Friday, 20 May 2016

Part 1: Debunking claims about citing Matthew (1831)

Mike Sutton is a reader in criminology at Nottingham Trent University who has used google, in order to track down the provenience of certain quotes that are often attributed wrongly. He now thinks he has sufficient evidence to conclude that both Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace plagiarized Patrick Matthew (1831. On Naval Timber and Arboriculture) and stole Matthew's idea of evolution through natural selection from it.

One part of his exercise was to find sources that cited Matthew's book and collect them in a list (Sutton 2014, Nullius in Verba, ThinkerMedia, chapter 4, List 1, don't buy it, it's not worth it). This list is reproduced below. The sources mentioned in this list did indeed cite Matthew (1831). 

However, Sutton takes these rather trivial facts as his point of departure for a wild gallop over mere (implicit) assumptions, jumping to his preferred conclusion that, beyond a reasonable doubt, Darwin and Wallace plagiarized Matthew. The unchecked assumptions are: (1.) those who cited Matthew (1831) also read him from A to Z; (2.) they also understood him from A to Z; (3.) they specifically understood his idea that natural selection could transform species; and (4.) they communicated this specific idea. 

Even if Sutton did not avow them explicitly, these assumptions are necessary, if any of the authors citing Matthew (1831) also have directly or indirectly ticked Darwin and Wallace off on Matthew's idea concerning species transmutation through natural selection. Only those readers, who did not just take Matthew (1831) to be a book on the practical maters of tree planting, training, pruning, etc. and dis also receive his idea concerning species transmutation through natural selection, could also have passed that idea on somehow. 

It is therefore pertinent to check whether the sources that did cite Matthew (1831) lend any support to these assumptions. The following reproduces list 1 of Sutton (2014, chapter 4) with comments added, where these assumptions are evidently false. (Too long to read? Scroll to end.)

   List 1

     1 - Edinburgh publisher Adam Black
     2 - London publisher Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green (1831)
     3 - The Farmer's Journal — Currently unknown reviewer (1831)
     4 - The Perthshire Courier — Currently unknown reviewer (1831)
     5 - The Elgin Courier — Currently unknown reviewer (1831)

The first five items on the list are not from five different historical records but from one advertisement of Matthew's publishers in Edinburgh (Adam Black) and London (Longman and Co.). This advertisement also reprinted praise from other sources as is nowadays very common for blurbs.

1+2 - Concerning the above assumptions, the publisher's probably read or had let someone read the book form A to Z. But the writer of this advertisement of the publishers had definitely not understood Matthew's idea that natural selection might transform species. On the contrary, he wrote as if Matthew's book was yet another installment of the ruling paradigm that natural selection kept the species fixed and immutable (see also here):

"In embracing the Philosophy of Plants, the interesting subject of Species and Variety is considered,—the principle of the natural location of vegetables is distinctly shewn,—the principle also which in the untouched wild "keeps unsteady nature to her law," inducing conformity in species, and preventing deterioration of the breed, is explained,—and the causes of the variation and deterioration of cultivated forest-trees pointed out."

This disconfirms list items 1 and 2 as not supporting assumptions (2.), (3.) and (4.). They did not understand Matthew's idea about natural selection and species transmutation and communicated the opposite idea.


3 - The snippet reprinted from the Farmer's Journal, recommended Matthew's book as a practical study to landed proprietors:

" 'In recommending this work to landed proprietors, we shall, therefore, only remark, that is displays an intelligent and cultivated mind, and an evident practical study of the subject.'—Farmer's Journal."

Mike Weale ferreted out the original to this snippet (see here) and commented:

"The reviewer is complimentary regarding Matthew’s “intelligent and cultivated mind”, and his practical knowledge, but is critical of Matthew’s view on free trade. In particular, the reviewer thinks that if the import duty on foreign timber were dropped, then domestic production of timber would not be able to compete with Norway. The reviewer notes that the Appendix contains “some singular inquiries and reflections on “Instinct or habit of breed,” and the effects of change of place and climate on the dispositions and habits of mankind”, but the reviewer does not directly refer to Matthew’s views on either natural selection or evolution."

In other words, it does not support assumption (4.). List item 3 disconfirmed!


4 - The snippet of the Pertshire Courier is a completely empty phrase:

" 'We consider "Naval Timber" to be an extraordinary book, containing much amusement, much instruction, and a tolerable sprinkling of eccentricity.'—Pertshire Courier."

This piece is just useless for any conclusion concerning assumptions (1.-4.) above. List item 4 disconfirmed!


5 - This item is a snippet of which Sutton claims that it "specifically drew attention to Matthew's discovery of the natural process of selection on species" (see here). That is, Sutton claims that this item does not just support any of his assumptions but assumption (4.) in particular.

" 'This work contains a great variety of interesting information. We have perused, with much interest and gratification, the speculations therein contained, in reference to the moral and physical constitutions of the human race.'—Elgin Courier."

While this piece supports the assumption that the author read Matthew's book from A to Z, because there are passages in the appendixes dealing with moral or physical constitution of humans (ht, Mike Weale), it remains Suttons secret, how a hint at speculations about the moral and physical constitution of the human race is supposed to specifically draw attention to the idea that natural selection transforms species. That is, this source supports the assumption (1.), but not (4.). List item 5 disconfirmed! 


     6 - The Country Times — Currently unknown reviewer (1831)

This is from another advert of the same publishers being placed in the advertising section of the Edinburgh Literary Journal (1831, Vol. 5, pp. 46, ht Mike Weale and his Patrick Matthew Project) saying:

"This work is evidently the production of sound practical knowledge."

Again, this is an almost empty phrase. If it hinted at anything, then at the practical side (tree pruning, sowing, trenching training, etc.) of Matthew's book. List item 6 disconfirmed!


     7 - The United Service Journal and Naval and Military Magazine (1831) — unknown reviewer

This is another of the sources for which Sutton claims that it "specifically drew attention to Matthew's discovery of the natural process of selection on species" (see here). The anonymous review of the United Service Journal and Naval and military Magazine (1831, part II, p. 457) wrote:

"In thus testifying our hearty approbation of the author, it is strictly in his capacity of a forest-ranger, where he is original, bold, and evidently experienced in all the arcana of the parentage, birth, and education of trees. But we disclaim participation in his ruminations on the law of Nature, or on the outrages committed upon reason and justice by our burthens of hereditary nobility, entailed property, and insane enactments."

This supports assumption (1.), that the author read Matthew's book entirely and did get to the passages dealing with natural selection and the species question. But it does not show that he also understood it (assumptions (2.-3.) questionable). Even if he did, he disclaimed participation in the ruminations on the law of nature as well as in Matthew's political rants against hereditary nobility, entailed property etc. Nevertheless, even a disclaim could theoretically draw the attention to the thing being disclaimed. But "ruminations on the law of Nature" could mean anything. It remains Sutton's secret, again, how this unspecific disclaim is supposed to specifically draw the attention to the idea that natural selection could transform species. This review does not support assumption (4.). List item 7 disconfirmed!


     8 - The Edinburgh Literary Journal — unknown reviewer (1831)

This is the third source (Edinburgh Literary Journal No. 138, Saturday, July 2, 1831: pp. 1-4) for which Sutton claims that it "specifically drew attention to Matthew's discovery of the natural process of selection on species." It is indeed a very entertaining review, a very well crafted grilling, which you might consider spending some time reading. One passage simply reprints the whole preface of Matthew (1831), in order to show the reader what a prick Matthew was.

"We have always considered it as a fortunate circumstance, when an author has the talent of delineating his own character, and especially in the front of his book, which saves a reviewer much trouble. We shall, therefore, give Mr Matthew's Preface entire, as it is short, and conveys a tolerable taste of his style and genius.—
      'It may be thought presumptuous in a person who has never had the curiosity to peruse the British classic authors on planting and timber,—Evelyn, Hanbury, Marshall, Miller, Pontey,—to make experiment of the public sufferance. The author does not, however think any apology necessary; as, if the public lose time unprofitably over his pages, he considers the blame attachable to them, not to him. A writer does not obtrude as a speaker does, but merely places his thoughts within reach.
      As the subject, notwithstanding its great importance, might be felt, per se, dry and insipid by the general reader, accustomed to the luxuries of modern literature, the author has not scrupled to mix with it such collateral matter as he thought might serve to correct the aridity. The very great interest of the question regarding species, variety, habit, has perhaps led him a little too wide.' [...]" (p. 1)

The highlighted sentence is not from the author, but from the preface of Matthew being reprinted. Moreover, contemporary readers could not necessarily have told, from this sentence, that the book said anything about natural selection transforming species, varieties or habits. Back then, many books dealing with natural history said something about species, varieties and habits. But if natural selection or an equivalent thereof was mentioned in connection with the species problem, then as a force keeping the species fixed and preventing their transmutation.
      Sutton thinks the contemporary readers must have understood: "the question regarding species, variety, habit," as a hint of Matthew at his idea that natural selection plays a role in transforming species, because he does understand it thus now. The ruling paradigm, however, saw natural selection and species transmutation as mutually exclusive. Therefore, contemporary readers may well have gathered the opposite from this 'hint.'
     In the remainder of the review the author attempts to summarize each part of Matthew's book, but he never gets to the last part:

"Mr Matthew's work is divided into five parts. The 1st is on the structure of sea vessels; the 2nd on British forest trees, suited to naval purposes; the 3rd on miscellaneous matter, connected with naval timber; and the 4th contains notices of recent authors, who treat of arboriculture. In the first part, which is very short, we find an idea given of a ship's hull and timbers [...]" (p. 2)

I could go on quoting the whole review, but it never gets to say anything on the fifth part, which happens to be the appendix containing, among other matters, the details of his idea of natural selection as a species transforming force. Given the disgust with Matthew's book, which the author of this review displays throughout, it seems unlikely that he had the stamina to read the appendix after finishing the main text. It is unlikely that he read and/or understood the passages dealing with natural selection. This source does not support assumptions (1.-4.). List item 8 disconfirmed!


