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EVOLUTION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.
A PtEPLY TO PKOFESSOE HUXLEY.
N reading the criticism which Professor Huxley has done me the
honour to make upon a little book (the " Grenesis of Species ") which
I ventured to publish in the early part of this year, I felt that, as a
subaltern in science, I was being severely reprimanded by my
superior officer ; that I might apprehend a sentence of degradation to
the ranks, if not actual expulsion from the service. I found myself
taxed, if not with positive desertion to an enemy with whom no
truce is to be allowed, yet, at least, suspected of treasonable commu-
nication with a hostile army, and treacherous dalliance with ministers
Now, recognising as I do that, in physical science, Professor Huxley
is indeed my superior officer, having his just claims to respect and
deference on the part of all men of science, I also feel that I am
under special obligations to him, both many and deep, for knowledge
imparted and for ready assistance kindly rendered. No wonder then
that the expression of his vehement disapproval is painful to me.
It was not however without surprise that I learned that my one
unpardonable sin the one great offence disqualifying me for being
" a loyal soldier of science" was my attempt to show that there is
no real antagonism between the Christian revelation and evolution !
^ly " Genesis of Species" was written with two main objects :
My first object was to show that the Darwinian theory is un-
E } r OL ( r TION AXD ITS CONSEQUENCES. 1 69
tenable, and that natural selection is not lie origin of species. This
was ami is my conviction purely as a man of science, and I maintain
it upon scientific grounds only.
My second object was to demonstrate that nothing- even in Mr.
Darwin's theory, as then put forth, and d fortiori in evolution
rally, was necessarily antagonistic to Christianity.
Professor Huxley ignoring the arguments by which I supported
my first point, fastens upon my second; and the gist of his criticism is
an endeavour to show that Christianity and science are necessarily
and irreconcilably divorced, and that the arguments I have advanced
to the contrary are false and misleading.
In-fore replying to Professor Huxley's observations and miscon-
ceptions on this head, I may be excused for saying a few words
as to my first point, namely, the scientific reasons which seem to
oppose themselves to the reception of the Darwinian theory as
originally propounded by its author ; and here I claim to be acting,
and to have acted, as " a loyal soldier of science" in stating the
scientific facts which have impressed me with certain scientific
convictions (on purely scientific grounds), in opposition to Mr.
Professor Huxley does not so much dispute the truth of my con-
clusions as deny their distinctness from those at which Mr. Darwin
himself has arrived, or indeed originally put forth, asserting that my
book is but " an iteration of the fundamental principle of Darwinism."
I shall then shortly endeavour to show more distinctly wherein my
view radically differs from that first propounded by Mr. Darwin, and
still maintained, or at least not distinctly repudiated by him ; though
I believe that the admissions he has of late made amount to a virtual,
but certainly not to an explicit, abandonment of his theoiy.
The Professor expresses his doubt as to the existence of an " abso-
lute and pure Darwinian," a doubt which is certainly a surprise to
me, as I had always understood him as guarding himself carefully
against the identification of his own views with those of Mr. Darwin,
and as allowing that it was one thing to hold the doctrine of evo-
lution and another to accept the Darwinian hypothesis. In a
lecture* delivered in 1868 at the Royal Institution, he observed, " I
can testify, from personal experience, it is possible to have a complete
faith in the general doctrine of evolution, and yet to hesitate in
accepting the Xebular, or the Uniformitarian, or the Darwinian
hypothoes in all their integrity and fulness."
It is plain then that at a recent period, Professor Huxley distin-
guished himself from thorough- going disciples of Mr. Darwin;
implying by this distinction a recognition of the existence of such
* See " Proceedings of the Royal Institution," vol. v. p. 279.
170 THE CONTEMPORARY REVIEW.
disciples, pure Darwinians, like those of whom he now ignores the
The very essence of Mr. Darwin's theory as to the "origin of
species " was, the paramount action of the destructive powers of
nature over any direct tendency to vary in any certain and definite
line, whether such direct tendency resulted mainly from internal
predisposing or external exciting causes.
The benefit of the individual in the struggle for life was announced
as the one determining agent, fixing slight beneficial variations into
enduring characters, and the evolution of species by such agency is
justly and properly to be termed formation by " natural selection."
That in this I do not misrepresent Mr. Darwin is evident from
his own words. He says :
"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which
could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight
modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." * Also : " Every
detail of structure in every living creature (making some little allowance
for the direct action of physical conditions) may be viewed, either as having
been of special use to some ancestral form, or as being now of special use
to the descendants of this form either directly, or indirectly, through the
complex laws of growth ; " and "if it could be proved that any part of the
structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of
another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have
been produced by natural selection." f
Mr. Darwin could hardly have employed words by which more
thoroughly to stake the whole of his theory on the non-existence or
non- action of causes of any moment other than natural selection.
For why should such a phenomenon " annihilate his theory ? " Be-
cause the very essence of his theory, as originally put forth, is to
recognise only the conservation of slight variations directly beneficial
to the creature presenting them, by enabling it to obtain food, escape
enemies, and propagate its kind.
Such being the case, my first object, as I have before said, was to
show not only that " natural selection" is inadequate to the task
assigned it, but that there is much positive evidence of the direct
action both of external influences sufficient to dominate and over-
power in certain instances the ordinary processes of "natural selection/'
and also of still more influential internal powers ; moreover, that these
latter powers are so efficient as to present themselves as probably the
main determining agent in specific evolution, although I admitted
that a certain subordinate action of natural selection plainly obtained.
The various arguments I advanced space does not allow me here
to reproduce, but referring to my book, I may point out that therein
I endeavoured to show :
* " Origin of Species," p. 208. f Op. cit. p. 220.
E VOL UTION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. 1 7 1
1. That no mere survival of the fittest accidental variations can
account for the incipient stages of structures useful enough when
once developed. Such, e.g., as the whalehone of the whale's mouth,
the larynx of the kangaroo, pedicellaricc and bird's head processes,
and many other structures.
'2. That the sexual colours of apes, the beauty of shell-fish, and the
complex mechanisms by which fertilisation is effected in many orchids,
are quite beyond the power of natural selection to develop.
3. That modes of formation, such as in the human eye and ear, in
that they spring from simultaneous and concurrent modifications of
distinct parts, have a remarkable significance.
4. That the independent origin of similar structures in very
different animal forms should be noted,* and I adduced evidence to show
that similar modifications are sometimes directly induced by obscure
external conditions, as in the sudden acclimatization of English grey-
hounds in Mexico, and in the loss of the tail in certain butterflies of
certain regions, and in the direct modification of young English
oysters when transported to the shore of the Mediterranean. Moreover,
it was shown that certain groups of organic forms exhibit a common
tendency to remarkable developments of particular kinds, as is the
case with birds of paradise.
5. That facts may be cited to support the theory of specific
stability (different in degree in different species), and to demonstrate
that reversion may take place in spite of the most careful selection in
breeding. The value of the facts of sterility in hybrids was also
6. That data bearing on the relation of species to time may be
brought forward, apparently fatal to their origin by the action of
7. That the significant and important facts of the deep-seated
resemblances existing not only between different individual animals, .
but between different parts of one and the same individual, should
be pondered over; these points being, as was shown, capable of
reinforcement by others drawn from the abnormalities of monstrous
births, and the symmetrical character of certain diseases.
From all these considerations, a cumulative argument seemed to
me to arise conclusive against the theory that species have had their
specific characters fixed solely by the action of "natural selection."
The hypothesis which I ventured to offer as my view of the evolu-
* Professor Huxley corrects me as to "a slip" I have made in laying too much
stress on the amount of similarity existing between the eyes of vertebrates and cepha-
lopods. After all, however, the resemblance is very great and striking. It is grati-
fying to me to find no more important error noted, even by such a master of the subject
as Professor Huxley.
i;2 THE CONTEMPORARY REVIEW.
tionary process was and is, that just as all admit the universe to Lave
been so ordered or to so exist that on the mixing of chemical sub-
stances under certain conditions new and perfectly definite species of
minerals are suddenly evolved from potentiality to existence, and as
by the juxtaposition of inorganic matters under certain influences*
a new form of force " vitality "appears upon the scene so also in
animals, the concurrence of certain external exciting causes acts in
such a manner on internal predisposing tendencies as to determine by
a direct seminal modification the evolution of a new specific form.
The action of " natural selection/' I admitted, and admit, to be real
and necessary, but I ascribe to it an altogether subordinate role.
This view may be true or false, but it is a very different one from
that advocated by the author of the " Origin of Species," and I am
at a loss to understand how Professor Huxley can consider it identical
with Mr. Darwin's, more especially as (at p. 237) I have enumerated
the points in which my theory coincides with Professor Owen's
''Derivation," and differs from that of the author of the " Origin of
Species." It seems to me strange that Professor Huxley should now
assert the " very pith and marrow " of Darwinism to have been the
affirmation that " species have been evolved by variation, aided by
t/ie subordinate action of natural selection," when he himself, in his
" Lay Sermons " (p. 321), has enunciated simply that Mr. Darwin's
hypothesis is the origin of species " by the process of natural selec-
tion," without one word of qualification ; and five pages further on,
has considered the possibility of the refutation of Mr. Darwin's view
by the discovery of residual phenomenaf not explicable by ft natural
selection " just such phenomena as I have endeavoured to call atten-
tion to in my book.
