Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Did Darwin plagiarize Matthew? Part 7: Debunking claims from misreading Matthew (1831)

[A post on another misreading of Matthew (1831) on the part of Sutton (2014) can be found here.]

Sutton (2014. Nullius in Verba. Darwin's greatest secret. Epub by Thinker Media) claims that Patrick Matthew (1831. On Naval Timber and Arboriculture) has written on species transformation through natural selection not just in an appendix, but also throughout the main text of his book. In retrospect, some passages scattered throughout the book do indeed seem to have been inspired by the idea of natural selection or survival of the fittest. This does not necessarily mean, however, that these passages transported the idea of species transformation through natural selection for the contemporary reader.
     Sutton compiled an appendix himself. Part one of this reproduces passages from "the text directly relevant to Matthew's hypothesis, which was included in the main body of his book." That is, all the passages in part one of Sutton's appendix are from the main text of Matthew's book and are meant, by Sutton, to prove that Matthew did not confine his speculation about natural selection as a cause of species transformation to his (Matthew's) appendix.

Below follows this part one of Sutton's appendix (highlighted in red) with additional context from Matthew (1831) that serves to clarify the meaning (highlighted in green) and comments concerning the relevance of these quotes to readers contemporary of Matthew (plain).

To long to read? Summary: None of the 17 passages that Sutton quotes from the main body of the book suggest that species transform through natural selection. The prelude of one passage contains a footnote that points to an end-note in Matthew's appendix that states the principle of natural selection clearly, but not as a mechanism of species transformation. Many passages say something about varieties, artificial selection, competitive exclusion, survival of the fittest or natural selection, even, but none in connection with species transformation. That is, On Naval Timber and Arboriculture is no book on the origin or transformation of species. The only place, where species transformation is mentioned as a consequence of natural selection (circumstance-suiting law) is in the colophon (p. 381- 388), which was a late attachment to the end of the appendix of end-notes, but is usually cited as though it was an integral part of the appendix.

"From the main body of the book [Matthew 1831]


NAVIGATION is of the first importance to the improvement and perfecting of the species, in spreading, by emigration the superior varieties of man…
Page 1" [in Matthew 1831]

This racist statement of Matthew is about competitive exclusion, indeed, but it says nothing about the mechanism causing some varieties of man (presumably the British and Scottish) to be superior to others. It could as well have come about through special creation or Lamarckian use-inheritance. The passage continues as follows:

"..., and diffusing the arts and sciences over the world; in promoting industry, by facilitating transfer of commodity through innumerable channels from where it is not, to here it is required; and in bearing the products of those most fertile but unwholesome portions of the earth, to others more congenial to the existence of the varieties of man susceptible of high improvement"

The contemporary reader will not, from this passage, have gotten a whiff of the idea of natural selection being the cause for the alleged existence of superior and inferior varieties of man, if Matthew thought that was their raison d'être in the first place. Instead, the whole passage chimes rather well with the widespread Victorian improvement philosophy. And that is what contemporary readers will have read out of it together with their contemporary racism and British snobbism, if they held any. That Sutton sees this first sentence of the book of Matthew (1831) as a fanfare trumpeting the idea of natural selection from the roof tops is due to his retrospective bias (Whiggishness).

"…an overflowing population, chained, from the state of society, to incessant toil, the scope of their mental energies narrowed to a few objects from the division of labour, all tending to that mechanical order and tameness incompatible with liberty; thus, perhaps, equally in danger of deteriorating and sinking into caste both classes yielding to the natural law of restricted adaptation to condition…[228]
Page 3" [in Matthew 1831]
Endnote [228] in Sutton (2014) says: "Here Matthew draws sociopolitical conclusions about humans that we know about domesticated species. Namely, that varieties become weaker when not moderated by natural selection."

