Thursday, 1 January 2015

Where does Note F of the Appendix of Matthew (1831) end?

Many writers dealing with Matthew (1831. On Naval Timber and Arboriculture) refer to the very last part of the appendix as though it belonged to Note F of that appendix.

Mike Weale did recognize the difference in this place of the The Patrick Matthew Project, but not in one of his preprints: "The crucial fourth item — macroevolution by natural selection — is covered in Note F of Matthew's appendix." (Weale's preprint, page 5). I hope he can amend this, before the paper gets published.

The makers of Darwin Online, for example, digitised the parts as thought hey were one Note F (see here). You need to click on their link: "[page] 381" there, to get an image of the book's page and see the difference.

Anyway, the book itself contains two clear indications that the last part of the appendix does not belong to Note F of that appendix.

Firstly,  the table of contents lists it ("Accommodation of organised life to circumstance, by diverging ramifications, . . . 381") as equivalent in hierarchy to the Notes A to F that come before it:

Part of the table of contents of Matthew (1831. On Naval Timber and Arboriculture)

Secondly, the passage of the main text containing the footnote, which refers to Note F of the appendix, is about the geology of the sea. Note F of the appendix also deals with this subject up to the top of page 381, where the big horizontal line marks a break of content and issue. See for yourself.

Main text with footnote referring to Note F of Appendix (Matthew 1831)

Note F of appendix on sea geology ends with horizontal line, the afterthought begins with criticising dogmatical classification of plants (Matthew 1831)

I used to call this last part an "appendix to the Appendix" in other posts on this blog and call it an afterthought here. It surely doesn't belong to Note F by content. The break between sea geology and botanical classification is too abrupt even for Matthew to think so.

I would not be surprised to learn, sometime in the future, that this last part really was a late attachment concatenated only after Matthew had already finished the book.

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