I question whether Mr. Darwin even now does admit that
" natural selection-" has only a subordinate action. I do not recollect
to have met with such a declaration, although I think that it should
logically follow from the various admissions he has latterly made.
If he does admit it, then a cause which is subordinate cannot be the
determining agent. If he does not admit it, then there is a radical
difference between my hypothesis and Mr. Darwin's.
Professor Huxley blames the Quarterly Reviewer's treatment of
Mr. Darwin as " unjust and unbecoming," because he endeavours to
show how Mr. Darwin has changed his ground without (in spite of
* Though Professor Huxley is disinclined as yet to admit that such evolution of
living things takes place now, he none the less admits the principle, though he relegates
.such evolution to a remote epoch of the world's history. See "Address to the British
iation, Liverpool, 1870," p. 17.
f His words are "What if species should offer residual phenomena, here and there,
not explicable by natural selection ? " Lay Sermons, p. 326.
EVOLUTION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. 173
his generally scrupulous candour) disavowing " natural selection " as
the origin of species.
I confess that it seems to me that the reviewer was fully justified
in so doing ; for Mr. Darwin's reputation as a man of science stands
so high, that it was plainly the reviewer's duty to endeavour to pre-
vent the public attaching, in mere deference to Mr. Darwin's autho-
rity, a greater weight to his assertions than the evidence adduced
warranted. The reviewer sought to do this by showing, by Mr.
Darwin's own words, he had been compelled to admit that
''abrupt strongly marked changes " may occur "neither beneficial
nor injurious " to the creatures possessing them, produced " by un-
known agencies" l} T ing deep in "the nature of the organism." In
other words, that Mr. Darwin has in fact,* though not in express
words, abandoned his original theory of the " origin of species/'
I am grateful, however, to Professor Huxley for having spoken of
"injustice" in connection with Mr. Darwin. I am so because it
affords me an opportunity for declaring myself more fully with
respect to the distinction between Darwinism and Mr. Darwin.
In common, I am sure, with all those who have been privileged to
know not only Mr. Darwin's works, but Mr. Darwin himself, I have
ever entertained, and shall continue to entertain for that amiable
gentleman and most accomplished naturalist the warmest sentiments of
esteem and regard. Convinced as I am that he is actuated by a pure
love of truth, admiring, nay, venerating him for his acute, his
unwearied and widely- extended researches, it has been to me a most
painful task to stand forth as his avowed and public opponent.
The struggle between my inclination to praise and to acquiesce,
and my sense of duty which impelled me to dissent, led me to express
myself very imperfectly, and I thank Professor Huxley for thus
giving me occasion to acknowledge my regret that these sentiments
should have led me to give such very inadequate expression to my
dissent from, and reprobation of, Mr. Darwin's views, especially as
manifested in their later developments.
As to the principles embodied in Mr. Darwin's "Origin of Species,"
the further study of them more and more brings home to me their
unsatisfactoriness, as pointed out by me in my " Genesis of Species."
* Professor Huxley now tolls us that Mr. Darwin is inclined to admit that varieties
can " he perpetuated, or even intensified, when selective conditions are indifferent, or
perhaps unfavourable" to their "existence." Surely, if species may ho evolved in the
teeth of all the opposition "natural selection" can offer, it is, to say the least, some-
what paradoxical to affirm that nevertheless natural selection i w. For all
this Mr. Darwin has not, 1 i \pres.sly said that the action of "natural selec-
tion " is only subordinate^ though he implies that it is but co-ordinate. So that though
ho has virtually given up his original theory, his view does not yet coincide with mine,
as far as I can gather from his words.
1 74 THE CONTEMPORARY RE VIE W.
Indeed, "natural selection," as the agent for the determination of
specific animal forms, is, I am convinced, utterly insufficient to the
task assigned it ; while the reasoning employed in the " Descent of
Man " to support the hypothesis of our ape origin* seems to me, to
say the least, unworthy of Mr. Darwin's earlier productions.
Professor Huxley attributes to the Quarterly Reviewer " peculiar
notions of probability," because he affirms that if all animals below
man have been evolved one from the other, then a close resemblance
in man's body to any particular animal's does not increase that d
priori probability as to his bodily evolution, which springs from the
fact of his being " an animal at all." But surely if it was of the
essence of an animal to be " evolved," so that to be an animal
implied being a creature formed by evolution, then the fact of man
being an animal would necessarily have a similar implication, and I
fail to see what additional force that probability would obtain through
any particular resemblance. On the other hand, if there is authority
for believing "that man's body was miraculously created, such parti-
cular resemblance would not render such a miracle one bit less
credible ; for there is no necessity, on the hypothesis of such miraculous
creation, for more than even a specific difference between his body and
that of some other animal.
Professor Huxley also speaks of the Quarterly Reviewer's making
the admission as to the similarity of man's body to that of brutes
"grudgingly" With regard to myself, no one is better aware than
Professor Huxley how I have worked at the demonstration of the
close resemblance between the bodily structures of men and apes.
Another objection is brought both against me and the Quarterly
Reviewer by Professor Huxley. We are declared to make a " con-
spicuous exhibition " of the " absence of a sound philosophical basis,"
in that we agree in asserting that man differs more from an ape than
does an ape from inorganic matter.
But surely this is the position every one must assume who believes
that man is immortal, and has a moral responsibility to God. For it
is manifest that such distinctions (e.g. growth, nutrition, locomotion,
&c.) as exist between apes and minerals are as nothing compared
with the transcendent distinction above referred to. If, then, in
saying this we are in " philosophical error," we share that error with
all those who assert the immortality of the soul, and a moral responsi-
bility of each man to God such as no brute possesses. We can also
claim as more or less on our side even one of the originators of the
theory of " natural selection " itself, and his followers. For Mr.
* The much-ridiculed Lord Monboddo has been successfully redeemed from very
unjust depreciation in an interesting article which has lately appeared. See the Month
for November, 1871.
E VOL UTIOX < I .\7) ITS CONSEQUENCES. 1 75
TVullace, if I understand him rightly, teaches us that for the evolution
of man's body special spiritual agencies were required, which were not
needed for the rest of the organic world. So that, according to this
view, man is marked off from all the rest of nature by a very special
I will turn now to the main point of Professor Huxley's paper
namely, that in which he applies himself to controverting the second
object aimed at in my " Genesis of Species." As I have before said,
my second object was to demonstrate that there is no necessary anta-
gonism between the Christian revelation and evolution.
In meeting me on this ground (to discuss what seems to have
interested the Professor more than anything else in my book), he
endeavours to create a prejudice against my arguments, and to
narrow my base, by representing me as a mere advocate for specially
Catholic doctrine. *
I altogether decline to allow the issue to be thus limited. I decline
it because neither did I intend such limitation, nor do any words of
mine justify such a construction of my purpose. I took up, and I
take up, only the ground common to me and to all who hold the
Christian religion as expressed in the Apostles' Creed, or who main-
tain the inspiration of Scripture. The better to make sure of my
position I made use of an extreme case, knowing that if I could
maintain even that, then all within that extreme term could not
certainly be questioned. Purposely then I set out to show, and I
did show, that even the strictest Ultramontane Catholics are per-
fectly free to hold the doctrine of evolution, thereby making evident
that with regard to Christians in general there could not be a
doubt as to their freedom in the matter. For this end I expresslj*
selected just such persons as would commonly be supposed not to be
those from whom (in Professor Huxley's words) "modern science
was likely to receive a warm welcome," and amongst others the
Spanish Jesuit, Father Suarez, precisely because, as Professor Huxley
says, " the popular repute of that learned theologian and subtle
casuist was not such as to make his works a likely place of refuge for
liberality of thought."
My critic shows how he misapprehends my aim and intention
when he speaks of " Mr. Mivart citing Father Suarez as his chief
witness in favour of the scientific freedom enjoyed by Catholics."
Had he been such a witness I should not for one moment have
thought of citing him ; it was precise^ as one of the most rigid
* At p. 454, Professor Huxley gives the words "Catholic, theology" with marks of
quotation as if miiie, though in fact they were not so. This typographical error does
not misrepresent my substantial moaning, but it none the less tends to create a
prejudice against my statements in the mind of the public.
i 7 6 TPIE CONTEMPORARY REVIEW.
theologians, and of "unspotted orthodoxy" (as Professor Huxley
justly remarks), that I called him into court where he testifies so
completely to my satisfaction.
The success of my mode of procedure is, I confess, gratifying to
me. Not only was my argument " most interesting " to Professor
Huxley, but he tells us his " astonishment reached its climax," and
that he shall "look anxiously" for additional references "in the
third edition of the ' Genesis of Species.' ' Fortunately I have no
need to keep the Professor waiting, but shall shortly proceed to give
him these additional references at once.
