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C JUL 22 1913 
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In sending out this Fourth Edition of my husband's 
Life, I cannot but repeat my acknowledgment of the 
extreme kindness with which it has been received. 
And I think it is also due to his memory to say a 
word again in view of various statements that have 
been made in America and elsewhere, to the effect 
that his mental vigour and powers were impaired 
before his death. These statements are absolutely 

I can best refute them by calling attention to 
the obituary notice written by Professor Burdon 
Sanderson for the Eoyal Society. 

In this paper it is said : ' Up to the end he 
(Eomanes) preserved not only his mental vigour, 
but the keenness of his interest in his scientific 

This, I think, needs no additional comment from 
me. It is of course only natural that the record of 


a changed attitude, of the recovery of a lost Faith, of 
the discovery that ' Gradual Evolution is in analogy 
with God's other work,' 1 should have provoked some 
hostile criticism. 

I think, however, that anyone who reads the story 
of my husband's life as it is contained in this book, in 
his Poems, and in the ' Thoughts on Eeligion ' will, if 
he reads with an unprejudiced mind, see that the 
search for Truth was lifelong, however much or 
however little he may agree with the conclusions at 
which my husband finally arrived. 

I have to thank Mr. Leonard Huxley for kindly 
sending me letters written to his distinguished father, 
and which were fortunately in time to be inserted in 
the Third Edition. 

I must also thank Mr. Burdon Sanderson for a 
very interesting letter, which Messrs. Longmans have 
kindly allowed me to publish in this edition. 

E. E. 

13 Cornwall Terrace, Eegent's Park, N.W. : 
October, 1897. 

See Thoughts on Eeligion, p. 174, seventh edition. 


In writing my husband's life I have tried, so far as 
it was possible, to let him, especially in matters 
scientific, speak for himself. 

For the purpose of his biographer it is unfortunate 
that my husband lived in almost daily intercourse 
for parts of many years with more than one of his 
most intimate friends. Hence there are no letters 
to several people with whom he was in the habit 
of discussing scientific, philosophic, and theological 

The letters relating to his work will, I hope, 
interest any one who cares for biological science. 
Whatever may be the exact place which shall be 
assigned to him, by those who come after, in the 
great army of workers for Science, this much may 
be said : that no one ever served in the cause of 
Science with more passionate and whole-hearted 
devotion, more entire disinterestedness — 

All for Love y and nothing for Reward. 

I have to acknowledge the kindness of many who 
have put letters at my disposal. I cannot sufficiently 


express my thanks to Mr. Francis Darwin for 
generously allowing me to print portions of the 
correspondence which for seven or eight years was 
one of the chief pleasures and privileges of my 
husband's life. I must also thank my brother and 
sister-in-law, the Dean of Christ Church, Professor 
Poulton, Professor Schafer, Professor Le Conte, 
Mr. Thiselton-Dyer, and others for like permission. 

And I must express my most sincere gratitude 
to the Eev. P. N. Waggett, to Professor C. Lloyd 
Morgan, and to my cousin Mrs. St. George Eeid 
(formerly of Newnham College, Cambridge), for their 
constant help and advice. 

To Mrs. Eeid I owe more than I can well express. 
Her scientific knowledge and ability have been simply 
invaluable, and have been used with ever-ready and 
ungrudging generosity and kindness. 

There are other aspects of my husband's life 
which are interesting, but again I think he has told 
his own story, and it is needless for me here to speak 
of what, to some extent, he has laid bare — of mental 
perplexity and of steadfast endurance and loyalty to 
Truth. It may be that others, wandering in the 
twilight of this ' dimly lighted world,' may be stimu- 
lated and encouraged and helped to go on in patience 
until on them also dawns that Light. If this be so 
it will not be altogether in vain that he bore long 
years of very real and very heavy sorrow. 

£. E. 

Oxford: 1895. 



I. BOYHOOD— YOUTH -EARLY MANHOOD, 1848-1878 . . 1 

II. LONDON, 1879-1890 f)2 

III. LONDON— GEANIES, 1881-1890 142 

IY. OXFORD, 1890-1894 260 

INDEX 389 


Portrait of Mr. Romanes ...... Frontispiece 

Geanies, Ross-shire ...... To face p. 152 

94 St. Aldate's ......... „ 270 




BOYHOOD. 1848-1867 

Geokge John Romanes was born at Kingston, 
Canada, on May 20, 1848, the third son of the 
Rev. George Romanes, D.D., then Professor of Greek 
in the University ,of that place. 

The Professor had come out to Canada some years 
previously, and, after a short experience of work in 
country parishes, had settled down to teach Greek to 
the alumni of the little University. 

Dr. Romanes was descended from an old Scottish 
family settled since 1586 in Berwickshire : he had 
been educated at the High School and University of 
Edinburgh, and was an excellent classic and learned 
theologian, with views of a strictly ' Moderate ' type. 
Erom him his distinguished son inherited the 
sweetness of temper and calmness of manner which 
characterised George John Romanes through life, and 
which earned for him amongst his friends the playful 
sobriquet of ' The Philosopher.' 

Dr. Romanes married, after his arrival in Canada, 



Miss Isabella Gair Smith, daughter of the Rev. Robert 
Smith, for many years parish minister of Cromarty. 
Mrs. Romanes was connected with several old High- 
land families, and was a thorough Highlander. Hand- 
some, vivacious, unconventional, and clever, she was 
in all respects a great contrast to her husband, who, 
as years went on, seems to have lived mainly the life 
of a student, and to have left the care of mundane 
things to his wife. Three sons and two daughters 
were born. Of these, only two, the eldest son and 
youngest daughter, now survive. 

In 1848, the inheritance of a considerable fortune 
relieved Dr. Romanes from any necessity to continue 
the duties of his chair, and the family returned home, 
wandering about for a few years and finally settling 
in 18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park. There was a 
good deal of continental travel during these first years 
after their return, and as he grew into boyhood George 
Romanes spent several months at various times in 
Heidelberg and other German towns, and the family 
performed a journey from Nice to Florence in a 
delightful and now bygone fashion, travelling with a 

Probably the beauty of the scenery, the fascination 
of travel, and the charm of the beautiful surroundings 
exercised an unconscious influence over the boy, and 
did something to rouse the poetic sense which was 
to be so great an element in his life. Otherwise there 
seems to have been little or no sense of pleasure in the 
art treasures or the historic associations of Italy, and 
at no time of his life did he ever care for pictures to 
anything like the same extent as for poetry or music. 

After the family settled in London, George Romanes 
was sent to a preparatory school near his own home. 
Two of his schoolfellows became in after life intimate 

isbo EAELY LIFE 3 

friends. These were Francis Paget, the present Dean 
of Christ Church, and his brother, Henry Luke Paget, 
now Yicar of St. Pancras, London. 

An attack of measles put a stop once and for all 
to his preparatory school career, and the idea of a 
public school was never entertained. 

He was educated in a desultory and aimless fashion 
at home, and was regarded by his family as a shock- 
ing dunce. Parts of two years were spent in Heidel- 
berg, and here he picked up some German, and had a 
few lessons on the violin, and saw as he grew up 
something of student life in Germany. Music was 
always a perfect passion with George Romanes, and if 
a little wholesome discipline had been exercised, the 
boy might have become a very good musician. 

Heidelberg and the days at Heidelberg represented 
to the younger Romanes the ' golden age.' 

They lived in an old house outside the town, sur- 
rounded by woods, and here the children, George and 
his younger sister, roamed about to their hearts' con- 
tent, making collections and keeping pets, like the 
born naturalists they were. Shockingly idle children 
but marvellously happy ones, and in the peculiar - let 
alone ' system of their household, they grew up, neither 
of them remembering any reproof, far less any punish- 
ment, nor any attempt to make them learn lessons 
or carry on studies for which they were not inclined. 
A long interval of years separated the brothers, now 
only two in number, 1 and the younger brother and 
sister were looked on and treated as children long 
after they had emerged from childhood. 

The father and mother seem to have attended 
Presbyterian and Anglican churches with entire im- 

1 Robert, the second son, died in childhood. 


partiality, but the younger members of the family pre- 
ferred the English church, and were confirmed in it. 
Religion was a potent influence with the boy in quite 
early years, and there grew up in him a purpose of 
taking Holy Orders, a purpose which met with no en- 
couragement from either of his parents. 

If of intellectual achievement he gave as yet no 
promise, at least there were the signs of a singularly 
pure and unselfish nature which seemed to grow 
and develope with the growing years. All through 
his life he was peculiarly tender, gentle, and unselfish, 
and his younger sister describes a little scene of how, 
while a children's party was going on downstairs, 
George found her upstairs alone and miserable, suffer- 
ing from some odd childish misery of nerves, unable 
to go down, and yet hating to be alone ; how he at 
once soothed and petted her, sat by her the whole 
evening, telling her stories and successfully driving 
away her unhappiness. The most characteristic bit 
appears at the end. This sort of unselfish conduct was 
so usual, that his little sister really forgot to thank 
him, nor did it occur to her till long after that there was 
anything unusual in his willingness to sacrifice a 
whole evening's amusement to what most boys would 
have regarded as mere fancifulness, only deserving a 
due amount of severe teasing. 

During these years the Romanes family spent 
their summers at Dunskaith, on the shores of the 
Cromarty Firth. Here George Romanes had his first 
lessons in sport at the hands of Dr. Brydon, the well- 
known survivor of the fatal retreat from Cabul, 1842. 1 

1 Dr. Brydon resided on a small but beautiful property overlooking 
the Cromarty Firth, and, after his death, Dr. Eomanes rented the place 
from its owners, who were distant cousins of Mrs. Romanes, in order that 
• George might have some shooting.' 


He soon became an ardent sportsman and excellent 
shot, and rarely until his fatal illness began did he 
ever fail to keep the Twelfth of August and the First 
of September in the proper way. 

When George Romanes was about seventeen, he 
was sent to a tutor to read in preparation for the 
University, his mother having suddenly awakened to 
the fact that he was nearly grown up and not at all 
ready for college. One of his fellow pupils was Mr. 
Charles Edmund Lister, brother of the present owner 
of Shibden Hall, Halifax. With Mr. Lister he formed 
a friendship destined to be only broken by Mr. Lister's 
premature death in 1889. This friendship had impor- 
tant results for George Romanes. He had been in- 
tended for Oxford, and his name had been entered at 
Brasenose College, but Mr. Lister was to go to Cam- 
bridge, and he easily persuaded his friend to follow 

In October 1867 G-eorge John Romanes entered 
Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. 

CAMBRIDGE. 1867-1873 

Most men feel that their University life is one of 
the most marked phases of their career. Even 
those who come up from a public school, with iM the 
prestige and with all the friendships, the sense of 
fellowship, the hundred and one influences, the cus- 
toms of a great school ' lying thick ' upon them, realise 
more and more, as time goes on, how great a part 
Oxford or Cambridge plays in their lives ; how it is 
in their University life they make their intellectual 
choice, and receive the bias which, for good or for evil, 
will influence their whole life. 


And to this raw boy, fresh from a secluded and 
somewhat narrow atmosphere, plunged for the first 
time into a great society, brought for the first time 
under some of the influences of the then ' Zeitgeist,' 
into contact with some of the leaders of thought, 
entrance into the University was the beginning of an 
entirely new life. 

He entered Cambridge, half-educated, utterly un- 
trained, with no knowledge of men or of books. He 
left it, to all intents and purposes, a trained worker 
and earnest thinker, with his life work begun — that 
work which was an unwearied search after truth, a 
work characterised by an ever-increasing reverence 
for goodness, and, as years went on, by a disregard 
for applause or for reward. His Cambridge life was 
happy ; he made several friends, chief of whom was 
Mr. Proby Cautley, the present rector of Quainton 
near Aylesbury. 

He enjo} r ed boating, and once narrowly escaped 
drowning in the Cam. 

At first George Eomanes fell completely under 
Evangelical influences, at that time practically the 
most potent religious force in Cambridge. He was a 
regular communicant, and it is touching to look at 
the little Bible he used while at Cambridge, worn, 
and marked, and pencilled, with references to sermons 
which had evidently caught the boy's attention. He 
used to attend meetings for Greek Testament study, 
and enjoyed hearing the distinguished preachers who 
visited the University. 

But of the intellectual influences in the religious 
world of the University he knew nothing. F. D. 
Maurice was still in Cambridge, but he seems to have 
repelled rather than to have attracted George Bo- 


manes, nor did lie ever come under the influence of 
Westcott, or of Lightfoot, or of Hort. 

And, when the intellectual struggles began, he 
seems in early years to have owed very little to any 
Christian writer, Bishop Butler alone excepted. 

His summers were spent in Boss-shire, and there 
is no doubt these months were of great use to him. 
He was perfectly unharassed so far as pecuniary cares 
or family ambition were concerned, and he had abun- 
dant time to think. Years afterwards, Mr. Darwin 
said to him : ' Above all, Bomanes, cultivate the habit 
of meditation,' and Mr. Bomanes always quoted this 
as a most valuable bit of advice. His intellectual 
development was rapid in these Cambridge years, and 
it is not improbable that his slowly growing mind had 
not been ill served by being allowed to mature in 
absolute freedom, although he himself bitterly re- 
gretted and, through his whole life, deplored the lack 
of early training, and of mental discipline. 

Through these early Cambridge years he still 
cherished the idea of Holy Orders, and with his friend, 
Mr. Cautley, he had many talks about the career they 
both intended to choose. They spent a part of one long 
vacation together, and occupied themselves in reading 
theology — such books as ' Pearson on the Creed,' 
Hooker's ' Ecclesiastical Polity,' Bishop Butler's 
' Analogy,' and in writing sermons. Some of Mr. 
Bomanes' are still extant, and are curious bits of 
boyish composition — crude, unformed in style, and 
yet full of thought, and showing a remarkable know- 
ledge of the Bible. 

He seems to have been, for the rest, a bright, good- 
tempered, popular lad, always much chaffed for absent- 
minded mistakes, for his long legs, for his peculiar 
name ; and he certainly gave no one the faintest idea 


of any particular ability, any likelihood of future dis- 
tinction. 1 Some slight chance, as it seemed, turned 
his attention to natural science ; one or two friends 
were reading for the Natural Science Tripos, and 
George Romanes ceased to read mathematics and 
began to work at natural science, competing for and 
winning a scholarship in that subject. 

Eighteen months only remained for him to work 
for his Tripos, and it is not surprising that he only 
obtained a Second Class. In the Tripos of 1870, in 
the same list among the First-Class men, Mr. Francis 
Darwin's name appears. 

Mr. Romanes had gone but a little distance along 
the road on which he was destined to travel very far. 
He had up to this time read none of Mr. Darwin's 
books, and to a question on Natural Selection which 
occurred in the Tripos papers he could give no answer. 

By this time he had abandoned the idea of Holy 
Orders, perhaps on account of the opposition at 
home, perhaps because of the first beginnings of the 
intellectual struggles of doubt and of bewilderment. 
He began to study medicine, and made a lifelong 
friendship with Dr. Latham, the well-known Cam- 
bridge physician, of whose kindness Mr. Romanes 
often spoke, and to whom he dedicated his first book, 
which was the Burney Prize for 1873. But he also 
began to study physiology under the direction of Dr. 
Michael Foster, the present Professor of Physiology at 
Cambridge, to whom she owes her famous medical 
school, at that time in its very early beginnings. 

Science entirely fascinated him ; his first plunge 

1 Mr. Cautley writes : ' I have never seen Eomanes, under the greatest 
provocation, out of temper. Always gentle, always kind, never over- 
bearing . . . never forgetful of friends.' 


into real scientific work opened to him a new life, gave 
him the first sense of power and of capacity. Now he 
read Mr. Darwin's books, and it is impossible to over- 
rate the extraordinary effect they had on the young 
man's mind. Something of the feeling which Keats 
describes in the sonnet ' On Looking into Chapman's 
Homer ' seems to have been his : 

• Then felt I like some watcher of the skies 
When a new planet swims into his ken ; 

Or like stout Cortez when, with eagle eyes, 
He stared at the Pacific — and all his men 

Looked at each other with a wild surmise 
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.' 

About the spring of 1872 Mr. Eomanes began to 
show signs of ill-health. He was harassed by faint- 
ness and incessant lassitude, but struggled on, going 
up to Scotland in the summer and beginning to 
shoot, under the belief that all he wanted was hard 
exercise. At last he broke down and was declared to 
be suffering from a bad attack of typhoid fever. He 
had a very hard struggle for life, and owed a great 
deal to Dr. Latham, who from Cambridge kept up a 
constant telegraphic communication with the Boss- 
shire doctors. It was a long and weary convales- 
cence, beguiled in part by writing an essay on 
' Christian Prayer and General Laws,' the subject 
assigned for the Burney Prize Essay of 1873. 

Much of this essay was dictated to one or other of 
his sisters, and it is a curious fact that his first book 
and his last should have been on theological subjects. 
Both were written when he was struggling with great 
bodily weakness, and in these months of early man- 
hood he showed the same almost pathetic desire to 
work, the same activity of thought which he displayed 


more than twenty years later in the last days of his 

The essay was successful, and its author was more 
than once claimed as a champion of faith on the 
strength of it. 

It is a very hard bit of reading, and of course has 
to some extent the drawback of a prize essay, a work 
written not simply to convince the public, but to 
impress examiners. It is full of knowledge and of 
intellectual agility, but is perhaps needlessly difficult 
in style. His success was absolutely unexpected by 
his family, and made him very happy, as the following 
letters show, written in the first glow of success. 

To Mrs. Romanes. 

18 Cornwall Terrace. 

My dearest Mother, — Your letter of surprise and 
rejoicing has been to me one of the best parts of the 
result. All the letters of congratulation which are 
now coming in mention you : ' How delighted your 
mother will be,' &c. ; and it is a great thing for me 
to find that you are so. Without appreciative sym- 
pathy success soon palls ; but the two combined go 
to make up the best happiness. 

I went to Cambridge yesterday to get the 
manuscript, and as there happened to be a congrega- 
tion in the afternoon, I also took my degree. I saw 
all my friends, who were overflowing with delight. 
Indeed, I never before realised how great the compe- 
tition is, for I never had an opportunity of knowing 
how the successful man is lionised. The Caius dons 
especially are up in the air about it, as this is the first 


time in the history of the college that one of its 
members has got the Burney ; so that, as Ferrers 
writes to me, ' when the same year produces a Senior 
Wrangler and a Burney Prizeman, the college may 
be said to be looking up.' I was invited to breakfast 
with the Professor of Divinity (who is the principal 
adjudicator), and I found him very pleasant indeed. 
Afterwards I went to the Yice-Chancellor, from whom 
I got the well-remembered ' pages ' (but now with 
Prize I. written across them) ; and lastly, to the third 
adjudicator, the master of Christ's. They all said 
more in praise of the essay than I would care to 
repeat, but, to tell you the simple truth, I was perfectly 
astonished. For example, ' In the history of the 
Burney Prize there have only been two equals and 
no superiors.' 

The Yice-Chancellor told me that there was another 
essay well deserving of a prize which was written 
by a man of whom I dare say you will remember I 
said I was most afraid, viz., Mr. Cunningham. 1 I knew 
him very well when we were undergraduates, and 
three years ago he obtained the Trinity Scholarship 
in Philosophy, open to all competitors, and ended 
up eighteen months ago by graduating as Senior of 
the Moral Science Tripos. It is a great satisfaction 
to me that the man who was universally admitted to 
be the best of the Cambridge metaphysicians should 
have written, and that, notwithstanding, the decision 
should have been given unanimously in my favour. 

1 The Eev. W. Cunningham, D.D., Fellow and Lecturer of Trinity 
College, Cambridge, and Hon. Fellow of Caius. 


To James Bovianes, Esq. 

18 Cornwall Terrace : April 24. 

My dearest James, — I am sure you will be as much 
pleased with the result of my labours as I am myself. 
I remember so well our speculating upon the probable 
chances of success, and how low we set them down. 
Had I known for certain that Cunningham was going 
to compete, I think I should have given up altogether. 
His essay does seem to have been extraordinarily 
good, and yet he cannot get a second prize, because 
the foundation requires that every penny of the 
interest shall go to the first man. As this seems 
rather hard lines for Cunningham, I have to-day 
written to the Divinity Professor offering to share 
the prize money, on condition that the University 
recognise Cunningham as a prizeman. 

The extraordinary thing about the whole affair is, 
not so much the award, as the opinion which the 
adjudicators entertain of the work. I do not know how 
it is that, stranded on a sandbank and in a half dead- 
and-alive state, without thinking I was doing any- 
thing unusual, I should have written the prize essay. 

But I don't care how it is so long as it is so, as 

writes, ' You certainly have achieved a great success, 
handicapped as you were in so many ways.' This, 
of course, relates to the award ; but, as I said before, 
what surprised me most is that I should not only be 
first, but such a good first. The praise given by each 
of the adjudicators separately, in as strong terms as 
it is possible in donnish phraseology to convey it, was 


very gratifying to me, especially as pronounced in the 
studiously dignified manner of the Vice-Chancellor. 

I hope soon to see you and tell you more about 
the whole thing ; for one of the best parts of it is, 
that ' if one member be honoured, all the members 
rejoice with it.' 

Ever your loving Brother, 

Geo. J. Komanes. 

During his convalescence Mr. Eomanes finally 
abandoned the idea of a profession and resolved to 
devote himself to scientific research. 

It was about this time that a letter of his in 
i Nature ' (see ' Nature,' vol. viii. p. 101) attracted 
Mr. Darwin's attention, and caused him to send a 
friendly little note to the youthful writer. 

Probably Mr. Darwin had little idea of the effect 
his letter produced on its recipient, who was then 
recovering from his long illness. That Darwin should 
actually write to him seemed too good to believe. It 
was a great encouragement to go on with scientific 

' Up to 1873 or 1874 Mr. Eomanes had been work- 
ing, when at Cambridge, in Dr. Michael Foster's 
laboratory, and was a member of that band who 
formed the nucleus of what was destined to be the 
famous physiological school of Cambridge. Side by 
side with Mr. Eomanes were working Mr. Gaskell, Mr. 
Dew Smith, and others now well known for their work 
and achievements. 

In some ways Mr. Eomanes suffered from not 
remaining at Cambridge and becoming a permanent 
member of the band. 

It is impossible not to feel that had he stayed on 


at the University he would have devoted, himself 
more and more to strictly experimental work and less 
to what may be called philosophical natural history. 
Some will regard his removal as a misfortune, and 
others as a happy accident, but the might-have-beens 
of life are never very profitable subjects for specula- 

In order to be with his now widowed mother, he 
returned to London, and made his home with her and 
his sisters. They spent their summers at Dunskaith, 
and Mr. Romanes embarked on researches on the 
nervous system of the Medusae. He began also to work 
in the physiological laboratory of University College 
under Dr. Sharpey and Dr. Burdon Sanderson. Both 
he regarded as masters and friends, and perhaps, 
next to Mr. Darwin, Dr. Sanderson was the scientific 
friend George Romanes most valued and loved, 
although it is impossible to overrate what he owed 
to Cambridge, and to those early longings for bio- 
logical study which were inspired by Dr. Foster. 

As has been said, a letter in ' Nature ' attracted 
Mr. Darwin's notice, and somewhere about 1874 he 
invited Mr. Romanes to call on him. 

From that time began an unbroken friendship, 
marked on one side by absolute worship, reverence, 
and affection, on the other by an almost fatherly kind- 
ness and a wonderful interest in the younger man's 
work and in his career. That first meeting was a 
real epoch in Mr. Romanes' life. Mr. Darwin met 
him, as he often used to tell, with outstretched hands, 
a bright smile, and a ' How glad I am that you are so 
young ! ' 

Perhaps no hero-worship was ever more unselfish, 
more utterly loyal, or more fully rewarded. As time 
went on, and intimacy increased, and restraint wore 


off, Mr. Eomanes found that the great master was as 
much to be admired for his personal character as for 
his wonderful gifts, and to the youth who never, in the 
darkest days of utter scepticism, parted with the love 
for goodness, for beauty of character, this was an over- 
whelming joy. 

In a poem written about 1884 Mr. Eomanes has 
expressed something of what he felt for Mr. Darwin, 
and in this he has poured out his ' hero-worship ' in 
terms which were to him the expressions of simple 

It is interesting to look over the long series of 
letters from 1874 to 1882 and notice how the formal 
■ Dear Mr. Eomanes ' drops into the familiar ' Dear 
Eomanes,' and the letters become more and more 
affectionate, intimate, personal. 

About this time also Mr. Eomanes made many 
other scientific friends, Professor Schafer, Professor 
Cossar Ewart, Mr. Francis Darwin, Dr. Pye Smith, 
Professor E. Lankester, Professor Clifford, Dr. Lauder 
Brunton, and many more ; and as his work became 
known it is pleasant to see with what kindness of 
welcome the new recruit was welcomed to the scien- 
tific army by such men as Professor Huxley, Sir John 
Lubbock, Sir Joseph Hooker, Mr. Busk, Mr. F. Galton, 
and Mr. Spottiswoode, then President of the Eoyal 

Just at that time there was a set of rising young 
biologists who all seemed destined to do good work, 
and it is melancholy to look back and to see ' how of 
that not too numerous band a number have been 
taken from us in the prime of life, Garrod, Frank 
Balfour, Moseley, H. Carpenter, Milnes Marshall, 
Eomanes.' x ■ 

*. Prof. E. E. Lanhester in Nature, May 1&94. 


At Dunskaith a little laboratory was fitted up in 
an adjoining cottage, and here during the summer 
Mr. Romanes worked constantly for some years, diver- 
sifying his labours by shooting. It was in his country 
home also that he began those series of observations 
on animals which he worked up into the ' Animal 
Intelligence ' of the International Scientific Series, 
perhaps the most popular of his books. The terrier 
Mathal was his special companion, and he observed 
various traits of her intelligence which are recorded 
in ' Mental Evolution in Animals,' pp. 156, 157, 158. 
It was also at Dunskaith that he began his first 
attempts at verse making, but for some years these 
did not come to much. 

His scientific work at Dunskaith led to a paper 
communicated to the Royal Society in 1875, and 
entitled ' Preliminary Observations on the Locomotor 
System of Medusae.' 

This paper the Royal Society honoured by making 
it the Croonian Lecture, an honour awarded to the 
best biological paper of each year. 

And he also communicated a paper to the Royal 
Society entitled, ' The Influence of Injury on the 
Excitability of Motor Nerves.' Of this paper Pro- 
fessor Burdon Sanderson says that the observations 
were made with great care, and that the new facts 
recorded have been fully confirmed by later observers. 
This work was done at Cambridge. 

•Mr. Romanes had worked for two years, or rather 
two summers, very constantly and very strenuously 
on the Medusas. He set himself to try to discover 
whether or not the rudiments of a nervous system 
existed in these creatures. Agassiz had maintained it 
did, others considered his deductions premature, and 
Huxley, in his ' Classification of Animals,' summed 


up the much-debated question by saying that 
'no nervous system had yet been discovered in 

Microscopically, it had already been shown that 
in some forms of Medusae there are present certain 
fine fibres running along the margin of the swimming 
bell, from their appearance said to be nerves, but 
in no case had it been shown tbat they functioned 
as such. Thus it was to solve this question, whether 
or not a nervous system, known to be present in all 
animals higher in the zoological scale, makes its 
first appearance in the Medusae, that Mr. Eomanes 
entered upon a long series of physiological experi- 
ments, first on the group of small ' naked-eyed ' 
Medusae, and then on the larger ' covered-eyed ' form, 
the latter division containing the common jelly-fish. 
These names, ' naked-eyed ' and ' covered-eyed,' are 
given to the two groups on account of a difference in 
their sense organs, which are situated on the margin 
of the umbrella or swimming bell, and are protected 
by a hood of gelatinous matter in the ' covered-eyed ' 
forms, so called in contradistinction to the ' naked- 
eyed ' group, where the hood is absent. 

Romanes first carefully observed the movements 
of the Medusae, which, it will be remembered, are 
effected by the dilatation and contraction of the 
entire swimming bell, and he found that if, in the 
' naked-eyed ' group, the extreme margin of this 
swimming bell be excised, immediate, total, and per- 
manent paralysis of the whole organ took place. This 
result was obtained with every species of this group 
which he examined ; he therefore concluded that in 
the margin of all these forms there is situated a 
localised system of centres of spontaneity, having 
for one of its functions the origination of impulses to 



which the contraction of the swimming bell is, under 
ordinary circumstances, exclusively due. This deduc- 
tion was confirmed by the behaviour of the severed 
thread-like portion of the margin, which continued 
its rhythmical contractions quite unimpaired by its 
severance from the main organism, the latter remain- 
ing perfectly motionless. In the ' covered-eyed ' 
forms Romanes found that excision of the margin 
of the umbrella, or rather excision of the sense organs 
or marginal bodies, produced paralysis ; in this case, 
the paralysis was of a temporary character, as in the 
great majority of cases contractions were resumed 
after a variable period. From this series of experi- 
ments he was led to believe that in the ' covered- 
eyed ' Medusas the margin is the princijjal, but not 
the exclusive, seat of spontaneity, there being other 
locomotor centres scattered throughout the general 
contractile tissue of the swimming bell. 

Having demonstrated the existence of a central 
nervous system capable of originating impulses, 
Romanes had yet to prove the identity of this nervous 
tissue of the Medusas with that of nervous tissues in 
general : therefore, he next proceeded to test whether 
it was also capable of responding to external stimu- 
lation b}' light, heat, electricity, &c. 

As regards appreciation of light, he was able to 
prove conclusively for at least two species of the 
' naked-eyed ' forms that as long as their marginal 
bodies remained intact they would always respond to 
luminous stimulation, and would crowd along a beam 
of light cast through a darkened bell jar in which 
they were swimming ; if their marginal bodies were 
removed, they remained indifferent to light. With 
regard to the ' covered-eyed ' forms, he obtained 
sufficient evidence to induce him to believe they 


possessed a visual sense localised in their marginal 
sense organs. 

The effects of electrical stimulation agreed in all 
respects with those produced on the excitable tissues 
of other animals. He next experimentally investi- 
gated in the jelly-fish the paths along which the 
nervous impulses must pass in their passage from the 
locomotor centres, where they originate, to the general 
contractile tissues of the animal. 

The results of these experiments led him to infer 
the existence of a very fine plexus of nerve fibres, in 
which the constituent threads cross and re-cross one 
another without actually coalescing. This conclusion, 
which he arrived at from purely experimental grounds, 
was some years afterwards confirmed by minute his- 
tological research. 

Finally, the effect of various poisons, chloroform, 
alcohol, &c, was tried, and the striking resemblance 
of their action on the nervous system of the Medusae 
with that which they exert on that of higher animals 
supports the belief that nerve tissue when it first 
appears in the scene of life has the same fundamental 
properties as it has in higher animals. 

This piece of work was important, as the facts 
threw light, as Professor Sanderson has said, on ele- 
mentary questions of physiology relating to excita- 
bility and conduction, and it was a characteristic of 
Mr. Eomanes that in all his work, of whatever kind, 
he was always searching for principles. The minutest 
detail never escaped his attention if it appeared at all 
likely in any way to throw light on some biological 
or psychological problem. Only a trained scientific 
worker can appreciate the amount of labour these 
Royal Society papers represented. In 1875 he gave 



a Friday evening lecture at the Eoyal Institution on 
his work on Medusae. 

He was also at this time working on the subject 
of ' Pangenesis,' * and a series of letters to Mr. 
Darwin and to Professor Schafer may interest some 

1 The following extract from ' An Examination of Weissmannism,' 
■pp. 2, 3, will, possibly explain the theory of Pangenesis, which assumes : 

1. That all the component cells of a multicellular organism throw off 
inconceivably minute germs, or ' gemmules,' which are then dispersed 
throughout the whole system. 

2. That these gemmules, when so dispersed and supplied with proper 
nutriment, multiply by self-division, and, under suitable conditions, are 
capable of developing into physiological cells like those from which they 
were originally and severally derived. 

3. That, while still in this gemmular condition, these cell-seeds have 
for one another a mutual affinity, which leads to their being collected 
from all parts of the system by the reproductive glands of the organism ; 
and that, when so collected, they go to constitute the essential material of 
the sexual elements — ova and spermatozoa being thus aggregated packets 
of gemmules, which have emanated from all the cells of all the tissues of 
the organism. 

4. That the development of a new organism out of the fusion of two 
such packets of genirnules is due to a summation of all the developments 
of some of the gemmules which these two packets contain. 

5. That a large proportional number of the gemmules in each packet, 
however, fail to develop, and are then transmitted in a dormant state to 
future generations, in any of which they may be developed subsequently, 
thus giving rise to the phenomena of reversion or atavism. 

6. That in all cases the development of gemmules into the form of 
their parent cells depends on their suitable union with other partially 
developed gemmules which precede them in the regular course of 

7. That gemmules are thrown off by all physiological cells, not only 
.luring the adult state of the organism, but during all stages of its develop- 
ment. Or, in other words, that the production of these cell-seeds depends 
upon the adult condition of parent cells, not upon that of the multi- 
cellular organism as a whole. 


18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W. : 
January 14, 1875. 

Dear Mr. Darwin, — I should very much like to 
see the papers to which you allude. A priori one 
would have thought the bisecting plan the more 
hopeful, but if the other has yielded positive results, 
in the case of an eye and tubers, I think it would be 
worth while to try the effect of transplanting various 
kinds of pips into the pulps of kindred varieties of 
fruit ; for the homological relations in this case would 
be pretty much the same as in the other, with the 
exception of the bud being an impregnated one. If 
positive results ensued, however, this last-mentioned 
fact would be all the better for ■ Pangenesis.' 

You have doubtless observed the very remarkable 
case given in the ' Gardener's Chronicle ' for January 2 
— I mean the vine in which the scion appears to have 
notably affected the stock. Altogether vines seem 
very promising ; and as their buds admit of being 
planted in the ground, it would be much more easy 
to try the bisecting plan in their case than in others, 
where one half-bud, besides requiring to be fitted to 
the other half, has also to have its shield fitted into 
the bark. All one's energies might then be expended 
in coaxing adhesion, and if once this were obtained, 
I think there would here be the best chance of 
obtaining a hybrid; for then all, or nearly all, the 
cells of the future branch would be in the state 
of gemmules. I am very sangnuie about the buds 
growing under these circumstances, for the vigour 


with which bisected seeds germinate is perfectly 

Very sincerely and most respectfully yours, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

P.S. — I have been to see Dr. Hooker, and found 
his kindness and courtesy quite what you led me to 
expect. Such men are rare. 

April 21, 1875. 

In returning you 's papers, I should like to say 

that the one on ' Inheritance ' appears to me quite de- 
stitute of intelligible meaning. It is a jumble of the 
same confused ideas upon heredity about which I 
complained when you were at this house. How in 
the world can ' force ' act without any material on 
which to act ? Yet, unless we assume that it can, 
the whole discussion is either meaningless, or else 
assumes the truth of some such theory as ' Pangene- 
sis.' In other words, as it must be ' unthinkable ' 
that force should act independently of matter, the 
doctrine of its persistence can only be made to bear 
upon the question of heredity, by supposing that 
there is a material connection between corporeal and 
germinal cells — i.e. by granting the existence of 
force-carriers, call them gemmules, or physiological 
units, or what we please. 

Lawson Tait says (p. 60) — ' The process of growth 
of the ovum after impregnation can be followed only 
after the assumption either expressed or unconsciously 
accepted of such a hypothesis as is contained in Mr. 
Darwin's "Pangenesis;"' and it is interesting, as 
showing the truth of the remark, to compare, for ex- 


ample, p. 29 of the other pamphlet — for, of course, 
' Pangenesis ' assumes the truth of the persistence of 
force as the prime condition of its possibility. If 
ever I have occasion to prepare a paper about 
heredity, I think it would be worth while to point 
out the absurdity of thinking that we explain any- 
thing by vague allusions to the most ultimate 
generalisation of science. We might just as well say 
that Canadian institutions resemble British ones 
because force is persistent. This doubtless is the 
ultimate reason, but our explanation would be scien- 
tifically valueless if we neglected to observe that the 
Canadian colony was founded by British individuals. 

The leaf from ' Nature ' arrived last night. I had 
previously intended to try mangold-wurzel, as I hear 
it has well-marked varieties. The reference, there- 
fore, will be valuable to me. 

Before closing, I should like to take this oppor- 
tunity of thanking you again for the very pleasant 
time I spent at Down. The place was one which I 
had long wished to see, and now that I have seen it, 
I am sure it will ever remain one of the most agree- 
able and interesting of memory's pictures. 

With kind regards to Mrs. Darwin, I remain, very 
sincerely and most respectfully yours, 

Geo. J. Komanes. 

To Professor E. Schafer. 

Dunskaith, Eoss-shire. 

My dear Schafer, — I am glad to hear that your 
rest has been beneficial, and also about all the other 
news you give. 


I should like to have your opinion about the 
meaning of the following facts. 

In Sarsia gentle irritation of a tentacle or an eye- 
speck causes the polypite to respond, but not the 
bell (stronger irritation, of course, causes both to 
respond) ; this seems to show that there are nervous 
connections between the eye-specks and the polypite. 
By introducing cuts between former and latter, these 
connections may be destroyed — the tolerance of the 
tissue to such sections being variable in different 
cases, but never being anything remarkable. So far, 
then, the matter seems favourable to the nerve-plexus 

In another disc-shaped species of naked-eyed 
Medusae with a long polypite, which I have called 
Tiaropsis indicans, from its habit of applying this 
long polypite to any part of the bell which is being 
injured, the localising function of the polypite is de- 
stroyed as regards any area of bell-tissue between 
which and the polypite a circumferential section has 
been introduced. In other words, the connections 
between the bell and the polypite, on which localis- 
ing function of the latter depends, are exclusively 
radial. But not so the connections between the bell 
and the polypite, which render it possible for the 
one to be aware that something is wrong somewhere 
in the other. For if the whole animal be cut into 
a spiral with the polypite at one end, irritation of 
the other end of the spiral, or any part of its length, 
causes the polypite to sway about from side to side 
trying to find the offending body. And here it is 
important to observe that wherever a portion of one 

1876 MEDUSAE 25 

of the radial tubes occurs in the course of the spiral, 
irritation of that portion causes a much stronger re- 
sponse on the part of the polypite than does irrita- 
tion of any of the general bell-tissue, even though 
this be situated much nearer to the polypite. This 
seems to show that the nervous plexus, if present, 
has its constituent fibres aggregated into trunks in 
the course of the nutriment tubes. 

Thus far, then, I should be inclined to adopt the 
nerve-plexus theory. But lastly, we come to another 
species with a very large bell and a very small polypite. 
Irritation of margin or radial tubes causes the animal to 
go into a violent spasm, but irritation of the general 
muscular layer only causes an ordinary locomotor 
contraction. On cutting the whole animal into a spiral, 
and irritating the extreme end of several marginal 
strips, the entire muscular part of the spiral goes 
into spasm. On interposing a great number of 
interdigitating cuts in the course of the spiral, 
there is no difference in these results. Now the 
question is, What is the nature of the tissue that 
conducts impressions from the ganglionic tissue to 
the muscular, making the latter go into a spasm ? 
A spasm is as different as possible from an ordinary 
contraction, and will continue to pass long after the 
ordinary contractions have been blocked by severity 
of section. It is scarcely possible to suppose a 
nerve-plexus here — the tolerance towards section 
being so great, although it varies in different cases. 
Besides, suppose this to be a segment of animal cut as 
represented. On irritating margin at a all the bell 
goes into a spasm, and it is evident that whatever the 


nature of the conductile tissue, all the connections 
must pass through the tract of tissue at b. Yet on 
irritating that tract no spasm is given. I cannot 
understand this on any view as to the nature of the 
conductile tissue. 

Altogether, then, this part of the inquiry is very 
perplexing. Other parts are definite enough. All the 
poisons, for instance, yield very definite results, which 
are in conformity with their actions elsewhere. 

I have had no time to do anything at the histology 
as yet. Would it be worth while for me to send you 

various species in a 
O little sea water ? They 

would arrive in a toler- 
ably fresh condition, 
but would require to be 
examined at once. I 
might try sending some 
~J7 v ' in spirit and others in 

FlG x chromic acid. I have 

made a few preliminary 
experiments with the galvanometer on Sarsia, placing 
one electrode on the margin and another on the 
muscular sheet, but without any decided results. I 
also tried placing a Sarsia in one beaker and simple 
sea water in another, connecting by means of the 
electrodes, but no disturbance was observable. 

June 4. 

I am working very hard just now, as there are so 
many irons to keep hot at once. It is too soon yet 
to see the results of spring grafting on the many 

1876 MEDUSAE 27 

plants I have operated on, and I have not had time 
to do anything with animals since I left London. 

The Medusae have now come on in their legion, 
and occupy my undivided attention. The results so 
far have proved as definite as they are interesting 
and important. The following is a summary of the 

All genera of naked-eyed yet examined become 
immediately and permanently paralysed (except 
polypite) upon excision of margin, but not so with 
the covered-eyed. 

The organism thus mutilated responds with a 
single contraction to a nip with the forceps, also to 
various chemical stimuli. The chain of ganglia do 
the same, and further resemble the mutilated organism 
in contracting once to both make and break of direct 
or of induced shock. They differ, however, in one 
important particular : the severed margin retains its 
sensibility to the induced shock much longer than to 
the direct, while with the necto-calyx the converse 
is the case — the latter responding vigorously to make 
and break of direct current after it has ceased to be 
affected by even interrupted current with secondary 
coil pushed up to zero (one cell). 

A strange and, so far as I am aware, an unparalleled 
phenomenon is sometimes manifested by Sarsia after 
removal of ganglia. It only happens in about one 
case out of ten, and never except in response to either 
chemical or electrical stimulation. A bell quite 
paralysed, and which may have responded normally 
enough to stimulation for a number of times, sud- 
denly begins an active shivering motion, which may 


last from a minute to half an hour. This motion is 
totally different from anything exhibited by the 
animal when alive, and after ceasing never recom- 
mences without fresh stimulation. The shivering 
appearance, I think, is due to the various systems of 
muscles contracting without co-ordination, but why 
it should take place in some cases and not in others, 
I am quite unable to determine. 

Irritability of bell to shocks increases progres- 
sively from centre to circumference, and is greatest 
when electrodes are placed on marginal canal. Also 
a similar progressive increase is observable on ap- 
proaching one of the radial canals, and is greatest 
when electrodes are placed on one of these. (I may 
observe that however neat a person's fingers may be 
it would be simply impossible to conduct these 
and other observations of the same nature without 
a mechanical stage. The electrodes must be needle- 
points passed through cords, the latter being sup- 
ported by a copper wire fixed to the stage, and 
therefore moveable with it ; and I defy anybody to 
get the electrodes into the field, and at the same 
time upon the marginal canal, unless they all move 

Sarsia stands an astonishing amount of section 
without losing nervous conductibility. For instance, 
the whole organism may be cut into a three-turned 
spiral, and on irritating the end, the whole contracts ; 
yet a moment's thought will show how trying this 
mode of section is to nervous connections. As the 
animal may be cut, as in the following diagram, 
which represents the whole organism in projection — 




the dotted lines being the canals, and the thick ones 
the cuts — on now irritating any part of the animal, 
the whole contracts, but the co-ordination power is 
lost, both in spontaneous contraction and for those in 
response to stimuli. 

If the entire margin be cut out in a continuous 
piece save a small portion to unite it with the bell, 
and if the distal end be now irritated, a main of 
contraction runs along the entire severed part till it 
arrives at the small united part, when the whole bell 
contracts. I should like 
to try whether under 
such circumstances the 
margin would be thrown 
into a state of electro- 
tonus, but only having 
one cell I am not able to 
make out this point satis- 

The severed margin 
continues its rhythmical 
contractions for two or 
three days. I am now trying the effect of different 
chemical stimuli, and if you can suggest any further 
line of experimentation, of course I shall be very 
pleased. Only, if you can think of anything which 
might be tried and which is not mentioned in this 
letter, please write soon, as the Sarsia will not last 
much longer, and they are the best adapted for my 

I remain, very sincerely yours, 

Geo. J. "Romanes. 

Pig. 2. 


P.S. — I should have said that neither gold nor 
silver brings out any nervous tissue. 

Medusa muscle is not doubly refracting, but then 
none that I have here seen is striated, and unstriated 
muscle is not doubly refracting anywhere, is it ? 

Dunskaith : June 24. 

Many thanks for your long and suggestive letter. 
The poisons also are most acceptable. I have 
waited before writing to try effect of the latter, but 
the weather has been so stormy that no jelly-fish 
could be got. 

The most interesting observations I have made 
since writing before are the following. Unmutilated 
Sarsia in a dark room seek a beam of light thrown 
into the bell-jar containing them, and this as keenly 
as do moths. But when the so-called eye-specks are 
cut out, the animal no longer cares for light. 

I have only come across two species of luminous 
Medusae — both, I believe, as yet undescribed — and in 
these the light is emitted from the margin alone, and, 
with electrical stimulus, is strictly confined to the 
intra-polar regions, being strongest at the two 

There is no doubt at all about the muscular 
nature of the fibres we saw. In the larger kinds of 
Medusae (the covered-eyed) these fibres are much 
coarser, and are clearly seen to be arranged in con- 
centric bundles, having four or five fibres in each 
bundle. Alternating with these bundles, and about 
the same width as these, are strands of undifferen- 

1876 MEDUSA 31 

tiated protoplasm. These strands are not sponta- 
neously contractile, although their dimensions are 
altered by the contraction of the muscular branch 
on each of their sides. No part of the tissue is 
doubly refracting in the fresh state. Is there any 
way of treating it with a view of bringing out this 
property if latent, so to speak ? The peculiarity is 
not due to the transparency of the tissue, for I find 
that the muscular fibre of the transparent osseous 
fish Leptocejjhalus is as doubly-refracting as could be 
wished. There are no signs of striae, but Agassiz 
says that in some of the Mediterranean species striae 
are well marked. But if both striated and unstriated 
fibres are elsewhere doubly-refracting, it does not, I 
suppose, much signify whether or not the muscles of 
Medusae are striated — so far, I mean, as the pecu- 
liarity in question is concerned. 

I wish you would say what you think about this 
peculiarity in relation to a subject that I have been 
working up. You no doubt remember that in — ■ — 's 
paper that we heard read, he said that the snail's heart 
had no nerves or ganglia, but nevertheless behaved 
like nervous tissue in responding to electrical stimula- 
tion. He hence concluded that in undifferentiated 
tissue of this kind, nerve and muscle were, so to 
speak, amalgamated. Now it was principally with 
the view of testing this idea about ■ physiological 
continuity ' that I tried the mode of spiral and other 
sections mentioned in my last letter. The result of 
these sections, it seems to me, is to preclude, on the 
one hand, the supposition that the muscular tissue 
of Medusae is merely muscular (for no muscle would 


respond to local stimulus throughout its substance 
when so severely cut), and, on the other hand, the 
supposition of a nervous plexus (for this would 
require to be so very intricate, and the hypothesis of 
scattered cells is without microscopical evidence here 
or elsewhere). I think, therefore, that we are driven 
to conclude that the muscular tissue of Medusae, 
though more differentiated into fibres than is the 
contractile tissue of the snail's heart, is, as much as 
the latter, an instance of 'physiological continuity.' 
(Whether or not the interfascicular protoplasmic 
substance before spoken of is the seat of this physio- 
logical continuity is here immaterial.) Dr. Foster 
fully agrees with me in this deduction from my ex- 
periments, and is very pleased about the latter, thus 
affording additional support to his views. But what 
I want to ask you is, supposing the interfascicular 
substance to have no share in conducting stimulus 
(and I have no evidence of its presence in Sarsia), 
and hence that the properties of nerve and muscle 
are united in the contractile fibres of Medusae — sup- 
posing this, do you think that the peculiarity you 
observed in the molecular conformation of this tissue, 
considered as muscular, is likely to have anything to 
do with this peculiarity in its function ? 

I know you do not like theory, so I shall return 
to fact. There can be no doubt whatever that the 
seat of spontaneity is as much localised in the 
margin as the sensibility to stimulus is diffused 
throughout the bell. There must, therefore, be some 
structural difference in the tissue here to correspond 
to this great functional difference. Agassiz is very 

is?6 MEDUS2E 33 

positive in describing a chain of cells running round 
the inner part of the marginal canal. Now, although 
I sometimes see a thin cord-like appearance here, I 
should not dare to say it was nervous. Gold cer- 
tainly stains it, but it also stains many other parts 
of the tissue, and until I can see cells here I cannot 
be sure about a visible nervous cord. The cord I do 
see may be the wall of the marginal canal. I intend 
to persevere, however, trying your suggestions, also 
osmic acid. 

I can get no indications of electrical disturbance 
during contraction in the way you suggest — at least 
not with Sarsia ; but I intend to try with some of 
the larger Medusae. 

Some, apparatus is coming from Cambridge to 
enable me to test for electrotonus and Pniiger's law. 
I shall apply it to the luminous Medusaa also, whose 
light, I forgot to say, is seen under the micro- 
scope in the dark to proceed not only from the 
margin alone, but from that particular part of the 
margin where Agassiz describes his chain of nervous 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

From C. Darwin to G. J. Romanes. 

Down, Beckenham, Kent : July 18, 1875. 

I have been much interested by your letter, and 
am truly delighted at the prospect of success. Such 
energy as yours is almost sure to command victory. 
The world will be much more influenced by experi- 
ments on animals than on plants. But in any case 



I think a large number of successful results will be 
necessary to convince physiologists. It is rash to 
be sanguine, but it will be splendid if you succeed. 
My object in writing has been to say that it has 
only just occurred to me that I have not sent you a 
copy of my ' Insectivorous Plants ; ' if you would 
care to have a copy, and do not possess one, send 
me a postcard, and one shall be sent. If I do not 
hear, I shall understand. 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Daewin. 

Dunskaith, Nigg P.O., Ross-shire, N.B. : July 20, 1875. 

My dear Mr. Darwin, — Your letter arrived just iD 
time to prevent my sending an order to my book- 
seller for ' Insectivorous Plants,' for, of course, it is 
needless to say that I shall highly value a copy from 
yourself. At first I intended to wait until I should have 
more time to enjoy the work, but a passage in this 
week's ' Nature ' determined me to get a copy at once. 
This passage was one about reflex action, and I am 
very anxious to see what you say about this, because 
in a paper I have prepared for the 'B.A.' on Medusae 
I have had occasion to insist upon the occurrence 
of reflex action in the case of these, notwithstand- 
ing the absence of any distinguishable system of 
afferent and efferent nerves. But as physiologists 
have been so long accustomed to associate the pheno- 
mena of reflex action with some such distinguishable 
system, I was afraid that they might think me rather 
audacious in propounding the doctrine, that there is 


such a thing as reflex action without well-defined 
structural channels for it to occur in. But if you 
have found something of the same sort in plants, of 
course I shall be very glad to have your authority to 
quote. And I think it follows deductively from the 
general theory of evolution, that reflex action ought 
to be present before the lines in which it flows are 
sufficiently differentiated to become distinguishable as 

I am very glad that you are pleased with my pro- 
gress so far. 

From C. Damvin to G. J. Romanes. 

Down, Beckenham, Kent : Sept. 24. 

I shall be very glad to propose you for Linnean 
Soc, as I have just done for my son Francis. There 
is no doubt about your election. I have written for 
blank form. Please let me have your title, B.A. or 
M.A., and title of any book or papers, to which I could 
add 'various contributions to " Nature." ' Also shall 
I say ' attached to Physiology and Zoology ' ? When 
I have signed whole, shall I send a paper to Hooker 
and others at Kew ; or do you wish it sent to some one 
else for signature ? Three signatures are required. 
The paper will have to be read twice or thrice when 
Soc. meets in November. But you could get books 
out of library or out of that of Royal Soc. by my 
signature or that of any other member. 

I am terribly sorry about the onions, as I expected 
great things from them, the seeds coming, I believe, 
always true. As tubers of potatoes graft so well, 


would it not be good to try other tubers as of dahlias 
and other plants ? I have been re-writing a large 
portion of the chapter on Pangenesis, and it has been 
awfully hard work. I will, of course, send you a copy 
when the work is printed. How I do hope that your 
fowls will survive ! F. Galton was here for a few hours 
yesterday ; I see that he is much less sceptical about 
Pangenesis than he was. 

Dunskaith, Nigg, Eoss-shire, N.B., Sept. 29, 1875. 

My dear Mr. Darwin, — Many thanks for your kind 
letter. I am an M.A. and a fellow of the Philosophi- 
cal Society of Cambridge, but otherwise I am nothing, 
nor have I any publication worth alluding to. I sup- 
pose, however, this will not matter if I am proposed 
by yourself, Dr. Hooker, and Mr. Dyer. I think there 
would be no harm in saying ' attached to Physiology 
and Zoology.' I may read a paper before the Linnean 
next November on some new species of Medusae, but 
I think it is better not to allude to any contributions 
in advance. 

Your letter about Pangenesis made me long for 
success more even than does the biological importance 
of the problem. 1 Yesterday I dug up all my potatoes. 

1 The experiments in graft-hybridisation were to prove that formative 
material (or gemrnules) was actually present in the general tissues of 
plants and was capable of uniting with the gemrnules of another plant 
and thus of reproducing the entire organism. For if the hybrid, afterwards 
produced, presents equally the characters of the scion and the siock, 
then formative material must have been present in the tissues of the 
scion, and it is demonstrated that the somatic tissues of the scion have 
exercised an effect on the germinal elements of the stock, inasmuch as it 


Some of the produce looked suspicious, but more than 
this I should not dare to say. By this post I send 
you a box containing some of the best specimens, 
thinking you may like to see them. The lots marked 
A and B are sent for comparison with the others, 
being the kinds I grafted together. If you think it 
worth while to have the eyes of any of the other lots 
planted, you might either do so yourself or send them 
back to me. Lot C is the queerest, and to my perhaps 
too partial eye looks very like a mixture. In the case 
of this graft the seed potato was rotten when dug up 
yesterday, and this may account for the small size of 
the tubers sent. 

I did try dahlias and peonies, but in the former the 
• finger and toe ' shape of the tubers, with the eyes 
situated in the worst parts for cutting out clearly, 
prevented me from getting adhesion in any one case. 
With the peonies I was too late in beginning. It was 
also too late in the year when I began Pangenesis to 
try the spring flowers, but I hope to do so extensively 
this winter. Next year I shall try grafting beets and 
mangolds by cutting the young white root into a 
square shape and placing four red roots all round. In 
this way the white one will have a maximum surface 
exposed to the influence of the red ones. I shall also 
try grafting the crown of the red in the root of the 
white variety, and vice versa. I have already done 
this very successfully with carrots — making a little 

has caused their offspring in part to resemble it. Such facts Romanes 
considered to be fully in harmony with the theory of Pangenesis, and 
inconsistent with any theory which supposes that no part of the parent 
organism generates any of the formative material. 


hole in the top of the root, and fitting in the crown 
like a cork in a bottle. 

I shall look forward with great interest to the 
appearance of the new edition of the ' Variation. ' I 
only wish I had begun Pangenesis a year earlier, 
when perhaps by this time the graft-hybrid question 
might have been settled. Perhaps, however, it is as 
well to have this question once more presented in its 
a priori form, for if it can soon afterwards be proved 
that a graft hybrid is possible, the theoretical import- 
ance of the fact may be more generally appreciated. 

A day or two ago I saw on a farm near this a 
beautiful specimen of striping on a horse. The 
animal is a dark dun cob, with a very divided shoulder 
stripe coming off from the spinal one on either side. 
Each shoulder stripe then divides into three prongs, 
and each prong ends in a sharp point. All the legs 
are black as far as the knees (carpi and tarsi), and 
above the black part for a considerable distance all 
four legs are deeply marked with numerous stripes. 
I can get no history of parentage. If you would like 
a drawing I can send one, but perhaps you have 
already as many cases as you want in the 'Variation.' 

Very sincerely and most respectfully yours, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

To Professor E. Schdfer. 

Dunskaith : Sept. 1875. 

My dear Schafer, — I have to apologise for having 
left your last letter so long unanswered, but there 
has really been nothing going on here to make it 
worth while writing. 


I gave my careful consideration to all you said 
about publishing, and at one time nearly decided to 
wait another year. But eventually I sent in the 
paper. 1 It seems to me that the histology can very 
well wait for future treatment — that its absence is 
not sufficient justification for withholding the results 
I have already observed. These results, after all, are 
the most important ; for they prove that some struc- 
tural modification there must be ; whether or not this 
modification is visible is of subordinate interest. 
Besides, I do not, of course, intend to abandon the 
microscopical part of the subject altogether. In my 
view, inquiry into function in this case must cer- 
tainly always precede inquiry into structure ; for 
although, when all the work shall have been collected 
into one monograph, the histology must occupy the 
first place in order of presentation, very little way 
could have been made by following this order of in- 

I also had to reflect, that if I postponed publica- 
tion, it would be impossible to expect the R.S. to 
publish the results in extenso, — i.e., I should have to 
bring out the work through some other medium. 

And in addition to all this, there came a letter 
from Foster preaching high morality about it being 
the duty of all scientific workers to give their results 
to others as soon as possible. 

As I said before, I thank you very much for the 
consideration and advice you have given, but I know 
that you would not like me to feel that the expression 

1 To the Eoyal Society. 


of your opinion in a matter with which you are not so 
fully acquainted as myself should lay me under any 
obligation to be led by it, after mature consideration 
seemed to show that the best course for me to follow 
was the one which I took. 

Hoping soon to see you, I remain, very sincerely 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

P.S. — I forgot to say that I acted upon your sug- 
gestion about the Linnean, and have been proposed 
by Darwin, Hooker, and Huxley. 

From C. Darwin to G. J. Romanes. 

Down, Beckenham, Kent : July 12, 1875. 

I am correcting a second edition of ' Var. under 
Dom.,' and find that I must do it pretty fully. There- 
fore I give a short abstract of potato graft hybrids, 
and I want to know whether I did not send you a 
reference about beet. Did you look to this, and can 
you tell me anything about it ? I hope with all my 
heart that you are getting on pretty well with your 
experiments ; I have been led to think a good deal on 
the subject, and am convinced of its high importance, 
though it will take years of hammering before physio- 
logists will admit that the sexual organs only collect 
the generative elements. 

The edition will be published in November, and 
then you will see all that I have collected, but I 
believe that you saw all the more important cases. 
The case of vine in ' Gardeners' Chronicle ' which I 

1876 GKAFTING 41 

sent you I think may only be a bud-variation, not 
due to grafting. 

I have heard indirectly of your splendid success 
with nerves of Medusae. We have been at Abinger 
Hall for a month for rest which I much required, and 
I saw there the cut-leaved vine, which seems splendid 
for graft hybridisation. 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Dakwin. 

To C. Darwin, Esq. 

Dtmskaith : July 14, 1875. 

I was very glad to receive your letter, having been 
previously undecided whether to write and let you 
know how I am getting on, or to wait until I got a 
veritable hybrid. 

In one of your letters you advised me to look up 
the 'beet ' case, but I could nowhere find any references 
to it. Dr. Hooker told me that although he could 
not then remember the man's name, he remembered 
that the experimenter did not save the seed, but dug 
up his roots for exhibition. I forget whether it was 
Dr. Masters, Bentham, or Mr. Dyer who told me 
that the experiment had been performed in Ireland, 
although they could not remember by whom. But if 
the experimenter did not save the seed, the mere fact 
of his sticking two roots together would have no 
bearing on Pangenesis, and so I did not take any 
trouble to find out who the experimenter was. 

As you have heard about the Medusae, I fear you 
will infer that they must have diverted my attention 
from Pangenesis ; but although it is true that they 


have consumed a great deal of time and energy, I have 
done my best to keep Pangenesis in the foreground. 

The proximate success of my grafting is all that I 
can desire, although, of course, it is as yet too early 
in the year to know what the ultimate success will 
be. I mean that, although I cannot yet tell whether 
the tissue of one variety is affecting that of the other, 
I have obtained intimate adhesion in the great 
majority of experiments. Potatoes, however, are an 
exception, for at first I began with a method which I 
thought very cunning, and which I still think would 
have been successful but for one little oversight. The 
method was to punch out the eyes with an electro- 
plated cork-borer, and replace them in a flat-bottomed 
hole of a slightly smaller size made with another 
instrument in the other tuber. The fit, of course, 
was always perfect ; but what I went wrong in was not 
having the cork-borers made of the best steel ; for 
after I got about one hundred potatoes planted out, 
I found that the inserted plugs did not adhere. I 
therefore tried some sections with an exceedingly 
sharp knife that surgeons use for amputating, and 
the surfaces cut with this always adhered under 
pressure. The knife, however, must be set up in a 
guide, in order to get the surfaces perfectly flat. Next 
year I shall get cork-borers made of the same steel 
as this knife is made of, and then hope to turn out 
graft-hybrids by the score. Even this year, however, 
a great many of my potatoes are coming up, so I hope 
that some of the eyes may have struck. I think it 
is desirable to get some easy way of experimenting 
with potatoes (such as the cork-boring plan), and one 

1876 GKAFHNG 43' 

independent of delicacy in manipulation, for then 
everybody could verify the results for himself, and not, 
as now, look with suspicion upon the success of other 

With beans I get very good adhesion of the young 
shoots, but the parts which grow after the operation 
always continue separate. In some cases I am trying 
a succession of operations as the plant grows. 

With beetroots and mangold-wurzel of all 
varieties, adhesion is certain to occur with my method 
of getting up great pressure by allowing the plants 
to grow for a few days inside the binding. I have 
therefore made grafts of all ages, beginning with 
roots only an inch or two long and as thin as threads, 

The other vegetables also are doing well, but with 
flowers I have had no success. The vine-cuttings 
were too young to do anything with this year, but I 
hear from my cousin, who has charge of them, that 
they are doing well. They certainly have very extra- 
ordinary leaves. 

This year I never expected to be more than one 
in which to gain experience, for embryo grafting, 
as it has never been tried by anybody, cannot be 
learned about except by experiments. But as I am 
a young man yet, and hope to do a good deal of 
' hammering,' I shall not let Pangenesis alone until 
I feel quite sure that it does not admit of being any 
further driven home by experimental work ; and even 
if I never get positive results, I shall always continue 
to believe in the theory. 

I am very sorry to hear that you ' much needed 
rest,' and do earnestly hope that you will not work 


too hard over the new edition of one of the most 
laborious treatises in our language — a treatise to 
which we always refer for every kind of information 
that we cannot find anywhere else. 

Dunskaith : November 7. 

I have to-day sent you a beautifully successful 
graft. It is of a red and white carrot, each bisected 
longitudinally, and two of the opposite halves joined. 
You will see that the union is very intimate, and 
that the originally red half has become wholly white. 
The graft was made about three months ago, at which 
lime the carrots were very small, but the colours very 
decided. I think, therefore, that unless red carrots 
ever turn into white ones — which, I suppose, is absurd 
— the specimen I send is a graft -hybrid so far as the 
parts in contact are concerned. It will be of great 
importance, as you observed in your last letter, in a 
case like this, to see if the other parts are affected — 
i.e. to get the plant to seed if possible. This, I 
suppose, can only be done at this late season with so 
young a plant by putting it in a greenhouse. Per- 
haps, therefore, you might pot it, as soon as it arrives, 
and keep it till I go up. If you do not care to take 
charge of it altogether, I can then get a home for it 
somewhere in the South. It will not require a deep 
pot, for I see that I have cut through the end of one 
of the roots. It would be as well, before potting, to 
cut off the end of the other root also, so that the one 
half may not grow longer than the other, and thus 
perhaps assert an undue amount of influence during 
the subsequent history of the hybrid. If the plant 



when you get it, or after potting, shows signs of 
drooping, I should suggest clipping off the older 
leaves to check evaporation : having found this a 
good plan with beets, &c. 

In the same box with the hybrid there is another 
carrot. This is for comparison, it having been from 
the same seed and grafted (upon the crown) at the 
same time as the originally red half of the hybrid. 

I am doubtful about the potatoes I sent. On 
looking over a number of ' red flukes,' I find some 
here and there are mottled. At any rate, I shall try 
other varieties next year, and not say anything 
about this doubtful case. 

I forgot to say that the hybrid carrot is the only 
specimen of longitudinal grafting which I tried with 
carrots, having been somewhat disheartened with 
this method by the persistent way in which beets and 
mangolds refuse to blend when grafted longitudinally. 
There have thus been no failures with carrots grafted 
in this way. 

