INTRODUCTION  pp. 1-74

INTRODUCTION

By Henry Drummond

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EVOLUTION IN GENERAL

The last romance of Science, the most daring it has ever tried to pen, is the Story of the Ascent of Man. Withheld from all the wistful eyes that have gone before, whose reverent ignorance forbade their wisest minds to ask to see it, this final volume of Natural History has begun to open with our century's close. In the monographs of His and Minot, the Embryology of Man has already received a just expression; Darwin and Haeckel have traced the origin of the Animal-Body; the researches of Romanes mark a beginning with the Evolution of Mind; Herbert Spencer has elaborated theories of the development of Morals; Edward Caird of the Evolution of Religion. Supplementing the contributions of these authorities, verifying, criticizing, combating, rebutting, there works a multitude of others who have devoted their lives to the same rich problems, and already every chapter of the bewildering story has found its editors.

Yet, singular though the omission may seem, no connected outline of this great drama has yet been given us. These researches, preliminary reconnaissances though they be, are surely worthy of being looked upon as a whole. No one can say that this multitude of observers is not in earnest, nor their work honest, nor their methods competent to the last powers of science. Whatever the uncertainty of the field, it is due to these pioneer minds to treat their labour with respect.