From George Rolleston 30 September 1868
Sept 30. 1868.
My dear Sir.
When I had the advantage of seeing you in the College of Surgeons early this year,1 I ventured to make some remarks to you upon the extent to which your doctrines were applicable to our mental organization. I said then that I would, with your permission, send to you an extract from a paper by Dean Alford which appeared in the “Good Words” for January 1868. This I do now; and I have pasted on the same sheet of paper some remarks of my own which I made in an Address I had to deliver a few weeks back before the British Medical Association.2 I may say that I understood Mr Berkeley to take much the same line in the Address which he delivered a few days ago at Norwich to the Biological Section of the British Association.3
That a man’s ratiocinative powers are qualitatively not dissimilar from those of the lower animals and very largely dependent upon his material organization may be granted. And what applies to the method by which these powers and structures have been evolved in the lower creatures will be considered by most men to be more or less applicable to the method by which these powers and structures have been perfected in us. But here the question of the difference of soul or life from spirit comes in; and I suppose that Dean Alford, like Professor Ferriar and myself, would say with DesCartes that the lower animals were merely animated machines.—4
I will not however trouble you with any more mss, for all I have to lay before you is in print on the accompanying piece of foolscap—
I must beg of you not to trouble Yourself to answer this—
I am | Yours very Truly | George Rolleston
CD’s doctrines apply to man’s mental organisation, but the soul is a different matter. Cites Dean Henry Alford, M. J. Berkeley, and Prof. [J. F.?] Ferrier.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6401,” accessed on 27 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6401