Let it be borne in mind that in view of the popular conceptions
current in England on the subject, my argument was that if even
those who receive the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas and the
Jesuits, and who look to Rome for doctrinal decisions if even those
are free to accept evolution, then, d fortiori, other Christians, sup-
posed to be comparatively untrammelled, need not hesitate as to the
harmony and compatibility of Christianity and evolution.
Of all I said in my book on the subject I have nothing to retract ;
but I repeat yet more confidently than before that " evolution is
without doubt consistent with the strictest Christian theology;" that
" it is notorious that many distinguished Christian thinkers have
accepted, and do accept, both ideas;" that "Christian thinkers are
perfectly free to accept the general evolution theory ;" and, finally,
that " it is evident that ancient, and most venerable theological
authorities distinctly assert derivative creation, and thus their teach-
ings harmonize with all that modern science can possibly require."
The point I had to prove was that the assertion of the evolution of
new species (whether by Mr. Darwin's "natural selection " or accord-
ing to my hypothesis) was in no opposition to the Christian faith as
to the creation of the organic world.
In order to prove this I had to consider the meaning of the word
" creation," and I found that it might be taken in three senses,. with
only two of which, however, we had to do.
The first of these was direct creation out of nothing, of both matter
and form conjoined absolute creation such as must have taken place
when the earliest definite kind of matter appeared.
The second was derivative or potential creation : the creation by
God of forms not as existing, but in potentia, to be subsequently
evolved into actual existence by the due concurrence and agency of
the various powers of nature.
Searching for information on the subject, I found to my surprise
that the regular teaching of theology adopted this view, which was
maintained by a complete consensus of authorities. Of these I
purposely chose but a few telling ones as types ; and, amongst the
EVOLUTION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. 177
rest, Suarez, who without any doubt, and as I shall proceed to
demonstrate more at length, is a thorough-going supporter of it.
Professor Huxley has quite misapprehended * my meaning, hence
the disappointment he speaks of. What he did not find, I never
.said was to be found. What he actually did find is what everybody
knew before, but is a matter totally different from and utterly irre-
levant to the point I maintained.
^ly critic fails to distinguish between the question as to the nature
of creation as an act, and that concerning ike fact of creation.
Now, what my intention was is plainly shown by the words I used.
I said : " Considering how extremely recent are these biological
speculations, it might hardly be expected d priori that writers of
earlier ages should have given expression to doctrines harmonising in
any deqree with such very modern views ; nevertheless, this is cer-
tainly the case." And so it is.
Of Suarez I said, he opposes those who maintain the absolute
creation of substantial forms, and he distinctly asserts derivative
(potential) creation. And this is true.
Although Professor Huxley has conveyed the impression that I
adduced Suarez as a witness to evolution, I cannot think he intended
so to do. He surely could not have imagined me so absurd as to
maintain that ancient writers held that modern view ; to attribute to
them the holding of such a conception would be to represent them as
nothing less than inspired. For certainly no notion of the kind
could have been present, even in a dream, to the minds of such
thinkers. In their eyes (as in the eyes of most till within the last
century) scientific facts must have seemed to tell in the opposite
All I maintained, and all that I thought any one could have
supposed me to maintain, was that these writers asserted abstract
principles such as can perfectly harmonise with the requirements of
modern science, and have, as it were, provided for the reception of
its most advanced speculations.
My words were : " The possibility of such phenomena, though
by no means actually foreseen, has yet been/^/y provided for in the
old philosophy centuries before Darwin." And that this is the case
can be proved to demonstration. The really important matter, how-
* Not only this, but he has even misrepresented my words. He says (p. 445) :
' According to Mr. Mivart, the greatest and most orthodox authorities upon matters of
( 'atholic doctrine agree in distinctly asserting 'derivative creation ' or 'evolution' "
as if "derivative creation " and "evolution" were the same thina. Having thus made
me enunciate what I never thought of, consequences aro deduced which, of course, are
not of my deducing. Derivative or potential creation such authorities do assert : evo-
lution of species, however, was no more thought of in their days than tho electri
VOL. XIX. X
178 THE CONTEMPORARY REVIEW.
ever, is not what were my expressions, but what is the fact as to the
compatibility of evolution with the strictest orthodoxy ? We shall
see how, by Professor Huxley's very fortunate misapprehension of my
meaning, this truth will be brought out yet more clearly than before.
Far from maintaining that Suarez was a. teacher of development
or evolution, what I quoted him for was this :
I. As an opponent of the theory of a perpetual, direct creation of
organisms (which many held, and still hold).
II. To show that the principles of scholastic theology are such as
not to exclude the theory of development, but, on the contrary, to
favour it, even before it was known or broached.
What Professor Huxley quotes in his article amply confirms my
position. For if there are innumerable substantial forms in the
potentia of matter, which are evolved according to the proximate
capacity of matter to receive such forms, it is evident that if the
organisation of matter, through chemical or other causes, progresses
by the ever-increasiugly complex reactions between bodies and their
environment, then it necessarily follows that new and higher sub-
stantial forms may be evolved, and consequently new and higher forms
Such a principle, firmly established against opponents, becomes
applicable to the evolution of new species, as soon as ever physical
science shows good reason to regard the origin of species not as
simultaneous but successive.
It may be objected that Suarez, in the passage referred to, only
adverts to new individuals of known kinds in the ordinary course of
nature. Professor Huxley says : " How the substantial forms of
animals and plants primarily originated, is a question to which, so
far as I am able to discover, he does not so much as allude in his
' Metaphysical Disputations.' J; Most certainly, in his day, no one
entertained the modern notion as to origin, of species ; and it was
hardly to be expected that Suarez should say anything directly in
point. That he should establish the needful principle was all we
could reasonably demand or expect.
Nevertheless, in a remarkable manner, even Father Suarez does
refer to the origination of certain kinds of animals, and admits their
actual evolution by natural causes. These are partly exceptional
forms such as hybrids, and partly such as were believed to originate
by cosmical influences direct from the inorganic world, or through
the agency of putrefaction.
In lib. ii., de Opere Sex Dierum,c.x.,n. 12, speaking of such animals
as the mule, leopard, lynx, &c., after stating the opinion that individuals
of their kinds must have been created from the beginning, he says,
"nihilominus contrarium censeo esse probabilius; " and he gives his
E VOL UTION A ND f TS CONSEQ UENCES. 1 7 9
reason, "quia liujusmodi species animalium sufficienter contine-
bantur potentialiter in illis iudividuis diversarum specierum ex
quorum conmixtione generantur ; et ideo non fuit necessarium
aliqua eorum iudividua ab auctore naturae immediate produci."
This in principle is absolutely all that can be required, for it reduces
the matter simply to a question of fact. He asserts the principle that
those kinds of animals which are potentially contained in nature need
not be supposed to be directly and immediately created. In deter-
mining what kinds were or were not so contained, he followed the
scientific notions of his time as he understood them. He would have
written according to the exigences of science now.
But this matter is really unmistakable. For, so far was Suarez
from teaching that all life requires direct creative action, that he
speaks of certain creatures, " quaa per influentiam ccelorum ex putrida
materia terras aut aqua generari solent." (Ibid., n. 10.)
It is also interesting to see that (in n. 11) he positively asserts
the improbability and incredibility that certain kinds of animals now
living were actually created at first at all : " Alias dicendum esset in
omnibus speciebus quantumvis imperfectis aliqua individua in prin-
cipio fuisse facta quia non est major ratio de quibusdam quam de
aliis. Consequens est incredibile" He then instances certain insects,
but as far as the principle of evolution in itself is concerned he might
as well have selected crocodiles.
Moreover, with respect to certain vegetable productions, he says
(ib. c. vi. n. 1), " an vero hujusmodi herbse sint factse hoc die tantum
in potentia vel etiam in actu magis dubitari potest." Finally, even
with regard to the production of animals altogether, he tells us that
it was not a real creation (c. x. n. 3), " sed ex prrcjacente materia
modo tamen proprio auctoris nature." It is strange that Professor
Huxley should have overlooked these passages which so directly con-
tradict his assertions.
Nevertheless these passages are not, let it be recollected, adduced
to show that Suarez held the doctrine of evolution, or that he main-
tained as a fact that species were evolved, except in peculiar cases, or
that he took St. Augustin's view as to the fact of creation ; but to
demonstrate that he distinctly admits principles compatible with
evolution, and that even where he asserts direct and immediate
divine action, yet that even there the exceptions he admits bring
out still more clearly how completely I was justified in adducing him
as a witness to the compatibility of evolution with the principles of
the scholastic philosophy.
So much then for the teaching of Suarez as to the nature of the
creative act and the admission of the evolution of even certain new
organic forms by natural causes.
i8o THE CONTEMPORARY REVIEW.
Let us turn now to a much, more important subject.