If it is not too late, I may suggest that the 
passage in the ' Variation ' about the deformity of the 
sternum in poultry had better be modified. I have 
this year tried some experiments upon Brahma 
chickens, and find that the deformity in question is 
caused by lazy habits of roosting — the constantly 
recurring pressure of the roost upon the cartilaginous 
sternum causing it to yield at the place where the 
pressure is exerted. The experiments consisted 
merely in confining some of a brood of young 
chickens in a place without any roost, and allowing 
the others to go about with all the March chickens. 


The former lot have the sternum quite straight, and 
the latter lot have it deeply notched. 

I write to thank you for the copy of the new 
edition of the i Variation ' which I received a few days 
ago. I am very glad to see that you have thought 
my views about rudimentary organs worth a place, 
and that you speak so well of them. 

The chapter on Pangenesis is admirable. The 
case is so strong, that it makes me more anxious than 
ever to get positive results in this year's experiments. 
I mean there seems less doubt than ever that such 
results must be obtainable if one hammers long 
enough. I did not know that there were so many 
cases of graft-hybridisation in potatoes. Perhaps it 
will be better this year to give one's main energies to 
other vegetables. 

I find that a German, Dr. Eimer, is on the scent 
of the jelly-fish, but he does not seem to have done 
much work as yet. It is arranged that I am to have 
a Friday evening at the Institution soon after Easter, 
to tell the people about my own work. 

From C. Darwin to G. J. 'Romanes. 

6 Queen Anne Street : April 29, 1876. 

I must have the pleasure of saying that I have 
just heard that your lecture was a splendid success in 
all ways. I further hear that you were as cool as 
the Arctic regions. It is evident that there is no 
occasion for you to feel your pulse under the circum- 
stances which we discussed. 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

1876 GKAFTING 47 

To C. Darwin, Esq. 

I write to thank you for the slip about graft 
hybrids, and to say that as yet I have obtained no 
results myself. This place is too far north to admit 
of the seeds ripening properly after the plants have 
been thrown back several weeks by the operation. 
This applies especially to onions, so next year — the 
neck of Medusas having now been broken — I intend to 
wait in London till all the grafting and planting out 
is finished. I do not think you will regret my not 
having followed such a course this year when you 
come to read the paper I am now writing. I never 
did such a successful four months' work, and if as 
many years suffice to answer all the burning questions 
that are raised by it, I think they will require to be 
years well spent. 

And this makes me remember that I have to 
apologise for the inordinate time I have kept your 
copy of Professor Hackel's essay on Perigenesis. 
Since you sent it I have scarcely had any time for 
reading, and as you said there was no hurry about 
returning it, I have let it stand over till this paper is 
off my hands. 

Lankester seems to have doubled up Slade in fine 
style. I suppose the latter has always trusted to his 
customers not liking to resort to violent methods. 
His defence in the ' Times ' about the locked slates 
was unusually weak. ' Once a thief always a thief ' 
applies, I suppose, to his case ; but it is hard to under- 
stand how Wallace could not have seen him inverting 


the table on his head. In this we have another of 
those perplexing contradictions with which the whole 
subject appears to be teeming. I do hope next winter 
to settle for myself the simple issue between Ghost 
versus Goose. 

Very sincerely and most respectfully yours, 

Geo. J. Komanes. 

To C. Darwin, Esq. 

18 Cornwall Terrace. 

Professor Hackel's paper on the MedusaB is called 
' Beitrag zur Naturgeschichte der Hydromedusen ' 
(Leipzig, 1865). Professor Huxley has lent me his 
copy, but says he wants it returned in a week or 
two. I ought certainly to have the work by me next 
summer, so I thought that if you happen to have it 
and can spare it till next autumn, I need not send 
to Germany for it, remembering what you said when 
I last saw you. I should also much like to see the 
other paper of Hackel's about cutting up the ova of 

I have an idea that you are afraid I am neglecting 
Pangenesis for Medusas. If so, I should like to 
assure you that such is not the case. Last year I 
gave more time to the former than to the latter 
inquiry ; and although the results proved very dispro- 
portionate, this was only due to the fact that the one 
line of work was more difficult than the other. How- 
ever, I always expected that the first year would 
require to be spent in breaking up the ground, and I 
am quite satisfied with the experience which this 


work has brought me. I confess, however, that but 
for personal reasons I should have postponed Pan- 
genesis and worked the Medusae right through in one 
year. There is a glitter about immediate results 
which is very alluring. 

From G. Darwin to G. J. Romanes. 

I will send the books off by railway on Monday or 
Tuesday. You may keep that on Medusae until I ask 
for it, which will probably be never. That on Siphono- 
phora I should like to have back at some future time. 

So far from thinking that you have neglected 
Pangenesis, I have been astonished and pleased that 
your splendid work on the jelly-fishes did not make 
you throw every other subject to the dogs. Even if 
your experiments turn out a failure, I believe that 
there will be some compensation in the skill you will 
have acquired. 

P.S. — I have been having more correspondence 
with Galton about Pangenesis, and my confusion is 
more confounded with respect to the points in which 
he differs from me. 

About this time Mr. Eomanes made the acquaint- 
ance of Mr. Herbert Spencer and also that of Mr. 
G. H. Lewes, and of the wonderful woman known to 
the outer world as George Eliot, and to a small circle 
of friends as Mrs. Lewes. 

Mr. Eomanes was one of the favoured few who were 
allowed to join the charmed circle at the Priory on 
Sunday afternoons. He enjoyed the few talks he had 
with George Eliot, and, amongst other reminiscences, 



he told a characteristic story of Lewes. One after- 
noon, when there were very few people at the Priory, 
the conversation drifted on to the Bible, and George 
Eliot and Mr. Romanes began a discussion on the 
merits of the two translations of the Psalms best 
known to English people — the Bible and the Prayer 
Book version. They ' quoted ' at each other for a 
short time, and then Lewes, who had not his Bible at 
his finger ends to the extent the other two had, ex- 
claimed impatiently, ' Gome, we've had enough of 
this ; we might as well be in a Sunday school.' Both 
George Eliot and Mr. Romanes, by the way, preferred 
the Bible version. 

In one of the letters to Mr. Darwin, Mr. Romanes 
alludes to the question of spiritualism, and his own 
determination to investigate the question so far as in 
him lay for himself. 

He worked a good deal at spiritualism for a year 
or two, and he never could assure himself that there 
was absolutely nothing in spiritualism, no unknown 
phenomena underlying the mass of fraud, and trickery, 
and vulgarity which has surrounded the so-called 

He was always willing to investigate such subjects 
as hypnotism, thought reading, &c, and in 1880 he 
wrote an article for the September number of the 
i Nineteenth Century,' in which he pleads for a candid 
and unprejudiced investigation of the facts. The 
article was a review of Heidenhain's ' Der sogenannte 
thierische Magnetismus.' 

The work on Pangenesis and on Medusae went on 
through 1876, and some letters to and from Mr. 
Darwin are here inserted. 

=1876 PANGENESIS 51 

From G. Damvin, Esq., to G. J. Romanes. 

Dear Komanes, — As you are interested in Pan- 
genesis, and will some day, I hope, convert an ' airy 
nothing ' into a substantial theory, therefore I send 
by this post an essay by Hackel, attacking ' Pan.,' 
and substituting a molecular hypothesis. If I under- 
stand his views rightly, he would say that with a bird 
which strengthened its wings by use, the formative 
protoplasm of the strengthened parts becomes changed, 
and its molecular vibrations consequently changed, 
and that their vibrations are transmitted throughout 
the whole frame of the bird. How he explains rever- 
sion to a remote ancestor I know not. Perhaps I have 
misunderstood him, though I have skimmed the whole 
with some care. He lays much stress on inheritance 
being a form of unconscious memory, but how far this 
is part of his molecular vibration I do not understand. 
His views make nothing clearer to me, but this may 
be my fault. No one, I presume, would doubt about 
molecular movements of some kind. His essay is 
clever and striking. If you read it (but you must not 
on my account), I should much like to hear your 
judgment, and you can return it at any time. 

We have come here for rest for me, which I much 
needed, and shall remain here for about ten days more, 
and then home to work, which is my sole pleasure in 
life. I hope your splendid Medusae work and your 
experiments on Pan. are going on well. I heard 
from my son Frank yesterday that he was feverish 
with a cold, and could not dine with the Physiologists, 

E 2 


which I am very sorry for, as I should have heard 
what they think about the new Bill. 1 I see that you 
are one of the secretaries to this young society. I 
was very much gratified by the wholly unexpected 
honour of being elected one of the hon. members. 
This mark of sympathy has pleased me to a very high 

Believe me, yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

Hackel gives reference to a paper on Pan. of which 
I have never heard. 

I fear that you will have difficulty in reading my 

Do you know who are the other hon. members 
of your Society ? 

From G. J. Bomanes to C. Darwin. 

Dunskaith, Nigg, Boss-shire, N.B. : June 1, 1876. 

Many thanks for your long and kind letter. 
Also for the accompanying essay. It seems to me, 
from your epitome of the latter, that if Pangene- 
sis is ' airy,' Perigenesis must be almost vacuous. 
However, I anticipate much pleasure in reading the 
work, for anything by Hackel on such a subject 
cannot fail to be interesting. 

I am sorry to hear that you c much needed rest,' 
and also about Frank. I had hoped, too, that you 
would have mentioned Mrs. Litchfield. 

Having been away from London for several weeks, 

1 For the Suppression of Vivisection. 


I cannot say anything about the feeling with regard 
to the Bill. Sanderson and Foster think it ' stringent,' 
and so I suppose will all the Physiologists. The 
former wants me to write articles in the ' Fortnightly,' 
' to make people take more sensible views on vivisec- 
tion : ' but I cannot see that it would be of any use. 
The heat of battle is not the time for us to expect 
fanatics to listen to ' sense.' Do you not think so ? 

I am sure the Physiological Society will be very 
pleased that you like being an hon. member, for it 
was on your account that honorary membership was 
instituted. At the committee meeting which was 
called to frame the constitution of the Society, the 
chairman (Dr. Foster) ejaculated with reference to you 
— ' Let us pile on him all the honour we possibly can,' 
a sentiment which was heartily enough responded to 
by all present ; but when it came to considering what 
form the expression of it was to take, it was found 
that a nascent society could do nothing further than 
make honorary members. Accordingly you were 
made an hon. member all by yourself ; but later on 
it was thought, on the one hand, that you might feel 
lonely, and on the other that in a Physiological 
Society the most suitable companion for you was Dr. 

Perhaps a * secretary ' ought not to be giving all 
the details about committee meetings, but if not, 1 
know you will take it in confidence. It seems to me 
that you never fully realise the height of your 
pedestal, so that I am glad of any little opportunity 
of this kind to show you the angle at which the 
upturned faces are inclined. I am glad, too, to sea 


from the inscription in Hackel's essay, that he is still 
doing his best to show that in Germany this angle is 
fast being lost in horizontality. 

As the spring was so backward, the plants at Kew 
were too small to graft before I had to leave for the ' 
Medusae. But this does not much matter, as I had 
a lot of vegetables planted down here also, which are 
doing well. Pangenesis I always expected would 
require a good deal of patience, and one year's work 
on such a subject only counts for apprenticeship. If, 
by the time I am a skilled workman, I am not able 
to send anything to the international exhibitions, I 
shall not envy any one else who may resolve to enter 
the same trade. 

I am working hard at the jelly-fish just now, and 
have succeeded in extracting several new confessions. 
The nerve-plexus theory, in particular, is coming out 
with greater clearness. The new poisons, too, are 
giving very interesting results. I suppose you do 
not happen to know where I could get any snake 
poison. The ' Phil. Trans.' seem very long in coming 
out. I have not yet got the proofs of my paper. 

June 6, 1877. 

I am very glad you sent me the extract from 
Lamarck, for I had just been to the R.S., hunting 
up several of the older authors to see whether any 
mention had been made of the theory before Spencer 

While at Down I forgot my speculations about 
inter-crossing, and, therefore, although I do not 


think they are much worth, I send you a copy of my 
notes. The ideas are not clearly put— having been 
jotted down a few years ago merely to preserve them 
— but no doubt you will be able to understand them. 
Do not trouble to return the MS. 

I had intended to ask you while at Down if you 
happen to know whether stinging nettles are endemic 
plants in South America. The reason I should like 
to know is, that last year it occurred to me that the 
stinging property probably has reference to some 
widely distributed class of animals, and being told — 
rightly or wrongly, I do not know — that ruminants 
do not object to them, I tried whether my tame 
rabbits would eat freshly plucked nettles. I found they 
would not do so even when very hungry, but in the 
same out-house with the rabbits there were confined 
a number of guinea-pigs, and these always set upon 
the nettles with great avidity. Their noses were 
tremendously stung, however, so that between every 
few nibbles they had to stop and scratch vigorously. 
After this process had been gone through several 
times, the guinea-pig would generally become furious, 
and thinking apparently that its pain must have had 
some more obvious cause than the nettles, would 
fall upon its nearest neighbour at the feast, when a 
guinea-pig fight would ensue. I have seldom seen 
a more amusing spectacle than twenty or thirty of 
these animals closely packed round a bunch of 
nettles, a third part or so eating with apparent relish, 
another third scratching their noses, and the re- 
maining third fighting with one another. But what 
I want to ask you is this. Does it not seem that 


the marked difference in the behaviour of the 
rabbits and the guinea-pigs points to inherited experi- 
ence on the part of the former which is absent in the 
case of the latter ? If nettles are not endemic in 
South America, this inference would seem almost 
irresistible. Dr. Hooker tells me nettles grow there 
now, but he does not know whether they did so before 
America was visited by Europeans. Possibly there 
might be some way of ascertaining. 

I have now made a number of grafts at Kew. In 
about a month, I should think, one could see which 
are coming up as single and which as double sprouts. 
If, therefore, Frank is going to work in the laboratory 
in July, he might perhaps look over the bed (which 
is just outside the door), and reject the double-stalked 
specimens. I could trust him to do this better than 
any one at Kew, and if the useless specimens were 
rejected, there would afterwards be much less trouble 
in protecting the valuable ones. But do not suggest 
it unless you think it would be quite agreeable to 
him. If he is in town within the next fortnight, I 
wish he would look me up. 

June 16. 

I have deferred answering your letter until having 
had a talk with Mr. Galton about rudimentary organs. 
He thinks with me that if the normal size of a useful 
organ is maintained in a species, when natural 
selection is removed, the average size will tend to 
become progressively reduced by inter-crossing, and 
this down to whatever extent economy of growth 
remains operative in placing a premium on variations 


below the average at any given stage in the history 
of reduction. 

I think I thoroughly well know your views about 
natural selection. In writing the manuscript note, 
so far as I remember, I had in view the possibility 
which Huxley somewhere advocates, that nature may 
sometimes make a considerable leap by selecting 
from single variations. But it was not because of 
this point that I sent you the note ; it was with 
reference to the possibility of natural selection acting 
on organic types as distinguished from individuals — a 
possibility which you once told me did not seem at 
all clear, although Wallace maintained it in conver- 

I do not myself think that Allen l made out his 
points, although I do think that he has made an 
effort in the right direction. It seems to me that 
his fundamental principle has probably much truth 
in it, viz. that aesthetic pleasure in its last analysis is 
an effect of normal or not excessive stimulation. 
Very sincerely and most respectfully yours, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

From C. Darwin, Esq. 

Down, Beckenham, Kent : August 9. 

My dear Eomanes, — I have read your two articles 
in ' Nature,' and nothing can be clearer or more inte- 
resting, though I had gathered your conclusions 
clearly from your other papers. It seems to me that 
unless you can show that your muslin (in your 

1 Mr. Grant Allen. 


simile) is rather coarse, the transmission may be con- 
sidered as passing in any direction from cell or unit, 
of structure to cell or unit ; and in this case the 
transmission would be as in Dionasa, but more 
easily effected in certain lines or directions than in 
others. It is splendid work, and I hope you are 
getting on well in all respects. The Mr. Lawless to 
whom you refer is the Hon. Miss Lawless, as I know^ 
for she sent me a very good manuscript about the 
fertilisation of plants, which I have recommended 
her to send to ' Nature.' 

As for myself, Frank and I have been working 
like slaves on the bloom on plants, with very poor 
success ; as usual, almost everything goes differently 
from what I had anticipated. But I have been abso- 
lutely delighted at two things : Conn, of Breslau, has 
seen all the phenomena described by Frank in 
Dipsacus, and thinks it a very remarkable discovery, 
and is going to work with all reagents on the fila- 
ments as Frank did, but no doubt he will know much 
better how to do it. He will not pronounce whether 
the filaments are some colloid substance or living 
protoplasm ; I think he rather leans to latter, and he 
quite sees that Frank does not pronounce dogmati- 
cally on the question. 

The second point which delighted me, seeing that 
half of the botanists throughout Europe have pub- 
lished that the digestion of meat by plants is of no 
use to them — (a mere pathological phenomenon as 
one man says !) — is that Frank has been feeding 
under exactly similar conditions a large number of 
plants of Drosera, and the effect is wonderful. On 


the fed side the leaves are much larger, differently , 
coloured, and more numerous — -flower stalks taller 
and more numerous, and;, I believe, far more seed- , 
capsules, but these not yet counted. It is particu- 
larly interesting that the leaves fed on meat contain 
very many more starch granules (no doubt owing to 
more protoplasm being first formed), so that sections 
stained with iodine of fed and unfed leaves are to 
the naked eye of very different colour. 

There, I have boasted to my heart's content ; and 
do you do the same, and tell me what you have been 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Dae win. 

From G. J. Bomanes. 

Dunskaith, Boss-shire : August 11, 1877. 

I was very pleased to get your long and genial 
letter, which I will answer seriatim. 

The ' muslin ' in the hypothetical plexus seems to 
be very coarse in some specimens and finer in others 
— the young and active individuals enduring severer 
forms of section than the old. And in exploring by ; 
graduated stimuli, areas of different degrees of excita- 
bility may be mapped out, and these areas are pretty 
large, averaging about the size of one's finger-nails. 
I am rather inclined to think that these areas are 
determined by the course of well-differentiated nerve- } 
tracts, while the less-differentiated ones are probably 
more like muslin in their mesh. But the only reason 
why I resort to the supposition of nerve-tracts at all 
is because of the sudden blocking of contractile waves 


by section, and the fact that stimulus (tentacular) 
waves very often continue to pass after the contractile 
ones have been thus blocked. 

I am sorry I made the ungallant mistake about 
Miss Lawless, but I had no means of knowing. If I 
had known I should not have written the letter, be- 
cause I am almost sure the movements of the Medusa 
were accidental, and my pointing out this source of 
error may be discouraging to a lady observer. 

I remember thinking you were too diffident about 
the bloom, but I suppose that is the advantage of 
experience ; it keeps one from forming too high hopes 
at the first. 

The rest of your letter contains glorious news. 
Cohn, I suppose, is about the best man in Europe to 
take up the subject, and although I cannot conceive 
what else he can do than Frank has done already, it 
is no doubt most desirable that his opinion should be 
formed by working at the problems himself. 

The other item about the effects of feeding Drosera 
is really most important, and in particular about the 
starch. I have heard the doubts you allude to 
expressed in several quarters, but this will set them 
all at rest. It was just the one thing required to cap 
the work on insectivorous plants. What capital work 
Frank is doing ! 

I have nothing in the way of ' boasting ' to set 
off against it. The year has been a very bad one for 
jelly-fish, so that sometimes I have not been able 
to work at them for several days at a time. The most 
important new observation is perhaps the following. 

Suppose a portion of Aurelia to be cut into the 


form of a pair of trousers, in such a way that a 
ganglion, a, occupies the bottom of one of the legs. 
Usually, of course, contractile waves starting from 
a course along to b, and thence round to c and 
backwards to d. But in one specimen I observed 
that every now and then the exact converse took 
place — viz. the contractile wave starting at d to 
course to c, b, and a. On now excising the 
ganglion at a both sets of contractile waves ceased 
^thus showing that even in the case where they 
started from d it was the ganglion at a which 
started them. This power on the part of Medusoid 



Fig. 3. 

ganglia to discharge their influence at a distance 
from their own seat I have also observed in other 
forms of section, and it affords the best kind of 
evidence in favour of nerves. 

On the days when I could get no jelly-fish I took 
to starfish. I want, if possible, to make out the 
functions of the sand-canal and the aviculse ; but as 
yet I have only discovered the difficulties to be over- 
come. I had intended to make a cell to cover the 
calcareous plate at the end of the sand-canal, and to 
fill the cell with dye, in order to test Siebold's hypo- 
thesis that the whole apparatus is a filter for the 


ambulacral system ; but Providence seems to have 
specially designed that no substance in creation 
should be adapted for sticking to the back of a starfish. 

The aviculse are very puzzling things. I am sure 
Allen is wrong in his hypothesis of their function 
being to remove parasitical growths ; for, on the one 
hand, parasites are swarming around them unheeded, 
■ and on the other, they go snapping away apparently 
at nothing. It is more easy, however, to say what 
they are not than what they are. — 

I went a few days ago to see the vine. It is now 
five feet high and vigorous, but I believe spring is 
the proper time for grafting. 

"With best thanks for your c boasting ' and good 
wishes, I remain very sincerely and most respect- 
fully yours, ■'}■ 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

From G. Darwin, Esq. 

Down : June 4. - 

Sir Joseph Fayrer supplied me with cobra poison. 
It is very precious, but I have no doubt that by 
explaining your motive he would give you a little, 
and your best plan of applying would be through 
Lauder Brunton. 

Your letter has made me as proud and conceited 
as ten peacocks. I am inclined to think that writing 
against the bigots about vivisection is as hopeless as 
stemming a torrent with a reed. Frank, who has 
just come here, and who speaks with indignation on 
the subject, takes an opposite line, and perhaps he is 


right ; anyhow he had the best of an argument with 
me on the subject. By the way, I think Frank has 
made a fine discovery, but I won't say what, for fear it 
should break down. It seems to me the Physiologists 
are now in the position of a persecuted religious sect, 
and they must grin and bear the persecution, however 
-cruel and unjust, as well as they can. 

I shall be very glad to hear what you think about 
Hackel; perhaps I have shamefully misrepresented 
him. About the other subject (never mentioned to a 
human being) I shall be glad to hear, but I fear that 
I am a wretched bigot on the subject. 1 

Yours very sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 

The rest has done me much good. We return on 
the 10th. My daughter is certainly better a good 
deal, but not up to her former poor standard. 

From G. J. Romanes to G. Darwin, Esq. 

Dunskaith, Nigg, Ross-shire: June 11. 

We had a good laugh over some parts of your 
letter. I have not, as yet, had time to read any of 
Hackel's book. 

I am delighted to hear about the discovery, and 
hope, if it turns out well, to have my stimulated 
curiosity satisfied with regard to it. If it is as 
interesting as the observations about the seeds, people 
will think Frank a very lucky fellow to hook so many 
good fish in such a short time. 

1 Spiritualism. 


Not having heard his arguments about the article- 
writing, I am still strongly of your opinion, and, being 
besides ill able to afford any time just now, I shall 
not bother with it. When I think that in this one 
county (Ross, and still more in Cromarty) there are 
more rabbits expressly bred every year for trapping 
than could be vivisected in all the physiological 
laboratories in Europe during the next thousand 
years, it seems hopeless to reason with people who, 
knowing such facts, expend all their energies in 
straining at a wonderfully small gnat, while swallow- 
ing, as an article of daily food, such an enormously 
large camel. 

From C. Darwin, Esq. 

Down : August 10. 

Dear Eomanes, — When I wrote yesterday, I had 
not received to-day's ' Nature,' and I thought that 
your lecture was finished. This final part is one of 
the grandest essays which I ever read. 

It was very foolish of me to demur to your lines 
of conveyance like the threads in muslin, knowing how 
youhave considered the subject, but still I must confess 
1 cannot feel quite easy. Every one, I suppose, thinks 
on what he has himself seen, and with Drosera, a bit 
of meat put on any one gland on the disc causes all 
the surrounding tentacles to bend to this point ; and 
here there can hardly be differentiated lines of convey- 
ance. It seems to me that the tentacles probably 
bend to that point whence a molecular wave strikes 
them, which passes through the cellular tissue with 


equal ease in all directions in this particular case. 
But what a fine case that of the Aurelia is ! 

Forgive me for bothering you with another note. 

Yours very sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

From G. J. Romanes to G. Darwin, Esq. 

Dunskaith, Eoss-shire, N.B. : August 13, 1877. 

I thought you had given me quite enough praise 
in your first letter, but am not on that account the 
less pleased at the high compliment you pay me 
in the second one. The ending up was what the 
people at the Institution 1 seemed to like best. 

Pray do not think that I have yet made up my 
mind about the ' muslin.' On the contrary, the more 
I work at the tissues of Aurelia the more puzzled I 
become, so that I am thankful for all criticisms. If 
Aurelia stood alone, I should be inclined to take your 
view, and attribute blocking of contractile waves in 
spiral strips, &c, to some accidental strain previously 
suffered by the tissue at the area of blocking. But 
the fact that in Tiaropsis the polypite is so quick and 
precise in localising a needle prick, seems to show 
that here there must be something more definite 
in the way of conducting tissue than in Drosera, 
although I confess it is most astonishing how precise 
the localising function, as described by you, is in the 
latter. In ' Nature ' I did not express my doubts, 
but it was because I feared there may yet turn out to 
be a skeleton in the cupboard that I kept all those 

* He had just lectured at the Royal Institution. 



more or less fishy deductions out of the U.S. papers. 
Further work may perhaps make the matter more 
certain one way or another. Possibly the microscope 
may show something, and so I have asked Schafer to 
come down, who, as I know from experience, is what 
spiritualists call ' a sensitive ' — I mean he can see 
ghosts of things where other people can't. But still, 
if he can make out anything in the jelly of Aurelia, I 
shall confess it to be the best case of clairvoyance I 
ever knew. 

I am very glad you have drawn my attention 
prominently to the localising function in Drosera, as 
it is very likely I have been too keen in my scent 
after nerves ; and I believe it is chiefly by comparing 
lines of work that in such novel phenomena truth is 
to be got at. And this reminds me of an observation 
which I think ought to be made on some of the 
excitable plants. It is a fact not generally known, 
even to professed physiologists, that if you pass a 
constant current through an excised muscle two or 
three times successively in the same direction, the 
responses to make and break become much more 
feeble than at first, so that unless you began with a 
strong current for the first of the series, you have to 
strengthen it for the third or fourth of the series in 
order to procure a contraction. But on now reversing 
the direction of the current, the muscle is tremen- 
dously excitable for the first stimulation, less so for 
the second, and so on. Now this rapidly exhausting 
effect of passing the current successively in the same 
direction, and the wonderful effect of reversing it, 
point, I believe, to something very fundamental in 


the constitution of muscular tissue. The comple- 
mentary effects in question are quite as decided in 
the jelly-fish as in frog's muscle ; so I think it would 
be very interesting to try the experiment on the 
contractile tissues of plants. But there are so many 
things to write about that I am afraid of ' bothering 
you,' and this with much more reason that you can 
have to be afraid of ' bothering ' me. 

Aurelia is, as you say, ' a fine case,' and I often 
wish you could see the experiments. 

Very sincerely and most respectfully yours, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

The leading Physiologists felt the importance of 
co-operation and of alliance, and a society entitled 
the Physiological Society was formed of which Mr. 
Eomanes and Professor Gerald Yeo were the first 
honorary secretaries. 

In 1876 Mr. Eomanes made his first appearance 
at the British Association ; he recounts his experiences 
in the following letter. 

To Miss C. E. Romanes. 

British Association, Glasgow : Monday, 1876. 

My dearest Puffin, — I have received all your 
letters, and had a good laugh over them ; it is evident 
that I must get back soon to pilot the way. We 
shall indeed have a jolly time. 

I have just got out from the section room, and my 
work is over. I had a splendid audience both as to 
number and quality. 

r 2 


When I had finished, all the great guns had their 
s xy, Professor Hackel leading off with a tremendous 
eulogium on the work, laying special stress on the 
great difficulty of conducting an inquiry of the kind, 
and complimenting me highly on the success obtained. 
Sanderson then made a long speech, and then 
Stirling and Balfour, &c. 

The latter stated it as his opinion that my 
investigation is the most important that has as yet 
been conducted in any department of invertebrate 
physiology. The discussion was then cut short by the 
president to leave time for the other papers, my own 
exposition having taken so long. I replied briefly. 

Shortly after this, Mr. Eomanes delivered a lecture 
on the Evidences of Organic Evolution, which he re- 
printed in the ' Fortnightly,' and afterwards worked up 
into a little book called ' The Scientific Evidences 
of Organic Evolution.' About this lecture Mr. Darwin 
wrote : — 


My dear Eomanes, — I have just finished your 
lecture. It is an admirable scientific argument and 
most powerful. I wish that it could be sown broad- 
cast throughout the land. Your courage is marvellous, 
and I wonder that you were not stoned on the spot. 
And in Scotland ! Do please tell me how it was 
received in the Lecture Hall. About man being 
made like a monkey (p. 37) is quite new to me ; and 
the argument in an earlier place on the law of 
parsimony admirably put. Yes, p. 21 is new to me. 
All strikes me as very clear, and considering small 


space you have chosen your lines of reasoning 

But I am tired, so good night ! 

0. Darwin. 

The few last pages are awfully powerful in my 

Sunday Morning. — The above was written last 
night in an enthusiasm of the moment, and now this 
dark, dismal Sunday morning I fully agree with 
what I said. 

I am very sorry to hear about the failure in the 
graft experiments, and not from your own fault or 
ill-luck. Trollope, in one of his novels, gives us a 
maxim of constant use by a brick-maker, ' It is dogged 
as does it ! ' and I have often and often thought 
this is the motto for every scientific worker. I am 
sure it is yours if you do not give up Pangenesis with 
wicked imprecations. By the way, Gr. Jager has just 
brought out in ' Kosmos ' a chemical sort of Pange- 
nesis, bearing chiefly on inheritance. 

I cannot conceive why I have not olfered my 
garden for your experiments. I would attend to the 
plants, as far as mere care goes, with pleasure, but 
Down is an awkward place to reach. 


(Would it be worth while to try if the ' Fortnightly ' 
would publish it ?) 

To this Mr. Eomanes replied : 


18 Cornwall Terrace : Dec. 2, 1877. 

It was most kind of you to write me such a long 
and glowing letter. In one way it is a good thing 
that all the world are not so big-hearted as yourself 
— -it would make young men awfully conceited. Yet 
I value your opinion more than the opinion of any- 
body, because in other things I have always found 
your judgment more deep and sound than anybody's. 
However, I will go to Huxley next Saturday for an 
antidote, as it is quite true what he said about 
himself at Cambridge, that he is not given to making 

On the whole, as I have said, I was surprised how 
well it was taken. And still more so in Yorkshire 
last week — where I was lecturing at Leeds and 
Halifax on Medusae, and took occasion to wind up 
about you and your degree. I was perfectly as- 
tonished at the reception you got among such popular 
audiences. What a change you have lived to see ! 
If ever human being had a right to cry ' Vici ' — but 
you know it all better than I do. 

About the grafts, I thought it most natural that 
you should not like the bother of having them done 
at Down, when there are such a multitude of other 
gardens belonging to do-nothing people. But as you 
have mentioned it, I may suggest that in the case of 
onions there is a difficulty in all the gardens I know 
— viz., that they are more or less infested with onion 
worms. If, therefore, you should know any part of 
your garden where onions have not grown for some 
years, I might do the grafts here in pots, and bring 


the promising ones to plant out at Down in May. 
Seed could then be saved in the following autumn. 
All the other plants could be grown in the other gar- 
dens, and well attended to. 

That is a very interesting letter in ' Nature.' 
What do you think of Dr. Sanderson's paper in the 
same number, as to its philosophy and expression ? I 
have sent a letter about animal psychology which I 
think will interest you. 

With kind regards to all, I remain, very sincerely 
and most respectfully (this is a bow which I specially 
reserve for you, and would make it lower, but for the 
fear of making myself ridiculous), 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

P.S. — I fear Mr. Morley would think my lecture too 
long, and not original enough for the ' Fortnightly.' * 

Early in the year 1878, a great sorrow fell on the 
Eomanes family. The elder of the two sisters, 
Georgina, died in April, and to her brother, her junior 
by two or three years, her loss was very great. She 
was a brilliant musician, and had done much to pre- 
vent her young brother from becoming too entirely 
absorbed in science, and in keeping alive in him the 
passionate love for music which was always one of his 

They went much together to concerts, and the 
house was the centre of a good deal of musical society. 
Among the many musicians who came and went may 
be mentioned Gounod. He had a great admiration 
and liking for Miss Eomanes, and used to make her 

1 It was subsequently published in the Fortnightly. 


sing to him. And also there was Dr. Joachim, who 
with characteristic kindness came in the last days of 
Georgina's life and played, as only he can play, to her. 

From G. J. Bomanes to G. Darwin, Esq. 

18 Cornwall Terrace : April 10, 1878. 

Many thanks for your kind expressions of sym- 
pathy. When the sad event occurred I had some 
thoughts of sending you an announcement ; but as 
you had scarcely ever seen my sister, I afterwards felt 
that you might think it superfluous in me to let you 

The blow is indeed felt by iis to be one of dire 
severity, the more so because we only had about a 
fortnight's warning of its advent. My sister did not 
pass through much suffering, but there was something 
painfully pathetic about her death,not only because she 
was so young and had always been so strong, but also 
because the ties of affection by which she was bound 
to us, and we to her, were more than ordinarily 
tender. And when in her delirium she reverted to 
the time when our positions were reversed, and when 
by weeks and months of arduous heroism she saved 
my life by constant nursing — upon my word it was 
unbearable. 1 The blank which her death has created 
in our small family is very distressing. She always 
used to be so proud of my work that I feel that half 
the pleasure of working will now be gone — but I do 
not know why I am running on like this. Of course 
it will give me every pleasure to go to Down before 

1 He refers to the attack of typhoid fever in 1873. 


leaving for Scotland. If you have no preference 
about time, I suppose it would be best to go when 
you return home in May, as the onions might possibly 
be then ready for grafting. Unless, therefore, I hear 
from you to the contrary, I shall write again some 
time between the middle and end of May. 

Then came a second appearance at the British 
Association. Mr. Eomanes was asked to deliver one 
of the evening lectures at the meeting of 1878, which 
took place at Dublin. 

The subject was animal intelligence, and seems 
to have excited a good deal of attention. The follow- 
ing letters relate to the lecture and to his book on 
Animal Intelligence : 

To G. Darwin, Esq. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Begent's Park, N.W. : June 18. 

Yery many thanks for your permission to use your 
observations, as well as for the additional information 
which you have supplied. If all the manuscript chapter 
on instinct is of the same quality as the enclosed por- 
tion, it must be very valuable. Time will prevent me 
from treating very fully of instinct in my lecture, but 
when I come to write the book for the International 
Science Series on Comparative Psychology, I shall 
try to say all that I can on instinct. Your letter, 
therefore, induces me to say that I hope your notes will 
be published somewhere before my book comes out 
(i.e. within a year or so), or, if you have no intention 
of publishing the notes, that you would, as you say, let 
me read the manuscript, as the references, &c, would 


be much more important for the purposes of the book 
than for those of the lecture. But, of course, I should 
not ask to publish your work in my book, unless you 
have no intention of publishing it yourself. I do not 
know why you have kept it so long unpublished, and 
your having offered me the manuscript for preparing 
my lecture makes me think that you might not 
object to lending it me for preparing my book. But 
please understand that I only think this on the sup- 
position that, from its unsuitable length, isolated 
character, or other reason, you do not see your way 
to publishing the chapter yourself. 

From C. Darwin, Esq. 

Down : June 19. 

My dear Eomanes, — You are quite welcome to 
have my longer chapter on instinct. It was abstracted 
for the Origin. I have never had time to work it up 
in a state fit for publication, and it is so much more 
interesting to observe than to write. It is very un- 
likely that I should ever find time to prepare my 
several long chapters for publication, as the material 
collected since the publication of the Origin has been 
so enormous. But I have sometimes thought that 
when incapacitated for observing, I would look over 
my manuscripts, and see whether any deserved publi- 
cation. You are, therefore, heartily welcome to use 
it, and should you desire to do so at any time, inform 
me and it shall be sent. 

Yours very sir merely, 

Charles Dae win. 


From G. J. Romanes to C. Darwin, Esq. 

18 Cornwall Terrace : June 21, 1878 

I am of course very glad to hear that you have no 
objection to letting me have the benefit of consulting 
your notes. 

Most observers are in a frantic hurry to publish 
their work, but what you say about your own feelings 
seems to me very characteristic. Like the bees, you 
ought to have some one to take the honey, when you 
make it to give to the world — not, however, that I 
want to play the part of a thieving wasp. I will send 
you my manuscript about instinct (or the proofs 
when out), and you can strike out anything that you 
would rather publish yourself. 

I shall not be able to begin my book till after the 
jelly-fish season is over. This will be in September 
or October ; but I will let you know when I want to 
read up about instinct. 

With very many thanks, I remain, yours very 
sincerely and most respectfully, 

Geo. J. Romanes. 

The Palace, Dublin : August 17, 1878. 

Your letter and enclosure about the geese arrived 
the day after I left Dunskaith, but have been forwarded 
here, which accounts for my delay in answering, for 
I only arrived in Dublin a few days ago. 

I am sorry to hear about the onions, and can only 
quote the beatitude which is particularly applicable 


to a worker in science, Blessed is he that expecteth 
nothing, for he shall not be disappointed. 

But I am still more sorry to hear of your feeling 
knocked up. I meet your son here, who tells me 
about you. 

Yesterday was the evening of my big lecture, and 
I send you a copy as well as a newspaper account. 
(The latter was in type before delivery, and so no 
' applauses,' &c. are put in.) The thing was a most 
enormous success, far surpassing my utmost expecta- 
tions. I had a number of jokes which do not appear 
in the printed lecture, and I never saw an audience 
laugh so much. The applause also was really extra- 
ordinary, especially at some places, and most of all 
at the mention of your name at the grand finale. 
In fact, it was here tremendous, and a most impres- 
sive sight to see such a multitude of people so enthu- 
siastic. I expected an outburst, bub the loud and 
long-continued cheering beat anything that ever I 
heard before. I do not know whether your son was 
there, but if so he will tell you. 

Hooker, Huxley, Allen, and Sir W. Thomson, 
Flower, D. Galton, and a lot of other good men were 
present, and had nothing but praise to give, Captain 
Galton going so far as to say that it was the most 
successful lecture he had ever heard. So I am quite 

Ever your devoted worshipper, 

Geo. J. Eomanes 


From C. Darwin, Esq. 

August 20, 1878. 

My dear Eomanes, — I am most heartily glad that 
your lecture (just received and read) has been so 
eminently successful. You have indeed passed a 
most magnificent eulogium on me, and I wonder 
that you were not afraid of hearing ' Oh ! oh ! ' or 
some other sign of disapprobation. Many persons 
think that what I have done in science has been 
much overrated, and I very often think so myself ; 
but my comfort is that I have never consciously done 
anything to gain applause. Enough and too much 
about my dear self. The sole fault that I find with 
your lecture is that it is too short, and this is a rare 
fault. It strikes me as admirably clear and interest- 
ing. I meant to have remonstrated that you had 
not discussed sufficiently the necessity of signs for 
the formation of abstract ideas of any complexity, 
and then I came on to the discussion on deaf mutes. 
This latter seems to me one of the richest of all the 
mines, and is worth working carefully for years and 
very deeply. I should like to read whole chapters 
on this one head, and others on the minds of the 
higher idiots. Nothing can be better, as it seems to 
me, than your several lines or sources of evidence, 
and the manner in which you have arranged the 
whole subject. Your book will assuredly be worth 
years of hard labour, and stick to your subject. By 
the way, I was pleased at your discussing the selec- 
tion of varying instincts or mental tendencies, for I 


have often been disappointed by no one ever having 
noticed this notion. 

I have just finished La Psychologies son present 
et son avenir, 1876, by Delboeuf (a mathematician 
and physicist of Belgium), in about one hundred 
pages ; it has interested me a good deal, but why I 
hardly know ; it is rather like Herbert Spencer ; if 
you do not know it, and would care to see it, send 
me a post-card. 

Thank Heaven we return home on Thursday, and 
I shall be able to go on with my humdrum work, 
and that makes me forget my daily discomfort. 

Have you ever thought of keeping a young 
monkey, 1 so as to observe its mind ? At a house 
where we have been staying there were Sir A. and 
Lady Hobhouse, not long ago returned from India, 
and she and he kept three young monkeys, and told 
me some curious particulars. One was that the 
monkey was very fond of looking through her eye- 
glass at objects, and moved the glass nearer and 
further so as to vary the focus. This struck me, as 
Frank's son, nearly two years old (and we think 
much of his intellect !), is very fond of looking 
through my pocket lens, and I have quite in vain 
endeavoured to teach him not to put the glass close 
down on the object, but he will always do so. There- 
fore I conclude that a child just under two years is 
inferior in intellect to a monkey. 

Once again I heartily congratulate you on your 

1 Mr. Bomanes carried out this suggestion, or rather his sister, Mis^ 
C. E. Romanes, did ; she kept a monkey for observation for several months, 
as is recorded at p. 484 of ' Animal Intelligence.' 


well-earned presant and I feel assured grand future 

Yours very truly, 

Ch. Dae win. 

P.S. 28th. — Can you spare time to come down 
here any day this week, except Saturday, to dine and 
sleep here ? We should be very glad indeed if you 
can come. If so, I would suggest your leaving 
Charing Cross by the 4.12 train, and we would send 
a carriage to Orpington to meet you, and send you 
back next morning. In this case let us have a line 
fixing your day, It will be dull for you, for none of 
my sons except Frank are at home. 

The extraordinary modesty, the absolute sim- 
plicity, the fatherly kindness, which breathe in this 
letter, cannot but give some idea of what Mr. Darwin 
was and why he was so much loved. 

Dunskaith, Ross-shire : August 29, 1878. 

My dear Mr. Darwin, — I only returned here yes- 
terday and found your letter awaiting me. 

Your letter has made me as proud as Punch, and 
as you have such a good opinion of the line of work, 
I think I shall adopt your plan of working up the 
subject well before I publish the book. The greatest 
difficulty I had in writing the lecture was to make it 
short enough, but it will be splendid to be able to 
spread oneself over the whole subject in a book. I 
was at one time in doubt whether it would be better 
to spend time over this subject or over something 


more purely physiological, but of late I had begun to 
incline towards the former, and your opinion has now 
settled mine. 

I have not previously heard of the book by the 
Belgian physicist, and should much like to read it. I 
have already such a number of your books that I fear 
you must sometimes miss them ; but I can return any 
of them at a minute's notice. 

I had thought of keeping a monkey and teaching 
its young ideas how to shoot, and wrote to Frank 
Buckland for his advice as to the best kind to get, 
but he has never answered my letter. The case 
about the lens is a capital one. 

I have such a host of letters to answer, which 
have accumulated during my absence, that I must 
make this a short one. Your ' congratulations ' are 
of more value to me than any of the others, and I 
thank you for them much. 

Ever your devoted disciple, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

P.S. — Science is not a world where a man need 
trouble himself about getting more credit than is due. 

From C. Darwin. 

Down : Sept. 2, 1878. 

My dear Eomanes, — Many thanks for your letter. 
I am delighted to hear that you mean to work the 
comparative psychology well. I thought your letter 
to the ' Times ' very good indeed. Bartlett, at the 
Zoological Gardens, I feel sure, would advise you 


infinitely better about hardiness, intellect, price, &c, 
of monkeys than F. Buckland, but with him it 
must be viva voce. 

Frank says you ought to keep an idiot, a deaf 
mute, a monkey, and a baby in your house ! 

Ever yours sincerely, 

Ch. Daewin. 

Dunskaith, Eoss-shire, N.B. : Sept. 10, 1878. 

My dear Mr. Darwin, — Having been away for a 
week's deer-stalking in the hills, I have only to-day 
received your letter together with the book. Thank 
you very much for both, and also for the hints about 
E spinas and Bartlett. I am glad you thought well 
of the letter to the ' Times.' In a book I shall be able 
to make more evident what I mean. 

Frank's idea of ' a happy family ' is a very good 
one ; but I think my mother would begin to wish 
that my scientific inquiries had taken some other 

The baby too, I fear, would stand a poor chance 
of showing itself the fittest in the struggle for exist- 

I am now going to write my concluding paper on 
Medusse, also to try some experiments on luminosity 
of marine animals. 

Ever sincerely and most respectfully yours, 

Geo. J. Romanes. 

In addition to other scientific and purely philo- 
sophical work, Mr. Romanes had, even while writing 
his Burney Prize, entered on that period of conflict 



between faith and scepticism which grew more and 
more strenuous, more painful, as the years went on, 
which never really ceased until within a few weeks 
of his death, and which was destined to end in a 
chastened, a purified, and a victorious faith. His 
was a religious nature, keenly alive to religious 
emotion, profoundly influenced by Christian ideals, 
by Christian modes of thought. As time went on he 
felt, like all philosophically minded men, the impossi- 
bility of a purely materialistic position, and as he 
pondered on the final, ultimate mysteries, on * ' God, 
Immortality, Duty,' he arrived very slowly, very 
painfully, but very surely, at the Christian position. 

But these years were, to him and to many, years 
of peculiar and of extraordinary difficulty. Roughly 
speaking, the time between 1860 and 1880 was a time 
of great perplexity to those who wished to adhere to 
the faith of Christendom. 

It is impossible to exaggerate the influence which 
Mr. Darwin's great work has had on every depart- 
ment of science, of literature, and also of art. 
Thirty-six years have passed away since the publica- 
tion of the ' Origin of Species,' and we have lived to 
see that again tempora matantur, nos et mutamur in 
Mis. Now we see that a man can fully accept the 
doctrine of evolution, and yet can also believe in a 
personal God and in the doctrines which logically 
follow on such a belief. But it was not so at first. 
To many on both sides the new teaching seemed to 
threaten destruction to Theism, at least to Theism as 
understood either by Newman or by Martineau. 

Again, in philosophy Herbert Spencer seemed to 
"many to have constructed a lasting system of philo- 

1 Cf. F. Myers's 'Essay on George Eliot,' Modern Essays, p. 269. 


sophy, a system sufficient to account for all things in 
heaven, in earth, and under the earth. And German 
criticism seemed to many to be rapidly destroying 
the credibility of the early documents of Christianity. 

Many a noble soul made shipwreck of its faith, 
nor is this disaster wonderful. For popular theology 
had made many unwise, many untenable claims, and 
the ground had to be cleared before the battle could 
be fought out on its real issues. There were some 
who, amidst all the strife of tongues, kept their heads, 
remembered bygone storms, and did not lose their 
courage, their whole-heartedness, but they were few, 
and were not over much heard or heeded. 1 For the 
most part, those on the Christian side adopted the 
line taken by the Bishop of Oxford in his review of 
Mr. Darwin's ' Origin of Species ' in the ' Quarterly 
Review,' and in his famous speech at Oxford during 
the British Association of 1860. 

Certainly the outlook now is more encouraging 
than it was twenty years ago. 

It has been well and eloquently said by one than 
whom none is more qualified to speak on this subject : 2 
' It is quite certain that this scientific obstacle has 
been, in the main, removed. In part, it has been 
through the theologians abandoning false claims, and 
learning, if somewhat unwillingly, that they have no 
" Bible revelation " in matters of science ; in part, it 
has been through its becoming continually more 
apparent, that the limits of scientific "explanation " of 
nature are soon reached; that the ultimate causes, 
forces, conditions of nature are as unexplained as 

1 Cf. ' Life and Letters of Dean Church,' p. 154. 

2 ' Buying up the Opportunity,' a sermon by the Eev. C. Gore, 
preached before the University of Oxford, and published by the S.P.C.K. 

a 2 


ever, or rather postulate as ever for their explanation 
a Divine mind. Thus, if one " argument from design ' ' 
was destroyed, another was only Drought into pro- 
minence. No account which science can give, by 
discovery or conjecture, of the method of creation, 
can ever weaken the argument which lies from the 
universality of law, order, and beauty in the universe 
to the universality of mind. The mind of man looks 
forth into nature, and finds nowhere unintelligible 
chance, but everywhere an order, a system, a law, a 
beauty, which corresponds, as greater to less, to his 
own rational and spiritual intuitions, methods, and 
expectations. Universal order, intelligibility, beauty, 
mean that something akin to the human spirit, 
something of which the human spirit is an offshoot 
and a reflection, is in the universe before it is in 

' Or, again, a prolonged period of controversy and 
reflection has resulted in making it fairly apparent 
that no scientific doctrine or conjecture about the 
dim origins of the spiritual life of man can affect 
the argument from its development and persistence. 
It has developed and persisted, as one of the most 
prominent features of human life, solely on the 
postulate of God. And is it not out of analogy with 
all that science teaches us to imagine that so impor- 
tant, continuous, and universal a development of 
human faculty could have arisen and persisted unless 
it were in correspondence with reality ? 

' In fact we may almost say that the obstacles to 
belief on the side of science were gone when once it 
was admitted that God Who has revealed to us His 
nature and ours, and made this revelation in part 
through an historical process and in the literature of 
a nation, has yet, and for obvious reasons, given us 


no revelation at all on matters which fall within the 
domain of scientific research. 

' A similar removal of obstacles must be claimed 
in the region of historical criticism. There, again, 
it has become apparent that, whatever turns out true 
about this or that Old Testament narrative, no 
question really vital to the Christian religion can be 
said to be at stake in this field ; while in the region 
of the New Testament the most sifting criticism has 
had a result emphatically reassuring. The critical 
evidence justifies, or more than justifies, the belief of 
the Church which is expressed in her Creeds.' 

But this has been a hard-won fight for most — 

' Friends, companions, and train 
The avalanche swept from our side,' * 

and no one felt the strain, the positive agony of soul, 
in greater degree than did George Romanes. Step 
by step he abandoned the position he had maintained 
in his Burney Prize, with no great pauses, rather, as 
it seems, with startling rapidity, and with sad and with 
reluctant backward glances he took up a position of 
agnosticism, for a time almost of materialism. He 
wrote a book, published in 1876, which was entitled 
' A Candid Examination of Theism.' It is almost 
needless to discuss the work, as it has been dealt 
with by its author in his posthumous ' Thoughts on 
Religion.' It is an able piece of work, and is 
marked throughout by a lofty spirit, a profound sad- 
ness, and a belief (which years after he criticised 
sharply) in the exclusive light of the scientific method 
in the Court of Reason. 

His education had been on strictly scientific 

x ' Rugby Chapel,' M. Arnold. 


lines, and the limitations of thought produced by such 
education are clearly seen in that essay ; ' limita- 
tions ' which the philosophical and the metaphysical 
tendencies of his mind soon led him to overstep. 

The reaction against the conclusions of the essay 
set in far sooner than has been at all suspected. 
Perhaps the first published mark of reaction is the 
Rede Lecture 1 of 1885. 

Yet anyone who reads carefully the conclusion ol 
the ' Candid Examination' will see the note of ' long- 
ing and thirsting for God.' 

And forasmuch as I am far from being able to 
agree with those who affirm that the twilight doctriue 
of the ' new faith ' is a desirable substitute for the 
waning splendour of ' the old,' I am not ashamed to 
confess that with this. virtual negation of God the 
universe to me has lost its soul of loveliness ; and 
although from henceforth the precept to ' work while 
it is day ' will doubtless but gain an intensified force 
from the terribly intensified meaning of the words 
that ' the night cometh when no man can work,' 
yet when at times I think, as think at times I must, 
of the appalling contrast beween the hallowed glory 
of that creed which once was mine, and the lonely 
mystery of existence as now I find it, at such times 
I shall ever feel it impossible to avoid the sharpest 
pang of which my nature is susceptible. For whether 
it be due to my intelligence not being sufficiently 
advanced to meet the requirements of the age, or 
whether it be due to the memory of those sacred asso- 
ciations which to me at least were the sweetest that 
life has given, I cannot but feel that for me, and for 
others who think as I do, there is a dreadful truth in 
those words of Hamilton, philosophy having become 
a meditation not merely of death but of annihilation, 

1 Now republished in a book called ' Mind and Motion.' 


the precept know thyself has become transformed into 
the terrific oracle to (Edipus — 

' Mayest thou ne'er know the truth of what thou art.' 

There are many who abandon belief for various 
reasons, and who in various methods stifle regret and 
call in stoicism to their aid. There are those who 
really care very little about the ' ultimate problems,' 
and who find the world of sense quite enough to 
occupy them. And there are souls who seem to be con- 
stantly crying out in their darkness for light, the bur- 
den of whose cry seems to be : ' Fecisti nos ad te, Domine, 
et inquietum est cor nostrum donee requiescat in te.' 
Theselasthave within them the capacity for holiness, 
the capacity for a real and tremendous power to witness 
for the truth, to do and to suffer pro causa Dei. To 
this class George Romanes belonged. By nature he was 
deeply and truly religious, and interested and absorbed 
as he was in science, it is no exaggeration to say he was 
just as keenly interested in theology, that is to say, 
in the deepest and ultimate problems of theology. 
By the questions which divide Christians he was not 
greatly attracted, and he never could see any reason 
for the bitterness which exists between e.g. Roman 
and Anglican. 

This is anticipating. In 1878 he had touched the 
very depths of scepticism, and he would have rejected 
the idea of a possibility of return, and would have 
rejected it in terms of unmeasured regret. 

A lettsr from Mr. Darwin is interesting. 

Down : December 5, 1878. 

My dear Romanes, — I am much pleased to send 
my photograph to the future Mrs. Romanes. 

I have read your anonymous book — some parts 
twice over — with very great interest ; it seems admir- 


ably, and here and there very eloquently written but 
from not understanding metaphysical terms I could 
not always follow you. For the sake of outsiders, if 
there is another edition, could you make it clear what 
is the difference between treating a subject under 
a ' scientific,' ' logical,' ' symbolical,' and ' formal ' 
point of views or manner ? With regard to your 
great leading idea, I should like sometimes to hear 
from you verbally (for to answer would be too long 
for letters) what you would say if a theologian 
addressed you as follows : 

' I grant you the attraction of gravity, persistence 
of force (or conservation of energy), and one kind of 
matter, though the latter is an immense admission ; 
but I maintain that God must have given such 
attributes to this force, independently of its persist- 
ence, that under certain conditions it develops or 
changes into light, heat, electricity, galvanism, per- 
haps even life. 

' You cannot prove that force (which physicists 
define as that which causes motion) would inevitably 
thus change its character under the above conditions. 
Again I maintain that matter, though it may in the 
future be eternal, was created by God with the most 
marvellous affinities, leading to complex definite 
compounds and with polarities leading to beautiful 
crystals, &c. &c. You cannot prove that matter would 
necessarily possess these attributes. Therefore you 
have no right to say that you have " demonstrated " 
that all natural laws necessarily follow from gravity, 
the persistence of force, and existence of matter. If 
you say that nebulous matter existed aboriginally 
and from eternity with all its present complex powers 


in a potential state, you seem to me to beg the whole 

Please observe it is not I, but a theologian who 
has thus addressed you, but I could not answer him. 
In your present ' idiotic ' state of mind, you will wish 
me at the devil for bothering you. 1 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Eegent's Park : Sunday, Dec. 1878. 

My dear Mr. Darwin, — Many thanks for your 
portrait — not only from myself but also from the 
i future Mrs. Eomanes.' 

I am glad that you think well of the literary style 
of the book on Theism. As regards the remarks 
of the supposed theologian, I have no doubt that he 
is entitled to them. The only question is whether I 
have been successful in making out that all natural 
cases must reasonably be supposed to follow from the 
conservation of energy. If so, as the transmutations 
of energy from heat to electricity &c. all take place 
in accordance with law, and as the phenomena of 
polarity in crystals &c. do the same, it follows that 
neither these nor any other class of phenomena 
afford any better evidence of Deity than do any other 
class of phenomena. Therefore, if all laws follow 
from the persistence of force, the question of Deity 
or no Deity would simply become the question as to 
whether force requires to be created or is self-existent. 
And if we say it is created, the fact of self-existence 
still requires to be met in the Creator. 

1 He was engaged to be married. 


Of course it may be denied that all laws do follow 
from the persistence of force. And this is what I 
mean by the distinction between a scientific and a 
logical proof. For in the last resort all scientific 
proof goes upon the assumption that energy is per- 
manent, so that if from this assumption all natural 
laws and processes admit of being deduced, it follows 
that for a scientific cosmology no further assumption 
is required ; all the phenomena of Nature receive their 
last or ultimate scientific explanation in this the most 
ultimate of scientific hypotheses. But now logic 
may come in and say, ' This hypothesis of the persist- 
ence of force is no doubt verified and found constantly 
true within the range of science {i.e. experience), so 
that thus far it is not only an hypothesis but a fact. 
But before logic can consent to allow this ultimate 
fact of science to be made the ultimate basis of all 
cosmology, I must be shown that it is ultimate, not 
merely in relation to human modes of research, but 
also in a sense absolute to all else.' 

But the more I think about the whole thing the 
more am I convinced that you put it into a nutshell 
when you were here, and that there is about as much 
use in trying to illuminate the subject with the light 
of intellect as there would be in trying to illuminate 
the midnight sky with a candle. I intend, therefore, 
to drop it, and to take the advice of the poet, ' Be- 
lieve it not, regret it not, but wait it out, Man.' 

G. J. E. 

I return the papers, having taken down the re- 
ferences. The books I shall return when read, but 
honey-mooning may prolong the time. 


The following letter is interesting, as it shows the 
beginning of that long and painful reaction against 
scepticism which was to last so many years. There 
is a curious anticipation of a passage in ' Thoughts on 

To Mrs. Bivrdon Sanderson, 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park : Nov. 26. 

Dear Mrs. Sanderson, — Many thanks for your kind 
and warm congratulations. ... I am glad you wrote 
a ' sermonising ' letter, because it gives me the oppor- 
tunity of saying that I fully agree with all the opinions 
which you express, and, further, that I have already 
found love to modify logic, or perhaps I should rather 
say, to vivify logic. ... In the course of my previous 
speculations I have kept much too rigidly to the lines 
of intellect as distinguished from feeling. Indeed, I 
always did so on principle, supposing that reason was 
the only instrument which was to be accredited with 
any authority in the matter, and that the dictates 
of feeling should be met with a firm front of oppo- 
sition. ... In this fundamental supposition I was 
wrong, seeing that, on the supposition of Christianity 
being true, it must be considered as an appeal to the 
Avhole of human nature, and not to reason alone. I 
have often met this argument in various forms before, 
but never before seen its rational justification. I can- 
didly do not believe that love has had any influence 
in blinding my logic, but rather that love has shed 
upon my logic a new light. I see now that Faraday 
was rationally justified in his view, and some day 
I intend to write a treatise supplementary to my 
' Theism ' in order to show clearly how this is so. 



LONDON, 1879-1890 

Mr. Eomanes married, on February 11, 1879, Ethel, 
only daughter of Andrew Duncan, Esq., of Liverpool, 
whom he had met at the house of her cousin and 
guardian, Sir James Malcolm, of Balbedie and Grange, 
Fifeshire. In the same year he was elected a Fellow 
of the Royal Society. 

From 1879 to 1890 Mr. Romanes resided in 18 
Cornwall Terrace, which his mother gave up to him, 
and these eleven years were perhaps the brightest and 
most fruitful of his life. 

It is difficult to give any just idea of the extreme 
happiness and pleasantness of the home life and of 
outward circumstances ; happiness which only seemed 
to increase as years went on. He grew more boyish, 
more playful, and seemed to have an endless capacity 
for enjoynient, for friendship, for happiness of the 
best and purest kind. 

He greatly enjoyed society, and had full oppor- 
tunities for seeing the kind he liked best, the cream 
of the intellectual world of London, and perhaps one 
may be allowed to say that no one was ever more 
unspoilt by success, by popularity. He seemed to 
grow more simple, more single-hearted each year. 


The amount of work he did was very considerable. 
His books, ' Animal Intelligence,' ' Mental Evolution 
in Animals,' ' Mental Evolution in Man,' ' Jelly-Fish 
and Star-Fish,' ' Darwin and after Darwin,' ' An Exa- 
mination of Weismannism,' represent an enormous 
amount of reading and thought ; and besides all these, 
there was experimental work in University College 
and in his own laboratory in Scotland, and a succes- 
sion of important articles in reviews, chiefly the 
1 Nineteenth Century,' ' Fortnightly ' and ' Contempo- 
rary ' Eeviews, and ' Nature.' He was elected to the 
Fellowship of the Eoyal Society in 1879. 

It would be quite absurd to deny that Mr. 
Romanes liked a fair and free fight, and there was a 
good deal of scientific controversy, but he was abso- 
lutely incapable of anything but fairness, and never 
imported into private life any quarrel in print. He 
had plenty of stiff fights, chiefly with Mr. Thiselton- 
Dyer, Professor Lankester, and Mr. Wallace, but the 
first two were always his friends, and with the latter 
he had a very slight acquaintance. The following 
letter, though it belongs to a later date, will show his 
feelings on the subject of controversy : 

Christ Church, Oxford. 

Dear Professor Meldola, — I trust that our differ- 
ences — and disagreements — as presented in ' Nature,' 
will not disturb our relations in private. Anyhow, I 
send the inclosed circular, which I am addressing to 
English biologists, and hope you will testify to your 
desire for ' facts ' by signing the memorial. 

Yours truly, 

Geo. J. Romanes. 


He lectured a good deal in provincial towns, and 
gave several Friday evening discourses at the Royal 
Institution. Lecturing, even in days of failing health, 
was always a pleasure, never a burden to him. In 
one of the following letters is a mock triumphant 
description of a lecture in Glasgow, written purely to 
amuse his wife, and provoke some mock depreciatory 

To Mrs. 'Romanes. 

Edinburgh: November 1880. 

In the evening I went to Professor 's dinner, 

which was a most gorgeous affair. The feed was 
sumptuous, and the guests the best that Edinburgh 
had to afford. There were twelve of us, all except 
myself and Hullah (the musician), professors of the 
University. I sat next to one of the latter — 
Turner, who, as his handsome namesake might say, 
has done original work. The advantage of meeting 
celebrated men when oneself is also a celebrated man 
(how sweet is self-contentment ! ) is that the two 
know all about each other before they meet, and 
so meet as friends already. Turner is a man of great 
general intelligence, and as it is needless to tell 
you that Romanes is the same, of course they got on 
delightfully. In proof of which he asked me to go 
with him next day to see the new hospital and 
medical schools, which, when finished, are to be the 
largest in the world and cost nearly half a million 
of money. We agreed that he should call for me at 
ten, which he did to-day. We two then drove to the 
buildings, and, between exploring them and the old 


University, he spent more than two hours of his, 
at this time of year, very valuable time. From 
which you may gather that he is a particularly 
pleasant man. 

Glasgow: 188U. 

Now for my news. Everything was splendid, 
much the best thing in the way of lecturing that I 
have done since Dublin, 1 and I was so sorry that you 
were not there. 

First of all we had a dinner given by my host in 
my honour, the guests being all the chief men in the 
University, including Professor Caird 2 and the biggest 
of all big swells, Sir W. Thomson. 3 

The dinner was to me highly interesting, as I 
talked nearly all the time to Sir William, who is a 
wonderful psychological study. 

We then went to the lecture, where Sir William 
took the chair, and introduced me to the audience 
with such a glowing oration that it would have 
startled you. (It quite astonished me.) The au- 
dience being thus led to suppose that I was one of 
the brightest of all bright lights, received me very 
warmly ; I got enthusiastic, discarded my notes, and 
swam along in the most magnificent style even for 
me, which, you know, is the highest praise I can 
bestow upon myself. I spoke for an hour and a half ; 
at the end the people applauded so, I felt really 
awfully sorry you were not there. There seems to be 
a cruel fate preventing you from witnessing my per- 

1 The Brit. Assoc. Lecture, 1878. 
2 The present Master of Balliol. 3 Now Lord Kelvin. 


The vote of thanks was proposed by Professor 
McKendrick. I was met by another storm of ap- 
plause ; I began to feel quite overcome. But I said 
a few words with all becoming humility, and then 
Sir William summed up. 

Gateshead : November 1880. 