     9 - The Metropolitan — unknown reviewer (1831)

This review in The Metropolitan (October 1831, p. 44) reads:

"This is a sensible and clever practical work. The writer seems to understand his subject, and has called the attention of the public to our woods and forests, and to the great staple from which our navy is to be supplied with the means of existence. After treating of planks and timbers, Mr. M. notices British forest-trees suited for naval purposes, and then follows miscellaneous matter relating to naval timber. We find in Part IV. a judicious notice, or rather notices, of the authors, who treat of arboriculture, who have lately appeared before the public; on these there are very just comments. We had no notion that a heavy duty was laid on all timber for ship-building that conies from abroad. The removal of this duty, and that on hemp, would give our ship-owners a superiority over all foreign vessels in the carrying trade. The Americans alone could compete with us. Yet, living as we do by the ocean, and on the ocean, so impolitic is our taxation, that the materials for building our vessels are so taxed in timber and hemp alone as to make them cost 10l. per register ton, instead of six, for which they might be had. Let Lord Althorp think of this. Every timber grower will read Mr. Matthew's work to advantage. It is earnestly and rationally written."

The author clearly missed the passages that have been inspired by the idea of natural selection. If we generously grant assumption (1.), however, and assume that the author did read the book from A to Z, then he still did not even mention the fact that Matthew also speculates about natural history, the species question, species transmutation and all that. Assumption (4.) is therefore not supported. List item 9 disconfirmed!


     10 - John Claudius Loudon (1832)

This anonymous review has probably been written by Loudon (Gardener's Magazine and Register of Rural and Domestic Improvements 8: 702-3). It is the fourth source which, it is claimed, "specifically drew attention to Matthew's discovery of the natural process of selection on species" (see also here). Loudon clearly shows that he did read and understand the appendix on natural selection and species transmutation.

"An appendix of 29 pages concludes the book, and receives some parenthetical evolutions of certain extraneous points which the author struck upon in prosecuting the thesis of his book. This may be truly termed, in a double sense, an extraordinary part of the book. One of the subjects discussed in this appendix is the puzzling one, of the origin of species and varieties; and if the author has hereon originated no original views (and of this we are far from certain), he has certainly exhibited his own in an original manner." 

The preceding passages of the review show that Loudon has also read and understood the other parts of the book. Hence assumptions (1.) - (3.) are supported. Whether Loudon accepted it or understood the full implications, I cannot tell. Nor whether a contemporary reader would have taken this passage as meaning that this is just another installment of the ruling paradigm that natural selection and species transmutation exclude each other or not. It may nevertheless have aroused the attention of some contemporary reader to this specific book because he was interested in this specific topic. Therefore this is the only source to which Sutton's assumptions (4.) applies. The only confirmed item! I should mention, however, that Loudon never again referred to this aspect of Matthew's book in any of his later citations of Matthew, which all exclusively related to practical matters of tree planting, training, pruning, etc.


     11 - Robert Chambers (1832)

This is from the Chambers's Edinburgh Journal (Saturday, March 24, 1883, p 63). It occurred in that journal's 'Column for Country Gentlemen' and was not actually a review of the book, but rather an excerpt from the books pages 8-14, as Mike Weale pointed out a the Patrick Matthew Project. It's a recipe for training plank timber:

"ON THE TRAINING OF PLANK TIMBER.
Divide all branches into leaders and feeders—leaders, being the main or superior shoots which tend to become stems—feeders the inferior branches. Should more than one leader appear from the time of planting the tree till it attain the required height of the plank, shorten all but the most promising one down to the condition of feeders, making the section immediately above a twig, preferring one which takes a lateral or horizontal direction. Cut off, close by the trunk, all shoots which rise at a very acute angle with the main stem. These nearly perpendicular branches generally originate from improper pruning, springing out where a large branch has been cut away. Reserve all splintered, twisted, or diseased branches. Do not cut away any of the lower branches (feeders) till they become sickly or dead. By pruning these prematurely, you destroy the fine balance of nature, and throw too much vigour into the top, which, in consequence, puts forth a number of leaders. After the tree has acquired a sufficient height of bole for plank, say from 20 to 60 feet, it will then be proper, in order to have timber as clean as possible, and regularly flexible, to top off all the branches on the stem as far as the required height. We consider the spring as the least dangerous time for pruning. The perfection of naval forest economy would consist in superadding a top, of which every branch is a valuable bend or knee. In pruning and educating for plank timber, the whole art consists in training the tree as much as possible, and with as little loss of branch as possible, to one leader and numerous feeders, and to the regular cone figure which the pine tribe naturally assumes. This can be best and most easily performed by timely attention, checking every over-luxuriant, overshadowing branch and wayward shoot on its first appearance ; so that none of the feeders which spring forth at first may be smothered till they in turn become lowermost; and by the influence of rather close plantation, which of itself will perform in a natural manner all that we have been teaching by art, and will perform it well. This closeness must, however, be very guardedly employed, and timeously prevented from proceeding too far, otherwise the complete ruin of the forest by premature decay or winds, may ensue, especially when it consists of pines. Of course all kinds of pines require no other attention than this (well-timed thinning), and to have their sickly moss-covered under-branches swept clean down.—Matthew on Naval Timber,"


Sutton makes a lot of this excerpt claiming that it must have been written by Robert Chambers and, therefore, R. Chambers must have known about Matthew's idea on natural selection and species transmutation and, therefore, must have communicated it to Darwin.

If Robert Chambers wrote this, it does not mean that he has read Matthew's book from A to Z. Although Chambers later published the Vestiges of Natural History of Creation anonymously without once mentioning or hinting at the idea of natural selection.  That makes it very unlikely that he received this idea from Matthew (1831) even if he did read that book. Anyway, the source itself as quoted above does not support one of the assumptions (1.)-(4.). List item 11 disconfirmed!


     12 - John Murray II (1833)
     13 - John Murray III (1833) personally or by association, via the same publishing house as John 
          Murray II

A journal of the John Murray publishing house, The Quarterly Review (1833, vol. 49: pp. 125-135), published an article on three books that somehow had a common theme of navy concerns:

"1. On Naval Timber and Arboriculture; with Critical Notes. By Patrick Matthew. 8vo. London. 1830.
2. Practical Remarks on Building and Equipping Ships of War. By A. W. Schomberg, Esq., Rear Admiral of the Blue. 8vo. London. 1832.
3. Calculations relating to the Equipment of Ships. By John Edye. 4to. London. 1833."


It was not a review and all it gave to Matthew was short shrift concerning what he had written on dry rot:

"THE author of the first of these works introduces one of the most important branches of his subject in these terms:—
     'We greatly wonder that something efficacious has not been done by our Navy Board in regard to Dry Rot; and consider that a rot-prevention-officer or wood-physician should be appointed to each vessel of war, from the time her first timber is laid down, to be made accountable if rot to any extent should ever occur; and that this officer should be regularly bred to his profession. Perhaps it might be as well to endow several professors' chairs at the universities, to follow out and lecture on this science.'
     We do not know of what wood Mr. Matthew would recommend these chairs to be formed ; but although a Mercury may be made ex quovis ligno, we do not think any skill will ever convert him
either into a Rot-prevention officer or a Wood-physician. His
discovery, in short, is neither more nor less than the old prescription, to rub naval timbers with lime: and after a variety of long sentences and solemn calculations, he is himself obliged to close the chapter with a simple statement, which at one touch decomposes his whole doctrine, as effectually as ever a rot-doctor's prepared plank was converted into the semblance of wet leather by a three months’ sojourn in the 'fungus pit' at Woolwich :—
     'It is necessary,’ he candidly says, 'to mention, that though lime, when timber is so dry as to be liable to corruption by insects or dry rot, is, by destroying life and increasing the dryness, preventive of this corruption—yet lime, in contact with timber for a considerable time in moist air, from its great attraction for water, draws so much moisture from the air as to become wet mortar or pulp, which, moistening the timber, promotes its decay by the moist rot.’—p. 162.
     Mr. Matthew is, we do not doubt, a skilful planter; and, though his ‘Critical Notes’ are pert nonsense, his book, on the whole, is not a bad one;—but it will be evident, before we conclude this
paper, that he has never had even a glimpse of the rationale of what is called dry rot in timber. In the mean time let it be observed, that, in point of fact, all rot, whether in animal or vegetable substances, in whatever dust or snuff it may end, does and must begin with moisture."