Besides and in addition to this view it is a most remarkable cir-
cumstance that ideas should have been expressed of a distinctly-
evolutionary character by the highest theological authority, even as
regards the very fact of creation, as an historical event.
Few things seem to me more striking than that such an antici-
pation, as it were, should have been enunciated by one of the greatest
teachers the Church has ever known, a doctor, the authority of
whose writings is not surpassed by that of any of the Fathers I
mean St. Augustin. As I said in my book, " it must be borne in
mind that no one had disputed the generally received belief as to the
small age of the world, or of the kinds of animals and plants inha-
biting it." Nevertheless, as I have shown, the teaching of St. Augus-
tin was distinct with respect to the potential creation of animals and
plants. That great source of western theology held that the whole
creation spoken of in Genesis took place in one instant ; that all
created things were created at once, " potentialiter atqm causaliter"
so* that it accords with his teaching if we believe in the gradual
development of species, the slow evolution, "per temporum moras,"
into actual existence of what God created potentially in the be-
Now the greatest representatives of Catholic theology are unques-
tionably St. Augustin and St. Thomas Aquinas, and this being, as
almost every one knows, the case, it is inconceivable how a teacher
like Professor Huxley could write as he has done regarding the con-
sequences of a divergence of Suarez from their expressed opinions.
If, as Suarez suggests, St. Thomas followed St. Augustin rather
through deference than from identity of opinion, it would only
bring out more strongly the paramount authority of the latter. But
in fact Suarez was here mistaken, for we have St. Thomas's own
words as to the matter, where speaking of St. Augustin's view, lie
tells us, "et hrcc opinio plus mihi placet" (2 Sent. dis. 12, quaest. 1,
Here it rnay be well to explain (as Professor Huxley seems quite
to have misapprehended me), that when I spoke of the "wide
reception" of Suarez and of his being "widely venerated" and of
"unquestioned orthodoxy" I never thought of placing him on a
level with St. Thomas and St. Augustin. Moreover, " wide vene-
ration" and " orthodoxy," by no means imply authority in the sense
of binding consciences. Many Catholic teachers altogether reject the
teaching of Suarez on certain points, though they none the less con-
sider him an authority to be respectfully consulted, indeed, but by
no means to be necessarily followed.
Multitudes of teachers, all agreeing in matters of faith, yet belong
A / r OL UTION . 1 \D ITS CONSEQUENCES. 181
to very different theological schools, and the idea that any one of them
can bind the others is simply laughable to those who know anything
of the matter.
Professor Huxley seems to imagine in showing that Suarez (like
most teachers of his day, Catholic or not, e.g. Tycho Brahe) adopts
an extreme literalism of scripture interpretation, he has made a
notable discovery. But (as before remarked) I referred to Suarez
for principles of interpretation with regard to derivative creation,
and his views as to the historical. facts of Genesis are quite beside the
question. St. Thomas explains the diversity of opinion among theo-
logians in a way which exactly meets my purpose : " Quoad mundi
principium, aliquid est quod ad substantiam fidei pertinet scilicet
mundum incepisse creatum et hoc omnes sancti concorditer dicunt.
Quo autem modo et ordine factus sit non pertinet ad fidem nisi per
accidens, in quantum in Scriptura traditur, cujus veritatem diversa
expositione sancti salvantes diversa tradiderunt (2 Sent., dist. 12,
q. 1., a. 2).
My critic also appears to think that because one side of a question
is perfectly orthodox, that its contradictory cannot also be so. If he
knew the A B C of Catholic doctrine, he would know that in open
questions it is perfectly allowable to maintain either side.
Professor Huxley says, that Suarez in this question (as in other
matters) is in opposition to St. Augustin. He is so ; but other
theologians of equal weight severely took him to task for his ex-
pressions on this subject, as I shall proceed to show, and there is not
the slightest difficulty in bringing forward many theological au-
thorities, both before and since the time of Suarez, who approve or
positively affirm the position which St. Augustin took. Therefore,
even if I had made the mistake which Professor Huxley supposes
I had, it would not be of the slightest moment, and my thesis could
repose as securely on the support of other theologians.
Thus I may mention St. Thomas, St. Bonaventure, Albertus
Magnus, Denis the Carthusian (1470), Cardinal Cajetan (1530),
Melchior Canus(15GO), Bannes (1580), Vincentius Contenson (1670),
Macedo and Cardinal Noris (1673), Tonti (1714), Serry (1720),
Berti (1740), and others down to the present day.
St. Bonaventure calls St. Augustin's exposition, " Multum ratio-
nabilis et valdc subtilis," and speaks of his method as a "via
philosophica ; " nay, he calls the contrary opinion " Minus ratio-
nabilis quam alia " (Librum secund. Sent. Dist. xii. Quocst. ii. art. 1
St. Thomas, as I have shown, supports and approves St. Augustin,
but he even admits (" Sumrn," par. i. qurcs. Ixxiii. art. 1 ad. 3) the
possibility of new species himself. He sa} r s : " Species ctiam novae
1 82 THE CONTEMPORARY REVIEW.
si qusc apparent, praeextiterunt in quibusdain activis virtutibus sicut
et animalia ex putrefactione generata producuntur ex virtutibus stel-
larum et elementorum quas a principio acceperunt, etiam si novso
species talium animalium producuntur."
Professor Huxley will hardly dispute the weight and significance,
in this controversy, of the distinct adoption of St. Augustin's view by
an eminent Roman Cardinal of the latter part of the seventeenth
Yet Cardinal Noris (" Vindicioc Augus.," c. iv. ix. ; see Migne's
"Patrologia Cursus Completus," torn, xlvii. p. 719) speaks in the
following uncompromising words :
" Hie etiam recentiorum querelse, imo censurse, quibus insignem Sancti
Doctoris interpretationem in cap. i. Geneseos excipiunt, refellendoe sunt. . .
Augustinus, quod videbat sex priores dies queis Moyses mundum a Deo
creatum scribit, si litteraliter accipiantur, gravissimis difficultatibus subjici,
quas ipsemet in libris de Genesi ad littcram proponit, subtilem prorsus ac
se difjnam sententiam excogitavit, nempe dies illos intelligendos esse mystice,.
juxta cognitionem angelicam de rebus in Deo, et in proprio genere, et juxta
ordinem rerum simul a Deo creatarum, dierum etiam ordinem in angelorum
mente designavit Ex nostris scriptoribus Magister Emmanuel
Oerda Lusitanus, publicus in Academia Conimbriccnsi theologiae professor,
in suis Quodlibetis theologicis, acerrime contra recentiorum impetum Magni
Parentis sententiam propugnat, eorumque et in censurando audaciam, et in
impugnando debilitatem ostendit ; idem quoque praastitit Carolus Morcau,,
noster Bituricencis in vindiciis pacificis."
Speaking of Cornelius a Lapide, he adds :
"Verum Augustino consentit Albertus, qui ob multiplicem ac niirabilem
litteraturam Magni cognomento insignitus fuit, his plane verbis ; sine
prasjudicio sententiao melioris videtur Augustino consentiendum. Part I.
Summa3 q. 12, de quatuor coaevis. Addit Sanctus Thomas proxime
laudatus : Hsec opinio (Augustini) PLUS MIHI PLACET. Itane Cornell
sentcntia ilia, quam Albertus Magnus ac Sanctus Thomas, Scholasticoruin
lamina ac columnar, probant et sequuntur, hac aetate erronea evasit ?
Quasnam illam Synodi, qui Romani prassules, quas doctorum academic pro-
scripserc ? An quia tibi tuisquo displicet erronea censenda est ?
Naa Sanctus Thomas, Albertus Magnus, Sanctus Bonaventura, et zEgidius
Romanus inter accuratiores thcologos minirne recensendi sunt ? Erunt
ne illi de ultima theologorum plebe, Senatores vero Suarez, Molina et
Martinon ? Imo omnium nobilissimi illi sunt quibus et Suarez et Molina
assurgant, Martinon vero nee eadem cum illis die nominetur."
Berti, who was Assistant- General of his order, who published his
book at Home, and belongs to a period more than half a century later
than Cardinal Noris, proposes the following thesis (" DC Theologicis
Disciplinis," lib. xi. c. ii.) :
" Propositio I. Audacite potius et fidentia3 vitio, quam doctrinal laude
debent notari, qui maledico dente carpunt Augustianam de x&mdbmea
" Propositio II. Augustini de sirnultanca creationo sententia non solum
ab omni animadversione immunis est, i-crum etiam probabilis <:t pro)>* cv -rla. "
E I r OL UTION A ND ITS CONSEQUENCES. 1 83
And in n. 9 he says :
" Quare in distributione operum Dei omnia quidem spectant ad illos dies
invisibiles in quibus creavit oninia simul, videlicet ad diversas cognitiones
angelorum ; sed plura, hoc est, qua3 primuui in rationibus seminalibus,
deinde visibiliter facta sunt, si accipiantur secundum priorem condi-
tionem, pertinent ad dies intelligibiles, et unico moinento fuerunt et
ipsa producta ; si vero inspiciantur, ut in propria forma aspectabili con-
stitutse, istorum creatio perficitur in tempore, et post sex illos dies
invisibiles ; spectatque ad dies naturales in quibus Deus operatur quotidic,
quidquid ex illis tanquani involucris prirnordialibus in tempore evolvitur.
