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875-6 10 

EITTEIED, according to Act of Congress, In the year 1876, by 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 


THESE papers are now collected at the request of 
friends and correspondents, who think that they may 
be useful ; and two new essays are added. Most of 
the articles were written as occasion called for them 
within the past sixteen years, and contributed to 
various periodicals, with little thought of their form- 
ing a series, and none of ever bringing them together 
into a volume, although one of them (the third) was 
once reprinted in a pamphlet form. It is, therefore, 
inevitable that there should be considerable iteration 
in the argument, if not in the language. This could 
not be eliminated except by recasting the whole, 
which was neither practicable nor really desirable. 
It is better that they should record, as they do, the 
writer's freely-expressed thoughts upon the subject 
at the time ; and to many readers there may be some 
advantage in going more than once, in different 
directions, over the same ground. If these essays 
were to be written now, some things might be differ- 
ently expressed or qualified, but probably not so as 


to affect materially any important point. According- 
ly, they are here reprinted unchanged, except by a 
few merely verbal alterations made in proof-reading, 
and the striking out of one or two superfluous or 
immaterial passages. A very few additional notes or 
references are appended. 

To the last article but one a second part is now 
added, and the more elaborate Article XIII. is wholly 

If it be objected that some of these pages are 
written in a lightness of vein not quite congruous 
with the gravity of the subject and the seriousness of 
its issues, the excuse must be that they were written 
with perfect freedom, most of them as anonymous 
contributions to popular journals, and that an argu- 
ment may not be the less sound or an exposition less 
effective for being playful. Some of the essays, 
however, dealing with points of speculative scientific 
interest, may redress the balance, and be thought 
sufficiently heavy if not solid. 

To the objection likely to be made, that they cover 
only a part of the ground, it can only be replied that 
they do not pretend to be systematic or complete. 
They are all essays relating in some way or other to 
the subject which has been, during these years, of 
paramount interest to naturalists, and not much less 
BO to most thinking people. The first appeared be- 


tween sixteen and seventeen years ago, immediately 
after the publication of Darwin's " Origin of Species 
by Means of Natural Selection," as a review of that 
volume, which, it was then foreseen, was to initiate a 
revolution in general scientific opinion. Long before 
our last article was written, it could be affirmed that 
the general doctrine of the derivation of species (to 
put it comprehensively) has prevailed over that of 
specific creation, at least to the extent of being the re- 
ceived and presumably in some sense true conception. 
Far from undertaking any general discussion of evo- 
lution, several even of Mr. Darwin's writings have 
not been noticed, and topics which have been much 
discussed elsewhere are not here adverted to. Tliis 
applies especially to what may be called deductive 
evolution a subject which lay beyond the writer's 
immediate scope, and to which neither the bent of 
his mind nor the line of his studies has fitted him to, 
do justice. If these papers are useful at all, jt will 
be as showing how these new views of our day are 
regarded by a practical naturalist, versed in one de- 
partment only (viz., Botany), most interested in their 
bearings upon its special problems, one accustomed to 
direct and close dealing with the facts in hand, and 
disposed to rise from them only to the consideration 
of those general questions upon which they throw 
or from which they receive illustration. 


Then as to the natural theological questions which 
(owing to circumstances needless now to be recalled 
or explained) are here throughout brought into what 
most naturalists, and some other readers, may deem 
undue prominence, there are many who may be inter- 
ested to know how these increasingly prevalent views 
and their tendencies are regarded by one who is scien- 
tifically, and in his own fashion, a Darwinian, philo- 
sophically a convinced theist, and religiously an ac- 
ceptor of the " creed commonly called the Nicene," 
as the exponent of the Christian faith. 

" Truth emerges sooner from error than from con- 
fusion," says Bacon; and clearer views than com- 
monly prevail upon the points at issue regarding 
" religion and science " are still sufficiently needed to 
justify these endeavors. 



* This Table of Contents, and the copious Index to the volume, wow 
obHgingly prepared by the Eev. G. F. WEIGHT, of Andover. 




Views and Definitions of Species. How Darwin's differs from that 
of Agassiz, and from the Common View. Variation, its Causes 
unknown. Darwin's Genealogical Tree. Darwin and Agassiz 
agree in the Capital Facts. Embryology. Physical Connec- 
tion of Species compatible with Intellectual Connection. How 
to prove Transmutation. Known Extent of Variation. Cause 
of Likeness unknown. Artificial Selection. Reversion. In- 
terbreeding. Natural Selection. Classification tentative. 
What Darwin assumes. Argument stated. How Natural Se- 
lection works. Where the Argument is weakest. Objections. 
Morphology and Teleology harmonized. Theory not athe- 
isticalConceivable Modes of Relation of God to Nature ,. 9 



How Design in Nature can be shown. Design not inconsistent 

with Indirect Attainment .62 





PART I. Premonitions of Darwinism. A Proper Subject for 
Speculation. Summary of Facts and Ideas suggestive of Hy- 
potheses of Derivation 87 

PART n. Limitations of Theory conceded by Darwin. What Dar- 
winism explains. Geological Argument strong in the Tertiary 
Period. Correspondence between Rank and Geological Suc- 
cession. Difficulties in Classification. Nature of Affinity. 
No Absolute Distinction between Vegetable and Animal King- 
doms. Individuality. Gradation ..... 104 

PART in. Theories contrasted. Early Arguments against Darwin- 
ism. Philosophical and Theological Objections. Theory may 
be theistic. Final Cause not excluded. Cause of Variation 
unknown. Three Views of Efficient Cause compatible with 
Theism. Agassiz's Objections of a Philosophical Nature. 
Minor Objections. Conclusion 129 



Alphonse De Candolle's Study of the Oak Genus. Variability of 
the Species. Antiquity. A Common Origin probable. Dr. 
Falconer on the Common Origin of Elephants. Variation and 
Natural Selection distinguished. Saporta on the Gradation be- 
tween the Vegetable Forms of the Cretaceous and the Tertiary. 
Hypothesis of Derivation more likely to be favored by Bot- 
anists than by Zoologists. Views of Agassiz respecting the 
Origin, Dispersion, Variation, Characteristics, and Successive 
Creation of Species contrasted with those of De Candolle and 
others. Definition of Species. Whether its Essence is in the 
Likeness or in the Genealogical Connection of the Individuals 
composing a Species 178 





Age and Size of Sequoia. Isolation. Decadence. Related Ge- 
nera. Former Distribution. Similarity between the Flora of 
Japan and that of the United States, especially on the Atlantic 
Side. Former Glaciation as explaining the Present Dispersion 
of Species. This confirmed by the Arctic Fossil Flora of the 
Tertiary Period. Tertiary Flora derived from the Preceding 
Cretaceous. Order and Adaptation in Organic Nature likened 
to a Flow. Order implies an Ordainer .... 205 



General Tendency to Acceptance of the Derivative Hypothesis 
noted. Lyell, Owen, Alphonse De Candolle, Bentham, Flower, 
Allman. Dr. Dawson's " Story of the Earth and Man " exam- 
ined. Difference between Scientific Men and General Specu- 
lators or Amateurs in the Use of Hypotheses. . . . 238 



Writings of Henslow, Hodges, and Le Conte examined. Evolu- 
tion and Design compatible. The Admission of a System of 
Nature, with Fixed Laws, concedes in Principle all that the 
Doctrine of Evolution requires. Hypotheses, Probabilities, 
and Surmises, not to be decried by Theologians, who use them, 
perhaps, more freely and loosely than Naturalists. Theolo- 
gians risk too much in the Defense of Untenable Outposts . 253 


Dr. Hodge's Book with this Title criticised. He declares that Dar- 
winism is Atheism, yet its Founder a Theist. Darwinism 


founded, however, upon Orthodox Conceptions, and opposed, 
not to Theiam, but only to Intervention in 'S'ature, while the 
Key-note of Dr. Hodge's System is Interference. Views and 
Writings of St. Clair, Winchell, and Kingsley adverted to . 266 



Darwin's Characteristics and Work as a Naturalist compared with 
those of Robert Brown. His Illustration of the Principle that 
" Nature abhors Close Fertilization." His Impression upon 
Natural History exceeded only by Linnaeus. His Service in 
restoring Teleology to Natural History . . . .283 



Classification marks Distinctions where Nature exhibits Grada- 
tions. Recovery of Forgotten Knowledge and History of 
what was known of Dionaea, Drosera, and Sarracenia . . 289 



Review of Darwin's Two Works upon these Subjects. No Absolute 
Marks for distinguishing between Vegetables and Animals. 
New Observations upon the Sundews or Droseras. Their Sen- 
sitiveness, Movements, Discernment of the Presence and Ap- 
propriation of Animal Matter. Dionaca, and other Plants of 
the same Order. Utricularia and Pinguicula. Sarracenia and 
Nepenthes. Climbing Plants ; the Climbing effected through 
Sensitiveness or Response to External Impression and Auto- 
matic Movement Capacities inherent in Plants generally, 
and apparently of no Service to them, developed and utilized 
by those which climb. Natural Selection not a Complete Ex. 
planation . ...... . 808 





FART I. Do Varieties in Plants wear out, or tend to wear out ? 

The Question considered in the Light of Facts, and in that of 
the Darwinian Theory. Conclusion that Races sexually propa- 
gated need not die of Old Age. This Conclusion inferred 
from the Provisions and Arrangements in Nature to secure 
Cross-Fertilization of Individuals. Reference to Mr. Darwin's 
Development of this View ...... 338 

PART II. Do Species wear out, and, if not, why not ? Implication 
of the Darwinian Theory that Species are unlimited in Exist- 
ence. Examination of an Opposite Doctrine maintained by 
Naudin. Evidence that Species may die out from Inherent 
Causes only indirect and inferential from Arrangements to 
secure Wide Breeding. Physiological Import of Sexes. 
Doubtful whether Sexual Reproduction with Wide Breeding 
is a Preventive or only a Palliative of Decrepitude in Species. 
Darwinian Hypothesis must suppose the Former . . 347 



The Opposition between Morphology and Teleology reconciled by 
Darwinism, and the Latter reinstated. Character of the New 
Teleology. Purpose and Design distinguished. Man has no 
Monopoly of the Latter. Inference of Design from Adap- 
tation and Utility legitimate ; also in Hume's Opinion irresisti- 
ble. The Principle of Design, taken with Specific Creation, 
totally insufficient and largely inapplicable ; but, taken with 
the Doctrine of the Evolution of Species in Nature, applicable, 
pertinent, and, moreover, necessary. Illustrations from Abor- 
tive Organs, supposed Waste of Being, etc. All Nature being 
of a Piece, Design must either pervade or be absent from the 
Whole. Its Absence not to be inferred because the Events 
take place in Nature. Illustration of the Nature and Prov- 
ince' of Natural Selection. It picks out. but does not origi- 



natc Variations ; these not a Product of, but a Response to, 
the Environment ; not physical, but physiological. Adapta- 
tions in Nature not explained by Natural Selection apart from 
Design or Final Cause. Absurdity of associating Design only 
with Miracle. What is meant by Nature. The Tradition of 
the DIVINI in Nature, testified to by Aristotle, comes down to 
our Day with Undlminished Value 356 

ISDKX . S91 




THIS book is already exciting much attention. 
Two American editions are announced, through which 
it will become familiar to many of our readers, before 
these pages are issued. An abstract of the argument 
for " the whole volume is one long argument," as 
the author states is unnecessary in such a case ; and 
it would be difficult to give by detached extracts. 
For the volume itself is an abstract, a prodromus of a 
detailed work upon which the author has been labor- 
ing for twenty years, and which " will take two or three 
more years to complete." It is exceedingly compact ; 
and although useful summaries are appended to the 
several chapters, and a general recapitulation con- 

1 " On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the 
Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life," by Charles 
Darwin, M. A., Fellow of the Royal, Geological, Linnzean, etc., Societies, 
Author of " Journal of Researches during H. M. S. Beagle's Voyage 
round the World." London : John Murray. 1859. 502 pp., post 8vo. 


tains the essence of the whole, yet much of the aroma 
escapes in the treble distillation, or is so concentrated 
that the flavor is lost to the general or even to the 
scientific reader. The volume itself the proof-spirit 
is just condensed enough for its purpose. It will 
be far more widely read, and perhaps will make 
deeper impression, than the elaborate work might 
have done, with all its full details of the facts upon 
which the author's sweeping conclusions have been 
grounded. At least it is a more readable book : but 
all the facts that can be mustered in favor of the 
theory are still likely to be needed. 