My news since yesterday is interesting. Mr. 
Newall is Newall the astronomer, who has the tele- 
scope of world-wide renown — in fact, the largest 
telescope in the world. It is mounted just outside 
the house in a large dome-like building, and looks 
like a small tower set horizontally on no end of 
wheels and machinery. Yesterday night was, un- 
fortunately, smoky. ... I do hope and pray there 
may be some stars visible to-night, as I should dearly 
like to see something through the monster. It is 
such an irony of fate that the largest telescope in the 
world should be mounted in the smokiest place in 
the world. Mr. Newall himself is very nice, with 
something about his appearance and manner which 
faintly reminds me of Darwin. . . . 

My lectures went off very well of course ! The 
dinner at the Logans was delightful. Bob 1 was there, 
and kept the table in roars. He certainly is a genius 
at telling a story. Carrie 2 was there also. She is 
charming, and sings and plays delightfully. There 
is a peculiar sweetness about her singing, or, as Bob 
calls it, warbling, which gives one the same kind of 
pleasure as listening to a skylark does. 

1 His cousin, Major Romanes, King's Own Borderers. 

2 Another cousin, Mrs. T. M. Murray. 


Here is an affectionate outburst to his mother, 
written about this time : 

1 When thou art feeble, old, and grey, 
My healthy arm shall be thy stay, 
My mother.' 

When. But you are not yet either so feeble, old, 
or grey as to make me imagine that you have lost a 
needful prop in the absence of your ' peerless son ! ' 
And I am sure you are not more proud of him than 
he is of you. With your eyes as bright as the bright 
starlight, and your face as ruddy as the morning, I 
am glad you are my mother. 

In 1881 Mr. Eomanes was at Garvock, Perth- 
shire. And he was for a short time also at Oban, 
working with his friend Professor Ewart on Echino- 
dermata, and their joint paper was made the ' Croonian 
Lecture.' 1 

This was the last bit of work on marine zoology, 
excepting a trifling research on the smelling power 
of anemones, at which he worked with Mr. Walter 
Hemes Pollock, who had been tempted to make a 
temporary excursion from the paths of literature into 
the walks of science. They contributed a joint paper 
to the Linnean Society on indications of smell in 
Actinia, and it is greatly to be feared, such is the 
frivolity of literary men, that Mr. Pollock regarded 
the whole affair as a very good joke. 

The following letters describe the work of the 
years 1880 and 1881. The summer of 1879 and 
1880 had been spent at Westfield. 

1 His book entitled 'Jelly-Fish, Star-Fish, «nd Sea Urchins,' gives a 
frill account of Mr. Romanes' researches on these primitive nervous systems. 



From G. J. Romanes to G. Darwin, Esq. 

By this post I return you Hackel's essay on 
Perigenesis. Although I have kept it so long, I have 
only just read it, as you said there was no need to 
return it at any particular time. 

To me it seems that whatever merit Hackel's 
views may have in this matter, they certainly have 
no claim to be regarded as original ; for I cannot see 
that his ' Plastidules ' differ in anything but in name 
from Spencer's ' Physiological Units.' Why he does 
not acknowledge this, it is difficult to understand. 
Anyhow, the theories being the same, the same 
objections apply ; and to me it has always seemed 
that this theory is unsatisfactory because so general. 
As you observe in your letter, everyone believes in 
molecular movements of some kind ; but to offer this 
as a full explanation of heredity seems to me like 
saying that the cause, say, of an obscure disease like 
diabetes, is the persistence of force. No doubt this is 
the ultimate cause, but the pathologist requires some 
more proximate causes if his science is to be of any 
value. Similarly, I do not see that biology gains 
anything by a theory which is really but little better 
than a restatement of the mystery of heredity in 
terms of the highest abstraction. Pangenesis at 
least has the merit of supplying us with some con- 
ceivable carriers, so to speak, of the modified pro- 
toplasm from the various organs or parts of the parent 
to the corresponding organs or parts of the offspring, 
and the multiplication of gemmules seems to me to 


avoid a difficulty with which Perigenesis (as stated by 
Hackel) is beset, viz. that atavism sometimes occurs 
over too large a gap to be reasonably attributed to 
what remains of the original ' stem-vibrations ' after 
their characters have been successively modified at 
each ' bifurcation.' But it would be tedious to enter 
into details. Perigenesis, in my opinion, is ' more 
simple ' than Pangenesis, only because its terms are 
so much more general. 

P.S. — I forgot to tell you, when we were at lunch, 
that the seed of the grafted beets is ready for sowing ; 
also that the vine is now four feet high, and so, I 
should think, might be grafted next spring. 

From C. Darwin, Esq., to G. J. Bomanes. 

Down : February 3, 1880. 

I will keep your diagram x for a few days, but I 
find it very difficult now to think over new subjects, 
so that it is not likely that I shall be able to send 
any criticisms ; but you may rely on it that I will do 
my best. 

I am glad you like Guthrie's book. If you care 
to read a little book on pure instinct, get Fabre, 
' Souvenirs Entomologiques,' 1879. It is really admir- 
able, and very good on the sense of direction in insects. 
I have sent him some suggestions such as rotating 
the insects, but I do not know whether he will try 

Yours very sincerely, 

Charles Darwin. 

1 Diagram for a lecture on ' Mental Evolution.' 



From G. J. Romanes to C. Darwin, Esq, 

February 6, 1880. 

I have to thank you very much for your two 

letters, and also for the enclosures from , which 

I now return. The latter convey exactly the criti- 
cism that I should have expected from , for while 

writing my essay on Theism I had several con- 
versations with him upon the subject of Spencer's 
writings, and so know exactly what he thinks of 
them. But in none of these conversations could I 
get at anything more definite than is conveyed by the 
returned letters. In no point of any importance did 
he make it clear to me that Spencer was wrong, and 
the only result of our conversation was to show me 

that in opinion it was only my ignorance of 

mathematics that prevented me from seeing that Mr. 
Spencer is merely a ' word philosopher.' Upon which 
opinion I reflected, and still reflect, that the mathema- 
ticians must be a singularly happy race, seeing that 
they alone of men are competent to think about the 
facts of the cosmos. And this reflection becomes 
still more startling when supplemented by another, 
viz. that although one may not know any mathema- 
tics, everybody knows what mathematics are : they 
are the sciences of number and measurement, and as 
such, one is at a loss to perceive why they should be 
so essentially necessary to enable a man to think 
fairly and well upon other subjects. But it is, as you 
once said, that when a man is to be killed by the 
sword mathematical, he must not have the satisfac- 


tion of even knowing how he is killed. Of course, in 
a general way I quite understand and agree witl 

that Spencer has done but little service to 

science. But I believe that he has done great 
service to thinking, and all the mathematicians in the 
world would not convince me to the contrary, even 
though they should all deliver their judgment with 
the magnificent authority of a . 

Coming now to the diagram, I am much obliged 
to you for your suggestions. The ' Descent of Man,' 
with all its references upon the subject, and also 
your paper on the ' Baby,' were read, and the results 
embodied in the diagram, so I am very glad you did 
not take the needless trouble of consulting these 
works. By ' Love ' I intend to denote the complex 
emotion (dependent on the representative faculties) 
which, having been so lately smitten myself, I am 
perhaps inclined to place in too exalted a position. 
But you did not observe that I placed ' Parental Affec- 
tion ' and ' Social Feeling ' very much lower down. 

In my essay I carefully explain the two cases 
of Drosera and Dionaea as being the best hitherto 
observed for my purpose in establishing the prin- 
ciple of discrimination among stimuli, as a principle 
displayed by non-nervous tissues. 

April 22, 1880. 

As soon as I received your first intimation about 
Schneider's book I wrote over for it, and received a 
copy some weeks ago. I then lent it to Sully, who 
wanted to read it, so do not yet know what it is 
worth. I, together with my wife — who reads French 


much more quickly than I can — am now engaged 
upon all the French books on animal intelligence 
which you kindly lent me. I am also preparing for 
my Eoyal Institution lecture on the 7th of May. I 
will afterwards publish it in some of the magazines, 
and, last of all, in an expanded and more detailed 
form, it will go into my book on Animal Intelligence. 

I went to see the other day on Spiritualism. 

He answered privately a letter that I wrote to 
'Nature,' signed 'F.B.S.,' which was a feeler for 
some material to investigate. I had never spoken 

to before, but although I passed a very 

pleasant afternoon with him, I did not learn any- 
thing new about Spiritualism. He seemed to me to 
have the faculty of deglutition too well developed. 
Thus, for instance, he seemed rather queer on the 
subject of astrology ! and when I asked whether he 
thought it worthy of common sense to imagine that, 
spirits or no spirits, the conjunctions of planets could 
exercise any causative influence on the destinies of 
children born under them, he answered that having 
already ' swallowed so much,' he did not know where 
to stop ! ! 

My wife and baby are both flourishing. I noticed 
that the latter, at four days old, could always tell 
which hand I touched, inclining its head towards 
that hand. 

From G. Darwin to G. J. 'Romanes. 

September 14, 1880. 

We send you our best thanks for your magnificent 
present of game. I have not tasted black-game for 


nearly half a century, when I killed some on my 
father-in-law's land in Staffordshire. 

I hope that you are well and strong and do not 
give up all your time to shooting. Pray tell Mrs. 
Eomanes, if you turn idle, I shall say it is her fault, 
and being an old man, shall scold her. But you 
have done too splendid work to turn idle, so I need 
not fear, and shall never have audaciously to scold 
Mrs. Eomanes. But I am writing great rubbish. 
You refer to some Zoological station on your coast, 
and I now remember seeing something about it, and 
that more money was wanted for apparatus, there- 
fore I send a cheque of 51. 5s. just to show my 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

We went to the Lakes for three weeks to Conis- 
ton, and the scenery gave me more pleasure than I 
thought my soul, or whatever remains of it, was 
capable of feeling. We saw Buskin several times, 
and he was uncommonly pleasant. 

To C. Darwin, Esq. 

November 5, 1880. 

I was sorry to hear on my return from Scotland 
that I had missed the pleasure of a call from you, 
and also to hear from Mr. Teesdale to-day that you 
had returned to Down, owing, he fears, to the alarm- 
ing condition of Miss Wedgwood. I trust, however, 
that her state of health may not be so serious as he 


On my way South I stayed for a couple of days 
at Newcastle, to give two lectures on Mental Evolu- 
tion, and hence my absence when you called. I 
stayed with Mr. Newall, who has the monster tele- 
scope, and ' as good luck would have it, Providence 
was on my side,' in the matter of giving us a clear 
sky for observing, rather a rare thing at Newcastle. 

You will be glad to hear that our season's work 
at the ' Zoological station ' has been very successful. 
A really interesting research has been conducted by 
Ewart and myself jointly on the locomotor system of 
Echinoderms, he taking the morphological and I the 
physiological part. When next I see you I shall tell 
you the principal points, but to do so in a letter 
would be tedious. 

I think it is probable that Mivart and I shall 
have a magazine battle some day on Mental Evolu- 
tion, as I think it is better to draw him in this way 
before finally discussing the whole subject in my 

18 Cornwall Terrace : November 13, 1880. 

I am grieved to hear from Mr. Teesdale that his 
fears were only too well founded. Although I had 
not myself the privilege of Miss "Wedgwood's ac- 
quaintance, I know, from what I have been told by 
those who had, how greatly your household must feel 
her loss. 

I should not, however, have written only to trouble 
you with expressions of sympathy. I desire to ask 
you one or two questions with reference to an article 
on Hybridism which I have written for the ' Ency- 
clopaedia Britannica,' and the corrected proof of which 


I send. It is in chief part an epitome of your own 
chapters upon the subject, and therefore you need not 
trouble to read the whole, unless you care to see 
whether I have been sufficiently clear and accurate. 
But there are two points on which I should like to 
have your opinion, both for my own benefit and for 
that of my readers. First, I think it is desirable to 
append a list of the more important works bearing 
upon the subject, and if I make such a list I should 
not like to trust to my own information, lest I should 
do unwitting injustice to some observing writers. If, 
therefore, you could, without taking any special trouble, 
jot down from memory the works you think most 
deserving of mention, I think it would be of benefit 
to the reading public. 

From G. Darwin, Esq. 

Down : November 14, 1880. 

My dear Eomanes, — Many thanks for your kind 
sympathy. My wife's sister was, I fully believe, as 
good and generous a woman as ever walked this 

The proof-sheets have not arrived, but probably 
will to-morrow. I shall like to read them, though 
I may not be able to do so very quickly, as I am 
bothered with a heap of little jobs which must be done. 
I will send by to-day's post a large book by Focke, 
received a week or two ago, on Hybrids, and which I 
have not had time to look at, but which I see in 
Table of Contents includes full history of subject and 
much else besides. It will aid you far better than I 


can ; for I have now been so long attending to other 
subjects, and with old age, I fear I could make no 
suggestions worth anything. Formerly I knew the 
subject well. 

Kolreuter, Gartner, and Herbert are certainly far 
the most trustworthy authorities. There was also a 
German, whose name I mention in ' Origin,' who 
wrote on Hybrid Willows. Naudin, who is often 
quoted, I have much less confidence in. By the way, 
Nageli (whom many think the greatest botanist in 
Germany) wrote a few years ago on Hybridism ; I 
cannot remember title, but I will hunt for it if you 
wish. The title will be sure to be in Focke. 

I quite agree with what you say about Passiflora. 
Herbert observed an analogous case in Crinum, 

November 15, 1880. 

I have just read your article. As far as my judg- 
ment goes it is excellent and could not be improved. 
You have skimmed the cream off the whole subject. 
It is also very clear. One or two sentences near the 
beginning seem rather too strong, as I have marked 
with pencil, without attending to style. I have made 
one or two small suggestions. If you can find my 
account in ' Nature ' (last summer I think) ] about 
the hybrid Chinese geese [being fertile] inter se, it 
would be worth adding, and would require only two 
or three lines. I do not suppose you wish to add, 
but in my paper on Lythrum, and I think requoted 
in 'Var. under Dom.' vol. ii. 2nd edit, bottom of 

1 See Nature, vol. xxi. p. 207. 


page 167, I have a good sentence about a man 
finding two vars. of Lythrum, and testing them by 
fertility, and coming to egregiously wrong conclu- 

I think your idea of reference to best books and 
short history of subject good. By the way, you have 
made me quite proud of my chapter on Hybridism, I 
had utterly forgotten how good it appears when dressed 
up in your article. Yours very sincerely, 

Chaeles Daewin. 

I have had a hunt and found my little article on 
Geese, which please hereafter return. 

To G. Darwin, Esq. 

18 Cornwall Terrace : November 18, 18S0. 

Very many thanks for your kind assistance and 
expressions of approval. It was stupid of me to for- 
get your article in ' Nature ' about the geese. I now 
quite well remember reading it when it came out. 

Focke's book is just the very thing I wanted, as 
it supplies such a complete history of the subject. If 
I do not hear from you again, I shall keep it for a 
few days to refer to when the proof which I have 
sent to press shall be returned with my historical 
sketch added. 

I have now nearly finished my paper on the 
physiology of the locomotor system in Echinoderms. 
The most important result in it is the proof, both 
morphological and physiological, of a nervous plexus, 
external to everything, which in Echinus serves 


to co-ordinate spines, feet, and pedicellariae in a 
wonderful manner. By the way, I remember once 
talking with you about the function of the latter, 
and thinking it mysterious. There is no doubt now 
that this function is to seize bits of seaweed, and 
hold them steady till the sucking feet have time to 
establish their adhesions, so assisting locomotion of 
animal when crawling about seaweed-covered rocks. 

From G. J. Romanes to C. Darwin, Esq. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W. : December 10, 1880. 

I return by this post the book on Hybridism, 
with many thanks. It has been of great use to me 
in giving an abstract of the history. 

I have read your own book with an amount of 
pleasure that I cannot express. 

One idea occurred to me with reference to lumi- 
nous stimulation, which, if it has not already occurred 
to you, would be well worth trying. The suggestion 
suggests itself. How about the period of latent stimu- 
lation in these non-nervous and yet irritable tissues ? 
And especially with reference to luminous stimulation 
it would be most interesting to ascertain whether the 
tissues are affected by brief flashes of light. If you 
had an apparatus to give bright electrical sparks in a 
dark room, and were to expose one of your plants to 
flashes of timed intervals between each other, you 
might ascertain, first, whether any number of sparks 
in any length of time would affect the plants at all ; 
and second, if so, what number in a given time. I 
should not wonder (from some of my experiments on 


Medusae, see ' Phil. Trans.' vol. clxvii. pt. ii. pp. 683-4) 
if it would turn out that a continuous uninterrupted 
series of sparks, however bright, would produce no 
effect at all, owing to the plant tissues being too slug- 
gish to admit of being affected by a succession of 
stimuli each of such brief duration. But if any effect 
were produced, it would still be interesting to make 
out whether this interrupted source of flashing light 
were considerably less effective than a continuous 
source of the same intensity. 

Very sincerely and most respectfully yours, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

Linnean Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W. : 

December 14, 1880. 

My dear Mr. Darwin, — I am glad that you think 
the experiment worth trying. As you say you have 
not got the requisite apparatus for trying it, I have 
written to Professor Tyndall to see if he would allow 
it to be carried through at the Royal Institution. 

If I had known you were in town I should have 
called to tell you about the Echinoderms. My paper 
on them is now written (70 pages), so I have begun 
to come here (Burlington House) to read up syste- 
matically all the literature I can find on animal 
intelligence. Hence it is that, having left your letter 
at home, and not remembering the address upon it, I 
have to send this answer to Down. 

is a lunatic beneath all contempt — an 

object of pity were it not for his vein of malice. 
Very sincerely and most respectfully yours, 

Geo. J. Romanes. 


18 Cornwall Terrace, Eegent'e Park, N.W. : December 17, 1880. 

My dear Mr. Darwin, — Just a line to let you 
know that Professor Tyndall has kindly placed at my 
disposal the apparatus required to conduct the ex- 
periment with flashing light. 

Frank's papers at the Linnean were, as you will 
probably have heard from other sources, a most 
brilliant success, as not only was the attendance 
enormously large and the interest great, but his ex- 
position was a masterpiece of scientific reasoning, 
rendered with a choice and fluency of language that 
were really charming. I knew, of course, that he is 
a very clever fellow, but I did not know that he could 
do that sort of thing so well. 

I have now got a monkey. Sclater let me 
choose one from the Zoo, and it is a very intelligent, 
affectionate little animal. I wanted to keep it in the 
nursery for purposes of comparison, but the proposal 
met with so much opposition that I had to give way. 
I am afraid to suggest the idiot, lest I should be told 
to occupy the nursery myself. 

Very sincerely and most respectfully yours, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

Down, Beckenham, Kent : January 24. 

My dear Eomanes, — I have been thinking about 
Pompilius and its allies. Please take the trouble to 
read on ' Perforation of the Corolla by Bees,' p. 425 of 
my Cross Fertilisation to end of chapter. Bees show 
so much intelligence in their acts, that it seems not 
improbable to me that the progenitors of Pompilius 


originally stung caterpillars and spiders, &c, in any 
part of their bodies, and then observed by their in- 
telligence that if they stung them in one particular 
place, as between certain segments on the lower side, 
their prey was at once paralysed. It does not seem 
to me at all incredible that this action should thus 
become instinctive, i.e. memory transmitted from one 
generation to another. It does not seem necessary 
to suppose that when Pompilius stung its prey in the 
ganglion that it intended or knew that the prey would 
long keep alive. The development of the larvas may 
have been subsequently modified in relation to their 
half-dead instead of wholly dead prey, supposing 
that the prey was at first quite killed, which would 
have required much stinging. Turn this notion 
over in your mind, but do not trouble yourself by 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Dakwin. 

N.B. Once on a time a fool said to himself 
that at an ancient period small soft crabs or other 
creatures stuck to certain fishes ; these struggled 
violently, and in doing so, discharged electricity, 
which annoyed the parasites, so that they often 
wriggled away. The fish was very glad, and some 
of its children gradually profited in a higher degree 
and in various ways by discharging more electricity 
and by not struggling. The fool who thought thus 
persuaded another fool to try an eel in Scotland, and 
lo and behold electricity was discharged when it 
struggled violently. He then placed in contact with 


the fish, or near it, a small medusa or other animal 
which he cleverly knew was sensitive to electricity, 
and when the eel struggled violently, the little animals 
in contact showed by their movements that they felt 
a slight shock. Ever afterwards men said that the 
two fools were not such big fools as they seemed 

' Stultus. 

From G. J. 'Romanes to G. Darwin. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Eegent's Park, N.W. : Sunday, March 1881. 

I have got a lot of cats waiting for me at different 
houses round Wimbledon Common, and some day 
next week shall surprise our coachman by making a 
round of calls upon the cats, drive them several miles 
into the country, and then let them out of their re- 
spective bags. If any return, I shall try them again 
in other directions before finally trying the rotation 

I am also getting the experiment on flashing light 
agoing. The first apparatus did not answer, so now 
I have invested in a large eight-day clock, the pen- 
dulum of which I intend to make do the flashing. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Eegent's Park, N.W. : March 24, 1881. 

I write to ask you what you think of the following 
idea as to a possible method of attacking Pangenesis. 
Why not, I mean, inarch, at an early period of their 
growth, the seed-vessels or ovaries of plants belong- 
ing to different varieties ? If adhesion takes place, 
the ovary might then be severed from its parent 
plant, and left to develop upon the foreign one. 

1881 PANGENESIS 113 

If you think this a possible experiment, now 
would be the time of year to try it. Therefore I write 
to ask whether you do think it possible, and if so, what 
plants you may think it would be best to try it with. 
• All the cats * I have hitherto let out of their 
respective bags have shown themselves exceedingly 
stupid, not one having found her way back. 

Yery sincerely and most respectfully yours, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

From C. Darwin, Esq., to G. J. 'Romanes. 

Down, Beckenharn, Kent : March 26, 1881. 

You are very plucky about Pangenesis, and I 
much wish that you could have any success. I do 
not understand your scheme. Do you intend to 
operate on an ovarium with a single ovule, and to 
bisect it after being fertilised? I should fear that 
this was quite hopeless. If you intend to operate on 
ovaria with many seeds, whether before or after 
fertilisation, I do not see how you could possibly 
distinguish any effect from the union of the two 
ovaria. Any operation before fertilisation would, I 
presume, quite prevent the act ; for very few flowers 
can be fertilised if the stem is cut and placed in 
water. Gartner, however, says, that some Liliaceas 
can be fertilised under these circumstances. 

If Hooker is correct, he found that cutting off or 

1 Mr. Eomanes used to describe with much amusement the ludicrous 
nature of the experiment as seen by passers-by. He drove in a cab well 
into the country, released the cats, and mounted the roof of the cab in 
order to get a good view of the cats speeding away in different directions. 



making a hole into the summit of the ovarium and 
then inserting pollen caused the fertilisation of the 
ovules. This has always stretched my belief to the 
cracking point. I think he has published a notice 
on this experiment, but forget where, and I think it 
was on ' Papaver.' Dyer could probably tell you 
about it. Perhaps your plan is to remove one half of 
the ovarium of a one-seeded plant and join it on to 
the ovary of another of a distinct var., with its ovule 
removed; but this would be a frightfully difficult 

I am very sorry to hear about your ill success 
with cats, and I wish you could get some detailed 
account of the Belgium trials. 

Yours very sincerely, 

C. Darwin. 

April 16, 1881. 

My manuscript on Worms has been sent to 
printers, so I am going to amuse myself by scribbling 
to you on a few points ; but you must not waste 
your time in answering at any length this scribble. 
Firstly, your letter on intelligence was very useful 
to me, and I tore up and rewrote what I sent you. 
I have not attempted to define intelligence, but have 
quoted your remarks on experience, and have shown 
how far they apply to worms. It seems to me, that 
they must be said to work with some intelligence, 
anyhow, they are not guided by a blind instinct. 

Secondly, I was greatly interested by the abstract 
in ' Nature ' of your work on Echinoderms ; the com- 
plexity, with simplicity, and with such curious co- 

mm DR. EOUX'S BOOK 115 

ordination of the nervous system, is marvellous ; and 
you showed me before what splendid gymnastic feats 
they can perform. 

Thirdly, Dr. Eoux has sent me a book just 
published by him, ' Der Kampf der Theile,' &c, 
1881 (240 pages in length). He is manifestly a well- 
read physiologist and pathologist, and from his 
position a good anatomist. It is full of reasoning, 
and this in German is very difficult to me, so that 
I have only skimmed through each page, here and 
there reading with a little more care. As far as I 
can imperfectly judge, it is the most important book 
on evolution which has appeared for some time. I 
believe that Gr. H. Lewes hinted at the same funda- 
mental idea, viz. that there is a struggle going on 
within every organism between the organic molecules, 
the cells, and the organs. I think that his basis is 
that every cell which best performs its function is as 
a consequence at the same time best nourished and 
best propagates its kind. The book does not touch on 
mental phenomena, but there is much discussion on 
rudimentary or atrophied parts, to which subject you 
formerly attended. Now if you would like to read this 
book, I will send it after Frank has glanced at it, for 
I do not think he will have time to read it with care. 
If you read it and are struck with it (but I may be 
wholly mistaken about its value), you would do a 
public service by analysing and criticising it in 
'Nature.' Dr. Eoux makes, I think, a gigantic over- 
sight in never considering plants ; these would 
simplify the problem for him. 

Fourthly, I do not know whether you will discuss 

i 2 


in your book on the ' Mind of Animals ' any of the 
more complex and wonderful instincts. It is un- 
satisfactory work, as there can be no fossilised in- 
stincts, and the sole guide is their state in other 
members of the same order and mere probability. But 
if you do discuss any (and it will perhaps be expected 
of you) I should think that you could not select a better 
case than that of the sand-wasps, which paralyse their 
prey, as formerly described by Fabre in his wonderful 
paper in ' Annales des Sciences,' and since amplified 
in his admirable ' Souvenirs.' Whilst reading this 
latter book, I speculated a little on the subject. 
Astonishing nonsense is often spoken of the sand- 
wasp's knowledge of anatomy. Now will anyone say 
that the Gauchos on the plains of La Plata have 
such knowledge, yet I have often seen them prick a 
struggling and lassoed cow on the ground with un- 
erring skill, which no mere anatomist could imitate. 
The pointed knife was infallibly driven in between 
the vertebras by a single slight thrust. I presume 
that the art was first discovered by chance, and that 
each young Gaucho sees exactly how the others do 
it, and then with a very little practice learning 
the art. Now I suppose that the sand-wasps 
originally merely killed their prey by stinging them 
in many places (see p. 129 of Fabre, ' Souvenirs,' and 
page 241), on the lower and softer side of the body, 
and that to sting a certain segment was found by far 
the most successful method, and was inherited, like 
the tendency of a bull-dog to pin the nose of a bull, 
or of a ferret to bite the cerebellum. It would not be 
a very great step in advance to prick the ganglion of 


its prey only slightly, and thus to give its larvae fresh 
meat instead of old dry meat. Though Fabre insists 
so strongly on the unvarying character of instinct, 
yet it shows that there is some variability, as on 
pp. 176, 177. 

I fear that I shall have utterly wearied you with 
my scribbling and bad handwriting. 
My dear Komanes, 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Daewin. 

From G. J. Bomanes to G. Darwin, Esq. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Begent's Park, N.W. : April 17, 1881. 

Your long letter has been most refreshing to me 
in every way. 

I am looking forward with keen interest to the 
appearance of your book on Worms, and am unex- 
pectedly glad to hear that my letter was of any use. 

I should very much like to see the book you 
mention, and from what you say about sending 
it I shall not order it. But there is no need to send 
it soon, as I have already an accumulation of books 
to review for ' Nature.' 

I am very glad that you think well of the Echino- 
derm work. Several other experiments have occurred 
to me to try, and I hope to be able to do so next 
autumn, as also the interesting experiment suggested 
by Frank of rotating by clockwork (as you did the 
plants) an Echinus inverted upon its aboral pole, to 
see whether it would right itself when the influence 
of gravity is removed. 


No doubt I must in my second book deal with 
instincts of all kinds, complex or otherwise. Your 
' speculations ' on the sand- wasp seem to me very 
pithy — excuse the pun suggested by the analogy of 
the cattle — and I think there can be little doubt that 
such is the direction in which the explanation is to 
be sought. I also think that the difficulty is mitigated 
by the consideration that both the ganglion of the 
spider and the sting of the wasp are organs situated 
on the median line of their respective possessors, and 
therefore that the origin of the instinct may have been 
determined or assisted by the mere anatomical form 
of the animals — the wasp not stinging till securely 
mounted on the spider's back, and when so mounted 
the sting might naturally strike the ganglion. But 
I have not yet read Fabre's own account, so this 
view may not hold. Anyhow, and whatever de- 
termining conditions as to origin may have been, it 
seems to me there can be little doubt that natural 
selection would have developed it in the way you 

I have now grown a number of seeds exposed to 
the flashing light, but am not yet quite sure as to the 
result. About one seedling out of ten bends towards 
the flashing source very decidedly, while all the rest, 
although exposed to just the same conditions, grow 
perfectly straight. But I shall, no doubt, find out 
the reason of this by further trials. It is strange 
that the same thing happens when I expose other 
seedlings to constant light of exceedingly dim in- 
tensity. It looks as if some individuals were more 


sensitive to light than others. I do not know 
whether you found any evidence of this. 

I have just found that this year again I have 
been too late in asking them to send me cuttings of 
the vine for grafting. I did not know that the sap 
in vines began to run so early. 

I remain ever yours, very sincerely and most 
respectfully, Gm j EoMANES . 

From G. Darivin, Esq., to G. J. Bomanes. 

Down : April 18, 1881. 

I am extremely glad of your success with the 
flashing light. If plants are acted on by light, like 
some of the lower animals, there is an additional 
point of interest, as it seems to me, in your results. 
Most botanists believe that light causes a plant to 
bend to it in as direct a manner as light affects 
nitrate of silver. 

I believe that it merely tells the plant to which 
side to bend, and I see indications of this belief 
prevailing even with Sachs. Now it might be 
expected that light would act on a plant in some- 
thing the same manner as on the lower animals. As 
you are at work on this subject, I will call your 
attention to another point. Wiesner, of Vienna (who 
has lately published a good book on Heliotropism) 
finds that an intermittent light during 20 m. produces 
same effect as a continuous light of same brillianc}^ 
during 60 m. So that Van Tieghem, in the first part 
of his book, which has just appeared, remarks, the 
light during 40 m. out of the 60 m. produced no effect. 


I observed an analogous case described in my book. 
Wiesner and Tieghem seem to think that this is 
explained by calling the whole process ' induction,' 
borrowing a term used by some physico-chemists (of 
whom I believe Roscoe is one), and implying an 
agency which does not produce any effect for some 
time, and continues its effect for some time after the 
cause has ceased. I believe (?) that photographic 
paper is an instance. I must ask Leonard whether 
an interrupted light acts on it in the same manner 
as on a plant. At present I must still believe in my 
explanation that it is the contrast between light and 
darkness which excites a plant. 

I have forgotten my main object in writing, viz. 
to say that I believe (and have so stated) that seedlings 
vary much in their sensitiveness to light ; but I did 
not prove this, for there are many difficulties, whether 
time of incipient curvature or amount of curvature 
is taken as the criterion. Moreover, they vary 
according to age and perhaps from vigour of growth ; 
and there seems inherent variability, as Strasburger 
(whom I quote) found with spores. If the curious 
anomaly observed by you is due to varying sensitive- 
ness, ought not all the seedlings to bend if the flashes 
were at longer intervals of time ? According to my 
notion of contrast between light and darkness being 
the stimulus, I should expect that if flashes were 
made sufficiently slow it would be a powerful stimulus, 
and that you would suddenly arrive at a period when 
the result would suddenly become great. On the 
other hand, as far as my experience goes, what one 
expects rarely happens. 


I heartily wish you success, and remain, yours 

ever very sincerely, 

Ch. Darwin. 

Do you read the ' Times ' ? As I had a fair 
opportunity, I sent a letter to the ' Times ' on Vivi- 
section, which is printed to-day. I thought it fair to 
bear my share of the abuse poured in so atrocious a 
manner on all physiologists. 

From G. J. Bomanes to C. Darwin, Esq. 

18 Cornwall Terrace : April 22. 

I have left your last letter so long unanswered in 
order that I might be able to let you know the result 
of the next experiment I was trying on the seeds with 
flashing light. I think in the end the conclusion 
will be that short flashes, such as I am now using, 
influence the seedlings, but only to a comparatively 
small degree, so that it is only the more sensitive 
seedlings that perceive them. 

Your letter in the ' Times ' was in every way 
admirable, and coming from you will produce more 
effect than it could from anybody else. The answer 
to-day to is also first-rate — just enough with- 
out being too much. It would have been a great 
mistake to have descended into a controversy. I 

thought had more wit than to adopt such a 

tack and tone, and am sure that all physiologists will 
be for ever grateful to you for such a trenchant 
expression of opinion. 

I have a little piece of gossip to tell. Yesterday 


the Council of the Linnean nominated me Zoological 
Secretary, and some of the members having pressed 
me to accept, I have accepted. I also hear that your 
son is to be on the same Council, and that Sir 
John Lubbock is to be the new President. 

I have at length decided on the arrangement of 
my material for the books on Animal Intelligence 
and Mental Evolution. I shall reserve all the heavier 
parts of theoretical discussion for the second book — 
making the first the chief repository of facts, with 
only a slender network of theory to bind them into 
mutual relation, and save the book as much as 
possible from the danger that you suggested of being 
too much matter-of-fact. It will be an advantage to 
have the facts in a form to admit of brief reference 
when discussing the heavier philosophy in the second 
book, which will be the more important, though the 
less popular, of the two. 

Just then some correspondence had been going 
on in the ' Times ' on the subject of Vivisection, and 
Mr. Darwin wrote to Mr. Eomanes as follows : — 

Down, Beckenham, Kent : April 25, 1881. 

My dear Eomanes, — I was very glad to read your 
last notes with much news interesting to me. But I 
write now to say how I, and indeed all of us in the 
house, have admired your letter in the ' Times.' 1 It 
was so simple and direct. I was particularly glad 
about Burdon Sanderson, of whom I have been for 
several years a great admirer. I was, also, especi- 

1 A letter written at the end of April 1881. 


ally glad to read the last sentences. I have been 
bothered with several letters, but none abusive. 
Under a selfish point of view I am very glad of the 
publication of your letter, as I was at first inclined to 
think that I had done mischief by stirring up the 
mud, now I feel sure that I have done good 

The following letters relate to the portrait of 
Mr. Darwin which was painted by the Hon. John 
Collier for the Linnean Society. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Eegent's Park, N.W. : May 25. 

My dear Mr. Darwin, — When at the Linnean this 

afternoon, I was told by Dr. M that he had 

obtained your consent to sit for a portrait for the 
Society. Now, as it appears to me a great favour to 
ask of you to sit for yet another portrait, the least we 
can do, if you consent, is to employ a thoroughly 
good man to paint it. Therefore, if you have not 
already entered into any definite agreement, I write 
to suggest a little delay (say of a month), when, as 
Secretary, I might ascertain the amount of the sub- 
scription on which we might rely, and arrange matters 
accordingly. John Collier (Huxley's son-in-law) told 
me some time ago that he would dearly like to have 
you to paint, and I doubt not that he would do it 
at less than his ordinary charges if necessary. He 
would be sure to do the work well, and so I write to 
ascertain whether you would not prefer him, or some 
other artist of known ability, to do the work, if I 
were to undertake to provide the needful. 

Please give to Mrs. Darwin, and take to yourself, 


our best thanks for your kind congratulations on the 
opportune arrival of another baby — just in time to be 
worked into the book on Mental Evolution. Every- 
thing is going well. 

Very sincerely and most respectfully yours, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

To C. Darwin, Esq. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Eegent's Park, N.W. : July 1. 

I have told Collier that he had now better write 
to you direct at whatever time he intends to make his 
final arrangements with you as to place and time of 
sitting. He has just finished a portrait of me, which 
my mother had painted as a present to my wife. It 
is exceedingly good, and as all his recent portraits are 
the same — notably one of Huxley — I am very glad 
that he is to paint you. Besides, he is such a 
pleasant man to talk to, that the sittings are not so 
tedious as they would be with a less intelligent 

I shall certainly read the ' Creed of Science ' as 
soon as I can. The German book on Evolution I 
have not yet looked at, as I have been giving all my 
time to my own book. This is now finished. But 
talking of my time, I do not see how the two or three 
hours which I have spent in arranging to have a 
portrait, which will be of so much historical im- 
portance, taken by a competent artist, could well have 
been better employed. 

You will see that I have got into a row with 
Carpenter over the thought-reading. Everybody 


thinks he made a mistake in lending himself to 
Bishop's design of posing as a scientific wonder. 
Bishop is a very sly dog, and has played his cards 
passing well. In an article which he published two 
years ago in an American newspaper, he explains the 
philosophy of advertising, and says the first thing to 
attend to is to catch good names. He has now suc- 
ceeded well. 

Very sincerely and most respectfully yours, 

Geo. J. Bomanes. 

Down : August 7. 

My dear Bomanes, — I received yesterday the en- 
closed notice, and I send it to you, as I have thought 
that if you notice Dr. Boux's book in 'Nature' or 
elsewhere the review might possibly be of use to you. 
As far as I can judge the book ought to be brought 
before English naturalists. You will have heard from 
Collier that he has finished my picture. All my 
family who have seen it think it the best likeness 
which has been taken of me, and, as far as I can judge, 
this seems true. Collier was the most considerate, 
kind, and pleasant painter a sitter could desire. 
My dear Bomanes, 

Yours very sincerely, 

Ch. Daewin. 

To C. Darwin, Esq. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Eegent's Park, N.W. : August 8, 1881. 

Many thanks for the notice of Boux's book. I 
have not yet looked at the latter, but Preyer, of Jena 


(who has been our guest during the Congress meeting, 1 
and who knows the author), does not think much of it. 

I am delighted that the portrait has pleased those 
who are the best judges. I saw it the day it came 
up, and feel no doubt at all that it is far and away the 
best of the three. But I did not like to write and 
venture this opinion till I knew what you all thought 
of it. 

I have been very busy this past week with the 
affairs of the Congress in relation to Vivisection. It 
has been resolved by the Physiological Section to get 
a vote of the whole Congress upon the subject, and I 
had to prepare the resolution and get the signatures 
of all the vice-presidents of the Congress, presidents 
and vice-presidents of sections, and to arrange for its 
being put to the vote of the whole Congress at its 
last general meeting to-morrow. The only refusal 
to sign came appropriately enough from the president 
of the section ' Mental Diseases.' 

We leave for Scotland to-morrow, when I shall 
hope to get time to read Eoux's book, though I shall 
first review ' The Student's Darwin.' 

I remain, very sincerely and most respectfully 

' Geo. J. Komanes. 

The following letters relate to the burning question 
of Vivisection : — 

Garvock, Perthshire : August 31, 1881. 

My dear Mr. Darwin, — It is not often that I write 
to dun you, and I am sorry that duty should now 

1 International Medical Congress. 


impose on me the task of doing so, but I have no 
alternative, as you shall immediately see. 

The Physiological Society was formed, as you may 
remember, for the purpose of obtaining combined 
action among physiologists on the subject of Vivi- 
section. The result in the first instance was to 
resolve on a tentative policy of silence, with the view 
of seeing whether the agitation would not burn itself 
out. It is now thought that this policy has been 
tried sufficiently long, and that we are losing ground 
by continuing it. After much deliberation, there- 
fore, the society has resolved to speak out upon the 
subject, and the ' Nineteenth Century ' has been in- 
volved as the medium of publication. Arrangements 
have been made with Knowles for a symposium-like 
series of short essays by all the leaders of biology and 
medicine in this country — each to write on a branch 
of the subject chosen by himself or allotted to him by 
the society. In this matter of organising the con- 
tributions, the society is to be represented by Dr. Pye 
Smith, who combines science, medicine, and literary 
culture better than any other member of our body. 

As secretary I am directed to write to all the men 
whose names are mentioned in a resolution passed by 
the society in accordance with the report of a com- 
mittee appointed by the society to consider the sub- 
ject. Hence these tears. 

Of course, your name in this matter is one of the 
most important, and as the idea is to get a body of 
great names, it would be a disappointment of no small 
magnitude if yours should fail. It does not matter 
so much that you should write a long dissertation, so 


long as you allow yourself to stand among this noble 
army of martyrs. Two or three pages of the ' Nine- 
teenth Century ' on one, say, of the following topics 
would be all that we should want : — 

' The limits and safeguards desirable in carrying 
on scientific experiments on animals.' 

' Mistaken humanity of the agitation : real 
humanity of vivisection.' 

' The Eoyal Commission and its report.' 

Or any other topic connected with Vivisection on 
which you may feel the spirit most to move you to 

Any further information that you may desire I 
shall be happy to give ; but please remember how 
much your assistance is desired. 

This is a very delightful place, though not very 
conducive to work. If any of your sons are in Scot- 
land and should care for a few days' sport with other 
scientific men on the spree, please tell them that they 
will find open house and welcome here. 

The proofs of my book on Animal Intelligence 
are coming in. I hope your work on Worms will 
be out in time for me to mention it and its main 

Ewart has pitched his zoological laboratory at 
Oban, so as to be as near this as possible. I shall go 
down when I can to keep his pot of sea-eggs upon 
the boil. 

I remain, very sincerely and most respectfully 

Geo. J. Komanes. 


Down, Beckenham, Kent : September 2, 1881. 

My dear Eomanes, — Your letter has perplexed me 
beyond all measure. I fully recognise the duty of 
everyone, whose opinion is worth anything, expressing 
his opinion publicly on vivisection, and this made me 
send my letter to the ' Times.' I have been thinking 
at intervals all morning what I could say, and it is the 
simple truth that I have nothing worth saying. You, 
and men like you, whose ideas flow freely, and who can 
express them easily, cannot understand the state of 
mental paralysis in which I find myself. What is most 
wanted is a careful and accurate attempt to show what 
physiology has already done for man, and even still 
more strongly what there is every reason to believe it 
will hereafter do. Now I am absolutely incapable of 
doing this, or of discussing the other points suggested 
by you. 

If you wish for my name (and I should be glad 
that it should appear with that of others in the same 
cause), could you not quote some sentence from my 
letter in the ' Times,' which I inclose, but please return 
it ? If you thought fit you might say that you quoted 
it with my approval, and that, after still further re- 
flection, I still abide most strongly in my expressed 
conviction. For Heaven's sake, do think of this ; I 
do not grudge the labour and thought, but I could 
write nothing worth anyone's reading. 

Allow me to demur to your calling your conjoint 
article a ' symposium,' strictly a ' drinking-party ; ' 
this seems to me very bad taste, and I do hope every- 
one of you will avoid any semblance of a joke on the 



subject. I know that words like a joke on this sub- 
ject have quite disgusted some persons not at all 
inimical to physiology. One person lamented to me 
that Mr. Simon, in his truly admirable address at the 
Medical Congress (by far the best thing which I have 
read), spoke of the ' fantastic sensuality' 1 (or some such 
term) of the many mistaken, but honest men and 
women who are half mad on the subject. 

Do pray try and let me escape, and quote my letter, 
which in some respects is more valuable, as giving my 
independent judgment before the Medical Congress. 
I really cannot imagine what I could say. 

I will now turn to another subject : my little book 
on Worms has been long finished, but Murray was so 
strongly opposed to publishing it at the dead season, 
that I yielded. I have told the printers to send you 
a set of clean sheets, which you can afterwards have 
stitched together. There is hardly anything in it 
which can interest you. 

Two or three papers by Hermann Miiller have just 
appeared in ' Kosmos,' which seem to me interesting, as 
showing how soon, i.e. after how many attempts, bees 
learn how best to suck a new flower ; there is also a 
good and laudatory review of Dr. Koux. I could lend 
you ' Kosmos ' if you think fit. 

You will perhaps have seen that my poor dear 
brother Erasmus has just died, and he was buried 
yesterday here at Down. 

Garvock, Bridge of Earn, Perthshire : September 4. 

My dear Mr. Darwin, — I hasten to relieve your 
mind about writing on vivisection, as I am sure that 

1 See ' Life &c. of C. Darwin,' vol. iii. p. 210. 

1882 ON BEES 131 

none of the physiologists would desire you to do so if 
you feel it a bother. After all, there are plenty of other 
men to do the writing, and if some of them quote the 
marked sentences in your letter (which I return), with 
the statement that you still adhere to them, the chief 
thing will be done — viz. showing again and emphati- 
cally on which side you are. 

It is not intended to call the article a ' Symposium.' 
I only used this word to show that they are to 
be of the same composite kind as those which the 
* Nineteenth Century ' previously published under 
this designation. 

Your letter gives me the first news of your brother's 
death. I remember very well seeing him one day when 
I called on you at his house. It must make you very 
sad, and I am sorry to have written you at such a time. 

I have already sent in a short review of Eoux's 
book, but should like to see about the bees in ' Kosmos.' 
I am trying some experiments with bees here on way- 
finding ; but, contrary to my expectations, I find that 
most bees, when marked and liberated at one hundred 
yards from their hive, do not get back for along time. 
This fact makes it more difficult to test their mode of 
way-finding, as the faculty (whatever it is) does not 
seem to be certain. 

Many thanks for sending me the book on Worms 
so early. As yet I have only had time to look at 
the table of contents, which seems most interesting. 

Lockyer is staying here just now, and has given 
me the proofs of his book. It seems to me that he 
has quite carried the position as to the elements being 
products of development. 

K 2 


Down : October 14. 

My dear Komanes, — I have just read the splendid 
review of the Worm book in ' Nature.' I have been 
much pleased by it, but at the same time you so 
over-estimate the value of what I do, that you make 
me feel ashamed of myself, and wish to be worthy of 
such praise. I cannot think how you can endure to 
spend so much time over another's work, when you 
have yourself so much in hand ; I feel so worn out, 
that I do not suppose I shall ever again give re- 
viewers trouble. 

I hope that your opus magnum is progressing well, 
and when we meet later in the autumn I shall be 
anxious to hear about it. 

In a few days' time we are going to visit Horace 
in Cambridge for a week, to see if that will refresh me. 

Pray give my kind remembrances to Mrs. Komanes, 
and I hope you are all well. 

Garvock, Bridge of Earn, Perthshire : October 16, 1881. 

My dear Mr. Darwin, — If I did not know you so 
well, I should think that you are guilty of what our 
nurse calls ' mock modesty.' At least I know that if 
I, or anybody else, had written the book which I re- 
viewed, your judgment would have been the first to 
endorse all I have said. I never allow personal friend- 
ship to influence what I say in reviews ; and if I am 
so uniformly stupid as to ' over-estimate the value of 
all you do,' it is at any rate some consolation to know 
that my stupidity is so universally shared by all the 


men of my generation. But your letters are to me 
always psychological studies, and especially so when, 
as in this one, you seem without irony intentionally 
grim to refer to my work in juxtaposition with your 

The proof-sheets are coming in, and I suppose the 
book will be out in a month or two. I do not know 
why they are so slow in setting up the type. But, as 
I said once before, this book will not be so good (or 
so little bad) as the one that is to follow. 

Ewart and I have been working at the Echino- 
derms again, and at last have found the internal 
nervous plexus. Also tried poisons, and proved still 
further the locomotor function of the pedicellarise. 

I observed a curious thing about anemones. If 
a piece of food is placed in a pool or tank where a 
number are closed, in a few minutes they all expand : 
clearly they smell the food. 

I am deeply sorry to hear that you feel ' worn out,' 
but cannot imagine that the reviewers have done with 
you yet. 

The vivisection fight does not promise well. Like 
yourself, most of the champions do not like the idea. 


There are many other letters, but care has been 
taken only to select the most interesting. In 1881 
came the last visit to Down, full of brightness. 
Mr. Darwin was most particularly kind, and gave 
Mr. Bomanes some of his own MSS., including a paper 
on ' Instinct,' which is bound up with Mr. Bomanes' 
own book, ' Mental Evolution in Animals.' It trans- 
pired that Mr. Darwin was extremely fond of novels 


and had the most delightful way of offering his guests 
books to take to bed with them. In fact, Down was 
one of the few houses in which readable books adorned 
the guest-chambers. 

It came out on this occasion that Mr. Darwin had 
an especial love for the books written by the author 
of ' Mademoiselle Mori.' He offered one of his guests 
' Denise,' saying it was his favourite tale, or words to 
that effect. 

Down was indeed one of the most delightful of 
houses in which to stay, and that snowy January 
Sunday of 1881 was a very real red letter day. 

To Miss C. E. Romanes. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W. : July 24, 1881. 

My dearest Charlotte, — There have been no letters 
from you for two days, so I have nothing to answer. 

I did not write yesterday because we were spend- 
ing the day with Mr. Teesdale, in his house at Down, 
and did not get back again till past the post hour. 
We went over to pay a call upon Darwin. He and 
his wife were at home, and as kind and glad to see us 
as possible. The servant gave our names wrongly to 
them, and they thought we were a very old couple 
whom they know, called Norman. So old Darwin came 
in with a huge canister of snuff under his arm — old 
Norman being very partial to this luxury — and looked 
very much astonished at finding us. He was as 
grand and good and bright as ever. 

In to-day's ' Times' you will see a letter by 'F.E.S.' 
which is worth reading, as are all the productions of 
his able pen. 


I have been applied to by the Editor of the 
* Encyclopaedia Britannica ' to supply an article on 
'Instinct.' This I am writing. 

We are all quite well, except that I have had a 
cold, which is now going away. 

With united love to all, yours ever the same. 


One evening Mr. Romanes personally ' conducted ' 
Mr. Darwin to the Eoyal Institution to hear a lec- 
ture by Dr. Sanderson on ' Dionaea.' A burst of 
applause greeted Mr. Darwin's entrance, much to that 
great man's surprise. Earlier in the day he had half 
timidly asked Mr. Romanes if there would be room 
at the Royal Institution for him. 

In 1882 came the great sorrow of Mr. Darwin's 
death. The following letters show something of 
what the loss was to the ardent disciple, the loyal- 
hearted friend. 

To Francis Darwin, Esq. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Begent's Park, N.W. : April 22, 1882. 

My dear Darwin, — I did not write because I 
thought it might trouble you, but I sent some flowers 
yesterday which did not require acknowledgment. 

Even you, I do not think, can know all that this 
death means to me. I have long dreaded the time, 
and now that it has come it is worse than I could 
anticipate. Even the death of my own father — 
though I loved him deeply, and though it was more 
sudden, did not leave a desolation so terrible. Half 
the interest of my life seems to have gone when I 


cannot look forward any more to his dear voice of 
welcome, or to the letters that were my greatest hap- 
piness. For now there is no one to venerate, no one 
to work for, or to think about while working. I 
always knew that I was leaning on these feelings too 
much, but I could not try to prevent them, and so at 
last I am left with a loneliness that never can be 
filled. And when I think how grand and generous 
his kindness was to me, grief is no word for my loss. 

But I know that your grief is greater than mine, 
and that, like him, I should try to think of others 
before myself. And I do feel for you all very much 
indeed. But although I cannot endure to picture 
your house or your household as the scene of such a 
death, I can derive some consolation from the thought 
that he died as few men in the history of the world 
have died — knowing that he had finished a gigantic 
work, seeing how that work has transformed the 
thoughts of mankind, and foreseeing that his name 
must endure to the end of time among the very 
greatest of the human race. Very, very rare is such 
consolation as this in a house of mourning. 

I look forward to hearing more about the end 
when we meet. I feel it is very kind of you to have 
written to me so soon, and I hope you will convey 
our very sincere sympathy to Mrs. Darwin and the 
other members of your family. 

Yours ever sincerely, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

After ' Mr. Darwin's Life ' appeared, Mr. Eomanes 
writes : — 


To Francis Darwin, Esq. 

Geanies, Ross-shire, N.B. : November 21, 1887. 

Dear Darwin, — In this far-away place I have only 
to-day seen the ' Times ' review, and sent for the 
book. But from what the review says I can see that 
all the world has to thank you. Therefore I write at 
once to say how more than glad I feel that you have 
carried so great a work to so successful a termination. 
How glad you must be that the immense labour and 
anxiety of it all is over. Do not trouble to answer, 
but believe in the genuine congratulations of 
Yours very truly, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

November 26, 1887. 

I write again to thank you — this time for the pre- 
sentation copy of the Life and Letters. I had pre- 
viously got one, but am very glad to have the work 
in duplicate. It is indeed splendidly done. 

I send you the enclosed to post or not, as you think 

best. On reading 's letter yesterday it occurred 

to me that if any answer were required, it might be 
better for somebody other than yourself to supply it. 
But I do not know how you may think it best to 
treat this man, therefore post the letter or not, ac- 
cording to your judgment. 

Yours very sincerely, 

Geo. J. Bomanes. 

Geanies : December 1, 1887. 

I have now nearly finished the ' Life and Letters,' 
and cannot express my admiration of your work. 


What a mercy it is that you were so wonderfully 
qualified to do it. 

Yours ever indebtedly, 

Geo. J. Romanes. 

Mr. Romanes wrote one of the memorial notices 
in the little volume ' Charles Darwin,' published by 
Messrs. Macmillan. 

Thus closed a very significant and important 
chapter in his life. 

The relationship of disciple to master ceased for 
him, no one else exactly held the place Mr. Darwin 
had held, to no one else did he so constantly refer ; 
and dear as were other friends, notably Dr. Burdon 
Sanderson, no one stood in the position to Romanes 
of ' The Master.' 

There was no exaggeration in his expressions 
of grief, or in the verses in which he poured out his 
soul : — 

' I loved him with a strength of love ' 

Which man to man can only bear 
When one in station far above 

The rest of men, yet deigns to share 
A friendship true with those far down 

The ranks : as though a mighty king, 
Girt with his armies of renown, 

Should call within his narrow ring 
Of counsellors and chosen friends 

Some youth who scarce can understand 
How it began or how it ends 

That he should grasp the monarch's hand.* 

To all those to whom a great friendship has been 
given, a friendship, not on equal terms, but one in 
which the chief elements on one side have been 
reverence and gratitude, on the other affectionate 

1 Charles Darivin : a memorial poem. 

1887 POEM ON ME. DAEWIN 133 

approval and esteem, to all such fortunate souls 
these letters and verses will appeal. For it is no 
small matter in a man's life that he should have had 
a passionate friendship for a great man, a real leader ; 
and it is a still greater matter that the younger man 
should have found his confidence, his devotion, his 
reverence worthily bestowed. 

To Francis Damvin, Esq. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Eegent's Park, N.W. : January 13, 1885. 

Dear Darwin, — I will think over the conversations 
and write you again whether there is anything that 
would do for publishing. 

Meanwhile I send for your perusal some verses 
which I have written at odds and ends of time since 
he died. This was only done for my own gratifica- 
tion, and without any view to publishing. But having 
recently had them put together and copied out, I 
have sent them to two or three of the best poetical 
critics for their opinion upon the literary merits of the 
poem as a whole. The result of this has been more 
satisfactory than I anticipated ; and as one of them 
suggests that I should offer the verses as an 
addendum to the biography, I act upon the coinci- 
dence of receiving your letter and his at about the 
same time. 

It seems to me there are two things for you to 
consider : first, whether anything in the way of 
poetry, however good, is desirable ; and next, if so, 
whether this poetry is good enough for the occasion. 
The first question would be answered by your own 


feelings, and the second, I suppose, by submitting 
the verses to some good authority for an opinion — 
say one to whom I have not sent them. Only, if the 
matter were to go as far as this, I should like you to 
explain to the critic that as it stands the poem is only 
in the rough. If it were to be revised for publication 
I should spend a good deal of trouble over the process 
of polishing, and some of the lines expressive of pas- 
sionate grief would be altogether changed. 

In sending you the MS. I rely upon you not to 
let the authorship be known to anyone without first 
asking me, because, although I have published poetry 
already, 1 it has been anonymous, and I do not want 
it to be known that I have this propensity. And on 
this account, if these verses were to appear in the 
biography, it would require to be without my name, 
or headed in some such way as ' Memorial verses by 
a friend.' In this case I should modify any of the 
lines which might lead to the author being spotted. 

Should you decide against admitting them, I do 
not think that I should publish them anywhere else, 
because where such a personality is concerned, inde- 
pendent publication (without the occasion furnished 
by the appearance of a biography) might seem pre- 
sumptuous even on the part of an anonymous writer. 

Yesterday I received a letter from the Frenchman 
who translated my book on ' Mental Evolution,' ask- 
ing me to let him know whether he might apply for 
the translation of the biography. His name is De 
Yarigny, and he does some original work in verte- 

1 A few stray poems in magazines. 

1887 EEDE LECTUEE 141 

brate physiology. I think he has done my book very 

Yours ever sincerely, 


Can you suggest a subject for a Kede lecture 
which I have to give in May ? 





One may now for a short space turn away from the 
scientific side of Mr. Romanes' life and speak a little 
of other aspects. 

No one was ever a more incessant worker and 
thinker. If he went away for a short visit, his 
writing went too ; and if in Scotland wet weather 
interfered with shooting, he would sit down and write 
something, perhaps a poem, perhaps (as he once said 
playfully when condoled with on account of heavy 
rain and absence of books, ' I don't care, I'll write an 
essay on the freedom of the will ' ) an article for a 

A great deal of reviewing, chiefly in ' Nature,' 
filled up some of his time, and he also turned his 
attention more and more to poetry. 

In the postscript of a letter written in 1878 to 
Mr. Darwin he says : ' I am beginning to write 
poetry ! ' and poetry interested him more and more 
as years went on. Of this, more later. 

He much enjoyed society; he ceased to mingle 
exclusively with scientific and philosophical people, 
and as time went on he became acquainted with 
many of the notabilities of the day. And, as has been 

1890 HIS CHILDEEN 143 

said, it is impossible perhaps to exaggerate the out- 
ward pleasantness of those years. 

He was able to devote himself to his work ; he 
had an ever-increasing number of devoted friends 
both of men and women, and he was intensely happy 
in his home life. 

His children were a great and increasing interest 
to him, and he was an ideal father, tender, sym- 
pathetic, especially as infancy grew into childhood. 
He shared in all his children's interests, and lived 
with them on terms of absolute friendship, chaffing 
and being chaffed, enjoying an interchange of pet 
names and jokes, and yet exacting obedience and 
gentle manners, and never permitting them as small 
children to make themselves troublesome to visitors 
in any way, or to chatter freely at meals when guests 
were present. 

He had very strong feelings about the importance 
of making children familiar with the Bible. He used 
to say that as a mere matter of literary education 
everyone ought to be familiar with the Bible from 
beginning to end. He himself was exceedingly well 
versed in Holy Scripture. 

He also thought a good classical training very 
desirable for boys (and girls also), and had no 
very great belief in science being taught to any great 
extent during a boy's school career. Memory, he 
considered, ought to be cultivated in childhood, and 
he did not think that the reasoning powers ought to 
be much taxed in early years. He used to say that 
Euclid could be learnt much more easily if it were 
begun later in boyhood. He also much wished that 
foreign languages should be taught very early in life, 
and with little or no attention to grammar. 


Perhaps a few words of reminiscence from one of 
his children may not be unwelcome. 


I remember that when my father was particularly 
amused at anything, he used a certain gesture, which, 
according to the ' Life of Darwin,' 1 must have been 
precisely similar to that of Darwin, and was probably 
unconsciously copied by my father. He never used 
the gesture except when very much tickled at hearing 
some amusing story ; when the climax of the story 
was reached he would burst into a peal of hearty 
laughter, at the same time bringing his hand heavily 
but noiselessly down upon his knee or on the table 
near him. 

When we were at Geanies, our greatest delight 
was ' to go out shooting with father.' "We used to 
tramp for hours together over turnip and grass fields 
behind my father and the gamekeeper. We used to 
enjoy the expeditions so much better if our father 
was the only sportsman, for then we had him all to 
ourselves. We were very small then ; our ages were 
ten, nine, and six respectively, but we were good 
walkers and we never became tired. What little 
sunburnt, healthy, grubby children we were to be 
sure ! When Bango, the setter, pointed at a covey, 
we all had to stand quite still while our father walked 
forward towards the dog. Directly the covey rose 
we all ' ducked ' for safety. I shall never forget the 
joy and pride we felt when a bird fell, and we ran 

1 Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, by Francis Darwin, vol. i. p. iii. 


with shouts of triumph to pick it up. Then the 
delight of eating lunch under a hedge or in a wood ! 
That was a time of jokes and fun, and we talked as 
freely and unrestrainedly as we liked about all kinds 
of subjects. Then came some more tramping in the 
turnips, and we would journey homewards, a weary 
but very happy little party. The counting of the 
game would follow, and our pride was very great 
when the number of brace was high, for we felt that 
we had been helping our father to slay the partridges. 
In fact, we thought that Sandy, the gamekeeper, was 
a very useless personage when we went out, for did 
we not mark as well as, or better than, he did ? And 
surely we could carry the game bags ; they were not 
very heavy even when they were full to bursting ! 

There was something very beautiful in the respect 
and reverence which George Eomanes felt for children 
and for child-life, and a sonnet ' To my Children ' 
expresses these feelings : — 

* Of all the little ones whom I have known 

Ye are so much the fairest in my view — 

So much the sweetest and the dearest few — ■ 
That not because ye are my very own 
Do I behold a wonder that is shown 

Of loveliness diversified in you : 

It is because each nature as it grew 
Surpassed a world of joy already grown. 

If months bestow such purpose on the years, 
May not the years work out a greater plan ? 

Vast are the heights which form this ' vale of tears,' 
And though what lies beyond we may not scan, 

Thence came my little flock — strayed from their spheres, 
As lambs of God turned children into man.' 


As has been said, for music Mr. Eomanes had an 
absolute passion. A good concert of chamber or of 
orchestral music was absolute happiness to him, and 
he heard a great deal in these years. One or two of 
his friends were excellent musicians. To one of these 
he once wrote a sonnet, ' To a Member of the Bach 
Choir,' l and sent it to her in the form of a Christmas 
card, producing much pleasant mystification and 
laughter when it was discovered from whom the 
sonnet came. 

To Miss Paget 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park : December 27, 1887. 

Dear Miss Paget, — If my sonnet gave half as much 
pleasure as your note, I am sure we have both the 
best reasons to be glad. The letter was as much a 
surprise to me as the former was to you, because, far 
from seeing the ' ungraciousness ' of yesterday, even 
then I thought that my reward was much in excess 
of my deserving. But your further response of to- 
day has given me a greater happiness than I can tell ; 
let it, therefore, be told in some of the greatest words 
of the greatest man I ever knew. These you will 
find in the first nine lines of a letter on page 323, 
vol. ii., of the ' Life of Darwin,' and in one respect 
you have conferred an additional benefit, for, unlike 
him, I did not previously know that my own feelings 
of friendship were so fully reciprocated. If you think 
that this amounts to a confession of dulness on my 
part, my only excuse is that I formed too just an 
estimate of my own merits as compared with those of 

1 Miss M. M. Paget. 

i890 LOVE FOR MUSIC 147 

a friend. All that the latter were, or in this estimate 
must ever continue to be, I shall not now venture to 
say; for, if I did, the peculiar ethics of the Paget 
family (which you have been good enough to explain) 
would certainly pound this letter into a pulp. But 
there are two remarks which I may hazard. The 
first is, that I make it a point of what may be called 
aesthetic conscience never to write anything in verse 
which is not perfectly sincere. The next is, that my 
dulness is not so bad as to have prevented me from 
observing the Sebastian attachment. 

Last Christmas I lost my greatest and my dearest 
friend. 1 This Christmas I have found that I had a 
better friend than I was aware of. For the season- 
able kindness, therefore, of your truly Yule-tide 
consolation, gratias tibi ago. 

Ever yours, most sincerely, 


For some years a delightful society existed in 
London, known as the 'Home Quartet Union,' the 
members of which met at different housos and listened 
to perfect music performed by first-rate artists under 
perfect conditions. 

There were few happier evenings in his life than 
those spent in such a way. 

Of all composers, Beethoven represented to him 
everything that was highest in art or poetry ; for 
Beethoven, Mr. Romanes had much the same reve- 
rence and admiration which he felt for Darwin, and 
perhaps Beethoven, in other and very different w«ys, 
taught him and influenced him much. 

1 The friend referred to on p. 186. 



He was very catholic in his musical tastes, except 
perhaps that Italian opera never greatly fascinated 
him. Wagner's operas, on the other hand, became a 
great delight, particularly after a visit to Baireuth in 
1888, where he saw ' Parsifal ' and ' Meistersinger.' 