That's it. None of the other topics dealt with by Matthew was even mentioned. The author then drifts off to publications he deems better and abler, for example, by a Mr. Knowles, a Mr. Kyan, or in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. That is, this source supports not one of the assumptions (1.) - (4.). List items 12 and 13 disconfirmed!

Nevertheless, Sutton tries to charge this source with particular importance by asserting that it means that none other than the publishers John Murray II and III, Darwin's publishers, were in the know of Matthew's idea concerning natural selection: "even Darwin's publisher was fully aware of Matthew's distinctive phrase and hypothesis of the natural process of selection" (Sutton 2014, chapter 4). Apart from the pseudo-replication trying to make two sources out of one, this is pert nonsense. The author is most likely Sir Walter Scott, who is known to have been a contributor to The Quarterly Review. If the Murrays read their journal, they will have gotten no whiff of natural selection from it.


     14 - Edmund Murphy (1834)

Edmund Murphy reviewed a book in The Irish Farmer's and Gardeners Magazine (1834, vol. 1, no. 4, pp: 201-204). Alas, it was not the book by Patrick Matthew but one by Stephen Ballard: 'A Treatise on the Nature of Trees, and the Pruning of Timber Trees, shewing the impossibility of encreasing [sic] the quantity, or improving the quality of timber by pruning.' In this review of Ballard's treatise against pruning, Murphy mentions Matthew but once in passing:

"Even amongst those whose treatment of timber trees appears to have been the most judicious, including, of course, persons of high scientific acquirements, a certain application of the pruning knife has ever been deemed of advantage, and has been recommended in every treatise on the management of timber from Evelin's "Discourse of Forest Trees," to Matthew's Book on " Naval Timber and Arboriculture." It remained to Mr. Ballard to broach the principle that "it is utterly impossible by pruning to increase the quantity or improve the quality, or even (page 57) the shape of any tree."

Again, this source supports none of the assumptions (1.) - (4.). List item 14 disconfirmed!
 

     15 - Gavin Cree (1841)

This refers to a reprint (Cree, G. 1841. On Pruning Forest Trees. The Gardeners Magazine, Vol 3. pp. 440-444) of this article (Cree, G. 1832. On Pruning Forest Trees. The Quarterly Journal of Agriculture 3: pp. 477-481). This is a response to an earlier article by Matthew attacking Gavin Cree's published advice concerning tree pruning. It is entirely an 'academic' cat fight about the pros and cons of pruning trees and has nothing to do with other ideas of Matthew. It is not even worth quoting from it. List item 15 disconfirmed!


     16 - John William Carleton[26] (1841)

In the end-note [26] Sutton wrote:

"Cited NTA [Sutton's acronym for Matthew (1831)] within a review as part of quoted text by Selby (1842). Carleton probably never read the book, but we cannot be sure."

Alas, it is not even a review of Selby (see here). Carleton begins his article by explaining why he is, in principle, unwilling to review a part of a work that comes in several parts. Therefore, he does not review it. In order to give his readers an idea of the literary quality of Selby's book, however, he reprints an excerpt. This excerpt happens to contain a passage wherein Selby cited Matthew:

The Wych Elm we consider, from its habit and growth, to be less calculated for mixed plantations than almost any other tree with which we are acquainted, not even excepting the ash, particularly where the oak, a tree that cannot bear close interference, is intended to form the principal or ultimate crop, for, in addition to the rapid growth we have noticed during its early years, although upon soil in which it may never ultimately arrive at any respectable size, it has what Matthew, in his treatise upon naval timber, calls 'a peculiar, fan-like, sloping-to-one-side spread of branch,' giving it at all ages a wide-spreading head, which, rising above its slower growing neighbours, not only lashes them with severity, but deprives them of their due share of light and air, and soon suffocates or reduces them to a weak, unhealthy state, from which, extermination of their enemy by the free use of the axe is the only chance of recovering them."

List item 16 disconfirmed!


     17 - Cuthbert William Johnson (1842)

This was an excerpt from Johnson's Farmer's Encyclopaedia, which was about to be competed at the time, published in the The Farmer's Magazine (1842, January to June. Vol. 5 pp. 364-368). Johnson just writes on how to plant a tree, whether to simply dig a hole and put the seedling it, whetehr to manure it, trench it, what to do on sandy soils, what to do on peat soils etc. etc. The second last paragraph is just a throw away sentence citing all sorts of authors that have said anything on the issue of tree planting:

"See also on the introduction of certain new forest trees in Scotland (Tram. High. Soc. vol. v.
p. 121); "Reports relative to Plantations" (Ibid, p. 155J ; by Mr. Thomson (Ibid. vol. vi. p. 287);
"On Economy in Planting;" "On the Larch Plantations of the Dunkreld and Athol Estates" (Ibid. vol. iil. p. 165); "On preparing large Trees intended to lie transplanted,'' by Mr. Macnab (Ibid. p. 283) ; '• On pruning Forest-trees," by Mr. Cree (Ibid. vol. iii. p. 59 and 447, and by Mr. Matthew, p. 300)."


This source does not support any of the assumptions (1.) - (4.). List item 17 disconfirmed!


     18 - Prideaux John Selby (Selby 1842)

Selby (1842. A history of British forest-trees) cites Matthew (1831) on about 25 pages, but only one of these citations is not about technical matters such as timber quality for human purposes, pruning, trenching, planting, treating seeds etc. This citation is at page 391 and it actually rejects Matthew's idea about greater power of occupancy:

"The soil upon which most if the Abietae prevail, is usually of a dry and cool quality; thus, the débris of granitic and other primitive rocks, and barren sandy districts, are very commonly occupied by Pine and fir forests, sometimes of enormous extent; the thick and close manner in which they grow, and the dense shade they produce, effectually preventing the vegetation of other species. Matthew, however, in his able treatise on naval timber seems to think that its indigenous location in such districts arises not so much from preference of soils of the nature above-mentioned, as from its having more power of occupancy in such soils than any other plant of the country; and this opinion he endeavours to support by stating that the Pinus sylvestris, planted in a good or rich soil, attains larger dimensions and its best timber properties, and that it is only driven from this superior soil by the greater power of occupancy, planted in a good or rich soil, attains larger dimensions and its best timber properties, and that it is only driven from this superior soil by the greater power of occupancy possessed by the oak and other deciduous trees, an opinion in which we cannot altogether acquiesce, as we see no reason why the fir, if it grows with such additional vigour in a richer soil, as Mr. Matthew asserts, should, at the same time, be unable to maintain a contest with the oak or other tree." (Selby 1842, p. 391)

Obviously, Selby did not understand the relativity of growth in a richer or poorer soil. That is if the pine does grow better in rich than in poor soil, but the oak grows still much better than the pine there, then the oak will oust the pine from the rich soil. If on the other hand, pine grows worse in poor than in rich soil, but still better than other trees, it will exclude the other trees from poor soil. In modern parlance, soil quality would be called a dimension of the ecological niche (/niːʃ/).

While it is obvious for us to see, in retrospective, that this insight about ecology (competitive exclusion) has been inspired by Matthew's thinking in terms of natural selection and competition between trees, his contemporaries did not have our retrospective vantage. Selby obviously failed to get Matthew's idea, here. If this proves anything, then that Selby did not receive (read or understand) Matthew's exposition of the idea of natural selection in the appendix. It surely shows that Selby read Matthew (1831) as a work on technical matters of tree planting, training etc., because 24 of 25 pages that cite Matthew, do so on technical matters.


That is, assumptions (3.) and (4. ) are clearly not supported. Even if Selby read the parts on natural selection and species transmutation, he clearly did not understand them, and he did not communicate them. List item 18 disconfirmed!
 

     19 - The Penny Magazine of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (1838) (1842) — Anonymous article

Sutton's gives this reference in the list at the end of the book: Anonymous 1838. "Economical uses of the willow." The Penny Magazine of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. 

Firstly, this article is not in the 1838 volume of the Penny Magazine, but in the volume of 1842. This does not get clear, however, unless one scrolls through the whole thing that google has put online. The 1838 volume ends at page 508 and the 1842 volume commences with page 1. The article in question starts at page 434 and ends on page 436, but it can be read better following this link, because the scans are better than in the link given above and no volumes are concatenated.

Secondly, the anonymous author of this article does cite and quote Matthew (1831) directly, but only on a practical use of willows:

"Mr. Mathew [sic], in his 'Treatise on Naval Timber,' states, in reference to these properties of red-wood willow:—"Formerly, before the introduction of iron-hoops for cart-wheels, the external rim, or felloe, was made of willow; and when new, the cart or wain was drawn along a road covered with hard small gravel (and in preference, gravel somewhat angular); by which means the felloe shod itself with stone, and thus became capable of enduring the friction of the road for a long time, the toughness and elasticity of the willow retaining the gravel till the stone was worn away." (p. 435).

So, this source only shows that Matthew (1831) had something to say on a historical use of willow twigs for cart wheels. List item 19 disconfirmed! 