Who, upon a single perusal, shall pass judgment 
upon a work like this, to which twenty of the best 
years of the life of a most able naturalist have been 
devoted? And who among those naturalists who 
hold a position that entitles them to pronounce sum- 
marily upon the subject, can be expected to divest 
himself for the nonce of the influence of received and 
favorite systems ? In fact, the controversy now opened 
is not likely to be settled in an off-hand way, nor 
is it desirable that it should be. A spirited conflict 
among opinions of every grade must ensue, which 
to borrow an illustration from the doctrine of the book 
before us may be likened to the conflict in Nature 
among races in the struggle for life, which Mr. Dar- 
win describes ; through which the views most favored 
by facts will be developed and tested by " Natural 
Selection," the weaker ones be destroyed in the pro- 
cess, and the strongest in the long-run alone survive. 

The duty of reviewing this volume in the Ameri- 
can Journal of Science would naturally devolve upon 


the principal editor, whose wide observation and pro- 
found knowledge of various departments of natural 
history, as well as of geology, particularly qualify him 
for the task. But he has been obliged to lay aside 
his pen, and to seek in distant lands the entire repose 
from scientific labor so essential to the restoration of 
his health a consummation devoutly to be wished, 
and confidently to be expected. Interested as Mr. 
Dana would be in this volume, he could not be ex- 
pected to accept its doctrine. Yiews so idealistic as 
those upon which his " Thoughts upon Species " * are 
grounded, will not harmonize readily with a doctrine 
so thoroughly naturalistic as that of Mr. Darwin. 
Though it is just possible that one who regards the 
kinds of elementary matter, such as oxygen and hy- 
drogen, and the definite compounds of these ele- 
mentary matters, and their compounds again, in the 
mineral kingdom, as constituting species, in the same 
sense, fundamentally, as that of animal and vegetable 
species, might admit an evolution of one species from 
another in the latter as well as the former case. 

Between the doctrines of this volume and those of 
the other great naturalist whose name adorns the title- 
page of this journal [Mr. Agassiz], the widest diver- 
gence appears. It is interesting to contrast the two, 
and, indeed, is necessary to our purpose ; for this con- 
trast brings out most prominently, and sets in strongest 
light and shade, the main features of the theory of the 
origination of species by means of Natural Selection. 

The ordinary and generally-received view assumes 
the independent, specific creation of each kind of plant 

1 Article in this Journal, vol. xxiv., p. 305. 


and animal in a primitive stock, which reproduces its 
like from generation to generation, and so continues 
the species. 1 Taking the idea of species from this 
perennial succession of essentially similar individuals, 
the chain is logically traceable back to a local origin in 
a single stock, a single pair, or a single individual, 
from which all the individuals composing the species 
have proceeded by natural generation. Although the 
similarity of progeny to parent is fundamental in the 
conception of species, yet the likeness is by no means 
absolute ; all species vary more or less, and some vary 
remarkably partly from the influence of altered cir- 
cumstances, and partly (and more really) from un- 
known constitutional causes which altered conditions 
favor rather than originate. But these variations are 
supposed to be mere oscillations from a normal state, 
and in Nature to be limited if not transitory ; so that 
the primordial differences between species and species 
at their beginning have not been effaced, nor largely 
obscured, by blending through variation. Conse- 
quently, whenever two reputed species are found to 
blend in Nature through a series of intermediate forms, 
community of origin is inferred, and all the forms, 
however diverse, are held to belong to one species. 
Moreover, since bisexuality is the rule in Nature 
(which is practically carried out, in the long-run, far 
more generally than has been suspected), and the 
heritable qualities of two distinct individuals are min- 
gled in the offspring, it is supposed that the general 

1 " Species tot sunt, quot diversas formas ab initio produxit lufini- 
tnm Ens ; qusB forma 1 , secundum gencrationis inditas leges, produxere 
plures, at sibi semper similes." Linn. Phil. ot., 99, 157. 


sterility of hybrid progeny interposes an effectual 
barrier against the blending of the original species 
by crossing. 

From this generally-accepted view the well-known 
theory of Agassiz and the recent one of Darwin diverge 
in exactly opposite directions. 

That of Agassiz differs fundamentally from the 
ordinary view only in this, that it discards the idea of 
a common descent as the real bond of union among 
the individuals of a species, and also the idea of a local 
origin supposing, instead, that each species origi- 
nated simultaneously, generally speaking, over the 
whole geographical area it now occupies or has occu- 
pied, and in perhaps as many individuals as it num- 
bered at any subsequent period. 

Mr. Darwin, on the other hand, holds the orthodox 
view of the descent of all the individuals of a species 
not only from a local birthplace, but from a single 
ancestor or pair; and that each species has extended 
and established itself, through natural agencies, wher- 
ever it could ; so that the actual geographical distri- 
bution of any species is by no means a primordial ar- 
rangement, but a natural result. He goes farther, 
and this volume is a protracted argument intended to 
prove that the species we recognize have not been in- 
dependently created, as such, but have descended, like 
varieties, from other species. Varieties, on this view, 
are incipient or possible species : species are varieties 
of a larger growth and a wider and earlier divergence 
from the parent stock ; the difference is one of degree, 
not of kind. 

The ordinary view rendering unto Caesar the 


things that are Caesar's looks to natural agencies for 
the actual distribution and perpetuation of species, to 
a supernatural for their origin. 

The theory of Agassiz regards the origin of species 
and their present general distribution over the world 
as equally primordial, equally supernatural ; that of 
Darwin, as equally derivative, equally natural. 

The theory of Agassiz, referring as it does the 
phenomena both of origin and distribution directly to 
the Divine will thus removing the latter with the 
former out of the domain of inductive science (in 
which efficient cause is not the first, but the last word) 
may be said to be theistic to excess. The contrasted 
theory is not open to this objection. Studying the 
facts and phenomena in reference to proximate causes, 
and endeavoring to trace back the series of cause and 
effect as far as possible, Darwin's aim and processes 
are strictly scientific, and his endeavor, whether suc- 
cessful or futile, must be regarded as a legitimate at- 
tempt to extend the domain of natural or physical 
science. For, though it well may be that " organic 
forms have no physical or secondary cause," yet this 
can be proved only indirectly, by the failure of every 
attempt to refer the phenomena in question to causal 
laws. But, however originated, and whatever bo 
thought of Mr. Darwin's arduous undertaking in this 
respect, it is certain that plants and animals are sub- 
ject from their birth to physical influences, to which 
they have to accommodate themselves as they can. 
How literally they are "born to trouble," and how 
incessant and severe the struggle for life generally is, 
the present volume graphically describes. Few will 


deny that such influences must have gravely affected 
the range and the association of individuals and species 
on the earth's surface. Mr. Darwin thinks that, acting 
upon an inherent predisposition to vary, they have suf- 
ficed even to modify the species themselves and pro- 
duce the present diversity. Mr. Agassiz believes that 
they have not even affected the geographical range 
and the actual association of species, still less their 
forms ; but that every adaptation of species to climate, 
and of species to species, is as aboriginal, and therefore 
as inexplicable, as are the organic forms themselves. 

Who shall decide between such extreme views so 
ably maintained on either hand, and say how much of 
truth there may be in each ? The present reviewer 
has not the presumption to undertake such a task. 
Having no prepossession in favor of naturalistic theo- 
ries, but struck with the eminent ability of Mr. Dar- 
win's work, and charmed with its fairness, our hum- 
bler duty will be performed if, laying aside prejudice 
as much as we can, we shall succeed in giving a fair 
account of its method and argument, offering by the 
way a few suggestions, such as might occur to any 
naturalist of an inquiring mind. An editorial charac- 
ter for this article must in justice be disclaimed. The 
plural pronoun is employed not to give editorial 
weight, but to avoid even the appearance of egotism, 
and also the circumlocution which attends a rigorous 
adherence to the impersonal style. 

We have contrasted these two extremely divergent 
theories, in their broad statements. It must not be 
inferred that they have no points nor ultimate results 
in common. 


In the first place, they practically agree in upset- 
ting, each in its own way, the generally-received defi- 
nition of species, and in sweeping away the ground of 
their objective existence in Nature. The orthodox 
conception of species is that of lineal descent : all the 
descendants of a common parent, and no other, con- 
stitute a species ; they have a certain identity because 
of their descent, by which they are supposed to be 
recognizable. So naturalists had a distinct idea of 
what they meant by the term species, and a practical 
rule, which was hardly the less useful because difficult 
to apply in many cases, and because its application was 
indirect : that is, the community of origin had to be 
inferred from the likeness ; such degree of similarity, 
and such only, being held to be conspecific as could 
be shown or reasonably inferred to be compatible with 
a common origin. And the usual concurrence of the 
whole body of naturalists (having the same data be- 
fore them) as to what forms are species attests the 
value of the rule, and also indicates some real founda- 
tion for it in Nature. But if species were created in 
numberless individuals over broad spaces of territory, 
these individuals are connected only in idea, and spe- 
cies differ from varieties on the one hand, and from 
genera, tribes, etc., on the other, only in degree ; and 
no obvious natural reason remains for fixing upon this 
or that degree as specific, at least no natural standard, 
by which the opinions of different naturalists may be 
correlated. Species upon this view are enduring, but 
subjective and ideal. Any three or more of the hu- 
man races, for example, are species or not species, ac- 
cording to the bent of the naturalist's mind. Darwin's 


theory brings us the other way to the same result. In 
his view, not only all the individuals of a species are 
descendants of a common parent, but of all the related 
species also. Affinity, relationship, all the terms which 
naturalists use figuratively to express an underived, 
unexplained resemblance among species, have a literal 
meaning upon Darwin's system, which they little sus- 
pected, namely, that of inheritance. Varieties are the 
latest offshoots of the genealogical tree in " an un- 
lineal " order ; species, those of an earlier date, but of 
no definite distinction ; genera, more ancient species, 
and so on. The human races, upon this view, like- 
wise may or may not be species according to the 
notions of each naturalist as to what differences are 
specific ; but, if not species already, those races that 
last long enough are sure to become so. It is only a 
question of time. 

How well the simile of a genealogical tree illus- 
trates the main ideas of Darwin's theory the following 
extract from the summary of the fourth chapter shows : 

" It is a truly wonderful fact the wonder of which we are 
apt to overlook from familiarity that all animals and all plants 
throughout all time and space should be related to each other 
in group subordinate to group, in the manner which we every- 
where behold namely, varieties of the same species most 
closely related together, species of the same genus less closely 
and unequally related together, forming sections and sub-genera, 
species of distinct genera much less closely related, and genera 
related in different degrees, forming sub-families, families, or- 
ders, sub-classes, and classes. The several subordinate groups 
in any class cannot be ranked in a single file, but seem rather 
to be clustered round points, and these round other points, and 
so on in almost endless cycles. On the view that each species 
has been independently created, T can see no explanation of this 


great fact in the classification of all organic beings ; but, to the 
best of my judgment, it is explained through inheritance and 
the complex action of natural selection, entailing extinction 
and divergence of character, as we have seen illustrated in the 

"The affinities of all the beings of the same class have some- 
times been represented by a great tree. I believe this simile 
largely speaks the truth. The green and budding twigs may 
represent existing species; and those produced during each 
former year may represent the long succession of extinct spe- 
cies. At each period of growth all the growing twigs have 
tried to branch out on all sides, and overtop and kill the sur- 
rounding twigs and branches, in the same manner as species 
and groups of species have tried to overmaster other species in 
the great battle for life. The limbs divided into great branches, 
and these into lesser and lesser branches, were themselves once, 
when the tree was small, budding twigs ; and this connection 
of the former and present buds by ramifying branches may well 
represent the classification of all extinct and living species in 
groups subordinate to groups. Of the many twigs which flour- 
ished when the tree was a mere bush, only two or three, now 
grown into great branches, yet survive and bear all the other 
branches; so with the species which lived during long-past 
geological periods, very few now have living and modified de- 
scendants. From the first growth of the tree, many a lirnb and 
branch has decayed and dropped off; and these lost branches 
of various sizes may represent those whole orders, families, and 
genera, which have now no living representatives, and which 
are known to us only from having been found in a fossil state. 
As we here and there see a thin, straggling branch springing 
from a fork low down in a tree, and which by some chance has 
been favored and is still alive on its summit, so we occasionally 
see an animal like the Ornithorhynchus or Lepidosiren, which 
in some small degree connects by its affinities two large branches 
of life, and which has apparently been saved from fatal compe- 
tition by having inhabited a protected station. As bads give 
rise by growth to fresh buds, and these, if vigorous, branch out 


and overtop on all sides many a feebler branch, so by genera- 
tion I believe it has been with the great Tree of Life, which fills 
with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and 
covers the surface with its ever-branching and beautiful ramifi- 

It may also be noted that there is a significant cor- 
respondence between the rival theories as to the main 
facts employed. Apparently every capital fact in the 
one view is a capital fact in the other. The difference 
is in the interpretation. To run the parallel ready 
made to our hands : l 