Politics interested Mr. Romanes moderately. He 
was by nature and by family tradition a Conservative, 
but he cared very little for parties, and admired great 
men on whichever side of the House they sat. 

Perhaps of all living politicians, the one for whom 
he had the greatest enthusiasm and respect was 
Mr. Arthur Balfour. For him, both as a politician 
and as a thinker, Mr. Romanes had an unbounded 
admiration. In 1880 came the first of many visits 
to Oxford. This time Mr. Romanes and his wife 
were Mr. Francis Paget's guests, and met in his 
rooms at Christ Church Dr. Liddon and Mr. Scott 


Feb. 1881. — Went to Mr. Norman Lockyer. Seve- 
ral people, including William Black, the novelist, 
were there. After Mr. Lockyer had shown us several 
experiments in spectrum analysis, a lady asked him 
' What is the use of the spectroscope ? ' Called on 
Mr. Cotter Morison and saw some beautiful books. 
He is a wonderfully good talker. 

June 1881. — Dinner at the Spottiswoodes'. Mr. 
Browning was there and talked much about Yictor 
Hugo. He mentioned that when Wordsworth was 
told that Miss Barrett had married Mr. Browning, 

1 It should be explained that the writer of this memoir is responsible 
for the Journal, but as it was kept for the benefit of both husband and 
wife a few extracts are given. 


he replied, ' It's a good thing these two understand 
each other, for no one else understands them.' 

Garvock, Perthshire : November 5, 18S1. 

My dearest Charlotte,— I thought you would like 
the photos, and your letter to-day more than justifies 
my anticipation. Coming events cast their shadows 
before, and it will not now be long before you see the 
former. These are both exceedingly well. I wish 
you could see little Ethel dancing. It is now her 
greatest amusement, and she does it with all the state 
and gravity of an eighteenth century grande dame. 

Many thanks for your prompt action about the 
proofs. You did everything in the best possible way, 
as I knew you would. It is a great blessing you were 
in London at the time, as the caretaker would be sure 
to have made some mistake, and time is pressing. 

The duke has answered me in this week's l Nature,' 
and likewise has Carpenter. I have written a re- 
joinder for next week's issue in a tone which I have 
tried to make at once dignified and blunt. 

I send you a riddle which I have just made. See 
if you can answer it in your next. 

' My first is found in Scripture, 
My second hangs in air, 
My third a thing to all unknown, 
Yet maps can tell you where. 

My whole is neither fact nor thing, 

A word, yet not a word, 
And if you stand me on my head, 

I'm bigger by a third.' * 

Much love from both to both. 

Yours ever the same, 


1 The answer is the word six. 


In this Journal constant mention occurs of con- 
certs and of the pleasure given by amateur musical 
friends. The late Professor Eowe's name often occurs ; 
he succeeded Professor Clifford at University College, 
and besides his great mathematical attainments he 
was also a most accomplished musician. He played 
Schumann especially in the most poetic way. 

Journal, Feb. 1882. — Lecture by Professor Tyndall 
on the action of molecular heat. Triumphant vindi- 
cation of his own work against Magnus and Tait. 

April 2. — Sunday, the 25th, we spent at Oxford, 
met the Warden of Keble in Mr. F. Paget's rooms, 
as a year ago we had met Dr. Liddon. Met Mr. 
Vernon Harcourt at Christ Church. 

May. — Met Shorthouse, author of 'John Ingle- 
sant,' at the F. Pollocks'. He spoke of Mr. Scott- 
Holland's review of his book. Sir F. Bramwell 
lectured the other day at the Eoyal Institution on 
the making of the Channel tunnel, and was as 
amusing as usual. Tea with Dr. and Mrs. Huggins 
in their pretty house, which is full of beautiful things. 
Much talk about spiritualism. 

June. — Interesting talk with Mr. J. E. Green. 
Both J. E. G. and G. J. E. agreed that Herbert 
Spencer, Professor Huxley, and Leslie Stephen only 
represented one side of the question, i.e. that conduct 
can only be called moral when it is beneficial to the 
race, and that the ethical quality of an action is 
determined solely by its effects as beneficial or 
injurious. This purely mechanical view of morality 
deprives morality of what both speakers considered 
the essential elements of morality as such, i.e. the 


feeling of right and wrong, so that, e.g., ants and 
bees, according to this canon, have a right to be con- 
sidered more truly moral than men. 

The view taken by J. R. G. and G. J. R. was that 
the essential element of morality resided in feeling 
and inclination. 

To Miss G. E. Romanes. 

18 Cornwall Terrace : June 9. 

My dearest Charlotte, — We are all well and lively. 
Ascot and an ' at home ' yesterday ; to-day artists' 
studios, dinner at the Pagets', and Sanderson's 
lecture ; to-morrow, College of Surgeons' reception 
and dinner party of our own ; and next week, one, 
two, or three engagements for every day. ' Babylon ' 
is in full swing, and I heard yesterday, from the head 
of the Census department, that for the last ten years 
it has been growing at the rate of 1,000 per week. 

I have only time to write a few lines to thank you 
and the mother for the very jolly letters received this 
morning, and to let you know that we are all well. 

The reason of my haste now is this extraordinary 
discovery that has been made in the Botanical 
Gardens, and which you have probably read about in 
the ' Times.' Medusa have been found in swarms 
in the fresh-water tank of the Victoria Regina Lily. 
Such a thing as a fresh-water Medusa has never been 
heard of before, and I want to lose no time in getting 
to work upon his physiology. You see, when I don't 
go to the jelly-fish the jelly-fish come to me, and I am 
bound to have jelly-fish wherever I go. 


It would have been very odd if I had been the dis- 
coverer, as I should have been had I known that there 
was a living Victoria Eegis, for then I should have 
gone to see the plant, and would not have failed to 
see the Medusae. Only in that case I might have 
begun to grow superstitious, and to think that in 
some way my fate was bound up in jelly-fish. 

I must get to work soon because all the naturalists 
are in a high state of excitement, and there has been 
a regular scramble for priority. 

The worst about this jelly-fish is that it will only 
live in a temperature of 90°, so I shall have to work 
at it in the Yictoria House, which is kept at a tempera- 
ture of 100°, and makes one ' sweat.' But I shall not 
work long at a time. 

From 1882 to 1890 Mr. Eomanes rented Geames, 
a beautiful place overlooking the Moray Firth. It 
belongs to a cousin of the Eomanes family, Captain 
Murray, of the 81st Eegiment. Captain Murray's 
mother and sisters lived not far away, and the 
Murrays and Eomanes formed a little coterie in that 
not very populous neighbourhood. 

He continued to be an ardent sportsman, and 
probably his happiest days were those he spent 
tramping over moors or plodding through turnips in 
those October days of perfect beauty, which seem 
especially peculiar to Scotland. 

The surroundings of Geanies, without being 
romantically beautiful, have a charm of their own. 
There is a certain melancholy and loneliness about 
the inland landscape round Geanies which appealed 
strongly to him. It is a place abounding in every 























1890 GEANIES 153 

kind of sea-bird, and it is almost impossible to de- 
scribe the weird, uncanny effect which the long 
endless twilight of the summer, the silence broken 
by hootings of owls, by the scream of a sea-gull, pro- 
duce on one. 

It is an old rambling house with long passages 
and mysterious staircases, and, as the children found, 
endless conveniences for playing at hide-and-seek. 
The library is a most lovely room, lined with book- 
cases, and leading into an old-fashioned garden, full 
of sweet-smelling flowers. 

It is impossible to imagine a more ideal abode for 
a poet, a naturalist, a botanist, a sportsman, than 
this, his summer home ; and as Mr. Romanes was, 
to some extent, all four, Geanies was a place of 
exceeding happiness to him. 

Two of his sonnets are dedicated to his dogs, c To 
my Setters,' and ' To Countess,' and the following 
letter will show him as a sportsman. 

To Mrs. Romanes. 

Achalibster, 1 Caithness : August 14, 1883. 

To-day turned out not at all bad after all ; and 
although there was a good deal too much rain I 
had a glorious time. Bag twenty brace of grouse, 
one brace plover, one hare, one duck; I could 
easily have got more, only Bango got so tired in the 
afternoon that we knocked off at five o'clock, more- 
over I did not begin till eleven, as I did not wake till 
ten ! So the twenty brace was shot in about five 
hours. The new setter ' Flora ' is a beauty. She is 

1 A moor taken in addition to the low ground shooting of Geanies. 


extraordinarily like Bango, but with a prettier face. 
She is a splendid worker. 

Even at Geanies he always ' worked ' for some 
part of the day, and sport, tennis, boating, filled up 
the rest of his time. 

Very often there was a house party, and the 
evenings were particularly bright — merry talk, games, 
very amateurish theatricals, learned discussions. 
Nothing came amiss to the master of the house. He 
was always a little apt to be absent-minded and 
dreamy, and his pet name, bestowed on him by the 
dearest and merriest of all the merry ' Geanies brother- 
hood ' was ' Philosopher.' It stuck, and many people 
only knew him by that name. 

No one ever appreciated a good story more than 
he, and, as a friend has said, ' his laugh was so merry 
and so often heard.' 

His own jokes were invariably free from any un- 
kindness, and he did not in the least appreciate 
repartee or epigram, the point of which lay chiefly, if 
not wholly, in unkindness. Many friends enlivened 
his summer home, and all those who paid a second 
visit were known as the ' Geanies brotherhood.' 

Journal, Geanies, July 26. — Yesterday came the 
terrible news of Mr. Frank Balfour's sudden death. 1 
His loss is irreparable. It is only a month since we 
met him at Cambridge, looking so well, quite recovered 
from his recent illness ; we were looking forward to 
his promised visit. 

Sept. — Mr. Lockyer, the Bruntons, and the Burdon 

1 Mr. F. Balfour was killed on the Aiguille Blanche de Peuteret, July 


Sandersons have been here. Memorial Poem to 
Darwin begun. 

Nov. 14, Edinburgh. — Met for the first time Mr. 
and Mrs. Butcher, who were just taking possession 
of the Greek Chair ; also Professor Blackie, who was 
himself, and talked much of the insolence of John 

Jan. 1883. — Dr. Sanderson is elected Professor of 
Physiology at Oxford. 

To this election was due the ultimate change 
in Mr. Eomanes' life in 1890, when he followed 
Dr. Sanderson to Oxford, attracted mainly by the 
facilities for physiological research. 

On Jan. second of this year (1883) his mother died. 

Mr. Romanes lectured at the Royal Institution in 
January, and immediately afterwards went abroad on 
one of the only two Continental tours he took simply 
for pleasure. He much enjoyed this Italian journey, 
and the rhyming instinct woke up in him greatly. 
He wrote a good deal about this time, and one of his 
sonnets has reference to this journey — 'Florence.' 
He also made acquaintance for the first time with a 
good many well-known novels, read to him during a 
temporary illness at Florence — the precursor, alas, of 
many such times of novel-reading. He shared Mr. 
Darwin's tastes for simple, pure, love stories, and 
one of the party at Florence well remembers how 
' The Heir of Redclyffe ' brought tears to his eyes. 
For this and ' The Chaplet of Pearls,' read to him 
some years later, he had a great admiration. 

Journal, March 28, 1883. — Mr. F. Paget's wedding 
in St. Paul's, a special anthem by Stainer. The 


Warden of Keble and Dr. Liddon married them, and 
the whole service was very impressive. 

June. — Mr. Spottiswoode's death has been a ter- 
rible blow. Service at the Abbey. We put off our 
party on June 27th ; it seemed improper to have a 
party, mainly composed of scientific people, the very 
day after the death of the President of the Eoyal 

Ytth. — Dinner at the Pagets'. Met Browning, 1 
who is entirely on Carlyle's side a projpos of Froude's 
recent revelations. 

13th. — Went to Cambridge to stay with the 
Humphrys. Sir John Lubbock, Mr. Watts, Mr. M. 
Arnold get their degrees. 

15tJi. — Went to Professor and Mrs. Allman, at 
Parkston. He is a most fascinating naturalist of the 
old type, caring for birds, and beasts, and flowers. 

Met Mr. E. Clodd the other night, who alluded to 
' Physicus ' 2 and the tone of depression in the book 
(' Candid Examination of Theism '), which depression 
he does not understand and rather despises. 

This year Mr. Eomanes and Professor Ewart set 
up a small laboratory on the Geanies coast, and the 
Journal notes : 

Professor Ewart could not get the farmhouse he 
hoped, and this was unfortunate, as he had written 
to the British Association and invited one or two 

1 Mr. Browning told the same story of the Carlyles at this party which 
Mrs. Ritchie narrates in Tennyson, Buskin, and Browning, pp. 198, 199. 

2 The nom de plume adopted in writing Candid Examination of 


foreigners to come and work and live in this farm- 
house. In vain were the foreigners warned not to 
come, for one evening in walked a young Dane, who 
preceded a postcard he had sent announcing his 
arrival. Yery nice, and extremely embarrassed at 
rinding himself in a country house where people 
dressed for dinner. 

However, he got accommodation in the neigh- 
bourhood and worked at Ascidians, but the expe- 
riment of inviting stray foreign scientists was 

Sept. — The Allmans, Turners, and Mr. Lockyer 
have been here, and we have been getting up some 
private theatricals. 

Jan. 1884. — Lecture at the Royal Institution on 
1 the Darwinian Theory of Instinct.' 

To Miss C. E. Romanes. 

January 5, 1884. 

I am preparing a beautiful surprise for Ethel 
after she comes down again. The library is to have 
its end wall papered and panelled, the conservatory 
is to be painted green, and filled with stands of 
flowers, and the little room is to have the window 
filled with stained glass, the walls, ceiling, and doors, 
beautifully papered and decorated. I expect my 
book to pay the bills. Is not this a nice idea ? 

Little Ethel's ideas about writing, by the way, are 
original. A few days ago she wanted me to play at 
gee-gee. I said, ' No, Ethel, father is writing.' She 
asked, ' Writing letters or writing book ? ' I said, 


' Writing book.' Whereupon she made the shrewd 
remark — ' Father not writing to anybody, father can 
play gee-gee.' So much for her estimate of my 
popularity as an author. 

Journal, April. — Lecture at Manchester ; stayed 
with Professor Boyd Dawkins. 

This year Mr. Romanes attended Canon Curteis' 
' Boyle Lectures ' at Whitehall. 

Journal, March 1883. — ' G-. Lectured at . 

One of the hearers asked whether in the lecturer's 
opinion man or animals had first appeared on the 
earth ! Gk spent a pleasant day at Bromsgrove with 
the F. Pagets.' 


To James Bomanes, Esq. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W. : June 1, 1884. 

My dearest James, — Little Ethel has just brought 
me the enclosed letter to send to you. She had 
written it as far as the up and down lines go, and 
said it was to tell you how much she loved you, and 
how sorry she was that she should not see you when 
she goes to Geanies. She then asked me to tell her 
how to write kiss. I told her that in letters they 
write kiss by a cross, and then she made the crosses. 
She also made me promise to send you the letter at 
once, without any delay ; and as the idea of writing 
you a letter was entirely her own, I do as I was told. 
You may take it as a definite expression of the 
emotions, even though it be not a very intelligible 
expression of ideas. 

1890 ILL-HEALTH 159 

She wants to know why you are going away, and 
whether you will write to her when you are away, and 
a heap of other questions of the same kind. 

We are all well now, and I am just going with 
the two Ethels to a children's service, which they 
both enjoy. It is very pretty to hear the little one 
singing with the other children, which she does per- 
fectly in tune. 

They are waiting for me now, so with best love 

TTOTYl ft 1 1 

' Yours ever the same, 


To Mrs. Bomanes. 

There is nothing to tell you to-day except that 

I dined with the , and one thing after another 

was more comical than the last. The boys both 
spontaneously expressed their desire to write to you. 
The enclosed is the result. It does not seem much 
as to quantity, but if you knew the time and labour it 
required you would value it highly. I am going to the 
theatre with the Pollocks after lunch, and then to 
read my paper. 

In 1885 came the first warnings of ill-health. Mr. 
Romanes had a short but very sharp illness, and after 
that year he suffered frequently from gout, which 
necessitated visits to various foreign ' cures.' He was a 
perfect travelling companion, he liked to have arrange- 
ments made for him, and was never discomposed if 
anything went wrong, never put out by any of the 
ordinary mischances of travel. Although he always 
professed indifference to architecture and art, he would 
grow quite boyishly enthusiastic over some cathedral, 


as his sonnets to Amiens, and Christ Church, Oxford, 1 
testify, and for sculpture he had a real love. 

In May 1885 came the first marked public utter- 
ance which showed that Mr. Komanes was now in a 
very different mental attitude to that in which he 
wrote his ' Candid Examination of Theism.' 

He delivered the Eede Lecture at Cambridge, and 
in it he criticises the materialistic position. (It must 
be remembered that his anti-Theistic book was pub- 
lished anonymously, and at that time he had no 
intention of ever referring to it.) 

The reaction set in very soon after the ' Candid 
Examination ' was published. 

He was severe, as it seemed often to those who 
knew him best, unduly severe with himself, and often 
described himself as utterly agnostic when possibly 
' bewildered ' would have better described him. 

Through these years, underneath all the outward 
happiness, the intense love for scientific work, there 
was the same longing and craving for the old belief, 
and before his eyes was always the question, ' Is 
Christian faith possible or intellectually justifiable in 
the face of scientific discovery ? ' 

These years between 1879 and 1890 were years of 
frequent despondency, of almost despair, but also of 
incessant seeking after truth, and year after year he 
grew gradually nearer Christian belief. 

The letters which follow will be interesting in 
this place. They arose out of a correspondence in 
'Nature.' 2 

1 See sonnets, The Bible of Amiens, and Christ Church, Oxford. 

2 See Nature, January 25, 1883. 

To Professor Asa Gray. 

May 16, 1883. 

Dear Professor Gray, — The receipt of your kind 
letter of the 1st instant has given me in full measure 
the sincerest kind of pleasure ; for in the light sup- 
plied by your second letter communicated to 
1 Nature ' I came deeply to regret my misunderstand- 
ing of the spirit in which you wrote the first one, and 
now you enable me to feel that we have shaken 
hands over the matter. 

For my own part I am always glad when differ- 
ences in matter of opinion admit of being honestly 
expressed without enmity, and still more so when, as 
in the present case, this discussion leads to a basis of 
friendship. I therefore thank you most heartily for 
your letter, and remain yours very truly, 


P.S. — If you have not already happened to read a 
book called 'A Candid Examination of Theism,' I should 
like to send you a copy. I wrote it six or seven years 
ago and published it anonymously in 1878. I do not 
now hold to all the arguments, nor should I express 
myself so strongly on the argumentative force of the 
remainder, but I should like you to read the book, in 
order to show you how gladly I would enter your 
camp if I could only see that it is on the side of 

December 30, 1883. 

Dear Professor Gray, — I sent you my papers as a 
return for those which you so kindly sent to me, and 



for which I have written to thank you before. I 
quite agree with your view, that the doctrine of the 
human mind having been proximately evolved from 
lower minds is not incompatible with the doctrine of 
its having been due to a higher and supreme mind. 
Indeed, I do not think the theory of evolution, even 
if fully proved, would seriously affect the previous 
standing of this more important question. 

The sorrow is, that this question is so far removed 
from the reach of any trustworthy answer. Or, at 
least, such is the sorrow if that answer when it comes 
is to prove an affirmative. If it is to be an eternal 
sleep, no doubt it is better to live as we are than in 
the certainty of a Godless universe. But although 
we cannot find any sure answer to this momentous 
question, I cannot help feeling that it is reasonable (al- 
though it may not be orthodox) to cherish this much 
faith, that if there is a God, whom, when we see, we 
can truly worship as well as dread, He cannot ex 
hypothesi be a God who will thwart the strong desire 
which He has implanted in us to worship Him, 
merely because we cannot find evidence enough to 
believe this or that doctrine of dogmatic Theology. 

But I do not know why I should thus trouble you 
with my troubles, unless it is that the kindness of 
your letters has broken through the bars by which 
we usually imprison such feelings from the world. 
Anyhow, I thank you for that kindness, and hope 
you will forgive this somewhat odd requital. 

Very sincerely yours, 

G. J. Komanes. 


* The desire to worship Him} 

These words are the key-note of the religious 
history of the pure and noble character which I am 
trying to describe. 

The letters, so touching in the momentary breaking 
down of reserve, give, as it were, a glimpse of the 
inner life, give an indication of the struggle, the per- 
plexity, the sorrow which eleven years later ended in 
' Eternal Peace.' 

Readers of the lately published ' Thoughts on 
Religion ' will see how gradually he grew to perceive 
the reasonableness of the Christian Faith ; he had 
never doubted the beauty, the moral worth, the 
attraction of that faith. And with him it was what 
Dante in his ' Paradiso ' puts into S. Bernard's 
mouth : 

* A quella luce cotal si diventa, 

Che volgersi da lei per altro aspetto 
E impossibil che mai si consenta.' 

And through all these years there was a constant 
willingness to try to aid other people in their diffi- 
culties, to remove stumbling-blocks which hindered 
others. He was always willing to discuss problems of 
belief, always perfectly fair and candid, and there were 
not a few who, since his death, have spoken of the 
real help which he gave them. He did not drop re- 
ligious observances ; on Sunday in London he usually 
went to Christ Church, Albany Street, of which the 
present Bishop of St. Albans was then vicar, and for 
some years at Geanies he had a short Evening Service 
for guests and servants who could not drive ten miles 
to church. 

M 2 


This service, unless a clergyman happened to be 
staying at Greanies, he conducted himself, and ended 
it by reading a sermon. He had all his Presbyterian 
ancestors' love for a good discourse, and serious efforts 
had to be made to prevent him from reading too long 
a sermon. 

Mozley's ' University Sermons ' he liked parti- 
cularly, and when these were divided, they were 
tolerated by his audience, who at first considered them 
much too long. He also read many of Dean Church's 

He first knew the Dean in 1883, and although he 
only went very occasionally to the Deanery, he was 
greatly impressed by the striking personality of the 
great divine and scholar, whom to know was to love. 
The Dean's beautiful style, his great learning, his intel- 
lectual sympathy with perplexities and troubles of heart 
and mind, and the indefinable air of distinction which a 
great writer stamps on every bit of work he undertakes, 
all appealed to Mr. Eomanes ; and above and beyond 
all these, the almost austere loftiness of thought, the 
moral heights implied in Dean Church's writings, 
seized on the mind of one who, beyond all else, 
reverenced personal character and personal good- 

He really enjoyed reading Dean Church's sermons, 
and they exercised much influence on him. For 
Newman, on the other hand, he had little liking, and 
indeed he never did Newman adequate justice. He 
had promised a friend just before his death to read 
more of Newman, and discover for himself the great 
gifts of that wonderful man, but there was not time. 
Only one bit of Newman's writing was dear to him, 
' Lead, kindly Light.' 

The following letter rose out of a conversation 


Mr. Kornanes had with Dr. Paget, during one of the 
Oxford visits : 

The Palace, Ely : June 15, 1886. 

My dear Kornanes, — I have often and anxiously 
thought over the question which you asked me when 
you were at Oxford about your boy's education, and 
the part which you should take in his -religious train- 
ing : and I would venture, with most true and 
affectionate gratitude for your trust, to write a few 
lines in partial qualification of what I then said. 

I start on the ground of your own wish (for which 
indeed I am with all my heart thankful) that your boy's 
character should be fashioned after the Christian type 
and under the influence of Christ. And I am as anxious 
as ever that, even if your own estimate of the evidences 
of Christianity should for a long while remain as it is, 
your children may never, in their later years, feel that 
you ever taught them anything which you did not 
believe : on every ground I long to avoid all danger of 
such a thought crossing their minds. But at the 
same time I do long that they may be spared to the 
very last possible moment the knowledge that in the 
judgment of the mind which they, I hope, will most 
reverence and love, the bases of their religious trust 
and hope are uncertain. It is only far on in life, I 
think, that a man comes to realise either the vast im- 
portance of things which are not held with absolute 
certainty, or the mysterious and complex nature of the 
act of faith, and the discipline of obscurity, and the 
way in which real spiritual progress may be going on 
where the mind seems only to be holding on, as it 
were, with fear and trembling. 


To a boy of sixteen the mere knowledge of uncer- 
tainty in his father's mind may drain all the moral 
cogency out of the whole conception of religion : — the 
very suspicion of the uncertainty may unnerve him 
more than the full realisation of the doubt would 
change his father's aim and hope in doing his duty. 

And so, at the risk of paining you — believe me, I 
would rather have the pain than give it you — and pre- 
suming very thankfully on the wish of which you 
spoke, I would plead that your children might remain 
as long as possible in ignorance of your uncertainty 
and anxiety ; that they should only know in a general 
Way that the religious influences, the principles of 
their Godward life which they receive, are given to 
them by your wish — that you would have them grow 
up after that type, with that hope and aspiration ; 
and I would plead that for their sokes you should 
suffer the pain, great as it may be, of being reticent 
where you long to be ever commrnicative, ever unre- 
served. You may be unspeakably thankful some day 
that you did so suffer : — and, whatever comes, you will 
be sure of your children's deepest love and gratitude, 
if ever they should know that this was one of your 
acts of self-sacrifice for them. 

Please forgive me, dear Eomanes, where I have 
written blunderingly, or given you unnecessary pain. 
I pray God to guide and teach and gladden both you 
and yours, and I am 

Your affectionate friend, 

Francis Paget. 

Geanies, Ross-shire, N.B. : June 24, 1886. 

My dear Paget, — I should indeed require to be 
made of unduly sensitive material, if either the 
extreme kindness of your thought or the most con- 
siderate delicacy of your expression could give me pain. 
Pain I have, but it is of a kind that is beyond the 
power of friends either to mitigate or to increase. 

The advice which you give accords precisely with 
my own view of the matter, and it is needless to say 
that in such an agreement I find no small degree of 
satisfaction. Moreover, the principles which it thus 
appears to be my duty to adopt are made easy for me. 
... So that on the whole it does not now appear to me 
that in its practical aspects the problem is likely to 
prove difficult of solution ; although theoretically, 
or as a matter of ethics, I do think it is a complex 
question whether (or how far) parents should teach 
dogmas as facts, or matters of faith as matters of 
knowledge. Happily, however, ethics are to morals 
very much what shadow is to sunshine ; and in seek- 
ing to follow the right or the good, instinct is often a 
better guide than syllogism. 

And now, in conclusion, let me endeavour — inade- 
quately as it must be — to express my deep sense of 
gratitude to you for having so earnestly taken my 
troubles into your consideration. I assure you that 
your letter has touched me truly, and that on its 
account I am more than ever happy to subscribe my- 

Your affectionate friend, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 


Journal says : — 

April 12, 1885. — Went with the Church family to 
St. Paul's and heard a fine sermon from Dr. Liddon. 
He spoke very touchingly of Lady Selborne's death, 
and also alluded to Max Muller's new book. 

Have been to Pfleiderer's Hibbert Lectures. 1 We 
met Pfleiderer the other day, and he described a 
Sunday in which he had tried to study English 
religious life. Spurgeon, Parker, and, I think, Stop- 
ford Brooke or Haweis, I forget which, he took as 
samples ! Pfleiderer also went to St. Paul's on the 
day the Bishop of Lincoln 2 was consecrated, and as 
he got within earshot he heard Dr. Liddon's silvery 
voice pronouncing his own name not with approval. 

Geanies, August. — Mr. Cotter Morison is here, and 
is most amusing. Mr. Horsburgh asked two comic 
riddles : ' Why are men like telescopes and women 
like telegrams ? ' 

Men are like telescopes, because they are made to 
be drawn out and shut up ; and women are like tele- 
grams because they far exceed the males (mails) in 

G. fiddled at an amateur concert at Tain. 

Mr. F. Galton is here. He told us an amusing 
child's question : ' How did sausages get along when 
they were alive ? ' 

1 Mr. Romanes remarked a propos of Pfleiderer's lecture that St. Paul 
seemed to be a very hard nut for the lecturer to crack. 

2 Dr. Kins. 

1890 GEANIES 169 

To Miss C. E. Bomanes. 

Geanies, Ross-shire : November 7, 1885. 

The two Ethels left this afternoon minus their lug- 
gage and luncheon, which arrived at the station with 
the dog-cart just as the train was leaving. Pathetic 
it was to see their hungry eyes looking at the neat 
luncheon basket from the train windows ! We are all 

well here. L is here. He has now fired his first 

hundred cartridges, and has nothing to show but a 
brace of cats which he took a pot shot at in the trees. 

November 12. 

I am now playing at the last day in the old house, 

and doing so in the library all by myself. L left 

this morning, and we all leave to-morrow. Gerald 
now leads me from one room to another, and after open- 
ing the door and looking round each says, ' All gone ! ' 

I have somewhat relieved the monotony of my 
solitary life by buying a horse. This you will no 
doubt think is a purchase well timed and thus worthy 
of a philosopher. For six months at least I shall 
have to pay for his keep, and never have a chance of 
a single bit of use for him all that time. Yet, strange 
to say, I think I have made a good bargain. 

Nov., Edinburgh. — Dined at Dalmeny. We met 
Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone, and also Lieutenant Greely, 
of Arctic fame. 

Nov., London. — Dinner with the F. Galtons, and 
met the Leckys and other nice people. Mr. Galton 


says the study of statistics fascinates him just as 
skating on thin ice does some people — it's so perilous. 

To Mrs. Bomanes. 

Your letter and postcard most welcome. Yester- 
day I dined with the George Turners, and played 
chess from eight to one a.m., winning two out of 
three games. I told them that for to-night I hesi- 
tated whether to go and see some dancing or go to 
the ' Messiah.' Isabel said she would throw into the 
latter scale the inducement of her own company, 
so we are going together. Mr. Diggle signified his 
desire to see my school, 1 so I went with him. 

Returning for a little while to the scientific work 
of these years, one may say that they were chiefly 
devoted to the more philosophical side of his work as 
a naturalist. 

' Animal Intelligence,' ' Mental Evolution in 
Animals,' appeared respectively in 1881 and 1883, 
and are works designed to prove that the law of 
evolution is universal, and applies to the mind of man 
as well as to his bodily organisation. 

Mr. Romanes read widely and observed much, and 
no one less deserved the charge of writing without 
observing, or of being a ' paper philosopher.' Both 
these books abound in stories of animals, and are full 
of interest for anyone caring at all for ' beasts,' quite 
apart from the special object of the books. 

Lecturing and reviewing were, so to speak, pas- 
times to him, and gave him little trouble. Gne 
lecture given at the Royal Institution on ' The Mental 

1 See p. 236. 


Differences between Men and Women ' drew upon the 
head of the unlucky lecturer a great storm of indig- 
nation — why, the writer of this memoir has never been 
able to discover. 

In May 1886, Mr. Eomanes read a paper before 
the Linnean Society on ' Physiological Selection, an 
additional suggestion on the origin of species.' This 
paper was the outcome of many years' study of the 
philosophy of evolution, during which time he had 
gradually been coming to the conclusion that natural 
selection cannot be regarded as the sole guiding factor 
in the production of species, but that there must be 
some other cause at work in directing the course of 

The theory of natural selection rests on two 
classes of observable facts : first, that all plants and 
animals are engaged in a perpetual struggle for ex- 
istence, there being in every generation of every 
species a great many more individuals born than can 
possibly survive ; and secondly, that the offsprings, al- 
though closely resembling the parent form, do present 
individual variations. It follows, therefore, that those 
individuals presenting variation in any way beneficial 
to them in the struggle for existence will survive as 
being the fittest to do so, Nature, so to speak, selecting 
certain individuals of each generation, enabling them 
not only to live themselves, but also to transmit their 
favourable qualities to their offspring. If a special 
line of variation is in some way preserved, there may 
result a variety so fixed and so distinct from the 
parent and collateral related forms as to constitute a 
separate species. 

Further, since the environment (i.e. the sum total 
of the external conditions of life) is continually 
changing, it follows that natural selection may slowly 


alter a type in adaptation to the slowly changing 
environment, and if in any case the alterations 
effected are sufficient in amount to lead naturalists to 
name the result a distinct species, then natural selec- 
tion has transmuted one specific type into another. 

Mr. Romanes pointed out that the theory of 
natural selection only accounts for such organic 
changes as are of use to the species — by use signify- 
ing life-preserving — that it is, in fact, a theory of the 
origin and cumulative development of adaptations, 
whether these be distinctive of species, or of genera, 
families, classes, &c. 

The question then arises, do species differ from 
species solely in points of a useful character, as they 
undoubtedly should do if natural selection has been 
the sole factor in their formation ? Investigation 
shows that systematists recognise a species by a 
collection of characters, the value of a character 
depending not on its utility, but upon its stability ; 
in fact, a large proportional number of specific cha- 
racters, such as minute details of structure, form, and 
colour, are wholly without meaning from a utilitarian 
point of view. Investigation further shows that the 
most general of all the ' notes ' of a true species is 
cross-infertility, that is, the infertility of the offspring 
of two individuals belonging to separate species : 
this, it was urged, could not be due to the action of 
natural selection. Lastly, apart from the primary 
distinction of cross-infertility, and the inutility of so 
many of the secondary specific distinctions, neither 
of which can be explained by the action of natural 
selection, Mr. Romanes was strongly of the opinion that 
even if a beneficial variation did arise, the swamping 
effects of free intercrossing would reabsorb it, and so 
render evolution of species in divergent lines, as 


distinguished from linear transmutation, impossible. 
This last difficulty can only be met by assuming that 
the same beneficial variation arises in a number of 
individuals simultaneously, for which assumption 
our present knowledge furnishes no warrant. If 
natural selection is brought forward as the sole factor 
in the guidance of organic evolution, then he con- 
sidered that these difficulties remain insurmount- 
able ; if, however, it is regarded as a factor, even the 
chief factor, then these difficulties vanish, it being 
consistent, in the latter case, to hold the other 
factor, or factors, responsible for an explanation of 
the difficulties in question. It was the object of 
this paper to suggest another factor in the formation 
of species, which, although independent of natural 
selection, was in no way opposed to it, and might be 
called supplementary to it, and was at the same time 
capable of explaining the facts, of the inutility of 
many specific characters, the cross-infertility of allied 
species, and the non-occurrence of free intercrossing. 
Very briefly indicated, Mr. Romanes' line of argument 
is as follows : — Every generation of every species 
presents an enormous number of variations, of which 
only the ones that happen to be useful are preserved 
by natural selection. The useless variations are 
allowed to die out immediately by intercrossing. 

Consequently, if intercrossing be prevented, there 
is no reason why unuseful variations should not be 
perpetuated by heredity quite as much as useful ones 
when under the nursing influence of natural selection. 
Thus, if from any cause, a section of a species is 
prevented from intercrossing with the rest of its 
parent form, it is to be expected that new varieties — 
for the most part of a trivial and unuseful kind — 
should arise within that section, and in time pass 


into new species. This supposition is borne out by 
the nature of the flora and fauna of oceanic islands, 
which are particularly rich in peculiar species, and 
where intercrossing was, of course, prevented with 
the original parent forms by the action of the geo- 
graphical boundaries. 

However, closely allied species are not always, or 
even generally, separated by geographical boundaries, 
and the cross-infertility remains to be explained. 
The cardinal feature of Mr. Eomanes' theory is that 
the initial step in the origin of species is the arising 
of this infertility as an independent variation, by 
which free intercrossing with the parent form on a 
common area is prevented, and specific differentiation 
rendered possible. Innumerable varieties are known 
to occur which do not pass into distinct species, 
the reason being that this initial variation, that is, 
incipient infertility whereby the swamping effects of 
intercrossing might be obviated, was lacking, and the 
variations became re-absorbed. That is, given any 
degree of sterility towards the parental form which 
does not extend to the varietal form, then a new 
species must take its origin. Without the bar of 
sterility, in Mr. Romanes' opinion, free intercrossing 
must render the formation of species impossible. 
Mutual sterility is thus the cause, not the result, of 
specific differentiation. As regards the occurrence of 
this initial variation, the reproductive system is known 
to be highly variable, its variability taking the form 
either of increased fertility, or of sterility in all degrees, 
and depending on either extrinsic causes (changes of 
food, climate, &c), or on an intrinsic cause arising in 
the system itself. 

From the nature of this additional factor at work 


in the formation of species, Mr. Eomanes called his 
theory ' physiological selection.' 

Physiological selection is conceived of as co- 
operating with natural selection, the former allowing 
the latter to act by interposing its law of sterility, 
with the result that the secondary specific characters 
may be either adaptive or non-adaptive in character. 

To Miss C. E. Romanes. 

Aix-les-Bains: May 1886. 

The Linnean Society paper went off admirably. 
There was a larger attendance than ever I saw there 
before. But this may have been partly due to the 
president (Lubbock) having had a paper down for the 
same evening. He was considerate enough to with- 
draw it at the last moment so as to leave all the 
evening for mine. I spoke for an hour and a half, and 
the discussion lasted another hour. The paper itself 
I have brought with me here, and am now putting the 
last touches upon it. 

Probably I shall have to try the rat experiment 
again, if the young ones show no signs of piebalding. 
But look at them occasionally to see. 

There would be no use in getting the parrot to 
make a gesture sign at the same time as he makes a 
verbal one ; for, as you say, he would only show that 
he can establish an association between a phrase and 
a thing (whether object, quality, or action), and about 
this there is no question. The question is whether 
he can use verbal signs, not only as stereotyped in 
phrases (when they are really equivalent to only one 


word), but as movable types, which he can transpose 
for the purpose of expressing different ideas with the 
same words. 

He writes concerning a Junior Scientific Society 
which had a meeting to discuss his theory : 

' The meeting was the best fun imaginable, the 
paper was merely a statement of my theory by a 

young man who made it very clear. got up and 

expressed disapproval of the theory, but expressly 
declined to argue, so I had merely to give him some 
chaff. The young men highly enjoyed it. Afterwards 
they were enthusiastic in their applause. 

' I have no doubt, if I had not been present, the class 
would have had a very different impression both of me 
and my theory.' 

To Professor Meldola. 

Geanies : September 16, 1886. 

Dear Professor Meldola, — Physiological selection 
seems to have brought a regular nest of hornets about 
my head. If I had known there was to have been 
so much talk about it at the British Association I 
should have gone up to defend the new-born. If you 
were there, can you let me know the main objections 
that were urged? It seems to me there is a good 
deal of misunderstanding abroad, due, no doubt, to 
the insufficiency with which my theory has been 
stated. In ' studying ' the paper, therefore, please 
keep steadily in view that the backbone of the whole 
consists in regarding mutual sterility as the cause (or 


at least, the chief condition) instead of the result of 
specific differentiation. This is just the opposite view 
to that now held by all evolutionists, and, I believe, 
by Darwin himself. (See ' Origin,' pp. 245-246 ; 
' Variation,' ii. pp. 171-175.) Now, if this view be 
sound, my theory is obviously not restricted to any 
one class of causes that may induce mutual sterility. 
Such cases may be either extrinsic or intrinsic as 
regards the reproductive system ; they may be either 
direct in their action on that system or indirect {e.g. 
natural selection, or use and disuse, &c, producing 
morphological changes elsewhere, which in turn react 
on that system) ; therefore these causes may act 
either on a few or on many individuals. Yet Wallace 
does not seem to see this, but argues in the ' Fort- 
nightly ' that they can only act on an individual here 
and there. 

I sincerely hope you will give your attention to 
the subject, because the great danger I now fear is 
prejudice against the theory on account of people not 

taking the trouble to understand it. How absurd , 

for example, giving that quotation from ' Origin ' in 
1 Nature,' as evidence of Mr. Darwin's having con- 
sidered the theory ! Read with its context, the pas- 
sage is arguing (much against the writer's desire) that 
variations in the way of sterility with parent forms 
cannot be seized upon (or perpetuated as specific dis- 
tinctions) by natural selection. But physiological 
selection says that such variations do not require to be 
seized upon by natural selection. Therefore, so far as 
the passage in question proves anything, it tends to 
show that nothing could have been further from the 



mind of the writer than a theory which would have 
rendered his whole argument superfluous, and I can 
scarcely believe that if the theory of physiological 
selection had ever occurred to him, he would not have 
mentioned it, if only to state his objections to it, as 
he has done with regard to so many ideas of a much 
less feasible character. 

I write at length because I value your judgment 
more than that of almost anybody else upon a subject 
of this kind, and therefore I should like it to be given 
with your eyes open Prejudice at first there must 
be, but there need not be misunderstanding; and 
private correspondence shows me that the theory has 
already struck root in some of the best minds who 
do understand it. Any explanation, therefore, will be 
gladly given you by 

Yours very truly, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

To F. Darwin, Esq. 

Geanies : November 5, 1886. 

Dear Darwin, — I am much interested by the en- 
closed, and therefore much obliged to you for letting 
me see it. But it would have been made a better 
' answer ' if it had gone on to say something about 
the relation of such an experiment (supposing it suc- 
cessful) to the question of originating a species. 
Some weeks ago I was planning with a friend a 
closely analogous experiment, but designed to pro- 
duce a ' family ' which would be sterile towards the 
majority of the parent form, or not only towards one 
other ' family.' Arid it seemed to me that if this 
could be done it would amount to the artificial 


creation of a new species by conscious selection of a 
physiological kind. 

But, as far as I can gather from the enclosed, the 
idea seems to be that of experimenting on the con- 
ditions leading to sterility ; not that of regarding 
sterility, however conditional, as itself the condition 
of specific divergence. In other words, the passage 
seems to go upon the supposition that sterility is the 
result and not the cause of specific divergence. But 
if so, I do not see that it affects the question whether 
he ever contemplated the latter possibility. 

I have just received Seebohm's British Association 
paper, which, except when it repeats Wallace's objec- 
tion about the doctrine of chances, elsewhere curiously 
contradicts all the points in his criticism. 

The editor of the ' Fortnightly ' tells me that a 
further delay has arisen in bringing out my reply, on 
account of Wallace desiring to answer it. For my 
own part I think that all this fire of criticism at the 
present juncture is a mistake. As yet the theory is 
only a ' suggestion,' and, until tested, there can be no 
adequate data for forming a definite opinion. 

Therefore I regret the published opposition — those 
who are in favour do not publish only because it may 
tend to choke off co-operation in carrying out the ex- 
periments ; and it was for the sake of securing assist- 
ance in so laborious a research that I published the 
suggestion in outline. 

I wonder who Catchpole is ? His answer in 
1 Nature ' to Wallace won't do. 

Yours very truly, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

H 2 


18 Cornwall Terrace, Eegent's Park, N.W. : January 7, 1887. 

Dear Darwin, — Some time ago you write that I 
ought to read a book or paper by Jordan about varieties 
in relation to sterility. I cannot find any book or 
paper of his at the L.S. library which treats of this 
subject ; could you give me the name of his essay ? 

I am making arrangements for trying whether 
there are any degrees of sterility to be found between 
well-marked and constant varieties of plants. But 
as I have never done anything in the way of hybrid- 
ising, perhaps you would be good enough to let me 
know whether the enclosed plan of experimenting 
represents the full and proper way of going to work. 
I know that you do not believe in the object of it, 
but, even supposing it to be a wild-goose chase, there 
would be no harm in your telling me the best way to 
run. Then, whether the results prove positive or 
negative, it will not be open for any one to doubt 
them on the ground of any fault in the method. 

Do any objections occur to you re my answer to 
critics in the ' Nineteenth Century ' ? Of course I 
might have said more about the swamping effects of 
free intercrossing (which appears to me the only 
point in which I deviate at all from the ' Origin of 
Species '), but it is much too large a subject to be 
dealt with in a review. My greatest difficulty here 
is to conceive the possibility of differentiation (as 
distinguished from transmutation in linear series) 
without the assistance of isolation in some form or 

Yours very truly, 

Geo. J. Komanes. 


Dear Darwin, — Criticism of an intelligent kind is 
what I feel most in need of, and therefore it is no 
merit on my part to like it when it comes. 

The point about the combined action of natural 
and physiological selection is, after all, a very sub- 
ordinate one, and, as I said in ■ Nature ' some weeks 
ago, is the most highly speculative and least trust- 
worthy part of the theory. Moreover, it is the only 
part that is directly opposed to an expressed conclusion 
in the ' Origin,' though, even here, the opposition 
is not real. If natural selection can do anything 
at all in the way of bringing about sterility with 
parent forms, it can only do so by acting on the type 
or whole community (for I quite agree with the 
reasoning in the ' Origin,' that it cannot do so by 
acting on individuals) ; and whether natural selection 
could in any case act on a type is a question which 
your father has told me he could never quite make 
up his mind about, except in the case of social 
hymenoptera and moral sense of man. 

You will see what I mean by ' secondary varia- 
tions ' by looking at page 366 of my paper. It is 
merely a short-hand expression for all other specific 
differences save the sexual difference of sterility. My 
view is that these secondary differences are always 
sure to arise sooner or later in some direction or another 
wherever a portion of a species is separated from the 
rest, whether by geographical or physiological isolation, 
which, indeed, as regards the former, is no more than 
you (following Weismann, &c.) acknowledge. Now, to 
me it seems obvious that Weismann's ' variations " 
(i.e. slight changes in the form of shells) cannot 


possibly be themselves my ' physiological sports,' 
although they may very well be the consequences of 
such a sport leading to physiological isolation, and so 
to independent variation in two or three directions 
simultaneously, till afterwards blended by inter- 
crossing. And my reason for thinking this is that 
' Weismann's variations ' always arose in crops at 
enormously long intervals of time. On the mere 
doctrine of chances it therefore becomes impossible 
to suppose that each of these variations was due to 
a separate physiological sport, although it is easy to 
see how each crop of them might have been so. For, 
if not, why should they always have arisen in crops, 
each member of which was demonstrably fertile with 
the other members of that crop, while no less 
demonstrably sterile with the original parent form ? 
Therefore, what I see in these facts is precisely what, 
upon my theory, I should expect to see, viz. first, a 
' primary variation,' or * physiological sport,' arising 
at long intervals ; secondly, closely following upon 
this, a crop of ' secondary variations ' in the way of 
slight morphological changes affecting two or three 
different ' strains ' simultaneously ; and thirdly, an 
eventual blending of these strains by intercrossing 
with one another without being able to intercross 
with the surrounding and (at first) very much more 
numerous parent form. 

But I can now quite understand why you thought 
these facts were ' dead against ' me ; you thought 
that every single slight change of morphology must 
(on my theory) have had a separate ' physiological 
sport ' to account for it. This, however 5 most em- 


phatically is not my theory. Physiological isola- 
tion I regard as having morphological consequences 
precisely analogous to those of geographical isolation ; 
and you would not think of arguing that there must 
be a separate geographical isolation for every slight 
change of structure — for example, that a peculiar 
species of plant growing on a mountain top must 
have had one isolation to explain its change of 
form, and another isolation to explain its change of 

Lastly, if you will look up Hilgendorf's paper 
about these snails of Steinheim, I think you will find 
it impossible to suppose that all these little changes 
(thus arising at long intervals in crops) can have 
been useful. Or, if you can still doubt, look up the 
closely analogous but much larger case of the ammo- 
nites investigated by Neumayr and Wurtenberger. 

What I meant about the sexual system being 
specially liable to variation is, that it is specially 
liable to variation in the way of sterility. In other 
words, changed conditions of life more readily effect 
variations in the primary functions of the sexual 
system than they do in general morphology. But at 
the same time, I quite agree with your view that in 
the last resort all changes of structure may be 
regarded as due to variations of this system. And, 
as you will see by turning to pp. 371-72 of my paper, 
important capital is made out of this doctrine. 

Now about making too much of the inutility of 
specific characters ; if I do so, it is erring on the 
side of natural selection ; for it clearly follows from 
this theory that, if there are any useless struc- 


tures at all, they ought to occur with (greater ?) 
frequency among species, where (as ?) yet natural 
selection has not had time to remove them. But I 
cannot think I have here unduly favoured natural 
selection. For although there are not a few instances 
of apparently useless structures running through even 
an entire class (as the ' Origin ' remarks), these are 
not only infinitely less numerous than apparently 
useless structures in species, but are also very much 
more rarely trivial. 

Now the latter fact, coupled with that of the 
greatly wider range of their occurrence, appears to 
me intensely to strengthen ' the argument from 
ignorance,' i.e. to give us much more justification for 
believing that they are now, or once were, of use. 
For in the case of species, the ' once were ' possibility 
is virtually excluded. 

A propos to this point, I do not believe that any- 
one yet has half done justice to natural selection in 
respect of its action subsequent to the formation of 
species — at least, not expressly. But I must shut 

I should greatly like to see Jordan's paper. Sir 
J. Hooker and Professor Oliver have sent me refe- 
rences to literature, but neither of them mentions 

Why my answer to Wallace has not appeared in 
this month's ' Fortnightly ' I am at a loss to under- 
stand. The editor bullied me with letters and 
telegrams to have it ready in time, till I laid every- 
thing else aside, and sent him back the proof on 
the 15th. 


This new theory roused the public interest (so far 
as the scientific public were concerned) and produced 
much criticism. 

There is a scientific orthodoxy as well as a theo- 
logical orthodoxy ' plus loyal que le roi,' and by the 
ultra-Darwinians Mr. Eomanes was regarded as 
being strongly tainted with heresy. 

The ' Times ' devoted a leader in August 1886 to 
the theory, and the president of Section D at the 
British Association at Bath in the same month also 
criticised it. 

A sharp discussion took place in the columns of 
1 Nature,' and it is characteristic of those who took the 
chief part in this controversy that their friendly 
relations remained undisturbed. Mr. Wallace criti- 
cised the theory in the ' Fortnightly,' and Mr. 
Eomanes wrote an article in the ' Nineteenth Century ' 
describing his beliefs on the subject. This theory was 
very close to his heart, and perhaps no part of his work 
was left unfinished with more keen regret. 

He planned a course of experiments on plants in 
an alpine garden which, through the kindness of M. 
Correvon, Professor of Botany at Geneva, he was able 
to begin on a plot of ground near Bourg St. Pierre, on 
the great St. Bernard. 

Other work diverted him a good deal from this, 
but Mr. Eomanes had always large plans of work, 
looking forward through a course of years. 

There were some experiments on the power dogs 
possess of tracking by scent, in the autumn of 1886. 

With this year came the appointment to a Lec- 
tureship in the University of Edinburgh on ' The 
Philosophy of Natural History.' 1 This lectureship 

1 Through the kindness of Lord Eosebery. 


Mr. Romanes held for five years, and he enjoyed the 
fortnight's residence in Edinburgh it involved, and 
the meetings with Edinburgh people. He gave to his 
class a course on the History of Biology, and then 
proceeded to take them through a course of lectures 
on the Evidences of Organic Evolution, on the theo- 
ries of Lamarck, of Mr. Darwin himself, and on post- 
Darwinian theories. These lectures he worked up 
into the three years' course he gave as Fullerian Pro- 
fessor at the Royal Institution, with many additions 
and alterations. The substance of them now appears 
in ' Darwin and after Darwin,' parts i. and ii. A third 
volume was to have been devoted to Physiological 
Selection, and enough was prepared in the form of 
notes to justify publication. 

At the end of 1886 there fell on the Romanes 
family a bitter sorrow. Of the G-eanies ' brother- 
hood,' the brightest and merriest, a remarkably hand- 
some, joyous girl, absolutely unselfish and sweet, 
most dearly loved and loving, was the first to die. 
Her death was a terrible sorrow not only to her own 
immediate circle of relations, but to the friends to 
whom she had been as a very dear sister. On Mr. 
Romanes this death, so sudden and so startling, 
made a deep and lasting impression. From this 
time more and more he turned in the direction of 
faith, and his feelings found an outlet in poetry more 
frequently and more effectually than before. 

To Miss C. E. Bomanes. 

Edinburgh : Christmas Day, 1886. 

My dearest Charlotte, — The time has come when 
it is some relief to write, but how shall I begin to tell 


the sadness of the saddest tragedy that has ever been 
put together ? First the hours of fluctuating hope, 
and then the growing darkness of despair. She had 
previously asked whether Ethel and G. J. 1 had come 
down from London, and on being told that we were 
in the house was so glad. We were admitted at night, 
and only had to watch for three hours the peaceful 
breathing, . slower, slower, slower, until the last. Oh, 
the unearthly beauty of that face ! Nothing I have ever 
seen in flesh or in marble — nothing I could have ever 
conceived could approach it. But try to picture it 
as you knew it in life changed into something so yet 
more beautiful that it seemed no longer human, but 
the face of the angel that she was. Then in one room 
her little child, in another her mother, utterly broken 
by illness. For my own part I have never had a 
grief so great as this. Even in our sister's case there 
were elements of mitigation ; but here absolutely none. 
Oh, it is bitter, bitter ; so much of life's happiness 
emptied out and Edith, our own Edith, no longer 
here ! 

In memory of this friend Mr. Eomanes wrote a 
little poem called ' To a Bust,' and from this a few 
lines are given. 

There is one point to which the writer of this 
memoir would like to call attention. 

Mr. Romanes was incapable of exaggeration, of 
writing for effect, of insincerity. What he wrote he 
felt, and his very simplicity and sweetness of character, 
his childlike trust in the sympathy of others, made 

1 One of Mr. Eomanes' numerous pet names. 


him unreserved to his friends, to those whom he 

' Upon that Christmas Eve 
We saw thee pass away, 
...... t 

We heard the music of thy parting breath ; 

We saw a light of angels in thy face — 
A beauty so ineffable, that Death 

Was changed into a minister of Grace : 
...... i 

The mountains in their autumn hues, 

Of mountain reds and mountain blues, 

With heather and with highland bells, 

Await thy step on hills and fells ; 

The spongy peat and dewy moss 

Remember where we used to cross — 

Remember how they loved thy tread, 

Make for thy steps their softest bed : 

The murmuring streams are calling thee, 

The woodlands sigh in every tree ; 

Yet when I walk upon the 6hore, 

The waves are whispering — nevermore I 

Mournfully, mournfully whispering, they, 
Whispering, whispering every day, 
Thy soul in their waters, thy breath in their spray, 
Thy spirit still speaking in all that they say. 
They knew thee well, those weedy rocks, 
And now they rear their rugged blocks 
When I pass by, 
To ask me why 
They never feel thy tender hands ; 
And all the yellow of the sands 
Is spread to greet 
Thy tireless feet, 
Which loved to walk them when the tide was low. 

Now when I walk alone, 
To hear the ocean moan, 
The sea-birds circling round 
Sweep almost to the ground, 
And peep and pry above my head to know 

1890 SOCIAL LIFE 189 

Why thou dost never come, 
To watch them flying home, 
Upon the purple breast, 
Where daylight sinks to rest.' 

The Journal 1887, 1888, and 1889 is full of men- 
tion of pleasant dinners and meetings with interesting 
people. Young as Mr. Eomanes was, he attained long 
before he died 'that which should accompany old age — 
honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,' and as one 
turns over the brief records of the Journal one is struck 
with the brightness of his outward life. He enjoyed con- 
stant pleasant intercourse with men and women differ- 
ing widely in pursuits, in opinions, in social position ; 
he was full of plans for work, work which led him into 
many different phases of intellectual life, and he had 
every year an admixture of country life and country 
pursuits, and the love for music and for poetry, which 
increased each year, kept him from growing too 
absorbed in science, from being at all one-sided. He 
used sometimes to say he had too many interests, but 
be that as it may, these interests gave him much 
enjoyment and made him the most delightful of 

A dear friend wrote of him after his death that 
' In the home few men have been more surrounded by 
love, or have better deserved it,' and few men have 
been more loved by those outside his home. He had an 
unlimited capacity for loyal, true-hearted friendship. 
As one most truly said, ' Eomanes was the most loyal 
of friends.' 

There was something womanly in the tenderness 
which he felt for anyone in trouble of mind or body, 
and he was — what perhaps is even more rare — always 
ready to put aside his own work to help other people. 
He never grudged time or trouble to write lette: i or 


testimonials ; he was always ready to go and see 
people who were sad or lonely ; he was never too 
busy to be kind. He was intensely loved by those 
who served him, and few have been better served. 
There were very few changes in his household, and 
no one was ever more unwilling to give needless 
trouble, to find fault without cause, than he, or more 
ready to be really grateful for the ungrudging and 
loving and devoted service he received. ' You were 
the nicest master I ever served,' wrote a gamekeeper. 
' To think I have lived for fifteen years with him 
and never heard a cross word,' was said the day he 
was taken from his home. In money matters he was 
generous and almost lavish in readiness to give and 
also to lend. 

In Mr. Eomanes there was a certain chivalrous 
temper which could be roused to strong indignation 
where it was encountered by injustice and oppression, 
and the following letter to the ' Times ' is one of 
many such : 

To the Editor of the ' Times.' 

Sir, — On several previous occasions I have been 
instrumental in obtaining remission of grievous sen- 
tences at the police-courts by simply drawing atten- 
tion in your correspondence columns to the cases as 
they appear in your police reports. Adopting this 
course, I think that the following, which appeared in 
your issue of the 29th ult., requires some explana- 
tion : 

' At Wandsworth, , aged 17, a weakly-looking 

lad, residing at , was charged with stealing two tur- 
nips, value 3cZ., growing in a field belonging to Mr. H. 


Bunce, at Merton. The prosecutor having lost a quan- 
tity of produce, Police Constable Whitty was set to 
watch the property, and saw the prisoner pull the 
turnips and put them in his pocket. The accused 
said he had had nothing to eat all day, and being very 
hungry, he took the turnips ! A previous conviction 
was proved against him for felony, and he was now 
committed by Mr. Denman for six weeks' hard 

One would like to possess a good large field of 
turnips, where each turnip can be fairly valued at 
l\d. But, taking this as the true value of the par- 
ticular turnips in question, it appears that a starving 
man is now serving a week's hard labour for every 
half-penny's worth of the cheapest possible kind of 
food that he could steal. It is, of course, very right 
that he should have received some measure of punish- 
ment, if only as a warning to others in the neighbour- 
hood ; but the measure of punishment which he did 
receive seems, in the face of the matter, monstrous. 
We are not told what was the ' felony ' for which this 
' weakly-looking lad ' was previously convicted ; but, 
at any rate, we do know that on the present occasion 
his theft was not for any purpose of gain. It must 
have been, as he said, merely to alleviate the pains of 
hunger, for otherwise he would have carried some 
more capacious receptacle than either his pockets or 
his stomach. On the whole, therefore, I say — and 
say emphatically — this case demands some explana- 

I am, Sir, yours, &c, 



He was always ready to listen to what younger 
men (and women) had to say, to talk to them about 
his own subjects, his own work, to draw out their 
abilities, to discuss their difficulties. What Mr. 
Lionel Tollemache has written of Professor Owen is 
not less applicable to him : 

' His innate modesty enabled him, when speaking 
upon his own subject, so to let himself down to the 
level of the ordinary listeners that they not only felt 
quite at their ease with him, but fancied for the 
moment that they were experts like himself.' 

Journal, Jan. 1888. — Met Mr. Burne-Jones at 
the Humphry Wards', and had much interesting 
talk anent Eossetti. Burne-Jones said Eossetti was 
like an emperor ; his voice was that of a king who 
could quell his subjects. Also that he had a won- 
derful memory for metre, but that Swinburne's is 
better still, inasmuch as he can remember prose. 
On one occasion Swinburne recited to Burne-Jones 
several pages of Milton's prose which he had read 
once twenty years previously. Burne-Jones went on 
to say that Eossetti worked a great deal at his poetry, 
and added, ' That's what you can do with words, 
worry them as much as you like, but you can't tease 
a picture.' 

March 9. — Mr. Leslie Stephen lectured on Cole- 
ridge most admirably. 

To Miss G. E. Bomanes. 

18 Cornwall Terrace : March 1, 1888. 

My dearest Charlotte, — I find that neither of us 
wrote yesterday, so I have two of your letters to 
answer to-day. 

1890 LIFE IN LONDON 193 

You certainly seem to be having much the best 
time of it as regards weather. Every week and every 
day here is worse than the last — the month which 
has just ended having been the most savage February 
in the memory of living Londoners. You will have 
seen that poor Cotter Morison has not survived it. 
He died last Sunday, just too soon to see his son, who 
had been telegraphed home from India. He had a 
great desire to live long enough to have had this 
meeting, and it seems hard that when he struggled 
on so long and painfully at the end, that he should 
just have missed it. 

For Mr. Morison Mr. Eomanes had a great regard, 
and his death was a real sorrow. 

Journal. — Sir F. Bramwell lectured on the ' Faults 
of the Decimal System,' calling it a lecture without 
a point. He was killingly amusing. Dinner at Sir 
H. Thompson's, met Mr. J. Froude, Hannen, and 

We met the author of ' The New Antigone ' the 
other night at the Lillys'. He reviewed ' Mental 
Evolution in Man ' in a E.C. paper the other day ; 
according to him it's the Gospel of Dirt ! Last 
Sunday we went to hear Spurgeon ; of his personal 
goodness there is no doubt. 

May 14. — Stayed in Christ Church with the 
Pagets. G-. had a most interesting talk with Aubrey 
Moore. [Mr. Eomanes had already, at the Aristote- 
lian Society, met Mr. Aubrey Moore.] Lunched 
on Sunday with the Max Miillers. He showed us a 



letter from Mr. Darwin most characteristic in its 
humility and sweetness. 

May 20. — Yery fine sermon from Mr. Scott- 
Holland on the Evidence of the Gospels. Tea at the 
Deanery, and Gr. had a little talk with the Dean. 

There are frequent mentions now of Mr. Scott- 
Holland, whom Mr. Romanes often went to hear. 

In 1888 appeared ' Mental Evolution in Man,' 
To Miss C. E. Romanes. 

Cornwall Terrace : May 18, 1888. 

My own book is certain to make a ' commotion,' 
if not among ' the angels ' in heaven, 1 at least among 
' the saints ' upon earth. One of these same saints 
has been behaving outrageously in print, and every- 
body is full either of jubilation or indignation at 
what he has been writing about Darwin and 
Darwinism. F. Darwin asked me to do the replying, 
and to-day I am returning proof of an article for the 
6 Contemporary Review.' 

I am ashamed to have been so long in writing, 
but the truth is that, notwithstanding having put 
down Finis to my MS., other things occurred to me 
to add, which required recasting some of the chapters, 
and so I have been fighting against time, and am 

It will not be long now before you have the 

1 This is in allusion to a minister of a small country parish in Scotland, 
who prayed that there might be at this time, on account of this parish, ' a 
very great commotion among the angels.' 


They are looking forward with great glee to Dun- 
skaith ; but you must take care that they do not 
make it too lively. I never saw such nice children 
myself, but James may find them over-noisy when 
they are particularly high-spirited. His godson is 
the most comical chap that ever was born. He has 
a passion for what he calls ' loaded matches,' i.e. 
matches unused, and so ready to 'go off.' Yesterday 
his fingers were found to be burnt. Asked as to the 
cause, he said he had lighted some loaded matches 
and held his fingers in the flames so as to see if he 
could ' keep back crying.' This he seems to have 
done to his own satisfaction, and now wants to prove 
his prowess in public. Little Ethel was found bathed 
in tears a few days ago in a room by herself, and the 
grief turned out to have been on account of the death 
of the Emperor. 1 

You ask how the lectures are 'going on.' They 
are ' going on ' rather too well. Owing to Schafer 
having been taken ill with bronchitis, I agreed to 
relieve him of some engagements he had entered into 
for giving lectures to a Highgate Institution. Con- 
sequently I had to give two lectures on Tuesday (in 
the afternoon at the Institution, and in the evening 
at Highgate), and another yesterday, besides attend- 
ing Council meetings, &c. The Institution lectures 
give much more satisfaction than I anticipated, as I 
thought the historical character of this year's course 
would appeal but to a small number of people. But 
the audience keeps up to between one hundred and 

Of Germany. 



two hundred very steadily (usually one hundred and 
fifty), and is in part made up of outsiders. But I 
shall not be sorry when they are over, as it will leave 
me more time for better work. 

I am sorry that there still continue to be so many 
ups and downs in your daily reports. 1 The case is, 
indeed, dreadfully tedious. How would you like me 
to run down to see you after my lectures are over ? 

I enclose a photo which has just come from a man 
who is photographing the Royal Society. 

We are all well and flying about in all directions. 
Such a time for dinners and concerts and all manner 
of things ; it is a wonder that we are living at all, as 
old Jean 2 used to say. 

To Mrs. Bomanes. 