This natural law of restricted adaptation meant physiological adaptation (accommodation) not evolution through natural selection (see also below, where Sutton mistakes a quote from Steuart given by Matthew as the original words of Matthew). Quoting the preceding and following statements of the above shows that Matthew actually promoted war as a wholesome form of educating young people to become heroic and chivalrous.

"When we consider the tendency of luxurious peace, the effeminacy thence following in upon many of our wealthier population,—when we view, on the one hand, an entailed aristocracy*, whose founders had been gradually been thrown uppermost in more stirring times, the boldest and the wisest, but whose progeny, "in a calm world" entailed to listless satiety, have little left of hope or fear to awaken in them the dormant energies of their ancestors, or even to preserve these energies from entirely sinking; and, on the other hand, an overflowing population, chained, from the state of society, to incessant toil, the scope of their mental energies narrowed to a few objects from the division of labour, all tending to that mechanical order and tameness incompatible with liberty; thus, perhaps, equally in danger of deteriorating and sinking into caste both classes yielding to the natural law of restricted adaptation to condition:—when we reflect on this, the conclusion is irresistibly forced upon us, that the periodical return of war is indispensable to the heroic chivalrus character and love of freedom which we have so long maintained, and which (Britain being the first in name and power in the family of nations) must be so influential on the morale of the civilized world." Matthew (1831, pp. 2-3)

This war mongering can only have told the contemporary readers that peace and satiety leads to bad habits, manners and morals, if they believed it. The only chance through which a reader could have gotten a whiff of the idea of natural selection from this passage was by following the asterisk to the footnote (saying "See App. B") and the footnote to the end-note B in the appendix of Matthew (1831). Only there, then, could he find a statement of the survival of the fittest that has nothing to do with the idea of war as a way of disciplining lazy of listless people. But even that would not necessarily have meant anything new to the contemporary reader, because natural selection was a generally held to keep the species fixed and that is exactly what Matthew (1831, p. 364) describes in his end-note B.



"There are several valuable varieties of apple trees of acute branch angle, which do not throw up the bark of the breeks; this either occasions the branches to split down when loaded with fruit, or if they escape this for a few years, the confined bark becomes putrid and produces canker which generally ruins the tree. We have remedied this by a little attention in assisting the rising of the bark with the knife. Nature must not be charged with the malformation of these varieties; at least had she formed them, as soon as she saw her error she would have blotted out her work.
Pages 9 and 10 (Footnote)" [in Matthew 1831]

The contemporary reader could as well have taken the capitalized term Nature, here, to mean god or any other way in which a poor design could have gotten rid of. This passage carries no notion of natural selection with it. (By the way, it is a footnote to a section of Matthew's book called Directions for Training Plank Timber. This section is a mere recipe for pruning trees and it is the section that has been redacted, cut to shape, and reprinted in the Chambers's Edinburgh Journal. Sutton, up to form, construes an abstruse case from this recipe for pruning claiming that Robert Chambers must have read and understood and communicated Matthew's book including the idea of natural selection (see here).

"We have never yet found one individual apple plant, raised from seed, to be the counterpart of another; but differing even in every part and habit, in bud, leaf, flower, fruit, seed, bark, wood, root; in luxuriance of growth; in hardihood; in being suited for different soils and climates, some thriving in the very moist, others only in the dry; in the disposition of the branches, erect, pendulous, horizontal; in earliness and comparative earliness of leaf, of flower of fruit.'
      We hope the above remarks will not be lost on those who have the management of the sowing, planting and thinning of woods, and that they will always have selection in view. Although numerous varieties are derived from the seed of one tree, yet if that tree be of a good breed, the chances are greatly in favour of this progeny being also good.
Page 67" [in Matthew 1831]

This statement is about variety and artificial selection. If, by implication, a contemporary reader also got a whiff of natural selection from it, there is still no need for species transformation being a result of that. Again, this passage does not transport the idea of species transformation through natural selection.

