As the following dialogue embodies the earliest fruits of Butler's study of the works of Charles Darwin, with whose name his own was destined in later years to be so closely connected, and thus possesses an interest apart from its intrinsic merit, a few words as to the circumstances in which it was published will not be out of place.
Butler arrived in New Zealand in October, 1859, and about the same time Charles Darwin's ORIGIN OF SPECIES was published. Shortly afterwards the book came into Butler's hands. He seems to have read it carefully, and meditated upon it. The result of his meditations took the shape of the following dialogue, which was published on 20 December, 1862, in the PRESS which had been started in the town of Christ Church in May, 1861.