     20 - Publishers Cradock and Co. (1843)[27] in "British Forest Trees"

This is a guide (a book for laypeople who want to identify trees) called British forest trees. Page 49 cites Matthew as follows:

"The Crack Willow—Salix fragilis—has the leaves oval, lanceolate, serrated, and smooth, with toothed glandular foot stalks. The leaves are wider than the last-mentioned variety but it is in many respects similar : it grows till it is a tolerably tall tree, and its distinguishing appellation, Crack, is derived from the brittleness of its small branches, which, if struck sharply, break off at the year's shoot. Like the rest of its tribe, it is a quick grower : its leaves are very long, and of a shining green on each side ; and its foliage and appearance is altogether graceful. Its wood is of a pink or salmon colour, and it is sometimes called the redwood willow. There is great difference of opinion as to the value of its timber ; some, Sir E. J. Smith among them, have said that the wood is of little or no value ; while Mr. Mathews [sic], in a treatise on Naval Timber, describes it as possessing valuable properties, asserting that it has been long used as the timber of vessels in Scotland, and adds, "by reason of its lightness, pliancy, and toughness, it is the best without exception for the formation of small fast sailing war-vessels." "

Again, a citation that has nothing to do with natural selection or even natural history, List item 20 disconfirmed!


     21 - Henry Stephens (1851)

Books.google gives you a false lead calling it volume 1 when it is volume 2.We are talking about: Henry Stephens (1851) The Book of the Farm. Vol. 2, p. 569:

"Hedgerow trees are strongly recommended, by all the old writers on agriculture, as being the best means of growing timber for the navy, and giving shelter to fields; and even a recent writer on timber seems to favour the plan of planting the oak in hedgerow, as if that tree could not be sufficiently gnarled for naval purposes, and rendered thick in the bark for tan, in other exposed situations where they could do no injury, rather than in thorn hedges.†               † Matthew On Naval Timber, p. 359."

Again, this source does not support any of the above assumption. List item 21 disconfirmed!


     22 - John. P. Norton (1851) (Co-published with Stevens above)

Another pseudo-replication on Sutton's part? If the above Book of the Farm was co-published by Stephens with Norton, then it would be only one source. List item 22 disconfirmed!


     23 - Levi Woodbury (1832) (1833) (1852)

In 1852, Wodbury's writings have been collected and republished. Among them a Report to the Secretary of the Navy from 1832., which had already been reprinted in 1833. Woodbury only mentions in passing, towards the end of that report, that Mathews [sic] had suggested that the crown should give up its royal forests to private management. That's all. In combination wit the thrice reprinted misspelling of Matthew's name, Woodbury might not even have read Matthew's book at all but only heard of it's suggestion concerning the royal forests from someone. The page he gave (82) corroborates this interpretation, for Matthew says nothing about the management of the royal forests at that page. List item 23 disconfirmed!


     24 - William Jameson (1853)

Jameson (1853. Contributions to a history of the relation between climate and vegetation in various parts of the globe. Journal of the Horticultural Society of London 8: 273-314) wrote:

"This opinion regarding the value of sites where Pine trees are grown is not we are aware in accordance with those of many but we here give facts as exhibited in the Himalayahs Matthew in his treatise on naval timber states that the Pinus sylvestris if grown on good or rich soil attains rapidly large dimensions and its best timber properties." (p. 307)

Again, nothing on natural history or natural selection, jsut a throw away citation concerning soils and the growth of pines therein. List item 24 disconfirmed! 



     25 - Wyatt Papworth (1858)

Papworth (1858. Notes on the Assumed Use of Chestnut Timber in the Carpentry of Old Buildings. The Civil Engineer and Architects Journal 21: 293-296) wrote:

 "While Matthews, in a much commended work on Naval Timber (1831), says, "There is one circumstance connected with this timber in this country, at least in Scotland, which must prevent its general use in ship plank, and be of material injury to it for ship timbers: this is that few trees of it of size are found without the timber being shaky or split, some to such a degree that the annual rings or concentric growths have separated from each other..... From the use of the Spanish chesnut in the Spanish navy, both in planking and timbering, and from the roofing beams and ornamental work of Westminster Hall being also of this wood, we should suppose it not so liable to this defect of rents in the timber in milder climates. It is, we should think, as capable of supporting weight when stretched as a beam as the oak. Having much less proportion of sap wood, and from the matured wood containing much less sap or moisture, we should suppose it not so liable to dry rot, or that more simple means or a shorter period would suffice for seasoning it, so as to be proof againt [sic] this evil." "  

Finally, no support for assumptions (1.) to (4.) again. List item 25 disconfirmed!

 

Summary
From 25 sources that did cite Matthew (1831), Loudon (1832) is the only one standing a chance to have drawn the attention of anybody to the fact that Matthew's book also contained a new idea about the species problem. 

The other parts in this series are the previous posts. Or click of the following links: 
Part 2,    Part 3,    Part 4.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Part 2: Debunking claims about citing Matthew (1831)

Mike Sutton is a reader in criminology at Nottingham Trent University who has used google, in order to track down the provenience of certain quotes that are often attributed wrongly. He now thinks he has sufficient evidence to conclude that both Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace plagiarized Patrick Matthew (1831. On Naval Timber and Arboriculture) and stole Matthew's idea of evolution through natural selection from it.

One part of his exercise (Sutton 2014, Nullius in Verba, ThinkerMedia, chapter 4, don't buy it, it's not worth it) was to find sources that cite Matthew (1831). Six of these sources, he claimed "specifically drew attention to Matthew's discovery of the natural process of selection on species" (Sutton 2014, chapter 4). His conclusion is that anybody who is interested in the question of the origin of species must, on seeing any these sources, necessarily and immediately buy Matthew's book and search it for information on this very topic. The following lists these sources from Sutton (2014, chapter 4) with comments added, where Sutton's premises are evidently false (tl;dr? Scroll to end).


Anon — Edinburgh Literary Review[30]
    This source is a critique published in The Edinburgh Literary Journal No. 138, Saturday, July 2, 1831: pp. 1-4. What did this review of Matthew (1831) actually say and did it draw attention to Matthew's ideas about natural selection? Here's the relevant passage:  

    "We have always considered it as a fortunate circumstance, when an author has the talent of delineating his own character, and especially in the front of his book, which saves a reviewer much trouble. We shall, therefore, give Mr Matthew's Preface entire, as it is short, and conveys a tolerable taste of his style and genius.—

          'It may be thought presumptuous in a person who has never had the curiosity to peruse the British classic authors on planting and timber,—Evelyn, Hanbury, Marshall, Miller, Pontey,—to make experiment of the public sufferance. The author does not, however think any apology necessary; as, if the public lose time unprofitably over his pages, he considers the blame attachable to them, not to him. A writer does not obtrude as a speaker does, but merely places his thoughts within reach.
          As the subject, notwithstanding its great importance, might be felt, per se, dry and insipid by the general reader, accustomed to the luxuries of modern literature, the author has not scrupled to mix with it such collateral matter as he thought might serve to correct the aridity. The very great interest of the question regarding species, variety, habit, has perhaps led him a little too wide. [...]' "

    Firstly, this anonymous reviewer did not draw attention to Matthews ideas on natural selection. He just replicated the full preface of Matthew (1831), in order to show his readers, what a prick Matthew was.

    Secondly, contemporary readers could not necessarily have told, from this preface, that the book said anything about natural selection transforming species, varieties or habits. Back then, many books dealing with natural history said something about species, varieties and habits. But if natural selection or an equivalent thereof was mentioned in connection with this species problem, then as a force keeping the species fixed and preventing their transmutation. Sutton thinks the contemporary readers must have understood: "the question regarding species, variety, habit," as a hint of Matthew at his idea that natural selection plays a role in transforming species, because he does understand it thus now. The ruling paradigm, however, saw natural selection and species transmutation as mutually exclusive. Therefore, contemporary readers may well have gathered the opposite from this 'hint.'

    Surely, the reviewer did not intend to raise anybody's attention to the idea of natural selection in Matthew (1831). On the contrary, the rest of this review details each part of Matthew's book, but only mentions things concerned with practical matters of tree training or Matthew's offenses, slander and plagiarisms (yes, see footnote at page three of this review).


    Currently unknown — The Elgin Courier
      This is from an advertisement in The Quarterly Literary Advertiser, London, November, 1831 (the information by google about the book is wrong). The advertisement also reprints, in the style of a blurb, praise from other publications, for example, the following:

      " 'This work contains a great variety of interesting information. We have perused, with much interest and gratification, the speculations therein contained, in reference to the moral and physical constitutions of the human race.'—Elgin Courier."

      Again, I fail to see why a contemporary reader should necessarily take this as a hint at natural selection transforming species. Speculations about the moral and physical constitutions of the human race could probably have meant many things to contemporary readers. As mentioned above, natural selection and species transmutation were taken to be mutually exclusive things. To think that contemporaries must have understood this like we would, today, is retrospective bias (Whiggishness).

      John Loudon — Publisher, naturalist, botanist, garden designer and polymath
      Admittedly, Loudon's review (see here) shows that he did get the message about natural selection and the origin of species, but even he had his doubts about what it meant:

      "One of the subjects discussed in this appendix is the puzzling one, of the origin of species and varieties; and if the author has hereon originated no original views (and of this we are far from certain), he has certainly exhibited his own in an original manner."

      Loudon knew the idea of natural selection from its established context of natural theology, that is, as a force keeping species fixed (see here). So, while Loudon did raise attention to that part of Matthew's book, he may well have not agreed or not understood Matthew's idea of the role of natural selection in transforming species.