"Our common larch like almost every other kind of tree consists of numberless varieties, which differ considerably in quickness of growth, ultimate size, and value of timber. This subject has been much neglected. We are, however, on the eve of great improvements in arboriculture; the qualities and habits of varieties are just beginning to be studied. It is also found that the uniformity in each kind of wild growing plants called species may be broken down by art or culture and that when once a breach is made, there is almost no limit to disorder, the mele that ensues being nearly incapable of reduction.
Page 76" [in Matthew 1831]

This is actually a footnote at page 76. While it is about variety and artificial selection, again, Matthew does not propose species transformation as a result, but the braking down of species boundaries and a veritable (probably Lamarckian) mess. Lamarck thought that species were not real and that gaps between species only existed, because the many intermediate species still remained to be discovered.

"The consequences are now being developed of our deplorable ignorance of, or inattention to, one of the most evident traits of natural history, that vegetables as well as animals are generally liable to an almost unlimited diversification, regulated by climate, soil, nourishment, and new commixture of already formed varieties. In those with which man is most intimate, and where his agency in throwing them from their natural locality and dispositions has brought out this power of diversification in stronger shades, it has been forced upon his notice, as in man himself in the dog, horse, cow, sheep, poultry.- in the apple, Pear, plum, gooseberry, potato, pea, which sport in infinite varieties, differing considerably in size, colour, taste, firmness of texture, period of growth, almost in every recognisable quality. In all these kinds man is influential in preventing deterioration, by careful selection of the largest or most valuable as breeders; but in timber trees the opposite course has been pursued. The large growing varieties being so long of coming to produce seed, that many plantations are cut down before they reach this maturity, the small growing and weakly varieties, known by early and extreme seeding, have been continually selected as reproductive stock, from the ease and conveniency with which their seed could be procured; and the husks of several kinds of these invariably kiln dried, in order that the seeds might be the more easily extracted!   May we then wonder that our plantations are occupied by a sickly short lived puny race, incapable of supporting existence in situations where their own kind had formerly flourished - particularly evinced in the genus Pinus more particularly in the species Scots fir; so much inferior to those of Nature's own rearing, where only the stronger, more hardy soil, suited varieties can struggle forward to maturity and reproduction?
     We say that the rural economist should pay as much regard to the breed or particular variety of his forest trees, as he does to that of his live stock of horses, cows, and sheep. That nurserymen should attest the variety of their timber plants, sowing no seeds but those gathered from the largest, most healthy, and luxuriant growing trees, abstaining from the seed of the prematurely productive, and also from that of the very aged and over mature; as they, from animal analogy, may be expected to give an infirm progeny, subject to premature decay.
Pages 106-108" [in Matthew 1831]

This passage is about variety, poor selection regimes of nurserymen and natural selection. But there is again no hint, for contemporary readers, at species transformation being the result of natural selection, only degeneration of cultivated plants being a result of human selection.

"When woods are planted of various kinds of timber, the stronger, larger growing kinds will sometimes acquire room by overwhelming the smaller: but when the forest is of one kind of tree, and too close, all suffer nearly alike, and follow each other fast in decay, as their various strength of constitution gives way; unless, from some negligence or defect in planting, a portion of the plants have come away quickly, and the others hung back sickly for several years, so that the former might master the latter: or when some strong growing variety overtops its congeners. In the natural forest of America, when a clearance by any means is effected, the young seedlings, generally all of one kind, spring up so numerous, that, choaking each other, they all die together in a few years. This close springing up and dying is sometimes repeated several times over; different kinds of trees rising in succession, till the seeds in the soil be so reduced as to throw up plants so far asunder as to afford better opportunity for the larger growing varieties to develop their strength; and, overpowering the less, thus acquire spread of branches commensurate to the height, and thence strength of constitution sufficient to bear them forward to large trees.
Pages 153-154" [in Matthew 1831]

This is about competition and the generally detrimental effects of too close a stand of trees. Differential selection may only occur after sufficient thinning. Species transformation is, again, not proposed to be a result of this process.

