SOME of the following chapters we printed in a volume a few years ago. It may be thought perhaps that the criticisms they contain are out of date, now that Spencer-ism is dead and Darwinism discredited. But though biological theories which reigned supreme a few years ago have been abandoned or modified by “men of light and leading,” their influence still prevails with the general public; and in response to appeals from several quarters I have reproduced the chapters in question.
The fact that A Doubter’s Doubts was published anonymously may indicate how little its author thought of it. But among many signal proofs that it was appreciated by others, the most important was Mr. Gladstone’s notice of it. And the circumstances in which the following letter was written lend to it a peculiar interest. The extracts from his diary, given in Mr. Morley’s Life of Mr. Gladstone, record that December 18, 1889, was the occasion of Parnell’s historic visit to Hawarden, and that the day was devoted to reviewing and reconsidering the whole Irish question, and discussing it with the Irish leader. And yet on that very day Mr. Gladstone found leisure to read my book, and to write to me about it. I should add that I had not sent it to him, nor was I aware that he possessed it.
|Date:||February 14, 2016|
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