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THE DUKE OF ARGYLL'S CRITICISMS.
In the March and April numbers of this Review, the Duke of Argyll has raised afresh most of the questions involved in the general doctrine of Organic Evolution. An adequate discussion of all these questions would occupy a space which the Review cannot afford, and would diminish too much the small amounts of time and energy remaining to me. But though prompted for these reasons not to answer, it seems to me that I cannot with propriety keep silence, considering the generally courteous manner in which the Duke of Argyll has expressed his criticisms. Between deterrents and incentives I may perhaps best compromise by seeking to clear up some fundamental misunderstandings which have arisen.
(1) Throughout the earlier parts of his first article, the Duke of Argyll speaks of my view as standing in opposition to the view of Darwin. I am unaware of any opposition, save that resulting from unlike estimates of the shares its factors have had in producing Organic Evolution. Besides the effects of Natural Selection, Mr. Darwin recognised certain comparatively small effects of use and disuse : ascribing, however, more importance to them towards the close of his life than he did at first. I have contended that they are of far greater importance than he supposed—that while, in the evolution of inactive organisms, Natural Selection has been almost the sole factor, the inheritance of functionally-wrought modifications has come to the front as the chief factor in proportion as organisms have risen in the scale of activity: survival of the fittest continuing, however, to be always a cooperator.
(2) Along with the misapprehension implied in representing this difference as an antagonism, there goes the misapprehension implied in the following extract :
But Darwin's theory is quite as distinctly and as definitely a theory of organic evolution as the theory of which Mr. Spencer boasts, that it will remain secure even if Darwinism should be abandoned. Both these theories are equally hypotheses as to the particular processes through which development has held its way in that department of Nature which we know as organic life."
I did not foresee that Mr. Darwin's conclusion and the conclusion which would remain were his disproved, might be mistaken for alternatives ; nor did I suppose it might be said that both these theories are equally hypotheses as to the particular processes through which development has held its way.' The theory of Natural Selection may rightly be called an hypothesis respecting a process, but the theory of Organic Evolution is in no sense the theory of a process. It is simply a generalisation, based on various classes of facts which show that Organic Evolution has taken place; and it would hold its ground even if the assigned causes, or all conceivable causes, were disproved. When I pointed out that if the theory of gravitation had been disproved the Copernican theory of the Solar System would have remained outstanding, and that, similarly, disproof of Natural Selection as a cause would leave outstanding organic evolution as a result of causes, known or unknown, it did not occur to me that I might be supposed to regard Organic Evolution as a cause comparable with Natural Selection as a cause.
1 P. 390.
(3) The passage with which the Duke of Argyll commences his second paper ascribes to me two beliefs, neither of which I recognise as mine. He says :
Mr. Herbert Spencer's rebellion against the enormous' time which evolutionists have hitherto demanded, and to which Lord Salisbury only alluded as a well-known characteristic of their theories, marks a new stage in the whole .controversy. Nobody had made the demand more emphatically than Mr. Spencer himself only a few years ago. His confession now, and his even elaborate defence of the idea that the work of evolution may be a work of great rapidity, goes some way to bridge the space which divides the conception of creation, and the conception of evolution as merely one of its methods.
The less important of these erroneous ascriptions is contained in the statement that I have made an elaborate defence of the idea that the work of evolution may be a work of great rapidity. Lord Salisbury commented on the prodigious change requisite to transform' the jelly-fish into the man: implying that the demand for many hundred millions of years for this change was none too great, and, by implication, that it could not have taken place in the hundred million years assigned by Lord Kelvin. In reply, I pointed out that this prodigious change' was not greater than that undergone by every infant during the nine months preceding its birth. Basing on familiar facts an estimate of the number of generations which would succeed one another in the hundred million years, I further pointed out that the 'prodigious change' would be effected if each generation differed from the next as much as the unfolding fætus differs from itself in to of a minute ; and that if, of the successive increments of change, we assume that only one in 250 falls in the line of higher evolution, it would still result that the change from a protozoon to man would be effected in a hundred million
years, tion differed fro he next by as much as the etus differs from
if each genera
itself in successive minutes. And here I may add that the required average difference between each generation and the next, would be immeasurably less than that between individuals in each generation; since this is usually quite conspicuous. The implied rate of change can scarcely be characterised as one of great rapidity.'