"Indeed the difference of quality in timber depends chiefly on the infinite varieties existing in what is called Species, though soil and climate have no doubt considerable influence, both in forming the variety, and in modifying it while growing. Of varieties those which have the thinnest bark under equal exposure have the hardest wood.
Page 202" [in Matthew 1831]

Here, Matthew simply asserts the variability of species. Neither natural selection nor species transformation are mentioned.

" “ In like manner, in all the other relations, we see Nature especially accommodating the character of each individual plant, to the exigencies of its particular situation. In the interior of woods, the wind can exert a far less mechanical effect on individual trees; and therefore, while they axe positively determined to push upwards towards the light, they are negatively permitted to do, so by the removal of any necessity to thicken their trunks, for the sake of greater strength, and to contract the height of them, in order to afford the blast a shorter lever against the roots. But, with trees in an open situation, all this is widely different. There they are freely exposed to the wind, and the large expansion of their branches, gives every advantage to the violence of the storm. Nature accordingly, bestows greater proportional thickness, and less proportional elevation on trees, which are isolated, or nearly so; while their system of root, which, by necessity, is correlatively proportional to their system of top, affords likewise heavier ballast, and a stronger anchorage, in order to counteract the greater spread of sail, displayed in the wider expansion of the branches. Every individual tree is thus a beautiful system of qualities specially relative to the place which it holds in creation of provisions admirably accommodated to the peculiar circumstances of its case.

Pages 261- 263" [in Matthew 1831]


Matthew was in the habit of quoting very long passages of the authors he wanted to criticize and rubbish. Moreover, Matthew spliced these quoted, that is, he picked nits to quote and left the cherries to sell them as his own ideas. In particular, Matthew (1831, pp. 254-264) contains a very long quote of Henry Steuart (1828. The Planter's Guide, pp. 76-191). Looking at the page numbers alone, already tells us that Matthew has spliced Steuart heavily, here, condensing into ten pages what is spread over 115 pages in the original. 
     Anyway, Sutton re-quoted a passage of this quote of Steuart by Matthew as though it came directly from Matthew. The true location of the above passage is page 260 of Matthew (1831). That means, it is not from Matthew but is a quote of Steuart. To normal readers, this should be immediately obvious from the quotation marks in front of the first word that Sutton chose to quote ("In like manner,...).
      Ironically, after Matthew ended this long quote from Steuart, he (Matthew) continued, from page 264 onward, to refute what he has just quoted. That is, Sutton quotes as wisdom of Matthew, what Matthew only quoted in order to dismiss.
      What is even worse, the whole of Steuart's treatise on transplanting trees has nothing to do with adaptation in the evolutionary sense. He (Steuart) speaks a lot of the "plastic powers of plants" (e.g., Steuart 1828, p. 85) and the "peculiar adaptations to the circumstances" (p. 87), but this all relates to the physiological adaptation (accommodation) of individual trees to their environmental circumstances.