      Anon. United Service Journal
      This is an anonymous review in the United Service Journal and Naval and military Magazine, 1831, part II, p. 457. The reviewer wrote:

      "In thus testifying our hearty approbation of the author, it is strictly in his capacity of a forest-ranger, where he is original, bold, and evidently experienced in all the arcana of the parentage, birth, and education of trees. But we disclaim participation in his ruminations on the law of Nature, or on the outrages committed upon reason and justice by our burthens of hereditary nobility, entailed property, and insane enactments."

      Again, the law of nature could mean anything to a contemporary reader and the association with "outrages on reason and justice committed by hereditary nobility and entailed property" will not have helped those readers to take this as a hint at natural selection and the transmutation of species.

      Adam Black — Matthew's Edinburgh Publisher
      Adam Black not only published Matthew's book, but also The Encyclopaedia Britannica, Or Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and General Literature. Volume 4 has an advertisement of Matthew's book at page 7 that was clearly reminiscent of the way that natural selection was thought to keep the species fixed, not transform it, already by Buffon in the 18th century (see here, here and here):

      "In embracing the Philosophy of Plants, the interesting subject of Species and Variety is considered,—the principle of the natural location of vegetables is distinctly shewn,—the principle also which in the untouched wild "keeps unsteady nature to her law," inducing conformity in species, and preventing deterioration of the breed, is explained,—and the causes of the variation and deterioration of cultivated forest-trees pointed out."

      To contemporary readers, this clearly suggests Matthew's book to be one more installment of the old natural theology paradigm.

      Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green — Matthew's London Publisher
      As Sutton's references are no help in finding another source, this must be the same advertisement as that already quoted under Elgin Courier above. In this advertisement, before the praise of the other publications including the Elgin Courier are being reproduced, blurb-like, exactly the same text is given as that already quoted above (see Adam Black — Matthew's Edinburgh Publisher). Therefore, the same strictures apply here as well. To contemporary readers, it suggested that Matthew's book was a veritable piece of the old paradigm, where natural selection or its equivalents served to keep species fixed and prevent them form transmutation.


      tl;dr
      It has been claimed that six publications or adverts from before 1858 "specifically drew attention to Matthew's discovery of the natural process of selection on species." However, five of these did not do so. Only Loudon's review might have drawn the attention of a reader being interested in this specific issue to this specific book.

      The other parts in this series can be found by choosing the rider/label 'Patrick Matthew' from above the blog posts. Or click of the following links:     Part 1,    Part 3,    Part 4.

      Friday, 1 April 2016

      Part 3: Debunking claims about parroting Matthew (1831)

      Mike Sutton is a reader in criminology at Nottingham Trent University who has used google, in order to track down the provenience of certain quotes that are often attributed wrongly. He now thinks he has sufficient evidence to conclude that both Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace plagiarized Patrick Matthew (1831. On Naval Timber and Arboriculture) and stole Matthew's idea of evolution through natural selection from it.

      One part of his exercise (Sutton 2014, Nullius in Verba, ThinkerMedia, chapter 4, don't buy it, it's not worth it) was to find phrases in Matthew (1831) that were apparently never used before. Concluding that Matthew was first to coin and use these phrases (called Matthewisms), authors who used the same phrase afterwards were taken to have them from Matthew (1831). These authors were called first to be second.

      The following authors were all taken to (probably) have the phrases in question from Matthew (1831), the implication being that they all read Matthew's book and, if they didn't cite Matthew, betray this by the use of the phrases in question. The list below is list 2 from Sutton (2014, chapter 4) with comments added, were Sutton's premise is evidently false. (Too long to read? Scroll to end).


      • 1832 — Mudie: "rectangular branching"
      This is from The Botanic Annual (p. 298). As in all cases, where an author may or may not have re-used a term of Matthew (1831) without acknowledging his source, the mere use of the phrase does not transport any information about Matthew's book or the idea of species transmutation through natural selection in it:

      "It [the Chili pine Araucaria imbricata] also stands alone; and the rectangular branching, the thick twigs, from the close setting of the leaves, make it, no doubt, a majestic object amid the rocks and rapid condors, the snow, the violent storms, and the blazing volcanoes of the Andes."

      The author goes on and on with imagining the beauty of the trees and the Andes landscape (he has never been there). Surely, nothing in Mudie (1832) can bring a reader to the conclusion that there must be a book by someone that contains an idea about natural selection.


      • 1833 — Ellerby: "plants so far asunder"
      T.S. Ellerby's Memorial of Felix Neff, the alpine pastor, is a biography based on a French account (Notice sur Felix Neff: pasteur dans les Hautes-Alpes), which has not yet been digitalized. There is, hence a chance that "plants so far asunder" is merely Ellerby's translation of a French equivalent. Secondly, the passage, where the phrase occurs is an anecdote about Felix Neff trying to teach the ignorant inhabitants of the valley of Fressiniere at Ban de la Roche, how to plant potatoes properly. They jeopardized their yield by planting them too close to each other and just under the surface. When the peasants refused to accept Neff's advice, Neff traversed the whole valley during several days, took the tools from the peasants' hands and planted the potatoes properly. However, "when they saw him depositing their plants so far asunder, and five or six times deeper than they deemed requisite," they dug the potatoes up again, as soon as Neff was out of sight, and planted them according to their own prejudice (p. 198-200).

      Matthew (1831, p. 154), on the other hand, wrote about the self-thinning that occurs among tree seedlings in natural clearances in forests. Whether Ellerby got the inspiration for using the phrase "plants so far asunder" from a private reading of Matthew (1831), is a moot question. Nobody reading Ellerby's account of an anecdote about a pastor failing to teach his peasants proper potato cultivation, could therefrom have gotten wind of Matthew's book.

      • 1835 — Main: "luxuriant growing trees"
      Main (1835. Illustrations of Vegetable Physiology, ..., p. 166 + 280). Same as with Mudie (1832, see above).

      • 1834 — Conrad: "admixture of species"
      "Mêlange d'especes" was a very common phrase in French science and it is very old. It can be found, for example, in M. Bertrand's Eléments d'Agriculture, from 1775, or in the Encyclpédie Oeconomique ou Systême Général d'Oeconomie Rustique from 1770.
       
      • 1834 — Roget: "living aggregates"
      Matthew (1831) was not the first to use that phrase, though the original use was, again, in French. Cuvier wrote about the "agrégat vivant" in 1829 (see here).

      • 1834 — Low: "long continued selection"
      Low may well have gotten this phrase from reading Matthew (1831), but re-using the mere phrase carries no information about Matthew's book for the readers. They could not have gotten a whiff of the existence of Matthew's book or the idea of natural selection in it, from reading Low (1834. Elements of Practical Agriculture, p. 500):

      "And it must be regarded as highly important as a mean of improving the live-stock of Great Britain, that a breed has been actually formed, by long-continued selection and care, which may always be resorted to, to effect the purposes required, in the same manner as recourse is had to horses of known pedigree, to communicate their characters to the progeny. In this manner the labours of those who have improved the short horned breed, have extended far beyond what the original breeders contemplated. They have not only improved a peculiar breed, but have furnished the most efficient means that can be used of improving the live-stock of the entire country; and it is to be trusted that the breeders of this class of animals will have encouragement to maintain the characters of the breed with as much care as is used in the case of the race-horse, seeing that it is for a far more important object."

      • 1836 — Rafinesque: "evinced in the genus"
      Rafinesques (Flora Telluriana, p. 95) wrote:

      "To unite in the single Genus, Carex, plants with 2 or 3 stigmas or styles is still worse; and not to perceive that such a Genus of 300 Species is a fine Nat. family with many Genera distinguished by this and the seminal covering, proves that the absurd Linnean principles evinced in the Genus Lichen now a Class! prevail as yet among us. Whoever preserves Carex entire ought to keep Lichen and Agaricus entire, and make a single Genus of Ombellifera."

      Compare this with Matthew (1831, p. 107f):

      "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?"

      Why should Rafinesque take his phrase, used to rant against the Linnean system, from Matthew using the same phrase, in order to say something about the degeneration of cultivated plants? Even if he read the phrase in Matthew (1831) and it stuck to his sub-conscience, and it later re-emerged when writing, what's the point of such psychologising? A phrase that is picked up somewhere and regurgitated in a different context. What can it signify? The phrase transports nothing. That, however, is exactly Sutton's logomachy that he claims that the phrase is the concept (e.g., here and here).

      The slightly longer phrase: "proves that the absurd Linnean principles evinced in the Genus Lichen now a Class! prevail as yet among us," however, is a very different concept from: "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."

