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where we could sleep with the minimum of discomfort, but with very little success. We had only our usual thin summer clothing, and had nothing whatever with us but each a small satchel, which served as a pillow. As the cave faces north the rocky floor had not been warmed by the sun, and struck cold through our thin clothing, and we turned about in vain for places where we could fit ourselves into hollows without feeling the harsh contact of our bones with the rock or pebbles. I found it almost impossible to lie still for half an hour without seeking a more comfortable position, but the change brought little relief. Being midsummer, there were no dead leaves to be had, and we had no tool with which to cut sufficient branches to make a bed. But I think we had determined purposely to make no preparation, but to camp out just as if we had come accidentally to the place in an unknown country, and had been compelled to sleep there. But very little sleep was to be had, and while in health I haye never passed a more uncomfortable night. Luckily it was not a long one, and before sunrise we left our gloomy bedroom, walked up to the main road to get into the sunshine, descended into the Nedd valley and strolled along, enjoying the fresh morning air and warm sun till we neared Pont-nedd-fychan, when, finding a suitable pool, we took a delightful and refreshing bath, dried our bodies in the sun, and then walked on to the little inn, where we enjoyed our ample dish of eggs and bacon, with tea, and brown breadand-butter. We then walked slowly on, collecting and exploring by paths and lanes and through shady woods on the south bank of the river, till we reached our lodgings at Neath, having thoroughly enjoyed our little excursion.
A few months later one of our walks had a rather serious sequel. We started after breakfast one fine Sunday morning for a walk up the Dulais valley, returning by Pont-ar-dawe, and about four in the afternoon found ourselves near my old lodgings at Bryn-coch. We accordingly went in and, of course, were asked to stay to tea, which was just being got ready. The Misses Rees, with their usual hospitality, made a huge plate of buttered toast with their home-made bread
which was very substantial, and, being very hungry after our long walk, we made a hearty meal of it. My brother felt no ill effects from this, but in my case it brought on a severe attack of inflammation of the stomach and bowels, which kept me in bed some weeks, and taught me not to overtax my usually good digestion.
During my residence at Neath I kept up some correspondence with H. W. Bates, chiefly on insect collecting. We exchanged specimens, and, I think in the summer of 1847, he came on a week's visit, which we spent chiefly in beetlecollecting and in discussing various matters, and it must have been at this time that we talked over a proposed collecting journey to the tropics, but had not then decided where to go. Mr. Bates' widow having kindly returned to me such of my letters as he had preserved, I find in them some references to the subjects in which I was then interested. I will, therefore, here give a few extracts from them.
In a letter written November 9, I finish by asking : “ Have you read Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation,' or is it out of your line?” And in my next letter (December 28), having had Bates' reply to the question, I say: “ I have rather a more favourable opinion of the ‘Vestiges' than you appear to have. I do not consider it a hasty generalization, but rather as an ingenious hypothesis strongly supported by some striking facts and analogies, but which remains to be proved by more facts and the additional light which more research may throw upon the problem. It furnishes a subject for every observer of nature to attend to; every fact he observes will make either for or against it, and it thus serves both as an incitement to the collection of facts, and an object to which they can be applied when collected. Many eminent writers support the theory of the progressive development of animals and plants. There is a very philosophical work bearing directly on the question-Lawrence's 'Lectures on Man'-delivered before the Royal College of Surgeons, now published in a cheap form. The great object of these • Lectures' is to illustrate the different races of mankind, and the manner in which they probably originated, and he arrives
at the conclusion (as also does Pritchard in his work on the Physical History of Man') that the varieties of the human race have not been produced by any external causes, but are due to the development of certain distinctive peculiarities in some individuals which have thereafter become propagated through an entire race. Now, I should say that a permanent peculiarity not produced by external causes is a characteristic of species and not of mere 'variety,' and thus, if the theory of the 'Vestiges' is accepted, the Negro, the Red Indian, and the European are distinct species of the genus Homo.