"Gardeners certainly experience the branches and roots of crab apple to be harder than the varieties with thicker bark, larger more downy leaves, and larger fruit. The largest growing apple varieties, however, are not the above mentioned mild varieties, but those which have a pretty close approximation to the crab. We have taken slips from some of the very largest of our pear trees, and having placed them close to the ground on young stocks, have found they threw out spines and rectangular branching similar to crabs. Those most dissimilar to the crab have thick annual shoots, without any lateral rectangular branching, and very thick bark; they have been gradually bred to this condition by repeated sowing, always choosing the seed of those partaking most of these qualities for resowing, their disposition to vary to mildness being at the same time influenced in some measure by culture and abundant moist nourishment: but these mild varieties; although they throw out a strong annual shoot while young, seldom or never reach to any considerable size of tree, unless they are nourished by crab roots, their own roots being soft and fleshy, and incapable of foraging at much depth or distance. Their branches and twigs as they get old are also very soft and friable, covered with a thick bark, but the timber of the stem is very little inferior in hardness to crab timber.
     We ask if even the fact of these unnaturally tender varieties (obtained by long continued selection, probably assisted by culture, soil and climate, and which, without the cherishing of man, would soon disappear), being of rather more porous texture of wood goes any length to prove our author's assertion? We have paid some attention to the fibre of the genus Pyrus, and find that the Siberian crabs have by far the smallest vessels. Having grafted the large Fulwood upon the smallest Red Siberian Crab, or Cherry-apple, the new wood layers above the junction swelled to triple the thickness of those below. By ingrafting other kinds upon other stocks we have found the reverse to take place n[o] doubt owing to those with largest vessels swelling the most, there being the same number of vessels above and below the junction, each corresponding, or being a continuation of the other.* But this small Siberian crab, when ingrafted upon a common crab, grew fully as quickly during several years as the Fulwood under the same circumstances; and the timber though of much finer texture, scarcely exceeded the other in hardness.  Sir Henry tells us, that the oak is less durable in Italy and Spain than in England. We tell Sir Henry, that the redwood pitch pine from Georgia and the Floridas, on the confines of the torrid zone, is more durable than the red wood pine from Archangel, on the confines of the frigid zone. But does this fact regarding the oak of the south of Europe prove any thing regarding the oak of England,- that it will always be deteriorated by culture for several years after planting, or that the quality may not suffer as much from slowness of growth as from fastness, or from the climate being too cold as from being too warm?
      [Footnote at page 285:] The fineness of vessel or fibre of the Siberian crab may be induced by the arid warm air the continued radiation of heat and light upon the portion above ground and the coldness of the ground around the roots during the short summer in Siberia where the air and surface of the ground is warm and vegetation progressive while the ground remains frozen at a small depth Like all varieties of plants habituated to colder climate the Siberian crab developes its leaves under less heat than varieties of the same kind which have been habituated to milder We have not taken Sir Henry in the literal sense Timber is well known to decay sooner in a warm than in a cold country.
     The reason why Highland Scots oak spokes are superior to English is because the latter are generally split from out the refuse of the timber cut for naval purposes principally the branches and tops of large trees whereas those from the Highlands of Scotland are from the root cuts of copse. We believe most carpenters of Scotland are aware of this. The oak from the Highlands of Scotland is however for the most part of excellent quality growing generally on dry gravel and rock not on cold moist clayey soils. The hardest we have ever seen was from a steep dry gravel bank of south exposure, in an open situation, much exposed to the western breeze. The Highland oak from these soils is generally of a greyish colour, and very dense; whereas that from moist soils is often reddish brown, and defective. Should Sir Henry weigh portions of oak from these soils in a pair of material, in place of mental scales, we think his conclusions would be somewhat different. The strongest hardest ash we have seen, was cut from a hard, dry, adhesive clay, of course a young tree.
     Sir Henry, speaking of the Western Highlands and Islands of Scotland, states that "it is from a want of soil, and not of climate, that woods of any given extent cannot be got up in these unsheltered but romantic situations." Of many situations of these bleak districts, this must be admitted, but we cannot receive it as a general fact; and even where it holds true, the want of (proper) soil, or formation of peat is a consequence of the want of climate, although this may have reacted to increase the evil. There must have been a greater warmth of climate, at least in summer when the forests grew, which lie buried in the mosses of the northern part of Scotland, and of the Orkney and Shetland Islands, as some kinds of timber are found in situations, where such kinds by no circumstances of gradual shelter under the present climate could have grown. There are several indications of a greater warmth having been general throughout Britain, and even farther eastward, and that a slight refrigeration is still in progress. We instance the once numerous vineyards of England,- the vestiges of aration so numerous upon many of our hills, where it would now be considered fruitless to attempt raising grain…"
Pages 283-286" [in Matthew 1831]

This is Matthew criticizing Steuart. While there is a little bit about artificial selection in the first paragraph, the rest is about grafting, wood quality, and the proximate effects of climate and soil on the latter. This passage is neither about natural selection nor about species transformation. Sutton makes a lot of fuss, however, about the fact that Matthew and Darwin have both considered crab apple trees, as if anybody writing on crab apple or Golden Pippin after 1831 must have gotten his stuff from Matthew (for an example of still older literature dealing with these trees see here).

