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Copyright, 1905, 


Dodd, Mead & Company 

Published, 'November, IQOJ 

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Prksswork by 
The University Press, Cambridge, U. S. A. 




My Friends and Acquaintances : Darwin i 


My Friends and Acquaintances: Spencer, Huxley, Mivart, 

etc. . 23 


My Friends and Acquaintances: Sir James Brooke, Professor 
Rolleston, Mr. Aug. Mongredien, Sir Richard Owen, 
Dr. Richard Spruce 51 


My Friends and Acquaintances: D Purland, Mr. Samuel 

Butler, Professor Haughton 75 

Sketch of my Life Work, 1871-1886 90 



- An American Lecture Tour : Boston to Washington . . . 107 



Lecturing Tour in America: Washington to San Francisco . 136 


Lecturing Tour in America: California to Quebec . . . 171 
-i v 




Life an^Work, 1887-1905 200 




Land Nationalization to Socialism, and the Friends They 

Brought me 253 


Mesmerism to Spiritualism : Correspondence with Scientific 

and Literary Men 293 


Two Biological Inquiries: An Episode in the History of 

Spiritualism 318 

Spiritualistic Experiences in England and America . « . 344 

The Anti-Vaccination Crusade 368 


A Chapter on Money Matters: Earnings and Losses: Specu- 
lations and Law-Suits 377 

My Character: New Ideas: Predictions Fulfilled . . . 396 


" Old Orchard, Broadstone (Built in 1902) . . . Frontispiece 

My First Letter from Dr. Purland .... Facing page 76 

Envelope of Second Letter (Page 77) " 78 

A Letter from Dr. Purland (Page 77) .... " 80 

Heading of Letter from Dr. Purland (Page 77) . " 82 

My Last Letter from Dr. Purland (Page 81) . . " 84 

Alfred R. Wallace. 1878 " 98 

"Nutwood Cottage," Godalming " 104 

The Saracen's Tent, Luray Cavern " 138 

Sauk Rapids, Minnesota. Effects of a Tornado " 150 

On the Denver and Rio Grande Railway ... " 176 

Gateway to Garden of the Gods : with Pike's 

Peak (Page 179) " 178 

"Cathedral Spires," Garden of the Gods ... " 180 

The Seal and Bear, Garden of the Gods 

(Page 179) " 182 

"The Squatter," Garden of the Gods, Col. 

(Page 179) " 184 

Diagrams illustrating Experiments to show Con- 
vexity of the Earth Pages 383 and 38$ 

Llanrhaidwr Waterfall Facing page 404 

The portraits of the Author illustrating this work show him at the 
following ages : — 

Age 25. Before going to the Amazon. 

" 46. At publication of " Maylay Archipelago." 

" 55. At publication of "Tropical Nature." 

" 80. Frontispiece. 






Soon after I returned home, in the summer of 1862, Mr. 
Darwin invited me to come to Down for a night, where I had 
the great pleasure of seeing him in his quiet home, and in the 
midst of his family. A year or two later I spent a week-end 
with him in company with Bates, Jenner Weir, and a few other 
naturalists; but my most frequent interviews with him were 
when he spent a few weeks with his brother, Dr. Erasmus Dar- 
win, in Queen Anne Street, which he usually did every year 
when he was well enough, in order to see his friends and col- 
lect information for his various works. On these occasions I 
usually lunched with him and his brother, and sometimes one 
other visitor, and had a little talk on some of the matters 
specially interesting him. He also sometimes called on me 
in St. Mark's Crescent for a quiet talk or to see some of my 

My first letter from him dealing with scientific matters was 
in August, 1862, and our correspondence was very extensive 
during the period occupied in writing or correcting his earlier 
books on evolution, down to the publication of " The Expres- 
sion of the Emotions in Man and Animals," in 1872, and after- 
wards, at longer intervals, to within less than a year of his 
death. A considerable selection of our correspondence has 
been published in the " Life and Letters" (1887), and espe- 


dally in " More- Letters " I 1903) ; while several <>f the nn 
interesting of these were contained in the one-volume life, 
entitled, "Charles Darwin/' which appeared In [892. As 
many of my readers, however, may no1 have these works to 
refer to, 1 will here give a few of his letters to myself which 
have not yet been published, together with some of my own, 
and also occasional extracts from some of Darwin's that have 
already appeared, in order to make clear the nature of our 
discussions, and also, perhaps, to throw a little light upon our 
respective characters. 

In a letter entirely without date, but which was evidently 
written in 1863, he gives me some information for which I had 
asked about reviews of the " Origin of Species." 

"Down, Bromley, Kent (1863). 
" My Dear Mr. Wallace, 

" I write one line to thank you for your note, and 
to say that the B. of Oxford wrote the Quarterly R. (paid 
£60), aided by Owen. In the Edinburgh, Owen no doubt 
praised himself. Mr. Maw's review in Zoologist is one of the 
best, and staggered me in parts, for I did not see the sophistry 
of (those) parts. I could lend you any which you might wish 
to see, but you would soon be tired. Hopkins in Fraser and 
Pictet are two of the best. 

" I am glad you like the little orchid book ; but it has not 
been worth the ten months it has cost me ; it was a hobby horse, 
and so beguiled me. 

" How puzzled you must be to know what to begin at ! You 
will do grand work, I do not doubt. My health is, and always 
will be, very poor; I am that miserable animal, a regular 

"Yours very sincerely, 

"C. Darwin/' 

In March, 1864, he wrote me from Malvern Wells that he 
had been very ill at home, having fits of vomiting every day 
for two months, and been able to do nothing. These attacks 
were brought on by the least mental excitement, which often 

. 1 


rendered it impossible for him to see his friends, and which 
appear to have lasted at intervals throughout his life. This 
must always be remembered when we consider the enormous 
amount of work he was able to do ; but, unfortunately, the quiet 
interest of carrying- out observations or experiments lasting 
for months, and often for years, seem to have been beneficial. 
On the other hand, writing his books and correcting the MSS. 
and the proofs in the very careful manner he always practised 
was most wearying and distasteful to him. 

On February 23, 1867, he wrote to me asking if I could 
solve a difficulty for him. He says : " On Monday evening I 
called on Bates, and put a difficulty before him which he could 
not answer, and, as on some similar occasion, his first sugges- 
tion was, ' You had better ask Wallace.' My difficulty is, Why 
are caterpillars sometimes so beautifully and artistically col- 
oured? Seeing that many are coloured to escape dangers, I 
can hardly attribute their bright colour in other cases to mere 
physical conditions. Bates says the most gaudy caterpillar he 
ever saw in Amazonia was conspicuous at the distance of 
yards, from its black and red colours, whilst feeding on large, 
green leaves. If anyone objected to male butterflies having 
been made beautiful by sexual selection, and asked why they 
should not have been made beautiful as well as their cater- 
pillars, what would you answer? I could not answer, but 
should maintain my ground. Will you think over this, and 
some time, either by letter or when we meet, tell me what you 

On reading this letter, I almost at once saw what seemed 
to be a very easy and probable explanation of the facts. I 
had then just been preparing for publication (in the Westmin- 
ster Review) my rather elaborate paper on " Mimicry and 
Protective Colouring," and the numerous cases in which spe- 
cially showy and slow-flying butterflies were known to have 
a peculiar odour and taste which protected them from the 
attacks of insect-eating birds and other animals, led me at 
once to suppose that the gaudily-coloured caterpillars must 
have a similar protection. I had just ascertained from Mr. 


Jenner Wdr that one of our common while moths (Spilosojua 

menthrastri) would n<>t be eaten by most <»f the small birds 

in his aviary, nor by young turkeys. Now, as a white moth 

is as conspicuous in the dusk as a coloured caterpillar in the 
daylight, this case seemed to me so much on a par with the 
other that I felt almost sure my explanation would turn out 
correct. I at once wrote to Mr. Darwin to this effect, and 
his reply, dated February 26, is as follows : — ■ 

" My Dear Wallace, 

" Bates was quite right ; you are the man to apply 
to in a difficulty. I never heard anything more ingenious 
than your suggestion, and I hope you may be able to prove 
it true. That is a splendid fact about the white moths ; it 
warms one's very blood to see a theory thus almost proved to 
be true." 

The following week I brought the subject to the notice of 
the Fellows of the Entomological Society at their evening 
meeting (March 4), requesting that any of them who had 
the opportunity would make observations or experiments dur- 
ing the summer in accordance with Mr. Darwin's suggestion. 
I also wrote a letter to The Field newspaper, which, as it 
explains my hypothesis in simple language, I here give entire : — 

'Caterpillars and Birds 

" Sir, 

" May I be permitted to ask the co-operation of 
your readers in making some observations during the coming 
spring and summer which are of great interest to Mr. Darwin 
and myself? I will first state what observations are wanted 
and then explain briefly why they are wanted. A number 
of our smaller birds devour quantities of caterpillars, but there 
is reason to suspect that they do not eat all alike. Now we 
want direct evidence as to which species they eat and which 
they reject. This may be obtained in two ways. Those who 
keep insectivorous birds, such as thrushes, robins, or any of 
the warblers (or any other that will eat caterpillars), may 


offer them all the kinds they can obtain, and carefully note 
(i) which they eat, (2) which they refuse to touch, and (3) 
which they seize but reject. If the name of the caterpillar 
cannot be ascertained, a short description of its more promi- 
nent characters will do very well, such as whether it is hairy 
or smooth, and what are its chief colours, especially distinguish- 
ing such as are green or brown from such as are of bright 
and conspicuous colours, as yellow, red, or black. The food 
plant of the caterpillar should also be stated when known. 
Those who do not keep birds, but have a garden much fre- 
quented by birds, may put all the caterpillars they can find 
in a soup plate or other vessel, which must be placed in a larger 
vessel of water, so that the creatures cannot escape, and then 
after a few hours note which have been taken and which left. 
If the vessel could be placed where it might be watched from 
a window, so that the kind of birds which took them could 
also be noted, the experiment would be still more complete. 
A third set of observations might be made on young fowls, 
turkeys, guinea-fowls, pheasants, etc., in exactly the same 

" Now the purport of these observations is to ascertain the 
law which had determined the coloration of caterpillars. The 
analogy of many other insects leads us to believe that all those 
which are green or brown, or of such speckled or mottled 
tints as to resemble closely the leaf or bark of the plant on 
which they feed, or the substance on which they usually repose, 
are thus to some degree protected from the attacks of birds 
and other enemies. We should expect, therefore, that all 
which are thus protected would be greedily eaten by birds 
whenever they can find them. But there are other caterpillars 
which seem coloured on purpose to be conspicuous, and it is 
very important to know whether they have another kind of 
protection, altogether independent of disguise, such as a dis- 
agreeable odour and taste. If they are thus protected, so that 
the majority of birds will never eat them, we can understand 
that to get the full benefit of this protection they should be 
easily recognized, should have some outward character by 
which birds would soon learn to know them and thus let them 


alone; because if birds could not bell the eatable from the 
uneatable till they had Beized and tasted them, the protection 
would be of no avail, a growing caterpillar being so delicate 
thai a wound is certain death. If, therefore, the eatable cater 
pillars derive a partial protection from their obscure and 

imitative colouring, then we can understand that it would hi' 

an advantage to the uneatable kinds to be well distinguished 

from them by bright and conspicuous colours. 

" I may add that this question has an important bearing on 
the whole theory of the origin of the colours of animals, and 
especially of insects. I hope many of your readers may be 
thereby induced to make such observations as I have indicated, 
and if they will kindly send me their notes at the end of the 
summer, or earlier, I will undertake to compare and tabulate 
the whole, and to make known the results, whether they con- 
firm or refute the theory here indicated. 

" Alfred R. Wallace." 

"9 St. Mark's Crescent, Regent's Park, N.W., 
March, 1867. 

This letter brought me only one reply, from a gentleman 
in Cumberland, who informed me that the common " goose- 
berry " caterpillar, which is the larva of the magpie moth 
(Alfraxus grossalariata) , is refused by young pheasants, par- 
tridges, and wild ducks, as well as sparrows and finches, and 
that all birds to whom he offered it rejected it with evident 
dread and abhorrence. But in 1869 two entomologists, Mr. 
Jenner Weir and Mr. A. G. Butler, gave an account of their 
two seasons' experiments and observations with several of 
our most gaily-coloured caterpillars, and with a considerable 
variety of birds, and also with lizards, frogs, and spiders, con- 
firming my explanation in a most remarkable manner. An 
account of these experiments is given in the second and all 
later editions of my book on " Natural Selection " ; but it 
is more fully treated in my " Darwinism, " chap. ix ? under the 
heading ' Warning Colours among Insects," and it has thus 
led to the establishment of a general principle which is very 
widely applicable, and serves to explain a not inconsiderable 


proportion of the colours and markings in the animal world. 
It is, of course, only a wider application of the same funda- 
mental fact by which Bates had already explained the purpose 
of " mimicry " among insects, and it is a matter of surprise to 
me that neither Bates himself nor Darwin had seen the prob- 
ability of the occurrence of inedibility in the larvae as well as 
in the perfect insects. 

In the year 1870 Mr. A. W. Bennett read a paper before 
Section D of the British Association at Liverpool, entitled, 
" The Theory of Natural Selection from a Mathematical Point 
of View," and this paper was printed in full in Nature of 
November 10, 1870. To this I replied on November 17, and 
my reply so pleased Mr. Darwin that he at once wrote to me 
as follows: — 

"Down, November 22. 
My Dear Wallace, 

" I must ease myself by writing a few words to say 
how much I and all in this house admire your article in 
Nature. You are certainly an unparalleled master in lucidly 
stating a case and in arguing. Nothing ever was better done 
than your argument about the term Origin of Species, and 
about much being gained if we know nothing about precise 
cause of each variation." 

At the end of the letter he says something about the 
progress of his great work, " The Descent of Man." 

"I have finished 1st vol. and am half-way through proofs 
of 2nd vol. of my confounded book, which half kills me by 
fatigue, and which I fear will quite kill me in your good 

" If you have leisure, I should much like a little news of 
you and your doings and your family. 

" Ever yours very sincerely, 


The above remark, " kill me in your good estimation," 
refers to his views on the mental and moral nature of man 
being very different from mine, this being the first important 


question as to whicH our views had diverged. But I never 

bad the slightest feeling of the kind he supposed, looking 

upon the difference as one which did not at all affect our 
general agreement, and also as being one on which no one 

could dogmatize, there being much to be said on both sides. 
The last paragraph shows the extreme interest he took in the 
personal affairs of all his friends. 

As my article of which he thought so highly is buried in an 
early volume of Nature, I will here reproduce the rather long 
paragraph which so specially interested him. It is as follows: — 

" The first objection brought forward (and which had been 
already advanced by the Duke of Argyll) is, that the very 
title of Mr. Darwin's celebrated work is a misnomer, and that 
the real ' origin of species ' is that spontaneous tendency to 
variation which has not yet been accounted for. Mr. Bennett 
further remarks that, throughout my volume of ' Essays,' I 
appear to be unconscious that the theory I advocate does not 
go to the root of the matter. It is true that I am ' unconscious ' 
of anything of the kind, for I maintain, and am prepared to 
prove, that the theory, if true, does go to the very root of the 
question of the ' origin of species/ The objection, which 
from its being so often made, and now again brought forward, 
is evidently thought to be an important one, is founded on a 
misapprehension of the right meaning of words. It ignores 
the fact that the word ' species ' denotes something more than 
' variety ' or ' individual.' A species is an organic form (or 
group) which, for periods of great and indefinite length, as 
compared with the duration of human life, fluctuates only 
within narrow limits. But the ' spontaneous tendency to varia- 
tion ' is altogether antagonistic to such comparative stability, 
and would, if unchecked, entirely destroy all ' species.' Abolish, 
if possible, selection and survival of the fittest, so that every 
spontaneous variation should survive in equal proportion with 
all others, and the result must inevitably be an endless variety 
of unstable forms, no one of which would answer to what we 
mean by the word ' species.' No other cause but selection has 
yet been discovered capable of perpetuating and giving sta- 
bility to some forms, and causing the disappearance of others, 


and therefore Mr. Darwin's book, if there is any truth in it at 
all, has a logical claim to its title. It shows how ' species/ or 
stable forms, are produced out of unstable spontaneous varia- 
tions, which is certainly to trace their ' origin/ The distinc- 
tion of ' species ' and ' individual ' is equally important. A 
horse, or a number of horses, as such, do not constitute a 
* species/ It is the comparative permanence of the form as 
distinguished from the ass, quagga, zebra, tapir, camel, etc., 
that makes them one. Were there a mass of intermediate 
forms connecting all these animals by fine gradations and 
hardly a dozen individuals alike — as would probably be the 
case had selection not acted — there might be a few horses, 
but there would be no such thing as a species of horse. That 
could only be produced by some power capable of eliminating 
intermediate forms as they arose, and preserving all of the 
true horse type; and such a power was first shown to exist 
by Mr. Darwin. The origin of varieties and individuals is 
one thing, the origin of species another." 

It is a remarkable thing that this very simple preliminary 
misunderstanding of the very meaning of the term " species ' 
continued to appear year after year in most of the criticisms 
of the theory of natural selection. It was put forward both 
by mere literary critics and also by naturalists, and was in 
many cases adduced as a discovery which completely over- 
threw the whole of Darwin's work. So frequent was it that 
twenty years later, when writing my " Darwinism/' I found it 
necessary to devote the first chapter to a thorough explanation 
of this point, under the heading, " What are ' Species/ and 
what is meant by their * Origin ' ? " and I think I may feel 
confident that to those who have read that work this particular 
purely imaginary difficulty will no longer exist. 

Soon after the " Descent of Man " appeared, I wrote to 
Darwin, giving my impressions of the first volume, to which 
he replied (January 30, 1871). This letter is given in the 
"Life and Letters" (iii. p. 134), but I will quote two short 
passages expressing his kind feelings towards myself. He 
begins, " Your note has given me very great pleasure, chiefly 
because I was so anxious not to treat you with the least dis- 


respect, and it is so difficult to speak fairly when differing 
from anyone. If I had offended you, it would have grieved 

me more than you will readily believe." And the conclusion 

is, " Forgive me for scribbling at Mich length. You have put 
me quite in good spirits; 1 did so dread having been uninten- 
tionally unfair towards your views. 1 hope earnestly the 

second volume will escape as well. I care now very little 
what others say. As for our not agreeing, really, in such 
complex subjects, it is almost impossible for two men who 
arrive independently at their conclusions to agree fully ; it 
would be unnatural for them to do so." 

I reviewed " The Descent/' in The Academy, early in 
March, and Darwin wrote to me on the 16th, expressing his 
gratification at its whole tone and matter, and then, referring 
to the differences between us, making what was then a good 
point against me — that my objections to sexual selection having 
produced certain results in man, had not much force if, as he 
believed, I admitted that the plumes of the birds of paradise 
had thus been gained. At that time, though I had begun to 
doubt, I had not definitely rejected the whole of that part of 
" sexual selection " depending on female preference for certain 
colours and ornaments. 

On July 9, 1871, he wrote me a long letter, chiefly about 
Mr. Mivart's criticisms and accusations in his book on " The 
Genesis of Species," and again in a severe article in the 
Quarterly Review. These he proposed replying to in a new 
edition of the " Origin," but the incident worried him a good 
deal. In a postscript he says, " I quite agree with what you 
say, that Mivart fully intends to be honourable, but he seems 
to me to have the mind of a most able lawyer retained to 
plead against us, and especially against me. God knows 
whether my strength and spirit will last out to write a chapter 
versus Mivart and others; I do so hate controversy, and feel 
I shall do it so badly." 

Again, on July 12, he writes: "I feel very doubtful how 
far I shall succeed in answering Mivart. It is so difficult to 
answer objections to doubtful points and make the discussion 
readable. The worst of it is, that I cannot possibly hunt 


through all my references for isolated points — it would take 
me three weeks of intolerably hard work. I wish I had your 
power of arguing clearly. At present I feel sick of every- 
thing, and if I could occupy my time and forget my daily 
discomforts, or rather miseries, I would never publish another 
word. But I shall cheer up, I dare say, soon, having only 
just got over a bad attack. Farewell. God knows why I 
bother you about myself. 

" I can say nothing more about missing links than I have 
said. I should rely much on pre-Silurian times ; but then 
comes Sir W. Thompson like an odious spectre. Farewell." 

I give these extracts because they serve to explain why 
Darwin did not publish the systematic series of volumes 
dealing with the whole of the subjects treated in the " Origin." 
With his almost constant and most depressing ill-health, the 
real wonder is that he did so much. We can, therefore, fully 
understand why, when he had published the " Descent of Man," 
in 1 871, and the second editions of that work and of the 
" Animals and Plants," in 1875, with the intervening " Expres- 
sion of Emotions," in 1872, he should devote himself almost 
entirely to the long series of observations and experiments 
upon living plants, which constituted his relaxation and 
delight, and resulted in that series of volumes which are of the 
greatest value and interest to all students of the marvels and 
mysteries of vegetable life. And when, in 1881, he published 
his last volume upon " Worms," giving the result of observa- 
tions and experiments carried on for forty-four years, he 
enjoyed the great satisfaction of its being a wonderful success, 
while it was received by the reviewers with unanimous praise 
and applause. 

During this latter period of his life I had but little corre- 
spondence with him, as I had no knowledge whatever of the 
subjects he was then working on. But he still continued to 
write to me occasionally, either referring kindly to my own 
work or sending me facts or suggestions which he thought 
would be of interest to me. I will here give only some extracts 
from a few of the latest of the letters I received from him. 

On November 3, 1880, he wrote me the following very kind 


ktter upon my " Island Life." on which I had asked for his 
criticism : — 

" I have now read your book, and it has interested me 
deeply. It is quite excellent, and seems to me the best book 
which you have ever published ; but this may be merely 
because I have read it last. As I went on I made a few notes, 
chiefly where I differed slightly from you ; but God knows 
whether they are worth your reading. You will be disap- 
pointed with many of them ; but it will show that I had the 
will, though I did not know the way to do what you wanted. 

" I have said nothing on the infinitely many passages and 
views, which I admired and which were new to me. My 
notes are badly expressed, but I thought that you would excuse 
my taking any pains with my style. I wish my confounded 
handwriting was better. I had a note the other day from 
Hooker, and I can see that he is much pleased with the dedi- 

With this came seven foolscap pages of notes, many giving 
facts from his extensive reading which I had not seen. There 
were also a good many doubts and suggestions on the very 
difficult questions in the discussion of the causes of the glacial 
epochs. Chapter xxiii, discussing the Arctic element in south 
temperate floras, was the part he most objected to, saying, 
This is rather too speculative for my old noddle. I must 
think that you overrate the importance of new surfaces on 
mountains and dispersal from mountain to mountain. I still 
believe in Alpine plants having lived on the lowlands and in 
the southern tropical regions having been cooled during glacial 
periods, and thus only can I understand character of floras 
on the isolated African mountains. It appears to me that you 
are not justified in arguing from dispersal to oceanic islands 
to mountains. Not only in latter cases currents of sea are 
absent, but what is there to make birds fly direct from one 
Alpine summit to another? There is left only storms of wind, 
and if it is probable or possible that seeds may thus be carried 
for great distances, I do not believe that there is at present 
any evidence of their being thus carried more than a few 


This is the most connected piece of criticism in the notes, 
and I therefore give it verbatim. My general reply is printed 
in " More Letters," iii. p. 22. Of course I carefully considered 
all Darwin's suggestions and facts in later editions of my 
book, and made use of several of them. The last, as above 
quoted, I shall refer to again when considering the few import- 
ant matters as to which I arrived at different conclusions from 
Darwin. But I will first give another letter, two months later, 
in which he recurs to the same subject. 

"Down, January 2, 1881. 

" My Dear Wallace, 

" The case which you give is a very striking one, 
and I had overlooked it in Nature; 1 but I remain as great a 
heretic as ever. Any supposition seems to me more probable 
than that the seeds of plants should have been blown from 
the mountains of Abyssinia, or other central mountains of 
Africa, to the mountains of Madagascar. It seems to me 
almost infinitely more probable that Madagascar extended 
far to the south during the glacial period and that the S. 
hemisphere was, according to Croll, then more temperate; 
and that the whole of Africa was then peopled with some 
temperate forms, which crossed chiefly by agency of birds 
and sea-currents, and some few by the wind, from the shores 
of Africa to Madagascar, subsequently ascending to the 

" How lamentable it is that two men should take such 
widely different views, with the same facts before them; but 
this seems to be almost regularly our case, and much do I 
regret it. I am fairly well, but always feel half dead with 
fatigue. I heard but an indifferent account of your health 
some time ago, but trust that you are now somewhat stronger. 

" Believe me, my dear Wallace, 
" Yours very sincerely, 

"Ch. Darwin." 

1 Nature, December 9, 1880. The substance of this article by Mr. 
Baker, of Kew, is given in " More Letters," iii. p. 25, in a footnote. 

i 4 MY LIFE 

Tt is quite really pathetic how much he felt difference of 
opinion from his friends. I, of course, should have liked to 

have been able to convert him to my views, hut I did not feel 
it so much as he seemed to do. En letters to Sir Joseph 
Hooker (in February and August, t88i), he again states his 

view as against mine very strongly ("More Letters," iii. 
pp. 25 and 27) ; and this, so far as I know, is the last reference 
lie made to the subject. The last letter T received from him 
was entirely on literary and political subjects, and, as usual, 
very kind and friendly. As it makes no reference to our 
controversies, and touches on questions never introduced 
before in our correspondence, I think it will be interesting to 
give it entire. 

" Down, July 12, 1881. 

" My Dear Wallace, 

" I have been heartily glad to get your note and hear 
some news of you. I will certainly order ' Progress and 
Poverty,' for the subject is a most interesting one. But I 
read many years ago some books on political economy, and 
they produced a disastrous effect on my mind, viz., utterly 
to distrust my own judgment on the subject, and to doubt 
much everyone else's judgment ! So I feel pretty sure that 
Mr. George's book will only make my mind worse confounded 
than it is at present. I also have just finished a book which 
has interested me greatly, but whether it would interest any- 
one else I know not. It is the ' Creed of Science,' by W. 
Graham, A.M. Who or what he is I know not, but he dis- 
cusses many great subjects, such as the existence of God, 
immortality, the moral sense, the progress of society, etc. I 
think some of his propositions rest on very uncertain founda- 
tions, and I could get no clear idea of his notions about God. 
Notwithstanding this and other blemishes, the book has inter- 
ested me extremely. Perhaps I have been to some ex- 
tent deluded, as he manifestly ranks too high what I have 

" I am delighted to hear that you spend so much time 
out-of-doors and in your garden. From Newman's old book 


(I forget title) about the country near Godalming, it must be 

" We have just returned home after spending five weeks 
on Ullswatero The scenery is quite charming, but I cannot 
walk, and everything tries me, even seeing scenery, talking 
with anyone, or reading much. What I shall do with my 
few remaining years of life I can hardly tell. I have every- 
thing to make me happy and contented, but life has become 
very wearisome to me. I heard lately from Miss Buckley 
in relation to Lyell's Life, and she mentioned that you were 
thinking of Switzerland, which I should think and hope that 
you would enjoy much. 

" I see that you are going to write on the most difficult 
political question, the land. Something ought to be done, 
but what, is the rub. I hope that you will (not) turn renegade 
to natural history; but I suppose that politics are very 

With all good wishes for yourself and family, 
Believe me, my dear Wallace, 
Yours very sincerely, 

Charles Darwin." 

This letter is, to me, perhaps the most interesting I ever 
received from Darwin, since it shows that it was only the 
engrossing interests of his scientific and literary work, per- 
formed under the drawback of almost constant ill-health, that 
prevented him from taking a more active part in the discussion 
of those social and political questions that so deeply affect the 
lives and happiness of the great bulk of the people. It is a 
great satisfaction that his last letter to me, written within 
nine months of his death, and terminating a correspondence 
which had extended over a quarter of a century, should be so 
cordial, so sympathetic, and broad-minded. 

In 1870 he had written to me, " I hope it is a satisfaction 
to you to reflect — and very few things in my life have been 
more satisfactory to me — that we have never felt any jealousy 
towards each other, though in some sense rivals. I believe 
I can say this of myself with truth, and I am absolutely sure 


that it is true of you." The above long letter will show that 

this friendly feeling was retained by him to the last, and to 
have thus inspired and retained it, notwithstanding our many 
differences of opinion, 1 feel to be one of the greatest honours 
of my life. I have myself given an estimate of Darwin's 
work in my " Debt of Science to Darwin," published in my 
" Natural Selection and Tropical Nature/' in 1891. But I 
cannot here refrain from quoting a passage from Huxley's 
striking obituary notice in Nature, summing up his work in a 
single short paragraph : " None have fought better, and none 
have been more fortunate than Charles Darwin. He found 
a great truth, trodden underfoot, reviled by bigots, and ridi- 
culed by all the world ; he lived long enough to see it, chiefly 
by his own efforts, irrefragably established in science, insep- 
arably incorporated with the common thoughts of men, and 
only hated and feared by those who would revile but dare not. 
What shall a man desire more than this ? " 

The Chief Differences of Opinion betzveen Darwin and 
myself. — As this subject is often referred to by objectors to 
the theory of natural selection, and it is sometimes stated that 
I have myself given up the most essential parts of that theory, 
I think it will be advisable to give a short statement of what 
those differences really are, and how they affect the theory in 
question. Our only important differences were on four sub- 
jects, which may be considered separately. 

1. The Origin of Man as an Intellectual and Moral Being. 
— On this great problem the belief and teaching of Darwin 
was, that man's whole nature — physical, mental, intellectual, 
and moral — was developed from the lower animals by means 
of the same laws of variation and survival ; and, as a conse- 
quence of this belief, that there was no difference in kind 
between man's nature and animal nature, but only one of 
degree. My view, on the other hand, was, and is, that there 
is a difference in kind, intellectually and morally, between 
man and other animals ; and that while his body was undoubt- 
edly developed by the continuous modification of some ances- 
tral animal form, some different agency, analogous to that 


which first produced organic life, and then originated con- 
sciousness, came into play in order to develop the higher 
intellectual and spiritual nature of man. This view was first 
intimated in the last sentence of my paper on the " Develop- 
ment of Human Races under Natural Selection," in 1864, 
and more fully treated in the last chapter of my " Essays," 
in 1870. 

These views caused much distress of mind to Darwin, but, 
as I have shown, they do not in the least affect the general 
doctrine of natural selection. It might be as well urged that 
because man has produced the pouter-pigeon, the bull-dog, 
and the dray-horse, none of which could have been produced 
by natural selection alone, therefore the agency of natural 
selection is weakened or disproved. Neither, I urge, is it 
weakened or disproved if my theory of the origin of man is 
the true one. 

2. Sexual Selection through Female Choice. — Darwin's 
theory of sexual selection consists of two quite distinct parts — 
the combats of males so common among polygamous mammals 
and birds, and the choice of more musical or more ornamental 
male birds by the females. The first is an observed fact, 
and the development of weapons such as horns, canine teeth, 
spurs, etc., is a result of natural selection acting through such 
combats. The second is an inference from the observed facts 
of the display of the male plumage or ornaments; but the 
statement that ornaments have been developed by the female's 
choice of the most beautiful male because he is the most beau- 
tiful, is an inference supported by singularly little evidence. 
The first kind of sexual selection I hold as strongly and as 
thoroughly as Darwin himself; the latter I at first accepted, 
following Darwin's conclusions from what appeared to be 
strong evidence explicable in no other way ; but I soon came 
to doubt the possibility of such an explanation, at first from 
considering the fact that in butterflies sexual differences are 
as strongly marked as in birds, and it was to me impossible to 
accept female choice in their case, while, as the whole question 
of colour came to be better understood, I saw equally valid 
reasons for its total rejection even in birds and mammalia., 


I 'ut here my view really extends the influence of natural 
selection, because I show in how many unsuspected ways 
colour and marking is of use to its possessor. I first stated 
my objections to " female choice " in my review of the 
"Descent of Man' (1871), and more fully developed it in 
my "Tropical Nature" (1878), while in my "Darwinism' 
(1889), I again discussed the whole subject, giving the results 
of more mature consideration. I had, however, already dis- 
cussed the matter at some length with Darwin, and in a letter 
of September 18, 1869, I gave him my general argument as 
follows : — 

I have a general and a special argument to submit. 
1. Female birds and insects are usually exposed to more 
danger than the male, and in the case of insects their existence 
is necessary for a longer period. They therefore require, in 
some way or other, an increased amount of protection. 

u 2. If the male and female were distinct species, with 
different habits and organizations, you would, I think, admit 
that a difference of colour, serving to make that one less 
conspicuous which evidently required more protection than 
the other, had been acquired by natural selection. 

" 3. But you admit that variations appearing in one sex 
are (sometimes) transmitted to that sex only. There is there- 
fore nothing to prevent natural selection acting on the two 
sexes as if they were two species. 

"4. Your objection that the same protection would, to a 
certain extent, be useful to the male seems to me quite unsound, 
and directly opposed to your own doctrine so convincingly 
urged in the " Origin," that natural selection never improves 
an animal beyond its needs. Admitting, therefore, abundant 
variation of colour in both sexes, it is impossible that the male 
can be brought by natural selection to resemble the female 
(unless such variations are always transmitted), because the 
difference in their colours is for the purpose of making up for 
their different organization and habits, and natural selection 
cannot give to the male more protection than he requires, 
which is less than in the female. 

" 5. The striking fact that in all protected groups the females 


usually resemble the males (or are equally brightly coloured) 
shows that the usual tendency is to transmit colour to both 
sexes when it is not injurious to either. 

" Now for the special argument. 

" 6. In the very weak-flying Leptalis both sexes mimic 
Heliconidae. But in the much stronger flying — Papilio, Pieris, 
and Diadema — it is the female only that mimics the protected 
group, and in these cases the females often acquire brighter 
and more conspicuous colours than the male. 

" 7. No case is known of a male Papilio, Pieris, or Diadema, 
alone, mimicking a protected species ; yet colour is more fre- 
quent in males, and variations are always ready for the pur- 
pose of sexual or other forms of selection. 

" 8. The fair inference seems to be that each species, and 
also each sex, can only be modified by selection just as far 
as is absolutely necessary — not a step further. A male, being 
by structure and habits less exposed to danger, and therefore 
requiring less protection than the female, cannot have an equal 
amount of protection given to it by natural selection; but the 
female must have some extra protection to balance her greater 
exposure to danger, and she rapidly acquires it in one way or 

"9. The objection as to male fish, which seem to require 
protection, yet have sometimes bright colours, seems to me 
of no more weight than is the existence of some unprotected 
species of white Leptalis as a disproof of Bates's theory of 
mimicry, — or that only a few species of butterfly resemble 
leaves, — or that the habits and instincts that protect one animal 
are absent in allied species. These are all illustrations of the 
many and varied ways in which nature works to give the exact 
amount of protection it needs to each species." 

3. Arctic Plants in the Southern Hemisphere, and on 
Isolated Mountain-tops within the Tropics. — Having paid 
great attention to the whole question of the distribution of 
organisms, I was obliged to reject Mr. Darwin's explanation 
of the above phenomena by a cooling of the tropical lowlands 
of the whole earth during the glacial period to such an extent 


as to allow large numbers of north-temperate and Arctic plants 
to spread across the continents to the southern hemisphere, 
and, as the cold passed away, to ascend to the summits of 
isolated tropical mountains. The study of the floras of oceanic 
islands having led me to the conclusion that the greater part 
of their flora was derived by aerial transmission of seeds, either 
by birds or by gales and storms, I extended this view to the 
transmission along mountain ranges, and from mountain-top 
to mountain-top, as being most accordant with the facts at 
our disposal. I explained my views at some length in " Island 
Life," and later, with additional facts, in " Darwinism." 

The difficulties in the way of Darwin's view are two-fold. 
First, that a lowering temperature of inter-tropical lowlands 
to the required extent would inevitably have destroyed much 
of the overwhelming luxuriances and variety of plant, insect, 
and bird life that characterize those regions. This has so 
impressed myself, Bates, and others familiar with the tropics 
as to render the idea wholly inconceivable ; and the only reason 
why Darwin did not feel this appears to be that he really knew 
nothing personally of the tropics beyond a few days at Bahia 
and Rio, and could have had no conception of its wonderfully 
rich and highly specialized fauna and flora. In the second 
place, even if a sufficient lowering of temperature had occurred 
during the ice-age, it would not account for the facts, which 
involve, as Sir Joseph Hooker remarks, " a continuous current 
of vegetation from north to south," going much further back 
than the glacial period, because it has led to the transmission 
not of existing species only, but of distinct representative 
species, and even distinct genera, showing that the process 
must have been going on long before the cold period. The 
reason why Darwin was unaffected by these various difficulties 
may perhaps be found in the circumstance that he had held his 
views for so many years almost unchallenged. In a letter to 
Sir Charles Lyell, in 1866, he says, " I feel a strong conviction 
that soon everyone will believe that the whole world was cooler 
during the glacial period. Remember Hooker's wonderful 
case recently discovered of the identity of so many temperate 
plants on the summit of Fernando Po, and on the mountains 


of Abyssinia. I look at it as certain that these plants crossed 
the whole of Africa, from east to west, during the same period. 
I wish I had published a long chapter, written in full, and 
almost ready for the press, on this subject which I wrote ten 
years ago. It was impossible in the ' Origin ' to give a fair 
abstract " (" More Letters," vol. i., p. 476). Having thus held 
his views for twenty-five years, they had become so firmly 
impressed upon his mind that he was unable at once to give 
them up, however strong might be the arguments against 
them. This particular difference, however, is not one which 
in any way affects the theory of natural selection. 

4. Pangenesis, and the Heredity of Acquired Characters. — 
Darwin always believed in the inheritance of acquired charac- 
ters, such as the effects of use and disuse of organs and of 
climate, food, etc., on the individual, as did almost every 
naturalist, and his theory of pangenesis was invented to explain 
this among other effects of heredity. I therefore accepted 
pangenesis at first, because I have always felt it a relief (as 
did Darwin) to have some hypothesis, however provisional 
and improbable, that would serve to explain the facts; and I 
told him that " I shall never be able to give it up till a better 
one supplies its place." I never imagined that it could be 
directly disproved, but Mr. F. Galton's experiments of trans- 
fusing a large quantity of the blood of rabbits into other 
individuals of quite different breeds, and afterwards finding 
that the progeny was not in the slightest degree altered, did 
seem to me to be very nearly a disproof, although Darwin did 
not accept it as such. But when, at a much later period, Dr. 
Weismann showed that there is actually no valid evidence 
for the transmission of such characters, and when he further 
set forth a mass of evidence in support of his theory of the 
continuity of the germ-plasm, the " better theory " was found, 
and I finally gave up pangenesis as untenable. But this new 
theory really simplifies and strengthens the fundamental doc- 
trine of natural selection. 

It will thus appear that none of my differences of opinion 
from Darwin imply any real divergence as to the overwhelm- 


ing importance of the great principle of natural selection, 
while in several directions I believe that I have extended and 

strengthened it. The principle of " utility/' which is one of 

its chief foundation-stones, I have- always advocated unre- 
servedly ; while in extending this principle to almost every kind 
and degree of coloration, and in maintaining the power of 
natural selection to increase the infertility of hybrid unions, 
I have considerably extended its range. Hence it is that some 
of my critics declare that I am more Darwinian than Darwin 
himself, and in this, I admit, they are not far wrong. 




Soon after my return home, in 1862 or 1863, Bates and I, 
having both read " First Principles " and been immensely 
impressed by it, went together to call on Herbert Spencer, 
I think by appointment. Our thoughts were full of the great 
unsolved problem of the origin of life — a problem which Dar- 
win's " Origin of Species " left in as much obscurity as ever — 
and we looked to Spencer as the one man living who could 
give us some clue to it. His wonderful exposition of the 
fundamental laws and conditions, actions and interactions of 
the material universe seemed to penetrate so deeply into that 
" nature of things " after which the early philosophers searched 
in vain and whose blind gropings are so finely expressed in 
the grand poem of Lucretius, that we both hoped he could 
throw some light on that great problem of problems. I forget 
the details of the interview, but I think Bates was chief spokes- 
man, and expressed our immense admiration of his work, and 
that as young students of nature we wished to have the honour 
of his acquaintance. He was very pleasant, spoke appre- 
ciatively of what we had both done for the practical exposition 
of evolution, and hoped we would continue to work at the 
subject. But when we ventured to touch upon the great 
problem, and whether he had arrived at even one of the first 
steps towards its solution, our hopes were dashed at once. 
That, he said, was too fundamental a problem to even think 
of solving at present. We did not yet know enough of matter 
in its essential constitution nor of the various forces of nature ; 
and all he could say was that everything pointed to its having 
been a development out of matter — a phase of that continuous 



process oi evolution by whidl the whole universe had heen 
brought to its present condition. So we had to wait and 
work contentedly at minor problems. And now. after forty 
ars, though Spencer and Darwin and Weismann have thrown 
floods of light on the phenomena of life, it- essential nature 

and its origin remain as great a mystery as ever. Whatever 
light we do possess is from a source which Spencer and Dar- 
win neglected or ignored. 

In 1865, when Spencer was, I believe, one of the editors of 
The Reader, he asked me to write an article on the treatment 
of savage races, with special reference to some cases of 
the barbarity of settlers in Australia that had recently been 
published. This I did, and the article appeared in the issue 
of June 17. Ten years later, on November 13, 1875, he wrote 
to ask me where and when this article had appeared, adding, 
" I ask the question because I contemplate giving Dr. Bridges 
a castigation for the unwarranted sneer at the close of his 
article in the Fortnightly." I may add that I have reprinted 
my article (with some additions referring to recent facts) in 
my " Studies Scientific and Social," vol. ii., p. 107. 

The first letter I received from Spencer was when I sent 
him my paper on " The Origin of Human Races under the 
Law of Natural Selection." He said that he had read it with 
great interest, and added, " Its leading idea is, I think, 
undoubtedly true," concluding with a hope that I would pursue 
the inquiry. 

Soon afterwards he invited me to dine with him in Bays- 
water, where he lived for many years in a boarding-house 
with rather a commonplace set of people — retired Indian 
officers and others ; and I afterwards visited him there several 
times. I was amused, when some popular error was solemnly 
put forth at dinner as the explanation of some phenomenon, 
Spencer would coolly tell them that it was quite incorrect, 
and then proceed to explain why it was so, and on principles 
of evolution could not be otherwise. In the evening, after we 
had had a little private conversation, we would go into the 
drawing-room where there was music, and Spencer would 


sometimes play on his flute. On remarking to him one day 
that I wondered he could live among such unintellectual 
people, he said that he had purposely chosen such a home in 
order to avoid the mental excitement of too much interesting 
conversation; that he suffered greatly from insomnia, and 
that he found that when his evenings were spent in common- 
place conversation, hearing the news of the day or taking 
part in a little music, he had a better chance of sleeping. 

In the autumn of 1867 I read the Duke of Argyll's " Reign 
of Law," and though I found much that was erroneous and 
weak in argument, I thought his discussion of the mode of 
flight in birds, founded largely on personal observation, was 
very good; in fact, the best I had seen. Spencer had also 
read this, and differed from me, thinking that important parts 
of the duke's theory of flight were not true, because they would 
not apply equally to bats ; and we had quite a discussion on the 
subject. The next day, after thinking the matter over, I 
wrote him a long letter of eight pages, trying to show that the 
general principles of flight in birds, bats, and insects were the 
same; but that in birds there were additional special adapta- 
tions that render their flight more perfect, and their power of 
motion through the air, under adverse conditions, more varied 
and more complete. The duke, dealing with birds only, had 
dwelt most on these special adaptations (chiefly, if I remem- 
ber, the beautiful overlapping and movements of the separate 
feathers increasing resistance during the downward, and de- 
creasing it during the upward stroke) which did not exist in 
bats or in insects. I also showed that although this adaptation 
was absent in the wings of insects, the general form and move- 
ments of the wings were similar and produced similar, but not 
identical results. In his reply he admitted the accuracy of my 
description of the flight of insects, but made the following 
remark in furtherance of his former objection as regards the 
duke's account of the flight of birds : " If you will move 
an outstretched wing backwards and forwards with equal 
velocity, I think you will find that the difference of re- 
sistance is nothing like commensurate with the difference 
of size between the muscles that raise the wings and the 

2 6 MY LIFE 

muscles that depress them." The reason of this great 
difference could not be accurately explained at that time, 
hut a few years later, Marey, by his ingenious experiments 

and photographs, showed that while the whole Upward 
motion of the wing is very gradual, the downward stroke, 
though equally gradual at the beginning and the end, is two 
or three times as rapid in the middle, thus giving the great 
upward and onward impulse, necessitating the extremely 
large muscles noted by Spencer. An excellent short account 
of the whole mechanism of the flight of birds, with many of 
Marey 's diagrams and illustrations, is given in Professor 
A. Newton's " Dictionary of Birds," in the article " Flight," 
and is the clearest exposition of the subject I have yet seen. 

In 1872, in my presidential address to the Entomological 
Society, I endeavoured to expound Herbert Spencer's theory 
of the origin of insects, on the view that they are funda- 
mentally compound animals, each segment representing one 
of the original independent organisms. This theory is ex- 
pounded at some length in the second volume of his 
" Principles of Biology " (chapter iv., " The Morphological 
Composition of Animals"), but had apparently been almost 
unnoticed by English entomologists. On sending him a 
copy of the address, he wrote to me as follows : " It is 
gratifying to me to find that your extended knowledge does 
not lead you to scepticism respecting the speculation of mine 
which you quote, but rather enables you to cite further facts 
in justification of it. Possibly your exposition will lead some 
of those, in whose lines of investigation the question lies, to 
give deliberate attention to it." 

This communication gave me much pleasure, because the 
subject was one quite out of my own domain, and though I 
had taken a good deal of trouble to understand his views and 
to represent them accurately, and had also adduced a few 
additional facts in support of it, yet the subject was so novel 
and so complex that I was rather afraid I might have made 
some blunders in my abstract of it. I was much relieved, 
therefore, to find that my account of his views was satisfactory 
to him. 


In 1874, when writing " The Principles of Sociology," 
Herbert Spencer asked me to look over the proofs of the first 
six chapters, and give him the benefit of my criticisms, " alike 
as naturalist, anthropologist, and traveller." I found very 
little indeed requiring emendation, but I sent him a couple of 
pages of notes with suggestions on points of detail, which, I 
believe, were of some use to him. 

During the year 1881 I had several letters from him deal- 
ing with subjects of general interest. In consequence of an 
article I wrote on " How to Nationalize the Land," especially 
showing how to avoid the supposed insuperable objection of 
State management, a " Land Nationalization Society " was 
formed, of which I was chosen president. As I had been in- 
duced to study the question by Herbert Spencer's early volume 
on " Social Statics," I sent him a copy of our programme and 
asked him if he would join us. His reply is very instructive, 
as showing how nearly he agreed with us at that time, and also 
how slight were the difficulties he suggested as the most 

The letter is as follows : 

"38 Queen's Gardens, Bayswater, W., 
"April 25, 1881. 

" Dear Mr. Wallace, 

" As you may suppose, I fully sympathize in the general 
aims of your proposed Land Nationalization Society; but for 
sundry reasons I hesitate to commit myself, at the present stage 
of the question, to a programme so definite as that which you 
send me. It seems to me that before formulating the idea in 
a specific shape, it is needful to generate a body of public 
opinion on the general issue, and that it must be some time be- 
fore there can be produced such recognition of the general 
principle involved as is needful before definite plans can be 
set forth to any purpose. 

" It seems to me that the thing to be done at present is 
to arouse public attention to (1) the abstract inequity of the 
present condition of things; (2) to show that even now there 


IS in our law a tacit denial of absolute private ownership, 

since the Stale reserves the power of resuming possession of 
land on making compensation; (3) that this tacitly admitted 

ownership ought to he overtly . led; (.]) and that having 

been Overtly asserted, the landowner should he distinctly placed 
in the position of a tenant of the State on something like the 
terms proposed in your scheme: namely, that while the land 
itself should be regarded as public property, such value as has 
been given to it should vest in the existing so-called owner. 

" The question is surrounded with such difficulties that I 
fear anything like a specific scheme for resumption by the 
State will tend, by the objections made, to prevent recogni- 
tion of a general truth which might otherwise be admitted. 
For example, in definitely making the proposed distinction 
between ' inherent value as dependent on natural conditions, 
etc.,' and the ' increased value given by the owner,' there is 
raised the questions — How are the two to be distinguished? 
How far back are we to go in taking account of the labour 
and money expended in giving fertility? In respect of newly 
enclosed tracts, some estimation may be made ; but in respect 
of the greater part, long reduced to cultivation, I do not see 
how the valuations, differing in all cases, are to be made. 

"I name this as one point; and there are many others in 
respect of which I do not see my way. It appears to me 
that at present we are far off from the time at which action 
may advantageously be taken. 

" Truly yours, 

" Herbert Spencer/' 

On this I may remark that, during the twenty-five years 
that has elapsed, the Land Nationalization Society has been 
continuously at work, doing the very things that our critic 
seemed to think ought to be done before we formed the 
society. We have now " generated a body of public opinion ' 
in our favour, which could hardly have been effected without 
the work of a society, and we have long since satisfied most 
thinking men that the special difficulty as to the valuation 
of the owners' improvements is a purely imaginary one, since 


it is continually done. But the remarkable thing is, that only 
ten years later, in his volume on " Justice," the writer of this 
letter should have so far changed his opinions as to arrive 
ultimately at the conclusion thus stated : " A fuller considera- 
tion of the matter has led me to the conclusion that individual 
ownership, subject to State suzerainty, should be maintained. ,, 
Those who care to understand what were the supposed facts 
leading to this most impotent conclusion, will find them stated 
and exposed in vol. ii., chap, xviii. of my " Studies." 1 They 
were first given in an address to the Land Nationalization 
Society in 1892. 

A few months later he wrote to me again on the land ques- 
tion, in reply to my recommendation of Henry George's book 
" Progess and Poverty," and this letter, as exhibiting his ideas 
on human progress generally, and also his somewhat hasty 
judgments on particular writers, seems well worthy of pres- 
ervation, and I therefore give it verbatim. 

"38 Queen's Gardens, Bayswater, July 6, 1881. 

" Dear Mr. Wallace, 

" I have already seen the work you name — ' Progress 
and Poverty ' ; having had a copy, or rather two copies, sent me. 
I gathered, from what little I glanced at, that I should funda- 
mentally disagree with the writer, and have not read more. 

" I demur entirely to the supposition, which is implied in 
the book that, by any possible social arrangements whatever, 
the distress which humanity has had to suffer in the course of 
civilization could have been prevented. The whole process, 
with all its horrors and tyrannies, and slaveries and abomi- 
nations of all kinds, has been an inevitable one accompanying 
the survival and spread of the strongest, and the consolidation 
of small tribes into large societies ; and among other things, 
the lapse of land into private ownership has been, like the 

1 H. Spencer's treatment of the land question in this work is criti- 
cised and controverted in great detail by Henry George in " A Per- 
plexed Philosopher," published in 1893. Neither H. Spencer nor any 
of his disciples have refuted these destructive criticisms. 


lapse of individuals into slavery, at one period of the process 
altogether indispensable. I do not in the least believe tbat 
from the primitive system of communistic ownership to a high 
and finished system of State ownership, such as we may look 
for in the future, there could be any transition without passing 
:li rough such stages as we have seen, and which exist now. 

" Argument aside, however, I should be disinclined to 
commit myself to any scheme of immediate action, which, as 
I have indicated to you, I believe, at present, premature. For 
myself, I feel that I have to consider not only what I may do 
on special questions, but also how the action I take on special 
questions may affect my general influence ; and I am disinclined 
to give more handles against me than are needful. Already, 
as you will see by the inclosed circular, I am doing in the way 
of positive action more than may be altogether prudent. 

" Sincerely yours, 

" Herbert Spencer. " 

I do not remember, and I do not think that Henry George 
either stated or implied that the course of civilization " might 
have been different " from what it has been. His whole work 
was devoted to showing the injustice and the evils of private 
property in land, just as Herbert Spencer himself had done 
in " Social Statics " ; and both works are alike beneficial, inas- 
much as they demonstrate these facts and serve as incentives 
and guides for our future attempts to remedy them. If Mr. 
Spencer had not hastily laid aside the book, owing to this 
prepossession against it, even he might have been benefited 
by the thorough examination of the whole subject which 
Mr. George gave, while he could hardly have failed to admire 
its admirable and forcible exposition of the problem and his 
often eloquent delineations of its results. I remember that 
some years earlier, when I asked Herbert Spencer what he 
thought of Buckle's " History of Civilization,'' which I took 
for granted that he had read, his reply was somewhat similar 
to that here given in the case of Henry George — that on 
looking into the book he saw that its fundamental assumption 
was erroneous, and therefore he did not care to read it. I 


believe he referred to Buckle's view of the immense influence 
of the aspects of nature in influencing human character, which, 
even if much exaggerated, cannot be said to be wholly untrue, 
and certainly does not destroy the value of a work of such 
research, eloquence, and illumination as the " History of 

The next letter of much interest I have from Herbert 
Spencer is when acknowledging receipt of a copy of my little 
book entitled "Bad Times," on November 21, 1885. In it 
he says, " Much of what I read I quite agreed with, especially 
the chapters on ' Foreign Loans ' and ' War Expenditures/ 
. . . There is one factor which seems to me not an improb- 
able one, which neither you nor any others have taken account 
of. During the past generation, one of the causes of the great 
exaltation of prosperity has been the development of the 
railway system, which while it had the effect of opening up 
sources of supply and means of distribution, had also the 
effect during a long period of greatly exalting certain in- 
dustries concerned in construction. There was consequently 
a somewhat abnormal degree of prosperity, which lasted long 
enough to furnish a standard of good times, and to be mis- 
taken for the normal condition. Now that this unusual and 
temporary cause of prosperity has in considerable measure 
diminished, we are feeling the effect." 

This was no doubt true, and in the case of America I 
had adduced the railway mania in the United States, from 
1869 to 1873, and our own over-production of shipping while 
we were supplying the whole world with rails and engines, as 
causes of the subsequent depression in both countries. 

The last three letters I received from Herbert Spencer were 
in 1894 and 1895, all on the subject of what he termed " the 
absurdity of Lord Salisbury's representation of the process of 
natural selection " in his British Association address at Oxford, 
wishing me to write to the Times, pointing out his errors, 
which were influencing many persons and writers in the press, 
and suggesting certain points I should especially deal with. 
He concludes, " It behooves you of all men to take up the 


gauntlet he has thus thrown down." T replied, declining the 
• k, "ii the ground that I did not think Lord Salisbury's in- 
fluence in a matter of science <>f much importance, and that I 
thought my time better employed in writing such articles on 
rial and political, as well as general scientific questions which 

then interested me. To this he replied that he did not at all 
ree with me, and that " articles in the papers show that 
Lord Salisbury's argument is received with triumph, and unless 
it is disposed of, it will lead to a public reaction against the 
doctrine of evolution at large." 

As I still declined to go into this controversy, having dealt 
with the whole matter in my " Darwinism," and still being 
sceptical as to any great effects being produced by the address 
in question, he wrote me a month later as follows : " As I 
cannot get you to deal with Lord Salisbury, I have decided to 
do it myself, having been finally exasperated into doing it by 
this honour paid to his address in France — the presentation 
of a translation to the French Academy. The impression 
produced upon some millions of people in England cannot be 
allowed to be thus further confirmed without protest." He 
then asked me for some references, which I sent him, and his 
criticism of Lord Salisbury duly appeared, and was thoroughly 
well done, so that I had no reason to regret not having under- 
taken it myself. This was the latest letter I received from 
him; but during his last illness my wife, being in Brighton, 
called to make inquiries after his health, and left our cards, 
and I received a kindly expressed card in reply, written by his 
amanuensis, but signed with his own initials. It is dated 
November 28, 1903, ten days before his death. 

Among his intimate friends, Herbert Spencer was always 
interesting from the often unexpected way in which he would 
apply the principles of evolution to the commonest topics of 
conversation, and he was always ready to take part in any 
social amusement. He once or twice honoured me by coming 
to informal meetings of friends at my little house in St. Mark's 
Crescent, and I also met him at Sir John Lubbock's very 
pleasant week-end visits, and also at Huxley's, in St. John's 
Wood. Once I remember dining informally with Huxley, 


the only other guests being Tyndall and Herbert Spencer. 
The latter appeared in a dress-coat, whereupon Huxley and 
Tyndall chaffed him, as setting a bad example, and of being 
untrue to his principles, quoting his Essay on " Manners and 
Fashion," but all with the most good-humoured banter. 
Spencer took it in good part, and defended himself well, de- 
claring that the coat was a relic of his early unregenerate 
days, and where could he wear it out if not at the houses of 
his best friends ? " Besides," he concluded, " you will please 
to observe that I am true to principle in that I do not wear a 
white tie ! " 

Those who are acquainted only with the volumes of 
Herbert Spencer's " Synthetic Philosophy " can have no idea 
of the lightness, the energy, and the bright satire of some 
of his more popular writings. Such are many of his earlier 
Essays, and in his volume on "The Study of Sociology" we 
find abundant examples of these qualities. In conclusion, 
I may remark that, although I differ greatly from him on 
certain important matters, both of natural and social science, 
and have never hesitated to state my reasons for those 
differences with whatever force of fact and argument I could 
bring to bear upon them, I yet look upon these as but spots 
on the sun of his great intellectual powers, and feel it to be 
an honour to have been his contemporary, and, to a limited 
extent, his friend and coadjutor. 

With the remainder of my scientific friends I had, for the 
most part, only social intercourse, with no correspondence of 
general interest. Those I saw most of during my residence 
in London, and with whom I became most intimate, were 
Huxley, Tyndall, Sir John Lubbock, Dr. W. B. Carpenter, 
Sir William Crookes, Sir Joseph Hooker, Mr. Francis Galton, 
Professor Alfred Newton, Dr. P. L. Slater, Mr. St. George 
Mivart, Sir William Flower, Sir Norman Lockyer, Professor 
R. Meldola, and many others whose names are only known 
to specialists. All these I met very frequently at scientific 
meetings, or at some of their houses at which I was occasion- 
ally a guest. To all of them I have been more or less 


indebted for valuable information or useful suggestions in the 
course of my work, and to these I must also add Professor 
E. B. Poulton, of Oxford; F. W. II. Myers, Professors W. F. 
Barrett and Percival Wright, of Dublin, with Professors 
Patrick Geddes, of Edinburgh, and J. A. Thomson, of Aber- 
deen. For the last quarter of a century I have lived so 
completely in the country that I have ceased to have personal 
intercourse with most of them ; and of those still among us, 
I can only say here that I hope and believe they all continue 
to be my very good friends. In future chapters I may have 
to refer to some of them again, in connection with special 
conditions of my life. Here I will only give a few indications 
as to my personal relations with a few of them. 

Of all those I have mentioned I became, I think, most 
intimate with Huxley. At an early date after my return 
home he asked me to his house in Marlborough Place, where 
I soon became very friendly with his children, then all quite 
young, all very animated and not at all shy. Mrs. Huxley 
was also exceedingly kind and pleasant, and the whole 
domestic tone of the house was such as to make me quite 
at my ease, which is what happens to me with only a few 
persons. I used often to go there on Sunday afternoons, or 
to spend the evening, while I was several times asked to dine 
to meet persons of similar pursuits to my own. One of those 
occasions that I particularly remember was to meet Dr. 
Miklucho Maklay, a Russian anthropologist, who was going 
to New Guinea, and as I was the only Englishman who had 
lived some months alone in that country, Huxley thought we 
should be interested with each other. 

"Maklay was a small, wiry man, somewhat younger than 
myself; he spoke English well, and told us all about what 
he was going to do. His idea was that you could really 
learn nothing about natives unless you lived with them and 
became almost one of themselves; above all, you must win 
their confidence, and must therefore begin by trusting them 
absolutely. He proposed to go in a Russian warship, and 
be left for a year at some part of the north coast where 
Europeans were wholly unknown, with one servant, but with- 


out visible arms. This was, I think, in the winter of 1870-71. 
Both Huxley and myself thought this plan exceedingly risky, 
but he determined to try it; and he succeeded, but through 
the exercise of an amount of coolness and courage which very 
few men indeed possess. He returned to Russia to complete 
his preparations, and in September, 1871, was landed in 
Astrolabe Bay with two servants, one a Swede and the other 
a Polynesian. The ship's carpenter built him a small hut, 
fourteen feet by seven feet, and then the ship sailed away 
and left him totally unprotected. As soon as it was seen 
that the ship was completely out of sight, large numbers of 
natives, armed with knives, bows, and spears, gathered round 
his hut and soon began to make warlike demonstrations, 
which went on more or less for some days. They would 
shoot arrows close to his head or body, or draw their bow 
to the full with the arrow directed to his chest, and then 
loose the string with a twang, while holding back the arrow ; 
but he sat still and smiled, knowing, I suppose, that if they 
really meant to kill him that was hardly the way they would 
do it, and that in any case he could not possibly escape them. 
At other times they would run at him with their spears, or 
press the spear-point against his teeth till he was forced to 
open his mouth. But finding that he was brave, that he did 
not try to escape them, and also finding that he was a " medi- 
cine" man, could heal their wounds and cure the sick, they 
gradually came to consider him as a friend and even as a 
supernatural being. Soon one servant died, and the other was 
almost constantly ill, so that the doctor had plenty to do; but 
he lived with these people for fifteen months, learnt their lan- 
guage, studied them minutely, and explored much of the sur- 
rounding country. I know of no more daring feat by any 
traveller. A short account of this exploration is given in 
Nature, vol. ix., p. 328. 

I used often to call in at Jermyn Street if I had any question 
to ask Huxley, and he was always ready to give me all the 
information in his power ; while I am pretty sure I owe partly, 
if not largely, to his influence the grant of the royal medal 
of the Royal Society, and perhaps also of the Darwin medal. 

3 r> MY LIFE 

Once only there was a partial disturbance of onr friendly rela- 
tions, of the exact cause of which I have no record or recol- 
lection. I had published some paper in which, I believe, I had 
>tatcd some view which he had originated without mentioning 
his name, and in such a way as to leave the impression that I 
put it forth as original. This I had no notion of doing; but I 
think it was an idea which had become quite familiar to me, 
and that I had quite forgotten who originated it. I fancy 
someone must have called Huxley's attention to it, and when 
I next met him, I think just as he was leaving Jermyn Street 
to go home, he was much put out, and said something inti- 
mating that after what I had said in this paper, he wondered 
at my speaking to him again. I forget what more was said, 
but on going home I looked at the article, and found that I 
had used some expression that might be interpreted as a slight 
to him. I immediately wrote a letter of explanation and 
regret, and I here give his reply, which greatly relieved me, 
and our relations at once resumed their usual friendly 

" My Dear Wallace, 

"Very many thanks for your kind letter. 
" I am exceedingly callous to the proceedings of my 
enemies, but (I suppose by way of compensation) I am very 
sensitive to those of valued friends, and I certainly felt rather 
sore when I read your paper. But I dare say I should have 
' consumed my own smoke ' in that matter as I do in most, 
if I had not been very tired, very hungry, very cold, and 
consequently very irritable, when I met you yesterday. Pray 
forgive me if I was too plain spoken, 

" And believe me, as always, 

" Yours very faithfully, 

" T. H. Huxley/' 

"Jermyn Street, February 14, 1870." , 

In a letter he wrote me, in 1881, on another matter he 
refers to my former intimacy with his children. " Your little 
friends are grown to be big friends. Two are married, and 
one has made me a grandfather. Leonard, my eldest boy, 


is six feet high, and at Balliol ; even the smallest of the mites 
you knew is taller than her mother. All within reach unite 
with me in kindest regards and remembrances." 

In 1 89 1 I had read two books by Mr. Arthur J. Bell, a 
Devonshire gentleman who had devoted himself to the study 
of the modern physical sciences in their relation to the 
deepest problems of our nature and destiny. The first was 
entitled, " Whence comes Man, from ' Nature ' or from 
1 God ' ? ' The second, published two years after the first, as a 
sequel to it, was called, " Why does Man exist?" I was greatly 
struck with the power of reasoning, the clearness of style, and 
the broad grasp of the whole subject displayed by the author, 
and having written to him to say how much I had enjoyed his 
books, he called upon me at Parkstone, and in the course of 
conversation he expressed a great desire that Huxley should 
be induced to read them — at all events the second, which, 
though a sequel to the first, is quite independent of it. 1 I 
therefore wrote to Huxley, telling him the author would be 
pleased to send him the books if he would like to have them, 
and in that case would be glad if he would give his opinion 
of the work. His reply, dated November 23, 1891, is a char- 

1 As I am sure that there are many persons who have never heard 
of these books who would greatly enjoy them, I will here quote the 
subject-matter of the second as stated in the last page of the first 
work, as follows : — 

" Before replying to the question with which we started — the ques- 
tion, ' Whence Comes Man, from " Nature " or from " God " ? ' — we 
must, I think, state what man is. 

" As it seems to me, man is the highest development of the ' Power ' 
called ' Life ' — a Power added, at a comparatively late period of 
geological time, to Powers already existing. 

" To the question, then, ' Whence comes man ; does he come from 
Nature or from God ? ' we must, I think, reply that not only man, 
but Nature also, owe their existence to the Infinite Eternal Being — 
God, who 'created' all things." Then follows the striking passage 
which he reprints as the 'Argument' of the second work, 'Why Does 
Man Exist ? ' 


" Supposing these answers to be accepted, other questions suggest 
themselves. We want to know why man exists. We want to know 
why God 'created' him. Did God desire that man should be good? 


acteristic example of his style, and as it is also the last letter 

of his I possess, I here reproduce it. 

" Hodcslica, Eastbourne. 
" Mv Deab Wallace, 

" The instinct of self-preservation leads me, as a rule, 
to decline to read and still more to give an opinion about books 
that are sent to me. But, then, they do not usually come with 
such a recommendation as yours, and if your friend Mr. Bell 
is kind enough to send me a copy of his book, I will not only 
read it, but pay him the highest compliment in my power, by 
doing my best to pick holes in it ! I ' can't say no fairer/ 

" I get along very well under conditions of keeping quiet 
here, and I am happy to say that my wife, who joins with me 
in kind remembrances, has greatly improved in health since 
we settled here. 

" Ever yours very faithfully, 

" T. H. Huxley/' 

Is there any reason why he should be good? If there be, then why 
does evil exist? And there arises also the further question, that, 
supposing there be a good reason why man should be good, is good- 
ness possible to him? If his character be made for him, not by him, 
how can he be good if his character, which he did not make himself, 
be not good? Does his existence terminate at death? Does he come 
into the world only for the sake of what he therein does — suffers — 
enjoys? or is his existence continued after death? Is that existence, 
if it be continued after death, to be desired or to be dreaded? Is the 
having been born a misfortune or a blessing? What is the character 
of God? Is he a Being to be feared — to be hated — or to be loved? 
What are man's relations to his fellow-man? What are man's rela- 
tions to God — that awful Being whose power over us seems to be 
absolute? And that last, most terrible of questions, Is man's exist- 
ence owing to God's malevolence — to His indifference — or to His 

Here are surely subjects enough for a volume of 420 pages, and Mr. 
Bell discusses them all thoroughly and honestly, with wonderful 
knowledge and sagacity, with sound logic, and in clear, forcible, and 
often brilliant language. And he arrives at a grand — a magnificent 
conclusion — a conclusion that comes as near to a satisfactory solution 
of these seemingly insoluble problems as with our limited faculties 
we can attain to. 


Although Huxley was as kind and genial a friend and com- 
panion as Darwin himself, and that I was quite at ease with 
him in his family circle, or in after-dinner talk with a few of 
his intimates (and although he was two years younger than 
myself), yet I never got over a feeling of awe and inferiority 
when discussing any problem in evolution or allied subjects 
— an inferiority which I did not feel either with Darwin or Sir 
Charles Lyell. This was due, I think, to the fact that the 
enormous amount of Huxley's knowledge was of a kind of 
which I possessed only an irreducible minimum, and of which 
I often felt the want. In the general anatomy and physiology 
of the whole animal kingdom, living and extinct, Huxley was 
a master, the equal — perhaps the superior — of the greatest 
authorities on these subjects in the scientific world; whereas 
I had never had an hour's instruction in either of them, had 
never seen a dissection of any kind, and never had any incli- 
nation to practise the art myself. Whenever I had to touch upon 
these subjects, or to use them to enforce my arguments, I had 
to get both my facts and my arguments at second hand, and 
appeal to authority both for facts and conclusions from them. 
And because I was thus ignorant, and because I had a positive 
distaste for all forms of anatomical and physiological experi- 
ment, I perhaps over-estimated this branch of knowledge and 
looked up to those who possessed it in a pre-eminent degree as 
altogether above myself.^] 

With Darwin and Lyell, on the other hand, although both 
possessed stores of knowledge far beyond my own, yet I did 
possess some knowledge of the same kind, and felt myself in 
a position to make use of their facts and those of all other 
students in the same fields of research quite as well as the 
majority of those who had observed and recorded them. I 
had, however, very early in life noticed, that men with im- 
mense knowledge did not always know how to draw just 
conclusions from that knowledge, and that I myself was 
quite able to detect their errors of reasoning. I also found 
that when, in my early solitary studies in physics or 
mechanics, I came upon some conclusion which seemed to 
me, for want of clear statement in the books at my command, 

4 o MY LIFE 

contrary to what it ought to he, yet when, later, the matter 
was clearlv explained, I at once saw where my error lay and 
had no further difficulty. I will here mention one of these 
smaller stumbling-blocks, which I know are to this day quite 
impassable by large numbers of persons who arc interested in 
physical science. It is the fact that degrees of latitude 
increase in length from the equator to the pole, the only 
explanation usually given being that this is due to the com- 
pression at the poles, or in other words, of the polar 
diameter being less than the equatorial. Now nine persons 
out of ten (probably more) who know what a "degree' is, 
and have an elementary knowledge of geometry, and perhaps 
a much more than elementary knowledge of several other 
sciences, could not explain offhand why this is so; while 
many of them, meeting with the statement for the first time 
and trying to understand it, would come to the conclusion 
that it was a mistake — perhaps a printer's error, and that 
degrees really decrease towards the pole. For they know that 
a circle is divided into 360 parts, each being a degree, and 
if you draw a circle round the earth, passing through the two 
poles with a radius of half the equatorial diameter, and 
divide it into 360 equal parts, each of those parts will be 
a degree. But the earth's radius at the poles will be about 
132 miles less than at the equator ; therefore the degrees will 
be proportionately less, not more as stated. I possess a pam- 
phlet addressed to the President of the Royal Astronomical 
Society by a Mr. Gumpel, pointing this out, and asking them 
to correct so important an error. But I presume he was 
only laughed at, as what Professor de Morgan called a 
" paradoxer," and the Americans a " crank," and I dare say 
the poor man lived and died in the conviction that astron- 
omers were ashamed to confess their error. Now the 
essential point, rarely explained in popular books, is, that if 
the earth were of exactly the same shape it is now, but did 
not turn on its axis, then degrees of latitude at and near the 
pole would really be shorter than those at and near the 
equator; but the bulging out at the equator is caused by 
the rotation, owing to centrifugal force diminishing the force 


of gravity there, and causing the true sphere, which gravity 
would produce in a non-rotating fluid or flexible mass, to be 
changed into a spheriod of greater diameter at the equator, 
where the rotating motion is swifter, and therefore the 
centrifugal force greater. The surface will therefore become 
a surface of equilibrium, due to the two forces everywhere 
acting upon it, and the direction of a plumb-line will also be 
determined by the same two forces, and will necessarily be 
at right angles to that surface. It follows that as the curva- 
ture along a meridian is more rapid near the equator than 
that of a sphere of the mean diameter of the earth, and less 
rapid or flatter near the poles, therefore two or more plumb- 
lines near the equator will meet at a point nearer than the 
geometrical centre of the earth, while those near the poles 
will meet at a point beyond the geometrical centre, and there- 
fore the degrees near the latter, being measured on a circle 
of longer radius, will be longer than those near the equator. 
It appears, then, that the problem is not a geometrical one, 
as the mere statement of the fact seems to make it, but one 
of mechanics and the laws of motion, and what we really 
measure is the amount of curvature on different parts of the 
earth's surface, not an equal angle measured from its centre, 
which is what the term " degree " usually and properly 
means. From this point of view the astronomers are all 
wrong, since they use the term "degree" of latitude in a 
technical sense, which is not its geometrical meaning, and 
they very rarely explain this to their readers. Degrees of 
latitude are dynamical, not geometrical quantities. 

This rather long digression may be considered to be out 
of place, but it is given in order to illustrate the steps by 
which I gradually acquired confidence in my own judgment, 
so that in dealing with any body of facts bearing upon a 
question in dispute, if I clearly understood the nature of the 
facts and gave the necessary attention to them, I would 
always draw my own inferences from them, even though I 
had men of far greater and more varied knowledge against 
me. Thus I have never hesitated to differ from Lyell, 
Darwin, and even Spencer, and, so far as I can judge, in all 


the cases in which I have so differed, the weight of scientific 
opinion is gradually turning in my direction. In reasoning 
power upon the general phenomena of nature or of society, 
I feel ahle to hold my own with them ; my inferiority consists 
in my limited knowledge, and perhaps also in my smaller 
power of concentration for long periods of time. 

With Huxley also I felt quite on an equality when deal- 
ing with problems arising out of facts equally well known to 
both of us ; but wherever the structure or functions of animals 
were concerned, he had the command of a body of facts so 
extensive and so complex that no one who had not devoted 
years to their practical study could safely attempt to make 
use of them. I therefore never ventured to infringe in any 
way on his special departments of study, though I occa- 
sionally made use of some of the results which he so lucidly 

One of my near neighbours while I lived in London was 
Dr. W. B. Carpenter, the well-known physiologist and micro- 
scopist,and a voluminous writer on various branches of natural 
science. I often called on him in the evening, when I usually 
found him at work with his microscope, and he always took 
pleasure in showing me some special structure or some 
obscure organism, and explaining the nature of what I saw. 
The great controversy was then at its height as to the alleged 
animal nature of a substance found in the Laurentian forma- 
tion of Canada, supposed to be the oldest of all the stratified 
rocks. Dr. Carpenter maintained that it was a low form of 
Foraminifera, a group of which he had made a special study. 
This supposed organism had been named by Sir William 
Dawson, the geologist, Eozoon Canadense, and he was sup- 
ported in his view by Dr. Carpenter, to whom he sent the 
finest procurable specimens. By making sections in various 
directions, and by the knowledge he possessed of the minute 
structure of living and fossil Foraminifers, he arrived at his 
conclusions ; while other observers declared that this sup- 
posed primitive organism was entirely of mineral origin, 
and that all the apparent details of organic structure were 


deceptive. Dr. Carpenter showed me these specimens, and 
pointed out the details of structure on which he relied, but 
having no knowledge of the actual structures with which 
he compared them, I could myself see nothing sufficiently 
definite to settle such an important question. The discussion 
went on very fiercely for years, but the general opinion now 
is that all the appearances are due to forms of crystallization 
in these very ancient metamorphic rocks. Dr. Carpenter 
was also at work on the anatomy and physiology of the 
Crinoidea or sea-lilies, on which he published some important 
papers, and these, too, he would dilate upon and explain, 
though not much to my enlightenment. 

We often walked across the Regent's Park into town 
together, and we were very friendly, though never really 
intimate; and a few years later we entered on a rather acute 
controversy upon mesmerism and clairvoyance, to which I 
shall refer later on. 

Among the more prominent naturalists, one of my chief 
friends, and the one whose society I most enjoyed, was 
Professor St. George Mivart, who for some years lived not 
far from us in London. He was a rather singular compound 
mentally, inasmuch as he was a sincere but thoroughly liberal 
Catholic, and an anti-Darwinian evolutionist. But his 
friendly geniality, his refined manners, his interesting conver- 
sation and fund of anecdote of the most varied kind, rendered 
him a charming companion. His most intimate friends seemed 
to be priests, one or two of whom were almost always among 
the guests, and often the only ones, when I dined with him. 
And they, too, were excellent company, full of humour and 
anecdote of the most varied kind, though also ready for 
serious talk or discussion ; but in either case, with none of 
the reserve or somewhat rigid decorum of the majority of our 
clergy. Mivart visited a good deal in the country houses of 
the aristocracy and country gentlemen, and he used often to 
tell me things that happened in some of them, or that were 
spoken of as common knowledge, which I could not have 
believed on less direct authority, and which went to prove 


that some of the worst features of society morals, such as are 
occasionally revealed in the divorce courts, are by no means 

Mivart thoroughly enjoyed a good dinner (as did I myself) 
and was rather fond of illustrative stories on gastronomic 
subjects. One that has remained in my memory for its 
almost pathetic humour was of two friends recalling old times 
together. " Do you remember," said one, " that splendid 
dinner we had at Grantham, and how we did enjoy it?' "I 
do indeed," said his friend, " and it has been a constant regret 
to me ever since that I did not have a second helping of that 
magnificent haunch of mutton ! " 

He would also sometimes tell of the incredible doings of 
some of the fashionable roues among the wealthy, and if I 
doubted the possibility of such things being true, would appeal 
to the priests, who would assure me that such things, and 
worse, did really occur. 

Mivart was a very severe and often an unfair critic of 
Darwin, and I never concealed my opinion that he was not 
justified in going so far as he did. I also criticised some of 
his own writings, but he took it all very good-naturedly, and 
we always remained excellent friends. Besides natural history 
we had other tastes in common. He enjoyed country life, 
and for some time had a small country house in the wilds of 
Sussex, about midway between Forest Row and Hayward's 
Heath, where we sometimes spent a few days ; and some 
years later he built a house on the Duke of Norfolk's estate 
near Albury, where he had to make a new garden and began 
to take an interest in horticulture. He was also greatly 
interested in psychical research and spiritualistic phenomena; 
but this I shall refer to again when I come to my own exper- 
iences and inquiries on this intensely interesting subject. 

Even more completely than Darwin, Mivart was almost a 
self-taught biologist. He was educated and trained for the 
bar, but never practised, his father being a wealthy man. 
When about five and twenty he began to take an interest 
in anatomy, and determined to study it systematically; 
and he one day told me that when he announced his in- 


tention, his father remarked, " Well, you never have earned 
a penny yet, and I suppose you never will." This rather 
put him on his mettle, and shortly afterwards he wrote 
an article for some periodical, and on receiving a liberal 
honorarium he produced the cheque, jokingly telling his 
father that he had earned it to prove that his prediction was 
a wrong one. This is a curious parallel to Darwin's state- 
ment that when he left school he was considered by his 
masters and by his father as " a very ordinary boy, rather 
below the common standard in intellect.' , 

Considering the period of life at which Mivart first turned 
his attention either to science or literature, the amount of 
knowledge of comparative anatomy he acquired, largely from 
dissections and study carried on at home, was very great, and 
placed him in the first rank among the many great anatomists 
of his time. This is the opinion of the very competent writer 
of his obituary notice in Nature (vol. lxi., p. 569). His 
writings on biological subjects were almost as extensive as 
those of Darwin himself, and his total literary work, largely 
metaphysical and generally of high merit, was very much 
larger. In the excellent obituary notice already referred to 
full justice is done both to the wide knowledge, the intel- 
lectual ability, and the charming personality of one whose 
friendship I continue to look back upon with pleasure and 

I will conclude this chapter with a few words about the 
meetings of the British Association at which I was present. 
In 1862 I was invited by my kind friend, Professor Alfred 
Newton, to be his guest at Magdalen College during the 
meeting, in company with a party of scientific friends, chiefly 
ornithologists. This was both my first visit to Cambridge 
and to the association, and under such pleasant conditions I 
thoroughly enjoyed both. Besides the number of eminent 
men of science I had the opportunity of hearing or seeing, 
I had the pleasure of spending an evening with Charles 
Kingsley in his own house, and enjoying his stimulating con- 
versation. There was also a slight recrudescence of the evolu- 


tion controversy in the rather painful dispute between Pro- 
fessor Richard Owen and Huxley, supported by Flower, on 
certain alleged differences between the brains of man and apes. 
I so much enjoyed the meeting, both in its scientific and 
social aspects, that I attended the next eleven meetings, and 
generally took part in some of the discussions, besides occa- 
sionally reading short papers. One of the most enjoyable 
meetings socially was that at Exeter, where I and a large 
party of scientific men were hospitably entertained at a 
country mansion eight or ten miles from the city, into which 
we were driven and brought back every day. Among the 
guests there was Professor Rankin, who entertained us by 
singing some of his own descriptive or witty compositions, 
especially the ' Song of the Engine Driver," and that inimi- 
table Irish descriptive song on " The City of Mullingar." On 
this occasion there appeared one of the most humorous 
parodies of the work of the association that has ever been 
written, called " Exeter Change for the British Lions." It 
was in the form of a small magazine, giving reports of the 
meetings, with absurd papers, witty verses, and clever 
parodies of the leading members, all worthy of Hood himself 
in his most humorous vein. One of the best of the parodies 
is the following, as all will admit who are familiar with the 
style of the supposed author. 



By John T — nd — ll, ll.d v f.r.s. 

Chastened and invigorated by the discipline of physical research, 
the philosopher fearlessly climbs the never-trodden peaks of pure 
thought, whence he surveys without dizziness the shadowy domain 
which lies beyond the horizon of ordinary observation. The empirical 
art of punch-brewing is co-extensive with civilization. But the molec- 
ular commotion which agitates the palate of the punch-drinker and 
awakes in his brain an indescribable feeling of satisfaction could only 
be apprehended by one whose mind had been previously exercised on 
the parallel bars of acoustics and optics. 


Taste is due to vibratory motion. A peppermint lozenge, for exam- 
ple, dissolving in the mouth, may be likened to a vast collection of 
minute tuning-forks vibrating synchronously. Pulses are imparted 
to the nervous filaments of the tongue and palate, and are translated 
by the internal sense into peppermint. What was molecular agitation 
is now taste. 

With punch properly compounded, we obtain saporous vibrations 
of various degrees of rapidity, but so related that their simultaneous 
action on the organ of taste produces an agreeable harmony. The 
saccharine, acid, and ethylic trills are rhythmical, and a glass of punch 
is truly the analogue of the sonnet. The instinct of man has detected 
many such harmonies which have yet to be investigated. For example : 
what palate is insensible to the harmonious effect of roast hare and 
currant-jelly? But where is the philosopher who can lay his hand 
upon his heart and say he has determined the relation of the saporous 
vibrations of the jelly to those of the hare? My own researches on 
this point have deepened my natural humility, and I now eat my 
currant-jelly with the simple faith of a little child. 

Experiment has proved that the juice of three or four lemons, and 
three-quarters of a pound of loaf-sugar dissolved in about three pints 
of boiling water, give saporous waves which strike the palate at such 
intervals that the thrilling acidity of the lemon-juice and the cloying 
sweetness of the sugar are no longer distinguishable. We have, in 
fact, a harmony of saporific notes. The pitch, however, is too low, 
and to heighten it, we infuse in the boiling water the fragrant yellow 
rind of one lemon. Here we might pause, if the soul of man craved 
no higher result than lemonade. But to attain the culminating sap- 
orosity of punch, we must dash into the bowl, at least, a pint of rum 
and nearly the same volume of brandy. The molecules of alcohol, 
sugar, and citric acid collide, and an entirely new series of vibrations 
are produced — tremors to which the dullest palate is attuned. 

In punch, then, we have rhythm within rhythm, and all that philoso- 
phy can do is to take kindly to its subtle harmonies. It will depend 
in some measure upon previous habits, whether the punch, when mixed, 
will be taken in excess or in moderation. It may become a dangerous 
ally of gravity and bring a sentient being to the gutter. But, on the 
other hand, it may become the potent inner stimulus of a noble out- 
ward life. 

I was also honoured by being admitted to the fraternity 
of the " Red Lions," who fed together during each meeting 
of the association and expressed applause by gentle roars 
and wagging of (coat) tails. On these occasions all kinds of 
jokes were permissible, and speeches were made and songs 

4 8 MY LIFE 

rang by the scientific humourists assembled. At Edinburgh 
in 1871, Lord Waves, a well-known wit and song-writer, was 
and gave us some of his own compositions, especially 
that on "The Origin of Species a la Darwin" — which he 
recited standing up and with very fine humour. The following 
verses are samples : — 

"A very tall Pig with a very long nose 
Sends forth a proboscis right down to his toes, 
And then by the name of an Elephant goes, 

Which Nobody Can Deny. 

" An Ape with a pliable thumb and big brain, 
When the gift of the gab he had managed to gain, 
As Lord of Creation established his reign, 

Which Nobody Can Deny ! " 

And so on for twelve verses, and encouraging roars and great 
final tail-w T agging. 

The most deplorable event in my experience of the associa- 
tion was the choice of the late Duke of Buccleuch as President 
for 1867, at Dundee ; proposed, as I understood, by Sir Roderick 
Murchison and weakly agreed to by his colleagues. The Presi- 
dent's Address has, in every other case, been considered a very 
serious affair, requiring the labour of some months to com- 
pose, in order to render it worthy of an audience consisting 
practically of the best scientific intellect of our country. But 
the president on this occasion evidently considered it a con- 
descension on his part to be there at all. He began by telling 
us that he had never written a speech in his life, and never 
intended to; that he knew very little about science, though no 
doubt it was very useful in its way. Of course it helped us to 
find coal, " and that kind of thing," to support our manufac- 
tures; chemistry, too, very useful, dyeing, manure, and many 
other things — and thus he went on, with a lot of commonplaces 
hardly up to the level of an audience of tenant-farmers, for, I 
suppose, nearly an hour; and then there were complimentary 
speeches! The address — or rather an address — was, of 
course, printed, but I never read it, as I felt sure it would be 


so altered and almost wholly remodelled that it would not at 
all resemble the poor stuff we had been compelled to hear. 

At Glasgow, in 1876, I was President of the Biological 
Section, and our meeting was rendered rather lively by the 
announcement of a paper by Professor W. F. Barrett on 
experiments in thought-reading. The reading of this was 
opposed by Dr. W. B. Carpenter and others, but as it had 
been accepted by the section, it was read. Then followed a 
rather heated discussion; but there were several supporters 
of the paper, among them was Lord Rayleigh, and the public 
evidently took the greatest interest in the subject, the hall 
being crowded. After having studied the matter some years 
longer, Professor Barrett, with the assistance of the late 
Frederick Myers, Professor Sidgwick, Edmund Gurney, and 
a few other friends, founded the Society for Psychical Re- 
search, which has collected a very large amount of evidence 
and is still actively at work. 

I and my wife were entertained at Glasgow by Mr. and 
Mrs. Mirlees, and at one of their dinner-parties we enjoyed 
the company of William Pengelly, of Torquay, the well-known 
explorer of Kent's Cavern, whose acquaintance I had made 
some years before while spending a few days at Torquay with 
my friend and publisher, Mr. A. Macmillan. He sat on one 
side of our hostess, and I and my wife on the other, and during 
the whole dinner he kept up such a flow of amusing and witty 
conversation that the entire party (a large one) looked at us 
with envy. He was certainly among the most genial and witty 
men I have ever met, and could make even dry scientific sub- 
jects attractive by his humorous way of narrating them. It 
was a rather curious coincidence that on this occasion, when 
" psychical research " had first been introduced to the British 
Association, I learnt from Mr. Pengelly that he had himself 
had one of the most amazing psychical experiences on record, 
which I may perhaps find an opportunity of narrating when I 
give an account of my own investigation of these subjects. 

After this year I felt that I had pretty well exhausted the 
interests of the association meetings, and preferred to take 
my autumn holiday, with my wife and two children, either by 

5 o MY LIFE 

tli. or among the mountains, where we could quietly enjoy 

the beauties of nature in aspects somewhat new to us; the 
I nlv exception I afterwards made being the jubilee meeting 

at York, and even here the chief attractions were the beautiful 
Alpine gardens of Mr. Backhouse, the excursion to Ricvaulx 
Abbey, and a visit afterwards to my friend Dr. Spruce in his 
retirement at Welburn, near Castle Howard. 



About a year or two after I had returned home, Sir James 
Brooke had also returned to England, and had retired to 
a small estate at the foot of Dartmoor, where he lived in 
a comfortable cottage-farmhouse amid the wild scenery in 
which he delighted. I had met him once or twice in London, 
and, I think in the summer of 1863 or 1864, he invited me 
to spend a week with him in Devonshire, to meet his former 
private secretary and my old friend in Sarawak, Mr. (now Sir 
Spencer) St. John. We had a very pleasant time, strolling 
about the district or taking rides over Dartmoor; while at 
meals we had old-time events to talk over, with discussions 
of all kinds of political and social problems in the evening. 
At the same time Lady Burdett-Coutts, with her friend Mrs. 
Brown, were staying near, and often drove over and took us 
all for some more distant excursions. 

This meeting and my friendship with Sir James Brooke 
led to my receiving several invitations to dine in Stratton 
Street, where my friend George Silk was also a frequent 
guest ; but my unfortunate habit of speaking my thoughts too 
plainly broke off the acquaintance. The rajah's nephew, 
Captain Brooke, who had been formerly designated as Sir 
James's successor under the Malay title of Tuan Muda (young 
lord), had done or written something (I forget what) to which 
Sir James objected, and a disagreement ensued, which re- 
sulted in the captain being deposed from the heirship, and 
his younger brother Charles, the present rajah, being nomi- 
nated instead. As I was equally friendly and intimate with 


5 2 MY LIFE 

h parties and hoard both sides, I thought the captain had 
been rather hardly treated, and one day, when the subject was 

mentioned at Stratton Street, I ventured to say so. This 
evidently displeased Lady Burdett-Coutts, and I was never 
invited again — a matter which did not at all disturb me, as the 
people I met there were not very interesting to me. When 
Sir James Brooke heard of my indiscretion, he wrote to me 
very kindly, saying that he knew that I was the captain's 
friend and had a perfect right to take his part, and that my 
doing so did not in the least offend him and would make 
no difference in our relations, and I continued to receive 
friendly letters from him till he went to Borneo for the last 
time, in 1866. Soon after his return he died at his Devon- 
shire home, in June, 1868. I have given my estimate of his 
character and of his beneficent work at Sarawak in my " Malay 

One of my early friends, though I did not see a great deal 
of him, was Professor George Rolleston, whose death in the 
prime of life (in 1885) was a great loss to the biological 
sciences. I possess, however, only one letter from him, ac- 
companying some remarks by a friend of his, Dr. Kay, prin- 
cipal of a theological college in Calcutta, on my article in 
The Reader on " How to Civilize Savages/' in which I had 
criticised missionary work, and, by implication, popular ideas 
of the value of Christianity. The MS. sent has been lost, 
but I happen to have a rough copy of my reply, and as it 
argues the missionary question more fully than was thought 
necessary in the article (included with additions in my 
" Studies "), I think it may be well to print it here. 

"9, St. Mark's Crescent, Regent's Park, 
" September 23, 1865. 

" Dear Rolleston, 

" Your friend has very fairly stated my argument, yet 
does not seem to me to touch the point of it in his answer. For 
instance, he says, ' the principal doctrines of Christianity were 
held at the beginning as now.' True, but what was that begin- 


ning? and where did the doctrines and dogmas of Christianity 
spring up? It was in the very focus of all the highest and 
most ancient civilizations of the world — the Jewish, the 
Egyptian, the Assyrian, the Greek, and the Roman. These 
peoples had already gone through the long process of mental 
development which the savage has not even begun. The 
doctrines (of Christianity) grew among them, as they do not 
grow among savages, because they were adapted to the mental 
state in the one case, but are not in the other. 

" What savage nations have (as he asserts) been raised out 
of their degradation by Christianity? The Abyssinians are 
a good case to show that Christianity alone does nothing. 
The circumstances have not been favourable to the growth of 
civilization in Abyssinia, and therefore, though they have had 
Christianity as long as we have (or longer), they are scarcely 
equal morally to many pagan and certainly inferior to some 
Mohammedan nations. This is a crucial instance. 

" He says the Britons did not arrive at any ' great moral 
elevation ' under the Romans. But will he point out any 
savages who have arrived at a ' great moral elevation ' in the 
same time under Christianity? I know of none. No doubt 
there has been often a superficial improvement, as in some 
of the South Sea islands; but it is an open question how 
much of that is due to the purely moral influence of a higher 
and more civilized race. 

" Of course, if you claim all virtue as Christian virtue, and 
impute all want of goodness to want of true Christianity, you 
may prove the value of any religion. The Mohammedan 
argues exactly the same (see Lady Duff Gordon's ' Letters 
from Egypt '). Your friend would no doubt impute whatever 
scraps of goodness there may exist in myself to the Christianity 
in which I was educated; but I know and feel (though it 
would no doubt shock him to hear) that I acted from lower 
motives than I do now, and that I was really inferior morally 
as a Christian than I am now as, what he would call, an 

" I look upon the doctrine of future rewards and punish- 
ments as a motive to action to be radically bad, and as bad 


for savages as for civilized men. I look upon it, above all, as 
a bad preparation for a future slate. I believe that the only 
WO v to teach and to civilize, whether children or savages, is 

through the influence of love and sympathy; and the great 
thing to teach them is to have the most absolute respect for 
the rights of others, and to accustom them to receive pleasure 
from the happiness of others. After this education of habit, 
they should be taught the great laws of the universe and of 
the human mind, and the precepts of morality must be placed 
on their only sure foundation — the conviction that they 
alone can guide mankind to the truest and most widespread 

" I cannot see that the teaching of all this can be furthered 
by the dogmas of any religion, and I do not believe that 
those dogmas really have any effect in advancing morality in 
one case out of a thousand. 

" My article, by the bye, was considerably pruned, and I, 
of course, think spoilt by the editor. 

" Yours very sincerely, 

" Alfred R. Wallace/' 

In the year 1869 it was proposed to establish a scientific 
weekly paper to serve as a record of progress for workers, to 
furnish reviews of scientific books by specialists dealing with 
them on their merits alone, to give reports of the meetings 
of societies, and popular yet accurate accounts of all re- 
markable new facts or theories of general interest. I took 
part in the meetings at which the subject was discussed, 
and undertook to contribute occasionally to its pages, and 
for the next quarter of a century almost every volume of 
Nature, as the new periodical was called, contains either 
reviews, letters, or articles from my pen. In the fifth issue 
(December 2, 1869) there was an article on science reform, 
giving an account of the report of a committee of the British 
Association on a question suggested by a paper read by 
Lieut.-Colonel Strange, entitled, " On the Necessity for State 
Intervention to secure the Progress of Physical Science." 
The committee, almost all professors or officially employed 


men of science, reported that State aid was required, and the 
article in Nature supported the view. Believing that this 
was not only injudicious, but wrong, I thought it advisable to 
state my reasons for opposing it, and sent a rather long letter 
to the editor. It was published on January 13, 1870, but in 
order to counteract its supposed dangerous tendency a 
leading article accompanied it, headed, " Government Aid 
to Science," strongly controverting my views, somewhat mis- 
representing them, and omitting to deal with the main ethical 
question which I raised. As my letter is buried in the first 
volume of a periodical which few of my readers will possess, 
and as I hold the same views still, and consider their advocacy 
to be now more important than ever, I here reproduce my 


Government Aid to Science 

" The public mind seems now to be going wild on the 
subject of education ; the Government is obliged to give way 
to the clamour, and men of science seem inclined to seize the 
opportunity to get, if possible, some share of the public 
money. Art education is already to a considerable extent 
supplied by the State, technical education (which I presume 
means education in ' the arts '), is vigorously pressed upon the 
Government, and science also is now urging her claims to a 
modicum of State patronage and support. 

" Now, I protest most earnestly against the application of 
public money to any of the above-specified purposes, as being 
radically vicious in principle, and as being, in the present state 
of society, a positive wrong. In order to clear the ground, let 
me state that, for the purpose of the present argument, I 
admit the right and duty of the State to educate its citizens. 
I uphold national, but I object absolutely to all sectional or 
class education; and all the above-named schemes are simply 
forms of class education. The broad principle I go upon is 
this — that the State has no moral right to apply funds raised 
by the taxation of all its members to any purpose which is 
not directly available for the benefit of all. As it has no 
right to give class preferences in legislation, so it has no right 


to give class preferences in the expenditure of public money. 
If we follow this principle, national education is not forbidden, 
whether given in schools supported by the State, or in 
museums, or galleries, or gardens fairly distributed over the 
whole kingdom, and so regulated as to be equally available 
for the instruction or amusement of all classes of the com- 
munity. But here a line must be drawn. Hie schools, the 
museums, the galleries, the gardens must all alike be popular 
— that is, adapted for and capable of being fully used and 
enjoyed by the people at large — and must be developed by 
means of public money to such an extent only as is needful 
for the highest attainable popular instruction and benefit. All 
beyond this should be left to private munificence, to societies, 
or to the classes benefited, to supply. 

' In art, all that is needed only for the special instruction of 
artists or for the delight of amateurs, should be provided by 
artists or amateurs. To expend public money on third-rate 
prints or pictures, or on an intrinsically worthless book, both 
of immense money value on account of their rarity, and as 
such of great interest to a small class of literary and art 
amateurs, and to them only, I conceive to be absolutely wrong. 
So, in science, to provide museums such as will at once elevate, 
instruct, and entertain all who visit them may be a worthy and 
just expenditure of public money; but to spend many times 
as much as is necessary for this purpose in forming enormous 
collections of all the rarities that can be obtained, however 
obscure and generally uninteresting they may be, and however 
limited the class who can value or appreciate them, is, as 
plainly, an unjust expenditure. It will perhaps surprise some 
of your readers to find a naturalist advocating such doctrines 
as these; but though I love nature much, I love justice more, 
and would not wish that any man should be compelled to con- 
tribute towards the support of an institution of no interest to 
the great mass of my countrymen, however interesting to 

" For the same reason, I maintain that all schools of art or 
of science, or for technical education, should be supported by 
the parties who are directly interested in them or benefited 


by them. If designs are not forthcoming for the English 
manufacturer, and he is thus unable to compete with 
foreigners, who should provide schools of design but the 
manufacturers and the pupils who are the parties directly 
interested? It seems to me as entirely beyond the proper 
sphere of the State to interfere in this matter, as it would be 
to teach English bootmakers or English cooks at the public 
expense in order that they may be able to compete with 
French artistes in these departments. In both cases such 
interference amounts to protection and class legislation, and 
I have yet to learn that these can be justified by the urgent 
necessity of our producing shawls and calicoes, or hardware 
and crockery, as elegantly designed as those of our neigh- 
bours. And if our men of science want more complete 
laboratories, or finer telescopes, or more costly apparatus of 
any kind, who but our scientific associations and the large 
and wealthy class now interested in science should supply 
the want? They have hitherto done so nobly, and I should 
myself feel that it was better that the march of scientific 
discovery should be a little less rapid (and of late years the 
pace has not been bad) than that science should descend one 
step from her lofty independence and sue in forma pauperis 
to the already overburthened taxpayer. In like manner, if our 
mechanics are not so well able as they might be to improve 
the various arts they are engaged in, surely the parties who 
ought to provide the special education required are the great 
employers of labour, who by their assistance are daily building 
up colossal fortunes ; and also that great and wealthy class 
which is, professionally or otherwise, interested in the con- 
structive or decorative arts. 

" I maintain further, not only that money spent by 
Government for the purposes here indicated is wrongly spent, 
but also that it is, in a great measure, money wasted. The 
best collectors (whether in art or science) are usually private 
amateurs; the best workers are usually home-workers or the 
employes of scientific associations, not of Governments. Could 
any Government institution have produced results so much 
superior to those of our Royal Institution, with its Davy, 


Faraday, and Tyndall, as to justify the infringement of a 
great principle? Would the grand series of scientific and 

mechanical inventions of this century have been more 
thoroughly or more fruitfully worked out if Government had 

taken science and invention under its special patronage in 

the year 1800, and had subjected them to a process of forcing 
(in a kind of LapUta College) from that day to this? No 
one can really believe we should have got on any better under 
such a regime, while it is certain that much power would have 
been wasted in the attempt to develop inventions and dis- 
coveries before the age was ripe for them, and which would 
therefore have inevitably languished and been laid aside with- 
out producing any great results. Experience shows that free 
competition ensures a greater supply of the materials and a 
greater demand for the products of science and art, and is 
thus a greater stimulus to true and healthy progress than any 
Government patronage. Let it but become an established rule 
that all institutions solely for the advancement of science and 
art must be supported by private munificence, and we may be 
sure that such institutions would be quite as well kept up as 
they are now, and I believe much better. If they were not 
it would only prove more clearly how unjust it is to take 
money from the public purse to pay for that which science 
and art lovers would very much like to have, but are not will- 
ing themselves to pay for. 

" The very common line of argument, which attempts to 
prove the widespread uses and high educating influence of 
art and of science, is entirely beside the question. Every 
product of the human intellect is more or less valuable; but 
it does not therefore follow that it is just to provide any 
special product for those who want it at the expense of those 
who either do not want or are not in a condition to make 
use of it. Good architecture, for instance, is a very good 
thing, and one we are much in want of; but it will hardly 
be maintained that architects should be taught their profession 
at the public expense. The history of old china, of old 
clothes, or of postage-stamps are each of great interest to 
more or less extensive sections of the community, and much 


may be said in each case to prove the value of the study; 
but surely no honest representative of the nation would vote, 
say, the moderate sum of a million sterling for three museums 
to exhibit these objects, with a full staff of beadles, curators, 
and professors at an equally moderate expenditure of £10,000 
annually, with perhaps a like sum for the purchase of 
specimens. But if we once admit the right of the Govern- 
ment to support institutions for the benefit of any class of 
students and amateurs, however large and respectable, we 
adopt a principle which will lead us to offer but a weak 
resistance to the claims of less and less extensive interests 
whenever they happen to become the fashion. 

" If it be asked (as it will be) what we are to do with 
existing institutions supported by Government, I am prepared 
to answer. Taking the typical examples of the National 
Gallery and the British Museum, I would propose that these 
institutions should be reorganized, so as to make them in the 
highest degree instructive and entertaining to the mass of 
the people; that no public money should be spent on the 
purchase of specimens, but what they already contain should 
be so thoroughly cared for and utilized as to render these 
establishments the safest, the best, and the most worthy 
receptacles for the treasures accumulated by wealthy amateurs 
and students, who would then be ready to bestow them on 
the nation to a greater extent than they do at present. From 
the duplicates which would thus accumulate in these institu- 
tions the other great centres of population in the kingdom 
should be proportionately supplied, and from the Metropolitan 
centres trained officers should be sent to organize and super- 
intend local institutions, such a proportion of their salaries 
being paid by Government as fairly to equalize the expendi- 
ture of public money over the whole kingdom, and thus not 
infringe that great principle of equality and justice which, I 
maintain, should be our guide in all such cases. 

"Alfred R. Wallace/' 

I received one solitary letter from a scientific man sup- 
porting my views — Mr. G. R. Crotch, of the University 


Library, Cambridge, a very good naturalist and rcasoner. 
But the process of forcing on expenditure for scientific pur- 
poses has gone on increasing: the Challenger expedition, with 
its enormously costly publication of results in thirty-seven 
large quarto volumes, of not the least interest to any but 
specialists in biology and physics; the new buildings at South 
Kensington for the Science and Art Department ; the enor- 
mous and unending increase of new buildings for the housing 
of all the output of the modern book trade, and of the 
hundreds and thousands of daily and weekly newspapers, and 
the monthly magazines and endless trade and art and specialist 
periodicals — huge mountains of rubbish that each succeeding 
year will render more utterly impossible of examination by 
any human being who may live in the next century. In 
connection with South Kensington, the suggestion has been 
put forward that a million of money is required to properly 
house the various scientific departments there; while, most 
recent of all, there has been an influential request for an 
anthropometrical survey and sickness registration of the whole 
population, at a cost comparable with that of the geological 
survey ! the grounds being that it is the only way to ascertain 
if there is any physical deterioration of the people, and thus 
enable the Government to stave off any fundamental remedial 
measures by the excuse of want of further information! 

Among the many pleasant episodes of my life was my 
connection with Mr. Augustus Mongredien, a member of the 
Corn Exchange, a writer on free trade, and author of a book 
published by Murray in 1870 — " Trees and Shrubs for English 
Gardens." When I got my chalk-pit at Grays, in 1871, built 
a house there, and began to take a great interest in gardening, 
I bought this book, and in consequence wrote to the author. 
Soon afterwards he invited me to visit him at Heatherside, 
on the Bagshot sands, where he had formed a nursery of 
several hundred acres, planted with a great variety of trees 
and shrubs then just coming to maturity. He then formed 
it into a joint- stock company, and persuaded me, along with 
Mr. Fortune, the well-known traveller and plant-collector in 


China and Japan, and several other persons connected with 
horticulture, to become directors. After two or three years 
(there being a mortgage on the property) the company had 
to be dissolved, and Mr. Mongredien lost all he had invested 
in it. During the time it lasted, however, I and my wife 
often spent from Saturday to Monday at Heatherside with 
Mr. Mongredien, his wife, and two daughters; and among 
the friends we occasionally met there was Professor (after- 
wards Sir Richard) Owen, the great anatomist, and one of 
the most charming of companions. Mr. Mongredien himself 
was a highly educated and most energetic man, and a great 
converser. He knew most European languages well, including 
modern Greek, and was a good classical scholar. He was 
also well read in general literature, devotedly fond of plants 
and of nature generally, and somewhat of a bon vivant; and 
when I add that his wife was agreeable, and his daughters 
intellectual, it will be seen that we had all the elements to 
make our visits delightful. I had had some correspondence 
with Professor Owen many years before about the specimens 
of orang-utan I sent home from Borneo, and I had occasion- 
ally met him at scientific societies or at the British Museum; 
but here I saw him in his social aspect, telling us curious 
little anecdotes about animals, or quoting the older poets for 
the gratification of the young ladies. He was also very fond 
of gardening, and we spent much of our time in long walks 
about the grounds, where there were quantities of the finest 
species of conifers from about ten to thirty feet high and 
in perfect health, and showing all the exquisite beauties of 
their special type of vegetation in form, foliage, and colour 
more completely than when at a greater age. These visits 
gave me a knowledge and love of trees and shrubs, which 
has been a constant pleasure to me in the three gardens I 
have since had to make, from the very beginning. 

Among the dearest of my friends, the one towards whom 
I felt more like a brother than to any other person, was Dr. 
Richard Spruce, one of the most cultivated and most charm- 
ing of men, as well as one of the most enthusiastic and 


observing of botanists. As he lived in Yorkshire after 1867, 

I only saw him at rather long intervals, but I generally took 

the opportunity of lecture engagements in the north to pay 

him a few days' visit. Our correspondence also was scanty, 
as he was a great invalid and could not write much, and I 
only preserved such letters as touched upon subjects con- 
nected with my own work. I will, however, give a few 
extracts from these, both to illustrate the character of a little- 
known man of science, and also because some of the matters 
touched on are of general scientific interest. 

