which govern the extinction of species, with a view of showing that the slow, but ceaseless variations, now in progress in physical geography, together with the migration of plants and animals into new regions, must, in the course of ages, give rise to the occasional loss of some of them, and eventually cause an entire fauna and flora to die out; also, that we must infer, from geological data, that the places thus left vacant from time to time, are filled up without delay by new forms, adapted to new conditions, sometimes by immigration from adjoining provinces, sometimes by new creations. Among the many causes of extinction enumerated by me, were the power of hostile species, diminution of food, mutations in climate, the conversion of land into sea, and of sea into land, &c.
    • Ch.20, p.393
  • The doctrine of progression... was thus given twelve years ago by Professor Sedgwick, in the preface to his Discourse on the Studies of the University of Cambridge. 'There are traces,' he says, 'among the old deposits of the earth of an organic progression among the successive forms of life. They are to be seen in the absence of mammalia in the older, and their very rare appearance in the newer secondary groups; in the diffusion of warm blooded quadrupeds (frequently of unknown genera) in the older tertiary system, and in their great abundance (and frequently of known genera) in the upper portions of the same series; and lastly, in the recent appearance of Man on the surface of the earth.' 'This historical development,' continues the same author, 'of the forms and functions of organic life during successive epochs, seems to mark a gradual evolution of creative power, manifested by a gradual ascent towards a higher type of being.' 'But the elevation of the fauna of successive periods was not made by transmutation, but by creative additions; and it is by watching these additions that we get some insight into Nature's true historical progress, and learn that there was a time when Cephalopoda were the highest types of animal life, the primates of this world; that Fishes next took the lead, then Reptiles; and that during the secondary period they were anatomically raised far above any forms of the reptile class now living in the world. Mammals were added next, until Nature became what she now is, by the addition of Man. ...the generalisation, as laid down by the Woodwardian Professor, still holds good in all essential particulars.
    • Ch.20, p.395-396
  • It may be thought almost paradoxical that writers who are most in favour of transmutation (Mr. C. Darwin and Dr. J. Hooker, for example) are nevertheless among those who are most cautious, and one would say timid, in their mode of espousing the doctrine of progression; while, on the other hand, the most zealous advocates of progression are oftener than not very vehement opponents of transmutation.
    • Ch.20, p.405
  • No one can believe in transmutation who is not profoundly convinced that all we know in paleontology is as nothing compared to what we have yet to learn, and they who regard the record as so fragmentary, and our acquaintance with the fragments which are extant as so rudimentary, are apt to be astounded at the confidence placed by the progressionists in data which must be defective in the extreme. But exactly in proportion as the completeness of the record and our knowledge of it are overrated, in that same degree are many progressionists unconscious of the goal towards which they are drifting. Their faith in the fullness of the annals leads them to regard all breaks in the series of organic existence, or in the sequence of the fossiliferous rocks, as proofs of original chasms and leaps in the course of nature, signs of the intermittent action of the creational force, or of catastrophes which devastated the habitable surface; and they are therefore fearless of discovering any continuity of plan (except that which must have existed in the Divine mind) which would imply a material connection between the outgoing organisms and the incoming ones.
    • Ch.20, p.406
  • For many years after the promulgation of Lamarck's doctrine of progressive development, geologists were much occupied with the question whether the past changes in the animate and inanimate world were brought about by sudden and paroxysmal action, or gradually and continuously by causes differing neither in kind nor degree from those now in operation.
    • Ch.21, p.407
  • The anonymous author of 'The Vestiges of Creation' published in 1844 a treatise, written in a clear and attractive style, which made the English public familiar with the leading views of Lamarck on transmutation and progression but brought no new facts or original line of argument to support those views, or to combat the principal objections which the scientific world entertained against them. No decided step in this direction was made until the publication in 1858 of two papers, one by Mr. Darwin and another by Mr. Wallace, followed in 1859 by Mr Darwin's celebrated work on 'The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection; or, the Preservation of favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.' ...both writers begin by applying to the animal and vegetable worlds the Malthusian doctrine of population, or its tendency to increase in a geometrical ratio, while food can only be made to augment even locally in an arithmetical one. There being, therefore, no room or means of subsistence for a large proportion of the plants and animals which are born into the world, a great number must annually perish.
    • Ch.21, p.407-409
  • As breeders of domestic animals, when they choose certain varieties in preference to others to breed from, speak technically of their method as that of 'selecting,' Mr. Darwin calls the combination of natural causes, which may enable certain varieties of wild animals or plants to prevail over others of the same species, 'natural selection.'
