« EelmineJätka »
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 :—
"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
Kosmos, February 1879, p. 397.
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 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 affected 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 ?"1
I will not weary the reader with further details as to the omissions from and additions to the German text. Let it suffice that the socalled translation begins on p. 131 and ends on p. 216 of Mr. Darwin's book. There is new
1 Kostnos, February 1879, p. 404.
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 fill 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,1 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 18 79. 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
1 Page 60 of this volume.
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.
All this was done with that well-known "happy simplicity" of which the Pall Mall Gazelle, December 12, 1879, declared that Mr. Darwin was "a master." The final sentence, about the "weakness of thought and mental anachronism which no one can envy," was 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 facts. 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