      • 1837 —Wilson: "threatened ascendency"
      Here, the reference that is given by Sutton as Wilson (1837. "The Elections." Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 42. pp. 238-247) already tells that this is not about natural history/evolution. And it is not:

      "But in a country like Great Britain—where, with the universal diffusion of freedom, there is a deep and wide-spread interest throughout all ranks and classes in the stability of its institutions—the fear of change, when once it becomes prevalent, must have effects as wide and general as they are pernicious. Men of property cannot view without the greatest alarm the growing power and threatened ascendency of those fluctuating masses, who acting so often on the principle that they have nothing to lose and little to fear, would have every temptation to exert their legislative influence, as a means of plundering the wealthy. Men of high-minded and liberal spirits, cannot, without indignation, look forward to the subversion of all that is chivalrous and polished and cultivated in society— and the substitution of mean, coarse, and selfish vulgarities, that would undo the civilisation of centuries, and strip political and private intercourse of all its humanities, and half of its virtues. Men who love genuine and equal freedom, cannot sit still when those safeguards are sought to be removed, which, by controlling all, give liberty to all, and without which the caprices and violences of democracy would bear unresisted dominion, and the shifting mob-majority of the day would receive unbounded license for endless tyranny, and reciprocal retaliation." (p. 244)

      So this was a rant about the political situation of the day. Compare this with Matthew's threatened ascendancy of races (or species) meaning a threat of extinction:

      "Among the millions of specific varieties of living things which occupy the humid portion of the surface of our planet, as far back as can be traced, there does not appear, with the exception of man, to have been any particular engrossing race, but a pretty fair balance of powers of occupancy,—or rather, most wonderful variation of circumstance parallel to the nature of every species, as if circumstance and species had grown up together. There are indeed several races which have threatened ascendency in some particular regions, but it is man alone from whom any general imminent danger to the existence of his brethren is to be dreaded." (Matthew 1831, p. 387)

      Matthew is not, here, talking politics, although he does elsewhere in his book. The above passage is not about election, revolution, equal rights of democracy or anything that Wilson is on about.

      • 1837 — Anonymous[31]: "nature's own rearing" [Endnote [31]: Spectator Journal.
      This is from page 946 of The Spectator (No. 484, for the week ending Saturday, October 7, 1837). Sutton, again, fails to even look at the headline, which would take some scrolling because it is one page astern, 945. In fact, the headline says 'The Theatres.' That is, the context of this phrase is a critique of the play Winter's Tale given at Covent Garden: 

      "It is this false system that makes mere puppets of so many actors; in particular, it has spoiled two clever young ladies of the Covent Garden Company, Miss Helen Faucit, and Miss Taylor. Miss Taylor's Perdita was not the simple shepherdess, but a court lady assuming the character: instead of a flower of Nature's own rearing, we were presented with an artificial imitation—and not a very good one either."

      Are we to believe that the author of this critique must have taken the phrase of "nature's own rearing" from a book on naval timber or that a reader of this critique somehow got wind of Matthew's book from this critique? 
       
      • 1837 — Dovaston: "sport in infinite varieties"
      This is from the Magazine of Natural History and Journal of Zoology, Botany, Mineralogy, Geology, and Meteorology (vol. 1: 74-77, 1837), wherein Dovaston published Some observations on the Oak under the alias Von Osdat.While the context does indeed make it likely that Dovaston had read Matthew (1831), this case shows that the mere phrase transports no information about Matthew's book (see also Low 1837, above, and Gazlay 1856, below):

      "Botanists have given two species of the oak, Quércus Ròbur (common British oak), and Quércus sessiliflòra (sessile-fruited oak); but both species sport in infinite varieties. It has been the opinion of some planters, that the wood of the sessiliflòra is inferior in quality to the Ròbur; and I am inclined to favour that opinion myself. I think it will be found, on examination, that the wood of the Ròbur is more dense and compact than the sessiliflòra, and grows into a more noble and majestic tree." (p. 75)  

      Unless some reader did know or searched for publications of "some planters," he would not have gotten the slightest whiff of Matthew's book and his idea about natural selection and species transmutation in it.

      • 1838 — Anonymous translator: "portion of the surface of our planet"
      As already shown, under the fourth and fifth point (Conrad 1834 and Roget 1834), missing the original of a translation can be fatal for an ostensible Matthewism. Hence, it verges on negligence to give the author as "Anonymous translator" without trying to find out what that original actually was. 

      Sutton's gives this reference in the list at the end of the book: Anonymous 1838. "Economical uses of the willow." The Penny Magazine of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. Firstly, this article is not in the 1838 volume of the Penny Magazine, but in the volume of 1842. This does not get clear, however, unless one scrolls through the whole thing that google has put online. The 1838 volume ends at page 508 and the 1842 volume commences with page 1. The article in question starts at page 434 and ends on page 436, but it can be read better following this link, because the scans are better than in the link given above and no volumes are concatenated.

      Secondly, this article is not a translation. Thirdly, the anonymous author of this article does cite and quote Matthew (1831) directly, but only on a practical use of willows. Fourthly, the phrase "portion of the surface of our planet" can nowhere be found in this article. Here's the quote of Matthew:

      "Mr. Mathew [sic], in his 'Treatise on Naval Timber,' states, in reference to these properties of red-wood willow:—"Formerly, before the introduction of iron-hoops for cart-wheels, the external rim, or felloe, was made of willow; and when new, the cart or wain was drawn along a road covered with hard small gravel (and in preference, gravel somewhat angular); by which means the felloe shod itself with stone, and thus became capable of enduring the friction of the road for a long time, the toughness and elasticity of the willow retaining the gravel till the stone was worn away." (p. 435).

      Hence, this is a case of shoddy referencing combined with misquotation and ignoratio elenchi (missing the point).

      • 1840 — Buel: "infirm progeny"
      Where Matthew (1831, p. 108) warned that nurserymen should be as careful in the (artificial) selection of tree seeds as the animal breeders were in selecting from their livestock, Buel, in a footnote, warns against crossing pumpkin with squash, which he regarded as first cousins. Hence "infirm progeny" would here be a case of inbreeding depression, whereas Matthew deplored poor selection regimes among nurserymen leading to weak progeny. 

      • 1840 — Swackhamer: "beat off intruders"
      The United States Magazine and Democratic Review, vol. 7 (1840) printed "The Game of Twenty Questions. From the unpublished manuscript of a foreign minister." Why they did so is anybody's guess. The unnamed foreign minister recounts how they dined at Mr. Planta's place—many important people—how all those lords and chancellors engaged in small talk, and how some Mr. Canning proposed that they should play the game of "Twenty Questions." As the foreign minister was an American and did not know this British parlor game, he felt a need to record it (for rules etc. see here). The foreign minister then goes on to detail a round of the game with all the questions being asked and answers being given. The thing that was thought up by the foreign minister, and had to be guessed by Mr. Canning, was the wand of the Lord High Steward. When Canning asked, whether the thing to be guessed was ever used, however, our foreign minister had to confer with lord Grainville. The latter remembered that: "the Lord High Steward carried his staff to beat off intruders from his majesty's treasury!"

      Matthew (1831, p. 303), however, discussed the influence of the soil on seeds, especially in the winter or wet season. He thought that many trees could, once established on certain soils, easily beat off intruders, but they were limited because their seeds would not survive these seasons in these soils.

      What polite words can anybody find for someone suggesting that the American foreign minister, recounting a parlour game, must have taken his phrase from Matthew?   

      • 1841 — Johnson: "adapted to prosper"
      From the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society (vol. 1, pp. 390-99), this is one more example of an author that may or may not have re-used a phrase from Matthew (1831) without acknowledging it (see page 393 in his article), but it is irrelevant because the phrase transports no information about Matthew's book and its contents (see also Mudie, Dovaston, Low above).

      • 1841 — Hill: "deeper richer soil"
      Link to source. The question of re-use is, again, a private matter of the author that may or may not have been so, but carries no import (see Mudie, Dovaston, Low, Johnson above).
         
      • 1842 — Selby: "greater power of occupancy"
      Selby (1842. A history of British forest-trees) cites Matthew (1831) on about 25 pages, but only one of these citations is not about technical matters such as timber quality for human purposes, pruning, trenching, planting, treating seeds etc. This citation is at page 391 and it actually rejects Matthew's idea about greater power of occupancy:

      "The soil upon which most if the Abietae prevail, is usually of a dry and cool quality; thus, the débris of granitic and other primitive rocks, and barren sandy districts, are very commonly occupied by Pine and fir forests, sometimes of enormous extent; the thick and close manner in which they grow, and the dense shade they produce, effectually preventing the vegetation of other species. Matthew, however, in his able treatise on naval timber seems to think that its indigenous location in such districts arises not so much from preference of soils of the nature above-mentioned, as from its having more power of occupancy in such soils than any other plant of the country; and this opinion he endeavours to support by stating that the Pinus sylvestris, planted in a good or rich soil, attains larger dimensions and its best timber properties, and that it is only driven from this superior soil by the greater power of occupancy, planted in a good or rich soil, attains larger dimensions and its best timber properties, and that it is only driven from this superior soil by the greater power of occupancy possessed by the oak and other deciduous trees, an opinion in which we cannot altogether acquiesce, as we see no reason why the fir, if it grows with such additional vigour in a richer soil, as Mr. Matthew asserts, should, at the same time, be unable to maintain a contest with the oak or other tree." (Selby 1842, p. 391)

      Obviously, Selby did not understand the relativity of growth in a richer or poorer soil. That is if the pine does grow better in rich than in poor soil, but the oak grows still much better than the pine there, then the oak will oust the pine from the rich soil. If on the other hand, pine grows worse in poor than in rich soil, but still better than other trees, it will exclude the other trees from poor soil. In modern parlance, soil quality would be called a dimension of the ecological niche (/niːʃ/).