Ernest is as right as ever he was. I had all 
three boys, and Gerald was more comical than can 
be described. Jack made me take him all over 
the house looking for mother. Then I went out to 
get my dinner, when I made a great discovery. 
After close upon thirty years' residence in London, I 
have at last found the perfect thing in the way of 
a restaurant. For 7s. 6d. one can get the most ideal 
of conceivable dinners (which has also the advantage 
of being decidedly material). There was only one 
deficiency, and that was yourself. This you must 
supply. Indeed, I should like to repeat the whole 
of this evening's experience with you. For after the 

1 His brother was ill. 2 An old nurse. 

1590 DINING 197 

dinner I went to St. James's Theatre, and there saw 
one of the best pieces of acting I have ever seen. 
Yours in Zeit and Ewigkeit. Waggett x came in for 
an hour, and I gave him my book. 

I went to see Father Clarke. 2 I had to go to a 
vegetarian dinner, but secured a good luncheon at 
the club first ! 

To J. Romanes, Esq. 

March 15, 1889. 

I am glad you think so well of what I write, for it 
often seems to me that, amid so many distractions 
and in so many directions, I work to very little pur- 
pose. The ' Gluardian ' reviewer 3 has written to me 
a private letter, from which it appears that he is a 
man I know very well. He is Aubrey Moore, of 
Oxford, and is considered one of the ablest men there. 
I enclose his letter, which I failed to send before. 

It is indeed a change for you to like being nursed, 
and perhaps not altogether a bad one from the 
character point of view. The only ' explanation ' I 
can give is that of the ' adaptation of the organism to 
changed conditions of life.' 

Journal, May 1889. — Our dear Mr. Henry Pollock 
is dead. Wisest, kindest of friends. Geanies will be 
so sad now. So many who had helped to make it 
bright are gone. 

1 The Eev. Philip Napier Waggett, now of Cowley St. John, who was 
one of Mr. Romanes' most intimate friends. Mr. Waggett's scientific 
attainments made him a valuable as well as a much-loved friend. 

2 The Rev. R. Clarke, S.J. 

3 Mr. Aubrey Moore reviewed Mental Evolution in Man in the 


About this time Mr. Eomanes drew up a paper, 
which is given here, as it may interest some readers. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Eegent's Park, London, N.W. 

Dear Sir or Madam, — While engaged in collecting 
materials for a work on Human Psychology, I have 
been surprised to find the greatness of the differences 
which obtain between different races, and even 
between different individuals of the same race, con- 
cerning sentiments which attach to the thoughts of 
death. With the view, if possible, of ascertaining 
the causes of such differences, I am addressing a 
copy of the appended questions to a large number of 
representative and average individuals of both sexes, 
various nationalities, creeds, occupations, &c. It 
would oblige me if you would be kind enough to 
further the object of my inquiry by answering some 
or all of these questions, and adding any remarks 
that may occur to you as bearing upon the sub- 

In order to save unnecessary trouble, I may explain 
that, in the event of your not caring to answer any of 
the questions, I shall not expect you to acknowledge 
this letter ; and that, if you should reply, answers to 
many of the questions may be most briefly furnished 
by underlining the portion of each, which by its repe- 
tition would serve to convey your answer. 

It is needless to add that the names of my corre- 
spondents will not be published. 

I am yours very faithfully, 

George J. Eomanes. 


(1) Do you regard the prospect of your own death 

(a) with indifference, (b) with dislike, (c) with dread, 
or (d) with inexpressible horror ? 

(2) If you entertain any fear of death at all, is the 
cause of it (a) prospect of bodily suffering only, (b) 
dread of the unknown, (c) idea of loneliness and. 
separation from friends, or (d) in addition to all or 
any of these, a peculiar horror of an indescribable 

(3) Is the state of your belief with regard to a 
future life that of (a) virtual conviction that there is 
a future life, (b) suspended judgment inclining to- 
wards such belief, (c) suspended judgment inclining 
against such belief, or (d) virtual conviction that 
there is no such life ? 

(4) Is your religious belief, if any, (a) of a vivid 
order, or (b) without much practical influence on 
your life and conduct ? 

(5) Is your temperament naturally of (a) a 
courageous or (b) of a timid order as regards the 
prospect of bodily pain or mental distress ? 

(6) More generally, do you regard your own dis- 
position as (a) strong, determined, and self-reliant ; 

(b) nervous, shrinking, and despondent ; or (c) medium 
in this respect ? 

(7) Should you say that in your character the 
intellectual or the emotional predominates ? Does 
your intellect incline to abstract or concrete ways of 
thought ? Is it theoretical, practical, or both ? Are 
your emotions of the tender or heroic order, or both ? 
Are your tastes in any way artistic, and, if so, in what 
way, and with what strength ? 

(8) What is your age or occupation ? Can you 
trace any change in your feelings with regard to death 


as having taken place during the course of your 
life ? 

(9) If ever you have been in danger of death, what 
were the circumstances, and what your feelings ? 

(10) Remarks. 


This communication well exemplifies the spirit in 
which Mr. Romanes approached the problems of 
animal faculty. He spent, indeed, much time and 
labour in collecting and classifying the observations 
and anecdotes which he published in ' Animal Intelli- 
gence ' ; but he lost no opportunities of observing and 
experimenting for himself. In this, as in other 
departments of inquiry, his constant effort was to be 
in direct and immediate touch with facts. His 
observations on his own dogs, especially those which 
he published in his article 1 on ' Fetichism in Animals,' 
wherein he describes the effects on a terrier of the 
apparent coming to life of a dry bone which the dog 
had been playing with, and to which a fine thread 
had been attached, and those which dealt with the 
power of tracking their master by scent, 2 further 
exemplify his careful methods and his resort, wher- 
ever possible, to experimental conditions. His ob- 
servations, too, on the ' homing ' of bees, 3 by which 
he showed that the insects find their way back 
to the hive through their experience of the topo- 
graphy and by knowledge of landmarks, rather 
than through any mysterious innate faculty or sense 
of direction, are the work of a scientific observer, 

1 Nature, vol. xvii. p. 168. 2 Ibid. vol. xxxvi. p. 273. 

3 Ibid. vol. xxxii. p. 630. 


and very different from the chance tales of a mere 

The whole subject of comparative psychology had 
a special and peculiar fascination for Mr. Romanes, 
partly on account of its intimate connection with the 
theory of evolution, and partly from its bearing on 
those deeper philosophic problems which were never 
long absent from his thoughts. His treatment of 
the phenomena of instinct in ' Mental Evolution in 
Animals,' and elsewhere, was both comprehensive 
and exact, and still forms, in the opinion of com- 
petent authorities, the best general account of the 
subject that we have ; though, had he lived to review 
and consolidate his work, some changes would probably 
have been introduced in view of later discussions 
on the nature and method of hereditary transmission. 
His arguments in ' Mental Evolution in Man,' in 
support of the essential similarity of the reasoning 
processes in the higher animals and in man, created 
a stir, at the time of their publication, which was in 
itself evidence that his critics felt that they had a 
writer and thinker that must be seriously and 
sharply met. He hoped by this work to win over 
the psychologists to the evolution camp ; and he 
himself felt strongly that in some cases, when he 
failed fully to convince them of the adequacy of his 
method of treatment and of the arguments he 
adduced, it was rather in matters of definition than 
in matters of fact that the source of their differences 
lay. He was somewhat disappointed that his terms 
' recept ' and ' receptual ' for mental products inter- 
mediate between the ' percept ' and the ' concept ' 
were not more generally accepted by psychologists, 
since, in his matured opinion, they and the conception 
they represent were eminently helpful in bridging 


the debatable space between the intellectual powers 
of man and the faculties of the lower animals. 

It was Mr. Romanes' intention to continue the 
mental evolution series and to deal, in further instal- 
ments of his work, with the intellectual emotions, 
volition, morals, and religion. This intention, how- 
ever, he did not live to fulfil. His further develop- 
ment of mental evolution in the light of his later 
conclusions in the region of philosophical and religious 
thought would have been profoundly interesting. 
But one's regret that this part of his life work 
remained incomplete is tempered by the recollection 
that what he did complete was so worthily done. 
For, in the words of Mr. Lloyd Morgan, which were 
quoted with approval by Dr. Burdon Sanderson in 
his Royal Society obituary notice : ' by his patient 
collection of data ; by his careful discussion of these 
data in the light of principles clearly and definitely 
formulated ; by his wide and forcible advocacy of his 
views ; and, above all, by his own observations and 
experiments, Mr. Romanes left a mark in this field of 
investigation and interpretation which is not likely 
to be effaced.' 

In 1889 Mr. Romanes attended the British Asso- 
ciation which met that year at Newcastle. Here, he 
and Professor Poulton had a long discussion on the 
1 Inheritance of Acquired Characters ' ; he spoke so 
much, and was so much en evidence, at this Association 
that the Newcastle papers described him as a most 
belligerent person. 

He wrote afterwards from Edinburgh : 

Things progress as usual. After my lecture I 
played chess with Mrs. Butcher and dined with the 


Logans. Margaret, in telling me the pretty things 
she had heard, drew from her husband the rebuke 
that she was not judicious. So I told them your 
estimate of my merits, and Charles l was quite satisfied 
that I was in good keeping. 

You have made a ' philosophical ' mistake about the 
dinner party to the R.'s which, of course, I imitated. 
Butcher has given me a MS. of his to read on the 
' Psychology of the Ludicrous.' Seems very good. 

To Professor Poidton. 

Newcastle : Monday, September J 889. 

My dear Poulton, — I am very glad to receive your 
long and friendly letter ; because, although I have the 
Ishmael-like reputation of finding my hand against 
every man, and every man's against mine, my blasto- 
genetic endowments are really of the peaceful order. 
Moreover, in the present instance the ' row ' was not 
one that affected me with any feelings of real opposi- 
tion, although it seemed expedient to point out that 
a somewhat hasty inference had not been judiciously 
stated. Therefore, I take it, we may now cordially, 
as well as formally, shake hands, and probably be 
better friends than ever. In token of which I may 
begin by furnishing the explanation of what was 
meant by the passage in the ' Contemporary Review ' 
to which you alluded. 

I quite agree that Weismann's suggestion about 
causes of variability is an admirable one. But it has 

1 C. Logan, Esq., W.S., who had married Mr. Romanes' cousin. 


always seemed to me it is comprised under 
Darwin's general category of causes internal to the 
organism (or, in his terminology, causes due to ' the 
nature of the organism '). But besides this, he recog- 
nised the category of causes external to the organism 
(or the so-called Lamarckian principles of direct 
action of environment, plus inherited efforts of use 
and disuse). Now, anyone who accepts this latter 
category as comprising verce causes, obviously has a 
larger area of causality on which to draw for his 
theoretical explanations of variability, than has a 
man who expressly limits the possibility of such 
causes to the former category. This is all that I 
had in my mind when writing the line in the ' Con- 
temporary Eeview ' which led you to suppose that I 
was expounding W. without having read him ; and 
although I freely allow that the meaning was one 
that required explanation to bring out, you may 
remember that this meaning had nothing whatever 
to do with the subject which I was expounding, 
and therefore it was that I neglected to draw it out. 
You will observe that, so far as the present matter 
is concerned, it does not signify what views we 
severally take touching the validity of Lamarckian 
hypotheses. The point is, that anyone who sees 
his way to entertaining thern thereby furnishes 
himself with a larger field of causality for explaining 
variations than does a man who limits that field 
to causes internal to organisms — even though, like 
W., he suggests an extension of the latter. 

And now about the ' Athenaeum.' I fear you think 
I have been taking an unfair opportunity of giving 


you a back-hander. In point of fact, however, I never 
do such things ; and the more reason I have for any- 
thing like hitting back (which, however, is entirely 
absent on the present occasion), the more careful 
should I be to avoid any appearance of doing so in an 
unsigned review. I neither wrote, nor have I read 
the particular review in question. 

Eegarding articulation, read in my l Mental 
Evolution in Man,' Mr. Hales' admirable remarks on 
children having probably been the constructors of all 
languages, I believe this theory will prove to be the 
true solution of the origin of languages, as distin- 
guished from the faculty of language. What you say 
about the latter being blastogenetic, requires you to 
unsay what is said by W. 

Please let me know whether there is anything 
that you see in my ' cessation of selection ' different 
from W.'s ' Panmixia.' The debate to-day failed to 
furnish any opposition. 

Yours very sincerely, 

G. J. Eomanes. 

Geanies, Ross-shire, N.B. : October 21, 1889. 

My dear Poulton, — Many thanks for your interest- 
ing letter. From it I quite understand your views 
about the relation between reproduction and repair ; 
are they those of Weismann or altogether your own ? 
And have they, as yet, been published anywhere ? If 
not, I suppose it is undesirable to allude to them in 
public ? The theory is ingenious, but seems to sail 
rather near Pangenesis (as do many of the latter 


amendments of germplasm by W.) ; and I should 
have thought that the limbs of salamanders, &c, are 
too late products, both phylogenetically and ontogene- 
tically, to fall within its terms. 

I also see better what you mean about Sphex. 
But Darwin's letter in ' Mental Evolution in Animals ' 
seems to me to meet (or rather to anticipate) thfi 
1 difficulty.' Of course, he did not suppose that the 
insects' knowledge of ' success ' goes further than 
rinding out and observing the best place to sting in 
order to produce the maximum effect. The analogy 
of Cymphs is apposite ; but is it the fact that there 
is any species whose localisation is really compara- 
ble with that of Sphex ? Contrasting Weismann's 
account with Fabre's, I should say not. 

As for neuter insects (which you mentioned at 
Newcastle), Darwin allows that they constitute one 
of the most difficult cases to bring under natural selec- 
tion, seeing that this has here to act at the end of a 
long lever of the wrong kind, so to speak. Bead 
Perrier's preface to French translation of ' Mental 
Evolution in Animals,' and observe how good his 
suggestion is, on the supposition that Lamarckian 
principles have any applicability at all. 

Lastly, at Newcastle you said something that 
seemed to imply a doubt upon such facts as Lord 
Morton's mare. Do you really doubt such facts ? I 
cannot suppose it. 

There are plenty of white stoats hereabouts, I 
believe, though I have never actually seen them, 
because I do not stay late enough in the year. I 
have told my keeper to try to catch some without 


injuring them, and, if he succeeds, to send them 
straight to the Zoo. The experiment would be a very 
interesting one. But the keeper says that even here 
the whiteness depends as to its intensity upon the 
amount of snow in different seasons. He is most 
positive about this ; he says it depends upon snow, 
and not on cold. However, I do not quote him as an 
authority in science, although he certainly is an in- 
telligent and observing man. 

Regarding the Royal Institution, an after Easter 
course by you would be doubly interesting, because 
before Easter I have to give one on the ' Post- 
Darwinian Period,' which will be mainly concerned 
with Weismann. Your lectures might then serve as 
a counter-irritant, therefore I will do anything I 
can to bring them about, only, not being on the 
managing body, I can help merely by backing any 
application you may make. And, of course, there 
ought to be no difficulty about it. Only let me know 
if you should want backing. 

Would it not be worth while to get also some 
mountain hares for observation at the Zoo ? These, I 
think, I could get. 

Yours very truly, 

Geo. J. Romanes. 

Geanies, Boss-shire, N.B. : October 15. 

Would you mind sending me the part of your MS. 
dealing with Sphex ? I do not know that I quite 
caught your objection to my difficulty, and want to 
allude to it in lectures which I am now preparing for 
my Edinburgh class. 


Also, did I correctly understand you to say that 
you refused to acknowledge any fundamental identity 
between processes of reproduction and those of repair ? 
For this identity is to my mind the most important 
of all objections to W.'s theory. 

G. J. Eomanes. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W. : December 3, 1889. 

My dear Poulton, — I returned here a day or two 
ago, and now send you my copy of Perrier's remarks 
about the neuters of hymenopterous insects. But 
he said a good deal more in subsequent and private 
correspondence. His preface, however, will serve to 
show you the general tone of argument. 

With regard to Panmixia, it occurs to me that 
very likely you have not seen all that I wrote upon it, 
as the three papers were scattered over several months 
in ' Nature.' The following are the references : Vol. 
ix. pp. 361, 440 ; vol. x. p. 164. 

You will see that I took up a decided stand upon 
the principle of Panmixia not being able altogether 
to supersede that of disuse. This was for the reasons 
stated in my last letter ; and I still see no further 
reason for changing the opinion that was then formed 
under the influence of Darwin's judgment. 

With reference to the difference that you alluded 
to — and which, as far as I can see, is the only differ- 
ence between Weismann's presentation of the prin- 
ciple and my own — I enclose an extract from the 
lecture which I have just been giving in Edinburgh. 
From this extract I think you will see that the one 
point of difference does not redound to the credit of 


Weismann's logic. After reading the extract in 
conjunction with the papers in ' Nature,' perhaps you 
will let me know whether you now understand my 
view any better, or still believe that the cessation of 
selection alone can reduce the average of a useless 
organ below fifty per cent, of its original size — so 
long, that is, as the force of heredity continues unim- 

G. J. Komanes. 

Some further letters to Mr. Thiselton Dyer and 
to Mr. F. Darwin follow. 

To Professor Thiselton Dyer. 

December 20, 1888. 

Dear Dyer, — Would you mind sending me on a 
postcard the name of the genus of plants the con- 
stituent species of which you alluded to in the train 
as being mutually fertile, and also separated from 
one another topographically ? I want to get as many 
of such cases as I possibly can, so, if any others occur 
to you, please mention them likewise. 

By reading pages 401 and 404 of my paper, you 
will see why such cases are of quite as much impor- 
tance to me as the converse, viz. where closely allied 
species inhabiting continuous areas are more or less 
mutually sterile (see p. 392). 

If you have hitherto failed to apply these converse 
tests to my theory, I cannot conceive by what other 
principle you have sought to test it. Pray read the 
passages referred to, which present the shortest 



summary of what I regard as the very backbone of 
my evidence. 

If your large knowledge of geographical distribu- 
tion should enable you to supply me with specific 
cases of the general principle mentioned by Darwin in 
the quotation given on page 392 (' Origin of Species,' 
6th ed., pp. 134-5), I should much like to try experi- 
ments on the sterility which I should expect to find 
between these interlocking species. 

It seems comical to ask a scientific opponent for 
assistance, but the fact of being able to do so 
proves the superiority of science to politics. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W. : December 27, 1888. 

I am most glad that in your last letter you deal 
with what I consider the real ' question ' — viz. not 
whether degrees of sterility obtain among a large 
proportional number of species, but whether there is 
any such correlation between them and absence of 
isolation of other kinds as my theory would expect. 
And in dealing with this question you hit upon 
precisely the two greatest difficulties which I have 
myself concluded lie against the theory. The first 
is about areas now discontinuous having been once 
continuous, and our being so often unable to say 
whether or not such has been the case. But this 
difficulty is one that lies against verification of the 
theory, not against the theory itself. It was in view 
of this difficulty that I mentioned oceanic islands as 
furnishing the best flora for trying experiments upon ; 
but since I published the paper, I have not been able to 


hear of any botanists visiting islands. Should you 
ever hear of any you might let rne know. 

The second difficulty is one that lies against the 
theory itself, and has always seemed to me most 
formidable. But as nobody else has ever mentioned 
it, I have not hitherto done so, as I want to work it 
out quietly. I allude to your remark about the ex- 
traordinary differences that obtain among different 
genera with regard to the capability of intercrossing 
exhibited by their constituent species. This, I 
confess, has from the first appeared a tremendous 
objection to my theory. On the other hand, I have 
taken comfort from the consideration that besides 
being a tremendous objection, it is also a tremendous 
mystery. For, as it must admit of some explanation, 
and as this explanation must almost certainly have 
to do with the sexual system, it becomes not 
improbable that when found the explanation may 
square with p.s. That the difference in question is 
functional and not structural (or physiological as 
distinguished from morphological) seems to be proved 
by the fact that in some cases it obtains as between 
the most closely allied genera, being, e.g., most 
strongly pronounced of all between Geranium and 
Pelargonium. Even quite apart from my own theory, 
it seems to me that this is a subject of the highest 
importance to investigate. 

As regards sexual selection I allow, of course, that 
the ' law of battle ' is a form of natural selection. 
But where the matter is merely a pleasing of aesthetic 
taste, and the resulting structures therefore only 
ornamental, I can see nothing ' advantageous ' in the 



sense of life-preserving. On the contrary, in most 
cases such structures entail considerable expenditure 
of physiological energy in their production. On this 
account Darwin says that nat. sel. must impose a 
check on sexual selection running beyond a certain 
point of injuriousness (' D. of M.,' p. 227). Now, 
physiological selection is never thus injurious ; and 
although it is a ' form of isolation,' the isolation is 
neither so extreme nor of such long continuance as 
the ones you compare it with. Moreover, the environ- 
ment (therefore all other or external conditions of life) 
remains the same, which is not the case under the 
other forms of isolation. Provided that the physio- 
logical change is not in itself injurious, I do not see 
why physiologically isolated forms should be less fit 
than those from which they have been separated, 
though I can very well see why this should be the 
case with such geograjrfrically isolated forms as you 
mention, for there the schooling is different. Lastly, 
physiological selection, if not in itself injurious, does 
not require that its children should be ' protected 
against the struggle for existence.' On the contrary, 
as I say in my paper, it is calculated to give this 
struggle a better chance than ever to develope adap- 
tive character in the sexually isolated forms, because 
the swamping effects of intercrossing are diminished. 
But I really did not intend to afflict you with 
another jaw of this kind. I am, however, very glad 
that we now understand each other better than we 
did. At all events on my side I think I now know 
exactly the points which I have to make good if 
Nature is so constituted as to admit of my theory. 


One thing only I have forgotten to say, viz. that 
nothing can be argued against the theory from the 
fact of hybridisation occurring in cases where, 
according to the theory, it ought not to occur. This 
argument only becomes valid where it is found that 
the resulting hybrids are fertile. In relation to the 
theory, a sterile hybrid is all the same as a failure to 
cross. Yours very sincerely, 

G. J. Eomanes. 

P.S. — I forgot to ask you if there would be any 
facilities in spring at Kew for repeating Adam's graft 
of purple on yellow laburnum. I want to try this 
experiment in budding on a large scale because of its 
importance on Weismannism, should the resulb of 
any of the grafts go to corroborate Adam's account 
of the way in which he produced the hybrid. If you 
agree to the experiments being tried at Kew, perhaps 
you might let me know whether there are any purple 
laburnums already in the gardens, or whether I 
should get the material over from France. But in 
that case you might also let me know to whom in 
France or elsewhere I had best apply. However, 
do not bother to answer any other parts of this 
tremendous letter, these we can discuss in conversa- 
tion hereafter. A postcard to answer this postscript, 
however, is desirable, as then it might be possible to 
get matters in train for next budding season. 

G. J. K. 

I should much like to meet Churchill. Will you 
remember to tell me when he comes ? 


To F. Darwin, Esq. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Eegent's Park, N.W. : January 20, 1889. 

Dear Darwin, — Many thanks for your long letter. 
I thought you might have had some notes or memo- 
ries of conversations, to show in a general way what 
the ' line ' would have been. 1 If so, of course I should 
not have said that my sayings were inspired, but 
should myself have known that I was not going 

The line I am going to take is : 

1st. Even assuming, for sake of argument, that 
heightened colour is correlated with increased vigour, 
Wallace everywhere fails to distinguish between bril- 
liancy and ornament ; yet it is the disposition of colours 
in patterns, &c, that is the chief thing to be explained. 

2nd. In many cases (e.g. peacock's tail) the pattern 
is only revealed when unfolded during courtship. 
Besides natural selection could not be such a fool as to 
develope large (physiologically expensive) and weighty 
(impeding flight) structures like this — stags' antlers, 
&c, merely as correlates of vigour. 

3rd. There is not much in Wallace's merely 
negative difficulty about our not knowing what goes 
on in the mind of a hen, when we set against that 
difficulty the positive fact that we can see what does 
go on in the mind of a cock — display, antics, song, &c. 

4th. To say that ' each bird finds a mate under any 
circumstances ' is merely to beg the whole question. 

1 Of Mr. Darwin. 


5th. There remains Wallace's jealousy of natural 
selection. He will not have any other ' factor,' and 
therefore says natural selection must eat up sexual 
selection like the lean kine have the fat kine. But 
natural selection alone does not explain all the 
phenomena of sexual colouring, courtship, &c, and 
sexual selection is exactly the theory that does. 
Wallace's jealousy, therefore, is foolish and inimical 
to natural selection theory itself, by forcing it into 
explanations which are plainly false. 

My own belief is, that what Lankester calls the 
' pure Darwinians ' are doing the same thing in 
another direction. By endeavouring, with Wallace 
and Weismann, to make natural selection all in all as 
the sole cause of adaptive structure, and expressly 
discarding the Darwinian recognition of use and dis- 
use, I think they are doing harm to natural selection 
theory itself. Moreover, because I do not see any 
sufficient reason as yet to budge from the real 
Darwinian standpoint (Weismann has added nothing 
to the facts which were known to Charles Darwin), 
the post-Darwinians accuse me of moving away from 
Darwinian principles. But it is they who are mov- 
ing, and, because they see a change in our relative 
positions, affirm that it is I. In point of fact, my 
position has never varied in the least, and my con- 
fession of faith would still follow, in every detail, that 
given on p. 421 of ' Origin,' 6th ed., which, it seems 
to me, might also be regarded as prophetic no less 
than retrospective. 

If I did not say all this in my paper in physio- 
logical selection, it is only because I never conceived 


the possibility of my being accused of trying to under- 
mine natural selection ; and, therefore, I only stated 
as briefly as possible what my relations were to it. 
Yet it seems to me that this statement was clear 
enough if Wallace had not come down with his pre- 
posterous ' Eomanes versus Darwin.' At all events, 
it is not in my power — or, I believe, in that of any- 
body else — to express more strongly than I now have 
in ' Nature,' in answer to Dyer, what I do hold about 
natural selection in its relation to physiological selec- 
tion, sexual selection, and other subordinate principles. 
Of course, if there were a debate on these lines at the 
B.A., I should get my part of it published somewhere. 
As far as I can honestly see, my ' position ' is abso- 
lutely identical with that in last editions of ' Origin ' 
and 'Descent,' with, perhaps, a 'tendency' to lay 
more stress on levelling influence of Panmixia. 

Re physiological selection. I have sent Correvon, 
of Geneva, £50 to help in founding a garden in the 
Alps, which will have the proud distinction of being 
the highest garden in the world. He is a splendid 
man for his knowledge of Alpine flora, and besides, is 
strongly bitten with a desire to test physiological selec- 
tion. Of course I shall do the hybridising experiments 
myself, but he will collect the material from the 
different mountains — i.e. nearly allied species, topo- 
graphically separated, and therefore, I hope, mutually 
fertile. The converse experiments of nearly allied 
species on common areas may be tried in England. 

I am making arrangements for repeating on an 
extensive scale experiments on budding purple labur- 
num on yellow, to see if it is possible to reproduce 


* Adam's eye ' hybrid. If so, it would now be of more 
importance than ever in relation to Weismann. By 
the way, he is sorely put to it in the case of plants 
which reproduce themselves not only by cuttings, but 
even by leaves. Here he is bound to confess that his 
germ-plasma occupies all the cellular tissue of the 
entire plant. But if so, how in the world does his 
germ-plasma differ from gemmules ? 

There ! I did not intend to write you anything 
of a letter when I began, but have gone on and on 
till it is well for you that the second sheet is coming 
to an end. 

Yours ever, 


P.S. — Any contributions to Correvon's garden 
(however small) would be thankfully received by him. 
Possibly his garden may be of some use to English 
botanists ; if so, you might send the hat round, and 
collect any coppers that fall. 

To Professor Tliiselton Dyer. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W. : January 7, 1889. 

My dear Dyer, — Knowing what a busy man 
you are, I never expected you to answer my last 
letter, and therefore it has come as an agreeable sur- 
prise. For no doubt you will believe me when I say 
that I value much more communications which are 
opposed to physiological selection than those in its 
favour ; the former show me better what has to be 
done in the way of verification, as well as the general 


views which may be taken on the subject by other 
minds. And most of all is this the case when anyone 
like yourself gives me the benefit of opinions which are 
formed by a trained experience in botany, seeing that 
here I am myself such a sorry ignoramus. And I 
willingly confess that your strongly expressed opinion 
has seriously shaken my hopes for physiological selec- 
tion, notwithstanding that some German botanists 
think otherwise. Nevertheless, I still think that it 
is worth while to devote some years to experimental 
testing, and then, if the results are against me — well, 
I shall be sorry to have spent so much time over a 
wild flower chase, and to have kicked up so much 
scientific dust in the process ; but I will not be 
ashamed to acknowledge that Nature has said 

And now for your last letter. Eead in the light 
of subsequent experience, I have no doubt that I 
ought to have expressed myself with more care while 
writing my paper. But, to tell the honest truth, it 
never once occurred to me that I of all men could be 
suspected of trying to undermine the theories of 
Darwin. I was entirely filled with the one idea of 
presenting what seemed to me ' a supplementary 
hypothesis,' which, while ' in no way opposed to 
natural selection,' would ' release the latter from the 
only difficulties ' which to my mind it had ever pre- 
sented. Therefore I took it for granted that every- 
body would go with me in recognising natural selec- 
tion as the ' boss ' round which every ' other theory ' 
must revolve, without my having to say so on every 
page. So, of course, by 'other theory' I did not mean 


that physiological selection was in my opinion the 
only theory of the origin of species. Everywhere 
throughout the paper, from the title-page to the con- 
clusion, I represented it as an 'additional suggestion,' 
a ' supplementary hypothesis,' &c, &c. Sexual selec- 
tion is in my view (as it is also in Darwin's, Wallace's, 
and doubtless that of all evolutionists) one of the 
'' other theories that have been propounded on the 
origin of species.' So is Lamarck's theory, which 
was considered by Darwin as more or less 'supplemen- 
tary ' to natural selection ; and this is all that I meant 
— or, I should say, could possibly be understood to 
mean in view of the title-page, &c. — by speaking of 
physiological selection as another theory of the origin 
of species. It certainly is not the same thing as natural 
selection or either of the ' other theories ' just men- 
tioned ; but no less certainly it is not exclusive of any 
of the three. Unquestionably it is as you say, and as 
I myself said, an independent theory — i.e. not iden- 
tical with, but additional to, that of natural selection. 
But this is a widely different thing from saying that 
it is in itself an exhaustive theory, which must there- 
fore swallow up all or any ' others.' In short, I abide 
by the closing statement of my introductory para- 
graph — viz. that the theory is an ' attempt at sug- 
gesting another factor in the formation of species, 
which, although quite independent of natural selection, 
is in no way opposed to natural selection, and may 
therefore be regarded as a factor supplementary to 
natural selection.' Statements to the same effect 
are indeed scattered through the entire paper ; but, 
of course, could I have foreseen the interpretations 


which afterwards arose, I should have reiterated such 
statements ad nauseam. 

Sorry you cannot come to the B.A., or to dine, 
but certainly do not wonder. 

Yours very sincerely, 


Lastly, about species not being able to exist as 
species without the physiological isolation of physio- 
logical selection (p. 403), the statement of course only 
applies to nearly allied species occupying common 
areas (see p. 404). If this statement is wrong, no 
one has yet shown me wherein it is so. I fancy you 
do not quite appreciate that by ' sterility ' I always 
mean (unless otherwise expressly stated) sterility in 
some degree, and this not only with regard to the 
fertile hybrids. It is by no means enough to point to 
natural and fertile hybrids as cases opposed to phy- 
siological selection unless it has been shown by 
experiment through a generation or two that these 
hybrids axe fully fertile — i.e. as fertile as their parent 
species. Now, experiments of this kind have rarely 
been carried through. If you assume that the result 
of carrying them through would be destructive of 
physiological selection by proving that fertile hybrids 
are, as a rule, fully fertile, and also (which is very 
important) that in any cases where experiment may 
show them to be so, further experiment would 
fail to show that isolation has not been effected in 
any other way (as by pre-potency, differences of 
insect fertilisation, &c.) — in short, if you assume 
that fertility is as complete between the two asso- 


ciated species as it is within each species, how is it 
conceivable that they should continue to be distinct ? 
In this connection it is well to consult G-ulick's paper 
already referred to (especially p. 259, paragraph 1st) 
on the theoretical side, and Jordan's papers and 
books on the practical side. I have repeated the 
latter's observations on poppies, and find that where 
any considerable number of individuals are concerned, 
natural selection is not nearly so great a power in 
this respect. (Even in cases where it happens that 
in-breeding is necessarily confined to single herma- 
phrodite individuals for numberless generations, the 
handicapping is not fatal : witness flowers which 
habitually fertilise themselves before opening — es- 
pecially some species of orchids, which never seem 
to do otherwise, notwithstanding the elaborate pro- 
visions for cross-fertilisation in other species.) Now, 
I believe most of all in what I have called ' collective 
variation ' of the reproductive system in the way 
of physiological selection, whereby, owing to some 
common influence acting on a large number of indi- 
viduals similarly and simultaneously, they all become 
sexually co-adapted inter se while physiologically 
isolated from the rest. This essential feature of the 
theory seems to me entirely to remove the difficulty 
about in-breeding, as well as that which Wallace 
urged about the chances against a suitable meeting 
of 'physiological complements.' 

As for my having attributed too much to the 
swamping effects of intercrossing (Panmixia), this, I 
am convinced, is the one and only particular wherein 
I have at all departed from the judgments of Darwin; 


though, curiously enough, it is the particular on 
which my critics have laid least stress when accusing 
me of Darwinian heresy. But it is too big a question 
to treat in correspondence. Gulick's recently pub- 
lished paper at the Linnean Society seems to me a 
most important one in this connection, and I have 
a large body of other evidence. 

To F. Darwin, Esq. 1 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W. : January 8, 1889. 

Dear Darwin, — Hate you, indeed ! Why, I can- 
not imagine any better service than that of stopping 
a fellow from making a fool of himself, and I most 
cordially thank you for having done so in this case. 
The business was so completely out of my line, that 
I did not know what was required. It seemed to 
me that if I got any evidence of bending towards the 
sparks, the only question I wanted to answer would 
be answered, and, therefore, that it did not matter 
a straw about temperature, moisture, and the rest. 
Moreover, the results did not seem to me to be of any 
importance, as they were just what might have been 
expected, and, therefore, I doubted whether it was 
worth while publishing a paper about them. Had 
they gone the other way, and proved that the plants 
would not bend to flashing light, I should have thought 
it much more interesting. Lastly, the research was 
so expensive, costing £1 per day at the only place 

1 Mr. F. Darwin had pointed out some erroneous conclusions in a pro- 
jected scientific paper. 


where I could get the requisite apparatus, and there 
they shut up at night. 

Of course, I will withdraw this paper, and, if you 
think the thing is worth working out in all the details 
you suggest, will do so. In that case, it would be 
worth while to ascertain whether there would be any 
electrical apparatus at Cambridge which I could get 
the use of at a lower rate of profit to the owners. A 
good-sized induction coil is really all that is required, 
and they probably have this in the Cavendish. But 
there is not one available in any of the London work- 
shops, and so I had to go to Appes, in the Strand. It 
is suggested that the debate in Section D at the 
British Association this year should be opened by me 
on the question of utility as universal. Before I agree, 
I should like to know what you think about the 
' Nature ' controversy which I have recently had with 
Dyer, and out of which the present suggestion has 
emanated. Perhaps we might arrange to meet some- 
where soon to have a talk over the expediency of 
such a debate at all, and the lines on which, if held, it 
should run. Of course, physiological selection would 
be carefully kept out. My object would be to show 
the prime importance of natural selection as a theory 
which everywhere accounts for adaptations. 

Yours very sincerely, 


May 27, 1889. 

Herewith I return, with many thanks, a pamphlet 
by Kerner, numbered 738. 

In my experiments with electric spark illumina- 


tion on plants, I notice that the seedlings, although so 
wonderfully heliotropic, never form chlorophyll, even 
if exposed to a continuous stream of sparks for 30 
hours on end, while they will bend through 90° 
in seven hours to single sparks following one another 
at one per second. This proves that there is no con- 
nection at all between heliotropism and formation of 
chlorophyll, or vice versa — a point which I cannot 
find to have been hitherto stated. Do you happen to 
know if it has been ? If you do not happen to re- 
member anything bearing on this subject, do not 
trouble to search or to answer. 

Wallace's book 1 strikes me as very able in many 
parts, though singularly feeble in others — especially 
the last chapter. He has done but scant justice to 
Gulick's paper. Had he read it with any care, he 
might have seen that it fully anticipates his criticism 
on mine. But I think he deserves great credit for 
nowhere chuckling. From the first he has been con- 
sistent in holding natural selection the sole factor of 
organic evolution — leaving no room for sexual selec- 
tion, inheritance of acquired characters, &c, &c. 
And now that he had lived to see an important 
body of evolutionists adopting this view, there must 
have been a strong temptation to ' I always told you 
so.' Yet there is nowhere any note of this, or even 
so much as an allusion to his previous utterances on 
the subject. 

1 Darwinism, by Alfred Eussel Wallace. 


To E. B. Poulton, Esq. 

Geanies, Eoss-shire : November 2, 1889. 

My dear Poulton, — Continuing our antipodal cor- 
respondence, and taking the points in your last letter 
seriatim, I quite saw that your theory of repair was 
1 the logical outcome of Weismann's ' (being, in fact, a 
direct application of his views on phylogeny to the 
case of repair) ; but I did not know whether the out- 
come had been traced by him or by yourself. Now, I 
understand, I may allude to it as yours. Again, what 
I meant about regeneration of entire limbs, &c, was 
that, to meet such cases, your diagram would require 
modification in the way that you now suggest. Has 
it occurred to you as an argument in favour of this 
suggestion (i.e. that the ' potentiality ' of somatic 
germ-plasm may in such cases be arrested in its pro- 
cess of ontogenetic diffusion), that Darwin has shown, 
or at least alleged, that all such cases may be traced 
to special adaptation to special needs, dangers, &c. — 
so that the arrest may have been brought about in 
these cases by natural selection ? 

If you deem the ' chief difference ' between Dar- 
win's and Weismann's theory of heredity to be l that 
the one implies material particles and the other only 
physical and chemical constitution,'' then, it seems to 
me, Weismann's theory will become identical with 
Herbert Spencer's — seeing that this is virtually the 
only respect in which Spencer's differs from Darwin's. 
But I think there is another and a much more 
important respect in which W.'s theory differs from 



both these predecessors. However, to proceed to the 
next point, I agree with you, that the sole object of 
the Sphex stinging the larvae is now to cause them 
to ' keep,' and that natural selection must have 
worked upon this for perfecting the instinct. But 
the point is, what was the origin of the selective 
stinging ? If merely chance congenital variations, 
would unity to billions express the chances against 
their ever arising ? Get some mathematician to cal- 
culate — giving as data superficial area of caterpillar 
on the one hand and that of nine ganglia on the other. 
Even neglecting the consideration that the variation 
must occur many times to give unaided natural 
selection a chance to fix it as an instinct, the chances 
against its occurring only once would be represented 
by the following series, where x is the superficial area 
of the caterpillar minus that of eight ganglia, and 
unity is superficial area of one ganglia : 



If, as I suppose, x may here be taken as = 100,000, 
the chances against the variation occurring once 
would be written in figures expressing unity to one 
thousand million billion trillions. Of course I do not 
rely on calculations of this kind for giving anything 
like accurate results (mathematics in biology always 
seems to me like a scalpel in a carpenter's shop), but 
it makes no difference how far one cuts down such 
figures as these. Therefore, if Lamarck won't satisfy 
such facts, neither do I think that Darwin 'minus 
Lamarck can do so. We must wait for the next man. 


I will send you ' Perrier ' on my return to town next 

Lord Morton's experience is so universally that of 
all breeders of live stock, that I never knew anybody 
ever doubted it. But, if they do, there is no reason 
why they should not satisfy themselves on the point. 
For my part I do not feel that the fact requires any 
corroboration as regards mammals, though I have 
some experiments going on with birds. Lastly, the 
apparently analogous cases in plants are still worse 
for Weismann's theory, and they stand on the best 

I enclose a letter received by same post that 
brought yours. It is from a former keeper of mine 
who is now more in the moorlands. Other applications 
are out, so I hope some of them will be successful. 
Very little doubt it will prove to be temperature. I 
found a dead stoat here to-day ; it had not turned 
white at all, but then the season is very mild. 

The Secretary of the E.I. is Sir F. Bramwell, 
Bart., F.E.S. You had better write to him. Also to 
his son-in-law, Victor Horsley, who is more of a 
biologist. Tell Bramwell, if you like, that I think he 
ought to jump at you. 

Yours very truly, 

G-. J. Bomanes. 

Geanies, Boss-shire, N.B. : November 6, 1889. 

My dear Poulton, — Many thanks for your paper, 
which is the clearest exposition I have yet seen of 
Weismann's views. But how about your allusion to 
experiments in grafting ? As regards plants, there is a 

q 2 


good deal of evidence as to the possibility of a graft- 
hybrid. As regards animals, fifteen years ago I spent 
an immensity of time in experimenting, and could not 
then find that there was any literature on the subject. 
Nobody who had grafted animal tissues had done so 
with any reference to the heredity question, nor 
do I know of any publications on the subject since 

Yours very truly. 

G. J. Romanes. 

Geanies, Ross-shire, N.B. : November 11, 1889. 

My dear Poulton, — Although I spent niore time 
and trouble than I like to acknowledge (even to my- 
self) in trying to prove Pangenesis between '73 and 
'80, I never obtained any positive results, and did 
not care to publish negative. Therefore there are no 
papers of mine on the subject, although I may fairly 
believe that no other human being has tried so many 
experiments upon it. No doubt you will think that 
I ought to regard this fact as so much negative evi- 
dence in favour of the new theory ; and, up to a 
certain point, I do, only the issue between Pangenesis 
and Germ-plasm is not really or nearly so well defined 
as Weismann represents, where the matter of experi- 
ments is concerned ; e.g. it is not the case that any 
crucial test is furnished by the non-transmissibility of 
mutilations ; Darwin did not set much store by them, 
though Eimer and others have done so since. In 
fact all the Germans on both sides, and all the 
Englishmen on Weismann's side, seem to me unjust 
to Darwin in this respect. 


Regarding the cessation of selection, the motive 
that prompted my question to you was not the paltry 
one of claiming priority in the enunciation of an ex- 
ceedingly obvious idea. My motive was to assure my- 
self that this idea is exactly the same as Weismann's 
Panmixia ; for, although I could see no difference, I 
thought perhaps he and you did (from absence of 
allusion to my paper, while priority is acknowledged 
as regards a later one) ; and, if this were so, I wanted 
to know where the difference lay. And the reason I 
wanted to know this was because when my paper 
was published, and Darwin accepted the idea with 
enthusiasm, I put it to him in conversation whether 
this idea might not supersede Lamarckian principles 
altogether. (By carefully reading between the lines 
of the paper itself, you will see how much this 
question was occupying my mind at the time, though 
I did not dare to challenge Lamarck's principles in toto 
without much more full inquiry.) Then it was that 
Darwin dissuaded me from going on to this point, on 
the ground that there was abundant evidence of 
Lamarck's principles apart from use and disuse of 
structures — e.g. instincts — and also on the ground of 
his theory of Pangenesis. Therefore I abandoned the 
matter, and still retain what may thus be now a pre- 
judice against exactly the same line of thought as 
Darwin talked me out of in 1873. Weismann, of 
course, has greatly elaborated this line of thought ; but 
what may be called the scientific axis of it (viz. 
possible non-inheritance of acquired characters) is 
identical, and all the more metaphysical part of it 
about the immortality, immutability, &c, of a hypo- 


thetical germ-plasm is the weakest part in my esti- 

Now, the point I am working up to is this. If there 
be no difference between Panmixia and Cessation of 
Selection, from what I have briefly sketched about it, 
it follows that, had Darwin lived till now, he would 
almost certainly have been opposed to Weismann. 
This is not a thing I should like to say in public, but 
one that I should like to feel practically assured about 
in my own mind. 

Regarding the numerical calculations, I have not 
got a copy of the 'Nature ' paper here, but, so far as I 
remember (and I think I am right), the idea was that 
'Economy of Growth ' would go on assisting Cessa- 
tion of Selection till the degenerating organ became 
' rudimentary.' In other words, reversal of selection 
would co-operate with cessation of it. 

This, as I understand it, is now exactly Weismann's 
view; only he thinks that thus the rudimentary organ 
would finally become extinguished. Here, however, 
it seems to me evident he must be wrong. The 
reasons are obvious, as I am going to show this week 
to my Edinburgh class. Six lectures are to be devoted 
entirely to Weismann, and when they are published 
(as they will be this time next year), I think it will be 
seen that Weismannism is not such very plain sailing 
as Weismann himself seems to think. "Vines has anti- 
cipated some of my points in his paper in 'Nature'; 
but I hope this may have the effect of letting me see 
what answers can be given before I shall have to 
publish. Yours very truly, 

G. J. Romanes. 


In the midst of these scientific labours and scien- 
tific controversies, Mr. Eomanes found time for other 
thoughts and for other work. 

At the beginning of 1889 he delivered an address 
at Toynbee Hall on the Ethical Teaching of Christ, 
of which the following is an extract : 

' The services rendered by Christ to the cause of 
morality have been in two distinct directions. , The 
first is in an unparalleled change of moral concep- 
tion, and the other in an unparalleled moral example, 
joined with peculiar powers of moral exposition and 
enthusiasm of moral feeling which have never before 
been approached. The originality of Christ's teach- 
ing migJit in some quarters be over-rated, but the 
achievement it was impossible to overrate. It is 
only before the presence of Christ that the dry bones 
of ethical abstraction have sprung into life. The 
very essence of the new religion consists in re- 
establishing more closely than ever the bonds be- 
tween morality and religion. One important effect of 
Christ's teaching and influence has been the carrying 
into effect of the doctrine of universalism, for pre- 
viously the idea of human brotherhood can not be 
said to have existed. Again, in the exaltation of 
the benevolent virtues at the expense of the heroic, 
the change effected is fundamental and abrupt. 
Christ may be said to have created the virtues of 
self-abnegation, universal beneficence, unflinching 
humility — indeed, the divine supremacy of com- 
passion. Whether Christ be regarded as human or 
divine, all must agree in regarding the work of His 
life as by far the greatest work ever achieved in the 


history of the human race. A topic of great impor- 
tance is the influence of Christ's personality in secur- 
ing the acceptance of His teaching. The personal 
character of Christ is of an order sui generis, and even 
the most advanced of sceptics have done homage to it. 
The more keen the intellectual criticism, the greater 
is the appreciation of the uniqueness of the person- 
ality. Men may cease to wonder at the effect of 
Christ's teaching ; for, given the wonderful person- 
ality, all the rest must follow. Whatever answers 
different persons may give to the questions, " What 
think ye of Christ ? Whose son is He ? " everyone 
must agree that " His name shall be called Wonder- 

This brought on him two characteristic letters, 
one from an Agnostic lady, blaming him for attach- 
ing so much importance to Him whom she was 
pleased to call ' The Peasant of Nazareth,' the other 
from Dr. Paget : 

Christ Church, Oxford : January 14, 1889. 

My dear Eomanes, — I hope you will not think 
me impertinent if I write a few words of gratitude 
for the happiness which I enjoyed in reading to-day 
even such an account of your address at Toynbee Hall 
as the ' Times ' gave me. There is always a risk of 
impertinence in thanking a man for what he has said ; 
for of course he has said it because he saw it, and 
thought he ought to say it, quite simply. But I may 
just thank you for the generous willingness with which 
you accepted such a task : — and for the light in which 
you looked at it : — as an opportunity for saying so 

1890 THE POEMS 233 

ungrudgingly, so open-heartedly, that which is clea7 
to you about our Lord. This must be, please God, a 
real bit of help to others ; and I trust and pray that 
it may return in help to you. 

But how dark you were about it ! I should have 
been furious if I had been in London, and not there. 

Please forgive me this letter ; and do not think it 
needs any answer. 

Affectionately yours, 

Feancis Paget. 

At the beginning of this year Mr. Eomanes col- 
lected his various poems and had them privately 
printed. He writes to his sister : 

February 1889. 

Three weeks before the 11th I was wondering 
what I should get as a wedding-day present to mark 
the tenth anniversary. Ethel then chanced to say that 
she wished my poems were published, so that she 
could have them in type. This suggested to me the 
idea of putting them into type for private circulation, 
when they might serve at once as the required 
wedding-present, and as a preliminary to publication 
at any future time either by myself or, more probably, 
by her or someone else. So I got an estimate from 
the printer, and with an awful rush he set up the 
whole in a week. Proof corrections occupied another 
week, and the binding of a grand presentation copy 
the third week. Thus I only had my present ready 
a few hours before it had to be presented. Binding 
the other copies occupied the time till I sent you 


yours. In Ethel's copy (which is awfully swell) I 
have written a special sonnet, as I did in yours. 

These poems, or rather a selection from them, 
will be published, in accordance with the author's 

Of his poetry, his sonnets (which were privately 
printed) seem the most successful. Various friends 
saw the privately printed book, and the then Pro- 
fessor of Poetry 1 at Oxford gratified Mr. Eomanes 
very much by his own kind words respecting them, 
and also by submitting them to Lord Tennyson, who 
spoke of them in kindly terms, as did also Dean 
Church, Mr. Edmund Grosse, Mr. George Meredith, 
and others. Two letters he received about his poems 
are here given : 

From the Dean of St. PauVs. 

Ettenheim, Torquay : February 26, 1889". - 

My dear Mr. Eomanes, — Thank you very much 
for your kindness in thinking me worthy of your gift. 
I am always glad to see science and poetry go together. 
It was the way with the earliest efforts of natural 
science, as Empedocles and Lucretius ; and when the 
strictest thinking of science is done, there is still 
something more of expression and meaning, of 
which poetry is the natural and only adequate 

My acquaintance with your volume is as yet only 
superficial. But I have been very much impressed by 
' Charles Darwin,' and by the ' Dream of Poetry.' It is 
a very pleasant volume to open, and does not send 

1 F. T. Palgrave, Esq. 


one away empty and cold ; which means that it is 
genuine poetry. We do not get on very fast ; but 
we are better here than in London, and the place is 

Please remember us all to Mrs. Eomanes. Mary 
sends a very special remembrance. 

Yours faithfully, 

K. W. Church. 

From the Bt. Hon. W. E. Gladstone. 


Dear Mr. Eomanes, — You have sent me an 
acceptable gift, and a most considerate note ; con- 
siderate as regards me, but not, I fear, as respects 
yourself ; for you have made your appeal to an incom- 
petent judge. I do not think I possess, though I 
have always coveted, the gift of song, and I am not a 
qualified judge of those who have it. 

But in your case there can surely be neither 
difficulty nor doubt. I came home on Saturday 
evening and found a book awaiting me with prior 
personal claims, which has taken up most of the 
short time since my arrival. It does not, however, 
I think, require much time to learn from your book 
whether you have or have not the poetic gift. Before 
many minutes had passed the affirmation, I will not 
say dawned, but glared, upon me. 

I am very glad that you have proceeded to its 
further exercise. I can see no good reason why a 
man of science should not be a poet. Lord Bacon 
surely shows in his Essays that he had the poet in 
him. It all depends upon the way of going about it, 


and on the man's keeping himself, as man, above his 
pursuit, as Emerson well said long ago. 

I do not quite apprehend your estimate of Darwin, 
nor of Darwin's works, in p. 119. This is no doubt due 
to my ignorance. I knew him little, but my slight 
intercourse with him impressed me deeply as well as 

With sincere thanks, I remain, dear Mr. Eomanes, 
faithfully yours, W. E. Gladstone. 

Mr. Eomanes was an omnivorous reader of poetry, 
and this taste grew by what it fed on. On a holiday 
he read poetry in preference to anything else, and he 
was very fond of good anthologies, beginning first and 
foremost with the ' Golden Treasury.' Shakespeare, 
Milton, and, above all, Tennyson were the poets he 
most loved. For Byron he had had an early boyish 
enthusiasm, but this he seemed to outgrow ; at least 
Byron was not an author to whom in later years he 
turned. He grew more and more addicted to versi- 
fying in the later years of his life, and girl friends who 
grew into intimate acquaintances were sure to have 
sooner or later a sonnet sent to them on some special 

As the years went on he became more interested 
in work amongst the poor, and longed to take up 
some special line. For a while he set up a small 
school in a slum near the Euston Boad, in which he 
tried to attract the very poorest boys who had 
managed to elude the vigilance of the School Board. 
His plan was to have only morning school, and to 
give the children their dinner. The School Board 
officer came to his aid, and the school was maintained 
for one or two winters. 


He visited the school regularly, and on one occasion, 
finding that a boy had been grossly rude to the mis- 
tress, he gave the young scamp a sound whipping. 

For other people's interests in the way of work he 
had much sympathy ; he several times went down to 
the Christ Church mission at Poplar when the Eev. 
H. L. Paget was in charge, and he lectured at Toynbee 
Hall and at the Oxford House. 

Of the work of the clergy as a whole Eomanes 
always spoke most warmly ; of the peculiar dislike of 
and suspicion of 'black coats,' so often attributed to 
laymen in general and to scientific men in particular, 
he had no trace, and as years went on he used to be 
gently chaffed for his clerical tendencies and the way 
in which he was consulted as to the bearings of 
Science on Eeligion. 

Two new correspondents were now added to Mr. 
"Romanes' list, Professor Joseph Le Conte, of the 
University of California, and the Rev. J. Gulick, who 
was, and is still, an American missionary in Japan. 
Of Mr. Gulick' s scientific attainments, Mr. Romanes 
entertained a very high opinion. Unfortunately, none 
of the letters to Mr. Gulick have come to hand. 

Of Mr. Le Conte's book, ' Evolution and Religious 
Thought,' Mr. Romanes thought very highly, and 
introduced it to the notice of various people, especially 
to Mr. Aubrey Moore. 

He writes to Mr. Le Conte : 

To Professor Le Conte. 

Geanies, Ross-shire, N.B. : October 11, 1887. 

Dear Sir, — I am much obliged to you for sending 
me a copy of your most interesting paper on Flora of 
the Coast Islands, &c. 


If you are acquainted with my new theory of 
' Physiological Selection ' (pubhshed in l Journ. Lin. 
Soc' 1886) you will understand why I regard your 
facts as furnishing first-rate material for testing 
that theory. If you cannot get access to my paper, I 
will send you a copy on my return to London in 

My object in now writing — over and above that of 
thanking you for your paper — is to ask whether you 
yourself, or any other American naturalist whom you 
may know, would not feel it well worth while to try 
some experiments on the hybridisation of the peculiar 
species. Although I agree with you in thinking it 
probable that many of these species may be 'rem- 
nants,' I also think it abundantly possible that some 
of them may be merely evolved forms. A botanist 
on the spot might be able to determine, by intelligent 
comparison, which of the peculiar species are most 
probably of the last-mentioned character. These he 
might choose for his experiments on hybridisation. 
And I should expect him to find marked evidence of 
mutual sterility between closely allied unique species 
growing on the same island, with possibly unimpaired 
fertility between allied species growing on different 
islands. If this anticipation should be realised by 
experiment, the fact would go far to prove my 

Even if you do not happen to know of any botanist 
who would care to undertake this experimental re- 
search, you might possibly know of some one who 
would gather and transmit seeds for me to grow in 
hothouses here. 


I shall be much interested to hear what you think 
of these proposals, and meanwhile remain 

Yours truly, 

G. J. Komanes. 


My dear Sir, — Your book I will look forward to 
with much interest, and certainly not least so to 
your treatment of that very comprehensive question 
— < What then ? ' 

I will send you a copy of my paper on Physiological 
Selection as soon as I return to London, which will 
be about Christmas. 

With many thanks for your kindness, I remain, 
yours truly, G. J. Eomanes. 

May 7, 1888. 

My dear Sir, — Many thanks for sending me a copy 
of your book, 1 which seems to me everywhere admi- 
rable. Of course, I am particularly glad that you 
think with me so much on physiological selection, but 
even apart from this, the work is, to my mind, one of 
the most clearly thought out that I have met with in 
Darwinian literature. I have sent it on to ' Nature ' 
for review, understanding from the office that a copy 
had not then been received. But for your kind 
mention of myself, I should have reviewed it. 

A most remarkable paper has been sent to the 
Linnean Society by a Mr. Gulick on ' Divergent 
Evolution,' for the publication of which in the 
' Journal ' you might look out. 

G. J. Komanes. 

1 Evolution and Religious Thought. 


January 21, 1889. 

My dear Sir, — I should like you to set your lucid 
wits to work upon the following questions, and let me 
know whether you can devise any answers. 

On pp. 220-226 of your book, you state with ex- 
treme felicity, and much better than he does, Weis- 
mann's theory of the causes of variation. But it does 
not occur to him, and does not seem to have occurred 
to you, that there is a curious and unaccountable 
interruption in the ascending grades of sexual diffe- 
rentiation, for in the vegetable kingdom these do not 
follow the grades of taxonomic ascent ; but, on the 
contrary, and as a general rule, the lower the order of 
evolution, the greater is the tendency to bi-sexualism. 
Dioecious species (i.e. male and female organs on dif- 
ferent plants) occur in largest proportion among the 
lower Cryptogams, less frequently among the higher, 
and more rarely still among Phanerogams. Monoe- 
cious species (i.e. male and female organs on the same 
plant, but locally distinct) occur chiefly among the 
higher Cryptogams and lower Phanerogams ; Herma- 
phrodite species (i.e. male and female organs in the 
same flower) occur much more frequently among 
higher Phanerogams. 

There is, besides, another difficulty. According 
to Weismann and yourself, it is natural selection that 
has brought about sexuality ' for the sake of better 
results in the offspring,' by making them more 
variable or plastic. But how can natural selection 
act prophetically? Unless the variability is of use to 
the individuals at each stage of its advance, it cannot 


come under the sway of natural selection, however 
advantageous it may eventually prove to the type. 
But, if one thinks about it, how can such variability 
be of any use to the individual ? Observe, beneficial 
variability is quite different from beneficial variation. 
It is the tendency to vary that is in question, not the 
occurrence of this, that, and the other display of it. 
Now, I do not see how sexuality can have been evolved 
by natural selection for the purpose of securing their 
tendency in the future, when it can never be of any 
use to individuals of the present. Each individual of 
the present is an accomplished fact ; the tendency to 
produce variable offspring is, therefore, of no use to it 
individually, and so natural selection would have no 
reason to pick it out for living and propagating. 
Such is my difficulty touching this point. Another 
is, why do we meet with such great differences be- 
tween (sometimes) allied natural genera, and even 
whole natural orders, as to the facility with which 
their constituent species hybridise ? For example, 
species of genus Geranium will hybridise almost better 
than any other, those of the Pelargonium scarcely 
at all. 

I hope that at some time you will be able to get 
sent to me seeds of species peculiar to oceanic islands, 
should you hear of any botanists who are visiting 
such islands. 


I note that you have been good enough to pass 
my questions on to Mr. Greene, whose great kindness 
(already experienced by me) will, I trust, prevent 


him from thinking that the failure of the seeds to 
flower here was due to any negligence on my part. 

Yes, it is the same Kev. Mr. Gulick whom you 
describe that wrote the paper on 'Divergent Evolution' 
to which I alluded, and which is a most remarkable 
paper in every way, though not at all easy to master. 
Wallace completely misunderstood it in his letter to 
' Nature.' It was his work in shells that first led Mr. 
Gulick to study Isolation, and he has been at work 
upon the subject ever since. To the best of my 
judgment, he has demonstrated the necessity of what 
he calls ' segregate breeding ' for • polytypic evolu- 
tion,' and in this connection has worked out the idea 
of physiological selection (which he calls segregate 
fecundity) much more fully than I have. 

It is most astonishing to me with what a storm 
of opposition this idea has been met in England, and 
how persistent is the misunderstanding. In Ger- 
many and America it is being much more fairly 
treated, but meanwhile I intend to keep it as quiet as 
possible, till I shall be in a position to publish a large 
body of experimental observations. As far as time 
has hitherto allowed, the results are strongly corrobo- 
rative of the theory. 

I have now read your admirable book, and my 
only objection to it is that it seems in such large 
measure to anticipate the publication of my own 
course of lectures on the theory of Evolution which 
I am now giving at the Eoyal Institution. But, on 
the other hand, this will relieve me of the necessity 
of printing a good deal of my matter, as it will be 
sufficient to refer to your book in mine when the two 


cover common ground. It is needless to add that I 
am very glad to note you think so well of physiolo- 
gical selection. 

Yours very truly, 

G. J. Romanes. 

The theory of the Non-Inheritance of Acquired 
Characters, with which Professor Weismann's name 
is inseparably connected, was now coming to the front. 

Mr. Eomanes was, of course, intensely interested, 
and set himself not to dispute so much as to examine 
and to test it. 

He devoted a large part of his last year at the 
Boyal Institution to lecturing on Prof. Weismann's 
theory, which lectures he worked up into his book, 
'An Examination of Weismannism,' published in 

He devised many experiments to test that theory, 
experiments which have a pathetic interest for those 
who love him, for they occupied his mind up to the 
very day of his death. 

Of this theory it may safely be said that since the 
promulgation of Mr. Darwin's great doctrine, no pro- 
blem has interested the world of science so profoundly. 

For the most part the younger English naturalists 
have accepted Professor Weismann's theory, which, 
by the way, had long ago been anticipated by Mr. 
Francis Galton, and Mr. Romanes was not much 
supported in his opposition, or, rather, his non- 
adherence to Weismannism. 

Linnean Society, Burlington House, London, W.: March 21, 1890. 

My dear Dyer, — I have come to the conclusion 
that anything published in ' Nature ' might as well 


never have been published at all ; and therefore have 
come here to-day in order to look through the back 
numbers of ' Nature,' with a view to repubhshing as a 
small book the various things that I have contributed 
during the past twenty years. Thus it is I find that 
the explanation which I gave to Herbert Spencer re 
Panmixia and his articles on the ' Factors of Organic 
Evolution,' appeared in August 25, 1887, and showed 
that his whole argument was in the air. 

I have also read my own article on Panmixia, 
written about two months ago, and published last 
week. The result is to satisfy me that your ' intelli- 
gent ' friends must have had minds which do not 
belong to the a priori order — i.e. are incapable of 
perceiving other than the most familiar relations. 
Such minds may do admirable work in other direc- 
tions, but not in that of estimating the value of 
Darwinian speculations. A few years ago they 
would have thought the cessation of selection a very 
unimportant principle, and one which could not 
possibly sustain any such large question as that of 
the transmissibility of acquired character. And a 
few years hence they will wonder why they raised 
such an ado over the no less obvious principle of 
physiological selection. 

Yours very truly, 


He writes to his brother : 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W. : Sunday. 

My dearest James, — This theory, of the Non- 
Inheritance of Acquired Characters, is that nothing 


that can happen in the lifetime of the individual 
exercises any influence on its progeny; effects of use 
or disuse, for example, cannot be inherited, nor, there- 
fore, can any adaptation to external conditions which 
are brought about in individual organisms. Natural 
selection thus can only operate in spontaneous varia- 
tions of germ-plasm, choosing those variations which, 
when ' writ large ' in the resulting organisms, are best 
suited to survive and transmit. 

This is the most important question that has 
been raised in biology since I can remember, and one 
proof of an inherited mutilation would settle the 
matter against Weismann's theory. I am therefore 
also trying the mutilation of caterpillars at the Zoo, 
in the hope that a mutilation during what is virtually 
an embryonic period of life will be most likely to be 
transmitted, seeing that congenital variations are so 
readily transmissible, and that these are changes of 
a pre-embryonic kind. 

All well and with much love, yours ever, 


Have you got the ' Contemporary Eeview ' for 
June with my article on Darwinism ? If not, I will 
send it. 

In a letter of which only a part has been kept, 
Mr. Waggett tried to show how mutual sterility {i.e. 
the production of sterile offspring) might be produced 
between two parts of a species (so as to constitute 
them two species), ' by way of natural selection,' 
if only the small variations in every direction were 
supposed which natural selection requires in respect 


of any other specific peculiarity ; and also if ' survival ' 
were recognised to be a matter of degree, consisting 
in the greater or less representation of an individual 
in following generations. This, of course, would 
be a different explanation from that of physiological 
selection, in which mutual sterility is regarded as the 
original cause of the differentiation of parts of a 
species, and also from sexual selection, in which 
something different from automatic survival is indi- 
cated by the word ' selection.' 