"In tall trees this greater deposition on the stem, in proportion to that on the roots, twigs, and leaves, some will think instinctive; some will refer it to an effort of nature to supply the necessary strength to enable the stem to resist the great strain of the winds upon the elevated top. If it take place to a greater extent than what arises from the greater elongation of the necessary vessels of communication, perhaps it is owing to the evaporation or stagnation of the sap on the tall exposed stem, and to the considerable motion or waving of the stem by wind promoting deposition, evincing one of the deep balancings of material cause and effect, or circumstantial regulation, which mocks the wisdom of the wise.
Page 301" [in Matthew 1831]

Here, Matthew is discussing Steuart's hypothesis that pruning will have the physiological effects that the tree will get taller and, therefore, put proportionally more weight on the stem than in the other organs, in order to withstand the larger strains from wind. It has absolutely nothing to do with natural selection or species transformation.

"Our author's next implied assumption, that a tree produces best timber in a soil and climate natural to it (we suppose by this is meant the soil and climate where the kind of tree is naturally found growing), is, we think, at least exceedingly hypothetical; and, judging from our facts, incorrect The natural soil and climate of a tree, is often very far from being the soil and climate most suited to its growth, and is only the situation where it has greater power of occupancy than any other plant whose germ is present. The pines do not cover the pine barrens of America, because they prefer such soil, or grow most luxuriant in such soil; they would thrive much better, that is, grow faster in the natural allotment of the oak and the walnut, and also mature to a better wood in this deeper richer soil. But the oak and the walnut banish them to inferior soil from greater power of occupancy in good soil, as the pines, in their turn, banish other plants from inferior sands—some to still more sterile location, by the same means of greater powers of occupancy in these sands. One cause considerably affecting the natural location of certain kinds of plants is, that only certain soils are suited to the preservation of certain seeds, throughout the winter or wet season. Thus many plants, different from those which naturally occupy the soil, would feel themselves at home, and would beat off intruders, were they once seated. We have had indubitable proof in this country, that Scots fir grown upon good deep loam, and strong till (what our author would call the natural soil of the oak), is of much better quality, and more resinous, than fir grown on poor sand (what he would call the natural soil of the Scots fir), although of more rapid growth on the loam than on the sand; and the best Scots fir we have ever seen, of equal age and quickness of growth, is growing upon Carse land (clayey alluvium).
Pages 302-303" [in Matthew 1831]

This passage is about competitive exclusion. While that is related to the struggle for survival and natural selection, many contemporary reader did not even understand the concept. This is 100% proven by Selby (1842), who cited this passage and went on to refuse Matthew's reasoning, because he did not understand this relativity: pines grow worse in poor soils and better in rich ones, oaks do the same, but they grow still better than pines in rich soils, whereas pines do not as bad as oaks in poor soils (see #18, here). Again, nothing about natural selection causing species transformation.

"Man's interference is useful in removing competitors, in giving it lateral room for extension, in training it skilfully to one leader and subordinate equality of feeders, should transplanting, early pruning up, or other cause, destroy the natural regular pyramidal disposition - not in pruning it up, thus reducing it to narrower compass, and destroying its balance to the locality.
     The use of the infinite seedling varieties in the families of plants, even in those in a state of nature, differing in luxuriance of growth and local adaptation, seems to be to give one individual (the strongest best circumstance-suited) superiority over others of its kind around, that it may, by overtopping and smothering them, procure room for full extension, and thus affording, at the same time, a continual selection of the strongest, best circumstance-suited, for reproduction. Man's interference, by preventing this natural process of selection among plants, independent of the wider range of circumstances to which he introduces them, has increased the difference in varieties, particularly in the more domesticated kinds; and even in man himself, the greater uniformity, and more general vigour among savage tribes, is referrible to nearly similar selecting law - the weaker individual sinking under the ill treatment of the stronger, or under the common hardship.
    As our author's premises thus appear neither self evident, nor supported by facts, it might seem unfair, at least it would be superfluous, to proceed to the consideration of his conclusions and corollaries.
Page 308" [in Matthew 1831]