" The simultaneous existence of the most diversified types 
under identical circumstances, .... the repetition of similar 
types under the most diversified circumstances, .... the unity 
of plan in otherwise highly-diversified types of animals, .... 
the correspondence, now generally known as special homologies, 
in the details of structure otherwise entirely disconnected, down 
to the most minute peculiarities, .... the various degrees and 
different kinds of relationship among animals which (apparently) 
can have no genealogical connection, .... the simultaneous 
existence in the earliest geological periods, .... of representa- 
tives of all the great types of the animal kingdom, .... the 
gradation based upon complications of structure which may be 
traced among animals built upon the same plan ; the distribu- 
tion of some types over the most extensive range of surface of 
the globe, while others are limited to particular geographical 
areas, .... the identity of structures of these types, notwith- 
standing their wide geographical distribution, .... the com- 
munity of structure in certain respects of animals otherwise en- 
tirely different, but living within the same geographical area, 
.... the connection by series of special structures observed 
in animals widely scattered over the surface of the globe, .... 
the definite relations in which animals stand to the surrounding 
world, .... the relations in which individuals of the same 

1 Agassiz, " Essay on Classification ; Contributions to Natural His- 
tory," p. 132, et seq. 


species stand to one another, .... the limitation of the range 
of changes which animals undergo during their growth, .... 
the return to a definite norm of animals which multiply in vari- 
ous ways, .... the order of succession of the different types 
of animals and plants characteristic of the different geological 
epochs, .... the localization of some types of animals upon 
the same points of the surface of the globe during several suc- 
cessive geological periods, .... the parallelism between the 
order of succession of animals and plants in geological times, 
and the gradation among their living representatives, .... the 
parallelism between the order of succession of animals in geo- 
logical times and the changes their living representatives under- 
go during their embryological growth, 1 .... the combination 
in many extinct types of characters which in later ages appear 
disconnected in different types, .... the parallelism between 
the gradation among animals and the changes they undergo 
during their growth, . . . . the relations existing between these 
different series and the geographical distribution of animals, 
.... the connection of all the known features of Nature into 
one system " 

In a word, the whole relations of animals, etc., to 
surrounding Nature and to each other, are regarded 
under the one view as ultimate facts, or in their ulti- 
mate aspect, and interpreted theologically ; under the 
other as complex facts, to be analyzed and interpreted 

1 As to this, Darwin remarks that he can only hope to see the law 
hereafter proved true (p. 449) ; and p. 838 : " Agassiz insists that 
ancient animals resemble to a certain extent the embryos of recent 
animals of the same classes ; or that the geological succession of ex- 
tinct forms is in some degree parallel to the embryological development 
of recent forms. I must follow Pictet and Huxley in thinking that the 
truth of this doctrine is very far from proved. Yet I fully expect to 
sec it hereafter confirmed, at least in regard to subordinate groups, 
which have branched off from each other within comparatively recent 
times. For this doctrine of Agassiz accords well with the theory of 
natural selection." 


scientifically. The one naturalist, perhaps too largely 
assuming the scientifically unexplained to be inexpli- 
cable, views the phenomena only in their supposed 
relation to the Divine mind. The other, naturally 
expecting many of these phenomena to be resolvable 
under investigation, views them in their relations to 
one another, and endeavors to explain them as far as 
he can (and perhaps farther) through natural causes. 

But does the one really exclude the other ? Does 
the investigation of physical causes stand opposed to 
the theological view and the study of the harmonies 
between mind and Nature ? More than this, is it not 
most presumable that an intellectual conception re- 
alized in Nature would be realized through natural 
agencies ? Mr. Agassiz answers these questions affirm- 
atively when he declares that " the task of science is 
to investigate what has been done, to inquire if pos- 
sible Jiow it has leen done, rather than to ask what is 
possible for the Deity, since we can know that only ly 
what actually exists / " and also when he extends the 
argument for the intervention in Nature of a creative 
mind to its legitimate application in the inorganic 
world ; which, he remarks, " considered in the same 
light, would not fail also to exhibit unexpected evi- 
dence of thought, in the character of the laws regulat- 
ing the chemical combinations, the action of physical 
forces, etc., etc." 1 Mr. Agassiz, however, pronounces 
that " the connection between the facts is only intel- 
lectual " an opinion which the analogy of the inor- 

1 Op. cit., p. 131. One or two Bridgewater Treatises, and most, 
modern works upon natural theology, should have rendered the evi- 
depces of thought in inorganic Nature not " unexpected," 


ganic world, just referred to, does not confirm, for 
there a material connection between the facts is justly 
held to be consistent with an intellectual and which 
the most analogous cases we can think of in the or- 
ganic world do not favor ; for there is a material con- 
nection between the grub, the pupa, and the butterfly, 
between the tadpole and the frog, or, still better, be- 
tween those distinct animals which succeed each other 
in alternate and very dissimilar generations. So that 
mere analogy might rather suggest a natural connec- 
tion than the contrary; and the contrary cannot be 
demonstrated until the possibilities of Nature under 
the Deity are fathomed. 

But, the intellectual connection being undoubted, 
Mr. Agassiz properly refers the whole to " the agency 
of Intellect as its first cause." In doing so, however, 
he is not supposed to be offering a scientific explana- 
tion of the phenomena. Evidently he is considering 
only the ultimate why, not the proximate why or how. 

Now the latter is just what Mr. Darwin is consid- 
ering. He conceives of a physical connection between 
allied species; but we suppose he does not deny their 
intellectual connection, as related to a supreme intelli- 
gence. Certainly we see no reason why he should, 
and many reasons why he should not. Indeed, as we 
contemplate the actual direction of investigation and 
speculation in the physical and natural sciences, we 
dimly apprehend a probable synthesis of these diver- 
gent theories, and in it the ground for a strong stand 
against mere naturalism. Even if the doctrine of the 
origin of species through natural selection should pre- 
vail in our day, we shall not despair ; being confident 


that the genius of an Agassiz will be found equal to the 
work of constructing, upon the mental and material 
foundations combined, a theory of Nature as theistic 
and as scientific as that which he has so eloquently 

To conceive the possibility of " the descent of 
species from species by insensibly fine gradations" 
during a long course of time, and to demonstrate its 
compatibility with a strictly theistic view of the uni- 
verse, is one thing ; to substantiate the theory itself 
or show its likelihood is quite another thing. This 
brings us to consider what Darwin's theory actually 
isj and how he supports it. 

That the existing kinds of animals and plants, or 
many of them, may be derived from other and earlier 
kinds, in the lapse of time, is by no means a novel 
proposition. Not to speak of ancient speculations of 
the sort, it is the well-known Lamarckian theory. 
The first difficulty which such theories meet with is 
that in the present age, with all its own and its inher- 
ited prejudgments, the whole burden of proof is nat- 
urally, and indeed properly, laid upon the shoulders 
of the propounders ; and thus far the burden has been 
more than they could bear. From the very nature of 
the. case, substantive proof of specific creation is not 
attainable ; but that of derivation or transmutation of 
species may be. He who affirms the latter view is 
bound to do one or both of two things : 1. Either to 
assign real and adequate causes, the natural or neces- 
sary result of which must be to produce the present 
diversity of species and their actual relations ; or, 2. 
To show the general conformity of the whole body of 


facts to such assumption, and also to adduce instances 
explicable by it and inexplicable by the received view, 
so perhaps winning our assent to the doctrine, through 
its competency to harmonize all the facts, even though 
the cause of the assumed variation remain as occult as 
that of the transformation of tadpoles into frogs, or 
that of Coryne into Sarzia. 

The first line of proof, successfully carried out, 
would establish derivation as a true physical theory ; ; 
the second, as a sufficient hypothesis- 

Lamarck mainly undertook the first line, in a 
theory which has been so assailed by ridicule that it 
rarely receives the credit for ability to which in its d ly 
it was entitled. But he assigned partly unreal, partly 
insufficient causes ; and the attempt to account for a 
progressive change in species through the direct in- 
fluence of physical agencies, and through the appe- 
tencies and habits of animals reacting upon their 
structure, thus causing the production and the succes- 
sive modification of organs, is a conceded and total 
failure. The shadowy author of the " Vestiges of the 
Natural History of Creation " can hardly be said to 
have undertaken either line, in a scientific way. He 
would explain the whole progressive evolution of Na- 
ture by virtue of an inherent tendency to develop- 
ment, thus giving us an idea or a word in place of a 
natural cause, a restatement of the proposition instead 
of an explanation. Mr. Darwin attempts both lines 
of proof, and in a strictly scientific spirit ; but the 
stress falls mainly upon the first, for, as he does assign 
real causes, he is bound to prove their adequacy. 

It should be kept in mind that, while all direct 


proof of independent origination is attainable from 
the nature of the case, the overthrow of particular 
schemes of derivation has not established the opposite 
proposition. The futility of each hypothesis thus far 
proposed to account for derivation may be made 
apparent, or unanswerable objections may be urged 
against it ; and each victory of the kind may render 
derivation more improbable, and therefore specific 
creation more probable, without settling the question 
either way. New facts, or new arguments and a new 
mode of viewing the question, may some day change 
the whole aspect of the case. It is with the latter 
that Mr. Darwin now reopens the discussion. 

Having conceived the idea that varieties are in- 
cipient species, he is led to study variation in the field 
where it shows itself most strikingly, and affords the 
greatest facilities to investigation. Thoughtful natu- 
ralists have had increasing grounds to suspect that 
a reexamination of the question of species in zoology 
and botany, commencing with those races which man 
knows most about, viz., the domesticated and culti- 
vated races, would be likely somewhat to modify the 
received idea of the entire fixity of species. This 
field, rich with various but unsystematized stores of 
knowledge accumulated by cultivators and breeders, 
has been generally neglected by naturalists, because 
these races are not in a state of nature ; whereas they 
deserve particular attention on this very account, as 
experiments, or the materials for experiments, ready 
to our hand. In domestication we vary some of the 
natural conditions of a species, and thus learn experi- 
mentally what changes are within the reach of vary 


ing conditions in Nature. We separate and protect a 
favorite race against its foes or its competitors, and 
thus learn what it might become if Mature ever afford- 
ed it equal opportunities. Even when, to subserve 
human uses, we modify a domesticated race to the 
detriment of its native vigor, or to the extent of prac- 
tical monstrosity, although we secure forms which 
would not be originated and could not be perpetuated 
in free Nature, yet we attain wider and juster views 
of the possible degree of variation. We perceive that 
some species are more variable than others, but that 
no species subjected to the experiment persistently 
refuses to vary ; and that, when it has once begun to 
vary, its varieties are not the less but the more sub- 
ject to variation. " No case is on record of a variable 
being ceasing to be variable under cultivation." It 
is fair to conclude, from the observation of plants and 
animals in a wild as well as domesticated state, that 
the tendency to vary is general, and even universal. 
Mr. Darwin does "not believe that variability is an 
inherent and necessary contingency, under all circum- 
stances, with all organic beings, as some authors have 
thought." No one supposes variation could occur 
under all circumstances ; but the facts on the whole 
imply a universal tendency, ready to be manifested 
under favorable circumstances. In reply to the 
assumption that man has chosen for domestication 
animals and plants having an extraordinary inherent 
tendency to vary, and likewise to withstand diverse 
climates, it is asked : 

" How could a savage possibly know, when ho first tamed 
an animal, whether it would vary in succeeding generations, 


and whether it would endure other climates? Has the little 
variability of the ass or Guinea-fowl, or the small power of en- 
durance of warmth by the reindeer, or of cold by the common 
camel, prevented their domestication ? I cannot doubt that if 
other animals and plants, equal in number to our domesticated 
productions, and belonging to equally diverse classes and coun- 
tries, were taken from a state of nature, and could be made to 
breed for an equal number of generations under domestication, 
they would vary on an average as largely as the parent species 
of our existing domesticated productions have varied." 

