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managed from South Kensington and no special director was required. Partly because (in my inexperience of such matters) I felt rather confident of getting this appointment, and also because I was becoming tired of London and wished for a country life, I took a small house at Barking in 1870, and in 1871 leased four acres of ground at Grays, including a very picturesque well-timbered old chalk-pit, above which I built a house having a very fine view across to the hills of North Kent and down a reach of the Thames to Gravesend.
Seven years later, in 1878, when Epping Forest had been acquired by the Corporation of London, a superintendent was to be appointed to see to its protection and improvement while preserving its “natural aspect" in accordance with the Act of Parliament which restored it to the public. This position would have suited me exactly, and if I had obtained it and had been allowed to utilize the large extent of open unwooded land in the way I suggested in my article in the Fortnightly Review (“ Epping Forest, and how best to deal with it '), an experiment in illustration of the geographical distribution of plants would have been made which would have been both unique and educational, as well as generally interesting. I obtained recommendations and testimonials from the presidents of all the natural history societies in London, from numerous residents near the forest and in London, from many eminent men and members of Parliament-seventy in all; but the City merchants and tradesmen with whom the appointment lay wanted a “practical man" to carry out their own ideas, which were to utilize all the open spaces for games and sports, to build a large hotel close to Queen Elizabeth's hunting lodge, and to encourage excursions and school treats, allowing swings, round-abouts, and other such amusements more suited to a beer-garden or village fair than to a tract of land secured at enormous cost and much hardship to individuals in order to preserve an example of the wild natural woodland wastes of our country for the enjoyment and instruction of successive generations of nature-lovers.
I still think it is much to be regretted that no effort is made to carry out my suggestion in the article above referred to (reprinted in my "Studies," vol. ii., under the title, “ Epping Forest and Temperate Forest Regions"). There still remains in the open moors and bare wastes, forming outlying parts of the New Forest, ample space on which to try the experiment, and at all events to extend the forest character of the scenery.
My failure to obtain the post at Epping Forest was certainly a disappointment to me, but I am inclined to think now that even that was really for the best, since it left me free to do literary work which I should certainly not have done if I had had permanent employment so engrossing and interesting as that at Epping. In that case I should not have gone to lecture in America, and should not have written “Darwinism," perhaps none of my later books, and very few of the articles contained in my “Studies." This body of literary and popular scientific work is, perhaps, what I was best fitted to perform, and if so, neither I nor my readers have any reason to regret my failure to obtain the post of superintendent and guardian of Epping Forest.
Among the eminent men of science with whom I became more or less intimate during the period of my residence in London, I give the first place to Sir Charles Lyell, not only on account of his great abilities and his position as one of the brightest ornaments of the nineteenth century, but because I saw more of him than of any other man at all approaching him as a thinker and leader in the world of science, while my correspondence with him was more varied in the subjects touched upon, and in some respects of more general interest, than my more extensive correspondence with Darwin. My friend, Sir Leonard Lyell, has kindly lent me a volume containing the letters from his scientific correspondence which have been preserved, and I am therefore able to see what subjects I wrote about, and to give such portions of the letters as seem to be of general interest.
Early in 1864 Sir Charles was preparing his presidential address for the meeting of the British Association at Bath, VOL. I.
and wishing to introduce a paragraph as to the division of the Malay Archipelago into two regions, and the relation of this division to the races of man, and also as to the probable rate of change of insects, he asked me for a short statement of my conclusions on these subjects. On the latter point I wrote:
“As regards insects changing rapidly, I see nothing improbable in it, because, though in a totally different way, they are as highly specialized as are birds or mammals, and, through the transformations they undergo, have still more complicated relations with the organic and inorganic worlds. For instance, they are subject to different kinds of danger in their larva, pupa, and imago state; they have different enemies and special means of protection in each of these states, and changes of climate may probably affect them differently in each state. We may therefore expect very slight changes in the proportions of other animals, in physical geography, or in climate, to produce an immediate change in their numbers, and often in their organization. The fact that they do change rapidly is, I think, shown by the large number of peculiar species of insects in Madeira as compared with the birds and plants; the same thing occurs in Corsica, where there are many peculiar species of insects; also, we see the very limited of range of many insects as found by Bates and myself. Again, your rule of the slow change of mollusca applies to aquatic species only. The land-shells, I presume, change much more rapidly; or why are almost every species in Madeira and in each of the West Indian islands peculiar ? Being terrestrial, they are affected as insects are by physical changes, and more still by organic changes. Such changes are certainly much slower in the sea.”
