Darwin should have spoken of him as absolutely on the side of immutability.
We believe it to be partly accounted for (as Poulton suggests) by the fact that Mr. Darwin possessed only the third edition (1836 and 1837) and the fourth edition (1841-51). (14/7. The edition of 1841-51 consists of reprints of the third edition and three additional volumes of various dates. Volumes I. and II. are described in the title-page as the fourth edition; Volumes III. and IV. as the third edition, and Volume V. has no edition marked in the title.) In neither of these is the evolutionary point of view so strong as in the second edition.
We have gone through all the passages marked by Mr. Darwin for future reference in the third and fourth editions, and have been only able to find the following, which occurs in the third edition (Volume I., 1836, page 242) (14/8. There is also (ed. 1837, Volume II., page 344) a vague reference to Natural Selection, of which the last sentence is enclosed in pencil in inverted commas, as though Mr. Darwin had intended to quote it: "In other parts of Africa the xanthous variety [of man] often appears, but does not multiply. Individuals thus characterised are like seeds which perish in an uncongenial soil.")
"The variety in form, prevalent among all organised productions of nature, is found to subsist between individual beings of whatever species, even when they are offspring of the same parents. Another circumstance equally remarkable is the tendency which exists in almost every tribe, whether of animals or of plants, to transmit to their offspring and to perpetuate in their race all individual peculiarities which may thus have taken their rise. These two general facts in the economy of organised beings lay a foundation for the existence of diversified races, originating from the same primitive stock and within the limits of identical species."
On the following page (page 243) a passage (not marked by Mr. Darwin) emphasises the limitation which Prichard ascribed to the results of variation and inheritance:--
"Even those physiologists who contend for what is termed the indefinite nature of species admit that they have limits at present and under ordinary circumstances. Whatever diversities take place happen without breaking in upon the characteristic type of the species. This is transmitted from generation to generation: goats produce goats, and sheep, sheep."
The passage on page 242 occurs in the reprint of the 1836-7 edition which forms part of the 1841-51 edition, but is not there marked by Mr. Darwin. He notes at the end of Volume I. of the 1836-7 edition: "March, 1857. I have not looked through all these [i.e. marked passages], but I have gone through the later edition"; and a similar entry is in Volume II. of the third edition. It is therefore easy to understand how he came to overlook the passage on page 242 when he began the fuller statement of his species theory which is referred to in the "Life and Letters" as the "unfinished book." In the historical sketch prefixed to the "Origin of Species" writers are named as precursors whose claims are less strong than Prichard's, and it is certain that Mr. Darwin would have given an account of him if he had thought of him as an evolutionist.
The two following passages will show that Mr. Darwin was, from his knowledge of Prichard's books, justified in classing him among those who did not believe in the mutability of species:
"The various tribes of organised beings were originally placed by the Creator in certain regions, for which they are by their nature peculiarly adapted. Each species had only one beginning in a single stock: probably a single pair, as Linnaeus supposed, was first called into being in some particular spot, and the progeny left to disperse themselves to as great a distance from the original centre of their existence as the locomotive powers bestowed on them, or their capability of bearing changes of climate and other physical agencies, may have enabled them to wander." (14/9. Prichard, third edition, 1836-7, Volume I., page 96.)
The second passage is annotated by Mr.