As to amount of variation, there is the common 
remark of naturalists that the varieties of domesti- 
cated plants or animals often differ more widely than 
do the individuals of distinct species in a wild state : 
and even in Mature the individuals of some species are 
known to vary to a degree sensibly wider than that 
which separates related species. In his instructive 
section on the breeds of the domestic pigeon, our au- 
thor remarks that " at least a score of pigeons might 
be chosen which if shown to an ornithologist, and he 
were told that they were wild birds, would certainly 
be ranked by him as well-defined species. Moreover, 
I do not believe that any ornithologist would place 
the English carrier, the short-faced tumbler, the runt, 
the barb, pouter, and fantail, in the same genus ; more 
especially as in each of these breeds several truly- 
inherited sub-breeds, or species, as he might have 
called them, could be shown him." That this is not 
a case like that of dogs, in which probably the blood of 
more than one species is mingled, Mr. Darwin proceeds 
to show, adducing cogent reasons for the common 
opinion that all have descended from the wild rock- 
pigeon. Then follow some suggestive remarks : 


" I have discussed the probable origin of domestic pigeons 
at some, yet quite insufficient, length ; because when I first kept 
pigeons and watched the several kinds, knowing well how true 
they bred, I felt fully as much difficulty in believing that they 
could ever have descended from a common parent as any natu- 
ralist could in coming to a similar conclusion in regard to many 
species of finches, or other large groups of birds, in Nature. 
One circumstance has struck me much ; namely, that all the 
breeders of the various domestic animals and the cultivators of 
plants, with whom I have ever conversed, or whose treatises I 
have read, are firmly convinced that the several breeds to which 
each has attended are descended from so many aboriginally dis- 
tinct species. Ask, as I have asked, a celebrated raiser of Here- 
ford cattle, whether his cattle might not have descended from 
long-horns, and he will laugh you to scorn. I have never met a 
pigeon, or poultry, or duck, or rabbit fancier, who was not fully 
convinced that each main breed was descended from a dis- 
tinct species. Van Mons, in his treatise on pears and apples, 
shows how utterly he disbelieves that the several sorts, for in- 
stance a Kibston-pippin or Codlin-apple, could ever have pro- 
ceeded from the seeds of the same tree. Innumerable other 
examples could be given. The explanation, I think, is simple : 
from long-continued study they are strongly impressed with the 
differences between the several races; and though they well 
know that each race varies slightly, for they win their prizes by 
selecting such slight differences, yet they ignore all general 
arguments, and refuse to sum up in their minds slight differ- 
ences accumulated during many successive generations. May 
not those naturalists who, knowing far less of the laws of in- 
heritance than does the breeder, and knowing no more than he 
does of the intermediate links in the long lines of descent, yet 
admit that many of our domestic races have descended from the 
same parents may they not learn a lesson of -caution, when 
they deride the idea of species in a state of nature being lineal 
descendants of other species ? " 

The actual causes of variation are unknown. Mr. 
Darwin favors the opinion of the late Mr. Knight, the 


great philosopher of horticulture, that variability under 
domestication is somehow connected with excess of 
food. He regards the unknown cause as acting chiefly 
upon the reproductive system of the parents, which 
system, judging from the effect of confinement or cul- 
tivation upon its functions, he concludes to be more 
susceptible than any other to the action of changed con- 
ditions of life. The tendency to vary certainly appears 
to be much stronger under domestication than in free 
Mature. But we are not sure that the greater variable- 
ness of cultivated races is not mainly owing to the 
far greater opportunities for manifestation and accu- 
mulation a view seemingly all the more favorable to 
Mr. Darwin's theory. The actual amount of certain 
changes, such as size or abundance of fruit, size of 
udder, stands of course in obvious relation to supply 
of food. 

Really, we no more know the reason why the pro- 
geny occasionally deviates from the parent than we do 
why it usually resembles it. Though the laws and 
conditions governing variation are known to a cer- 
tain extent, those governing inheritance are appar- 
ently inscrutable. " Perhaps," Darwin remarks, " the 
correct way of viewing the whole subject would be, to 
look at the inheritance of every character whatever as 
the rule, and non-inheritance as the anomaly." This, 
from general and obvious considerations, we have long 
been accustomed to do. Now, as exceptional instances 
are expected to be capable of explanation, while ulti- 
mate laws are not, it is quite possible that variation 
may be accounted for, while the great primary law of 
inheritance remains a mysterious fact. 


The common proposition is, that species reproduce 
their like ; this is a sort of general inference, only a 
degree closer to fact than the statement that genera 
reproduce their like. The true proposition, the fact in- 
capable of further analysis, is, that individuals repro- 
duce their like that characteristics are inheritable. 
So varieties, or deviations, once originated, are perpetu- 
able, like species. Not so likely to be perpetuated, at 
the outset; for the new form tends to resemble a 
grandparent and a long line of similar ancestors, as 
well as to resemble its immediate progenitors. Two 
forces which coincide in the ordinary case, where the 
offspring resembles its parent, act in different direc- 
tions when it does not and it is uncertain which will 
prevail. If the remoter but very potent ancestral in- 
fluence predominates, the variation disappears with 
the life of the individual. If that of the immediate 
parent feebler no doubt, but closer the variety sur- 
vives in the offspring ; whose progeny now has a re- 
doubled tendency to produce its own like ; whose pro- 
geny again is almost eure to produce its like, since it 
is much the same whether it takes after its mother or 
its grandmother. 

In this way races arise, which under favorable con- 
ditions may be as hereditary as species. In following 
these indications, watching opportunities, and breed- 
ing only from those individuals which vary most in a 
desirable direction, man leads the course of variation 
as he leads a streamlet apparently at will, but never 
against the force of gravitation to a long distance 
from its source, and makes it more subservient to his 
use or fancy. He unconsciously strengthens those 


variations which he prizes when he plants the seed of 
a favorite fruit, preserves a favorite domestic animal, 
drowns the uglier kittens of a litter, and allows only 
the handsomest or the best mousers to propagate. Still 
more, by methodical selection, in recent times almost 
marvelous results have been produced in new breeds 
of cattle, sheep, and poultry, and new varieties of fruit 
of greater and greater size or excellence. 

It is said that all domestic varieties, if left to run 
wild, would revert to their aboriginal stocks. Proba- 
bly they would wherever various races of one species 
were left to commingle. At least the abnormal or 
exaggerated characteristics induced by high feeding, or 
high cultivation and prolonged close breeding, would 
promptly disappear; and the surviving stock would 
soon blend into a homogeneous result (in a way pres- 
ently explained), which would naturally be taken for 
the original form ; but we could seldom know if it 
were so. It is by no means certain that the result 
would be the same if the races ran wild each in a sepa- 
rate region. Dr. Hooker doubts if there is a true re- 
version in the case of plants. Mr. Darwin's observa- 
tions rather favor it in the animal kingdom. With 
mingled races reversion seems well made out in the 
case of pigeons. The common opinion upon this sub- 
ject therefore probably has some foundation. But 
even if we regard varieties as oscillations around a 
primitive centre or type, still it appears from the 
readiness with which such varieties originate that a 
certain amount of disturbance would carry them be- 
yond the influence of the primordial attraction, where 
they may become new centres of variation. 


Some suppose that races cannot be perpetuated 
indefinitely even by keeping up the conditions under 
which they were fixed j but the high antiquity of 
several, and the actual fixity of many of them, nega- 
tive this assumption. " To assert that we could not 
breed our cart and race horses, long and short horned 
cattle, and poultry of various breeds, for almost an 
infinite number of generations, would be opposed to 
all experience." 

Why varieties develop so readily and deviate so 
widely under domestication, while they are apparently 
so rare or so transient in free Nature, may easily be 
shown. In Nature, even with hermaphrodite plants, 
there is a vast amount of cross-fertilization among 
various individuals of the same species. The inevi- 
table result of this (as was long ago explained in this 
Journal ') is to repress variation, to keep the mass of 
a species comparatively homogeneous over any area 
in which it abounds in individuals. Starting from a 
suggestion of the late Mr. Knight, now so familiar, 
that close interbreeding diminishes vigor and fertili- 
ty ; " and perceiving that bisexuality is ever aimed at 
in Nature being attained physiologically in numer- 
ous cases where it is not structurally Mr. Darwin 
has worked out the subject in detail, and shown how 
general is the concurrence, either habitual or occasional, 
of two hermaphrodite individuals in the reproduction 
of their -kind; and has drawn the philosophical infcr- 

i Volume xvii. (2), 1854, p. 13. 

1 We suspect that this is not an ultimate fact, but a natural conse- 
quence of inheritance the inheritance of disease or of tendency to dis- 
ease, which close interbreeding perpetuates and accumulates, but wide 
breeding may neutralize or eliminate. 


ence that probably no organic being self -fertilizes in- 
definitely; but that a cross with another individual is 
occasionally perhaps at very long intervals indis- 
pensable. We refer the reader to the section on the 
intercrossing of individuals (pp. 96-101), and also to an 
article in the Gardeners' Chronicle a year and a half 
ago, for the details of a very interesting contribution 
to science, irrespective of theory. 

In domestication, this intercrossing may be pre- 
vented ; and in this prevention lies the art of pro- 
ducing varieties. But " the art itself is Nature," since 
the whole art consists in allowing the most universal 
of all natural tendencies in organic things (inheritance) 
to operate uncontrolled by other and obviously inci- 
dental tendencies. No new power, no artificial force, 
is brought into play either by separating the stock of 
a desirable variety so as to prevent mixture, or by 
selecting for breeders those individuals which most 
largely partake of the pecularities for which the breed 
is valued. 1 

We see everywhere around us the remarkable 
results which Nature may be said to have brought 
about under artificial selection and separation. Could 
she accomplish similar results when left to herself ? 
Variations might begin, we know they do begin, in a 
wild state. But would any of them be preserved and 
carried to an equal degree of deviation ? Is there any- 
thing in Nature which in the long-run may answer to 

1 The rules and processes of breeders of animals, and their results, 
are so familiar that they need not be particularized. Less is popularly 
known about the production of yegetable races. We refer our readers 
back to this Journal, vol. xxvii., pp. 440-442 (May, 1859), for an ab- 
stract of the papers of M. Vilmorin upon this subject. 


artificial selection ? Mr. Darwin thinks that there is ; 
and Natural Selection is the key-note of his discourse. 

As a preliminary, he has a short chapter to show 
that there is variation in Nature, and therefore some- 
thing for natural selection to act upon. He readily 
shows that such mere variations as may be directly 
referred to physical conditions (like the depauperation 
of plants in a sterile soil, or their dwarfing as they 
approach an Alpine summit, the thicker fur of an ani- 
mal from far northward, etc.), and also those indi- 
vidual differences which we everywhere recognize but 
do not pretend to account for, are not separable by any 
assignable line from more strongly-marked varieties ; 
likewise that there is no clear demarkation between 
the latter and sub-species, or varieties of the higest grade 
(distinguished from species not by any known incon- 
stancy, but by the supposed lower importance of their 
characteristics); nor between these and recognized 
species. " These differences blend into each other in 
an insensible series, and the series impresses the mind 
with an idea of an actual passage." 

This gradation from species downward is well made 
out. To carry it one step farther upward, our author 
presents in a strong light the differences which prevail 
among naturalists as to what forms should be admit- 
ted to the rank of species. Some genera (and these 
in some countries) give rise to far more discrepancy 
than others ; and it is concluded that the large or 
dominant genera are usually the most variable. In a 
flora so small as the British, 182 plants, generally 
reckoned as varieties, have been ranked by some bot- 
anists as species. Selecting the British genera which 


include the most polymorphous forms, it appears that 
Babington's Flora gives them 251 species, Bentham's 
only 112, a difference of 139 doubtful forms. These 
are nearly the extreme views, but they are the views of 
two most capable and most experienced judges, in re- 
spect to one of the best-known floras of the world. The 
fact is suggestive, that the best-known countries fur- 
nish the greatest number of such doubtful cases. Illus- 
trations of this kind may be multiplied to a great ex- 
tent. They make it plain that, whether species in 
Nature are aboriginal and definite or not, our practical 
conclusions about them, as embodied in systematic 
works, are not facts but judgments, and largely fal- 
lible judgments. 

How much of the actual coincidence of authorities 
is owing to imperfect or restricted observation, and 
to one naturalist's adopting the conclusions of another 
without independent observation, this is not the place 
to consider. It is our impression that species of ani- 
mals are more definitely marked than those of plants ; 
this may arise from our somewhat extended acquaint- 
ance with the latter, and our ignorance of the former. 
But we are constrained by our experience to admit 
the strong likelihood, in botany, that varieties on the 
one hand, and what are called closely-related species 
on the other, do not differ except in degree. When- 
ever this wider difference separating the latter can be 
spanned by intermediate forms, as it sometimes is, no 
botanist long resists the inevitable conclusion. When- 
ever, therefore, this wider difference can be shown to 
be compatible with community of origin, and explained 
through natural selection or in any other way, we are 


ready to adopt the probable conclusion ; and we see 
beforehand how strikingly the actual geographical 
association of related species favors the broader view. 
Whether we should continue to regard the forms in 
question as distinct species, depends upon what mean- 
ing we shall finally attach to that term ; and that de- 
pends upon how far the doctrine of derivation can be 
carried back and how well it can be supported. 