From the Bev. P. N. Waggett. 

The Charterhouse Mission, Tabard Street, S.E. 

This is how I should put it systematically. 

The number of ova produced in any female is 
regulated by natural selection. It is no more than 
the number which is required to obtain a sufficient 
percentage of fertilised ova. 

The number fertilised on the average is no more 
than is necessary to provide (against death of off- 
spring, failure of birth, &c.) for the representation 
of the female in the species. 

The average of meetings with the male is in the 
same way not more than enough to provide (against 
accidents, &c.) for the maternity of the female. 

All this is pared down as close as it will go by 
natural selection. The enormous production of eggs 
is not one more than enough on average to provide 
against all the eliminations. 


The force of the female and length of fertile 
period, &c, is enough and no more to bear enough 
offspring under all these conditions to maintain hei 
representation in the species. (We use ' provide,' 
' maintain ' poetically.) 

She has no time to spare. She lives long enough 
to replace herself in species and no longer. 

[In what follows] I say ' mare ' for short. At 
present mares are not under natural conditions. And 
no doubt in high feeding, &c, and protection pro- 
duce many more ova than enough, and so on through 
the series. In nature the ground is full stocked. 
' Enough and no more ' is the badge of all our 

Take then a species of animals, a number of indi- 
viduals, closely related, all alike, and freely interbreed- 
ing and producing fertile and nearly similar offspring. 

Now suppose two varieties to arise by any means 
known. Is there any things which will produce in- 
sterility between these varieties without a new addi- 
tional factor of segregation ? 

A mare of variety A might bear say twenty off- 
spring of variety A. If she spends force in bearing 
ten of variety A B, on average she will bear ten only 
of A. 

The intermediate form is at a disadvantage : see 

The mare then has only half her representation 
in the extreme variety A. (And the others are no 
good to her for prolonging her seed, in the long run). 


Now if one mare among many has the slightest 
degree of insterility with the second variety, she will 
have a larger representation in A, and a less represen- 
tation in that intermediate portion of species which 
is ready to vanish away. 

Her unsuccessful attempts with B come into the 
ordinary number of failures to fertilise which the 
supply of ova provides for. Her nourishing and 
bearing powers are spent on producing A. 

And this is so in whatever smallest degree she is 
infertile with B, that is in whatever smallest degree 
she tends not to bear intermediates. We want no 
special segregating variation, only all possible varia- 
tion in this respect as in others — and the smallest 
will be accumulated by ' new natural selection ' pre- 
cisely as the smallest variations in hoof or hair are, 
i.e. by less or more representation within the group. 

The mares who bear no intermediate or centrally 
typed forms will be in each generation more and 
more preponderatingly represented. Those which 
are equally fertile in all directions will become rarer 
and rarer till at last they are counted abnormal. 

That explains sterility of two adjacent species 
inter se. 

But not the infertility of hybrids. 

I think that acts in a similar way. Two mares 
bear first crosses, which are fertile either with original 
species on either side or with other first crosses. 

If one of these mares bears first crosses which 
are less fertile, she is less represented, i.e. succeeded 
in the central portion of the stock, and more in her 
own part of it, by her other children, and so in the 


next generation. And since the ova are among the 
earliest formed tissues, the first-cross creature is 
born more or less infertile — its sexual condition comes 
straight from its mother — and acts back on its mother 
by natural selection, as a man's books act back on 
him when he is considered as a factor in the making 
of English style. 

It is an advantage then (from the point of view 
of life and death in the long run) for a mother to bear 
fertile extreme forms, and infertile central forms — and 
this in any degree. 

There might be five mares. The first indifferently 
bearing to all alike, and so on an average bearing 
equal numbers [the rest bearing increasingly less 
freely with B], ten A and ten AB, eleven A and nine 
AB, twelve A and eight AB [and so on] . . . nine- 
teen A and one AB, twenty A and no AB. 

All the AB's are at a disadvantage, and must in 
long run be unrepresented in the final balance of 

And if there are two which bear equally AB's, 
the one which bears them most infertile will in the 
long run be best represented in the aggregate of; 
descendants from herself and her relations. 

Geanies, Eosshire, N.B. : July 28, 1890. 

My dear Waggett, — It seems to me most desirable 
to retain the term ' natural selection ' as defined and 
everywhere used by Darwin. I know that it is 
often (and not rarely, unconsciously as by Wallace) 


extended so as to include failure to propagate from 
any cause, besides that of death, through comparative 
mal-adaptation in the struggle for existence. In this 
extended sense, of course, it includes, as you say, 
sexual selection, and also a variety of other prin- 
ciples, which would thus fail to be distinguished 
as distinct principles. Moreover, by thus identifying 
them, the most distinguishing feature of natural 
selection becomes obscured ; for, I take it, this most 
distinguishing feature is not that of homogamy (or 
breeding of like with like to the exclusion of breeding 
with unlike), but homogamy where likeness is deter- 
mined by adaptation. All the other forms of dis- 
criminate breeding (such as sexual selection) agree 
among themselves and with natural selection in 
being exclusive, or in allowing propagation only 
to some individuals of the species {i.e. those which 
resemble one another in respect to the characters 
which determine permission to propagate). But the 
enormous difference between them all and natural 
selection consists in the latter alone making for 
improvement of type in respect of adaptation. Here 
alone homogamy is due to a struggle for existence, is 
brought about by death of the non-propagating, and 
has reference to fitness in a life-preserving sense. 
Surely this is the great distinguishing mark of 
natural selection, considered as a principle in organic 
evolution : not the merely exclusive breeding, which 
is presented also by all the other principles which 
your extension of the term would embrace, but which 
in their case can have no effect in the way of 


evolving any of the adaptive mechanisms in organic 

It is for these reasons that in my forthcoming 
lectures I carefully and expressly follow Darwin in 
holding ' that there must be a life and death 
question to make natural selection.' No doubt your 
principle, if it works, ' accumulates variation by 
mere elimination of competitors ' ; but in so doing 
it does not ' make for righteousness ' in the sense 
of improvement. 

Therefore I say, it is not, properly speaking, ' a 
form of natural selection.' On the other hand, I 
think it is a form of physiological selection. For, 
as you observe, physiological selection depends for its 
action on ' some change in the organs concerned.' 
But is it not precisely to explain such a change that 
your principle is suggested ? As I understand it, 
your principle is put forward as one possible (or more 
or less probable) cause of increasing sterility of first 
crosses between two sexually segregating sections of 
a hitherto (or previously) uniform species. Now, if 
this be so, is not your suggestion a suggestion to 
explain the causation of the particular physiological 
variation on the occurrence of which my theory 
depends ? Unless you can show any reason for 
answering this question in the negative, I can only 
continue to regard your principle (which I think a 
most interesting one) as belonging to the category of 
physiological selection. For, if you turn to p. 354 of 
my paper, you will see that immediately after stating 
the theorij, I say : — 

'First, let it be observed that if this particular 


kind of variation ever takes place at all, we are not 
concerned either with its causes or with its degrees. 
Not with its causes, because in this respect the 
theory of physiological selection is in just the same 
position as that of natural selection ; it is enough for 
both that the needful variations are provided, without 
its being incumbent on either to explain the causes 
which underlie the variations.' 

Nevertheless, just as it is of importance to any 
one believing in natural selection to ascertain these 
underlying causes of the variations on which it 
depends, so &c. &c. Therefore I suggested some as 
more or less probable — e.g. in plants slight differences 
in the season of flowering. Now, your principle 
seems to me a further suggestion on the same lines : 
it seeks to explain the raison d'etre of cumulative 
inter-sterility between two sections of a species. 

Lastly, I do not follow what you say about your 
not requiring a ' segregation,' but only ' variations in 
every possible direction, with no special factor brought 
in besides to effect the beginning and progress of 
separation.' It seems to me, on the contrary, 1st, 
that you must assume the sexual variation to have 
already been begun by some other cause, or causes 
(else there could be no hybrids in the question) ; and 
2nd, that when infertility — or other inferiority — of 
the hybrids begins to tell on the parent forms in 
the way supposed, that the only varirtion which 
it is concerned in continuing and intensifying is 
the variation on which physiological selection de- 
pends — viz. infertility between A and B, with unim- 
paired fertility between both A x A and B x B — where 

1830 SALLY 253 

A and B are two sections of a sexually segregating 

I have written thus at length, because I am 
anxious to prevent loggerheads in print from absence 
of clear understanding of each other's views. If, 
after considering the matter in the light I have 
endeavoured to present, you still fail to agree, please 
say why ; and in any case believe me to remain, 

Always your 


Please return this letter, as it may be of use 
in answering your next — you marking it to avoid 

Another bit of work was an investigation into 
the intelligence of the chimpanzee ' Sally ' at the 
Zoological Gardens, which the following letter de- 
scribes : 


To the Editor of the ' Times ' (Sept 19, 1888) 

Sir, — In connection with the correspondence on 
the powers of counting displayed by savages, it 
may be of interest to narrate the following facts 
with regard to similar powers as displayed by 

One often hears a story told which seems to show 
that rooks are able to count as far as five. The 
source of this story, however, is generally found to 
have been forgotten, and therefore the story itself is 
discredited. Now, the facts stand on the authority 


of a very accurate observer, and as he adds that they 
are ' always to be repeated when the attempt is 
made,' so that they are regarded by him as ' among 
the very commonest instances of animal sagacity,' 
we cannot lightly set them aside. The observer in 
question is Leroy, and the facts for which he 
personally vouches in his work on animal intelligence 
are briefly as follows : 

1 The rooks will not return to their nests during 
daylight should they see that anyone is waiting to 
shoot them. If to lull suspicion a hut is made below 
the rookery and a man conceal himself therein, he 
will have to wait in vain, should the birds have ever 
been shot at from the hut on a previous occasion. 
Leroy then goes on to say : ' To deceive this suspicious 
bird, the plan was hit upon of sending two men into 
the watch-house, one of whom passed out while the 
other remained ; but the rook counted and kept her 
distance. The next day three went, and again she 
perceived that only two returned. In fine, it was 
found necessary to send five or six men to the watch- 
house in order to throw out her calculation.' 

Finding it on this testimony not incredible that a 
bird could count as far as five, I thought it worth 
while to try what might be done with a more 
intelligent animal in this connection. Accordingly, 
about a year ago, I began, with the assistance of the 
keeper, to instruct the chimpanzee at the Zoological 
Gardens in the art of computation. The method 
adopted was to ask her for one, two, three, four, or 
five straws, which she was to pick up and hand out 
from among the litter in her cage. Of course, no 

mo SALLY 255 

constant order was observed in making these requests, 
but whenever she handed a number not asked for her 
offer was refused. In this way the animal learnt to 
associate the numbers with their names. Lastly, if 
more than one straw were asked for she was taught 
to hold the others in her mouth until the required 
number was complete, and then to deliver the whole 
at once. This method prevented any possible error 
arising from her interpretation of vocal tones, an 
error which might well have arisen if each straw had 
been asked for separately. 

After a few weeks' continuous instruction the ape 
perfectly well understood what was required of her, 
and up to the time when I left town, several months 
ago, she rarely made a mistake in handing me the 
exact number of straws that I named. Doubtless 
she still continues to do so for her keeper. For 
instance, if she is asked for four straws she succes- 
sively picks up three and puts them in her mouth, 
then she picks up a fourth and hands over all the 
four together. Thus, there can be no doubt that the 
animal is clearly able to distinguish between the 
numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, and that she understands 
the name for each. But as this chimpanzee is some- 
what capricious in her moods, even private visitors 
must not be disappointed if they fail to be entertained 
by an exhibition of her learning, a caution which it 
seems desirable to add, as this is the first time that 
the attainments of my pupil have been made known 
to the public, although they have been witnessed 
by officers of the Society and other biological 


I have sent these facts to you, Sir, because I think 
that they bear out the psychological distinction which 
is drawn in your leading article of the 17th inst. 
Briefly put, this distinction amounts to that between 
sensuous estimation and intellectual notation. Any 
child, a year after emerging from infancy, and not yet 
knowing its numerals, could immediately see the 
difference between five pigs and six pigs, and there- 
fore, as your writer indicates, it would be an extra- 
ordinary fact if a savage were unable to do so. The 
case, of course, is different where any process of 
calculation is concerned : e.g. ' each sheep must be 
paid for separately ; thus, suppose two sticks of 
tobacco to be the rate of exchange for one sheep, it 
would sorely puzzle a Damara to take two sheep and 
give him four sticks.' (F. G-alton, ' Tropical South 
Africa,' p. 213.) But if the savage had to deal with 
a larger number of pigs the insufficiency of his sensu- 
ous estimation would increase with the increase of 
numbers, until a point would be reached at which, if 
he were to keep count at all, he would be obliged to 
resort to some system of notation, i.e. to mark off 
each separate unit with a separate nota, whether by 
fingers, notches, or words. Similarly with the sense 
of hearing and the so-called muscular sense. We 
can tell whether a clock strikes 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 without 
naming each stroke, and whether we have walked 1, 
2, 3, 4, or 5 paces without naming each pace, but we 
cannot in this way be sure whether a clock has struck 
11 or 12, or we ourselves have walked as many yards. 

Thus there is counting and counting, distinguish- 
ing between low numbers by directly appreciating 

1890 SALLY 257 

the difference between two quantities of sensuous 
perceptions, and distinguishing between numbers of 
any amount by marking each sensuous perception 
with a separate sign. Of course, in the above in- 
stance of animals counting it must be the former 
method alone that is employed, and, therefore, I have 
not sought to carry the ape beyond the number 5 
lest I should spoil the results already gained. But a 
careful research has been made to find how far this 
method can be carried in the case of man. The 
experiments consisted in ascertaining the number of 
objects (such as dots on a piece of paper) which admit 
of being simultaneously estimated with accuracy. . It 
was found that the number admits of being largely 
increased by practice, until, with an exposure to view 
of one second's duration, the estimate admits of 
being correctly made up to between 20 and 30 objects. 
(Preyer, ' Sitzungsber. d. Gesell. f. Med. u. Naturwiss.,' 
1881.) In the case of the ape it is astonishing over 
how long a time the estimate endures. Supposing, 
for instance, that she is requested to find five coloured 
straws. She perfectly well understands what is 
wanted, but as coloured straws are rare in the litter, 
she has to seek about for them, and thus it takes her 
a long time to complete the number ; yet she remem- 
bers how many she has successively found and put 
into her mouth, so that when the number is com- 
pleted she delivers it at once. After having consigned 
them to her mouth she never looks at the straws, and 
therefore her estimate of their number must be formed 
either by the feeling of her mouth, or by retaining a 
mental impression of the successive movements of her 



arm in picking up the straws and placing them in her 
mouth. Without being able to decide positively in 
which of these ways she estimates the number, I am 
inclined to think it is in the latter. But, if so, it is 
surprising, as already remarked, over how long a time 
this estimate by muscular sense endures. Should 
we trust Houzeau's statement, however (and he is 
generally trustworthy), it appears that computation 
by muscular sense may extend in some animals over 
a very long period. For he says that mules used in 
the tramways at New Orleans have to make five 
journeys from one end of the route to the other before 
they are released, and that they make four of these 
journeys without showing any expectation of being 
released, but begin to bray towards the end of the 
fifth. 1 

From this letter it will, I hope, be apparent that 
so far as ' counting ' by merely sensuous computation 
is concerned, the savage cannot be said to show much 
advance upon the brute. ' Once, while I watched a 
Damara floundering hopelessly in a calculation on one 
side of me, I observed Dinah, my spaniel, equally em- 
barrassed on the other. She was overlooking half a 
dozen of her new-born puppies, which had been re- 
moved two or three times from her, and her anxiety 
was expressive as she tried to find out if they were 
all present, or if any were still missing. She kept 
puzzling and running her eyes over them, backwards 
and forwards, but could not satisfy herself. She evi- 
dently had a vague notion of counting, but the figure 
was too large for her brain. Taking the two as they 

1 Fac. Mcnt. des Anim. torn. ii. p. 207. 

1890 SALLY 259 

stood, dog and Damara, the comparison reflected no 
great honour on the man.' (Galton, loc. cit.) But 
the case, of course, is quite otherwise when, in virtue 
of the greatly superior development of the sign-mak- 
ing faculty in man, the savage is enabled to employ 
the intellectual artifice of separate notation, whereby 
he attains the conception of number in the abstract, 
and so lays the foundation of mathematical science. 
Now, so far as I am aware, there is no trustworthy 
evidence of any race of savages who are without any 
idea of separate notation. Whether the system of 
notation be digital only, or likewise verbal, is, psycho- 
logically speaking, of comparatively little moment. 
For it is historically certain that notation begins by 
using the fingers, and how far any particular tribe 
may have advanced in the direction of naming their 
numbers is a question which ought never to be con- 
fused with that as to whether the tribe can ' count,' 
i.e. notate. 

Geanies, Koss-shire, 

s 2 

260 3E0RGE JOHN ROMANES 1889- 



Life had run very smoothly during these years from 
1879 to 1890, only now and then fits of gout had 
shaken the belief Mr. Eomanes had hitherto felt in 
his own strength, in his possession of perfect health. 

But about the end of 1889 other signs of ill-health 
appeared in the shape of severe headaches ; he began 
to weary of London and the distractions of London life. 

By degrees his thoughts and inclinations turned 
strongly in the direction of Oxford. Oxford seemed 
to satisfy every wish. The beautiful city gratified his 
poetic sense ; there were old friends already there to 
welcome him, and there seemed abundance of appli- 
ances and of facilities for scientific work. 

Also the ease with which he could get into the 
country, the opportunities for constant exercise, the 
freedom he would obtain from councils and com- 
mittees, were tempting. A beautiful old house oppo- 
site Christ Church was to be had, and this finally deter- 
mined him. He fell absolutely in love with Oxford, 
and brief as his connection with her was to be, the 
University has had few more loyal sons, nor has she 
ever exercised more complete influence over any who 
have fallen under her sway. 

It is surprising, as one looks back on the Oxford 
years, to realise how short a time Mr. Romanes spent 


there, and yet it is impossible not to realise also for 
how much that time counted in his life. 

Many influences were working in him : a ripening 
judgment, a growth of character, a deepening sens6 
of the inadequacy of scientific research, philosophical 
speculation, and artistic pleasures to fill ' the vacuum 
in the soul of man which nothing can fill save faith in 
God.' 1 And now Oxford, with all the beauty still left 
to her, with all the associations which haunt her, with 
all the extraordinary witching spell which she knows 
so well how to exercise — Oxford, the home of ' lost 
causes ' and also of forward movements, Oxford came 
to be for four brief years his home. 

1890 opened with the death of Mr. Aubrey Moore. 
Only a very few weeks before his too early death, Mr. 
Moore had been present at the Aristotelian Society, 2 
and had heard the joint papers contributed by Pro- 
fessor Alexander, the Rev. S. Gildea, and Mr. Romanes 
on the 'Evidences of Design in Nature.' 

Here, again, Mr. Romanes showed how far he had 
receded from the materialistic point of view. In his 
paper he quoted passages from Aubrey Moore's essay 
in ' Lux Mundi ' (just published), and says : 

Yet once more, it may be argued, as it has been 
argued by a member of this Society in a recently pub- 
lished essay — and this an essay of such high ability 
that in my opinion it must be ranked among the very 

1 See Thoughts on Religion, p. 92. 

2 Mr. Eomanes had belonged for many years to the Aristotelian 
Society, and had contributed papers to the Journal of the Society. He 
also once belonged to the Psychological Club, which used to meet at Pro- 
fessor Croom Robertson's house. The other members of the club were Mr. 
Francis Galton, Mr. Sully, Mr. Shadworth Hodgson, Professor Edgeworth, 
Professor Dunstan, Mr. Edmund Gurney, Mrs. Bryant, and one or two others. 


few of the very greatest achievements in the depart- 
ment of literature to which it belongs— it may, I say, 
be argued, as it recently has been argued by the Rev. 
Aubrey Moore, that ' the counterpart of the theological 
belief in the unity and omnipresence of God is the 
scientific belief in the unity of nature and the reign of 
law ' ; that ' the evolution which was at first supposed to 
have destroyed teleology is found to be more saturated 
with teleology than the view which it superseded ' ; 
that ' it is a great gain to have eliminated chance, to 
find science declaring that there must be a reason for 
everything, even when we cannot hazard a conjecture 
as to what the reason is ' ; that ' it seems as if in the 
providence of God the mission of modern science was 
to bring home to our unmet a-physical ways of thinking 
the great truth of the Divine immanence in creation, 
which is not less essential to the Christian idea of 
God than to the philosophical view of Nature.' But 
on the opposite side it may be represented — as, 
indeed, Mr. Aubrey Moore himself expressly allows — 
that all these deductions are valid only on the pre- 
formed supposition, or belief, 'that God is, and that 
He is the re warder of such as diligently seek Him.' 
Granting, as Mr. Aubrey Moore insists, that a pre- 
cisely analogous supposition, or belief, is required for 
the successful study of Nature — viz. ' that it is, and 
that it is a rational (? orderly) whole which reason 
can interpret,' still, where the question is as to 
the existence of God, or the fact of design, it 
constitutes no final answer to show that all these 
deductions would logically follow if such an answer 
were yielded in the affirmative. All that these 


deductions amount to is an argument that there is 
nothing in the constitution of nature inimical to the 
hypothesis of design : beyond this they do not yield 
any independent verification of that hypothesis. In- 
numerable, indeed, are the evidences of design in 
nature if once a designer be supposed ; but, apart 
from any such antecedent supposition, we are without 
any means of gauging the validity of such evidence 
as is presented. And the reason of this is, that we 
are without any means of ascertaining what it is that 
lies behind, and is itself the cause of, the uniformity 
of nature. In other words, we do not know, and can- 
not discover, what is the nature of natural causation. 
Nevertheless, I think it is a distinct gain, both to 
the philosophy and the theology of our age, that 
science has reduced the great and old-standing 
question of Design in Nature to this comparatively 
narrow issue. Therefore, I have directed the purpose 
of this paper to showing that, in view of the issue to 
which science has reduced this question, it cannot be 
answered on the lower plane of argument which Mr. 
Alexander has chosen. All that has been effected 
by our recent discovery of a particular case of caus- 
ality in the selection principle is to throw back the 
question of design, in all the still outstanding pro- 
vinces of Nature, to the question — What is the 
nature of natural causation ? Or, again, to quote 
Mr. Aubrey Moore, ' Darwinism has conferred upon 
philosophy and religion an inestimable benefit by 
showing us that we must choose between two alter- 
natives : either God is everywhere present in Nature, 
or He is nowhere.' This, I apprehend, puts the issue 


into as small a number of words as it well can be put. 
And whether God is everywhere or nowhere depends 
on what is the nature of natural causation. Is this 
intelligent or unintelligent ? Is it the mode in which 
a Divine Being is everywhere simultaneously and 
eternally operating; or is it but the practical expres- 
sion of what we understand by a mechanical necessity ? 
In short, is it original or derived — final, and therefore 
inexplicable, because self-existing ; or is it the effect 
of a higher cause in the existence of a disposing 
Mind ? 

Although I cannot wait to argue this, the ulti- 
mate question which we have met to consider, I may 
briefly state my own view with regard to it. This is 
the same view that the originator of the doctrine of 
natural selection himself used habitually to express 
to me in conversation — viz., to use his own words, ' I 
have long ago come to the conclusion that it is a 
question far beyond the reach of the human mind.' 
Such, of course, is the position of pure agnosticism. 

At the end of this paper, Mr. Aubrey Moore re- 
marked that he agreed with all Mr. Alexander's argu- 
ments, but disagreed with all his conclusions, and 
that he disagreed with all Mr. Grildea's arguments, 
but agreed with his conclusions ; and as for Mr. 
Romanes, he could only leave him out, after the kind 
and flattering terms in which he had spoken of the 
essay in ' Lux Mundi.' At the end of his little 
speech he said aside to a friend, ' What a fellow 
Romanes is ! " Lux Mundi " has been out about three 
weeks, and he knows all about it.' 

The friends are lying almost side by side in Holy- 


well, 1 and it is impossible not to feel that their deaths 
have left places hard to fill. About Aubrey Moore, Mr. 
Romanes wrote some touching words in the ' Guar- 
dian ' (he was never afraid to express his admiration, to 
wear his heart upon his sleeve). The little notice has 
now been reprinted with two others as a Preface to 
the volume of Mr. Moore's Essays • Scientific and 

To Mr. Bomanes. 

Ch. Ch., January 17, 1890. 

My dear Romanes, — You will have heard, I think, 
the great sorrow and loss which to-day has brought, 
in that dear Aubrey Moore was taken away from us 
this morning. He had been very ill since Monday 
with congestion of the lungs following influenza. 

Dear friend, I know how you and Mrs. Romanes 
will miss him ; it is a loss we can very slowly realise 
and fathom. 

I have never known anyone who combined such 
gifts for the help of others ; such strength and brilli- 
ancy and loveableness and generosity. May God 
help us to learn the lesson of such lives, and to grow 
in love, and to know and do His will. 

I am, affectionately yours, 

Feancis Paget. 
To Mr. Paget. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W. : January 18, 1890. 

My dear Paget, — Like most men of my age, I 
have had many sudden shocks of this kind, but never 
one in a more terrible degree than is delivered by 

1 The beautiful cemetery adjoining Holywell Church, Oxford. 


your letter this morning. It is so very short a time 
since he was our guest, and my wife has a letter 
from him dated only a few days ago. Yet this is 
not the reason why your intelligence is so over- 
whelming — excepting in so far as his visit enabled 
me more than ever to appreciate the extraordinary 
combination of learning, intellect, kindness, and 
religion, where each was present in the highest 
degree. For who was more learned ? Who more 
intellectual ? more full of heart, or more charged 
with the power of Christianity ? It appeared to me 
that a nature thus endowed in greatest measure with 
all the greatest attributes of humanity was really, in 
respect of their combination, the most remarkable 
man I ever met. And I am perfectly persuaded 
that, had he lived for another twenty years, his 
would have become the strongest voice in England 
against the infidelity of our generation. 

Personally the loss is to me more than I can 
compute. For not only have I lost a newly gained 
friend, but one whose rich stores of knowledge and 
of thought had just begun to open such large possi- 
bilities in the way of adding to my own. But well 
I know that this loss must be but small compared 
with yours, whose longer and deeper friendship must 
have brought into so much greater prominence the 
void that has been left by a ' loveliness and gene- 
rosity ' which are now no more. Therefore, I not 
only grieve with you, but for you — and this with all 
the sincerity of 

Your sincerely affectionate friend, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 


P.S. — If possible, I should much like to attend 
the funeral. Can you let me hear as to this ? 

To Professor Poulton. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Eegent's Park, N.W. : January 27, 1890. 

My dear Poulton, — Many thanks for your letter, 
with its very clear and cogent reasoning. But I am 
not sure that the latter does not hit Weismann 
harder than it hits me. For the cases you have in 
view are those where very recently acquired charac- 
ters are concerned; and where, therefore, according 
to my views, ' the force of heredity ' is weak and thus 
quickly ' worn out.' In such cases (as I say in the 
last passages of enclosed, which I return for you to 
hand me on Friday) ' cessation will (quickly) ensure 
the reduction of an unused organ below fifty per cent, 
of its original size, and so on down to zero ; but this 
it does because it is now assisted by another and 
co-operating principle — viz. the eventual failure of 

Now, it is just this co-operating principle that 
Weismann is debarred from recognising by his dogma 
about ' stability of germ-plasm.' And it is a principle 
that must act the more energetically (i.e. L quickly ') 
the shorter the time since the now degenerating organ 
was originally acquired. In the 'Nature' articles I 
was speaking of ' rudimentary organs ' which in 
Darwin's sense are very old heirlooms. All this to 
make you reconsider whether there is any disagree- 
ment between us upon this point. 


It is, indeed, a terrible thing about Aubrey Moore, 
and also a loss to Darwinism on its popular side. 

G. J. E. 

February 16, 1890. 

After receiving your letter this day a month ago, 
it occurred to me that I had better write an article in 
' Nature ' on Panmixia, pointing out the resemblances 
and the differences between Weismann's statement 
of the principle and mine. Shortly after sending it 
in, Weismann's answer to Vines appeared, and from 
this it seems that he has modified his views upon the 
subject. For while in his essays he says that ' the 
complete disappearance of a rudimentary organ can 
only take place by the operation of natural selection ' 
(i.e. reversal of selection through economy, &c), in 
' Nature ' he says, ' Organs no longer in use become 
rudimentary, and must finally disappear, solely by 
Panmixia.' Thus, the same facts are attributed at 
one time ' only ' to the presence of selection, and at 
another time ' solely ' to its absence. 

Now, the latter view seems exactly the same as 
mine, if it means (as I suppose it must) that the 
cessation of selection ultimately leads to a failure of 
heredity. (How about stability of germ-plasm here ?) 
The time during which the force of heredity will per- 
sist, when thus merely left to itself, will vary with the 
original strength of this force, which, in turn, will 
presumably vary with the length of time that the 
organ has previously been inherited. Thus, differences 
of merely specific value (to which you allude in your 
letter) will quickly disappear under cessation of 


selection, while ' vestiges ' of class value are long- 
enduring. The point to be clear about is that the 
cessation of selection (in my view) entails two conse- 
quences, which are quite distinct. First, a compara- 
tively small amount of reduction due to promiscuous 
variability round an average which, however, will be 
a continuously sinking average if the cessation is 
assisted by a reversal of selection ; and second, later 
on, a failure of the form of heredity itself. 

Touching the first of the two consequences, you 
say that ' variations below or away from the standard 
would not be balanced by those above, because the 
standard was reached by the selection of such an 
extremely minute fraction of all variations which 
occurred.' But can variations in the matter of 
increase or decrease take place in more than two 
directions, up or down, smaller or larger, better or 
worse ? (Eead Wallace, ' Darwinism,' pp. 143-4.) 

I write this in view of the lecture you say you are 
going to give, because I do not know when ' Nature ' 
will bring out my article. 

March 20, 1890. 

It might perhaps be well for you to read the type- 
written reply which I have prepared to Wallace's 
criticism on ' physiological selection.' But this is 
for you to consider. He has fallen into some errors 
of great carelessness, not only with regard to my 
paper, but also to that of Mr. Gulick, whose theory of 
' segregate fecundity ' is the same as mine. On this 
account I am able to upset the whole criticism, and, 
bottom upwards, to show that it really supports the 


I see ' Nature ' of this week contains my letter on 
Panmixia, and hope it will define in your and other 
minds the outs and ins of the matter. 

Please return the enclosed, which I send as a fact 
that may interest you. 

To Professor J. C. Ewart. 

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W. : April 27, 1890. 

As Ethel has already told you, I believe, we have 
taken a three years' lease of a charming old house, 
and let this one for a corresponding period. It is a 
very old house in Oxford, having been built by 
Cardinal Wolsey. It is immediately opposite Tom 
Tower of Christ Church, and full of old oak — walls, 
floors, and ceilings of the principal rooms being 
nothing else. 

I do wish you could come up before we begin 
operations, to give us the benefit of your advice how 
so splendid an opportunity in the way of decoration 
should be utilised. "We have to get out of this house, 
with all our furniture, on or before May 20. The 
children and servants will then go to Geanies, while my 
wife and I will go to Oxford to begin the decorations. 

I am preparing my lectures on Darwinism for the 
press, so that they may be ready for publication on 
the last day of my course at Edinburgh in November. 
I suppose I have your permission to reproduce your 
B.S. pictures of electric organs ? Also, could you 
send me for a day or two Haddon's book on Em- 
bryology ? 

I have just heard that Charles Lister (whom I 

1890 OXFOED 271 

think you met at Geanies) has died of fever in 
Brazil, where he was zoologising. 

Yours ever sincerely, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

To Mrs. 'Romanes. 

April 1889. 

Marian Pollock wants to make me dance at a 
ball, but I say it is a case of bringing a horse to the 
water (or an ass if you like). A philosopher cannot 
expect to be pushed through his paces by the kind- 
ness of strangers as he has been by that of his guests. 
Give my love to my other sister l and my only wife. 

April 12, 1889. 

Another letter from some one named Eose who 
* as ' been made ' appy ' by you, ' hand ' would have 
been to church but for her mistress, ' hand ' so would 
you please write, and then Eose might meet you and 
pour out her sorrows. 

A Hungarian youth called to-day wanting me to 
tell him which bankers would allow him to inspect 
their bank books in order that he might study their 
methods for his political economy ! I told him he 
had better go and try. 

Yesterday I took Mytsie 2 to the theatre, and to- 
day have been to the Pollocks and the Gosses. 

The move was made from London to Oxford in 
May 1890. Mr. Eomanes incorporated with the Uni- 
versity and became a member of Christ Church. This 

1 Mrs. Ingham, a very dear and intimate friend. 

2 A favourite cousin who died a few months after Mr. Romanes. 


connection with ' the House ' was a great pleasure to 

For a little while during the early summer of 1890 
Mr. Eomanes was alone in Oxford, and he writes : 

To Mrs. Romanes. 

I called to-day on Mr. Dodgson, to sign my name 
in the Common Eoom, and signed my name in the 
book where the signatures go back to the foundation 
of the House. It is certainly the best thing I could 
have done to join Christ Church, and I am enjoying 
this return to my undergraduate days as something 
quite novel. Yesterday Liddon 1 graced the high table 
with his company. He was particularly gracious to 
me, remembering all about our meeting years ago, 
and hoping to be allowed to have the pleasure of call- 
ing upon us when we were settled in the ' almshouse.' 2 
After dinner in the Common Eoom, seeing that the 
party was both elderly and reverend, all the other six 
being parsons, I started what seemed to me a suit- 
able game, viz. who could best ' card wool ' in oppo- 
site directions, or turn the right hand round and 
round one way, while at the same time turning the 
left hand round and round the other way. This inno- 
cent occupation at once became very popular — the 
Canon in particular being greatly interested in the 
peculiar difficulty which it presents. For my own 
part, I much enjoyed the spectacle of all these dons 
winding their hands about, and this enjoyment 

1 Dr. Liddon died in September 1890. 

2 The house which Mr. Romanes had taken was originally an alms- 

1890 OXFORD 273 

reached its climax when Dr. Liddon ended by tilting 
his glass of claret off the table into his lap. 

But there is a good deal of fun behind his serious 
exterior, and he enjoyed this little catastrophe as 
much as the rest of us. So you see that the snares 
and temptations of University life do not dangerously 
assail your husband at the high table of Christ Church. 

Yesterday we had our physiological picnic, start- 
ing in five boats, and taking tea on the river-bank 
near the old farmhouse. I took supper with the 
Sandersons, who had a party. The Victor Horsleys 
were at the picnic, and I have arranged that they 
will pay us a visit in October. 

It is very jolly living in this house, but it is well 
we are both good sleepers, the noise of traffic is so 
great ; even the foot-passengers sound like burglars. 

But this will not affect the children in the other 
wing, and as for me, I could sleep if the carriages were 
driving through the rooms, with the burglars to boot. 

I have only time to write a very few lines, as I 
am now momentarily expecting to be called to give 
my exposition before the Physiological Society, 1 
which has mustered in considerable force, and is now 
being regaled by Horsley 2 and Gotch 3 while I am 
watching my p ] ants, which are coming on next. 

The dinner at Ch. Ch. yesterday was most enjoy- 
able, though there were only four others besides 
myself at the high table. We had turtle soup and 
very good wine ; is that good for gout ? 

1 The Physiological Society has a yearly meeting at Oxford. 

2 Professor Victor Horsley, F.R.S., Univ. Coll., London. 

3 Professor of Physiology at Oxford. 



John has gone and I am well. The connection 
sounds like one of Gerald's letters. 

Yours ever the same. 

I have been signing my name in Latin so much 
of late that I stumble over it. Besides, I am not 
really the same, being a M.A. M. A. 

St. Aldate's : July 1, 1890. 

I have just come back from dinner. My next 
neighbour to-night was Liddon, and we had a long 
talk on the ethics of suicide regarded from the pre- 
Christian or purely ' secular ' point of view. 

I also improved the occasion in the interests of 
P. N. W. It was clearly a new light to Liddon that 
Philip should be so highly thought of by a man of 
science, and he appeared to have determined there 
and then to exert himself in getting a more suitable 
berth for ' a man now so greatly needed in the Church.' 


Two bits of news. Dunstan * has a son and 
Liddon is seriously ill. Dr. John Ogle came yester- 
day afternoon from town to see him, and dined with 
us. There is great pain in the neck. 

I lunched with the Sandersons, or rather with Mrs. 
Sanderson, as the Professor did not leave his room, 
but he is getting on very well. 

Last night after dinner I looked in at the Poul- 
tons, and found them entertaining two Natural 
Science young ladies from Somerville Hall. A very 

1 Professor W. Dunstan, F.E.S. 

1890 OXFOKD 275 

agreeable party. Huxley is expected here this 
week. His article on ' Lux Mundi ' is very charac- 
teristic. 1 

It would be very enjoyable to go with you to Ober 
Ammergau, but I am sure I ought not. First, I should 
not enjoy it half so much as you ; second, it 
would double the expense ; third, it would run away 
with all the time I want to give to the book. So in 
this case what is sauce for the goose is not sauce for 
the gander. 

I wish I had some jokes to treasure up, but 
Oxford is not a joke-yielding place at present ; 
Geanies must be jubilation itself compared with 
Oxford now. 

I am the sole occupant of the laboratory as of the 
house. But I rather enjoy the exclusive privilege of 
my own company, save so far as it is relieved by 
guinea-pigs. I have written a letter to ' Nature ' 
which will furnish a little joke for you on Friday next. 

I am sorry to hear poor old Parker 2 is dead. 
You did not know him, but he was a real good fellow, 
and hearty friend to me. 

I enjoyed my three days in London very much. 
Went twice to the theatre, and one of the plays 
was ' Judah.' Mr. H. A. Jones gave me a box. Saw a 
great deal of the Pollocks ; met Scott, 3 who asked me 
to let him put me up for Eoyal Society Club ; played 
chess with G. E. Turner. 

I have now got to work on my plants and guinea- 

1 ' Lights of the Church and of Science.' 
2 Professor Kitchen Parker, F.R.S. 3 Mr. R. Scott, F.R.S. 


July 7. 

I have just returned from dining in Ch. Ch. The 
table is now reduced to three — myself, Prout, and 
Strong. The latter is very young. He succeeded 
Scott Holland, and is a very good sort. I spent a 
couple of hours in his rooms after dinner. Liddon 
remains about the same. 

I cannot find anyone who knows what translation 
of Horace to recommend. The few classical men 
who are up appear to be too well acquainted with 
the original to have paid any attention to other 

18 Cornwall Terrace : July 9. 

I am writing in the library of No. 18, all the 
walls of which are gazing at me with reproach. My 
tenant host is extremely kind. 

Last night I dined with the George Turners, and 
afterwards took Marion Pollock to the botanical fete. 
All went well until eleven, when there suddenly came 
on the most violent shower, almost a waterspout. 
We made for the nearest trees, and crowded together 
under the same umbrella. We both enjoyed the 
extraordinary spectacle ; hundreds of people in even- 
ing dress, with all conventionality suddenly thrown 
to the winds, scrambling in all directions, the men 
shining like blackbeetles, and the ladies with their 
skirts over their heads. 

Tell Fritz 1 that this being Thursday, the organ- 

1 A pet name for his daughter. 


grinder is now grinding away in his hebdomadal 

Yours ever as twelve years ago at the botanical 
fete, which alwaj^s makes romantic 

The Philosopher. 

To Professor Poulton. 

Geanies, Boss-shire, N.B. : July 16, 1890. 

j My dear Poulton, — I went to the tennis ground 
yesterday week, but, as I expected, on account of the 
rain, found nobody there. 

I now write to ask you if you would have any 
objection to my borrowing with acknowledgment 
figures from your book for mine, supposing the pub- 
lishers also consent. In particular figs. 1, 2, 6, 10, 
40, and 41. 

Having now read the book, 1 I may say how 
greatly it has delighted me. The whole is a wonder- 
ful story, and I congratulate you on the large share 
which you have had in adding to this chapter of 

There is only one point I am not quite clear about, 
viz. pp. 213-215. It is doubtless an advantage to 
the parasites that the caterpillars should warn them 
off as having been already ' occupied.' But would 
not this be rather a disadvantage to the caterpillars 
— i.e. to their species ? For in this way, it seems to 
me, a greater number of caterpillars would become 
infested than would be the case in the absence of 

1 The Colours of Animals, by E. B. Poulton, M.A., F.E.S., Inter- 
national Scientific Series, vol. lxviii. 


such warning. Or is there any point about it which 
I do not understand ? 

When is your next book coming out ? I should 
like you to read my reply to Wallace before it does. 
Also my re-statement of physiological selection, with 
discussion on the principles of Segregation and 
Divergence. I hope the whole will be in type before 
November. Can you wait till then, or shall I send 
type-written MSS.? 

Yours very sincerely, 


P.S. — Talking about hon. degrees the last time I 
saw you reminded me — but something again put it 
out of my head — that I had been wondering why 
Oxford or Cambridge does not offer one to F. Galton. 
Could you start a movement in that direction ? . . . 

I am getting so convinced about physiological 
selection, that I do not care what is said at random, 
or without understanding the theory. 

Later in the autumn he writes : 

To Mrs. Bomanes. 

I hope to find letters from Ober Ammergau when 
I return to Geanies, with a dozen bottles of sulphur 
water and several pounds of heather honey. Went 
yesterday to see a waterfall, which was wonderfully 
beautiful ; on the way back met a pony with half a 
trap, and afterwards came on the other half with its 

previous occupants, Lord and Lady , cut about 

the face, but not seriously hurt. There is an awful 


row going on here in the Free Kirk, which bids fair to 
end in bloodshed locally, if not disruption generally. 

I am so glad you do not repent going, and am 
longing to hear what you think of the play. I took 
Ethel and Ernest partridge-shooting, and had tea out- 
side. The new hound, ' Dart,' has arrived. He is 
beautiful, and as gentle as a lamb with the children. 
This threw us off our guard, and at tea there was a 
horrible scene, ending in the murder of Sharpe. 1 
The latter barked at him, and five minutes afterwards 
was a mangled misery. Have returned Dart with a 
civil note, for the sake of Norah and Jack, 2 the latter 
having only been saved by heroic measures on the 
part of Mytsie. 

Later in the autumn he wrote : 

To Mrs. Henry Polloch. 

Geanies : October 9, 1890. 

My dear Mentor, — The lyric is certainly very 
pretty, but I am still — and much — more touched 
by the unrhymed, and perhaps unconscious, poetry 
that accompanies it. We have, indeed, many associ- 
ations with Geanies in common ; 3 and as neither the 
joys nor the sorrows of them can ever return into our 
lives as they were when they arose, it is perhaps 
better that they should be kept in our memories as 
they now are, without being overlaid by future 
experiences in the same moods and the same cliffs by 
,the same sea. ' The water that has passed ' has been 

1 A beautiful terrier. 2 Two more dogs. 

3 This was the last summer at Geanies. 


beautiful, even in its sadness ; and however long the 
wheel of life may still have to go, I do not think it 
could have done better work for any of us than 
during the years that it has gone at Geanies. 

With my philosophic love to both of you, ever 
the same, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

My very dear Mentor, — You are quite too kind to 
me. The touching little present has just arrived, 
and I am smoking it now. It is just the kind that I 
like best. I wonder whether the vendor thought it 
was for yourself ? Very many thanks. 

Ethel sends her love, and tells me to ask you 
whether you want a copy of the photo group, where 
you do not look like a Mentor. 

I enclose payment for the pipe in the form of son- 
nets — although I am sure they are not so sweet — and 
remain, with love to Marion, 

Ever yours most sincerely, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

This autumn Mr. Eomanes delivered the last of 
his Edinburgh course of lectures. Giving the lectures 
had been a real pleasure, and he liked his Scotch 
students, who on their side were keenly appreciative 
and intelligent. 

He was alone at Geanies for a few days before 
leaving for Edinburgh, and a letter written at this 
time shows for the first time a foreboding of failing 6 
health ; but when the headaches left him the fore- 
boding vanished, and there was no real idea of serious 


To his Wife. 

As it is only a few hours since you left, there is 
not much in the way of news, only that the house 
seems very lonely. I am inclined to agree with 
Sandy, who said while we were out that ' Please he 
had never felt so full of sorrow since he was at 
Geanies as he did when he saw the mistress driving 
away ; it was all he could do to keep from hursting 
out crying.' Give my love to the ' Fair One.' * 

I ordered breakfast at 8.30, and heard Fritz and 
Ernest their Latin, very much impressed by the 
result. I had no idea they knew so much. Dinner 
tranf erred to 7.30 so as to admit of Fritz keeping me 

I have been shooting with Pat Sellar. I can 
shoot better but not so well as I used. Partridges 
very wild, so we only bagged six brace. 

Geanies : November 1890. 

I really have three of your dear letters to answer. 
I did not write yesterday. I have had one continu- 
ous headache ; it is now nearly away, but the matter 
is getting serious, and I have written to Edward, 2 
to send the ' home trainer ' to Oxford, so that I 
may lose no time in giving his cure (exercise) a 

Don't get low about me ; I begin to doubt if these 
headaches are due to gout at all, and somehow or 
other I shall find a means of preventing them. 

1 A pet name for Mrs. Ingham. 2 Mr. E. B. Turner, F.E.C.S. 


I am sorry for myself, my work, and most of all 
for you ; but we must take illness as it comes, and be 
glad it is no worse. 

Geanies : October 31. 

I will not disappoint you about the sonnet, which 
you expect to be in the vein of ' Weltschmerz,' and 
therefore send you the first of the series which I wrote 
in the small hours, after reading your favourite Psalm. 1 
There was only one verse that remained appropriate 
to me, so I took it as a text. 

The principal thing that has happened to-day is 
my having seen on the shore a sea otter. It was 
lying on a rock, and I came upon it at such close 
quarters I could have hit it with a stone. But it 
was so quick that I had not even time to fire my 

I may return the compliment as to letters. I 
did not intend to send the sonnet even to you when 
I wrote it, but afterwards thought I ought to have 
no secrets. 

Fritz and Ernest came out shooting. I am all 
right as to hitting ; 2 and my head is perfectly well. 
Jack 3 has been very Jackish. I told him we 
were all going to leave Geanies. He said, ' Geanies 
belongs to us.' I answered, ' No, it belongs to the 
Murrays.' ' Part of it belongs to me,' he continued. 
* How is that ? ' said I. ' Because I was born here.' 
What would Victor Horsley say to this for early 
appreciation of rights conferred by birth ? 

1 Psalm xxvii. 

8 He had slipped on the rocks and hurt his arm. 

8 His third son. 


Ernest and Gerald are very happy. I allow them 
to play with the fire when they are with me, and 
this I find to be very popular. 

To Mrs. Romanes. 

Edinburgh : November 23, 1890 

My lectures are now concluded, and 1 took an 
affectionate farewell of the class amid much en- 
thusiasm on their side. 

There is no news to give. I play chess with Mrs. 
Butcher and read MSS. which Professor Butcher 
lends me of his own ; pay many calls, have sundry 
talks with professors that come to dine with Ewart, 
and so on. 

Yesterday we had here what at Cambridge used 
to be called a ' Perpendicular,' twenty students to 
supper. Mrs. Butcher and Miss Trench came in to 
help to entertain them ; the latter sang Irish songs. 

I am going to give an additional lecture to the 
class on the controversy in ' Nature.' 1 

I send you a report of my lecture, that you may 
see how orthodox I was. Sellar 2 was at the lecture, 
and told me that I reminded him of some professor 
at St. Andrews, who had told him as a fact that he 
(the St. Andrews professor) always made a point of 
alluding to Providence in an introductory lecture, and 
afterwards ' threw him aside ! ' 

The sonnet alluded to in one of the letters (p. 282) 
is so beautiful that it is inserted here. It shows better 

1 On 'Physiological Selection.' See Nature, vol. xlii. pp. 5, 7, and 
vol. xliii. pp. 79 and 127. 

2 The late Professor Sellar. 


than any words could do the attitude of George 
Romanes' mind. Profoundly sincere, anxious, almost 
unduly anxious, to give no indulgence to his own 
longings, to state to himself and to others unsparingly, 
unflinchingly, what appeared to him the as yet irre- 
futable arguments against the Faith, when he was 
alone he relaxed and poured out his inmost heart. 

' I ask not for Thy love, Lord : the days 

Can never come when anguish shall atone. 

Enough for me were but Thy pity shown, 
To me as to the stricken sheep that strays, 
With ceaseless cry for unforgotten ways — 

O lead me back to pastures I have known, 

Or find me in the wilderness alone, 
And slay me, as the hand of mercy slays. 

I ask not for Thy love ; nor e'en so much 
As for a hope on Thy dear breast to lie ; 

But be Thou still my shepherd — still with such 

Compassion as may melt to such a cry; 
That so I hear Thy feet, and feel Thy touch, 
And dimly see Thy face ere yet I die.' 

In November Mr. Romanes came formally into resi- 
dence, and at first nothing could have been happier 
than his Oxford life. 

He simply revelled in the facilities for work which 
the splendidly equipped laboratories afforded, and he 
once said, ' that the laboratory alone had made the 
move from London to Oxford worth while ! ' 

He set to work on his book, ' Darwin, and after 
Darwin,' and on many experiments bearing on Pro- 
fessor Weismann's theories and on some other points. 

About this time Mr. Romanes was much interested 
in a scheme for promoting the establishment of a gar- 
den or farm for the purpose of studying questions of 
hereditary transmission, or heredity. His object was 


to afford facilities which at present do not exist for 
observing the modifications produced in animals and 
plants by subjecting them during long periods and in 
successive generations to suitable external conditions, 
and for testing the transmissibility of the modifications 
so produced. He was anxious that such an Institution 
should be founded in connection with one of the Uni- 
versities, and with this view, circulated the following 
memorandum. As yet the idea has come to nothing, 
but possibly the project may one day be revived. 


In an English translation of a lecture which was 
recently delivered by M. Giard, as Professor of Evo- 
lutionary Biology in France, there occurs the following 
passage : 

' If evolutionists must content themselves in most 
cases with experiments carried on in nature, or those 
of breeders, instead of applying themselves to verifica- 
tions made with all the rigour of modern scientific 
precision, is it not because of the deplorable insuf- 
ficiency of our laboratories ? It is astonishing that 
in no country, not even where science is held in 
greatest honour, does there yet exist an Institut 
transformiste devoted to the long and costly experi- 
ments now indispensable for the progress of evolu- 
tionary biology.' 

That an institution of the kind in question would 
tend to promote the solution of problems in ' evolu- 
tionary biology,' it seems needless to argue. Many 
of the most desirable experiments in heredity and 
variation, for example, require such prolonged time 


and such constant attention, that it is practically im- 
possible for individual workers to undertake them ; 
and, therefore, as M. Giard observes, they have never 
been undertaken. But if there were an Institut 
transformiste to which material might be sent from 
any part of the world, with directions as to its treat- 
ment, biologists of all countries would be furnished 
with an opportunity of experimentally testing any 
ideas which might occur to them in regard to these 
or kindred matters. 

Again, it seems needless to remark that England 
ought to be regarded as the natural territory of an 
establishment of this character ; that the establish- 
ment itself should be situated in the vicinity of others 
which are already devoted to the study of morphology 
and physiology ; and that sufficient land should belong 
to the Institut to admit of plots of ground being set 
apart for researches on plants, as well as buildings 
for the accommodation of animals. 

In order to satisfy all these conditions, the Institut 
ought to be established either in Oxford or Cambridge ; 
and at least, one skilled naturalist, one competent 
gardener, and one trustworthy keeper ought to be 
resident. This would involve an annual expenditure 
of between 300Z. and 400?. But the capital sum 
which would have to be sunk in the purchase of land 
and the erection of buildings would not be consider- 
able ; because, in the first instance, at all events, two 
or three acres of ground would probably be sufficient ; 
while the animal houses would be chiefly — if not ex- 
clusively — required for the accommodation of small 
mammalia, birds, insects, and aquatic organisms. 

1891 OXFOED LIFE 287 

Nevertheless, seeing that an initial expenditure 
of at least 1,000Z. would be needed for the purposes 
just mentioned, as well as an annual income of at 
least 400Z., and seeing that even this much money is 
not likely to be forthcoming for objects of a purely 
scientific nature, the scheme on behalf of which we 
solicit your opinion is the following. 

From inquiries which we have made here, we 
think it is probable that the University would take 
up the matter, or, at any rate, render important 
assistance thereto, if the Hebdomadal Council were 
satisfied as to the desirability of the project from a 
scientific point of view. It is on this account that we 
have ventured to address you upon the subject. The 
appended memorial is being sent, together with this 
circular letter, to all the other leading biologists in 
this country ; and if you could see your way to signing 
the former, you would render additional weight to the 
body of authoritative opinion which it will eventually 
convey to the University. 

January 22, 1891. 

My dear Poulton, — I am very sorry that, being 
already engaged for to-morrow, I cannot attend the 
meeting. But I should like to join the Society. 1 
Only, please, postpone any suggestion about lecturing, 
as this term I shall be dreadfully busy, between the 
book and the experiments. H. has certainly been 
very successful over a very difficult experiment. I 
tried it in an elaborate way. But I lacked assistance 
for the mechanical performance, and so intended to 
do it here this term. Now I am saved the trouble, 

1 The Oxford Natural History Society. 


but have gained experience. This prevents me from 
regarding H.'s result as final, although, as you say, 
valuable. My scepticism is founded on a queer freak 
of heredity, which my own work showed me ; but as 
I think I spoke too much about the experiments I 
was trying, in future I shall adopt Weismann's method 
of silence before publication. 

Yours ever, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

One of the experiments Mr. Romanes tried in the 
summers of 1891-93 was as to whether animals 
completely isolated would reproduce the real sounds 
natural to their kind. In other words, whether these 
vocal sounds were due to imitation. Through the 
kindness of Mr. Arthur Balfour, Mr. Romanes got the 
permission of the Trinity Brethren to try these experi- 
ments on lighthouses situated on lonely islands or 
rocks ; he selected puppies, chickens, &c, but the 
results were not decisive. The puppies barked and 
the young cocks crowed, but Mr. Romanes was not able 
entirely to establish to his own satisfaction that the 
isolation had been complete. 

Experiments were also carried on bearing on 
Heliotropism and on Seed Germination. Of these 
mention will be made later. 

In the spring of 1891, he paid a visit to Paris and 
saw M. Pasteur and his laboratory, and also M. Brown- 
Sequard, in whose work he was specially interested. 

And, apart from his work, Oxford and Oxford life 
were great sources of enjoyment. He made many 
new friends, and keenly enjoyed the institution, so 
characteristic of Oxford, of ' walks.' 

Intimacies seemed to grow up quickly, and he 

1891 OXFOED 289 

often spoke of the extreme kindliness, the ' pleasant- 
ness ' which marked Oxford society. 

Of all the friends made in these four years, 
Mr. Romanes undoubtedly was most drawn to the 
Rev. Charles Gore, who became in a very short time 
a true and valued and much-loved friend. 

It is very difficult, very often misleading and even 
impertinent to speak of what one man owes to another 
in the way of direct or indirect intellectual or spiritual 
help. But those few persons who really watched and 
could see the workings of George Romanes' mind, saw 
that these Oxford years were, even before the first 
beginnings of fatal illness, years of rapid growth in 
what perhaps may be termed spiritual perception. 

In 1891 Mr. Gore's famous Bampton Lectures were 
preached. Mr. Romanes heard them all, and was 
intensely interested by them ; he wrote many notes 
on them for his own private use, notes by no means 
always in agreement with them, and in his ' Thoughts 
on Religion ' he refers to them. 

Many of his older friends were clergymen, and 
he was once much amused by hearing that a 
scientific friend in London had said, ' How on earth 
will Romanes stand the clerical atmosphere of 
Oxford ? ' Another time, a very eminent scientific man 
asked him his opinion of Liberal High Churchmen, 
' Do you really think these people believe what they 
say ? ' to which Mr. Romanes replied that he knew 
several pretty intimately, and he was sure they would 
all go to the stake on behalf of their Faith. 

In the spring of 1891 Mr. Romanes was elected 
by the committee a member of the Athenaeum Club. 
The Journal notes : 

' Pleasant dinners at Merton, Keble, &c. Yisit 



from the Gills, 1 which we much enjoyed. Lord 2 
and Lady Compton, from the 6th to the 8th of June. 
He delighted us with his magnificent singing.' 

This summer, for the first time, Scotland and 
shooting were given up, and Mr. Eomanes, accom- 
panied by his wife and daughter, tried what the 
Engadine would do for his incessant headaches. 

He enjoyed this tour, especially three weeks at 
Tarasp, in the lower Engadine, where he met his old 
friend Professor Joachim and also Professor Victor 
Carus. On the way back the Eomanes stayed with 
Mr. H. Graham, M.P., at his lovely country home 
near Heidelberg, enjoying themselves much, but 
failing to see the famous ghost which is said to 
haunt the place. In the autumn, in spite of often- 
recurring headaches, he struggled on with his work 
and lectured in one or two provincial towns. 

He says in one of his letters at this time : ' There 
is much excitement in Oxford to-day over the 
announcement that Paget is to be the new Dean of 
Christ Church. Of course we are greatly delighted. 
As he said to me to-day, " We may now look forward to 
being close neighbours for not a few years to come." ' 

Journal, Nov., Birmingham Festival. — The ' Mes- 
siah ' and Dvorak's ' Eequiem,' Parry's • Blest Pair of 
Sirens,' which one never hears too often. Went to 
Compton Wynyates, a splendid old house of temp. 
Henry VII. Only Lady Compton at home, but we 
much enjoyed our little visit. Went up to town and 
saw the Edmund Gosses and various other old friends. 
Saw Miss Eehan and her company in their last per- 
formance, 'A Last Word.' Poor play, but well acted. 

1 The Astronomer Royal at the Cape and his wife. 

2 The present Marquess of Northampton. 


To Mrs. Bomanes. 

Athenaeum Club : November 30, 1891. 

I have had a jolly time. Driving straight here, 
I met Huxley, Foster, Lockyer, and at the Eoyal 
Society everybody of scientific persuasion. 

December 23. 

The fog is so frightful it seems probable I shall 
not get to Cambridge, so I dined with the Pollocks 
and slept at H. Paget 's. It is jolly about Mr. 
Gladstone. 1 

It was during this autumn that Mr. Eomanes re- 
solved to found a lectureship at Oxford on the lines of 
the Eede Lectures at Cambridge, and after consulting 
various friends, chiefly the present Master of Pem- 
broke, 2 the idea was submitted to the University and 
the offer was accepted. The preface, which is to be 
prefixed to the first volume of Lectures, gives the 
Pounder's ideas. 

Founder's Preface. 

The primary object of this Lectureship is to 
secure a perpetual series of discourses in the University 
of Oxford under the conditions laid down in the fore- 
going Statute. But seeing that these conditions are 
necessarily of a general character, I add the following 
suggestions with regard to certain matters of detail, 
in order that, as far as from time to time may seem 
expedient, the proceedings may be conducted in 
accordance with my wishes. 

1 Mr. Gladstone's consent to be the first Eomanes lecturer is here 
referred to. 2 The Rev. Bartholomew Price, D.D., F.R.S. 



(1) I desire that the selection of lecturers be 
irrespective of nationality, and determined with refer- 
ence either (a) to general eminence in art, literature, 
or science, or (b) to special claims for discussing any 
particular subject of high interest at the time. 

(2) I deem it desirable that foreigners, otherwise 
eligible, should not be disqualified from receiving invi- 
tations to lecture merely because they may not be 
able to do so in English. And, in order to meet such 
cases, I suggest that the translated addresses should 
be delivered before the University by some competent 
reader (to be selected by the Yice-Chancellor) in the 
presence of their authors. 

(3) I further suggest that the same method of 
delivery should be adopted in cases where age or 
infirmity would render the voice of the lecturer 
inaudible, or indistinct, to any portion of his audience. 
And I hope that neither age nor infirmity, any more 
than inability to speak the English language, will be 
deemed a hindrance to the issuing of invitations to 
the men of high distinction in their several depart- 
ments. For, on the one hand, in order to have 
attained such distinction, it must often happen that 
such men will have attained old age, while, on the 
other hand, it is of more importance that they should 
be represented in these decennial volumes than that 
men of less eminence should be chosen in view of their 
superiority as lecturers. 


To the great satisfaction of the whole University, 
Mr. Gladstone most generously consented to give the 


first lecture, which consent he signified in the follow- 
ing letter : 

Grand Hotel, Biarritz : December 18, 1891. 

Dear Mr. Bomanes, — Until I received your kind 
letter I reposed undoubtingly in the belief that the 
Vice-Chancellor had accepted my answer as the 
answer which best met the case. 1 I thought and 
think it right, for no one knows my poverty except 
myself. But Oxford is Oxford, and I think that if she 
desired me to climb up the spire of Salisbury, I should 
attempt it, or play the Grcsctdus esuriens in any 
manner she desired. Your letter opens to me unex- 
pectedly the fact that there is a desire, and that the 
proposal was not simply a courtesy. 

I therefore thankfully and respectfully accept ; 
secretly relying a good deal, as I own, on the fact that 
there is (if I recollect the Y.C.'s letter rightly) a good 
deal of time before me, and that the chances of in- 
termediate reflection may bring up something to 
the surface which is not now there, for I own my 
perplexity continues as to the chance of making any 
presentation not wholly worthless. But enough of 
this : and let me thank you very much for the interest 
you, who have so high a title, have personally taken 
in bringing me to the front. 

We are much delighted with this place ; more 
eminently, I think, a sea place than any other I happen 
to know. 

I am sure, let me add, that you will make my 

1 Mr. Gladstone had declined at first, but yielded to a second urgent 
request from the Founder. 


apologies to the Yice- Chancellor ; for I am sensible 
that the alte: ed reply may seem less than respectful 
to the resident Head of the University. 

Believe me, most faithfully yours, 

W. E. Gladstone. 

It had been arranged that the lectures (which the 
University, rather against the Founder's wish, decided 
should be called the ' Romanes Lectures ') were to be 
given in the Trinity Term, but owing to the General 
Election of 1891, Mr. Gladstone postponed the de- 
livery of his inaugural lecture until October 1892. 

Journal, March 1892. — The Comptons have been 
here for Norman's baptism, which was a strikingly 
pretty ceremony in cathedral at evening service with 
the choir. Our Dean and the President of Magdalen, 
as well as Lady Compton, stood sponsors, so the boy 
is well provided. The students at St. Hugh's Hall 
decorated the font, and as the boy's second name is 
Hugh, he is a special protege of the little Hall. 

April 1. — We spent a week at Malvern, in com- 
pany with the Walter Hobhouses, and then went on 
to Denton Manor, 1 where a company of the wise, inclu- 
ding Ray Lankester, Professors Poultonand Shadworth 
Hodgson, and Mr. Sully, were. Also others, including 
Lady Cecil Scott Montagu, who walked abroad with 
a divining rod, a real act of courage considering who 
were among the party. 

At Malvern Mr. Eomanes wrote a sonnet which, 
in the light of after years, was a sad prophecy. 

* The home of Sir William and the Hon. Lady Welby- Gregory. 

1892 A SONNET 295 


1 To doze upon a sunny hill in June, 

And hear the lullaby that Nature lends ; 

To drink the cup that sweet contentment blends 
"With sweetlier love of those whose hearts shall soon 
Reverberate with joy, as they attune 

Their praise to praises that achievement sends I 

This is to feel that bounteous Nature bends 
A mother's smile on manhood in its noon. 

But when the shadows of the twilight come, 
And high Ambition needs must fold his wings, 

"While voices both of hearts and hills grow dumb, 
Can she still bring the smile that now she brings ? 
Yea, by the memory of brighter things, 

I'll trust her in the night that calls me home.' 

journal, May and June 1892. — Had a delightful 
visit from the Butchers and Mr. H. Graham, later on 
the Comptons, and Mr. Edmund Gosse, full of witty 
and wise sayings. Lord Compton sang more divinely 
than ever, and the Principal of Brasenose played the 
piano. It was a real musical feast. 

Professor Le Conte came to stay here ; we had 
Mr. Gore and one or two others to meet him. 

To Miss G. E. Bomanes. 

94 St. Aldate's, Oxford : June 10, 1892. 

My dearest Charlotte, — I received your letter of 
the 6th inst., together with the pair of slippers ; the 
latter are the very things which are required when 
occasion again arises. 