I sent Spruce a copy of my little volume of Essays on 
' Natural Selection," in 1870, and after reading it he sent it 
on to his friend, W. Wilson, of Warrington, a British botan- 
ist, and, like my friend, an enthusiast in mosses. His reply 
Spruce sent to me, and it is rather amusing, as showing the 
feeling of the older school of naturalists towards the new 
heresy of Darwinism. 

"My Dear Friend, 

You will think me a wayward chiel when you hear my 
confession that to-day, feeling very squeamish mentally, I 
happened to bethink myself of Wallace's book, and ventured 
to open it with great misgivings about my coming into rapport 
with one whom you introduced to me as the champion of 
Darwinian philosophy. With fear and trembling I paused on 
the threshold of the book, just to see what I should have 
to grapple with. The ' Contents,' therefore, engaged such 
attention as I could command, and after examining, or rather 
glancing, at the contents of the first seven chapters without 
much emotion of either attractive or repulsive character, 
skipped over to chapter x., the last of the series, not greatly 
excited at either pole of the intellect, until I came to * Matter 
is Force ; all Force is probably Will-force.' ' Oho ! ' said I, 
' now we come to something of interest and connected with 
my friend Rev. T. P. Kirkman's rather unskillfully written 
pamphlet on this very subject — we shall have everything in 
shape and properly argued by the clear-minded Wallace, no 


" My inquisitiveness, however, did not prevent my begin- 
ning at the beginning of the chapter, and I now write before 
I have come to the question of force and matter. I am de- 
lighted and most agreeably surprised to discover that Wallace, 
whom I least expected to agree with me, confirms what I said 
to you in a previous letter about Darwin's theory being one 
truth in conjunction with another (and perhaps higher) truth ; 
not the only truth in reference to created entities. 

" Well, if Wallace has nothing more contrarient than the 
contents of this chapter are likely to present to me, I shall 
not fear to read the rest of the book, despondent of coming 
into complete harmony with him, neither need you fear that 
I shall remain sceptical on those points where already I am 
willing to receive them in hypothesis for all really useful or 
practical purposes in reference to classification. I have as 
yet to assure myself that chapter x. is not a delusive phan- 
tasmal addition written or dreamed by myself, and which I 
shall soon find, on waking, to be unreal and imaginary. 

" As it is, all my apprehensions of a soporific, such as I 
found Darwin's book to be, are dispelled. The book is a 
very readable one, at any rate, and no one need go to sleep 
over it . . . (a long passage here on origin of sense of 

" Many, many thanks for the loan of this book. Even 
the little I have read would demand a most grateful return, 
and I would not have missed it for a good deal. I now 
anticipate an intellectual feast over the whole of the book, 
and shall carry it with me joyfully and hopefully to South- 

" I am glad to learn that Terrington Carr is not entirely 
obsolete and abolished. I do hope to see it again with my 
own eyes, and to gather the sphagnum. 

" Ever affectionately and truly yours, 

" W. Wilson/' 

It is curious that this chapter x., which was so grievous 
a falling-off to Darwin that he scored it with " No ! No ! " 
and could hardly believe I wrote it, should have been the 


means of attracting one good botanist to read it with atten- 
tion, and thus probably to make a convert. 

A letter from Spruce, dated WVlburn, Yorkshire, Decem- 
ber 28, 1873, gives some interesting matter on a botanical 
subject on which I had consulted him. 

" My article on the modifications in plant-structure pro- 
duced by the agency of ants was never printed. After I 
had been told that the MSS. was in the printer's hands, it 
was returned to me with the request that I would strike out 
of it two or three short passages, amounting altogether to 
hardly a page of the Linnccan Journal. I declined to do 
this, for the obnoxious passages summarized my views on 
the permanent effects produced on certain species of plants 
by the unceasing operations of ants, extending doubtless 
through thousands of ages ; and these views were founded on 
observations continued during eight consecutive years. The 
bare reading of the paper, at the Linnaean, seems to have left 
a very erroneous impression on some of the auditors. Some- 
bodv — I believe it was at a meeting of vour own Entomo- 
logical Society — has credited me with the theory that plants 
take to climbing to get out of the way of the ants ! As I 
read this absurd statement I thought that none of the plants 
I had commented on had a climbing habit ; but on looking 
over the list of two or three hundred species, I find there is 
a single one that climbs. 

" When you go to the British Museum or to the Kew 
Herbarium, ask to look at the genus Tococa or Myrmidone, in 
Melastomacese, and you will see examples of the curious sacs 
on the leaves which are inhabited by ants. Similar sacs are 
found on the leaves also of certain Chrysobalaneae, Rubiacese. 
etc., and analogous ones on the branches of cordias and other 
plants. I believe that in many cases these sacs have become 
inherited structures — as much as the spurs of orchids and 
columbines, and thousands of other asymetrical structures, all 
of which I suppose to have originated in some long-continued 
external agency. 

"I know that I ought to have gone carefully over my 
specimens again, and to have had drawings prepared to 


illustrate my memoir. It is the inability to do this which 
has kept me from writing on many subjects which engaged 
my attention during the course of my travels. . . . 

" The ants cannot be said to be useful to the plants, any- 
more than fleas and lice are to animals. They make their 
habitation in the melastomas, etc., and suck the juice of the 
sweet berries ; and the plants 'have to accommodate to their 
parasites as they best may. But even an excrescence may be 
turned into a ' thing of beauty,' as witness the galls of the 
wild rose. 

" That diseased structures may become inherited — even 
in the human subject — there is plenty of evidence to prove. 
Some curious instances are given in Dr. Elam's ' Physician's 
Problems.' " 

At this period Dr. Spruce was, of course, not aware of 
the very strong evidence against the inheritance of acquired 
characters of any kind, nor had he the advantage of Kerner's 
wonderful series of observations on the nature of protective 
plant-structures against enemies of various kinds — " unbidden 
guests." Nor was he aware of Belt's remarkable explanation 
of the use to the plant of one of the most remarkable of these 
ant-structures — the'bull's-horn thorns of a species of acacia. 
He shows that the ants encouraged by these structures to 
inhabit the plants are stinging species, are very pugnacious, 
and thus protect the foliage both from browsing mammals, 
from other insects, and even from the large leaf-cutting ants. 1 
In a later letter, however, Dr. Spruce adopts utility to the 
plant as a general principle. 

In a letter, dated Coneysthorpe, Malton, Yorkshire, July 
28, 1876, he writes as follows : — 

" I can hardly say that I have ever speculated on the 
purport of the odours of leaves, but I have (at your in- 
stance) rummaged in my notes and my memory, for such 
evidence as I possess on that head, and will lay it before 

" Every structure, every secretion, of a plant is (before all) 
beneficial to the plant itself. That is, I suppose, an incontro- 

1 " The Naturalist in Nicaragua," pp. 218, 223. 


rtible m. ( )doriferous glands, especially if imbedded 
in the leaf, act as a protection against leaf-cutting ants, and 
it-: some extent) also against caterpillars. I can remember 

no instance of seeing insects attracted to a plant, to aid in its 
fertilization, or for any oilier purpose, by their presence. The 
glands on which some insects t\ed arc (so far as I know) 

always exposed, either in the shape of cups on the petioles, 

involucres &c, or of bairs with dilated and hollow bases, 
and of sessile or stalked cysts, on the leaves, petioles, pedicels 
&C. : and the secretion is either tasteless or slightly sweet, 
but inodorous — to our senses at least. 

" Trees with aromatic leaves abound in the plains of 
equatorial America. Those which have the aromatic (and 
often resinous) secretion imbedded in distinct cysts include 
all Myrtacea, Myrsineae, Sanydeas, and many Euphorbiaceae 
Compositae etc. The leaves of very few of these are, when 
growing, ever touched by leaf-cutting ants. In the few cases, 
however, where the secretion is slightly but pleasantly bitter, 
and wholesome, as in the Orange, the leaves are quite to their 
taste. At a farm house on the Trombetas * I was shown 
orange-trees which had been entirely denuded in a single 
night by Sauba ants. Various expedients are resorted to by 
the inhabitants of Sauba-infested lands to protect their fruit- 
trees, such as a small moat, kept constantly filled with water, 
around each tree ; or wrapping the base of the trunk with 
cotton kept soaked with andiroba oil, etc. 

[" Note. — Leaf-cutters in the vicinity of man work chiefly 
by night, taught doubtless by painful experience of his vicious 
propensity to interfere with their operations. But in the 
depths of the forest I have often caught them at work, some 
up a tree cutting off leaves and even slender young branches, 
others on the ground sawing them up and carrying them off. 
When at San Carlos, 2 I one day went into the forest to 
gather a Securidaca (woody Polygaleous twiner) I had seen 
coming into flower a few weeks before. I found it in full 
flower, but the little tree on which it grew — a Phyllanthus, 

1 A northern tributary of the Amazon above Santarem. 

2 The first village in Venezuela on the Upper Rio Negro. — A. R. W. 


with slightly milky and quite innocuous juice, had been taken 
possession of by a horde of ants, and I had to wait until they 
had stripped it of every leaf before I could pull down my 
Securidaca, which they had left quite untouched. It was 
probably preserved by its drastic properties from sharing the 
fate of the Phyllanthus.] 

" Many odoriferous leaves seem destitute of special oil- 
glands, and their essential oil probably exists in nearly every 
cell, along with the chlorophyll as I have found it in several 
aromatic Hepaticas. Many Laurinese and Burseraceae (Amyri- 
deae of Lindley) are in this case. The latter are eminently 
resiniferous, and yield the best native pitch (the brea branca) 
of the Amazon valley. I have never seen their leaves muti- 
lated by ants, and I think never by caterpillars. Oil-glands 
indeed exist in many plants where they are either so deeply 
imbedded or so minute as only to be detected by close 
scrutiny. Their presence was denied in the Nutmegs (see 
Lindley, etc.) 1 until I found them in the American species, 
and one species has them so conspicuous that I have called 
it Myristica punctata. 

" In nearly all these plants, however, when the essential 
oil has been wholly or in part dissipated by drying, the 
leaf-cutters find the leaves apt material for their purpose — 
whatever that may be. 2 They once fell on some of my dried 
specimens, and first cut up a Croton — a genus I had never 
seen them touch in the living state. It reminded me of our 
cows in England, which cautiously avoid the fresh foliage of 
Buttercups, but eat it readily when made into hay. The 
acrid principle in these and many other plants, odorous and 
inodorous, is known to be highly volatile. 

" Where aromatic plants most abound is in the dry — often 
nearly treeless — mountainous parts of southern Europe and 
Western Asia, especially in the sierras of Spain. When I 

1 In Lindley's "Vegetable Kingdom" (3rd ed.) he gives among the 
characters of the Order Myristicaceae, " Leaves not dotted." — A. R. W. 

2 The ants store these leaves in extensive underground cavities, 
where fungi grow on them on which the ants feed (see Bates and 
Belt).— A. R. W. 


was with Dufour at St. Sever, in April. [846, he received 
a large parcel of plants recently gathered in the Sierra 
Guadarama by Prof. Graells, of Madrid. A wry large pro- 
!>• >rtion were aromatic, and many of them Labiates. 

" 1 cannot make out that plants with scented leaves abound 
more in the tropics than in mid-Europe; nor does there 
seem to be a larger proportion of them in any zone of the 
equatorial Andes than in the Amazonian plain ; although, as 
hill-plants are often gregarious, and those of hot plains very 
rarely so, odoriferous plants may seem more prevalent in the 
high Andes than on the Amazon. 

' Plants growing nearest eternal snow in the Andes are, 
however (so far as I have observed them), all scentless; but 
some acquire an aroma in drying, as, for example the thick 
roots of the \ r alerians that abound there. 

" Aromatic plants grow in the Andes up to, perhaps, 13,000 
feet, and consist chiefly of Composites, Myrtles, Labiates and 
Verbenas. I know a hill-side at about 9000 feet, which at 
this time of year is one mass of odoriferous foliage and 
flowers, chiefly of a Labiate undershrub (Gardoquia fasci- 
culata, Bth.). Another slope of far wider extent is much 
gayer with varied colour mainly of the blue flowers of Dalea 
Mutisii H. B. K. — a papilionaceous shrub allied to the Indigos 
— and of the red-purple foxglove-like flowers of Lamourou.ria 
virgata H. B. K. (which is parasitic on the roots of the 
Dalea) mingled with the yellow flowers of the Quitenian 
broom {Genista Quitensis, L.), and of many other herbs 
and shrubs with flowers of various shades of colour ; but 
aromatic plants are almost unrepresented except by scattered 
bushes of a Salvia and a Eupatorium. Analogous contrasts 
are common enough in our own country. 

1 In those parts of the Peruvian and Quitenian Andes 
I have explored, I have not found odoriferous plants more 
abundant than in some parts of England and the Pyrenees; 
yet they are quite as much so as in the Amazonian plain, and 
often belong to the same Natural Orders. Now leaf-cut- 
ting ants are unknown in the Andes ; whence I infer that, 
although the presence of a pungent smell and taste may be 


protective to leaves in hot forests where such ants do exist, 
it has not been acquired originally to provide the requisite 

" I much doubt the correctness of Mr. Belt's theory that 
the ants which inhabit leaf-sacs protect the leaves from leaf- 
cutting ants ; for the leaves of such plants are almost inva- 
riably thin and dry ; whereas the Sauba always selects leaves 
that are more or less coriaceous, and if it really wanted the 
sacciferous leaves I fancy it would make short work of 
their frail inhabitants. Besides, there are numbers of 
Melastomes, allied to Tococa and Myrmidone, which the 
Sauba never touches, although they have no protective (?) 
sacs; but it cuts up readily the coriaceous leaves of other 
Melastomes, such as various Bellucias, Henrietteas, etc. 

" Richard Spruce." 

This letter was written in pencil lying on a couch, to which 
he was confined the greater part of the day during the latter 
years of his life, and I have much pleasure in printing it here, 
because it serves to show my friend's acuteness of observation, 
and the great interest he took, not only in the structure, but 
in the whole life and nature of the plants he loved so well, and 
in their relations to the animal world. I have no doubt but 
that his objection to Belt's theory that the small stinging 
ants protected the leaves of the trees or shrubs they inhabited 
from the very powerful and destructive Sauba ants, are quite 
sound, and that his many years' observations in the Amazonian 
forests are to be trusted on this point; yet I believe that 
Belt was right in their being protective, and there are many 
devourers of leaves that are as destructive as the leaf-cutting 
ants. Shrubs which always had colonies of stinging ants 
would probably be avoided by the tapir and by deer, while 
they would almost certainly check the ravages of caterpillars, 
locusts, and the large leaf- and stick-insects. 

There is another point that this letter illustrates: the 
wonderful complexity and adaptability of organization of all 
living things leading to that infinite variety of form and 
structure, of colour and motion, which constitute the greatest 



rm of the study of nature. People continually ask, "It 
leaves arc Buch a protection, why do not all plants 
have them? If so man) can do without them the} cannot 
lir of any use." And the same objection is made to all the 
other wonderful modes of protection by concealing colours or 
p. uterus, by resembling uneatable or dangerous species, by the 
production of spines or various kinds of armour. " Why are 

not all protected?" they say. " You admit that the majority 
are without these kinds of protection, yet they all continue 
to exist. The whole idea is therefore a delusion." And th< 
think they have thus destroyed a large part of Darwin's theory. 
But all this shows that they are either ignorant of, or forget, 
the main facts on which that theory is founded — the enormous 
rate of possible increase of all organisms, the intensity there- 
fore of the struggle to exist, since only the few best adapted 
of these enormous numbers can survive to produce offspring; 
and also the undoubted fact that species vary enormously in 
population, some being common over large areas, some com- 
paratively scarce, others confined to very limited areas, others 
again only existing in such small numbers and in such 
restricted areas that they are very rarely found. Now, if 
some great change of climate comes on slowly, such a mixed 
population of species will be affected in different ways and 
will require different modifications to become adapted to it. 
Some will become extinct, some will be adapted in one way, 
some in quite a different way, depending partly on the kind 
and amounts of variation that occur in each species. Some 
will therefore become more numerous in individuals, others 
less ; and when the complete change of climate has been 
effected, we should find a new set of species, some differing 
very little, others very greatly from the former inhabitants 
of the district, but all fairly well adapted to live under the 
new conditions. Taking the one case of the protected leaves, 
it would be only those which were in some danger of exter- 
mination by insect and other enemies that would develop 
the various forms of protection by oil-glands, or hairs, or 
spines, or by attracting stinging ants; while many which 
existed in great numbers and over wide areas, and which 


produced abundance of seed annually ready to fill up all 
vacancies caused by death, could (metaphorically) laugh at 
all such enemies, and let them devour as they pleased. Such 
a plant is our own oak tree, which, though infested by galls 
of many kinds and devoured by numerous caterpillars, is 
yet not in the least danger of extinction by them, and there- 
fore has developed no special protection against them. 

Again, when in any one year much injury is done by 
caterpillars, that affords such an increase of food to young 
birds that the insects are almost all destroyed, and in the 
following year there are comparatively few, giving the trees 
time to recuperate and attain to their former vigour ; while 
in the following year the birds have less food and are thus 
diminished in numbers. This wonderful action and reaction 
of all living things on each other is beautifully described 
by Mr. Hudson in the chapter of his " Naturalist in La Plata," 
entitled " A Wave of Life." 

Early in 1879 I read Grant Allen's book on the " Colour 
Sense' (for the purpose of a review in Nature), and wrote 
to Spruce asking for some information as to the colours of 
edible fruits in the South American forests. His reply was, 
as usual, full of interesting and suggestive facts, and I here 
give it. 

" To reply fully to the queries in your last letter would 
require me to wade through several volumes of my MSS., 
but I have put together a few excerpta which may serve your 
present purpose, if they only reach you in time. 

" I fear I cannot adduce much evidence as to the fruits 
most sought after by birds and monkeys. I have seen birds 
feed on various fruits, but on scarcely any that were not food 
for man — or at least for Indian man — although a few of 
them might be too austere, or too acid, for my taste. If, 
as Sterne says, ' dogs syllogize with their noses,' so do birds 
with their beaks, monkeys and Indians with their teeth : 
insomuch as relates to the choice of food. In my long 
voyage on the Cassiquiare, Alto Orinoco, and some of their 
tributary streams, my Indians met with many fruits new to 


them, all of which that looked at all promising, they tried 
their teeth on; and, if the taste suited they ate on without 
dread of consequences. Drupaceous fruits especially were 
found almost uniformly wholesome, although the juice of 
the hark &C. might be acrid or poisonous. It is curious 
that in the Apocynea — an order notable for its abundant 
milky, and usually poisonous juice — the fruits arc rarely, or 
very slightly, milky, and the succulent fruits (which are 
found in about half the species) are almost invariably whole- 
some. You know the Thcvctias, whose large bony triangular 
endocarps, strung together, form the rattles which the Uanpe 
Indians tie round their ankles in their dances. The milk of 
the bark is a deadly poison — Humboldt says a scratch from 
a thumb-nail anointed with it is almost certain death. At 
Marabitanas a well-grown tree of T. ncriifoUa grew near the 
Commandante's house. It bore flowers and ripe fruits — 
drupes, with a thin yellowish cuticle, and about as much flesh 
on them as on an average plum ; and I noticed that the Com- 
mandante's fowls greedily ate up the fleshy part of any fruit 
that might chance to fall. Seeing this, I thought I might 
safely eat of them ; so I gathered and ate four. What little 
taste they had was rather pleasant, and no ill effects followed. 
I had not then seen (as I saw a few years afterwards) what 
a quantity of black pepper and tobacco a fowl can swallow 
with impunity, or I might have thought the experiment rather 

" Many fruits and seeds are sought by animals of all 
kinds for the sake of their farinaceous or oleaginous prop- 
erties. The envelope of these, in any part of the world, is 
not often gaily coloured, although some pods of Amazonian 
Leguminosse are deep red, and the contained seeds are very 
often painted or mottled. I suppose however it is about 
the succulent, sweet or acid fruits — the drupes and berries — 
you chiefly enquire. The great mass of these are certainly 
as vividly coloured as any fruits of temperate climes — more 
so indeed, in many cases, than the flowers that precede them. 
Call to mind the bright reds and yellows of the Peach-palm, 
the Mango, the enlarged fleshy pear-like petiole of the 


Cashew, &c. &c. Purple or almost black fruits, often with a 
bloom on them, are found in many genera of Palms ; in the 
delicious little sloe-like fruits called Umiri (species of Humi- 
rium) ; in the Co euros — exquisite grape-like fruits hanging 
in dense bunches from little trees of the order Artocarpess 
(Pouruma cecropicefolia, P. retusa, P. apiculata &c). Among 
the smaller Palms (Bactris and Geonoma) some have bright 
red, others black fruits. Papaws have the fruit yellow in the 
species of the plain ; in the mountain species greenish, although 
some of the smaller ones have scarlet fruit. Myrtles (the 
berried species, all of which have innocuous, although not 
many sapid fruits) have in the great majority of Amazon 
species, black-purple fruits ; in some they are red and often 
intensely acid ; in others yellow, &c. 

" Succulent fruits with a russet or grey coat are not 
numerous on the Amazon. There, as elsewhere, they owe 
that peculiarity to the cuticle minutely breaking up and 
withering, yet still more or less firmly persisting. Of this 
class are the very fine and large fruits called Cuma in the 
Tupi language, yielded by two Apocyneous trees of the Rio 
Negro (Cotima triphylla and C. dulcis) and one of the Ori- 
noko (C. oblongce). The thickish russet rind contains seeds 
nestling in copious pulp, which eats rather like the fruit of the 
Medlar or Service, although far sweeter, whence the Portu- 
guese colonists called the tree Sorveira. The bark abounds in 
thick, sweet and wholesome milk, which is excellent glue. 

" As the Greengage (whose coat is sometimes partly russet- 
grey) is the finest among European plums, so is the homely- 
coloured Cuma among all the fruits of the Rio Negro. 

" I think I could count on my fingers (if I exclude the 
melon-tribe) all the edible green drupes and berries of the 
Rio Negro. The chief of them are the Alligator-pear and 
some Custard-apples, although some of the latter have a 
yellow, some a white, and some a red-purple rind." 

Then among other home and private matters comes the 
remark equally appropriate now, " What an awful state the 
country is getting into ! ' War and wasteful expenditure ' 
seems to be the key-note of our Government." 


The special points of interests in the above letter are its 
complete confirmation of the views derived from European 

plant-, as to use of the colours of fruits in indicating those 

which arc edible for birds or arboreal mammals, while the 

few exceptions as regards colour arc of those large and very 
sweet fruits whose attractions are sufficient without the signal 
of bright colour. Again, the very frequent occurrence of 
acrid or poisonous juice or milk in the hark and leaves, pro- 
tecting the young shoots and trees from herbivorous animals, 
combined with perfectly innocuous and often agreeable fleshy 
or juicy fruits in order to assist in their dispersal, so clearly 
implies a selective agency in two opposite directions in the 
same species, as almost to amount to the required demonstra- 
tion of the existence of natural selection. 

I cannot forbear calling attention to the extremely careful 
wording and punctuation of these letters, written from a sick 
couch, and of which I have not altered a word or a comma. 
The clearness and accuracy with which the information is 
conveyed fittingly corresponds with the writer's careful obser- 
vation of every aspect and detail of plant life. Had his health 
permitted more continuous work for a few years longer, he 
would probably have given us a volume upon all the chief 
aspects and relations of the vegetation of the forests and 
mountains of equatorial America, which would have been of 
the greatest scientific and popular interest. 



One of the most interesting, amusing, and eccentric men I 
became acquainted with during my residence in London, and 
with whom I soon became quite intimate, was Dr. T. Purland, 
a dentist, living in Mortimer Street, Cavendish Square. He 
was a stout, dark, middle-aged man, with somewhat Jewish 
features, and of immense energy and vitality — one of those 
men whose words pour out in a torrent, and who have always 
something wise or witty to say. He had been a great coin- 
collector, and had many anecdotes to tell of rarities hit upon 
accidentally. He had an unbounded admiration for Greek 
coins as works of art, and would dilate upon their beauties as 
compared with the poor and inartistic works of our day. 
He was something of an Egyptologist, and had many odds 
and ends of antiquities, including teeth from mummies and 
dentists' instruments found in the old tombs and sarcophagi. 
He was a widower with three growing-up children, and had 
been obliged to part with all the more valuable parts of his 
collection to educate them. 

He was a very powerful mesmerist, and helped, with Dr. 
Elliotson and others, in establishing the mesmeric hospital 
then in existence, and could succeed in sending patients into 
the mesmeric trance when other operators failed. He was one 
of the few men at that time who had been up in a balloon 
(with Green, the celebrated aeronaut, I think), and one even- 
ing at our house in St. Mark's Crescent, when Huxley and 
Tyndall were present, he made some remarks which interested 
Tyndall, who thereupon asked him many questions as to 
his sensations, the general appearance of the earth, clouds, 



etc., to all of which Dr. Purland replied with such prompti- 
tude and intelligence that all our friends were soon gath- 
ered round to hear the discussion, which went on a long 

Dr. Purland also possessed a most interesting series of 
scrap-books, in which he had collected an immense number 
of engravings and woodcuts from old magazines, papers, and 
books, which, during his life in London, he had picked up at 
bookstalls or among his friends. These were beautifully ar- 
ranged in a series of uniform quarto volumes, in some of 
which he had illustrated his own second marriage by means 
of a series of appropriate caricatures, showing the courtship, 
the proposal, the ceremony, the wedding breakfast, the de- 
parture, the wedding journey, with numerous incidents to the 
return home ; and occasionally among friends he would go 
through all these, describing the various incidents in a most 
humorous manner, so as to keep us all highly amused. When 
he came to any of our evening receptions, he usually appeared 
with one of these books under his arm, and it was always 
a source of much interest to our guests. Besides these books, 
he had a great collection of odd duplicate scraps, some of 
which he used to gum on to the envelopes of letters in place 
of a seal, or inside to illustrate some matter referred to in 
the letter. 

I possess about a dozen of his letters — replies to invitations, 
remarks on reading my early books, or other matters — all 
so amusing and so well illustrating the character and indi- 
viduality of the man that I will now print some of them, and 
give a few in facsimile to show his style of caricature illus- 

The letter opposite was, I think, the first I had from him, 
and I only give it to illustrate two of his peculiarities — his 
gastronomical taste indicated by " Beer Month " for October, 
and the " piece of plate " represented by half a beautiful little 
print in blue of an old willow-pattern plate pasted in opposite 
the signature. 

The next letter is in answer to an invitation to tea. He 

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• ' 


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had been reading my " Malay Archipelago," and the refer- 
ence on the envelope (here reproduced) is to the description 
of the king bird of paradise, and shows how he was able to 
introduce appropriate cuts from his large stock. The letter 
itself is in hieroglyphic form, intimating that he had other 
engagements, indicating himself by his large nose and scrap- 
book under his arm. 

The next I shall give is an account of the sad results of 
reading one of my books aloud. The heading is a pseudonym 
for his operating room. 

" Fang Castle, June, 1870, 

"Therm. 77I 

" Thanks worthy Signor for the entertainment afforded 
by your Boke on Natural Selection. But good as ' Natural 
Selection ' is, or may be : I like Mutual Selection much better ; 
and to my thinking it is of much more importance: ex. gr. 
mutual selection is this — A Lady asks me to become her 
husband — I ax her to become my wife — that's Mutual Selec- 
tion — ain't it ' Natural ' ? The question of the 'fittest ' is a 
subsequent affair: as is the Creation by birth, etc., etc. 

" But the pleasure was sadly and suddenly interrupted : I 
was reading aloud, and got on pretty well through p. 90-91. 
At 92 Jaws ached terribly! but at p. 94 and 5, even vulcanite 
could not stand it ; and to my horror my upper set of teeth 
gave way with a crash ! divided between the right lateral and 
the canine. I was helpless ; and but for an old piece in reserve, 
my enjoyment of a succulent Roast Pig would have been 
entirely destroyed: it cost me dear — quite the value of a 
collection: I must give up reading scientific (f) names aloud. 

" I picked up a good specimen of Lignum ambulans for a 
shilling a week ago : and it now forms a prominent feature 
in our surgery. We are promised a Phyllium in a few days : 
and a Kallima paralekta. The Rosa Canina is a puzzle at 
present : I never saw a Red Canine tooth ! Speaking of 
teeth — Huxley in his Physiology says Bicuspids never have 
more than two fangs — He knows nothing about it. I have 
them with three — Molars with 4, 5, and 6! In my lecture case, 


now before me, there arc several; they arc not as common 
dirt or earwigs in the country I but they often turn up. 
" I begin the second reading to-night — not aloud — oh, no! 
" With our best Salaam to the Lady. I remain. 

" Thine in amity, 


The next letter is so wholly and heartily gastronomic that 
it appeals to me strongly, and reveals the jovial character of 
the man so amusingly that it must not be omitted. 

" Fang Castle, 7, Mortimer St., W., 
"Jan. 9, 1870-1. 

" Now you're wuss and wuss ! 

"Tuesday is the 'University' of the High-mighty and 
pious College of Dentists of England, and everywhere else : the 
1 Collection ' of Officers, and when I am to give an acct. of 
all the four-penny pieces I have received during the year — 
for, and on behalf of the Jaw-breakers in general, and the 
Council in particular. We begin at 7 — close when we have 
no more to say; and adjourn to St. James's Hall feeding-box, 
for a trial of the Artificials ! 

" It was lucky I called there this morning. Our Sec. had 
ordered a Cold Collation — Cold Veal, Ham and Fowls! Cold 
Devils ! You may as well eat a Hat-box or Fire-zvood. 

" I have ordered a Hot Supper — Ducks — Giblet Pies — 
Plum-pudding, and such like Comforts — cold grub indeed, and 
the Glass at 26 . So you see, as I cannot well be in two places 
at once, and where Duty call one must obey, we shall not 
have the pleasure of Banquetting upon the ' Cold Greens. 3 

" As to ' Alcohol ' — I do not think I shall venture out — 
Aunt Loo is going to preside at a School treat in the shape of 
T., Bunns, Plum cake and sundry indigestibles, one a Magic- 
Lanthorn, which they are to devour. Tom and his Cousin 
Constance go as well : So I shall be alone, as the Gals are at 
Torquay — capital place for females as it is all Talkee! 
Talkee ! — So, as I said before, I shall be alone — and I con- 
template the utter destruction of a Kidney pudding! Think 




r- 1 










as r " 


of that, Master Brook — a Kidney pudding! and perhaps a bit 
of steak or a Sausage or two, perhaps three : only two of us — 
the padding and // no weggibles, to take up the room the 
pudding ought to occupy! Oh no! And then the ale — think 
of the ale — a fresh Cask — Nine Gallons, a shilling a Gallon! 
goes down your throat like a wheel-barrow, washing out the 
Corners preparatory to a fresh plate of pudding — the idea is 
enchanting, and would, if set to Music, be overpowering! 
Talk of quartettes and quintettes; what are they to a Solo 
upon a Kidney pudding? Answer me that! No, you can't; 
it is unanswerable ! So with our blessing upon thee and thine, 
I remain ' pretty much as usual/ 

" Yours, 


I presume the " cold greens " refers to some delicacy (per- 
haps lobster-salad) I had tempted him with, while "alcohol' 
in the next line must imply an invitation to a " spiritual ' 
seance with some friends, which were very frequent about this 
period. In like manner, he puts " university ' for " anniver- 
sary," and "collection " for " election " — all in the exuberance 
of his spirits, which forbids his writing like other people. But 
the frank, open, animal enjoyment of it all is equal to Falstafr" 
or Dumas's fat monk, Gorenflot, in " Chicot the Jester." 

The next is all about family matters, but illustrated, and in 
his best style. 

" In obedience to thy orders we proceed to indicate the 
positions of our satellites — 12 — exact time; Thomas Theodo- 
shis Constantine is at Bryckden — a place seven miles from 
everywhere. T. T. C. will make his triumphal entry into the 
Victoria Station at 4.20 p.m., followed by all the game he hath 
shot with his cross-bow, which we hope will not be more than 
the porters can conveniently carry. 

"Mary Ellen, commonly called Nell, is at Gravesend, 
whacking into and keeping in order some juvenile cousins — 
the progeny of the Rev. Sleap, Bp. Designative of Alsatia, 
but at present holding forth at the parish Church of Ware. 

"Louisa Harriett, commonly called Loo, is with her Aunt 


Loo, at Gosport, superintending the getting up of the festi- 
vities necessary on the Marriage of their Cousin the Daughter 

of Col. Wright (who has been where you trio] to get and 
didn't as mentioned in your Hoke), and who has a great 
desire to held speech thereon. 

" For ourselves we are supposed to be in charge of the 
house, and Thomas Theodosius Constantine will perhaps be 
at the Dovers. 

" Thus much for this week ; next week all the Chicks will 
be beneath our wing, and probably able and willing to de- 
molish, or assist in demolishing, any larder however large. 

" Secular. 

u We cancel that part relating to Loo and Aunt Loo — there 
is a screw loose. Nell was to have been one of Six ! Brides- 
maids ; but our hilarity on hearing of the absurdity hath 
given offence. Nell therefore retires, and we are under a 
Kibosh ! 

" As soon as we are able to breathe, we will communicate. 

" Thine, 

" Dentatus." 

The next letter refers chiefly to an eccentric friend of his, 
Mr. Morgan Kavanaugh, author of a work on " The Origin of 
Language and of Myths," and always referred to by Purland 
as " The Great O," on account of his fundamental idea that 
(O) was the sign of the sun, the only permanently circular 
object in nature, and that the word " O " was the original 
name of the sun (from making the figure with the lips), and 
was thus the origin of all language. The book, however, is 
full of the most ingenious and suggestive derivations from 
Sanscrit and the Eastern languages. 

" Sept. 24, 1872. 

" No ! can't be a bigger man than you — 19 stone. Will 
warm the only bed we have — as spare ! But the nights are 
fine, and a walk home after the Jaw won't hurt you. 

/Z> c*-r+*<\ J 

ta,u t 




" You can grub if you like on what we have. As to the 
great O, he was here on Saturday — Och Murther — as usual, 
full of his diskivery — but it is all bosh. 

"The true thing is this. Originally, man spoke by signs, 
and no wonder — Adam and Eve spoke by signs only, until 
one day Adam refused to go round the corner for some hard- 
bake, which put Eve into a passion, and in her rage she broke 
Adam's head with the bedpost, which made him cry ' O ' and 
Eve, alarmed at opening his head and mouth at one blow, 
cried ' O ' too. That's the origin of Language ! 

" Some think Adam said ' O Crikey,' but as he was Crackey 
at the time it is uncertain. 

" Thine, 

" Naso." 

The last I have was an anecdote of animal sagacity, a sub- 
ject then being discussed in the papers, and of which he had 
given me some examples. I give a print of it, as it is a good 
example of his caricature drawing and of one of his fantastic 

Our pleasant intimacy came to an end in a most absurd 
manner. Dr. Purland was, as I have said, a powerful and 
enthusiastic mesmerist, and had given his services for many 
surgical operations. Just as the opposition of the chiefs of 
the medical profession was dying away, and they were begin- 
ning to acknowledge the great value of the mesmeric sleep in 
alleviating pain and greatly facilitating serious operations, the 
discovery of anaesthetics offered a rival, which, though much 
more dangerous, was more certain and more easily applied in 
emergencies, and this led to the discontinuance of the use of 
mesmerism as a remedial agent. This naturally disgusted 
Dr. Purland, who, with the whole energy of his character, 
hated chloroform, ether, and nitrous-oxide gas, and would 
have nothing to do with them in his profession. Besides, he 
despised any one who could not bear the pain of tooth- 
drawing, and would turn away any patient who required the 
gas to be administered. A year or two after the date of his 
last letter my teeth were in a very bad state, and I had a 

S2 MY LIFi: 

number of broken stumps which required to lie extracted 
preparatory to having a complete set of artificials. Entirely 

forgetting his objections, which, in fact, I bad hardly believed 

to be real, after making an appointment I asked him to get 
a doctor to administer nitrous-oxide, as I could not stand the 
pain of three or four extractions of stumps of molars in 
succession. Tin's thoroughly enraged him. He wrote me a 
most violent letter, saying he could not continue to be the 
friend of a man who could ask him to do such a thing, 
and gave me the name of an acquaintance of his who had 
no such scruples and whose work was thoroughly good. 
And that was the last communication I ever had from Dr. 

The dentist to whom he recommended me was really a 
good workman, and made me a set of teeth which I wore 
almost constantly for thirty years, and which I have never 
had equalled since. While going about lecturing, and 
especially when going to America in 1886, I had new sets 
made, and I think I have had altogether four complete sets 
besides the first, but not one of them has been comfortable 
or even wearable without great pain ; with none could I eat 
satisfactorily or speak distinctly, and though I pointed out to 
each new dentist how well these old ones fitted me, and how 
comfortable they were, and begged each of them to make the 
new ones as nearly as possible the same shape, yet each one 
made them differently, and some were so totally unlike that, 
when placed side by side, no one would believe they could have 
been made for the same mouth. My experience of modern 
dentists is that they all want to improve upon nature, and 
care nothing for the comfort of those who are to use the 

I will occupy the remainder of this chapter with a few 
particulars of my relations with persons of some eminence, 
but with whom I had very few opportunities of personal 

I made the acquaintance of Mr. Samuel Butler, the author 
of "Erewhon," through my friend Miss Buckley, at whose 

&*A fi»%* K4fK\ Cn*S^ /*<**+* 

4 - £*£&»* 



father's house on Paddington Green I met him two or three 
times. He was so good as to send me that wonderfully 
clever and original book, and also his less known satirical 
religious story, " The Fair Haven," which was reviewed with 
approval by some of the Church newspapers as a genuine 
piece of biography, which it purports to be. He also sent me 
"Life and Habit," and "Evolution Old and New," both of 
which I reviewed in Nature in the year 1879. The former 
is a wonderfully ingenious, brilliant, and witty application of 
the theory of Haeckel and others, that every animal cell, or 
even every organic molecule, is an independent conscious 
organism, with its likes and dislikes, its habits and instincts 
like the higher animals. He explains instincts as inherited 
memories, which, at the time he wrote, was a permissible 
hypothesis, but is now almost universally rejected as implying 
the inheritance of acquired characters, which all the available 
evidence is opposed to. The book, however, is well worth 
reading for its extreme ingenuity, logical arrangement, and 
all-pervading wit and humour. 

The other work is a very full and careful exposition of 
the doctrines, as regards evolution, of Buffon, Lamarck, Dr. 
Erasmus Darwin, Mr. Patrick Matthew, and some more recent 
writers, with copious quotations from their works, and an 
attempt to show not only that their views were of the same 
general nature as those of Darwin, but were also of equal if 
not greater importance. After reading the volume I wrote 
the following letter to the author, which may be of interest to 
those naturalists who either have not seen the work or who 
have forgotten its essential features. 

" Waldron Edge, Duppas Hill, Croydon, 
"May 9, 1879. 

" My Dear Sir, 

" Please accept my thanks for the copy of ' Evolution 
Old and New,' and of ' Life and Habit,' which you were so 
good as to send me. 

" I have just finished reading the former with mixed feel- 
ings of pleasure and regret. I am glad that a connected 


account of the views of Buffon, Dr. Darwin, and Lamarck, and 
pecially of Mr. Patrick Matthew, should be given to the 

world; but I am sorry that VOU should have, as I think, so 

completely failed in a just estimation of the value of their 
work as compared with that of Mr. Charles Darwin, — because 

it will necessarily prejudice naturalists against VOU, and will 
cause 'Life and Habit' to be neglected; and this I should 
greatly regret. 

" To my mind, your quotations from Mr. Patrick Matthew 
are the most remarkable things in your whole book, because 
he appears to have completely anticipated the main ideas both 
of the ' Origin of Species ' and of ' Life and Habit.' 

" I should have to write a long article to criticize your book 
(which perhaps I may do). In your admiration of Lamarck 
you do not seem to observe that his views are all pure con- 
jecture, utterly unsupported by a single fact. Where has it 
been proved that, in any one case, desires have caused varia- 
tion? It is pure theory, with no fact to support it. And even 
if desires might, in a long course of generations, produce some 
effect, it can be demonstrated that in the same time ' natural 
selection ' or ' survival of the fittest ' would produce so much 
greater an effect as to overpower the other unless the two 
worked together. 

" I am sorry to see also much that seems to me mere 
verbal quibbles. For instance, at p. 388 (last par.) you turn 
' spontaneous variability ' into ' unknown causes,' and then, 
of course, make nonsense of Mr. Darwin's words. In this 
way I will undertake to make nonsense of any argument. 
' Spontaneous variability ' is a fact, as explained, for 
example, in my review of Mr. Murphy's book (along with 
yours) in Nature. It is an absolutely universal fact in the 
organic world (and for all I know in the inorganic too) and 
is probably a fundamental fact, due to the impossibility of any 
tiuo organisms ever having been subjected to exactly identical 
conditions, and the extreme complexity both of organisms 
and their environment. This normal variability wants no 
other explanation. Its absence is inconceivable, because it 
would imply that diversity of conditions produced identity of 

jTr -IJ4. t , ti*~t///ic* 

C^—** — 



result. The wishes or actions of individuals may be one of 
the causes of variability, but only one out of myriads. Now 
to say that such an universal fact as this cannot be taken as 
a basis of reasoning because the exact causes of it are 
unknown in each case, is utterly illogical. The causes of 
gravitation, of electricity, of heat, of all the forces of nature 
are unknown. Can we not, then, reason on them, and explain 
other phenomena by them, without having the words ' un- 
known causes' substituted, and thus making nonsense? 

" I am no blind admirer of Mr. Darwin, as my works 
show ; but I must say your criticism of him in your present 
work completely fails to reach him. 

"The mere fact that Lamarck's views, though well put 
before the world for many years by Sir Charles Lyell (and 
other writers) converted no one, while Darwin has converted 
almost all the best naturalists in Europe, is a pretty good 
proof that the one theory is more complete than the other. 

" Yours very faithfully, 

" Alfred R. Wallace." 

In Nature (June 12) I reviewed this book more fully, 
showing by numerous quotations how completely Mr. Butler 
has failed to grasp the essential features of natural selection, 
while a large portion of his criticism of Mr. Darwin's work 
is purely verbal and altogether erroneous and misleading. 
I received no reply either to my letter or to the review. 

When I was at Montreal in 1887, Mr. lies, the manager 
of the Windsor Hotel in that city, called my attention to a 
most humorous critical rhapsody which Mr. Butler had 
written after his recent visit to Canada and sent to the 
Spectator. As I do not think it has appeared elsewhere, 
and is a good example of his fantastic genius, I here give 
it from a copy furnished me by Mr. lies. 

A Psalm of Montreal. 

[The city of Montreal is one of the most rising and, in many- 
respects, most agreeable on the American continent, but its inhab- 
itants are as yet too busy with commerce to care greatly about the 


masterpieces of old Greek Art. A cast, however, of one of these 
masterpieces— the finest <>f the several statues of Discoboli, or Quoit- 
throwers- -was found by the presenl writer in the Montreal Museum 
of Natural History ; it was, however, banished from public view, to 
a room where were all manner of skins, plants, snakes, insects, etc., 
and in the middle of these, an old man stuffing an owl. The dialogue 
— perhaps true, perhaps imaginary, perhaps a little of one and a little 
of the other — between the writer and the old man gave rise to the 
lines that follow.] 

Stowed away in a Montreal lumber-room, 
The Discobolus standeth, and turneth his face to the wall; 
Dusty, cobweb-covered, maimed and set at naught, 
Beauty crieth in an attic, and no man regardeth. 

Oh God! oh Montreal! 

Beautiful by night and day, beautiful in summer and winter, 
Whole or maimed, always and alike beautiful, 
He preacheth gospel of grace to the skins of owls, 
And to one who seasoneth the skins of Canadian owls. 

Oh God! oh Montreal! 

When I saw him, I was wroth, and I said, " O Discobolus ! 
Beautiful Discobolus, a Prince both among gods and men, 
What doest thou here, how earnest thou here, Discobolus, 
Preaching gospel in vain to the skins of owls ? " 

Oh God! oh Montreal! 

And I turned to the man of skins, and said unto him, " Oh ! thou man 
of skins, 

Wherefore hast thou done this, to shame the beauty of the Discob- 

But the Lord had hardened the heart of the man of skins, 

And he answered, " My brother-in-law is haberdasher to Mr. Spur- 

Oh God! oh Montreal! 

" The Discobolus is put here because he is vulgar, — 
He hath neither vest nor pants with which to cover his limbs; 
I, sir, am a person of most respectable connections, — 
My brother-in-law is haberdasher to Mr. Spurgeon." 

Oh God! oh Montreal! 


Then I said, " O brother-in-law to Mr. Spurgeon's haberdasher ! 
Who seasonest also the skins of Canadian owls, 
Thou callest ' trousers ' ' pants/ whereas I call them ' trousers,' 
Therefore thou art in hell-fire, and may the Lord pity thee ! " 

Oh God ! oh Montreal ! 

" Preferrest thou the gospel of Montreal to the gospel of Hellas, 

The gospel of thy connection with Mr. Spurgeon's haberdasher to the 

gospel of the Discobolus?" 
Yet none the less blasphemed he beauty saying, "The Discobolus hath 

no gospel, — 
But my brother-in-law is haberdasher to Mr. Spurgeon." 

Oh God! oh Montreal! 

In June, 1863, an article appeared in the Annals and 
Magazine of Natural History by the Rev. S. Haughton, 
entitled " On the Bee's Cell and the Origin of Species." At 
that time I was eager to enter the lists with any one who 
attacked natural selection or Darwin's exposition of it. This 
article was full of the usual errors and misconceptions, some 
of the most absurd nature, but all set forth as if with the 
weight of authority in a scientific periodical. I accordingly 
replied in the October number of the Annals, and criticized 
the critic rather severely. Mr. Haughton had written : " The 
true cause of the shape of the cell is the crowding together of 
the bees at work, as was first shown by BufTon " — a view 
which Darwin had disproved both by observation of many 
distinct species of bees, and by careful experiment with the 
honey-bee, as I explained in the article. He then argues that 
" if economy of wax ' was the essential cause of the bees 
forming hexagon cells out of circular ones, by gnawing away 
the solid angles, as Darwin observed them doing, we ought 
to find a series of species, some making triangular, others 
square cells, because these are the forms which geometrically 
come next to the hexagon in economy of wax to a given area ! 
quite overlooking the fact that the primitive cells are proved 
to be circular, and that circles in contact cannot be changed 
by any gradual process of modification involving saving of 
wax into triangles or squares. 

He then charges Darwin with three unwarrantable as- 


sumptions, which he declares he " brings to the ground like a 

child's house of cards." These are (i) The indefinite varia- 
tion of species continuously in the one direction;" (2) "That 

the causes of variation, viz. natural advantage in the struggle 

for existence (Darwin), arc sufficient to account for the effects 
asserted to he produced;" and (3) "That succession implies 

causation; that the Palaeozoic Cephalopoda produced the 
red-sandstone fishes : that these in turn gave hirth to the 
Liassic reptiles, etc." I easily showed that all these alleged 
'assumptions' of Darwin are absurd misrepresentations of 
his real statements ; and I concluded by applying his own 
words with regard to Darwinians as being really applicable to 
himself: "No progress in natural science is possible so long 
as men wall take their rude guesses at truth for facts, and 
substitute the fancies of their imagination for the sober rules 
of reasoning." 

This criticism gave great offence to Dr. John Edward 
Gray, of the British Museum, who, when I next met him, told 
me that I ought not to have written in such a tone of ridicule 
of a man who was much older and more learned than myself. 

Mr. Haughton, however, seems to have taken it in good 
part and to have forgotten it, for eighteen years later, when 
he w r as F.R.S., Senior Lecturer of Trinity College, and 
Professor of Geology in Dublin University, he sent me a 
copy of his " Lectures on Physical Geography," inscribed 
"With the best respects of the author." 

A little later I received from him the following letter : — 

"Trinity College, Dublin, April 25, 1882. 

" My dear Mr. Wallace, 

" I have received your kind letter of 20th inst., for 
which I feel much obliged. If the statements about gulf- 
streams in my last paper support your own views rather than 
mine, no one will admit the result more readily than myself. 

" I fear that I shall not have the pleasure of seeing your 
degree conferred on the 29th June, as I shall have to attend 
the General Medical Council in London on the 27th June. 


" I was asked by the Provost and Senior Fellows to 
recommend two names for Honorary Degrees in Physical 
and Natural Science, and I chose Dr. Siemens and yourself 
as worthy representatives of the two ' poles of science.' 

" I am, yours very truly, 

" Saml. Haughton." 

Dr. Haughton did, however, return before I left Dublin, 
and I had the great pleasure one morning of breakfasting 
with him and the other members of the managing committee 
at the Zoological Gardens, and of enjoying his instructive and 
witty conversation. The brilliant midsummer morning, the 
cosy room looking over the beautiful gardens, and the highly 
agreeable and friendly party assembled rendered this one of 
the many pleasant recollections of my life. 



Having now lived in London eight years, and having- finished, 
as I then thought, my chief literary work — my " Malay Archi- 
pelago'' — I had a great longing for life in the country where 
I could devote much of my time to gardening and rural 
walks. My wife also was very fond of country life, so I 
began to look about for a place in which to settle. At this 
time it had been decided to build a museum in East London 
to illustrate both art and nature, and having the strong 
support and influence of Sir Charles Lyell, and through him 
of Lord Ripon, I felt much too confident of obtaining the 
directorship of it. I therefore determined to look out for a 
suitable place in Essex, where I should have easy access to 
the museum at Bethnal Green if I obtained the post, while, 
at all events, land would be cheaper there than in the more 
fashionable districts of the south and west. 

As a kind of half-way house, I took an old cottage at 
Barking — Holly Lodge — to which we moved in March, 1870, 
and where I was still almost in London. Though Barking 
was a miserable kind of village, surrounded by marshes and 
ugly factories, there were yet some pleasant walks along the 
Thames and among the meadows, while within a quarter of 
a mile of us was a well-preserved tumulus close to an old 
farmhouse. Here, too, we had some very pleasant neighbours. 
Sir Antonis Brady at Stratford, whom I had often visited with 
my friend Silk, and who had a fine collection of fossils from 
the gravels of the district; Mr. C. M. Ingleby, the Shake- 
spearean commentator, who was interested in spiritualism; 
and more especially Colonel Hope, V.C., who was living 
at Parsloes, an old manor house within an easy walk, and 



with whose amiable and intellectual family we spent many 
pleasant Sunday afternoons. Colonel Hope had here laid 
out a large sewage farm, and had for years carried out ex- 
periments demonstrating the fact that many agricultural 
crops could be grown on absolutely sterilized sand by the 
application of sewage in proper quantities. He had urged 
that the whole of the London sewage, instead of being emptied 
into the Thames near Barking, should be carried on to the 
Maplin sands, where about ten thousand acres of land could 
be reclaimed and fertilized so as to grow a large portion of 
the vegetable food for London. This would have been the 
cheaper method in the end, saving the pollution of the whole 
tidal course of the Thames and the enormous annual cost of 
dredging required to partially remedy that pollution. Instead 
of this wasteful expenditure, the rental of the reclaimed land, 
with the fertilizing sewage, might have been so large as to 
fully repay the extra expenditure, and at the same time give 
us an unpolluted stream in our capital city. But the plan was 
too grand to be accepted, and we continue to pay the penalty. 
In the following year I found near the village of Grays, 
on the Thames, twenty miles from London, a picturesque old 
chalk-pit which had been disused so long that a number of 
large elms and a few other trees had grown up in its less 
precipitous portions. The chalk here was capped by about 
twenty feet of Thanet sand and pleistocene gravel, and from 
the fields at the top there was a beautiful view over Erith 
to the Kent hills and down a reach of the Thames to 
Gravesend, forming a most attractive site for a house. After 
some difficulty I obtained a lease for ninety-nine years of four 
acres, comprising the pit itself, an acre of the field on the 
plateau above, and about an equal amount of undulating 
cultivable ground between the pit and the lane which gave 
access to it. I had to pay seven pounds an acre rent, as the 
owner could not sell it, and though I thought it very dear, 
as so much of it was unproductive, the site was so picturesque, 
and had such capabilities of improvement, that I thought it 
would be a fair investment. The owner lived at Winchester, 
and when I went down there to see him and arrange the 


terms. T recall one little incident illustrating one of the great 
rial changes of the last thirty-five years. After our business 
was settled and we had some lunch, he offered to show me 
the cathedral, and on our way there a gentleman passed us 
on one of the early bicycles, which were then a comparative 
novelty. As the cyclist passed, my companion remarked, 
" There goes a fool upon rollers " — expressing a very common 
opinion among the older portion of the community. 

As there was a deep bed of rough gravel on my ground 
and there were large cement works at Grays, I thought 
it would be economical to build of concrete, and I found 
an architect of experience, Mr. Wonnacott, of Farnham, who 
made the plans and specifications, while I myself saw that 
the gravel was properly w r ashed. In order to obtain water 
in ample quantity for building and also for garden and other 
purposes, I had a well sunk about a hundred feet into a 
water-bearing stratum of the chalk, and purchased a small iron 
windmill with a two-inch force pump to obtain the water. I 
made two small concrete ponds in the garden — one close to 
the windmill — and had a large tank at the top of a low tower 
to supply house water. My friend Geach, the mining engineer 
whom I had met in Timor and Singapore, was now at home, 
and took an immense interest in my work. He helped me 
to find the windmill — the only one that we could discover in 
any of the engineering shops in London — and the well being 
completed, he and I, with the assistance of my gardener, did 
all the work of fitting the pump at the bottom of the well 
with connecting-rods and guides up to the windmill, which 
also we erected and set to work ourselves. As the windmill 
had no regulating apparatus, and, when the wind became 
strong, revolved far too rapidly, and even bent the connecting- 
rod, I attached to the ends of the iron vanes pieces of plate 
iron about a foot square, fixed at right angles to the line of 
motion. These acted as brakes as soon as the revolution 
became moderately rapid, but had little effect when it was 
slow ; and the arrangement worked very well. 

With the help of another labourer I also myself laid down 
ij-inch galvanized water-pipes to the house, with branches and 


taps where required in the garden. I also built concrete walls 
round the acre of ground at top, the part facing south about 
nine feet high for fruit trees, the rest about five feet ; and also 
laid out the garden, planted mounds for shelter, made a 
winding road from below, which, when the shrubs had grown 
up, became exceedingly picturesque ; and helped to sift out 
hundreds of cubic yards ^of gravel to improve the land for 
the kitchen garden. All this work was immensely interesting, 
and I have seldom enjoyed myself more thoroughly, especi- 
ally as my friend Geach was a continual visitor, was always 
ready with his help and advice, and took as much interest in 
the work as I did myself. We got into the house in March, 
1872, and I began to take that pleasure in gardening, and 
especially in growing uncommon and interesting as well as 
beautiful plants, which in various places, under many diffi- 
culties and with mingled failures and successes, has been a 
delight and solace to me ever since. 

During my four and a half years' residence at Grays I 
received visits from several foreigners of eminence, among 
whom I especially recollect three Russians — Hon. Alexander 
Aksakoff, who may almost be called the Myers of Russian 
and German spiritualism ; Professor Boutleroff, a biologist 
and also a spiritualist; and V. S. SolovyofT, also a spiritualist. 
These were all delightful people, and they somewhat amused 
my wife and myself by their enjoyment of the few delicacies 
we were able to give them. On one of the occasions we 
had a fine crop of peaches on our concrete wall, small, but 
very delicious, and we had feasted on them for some time. 
So we put a handsome dish containing a dozen or more on 
the tea-table, and as our Russian visitor seemed greatly to 
appreciate them, we pressed him to eat as many as he liked, 
and he took us at our word and finished the dish. Another 
time we had some very good orange-marmalade on the table, 
which we offered with bread and butter, but our guest said, 
"No; with my tea" — so he asked for half a cup of tea, of 
course without milk or sugar, in the Russian fashion, and 
then put spoonful after spoonful of marmalade in, till the 
cup was full. " That is very nice," he said ; and he had 


another cup of the same mixture. T love delicacies myself, 
and these little eccentricities interested me; but I draw the 
line at marmalade and tea. 

At this time I was somewhat doubtful in what particular 
direction to work, as I found that I could not feel suffi- 
cient interest in any branch of systematic zoology to devote 
myself to the minute study required for the classification and 
description of any important portion of my collections. There 
were many other men who could do that better than I could, 
while my special tastes led me to some work which involved 
a good deal of reasoning and generalization. It was I think, 
my two friends, Professor A. Newton and Dr. Sclater, who 
urged me to undertake a general review of the geographical 
distribution of animals, and after a little discussion of the 
subject I came to the conclusion that I might perhaps be 
able to do it; although, if I had been aware of the difficulties 
of the task I should probably not have undertaken it. 

As this was the largest and perhaps the most important 
scientific work I have done, I may perhaps be allowed here 
to say a few words as to its design and execution. I had 
already, in several of my papers and articles, explained my 
general views of the purport and scope of geographical dis- 
tribution as a distinct branch of biological science. I had 
accepted and supported Dr. P. L. Sclater's division of the 
earth's surface into six great zoological regions, founded upon 
a detailed examination of the distribution of birds, but equally 
applicable to mammalia, reptiles, and several other great 
divisions, and best serving to illustrate and explain the diversi- 
ties and apparent contradictions in the distribution of all land 
animals ; and I may now add that the additional facts accumu- 
lated, and the various divisions suggested during the thirty 
years that have since elapsed, have not in the least altered my 
opinions on this matter. 

In whatever work I have done I have always aimed at 
systematic arrangement and uniformity of treatment through- 
out. But here the immense extent of the subject, the over- 
whelming mass of detail, and above all the excessive diversi- 


ties in the amount of knowledge of the different classes of 
animals, rendered it quite impossible to treat all alike. My 
preliminary studies had already satisfied me that it was quite 
useless to attempt to found any conclusions on those groups 
which were comparatively little known, either as regards the 
proportion of species collected and described, or as regards 
their systematic classification. It was also clear that as the 
present distribution of animals is necessarily due to their past 
distribution, the greatest importance must be given to those 
groups whose fossil remains in the more recent strata are the 
most abundant and the best known. These considerations 
led me to limit my work in its detailed systematic ground- 
work, and study of the principles and laws of distribution, to 
the mammalia and birds, and to apply the principles thus 
arrived at to an explanation of the distribution of other 
groups, such as reptiles, fresh-water fishes, land and fresh- 
water shells, and the best-known insect-orders. 

There remained another fundamental point to consider. 
Geographical distribution in its practical applications and 
interest, both to students and the general reader, consists of 
two distinct divisions, or rather, perhaps, may be looked at 
from two points of view. In the first of these we divide the 
earth into regions and subregions, study the causes which 
have led to the differences in their animal productions, give a 
general account of these, with the amount of resemblance to 
and difference from other regions ; and we may also give lists 
of the families and genera inhabiting each, with indications 
as to which are peculiar and which are also found in adjacent 
regions. This aspect of the study I term zoological geography, 
and it is that which would be of most interest to the resident 
or traveling naturalist, as it would give him, in the most 
direct and compact form, an indication of the numbers and 
kinds of animals he might expect to meet with. 

But a large number of students now limit themselves to 
a study of one of the classes, or even orders, of the higher 
animals from all parts of the world, and it is of special interest 
to him to be able to see at a glance how each family and 
genus is distributed, with the number of known species. He 


can thus sec what arc the deficiencies in his collection, and 
from what countries he most needs additional Species; and all 

this Information I wished to give him, as T had often felt 

the want of it myself. This part of the work I termed 
" ideographical zoology," and to this I gave special attention, 
and have ^iven for every family of mammals, birds, and rep- 
tiles a diagram, which in a single line exhibits its distribution 
in each of the four subregions of the six regions. To give the 
reader some idea of this compact method of summarizing 
information, I will give here its application to one family of 
mammalia : 

Family 50- 

-CERVID^E (8 genera 

l 52 species ). 







1, 2, 3, - 

1, 2, 3, 4, 

1, 2, 3, 4, 

1, 2, 3, 4 


Here the distribution of the true deer over the earth is 
shown at a glance when once the limits of the regions and 
subregions are learnt, as marked on the general and special 
maps by which the book is illustrated. The work was pub- 
lished in 1876, in two thick volumes, and it had occupied a 
good deal of my time during the four years I lived at Grays. 
As this book, being very costly and technical, is less known 
to English readers than any of my other works, I will here 
give the titles of the chapters, which will sufficiently indicate 
the range of subjects treated in its eleven hundred pages: 

Part I. — The Principles and General Phenomena of 


Chap. I. 

„ II. 





The means of Dispersal and the Migrations of Animals. 
Distribution as affected by the Conditions and Changes 
of the Earth's Surface. 
The Zoological Regions. 

Classification as affecting the Study of Geographical Dis- 



Part II. — On the Distribution of Extinct Animals. 

Chap. VI. The Extinct Mammalia of the Old World. 
„ VII. Extinct Mammalia of the New World. 
„ VIII. Various Extinct Animals; and on the Antiquity of the 
Genera of Insects and Land Shells. 

Part III. — Zoological Geography: a Review of the Chief Forms 
of Life in the Several Regions and Subregions, with the 
Indications they afford of Geographical Changes. 

Chap. IX. The Order of Succession of the Regions — Cosmopolitan 
Groups of Animals — Tables of Distribution. 
X. The Palaearctic Region. 
XL The Ethiopian Region. 
XII. The Oriental Region. 

XIII. The Australian Region. 

XIV. The Neotropical Region. 
XV. The Nearctic Region. 

XVI. Summary of the Past Changes and General Relations 
of the Several Regions. 

Part IV. — Geographical Zoology: a Systematic Sketch of the 
Chief Families of Land Animals in their Geographical 

Chap. XVII. Distribution of the Families and Genera of Mam- 
XVIII. Distribution of the Families and Genera of Birds. 
XIX. Distribution of the Families and Genera of Reptiles 
and Amphibia. 
XX. Distribution of the Families of Fishes, with the 
Range of such Genera as inhabit Fresh-water. 
XXI. Distribution of some of the more important Fami- 
lies and Genera of Insects. 
XXII. Outline of the Geographical Distribution of Mollusca. 
XXIII. Summary of the Distribution and Lines of Migra- 
tion of the Several Classes of Animals. 




I devoted a large amount of labour to making a fairly 
complete index, which comprises more than six thousand 

No one is more aware than myself of the defects of the 

XZoJ *^& 


work, a considerable portion of which arc due to the fact that 
it was written a quarter of a centun too soon — at a time when 
both zoological and palseontologica] discovery were advancing 
with great rapidity, while new and improved classifications of 

some of the great cla and orders were in constant progress. 

But though many of the details given in these volumes would 
now require alterations, there is no reason to believe that the 

great features of the work and general principles established 

by it will require any important modification. Its most severe 
critics arc our American cousins, who, possessing a " region ' 
of their own. have been able to explore it very rapidly ; while 
from several references made to it, I think it is appreciated on 
the European continent more than it is in our own country. 

While this work was in progress I wrote a considerable 
number of reviews and articles, published my book on 
" Miracles and Modern Spiritualism," and wrote the article 
" Acclimatization " for the " Encyclopaedia Britannica." 

In 1876 I sold the house at Grays and removed to Dorking, 
where we lived two years. But finding the climate relaxing, 
we moved next to Croydon, chiefly in order to send our 
children first to a kindergarten, and then to a high school, 
and remained there till May, 1881. 

During this period, besides my usual reviews and articles, 
I prepared my address as president of the Biological Section 
of the British Association at Glasgow, wrote the article on 
" Distribution — Zoology " for the " Encyclopaedia Britannica," 
and prepared a volume on " Tropical Nature," which was pub- 
lished in 1878. In this work I gave a general sketch of the 
climate, vegetation, and animal life of the equatorial zone of 
the tropics from my own observations in both hemispheres. 
The chief novelty was, I think, in the chapter on " climate," 
in which I endeavoured to show the exact causes which pro- 
duced the great difference between the uniform climate of 
the equatorial zone, and, say, June and July in England, 
although at that time we receive actually more of the light 
and heat of the sun than does Java in June or Trinidad in 
December. Yet these places have then a mean temperature 


v* . - 


very much higher than ours. It contained also a chapter on 
humming birds, as illustrating the luxuriance of tropical 
nature; and others on the colours of animals and of plants, 
and on various biological problems. 

As soon as we were settled at Croydon, I began to work 
at a volume which had been suggested to me by the neces- 
sary limitations of my " Geographical Distribution of Ani- 
mals." In that work I had, in the first place, dealt with the 
larger groups, coming down to families and genera, but taking 
no account of the various problems raised by the distribution 
of particular species. In the next place, I had taken little 
account of the various islands of the globe, except as forming 
subregions or parts of subregions. But I had long seen the 
great interest and importance of these, and especially of Dar- 
win's great discovery of the two classes into which they 
are naturally divided — oceanic and continental islands. I had 
already given lectures on this subject, and had become aware 
of the great interest attaching to them, and the great light 
they threw upon the means of dispersal of animals and plants, 
as well as upon the past changes, both physical and biological, 
of the earth's surface. In the third place, the means of dis- 
persal and colonization of animals is so connected with, and 
often dependent on, that of plants, that a consideration of the 
latter is essential to any broad views as to the distribution of 
life upon the earth, while they throw unexpected light upon 
those exceptional means of dispersal which, because they are 
exceptional, are often of paramount importance in leading to 
the production of new species and in thus determining the 
nature of insular floras and faunas. 

Having no knowledge of scientific botany, it needed some 
courage, or, as some may think, presumption, to deal with 
this aspect of the problem; but, on the other hand, I had 
long been excessively fond of plants, and was always in- 
terested in their distribution. The object, too, was easier 
to deal with on account of the much more complete knowl- 
edge of the detailed distribution of plants than of animals, 
and also because their classification was in a more advanced 

599316 A 

ioo MY LIFE 

and stable condition. Again, f the most interesting 

of the islands «>f the globe had been carefully studied botani- 

cally by such eminent botanists as Sir Joseph Hooker, for 

the ( ralapagOS, New Zealand, Tasmania, and the Antarctic 
islands; Mr. II. C. Watson for the Azores; Mr. J. G. Baker 
for Mauritius and other Mascarene islands; while there were 
floras by competent botanists of the Sandwich Islands, Ber- 
muda, and St. Helena. With such excellent materials, and 
with the further assistance of Sir Joseph Hooker's invaluable 
essays on the relations of the southern and northern floras, I 
felt that my work would be mainly of a statistical nature, as 
interpreted by those general principles of organic evolution 
which were my especial study. 

But I also found it necessary to deal with a totally dis- 
tinct branch of science — recent changes of climate as depen- 
dent on changes of the earth's surface, including the causes 
and effects of the glacial epoch, since these were among the 
most powerful agents in causing" the dispersal of all kinds of 
organisms, and thus bringing about the actual distribution 
that now prevails. This led me to a careful study of Mr. 
James Croll's remarkable works on the subject of the astro- 
nomical causes of glacial and interglacial periods, and I had 
much correspondence with him on difficult points of his theory. 
While differing on certain details, I adopted the main features 
of his theory, combining with it the effects of changes in height 
and extent of land which form an important adjunct to the 
meteorological agents. To this subject I devoted two of my 
longest and most argumentative chapters, introducing many 
considerations not before taken account of, and leading, I still 
think, to a more satisfactory explanation of the causes that 
actually brought about the glacial epoch than any which have 
since been put forth. 

Besides this partially new theory of the causes of glacial 
epochs, the work contained a fuller statement of the various 
kinds of evidence proving that the great oceanic basins are 
permanent features of the earth's surface, than had before 
been given ; also a discussion of the mode of estimating the 
duration of geological periods, and some considerations lead- 


ing to the conclusion that organic change is now less rapid 
than the average, and therefore that less time is required for 
this change than has hitherto been thought necessary. I was 
also, I believe, the first to point out the great differences 
between the more ancient continental islands and those of 
more recent origin, with the interesting conclusions as to 
geographical changes afforded by both ; while the most impor- 
tant novelty is the theory by which I explained the occurrence 
of northern groups of plants in all parts of the southern hemi- 
sphere — a phenomenon which Sir Joseph Hooker had pointed 
out, but had then no means of explaining. 

This volume involved also a large amount of detailed work 
as regards the species of plants and animals, information on 
which points I had to obtain from numerous specialists, in- 
volving a great amount of correspondence; while it was illus- 
trated by a large number of maps and diagrams, most of 
which were drawn by myself. The preparation and writing 
this book occupied me for about three years, and it was 
published in 1880. It has gone through three editions, which 
have involved a large amount of corrections and additions ; 
and it is a work which seems to have opened up a new world 
of interesting fact and theory to a large number of readers, 
from several of whom I have received letters expressing the 
delight and instruction it has given them. 

In 1878 I wrote a volume on Australasia for Stanford's 
" Compendium of Geography and Travel," in which I gave 
a fuller account than usual of the physical geography, the 
natural history, and the geology of Australia. In a later 
edition of this work, in 1893, I gave a much fuller account of 
the natives of Australia, and adduced evidence for the theory 
that they are really a primitive type of the great Caucasian 
family of mankind, and are by no means so low in intellect 
as has been usually believed. This view seems now to be 
generally accepted. 

In 1878 Epping Forest had been acquired for the public, 
and its care and management was given to a committee 
formed mainly of members of the Corporation of the City of 
London. I was a candidate for the post of superintendent, 

io2 MY LIFE 

and obtained testimonials from the presidents of all the 

natural-history societies of London, and from many eminent 
men, but was not chosen. At the time this was a great dis- 
appointment, but I have reason to believe now that it was 
* all for the best" 

In 1881 a society was formed for advocating the nationali- 
zation of the land, of which 1 was elected president, and in 
1882 I published a volume, entitled "Land Nationalization: 
its Necessity and its Aims." Some account of this move- 
ment will be given in a future chapter. Its publication brought 
me letters of sympathy and general agreement from Sir David 
Wedderburn, M.P., Lord Mount-Temple, and many other 
friends and correspondents. In this year, on June 29, the 
Dublin University gave me the honorary degree of LL.D., 
as already mentioned in the last chapter. I will here give 
the very short but flattering Latin speech of the public orator 
in introducing me, with a translation by my friend Mr. Comer- 
ford Casey — 

" Introduco quoque Alfredum Russel Wallace Darwinii 
aemulum, immo Darwinium alterum. Neque hunc neque ilium 
variae eluserunt species atque ora ferarum. Darwinius nempe 
lauri foetus auricomos decerpsit primus. Sed quid querimur? 

* Primo avulso non deficit alter 

Aureus, et simili f rondescit virga metallo.' " 

" I introduce also Alfred Russel Wallace, the friendly rival 
of Darwin. Equally familiar to both are the different species 
and varieties of animals. Darwin, indeed, was the first to 
pluck the golden laurel-branch. Yet through this did Wallace 
suffer no eclipse ; for as Virgil sang — 

'* One branch removed, another was to hand : 
Another, bright and golden as the first' " 

In this year, too, the world was made poorer by the death 
of my kind friend and teacher, Charles Darwin, and I was 
honoured by an invitation to his funeral (on April 26) in 


Westminster Abbey, as one of the pall-bearers, along with 
nine of his most distinguished friends or admirers, among 
whom were J. Russell Lowell as the representative of American 
science and literature. Among the many obituary notices of 
Darwin, that by Huxley (in Nature, of April 27), is one of 
the shortest, most discriminating, and most beautiful. It is 
published also in the second volume of his " Collected Essays." 
For those who have not read this true and charming estimate 
of his friend, I may quote one passage: " One could not con- 
verse with Darwin without being reminded of Socrates. There 
was the same desire to find some one wiser than himself; the 
same belief in the sovereignty of reason ; the same ready 
humour; the same sympathetic interest in all the ways and 
works of men. But instead of turning away from the problems 
of nature as wholly insoluble, our modern philosopher devoted 
his whole life to attacking them in the spirit of Heraclitus and 
Democritus, with results which are as the substance of which 
their speculations were anticipatory shadows." 

In the year 1881 I removed to Godalming, where I had 
built a small cottage near the water-tower and at about the 
same level as the Charterhouse School. We had been partly 
induced to come here to be near my very old friend Mr. 
Charles Hayward, whom I had first known during my 
residence at Neath about forty years before. He was living 
with his nephew, the late C. F. Hayward, a well-known archi- 
tect, whose children were about the same age as my own. 
We found here some very pleasant friends among the masters 
at Charterhouse School, as well as among residents who had 
come to the place for its general educational advantages or 
for the charm of its rural scenery. We had here about half 
an acre of ground with oak trees and hazel bushes (from 
which I named our place " Nutwood Cottage"), and during 
the eight years we lived there I thoroughly enjoyed making 
a new garden, in which, and a small greenhouse, I cultivated 
at one time or another more than a thousand species of 
plants. The soil was a deep bed of the lower green-sand 
formation, with a thin surface layer of leaf-mould, and it was 

io 4 ^ IV LIFE 

very favourable to many kinds of bulbous plants as well as 
half-hardy shrubs, several of which grew there more freely 
and flowered better than in any of my other gardens. 

In 18S4 Missis. Tears offered a prize of £100 for the best 
essay on "The Depression of Trade," and Professor Leone 
Levi had agreed to be one of the judges. As I had been 
for some time disgusted with the utter nonsense of many of 
the articles on the subject in the press, while what seemed to 
me the essential and fundamental causes were never so much 
as referred to, I determined to compete, though without any 
expectation of success. The essay was sent in some time 
during the summer of 1885, and in July I received a letter 
from Professor Leone Levi, in which he writes : " My col- 
league and myself were greatly pleased with the essay bearing 
a motto from Goldsmith. We, however, did not see our way 
to recommend it for the prize, especially on account of dis- 
agreement as to the remedies suggested. But the essay having 
great merit, we thought it proper to open the envelope in order 
to correspond with the author." 

He then asked me if I would allow the first part of my 
essay, upon " Conditions and Causes," to be printed with the 
other essays. 

As my proposed remedies were the logical conclusion from 
the " Conditions and Causes," which I had detailed, and of 
which the validity seemed to be admitted, I, of course, declined 
this offer, and Messrs. Macmillan agreed to publish it under 
the title, " Bad Times : An Essay on the Present Depression 
of Trade, tracing it to its Sources in enormous Foreign Loans, 
excessive War Expenditures, the Increase of Speculation and 
of Millionaires, and the Depopulation of the Rural Districts; 
with Suggested Remedies." 

This little book was widely noticed, but most of the re- 
viewers adverted to the fact that I was an advocate of land- 
nationalization, and therefore that my proposed remedies were 
unsound. But a few were more open-minded. The Newcastle 
Chronicle declared it to be " the weightiest contribution to the 
subject made in recent times." The Freeman's Journal thus 


concluded its short notice : " Every point is driven home with 
vigour and directness, and the little book is well calculated to 
assist in the formation of sound views upon the urgent ques- 
tion of which it treats." The Beacon (Boston, U.S.A.) termed 
it " a very important little book," and gave it a wholly favour- 
able review; but the notice that pleased me most was that in 
Knowledge, then edited by Richard Proctor, a man of origin- 
ality and genius. He declared that my book was remarkable 
as being the application of scientific method to a complex 
problem of political economy, which, of course, rendered it 
impossible for the official representatives of that science to 
accept its conclusions. The book, however, had very little 
sale, and after a few years the publishers sent me about a 
hundred copies, which remained an incumbrance to their 
shelves, and which I gave away. It is, therefore, at present, 
one of the rarest of my books. In the same year I wrote my 
best small contribution to the literature of anti-vaccination, 
entitled " Forty-five Years of Registration Statistics, proving 
Vaccination to be both Useless and Dangerous" ; but this sub- 
ject will be referred to in a future chapter. 

Towards the close of the year I received an invitation 
from the Lowell Institute of Boston, U.S.A., to deliver a 
course of lectures in the autumn and winter of 1886. After 
some consideration I accepted this, and began their prepara- 
tion, taking for my subject those portions of the theory of 
evolution with which I was most familiar. At this time I had 
made the acquaintance of the Rev. J. G. Wood, the well-known 
writer of many popular works on national history. He had 
been twice on lecturing tours to America, and gave me some 
useful information, besides recommending an agent he had 
employed, and who had arranged lectures for him at various 
schools and colleges. I had already lectured in many English 
towns on the permanence of the great oceans, on oceanic and 
continental islands, and on various problems of geographical 
distribution. To these subjects I now added one on " The 
Darwinian Theory," illustrated by a set of original diagrams 
of variation. I also wrote three lectures on the " Colours of 
Animals (and Plants)," dwelling especially on protective 

io6 MY LIFE 

colours, warning colours, and mimicry, and for those T had 

to obtain a series of lantern slides coloured from nature, so as 
to exhibit the most striking examples of these curious and 
beautiful phenomena. All this took a great deal of time, and 
the maps and diagrams forming a large package, about six feet 

long in a waterproof canvas case, caused me much trouble, as 
some of the railways refused to take it by passenger trains, and 
I had to send it as goods ; and in one case it got delayed nearly 
a week, and I had to give my lectures with hastily made rough 
copies from recollection. 

The lectures I finally arranged for the Lowell course were 
eight in number, to be given twice a week in November and 
December. As these lectures formed the groundwork for my 
book on Darwinism, I will here give their titles — 

1. The Darwinian Theory: what it is, and how it has been 

2. The Origin and Uses of the Colours of Animals. 

3. Mimicry, and other exceptional modes of Animal 

4. The Origin and Uses of the Colours of Plants. 

5 : The Permanence of Oceans, and the relations of Islands 
and Continents. 

6. Oceanic Islands and their Biological History. 

7. Continental Islands: their Past History and Biological 

8. The Physical and Biological Relations of New Zealand 
and Australia. 

Shortly before I left England I gave the lecture on 
"Darwinism' to the Essex Field Club in order to see how 
my diagrams of variation struck an intelligent audience, and 
was fairly satisfied with the result. 

I left London on October 9 in a rather slow steamer in 
order to have a cabin to myself at a moderate price, and landed 
at New York on the 23rd, after a cold and disagreeable 
passage. A sketch of my American tour will be given in the 
following chapters. 



When I left home I had some idea of extending my journey 
across the Pacific, lecturing in New Zealand and Australia, 
perhaps also in South Africa, on my way home. But my 
voyage out was so disagreeable, making me sick and unwell 
almost the whole time, that I concluded it would not be wise 
to extend my sea voyages except under very favourable condi- 
tions, which did not occur. One of these was the success of 
my American tour, but owing to my agent not being a good 
one, or, perhaps, to my not being sufficiently known in Amer- 
ica, I was kept throughout the winter in Washington waiting 
for lecture engagements, which did not come till March and 

On reaching New York (October 23), I had my first experi- 
ence of American prices by having to pay two dollars for a 
cab to the American Hotel, not a mile off, where I was obliged 
to go for the night. The next morning (Sunday) I went to 
stay for a few days with Mr. A. G. Browne, a gentleman on one 
of the New York daily papers who had called on me at Godal- 
ming in the summer. On the way to his house we drove to 
the picturesque Central Park, in the company of Henry George, 
the well-known author of " Progress and Poverty," who was 
then a candidate for the important post of Mayor of New 
York, and who had been invited by Mr. Browne to meet me. 
The next evening I attended one of his meetings, and was 
called upon to say a few words to an American audience. I 
tried my best to be forcible, praised George, and said a few 
words about what we were doing in England, but I could see 
that I did not impress them much. 


108 MY LIFE 

As Mr. Browne's occupation was to summarize all the 
evening papers for the morning's issue, his work was from 

[night till four in the morning. Then all the forenoon he 
had to do the same thing with the morning papers for the 
evening issue, getting his sleep in the early morning and after- 
noon. ( >ne day lu- got free in order to take me nj> the Hudson 
river as far as West Point, passing the celebrated " Palisades " 
— a continuous row of cliffs about two hundred feet high, and 
extending for nearly twenty miles on the south bank of the 
river. They look exactly like a huge fence of enormous split 
trees, placed vertically, side by side, but are really basaltic 
columns like those at the Giant's Causeway, crowning a slope 
of fallen rock. In places the well-wooded country was very 
beautiful, with the autumnal tints of bright red, purple and 
yellow, though we 'were a little late to see them in perfection. 
Where we landed, I was delighted to see wild vines clambering 
over the trees, as well as the Virginia creeper, and there were 
also sumachs and other characteristic American plants. The 
situation of the great American Military College is splendid, 
on an elevated promontory in a bend of the Hudson, sur- 
rounded by rugged wooded hills, and with magnificent views 
up and down the river. 

On the 28th I went to Boston to be ready for my first 
lecture on November 1. I had been recommended by Mr. 
J. G. Wood to go to the Quincy House, as being moderate in 
charges, and celebrated for its excellent table. I stayed there 
nearly two months, and was, on the whole, very comfortable ; 
but it was essentially a business man's hotel, and I made no 
interesting acquaintances there. My scientific friends told me 
I ought to have gone to a better hotel, but as these were all 
four or five dollars a day, with no better accommodation than 
I had at three dollars, I did not care to change. As I never 
had better meals at any hotel I stayed at in America (except, 
perhaps, in San Francisco), I may quote my description of 
them in a letter to my daughter while they were new to me. 
" You ought to see the meals at this hotel ! The bill of fare at 
dinner (1 to 3 o'clock) has generally two kinds of soup, two 
of fish, about twenty to thirty different dishes of meat, poultry, 


and game, a dozen sorts of pastry, a dozen of vegetables, 
besides ices, and whatever fruits are in season. You can 
order anything you like in any combination, and they are 
brought in little dishes, which are arranged around your plate. 
Everything is good and admirably cooked. The pies and 
puddings are equally good. At breakfast and supper there 
is about half the number of dishes." 

During the whole time I was in America I had a wonderful 
appetite, and ate much more than I did at home, and enjoyed 
excellent health. I imputed this at the time to the more bracing 
air, the novelty, and the excitement. But from subsequent 
events I am inclined to think that I really did not eat enough 
nourishing food at home, although I had what I liked best, 
and seemed to eat plenty of it. 

At my first lecture on " The Darwinian Theory," I had a 
crowded and very attentive audience, and the newspaper notices 
the next morning showed that it was a success. One of the 
shortest and best of these was in The Transcript, and was as 
follows : — 

" The first Darwinian, Wallace, did not leave a leg for anti- 
Darwinism to stand on when he had got through his first 
Lowell lecture last evening. It was a masterpiece of con- 
densed statement — as clear and simple as compact — a most 
beautiful specimen of scientific work. Mr. Wallace, though 
not an orator, is likely to become a favourite as a lecturer, 
his manner is so genuinely modest and straightforward." 

During the time my lectures were going on I occupied 
myself at the museums, libraries, and institutions of Boston, 
and paid a few visits in the country. I soon made the 
acquaintance of Dr. Asa Gray, the first American botanist, 
General Walker, the political economist, Messrs. Hyatt, Scud- 
der, Morse, and other biologists ; while Mr. Houghton, the 
publisher, who was very polite, asked me to call at his office 
to read whatever I liked, and invited me to dinner to meet 
Oliver Wendell Holmes. I met the Autocrat of the Breakfast 
Table several times afterwards, and once called at his house 
and had a two hours' private conversation. He was very inter- 
esting from his constant flow of easy conversation; but when 


we were alone he turned our talk on Spiritualism, in which he 

was much interested and which he was evidently inclined 
to accept, though he had little personal knowledge of the 

The National Academy of Science was now sitting at Bos- 
ton, and 1 attended several of its meetings, at one of which I 
heard Professor Langley explain his wonderful discovery of 
the extension of the heat-spectrum by means of his new 
instrument, the bolometer. At another meeting Professor 
Cope read a paper, while Professor Marsh was in the chair, 
evidently to his great annoyance, as the relations of these 
great palaeontologists were much as were those of Owen and 
Huxley after i860. At another meeting the question of 
geographical distribution came up, and Professor Asa Gray 
called on me to say something. I was rather taken aback, 
and could think of nothing else but the phenomena of seed 
dispersal by the wind, as shown by the varying proportion of 
endemic species in oceanic islands, and by the total absence in 
the Azores of all those genera whose seeds could not be air- 
borne (either by winds or birds), thus throwing light upon 
some of the m'ost curious facts in plant-distribution. I think 
the subject, as I put it, was new to most of the naturalists 

I went several times to Cambridge in order to examine 
carefully the two important museums there — the Agassiz 
Museum of Zoology and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology. 
Both are admirable, and Mr. Alexander Agassiz kindly showed 
me over every part of the former museum, an account of 
which I have given in the second volume of my " Studies, 
Scientific and Social." 

One day I spent at Salem on a visit to Professor Edward 
Morse and his pleasant family. He had lived several years 
in Japan, and had made a very extensive collection of Japanese 
pottery, ancient and modern. He has about four thousand 
specimens, all distinct, many of great rarity and value. I also 
dined with Professor Asa Gray to meet most of the biological 
professors of Harvard University. After dinner he asked me 
to give them some account of how I was led to the theory of 


natural selection, and this was followed by some interesting 

One evening I was invited to a meeting of the New England 
Women's Club, where the Rev. J. G. Brooks gave an address 
on " What Socialists Want." I could hardly make out 
whether he was a Socialist or not, but I thought his views to 
be very vague and unpractical. I was not at that time a 
thorough Socialist, but considered that a true " social econ- 
omy " founded on land nationalization and equality of oppor- 
tunity was what was immediately required. When called 
upon, I spoke in this sense for about half an hour. I after- 
wards wrote it out, treating it more systematically, and read 
it to a private meeting of my friends at Washington. Its 
substance is embodied in the chapter on " Economic and 
Social Justice " in my " Studies." 

After my earlier Lowell lectures were over, I was free to 
give them elsewhere, and had a few very interesting engage- 
ments. On November 19 I went to Williamstown, in the extreme 
north-west corner of Massachusetts, to lecture at Williams Col- 
lege on " Colours of Animals." The lecture was appreciated, 
but unfortunately the lantern was so poor as not to show the 
coloured slides to advantage. Williamstown is in a fine 
mountainous country, and the next day one of the professors 
drove me in a buggy over very rough roads, and sometimes 
over snow, to a pretty waterfall, where I collected a few of 
the characteristic American ferns, which I sent home, and 
which lived for many years in my garden. I here first noticed 
the very striking effect of the white-barked birches and yellow- 
barked willows in the winter landscape. The fine Cypripcdium 
spectabile, I was told, grew abundantly in the bogs of this 
district. I was hospitably entertained by President Carter, 
who invited me to visit him in the summer, when there are 
abundance of pretty flowers — an invitation, I much regret, I 
was unable to profit by. 

Between my two last lectures in Boston I had to give one 
at Meriden, a small manufacturing town in Connecticut, 
involving a railway journey of nearly two hundred miles each 
way. I stayed with Mr. Robert Bowman, an Englishman 

112 MY LIFE 

and a manufacturer of plated goods, who bad been thirty years 
in America. Much of the country I passed through, as well 
as that around Meriden itself, was picturesque with rock and 
mountain and rapid streams, vet the whole i ffect was, as I 
noted it in my journal, " scraggy as usual," while an American 
writer declares that the whole country " has been reduced to a 
state of unkempt and sordid ugliness." But I am pretty sure 
that the more naturally picturesque parts of this New England 
country must be very beautiful in spring- and early summer, 
when the abundant vegetation would conceal and beautify 
that which is bare and ugly in winter. The climate, too, is 
unfavourable to that amount of verdure which we can show 
throughout the year; while the universality of old irregular 
hedgerows in our lowland districts gives a finish and a charm 
to our scenery which is wholly wanting where straight lines 
of split-wood fences are almost equally universal. 

My next lecture was at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, on 
the way to which I had agreed to pay a visit to Professor 
Marsh, at New Haven, where I arrived on the evening of 
November 26. My host, who was a bachelor and very 
wealthy, had built himself an eccentric kind of house, the 
main feature of which was a large octagonal hall, full of 
trophies collected during his numerous explorations in the 
far West, and used as a reception and dining-room, with 
pretty suites of visitors' rooms opening out of it — a roomy 
kind of solidly built bungalow. It is situated near the Pea- 
body Museum of Yale College, where there was at that time 
the largest collection of fossil skeletons, chiefly of mammals 
and reptiles of America, to be seen anywhere. The next 
morning was devoted to seeing these wonderful remains of an 
extinct world, among which were the huge bones of the 
atlantosaurus, a reptile near a hundred feet long and thirty 
feet high, supposed to be the largest land animal that has 
ever existed. The remarkable horned dinosauria, the flying 
pterodactyles of strange forms, as well as the almost complete 
series of links connecting the modern horse with the very 
ancient eohippus and hyracotherium, were very interesting. 
These latter were very small animals with four toes, which 


were succeeded by larger and larger forms with fewer toes, 
till they culminated in the modern horses, asses, and zebras, 
with a single toe, or hoof, on each foot. 

In the evening I had the pleasure of meeting Professor 
Dana, the first of American geologists, and one or two other 
professors of Yale. The next morning was spent in a stroll 
over the parks and gardens, and in admiring the grand elm 
trees which line many of the streets of this picturesque city 
and render it one of the most pleasing I visited in America. 
In the afternoon I went by train to New York, and then on 
to Poughkeepsie and to Vassar College, one of the most exten- 
sive and complete ladies' colleges, where half the professors 
are ladies, while the president was Dr. J. M. Taylor. 

I breakfasted in the hall with the lady principal, doctor, 
professors, and students, of whom there are about three hun- 
dred. Each student has a separate bedroom, and to each 
three bedrooms there is a sitting-room, and so far as possible 
they are allowed to group themselves. Students enter at six- 
teen by a rather stiff examination in mathematics, Latin, 
either Greek, German, or French, history, etc. The regular 
course of study includes natural history, physiology, chem- 
istry, physics, and astronomy, all taught experimentally in 
laboratories, and an observatory which has a meridian circle 
and a twelve-inch equatorial. There is also a good natural 
history museum and art gallery. Anglo-Saxon and moral phil- 
osophy are taught in the last term. The grounds are over 
two hundred acres of rather rough park-like country, contain- 
ing a lake with boats and a gymnasium. In the evening I 
lectured on " Oceanic Islands " to a good and very attentive 

The next morning I had to be up at 5 a.m. in order to 
catch the train to New York and on to Baltimore, where I 
lectured in the evening on " Darwinism." I gave here four 
lectures to the Peabody Institute, and one, on " Island Life," 
at the Johns-Hopkins University. The next morning I called 
on President Gilman, who showed me round the buildings, 
library, reading-room, etc., and introduced me to the pro- 
fessors, among whom was Dr. W. K. Brooks, the zoologist, 


asked me to lunch with him, and afterwards took- mc to 
walk over the Druid 11 ill Park, a finely wooded hilly tract of 
i acres, close to the town, and forming one of the most 
picturesque recreation grounds I have seen. 1 also spent 
an evening with Professor 1 .rooks, when we talked on Dar- 
winian topics mainly. One day 1 dined with I 'resident Gilman, 
and met afterwards a host of professors, students, and ladies, 

and had a very pleasant evening. Another day I called on 

Professor Ely and had a long talk on the political and social 
outlook. In the evening he took me to a meeting of psycholo- 
gists — professors and students — whose talk was so technical 
as to be almost unintelligible to me, and when they asked my 
opinion on some of their unsettled problems, I was obliged to 
say that I had paid no attention to them, and that I was only 
interested in the question of how far the intellectual and moral 
nature of man could have been developed from those of the 
lower animals through the agency of natural selection, or 
whether they indicated some distinct origin and some higher 
law ; and I gave them a sketch of my views as afterwards 
developed in the last eighteen pages of my " Darwinism." 

After my last lecture (on December 9) I went to President 
Oilman's, where I met, among others, Professor Langley, the 
physicist. The talk was chiefly about Professor Sylvester, 
who had excited immense interest, not only by his wonderfully 
original mathematical genius, but also by his eccentricities 
and self-absorption. Many anecdotes were told of him. He 
had started to dine with a professor who lived not five minutes' 
walk from his own house, and whom he had repeatedly visited ; 
yet he wandered about the streets searching for it in vain, 
and came in a full hour late. After having lived several years 
in Baltimore, he was one day asked in the street to direct a 
person to one of the best known public buildings, and hastily 
replied, " Pray excuse me ; I am quite a stranger here." His 
genius for solving puzzles in mathematics gave him an interest 
in making rhymes. There was a remarkably pretty young lady 
who came to one of the University festivals whose name was 
suitable for rhyming purposes, and Sylvester started some 
complimentary verses to see how many successive rhymes he 


could make. His intimates declare that for weeks afterwards 
he would say on meeting them in the morning, " I have got 

another rhyme for Miss ," and after all his friends 

had declared that no more were possible, he still kept on dis- 
covering new ones till they amounted to some incredible 

On December 11 I returned to Boston, the whole country 
being snow-clad and the rivers all ice-bound. On calling 
upon my agent I found he had got no more engagements for 
me, so I determined to go to Washington at the end of the 
month. Considering that my lectures were so well received 
wherever I went and so well spoken of in the papers, I was 
puzzled to know why there was not more demand for them. 
But later on some of my friends told me that it was because 
I had been preceded for two years by Rev. J. G. Wood, who, 
though a very clever artist in colour on the blackboard and 
an excellent field naturalist, put very little into his lectures. 
Yet he had been well puffed up by the same agent as a " great 
English naturalist," and had given lectures in most of the 
colleges in the United States. Hence, when the same agent 
announced another " great English naturalist," there were 
few bidders, as I was not at that time sufficiently well known 
in America. With one exception, I had no lectures whatever 
for three months ! 

I spent the three weeks in Boston studying the museums, 
reading at the public library, paying visits, etc. One evening 
I dined with the Naturalists' Club at the Revere House Hotel, 
with such well-known men as Hyatt, Hagen, Minot, Scudder, 
James, Gould, etc.; and just before I left I was invited by a 
wealthy merchant and yachtsman, Mr. John M. Forbes, to a 
farewell dinner at Parker's Hotel to meet some of Boston's 
most eminent men. These were Oliver Wendell Holmes; 
James Russell Lowell; Edward Waldo Emerson, son of the 
philosopher; Dr. Asa Gray; Rev. James Freeman Clarke; Dr. 
William James ; General Francis Walker, President of the 
Technological Institute; Sir William Dawson, the Canadian 
geologist, who was lecturing at the Lowell Institute; and two 


others less known. The dinner was luxurious in the extreme, 
the table covered over with delicate ferns, and roses with 
bouquets of violets and daffodils before each guest. I sat next 

to Lowell, and was rather awed, a^ I did not know much of 
liis writings, and I think lie had never heard of me. The 
condition of things was not improved by his quoting some 

Latin author to illustrate some remark addressed to me, evi- 
dently to, see if T was a scholar. I was so taken aback that 
instead of saying I had forgotten the little Latin I ever knew, 
and that my special interests were in nature, I merely replied 
vaguely to his observation. However, the conversation soon 
became more general, and such subjects as politics, travel, 
Sir James Brooke, and even spiritualism, afforded some pleas- 
ant interchange of ideas. Fortunately there were no speeches, 
but I was not so much impressed by the Boston celebrities as 
I ought to have been. 

A good deal of time during my last three weeks in Boston 
was spent in the society cither of the professed men of science 
or the spiritualists, with both of whom I felt myself at ease; 
while for general intelligence the latter were quite equal to the 
former. I also attended some very remarkable seances, an 
account of which will be given in a future chapter. I had 
one good example of the sudden changes of temperature to 
which Boston is liable. On December 24 it was a very mild 
day, so much so that walking was quite oppressive, and in 
the evening I sat in my room with the window open to keep 
cool. At night it rained tremendously till 2 or 3 A.M., but 
Christmas Day was a hard frost, and the next day the greatest 
cold I felt in America. I was told that during the winter and 
spring the thermometer often falls 6o° in two hours, and a 
Bostonian never goes out for a few hours, however mild it 
may be, without being provided with warm clothing against 
sudden changes, which often produce serious effects. 

I reached Washington on December 31, and after spending 
four days with Professor Riley, the State entomologist, I 
took a room at the Hamilton Hotel, where (with the exception 
of ten days in Canada) I lived till April 7. I found Washing- 
ton a very pleasant residence on account of the large number 


of scientific men in the various Government departments and 
in the Smithsonian Institution, and also the presence of many 
literary men, as representatives of the great Northern papers 
or as permanent or temporary residents. Among my earliest 
acquaintances were Dr. Elliott Coues, a man of brilliant tal- 
ents, wide culture, and delightful personality, with whose ideas 
I had much in common, and with whom I soon became inti- 
mate. He was not only a practical but highly philosophical 
biologist, and was equally interested with myself in psychical 
research. I met many pleasant people at his house, where I 
often spent my Sunday evenings. I found another equally 
close friend in Professor F. Lester Ward, who divided his 
enthusiasms and his work between botany and sociology, both 
subjects which (as an amateur) interested myself. His writ- 
ings on the latter subject are very numerous — his " Dynamic 
Sociology," in two large volumes, being a masterpiece of 
elaborate systematic study of almost every phase of social 
science. A more readable and more suggestive work is his 
" Psychic Factors of Civilization," published in 1893, and he 
has since contributed numerous papers and addresses of great 
value to periodicals or to the publications of scientific societies. 
As soon as the earliest flowers appeared he took me long 
Sunday walks in the wild country round Washington, our 
first being, on February 13, through the stretches of virgin 
forest called Woodley Park, now, I believe, a botanical and 
zoological reserve, where many interesting plants were gath- 
ered to send home — Goodyera, Epigcea repens, Care.v Platy- 
phylla, and the curious leafless parasite called beech-drops, 
allied to our orobanche. One curious bog-plant, Symplocarpas 
fcetidus, was in flower, as was the pretty blue hepatica, also 
found in Europe. February and March were, however, very 
cold, and Washington was snow-covered and wintry, and so 
our first really good spring botanizing was on March 2J, 
when we went a rather long walk of about nine miles to High 
Island, a locality for many rarities. Here we found several 
pretty or curious spring flowers, the most interesting to me 
being the strange little white-flowered umbelliferous plant, 
Erigena bulbosa; but other peculiar American plants — Clay- 


tonia, Podophyllum, Jeffersonia, etc.—] now saw in flower for 
the first time. During these excursions we had many long 

talks and discussions while taking OUr lunch. At that time I 
was not a convinced Socialist, and in that respect Lester Ward 

was in advance of me, though he could not quite convince me. 

lie was also an absolute agnostic <>r monist, and around this 

question our discussions most frequently turned. But as I 

had a basis of spiritualistic experiences of which he was totally 
ignorant, we looked at the subject from different points of 
view : and I was limited to urging the inherent and absolute 
differences of nature between matter and mind, and that 
though, as a verbal proposition, it may be as easy to assume 
the eternal and necessary existence of matter and its forces 
as it is to assume mind as the fundamental cause of matter, 
yet it is not really so complete an explanation or so truly 
monistic, since we cannot actually conceive matter as pro- 
ducing mind, whereas we certainly can conceive mind as 
producing matter. 

I also soon became very intimate with Major Powell, the 
head of the geological survey, and also with Captain Dutton, 
Mr. McGee, and other members of the survey. I spent a 
good deal of time in their library, reading up the history of the 
glacial phenomena and the antiquity of man in America. At 
twelve o'clock we all lunched together, in a very informal way, 
on bread and cheese, fruit, cakes, and tea ; and at this time we 
had many interesting conversations, as Major Powell was a 
great anthropologist and psychologist, as well as a geologist, 
and we thus got upon all kinds of subjects. 

I also spent a good deal of my time in the great collection 
of prehistoric remains, stone implements, weapons, etc., of 
early man in the National Museum, perhaps the most wonder- 
ful and interesting collection of such objects in the world. 
One of the gentlemen interested in such things, Dr. Hoffman, 
took me to a field in the suburbs which had been the site 
of an old Indian village and where arrow-heads were still 
often found, and I was able to pick up a few specimens 


I was also made free of Cosmos Club, where I went to read 
papers and magazines. Soon after my arrival Mr. Riley took 
me to one of the evening receptions, where I met most of the 
scientific men and women of Washington, and was introduced 
to many of them. Most of them told me they had read my 
books, and several said that my " Malay Archipelago ' had 
first led them to take an interest in natural history and its 
more general problems. Here, at one time or another, I met 
almost all the scientific men of Washington and many of those 
from other States. One evening I was taken by Major and 
Mrs. Powell to a meeting of the Literary Society at the house 
of Mr. Nordhoff, author of an important work on the com- 
munistic societies of the United States, and a very advanced 
thinker. Here I met hosts of people who were really too 
polite and enthusiastic — " proud to meet me ; ' "honour and 
pleasure never expected ; " " read my books all their life ! ' 
etc. — leaving me speechless with amazement! 

The event of the evening was a paper by Mr. Kennan, 
describing his recent visit, on his return from Siberia, to 
Count Tolstoi, the great Russian novelist, philanthropist, and 
non-resisting nihilist. It was a very clever, sympathetic, and 
suggestive picture of a man described as " a true social hero — 
one of the Christ type." I often dined at Mr. NordhofT's and 
met many interesting people there, and spent several pleasant 
evenings with his highly intellectual family. Among the 
celebrities I met there were Mrs. Hodgson Burnett, none of 
whose works I had then read; Captain Greely, the Arctic 
explorer; and Senator and Mrs. Stanford, whom I afterwards 
visited in California. 

When settled at the hotel I was allotted a place to take my 
meals, at a table where there were five other persons Not 
knowing the etiquette of such a position, I did not begin con- 
versation till, I think, the second day, a gentleman and lady of 
middle age introduced themselves as Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong, 
and we soon became quite friendly. They had a private sitting- 
room in the hotel, and I often had afternoon tea with them 
or spent the evening; and as they were educated people inter- 
ested in science and literature, while Mr. Armstrong was a 

120 MY LIFE 

spiritualist, they were very agreeable acquaintances. Through 
them I was introduced to the other occupants of the table — 
Judge Holman, with his wife and daughter. The judge was 
. member of Congress, as representative of Indiana, and we 
had sometimes long conversations at breakfast or dinner on 
political questions. One of the most interesting was about 
the Irish in America. He said, "Why does your Government 
drive the Irish out of their country by not letting them govern 
themselves? We find them among our best citizens when 
they have a chance. I have known and observed them for 
fifty years. Near me, in Indiana, is a township which was 
settled about forty years ago by Irish and Germans, all Catho- 
lics. The Germans have increased in numbers, the Irish have 
diminished by emigrating further west and other causes. Many 
of the Irish have become public men of eminence, and many 
others rose to good positions. Those that remain farmers 
cultivate their land as well as the Germans, and show equal 
industry. Considering the low class of Irish that usually 
come over, and their extreme poverty as compared with the 
Germans and other immigrants, it cannot be said that they 
are at all inferior in industry and in success in life. That is 
the general experience all over our country. They form a 
valuable portion of our citizens, yet you English will have it 
they can't govern themselves, and make that an excuse for 
keeping them down and driving them to emigrate." That is 
the substance of his remarks, which I noted down immediately ; 
and as he was a highly intelligent man, and a good example 
of the moderate American legislator, his opinion seemed to me 
especially valuable, and should make our "Unionists' (as 
they call themselves, but they are really "gaolers") pause in 
their endeavours to perpetuate the subjection of people who 
are in every respect as good as themselves. 

But to my mind, the question of good or bad, fit or not fit 
for self-government, is not to the point. It is a question of 
fundamental justice, and the just is always the expedient, as 
well as the right. It is a crime against humanity for one 
nation to govern another against its will. The master always 


sa s his slaves are not fit for freedom ; the tyrant, that subjects 
aro not fit to govern themselves. The fitness for self-govern- 
ment is inherent in human nature. Many savage tribes, many 
barbarian peoples are really better governed to-day than the 
majority of the self-styled civilized nations. America deserves 
the gratitude of all upholders of liberty by founding her own 
freedom on the principle of immutable right to self-govern- 
ment — that Governments derive their just powers only from 
the consent of the governed. To-day, however, America has 
taken leave of this high ideal, and has become, like ourselves, 
a tyrant, ruling the Filipinos against their will, as we have 
so long ruled the Irish. 

Among the visitors to Washington was the Rev. J. A. 
Allen, of Kingston, Canada (the father of our Grant Allen), 
who, with his wife and two daughters, were living in apart- 
ments nearly opposite my hotel. I soon became intimate with 
this amiable and very intellectual family, and spent many pleas- 
ant evenings with them ; while Mr. Allen sometimes went for 
walks with me and took me over the Patent Museum, where 
there is a most wonderful exhibition of models of all the 
successful and unsuccessful inventions that have been patented 
in the States. From him I first learnt that his son was a poet, 
and he gave me a copy of his marvellous poem entitled ' In 
Magdalen Tower," written when he was an undergraduate, 
describing with wonderful ingenuity and picturesqueness the 
appearance of the city on a moonlight October night, but going 
on to discuss the deepest problems of philosophy and their 
attempted solutions. Take as a sample these two verses on 
law in the universe : — 

" We yearn for brotherhood with lake and mountain ; 

Our conscious soul seeks conscious sympathy, 
Nymphs in the coppice, Naiads in the fountain, 

Gods in the craggy heights and roaring sea. 
We find but soulless sequences of matter, 

Fact linked to fact by adamantine rods. 
Eternal bonds of former sense and latter, 

Blind laws for living Gods. 

122 MY LIFE 

"They care not any whit for pain or pleasure 

That Beem to men the sum and vm] of all; 
Dumb force and barren number are their measure; 

What can be. shall be, though the threat world fall. 
They take no heed of man or man's deserving, 

Reck not what happy lives they make or mar, 
Work out their fatal will unswerv'd unswerving, 

And know not that they are ! " 

The poem consists of twenty-one verses, every one of them 
perfect in rhyme and rhythm, and each carrying on the argu- 
ment and illustration to the conclusion. This gifted writer 
would have been a great naturalist, and perhaps also a great 
poet, had he not been obliged to write novels and magazine 
articles for a livelihood. 

Another interesting character was Mrs. Beecher Hooker, 
sister to Henry Ward Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe. 
She was a fine lecturer on social, ethical, and spiritual subjects, 
and was also a spiritualist and trance speaker, well known 
throughout America. One evening she gave a reception, to 
which she invited her friends to meet me. Many of the clergy 
and a large number of the senators and congressmen, with 
their wives and daughters, were present, and she would insist 
on introducing me to a number of them, so that I had to shake 
hands with fifty or sixty people. They seemed quite puzzled. 
I heard one say to another, " I guess he's some Western man, 
but I never heard of him." " No," said his friend, " he's an 
Englishman, lecturing on biology and Darwin, and such 
things." " Wal," said the first, " he hasn't much of the 
English accent." Mrs. Hooker was very anxious that we 
should come to live in America (she had visited us in England) 
and form a kind of home colony, being sure that she could get 
many advanced thinkers to join; and some years after she 
wrote to me about it. But my work was at home. 