(4) But the more important of these erroneous ascriptions remains. In his preceding article the Duke of Argyll speaks of my change of front,' and in the foregoing extract he speaks of my rebellion against the “ enormous time which evolutionists have hitherto demanded.' Being utterly unconscious of any change of front' or any such rebellion,' I could not at first understand why they were ascribed to, me. Examination proved, however, that the Duke of Argyll had mistaken a hypothetical admission for an actual admission. The misinterpreted passage is one in which I have said of Lord Salisbury :
In support of his argument he cites Lord Kelvin's conclusion that life cannot have existed on the earth more than a hundred millions of years. Respecting Lord Kelvin's estimate it may be remarked that the truth of a conclusion depends primarily on the character of the premises; that mathematical processes do not furnish much aid in the choice of premises; that no mathematical genius, however transcendent, can evolve true conclusions out of premises that are either incorrect or incomplete; and that while putting absolute faith in Lord Kelvin's reasonings, it is possible to doubt the data with which he sets out. Suppressing criticism, kowever, let us accept in full the hundred million years, and see what comes of it.'?
It seems probable that having, when first reading this passage, not duly noted its qualifying forms of expression, the Duke of Argyll did not refer back to it before writing his article ; for otherwise it is difficult to understand how, after the indications of scepticism given in it, he could suppose that I have accepted Lord Kelvin's estimate. My argument was that even if the duration of life on the Earth had been only a hundred million years, still, within this period, the 'prodigious change' might be effected by increments which, in sucessive generations, would be insensible in their amounts. I did not intend to imply actual acceptance of the estimate; and I never imagined that any one would suppose I did. The arguments against acceptance remain with me in undiminished strength.
With these rectifications I must here end : excusing myself, for the reasons given, from entering upon detailed discussions.
2 Nineteenth Century, 1895, p. 752.
The Editor of THE NINETEENTH CENTURY cannot undertake
to return unaccepted MSS.
I HAVE often regretted that no competent scholar has given the world a history of the monarchical idea. There would be few more curious and interesting tasks than to trace its career, from its simple beginnings in the infancy of civilisation to its complex manifestations in this sixtieth year of Queen Victoria's reign. We possess, indeed, valuable contributions to the subject from the pens of many able writers. To speak only of two. In Sir Henry Maine's masterly. Dissertations on Early Law and Custom there is a mes masterly. account of the archaic king in his relation to civil justice. The Bishop of Oxford, in his well-known work, has traced, with singular fulness of knowledge and grasp of principle, the rise and early development of British sovereignty. But a general history of kingship is a task still to be executed-a task demanding for its satisfactory execution a rare combination of scientific scholarship and philosophical acumen.
I suppose most men and voters would regard Monarchy as an unnatural polity. In fact, it is the one form of government to which the term 'natural’ may properly be applied. I need hardly observe how utterly unhistorical is the conception of primitive society so widely popularised through the influence of Rousseau. Not a community of men and citizens, all sovereign and equivalent, but auto
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cracy, is the earliest form of the State known to us. To this polity, I say, the term 'natural' may be with peculiar propriety applied. Civil society, indeed, whatever its form—there is no immutably best form—is man's true state of nature. For he is what Aristotle called him two thousand years ago—a political animal.' But of civil society the family is the germ. The authority of the father, king over his own children, is, as a mere matter of historical fact, the earliest form of the jus imperandi, which must be referred to the nature of things as essential to human life, and therefore divinely ordained. And the patriarchal state is everywhere the primitive condition of civil society. The archaic king, or autocratic chieftain, is, if I may so express it, the artificially extended father. The regal power is but the paternal power in a wider sphere. Most people who have passed through a public school or a university understand, more or less clearly, how far-reaching this patria potestas was in ancient Rome. It reached even farther in ancient India, where we find the father as 'the rajah or absolute sovereign of the family that depends upon him.' In the expansion of the patriarchal family to the tribe, to the primitive nation, the attributes of the father remained unchanged. His word is still law; and what is significant, as Sir Henry Maine points out, ‘his sentences, or Oé ulotes, which is the same word with our Teutonic word Dooms, [though] doubtless drawn from preexisting custom or usage, are supposed to come directly into his mind by divine dictation from on high, to be conceived by him spontaneously or through divine prompting. It is in connection with the personage whom we call the king that law, civil or criminal, to be enforced by penalties to be inflicted in this world, first makes its appearance in the Hindu Sacred Books.' The archaic king is the supreme judge and legislator, as well as the supreme general, and is invested also with a distinctly religious character. It is interesting to observe how these attributes of kingship, in its earliest form, even now attach, in theory, to its latest development. The Queen is still the source of legislation : statutes are enacted by Her Most Excellent Majesty. The judges of the High Court are her judges, and derive their authority from her commission. She is the head of the Army and Navy: we speak of the troops as Her Majesty's troops, of the fleet as Her Majesty's fleet. She is, in virtue of her ecclesiastical supremacy, the ultimate arbiter in controversies, whether of faith or morals, within the National Church ; and her theological determinations, given upon the advice of her Privy Council, are irreformable.
I merely note this point in passing. I go on to remark that the whole history of the progressive races of the world is a moving away, ever farther and farther, from the patriarchal state, and may not inaptly be regarded as the history of the evolution of the individual. The unit of archaic society is not the man but the family. The