    • Ch.21, p.410
  • Lamarck, when speculating on the origin of the long neck of the giraffe, imagined that quadruped to have stretched himself up in order to reach the boughs of lofty trees, until by continued efforts, and longing to reach higher, he obtained an elongated neck. Mr. Darwin and Mr. Wallace simply suppose that, in a season of scarcity, a longer-necked variety, having the advantage in this respect over most of the herd, as being able to browse on foliage out of their reach, survived them, and transmitted its peculiarity of cervical conformation to its successors.
    • Ch.21, p.410-411
  • By the multiplying of slight modifications in the course of thousands of generations, and by the handing down of the newly-acquired peculiarities by inheritance, a greater and greater divergence from the original standard is supposed to be effected, until what may be called a new species, or, in a greater lapse of time, a new genus, will be the result.
    • Ch.21, p.411
  • Every naturalist admits that there is a general tendency in animals and plants to vary; but it is usually taken for granted, though we have no means of proving the assumption to be true, that there are certain limits beyond which each species cannot pass under any circumstances, or in any number of generations. Mr. Darwin and Mr. Wallace say that the opposite hypothesis, which assumes that every species is capable of varying indefinitely from its original type, is not a whit more arbitrary, and has this manifest claim to be preferred, that it will account for a multitude of phenomena which the ordinary theory is incapable of explaining.
    • Ch.21, p.411
  • The competition of races and species, observes Mr. Darwin, is always most severe between those which are most closely allied and which fill nearly the same place in the economy of nature. Hence, when the conditions of existence are modified, the original stock runs great risk of being superseded by some one of its modified offshoots. The new race or species may not be absolutely superior in the sum of its powers and endowment to the parent stock, and may even be more simple in structure and of a lower grade of intelligence, as well as of organisation, provided, on the whole, it happens to have some slight advantage over its rivals. Progression, therefore, is not a necessary accompaniment of variation and natural selection, though, when a higher organisation happens to be coincident with superior fitness to new conditions, the new species will have greater power and a greater chance of permanently maintaining and extending its ground.
    • Ch.21, p.411-412
  • One of the principal claims of Mr. Darwin's theory to acceptance is, that it enables us to dispense with a law of progression as a necessary accompaniment of variation. It will account equally well for what is called degradation, or a retrograde movement towards a simpler structure, and does not require Lamarck's continual creation of monads; for this was a necessary part of his system, in order to explain how, after the progressive power had been at work for myriads of ages, there were as many beings of the simplest structure in existence as ever.
    • Ch.21, p.412
  • Mr. Darwin labours to show, and with no small success, that all true classification in zoology and botany is, in fact, genealogical, and that community of descent is the hidden bond which naturalists have been unconsciously seeking, while they often imagined that they were looking for some unknown plan of creation.
    • Ch.21, p.412
  • It [variation and natural selection] would explain, says Mr. Darwin, the unity of type which runs through the whole organic world, and why there is sometimes a fundamental agreement in structure in the same class of beings which is quite independent of their habits of life, for such structure, derived by inheritance from a remote progenitor, has been modified, in the course of ages, in different ways, according to the conditions of existence. It would also explain why all living and extinct beings are united, by complex radiating and circuitous lines of affinity with one another, into one grand system; also, there having been a continued extinction of old races and species in progress, and a formation of new ones by variation, why in some genera which are largely represented, or to which a great many species belong, many of these are closely but unequally related; also, why there are distinct geographical provinces of species of animals and plants, for, after long isolation by physical barriers, each fauna and flora, by varying continually, must become distinct from its ancestral type, and from the new forms assumed by other descendants which have diverged from the same stock.
    • Ch.21, p.413
  • Variation and natural selection would also afford a key to a multitude of geological facts otherwise wholly unaccounted for, as, for example, why there is generally an intimate connection between the living animals and plants of each great division of the globe and the extinct fauna and flora of the post-tertiary or tertiary formations of the same region...
    • Ch.21, p.414
  • The theory of the origin of new species by variation will also explain why a species which has once died out never reappears, and why the fossil fauna and flora recede farther and farther from the living type in proportion as we trace it back to remoter ages. It would also account for the fact, that when we have to intercalate a new set of fossiliferous strata between two groups previously known, the newly discovered fossils serve to fill up gaps between specific or generic types previously familiar to us, supplying often the missing links of the chain, which, if transmutation is accepted, must once have been continuous.
    • Ch.21, p.414-415
  • We may understand why the species of the same genus, or genera of the same family, resemble each other more nearly in their embryonic than in their more fully developed state, or how it is that in the eyes of most naturalists the structure of the embryo is even more important in classification than that of the adult, 'for the embryo is the animal in its less modified state, and in so far it reveals the structure of its progenitor. In two groups of animals, however much they may at present differ from each other in structure and habits, if they pass through the same or similar embryonic stages, we may feel assured that they have both descended from the same or nearly similar parents, and are therefore in that degree closely related. Thus community in embryonic structure reveals community of descent, however much the structure of the adult may have been modified.