“An animal which differs from another by some decided and permanent character, however slight, which difference is undiminished by propagation and unchanged by climate and external circumstances, is universally held to be a distinct species; while one which is not regularly transmitted so as to form a distinct race, but is occasionally reproduced from the parent stock (like Albinoes), is generally, if the difference is not very considerable, classed as a variety. But I would class both these as distinct species, and I would only consider those to be varieties whose differences are produced by external causes, and which, therefore, are not propagated as distinct races. . . As a further support to the 'Vestiges,' I have heard that in his Cosmos' the venerable Humboldt supports its views in almost every particular, not excepting those relating to animal and vegetable life. This work I have a great desire to read, but fear I shall not have an opportunity at present. Read Lawrence's work; it is well worth it."
This long quotation, containing some very crude ideas, would not have been worth giving except for showing that at this early period, only about four years after I had begun to take any interest in natural history, I was already speculating upon the origin of species, and taking note of everything bearing upon it that came in my way. It also serves to show the books I was reading about this time, as well as my appreciation of the “ Vestiges," a book which, in my opinion, has always been undervalued, and which when it first appeared was almost as much abused, and for very much the same reasons, as was Darwin's "Origin of Species," fifteen years later.
In a letter dated April 11, 1846, there occur the following remarks on two books about which there has been little difference of opinion, and whose authors I had at that time no expectation of ever calling my friends. “I was much pleased to find that you so well appreciated Lyell.
I first read Darwin's Journal' three or four years ago, and have lately re-read it. As the Journal of a scientific traveller, it is second only to Humboldt's 'Personal Narrative'-as a work of general interest, perhaps superior to it. He is an ardent admirer and most able supporter of Mr. Lyell's views. His style of writing I very much admire, so free from all labour, affectation, or egotism, and yet so full of interest and original thought ... I quite envy you, who have friends near you attached to the same pursuits. I know not a single person in this little town who studies any one branch of natural history, so that I am quite alone in this respect." My reference to Darwin's "Journal” and to Humboldt's “ Personal Narrative " indicate, I believe, the two works to whose inspiration I owe my determination to visit the tropics as a collector.
In September, 1847, my sister returned home from Alabama, and from that time till I left for Para, in the following year, we lived together at Llantwit Cottage. To commemorate her return she invited my brother and me to go to Paris for a week, partly induced by the fact that everywhere in America she was asked about it, while we were very glad to have her as an interpreter. The last letter to Bates before our South American voyage is occupied chiefly with an account of this visit, a comparison of Paris with London, and especially an account of the museums at the Jardin des Plantes as compared with the British Museum. Towards the end of this long letter the following passages are the only ones that relate to the development of my views. After referring to a day spent in the insect-room at the British Museum on my way home, and the overwhelming numbers of the beetles and butterflies I was able to look over, I add: “I begin to feel rather dissatisfied with a mere local collection ; little is to be learnt by it. I should like to take some one family to study thoroughly,
principally with a view to the theory of the origin of species. By that means I am strongly of opinion that some definite results might be arrived at.” And at the very end of the letter I say: "There is a work published by the Ray Society I should much like to see, Oken's Elements of Physiophilosophy. There is a review of it in the Athenæum. It contains some remarkable views on my favourite subject—the variations, arrangements, distribution, etc., of species.”
These extracts from my early letters to Bates suffice to show that the great problem of the origin of species was already distinctly formulated in my mind ; that I was not satisfied with the more or less vague solutions at that time offered ; that I believed the conception of evolution through natural law so clearly formulated in the “Vestiges ” to be, so far as it went, a true one; and that I firmly believed that a full and careful study of the facts of nature would ultimately lead to a solution of the mystery.
There is one other subject on which I obtained conclusive evidence while living at Neath, which may here be briefly noticed. I have already described how at Leicester I became convinced of the genuineness of the phenomena of mesmerism, and was able thoroughly to test them myself. I also was able to make experiments which satisfied me of the truth of phrenology, and had read sufficient to enable me to understand its general principles. But during my early residence at Neath after my brother's death, I heard two lectures on the subject, and in both cases I had my character delineated with such accuracy as to render it certain that the positions of all the mental organs had been very precisely determined. It must be understood that the lecturers were both strangers, and that they each gave only a single lecture on their way to more important centres. In each case I received a large printed sheet, with the organs and their functions stated, and a number placed opposite to each to indicate its comparative size. In addition to this, there was a written delineation of character, but in each case it only professed to be a sketch, as I could not then afford the higher fee for a full written development of character. As these two documents have VOL. I.