|The Aristocrat Admiral Fitzroy - |
Captain of the HMS Beagle
The problem for veracity in the history of discovery of natural selection is that powerful members of the Darwin-worship-cult operate from a position of preferred bias. We see just one example of this in Dawkins's conveniently context-free wishful thinking, dressed up with self-delighted deliberate delusion, and then spin-presented as fact for hungry consumption by those credulous enough to take him at his carefully crafted 'expert' word.
In this blog post, I reveal why it would be that Joseph Hooker and Charles Darwin would have despised Patrick Matthew for going into print linking natural selection to his libertarian chartist reform politics, not just because it was against the codes of 19th century gentlemen of science to link politics with science (see Secord 2001) but also because they disagreed with his politics and his socio-political ideas.
In 1831, in On Naval Timber and Arboriculture, Matthew explained how in peaceful as opposed to times of war the cultural legal inheritance system and and social class system was unnaturally ensuring that the 'best' human 'stock' was unable to attain a dominant power of occupancy in human society - as they would in a state of culture-free nature - that would ensure those with 'superior' mental and physical characteristics bred most efficiently and effectively to improve human 'stock'.
|On Naval Timber and Arboriculture|
by Patrick Matthew
So much here then for the great Darwinist myth started by Darwin in 1860 as a lie that Matthew buried his important ideas on natural selection in the book's appendix!
Royal Society Darwin Medal Winner, Ernst Mayr, published the myth - discoverable as such at the time - that Matthew's (1831) unique ideas were completely unread by biologists pre-1858. Moreover, he also published another myth that the information in the Appendix of Matthew's book was unrelated tot he subject of its title: Naval Timber and Arboriculture.
(Mayr 1982 p.499):
'The person who has the soundest claim for priority in establishing a theory or evolution by natural selection is Patrick Matthew (1790-1874). He was a wealthy landowner in Scotland, very well read and well travelled... His views on evolution and natural selection were published in a number of notes in an appendix to his work On Naval Timber and Arboriculture (1831). These notes have virtually no relation to the subject matter of the book, and it is therefore not surprising that neither Darwin nor any other biologist had ever encountered them until Matthew brought forward his claims in an article in 1860 in the Gardener's Chronicle.'
In Matthew's text, we see also that far from a book on Naval Timber being inappropriate for its subject matter on natural selection it was the perfect subject matter in relation to humans - ships being made of timber at the time and ships being essential for Britain's trade, maintenance of its huge empire and for conquest and settlement. Without these aggressive and competitive activities Matthew saw that the aristocracy would degenerate and that most of the most able beings among the lower classes would be kept down in a permanently artificial state of brutal and unfulfilled toil.In Matthew's text, we see also that far from a book on Naval Timber being inappropriate for its subject matter on natural selection it was the perfect subject matter in relation to humans - ships being made of timber at the time and ships being essential for Britain's trade, maintenance of its huge empire and for conquest and settlement. It is no coincidence that Matthew took his original ideas forward in his second book (Matthew 1839) 'Emigration Fields' where he (scandalously for the time) recommended British settlers intermix with the New Zealand Maori.
So much here, also then, for the Darwinist myth that Matthew failed to take his original ideas on natural selection forward after 1831!
Matthew turned upon the gentry and middle classes. He saw them in a bio-political light and employed natural selection arguments against the artificial selection of hereditary entitlement on grounds that it served to synthetically block the contribution to society of potentially better people trapped in lower social classes .
Matthew (1831, p. 365) wrote :
"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 (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 population. It is a law manifest in nature, that when the use of any thing is past, its existence is no longer kept up."
In 1861, after Matthew had confronted Darwin in order to claim priority for his ideas, which Darwin claimed not to have read - despite the fact it is newly discovered (Sutton 2014) Darwin's, his father's Hookers, Jenyns, Lyell's and Wallace's associates, friends and influencers had read and cited them. Moreover, it is 100 per cent proven that Darwin lied when he later wrote that no naturalist had read Matthew's original ideas before he replicated them.
In 1862, Darwin and his best friend Joseph Hooker corresponded on the topic of natural selection and the British aristocracy
Letter from Hooker to Darwin 31 Jan – 8 Feb 1862
'I wrote you a frightful screed the other day about the development of an Aristocracy being the necessary consequence of Natural Selection—& then burnt it—so you must take the will for the deed & be thankful! If ever we meet again we will talk it over—'
Letter from Hooker to Darwin 19th Jan (1862)
'...after all why should we expect better things from a nation of upstarts— Our Aristocracy may have been (& has been) a great draw back to civilization—but on the other hand it has had its advantages—has kept in check the uneducated & unreflecting—& has forced those who have intellect enough to rise to their own level, to use it all in the struggle— There is a deal in breeding & I do not think that any but high bred gentlemen are safe guides in Emergencies such as these.'
If there is any thing at all in force of circumstances & Natural Selection it must arrive that the best trained, bred & ablest man will be found in the higher walks of life—true he will be rare, but then he will be obvious & easily selected by a discriminating public— When got to, he is removed above a multitude of temptations & conditions that prove the ruin of 910 of the rising statesmen of a lower class of life— Your ``Origin'' has done more to enhance the value of the aristocracy in my eyes than any social political or other argument.
Letter of reply from Darwin to Hooker (25th Jan 1862)
In this letter we see that Darwin in part agrees with Hooker, but is in a state of denial over
'Your notion of the aristocrats being ken-speckle, & the best men of a good lot being thus easily selected is new to me & striking. The Origin having made you, in fact, a jolly old Tory, made us all laugh heartily. I have sometimes speculated on this subject: primogeniture is dreadfully opposed to selection,—suppose the first-born Bull was necessarily made by each farmer the begetter of his stock! On other hand, as you say, ablest men are continually raised to peerage & get crossed with the older Lord-breeds—& the Lords continually select the most beautiful & charming women out of the lower ranks; so that a good deal of indirect selection improves the Lords. Certainly I agree with you, the present American row has a very toryfying influence on us all.—'
ConclusionHere then we see why Darwin's best friend Joseph Hooker had every reason to wish to see Matthew's book buried in oblivion. This would explain why in 1860 he knowingly countersigned Darwin's letter of reply to Matthew's claim to priority in the Gardener's Chronicle in order to validate Darwin's lie that no naturalist had read Matthew's book pre-1858 - when he - like Darwin - knew that the famous naturalist John Loudon had reviewed it.
Hooker, like Darwin, feared that Britain might become what he called "...a nation of upstarts...".
Matthew knew that leaders come naturally from 'upstart stock' and, therefore, in the greater interests of of our species, should not be artificially kept down.
No wonder the powerful scientific elite and their toadying opportunity-sniffing minions have sought to keep Matthew buried in oblivion these past 185 years.