Sed legite S. Patrem Lit. v. de Gen. ad lit."
But now, coming down to our own day, the same complete refuta-
tion of Professor Huxley's position is most easily effected.
Father Pianciani, a Jesuit, was president of the College of Philo-
sophy in the Roman University. His work, " Cosmogonia Naturale
Comparata al Genes.," was published at Rome in 1862, at the press
of the "Civilta Catholica." Professor Huxley will hardly dispute
as to his orthodoxy. This author, in his "Historia Creationis
Mosaicas" (published at Naples as long ago as 1851), p. 29, shows
that the whole of the first chapter of Genesis must be read as a most
sublime and magnificent poetical description. Concerning St.
Augustin's special view, he tells us (p. 15), " Ejus doctrina ad hasc
capita revocatur : "
" 1 Omnia simul a Deo fuisse producta : 2 Cuin ipsa ita disponi queant,
ut infimuni gradum rnateria eleinentaris, supremum puri spiritus occupent,
interjectos et medios turn mixta, seu chirnica composita, turn corpora physice
composita, ut saxa, turn praecipue corpora organica. Hinc quoa ad infiinum,
supremumque gradum spectant et si qua3 alia sunt, quse naturae viribus
neque nunc producuntur, plene et perfecte tune fuisse producta ; qua? vero
interjectis gradibus continentur et nunc naturae viribus producuntur, virtute
duntaxat et seminaliter seu causaliter, tune Dei imperio extitisse. Augustini
opinio, semper ab errore immunis habita pluribus placuit theologis quos inter
Alberto Magno. St. Thomas in Summa, p. 1, q. 74, a. 2 earn reveretur,
et nee ipsi nee vulgar! doctrine praejudicandum censet, p. 15, 16."
No liberal-minded man can see with anything but regret how
eagerly Professor Huxley endeavours to restrict within the narrowest
limits the faith of the greater part of the Christian world, saying,
" I, for one, shall feel bound to believe that the doctrines of Suarez
arc the only ones which are sanctioned by authority," &c.
But the attempt to represent that such literalism is binding on
Catholics is simply preposterous. There is no need for the present
Archbishop of Westminster to give any such permission as Professor
Huxley speaks of (as to the six days), because such freedom existed
long before His Grace occupied the see, and was accepted by his
predecessor, Cardinal Wiseman. It would be restriction, not freedom,
which could alone require him to make any declaration on the subject.
i8 4 THE CONTEMPORARY REVIEW.
We might really suppose that at this day it would be superfluous
to assert that Catholics are free and unembarrassed in their geology
and palaeontology. But that I may not seem to shirk a point on
which the Professor lays such stress, namely, the "six days" of
creation, I will say a few words as to the position of Catholics with
regard to this matter.
Now, authorities showing the freedom of Catholics in this respect
are so numerous, that it is only difficult to choose. In the first
place we have St. Augustin and his many followers, also St. Hilde-
gard, Bertier, Berchetti, Ghici, Robebacher, and Bossuet. Cardinal
Cajetan says distinctly that the six days were not real days, but
meant to indicate order. And I may cite also Cardinal Gousset,
"Theol. Dogmatique," t. i. p. 103, seq. ; Frayssinous, "Defense du
Christianisme," conf. " Mo'ise, historien des temps primitifs;" Perrone,
S. J., "Prelect. Theol.," vol. i. p. 678 (edit. Migne, 1842). But it
is really needless to speak of writers during the last few years, for
books]are daily printed at Rome with the permission of authority such as
Perrone, just mentioned, also Tongiorgi and Pianciani (" Cosmogonia
$"aturale," p. 24), before referred to. In English we have Cardinal
Wiseman's " Science and Revealed Religion," Lectures v. and vi.,
and only last year a similar work was published in London by the
Rev. Dr. Gerald Molloy.
So much for the question of the six da}^s. But before leaving the
subject of Christianity and evolution, there is yet one more point
which it may be well to notice. With respect to the hypothesis I
advanced that Adam's body might have been formed by evolution
like those of other animals, the soul being subsequently infused, Pro-
fessor Huxley remarks :
"If Suarez is any authority it is not Catholic doctrine. ' Nulla est in
homine forma educta de potentia materia3 ' is a dictum which is absolutely
inconsistent with the doctrine of the natural evolution of any vital mani-
festation of the human body. Moreover, if man existed as an animal before
he was provided with a rational soul, he must, in accordance with the
elementary requirements of the philosophy in which Mr. Mivart delights,
have possessed a distinct sensitive and vegetative soul or souls. Hence,
when the ' breath of life' was breathed into the manlike animal's nostrils,
he must have already been a living and feeling creature. But Suarez par-
ticularly discusses this point, and not only rejects Mr. Mivart's view, but
4 adopts language of very theological strength regarding it.' "
Professor Huxley then quotes from Suarez a passage ending " ille
enim spiritus, quern Deus spiravit, anima rationalis fuit, et PER EAMDEM
FACTUS EST HOMO V1VENS, ET CONSEQUENTER, KTIAM SKNTIENS/ and
a conciliar decree condemning the assertion of the existence of two
souls in man.
It is surely not less prudent than it is just to refrain from speak-
ing authoritatively of that which we have not studied and do not
EVOLUT10X AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. 185
comprehend. The fact is that Professor Huxley has completely mis-
apprehended the significance of the passages he quotes. No wonder
if reasoning perfectly lucid to those who have the key appears a
mere "darkening of counsel" to those who have not mastered the
elements of the systems they criticise.
To say that Suarez " rejects Mr. Mivart's view " is absurd, because
no such view could by any possibility have been present to the mind
of any one of his day. To say that anything in the passage quoted
veil in the faintest degree, inconsistent with that view,, is an
utter mistake. This is plain, from the doctrine as to the infusion
of every soul into every infant, which was generally received at the
period when Suarez wrote.
This doctrine was that the human, foetus is at first animated by a
ative soul, then by a sentient soul, and only afterwards, at some
period before birth, with a rational soul. Not that two souls ever
Coexist, for the appearance of one coincides with the disappearance
or' its predecessor the sentient soul including in it all the powers
of the vegetative soul, and the rational soul all those of the two
others. The doctrine of distinct souls, which Professor Huxley
attributes to me as a fatal consequence of my hypothesis, is simply
the doctrine of St. Thomas himself. He says (Quacst. Ixxvi., art. 3,
ad. 3) : "Dicendum quod prius embryo habet anirnam quae est
sensitiva tantum, qua ablata advenit perfectior anima quaa est simul
M'ii>itiva et intellective ut infra plenius ostendetur." Also (Quacst.
cxviii., art. 2, ad. 2): "Dicendum est quod anima praaexistit in
embryone, a principio quidem nutritiva, postmodum autem sensi-
tiva et tandem intellectiva."
He then answers the objection that we should thus have three
souls superposed, which he says is false because
'Xulla forma substantial accipit majus aut minus, sod superadditio
majoris perfectionis facit aliain speciem sicut additio unitatis facit aliam
speciem in numero. . . . Ideo dicendum quod cum generatio unius sit
corruptio alterius, necessc est dicere quod tarn in honiine quam in ani-
malibus aliis, quando perfectior forma advenit fit corruptio prioris, ita
tamen quod sequens forma habet quidquid habebat prima et adhuc amplius.
... Sic igitur dicendum quod anima intellectiva creatur a Deo in fine
k'enerationis humaiue qua3 siniul est et sensitiva et nutritiva corruptio
Now I am not saying anything about the truth of this doctrine,
but only that it perfectly harmonizes with the hypothesis thrown out ;
while that it was the doctrine generally held in Stiarez's day should
be known to everyone who writes upon such a subject at all. This
agreement between the doctrine and the hypothesis will readily be
apprehended, for if Adam was formed in the way of which I suggested
the possibility, he would, till the infusion of the rational soul, be
only animal vivens et sentiens, and not " homo " at all. But when
1 86 THE CONTEMPORAR Y RE VIE W.
the rational soul was infused, he thereby, as Suarez justly says,
" factus est homo vivens, et consequenter, etiam sentiens."
The dictum, " Nulla est in nomine forma educta de potentia
materise," is nothing to the point, because I never supposed that the
" forma rationalis" was in potentia materise, but only the "for ma
sentiens," which would disappear and become non-existent as soon as
the " animal/' by the infused rationality, becomes " homo." Thus,
so far from being inconsistent with my hypothesis, it supports it ; for
the dictum must have been applied by Suarez to every child, the
" forma sentiens " of which he must have allowed to be " educta de
potentia materice/' although the " forma rationalis " in his doctrine, as
in my hypothesis, is directly created by God, and is in no way " educta
de potentia materise." Professor Huxley has read Suarez ad hoc, and
evidently without the guidance of any one familiar with that author,
or with his philosophy, and the necessary consequence of writing on
such a subject under such circumstances follows of course.
