Essays on Life, Art and Science
by Samuel Butler

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Samuel Butler (1835 - 1902)
English composer, novelist, and satiric author


{1} Published in the Universal Review, July 1888.

{2} Published in the Universal Review, December 1890.

{3} Published in the Universal Review, May 1889. As I have several times been asked if the letters here reprinted were not fabricated by Butler himself, I take this opportunity of stating that they are authentic in every particular, and that the originals are now in my possession.—R. A. S.

{4} An address delivered at the Somerville Club, February 27, 1895.

{5} “The Foundations of Belief,” by the Right Hon. A. J. Balfour. Longmans, 1895, p. 48.

{6} Published in the Universal Review, November 1888.

{7} Since this essay was written it has been ascertained by Cavaliere Francesco Negri, of Casale Monferrato, that Tabachetti died in 1615. If, therefore, the Sanctuary of Montrigone was not founded until 1631, it is plain that Tabachetti cannot have worked there. All the latest discoveries about Tabachetti’s career will be found in Cavaliere Negri’s pamphlet “Il Santuario di Crea" (Alessandria, 1902). See also note on p. 154.—R. A. S.

{8} Published in the Universal Review, December 1889.

{9} Longmans & Co., 1890.

{10} Longmans & Co., 1890.

{11} Published in the Universal Review, November 1890.

{12} Longmans & Co., 1890.

{13} M. Ruppen’s words run: “1687 wurde die Kapelle zur hohen Stiege gebaut, 1747 durch Zusatz vergrossert und 1755 mit Orgeln ausgestattet. Anton Ruppen, ein geschickter Steinhauer mid Maurermeister leitete den Kapellebau, und machte darin das kleinere Altarlein. Bei der hohen Stiege war fruher kein Gebetshauslein; nur ein wunderthatiges Bildlein der Mutter Gottes stand da in einer Mauer vor dem fromme Hirten und viel andachtiges Volk unter freiem Himmel beteten.

“1709 wurden die kleinen Kapellelein die 15 Geheimnisse des Psalters vorstelland auf dem Wege zur hohen Stiege gebaut. Jeder Haushalter des Viertels Fee ubernahm den Bau eines dieser Geheimnisskapellen, und ein besonderer Gutthater dieser frommen Unternehmung war Heinrich Andenmatten, nachher Bruder der Geselischaft Jesu.”

{14} The story of Tabachetti’s incarceration is very doubtful. Cavaliere F. Negri, to whose book on Tabachetti and his work at Crea I have already referred the reader, does not mention it. Tabachetti left his native Dinant in 1585, and from that date until his death in 1615 he appears to have worked chiefly at Varallo and Crea. There is a document in existence stating that in 1588 he executed a statue for the hermitage of S. Rocco, at Crea, which, if it is to be relied on, disposes both of the incarceration and of the visit to Saas. It is possible, however, that the date is 1598, in which case Butler’s theory of the visit to Saas may hold good. In 1590 Tabachetti was certainly at Varallo, and again in 1594, 1599, and 1602. He died in 1615, possibly during a visit to Varallo, though his home at that time was Costigliole, near Asti.—R. A. S.

{15} This is thus chronicled by M. Ruppen: “1589 den 9 September war eine Wassergrosse, die viel Schaden verursachte. Die Thalstrasse, die von den Steinmatten an bis zur Kirche am Ufer der Visp lag, wurde ganz zerstort. Man ward gezwungen eine neue Strasse in einiger Entfernung vom Wasser durch einen alten Fussweg auszuhauen welche vier und einerhalben Viertel der Klafter, oder 6 Schuh und 9 Zoll breit soilte.” (p. 43).

{16} A lecture delivered at the Working Men’s College in Great Ormond Street, March 15, 1890; rewritten and delivered again at the Somerville Club, February 13, 1894.

{17} “Correlation of Forces”: Longmans, 1874, p. 15.

{18} “Three Lectures on the Science of Language,” Longmans, 1889, p. 4.

{19} “Science of Thought,” Longmans, 1887, p. 9.

{20} Published in the Universal Review, April, May, and June 1890.

{21} “Voyages of the Adventure and Beagle,” iii. p. 237.

{22} “Luck, or Cunning, as the main means of Organic Modification?" (Longmans), pp. 179, 180.

{23} Journals of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Zoology, vol. iii.), 1859, p. 61.

{24} “Darwinism” (Macmillan, 1889), p. 129.

{25} Longmans, 1890, p. 376.

{26} See Nature, March 6, 1890.

{27} “Origin of Species,” sixth edition, 1888, vol. i. p. 168.

{28} “Origin of Species,” sixth edition, 1888, vol. ii. p. 261.

{29} Mr. J. T. Cunningham, of the Marine Biological Laboratory, Plymouth, has called my attention to the fact that I have ascribed to Professor Ray Lankester a criticism on Mr. Wallace’s remarks upon the eyes of certain fiat-fish, which Professor Ray Lankester was, in reality, only adopting—with full acknowledgment—from Mr. Cunningham. Mr. Cunningham has left it to me whether to correct my omission publicly or not, but he would so plainly prefer my doing so that I consider myself bound to insert this note. Curiously enough I find that in my book “Evolution Old and New,” I gave what Lamarck actually said upon the eyes of flat-fish, and having been led to return to the subject, I may as well quote his words. He wrote:-

“Need—always occasioned by the circumstances in which an animal is placed, and followed by sustained efforts at gratification—can not only modify an organ—that is to say, augment or reduce it—but can change its position when the case requires its removal.

“Ocean fishes have occasion to see what is on either side of them, and have their eyes accordingly placed on either side of their head. Some fishes, however, have their abode near coasts on submarine banks and inclinations, and are thus forced to flatten themselves as much as possible in order to get as near as they can to the shore. In this situation they receive more light from above than from below, and find it necessary to pay attention to whatever happens to be above them; this need has involved the displacement of their eyes, which now take the remarkable position which we observe in the case of soles, turbots, plaice, &c. The transfer of position is not even yet complete in the case of these fishes, and the eyes are not, therefore, symmetrically placed; but they are so with the skate, whose head and whole body are equally disposed on either side a longitudinal section. Hence the eyes of this fish are placed symmetrically upon the uppermost side."—Philosophie Zoologique, tom. i., pp. 250, 251. Edition C. Martins. Paris, 1873.

{30} “Essays on Heredity,” &c., Oxford, 1889, p. 171.

{31} “Essays on Heredity,” &c., Oxford, 1889, p. 266.

{32} “Darwinism,” 1889, p. 440.

{33} Page 83.

{34} Vol. i. p. 466, &c. Ed. 1885.

{35} “Darwinism,” p. 440.

{36} Longmans, 1890.

{37} Tom. iv. p. 383. Ed. 1753.

{38} Essays, &c., p. 447.

{39} “Zoonomia,” 1794, vol. i. p. 480.

{40} Longmans, 1890.

{41} Longmans, 1890.

{42} Longmans, 1890.

{43} Longmans, 1890.


Introduction  •  Quis Desiderio . . . ? {1}  •  Ramblings in Cheapside {2}  •  The Aunt, the Nieces, and the Dog {3}  •  How to Make the Best of Life {4}  •  The Sanctuary of Montrigone {6}  •  A Medieval Girl School {8}  •  Art in the Valley of Saas {11}  •  Thought and Language {16}  •  The Deadlock in Darwinism {20}—Part I  •  The Deadlock in Dawrinism—Part II {29}  •  The Deadlock in Darwinism {20}—Part III  •  Footnotes:  • 

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