published in Edinburgh
, and undertook to demonstrate the doctrine of development or evolution.
The treatise interested him greatly, and he was deeply impressed with the notion of the so-called “universal law” --evolution; he did not extend greatly his researches, but by continued thinking in a single channel seemed to grow into a warm advocate of the new doctrine.
Beyond what I have stated he made no further investigation into the realm of philosophy.
“There are no accidents,” he said one day, “in my philosophy.
Every effect must have its cause.
The past is the cause of the present, and the present will be the cause of the future.
All these are links in the endless chain stretching from the finite to the infinite.”
From what has been said it would follow logically that he did not believe, except in a very restricted sense, in the freedom of the will.
We often argued the question, I taking the opposite view; he changed the expression, calling it the freedom of the mind, and insisted that man always acted from a motive.
I once contended that man was free and could act without a motive.
He smiled at my philosophy, and answered that “it was impossible, because the motive was born before the man.”
The foregoing thoughts are prefatory to the much-mooted question of Mr. Lincoln
's religious belief.
For what I have heretofore said on this subject, both in public lectures and in letters which have frequently found their way into the newspapers, I have been freely and sometimes bitterly assailed, but I do not intend now to reopen the discussion