I think that it must now be plain to all readers, from the passages
referred to, that there is perfect freedom for even the very strictest
Christians, not only as regards the question of the six days, but also
with respect to the full doctrine of Evolution.
Professor Huxley, indeed, must know well that, in addition to the
authority of approved writers of ancient and modern times, there is a
living authority in the Church. That authority, moreover, is ready
at any moment to condemn heresy in the published expressions of
any of her children, and certain to detect it ; the question as to such
views as evolution being tenable solntur ambulando. The Professor
congratulates himself prematurely on the (i spontaneous retreat of the
enemy from nine-tenths of the territory which he occupied ten years
ago." Not one step backwards has been taken by the enemy Professor
Huxley seems to detest above all. In proof of this I can refer to the
Rambler of March, 1860, wherein a position was at once taken up,
which is substantially identical with that which I maintain now.
A word as to what I cannot but consider the very regretable
animus which Professor Huxley displays in this matter. AVe have
been accustomed to hear again and again the assertion that men of
science differ from the devotees of theology, in that they enter 011
their inquiries cequo ammo, free from prejudice, and desirous only of
truth. Believers have been warned, usque ad nauseam, that a wish
to believe vitiates all their arguments. But what weight can we
attach to Professor Huxley's conclusions when he tells us with regard
to the doctrine of Evolution that "the position of complete and
irreconcileable antagonism which, in his opinion, it occupies to
the Catholic Church, is ' one of its greatest merits in my eyes' ' A
similar, though less striking, theological prejudice is also exhibited
by Mr. Darwin himself. He tells us, in his "Descent of Man," with
EVOLUTION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. 187
characteristic candour, that in his "Origin of Species " his first
object ) show that species had not been separately created/'
and he consoles himself for admitted error, by the reflection that " I
have at least, as / hope, done good service in aiding to overthrow the
dogma of separate creations*"*
I have already refused to allow that I contend for less than the
intellectual and religious interests of all Christians. But, in fact, I
may claim :: yet wider sympathy ; for in my book I have supported
the dogma of creation as against all those w r ho decline to assert the
existence of a God, on the one hand, or those who identify him with,
the creation on the other; and I have endeavoured to uphold the
Theistic conception as opposed to Antitheismf and Pantheism
Professor Huxley tells us that the necessity of a belief in a personal
God, in order to a religion worthy of the name, " is a matter of
opinion ! " Of course the word may be employed in some unusual
sense. I recollect reading of a certain Emersonian who, having
accompanied his wife to see Fanny Elsler dance, and being charmed,
remarked to her during the performance "Margaret, this is poetry."
To which, his wife replied " JSTo, Paul, it is religion ! " Of such
religion I willingly make a present to Professor Huxley. But, apart
from such bizarre employments of the word, I firmly adhere to my
proposition. I know that Buddhism is sometimes asserted to be
atheistic, but the conception of a power or principle apportioning
after death rewards and punishments according to a standard of
virtue, necessarily involves the existence of an entity, which, as being
most powerful, intelligent, and good, is] virtually/ and logically, a
personal Gocl, whatever be the name habitually applied to it.
I do not know what precise meaning Professor Huxley would give
to the word religion. He speaks of " worship, ' for the most part of
the silent sort/ at the altar of the Unknown and the Unknowable,"
but he has not (as far as I recollect) explained to us as yet the full
and exact nature and tenets of that religion the ritual of which is
thus hinted at. Mr. Darwin's conception of religion is, however,
sufficiently definite. He tells us } that it consists "of love, complete
submission to an exalted and mysterious superior, a strong sense of
dependence, fear, reverence, gratitude, hope for the future, and
perhaps other elements."
Let us apply this to the Unknown and the Unknowable. " Love "
* I am in-leUcil to Mr. Chauncey Wright for calling my attention to this remark,
which had < scaped my notice.
t I5y antilhi 'ism 1 mrui that opinion which is oppi ism, without dogmati-
cally denying tho existence of God. Antilhei.sts deny that wo can make- any assertion,
whatever about that which underlies phenomena, and which they term the "unknow-
+ "Descent of Man," vol. i. G8.
i88 THE CONTEMPORARY REVIEW.
for that of which we can by no possibility know anything whatever,
and to which we may as reasonably attribute hidcousness and all
vileness, as beauty and goodness ! " Dependence" on that of which
treachery and mendacity may be as much characteristics as are faith-
fulness and truth! "Reverence" for an entity, whose qualities, if
any, may resemble as much all we despise as all we esteem, and which,
for all we know, may be indebted to our faculties for any recognition
of its existence at all ! " Gratitude " to that which we have not the
faintest reason to suppose ever willingly did anything for us, or ever
will ! " Hope " in what we have no right whatever to believe may
not, with equal justice, be a legitimate cause for despair as pitiless,
inexorable, and unfeeling, if capable of any sort of intelligence
This is no exaggeration. Every word here put down is strictly
accurate, for if that which underlies all things is to us the unknowable,
then there can be no reason to predicate of it any one character rather
than its opposite. If, on the other hand, we have any reason to
predicate goodness rather than malice, nobility rather than vileness,
then let preachers of the unknowable abandon their unmeaning
jargon, for it is no longer with the unknowable we have to deal, and
we are plunged at once into a whole world of as distinctly dogmatic
theology as can be conceived a theology the dogmas of which are
profoundly mysterious, while they are even more trying, and at the
same time more illuminating, to the reason, than any others of the
whole catena which logically follow.
Although I have taken up this broad ground in controversy, and
only contended for truths common to all believers in revelation,
nevertheless I would not have it supposed that I in any way shrink
from openly avowing my position as a Catholic Christian, and I can-
not consider it other than a compliment to my creed that Professor
Huxley, in his attack on Christianity generally, singles it out for his
special hostility. All Christians owe a debt of gratitude to Professor
Huxle3 r , for calling forth more clearly the certainty that their religion
has nothing to fear from the doctrine of evolution. It is, however,
Catholic Christians who are pre-eminently beholden to him for
occasioning a fresh demonstration of the wonderful way in which
their greatest teachers of bygone centuries, though imbued with the
notions and possessing only the rudimentary physical knowledge of
their days, have yet been led to emit fruitful principles by -which the
Church is prepared to assimilate and harmonize even the most
advanced teachings of physical science.
Professor Huxley indulges in rhetorical declamation as to a "blind
acceptance of authority/' but such acceptance is as much repudiated
by me as by Professor Huxley. The Church, in addressing unbe-
ETOL I 'TIOX AND ITS ( 'ONSEQl r &NCES. 189
Hovers, appeals to " reason " and " conscience " alone for the estab-
lishment of that Thcistic foundation on which she reposes, and no
acceptance of authority can be called "blind" which results from
a clear perception both of its rational foundation and of the harmony
of its dogmas and precepts with those highest faculties of our nature,
reason and conscience.
I confess myself weary of these tedious declamations as to tin*
incompatibility of science with Christianity on the one side, as also
of timid deprecations on the other. The true position of these two
powers justifies neither such hopes nor such fears; for, in truth, no
possible development of physical science (and as to Biology I claim
to speak with some slight knowledge) can conflict with Christian
dogma, and therefore cyery attempt to attack from that basis is neces-
On the other hand, so far from the Christian religion tending to
cramp or fetter intellectual development, it is notorious that some
of the profoundest thinkers of recent as of more ancient times, have
been believers in Christianity, and I am convinced that every man
who rejects that belief is ip so facto necessarily condemned not only
to a moral but also, and as inevitably, to an intellectual inferiority
as compared with what he might attain did he accept that system
in its fulness. The Christian creed has long been before the world.
I would invite Professor Huxley to formulate his system in distinct
propositions, that it also may be tested by our supreme and ultimate
standards " reason " and " conscience."
\Tith the extreme hatred of Catholicity which animates my critic,
it is easy to understand the irritation which my demonstration of
the harmony which exists between the Church and modern science
has caused him. He lets it be seen that he had supposed science to
have thoroughly refuted some of the Church's fundamental dogmas,
hence the vehement reproaches I have unwittingly drawn down upon
my head by my endeavour to promote concord. I feel persuaded,
however, that an intolerance which would exclude from the band of
" loyal soldiers of science," a Secchi, a Van Beneden, and a Sullivan,
merely because they happen to be at the same time "true sons of the
Church," will not commend itself to the great bulk of my scientific
fellow-countrymen any more than the wish to deprive Catholics of
their common rights as citizens will be approved of by the English-
king races generally.
Turning to Professor Huxley's observations in another branch of
philosophy, I proceed now to say a few words as to his strictures on
the psychology of the Quarterly llcviewer.
I apprehend that my critic's psychological views coincide in tho
main with thos? of Mr. Herbert Spencer. Now it is not of course
i go THE CONTEMPORARY REVIEW.
possible within the limits of this article to write a treatise on psycho-
logy, and nothing less would be requisite to explain the grounds of
my complete and fundamental divergence from the views referred to.