    • Ch.21, p.415
  • To many, this doctrine of Natural Selection, or 'the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life,' seems so simple, when once clearly stated, and so consonant with known facts and received principles, that they have difficulty in conceiving how it can constitute a great step in the progress of science. Such is often the case with important discoveries, but in order to assure ourselves that the doctrine was by no means obvious, we have only to refer back to the writings of skilful naturalists who attempted in the earlier part of the nineteenth century, to theorise on this subject, before the invention of this new method of explaining how certain forms are supplanted by new ones, and in what manner these last are selected out of innumerable varieties, and rendered permanent.
    • Ch.21, p.417
  • Of Dr. Hooker, whom I have often cited in this chapter, Mr. Darwin has spoken in the Introduction to his 'Origin of Species, as one 'who had, for fifteen years, aided him in every possible way, by his large stores of knowledge, and his excellent judgement.' This distinguished botanist published his 'Introductory Essay to the Flora of Australia' in 1859, the year after the memoir on 'Natural Selection' was communicated to the Linnaean Society, and a few months before the appearance of the' Origin of Species.' ...no one was better qualified by observation and reflection to give an authoritative opinion on the question, whether the present vegetation of the globe is or is not in accordance with the theory which Mr. Darwin has proposed. We cannot but feel, therefore, deeply interested when we find him making the following declaration: 'The mutual relations of the plants of each great botanical province, and, in fact, of the world generally, is just such as would have resulted if variation had gone on operating throughout indefinite periods, in the same manner as we see it act in a limited number of centuries, so as gradually to give rise in the course of time, to the most widely divergent forms. ...The element of mutability pervades the whole Vegetable Kingdom; no class, nor order, nor genus of more than a few species claims absolute exemption from it, whilst the grand total of unstable forms, generally assumed to be species, probably exceeds that of the stable.'
    • Ch.21, p.417-418
  • None of the observations are more in point, as bearing on the doctrine of what Hooker terms 'creation by variation,' than the great extent to which the internal characters and properties of plants, or their physiological constitution are capable of being modified, while they exhibit externally no visible departure from the normal form. ...When several of these internal or physiological modifications are accompanied by variation in size, habits of growth, colour of the flowers, and other external characters, and these are found to be constant in successive generations, botanists may well begin to differ in opinion as to whether they ought to regard them as distinct species or not.
    • Ch.21, p.420-421
  • Hitherto no rival hypothesis has been proposed as a substitute for the doctrine of transmutation; for 'independent creation,' as it is often termed, or the direct intervention of the Supreme Cause, must simply be considered as an avowal that we deem the question to lie beyond the domain of science.
    • Ch.21, p.421
  • The only secondary cause... which has, as yet, been even conjecturally brought forward, to explain how, in the ordinary course of nature, a new specific form may be generated is, as Lamarck declared, 'variation,' and this has been rendered a far more probable hypothesis by the way in which Natural Selection is shown to give intensity and permanency to certain varieties.
    • Ch.21, p.422
  • Barriers of sea, or desert, or mountain, could never have been of the least avail, had the creative force acted independently of material laws, or had it not pleased the Author of Nature that the origin of new species should be governed by some secondary causes analogous to those which we see preside over the appearance of new varieties, which never appear except as the offspring of a parent stock very closely resembling them.
    • Ch.21, p.423

Quotes about Lyell[edit]

  • The publication of 'The Principles of Geology,' in 1830, constituted an epoch in geological science. But it also constituted an epoch in the modern history of the doctrines of evolution, by raising in the mind of every intelligent reader this question: If natural causation is competent to account for the not-living part of our globe, why should it not account for the living part?
  • There is no reasonable ground for believing that the oldest remains yet obtained carry us even near the beginnings of life. The impressive warnings of Lyell against hasty speculations, based upon negative evidence, have been fully justified; time after time, highly organised types have been discovered in formations of an age in which the existence of such forms of life had been confidently declared to be impossible.
  • In 1863... Sir Charles Lyell the most eminent of living geologists, a man of deeply Christian feeling and of exceedingly cautious temper, who had opposed the evolution theory of Lamarck and declared his adherence to the idea of successive creations, then published his work on the Antiquity of Man, and in this and other utterances showed himself a complete though unwilling convert to the fundamental ideas of Darwin. The blow was serious... withdrawing all foundation in fact from the scriptural chronology and... discrediting the creation theory. ...Lyell, like the honest man he was, yielded unreservedly to the mass of new proofs arrayed on the side of evolution against that of creation. ...At the same time came Huxley's Man's Place in Nature, giving new and most cogent arguments in favour of evolution by natural selection.

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