      While it is obvious for us to see, in retrospective, that this insight about ecology (competitive exclusion) has been inspired by Matthew's thinking in terms of natural selection and competition between trees, his contemporaries did not have our retrospective vantage. Selby obviously failed to get Matthew's idea, here. If this proves anything, then that Selby did not receive (read or understand) Matthew's exposition of the idea of natural selection in the appendix. It surely shows that Selby read Matthew (1831) as a work on technical matters of tree planting, training etc., because 24 of 25 pages that cite Matthew, do so on technical matters. 

      • 1844 — Low: "overpowering the less"
      Link to source. Same as with Mudie, Dovaston, Low, Hill etc. above. May be so but cannot have lead anybody towards Matthew's book.
       
      • 1846 — Emmons: "habits of varieties"
      Link to source. Same as above (see Mudie, Dovaston, Low, Hill, Low).

      • 1846 — Alabama Supreme Court: "Infirmity of their condition"
      This is from the Reports of Cases at Law and in Equity, argued and determined in the Supreme Court of Alabama:

      "Campbell, contra, contended, that the case was not varied since it was last here—the bills stood alone; no evidence of delivery to the plaintiff—no evidence of consideration, to relieve them from the infirmity of their condition. He cited 6 Wend. 644; 13 Mass. 158."

      Whatever the particulars of the case, "infirmity of their condition" means the poor standing of a defendant in a lawsuit and does not have the slightest thing to do with Matthew (1831, p. 387) arguing about the degeneration of domesticated animals or cultivated plants being unable to survive without the help of humans, because of the infirmity of their condition:

      "As far back as history reaches, man had already had considerable influence, and had made encroachments upon his fellow denizens, probably occasioning the destruction of many species, and the production and continuation of a number of varieties or even species, which he found more suited to supply his wants, but which, from the infirmity of their condition— not having undergone selection by the law of nature, of which we have spoken, cannot maintain their ground without his culture and protection."
       
      • 1848 — Charnock: "stiffest and most obdurate"
      Link to source. Same as above (see Mudie, Dovaston, Low, Hill, Low, Emmons).

      • 1849 — Emmons: "deteriorated by culture"
      Link to source. Emmons has  previously (see Emmons 1846, above) said something about fruit trees and  potatoes. Why should he not later remember a phrase from Matthew (1831) in recording that the Virginia White May Wheat may have deteriorated by culture, although Matthew used that phrase in a different context. The point is as with Mudie, Dovaston, Low, Hill and Emmons above, that these sources cannot have lead any reader to Matthew's book.

      • 1852 — Wilkin: "figure is best accommodated"
      "Figure is best accommodated" occurred in a book called "Sir Browne's work: including his life and correspondence" edited by Simon Wilkin and published in (1835). Sutton simply overlooked that this phrase is not by Wilkin (1835) but by Browne (1658). Wilkin just assembled the works of Browne, edited and republished them. This Wilkin-Browne case was first published in a brilliant rebuttal of Sutton's book by Grzegorz Malec (see here).

      • 1853 — Andrews: "impressions and habits acquired"
      This is from page 14 of the Reflections on the Operation of the Present System of Education. Andrews basically says that, no matter what, a bad pupil will become a bad adult: 

      "The force of punishment will be found to resemble the application of power in changing the growth of the tree: weeks years of confinement, will not effect a complete reformation in the offender. His life may seem to be changed, his habits reformed; but as he goes out to mingle again with the world, as one occasion after another presents itself to him, his former passions begin to revive those early impressions take possession of him and he becomes the same that he was originally only that his degraded position renders him far less able to resist the temptation to do wrong. Impressions and habits acquired in youth are proverbially lasting." 

      Sutton (2014, chapter 4) argues that Andrews' use of a tree analogy, here, makes it likely that he got the phrase from Matthew. He even claims that Andrews had an "intense interest in scientific forestry." Now, Andrews' tree analogy only occurs at page 13 and 14 and shows no expert knowledge of scientific forestry. Andrews' tree analogy has the intellectual import of a priest using it in one of his sermons. It has nothing to do with Matthew (1831).

      What is worse, the passage where Matthew (1831, p. 386) used that phrase has nothing to do with trees. It is Matthew's trial to unite his idea of natural selection with Lamarck's idea of the inheritance acquired traits. Matthew, here, speculates about the possible influence, on evolution, of mental impressions and acquired habits in higher animals, from humans to insects (see also below, Leidy 1858). 

      • 1854 — Mure: "dogmatical classification"
      The title, A Critical History of the Language and Literatur of Ancient Greece, vol. 3, already gives it away. Here, Mure is duking out a historiographical fight with Mr. Grote concerning the question whether a strict distinction ("dogmatical classification") can be drawn, between historical records of ancient Greece that belong to the fabulous and others that belong to realistic writings.

      "I further maintain therefore, that any such tripartite classification as that of Mr. Grote— who first condemns in the mass the whole Greek tradition prior to the exact year of the Dorian conquest as pure fiction, because he has no means of demonstrating it to be true; who next suddenly admits Greek tradition from the Dorian conquest down to 776 to be Mythology founded on a broad basis of fact, although he has no means of demonstrating the existence of that fact; and who thirdly, admits Greek tradition from 776 downwards to be “true or objective history,” although there are no contemporary historians for about two centuries afterwards;—any such dogmatical classification must be a fallacy." (p. 530)

      Compare this with Matthew (1831, p. 381) airing doubts about the systematics/taxonomy of his time:

      "Throughout this volume, we have felt considerable inconvenience, from the adopted dogmatical classification of plants, and have all along been floundering between species and variety, which certainly under culture soften into each other." 

      No reason to suppose that Mure must have taken the phrase from Matthew, but if he did, this will forever remain a speculation that cannot be proven and would, even in that case, be completely irrelevant.

      • 1855 — Fishbourne: "power to permeate"
      Fishbourne was an admiral of a ship and he later wrote a book on his experiences in the far east and China. In this context, he wrote about the various human races and wondered why the Miou-tze, "a race of independent mountaineers," would stay isolated "in the midst of a people who seem to have had more than ordinary power to permeate and pervade other races; shewing them to possess an indestructibility of race like the Jew." 

      If interpreted biologically, this would be rampant racism on Fishbourne's part. Fishbourne, however, continues to argue that the reason for their isolation is religious (cultural). He thought they kept and worshipped rudiments of Christian scripture and practice and were, therefore, open to conversion.

      "The ignorant always invent something strange but ridiculous, to account for what they do not understand; [...] Of their real position and character we have much to learn, and it may be of the most interesting, not to say important kind, for it may be that, like the Jews at Kae-fung-foo, they have a copy of the Old Testament scriptures, but have lost the knowledge of the character in which it is written; [...] and as a consequence, the people have only a general knowledge of their contents ; so that only such meagre portions of the truth as may have been embalmed in their customs and traditions is current amongst them, revolting them from idolatry like the Jew, and predisposing them so towards Christianity, that when it was presented to them they met it with acceptance." 

      That is, Fishbourne explains the failure to permeate the Miou-tze of the ruling Chinese race, which otherwise shows a great power to permeate other races, as a cultural/religious thing. Again, this has no connection whatever with Matthew (1831, p. 335) writing of the power of the roots of some tree species to permeate the stiffest and most obdurate soils.
       
      • 1855 — Laycock: "mental or instinctive powers"
      This is from the article Further Researches into the Functions of the Brain by Thomas Laycock published in 1855 in The British and Foreign Medico-chirurgical Review 16: 155-187. Laycock wrote (p. 164):

      "Since what is true of the whole, is true of every part thereof, it follows that the nervous system is also the seat of all those quasi-mental or instinctive powers by which the unconscious mind attains its end."

      Compare Matthew (1831, p. 364):

      "There is a law in nature, tending to render every reproductive being the best possibly suited to its condition that its kind, or that organized matter, is susceptible of, which appears intended to model the physical and mental or instinctive powers, to their highest perfection, and to continue them so."

      Where Laycock distinguished instinctive from mental powers as quasi-mental, Matthew distinguished the physical from the mental + instinctive powers. He lumped mental and instinctive. The phrases mean different distinctions. This context makes it seem unlikely that Laycock took his phrase from Matthew.

      • 1856 — Gazlay: "adaptation to condition"
      Both Gazlay alias Cephas Broadluck (1856. Races of mankind: with travels to Grubland, p. 57) and Matthew (1831, p. 3) write about the adaptation of humans to their specific condition of life. As above (see Low 1837 and Dovaston 1837), however, the reader could not have gotten a whiff of Matthew's book or the idea of natural selection in it from this use of his words:

      "In a country where ice and dogs cover the face of the earth, the social phenomena sink to individual and family attachments. There is really no social organization, with its numerous and complicated details and relations, by which the mind is constantly supplied and excited. Instead of which there is substituted an interminable struggle for food; and the mind quietly adapting itself to the invention of simple means required for that absorbing object. This is nothing, remarked the Doctor, but a perfect physical and mental adaptation to condition; the worst of it being that s like condition may be an artificial instead of a natural one." (p. 56f)


      It is also interesting to note that "adaptation to condition" overlaps with the next phrase "restricted adaptation" below (see Powell 1858) in Matthew (1831, p. 3) "restricted adaptation to condition." If these phrases were used like names for certain concepts with distinct meanings, one would not expect them to overlap in usage. 
           For example, "friction force" and "force of habit" do not usually overlap, because their different meanings would then collide in the nonsensical expression "friction force of habit." This shows that Matthew did not coin these phrases as names for distinct concepts with distinct meanings.