Many of my most interesting and most intellectual friends 
were spiritualists. Besides Professor Coues, a man of the 
mental calibre of Huxley with the charming personality of 
Mivert, I saw most of General Francis Lippit, a man who was 
a lawyer as well as a soldier, and had held many high offices 


under the Government. He was highly educated and had 
seen much of the world, and we spent many pleasant hours 
together. He introduced me to Mr. Daniel Lyman, solicitor 
to the Treasury, a man of powerful physique and strong 
character, who had for many years made a study of spiritual- 
istic phenomena, and, like Sir W. Crookes, had had mediums 
to live with him and be wholly subject to his own conditions. 
Under such circumstances he had obtained phenomena of a 
more astounding, yet more convincing nature than any person 
I have met. He took us over the Treasury, showed us the 
beautiful machinery for engraving bank-notes, so that every 
fresh issue — and they are continually being made — may have 
a new and highly complex pattern. We were also taken to 
the Treasury vaults — some filled to the roof with bags of dol- 
lars, others with gold in interminable ranges. One huge 
vault, about sixty feet by thirty feet, with iron partitions, was 
filled from floor to ceiling with bags of dollars, one thousand 
in each bag. The total amount was fifty-seven millions, and in 
another vault there was twenty-five millions in gold. The 
large double doors closing these vaults are of steel, strength- 
ened by massive cross-bars and with huge cylindrical bolts 
at top, bottom, and sides, all connected by a clockwork arrange- 
ment, which prevents the bolts from being moved till the hour 
at which the clock was previously set. The doors and locks 
were highly finished pieces of engineering, and must have 
cost a very large sum each. These enormous stores of coin, 
and the complex and costly arrangements for keeping them 
safely, afforded a striking object-lesson to the Socialist of the 
waste and absurdity of our existing systems of currency, which 
would be completely unnecessary under a more rational social 

One day Mr. Allen went with me to the House of Repre- 
sentatives, where we heard part of a debate on the Pleuro- 
pneumonia Bill, State rights, etc. The arrangements differ 
widely from ours. The whole building seems to be open to 
the public. There is a very broad gallery all around the 
chamber with comfortable seats, accommodating perhaps sev- 
eral thousand people. Every member has a separate desk and 

i2 4 MY LIFE 

chair, and most of them write or read at their ease while the 

Iks are going on. Dozens of messenger-boys are always 

running about, taking letters, telegrams, or messages to friends. 

To call a hoy the member claps his hands. There is much 
more energy and gesticulation in the speeches than with us. 
The Capitol is a very fine building, standing on a small hill 
in a fine park. It is in the classical style, with very broad 
ilights of steps, great numbers of columns, and a beautiful 
central dome, as graceful in form as that of St. Paul's, and 
over three hundred feet high. The whole building is pure 
white, part painted stone, the rest white marble. The general 
effect is really magnificent. The inside is equally fine, the cen- 
tral hall under the dome forming a kind of public lounge. 
Owing, however, to its being situated in a city which is not 
a great business centre, it is rarely crowded. 

The Corcoran Art Gallery occupied an afternoon. The 
most remarkable pictures were Church's " Niagara," Bierstadt's 
grand view in the Sierra Nevada, and Midler's " Charlotte 
Corday." One morning I went by invitation to the Naval 
Observatory to see the instruments and the wonderfully ingen- 
ious electrical arrangement by which clocks all over the coun- 
try are automatically set right at noon, both second and 
minute hands being moved back or forward as required. I 
also saw the great equatorial, with twenty-six-inch object 
glass and of thirty feet focal length ; at that time the finest 
telescope in the world. A week later, on a frosty night, I 
went again, and was shown Saturn, with powers of four hun- 
dred and six hundred. The division of the ring was very 
sharp, but the dark ring was barely visible as a shadow on the 
two ends. The white equatorial belt was, however, very 
distinct. I was then shown the great nebula in Orion, the 
double star Castor, and a fine cluster in Perseus, the most 
beautiful object I saw. The telescope is not quite achromatic, 
but it is wonderfully steady, and the clockwork motion very 
perfect. The night, though very clear, was not one for what 
is termed " good seeing " ; hence high powers could not be 
used, and the result was somewhat disappointing. A really 
good telescope of moderate size, say four-inch or six-inch 


object glass, properly mounted, and which can be used when- 
ever the conditions are good, will afford more pleasure and 
instruction than chance visits to the largest instruments. 

Early in January I had an engagement to lecture before the 
American Geographical Society at New York, the subject 
being " Oceanic Islands and the Permanence of Continental 
and Oceanic Areas." I stayed with my kind friend, Mr. A. 
G. Browne, who took me after the lecture to the Century Club, 
where I met Clarence King, the geologist, and some other 
scientific men. Next morning I visited the American Museum 
of Natural History, where I met Dr. J. B. Holder, Mr. J. A. 
Allen, the well-known w r riter on birds and mammals, and 
some other naturalists ; and returned to Washington in the 

On Sunday evening, March 6, I started on a ten days' visit 
to Canada to fulfil some lecture engagements. I went by a 
circuitous route by Williamsport, where I breakfasted ; then 
on by Seneca lake and Rochester to Niagara. All this coun- 
try was very picturesque — much like Wales, but no walls or 
hedges, and wooden houses. Willows with bright yellow bark 
were conspicuous, and very handsome. Near the lake were 
abundant vineyards, deep gullies in horizontal shaly rock, with 
numerous waterfalls. I reached the Niagara old suspension 
bridge at 5 p. m., and had just time to see the rapids by going 
down the cliffs in an elevator about two hundred feet. The 
leaping, irregular waves were fine, but hardly up to my expec- 
tation. I had an excellent supper at a small hotel, and then 
went on to Toronto, which I reached at 12:20, going on next 
morning to Kingston, which I reached at 2 130 p. m v where 
Principal Grant met me and took me in a sleigh to the college. 
In the evening I lectured on " Darwinism ' to a good and 
attentive audience. 

After the lecture some friends of Principal Grant came in, 
and we had much conversation. A lady who was interested 
in spiritualism spoke to me, and asked me if I knew that 
Romanes was a spiritualist, and had tried to convert Darwin. 
I told her that I knew he was interested in the phenomena 
of spiritualism, but that I thought it most improbable that he 


had said anything to Darwin. " But/' said she, u Professor 
Romanes's brother is a great friend of mine, and he gave me 
the drafts of the letters they jointly wrote to Darwin. Would 
you like to see them ? n I said I certainly should, and she 
promised to bring them the next morning. She did so, and I 
read them with great interest and surprise, as he had never 
mentioned them to me when he had come to see me expressly 
to discuss spiritualism. On asking, she said I might take 
notes of the contents, as they were given to her without any 
restriction, and the Canadian Romanes was a thorough spirit- 
ualist. This curious episode, and what it led to, will be 
explained in a future chapter. 

In the afternoon I left for Toronto, where I arrived about 
II p.m., and drove to Professor Wright's house. We lunched 
next day with Dr. Wilson, and met Mr. Hale, the well known 
anthropologist. In the afternoon there was a reception at 
Professor Wright's, and in the evening I gave my lecture on 
the Darwinian theory, which gave the argument as afterwards 
developed in the first five and the last chapters of my book on 
" Darwinism." When I had finished, the Bishop of Toronto 
made a few remarks, and expressed his relief when he heard 
my concluding observations. The next day I gave a combined 
lecture on " Animal Colours and Mimicry," which occupied 
an hour and three-quarters ; but the crowded audience seemed 
much interested, and the lantern was an excellent one, and 
showed the coloured slides to perfection. A Mr. Smith, the 
head of a veterinary college, who had heard my first lecture, 
wished me to repeat it to his pupils, which I did the next day 
to a very attentive audience of three hundred young men. 

In the evening I dined with Professor Goldwin Smith and a 
party of scientific men in his fine old house, with black walnut 
staircase and furniture. Afterwards we adjourned to his 
spacious library, where we discussed politics and literature. 
The next evening was spent at Mr. Allen's, where I saw a fine 
collection of Canadian birds, and was struck by the large 
number of handsome woodpeckers and other bright-coloured 
birds as compared with Europe. On my way back to Wash- 
ington I spent four days at Niagara, living at the old hotel on 


the Canadian side, in a room that looked out on the great fall, 
and where its continuous musical roar soothed me to sleep. 
It was a hard frost, and the American falls had great ice- 
mounds below them, and ranges of gigantic icicles near the 
margins. At night the sound was like that of a strong, steady 
wind at sea, but even more like the roar of the London streets 
heard from the middle of Hyde Park. When in bed a con- 
stant vibration was felt. I spent my whole time wandering 
about the falls, above and below, on the Canadian and Ameri- 
can sides, roaming over Goat Island and the Three Sisters 
Islands far in the rapids above the Horse-shoe Fall, which are 
almost as impressive as the fall itself. The small Luna Island 
dividing the American falls was a lovely sight; the arbor-vitse 
trees {Thuya Americana) , with which it is covered, young 
and old, some torn and jagged, but all to the smallest twigs 
coated with glistening ice from the frozen spray,, looked like 
groves of gigantic tree corals — the most magnificent and fairy- 
like scene I have ever beheld. All the islands are rocky and 
picturesque, the trees draped with wild vines and Virginia 
creepers, and afford a sample of the original American forest 
vegetation of very great interest. During these four days 
I was almost entirely alone, and was glad to be so. I was 
never tired of the ever-changing aspects of this grand illustra- 
tion of natural forces engaged in modelling the earth's surface. 
Usually the centre of the great falls, where the depth and force 
of the water are greatest, is hidden by the great column of 
spray which rises to the height of four hundred or five hun- 
dred feet; but occasionally the wind drifts it aside, and allows 
the great central gulf of falling water to be seen nearly from 
top to bottom — a most impressive sight. 

When I got back to Washington it was snowing hard, and 
the whole country was more wintry-looking than at Niagara, 
four degrees further north. I at once went to the Geological 
Survey Library to look up recent works on Niagara, and had 
an interesting talk with Mr. McGee about it. He told me 
that the centre of the Horse-shoe Fall has receded about two 
hundred feet in forty years. The Potomac falls, which are in 
gneiss rock, have receded quite as fast. The conditions that 

128 MY LIFE 

combine to produce the recession of waterfalls are numerous, 
and SO liable to change, that it is impossible to trust to conclu- 
sions drawn from observations during limited periods. It is 
evident, for example, that while the Canadian falls have 
receded nearly one-third of a mile, the American falls have 
not receded more than ten or twenty feet. 

Although I did not have a single lecture engagement at 
Washington, I read two short scientific papers there. There 
was a Woman's Anthropological Society, which invited me 
to address them, and being rather puzzled what to talk about, 
I made a few remarks on " The Great Problems of Anthro- 
pology." These I defined as the problem of race and the 
problem of language. On the first point I stated that there 
are three great races or divisions of mankind clearly definable 
— the black, the brown, and the white, or the Negro, Mon- 
golian, and Caucasian. If we once begin to subdivide beyond 
these primary divisions, there is no possibility of agreement, 
and we pass insensibly from the five races of Pritchard to the 
fifty or sixty of some modern ethnologists. The other great 
problem, that of language and its origin, was important, 
because it was, above all others, the human characteristic, and 
was the greatest factor in man's intellectual development. I 
then laid down the outlines of the theory of mouth-gestures, 
which I afterwards developed in my article on " The Expres- 
siveness of Speech," showing how greatly it extends the range 
of mere initiative sounds (which had been ridiculed by some 
great philologists) and affords a broad and secure founda- 
tion for the development of every form of human speech. 

The other paper was on " Social Economy versus Political 
Economy," and was given at the request of Major Powell and 
a few other scientific friends to a large audience of gentlemen 
and ladies. It was an attempt to show how and why the 
old " political economy " was effete and useless, in view of 
modern civilization and modern accumulations of individual 
wealth. Its one end, aim, and the measure of its success, 
was the accumulation of wealth, without considering who got 
the wealth, or how many of the producers of the wealth 


starved. What we required now was a science of " social 
economy," whose success should be measured by the good 
of all. Under this system, not only should no worker ever be 
in want, but labour must be so organized that every worker, 
without exception, must receive as the product of his labour 
all the essentials of a healthy and happy life; must have 
ample relaxation, adequate change of occupation, the means 
of enjoying" the beauty and the solace of nature on the one 
hand, and of literature and art on the other. This must be a 
first charge on the labour of the community; till this is pro- 
duced there must be no labour expended on luxury, no private 
accumulations of wealth in order that unborn generations may 
live lives of idleness and pleasure. 

This paper was altogether too revolutionary for many of 
my hearers, and the general feeling was perhaps expressed in 
the following passage from the Washington Post: " It is 
astounding that a man who really possesses the power of 
induction and ratiocination, and who, in physical synthesis 
has been a leader of his generation, should express notions of 
political economy, which belong only or mainly to savage 
tribes." At that time, however, there was hardly a professed 
socialist in America. In the eighteen years that have elapsed 
since this paper was read an enormous advance in opinion 
has occurred, and to-day, not only to a large proportion of 
the workers, but to thousands of the professional classes, the 
views therein expressed would be accepted as in accordance 
with justice and sound policy. 

Another evening I was asked by Dr. T. A. Bland, editor 
of The Council Fire, and friend of the Indians, who had seen 
the evils of land-speculation in leading to the robbery of land 
granted as Indian reserves, to give some of his friends a short 
address, explaining my views on land reform. I note in my 
journal, " preached on ' Land Nationalization,' talk after- 
wards." At this time, however, the one subject of private 
interest everywhere in America was land-speculation, and 
nobody could see anything bad in it. My ideas, therefore, 
seemed very wild, and I don't think I made a convert. 

One of the most interesting visits I made in Washington 


was to the National Deaf-Mute College, founded in 1857, 
and one of the best institutions of the kind in the world. The 
president, Dr. (ialaudet, learnt to speak by signs before he 
spoke audibly, his mother being deaf and dumb, while his 
father was the first teacher of deaf-mutes in the United States. 
There arc about one hundred and twenty students from all 
parts of the Union, and the buildings stand in one hundred 
acres of beautifully wooded grounds, within ten miles of the 
Capitol. The more advanced students learn every subject 
taught in the best colleges, such as mathematics, the ancient 
and modern languages, the various sciences, moral philoso- 
phy, etc., and all these subjects are taught as thoroughly and 
as easily as to those who possess the power of speech. 

But besides being taught to use the gesture language as 
easily and as quickly as we use ordinary speech, and to read 
and write as well as we do, they are also now taught to 
speak — a much more difficult thing, and long thought impos- 
sible, because, not being able to hear either the teacher's voice 
or their own, they have to be taught by watching their tutor's 
mouth while speaking, and then trying to imitate the move- 
ments of the lips and tongues, aided by feeling the throat w T ith 
their ringers. It is a very slow process, and success depends 
much on the special initiative faculties and vocal organization 
of the learner. Even in the best cases there is a hardness and 
want of modulation in the voice, but they learn to say every- 
thing, even to make a speech in public, and at the same time 
they learn what is termed lip-reading — that is, to know what 
a person is saying by watching the motions of the lips and 
throat. But in this there is, of course, a good deal of guess- 
work, and unless they know the subject of conversation, they 
are likely to make great mistakes. 

Many persons cannot understand how it is possible to 
convey all kinds of abstract ideas by means of gestures or 
signals as quickly and as certainly as by vocal sounds. But 
in reality the former has some advantages over the latter, 
and is equally capable of unlimited extension and the ex- 
pression of new ideas, by a modification of familiar symbols. 
If we consider how easily we convey the idea, " Don't speak," 


by putting the fingers to the lips ; " yes " or " no " by the 
slightest motions of the head ; " come " or " go " by motions 
of the hand ; " joy " or " sorrow " by the expression of the 
face ; " a child " or " a man " by holding the hand at the 
corresponding height; weakness of mind by tapping the fore- 
head with the finger, we can see how a system of signs and 
gestures may be gradually built up as surely as have been 
the vocal sounds of all the various languages of the world. 
And such a system has been built up, and is so complete that 
a spoken lecture upon any subject whatever can be translated 
into gestures so as to be perfectly understood and enjoyed by 
an audience of deaf-mutes. Of course, proper names and the 
less common technical terms are given by rapidly spelling out 
the word by letter-signs. No doubt the power of speaking 
and lip-reading is by far the more valuable for the deaf- 
mute, since it enables him to communicate with the outside 
world ; but as a means of familiar intercourse with each other, 
the gesture language is the most certain and the most enjoy- 
able. Both require light, but the latter, involving motions of 
the limbs and body, can be understood at a greater distance 
and with less strained attention. 

The students trained in this college have no difficulty in 
finding employment. Some become teachers to the deaf, but 
others are editors or journalists, clerks, surveyors, draughts- 
men, mechanics, etc. I saw one of the younger pupils being 
taught to speak, which requires immense patience and per- 
severance in the teacher, and in some cases is almost impos- 
sible, except to a very limited extent. Others, on the con- 
trary, learn with comparative rapidity, just as some who can 
hear acquire foreign languages with a rapidity which seems 
almost incredible to those without the special faculty. Those 
who are familiar with the gesture language, and can read 
and write with facility, seem to enjoy their lives as well as 
we hearers and speakers enjoy ourselves. They are seen 
walking together, laughing, and gesture-talking with each 
other, or engaged in the various sports and occupations of their 
age without any indication of the loss of the means of com- 
munication which seems to us so essential. As now taught, 

i 3 2 MY LIFE 

the deaf-mute is in a far less painful position than the blind; 
indeed, Professor Newcomb told them, in an address he gave 
at the college in 1885, that they were peculiarly fortunate in 
being so situated as to escape much of the Idle, useless talk 
that is going on in the world. His own time, he said, was 
largely taken up by people who had nothing to say. Almost 
everything worth knowing that has been said is now to be 
found in print. 

While at Washington I was asked by two American papers 
— The Nation and The Independent — to review a book just 
published by Professor Gope, with the rather catching title, 
" The Origin of the Fittest," made up by combining Darwin's 
title, " The Origin of Species," and Herbert Spencer's " The 
Survival of the Fittest." With such a title from a man who, 
owing to his extensive knowledge of anatomy and palaeon- 
tology, was looked up to as a kind of American Haeckel, a 
really important work might naturally be expected. But 
this volume consisted almost entirely of a collection of lec- 
tures, addresses, and magazine articles, printed just as they 
were written or delivered, some in the first, some in the third 
person, with wdiole pages of the same matter repeated in 
different chapters, some of the illustrations having no refer- 
ence in the text. In fact, a more egregious case of book- 
making with a misleading title was never perpetrated. Of 
course, there was good and original matter in it; but all 
those parts which attempted to justify the title by propound- 
ing a new theory of evolution were either quite unsound in 
reasoning or wholly unintelligible. When the second appli- 
cation came, I told the editor that I had already agreed to 
write one, but could easily write another from a different 
point of view. This was accepted, and as the reviews were 
unsigned, it was not difficult to make them appear to be by 
distinct writers. In the first (which appeared in The Nation, 
February 10, 1887) I gave a careful summary of the most 
important contents of the volume, pointing out the novel 
views and stating how he differed from the Darwinians and 
from the chief other schools of biologists. Only in one para- 


graph at the end I pointed out the great imperfections of the 
work, due to the absence of any attempt to weld the mass of 
heterogeneous matter into a consistent whole. 

In the other article (The Independent, March 17, 1887) I 
presented my readers with a severe, but, I think, perfectly 
fair criticism, pointing out the extraordinary incongruity of 
the materials, the numerous repetitions, the illustrations with- 
out explanation on the plates or any reference to them in the 
text, and many other deficiencies. I showed how contemp- 
tuously he spoke of Darwin as a mere compiler of facts which 
every one knew, and the inventor of a theory that proved 
nothing, until he himself had now supplied the missing link — 
the new conception which cleared up everything! Then I 
dealt with his own supposed discoveries, his growth-force, his 
law of acceleration and retardation, and other such matters, 
showing that, so far as they were intelligible, they were all 
included in Darwin's writings; and I concluded by express- 
ing regret that the talented author should have issued so in- 
complete a work. I do not think that any of my friends in 
Washington suspected that I was the author of either of the 
articles, which I heard spoken of as fair criticisms. 

Before I left Washington, Judge Holman took me one morn- 
ing to call upon the president, Mr. Cleveland. The judge 
told him I was going to visit California, and that turned the 
conversation on wine, raisins, etc., which did not at all interest 
me. There was no ceremony whatever, but, of course, I had 
nothing special to say to him, and he had nothing special to 
say to me, the result being that we were both rather bored, and 
glad to get it over as soon as we could. I then went to see 
the White House, some of the reception rooms being very 
fine, but there was a great absence of works of art, the only 
painting I saw being portraits of Washington and his wife. 

Washington itself is a very fine and even picturesque city, 
owing to its designer having departed from the rigid rectangu- 
larly of most American cities by the addition of a number of 
broad diagonal avenues crossing the rectangles at different 
angles, and varying from one to four miles long. The broad- 

i 3 4 MY LIFE 

est of these arc one hundred and sixty feet wide, planted with 
two double avenues of trees, and with wide grassy spaces be- 
tween the houses and the pavements. Wherever these diagonal 
avenues intersect the principal streets, there are quadrangular 
open spaees forming gardens or small parks, planted with 
shrubs and trees, and with numerous seats. Conspicuous 
in these parks are the many specimens of the fine Pauloivina 
impcrialis, one of the handsomest flowering trees of the tem- 
perate zone, but which rarely flowers with us for want of 
sun-heat. It has very large cordate leaves and erect panicles 
of purple flowers, in shape like those of a foxglove. It was 
a great regret to me that I had to leave before the flowering 
season of these spendid trees. 

It is, however, a great pity that when the city was founded 
it was not perceived that the whole of the land should be 
kept by the Government, not only to obtain the very large 
revenue that would be sure to accrue from it, but, what is 
much more important, to prevent the growth of slums and of 
crowded insanitary dwellings as the result of land and build- 
ing speculation. As it is now, some of the suburbs are mis- 
erable in the extreme. Any kind of huts and hovels are put 
up on undrained and almost poisonous ground, while in some 
of these remoter streets I saw rows of little villas closely 
packed together, but each house only fifteen feet wide. 

My three months' sojourn in Washington, though a con- 
siderable loss to me financially, was in all other respects most 
enjoyable. I met more interesting people there than in any 
other part of America, and became on terms of intimacy, and 
even of friendship, with many of them. There was a very 
good circulating library of general literature to which I sub- 
scribed for a quarter, and was thus enabled to read many of 
the gems of American literature which I had not before met 
with. Among these I read a good many of the works of 
Frank Stockton, perhaps the most thoroughly original of 
modern story-writers. " Rudder Grange " and " The Adven- 
tures of Mrs. Leek and Mrs. Aleshine " are among the best 
known ; but I found here quite a small book, called " Every 
Man his own Letter- Writer," which professes to supply a 


long-felt want in giving forms of letters adapted to all the 
varied conditions of our modern civilization. The result is 
that these conditions are found to be so complex that to merely 
state them from " so-and-so " to " so-and-so " takes up much 
more space than the letter itself, and is made so humorously 
involved that I was, and am still, quite unable to read them for 
laughter. One day a small, active-looking man was pointed 
out to me as this very clever writer, and though I did not 
speak to him, it is a pleasure to recall his appearance when I 
read any of his delightfully fantastic works. For many rea- 
sons I left Washington with very great regret. 




I had two lecture engagements at Cincinnati, and had also 
an invitation to visit Mr. W. H. Edwards, the lepidopterist, 
whose book induced Bates and myself to go to Para, and 
who resided at Coalburgh in West Virgina. I was also very 
anxious to see a new cavern which had been discovered about 
ten years before, and which was said to be far superior to the 
Mammoth Cave in the variety and beauty of its stalagmitic 
formations, though not so extensive. I therefore took a 
rather circuitous route in order to carry out this programme. 
Leaving Washington April 6 at 3 p. m., I reached Harper's 
Ferry about 5.30, through a fairly cultivated country, a few 
fields green with young wheat and a few damp meadows 
with grass, but otherwise very wintry looking. Changing to 
a branch line up the Shenandoah Valley, I passed through a 
picturesque country like the less mountainous parts of Wales, 
but mostly uncultivated, and reached Luray station about 9 
p. m. There was a rather rough hotel here, where I had 
supper and bed, and the next morning after breakfast a wag- 
gon took myself and a few other visitors to the cavern about 
a mile away, for seeing which we paid a dollar each, and it 
was very well worth it. We walked through the best parts 
(which are lit up with electric lights) for about two hours, 
through a variety of passages, galleries, and halls, some reach- 
ing a hundred feet high, some having streams or pools of water, 
and some chasms of unknown depth, like most caves in the 
limestone. But everywhere there are stalactites of the most 
varied forms, and often of the most wonderful beauty. 
Usually they form pillars like some strange architecture, some- 



times they hang down like gigantic icicles, and one of these is 
over sixty feet long, the dripping apex being only a few inches 
from the floor. In some places the stalactites resemble cas- 
cades, in others organs, and several are like statues, and have 
received appropriate names. Many of them are most cu- 
riously ribbed ; others, again, have branches growing out of 
them at right angles a few inches long — a most puzzling 
phenomenon. There is a Moorish tent, in which fine white 
drapery hangs in front of a cave, a ball-room beautifully or- 
namented with snow-white stalactites, curtains, etc. Some of 
these, when struck, give out musical notes, and a tune can be 
played on them. A photograph of the Moorish tent and the 
curious pillars near it is here reproduced. The curtain is 
like alabaster, and when a lamp is held behind it, the effect 
is most beautiful. In many places there are stalagmitic floors, 
beneath which is clay filled with bones of bats, etc., and at 
one spot human bones are embedded in the floor under a 
chasm opening above. The print of an Indian mocassin is 
also shown petrified by the stalagmite. Rats and mice are 
found with very large eyes ; and there are some blind insects 
and centipedes, as in the Mammoth Cave. Several miles of 
caverns and passsages have already been explored, but other 
wonders may still be hidden in its deeper recesses. The only 
caves in the world which appear, from the descriptions to 
surpass those of Luray are the Jenolan caves in New South 
Wales. The latter have all the curious and elegant forms of 
stalactites found at Luray, and in addition others of beautiful 
colours, such as salmon, pink, blue, yellow, and various tints 
of green, a peculiarity, so far as I am aware, found nowhere 

Returning to the station I went on to Waynesboro' Junction, 
where I dined, and had to wait two or three hours for the 
train on at 5 p. m. I took a walk on a wooded hill close by, 
but the only flower I could find was the little Epigcea repens, 
the only indication of spring. The appearance of the woods 
was no more advanced than with us in February; yet it was 
in the latitude of Lisbon! I reached Clifton Forge, where I 
had to stay the night, at 8 p. m., and found the hotel full, and 

138 MY LIFE 

was sent to another — small, dirty, and ruinous. Next morning 
I was so unlucky as to lose my train by getting into the 
wrong one, which was standing ready on the line with steam 
up. The conductor, after seeing my ticket, stopped the train 
and set me down, telling me that if I walked back quickly I 
might be in time. But I had a heavy bag to carry, and a 
mile to walk, and arrived dripping with perspiration to find 
that the train had gone, and there was no other till the same 
hour next day. I therefore wired to Mr. Edwards, and spent 
the day exploring the country for several miles around. Two 
or three miles up the valley I came to a fine gorge, where 
there was a good specimen of arched stratification. I came 
across a thicket of rhododendrons, the first I had seen wild. 
There was also some tulip trees with dry capsules, and the 
brilliant red maple in flower, as well as the yellow flowered 
spice bush, Benzoin odoriferum. There was an undergrowth 
of kalmia, and some of the deciduous trees were in leaf, but 
there were no herbaceous spring flowers and very few showing 
leaf in the woods. 

The next day I left at J a. m., passing through a very 
interesting country, first among iron works in a rather flat, 
open valley, then along narrow winding valleys, then into a 
dry valley always rising towards the ridge of the Alleghanies, 
then through a tunnel into another valley, still going up among 
woods of firs and oaks, rather small and scraggy, till at 8.30 
a. m. we passed the summit level by a tunnel, and soon got 
into a rather wide, deep valley with a stream flowing west, and 
at 8.40 reached White Sulphur Springs, in a pleasant basin 
surrounded by mountains, with a pretty church, neat houses, 
good roads, and gardens with painted wood fences ! the first 
bit of an attempt at neatness I had seen since leaving Wash- 
ington. Here were some fine fruit trees, and the grand 
ridges and mountains, wooded to the summits, reminded me 
of Switzerland, without its great charms — the lowland and 
upland pastures' and snow-capped peaks. Soon the valley 
widens, the rock becomes a highly inclined schist or slate, 
cultivated fields are more numerous, but often still full of 
tree-stumps. Men are seen ploughing with very small light 



ploughs, which can turn easily among the stumps ; ugly snake 
fences are present everywhere; queer little wooden huts are 
dotted about; and ragged, dirty children abound — a regular 
bit of backwoods life. 

Passing through a long tunnel we come out upon the Green- 
briar river, a quiet stream whose greenish waters are full 
of logs cut in the surrounding mountains and being floated 
down to the Ohio. At Hinton the New River joins our 
stream, the valley gradually narrows till we are walled in 
by grand crags and precipices, there are enormous fallen 
boulders, and the river foams over ledges and down whirling 
rapids. We passed a fine lofty point called Hawk's Nest, and 
soon after reached the Kanahwha river, which is navigable 
down to the Ohio. Here we saw one of the old-fashioned 
stern-paddle steamboats ; the climate became warmer, a peach 
tree was in full blossom, and I even saw that rarity in America, 
a greenhouse attached to a small country house. All down 
the valley in alluvial flats the Western plane tree (Platamis 
occidentalis) had a remarkable appearance, its upper half be- 
ing pure white, exactly as if white-washed. This is the colour 
of the young bark before it flakes off, as it does on the trunk 
and larger limbs. The peculiar appearance is not noticed by 
Loudon, so perhaps it is not produced in our less sunny 

I reached Coalburg at 3 p. m v where Mr. Edwards met me 
and took me to his pleasant house with a broad verandah in 
a pretty orchard at the foot of the mountain, which rises in a 
steep forest-clad slope close behind. The grass of the orchard 
was full of the beautiful white flowers of the blood-root 
(Sangninaria canadensis), together with yellow and blue 
violets, and there were fine views of the river and high slop- 
ing hills, which, together with the tramways and coal trucks 
on the railway, and here and there the chimneys of a colliery 
engine, reminded me of some of the South Wales valleys. I 
spent four days here roaming about the country, seeing my 
host's fine collection of North American butterflies and his 
elaborate drawings of the larvae at every moult, from their 
first emergence from the Qgg up to the pupa stage, which 

i 4 o MY LIFE 

often served to determine otherwise tooclosely allied species. 
We had only met once forty years before, but had occasion- 
ally corresponded on entomological subjects and felt quite as 
old friends. Mr. Edwards had some literary tastes and had 
a pretty good library, so that in the intervals of work and 
talk I spent many hours reading- He had lived twenty-five 
years in this valley, where he had been among the first to 
work the coal, and was still business manager of some of the 
mines. He confirmed what Judge Holman had told me about 
the Irish, who, he said, were industrious and very intelligent 
and enterprising, many of them rising to high positions. As 
workmen they are, in his opinion, better than the Welsh, and 
equal to the Germans. And these are the people we have for 
a century driven out of their native country by despotic 
rule and the cruel oppression of absentee landlordism, and 
still declare to be " incapable of self-government." The 
force of racial pride, ignorance, and impudence can no fur- 
ther go. 

During several drives and walks I saw a good deal of the 
country and population. The villages and detached houses 
were usually very poor and untidy, fences and pigsties are 
built of odd bits of board, and there were hardly any gardens 
or cultivation of any kind, the result probably of the people 
being mostly miners and mere temporary residents. In one 
village, however, where the miners owned their own cottages, 
these were neat and sometimes pretty, in good repair, and 
with gardens well attended to. Here, again, the magic of 
property (or of permanent occupation) turns a hovel into a 
home, a desert into a garden — as Arthur Young remarked 
more than a centruy ago. 

On the 13th of April at 8.30 A. M. I bade farewell to Mr. 
Edwards, his daughter and son, who had made my visit a 
very agreeable one, and went on to Cincinnati. The journey 
was very interesting. For a long way it was through a series 
of small valleys bounded by low vertical bluffs and sandstone, 
and with many lateral valleys opening out of them, with 
wooded slopes above. In the flat valley-bottoms the white- 
washed American planes were abundant, and in the villages 


peach trees were in blossom, but there was no sign of spring 
foliage in the woods. We then passed through a country of 
horizontal beds of rock, alternately hard and soft, looking like 
our oolite, but really of silurian age. 

I remained in Cincinnati twelve days, met a good many 
people who were very kind to me, and saw a good deal of 
the very interesting country around the city. I also had the 
use of the Cuvier Club, where there was a nice collection of 
American birds, a library, reading-room, chess-room, etc., 
equally accessible on Sunday as during the week. Among 
my first visitors next morning was Mr. Charles Dury, an en- 
thusiastic naturalist and collector, and Mr. R. H. Warder, also 
fond of natural history. They took me to call on Mr. J. R. 
Skinner, who showed me some fine arrow heads of jade, and 
then took us for a drive round the beautiful suburb of Clifton, 
where the handsome villas are scattered about a wooded park- 
like country, with shrubs and wild flowers, but with no fences 
of any kind, either between the different properties or along 
the roadside. This gives a delightfully rural aspect to the 
whole place, and enables every one to enjoy an uninterrupted 
view over the hills and valleys, and also to walk across in any 
direction that he may be going. Returning, Mr. Skinner 
asked me to dine with him, and talked about spiritualism, 
pyramid and Bible measures, etc., etc. For two hours he 
poured out Hebrew names and mystic numbers, deducing k 
and all kinds of geometrical data and measures from Hebrew 
biblical names. He seemed to be a regular " paradoxer," and 
afterwards gave me many papers he had published, but I was 
quite unable to follow them, or to decide whether or not there 
was anything of value in them. In all other subjects he was 
a pleasant companion, interested in local antiquities, and an 
enthusiastic lover of native birds. 

In the evening Dr. H. and Dr. L called on me. 

The former stayed an hour and a half, a great talker, mostly 
about himself, his sayings and thinkings, his philosophy, his 
admiration of Herbert Spencer, his recollection of Sir Charles 
Lyell, etc., etc. On Saturday, May 16, I went with Mr. 
Skinner to meet Mr. Warder at Valley Junction, about twenty 

14-' MY LIFE 

miles below Cincinnati, and he drove US in a light waggon a 
few miles to see some old Indian mounds. One very large 

tumulus, about twenty-five feet high, had been opened by a 

pit in the centre down to the ground level. At a farmhouse 
near we found that the farmer had opened it, had found a 
skeleton, two copper bracelets, several large stone weapons 

and tools, some very finely worked, and a lump of pure 
aphite. Mr. Skinner thought that graphite had never been 
found before in the mounds. On the way back we saw a very 
large elongate mound, covered with trees and close to a vil- 
lage. The valley of the Ohio was here very pleasant, with its 
rich fields and low wooded hills of varied outline. Many 
birds were seen, the brown thrush, red-winged blackbird, and 
many others, all well known to my companions. The Ameri- 
can Judas tree (Cercis canadensis) was in full flower and very 
abundant, and the little spring beauty (Claytonia virginiana) 
formed sheets of pale pink blossoms on the skirts of the 
woods. We saw a few patches of virgin forest on the hills, 
and here and there a rather fine tree, but these are always 

The following day being very wet, our excursion to the 
Madisonville Cemeteries was delayed a week. But on Sun- 
day, the 24th, Dr. Dunn took me in his buggy, accompanied 
by several other friends in a carriage, for a long drive to 
the Turner group of mounds, which are very extensive, but 
have been ploughed over. Near them is the cemetery, con- 
sisting of a great number of small mounds in a wood, many 
of which have been opened, and bones, with numbers of stone 
weapons, ornaments, etc., found in them. Circular plates of 
mica are common here. On the way back we visited a field 
where quantities of pottery, flints, bones, etc., have been found 
near to a small oval mound. The country we passed through 
was very pleasant, and some of it quite picturesque, with 
swelling hills, ridges, and valleys, often finely wooded and 

During the week preceding this excursion I had spent four 
days with Mr. Dury at Avondale, where he has a small house 
and some land. There were some patches of the original 


forest near, with moist little valleys, and here I saw for the 
first time the American spring vegetation in its full beauty. 
The woods were full of an anemone-like flower (Thalictrum 
anemonoides) , the curious Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra 
cucullaria) in continuous sheets, the spring beauty (Clay- 
tonia pulchella) equally abundant, with patches of Phlox 
divaricata, the dwarf blue Delphinium tricome, the little blue- 
eyed Mary (Collinsia vema), yellow, blue, and white violets, 
Jeffersonia diphylla, and many other flowers strange to Eng- 
lish eyes. During one walk I found a fine plant of Mertensia 
virginica in flower. But though these were wonderfully at- 
tractive to me, owing to there being so many forms of flower 
quite unknown in England, the actual amount of floral colour 
and beauty was not to be compared with our own. There 
was nothing to equal the sheets of bluebells, primroses, and 
anemones in our woods, the buttercups and early orchises 
of our meadows, or the marsh-marigolds of our marshes and 
river-banks. This subject of the comparative abundance and 
the striking differences between North America and Europe 
in this respect I have discussed somewhat fully in my Fort- 
nightly Review article on " English and American Flowers," 
reprinted in my " Studies, Scientific and Social " (vol. i. p. 

One evening when at Mr. Dury's an interviewer called 
and showed the most remarkable ignorance. He thought 
Darwin's theory was limited to the change of monkeys into 
men ; that Englishmen were all either Lord Dundrearys or 
roughs ; that the lowest Cockney talk was the " English ac- 
cent," which he was much surprised that I did not possess ; 
and, above all, that America was the finest and the greatest 
country in the world, and that all who were born elsewhere 
were to be pitied and condoled with. But this was quite an 
exceptional type. All my other American interviewers were 
educated men and knew their business. 

My friend Mr. Dury had had the rare experience of being 
bitten by a dead rattlesnake with very painful consequences. 
When in Florida he shot a very large rattlesnake, and decided 
to take its head only, in order to examine its dentition. He 

i 14 MY LIFE 

opened its mouth with a stick, and saw it had tremendous 
fangs, and proceeded to tie it up in a handkerchief, and while 
doing so supposes he must have touched a nerve in the cut 

part, for the mouth suddenly snapped, and a fang pierced his 
thumb. He instantly put a ligature round the base of the 

thumb, got a friend who was with him to lance it deeply with 
a pen-knife, and sucked it for some time. ( )n taking off the 
ligature an hour afterwards, the arm swelled as well as the 
side of his body, and he suffered great pain. He applied water 
constantly, drank a good deal of whisky, and kept quiet for 
some days, but the thumb suppurated, and half the bone of 
the terminal joint came away. Then it healed, but the thumb 
was reduced to about half its normal size, with a correspond- 
ingly small nail ; but it is quite serviceable, and being so small is 
for many purposes more useful than the other ! 

Mr. Dury had a very fine collection of land and fresh- 
water shells from all parts of the States, and I spent one 
morning looking over them. They were exceedingly numer- 
ous, and of curious forms, many having strange contortions 
of the lips, supposed to be for the purpose of protection 
against the smaller birds, ants, etc. The freshwater shells 
— mostly mussels (Unionidse) — were wonderfully fine and 
varied, some curiously tubercled, some with ribs, others with 
long spines. They are also often finely coloured inside — 
white, pink, yellow, or orange — while in many of the species 
there is a variation of form in the two sexes. Altogether 
it was a most interesting collection. Mr. Dury told me he 
began collecting when a boy, owing to a gentleman offering 
him a few cents for every different kind of shell he could 
find, however small, and he was thus led to search for them, 
and to notice their forms and colours, and was surprised to 
find how many different kinds there were, even within a walk 
of his own home. He was thus induced to become a profes- 
sional collector. There are about two hundred and fifty spe- 
cies of land-shells in temperate North America, while the 
fresh-water species are still more numerous, its magnificent 
water-system including the great lakes and such grand rivers 
as the Mississippi, being richer in mollusca than any other part 


of the world, considerably more than a thousand species hav- 
ing been described. 

On Friday, April 22, I returned to Cincinnati to deliver 
my lecture on " The Colours of Animals " for the Natural 
History Society. The audience was, however a small one, 
and the lantern very bad, so that the slides were not shown 
to advantage, but the subject was evidently so new to the 
hearers that they were much interested. The next evening 
I gave the same lecture at College Hill, fifteen miles out of 
town. I had tea with Dr. and Mrs. Myers, who were pleasant 
and sympathetic people. Dr. Myers told me that he had be- 
come a sceptic through Spencer and Darwin, but is regain- 
ing belief through spiritualism. Here I had a good lamp, and 
everything went off well ; but I only received one hundred 
dollars for the two lectures, out of which I had to pay fifteen 
dollars for the lamp and operator at the last one, so that 
my net receipts only paid my hotel bill. But I had a very 
pleasant visit, and met a number of intelligent people. 

My next engagement was at Bloomington, Indiana, where 
I was to lecture on the Darwinian theory to the university 
students. I stayed with Dr. Branner, the professor of geology, 
who had spent many years in Brazil, so that we had a com- 
mon interest. He showed me his drawings of palms, and 
photographs of Brazilian scenery. The university here, like 
all colleges and schools in the West, is open to both sexes. 
They meet in the classes, in lecture rooms, and in debates on 
a perfect equality, and Mrs. Branner thinks the results are 
entirely beneficial. The next morning Dr. Branner took me 
a long drive through the country. The rocks were of Car- 
boniferous age, and were of limestone, and sandstone in nearly 
horizontal strata, leading to pretty undulations of hill and val- 
ley, with abrupt slopes. We passed through some fine tracts 
of forest, but there were very few flowers, though the red 
maples in the woods, and the white Amelanchier canadensis 
were pretty. 

Returning at 3 p. m. we found that my large roll of dia- 
grams, which could not be brought as passengers' luggage, 
had not arrived, and I could not well give my lecture without 

146 MY LIFE 

m. There was nothing for it but to make some rough 
sketches from memory; so we went to the lecture-room, got 

me large sheets of paper, and I sketched out the four or 

five diagrams (of curves of variation, lines and dots showing 
amounts of variation, etc.) on a small scale, and then Dr. 
Branner and myself, with the assistance of one of the students, 
set to work to enlarge them, and draw then in thick black 
ink, the result at a distance being almost as good as the more 
accurate originals, which turned up after I had left, and were 
sent after me. Then we had to hurry back to dinner at 6.30, 
to which several professors were asked to meet me, and then 
to the lecture at 8, which went off very well, notwithstanding 
the makeshift diagrams. 

My next destination was Sioux City via Kansas City, but 
I stopped for a day at St. Louis in order to see the Trelease 
Botanic Garden, recently given to the town, and which I had 
heard highly spoken of. I travelled mostly through various 
kinds of prairie country level or rolling, with occasional hilly 
tracts covered with wood. Everywhere some wood was in 
sight, and the land seemed very rich ; but the general effect 
was usually ragged from the ugly, rough wood fences. Cross- 
ing the fine three-arched bridge over the Mississippi to St. 
Louis, I went to the Laclade Hotel. After breakfast next 
morning I called on Dr. Trelease, who was out. I then went 
on to the gardens, a little outside the city. Though rather 
poor as a botanical garden, there were a number of fine con- 
servatories and plant-houses, and plenty of seats. The many 
American, Rocky Mountain, and other plants I wanted to see 
were not to be found, ordinary South European garden plants 
and a few Cape and Australian species being the chief occu- 
pants of the garden. In the afternoon Dr. Trelease called 
on me. He was a youngish, pleasant man, and we had two 
hours' talk on natural history and other subjects. He kindly 
offered me plants, seeds, etc. 

I left at 8.20 in a sleeping-car for Kansas City, and at 
sunrise next morning saw the Missouri river on our right, 
from half to three-quarters of a mile wide, the opposite bank 
wooded. We soon left it, crossing the prairie in a nearly 


straight line for Kansas City, over a rich alluvial plain, with 
numerous clumps of trees — poplars, planes, etc. Steep bluffs, 
from one hundred to two hundred feet high, were frequent, 
either bare or wooded. As we approached the city we came 
near the river again, and here there were bluffs of rock of 
cretaceous sands or limestones — a typical rich prairie country. 
The Missouri here was like liquid mud, with a swift stream 
and numerous eddies. On reaching the city I breakfasted at 
the Station Hotel, bought my ticket for Sioux City, and after 
much trouble got my trunk and lecture diagrams checked 
through. We started at 11 and reached Council Bluffs, where 
I had to stay the night, at 6.30, the whole way along level 
prairie with the river always in sight. At the hotel here were 
pleasant female waiters instead of the usual white, brown, or 
black men waiters. Leaving early next morning I saw abund- 
ance of water-birds, especially thousands of grebes, scuttling 
off from the banks as the train passed, leaving long trails on 
the water. At Missouri Valley, a large village, we had to wait 
an hour and a half. Here the plain was several miles wide, 
bounded by sloping bluffs of loess, often covered with deep 
black mould. I walked on to some waste ground, but could 
find no flowers, the soil being very dry, with a little grass and 
a few stunted shrubs just sprouting. About twenty miles 
further we reached Sioux City, where the bluffs come close 
to the river. The city is on gentle slopes which merge into 
high rolling prairie inland, intersected by deep valleys ; but 
at this time of year it was looking rather arid. 

Three lectures had been arranged for me here by Mr. D. 
H. Talbot on behalf of the Natural History Society, and 
Mr. E. H. Stone had kindly offered me hospitality in his 
very pretty house in the suburbs. In the afternoon Mr. Tal- 
bot took me to call upon a lady who made beautiful drawings 
in oil of native flowers. These were very skilfully executed, 
and almost equal to those of Miss North at Kew. I lectured 
here Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, on " Colours of 
Animals," " Mimicry," and " Oceanic Islands," and every day 
had drives or excursions about the country or to Mr. Talbot's 
zoological farm. On the Sunday morning after my arrival 


Mr. Talbot called in a two-horsed buggy to take mo to his 
farm: two other gentlemen in another; Judge Wakefield, 
Miss \\\ (the lady who painted flowers), and two children in a 

third. We first went to a bluff near the town to see a thick 
bed of loess resting on glacial drift, and this on eivlaccons 
sandstone. Then Up the valley of the greal Sioux river, a 
fine, clear stream, passing another bluff showing a thick b I 
of obliquely stratified gravel with enclosed pebbles and 
boulders, and about one hundred and fifty feet of loess over 
it. We then turned up a thinly wooded valley to Mr. Talbot's 
farm, about four miles from the city. Here we picnicked in 
a rather scrubby wood with very little shade, as no leaves 
were yet out, and it was very hot and dusty ; but we had 
quite a luxurious feast and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, 
lighting a fire and making tea and coffee to finish with. 

We then inspected our host's animals — six fine American 
bisons, twelve elks, an East Indian zebu, a drove of solid 
hoofed pigs, a flock of four-horned sheep, hybrids of zebu 
and cattle, a fine trotting colt, wolves, foxes, rabbits, wild 
geese, and other aquatic birds, pigeons, rattlesnakes, and 
other curious birds and reptiles. He has here six thousand 
acres of land, wooded valleys and prairie, where, besides keep- 
ing all these animals in order to observe their habits, make 
experiments on their instincts, etc., he carries on a consider- 
able business in growing agricultural seeds of choice qualities, 
breeding the solid-hoofed hogs, which are said to be superior 
for fattening purposes, as well as the four-horned sheep, 
Angora goats, hybrid cattle, etc. He has also patented metallic 
tags for identifying cattle and other farm stock, and several 
agricultural implements. These animals are all looked after 
by youths trained by himself — boys and girls, who are, he 
finds, as soon as they take an interest in the work, much more 
trustworthy than any men. He has also a large building for 
a museum, or rather, laboratory, of experimental zoology. 
Here he showed me several hundred skins of wild geese, 
roughly prepared, but every one with numbered labels giving 
the date, hour, and exact spot where they were each shot, with 
the direction of their flight, while the contents of the stomach 


of each is preserved for examination. These have been ob- 
tained from various north-western States, and by a close study 
of them he hopes to trace out the exact course of their migra- 
tion year by year. He hoped that in time some of his land 
would be included within the city limits, and would sell for a 
high price, in which case he would leave the rest as a zoo- 
logical experiment station to the public. I made some sug- 
gestions to him as to experiments in regard to instinct, hered- 
ity, and evolution, which were much needed, and he said he 
would take them in hand when his affairs were more settled. 

Sioux City had recently become a centre for agricultural 
produce, and had a large pork-curing establishment; and as 
in many other Western cities, there had been " a great boom 
in real estate." Land two miles from the town, which was 
bought three or four years back for ten dollars an acre, is now 
selling at a hundred and fifty dollars ; while in the residential 
parts of the city plots of one hundred and fifty feet square 
sell for nine thousand dollars, equal to £1800, or about 
£3500 per acre, and in the business part of the city twice as 

One morning Mr. Talbot took me to see the pork-curing 
establishment, where, during the season, they kill a thousand 
hogs a day. The animals are collected in pens close to the 
building, with a gate opening to an inclined pathway of 
planks up to the top of the building. They walk up this of 
their own accord in a continuous procession, and at the top 
are caught up one after another by a chain round their hind 
legs, and swung on to the men who kill, scald, scrape, and 
cut them up ; all the separate parts going through the several 
stages of cleaning and curing till the result is bacon, hams, 
barrels of pork, black puddings, sausages, and bristles, while 
the whole of the refuse is dried and ground up into a valuable 
manure. The ingenuity of the whole process is undeniable ; 
but to go through it all, as I was obliged to do, along narrow 
planks and ladders slippery with blood and water, and in the 
warm, close, reeking atmosphere, was utterly disgusting. My 
friend was, however, quite amazed at my feeling anything but 


admiration of the whole establishment, which was considered 
one of the sights and glories of the city. 

< )n coming out I was told something thai interested me 
more than the wholesale pork factory had dune. A gentle- 
man was standing at the door of an office close by, and in 
the course of conversation with him, the subject of tornadoes 

came up, in reference to one that had done some damage 
there two years before. There was a very large iron oil 
reservoir a few yards from the office, something like the 
largest-sized cylindrical steam boilers, supported on a strong 
wooden framework. The tornado struck this cylinder, lifted 
it off its support, and threw it down some yards away. Yet 
our friend's office and other small wooden buildings close by 
were absolutely untouched by it. This illustrates a peculiar 
feature of these storms, which, though sometimes sweeping 
along the surface and destroying everything in their track 
for miles, at other times seem to pass overhead, descending 
occasionally to the surface and then rising again, picking up 
a house or a tree at intervals. The kind of destruction a tor- 
nado often produces is well shown in the photograph of the 
main street of Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, after the tornado of 
the preceding year (April 14, 1886). This town is about 
two hundred miles north of Sioux City. 

Leaving Sioux City in the afternoon, with several stop- 
pages and changes I reached Kansas City at six next morn- 
ing. After breakfasting there, I went on to Lawrence through 
a pretty country in the valley of the Kansas river, the rich 
alluvial land still partly covered with wood, and apparently 
unoccupied. Several camps of emigrants (or migrants) with 
waggons, etc., were passed. On the sides of the railway there 
were dots, clumps, and even large patches of the beautiful 
Phlox divaricata, with brilliant bluish-purple flowers. No 
other flower was seen, but the trees were just coming out 
into leaf, hardly so forward as with us at the same time of 
year, though twelve degrees further south. 

At Lawrence, a small town of ten thousand inhabitants, is 
the State University, w r here I was to lecture on the " Colours 
of Animals." The buildings are on the top of a hill a little 




way out of the town, on a plateau of rock almost like a 
natural pavement. There are fine views over the plains of 
Kansas all round, something like the view from Blackdown 
over the Weald, but less woody and less cultivated. In the 
museum I saw a good collection of the fossil plants from West 
Kansas. They are found in a fine-grained iron sandstone, 
mostly in nodules which split open showing the leaf most 
beautifully, often with the stalk and articulation perfect and 
in one case a complete bud in the axil of a leaf. The inter- 
esting thing is, that they are mostly Dicotyledons of very 
peculiar forms, though the rock is of cretaceous age. Icthyo- 
saurus remains are also found, sometimes with portions of the 
skin and keeled scales. 

After my lecture in the evening there was a reception of 
the professors and their families. I heard much of the co- 
education system, and, as usual, all in its favour. A lady is 
professor of Greek, and at Des Moines a lady is the prin- 
cipal, although there are pupils of both sexes up to eighteen 
years old. Everywhere the girls hold their own with the 
boys, and are often superior to them in languages. At the 
last high school examination here, thirteen girls and eleven 
boys " graduated." 

Next day I went on to Manhattan, where there is a State 
Agricultural College, at which I was to lecture. During the 
journey of about one hundred miles, I passed through much 
rich alluvial land, with rolling prairies in the distance. Some- 
times there were bluffs of horizontal strata, with frequent 
projecting masses of rock, many of which had broken off and 
lay at the foot of the slope. There were many wooded gul- 
lies with the trees nearly in full leaf, but no flowers anywhere. 
About the farmhouses there were usually a few trees, also 
some good-looking orchards and a few vineyards. 

At Manhattan, which I reached early in the afternoon, it 
was very hot and very dusty. At five o'clock President Geo. 
F. F. Fairchild called, and we had some interesting talk about 
the college. This, too, is open to both sexes, and one-third of 
the pupils are women. Some come direct from the common 
and high schools, others are adults. The men learn the theory 


and practice of agriculture, agricultural chemistry, English, 

mechanics, use <>f tools, etc. The girls and women learn 
horticulture, cooking, domestic economy, poultry rearing, etc. 
In the evening 1 strolled about the town; no liquor-shops, but 
abundance of "real estate" and loan offices, the former a 

mmon mode of gambling in Western America. 

Xext morning (Sunday) Professor Marlott called with Mr. 
Hogg, a young Englishman farming here, who had a ranch 
of a thousand acres twelve miles out. lie offered to take me 
for a drive. We went a few miles round the city, by fine 
grassy fields on the improved prairie, but saw very few 
flowers. Mr. Hogg complained of the climate ; the long very 
cold winter, often 20 below zero, Fahr., and the hot dusty 
summer. There are only a few pleasant months in winter 
and spring, few nice houses, and no gardens. After dinner 
I took a walk alone across the river to some woods and 
alluvial meadows, but all very dusty and no flowers. After 
tea. Professor E. A. Popenhoe, a botanist, called in his buggy 
and took me for a drive to the top of a rocky bluff where there 
were a number of interesting plants, of which a few were in 
flower, among them Tradescantia virginica, a Sisyrinchium, a 
yellow Baptisia, etc. 

On Monday morning I went to the college to put up my 
diagrams, and was then, of course, taken over the buildings 
from top to bottom. Everybody wanted to show me every- 
thing in their departments — the clothes the girls made, the 
nice cupboards they kept the clothes in, the store-rooms for 
flour, potatoes, sugar, spices, jams, etc., the kitchen and all its 
arrangements. Then every class-room, and all the classes, 
and all the teachers. Then out-of-doors to see the sheds and 
stables, the cattle and the horses, and the machines ; how the 
calves and the cows are fed ; to inspect the tool and work-shops, 
the gardens, the greenhouses, the tree-nursery, etc., which lat- 
ter interested me most. 

I spent the afternoon at the hotel writing letters, and in 
the evening I went to tea with President Fairchild — a regular 
country high tea; cold meat, oranges, strawberries, cakes, 
weak green tea, etc. We talked politics, and especially pro- 


hibition. Kansas, like Iowa, is a prohibition State ; had been 
so seven or eight years. It had had a most beneficial effect — 
not one-twentieth of the noise, dirt, and bad language formerly 
met with. I had noticed myself how quiet was the hotel and 
the streets in the evenings. The feeling in favour of pro- 
hibition was increasing. Spirits were sold by druggists, with 
mineral waters, etc. ; but it was in the open shop, and did not 
lead to drunkenness. And even this had been recently re- 
stricted. The President had never heard of the Gothenburg 
system, but thought it good in principle. Afterwards I gave 
my lecture on " Darwinism," which went off well, and gave 
much satisfaction. 

The next day, after dinner, Mr. Popenhoe came in his buggy 
to show me some good botanizing ground, chiefly on rather 
dry, rocky slopes, with loose stones. Here we found a fine 
dwarf, large-flowered form of Baptisia australis, besides others 
seen on Sunday, and a number of very interesting dwarf 
plants not yet in flower, including species of ruellia, houstonia, 
echinacea, aster, delphinium, and others, which make these 
banks very gay about the end of the month. We also saw a 
phrynosoma, one of the curious lizards commonly known as 
" horned toads." A California species which had been sent 
me by my brother, when irritated ejects a red, blood-like 
secretion from its eye. Professor Popenhoe had been in the 
Rocky Mountains, and told me that flowers were very abund- 
ant, and that some of the little valley-bottoms were complete 
flower gardens. I received a letter from Colonel Phillips, 
whom I met at Washington, and who invited me to stay a 
week with him at Salina, a new town he had himself founded, 
and where he was a large landowner. 

Next day (May 11) I went on to Salina in the afternoon, 
and to the Wittanann Hotel, where Colonel and Mrs. Phillips 
lived when in the country. On an elevation, called Iron Hill, 
Colonel Phillips was going to build a house, which would 
have a rather extensive view. The hill was covered with 
yuccas, and with the elegant tradescantia with blue or pink 
flowers in great abundance. I also found the fine dwarf 
Baptisia and Penstemon cobcea. As I required a lantern for 

i 5 4 MV LIFE 

my lecture, we called first on a Mr. Seitz, a druggist, who 
sent us to the Masonic Hall, but in vain. Then we tried the 
Wesleyan College and the Normal University, but both were 

recently established, and not the possessors of a lantern. At 

length we found one at a Mr. Chapman's, but it was an 

ordinary magic-lantern, suitable for a disc about four feet 
diameter, and with a common oil-lamp, giving a poor light. 

When the lecture was given, to add to my difficulties the 

lamp went out in the middle, and 1 had to go on talking till 
it was set right. There were only about a hundred people, 
so that there were none very far off, and they seemed fairly 
well satisfied. 

One day we drove over to call on an old French farmer, 
M. Joseph Henry, who was a botanist and a student of mosses 
and grasses. He was out, but his wife showed us a little heap 
of stones near the house in which, on the north side, he had 
a few very small mosses growing, one of them a new species 
he had discovered, named after him, Barbula Henrici. It was 
a shabby, rickety wooden farmhouse, with a few sheds in the 
usual style of small prairie farmers. Going back we met the 
owner returning home, and stayed a few minutes to talk. He 
had been in the country twenty years but could only speak 
very broken English, and when he found we could not speak 
any better French, he was quite indignant that a scientific 
man could not speak in his beautiful language — the language 
of the civilized world! He made me feel quite small. How- 
ever, he managed to tell us that the American botanists did 
not know their own country. : They all say there are no 
mosses in Kansas. But / have found mosses ! I have found 
new species of mosses ! And when I send them my discov- 
eries they will not give me the names — they will not write to 
me even ! " So we condoled with him, and said good-bye to 
the unappreciated botanist of the arid plains of Kansas. 

Twenty-nine years before my visit great herds of buffalo 
roamed over the site of Salina, and there was not a house or 
a hut for fifty miles around. It is now a rapidly growing town, 
with five railways diverging from it, and land speculation is 
rampant. In the business part of this small town lots twenty- 


five feet wide and one hundred and twenty deep, in the main 
street, sell at from $6000 to $10,000 (from £1200 to £2000) ; 
in the suburbs (a mile from centre of town) about $1200. 
Farms near the town, of good land, can be had at from £6 to 
iio an acre. But the climate, the solitude, the dreariness of 
such a life must be a great drawback. 

I left Salina in the evening of May 18 for Denver and 
San Francisco. We soon reached open undulating prairie, 
small villages or towns fifteen or twenty miles apart, and 
often not a house visible ; very little cultivation and rarely 
any trees. At five o'clock next morning, still in undulating 
sandy plains with very little grass, but a few tufts of her- 
baceous plants with white composite flowers. Then a few low 
hills of horizontal strata of sandstone, and we crossed some 
small streams in broad sandy beds, with sometimes a few Cot- 
tonwood trees growing near them. Here I first saw some 
of the prairie-dog cities, as they are called — sandy mounds, 
thrown up by these pretty rodents, one of which would be 
often seen sitting upright on the top of it. 

We reached Denver at 8.20, and having four hours to wait 
here, after breakfast I called on Professor James H. Baker, 
Principal of the High School, to inquire if he knew of any 
local botanist who could give me information as to any good 
localities in the mountains for alpine plants. He told me that 
one of his lady teachers was a botanist, and took me into 
her class-room. As she was engaged in giving a lesson on 
ancient history to a class of boys and girls, we sat down and 
waited till it was over, when I was introduced to her, and 
we had an hour's talk, and she showed me dried plants she 
had collected on Pike's Peak. She told me that Graymount, 
near Gray's Peak, was a fine spot, and I decided to visit it on 
my return from California. 

At 1.30 p. M. I continued my journey to Cheyenne, across 
open plains of thin grass partly irrigated. Near me in the 
train was a lady chewing gum ; I saw her at intervals for 
an hour, her jaws going regularly all the time, just like those 
of a cow when ruminating. Not a pleasant sight, or con- 
ducive to beauty of expression. It must be tiring to begin- 

i 5 6 MY LIFE 

nei Wc had supper at Cheyenne, good, but a Crush; and 

then turned west up the slope towards a pass in the Rocky 

Mountains. The valley we ascended was among rounded 

hills, more like our downs than mountains. Though the 
Country was quite wild, there were here and there lines of 
high posts and rails of strong, rough timber, sometimes on 
one side sometimes on the other, sometimes below and some- 
times above the level of the railway. These, I was told, 
were snow-guards, and were placed just where experience 
showed they would check the drifts and keep the line clear. 
In a few places there were snow-sheds with one or two short 
tunnels, and we reached the summit level at 8 p. m., only 8240 
feet above the sea. The next morning we were going through 
similar rolling, half-desert scenery, with greasewood bushes 
and bare sand or mud flats white with alkali. At Green river, 
one of the upper tributaries of the great Colorado river, we 
got into more picturesque scenery, with rocks standing up 
like castles, and further on rocky valleys, with wind-worn 
rocks in strange detached pinnacles. Fine precipices occur 
at Echo Canon and Weber's Canon. The Devil's Slide is 
formed by two vertical dykes descending a steep mountain- 
side only two or three feet apart, leaving a narrow passage 
or " slide " between them. 

Reaching Ogden in the afternoon, I took the train to Salt 
Lake City, passing the fine highly cultivated plain on the 
shores of Salt Lake, the fields being all irrigated. Some of 
the meadows were blue with the beautiful Camassia esculenta, 
an easily grown garden plant with us. I spent next morning 
roaming about the city and suburbs. The tabernacle is a 
wonderful hall that will seat six thousand persons, and is so 
shaped that a speaker at one end can be heard distinctly 
over the whole building when speaking in an ordinary con- 
versational tone. To produce this effect it is a flat semi- 
ellipsoid, so that the regularly curved ceiling is very low for 
the size of the building. But the result is acoustically perfect, 
and such as none of our architects have equalled. 

The city itself is in many respects unique and admirable. 
It is a kind of "Garden" city, since every house (except in 


the few business streets) stands in from half an acre to one 
acre and a half of garden. Some are pretty stone built villas, 
some mere rude hovels, but all have the spacious garden. 
And they are real gardens, the first I have seen in America, 
full of flowers and fruit trees, and with abundant creepers 
over the houses. 

The streets are about one hundred and thirty feet wide, 
with shady trees, and a channel of clear water on both sides 
of each street brought from the mountain. Every garden is 
thus supplied with abundance of water for irrigation, when 
required, by small channels under the side walks, and sluice 
gates to regulate the supply. Crops can thus be grown dur- 
ing a large part of the year. I walked a few miles into the 
country, and seeing a small house and pretty flower garden 
with some of our commonest garden flowers, roses, stocks, 
marigolds, etc., I spoke to a homely looking woman and 
found she was Welsh. A good many Welsh have become 

In the afternoon I returned to Ogden, and went on by 
train in the evening. All the next day (Sunday, May 22) 
we passed through an arid dreary country, the ground cov- 
ered with saline incrustations and almost the only vegetation 
the sage bush (Artemisia spinescens). At the stations in 
more fertile spots there was a little verdure and sometimes 
a few wild flowers — Oenotheras or composites. At all the 
stations there were groups of Indians, usually with painted 
faces but with European dress, one old man only with the 
native blanket, boys shooting with bows and arrows, groups 
of men and women playing cards. The passengers give them 
money or buy ornaments, etc., and thus they live idly, get fat, 
and are thoroughly demoralized. At Reno, where we supped, 
the country began to get less arid, and there were some good 
farms in the valleys. We passed over the pass of the Sierra 
Nevada at night, and before sunrise were in the foothills of 
California, bare, except for a few second-growth pines ; then 
farms, orchards, and vineyards, with eucalyptus trees planted 
round the houses ; then a low, flat country to Oakland, where 
huge ferry boats cross the bay to San Francisco. 

■8 AH' LIFE 

Here my brother John, whom I had not hmi since I left 
r the Amazon in [848, mel me, and we went on to the 
Baldwin Hotel in San Francisco, where he had taken moms 
and had made arrangements for me to give two lectures 
on Wednesday and Friday. In the afternoon we had many 
callers, including Professor Holden of the Lick Observatory, 
Dr. Lecomte, Mr. Davidson of the Geological Survey, and 

many others, as well as one or two interviewers. Dr, 1 lolden 
kindly invited ns to dinner on Thursday, where we met Pro- 

sor Hilgard and Mr. Sntro. The latter gentleman invited 
us to breakfast with him at his beautiful cottage on the cliff, 
looking- over the Pacific and the seal rocks, and surrounded by 
beautiful gardens. Mr. Sutro was a wealthy merchant and one 
of the magnates of San Francisco ; he gave us one of the most 
luxurious and pleasant breakfasts I ever enjoyed, beginning 
with cups of very hot, clear soup, followed by fish, cutlets, 
game, etc., with various delicate wines, tea and coffee, hot 
cakes of various kinds, and choice fruits. He entertained us 
also with interesting conversation, being a man of extensive 
knowledge and culture. My two lectures on " Darwinism ' 
and " Colour " were fairly attended. 

On Saturday Dr. Gibbons of Alameda, on the Bay of San 
Francisco, took me for a drive into the foothills to see the 
remains of the Redwood forest that once covered them, but 
which had all been ruthlessly destroyed to supply timber for 
the city and towns around. Our companion was Mr. John 
Muir, whose beautiful volume, " The Mountains of Califor- 
nia," is, in its way, as fine a piece of work as Mr. Hudson's 
" Naturalist in La Plata." On our way we passed a dry 
hilly field, brilliant with hundreds of the lovely Calochortus 
luteus, which grew in a soil of stiff, hard-baked clay. We 
wound about among the hills and valleys, all perfectly dry, till 
we reached a height of fifteen hundred feet, where many 
clumps of young redwoods were seen, and, stopping at one 
of these, Dr. Gibbons took me inside a circle of young trees, 
from twenty to thirty feet high, and showed me that they all 
grew on the outer edge of the huge charred trunk of an old 
tree that had been burnt down. This stump was thirty-four 


feet in diameter, or quite as large as the very largest of the 
more celebrated Big Trees, the Sequoia gigantea. The doc- 
tor has searched all over these hills, and this was the largest 
stump he had found, though there were numbers between 
twenty and thirty feet. The tree derives its botanical name, 
sempervirens, from the peculiar habit of producing young 
trees from the burnt or decayed roots of the old trees. These 
enormous trees being too large to cut down were burnt till 
sufficiently weakened to fall, and this particular tree had been 
so burnt about forty years before. We lunched inside this 
ancient mammoth tree, and saw several others on the way 
back. Among the few plants I saw in flower were the D {pla- 
nts ghitinosns, a favourite in our greenhouses. 

The next day we went to Stockton, where my brother 
lived, and found his wife, whom I had last seen as a little 
girl, two of his sons and his only daughter, as well as two of 
his grandchildren. I gave one lecture in Stockton — a com- 
bination of Darwinism and Oceanic Islands — but only had a 
small audience. I made the acquaintance here of Mr. Free- 
man, a friend of my brother, who had called on me at Go- 
dalming with his wife two or three years before, on their 
way round the world on a pleasure tour. He told me then 
that he had had good luck in his business, had made a few 
thousand dollars, his only daughter was just married, so he 
thought that he and his wife might as well see the world. 
On asking him how he had made the money, he said, ' By 
handling mules/' and this enigmatic profession was explained 
as buying them in some of the Western States, where they 
are largely bred, and selling them in Nevada, where there 
was a great demand for them at the mines, etc. Now he 
had taken to store-keeping, while his wife kept poultry, and 
as soon as they had made some more money they meant to 
go another tour. They had been through Central Europe 
and Italy, the Holy Land, India, China, Japan, and the Sand- 
wich Islands, and had brought home many ornaments and 
fabrics from the East; but what Mrs. Freeman most valued 
were some bottles of water which she had filled with her own 
hands from the River Jordan. This water she had given to 

[6o MY LIFE 

me of her dearest friends to baptize their children with, a 
distinction of the highest kind. 

While in San Francisco I had agreed to give a lecture on 
" Spiritualism/' under the management of Mr. Albert Morton, 
and I went over on Sunday, June 5, and had an audience of 
over a thousand people in the Metropolitan Theatre. The 
title of my lecture was, " If a Man die, shall he live again? " 
The audience was most attentive, and it was not only a better 
audience, but the net proceeds were more than for any single 
scientific lecture I gave in America. I had spent the morning 
in the fine Golden Gate Park, where I saw some eucalyptus 
trees over sixty feet high, with numerous acacias and other 
greenhouse plants growing out of doors. I also had a fine 
view of the extensive sandhills, covered with huge clumps of 
blue and yellow tree-lupines, which produced a spendid effect. 
The interesting seances I had here will be described later on. 

Returning to Stockton, I went with my brother and his 
daughter for a few days in the Yosemite Valley. The journey 
there — two hours by rail and two days by coach — was very 
interesting, but often terribly dusty. The first day we were 
driving for nine hours in the foothills, among old mining 
camps with their ruined sheds and reservoirs and great gravel 
heaps, now being gradually overgrown by young pines and 
shrubs. Here and there we passed through bits of forest 
with tall pines and shrubby undergrowth, but generally the 
country was bare of fine trees, scraggy, burnt up, and the 
roads insufferably dusty. At 9 p. m. we reached Priest's 
(two thousand five hundred feet elevation), where we had 
supper, bed, and breakfast. 

Next day was much more enjoyable. The road was won- 
derfully varied, always going up or down, diving into deep 
wooded valleys with clear and rapid streams, then up the 
slope, winding round spurs, crossing ridges, and down again 
into a valley, but always mounting higher and higher. And 
as we got deeper into the sierra, the vegetation continually 
changed, the pines became finer both in form, size, and beauty. 
At about three thousand feet we first saw the beautiful Doug- 


las fir, and the cedar (Libocedruo decurrens), both common 
in our gardens ; then still higher there were silver firs and the 
fine Picea nobilis, as well as a few of the Big Trees {Sequoia 
gigantea), the road being cut right through the middle of one 
of these (at about five thousand eight hundred feet). Higher 
up still we saw the Tamarask pine (Pinus contorta) and the 
grand sugar-pines (Pinus lambertiana) the resin of which is 
quite sugary, with very little of the turpentine taste ; and 
among these, especially on the valley slopes, is an undergrowth 
of the beautiful white azalea and the handsome dogwood 
(Cornus Nuttallii), with very large white bracts. Then on 
the highest spur (seven thousand feet), where there were still 
patches of snow, we saw many of the strange snow plants 
(Sarcodes sanguinea), a thick fleshy root-parasite with a 
dense spike of flowers of a blood-red colour. It belongs to 
the heath family, and is allied to our Monotropa hypopitys. 
The Sarcodes is figured in one of Miss North's pictures at 
Kew. From the summit we descended towards the valley, 
and then down a steep zigzag road, with the beautiful Bridal 
Veil fall opposite, and the grand precipice of El Capitan be- 
fore us, then into the valley itself with its rushing river, to 
the hotel in the dusk. 

As both hotel and excursions were here very costly, we 
only stayed two clear days, and went one " excursion " to the 
Nevada Fall, the grandest, if not the most beautiful, in the 
valley. My brother and niece rode up, but I walked to enjoy 
the scenery, and especially the flowers and ferns and the fine 
glaciated rocks of the higher valley. The rest of my time I 
spent roaming about the valley itself and some of its lower 
precipices, looking after its flowers, and pondering over its 
strange, wild, majestic beauty and the mode of its formation. 
On the latter point I have given my views in an article on 
" Inaccessible Valleys," reprinted in my " Studies." The 
hotel dining-room looks out upon the Yosemite Falls, which, 
seen one behind the other have the appearance of a single 
broken cascade of more than two thousand five hundred feet. 
I walked up about a thousand feet to get a nearer view of the 
upper fall, which, in its ever-changing vapour-streams and 

[62 MY LIFE 

water-rockets, is wonderfully beautiful. To enjoy tin's valley 

and its surroundings in perfection, a small party should conn' 

with baggage-mules and tents, as early in tin- season as pos- 
sible when the falls are at their grandest and the flowers in 
their Spring beauty, and where, by camping at different sta- 
tions in the valley and in the mountains and valleys around it, 
all its wonderful scenes of grandeur and beauty could be 
explored and enjoyed. It is one of the regrets of my Ameri- 
can tour that I was unable to do this. 

Returning- from the Nevada Falls on foot, I had the ad- 
vantage of passing close to the lower Vernal Fall, where a 
natural parapet of rock enables one to look over and almost 
touch the water at the brink of the fall, which shoots clear of 
the rock and falls four hundred feet. Here, with great skill 
and daring, a series of ladders have been constructed from 
ledge to ledge to near the foot of the fall, whence a thor- 
oughly alpine path leads down to the main valley. Growing 
in clefts of the rock, and wetted by the spray of the fall, was 
the beautiful Pcntstcmon Ncwberryi — a dwarf shrub with 
deep red flowers, more like those of some ericaceous plant 
than a pentstemon. On the return journey I noted several 
interesting plants. At Crockett's (where we dined), a little 
beyond the summit, there was a vase full of the beautiful 
orchis Cypripedium montanum, which they told me grew in 
the bogs near; and I also found the brilliant scarlet Silene 
California!. Lower down, the Calochortus venustus was 
abundant and in richly varied colour, the curious Brodicoa 
volnbilis, and the handsome blue B. grandiflora. 

On our way back I turned off at the foot of the hills to 
visit the Calaveras Grove of big trees which my brother and 
niece had seen before, and I had to sleep on the way. I 
stayed three days, examining and measuring the trees, collect- 
ing flowers, and walking one day to the much larger south 
grove six miles off, where there are said to be over a thou- 
sand full-grown trees. The walk was very interesting, over 
hill and valley, through forest all the way, except one small 
clearing. At a small rocky stream I found the large Saxi- 
fraga peltata growing in crevices of rocks just under water, 


and I passed numbers of fine trees of all the chief pines, firs, 
and cypresses. At the grove there were numbers of very fine 
trees, but none quite so large as the largest in the Calaveras 
Grove. Many of them are named. " Agassiz " is thirty-three 
feet wide at base, and has an enormous hole burnt in it eight- 
een feet wide and the same depth, and extending upwards 
ninety feet like a large cavern ; yet the tree is in vigorous 
growth. The Sequoias are here thickly scattered among other 
pines and firs, sometimes singly, sometimes in groups of five 
or six together. There are many twin trees growing as a 
single stem up to twenty or thirty feet, and then dividing. 
But the chief feature of this grove is the abundance of trees 
to be seen in every direction, of large or moderate size, and 
with clean, straight stems showing the brilliant orange-brown 
tint and silky or plush-like glossy surface, characteristic of 
the bark of this noble tree when in full health and vigorous 
growth. In no forest that I am acquainted with is there any 
tree with so beautiful a bark or with one so thick and elastic. 
In the chapter on " Flowers and Forests of the Far West " 
(in my " Studies "), I have given a summary of the chief facts 
known about these trees, with particulars of their dimensions 
and probable age. I need not, therefore, repeat these par- 
ticulars here. But of all the natural wonders I saw in Amer- 
ica, nothing impressed me so much as these glorious trees. 
Like Niagara, their majesty grows upon one by living among 
them. The forests of which they form a part contain a num- 
ber of the finest conifers in the world — trees that in Europe 
or in any other northern forest would take the very first rank. 
These grand pines are often from two hundred to two hundred 
and fifty feet high, and seven or eight feet in diameter at five 
feet above the ground, where they spread out to about ten feet. 
Looked at alone, these are noble trees, and there is every 
gradation of size up to these. But the Sequoias take a sud- 
den leap, so that the average full-grown trees are twice this 
diameter, and the largest three times the diameter of these 
largest pines : so that when first found the accounts of the dis- 
coveries were disbelieved. My brother told me an interesting 
story of this discovery. The early miners used to keep a 

[64 MY LIFE 

hunter in each camp to procure game for them, venison, and 

especially bear's meat, being highly esteemed. These men 

used to search the forests for ten or twenty miles round the 

camps while hunting. The hunter of the highest camp on the 
Stanislous river came home one evening, and after supper 

told them of a big tree he had found that heat all he had ever 
seen before. It was three times as big a trunk as any tree 
within ten miles round. Of course they all laughed at him, 
told him they were not fools. They knew what trees were as 
well as he did ; and so on. Then he offered to show it them, 
but none would go ; they would not tramp ten or twelve miles 
to be made fools of. So the hunter had to bide his time. A 
week or two afterwards he came home one Saturday night 
with a small bag - of game ; but he excused himself by saying 
that he had got the finest and fattest bear he had ever killed, 
and as next day was Sunday he thought that six or eight of 
them would come with him and bring the meat home. 

The next morning a large party started early, and after a 
long walk the hunter brought them suddenly up to the big 
tree, and, clapping his hand on it, said, " Here's my fat bear. 
When I called it a tree you wouldn't believe me. Who's the 
fool now ? " This was the great pavilion tree of the Calaveras 
Grove, twenty-six feet diameter at five feet from the ground ; 
over eighty feet circumference, so that it would require four- 
teen tall men with arms outstretched to go round it. This tree 
was cut down by boring into the trunk at six feet from the 
ground with long pump-augers from each side, so as to meet 
in the centre. The first fourteen feet was then cut into sec- 
tions, and one supplied to each of the older states. The rest 
remains as it fell, and can be walked on to a distance of about 
two hundred and ten feet from the stump, and here it is still 
six feet in diameter. To examine this wonderful wreck of 
the grandest tree then living on our globe is most impressive. 
The rings on the stump of this tree have been very carefully 
counted by Professor Bradley, of the University of California, 
and were found to be 1240, which no doubt gives the age of 
the tree very accurately, as the winters are here severe, and 
the season of growth very well marked. 


On reaching Stockton, on Saturday evening, I found a letter 
from Senator Leland Stanford, one of the Californian mil- 
lionaires whom I had met at Washington, inviting me to visit 
him at his country house at Menlo Park on the following 
Monday. Senator Stanford's father was a large farmer near 
Albany, New York State, who was also the first railroad con- 
tractor in America. Up to twenty years of age he had lived 
and worked for his father. He then became a lawver, and 
when his studies were completed, went to Wisconsin to prac- 
tice. A few years later he removed to California, where he 
had several brothers who were merchants, and after keep- 
ing a store of his own, and thus acquiring business knowledge, 
he joined them. In 1861 he became Governor of California 
and President of the Central Pacific Railroad Company, of 
which he was one of the founders, and by means of which, 
with the large State and Union subsidies to help its con- 
struction and the enormous grants of land which became of 
value through the making of the railroad, he acquired his 
great fortune of five or six millions sterling. 

When I met him and Mrs. Stanford in Washington, 
through the introduction of Mrs. Beecher Hooker, it was as 
a spiritualist, and to talk about spiritualism. Their only son, 
a youth of sixteen, had died three years before at Florence, 
and they both assured me that they had since had long-con- 
tinued intercourse through several different mediums, and 
under circumstances that rendered doubt impossible. Senator 
Stanford has shown himself throughout his life a man of ex- 
ceptional ability and intellectual vigour, and would hardly 
be imposed upon in such a matter. 

Mr. Stanford met me at the station, and drove me to his 
house, about a mile and a half. It is a large, roomy cottage, 
luxuriously furnished, with very wide verandahs shaded by 
trees and awnings, carpeted and furnished so as to form open- 
air rooms, very delightful in a California summer. The 
grounds are spacious and fairly wooded with some old pines 
and large eucalypti, as well as many beautiful shrubs. For 
some distance round the house there are grass lawns, as green 
and smooth as any I have ever seen, with beautiful borders 

t66 MY LIFE 

and flower-beds, the whole kept in the most perfect order by 

Chine trdeners, with water laid on everywhere to keep up 

the perpetual verdure during the six or seven months of con- 
tinuous heat and drought 

In the house, as in the garden, all the servants are China- 
men and boys, and both Mr. and Mrs. Stanford spoke of 
them in the highest terms. One of these boys had charge of 
her private rooms, and as they continually moved backward 
and forward between this house and their mansion at San 
Francisco, going and coming without notice, on her return 
she always found everything in the most perfect order, and 
has never missed the smallest article though jewellery was 
often left on her dressing-table. Mr. Stanford declared that 
the Chinese had been the making of California, doing all kinds 
of domestic work, gardening, and shop-keeping when every 
European was rushing after gold. He had incurred much 
obloquy on account of his opposition to the anti-immigration 
laws and through his employing Chinese servants, but had 
now, to a large extent, lived it down. 

After dinner we drove out to see some of the other mil- 
lionaires' residences. The most remarkable of these was Mr. 
Flood's — a kind of fairy palace built entirely of wood, highly 
decorated with towers and pinnacles, and painted pure white 
throughout. There were also fine grounds and gardens, but 
none we saw were so exquisitely kept up as Mr. Stanford's by 
his thirty Chinese gardeners. 

Next morning I was taken to see the site of the great univer- 
sity he was going to build to the memory of his son. He had 
here about eight thousand acres of land, in the midst of which 
the buildings and residences were to stand. There were large 
wooden offices close by, occupied by the architect and draughts- 
men preparing the plans and working drawings ; and the 
surrounding land was already planted with shade-trees and 
avenues. The plans showed a central chapel in a Norman, or 
rather Moorish, style of architecture, surrounded by low, one- 
storey buildings arranged around spacious courts, about five 
hundred feet by two hundred and fifty feet, to be laid out in 
grass, trees, and flower-beds. These buildings were to com- 


prise dwellings for professors and students, class-rooms, 
workshops, libraries, museums, etc., and could be almost in- 
definitely extended as desrred. It was intended for all classes, 
from the poorest to the most wealthy, and to furnish a com- 
plete education from the kindergarten up to the highest de- 
partments of human knowledge, including the applications of 
science to industry and the arts. Arrangements would be 
made for the students to board themselves at the lowest pos- 
sible cost. Mr. Stanford had gone into this question, and he 
assured me that in the best American hotels, where the rates 
are four or five dollars a day, the actual cost of the food, 
including cooking, is not more than from two to three dollars 
a week for each person. 1 

1 My friend, Professor J. C. Branner, has kindly sent me the latest 
register of the university, together with a popular account of it, with 
excellent photographic illustrations and plans ; and it may interest my 
readers to have some particulars of this newest and in many respects 
most remarkable, of great educational institutions. 

The whole design, of which I saw the drawings, appears to have 
been now carried out, and the result is very striking. The educa- 
tional buildings, including a magnificent church, are arranged around 
a central quadrangle, five hundred and eighty feet long by two hun- 
dred and forty-six feet wide. Around this are arranged twenty-six 
spacious buildings, each devoted to one department of study, and these 
are grouped around a series of outer courts, the whole forming a 
quadrangle about nine hundred feet by seven hundred and seventy 
feet. Quite detached, at various distances around, are the boarding- 
houses for the students, the residences of the professors, a general 
library, gymnasium, workshops, and laboratories, and a magnificent 
museum around a central court, six hundred feet by two hundred feet. 
The educational portion is massively constructed of stone or concrete, 
and a very striking feature, and one well adapted to the climate is 
that both the inner and the outer quadrangles are surrounded by con- 
tinuous arcades, supported on massive stone pillars with groined roofs 
and about twenty feet wide, thus affording communication between 
the whole of the buildings, with complete protection from the ardent 
sun of California. These magnificent cloisters aggregate a mile and 
a quarter in length ; and at the more important entrances the semi- 
circular arches are highly decorated with carved ornamentation in 
the Moorish style, and are supported on clustered columns. 

The museum is a very fine building in a graceful Romano-Grecian 
style, and is full of fine works of art of all periods, as well as speci- 

168 MY LIFE 

Senator Stanford had a very high opinion of his adopted 
state. California, as being the richest part of the Union. He 

dilated on its million inhabitants producing corn enough for 
ten million, of its illimitable possibilities of fruit production, 
and on the general well-being of the people, lie expressed 
surprise that rcr do not federate all our English-speaking 
colonies, and thus form a " union " comparahlc in strength 
and extent with their own ; and it is no doubt the great and 
fatal mistake of our Governments not to have seen this before 
it has become too late, and the absurd and useless tariffs in 

mens of natural history. But ornament has been most lavishly be- 
stowed upon the church, which is cruciform, one hundred and ninety 
feet long by one hundred and sixty feet wide, with a central tower, 
one hundred and ninety feet high. It is decorated with costly mosaic 
work both inside and out, and must be one of the most magnificent 
of modern churches. 

At the present time there are more than fifteen hundred students, 
and nearly one hundred and fifty professors and teachers. The entire 
education is free for residents in California, with very moderate fees 
for those from other States. The entire cost of board and lodging, 
with incidental expenses, is about £60 a year; but it is stated that a 
very considerable number of the students are able to support them- 
selves by about three hours' daily work, either in or outside the 
university, more especially those who are bookbinders, printers, car- 
penters, or mechanics ; while many others, who can perform any 
domestic or manual labor thoroughly, can do the same. There are 
also several scholarships, which give free education and board. 

The university has been endowed by Senator and Mrs. Stanford 
with about eighty thousand acres of land, besides the estate of Palo 
Alto in which it is situated (about nine thousand acres) and the 
Stanford mansion in San Francisco, amounting in all to about six 
millions sterling. It only remains to state the purpose for which the 
university was established by its founders. 

'The object of the university is to qualify students for personal 
success and direct usefulness in life ; it purposes to promote the public 
welfare by exercising an influence in behalf of humanity and civiliza- 
tion, teaching the blessings of liberty regulated by law, and inculcating 
love and reverence for the great principles of government as derived 
from the inalienable rights of man to life, liberty, and the pursuit of 

It is to be hoped that this last clause will be taught in its spirit as 
well as in its letter. Never, surely, has a grander memorial been 
raised by parents to a beloved son. 


every colony have created insuperable difficulties to what 
would at first have been natural and acceptable to all. His 
view as to the general well-being of the people was, however, 
fallacious. He looked at the world, just as our legislators 
do, from the point of view of the employer and the capitalist, 
not seeing that their prosperity to a large extent depended 
on the presence of a mass of workers struggling for a bare 
subsistence. At the very time of our interview the actual 
fruit-grower could hardly earn the scantiest subsistence, be- 
cause he was dependent on the middlemen and railway 
companies to get his crop to market, and because the very 
abundance of the crop often so lowered prices as to make it 
not pay to gather and pack. Since then, year by year, the 
unemployed and the tramp have been increasing in California 
as in the Eastern States, while San Francisco reproduces all 
the phenomena of destitution, vice, and crime characteristic 
or our modern great cities. But neither capitalists nor workers 
yet see clearly that production for profit instead of for use 
necessarily leads to those results. The latter class, however, 
thanks to the socialists, are rapidly learning the fundamental 
principle of social economy. When they have learnt it, the 
beneficent and peaceful revolution will commence which will 
steadily but surely abolish those most damning results of 
modern (so-called) civilization — insanitary labour, degrading 
over-work, involuntary unemployment, misery, and starvation 
— among those whose labour produces that ever-increasing 
wealth which their employers are proud of, and which their 
rulers so criminally misuse. 

On returning to Stockton I went with my brother to 
Santa Cruz, one of the health resorts on the Pacific coast 
south of San Francisco, and thence to the forest tract of the 
Coast Range, where are a few of the finest trees of the red- 
wood left in southern California. We stayed the night at the 
hotel, and till the following afternoon, quite alone. The trees 
themselves are more beautiful than those of the Sequoia 
gigantea, the foliage being more like that of our yew. The 
largest tree is forty-seven feet round at six feet from the 

i;o MY LIFE 

ground (sixty feet at the base), and only a few feet less than 

three hundred feel high. The forests in which they grow 
are not, however, either so picturesque or so full of other fine 

trees, shrubs, and flowers as are of the Sierra Nevada. 
While at Santa Cruz for a day, both going and returning, 

I saw something of the luxuriance of Californian gardens. 
The common scarlet geranium grew into large hushes, forming 
clumps six or eight feet high, a mass of dazzling colour, and 
in the small back garden of a lady we visited was a plant of 
Tacsonia van Volexemi, which grew all over the house, and 
had sent branches out to an apple tree some yards away, and 
covered it completely with its foliage and hundreds of its 
drooping crimson flowers. On the sand of the sea beach 
were masses of calandrinia a yard across, covered with their 
gorgeous blossoms, which seemed to luxuriate in the intense 
heat and sun-glare. 

Returning to Stockton for a week, I had the opportunity 
of witnessing a fourth of July celebration. There was a great 
procession of all the trades and professions, firemen, army 
corps, volunteers, officials, etc., to the town hall. A school- 
boy read the Declaration of Independence, and then the 
" Oration ' was delivered. It was pretty good in substance 
but declaimed with outrageous vehemence and gesture. Then 
a patriotic poem was recited by a lady, but two crying infants 
and exploding crackers outside much interfered with the 
effect. All the rest of the day there were crackers all over the 
town, and in the evening another procession of animals, 
clowns, etc., crowds of people, carriages and buggies, crackers 
and fireworks — a kind of small and rough carnival. This over, 
I bade farewell to my brother and sister-in-law, my nephews 
and nieces, my grand-nephew and grand-niece, and left for 
the summit level of the Sierra Nevada on my way across the 
continent to Quebec, whence I was to sail for Liverpool. 



As my only lecture engagement on my way home was at the 
Michigan Agricultural College on July 29, I proposed to spend 
a fortnight among the alpine flowers of the Sierra Nevada 
and the Rocky Mountains ; and as on my way to San Francisco 
I had passed over the Sierra in the night, I left Stockton at 
7 a.m. in order to proceed by a local mid-day train from Sac- 
ramento to the summit level, where there is a small, rough 
hotel, chiefly used by the men engaged in the repair of the 

I had three hours to wait at Sacramento, the State capital, 
a pleasant town, with abundance of trees and gardens in the 
suburbs. I bought here a very handy two-foot rule, which 
folded up into a length of four inches, being thus most con- 
venient for the pocket. It was also very usefully divided in 
a variety of ways. The outer side of one face was divided into 
eighths of an inch, and the inner side into tenths. The other 
face was divided into sixteenths and twelfths of an inch, while 
the outer edge was divided into tenths and hundredths of a 
foot. It was well made, would go into my waistcoat pocket, 
and has been very useful to me ever since. I have never seen 
one like it in any English tool-shop, and though it was rather 
dear (three shillings), it has served as a pleasant and useful 
memento of my American tour. 

Leaving Sacramento at noon, we reached the foothills in 
about two hours, and soon began to see the effects of hydraulic 
mining in a fine valley reduced to a waste of sand, gravel, and 
rock heaps, the fertile surface soil broken up and buried under 
masses of barren and unsightly refuse, which may in time 
become covered with trees, but will probably never be profit- 


1 72 MY LIFE 

ably cultivable. Having passed this, at one spot I saw a group 
of tall golden yellow lilies, which blazed out grandly as the 
train passed them. When we had reached a height of forty-five 
hundred feet snow-sheds began, short ones at first, and at 
considerable intervals, but afterwards longer and closer to- 
gether, and for the last fourteen miles below the summit they 
were almost continuous. They are formed of massive roughly- 
hewn or sawed logs completely enclosing the line, but with 
so many crevices as to let in a good deal of light ; but the 
snow soon stops these up, and in the winter they are as dark 
as a bricked tunnel. 

Before entering them we had fine views, looking backward, 
down deep valleys and lateral ravines, among the slopes and 
ridges of which the line wound its way at a nearly uniform 
incline in order to avoid tunnelling. Everywhere within sight 
the country had been denuded of its original growth of large 
timber, but there were abundance of young trees of the sugar- 
pine, white pine, Douglas and silver firs, and a few cedars, 
which, if allowed to grow, will again clothe these mountains 
with grandeur and beauty for a future generation. The visi- 
ble rocks were either granite or talcose slaty beds and decom- 
posing gneiss. There were also considerable tracts of white 
volcanic clay or ash, in which the gold miners work, and the 
layers of large round pebbles here and there showed where 
ancient river channels had been cut across by the existing 

We reached the summit (seven thousand feet above the 
sea) at 6:13 in a large snow-shed opening into the railroad 
warehouses and workshops, and into the hotel. After dinner 
I strolled out to a small marshy lake in a hollow, and found a 
fine subalpine vegetation with abundance of flowers, promis- 
ing me a great treat in its examination. The country imme- 
diately around consists of bare granite hills and knolls, with 
little lakes in the hollows. Just beyond the hotel there is a 
short tunnel which brings the railway out to the western slope 
of the Sierra, whence it winds around the southern shore of 
Donner Lake on a continuous descent to Truckee and the great 
Nevada silver mines. The granite rocks in the pass are every- 


where ground smooth by ice into great bosses and slopes, 
in the fissures of which nestle many curious little alpine 

I stayed here four days, taking walks in different directions, 
ascending some of the nearest mountains, exploring little hid- 
den valleys, and everywhere finding flowers quite new to me, 
and of very great interest. The Pentstemons were of great 
beauty, especially one which grew in fissures of the granite 
rocks, with clusters of sky-blue flowers and yellow buds, form- 
ing a most striking combination. The curious and beautiful 
Pedicularis groenlandica was common in bogs, with tall spikes 
of purple-red flowers, having long, strangely-curved beaks, 
giving the appearance of some fantastic orchid. The genus 
Gilia was abundant in various curious modifications, one species 
(G. pungens) being like a minute furze-bush. On some of 
the hillsides there were sheets of the pretty butterfly-tulip (Calo- 
chortus Nuttallii), and in moister places the blue Camassia 
esculenta, the very dwarf Bryanthus Breweri like a miniature 
rhododendron, the pretty starlike Dodecatheons, the bril- 
liant Castillejas, and a host of others. Eriogonums, allied to 
our polygonums, were abundant and varied, and there were 
many curious composites and elegant little ferns in the rock- 
crevices. One of the higher mountains was of volcanic rock, 
and having once seen their characteristic forms, it was evident 
that most of them were of this formation, being the sources of 
the great extent of Pliocene lava streams and ash-beds which 
cover so much of the country in California, Nevada, and Idaho. 
The older rock here is a kind of gneiss, full of fragments of 
other rocks, both crystalline and volcanic, producing a result 
similar to the rocks I found in the granitic region of the Upper 
Rio Negro, and which I have figured in my " Amazon and Rio 
Negro" (p. 423, cheap ed. p. 293). The smooth, rounded 
forms of the rocks here are plainly due to glaciation, and have 
quite a different character to the globular or dome-form at the 
Yosemite and in Brazil, due to sub-aerial decomposition and 
exfoliation. Here they show the remains of what were rugged 
or jagged peaks worn down smooth into rounded hummocks 
of very varied forms. Striation is sometimes faintly visible, 

i; 4 MV LIFE 

but under t lie intense climatic changes of this region, weather* 

ing has in most cases quite obliterated it. 

Having read Miss Bird's nccount of Lake Tahoe as being 
superbly beautiful, I determined to see it, and if the country 
looked promising to stay a few days. I accordingly left by 
the train on Monday morning, stayed the night at a very poor 
hotel at Truckec, and took the stage at seven the next morning 
for the lake, a distance of fourteen miles. The road was up 
a very picturesque, winding valley, very precipitous and rocky 
on the east side, more sloping on the west. The bottom of 
the valley seemed to be granite or gneiss, but the craggy 
heights on the east side were all of lava, sometimes scoriaceous, 
sometimes almost columnar basalt, and occasionally laminated. 
Sometimes there were precipices, peaks, and detached pillars 
of scoriaceous lava, two hundred to five hundred feet high, 
of strange forms and highly picturesque. This valley had a 
rapid stream, which was the outlet of the lake. It had once 
probably been full of lava and ashes, when the lake would 
have been much deeper and larger. This was indicated by 
stratified deposits in places at different levels, and by layers 
of rock full of rounded pebbles. The lake itself, though a 
fine piece of water, did not come up to my expectations. The 
mountains around were bare and monotonous, rather higher 
and snow-flecked on the west, but the highest peaks visible not 
more than ten thousand feet. On the west side there was most 
wood, but the mountains were not more than two thousand 
to four thousand feet above the lake, and therefore not high 
in proportion to its size, which is thirty-five miles long and 
fifteen miles wide. It is really less striking than Loch Lomond 
or Windermere, where the mountains are more picturesque 
and more precipitous ; while it can bear no comparison with the 
sub-alpine Swiss and Italian lakes. 

I strolled about the shores of the lake, and into some of 
the woods near, but all was very dusty and arid, and I found 
only a few flowers already familiar to me. The hotel looked 
clean and comfortable, and I had a very good dinner there, 
and in the afternoon sat on the verandah admiring the view 
over the lake, it being too hot and dry to go out. I was glad 


I had seen it, and especially the valley up to it, but I had pre- 
ferred to get on to the Rockies as soon as possible. I there- 
fore went back to Truckee by the return of the stage in 
the afternoon, and went on to Reno by the evening train. 
While waiting at the station two ladies addressed me, and 
said they had met me last autumn at the meeting of the 
American Association at Boston. They were both botanists, 
and had been camping out in the Californian mountains; so 
we compared notes, and had some interesting botanical con- 
versation. Their names were Miss J. W. Williams and Miss 
Sarah W. Horton, of Oakland, California. 

The line from Truckee to Verdi (twenty-four miles) passes 
through a very interesting series of gorges in the volcanic 
district. The rocks and precipices exhibit all the varied 
characteristics of basalt, lava, and volcanic ash, with frequent 
intercalated layers of gravel and glacial drifts. The lateral 
gorges give frequent peeps into the interior, with strange 
castellated cliffs and pinnacles. Sometimes the main gorge 
narrows, leaving barely room for the railway, with the river 
foaming against the black, rugged precipice. The whole coun- 
try from Gold Run, in California, to Verdi, in Nevada (eighty 
miles), is a region of extinct (Pliocene?) volcanoes, but at 
and near the summit these rocks have been denuded down 
to the gneiss and granite, which there exhibits the grinding 
power of ice as in the mountains of Europe. In this region 
we have the results of fire, water, and ice action, well illus- 
trating their respective shares in modelling the earth's surface. 
The long and deep valley of the Truckee has probably been 
entirely excavated through volcanic rocks since a quite recent 
geological period. 

Leaving Reno the next morning, we passed through similar 
volcanic country for about fifty miles, in the Truckee valley ; 
then across an arid pleateau to the valley of the Humboldt 
river, only reaching stratified rocks at the Humboldt mountains, 
towards the source of the river, in the evening; and the 
next morning found ourselves near Ogden, where I changed 
for the Denver and Rio Grande Railway, in order to see 
a different portion of the mountains, two hundred miles fur- 

i;6 MY LIFE 

ther south, and to visit Colorado Springs and the celebrated 
Garden of the Gods. 

I left Ogden at to a. m. July \.\, passing Salt Lake City, 
about fifty miles beyond which, near Provo, we entered a 
fine gorge of the Wasatch mountains, leading to an upland 
valley with abundant vegetation. The cliffs were of a red 
conglomerate with pebbles, and among the flowers I noticed 
Cleome integrifolia, yellow Oenotheras, handsome thistles, a 
fine golden-rod, and red Castillejas. When the train stopped 
at small stations, for water or other causes, I would jump out 
and gather any flowers I saw near me, keeping a sharp watch 
for the conductor's cry of " All aboard." Having with me 
Coulter's " Flora of the Rocky Mountains," I was able to 
make out many of the species. Climbing up a high, open 
valley, we reached Soldier Summit, where there was half a 
mile of snow sheds. This was the divide between the Salt 
Lake and the Colorado basins, and we then entered Pleasant 
Valley, and winding about came to the picturesque Castle 
Gate, where a mass of rock like the ruins of a mediaeval 
castle rises close to the line. Passing this, we entered an 
almost desert region, with great bare flats of mud and clay, 
with occasional low ridges of gravel. During the night in this 
district we were stopped by a " wash out " ; a few hours' deluge 
of rain having fallen, turned dry channels into roaring tor- 
rents, and destroyed the track for some yards in several 
places. These were rapidly repaired by building up the line 
with sleepers laid across and across to the required level, and 
at eight o'clock we went on again ; but were again stopped 
early in the afternoon. Here I strolled about, but it was a 
miserable desert, with only a few stunted, ugly spiny bushes. 
Some of the cliffs about were splendid, in strata of red, 
yellow, bluish, and green. This district is between the Green 
and the Gunnison rivers, the latter a very turbid stream. 
Here were a few patches of cultivated land and little rude 

Entering Clear Creek valley the country becomes smoother, 
the hills more rounded and more clothed with vegetation, like 
parts of Wales or Scotland, with some pines and cedars. The 



occasional bare slopes show a covering of earth and boulders, 
washed from above by the melting of the winter snows. Here 
we wound in and out among the mountains up to the heads 
of all the lateral valleys, then returning on the other side so 
as to see the line we had come by many hundreds of feet 
below us. Several short snowsheds were passed through before 
reaching the summit between two branches of the Gunnison 
river, just short of eight thousand feet above the sea. On 
the east side we again wound about, in and out of valleys, 
sometimes round such sharp curves that the train made almost 
a semi-circle, till in the evening we reached Cimarron, where 
we stopped the night, as there is a fine gorge of the Upper 
Gunnison river through which the line passes. 

Starting at 9 a. m. on July 16, we at once entered the 
gorge, and for fifteen miles had a succession of very fine 
scenery, the gneissic rocks forming grand precipices, some- 
times overhanging, or in picturesque forms with towers and 
pinnacles, at others widening into little basins with fine peeps 
of mountain summits. Pines and firs clung to the rocks, in- 
creasing the beauty of the scene. On emerging from the 
gorge, the valley became wider with moderate slopes and 
table-topped mountains. We reached Gunnison (7580 feet) 
at 11:10 a. m v situated in a rather bare open plain, with 
rounded hills ; then entering an open upland valley with fine- 
looking meadows full of flowers — a perfect garden speckled 
with pale and dark yellow, pink, blue, and white flowers — the 
most flowery valley I have seen during my American tour, 
and the only one that equalled the finest of the European Alps. 
I could distinguish great patches of Dodecatheon, masses of 
lupins, and white and pink Gilias. Then we came to patches 
of pines and firs, and reached Sargent, 8400 above the sea, 
and I should think a fine station for a botanist at this time of 
the year. 

From here we entered a series of high branching valleys, up 
and round which we wound to ascend to Marshall Pass, the 
summit level of the main range of the Rocky Mountains, at an 
elevation of 10,850 feet. Stopping a few minutes on the sum- 
mit, I saw many fine flowers, among which was a pentstemon 

i;8 MY LIFE 

with blossoms of a very dark vinous purple. The descent into 
the Upper Arkansas valley was very interesting from the way 
we entered and wound round the head of every lateral valley 
to gain distance for the descent at a practicable slope, so that 
in one place we could see three lines of the railway, one below 
the other, which we had just passed along. Salida, where we 
stayed to dine, is in a flat valley near the sources of the 
Arkansas river, and on leaving it we soon entered upon a 
very fine narrow valley with lofty mountains of conical or 
pyramidal forms, either smooth or jagged. Then we came to 
a granite district, with tors of strange and fantastic forms, 
with huge blocks, peaks, and balanced rocks, like hundreds 
of Dartmoor tors crowded together. Then more open rocky 
valleys before we reached the " Royal Gorge," where we 
beheld towering rocks of fantastic form and colouring closing 
in upon the river and hardly leaving room for the railway. 
In places there were vertical precipices about a thousand feet 
high, side canons like narrow slits, or winding majestic 
ravines, often with vertical walls, or with quartz dykes running 
up the precipitous valley sides, and always the river roaring 
and raging in tumultuous flood close alongside of us. It was 
a fine example of the canons of the Rocky Mountains, and of 
the skill and enterprise required to build a railway through 
such a country. But there are many other lines which pene- 
trate still wilder gorges, and which have overcome much 
greater difficulties, and I greatly regret I could not afford the 
time and cost of visiting these. As compared with Switzer- 
land, the Rocky Mountains are very poor in snow-clad peaks 
and high alpine scenery, but are quite equal, and perhaps 
even superior, in the number, extent, and grandeur of its 
canons or deep valley-gorges. 

On leaving this gorge the country became flat and uninter- 
esting, and we reached Colorado Springs (six thousand feet 
above the sea) at half-past ten at night, having travelled about 
six hundred miles, through the most varied, grand, and inter- 
esting portion of the Rocky Mountain system. The next 
morning, after breakfast, I went on by the branch railway to 


VTfc >» 








Hi' '• ^ 



Manitou Springs (6360 feet), the "Soda Springs" of the old- 
time trappers mentioned in some of Mayne Reid's inimitable 
stories. Here, where the mountains rise abruptly from the 
great plains, which are themselves more than six thousand 
feet above the sea, are a group of springs situated near 
together on a small plateau, yet each of different character 
and composition. The most interesting is the " boiling spring ' 
or "soda spring," which is so full of gas that it looks as if 
boiling, but is really effervescing. It is as clear as a crystal, 
and tastes just like good aerated water. The springs are sur- 
rounded by several pretty hotels, and a small number of shops, 
boarding houses, and private residences. I spent the morning 
walking up some of the curious little valleys that open at 
once into the mountains, and found a few interesting plants, 
among which was the Monarda fistnlosa, of a very bright lilac 
pink colour, some campanulas, and a few others. After dinner, 
it being too hot to walk, I hired a buggy to drive me round the 
Garden of the Gods and Glen Eyrie, a distance of about seven 
miles. This consists of a tract of undulating or hummocky 
land backed by a range of cliffs, and presenting scores and even 
hundreds of isolated rock masses of varying heights, but gener- 
ally about ten or twenty feet, and worn by wind-action into the 
strangest forms, which have received distinctive names. They 
are composed of sandstone in nearly horizontal strata of vary- 
ing hardness, whence has resulted their curious shapes. Some 
are like pillars with overhanging tops, but most of them, when 
seen from the right point of view, are ludicrous representations 
of men or animals. In one we see an old Irish peasant, in an- 
other a Scotchman with plaid and glengarry cap, and one is 
named the Lady of the Garden. There is a cobbler, a bear, a 
buffalo, the squatter, and a Punch and Judy, the two latter are 
here reproduced from photographs. 

