PRESENTED in the order of their publication, these Fragments will, I think, make it plain that, within the last two years, I have added no material iniquity to the list previously recorded against me. I have gone carefully over them all this year in Switzerland, bestowing special attention upon the one which has given most offense. To the judgment of thoughtful men I now commit them: the unthoughtful and the unfair will not read them, though they will continue to abuse them.
I have no desire to repay in kind the hard words already thrown at them and me; but a simple comparison will make clear to my more noisy and unreasonable assailants how I regard their position. To the nobler Bereans of the press and pulpit, who have honored me with their attention, I do not now refer. Webster defines a squatter as one who settles on new land without a title. This, in regard to anthropology and cosmogony, I hold to have been the position of the older theologians; and what their heated successors of to-day denounce as "a raid upon theology," is, in my opinion, a perfectly legal and equitable attempt to remove them from ground which they have no right to hold.
If the title exist, let it be produced. It is not the revision of the text of Genesis by accomplished scholars that the public so much need, as to be informed and convinced how far the text, polished or unpolished, has a claim upon the belief of intelligent persons. It is, I fear, a growing conviction that our ministers of religion, for the sake of peace, more or less sacrifice their sincerity in dealing with the cosmogony of the Old Testament. I notice this in conversation, and it is also appearing in print. Before me, for example, is a little brochure, in which a layman presses a clerical friend with a series of
- Preface to the forthcoming edition of "Fragments of Science."