Matthew's 1831 book, On Naval Timber and Arboriculture, wove his unique discovery of natural
"In thus testifying our hearty approbation of the author, it is strictly in his capacity of a forest ranger, where he is original bold, and evidently experienced in all the arcana of the parentage, birth and education of trees. But we disclaim participation in his ruminations on the law of Nature, or on the outrages committed upon reason and justice by our burthens of hereditary nobility, entailed property, and insane enactments."
The hostile anonymous reviewer of the Edinburgh Literary Journal (1831, p, 2) had this to say:
'The entire tract resembles a new quack medicine, full of high stimulants, ignorantly and not safely combined, and which, till known and analyzed, might prove dangerous as well as attractive to young patients (ie young planters and country gentlemen)...'
Moreover, under the laws passed by Pitt in the 18th century following fear of violent revolution, this meant that scientific societies were forbidden to discuss ideas of the kind Matthew shared. See, for example, Uglow's (2002: p. 464) explanation of what very clearly happened in the year 1794:
These laws were enshrined by the conventions and rules of all British scientific associations, such as the Royal Society and the British Association for the Advancement of Science, so that discussions could not be held on the topics of politics, religion or news. Matthew's book was about all three and so he certainly did himself no favours if he wished for his ideas to be discussed by the 19th century gentlemen of science.''Pitt passed his notorious Two Acts against 'Seditious Meetings' and 'Treasonable Practices': the former hit particularly at the institutional societies, requiring them to be licensed and proscribing discussion of religion or politics'.
The naturalist, John Loudon who reviewed Matthew's book in 1831 mentioned its originality on "the origin of species" no less and was possibly alluding to its heresy and sedition when he wrote:
'...for want of practice in writing, he has produced a book which we should be sorry should be absent from our library.'
Matthew's second book 'Emigration Fields' , published in 1839, took his 'survival of the most circumstance suited' natural selection ideas forward for the British to emigrate to countries such as New Zealand in order to find new ecological and create new social niches where they could subdue, intermix with and dominate the indigenous population.
'What a foolish idea seems to prevail in Germany on the connection between Socialism and Evolution through Natural Selection.'
At the time of writing this letter is not yet available on the Darwin correspondence project. Darwin's biography, edited by his son Francis, misspells Scherzer as Cherzer.
Sir Gavin de Beer (1962) p.330 writes in regard to this letter:
'Darwin, to the end of his days, never understood the political overtones which, whether he liked it or not, were attached to his work.'
Where the truth lies, when we are dealing with a man such as Darwin - a proven self-serving serial liar, is another matter altogether. For one thing, we know for a fact, from what he wrote, that Darwin had read the whole of Matthew's book after Matthew had claimed priority for his discovery in the Gardener's Chronicle in 1860. How could Darwin have missed the political implications so often clearly stated? For example:
Matthew (1831, p. 365): "The law of entail, necessary to hereditary nobility, is an outrage on this law of nature which she will no pass unavenged—a law which has the most debasing influence upon the energies of a people, and will sooner or later lead to general subversion…"
And (Matthew 1831, p. 390): "…the great mass of the present population requiring no guidance from a particular class of feudal lords, will not continue to tolerate any hereditary claims of authority of one portion of the population over their fellow-men; nor any laws to keep up rank and wealth corresponding to this exclusive power. It would be wisdom in the noblesse of Europe to abolish every claim or law which serves to point them out a separate class, and, as quickly as possible, to merge themselves into the mass of the It is a law manifest in nature, that when the use of any thing is past, its use is no longer kept up."
And we know for a fact that in 1862 Darwin read Matthew's letter in which Matthew spelled out his political approach to the study of natural selection:
'My line lies more in the political & social, Your's in tracing out the admirably balanced scheme of Nature all linked together in dependent connection—the vital endowed with a variation-power in accommodation to material change.'
Robert Chambers, a staunch anti-Chartism, educational liberal, who was notoriously fearful of the consequences of political emancipation of the working classes was one of seven naturalists newly discovered (Sutton 2014) to have cited Matthew's (1831) book pre 1858. He was a friend and correspondent of Darwin, and, like Lyell - Darwin's great mentor, a member of the Edinburgh Geological Society. Their private correspondence reveals that Both Darwin and Lyell knew that Chambers was the anonymous author of the heretical Vestiges of Creation - the book that notoriously 'put evolution in the air' in the mid 19th century and which was Wallace's greatest influence.
In 1848 Chambers stood for political election. He was supported in that campaign by none other than Adam Black - Patrick Matthew's publisher who substantially advertised Matthew's book and its subject matter on species.
The real history of the discovery of natural selection and the political suppression of Patrick Matthew's priority for his prior published hypothesis of natural selection is no conspiracy theory. Rather, it is simply, newly discovered, fact-based, history.
Moreover, the reality of the circles that Mathew and Darwin both moved in are far more complex and interrelated than the simple, made-up, childish 'just so' stories told by biased Darwinists (e.g. Dawkins in Bryson 2010) about Matthew being simply an obscure Scottish writer of a 'manual on silviculture' in order to lazily fill their pseudoscholarly knowledge gaps in the story of Matthew, Darwin and Wallace. By way of further example, Darwin's best friend Joseph Hooker petitioned Matthew's publisher Adam Black in his failed attempt in 1845 to get the chair of Botany at Edinburgh university. Darwin was livid that Hooker was not appointed.