But even more remarkable than these are the wonderful 
group of isolated rocks, forming what is called the gateway to 
the garden. Here are two enormous walls or slabs of red 
sandstone rising abruptly out of the smooth grassy surface to 
a height of three hundred and fifty feet, and leaving about 
the same distance between them, in the centre of which is a 

180 MY LIFE 

smaller similar rock. Through this Opening is seen the fine 
rocky mass of Pike's Peak, snow-clad in Spring and flecked 
with snow in summer, contrasting with the rich red of the 
sandstone gateway and the flower-specked sward, so as to 
produce a landscape which for singularity and beauty I have 
never seen equalled. In nature, as in the view here repro- 
duced, the precipices forming the gateway have the appear- 
ance of rocky hills pierced by a chasm, and it is only when 
one goes through the gate and looks back, and then walks 
completely round them, that one sees that they are mere 
vertical slabs of sandstone, quite comparable with those which 
form the fantastic groups and pillars already described, but of 
much greater dimensions. Looked at from another point of 
view, the upper ridge is seen to be worn into strange shapes 
with openings and pinnacles, the central mass having excellent 
representations of a seal and a bear, while on the left is seen 
the figure of an Indian in his robes. From yet another point 
the same masses when seen edgeways appear as a wonderful 
group of lofty rock-pinnacles, which are appropriately named 
the Cathedral Spires. Glen Eyrie, a little way further north, 
is a small valley terminating in a narrow gorge full of isolated 
columnar masses of various forms and overhanging, often 
mushroom-like tops as shown in the photograph, have quite a 
distinct character, but have not the varied beauty of the 
" Garden." 

The next day (Monday, July 18), I went on to Denver, 
and arranged with Miss Eastwood, whom I had met in May, 
to go to Graymount, the nearest station to Gray's Peak, for a 
few days' botanizing. Starting at eight the next morning, we 
went up very picturesque valleys to the mining settlement of 
Georgetown (eight thousand five hundred feet), and thence 
on to Graymount, eight miles further, in which distance we 
ascended 1170 feet. On the way we had recourse to a loop, 
the line crossing the valley winding up its side, then crossing 
back again by a lofty viaduct and thus overcoming the greatest 
abrupt rise in the valley, making, in fact, an aerial instead of a 
subterranean corkscrew as they so often do under similar cir- 
cumstances in the Alps. At Graymount we found a tolerable 

«* ^ *... 

' ' 



hotel, where we stayed a few days to explore. There were 
two valleys from here, the most northerly and larger, called 
Grizzly Gulch, penetrating further into the mountains to the 
north of Gray's Peak; the smaller and steeper leading to a 
small collection of miners' huts called Kelso's Cabin, and then 
along a wide, upland valley just above timber-line up to the 
very foot of Gray's Peak, whence a winding mule-track led to 
its summit. 

On the second day, when going up Grizzly Gulch, we came 
to a miner's cabin, and two men we saw there asked us to 
have dinner with them. They gave us some good soup, pork, 
and peas, with hot coffee. They told us that a little higher 
up there was a fine place for flowers, and that they were going 
by there to their work. So we went with them, and about a 
quarter of a mile up we came to some patches of snow at 
the foot of a fine alpine, rocky slope, and all around it was a 
complete flower-garden. We remained here some hours to 
botanize, and gathered thirty-five species of alpine plants in 
flower. Some, as Mertensia alpina, Parnassia Umbriata, 
Phacelia sericea, and Primula angustifolia, were among the 
gems of the Rocky Mountain flora. Others were European, 
as Anemone narcissiHora, Ranunculus nivalis, Astragalus 
Alpina, and Androsace septentrionalis; while others, again, 
were British, as Silene acaulis, Dry as octopetala, and the rare 
Swertia perennis, which here dotted the grass with its curious 
slaty-blue flowers. The scenery was just like many a Swiss 
Alp, where snow peaks were not in sight, and the flowers, if 
not quite so brilliant or so numerous in species, were especially 
charming to me from the curious mixture of European and 
American species. 

On our second visit to Kelso's Cabin we were overtaken 
by Mr. Thomas West, an English mining engineer, in whose 
house in Grizzly Gulch we had dined the day before, and he 
asked us to make use of his hut high up the valley, so as to 
have plenty of time for our visit to Gray's Peak. We took 
our lunch in a miner's hut, and I was greatly pleased with the 
little chipmunks — a very small ground-squirrel — which came 
round the door to pick up crumbs, and after a little time 

182 MY LIFE 

entered the house and ate whatever we gave them without 
any fear. The miners are fond of these little creatures as we 
are of robins, and thus they become quite pets about houses 
in the wilds where they abound. In the evening we made 
our way to the cabin, said to be the highest house in the 
States (about thirteen thousand feet), where it freezes at 
night nearly all the year round. Some of Mr. West's men 
had brought up stores, the house being used for prospecting 
purposes and trial-workings. They made us quite welcome, 
and we had supper together. 

The next morning we walked up to the top of Gray's Peak 
(14,340 feet), one of the highest in the Rocky Mountains. On 
this side the ascent w r as very easy, over grassy slopes inter- 
spersed with streams of loose stone fragments, everywhere 
dotted with interesting alpine plants. The summit was a 
nearly level plateau, with precipices on the northwest, and 
with a magnificent view all round, only limited by the yellow 
haze which cuts off the horizon. We had, however, a view of 
the celebrated Holy Cross mountain, about thirty-five miles to 
the south-west, below the summit of which some deep gorges 
preserve perpetual snow in the shape of a cross. Over an 
area of about three hundred miles from north to south, and 
two hundred from east to west, there are said to be over 
thirty summits which reach fourteen thousand feet, and many 
more above thirteen thousand — a clear indication of this whole 
region having been once a nearly level plateau, which, during 
the process of elevation, has been cut into innumerable valleys 
and canons by sub-aerial denudation. This is the more re- 
markable, as the geological structure of the region is very 
Complex, consisting of ancient rocks, and has probably once 
been covered by the secondary and tertiary deposits which 
now everywhere surround it, as illustrated by the belt of 
triassic sandstone of the Garden of the Gods. 

We luxuriated here in plants which were altogether new 
to me. By the side of the road up were great clumps of the 
common Silene acaulis, embedded in which were little tufts 
of the exquisite blue Omphalodes nana, var. aretioides, closely 
allied to a rare alpine species. In damp, shady spots was a 





curious alpine form of columbine (Aquilegia brevistyla) , while 
minute saxifrages, potentillas, trifoliums, and many dwarf 
composites, starred the grassy slopes with beauty. In the 
afternoon we crossed over a low pass and descended through 
a precipitous forest into Grizzly Gulch, and then up to Mr. 
West's house and laboratory, where he did a good deal of work 
as an assayer of minerals for the numerous prospectors in the 
district. In the boggy parts of the wood we found great 
masses of the fine purple Primula parryi. 

We spent Sunday with Mr. West and his son, who were 
working a mine here in partnership with several other men, 
and these invited us to dine with them. After a morning 
among the flowers on the way up, we reached the mine 
tunnelled into the face of the mountain. After going in a 
few feet the whole surface of the tunnel becomes a mass of 
ice-crystals as white as snow, showing that the mean tempera- 
ture of the earth at a few feet deep is below the freezing- 
point. This continues for a distance of about five hundred 
feet, when the increase of temperature with depth becomes 
just sufficient to prevent freezing, and with every twenty or 
thirty yards further an increase of warmth is felt. We dined 
with about a dozen men in a large, rough cabin with sleeping- 
bunks all round. Our table and benches were of rough 
planks, but they were covered with a clean table-cloth, and 
our hosts gave us a most excellent dinner of soup, stew, fruit, 
and cheese, with very good coffee. In these camps they always 
get a good cook. 

In the afternoon we walked up the main gulch into a high, 
upland valley, with Gray's Peak on our left. Here I found 
Bryanthus empetriformis, a pretty, dwarf, heath-like plant 
new to the flora of Colorado. The grassy slopes here were 
wonderfully flowery, with the beautiful Aquilegia ccerulea and 
the scarlet Castillejas, and higher up was a little moraine lake 
where Primula parryi and Arnica cordifolia were abundant. 
Some account of the relations of the American and European 
alpine plants is given in my chapter on " Flowers and Forests 
of the Far West," in my " Studies " (vol. i., p. 217). 

The next morning, after gathering a few more choice 

1 84 MY LIFE 

plants to send home to England, we bade farewell to our 
kind friends, the miners, walked down to Graymonnt and 
took the train to Denver, noticing many fine plants on the 
way, as well as the grand precipices of Clear Creek canon, 
where the strata are seen to have been " twisted and tortured 
into indescribable forms,'' as I noted in my journal. In the 
evening I had a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Eastwood, and the 
next day, at 8:30 a. m., left Denver for Chicago. For some 
time I had the sleeping-car, eighty feet long, all to myself, 
there being three alternative lines to Chicago, all starting at 
the same time. I was now going by the northernmost, so as 
to see the prairie country along a new line, about two hundred 
miles north of that by which I had come. 

For some time after starting I had a fine view of the 
range of the Rockies, Long's Peak, to the north-west, being 
the most conspicuous object. At Julesberg, two hundred 
miles from Denver, we stopped to allow the train for Cali- 
fornia to pass us, and I took a short walk out on the prairie. 
All around was a boundless expanse of slightly undulating 
country, covered irregularly with short wiry grass, with a few 
patches of weeds here and there, a purple and a yellow cleome, 
and a dwarf entire-leaved golden rod. There was also a 
yellow-flowered prickly solanum and a small white-flowered 
asclepiad, with linear crowded leaves, like a mare's tail. The 
soil was mainly gravel, composed of small crystalline pebbles, 
not much rounded. The smallest of these, about the size of 
very small peas, were gathered into many anthills about a foot 
high. Coming near the North Platte river, the fine blue Iris 
missonriensis was seen in the marshes. There was good grass 
here, and plenty of cattle grazing. The river was about a mile 
wide, but shallow and full of mud-banks. 

The next morning (Wednesday, July 27) we were near 
Omaha, in a flat but fertile and cultivated country of un- 
dulating prairie, with meadows, and even hedges! The hay- 
stacks, horses, and cattle near the farmhouses having a more 
homely aspect than the usual half-desert waste of prairie. 
After crossing the Missouri, and leaving Council Bluffs, the 
country became more undulating, wkh fields of maize and 



rather more flowers. Among these were yellow Oenotheras 
showy rudbeckias, orange marigolds, and the white euphorbia. 
Further on, the country was almost all cultivated, wheat being 
all cut, maize growing vigorously, grass all closely cropped 
off, and no flowers. Every engine that has passed us has 
poured out a column of smoke of intense blackness, the result 
of bad coal, careless stoking, and total disregard of the 
comforts of passengers. We passed the Mississippi about 
midnight, and in the morning found ourselves near Chicago. 
For miles before reaching it there are grass-grown streets 
laid out in the bare open country, with a house here and 
there — indications of a land ''boom,'" such as are continually 
got up by speculators. 

Having six hours to wait for my train to Michigan, I took 
a 'bus and some walks after breakfast to see the town. The 
chief impression was of endless vistas of long parallel streets 
ending in the lake shore, the whole enveloped in a smoky 
mist worthy of London itself. Like all new American cities, 
there were great incongruities in the buildings, small two- 
story wood houses next door to handsome shops or palatial 
warehouses seven or eight stories high. This extreme irregu- 
larity is the more an eyesore from the contrast of wood and 
granite, or other fine building stone; but, of course, this will 
gradually disappear. The great lake, which might have given 
the city a grandeur and dignity of its own, has been spoilt by 
the railroad companies, for though there is a belt of park 
and promenade, the shore-front itself is given up to eight 
parallel lines of railways with ugly iron railings, and a notice 
that the public will cross this at its own risk. There is here 
a great area of black dust or mud, screeching engines pouring 
out dense volumes of the blackest smoke, and at this time of 
year the grass is dried up, and the trees all blacker than in 
London. The Dearborn Railway Station is a fine buiding, 
but the restaurant attached to it is very poor — ragged table- 
cloths or bare tables, and a general air of shabbiness pervades 
it. I did not regret having no business to keep me in Chicago. 

Leaving at noon I passed through a nearly level country 
of prairie and wood, with luxuriant meadows near the streams 

i86 MY LIFE 

or burnt-up pastures, and reached Trowbridge Station at 5.30, 
where I was met by Mr. Cook, with whom I was to stay. 
We had supper, of tea, fruit, etc., and I afterwards tried their 
stereopticon lantern, which was very poor. The next evening 
(Friday) I gave my lecture on ''Darwinism," and offered to 
give that on "Colours of Animals" on Monday evening as a 
return for their hospitality. The next morning Professor Beal 
took me to a fine bit of original swamp forest, with features 
which were quite new to me. Throughout my wanderings in 
the Sierra and the Rockies I had never met with any sphag- 
num moss, which I should often have been glad of to pack my 
plants in. In this bit of forest, however, there were acres of 
such sphagnum as I had never seen before, forming a con- 
tinuous carpet more than a foot thick, and in this congenial 
rooting medium there were numbers of very interesting plants. 
American pitcher-plants (sarraccnia) were abundant, but 
what pleased me more were quantities of the elegant orchis 
(Habcnaria ciliaris), with curious fringed flowers, making 
quite a sheet of yellow in places, its tubers not in the soil, but 
embedded in the sphagnum a few inches below the surface. 
There was also a curious little plant called gold-thread, allied 
to the hellebore, and a number of ferns. Among the shrubs 
were tall vacciniums, and the beautiful red-berried Nemo- 
panthes canadensis, allied to the holly, but deciduous. 

On Sunday I saw the botanical garden attached to the 
college, the library, and the insect collections, which latter 
were very fine as compared with our English species. Of 
moths of the genus Catocala, instead of our four species there 
were about twenty, many of them much larger and more 
gorgeously coloured, while the Saturnias and other groups 
were in equal proportion. After giving my lecture on 
" Colour " in the evening, I had to hurry off to catch the train, 
in which I slept, and reached Kingston the next day early 
in the afternoon. Here I had been invited to spend a few 
days in a delightful old country house on the shores of Lake 
Ontario, in the refined and very congenial society of Mr. and 
Mrs. Allen, and their two daughters. I much enjoyed this 
visit, and my genuine admiration of the writings of their only 


son, Grant Allen, was a bond of sympathy. The house is a 
roomy old-world mansion, situated in a small park with grand 
old trees, and fruit, flower, and kitchen garden sloping down 
to the water. Mr. Allen worked himself at his flowers, and 
had a magnificent collection of gladioli now in full bloom. 
But what interested me even more was to see rows of vines 
in the open ground laden with as fine fruit as we grow in a 
vinery, though the winters are far longer and more severe 
than ours. But the higher temperature due to the more 
southern latitude, combined with a clearer atmosphere and 
greater amount of sunshine, are far more favorable to all 
fruit and flowers which are uninjured by low winter tempera- 

One afternoon I went to visit a relative of the Aliens at 
Gananoque, where they have a small cottage on the rocky 
bank of the St. Lawrence, looking on to the celebrated 
Thousand Islands. There is an acre of wild ground, with 
a little woody ravine bounded by granite rocks, where interest- 
ing wild plants are found. The next morning I was taken 
among the nearer islands in a small yacht, landing on some 
to collect ferns. They are all ice-ground, often mere bosses 
rising a few feet above the water, some of the larger ones 
having pretty villas and gardens on them. A description of 
this place has been made the subject of one of Grant Allen's 
bright magazine articles. 

One evening Mr. Allen took me to tea at Sir Richard Cart- 
right's, one of the Canadian ministers, at his fine country 
house in a spacious park, a few miles in the country. One of 
the sons took me to a wood where trilliums were in flower; 
afterwards we had tea in a spacious hall. There were several 
visitors, and the conversation was chiefly about Ireland. 
Here, as elsewhere in America, our conduct in persistently 
refusing self-government to Ireland is hardly intelligible, 
and is almost universally condemned. 

On Sunday morning, August 7, I took leave of my very 
kind hosts, and went by a small steamer through the Thousand 
Islands to Aelxandria Bay on the American shore and stayed 
the night at the Thousand Island Hotel. The trip of about 


thirty-five mile? was most interesting among the countless 

islands, varying from mere granite rocks to others several 
miles long. The hotel has a broad verandah out of the 
dining-room on the first floor, affording a magnificent view 
up the river of varied and beautiful combinations of rock, 
wood, and water hardly to be surpassed. After dinner, at 
3 P. M., I walked a few miles into the country, consisting of 
cultivated fields alternating with rock-masses or ridges. 
These were all rounded, furrowed, and smoothed by ice, and 
on some of them, where hard quartzose sandstone occurred, 
the striae, furrows, and deep scooping were perfectly de- 
veloped, all following the general direction of the St. Law- 
rence valley, whatever their shape or aspect. This is the most 
conclusive indication of ice-action as opposed to other causes. 
In the evening the scene from the hotel was charming. In 
addition to the natural beauties of the surface there were 
many pretty or elegant villas on the larger islands, with fine 
lawns and masses of bright flowers, while many pretty yachts 
were sailing about or lying at anchor. American wealth had 
here displayed itself to some advantage in a tract of country 
of such a nature as hardly to admit of any serious deterior- 
ation of its natural beauty. 

The next morning at seven I went on by steamer to 
Montreal, passing many picturesque islands, and with oc- 
casional distant views of the Adirondacks. We also passed 
down the whole series of rapids, not very remarkable as com- 
pared with those of the Rio Negro, except the two named 
the " Coteau " and the "Lachine." These rush and boil, and 
form waves as in a chopping sea, with occasional eddies and 
whirls where the vessel had to pass between reefs and rock- 
ledges, requiring good steering; but there is nowhere any 
perceptible fall of the water, and on the whole the scenery of 
the St. Lawrence was somewhat montonous. We passed 
under a fine girder bridge and the great Victoria tubular 
bridge before reaching Montreal, the appearance of which is 
much spoilt by factory chimneys and the usual but quite 
unnecessary pall of smoke. For all this unsightliness in 
almost every city in the world, land monopoly and competi- 


tion are responsible. If each city owned its own land, it 
would be no one's interest to destroy its beauty and healthi- 
ness with smoke and impure water; and if every parish, dis- 
trict, or county owned its own land, factories would only be 
permitted away from centres of population, and would be so 
regulated as to prevent all injury or even inconvenience to 
those who worked in them. 

I had been kindly invited by Mr. lies, the manager of the 
Windsor Hotel, to stay there a day or two as his guest. He 
was a great admirer of Herbert Spencer, who had visited 
him when in America, and through him I obtained a fine 
photograph of our great philosopher, the very best I have 
seen, both for likeness and expression. The next morning 
he took me for a drive round the city, and up to the top of 
Mount Royal, whence there is a magnificent view of the sloping 
plain below, on which the city stands, with its abundance of 
churches and of trees, which give it a characteristic aspect. It 
is curious to see all public notices in French and English even 
in this comparatively English part of Canada. Mr. lies is a 
literary man as well as a hotel manager. He lent me an 
article of his on " Mathematics and Evolution," in which he 
made use of the theory of permutations and combinations to 
illustrate Spencer's principle of "multiplication of effects," 
applied especially to sociology — an ingenious and well-written 
paper. He is also a student of Emerson and Darwin, and he 
entertained Butler, the author of "Erewhon," a few years 
before, and gave me a copy of the inimitably humorous 
rhapsody on Montreal, which I have quoted in chapter xxviii. 

In the evening at 9.30 I went on board the steamer 
Vancouver for Liverpool, and we reached Quebec at 3.30 the 
next afternoon. As the ship stayed here the night to coal, I 
determined to sl©ep on shore and see this celebrated city. 
Taking my bag in my hand, I walked to the town. On my 
way I saw a gardener at work — an Irishman — and inquired 
for a quiet place for a night's lodging. He directed me to a 
small private hotel — the other hotels, he said, were too noisy 
and too dear. Securing a room and leaving my bag, I walked 
to Dyffryn Terrace, where is the monument to Wolfe and 

i 9 o MY LIFE 

Montcalm. Then up to the ramparts of the citadel, from 
which there is a grand view of the river and the country 
round, and where the strength of the position can be well 
seen. For dinner they gave me beef-steak pie, quite English, 
the first real homely pie I have met with on the American 
continent. I then strolled into the town and bought a few 
trifles in the shops. Everywhere they were talking French. 
The terraces and gardens with electric lights were very pretty. 

Next morning I went out at 7 a. m., called on the Irish 
gardener again, and asked the way to the best part of the 
town. He offered to show me: went along St. Louis Street 
and the Grande Allee by the new Parliamentary Buildings, 
which are very large and handsome; a new Drill Hall, fan- 
tastic Moorish ; then to the open down and the Plains of 
Abraham. The gardener said there were many Irish and 
Scotch in Quebec, but more French than all the others. He 
thought they could not become independent, because they 
could not pay their share of the Canadian Debt. I suggested 
that perhaps France would help pay it in order to get back 
their old colony. Yes, he thought they might some day ; but 
he did not think the French people wanted that. He told 
me he had been in Quebec forty-six years, and the winters 
were not near so cold as they used to be. He is sure of it. 
Noses and ears were often frozen and lost then ; now one 
never hears of such a thing. 

I got back to breakfast soon after eight, and then descended 
to the lower town by the elevator, and to the wharf, where a 
tender took us on board in a drizzling rain and very cold 
wind; and at 10 A. m. we started down the St. Lawrence. 
Fortunately I had a cabin to myself, as I was very unwell 
during the whole voyage, with chest oppression, and asthma 
for the first time in my life. 

Having now left North America, I may say just a few 
words of my general impressions as to the country and the 
people. In my journal I find this note : " During more than 
ten months in America, taking every opportunity of exploring 
woods and forests, plains and mountains, deserts and gardens, 


between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and extending over 
ten degrees of latitude, I never once saw either a humming- 
bird or a rattlesnake, or even any living snake of any kind. 
In many places I was told that humming-birds were usually 
common in their gardens, but they hadn't seen any this year! 
This was my luck. And as to the rattlesnakes, I was always 
on the lookout in likely places, and there are plenty still, but 
they are local. I was told of a considerable tract of land 
not far from Niagara which is so infested with them that it is 
absolutely useless. The reason is that it is very rocky, with 
so many large masses lying about overgrown with shrubs and 
briars as to afford them unlimited hiding-places, and the 
labour of thoroughly clearing it would be more costly than 
the land would be worth. 

The general impression left upon my mind as to the country 
itself is the almost total absence of that simple rural beauty 
which has resulted, in our own country and in some other 
parts of Europe, from the very gradual occupation of the 
land as it was required to supply food for the inhabitants, 
together with our mild winters allowing of continuous culti- 
vation, and the use in building of local materials adapted to 
the purposes required by handwork, instead of those fashioned 
by machinery. This slow development of agriculture and of 
settlement has produced almost every feature which renders 
our country picturesque or beautiful : the narrow winding 
lanes, following the contours of the ground ; the ever-varying 
size of the enclosures, and their naturally curved boundaries; 
the ditch and the bank and the surmounting hedgerow, with 
its rows of elm, ash, or oak, giving variety and sylvan beauty 
to the surroundings of almost every village or hamlet, most 
of which go back to Saxon times ; the farms or cottages built 
of brick or stone, or clay, or of rude but strong oak frame- 
work filled in with clay or lath and roughcast, and with thatch 
or tiled roofs, varying according to the natural conditions, 
and in all showing the slight curves and irregularities due to 
the materials used and the hand of the worker ; — the whole, 
worn and coloured by age and surrounded by nature's grand- 
est adornment of self-sown trees in hedgerow or pasture, 

i 9 2 MY LIFE 

combine together to produce that charming and indescribable 
effect we term picturesque. And when we add to these the 
numerous footpaths which enable us to escape the dust of 
high roads and to enjoy the glory of wild flowers which the 
innumerable hedgerows and moist ditches have preserved 
for us, the breezy downs, the gorse-clad commons and the 
heath-clad moors still unenclosed, we are, in some favoured 
districts at least, still able thoroughly to enjoy all the varied 
aspects of beauty wdiich our country affords us, but which are, 
alas ! under the combined influences of capitalism and land- 
lordism, fast disappearing. 

But in America, except in a few parts of the north-eastern 
States, none of these favourable conditions have prevailed. 
Over by far the greater part of the country there has been 
no natural development of lanes and tracks and roads as 
they were needed for communication between villages and 
towns that had grown up in places best adapted for early 
settlement ; but the whole country has been marked out into 
sections and quarter-sections (of a mile, and a quarter of a 
mile square), with a right of way of a certain width along 
each section-line to give access to every quarter-section of 
one hundred and sixty acres, to one of which, under the home- 
stead law, every citizen had, or was supposed to have, a right 
of cultivation and possession. Hence, in all the newer States 
there are no roads or paths whatever beyond the limits of the 
townships, and the only lines of communication for foot or 
horsemen or vehicles of any kind are along these rectangular 
section-lines, often going up and down hill, over bog or stream, 
and almost always compelling the traveller to go a much 
greater distance than the form of the surface rendered 

Then again, owing to the necessity for rapidly and securely 
fencing in these quarter-sections, and to the fact that the 
greater part of the States first settled were largely forest-clad, 
it became the custom to build rough, strong fences of split- 
trees, which utilized the timber as it was cut and involved no 
expenditure of cash by the settler. Again, to avoid the labour 
of putting posts in the ground the fence was at first usually 


built of rails or logs laid zigzag on each other to the height 
required, so as to be self-supporting, the upper pairs only 
being fastened together by a spike through them, the waste 
of material in such a fence being compensated by the reduction 
of the labour, since the timber itself was often looked upon 
as a nuisance to be got rid of before cultivation was possible. 
And yet again, this fact of timber being in the way of culti- 
vation and of no use till cut down, led to the very general 
clearing away of all the trees from about the house, so that it 
is a comparatively rare thing, except in the eastern towns and 
villages, to find any old trees that have been left standing for 
shade or for beauty. 

For these and for similar causes acting through the greater 
part of North America, there results a monotonous and un- 
natural ruggedness, a want of harmony between man and 
nature, the absence of all those softening effects of human 
labour and human occupation carried on for generation after 
generation in the same simple way, and in its slow and gradual 
utilization of natural forces allowing the renovating agency 
of vegetable and animal life to conceal all harshness of colour 
or form, and clothe the whole landscape in a garment of 
perennial beauty. 

Over the larger part of America everything is raw and 
bare and ugly, with the same kind of ugliness with which we 
also are defacing our land and destroying its rural beauty. 
The ugliness of new rows of cottages built to let to the poor, 
the ugliness of the mean streets of our towns, the ugliness of 
our " black countries " and our polluted streams. Both 
countries are creating ugliness, both are destroying beauty; 
but in America it is done on a larger scale and with a more 
hideous monotony. The more refined among the Americans 
see this themselves as clearly as we see it. One of them has 
said, "A whole huge continent has been so touched by human 
hands that, over a large part of its surface it has been reduced 
to a state of unkempt, sordid ugliness ; and it can be brought 
back into a state of beauty only by further touches of the same 
hands more intelligently applied." * 

1 The Century, June, 1887. 

i 9 4 MV Wl'E 

Turning now from the land to the people, what can w< 
Say of our American COUSUIS as a race and as a nation? 'flic 
great thing to keep in mind is, that they are, largely and 
primarily, of the same blood and of the same nature as our- 
selves, with characters and habits formed in part by the evil 
traditions inherited from us, in part by the influence of the 
new environment to which they have been exposed. Just as 
we owe our good and bad qualities to the intermixture and 
Struggle of somewhat dissimilar peoples, so do they. Briton 
and Roman, Saxon and Dane, Norsemen and Norman-French, 
Scotch and Irish Celts — all have intermingled in various por- 
tions, and helped to create that energetic amalgam known the 
world over as Englishmen. So North America has been 
largely settled by the English, partly by Dutch, French, and 
Spanish, whose territories were soon absorbed by conquest 
or purchase ; while, during the last century, a continuous 
stream of immigrants — Germans, Irish, Highland and Low- 
land Scotch, Scandinavians, Italians, Russians — has flowed in, 
and is slowly but surely becoming amalgamated into one great 
Anglo-American people. 

Most of the evil influences under which the United States 
have grown to their present condition of leaders in civilization, 
and a great power among the nations of the world, they 
received from us. We gave them the example of religious 
intolerance and priestly rule, which they have now happily 
thrown off more completely than we have done. We gave 
them slavery, both white and black — a curse from the effects 
of which they still suffer, and out of which a wholly satis- 
factory escape seems as remote as ever. But even more 
insidious and more widespread in its evil results than both of 
these, we gave them our bad and iniquitious feudal land 
system; first by enormous grants from the Crown to indi- 
viduals or to companies, but also — what has produced even 
worse effects — the ingrained belief that land — the first essential 
of life, the source of all things necessary or useful to mankind, 
by labour upon which all wealth arises — may yet, justly and 
equitably, be owned by individuals, be monopolized by capital- 
ists or by companies, leaving the great bulk of the people as 


absolutely dependent on these monopolists for permission to 
work and to live as ever were the negro slaves of the South 
before emancipation. 

The result of acting- upon this false conception is, that the 
Government has already parted with the whole of the acces- 
sible and cultivable land, and though large areas still remain 
for any citizen who will settle upon it by the mere payment of 
very moderate fees, this privilege is absolutely worthless to 
those who most want it — the very poor. And throughout the 
western half of the Union one sees everywhere the strange 
anomaly of building lots in small remote towns, surrounded 
by thousands of uncultivated acres (and perhaps ten years 
before sold for eight or ten shillings an acre), now selling at 
the rate of from £1000 to £20,000 an acre! It is not an 
uncommon thing for town lots in new places to double their 
value in a month, while a four-fold increase in a year is quite 
common. Hence land speculation has become a vast organ- 
ized business over all the Western States, and is considered to 
be a proper and natural mode of getting rich. It is what the 
Stock Exchange is to the great cities. And this wealth, thus 
gained by individuals, initiates that process which culminates 
in railroad and mining kings, in oil and beef trusts, and in the 
thousand millionaires and multi-millionaires whose vast accu- 
mulated incomes are, every penny of them, paid by the toiling 
workers, including the five million of farmers whose lives 
of constant toil only result for the most part in a bare liveli- 
hood, while the railroad magnates and corn speculators absorb 
the larger portion of the produce of their labour. 

What a terrible object-lesson is this as to the fundamental 
wrong in modern societies which leads to such a result ! Here 
is a country more than twenty-five times the area of the 
British Islands, with a vast extent of fertile soil, grand navi- 
gable waterways, enormous forests, a superabounding wealth 
of minerals — everything necessary for the support of a popu- 
lation twenty-five times that of ours — about fifteen hundred 
millions — which has yet, in little more than a century, de- 
stroyed nearly all its forests, is rapidly exhausting its mar- 
vellous stores of natural oil and gas, as well as those of the 

196 MY LIFE 

precious metals ; and as the result of all this reckless exploiting 
of nature's accumulated treasures has brought about over- 
crowded cities reeking with disease and vice, and a population 
which, though only one-half greater than our own, exhibits 
all the pitiable phenomena of women and children working 
long hours in factories and workshops, garrets and cellars, 
for a wage which will not give them the essentials of mere 
healthy animal existence ; while about the same proportion of 
its workers, as with us, endure lives of excessive labour for a 
bare livelihood, or constitute that crying disgrace of modern 
civilization — willing men seeking in vain for honest work, and 
forming a great army of the unemployed. 

What a demonstration is this of the utter folly and stupidity 
of those blind leaders of the blind who impute all the evils 
of our social system, all our poverty and starvation, to over- 
population! Ireland, with half the population of fifty years 
ago, is still poor to the verge of famine, and is therefore still 
overpeopled. And for England and Scotland as well, the cry 
is still, " Emigrate ! emigrate ! We are over peopled ! " But 
what of America, with twenty-five times as much land as we 
have, with even greater natural resources, and with a popu- 
lation even more ingenious, more energetic, and more hard- 
working than ours? Are they over-populated with only 
twenty people to the square mile? There is only one rational 
solution of this terrible problem. The system that allows the 
land and the minerals, the means of communication, and all 
other public services, to be monopolized for the aggrandise- 
ment of the few — for the creation of millionaires — necessarily 
leads to the poverty, the degradation, the misery of the many. 

There never has been, in the whole history of the human 
race, a people with such grand opportunities for establishing 
a society and a nation in which the products of the general 
labour should be so distributed as to produce general well- 
being. It wanted but a recognition of the fundamental prin- 
ciple of " equality of opportunity," tacitly implied in the 
Declaration of Independence. It wanted but such social 
arrangements as would ensure to every child the best nurture, 
the best training of all its faculties, and the fullest opportunity 


for utilizing those faculties for its own happiness and for the 
common benefit. Not only equality before the law, but 
equality of opportunity, is the great fundamental principle 
of social justice. This is the teaching of Herbert Spencer, 
but he did not carry it out to its logical consequence — the 
inequity, and therefore the social immorality of wealth-in- 
heritance. To secure equality of opportunity there must be 
no inequality of initial wealth. To allow one child to be born 
a millionaire and another a pauper is a crime against humanity, 
and, for those who believe in a deity, a crime against God ! 1 

Jit is universally admitted that very great individual wealth, 
whether inherited or acquired, is beneficial neither to the 
individual nor to society. In the former case it is injurious, 
and often morally ruinous to the possessor; in the latter it 
confers little or no happiness to the acquirer of it, and is a 
positive injury to his heirs and a danger to the State. Yet 
its fascinations are so great that, under conditions of society 
in which the yawning gulf of poverty is ever open beside 
us, the amassing of wealth at first seems a duty, then becomes 
a habit, and, ultimately, the gambler's excitement without 
which he cannot live. The struggle for wealth and power is 
always exciting, and to many is irresistible. But it is essentially 
a degrading struggle, because the few only can succeed while 
the many must fail ; and where all are doing their best in their 
several ways, with their special capacities and their unequal 
opportunities, the result is very much of a lottery, and there 
is usually no real merit, no specially high intellectual or moral 
quality in those that succeed. 

It is the misfortune of the Americans that they had such 
a vast continent to occupy. Had it ended at the line of the 
Mississippi, agricultural development might have gone on 
more slowly and naturally, from east to west, as increase of 
population required. So again, if they had had another 
century for development before railways were invented, 
expansion would necessarily have gone on more slowly, the 
need for good roads would have shown that the rectangular 
system of dividing up new lands was a mistake, and some of 
1 1 have discussed this subject in my " Stuiliflni" ynlj^u^chap. xxviii. 

> ... 1 a / A \> 

113 L ^ i 

198 MY LIFE 

that charm of rural scenery which we possess would probably 
have arisen. 

But with the conditions that actually existed we can hardly 
wonder at the result. A nation formed by emigrants from 
several of the most energetic and intellectual nations of the old 
world, for the most part driven from their homes by religious 
persecution or political oppression, including from the very 
first all ranks and conditions of life — farmers and mechanics, 
traders and manufacturers, students and teachers, rich and 
poor — the very circumstances which drove them to emigrate 
led to a natural selection of the most energetic, the most 
independent, in many respects the best of their several nations. 
Such a people, further tried and hardened by two centuries 
of struggle against the forces of nature and a savage popula- 
tion, and finally by a war of emancipation from the tyranny 
of the mother country, would almost necessarily develop both 
the virtues, the prejudices, and even the vices of the parent 
stock in an exceptionally high degree. Hence, when the march 
of invention and of science (to which they contributed their 
share) gave them the steamship and the railroad ; when Cali- 
fornia gave them gold and Nevada silver, with the prospect 
of wealth to the lucky beyond the dreams of avarice ; when 
the great prairies of the West gave them illimitable acres of 
marvellously fertile soil ; — it is not surprising that these con- 
ditions with such a people should have resulted in that mad 
race for wealth in which they have beaten the record, and have 
produced a greater number of multi-millionaires than all the 
rest of the world combined, with the disastrous results already 
briefly indicated. 

But this is only one side of the American character. Every- 
where there are indications of a deep love of nature, a devotion 
to science and to literature fully proportionate to that of the 
older countries ; while in inventiveness and in the applications 
of science to human needs they have long been in the first 
rank. But what is more important, there is also rapidly 
developing among them a full recognition of the failings of 
our common social system, and a determination to remedy it. 
As in Germany, in France, and in England, the socialists are 


becoming a power in America. They already influence public 
opinion, and will soon influence the legislatures. The glaring 
fact is now being widely recognized that with them, as with 
all the old nations of Europe, an increase in wealth and in 
command over the powers of nature such as the world has 
never before seen, has not added to the true well-being of any 
part of society. It is also indisputable that, as regards the 
enormous masses of the labouring and industrial population, 
it has greatly increased the numbers of those whose lives are 
" below the margin of poverty," while, as John Stuart Mill 
declared many years ago, it has not reduced the labour of any 
human being. 

An American (Mr. Bellamy) gave us the books that first 
opened the eyes of great numbers of educated readers to the 
practicability, the simplicity, and the beauty of socialism. It 
is to America that the world looks to lead the way towards a 
just and peaceful modification of the social organism, based 
upon a recognition of the principle of Equality of Opportunity, 
and by means of the Organization of Labour of all for the 
Equal Good of all. 


LIFE AND WORK, 1887-I905. 

Leaving Quebec early in the morning of Friday, August 12, 
after a week of cold and dull weather, we anchored at 6 a. m. 
on the 17th off Portrush, on the north coast of Ireland, to 
leave mails and passengers for Londonderry. Here and all 
along this coast I gazed upon the intensely vivid green of the 
grassy slopes, and for the first time understood the appropri- 
ateness of " Emerald Isle " as a name for Ireland ; for the 
colour is altogether unique, and such as I have never seen 
elsewhere. Two hours later we passed the grand range of 
basaltic cliffs above the Giant's Causeway, and here, too, 
all the grassy patches and slopes were of the same vivid tint. 
Then the Mull of Cantire, in Scotland, came into view, and 
later Port Patrick and the Mull of Galloway, just catching 
sight of Ailsa Craig between them. In the afternoon we 
passed south of the Isle of Man, and reached Liverpool late 
at night, having thus seen a portion of the British Isles that 
was quite new to me. Between 6 and 10 a. m. I managed 
to get all my baggage through the Custom House and taken 
to the station, had a good breakfast at the hotel, and was off 
by the 11:5 a. m. express to London, then to Waterloo, and 
home to Godalming at 5.30. 

On my way from Godalming old station to Frith Hill in 
a fly, an extraordinary event happened. Suddenly I perceived 
that the driver's coat was on fire behind — actually in flames ! 
I called out to him. He looked round, beat it with his hands, 
said, " All right, sir ! " and went on. After a few minutes it 
began smoking again. I called out louder, it flamed again; 
both overcoat, trousers, and cushion were burning. Then he 



got down, took off his overcoat, trampled on it, and beat out 
the rest. We went on. A third time it burst out in smoke 
and flame. Again I shouted, and passers-by called out and 
stopped to look. And then at last, with their help, he finally 
extinguished the conflagration. A cabman on fire ! No more 
curious incident occurred during my six thousand miles of 
travel in America. It originated, no doubt, from his having 
put a lighted pipe in his pocket, or perhaps from a loose 
phosphorus match. But he did not seem to mind it much, 
even when in a blaze. 

The rest of the year 1887 was occupied at home in over- 
taking my correspondence, looking after my garden, and 
making up for lost time in scientific and literary reading, and 
in considering what work I should next occupy myself with. 
Many of my correspondents, as well as persons I met in 
America, told me that they could not understand Darwin's 
" Origin of Species," but they did understand my lecture on 
4< Darwinism ; " and it therefore occurred to me that a popular 
exposition of the subject might be useful, not only as enabling 
the general reader to understand Darwin, but also to serve 
as an answer to the many articles and books professing to 
disprove the theory of natural selection. During the whole 
of the year 1888 I was engaged in writing this book, which, 
though largely following the lines of Darwin's work, con- 
tained a great many new features, and dwelt especially with 
those parts of the subject which had been most generally mis- 

The spring of 1889 was occupied in passing it through the 
press, and it was published in May, while a few corrections 
were made for a second edition in the following October. 
During this time, however, I gave several of my American 
lectures in various parts of the country — at Newcastle and 
Darlington in the spring of 1888; in the autumn at Altrincham 
and Darwen; and in 1889 at Newcastle, York, Darlington, 
and Liverpool. 

In the autumn of this year the University of Oxford did 
me the honour of giving me the honorary degree of D.C.L., 

202 MY LIFE 

which I went to receive in November, when I enjoyed the 
hospitality of my friend Professor E, B. Poulton. The Latin 
speech of the Public Orator on the occasion lias been trans- 
lated for me by my friend Mr. Comcrford Casey, and I here 
give a copy of the translation. 

Addressing the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors of the Uni- 
versity of Oxford, the Public Orator spoke words to this 

" In that department of natural science which is concerned 
with the accurate study of animals and plants, be well assured 
that no living man has laboured more diligently and with 
happier results than Alfred Russel Wallace. 

" For having wandered long in early life through the 
forests of Brazil, and among those islands which lie beyond 
the Golden Chersonese, and beneath a burning sun, he thought 
out and explained with w r onderful insight the law according to 
which (as learned men now believe) new species of animals 
arise : namely, that a stronger and more vigorous offspring 
is left behind by those individuals whom nature has, in some 
way or other, best fitted to endure the vicissitudes of life. 
Thus, in the course of ages, scions are produced which differ 
more and more widely from the original stock. 

" When this law was discovered, almost simultaneously by 
the distinguished naturalist, Charles Darwin, neither be- 
grudged to the other his meed of praise ; and so high-minded 
were they both that each was more desirous of discovering 
new truths than of gaining credit for himself. 

' I need not enumerate the many and learned works which 
Alfred Russel Wallace has published, since the facts which I 
have related give him sufficient claim to the honorary degree 
of Doctor of Civil Law which this University is about to 
confer upon him." 

Finding my house at Godalming in an unsatisfactory situa- 
tion, with a view almost confined to the small garden, the south 
sun shut off by a house and by several oak trees, while exposed 
to north and east winds, and wishing for a generally milder 


climate, I spent some weeks in exploring the country between 
Godalming and Portsmouth, and then westward to Bourne- 
mouth and Poole. I had let my house from Lady Day, and 
had moved temporarily into another, and therefore wished to 
decide quickly. We were directed by some friends to Park- 
stone as a very pretty and sheltered place, and here we found 
a small house to be let which suited us tolerably well, with the 
option of purchase at a moderate price. The place attracted 
us because we saw abundance of great bushes of the ever- 
green purple veronicas, which must have been a dozen or 
twenty years old, and also large specimens of eucalyptus ; 
while we were told that there had been no skating there for 
twenty years. We accordingly took the house, and purchased 
it in the following year ; and by adding later a new kitchen 
and bedroom, and enlarging the drawing-room, converted it 
from a cramped, though very pretty cottage, into a convenient, 
though still small house. The garden on the south side was 
in a hollow on the level of the basement, while on the north 
it was from ten to thirty feet higher, there being on the east 
a high bank, with oak trees and pines, producing a very pretty 
effect. This bank, as well as the lower part of the garden, 
was peat or peaty sand, and as I knew this was good for rho- 
dodendrons and heaths, I was much pleased to be able to grow 
these plants. I did not then know, however, that this peaty 
soil was quite unsuited to a great many other plants, and only 
learnt this by the long experience which every gardener has to 
go through. 

During the eight years I had lived at Godalming, I had 
greatly enjoyed my garden, and had grown, more or less suc- 
cessfully, an immense number of hardy and half-hardy plants 
in about half an acre of ground. The soil was of the lower 
green sand formation, with a thin layer of leaf-mould, the 
whole district having been originally woodland and copse. On 
the whole this soil was the best for gardening purposes I 
have ever had, being easy to work, and well suited to a great 
variety of herbaceous plants and shrubs, and especially to 
bulbs. Here, without any special trouble, I was able to grow 
on a raised bank Iris susiana and /. durica for several years 

2o 4 MY LIFE 

in succession, and the lovely jalap plant, ExogOftium purga, 
grew most luxuriantly over a low trellis at the back of the 
same bed. Here, too, I had the magnificent Ercmurus robustus 
on a raised bank, with Lconotis Iconurns, and many other 
tender shrubs in the borders. I received contributions of 
uncommon plants from many friends, and ransacked all the 
nurserymen's catalogues for rarities and curiosities, and I 
find that I attempted the cultivation in this garden, or in a very 
small greenhouse and verandah, about fifteen hundred species 
of plants, some of which, of course, never reached flowering 
size, others survived only a few years ; but the delight of 
watching the growth of these, to me, new forms of vegetable 
life, and seeing them flower even once or twice, was so great 
that no trouble was spared to obtain it. 

My gardening has always been to me pure enjoyment. I 
have never made any experiments with my plants, never at- 
tempted to study their minute structure or to write about 
them ; the mere seeing them grow, noting the infinite diversi- 
ties of their forms and habits, their likes and dislikes, all made 
the more interesting by the researches of Darwin, Kerner, H. 
Muller, Grant Allen, Lubbock and others, on the uses of each 
infinitely varied detail of stem and leaf, of bract and flower — 
all this was to me a delight in itself, and gave me that general 
knowledge of the outward forms and inward peculiarities of 
plants, and of the exquisite beauty and almost infinite variety 
of the vegetable kingdom, which enabled me better to appreci- 
ate the marvel and mystery of plant life, whether in itself or in 
its complex relations to the higher attributes of man. 

When I came to Parkstone (in June, 1889) I had a smaller 
garden, but one which I thought would prove better adapted 
to a variety of species which I had not hitherto succeeded 
with. I thought my peat-bank facing the south-west might 
grow some of the beautiful Cape heaths which I had always 
so greatly admired, so I obtained in the spring of 1890 a dozen 
choice species, as well as a considerable number of Sikhim 
rhododendrons (seedlings and young plants) from different 
dealers. But although I protected them with fern, ashes, etc., 


every heath was killed the first winter, while most of the 
rhododendrons lived and have now grown into large bushes, 
of which two or three have flowered and others I still hope to 
see flower. That winter (1890-1891) was the first of a series 
of five severe winters ; while the first of them for duration of 
hard frost and the last for extreme low temperature were the 
worst known, at all events in the south of England, for about 
sixty years. What I regretted even more than the heaths was 
a fine young plant of the celebrated blue Puya, a present from 
my kind friend Miss North, who had raised it from seed she 
brought from Chile. Not having had time to get well rooted 
in the soil it died, like the heaths, the first winter, although 
when once well established it will bear a considerable amount 
of frost. 

I made a little pond here to grow water-lilies and other 
aquatic plants, and here again I met with one of the com- 
monest difficulties of the amateur who grows more than he 
can properly attend to, the presence of what are now termed 
" dangerous plants." I got a small bit of the fine red Swedish 
water-lily from Ware, and after the first year or two it grew 
well and formed one of the greatest attractions of my garden ; 
but I also had at one side of the pond the fine native plant, 
Ranunculus lingua, and this, if left alone, would in a few years 
have monopolized the whole pond and destroyed the more 
valuable plants. Another of these rapid growers is the very 
pretty Villarsia nympha?oides, which sends out runners in all 
directions, and so becomes a danger to all less vigorous plants. 
The same thing happens with alpine plants. Many, indeed 
most of them, are quite easy to grow with a suitable position 
and soil, but they require constant protection against stronger- 
growing plants and weeds. The amateur must therefore 
either make them his chief care or else limit his rockery to 
small dimensions and grow only a few of the best kinds. In 
stocking my garden at Parkstone I received valuable con- 
tributions from many kind friends, among whom were the late 
Miss Owen, Mr. H. J. Elwes, Miss Jekyll, and Sir W. T. 
Thistleton Dyer, of Kew, and many others. Among the plants 
which I grew here with some success were the fine blue, 

206 MY LIFE 

purple, and yellow Himalayan poppies, the curious PcripJoca 
:, which produced masses of its strange blossoms, the 
beautiful Akebia quinata with its wire-coloured flowers, a very 
large Solatium crispus, and the strange Chilian climber, 
Mutisia decurrens, which we called the 4i glory dandelion," 
from its very large stellate flowers of intense orange. Even 
Sir Thomas I (anbury, who paid me a visit here, had not 
before seen this plant in flower. An unusually clear blue 
hydrangea on a shady bank was also one of the glories of my 
Parkstone garden. 

As already stated, from my very schoolboy days and my 
early youth orchids had a fascination for me from the strange- 
ness of their growth and habits and their fantastic and beauti- 
ful flowers. In the parts of the tropics I visited they were 
comparatively few in number, while their limited flowering 
period made the finding of any of the more showy species in 
flower a rare event. It was only after my return home that 
at flower shows, and especially at Mr. William Bull's annual 
exhibition of orchids at Chelsea, I became really acquainted 
with their inexhaustible variety, extreme interest and marvel- 
lous beauty. There w 7 as no exhibition in London that was at 
once so enjoyable and satisfying as these orchid shows, which I 
generally managed to visit every year. 

Being, as I thought, settled for life at Parkstone, I deter- 
mined at last that I would try and grow some orchids myself, 
and accordingly built a small house in three divisions so as to 
get different temperatures, and for about four or five years 
persevered in the attempt, with a great deal of labour and 
enjoyment to myself, though with only a limited amount of 
success. As I was always longing for new species, I did not 
content myself with a few of the most showy and most easily 
managed, but endeavoured to get examples of almost all the 
chief forms. Some I bought at sales, a few from dealers, and 
I had a nice lot of Jamaica orchids sent me by Mr. W. 
Fawcett, among which was the handsome Broughtonia san- 
guined, which flowered for several years. I also received a 
large case of fine Indian orchids from the Botanic Gardens 
at Calcutta. At last I got together more than a hundred 


species, most of which I had the pleasure of seeing flower 
once, though many refused to do so a second time. 

Owing to the entrance to the orchid house being on a 
different floor from my study, the constant attention orchids 
require in shading, ventilating, and keeping up a moist 
atmosphere, involved such an amount of running up and 
down stairs, or up and down steps or slopes in the garden, 
that I found it seriously affected my health, as I was at that 
time subject to palpitations and to attacks of asthma, which 
were brought on by any sudden exertion. I was therefore 
obliged to give up growing them, as I found it impossible to 
keep them in a satisfactory condition. This was partly owing 
to the position of my houses, which were exposed to an 
almost constant wind or draught of air, which rendered it 
quite impossible to keep up the continuously moist atmosphere 
and uniform temperature which are essential conditions for 
successful orchid-growing. One of my friends who began 
growing orchids soon after I did, having a well-sheltered 
position and better aspect, succeeded far better, although 
he was able to give them much less attention and often did 
not enter the house for days together, having a boy to 
keep up the fire, shade from the sun, and moisten the floors 
twice a day. It is a well-known fact that, even under the 
same gardener, orchids will grow well in one house, while in 
another, perhaps only twenty yards distant, it is almost im- 
possible to keep them in health. 

It was in the early part of my residence at Parkstone that 
I received a visit from the great French Geographer, Elisee 
Reclus, who had, I think, come to England to receive the 
gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society. He was a 
rather small and very delicate-looking man, highly intellectual, 
but very quiet in speech and manner. I really did not know 
that it was he with whose name I had been familiar for twenty 
years as the greatest of geographers, thinking it must have 
been his father or elder brother ; and I was surprised when, 
on asking him, he said that it was himself. However, we did 
not talk of geography during the afternoon we spent together, 

2o8 MY LIFE 

but of Anarchism, of which he was one of the most con- 
vinced advocates, and I was very anxious to ascertain his 
exact views, which I found were really not very different from 
my own. We agreed that almost all social evils — all poverty, 
misery, and crime — were the creation of governments and of 
bad social systems; and that under a law of absolute justice, 
involving equality of opportunity and the best training- for 
all, each local community would organize itself for mutual 
aid, and no great central governments would be needed, except 
as they grew up from the voluntary association of their parts 
for general and national purposes. 

On asking him if he thought force was needed to bring 
about such a great reform, and if he approved of the killing 
by bombs or otherwise of bad rulers, he replied, very quietly, 
that in extreme cases, like that of Russia, he thought there 
was no other way to force upon the rulers' notice the deter- 
mination of the people to be free from their tyrants ; but 
under representative governments it was not needed, and 
was not justifiable. Few would think to look at this frail 
man that he was not only in the very first rank among the 
students and writers of the nineteenth century, but that he 
had fought for his country against the foreign invader, as 
well as against the despotism of enthroned officialdom which 
succeeded it. 

He has now passed away (1905), having completed one of 
the greatest, if not the very greatest, literary works of the 
past century. But he will also be remembered as a true and 
noble lover of humanity — a firm believer in the goodness, the 
dignity, and the perfectibility of man. 

During the first half of my residence at Parkstone (1889- 
96), I did not write any new books, having, as I thought, said 
all that I had to say on the great subjects that chiefly 
interested me ; but I contributed a number of articles to 
reviews, wrote many notices of books, with letters to Nature 
on various matters of scientific interest. A short account of 
the more important of these will show that I was not alto- 
gether inactive as regards literary work. 


In the spring of 1890 I lectured at Sheffield and at Liver- 
pool, and have since declined all invitations to lecture, partly 
from disinclination and considerations of health, but also 
because I believed that I could do more good with my pen 
than with my voice. During the year I prepared a new edition 
of my " Malay Archipelago," bringing the parts dealing with 
natural history up to date. 

In the same year I contributed to the Fortnightly Reviezv 
an article on " Human Selection," which is, I consider, though 
very short, the most important contribution I have made to 
the science of sociology and the cause of human progress. 
The article was written with two objects in view. The first 
and most important was to show that the various proposals 
of Grant Allen, Mr. Francis Galton, and some American 
writers, to attempt the direct improvement of the human race 
by forms of artificial elimination and selection, are both un- 
scientific and unnecessary; I also wished to show that the 
great bugbear of the opponents of social reform — too rapid 
increase of population — is entirely imaginary, and that the 
very same agencies which, under improved social conditions, 
will bring about a real and effective selection of the physically, 
mentally, and morally best, will also tend towards a diminu- 
tion of the rate of increase of the population. The facts and 
arguments I adduce are, I believe, conclusive against the two 
classes of writers here referred to. 

A year later I contributed a paper to the Boston Arena, 
dealing more especially with the laws of heredity and the 
influence of education as determining human progress, show- 
ing that such progress is at present very slow, and is due 
almost entirely to one mode of action of natural selection, 
which still eliminates some of the most unfit. And I pointed 
out that a more real and effective progress will only be made 
when the social environment is so greatly improved as to give 
to women a real choice in marriage, and thus lead both to 
the more rapid elimination of the lower, and more rapid 
increase of the higher types of humanity. 

Shortly afterwards I was interviewed for the Daily Chronicle 
on this subject, in which I gave a condensed sketch of these 

210 MY LIFE 

two articles, and this drew attention to them, and brought me 
a very kind and appreciative letter from the late Frances 
Willard, who was then in England. 

In i8<~)T I wrote the two articles on the American flora al- 
ready referred to, and prepared a new edition of my two books 
on " Natural Selection " and " Tropical Nature," now forming 
one volume, but from which some of the more technical por- 
tions were omitted, while two new chapters were added — 
" The Antiquity of Man in North America," and " The Debt 
of Science to Darwin." I also wrote two articles on " Appari- 
tions ' for the Boston Arena, which are included in the later 
editions of my " Miracles and Modern Spiritualism ;" and I 
reviewed a few books in Nature, among which was the impor- 
tant work of Professor Lloyd Morgan on " Animal Life and 

In 1892 I wrote four review articles, three of which are 
reprinted in my " Studies," and I reviewed (in Nature) Mr. 
W. H. Hudson's delightful volume, " The Naturalist in La 

In the year 1893 I was pretty fully occupied with literary 
work. I prepared for Mr. Stanford a new edition of the 
Australian volume of his " Compendium of Geography," in- 
volving a large amount of new matter; I contributed five 
articles to reviews of books, two of which, on " The Ice Age 
and its Work," gave an entirely new argument in favour of 
the ice-origin of valley-lakes in glaciated regions; and I also 
reviewed two books and wrote a number of letters to Nature 
on biological and physical problems. In the summer of this 
year I went with my wife to the lake district — our first visit; 
we ascended two of the mountains, and I paid particular atten- 
tion to the phenomena of glaciation, which are everywhere 
prominent in rounded rocks, glacial striae, and abundance of 

In the year 1894 I read a paper to the Cambridge Natural 
Science Club on the question, " What are Zoological Re- 
gions?" which was printed in Nature (April 26). But my 
conclusion — that the six regions first defined by Dr. P. L. 


Sclater are, for all practical purposes of the study of distribu- 
tion, the most convenient and those which best illustrate the 
actual facts of nature — was contested bv mv friend, Professor 
Alfred Newton, as regards the Nearctic and Palaearctic regions, 
which he contended formed but one natural region. I therefore 
thought it necessary to go into the subject in more detail, and 
contributed a paper to Natural Science in the following June, 
entitled " The Palaearctic and Nearctic Regions compared as 
regards the Families and Genera of their Mammalia and 

The first of these papers was for the purpose of showing 
that, to be of any practical use to- naturalists, zoological regions 
must be so defined as to serve to elucidate the distribution of 
all land animals. This will be evident if we consider the 
results of the contrary view, that many classes, orders, and 
even families, require a special set of regions to exhibit their 
distribution with any approach to accuracy. Now as there 
are some hundreds of these groups in the animal kingdom, we 
should, perhaps, require fifty or a hundred sets of zoological 
regions — each set differing in the number of regions and in 
the boundaries of each, involving a different set of names in 
each case. The result would be that each specialist would 
have his own set of regions, with different names and different 
boundaries ; and as no one could be familiar with all these, the 
conclusions of each would be unintelligible and useless to 
others. With one set of regions, on the other hand, the distri- 
bution in every case can be described in terms which would 
be intelligible to all ; and the comparison of the distribution 
of groups differing in powers of dispersal and in other ways, 
would often lead to an explanation of the differences of dis- 
tribution, which is the whole end and aim of the study, and 
which, so far as I can see, can be arrived at in no other way. 

The second and more technical paper was for the purpose 
of showing the great importance of the absence of extensive 
groups from one region that are present in the adjacent region, 
even though these groups are not peculiar to either. Thus, 
the fact that both the bear and the deer families are absent 
from Africa south of the Sahara, though abundant throughout 

212 MY LIFE 

all Asia and North America, marks out the Ethiopian region 
as distinctly as docs the presence of giraffes and hippopotami, 
which are now peculiar to it. 

But I show that, in mammals, about one-third of the families 
in the Pakcarctic and the Nearctic regions respectively are 
not found in the other ; while in birds, one-third of the families 
found in the Pakcarctic region are not found in the Nearctic, 
and one-fourth of those in the Nearctic are not found in the 
Pala?arctic region. These facts prove, I maintain, a radical 
dissimilarity, although, owing to the fact that temperate Europe 
and Asia are continuous with tropical Africa and Asia, and 
temperate with tropical America, neither of the regions we 
are considering have any important families of birds altogether 
peculiar to them. Any of my readers who are interested in 
the problems here stated should read the two articles above 
referred to. 

Other articles were, " A Representative House of Lords," 
in the Contemporary Revieiv (June), and "A Suggestion to 
Sabbath-Keepers," in the Nineteenth Century (October), both 
which articles attracted notice in the Press. I also wrote 
a paper criticizing the Rev. George Henslow's views as to the 
origin of irregular flowers, and of spines and prickles, in 
Natural Science (September), the three articles being included 
in my " Studies." I also reviewed James Hutchinson Stirling's 
" Darwinianism " in Nature (February 8) and Mr. Benjamin 
Kidd's " Social Evolution" in the same paper (April 12), as 
well as an anonymous volume, entitled " Nature's Method in 
the Evolution of Life," by a writer who suggests vague 
theories, less intelligible even than those of Lucretius, as a 
substitute for the luminous work of Darwin. 

In the next year (1895) I wrote an important article on 
" The Method of Organic Evolution " {Fortnightly Review, 
February-March), which was chiefly devoted to showing that 
the views of Mr Francis Galton, and of Mr. Bateson in his 
book on " Discontinuous Variations," are erroneous ; and that 
such variations, which are usually termed " sports," and in 
extreme cases " monstrosities," do not indicate the method of 
evolution. Darwin gave special attention to this view., and 


finally rejected it; and I think I have shown why it is not 
effective in nature. It is a view which is continually cropping 
up as if it were a new discovery, and a Dutch botanist, De 
Vries, has recently written a large work claiming that new 
species are produced in this manner, through what he terms 
" mutations." It was therefore important to show that all 
such methods are fallacious, and that owing to the constancy, 
universality, and extreme severity of elimination through sur- 
vival of the fittest, such large and abrupt variations, except 
through some extraordinary and almost impossible concurrence 
of favourable conditions, can never permanently maintain 

Another article (in the October issue of the same Review) 
on " The Expressiveness of Speech " develops a new principle 
in the origin of language, and brought me a holograph (and 
partly unintelligible) letter from Mr. Gladstone, expressing 
his concurrence with it. I also brought out a new edition of 
my " Miracles and Modern Spiritualism," containing two new 
chapters, and a new preface giving a sketch of the changes of 
opinion on the subject during the preceding half century. 

In July I went with my friend Mr. William Mitten for a 
short botanizing tour in Switzerland. We walked a good 
deal of the time, and I thus had a further opportunity of exam- 
ining glacial phenomena. We went to Lucerne, whence we 
ascended the Stanzerhorn by the electric railway, and found a 
very interesting flora on the summit. Then to the head of the 
lake, and to Gceschenen, whence we walked to Andermatt; 
then over the Furca pass to the Rhone glacier, staying two 
days at the hotel ; then over the Grimsel pass, where we greatly 
enjoyed both the flowers and the wonderful indications of 
glacial action, especially on the slope down to and around the 
Hotel Grimsel, where we stayed the night. The valley down 
to Meiringen was excessively interesting, being ice-worn every- 
where. We stayed an hour at the fine Handeck cascade, 
and then, with the help of a chaise, into which two ladies 
hospitably received us, got on to Meiringen. Here we 
stayed two days, exploring the gorge of the Aar and the won- 
derful rock-barrier of the Kirchet, visited the Reichenbach 

214 MY LIFE 

falls, and had an excursion to Brunig, where, in some hilly 
beech woods, we were greatly pleased to find the beautiful 

Cephalanthera rubra if] fair numbers and in full flower. This 
is one of the rarest of British orchises, having been found 

only at long intervals in Gloucestershire and Somersetshire. 

I remember! I think about fifty years ago, seeing a newly gath- 
ered specimen exhibited at the Linnacan Society. Other 
orchises which occur at similar long intervals arc the beautiful 
ladies' slipper (Cypripcdium calc coins) in some Yorkshire 
woods, and the strange goat-orchis (O. hircina) in copses in 
Kent and Suffolk. In all these cases, no doubt, the plant 
persists in the respective localities, but is accidentally prevented 
from flowering, or requires some specially favourable seasons 
which only recur at long intervals. We then went on to Lau- 
terbrunnen and the Wengern Alp, where we stayed two days, 
botanizing chiefly among the woods and slopes near the Trum- 
inetthal. We were, however, so dreadfully persecuted by 
swarms of blood-sucking flies, which filled the air and covered 
us in thousands, piercing through our thin clothing, that we 
returned home some days earlier than we had intended. 

In 1896 I wrote three articles. " How best to model the 
Earth," in the Contemporary Review (May), was a discussion 
of the proposal by Elisee Reclus to erect an enormous model 
of the globe, about four hundred and twenty feet in diameter, 
giving a scale about one-third smaller than our ordnance maps 
of one inch to a mile. It was to be modelled in minute detail 
on the convex side, and would therefore require to be com- 
pletely covered in by a building nearly six hundred feet high, 
and would need an elaborate system of platforms and stair- 
cases in order to see it, while only a very small portion of it 
could be seen at once, and accurate photographs could only be 
taken of very small areas. My proposal was to adopt the plan 
of Wyld's great globe in Leicester Square, many years ago, 
giving all the detailed features on the inside surface, while 
the outside could be boldly modelled in some indestructible 
material to show all the chief physical features, which might 
also be coloured in fresco as naturally as possible, and would 
then be a grand object seen either near or at a distance, while 


a captive balloon would afford a splendid view of the polar 
regions and of all parts of the northern hemisphere. The 
numerous advantages of this plan are explained in some detail, 
and I have little doubt that it will be realized (perhaps on half 
the scale) some time during the present century. The article 
is contained in the second volume of my " Studies." 

I also wrote an article on " The Gorge of the Aar and its 
Teachings," as serving to enforce my papers on the " Ice Age 
and its Work ' three years before. But my most important 
scientific essay this year was a paper I read to the Linnsean 
Society on " The Problem of Utility." My purpose was to 
enforce the view that all specific and generic characters must 
be (or once have been) useful to their possessor, or, owing 
to the complex laws of growth, be correlated with useful char- 
acters. It was necessary to discuss this point, because 
Mr. Romanes had unreservedly denied it, and Professor 
Mivart, the Rev. Mr. Henslow, Mr. Bateson, and others, had 
taken the same view. I endeavoured to show that the problem 
is a fundamental one, that utility is the basic principle of 
natural selection, and that without natural selection it has not 
been shown how specific characters can arise. By specific is, 
of course, meant characters which, either separately or in com- 
bination, distinguish a species from all others, and which are 
found in all, or in the great bulk, of the individuals composing 
the species ; and I have shown that it is for want of clear think- 
ing and accurate reasoning on the entire process of species- 
formation that the idea of useless specific characters has arisen 
(see "Studies," vol. i.)- 

I also reviewed Copes's " Primary Factors of Evolution " 
and Dr. G. Archdall Reid's " Present Evolution of Man " in 
Nature (April 16), and wrote a long letter in Nature (Janu- 
ary 9) on " The Cause of the Ice Age," pointing out the 
extreme complexity of the subject, and the fallacy of discuss- 
ing the problem as if it were merely one of the amount of sun- 
heat received in different latitudes under differing degrees of 
eccentricity, as several eminent mathematicians had done. In 
the same issue Sir Robert Ball pointed out the same fallacy; 
and this affords a good illustration of the fact that specialists 

2 1 6 MY LIFE 

arc usually not well fitted to arrive at the true explanation of 
great natural phenomena which are highly complex in their 
nature, and which require the consideration of a greal variety 
of physical forces and laws in order to arrive at their causes. 
It is for this reason that Mr. Croll's theory is so much more 
satisfactory than any of the modern substitutes for it. His 
views were, however, spread over many different periodicals, 
and are often rather obscure and disconnected, while few of his 
recent critics appear to have studied the whole of them. I 
venture to think that my chapter viii. of " Island Life" gives 
the best connected and systematic statement of Croll's views 
which are to be found, and that the further explanations of 
essential points, and some modifications in detail, render it 
the completest and most rational theory which has yet been 
set forth. Being myself a mere outsider, neither a geologist 
nor a mathematician, and only an amateur physicist, none of 
the writers on the subject appear to have read my chapter, 
since I have never seen it referred to. Yet it appeals through- 
out to astronomical, physical, geographical, and meteorological 
facts, showing their actions and reactions on each other, and 
Jiow they co-operated to produce the glacial epoch, as they 
now co-operate to bring about the strikingly contrasted cli- 
mates of the eastern and western shores of the North Atlantic, 
and the still more striking contrasts of the Arctic and Antarctic 

During this summer I was invited by Dr. H. S. Lunn to go 
with him and his party to Davos for a week early in September, 
and to give them a lecture on Scientific Progress in the Nine- 
teenth century. As I had never been in this part of Switzer- 
land I accepted the invitation, and had a very pleasant time. 
My companion on the first part of the journey was Mr. Le 
Gallienne, and at Basle we were joined by Dr. and Mrs. Lunn 
and others. At Davos we were a large party in one of the 
best hotels, and our special party, who sat together at meals, 
included the Rev. Hugh Price Hughes and the Rev. H. R. 
Haweis, both talented and witty men, whose presence was 
enough to render almost any party a brilliant success. Mr. 


Price Hughes was, I think, without exception, the most witty 
man and one of the best companions I ever met. At breakfast 
and dinner he was especially amusing and brilliant, ranging 
from pure chaff with his old friend Dr. Lunn to genial wit 
and admirably narrated anecdotes. He often literally kept 
the table in a roar of laughter. But this was only one side of 
his character. He was a Christian and a humanitarian in the 
best sense of the words. I saw a good deal of him in private, 
and we often walked out together, at which times we discussed 
the more serious social problems of the day ; and he gave me 
details of his rescue work in London which were in the highest 
degree instructive, showing that even those who are considered 
to be the most degraded and irreclaimable can be reached 
through their affections. Their degradation has usually been 
brought about by society, and has been intensified into hate 
and despair by the utterly unsympathetic and cruel treatment 
of our workhouses and prisons. Mr. Price Hughes gave me 
an account of one of these cases — a woman who had reached 
the uttermost depths of drunkenness and vice, and who was 
besides so violent that it was dangerous to approach her. 
Knowing her case, a lady who was one of Mr. Hughes' chief 
helpers in his rescue work went to the prison to receive her 
on her discharge, and begged to be allowed to go to her cell 
and take her with her. She was assured it was not safe, that 
she would be instantly attacked, and perhaps seriously injured. 
But the lady insisted, and at length was allowed to try, with 
several of the strongest female warders at hand to assist or 
rescue her from one whom they described as an utterly irre- 
claimable wild beast. Mrs. entered without the least 

fear, opened her arms, kissed the poor woman with every indi- 
cation of compassion and love, and spoke to her as if she were 
an unfortunate and ill-used daughter or sister. The woman 
was utterly disarmed by the realty of the affection shown her, 
and burst into tears. She was taken to the home of which the 
lady was the head, and at the time Mr. Hughes was speaking 
had been there several years, and was one of his most useful 
and earnest helpers. This woman had not, for years, received 
a single word of real sympathy or love. A similar marvellous 

2i8 MY LIFE 

effect was produced by Mrs. Fry on the female prisoners in 
Newgate by her intense sympathy and affection for them ; yet 
we still go on with our crude, harsh system of prison discipline, 
which inevitably degrades and brutalizes the great majority 
of those subject to it And we dare call ourselves enlightened, 
humane, civilized, and even Christian! 

I also had some pleasant intercourse with Mr. Haweis and 
one day we spent a whole afternoon in a private room, talking 
chiefly about spiritualism, of which he had a considerable 
practical knowledge. He was one of the few clergymen of 
the Church of England who not only acknowledged his belief, 
but preached the doctrines of spiritualism openly from his 
London pulpit. 

Dr. Lunn arranged for his party some amusement for several 
evenings in each week, either a concert, lecture, or conversa- 
zione. Mr. Le Gallienne gave a very interesting lecture on 
" English Minor Poets," reading selections from their works 
to illustrate their style. Among those he included Grant Allen, 
better known as a delightful writer on nature-study and a 
novelist, but who was also gifted with the true poetic power; 
and, the lecturer thought, had he devoted himself to develop- 
ing his power he might have became a major instead of a 
minor poet. As an example of his work, a very agnostic and 
even atheistic poem was quoted. 

I cannot find this, as I remember it, in his little volume of 
verse, " The Lower Slopes " ; but there is one which expresses 
the same idea, and which perhaps may be it — A Prayer — as 
follows : — 

"A crowned Caprice is god of this world; 
On his stony breast are his white wings furled. 
No ear to listen, no eye to see, 
No heart to feel for a man hath he. 
But his pitiless arm is swift to smite, 
And his mute lips utter one word of might; 
' Mid the clash of gentler souls and rougher, 
Wrong must thou do, or wrong must suffer.' 
Then grant, oh, dumb, blind God, at least that we 
Rather the sufferers than the doers be." 


The lecturer stated that, however extreme and even out- 
lageous these views would appear to many of his audience, 
he could assure them from personal knowledge, that they rep- 
resented the opinions of almost all of the poets of whom he had 

After the lecture Dr. Lunn protested against the idea that 
poets were generally agnostic or even irreligious, referring to 
Milton, Browning, Tennyson, and many others ; but Mr. Le 
Gallienne had said nothing about these — the major poets — 
and he assured me afterwards that he was well acquainted 
with all the poets he had referred to, and that every one of them 
were more or less pronounced agnostics. This seems to me 
an interesting fact. 

My own lecture was mainly devoted to a sketch of the chief 
great advances of science during the century, but I added to it 
a kind of set-off in discoveries which had been rejected and 
errors which had been upheld, referring to phrenology as one 
of the first class, and vaccination as one of the second. There 
were, of course, in such a place as Davos, many doctors among 
the audience, and they signified their disapproval in the usual 
way ; but I assured them that some of them would certainly live 
to see the time when the whole medical profession would 
acknowledge vaccination to be a great delusion. 

Although Davos has no grand alpine scenery immediately 
around it, there are many delightful walks through woods full 
of flowers and ferns, alpine meadows with gentians and pri- 
mulas, and stony passes from which the snow had just re- 
treated. On the Strela pass, about eight thousand feet, I 
found some charming little alpines I had not seen before, 
among them the very dwarf Viola alpina, growing among 
stones, the leaves hardly visible and the comparatively large 
flat flowers of a very deep blue-purple, with a large orange- 
yellow eye. This is peculiar to the Eastern Alps, and seems 
difficult to cultivate, as few dealers have it in their lists. I 
sent home a few plants, but could not succeed in keeping them 

On leaving Davos, I made my way across to Adelboden, 
where my wife and daughter, with some friends, were staying. 

220 MY LIFE 

This is surrounded with fine alpine peaks and snow-fields, and 
though the weather was unsettled we spent a pleasant week 
here — probably the last visit I shall make to ever-delightful 
Switzerland — the sanatorium and alpine garden of overworked 

From this time onwards I did not write many articles or 
reviews, the more important being " The Problem of Instinct," 
in 1897, in which I gave an attempted solution of bird migra- 
tion, though the article was really a review of Professor Lloyd- 
Morgan's " Habit and Instinct " ; an article on the question 
whether " White men can work in the Tropics," which most 
English writers declare to be impossible without thinking it 
necessary to adduce evidence, but which, I affirm, is proved 
by experience to be quite easy. Both these are reprinted in 
my " Studies," as is also a short essay on " The Causes of War 
and the Remedies," written for L'Hiimanite Nouvelle. I also 
wrote letters to the Daily Chronicle on America, Cuba, and 
the Philippines; and a protest against the Transvaal War in 
the Manchester Guardian. 

In the year 1900 I wrote an article for the New York 
Journal, on " Social Evolution in the Twentieth Century — An 
Anticipation," for which I received a very complimentary let- 
ter from the editor. During the next two years I was engaged 
in preparing new editions of my books on " Darwinism " and 
1 Island Life," and I also wrote several letters on political and 
social subjects, such as an " Appreciation of the Past Cen- 
tury ' (in 1 901, in the Morning Leader), and (in 1903) an 
article on " Anticipations and Hopes for the Immediate Fu- 
ture," which was written for a German paper (the Berliner 
Local Anzeiger), but which was too plain-spoken for the editor 
to publish, and which I accordingly sent to the Clarion. As it 
gives my latest views, expressed in the plainest words, on some 
of the most important problems of the day, I give it here for 
the consideration of a wider circle of readers. 

Anticipations and Hopes for the Immediate Future. 

I am looking to the coming year with no expectation of any great 
change, political or social, but with a hope and belief that the great 


movement among the workers in favour of a more rational and more 
equitable system of government, and of social organization, will con- 
tinue to grow as it has been growing during the last few years. I 
trust that, in the more advanced countries — especially in Germany and 
France — it may become sufficiently powerful, even within the coming 
year, to exercise a decided control over the reactionary party, and 
even be able to initiate, and perhaps to secure, some important legis- 
lation for the extension of individual freedom, and for checking mili- 
tary expenditure. 

As to the future (limiting ourselves here to the twentieth century), 
I look forward to the same movement as destined to produce great 
and beneficent results. 

The events of the past few years must have convinced all advanced 
thinkers that it is hopeless to expect any real improvement from the 
existing governments of the great civilized nations, supported and 
controlled as they are by the ever-increasing power of vast military 
and official organizations. 

These organizations are a permanent menace to liberty, to national 
morality, and to all real progress towards a rational social evolution. 
It is these which have given us during the first years of this new 
century examples of national hypocrisy and crimes against liberty and 
humanity — to say nothing of Christianity — almost unequalled in the 
whole course of modern history. 

Scarcely was the ink dry of the signatures of their representatives 
at The Hague Conference, where they had expressed the most humane 
and elevated ideas as to the necessity for reduction of armaments, for 
the amelioration of the horrors of war, and for the principle of arbi- 
tration in the settlement of national difficulties, than we find all the 
chief signatories engaged in destroying the liberties of weaker peoples, 
without any rational cause, and often in opposition to the principles 
of their own constitutions, or to solemn promises by their representa- 
tives, or in actual treaties. 

England carried fire and sword into South Africa, and has robbed 
two Republics of the independence guaranteed to them after a former 
unjust annexation; a crime aggravated by hypocrisy in the pretence 
that British subjects were treated as "helots;" whereas their own 
committee of inquiry into the war has now demonstrated that it was 
a pure war of conquest in order to secure territory and gold-mines, 
determined on years before, and only waiting a favourable opportunity 
to carry into effect. 

The United States, against their own " Declaration of Independence " 
and the fundamental principles of their constitution, have taken away 
the liberties of two communities, the one — Porto Rico — by mere over- 
whelming power, the other — the Philippines — after a bloody war against 
a people fighting for their independence, the only excuse being that 

222 MY LIFE 

they had been purchased — land and people — from their former con- 
querors and oppressors. 

Russia itself, the originator of the Peace Conference, forthwith 
persecutes Jews and Doukhobors on account of their religion, and 
takes away their solemnly guaranteed liberties from the Finns — a 
people more really civilized than their persecutors. 

All three of these governments, as well as Germany and France, 
invaded China, and committed barbarities of slaughter, with reckless 
devastation and plunder, which will degrade them for all time in the 
pages of history. 

Such are the doings of the official and military rulers of nations 
which claim to be in the first rank of civilization and religion ! And 
there is really no sign of any improvement. But, for the first time in the 
history of the world, the workers — the real sources of all wealth and 
of all civilization — are becoming educated, are organizing themselves, 
and are obtaining a voice in municipal and national governments. So 
soon as they realize their power and can agree upon their aims, the 
dawn of the new era will have begun. 

The first thing for them to do is, to strengthen themselves by unity 
of action, and then to weaken and ultimately to abolish militarism. 
The second aim should be to limit the bureaucracy, and make it the 
people's servant instead of its master. The third, to reorganize and 
simplify the entire legal profession, and the whole system of law, 
criminal and civil; to make justice free for all, to abolish all legal 
recovery of debts, and all advocacy paid by the parties concerned. 
The fourth, the greatest of all, will be to organize labour, to abolish 
inheritance, and thus give equality of opportunity to every one alike. 
This alone will establish, first, true individualism (which cannot exist 
under present social conditions), and this being obtained, will inevita- 
bly lead to voluntary association for all the purposes of life, and 
bring about a social state adapted to the stage of development of each 
nation, and of each successive age. 

This, in my opinion, is the ideal wmich the workers (manual and 
intellectual workers alike) of every civilized country should keep in 
view. For the first time in human history, these workers are throw- 
ing aside international jealousies and hatreds; the peoples of all 
nations are becoming brothers, and are appreciating the good qualities 
inherent in each and all of them. They will therefore be guilty of folly 
as well as crime if they much longer permit their rulers to drill them 
into armies, and force them to invade, and rob, and kill each other. 

The people are always better than their rulers. But the rulers have 
power, wealth, tradition, and the insatiable love of conquest and of 
governing others against their will. It is then in the People alone 
that I have any hope for the future of Humanity. 

Alfred R. Wallace. 


In 1904 I wrote a short letter on the " Inefficiency of 
Strikes " for the Labour Annual, and a rather long one to the 
Clarion, suggesting a policy for Socialists in opposition to con- 
tinued military expenditure as advocated by Robert Blatch- 
ford; but this was, I fear, too much advanced even for the 
readers of this very advanced paper, since no one came forward 
in my support. I feel sure, however, that there are many who, 
when it is clearly put before them, will approve of the policy 
I have sketched out, since it is merely one of justice and con- 
sideration for nations as well as for individuals — of adopting 
the same rules of right and wrong in the one case as in the 
other. The letter may be termed — 

A Substitute for Militarism. 

I will first say a few words on the, to me, extraordinary statement 
that, though fifty years of continuously increasing expenditure on our 
national defences has resulted in " an inadequate and imperfect " out- 
come, and what a military writer in the July Nineteenth Century 
called " our pitiable military situation," yet, only give to our rulers 
unlimited money and conscription, and our defences will instantly 
become " adequate and efficient." With all respect, this seems to me 
nothing less than pure delusion. One government after another has 
had a free hand to reform our military and naval forces, and all have 
utterly failed. They have wasted countless millions with no adequate 
result. And now we are asked to give them more millions to waste, 
and the very same body of official rulers and organizers and titled 
officers will suddenly be imbued with wisdom, unselfishness, and 
economy, and all will be well. Our defences, as by a miracle, will 
become " adequate and efficient." For what has to be done must be 
done at once. Germany, we are told, is ready; we are not. There- 
fore the money and the men must be given to the Government now. 
To any such proposal I venture to hope that, by an overwhelming 
majority, the Socialist and Labour parties will reply in the now historic 
words : " Never again." 

But this is only preliminary. We will now come to the real issue. 
Robert Blatchford proceeds to ask a number of questions, and to offer 
a number of alternatives, as if they were exhaustive and there was 
nothing more to be said or done. Shall we leave the Empire defence- 
less? Shall we abandon our country and our colonies to the invasion 
of any power that cared to take them? Russia covets India. We 
must either defend India or surrender it to Russia. If we made India 
a self-governing nation, the result would be civil war and a Russian 
conquest. More than one foreign power envies us our possessions. 

224 MY LIFE 

And so on, and so on; with the one conclusion: Wc must increase 
army, navy, and home defences, and he prepared to fight all the 
world. Not one word about there being any alternative to all this 
blood-and-iron bluster and defiance; nut one syllable to show that the 
writer is a great Socialist teacher, a believer in the goodness of human 
nature and the brotherhood of man. " But," he replies by his heading, 
" this is very good in theory, and very true, but it is not practical poli- 
tics. The danger is urgent. Tell us, ye Labour leaders, what you 
propose to do now?" 

I am not a Labour leader, but I hope I am a true friend of Labour 
and a true Socialist; and I will now state the case as it appears to me, 
and suggest what, in my opinion, is the only course of action worthy of 
Socialism or politic for Labour, and, besides, the only course which 
has the slightest chance of succeeding in the long run; in one word, 
the only right course. 

It is a notorious and undeniable fact that we — that is, our Govern- 
ments — are, with few exceptions, hated and feared by almost all other 
Governments, especially those of the Great Powers. Is there no cause 
for this ? Surely we know there is ample cause. We have either 
annexed or conquered a larger portion of the world than any other 
Power. We have long claimed the sovereignty of the sea. We hold 
islands and forts and small territories offensively near the territories 
of other Powers. We still continue grabbing all we can. In disputes 
with the powerful w r e often give way ; with the weak and helpless, or 
those we think so, we are — allowing for advance in civilization — 
bloody, bold, and ruthless as any conqueror of the Middle Ages. And 
with it all we are sanctimonious. We profess religion. We claim 
to be more moral than other nations, and to conquer, and govern, and 
tax, and plunder weaker peoples for their good ! While robbing them 
we actually claim to be benefactors ! And then we wonder, or pro- 
fess to wonder, why other Governments hate us ! Are they not fully 
justified in hating us? Is it surprising that they seek every means to 
annoy us, that they struggle to get navies to compete with us, and 
look forward to the time when two or three of them may combine 
together and thoroughly humble and cripple us? And who can deny 
that any just being, looking at all the nations of the earth with im- 
partiality and thorough knowledge, would decide that we deserve to 
be humbled, and that it might do us good? 

Now the course I recommend as the only true one is, openly and 
honestly, without compulsion and without vainglory, to do away with 
many of the offences to other peoples, and to treat all subject peoples 
and all foreign Powers on exactly the same principles of equity, of 
morality, and of sympathy, as we treat our friends, acquaintances, and 
neighbours with whom we wish to live on friendly terms. 

And to begin with, and to show that our intentions are genuine, I 
would propose to evacuate Gibraltar, dismantle the fortress, and give 


it over to Spain; Crete and Cyprus should be free to join Greece; 
Malta, in like manner, would be given the choice of absolute self- 
government under the protection of Britain, or union with Italy. But 
the effect of these would be as nothing compared with our giving 
absolute internal self-government to Ireland, with protection from 
attack by any foreign Power ; and the same to the Transvaal and 
Orange Free State ; and this last we should do " in sackcloth and 
ashes," with full acknowledgment of our heinous offences against 
liberty and our plighted word. 

Now we come to India, which our friend Blatchford seems to con- 
sider the test case. And so it is ; for if ever there was an example of 
a just punishment for evil deeds, it is in the fact that, after a century 
of absolute power, we are still no nearer peace and plenty and rational 
self-government in India than we were half a century ago, when we 
took over the government from the " Company " with the promise to 
introduce home-rule as soon as possible. And now we have a country 
in which plague and famine are chronic — a country which we rule and 
plunder for the benefit of our aristocracy and wealthy classes, and 
which we are therefore in continual dread of losing to Russia. 

If we had honestly kept our word, if we had ruled India with the 
one purpose of benefiting its people, and had introduced home-rule 
throughout its numerous provinces, states, and nations, settling dis- 
putes between them, and guarding them from all foreign attack, we 
should by now have won the hearts of its teeming populations, and 
no foreign Power would have ventured to invade a group of nations 
so united and so protected. Such a position as we might have now 
held in India — that of the adviser, the reconciler, and the powerful 
protector of a federation of self-governing Native States — would be 
a position of dignity and true glory very far above anything we can 
claim to-day. 

But, it will be replied, all this is foolish talk; it will be a century 
before the British people will be persuaded to give up its possessions 
and its power ; and, in the meantime, if we do not defend ourselves 
we shall not have the opportunity of being so generous, hardly shall 
we keep our own liberties. I have not so low an opinion of my 
countrymen as to believe that they really wish to keep other peoples 
subject to them against their will; that they are really determined 
to go on denying that freedom to others which is so dear a possession 
to themselves. And if there is not now a majority who would agree 
to act at once as I suggest, I am pretty confident that there is, even 
now, a majority who would acknowledge that such action is theoret- 
ically just, and that they would be willing to do it by degrees, and as 
soon as it is safe, to look forward to it, in fact, as an ideal to be 
realized at some future time. 

Now, what I wish to urge is, that it is of the most vital importance 
to us, now, that all who agree with me that there can be no national 

226 MY LIFE 

honour or glory apart from justice and mercy, and that to take away 
people's liberty and force our rule upon them against their will is the 
greatest of all national crimes, should take every opportunity of mak- 
ing their voices heard. If, for instance, every Socialist in our land, 
and I hope a very large proportion of workers and advanced thinkers 
who may not be Socialists, would agree to maintain this as one of 
their fundamental principles, to be continually brought before the 
people through the press and on the platform, to be urged on the 
Government at every opportunity, and to be made a condition of our 
support of every advanced Parliamentary candidate, we should create 
a body of ethical opinion and feeling that would not only be of the 
highest educational value at home, but which would influence the whole 
world in their estimate of us. It would show them that though our 
Government is bad — as all Governments are — yet the people at heart 
are honest and true, and that it will not be very long before the people 
will force their Governments to be honest also. 

This, I submit, would be really "practical politics." At the present 
day we have got so far as this — that none of the Great Powers wages 
a war of aggression and conquest against another Power without 
some quarrel or some colourable pretence of injury. But surely the 
fact of there being such a party as I have outlined, and especially if 
it would (as I think it certainly could) compel the next Government 
to make some of the smaller concessions here indicated and adopt the 
general principle of respecting the liberties of even the smallest 
nationalities, would so reduce the amount of envy and hatred with 
which we are now regarded as to considerably diminish the danger 
of combined aggression upon us. 

I should have liked to say something about Russia, and the fact 
that we are answerable for the present war in the Far East, by so 
long upholding Turkey, and preventing Russia from acquiring free 
egress into the Mediterranean, in exchange for which concession she 
would (after the Russo-Turkish War) have willingly agreed to the 
neutralizing of Constantinople as a free port under the guarantee of 
the Powers. We had at that time a preponderance of power in 
Europe, as shown by what occurred at the Berlin Congress; but Lord 
Beaconsfield used that power for a bad purpose, as Lord Salisbury 
afterwards admitted. 

I greatly regret being obliged to differ so radically from a man I 
admire and respect so much as I do Robert Blatchford; but, as I am 
known to be a Socialist and a constant reader of the Clarion, it might 
be thought that my silence would imply some degree of agreement. 
The present letter is merely for the purpose of making my views 
clear on this vitally important question, and with the hope that others 
who agree with me will not longer keep silence. 

Alfred R. Wallace. 


About the year 1899 our house at Parkstone became no 
longer suitable owing to the fact that building had been going 
on all around us and what had been pretty open country 
when we came there had become streets of villas, and in 
every direction we had to walk a mile or more to get into 
any open country. I therefore began to search about various 
parts of the southern counties for a suitable house, and as 
this was almost impossible to obtain, I endeavoured to induce 
a sufficient number of friends to join together to buy a small 
estate which we could divide between us, so as to secure the 
benefit of pleasant society and picturesque surroundings — to 
create, in fact, a kind of very limited garden-city, or rather 
garden settlement. With one or two friends interested in 
the project, I spent a good deal of time examining estates 
within thirty or forty miles of London, but though we found 
several that were in most ways suitable, it was found impos- 
sible to find any that exactly fulfilled the requirements of 
the parties most interested or to raise the necessary funds for 
the purchase. We then returned to the search for a house 
or land for ourselves, and after almost giving up the attempt 
in despair, we accidentally found a spot within four miles 
of our Parkstone home and about half a mile from a station, 
with such a charming distant view and pleasant surroundings 
that we determined, if we could get two or three acres at a 
moderate price, to build a small house upon it. 

After a rather long negotiation I obtained three acres of 
land, partly wood, at the end of the year 1901 ; sold my 
cottage at Godalming at a fair price, began at once making 
a new garden and shrubbery, decided on plans, and began 
building early in the new year. The main charm of the site 
was a small neglected orchard with old much-gnarled apple, 
pear, and plum trees, in a little grassy hollow sloping to the 
southeast, with a view over moors and fields towards Poole 
harbour, beyond which were the Purbeck hills to the right, 
and a glimpse of the open sea to the left. In the foreground 
were clumps of gorse and broom, with some old picturesque 
trees, while the orchard was sheltered on both sides by patches 
of woodland. The house was nearly finished in about a year, 

228 MY LIFE 

and we got into it at Christmas, 1902, when we decided to call 
it Old Orchard. 

Being so near to our former house, I was able to bring all 
our choicer plants to the new ground, and there was, fortu- 
nately, a sale of the whole stock of a small nursery near Poole 
in the winter, at which I bought about a thousand shrubs and 
trees at very low prices, which enabled us at once to plant 
some shrubberies and flower borders, and thus to secure 
something like a well-stocked garden by the time we got into 
the house. Since that time it has been an ever-increasing 
pleasure, and I have been able to satisfy my craving for 
enjoying new forms of plant-life every year, partly by raising 
numbers of seeds of hardy and greenhouse plants, always 
trying some of the latter in sheltered places out of doors, and 
partly by exchanges or by gifts from friends, so that every 
year I have the great pleasure of watching the opening of 
some of nature's gems which were altogether new to me, or 
of others which increase year by year in beauty. In one end 
of my greenhouse I have a large warmed tank in which I 
grow blue, pink, and yellow water-lilies, which flower the 
greater part of the year, as well as a few other beautiful or 
curious aquatic plants, while the back wall of the house is 
covered with choice climbers. 

In this hasty sketch of my occupations and literary work 
during the last nine years, I have purposely omitted the more 
important portion of the latter, because the circumstances that 
led me on to undertake three separate works, involving 
a considerable amount of labour, were very curious, and to 
me very suggestive, and I will now give a connected account 
of them. 

When in 1896 I was invited by Dr. Lunn to give a lecture 
to his friends at Davos, I firmly believed that my scientific 
and literary work was concluded. I had been for some years 
in weak health, and had no expectation of living much longer. 
Shortly after returning from America I had another very 
severe attack of asthma in 1890, and a year or two after it 
recurred and became chronic, together with violent palpita- 


tions on the least sudden exertion, and frequent colds almost 
invariably followed by bronchitis. Any attempt at continuous 
work was therefore very far from my thoughts, though at 
times I was able to do a fair amount of writing. My friend 
and neighbour, Professor Allman, had suffered from the same 
affliction during a large part of his life, and only found very 
partial relief from it by the usual fumigations and cigarettes, 
with occasional changes of air, and it was often quite painful 
to witness his sufferings, which continued till his death in 1898. 
As he was himself a medical man, and had had the best 
advice attainable, I had little hope of anything but a con- 
tinuance and probably an increase of the disease. 

But the very next year I obtained relief (and up to the 
present time an almost complete cure) in an altogether acci- 
dental way, if there are any " accidents " in our lives. Mr. A. 
Bruce-Joy, the well-known sculptor (a perfect stranger to 
me), had called on me to complete the modelling of a medal- 
lion which he had begun from photographs, and I apologized 
for not looking well, as I was then suffering from one of my 
frequent spells of asthma, which often prevented me from 
getting any sleep at night. He thereupon told me that if I 
would follow his directions I could soon cure myself. Of 
course, I was altogether incredulous ; but when he told me that 
he had himself been cured of a complication of allied diseases 
— gout, rheumatism, and bronchitis — of many years' standing, 
which no English doctors were able to even alleviate, by an 
American physician, Dr. Salisbury; that it was effected solely 
by a change of diet, and that it was no theory or empirical 
treatment, but the result of thirty years' experiment on the 
effects of various articles of diet upon men and animals, by the 
only scientific method of studying each food separately and 
exclusively, I determined to try it. The result was, that in a 
week I felt much better, in a month I felt quite well, and 
during the six years that have elapsed no attack of asthma 
or of severe palpitation has recurred, and I have been able to 
do my literary work as well as before I became subject to 
the malady. 

I may say that I have long been, and am still, in principle, 

230 MY LIFE 

a vegetarian, and believe that, for many reasons, it will 
certainly be the diet of the future. But for want of adequate 
knowledge, and even more from the deficiencies of ordinary 
vegetable cookery, it often produces bad effects. Dr. Salis- 
bury proved by experiment that it was the consumption of 
too much starch foods that produces the set of diseases which 
he especially cures ; and when these diseases have become 
chronic, the only cure is the almost complete abstention from 
starchy substances, especially potatoes, bread, and most watery 
vegetables, and, in place of them, to substitute the most 
easily digestible well-cooked meat, with fruits and nuts in 
moderation, and eggs, milk, etc., whenever they can be di- 
gested. Great sufferers find immediate relief from an exclu- 
sive diet of the lean of beef. I myself live upon well-cooked 
beef with a fair proportion of fat (which I can digest easily), a 
very small proportion of bread or vegetables, fruit, eggs, and 
light milk puddings. The curious thing is that most English 
doctors declare that a meat diet is to be avoided in all these 
diseases, and many order complete abstinence from meat, but, 
so far as I can learn, on no really scientific grounds. Dr. 
Salisbury, however, has experimentally proved that this class 
of ailments are all due to malnutrition, and that this mal- 
nutrition is most frequently caused by the consumption of 
too much of starch foods at all meals, which overload the 
stomach and prevent proper digestion and assimilation. My 
case and that of Mr. Bruce-Joy certainly show that Dr. 
Salisbury has found, for the first time in the history of medi- 
cine, a cure — not merely an alleviation — for these painful and 
distressing maladies. This personal detail as to my health is, 
I think, of general interest in view of the large number of 
sufferers who are pronounced incurable by English doctors, 
and it was here an essential preliminary to the facts I have 
now to relate, which would probably not have occurred as 
they did had my health not been so strikingly renovated. 1 

1 In addition to the foregoing, I have suffered at intervals from dis- 
eases contracted abroad, which have recurred in acute paroxysms, and 
sometimes threatened to become serious. For years together they 
have given me much anxiety and required constant care and attention. 


The lecture which I gave at Davos on the science of the 
nineteenth century (a subject suggested by Dr. Lunn) led me 
to think that an instructive and popular book might be made 
of the subject, as I found there were so many interesting 
points I could not treat adequately or even refer to in a 
lecture. I therefore devoted most of my spare time during 
the next year to getting together materials and writing the 
volume, which I finished in the spring of 1898, and it was 
published in June. The work had a pretty good sale, and at 
the request of my publishers I prepared from it a School 
Reader, with a considerable number of illustrations, which 
was published in 1901. This suggested the idea of a much 
enlarged and illustrated edition of the original work, which 
was, as regards many of the more important sciences and 
arts, a mere outline sketch. Almost all the year 1902 and 
part of 1903 was occupied in getting together materials for 
this new work, as it really was, and it was not published till 
the autumn of the latter year. 

Since my general health has improved, however, they have so much 
diminished as no longer to give me much trouble. I have also suffered 
twice from severe eye troubles. My sight has always been myopic, 
though otherwise strong, but in 1883 I did a great deal of work at night, 
requiring a continual reference to several books of different sized 
print, and this brought on rather severe inflammation of the retina, 
which necessitated a darkened room for some weeks, and no reading 
or writing for several months — a tremendous trial to me, so that I 
was able to do no literary work in 1884. The oculist I consulted told 
me that with care in two or three years my eyes would be as strong 
as ever; and they very gradually became so, and I had no further 
trouble till 1891, when some irritating substance got into my left eye 
and could not be got out, causing severe inflammation for some weeks, 
which, however, passed away without immediate bad results. From 
that time, however, there began a loss of the power of adjustment of 
the two eyes, so that I saw distant objects double, and this has 
increased so that I now see everything double, even at the other side 
of a room; but this does not much inconvenience me, except to pro- 
duce a general indistinctness of objects. Two persons walking together 
on the other side of the street seem to me to be three or four persons, 
according to the angle of sight, and I often have to shut one eye in 
order to be sure how many there are. The divergence has now, I think, 
got to the worst, as I perceive no difference during the last few years. 

27,2 MY LIFE 

But while I was writing three new chapters on the won- 
derful astronomical progress of the latter half of the century, 
the startling fact was impressed upon me that we were situated 
very nearly at the centre of the entire stellar universe. This 
fact, though it had been noted by many of the greatest 
astronomical writers, together with the indications that led 
to the conclusion that our universe was finite, and that we 
could almost, if not quite, see to its very limits, were sel- 
dom commented on as more than isolated phenomena — 
curiosities, as it were of star distribution — but of no special 
significance. To me, however, it seemed that they probably 
had a meaning; and when I further came to examine the 
numerous facts which led to the conclusion that no other 
planet in the solar system than our earth was habitable, there 
flashed upon me the idea that it was only near the centre 
of this vast material universe that conditions prevailed ren- 
dering the development of life, culminating in man, possible. 
I did not, however, dwell upon this idea, but merely suggested 
it in a single paragraph on pp. 329 — 330 of my work, and I 
might probably never have pursued the subject further but for 
another circumstance which kept my attention fixed upon it. 

While I was still hard at work upon the book, the London 
agent of the New York Independent wrote to ask me to write 
them an article on any scientific subject I chose. I at first 
declined, as having no subject which I thought suitable, and 
not wishing to interrupt my work. But when he urged me 
again, and told me to name my own fee, the idea struck me 
that these astronomical facts, with the conclusion to which 
they seemed to me to point, might form a very interesting, 
and even new and attractive article. As the subject was 
fresh in my mind, and I had the authorities at hand, it did not 
take me very long to sketch out and write a paper of the 
required length, which appeared simultaneously in the Inde- 
pendent and in the Fortnightly Reviezv, and, to my great 
surprise, created quite a sensation, and, still more to my 
surprise, a considerable amount of antagonism and rather 
contemptuous criticism by astronomers and physicists, to 
which I replied in a subsequent article. 


But as soon as my agent read the MSS. he suggested that 
I should write a volume on the subject, which he was sure 
would be very attractive and popular, and for which he 
undertook to make arrangements both in England and 
America, and to secure me liberal terms. After a little 
consideration I thought I could do so, and terms were ar- 
ranged for the book before the article itself was published. 
This enabled me to get together all the necessary materials and 
to begin work at once, and after six months of the stiffest 
reading and study I ever undertook, the book was completed 
in September, and published in November of the same year. 
In November of 1904 a cheaper edition was published, with 
an additional chapter in an Appendix. This chapter con- 
tained an entirely new argument, founded on the theory of 
organic evolution, which I had not time to introduce into the 
first edition. This argument is itself so powerful that, when 
compounded with the arguments founded on astronomical, 
physical, and physiological phenomena, it renders the im- 
probability of there having been two independent develop- 
ments of organic life culminating in man, so great as to be 
absolutely inconceivable. 

The success of this volume, and the entirely new circle of 
readers it brought me, caused my publishers to urge me to 
prepare the present work, which I should otherwise have not 
written at all, or only on a very much smaller scale for the 
infomation of my family as to my early life. 

Now it seems to me a very suggestive fact that my 
literary work during the last ten years should have been so 
completely determined by two circumstances which must be 
considered, in the ordinary sense of the term, and in relation 
to my own volition, matters of chance. If Dr. Lunn had not 
invited me to Davos, and if he had suggested " Darwinism ' 
or any other of my special subjects instead of the " Science 
of the Nineteenth Century," I should not have written my 
" Wonderful Century " ! I should not have had my attention 
so specially directed to great astronomical problems ; I should 
not, when asked for an article, have chosen the subject 
of our sun's central position ; and I should certainly never 

234 MY LIFE 

have undertaken such a piece of work as my book on " Man's 
Place in the Universe," or the present autobiography. And 
further, without the accident of a perfect stranger calling 
upon me for reasons of his own, and that stranger happening 
to be a man who had been so marvellously cured by Dr. 
Salisbury as to induce me to adopt the same treatment, with 
similar results, I should never have had the energy required 
to undertake the two later and more important works. Of 
course, it may be that these are only examples of those 
" happy chances " which are not uncommon in men's lives ; 
but, on the other hand, it may be true that, " there's a 
divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them as we will " ; 
and those who have reason to know that spiritual beings can 
and do influence our thoughts and actions, will see in such 
directive incidents as these examples of such influence. 

Although I have now brought the narrative of my literary 
and home life up to the time of writing this Autobiography, 
there are a number of special subjects, which, for the sake of 
clearness, I have either wholly omitted, or only just men- 
tioned, but which have either formed important episodes in 
my life, or have brought me into communication or friendly 
intercourse with a number of interesting people, and which 
therefore require to be narrated consecutively in separate 
chapters. These will now follow, and will, I think, be not 
the least interesting or instructive portions of my work. 



While endeavouring to give an account of all matters which 
occupied or interested me during the latter half of my life, I 
somewhat hastily concluded my MS. and sent it to press 
without any reference to two matters which were of some im- 
portance to myself, and one of them of some general interest. 
These are the various holiday excursions I took with my 
father-in-law, Mr. William Mitten, whose deep enthusiasm 
for nature and extensive knowledge of plants in general, and 
mosses in particular, rendered his companionship very con- 
genial to me ; and my work as an Assistant Examiner in 
Physical Geography and Physiography, which occupied me for 
three weeks or more every summer, almost continually for 
twenty-seven years. In order to make this record of my life 
more complete, I have added a supplementary chapter devoted 
to these two subjects. 

My first excursion with Mr. Mitten was in August, 1867, 
to North Wales, his first visit to that beautiful district. We 
stayed a few days at Corwen, and our first walk on Sunday 
morning was along the road to the west up the valley of the 
Alwen. In about five miles we reached Pont-y-glyn, where a 
farm-road crossed a very deep ravine. This we descended 
and found the bottom full of curious hollows, with vertical 
rocks damp or dripping, overshadowed by trees and shrubs. 
Here the yellow Welsh poppy grew luxuriantly, as well as 
the globe-flowers and the subalpine Rubus sax at His. But 
what delighted Mr. Mitten on this his first walk in Wales 
was the abundance of mosses and hepaticse, and for a full 
hour he explored every nook and cranny, and every few 


236 MY LIFE 

minutes cried out to me, " I've got another species I never 
gathered before," till I thought he would never tear himself 
away ; and during several other visits to Wales in the Snow- 
don and Cader Idris districts, and in the Vale of Neath, I do 
not think he ever came upon a richer spot for his favourite 
group of plants. 

The next day we took a much longer ramble along country 
lanes, which gradually led us on to the ridge of the Berwyn 
mountains, from 2500 to 2700 feet above sea level. At the 
highest summit, where a circle of precipices descends to a little 
tarn — Llyn-llyne-caws — my friend crept out along the face 
of the rocks to get some rare mosses, till he made me quite 
afraid for his safety. But he was very active and sure-footed, 
and always managed to get what he wanted. On the high 
peaty moors we found the creeping cloud-berry, and as we 
had strolled slowly, searching everywhere for plants and en- 
joying the scenery and the mountain air, it was late in the 
afternoon before we came to a deep valley where there were 
some houses, and as we had walked about eight or nine miles 
over high mountains since we last saw a house, we determined 
to go down and try to find a night's lodging. We were at- 
tracted by glimpses of a waterfall up this valley, and therefore 
made for the highest house we could see, a rather neat small 
farmhouse. By the time we had reached it the sun had set, 
and when we asked if we could have supper and lodging there, 
we were told it was impossible, as some titled person, I forget 
the name, was coming next day with some friends to shoot 
there, and everything was got ready for him. However, we 
told them we had walked over the mountains from Corwen 
and were very tired, and if we went down to the village we 
should have so much to walk back in the morning, that at 
last they agreed. I quite forget what kind of accommodation 
we had, but I rather think we slept on the floor. We had, how- 
ever, a good supper, and breakfast next morning, when after 
getting a view of the waterfall, which Mr. Mitten sketched, 
we walked about three miles westward over a mountain ridge 
to a good but very wild road, which led us back through the 
village of Llandrillo to Corwen, a distance of about seventeen 


miles, forming altogether one of the wildest mountain walks 
I have ever taken in our own country. 

The waterfall we thus accidentally came upon is called 
Pistill Rhaiadwr, and is little known to tourists, as it is a long 
way from any beaten track, but it is undoubtedly the finest 
in Wales, and has a peculiar feature which is, I think, unique 
in the British Isles. Between the upper and the lower part 
of the fall the water passes under a natural arch of rock, 
along which it is possible to crawl, though when there is much 
water the arch is drenched with spray. The photograph here 
copied shows this remarkable feature, as well as the double 
fall, the upper one being about 150 feet high, the total height 
being 240 feet. George Borrow, in his " Wild Wales," con- 
siders this curious bridge to be a blemish, and remarks, " This 
unsightly object has stood where it now stands since the day 
of creation, and will probably remain there to the day of 
judgment. It would be a desecration of nature to remove it 
by art, but no one could regret if Nature herself, in one of 
her floods, were to sweep it away." The ancient geology and 
theology of this passage are very characteristic. 

