Quoted from the "Preface." "This book needs only brief introduction. It attempts to tell the story of the origin of the Evolution idea in Ionia, and, after long arrest, of the revival of that idea in modern times, when its profound and permanent influence on thought in all directions, and, therefore, on human relations and conduct, is apparent."
"Between birth and revival there were the centuries of suspended animation, when the nepenthe of dogm\a drugged the reason; the Church teaching, and the laity mechanically accepting, the sufficiency of the Scriptures and of the General Councils to decide on matters which lie outside the domain of both. Hence the necessity for particularising the causes which actively arrested advance in knowledge for sixteen hundred years."
"In indicating the parts severally played in the Renascence of Evolution by a small group of illustrious men, the writer, through the courtesy of Mr. Herbert Spencer, has been permitted to see the original documents, which show that the theory of Evolution as a whole --- i.e., as dealing with the non-living, as well as the living, contents of the Universe — was formulated by Mr. Spencer in the year preceding the publication of the "Origin of Species."