In applying his principle of natural selection to 
the work in hand, Mr. Darwin assumes, as we have 
seen: 1. Some variability of animals and plants in 
nature ; 2. The absence of any definite distinction be- 
tween slight variations, and varieties of the highest 
grade ; 3. The fact that naturalists do not practically 
agree, and do not increasingly tend to agree, as to what 
forms are species and what are strong varieties, thus 
rendering it probable that there may be no essential 
and original difference, or no possibility of ascertain- 
ing it, at least in many cases; also, 4. That the most 
flourishing and dominant species of the larger genera 
on an average vary most (a proposition which can be 
substantiated only by extensive comparisons, the de- 
tails of which are not given) ; and, 5. That in large 
genera the species are apt to be closely but unequally 
allied together, forming little clusters round certain 
species just such clusters as would be formed if we 
suppose their members once to have been satellites or 
varieties of a central or parent species, but to have 
attained at length a wider divergence and a specific 
character. The fact of such association is undeniable ; 
and the use which Mr. Darwin makes of it seems fair 
and natural. 


The gist of Mr. Darwin's work is to show that 
euch varieties are gradually diverged into species 
and genera through natural selection; that natural 
selection is the inevitable result of the struggle for 
existence which all living things are engaged in ; and 
that this struggle is an unavoidable consequence of 
several natural causes, but mainly of the high rate at 
which all organic beings tend to increase. 

Curiously enough, Mr. Darwin's theory is grounded 
upon the doctrine of Malthus and the doctrine of 
Hobbes. The elder DeCandolle had conceived the 
idea of the struggle for existence, and, in a passage 
which would have delighted the cynical philosopher 
of Malmesbury, had declared that all Nature is at war, 
one organism with another or with external Nature ; 
and Lyell and Herbert had made considerable use of 
it. But Hobbes in his theory of society, and Darwin 
in his theory of natural history, alone have built their 
systems upon it. However moralists and political 
economists may regard these doctrines in their original 
application to human society and the relation of popu- 
lation to subsistence, their thorough applicability to 
the great society of the organic world in general is 
now undeniable. And to Mr. Darwin belongs the 
credit of making this extended application, and of 
^working out the immensely diversified results with 
rare sagacity and untiring patience. He has brought 
to view real causes which have been largely operative 
in the establishment of the actual association and geo- 
graphical distribution of plants and animals. In this 
he must be allowed to have made a very important 
contribution to an interesting department of science, 


even if his theory fails in the endeavor to explain the 
origin or diversity of species. 

"Nothing is easier," says our author, "than to admit in 
words the truth of the universal struggle for life, or more diffi- 
cult at least I have found it so than constantly to bear this 
conclusion in mind. Yet, unless it be thoroughly ingrained in 
the mind, I am convinced that the whole economy of Nature, 
with every fact on distribution, rarity, abundance, extinction, 
and variation, will be dimly seen or quite misunderstood. "We 
behold the face of Nature bright with gladness, we often see 
superabundance of food ; we do not see, or we forget, that the 
birds which are idly singing round us mostly live on insects or 
seeds, and are thus constantly destroying life; or we forget how 
largely these songsters, or their eggs, or their nestlings, are de- 
stroyed by birds and beasts of prey; we do not always bear in 
mind that, though food may be now superabundant, it is not so 
at all seasons of each recurring year." (p. 62.) 

"There is no exception to the rule tliat every organic being 
naturally increases at so high a rate that, if not destroyed, the 
earth would soon be covered by the progeny of a single pair. 
Even slow-breeding man has doubled in twenty-five years, and 
at this rate, in a few thousand years, there would literally not 
be standing-room for his progeny. Linna>us has calculated that 
if an annual plant produced only two seeds and there is no 
plant so unproductive as this and their seedlings next year pro- 
duced two, and so on, then in twenty years there would be a 
million plants. The elephant is reckoned to be the slowest 
breeder of all known animals, and I have taken some pains to 
estimate its probable minimum rate of natural increase; it will 
be under the mark to assume that it breeds when thirty years 
old, and goes on breeding till ninety years old, bringing forth 
three pairs of young in this interval ; if this be so, at the end of 
the fifth century there would be alive fifteen million elephants, 
descended from the first pair. 

"But we have better evidence on this subject than mere 
theoretical calculations, namely, the numerous recorded cases of 
the astonishingly rapid increase of various animals in a state of 


nature, when circumstances have been favorable to tbem dur- 
ing two or three following seasons. Still more striking is the 
evidence from our domestic animals of many kinds which have 
run wild in several parts of the world; if the statements of the 
rate of increase of slow-breeding cattle and horses in South 
America, and latterly in Australia, had not been well authenti- 
cated, they would have been quite incredible. So it is with plants : 
cases could be given of introduced plants which have become 
common throughout whole islands in a period of less than ten 
years. Several of the plants now most numerous over the wide 
plains of La Plata, clothing square leagues of surface almost to 
the exclusion of all other plants, have been introduced from 
E.irope ; and there are plants which now range in India, as I 
hear from Dr. Falconer, from Cape Comorin to the Himalaya, 
which have been imported from America since its discovery. 
In such cases, and endless instances could be given, no one sup- 
poses that the fertility of these animals or plants has been sud- 
denly and temporarily increased in any sensible degree. The 
obvious explanation is, that the conditions of life have been very 
favorable, and that there has consequently been less destruction 
of the old and young, and that nearly all the young have been 
enabled to breed. In such cases the geometrical ratio of in- 
crease, the result of which never fails to be surprising, simply 
explains the extraordinarily rapid increase and wide diifusion of 
naturalized productions in their new homes." (pp. 64, 65.) 

"All plants and animals are tending to increase at a geo- 
metrical ratio; all would most rapidly stock any station in 
which they could anyhow exist ; the increase must be checked 
by destruction at some period of life." (p. 65.) 

The difference between the most and the least pro- 
lific species is of no account : 

" The condor lays a couple of eggs, and the ostrich a score ; 
and yet in the same country the condor may be the more numer- 
ous of the two. The Fulmar petrel lays but one egg, yet it is 
believed to be the most numerous bird in the world." (p. 68.) 

" The amount of food gives the extreme limit to which each 


species can increase ; but very frequently it is not the obtaining 
of food, but the serving as prey to other animals, which de- 
termines the average numbers of species." (p. 68.) 

" Climate plays an important part in determining the average 
numbers of a species, and periodical seasons of extreme cold or 
drought I believe to be the most effective of all checks. I 
estimated that the winter of 1854-'55 destroyed four-fifths of 
the birds in my own grounds; and this is a tremendons destruc- 
tion, when we remember that ten per cent, is an extraordinarily 
severe mortality from epidemics with man. The action of 
climate seems at first sight to be quite independent of the 
struggle for existence ; but, in so far as climate chiefly acts in 
reducing food, it brings on the most severe struggle between the 
individuals, whether of the same or of distinct species, which 
subsist on the same kind of food. Even when climate, for in- 
stance extreme cold, acts directly, it will be the least vigorous, 
or those which have got least food through the advancing winter, 
which will suffer most. "When we travel from south to north, 
or from a damp region to a dry, we invariably see some species 
gradually getting rarer and rarer, and finally disappearing ; and, 
the change of climate being conspicuous, we are tempted to at- 
tribute the whole effect to its direct action. But this is a very 
false view ; we forget that each species, even where it most 
abounds, is constantly suffering enormous destruction at some 
period of its life, from enemies or from competitors for the same 
place and food; and if these enemies or competitors be in the 
least degree favored by any slight change of climate, they will 
increase in numbers, and, as each area is already stocked with 
inhabitants, the other species will decrease. When we travel 
southward and see a species decreasing in numbers, we may feel 
sure that the cnuse lies quite as much in other species being 
favored as in this one being hurt. So it is when we travel 
northward, but in a somewhat lesser degree, for the number or 
species of all kinds, and therefore of competitors, decreases 
northward; hence, in going northward, or in ascending a 
mountain, we far oftener meet with stunted forms, due to the 
directly injurious action of climate, than we do in proceeding 


southward or in descending a mountain. "When we reach the 
arctic regions, or snow-capped summits, or absolute deserts, the 
struggle for life is almost exclusively with the elements. 

" That climate acts in main part indirectly by favoring other 
species, we may clearly see in the prodigious number of plants 
in our gardens which can perfectly well endure our climate, but 
which never become naturalized, for they cannot compete with 
our native plants, nor resist destruction by our native animals." 
(pp. 68, 69.) 

After an instructive instance in which " cattle ab- 
solutely determine the existence of the Scotch fir," 
we are referred to cases in which insects determine the 
existence of cattle : 

"Perhaps Paraguay offers the most curious instance of this; 
for here neither cattle, nor horses, nor dogs, have ever run 
wild, though they swarm southward and northward in a feral 
state; and Azara and Eengger have shown that this is caused 
by the greater number in Paraguay of a certain fly, which lays 
its eggs in the navels of these animals when first born. The in- 
crease of these flies, numerous as they are, must be habitually 
checked by some means, probably by birds. Hence, if certain 
insectivorous birds (whose numbers are probably regulated by 
hawks or beasts of prey) were to increase in Paraguay, the flies 
would decrease then cattle and horses would become feral, 
and this would certainly greatly alter (as indeed I have observed 
in parts of South America) the vegetation ; this, again, would, 
largely affect the insects ; and this, as we haye just seen in 
Staffordshire, the insectivorous birds, and so onward in ever- 
increasing circles of complexity. "We began tliis series by in- 
sectivorous birds, and we had ended with them. Not that in 
Nature the relations can ever be as simple as this. Battle within 
battle must ever be recurring with varying success ; and yet in 
the long-run the forces are so nicely balanced that the face of 
Nature remains uniform for long periods of time, though as- 
suredly the merest trifle would often give the victory to one 
organic being over another. Nevertheless, so profound is our 


ignorance, and so high our presumption, that we marvel when 
we hear of the extinction of an organic being ; and as we do not 
see the cause, we invoke cataclysms to desolate the world, or 
invent laws on the duration of the forms of life!" (pp. 72, 73.) 
" When we look at the plants and bushes clothing an en- 
tangled bank, we are tempted to attribute their proportional 
numbers and kinds to what we call chance. But how false a 
view is this ! Every one has heard that when an American 
forest is cut down, a very different vegetation springs up; but 
it has been observed that the trees now growing on the ancient 
Indian mounds, in the Southern United States, display the same 
beautiful diversity and proportion of kinds as in the surround- 
ing virgin forests. What a struggle between the several kinds 
of trees must here have gone on during long centuries, each 
annually scattering its seeds by the thousand ; what war be- 
tween insect and insect between insects, snails, and other 
animals, with birds and beasts of prey all striving to increase, 
and all feeding on each other or on the trees, or their seeds and 
seedlings, or on the other plants which first clothed the ground 
and thus checked the growth of the trees 1 Throw up a hand- 
ful of feathers, and all must fall to the ground according 
to definite laws ; but how simple is this- problem compared 
to the action and reaction of the innumerable plants and ani- 
mals which have determined, in the course of centuries, the 
proportional numbers and kinds of trees now growing on the 
old Indian ruins ! " (pp. 74, 75.) 

For reasons obvious upon reflection, the competi- 
tion is often, if not generally, most severe betwen 
nearly related species when they are in contact, so 
that one drives the other before it, as the Hanoverian 
the old English rat, the small Asiatic cockroach in 
Russia, its greater congener, etc. And this, when duly 
considered, explains many curious results; such, for 
instance, as the considerable number of different gen- 
era of plants and animals which are generally found 
to inhabit any limited area. 


" The truth of the principle that the greatest amount of life 
can be supported by great diversification of structure is seen 
under many natural circumstances. In an extremely small area, 
especially if freely open to immigration, and where the contest 
between individual and individual must be severe, we always 
find great diversity in its inhabitants. For instance, I found 
that a piece of turf, three feet by four in size, which had been 
exposed for many years to exactly the same conditions, sup- 
ported twenty species of plants, and these belonged to eighteen 
genera, and to eight orders, which showed how much these 
plants differed from each other. So it is with the plants and 
insects on small and uniform islets ; and so in small ponds of 
fresh water. Farmers find that they can raise most food by a 
rotation of plants belonging to the most different orders ; Nature 
follows what may be called a simultaneous rotation. Most of 
the animals and plants which live close round any small piece of 
ground could live on it (supposing it not to be in any way pe- 
culiar in its nature), and may be said to be striving to the utmost 
to live there ; but it is seen that, where they come into the 
closest competition with each other, the advantages of diversi- 
fication of structure, with the accompanying differences of habit 
and constitution, determine that the inhabitants, which thus 
jostle each other most closely, shall, as a general rule, belong to 
what we call different genera and orders." (p. 114.) 