Two years later we had another excursion together, ac- 
companied by my friend Geach, going first to Beddgelert, and 
then on to Pen-y-gwryd, where we found the little inn crowded, 
and had difficulty in finding the roughest accommodation. Next 
morning we started at five and had a most delightful walk up 
Snowdon by this very picturesque route. Reaching the sum- 
mit with excellent appetites, we enjoyed our breakfast of coffee 
and bacon in the little hut on the top, and then, as it was a 
glorious day with floating clouds whose shadows below us 
were a delight, we spent an hour or more in the enjoyment of 
the splendid views, with the numerous lakes in almost all the 
surrounding cwms and valleys which render this mountain 
especially interesting to the glacial geologist. Numbers of 
swifts were flying about over and around the peak, and when 
Mr. Mitten climbed out on some crags in search of rare 
mosses, they dashed about so close to his head as to cause 
him to retreat. After returning to Beddgelert we went up a 
small valley to find a very rare water-moss, which Mr. Wil- 

238 MY LIFE 

Ham Borrer, the well-known botanist, had told Mr. Mitten 
was to be found there ; and after a long search in every rock- 
hole that seemed a likely place, he, at last, found the treasure, 
as he almost always does when he goes in search of any rarity. 
While stopping at a cottage during a shower, and noticing 
some large birds of prey screaming on a mountain near, he 
asked the woman of the house what birds they were. To 
which she replied, " Harpies," which made us wonder what 
remote part of the world we had got to. We afterwards 
went to Dolgelly and Cader Idris, where, in a small lake, we 
found the uncommon Lobelia Dortmanna. 

In 1875 we went again to Snowdon, and afterwards to the 
curious ravine called Twill-du, or the " Devil's Kitchen," near 
which I found an umbrella, and Mrs. Mitten, who accompanied 
us, found somebody's lunch, consisting of a baked trout and 
grapes ; while Mr. Mitten revelled as usual in the rare mosses, 
and later at the Swallow Falls, on the way to Bettws-y-Coed, 
he found a moss quite new to him. 

Our next excursion was to South Wales, when my wife 
and Mrs. Mitten accompanied us, as I wished to show them 
the beautiful scenery of my favourite Vale of Neath. We 
stayed a few days at a cottage at Pont-nedd Fychan and 
visited the beautiful waterfalls, the rocking-stone, the subter- 
ranean river, and the fine Dinas rock. While here one day 
we passed a labourer at work on the roadside, and Mrs. Mitten, 
thinking to gratify the patriotism of a Welshman, remarked 
on the beauty of the scenery and asked him if he did not 
think it a privilege to live in such a fine country? Rather to 
our amusement, he told us that he did not think much of the 
country, it was all hills and stones, and there was no good 
land, and he much preferred his own country, which was 
Lincolnshire ! 

Another year I and Mr. Mitten went to Glen Clova in the 
Highlands in search of the many rare plants for which it is 
celebrated. But we had little success because we had no guide 
to the exact localities of the rarities. But we much enjoyed 
the excursion and the wild scenery, though we had some diffi- 
culty in getting the keepers to allow us to enter the glen. Being 


at the inn on Sunday a number of farmers and their wives 
came in after church to meet their friends and drink whisky, 
and on listening to their very voluble talk I could not under- 
stand a word that they were saying. I concluded, therefore, 
that they were speaking Gaelic, and was much pleased to 
have heard it. But the landlord's daughter told me afterwards 
that no one spoke Gaelic there, and that all the people I had 
heard were speaking English ! I could not have believed that 
pronunciation and accent could have produced such complete 
unintelligibility. On passing through Edinburgh we called 
on the late Professor Balfour at the Botanical Gardens, and 
he much regretted that he had not accompanied us, as he 
could have shown us all the rarities of that botanical treasure- 

In the spring of 1877 I accompanied Mr. Mitten to Spa 
in Belgium, where he was taking his youngest daughter to a 
school to acquire French conversation. We stayed a few 
days there botanizing on the moors and hills around, and were 
interested in noticing some peculiarities of the vegetation as 
compared with our own. Nowhere did we see a single prim- 
rose, but its place was taken by the true oxlip (Primula 
elatior), so local with us. Our rare little fern, Asplenium 
septentrionale, was common by the road-sides. Our Swiss 
tour has been noticed in chapter xxxiii. Even during Mr. 
Mitten's occasional visits to us in Dorsetshire, he has found 
several plants new to the district or to the county. The 
most notable of these were the crowberry (Empetrum nigrum), 
never before noticed in Dorsetshire, a quite large bush of 
which was found on Studland Heath, a well-searched botanical 
locality. Even more interesting was his discovery of the rare 
aquatic grass (Leersia oryzoides) , which he thought should 
grow in the ditches near Wareham, and knowing its flowering 
season he went there and found it, though the very ditch had 
often been searched by other botanists ! 

My Experiences as an Examiner. 

It was, I think, in 1870, that I heard from Bates of the 
examinations in Physical Geography under the Science and 

2 4 o MY LIFE 

Art Department, for which lie was one of the Assistant 

Examiners, and he advised me to apply to Professor Ansted, 
the examiner in-chief, if I wished to obtain the post of an 
assistant. I did so; and began the work in 1871, and con- 
tinned yearly till 1877. In 187 1 I also had the examinership 
in Physical Geography and Geology for the Indian Civil 
Engineering College, and in 1870 and 1871 for the Royal 
Geographical Society. 

The work under Professor Ansted was hard while it 
lasted, but was interesting, and often quite amusing, and it 
was very well paid. The assistant examiners had each over 
a thousand papers to examine. The work occupied about 
three weeks more or less, and the remuneration amounted to 
from £50 to £60, or occasionally even more. In 1878 Pro- 
fessor Judd and Sir Norman Lockyer were appointed joint 
examiners, the syllabus being altered to include geology and 
physical astronomy, while the subject of examination was now 
changed from Physical Geography to Physiography, and I 
continued to be an assistant examiner till 1897, with the excep- 
tion of one year during my American tour. 

During the earlier period a considerable number of well- 
known scientific men, mostly geologists or biologists, were 
among the assistant examiners, such as H. W. Bates, William 
Carruthers, the botanist, J. F. Collingwood, Major Cooper- 
King, Professor J. Morris, Professor T. Rupert Jones, Dr. 
Henry Woodward of the Natural History Museum, Professor 
H. G. Seeley, and a few others less well known to me. There 
were three meetings in London to compare results and secure 
an equal rate of marking, and these afforded an opportunity 
for a little conversation between persons who rarely met else- 
where, and we also for some years had an annual dinner, 
which was latterly discontinued when a considerable propor- 
tion of the examiners lived in the country. 

Although the drudgery and strain of reading through a 
thousand papers, with replies to the same set of questions, 
exhibiting every possible degree of ignorance of the subject 
and often extremely diffuse, was very great, yet a little relief 
was given by the highly amusing character of some of the 


answers, of the more curious of which I, as well as several 
others of the examiners, made notes. During intervals of 
our more serious work, we often communicated some of these 
to our fellow-sufferers, and thus contributed a little hilarity 
to our otherwise strictly business meetings. 

On looking over my notes of these examinations extend- 
ing over more than a quarter of a century, I think it will be 
both amusing and instructive to give a few examples of these 
replies, of which I have a rather large collection, as they have 
an important bearing on the whole question of the utility of 
such examinations, on which I may, perhaps, afterwards say 
a few words. The first I will quote are from a rather long 
series that occurred in 1873. It must be remembered that in 
Professor Ansted's time sixteen questions were asked, ranging 
over most of the subjects included in Physical Geography, 
but only eight were to be answered, so that the candidates 
need only attempt to answer those about which they knew 
something. Further, they were all supposed to have had 
some special teaching in the subject, and were sent up by 
their masters in the hope of getting the allowance granted by 
the government for each one who passed. 

The first question was, " Show why the longest day in 
Edinburgh is longer than the longest day in London." Out 
of a large number of answers, showing more or less complete 
ignorance of the cause of this interesting phenomenon which 
must be known to every one who has spent a winter at any 
two places in the north and the south of our islands, I have 
preserved five. 

(1) Because it possesses a maritime climate. 

(2) Because the manufactures in London produce a smoky atmos- 

(3) Because it is not in such a warm place as London. 

(4) Because London is on a meridian and Edinburgh is not. 

(5) Because the first meridian shades the sun from London, while 
it is shining in Edinburgh. 

Now these answers, and scores of others equally wide of 
the mark but not so short or so amusing, show that no at- 

242 MY LIFE 

tempt had ever been made to teach these boys to understand 
the commonest facts connected with the motions of the 
earth — such as the seasons, varying lengths of day and night, 
change of position of the sun at rising and setting, and its 
altitude at noon, etc. — in the only way in which they can be 
taught to the majority of people, that is, by simple experi- 
ments with a globe and a lamp in a darkened room. In this 
way the reason of all the changes is seen to follow inevitably 
from the form, position, and motions of the earth, while no 
amount of verbal explanation, even with the help of diagrams, 
can make it intelligible to any but those who have the special 
geometrical faculty. By such experiments any intelligent 
children from eight or ten upwards may be easily made to 
understand these facts, as well as the apparent motions of all 
the heavenly bodies. Yet probably to this day not one school 
in a hundred teaches such things, and not one teacher in a 
hundred knows how to teach them. 

Another question was, " Mention the natural habitat of the 
horse, the elephant, the hippopotamus, and the rhinoceros," 
and the following answers were given: — 

(i) The horse is used for drawing anything, such as carts, plows, 
or anything he is taken to do; the hippopotamus is a very disagreeable 
beast and runs about very wild. 

(2) The habit of the horse is plowing, the elephant goes to shows. 

(3) The principal habitat of the elephant is the fauna, the rhinoceros 
the buffalo, and the hippopotamus is the white bear. 

The above replies show gross ignorance of the facts of 
animal distribution or of the terms used in regard to it; and 
the following show equal ignorance of common geographical 
or meteorological phenomena. The answers show sufficiently 
what were the questions : — 

Q. 11. The principal Atlantic icebergs come from the Alleghanies on 
the east of America; when they reach the valley below they melt and 
form small straits, which in time spread out into rivers. They enrich 
the climate through which they pass. 

Q. 11. Iceberg is a mass of ice formed in the polar regions and gener- 
ally connected with volcanoes. 


Q. 11. Icebergs are formed by geysers shooting up in the air out of 
the sea and frozen there. 

In reply to a question as to deep dredging in the Atlantic 
the following answers were given: — 

Q. 15. The depth of the water of the Atlantic is measured by large 
things called ravines. The depth is 90,000,000 miles. Gold is found at 
the bottom. 

Q. 15. The matter found at the bottom of the Atlantic is copper, 
pearls, and diamonds. 

Q. 15. The material found by deep dredging in the Atlantic is — the 
Atlantic canal or cable. 

The question being, " What is meant by the distribution" 
of plants and animals in vertical and horizontal space, and 
what do you understand by representative forms?" — I have 
notes of the four following answers : — 

(1) Horizontal distribution is when they grow near the horizon; 
vertical distribution is when they grow in vertical space, as wheat, or 
anything on the same level. 

(2) Plants grow in gardens, animals live on the earth. 

(3) By distribution of plants and animals in vertical and horizontal 
space, we mean, the plants and animals in the distance between pointed 
and curved lines. 

(4) Representative forms of animals and plants is, how they are 
represented in books. 

In 1878 I had some good examples of the kind of answer 
in which the candidate evidently has a very high opinion of 
his own attainments and his mode of explaining the whole 
matter. The question was, " In what respects do a volcano 
and a geyser resemble each other, and in what respects do 
they differ ? " The answer is rather a long one : — 

A volcano is a raised piece of land in about a thousand years, then in 
another thousand years it has become larger and larger till it becomes 
as high as would be called a volcano. But a geyser is a raised piece of 
land done all in a night. 

Difference. The volcano take a long, long time to be at the point of 
saturation, but the geyser is done all in one night. 



Agreement. They arc both raised-up pieces of land. Sometimes a 
volcano goes on fire and makes a creator, and then it bursts. When 
it bursts you will always observe that down at the bottom of the vol- 
cano and about ten miles round and round about it there lies cinders as 
large as bricks, and as you proceed to the top of the volcano it always 
becomes smaller, till at the mouth of it it is all dross, like very small 

This last sentence is so precise and clear in its statements 
that one might suppose it to be the result of personal obser- 
vation ! 

Another of the same class occurred in 1879, when in 
answer to the question, " What evidence have we that lions 
and tigers once lived in this country? " the reply was — 

V/e have only this evidence that lions and tigers once lived in this 
country, that when a man, or even any man or men, have been digging 
for minerals, wells, or anything else, they have found the fossils, and it 
has at last after a good long consideration and perseverance it has 
turned out to be the skeleton of a lion or tiger. 

The same paper explains thunder as follows : — 

The cause of the noise made during thunderstorms is the meeting of 
the electric and other gases. It is said that a gentleman caught a 
glimpse of one of these collisions by means of a kite. It was thus found 
out what was the cause of thunderstorms, and also what made the flash 
of lightning. 

In 1880 we had the following answers to a question about 
the causes of the extinction of animals, and as to any which 
have become extinct since the appearance of man on the 
earth : — 

(1) Giants, and the great fish which swallowed Jonah. 

(2) Extinct volcanoes not having erupted for a length of time is one 
cause which has brought about the extinction of animals. 

(3) Animals which lived before the flood no longer exist except their 
fossilized remains, Iothoraics, Pleathorus, Mammoth, Dothorium, Adam 
and Eve never saw, having become extinct. 

(4) Animals which have become extinct since man has been on the 
earth are Ammonites, Belemnites, Mammals and Productus horridus. 

(5) The unicorn is extinct. 


(6) Extinct means that they have gone away, but may become active 
again. Some of the causes that they have become extinct are that they 
have been caged up, etc. The animals that have become extinct since 
the appearance of man are the jaguars. 

Many other answers showed a similar absence of knowledge 
upon this most interesting branch of natural history, and one 
which may be made easily intelligible even to children. 

The equally simple and interesting question as to what 
geographical range of animals or plants means, is thus 
answered : — 

(1) What is meant by geographical range is, that they are arranged 
according to their shape and size. 

(2) The geographical range of a species of animal or plant is that 
part of a country in which no species of animal or plant will live, only 
the species which first originated there. 

In 1882 we had a question analogous to that so badly 
answered in 1873 : " What is the cause of the long days and 
nights of the Polar regions ? ' ' and the answers showed little 
improvement in the teaching. Here are a few of them : — 

(1) The reason why they have long days and nights is because at 
the poles they have only six hours sun, and the sun does not rise at 6 
o'clock a.m. at the poles as it does here, but does not rise till nine and 
ten o'clock a.m. 

(2) Because the sun only visits the polar regions a particular part of 
the year. When the sun is gone the day only lasts a few hours. 

(3) The poles being so far from the equator. That is, it takes the 
light a certain time to travel that distance. 

(4) At the N. Pole the Aurora Borealis ; at the South Pole the 
South Australis sheds its light upon the polar regions, the long nights 
are owing to the Aurora disappearing. Long days may be also owing 
to the Colures ; long nights to the moon not affecting the Polar regions. 

(5) In summer Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, being the bulk of 
the land of the world, require a great deal of heat from the sun. Again, 
when it is winter in Europe, etc., it is summer in Australia. Now 
Australia being a very small part of the earth it will not require as 
much heat as the other continents did. Consequently more heat can be 
given by the sun to the Polar regions than in our summer. 

(6) The cause of the long days is due to the slowness with which the 
moon sets, or, more correctly, the long nights, and when the moon does 
set it remains a long time forming the long days. 

2 4 6 MY LIFE 

(7) The reason they have long days and nights is that the people 
always catch the sun or the moon; another reason is that they are 
nearest the snn. 

(8) The cause of the long days and nights of the Polar regions is 
that the days and nights are just the opposite to what it is stated in the 
question, namely short days and long nights, it heing one continuous 
winter from one years end to the other, summer being only for a few 
weeks at a time, and then the days are comparatively short compared 
with ours. 

(9) The long days and nights are caused by the quantity of snow 
that falls at the poles. 

(10) The cause of the long days in the Polar regions is this: when 
the sun is observed there (which it seldom is) the rays are reflected 
as it were, and it forms day. The cause of the long nights in the Polar 
regions is this : the sun only makes his appearance for a very short 
time, during this time it is day, but after the sun disappears it is night, 
which by that means is very long. It is to be understood that it is a 
certain part of the year during which the days are long, and the other 
part during which the nights are long. 

It seems to me a very sad thing- that under a vast Govern- 
ment organization at a very great cost, it should be possible 
for such results as these to be produced. Many of these 
candidates have evidently good capacity, but are sent up 
to be examined on subjects of which they are disgracefully 
ignorant, either from want of any teaching whatever, or 
through their teachers being themselves disgracefully ignorant 
— and there are clear indications that the latter is very often 
the case. 

Six years later (1888), we find equal ignorance on another 
subject of great interest, and as to which knowledge was 
easy to obtain even without special training. The question 
was, " How is the depth of the ocean determined ? 


(1) The depth of the ocean is determined by the water carrying the 
sediment to the mouth of the ocean and depositing it again. 

(2) The depth of the ocean is determined by discharging a wire or 
rope from a cannon, the wire being long with a point fixed, which when 
it touches something hard an electric current passes immediately to the 
ship; they thus go on till they find the lowest sounding. 

(3) The depth of the ocean is determined by means of the barometer 
an instrument invented for measuring the heights of sea-levels, etc. 


The barometer is placed by the side of some mountain, and in this man- 
ner they calculate taking the readings from the barometer. 

(4) The ocean contains poles, insects live at the bottom of the ocean 
and bore holes in the poles, when the poles are reached they reach the 
bottom of the ocean. 

(5) The depth of the ocean is determined because it is always mov- 
ing and wearing away the bottom. 

(6) The depth of the ocean is determined by fixing a piece of rope to 
a heavy piece of metal which is lowered into the water, and as soon 
as it touches the bottom the weight is no longer felt and the rope is 
cut off at the surface of the water; the rope is then measured. It is 
brought up by a diver. 

(7) The depth of the ocean is determined by sounding or pianoforte 
wire which is let down until it reaches the bottom of the ocean; great 
care must be taken to catch the sound. 

Equally gross ignorance is shown as to the mariner's com- 
pass, the question being whether it always points due north, 
if not, why not? 

(1) The mariner's compass do not always point due north because if 
it did on board a ship, the captain of the ship would want to go south 
and it would guide him the wrong way, instead of south it would guide 
him north, so it is made to turn N.S.E.W. The mariner's compass is 
made to turn round in any way in which the captain wishes to turn it, 
so as to guide him which way he wants to go. If he wants to go to the 
south he puts the point to the south, etc. They are used by men who 
want to go to different parts of the world. Say if a man is lost in trav- 
elling to Germany he looks at his compass, and if it is north he puts the 
point north, or if it is south, etc. 

(2) The mariner's compass does not point due north because the 
wind affects it. If the wind is blowing hard the dial points slightly to 
the north, and when it is a heavy storm the dial points nowhere, but 
just swings backwards and forwards. 

Another subject of the greatest interest and one that can 
be very easily taught to even young children by a number of 
simple and easy experiments, is that of the weight and 
density of the atmosphere, and the construction of the 
barometer. Some knowledge of these subjects is essential to 
a clear understanding of a great number of natural phe- 
nomena. Yet this is how, so late as 1889, some of these 
students replied to easy questions about it :— 

248 MY LIFE 

(i) The weight of the air can be determined by the law of gravita- 
tion. For example, take an apple from a tree and let it go. What hap- 
pens? It falls to the ground. This shows that the air is heavier and 
attracts the apple at the ground. Therefore we can say the apple does 
not fall, but it is the ground that attracts it. By that process we could 
discover or determine the weight of the air. We are able to move 
about because the earth attracts us. so we are able to move about in 
this dense mass of air under us. 

(2) To a person who has not studied the question air has no weight. 
If air has weight, why do we not get tired of bearing that weight? To 
prove to that person that air has weight, ask — How do you take head- 
aches? We take headaches because the air gets light and some of the 
usual weight is taken off the head, and we get giddy. 

These two young men write with an air of authority, as if 
they were teachers rather than learners, yet it is hard to say 
which of the two is the more profoundly ignorant. The 
other four, while equally ignorant, are more modest in their 

(3) We are able to move under the pressure of the atmosphere by 
impurities and other bodies displacing the air. If there were no impu- 
rities in the air we could not move about. For example, water-vapour 
gets into the air, and displaces it making the air lighter. 

(4) We are able to bear a certain amount of the weight of the 
atmosphere and a very little more would kill us. 

(5) We are able to move about on the earth's surface because, 
although the atmosphere is pressing us down we have the sun attract- 
ing us. 

(6) The reason that we are able to move about under the weight of 
the atmosphere is that the atmosphere is two hundred miles away from 
the surface of the earth. 

Passing on to 1891, such a common instrument as the 
barometer, which can be so easily explained by simple ex- 
periments, is thus hopelessly blundered : — 

(1) Air occupies the space above the mercury. If a hole were bored 
through the glass above the mercury the air would escape and probably 
the tube would burst. 

(2) The air would escape and the mercury would remain dormant. 

(3) The principle on which the action of the mercurial barometer 
depends is, that it must be enclosed in a strong case and must not be 
touched in any way. 


(4) A water barometer is longer than a mercurial barometer because 
it has to go down to the bottom of the sea to see how deep it is. A 
mercurial barometer has to see how high a thing is, and no hill is higher 
than the depth of the ocean except a few high mountains which nobody 
can get to the top of. Oxygen occupies the space above the mercury, 
and if a hole were bored the oxygen would flow out and the mercury 
rise to the top and flow out also. 

In 1893, in order to correct some popular errors, the 
following questions were asked : " Point out the errors in 
the following statements: 

" (a) Earthquakes have raised to heaven the ocean bed." 
" (b) Volcanoes are burning mountains that vomit fire and 
smoke." To which the following replies were given : 

(1) Earthquakes swallow the ocean bed. 

(2) In ancient times volcanoes were called burning mountains, but 
we do not call them by that name now, because we have a new name 
for them derived from the Latin words volca to burn and noe moun- 
tain, and the two put together " volcanoe." 

In the same year, in reply to the very elementary question, 
" How is angular space measured ? " — without a clear concep- 
tion of which no knowledge of mechanics or any comprehen- 
sion of many of the simplest facts of nature is possible — such 
replies as the following were given : 

(1) By multiplying the number of seconds a body is falling by 32. 

(2) Angular space is measured by a delicate instrument which brings 
the rays to one position on a stand or anything you like to put in the 
way, and they take the angle and measure it and keep on like this at all 
times of the year and then find the average. 

(3) You take a pair of compasses and put a point on one star and a 
point on the other, and then you look between your legs where they 
join and judge the distance between them thus. 

In 1895 we again had a simple question as to a very common 
instrument, the construction and use of which can be taught 
to any child — " Describe the mariner's compass and its chief 
uses " ; — and we had a set of answers as bad as those seven 
years earlier: 

250 MY LIFE 

(i) The Mariner's Compass is a thin bit of steel cut into 32 points. 

(2) The Mariner's Compass is a box with a card and a lot of needles. 

(3) The Mariner's Compass is a brass box with 24 circular cards 
hinged on, no matter which way it rolls it carries these around with it. 

(4) The Mariner's Compass is a box and card with 32 points. 

(5) If a sailor was shipwrecked on a desert island he could find a 
north and south line if he had a Nautical Almanack. 

(6) The Mariner's Compass is a circular bit of wood with a nail put 
through it, and into this is a pivot which is very easily shook about, and 
the Captain brings this to sea with him. Of course it has the Cardinal 
points on it, N.E., .SW., etc., and he knows where he is. 

(7) To repel the other great magnet, the earth, and to prevent the 
ship (because of the iron) being attracted to the earth. 

Of course it will be said that the examples here given 
are all extreme cases, and that a majority of the papers show 
a considerable amount of knowledge. But this is altogether 
beside the question. I never had time or inclination to inter- 
rupt my work in order to copy all the very ignorant answers, 
but only a few here and there which specially struck me. For 
each one thus copied there were at least a dozen equally bad, 
but often so wordy and involved as to take too much time to 
preserve, while a far greater number exhibited a little knowl- 
edge so intermingled with gross ignorance, as for any useful 
purpose would be equally bad. 

But the point I wish to insist upon is, the utter failure of a 
system which, at the end of twenty years, allows of any such 
candidates as these taking part in an examination. The 
failure is twofold. First, in the notion that any good can 
result from the teaching of such a large and complex subject 
to youths who come to it without any preliminary training 
whatever, and who are crammed with it by means of a lesson 
a week for perhaps one year; and, in the second place, the 
attempting to teach such a subject at all before a sufficiently 
capable body of teachers have been found who know the 
whole range of subjects included in it, both theoretically and 
practically, and who also know how to communicate to others 
the knowledge they themselves possess. 

In these examinations scores and sometimes hundreds of 
papers come from single large schools, and it is a familiar 


thing to examiners to find the same absurd error, often stated 
in the very same words, running through a whole school, 
except, perhaps, in the case of one or two exceptionally clever 
lads who have, by reading or experiment, educated them- 
selves upon the point in question. Now the absurdity of the 
system is, that the ignorant teacher never has his ignorance 
pointed out to him, and imputes the failure of a number of 
his pupils to their stupidity or carelessness, whereas it is 
really all due to his own ignorance. 

Another evil result of these examinations under a Govern- 
ment department is, that in order to justify their existence, it 
is necessary to show a certain considerable amount of success. 
Hence the " passes " are brought up to good general average, 
however bad the bulk of the papers may be; and people are 
deluded by the idea that because a person has passed in 
Physiography he has a good general knowledge of the whole 
subject, whereas many pass who are quite unfit to teach any 
portion of it to the smallest child. My own conclusion is that 
all these examinations are an enormous waste of public money, 
with no useful result whatever. Nature-knowledge of the 
kind referred to is the most important, the most interesting, 
and therefore the most useful of all knowledge. But to be 
thus useful it must be taught properly throughout the whole 
period of instruction from the kinder-garten onwards, always 
by means of facts, experiments, and outdoor observation, 
supplemented, where necessary, by fuller exposition of difficult 
points in the class-room. 

The whole status of the teacher is degraded by the present 
system, which assumes that any fairly educated person can, 
by means of a few courses of lectures and a short period of 
cramming, be qualified to teach these subjects to the young. 
The real fact is that none can teach them properly who have 
not a natural taste for them, and have largely taught them- 
selves by personal observation and study. They alone know 
the difficulties felt by beginners ; they alone are able to go to 
the fundamental principles that underlie the most familiar phe- 
nomena, and are thus able to make everything clear to their 
pupils. Such men are comparatively rare, but they should be 

252 MY LIFE 

carefully sought for and given the highest rank in the teacher's 
profession. When that is done, no examinations will be ad- 
visable or necessary. 

Before quitting the examination question, I wish to say a 
word in favour of the late Professor Ansted as an Examiner 
in Physical Geography. On looking over many of the papers 
set by him from 1871 to 1877, I am greatly impressed by his 
broad grasp of the whole subject, and the admirable manner 
in which he dealt in turn with all the natural phenomena 
embraced in it, from the simplest to the most complex. He 
usually set fifteen to sixteen questions, in both the Elementary 
and Advanced stages, only eight of which were to be answered ; 
and they always comprised a considerable portion of the whole 
field embraced in the study. I feel sure that the questions set 
by him during any four or five years of the period named, 
would serve as an admirable guide to a student who wished to 
make himself master of the fascinating study of earth-knowl- 
edge or " physiography." 




Soon after I returned from the Amazon (about 1853), I 
read Herbert Spencer's " Social Statics," a work for which I 
had a great admiration, and which seemed to me so important 
in relation to political and social reform, that I thought of 
inviting a few friends to read and discuss it at weekly meet- 
ings. This fell through for want of support, but the whole 
work, and more especially the chapter on " The Right to 
the Use of the Earth," made a permanent impression on me, 
and ultimately led to my becoming, almost against my will, 
President of the Land Nationalization Society, which has now 
been just a quarter of a century in existence. In connection 
with this movement, I have made the acquaintance of a con- 
siderable number of persons of more or less eminence, and 
my relations with some of these will form the subject of the 
present chapter. 

The publication of my " Malay Archipelago " in 1869, 
procured me the acquaintance of John Stuart Mill, who on 
reading the concluding pages, in which I condemn our 
" civilization " as but a form of " barbarism," and refer, 
among other examples, to our permitting private property in 
land, wrote to me from Avignon on May 19, 1870, enclosing 
the programme of his proposed Land Tenure Reform Asso- 
ciation, and asking me to become a member of the General 
Committee. Its object was to claim the future " unearned 
increment " of land values for the State, to which purpose 
it was to be strictly limited. I accepted the offer, but pro- 
posed a new clause, giving the State power of resuming 
possession of any land on payment of its net value at the 
time, because, as I pointed out, the greatest evil was the 


254 MY LIFE 

monopoly of land, not the money lost by the community. 
This he himself supported, but suggested giving not the 

current value only, but something additional as compensa- 
tion ; and I think this was done. Later I proposed another 
addition to the programme, which he also agreed to, as shown 
by the following extract from a letter I received from him in 
July, referring to a general meeting of the Association at the 
Freemason's Tavern. 

44 1 hope that you will be able to attend, and that you will 
propose, as an addition to the programme, the important 
point which you suggested in your letter to me, viz., the 
right of the State to take possession (with a view to their 
preservation) of all natural objects or artificial constructions 
which are of historical or artistic interest. If you will pro- 
pose this I will support it, and I think there will be no 
difficulty in getting it put into the programme, where un- 
doubtedly I think it ought to be." 

He then asked me to dine with him at Blackheath Park on 
the following Sunday at five o'clock, which I of course 
accepted. The only other persons present were his step- 
daughter Miss Helen Taylor, Mr. George Grote the historian, 
and the Hon. Auberon Herbert. We had a very pleasant 
dinner and some very interesting and instructive conversation 
afterwards, only one portion of which I recollect, as it referred 
to a subject on which I differed from Mill, and thought his 
views, for such an undoubtedly great and clear thinker, some- 
what hasty and ill-considered. The conversation turned 
somehow upon the existence and nature of God. Mr. Grote 
seemed inclined to accept the ordinary idea of an eternal, 
omniscient, and benevolent existence, because anything else 
was almost unthinkable. To which Mill replied, that who- 
ever considered the folly, misery, and badness of the bulk of 
mankind, such a belief was unthinkable, because it would 
imply that God could have made man good and happy, have 
abolished evil, and has not done so. I ventured to suggest 
that what we call evil may be essential to the ultimate de- 
velopment of the highest good for all ; but he would not listen 
to it or argue the question at all, but repeated, dogmatically, 


that an omnipotent God might have made man wise, good, 
and happy, and as He had not chosen to do so it was absurd 
for us to believe in such a being and call Him almighty and 
good. He then turned the conversation as if he did not 
wish to discuss the matter further. 

There is one point in connection with this problem which 
I do not think has ever been much considered or discussed. 
It is, the undoubted benefit to all the members of a society 
of the greatest possible diversity of character, as a means 
both towards the greatest enjoyment and interest of associa- 
tion, and to the highest ultimate development of the race. 
If we are to suppose that man might have been created or 
developed with none of those extremes of character which 
now often result in what we call wickedness, vice, or crime, 
there would certainly have been a greater monotony in human 
nature which would, perhaps, have led to less beneficial results 
than the variety which actually exists may lead to. We are 
more and more getting to see that very much, perhaps all, 
the vice, crime, and misery that exists in the world is the 
result, not of the wickedness of individuals, but of the entire 
absence of sympathetic training from infancy onwards. So 
far as I have heard, the only example of the effects of such a 
training on a large scale, was that initiated by Robert 
Owen at New Lanark, which, with most unpromising ma- 
terials, produced such marvellous results on the character 
and conduct of the children, as to seem almost incredible to 
the numerous persons who came to see and often critically 
to examine them. There must have been all kinds of 
characters in his schools, yet none were found to be in- 
corrigible, none beyond control, none who did not respond 
to the love and sympathetic instruction of their teachers. 
It is therefore quite possible that all the evil in the world is 
directly due to man, not to God, and that when we once 
realize this to its full extent we shall be able, not only to 
eliminate almost completely what we now term evil, but 
shall then clearly perceive that all those propensities and 
passions that under bad conditions of society inevitably led 
to it, will under good conditions add to the variety and the 

256 MY LIFE 

capacities of human nature, the enjoyment of life b) all. and 
at the same time greatly increase the possibilities of develop- 
ment of the whole rare. I myself feel confident that this is 
really the ease, and that such considerations, when followed 
out to their ultimate issues, afford a complete solution of the 
great problem of the ages — the origin of evil. 

The last letter I had from Mill was in April, 1871, when 
a great public meeting of the association was to be held on 
May 3, as to which he said: "It would be very useful to 
the association, and a great pleasure to myself, if you would 
consent to be one of the speakers at the meeting. There is 
the more reason why you should do so, as you are the author 
of one very valuable article of the programme. Were you 
to explain and defend that article, it would be a service which 
no one is so well qualified to render as yourself." I had 
then recently visited the stone circles and bridges of Dart- 
moor, and also Stonehenge, and urged the importance of 
preserving them. At that time there would probably have 
been no question of paying more than the actual selling 
value of the land, and we should have been spared the dis- 
grace of having our grandest ancient monument, after cen- 
turies of neglect and deterioration, claimed to be private 
property, and having an exorbitant price demanded for it. 
But Mill's death soon afterwards put an end to the associa- 
tion, and we had to wait many years for the present very 
imperfect legislation on the subject. 

The question of land-nationalization continued at intervals 
to occupy my mind, but having become strongly impressed 
by the teachings of Spencer, Mill, and other writers as to 
the necessity for restricting rather than extending State 
agency, and by their constant reference to the inevitable job- 
bery and favouritism that would result from placing the 
management of the whole land of the country in the hands 
of the executive, that I did not attempt to write further upon 
the subject. But when the topic of Irish landlordism became 
very prominent in the year 1879- 1880, an idea occurred to 
me which seemed to entirely obviate all the practical diffi- 


culties which were constantly adduced as insuperable, and 
I at once took the opportunity of the controversy on the 
question to set forth my views in some detail. I did this 
especially because the Irish Land League proposed that 
the Government should buy out the Irish landlords, and 
convert their existing tenants into peasant-proprietors, who 
were to redeem their holdings by payments extending over 
thirty-five years. This seemed to me to be unsound in 
principle, and entirely useless except as a temporary expedient, 
since it would leave the whole land of Ireland in the pos- 
session of a privileged class, and would thus disinherit all 
the rest of the population from their native soil. 

In my essay I based my whole argument upon a great 
principle of equity as regards the right of succession to 
landed property, a principle which I have since further ex- 
tended to all property. 2 But the suggestion which rendered 
land-nationalization practicable was, that while, under certain 
conditions stated, all land would gradually revert to the State, 
what is termed in Ireland the tenant-right, and in England 
the improvements, or increased value given to the land by 
the owner or his predecessors, such as buildings, drains, 
plantations, etc., would remain his property, and be paid for 
by the new state-teiiants at a fair valuation. The selling 
value of land was thus divided into two parts: the inherent 
value or ground-rent value, which is quite independent of 
any expenditure by owners, but is due solely to nature and 
society; and the improvements, which are due solely to 
expenditure by the owners or occupiers, and which are essen- 
tially temporary in nature. My experience in surveying and 
land-valuation assured me that these two values can be 
easily separated. It follows that land as owned by the State 
would need no " management " whatever, the rent being 
merely a ground-rent, which could be collected just as the 
house-tax and the land-tax are collected, the state-tenant 
being left as completely free as is the " freeholder " now (who 
is in law a state-tenant), or as are the holders of perpetual 
feus in Scotland. 

1 See my w Studies, Scientific and Social," vol. ii. chap, xxviii. 


This article appeared in the Contemporary Review of 
November, [880, and it immediately attracted the attention 
of Mr. A. C. Swinton, Dr. G. B. Clark, Mr. Roland Estcourt, 
and a few others, who had long been seeking a mode of 
applying Herbert Spencer's great principle of the inequity of 
private property in land, and who found it in the suggestions 
and principles I had laid down. They accordingly commu- 
nicated with me ; several meetings were held at the invitation 
of Mr. Swinton, who was the initiator of the movement, and 
after much discussion as to a definite programme, the " Land 
Nationalization Society ' was formed, and much against my 
wishes, I was chosen to be president. Notwithstanding the 
scanty means of the majority of the founders and members, 
the society has struggled on for a quarter of a century. 
Its lecturers and its yellow vans have pervaded the country, 
and it has effected the great work of convincing the highest 
and best-organized among the manual workers as represented 
by their Trades Unions, that the abolition of land-monopoly, 
which is the necessary result of its private ownership, is at 
the very root of all social reform. Hence the future is with 
them and us, and though the capitalists and the official liberals 
are still against us, we wait patiently, and continue to 
educate the masses in the certainty of a future and not distant 

Although Herbert Spencer was the first eminent English- 
man of science to establish the doctrine of land-nationalization 
upon the firm basis of social justice, he had several fore- 
runners who saw the principle as clearly as he did, declared 
it as boldly, but, being far in advance of their age, were 
treated with scorn, persecution, or neglect. The earliest was 
Thomas Spence, a poor schoolmaster of Newcastle-on-Tyne, 
who in 1775 delivered a lecture before the Philosophical 
Society of that town, for which he was immediately expelled 
from the society, and soon after obliged to leave the town. 
This lecture was reprinted by Mr. H. M. Hyndham in 1882, 
and a single sentence will indicate its scope and purpose : — 

" Hence it is plain that the land or earth, in any country 


or neighbourhood, belongs at all times to the living inhabi- 
tants of the said country or neighbourhood in an equal 
manner. For, as I said before, there is no living but on land 
and its productions, consequently what we cannot live with- 
out we have the same property in as our lives." 

Spence further opposed centralized government as much 
as any individualist of our day, and advocated a system of 
free communal home-rule, every parish owning its own land 
and managing its own affairs. 

A few years later, in 1782, Professor Ogilvie published 
anonymously, " An Essay on the Right of Property in Land " 
(a volume of 120 pages). He lays down the principle that 
no right to property in land can justly arise except through 
occupancy and labour upon it, and even this must be limited 
by the equal rights of every other individual. And after 
discussing the various laws and circumstances of modern 
civilized communities, he shows how the laws can be amended 
so as to bring about a just distribution of land. This is a 
thoughtful, well-reasoned, and clearly written work, yet it 
remained almost unknown to successive generations of 

A few years later than H. Spencer (in 1856), but apparently 
quite independently of him, a very remarkable work was 
published in London, under the title " On the Evils, Impolicy, 
and Anomaly of Individuals being Landlords and Nations 
Tenants," by Robert Dick, M.D. This was a very compre- 
hensive work, anticipating the main thesis of Henry George, 
as shown by the following passage from the introductory 
chapter : " My design, in short, is to show that wealth, 
accumulated in individuals and classes, necessarily implies 
poverty elsewhere, in like manner as exemption from labour 
by some men and classes, of necessity implies double, treble, 
quadruple labour in others." He then lays down a number 
of fundamental propositions, which are so brief, clear, and 
forcible, and go so directly to the root of all those social 
problems which demand solution to-day even more peremp- 
torily than they did a century ago, that I will give the more 
important of them here: — 

2 6o MY LIFE 

u Prop. I. The use of earth in the form of food is equally 
necessary for human life as the use of air — the privation 
of one kills in a few minutes, of the other in a few days or 

"Prop. II. Hence the man who controls land, controls 
human life — excluding life that might be, holding at his mercy 
life that is. 

" Prop. HI. As God made a free gift to each man of life, 
He equally intended for a free gift the necessary condition of 
life — a portion of the soil. 

"Prop. V. Hence a portion of the soil is each man's con- 
genital and inalienable patrimony. 

" Prop. VII. The nationalizing of the soil should have been 
the primary, the fundamental step in human association. 

" Prop. X. The culture of a portion of the soil (as a man's 
own) has this advantage over all other labour, that it gives 
him directly, and at first cost, those very necessaries which 
he is obliged, indirectly, to seek, in manufactures, trade, and 
commerce, namely, home, food, fuel, etc., all which must 
otherwise be purchased at more than natural cost in labour 
or money. 

"Prop. XIII. It is out of the pauper and floating masses 
who have been separated from the land, and have consequently 
no option between starvation and selling their labour un- 
conditionally, that capital is originally formed, and is, there- 
after, enabled absolutely to dictate to the very labour that 
creates it, and to defraud that labour of those surpluses 
which ought to remain wholly with the latter." 

In these two last propositions is comprised the whole 
philosophy of social reform, the last anticipating the main 
thesis of Marx. And to show how well this fine writer and 
thinker appreciated the more human, esthetic, and ennobling 
aspects of the question, I will give one more short quotation, 
on the overcrowding and housing questions, still talked about 
as if they could be remedied piecemeal while the funda- 
mental cause of these and a thousand other evils remains 
untouched — 

" Is it to be credited that this crowding together of men 


in houses dovetailed into each other, with everything of 
nature — winds, flowers, verdure, the healthy smell of earth — 
shut out and replaced by a thousand miasmas — is it, I say, 
to be credited that this is the normal condition of beings 
born with natural cravings for activity and pure air, with an 
intelligent eye for nature's manifold beauties, with bodies 
requiring to be exercised no less than heads? The very 
necessity for drains tells against us. All manure was meant 
directly to nourish the land it accumulates on — not to pollute 
our streams and rivers. Cities as they now are, are the 
abscesses of nature. The soil and terrestrial space are not 
meant for the rearing of food only, but to be dwelt and moved 
about on — to be daily enjoyed in all the variety of agreeable 
sights, sounds, and odours they afford us." 

This important, thoughtful, and suggestive work, published 
in our own time, and dealing most thoroughly with the ever- 
growing evils of our social economy, has remained almost 
absolutely unknown. With the exception of the works of 
one or two land-nationalizers, I have never seen it even 
referred to by the host of political writers, who weakly and 
ignorantly dabble in the great questions affecting the real well- 
being of our whole population. 

Our Society being established, it seemed necessary to pre- 
pare something in the form of a handbook or introduction 
to the great problem of the land ; and I accordingly devoted 
my attention to the subject, studying voluminous reports on 
agriculture, on Irish famines, on Highland Crofters, and 
numbers of special treatises dealing with the various aspects 
of this vast and far-reaching question. My book was pub- 
lished in March, 1882, under the title "Land Nationalization: 
its Necessity and its Aims," and gave, in a compact form, 
the only general account of the evils of our land system as 
it exists in England, Ireland, and Scotland ; a comparison 
with other countries or places in which a better system 
prevails, together with a solution of the problem of how to 
replace it by the only just system, without any confiscation 
of property or injury to any living individual. The book has 


had a large circulation, and in a revised edition, is still on 
sale; and, together with numerous tracts issued by the society, 
has done much to educate public opinion on this most vital of 
all political or social questions. 

As, however, it was quite certain that it would take a 
very long time before even the first steps towards land- 
nationalization would be taken, I took every opportunity of 
advocating such other fundamental reforms as seemed to me 
demanded by equity and to be essential to social well-being. 
One of the earliest was on the subject of interest, about 
which there was much difference of opinion among advanced 
thinkers. A discussion having arisen in The Christian 
Socialist I developed my views at some length in an article 
which appeared in the issue of March, 1884. As it still 
appears to me to be logically unassailable, and is upon a 
subject of the very highest social importance, I give it here: 



By Alfred Russel Wallace 

Having read Professor Newman's defence of interest and your remarks 
thereon, I wish to make a few observations on the general question. 

Your position, and also that of Mr. Ruskin, appears to be that money 
should be lent only as an act of benevolence or charity, and that lend- 
ing it in any other way is not only, in most cases, economically and 
socially, injurious, but is also morally wrong. With the first part of 
this proposition I am very much inclined to agree, but not with the 
second. Looked at broadly, I believe that the power of obtaining 
interest on capital, however great, with the corresponding desire of 
the owner of capital to obtain interest on it, is, next to the private 
monopoly of land, the great cause of the poverty and famine that 
prevail in all the most advanced and most wealthy communities. To 
prove this would occupy too much space; but I may just notice that 
bankruptcies, with the widespread misery they inflict; the speculations 
of promoters and financiers often bringing ruin on hundreds or thou- 
sands of deluded investors; and the vast loans to foreign despots, 
which can only be paid by the sweat and blood of their unfortunate 
subjects, are the direct, and in the present state of society, the nec- 
essary results of the interest-system. Professor Newman says that if 


it were to cease, business would be lessened by one-third. But only 
rotten and speculative business would be stopped ; commercial men 
would then be what they only now appear to be, and no really neces- 
sary business would cease to be carried on. The late William 
Chambers has stated (in his "Life of Robert Chambers") that their 
vast bookselling, printing, and publishing business was established 
and carried on from first to last without one penny of borrowed capi- 
tal ; and that, as a result, panics and financial crises which brought ruin 
to some of their competitors, only caused them a little temporary incon- 
venience. I believe, therefore, that it would be for the benefit of the 
community if loans of money, or advances of goods on credit, were not 
recognized by the law, but were made wholly at the risk of the lender; 
but I do not see that it follows that he who lends, even under these 
circumstances, and takes interest for his loan, is doing what is wrong. 
For I cannot perceive any essential difference in principle between 
lending on interest, and selling at a profit. If I buy a shipload of 
drugs or any other goods at wholesale price, warehouse them, and sell 
them in the course of a year at the current market rate, making a 
profit of, say, 15 per cent, on my money, am I doing that which is 
morally wrong? Of the amount gained by me, we may put perhaps 
1 or 2 per cent, for my personal trouble in the matter, 2 or 3 per cent, 
for risk of loss, 5 per cent, for interest on capital, and the other 5 per 
cent, for surplus profit. Is this 10 per cent, illegitimate gain? and am 
I morally bound to sell my goods at so much below the market rate 
as to leave me only fair payment for my time and risk? If it is 
wrong to take interest for the money which, when lent to another man 
enables him to do this, surely it is wrong to take a larger share in 
the shape of profit; and this really means that all trade is immoral 
which returns more than payment for personal labour, and insurance 
of the capital employed. But if so, it should be so stated, and the 
question should not be confined to interest on money loans only, and, 
in fact, Mr. Ruskin does not so confine it. The quotation you make 
from Mr. Ruskin does not, however, seem to me at all to the point. 
You freely lend your friend an umbrella in his need, and you would 
even do the same to the merest acquaintance or neighbour, but if your 
neighbour called every day for your umbrella on his way to the city, 
and other neighbours followed his example, so that you ceased to 
have the use of your own umbrellas, you would soon have either to 
refuse to lend, or to charge a rent for the use of them, and if this 
were convenient to your neighbours, and they were willing to pay you 
sufficient to cover the wear and tear of umbrellas, your time and 
trouble in looking after them, and interest on your capital invested in 
them, it will require arguments very different from any yet advanced 
to satisfy me that you would be morally wrong in doing so. In like 
manner, though you lend your friend or neighbour cab-money, or give 

264 ^ 1V LIFE 

him a bed for a night on rare occasions when he urgently requires 

h aid. you would give none ol these things repeatedly to a mere 

acquaintai Yet, if circumstances rendered such accommodation 

very useful to a considerable number of persons, and you or some our 

e found it profitable to Bupply such accommodation, you would 

charge rent for your beds, and interest for your loans, and the trans- 
action would differ nothing in principle from that of every tradesman 
who sells goods at a profit, of the innkeeper who cfaargl beds in his 

bill, or of the jobmaster who charges for the use of his horses or his 
carriages. Nothing deserving the name of proof has yet been given 
that either of these things are immoral. Whether it is a good and 
healthy state of society in which large numbers of persons get their 
living by such means, is another matter altogether. 

The difference of opinion on this question of usury arises mainly 
from the different standpoints of the disputants. Seeing that it is 
bound up with many of the evils of modern society, and believing that 
it should have no place in a system of true Socialism, you and Mr. 
Ruskin denounce it as immoral. Professor Newman, on the other 
hand, looks at it as a question of modern society, and finds nothing 
in its essential nature contrary to justice, and here he seems to me to 
have the best of the argument. No doubt, in a more perfect state of 
society, in which private accumulations of capital were comparatively 
small, and the land and its products were freely open to the use of 
all, usury would have little place, because loans of money would rarely 
be needed ; but when they were needed, I cannot see any grounds for 
maintaining that it would be morally wrong to lend money on inter- 
est. On the contrary, such loans would then retain their use without 
the evils their wide extension now brings. There would be no great 
capitalists, and if one man lent to another it would be a convenience 
to the borrower, and certainly some loss to the lender, because, as 
Professor Newman well puts it, £100 paid one year or ten years hence 
is not as valuable as £100 paid to-day. To say that it is so is really 
to say that it has no value to-day, for if its payment can be delayed 
one year without loss it can two, or three, or ten, or a hundred, or a 
thousand! Where are we to stop? If we suppose a perfect social 
state, we suppose all men to be producers, and as capital is an aid to 
production, no man can give up the use of his capital to another 
without loss. The true solution of the problem is, I believe, to be 
found in the proposition that all loans should be personal, and, there- 
fore, temporary; and that, as a corollary, the repayment of the capital 
should be provided for in the annual payments agreed to be made 
by the borrower either for a fixed period (if he live so long), 
or for the term of his life. This would abolish the idea of perpetual 
interest, which is as impossible in fact as it is wrong in principle, while 
it would avoid the injustice of compelling one man, or set of men, to 


pay the debts of a preceding generation from which they may have 
received no real benefit. 

This question of interest thus becomes involved in the wider ques- 
tion of the tyranny of capital over labour, and its remedy. At present, 
civilized Governments act on the presumption that great accumulations 
of capital are beneficial, and even necessary, to the well-being of the 
community, and all legislation favours such accumulations. When the 
people are once convinced that the reverse is the case, and legislation 
is directed to favour small holders of capital, and to check its inor- 
dinate accumulation, most of the evils complained of will cease. To 
this end the first step would be to get rid of all Government funds, 
guaranteed loans, railway stocks, etc., which are the main agents and 
tools by which capital is accumulated and money is made to breed 
money. This could be done in every case by making such stocks non- 
transferable after a certain date, and then declaring the payments to 
be terminable at the death of the holders and their living heirs, just 
as I propose to do in the case of landlords. The railways should be 
taken by the State, existing shareholders receiving annuities of the 
amount of their average dividends, payable in like manner to them- 
selves and their living heirs. The Limited Liability Act should be 
repealed, because it has served only to foster the worst and most 
iniquitious speculations, and has deluded the public into the idea that 
they could safely share in the profits of commercial enterprises of the 
nature and management of which they are profoundly ignorant. There 
would remain no safe investments for money, except in some branches 
of agriculture, manufactures, or commerce in which either the investor 
or some relation or friend was personally interested, and thus would 
be brought about the diminution and practical abolition of usury as a 
system, and of whole classes living idle lives on the interest of money 
derived from the accumulations of previous generations. 

Of course, it will be said that the plan here proposed is wholesale 
confiscation and repudiation ; but a little consideration will show that 
it is nothing of the kind, and that it is really the best thing that can 
happen even to the individual holders of the stocks dealt with. In the 
case of the National Debt, for example, fundholders are now threat- 
ened with a reduction of interest of a quarter per cent., and later on of 
a half per cent; and they will be forced to accept it, because the inter- 
est on the public debt regulates that of all other good investments, 
which will inevitably rise in price enormously if any considerable 
portion of the amount now invested in the funds seeks other invest- 
ments. The offer to pay off fundholders at par, will, therefore, be 
illusory, and the vast class who live upon their dividends will inevitably 
have their incomes reduced one-twelfth or one-sixth, while the cost of 
living goes on continually increasing. Would they not be far better 
off to have their present incomes secured to themselves and their 

266 MY LIFE 

living heirs? And when they fully realize their position, will they not 
choose the latter alternative if offered them? If the Bene of chang 
here sketched out were effected, the reign of capital as the tyrant and 
enemy of labour would be at an end. When the to. .is- with which the 
financier and the speculator work no longer exist, the piling up of 
great fortunes will be impossible, and much personal care and atten- 
tion will be required in order to make capital produce a steady return. 
Industry and commerce will be the sole means of acquiring wealth. 

and by these means alone — under flic iu-:e conditions of society— very 
great wealth can never he accumulated by one man. For the land 
being nationalized, and the use of some portion of it obtainable by 
all. the minimum of wages will rise far above the starvation point 
which now prevails, and every village or other community, however 
small, will consist of small capitalists, who will be ever ready to unite 
for the safe employment of their capital. Then will arise a variety of 
industries on a scale adapted to the size and wealth of the district, 
and calculated to utilize the surplus labour and spare time of the sur- 
rounding population; and these small industries will compete success- 
fully with the establishments of individual capitalists, because they 
will have an ample and cheap supply of labour, and because most of 
the labourers, or their relations, will be shareholders, and will be thus 
working for themselves. The individual capitalist will then find him- 
self paralyzed for want of labour, unless he offers great temptations 
in the form of high wages and participation in the profits. For when 
a large proportion of the population are settled upon the land, and are 
able to devote their savings and their spare time to local industries, 
they will not, as now, be forced to become parts of a huge manu- 
facturing machine in the success of which they have little personal 

By the methods here sketched out the labourer will receive, as Karl 
Marx and other social reformers maintain that he should do, the whole 
produce of his labour, and he will obtain this general result without 
any aid from Government, except what consists in remedying in- 
justice, and removing the restrictions on freedom which now hamper 
him. Without any laws against usury, usury will practically cease to 
exist. Without any direct restrictions on wealth, those vast and 
injurious accumulations of wealth which now prevail will be impos- 
sible. The " stealers " and the " beggars " who now, as Mr. Girdlestone 
has shown, are so numerous among us, will steadily give place to 
" workers," and just in proportion as that happens, poverty will 
diminish, and will ultimately disappear. Now, a large portion of the 
working population are employed in the production of useless and 
often tasteless luxuries and trifles, the direct consequence of the large 
number of persons who have surplus money to spend after all their 
reasonable wants and comforts are fully satisfied. It is this, much 


more than the mere number of idle people, that is the dead weight 
which keeps thousands starving in the midst of so much wealth. When 
mere extravagant luxuries are less in demand great masses of 
labourers will be set free to produce the necessaries and comforts of 
life; and these will be more abundant and cheaper (whatever their 
money price may be), and if all those who are now idle aid in the 
production of these necessaries and comforts, it is evident that, with 
free exchange, none can want. 

I would particularly call attention to the fact that the results here 
indicated would be all brought about by carrying out the true system 
of laissez-faire now so much abused as if it had failed, when really 
it has never been tried. Labour, the sole source of all wealth and well- 
being, has been fettered in all her limbs, and harassed in all her 
actions, and then because she often stumbles or faints by the way, 
they cry, " See, she cannot do without help ! " But first unloose your 
bonds, and cease to hamper her with your legal meshes, and then see 
if she will not achieve a glorious success. Let Government do its 
duty, and no more. Let it secure peace from external foes, and safety 
from internal violence; let it give free and speedy justice between man 
and man ; let it secure to all alike free access to the land and all 
natural powers ; let it abolish every monopoly of individuals and 
classes — either the local or central authority having the management 
of all institutions or industries which are essential to the public wel- 
fare, but which in private hands tend to become monopolies ; and let 
it enact that all debts contracted by individuals shall be payable by 
those individuals only, and those contracted by the municipality or 
State be payable by the generation which contracts them, so that they 
may never remain a burden on the succeeding generation. When it 
has done all this, then alone will labour be really free, and, being free> 
it will work out the well-being of the whole community without any 
Government interference whatever. This is the true laissez-faire ; and 
this, I believe, will enable us to realize the best social state which, 
in its present phase of development, humanity is capable of. The 
distant future will take care of itself; let us try to improve the future 
that is immediately before us. I have here very briefly and imperfectly 
sketched out a series of measures which I believe are best calculated 
to promote this object, and they have the great and inestimable ad- 
vantage that they all tend to the diminution of governmental inter- 
ference with labour and industry, instead of that indefinite increase of 
it which the German Socialists advocate, and which, as the greatest 
political thinkers maintain, and as all experience shows, must inevitably 
fail, while in the present condition of civilization it will probably lead 
to evils not less grave than those it attempts to cure. 

At this time I was in correspondence with Mr. Robert Mil- 

268 MY LIFE 

lcr, a wealthy gentleman of Edinburgh, who had read my 
book and had given a donation to our society, but who 
wished to give or bequeath a large part of his fortune for the 
benefit of the community at large. He was, however, much 
disturbed by the conflicting views of writers on the subject, 
and though he was much inclined to land-nationalization, he 
found it to be so strongly opposed by all the recognized 
authorities in political economy, as well as by most public 
writers and politicians, that he could not make up his mind 
what to do. In this uncertain frame of mind he was persuaded 
by some of his friends that the best thing he could do would 
be to have a conference of all the leading politicians and 
advanced thinkers to discuss the question, " What are the 
best means, consistent with justice and equity, for bringing 
about a more equal division of the accumulated wealth of the 
country, and a more equal division of the daily products of 
industry between Capital and Labour, so that it may become 
possible for all to enjoy a fair share of material comfort 
and intellectual culture, possible for all to lead a dignified 
life, and less difficult for all to lead a good life? " 

He proposed to devote £1000 for the expenses of the con- 
ference, and the following gentlemen agreed to act as trustees : 
Sir Thomas Brassey, Mr. John Burnett, Mr. Thomas Burt, 
the Earl of Dalhousie, Professor Foxwell, Mr. Robert Giffen, 
and Mr. Frederick Harrison. 

But these gentlemen did not adopt the very clear state- 
ment of the problem Mr. Miller wished to be enlightened 
upon, nor the highly humane and moral object he had in 
view, as shown by his own words given above. Instead of 
it they adopted a comparatively hard and colourless state- 
ment in the following terms : — " Is the present system or 
manner whereby the products of industry are distributed 
betzveen the various persons and classes of the community 
satisfactory? Or, if not, are there any means by which that 
system could be improved?" And this was again rendered 
still more bald and systematic by being stated under five 
heads and ten subdivisions, in the approved manner of the 
political economists, so as to limit the questions discussed to 


utilities, while excluding as much as possible all questions of 
justice or equity, of moral or intellectual advancement. 

The conference lasted three days, with morning and after- 
noon sittings ; about one hundred and fifty delegates repre- 
senting the chief labour associations of the kingdom attended ; 
and twenty representatives of political and social science, 
including myself, were invited to read papers. These papers, 
with some valuable statistics in appendices, and a report of 
the discussions on the chief papers, were published by Cassell 
and Co. in a thick 8vo volume of over 500 pages, entitled 
" Industrial Remuneration Conference Report." In the 
paper which I prepared, I endeavoured to go to the very 
heart of the question propounded by Mr. Miller, " How to 
cause Wealth to be more Equally Distributed." It occupies 
twenty-four pages of the Report, but I give here an abstract 
of it prepared for the newspapers. 




As the bulk of the community live on wages, the only means by which 
they can obtain a larger proportion of the wealth they produce is by 
wages becoming generally higher, and by work being more constant ; 
and in order that this change may be permanent, and be commensurate 
with the evil to be remedied, it must be brought about, not by any form 
of charity or of local or individual action, but by social rearrangements 
which will be selecting and self-sufficing. The fundamental objection 
often made that a general rise of wages would interfere with our 
foreign commerce was shown to be unsound, and it has been refuted 
by Mill, Fawcett, and other political economists. 

The cause of low wages was next discussed, and was shown to be 
due, not to a superabundance of labourers, but to the fact that the 
majority of labourers have nothing but daily wages between them- 
selves and starvation, under which conditions wages are necessarily 
driven down to the minimum on which life can be supported. This 
absolute dependence of labourers on daily earnings is at a maximum 
in great cities where access to land and to natural products is com- 
pletely cut off, and it is here that these earnings sink to their mini- 
mum, and at the same time that the wages of highly-skilled labour is 

2 ;o MY LIFE 

at a maximum, the latter phenomenon being that which is chiefly 
dwelt on by economists. Illustrative cases of these low wages were 
given, and they were shown to be intimately connected with the 
existence and continued growth of our great cities. 

The diminution of the population of the purely agricultural districts 
was next dwelt upon, and it was traced back to the circumstance that 
the natural growth and extension of village communities is checked 
by the direct action of landlords. Evidence of this fact was adduced 
from the writings of Sir George Grey, Mr. Francis Heath, John 
Bright, Mr. Thomas Hardy, and the Rev. Stopford Brooke, and 
its deplorable results were shown to be a great diminution of food 
produced in the country, overcrowding, and intense competition, with 
incalculable vice and misery in towns. 

The beneficial results of allowing labourers to have land were next 
detailed. Evidence was adduced showing the great amount of produce 
which is obtained by labourers from allotments, although these are, 
comparatively, disadvantageous both to the labourers themselves and to 
society; and they are altogether condemned by John Stewart Mill as 
being bad in principle. But in every case in which labourers have 
been allowed a few acres of land at a fair rent, and attached to their 
cottages, the effects have been most beneficial. Not only have they 
obtained a large increase to their means by utilizing labour before 
wasted, but they and their families have acquired habits of temperance, 
industry, and thrift, so that pauperism and drunkenness have been 
greatly diminished, and the population has been elevated, both socially 
and morally. 

In order to extend these beneficial results to the whole community, 
the labourer asks for neither charity nor loans, but fair opportunity 
and equal justice. It was urged that the necessary capital will be 
saved by the more industrious and thrifty labourers when they have 
before them the certainty of procuring that dream of their lives, " a 
homestead of their very own;" while nothing would so certainly lead 
to failure as any extensive system of loans to enable those who have 
not these essential virtues to obtain the needful land, stock, and houses 
without them. 

The scheme suggested as most beneficial to labourers and to the 
community at large is as follows : 

(i) In each rural parish four land-assessors to be chosen by the 
ratepayers, two to be farmers and two labourers. 

(2) Any labourer or mechanic wanting a plot of land shall have it 
allotted to him by two of the assessors, one named by himself and one 
by the existing occupier of the land, after the parties have met together 
on the ground and stated their wishes and objections. 

(3) The rent of the land thus allotted to be fairly valued by the 
assessors, who will also determine the sum to be paid for improve- 


ments, unexhausted manures, etc., on the land, which last sum must be 
paid before obtaining possession. 

(4) The rents of the plots thus allotted to be collected by the local 
rate-collector, and the amounts, less a percentage for collection, to be 
paid to the landlord. 

(5) The tenure of the plots to be secure so long as they are person- 
ally occupied, and to be saleable or transferable ; while the rents are to 
be fixed for long periods, and only raised by a new general valuation 
in case the value of the land itself has risen irrespective of all im- 
provements, which last remain the absolute property of the tenant. 

By the method thus sketched out no attack is made on private prop- 
erty, and no new principle in dealing with land is introduced, since 
many industrial enterprises calculated chiefly to benefit individuals 
often obtain from Parliament the right to take land. It is now only 
asked that the same power may be given to the people at large, under 
strict limitations, and in order to benefit the whole community by 
bringing about a more natural distribution of population, and a greater 
and more varied production of food and other useful products. 

Various popular objections to labourers having land were then 
answered, and it was shown that none of them has any force as 
applied to the proposed scheme, the claims and merits of which were 
summed up as follows : 

(1) That it goes to the very root of the matter, since, by rendering a 
large number of labourers less dependent on daily wages as their only 
means of obtaining food, it would immediately and necessarily raise 
the standard of wages; and this is absolutely the only means by which 
the labouring classes may at once be enabled more fully to share in the 
products of industry. 

(2) It does this in the simplest conceivable way, by throwing down 
the barriers which now prevent labour from spreading over the land. 

(3) It would enable every labourer, by industry and thrift, to realize 
his highest aspiration — " a homestead of his own." 

(4) It would largely increase the food supply of the country, especi- 
ally in dairy produce, poultry, fruit, and vegetables, now to the amount 
of thirty-eight millions annually imported from abroad. 

(5) It would, by a self-acting, gradual process, withdrawing the con- 
gested population of the towns back to the rural districts from which 
they have so largely come in recent times, and would at the same time 
benefit all who remained by both raising their wages and lowering 
their rents. 

(6) It would completely settle both the Irish and the Highland land 
questions by satisfying the just claims of the labourers and cottiers in 
one country, and the crofters in the other, and would open up to 
human industry extensive areas of both countries, once cultivated, but 
now devoted exclusively to cattle, sheep, or game. 


(7) Tt would also bring about a great moral reform, since all experi- 
ence proves that the possession of land on a secure tenure is the best 
incentive to sobriety, industry, and thrift. 

(8) And, lastly, all this can be effected Without any financial opera- 
tion or increased taxation, and with no greater interference with landed 
property than is allowed to many of the speculations of capitalists of 
far less general utility, and often of none whatever. 

Whether the originator of the conference obtained any- 
thing worth the thousand pounds expended is doubtful. There 
was no independent and judicial summing-up of the evi- 
dence adduced, and the opinions expressed, and the great 
variety and contradictory nature of these opinions, often 
quite unsupported by any facts, must have left his mind in a 
state of greater confusion and uncertainty than before. At 
all events, I believe he did not leave any large sum to be 
devoted to helping on the cause he had so much at heart. 
At the meeting devoted to the land question, at which my 
paper and one by Professor Francis W. Newman were read, 
the discussion, instead of being kept to the subject of the two 
papers, consisted mainly of a declamatory battle between 
the socialists and individualists, both declaring that our 
proposals were useless, because they were not in accordance 
with those of either party. Mr. A. J. Balfour, however, did 
criticize my proposals, declaring, without adducing any evi- 
dence, that if labourers all had from one to five acres of land 
on a secure tenure, they could not live on it, and would there- 
fore be quite as much dependent on the farmers and obtain 
as low wages as when they were quite landless. This amazing 
statement was made in the face of the almost life-long experi- 
ence of Lords Tollemache and Carrington, in four counties, 
and of facts adduced in the reports of the latest Royal 
Commission on Agriculture, which an M.P. and prospective 
Prime Minister ought to have known something about. 
Professor J. Shield Nicolson also sent a " Note on Dr. 
Wallace's Paper," the chief points being that five-acre lots 
would not alleviate agrarian distress in the Highlands — which 
I knew quite as well as he did — and more especially that my 
simple method of valuation would utterly break down and 


satisfy no one, and contending that " nothing but an elaborate 
system of law and judicial machinery could make such a plan 
tolerable " ! He had himself read a paper, with suggestions 
for a number of mild ameliorations of the present system, 
which, in its essentials, was to remain untouched. 

The result was, I think, to show that a conference of op- 
posing parties, each looking at the question from an absolutely 
different standpoint, and with no possibility of agreement as 
to fundamental principles, cannot lead to any definite con- 
clusion. The method adopted by the Land Nationalization 
Society was the only one calculated to produce any definite 
results, viz. to lay down certain fundamental principles, capable 
of logical demonstration, and by means of an association for 
the purpose to educate the public on the subject, both by 
argument and by a constant appeal to all facts or experi- 
ments which serve to illustrate the evils of the present system 
and the benefits of that which we propose to substitute for it. 
This has been done both by land nationalizers and socialists, 
with, on the whole, most satisfactory results. On the one 
hand, the socialists are agreed that, as a first step, free access 
to land, with a view to its future nationalization, is vitally 
important; while on the other hand, the workers no longer 
say, as they did at the congress, " Land nationalization will be 
of no use to us." This is an important advance in the short 
space of twenty years. 

Among the few eminent men who joined our movement 
was Professor F. W. Newman, and I had the pleasure of 
meeting him several times at the house of my friend Mr. 
A. C. Swinton, and I also had some correspondence with him; 
but there is little in the few letters I have worth quoting. 
The following is the concluding paragraph of a letter dated 
June 6, 1882 : " Our duty is to do what we can, in detail ; but 
the longer I live the less hope I have of justice, without 
changes so great in the persons who hold power that it will 
be called a revolution. I mean justice, not as to land tenure 
only, but as to many other things equally sacred, perhaps more 
vital. Until popular indignation rises, I expect no result; 

274 MY LIFE 

and when it rises it may seem easier to make a clean sweep 
than carry a quarter measure. 

" Be assured that I look up to you with gratitude. 

"F. W. Newman." 

Soon after our society was started, Henry George, author 
of that remarkable work, " Progress and Poverty," came to 
England, and I had the pleasure of making his acquaintance. 
He spoke at several of our meetings and elsewhere in London, 
as well as in various parts of England and Ireland. He was 
a very impressive speaker, and always held his audience. 
His delivery was slow and deliberate ; so much so as to 
appear sometimes as if he had broken down, but he was 
always cool and collected, and when the next sentence 
came one saw that the pause was made either for the 
purpose of choosing the right phrase or of producing 
a greater effect. The following passages, in a letter written 
from Dublin in November, 1881, soon after his arrival, show 
how a well-educated and thoughtful American was impressed 
by the English rule of Ireland : 

" I had not intended to speak in public before coming to 
England; but I feel so much sympathy with the Irish people 
in their resistance to the degrading tyranny now rampant 
here, that it seems to me cowardly to refuse any little assist- 
ance I might give, and I have told some gentlemen who have 
been urging me that I will lecture this week for the benefit of 
the Political Prisoners' Aid Society, of which Miss Helen 
Taylor is President. 

'' I had the pleasure of meeting that lady here, and the 
pleasure of listening to her address to the ladies of the Land 
League — a speech that I wished could have rung through the 
length and breadth of England. When will the great English 
party to whom the future will be given raise its head? I long 
for its advent. If this is Liberalism which I see here, what 
Toryism may be I can with difficulty imagine. 

" I have had the pleasure, too, of meeting an Irish Catholic 
bishop who is with us entirely — Bishop Nulty, of Meath — a 
prelate who does not hesitate to declare that private property 


in land is an injurious blasphemy. He is fettered to some 
extent, of course, but he wields great influence, and we shall 
hear from him before this thing is over." 

The lady above referred to, step-daughter of John Stuart 
Mill, was an earnest land-nationalizer and a valued supporter 
of our society. She was always ready to speak at our meet- 
ings ; she supported us liberally by donations and subscrip- 
tions, and she gave to our public proceedings that tone of 
sympathy, humanity, and idealistic enthusiasm which was of 
great importance to us. 

Among my early correspondents on the land question 
were Mr. Jesse Collings and Mr. J. Boyd Kinnear, both after- 
wards M.P's. The latter gentleman was so much interested 
in my writings on this and allied questions, that he invited 
me and my wife to visit him at Guernsey, where he was then 
living. We spent a delightful week on that beautiful island, 
either driving or walking over it. Mr. Boyd Kinnear was a 
practical farmer and agricultural chemist, and had a small 
farm close to the town of St. Pierre, with the usual large 
vinery under glass. While here, we thoroughly discussed the 
land and other questions, and though I could not quite con- 
vert him, we agreed generally in our political and social 

Among the most esteemed of the friends I owed to " Land 
Nationalization," were two eminent Scotchmen, both poets, 
and both ardent lovers of justice and humanity — Professor J. 
Stuart Blackie and Charles Mackay. The former wrote to 
me in July, 1882, saying that he had just finished the " care- 
ful study " of my " Land Nationalization," and that he was 
" happy to find it so much in accordance with my oldest 
and most mature speculations, and — what is of more impor- 
tance — observations on the subject." He sent me a copy of 
his small volume, " Alteriora," with a chapter on the " Suther- 
land Clearances," and he concluded, " As to your remedy for 
the gigantic evils which our present system of land laws 
entail, they recommend themselves strongly to every con- 
sistent thinker." 


Both he and J suffered some inconvenience from having 
mentioned the name of the agent who carried out the terrible 
Sutherland evictions in the first two decades of the nineteenth 
century, as it is given in all the early narratives, as well as in 
the report of the trial of the agent for arson and murder, 
when, of course, he was acquitted. I lis sons were at that time 
alive, and protested against the puhlication. Both our pub- 
lishers were frightened. Professor Blackie withdrew his book, 
and published a second edition much cut down. I placed 
mine in the hands of a new publisher, and I promised that in 
a new edition I would omit the name of the agent, but refused 
to make any alterations in the statements of facts. 

Three years later (in December, 1885), when I was lectur- 
ing- in Edinburgh, I had the great pleasure of meeting Pro- 
fessor Blackie. I was staying with the late Mr. Robert Cox, 
at whose house the Professor was an intimate. He called 
soon after I arrived, and on hearing my name, he cordially 
embraced me (in the continental fashion) as one with whom 
he was in complete sympathy, and then threw himself upon 
the rug to talk to Mrs. Cox. Afterwards I had a long con- 
versation with him on all the subjects that interested us most, 
and was delighted with his geniality no less than with his 
intense human sympathy, especially in the case of the cruelly 
disinherited Highlanders. 

Although I had for many years been a great admirer of 
Charles Mackay's Songs and Poems, and that I was quite 
near him while we lived at Dorking, from August, 1876, to 
March, 1878, I did not make his acquaintance till some years 
afterwards, as, owing to my constitutional shyness, I do not 
think I ever made the first overtures to any man, or even 
called upon any one without some previous correspondence 
or introduction. But several years later I sent him a copy 
of my "Land Nationalization" (I think probably on the 
suggestion of some one who knew him), with a letter begging 
his acceptance of it. This brought me three letters in rapid 
succession — one acknowledging it, saying he had been very 
ill for six months, but adding that he had been an adherent 


of our cause for forty years, and referring me to his poem, 
" Lament of Cona for the Unpeopling of the Highlands." 
Five days later he wrote again, saying: 

" I have read every line of your admirable volume on 
1 Land Nationalization ' with the greatest interest and profit. 
I agree with every one of your arguments, which are all 
incontrovertible, and not only lucidly, but triumphantly placed 
before the reader. They must convince and make converts 
of every unprejudiced person who will attentively study them 
with the sole view of arriving at the truth." He then refers 
to his own writings in the same direction of forty years before, 
naming " The Cry of the People " — and there are many others 
— concluding, ' I am afraid that age and ill-health will not 
allow me to labour much further in the cause ; but what I can 
do, I will do. If my name is of any use to your society, you 
are free to it. 

" Believe me, with the highest esteem and regard, 

Yours most cordially, 

Charles Mackay." 


The next day he wrote me again, and as this contains 
matter of wide public interest, and points to a legal public 
right which has been, and may still be enforced, I here 
give it : 

" I omitted in my letter of yesterday to mention a fact, 
which, if you are unaware of it, may possibly be of interest 
to you. It is recalled to my mind by the remarks in your 
book (pages 128, 129) on the closing of large tracts of 
country by selfish and tyrannical Highland proprietors, for 
the purpose of creating solitudes for the cultivation and pres- 
ervation of deer. The practice is clearly illegal, in contra- 
vention of an old, and unrepealed Scottish law, entitled ' Free 
Foot in the Wilderness.' Many years ago, when I was editor 
of the Glasgow Argus, I fought the Duke of Athol in its 
columns, and appealed to the law, not without success, in the 
famous Glen Tilt case. I wrote some stinging verses about 
his grace on the occasion, entitled ' Baron Braemar,' which 
had a considerable spurt of popularity — which the Queen read, 


ami of which she expressed her approval (and agreement) 
to her physician, Sir James Clark, an old friend of mine, who 
told me about it. The Glen was thrown open for a time, but, 
1 believe, has been closed up again with as much rigour as 

In the following year he removed to London for good 
medical attendance, and wrote me a very flattering letter 
after reading my ° Malay Archipelago." The next year 
(1886) I was able to call on him when in London for a day, 
at his apartments in Longridge Road, South Kensington, 
wdien we had a long talk, and he afterwards wrote to me as 
u My dear friend and philosopher." On the occasion of this 
visit he introduced me to his step-daughter, Miss Marie 
Corelli, a very pleasant young lady, whose future eminence 
as a writer I did not divine. 

Charles Mackay is, apparently, hardly classed as a poet, 
since in Chambers's Biographical Dictionary he is spoken of 
as a song-writer ; and a modern poet to whom I once mentioned 
him was ignorant of his existence. Some know him only by 
his " Emigrant " songs, which were set to music by Henry 
Russell, and are often thought to have been composed by him. 
These songs have a charm and a music in the sentiments and 
the rhythm, which owe nothing to the music. What can be 
more inspiring than the last lines of " Cheer, Boys ! Cheer ! " — 

"Here we had toil and little to reward it, 
But there shall plenty smile upon our pain, 
And ours shall be the mountain and the forest, 
And boundless prairies ripe with golden grain." 

Or the first verse of " To the West "— 

" To the West ! to the West ! to the land of the free, 
Where mighty Missouri rolls down to the sea, 
Where a man is a man if he's willing to toil, 
And the humblest may gather the fruits of the soil. 
Where children are blessings, and he who hath most, 
Hath aid for his fortune and riches to boast; 
Where the young may exult, and the aged may rest, 
Away, far away, to the Land of the West ! " 


Every fact, every hope in these songs were literally true 
when they were written, as contemporary American literature 
clearly shows, but the growth of capitalism and land monopoly 
during the last thirty years has rendered them almost a 

Mackay had not the magic of words and phrases, or the 
deep idealism which characterise the highest poetry, and could 
not therefore rank with Tennyson, William Watson, Lowell, 
or Edwin Markham; but he was the equal of Longfellow 
or Scott, and perhaps superior to both in the infinitely varied 
matter of his verse. His ballads and stories were unsur- 
passed for vigour and originality of treatment — such as his 
" Invasion of Scotland by the Northmen," his " Thor's Ham- 
mer," and his " Lament of Cona for the Unpeopling of the 
Highlands"; while "The Man in the Dead Sea," "The 
Interview," "The Building of the House/' "We are Wiser 
than We Know," and " Eternal Justice " deal with some of 
those grand problems in the elucidation of which the poet 
is so often the seer. At my request he wrote for us some 
verses on the land question, which, as they are not included 
in any edition of his poems, I give here. 

Free Land for a Free People. 

" Thank God for the Sunshine, the Air, and the Sea 
For the Rain and the Dew, ever free to the free ! 
No landlords can parcel them out, or conspire 
To sell them, or tax them, or let them on hire ; 
And close up with barriers what Nature design'd, 
In mercy and love for the needs of Mankind! 

" There's a break in the clouds — there's a gleam in the sky, 
There's a beautiful star shining brightly on high, 
That heralds the dawn of the long-promised day, 
When Right shall be Might, and shall nourish for aye; 
When Man in the strength of his manhood shall stand, 
To enjoy, and possess, and replenish the land. 

" With our faces to heaven and our feet on the sod, 
We swear by the faith that we cherish in God — 

280 MY LIFE 

By the breeze of the sky, by the light of the sun, 

That the Land shall be ours, and that Right shall be done. 

Hear it, ye Tyrants, that hold us in thrall! 

God the great Giver gives freely to All ! " 

Charles Mack ay. 

Yet another of our true poets, but also one who is com- 
paratively unappreciated, Gerald Massey, is also one of our 
friends and supporters ; and he, too, has been so kind as to 
embody his thoughts in the following energetic verses for our 

The Earth for All. 

" Thus said the Lord — You weary me 

With prayers, and waste your own short years: 
Eternal truth you cannot see 

Who weep, and shed your sight in tears. 
In vain you wait and watch the skies, 

No better fortune thus will fall; 
Up from your knees I bid you rise, 

And claim the Earth for all. 

" They eat up Earth, and promise you 

The Heaven of an empty shell. 
'Tis theirs to say : 'tis yours to do, 

On pain of everlasting hell, 
They rob and leave you helplessly, 

For help of Heaven to cry and call; 
Heaven did not make your misery, 

When Earth was given for all ! 

" Behold in bonds your Mother Earth ! 
The rich man's prostitute and slave ! 
Your Mother Earth that gave you birth, 

You only own her for a grave. 
And will you die like slaves, and see 

Your Mother left a bounden thrall; 
Or live like men to set her free 
As Heritage for all?" 

Gerald Massey. 

Here we have the same idea expressed in different forms 
by two of our sweetest singers ; and it is to be specially noted 
that they are both much more than poets ; while Gerald Massey 


has mastered one of the most difficult of modern studies — 
Egyptology — on which he has published two very bulky works ; 
and even the specialists, who reject some of his conclusions, 
admit that his presentation of the facts shows an enormous 
amount of research. 

Another of our supporters from an early date was Grant 
Allen, a man of the very highest talents who, had he not 
been compelled by circumstances to write novels, reviews, 
and magazine articles for a living, would probably have be- 
come one of our greatest philosophical naturalists and ex- 
pounders of evolution. But, like myself, he was more than 
a land nationalizer, and my first knowledge of his political 
and social views was derived from an article he wrote on the 
condition of India somewhere about 1880. Through my friend, 
the late Sir David Wedderburn, I had become aware of the 
terrible defects of our government of that country owing 
to the ever-increasing influence of European planters, manu- 
facturers, and capitalists ; and I was also a reader of The 
Statesman, a paper bought out by a gentleman who had been 
for many years editor of one of the most advanced Calcutta 
newspapers, and who established it for the purpose of letting 
Englishmen know the real facts as to the government of India. 
All the statements in this paper were founded upon Govern- 
ment Reports or other official documents, referred to in detail. 
I knew, therefore, that Grant Allen's views as stated in this 
paper were correct, and therefore wrote to tell him how 
pleased I was to find that he was not only interested in phys- 
ical science, as was so often the case with my scientific friends. 
His reply is so interesting that I will here give the more 
important parts of it : 

" As to your remarks about the wrong actually perpetrated 
by us in India, I know only too much about that question. 
For three years I was employed by W. W. Hunter, Director- 
General of Statistics for India, in collecting and working up 
the district accounts and other materials in his possession. 
Not to put too fine a point upon it, Dr. Hunter is the literary 
whitewasher of the Indian Government. In working up the 

282 MY LIFE 

abundant reports and other documents submitted to me, I 
had plenty of opportunities for realizing what English rule 
really meant. In the ruin wrought by our land settlements 
especially, I collected a large number of facts and statistics; 
and I offered John Morlcy to work them into a paper on 
'The Indian Cultivator and His Wrongs'; but Morley did 
not care for the subject. The fact is, nobody in England 
wishes to move in the matter. I sent Knowles a paper two 
years ago about the same subject, dealing especially with the 
Ganges Canal — a vast blunder, bolstered up by cunningly 
contrived balance-sheets, in which deficits are concealed as 
fresh investments ; but he would not take it. I only got 
this article into the Contemporary by leaving out India, and 
looking at the question from a purely English point of view. 
I'm afraid the fact can't be blinked that most Englishmen 
don't mind oppression as long as the oppressed people are 
only blacks. A startling outrage, like the Zulu War, wakes 
them up for a moment; but chronic and old-standing sores, 
like India or Barbadoes, do not affect them." 

Neither do " chronic and old-standing sores " at home 
affect them. The slums, slow starvation, murder and suicide 
from want, one-third of our population living without a 
sufficiency of the bare necessaries for a healthy life — food, 
clothing, warmth, and rest; while another third, comprising 
together those who create the wealth of the nation, have not 
the amount of relaxation or the certainty of a comfortable 
old age which, in a country deserving to be called civilized 
every human being should enjoy. This, however, is a step 
or two beyond land nationalization, before leaving which I 
must refer to one application of its principles which any 
Government declaring itself to be " Liberal " ought at once 
to make law. I call it — 

Security of the Home. 

It is an old boast that an Englishman's house is his castle, but 
never was a boast less justified by facts. In a large number of cases a 
working man's house might be better described as an instrument of 
torture, by means of which he can be forced to comply with his land- 


lord's demands, and both in politics and religion submit himself entirely 
to the landlord's will. So long as the agricultural labourer, the village 
mechanic, and the village shopkeeper are the yearly or weekly tenants 
of the great land-owner, the squire, the parson, or the farmer, religious 
freedom or political independence is impossible. And when those em- 
ployed in factories or workshops are obliged to live, as they so often are, 
in houses which are the property of their employers, that employer can 
force his will upon them by the double threat of loss of employment and 
loss of a home. Under such conditions a man possesses neither free- 
dom nor safety, nor the possibility of happiness, except so far as his 
landlord and employer thinks proper. A secure home is the very first 
essential of political security and of social well-being. 

Now, all this has been said many times before, and we may go on 
saying it, and yet be no nearer to a remedy for the evil. But now that 
every worker, even to the hitherto despised and down-trodden agricul- 
tural labourer, has been given the right of some fragment of local self- 
government, it is time that, so far as affects the inviolability of the home, 
the landlord's power should at once be taken away from him. This is 
the logical sequence of the creation of Parish Councils. For to 
declare that it is for the public benefit that every inhabitant of a parish 
shall be free to vote for and to be chosen as a representative of his 
fellow-parishioners, and at the same time to leave him at the mercy of 
the individual who owns his house to punish him in a most cruel man- 
ner for using the privileges thus granted him, is surely the height of 
unreason and injustice. It is giving a stone in place of bread ; the 
shadow rather than the substance of political enfranchisement. 

Now it seems to me that there is one very simple and very effectual 
way of rendering tenants secure, and that is by a short Act of Par- 
liament declaring all evictions, other than for non-payment of rent, to 
be illegal. And to prevent the landlord from driving away a tenant by 
raising his rent to an exorbitant amount, all alterations of rent must be 
approved of as reasonable by a committee of the Parish or District 
Councils, and be determined on the application of either the tenant or 
the landlord. Of course, at the first letting of a house or small holding, 
the landlord could ask what rent he pleased, and if it was exorbitant he 
would get no tenant. But having once let it, the tenant should be secure 
as long as he wished to occupy it, and the rent should not be raised, ex- 
cept as allowed by some competent tribunal. No doubt a claim will be 
made on behalf of the landlords for a compulsory tenancy on the part 
of the occupier ; that is, that if the tenant has security of occupation, 
the landlord should have equal security of having a tenant. But the 
two cases are totally different. Eviction from his home may be, and 
often is, ruinous loss and misery to the tenant, who is therefore, to 
avoid such loss, often compelled to submit to the landlord's will. But 
who ever heard of a tenant, by the threat of giving notice to quit, com- 

284 ^ IV LIFE 


pelling his landlord to vote against his conscience, or to go to chapel 
instead of to church I The tenant needs protection, the landlord does 

The same results might also be gained (and perhaps more surely) by 
giving the Parish and District Councils power to take over all houses 
whose tenants are threatened with eviction, or with an unfair increase 
of rent; and that will come some day. But the plan of giving a legal 
permanent tenure to every tenant is so simple, so obviously reasonable, 
and so free from all interference with the fair money-value of the land- 
lord's property, that, with a little energy and persistent agitation, it 
might possibly be carried in a few years. Such an Act might be more 
or less in the following form: — "Whereas the security and inviolability 
of the Home is an essential condition of political freedom and social 
well-being, it is' hereby enacted, that no tenant shall hereafter be evicted 
from his house or homestead for any other cause than non-payment of 
rent, and every heir or successor of such tenant shall be equally secure 
so long as the rent is paid." A second clause would provide for a per- 
manently fair rent. 

This formed part of my address to the Land Nationaliza- 
tion Society at its annual meeting in 1895, and one would 
have thought that some Liberal or Radical or Labour Member 
would have made an effort to get so small yet so far-reaching 
and beneficial a measure discussed in the House of Commons. 
But no notice whatever was taken of the suggestion, and we 
have had for the succeeding ten years, and have to-day, cases 
of punishment by eviction for political or religious opinions. 
It is true that it is but a small and isolated portion of the 
much greater reform that we advocate, but, unlike most small 
measures, it goes directly to the root of a shameful oppression, 
and would do more to elevate the very poor and prepare the 
way for real reform than many whole sessions of even ' lib- 
eral " legislation. 

-fe j 

For about ten years after I first publicly advocated land 
nationalization I was inclined to think that no further funda- 
mental reforms were possible or necessary. Although I had, 
since my earliest youth, looked to some form of socialistic 

1 The late Lord Tollemache voluntarily recognized this, and gave 
his tenant-farmers leases for twenty-one years, determinable at their 
pleasure, but not at his. 


organization of society, especially in the form advocated by 
Robert Owen as the ideal of the future, I was yet so much 
influenced by the individualistic teachings of Mill and Spencer, 
and the loudly proclaimed dogma, that without the constant 
spur of individual competition men would inevitably become 
idle and fall back into universal poverty, that I did not bestow 
much attention upon the subject, having, in fact, as much 
literary work on hand as I could manage. But at length, in 
1889, my views were changed once for all, and I have ever 
since been absolutely convinced, not only that socialism is 
thoroughly practicable, but that it is the only form of society 
worthy of civilized beings, and that it alone can secure for 
mankind continuous mental and moral advancement, together 
with that true happiness which arises from the full exercise 
of all their facilities for the purpose of satisfying all their 
rational needs, desires, and aspirations. 

The book that thus changed my outlook on this question 
was Bellamy's " Looking Backward," a work that in a few 
years had gone through seventeen editions in America, but 
had only just been republished in England. On a first read- 
ing I was captivated by the wonderfully realistic style of the 
work, the extreme ingenuity of the conception, the absorbing 
interest of the story, and the logical power with which the 
possibility of such a state of society as that depicted was 
argued and its desirability enforced. Every sneer, every 
objection, every argument I had ever read against socialism 
was here met and shown to be absolutely trivial or altogether 
baseless, while the inevitable results of such a social state in 
giving to every human being the necessaries, the comforts, the 
harmless luxuries, and the highest refinements and social 
enjoyments of life were made equally clear. As the mere 
story had engrossed much of my attention, I read the whole 
book through again to satisfy myself that I had not over- 
looked any flaw in the reasoning, and that the conclusion was 
as clearly demonstrated as it at first sight appeared to be. 
Even as a story I found it bore a second almost immediate 
perusal, a thing I never felt inclined to give any book before 
(except, I think, in the case of Herbert Spencer's " Social 


Statics"), and during the succeeding- year I read it a third 
time, in order to refresh my memory on certain suggestions 
which seemed to me especially admirable. 

From this time I declared myself a socialist, and I made 
the first scientific application of my conviction in an article on 
'Human Selection' in the Fortnightly Review (September, 
1890), in which I showed how such a state as socialism 
postulates would result in the solution of two great problems, 
( 1 ) that of gradually reducing the rate of increase of the 
population through a later period of marriage, and (2) by 
setting up a process of sexual selection which would steadily 
eliminate the physically imperfect and the socially and morally 
unfit. This article called forth several expressions of ap- 
proval, which I highly value. It forms the last chapter of 
vol. i. of my " Studies, Scientific and Social." 

I now read several other books on socialism, such as Mr. 
Kirkup's " Enquiry into Socialism," an admirable resume, 
generally favourable ; William Morris's " News from No- 
where," a charming poetical dream, but as a picture of society 
almost absurd, since nobody seems to work except at odd times 
when they feel the inclination, and no indication is given of 
any organization of labour. Gronlund's "Our Destiny' ' is a 
beautiful and well reasoned essay on the influence of socialism 
on morals and religion, and his " Co-operative Common- 
wealth," an exposition of constructive socialism, which has 
given us in its title the shortest and most accurate definition 
of what socialism really is. " A Cityless and Countryless 
World," by Henry Olerich, an American writer, is an excellent 
exposition of an extreme form of what he calls co-operative 
individualism, which is really voluntary socialism; and I may 
here state for the benefit of those ignorant writers who believe 
that socialism must be compulsory, and speak of it as a 
" form of slavery," that my own definition of socialism is 
" the voluntary organization of labour for the good of all." 
All the best and most thoughtful writers on socialism agree 
in this; and for my own part I cannot conceive it coming 
about in any other way. Compulsory socialism is, to me, 
a contradiction in terms — as much so as would be compulsory 


friendship. The only modern work I have met with that 
advocates compulsion in initiating socialism is Mr. F. W. 
Hayes's " Great Revolution of 1905," a very clever book, 
but hopelessly out of tune with the socialist ideal by the ruth- 
less compulsion and punishment of the opponents of the sup- 
posed social revolution. 

Among books which deal rather with the evils of the present 
system than with constructive socialism, but which neverthe- 
less give eloquent expression to its fundamental ideas and 
aspirations, I may mention " Darkness and Dawn, the Peace- 
ful Birth of a New Age " — an anonymous work which, in its 
terrible description of the horrors of the factory system in 
all its forms and ramifications, is unsurpassed in our language ; 
and Robert Blatchford's " Merrie England," issued first at a 
shilling, then at fourpence, then at a penny, and of which 
three-quarters of a million copies were sold in about a year. 

But the most complete and thoroughly reasoned exposi- 
tion, both of the philosophy and the constructive methods of 
socialism, is to be found in Bellamy's later work, " Equality," 
which comparatively few, even of English socialists, are 
acquainted with. The book is a sequel to " Looking Back- 
ward," and contains more than twice the matter. It shows, 
systematically, how our existing system of competition and 
individual profit — capitalism and enormous private wealth — 
directly lead to overwork, poverty, starvation, and crime; 
that it is necessarily wasteful in production and cruelly un- 
just in distribution; that it fosters every kind of adulteration 
in manufacture, and almost necessitates lying in trade; that 
it involves the virtual slavery of the bulk of the population, 
and checks or destroys any real progress of the race. It also 
shows how, even the wealthy few, and also the members of 
each successive grade of comparative well-being, suffer from 
it socially, by the extreme restriction in each locality of pos- 
sible intimate associates and friends; it shows how we can 
never attain to the maximum benefits and enjoyment of social 
intercourse without that absolute equality of economic condi- 
tion, educational opportunities, and social conventions, which 
alone put us at ease with our fellow-men ; while the enormous 

288 MY LIFE 

loss to all of us of the infinite varieties of character, ability, 
and even genius, now forbidden any adequate development by 

the cruel struggle for existence and the shortened lives, are 
clearly set forth. And as every one of the wasteful and cruel 
and debasing influences of our competitive system will cease 
to exist under a rational socialism, labour will be diminished 
to an almost inconceivable extent, while every possible enjoy- 
ment of nature, of art, and of congenial friendship will be 
indefinitely increased. Until these two works of Bellamy have 
been carefully read and thoroughly appreciated, no one can 
properly realize what such a state of society means ; while 
to any one who has done so, the stock objections to socialism 
will be seen to be utterly trivial and absurd. 

One of the most striking and convincing chapters in 
" Equality ' is that which describes the means by which, 
after a majority were in favour of it, and a Socialist Govern- 
ment had been elected, the great change was brought about, 
and, without any compulsion whatever, was soon welcomed 
and accepted by the adverse minority. This method is so 
simple, and so little known, that it may be well to give a 
brief outline of it here. 

It is assumed that, before this period, there had already 
been a great extension of governmental and municipal 
industry, all the railways and mines, telegrams and tele- 
phones being worked by the former; all water, gas, electric 
light and power, trams, etc, by the latter. The employees 
in these, together with all persons connected with the courts, 
the police, the revenue, and other Government offices, with 
their families, would comprise a population of several million 
persons paid by and dependent on general or local govern- 
ments. The first important step taken is the opening of 
Government stores to supply all these persons with food, 
clothing, and other necessaries of life at cost price, and of 
the best quality, absolutely free from adulteration, just as 
Robert Owen did for his people at New Lanark. As the 
numbers to be supplied would be exactly known, as no 
advertisements would be needed beyond simple price-lists, 
and as there need be no attractive shops in great thorough- 


fares at high rents, these necessaries could always be supplied 
at 25 per cent., and often at 50 per cent, below actual retail 
prices of the time. Robert Owen at New Lanark, with the 
comparatively small population of 2500 people, was able to 
supply goods of similar character at about 30 per cent, below 
shop prices. As this would be equivalent to an increase of 
earnings by all these employees, all other socialists, whose 
votes had brought the Government into power, asked for 
similar benefits, which were, of course, given them. Then an 
extension was made to the manufacture of the most important 
articles, such as metal goods of all kinds, china and glass, all 
the commoner textile fabrics, furniture, house-building, etc., 
so that in the course of a few years every necessary and 
comfort of life would be obtainable by all socialists at the 
Government stores, at low prices and of the very best quality. 
At the same time, the health of all these employees would be 
safeguarded by every available sanitary appliance and rule ; 
hours of work would be shortened in proportion to the 
fatigue or the monotony of the labour, and everything possible 
would be done to make the worker's life a healthy and 
enjoyable one. And as all these things would be done at 
their own expense, since all the products of labour would be 
sold at the price they cost to make and distribute, the non- 
socialists could not possibly complain, as they would not be 
called upon to bear any of the expense, but would have to 
go on purchasing the adulterated and costly products of 
private competition and capitalism as before. 

Is it not a fair supposition which Bellamy makes, that at 
this stage of progress all the workers, all the wage-earners 
and employees of the private capitalists would beg to be taken 
into Government employment so as to share in the well-being 
of their socialist fellow-workmen? The result would be 
that, gradually and successively, all industry would become 
organized under the local authorities in co-operation with the 
various central stores and manufactories. During this pro- 
cess of extension private capitalists would find it more and 
more difficult to obtain skilled labour of any kind. They 
would then find that their former boasted ' capital ' was 

290 MY LIFE 

not the chief factor in the production of wealth; that though 
they might have money, they would not possess wealth* The 
Government stores would, of course, be used by socialists only, 
by means of a system of tickets or paper money, as described 
by Bellamy; capitalists and their managers would gradually 
have to join the socialist ranks as organizers or superinten- 
dents if they had the capacity, or if they preferred to live 
idle lives they might go to other countries where the com- 
petitive regime still prevailed. It may, of course, be said 
that this would not succeed ; that the Government could not 
compete with private capitalists, manufacturers, and shop- 
keepers. But few people who really think of the matter will 
believe this. The American Trusts do succeed in competition 
with the whole world, because they posess some of the 
advantages a Government would possess in a still greater 
degree. But they result in small traders beggared and 
workers no longer wanted, and in the production of a hun- 
dred or more of multi-millionaires. If a socialist regime 
cannot, in the nature of things, succeed, why are all the great 
capitalists so dreadfully afraid of allowing any approach to 
a fair trial of it by municipalities or other local authorities ? 

After much consideration, however, I have come to the 
conclusion that this will not (probably) be the way in which 
socialism will come about in England, and that it would not 
be the easiest or the best way. I think it more likely that 
we shall pass through a stage of true " individualism," in 
which complete " equality of opportunity " will be established. 
I have sufficiently explained this in my " Studies," vol. ii., 
chap, xxviii. ; and if to this we add the broad scheme of 
general education outlined by Mr. John Richardson in his 
admirable little book, " How it can be done," we shall have 
prepared the way for the rational society of the future. 
Equality of opportunity is, as Herbert Spencer has shown 
in his " Justice," the correlative of natural selection in human 
society, and has thus a broad foundation in the laws of 
nature. But Spencer himself did not follow out his principles 
to their logical conclusion as I have done. 

Many good people to-day who are almost horror-struck 


at hearing that any one they know is a socialist, would be 
still more amazed if they knew how many of the very salt of 
the earth belong (or did belong) to this despised and much 
dreaded body of thinkers. Grant Allen, one of the most 
intellectual and many-sided men of our time, was one of us ; 
so is Sir Oliver Lodge, one of our foremost students of 
physical science ; and Professor Karl Pearson, a great mathe- 
matical evolutionist. Among the clergy we have the Rev. 
John Clifford, R. C. Fillingham, and many others among the 
Christian socialists, who are as much socialists as any of us. 
Among men of university training or of high literary ability 
we have H. M. Hyndman, Edward Carpenter, J. A. Hobson, 
Sydney Webb, Hubert Bland, H. S. Salt, J. C. Kenworthy, 
Morrison-Davidson, and many others. Of poets there are 
Gerald Massey and Sir Lewis Morris. The labour members 
of Parliament are almost all socialists ; while Margaret 
Macmillan, the Countess of Warwick, and many less known 
women are earnest workers for the cause. 

I should almost think that Mrs. Humphrey Ward w r as a 
socialist at heart or as an ideal, or she could not have set 
forth its principles and the arguments for it so well as she 
has done in " Marcella." But the weak and illogical con- 
clusion of that and some other books caused me to write to 
Grant Allen, urging him to write a thorough socialistic story, 
which I felt sure he could do better than any one I knew. 
His reply was so interesting from a literary point of view 
that I give it here. It is the last letter I received from him. 

" Hotel Royal, Varenna, Italy, April 24. 

" I despair of giving you in writing all the reasons why 
your suggestion is for me an impossible one. There are 
eleven thousand ; I will content myself with two. The first 
is practical. I have to write stories which editors will accept 
and the public will buy. Now, no editor will take a socialistic 
story — I have tried, and failed ; and the public will not buy 
such stories to a sufficient extent to pay for the trouble. As 
a general rule, the more in earnest I am about a subject, the 


less I get for it. The second reason is artistic. A story grows 
out of a plot or situation, and cannot be forced in the way 
you describe, as I at least do not know how to force it. 
Plots come. I could not invent a plot in order to sustain a 
particular thesis. Thank you so much for the many kind 
expressions in your letter. Come and see us some day on 
Hind Head, when you are passing up or down, and we will 
thrash this matter out more fully. 

" With very kind regards, 

" Cordially yours, 

" Grant Allen." 

I do not know to what he alludes when he says he " has 
tried and failed." " The Woman who Did ' was not social- 
istic, and I can only suppose he refers to a short story of life 
in a phalanstery, where all children in the least deformed are 
killed at one year old, for the improvement of the race ; and 
the feelings of the mother for her first-born are vividly de- 
scribed, though, as the law was absolute and known from 
childhood, it was submitted to uncomplainingly ! But neither 
of these stories had any necessar}^ connection with social- 
ism, and were especially repugnant to our customs and 
ideals. But there is nothing whatever repugnant in socialism 
itself, and I cannot believe that a story by a well-known 
and talented writer would be unsaleable merely because its 
field of action was a successful socialistic community. 

I may conclude this chapter with the answer I recently 
gave to the question, " Why am I a Socialist ? ' I am a 
socialist because I believe that the highest law of mankind 
is justice. I therefore take for my motto, " Fiat Justitia 
Ruat Ccelum ; " and my definition of socialism is, " The use, 
by every one of his faculties for the common good, and the 
voluntary organization of labour for the equal benefit of all." 
That is absolute social justice; that is ideal socialism. It 
is, therefore, the guiding star for all true social reform. 



I have already described my first introduction to mesmerism 
at Leicester, how I found that I had considerable mesmeric 
power myself, and could produce all the chief phenomena 
on some of my patients ; while I also satisfied myself that 
almost universal opposition and misrepresentations of the 
medical profession were founded upon a combination of 
ignorance and prejudice. I will here only add that my brother 
Herbert also possessed the power, and that when we were 
residing together at Manaos, he used to call up little Indian 
boys out of the street, give them a copper, and by a little 
gazing and a few passes send them into the trance state, and 
then produce all the curious phenomena of catalepsy, loss of 
sensation, etc., which I have already described. This was 
interesting because it showed that the effects could be pro- 
duced without any expectation on the part of the patients, and, 
further, that similar phenomena followed as in Europe, 
although these boys had certainly no knowledge of such phe- 
nomena. One day, I remember, when we were going out 
collecting, we entered an Indian's hut, where we had often 
been before, and my brother quietly began mesmerizing a 
young man nearly his own age. He did not entrance him, but 
obtained enough influence to render his arm rigid. This he 
instantly relaxed, and asked the Indian to lie down on the 
floor, which he did. My brother then made a pass along his 
body, and said, " Lie there till we return." The man tried to 
rise but could not, though several of his relatives were pres- 
ent. We then walked out, he crying and begging to be loosed. 
Thinking he would certainly overcome the influence we went 
on, and coming back about two hours later we found the 


294 MY LIFE 

man still on the ground, declaring he could not get up. On 

a pass from my brother and his saying, " Now get up," he 
rose easily. We gave him a small present, but he did not 
seem much surprised or disturbed, evidently thinking we 
were white medicine-men. Here, again, it seemed to me 
pretty certain that the induced temporary paralysis was a 
reality, and by no means due to the imagination of the usually 
stolid Indian. 

During my eight years' travels in the East I heard occa- 
sionally, through the newspapers, of the strange doings of the 
spiritualists in America and England, some of which seemed 
to me too wild and outre to be anything but the ravings of 
madmen. Others, however, appeared to be so well authenti- 
cated that I could not at all understand them, but concluded, 
as most people do at first, that such things must be either 
imposture or delusion. How I became first acquainted with 
the phenomena and the effect they produced upon me are fully 
described in the " Notes of Personal Evidence," in my book 
on " Miracles and Modern Spiritualism," to which I refer my 
readers. I will only state here that I was so fortunate as to 
be able to see the simpler phenomena, such as rapping and 
tapping sounds and slight movements of a table in a friend's 
house, with no one present but his family and myself, and 
that we were able to test the facts so thoroughly as to 
demonstrate that they were not produced by the physical 
action of any one of us. Afterwards, in my own house, 
similar phenomena were obtained scores of times, and I was 
able to apply tests which showed that they were not caused 
by any one present. A few years later I formed one of the 
committee of the Dialectical Society, and again witnessed, 
under test conditions, similar phenomena in great variety, 
and in these three cases, it must be remembered, no paid 
mediums were present, and every means that could be sug- 
gested of excluding trickery or the direct actions of any one 
present were resorted to. 

At a later period I paid frequent visits, always with some 
one or more of my friends as sceptical and as earnest inquirers 
after fact as myself, to one of the best public mediums for 


physical phenomena I have ever met with — Mrs. Marshall 
and her daughter-in-law. We here made whatever investiga- 
tions we pleased, and tried all kinds of tests. We always sat 
in full daylight in a well-lighted room, and obtained a variety 
of phenomena of a very startling kind, as narrated in the 
book referred to. During the latter part of my residence in 
London (1865-70) I had numerous opportunities of seeing 
phenomena with other mediums in various private houses in 
London. These were sometimes with private, sometimes with 
paid mediums, but always under such conditions as to render 
any kind of collusion or imposture altogether out of the 
question. During this time I was in frequent communication 
with Sir William Crookes, Mr. Cromwell Varley, Serjeant 
Cox, Mr. Hensleigh Wedgwood, Mr. E. T. Bennett, Mr. S. C. 
Hall, Professor and Mrs. de Morgan, Mr. W. Volckman, Rev. 
C. Maurice Davies, Dr. and Mrs. Edmunds, William Howitt, 
Mrs. Catherine Berry, and many other friends, who were 
either interested in or were actively investigating the subject; 
and through the kindness of several of them I had many 
opportunities of witnessing some of the more extraordinary 
of the phenomena under the most favourable conditions. At 
a much later period, when I visited America on a lecturing 
tour, I made the acquaintance of some of the most eminent 
spiritualists in Boston and Washington, and had many oppor- 
tunities of seeing phenomena and obtaining tests of a different 
kind from any that I had seen in England ; and some of these 
I may refer to later on. What I propose to do now is to 
give a consecutive outline 'of my correspondence with some 
of my scientific and literary friends on this subject, which 
will, I think, have some historical interest now that investiga- 
tions into physical phenomena are not treated in the same 
utterly contemptuous way they were in the early period of 
my inquiries. 

When I had obtained in my own house the phenomena 
described in my " Notes of Personal Evidence," I felt sure 
that if any of my scientific friends could witness them they 
w^uld be satisfied that they were not due to trickery, and 

29<> MY LIFE 

were worthy of a careful examination. I therefore first 
invited Dr. W. B. Carpenter to attend some of our sittings, 
telling him that I could not guarantee anything without a 
series of, say, half a dozen visits. He came one evening, the 
only other persons present being the medium — Miss Nichol — 
my sister, and myself. After a short time a few raps were 
heard on the table, and these were repeated, sometimes in 
different tones and sounding, at request, in any part of the 
table. They were not however strong, and soon came to an 
end. Dr. Carpenter sat quite still, and made hardly any re- 
mark. He knew from my statements that this was a mere 
nothing to what often occurred, and though I strongly urged 
him to come at least two or three times more, I never could 
prevail upon him to come again. 

