AT the suggestion of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, the Syndics of the University Press decided in March, 1908, to arrange for the publication of a series of Essays in commemoration of the Centenary of the birth of Charles Darwin and of the Fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species. The preliminary arrangements were made by a committee consisting of the following representatives of the Council of the Philosophical Society and of the Press Syndicate: Dr H. K. Anderson, Prof. Bateson, Mr Francis Darwin, Dr Hobson, Dr Marr, Prof. Sedgwick, Mr David Sharp, Mr Shipley, Prof. Sorley, Prof. Seward. In the course of the preparation of the volume, the original scheme and list of authors have been modified: a few of those invited to contribute essays were, for various reasons, unable to do so, and some alterations have been made in the titles of articles. For the selection of authors and for the choice of subjects, the committee are mainly responsible, but for such share of the work in the preparation of the volume as usually falls to the lot of an editor I accept full responsibility.
Authors were asked to address themselves primarily to the educated layman rather than to the expert. It was hoped that the publication of the essays would serve the double purpose of illustrating the far-reaching influence of Darwin's work on the progress of knowledge and the present attitude of original investigators and thinkers towards the views embodied in Darwin's works.
In regard to the interpretation of a passage in The Origin of Species quoted on page 71, it seemed advisable to add an editorial footnote; but, with this exception, I have not felt it necessary to record any opinion on views stated in the essays.