Ever since you left we have been having Italian 


weather, the only objection to which being, that for 
my taste the sunshine is too continuous. 

We have had staying with us Professor Palgrave 
and his daughter. I am going to take her to the 
Conversazione of the Eoyal Society on Wednesday 
next, as Ethel is going to stay behind for her political 
work. We have also had Lord Justice Fry, with 
his wife and daughter, staying with us for two or 
three days. 

I have got a promise from Professor Huxley to give 
the second Eomanes Lecture, provided he is able to 
do so next year. It will be an interesting occasion if 
he can ; because he has not lectured for the last five 
or six years. 

I am glad you like my book, which is selling off: 
very well ; but, as you know, the second volume will 
be much more interesting. 

We are all well, and, with united love to both, I 
remain yours ever the same, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

To Mr. Huxley. 

94 St. Aldate's, Oxford : June 18, 1892. 

Dear Mr. Huxley, — I write to thank you for the 
large and latest instalment of your wisdom which 
has just been sent me by your publishers. As far as 
I am personally concerned, its publication at the 
present time is opportune ; for having recently lost 
the sight of one eye by effusion of serum on the 
retina, I am not allowed to read or write. So I am 
dependent upon others for my reading, and under 


such circumstances it is a great matter to have your 
interesting work to set upon. 

My eye trouble entirely prevents me from carry- 
ing on my experiments in heredity, except by deputy ; 
this to me is most provoking, as they have been 
yielding very interesting results ; and having now 
trained my hands for the performance of the more 
delicate among them, I am doubtful where I can 
find the deputy which I need. I mention this in case 
you should happen to know of any young physiologist 
who, possessing some operative skill, would care to 
join in the research. I am ordered six months' rest 
from any kind of intellectual work, and as in any 
case I could not finish the second instalment of my 
work upon ' Darwin and After Darwin ' by means of 
dictation, this will have to stand over until next 

A new investigation is here described, 

94 St. Aldate's, Oxford : March 27, 1892. 

My dear Schafer, — I think I have found a new 
ordinal character peculiar to the Primates — viz. a nude 
condition of the terminal phalanges. This does not 
occur in any other order of mammals that I have 
looked at, but in all species of primates from Lemurs 
to Man, as far, at all events, as I have been able to 
examine. Now I w T ant to see whether hair-follicles, 
or vestiges thereof, can be found in the terminal pha- 
langes of any species of the order. So I am making 
a number of sections of the skin of the backs of 
the terminal phalanges of fingers and toes, of man 


(adult and foetal), apes, monkeys, baboons, and lemurs. 
Hitherto I cannot detect (nor can Kent) any signs 
or vestiges of follicles. But I should much like you 
to look over some of the specimens (a few would be 
enough), in order to see whether your trained eyes 
would be also unable to trace any rudiments of follicles. 
If you would care to do this, of course I should acknow- 
ledge my obligations in a paper which I am prepar- 
ing on the subject. 

Yours very truly, 


1 Darwin, and after Darwin ' appeared in the spring 
of 1892. 

It was a book which was written, so to speak, with 
the writer's life-blood, it was a great burden on him 
from the moment he commenced it, and one of his 
greatest sorrows was his inability to finish it. 

It is curious to those who know Mr. Eomanes' mind 
intimately to note the exceeding severity, the almost 
harsh manner in which he treated the theological 
questions involved in the doctrines called, for conve- 
nience sake, ' Darwinism.' As more and more he 
found himself yielding on the side of emotion, of 
moral convictions, inclination, of spiritual need to 
the relinquished faith, so much the more did he re- 
solve to be utterly true, to face every difficulty, to 
push no objection aside, to leave nothing unsaid — to 
be, in fact, absolutely and entirely honest. As a friend 
after his death, speaking of this very book, said, ' It 
was his righteousness which made him seem so hard.' 

Yet there is a ring of hope of something which 
will one day turn to faith in the words which end the 

1892 ON 'DARWINISM' 299 

' Upon the whole, then, it seems to me that such 
evidence as we have is against rather than in favour 
of the inference, that if design be operative in 
animate nature it has reference to animal enjoyment 
or well-being, as distinguished from animal improve- 
ment or evolution. And if this result should be 
found distasteful to the religious mind — if it be felt 
that there is no desire to save the evidences of design 
unless they serve at the same time to testify to the 
nature of that design as beneficent — I must once 
more observe that the difficulty thus presented to 
theism is not a difficulty of modern creation. On 
the contrary, it has always constituted the funda- 
mental difficulty with which natural theologians 
have had to contend. The external world appears, 
in this respect, to be at variance with our moral 
sense ; and when the antagonism is brought home to 
the religious mind, it must ever be with a shock of 
terrified surprise. It has been newly brought home 
to us by the generalisations of Darwin, and there- 
fore, as I said at the beginning, the religious thought 
of our generation has been more than ever staggered 
by the question — Where is now thy God ? But I 
have endeavoured to show that the logical standing 
of the case has not been materially changed; and when 
this cry of reason pierces the heart of Faith it re- 
mains for Faith to answer now, as she always answered 
before — and answered with that trust which is at 
once her beauty and her life — Yerily thou art a God 
that hidest Thyself.' 

In the spring of this year Mr. Eomanes wrote for 


the wedding-day of a dearly loved friend, Mrs. 
W. Ingham, his last ' made-to-order ' sonnet. He 
wrote it in the train as he was going North to this 
peculiarly bright and happy wedding, and he was 
much struck with the sunniness and joyousness of 
the country bathed in June sunshine. Yet in this 
sonnet there is a touch of sadness, a hint of shadows 
soon to close in. 

To Annie. 

(June 1, 1892.) 

Through all the gladness of the marriage bells 
Methinks I hear a distant echo chime, 
Wherewith their rhythm, wedded to a rhyme, 
Is wafted by this breeze of June, and tells 
Of brooding Death in sound of funeral knells. 
' The new supplants the old,' it rings, and Time 
That 'gins to steal our beauty in its prime 
Shall ever change the heart where Heaven dwells. 
My heart for tbee can never cease to beat ; 
But if to thine it so should seem to-day 
That England never smiled a smile so sweet 
Among her meadows decked with bridal May, 
Remember still the moorland far away, 
Whose heather blushed with joy around thy feet. 

June 1892 brought the first warnings of serious 
illness. One day Mr. Romanes announced at lunch 
that he noticed a blind spot in one eye. He con- 
sulted his friend Mr. Doyne, the well-known oculist, 
who from the first thought seriously of the case. 

He went up to town, and saw various doctors, 
and had some thoughts of taking a voyage. He 
was, however, well enough to attend the Conversa- 
zione at the Royal Society, and showed some ex- 
periments on rabbits and rats which bore on questions 
of acquired characters. He writes : 

1892 ILLNESS 301 

To Mrs. Romanes. 

I have been thinking of you a great deal, and, 
with a somewhat literal application of a certain ex- 
pletive addressed by a fast man to his eyes, am 
driven to address you through my goggles. 

Nettleship has appointed to-morrow morning to 
see me, so I shall not be able to get home sooner than 
six o'clock train. Don't trouble to meet me, as I must 
take a cab for the rabbits and rats. The latter are 
now at the Eoyal Society, where ample space has 
been provided for their exhibition. The Zoological 
paper 1 went off very well, and Flower made a very 
good remark on it, the substance of which I will tell 
you when we meet, it had not previously occurred 
to me. Your letter to the Pollocks never reached 
them, so they had given me up. They were as 
enthusiastically kind as usual, and very sympathetic 
about my eyes. 

He returned to Oxford, and was persuaded to rest, 
and not to go to London again to pay a promised 
visit to Professor Palgrave. 

To Miss C. E. Romanes. 

94 St. Aldate's, Oxford : June 18, 1892. 

My dearest Charlotte, — Your little differences of 
opinion with regard to the rats are very amusing to 
me, and I quite see how the matter stands. 

1 On the work alluded to in a letter to Professor Schafer. 


I am very glad to hear of your improvement in 
general health, and also of James' continued vigour. 
As regards myself I have no very satisfactory ac- 
count to give. The headaches indeed are not worse 
— if anything they are better; but the gout is at 
work on other parts of this vile body, and the latest 
assault is a very serious one for a man of my pursuits. 
About ten days ago I found myself partially blind in 
the right eye — the upper half of the field of vision 
being totally obliterated. I have seen an Oxford 
and also a London oculist, who have both examined 
the eye and pronounce the sudden seizure to be one of 
serous effusion upon the retina. It seems probable 
that the impairment of vision will be permanent, and 
so prevent all operative work where any delicacy is 
required. The blindness is so complete, that if I 
look about an inch below the electric light placed at a 
distance of a very few yards, I am not able to per- 
ceive any luminosity. Meanwhile, I have to wear 
the darkest of possible goggles, and generally to live 
the life of a blind man. Per contra, this may prove 
a blessing in disguise, as it compels me to abstain 
from work for some considerable time to come, and 
I had been advised to this course on account of the 
headaches. How I am to spend the six months' 
rest which is prescribed I have not yet determined. 
Shooting will be probably out of the question, as I 
cannot use the left eye in any form of recreation. 
My idea is rather to go to Egypt and Palestine^ to 
take a voyage to the Cape, or in some other such 
way to break my usual habits without altogether 
wasting time. 

4892 ILLNESS 303: 

All the rest of the household are flourishing, and 
with love to both, 

I remain yours ever the same, 


In a day or two a second blind spot appeared, and 
now the doctors took a very serious view of his case. 
Life and sight alike were threatened, and instant 
rest and quiet were ordered. For about three weeks 
he remained in bed, until the extreme pulse tension 
was reduced, and then it seemed as if hope might 
be entertained of years of life, if only care were 
taken about diet, and work, and thought. 

Now began the two years of quiet, steadfast, en- 
durance ; no one could realise from his quiet manner 
and cheerful talk how great was the inconvenience 
caused by the affection of his eyes, no one ever found 
him anything but unselfish and gentle. The one 
difficulty was to persuade him not to work, and this 
was almost impossible. He was almost feverishly 
anxious to finish his book, to work out experiments 
he had been planning ; and as time went on, and he 
thought and pondered as he had ever done on the 
ultimate mysteries of life and being, other books 
were planned, other courses of reading mapped out. 

Just then a letter came from Canon Scott- 
Holland which much touched the recipient. 

Mr. Holland writes : 

' I hear sad news of you through Philip Waggett. 
You have passed under the sorest trial perhaps that 
could have been laid on your courage, your hopeful- 
ness, your peace. 

I trust, indeed, that there is much to look for 


yet of recovered power and renewed work, but, for 
the moment, there must be anxiety, and the bitter 
strain of disappointment, and the rough curb of pain. 
You are assured of the deep sympathy of many warm- 
hearted friends to whom you have always shown 
most generous kindness, and I venture to rank my- 
self among them. We shall remember you often and 

It is a tremendous moment when first one is 
called upon to join the great army of those who suffer. 

That vast world of love and pain opens suddenly 
to admit us one by one within its fortress. 

We are afraid to enter into the land, yet you 
will, I know, feel how high is the call. It is as a 
trumpet speaking to us, that cries aloud — ' It is your 
turn — endure.' Play your part. As they endured 
before you, so now, close up the ranks — be patient 
and strong as they were. Since Christ, this world of 
pain is no accident untoward or sinister, but a lawful 
department of life, with experiences, interests, adven- 
tures, hopes, delights, secrets of its own. These are all 
thrown open to us as we pass within the gates — 
things that we could never learn or know or see, so 
long as we were well. 

God help you to walk through this world now 
opened to you as through a kingdom, regal, royal, and 
wide and glorious. My warmest sympathies to your 

The first weeks of illness passed away, the phy- 
sicians seemed more satisfied with his condition, 
and he was sent to Carlsbad, and after five weeks 

1892 ILLNESS 305 

there, came the last bit of pleasant foreign travel. 
He and his wife travelled in the Tyrol and in the 
Bavarian Highlands, and Mr. Romanes was able to 
enjoy the glorious scenery with what seemed keener 
appreciation than ever ; he especially took a fancy to 
Parten Kirchen, in Bavaria, and planned a return to it 
another year with his children. 

He got as far as Meran, and much enjoyed meet- 
ing Mr. and Mrs. Lecky (Mr. Lecky's works were 
among the very few historical books he read with any 
real pleasure). And on his return, Sir Andrew Clark 
was encouraging, holding out hopes of a return to 
health : ' You've made a bid for recovery,' he said in 
his genial way. It was thought best that Mr. Romanes 
should spend the winter in a warm climate, and Ma- 
deira was chosen. 

To Mr. Huxley. 

Athenaeum Club, Pall Mall, S.W. : October 12, 1892. 

My dear Mr. Huxley, — My wife tells me that she 
saw you in the street on the day of our arrival here. 
Since then I have been ordered by Sir A. Clark and 
Dr. Brunton to spend the winter in Madeira. There- 
fore it occurs to me to ask whether during your 
residence in those parts you came across any matters 
of natural history which you might think worth 
following up. Also, whether there is any literature 
that it might be wise for me to consult before 

Above all things, according to Sir A. C, I am to 
* cultivate tranquillity,' so any observations I may 
hope to make must be of the pottering kind. But 
the oculists tell me I may now use my eyes — or 



rather as much of them as are left to use. Victor 
Horsley has undertaken to continue the hereditary 

My general condition is still said to be ' critical,' 
and I do not myself think that Carlsbad has proved 
to be of any benefit. Indeed, after a somewhat 
extensive acquaintance with mineral spas in general, 
I have come to the conclusion that their popularity 
as * cures ' is chiefly due to the survival of a pre- 
scientific faith in the virtue of drugs supplied by 
Providence. On pressing my Carlsbad doctor as to 
why one might not drink the waters anywhere else 
(seeing that they contain nothing but soluble salts), 
he answered that perhaps they might hold ' some 
electricity or magnetism ' that would escape if the 
waters were not ' fresh ' ! 

Many thanks for your kind letter to Carlsbad. 
The G. 0. M., I hear, is hard at work on the 
approaching lecture. 


Then came the first Eomanes lecture, which was 
a great success in every way. Mr. Gladstone called 
it ' An Academic Sketch,' and nothing could have 
been a happier inauguration of the series. It was a 
memorable scene. The Prime Minister in his doctor's 
robes, the crowded Sheldonian theatre, the eloquent 
lecture, the inspiring words of which came like a 
trumpet call to Oxford's sons, ending with her motto, 
' Dominus illuminatio mea.' 

The few days of Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone's visit to 
Oxford were days of real enjoyment to Mr. Eomanes. 
The Journal notes : 'We had a pleasant luncheon party 


for the Gladstones and Lord Acton, who was also in 
Oxford; also a breakfast party on the morning after the 
lecture, to which, among others, came the Principal 
of St. Edmund's Hall. 1 I put him next Mr. Gladstone, 
and the consequence was a Dante talk, to Lady 
Compton's great satisfaction. Mr. Gladstone's talk 
was wonderful, and no one would have suspected that 
he had any political cares whatsoever, or that the 
Election of 1892 was only just over.' 

On the day of the lecture we had a delightful time 
before lunch. Mary Paget and Lord Compton sang 
for an hour, and put us in good humour. 

It was with real regret that good-bye was said to 
the illustrious guests, with hopes of future meetings 
never to be realised. 

Mr. Huxley accepted the invitation which the 
Vice-Chancellor permitted Mr. Romanes to give him 
privately. The following delightful letter gives his 
final decision : 2 

Hodeslea, Staveley Road, Eastbourne : November 1, 1892. 

My dear Mrs. Romanes, — I have just written to 
the Vice-Chancellor to say that I hope to meet his 
disposition any time next May. 

My wife is ' larking ' — I am sorry to use such a 
word, but what she is pleased to tell me of her 
doings leaves me no alternative — in London, whither 
I go on Monday to fetch her back — in chains, if 
necessary. But I know, in the matter of being ' taken 
in and done for ' by your hospitable selves, I may, for 
once, speak for her as much as myself. 

1 The Rev. E. Moore, D.D. 

2 Since this letter has been in type the world has had to lament Mr. 
Huxley's death. 



Don't ask anybody above the rank of the younger 
son of a peer, because I shall not be able to go into 
dinner before him or her, and that part of my dignity 
is naturally what I prize most. 

Would you not like me to come in my P.C. 1 suit ? 
All ablaze with gold, and costing a sum with which 
I could buy, oh ! so many books. 

Only if your late experiences should prompt you to 
instruct your other guests not to contradict me — don't 
— I rather like it. 

Ever yours very truly, 

T. H. Huxley. 

Bon voyage ! You can tell Mr. Jones 2 that I will 
have him brought before the Privy Council, and fined 
as in the good old days, if he does not treat you 

To Mr. Huxley. 

St. Aldate's, Oxford : October 25, 1892. 

My dear Mr. Huxley, — I am much obliged to you 
for your information, general and particular, about 

You will have seen from the newspapers that the 
Gr.O.M. function has duly come off: here with all 
possible pomp and enthusiasm. Bay Lankester 
called it ' George's Show,' and certainly as a show 
it was well worth seeing. I am sorry to say that the 
last telegraphic account I have received of his con- 
dition from his sister to Sir H. Acland is rather 
alarming. It will be a sad blow to English biology 
if he should die. 

1 Privy Councillor. * The proprietor of an hotel in Madeira. 

1892 MADEIRA 309 

I will now see that you receive an official invita- 
tion from trie Y.C. to deliver your lecture next May 
Term. And I am glad to think that there will be no 
possibility of the lecturer following the Premier in 
almost totally ignoring the existence of science, 
Bacon and Newton being the only names that he 
mentioned in this connection. Please remember (in 
case I should forget to to tell you later on) that when 
your lecture comes off you had better follow the 
precedent set by Mr. G-., and wear your red D.C.L. 

With united kind regards to Mrs. Huxley and 

I remain, yours very sincerely, 

G. J. Eomanes. 

Then came the departure for Madeira, which was 
a real trial, for never before had Christmas been spent 
away from home. But the change seemed to do him 
much good. Save for occasional days of headache he 
was very bright and well, and worked at his book and 
wrote several articles for the ' Contemporary Beview ' 
on Professor Weismann's theory. But poetry he 
could not manage. 

To Mrs. Henry Pollock. 

Madeira : December 18, 1892. 

My dear Mentor, — I fear you must have been 
thinking that I am either very ill or very heartless not 
to have written ere this. Yet neither is the case. 
Ill I assuredly am, but not so much as to have pre- 
vented me from sending you a letter for the marriage 


day. The fact is I have been trying to write a sonnet 
for that occasion ever since I came out here, and can- 
not. Since my breakdown in June I have entirely 
lost the power of poetising ; I suppose it will come 
back if my general health should ever return, but still 
I did think that such an occasion ought to have in- 
spired me. Nothing further than rhymes, however, 
would come, so the day passed over without my in- 
tended contribution to its memorials. 

So, dear Mentor, do not think hardly of me. For 
indeed both you and Marion have been much in my 
thoughts ; and for you especially I know this time 
must be one of many and varied feelings of the kind 
that sink deepest into the heart. 1 So not only my 
old affection, but a new sympathy, is with you — a 
sympathy in the joy as in the grief of it. 

Ethel will have told you what little has to be told 
about our uneventful life here. As I have said to all 
my correspondents, it is the island that Tennyson 
must have had in view when he wrote his 'Lotus- 
eaters.' The description is so exact, that I need not 
write anything in the way of description, if you will 
only read it. 

My headaches are growing less intense, although 
they still keep wonderfully persistent. I cannot fore- 
see what is likely to happen in the end, as no one 
seems to know exactly what is the matter with me. 

The last mail brought me a letter from the Master 
of my College at Cambridge, telling me that I had 
been unanimously elected to fill a vacancy in the list 

1 Miss Pollock's marriage to Mr. Vernon Boys, F.R.S., is here re« 
ferred to. 


of Honorary Fellows. This seems to me very generous, 
seeing how I have played the prodigal and squandered 
my living on endowing the enemy. 

Please give my very heartiest love and good wishes 
to the bride. Take also my Christmas greetings for 
all three of you, coupled with the congratulations that 
are so meet, and believe me to remain, 

Yours ever affectionately, 

Geo. J. Romanes. 

To James Bomanes, Esq. 

Madeira: 1892 

I suppose you will have seen in the newspapers, or 
have been told by Char., 1 that Caius College has made 
me an Honorary Fellow. 2 This is a great pleasure to 
me, because I have always retained my first love for 
Cambridge, and yet of late years I have so severed 
my connection with it. These coals of fire have 
therefore a heat about them which is all the more 

To Professor Ewart. 

This would be a wonderful place for natural history 
if I were well enough to knock about. 

I get fishermen, however, to bring any marine 
animals which they know to be rare. There is one 
fish which I never heard of before, and which seems 
to me remarkable on account of its curious combi- 
nations of character, for in all respects it seems to be 
a large dog-fish, excepting its teeth, which are those 
of a shark. 

1 A pet name for his sister. 

* A window to his memory has been placed in Caius College Chapel. 


To Professor Poulton. 

New Hotel, Madeira : December 2, 1892. 

My dear Poulton, — I have now read the corre- 
spondence in ' Nature.' It seems to me that is 

quite absurdly ' aggressive,' even supposing that he 
proves to be right. But I send this to ask you about 
the grasshopper letter in last week's ' Nature,' just 
received here. I have noticed the same thing in 
grasshoppers, but do not remember to have seen any 
account of the changes of colour, or mechanism 
thereof, in them. Do you know if it has ever been 
worked at ? If not, I might do so here. 

The same question applies to lizards. It seems to 
me that those here vary their colours to suit those of 
habitual stations. I remember Eimer read a paper 
about the lizards in Capri, but forget details. He 
often alludes to it in his book translated by Cunning- 
ham. What are his main results ? 

GL J. E. 

The Cambridge Fellowship was a great pleasure 
to Mr. Romanes. In the last months of his life he 
longed eagerly to visit his first University and his 
own college, and planned visits to Cambridge which, 
alas, were never paid. 

Canon Isaac Taylor was in the same hotel at 
Madeira, and this considerably relieved the weariness of 
exile. Mr. Romanes was still full of fun and merriment ; 
the headaches diminished ; he played chess intermin- 
ably, and even took part in a little play given one 
afternoon by a few people who formed themselves 

1893 MADEIEA 313 

into an ' Oxford Brotherhood,' most of the members 
having some connection with the University of 

The members of the brotherhood were supposed 
to deliver lectures in turn, but the burden chiefly 
fell on Mr. Eomanes. The lecturing, which in this 
particular case was simply talking, was never any 
trouble to him, and he used to deliver little im- 
promptu discourses which apparently pleased his 
friendly audience. 

Mr. Eomanes' letters showed nearly always great 
brightness and increased feelings of health, although 
now and then he had ' bad days.' 

To James Eomanes, Esq. 

Madeira : January 1, 1893. 

This is the first letter which I write in 1893, and 
am writing it early in the morning before breakfast. 
New Year's Day is as glorious in sunshine and azure 
as all — or nearly all — the others have been since we 
came. I wish you many returns of them and happy, 
whether in cloud or sunshine. 

January 31, 1893. 

Your letter on the 15th has been a great treat to 
me ; it rings true and deep, and the next best thing 
to having dear ones near is to receive expressions of 
their dearness. 

Besides, I am all alone here, for but a few days, 
it is true, still the place seems dreary under present 
circumstances, therefore all you say is opportunely 


For my own part I have always felt that the two 
most precious things in life are faith and love, and 
more and more the older that I grow. Ambition 
and achievement are a long way behind in my ex- 
perience, in fact out of the running altogether. The 
disappointments are many and the prizes few, and by 
the time they are attained seem small. 

The whole thing is vanity and vexation of spirit 
without faith and love. 

Perhaps it is by way of compensation for having 
lost the former that the latter has been dealt to me 
in such full measure. I never knew anyone so well 
off in this respect. . . . 

Although I have been very much in the world I 

have not a single enemy, unless it be the , who 

have entirely dropped out of my life. 

On the other hand, I do not know anyone who 
has so many friends, not merely acquaintances, but 
men and women who are devoted with an ardent 
affection. . . . 

Now, all this might sound very conceited to any- 
one who would not understand me as I know you 
will do. But I have been thinking the matter over 
in my solitude, and candidly I am wholly unable to 
account for it. Still, to be further candid, even love 
is not capable of becoming to me any compensation 
for the loss of faith. . . . 

But it is time for me to go to bed and shut up 
this egotistic screed to post by to-morrow's mail. 

I received a telegram yesterday announcing the 
arrival in England of my brace of Ethels, and to- 

1893 MADEIKA 315 

morrow I expect the arrival here of Charlotte and 
Mytsie. 1 . . . 

I forgot about the mesmerism article. You will 
have seen that the writer rather caved in at the end, 
so that one cannot well understand how much he him- 
self supposes was genuine and how much imposture. 

But quite apart from (this), there is no question 
in my mind that the facts, even as far as hitherto 
established, are very perplexing. But on this account 
there is all the more need for caution. I myself 
went over the Paris Salpetriere two years ago, and 
saw the doctors' experiments on a number of girls, 
who were trotted out for my benefit. 

But there was such a lot of hocus pocus with 
magnets that I was much disappointed. Even if 
none of the girls were humbugging, I saw nothing 
that could not be explained by suggestion. 

For the doctors made suggestions while perform- 
ing the very experiments which were designed to 
exclude suggestion. 

To M?*s. Vernon Boys. 

New Hotel, Madeira : February 1, 1803. 

My dear Marion, — If I have your husband's 
permission still to call you so — your kind letter has 
been a great solace to me, after my ineffectual efforts 
to supply a sonnet for the great occasion. For it 
shows me that your Laureate is forgiven, and my 
friend, what that friend has always been. Besides, I 
am now lonely — as my brace of Ethels has flown 

1 A favourite cousin, who died a few months after Mr. Romanes. 


away — and therefore your affectionate words are all 
the more welcome. 

This, however, is the last day of my solitude, as 
Charlotte and Mytsie ought to arrive in a few hours. 

And now, having given you all my little news, 
let me pile up my congratulations as high as words 
can pile them. I heard all about the wedding from 
many different sources, and there was but one opinion 
as to the bride. I will not say what it was, but oh, 
had I been there to see. It is so so good of you to 
miss us in the middle of it all. But it may have 
been telepathy, because I was hard at work on my 
abortive sonnet all that day. 

It is like northern breezes to read your account 
of all the happy doings you have had on your wedding 
trip, and it makes me happy to feel that you have 
made so wise a choice in the greatest event of your 
life. Long may you live together in the cultivation 
of domestic bliss, although of course only in the 
moments snatched from the cultivation of science ! 

February 2. 

Charlotte and Mytsie arrived last night at ten 
o'clock — twelve hours late. They had the roughest 
voyage which the boat has ever experienced. Poor 
Char. 1 is literally more dead than alive. But the 
weather here is beautiful, and I hope she may soon 
get to rights again. 

With affectionate regards to my mentor, and to 
yours, I remain, ever the same, 


1 See p. 311, above. 

1893 MADEIEA 317 

To James Bomanes, Esq. 

Madeira : March 8. 

Charlotte enjoys this place amazingly, she is 
always saying, ' Just a very Paradise for James.' I 
quite agree with her. You liked Nice very much, 
but Nice is far from being up to this either in regard 
to sun, flowers, rocks, or mountains. It has certainly 
done me a lot of good. My headaches are virtually 
gone, and I can work a little again, which makes all 
the difference between Heaven and its antipodes. 

March 13. 

I am glad you are pleased about the lectureship 
foundation. The principal feature of the scheme is 
the perpetual publication of the lectures in volumes 
of ten each through all time, or at least as long as 
Oxford lasts. 

I am better even since I last wrote to you. Even 
my powers of work have, to a considerable extent, 
returned. So I am answering H. Spencer's articles 
on ' Weismannism.' 

With warmest love, yours ever the same, 

To Mrs. G. J. Bomanes. 


I got your dear note soon after we went down 
to the pier to see you start. Through the club 
telescope I thought I saw you and Fritz. When you 
got far out I came home. The Taylors joined our 
table, which is very agreeable. The Canon told me 


a good joke which came off to-day. Sir c Gorgias ' 
told the Canon he had bought a second-hand book 
which he thought Dr. Taylor might find interesting. 

The Canon asked what the book was, and the 
Knight replied it was by a man called Locke, and 
was all about the Human Understanding. 

February 2. 

Char., Mytsie, and maid arrived ; they had a per- 
fectly frightful passage. All passengers shut down 
for two days, crockery broken, &c. 

S presented a large wedding cake for the 

Sunday tea of the Inner Brotherhood. 

February 5. 

Poor little Mytsie ! It is a cruel pity to see what 
a wreck she is. ... A sense of duty is her ruling 

This morning, for instance, she made me promise 
not to work for more than two hours while she went 
down to the garden. When the time was up I went 
to join her, but half way down I met her slowly 
creeping up lest I should have failed to notice the 
time. Now that means more to her than miles of 
walking to you or me. I wonder how the Dean is 
getting on. 1 

February 11. 

This is the joyful day. 2 Your telegram was 
handed to me at lunch, so all the Inner Brotherhood 
had the benefit. The Canon said you ought to have 
used the comparative degree, so as to leave me an 
opportunity of returning the superlative. 

1 Dr. Paget had been very ill. 3 His wedding-day. 

1893 MADEIEA 319- 

What a journey you had, poor dears ! It does 
not seem so certain after all that we should be safe 
for comfort on a long voyage. Mytsie and Char, had 
a worse passage than you, the wind was dead against 
them all the way. 

It is indeed shocking about the Dean. I heard 
it before you did. I will write to him by this mail. 

So glad you had such a good concert. If you only 
knew how I was longing to enjoy it with you. . . . 

An adagio movement has now followed the 
allegro, and I am looking forward to a presto home 
as a finale. 

My news is not much. My cold was very bad 
from Saturday to Monday, but I slept most of the 
time straight on. If it were not for my eyes I should 
be almost as well as ever I was. 

I read Walter Hobhouse's child story, and Mrs. 

capped it with another. A little girl she knew 

asked whether, when she got to heaven, she might 
1 have a little devil up to play with.' Mytsie's 
nephew, when three years old, had a much prettier 
idea. On M. telling him that something had hap- 
pened before he was born, he said, ' Then that was 
when I was still in heaven.' ' Yes,' answered M., 
'but what was heaven like ?.' ' Oh, there I played 
with angels, and there was nothing but Christmas 

Are not the debates first-rate ? It seems to me 
I never read so many good speeches as those of 
Balfour, Bryce, and Chamberlain. But the measure 
itself is absurd. 

We had a party on board the ' Eoyal Sovereign ' 


on Tuesday last. It was a dance on deck, and was 
very pretty. Enormous profusion of flags and flowers 
all over the ship. I asked one of the midshipmen 
to dine with us at the ' round table ; ' he had shown 
us over one of the ships on a previous day, as I told 
you, and proved an awfully nice little fellow, curi- 
ously like P. N. W. 1 Suffers always horribly from 
sea-sickness, and gave a dismal account of his life at 
sea. , He was only about eighteen, with that perfect 
bearing which I think Lankester is right in pre- 
ferring to University manners. Even the bluejackets 
have it. 

By the way, apropos of the B.A. I suppose you 
have heard that Lord Salisbury is to be President 
next year at Oxford. You had better be thinking 
whom to invite as guests, leaving a margin in case 

should redeem his promise. I shall meet 

him between this and then somewhere and ascer- 

I gave my lecture on Sea Urchins to the Inner 
Brotherhood. Mr. Keen 2 wants me to give a public 
lecture on hydrophobia. He will take the chair. I 
am certainly on the up grade. Mytsie reads the 
German pamphlet, and I work two and a half hours, 
so my book is getting on. 

March 12. 

There has been a most extraordinary change in 
the weather. Up to yesterday we had three of the 
calmest days that have been since I came. The sea 
was without a ripple, and Char, and I were last night 

1 Mr. Waggett. * The English Consul, 

1893 MADEIRA 321 

hoping it would be like that when we start, as it 
would be sure to last till we got home. When, lo 
and behold, this morning there is by far the highest 
wind and sea I have yet seen. The spray is flying 
right over the rocks, once up to where Fritz got over 
the wall by the bathing-place. Bain in sheets. The 
' Drummond Castle ' will have an awful time of it. 
No hope of a letter to-day. 

Here's a good story. A rector was asked to take 
the chair at a prayer meeting. One of his parish- 
ioners prayed as follows : ' Lord, we had a sermon 
from our vicar yesterday, and we thank Thee for it 
because it was an able discourse, but we pray Thee 
to give him some idea of what the Gospel is ! ' 

March 16. 

Letters, such jolly good gossip that I feel disposed 
to follow the example of the ' distinguished man ' 
who lived apart from his wife because he so much 
enjoyed her letters. And yet I am like a hound 
straining at his leash to get away. 

I cannot read what it is that York Powell is going 
to have designed for us, it looks like ' booky flash.' ] 

.... By the time you get this, it will only be 
another fortnight before you get me, and I believe 
you will get me in a wonderfully restored state of 

March 17. 

The weather is still the same. Tremendous wind 
and perpetual squalls of rain, ' the sea and the waves 

1 It was ' book-plate.' 


roaring,' also i men's hearts failing them for fear,' for 
the occupants of the rooms we used to have never 
went to bed last night. 

This morning an English man-of-war ran in for 
refuge, but had to run out again before the return 
salutes had been fired, as her anchors could not hold, 
and an odd accident happened. At the 18-minute 
gun from the fort, one of the gunners somehow got 
in front of the cannon and was blown to atoms. I 
suppose they were all confused with the wind and the 

The waterproof coat you sent me is in great 
requisition. Moreover it is a source of great amuse- 
ment to the Inner Brotherhood, as Miss Taylor has 
discovered in it a close resemblance to a hassock — 
no, I mean a cassock. She wants me to get a round 
hat wherewith to ' cap ' it when I return to Oxford. 
All the same, it is the best thing in the way of a 
waterproof that I have met as yet. 

The Aryan lecture from Canon Taylor has come 
off, and it was really splendid. Everybody came, 
and the Canon delivered a mass of most interesting 
matter. He began by saying that my lectures had 
been illustrated by specimens, but that the only 
specimens he would show were the members of his 
audience themselves, who were all Aryans. The 
title of the lecture was ' The Origin of the Aryans,' 
and one of the audience had understood this to be 
'Origin. of the Arians,' and had come expecting a 
theological discussion on the rise of the Arian heresy. 
She was beyond measure astonished and indignant 
at his assumption that we were all heretics ! 


March 19. 

I have got Weismann's new book, ' The Germ- 
Plasm.' It is a much more finished performance 
than the ' Essays.' In fact, he has evidently been 
consulting botanists, reading up English literature 
on the subject, so he has anticipated nearly all the 
points of my long criticisms. This is a nuisance. 

Per contra, since coming here I have heard of no 
less than three additional cases of cats which have 
lost their tails afterwards having tailless kittens. I 
wish to goodness I had been more energetic in get- 
ting on with my experiments about this, so I have 
written to John to get me twelve kittens to meet me 
on my return. It would be a grand thing to knock 
down W.'s whole edifice with a cat's tail. 

The monotony of life here is becoming intolerable. 
There is nothing to write about. 

You will have seen that Taine is dead. I was 
just about to write to him, to ask if he would be the 
Eomanes lecturer. 

March 21. 

Here is an odd thing. I find that Weismann in 
his new book has discussed all the points raised by 
Spencer. So Spencer and I have been hammering 
away at things which W. has already written upon. 
Luckily, he says about what I anticipated he would 
say (see my article), but how absurd a fiasco ! I 
have written a postscript to go by the mail, hoping 
it may arrive in time to be bound up as a separate 
slip before the issue of April number, explaining that 

T 2 


absence from England prevented me from getting 
W.'s new book until now. But S. ought to have 

March 22. 

I have written to Weismann telling him that 
Bunting will send him a copy of the ' Cont. Beview.' * 

I have asked W. if he will give the Bomanes 
Lecture some year. Love to you and the chicks. 
You will have to tell me which is which of the boys. 

Unless he has already procured ordinary kittens, 
tell John 2 to get them either Angora or Persian. 
They will cost more, but will be much better. 

I had a long innings with the doctor to-day ; he 
says I am perfectly sound ; believes my headaches 
are all gastric. 

Your last letter just received is such a relief to 
me. I was just Ernest's age when I nearly died of 
whooping cough. 

This is the last letter of mine that you will be 
able to answer I hope for years to come. Does this 
not look like getting home ? I am now a coming 
event. I have been busy with my answer to H. 
Spencer. H. S. is singularly behindhand with his 
information. In fact, it is melancholy to see how 
he fails to appreciate the strength of Weismann's 
position. He does not even understand it, and the 
weakness of his criticism is such that he makes 
matters worse for his own position with regard to the 
inheritance of acquired characters — i.e. the foundation 
of his entire system of synthetic philosophy. 

1 Contemporary, April 1892. 

2 His butler, an old and valued servant. 


The home coming was very bright, and again 
Mr. Romanes set to work with renewed and, alas, too 
great vigour. Beyond absolutely refusing invitations 
to dine out at Oxford, and living as quietly as possible 
at home, there was no keeping him in order. The 
following letters show how irrepressible his spirits were 
whenever a day's health made him hopeful again. 

To Mrs. G. J. Bomanes. 

Athenaeum Club : May 10, 1893. 

I was very sorry that I could not get home to- 
day, and hope you will have received my telegram. 
Everybody was at the Royal Society except Balfour, 
and I became wearied with congratulations on my 
improved appearance. I met Moulton, 1 who was 
awfully nice, and wanted me to dine and sleep at 
his house some day if I can, in order to talk over 
' physiological selection.' 

So I asked him to come and hear Huxley. He 
said he would try. . . . Galton asked me to join in 
an investigation of the French calculating boy at 
his house to-day, so I did. Oliver Lodge was there. 
The boy was most marvellous. 

I am going to the Globe to-night and am very 
well. After the R.S. last night I went to a party at 
Lady Tenterden's. Very smart. 

Yours ever lovingly, 

Geobge : 

1 F. J. Moulton, Esq., M.P., F B.S. 


To Professor Huxley. 

St. Aldate's, Oxford : April 19, 1893. 

My dear Mr. Huxley, — Very many thanks for 
your kind inquiries about my health. I am certainly 
much better, although still far from well. My eyes 
continue in exactly the same state, so I am afraid 
there is no hope of recovery in that direction. How- 
ever, if they get no worse I shall still be able .... 
to ' toddle along.' 

I am very sorry to hear that you have caught 
influenza microbes from the doctors, but trust from 
what you say that they will have left you before the 
date of your lecture. But of course we will remember 
not to lionise you unduly while you are our guest. 

As regards the audience, you may expect the 
Sheldonian Theatre to be as full as it can be, and 
that means close upon two thousand. 

You ask whether I can tell you ' what such audi- 
ences are used to,' in the way of time. But as there 
has only been one such before, there is nothing much 
to go by in the way of precedent. On that occasion, 
however, the lecture extended to an hour and a half, 
and there were no signs of impatience — in fact, quite 
the contrary. I feel quite sure that an hour and a 
half will not be too long. 

I do not quite understand whether the discourse 
has already been set up in type. The scheme for 
publishing these lectures is that prior to delivery a 
thousand copies are printed by the Clarendon Press 
for sale at Is. per copy ; half the profits of this sale 
go to the lecturer, the other half being retained by the 


Clarendon Press to defray expenses of republication 
in the ten yearly volumes. I understood from the 
Y. C. that he would explain this to you by sending 
you a printed copy of the statute. But if he has not 
done so, and if you have made any other arrange- 
ments, I should like to know what they are. In any 
case, please let me know soon how we stand as to this, 
as I shall not be able to see the V. C. till next week. 
Looking forward with much pleasure to meeting 
you and yours, 

I remain, yours very sincerely, 


St. Aldate's, Oxford : April 27, 1893. 

My dear Mr. Huxley, — It is very kind of you to 
send me the enclosed, which, it is needless to say, I 
have read with no ordinary interest. 

In my censorial capacity, with which you have 
been so considerate as to invest me, I am certainly 
unable to find the smallest ground for any conceiv- 
able objection ; and my wife, who has a fine nose for 
heresy, is likewise unable to perceive any obnoxious 
flavour. Therefore please forgive my timidity, and 
remember that the ' scare ' was aroused only by the 
ominous sound of your remark about expecting the 
audience to apply your remarks to the case of modern 

In so much that is good, it seems to me a pity 
that Note 19 was not embodied in the text of page 
33 ; for in its absence the audience will suppose that 
you regard the moral sense as opposed to that which 


leads to success in the struggle for existence — not 
perceiving that the appearance of opposition is due 
to natural selection having been transferred from the 
individual to the community. 

With the permitted exception of my wife, no one 
else has seen the proof. 

Yours very sincerely, 

G. J. Eomanes. 

Journal : May. — Sir A. Clark is fairly encouraging. 
Dinner at Mrs. Pollock's ; met the E. Palgraves and 
W. Flowers, who have blossomed out into K.C.B.'s 
since we left. 

10th. — The Huxleys' visit has been most delight- 
ful. He was most genial and 'mellow,' and his lecture 
has, of course, aroused great interest. Various people 
to meet them. Mr. Gore and Professor Froude one 
day to lunch. Somewhat heterogeneous elements. 
When the former had gone, Mr. Huxley suddenly 
awakened to the fact that it was the Principal of the 
Pusey House whom he had met. 

Count and Countess Balzani have been here, and 
we had an ' historical ' dinner for them. 

This was the last bit of the old pleasant life which 
Mr. Eomanes had so much enjoyed. He was busy 
arranging experiments on heliotropism and on the 
power of germination in dry seeds after precautions 
had been taken to prevent any ordinary processes 
of respiration, which were worked up into a Eoyal 
Society paper. He writes : 


To F. Darwin, Esq. 

St. Aldate's, Oxford : June 14. 

My dear Darwin, — There has been no hurry 
about answering my letter because I cannot publish 
until I shall have ascertained what has already been 
done upon the subject, and for this purpose I have 
had to write to Germany. I am greatly obliged to 
you for the substantial assistance which your letter 
has given me. 

My modus operandi was to give nine different 
kinds of seeds to Crookes, 1 to place them in one of his 
Tooo o oo atmosphere vacuums for three months last 
year (viz. February, March, and April). He then 
left one set undisturbed, whilst the other eight sets 
were transferred to their respective gases (nine in 
number), where they remained sealed up for a year. 
On being planted last month they have all germinated 
even better than those from the control packets of 
seeds, which have been in air all the time. 

I should have thought beforehand that at any rate 
the seeds which have been in so high a vacuum for 
fifteen months would have had any residual air ex- 
tracted. But I will now try for next year, peeling 
peas, beans, &c, as you suggest. Do you think it 
would be well also to soak the seeds for a few hours 
before sealing in Crookes' tubes ? 

Do not trouble to answer by letter, as I am going 
to Cambridge on the 21st inst. for the day, and will 
then see you if I can find you at home. 

1 Professor W. Crookes, F.R.S. 


I am not exactly ' at work,' as I am not as yet 
well enough to attempt it at anything like ordinary 
pressure, but I am certainly better, and much obliged 
to you for your kind inquiries upon the subject. 

With our united kind regards to Mrs. Darwin and 

I remain, yours sincerely, 

G. J. Romanes. 

P.S. My illness has left me half blind, so I write 
as much as possible by dictation, (What a bull !) 

94 St. Aldate's, Oxford : June 15. 

My dear Dyer, — Many thanks for your letter with 

enclosures. The letter shows that 's opinion has 

not altered since I last saw him. As I think I told 
you at the Athenasum, he undertook some two or three 
years ago on my behalf to raise discussions in the 
papers, to which he alludes. Since that time he has 
sent me, I believe, copies of all the numberless letters 
which have been published in consequence. The 
result of our inquiry has been to confirm the opinion 
which he gave me at the first, and also to form my 
own in the same direction. (See my article in 
answer to Herbert Spencer in the ' Contemporary 
Review ' for April. 1 ) 

As regards the isolation of species I do not 
understand why you should suppose that the facts of 
hybridisation to which you allude should in any way 
modify my 'belief.' As fully set forth in ' Physio- 

1 Mr. Herbert Spencer on ' Natural Selection,' Contewporarxj Review, 
April 1893. 


logical Selection,' what I maintain is that the origin 
of species is in all cases due to isolation of some hind, 
but that only in the case of differential fertility can 
physo. sel. have been the kind of isolation at work. 
Therefore, it would be fatal to my views if all species 
were cross-sterile, because this would prove vastly 
too much. What the theory of phy. sel. requires 
is exactly what occurs, viz. cross-sterility between 
allied species in nearly all cases where species have 
been differentiated on common areas or identical 
stations, and more or less complete cross-fertility 
where they have been differentiated on different (dis- 
continuous) areas, or else prevented from intercrossing 
by yet some other means of isolation. 

I have collected a quantity of evidence in favour 
of both these otherwise inexplicable correlations. 
But I should like to know the species of wild fowl 
which you have found to be hybridisable or cross- 
fertile, so that I may ascertain whether their natural 
breeding areas are, or are not, identical. Of course I 
should expect them not to be. 

I have been told to save my eyes as much as 
possible, and therefore conduct most of my corre- 
spondence by dictation. But not being used to this 
process, I find it even more difficult than before to 
express my meaning with clearness, so I will tackle 
with my own hand what you. say about Aquilegias. 

I have looked up the group, and find that, with 
the exception of vulgaris (common columbine), all 
the European species seem to occupy restricted areas, 
or else well-isolated stations. Also, that the same 
seems to apply as a very general rule to other species 


all over the world, for, wherever mountains are con- 
cerned, stations are apt to be isolated by difference 
of altitude, &c. 

Now if such be the case with the group in ques- 
tion, the fact of its constituent species being freely 
hybridisable when artificially brought together is 
exactly what my theory requires. For the specific 
differentiation has presumably been effected by 
geographical (or topographical) isolation, without 
physiological having had anything to do with it. 
In fact, as stated over and over again in my original 
paper, this correlation between geographical isolation 
and cross-fertility is one of my lines of verification, 
the other line being the correlation between identical 
stations and cross-sterility. 

Now, as above stated, I have found both these 
correlations to obtain in a surprisingly general 

I wish that, instead of perpetually misunderstand- 
ing the theory, you English botanists would help me 
by pointing out exceptions to these two rules, so that 
I might specially investigate them. It seems to me 
that the group you name goes to corroborate the 
first of them, while all Jordan's work, for instance, 
uniformly bears out the second. And whatever may 
be thought about him in other respects, I am not 
aware that anyone has ever refuted his observations 
and experiments so far as I am concerned with them. 
Yours ever sincerely, 



94 St. Aldate's, Oxford : June 22. 

Dear Dyer, — I received a letter from by the 

same post that brought yours of the 19th inst. From 
it I gather that his opinion on the subject of telegony 
has not changed in any material respect since our 
inquiry began. His opinion has always been such as 
you now quote (' atavism ' on the one hand, with a 
small minority of ' dormant fertilisation ' cases on the 
other). His has likewise always been my own view 
(with the addition of coincidence), and has been cor- 
roborated by the result of these inquiries. So I think 
we are all three pretty well in agreement, because both 

and myself share in your doubts as to the 

minority of the cases being really due to dormant 
fertilisation — i.e. not to be ascribed to coincidence or 
mal-observation. Also, as I said before, I quite agree 
with you that ' neither view is any help to Herbert 
Spencer.' In fact, I have somewhat elaborately 
sought to prove this in my ' Contemporary Eeview ' 
article for April, and have been in private correspon- 
dence with him ever since, but without getting any 

But in this connection I should like to know 
whether you have any opinion upon the apparently 
analogous class of phenomena in plants which Darwin 
gives in the eleventh chapter of his ' Variation,' &c. 
Here, it seems to me, the evidence is much more 
cogent and of far more importance to the issue, 
Weismann v. Lamarck. Focke and Dr. Yris, however, 
seem to doubt the facts or their interpretation, 
although, as it seems to me, without presenting any 


adequate reasons for doing so. You need not bother 
with Dr. Yris, as he merely follows Focke, but I wish 
you would read Focke ('Die Pnanzen-Mischlinge,' 
p. 510, et sq.), and compare what he says with the 
evidence which Darwin presents. 

As I do not know in what respects you have 
found one part of my previous letter not to ' tally ' 
with another, I cannot fully explain it ; but I fancy 
that you will find they do, if, in reading the letter, 
you carry in your mind the simple proposition that, 
from the nature of the case, there can be no physio- 
logical selection except where differentiating varieties 
('incipient species') occur upon common areas and 
identical stations. I do not see any difficulty 
about willows, roses, brambles, &c, since Naudin's 
researches on Datura have shown how much vari- 
ability, due to the hybridisation of any two species, 
may give rise to the abearance of there being many 
species. This, you will remember, is the view that 
Naudin himself takes with regard to willows &c. — 
although, of course, without any reference to phy. sel. 
If you will refer to p. 405 of the paper on phy. sel. you 
will find that from the first I have been aware of the 
difficulty about discontinuous areas to which you 
allude. But I think the converse line of evidence 
(viz. that of cross-sterility between incipient species 
on identical stations) will alone prove sufficient to 
verify the theory. At the same time I look for more 
corroboration from the cross-fertility of well-dif- 
ferentiated species upon discontinuous areas where 
these are, as you say, oceanic islands, or, still better, 
mountainous districts where the allied species are 


severally peculiar to mountain tops and isolated 
valleys. For in these cases there must be much 
doubt, as a general rule, touching the species having 
been differentiated by topographical isolation upon 
the particular areas where they are now found. 
Moreover,- and this I think quite as important, 
the consideration which Darwin adduces in another 
connection is obviated, viz. 'that if a species was 
rendered sterile with some one compatriot, sterility 
with other species would follow as a necessary con- 

Yours very sincerely, 

Gr. J. Romanes. 

P.S. — From your first letter it would almost seem 
that you had supposed me to doubt the fact (or, at 
any rate, the frequency) of cross-fertility in general. 
And this after I had written the article on ' Hybridi- 
sation ' in the ' Ency. Brit.' ! 

In June Mr. Romanes took a small house for the 
summer months outside Oxford at Boar's Hill, t, 
district well known to Oxford people, and it was hoped 
country air and quiet might do him much good. 

He was rather headachy, and liked to lie on the 
grass in the garden and have novels read to him, but 
he was able to go up to London one day, and even 
planned to take a journey to Wiesbaden in order to 
consult an eminent oculist. 

But on July 11 he was stricken down by hemi- 
plegia. And now began the last year of patient 
endurance, for from that time the Shadow of Death 
was ever on him, and he knew it ; from that July 
day he regarded himself as doomed. Sometimes the 


thought of leaving those whom he loved with such 
intense devotion, such wonderful tenderness, over- 
whelmed him ; sometimes the longing to finish his 
work was too great to be borne, but generally he was 
calm, and always, even when he was most sad, he 
was gentle and patient, and willing to be amused. 

On July 13 Dr. Paget gave him the Holy Com-- 

It was a lovely morning. Outside the sunshine 
and the summer sights and sounds. Inside that 
quiet room there was a sense of peace, even of joy. 
Death seemed very near that day, and yet there was 
no fear, no dread. A little while before the celebra- 
tion he had listened to Dr. Bright's hymn, ' And now, 
Father,' and had said, ' It is wonderful ; it is a 
poem, and yet it conveys the deepest teaching,' or 
words to that effect. 

One who was much with him at that time read 
aloud on the following Sunday the Psalms for the 
sixteenth evening, and as they came to the eighty- 
fourth he said, ' I can hardly bear that psalm; I have 
longed so much.' 

He slowly recovered from this attack, and there 
were hopes — not of perfect health, but of life, and 
of power to work. Now, more resolutely than ever, 
he set himself to face the ultimate problems of Life 
and Being, to face the question of the possibility of a 
return to Faith. 

It is impossible here to tell of the inner workings 
of that pure and unselfish soul, of those longings and 
searchings after God, of the gradual growth in stead- 
fast endurance, in faith. 

To one or two these are known, and the example 
of lofty patience and of single-heartedness is not one 
they are likely to forget. Of this more later. 


It was almost pathetic to see how keen and 
vigorous his intellect was. In fact, the great 
difficulty was to keep the busy brain from thinking. 
Novels helped to some degree, and occasional visits 
from friends as he grew better. Dr. and Mrs. 
Burdon Sanderson, the President of Trinity and 
Mrs. Woods, the Dean, Mr. Gore, the President of 
Magdalen and Mrs. Warren, and Mr. Waggett, all 
helped, coming and paying brief visits, which did 
him good, for if he was not listening to reading or 
conversation, he would be planning experiments or 
pondering problems of theology, and ask by-and-by 
that his thoughts should be taken down from dictation, 
or that paper and pencil should be given him, or, 
worse than all, devising arrangements for finishing 
'Darwin, and after Darwin.' He dictated some 
' Thoughts on Things ' in the very first days of his 
illness, and sent for Professor Lloyd Morgan, who came 
and received instructions about the unfinished books, 
instructions which he has carried out with unflagging 
diligence and never-failing kindness. 

But still he grew better, and early in August he 
went back to Oxford, and by the first of September 
he was able to be present in the cathedral at the 
baptism by Dr. Talbot of his youngest son. 

The fact that the Vicar of Leeds * and Mrs. 
Talbot were in Oxford during that August was a 
great pleasure to him, and he much enjoyed occa- 
sional talks with Dr. Talbot. 

To Professor Ewart. 

I do not know what account E. gave you of my 
illness, but it is much too serious an affair to admit 

1 Now Bishop of Kochester. 



of our going to the British Association. Indeed, I 
hardly anticipate being able to make any engage- 
ments or do much work during the rest of my life, 
which is not likely to be a long one. It is just 
such an attack as I expected when walking with 
you over Magdalen Bridge. 1 

Yours ever, 


By September he was able to listen to, and dis- 
cuss, Dr. Sanderson's Presidential Address, which was 
delivered in Nottingham at the British Association 
of 1893. 

It was one of the great disappointments of that 
illness that he could not go to Nottingham. To be 
at the Association when his dear friend and master 
was president was a great wish of his, and early in 
the summer a kind invitation from Lady Laura 
Ridding, to stay with the Bishop of Southwell and 
herself for it, had been accepted. 

Nottingham and a visit to Denton, to which 
Mr. Romanes had been looking forward, had to be 
given up. 

These things were real trials. It was not the 
giving up particular bits of pleasure, but the realisa- 
tion that he was too much of an invalid to do any- 
thing of the sort, which he found so hard to bear, and 
which he did bear with ever-increasing patience. 

His letters sometimes show how hard he felt his 

1 About eighteen months before, when a very temporary attack of 

aphasia had come on. 

To James Bomanes, Esq. 

Oxford : September 4. 

My dearest James, — I have had two reasons for 
not writing to Dunskaith since my letter about the 
birth of Edmund. 

I agree with all you say about Fritz and her 
numerous brothers, the last two of whom you have 
never seen. But, although I have been so signally 
blest in my family ... I am not disposed to fall in with 
your optimism in other respects. Rather am I dis- 
posed to agree with the Scotch minister, that ' Man 
is a mi-ser-able worrm, craaling upon the airth ; ' 
for, both as regards the misery and the craaling I 
am now a type. 

And this brings me to my two reasons for not 
writing before. The first is, that I am almost unable 
to write ; and the second is, that I did not want to 
let you and Charlotte know all the facts sooner than 
I could help. 

The long and the short of it is that I believe I 
am dying. I have been gradually getting worse and 
worse, . . . nor shall I be sorry when it comes. 
Such being the case, I should like to consult you 
about setting my house in order 

The photos which the children brought with them 
of Dunskaith make me realise what splendid work 
the buildings are, and even although it is now im- 
probable that I shall ever see them, I am glad to 
think that they will be in the family. 1 

1 His brother was making additions to the house at Dunskaith. 


I cannot write more now. In fact I have not 
written so much since my attack. But I send you 
the best love of a life-time's growth and that of your 
only brother, 


To W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, Esq. 

94 St. Aldate's, Oxford : September 15, 1893. 

Dear Dyer, — Many thanks for your letter with 
enclosures. As you say, there does not seem to be 
anything remarkable about the hybrid ; but I am 
glad to see that both its parent species are well 
marked and presumably both of mountain origin. 
The case thus well accords with my views, as ex- 
plained in my previous letters. I met with many 
such (i.e. hybrids between originally isolated species) 
in Madeira and the Canaries. 

There are none so blind as those who will not see. 
Where can your powers of ' observation ' have been 
when you can still remark that I ignore the facts of 
hybridisation ? I can only repeat that from the 
first I have regarded them as evidence of the utmost 
importance as establishing a highly general correla- 
tion between separate origin of allied species and 
ajtitnce of cross-sterility. In fact, for the last five 
years I have had experiments going on in my Alpine 
garden, which I helped in founding for the very pur- 
pose of inquiring into this matter. And Focke, with 
whom I have been in correspondence from the first, 
and who does understand the theory, writes that in 
his opinion it will ' solve the whole mystery ' of 
natural hybridisation in relation to artificial. 


Since my last letter to you I have been at death's 
door. On July 11, I was struck down by paralysis 
of the left side, and am now a wreck. Not the least 
of my sorrow is that I fear I shall have to leave the 
verification of phys. sel. to other hands in larger mea- 
sure than I had hoped. I have little doubt that it will 
eventually prevail ; but more time will probably be 
needed before it does. 

Yours very sincerely, 


Oxford : September 18, 1893. 

Dear Dyer, — I am not a little touched by the 
kind sympathy expressed in your letter of the 16th. 
When one is descending into the dark valley, scien- 
tific squabbles seem to fade away in those elementary 
principles of good will which bind mankind together. 
And I am glad to think that in all the large circle of 
my frionds and correspondents there is no vestige of 

ill will in any quarter, unless it be with and 

, who both seem to me half-crazy in their 

enmity, and therefore not of much count. 

As for ' fortitude,' sooner or later the night must 
come for all of us ; and if my daylight is being sud- 
denly eclipsed, there is only the more need to work 
while it lasts. But, to tell the truth, I do not on this 
account feel less keenly the pity of it. With five 
boys — the eldest not yet in his teens and the youngest 
still in his weeks ; with piles of note-books which 
nobody else can utilise, and heaps of experimental 
researches in project which nobody else is likely to 
undertake, I do bitterly feel that my lot is a hard one 


Looking all the facts in the face, I do not expect 
ever to see another birthday, 1 and therefore, like Job, 
am disposed to curse my first one. For I know that 
all my best work was to have been published in the 
next ten or fifteen years ; and it is wretched to think 
of how much labour in the past will thus be wasted. 

However, I do not write to constitute you my 
confessor, but to thank you for your letter, and 
also to say that I am sending you a copy of my 
' Examination of Weismannism,' just published by 

With our united kind regards to Mrs. Dyer and 
yourself, I remain, yours very sincerely, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

To Professor Huxley. 

94 St. Aldate's, Oxford : September 26, 1893. 

My dear Mr. Huxley, — Although grieved to hear 
that Mrs. Huxley has been so poorly, we sincerely 
hope that your project of ' gathering up the threads ' 
of the Weismann question betokens a marked im- 
provement in your own health, since the kind letter 
was written which she sent us on your going abroad 
in July. 

I am sorry to say that your corresponding infer- 
ence with regard to myself is very wide of the truth. 
My ' Examination of Weismannism ' was written 
before my last attack — which, in fact, occurred on 
the very day when the concluding proofs had been 
returned to the Clarendon Press. And this attack has 
been of far too serious a nature to admit of my doing 

1 He did see one more. 


any more work at present — or, I fear, in the future. 
It was a stroke of paralysis of the ordinary hemiplegic 
kind; and although I have now recovered to the 
extent of being able to crawl about a little, I am but 
a wreck of my former self. Moreover the doctors 
prohibit work of every kind, so that my misery is 
absolute, all my experiments have come to an un- 
timely end, and it is improbable that any of my half- 
written books can ever be published. 

I am most of all disappointed about my theory of 
' Physiological Selection,' for which I have accumu- 
lated a large mass of evidence during the last seven 
years, and which I had hoped would satisfy most 
people as an explanation of the contrast between 
natural species and artificial varieties in respect of 

As regards Weismannism, you will see that I have 
not dealt with the question of acquired characters in 
my ' Examination.' For, as this question has been 
vividly before me during half my life, I cannot allow 
that it belongs to ' Weismannism.' In his writings 
it is a sort of Kip van Winkel. But my own treat- 
ment of this long-standing question is almost ready 
for press, and I hope it may be published before your 
gathering up process begins. My condition, however, 
is now so precarious that I scarcely expect to live 
long enough even for this. 

With our united kind regards to Mrs. Huxley and 

I remain, yours very sincerely, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 


Weismann ought not to wonder at the ' bitterness ' 
of Spencer's attack, looking to the effects of denying 
use-inheritance upon the whole system of Synthetic 

94 St. Aldate's, Oxford : September 26, 1893. 

My dear Dyer, — This is one of my bad days, and 
I have just exhausted my little store of energy by 
answering a kind letter from Huxley. So please 
excuse brevity, as I cannot leave your highly appre- 
ciated benevolence without an immediate response. 

I am much concerned to hear what you say about 
yourself, and it makes me doubly desirous of seeing 
you. On Monday next I am to try to go to town for 
the purpose of consulting doctors. But any day 
before that we should be truly glad if you could come 
as you so kindly propose. Possibly I might be able 
to drive out to Kew on Tuesday or Wednesday of 
next week, should you find it impracticable to run 
down here before then. But I fluctuate so much 
from day to day that I cannot make any engagements. 

Most fully do I agree with all that you say re- 
garding criticism. And, especially from yourself, I 
have never met with any but the fairest. Even the 
spice of it was never bitter, or such as could injure 
the gustatory nerves of the most thin-skinned of 
men. I have, indeed, often wondered how you and 
and can have so persistently misunder- 
stood my ideas, seeing that neither on the Continent 
nor in America has there been any difficulty in 
making myself intelligible. But this, of course, is 
quite another matter. 


As regards Weismannism, I do not include under 
this term the question of the inheritance of acquired 
characters. That has been a question for me since 
the publication of Gralton's ' theory of heredity ' in 
1875. Indeed, even before that, everybody knew the 
contrast between congenital and acquired characters 
in respect of hereditability ; and you may remember, 
the first time we met you gave me a lot of good 
advice regarding my experiments on this subject. 

Please remember both of us very kindly to your 
wife when you write to her, and with our united best 
wishes to yourself, 

Believe me, ever yours sincerely, 

G-. J. Eomanes. 

To Francis Darwin, Esq. 

St. Aldate's, Oxford : October 8, 1893. 

My dear Darwin, — Your very kind letter has been 
one ray of light to me in my gloom. Yet you must 
not think it is the only one. 

It is comparatively easy to set our teeth and face 
the inevitable with ' a grin ; ' but the ' highest 
bravery ' is to hide our anguish with a smile. I do 
think I make a decently good Stoic, but confess that 
in times like this Christians have the pull. Never- 
theless,! have often thought of the words, ' I am not in 
the least afraid to die,' 1 and wondered whether, when 
my time should come, I would be able to say them. 
But now I know that I can, and this even in the 
bitterness of feeling that one's work is prematurely 

1 See Life and Letters of C. Dartoin, vol. iii. p. 358. 


cut short. . . . ' Somewhat too much of this,' how- 
ever. What I want to tell you is that I managed to 
get to London on Friday for the purpose of consult- 
ing my doctors as to my prospects. They take a 
more hopeful view than I expected, i.e. notwith- 
standing that I have had three attacks in one year 
(in both eyes and now in the brain), it is not inevit- 
able that I should have another for years to come, 
provided that I become a strict teetotaller, vege- 
tarian, hermit, and abstainer from work. In short, 
' that my rule of life,' ' the exemplar ' for my ' imita- 
tion,' is to be that of a tortoise. Hence it does not 
appear that there is any immediate necessity for 
saying farewell to my friends, and hence also I will 
not bother you by falling in with your kind proposal 
to come over from Cambridge to see me, much as I 
should like to see you in any case. But if you would 
care to pay a visit to Oxford any time between this 
and to-morrow week (16th), when I shall start for the 
vicinity of Nice, we should both be awfully glad to 
put you up. I think Dyer will probably be with us 
from Saturday to Monday (14 to 16). 

With our united very kind regards to all, 
Yours ever sincerely, 


To Professor Huxley. 