I then tried to get Professor Tyndall to take up the sub- 
ject seriously, giving him an account of the results I had 
obtained, the tests I had applied, and the general conditions 
that seemed favourable or unfavourable. He replied in a 
letter which I now have before me, and as it shows how diffi- 
cult it then was to get any man of eminence to keep an open 
mind on this subject, I think it worth reproducing. 

" My dear Wallace, 

" Your sincerity and desire for the pure truth are 
perfectly manifest. If I know myself, I am in the same vein. 
I would ask one question. 

' Supposing I join you, will you undertake to make the 
effects evident to my senses? Will you allow me to reject 
all testimony, no matter how solemn or respectable? Will 
you allow me to touch the effects with my own hands, see 
them with my own eyes, and hear them with my own ears? 
Will you, in short, permit me to act towards your phenomena 
as I act, and successfully act, in other departments of nature? 

" I really wish to see the things able to produce this convic- 
tion in a mind like yours, which I have always considered to 
be of so superior a quality. 

" I am, very faithfully, 

" John Tyndall." 


I replied to this extraordinary letter by telling him that / 
could " undertake " nothing, but that the phenomena had 
occurred at various times when many different persons had 
been present ; that, of course, he could examine and test them 
as he pleased, but that if he really wished to witness the 
phenomena in all their variety, I strongly advised him to 
be a passive spectator on the first two or three visits, and 
only apply tests and impose conditions at a later period. I 
asked him to name a day, and he came. 

At the very beginning he forgot or purposely acted con- 
trary to my advice. On being asked to sit at the table with 
my sister, Miss Nichol, and myself, he declined, saying ' I 
never form part of my experiments. I will sit here and 
look on " — drawing his chair about a yard away. So we 
three sat without him, with our hands on the table; and 
rather to my surprise the rapping sounds began, and were 
much stronger and more varied in character than when Dr. 
Carpenter had heard them. They were, in fact, very varied 
in tone — some mere ticks, others loud slaps or thumps. But 
to all this he paid no attention. He joked with Miss Nichol, 
who was always ready for fun, and, after the raps had gone 
on some time, he remarked, " We know all about these raps. 
Show us something else. I thought I should see something 
remarkable." But nothing else came. Then, after a little 
talk and more chaff with Miss Nichol, he said " Good night " ; 
and though I begged him to appoint a day for the next sit- 
ting, he never came again. 

I next tried Mr. G. H. Lewes (whose acquaintance I had 
made at Huxley's), but he was too much occupied and too 
incredulous to give any time to the inquiry. During this 
time I was reading almost everything I could obtain upon 
the phenomena, and found that there was such a mass of 
testimony by men of the highest character and ability in 
every department of human learning, that I thought it would 
be useful to bring these together in a connected sketch of 
the whole subject. This I did, and sent it to a secularist 
magazine, in which it appeared in 1866, and I also had a 
hundred copies printed separately, which I distributed among 

298 MY LIFE 

my friends. It was called " The Scientific Aspect of the 
Supernatural," a somewhat misleading title, as in the in- 
troductory chapter I argued for all the phenomena, however 
extraordinary, being really " natural " and involving no altera- 
tion whatever in the ordinary laws of nature. Some years 
later (1874) this was included in my volume on "Miracles 
and Modern Spiritualism," with an additional chapter, " Notes 
of Personal Evidence." 

The letters I received from those to whom I sent copies 
of this little pamphlet were interesting though not instructive. 
Huxley wrote : " I am neither shocked nor disposed to issue 
a Commission of Lunacy against you. It may be all true, 
for anything I know to the contrary, but really I cannot get 
up any interest in the subject. I never cared for gossip in 
my life, and disembodied gossip, such as these worthy ghosts 
supply their friends with, is not more interesting to me than 
any other. As for investigating the matter — I have half-a- 
dozen investigations of infinitely greater interest to me — 
to which any spare time I may have will be devoted. I 
give it up for the same reason I abstain from chess — 
it's too amusing to be fair work, and too hard work to be 

To the latter part of this letter no objection can be made, 
but the objection as to " gossip " was quite irrelevant as 
regards a book which had not one line of " gossip ' in it, 
but was wholly devoted to a summary of the evidence for 
facts — physical and mental — of a most extraordinary charac- 
ter, given on the testimony of twenty-two well-known men, 
mathematicians, astronomers, chemists, physiologists, lawyers, 
clerygmen, and authors, many of world-wide reputation. 

Tyndall read the book " with deep disappointment," be- 
cause it contained no record of my own experiments. He 
knew Baron Reichenbach, and had visited him, and had seen 
all his apparatus and his methods. It was he who had re- 
proached Thackeray for allowing the article about " Home ' 
to appear in the Cornhill Magazine, and he added — 

" Poor Thackeray was staggered and abashed by the 
earnestness of my remonstrance regarding the lending the 


authority of his name to ' Stranger than Fiction; my great 
respect for Thackeray rendering my remonstrance earnest." 
Then he concludes with a gentle admonition to myself — 
" I see the usual keen powers of your mind displayed 
in the treatment of this question. But mental power may 
show itself, whether its material be facts or fictions. It is 
not lack of logic that I see in your book, but a willingness 
that I deplore to accept data which are unworthy of your 
attention. This is frank — is it not? 

" Yours very faithfully, 

" John Tyxdall." 

G. H. Lewes, to whom I had sent the little book with 
an invitation to investigate at my house the phenomena 
which occurred w T ith my friend Miss Nichol, replied much 
in the same way as Tyndall — that he was quite ready to 
examine any serious claim to spiritual power, but that he 
had " thoroughly examined " the phenomena, ' had forced 
Mrs. Hayden to avow herself an impostor," while all other 
mediums he had tested " were either impostors or dupes." 
Still, he would come to me if he could have "all the 
conditions of testing the phenomena freely accorded." He 
" would not permit a medium to determine the conditions 
or to open the usual loopholes of escape." He would also 
wish to bring Mr. Herbert Spencer, or some other scientific 
friend with him ; and he concluded, " I pledge you my word 
that I will publicly state, with all the accuracy I can, what- 
ever phenomena I may witness." 

I gladly accepted his offer, only stipulating as before that 
he should not impose conditions on the first occasion, and 
that he should devote at least six sittings (I think) of an 
hour each to the investigation before coming to any conclusion. 
But he never came at all. 

Several of my friends about this time urged me strongly 
to make a personal investigation of the subject. Among 
these were my old companion, H. W. Bates, and Professor 
E. B. Tylor. I was doing so at the time, but when I pub- 
lished the results a few years later, and about the same 

3 oo MY LIFE 

time Sir William Crookcs published his much more remark- 
able investigations, both alike were received with silence, 
incredulity, or contempt. 

Notwithstanding this refusal to accept my offer of a full 
examination of phenomena which had repeatedly occurred 
in my presence and had been submitted to varied tests, a year 
afterwards two of these men of science wrote to the Pall Mall 
Gazette (May 19, 1868), making various accusations against 
mediums and spiritualists. Mr. Lewes declared that scientific 
men are never allowed to investigate, but are put off by an 
evasion of some kind ; and many other things equally untrue. 
He then suggests that the whole thing can be tested by 
allowing Professor Tyndall to have one sitting with any 
medium, and to propose three questions for the spirits to 
answer correctly. I thereupon wrote to the editor with a full 
reply, pointing out that Mr. Cromwell Varley, the eminent 
electrician, had recently published the statement that he had 
been permitted to investigate fully by Mr. Home with satis- 
factory results. I then related a series of test experiments 
in my own house, and asked Mr. Lewes how his statement 
that others have discovered how the tables are turned (and 
can turn them), how the raps are produced (and can produce 
them), how the ropes are untied (and can untie them), can 
apply to such phenomena as I relate, and to such tests and 
conditions as I gave, or what bearing Professor Tyndall's 
proposed " three questions " could have upon them. 

This reply was, however, refused publication by the editor, 
and I wrote to Mr. Lewes suggesting that, for the sake of 
his own reputation, he should in future, if he wrote publicly 
on this subject, do so only in such journals as would admit 
a reply. As an example of the strange methods of our oppo- 
nents at this time, I may refer to Mr. Lewes's statement to me 
that " he had forced Mrs. Hayden to avow herself an im- 
postor." As this was important if true, because this lady 
was the medium whose phenomena had convinced Professor 
de Morgan, I inquired further about it, and found from 
Mr. Lewes's own statement of his experiment that he had 
asked a series of written questions which were answered 


through the alphabet by raps in the usual way, most of the 
answers being either vague or altogether wrong, and the 
last question was, " Is Mrs. Hayden an impostor ? " to which 
the answer was " Yes." And this ingenious trick he afterwards 
termed " forcing Mrs. Hayden to avow herself an impostor ! ' 

As it is always of interest to have at first-hand an ex- 
pression of the frame of mind of eminent men upon this 
subject, I here give a letter from John Stuart Mill to a 
gentleman who sent him a tract in which it was stated that 
he, along with Ruskin, Tennyson, and Longfellow, had be- 
come a believer in spiritualism, and asking if it were true. 
This gentleman, Mr. N. Kilburn, Bishop of Auckland, sent 
me a copy of Mill's reply, which was as follows — 

" It is the first time I ever heard that I was a believer 
in spiritualism, and I am not sorry to be able to suppose 
that some of the other names I have seen mentioned as 
believers in it are no more so than myself. 

" For my own part I not only have never seen any evidence 
that I think of the slightest weight in favour of spiritualism, 
but I should also find it very difficult to • believe any of it 
on any evidence whatever, and I am in the habit of express- 
ing my opinion to that effect very freely whenever the subject 
is mentioned in my presence. You are at liberty to make 
any use you please of this letter." 

This was dated " March 18, 1868," but I did not know of 
it till 1874, or I might have mentioned the subject when 
I dined with him in 1870. If by " any evidence whatever ' 
Mr. Mill meant testimony of others, I myself, and most 
spiritualists, were in the same frame of mind when we began 
our inquiries ; but as he used the word " evidence," he no 
doubt included personal evidence, and to decide beforehand 
that he would not believe it is very unphilosophical. Still, 
he only says difficult, not impossible, and here, again, I quite 
agree with him. 

At this same period I had letters from other men of 
various degrees of eminence of a much more satisfactory 
nature. On receipt of a copy of my pamphlet, Professor 
de Morgan wrote me as follows : — 

3 02 MY LIFE 

" I am much obliged to you for your little work, which 
is well adapted to excite inquiry. But I doubt whether 
inquiry by men of science would lead to any result. There 
is much reason to think that the state of mind of the inquirer 
has something — be it internal or external — to do with the 
power of the phenomena to manifest themselves. This I 
take to be one of the phenomena — to be associated with the 
rest in inquiry into cause. It may be a consequence oi action 
of incredulous feeling on the nervous system of the recipient ; 
or it may be that the volition — say the spirit, if you like — 
finds difficulty in communicating with a repellent organization ; 
or, maybe, is offended. Be it which it may, there is the fact. 

" Now the man of science comes to the subject in utter 
incredulity of the phenomena, and a wish to justify it. I 
think it very possible that the phenomena may be withheld. 
In some cases this has happened, as I have heard from good 

" I have had students 1 — a couple of dozen in my life — ■ 
whose effort always was not to see it. As I, their informing 
spirit, was under contract to make them see it if I could — 
which the spirits we are speaking of are not — I generally 
succeeded in convincing them. In their minds I have studied 
— with power of experiment arranged by myself — the charac- 
ter of the man of science. 

" D'Alembert said, speaking of mathematics — of all things 
— 'En avant et la foi viendra! But I doubt if the man of 
science of our day can persuade himself of a possibility of 
his fifth attempt destroying the effect of the failure of the 
first four 

" Your book will set many rational persons suspecting 
they ought to inquire. " Yours faithfully, 

" A. de Morgan." 

This seems to me to exhibit the scientific frame of mind, 
as manifested by Tyndall, Lewes, and W. B. Carpenter, with 
great perspicuity. 

1 De Morgan was one of the greatest mathematicians of his time, and 
Professor of Mathematics at University College. 


I had some correspondence at this time with William 
Howitt, and he and Mrs. Howitt came one evening for a 
seance with Miss Nichol, and were much pleased with the 
curious musical and other phenomena ; and I also made 
the acquaintance of Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall, and visited 
them to attend a seance with Home, which, although all 
present were friends and spiritualists, turned out a failure, 
owing to the circle being broken by Mr. Hall being called 
out on urgent business. 

But perhaps the most interesting response to a copy of 
my pamphlet was that from Robert Chambers, which I here 

" St. Andrews, February 10, 1867. 
" Dear Sir, 

" I have received your letter of the 6th inst., and 
your little volume. It gratifies me much to receive a friendly 
communication from the Mr. Wallace of my friend Darwin's 
1 Origin of Species,' and my gratification is greatly heightened 
on finding that he is one of the few men of science who 
admit the verity of the phenomena of spiritualism. I have 
for many years known that these phenomena are real, as 
distinguished from impostures ; and it is not of yesterday 
that I concluded they were calculated to explain much that 
has been doubtful in the past, and when fully accepted, 
revolutionize the whole frame of human opinion on many 
important matters. 

% 9 • • • 

" How provoking it has often appeared to me that it 
seems so impossible, with such a man, for instance, as Huxley, 
to obtain a moment's patience for this subject — so infinitely 
transcending all those of physical science in the potential 
results ! 

" My idea is that the term ' supernatural ' is a gross mis- 
take. We have only to enlarge our conceptions of the natural, 
and all will be right. " I am, dear sir, 

" Yours very sincerely, 

''Robert Chambers." 

3 04 MY LIFE 

In the latter part of the year, while attending" the meeting 
of the British Association at Dundee, I visited St. Andrews, 
and after a geological excursion under the guidance of Sir 
A. Geikie, and a collation with the university authorities, at 
which Robert Chambers was present, I had the great pleasure 
of an hour's conversation with him in his own house. The 
Spiritual Magazine, founded by William Howitt and some 
friends, was at that time admirably edited by Mr. Thomas 
Shorter, and my host told me that he always read it through 
from cover to cover, and that few of the magazines of the 
day contained so much valuable information and so much 
good writing as this despised periodical, in which I fully 
agreed with him. 

Two years later (in 1869) I received a letter from him to 
introduce me to Miss Douglass, a lady much interested in 
spiritualism, who lived in South Audley Street. Here I 
attended many seances — on one occasion when Home was 
the medium and Mr. (now Sir William) Crookes was present. 
As 1 was the only one of the company who had not witnessed 
any of the remarkable phenomena that occurred in his pres- 
ence, I was invited to go under the table while an accordion 
was playing, held in Home's hand, his other hand being on 
the table. The room was well lighted, and I distinctly saw 
Home's hand holding the instrument, which moved up and 
down and played a tune without any visible cause. On 
stating this, he said, ' Now I will take away my hand " — 
which he did ; but the instrument went on playing, and I 
saw a detached hand holding it while Home's two hands 
were seen above the table by all present. This was one 
of the ordinary phenomena, and thousands of persons have 
witnessed it; and when we consider that Home's seances 
almost always took place in private houses at which he was 
a guest, and with people absolutely above suspicion of collu- 
sion with an impostor, and also either in the daytime or in a 
fully illuminated room, it will be admitted that no form of 
legerdemain will explain what occurred. 

In view of the extraordinary misstatements that were con- 
tinually made by scientific men, who had influence with the 


public (and are still made both on this and on other subjects), 
it will be well to give a short account of one of these, which 
caused much discussion at the time. 

Mr. Home first came to England (since his childhood) 
early in 1855, and lived for some months with Mr. Cox, of 
Cox's Hotel in Jermyn Street. Here, among numerous other 
eminent men, he gave a sitting to Lord Brougham accom- 
panied by Sir David Brewster, " in order to assist in finding 
out the trick," as Sir David himself stated. About six months 
afterwards a not quite correct account of this seance was 
given in the Morning Advertiser, copied from an American 
paper, whereupon Sir David wrote to the editor to give his 
own account, in which he said, " It is quite true that I saw 
at Cox's Hotel, in company with Lord Brougham, and at 
Ealing, in company with Mrs. Trollope, several mechanical 
effects which I was unable to explain. But although I could 
not account for all these effects, I never thought of ascribing 
them to spirits stalking beneath the drapery of the table ; 
and / saw enough to satisfy myself that they could all be 
produced by human hands and feet, and to prove to others 
that some of them, at least, had such an origin. 

" Were Mr. Home to assume the character of the Wizard 
of the West, I should enjoy his exhibition as much as that of 
other conjurors ; but when he pretends to possess the power 
of introducing among the feet of his audience the spirits of 
the dead, of bringing them into physical communication with 
their dearest relatives, and of revealing the secrets of the 
grave, he insults religion and common sense, and tampers 
with the most sacred feelings of his victims. 

I am, sir, 
Yours, etc., 
" D. Brewster." 

Here Sir David appeals to religious prejudice, as he had 
just done in his very weak book in reply to Whewell's 
" Plurality of Worlds." But his account of the seance and 
the imputations it cast on both Home and his host, Mr. Cox, 
were at once answered by that gentleman, who declared that, 





immediately after the seance, both Lord Brougham and Sir 
David had expressed their great astonishment, and that the 
latter had exclaimed, " Sir, this upsets the philosophy of fifty 
years." A friend of Mr. Cox and of Home — Mr. Coleman — 
also wrote, reminding Sir David that very shortly afterwards 
he and Mr. Cox had called upon him to talk over the subject, 
and that Sir David declared that what he had seen was " quite 
unaccountable." Mr. Coleman continues thus : — 

' I then asked him, ' Do you, Sir David, think these things 
were produced by trick ? ' 

No, certainly not,' was his reply. 
Is it a delusion, think you ? ' 
No ; that is out of the question.' 

"'Then what is it?' 

" To which he replied, ' I don't know ; but spirit is the 
last thing I give in to.' " 

To this Sir David replied by a very long letter, denying 
some things and explaining others. The most important pas- 
sages are the following: — 

" Mr. Home invited us to examine if there was any ma- 
chinery about his person, an examination, however, which we 
declined to make. When all our hands were upon the table 
noises were heard — rappings in abundance ; and, finally, 
when we rose up, the table actually rose, as appeared to 
me, from the ground. This result I do not pretend to 
explain. . . . 

" A small hand-bell, to be rung by the spirits, was placed 
on the ground near my feet. I placed my feet round it in 
the form of an angle, to catch any intrusive apparatus. The 
bell did not ring; but when taken across to a place near Mr. 
Home's feet, it speedily came across, and placed its handle in 
my hand. This was amusing." 

There is also a long account of the phenomena he saw 
at Ealing in a still more jocular vein, which called forth a 
very scathing letter from Mr. T. Adolphus Trollope, who had 
been present. These letters and some others can all be read 
in full in an appendix to Home's " Incidents in my Life," 
and as this appendix was drawn up by Dr. Robert Chambers 


(as I know from private information), the reader may feel 
satisfied that these letters are given as they were written. 

But the chief reason why I have introduced the matter 
here is, that we possess, fortunately, another account of Sir 
David Brewster's seance at Cox's Hotel, written by himself 
very shortly afterwards, while the facts were fresh in his 
memory, in a letter to some member of his own family, and 
published in the " Home Life of Sir David Brewster " by his 
daughter, in 1869. At my request my friend Mr. Benjamin 
Coleman sent me a copy of this contemporary account, dated 
London, June 1855. It is as follows : — 

" Last of all, I went with Lord Brougham to a seance of 
the new spirit-rapper, Mr. Home, a lad of twenty, the son of a 
brother of the late Earl of Home. He went to America at the 
age of seven, and, though a naturalized American, is actually a 
Scotchman. Mr. Home lives in Cox's Hotel, in Jermyn 
Street, and Mr. Cox, who knows Lord Brougham, wished 
him to have a seance, and his lordship invited me to accom- 
pany him, in order to assist in finding out the trick. We 
four sat down at a moderately-sized table, the structure of 
which we were invited to examine. In a short time the table 
shuddered, and a tremulous motion ran up all our arms; at 
our bidding these motions ceased and returned. 

" The most unaccountable rappings were produced in various 
parts of the table, and the table actually rose from the ground 
when no hand was upon it. A larger table was produced 
and exhibited similar movements. An accordion was held 
in Lord Brougham's hand and gave out a single note, but the 
experiment was a failure; it would not play either in his 
hand or mine. 

" A small hand-bell was then laid down with its mouth 
on the carpet, and after lying for some time it actually rang 
when nothing could have touched it. The bell was then 
placed on the other side, still upon the carpet, and it came over 
to me and placed itself in my hand. It did the same to Lord 

" These were the principal experiments ; we could give no 
explanation of them, and could not conjecture hozv they could 


produced by any hind of mechanism. Hands arc sometimes 
seen and felt, the hand often grasps another, and melts away 
; t were under the grasp, 

"The object of asking Lord Brougham and me seems to 
have been to get our favourable opinion of the exhibition, but 
though neither of us can explain what we saw, we do not 
believe that it was the work of idle spirits." 

I have italicized certain passages in this early letter to 
compare with the corresponding parts of the letters Sir 
David wrote to the Morning Advertiser about half a year 
later, and it will be seen that the discrepancies are very serious. 
He told the public that he had satisfied himself that all could 
have been done by human hands and feet; whereas in his ear- 
lier private letter he terms them unaccountable, and says that 
he could not conjecture how they were clone. Neither did he 
tell the public of the tremulous motion up his arms, while he 
denied that the bell rang at all, though he had before said 
that it actually rang where nothing could have touched it. 

If this case stood alone it would not, perhaps, be worth men- 
tioning, but a similar tendency has prevailed in all the scientific 
opponents of spiritualism, one example of which I have given 
in the case of Mr. Lewes's declaration that he had forced 
Mrs. Hayden to avow herself an imposter, whereas what hap- 
pened really proved that Mrs. Hayden herself did not con- 
sciously give the answers to his questions. 

One of the eminent men with whom I became acquainted 
through spiritualism was Mr. Cromwell F. Varley, the 
electrician. Any one who will read his evidence, printed in 
the Report of the Dialectical Society (1871), will see that he 
was at first as sceptical as any other scientific man usually is, 
and ought to be, but, having married a lady who was a 
medium, phenomena of such marvellous nature were presented 
to him in his own home, that he could not help becoming an 
ardent believer. But he was always a critic and an experi- 
menter, and he assisted Sir William Crookes in applying some 
of the electrical tests to Mrs. Fay, as described by that gentle- 
man in The Spiritualist newspaper of March 12, 1875. 

I became acquainted with him in 1868 through a letter from 


Professor Tyndall referring, I think, to the single test at one 
seance as proposed by G. H. Lewes in the Pall Mall Gazette 
shortly afterwards, and suggesting that Mr. Varley, who had 
published some of his investigations, might be able to supply 
such a test. To this letter I replied as follows : — 

" May 8, 1868. 

" Dear Mr. Tyndall, 

" I do not know Mr. Varley, but I will forward him 
your note, and he can reply if he thinks proper. I rather 
doubt if any single case would be conclusive to you. Hume's 
argument is overwhelming against any single case, considered 
alone, however well authenticated. He himself admits that 
no facts could possibly be better authenticated than the 
(so called) miracles which occurred at the tomb of the Abbe 
Paris. But when you look at a series of such cases, amounting 
to thousands in our own day, and a corresponding series ex- 
tending back through all history, Hume's argument entirely 
fails, because his major proposition — that such facts are con- 
trary to the universal experience of mankind — ceases to be 

" During the last two years I have witnessed a great 
variety of phenomena, under such varied conditions that each 
objection as it arose was answered by other phenomena. The 
further I inquire, and the more I see, the more impossible 
becomes the theory of imposture or delusion. I knozv that 
the facts are real natural phenomena, just as certainly as I 
know any other curious facts in nature. 

" Allow me to narrate one of the scores of equally remark- 
able things I have witnessed, and this one, though it certainly 
happened in the dark, is thereby only rendered more difficult 
to explain as a trick. 

" The place was the drawing-room of a friend of mine, a 
brother of one of our best artists. The witnesses were his 
own and his brother's family, one or two of their friends, 
myself, and Mr. John Smith, banker, of Malton, Yorkshire, 
introduced by me. The medium was Miss Nichol. We sat 
round a pillar-table in the middle of the room, exactly under 


a glass chandelier. Miss Nichol sal opposite mc, and my 
friend, Mr. Smith, sal next her. We all held our neighbour's 
hands, and Miss Nichol's hands wore both held by Mr. Smith, 
a stranger to all but myself, and who had never mel Miss N. 
before. When comfortably arranged in this manner the lights 
w< re put out, one of the party holding a box of matches ready 
to strike a light when asked. 

"After a few minutes 1 conversation, during a period of 
nee. I heard the following sounds in rapid succession; 
a slight rustle, as of a lady's dress; a little tap, such a< might 
be made by setting down a wineglass on the table ; and a very 
slight jingling of the drops of the glass chandelier. An instant 
after Mr. Smith said, ' Miss Nichol is gone/ The match- 
holder struck a light, and on the table (which had no cloth) 
was Miss Nichol seated in her chair, her head just touching 
the chandelier. 

" I had witnessed a similar phenomenon before, and was 
able to observe coolly ; and the facts were noted down soon 
afterwards. Mr. Smith assured me that Miss Nichol simply 
glided out of his hands. No one else moved or quitted hold 
of their neighbour's hands. There was not more noise than I 
have described, and no motion or even tremor of the table, 
although our hands were upon it. 

" You know Miss N.'s size and probable weight, and can 
judge of the force and exertion required to lift her and her 
chair on to the exact centre of a large pillar-table, as well 
as the great surplus of force required to do it almost instan- 
taneously and noiselessly, in the dark, and without pressure on 
the side of the table which would have tilted it up. Will any 
of the known laws of nature account for this? 

" Yours very faithfully, 

" Alfred R. Wallace/' 

Of course I did not expect Professor Tyndall to accept 
such a fact on my testimony ; on the contrary, I described 
it for the very purpose of arguing that, if he himself had 
been present, he would probably not have been satisfied that 
it was not a trick, unless he could have it repeated under 


varied conditions. Yet he was so illogical as to think that a 
test phenomenon occurring once only under his or Mr. G. H. 
Lewes's conditions would settle the whole question — that is, 
would satisfy the scientific world and the general public that 
the spiritualistic phenomena were genuine, and that what 
used to be called " miracles " did happen in our midst 
to-day. Sir William Crookes's experience, a few years later, 
proves how totally wrong Tyndall was in his opinion, since 
his careful experiments, continued for several years, are to 
this day ignored or rejected by the bulk of scientific and public 
opinion as if they had never been made ! 

In order to show Mr. Varley's liberal spirit towards op- 
ponents, and also for suggestions of great value, I give here 
some extracts from a letter I received from him in January, 

" We spiritualists should remember that the way in which 
science has reached its present brilliant position has been 
through our philosophers doubting, disbelieving, and testing 
everything until further disbelief was impossible. 

" We privileged ones owe it to the world to present spirit- 
ualism to them in a manner so clearly defined and demon- 
strated, that those who follow us shall be able to make them- 
selves as much masters of the subject as we are. 

' What is wanted is to bring together a large number 
of harmonious mediums, to form of these several circles of 
diiterent characters, and to secure the assistance of several 

" Each circle should be under the management of a clever 
man, and each should carry on a continuous and exhaustive 
examination of the groundwork of the subject. Once estab- 
lish a clue to the relations existing between the physical forces 
known to us and those forces by which the spirits are some- 
times able to call into play the power by which they produce 
physical phenomena — once establish this clue there will be no 
lack of investigators, and the whole subject will assume a 
rational and intelligible shape to the outside world." 

This was written thirty-five years ago, but, though the 
Society for Psychical Research has done a good deal, the 

3 i2 MY LIFE 

first step has not been taken in the direction lure indicated. 
Now, however, that a research fund is being formed there are 

r prospects. Much will depend, however, on choosing 
investigators who will be content for some time to observe 
the phenomena as they occur under those conditions which 
have been found most successful by other inquirers. Above 

all things, it is essential to make friends of the mediums 
iployed, to treat them with the greatest consideration, and 
rictly to follow the advice of the intelligence that works 
through them. It was in this way that Sir William Crookes 
and other successful observers have obtained such striking 
results, under the most stringent conditions and subject to 
the most varied tests ; whereas those who begin by treating 
the mediums as if they were on their trial, and insist upon 
applying their own conditions at the very outset, usually obtain 
nothing but the conviction that all spiritualists are fools and 
all mediums impostors. 

In 1872 I reviewed Robert Dale Owen's work, " The 
Debatable Land between this World and the Next," a sequel 
to his " Footfalls on the Boundary of Another World," the 
two forming the best-reasoned and the most logically arranged 
body of evidence for psychical phenomena in existence. Every 
example is quoted from the original authority wherever 
possible, confirmatory testimony has been collected with the 
greatest care, and the bearing of each upon the general 
argument is discussed or clearly pointed out. This review 
brought me a very interesting letter from the author, and 
later on a communication from Dr. Eugene Crowell, M.D. 
of New York, with a copy of his exceedingly valuable work, 
'Primitive Christianity and Modern Spiritualism" (2 vols.), 
in which almost every miraculous occurrence narrated in the 
Old or New Testaments is paralleled by well-authenticated 
phenomena from the records of modern spiritualism, many of 
them having been witnessed and carefully examined by Dr. 
Crowell himself. 

During the years 1870-80 I had many opportunities of 
witnessing interesting phenomena in the houses of various 


friends, some of which I have not made public. Early in 
1874 I was invited by John Morley, then editor of the Fort- 
nightly Review, to write an article on " Spiritualism ' : for 
that periodical. Much public interest had been excited by 
the publication of the Report of the Committee of the 
Dialectical Society, and especially by Mr. Crookes's experi- 
ments with Mr. Home, and the refusal of the Royal Society 
to see these experiments repeated. I therefore accepted the 
task, and my article appeared in May and June under the title 
" A Defence of Modern Spiritualism." At the end of the 
same year I included this article, together with my former 
small book, " The Scientific Aspects of the Supernatural," 
and a paper I had read before the Dialectical Society in 1871 
answering the arguments of Hume, Lecky, and other writers 
against miracles, in a volume which has had a very consider- 
able sale, and has led many persons to investigate the subject 
and to become convinced of the reality of the phenomena. In 
the preface I showed the inaccuracy of Anton Dohrn's sup- 
position that religious prejudices had led me to believe in 
spiritualism. A third edition of the book, in 1895, contained 
two new chapters on the nature and purport of apparitions, 
and also, in a new preface, a brief outline of the remarkable 
progress of the subject; so that at the present day a large 
number of its phenomena, at first denied, and afterwards 
sneered at or ignored, have now become recognized and in- 
cluded among the undoubted facts of physiological or psychi- 
cal science. 

Among the friends with whom I investigated the subject 
was Mr. Marshman, at that time Agent-General for New 
Zealand, and Miss Buckley. Both were friends of Samuel 
Butler, the author of those remarkable works, " Erewhon ' : 
and " Life and Habit." Mr. Marshman invited him to a 
seance at his house, with myself and several other friends ; 
but he thought it all trickery. I sent him a copy of my book, 
and he wrote me three letters in a week, chiefly to explain 
that the whole subject bored him. In his first letter he says 
that Mr. Marshman and Miss Buckley are two of the clearest- 
headed people he knows, and therefore he cannot help be- 


lieving there must be something in it. " But/ 1 he says, "what 
I - ;it the Marshmans' was impudent humbug." In the 

see. nid lie gives a curious revelation of the state of his mind 
in a personal anecdote. He writes: "Granted that wonder- 
ful spirit-forms have been seen and touched and then disap- 
peared, and that there has been no delusion, no trickery. 
Well; / don't care. I get along quite nicely as I am. I 
don't want them to meddle with me. I had a very dear 
friend once, whom I believed to be dying, and so did she. 
We discussed the question whether she could communicate 
with me after death. * Promise,' I said, and very solemnly 
' that if you find there are means of visiting me here on earth — 
that if you can send a message to me — you will never avail 
yourself of the means, nor let me hear from you when you 
are once departed/ Unfortunately she recovered, and never 
forgave me. If she had died, she would have come back if 
she could ; of that I am certain by her subsequent behaviour 
to me. I believe my instinct was perfectly right ; and I will 
go farther: if ever a spirit-form takes to coming near me, I 
shall not be content with trying to grasp it, but, in the interest 
of science, / will shoot it." 

The third is a very nice letter, and is a kind of apology 
for what he thought I might consider rather unreasonable in 
the others, and I will therefore give it, in order that my readers 
may not, through me, get a wrong idea of this remarkably 
gifted though eccentric writer. 

" 15 Clifford's Inn, E.C., May 27, 1859. 
" Dear Sir, 

" Pray forgive me. I am sure I must have said 
rather more than I ought. A friend was with me when your 
letter came ; I read it to him, and he said, ' If you grant Mr. 
Wallace's facts — and you do not deny them — he is perfectly 
right, and your answer does not meet him at all. He tells 
you that you are engaged on certain investigations in which 
your opinions must be entirely altered if you accept his facts. 
You admit this yourself — you do not deny his facts — and say 
that you do not care, — that is childish.' 


" I admitted the truth of what he said ; and I feel 
therefore that an apology is due to you, which pray under- 
stand me as making without reserve. I have read the greater 
part of the book you so kindly gave me, and shall read every 
word of it. I admire the force and clearness with which 
it is written, every word of it impressing me that it is written 
by one who understands his own meaning and wishes others 
to understand it; but I cannot pretend that it has kindled 
in me that inward motion to see and hear more, without 
which you and I both know no good can come of any inves- 

" If there is that spiritual world independent of matter, 
which you believe in, a day may come when something will 
happen to me which will kindle in a moment the right spirit 
of inquiry; no one will follow it up more promptly or per- 
sistently when it is aroused. If that time never comes, it 
must be taken as a sign that I am not one of those from whom 
that cause would gain. 

" Hoping you will forgive me for any rudeness that I fear 
I have been guilty of, 

Believe me, 

Yours very truly, 

1 -Dt 


S. Butler/' 

That seems to me a very pleasant letter, expressing his 
position very clearly. Of course, he had no rudeness to apol- 
ogize for, as I told him, and though I do not think we met 
very often afterwards, we continued very good friends. 

While residing at Godalming, I made the acquaintance of 
William Allingham and his wife — the poet and the artist — who 
then lived at Witley — I think it was about the years 1886 or 
1887. Mr. Allingham told me that Tennyson wished to see 
me, and would be glad if I would come some day and lunch 
with him. A day was fixed, and I accompanied Mr. Alling- 
ham to the beautifully-situated house on Blackdown, near Has- 
lemere, where the poet lived during the summer. Lord Ten- 
nyson did not appear till luncheon was on the table, but in 

3 i6 MY LIKE 

in meantime we had seen Lady Tennyson and her son and 
daughter-in-law, and been shown round the grounds. After 
luncheon we four men retired to the study, with its three great 
windows looking south-east over the grand expanse of the 

finely wooded Weald of Kent. Here Tennyson lit his pipe, 
1 we sat round the fire and soon got on the subject of spir- 
itualism, which was evidently what he had wished to talk to me 
about. I told him some of my experiences, and replied to some 
of his difficulties — the usual difficulties of those who, though 
inclined to believe, have seen nothing, and find the phenomena 
as described so different from what they think they ought to 
be. He was evidently greatly impressed by the evidence, and 
wished to see something. I gave him the names of one or two 
mediums whom I believed to be quite trustworthy, but whether 
he ever had any sittings with them I did not hear. 

Then we talked a little about the tropics and of the 
scenery of the Eastern islands ; and, taking down a volume 
he read, in his fine, deep, chanting voice, his description of 
Enoch Arden's island: 

" The mountain wooded to the peak, the lawns 
And winding glades high up like ways to heaven, 
The slender coco's drooping crown of plumes, 
The lightning flash of insect or of bird, 
The lustre of the long convolvuluses 
That coiled around the stately stems, and ran 
Ev'n to the limit of the land, the glows 
And glories of the broad belt of the world — 
All these he saw; but what he fain had seen 
He could not see, the kindly human face, 
Nor ever hear a kindly voice, but heard 
The myriad shriek of wheeling ocean fowl, 
The league-long roller thundering on the beach, 
The moving whisper of huge trees that branch'd 
And blossom'd to the zenith, or the sweep 
Of some precipitous rivulet to the wave, 
As down the shore he ranged, or all day long 
Sat often in the seaward-gazing gorge, 
A shipwreck'd sailor waiting for a sail : 
No sail from day to day, but every day 
The sunrise broken into scarlet shafts 
Among the palms and ferns and precipices; 


The blaze upon the waters to the east; 

The blaze upon his island overhead; 

The blaze upon the waters to the west; 

Then the great stars that globed themselves in heaven, 

The hollower-bellowing ocean, and again 

The scarlet shafts of sunrise — but no sail." 

Then he closed the book and asked me if that description 
was in any way untrue to nature. I told him that so far as 
I knew from the islands I had seen on the western borders 
of the Pacific, it gave a strikingly true general description of 
the vegetation and the aspects of nature among those islands, 
at which he seemed pleased. Of course, it avoids much 
detail, but the amount of detail it gives is correct, and it is 
just about as much as a rather superior sailor would observe 
and remember. 

We then bade him good-bye, went downstairs and had 
tea with the ladies, and walked back to Haslemere station. 
I was much pleased to have met and had friendly converse 
with the most thoughtful, refined, broad-minded, and harmon- 
ious of our poets of the nineteenth century. 




Among my scientific friends there are two with whom I had 
some relations in regard to spiritualism of a specially inter- 
esting character — St. George Mivart and George J. Romanes 
— and to each of these I must devote a few pages. 

It was, I think, through my conversation and my first 
small book that Mivart became satisfied that the phenomena 
were at least partly genuine, and although a Roman Catholic, 
he was not afraid to pursue the inquiry. On going to Naples 
in the winter of 1870, he wrote me for an introduction to my 
friends, Mr. and Mrs. Guppy, who were then staying there. 
On the eve of his departure, he wrote telling me what had 
happened : 

"Nothing could have exceeded the kindness which your 
good friends, Mr. and Mrs. Guppy, have shown to me, and I 
have felt quite ashamed of the quantity of their time I have 
taken up. Besides morning calls and a walk, they have given 
me three seances (all to myself) and have most kindly prom- 
ised to give me a fourth and last this evening, as to-morrow 
morning I start on my road northwards. 

" At the first seance there was nothing but raps — questions 
were replied to ; two of which much surprised me, as they 
were only asked mentally. A remedy was indicated for an 
affection of the teeth, which I have tried and believe will 
prove efficacious. 

" At the second seance (the first dark one I ever attended) 
flowers were produced. The door was locked, the room 
searched, and all requisite precautions taken. I was not sur- 



prised, because of all 1 had heard from you and others; but 
the phenomenon was to me convincing. One such fact is as 
good as a hundred. 

" At the third seance (last night) I preferred to ask ques- 
tions to having a repetition of the flowers. The value of the 
answers received time may show. I have received a wrong 
answer (as to a person being tall), also as to there being a 
letter awaiting me at my hotel. Altogether the conclusions I 
have arrived at are as follows : — 

" I. I have encountered a power capable of removing sensible 
objects in a way altogether new to me. 

" II. I have encountered an intelligence other than that of 
the visible assistants. 

" III. In my seances this intelligence has shown itself capable 
of reading my thought, but yet either liable to fall into error 
or else not strictly truthful. 

" IV. It has been sometimes capricious, saying it will not do 
what it has afterwards done, and that it will do what, neverthe- 
less, it has failed to perform. 

• • • • • 

" I am precluded from saying how much I like your friends, 
because I think this letter is to be read by them ; but I am not 
precluded from thanking you, my dear Wallace, for the intro- 
duction, which I do very heartily, remaining always, 

" Yours very truly, 

" St. George Mivart." 

I was somewhat surprised at Mivart's appreciation of the 
Guppys, because of the great contrast between them : he ex- 
tremely refined in speech and manners, and somewhat fastidious 
in his acquaintances ; they both rather brusque and utterly 
unconventional ; yet he evidently recognized in them a straight- 
forwardness of character, kindness of heart, love of truth, and 
earnestness of purpose, which are vastly more important than 
any amount of superficial polish. I may here note that he 
would probably have had more satisfactory results if he had 
allowed the powers at work to take their own course, instead 
of attempting to limit the phenomena to answering questions — 

320 MY LI1 

a form of mediumship which, so far as T remember, was never 
very prominent or successful with Mrs. Guppy. This is the 
greal fault of all beginners. Instead of being content for a 
time to observe only what happens, they almost always want 
certain phenomena which alone will satisfy them; acting on 
the tacit assumption that all mediums and all preterhuman 
intelligences are liable to produce at will all the various classes 
of phenomena. Those who follow the more scientific method 
of beginning with observation only — which, strange to say, 
the scientific men are hardly ever willing to do — almost always 
find that their early doubts and supicions are, one by one, 
shown to be unfounded, through the occurrence of phenomena 
which seem specially adapted to answer them. 

A few years later my friend visited Lourdes, in order to 
inquire on the spot as to the marvellous cures said to be 
effected there, and, if possible, to see some of them himself. 
While there he wrote me a very interesting letter, giving 
some account, of his inquiries, which, being a Catholic, a well- 
known writer, and a good French scholar, he had facilities for 
pursuing which the ordinary English tourist or reporter does 
not possess. I give here the more important parts of this 
letter, dated April 5, 1874. 

After referring to my Fortnightly Revieiv article which I 
had told him I was writing, he continues, " We are here in a 
charming country and quiet, pleasant old town, at this season 
almost empty of visitors. We are here also, as you are, no 
doubt, fully aware, at the headquarters of a whole series of 
alleged modern miracles performed, as asserted, through the 
water which suddenly began to flow while Bernadette Sou- 
birous was in an ecstatic state in the presence, as she affirms, 
of an apparition of the B. V. M. [Blessed Virgin Mary.] 

" I have made such inquiries as I have been able, and find 
that here, on the spot, the miracles are fully believed in. The 
clergy were for a long time opposed to the whole thing, and 
the bishop had to be morally forced to institute an inquiry, he 
was so little disposed to accept such phenomena as facts. He 
ended, however, by being fully convinced, as also the cure (a 
fine, soldier-like man of about sixty-five, somewhat brusque 


in his manners), who is quite certain as to the marvellous 
nature of many cures. I have had a long talk with the doctor 
here (Dr. Dozens) and with two others at Toulouse (Dr. 
Rogues, No. 8, Rue d'Aussargues, and Dr. Nogues, Rue St. 
Anne). I will just mention one or two cases, as to the facts of 
which I have had face-to-face testimony from one or other of 
these doctors. 

" A woman named Blaisette Soupevue of this place, about 
fifty, had had an affection (blepharite) of the eyes for several 
years. Both eyelids were partially everted, lashless, and the 
lower lids had numerous fleshy excrescences. Dr. Dozens 
attended this case himself, as also a Dr. Vergez. It was pro- 
nounced chronic, and all idea of cure abandoned. She washed 
her eyes with the water on two successive days ; on the second 
her sight was completely restored, her eyelids righted them- 
selves, and the excrescences vanished. Dr. Dozens assures 
me he examined this carefully himself. From that day her 
eyelashes began to grow, and she has never been so afflicted 

"Justin Bontisharts, also of this place, had a rickety child 
ten years old, which had much atrophied limbs, and had never 
been able to walk. It got worse, and was thought to be near 
its death. Dr. Dozens tells me he attended it, and was present 
when the mother placed it under the stream of the Lourdes 
water. It was motionless while so held, and the bystanders 
therefore fancied it was dead already. The mother took it 
home, placed it in its bed, and noticed that it seemed to be in 
a tranquil sleep. Next day it woke with a quite different 
expression of face, craved for food, ate freely, and wanted to 
get up, but its parents were afraid to let it. The following 
morning, while they were out to work, it got up, and when 
they returned was walking about the room, walking quite well, 
and has done so ever since. 

" Louis Bourriettes, a stone quarryman, had his face severely 
wounded, and his eyes injured by an explosion. One eye got 
pretty well ; the other remained so imperfect that with it alone 
he could not distinguish a man from any other similar-sized 
object at a few paces distant, and he was incapable of doing 


V > 

former work as a stone mason. This continued for twenty 
years. At the time of his cure he was under Dr. Dozens's 

re, as Ins eyes were then getting worse. He washed, and 
s completely cured in the course of one day. Dr. Dozens 
met him in the street and would not believe he was cured, 
and tested him by writing with a pencil on a piece of paper 
that lie had an incurable amaurosis of the right eye, and when 
he read these words to the doctor, the latter was dum- 
founded, for Dr. Dozens was a materialist, and dishelieved 
in all things preternatural at that time. This case is also 
vouched for by Dr. Vergez, of Bareges. 

" M. Lacassogne, now of 6, Rue de Chai des Varine, 
Bordeaux, formerly of Toulouse, had a son who had for three 
years been unable to swallow a morsel of solid food. Both 
the doctors of Toulouse told me of this case, but Dr. Nogues 
was his principal medical attendant. Dr. Nogues is still an 
unbeliever, but he told me he felt bound in justice to declare 
that his patient was a good obedient child of a sanguine tem- 
perament, and not at all nervous or hysterical. When wasting 
to the extreme from imperfect nutrition, he was instan- 
taneously cured in the fountain, and has eaten freely solid food 
ever since. His father was a Voltairean, and was converted 
by this fact in his family. 

" Finally, Dr. Rogues, of Toulouse, told me that his own 
daughter had recently had a most remarkable cure, and this 
was also told me by Dr. Dozens, of Lourdes. Dr. Rogues is 
short-sighted, his sons are short-sighted, and his father is 
short-sighted. No wonder, then, that his daughter was also 
short-sighted. It was a case of heredity — congenital short- 
sightedness. The mother was exceedingly desirous as her 
daughter grew up that she might be able to see like ordinary 
people, and took her to Lourdes, when in an instant, she 
became ordinarily long-sighted. On her return her father 
would not believe till he had tested her himself by making 
her read to him at distances which would have been quite 
impossible at any previous period of her life. The next 
morning he told me that being very anxious on the subject, 
he called her as soon as possible to his window, and pointing 


out a distant inscription told her to read it to him. She said, 
' I can't papa ; it's Latin.' He told her then to read him the 
letters, which, to his delight, she did. This change had 
continued permanent up to my visit to him last Tuesday." 

To appreciate fully the weight of this evidence, received 
at first hand from the best of witnesses — the medical men 
who had attended the patients cured, and who were all more 
or less strongly prejudiced against the whole thing — the 
reader should make himself acquainted with some portion of 
the mass of equally good evidence to be found in various 
French works, or in the Rev. R. F. Clarke's " Lourdes and 
its Miracles" (1887). The detailed history of the origin of 
the spring at Lourdes, and of all the succeeding events, by 
M. Henri Lasserre, is both interesting and instructive to the 
spiritualist. His book, " Notre Dame de Lourdes," had gone 
through one hundred and twenty-six editions in 1892, and 
had been translated into eleven European languages. It is 
written from the point of view of an enthusiastic Roman 
Catholic, and exhibits Bernadette Soubirous as a modern 
representative in character and in psychical faculties of Joan 
of Arc. The second volume, published fourteen years later, 
under the title " Les Episodes Miraculeux de Lourdes," con- 
tains a detailed record with confirmatory documents of five 
cases of remarkable cures at Lourdes. 

In 1862, M. Lasserre himself was cured of an affection of 
the eyes which rendered him unable to read or write, and 
which the best specialists in Paris declared to be incurable. 
Any attempt to read even the largest print, and however 
shaded from bright light, produced intense pain. He was 
persuaded to send for some Lourdes water, and received a 
small bottle. He washed his eyes for a few minutes, drank 
the remainder, and was instantaneously cured. He declares 
that he at once read a hundred pages of a book of which, an 
hour before, he could not have read three lines. This won- 
derful cure caused him to become the historian of Lourdes, 
and he devoted several years to collecting materials direct 
from every person on the spot who could give him informa- 
tion, as well as from all contemporary records and official 


documents bearing on the question. The book was published 
in [869, and the second volume of " Episodes" in [883. 

The most remarkable Features of these cures Is their rapidity, 
often amounting to instantaneousness, which broadly marks 
them off from all ordinary remedial agencies. ( )nc of the 
most prominent of these, related by M. Lasserre, is that of 
Francois Macary, a carpenter of Lavaur. Me had had vari- 
cose veins for thirty years; they were as thick as one's finger, 
with enormous nodosities and frequent bleedings, producing 
numerous ulcers, so that it had been for many years impos- 
sible for him to walk or stand. Three physicians had declared 
him to be absolutely incurable. At sixty years of age he 
heard of the cures at Lourdes, and determined to try the 
waters. A bottle was sent him. Compresses with this were 
applied in the evening to his two legs. He slept well all 
night, and early next morning w r as quite well ; his legs were 
smooth, and there was hardly a trace of the swollen veins, 
nodosities, and ulcers. The three doctors who had attended 
him certify to these facts. 

Other cases are of long-continued paralysis, declared 
hopeless by the physicians; one of serious internal injuries 
due to an accident, and declared incurable. The lady had 
suffered extreme pain for seven years, had been unable to 
walk, and every remedy tried had been useless. She had 
at various times consulted five doctors, in vain. Two of 
these signed statements that she had been cured instan- 
taneously, and could now walk and perform all the ordinary 
actions of a healthy person without suffering the slightest 
pain. One of them says, " This cure, so sudden, so unprec- 
edented, so unexpected, is for me a fact positively marvellous. 
There is in it something of the divine — an intervention beyond 
the natural, visible, incontestible, of a nature to baffle the 
reason. For nature does not usually proceed thus, and 
when she operates she acts always with a wise deliberation. — 
A. Maugni" (" Les Episodes Miraculeux," p. 486). 

In an introductory note to A Lourdes avec Zola, by Felix 
Lacaze, Dr. Bernheim states that, " We cure at Nancy the 
same morbid manifestations that Lourdes cures ; medical 


faith acts like religious faith ; that is what I know ! " And 
M. Lacaze, throughout his book, imputes all the cures to 
belief, expectation, faith. But the student of psychical re- 
search and of spiritualism, if he examines the records 
carefully, will see reason to doubt these general statements. 
He will meet with cases which are so closely parallel with 
what every experienced inquirer meets with as to indicate a 
similarity of cause. I allude to the very common occurrence 
at seances, when messages are being given, to so word them 
as to contradict the expectation of every one present. I 
have often seen this myself. At other times the inquirer 
expects a message from a particular person, has gone to the 
seance with the express purpose of obtaining it, but instead 
gets a message from some one else. All this is clearly for 
the purpose of answering the common objection — your " ex- 
pectation " was read by the medium, and produced the 
wished-for word or message. Now, among the five cases 
given by M. Lasserre, one of the most striking serves to 
illustrate this special feature. A paralyzed Abbe of good fam- 
ily, and of the most firm and genuine religious faith, is yet so 
humble that he does not expect a miracle to be performed 
in his favour. More to please his family and friends than 
himself, he goes to Lourdes, and it is so arranged that he 
shall attend the grand service of the Assumption, when all 
his clerical friends are convinced he will be cured, and they 
excite in him the same belief. But though all the ceremonies 
have been fulfilled, nothing happens, and he resigns himself to 
the conviction that it is not the will of God that he should 
be cured. But when attending another service the next day, 
and not expecting anything, he suddenly feels a conviction 
that he is well, rises from his couch, kneels down, and prays. 
From that moment he is perfectly cured. Here we seem to 
see the time of the cure arranged for the very purpose of 
demonstrating that it is not expectation or faith that 
causes the cure, although it may sometimes be a helping con- 

It is clear from these accounts by fervent Catholics that they 
see in all these cures, not any special effect of the water — that 


only an outward sign — but a real spiritual agency, which 
they believe to be that of the Virgin Mary. The) also clearly 
recognize that cither the power or the will to cure is limited, 

that only the few are cured, and that those few are not those 
who are the best, or the most religious, or the most de- 
serving, but are. so far as can be seen, chosen at random. 
This, again, exactly corresponds with modern spiritualistic 

phenomena, which evidently depend upon special conditions 
in the individuals termed mediums, which conditions do not 
seem to consist in any superiority of mind or character. 

There is another point which seems indicated by the 
detailed narratives of these remarkable cures. This is, that 
not only are they rare cases, but that they have been, as it 
were, selected and induced to try the Lourdes water often by 
a very unusual combination of circumstances. If we look 
upon these cures as analogous to those of the many " healers ' 
in the modern spiritualistic world — Dr. Newton, the Zouave 
Jacob. Mr. Spriggs and many others, and performed probably 
by a band of spirit healers of exceptional power, and who 
wish to produce that effect upon character which such ap- 
parently miraculous cures by the supposed direct agency of 
the Virgin are calculated to produce — it is not improbable 
that they should be always searching for cases of ordinarily 
incurable disease, which are yet amenable to their powers. 
Having found any such, and having satisfied themselves 
that a cure is possible, and having perhaps already begun to 
effect such a cure in a way not perceptible to the patient, it 
then becomes necessary to induce him to make use of the 
means which will have the desired effect on his own mind 
and of those who hear of it. Hence the often curious com- 
bination of circumstances which first induce the patient to 
go to Lourdes (or use the water), and then to go at a 
particular time, even on a particular day. This may be 
necessary, both because at a particular stage only can the 
cure be instantaneously or rapidly effected, also because, if 
delayed, the patient might feel himself getting better, and 
the moral effects of a cure, supposed to be by the Virgin 
(or any other saint), be lost. The detailed narratives certainly 


show that in several cases a moral and religious, as well as a 
physical, renovation has been effected. 

We nave here an explanation of these events which is, I 
submit, much more complete than that which declares them 
all to be of the same nature as cures occurring through 
hypnotic suggestion, because in these cases there is no 
hypnotizer, and often no suggestion or expectation. And 
when we consider that the cures at the tomb of the Abb.e 
Paris in the early part of the eighteenth century, some of 
which were even more wonderful than any which have oc- 
curred at Lourdes, were equally well attested, and compelled 
even David Hume to say — referring to one of these — " Had 
it been a cheat, it would certainly have been detected by such 
sagacious and powerful antagonists," 1 we see that we have 
to do with a phenomenon which is one of the myriad forms of 
spirit agency. 

Romanes and Darwin 

I first made the acquaintance of Romanes in a rather 
curious way. A letter appeared in Nature (February 5, 1880) 
headed " A Speculation regarding the Senses," beginning 
with this suggestive passage : " On examining the modes 
of action of the senses, we find a series of advances in 
refinement. Beginning with touch, we find it has primarily 
to do with solids which come into direct contact with the 
organ. In taste a liquid medium is necessary. In smell we 
have minute particles carried by a gas. In hearing we have 
vibrations (longitudinal) in a gas. In sight, finally, we find 
transverse vibrations transmitted by a finer medium, the 
ether." The writer then goes on to suggest that thought, or 
brain-vibrations, may also be carried by the ether to other 
brains, and thus produce thought-transference, which, he 
suggests, might be termed a kind of " induction of thought," 
and he thinks this is supported by the experiences of most 

1 A very full account of these cures is given in Howitt's " History of 
the Supernatural," and an abstract in my " Miracles and Modern Spir- 
itualism " (pp. 9-12). 

328 MY LIFE 

people, and especially "by the ascertained facts of clair- 
voyance and mesmerism." This letter was signed " M." 

In the next issue of Nature was a letter signed " F.R.S.," 
objecting to " M." for speaking, in a scientific journal, of the 

facts of mesmerism and clairvoyance as being " ascertained," 
adding, however, that they ought to be thoroughly investi- 
gated, that he is prepared to do so if he can find suitable 
material, and that he will give wide publicity to his results. 
He then says, " If the phenomena should admit of repetition I 
should have them witnessed and attested to by a selected 
number of the leading scientific men of the day." He there- 
fore begs for assistance in carrying out his experiments, letters 
to be addressed c/o the Editor of Nature. 

To this request I replied, pointing out to him that many 
scientific men, such as Dr. Elliotson, Dr. Gregory, and Dr. 
Haddock had thoroughly examined and tested mesmerism 
and clairvoyance, getting only abuse or ridicule, and that he 
was rather sanguine in thinking that any experiments of his 
would convince the scientific world, or that they would even 
condescend to witness and test them, and referred to my 
own experience with Tyndall and Carpenter, and those of 
Crookes with the Royal Society. This brought me the fol- 
lowing letters from Romanes, and I have now little doubt 
that " M." of the first communication to Nature was my friend 
Mivart, as I do not know any other man likely to have 
written on such a subject, and to have spoken in such an 
assured way of clairvoyance, which was, of course, a com- 
paratively small matter after his experiences above related. 
It is rather curious that these two men should have been 
thus brought together without knowing it, and in relation 
to a subject as to which neither of them made any public 
acknowledgement of what he believed. The majority of 
their readers, I have no doubt, look upon them as biolo- 
gists, and have no idea that they were also inquirers into 


" 18, Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, 
"February 17, 1880. 

" Dear Sir, 

" I am very glad that you have been so kind as to 
answer my letter in Nature, for the fact of your having done 
so supplies me with an opportunity, which I have long desired 
to bring about, of obtaining the benefit of your advice upon 
the methods of conducting an inquiry into the facts of 
1 spiritualism.' You will not wonder that I should have de- 
sired this opportunity when I tell you that one or two facts, 
which you might consider almost commonplace, have pro- 
foundly staggered me, and led me to feel it a moral duty no 
less than a matter of unequalled interest, to prove the subject 
further. As a biologist I knew the quality of your scientific 
work, and the general character of your mind, and knowing 
also your intellectual attitude towards the subject in which 
my interest was awakened, I greatly desired to meet you. 
But by some fate you always seemed to be the only scientific 
man of the day whom I never did meet, and I felt it would be 
imprudent to force any questions upon you unsolicited, as I 
knew Mr. Crookes to be very reticent, and feared you might 
be the same. 

" Now for what you very truly say about the uselessness of 
any one man, ' however eminent,' trying to prove the truth 
of the phenomena to the world. This I think is only as it 
ought to be. The phenomena are of an order so astounding 
that proof of their reality must rest upon the authority of 
more than one observer if the proof is to be commensurate 
with its own requirements. What the precise number of 
witnesses and what amount of accumulated authority ought 
to be, or would be, held sufficient to justify a man of the 
world in accepting the alleged facts as real facts, this is a 
question I need not consider, for there can be no doubt that 
some such number of witnesses and amount of competent 
testimony would be sufficient for the purpose. But, looking 
to the astounding nature of the alleged facts, I do not think 
that this number and amount have yet been attained. An 
exceedingly strong case, however, has been made out to 

330 MY LI] 

justify full and patient inquiry by al leasl several authorita- 
tive persons, and this is what I desire to get done The 
leading men of science have neither time nor inclination to 
sift the grain from the chaff of these subjects, but if once 
the grain were placed before them we should soon have the 
bread. I think you are too despairing on the subject of 
prejudice. That prejudice should exist in the matter is only 
what common sense would expect, but I am convinced that 
it would quickly yield to adequate proof. There is already 
more than enough proof were the facts to be proved of any 
ordinary kind ; but as they are nothing less than miracles, a 
further weight of proof is, I think, required to justify any one 
who has not himself witnessed the facts, accepting the latter 
on testimony. Therefore it is that in Nature I implied that 
in my judgment the facts were not yet proven. But pray do 
not suppose that I am blind to the importance of the testi- 
mony already accumulated. I should rather infer it is you 
who are blind to that importance; I think you underrate the 
impression which your own publications and that of your 
few scientific co-operators have produced. I know that this 
impression is in many minds profound, and has already pre- 
pared the way to a full acceptance by the scientific world 
of the facts ; but before this can be, the latter must and ought 
to be attested to by some important body of well-known 

" You will see, then, that far from imagining that the 
world will take my authority on the subject as final, I do not 
think that, looking to the nature of the facts, the world ought 
to do so ; and I similarly think that the world is not altogether 
wrong in having weighed the amount of proof required to 
substantiate a miracle against the weight of authoritative tes- 
timony hitherto forthcoming, and in deciding to await further 

" I am myself in the position of the world ; I want more 
evidence to make me believe. If once I do believe and can 
get any repeatable results to show, I shall insist upon the best 
men in science and literature coming to see and telling what 
they see. 


" I am greatly obliged to you for your advice, but some 
time I should like to have a talk with you to benefit by your 
large experience of a subject with which I have hitherto had 
but small acquaintance. Could you fix any date towards the 
latter end of next month? 

" I am, yours truly, 

" Geo. J. Romanes." 

After receiving my reply I had another short letter, as 
follows : — 

" I am exceedingly pleased to hear that you are so dis- 
posed to assist me with your advice. Time, money, tolerance, 
and patience I have in abundance, but I lack experience in 
a subject which, till recently, I rejected as beneath considera- 
tion. Therefore, under various circumstances that may arise, 
I doubt not that your advice may be of much service to me. 
Thus already you have presented a point of no small impor- 
tance to me, viz., that I must not count too confidently on 
being always able to repeat results, even supposing them to 
be genuine. But, after all, my principal object is to satisfy 
my own mind upon the subject. If I could obtain any definite 
evidence of mind unassociated with any observable organiza- 
tion, the fact would be to me nothing less than a revelation — 
1 life and immortality brought to light ' — and although I 
might say to others, ' Come and see,' my chief end would 
have been attained if I could say, ' I have found that of 
which the prophets (to wit, Crookes, Wallace, Varley, and the 
rest) have spoken.' 

" I will therefore be most happy to accept your invitation 
to go to Croydon some day to gain some preliminary ideas 
on the subject. I shall write again to fix a day." 

These two letters express very clearly the writer's position 
and general ideas, with which I myself was completely in 
accord. They also are very characteristic of his somewhat 
wordy and involved style of writing, and of some peculiarities 
of character. But the first was specially interesting to my- 
self by showing me that my book, which had been published 
six years before, had really produced some effect among men 


of scimcc as well as among the general public, many of 
whom. I knew, it had induced to investigate and, as a con- 
sequence of their investigation, to become complete converts. 
I will here mention a little incident that shows how people 
were accustomed to speak on the subject in the popular 
tone of contemptuous incredulity, even when they had reason 
to accept some of the facts. One evening, while having 
tea after a Royal Institution lecture, I heard the late Pro- 
fessor Ansted and a friend (not knowing I was just behind 
them) mention spiritualism, and the professor remarked, 
" What a strange thing it is such men as Crookes and Wallace 
should both believe in it ! " To which the other replied, 
with a laugh, " Oh, they are mad on that one subject." As 
soon as the friend had turned away I addressed Ansted, 
telling him I had heard what he and his friend had been 
saying, and asked him if he had any knowledge whatever of 
the subject. To which he replied, " Well, not much ; but a 
neighbour and friend of mine at Great Bealings has had the 
most wonderful things happen in his house, wdiich no one has 
ever been able to find a cause for. He has often told me 
about the bells ringing when no one was in the house. He 
was a very clever man, and I am sure what he says is true, 
and many people in the neighbourhood were witnesses of it." 
This case I had referred to in my book, and it brought it 
home to me more vividly to speak with a scientific man who 
was a friend of the owner of the house where it occurred, and 
had heard it from his own lips. This was shortly before 
Professor Ansted's death from an accident, or he might 
have become one of the band of " persecuted lunatics " — the 
term by which my friend Mr. Guppy used to describe the 
despised spiritualists. 

To return now to Romanes. He called upon me at 
Croydon, and I think I paid him a visit in town, and he then 
told me how he had come to take so deep an interest in 
spiritualism. Some time previously a member of his own 
family — I think either a sister or a cousin — had been found to 
have considerable mediumistic power. Through her he had 
witnessed a good many of the usual phenomena — movements 


and raps by which messages had been spelt out — together 
with the usual perplexities which beset the beginner ; the mes- 
sages being sometimes true and sometimes false, sometimes 
totally unexpected by any one present, at other times seeming 
to be the reflex of their own thoughts. Yet he was already 
absolutely convinced that the sounds and motions — the phys- 
ical part of the phenomena — were not caused in any normal 
way by any of the persons present, and almost equally con- 
vinced that the intelligence manifested was not that of any 
of the circle. In some cases even his mental questions were 
replied to. I gave him the best advice I could, and for some 
years, being fully occupied with my own domestic affairs 
and literary work, I saw or heard nothing more of the sub- 
ject he had been so intent upon. At this I was not surprised, 
as he himself was writing a series of works which gave 
him his scientific reputation, and I thought it probable that 
not getting the evidence he wanted, he had given up the 

But seven years later, when I was in Canada, I obtained 
a knowledge of the correspondence between Romanes and 
Darwin before my interview with the former, as already 
narrated in chapter xxx. This was, to me, of extreme 
interest because it showed how reticent Romanes was, and 
how little he had told me of the evidence he had really 
obtained some years before, and of the profound impres- 
sion it had made upon him. The letters then shown me 
were very long and full of curious details of evidence, the 
more important of which I took notes of. Darwin's reply 
was of the usual kind — suggestion of clever trickery; more 
investigation required ; had no time to go into it himself, etc. 
Of course I had no intention of referring to these letters in 
any way without Romanes's permission, but I thought I might 
some day ask him why he had not mentioned having written 
to Darwin when corresponding with me and discussing this 
very subject. But a year or two later I was surprised by 
something he wrote as to one of the " thought readers " then 
exhibiting in London, in a way which implied that all such 
phenomena were clever trickery by means of muscle-reading, 

334 MY LIFE 

although ID his Idler to Darwin he had declared that his 
mental questions had been answered. 

But a cause of difference on a scientific question had since 
arisen between Romanes and myself which led to complica- 
tion. In 1886 he read a paper to the Linnaan Society, which 

was printed in their Journal, entitled " Physiological Selection: 

an additional suggestion on the ( )rigin of Species." This 
paper put forth what was really a new theory of the origin 

of infertile races, which was supposed to account for the 
infertility that so generally occurs between allied species. It 
was very complex, and led to much discussion, and before 
leaving for America I had criticized it in the September 
issue of the Fortnightly Reviczv. Later, I gave what I con- 
sidered a proof of its entire fallacy in my " Darwinism " 
(published in 1889), and many other writers had also given 
reasons for rejecting it. This rejection of a theory which he 
evidently thought very highly of seems to have been very 
unexpected and to have somewhat ruffled his temper, as was 
very natural, or he would not, I think, have written of me as 
he did, especially if we consider the letters he had sent me four 
years previously. In an article in the Nineteenth Century, 
of May, 1890, he repeats a statement which he had made 
before in other periodicals in the following words : — " He 
presents an alternative theory to explain the same class of 
facts. Yet this theory is purely and simply without any 
modification whatsoever, a restatement of the first principles 
of physiological selection, as these were originally stated by 
myself." To this and to a repetition of it in the American 
magazine, The Monist, of October, I replied in Nature, and 
I need only say here that the essential parts of my theory 
were founded partly on facts established by Darwin, and partly 
on a mathematical demonstration that sterility could be in- 
creased by natural selection. This last argument was stated 
by me in nearly the same form in letters to Darwin in 1868, 
eighteen years before Romanes set forth his theory of phys- 
iological selection (see " More Letters of Charles Darwin," 
vol. i. pp. 288-297). Further, while this last theory has now, 
I believe, no supporters, my own view, so far as I know, has 


not been shown to be unsound ; and I do not think that the 
accusation of direct and barefaced plagiarism is now accepted 
by any naturalist who has taken the trouble to follow the whole 

But much worse than this was the following passage re- 
ferring to my " Darwinism," where he says it is in the con- 
cluding chapter of my book " that we encounter the Wallace 
of spiritualism and astrology, the Wallace of vaccination and 
the land question, the Wallace of incapacity and absurdity " 
(Nineteenth Century, May, 1890, p. 831). 

To this I made no public reply, since I was sure that all 
whose opinion I valued would condemn this mode of dis- 
cussing the problems of science. But I thought it afforded 
an excellent opportunity to let my critic know what I thought 
of his behaviour, and perhaps puzzle and frighten him a 
little by exhibiting an acquaintance with facts which he evi- 
dently wished to conceal. I accordingly wrote him the fol- 
lowing letter : — 

" Parkestone, July 18, 1890. 

" Dear Mr. Romanes, 

" Some time back I read your article in the Nine- 
teenth Century for May, but I have been so much occupied 
that I have, till now, had no time to write about it. Whether 
or no it was good taste for you to appeal to the political 
and medical prejudices of your readers in a matter purely 
scientific — by referring to my advocacy of land nationaliza- 
tion and opposition to vaccination — I leave others to judge. 
I am quite satisfied myself that, in a not distant future, I 
shall have ample credit given me on both these points. But 
as to your appeal to popular scientific prejudice by referring to 
my belief in spiritualism and astrology (which latter I have 
never professed mj£ belief in), I have something to say. 

"In the year 1876 you wrote two letters to Darwin, detail- 
ing your experiences of spiritual phenomena. You told him 
that you had had mental questions answered with no paid 
medium present. You told him you had had a message from 
Mr. J. Bellew, which message was worded in a manner so 

336 MY LIFE 

unexpected that it was. till completed, thought to be erro- 
neous. And you declared your belief that some non-human 
in ul licence was then communicating with vou. You also 

described many physical phenomena occurring in your own 

house with the medium Williams. You saw ' hands,' appar- 
ently human, yet not those of any one present. You saw 
hand-bells, etc., carried about; you saw a human head and face 
above the table, the face with mobile features and eyes. Wil- 
liams was held all the time, and your brother walked around 
the table to prove that there was no wire or other machinery 
(in your own room!), yet a bell, placed on a piano some 
distance away, was taken up by a luminous hand and rung, and 
carried about the room ! 

" Can you have forgotten all this? 

" In your second letter to Darwin you expressed your con- 
viction of the truth of these facts, and of the existence of 
spiritual intelligences, of mind without brain. You said that 
these phenomena had altered your whole conceptions. For- 
merly you had thought there were two mental natures in 
Crookes and Wallace — one sane, the other lunatic! Now 
(you said) you belonged to the same class as they did. 

" Tell it not in Gath ! There are, then, two Romanes as 
well as two Wallaces. There is a Romanes ' of incapacity and 
absurdity!! ' But he keeps it secret. He thinks no one knows 
it. He is ashamed to confess it to his fellow-naturalists ; but 
he is not ashamed to make use of the ignorant prejudice 
against belief in such phenomena, in a scientific discussion 
with one who has the courage of his opinions, which he him- 
self has not. 

" Yours truly, 

" Alfred R. Wallace." 

His answer, written from Scotland on July 21 , was as 
follows : — 

" Dear Mr. Wallace, 

" I am truly sorry to observe the tone of injury 
which pervades your letter of the 18th inst., just received. It 


certainly did not occur to me that I was hitting below the 
belt in alluding to matters so notorious ; but after receiving 
this expression of your own opinion upon the matter, I shall 
assuredly never do so again. Unfortunately what has been 
done cannot be undone; but perhaps you will allow me to 
say that, rather than have offended you in this way, I would 
have suppressed the article altogether. Perhaps, also, I may 
add that in giving public expression to my opinion on the rel- 
ative nature of your different lines of publication it seemed 
to me that I was only making ' fair comment.' If you were 
to say that you thought my writings on Darwinism betokened 
1 incapacity and absurdity,' but my experiments in physiology 
the reverse, I do not think I should at all object. This, 
however, is a matter of feeling about which it would be 
fruitless to argue. So all that I can now do is to express my 
sorrow, and promise never to allude to this subject again. 

" ' Astrology ' I alluded to, because you once told me that 
you were investigating it. You refused to hear argument 
against it, and left me with the impression that you believed 
in it. 

" Touching my correspondence with Mr. Darwin, fourteen 
years is a long time to remember details, and I kept no 
copies. But I do clearly remember two points. The first is 
that the letters were to be strictly private, and the next is 
that they were to be regarded as provisional. Now, after 
these letters were written, further work with Williams showed 
him to be an impostor. I spent an immense deal of time and 
trouble over the matter, and in the end withdrew the opinions 
expressed in these letters. 

" If you have gained your knowledge of their contents by 
any occult process, I hope you will publish them as evidence, 
which in that case I would not be wanting in courage to back. 
But otherwise, in the event of your publishing them, I should 
require to know the source from which they were obtained. 
That it was not from Mr. Darwin himself, I am already 
satisfied ; if it was from any member of his family, the condi- 
tions under which they were written, and some time afterwards 
with my permission, submitted to their perusal, must have 

; s MY LIFE 

n forgotten. In any case, I do not know that yon ought 
to have read them — but am not sorry thai you did, if only to 
show yon that, although too credulous In first instance, I was 

at any rale not unopen to an honest conviction. 

" Yours trul) . 

" Geo. J. Romanes." 

" Parkcstonc, July 27, 1890. 

" Dear Mr. Roman j . 

" Yon arc mistaken in thinking I wrote muler a 
sense of injury, and I do not think my letter showed it. I 
merely pointed out that to assume, without any attempt at 
proof, that my writings on vaccination and land nationaliza- 
tion showed incompetence and absurdity was appealing to 
ignorant prejudice, and was therefore both unscientific and in 
bad taste. My writings on these subjects are public property. 
Pray, therefore, refer to them as much as you like, when you 
have read them and can refer to them and criticize them 
with knowledge of their facts and arguments. But this is a 
comparatively small matter. The important part of my letter 
and your reply refers to the spiritualistic phenomena. 

" You now say you have found Williams to be an impostor. 
But I presume you did not write to Darwin, trusting to 
Williams's honesty, or to any statements that he made. You 
set forth your own observations and precautions in proof of 
the facts. Have you found out hozv the things you saw in 
your own room and in the presence of your friends were 
done ? Can you tell me how the bust and face, ' with move- 
able features and eyes,' appeared above your own table while 
Williams was sitting beside you and firmly held? Can you 
tell me how the ' luminous hand ' was formed and worked, 
which lifted a bell from a distant piano, rang it, and carried 
it about, your brother walking round the table to see that no 
wires had mysteriously fixed themselves in the room? You 
knew then, as well as you know now, that almost all mediums 
are accused of imposture; but you gave your experience as 
evidence which did not admit of being explained by imposture. 
How is this altered now, if you can no more explain this to 


me than you could to Darwin? And were your own rela- 
tives impostors when you obtained answers to your mental 
questions? Do not those experiments prove a non-human 
intelligence now as they did when you wrote to Darwin? If 
you cannot now explain these things, your change of opinion 
has no logical justification. If you can explain them, I call 
upon you to do so — if not to the scientific world, yet to me, 
whom you have publicly accused of incompetence and absurdity 
because I believe that phenomena of exactly the same character 
as yours are realities and cannot be proved to be impostures. 
As to your letters, copies of them were handed to me to read 
by a person to whom (I was told) they had been given without 
restrictions, and who was thus quite justified in showing them 
to me. Of course I have treated them, and shall treat them, 
as private letters ; but they interested me so much that I made 
full notes immediately after carefully reading them, so that 
I possess their substance and many of their very expressions. 
After the way you have referred in print to my belief in such 
phenomena most persons would think I was quite justified in 
making known the fact of the existence of these letters and 
their general tenor. I hope, however, you will not render any 
such course necessary. / think your proper course would be 
to publish the letters together with the full details of your 
discovery of the imposture, a discovery so complete as to 
induce you to change those convictions you so earnestly and 
solemnly expressed to Darwin. 
" Hoping you will do so, 

" I remain, yours faithfully, 

" Alfred R. Wallace." 

The next letter I will give the substance of. He stated that 
soon after having written to Darwin he detected Williams 
cheating. He then had a cage made of perforated zinc, and 
when Williams sat in it nothing happened. This fact, he says, 
logically justified his change of opinion. It could not be a 
supernatural power, or why should the interposition of a per- 
forated zinc cage have suspended the power? There was there- 
fore nothing to publish. As to the answers to mental questions, 

340 MY LIFE 

he only got them when his own hands were on the table. 
1 fc therefore concluded and still believes that he himself gave 
the initiatory impulse to move the table, which the other sitters 
involuntarily intensified and carried out. 

I will give my reply because it points out some of the com- 
mon fallacies of beginners in coming to hasty conclusions from 
a few isolated facts. 

u Dear Mr. Romanes, 

"As I do not wish to continue this correspondence, I will 
confine myself to pointing out why I consider your present 
position to be logically untenable and unscientific. You admit 
you cannot explain what took place in your own house, but 
you say, ' not being able to explain ' is very far from admitting 
it to have been done by supernatural means (I would say, 
' supernormal ' or ' preterhuman ' rather than supernatural ; but 
that is a detail.) You then describe the ' cage' you had made, 
with the result that nothing happened when the medium sat 
w T ithin it; and you imply that if phenomena had occurred 
when Williams was within it you would have admitted some- 
thing ' supernatural/ But why ? Simply because, in your own 
words, you could not explain ' how the trick was done.' To me, 
and I think to most persons, what did occur — the ' luminous 
hand,' lifting a bell at a distance, etc., etc. — was just as inex- 
plicable, and just as much a proof of something beyond ' trick,' 
as would have been some physical effect produced outside the 
cage while Williams was in it. 

" Again, it is not ' scientific ' to treat your own limited experi- 
ence as if it stood alone, and to refuse to admit all evidence 
from other inquirers in corroboration. Although your cage- 
test did not succeed, it did succeed with others. Mr. Adshead, 
a gentleman of Belper, had a wire cage made, and Miss Wood 
sat in it in his own house, many times, and under these con- 
ditions many forms of men, women, and children, appeared in 
the room. A similar cage was afterwards used by the New- 
castle Spiritual Evidence Society, for a year or more, and 
Miss Wood sat in it weekly. It was screwed up from the 
outside, yet all the usual phenomena of materialization occurred 


just the same as when no cage was used. At other times Miss 
Wood sat in the circle visible to all, yet other figures of various 
apparent ages came out of the cabinet. Then again Mr. 
Varley, the electrician, applied the electrical test to Miss Cook, 
she forming part of the circuit, yet all the usual phenomena 
occurred. Crookes again used the same test, with the same 
result; and he also saw Miss Cook and the materialized form 
'Katie ' at the same time, in his own house, and he photographed 
the latter. All these facts and many others of like nature 
have been published, and are known to all inquirers, and every 
investigator knows that your failure to obtain phenomena 
under the test, was no proof of any dishonesty in the medium, 
or of impossibility of obtaining the phenomena under such 
conditions. Such tests often require to be tried many times 
before sucess is attained. To me, and I believe to most 
inquirers, it will appear in the highest degree unscientific to 
reject phenomena that could not possibly be due to imposture, 
and to ignore the hundreds of corroborative tests by other 
equally competent observers, and then, after this, to call all 
such observers (by implication) fools or lunatics! 

" Yet, again, your attempted explanation of the ' mental 
question' test does not apply to the Bellew case, where you 
expressly state that some of the words while being spelled 
out were challenged by all present as being wrong, and were 
yet insisted on by the unknown intelligence, and resulted, 
contrary to the expectation of all, in — ' I, John Bellew, fear 
no being/ 

" Yours truly, 

" Alfred R. Wallace." 

In reply to this, I received another long and very argu- 
mentative letter, admitting that from my point of view and 
greater experience, my arguments were very strong, but that 
from his point of view, with his " bias against the preter- 
human," his refusal to accept any evidence, unless it could be 
repeated under " several reasonable alterations of conditions, 
designed to exclude merely human powers of trickery," his 
objections and his incredulity were quite logical and scientific. 

342 MY LIFE 

ETe also urged that the mental tests and that of the unex- 
pected answer about Bellew did not require any other intelli- 
gence, because equally unexpected things and sayings occurred 
in dreams, in which we ourselves supply the whole of the matter 
dreamt of. He therefore thought "that a man may, uncon- 
sciously, or subconsciously, supply the other side of a dialogue 
when he is wide awake, just as well as he can when he is 
fast asleep." This shows how ingenious was my correspondent 
as a dialectician, and rendered me disinclined to carry on a 
further correspondence which seemed likely to be a long one. 
He quite overlooked, however, the circumstance that our cor- 
respondence began, not on account of his being unconvinced 
by what he witnessed, but by using the fact that I, after much 
longer experience and a much wider acquaintance with the 
subject, had been convinced, as a weapon against me in a 
scientific argument. 

However, on the whole, he took my criticism, and even my 
ridicule, in very good part- — better in fact than I expected — 
and he was completely mystified when I told him that my 
knowdedge of his letters did not come directly or indirectly 
through any of Darwin's family. In order to relieve their 
minds of such a supposition, I told them how I got to see 
copies of the letters. 

In this letter, however, he gave me an account of a " sack 
trick " he had seen, which he thought as wonderful as anything 
he saw with Williams, but which he persuaded the performer 
to show him the secret of. As I think this may interest my 
readers, I will give it in his own words. 

" But for the fact that he is now dead, I could have intro- 
duced you to an American medium who would have gone to 
your own house, and allowed you to furnish your own cabinet, 
handcuffs, canvas sack, twine, sealing-wax, and seal. Having 
fastened his hands together behind his back by means of hand- 
cuffs as tightly as possible, you might have taken him to the 
cabinet, placed him inside the sack, tied the mouth of the 
sack as tightly with the string as you could, sealed the knots 
and likewise the two ends of the string to the outside of the 
sack. Lastly, you might have shut and locked the cabinet 


door. Then after a period varying from one to two minutes, 
you would have heard the medium knock, and on opening the 
door would have found him outside the sack with his hands 
handcuffed behind his back as before — the mouth- of the sack 
being wide open, and all the knots and seals intact. This 
performance the medium would repeat any number of times. 
Having seen him do this I was completely baffled (as I was 
with Williams), and so would you have been unless you can 
suggest ' how it was done,' and unless I add, what I do now, 
that I persuaded this man to explain the trick." 

In reply to this I pointed out that the " sack " and hand- 
cuff trick involved only one essential operation, that of quickly 
slipping his hands in and out of the handcuffs, and that this 
was probably done partly by a natural mobility of the bones 
of the wrists and hands, partly by induced suppleness by long 
practice. That being done while being put into the sack 
inside the cabinet when the movement of his arms would not 
be noticed, he had only to insert one or two fingers in the 
neck of the sack while it was being tied, and all the rest was 
easy. Nothing was needed or done but to slip out of the hand- 
cuffs and slip off the string tied around the neck of the sack. 

In the case of Williams, solid objects were moved which 
were a long way from the medium, and two self-moving 
objects — a luminous hand, and a head and face with movable 
features, were produced and seen by all while the medium 
was held and one of the party looked on outside the circle. 
And I asked him what became of these solid objects after- 

In his reply he said I was substantially right about the way 
the " sack " trick was done. Also, that several vears afterwards 
Darwin wrote to him that Williams had been detected by some 
one striking a light ! He therefore felt quite justified in dis- 
believing all he had once thought so convincing. 

Thus ended our correspondence on this subject; and, I sup- 
pose, as a kind of amende honorable, my correspondent asked 
me, the next year, to allow him to have a photograph of myself 
for a forthcoming book of his on the Darwinian theory ! This 
I declined with thanks. 



The publication of my book in 1874, not only brought me 
an extensive correspondence on the subject, but led to my 
being invited to take part in many interesting seances, and 
making the acquaintance of spiritualists both at home and 
abroad. As what I witnessed was often very remarkable, and 
forms a sort of supplement to the " Notes of Personal Evi- 
dence" given in my book, and also because these phenomena 
have had a very important influence both on my character and 
my opinions, it will be necessary here to give a brief outline of 

I attended a series of sittings with Miss Kate Cook, the 
sister of Miss Florence Cook, with whom Sir William Crookes 
obtained such very striking results. The general features of 
these seances were very similar, though there was great variety 
in details. They took place in the rooms of Signor Randi, a 
miniature painter, living in Montague Place, W., in a large 
reception-room, across one corner of which a curtain was 
hung and a chair placed inside for the medium. There were 
generally six or seven persons present. Miss Cook and her 
mother came from North London. Miss C. was always dressed 
in black, with lace collar, she wore laced-up boots, and had ear- 
rings in her ears. In a few minutes after she had entered the 
cabinet, the curtains would be drawn apart and a white-robed 
female figure would appear, and sometimes come out and 
stand close in front of the curtain. One after another she 
would beckon to us to come up. We then talked together, 
the form in whispers ; I could look closely into her face, ex- 
amine the features and hair, touch her hands, and might even 
touch and examine her ears closely, which were not bored for 



earrings. The figure had bare feet, was somewhat taller than 
Miss Cook, and, though there was a general resemblance, was 
quite distinct in features, figure, and hair. After half an hour 
or more this figure would retire, close the curtains, and some- 
times within a few seconds would say, " Come and look." We 
then opened the curtains, turned up the lamp, and Miss Cook 
was found in a trance in the chair, her black dress, laced- 
boots, etc., in the most perfect order as when she arrived, 
while the full-gown white-robed figure had totally disappeared. 

Mr. Robert Chambers introduced me to a wealthy Scotch 
lady, Miss Douglas, living in South Audley Street, and at 
her house I attended many seances, and met there Mr. 
Hensieigh Wedgwood, and several other London spiritualists. 
Perhaps the most interesting of these were a series with Mr. 
Haxby, a young man engaged in the post-office and a remark- 
able medium for materializations. He was a small man, and 
sat in a small drawing-room on the first floor separated by 
curtains from a larger one, where the visitors sat in a subdued 
light. After a few minutes, from between the curtains would 
appear a tall and stately East Indian figure in white robes, 
a rich waistband, sandals, and large turban, snowy white, and 
disposed with perfect elegance. Sometimes this figure would 
walk round the room outside the circle, would lift up a large 
and very heavy musical box, which he would wind up and 
then swing round his head with one hand. He would often 
come to each of us in succession, bow, and allow us to feel 
his hands and examine his robes. We asked him to stand 
against the door-post and marked his height, and on one 
occasion Mr. Hensieigh Wedgwood brought with him a shoe- 
maker's measuring-rule, and at our request, Abdullah, as he 
gave his name, took off a sandal, placed his foot on a chair, 
and allowed it to be accurately measured with the sliding- 
rule. After the seance Mr. Haxby removed his boot and had 
his foot measured by the same rule, when that of the figure 
was found to be full one inch and a quarter the longer, while 
in height it was about half a foot taller. A minute or two 
after Abdullah had retired into the small room, Haxby was 

34< MY LIFE 

found in a trance in his chair, while no trace of the white- 
robed stranger was to be seen. The door and window of the 
back room were securely fastened, and often secured with 
gummed paper, which was found intact. 

On another occasion I was present in a private house when 
a very similar figure appeared with the medium Eglinton 
before a large party of spiritualists and inquirers. In this 
case the conditions were even more stringent and the result 
absolutelv conclusive. A corner of the room had a curtain 
hung across it, enclosing a space just large enough to hold 
a chair for the medium. I and others examined this corner 
and found the walls solid and the carpet nailed down. The 
medium on arrival came at once into the room, and after a 
short period of introductions seated himself in the corner. 
There was a lighted gas-chandelier in the room, which was 
turned down so as just to permit us to see each other. The 
figure, beautifully robed, passed round the room, allowed 
himself to be touched, his robes, hands, and feet examined 
closely by all present — I think sixteen or eighteen persons. 
Every one was delighted, but to make the seance a test one, 
several of the medium's friends begged him to allow himself 
to be searched so that the result might be published. After 
some difficulty he was persuaded, and four persons were 
appointed to make the examination. Immediately two of 
these led him into a bedroom, while I and a friend who had 
come with me closely examined the chair, floor, and walls, 
and were able to declare that nothing so large as a glove had 
been left. We then joined the other two in the bedroom, 
and as Eglinton took off his clothes each article was passed 
through our hands, down to underclothing and socks, so that 
we could positively declare that not a single article besides 
his own clothes were found upon him. The result was pub- 
lished in the Spiritualist newspaper, certified by the names of 
all present. 

Yet one more case of materialization may be given, because 
it was even more remarkable in some respects than any which 
have been here recorded. A Mr. Monk, a non-conformist 
clergyman, was a remarkable medium, and in order to be able 


to examine the phenomena carefully, and to preserve the 
medium from the injury often caused by repeated miscellan- 
eous seances, four gentlemen secured his exclusive services 
for a year, hiring apartments for him on a first floor in 
Bloomsbury, and paying him a moderate salary. Mr. Hens- 
leigh Wedgwood and Mr. Stainton Moses were two of these, 
and they invited me to see the phenomena that occurred. It 
was a bright summer afternoon, and everything happened in 
the full light of day. After a little conversation, Monk, 
who was dressed in the usual clerical black, appeared to go 
into a trance ; then stood up a few feet in front of us, and 
after a little while pointed to his side, saying, " Look." We 
saw there a faint white patch on his coat on the left side. 
This grew brighter, then seemed to flicker, and extended both 
upwards and downwards, till very gradually it formed a 
cloudy pillar extending from his shoulder to his feet and 
close to his body. Then he shifted himself a little sideways, 
the cloudy figure standing still, but appearing joined to him 
by a cloudy band at the height at which it had first begun to 
form. Then, after a few minutes more, Monk again said 
" Look," and passed his hand through the connecting band, 
severing it. He and the figure then moved away from each 
other till they were about five or six feet apart. The figure 
had now assumed the appearance of a thickly draped female 
form, with arms and hands just visible. Monk looked towards 
it and again said to us " Look," and then clapped his hands. On 
which the figure put out her hands, clapped them as he had 
done, and we all distinctly heard her clap following his, but 
fainter. The figure then moved slowly back to him, grew 
fainter and shorter, and was apparently absorbed into his body 
as it had grown out of it. 

Of course, such a narration as this, to those who know 
nothing of the phenomena that gradually lead up to it, seems 
mere midsummer madness. But to those who have for years 
obtained positive knowledge of a great variety of facts equally 
strange, this is only the culminating point of a long series of 
phenomena, all antecedently incredible to the people who talk 
so confidently of the laws of nature. I will here just remark 

348 MY LIFE 

that in the four cases of materialization now recorded, with 
four different mediums, four different kinds of tests were 
obtained without any interference with the conditions needed 
for the production of the phenomena. In the first, with Miss 
Cook, the figure was positively distinguished by unpierced 
ears, while the circumstances were such that the medium 
could not possibly have resumed her dress and concealed the 
robes of the figure in the few seconds only that sometimes 
elapsed between its disappearance and the examination of the 
medium. With Mr. Haxby, the measurements both of body 
and foot were so different as to prevent any possibility of 
personation by the medium. With Mr. Eglinton, the im- 
promptu and thorough search after the seance rendered per- 
sonation equally impossible ; while, in the last case, in which 
the whole process of the formation of a shrouded figure was 
seen in full daylight, absolutely precluded any normal mode of 
production of what we saw. I may mention that Mr. Wedg- 
wood assured me that in the course of their long investigation 
they had had far more wonderful results. In some cases, in- 
stead of a shrouded and somewhat shadowy female figure, a 
tall robed male figure was produced, while Mr. Monk was in 
a deep trance, and in full view. 

This figure would remain with them for half an hour or 
more, would touch them, and allow of close examination of his 
body and clothing, and was so thoroughly, though temporarily 
material, that it could exert considerable force, sometimes even 
lifting a chair on which one of them was seated, and thus 
carrying him around the room. 

Now, however, that the whole series of similar phenomena 
have been co-ordinated, and to some extent rendered intel- 
ligible, by Myers's great work on " Human Personality," it is to 
be hoped that even students of physical science will no longer 
class all those who have either witnessed such phenomena or 
express their belief in them, as insane or idiotically credulous, 
without even attempting to show how, under the same condi- 
tions, such effects can be produced. 

Before leaving the subject of my experiences of spiritualism 


and spiritualists in England, I will give a case of the strange 
phenomenon called the " double/' so well authenticated and so 
instructive as to deserve to be here recorded. About the year 
1874, Mr. Pengelly, of Torquay, had sent me his very inter- 
esting critical article, "Is it a Fact?" in which, to my great 
surprise, I found an anecdote describing the strange appear- 
ance of the doubles of several persons to a friend of his 
(apparently), as he says he can vouch for it. When, as 
narrated in Chapter xxvi., we dined together at Glasgow, I 
took the opportunity of asking him privately whether I was 
right in my conjecture that the person to whom the event 
happened was himself, thinly disguised under the pseudonym, 
Mr. Hazelwood (Pengelly meaning in Cornish the head of the 
hazel-grove). He replied, "You are right;" which led me to 
read it again with still greater interest. 

In 1883, thinking the case would be one suited for the 
Psychical Research Society, I sent the paper to my friend, 
F. W. H. Myers, telling him what Mr. Pengelly had told me ; 
and Miss Pengelly has allowed me to copy a letter from Mr. 
Myers to her father, thanking him for the additional informa- 
tion he had received about the case, and saying, that as the 
distance at which the figures were seen was so small " It is 
almost inconceivable that you could have mistaken other 
persons for your own family at that distance, especially as 
the train must have been almost or quite at a standstill." But 
he did not publish the case, and it was probably, among the 
mass of other matter, forgotten. I now give the story as it 
occurs in Mr. Pengelly 's paper, " Is it a Fact? " (p. 32.) 

" The following case, for which I can vouch, may serve 
to illustrate this. 1 It will be found to be supported by both 
personal and circumstantial evidence.: — Mr. Hazekvood, of 
Torquay, having a few years since to go to Dawlish, informed 
his wife that he should return by the train due at Torre 
Station at a certain hour, and suggested that she might, with 
their two children, walk up to meet him, which she agreed to 
do. On the return journey there was in the same carriage 

1 The disbelief in witchcraft, notwithstanding the mass of good testi- 
mony supporting it. 



with him a gentleman who had known Mrs. Hadavood for 
several years, and who knew her children. It should be 
remarked that the family were in mourning, and that the 
children were a boy and a girl, the former being the older. At 
Newton Station Mr. Hazlewood bought a newspaper, and was 
reading it during the remainder of the journey. He had, for 
a time, forgotten the arrangement made with his wife, and he 
states that he certainly had not spoken of it to any one. As 
the train drew near Torre Station his companion said, ' There's 
Mrs. Hazlewood and your two children standing on the bank.' 
He at once looked in the direction indicated, and distinctly 
saw a party, which he had not the least doubt were his wife 
and boy and girl, standing on the hedge or bank, which, under 
Chapel Hill, overlooks the railway. On leaving the station, 
instead of walking towards Torquay, he went in the opposite 
direction, on the Newton Road to join them. On his way he 
met a man who had known Mrs. Hazlewood from her child- 
hood, and who volunteered the remark, ' You are going to join 
your wife and family, I suppose. They are just above here, 
standing on the hedge.' He proceeded to the spot, and to his 
surprise found the party had left, and were nowhere to be seen. 
After some fruitless search he proceeded to his own house, 
and found his family just starting to meet him at the station, 
they having forgotten the hour at which the train was due. 
Notwithstanding the fact that three persons, who knew them 
well, were prepared to swear that they had seen Mrs. Hazel- 
wood and her children at a particular spot, notwithstanding the 
further fact that this was just the spot where they had 
previously, and without the knowledge of two of the witnesses, 
agreed to be at the time, it zuas not a fact that Mrs. Hazel- 
wood and her children had on that day been standing on the 
hedge overlooking the railway near the station at Torre." 

This is one of a large class of appearances termed " doubles," 
some of the most curious of which I have made use of in my 
chapters on " Phantasms " in my book on " Spiritualism." This 
one is especially valuable, as being recorded by a gentleman 
who was remarkable for the great care he gave to attain 
accuracy in all his work; and it was published under a well- 


understood pseudonym, in a place where he had lived nearly 
all his life. But what is especially remarkable is that the two 
independent witnesses had no expectation of seeing the parties 
where the phantasms appeared, while they themselves having 
mistaken the hour the train was due could have had no special 
anxiety as to being in time. And two of the persons seen being 
children, the theory of the phantasms being caused by the three 
" second selves " or " subliminal personalities," is very difficult 
to conceive. 

Among the eminent men whose first acquaintance and 
valued friendship I owe to our common interest in spiritualism 
was F. W. H. Myers, whose great work on " Human Person- 
ality and its Survival of Bodily Death " has so recently ap- 
peared. I think I must have met him first at some seances in 
London, and he asked me to call on him at his rooms in Bolton 
Row, May fair. I think this was in 1878. I spent several hours 
with him, discussing various aspects of spiritualistic phe- 
nomena. He told me a great deal about the long series of 
experiments with the celebrated Newcastle mediums, Miss 
Wood and Miss Fairlamb, both under twenty, and whose 
powers had been discovered only two years previously, who 
were engaged for twelve months by Professor Sidgwick, Mr. 
Gurney, and himself, for a long series of seances in New- 
castle, in London (at Mr. Balfour's house in Carlton Gardens), 
and in Cambridge at Professor Sidgwick's rooms. He showed 
me several MS. books full of notes of these seances, of which 
he was the reporter, and drew my attention to some which I 
read through. In addition, he described to me the complete 
tests which were applied in order to render it certain that the 
phenomena were not produced by the mediums themselves. 
For example, a curtain across the corner of a room formed the 
cabinet. In this was placed a mattress and pillow on the bare 
floor. The medium's wrists were tied securely with tapes, 
leaving two ends a foot or more long. These ends were tacked 
down to the floor, then covered with sealing-wax and sealed. 
Under these conditions one or more forms came out from the 
curtains, sometimes to a considerable distance and touched 

35-' MY LIFE 

each one present. The light was just sufficient to see the 
figures, which were sometimes those of children, at other times 
of adults. Other phenomena also occurred in the room. 
Afterwards the medium was found either awake or still 
entranced, with the tapes, knots, and seals all apparently un- 

But this was not thought sufficient to exclude imposture. 
The medium might have provided herself with tape, tacks, 
wax, and a copy of the seal, and by practice and ingenuity 
be able to restore things to their original state after coming 
out and personating the figures. To render this impossible 
(or rather much less credible), at each Seance the width, 
quality, or colour of the tape was different, the sealing-wax was 
of another colour, or a different seal was used, so that on no 
two occasions were the conditions alike. Yet still the phe- 
nomena went on occurring. Then a hammock was procured 
for the medium to lie in, and this hammock, by means of 
pulleys, was connected with a weighing machine, so that the 
medium could not possibly leave it without instant detection. 
Yet still the phenomena were produced, and the medium was 
found afterwards comfortably lying in her hammock. 

Of course such phenomena as these, however well estab- 
lished, were entirely out of place at so early a period of the 
inquiries of the persons, who soon afterwards founded the 
Society for Psychical Research. They wanted to create a 
science — to make sure of the first steps before they went on to 
the second; and, above all things, not to go on too fast, so 
that the educated but sceptical public might be able to follow 
them. They have now worked in this way for nearly a quarter 
of a century; they have published a wonderful collection of 
well-attested evidence, and yet they are only now beginning 
to approach very carefully and sceptically even the simpler 
physical phenomena which hundreds of spiritualists, including 
Sir William Crookes and Professor Zollner, demonstrated 
more than thirty years ago. As to the more advanced 
phenomena, such as the disintegration and reproduction of 
matter, and the various forms of materialization of the human 
form or its parts, Mr. Myers himself, in his great work, only 


alludes to them and indicates their possibility, without laying 
special stress on the fact of their occurrence. The equally 
well-attested phenomena of psychic photography are entirely 
unnoticed, though they would easily be fitted into the great 
structure he has erected based upon phenomena which he con- 
sidered to be demonstrated facts. 

This method of very slow advance was, no doubt, neces- 
sary for the purpose of establishing what is really a new 
science, and in the establishment of this science a foremost 
place will always be given to Frederic Myers. He was the 
first English writer to attempt to educe order out of the vast 
chaos of psychic phenomena, to connect them with admitted 
physical and physiological laws, and to formulate certain hy- 
potheses which would serve to connect and explain a consider- 
able portion of them. 1 Yet there are indications that even 
his careful examination of evidence and tentative suggestions 
are still in advance of most of his fellow researchers; as 
shown by the fact that since his greatly lamented death the 
publications of the society have become retrograde rather than 
progressive, by devoting space to the publication of mere in- 
conclusive or suspicious phenomena which are absolutely 
worthless, and by needlessly pointing out that certain facts 
may possibly be explained by imposture or delusion. Never- 
theless, for the advanced " Researcher," Myers's great work 
will long serve as a vast reservoir of classified information and 
a guide to further scientific research ; while the spiritualist will 
equally value it, and by its light will be able to interpret the 
more advanced and more marvellous phenomena with which 
he is acquainted. 

When talking to me about the remarkable seances with the 
two Newcastle mediums, the entire series of which he attended 
and recorded very carefully in the notebooks he showed me, 
he laid great stress upon the extremely rigid precautions that 
were taken against the possibility of imposture, and conveyed 
to me the impression that he himself was quite convinced of 
the genuineness of the whole series. He also told me that 

1 Robert Dale Owen's works, at a much earlier period, attempted the 
same thing with more limited materials, but with remarkable success. 

354 MY LIFE 

Professor and Mrs. Sidgwick only attended a portion of the 
series, and that, unfortunately, several of the most astounding 
and conclusive of the phenomena occurred in their absence. 

This is important, because Mrs. Sidgwick has published 
an account of those she attended (in the Proceedings of the 
Society for Psychical Research, vol. iv.), and has laid great 
stress upon the inconclusive nature of the tests applied, though 
she admits that it was exceedingly difficult, " but not perhaps 
impossible," to impute the results to imposture. Under these 
circumstances, it seems to me, that if these records of the 
whole series of seances by Mr. Myers are still in existence and 
can be obtained, it is the duty of the Society, in justice to the 
mediums (one of whom is still living), and in the interests of 
science, to make the entire series public. Under the light of 
our more advanced knowledge to-day, such a record by so 
careful and so critical an observer, of so long-continued an 
inquiry, must contain a mine of invaluable facts. 

My Experiences in America. 

During a lecturing tour in the United States in 1886-87, I 
staid some time in three of the centres of American spiritual- 
ism — Boston, Washington, and San Francisco, and made the 
acquaintance of many American spiritualists and inquirers, 
with whom I attended many remarkable seances. At Boston 
I met the Rev. Minot J. Savage, whose latest work, "Can 
Telepathy Explain ? ' contains such a collection of personal 
experiences as have fallen to the lot of few inquirers; Mr. 
F. J. Garrison, a son of the great abolitionist ; Mr. E. A. 
Brackett, a sculptor, and author of a remarkable book on 
" Materialized Apparitions" ; Dr. Nichols, author of " Whence, 
Where, and Whither"; Professor James, of Harvard, and 
several others. 

I attended several seances at the house of Mrs. Ross, a 
very good medium for materializations, in the company of 
one or more of my friends. I will state what occurred on one 
of these occasions. The seance took place in a front down- 
stairs room of a small private house, opening by sliding doors 


into a back room, and by an ordinary door into the passage. 
The cabinet was formed by cloth curtains across the corner 
of the room from the fireplace to the sliding door. One side 
of this was an outer wall, the other the wall of the back room, 
where there was a cupboard containing a quantity of china. 
I was invited to examine, and did so thoroughly — front room, 
floor, back room, rooms below in basement, occupied by a 
heating apparatus; and I am positive there were no means of 
communication other than the doors for even the smallest child. 
Then the sliding doors were closed, fastened with sticking- 
plaster, and privately marked with pencil. The ten visitors 
formed a circle opposite the cabinet, and I sat with my back 
close to the passage door and opposite the curtain at a distance 
of about ten feet. A red-shaded lamp was in the furthest 
corner behind the visitors, which enabled me to see the time 
by my watch and the outlines of everyone in the room ; and as 
it was behind me the space between myself and the cabinet was 
very fairly lighted. Under these circumstances the appear- 
ances were as follows : 

( 1 ) A female figure in white came out between the curtains 
with Mrs. Ross in black, and also a male figure, all to some 
distance in front of the cabinet. This was apparently to 
demonstrate, once for all, that, whatever they were, the figures 
were not Mrs. Ross in disguise. 

(2) After these had retired three female figures appeared 
together, in white robes and of different heights. These came 
two or three feet in front of the curtain. 

(3) A male figure came out, recognized by a gentleman 
present as his son. 

(4) A tall Indian figure came out in white moccasins, he 
danced and spoke; he also shook hands with me and others, 
a large, strong, rough hand. 

(5) A female figure with a baby stood close to the entrance 
of the cabinet. I went up (on invitation), felt the baby's face, 
nose, and hair, and kissed it — apparently a real, soft-skinned, 
living baby. Other ladies and gentlemen agreed. 

Directly the seance was over the gas was lighted, and I again 
examined the bare walls of the cabinet, the curtains, and the 

356 MY LIFE 

door, all being just as before, and affording no room or place 
for disposing of the baby alone, far less of the other figures. 

At another special seance for friends of Dr. Xichols and 
Mr. Brackett, with Professor James and myself — nine in all, 
under the same conditions as before, eight or nine different 
figures came, including a tall Indian chief in war-paint and 
feathers, a little girl who talked and played with Miss Brackett, 
and a very pretty and perfectly developed girl, " Bertha," Mr. 
Brackett's niece, who has appeared to him with various 
mediums for two years, and is as w r ell known to him as any near 
relative in earth-life. She speaks distinctly, which these figures 
.rarely do, and Mr. Brackett has often seen her develop grad- 
ually from a cloudy mass, and almost instantly vanish away. 
But w r hat specially interested me was, that two of the figures 
beckoned to me to come up to the cabinet. One was a beauti- 
fully draped female figure, who took my hand, looked at me 
smilingly, and on my appearing doubtful, said in a whisper 
that she had often met me at Miss Kate Cook's seances in 
London. She then let me feel her ears, as I had done before 
to prove she was not the medium. I then saw that she closely 
resembled the figure with whom I had often talked and joked 
at Signor Randi's, a fact known to no one in America. 

The other figure was an old gentleman with white hair and 
beard, and in evening-dress. He took my hand, bowed, and 
looked pleased, as one meeting an old friend. Considering 
who was likely to come, I thought of my father and of Darwin, 
but there was not enough likeness to either. Then at length 
I recognized the likeness to a photograph I had of my cousin 
Algeron Wilson, whom I had not seen since we were children, 
but had long corresponded with, as he was an enthusiastic 
entomologist, living in Adelaide, where he had died not 
long before. Then I looked pleased and said, " Is it Algeron ? ' 
at which he nodded earnestly, seemed very much pleased, shook 
my hand vigorously, and patted my face and head with his 
other hand. 