      • 1858 — Powell: "restricted adaptation"
      This is from The British and Foreign Evangelical Review. It was, as its name suggests, a periodical publishing review articles on theological publications. The article in question is not by Baden Powell, as Sutton suggests in his reference list, but instead by an apparently anonymous author, who reviewed Powell's book Christianity without Judaism. The third essay of Powell's book was on dispensationalist theology, a view that biblical history is best understood as a series of separate time periods (dispensations). Each dispensation is said to represent a different way in which God deals with man. In reviewing this part of Powell's book, the anonymous author writes:

      "He [Powell] begins by referring to the apostolic declaration in the Epistle to the Hebrews (chap. i. 1.) as presenting to us a brief but comprehensive view of the "nature, character, and connection of the successive Divine dispensations,” and as confirming, according to our author, the restricted adaptation of all the older dispensations to the mere condition of the parties respectively addressed. “The view presented to us is that of successive revelations, systems, covenants, laws, given to
      different individuals, families, or nations, containing gradual,
      progressive, and partial developments of spiritual truth, and intimations of the Divine will for their guidance, accompanied with peculiar positive institutions, adapted to the ideas of the age and the condition of the parties to whom they were vouchsafed.” (p. 501f)

      That is, Powell and his reviewer were writing about the ways in which god adapted his rules and revelations to the different ilks of humans he saw himself confronted with. It would be utterly absurd to regard this as a case of evolution (of divine dispensations) through selective pressures exerted by humans. No connection to Matthew (1831) whatever.

      • 1858 — Floy: "law manifest in nature"
      This is from a sermon by Dr. Hallock recounted in The National Magazine: devoted to Literature, Art, and Religion, vol. 13, p. 183, (vol 12 ends with page 572 and vol. 13 is concatenated). The editor Floy summarizes Hallock's divinations (beware, lots of spiritualist BS): 

      "The Road to Spiritualism, in four lectures delivered in the New York Lyceum, by Dr. Hallock, author of "The Child and the Man." [...] Dr Hallock, the high-priest of nature says: "Bring before the man who holds this key these empire-splitting and world-convulsing questions which have vexed it so long, and mark what he will do with them. Ask him: Ought I to starve my body to a skeleton, or mutilate any part of it, for the glory of God and the good of my soul? Should I be a Shaker, or a Mormon, in my relation to woman? He asks you, Are these practices physiologically and socially right? You answer, No. Then they are theologically wrong, and no authority can save them from ultimate disgrace. Physiological, theological, and every other law manifest in nature, must accord, if from no other necessity, then from this, that they have a common end, which is, the development of man."

      That is, Hallock simply thought that both the polygamy of the Mormons and the celibacy of the Shakers were unnatural—against the law of physiology, theology and every other law manifest in nature.

      This has absolutely nothing to do with Matthew's law of degeneration: "There is a law manifest in nature, that when the use of any thing is past, its existence is no longer kept up" (Matthew 1831, p. 367). Why should the fact that Floy (1858), in parroting Hallock's gibberish, happened to use the same phrase as Matthew did before, signify that Floy must have read Matthew (1831)?

      • 1858 — Leidy: "impressions in insects"
      This is from the Summary of the Transactions of The Philadelphia Biological Society: reported by Henry Hartshorne, M.D., Recording Secretary." As it is published in the Journal of the Lousiana State Medical Society (1858, Vol. 15, p. 673-679), these two societies seem to have had reporting secretaries traveling to and fro. That is, the transaction may have taken place in Philadelphia and only been reported (by Hartshorne, not Leidy) in the Journal of the Lousiana State Med. Society. [Ht to Julian Derry for help getting the full record.]

      At Feb. 15th., Dr. T. G. Richardson read an elaborate paper by Dr. George Patic, of Galt, Canada West, upon the Functions of the Spinal Cord, as illustrated by experiments on cold-blooded animals;* endeavouring to show occasion for some modification of the theory of reflex action of Marshall Hall, and for the opinion that perception is one of the attributes of the spinal cord, and especially of the medulla oblongata." (p. 676)

      This already sets the stage as a discussion about the question, whether the spinal cord and especially the brain stem are mere autopilots or whether some kind of perception or consciousness can be attributed to them. The Marshall Hall mentioned is associated with the theory of the reflex arc that proposed an automatic reflex involving the spinal marrow only. Hence the context of the deliberations of the society, here, is neurobiology. (The reference given for the asterisk says: "* See N. Amer. Medico-Chirurg. Review, May, 1858." This was a common practice, to first read a paper, then publish it, so that the members of the society would know in advance, in which issue it would end up and could cite it in advance, ht to Julian Derry.) Anyway, Dr. Leidy was not convinced and argued for the autopilot. This has been reported thus:

      "Dr. Leidy remarked that the experiments narrated in the paper did not appear to him entirely conclusive, as the movements described might be automatic. [...] He believed that the conveyance of impressions, in insects, for instance, to the chain of ventral ganglion, should be expected, without supposing perception to produce the apparently voluntary movements."

      Leidy even recounts an experiment of his, in which he kept a pigeon alive after removing the cerebrum (that's the big part of the brain with which we consciously think) and how the pigeon would, for warmth, walk into a fire and how he needed to repeatedly pick it out of the ash-pan, or else it would have grilled itself. Thereafter, a lively debate commenced—all neurophysiology.

      Compare this with Matthew (1831, p 385f) struggling to unite his idea of natural selection (circumstance-adaptive law as he called it) with the Lamarckian idea of volition and sensation having an effect on evolution:

      "This circumstance-adaptive law, operating upon the slight but continued natural disposition to sport in the progeny (seedling variety), does not preclude the supposed influence which volition or sensation may have over the configuration of the body. [...opaque passage omitted...]"

      He then seems to say that instinctive behaviour is more likely to be found in insects with shorter life-cycles than in animals with longer ones. For some reason he then calls this lack of continuity of individuals greater continuity of existence and concludes:

      "This greater continuity of existence, or rather continuity of perceptions and impressions, in insects, is highly probable [...opaque passage omitted...]."

      The whole passage is very opaque and difficult to understand. Mike Weale, for example, thinks Matthew is hinting at racial memory (he does talk about human races in one of the passages I omitted) and swarm intelligence.

      In conclusion, this is a case of shoddy referencing on Sutton's part, because the author reporting the Transactions is not Leidy, as he makes his readers believe, but Hartshorne. Leidy may never have used the phrase "impressions, in insects." Moreover, the contexts are neurobiology vs. a trial at uniting Lamarckism with natural selection (circumstance-adaptive law) that is really opaque (may include stuff about swarm intelligence or racial memory).

      The question is: Why should the fact that Hartshorne, in reporting the deliberations of the members of his medical society during a session on neurophysiology, used the phrase "impressions, in insects," signify that he has read Matthew (1831), who had previously used the same phrase in a different context?

      Summary
      Let me summarize the blunders of Mike Sutton, just to show you what a pseudo-scholar he is:

      1. He mistook the translation of a Swiss-French pastor's failure to teach his peasants proper potato cultivation with with Matthew's observations on self-thinning in forest rejuvenations (see above, Ellerby 1832).
      2. He failed to check whether anything in Matthew (1831) could be from non-English sources (see above, Conrad 1834; Roget 1834).
      3. He mistook a rant of Rafinesque (1836) against the Linnean system with a rant of Matthew against the poor selection regimes of nurserymen.
      4. He mistook political rants with biological ones (see Wilson 1837—threatened ascendancy).
      5. He mistook a theatre critique with a scientific piece (see above, Anonymous[31] 1837).
      6. He failed concerning an ostensibly anonymous translation, that was neither a translation nor even contained the phrase in question (see above, Anonymous translator 1838).
      7. He mistook poor selection regimes with hybridization (see above, Buel 1840).
      8. He mistook an anecdote about a parlor games with the competitive advantage of established trees (see above, Swackhamer 1840).
      9. He mistook the failure of a contemporary (Selby 1842) to get Matthew's idea as a proof that Selby did get Matthew's idea.
      10. He mistook law-stuff with natural history (see above, Alabama Supreme Court 1846).
      11. He mistook an editor and re-publisher for the original author (see above, Wilkin 1852).
      12. He mistook the worst that's ever been published on education with the best that's been published on natural history (see above, Andrews 1853).
      13. He mistook a piece on language and historiography with one on natural history (Mure 1854).
      14. He mistook cultural (religious) causes with natural (ecological) ones (see Fishbourne 1855).
      15. He took a review of Powell (1858) on theology to be an original natural history source.
      16. He mistook an account of a spiritualist ranting about the polygamy of Mormons and the celibacy of Shakers with science (see above, Floy 1858).
      17. He mistook communicating member's report of a debate about neurophysiology involving Leidy (1858) with an original statement by Leidy and took it to be on natural history.

      The other parts in this series can be found by choosing the rider/label 'Patrick Matthew' from above the blog posts. Or click of the following links:     Part 1,    Part 2,    Part 4.