94 St. Aldate's, Oxford : October 9, 1893. 

My dear Mr. Huxley, — We are so very sorry to 
have missed seeing you. Indeed it seems a curious 
irony of fate that, after having been caged in my 
house for the last three months, I should have been 


ordered to town by the doctors on the very day that 
you were in Oxford. And they must have been 
melancholy days for both Mrs. Huxley and yourself. 1 

I saw Andrew Clark, Lauder Brunton, and Hugh- 
lings Jackson. They all agreed that I still have a 
decent chance of living for an indefinite number of 
years, provided that in all things I lead the life of a 
tortoise. To tell the truth, I should not deem the 
game worth the candle were it not for my wife and 
five sons. But in view of them I must obey orders. 

As for ' General Death,' I think it must be easier 
to withstand his boast of Veni, vidi, vici, if in reply 
one can say, Vixi. With such a record as yours, and 
with all your family doing so well, the ' order to 
march ' need not be quite so bitter. 

But I have derived one benefit from my full-dress 
rehearsal of the final act (literally ' full dress,' by the 
way, as it was after dinner that I was struck down . . .) ; 
and this is the certain knowledge of being at any 
time able to repeat the last words of Darwin : ' I am 
not in the least afraid to die.' I remember many 
years ago, in your house at St. John's Wood, cordially 
agreeing with the feelings you then expressed, viz., 
that the prospect of death filled you with a horror 
unspeakable. ' Whether or not nature abhors a va- 
cuum,' you added, ' I know that the soul of man does.' 
But illness seems to make a vast difference in this 

Another benefit I have gained is an increase of 
admiration for to a limitless extent. I will 

1 Mr. and Mrs. Huxley had come to Oxford in order to attend the 
funeral of the Master of Balliol. 


not try to express it, lest you should think that my 
judgment must have been impaired. But the upshot 
is that, if I am to die soon, I shall be certain that 
there is no one in the wide world who, for bravery, 
devotion, and sound sense, is better capable of doing 
all that can be done for the children. 

With many and sincerest thanks to Mrs. Huxley 
and yourself for your truly kind sympathy, 

I remain, yours ever the same, 


Then came the journey to Costebelle, which he 
describes as follows : 

To James Bomanes, Esq. 

Hotel l'Ermitage, Costebelle : November 4, 1893. 

My dearest James, — I ought to have answered 
long ago the kind letter which I received from you 
just as I was driving to the Oxford station, and read 
in the train. But I am still such a wretched invalid 
that I shrink from the smallest exertion, whether of 
body or mind. I caught a violent cold in crossing 
the Channel, which kept me in bed for three days at 
Amiens, and left me so weak that I had to further 
break the journey at Paris, Lyons, and Marseilles — 
finally arriving here with a still feverish temperature. 
But this has now subsided. 

"We found not only Paris but quite as much Lyons 
and Marseilles in a state of delirium over the Eussian 
fleet officers, with whom we were muddled up all the 
way, greatly to our inconvenience. This was espe- 

1893 COSTEBELLB 349 

cially the case on leaving Lyons, where the railway 
officials, after having put our luggage (containing our 
circular notes) in the railway station, locked the 
doors of the latter in our faces, when the police and 
military officials hurried us down the hill again in the 
town (in the rudest of ways) till the arrival of the 
Russians nearly an hour after our train was timed to 
depart. We had no doubt that our hand baggage had 
all been carried off in our railway carriage without us 
and without labels ; but on at last getting into the 
station found that our train had not started. 

This is one of the most charming places I have 
ever seen. The hotel is situated on the top of a hill 
which slopes for a mile to the sea, and which is thickly 
clothed with pine and olive woods in all directions. 
The climate admits of our sitting out of doors without 
overcoats or shawls till sunset, amid the most won- 
derful profusion of aromas I have ever met with. 

To the Dean of Christ Church. 

Costebelle : November 28, 1893. 

My dear Dean, — In the firmament of my friend- 
ships there is no such star as yourself, and I find it 
belongs to them all that the darker and the colder 
the night becomes, the more brightly do they shine. 

It is quite certain that ' the South has not yet 
rendered its full service,' inasmuch as it has not 
rendered me any service at all. If anything I am 
worse than when I left Oxford. My muscular power, 
indeed, has somewhat improved, but my nervous 
exhaustion seems to be growing upon me, week by 


week; so that I am now able to walk but very 
little — to hope, not much, to think, not at all. 

The truth is that my ailment, whatever it is, is 
not to be reached by climatic influences : it belongs 
to those mysterious internal changes, which Darwin 
ascribes to what he calls ' the nature of the organism ' 
— l variations which to our ignorance appear to arise 
spontaneously.' Hence, I am out of harmony with 
my environment, whatever the environment may be. 
And, as this Spencerianism applies to my spiritual, 
no less than to my bodily organisation, it would seem 
that somehow or other I have been born into a wrong 
world — like those poor Porto Santo rabbits, which 
I took home with me last year, and the history of 
which I think I told you. However, I do not intend 
to grumble at the visible universe until I shall have 
had an opportunity of looking round the edge and 
seeing what is behind. 

Most of our time is spent in sheer idleness, or 
rather, I should say, all of my time, and that propor- 
tion of my wife's which is spent in reading to me — 
chiefly novels, poetry, and history. Yesterday, we 
had Coppee's play ' Le Pater,' which I know you 
have read. For the length of it, I think it is as power- 
ful a piece of dramatic writing as I have ever read. 

Very few worries find their way to L'Ermitage. 
The worst at present is the choice of the next 
'Bomanes Lecturer.' Owing to his accident, Helm- 
holtz has blocked the way for the last two months, 
but now promises a final reply in the course of a few 
days. If he does come, I hope the University will 
give him the D.C.L. 

1893 COSTEBELLE 351 

With our united kindest regards to Mrs. Paget, 
whose messages to me are of more benefit than all 
my doctor's drugs (now that is a thing I ( would 
rather have expressed otherwise ' !) and yourself, 
I remain, ever your affectionate friend, 

G. J. Romanes. 

For a while all went well, he liked the place, and 
was able to work a little, and to have many books read 
to him. He had taken out Dr. Martineau's ' Study 
of Religion,' and other philosophical books, and he 
also plunged into poetry, reading Wordsworth chiefly. 

In December came what seemed to be a severe 
gastric attack, with other alarming symptoms, and for 
a few hours he seemed to be dying. But this passed 
off, and although he was kept in bed for three weeks 
he grew better, and in some ways there seemed 
grounds for fresh hope. 

For a few days in January he was under the care 
of a cousin with two trained nurses, and his letters 
home were surprisingly bright. 

His wife's maid, of whom he was very fond, was 
terribly ill in January, and he writes : 

Give Jane my love, and tell her I never forget 
how good she was to me when I thought I was dying 
in her arms at Boar's Hill. 

And again he wrote : 

So glad to hear the operation has been successful. 
Congratulate her from me. Tell her I heartily wish 
I were in her place as to this, but that neverthe- 
less I have not ' lost heart.' I am now certainly 


stronger, and if I could only submit my cranial cavity 
to Tom's * hands for removal of anything disagree- 
able, I should be comparatively joyful. 

The weather is glorious. Marian is at mass, 
having read me one of Church's sermons. 

Please tell John to send me a couple of hundred 
cigarettes (to prevent influenza ! ). 

When you come out you will not find me a kill- 
joy ; the danger will rather be that of my scandalising 
you all by riotous conduct on Sunday. 

And certainly he was astonishingly bright when 
his wife returned to him. It was on a Sunday after- 
noon, and his first proposition was, ' The church bell is 
tinkling, let's go to church.' It was the twenty-eighth 
of January, and the brightness and gladness of two of 
the Evening Psalms were singularly appropriate, and 
chimed in with feelings of a greater gladness dawning 
on him, for he was leaving the strange land in which 
for years he had not been able to sing ' The Lord's 

And then began a time, often saddened by hours 
of intense physical exhaustion and physical depres- 
sion, but also of what can only be called growth in 
holiness, in all that comes from nearness to God. 

In the early autumn and winter there had been 
sad moments when still the clouds of darkness, of 
inability to grasp the Hand of God stretched out to 
meet him, hung over him, but in these months there 
had been the same growth. 

One to whom he often spoke of the deepest things 

1 Mr. E. B. Turner, F.E.C.S., one of Mr. Romanes's dearest friends; as 
was also his brother, Mr. G. R. Turner, F.R.C.S. 


of life and of death will never forget his saying one 
day just after the attack of illness in December : ' I 
have come to see that cleverness, success, attainment, 
count for little ; that goodness, or, as F. (naming a 
dear friend) would say, "character '," is the important 
factor in life.' 

For in early days Mr. Romanes had attached, so it 
seemed to some of those who knew him best, an undue 
importance to intellect, to cleverness, to intelligence, 
and the same person to whom he said the few words 
just quoted had often discussed with him the relative 
value of goodness and of intellect. 

By goodness is meant perfect and complete good- 
ness, not such as that of which it has been said, ' It 
is the business of the wise to rectify the mistakes of 
the good.' 

And as weeks passed on he would often plan a 
country house and a life in which ' good works ' were 
to have a share. 

He had always had a high ideal of what Love and 
Faith should bring about, and in the last months of his 
life he said to one whom he dearly loved, ' Darling, 
if you believe what you say you believe, why should 
you mind so much ? ' With absolute resignation 
he gave up all his ambitions, the old longing for 
distinction, for greater fame, and yet he did not 
lose for one moment the old interest in his scientific 

Two papers of his were read at the Royal Society 
in October 1893. The first described experiments 
undertaken by Mr. Romanes, the primary object of 
which was to ascertain whether seeds which had been 
kept out of contact with air for a lengthy period of time 
still possessed the power of germination. The method 
adopted was as follows : a certain number of seeds 

A A 


were taken from each packet, mustard, cress, beans, 
peas, &c, being the kinds employed, and, having been 
weighed in a chemical balance, were sealed up in 
tubes which had previously been exhausted of air, 
and kept exposed to the vacuum for a period of 
fifteen months. At the end of that time they were 
removed from the tubes and sown in flower-pots 
buried in moist soil. In some cases, after the seeds 
had been in the vacuum tubes for three months, 
they were transferred to other tubes charged with 
pure gases, such as oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, car- 
bon monoxide, or with aqueous or chloroform vapour, 
and there kept for a further period of twelve months, 
when the} 7 were sown as before. 

In all cases the same number of seeds, of simi- 
lar weights to those sealed up in the tubes, were 
taken from each packet, kept in ordinary air for 
the fifteen months, and then sown as control experi- 

The results clearly showed that the germinating 
power of the seeds was hardly, if at all, affected either 
by being exposed to the vacuum or to the atmo- 
spheres of the various gases and vapours. Further, in 
no single case, in the hundreds of seeds so treated, 
did the plants produced from them differ from the 
standard types grown from the control seeds even in 
the smallest degree. 

The second paper described experiments in helio- 
tropism, which had been undertaken by Mr. Eomanes 
with the object of ascertaining whether plants would 
bend towards a light that is not continuous, but 

Mustard seedlings, grown in the dark until they 
were about one or two inches high, were used in all 
the experiments ; they were either placed in a dark 


room and exposed to flashes of light in the form of 
electric sparks passed at regular intervals, or they 
were put in a camera obscura, before which was 
placed a Swan burner or arc lamp, the light from 
which was rendered intermittent by the regular 
opening and shutting of the photographic shutter. 
The heliotropic effect on the seedlings was found in 
all cases to be very marked, the most vigorous ones 
beginning to bend towards the light ten minutes after 
the flashing began, bending through 45° in as many 
minutes, and often through another 45° in as many 
minutes more. By protecting half of the seedlings 
from the interrupted light, by means of a cardboard 
cap, then after the experiment uncovering them and 
exposing that half for the same duration of time to 
constant sunlight, Mr. Romanes found that the bend- 
ing was less in this latter case ; that is, when the light 
was continuous. This result was confirmed by 
placing two sets of plants under exactly similar con- 
ditions before a Swan burner, the light from which 
was constant for one set of seedlings, and rendered 
intermittent for the other set by working the flash 
shutter ; in all cases the interrupted light caused the 
plants to start bending more quickly, and through a 
greater angle in a given time. 

As regards the rate the flashes must succeed 
one another to produce this heliotropic effect, Mr. 
Romanes found that sparks passed at the rate of fifty 
in an hour would cause considerable bending in half 
an hour. It is of interest to note that in no single 
case was there any green colouring matter produced, 
the seedlings remaining colourless even when the 
sparks were passed at the rate of 100 per second 
continuously during forty-eight hours. 

A A 2 


Dr. Sanderson writes : 

Friday, November 17. 

My dear Romanes, — There was a rather interest- 
ing discussion at the E. S. on your paper about the 
fresh experiments with seedlings. It was objected 
that there was no evidence that the effects were 
not due to one-sided drying of the stems of the 
seedlings, and wanted to know whether suffi- 
cient precautions were taken to guard against this. 
I suppose that he meant heat effects. I said tha., 
under the conditions of this experiment, I could 
not see how any ' drying effect ' could possibly take 

My suggestion is that it would be worth while 
to add a note, if you think of the impossibility of 
any effect, excepting a light effect, being concerned. 
I asked Foster just now, and he agreed with me 
that it would be useful. I ought to add that it 
was admitted that the observation was a new one 
which promised to have very important bearings. 

I am writing this in great haste. I trust that 
you are enjoying Costebelle. 

Very truly yours, 

T. Buedon Sandeeson. 

At this time Mr. Romanes had a very interesting 
correspondence with the Rev. G. Henslow, on the 
subject of the direct action of the environment on 
plant structures. 

Ealing : October 19, 1893. 

Dear Mr. Romanes, — If you are in town on 
November 16, I should be very glad indeed if you 


could come to the Linnean Society, and criticise my 
paper which I am going to read : ' On the origin of 
plant structures by self-adaptation to the environ- 
ment, exemplified by desert and xerophilous plants.' 

In this and in subsequent letters Mr. Henslow 
explained the subject-matter of his paper, and as 
it formed the basis of the correspondence, a brief 
analysis, furnished by Mr. Henslow in a later letter, 
is here inserted. 

The object of the paper is to show that the origin 
of varieties and species — as far as the vegetative 
organs are concerned — is solely due to climatic 
causes. For the acquired (somatic) characters be- 
come more or less hereditary if the same environ- 
ment be maintained. But plants possess every de- 
gree in their capacities either of reverting, changing, 
or of stability. 

The result is that I do not see any necessity for 
natural selection at all in Nature, for the following 

Variations are often indefinite in cultivation, 
especially after several years. Therefore to secure 
a useful race artificial selection is necessary. On 
the other hand, variation is definite in Nature, all 
the seedlings varying in one and the same direc- 
tion, i.e. towards equilibrium with the environmental 
forces. Darwin knew of this fact, and you have 
abundantly described it. But Darwin failed to see 
that this definite variation in Nature is the rule, 
and not the exception. Hence, as he admits, natural 


selection is not wanted at all [i.e. if all variations 
are definite in Nature]. 

Moreover, it is contended that climatic variations 
are of no great, even of any useful, importance. 
This may be so, for all I know, with animals ; but it 
is precisely the reverse with plants. I took my illus- 
trations from desert plants, and showed that their 
remarkable characteristics, which give the facies to 
desert plants, are on the one hand the direct results 
of the excessive drought, heat, light, &c. On the 
other, they are just those features which enable the 
plants to live under their extremely inhospitable 
environment. These characters are the minute 
leaves, hardening of woody tissues, thick cuticle, 
dense clothing of hair, wax, storage of water tissues, 
&c. ; so that the whole economy of the plant, in- 
cluding its specific characters, is all climatically 
acquired. Although some may vary when the plants 
are grown in ordinary gardens, such is no more than 
one wou]d expect on a priori grounds to be the case. 

I would limit natural selection, as far as plants 
are concerned, to three things : 

1. Mortality among seedlings with the survival of 
the strongest. 

I do not say ' fittest,' because it is ordinarily 
understood to mean that the survivors have some 
morphological features, by which they are benefited, 
which lead on finally to specific characters. 

I do not find this to be the case. Take an 
instance of great contrast. Sow 100 seeds of the 
water (submerged) Hanunculus fluitans in a garden. 
They all grow up as aerial plants, i.e. they vary as 


they grow precisely in the same way. It is only 
the weakest (from badly nourished seeds) which get 
crowded out of existence. Here, then, is definite 
variation without the aid of natural selection. Ex uno 
disce omnes. 

2. Delimitation of varieties and species by the 
non-reproduction of intermediate forms. 

It is generally said that if ' good species ' are 
isolated, the intermediate forms have been killed off 
by natural selection. I maintain that they were 
never reproduced. Thus if a has passed by succes- 
sive generations, a', a", a"', &c, to a" ; a and A n being 
now only in existence, then a', a", &c, represented a 
single generation apiece, each offspring being one 
degree nearer to A n , but could never be reproduced, 
as the environment was continually acting upon the 
whole series, urging each generation forwards till it 
became stable in A a . 

This is precisely what takes place in cultivating a 
wild plant like the parsnip. Each year the grower 
selects a slightly improved form, till the required 
type is fixed. The ' Student ' is now A n , a more or 
less permanently fixed form, each of the intermediate 
forms, lasting one year, having ceased to be reproduced. 

3. The geographical distribution of varieties and 
species by self-adaptation. 

That is, if a number of plants migrate to a new 
locality with new environmental conditions, half of 
them may die ; because they cannot adapt them- 
selves ; the other half may live — change, and become 
fixed forms, by their power of adaptation. The final 
conclusion of the whole is that plants require nothing 


more than climatic influences, to which their proto- 
plasm may respond. The result is new varietal or 
specific characters. Then, if the same environment 
lasts, these become gradually more and more fixed 
and hereditary, but one can never tell beforehand but 
that the oldest plant in creation may not change 
again as soon as it finds a new environment. . . . 
This is what a long study of plants and experiments 
has led me to ; and it is not a conclusion arrived at 
solely by ' thinking out ' or evolving from my own 
consciousness — like the German camel ! 
Hoping you are progressing, 

Believe me, yours sincerely, 

Geokge Henslow. 

Hotel l'Ermitage, Costebelle, Hyeres, France : October 29, 1893. 

Dear Mr. Henslow, — You will correctly infer from 
this address that I shall not be able to attend the 
Linnean Society meeting on the 16th prox. For two 
or three years past my health has been breaking up, 
and several months ago I had a stroke of paralysis. 
So I have had to knock off all work, and have just 
arrived here to spend the winter — finding your letter, 
forwarded from Oxford, awaiting me. 

It has interested me very much, and some time 
I should like to see the paper to which it refers, 
whether in MS. or print. As far as I can gather, 
you are spontaneously following in the footsteps of 
Asa Gray, Nageli, and some other botanists. But, it 
seems to me, this self-adaptation doctrine is equi- 
valent to an a 'priori abandoning of all hope to obtain 
any naturalistic explanation of the phenomena in 


question. It simply refers the facts of adaptation 
immediately to some theory of design, and so brings 
us back again to Paley, Bell, and Chalmers. As 
when a child asks why a flower closes at night, 
and we answer him : Because God has made it 
so, my dear. C'est magnifique, Trials ce n'est pas la 

But do not mistake me. My quarrel is with the 
term self-adaptation, which seems to imply causes of 
a non-naturalistic kind. Which, of course, is quite a 
different thing from doubting whether the natural- 
istic explanation given by Darwin is adequate to 
meet all the facts. I am myself more and more 
given to question ' the all-sufficiency of natural 
selection,' and this, whether or not use-inheritance 
is one of the supplementary factors. But that 
there are some hitherto undiscovered factors of 
this kind where many of the phenomena of adap- 
tation are concerned, I am more and more disposed 
to suspect. Nevertheless I believe, in the light of 
analogy, that they will all prove to be natural 
causes, and therefore not correctly definable as 
due to ' self-adaptation.' 

My hemiplegia has given me a terrible shake, so 
I cannot write much. Indeed, this is the longest of 
the few letters which I have written since my attack. 
So please excuse seeming bluntness, and believe me 
to remain, 

Ever yours, very truly and most interestedly, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

P.S. — Of course you would not in any case expect 


to find so much variability of the conspicuously in- 
definite kind in nature as in cultivation. For, by 
hypothesis, natural selection is present in the one 
case (to destroy useless variations) while absent in 
the other. But I allow this does not apply to the 
examples you give me. Only remember the point in 
publishing your paper. 

Hotel Costebelle, Hyeres : February 10, 1894. 

Dear Mr. Henslow, — I am much indebted to you 
for all your most interesting letters, and also for 
prospect of receiving your books. Although for- 
bidden to write letters myself, or to think about 
anything as yet, I must send a few lines, pending 
arrival of the books and papers, giving my general 
impression of your views as set out in your corre- 

Briefly, it seems to me that your argument is per- 
fectly clear up to a certain point, but then suddenly 
becomes a petitio principii. In other words, so far as 
your view is critical of natural selection considered 
as a hypothetical cause of adaptive evolution, I can 
well believe you have adduced a formidable array of 
facts. But I fail to follow, when you pass on to the 
constructive part of your case — or your suggested 
substitute for natural selection in self-adaptation. 
For self-adaptation, I understand, consists in results 
of immediate response to stimuli supplied by environ- 
inent. But, if so, surely the statement that all the 
adaptive machinery of plant-organisation is due to 
self-adaptation is a mere begging of the question 
against natural selection unless it can be shown how 


self-adaptation ivories in each case. Now I do not find 
any suggestion as to this. And yet this is obviously 
the essential point ; since, unless it can he shown how 
self-adaptation works — i.e. that it is a vera causa, 
and not a mere word serving to re-state the facts of 
adaptive evolution — we have got no further in the 
way of explanation than the physician who said, 
that the reason why morphia produces sleep is be- 
cause it possesses a soporific quality. 

Observe, I purposely abstain from considering 
your criticism of natural selection, which, although 
perfectly lucid and possibly justifiable, yet certainly 
does admit of the answer that incipient variations of 
a fortuitous kind under nature may often be incon- 
spicuous (while Wallace shows that in animals they 
are, as a matter of fact, usually considerable). But 
we need not go into this. The interesting point to 
all of us must be the constructive part of your work ; 
and I have tried to explain my difficulty with regard 
to it. Why should protoplasm he able to adapt itself 
into the millions of diverse mechanisms of nature by 
converse with environment ? The theory of natural 
selection gives a logically possible, even if it be a 
biologically inadequate, answer. But I cannot see 
that the theory of self-adaptation does, unless it can 
he shown that there is some sufficient reason why, say, 
a desert-environment should produce self -adaptation 
in the direction of hairs, a marine one in that of 
fleshiness, &c. &c. 

I have been very frank, because I know you, and 
therefore that this is what you would prefer. But I 
am too ill to make myself clear in a letter. I wish 


you could stop here for a day on your way home, by 
which time I shall probably have read your books, 
and we might discuss the whole business before I 
publish mine on the Post-Darwinian Theories. 
With very many thanks, 

I remain yours very truly, 

G. J. Eomanes. 

Hotel Costebelle, Hyeres : February 24, 1894. 

Dear Mr. Henslow, — Nothing can be more clear 
than are all your letters, and the last one, I take it, 
sets at rest the only question which I had to ask. For 
it expressly answers that, in your own view, the hypo- 
thesis of • self-adaptation ' is a statement rather than 
an explanation of the facts. Nevertheless, it is also to 
some certain extent advanced as an explanation on 
Lamarckian lines, for in your books (for which I 
much thank you) you attribute adaptive mechanism 
in flowers to thrusts, strains, &c. caused by insects. 
But here, if I may say so, it does not seem to me 
that you sufficiently deal with an obvious criticism, 
viz. How is it so much as conceivable that proto- 
plasm should always respond to insect irritation 
adaptively, when we look to the endless variety and 
often great elaboration of the mechanism ? Similarly 
as regards the inorganic environment, Lamarck's 
hypothesis of ^se-inheritance {i.e. mere increase and 
decrease of parts as due to inherited efforts of greater 
or less development by altered flow of nutrition) was 
at least theoretically valid. But how can you extend 
this to structures which, though useful, are never 
active, so as to modify flow of nutrition, e.g. hard. 


shells oi nuts, soft pulp of fruits, &c. ? Here it is 
that natural selection theory has the pull. And so 
of adaptive colours, odours, and secretions ? I con- 
fess that, even accepting inheritance of acquired 
characters, I could conceive of ' self-adaptation ' 
alone producing all such innumerable and diversified 
adjustments only by seeing with Newman (in his 
' Apologia ') an angel in every flower. 

Besides, I do not see why you are shut up to 
this, even on your own principles. For surely, be 
there as much self-adaptation in Nature as ever you 
please, it would still be those individuals (or incipient 
types) which best respond to stimulation (i.e. most 
adaptively do so) that, other things equal, would 
survive in the struggle for existence, and so be 
naturally selected. In other words, I do not see 
why you should accept natural selection as regards 
: vigour ' of seedlings, and nowhere else. 

I quite accept the validity of your criticism of my 
physiological selection in your book, supposing your 
■ self-adaptation ' true to the extent you suppose. 
But otherwise what you say tells in favour of physio- 
logical selection, at least, excepting the statement as 
to new alhed species originating as a rule on distant 
areas from parent types. This, however, is certainly 
an erroneous statement, though I should like to 
know how you came to make it. 

I much wish I could write more or meet you. 
For, notwithstanding apparent bluntness (for brevity's 
sake), I see you are one of the few evolutionists who 
think for yourself. 

With many thanks, yours very truly, 

G. J. Bomanes. 


I am not against your criticism of natural 
selection, for I have always thought there must 
be some other additional principle of adaptation at 

Grand Hotel, Costebelle, Hyeres (Var) : March 12. 

Dear Mr. Henslow, — My husband has much 
enjoyed your long and clear letter which I have 
just read to him. He is too ill to reply himself, 
but he will dictate a few notes to me to send to 

Yours very truly, 

Ethel Eomanes. 

(a) I cry ' Peccavi ' as regards natural selection 
co-operating with self-adaptation. Since you show 
that, even if it does, you are not concerned with 
this fact — i.e. of the development of the adaptation, 
but only with its origin. 

(b) All the same, however, we must remember 
that where high elaboration of mechanism is con- 
cerned, the question as to the causes of its develop- 
ment become of more importance than those of its 
origin; e.g. even if self-adaptation be conceived 
capable of making a first step towards producing 
the exquisite mechanism of a bivalve shell, by 
discriminate variation, how is it conceivable that it 
should go on through the odd millions of successive 
steps of improvement needed to produce the perfect 
mechanism in which the great wonder of adaptation 
really occurs ? 

I can conceive of no natural process to accomplish 


this development even in one such case of mechanism 
other than natural selection. Let alone the ' endless 
variety ' of elaborate mechanism elsewhere. 

(c) Of course, if you could prove that indiscrimi- 
nate variations have not occurred in wild plants, but 
only under cultivation, you would destroy Darwinism 
— in toto. But is the proposition credible a priori ; 
or sustainable a posteriori, &c. ? 

I suppose you have read Wallace on the subject 
as regards wild animals, and if you were to make 
similar measurements with regard to ivild plants, you 
would obtain analogous results. 

I remember as a boy having a game of who could 
find most specimens of four-leaved clover in a given 
time, or even two leaves of clover which would be 
exactly alike in all respects. But I have already 
discussed the matter of definite and indefinite 
variability in ' Darwin and after Darwin.' 

(d) I will let the question of Use-Inheritance in 
relation to seemingly Passive Organs go by default 
against me, as it is rather a side issue and would 
need much writing to discuss. The same applies to 
your remarks on Teleology. As regards both points 
I agree with your observations. 

(e) Touching varieties as found in different areas 
from parent types, I suppose you heard how carefully 
Nageli has gone into the subject, with the result 
that, after making allowances for defects of isolation, 
change of environment, &c, only about five per cent, 
of species of plants seem to have originated on distant 
areas, while Wallace has shown that some such pro- 
portion applies to animals. 


(f) As regards plants having been brought under 
cultivation, and yielding variations that prove 
hereditary, I knew there were innumerable cases 
where artificial selection had been brought into play. 
But of course they are all out of court until the 
question on which you are engaged has been de- 
cided in your favour, i.e. until you have succeeded 
in disproving natural selection as analogous or 
parallel to artificial. It was for this reason I men- 
tioned the case of parsnips, where the hereditary 
variations seem to have taken place in the first 
generation after transplanting, and therefore without 
leaving time for selection of any kind to have come 
into play. 

Hotel Costebelle, Hyeres : March 29. 

Dear Mr. Henslow, — I am still terribly ill and 
cannot write much. We must have a talk. Could 
you come to Oxford any day you like and be our 
guest ? I think we might derive mutual benefit. I 
shall be there from the middle of April till I do not 
know when. Why not come on May 2, to hear 
Weismann give his lecture in the afternoon ? 

I much wish you would save seed of any fixed 
local varieties of plants you may find to be in seed, 
while you are in Malta (or bulbs), in order to see 
whether plants grown from them in England will or 
will not prove fully fertile. This is in relation to my 
own theory of physiological selection, according to 
which isolation produces segregation of type ; in the 
same way as it does that of a language — viz. by 
prevention of intercourse with the parent type and 
consequently with an independent history of varia- 


tion. Where the isolation is due to physical barriers 
(as at Malta) there is no need for any sexual differen- 
tiation to originate a species. But on common areas, 
sexual differentiation is the only means of securing 
the isolation. Therefore (I say) we can see why 
Jordan's French varieties all prove sterile with their 
parent forms, and I should expect your Malta varie- 
ties to prove fertile with theirs elsewhere. 

G. J. E. 

. Costebelle : April 15, 1894. 

Dear Mr. Henslow, — Yes, please write when you 
get back, suggesting any time you may find con- 
venient for spending a day or two with us at 
94 St. Aldate's, Oxford (immediately opposite Christ 
Church). I cannot talk long at a time, but I think 
the meeting will be of use to both. 

Of course ' Isolation produces segregation of type,' 
is only a short-hand expression, meaning — indis- 
criminate variation being supposed — isolation supplies 
a necessary condition to segregation of type by up- 
setting the previous stability that was due to free 

I quite agree that Darwin very greatly over- 
estimated the benefit of inter-crossing, as I am 
showing in my forthcoming book on ' Physiological 
Selection.' But this is quite a different thing from 
his having made too much of inter-crossing as a con- 
dition to stability of type ; I do not think that this 
can be made too much of. Indeed, how is it con- 
ceivable that there ever can be divergence of type 
without isolation of some kind having first occurred 

B B 


at the origin, and throughout the growth of every 
branch? Moreover, I agree with you about self- 
fertilisation, but see in it a form of physiological 
selection ; it is one kind of sexual isolation, or 
prevention of inter-crossing with neighbouring in- 
dividuals. So that the more perfectly it obtains in 
any given type, the better chance there is for that 
type to become a new species bj^ independent varia- 
bility — and this whether or not the independent 
variability is likewise indiscriminate (or in your 
terminology ' indefinite '). 

In my last letter I referred to the works of Jordan 
and Nageli for any number of ' facts in Nature of 
varieties arising among the type-forms.' I will show 
you the passages when we meet. But even in cases 
of ' local varieties,' where a variety has a habitat 
of its own surrounded by the type-form, I should 
expect experiment would often (though by no means 
always) show some degree of cross-infertility between 
the two, pointing to prepotency {i.e. early stages of 
physiological selection) being the origin of the diver- 

Before we meet I wish you would try to think of 
any plants which can be propagated by cuttings (or 
otherwise asexually) which are known to be modifi- 
able by changed conditions of life in the first genera- 
tion. I understand you that in some cases the seed 
of such a plant will not revert — when sown in its 
natural environment, though, of course, the rule is 
that it does. Well, in either case, I should much 
like to try whether a cutting &c. from the trans- 
planted (and therefore modified) tubers &c. would 


revert to its ancestral character. When retrans- 
planted to its natural environment, much would 
follow from result of such an experiment as regards 

Yours very and always truly, 

G. J. Eomanes. 

P.S. — Of course in saying 'on common areas, 
sexual differentiation is the only means of securing 
the isolation,' I did not include self -fertilising plants 
— any more, e.g. than insect-fertilising where changes 
in the instincts of insects may cause sexual isola- 

I leave for Oxford to-morrow. 

These months were made very happy to him by 
the fact that three friends, Mrs. and Miss Church 
and the Eev. B. C. Moberly, 1 were staying in the 
same hotel. He often alludes in his letters to the 
intense pleasure these friends gave him, and speaks of 
how much he owed to their tenderness and sympathy, 
and to their perception when to come and when to 
stay away. 

Many books were heard and read by him. Mr. 
Gore's Bampton Lectures were read aloud to him, 
and he liked them even better than when he heard 
them preached. Several other theological books were 
read, and of all these the one which bears marks of 
most careful study is Pascal's ' Pensees.' He used 
Mr. C. Kegan Paul's translation. The copy he had 
at Costebelle, which used to lie by his bedside, is 
marked and annotated. It is the last book he 

1 "Regius Professor of Pastoral Theology at Oxford. 

B B 2 


read to himself in his own careful and student- 
like fashion. He also wrote some notes of advice 
to his boys. 

At this time he began to make notes for a work 
which he intended to be a supplement or an answer 
to the ' Candid Examination of Theism.' As he went 
on, his notes grew — so it seemed to one who read 
them — increasingly nearer Faith, but of them the 
world can now judge. 

He said one day, while scribbling down notes, 'If 
anything happens to me before I can work them up 
into a book, give them to Gore. He will understand.' 

Nothing can be more erroneous than to suppose 
that the change in point of view was sudden, or due 
to any fear of death, or that it caused mental suffer- 
ing to the author of ' Thoughts on Eeligion,' or that 
he was influenced by anyone, priest or layman. 

There will always be unconscious influence, and it 
probably was not altogether in vain that two or three 
of Mr. Eomanes' greatest and most intimate friends 
were Christian as well as intellectual men. But of 
influence and argument and persuasion, as most 
people imagine them, there was nothing. Discus- 
sions many, during the past years, but to these he 
owed little. 

A dear friend once wrote of him : ' I think of him 
as one of the cross-bearers of the world, and perhaps 
among those who are chosen to bear the heaviest .... 
one of those through whose suffering the real progress 
of humanity is worked out. And perhaps there is 
no greater, stranger, suffering than the suffering of 
doubt. No cross is harder to bear than that which 
he is bearing, nor, I think, is he bearing it blindly or 
in the dark. I venture to think that he has really 
much more of true faith than he at all suspects, and 


that he and some others with him who think they 
are more and more losing hold on God because the 
burden and the bulk of doubt* is growing more and 
more, may really be, underground, as it were, main- 
taining and strengthening their hold by their loving 
stubbornness in graces which are indeed their acts of 
faith, and by the secret work of the Holy Spirit in 
their hearts, even through the darkness and the 

This was written many years before, and is quoted 
now because it shows the kind of impression George 
Eomanes made on those few who really knew him, to 
whom he showed his inmost self. 

It is written that those who seek find, and to 
no one do these words more fitly apply. 

During these months Mr. Eomanes read many 
books of a religious nature ; particularly and pre- 
eminently he liked to have Dean Church read aloud, 
and he also liked Mr. Holland's ' City of God ' and 
Mr. Illingworth's sermons, particularly one on ' In- 
nocence,' which he asked for more than once. He 
also read much poetry, Miss Rossetti and Archbishop 
Trench being especial favourites at this time. 

To himself he read or had read to him the Bible 
and Thomas a Kempis, and he liked Dr. Bright's 
Ancient Collects, and in part Bishop Andrewes' 
Devotions. He never would read or have anything 
read to him which did not ring true to him and which 
he could not appreciate ; for instance, the Pleadings 
of Our Lord's Physical Sufferings in Andrewes' Devo- 
tions for Friday were very distasteful to him. 

He often went to the English Church for short 
services, and on Easter Monday Dr. Moberly gave 
him Holy Communion, for which he had asked and, 
for which he wished. 


In the week before Easter he felt very ill, and 
said, ' I wish Moberly (who had gone away for a few 
days) were here, and we could have that Celebration ; 
I don't think I shall live till Easter.' But this 
passed away, and on Easter Day he was peculiarly 
bright, and in the evening said, ' I have written this 
poem to-day.' 

It is impossible to resist the wish to insert it 
here : 

HEBREWS xi. 10 (or ii. 10). 

1 Amen, now lettest Thou Thy servant, Lord, 

Depart in peace, according to Thy AVord : 

Although mine eyes may not have fully seen 

Thy great salvation, surely there have been 

Enough of sorrow and enough of sight 

To show the way from darkness into light ; 
And Thou hast brought me, through a wilderness of pain, 
To love the sorest paths if soonest they attain. 

* Enough of sorrow for the heart to cry — 

" Not for myself, nor for my kind, am I : " 

Enough of sight for Keason to disclose, 

" The more I learn the less my knowledge grows." 

Ah ! not as citizens of this our sphere, 

But aliens militant we sojourn here, 
Invested by the hosts of Evil and of Wrong, 
Till Thou shalt come again with all Thine angel throng. 

' As Thou hast found me ready to Thy call, 
Which stationed me to watch the outer wall, 
And, quitting joys and hopes that once were mine, 
To pace with patient steps this narrow line, 
Oh ! may it be that, coming soon or late, 
Thou still shalt find Thy soldier at the gate, 
Who then may follow Thee till sight needs not to prove, 
And faith will be dissolved in knowledge of Thy love.' 

From the manuscript it is difficult to determine 
what was the motto of the poem, Hebrews xi. or 


Hebrews ii. ; the latter is more probable, at least so it 
seems to trie present writer. 

On the 28th Mr. Eomanes wrote a letter to the 
Dean of Christ Church, which, besides some items of 
personal interest, and of expressions of affection too 
intimate to be given, contains the following : 

Costebelle : March 28, 1894. 

My dear Paget, — I have had to abandon letter 
writing for several weeks past, as the least effort, 
even in the way of conversation, produces exhaustion 
in a painful degree. So, as usual, I had to ask my 
wife to answer your kind letter yesterday. But this 
morning I feel a little bit better, so I should like to 
have a try. She has gone to church, and therefore, 
as I could not even hear her read the letter which 
she posted to you yesterday, there is likely to be 
some repetition. 

• ••••• 
Oddly enough for my time of life, I have begun to 
discover the truth of what you once wrote about 
logical processes not being the only means of research 
in regions transcendental. It is too large a matter 
to deal with in a letter, but I hope to have a con- 
versation with you some day, and ascertain how far 
you will agree with a certain ' new and short way 
with the Agnostics.' 

• ••••• 
Yours ever sincerely and affectionately, 

Geo. J. Eomanes. 

He had all his old interest in psychical research, 


and a friend, Mrs. Crawfurd, of Auchinames, who 
shared this interest, used to beguile many weary- 
hours with ghost stories, and he and she used to 
' cap ' each other's narratives. 

There were pleasant people in the hotels around, 
and the bright sunshine and balmy air were 
great sources of enjoyment to him. Dr. Bidon, of 
Hyeres, was unfailing in constant kindness, and it 
would be ungrateful not to say how much was owed 
to the kind landlord, M. Peyron, and to Madame 

The journey to England was apparently borne 
without undue fatigue, and the home-coming was 
very bright, with joyous meeting with his children 
and with various friends. The only difficulty was to 
keep him quiet enough. It was said one day, ' When 
you go home you must not see too many people.' 
' Oh, no,' he replied, ' I only want to see Paget, and 
Dr. Sanderson, and Gore, and Philip (Waggett), and 

Mrs. Woods, and Eay Lankester, and ' but he 

stopped, laughing, the list was already so long and 
would soon have been doubled. For a few days his 
wife was away, and during this brief absence a very 
dear friend, Miss Eose Price, the daughter of the 
Master of Pembroke, died. 

He writes : 

To Mrs. Romanes. 

How glad I am you are still mine ! I have 
just returned from Pose's funeral, which was all but 
too much for me. As you know, I have seen other 
such things on a grander scale, but never any 
approach to this one in point of beauty and pathos. 
The College Chapel was completely filled with mem- 
bers of the University, with wives and daughters, 

1894 OXFOED 377 

yet all personal friends cf hers, including all members 
of the family, the poor Master separated from the 
rest in his official seat. All the undergraduates of 
Pembroke were present, each provided with a lovely 
wreath, carried in procession to the grave. The whole 
of the east end was one mass of white flowers, the 
coffin with its own flowers being placed in the middle 
of the aisle. The procession walked first all round 
the quad, and then through Christ Church Meadows, 
being met at Holywell by the choir. 1 

This is the last letter I shall write. All well here, 
and the Interlopers 2 know me now. Weismann 
accepts invitation to lecture, and is on his way on 
purpose. I have obtained an invitation from the 
Royal Society for him to the ' soiree.' 

Four weeks more, and the writer of this letter 
was also borne through Christ Church Meadow, and 
laid to rest near the young girl whom he had made 
his friend, and whose death he deeply mourned. 

It was thought at this time that a country home 
would be possibly better for him. Many drives were 
taken in search of houses or of possible sites for 
building, and he was often positively boyish and 
merry during these expeditions. 

On one of the last days of his life he drove up to 
Boar's Hill, and it is impossible to forget his delight 
in the beauty of the woods in their fresh spring 
dress, the ground one mass of bluebell, the hedges 
white with ' May.' 

He began to devise experiments again, and also 
set to work to arrange his papers and manuscripts 
in the most methodical way. As has been said, he 

1 Of St. Giles's Parish Church. 2 A pet name for the two babies. 


had already arranged that if he died before completing 
' Darwin, and after Darwin,' Professor Lloyd Morgan 
should finish it and publish it, and any other scientific 
papers, an arrangement to which Mr. Lloyd Morgan 
most kindly consented. To Mr. Gore 1 were be- 
queathed the fragmentary notes now published under 
the title ' Thoughts on Religion.' 

On May 3 came the third Romanes Lecture. It 
was given by Professor Weismann, and was a worthy 
successor to the two which had preceded it. 

Mr. Romanes was glad to meet Professor 
Weismann, and enjoyed the pleasant talk he and 
his distinguished opponent had in his house after 
the lecture. 

On the seventh of May he went to London to 
consult doctors, and for the last time he stayed with 
his two dear friends, Sir James and Lady Paget. 

He saw one or two people and was, as one friend 
said, 'just his dear merry old self, chaffing and being 

He enjoyed music as much as ever, and on the 
nineteenth of May he went to a concert given by the 
Ladies' Orchestral Society. 

He was often at the Museum, and he wrote fre- 
quently of the experiments he was devising, all bear- 
ing on Professor Weismann's theory; in these he was 
assisted by Dr. Leonard Hill. 

He wrote several times to Professor Schafer, and 
on May 19, four days before his death, in the midst of 
a long letter too technical to be given, he says, ' All I 
can do now for science is to pay.' 

He still took much interest in Oxford life, and one 
of the last things he did was to vote against the 

1 The writer of this book was one morning taking down some of the 
1 Thoughts ' from his dictation. He said : ' If I die before T can work 
these notes into a book, give them to Gore, he will understand.' 

1894 THE LAST DAYS 379 

introduction of the English Language and Literature 

Cathedral was more than ever a pleasure to him, 
and he used often to slip in for bits of the service, 
particularly if some particular service or anthem 
was going to be given. Especially he loved a few 
special anthems ; Brahms' ' How lovely are Thy 
dwellings fair ' being a great favourite. 

He used to go down to the ' Eights ' when they 
began, and on almost the very last day of his life he 
was with difficulty dissuaded from writing a letter to 
the l Times,' strongly supporting the Christ Church 
authorities, whose proceedings in some disturbances 
in the College had been criticised. On Whit Sunday, 
for the last time, he went to the University Sermon, 
which happened to be preached by the Bishop of 
Lincoln, and which greatly impressed Mr. Eomanes, 
brought as he was for the first time under the spell of 
one who has influenced more than one generation of 
Oxford men. 

And as the days went on, there was a curious 
feeling of preparation for some change. He made all 
his arrangements and was quite calm, quite gentle, 
even merry at times ; now and then the weary fits 
of physical lassitude or of headache would prostrate 
him, but when these were past he would placidly 
begin some bit of work. 

On Thursday in Whit week he went to the eight 
o'clock Celebration of Holy Communion in the Latin 
Chapel of Christ Church, and in the course of that 
day he said, ' I have now come to see that faith is 
intellectually justifiable.' By-and-by he added, 'It 
is Christianity or nothing.' 

Presently he added, ' I as yet have not that real 
inward assurance ; it is with me as that text says, " I 


am not able to look up," but I feel the service of this 
morning is a means of grace.' 

This was almost the last time he ever spoke on 
religious subjects. 

With Mr. Philip Waggett there had been in these 
last days some talks, and the two friends, united as 
they had been in earlier years by their common 
interest in science, and in those problems which 
all who think at all must sooner or later face, 
now found themselves in closer and fuller agree- 
ment than either could at one time have believed 

Sunday, the twentieth of May, was his birthday and 
that of his eldest son, and had always been a family 
festa. He was bright and merry, went to Magdalen to 
see Mrs. Warren, saw for the last time Dr. Paget, and 
had a little talk about his ' Thoughts on Religion ' 
with Mr. Gore, whom he went to hear preach in one of 
the Oxford churches. And on Monday he keenly en- 
joyed a small luncheon party, consisting of the Master 
of Balliol, Mr. Gore, and Miss Wordsworth, saying that 
Poetry, Science, Theology, Philosophy were all repre- 
sented, ar.d that he would have such-like little parties 
every now and then, they were so refreshing and did 
not tire him. 

One or two special friends came in to see him on 
these last days, and he had planned to go and stay at 
a country house belonging to the President of Trinity, 
which had been with characteristic kindness put at 
his disposal. 

On Wednesday, May 23, he seemed particularly 
well ; he wrote a letter to the Editor of the ' Contem- 
porary Eeview ' and did some bits of work. It was 
Sir James and Lady Paget's Golden Wedding day, 
and he despatched a telegram of congratulation to 


them. (The very last bit of shopping he ever did was 
to buy a present for that Golden Wedding, which 
reached those for whom it was intended after he was 

He came into his study about twelve, and asked 
that the book in wl ich he was then interested, ' Some 
Aspects of Theism,' x might be read aloud; but before 
the reading began he changed his mind, and said he 
would lie down in his bedroom and be read to there. 
On lying down he complained of feeling very ill, said 
a few loving words to one who was with him, and 
became unconscious. His children and the Dean 
came to him, but he did not recover enough to know 
them, and passed away in less than an hour : 

Ex umbris et imaginibas in veritatem. 

Five days later he was laid to rest in Holywell 
Cemetery, after an early Celebration in Christ Church, 
the first part of the service being said in the cathe- 
dral which he had loved so much, and which had 
brought him so much comfort in the last weeks of 
life, and in which it is hoped a memorial of him may 
be placed. 

His favourite hymn, 'Lead, kindly Light,' was 
sung, and the service was said in part by the friend 
who had been with him on his wedding day, given 
him his first Communion after the illness began, and 
who had been bound up with many joys and sorrows ; 2 
and in part by Mr. Philip Waggett, who had been 
to him as a young brother, more and more loved, 
during the seven years in which they had walked and 
talked as friends, the friend known as ' Carissime.' 
(One other special friend, Mr. Gore, was prevented by 
illness from coming.) 

1 By Professor Knight of St. Andrews. 2 The Dean of Christ Church. 


Looking back over these two years of illness, it is 
impossible not to be struck by the calmness and forti- 
tude with which that illness was met. There were, 
as has been said, moments of terrible depression and 
of disappointment and of grief. It was not easy for 
him to give up ambition, to leave so many projects 
unfulfilled, so much work undone. 

But to him this illness grew to be a mount of 

Ove 1' umano spirito si purga, 
E di satire al ciel diventa degno. 1 

More and more there grew on him a deepening 
sense of the goodness of G-od. No one had ever suf- 
fered more from the Eclipse of Faith, no one had 
ever been more honest in dealing with himself and 
with his difficulties. 

The change that came over his mental attitude 
may seem almost incredible to those who knew him 
only as a scientific man ; it does not seem so to the 
few who knew anything of his inner life. To them 
the impression given is, not of an enemy changed 
into a friend, of antagonism altered into submission ; 
rather is it of one who for long has been bear- 
ing a heavy burden on his shoulders bravely and 
patiently, and who at last has had it lifted from 
him, and lifted so gradually that he could not tell 
the exact moment when he found it gone, and 
himself standing, like the Pilgrim of never to be 
forgotten story, at the foot of the Cross, with Three 
Shining Ones coming to greet him. 

It was recovery, to some extent discovery, which 
befell him, but there was no change of purpose, no 
sudden intellectual or moral conversion. 

1 Dante's Purgatorio, I. 


He had always cared more for Truth, for the 
knowledge of God, than for anything else in the 
world. In the years most outwardly happy he was 
crying out in the darkness for light, with a soul 
athirst for God, and, as was said before, he did most 
truly re-echo St. Augustine's words, ' Fecisti nos ad 
Te, et inquietum est cor nostrum, donee requiescat 
in Te.' 

It is difficult for anyone who has lived in closest 
intimacy with him to speak of him in words which 
will not to those who did not know him seem ex- 
aggerated, nay, extravagant ; to those who knew 
and loved him, cold, inadequate, lifeless ; for he bore 
' the white flower of a blameless life ' from boyhood 
onwards, and in heart and life he was unstained, pure, 
unselfish, unworldly in the truest sense. 

When the Shadow of Death lay on him, and the 
dread messenger was drawing near, and he looked 
back on his short life, he could reproach himself 
only for what he called sins of the intellect, mental 
arrogance, undue regard for intellectual supremacy. 

No one better understood him than the friend ' 
who wrote : 

When a man has lived with broad and strong 
interest in life, neither discarding nor slighting any 
true part of it in home, or society, or work, the 
various aspects of his character and career are likely 
to be many and suggestive. And so there may be 
some warrant for an attempt to disengage one line of 
advance in the life, one trait in the example, and to 
concentrate attention upon that, while the other and 
perhaps more widely recognised elements are for the 

> The Dean of Christ Church. 


moment left unnoticed. There was one such line of 
advance in the life of George Romanes, of which it 
may be hard to speak, but wrong, perhaps, to be 
wholly silent. Few men have shown more finely 
the simplicity and patience in sustained endeavour 
which are the conditions of attainment in the quest 
of truth. It is easy to see how the training and 
habits of a mind devoted to natural science may 
render faith more difficult, and cross or check the 
venture of the soul towards the things eternal and 
unseen. But there is one quality proper to such a 
mind which should have a different effect, and act as 
a safeguard against a fault that often checks or mars 
the growth of faith. That quality is tenacity of un- 
corrected fragments ; the endurance of incomplete- 
ness ; the patient refusal to attenuate or discard a 
fact because it will not fit into a system ; the deter- 
mined hope that whatsoever things are true have 
further truth to teach, if only they are held fast 
and fairly dealt with. The sincerely scientific mind 
shows such tenacity as that under every trial of its 
faith and patience, howsoever long and unpromising 
and unrelieved ; for it knows itself responsible not for 
attainment, but for perseverance ; not for conquest, 
but for loyalty. It resists even the temptation to dis- 
like the untidy scraps of observation or experience 
which will match nothing and go nowhere ; for it 
suspects and reveres in all the possibility of new light. 
And surely there is a like excellence of thought, 
rare, and high, and exemplary, in regard to the things 
unseen, the things that are spiritually discerned. 
Scattered up and down the world, coming one way or 


another within the ken of all men, there are facts of 
plain experience which will not really fit, unmuti- 
lated, undisfigured, into any scheme or view of life 
that leaves God out of sight. They are facts, it may 
be, of which a full account can hardly, if at all, be 
given. They are fragmentary, isolated, imponder- 
able; clearer at one time than at another; largely 
dependent, for anything like due recognition, upon 
the individual mind, and heart, and will. Yet there 
they are, flashing out at times with an intensity 
which makes all else seem pale and cold ; disclosing, 
or ready to disclose, to any quietness of thought, 
great hints of worlds unrealised and possibilities of 
overwhelming glory. 

And it is on loyalty, on justice to such fragments 
of truth, unaccounted for and unarranged, that for 
many men the trial of faith may turn. All is not 
lost, and everything is possible, so long as the mind 
refuses to doubt the reality of the light that has 
come, perhaps, as yet only in broken rays. Of such 
justice and loyalty George Eomanes set a very high 
example. The strength and simplicity and patience 
of his character appeared in nothing else more re- 
markably, more happily, than in his undiscouraged 
grasp of those unseen realities which invade this world 
in the name and power of the world to come. The 
love of precision and completeness never dulled his care 
for the things that he could neither define, nor label, 
nor arrange ; in their fragmentariness he treasured 
them, in their reserve he trusted them, waiting faith- 
fully to see what they might have to show him. And 
they did not fail him. This is not the place in which 

c c 


to try to speak of the graces and the gladness which 
from such loyal sincerity passed into his life, nor of 
the clearer light that grew and spread before his wist- 
ful, hopeful gaze. But it hardly can be wrong "to 
have said thus much of so noble and so timely a 
pattern of allegiance to all truth discerned ; and of 
this great lesson in a life which seemed even here to 
have the earnest of that promise — ' He that seeketh, 
findeth ' — a life which seemed to be moving steadilv 
towards the blessing of the pure in heart, the vision 
of Almighty God. 1 

F. P. 

A letter from Mr. Gladstone cannot be omitted, 
and seems to come in fittingly at this place : 

1 Carlton Gardens : June. 

Dear Mrs. Romanes, — My present circumstances 
are not very favourable to direct personal communi- 
cation, and my personal intercourse with Mr. Romanes 
was so scanty in its quantity as hardly to warrant my 
present intrusion, but I cannot help writing a few 
words for the purpose of conveying my deep sympathy 
on the heavy bereavement you have sustained, and 
further of saying how deep an impression he left upon 
my mind in the point of character not less than of 
capacity. He was one of the men whom the age 
specially requires for the investigation and solution 
of its especial difficulties, and for the conciliation 
and harmony of interests between which & factitious 
rivalry has been created. 

1 Reprinted from the Guardian of June 0. 

.1894 THE END 387 

Your heavy private loss is then coupled in my 
view with a public calamity ; but while I can rejoice 
in your retrospect of his labour, I also trust it may 
please God in His wisdom to raise up others to fill 
up his place and carry forward his work. May you 
enjoy the abundance of the Divine consolations in 
proportion to your great need. 

Believe me, most truly yours, 

W. E. Gladstone. 

Not much remains to be said. The life here 
described would seem to have been cut short, but, as 
was said by a friend, ' in a short time he fulfilled a 
long time,' 1 and few have won for themselves more 
love in the home and beyond it. He left no enemy, 
and those who loved him and to whom his loss has left 
a blank and a desolation of which it is not well to speak, 
can only be thankful for what he was and for what he 
is. Not indeed that one would forget those words of 
Dean Church quoted in the beautiful preface to his 
Life : 2 

' I often have a kind of waking dream : up one 
road, the image of a man decked and adorned as if 
for a triumph, carried up by rejoicing and exulting 
friends, who praise his goodness and achievements; 
and, on the other road, turned back to back to it, 
there is the very man himself, in sordid and squalid 
apparel, surrounded not by friends but by ministers of 
justice, and going on, while his friends are exulting, 
to his certain and perhaps awful judgment. That 
vision rises when I hear, not just and conscientious 
endeavours to make out a man's character, but when 

1 Wisdom, iv. 13. 

2 Preface to Life and Letters of Dean Church, p. xxiv. 


I hear the loose things that are said — often in kind- 
ness and love — of those beyond the grave.' 

But there have been men and women who have 
lifted the minds and the hearts of those who knew 
and loved them to increasing love for goodness, to in- 
creasing loftiness of ideal, and for these, whom now 
no praise can hurt, no blame can wound, one can but 
lift one's heart in ever growing thankfulness for 
the gifts and graces which made them what they 
were, and which will grow and increase in them until 
the Perfect Day. 

Beati mundo corde, quoniam ipsi Deum videbunt. 

May 23, 1895. 


Acton, Lord, 307 
Agassiz, 16, 31, 33 
Allen, Grant, 57 
Allman, Professor, 156, 157 
Arnold, M., 85, 156 

Balfouk, Et. Hon. A. J., 148 

— Mr. Francis, 15, 154 

Bishop of Oxford (Wilberforce), 83 

Boys, Mrs. Vernon, letter to, 315 

Bramwell, Sir F., 227 

British Association, 65, 73 

Browning, Robert, 148, 156 

Brunton, Dr. Lauder, 15, 62, 154, 347 

Brydon, Dr., 4 

Burney prize, won by G. J. Romanes, 

Butcher, Professor, 155, 203, 283, 295 

v Caird, Professor (now Master of 

Balliol), 95, 380 
Cats, sense of direction in, 112 
Cautley, Rev. Proby, 6, 7 
Children, poem to, 145 
Church, Dean, 163, 164, 234, 371, 

Churchill, Mr., 213 
Clarke, Rev. R., S.J., 197 
Clodd, E. M., 156 
Compton, Earl and Countess, 290, 294, 

295, 307 
Correvon, Professor, 185, 216, 217 
Crookes, Professor, 328, 329 
Croonian Lectures, 16, 97 
Curteis, Canon, 158 

Darwin, Charles, first introduction to, 

— first meeting with, 14 

Darwin, Charles, letters from, 33, 35, 
36, 40, 46, 49, 51, 57, 62, 64, 68, 74, 
77, 80, 88, 99, 102, 105, 106, 110, 
113, 114,119,122,125,129 

— letters to, 21, 22, 30, 34, 36, 41, 44, 
47, 48, 52, 53, 54, 59, 63, 65, 70, 72, 
73, 75, 79, 81, 89, 98, 100, 101, 103, 
104, 107, 108, 109, 110, 112, 114, 
117, 121, 123, 124, 126, 130, 132 

— quoted, 206, 210, 215, 225, 226, 
228, 229, 230, 333, 350, 369 

— death of, 135 

— memorial volume, 138 

— Mr. F., 8, 51, 52, 56, 58, 60, 81, 
110, 135, 137, 139, 178, 180, 181, 
194, 214, 329, 345 

Darwin and after Darwin, 186, 298 
Dawkins, Professor Boyd, 158 
Delboeuf , La Psychologie, son Present 

et son Avenir, 78 
Diggle, Mr., 170 
Dyer, Mr. Thiselton-, 93, 209, 216, 217, 

243, 330, 333, 340, 341, 344 

Eimer, Dr., 46, 228, 312 

Eliot, George, 49 

Evidences of Organic Evolution, lec- 
tures on, 68 

Ewart, Professor Cossar, 15, 97, 104, 
133, 156, 270, 311, 337 

Fabre, M., 116, 118, 206 



Flower, Sir W., 76, 328 

Foster, Dr. Michael, 8, 13, 32, 39, 53 

Galton, Mr. Francis, 56, 168, 169, 

243, 278, 325, 345 
Germination, experiments on, 328, 353 
Giard, M., 285 
Gill, Mr. and Mrs., 290 
Gotch (Professor), 273 
Gladstone, Kt. Hon. W. E., 169, 235, 

291, 292, 305, 306, 386 
Gore, Eev. C, 83, 289, 295, 328, 337, 

371, 380, 381 
Gosse, Mr. E. W., 234, 295 
Gounod, 71 

Graham, Mr. H. M., M.P., 290, 295 
Gray, Professor Asa, 161, 162 
Green, Mr. J. E., 150 
Gulick,Eev. J., 221, 222, 237, 242, 269 

Hackel, 48, 51, 52, 54, 63, 68, 98 
Heliotropism, experiments on, 355 
Helmholtz, Professor, 350 
Henslow, Eev. George, letters to and 

from, 356-371 
Hobhouse, Sir A., 78 
— Eev. W., 294, 319 
Holland-Scott, Eev. H., 148, 150, 194, 

Hooker, Sir Joseph, 22, 56, 76, 184 
Horsley, Mr. Victor, 227, 273, 282 
Huggins, Dr., 150 
Hullah, Professor, 94 
Huxley, Professor, 16, 57, 76, 150, 206, 

275, 296, 305, 306, 307 326, 327, 

328, 342, 346 
Hybridism, 104-107 

Ingham, Mrs. W., 300 
Instinct, article on, 135 

Joachim, Dr. Joseph, 72, 290 

Lamarck, 226, 229, 333 

Lankester, Professor, 47, 93, 294 

Latham, Dr., 9 

Lawless, Hon. E., 58 

Lecky, Mr., 169, 305 

Le Conte, Professor, 237, 295 

Liddon, Eev. Dr., 148, 150, 168, 272, 

273, 274, 276 
Lincoln, Bishop of, 379 
Linnean Society, 40, 122 
Lister, C. E., 5, 270 
Lockyer, Mr. Norman, 131, 148, 154 
Logan, Mr. C, 96, 203 
Lubbock, Sir John, 156 
Lux Mundi, 261, 264, 275 

McKendeick, Professor, 96 

Medusas, work on, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 

24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 

34, 39, 41, 48, 49 
Meldola, Professor, 93 
Mivart, Professor St. George, 104 
Moberly, Eev. Dr., 371, 373, 374 
Moore, Eev. Aubrey, 261, 262, 233, 

264, 265 
Morgan, Professor Lloyd C, 337 
Murray, Mrs. T. M., 96 
Myers, Mr. F. W., 82 

Newall, Mr., 96, 104 

Paget, Eev. H. L., 2, 237 

— Miss M. M., 146, 307 

— Very Eev. Francis, 2, 148, 150, 
155, 158, 165, 167, 232, 265, 318, 
336, 349, 375, 376, 380 

— Sir James, 380 
Palgrave, Professor, 234, 296 
Pangenesis, letters on, 20, 21, 22, 23, 

36, 48, 50, 112, 113, 205, 228, 229, 

Panmixia, 205, 208, 216, 229, 230, 244, 

268, 270 
Pascal, 371 

Pembroke, Master of, 377 
Perrier, M., 206, 208, 227 
Pfleiderer, Professor, 168 
Physiological selection, 169-184, 211- 

213, 214-222, 238, 246-253 
Physiological Society, 53, 67, 343 
Pollock, Mr. W. H., 97 

— Mr. Henry, 197 

— Mrs. H., letters to, 270, 309 
Poulton, Professor E. B., 202, 203, 205, 

208, 225, 267 
Psychology, work on, 198, 201 



Bede Lectuke, 160 
Komanes, Eev. Dr., 1, 2 

— Major E., 96 

— Mr., 1, 9, 97 

— Miss C. E., letters to, G7, 134, 149, 
151, 169, 175, 186, 192, 194 

— Miss Georgina, 71 

— Mrs. G. J., letters to, 94, 159, 170, 
196, 271-276, 278, 281-283, 291, 
317-323, 376 

— Mr. James, letters to, 12, 158, 197, 
244, 311, 313, 317, 339, 348 

Bosebery Lectureship, 165 
Eoux, Dr., 115, 130 

St. Albans, Bishop of, 163 

' Sally,' letter on, 253 

Sanderson, Professor Burdon, 14, 19,53, 

68, 71, 122, 135, 155, 202, 274, 337, 

338, 356 
Schafer, Professor, letters to, 23, 26. 

30, 38, 297, 378 
Sharpey, Professor, 14 
Shorthouse, Mr., 150 
Smith, Eev. Eobert, 2 
Spencer, Herbert, 49, 98, 101, 150, 225, 

244, 323, 324, 330, 333, 344 
Spottiswoode, Mr. William, 15, 148, 

Strong, Mr., 276 

Sully, Mr., 101, 294 

Tait, Lawson, 22 

Talbot, Dr., 337 

Taylor, Canon Isaac, 312, 317 

Teesdale, Mr. J. M., 103, 104, 134 

Theism, a Candid Examination of, 86, 

156, 160, 161, 372 
Thompson, Sir W. (Lord Kelvin), 95 
Thoughts on Religion, 372 
Turner, George, 170, 276 
Turner, Professor, 94 
Tyndall, Professor, 109, 150 

Vivisection, 62, 64, 121, 126, 127, 128, 
130, 131 

Waggett, Eev. P. W., 197, 245, 246, 
250, 337, 380, 381 

Wallace, Mr., 57, 93, 179, 214, 215, 
216, 224, 278, 367 

Wedgwood, Miss, 103, 104, 105 

Weismann, Professor, 203, 204, 205, 
206, 207, 208, 215, 225, 227, 228, 
229, 230, 240, 243, 245, 267, 268, 
284, 309, 323, 324, 342, 378 

Yeo, Professor Gerald, 67 





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