It must suffice to say here, that Professor Huxley has adduced no
argument and has brought forward no kind of illustration which I
have not maturely considered and deliberately rejected as inadequate
and fallacious. Another time I hope to be able to go at length
into this question and to endeavour to explain, according to the
system I adopt, the facts adduced *by the opposite school ; as also
to support my views by positive arguments. In the meantime I
heartily re- echo Professor Huxley's tribute to the supreme import-
ance of " the philosophical questions which underlie all physical
science," and I am confident that vast good would result if only men
could be brought to undergo the labour and persevering application
necessary for their thorough investigation.
I must here, then, confine myself to the clearing up of some mis-
apprehensions and misrepresentations.
In the first place, Professor Huxley objects to the assertion that
" sensation" is not " thought," " though sensations supply the con-
ditions for the existence of thought." He says :
" If I recall the impression made by a colour or an odour, and distinctly
remember blueness or muskiness, I may say with perfect propriety that I
' think of ' blue or musk ; and so long as the thought lasts, it is simply a
faint reproduction of the state of consciousness to which I gave the name in
question, when it first became known to me as a sensation."
" Now, if that faint reproduction of a sensation which we call the memory
of it, is properly termed a thought, it seems to me to be a somewhat forced
proceeding to draw a hard and fast line of demarcation between thoughts
and sensations. If sensations are not rudimentary thoughts, it may be said
that some thoughts are rudimentary sensations. No amount of sound con-
stitutes an echo, but for all that no one would pretend that an echo is
something of totally different nature from sound."
To this I can now only reply by observing that according to my
view a recalled thought is not a " rudimentary sensation," though
the sensible memory is made use of with regard to it. I also deny
utterly that the faint recurrence of a sensation can ever be properly
termed a thought, and the act of " recalling" such sensation is only
to be so named on account not of the sensation recalled, but of the
intellectual, voluntary act of recalling.
The analogy of an echo is false and misleading. An echo is
merely a particular kind of sound, but a thought is not merely a
particular kind of sensation.
Again, Professor Huxley objects to the assertion that sensations
supply the conditions for the existence of thought or knowledge
E VOL UTION A ND ITS CONSEQUENCES. i g i
" If this implies that sensations supply the conditions for the existence
of our memory of sensations, or of our thoughts about sensations, it is a
truism which it is hardly worth while to state so solemnly. If it implies
that sensations supply anything else it is obviously erroneous. And if it
means, as the context would seem to show it does, that sensations are the
subject-matter of all thought or knowledge, then it is no less contrary to
fact, inasmuch as our emotions, which constitute a large part of the subject-
matter of our thought or of knowledge, are not sensations."
It seems to me that this argument is quite unfair, and that it is
a false dilemma. The reviewer's words evidently point to " sensa-
tions" as the condition of our knowledge of external objects, and
this, at least, is no truism. For my part, if I understand Professor
Iluxley righth', I should assert that to be "axiomatic" which he
says is " obviously erroneous."
The short summary in the Quarterly Review of the psychical
characters common to man and brutes on the one hand, and peculiar
to man as a rational animal on the other, was evidently not intended
as an exhaustive catalogue, but merely as a concise statement of
certain leading and essential differences. Therefore " emotion," as
avowedly common to man and brute, and volition and memory, as
beside the question, were reasonably left unnoticed.
A carping criticism as to the word " agency " as applied to
sensation in these reflex acts in which sensation intervenes, is what,
I confess, I should not have expected from Professor Huxley. He
certainly would never think of denying the intervention of sensation
in such acts.
As to his assertion that the Quarterly Reviewer in conceding to
animals his first four groups of actions, " grants all that is necessary
for the purposes " of his critic, it is an error which arises from the
thorough misapprehension by Professor Huxley of the Reviewer's
position, as will be made manifest by what I have to say concerning
reason and predication.
Professor Huxley gives us, in illustration of his views, a comparison
between a gamekeeper and a greyhound, both engaged in coursing,
the relevancy of which, I confess, escapes me.
No one denies that man is an animal. No one denies that the
sensitive faculties of the greyhound are possessed by the man just as
are his digestive and locomotive faculties. No anatomist denies that
man's bodily structure closely resembles the brutes', and I, at least,
have been forward in asserting it. I maintain, however, that though
man and dog agree in exhibiting the phenomena of feeling, they
differ altogether as to the phenomena of thinking, of which man
alone gives any evidence.
Professor Iluxley asks a singular question. He says "What
is the value of the evidence which leads one to believe that
1 92 THE CONTEMPORARY REVIEW.
one's fellow-man feels ? The only evidence in this argument of
analogy, is the similarity of his structure and of his actions to one's
own/' Surely it is not by similarity of actions, in any ordinary
sense of the word, but by language that men are placed in communi-
cation with one another, and that the rational intellect of each
perceives the rationality and sensibility of his fellow-man.
Professor Huxley asserts that by "a combination of sensible
images," the Quarterly Reviewer must mean more than his words
imply, or otherwise a greyhound would not run after a hare.
Certainly the Reviewer could hardly have suspected that any one
would take him to mean that brutes are destitute of appetites and
emotions. The conjunction, however, of these appetites and emotions
with sensible images in complex associations is certainly amply suffi-
cient to explain all that is exhibited by dogs in " the noble art of
coursing," and this Professor Huxley must allow if, as I suspect, he
would attribute nothing essentially higher to the gamekeeper himself.
On the question concerning morality I have, I conceive, some
reason to complain of Professor Huxley's treatment of my observa-
tions. From the remarks which he has again and again made, it
is evident to whom he attributes the article in the Quarterly Review,
Nevertheless, he, in the first place, misrepresents my statement in
my book, and attributes to me an absurdity which is not in it, but
which is distinctly pointed out and repudiated in the Quarterly
Review. In the second place, he accuses me of neglecting a remark
made by Mr. Darwin, which remark is not only referred to, but
actually quoted in the same review.
First, with regard to Mr. Darwin. In this matter Professor
Huxley accuses me of charging that gentleman " with being ignorant
of the distinction between material and formal goodness/' though
Mr. Darwin himself "discusses the very question at issue in a
passage, well worth reading, and also comes to a conclusion opposed
to Mr. Mivart's axiom." As I have said, this passage is not only
referred to, but actually quoted in the Quarterly Review. In that
passage, however, Mr. Darwin, though he notices, gives no evidence
of fully understanding my distinction, nor, though he notices an
objection, does he meet the difficulty in the least. Professor Huxley
seems to think that because Mr. Darwin has referred to an objection,
that that objection has thereby lost its force. The objection, how-
ever, has not been refuted either by Mr. Darwin or Professor Huxley,
and hence it becomes probable that, as I am convinced is the case,
it cannot be refuted.
We will turn now to the more serious misrepresentation of which
I have to complain. My critic exhibits me as committing the absurdity
of maintaining that no act can be " good " unless it is done with
E VOL UTION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. 193
deliberate and actual advertence in every instance as if I thought
that a man must stand still, consider and reflect in each case in order
to perform, a meritorious action. He also implies that I am so
unreasonable as to deny "merit" to actions done unreflectingly and
spontaneously from the love of God or one's neighbour.
AVhat I assert, however, is, that for an act to be " good " it must
be really directed by the doer to a good end, either actually or
virtually. The idea of good, which he has in the past apprehended,
must be influencing the man at the time, whether he adverts to it
or not, otherwise the action is not moral. The merit of that virtue
which shows itself even in the spontaneous, indeliberate actions of
a good man, results from the fact of previous acts having been con-
sciously directed to goodness, by which a habit has been formed.
The more thoroughly a man is possessed by the idea of goodness, the
more his whole being is saturated with that idea, the more will
goodness show itself in all his even spontaneous actions, which thus
will have additional merit through their very spontaneity. Now
this was actually expressed in the Quarterly Review, where of such
an act it is stated that "it is moral as the continuation of those
preceding deliberate acts through which the good habit was originally
formed ; and the rapidity with which the will is directed in the case
supposed may indicate the number and constancy of antecedent
Not only, however, does Professor Huxley avoid notice of this
passage, but he quotes my words as to the unmeritorious nature of
actions "unaccompanied by mental acts of conscious will directed
towards the fulfilment of duty," so as to lead his readers to believe
that I say this absolutely. He takes care not to let them know that
here I am speaking * only of the " actions of brutes, such as those
of the bee, the ant, or the beaver," which, of course, never at any
period of the lives of any one of these creatures were consciously
directed to " goodness " or " duty " as an end, so that no later
spontaneous actions could in their case result from an acquired habit
of virtue, on which account I was fully justified in speaking of their
actions as devoid of morality.
Professor Huxley speaks of " the most beautiful character to
which humanity can attain, that of the man who does good without
thinking about it" (p. 468). Does he mean that the absence of
thought is the cause of the beauty ? If so, then if I do the most
beneficial acts in my sleep, I attain this apex of moral beauty. This,
of course, he will not allow. Therefore, it is not by reason of the
not thinking about it that the action is beautiful, but, as Professor
Huxley goes on to say, " because he loves justice and is repelled by
* See " Genesis of Species," p. 221, 2nd edition.