The abundance of some forms, the rarity and final 
extinction of many others, and the consequent diver- 
gence of character or increase of difference among the 
surviving representatives, are other consequences. Ap. 
favored forms increase, the less favored must dimin 
ish in number, for there is not room for all ; and the 
slightest advantage, at first probably inappreciable to 
human observation, must decide which shall prevail 
and which must perish, or be driven to another and 
for it more favorable locality. 

We cannot do justice to the interesting . chapter 


upon natural selection by separated extracts. The 
following must serve to show how the principle is sup- 
posed to work : 

" If during the long course of ages, and under varying condi- 
tions of life, organic beings vary at all in the several parts of 
their organization, and 1 think this cannot be disputed ; if there 
be, owing to the high geometrical powers of increase of each 
species, at some age, season, or year, a severe struggle for life, 
and this certainly cannot be disputed : then, considering the 
infinite complexity of the relations of all organic beings to each 
other and to their conditions of existence, causing an infinite di- 
versity in structure, constitution, and habits, to be advantageous 
to them, I think it would be a most extraordinary fact if no 
variation ever had occurred useful to each being's own welfare, 
in the same way as so many variations have occurred useful to 
man. But if variations useful to any organic being do occur, 
assuredly individuals thus characterized will have the best 
chance of being preserved in the struggle for life ; and from the 
strong principle of inheritance they will tend to produce off- 
spring similarly characterized. This principle of preservation 
I have called, for the sake of brevity, Natural Selection." (pp. 
126, 127.) 

" In order to make it clear how, as I believe, natural selec- 
tion acts, I must beg permission to give one or two imaginary 
illustrations. Let us take the case of a wolf, which preys on 
various animals, securing some by craft, some by strength, and 
some by fleetness ; and let us suppose that the fleetest prey, a 
deer for instance, had from any change in the country increased 
in numbers, or that other prey had decreased in numbers, 
during that season of the year when the wolf is hardest pressed 
for food. I can under such circumstances see no reason to 
doubt that the swiftest and slimmest wolves would have the 
best chance of surviving, and so be preserved or selected pro- 
vided always that they retained strength to master their prey 
at this or at some other period of the year, when they might be 
compelled to prey on other animals. I can see no more reason 
to doubt this than that man can improve the floetness of his 


greyhounds by careful and methodical selection, or by that un- 
conscious selection which results from each man trying to keep 
the best dogs without any thought of modifying the breed. 

"Even without any change in the proportional numbers of 
the animals on which our wolf preyed, a cub might be born 
with an innate tendency to pursue certain kinds of prey. Nor 
can this be thought very improbable; for we often observe 
great differences in the natural tendencies of our domestic ani- 
mals: one cat, for instance, taking to catching rats, another 
mice; one cat, according to Mr. St. John, bringing home winged 
game, another hares or rabbits, and another hunting on marshy 
ground, and almost nightly catching woodcocks or snipes. The 
tendency to catch rats rather than mice is known to be inher- 
ited. Now, if any slight innate change of habit or of structure 
benefited an individual wolf, it would have the best chance of 
surviving and of leaving offspring. Some of its young would 
probably inherit the same habits or structure, and by the repe- 
tition of this process a new variety might be formed which 
would either supplant or coexist with the parent-form of wolf. 
Or, again, the wolves inhabiting a mountainous district, and 
those frequenting the lowlands, would naturally be forced to hunt 
different prey ; and from a continued preservation of the indi- 
viduals best fitted for the two sites, two varieties might slowly 
be formed. These varieties would cross and blend where they 
met; but to this subject of intercrossing we shall soon have to 
return. I may add that, according to Mr. Pierce, there are two 
varieties of the wolf inhabiting the Catskill Mountains in the 
United States, one with a light greyhound-like form, which pur- 
sues deer, and the other more bulky, with shorter legs, which 
more frequently attacks the shepherd's flock." (pp. 90, 91.) 

We eke out the illustration here with a counterpart 
instance, viz., the remark of Dr. Bachman that " the 
deer that reside permanently in the swamps of Caro- 
lina are taller and Ipngeivlegged than those in the 
higher grounds." l 

' " Quadrupeds of America," vol. ii., p. 289. 


The limits allotted to this article are nearly reached, 
yet only four of the fourteen chapters of the volume 
have been touched. These, however, contain the 
fundamental principles of the theory, and most of 
those applications of it which are capable of something 
like verification, relating as they do to the phenomena 
now occurring. Some of our extracts also show how 
these principles are thought to have operated through 
the long lapse of the ages. The chapters from the 
sixth to the ninth inclusive are designed to obviate 
difficulties and objections, " some of them so grave 
that to this day," the author frankly says, he " can 
never reflect on them without being staggered." "We 
do not wonder at it. After drawing what comfort 
he can from " the imperfection of the geological rec- 
ord " (Chapter IX.), which we suspect is scarcely exag- 
gerated, the author considers the geological succession 
of organic beings (Chapter X.), to see whether they bet- 
ter accord with the common view of the immutability 
of species, or with that of their slow and gradual 
modification. Geologists must settle that question. 
Then follow two most interesting and able chapters 
on the geographical distribution of plants and animals, 
the summary of which we should be glad to cite ; then 
a fitting chapter upon classification, morphology, em- 
biyology, etc., as viewed in the light of this theory, 
closes the argument ; the fourteenth chapter being a 

The interest for the general reader heightens as the 
author advances on his perilous way and grapples 
manfully with the most formidable difficulties. 

To account, upon these principles, for the gradual 


elimination and segregation of nearly allied forms 
such as varieties, sub-species, and closely-related or rep- 
resentative species also in a general way for their geo- 
graphical association and present range, is compara- 
tively easy, is apparently within the bounds of possi- 
bility. Could we stop here we should be fairly con- 
tented. But, to complete the system, to carry out the 
principles to their ultimate conclusion, and to explain 
by them many facts in geographical distribution which 
would still remain anomalous, Mr. Darwin is equally 
bound to account for the formation of genera, families, 
orders, and even classes, by natural selection. He 
does "not doubt that the theory of descent with 
modification embraces all the members of the same 
class," and he concedes that analogy would press the 
conclusion still further; while he admits that "the 
more distinct the forms are, the more the arguments 
fall away in force." To command assent we natu- 
rally require decreasing probability to be overbalanced 
by an increased weight of evidence. An opponent 
might plausibly, and perhaps quite fairly, urge that 
the links in the chain of argument are weakest just 
where the greatest stress falls upon them. 

To which Mr. Darwin's answer is, that the best 
parts of the testimony have been lost. He is confi- 
dent that intermediate forms must have existed ; that 
in the olden times when the genera, the families, and 
the orders, diverged from their parent stocks, grada- 
, tions existed as fine as those which now connect close- 
ly related species with varieties. But they have passed 
and left no sign. The geological record, even if all 
displayed to view, is a book from which not only many 


pages, but even whole alternate chapters, have been 
lost out, or rather which were never printed from the 
autographs of Nature. The record was actually made 
in fossil lithography only at certain times and under 
certain conditions (i. e., at periods of slow subsidence 
and places of abundant sediment) ; and of these rec- 
ords all but the last volume is out of print ; and of 
its pages only local glimpses have been obtained. 
Geologists, except Lyell, will object to this some of 
them moderately, others with vehemence. Mr. Dar- 
win himself admits, with a candor rarely displayed on 
such occasions, that he should have expected more 
geological evidence of transition than he finds, and 
that all the most eminent paleontologists maintain 
the immutability of species. 

The general fact, however, that the fossil fauna of 
each period as a whole is nearly intermediate in charac- 
ter between the preceding and the succeeding faunas, 
is much relied on. "We are brought one step nearer to 
the desired inference by the similar " fact, insisted on 
by all paleontologists, that fossils from two consecu- 
tive formations are far more closely related to each 
other than are the fossils of two remote formations. 
Pictet gives a well-known instance the general re- 
semblance of the organic remains from the several 
stages of the chalk formation, though the species are 
distinct at each stage. This fact alone, from its gen- 
erality, seems to have shaken Prof. Pictet in his 
firm belief in the immutability of species " (p. 335). 
What Mr. Darwin now particularly wants to complete 
his inferential evidence is a proof that the same grada- 
tion may be traced in later periods, say in the Tertiary, 


and between that period and the present; also that 
the later gradations are finer, so as to leave it doubt- 
ful whether the succession is one of species believed 
on the one theory to be independent, on the other, 
derivative or of varieties, which are confessedly deriv- 
ative. The proof of the finer gradation appears to 
be forthcoming. Des Hayes and Lyell have concluded 
that many of the middle Tertiary and a large pro- 
portion of the later Tertiary mollusca are specifically 
identical with living species; and this is still the 
almost universally prevalent view. But Mr. Agassiz 
states that, " in every instance where he had sufficient 
materials, he had found that the species of the two 
epochs supposed to be identical by Des Hayes and 
Lyell were in reality distinct, although closely allied 
species." * Moreover, he is now satisfied, as we under- 
stand, that the same gradation is traceable not merely 
in each great division of the Tertiary, but in particular 
deposits or successive beds, each answering to a great 
number of years; where what have passed unques- 
tioned as members of one species, upon closer examina- 
tion of numerous specimens exhibit differences which 
in his opinion entitle them to be distinguished into 
two, three, or more species. It is plain, therefore, that 
whatever conclusions can be fairly drawn from the 
present animal and vegetable kingdoms in favor of a 
gradation of varieties into species, or into what may 
be regarded as such, the same may be extended to the 
Tertiary period. In both cases, what some call species 
others call varieties ; and in the later Tertiary shells 

1 " Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences," 
vol. iv., p. 178. 


this difference in judgment affects almost half of the 

We pass to a second difficulty in the way of Mr. 
Darwin's theory ; to a case where we are perhaps en- 
titled to demand of him evidence of gradation like 
that which connects the present with the Tertiary mol- 
lusca. Wide, very wide is the gap, anatomically and 
physiologically (we do not speak of the intellectual) 
between the highest quadrumana and man ; and com- 
paratively recent, if ever, must the line have bifur- 
cated. But where is there the slightest evidence of a 
common progenitor? Perhaps Mr. Darwin would 
reply by another question: where are the fossil re- 
mains of the men who made the flint knives and arrow- 
heads of the Somme Valley ? 

We have a third objection, one, fortunately, which 
has nothing to do with geology. We can only state it 
here in brief terms. The chapter on hybridism is 
most ingenious, able, and instructive. If sterility of 
crosses is a special original arrangement to prevent the 
confusion of species by mingling, as is generally as- 
sumed, then, since varieties cross readily and their 
offspring is fertile inter se, there is a fundamental dis- 
tinction between varieties and species. Mr. Darwin 
therefore labors to show that it is not a special endow- 
ment, but an incidental acquirement. He does show 
that the sterility of crosses is of all degrees; upon 
which we have only to say, Na&ura nonfacit saltum, 
here any more than elsewhere. But, upon his theory 
he is bound to show how sterility might be acquired, 
through natural selection or through something else. 
And the difficulty is, that, whereas individuals of the 


very same blood tend to be sterile, and somewhat re- 
moter unions diminish this tendency, and when they 
have diverged into two varieties the cross-breeds be- 
tween the two are more fertile than either pure stock 
yet when they have diverged only one degree more 
the whole tendency is reversed, and the mongrel is ster- 
ile, either absolutely or relatively. He who explains 
the genesis of species through purely natural agencies 
should assign a natural cause for this remarkable result ; 
and this Mr. Darwin has not done. Whether original or 
derived, however, this arrangement to keep apart those 
forms which have, or have acquired (as the case may 
be), a certain moderate amount of difference, looks to 
us as much designed for the purpose, as does a ratchet 
to prevent reverse motion in a wheel. If species have 
originated by divergence, this keeps them apart. 

Here let us suggest a possibly attainable test of the 
theory of derivation, a kind of instance which Mr. 
Darwin may be fairly asked to produce viz., an in- 
stance of two varieties, or what may be assumed as 
such, which have diverged enough to reverse the move- 
ment, to bring out some sterility in the crosses. The 
best marked human races might offer the most likely 
case. If mulattoes are sterile or tend to sterility, as 
some naturalists confidently assert, they afford Mr. 
Darwin a case in point. If, as others think, no such 
tendency is made out, the required evidence is want- 

A fourth and the most formidable difficulty is that 
of the production and specialization of organs. 