These two recognitions were to me very striking, because 
they were both so private and personal to myself, and could 
not possibly have been known to the medium or even to any 


of my friends present. I may state here that a few months 
afterwards, a party of twelve gentlemen went to a seance at 
Mrs. Ross's, determined to seize hold of the alleged spirit 
forms, which they believed to be all confederates, and thus 
expose the supposed imposture. It was agreed that some were 
to seize the Indian, others to hold Mr. and Mrs. Ross, others 
the women and children performers, while the remainder were 
to assist when called upon and secure any " properties " they 
could find in the cabinet. They carried out the first part of 
their programme successfully, but notwithstanding they were 
twelve men against two men, one woman, two boys and a little 
girl (according to their own account), they appear to have 
been entirely overmatched in the struggle, for they did not 
succeed either in securing or identifying any one of them, or 
in carrying away any of the alleged paraphernalia of im- 
posture. They further declared, as if it were an observed 
fact, that the assistants, young and old, entered the cabinet by 
a sliding portion of the mop-board (or skirting, as we call it). 
Immediately this was published in the Boston papers, Mr. 
Brackett and some other friends of Mrs. Ross called on the 
landlord of the house and asked him to go with them, taking 
a carpenter with them, to see if the tenants had made any such 
alteration as described by the would-be exposers. The exami- 
nation was made, and it was declared that there was no such 
opening as alleged, nor had any been made and closed up 
again. I wrote a letter to the Banner of Light, pointing out 
these facts, and, I urged, that the utter failure of twelve men, 
who went for the express purpose of detecting and identifying 
confederates, utterly failing to do so or to secure any tangible 
evidence of their existence, is really a very strong proof that 
there were no confederates to detect. 

To any one who has carefully studied Mr. Myers's monu- 
mental volumes, and gives due weight to the whole of the 
evidence he adduces for the reality of such phenomena as 
are here narrated and what is known of the various stages 
that lead up to them ; and considering the proof that even 
detached hands are capable of moving material objects, it 
will, I think, appear probable that some such result as here 

358 MY LIFE 

occurred was to be anticipated. I cannot remember a single 
instance in which a confederate has been secured by such a 
seizure, though cases have occurred in which the seizure of 
the spirit form has resulted in the seizure of the medium — 
which is not remarkable if we remember the amount of evi- 
dence showing that these forms originate from the body of the 
medium, and either visibly or invisibly return to it. Also, 
considering the demonstrated fact that clothing, flowers, hair, 
and other objects pertaining to or brought by these psychic 
forms have sometimes a permanent, sometimes a temporary 
existence, the fact of any such objects being found on or 
near a medium is of itself no proof whatever that they were 
brought by the medium for purposes of imposture, except on 
the assumption that no such phenomena was possible, in which 
case no evidence one way or the other is required, since the 
question has been already decided against the medium. 

In Washington, where I resided several months, I made 
the acquaintance of Professor Elliott Coues, General Lippitt, 
Mr. D. Lyman, Senator and Mrs. Stanfield, Mr. T. A. Bland, 
the Indians' friend, and Mrs. Beecher Hooker, all thorough 
spiritualists, as well as many others unknown to fame. With 
the three former gentlemen I attended the seances of a very 
remarkable public medium, Mr. P. L. O. A. Keeler, and both 
witnessed phenomena and obtained tests of a very interest- 
ing kind. The medium was a young man of the clerk or 
tradesman class, with only the common school education, and 
with no appearance of American smartness. The arrangement 
of his seances was peculiar. The corner of a good-sized room 
had a black curtain across it on a stretched cord about five 
feet from the ground. Inside was a small table on which was 
a tambourine and hand-bell. Any one, before the seances 
began or afterwards, could examine this enclosed space, the 
curtain, the floor, and the walls, as I did myself, the room 
being fully lighted, and was quite satisfied that there was 
absolutely nothing but what appeared at first sight, and no 
arrangements whatever for ingress or egress but under the 
curtain into the room. The curtain too, was entire from end 


to end, a matter of importance in regard to certain phenomena 
that occurred. Three chairs were placed close in front of this 
curtain, on which sat the medium and two persons from the 
audience. Another black curtain was passed in front of them 
across their chests so as to enclose their bodies in a dark 
chamber, while their heads and the arms of the outer sitter 
were free. The medium's two hands were placed on the hands 
and wrist of the sitter next him. 

The seance began with purely physical phenomena. The 
tambourine was rattled and played on, then a hand appeared 
above the curtain, and a stick was given to it which it seized. 
Then the tambourine was lifted high on this stick and whirled 
round with great rapidity, the bell being rung at the same 
time. All the time the medium sat quiet and impassive, and 
the person next him certified to his two hands being on his or 
hers. On one occasion a lady, a friend of Professor Elliott 
Coues and a woman of unusual ability and character, was 
the sitter, and certified at all critical times during the whole 
seance that the medium's hands were felt by her. After these 
and many other things were performed, the hand would 
appear above the curtain, the fingers moving excitedly. This 
was the signal for a pencil and a pad of note-paper (as com- 
monly used in America) ; then rapid writing was heard, a slip 
of paper torn off and thrown over the curtain, sometimes 
two or three in rapid succession, and in the direction of certain 
sitters. The director of the seance picked them up, read the 
name signed, and asked if any one knew it, and when claimed 
it was handed to him. In this way a dozen or more of the 
chance visitors received messages which were always intel- 
ligible to them and often strikingly appropriate. I will give 
some of the messages I thus received myself. 

On my second visit a very sceptical friend went with us, 
and seeing the writing-pad on the piano marked several of 
the sheets with his initials. The medium was very angry 
and said it would spoil the seance. However, he was calmed 
by his friends. When it came to the writing the pad was 
given to me over the top of the curtain to hold. I held it 
just above the medium's shoulder, when a hand and pencil 

360 MY LIFE 

came through the curtain, and wrote on the pad as I held it. 
It is a bold scrawl and hard to read, but the first words seem 
to be, " Friends were here to write, but only this one could. 
... A. W." Another evening, with the same medium, I 
received a paper with this message, " I am William Martin, 
and I come for Mr. William Wallace, who could not write 
this time after all. He wishes to say to you that you shall 
be sustained by coming results in the position you have taken 
in the Ross case. It was a most foul misrepresentation." 

This, and other writing I had afterwards, are to me striking 
tests in the name William Martin. I never knew him, but 
he was an early friend of my brother who was for some time 
with Martin's father to learn practical building, the latter 
being then engaged in erecting King's College. When I was 
with my brother learning surveying, etc., he used often to 
speak of his friend Martin, but for the last forty-five years I 
had never thought of the name and was greatly surprised when 
it appeared. About a month later I had the following message 
from the elder Martin, written in a different hand : 

" Mr. Wallace, 

" Your father was an esteemed friend, and I like to 
come to you for his sake. We are often together. How strange 
it seems to us here that the masses can so long exist in 
ignorance. Console yourself with the thought that though 
ignorance, superstition and bigotry have withheld from you 
the just rewards to which your keen enlightenment and noble 
sacrifices so fully entitle you, the end is not yet, and a mighty 
change is about to take place to put you where you belong. 

"William Martin." 

I have no evidence that this Mr. Martin was a friend of 
my father's, but the fact that my brother William was with 
him as stated (which must have been a favour), renders it 
probable. On the same evening there were a number of mes- 
sages to about a dozen people, all in different handwritings, 
several of which were recognized. My friend General Lippitt 
had a most beautiful message which he allowed me to copy, 


as it was a wonderful test and greatly surprised and delighted 
him. His first wife had died twentv-seven vears before in 
California. She was an English lady and he was greatly 
attached to her. This is the message : 

" Darling Francis, 

" I come now to greet you from the high spheres to 
which I have ascended. Do you recall the past? Do you 
remember this day? This day I used to look forward to and 
mention with such pride? This, my darling, is my birthday 
anniversary. Do you not remember? Oh, how happy shall 
we be when reunited in a world where we shall see as we are 
seen and know as we are known. 

" Elizabeth Lippitt." 

General Lippitt told me it was his first wife's birthday, 
that he had not recollected it that day, and that no one in 
Washington knew the fact but himself. 

A German gentleman who was present had a message given 
him, which was not only written, as he declared, in excellent 
German, but was very characteristic of the friend from whom 
it purported to come. 

On this evening most wonderful physical manifestations 
occurred. A stick was pushed out through the curtain. Two 
watches were handed to me through the curtain, and were 
claimed by the two persons who sat by the medium. The 
small tambourine, about ten inches diameter, was pushed 
through the curtain and fell on the floor. These objects 
came through different parts of the curtain, but left no holes 
as could be seen at the time, and was proved by a close 
examination afterwards. More marvellous still (if that be 
possible), a waistcoat was handed to me over the curtain, 
which proved to be the medium's, though his coat was left 
on and his hands had been held by his companion all the 
time ; also about a score of people were looking on all the 
time in a well-lighted room. These things seem impossible, 
but they are, nevertheless, facts. 

Before passing on from my Washington friends, I wish to 

362 MY LIFE 

give one curious test which occurred to General Lippitt 
recently, and an account of which he sent to me in February, 
1894. In his early life he had lived in Paris, and had become 
acquainted with several members of the Bonaparte family, 
and had rendered some services to them. This was only 
known to himself, but it accounted (to him) for the fact that 
he had, through different mediums, received messages from 
some of them, and from Napoleon III. In August, 1893, he 
had seances with a medium previously unknown to him, and 
received on a slate under test conditions a long message in 
French, purporting to come from Napoleon III., and to give 
his last dying thoughts. A facsimile of this is given in a 
Chicago paper, and is written as if it were an ordinary prose 
message; but on copying it out I found that it was in rhyme, 
and, so far as I could judge, very forcible, and even pathetic 
verse. I therefore sent a copy of it to Mr. F. Myers, asking 
him what he thought of it, and whether it was correctly 
written. In reply he told me that he had paid special atten- 
tion to the rules of French poetry, and that this was correct 
verse such as no one but a Frenchman could have written. 
General Lippitt, who was a good French scholar, observes 
that there is only one error in it — the omission of the final 
" e " in the word profonde near the end, which is doubtless an 
oversight, when all the other refinements of the language, as 
well as the numerous accents, are correct. General Lippitt 
also prints a certificate that the medium knew no French; 
but that is quite unnecessary in view of the test conditions. 
Esprit C., who signs it, is one of the medium's guides who 
knows French. 

"L'Heure sonne! on la compte; elle n'est deja plus: 
L'airain n'annonce, helas ! que des moments perdus. 
Son redoubtable son m'epouvante, m'eveille; 
Et c'est la voix du temps qui frappe a mon oreille. 
S'il ne m'abuse point, le lugubre metal 
De mon heure derniere a donne le signal : 
Cest elle! . . . ou retrouver tant d'heures ecoulees? 
Vers leur source lointaine elles sont refoulees; 
Le seul effroi me reste et l'espoir est banni. 
II faut mourir, finir, quand je n'ai rien fini, 


Ou vais-je? et quelle scene a mes yeux se deploie 
Des bords du lit funebre, ou palpite sa proie 
Aux lugubres clartes de son pale flambeau, 
L'impitoyable mort me montre le tombeau. 
Eternite profonde : Ocean sans rivage ; 
De ce terme fatal c'est toi que j'envisage; 
Sur le fleuve du temps, quoi? c'est la que je cours? 
L'eternite pour l'homme? il vit si peu de jours. 

" Esprit C." 

At San Francisco my time was short, and my experiences 
were limited to a slate-writing seance of a striking and very 
satisfactory nature. I went with my brother John who had 
lived in California nearly forty years, and who, the day 
before, had bought a folding-slate bound with list to shut 
noiselessly. The seance was in the morning of a bright 
sunny day, and we sat at a small table close to a window. 
Mr. Owen, the editor of the Golden Gate, with a friend (a 
physician), accompanied us; but they sat a little way from 
the table, looking on. The medium, Mr. Fred Evans, was 
quite a young man, whose remarkable gift had been developed 
under Mr. Owen's guidance. 

From a pile of small slates on a side-table four were taken 
at a time, cleaned with a damp sponge, and handed to us to 
examine, then laid in pairs on the table. All our hands were 
then placed over them till the signal was given, and on our- 
selves opening them writing was found on both slates. Two 
other pairs were then similarly placed on the table, on one of 
which the medium drew two diagonal pencil lines, and on that 
slate writing was produced in five different colours — deep 
blue, red, light green-blue, pale red-lilac, deep lilac, and these 
could be seen all superposed upon the pencil crosslines. My 
brother's folding-slate was then placed upon the floor a foot 
or two away from the table, and after we had conversed 
for a few minutes, keeping it in sight, it was found to be 
written on both the inner sides. It then occurred to me to 
ask the medium whether writing could be produced on paper 
placed between slates. After a moment's pause, as if asking 
the question of his guides, he told me to take a paper pad, tear 
off six pieces, and place them all between a pair of slates. 


This I did, and we placed our hands over them as before, and 
in a few minutes, on opening them, we found six portraits 
in a peculiar kind of crayon drawing. 

1 will now describe what were the writing and drawings we 
obtained, which are all now before me. The first was a letter 
filling the slate in small, clear, and delicate writing, of which 
I will quote the concluding portion : " I wish I could describe 
to you my spirit home. But I cannot find words suitable in 
your earthly language to give it the expression it deserves. 
But you will know all when you join me in the spirit world. 
. . . Your loving sister, Elizabeth Wallace. Herbert is 

Here are two family names given, the first being one which 
no one present could have known, as she died when we were 
both schoolboys. The opening and concluding parts of the 
letter show that it was addressed specially to myself. The 
next was addressed to my brother, referring to me as " brother 
Alf," and is signed " P. Wallace." This we cannot under- 
stand, as we have no relative with that initial, except a cousin, 
Percy Wilson. It is, I think, not improbable that in trans- 
ferring the message through the medium, and perhaps through 
a spirit-scribe (as is often said to be the case), the surname 
was misunderstood owing to the latter supposing that the 
communicant was a brother. 

The next slate contains a message signed " Judge Ed- 
monds," addressed to myself and Mr. Owen, on the general 
subject of spirit manifestations. It is written very distinctly 
in a flowing hand. 

The next is the slate written in five colours, and signed 
' John Gray," one of the well-known early advocates of 
spiritualism in America. It is also on the general subject of 
spirit-return. Then comes a slate containing a portrait and 
signature of " Jno. Pierpont," one of the pioneers of spiritu- 
alism, and around the margin three messages in different 
handwritings. One is from Stanley St. Clair, the spirit-artist, 
who says he has produced the portrait for me, at the request of 
the medium. The others are short messages from Elizabeth 
Wallace and R. Wallace, the latter perhaps one of the un- 


known Scotch uncles of my father, the other beginning, " God 
bless you, my boys," is probably from our paternal grand- 
mother, who is buried at Laleham. The last is my brother's 
folding-slate, containing on one side a short farewell from 
" John Gray," the signature being written three times in 
different styles and tints ; the other side is a message signed, 
" Your father, T. V. Wallace." This, again, was a test, as 
no one present would have been able to give my father's 
unusual initials correctly, and as he was accustomed to sign 
his name. 

The six portraits on paper with the lips tinted are those 
of Jno. Pierpont (signed) ; Benjamin Rush (an early spirit- 
ualist, signed) ; Robt. Hare, M.D., whose works I had quoted 
(signed) ; D. D. Home, the celebrated medium who had died 
the year before — a likeness easily recognized; a girl (signed 
"The Spirit of Mary Wallace"), probably my sister who 
had died the year before I was born, when eight years old ; 
and a lady, who was recognized as Mrs. Breed, a medium of 
San Francisco. These are all rather rude outlines, in some- 
what irregular and interrupted dashes, but they are all life- 
like, and considering that they must have been precipitated 
on the six surfaces while in contact with each other between 
the slates, as placed by myself, are exceedingly curious. The 
whole of these seven slates and six papers were produced 
so rapidly that the seance occupied less than an hour, and 
with such simple and complete openness, under the eyes of 
four observers, as to constitute absolutely test conditions, 
although without any of the usual paraphernalia of tests which 
were here quite unnecessary. A statement to this effect was 
published, with an account of the seance, signed by all present. 

During the last fifteen years I have not seen much of 
spiritualistic phenomena ; but those who have read the account 
of my early investigations in my book on the subject, and 
add to them all that I have indicated here, will see that I 
have reached my present standpoint by a long series of experi- 
ences under such varied and peculiar conditions as to render 
unbelief impossible. As Dr. W. B. Carpenter well remarked 


many years ago, people can only believe new and extraordinary 
facts if there is a place for them in their existing " fabric of 

thought/ 1 The majority of people to-day have been brought 

Up in the belief that miracles, ghosts, and the whole series of 
Strange phenomena here described cannot exist; that they are 
contrary to the laws of nature; that they are the superstitions 
of a bygone age; and that therefore they are necessarily either 
impostures or delusions. There is no place in the fabric of 
their thought into which such facts can be fitted. When I 
first began this inquiry it was the same with myself. The facts 
did not fit into my then existing fabric of thought. All my 
preconceptions, all my knowledge, all my belief in the suprem- 
acy of science and of natural law were against the possibility 
of such phenomena. And even when, one by one, the facts 
were forced upon me without possibility of escape from them, 
still, as Sir David Brewster declared after being at first 
astounded by the phenomena he saw with Mr. Home, ' ' spirit 
was the last thing I could give in to." Every other possible 
solution was tried and rejected. Unknown laws of nature 
were found to be of no avail when there was always an un- 
known intelligence behind the phenomena — an intelligence 
that showed a human character and individuality, and an 
individuality which almost invariably claimed to be that of 
some person who had lived on earth, and who, in many cases, 
was able to prove his or her identity. Thus, little by little, 
a place was made in my fabric of thought, first for all such 
well-attested facts, and then, but more slowly, for the spirit- 
ualistic interpretation of them. 

Unfortunately, at the present day most inquirers begin at 
the wrong end. They want to see, and sometimes do see the 
most wonderful phenomena first, and being utterly unable to 
accept them as facts denounce them as impostures, as did 
Tyndall and G. H. Lewes, or declare, as did Huxley, that 
such phenomena do not interest them. Many people think 
that when I and others publish accounts of such phenomena, 
we wish or require our readers to believe them on our testi- 
mony. But that is not the case. Neither I nor any other 
well-instructed spiritualist expects anything of the kind. We 


write not to convince, but to excite to inquiry. We ask 
our readers not for belief, but for doubt of their own infalli- 
bility on this question ; we ask for inquiry and patient 
experiment before hastily concluding that we are, all of us, 
mere dupes and idiots as regards a subject to which we have 
devoted our best mental faculties and powers of observation 
for many years. 



I was brought up to believe that vaccination was a scientific 
procedure, and that Jenner was one of the great benefactors 
of mankind. I was vaccinated in infancy, and before going 
to the Amazon I was persuaded to be vaccinated again. My 
children were duly vaccinated, and I never had the slightest 
doubt of the value of the operation — taking everything on 
trust without any inquiry whatever — till about 1875-80, when 
I first heard that there were anti-vaccinators, and read some 
articles on the subject. These did not much impress me, as 
I could not believe so many eminent men could be mistaken 
on such an important matter. But a little later I met Mr. 
William Tebb, and through him was introduced to some of 
the more important statistical facts bearing upon the subject. 
Some of these I was able to test by reference to the original 
authorities, and also to the various Reports of the Registrar- 
General, Dr. Farr's evidence as to the diminution of small- 
pox before Jenner's time, and the extraordinary misstatements 
of the supporters of vaccination. Mr. Tebb supplied me with 
a good deal of anti-vaccination literature, especially with 
" Pierce's Vital Statistics," the tables in which satisfied me 
that the claims for vaccination were enormously exaggerated, 
if not altogether fallacious. I also now learnt for the first 
time that vaccination itself produced a disease, which was 
often injurious to health and sometimes fatal to life, and I 
also found to my astonishment that even Herbert Spencer 
had long ago pointed out that the first compulsory Vaccina- 
tion Act had led to an increase of smallpox. I then began 
to study the Reports of the Registrar-General myself, and to 



draw out curves of small-pox mortality, and of other zymotic 
diseases (the only way of showing the general course of a 
disease as well as its annual inequalities), and then found that 
the course of the former disease ran so generally parallel to 
that of the latter as to disprove altogether any special pro- 
tective effect of vaccination. 

As I could find no short and clear statement of the main 
statistical facts adverse to vaccination, I wrote a short 
pamphlet of thirty-eight pages, entitled " Forty-five Years of 
Registration Statistics, proving Vaccination to be both Use- 
less and Dangerous." This was published in 1885 at Mr. \V. 
Tebb's expense, and it had the effect of convincing many 
persons, among whom were some of my personal friends. 

A few years later, when the Royal Commission on Vac- 
cination was appointed, I was invited to become a member of 
it, but declined, as I could not give up the necessary time, but 
chiefly because I thought I could do more good as a witness. 
I accordingly prepared a number of large diagrams, and stated 
the arguments drawn from them, and in the year 1890 gave 
my evidence during part of three days. As about half the 
Commissioners were doctors, most of the others gave way to 
them. I told them, at the beginning of my evidence, that I 
knew nothing of medicine, but that, following the principle 
laid down by Sir John Simon and Dr. Guy, that " the evidence 
for the benefits of vaccination must now be statistical," I was 
prepared to show the bearing of the best statistics only. Yet 
ihey insisted on putting medical arguments and alleged medical 
facts to me, asking me how I explained this, how I accounted 
for that ; and though I stated again and again that there were 
plenty of medical witnesses who would deal with those points, 
they continually recurred to them ; and when I said I had no 
answer to give, not having inquired into those alleged facts, 
they seemed to think they had got the best of it. Yet they 
were so ignorant of statistics and statistical methods that one 
great doctor held out a diagram, showing the same facts as one 
of mine, and asked me almost triumphantly how it was that 
mine was so different. After comparing the two diagrams 
for a few moments I replied that they were drawn on different 

3;o MY LIFE 

scales, but that with that exception T could see no substantial 
difference between them. The other diagram was on a greatly 
exaggerated vertical scale, so that the line showing each year's 
death-rate went up and down with tremendous peaks and 
chasms, while mine approximated more to a very irregular 
curve. But my questioner could not see this simple point; 
and later he recurred to it a second time, and asked me if 
I really meant to tell them that those two diagrams were both 
accurate, and when I said again that though on different scales 
both represented the same facts, he looked up at the ceiling 
with an air which plainly said, " If you will say that you will 
say anything ! " 

The Commission lingered on for six years, and did not 
issue its final report till 1896, while the evidence, statistics, and 
diagrams occupied numerous bulky blue-books. The most 
valuable parts of it were the appendices, containing the tables 
and diagrams presented by the chief witnesses, together with 
a large number of official tables and statistics, both of our own 
and foreign countries, affording a mass of material never 
before brought together. This enabled me to present the 
general statistical argument more completely and forcibly than 
I had done before, and I devoted several months of very hard 
work to doing this, and brought it out in pamphlet form in 
January, 1898, in order that a copy might be sent to every 
member of the House of Commons before the new Vaccina- 
tion Act came up for discussion. This was done by the 
National Anti-Vaccination League, and I wrote to the half- 
dozen members I knew personally, begging them to give one 
evening to its careful perusal. But so far as any of their 
speeches showed, not one of the six hundred and seventy 
members gave even that amount of their time to obtain in- 
formation on a subject involving the health, life, and personal 
freedom of their constituents. Yet I know that in no work 
I have written have I presented so clear and so conclusive a 
demonstration of the fallacy of a popular belief as is given in 
this work, which was entitled " Vaccination a Delusion : its 
Penal Enforcement a Crime, proved by the Official Evidence 
in the Reports of the Royal Commission." This was included 


in the second part of my " Wonderful Century," published in 
June, 1898, and was also published separately in the pamphlet 
form, as it continues to be; and I feel sure that the time is 
not far distant when this will be held to be one of the most 
important and most truly scientific of my works. 

The great difficulty is to get it read. The subject is 
extremely unpopular; yet as presented by Mr. William White 
in his " Story of a Great Delusion," it is seen to be at once 
a comedy and a tragedy. The historian of epidemic diseases, 
Dr. C. Creighton, the man who best knows the whole subject, 
and should be held to be the greatest living authority upon 
it, terms vaccination " a grotesque delusion." To inoculate a 
healthy child (or adult) with an animal disease, under the 
pretense of protecting it from another disease, the risk of 
having which is not one in a thousand, would, if now proposed 
for the first time, be so repugnant to every principle of sane 
medicine, as well as to common sense, that its proposer would 
be held to be a madman. The publication of this essay in 
the " Wonderful Century " (as one of the " failures ") did lead 
to its being read by a considerable number of persons, and, 
as I know, of making many converts. With the hope of 
getting it read by Sir John Gorst, I sent a copy of my pamphlet 
to Mr. F. W. H. Myers, asking him to be so good as to read it 
carefully. In reply he wrote, " I will read your pamphlet most 
carefully; will write and tell you how it affects me; and will, 
in any case, send it on with your letter and a letter of my own 
to Sir John Gorst, whom I know well, and whom I agree with 
you in regarding as the most accessible member of the Gov- 
ernment. If I am converted, it will be wholly your doing. I 
have read much on the subject — Creighton, etc., and am at 
present strongly pro-vaccination ; at the same time, there is 
no one by whom I would more willingly be converted than 

The letter then goes on to quote another matter, and I may 
give the remainder further on. 

Two days later he wrote me again : — 

" I can see no answer to your statistics and arguments. 
Of course I should like to see what the doctors can say in 

3?2 MY LIFE 

reply, as it is difficult to believe in such a widespread blunder. 
But so far as the statistics with which you deal go — and that 
is very far — I cannot imagine a convincing answer. I am much 
obliged to you for letting me see the pamphlet; and I shall 
hand it on to Sir John Gorst, with your letter and a letter 
of my own. 

" The unveracity of W. B. Carpenter, and especially of 
Ernest Hart, ought not to surprise me after what I already 
knew of their standards in controversy; but it is staggering 
all the same." 

Such a letter from so clear a reasoner and so thoroughly 
honest and impartial a writer, was very satisfactory to me; 
but some months later, in September, 1898, I received the 
following quite unsolicited testimonial from a perfect stranger 
to me — Lord Grimthorpe — an opponent in politics, but being 
a King's Counsel and a mathematician, as well as an able 
writer, was well fitted to form an opinion upon a rather com- 
plex statistical problem. 

The letter is as follows : — 

"Batch Wood, St. Albans, September 14, 1898. 
" To Dr. Alfred R. Wallace. 

" Sir, 

" I dare say you will excuse my troubling you with 
this letter on a subject on which I do not profess to be an 
expert, but on which it may again be my duty to form a 
legislative judgment. Last session I was not able to go up 
and sit through two probably late debates to vote ; and, indeed, 
I had not then made up my mind as I have now, though I 
had written a short letter to the Times on the vacillation of 
the Government about the Vaccination Bill. 

" Since then I have been reading the chapter about it in 
your recent book, the ' Wonderful Century,' and the sub- 
sequent letters in the Times; and those of yesterday, especially 
Dr. Bond's, move me to tell you that, absurd as his statement 
about your ' only three converts ' is, he and his associates may 
add me to their number. I do not profess to have wandered 


through the thickets of the Commissioners' contradictory Re- 
ports, but I have long learnt in controversies involving facts, 
to take more account of the style of the controversialists, and 
their apparent regard for truth, than of their assertions and 
references to other people, and the final balance of voting. 
Specially I had to do so in the somewhat similar controversy 
in the Times which lasted several months in 1887-8 in which, 
from the accident of being put in the chair of a hospital 
meeting that had been called to turn out some doctors for 
homoeopathic heresy, I had gradually to take a leading part, 
being helped by information from the experts on both sides 
as the dispute went on. Finally the Times pronounced that I 
had completely proved the charges of medical conspiracy and 
tyranny, which the ' orthodox ' party had been called upon 
at the meeting to answer, and declined to attempt, except by 
their own dicta. 

" Such letters as that of Dr. Bond, even without the 
answers to it, always go a long way to persuade me that the 
author has no solid case; and I regard them as mere con- 
troversial fireworks, throwing no real light on the subject of 
discussion. In most controversies involving facts, it soon 
becomes apparent to competent judges, after hearing the 
professed experts, on which side is the balance of truth and 
honesty, as it is very clearly in one of a very different kind 
which has been going on in the Times for two months, on 
what is called clerical and episcopal lawlessness, in which the 
writers on one side think themselves at liberty to assert 
anything that is ' necessary for their position ' (as their great 
founder avowed fifty years ago), and take their chances of 
being refuted. 

" In your dispute, as in that, the really decisive facts are 
becoming more and more extant from the intolerable mass of 
assertions and references to other people's writings which are 
worth very little in the face of current genuine evidence, such 
as you and other writers on your side have produced in 
manageable form, and which the other side have now had 
plenty of time to refute if they can, but certainly have not. 
In such a case neither past nor present majorities go for much. 

374 MY LIFE 

Indeed, a heavy discount may generally be taken off as 
due to laziness, and the desire of most people to take the 
apparently strongest side. I can only say that the more the 
vaccinationists go on writing- and talking as they have done 
for a long time, the more they are likely to be wrong and 
conscious that they are so. 

" Lest I should be thought to include your ' appendix ' of 
a socialistic nostrum or ' Remedy for Want ' in my general 
approval of your book, I think it prudent to add that I con- 
sider it more demonstrably wrong and ruinous to any country 
that should adopt it than any disease that has ever been prop- 
agated; but I am not going to discuss that. I only add 
that you may either publish this if you like, or announce me 
as a ' fourth convert ' to anti-vaccination under your treat- 
ment — and such as Dr. Bond's. 

" Yours obediently, 

" Grimthorpe." 

" Batch Wood, St. Albans, October 4, 1898. 
To Dr. F. T. Bond, Gloucester. 

" Sir, 

" I am much obliged to you for the copies of your 
and Mr. Wallace's letters to the Echo. I have read them 
carefully, and compared them with the chapter on Vaccina- 
tion in his ' Wonderful Century,' and I have no hesitation in 
giving my verdict as a ' juryman,' and not as an ' expert/ in 
his favour. 

" I take it for granted that you have made as good a case 
as anybody can on your side, and I have less doubt than before 
that we (I mean Parliament) have done right in putting an 
end, as the late Act practically has, to punishing parents for 
refusing to have their children vaccinated at the risk, as they 
believe, of doing them more harm than good. The few 
magistrates who are taking upon themselves to judge of the 
Tightness of the belief will have to be taught that they are 
breaking and not obeying or executing the law. Nobody will 
pay a shilling for a certificate that he conscientiously (which 


only means really) believes what he does not. If he did not 
he would let them be vaccinated. 

" Yours obediently, 

" Grimthorpe." 
"R T. Bond, Esq., M.D., Gloucester." 

This letter is of the more importance, because Dr. Bond 
was the only medical advocate of vaccination who attempted 
any extended criticism of my work. He wrote long letters 
in scores of newspapers all over the kingdom, some of which 
I replied to, showing in every case of any importance that he 
had either misrepresented or misunderstood my argument, 
and had sometimes been guilty of misquotation. The great 
features of my statistical argument were never dealt with by 
him or any other critic. The medical journals were content 
with pointing out minute and quite unimportant slips in 
medical nomenclature or classification, and though my work 
has now been before the public seven years, and has been 
widely circulated, no attempt at rebutting the main statistical 
argument has been made, no disproof has been adduced of 
the long series of misstatements of fact or fallacies of reason- 
ing which I have charged against the whole body of official 
and medical advocates of vaccination. To Myers's very- 
natural remark, " I should like to see what the doctors can 
say in reply," I can now answer, " They have made no reply ; 
and their single representative who attempted to do so, only 
succeeded in convincing an able and independent inquirer 
that they had ' no case.' " 

In 1904, in view of a possible general election, I carefully 
condensed my pamphlet into a twenty-four page tract, which 
treats the subject under the following seven headings : — 

(1) Why Doctors are not the best judges of the results of 

(2) What is proved by the best Statistical Evidence 

(3) London Death-rates during Registration. 

(4) Death-rates in England and Wales during the period 
of Registration. 

376 MY LIFE 

(5) Thirty years of decreasing Vaccination in Leicester, 
and its Teachings. 

(6) The Army and Navy: a Demonstration of the Useless- 
ness of Vaccination. 

(7) How to deal with Medical Pro-vaccinators. 

This has been written specially to instruct voters, and to 
enable them to catechise their parliamentary candidates and 
any medical or other upholders of vaccination. I will here 
give the last three paragraphs of what will probably be my 
last word on this subject. 

" Doctors and Members of Parliament are alike grossly 
ignorant of the true history of the effects of vaccination. 
They require to be taught; and nothing is so likely to teach 
them as to show them the diagrams I have referred to in this 
short exposition of the subject — those of London for thirty 
years before and after vaccination — of England and Wales 
during the period of official registration — of Leicester which 
has almost abolished small-pox by refusing to be vaccinated 
for thirty years — and for the Army and Navy — which, though 
thoroughly re-vaccinated and therefore (according to the 
doctors) as well protected as they possibly can be, yet die of 
small-pox at least as much as badly vaccinated Ireland, and 
many times more than unvaccinated Leicester. 

' A doctor who has not studied these most vital statistics 
has no right to an opinion on this subject. 

k A candidate for Parliament who will not give the neces- 
sary time and attention to study them, but is yet ready to 
vote for penal laws against those who know infinitely more of 
the question than he does, is utterly unworthy to receive a 
single vote from any self-respecting constituency." 




Up to the age of twenty-one I do not think I ever had a 
sovereign of my own. I then received a small sum, perhaps 
about £50, the remnant of a legacy from my grandfather, 
John Greenell. This enabled me to get a fair outfit of clothes, 
and to keep myself till I got the appointment at the Leicester 
school. While living at Neath as a surveyor I did little more 
than earn my living, except during the six months of the 
railway mania, when I was able to save about £100. This 
enabled me to go to Para with Bates, and during the four 
years on the Amazon my collections just paid all expenses, 
but those I was bringing home with me would probably have 
sold for £200. My agent, Mr. Stevens, had fortunately 
insured them for £150, which enabled me to live a year in 
London, and get a good outfit and a sufficient cash balance for 
my Malayan journey. 

My eight years in the Malay Archipelago were successful, 
financially, beyond my expectations. Celebes, the Moluccas, 
the Aru Islands, and New Guinea were, for English museums 
and private collections, an almost unknown territory. A 
large proportion of my insects and birds were either wholly 
new or of extreme rarity in England ; and as many of them 
were of large size and W great beauty, they brought very 
high prices. My agent had invested the proceeds from time 
to time in Indian guaranteed railway stock, and a year after 
my return I found myself in possession of about £300 a year. 
Besides this, I still possessed the whole series of private 
collections, including large numbers of new or very rare 


378 MY LIFE 

species, which, after I had made what use of them was 
needed for my work, produced an amount which in the same 
securities would have produced about i20o a vcar more. 

But I never reached that comfortable position. Owing- to 
my never before having had more than enough to supply 
my immediate wants, I was wholly ignorant of the numerous 
snares and pitfalls that beset the ignorant investor, and I 
unfortunately came under the influence of two or three men 
who, quite unintentionally, led me into trouble. Soon after I 
came home I made the acquaintance of Mr. R., who held a 
good appointment under Government, and had, besides, the 
expectation of a moderate fortune on the death of an uncle. 
I soon became intimate with him, and we were for some years 
joint investigators of spiritualistic phenomena. He was, like 
myself at that time, an agnostic, well educated, and of a 
more positive character than myself. He had for some years 
saved part of his income, and invested it in various foreign 
securities at low prices, selling out when they rose in value, 
and in this way he assured me he had in a few years doubled 
the amount he had saved. He studied price-lists and foreign 
news, and assured me that it was quite easy, with a little care 
and judgment, to increase your capital in this way. He quite 
laughed at the idea of allowing several thousand pounds to 
lie idle, as he termed it, in Indian securities, and so imbued 
me with an idea of his great knowledge of the money-market, 
that I was persuaded to sell out some of my bonds and 
debentures and buy others that he recommended, which 
brought in a higher interest, and which he believed would 
soon rise considerably in value. This change went on slowly 
with various success for several years, till at last I had in- 
vestments in various English, American, and foreign railways, 
whose fluctuations in value I was quite unable to comprehend, 
and I began to find, when too late, that almost all my changes 
of investment brought me loss instead of profit, and later on, 
when the great depression of trade of 1875-85 occurred, the 
loss was so great as to be almost ruin. 

In 1866 one of my oldest friends became secretary to a 
small body of speculators, who had offices in Pall Mall, and 


who, among other things, were buying slate quarry properties, 
and forming companies to work them. Two of these proper- 
ties were in the neighbourhood of Dolgelly and Machynlleth, 
and a party of us went down to see them. We were shown 
the outcrop of the slate rock, followed it across the country, 
were told it was of fine quality, and that there was a fortune 
in it if properly developed. My friend's employer seemed to 
know all about it, and as many large fortunes had been 
made out of slate quarries, it seemed quite a safe thing. The 
slate was undoubtedly there, as small portions had been 
worked and split up, and we saw the piles of slates, and were 
assured that the quality would be still better as it was worked 
deeper. One of the veins had been found to be excellent for 
billiard tables, and for all kinds of slate tanks, as it could be 
got out in slabs of almost any size, and only wanted sawing and 
planing machines worked by a small mountain brook close 
by to become very profitable. Of course we were shown 
reports by specialists, who declared that the slate rock was 
abundant and good, and if properly developed would be 

I was persuaded to take shares, and to be a director of 
these companies, without any knowledge of the business, or 
any idea how much capital would be required. The quarries 
were started, machinery purchased, call after call made, with 
the result in both cases that, after four or five years of struggle, 
the capital required and the working expenses were so great 
that the companies had to be wound up, and I was the loser 
of about a thousand pounds. 

While this was going on a still more unfortunate influence 
became active. My old friend in Timor and Singapore, Mr. 
Frederick Geach, the mining engineer, came home from the 
East, and we became very intimate, and saw a good deal of 
each other. He was a Cornishman, and familiar with tin, 
lead, and copper mining all his life, and he had the most 
unbounded confidence in good English mines as an invest- 
ment. He had shares in some of the lead-mines of Shropshire 
and Montgomeryshire, and we went for a walking tour in that 
beautiful country, visited the mines, went down the shafts by 

3 8o MY LIFE 

endless perpendicular ladders, and examined the veins and 
workings with the manager, who had great confidence in its 
value, and was a large shareholder. " Here," said Geach, 
" you can see the vein of lead ore. It is very valuable, and 
extends to an unknown depth. This is not a probability, it 
is a certainty." And so I was persuaded to buy shares in 
lead-mines, and gradually had a large portion of my capital 
invested in them. 

But here again, neither I nor Geach, nor hardly one in 
England, knew of the insidious foe that in a remote part of 
the world was preparing the way for the ruin of English lead- 
mining. This was twofold : the great development of mining 
in Spain by English capitalists ; and, more important still, the 
enormous amount of silver-mining in Nevada, United States, 
where the ore contained lead and silver combined, so that as 
the works extended large quantities of lead accumulated as 
a kind of waste product, and much of this was exported to 
Europe, and so lowered the price of lead that most of the 
British lead-mines became unprofitable. About 1870 the price 
of lead began to fall, and has continued to fall, as has silver, 
ever since. The result of all this was that by 1880 a large 
part of the money I had earned at the risk of health and life 
was irrecoverably lost. 

While these continued misfortunes were in progress I was 
involved in two other annoyances, causing anxiety and worry 
for years, as well as a very large money loss. The first was 
with a dishonest builder, who contracted to build my house 
at Grays, and who was paid every month according to the 
proportion of the work done. One day, when the house was 
little more than half finished, he did not appear to pay his 
men, and as they would not continue to work without their 
money I paid them. He did not appear the next week, and 
sent no excuse, so the architect gave him notice that I should 
complete the building myself, and that, according to the agree- 
ment, he would be responsible for any cost beyond the con- 
tract price. After a few weeks he appeared, and wanted to 
go on, but that we declined. The house cost me somewhat 
more than the contract price, and when it was finished I sent 


him word he could have his ladders, scaffold-poles, boards, 
etc., though, according to the agreement, they were to be my 
property on his failure to finish the building. 

I soon found, however, that he had not paid for a large 
portion of the materials, and bills kept coming in for months 
afterwards for bricks, timber, stone, iron-work, etc., etc. The 
merchants who had trusted him found that he had no effects 
whatever, as he lived as a lodger with his father ; and from all 
I heard, was accustomed to take contracts in different places 
round London, and by not paying for any materials that he 
could get on credit, make a handsome profit. But the height 
of his impudence was to come. About five years after the 
house was finished, I received a demand through a lawyer for 
(I think) between i8oo and £900 damages for not allowing 
this man to finish the house ! I wrote, refusing to pay a 
penny. Then came a notice of an action at law ! and I was 
obliged to put it in a lawyer's hands. All the usual pre- 
liminaries of interrogatories, affidavits, statements of claim, 
replies, objections, etc., etc., were gone through, and on every 
point argued we were successful, with costs, which we never 
got. The case was lengthened out for two or three years, and 
then ceased, the result being that I had to pay about £100 law 
costs for what was merely an attempt to extort money. That 
was my experience of English law, which leaves the honest 
man in the power of the dishonest one, mulcts the former 
in heavy expenses, and is thus the very antithesis of justice. 

The next matter was a much more serious one, and cost 
me fifteen years of continued worry, litigation, and persecution, 
with the final loss of several hundred pounds. And it was all 
brought upon me by my own ignorance and my own fault — 
ignorance of the fact so well shown by the late Professor de 
Morgan — that " paradoxers," as he termed them, can never 
be convinced, and my fault in wishing to get money by any 
kind of wager. It constitutes, therefore, the most regrettable 
incident in my life. As many inaccurate accounts have been 
published, I will now state the facts, as briefly as possible, from 
documents still in my possession. 

In Scientific Opinion of January 12, 1870, Mr. John Hamp- 

382 MY LIFE 

den (a relative of Bishop Hampden) challenged scientific 
men to prove the convexity of the surface of any inland 
water, offering to stake £500 on the result. It contained the 
following words : " He will acknowledge that he has for- 
feited his deposit if his opponent can exhibit, to the satisfaction 
of any intelligent referee, a convex railway, river, canal, or 
lake. " Before accepting this challenge I showed it to Sir 
Charles Lyell, and asked him whether he thought I might 
accept it. He replied, " Certainly. It may stop these foolish 
people to have it plainly shown them." I therefore wrote 
accepting the offer, proposing Bala lake, in North Wales, 
for the experiment, and Mr. J. J. Walsh, editor of the Field, 
or any other suitable person, as referee. Mr. Hampden pro- 
posed the Old Bedford canal in Norfolk, which, near Down- 
ham Market, had a stretch of six miles quite straight between 
two bridges. He also proposed a Mr. William Carpenter (a 
journeyman printer, who had written a book upholding the 
"flat earth" theory) as his referee; and as Mr. Walsh could 
not stay away from London more than one day, which was 
f°ggy> I chose Mr. Coulcher, a surgeon and amateur 
astronomer, of Downham Market, to act on my behalf, Mr. 
Walsh being the umpire and referee. 

The experiment finally agreed upon was as follows: The 
iron parapet of Welney bridge was thirteen feet three inches 
above the water of the canal. The Old Bedford bridge, about 
six miles off, was of brick and somewhat higher. On this 
bridge I fixed a large sheet of white calico, six feet long and 
three feet deep, with a thick black band along the centre, the 
lower edge of which was the same height from the water as 
the parapet of Welney bridge ; so that the centre of it would be 
as high as the line of sight of the large six-inch telescope 
I had brought with me. At the centre point, about three 
miles from each bridge, I fixed up a long pole with two red 
discs on it, the upper one having its centre the same height 
above the water as the centre of the black band and of the 
telescope, while the second disc was four feet lower down. It 
is evident that if the surface of the water is a perfectly straight 
line for the six miles, then the three objects — the telescope, 


the top disc, and the black band — being all exactly the same 
height above the water, the disc would be seen in the telescope 
projected upon the black band; whereas, if the six-mile 
surface of the water is convexly curved, then the top disc 
would appear to be decidedly higher than the black band, the 
amount due to the known size of the earth being five feet 
eight inches, which amount will be reduced a little by refrac- 
tion to perhaps about five feet. 

The diagrams illustrate the experiment made. The 
curved line in Fig. 1, and the straight line in Fig. 2, show the 
surface of the canal on the two theories of a round or a flat 
earth. A and C are the two bridges six miles apart, while B 
is the pole midway with two discs on it, the upper disc, the 
telescope at A, and the black line on the bridge at C, being 
all exactly the same height above the water. If the surface 
of the water is truly flat, then on looking at the mark C with 
the telescope A, the top disc B will cover that mark. But if 
the surface of the water is curved, then the upper disc will 
appear above the black mark, and if the disc is more than 
four feet above the line joining the telescope and the black 
mark, then the lower disc will also appear above the black 
mark. Before the experiment was made a diagram similar 
to this was submitted to Mr. Hampden, his referee, Mr. 

384 MY LI I 

Carpenter, and Mr. Walsh, and all three agreed that it 
showed clearly what should be seen in the two cases, while 
the former declared their firm belief that Fig. 2 showed what 
would be seen. 

When the pole was set up and the mark put upon the 
bridge, Mr. Carpenter accompanied me, and saw that their 
heights above the water were the same as that of the telescope 
resting on the parapet of the bridge. What was seen in the 
large telescope was sketched by Mr. Coulcher and signed by 
Mr. Carpenter as correct, and is shown in the following dia- 
gram which was reproduced in the Field newspaper (March 
26, 1870), and also in a pamphlet by Carpenter himself. But 
he declared that this proved nothing, because the telescope 
was not levelled, and because it had no cross-hair ! 

At his request to have a spirit-level in order to show if 
there was any " fall" of the surface of water, I had been to 
King's Lynn and borrowed a good Troughton's level from a 
surveyor there. This I now set up on the bridge at exactly 
the same height above the water as the other telescope, and 
having levelled it very accurately and called Mr. Carpenter 
to see that the bubble was truly central and that the least 
movement of the screws elevating or depressing it would 
cause the bubble to move away, I adjusted the focus on to 
the distant bridge, and showing also the central staff and its 
two discs. 

Mr. Coulcher looked at it, and then Mr. Carpenter, and 
the moment the latter did he said " Beautiful ! Beauti- 
ful ! " And on Mr. Hampden asking him if it was all right, 
he replied that it was perfect, and that it showed the three 
points in " a perfect straight line " ; " as level as possible ! " 
And he actually jumped for joy. Then I asked Mr. Coulcher 
and Mr. Carpenter both to make sketches, which they did. 
We then fixed a calico flag on the parapet to make it more 
visible, and drove back with the instruments to Old Bedford 
bridge, where I set up the level again at the proper height 
above the water, and again asked both the referees to make 
sketches of what was seen in the level-telescope. This they 
did. Mr. Carpenter's was rather more accurately drawn, and 



Mr. Coulcher signed them as being correct, and both are re- 
produced here. 

For those who do not understand the use of a level, it 
may be necessary to explain that the cross-hair in the optical 
axis of the telescope marks the true level of any object at a 
distance with regard to the telescope. Any point that is 
seen above the cross-hair is above the level, any point seen 
below the cross-hair is below the level, and in the latter case 
the line from the telescope to it slopes downwards. To show 
this " true level ' is the whole purpose of the instrument 
called a surveyor's level, and it does show it with wonderful 
accuracy. The mere fact, therefore, that the top disc on the 
pole was apparently more below the cross-hair than the two 
discs were apart, proved that the surface of the water was not 
flat, or continuously extended in a straight line. And again 
the fact that the distant signal was again about the same 
distance, apparently below the middle one, as that was below 
the telescope of the level, shows that the surface of the water 
did not merely slope down in a straight line, but was curved 
downwards with regards to its surface at the starting-point. 

The following diagram will illustrate this : — 

The lower curved line represents the supposed curved 
surface of the water. The points ABC are three points 
equi-distant above that surface. The top line from A is the 
level line shown by the cross-hair in the level-telescope. If 
the water surface had been truly level, the two points B and 
C must have been cut by the cross-hair. But even if the 

3 86 MY LIFE 

cross-hair did not show the true level, but pointed upwards, 
and the water was truly level, then the distant mark, being 
the same height above the water as the top disc at half the 
distance and the telescope, these two objects must have ap- 
peared in a straight line, the nearer one covering the more 
distant. It should appear on the straight line drawn from 
the eye at A through B, whereas it appears a long way below 
it, thus proving curvature, the essential point to be shown. 

Thus the view in the large telescope and in the level- 
telescope both told exactly the same thing, and, moreover, 
proved that the curvature was very nearly the amount 
calculated from the known dimensions of the earth. Mr. 
Hampden declined to look through either telescope, saying 
he trusted to Mr. Carpenter, while the latter declared posi- 
tively that they had won, and that we knew it; that the fact 
that the distant signal appeared below the middle one as far 
as the middle one did below the cross-hair, proved that the 
three were in a straight line, and that the earth was flat, and 
he rejected the view in the large telescope as proving nothing 
for the reasons already stated. 

At first Mr. Hampden refused to appoint an umpire, be- 
cause my referee, Mr. Coulcher, refused to discuss the 
question with Mr. Carpenter; but after a few days he agreed 
that Mr. Walsh should be the umpire, after receiving the 
reports of the two referees. He had, in fact, unbounded con- 
fidence in what Mr. Carpenter told him, and firmly believed 
that the experiments had demonstrated the flat earth, and 
that no honest man could think otherwise. 

But Mr. Walsh decided without any hesitation that I had 
proved what I undertook to prove. He published the whole 
of the particulars with the reports of the referees and their 
sketches in the Field of March 18 and 26, while a consider- 
able correspondence and discussion went on for some weeks 
later. At Mr. Hampden's request he allowed Mr. Carpenter 
to send in a long argument to show that the experiments 
were all in Mr. Hampden's favour, and having considered 
them, he wrote to Mr. Hampden that he should hand me the 
stakes on a certain day if he had no other reason to adduce 


why he should not do so. Thereupon Mr. Hampden wrote 
to him demanding his money back on the ground that the 
decision was unjust, and ought to have been given in his 
favour. In thus writing to Hampden and receiving his 
demand for his deposit to be returned Mr. Walsh made a 
great mistake, which had serious consequences for me. The 
law declares that all wagers are null and void, and that money 
lost by betting is not recoverable at law. But the judges 
have decided that when a wager is given against him by the 
umpire, the loser can claim his money back from the stake- 
holder if the latter has not already paid it away to the winner. 
Hence, if a loser immediately claims his money from the 
stake-holder, the law will enforce the former's claim on the 
ground that it is his money, and the fact that he has lost it 
in a quite fair wager is beyond the cognizance of the law. 
Neither I nor Mr. Walsh knew of this, although he had 
decided and paid many wagers; but this resulted in my 
having to pay the money back five years later, as will be 
presently described. 

I will now briefly state what were Hampden's proceed- 
ings for the next fifteen or sixteen years. He first began 
abusing Mr. Walsh in letters, post-cards, leaflets, and pam- 
phlets as a liar, thief, and swindler. Then he began upon 
me with even more virulence, writing to the presidents and 
secretaries of all the societies to which I belonged, and to 
any of my friends whose addresses he could obtain. One of 
his favourite statements in these letters was, " Do you know 
that Mr. A. R. Wallace is allowing himself to be posted all 
over England as a cheat and a swindler ? ' But he soon 
took more violent measures, and sent the following letter to 
my wife : — 

" Mrs. Wallace, 

" Madam — If your infernal thief of a husband is 
brought home some day on a hurdle, with every bone in his 
head smashed to pulp, you will know the reason. Do you 
tell him from me he is a lying infernal thief, and as sure as 
his name is Wallace he never dies in his bed. 

388 MY LIFE 

You must be a miserable wretch to be obliged to live 
with a convicted felon. Do not think or let him think I 
have done with him. 

"John Hampden." 

For this I brought him up before a police magistrate, and 
he was bound over to keep the peace for three months, suf- 
fering a week's imprisonment before he could find the neces- 
sary sureties. But as soon as the three months were up, he 
began again with more abuse than ever, distributing tracts 
and writing to small local papers all over England. I now 
began to receive letters from friends, and also from perfect 
strangers, asking me if I knew what was said about me 
everywhere. I will now give a summary of the steps I was 
obliged to take with the results, or rather absence of results, 
that followed. 

In 1871, Mr. Walsh prosecuted Hampden for libel. He 
was convicted at the Old Bailey, and bound over to keep the 
peace for one year. 

In January, 1871, I brought an action for libel in order to 
give Hampden the opportunity of justifying, if he could, his 
language towards me. He did not defend the action, but 
suffered judgment to go by default, and the jury gave me a 
verdict with £600 damages. But whatever property he had 
had been transferred to his son-in-law (a solicitor), so I could 
not get a penny, and had to pay the costs of the suit, which, 
though undefended, were heavy. 

In October, 1872, I prosecuted him at the Old Bailey for 
further libels. He was respited on publicly apologizing in 
several newspapers. 

On January 13, 1873, he was brought up again for fresh 
libels, and was again respited on publishing a fuller apology 
and complete recantation of all his charges, as follows: — 

" Public Apology. — I, the undersigned John Hampden, 
do hereby absolutely withdraw all libellous statements pub- 
lished by me, which have reflected on the character of Mr. 
Alfred Russel Wallace, and apologize for having published 


them ; and I promise that I will not repeat the offence. — 
John Hampden." 

This was published in several of the London daily papers 
and in various country papers in which any of his letters had 
appeared, and the judge gave him a serious warning that if 
brought up again he would be imprisoned. 

Some months afterwards, however, he began again with 
equally foul libels, and I had him brought up under his 
recognizances, when he was sentenced to two months' im- 
prisonment in Newgate. 

But within a year he began again as violently as ever, 
and on March 6, 1875, he was indicted at Chelmsford Assizes 
for fresh libels, and on proof of his previous convictions and 
apologies, he was sentenced to one year's imprisonment and 
to keep the peace, under heavy recognizances and sureties, for 
two years more. (A full report is given in the Chelmsford 
Chronicle, March 12, 1875.) 

Through the interest of his friends, however, he was 
liberated in about six months; and thereupon, in January, 
1876, he brought an action against Mr. Walsh to recover his 
deposit of £500, and this action he won, on the grounds 
already stated; and as I had signed an indemnity to Mr. 
Walsh, I had to pay back the money, and also pay all the 
costs of the action, about £200 more. But as I had a judg- 
ment for £687 damages and costs in my libel suit against 
Hampden, I transferred this claim to Mr. Walsh as a set-off 
against the amount due by him. Hampden, however, had 
already made himself a bankrupt to prevent this claim being 
enforced, and had assigned all his actual or future assets to 
his son-in-law. 

There were now legal difficulties on both sides. I was 
advised that the bankruptcy was fraudulent, and could be 
annulled; but to attempt this would be costly, and the result 
uncertain. On the other hand, it was doubtful whether my 
claim against Hampden would not be treated as an ordinary 
creditor's claim in the bankruptcy. There was, therefore, a 
consultation of the solicitors, and a voluntary arrangement 

390 MY LIFE 

was arrived at. I was to pay all the costs of the suit and 
£l20, amounting to £277 \ while £410 still remained nomi- 
nally due to me from Hampden. 

These terms were formally agreed to by Hampden and 
his son-in-law, and were duly carried out. Of course I had 
also to pay Mr. Walsh's costs in the action and my own 
lawyer's bill for the settlement, as well as those of the action 
for libel, and the various criminal prosecutions of Hampden I 
had been compelled to undertake. 

Notwithstanding this settlement, however, Hampden was 
by no means silenced. The very day after his recognizances 
expired, in 1878, he began again with his abusive post-cards, 
circulars, and other forms of libel. In 1885 he wrote and 
printed a long letter to Huxley, as President of the Royal 
Society, chiefly on his biblical discussion with Mr. Gladstone, 
in a postscript to which he writes as follows : — 

" I have thoroughly exposed that degraded blackleg, 
Alfred Russel Wallace, as I would every one who publicly 
identifies himself with such grossly false science, which he 
had the audacity to claim to be true ! If this man's experi- 
ment on the Bedford canal was founded on fact, then the 
whole of the Scriptures are false, from the first verse to the 
last. But your whole system is based upon falsehood and 
fraud, and refusal of all discussion ; and such characters as 
Wallace seem to be your only champions." And he has an 
appendix on " Modern Education Conducted on Wrong 
Principles," in which we find such gems as this: — 

" When Mr. Mundella and Mr. Gladstone were schoolboys, 
the educational professors were all newly indoctrinated with 
the pretentious learning of the ' Principia ' of Newton. The 
Bible was not regarded as of any authority upon such sub- 
jects, and a flood of writers were all extolling the immortal 
genius of the ' incomparable mathematician.' Newton and 
his apple-tree were spoken of as the foundation of all true 
philosophy. The plausibly sounding phrases ' Attraction ' 
and ' Gravitation ' were in every pedagogue's mouth, and the 
poor children were birched into repeating them every hour 
of their lives." And so on for three closely printed pages. 


About this time he printed one thousand copies of a two- 
page leaflet, and sent them to almost every one in my neigh- 
bourhood whose address he could obtain, including most of 
the masters of Charterhouse School, and the residents as 
well as the tradesmen of Godalming. It was full of — " scien- 
tific villainy and roguery," — " cheat, swindler, and impostor." 
— " My specific charge against Mr. A. R. Wallace is that 
he obtained possession of a cheque for £1000 by fraud and 
falsehood of a party who had no authority to dispose of it." — 
" As Mr. Wallace seems wholly devoid of any sense of honour 
of his own, I shall most readily submit the whole matter 
to any two or more disinterested parties, and adhere most 
absolutely and finally to their decision." — " I will compel 
him to acknowledge that the curvature of water which he 
and his dupes pretend was proved on the Bedford Level, 
does not exist! And this Mr. Wallace saw with his own 
eyes." And so on in various forms of repetition and abuse. 
To save trouble, I drew up a short circular stating the main 
facts already given here for the information of those who 
had received Hampden's absurdly false libels, and thereafter 
took no further notice of him. 

One day about this time we happened to have several 
friends with us, and as we were at luncheon, I was called to 
see a gentleman at the door. I went, and there was Hamp- 
den ! I was so taken aback that my only idea was to get rid 
of him as soon as possible, but I afterwards much regretted 
that I did not ask him in, give him luncheon, and introduce 
him as the man who devoted his life to converting the world 
into the belief that the earth was flat. We should at least 
have had some amusement ; and to let him sav what he had 
to say to a lot of intelligent people might have done him 
good. But such " happy thoughts " come too late. He had 
come really to see where I lived, and as our cottage and 
garden at Godalming, though quite small, were very pretty, 
he was able to say afterwards that I (the thief, etc.) was 
living in luxury, while he, the martyr to true science, was in 

He continued to circulate his postcards and tracts, and 

392 MY LIFE 

to write to all manner of people, challenging them to prove 
that the earth was not flat, for several years after. The last 
of his efforts which I have preserved is an eight-page tract, 
which he distributed at the Royal Geographical Society's Ex- 
hibition of Geographical Appliances, in December, 1885, in 
which he attacks all geographical teaching in his usual style, 
and declares that " at the present moment they are cowering 
beneath the inquiring gaze of one single truth-seeker, John 
Hampden, the well-known champion of the Mosaic cos- 
mogony as against the infidel theories and superstitions of 
the pagan mystics, who is, at the end of fifteen years' conflict, 
still holding his ground against all the professional authorities 
of England and America ; and the single fact that during the 
whole of that time, no one but a degraded swindler has dared 
to make a fraudulent attempt to support the globular theory, 
is ample and overwhelming proofs of the worthless character 
of modern elementary geography." And again : " Surveyors 
and civil and military engineers are offered £100 for the 
discovery of any portion of the earth's curvature, on land or 
ivater, railway or canal, of not less than five or ten miles, 
within one hundred miles of the metropolis. Why does not 
Mr. A. R. Wallace do again what he says he has done be- 
fore?' And in a list of advertisements of books, etc., sup- 
porting his views he has this one : " Scientific Information 
wanted. A gentleman of ample means and inquisitive disposi- 
tion offers £100 for particulars setting forth conclusively the 
grounds on which Sir Isaac Newton's Globular Theory was 
presumably established or asserted to be the fact." 

And this man was educated at Oxford University ! Seldom 
has so much boldness of assertion and force of invective been 
combined with such gross ignorance. And to this day a 
society exists to uphold the views of Hampden, Carpenter, 
and their teacher, " Parallax ! " 

The two law suits, the four prosecutions for libel, the 
payments and costs of the settlement, amounted to consider- 
ably more than the £500 I received from Hampden, besides 
which I bore all the costs of the week's experiments, and 
between fifteen and twenty years of continued persecution — a 


tolerably severe punishment for what I did not at the time 
recognize as an ethical lapse. 

There is one other small money matter which I wish to 
put on record here, because, though it involves only the small 
sum of sixpence, it affords an example of official meanness, 
and what really amounts to petty larceny, which can hardly be 
surpassed. In 1865 the British Museum purchased from me 
some specimen (I think a skeleton) for which they agreed to 
pay £5. Two years later I received the following printed 
form : — 

" Principal Librarian and Secretary's Office, 

" British Museum, W.C., June 24, 1867. 

" Sir, 

" If you will send your own stamped receipt to this 
Office, you will be paid the amount due to you by the Trustees 
of the British Museum, £5 os. od. 

" I am, sir, 

" Your very obedient Servant, 
" Thomas Butler, 

" Assist. Secretary." 
" Mr. A. R. Wallace." 

I, of course, complied with the request and sent the stamped 
receipt, and by return of post had the following written 
communication : — 

" Mr. Butler begs to transmit the enclosed P.O. order for 
£4 igs. 6d. to Mr. Wallace, and the amount of it, with the 
cost of the order (6d.), makes up the sum due by the Trustees 
to Mr. Wallace. 

" British Museum, June 25, 1867." 

This amazing little dodge (for I can call it nothing else) 
completely staggered me. I was at first inclined to return 
the P.O. order, or to write asking for the 6d., and if necessary 
summon Mr. Butler (or the Trustees) to a County Court for 

394 MY LIFE 

the 6d. clue. But I was busy, and did not want to enter upon 
what I felt sure would be a long correspondence and endless 
trouble and expense. I therefore determined to keep the 
incriminating documents, and some day print them. That 
day has now come ; and it may be interesting to learn 
whether this preposterous and utterly dishonest method of 
paying part of an admitted debt, after obtaining a receipt for 
the whole, continues to be practised in this or any other public 

It was while these troubles in the Hampden affair were at 
their thickest that my earnings invested in railways and mines 
continued depreciating so constantly as to be a source of great 
anxiety to me, and every effort to extricate myself by seeking 
better investments only made matters worse. It was at this 
time that the endeavour to get the Epping Forest appoint- 
ment failed, and had it not been for the kindness of a relative, 
Miss Roberts, of Epsom, a cousin of my mother's, with whose 
family I had been intimate from my boyhood, I should have 
been in absolute want. She had intended to leave me £1000 
in her will, but instead of doing so transferred it to me at 
once, and as it was in an excellent security, and brought me 
in from £50 to £65 a year, it was most welcome. I had sold 
my house at Grays fairly well, and in 1880 bought a piece of 
land and built a cottage at Godalming, so that I had a home 
of my own; but I had now to depend almost entirely on the 
little my books brought me in, together with a few lectures, 
reviews, and other articles. I had just finished writing my 
" Island Life," and had no idea that I should ever write 
another important book, and I therefore saw no way of 
increasing my income, which was then barely sufficient to 
support my family and educate my two children in the most 
economical way. From this ever-increasing anxiety I was 
relieved through the grant of a Civil Service pension of £200, 
which came upon me as a very joyful surprise. My most 
intimate and confidential friend at this time was Mrs. Fisher 
(then Miss Buckley), and to her alone I mentioned my great 
losses, and my anxiety as to any sure source of income. 


Shortly afterwards she was visiting Darwin, and mentioned it 
to him, and he thought that a pension might be granted 
me in recognition of my scientific work. Huxley most kindly 
assisted in drawing up the necessary memorial to the Prime 
Minister, Mr. Gladstone, to whom Darwin wrote personally. 
He promptly assented, and the next year, 1881, the first pay- 
ment was made. Other of my scientific friends, I believe, 
signed the memorial, but it is especially to the three named 
that I owe this very great relief from anxiety for the remainder 
of my life. 

I have already stated that what at the time appeared to 
be the great misfortune of the loss of about half of my whole 
Amazonian collections by the burning of the ship in which I 
was coming home, was in all probability a blessing in dis- 
guise, since it led me to visit the comparatively unknown 
Malay Archipelago, and, perhaps, also supplied the conditions 
which led me to think out independently the theory of natural 
selection. In like manner I am now inclined to see in the 
almost total loss of the money value of those rich collections, 
another of those curious indications that our misfortunes are 
often useful, or even necessary for bringing out our latent 
powers. I am, and have always been, constitutionally lazy, 
without any of that fiery energy and intense power of work 
possessed by such men as Huxley and Charles Kingsley. 
When I once begin any work in which I am interested, I 
can go steadily on with it till it is finished, but I need some 
definite impulse to set me going, and require a good deal of 
time for reflection while the work is being done. Every im- 
portant book I have undertaken has been due to an impulse 
or a suggestion from without. I spent five years in quiet 
enjoyment of my collections, in attending scientific meetings, 
and in working out a few problems, before I began to write 
my " Malay Archipelago," and it was due to the repeated 
suggestions of my friends that I wrote my " Geographical 
Distribution of Animals." 

But if the entire proceeds of my Malayan collections had 
been well invested, and I had obtained a secure income of 

39 6 MY LIFE 

£400 or £500 a year, I think it probable that I should not 
have written another book, but should have gone to live 
further in the country, enjoyed my garden and greenhouse 
(as I always have done), and limited my work to a few lec- 
tures and review articles, but to a much less extent than I 
actually have done. It was the necessity of earning money, 
owing to my diminishing income, that caused me to accept 
invitations to lecture, which I always disliked; and the same 
reason caused me to seek out subjects for scientific or social 
articles which, without that necessity, would never have been 
written. Under such conditions as here supposed, my dislike 
to lecturing would probably have increased, and I should never 
have ventured on my lecturing tour in America, in which case 
I should not have written " Darwinism," and, I firmly believe, 
should not have enjoyed such good health as I am now doing. 
Then, too, I should probably not have accepted Dr. Lunn's 
invitation to lecture at Davos, and my two later books would 
never have come into existence. 

Of course this is all conjecture, but it seems to myself 
highly probable. At all events, I feel perfectly sure that with- 
out the spur of necessity I should not have done much of the 
work I have done. I have always had a great desire to see 
many of the beauty-spots of the world. Some of them I 
have seen, but usually under strict limitation of time and 
means. I have longed to visit the old volcanoes of Mont 
Dore or the Eifel, both for their geology and their rich 
flora; the Dolomites and the Italian lakes; Pompeii, and 
Rome, and the lovely Riviera; Sicily and Greece; while 
the little I have seen of Switzerland has made me wish to 
see more. If I had had the means I should probably have 
spent a good part of each winter, spring, or summer, in these 
countries, and should have found such constant delight in 
them, and in my garden at home, to which I should have 
brought home every year new floral treasures, that I should 
not have felt the want of any other occupation, and should 
probably have written nothing but an occasional review or 
magazine article. If, therefore, my books and essays have 
been of any use to the world — and though I cannot quite 


understand it, scores of people have written to me telling me 
so — then the losses and the struggles I have had to go 
through have been a necessary discipline calculated to bring 
into action whatever faculties I possess. I may be allowed 
here to give an extract from one of these letters on my literary 
work, nearly the last I received from my lamented friend 
F. W. H. Myers. He writes (April 12, 1898) :— 

" I am glad to take this opportunity of telling you some- 
thing about my relation to one of your books. I write now 
from bed, having had severe influenzic pneumonia, now going 
off. For some days my temperature was 105 °, and I was very 
restless at night — anxious to read, but in too sensitive and 
fastidious a state to tolerate almost any book. I found that 
almost the only book which I could read was your ' Malay 
Archipelago.' Of course I had read it before. In spite of 
my complete ignorance of natural history there was a certain 
uniqueness of charm about the book, both moral and literary, 
which made it deeply congenial in those trying hours. You 
have had few less instructed readers ; but very few can have 
dwelt on that simple, manly record with a more profound 

Other people, quite strangers, have also told me that they 
have read it over and over again, and always take it with 
them on a journey. This is the kind of thing I cannot under- 
stand. It is true, if I open it myself I can read a chapter 
with pleasure ; but, then, to me it recalls incidents and feelings 
almost forgotten, and renews the delights of my wanderings 
in the wilderness and of my intense interest in the wonderful 
and beautiful forms of plant, bird, and insect life I was con- 
tinually meeting with. Others have written in almost equally 
laudatory terms of my books on " Land Nationalization " and 
on " Spiritualism," which have introduced them to new 
spheres of thought; while others, again, have been equally 
pleased with parts of my " Wonderful Century " and " Man's 
Place in the Universe." I am thus forced to the conclusion 
that my books have served to instruct and to give pleasure to 
a good many readers, and that it is therefore just possible 
that my life may have been prolonged, and conditions modi- 


9 8 MY LIFE 

fied so as to afford the required impulse and the amount of 
time for me to write them. 

Of course, such a suggestion as this will seem foolishness 
or something worse to most of my readers ; but for those 
who are imbued with the teachings of modern spiritualism, 
and to others who vaguely believe in spiritual guidance on 
general religious grounds, such forms of what used to be 
termed special providence will not be wholly rejected. 



I have already (in chapter xv.) given an estimate of my 
character when I came of age. I will now make a few 
further remarks upon it as modified by my changed views of 
life, owing to my becoming convinced of the reality of a 
spirit world and a future state of existence. 

Up to middle age, and especially during the first dec- 
ade after my return from the East, I was so much dis- 
inclined to the society of uncongenial and commonplace 
people that my natural reserve and coldness of manner often 
amounted, I am afraid, to rudeness. I found it impossible, as 
I have done all my life, to make conversation with such 
people, or even to reply politely to their trivial remarks. I 
therefore often appeared gloomy when I was merely bored. 
I found it impossible, as some one had said, to tolerate fools 
gladly; while, owing to my deficient language-faculty, talk- 
ing without having anything to say, and merely for politeness 
or to pass the time, was most difficult and disagreeable. 
Hence I was thought to be proud, conceited, or stuck-up. But 
later on, as I came to see the baneful influence of our wrong 
system of education and of society, I began to realize that 
people who could talk of nothing but the trivial amusements 
of an empty mind were the victims of these social errors, and 
were often in themselves quite estimable characters. 

Later on, when the teachings of spiritualism combined 
with those of phrenology led me to the conclusion that there 
were no absolutely bad men or women, that is, none who, by a 
rational and sympathetic training and a social system which 
gave to all absolute equality of opportunity, might not be- 


4 oo MY LIFE 

come useful, contented, and happy members of society, I 
became much more tolerant. I learnt also to distrust all first 
impressions; for I repeatedly came to enjoy the society of 
people whose appearance or manner had at first repelled me, 
and even in the most apparently trivial-minded was able to 
find some common ground of interest or occupation. I feel 
myself that my character has continuously improved, and 
that this is owing chiefly to the teaching of spiritualism, that 
we are in every act and thought of our lives here building up 
a character which will largely determine our happiness or 
misery hereafter; and also, that we obtain the greatest happi- 
ness ourselves by doing all we can to make those around us 

As I have referred in various parts of this volume to ideas, 
or suggestions, or solutions of biological problems, which I 
have been the first to put forth, it may be convenient if I 
here give a brief account of the more important of them, 
some of which have, I think, been almost entirely overlooked. 

1. The first and perhaps the most important of these is my 
independent discovery of the theory of natural selection in 
1858, in my paper on " The Tendency of Varieties to depart 
indefinitely from the Original Type." This is reprinted in my 
' Natural Selection and Tropical Nature " ; and it has been 

so fully recognized by Darwin himself and by naturalists 
generally that I need say no more about it here. I have 
given a rather full account of how it first occurred to me in 
chapter xxii. of this work. 

2. In 1864 I published an article on " The Development 
of Human Races under the Law of Natural Selection," the 
most original and important part of which was that in which 
I showed that so soon as man's intellect and physical struc- 
ture led him to use fire, to make tools, to grow food, to 
domesticate animals, to use clothing, and build houses, the 
action of natural selection was diverted from his body to his 
mind, and thenceforth his physical form remained stable 


while his mental faculties improved. This paper was greatly 
admired by Mr. Darwin and several other men of science, 
who declared it to be entirely new to them; but owing to its 
having been published in one of my less known works, 
" Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection," it 
seems to be comparatively little known. Consequently, it still 
continues to be asserted or suggested that because we have 
been developed physically from some lower form, so in the 
future we shall be further developed into a being as different 
from our present form as we are different from the orang 
or the gorilla. My paper shows why this will not be ; why 
the form and structure of our body is permanent, and that it 
is really the highest type now possible on the earth. The 
fact that we have not improved physically over the ancient 
Greeks, and that most savage races — even some of the lowest 
in material civilization — possess the human form in its fullest 
symmetry and perfection, affords evidence that my theory is 
the true one. 

3. In 1867 I gave a provisional solution of the cause of 
the gay, and even gaudy colours of many caterpillars, which 
was asked for by Darwin, and which experiment soon proved 
to be correct. This is referred to in chapter xxi. of the present 
volume, and is fully described in my " Natural Selection and 
Tropical Nature," pp. 82-86. The principle established in 
this case has been since found to be widely applicable 
throughout the animal kingdom. 

4. In 1868 I wrote a paper on "A Theory of Birds' 
Nests," the chief purport of which was to point out and 
establish a connection between the colours of female birds 
and the mode of nidification which had not been before 
noticed. This led to the formulation of the following law, 
which has been very widely accepted by ornithologists: 
When both sexes of birds are conspicuously coloured, the nest 
conceals the sitting bird; but when the male is conspicuously 
coloured and the nest is open to view, the female is plainly 
coloured and inconspicuous. No less than fifteen whole fami- 


lies of birds and a number of the genera of other families be- 
long to the first class, of brightly coloured birds with sexes 
alike, and they all build in boles or make domed nests. Most 
« i these are tropical, but the woodpeckers and kingfishers 
are European. In the second class, however brilliant the 
male may be, if the nest is open to view, the female is 
always plainly coloured sometimes so much so as to be hardly 
recognizable as the same species. This is especially the case 
in such birds as the brilliant South American chatterers and 
the Eastern pheasants and paradise birds. This law is of 
especial value, as showing the exceptional need of protection 
of female birds as well as butterflies, and the remarkable way 
in which the colours of both classes of animals have become 
modified in accordance with this necessity. This paper forms 
chapter vi. of my " Natural Selection and Tropical Nature." 

5. In the great subject of the origin, use, and purport of 
the colours of animals, there are several branches which, I 
believe, I was the first to call special attention to. The most 
important of these was the establishment of the class of what 
I termed " Recognition colours," which are of importance in 
affording means for the young to find their parents, the sexes 
each other, and strayed individuals of returning to the group 
or flock to which they belong. But perhaps even more im- 
portant is the use of these special markings or colours during 
the process of the development of new species adapted to 
slightly different conditions, by checking intercrossing between 
them while in process of development. It thus affords an ex- 
planation of the almost universal rule, that closely allied species 
differ in colour or marking even when the external structural 
differences are exceedingly slight or quite undiscoverable. 
The same principle also explains the general symmetry in the 
markings of animals in a state of nature, while under domes- 
tication it often disappears ; difference of colour or marking on 
the two sides would render recognition difficult. This princi- 
ple was first stated in my article on " The Colours of Animals 
and Sexual Selection " (in " Natural Selection and Tropical 
Nature," 1878) and more fully developed in " Darwinism." 


I am now inclined to think that it accounts for more of the 
variety and beauty in the animal world than any other purpose 
yet discovered. 1 

I may here add that I believe I was first to give adequate 
reasons for the rejection of Darwin's theory of brilliant male 
coloration or marking being due to female choice. 

6. The general permanence of oceanic and continental 
areas was first taught by Professor J. D. Dana, the eminent 
American geologist, and again by Darwin in his " Origin of 
Species" ; but I am, I believe, the only writer who has brought 
forward a number of other considerations, geographical and 
physical, which, with those of previous writers, establish the 
proposition on almost incontrovertible grounds. My exposi- 
tion of the subject is given in " Island Life' (chap, vi.), 
while some additional arguments are given in my " Studies ' 
(vol. i. chap. ii.). The doctrine may be considered as the 
only solid basis for any general study of the geographical 
distribution of animals, and it is for this reason that I have 
made it the subject of my careful consideration. 

7. In discussing the causes of glacial epochs I have adopted 
the general views of Mr. James Croll as to the astronomical 
causes, but have combined them with geographical changes, 
and have shown how the latter, even though small in 
amount, might produce very important results. In particular 
I have laid stress on the properties of air and water in 
equalizing temperature over the earth, while snow and ice by 

1 A correspondent, Mr. G. Norman Douglass, writing from the British 
Embassy, St. Petersburg, in 1894, sent me the following translation of a 
passage in Schopenhauer's " Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (Zur 
Teleologie)" which curiously anticipates my views: — 

" One accounts for the wonderfully varied and vividly glowing color- 
ation of the plumage of tropical birds, although only in a very general 
way, by the stronger influence of light between the tropics — as its causa 
eMciens. As its causa finalis, I should say that these brilliant plumages 
are the full-dress uniforms by means of which the individuals of the 
numberless species, often belonging to one and the same genus, recog- 
nize each other, so that every male finds its female." 

4 o 4 MY LIFE 

their immobility, produce cumulative effects ; and thus a low- 
ering of temperature of a few degrees may lead to a country 
being ice-clad which before was ice-free. This is a vital 
point which is of the very essence of the problem of glacia- 
tion ; yet it has been altogether neglected in the various mathe- 
matical or physical theories which have recently been put 
forward. My own discussion of the problem in chapter viii. 
of " Island Life ' has never, so far as I know, been contro- 
verted, and I still think it constitutes the most complete ex- 
planation of the phenomena yet given. 

During a discussion in Nature, so late as 1896, Professor 
G. H. Darwin and Mr. E. P. Culverwell adduced some new 
calculations as to the amount of diminished sun-heat due to 
eccentricity, as invalidating Croll's arguments; whereupon I 
pointed out that their facts had not the importance they sup- 
posed, because they took no account of the cumulative effects 
of snow and ice above referred to (Nature, vol. liii. p. 220). 
Sir Robert Ball also, quite independently, made the same ob- 
jection as myself. 

8. In 1880 I published my " Island Life," and the last 
chapter but one is " On the Arctic Element in South Temperate 
Floras," in which I gave a solution of the very remarkable 
phenomena stated by Sir Joseph Hooker in his " Introductory 
Essay on the Flora of Australia." My explanation is founded 
on known facts as to the dispersal and distribution of plants, 
and does not require those enormous changes in the climate 
of tropical lowlands during the glacial period on which Darwin 
founded his explanation, and which, I believe, no biologist 
well acquainted either with the fauna or the flora of the 
equatorial zone has found it possible to accept. I am informed 
by my friend Mr. Francis Darwin that this chapter was es- 
pecially noticed in Germany at the time of its first appearance, 
but he can hear of no detailed criticism of it, except one by 
H. von Jhering in Engler's Botan-Jahrbilcher (vol. xvii., 
I ^93), of which he has kindly sent me a translation of the 
more important passages. This is not the place to reply to 
the criticism, which would require a chapter. I can only say 



K V 





here that the writer has not a sufficient grasp of the elementary- 
laws of distribution to enable him to grapple with the subject. 
One example of this will suffice. He says, " Plants are not, 
as a fact, carried far by wind, Corsican, Sardinian, and Sicil- 
ian plants not occurring in Italy." No one who understands 
the first principles of evolution by natural selection could have 
made such a statement. And as to his alleged " fact," I have 
given overwhelming evidence against it in my book. 

Mr. Darwin informs me, however, that he thinks the great 
German botanist, Engler, is favorable to my views; but what 
is very much more important is that Sir Joseph Hooker him- 
self accepts them, and I have his permission (February, 1905) 
to quote the following passages referring to the whole book, 
from a letter written in 1880, and to say that he has not 
changed his opinion : — 

" I think you have made an immense advance to our 
knowledge of the ways and means of distribution, and bridged 
many great gaps. Your reasoning seems to me to be sound 
throughout, though I am not prepared to receive it in all its 

And again : " I very much like your whole working of the 
problem of the isolation and connection of New Zealand and 
Australia inter se, and with the countries north of them ; and 
the whole treatment of that respecting north and south migra- 
tion over the Globe is admirable." 

For those who have not my " Island Life," there is a com- 
pact statement of the whole argument in my " Darwinism," 

PP. 36I-373- 

9. In 1 881 I put forth the first idea of mouth-gesture as a 
factor in the origin of language, in a review of E. P. Tylor's 
" Anthropology," and in 1895 I extended it into an article in 
the Fortnightly Review, and reprinted it with a few further 
corrections in my " Studies," under the title, " The Expres- 
siveness of Speech or Mouth-Gesture as a Factor in the Origin 
of Language." In it I have developed a completely new 
principle in the theory of the origin of language by showing 
that every motion of the jaws, lips, and tongue, together with 

4 o6 MY LIFE 

inward or outward breathing, and especially the mute or 
liquid consonants ending words which serve to indicate abrupt 
or continuous motion, have corresponding - meanings in so many 
cases as to show a fundamental connection. I thus enormously 
extend the principle of onomatopoeias in the origin of vocal 
language. As I have been unable to find any reference to this 
important factor in the origin of language, and as no compe- 
tent writer has pointed out any fallacy in it, I think I am 
justified in supposing it to be new and important. Mr. Glad- 
stone informed me that there were many thousands of illustra- 
tions of my ideas in Homer. 

10. In 1890 I published in the Fortnightly Review an article 
on "Human Selection," and in 1892 (in the Boston Arena) 
one on " Human Progress, Past and Future." These deal 
with different aspects of the same great problem — the gradual 
improvement of the race by natural process; and they were 
also written partly for the purpose of opposing the various 
artificial processes of selection advocated by several English 
and American writers. I showed that the only method of 
advance for us,, as for the lower animals, is in some form 
of natural selection, and that the only mode of natural selec- 
tion that can act alike on physical, mental, and moral qual- 
ities will come into play under a social system which gives 
equal opportunities of culture, training, leisure, and happi- 
ness to every individual. This extension of the principle of 
natural selection as it acts in the animal world generally is, 
I believe, quite new, and is by far the most important of the 
new ideas I have given to the world. 

A short summary of these papers appears in my thirty- 
third chapter; but every one interested in the deepest social 
problems should read the articles themselves (in my " Stud- 
ies"), which give a very condensed statement of the whole 

11. In an article on " The Glacial Erosion of Lake Basins ' 
(in the Fortnightly Review, December, 1893), I brought to- 
gether the whole of the evidence bearing upon the question, 


and adduced a completely new argument for this mode of 
origin of the valley lakes of glaciated countries. This is 
founded on their surface and bottom contours, both of which 
are shown to be such as would necessarily arise from ice- 
action, while they would not arise from the other alleged 
mode of origin — unequal elevation or subsidence. 

12. In a new edition of " Stanford's Compendium, Austral- 
asia," vol. i., when describing the physical and mental char- 
acteristics of the Australian aborigines, I stated my belief 
that they were really a low and perhaps primitive type of the 
Caucasian race. I further developed the subject in my 
" Studies," and illustrated it by photographs of Australians 
and Ainos, of the Veddahs of Ceylon, and of the Khmers of 
Cambodia — all outlying members of the same great human 
race. This, I think, is an important simplification in the clas- 
sification of the races of man. 

Bees' cells. — But besides these more important scientific 
principles or ideas, there are a few minor ones which are of 
sufficient interest to be briefly mentioned. In the article on 
the " Bees' cells," (referred to in chapter xxviii.) I called 
attention to a circumstance that had been, I think, unnoticed 
by all previous writers. An immense deal of ingenuity and 
of mathematical skill had been expended in showing that the 
two layers of hexagonal cells, with basal dividing-plates in- 
clined at a particular angle, gave the greatest economy of 
space and of material possible ; and the instinct of the bees in 
building such a comb to contain their store of honey was held 
to show that it was a divinely bestowed special faculty. But 
all these writers omitted to take into account one fact, which 
shows their whole argument to be fallacious. This is, that 
the combs are suspended vertically, and that when full of honey 
the upper rows of cells have to support at least ten times as 
much weight as the lowest rows. But there is no corres- 
ponding difference in the thickness of the walls of the cells ; 
so that, as the upper rows are strong enough, the lower 
must be quite unnecessarily strong, and there is thus a great 


waste of wax. The whole conception of a supernatural 
faculty for the purpose of economizing wax is thus shown to 
be fallacious. Darwin's explanation entirely obviates this 
difficulty, since it depends on the bees possessing intelligence 
enough to reduce all the cellwalls to a nearly uniform thick- 
ness, being that which is sufficient under all circumstances 
to support the weight of the whole mass of comb and 

The supposed " homing " instinct of dogs, etc. — In the year 
1873 one of the many discussions on this subject took place in 
Nature. I had suggested the immense importance of the sense 
of smell in enabling dogs to find their way back along a 
route they had been carried in a basket or covered cart; but, 
of course, there are cases which this will not explain. I gave a 
summing up of the whole subject, and added a new and very 
remarkable case which happened to my friend Dr. Purland, 
whose amusing letters I have given in chapter xxviii. This 
case is as follows : — 

" My friend lost a favourite little dog when he was living 
in Long Acre. Three months afterwards he removed to a 
house in another street about half a mile distant — a place he 
had not contemplated going to, or even seen, before the loss 
of the dog. Two months later (five months after the loss of 
the dog) a scratching was heard at the front door, and on 
opening it the dog rushed in, having found out its master in 
the new house. My friend was so astonished that he went 
next day to Long Acre to an acquaintance who lived 
nearly opposite the old house (then empty), and told him his 
little dog had come back. ' Oh,' said this person, ' I saw the 
dog myself yesterday. He scratched at your door, barked a 
good deal, then went to the middle of the street, turned round 
several times, and started off towards where you now live.' 
My friend cannot tell how much time elapsed between the 
dog's leaving the old and arriving at the new house. If every 
movement of this dog could have been watched from one 
door to the other, much might have been learnt. Could it 
have obtained information from other dogs? Could the 


odour of persons and furniture linger two months in the 
streets ? " 

It is evident that at least twelve hours were occupied in 
rinding the new place, leaving time for a good deal of trial 
and error. One suggestion now occurs to me. There was a 
rather circuitous omnibus route leading from Long Acre to 
very near the new house. The dog may have often seen its 
master travelling in a 'bus, and may even have gone with 
some of the family. He may, therefore, have followed the 
'bus route, seeking all the way for indications, till at last he 
crossed the recent track of his master or of some other member 
of the family, and by scent followed it up to the door. The 
following passage concludes my letter to Nature : — 

" I venture to hope that some persons having means and 
leisure will experiment on this subject in the same careful and 
thorough way that Mr. Spalding experimented with his fowls. 
The animal's previous history must be known and recorded ; a 
sufficient number of experiments, at various distances and 
under different conditions, must be made; and a person of 
intelligence and activity must keep the animal in sight, and 
note down its every action till it arrives home. If this is 
done, I feel sure that a satisfactory theory will soon be arrived 
at, and much of, if not all, the mystery that now attaches to 
this class of facts be removed." This suggestion I have made 
several times during the last thirty years, but I cannot learn 
that any one has yet carried it out. It is strange that while 
thousands of dogs' lives are sacrificed annually to establish 
some minute point in physiology, no one can be found to carry 
out a few pleasurable and interesting experiments to ascertain 
in what manner and by the use of what faculties lost animals 
habitually find their way home. 

An analogous problem to this is that of the migration of 
birds, which also has been almost always imputed to some 
special instinct or peculiar faculty other than that of the ordi- 
nary senses. On this question I wrote to Nature as follows 
(October 8, 1874) : " It appears to me probable that here, as 
in so many other cases, ' survival of the fittest ' will be found 
to have had a powerful influence. Let us suppose that with 

4 io MY LIFE 

any species of migratory bird breeding can, as a rule, be only 

saferj accomplished in a certain area; and, further, that 
during a large part of the rest of the year sufficient food 
cannot be obtained in that area. It will follow that those 
birds which do not leave the breeding area at the proper 
ison will suffer and ultimately become extinct; which will 
also be the fate of those which do not leave the subsistence 
area at the proper time. Now, if we suppose that the two 
areas were (for some remote ancestor of the existing species) 
coincident, but through geological and climated changes 
gradually diverged from each other, we can easily understand 
how the habit of incipient and partial migration at the proper 
season would become hereditary (through the action of natural 
selection), and so fixed as to appear to be what we term an 
instinct. It will probably be found that every gradation still 
exists in various parts of the world, from a complete coinci- 
dence to a complete separation of the breeding and subsistence 
areas ; and when the life-histories of a sufficient number of 
species are thoroughly worked out, we shall find every link 
between species which never leave a restricted area in which 
they breed and live the whole year round, to those other 
cases in which the two areas are very widely separated. The 
actual causes that determine the exact time, year by year, at 
which certain species migrate, will, of course, be difficult to 
ascertain. I would suggest, however, that they will be found 
to depend upon the climatal changes which most affect each 
species. The change of colour, or the fall of certain leaves ; 
the change to the pupa state of certain larvae; prevalent 
winds or rains, or even the decreased temperature of earth or 
water, may all have their influence. Ample materials must 
now exist, in the case of European birds, for an instructive 
work on this subject. The two areas should be carefully 
determined for a number of species ; the times of their move- 
ments should be compared with those of the natural phe- 
nomena likely to influence them ; the past changes of surface, 
of climate, and of vegetation should be taken account of; 
and there seems no reason to doubt that such a mode of re- 
search would throw much light on the problem." 


In an article on " The Problem of Instinct "• in my 
" Studies " (vol. i. chap, xxii.), I have supplemented the above 
theory as to why birds migrate, by another as to how they 
migrate, and trace it wholly to experience, the young birds 
following the old ones ; but an enormous proportion of the 
young fail to make the outward or the homeward journey 

I have given a summary of these three papers here, because 
the views I set forth explain some of the most remarkable 
cases of what have been termed instincts among the higher 
animals, as being really due to instruction and imitation, to- 
gether with the exercise of specially acute faculties of smell 
or sight, of memory and a moderate amount of intelligence. 
It is because I go farther in this direction than any other 
writer I am acquainted with that I put this subject among 
my " new ideas." 

In 1894 I wrote an article for the Nineteenth Century on 
the question of the proper observance of Sunday, which I 
have reprinted in my " Studies " under the title, " A Counsel 
of Perfection for Sabbatarians." In this short article I define 
clearly, I think for the first time, what the " work " so strictly 
and impressively forbidden really is, and then show how 
utterly inconsistent are the great majority of Sabbatarians, 
who themselves break the commandment both in letter and 
spirit, while they loudly condemn others for acts which are 
not forbidden by it. I also show how the commandment can 
be and should be strictly kept by all who believe it to be a 
divine command, and point out the good results which would 
follow such a mode of obeying it. That the idea was new 
and its reasoning unanswerable may be perhaps inferred from 
the fact that no reply, so far as I know, was made to it ; while 
a well-known writer was so impressed by it that he made 
his own bed the following Sunday in accordance with its 

One other new idea of quite a different nature I will refer 
to here, because I think that publicity may yet lead to its 

4 i2 MY LIFE 

adoption and to the consequent annual saving of life and 
property. I was led to it by having seen the effects of the 
explosion of a powder barge on the Regent's Canal when I 
was living in the neighbourhood (sometime in the sixties) ; 
and again while living at Grays and often passing the great 
magazine at Purfleet, where there had been an explosion some 
years before. On reading of the elaborate and costly pre- 
cautions at all such magazines, and of explosions occurring 
somewhere almost every year notwithstanding all precautions, 
it occurred to me that there was a simple way of rendering 
such explosions impossible, and at the same time reducing 
largely the cost of storing explosives. 

The plan was to store all gunpowder, cartridges, and other 
explosives in metal drums, either hexagonal or circular in 
form and of uniform size and height, fitted at top with an 
air-tight cap of a size suited to the kind of explosive it con- 
tained. These drums would be arranged in rows in shallow- 
open tanks, filled with water so as to cover the lids, the water 
being kept at a uniform level by an inflow and overflow. Such 
tanks would need no protection whatever, except against 
thieves, and no precautions whatever would be required. For 
the conveyance of powder, etc., trucks and barges with water- 
tanks could be used, and in factories all explosive materials 
should be kept under water, so that if an explosion occurred 
during the actual processes of manufacture it would be strictly 
limited, and could not extend either to the stores of material 
or of the finished product, since if the water were all blown 
away by the concussion the contents would remain uninjured. 

I drew up a careful statement of the advantages of this 
plan, with a drawing of the proposed drum, and sent it through 
a friend to Sir Thomas Brassey, then a Lord of the Admiralty, 
requesting him to lay it before the proper authorities. In 
reply I received a memorandum from the Director of Naval 
Ordnance, referring me to the " Treatise of Ammunition, 
1881," (a copy of which was sent), as to " the present service 
powder-cases." He added that the plan would be difficult, 
and perhaps impossible on board ship, on account of the extra 
space required. The last paragraph was — 


" For permanent depots of powder like Upnor the idea 
seems worthy of attention, and Mr. Wallace might address 
the War Office on the subject after informing himself as to 
the present service powder-cases. 

" F. A. Herbert. 

"20. 6. 82." 

As the Treatise sent merely showed that copper drums 
were in use something similar to those I suggested, but the 
interminable pages of instructions and precautions made no 
reference whatever to water-storage, I did not trouble myself 
to send my plan to the War Office. I however, sent it to a 
few newspapers, where it appeared, and I received in conse- 
quence a letter from the editor of the Ironmonger approv- 
ing of the plan for large stores of powder, but fearing it could 
not be applied to retail dealers, where explosions, often fatal, 
were continually occurring, almost always through " gross 

It thus appears that good authorities could see no prac- 
tical objections to the plan in most cases, neither did they 
deny the absolute security that would be obtained by it ; yet 
the crop of explosions, with loss of life, goes on every few 
years, and till some one in authority takes it up, will, I pre- 
sume, continue. 

Predictions Fulfilled 

Having devoted three chapters to an account of my various 
experiences in connection with modern spiritualism, which 
have, however, been far less extraordinary than those of many 
of my friends, I may not improperly conclude this record of 
my life and experience with a statement of a few of the 
predictions which I have received at different times, and 
which have been to some extent fulfilled. 

In 1870 and the following years several communications in 
automatic writing were received through a member of my 
family purporting to be from my brother William, with whom 
I had lived so many years. In some of these he referred to 

4 i4 MY LIFE 

my disappointments in obtaining employment and to my money 
losses, always urging me not to trouble myself about my 
affairs, which would certainly improve ; but T was not to be 
in a hurry. These messages never contained any proofs of 
identity, and I did not therefore feel much interest in them, 
and their ultimate fulfillment, though in quite unexpected 
ways, cannot be considered to be of any great importance. 

Some years later, when we were living at Dorking, my 
little boy, then five years old, became very delicate, and seemed 
pining away without any perceptible ailment. At that time 
I was being treated myself for a chronic complaint by 
an American medium, in whom I had much confidence ; and 
one day, when in his usual trance, he told me, without any 
inquiry on my part, that the boy was in danger, and that if 
we wished to save him we must leave Dorking, go to a more 
bracing place, and let him be out-of-doors as much as possible 
and " have the smell of the earth." I then noticed that we 
were all rather languid without knowing why, and therefore 
removed in the spring to Croydon, where we all felt stronger, 
and the boy at once began to get better and has had fair health 
ever since. 

Some time afterwards I accompanied a lady friend of mine 
to have a seance with the same medium, she being quite un- 
known to him. Among many other interesting things, he 
told us that something would happen before very long which 
would cause us to see less of each other, but would not affect 
our friendship. We neither of us could guess what that could 
be, but a year or two later the lady married a very old friend, 
a widower, whose wife at the time of the prediction was, I 
think, alive, while he was living in a distant colony without 
any expressed intention of coming home. After the marriage 
they went to live in Devonshire, and for some years we only 
met at very long intervals. These two cases seem to me to 
be genuine clairvoyance or prediction. 

But much more important than the preceding are certain 
predictions which were made to me in April, 1896, and which 
have been fulfilled during the succeeding eight years. At 


that time I was living at Parkstone in rather poor health and 
subject to chronic asthma, with palpitations and frequent 
bronchitis, from which I never expected to recover. I had 
given up lecturing, and had no expectation of ever writing 
another book, neither had I the least idea of leaving the 
house I was living in, which I had purchased and enlarged a 
few years before. It was under these circumstances that a 

medium I had visited once in London, Madame G , was 

staying with friends at Wimborne, and came to see me, and 
offered to give me a seance. One of her controls, an old 
Scotch physician, advised me about my health, told me to eat 
fish, and assured me that I was not coming to their side for 
some years yet, as I had a good deal of work to do here. 
The other control, named " Sunshine," an Indian girl, who 
seemed to be able to get information from many sources, 
was very positive in her statements. She said, " You won't 
live here always. You will come out of this hole. You will 
come more into the world, and do something public for spirit- 
ualism." I replied, " You are quite wrong. I shall never 
leave this house now, and I shall not appear in public again." 
But she insisted that she was right, and said, " You will see ; 
and when it comes to pass, remember what I told you." She 
then said, " Fanny (my sister) sends her love. She loved 
you more than any one in the world." This I knew to be 
true, though during her life I did not so fully realize it. 
Then Sunshine gave me her parting words, speaking slowly 
and distinctly : " The third chapter of your life, and your 
book, is to come. It can be expressed as Satisfaction, Re- 
trospection, and Work." These three words were spoken 
very impressively, and I wrote them at once in a small note- 
book with capital letters, though I had no notion whatever of 
what they could refer to, and no belief that they would be in 
any way fulfilled. 

Yet two months later the first step in the fulfilment was 
taken through Dr. Lunn's invitation to give a lecture at 
Davos, and my acceptance of it, due mainly to the tempta- 
tion of a week in Switzerland free of cost and with a pleasant 
party. As already described (chapter xxxii.), this lecture 

4 i6 MY LIFE 

was the Starting-point of all my subsequent work. The very 
next >ear brought me renewed health and strength to do the 
work, as already described. Another year passed, and I re- 
ceived a pressing invitation to take the chair and give a short 
address to the International Congress of Spiritualists, which 
I felt myself unable to refuse, and thus, as I had been told 
I should, I " did something public for spiritualism." Yet 
another year, and a great desire for life more in the country 
than at Parkstone (where we were being surrounded by new 
building operations) led me to join some friends in trying to 
find a locality for a kind of home-colony of congenial per- 
sons ; and though the plan was never carried out, it led ulti- 
mately to my finding the site on which to build my present 
house, and thus " get out of that hole," as I had been told by 
Sunshine that I should do. And now, looking back upon the 
eight years of renewed health I have enjoyed, and with con- 
stant interesting work, how can this be better described than 
as " the third chapter of my life " ; while " Man's Place in the 
Universe " — a totally new subject for me — may well be termed 
the " third chapter of my book," that is, of my literary work. 
Again, this wholesome activity of body and mind, the obtain- 
ing a beautiful site where I am surrounded by grass and 
woodland, and have a splendid view over moor and water 
to distant hills and the open sea, with abundance of pure air 
and sunshine, the building of a comfortable house in one of 
the choicest spots in the whole district — surely all this was 
well foretold in the one word " Satisfaction." What has 
chiefly occupied me in this house — an Autobiography extend- 
ing over three-quarters of a century — is admirably described 
by the word " Retrospection." And the whole of this process 
has involved, or been the result of, continuous and pleasure- 
able " Work." 

I will only add here that during the whole of this " third 
chapter of my life " I had entirely forgotten the particular 
words of the prediction which I had noted down at the time, 
and was greatly surprised, on referring to them again for the 
purpose of this chapter, to find how curiously they fitted the 
subsequent events. Of course it may be said that every one 


who reaches my age enjoys " retrospection," but that kind of 
general looking back to the past is very different from the 
detailed Retrospection I have had to make in searching out 
the many long-forgotten incidents and details of my very 
varied life as here recorded ; and the Work this has involved, 
and the Satisfaction I have had in writing, fully justify the 
solemn emphasis with which the prediction was made. 

I now bid my readers, who have travelled with me so far, 
a hearty Farewell, 



A., Mr., anecdotes of, 107, 128 

Aar, exploring the gorge of the, 
ii. 213 

Abbe Paris, miracles at the tomb 
of, ii. 327 

Aberhonddu, i. 159 

Abbey-Cwm-Hir, i. 148, 160 

Aberystwith, i. 160 

Abyssinia, plants of, ii. 13, 21 ; 
effects of Christianity in, ii. 54 

" Acclimatization," article on, in 
the " Encyclopaedia Britan- 
nica," by A. R. Wallace, ii. 98 

Academy, The, review by A. R. 
Wallace, of " The Descent of 
Man" in, ii. 10 

Aden, i. 336 

Adelboden, Switzerland, ii. 219 

Adirondacks, ii. 188 

Adshead, Mr., his interest in 
spiritualism, ii. 340 

" Adventures of Mrs. Leek and 
Mrs. Aleshine, The," read by A. 
R. Wallace, ii. 134 

Africa, plants of, ii. 13, 20 

Agassiz, Louis, on the glacial 
epoch, i. 133 

Agassiz, Mr. Alexander, A. R. 
Wallace meets, ii. no 

Agassiz Museum of Zoology, it 

"Age of Bronze, The," i. 112 

"Age of Reason," Thomas 
Paine's, i. 87 

Aiguilles, view of, i. 326 

Ainsworth, W. Harrison, " Rook- 
wood" by, i. 75 

Airy, Sir G. B., lecture on Hal- 
ley's Comet, i. 247 

Aksakoff, Hon. Alexander, visits 
at Grays, ii. 93 

Alabama, Fanny Wallace goes to, 
i. 223 ; returns from, i. 256 

Albany Street, London, residence 
of Mr. and Mrs. Sims at, i. 263 

Albury, St. George Mivart builds 
a house near, ii. 44 

d'Alembert, quoted, ii. 302 

Alexandria, described in letter to 
George Silk, i. 333-336 

Alexandria Bay, St. Lawrence 
river, ii. 187 

Ali, Malay servant, described, i. 

Alleghanies, crossing the, ii. 138 

Allen, Mr. Charles, his search for 
birds of paradise, i. 387-394 

Allen, Grant, on "Colour Sense," 
ii. 71 ; " In Magdalen Tower," 
by, ii. 121 ; A. R. Wallace's ad- 
miration for, ii. 186; A. R. 
Wallace, on, ii. 209; R. Le Gal- 
lienne on, ii. 218; on English 
rule in India, ii. 281, 282; A. 
R. Wallace urges him to write 
socialistic novel, ii. 291, 292 

Allen, Rev. J. A., A. R. Wal- 
lace's friendship with, ii. 121 ; 
visit to the House of Repre- 
sentatives, ii. 123, 124; A. R. 
Wallace stays with, ii. 186, 187 

Allen, William, shareholder in 
the New Lanark Mills, i. 97 

Allingham, William, introduces 
A. R. Wallace to Tennyson, ii. 

Allman, Professor, his sufferings 

from asthma, ii. 229 
All Saints churchyard at Hert- 
ford, i. 49 




" Altcriora," by Professor Stuart 
ickie, ii. 275 

Alto Orinoco, A. R. Wallace's 
yage c)ii the, ii. 71 

Altrincham, A. R. Wallace's lec- 
ture at, ii. 201 

Alvven, Nortli Wales, ii. 235 

Amazon, The, i. 15, 104; A. R. 
Wallace and H. W. Bates un- 
dertake collecting expedition to, 
i. 264, 275-289; animal life on 
i- 325; odoriferous plants on, 
ii. 68; expenses of expedition 
to, ii. 377 

Amboyna, A. R. Wallace's expe- 
dition to, i. 357, 369; butterflies 
of, i. 403 

America, i. 417; dispersal of man 
in, i. 422; trees with aromatic 
leaves in, ii. 66; A. R. Wallace 
undertakes lecturing tour in, 
ii. 105, 106 ; A. R. Wallace's lec- 
turing tour in, ii. 107, 199 

Andermatt, walk to, ii. 213 

Andes, i. 284, 327; odoriferous 
plants on the, ii. 68 

" Animal Life and Intelligence," 
by Professor Lloyd Morgan, 
reviewed by A. R. Wallace, ii. 

Animals, distribution of, ii. 94-98; 
lectures on colours and mim- 
icry of, ii. 105, 106, in, 126, 145, 
147, 150, 158, 186, 402 

" Animals and Plants under Do- 
mestication," by Darwin, i. 422 ; 
ii. II 

Annals and Magazine of Natural 
History, The, A. R. Wallace's 
article, " On the Law which has 
regulated the Introduction of 
New Species," in, i. 355 ; Rev. 
S. Haughton's article " On the 
Bee's Cell and the Origin of 
Species," in, ii. 87 

Antarctic Islands, the plants of, 
studied by Sir J. Hooker, ii. 

Ansted, Professor, anecdote of, 

ii. 332; cxamincr-in-chief in 
Physical Geography, ii. 240, 

241 ; A. R. Wallace's estimate 
of, ii. 252 

Anthropology, A. R. Wallace lec- 
tures on, ii. 128 

"Anticipations and Hopes for the 
Immediate Future,"' by A. R. 
Wallace, quoted, ii. 220-222 

"Antiquity of Man, The," by Sir 
Charles Lyell, i. 426, 430 

Ants, the effect of, on plants, ii. 


" Apparitions," articles by A. R. 
Wallace, published in The 
Arena, ii. 210 

" Appreciation of the Past Cen- 
tury," by A. R. Wallace, in The 
Morning Leader, ii. 220 

Arctic Plants in the Southern 
Hemisphere and on Isolated 
Mountain- tops within the 
Tropics, differences of opinion 
between Darwin and A. R. 
Wallace on, ii. 19, 404 

Arena, The, A. R. Wallace writes 
an article for, ii. 209; A. R. 
Wallace writes two articles on 
" Apparitions," for, 210 

Argyll, Duke of, discussions with, 
i. 435 ; " Origin of Species " 
criticised by, ii. 8; on the flight 
of birds, ii. 25 

Arjuna, mount, i. 375 

Arkansas, ii. 178 

Armstrong, Mr. and Mrs., A. R. 
Wallace's friendship with, ii. 

Aru Islands, successful expedi- 
tion to the, i. 356, 357, 309 

Astrolabe Bay, Dr. Maklay's ad- 
ventures in, ii. 35 

Astronomy, A. R. Wallace's first 
interest in, i. 190 

Athol, Duke of, in connection with 
the Glen Tilt case, ii. 277 

Atlantic Monthly, The, paper on 
"The Birth of the Solar Sys- 
tem," in, i. 427 



Australia, birds of, i. 396-398; 

mammals of, i. 420 
Avondale, Ohio, residence of Mr. 

Dury, ii. 142 
Azores, Mr. H. C. Watson's 

botanical studies in the, ii. 100 


Backhouse, Mr., alpine gardens 
of, ii. 50 

"Bad Times," by A. R. Wallace, 
Herbert Spencer on, ii. 31 ; 
criticisms on, ii. 104, 105 

Bagshot, ii. 60 

Bahai, Darwin at, ii. 20 

Baines, Mr. Edward, on the con- 
dition of New Lanark, i. 101 

Baines, Mr., African traveller, i. 


