Page:Descent of Man 1875.djvu/5

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PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.




During the successive reprints of the first edition of this work, published in 1871, I was able to introduce several important corrections; and now that more time has elapsed, I have endeavoured to profit by the fiery ordeal through which the book has passed, and have taken advantage of all the criticisms which seem to me sound. I am also greatly indebted to a large number of correspondents for the communication of a surprising number of new facts and remarks. These have been so numerous, that I have been able to use only the more important ones; and of these, as well as of the more important corrections, I will append a list. Some new illustrations have been introduced, and four of the old drawings have been replaced by better ones, done from life by Mr. T. W. Wood. I must especially call attention to some observations which I owe to the kindness of Prof. Huxley (given as a supplement at the end of Part I.), on the nature of the differences between the brains of man and the higher apes. I have been particularly glad to give these observations, because during the last few years several memoirs on the subject have appeared on the Continent, and their importance has been, in some cases, greatly exaggerated by popular writers.

I may take this opportunity of remarking that my critics frequently assume that I attribute all changes of corporeal structure and mental power exclusively to the natural selection of such variations as are often called spontaneous; whereas, even in the first edition of the 'Origin of Species,' I distinctly stated that great weight must be attributed to the inherited effects of use and disuse, with respect both to the body and mind. I also attributed some amount of modification to the direct and prolonged action of changed conditions of life. Some allowance. too, must be made for occasional reversions of