VOL. XIX. O
194 THE CONTEMPORARY REVIEW.
evil." In this last, then in this habit of mind, the beauty consists.
But will the Professor say that the man got himself into this state
without previous acts of conscious will ? Can a man love justice
without being able to distinguish between the just and unjust ? if
he loves moral beauty, must he not know it ?
Professor Huxley does not, I believe, mean what he says when he
asserts that acts may be moral which are not directed to a good end.
Were it so, such words as " virtue " and " goodness " would have no
rational and logical place in his vocabulary.
Similarly, I do not believe him when he says he "utterly rejects" the
distinction between " material " and "formal " morality. I do not,
because he has elsewhere asserted that " our volition counts for some-
thing as a condition of the course of events." If, however, he
rejects the distinction he says he rejects, he thereby absolutely
denies every element of freedom and spontaneity to the human will,
and reduces our volition to a rank in the " course of events," which
counts for no more than the freedom of a match as to ignition, when
placed within the flame of a candle. "With the enunciation of this
view, " formal morality " most certainly falls, and together with it
every word denoting "virtue," which thus becomes a superfluous
synonym for pleasure and expediency.
Adverting now to the question of " reason," according to Professor
Huxley (p. 463), " ratiocination is resolvable into predication, and
predication consists in marking, in some way, the succession, the
likeness and unlikeness, of things or their ideas. Whatever does
this, reasons ; and if a machine produces these effects of reason, I see
no more ground for denying to it the reasoning power, because it is
unconscious, than I see for refusing to Mr. Babbage's engine the
title of a calculating machine on the same grounds."
" Thus it seems to me that a gamekeeper reasons, whether he is con-
scious or unconscious, whether his reasoning is carried on by neurosis
alone, or whether it involves more or less psychosis."
According to my idea of the matter, predication essentially consists
not in marking " succession, likeness and unlikeness," but in
recognising these relations as true.
To this extent I may shelter myself under the authority of Mr.
John Stuart Mill. Mr. Mill, in criticising Sir William Hamilton's
definition of judgment, makes the following remarks (" Examination
of Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy," p. 346) :
"The first objection which, I think, must occur to anyone, on the
contemplation of this definition, is that it omits the main and characteristic
dement of a judgment and of a proposition. . . . When we judge or assert,
there is introduced a new element, that of objective reality, and a new
mental fact, belief. Our judgments, and the assertions which express
them, do not enunciate our mere mode of mentally conceiving things, but
E VOL UTIOX < i ffl) ITS CONSEQUENCES. 1 95
our conviction or persuasion that the facts as conceived actually exist ; and
a theory of judgments and propositions which does not take' account of
this, cmiiiof / d true tJit'onj. In the words of Reid 'I give the name of
judgment to every determination of the mind concerning what is ///// or
u'lmt is fithi'. This, I think, is what logicians, from the days of Aristotle,
called judgment.' And this is the very element which Sir Win.
Hamilton's definition" [and I may now add Professor Huxley's also]
" omits from it."
Further on Mr. Mill says :
" Belief is an essential rloncnt in a judgment. . . . The recognition of it
as true is not only an essential part, but the essential element of it as
a judgment ; leave that out, and jihere remains a mere piny of thought, in
which no judgment is passed. It is impossible to separate the idea of
judgment from the idea of the truth of a judgment ; for every judgment
consists in judging something to be true. The element belief, instead of
being an accident which can be passed in silence, and admitted only by
implication, constitutes the very difference between a judgment and any
other intellectual fact, and it is contrary to all the laws of definition to
define judgment by anything else. The very meaning of a judgment or a
proposition is something which is capable of being believed or disbelieved ;
which can be true or false ; to which it is possible to say yes or no."
In addition to this, Mr. Mill, in his notes on his father's, Mr.
James Mill's, " Analysis of the Human Mind," ably shows, against
Mr. Herbert Spencer, that rational belief cannot be explained as
being identical with indissoluble association (vol. i. p. 402).
In denying, then, reason to brutes in denying that their acts are
rational, I do not, of course, deny for a moment that they are rational
in the sense in which Mr Babbage's machine is calculating, but
what I do maintain is, that brutes have not the power of forming
judgments in the sense above explained. And I still more
emphatically deny that brutes have any, even the very dimmest, con-
sciousness of such ideas as " ought " and moral excellence. And
because I further believe that no amount of sensible experiences can
generate these conceptions, I deny that any brute is even potentially
a moral agent. Those who credit brutes with " morality," do so by
first eliminating from that idea all its essential characteristics.
One word now of explanation. Professor Huxley seems much
disturbed at my speaking of virtue as, in his view, a kind of retri
and accuses me of imposing an " injurious nickname," and making a
"joke." Nothing could have been further from my intention than
either one or the other. As it happens the expression was not my
but was picked up in conversation with as thorough a Darwinian
even as Professor Huxley himself, who used it, as I understood, not
nickname, but as a handy mode of bringing home his conceptions
to my mind. I made use of it in all innocence, and I still think it
singularly apt and appropriate, not certainly to express the conception
1 9 6 THE CONTEMPORARY REVIEW.
of virtue, but to bring home the utilitarian notion of it. Professor
Huxley says, " What if it is ? Does that make it less virtue ? " I
answer, unhesitatingly, that it not only makes it "less virtue," but
prevents its being virtue at all, unless it springs as a habit acquired
from self-conscious acts directed towards an end recognised as good.
Professor Huxley regrets that I should "eke out " my arguments
against the views he patronises, by ascribing to them " logical
consequences which have been over and over again proved not to flow
from them." But it was to be expected that a disciple of Mill,* such
as Professor Huxley, would know that in matters of this kind it is
impossible to reason d posteriori, 011 account of the complexity of the
conditions; and that the d priori argument, by deductions from in-
evitable tendencies, can be alone employed. If Professor Huxley is
persuaded of the evil consequences of Christianity, I am equally
persuaded of the evil consequences of his system.
No one has a greater esteem for Professor Huxley than I have,
and no one is more convinced than I am of the uprightness of his
intentions and his hearty sympathy with self-denying virtue.
Nevertheless, the principles he unhappily advocates cannot but tend,
by a fatal necessity, in one direction, and to produce results socially,
politically, and morally, which he would be the first to deplore. They
tend in the intellectual order to the degradation of the mind, by the
essential identification of thought with sensation, and in the political
order to the evolution of horrors worse than those of the Parisian
Commune. I refrain from characterizing their tendency in the
Before concluding, I must make one observation with regard to
Mr. Wallace. I emphatically disclaim having had any intention of
depreciating obliquely Mr. Darwin, though I desired to do justice
to Mr. Wallace. It is an undoubted fact that there are many men
who, if they had thought out natural selection simultaneously with
Mr. Darwin, would have clamorously sought a recognition of the fact,
* In speaking of the application of the experimental method to social science, Mr.
Mill remarks : " This mode of thinking is not only general with practitioners in
.politics, and with that very numerous class who (on a subject which no one, however
ignorant, thinks himself incompetent to discuss) profess to guide themselves by common
sense rather than by science ; but is often countenanced by persons with greater pre-
tensions to instruction .... As, however, the notion of applicability of experimental
methods to political philosophy cannot co-exist with any just conception of these
methods themselves, the kind of arguments from experience which the chemical theory
brings forth as its fruits (and which form the staple, in this country especially, of par-
liamentary and hustings oratory), are such as, at no time since Bacon, would have been
admitted to be valid in chemistry itself, or in any other branch of experimental science."
(Mill's " Logic," vol. ii. p. 454.) " It is evident that Sociology, considered as a system
of deductions d priori, cannot be a science of positive predictions, but only of tendencies.'"
(Op. cit. p. 477.)
EVOLUTION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. 197
and have lost no opportunity of asserting simultaneity. No one can
affirm that Mr. Wallace has shown the faintest inclination of the kind,
while no one can deny that if he had followed the clamorous path,
his name would have been more widely known and more popularly
associated with natural selection than has been, in fact, the case.
It is a gratuitous assertion on the part of Professor Huxley to say
I hav -ted that Mr. Darwin's eminence is due to Mr. Wallace's
modesty, in any other sense than what I have now explained
namely, that had Mr. Wallace put himself more prominently forward,
he would have been seen more distinctly by the popular eye, an
assertion no one can question.
As a fact, I believe that Mr. Wallace, in the passage quoted by
Professor Huxley, allows his modesty to deceive him. From what
I know of Mr. Wallace, I venture to affirm he underrates his powers,
and I am convinced he could have written as good a defence of natural
selection as even the " Origin of Species." There are not wanting
those who, though they have carefully studied Mr. Darwin's work,
only fully understood his theory when presented to their mind in
the clear, lucid, and admirable writings of Mr. Wallace.
ST. GEORGE MIVART.