The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 9
To the Reader
To the Reader.
To many it will be unnecessary to preface the two articles of Mr. Alfred R. Wallace with any remarks. His name and position in the scientific world are known to most. But at a time when the so-called Orthodox—the professing Christians—are ridiculing the "fact" of spiritual communion in the nineteenth century, whilst they are ready to believe that angels talked and ate with Abraham, and released Paul from his bonds—it is necessary that the "fact" be shown to be proved as well, if not better, than the facts of spiritual communion which they believe. Indeed, during the last few years—a time in which the question of man's and nature's dualism has been fought with greater earnestness and ability than heretofore, one has had it continually insisted on, "go to men of science." The publication of these articles is an answer to this challenge. Not that any "fact" ought to be proved by the mere authority or standing of the "witness;" but still we, n judging of another's testimony, desire to know the antecedents of him who relates to us a wonder, Spiritualists have all along stated that they were not afraid of men of science. On the contrary, they have ever invited them to investigate. And the strange phenomenon has been witnessed of the men of science, who have investigated 'spiritualism "becoming Spiritualists. Let a chemist, like Crookes, the editor of the 'Quarterly Journal of Science,' approach it with his crucibles and the ghosts will vanish! But no, by an "unconscious cerebration" which a Carpenter cannot explain, the more the chemist analyse?, notes, considers, the more confirmed does he get in his belief that Spiritualism is real. In Mr, Wallace we have not only a man of science, but a man of philosophy, approaching the subject. He is one who has done as much for the evolution hypothesis as Darwin or Spencer. As a naturalist, he is not behind Darwin, and his criticism on "The Descent of Man," which appeared in the highest critical weekly of England, "The Academy," was considered the ablest. Men of science give him every credit for his naturalistic researches in the East Indian Archipelago, but his spiritualism some of them cannot understand. Well, the publisher now only desires that his statement of phenomena be weighed as we would consider his relation of the habits of the animal life of the Indian Archipelago. After all, Spiritualism must be viewed from the "positivist's" position, and by a careful induction of facts proved false or true. These papers are published to show what one of the most eminent of scientific men thinks of Spiritualism, and it is asked if these things are myths, what can be thought of the miracles of the Old and New Testaments that had no men of science to test them? Let there be consistency. Either man is a dual creature, having a body and soul, or he is not. If he be, then comes the question, when his body dies, docs his other part die also? If not, is communication piossible? If possible at one time, why not now? "The progress of knowledge is slow. Like the sun, we cannot sec it turning; but, after a while, we perceive that it has moved, nay, that it has moved onward." So wrote one many years ago. Can it be that we have reversed this, and that the knowledge of spiritual existence has vanished—that, like a retreating comet, it has passed beyond our system and is lost to view? Mr. Wallace says No! Hearken then to his statement—