Later on, in May, after reading my article on "The Races of Man and Natural Selection," which Darwin thought so highly of, though at the same time he was quite distressed at my conclusion that natural selection could not have done it all, Sir Charles objected (May 22, 1864)—very naturally for a geologist, and for one who had so recently become a convert to Darwin's views—that my suggestion of man's possible origination, so early as the Miocene, was due to my "want of appreciation of the immensity of time at our disposal, without going back beyond the Newer Pliocene.”
To this objection I replied (May 24) as follows: "With regard to the probable antiquity of man, I will say a few words. First, you will see, I argue for the possibility rather than for the necessity of man having existed in Miocene times, and I still maintain this possibility, and even probability, for the following reasons. The question of time cannot be judged of positively, but only comparatively. We cannot say à priori that ten millions or a thousand millions of years would be required for any given modification in man. We must judge only by analogy, and by a comparison with the rate of change of other highly organized animals. Now, several existing genera lived in the Miocene age, and also anthropoid apes allied to Hylobates. But man is classed, even by Huxley, as a distinct family. The origin of that family—that is, its common origin with other families of the Primates-must therefore date back from an earlier period than the Miocene. Now, the greater part of the family difference is manifested in the head and cranium. A being almost exactly like man in the rest of the skeleton, but with a cranium as little developed as that of a chimpanzee, would certainly not form a distinct family, only a distinct genus of Primates. My argument, therefore, is, that this great cranial difference has been slowly developing, while the rest of the skeleton has remained nearly stationary; and while the Miocene Dryopithecus has been modified into the existing gorilla, speechless and ape-brained man (but yet man) has been developed into great-brained, speech-forming man.
“The majority of Pliocene mammals, on the other hand, are, I believe, of existing genera, and as my whole argument is to show how man has undergone a more than generic change in brain and cranium, while the rest of his body has hardly changed specifically, I cannot consistently admit that all this change has been brought about in a less period than has sufficed to change most other mammals generically, except by assuming that in his case the change has been more rapid, which may, indeed, have been so, but which we have no evidence yet to prove. I conceive, therefore, that the immensity of time, measured in years, does not affect the argument. My paper was written too hastily and too briefly to explain the subject fully and clearly, but I hope these few remarks may give my ideas on the point you have especially referred to."
In 1867, when a new edition of the “Principles of Geology" was in progress, I had much correspondence and many talks with Sir Charles, chiefly on questions relating to distribution and dispersal, in which he, like myself, was greatly interested. He was by nature so exceedingly cautious and conservative, and always gave such great weight to difficulties that occurred to himself or that were put forth by others, that it was not easy to satisfy him on any novel view upon which two opinions existed or were possible. We used often to discuss these various points, but in any case that seemed to him important he usually preferred to write to me, stating his objections, sometimes at great length, and asking me to give my views. In reply to some such inquiries I sent him my paper on the birds of the Lombok to Timor groups, and wrote to him at the same time more fully explaining its bearing, as afterwards given in my “Malay Archipelago." I also wrote him on the curious facts as to the distribution of pigs in the whole archipelago, as illustrated by facts he had himself given showing the remarkable power of swimming possessed by these animals. Another fact he wanted explained was the presence of a few non-marsupial mammals in Australia, and why there were not more of them, and why none were found in the caves. On these points I wrote to him as follows:
"MY DEAR SIR CHARLES,
“I think the fact that the only placental land mammals in Australia (truly indigenous) are the smallest of all mammals is a very suggestive fact as to how they got there. Mice would not only be carried by canoes, but they