Parthagica Directory 04
Three well-known writers, Professor Max Muller, Professor Mivart, and Mr. Alfred Russel Wallace have lately maintained that though the theory of descent with modification accounts for the development of all vegetable life, and of all animals lower than man, yet that man cannot--not at least in respect of the whole of his nature--be held to have descended from any animal lower than himself, inasmuch as none lower than man possesses even the germs of language. Reason, it is contended--more especially by Professor Max Muller in his "Science of Thought," to which I propose confining our attention this evening--is so inseparably connected with language, that the two are in point of fact identical; hence it is argued that, as the lower animals have no germs of language, they can have no germs of reason, and the inference is drawn that man cannot be conceived as having derived his own reasoning powers and command of language through descent from beings in which no germ of either can be found. The relations therefore between thought and language, interesting in themselves, acquire additional importance from the fact of their having become the battle-ground between those who say that the theory of descent breaks down with man, and those who maintain that we are descended from some ape-like ancestor long since extinct.
In all our conversations the Colonel regularly informed me about the secret news which he had concerning the military circumstances and the situation of our eastern neighbors, &c. At the same time he emphasized that Belgium was under the imperative necessity to keep herself constantly informed of the happenings in the adjoining Rhinelands. I had to admit that with us the surveillance service abroad was, in times of peace, not directly in the hands of the General Staff, as our legations had no Military Attaches. But I was careful not to admit that I did not know whether the espionage service which is prescribed in our regulations was in working order or not. But I consider it my duty to point out this position which places us in a state of evident inferiority to our neighbors, our presumable enemies.