It is well said that all organic beings have been 
formed on two great laws : unity of type, and adap- 


tation to the conditions of existence. ' The special 
teleologists, such as Palej, occupy themselves with 
the latter only ; they refer particular facts to special 
design, but leave an overwhelming array of the widest 
facts inexplicable. The morphologists build on unity 
of type, or that fundamental agreement in the struct- 
ure of each great class of beings which is quite inde- 
pendent of their habits or conditions of life ; which 
requires each individual " to go through a certain for- 
mality," and to accept, at least for a time, certain or- 
gans, whether they are of any use to him or not. 
Philosophical minds form various conceptions for har- 
monizing the two views theoretically. Mr. Darwin 
harmonizes and explains them naturally. Adaptation 
to the conditions of existence is the result of natural 
selection ; unity of type, of unity of descent. Accord- 
ingly, as he puts his theory, he is bound to account for 
the origination of new organs, and for their diversity 
in each great type, for their specialization, and every 
adaptation of organ to function and of structure to 
condition, through natural agencies. "Whenever he 
attempts this he reminds us of Lamarck, and shows 
us how little light the science of a century devoted to 
structural investigation has thrown upon the mystery 
of organization. Here purely natural explanations 
fail. The organs being given, natural selection may 
account for some improvement; if given of a variety 
of sorts or grades, natural selection might determine 
which should survive and where it should prevail. 
On all this ground the only line for the theory to 

1 Owen adds a third, viz., vegetative repetition; but this, in the 
vegetable kingdom, is simply unity of type. 


take is to make the most of gradation and adherence 
to type as suggestive of derivation, and unaccountable 
upon any other scientific view deferring all attempts 
to explain how such a metamorphosis was effected, 
until naturalists have explained how the tadpole is 
metamorphosed into a frog, or one sort of polyp into 
another. As to why it is so, the philosophy of effi- 
cient cause, and even the whole argument from design, 
would stand, upon the admission of such a theory of 
derivation, precisely where they stand without it. At 
least there is, or need be, no ground of difference here 
between Darwin and Agassiz. The latter will admit, 
with Owen and eveiy morphologist, that hopeless is 
the attempt to explain the similarity of pattern in 
members of the same class by utility or the doctrine 
of final causes. " On the ordinary view of the inde- 
pendent creation of each being, we can only say that 
so it is, that it has so pleased the Creator to construct 
each animal and plant." Mr. Darwin, in proposing a 
theory which suggests a how that harmonizes these facts 
into a system, we trust implies that all was done wise- 
ly, in the largest sense designedly, and by an intelli- 
gent first cause. The contemplation of the subject on 
the intellectual side, the amplest exposition of the 
unity of plan in creation, considered irrespective of 
natural agencies, leads to no other conclusion. 

"We are thus, at last, brought to the question, What 
would happen if the derivation of species were to be 
substantiated, either as a true physical theory, or as a 
sufficient hypothesis ? What would come of it ? The 
inquiry is a pertinent one, just now. For, of those who 
agree with us in thinking that Darwin has not estab- 


lished his theory of derivation many will admit with 
us that he has rendered a theory of derivation much 
less improbable than before ; that such a theory chimes 
in with the established doctrines of physical science, 
and is not unlikely to be largely accepted long before 
it can be proved. Moreover, the various notions that 
prevail equally among the most and the least religious 
as to the relations between natural agencies or phe- 
nomena and efficient cause, are seemingly more crude, 
obscure, and discordant, than they need be. 

It is not surprising that the doctrine of the book 
should be denounced as atheistical. What does sur- 
prise and concern us is, that it should be so denounced 
by a scientific man, on the broad assumption that a 
material connection between the members of a series 
of organized beings is inconsistent with the idea of 
their being intellectually connected with one another 
through the Deity, i. e., as products of one mind, as 
indicating and realizing a preconceived plan. An as- 
sumption the rebound of which is somewhat fearful to 
contemplate, but fortunately one which every natural 
birth protests against. 

It would be more correct to say that the theory in 
itself is perfectly compatible with an atheistic view of 
the universe. That is true ; but it is equally true of 
physical theories generally. Indeed, it is more true 
of the theory of gravitation, and of the nebular hy- 
pothesis, than of the hypothesis in question. The latter 
merely takes up a particular, proximate cause, or set 
of such causes, from which, it is argued, the present 
diversity of species has or may have contingently re- 
Bulted. The author does not say necessarily resulted ; 


that the actual results in mode and measure, and none 
other, must have taken place. On the other hand, the 
theory of gravitation and its extension in the nebular 
hypothesis assume a universal and ultimate physical 
cause, from which the effects in Nature must necessa- 
rily have resulted. Now, it is not thought, at least at 
the present day, that the establishment of the New- 
tonian theory was a step toward atheism or pantheism. 
Yet the great achievement of Newton consisted in 
proving that certain forces (blind forces, so far as the 
theory is concerned), acting upon matter in certain 
directions, must necessarily produce planetary orbits 
of the exact measure and form in which observation 
shows them to exist a view which is just as consistent 
with eternal necessity, either in the atheistic or the 
pantheistic form, as it is with theism. 

Nor is the theory of derivation particularly exposed 
to the charge of the atheism of fortuity; since it. un- 
dertakes to assign real causes for harmonious and sys- 
tematic results. But, of this, a word at the close. 

The value of such objections to the theory of deri- 
vation may be tested by one or two analogous cases. 
The common scientific as well as popular belief is that 
of the original, independent creation of oxygen and 
hydrogen, iron, gold, and the like. Is the speculative 
opinion now increasingly held, that some or all of the 
supposed elementary bodies are derivative or com- 
pound, developed from some preceding forms of mat- 
ter, irreligious ? Were the old alchemists atheists as 
well as dreamers in their attempts to transmute earth 
into gold ? Or, to take an instance from force (power) 
which stands one step nearer to efficient cause than 


form was the attempt to prove that heat, light, elec- 
tricity, magnetism, and even mechanical power, arc 
variations or transmutations of one force, atheistical 
in its tendency ? The supposed establishment of this 
view is reckoned as one of the greatest scientific tri- 
umphs of this century. 

Perhaps, however, the objection is brought, not so 
much against the speculation itself, as against the 
attempt to show how derivation might have been 
brought about. Then the same objection applies to a 
recent ingenious hypothesis made to account for the 
genesis of the chemical elements out of the ethereal 
medium, and to explain their several atomic weights 
and some other characteristics by their successive com- 
plexity hydrogen consisting of so many atoms of ethe- 
real substance united in a particular order, and so on. 
The speculation interested the philosophers of the Brit- 
ish Association, and was thought innocent, but unsup- 
ported by facts. Surely Mr. Darwin's theory is none 
the worse, morally, for having some foundation in fact. 

In our opinion, then, it is far easier to vindicate 
a theistic character for the derivative theory, than to 
establish the theory itself upon adequate scientific evi- 
dence. Perhaps scarcely any philosophical objection 
can be urged against the former to which the nebular 
hypothesis is not equally exposed. Yet the nebular 
hypothesis finds general scientific acceptance, and is 
adopted as the basis of an extended and recondite illus- 
tration in Mr. Agassiz's great work. 1 

How the author of this book harmonizes his scien- 
tific theory with his philosophy and theology, he has 

1 " Contributions to Natural History of America," vol. i., pp. 127-131. 


not informed us Paley in his celebrated analogy with 
the watch, insists that if the timepiece were so con- 
structed as to produce other similar watches, after a 
manner of generation in animals, the argument from 
design would be all the stronger. What is to hinder 
Mr. Darwin from giving Paley's argument a further 
a-fortiori extension to the supposed case of a watch 
which sometimes produces better watches, and contriv- 
ances adapted to successive conditions, and so at length 
turns out a chronometer, a town clock, or a series of 
organisms of the same type ? From certain incidental 
expressions at the close of the volume, taken in con- 
nection with the motto adopted from Whewell, we 
judge it probable that our author regards the whole 
system of Nature as one which had received at its first 
formation the impress of the will of its Author, fore- 
seeing the varied yet necessary laws of its action 
throughout the whole of its existence, ordaining when 
and how each particular of the stupendous plan should 
be realized in effect, and with Him to whom to will 
is to do in ordaining doing it. Whether profoundly 
philosophical or not, a view maintained by eminent 
philosophical physicists and theologians, such as Bab- 
bage on the one hand and Jowett on the other, will 
hardly be denounced as atheism. Perhaps Mr. Dar- 
win would prefer to express his idea in a more general 
way, by adopting the thoughtful words of one of the 
most eminent naturalists of this or any age, substitut- 
ing the word action for "thought," since it is the 
former (from which alone the latter can be inferred) 
that he has been considering. " Taking Nature as ex- 
hibiting thought for my guide, it appears to me that 


while human thought is consecutive, Divine thought 
is simultaneous, embracing at the same time and for- 
ever, in the past, the present and the future, the most 
diversified relations among hundreds of thousands of 
organized beings, each of which may present compli- 
cations again, which to study and understand even 
imperfectly as for instance man himself mankind 
has already spent thousands of years." l In thus con- 
ceiving of the Divine Power in act as coetaneous with 
Divine Thought, and of both as far as may be apart 
from the human element of time, our author may re- 
gard the intervention of the Creator either as, humanly 
speaking, done from all time, or else as doing through 
all time. In the ultimate analysis we suppose that 
every philosophical theist must adopt one or the other 

A perversion of the first view leads toward athe- 
ism, the notion of an eternal sequence of cause and 
effect, for which there is no first cause a view which 
few sane persons can long rest in. The danger which 
may threaten the second view is pantheism. "We feel 
safe from either error, in our profound conviction 
that there is order in the universe ; that order pre- 
supposes mind ; design, will ; and mind or will, per- 
sonality. Thus guarded, we much prefer the second 
of the two conceptions of causation, as the more phil- 
osophical as well as Christian view a view which 
leaves us with the same difficulties and the same mys- 
teries in Nature as in Providence, and no other. Nat- 
ural law, upon this view, is the human conception of 
continued and orderly Divine action. 
1 Op. di., p. 180. 


We do not suppose that less power, or other power, 
's required to sustain the universe and carry on its 
operations, than to bring it into being. So, while 
conceiving no improbability of " interventions of Cre- 
ative mind in ^Nature," if by such is meant the bring- 
ing to pass of new and fitting events at fitting times, 
we leave it for profounder minds to establish, if they 
can, a rational distinction in kind between his work- 
ing in ^Nature carrying on operations, and in initiating 
those operations. 

We wished, under the light of such views, to ex- 
amine more critically the doctrine of this book, espe- 
cially of some questionable parts; for instance, its 
explanation of the natural development of organs, 
and its implication of a " necessary acquirement of 
mental power" in the ascending scale of gradation. 
But there is room only for the general declaration 
that we cannot think the Cosmos a series which began 
with chaos and ends with mind, or of which mind is 
a result : that, if, by the successive origination of spe- 
cies and organs through natural agencies, the author 
means a series of events which succeed each other 
irrespective of a continued directing intelligence 
events which mind does not order and shape to des- 
tined ends then he has not established that doctrine, 
nor advanced toward its establishment, but has accu- 
mulated improbabilities beyond all belief. Take the 
formation and the origination of the successive degrees 
of complexity of eyes as a specimen. The treatment 
of this subject (pp. 188, 189), upon one interpretation, 
is open to all the objections referred to ; but, if, on 
the other hand, we may rightly compare the eye " to 


a telescope, perfected by the long-continued efforts of 
the highest human intellects," we could carry out the 
analogy, and draw satisfactory illustrations and infer- 
ences from it. The essential, the directly intellectual 
thing is the making of the improvements in the tele- 
scope or the steam-engine. Whether the successive 
improvements, being small at each step, and consist- 
ent with the general type of the instrument, are ap- 
plied to some of the individual machines, or entire 
new machines are constructed for each, is a minor 
matter. Though, if machines could engender, the 
adaptive method would be most economical ; and 
economy is said to be a paramount law in Kature. 
The origination of the improvements, and the suc- 
cessive adaptations to meet new conditions or subserve 
other ends, are what answer to the supernatural, and 
therefore remain inexplicable. As to bringing them 
into use, though wisdom foresees the result, the cir- 
cumstances and the natural competition will take care 
of that, in the long-run. The old ones will go out of 
use fast enough, except where an old and simple ma- 
chine remains still best adapted to a particular pur- 
pose or condition as, for instance, the old Newcomen 
engine for pumping out coal-pits. If there's a Divin- 
ity that shapes these ends, the whole is intelligible 
and reasonable ; otherwise, not. 

We regret that the necessity of discussing philo- 
sophical questions has prevented a fuller examination 
of the theory itself, and of the interesting scientific 
points which are brought to bear in its favor. One 
of its neatest points, certainly a very strong one for 
the local origination of species, and their gradual diffu- 


Bion under natural agencies, we must reserve for some 
other convenient opportunity. 