Baker, Mr., of Kew, ii. 13 See 

Baker, Professor James H., of 
Denver High School, ii. 155 

Balfour, Professor, A. R. Wal- 
lace calls on, ii. 239 

Balfour, Right Hon. A. J., on the 
land question, ii. 272; seances 
at, ii. 351 

Bali, i. 356 

Ball, Sir Robert, on " Causes of 
the Ice Age," ii. 215, 404 

Baltimore, A. R. Wallace lectures 
at, ii. 113, 114 

Banda, i. 357, 369 

Banka, A. R. Wallace goes to, 
i. 376 

Banner of Light, Boston, A. R. 
Wallace writes letter to, ii. 317 

Barking, A. R. Wallace takes a 
house at, i. 416; ii. 90 

Barra, Brazil, A. R. Wallace's ex- 
pedition to, i. 281 

Barrett, Professor, ii. 34; paper 
on thought reading at the meet- 
ing of the British Association, 
ii. 49; founds Psychical Research 
Society, ii. 49 

Barry, Mr., his designs for 
Houses of Parliament, i. 189 

Bartholomew's "Specifications for 
Practical Architecture," i. 189 

Bartlett, Mr., i. 384 

Barton-in-the-Clay, William and 
A. R. Wallace land-surveying 
at, i. 105; description of, i. no, 


Batavia, i. 376 

Batchian, A. R. Wallace's resi- 
dence at, i. 365, 367, 395 

Bates, Henry Walter, entomol- 
ogist, A. R. Wallace's first 
meeting with, i. 236; extracts 
from correspondence with, i. 
254, 255 ; undertakes an expedi- 
tion to Brazil with A. R. Wal- 
lace, i. 264, 266; the voyage out, 
i. 267 ; nurses Herbert Wallace 
with yellow fever and catches 
it himself, i. 282; collecting on 
the Amazon, i. 327 ; letters 
from A. R. Wallace to, i. 349- 
354, 358, 373, 377', on mimicry 
in animals, i. 407; becomes as- 
sistant secretary of the Royal 
Geographical Society, i. 415 ; 
visits Darwin, ii. 1 ; consulted 
by Darwin on colouring of cat- 
erpillars, ii. 3 ; first meeting 
with Herbert Spencer, ii. 23; 
urges Wallace to investigate 
spiritualism, ii. 299; is assist- 
ant examiner in Physical Geog- 
raphy, ii. 239 

Bateson, Mr., A. R. Wallace criti- 
cises, ii. 212; on Utility, ii. 215 

Bay of Biscay, storm in the, i. 

Beacon, The, on " Bad Times," 
ii. 105 

Beacons, the, in Brecknockshire, 
i. 159; account of, i. 161-164, 
249; walk to, i. 251-253 

Beal, Professor, of Michigan, ii. 

Beane, river, i. 34, 35 

Beau Brummell, i. 7 

A 22 


Becca de Nona, excursion to, i. 


Mgelert, excursion to, ii. 237, 

ford, i. 116, it 7, 128 

Bedfordshire, William and A. R. 
Wallace land-surveying in, i. 

Bcecher, Henry Ward, ii. 122 

Bees' cells, Mr. Haughton on, ii. 
87; A. R. Wallace on, ii. 407 

Beetles, collecting, at Bukit Tima, 
i. 338; at Sarawak, i. 351; col- 
lected in three and a half years, 
i. 360; difficulty in obtaining, 

i- 379 
Bell, Arthur J., A. R. Wallace on 

the works of, ii. 37, 38 

Bellamy, Mr. E., reference to 
Socialism of, ii. 199; his "Look- 
ing Backward " considered, ii. 
283 ; his " Equality " consider- 
ed, ii. 287-290 

Bellew, Mr. J., ii. 335, 342 

Belt, Mr., on protective leaves, 
ii. 65, 60^ 

Bencoolen, i. 376 

Bengeo, picturesque village, i. 35 

Beni, river, i. 321 

Bennett, A. W., his paper on 
" The Theory of Natural Selec- 
tion from a Mathematical Point 
of View," ii. 7, 8 

Bennett, Mr. E. T., ii. 295 

Bentham, Jeremy, co-shareholder 
with Robert Owen, i. 97 

Berkhampstead, i. 134 

Bermuda, ii. 100 

Bernheim, Dr., on Lourdes, ii. 


Berry, Mrs. Catherine, ii. 295 

Berwyn mountains, R. A. Wal- 
lace and Mr. Mitten's walk to, 
ii. 236 

Bessir, i. 371 

Bethnal Green, museum at, A. R. 
Wallace applies for director- 
ship of, i. 415, 422 ; ii. 90 

Bettws-y-Coed, North Wales, ii. 

Bevan, Mr., civil engineer, i. 135 

Bierstadt, ii. 124 

Biological Section of the British 
Association, A. R. Wallace 
president of, ii. 49, 98 

Bird, Miss, her account of Lake 
Tahoe, ii. 174 

Birds of Brazil, described, i, 274; 
search for umbrella-bird, i. 281, 
283; umbrella-bird, i. 315, 316; 
of Malacca described, i. 339; 
exhibition of, from New Guinea, 
i. 364; collection of, from Bat- 
chian, i. 367 ; narrative of search 
after birds of paradise, i. 387- 
394; writings of A. R. Wallace 
on, i. 395, 396; discussion on the 
flight of, ii. 25, 26; migratory, 
discussed, ii. 409, 411 

Birmingham, i. 130, 132; new 
railway to, i. 139 

" Birth of the Solar System, 
The," discussed, i. 427 

Bishop of Georgia (Dr. Elliott), 
Columbia College, established 
by the, i. 14, 223 

Blackdown, near Haslemere, Ten- 
nyson's residence at, ii. 315 

Blackheath Park, residence of 
John Stuart Mill, ii. 254 

Blackie, Professor J. Stuart, his 
connection with A. R. Wallace, 
ii. 276 

Bland, Mr. Hubert, as socialist, ii. 

Bland, Dr. T. A., editor of The 
Council Fire, ii. 129 

Blatchford, Robert, his opinions 
on military expenditure, ii. 223 ; 
"Merrie England" by, ii. 287 

Bloomington, Indiana, A. R. Wal- 
lace lectures at, ii. 145 

Bluecoat School at Hertford, i. 


Boisduval, Dr., his book on but- 
terflies, i. 330 

Bombay, i. 383 

Bonaparte, Prince Lucien, " Con- 
spectus Generum Avium" by, i. 
328, 354 



Bond, Dr., Lord Grimthorpe's 
letter to, ii. 374, 375 

Borneo, i. 341, 350, 359; Sir 
James Brooke's return to, ii. 52 

Borrer, Mr. William, botanist, ii. 

Borrow, George, author of " Lav- 
engro," quoted on Welsh mut- 
ton, i. 157, 160; on Welsh liter- 
ature, i. 167; quoted on Pistill 
Rhaiadwr waterfall, ii. 237 

Boston, A. R. Wallace stays at, 
ii. 108; first lecture at, ii. 109; 
occupation at, ii. no, 115, 116; 
A. R. Wallace describes seances 
at, ii. 354, 358 

Botany, A. R. Wallace's first in- 
terest in, i. no; his studies in, 
i. 191-196; first literary effort 
in, i. 198 

Boulton and Watt, Messrs., i. 132 

Bouru, i. 395 ; paper by A. R. 
Wallace on the birds of, i. 

Boutleroff, the biologist, visits at 
Grays, ii. 93 

Bowman, Mr. Robert, A. R. Wal- 
lace stays with, ii. in 

Boyd-Kinnear, Mr. J., A. R. 
Wallace stays with, at Guern- 
sey, ii. 275 

"Boy's Own Book," i. 64 

Brackett, Mr. E. A., author of 
" Materialized Apparitions," ii. 
354; seance with, ii. 340, 356, 

Bradgate Park, rambles in, i. 237 
Bradley, Professor, of University 

of California, ii. 164 
Brady, Sir Antonis, ii. 90 
Branner, Dr., A. R. Wallace stays 
with, ii. 145, 146. See note, ii. 
167, 168 
Brassey, Sir Thomas, his con- 
nection with the Industrial Re- 
muneration Conference, ii. 268; 
A. R. Wallace's correspond- 
ence with, ii. 412 
Brazil, collections from, i. 264 
Brecknockshire, W. and A. R. 

Wallace land-surveying in, i. 

Brecon, A. R. Wallace's long 

walk to, i. 159, 177, 249 
Brewster, Sir David, his letters 

on Home's manifestations, ii. 

305-308; quoted, ii. 366 
British Association, Sir Charles 

Lyell's presidential address to, 

i. 417; Mr. A. W. Bennett's 

paper on " Natural Selection " 

read to, ii. 7; A. R. Wallace's 

reminiscences of meetings of, 

ii. 46-50 
British Museum, i. 265, 314, 328; 

A. R. Wallace studies at, i. 386; 

its method of payment, ii. 393, 

Brooke, Captain, disagreement 

with his uncle, Sir James 

Brooke, ii. 51 
Brooke, Charles, Rajah of Sara- 
wak, ii. 51 
Brooke, Sir James, Rajah of 

Sarawak, i. 327; courtesy to A. 

R. Wallace, i. 341 ; sketch of, i. 

345-347; A. R. Wallace's visits 

to, ii. 51 
Brooks, Rev. J. G., his address 

on "What Socialists Want," ii. 

Brooks, Dr. W. K., zoologist, ii. 

Brougham, Lord, present at; 

Home's seance at Cox's Hotel, 

ii. 305-308 
Brown, Mrs., ii. 51 
Brown, Mr., agent to Earl de 

Grey, i. 106; nephew of, i. 

Brown. Mr. Curtis, suggests to 

A. R. Wallace the plan for 

" Man's Place in the Universe," 

ii. 233 
Brown, Dr. John, eloquent 

preacher, i. 240 
Browne, A. G., A. R. Wallace 

stays with, ii. 107, 108, 125 
Bruce- Joy, Mr. A., cures Dr. 

Wallace's asthma, ii. 229, 230 



Brunig, excursion to, ii. 2T4 
Bryn-coch, life at, i. 17X, 185, 193, 
204; A. R. Wallace revisits, i. 


Buccleuch, Duke of, made Presi- 
dent of the British Association, 
ii. 48, 49 

Buckland, Dr., i. 133 

Buckle, Henry Thomas, " History 
of Civilization " by, ii. 30 

Buckley, Miss Arabella, after- 
wards Mrs. Fisher, i. 433, 435 ; 
ii. 15, 82; her interest in spirit- 
ualism, ii. 313; helps to pro- 
cure A. R. Wallace a Civil Serv- 
ice Pension, ii. 394 

Buckingham, James Silk, as Lec- 
turer, i. 129 

Buff on, the naturalist, Samuel 
Butler's exposition of doctrines 
of, ii. 83, 87 

Builth, i. 146 

Buitenzorg, i. 376 

Bugis, language of Celebes, i. 

Bukit Tima, French mission at, 
A. R. Wallace stays at, i. 337, 

Bull, Mr. William, his annual ex- 
hibition of orchids, ii. 206 

Bunbury, Sir Charles, i. 434 

Bunyan, John, connection with 
the Tinker of Turvey, i. 122 

Burdett-Coutts, Lady, A. R.Wal- 
lace's acquaintance with, ii. 51, 

Burnett, Mrs. Hodgson, A. R. 
Wallace meets, ii. 119 

Burnett, Mr. John, his connection 
with the Industrial Remuner- 
ation Conference, ii. 268 

Burney, Fanny, " Evelina " by, i. 


Burt, Mr. Thomas, his connec- 
tion with the Industrial Re- 
muneration Conference, ii. 268 

Butler, A. G., his observations on 
caterpillars, ii. 6 

Butler, Mr. Samuel, A. R. Wal- 
lace's reminiscences of, ii. 83-87; 

his attitude towards spiritual- 
ism, ii. 314, 315 
Butterflies of Brazil, described, 
i. 287; A. R. Wallace on, i. 400- 
403; W. H. Edward's col- 
lection of North American, ii. 

Byron, Lord, verses on, quoted, 
i. in, 112 

Cader, Idris, A. R. Wallace and 
Mr. Mitten's excursion to, ii. 
^236, 238 

Cadoxton, W. and A. R. Wallace 
make survey of, i. 177, 187 

Cairo, described, i. 335 

Cajeli, i. 375 

Calaveras Grove of big trees, ii. 
162, 164 

"Caleb Williams," by W. God- 
^win, i. 75 

California, John Wallace went to, 
i. 15 ; John Wallace settles in, 
i. 262 

Cambridge, meeting of the British 
Association at, ii. 45 

Cambridge Natural Science Club, 
A. R. Wallace reads paper on 
Zoological Regions to, ii. 210 

Cambridge, U. S. A., museums of, 
ii. no 

" Can Telepathy Explain ? " by 
Rev. Minot J. Savage, ii. 354 

Canada, A. R. Wallace lectures 
in, ii. 125-127 

Carpenter, Edward, as socialist, 
ii. 291 

Carpenter, Dr. W. B., i. 411; ii. 
33 ; A. R. Wallace's reminis- 
cences of, ii. 42, 43 ; opposes 
Professor Barrett's paper on 
thought reading, ii. 49; his at- 
titude towards spiritualism, ii. 
296, 303; quoted, ii. 366 

Carpenter, Mr. William, referee 
for Mr. Hampden in the flat- 
earth test, ii. 382-386, 392 



Carrington, Lord, his experience 
in small holdings, i. 153 

Carroll, Lewis (C. L. Dodgson), 
A. R. Wallace's pleasure in the 
books of, i. 225 

Carruthers, William, is assistant 
examiner in Physical Geog- 
raphy, ii. 240 

Carter, Mr., owner of the inn at 
Silsoe, i. 128 

Carter, President A. R. Wallace 
entertained by, ii. in 

Cartwright, Sir Richard, A. R. 
Wallace goes to tea at, ii. 

Case, Henry, epitaph on, quoted, 

I 7 

Casey, Mr. Comerford, his trans- 
lation of an epitaph quoted, i. 
9; Latin speech translated by, 
ii. 102, 202 

Cassell and Co., Messrs., new 
publishers of the " Industrial 
Remuneration Report," ii. 269 

Cassiquiare, i. 317, 318; fruits of, 
ii. 71 

Castle Howard, ii. 50 

" Causes of War and the Rem- 
edies," the article by A. R. Wal- 
lace, ii. 220 

" Caterpillars and Birds," letter 
to The Field by A. R. Wallace, 
ii. 4-6 

Caterpillars, colouring of, dis- 
cussed, ii. 3-7; injury done by, 
ii. 71, 401 

Cawood, Mr. John, deputy to re- 
port on the condition of New 
Lanark, i. 101 

Celebes, Dutch Settlement, i. 327; 
A. R. Wallace's expedition to, 

i. 357, 367, 395, 403 
Celtic literature and language, i. 

Ceram, i. 369, 375 
Chadwell Spring, described, i. 

Chamber's " Biographical Dic- 
tionary," estimate of Charles 
Mackay in, ii. 278 

Chambers, Dr. Robert, his letter 
to A. R. Wallace, ii. 303, 306 

Chamouni, i. 326 

Champery, Mr. and Mrs. A. R. 
Wallace stay at, i. 412 

Chapman, Mr., ii. 154 

Charles Allen at Alexandria, i. 
334; his occupations, i. 338; ac- 
count of, i. 340 

Charnwood Forest, A. R. Wal- 
lace's visit to, i. 267 

Chatsworth, A. R. Wallace's visit 
to, i. 267 

Chauncey's " History and An- 
tiquities of Hertfordshire," i. 5 

Chelmsford Assizes, John Hamp- 
den indicted at, ii. 390 

Chepstow, epitaph on Mark San- 
derson at, i. 8 

Cheyenne, ii. 156 

Chicago, ii. 184; A. R. Wallace's 
impressions of, ii. 185 

Chichester, epitaph on Henry 
Case at, i. 7 

Christian Socialist, The, discus- 
sion on "Interest" in, ii. 262; 
A. R. Wallace's article on " The 
Morality of Interest," quoted, 
ii. 262-267 

Church of England, disestablish- 
ment of, discussed, i. 431, 

Church's picture of " Niagara," 
ii. 124 

Cimarron, A. R. Wallace stays at, 
ii. 177 

Cincinnati, U. S. A., ii. 136; A. 
R. Wallace stays at, ii. 141 ; lec- 
tures at, ii. 145 

" Cityless and Countryless World," 
by Henry Olerich, ii. 286 

Clarion, The, ii. 220; letter on 
"Militarism" by A. R. Wal- 
lace printed in, ii. 223 

Clark, Dr. G. B., interest in land 
nationalization, ii. 258 

Clarke, Rev. James Freeman, ii. 

Clarke, Rev. R. F., "Lourdes and 

Its Miracles," by, ii. 323 


Clarke, Sir James, Queen's phy- 
sician, ii. 278 
Clear Crock Valley, ii. 177, 184 
Clephan, Mr., architect, i. [13, [29 

Cleveland, President, A. R. Wal- 
lace visits, ii. 133 
Clifford, Rev. John, as socialist, ii. 


Clifton Forge, A. R. Wallace 

stays at, ii. 137 
Clutterbuck's "History of Herts," 

i. 5 

Qydach river, I. 185 

Coalburgh. West Virginia, resi- 
dence of Mr. Edwards, i. 265 ; 
ii. 136, 139 

Cole, Sir Henry, of the Science 
and Art Department at South 
Kensington, i. 415 

Coleman, Mr., on Sir David 
Brewster's statements about 
Home, ii. 306 

" Collected Essays," by Huxley, 
ii. 103 

College Hill, A. R. Wallace lec- 
tures at, ii. 145 

Collen, Abbot of Glastonbury, i. 

Collingwood, J. F., is assistant 
examiner in Physical Geog- 
raphy, ii. 240 

Collings, Mr. Jesse, his interest 
in land nationalization, ii. 275 

Colorado river, ii. 156 

Colorado springs, ii. 176, 17S 

" Colours of Animals and Sex- 
ual Selection, The," by A. R. 
Wallace, ii. 402 

" Colours of Animals," lecture by 
A. R. Wallace, ii. 105, 106, in, 
126, 145, 147, 150, 158, 186 

Columbia College, Georgia, Fanny 
Wallace went to, as teacher, i. 

Combe, George, " Constitution of 

Man," by, i. 234 
" Compendium of Geography and 

Travel," A. R. Wallace writes 

the volume on Australia, ii. 

101, 210 

Concysthorpc, ii. 65 
"Consistency," tract by Robert 

1 Kile Owen, i. 87 
"Conspectus Gcncrum Avium," 

by Prince Lucicn Bonaparte, 

i- 328, 354 
Constantinople, Russian designs, 

i. 347 

" Constitution of Man," by George 
Combe, i. 234 

Constitutional, The, Radical 
newspaper, i. Ill, and note, 

Contemporary Review, The, "A 
Representative House of Lords," 
by A. R. Wallace in, ii. 212; 
" How best to model the 
Earth," by A. R. Wallace in, 
ii. 214; A. R. Wallace on Irish 
landlordism in, ii. 258 

" Contributions to the Theory of 
Natural Selection," by A. R. 
Wallace, i. 401 ; ii. 384 

Cook, Mr., A. R. Wallace stays 
with, at Michigan, ii. 186 

Cook, Miss Florence, medium, ii. 

^341, 344, 348 

Cook, Miss Kate, seances with, 
as medium, ii. 344, 345 

Cooper, Fenimore, novels of, read 
by A. R. Wallace, i. 74 

" Co-operative Commonwealth," 
by Gronlund, ii. 286 

Cooper-King, Major, is assistant 
examiner in Physical Geog- 
raphy, ii. 240 

Cope, Professor, ii. no; "The 
Origin of the Fittest," by, ii. 
132 ; " Primary Factors of Evo- 
lution," by, ii. 215 

Corcoran Art Gallery, Washing- 
ton, ii. 124 

Corelli, Miss Marie, A. R. Wal- 
lace introduced to, ii. 278 

Corwen, North Wales, A. R. Wal- 
lace and Mr. Mitten stay at, ii. 
23c 236 

"Cosmos," by Humboldt, i. 255 

Cosmos Club, Washington, recep- 
tion at, ii. 119 



Cones, Dr. Elliott, A. R. Wal- 
lace's acquaintance with, ii. 117, 
123 ; his interest in spiritualism, 

ii 358, 359 

Coulcher, Mr., referee for A. R. 
Wallace in the flat-earth ex- 
periments, ii. 382-386 

Coulson, Mr., mining engineer at 
Sadong, i 341, 343 

Coulter's " Flora of the Rocky 
Mountains," ii. 176 

Council Bluffs, ii. 184 

Council Fire, The, ii. 129 

Coupang, i. 369 

Couvercle, i. 326 

Coventry, i. 137, 238 

Cowper, William, the poet, quot- 
ed, i. 28 

Cox, Mr., of Cox's Hotel, seance 
held at, ii. 305-308 

Cox, Mr. Robert, A. R. Wallace 
stays with in Edinburgh, ii. 

Cox, Serjeant, ii. 295 

" Creed of Science," by W. Gra- 
ham, Darwin's comments on, 
ii. 14 

Creighton, Dr. C, on epidemic 
diseases, ii. 371 

Crimea, i. 332 ; A. R. Wallace's 
remarks on the war, i. 347 

Croll, Mr. James, on the glacial 
epoch, i. 407, 425; ii. 13; A. R. 
Wallace corresponds with, ii. 
100; on the Ice Age, ii. 215, 

„ 4 ° 3 

Crookes, Sir William, ii. 33 ; his 
interest in spiritualism, ii. 295, 
352 ; reception of his book on 
spiritualism, ii. 299; present at 
seance, ii. 304; electrical tests, 
ii. 308; on mediums, ii 312; 
experiments with Mr. Home, 

ii- 313 

Crowell, Dr. Eugene, his " Primi- 
tive Christianity and Modern 
Spiritualism," ii. 312 

Croydon, A. R. Wallace resides 
at, ii. 98; Romanes calls at, ii. 

Crutwell, Clement Henry, head- 
master of Hertford Grammar 
School, described, i. 49-51 ; 
boarders' meals at, i. 55 ; No- 
vember 5th celebrations, i. 66 

Crymlyn Burrows, walk to, de- 
scribed, i. 247 

Crynant, i. 179 

Crystal Palace, i. 322 

Cuba, A. R. Wallace writes for 
Daily Chronicle, on, ii. 220. 

Cubitt, Mr., builder, i. 14 

Culverwell, Mr. E. P., ii. 404 


Daily Chronicle. The, A. R. Wal- 
lace interviewed by, ii. 209; 
writes for, ii. 220 

Dale, Mr., mill-owner, Robert 
Owen's connection with, i. 95 

Dalhousie, Earl of, his connec- 
tion with the Industrial Re- 
muneration Conference, ii. 268 

Dana, Professor J. D., A. R. 
Wallace meets, ii. 113; on per- 
manence of oceanic and conti- 
nental areas, ii. 403 

Dante's "Inferno," read by A. R. 
Wallace, i. 75 

" Darkness and Dawn, the 
Peaceful Birth of a New Age," 
ii. 287 

Darlington, A. R. Wallace lec- 
tures at, ii. 201 

Dartmoor, ii. 51; A. R. Wallace 
on importance of preserving, ii. 

Darwen, A. R. Wallace lectures 
at. ii. 201. 

"Darwin, Charles," by A. R. 
Wallace, ii. 2 

Darwin, Charles, his " Origin of 
Species," i. 255, 372 ; Journal 
of, i. 256; A. R. Wallace's let- 
ter to, i. 355; A. R. Wallace's 
letter to, on " Varieties," i. 363, 
365; on "Utilities," i. 408; 
"Descent of Man," by, i. 40S; 



his opinion of " The Races of 
Man and Natural Selection/' i. 
418; his theory of Pangenesis, 

i. 422, 425; his opinions on the 
influence of the glacial epoch, 
i. 425, 42O; natural selection 
discussed, i. 427, 428; his con- 
nection with A. R. Wallace, ii. 
1; ill health of, ii. 2; discussion 
on colour of caterpillars, ii. 3; 
letter to A. R. Wallace, ii. 7; 
Duke of Argyll's criticism of 
" Origin of Species," ii. 8, 9 ; 
A. R. Wallace's review of 
"The Descent of Man," ii. 10; 
St. George Mivart's attitude 
towards, ii. 10; on the glacial 
epoch, ii. 12; letters to A. R. 
Wallace from, ii. 13-15 ; differ- 
ences of opinion between A. 
R. Wallace and, ii. 16; 1. The 
Origin of Man as an Intellec- 
tual and Moral Being, ii. 16; 
2. Sexual Selection through 
Female Choice, ii. 17; 3. Arctic 
Plants in Southern Hemi- 
sphere, and on Isolated Moun- 
tain-tops within the Tropics, 
ii. 19; 4. Pangenesis, ii. 21; A. 
R. Wallace's feelings towards, 
ii. 39; Mivart's criticism of, ii. 
44 ; death of, ii. 102, 103 ; his 
letters to Romanes on spiritual- 
ism, ii. 333, 335-339, 342; helps 
to procure Civil Service Pen- 
sion for A. R. Wallace, ii. 395 ; 
references to, ii. 400, 401, 403, 
404, 405, 408 
Darwin, Dr. Erasmus, ii. 1 ; 
Samuel Butler's exposition of 
the doctrines of, ii. 83 
Darwin, Mr. Francis, ii. 404 
Darwin, Professor G. H., ii. 404 
" Darwinism," by James Hutch- 
inson Stirling, ii. 212 
"Darwinism," A. R. Wallace lec- 
tures on, ii. 105, 106, 109, 113, 
114, 126, 153, 158, 186 
"Darwinism," by A. R. Wallace, 
i. 417; coloration of insects 

treated in, ii. 6; sexual selection 
through female choice treated 
in, ii. 18; writes, ii. 201; new 
edition of, ii. 220, 334, 402 

Davidson, Mr., of the U. S. 
Geological Survey, ii. 158 

Davies, Miss, A. R. Wallace 
boarded with, i. 69, 70 

Davies, Rev. C. Maurice, ii. 295 

Davos, Dr. Lunn's party at, ii. 
216-220, 228, 231 

Davy, Sir Humphry, his 'Lec- 
tures on Agricultural Chemis- 
try," i. 205 

Dawson, Sir William, Canadian 
geologist, ii. 42, 115 

" Debatable Land between this 
World and the Next, The," by 
Robert Dale Owen, ii. 312 

" Defence of Modern Spiritual- 
ism," by A. R. Wallace, in The 
Fortnightly Review, ii. 313 

Defoe, Daniel, his " History of 
the Great Plague," i. 74 

Dent du Midi, i. 412 

Denver, A. R. Wallace goes to, 

ii- 155, 175, 184 

" Descent of Man," by Charles 
Darwin, i. 408, ii. 7; A. R. 
Wallace's impressions of, ii. 9, 
10, 18 

" Development of Human Races 
under the Law of Natural Se- 
lection," article by A. R. Wal- 
lace, ii. 400 

De Vries, Dutch botanist, ii. 213 

Devynock, i. 164 

Dialectical Society, A. R. Wal- 
lace on the committee of, ii. 
294; Mr. Varley's evidence in 
the Report of the, ii. 308; A. R. 
Wallace reads paper to, ii. 313 

" Diary of a Physician," Samuel 
Warren's read by A. R. Wal- 
lace, i. 75 

Dick, Robert, quoted on land 
question, ii. 259-261 

"Dictionary of Birds," by Pro- 
fessor Newton, ii. 26 

Dietrichsen's Almanac, i. 190 



Dilke, Elizabeth, grandmother of 
A. Russel Wallace, i. 2 ; prob- 
able maiden name of, i. 6 

Dinas rock, i. 249; excursion to, 
ii. 238 

" Disestablishment and disendow- 
ment," by A. R. Wallace, i. 

" Distribution of Animals, Geo- 
graphical," ii. 94-9S; ii. 211 

Distribution of Plants, " Island 
Life," by A. R. Wallace, ii. 

Distribution — Zoology, A. R. 
Wallace writes for the " En- 
cyclopaedia Britannica," ii. 98 

" Dobbo in the Trading Season," 
by A. R. Wallace, i. 407 

Dogs, " homing " instinct of, ii. 

Dohrn, Anton, A. R. Wallace's 
criticism of ii. 313 

Dolgelly, Mr. and Mrs. A. R. 
Wallace's excursion to, ii. 238; 
stay at, i. 412; slate quarries 
at, ii. 372 

Donner Lake, Nevada, ii. 172 

"Don Quixote," i. 331 

Dorey, i. 363 ; birds of paradise 
at,'i. 388, 389 

Dorking, A. R. Wallace resides 
at, ii. 98, 414 

Doubleday, Mr. Edward, con- 
sulted on the proposed journey 
to the Amazon, i. 264 

Douglas, Miss seances at the 
house of, ii. 304; seance with 
Mr. Haxby, described, at, ii. 

Down, Charles Darwin's house 

at, ii. 1 
Dozens, Dr., at Lourdes, ii. 321, 

" Dream of Eugene Aram, The," 

A. R. Wallace's association of, 

i. 40 
Dringarth, i. 251 
Drinkwater, Mr. Robert Owen's 

connection with, i. 93-95 
Drumau mountain, i. 245, 248 

Dublin University, degree of 

LL.D. conferred on A. R. 

Wallace, by the, ii. 102 
Dufour, Dr. Leon, " Histoire de 

la Prostitution " by, i. 372 
Dulais valley, i. 253 
Duncombe, Thomas Slingsby, 

election of, Hertford, i. 44 
Dundee, meeting of the British 

Association at, ii. 48 
Dunn, Dr., of Cincinnati, ii. 142 
Dunstable, i. 130 
Dury, Mr. Charles, ii. 141 ; A. R. 

Wallace stays with, ii. 143 ; his 

experience of a snake-bite, ii. 

144; his collections, ii. 144 
Dutton, Captain, ii. 118 
Dyaks, i. 343; described, i. 345 
Dyer, Mr., i. 31 
Dyer, Sir W. T. Thistleton, 

gives plants to A. R. Wallace 

for his Parkstone garden, ii. 

" Dynamic Sociology," by F. 

Lester Ward, ii. 117 


Ealing, seance at, ii. 305, 306 

Eastwood, Miss, goes botanizing, 
expedition to Gray's Peak, ii. 

Eastwood, Mr. and Mrs., ii. 184 

Edinburgh, meeting of the Brit- 
ish Association at, ii. 48 

Edinburgh Review, The, review 
of " Origin of Species " in, ii. 

Edmunds, Dr. and Mrs., ii. 295 

Edwards, W. H., "A Voyage up 
the Amazon," i. 264 ; his meet- 
ing with A. R. Wallace, i. 265 ; 
ii. 136; A. R. Wallace stays 
with, ii. 139, 140 

Ega, i. 350 

Eglinton, Mr., medium seance de- 
scribed, ii. 346, 348 

Elam, Dr., " Physician's Prob- 
lems " by, ii. 65 



" Elements of Botany," Lind- 

ley's, i. 102. 
Elliott, Dr., Bishop of Georgia, 

i. 14. 223 

ElliotSOn, Dr., helps to establish 

mesmeric hospital, ii. j$\ his 
investigations of mesmerism, ii. 

Ellis, Mrs., on working men's 
wages, i. 81 

Ely. childish recollection of night 
spent at, i. 47 

Ely, Professor, ii. 114 

Elwes, Mr. H. J., gives plants to 
A. R. Wallace for his Park- 
stone garden, ii. 205 

Emerson, Ralph Waldo, at fare- 
well dinner to A. R. Wallace, 
ii. 115 

Emigrant Songs, by Charles 
Mackay, ii. 278 

Emilius, mount, i. 414 

" Encyclopaedia Britannica, The," 
article on " Acclimatization," by 
A. R. Wallace in, ii. 98; article 
on " Distribution — Zoology " by 
A. R. Wallace in, ii. 98 

Englc/s Botan-Jahrbiichcr, criti- 
cism of " Island Life " in, ii. 

" English and American Flowers," 
by A. R. Wallace, ii. 143 

" Enquiry into Socialism," by Mr. 
Kirkup, ii. 286 

Entomological Society, A. R. 
Wallace attends meetings of, i. 
386, A. R. Wallace's presiden- 
tial address to, i. 408, 415 ; col- 
oration of caterpillars discussed 
by, ii. 4; address on origin of 
insects by A. R. Wallace, given 
at, ii. 26 

" Episodes Miraculeux de Lourdes, 
Les," by M. Henri Lasserre, ii. 


Epitaphs, quoted, i. 7-9 

Epping Forest, acquired by Cor- 
poration of London, i. 416; A. 
R. Wallace candidate for post 
of superintendent, ii. 101 

" Epping Forest, and how best to 
deal with it." in The Fort- 
nightly Review, by A. R. Wal- 
lace, i. 416 

"Equality," by E. lU'llamy, con- 
sidered, ii. 287-290 

" Erewhon," by Samuel Butler, ii. 
82, 1 So 

" Essay on the Right of Property 
in Land," by Professor Ogilvie, 
ii. 259 

" Essays on Natural Selection " by 
A. R. Wallace, ii. 17 

Essex Field Club, A. R. Wallace 
gives lecture on " Darwinism " 
to, ii. 106 

Escourt, Mr. Roland, his connec- 
tion with •Nationalization So- 
ciety, ii. 258 

Evans, Mr. Fred, medium at San 
Francisco, ii. 363 

" Evelina," by Fanny Burney, i. 


" Every Man his own Letter- 
Writer," A. R. Wallace's com- 
ments on, ii. 134 

"Evolution Old and New," by 
Samuel Butler, ii. 83 ; A. R. 
Wallace's letter on, ii. 83 

Ewington and Chilcot, Messrs., 
solicitors, i. 6 

Exeter, meeting of the British 
Association at, ii. 46 

" Exeter Change for the British 
Lions," parody on the British 
Association, ii. 46 

" Expression of the Emotions in 
Man and Animals, The," by 
Darwin, ii. 1, 11 

"Faerie Queene," Spenser's, read 
by A. R. Wallace, i. 75 

"Fair Heaven, The," by Samuel 
Butler, ii. 83 

Fairchild, President George F. F., 
conversation with, ii. 151, 152 

Fairlamb, Miss, medium, ii. 351 



Family Herald, The, i. 366, 368 

Fair, Dr., on Vaccination, ii. 368 

Fawcett, Mr. W., sends A. R. 
Wallace Jamaica orchids, ii. 206 

Fay, Mrs., medium, ii. 308 

Fernando Po, plants on, ii. 21 

Ferrier, Professor, i. 262 

Field, The, " Caterpillars and 
Birds," by A. R. Wallace, 
printed in, ii. 4; J. H. Walsh, 
editor of, ii. 382, 384 

Fielding's, Henry, "Tom Jones" 
read by A. R. Wallace, i. 75 

Fillingham, Rev. R. G, as social- 
ist, ii. 291 

" First Principles," by Herbert 
Spencer, admiration of A. R. 
Wallace for, ii. 23 

Fish of Brazil, described, i. 274, 
285, 286 

Fitch, Mr. Walter, botanical artist, 
i. 321 

Fitzjohn, Mr., Master at Hert- 
ford Grammar School, i. 52 

Flegere, i. 326 

Flood, Mr., palace of, ii. 166 

" Flora of the Rocky Mountains," 
ii. 176 

Flower, Sir William, ii. 33, 46 

" Flowering Sunday," i. 19 

" Footfalls on the Boundary of 
Another World," by Robert 
Dale Owen, ii. 312 

Forbes, Mr. John M., gives fare- 
well dinner to A. R. Wallace, 
ii. 115 

Forbes, Professor E., his theory 
of " polarity," i. 358 

Forests of South America, de- 
scribed, i. 270, 287 ; of California, 
ii. 163, 164, 169 

Fortnightly Review, The, articles 
by A. R. Wallace in : " Epping 
Forest, and how best to deal 
with it," i. 416; "English and 
American Flowers," ii. 143; 
"Human Selection," ii. 209, 286; 
"The Method of Organic Evol- 
ution," ii. 212, 213; "The Ex- 
pressiveness of Speech," ii. 213; 

"Man's Place in the Universe," 
ii. 232 ; " A Defence of Modern 
Spiritualism," ii. 313 

Fortune, Mr., plant-collector, ii. 

"Forty-five Years of Registration 
Statistics, proving Vaccination 
to be both Useless and Danger- 
ous," pamphlet by A. R. Wal- 
lace, ii. 369 

Foster, Joseph, shareholder in the 
New Lanark Mills, i. 97 

Foxwell, Professor, his connection 
with the Industrial Remunera- 
tion Conference, ii. 268 

Frase/s Magazine, review of 
" Origin of Species " in, ii. 2 

Freeman, Mr. and Mrs., of Stock- 
ton, ii. 159, 160 

Freeman's Journal on " Bad 
Times," ii. 104 

Froebel, educational system of, i. 

Frolic, gun-boat, waiting for 
orders to go to Singapore, i. 

Fruits of the East, described, i. 
353, 354; Dr. Spruce on colora- 
tion of, ii. 71-73 

Fry, Mrs., her influence on pris- 
oners, ii. 218 

"Fuel of the Sun," by W. Mat- 
tieu Williams, discussed, i. 429 

Galapagos, the plants of. studied 
by Sir J. Hooker, ii. 100 

Galaudet, Dr., head of National 
Deaf Mute College, Washing- 
ton, ii. 130 

Galle, i. 336 

"Gallos de Serra," hunt for, i. 

Galton, Mr. Francis, "Hereditary 
Genius," by, i. 408. 422: experi- 
ments of, ii. 22, t,^; A. R. Wal- 
lace on, ii. 209; A. R. Wallace 
criticises, ii. 212 



Garden of the Gods described, ii. 

i p >. [80 
Gardener's Chronicle, i. [92 
Garrison, Mr. I\ J., his interest in 

spiritualism, ii. 354 

Geach, Mr. Frederick, mining en- 
gineer, i. ^j$; helps A. R. Wal- 
lace at Grays, ii. 92, 93; un- 
fortunate investment in lead 
mines, ii. 379, 380; accompanies 
A. R. Wallace and Mr. Mitten 
to excursion in Wales, ii. 237 

Geddes, Professor Patrick, of 
Edinburgh, ii. 34 

Geikie, Sir Archibald, geological 
excursion at St. Andrew under 
the guidance of, ii. 304 

Gelli-duch-lithe, owned by Mr. 
Worthington, i. 183, 185 

Gemmi Pass, A. R. Wallace's 
ascent of, i. 326 

General Chronicle, i. 12 

" General Inclosure Act," A. R. 
Wallace's criticism on, i. 149 

" Genesis of Species, The," ii. 10 

" Geographical Distribution of 
Animals," by A. R. Wallace, ii. 
94-98, 395 

" Geological Climates and the 
Origin of Climates," by A. R. 
Wallace, i. 407, 425 and note 

George, Henry, " Progress and 
Poverty," by, ii. 14; Herbert 
Spencer on, 29-30; A. R. Wal- 
lace makes the acquaintance of, 
ii. 107; reference to, 241; his 
connection with the Land Na- 
tionalization Society, ii. 274 ; on 
English rule in Ireland, ii. 274 

Georgetown, ii. 180 

Gibbons, Dr., drive to the Red- 
wood Forest, ii. 158 

Gibraltar, i. 333 

Giffen, Sir Robert, on working 
men, erroneous statements, i. 81- 
86; his connection with the In- 
dustrial Remuneration Confer- 
ence, ii. 268 

Gilman, President, of Johns Hop- 
kins University, ii. 113 

Gilolo, i. 365. 305 

Glacial epoch, influence of, dis- 
cussed, ii. 12, 100 

"Glacial Erosion of Lake Basins, 
The," by A. R. Wallace in The 
Fortnightly Review, ii. 406 

Gladstone, W. E., quoted, i. 81 ; 
letter to A. R. Wallace, ii. 213; 
his discussion with Huxley, ii. 
390; grants Civil Service Pen- 
sion to A. R. Wallace, ii. 394, 

Glasgozv Argus, The, Charles 
Mackay, editor of, ii. 277 

Glasgow, meeting of the British 
Association at, ii. 49 

Glen Clova, A. R. Wallace and 
Mr. Mitten go to, ii. 238 

Glen Eyrie, ii. 179, 180 

Gnoll House, i. 244, 248 

Goat Island, Niagara, ii. 127 

Godalming, i. 136, 189; ii. 15; A. 
R. Wallace goes to live at, ii. 
103 ; returns from America to, 
ii. 200; the garden at, ii. 202, 
203 ; A. R. Wallace sells his 
house at, ii. 227, 391 

Godwin, Mr., master at Hertford 
Grammar School, i. 53 

Godwin's, William, "Caleb Wil- 
liams," read by A. R. Wallace, 

i. 75 
Goeschenen, A. R. Wallace goes 

to, ii. 213 

Gold Run, California, ii. 175 

Goram, i. 370 

Gordon, Lady Duff, " Letters from 
Egypt," ii. 54 

" Gorge of the Aar and its Teach- 
ings, The," article by A. R. 
Wallace, ii. 215 

Gorst, Sir John, is sent A. R. Wal- 
lace's pamphlet on Vaccination, 
ii. 371 

Gould, Mr., at the Naturalists' 
Club dinner, ii. 115 

Graells, Professor, of Madrid, ii. 

Graham, William, "Creed of 
Science" by, ii. 14 



Grammar School at Hertford, 
John and A. R. Wallace edu- 
cated at, i. 46; its building, i. 
48; the masters, i. 49; food, i. 
55 ; recreations, i. 56-58 

Grant, Principal, of Kingston, ii. 


Gravesend, i. 416 

Gray, Dr. Asa, A. R. Wallace 
makes the acquaintance of, ii. 
109, no; A. R. Wallace dines 
with, ii. Ill, 115 

Gray, George Robert, of the British 
Museum, i. 386 

Gray, Dr. John Edward, his opin- 
ion of A. R. Wallace's review 
of Mr. Haughton, ii. 88 

Graymount, ii. 155; botanizing at, 
ii. 180, 184 

Grays, A. R. Wallace builds house 
at, i. 416, ii. 60, 91-93; A. R. 
Wallace sells house at, ii. 98; 
A. R. Wallace's troubles with 
the builder of, ii. 380, 381 

Gray's Peak, botanizing expedi- 
tion to, ii. 180-184 

Great Brickhill, i. 132 

" Great Revolution of 1905," by 
F. W. Hayes, ii. 287 

Greely, Captain, Arctic explorer, 
ii. 119 

Greenbriar river, ii. 139 

Green, Mr., celebrated aeronaut, 

ii. 75 

Green river, ii. 176 

Greenell, John, grandfather of A. 
R. Wallace, i. 4; A. R. Wal- 
lace's legacy from, ii. 360 

Greenell, Martha, married Thomas 
Wilson, i. 4 

Greenell, Mary Anne, married 
Thomas Vere Wallace, i. 4 

Greenell, Mrs. Rebecca, death of, 
i. 12 

Greenell, William, inscription on 
the tomb of, quoted i. 4; pro- 
trait of, i. 5, 6 

Greenland, ice action in, i. 429 

Gregory, Dr., his investigations of 
mesmerism, ii. 328 

Grey, Earl de, Wrest Park, the 
seat of, i. 106, 128 

Grimsel Pass, A. R. Wallace goes 
over, ii. 213 

Grimthorpe, Lord, letter to A. R. 
Wallace ii. 372-374; letter to 
Dr. Bond, ii. 374"375 

Grindelwald, glaciers at, i. 414 

Grizzly Gulch, expedition to, ii. 

Gronlund's " Our Destiny," ii. 286 

Grote, George, the historian, din- 
ing with John Stuart Mill, ii. 

254 / 
Guama, collecting expedition up 

the, i. 275 
Guernsey, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace 

visit, ii. 275 
Guia, on the Upper Rio Negro, i. 


" Gulliver's Travels," read by A. 
R. Wallace, i. 74 

Gunnison river, ii. 176, 177 

Guppy, Mr. and Mrs., seances at, 
ii. 3i8, 319; quoted, ii. 332 

Gurney, Mr. Edward, helps to 
found Physical Research So- 
ciety, ii. 49; investigate spirit- 
ualism, ii. 352 

Guy Faux, serio-comic play by 
A. R. Wallace, i. 239 

Guy, Dr., on vaccination, ii. 369 

Gwilym, Dafydd ap, Welsh poet, i. 


"Habit and Instinct," by Profes- 
sor Lloyd Morgan, ii. 220 
Haddock, Dr., his investigations of 

mesmerism, ii. 328 
Haeckel, Samuel Butler on the 

theories of, ii. 83 
Hagen, Mr., at the Naturalists' 

Club dinner, ii. 115 
Haggar, Morris, i. 372 
Haileybury College, i. 39 
Hale, Mr., anthropologist, ii. 126 
Hall, Mr. Spencer, his lecture on 
mesmerism, i. 232 



Hall, "Mr. S. C, ii. 295; present 
at stance, ii. 303 

Hall of Science, lectures at the, i. 
87; Robert Owen's addresses at, 
i. 104 

Halley's Comet, i. 247 

Halston, Jack Mytton of, i. 170 

Hampden, John, his challenge to 
prove the convexity of the 
earth, ii. 381 ; A. R. Wallace ac- 
cepts wager, ii. 382; the tests, ii. 
382-385 ; his behaviour on los- 
ing his wager, ii. 387, 388 ; A. 
R. Wallace's legal actions 
against, ii. 389, 390 ; his con- 
tinued libels on A. R. Wallace, 
ii, 390-392 

Hanbury, Sir Thomas, visits A. 
R. Wallace at Parkstone, ii. 206 

Hannay and Dietrichsen's Al- 
manac, i. 190 

Hanworth, the Wallaces' connec- 
tion with, i. 2, 3 

Harper's Ferry, ii. 136 

Harrison, Mr. Frederic, his con- 
nection with the Industrial 
Remuneration Conference, ii. 

Hart, Captain, A. R. Wallace 
stayed with, i. 375 

Hartham described, i. 34, 35 

Harvard University, ii. no 

Haslemere, A. R. Wallace visits 
Tennyson at, ii. 315, 317 

Haughton, Rev. S., article " On 
the Bee's Cell and the Origin 
of Species," by, ii. 87; A. R. 
Wallace's criticism of, ii. 88; 
kind letter from, 88 

Haweis, Rev. H. R., one of Dr. 
Lunn's party at Davos, ii. 216, 

Hay, i. 159, 177 ^ 

Haxby, Mr., medium, seance de- 
scribed, ii. 345, 346 

Hayden, Mrs., medium, G. H. 
Lewes assertions on, ii. 299, 300, 

Hayes, F. W., "Great Revolution 
of 1905" by, ii. 287 

Hayward, C. F., architect, i. 189; 
A. R. Wallace goes to live near, 
ii. 103 

Hayward, Mr. Charles, bookseller 
and chemist, an account of, i. 
189, 190, 192 

Haywards Heath, ii. 44 

Heatherside, residence of Augus- 
tus Mongredien, ii. 60 

Heaton, Dr. John Henry, i. 145; 
reminiscence of dinner with, i. 

Heawood, Mr., librarian of the 
Royal Geographical Society, i. 

Helen, unfortunate ship, A. R. 
Wallace started to return home 
in, i. 306 

Henry, M. Joseph, botanist, ii. 154 

Henslow, Rev. George, A. R. Wal- 
lace's criticism of, ii. 212 ; on 
"Utility," ii. 215 

Herbert, Hon. Auberon, dining 
with John Stuart Mill, ii. 254 

Herbert, F. A., letter from, ii. 413 

" Hereditary Genius," by Francis 
Galton, i. 408 

Herschell, Sir John, i. 429 

Hertford, the Greenells' connection 
with, i. 4; the Wallace family 
went to live at, i. 12; William 
Wallace in the office of an archi- 
tect at, i. 14; described, i. 32-44; 
school life at, described, i. 

Hicks, Edwin Thomas, his deline- 
ation of the character of A. R. 
Wallace, i. 258 

Higgins, H. H., of Turvey Abbey, 
anecdote of, i. 121, 122 

Higham, Gobion, i. 105, 108 

Hilgard, Professor, ii. 158 

Hill, Rev. Abraham, head master 
at Collegiate School at Leices- 
ter, i. 230-238 

Hill, Mr., master at Hertford 
Grammar School, 1. 53 

Hirwain, i. 250 

"Histoire de la Prostitution," by 
Dr. Leon Dufour, i. 372 



" History and Antiquities of Hert- 
fordshire," by Chauncey, i. 5 

" History of America," by Wil- 
liam Robertson, i. 232 

" History of Charles V.," by Wil- 
liam Robertson, i. 232 

" History of Civilization," by 
Buckle, ii. 30 

" History of the Conquests of 
Mexico and Peru," by Prescott, 
i. 232 

"History of the Great Plague," 
by Defoe, read by A. R. Wal- 
lace, i. 74 

"History of Herts," by Clutter- 
buck, i. 5 

Hitchin, i. 107, 115 

Hobson, J. A., as socialist, ii. 

Hoddesdon, the Wallace family 
removed to, i. 12; boarding 
school kept by Fanny Wallace 
at, i. 13, 72; Rawdon Cottage 
at, i. 73; A. R. Wallace walks 
to, i. 115; holiday at, i. 134; 
A. R. Wallace returns ill to, i. 
146; death of Thomas Vere 
Wallace at, i. 223; Christmas at, 
i. 229 

Hodges, Mrs. Frances, miniature 
of, i. 6 

Hoffmann, Dr., ii. 118 

Hogg, Mr., takes A. R. Wallace 
for a drive, ii. 152 

Hogsflesh, Henry Holman, i. 121 

Holden, Professor, of the Lick 
Observatory, ii. 158 

Holder, Dr. j. B., ii. 125 

Holly Lodge, A. R. Wallace's 
house at Barking, ii. 90 

Holman, Judge, quoted, ii. 120; 
visits President Cleveland, ii. 


Holmes, Oliver Wendell, A. R. 
Wallace makes the acquaintance 
of, ii. 109, no; dining with Mr. 
Forbes, ii. 115 

Holyhead, i. 130 

Holyoake, Mr. G. J., obituary no- 
tice of Robert Owen by, i. 104 

Home, Mr., the medium, ii. 300; 
seances described, ii. 303, 304; 
Sir David Brewster's comments 
on seance at Cox's Hotel, ii. 305- 
308, 366; "Home Life of Sir 
David Brewster," ii. 307 

Honddu, i. 159 

Hood, Thomas, quoted, i. 28, 39; 
A. R. Wallace's admiration for, 
i. 74, 225 

Hood's Comic Annual, A. R. Wal- 
lace's admiration for, i. 74 

Hooker, Dr., A. R. Wallace's 
paper on " Varieties " shown to, 
i. 365, 366 

Hooker, Mrs. Beecher, ii. 122, 165 ; 
as spiritualist, ii. 358 

Hooker, Sir Joseph, Darwin's 
reference to, ii. 12; Darwin's 
letter to, ii. 14, 34; botanical 
studies of, ii. 100, 101, 404; 
quoted, ii. 405 

Hope, Colonel, A. R. Wallace's 
acquaintance with, ii. 90 

Horn's Mill described, i. 36 

Horsfield, Dr., his butterfly col- 
lection, i. 265 

Horton, Miss Sarah W., of Oak- 
land, California, ii. 175 

Houghton, Mr., publisher, ii. 109 

"How best to Model the Earth," 
by A. R. Wallace, in The Con- 
temporary Review, ii. 214 

" How to cause Wealth to be more 
equally distributed," by A. R. 
Wallace, ii. 269-272 

" How to civilize Savages," by A. 
R. Wallace, ii. 52 

Howitt, William, ii. 295 ; present 
at seance, ii. 303; founds The 
Spiritual Magazine, ii. 304 

Hue's "Travels," i. 348 

Hudson, Miss, ancestor of A. R. 
Wallace, i. 4 

Hudson, Mr., " Naturalist in La 
Plata, The," by, ii. 71. 158; re- 
viewed by A. R. Wallace, ii. 

Hudson river, A. R. Wallace's ex- 
cursion up, ii. 108 

43 6 


Hughes, Rev. Hugh Price, one of 
Dr. Lunn's party at Davos, ii. 

Hughes and Son, Messrs., of 
Wrexham, Welsh literature pub- 
lished by, i. 167 " Human Per- 
sonality," by Myers, ii. 348 

" Human Progress, Past and Fu- 
ture," in the Boston Arena, ii. 

"Human Selection," by A. R. 
Wallace in The Fortnightly Re- 
view, ii. 209, 286, 389 

YHumanitc Nouvclle, article by 
A. R. Wallace in, ii. 220 

Humboldt's " Personal Narrative 
of Travels in South America," 
its influence on A. R. Wallace, i. 
232; "Cosmos," by, i. 255, 354; 
quoted, ii. 72 

Humboldt river, ii. 175 

Hume, David, quoted, ii. 327 

" Humphrey Clinker," read by A. 
R. Wallace, i. 75 

Hunter, W. W., Director-General 
of Statistics for India, ii. 281 

Hurstpierpoint, residence of Mr. 
Mitten at, i. 411; A. R. Wal- 
lace's visits to, i. 411; goes to 
live at, i. 414, 422 

Hutchinson, Mr. J. G., on work- 
ing men's wages, i. 81 

Huxley, Leonard, ii. 36 

Huxley, T. H., first meeting with 
A. R. Wallace, i. 324 ; " On the 
Origin of Species," i. 355 ; his 
classification of man, i. 419; 
quoted, ii. 16; social meetings 
at, ii. 32 ; A. R. Wallace's friend- 
ship with, ii. 33 ; his misunder- 
standing with A. R. Wallace, ii. 
36; correspondence on Mr. 
Bell's works, ii. 37; A. R. Wal- 
lace's feelings towards, ii. 39, 
42 ; acquaintance with Dr. Pur- 
land, ii. 75 ; obituary notice of 
Darwin by, ii. 103 ; his attitude 
towards spiritualism, ii. 298, 366 ; 
John Hampden's letter to, ii. 
390; helps to procure Civil Ser- 

vice Pension for A. R. Wallace, 

ii- 395 
Hyatt, Mr., biologist, ii. 109; at 

Boston Naturalists' Club dinner, 

ii. 115 
Hyndham, Mr., H. M., reprints 

lecture by Thomas Spence, ii. 

Hyndman, H. M., as socialist, ii. 


Ibis, The, A. R. Wallace's paper 
on " Pigeons " published in, i. 

" Ice Age and its Work," articles 
by A. R. Wallace, ii. 210 

" Ice-marks in North Wales," by 
A. R. Wallace, printed in 
Quarterly Journal of Science, i. 

lies, Mr., manager of Windsor 
Hotel, Montreal, ii. 85; A. R. 
Wallace stays with, ii. 189 

"Iliad," Pope's, read by A. R. 
Wallace, i. 75 

" Incidents in my Life," by Home, 
the medium, ii. 306 

Independent, The, of New York, 
A. R. Wallace reviews " The 
Origin of the Fittest " in, ii. 132 

" Industrial Remuneration Re- 
port," ii. 269 

" Inefficiency of Strikes," letter by 
A. R. Wallace to The Labour 
Annual, ii. 223 

" Inferno," Dante's, read by A. R. 
Wallace, i. 75 

Ingleby, Mr. C. M., A. R. Wal- 
lace's acquaintance with, ii. 90 

Insects, A. R. Wallace collecting 
at Bukit Tima, i. 338, 403 ; num- 
ber of, in Malacca and Borneo, 
i- 35 2 > 360; on the probable rate 
of change of, i. 418 

Interlachen, i. 414 

International Congress of Spirit- 
ualists, A. R. Wallace chairman 
at, ii. 416 



Irish, in America, ii. 120, 140, 187; 
landlordism, ii. 257 

Irish Land League, ii. 257 

" Island Life," by A. R. Wallace, 
i. 408; influence of glacial epoch 
discussed in, i. 425 ; Darwin's 
opinion of, ii. 12 ; distribution of 
organisms treated in, ii. 20; A. 
R. Wallace lectures on, ii. 106, 
113; new edition of, ii. 220, 403, 

Isleworth, i. 223 

James, Dr. William, at the Natur- 
alists' Club dinner, ii. 115, 116 

Java, i. 287; natural history of, i. 
327, 350; ruined temples of, i. 
356 ; birds of, i. 396, 397 ; climate 
of, ii. 98 

Javita, good specimens to be found 
at, i. 284 

Jekyll, Miss, gives plants to A. R. 
Wallace for his Parkstone gar- 
den, ii. 205 

Jenner, William, inventor of Vac- 
cination, ii. 368 

Jessop, Rev. A., i. 155 

Jevons, Mr. William, an account 
of, i. 246 

Jhering, H. von, his criticism on 
" Island Life," ii. 404 

Johns Hopkins University, A. R. 
Wallace lectures at, ii. 113 

Jones, Lloyd, Robert Owen's con- 
nection with, i. 92, 93; his book 
on the life of Robert Owen, i. 

Jones, Professor T. Rupert, assis- 
tant examiner in Physical Geo- 
graphy, ii. 240 

J or de son, the crew of the Helen 
picked up by the, i. 307 

"Journal," Darwin's, i. 256 

Juaurite, A. R. Wallace's expedi- 
tion to, i. 283, 284 

Judd, Professor, assistant ex- 
aminer in Physical Geography, 
ii. 240 

Julesberg, ii. 184 

Juambari river, i. 321 

Jurua river, explored by Count 

Stradelli, i. 318 
Jurupari cataract, explored by 

Count Stradelli, i. 318; Dr. T. 

Koch's expedition to, i. 320 
" Justice," by Herbert Spencer, i. 

174; reference to, ii. 290 


Kanahwha river, ii. 139 
Kansas City, 146, 150 
Kavanagh, Mr. Morgan, friend of 

Dr. Purland, ii. 80 
Kay, Dr., of Theological College 

in Calcutta, ii. 52 
Ke Islands, i. 369, 370 
Keeler, Mr. P. L. O. A., medium, 

manifestations of, ii. 358 
Keller, Helen, i. 180 
Kenilworth Castle, excursion to, i. 

Kennan, Mr., address on Siberia, 

ii. 119 
Kent's Cavern, ii. 49 
Kenworthy, J. C, as socialist, ii. 

Kerner's observations on plants, ii. 


Keulemaus, illustrations by, i. 

Kidd, Mr. Benjamin, on equality 

of opportunity, i. 174; "Social 

Evolution " by, ii. 212 
Kilburn, Mr. N., John Stuart 

Mill's reply to, on Spiritualism, 

ii. 301 
King, Clarence, geologist, ii. 125 
King, Mr., accompanies Dr. 

Richard Spruce to Brazil, i. 

Kingsley, Charles, A. R. Wallace's 

meeting with, ii. 45 
Kingston, Canada, A. R. Wallace 

lectures at, ii. 125 ; stays with 

Mr. and Mrs. Allen at, ii. 186, 




Kington, William Wallace articled 
to firm of surveyors at, i. 14, 
24, 135; W. and A. R. Wallace 
go to Messrs. Saycc at, i. 139, 
140, 146, 160 

Kirkman, Rev. T. P., ii. 62 

Kirkup, his " Enquiry into Social- 
ism," ii. 286 

Knowledge on " Bad Times," ii. 


Knowles, editor of The Nine- 
teenth Century, ii. 282 

Koch, Dr. T., his expedition up 
the Uaupes, i. 320 

L , Miss, A. R. Wallace's en- 
gagement to, i. 409-411 

Labour Annual, letter from A. R. 
Wallace on " Strikes " in the, 
ii. 223 

Lacaze, M., on Lourdes, ii. 324 

" Lady of the Lake, The," read 
by A. R. Wallace, i. 74 

Lake-basins, glacial origin of, i. 

Laleham, burial-place of William 
and George Wallace, i. 2, 3 

Lamarck, theories of, i. 362; Sam- 
uel Butler's exposition of the 
doctrines of, ii. 83, 84 

"Lament of Cona for the Unpeo- 
pling of the Highlands," by 
Charles Mackay, ii. 277, 279 

" Land Nationalization : its Neces- 
sity and its Aims," by A. R. 
Wallace, i. 157; ii. 102, 261; 
read by Robert Miller, ii. 208; 
Charles Mackay. on, ii. 278, 

Land Nationalization, A. R. Wal- 
lace on, ii. 129; Herbert Spen- 
cer on, ii. 235 ; discussed, ii. 
256-257; forerunners of, ii. 258; 
Robert Dick's propositions on, 
ii. 259-261; Robert Miller's con- 
ference on, ii. 267-273 

Land Nationalization Society, 
formation of, ii. 27-29; A. R. 
Wallace president of, 253, 258; 
A. R. Wallace writes handbook 
to, ii. 261; methods of, ii. 273; 
1 U-nry George's connection with, 
ii. 274; Miss Helen Taylor, a 
supporter of, ii. 275 ; A. R. Wal- 
lace's address on " Security of 
the Home " at meeting of, ii. 

Land Tenure Reform Association, 
formed by John Stuart Mill, ii. 

Langley, Professor, lecture by, ii. 

no; A. R. Wallace met, ii. 


Laplace, his theory of the origin 

of the solar system, i. 427 
Lesserre, M. Henri, his books on 
the miracles of Lourdes, ii. 323- 


Latham, Dr. R. G., writes some 
" remarks " on Indian languages 
for A. R. Wallace's book of 
" Travels," i. 322 ; superintends 
the modelling of Indian figures 
for the Crystal Palace, i. 322 

Lauterbrunnen, The Staubbach 
at, i. 414; A. R. Wallace goes 
to, ii. 214 

Lawrence, A. R. Wallace lectures 
at, ii. 150 

Lawrence's " Lectures on Man," i. 
254, 366 

Lea river, i. 34, 35 

Leavens, Mr., A. R. Wallace given 
introduction to, i. 265 

Leaves, odours of, ii. 65-71 

Lecky, Mr., i. 434 

Leconte, Dr., ii. 158 

" Lectures on Agricultural Chem- 
istry," by Sir. H. Davy, i. 204 

"Lectures on Man," by Lawrence, 
i. 254, 366 

" Lectures on Physical Geog- 
raphy," by Rev. S. Haughton, 
ii. 88 

Lee, Mr., civil engineer, i. 93 



Le Gallienne, Mr. Richard, one of 
Dr. Lnnn's party to Davos, ii. 
216; lecture on "Minor Poets," 
ii. 218, 219 

Leicester, A. R. Wallace goes as 
master to the Collegiate school 
at, i. 230-240 

Leighton Buzzard, i. 133 ; A. R. 
Wallace learns watchmaking at, 
i. 134-138 

Lesson, M., birds of paradise pro- 
cured by, i. 388-394 

Lester, Mr. C. Edwards, his pur- 
chase of ivory cross, i. 265 

" Letters from Egypt," by Lady 
Duff Gordon, ii. 54 

Leuk, drive to, i. 326 

Levi, Professor Leone, ii. 104 

Lewes, G. H., his criticism of 
Darwin, i. 423 ; his attitude to- 
wards spiritualism, ii. 297-300, 
302, 308, 309, 366 

"Life and Habit," by Samuel 
Butler, ii. 83 

" Life and Letters," Darwin's, i. 

363, ii- 1 

" Life of Jesus," by Strauss, i. 

Lille, Fanny Wallace at school at, 
i. 14, 72 

u Limits of Natural Selection ap- 
plied to Man," by A. R. Wal- 
lace i. 407 

Lindley, article by, i. 193, 237; 
" Vegetable Kingdom " by, ii. 


Lindley's " Elements of Botany " 
bought by A. R. Wallace, i. 

Linnsean Society, The, i. 321, 363 ; 
A. R. Wallace's paper on 
" Varieties " read to, i. 364 ; A. 
R. Wallace attends meetings of, 
i. 386 ; paper on the " Malayan 
Papilionidae " read before, i. 400; 
A. R. Wallace reads paper on 
" The Problem of Utility " to, ii. 
215 ; Romanes' paper on " Phy- 
siological Selection" at, ii. 334 

Liverpool, anecdote of Mr. Hig- 
gins at, i. 121, 267; A. R. Wal- 
lace arrives from America at, ii. 
200; A. R. Wallace lectures at, 
ii. 201, 209 

Lippitt, General Francis, ii. 122, 
358; his spiritualistic experi- 
ences, ii. 361-362 

Llanbadock, Welsh village, i. 21, 
25, 26 

Llanberris, Mr. and Mrs. A. R. 
Wallace stay at, i. 412 

Llanbister, W. and A. R. Wallace 
surveying at, i. 146, 148 

Llandrillo, North Wales, ii. 236 

Llandrindod, i. 150 

Llanfihangel-nant-Melan, i. 160 

Llangollen, i. 160 

Llanrhaiadr, i. 249 

Llantwit Cottage at Neath, resi- 
dence of Wallaces at, i. 245, 

Llantwit-juxta-Neath, survey of, 
i. 244 

Llia river, i. 166, 250 

Llewellyn, Mr. J. Dillwyn, orchid 
of, i. 193 

Lobo Raman, A. R. Wallace goes 
to, i. 376 

Lockyer, Sir Norman, his theory 
of the solar system, i. 427; ii. 
33 ; assistant examiner in Phy- 
sical Geography, ii. 240 

Lodge, Sir Oliver, as socialist, ii. 

Lombok, A. R. Wallace's stay at, 
i. 356; birds of, i. 396, 420 

London, A. R. Wallace's life in, i. 
79, 87, 116; by rail to, i. 134, 
243 ; A. R. Wallace's return to, 
from the Amazon, i. 313, 325 ; 
A. R. Wallace returns to, from 
the Malay Archipelago, i. 384 ; 
A. R. Wallace resides in, i. 385, 
411, 414; A. R. Wallace leaves, 
ii. 90, 200 

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 
Charles Mackay in comparison 
with, ii. 279 



" Looking Backward," by E. Bel- 
lamy, considered, ii. 285 
Lourdes, the miracles of, ii. 320- 


"Lourdes and its Miracles," by 

Rev. R. F. Clarke, ii. 323 
" Lourdes avee Zola, A," by Felix 

Lacaze, ii. 324 
Lowell Institute of Boston, invites 

A. R. Wallace to give series of 

lectures, ii. 105, 106 
Lowell, J. Russell, one of Darwin's 

pall-bearers ii. 103 ; at farewell 

dinner to A. R. Wallace, ii. 115 
Lowestoft, epitaph on Charles 

Ward at, quoted, i. 8 
Lubbock, Sir John (Lord Ave- 

bury), social meetings at the 

house of, ii. 32, 33 
Lucerne, A. R. Wallace stays at, 

ii. 213 ^ 
Ludlow, i. 169 
Lunn, Dr., invites A. R. Wallace to 

Davos, ii. 216-219; far-reaching 

consequences of A. R. Wallace's 

visit to Davos, ii. 233, 396, 415 
Luray, caves of, described, ii. 136, 

Luton, i. 128 

Lyell, Sir Charles, " Principles of 
Geology" by, i. 132, 161, 355, 
363 ; his opinion of A. R. Wal- 
lace's article on " Varieties," i. 
365, 366; A. R. Wallace on, i. 
407, 415 ; his friendship with A. 
R. Wallace, i. 417; letter from 
A. R. Wallace on the rate of 
change of insects, i. 418; letter 
from A. R. Wallace on the antiq- 
uity of man, i. 419; discussions 
on distribution and dispersal, i. 
420; letter from A. R. Wallace 
on G. H. Lewes, i. 423 ; his letter 
to A. R. Wallace on glacial 
epoch, i. 424; on origin of lake- 
basins, i. 426, 428; letter from 
A. R. Wallace on " Fuel of the 
Sun," i. 429; discussion on the 
antiquity of man, i. 430 ; A. R. 
Wallace's reminiscences of, i. 

433-435 J letter from Darwin to, 
ii. 20; A. R. Wallace's feelings 
towards, ii. 39, 90; A. R. Wal- 
lace consults, ii. 382 
Lyell, Sir Leonard, i. 417 
Lyman, Mr. Daniel, his interest in 

spiritualism, ii. 123 
Lytton, Bulwer, works of, read by 
A. R. Wallace, i. 75 


Macassar, A. R. Wallace's resi- 
dence in, i. 356 
Machynlleth, slate quarries at, ii. 


Macintosh, Mr., on formation of 
valleys and cwms of North 
Wales, i. 412 

Mackay, Charles, his interest in 
land nationalization, ii. 275-278; 
the poetry of, considered, ii. 

Macmillan and Co., Messrs., re- 
maining copies of " Travels on 
the Amazon and Rio Negro," 
sold by, i. 322; visited at Tor- 
quay by A. W. Wallace, ii. 49; 
" Bad Times," published by, ii. 

Macmillan' s Magazine, " Dises- 
tablishment and Disendowment," 
by A. R. Wallace in, i. 432 

Macmillan, Margaret, as socialist, 
ii. 291 

Madagascar, black pigeons of, i. 

Madeira, beetles of, i. 408; insects 
of, i. 418 

Madeira river, explored by Count 
Stradelli, i. 318, 325 

Madisonville cemeteries, ii. 142 

Maen Llia, ancient " standing 
stone," i. 166 

Maescar, i. 164 

Magdalene College, Cambridge, ii. 

Maggiore, Lago, formation of, dis- 
cussed, i. 428 



Maklay, Dr. Micklucho, adven- 
tures of, ii. 34, 35 

Malacca described, i. 338, 339, 340, 

Malacca, Straits of, i. 336 

Malay Archipelago, A. R. Wallace 
determines to go to, i. 327; 
sketch of A. R. Wallace's travels 
in, i. 337-384; butterflies of, i. 
401 ; financial success of collec- 
tions from, ii. 377 

"Malay Archipelago," by A. R. 
Wallace, i. 341, 357, 387, 403; 
popularity of, i. 403 ; at work on, 
i. 405; publication of, i. 414; es- 
timate of Sir James Brooke in, 
ii. 52; new edition of, ii. 209, 


" Malayan Papilionidae, The," by 
A. R. Wallace, and read before 
the Linnsean Society, i. 400 

Malta, A. R. Wallace stays at, i. 

332, 384 

Malthus, his " Principles of Popu- 
lation," its influence on A. R. 
Wallace, i. 232, 240, 361 

Malton, Yorkshire, ii. 65, 309 

Malvern Wells, Darwin at, ii. 2 

Man, dispersal of races of, i. 421, 

" Man's Place in the Universe," by 
A. R. Wallace, how it came to 
be written, ii. 233, 234, 397, 

Manchester Guardian, The, A. R. 
Wallace writes on Transvaal 
War, for, ii. 220 

Manhattan, A. R. Wallace goes to, 
ii. 151; Agricultural College at, 
ii. 152; interesting plants at, ii. 

Manitou Springs, ii. 179 
" Manual of British Coleoptera," 

Stephens's, i. 237 
Marabitanas, anecdote by Dr. 

Spruce, ii. 72 
Marajo, island of, i. 271 ; the birds 

of, i. 274 
"Marcella," by Mrs. Humphry 

Ward, ii. 291 

Marey, Mr., on the flight of birds, 

ii. 26 
Margam Abbey, i. 189 
Marlott, Professor, ii. 152 
Marryat, novels of, read by A. R. 

Wallace, i. 75, 331 
Marseilles, i. 384 
Marsh, Professor, ii. no; A. R. 

Wallace visits, ii. 112 
Marsh, the Misses, A. R. Wallace 

went to school at, i. 31 
Marshall, Mrs., medium, ii. 295 
Marshall Pass, Rocky Mountains, 

ii. 177 
Marshman, Mr., seance with, ii. 


Martigny, i. 326, 413 

Martin, builder, i. 14; John Wal- 
lace apprenticed to, i. 14 

Mascarene Islands, the plants of, 
studied by Mr. J. C. Baker, ii. 

Massey, Gerald, A. R. Wallace 
on, ii. 280; as socialist, ii. 

" Materialized Apparitions," by 
E. A. Brackett, ii. 354 

" Mathematics and Evolution," by 
Mr. lies, ii. 189 

Matthew, Mr. Patrick, Samuel 
Butler's exposition of the doc- 
trines of, ii. 83-85 

Matthews, Mr. William, Alpine 
climber, i. 413 

Matthews, Mr., watchmaker at 
Leighton Buzzard, i. 130; A. R. 
Wallace learns watchmaking 
with, i. 134, 135 ; goes to a Lon- 
don business, i. 135, 137 

Mauritius, absence of mammals 
in, i. 421 ; the plants of, studied 
by Mr. J. C. Baker, ii. 100 

Maw, Mr., his review of " Origin 
of Species," in the Zoologist, ii. 

McGee, Mr., ii. 118; conversation 
on Niagara, ii. 127 

Mears, William, epitaph on, 
quoted, i. 7 

Mechanics' Institute at Neath, de- 



signed by J. and A. R. Wallace, 
i. j.\s: letter from A. R. Wal- 
lace to, i. 2(><) -275 
Mechanics? Magazine, i. 133 

Meiringen, A. K. Wallace stays 
at. ii. 213 

Mellte river described, i. 250 

Menado, i. 367* 375, 3S2 

Menlo Park, residence of Senator 
Stanford, ii. 165 

Meriden, A. R. Wallace lectures 
at, ii. 112 

" Merrie England/' by Robert 
Blatchford, ii. 287 

Mesman, Mr., i. 357 

Meta river, i. 321 

" Method of Organic Evolution," 
by A. R. Wallace, in The Fort- 
nightly Review, ii. 212, 213 

Mexiana, Island of, i. 271 ; the 
birds of, i. 274 

Miall, i. 432 

Mice, distribution of, i. 420 

Michigan Agricultural College, ii. 
171 ; A. R. Wallace lectures at 
ii. 186 

Mill, John Stuart, quoted, i. 175 ; 
forms the Land Tenure Reform 
Association, ii. 253 ; A. R. Wal- 
lace dining with, ii. 254; his 
letter to A. R. Wallace, ii. 256; 
his attitude towards spiritual- 
ism, ii. 301 

Miller, Mr. Robert, conference 
called by, to discuss " How to 
cause Wealth to be more equally 
Distributed," ii. 267-273 

Miller, Mr., vice-counsel at Para, 
A. R. Wallace stays with, i. 
268; kindness to Herbert, i. 282; 
death of, i. 282 

Milton's advocacy of scientific ed- 
ucation, i. 430 

Milton's " Paradise Lost," read by 
A. R. Wallace, i. 75 

" Mimicry, and other Protective 
Resemblances among Animals," 
by A. R. Wallace, in The West- 
minster Review, i. 407 ; ii. 3 

" Mimicry in Animals," Bates on, 

ii. 7; A. R. Wallace lectures on, 
ii. io(>. [26, 1 17 

Minot, Mr., at the Naturalists' 
Club dinner, ii. 1 15 

Miocene period, i. 410 

"Miracles and Modern Spiritual- 
ism," by A. R. Wallace, ii. 98, 
210; new edition of, ii. 213, 294, 

Mirlees, Mr. and Mrs., Mr. and 
Mrs. Wallace entertained by, ii. 


Mischief, the boat in which A. R. 
Wallace sailed to Brazil, i. 

Missouri river, ii. 146, 184 

Mitten, Mr. William, of Hurst- 
pierpoint, i. 411; goes botaniz- 
ing, tour in Switzerland with 
A. R. Wallace, ii. 213, 214; ex- 
cursions to Wales with A. R. 
Wallace described, ii. 235-238; 
excursion to the Highlands with 
A. R. Wallace, ii. 238; visit to 
Spa, ii. 239 

Mitten Mrs., anecdote of, ii. 238 

Mitten, Miss, marriage of A. R. 
Wallace to, i. 412 

Mivart, St. George, Professor, his 
attitude towards Darwin, ii. 10, 
33; A. R. Wallace's reminis- 
cences of, ii. 43-46 ; on " Utility," 
ii. 215 ; his interest in spiritual- 
ism, ii. 318, 319; his letter on 
the cures effected at Lourdes, ii. 
321-323, 328 

Moel Tryfan beds, ice action on, 
i. 429 

Moluccas, Dutch Settlement, i. 
327, 340; birds of, i. 395, 399 

Money, Mr., on Java, i. 381 

Mongredien, Mr. Augustus, A. R. 
Wallace's connection with, ii. 
60, 61 

Monk, Mr., medium, manifesta- 
tions described, ii. 347, 348 

Monkeys of Brazil, described, i. 
273; of the Moluccas, i. 381, 

Mont Blanc, view of, i. 326 



Montanvert, i. 326 

Monte Alegre, visit to, i. 279 

Montpelier Springs, Fanny Wal- 
lace goes to, i. 223 

Montreal, Samuel Butler's visit to, 
ii. 85; A. R. Wallace visits, ii. 

" More Letters," referred to by 
A. R. Wallace, ii. 2, 13, 21 

Morgan, Professor Lloyd, i. 408; 
A. R. Wallace reviews " Ani- 
mal Life and Intelligence " by, 
ii. 210; "Habit and Instinct," 
ii. 220 

Morgan, Professor de, ii. 295; 
convinced by Mrs. Haydon, ii. 
301 ; his letter to A. R. Wallace, 
ii. 302; quoted, ii. 381 

Morgan's Walk described, i. 39-41 

Morley, Right Honourable John, 
Grant Allen's proposal to, ii. 
281 ; asks A. R. Wallace to 
write article on Spiritualism, ii. 


Morning Advertiser, The, account 
of seance at Cox's Hotel, ii. 
305, 308 

Morning Leader, The, A. R. Wal- 
lace writes " Appreciation of 
the Past Century " for, ii. 220 

Morris, Professor J., is assistant 
examiner in Physical Geog- 
raphy, ii. 240 

Morris, Sir Lewis, as socialist, ii. 

Morris, William, " News from 
Nowhere " by, ii. 286 

Morrison-Davidson as socialist, ii. 

Morse, Professor Edward, biolo- 
gist, ii. 109; A. R. Wallace 
visits, ii. no 

Morton, Mr. Albert, arranges for 
lecture on spiritualism, ii. 160 

Morty Island, i. 395 

Moseley, Professor, of the Chal- 
lenger expedition, i. 357 

Moses, Mr. Stainton, his interest 
in spiritualism, ii. 347 

Moths, ii. 4 

Mount-Temple, Lord, writes to 

A. R. Wallace, ii. 102 
" Mountains of California," by 

John Muir, ii. 158 
Muir, John, " The Mountains of 

California" by, ii. 158 
Muller, his picture of Charlotte 

Corday, ii. 124 
Munby, Rev. G. F. W., " Turvey 

and the Mordaunts " by, i. 122 
"Mungo Park's Travels," A. R. 

Wallace's interest in reading, i. 


Murchison, Sir Roderick, Presi- 
dent of the Royal Geographical 
Society, i. 327 ; obtains free 
passage for A. R. Wallace to 
Singapore, i. 332; Duke of Buc- 
cleuch proposed by, ii. 48 

" Murphy's Weather Almanack," 
i. 117-120 

Myddleton, Sir Hugh, i. 37 

Myers, Dr. and Mrs., A. R. Wal- 
lace visits, at Cincinnati, ii. 145 

Myers, F. W. H., ii. 34; helps to 
found Psychical Research So- 
ciety, ii. 49 ; " Human Person- 
ality " by, ii. 348, 349 ; A. R. 
Wallace's estimate of, ii. 334- 
354; letter to A. R. Wallace on 
Vaccination, ii. 371, 372; his 
letter to A. R. Wallace, ii. 397 

Mytton, Jack, of Halston, account 
of, i. 170-173 


Nancy, remarkable cures at, ii. 

Naples, Professor Mivart at, ii. 

"Narrative of Search after Birds 
of Paradise," by A. R. Wallace, 

i- 387-394 

" Narrative of Travels on the 
Amazon and Rio Negro, A," by 
A. R. Wallace, i. 268 

Nation, The, A. R. Wallace re- 
views " The Origin of the Fit- 
test " in, ii. 132, 133 



National Academy of Science, 
meetings of, at Boston, ii. no 
National Anti-Vaccination League, 

ii. 370 

National Deaf-Mute College, 
Washington, described, ii. 130- 

National Museum of Washington, 
ii. 118 

"Natural History," Rev. J. G. 
Wood's, quoted, i. 22 

Natural Science, A. R. Wallace 
writes for, ii. 211, 212 

Natural Selection, A. R. Wallace 
on, i. 400; differences of opinion 
with Darwin on, ii. 16; contro- 
versy between Lord Salisbury 
and Herbert Spencer on, ii. 13 

" Natural Selection and Tropical 
Nature/' by A. R. Wallace, i. 
355> 363 J coloration of butter- 
flies described in, i. 403, 407, 
414; coloration of caterpillars, 
ii. 6; estimate of Darwin in, ii. 
16; Dr. Purland's letter on 
reading, ii. Jj ; new edition of, 
ii. 210, 400, 401, 402 

" Naturalist on the Amazon," by 
H. W. Bates, i. 415 

"Naturalist in La Plata," by Mr. 
Hudson, ii. 71, 158; reviewed 
by A. R. Wallace, ii. 210 

Nature, " The Theory of Natural 
Selection" by A. W. Bennett 
printed in, ii. 7, 13 and note; 
Huxley's obituary notice of 
Darwin in, ii. 16; account of 
Dr. Maklay's exploration pub- 
lished in, ii. 35; obituary notice 
of Mivart in, ii. 46; first 
founded, ii. 54; reviews by A. 
R. Wallace in, ii. 83; Huxley 
quoted, ii. 103; A. R. Wallace 
writes for, ii. 208; reviews, 
" Animal Life and Intelli- 
gence" in, ii. 210; reviews 
"The Naturalist in La Plata" 
in, ii. 210; reviews and letter 
on " Cause of the Ice Age," ii. 
215; controversy on "A Specu- 

lation regarding the Senses," ii. 
327; discussion on "homing" 
instinct of dogs, ii. 408, 409 

" Nature's Method in the Evolu- 
tion of Life," reviewed by A. 
R. Wallace, ii. 212 

Neale, Miss Florence, of Penarth, 
i. 166, 245 

Neath, the Wallaces live at, i. 14, 
15; W. and A. R. Wallace sur- 
veying at, i. 177, 185 ; death of 
William at, i. 239 ; residence at, 
i. 241; Llantwit Cottage at, i. 


Neath river, i. 166 

Neath, Vale of, A. R. Wallace 
and Mr. Mitten's excursions to, 
ii. 236 

Neaves, Lord, at the meeting of 
British Association, ii. 48 

Nevada Fall, Yosemite Valley, 
described, ii. 161, 162 

Newcastle, A. R. Wallace lectures 
at, ii. 201 ; Thomas Spence, 
schoolmaster at, ii. 104 

Newcastle Chronicle, The, on 
" Bad Times," ii. 104 

Newcomb, Professor, quoted, ii. 

New Forest, i. 417 

New Guinea, i. 363, 364, 365; the 
birds of, i. 395, 399; Dr. Mak- 
lay's adventures in, ii. 34, 35 

New Lanark, Robert Owen's 
beneficent work in, i. 87, 91 ; 
account of Robert Owen's work 
in, i. 94-103; reference to, ii. 
255, 288 

Newman, Professor Francis W., 
reads a paper at the Industrial 
Remuneration Conference, ii. 
272 ; correspondence with A. R. 
Wallace, ii. 273 

New Radnor, A. R. Wallace un- 
dertakes correction of map of, 
1. 142 

"News from Nowhere," by Wil- 
liam Morris, ii. 286 

Newton, Dr., ii. 326 

Newton, Professor Alfred, " Die- 



tionary of Birds " by, ii. 26, 33 ; 
A. R. Wallace the guest of, at 
Cambridge, ii. 46; urges A. R. 
Wallace to write a book on the 
geographical distribution of 
animals, ii. 94, 211 

Newtown, in Montgomeryshire, 
birthplace of Robert Owen, i. 
91, 146 

New York, A. R. Wallace visits, 
ii. 107, 113 

New York Journal The, A. R. 
Wallace writes on " Social Evo- 
lution " for, ii. 220 

New Zealand, animals of, i. 421 ; 
the plants of, studied by Sir J. 
Hooker, ii. 100 

Niagara, ii. 125 ; A. R. Wallace 
stays at, ii. 126 

Nichol, Miss, medium, ii. 296 ; 
seances described, ii. 297, 309 

Nichols, Dr., his interest in spirit- 
ualism, ii. 354, 356 

Nicholson, Professor J. Shield, 
on agrarian distress in the 
Highlands, ii. 272 

Nineteenth Century, The, "A 
Suggestion to Sabbath-Keepers," 
by A. R. Wallace, in, ii. 212; 
Romanes' article on " Physio- 
logical Selection " in, ii. 334, 

335, 394 
Nolloth, Captain, of the Frolic, 

i. 330-332 
Nordhoff, Mr., A. R. Wallace 

dines with, ii. 119 
Norfolk, Duke of, ii. 44 
North, Miss, reference to her 

flower painting, ii. 147, 161 ; 

gives A. R. Wallace a plant of 

blue Puya, ii. 205 
North Platte river, ii. 184 
" Notre Dame de Lourdes," by 

M. Henri Lassere, ii. 323-325 
Nulty, Bishop, of Meath, a sup- 
porter of land nationalization, 

ii. 274 
Nutwood Cottage, the residence 

of A. R. Wallace at Godalming, 

ii. 103 

Oastler, Mr. Robert, on the con- 
dition of New Lanark, i. 101 

"Oceanic Islands," A. R. Wal- 
lace lectures on, ii. 106, 113, 125, 


Ogden, ii. 156, 157, 176 

Ogilvie, Professor, his " Essay on 
the Right of Property in Land," 
ii. 259 

Ohio river, ii. 139 

Old Bedford canal, Norfolk, ex- 
periments to prove convexity of 
the earth at, ii. 382 

" Old Glaciers of Switzerland 
and North Wales, The," by Sir 
Andrew Ramsay, i. 412 

Old Orchard, residence of A. R. 
Wallace, ii. 228 

Old red sandstone, i. 163, 169, 

Olerich, Henry, " Cityless and 
Countryless World," by, ii. 286 

Omaha, ii. 184 

" On the Alcoholic Compound 
termed Punch," ii. 46-47 

" On the Evils, Impolicy, and 
Anomaly of Individuals being 
Landlords and Nation's Ten- 
ants," by Robert Dick, M.D., ii. 

" On the Law which has regulated 
the Introduction of New Spe- 
cies," by A. R. Wallace, i. 

" On the Zoological Geography of 

Malay Archipelago," see note, 

i. 369 
Ongar, A. R. Wallace's first 

school at, i. 31 
Ontario, Lake, ii. 186 
Ophir, Mount, A. R. Wallace's 

expedition to, i. 340 
Orang utan, i. 341 
"Origin of the Fittest, The," A. 

R. Wallace's reviews of, ii. 

132, 133- 
" Origin of Human Races under 

the Law of Natural Selection," 



Herbert Spencer's opinion of, 
ii. 24 

" Origin of Language and of 
Myths, The," by Morgan Kava- 
nagh, ii. 80 

" Origin of Man as an Intellec- 
tual and Moral Being," differ- 
ences of opinion between Dar- 
win and A. R. Wallace on, ii. 

" Origin of Species," Darwin's, i. 
255, 358, 372 ; reviews of, ii. 2; 
reference to, ii. 84 

Orinoko, A. R. Wallace's expedi- 
tion to, i. 283, 284; Count 
Stradelli's expedition up, i. 319 

Osgood, Mr. Samuel, described, i. 

" Our Destiny," by Gronlund, ii. 

Ouse, i 120, 131 

Ouzel, i. 131 

Owen, Miss, gives plants to A. R. 
Wallace for his Parkstone gar- 
den, ii. 205 

Owen, Mr. of San Francisco, ii. 

363, 364 

Owen, Professor Richard, his re- 
view of " Origin of Species " in 
The Edinburgh Reviczv, ii. 2; 
controversy with Huxley, ii. 46 ; 
his visits to Augustus Mongre- 
dien, ii. 61 

Owen, Robert, his influence on A. 
R. Wallace, i. 87; his princi- 
ples, i. 83 ; sketch of his life and 
work, i. 91-104, 127; reference 
to, ii. 255, 288 

Owen, Robert Dale, his tract on 
" Consistency," i. 87 ; " The De- 
batable Land between this 
World and the Next," by, ii. 

" Owen, Robert, and his Social 
Philosophy," by W. L. Sargant, 

i- 95 
Oxford University confers degree 
of D.C.L. on A. R. Wallace, ii. 

Paine's, Thomas, " Age of Rea- 
son," i. 87 

Palembang, i. 376, 379 

Pall Mall Gazette, The, accusa- 
tions against mediums in, ii. 
300, 309 

" Palms of the Amazon and Rio 
Negro," by A. R. Wallace, i. 

Pangenesis, differences of opinion 
between Darwin and A. R. 
Wallace on, ii, 21 

Pangerango mountain, i. 376 

Panshanger, fine oak in the park 

of, i. 35 
Para, Herbert Wallace died at, 

i. 15; A. R. Wallace and H. 

W. Bates make voyages to, 1. 

264; the city and environments 

described, i. 268-275 
" Paradise Lost," i. 75 ; Sunday 

readings of, i. 226 
Paris, Fanny, John, and Alfred 

Wallace visit, i. 256; A. R. 

Wallace and George Silk stay 

at, i. 326 
Parkstone, A. R. Wallace goes to 

live at, ii. 203 ; the garden at, 

ii. 204; orchid growing at, ii. 

206, 207; A. R. Wallace leaves, 

ii. 227 
Parrots, A. R. Wallace on, i. 397- 

Peabody Museum of Archaeology, 

ii. no 
Pears, Messrs., offer prize for 

essay on " Depression of 

Trade," ii. 104 
Pearson, Professor Karl, as 

socialist, ii. 291 
Pengelly, William, geniality of, ii. 

49; his personal experience of 

seeing a double, ii. 349-351 
Pen-y-gwryd, Wales, ii. 237 
" Peregrine Pickle," read by A. 

R. Wallace, i. 75 
Perkins, Mr., i. 3 



Pernambuco, i. 264; butterflies 
from, i. 266 

" Personal Narrative of Travels 
in South America/' by Hum- 
boldt, its influence on A. R. 
Wallace, i. 232, 256 

Peru, Dr. Richard Spruce leaves, 
i. 411 

Pestalozzi, educational system of, 
i. 98 

Philippines, A. R. Wallace writes 
for Daily Chronicle on, ii. 

Phillips, Colonel, A. R. Wallace 
stays with, ii. 153, 154 

Phrenology, A. R. Wallace's in- 
terest in, i. 234; his character 
delineated by, i. 257-262 

Physical geography, A. R. Wal- 
lace on, i. 404 

" Physical History of Man," by 
Pritchard, comment on, i. 254 

" Physician's Problems," by Dr. 
Elam, ii. 65 

" Physiological Selection," paper 
by Romanes, ii. 334 

" Pickwick Papers," read by A. 
R. Wallace, i. 75 

Pierce, "Vital Statistics" by, ii. 

Pieridse, A. R. Wallace on, i. 403 

Pigeons, A. R. Wallace on, i. 

Pigs, distribution of, i. 420 

"Pilgrim's Progress, The," A. R. 
Wallace's pleasure in reading, 
i. 74, 226 

Pistill Rhaiadwr, waterfall, de- 
scribed, ii. 237 

Plants, distribution of, ii. 98-101 

Pliocene period, i. 419 

"Plurality of Words," by 
Whewell, ii. 305 

Plynlymmon, i. 144 

Political Prisoners' Aid Society, 
Miss Helen Taylor, president 
of, ii. 274 

Pont-nedd-Fychan, South Wales, 
i. 177, 249, 251; ii. 238 

Pont-y-glyn, A. R. Wallace and 
Mr. Mitten's walk to, ii. 235 

Poole, ii. 22J 

Pope Clement IV., epitaph on, 
quoted i. 8, 9 

Pope's "Iliad," read by A. R. 
Wallace, i. 75 

Popenhoe, Professor, botanist, ii. 

152, 153 
Port Patrick, Ireland, ii. 200 
Portman, Lord, Mr. Wilson, 

agent to, i. 31 
Portrush, Ireland, ii. 200 
Porth-yr-Ogof, i. 250 
Poughkeepsie, A. R. Wallace 

visits, ii. 112, 113 
Poulton, Professor E. B., ii. 34; 

A. R. Wallace stays with, ii. 

Powell, Major, A. R. Wallace's 

acquaintance with ii. 118, 119; 

invites A. R. Wallace to lecture, 

ii. 128 
Praed, W. Mackworth, Herbert 

Wallace's imitation of, i. 283, 

Prescott, William H, his "His- 
tory of the Conquests of Mex- 
ico and Peru," i. 232 
Presteign, i. 143 
" Present Evolution of Man," by 

Dr. G. Archdall Reid, ii. 


Price, Mr., i. 185, 187, 189 

" Primary Factors of Evolution," 
by Cope, ii. 215 

" Principles of Biology," by Her- 
bert Spencer, ii. 26 

" Principles of Geology," by Sir 
Charles Lyell, i. 132, 161 ; A. 
R. Wallace on, i. 408; new edi- 
tion of, i. 420 

" Principles of Population," by 
Malthus, i. 232, 361 

" Principles of Sociology," by 
Herbert Spencer, ii. 27 

Pritchard's " Physical History of 
Man" commented on, i. 254; ii. 



" Problem of Instinct, The," arti- 
cle by A. R. Wallace, ii. 220 

" Problem of Utility, The," read 
by A. R. Wallace to the Lin- 
naean Society, ii. 215 

Proctor, Richard, editor of 
Knowledge, ii. 105 

" Progress and Poverty," by 
Henry George, Darwin on, ii. 
14; Herbert Spencer on, ii. 29 

" Progress of the Working 
Classes in the last Half Cen- 
tury," by Sir Robert Giffen, i. 
81 " 

Provo, ii. 176 

" Psalm of Montreal, A," by 
Samuel Butler, ii. 85 

" Psychic Factors in Civilization," 
by F. Lester Ward, ii. 117 

Psychical Research, A. R. Wal- 
lace's first interest in, i. 232 

Psychical Research Society found- 
ed, ii. 49, 311; the work of, ii. 

352, 354 
Pugh, Miss, i. 6 
Pugh, Stephen, i. 141; verses to 

A. R. Wallace quoted, i. 142 
Pulo Penang, i. 336 
Purfleet, powder magazine at, ii. 

Purland, Dr. T., dentist, A. R. 

Wallace's reminiscences of, ii. 

75-82; anecdotes of his dog, ii. 

Purus river, explored by Count 

Stradelli, i. 318 
Pyramids, i. 335 


Quebec, A. R. Wallace's impres- 
sions of, ii. 190 

Quincy House, Boston, A. R. 
Wallace stays at, ii. 108 

Quarterly Journal of Science, The, 
A. R. Wallace's " Ice-marks in 
North Wales " printed in, i. 
412; A. R. Wallace's article on 
"Man" in, i. 427; Mr. Mivart's 
criticism of Darwin in, ii. 10 

Quarterly Rcv'iciu, The, "Geolog- 
ical Climates and the Origin of 
Species," published in, i. 407 

Rabelais, i. 227 

" Races of Man and Natural Se- 
lection," Darwin's opinion of, 
i. 418 

Radnorshire, i. 139 

Ramage, Dr., cures A. R. Wallace 
of consumption, i. 145 

Rambler, The, read by A. R. Wal- 
lace, i. 75 

Ramsay, Sir Andrew, "The Old 
Glaciers of Switzerland and 
North Wales," by, i. 412 

Randi, Signor, seances at, ii. 

Rankin, Professor, geniality of, ii. 


Ravensburgh Castle, i. 106 

Rawdon Cottage, residence of 
Wallaces at Hoddesdon, i. 73 

Rayleigh, Lord, supports Profes- 
sor Barrett's paper on thought- 
reading, ii. 49 

Reader, The, Herbert Spencer, 
editor of, ii. 24; "How to Civil- 
ize Savages," by A. R. Wallace 

in, ii. 52 

Reclus, M. Elisee, visits A. R. 
Wallace at Parkstone, ii. 207; 
discussion on " How to Model 
the Earth," ii. 214 

"Red Lions," A. R. Wallace ad- 
mitted to the fraternity of, ii. 

Rees, David, W. and A. R. Wal- 
lace lodge with, i. 178, 192, I93J 
A. R. Wallace revisits, i. 253 

Reeve, Mr. Lovel, "Travels on 
the Amazon and Rio Negro," 
published by, i. 322 

Regan, Mr. C. Tate, of the Brit- 
ish Museum, i. 287 

Reichenbach, Baron, Professor 
Tyndall's comments on, ii. 298 



Reid, Dr. G. Archdall, "Present 
Evolution of Man," ii. 215 

Reid, Mayne, Soda springs men- 
tioned by, ii. 179 

Rendall, Mr. E. A., letters written 
by, i. 11 

Reno, ii. 175 

" Representative House of Lords, 
A," by A. R. Wallace in The 
Contemporary Review, ii. 212 

Rha'idr-Gwy (Rhayader), W. and 
A. R. Wallace surveying at, i. 
144, 148 

Rhone Glacier, ii. 213 

Richardson, Mr. John, " How it 
can be done," by, ii. 290 

Rievaulx Abbey, visit to, ii. 50 

Riley, Professor, A. R. Wallace 
stays with, ii. 116, 119 

Rio, Darwin at, ii. 20 

Rio Negro, A. R. Wallace's col- 
lecting expeditions up the, i. 
281, 283, 284; animal life on 
the, i. 325 

Ripon, Lord, his connection with 
Bethnal Green Museum, i. 415 ; 
ii. 90 

Roaring Meg, origin of name, 
i. 107 

Roberts, Miss, portraits of the 
Greenell family given to, i. 5 ; 
mourning ring given to A. R. 
Wallace by, i. 6 ; her gift of 
£1000 to A. R. Wallace, ii. 394 

Roberts, Mr. John, i. 5 

Robertson, William, his " History 
of Charles V.," and "History 
of America," i. 232 

Robinson, E. W., illustrations by, 
i. 403, 405 

Robinson, in Alabama, Fanny 
Wallace has a school at, i. 223 

Rocky Mountains, ii. 175, 178, 184 

" Roderick Random," by Smollet, 
read by A. R. Wallace, i. 75 

Rogues, Dr., of Toulouse, ii. 321, 

Rolleston, Professor George, A. 
R. Wallace's letter on Christian- 
ity to, ii. 52 

Romanes, Professor G. J., his 
correspondence with Darwin on 
spiritualism, ii. 126 ; on " Utility " 
ii. 215; beginning of acquaint- 
ance with A. R. Wallace, ii. 327, 
328; his letters to A. R. Wal- 
lace on spiritualism, ii. 329-332; 
his correspondence with Dar- 
win on spiritualism, ii. 2>33 '■> his 
difference with A. R. Wallace 
and attack upon him, ii. 334, 
335 ; correspondence thereon, ii. 

335, 336 

" Rookwood," by Harrison Ains- 
worth, i. 75 

Ross, Mrs., medium, manifesta- 
tions described, ii. 355, 356; at- 
tempt to seize spirit forms at, 

ii. 357 
Royal Geographical Society, A. 
R. Wallace read a paper on the 
Uaupes before, i. 317 ; Sir Rod- 
erick Murchison, president of 
the, i. 327, 380; H. W. Bates 
becomes assistant secretary of 
the, i. 415 ; Hampden's tract 
distributed at exhibition of, ii. 


Royal Society, The, A. R. Wal- 
lace receives royal medal of, ii. 
35 ; Huxley, president of, ii. 390 

"Rudder Grange," by F. R. 
Stockton, read by A. R. Wal- 
lace, ii. 134 

Rumball, Mr. James Quilter, his 
delineation of the character of 
A. R. Wallace, i. 260 

Ruskin, John on equality of op- 
portunity, i. 176 

Russell, Richard, mourning ring 
in memory of, i. 6 

Sacramento, California, ii. 171 

Sadong river, collecting expedi- 
tion on the, i. 341 

Salem, A. R. Wallace visits Pro- 
fessor Morse at, ii. no 

Salida, ii. 178 



Salina, A. R. Wallace stays at, 

ii. 153, 155 
Salisbury, Dr., his treatment and 
cure of asthma, ii. 229, 230, 


Salisbury, Lord, Herbert Spen- 
cer's controversy on natural 
selection with, ii. 31 

Salt, H. S., as socialist, ii. 291 

Salt Lake City described, ii. 156, 

^ 157, 176 

San Carlos, incident at, ii. 66 

Santa Crus, John and A. R. Wal- 
lace go to, ii. 169, 170 

Sanderson, Mark, epitaph on, 
quoted i. 8 

" Sandford and Merton," i. 20 ; A. 
R. Wallace's childish recollec- 
tions of, i. 20^ 22 

Sandwich Isl ; "''s, ii. 100 

San Francisco, John Wallace set- 
tles in, i. 262; ii. 155; seances 
at, described, ii. 363-365 

San Jeronym, i. 284 

Santarem, Brazil, i. 276; vegeta- 
tion of, i. 279; Herbert's 
verses on, i. 279-281 

Sarawak, Sir James Brooke, 
Rajah of, i. 327; A. R. Wal- 
lace's expedition to, i. 341, 347, 
382; Sir James Brooke's 
nephew appointed Rajah of, ii. 

51, 52 

Sargasso Sea described, i. 268 
Sargant, W. L., his book on 

" Robert Owen and his Social 

Philosophy," i. 95 
Sargent, Colorado, ii. 177 
Saru Helen, old Roman road, i. 

Satirist, The, character of, i. 126 
Sauba ants, ii. 66-69 
Savage, Rev. Minot J., author 

of " Can Telepathy explain ? " 

"• 354 
Sayce, Messrs., land surveyors, 
William Wallace articled to, i. 
24, 135; William and A. R. 
Wallace obtain work with, i. 
140, 141 

Schopenhauer, quoted, see note, 

ii. 403 

" Scientific Aspect of the Super- 
natural, The," by A. R. Wallace, 
ii. 298; Huxley's, Tyndall's, and 
Lewes' comments on, ii. 298, 

Scientific Opinion, John Hamp- 
den's challenge in, ii. 381 

Sclater, Dr., ii. 34; urges A. R. 
Wallace to write book on the 
geographical distribution of 
animals, ii. 94, 211 

Scott, Sir Walter, works of, read 
by A. R. Wallace, i. 75 ; Charles 
Mackay in comparison with, ii. 

Scudder, Mr., biologist, ii. 109; at 
the Naturalists' Club dinner, ii. 


" Security of the Home," address 
delivered by A. R. Wallace to 
the Land Nationalization So- 
ciety, ii. 282-284 

Seeley, Professor H. G., assist- 
ant examiner in Physical Geog- 
raphy, ii. 240 

Seitz, Mr., ii. 154 

Seneca lake, New York ii, 125 

Senhor Lima, described, i. 312 

Senni, surveying at, i. 164, 165 

Serpa, Herbert Wallace goes to, 
i. 281 

Severn, crossing the, in ferry 
boat, i. 30 

Sexual Selection through Female 
Choice, differences of opinion 
between Darwin and A. R. 
Wallace on, ii. 17 

Sheffield, A. R. Wallace lectures 
at, ii. 209 

Shenadoah Valley, ii. 136 

Shorter, Mr. Thomas, editor of 
The Spiritual Magazine, ii. 304 

Sidgwick, Professor, helps to 
found Psychical Research So- 
ciety, ii. 49; his investigation of 
spiritualism, ii. 351, 354 

Sierra Guadarama, plants from, 
ii. 68 



Sierra Nevada, i. 332; ii. 157; 
trees of, ii. 161, 170 

Silk, George, beginning of his 
friendship with A. R. Wallace, 
i- 3 2 > 73 1 quotation from 
A. R. Wallace's letter to, 
i. 141 ; extract from A. R. 
Wallace's letter to, i. 268; his 
tour in Switzerland with A. R. 
Wallace, i. 325; A. R. Wal- 
lace's letter describing Alexan- 
dria to, i. 332; letter from A. R. 
Wallace, i. 365 ; letter from A. 
R. Wallace, i. 371 ; introduces 
A. R. Wallace on his return 
home to his friends, i. 409; ii. 

Silsoe, i. 106, 113; W. and A. 

R. Wallace surveying at, i. 128 

Simcox, Miss Edith, on rents, i. 


Sims, Mr. Thomas, of Neath, i. 
15 ; marriage to Fanny Wallace, 
i. 263 ; removal to London, i. 
314; letter from A. R. Wallace 
to, i. 367; A. R. Wallace re- 
sides with, i. 385; A. R. Wal- 
lace's exhibition at studio of, i. 

Simon, Sir John, on Vaccination, 

n. 369 

Singapore, A. R. Wallace's pas- 
sage to, i. 330, 332, 336 ; life at, 
described, i. 337; vegetation and 
animal life of, i. 338, 348 

Sioux City, ii. 146; A. R. Wal- 
lace lectures at, ii. 147 ; visit 
to Mr. Talbot's zoological farm, 
ii. 148; pork-curing at, ii. 149, 

Skinner, Mr. J. R., A. R. Wallace's 
acquaintance with, ii. 141, 142 

Sleigh, Frances, i. 2 

Smith, Mr., of Veterinary Col- 
lege, Toronto, ii. 126 

Smith, Professor Goldwin, A. R. 
Wallace dines with, ii. 126 

Smith, Mr. J. G., his collection of 
butterflies from Pernambuco, i. 

Smith, John, of Malton, present 
at stance, ii. 309 

Smithsonian Institute at Wash- 
ington ii. 117 

Smollett, Tobias, works of, A. R. 
Wallace reads, i. 75 

Snowdon, i. 164; effects of gla- 
cial epoch to be seen at, i. 412 ; 
ascent of, i. 412; ii. 237, 23S; 
A. R. Wallace and Mr. Mitten's 
excursions to, ii. 236, 237, 


Soar river, i. 237 

" Social Economy versus Political 
Economy," lecture given by A. 
R. Wallace, ii. 128 

" Social Evolution in Twentieth 
Century — An Anticipation," by 
A. R. Wallace ,; ;. the New York 
Journal, ii. 220 

" Social Evolution," by Benjamin 
Kidd, reviewed by A. R. Wal- 
lace, ii. 212 

" Social Statics," by Herbert 
Spencer, ii. 27; its influence on 
A. R. Wallace, ii. 253 

Soda Springs described, ii. 179 

Solovyoff, V. S., visits at Grays, 

ii- 93 ( 
Soubirous, Bernadotte, of 

Lourdes, ii. 323 
Soulbury, land survey of, i. 130 
Sourabaya in Java, i. 375 
Southey, cure of Kehama, i. 75, 

South Kensington Museum, ii. 60 
" South Wales Farmer, The," 

article by A. R. Wallace, i. 206- 

Spa, Belgium, A. R. Wallace and 

Mr. Mitten stay at, ii. 239 
Spalding, Mr., ii. 409 
" Specifications for Practical 

Architecture," Baltholomew's, i. 

Spectator, The, read by A. R. 

Wallace, i. 75 
Spence, Thomas, his lecture on 

land nationalization, treatment 

he received, ii. 258, 259 

45 2 


Spencer, Herbert, philosophy of, 
i. 104; on "equality of oppor- 
tunity," i. 174, 176, 422; A. R. 
Wallace's reminiscences of, ii. 
23; discussion on flight of birds, 
ii. 25; letter to Wallace on 
Land Nationalization Society, 
ii. 27; letter to A. R. Wallace 
on " Progress and Poverty," ii. 
29; on "Bad Times," ii. 31;