A battle occurred in the mind of Charles Darwin, and it was witnessed to in a charming and charitable book review entitled DARWIN'S ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES Reviewed by John Morris in the Dublin Review. which appeared within a year of the publication of the Origin of Species. (The review by John Morris is reprinted from the Dublin Review 48 ( 1860), 50-81)
Written from a Roman Catholic perspective, the review is forty pages in length, serious beyond modern standards, and in a lay journal. The reviewer has observed that the 'main work' of Darwin 'approves itself to be genuinely scientific', but then declares himself grieved that Darwin ventures beyond the 'main work' to the 'gratuitous and so repulsive idea' of human origin by evolution from lower forms.
"The work itself, in the main, we will say frankly, seems to us so valuable, and approves itself to us individually as so genuinely scientific; the basis of facts is so unusually broad and comprehensive, the reasoning is so dispassionate, and the writer shows himself throughout so keen-sighted to every objection, that we cannot say how grieved we are that the book should be marred by the introduction of so gratuitous and so repulsive an idea, or that the theory should be carried to such unreasonable lengths. (Wallace et al. 4) Darwinism: Critical Reviews from Dublin Review, Edinburgh Review, Quarterly Review by Alfred Russell Wallace, Thomas Henry Huxley, James Rowland Angell, J. Mark Baldwin, Francis Galton, Daniel N. Robinson; University Publications of America, 1977.
The Dublin reviewer, in a keen and unexpectedly humane insight
, identified in Darwin two threads. The first thread, the 'main work' has been 'marred' by the intrusion of the second thread
, the 'gratuitous and so repulsive an idea'. But most significantly, in the mind of the reviewer, the two threads must be separated. The wheat
is to be separated from the chaff
and though the reviewer does not hesitate in his disdain for the chaff he does not dampen his expression of delight in the wheat. What else is a review? It was an excellent review and an outstanding instance of a truth well sounded.