This passage clearly states the idea of natural selection between variable seedlings. The "strongest best circumstance-suited" will over-top and smother the weaker and this "continual selection of the strongest" is a "natural process of selection" among plants. But, here again, there is no mention of species transformation. The contemporary reader will not have gotten anything new from this passage, for this mechanism (by any other name) was widely believed to keep the species fixed.
     The last sentence is the closure of a very long ellipse, in which Matthew re-quoted Loudon from Steuart, and dismissed his premises. These premises of Loudon concerned pruning and other technical matters and had nothing to do with the above ejaculation of Matthew about natural selection (without species transformation).

"There is a deposition from the atmosphere of saline matter going on at the surface of the earth, either evaporated from the ocean, and falling with the rain and dews, or formed by gaseous combinations— most probably both. In countries where the quantity of rain is insufficient to wash this saline accumulation away into the ocean as fast as it is formed, it increases to such a degree as almost to prevent vegetation only a few of what are termed saline plants appearing. This saline accumulation in warm dry countries bears considerable analogy to tannin deposit in cold countries.
Page 325 (Footnote)" [in Matthew 1831]

This passage has no bearing on either natural selection or on species transformation.

"Sea salt, perhaps also nitre and other salts, will be serviceable in a moist country, or far from the sea, where the plants and water contain little saline matter, and probably pernicious in a dry climate, where the plants and water generally contain much saline matter.
Page 325" [in Matthew 1831]

Again, this passage has no bearing on either natural selection or on species transformation.

"And besides, we have found varieties of the same kind or species of tree some of them adapted to prosper in dry air and soil, and others in moist air and soil. Although the above causes prevent a positive limitation of certain kinds of trees to certain soils, yet there are some which have superior adaptation to moist soils and others to dry; some whose roots from their fibrous soft character, can only spread luxuriantly on light, soft, or mossy soils, and others, whose roots have power to permeate the stiffest and most obdurate. The above explanations will account for much of the incongruity which we find in authors regarding the adaptation of certain kinds of timber to certain soils.
Page 335"


This is about varieties of a species being adapted to different soils and this having caused confusion in the literature concerning the soil requirements of that species. There's no indication that the varieties arose through natural selection and none that this might eventually lead to speciation.

"The highest latitude to which a tree, or any other kind of plant, reproducing by seed, naturally extends, depending on the ripening of the seed, and also on the power of occupancy, is however different from that where it will grow, when ripe seeds are procured from the coldest place where they ripen, and all the competitors removed; and under the system of shelter belts, hardy pine nurses, and seeds from the nearest place where they ripen, we have no doubt that oaks may be extended to a colder situation than Nature herself would have placed them in. For the higher more bleak portion of the country, we would recommend acorns grown in Scotland, in preference to those imported from England. We have several times observed wheat, the seed of which had been imported from England, sustain blight and other injuries in a cold moist autumn when a portion of the same field, sown of Scots seed, at the same time as the other, and under the very same circumstances, was entirely free from injury."

Sutton gave no page number for the last quote, but it's from p. 356f. If ever there was an opaque passage... Matthew seems to suggest that the the ranges of tree species, like oak, could be extended by letting the seeds ripen in colder climates. Whether this would then be a physiological accommodation of the seeds to cold climate or a form of artificial selection depends on the actual (but unknown) processes leading to the result of cold hardier trees. Anyway, no species transformation through natural selection, again.

--- to be continued ---

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