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The Coming of Evolution The Story of a Great Revolution in Science   By: (1840-1916)

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First Page:

The Cambridge Manuals of Science and Literature


Cambridge University Press London: Fetter Lane, E.C. C. F. Clay, Manager


Edinburgh: 100, Princes Street London: H. K. Lewis, 136, Gower Street, W.C. Berlin: A. Asher and Co. Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons Bombay and Calcutta: Macmillan and Co., Ltd.

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[Illustration: Charles Darwin]


The Story of a Great Revolution in Science



Formerly Professor of Geology and Dean of the Royal College of Science

Cambridge: at the University Press 1910

Cambridge: Printed by John Clay, M.A. At the University Press

With the exception of the coat of arms at the foot, the design on the title page is a reproduction of one used by the earliest known Cambridge printer, John Siberch, 1521



I. Introductory 1

II. Origin of the Idea of Evolution 5

III. The Development of the Idea of Evolution to the Inorganic World 14

IV. The Triumph of Catastrophism over Evolution 20

V. The Revolt of Scrope and Lyell against Catastrophism 33

VI. The Principles of Geology 55

VII. The Influence of Lyell's Works 68

VIII. Early Attempts to establish the Doctrine of Evolution for the Organic World 82

IX. Darwin and Wallace: The Theory of Natural Selection 95

X. The Origin of Species 115

XI. The Influence of Darwin's Works 136

XII. The Place of Lyell and Darwin in History 149

Notes 160

Index 165


Charles Darwin Frontispiece

G. Poulett Scrope to face p. 35

Charles Lyell " " 41

Alfred R. Wallace " " 110



When the history of the Nineteenth Century 'the Wonderful Century,' as it has, not inaptly, been called comes to be written, a foremost place must be assigned to that great movement by which evolution has become the dominant factor in scientific progress, while its influence has been felt in every sphere of human speculation and effort. At the beginning of the Century, the few who ventured to entertain evolutionary ideas were regarded by their scientific contemporaries, as wild visionaries or harmless 'cranks' by the world at large, as ignorant 'quacks' or 'designing atheists.' At the end of the Century, evolution had not only become the guiding principle of naturalists, but had profoundly influenced every branch of physical science; at the same time, suggesting new trains of thought and permeating the language of philologists, historians, sociologists, politicians and even of theologians.

How has this revolution in thought the greatest which has occurred in modern times been brought about? What manner of men were they who were the leaders in this great movement? What the influences that led them to discard the old views and adopt new ones? And, under what circumstances were they able to produce the works which so profoundly affected the opinions of the day? These are the questions with which I propose to deal in the following pages.

It has been my own rare good fortune to have enjoyed the friendship of all the great leaders in this important movement of Huxley, Hooker, Scrope, Wallace, Lyell and Darwin and, with some of them, I was long on terms of affectionate intimacy... Continue reading book >>

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