The work is a scientific one, rigidly restricted to 
its direct object ; and by its science it must stand or 
fall. Its aim is, probably, not to deny creative inter- 
vention in Nature for the admission of the inde- 
pendent origination of certain types does away with 
all antecedent improbability of as much intervention 
as may be required but to maintain that Natural 
Selection, in explaining the facts, explains also many 
classes of facts which thousand-fold repeated inde- 
pendent acts of creation do not explain, but leave 
more mysterious than ever. How far the author has 
succeeded, the scientific world will in due time be able 
to pronounce. 

As these sheets are passing through the press, a 
copy of the second edition has reached us. We no- 
tice with pleasure the insertion of an additional motto 
on the reverse of the title-page, directly claiming the 
theistic view which we have vindicated for the doc- 
trine. Indeed, these pertinent words of the eminently 
wise Bishop Bntler comprise, in their simplest ex- 
pression, the whole substance of our later pages : 

" The only distinct meaning of the word ' natural ' is stated, 
fixed, or settled ; since what is natural as much requires and 
presupposes an intelligent mind to render it so, i. e., to effect it 
continually or at stated times, as what is supernatural or mi- 
r aculous does to effect it for once." 



(AxKKiCAK JOUKSAL OF SciKNCB AKD ARTS, September, 1860.) 

D. T. Is Darwin's theory atheistic or pantheistic ? 
or, does it tend to atheism or pantheism ? Before at- 
tempting any solution of this question, permit me to 
say a few words tending to obtain a definite concep- 
tion of necessity and design, as the sources from which 
events may originate, each independent of the other ; 
and we shall, perhaps, best attain a clear understand- 
ing of each, by the illustration of an example in which 
simple human designers act upon the physical powers 
of common matter. 

Suppose, then, a square billiard-table to be placed 
with its comers directed to the four cardinal points. 
Suppose a player, standing at the north corner, to 
strike a red ball directly to the south, his design being 
to lodge the ball in the south pocket ; which design, if 
not interfered with, must, of course be accomplished. 
Then suppose another player, standing at the east 
corner, to direct a white ball to the west corner. This 
design also, if not interfered with, must be accom- 
plished. Next suppose both players to strike their 


balls at the same instant, with like forces, in the direc- 
tions before given. In this case the balls would not 
pass as before, namely, the red ball to the south, and 
the white ball to the west, but they must both meet 
and strike each other in the centre of the table, and, 
being perfectly elastic, the red ball must pass to the 
west pocket, and the white ball to the south pocket. 
"We may suppose that the players acted wholly with- 
out concert with each other, indeed, they may be 
ignorant of each other's design, or even of each 
other's existence ; still we know that the events must 
happen as herein described. Now, the first half of 
the course of these two balls is from an impulse, or 
proceeds from a power, acting from design. Each 
player has the design of driving his ball across the 
table in a diagonal line to accomplish its lodgment at 
the opposite corner of the table. Neither designed 
that his ball should be deflected from that course and 
pass to another corner of the table. The direction of 
this second part of the motion must be referred en- 
tirely to necessity, which directly interferes with the 
purpose of him who designed the rectilinear direction. 
We are not, in this case, to go back to find design in 
the creation of the powers or laws of inertia and 
elasticity, after the order of which the deflection, at 
the instant of collision, necessarily takes place. We 
know that these powers were inherent in the balls, 
and were not created to answer this special deflection. 
We are required, by the hypothesis, to confine atten- 
tion in point of time, from the instant preceding the 
impact of the balls, to the time of their arrival at the 
opposite corners of the table. The cues are moved 


by design. The impacts are acts from design. The 
first half of the motion of each ball is under the 
direction of design. We mean by this the particular 
design of each player. But, at the instant of the col- 
lision of the balls upon each other, direction from 
design ceases, and the balls no longer obey the par- 
ticular designs of the players, the ends or purposes 
intended by them are not accompli shed, but frustrated, 
by necessity, or by the necessary action of the powers 
of inertia and elasticity, which are inherent in matter, 
and are not made by any design of a Creator for this 
special action, or to serve this special purpose, but 
would have existed in the materials of which the balls 
were made, although the players had never been 

I have thus stated, by a simple example in physi- 
cal action, what is meant by design and what by ne- 
cessity ; and that the latter may exist without any 
dependence upon the former. If I have given the 
statement with what may be thought, by some, un- 
necessary prolixity, I have only to say that I have 
found many minds to have a great difficulty in con- 
ceiving of necessity as acting altogether independent 
of design. 

Let me now trace these principles as sources of 
action in Darwin's work or theory. Let us see how 
much there is of design acting to produce a foreseen 
end, and thus proving a reasoning and self-conscious 
Creator ; and how much of mere blind power acting 
without rational design, or without a specific purpose 
or conscious foresight. Mr. Darwin has specified in a 
most clear and unmistakable manner the operation of 


his three great powers, or rather, the three great laws 
by which the organic power of life acts in the forma- 
tion of an eye. (See p. 169.) Following the method 
he has pointed out, we will take a number of animals 
of the same species, in which the eye is not developed. 
They may have all the other senses, with the organs 
of nutrition, circulation, respiration, and locomotion. 
They all have a brain and nerves, and some of these 
nerves may be sensitive to light ,' but have no com- 
bination of retina, membranes, humors, etc., by which 
the distinct image of an object may be formed and 
conveyed by the optic nerve to the cognizance of the 
internal perception, or the mind. The animal in this 
case would be merely sensible of the difference be- 
tween light and darkness. He would have no power 
of discriminating form, size, shape, or color, the dif- 
ference of objects, and to gain from these a knowledge 
of their being useful or hurtful, friends or enemies. 
Up to this point there is no appearance of necessity 
upon the scene. The billiard-balls have not yet 
struck together, and we will suppose that none of 
the arguments that may be used to prove, from this 
organism, thus existing, that it could not have come 
into form and being without a creator acting to this 
end with intelligence and design, are opposed by any- 
thing that can be found in Darwin's theory ; for, so 
far, Darwin's laws are supposed not to have come 
into operation. Give the animals, thus organized, 
food and room, and they may go on, from genera- 
tion to generation, upon the same organic level. 
Those individuals that, from natural variation, are 
bom with light-nerves a little more sensitive to light 


than their parents, will cross or interbreed with those 
who have the same organs a little less sensitive, and 
thus the mean standard will be kept up without any 
advancement. If our billiard- table were sufficiently 
extensive, i. e., infinite, the balls rolled from the cor- 
ners would never meet, and the necessity which we 
have supposed to deflect them would never act. 

The moment, however, that the want of space or 
food commences natural selection begins. Here the 
balls meet, and all future action is governed by neces- 
sity. The best forms, or those nerves most sensitive 
to light, connected with incipient membranes and hu- 
mors for corneas and lenses, are picked out and pre- 
served by natural selection, of necessity. All cannot 
live and propagate, and it is a necessity, obvious to all, 
that the weaker must perish, if the theory be true. 
Working on, in this way, through countless genera- 
tions, the eye is at last formed in all its beauty and 
excellence. It must (always assuming that this the- 
ory is true) result from this combined action of 
natural variation, the struggle for life, and natural 
selection, with as much certainty as the balls, after 
collision, must pass to corners of the table different 
from those to which they were directed, and so far 
forth as the eye is formed by these laws, acting up- 
ward from the nerve merely sensitive to light, we can 
no more infer design, and from design a designer, 
than we can infer design in the direction of the bil- 
liard-balls after the collision. Both are sufficiently 
accounted for by blind powers acting under a blind 
necessity. Take away the struggle for life from the 
one, and the collision of the balls from the other and 


neither of these was designed and the animal would 
have gone on without eyes. The balls would have 
found the corners of the table to Avhich they were first 

While, therefore, it seems to me clear that one who 
can find no proof of the existence of an intelligent 
Creator except through the evidence of design in the 
organic world, can find no evidence of such design in 
the construction of the eye, if it were constructed un- 
der the operation of Darwin's laws, I shall not for 
one moment contend that these laws are incompatible 
with design and a self-conscious, intelligent Creator. 
Such design might, indeed, have coexisted with the 
necessity or natural selection ; and so the billiard-play- 
ers might have designed the collision of their balls ; 
but neither the formation of the eye, nor the path of 
the balls after collision, furnishes any sufficient proof 
of such design in either case. 

One, indeed, who believes, from revelation or any 
other cause, in the existence of such a Creator, the foun- 
tain and source of all things in heaven above and in the 
earth beneath, will see in natural variation, the strug- 
gle for life, and natural selection, only the order or 
mode in which this Creator, in his own perfect wis 
dom, sees fit to act. Happy is he who can thus see 
and adore. But how many are there who have no 
such belief from intuition, or faith in revelation ; but 
who have by careful and elaborate search in the phys- 
ical, and more especially in the organic world, in- 
ferred, by induction, the existence of God from what 
has seemed to them the wonderful adaptation of the 
different organs and parts of the animal body to its, 


apparently, designed ends ! Imagine a mind of this 
skeptical character, in all honesty and under its best 
reason, after finding itself obliged to reject the evi- 
dence of revelation, to commence a search after the 
Creator, in the light of natural theology. lie goes 
through the proof for final cause and design, as given 
in a summary though clear, plain, and convincing form, 
in the pages of Paley and the " Bridgewater Treatises." 
The eye and the hand, those perfect instruments of 
optical and mechanical contrivance and adaptation, 
without the least waste or surplusage these, say 
Paley and Bell, certainly prove a designing maker as 
much as the palace or the watch proves an architect or 
a watchmaker. Let this mind, in this state, cross Dar- 
win's work, and find that, after a sensitive nerve or a 
rudimentary hoof or claw, no design is to be found. 
From this point upward the development is the mere 
necessary result of natural selection ; and let him re- 
ceive this law of natural selection as true, and where 
does he find himself ? Before, he could refer the exist- 
ence of the eye, for example, only to design, or chance. 
There was no other alternative. He rejected chance, 
as impossible. It must then be a design. But Dar- 
win brings up another power, namely, natural selec- 
tion, in place of this impossible chance. This not 
only may, but, according to Darwin, must of necessity 
produce an eye. It may indeed coexist with design, 
but it must exist and act and produce its results, even 
without design. Will such a mind, under such circum- 
stances, infer the existence of the designer God 
when he can, at the same time, satisfactorily account for 
the thing produced, by the operation of this natural se- 


action? It seems to me, therefore, perfectly evident 
that the substitution of natural selection, by necessity, 
for design in the formation of the organic world, is a 
step decidedly atheistical. It is in vain to say that 
Darwin takes the creation of organic life, in its sim- 
plest forms, to have been the work of the Deity. In 
giving up design in these highest and most complex 
forms of organization, which have always been relied 
upon as the crowning proof of the existence of an in- 
telligent Creator, without whose intellectual power 
they could not have been brought into being, he takes 
a most decided step to banish a belief in the intelligent 
action of God from the organic world. The lower or- 
ganisms will go next. 

The atheist will say, "Wait a little. Some future 
Darwin will show how the simple forms came neces- 
sarily from inorganic matter. This is but another 
step by which, according to Laplace, " the discoveries 
of science throw final causes further back." 

A. G. It is conceded that, if the two players in 
the supposed case were ignorant of each other's pres- 
ence, the designs of both were frustrated, and froin 
necessity. Thus far it is not needful to inquipe wheth- 
er this necessary consequence is an unconditional or a 
conditioned necessity, nor to require a more definite 
statement of the meaning attached to the word neces- 
sity as a supposed third alternative. 

But, if the players knew of each other's presence, 
we could not infer from the result that the design of 
both or of either was frustrated. One of them may 
have intended to frustrate the other's design, and to 


effect his own. Or both may have been equally con- 
versant with the properties of the matter and the 
relation of the forces concerned (whatever the cause, 
origin, or nature, of these forces and properties), and 
the result may have been according to the designs of 

As you admit that they might or might not have 
designed the collision of their balls and its conse- 
quences, the question arises whether there is any way 
of ascertaining which of the two conceptions we may 
form about it is the true one. Now, let it be re- 
marked that design can never be demonstrated. Wit- 
nessing the act does not make known the design, as we 
have seen in the case assumed for the basis of the argu- 
ment. The word of the actor is not proof; and that 
source of evidence is excluded from the cases in ques- 
tion. The only way left, and the only possible way in 
cases where testimony is out of the question, is to infer 
the design from the result, or from arrangements which 
strike us as adapted or intended to produce a certain 
result, which affords a presumption of design. The 
strength of this presumption may be zero, or an even 
chance, as perhaps it is in the assumed case ; but the 
probability of design will increase with the particu- 
larity of the act, the specialty of the arrangement or 
machinery, and with the number of identical or yet 
more of similar and analogous instances, until it rises 
to a moral certainty i. e., to a conviction which prac- 
tically we are as unable to resist as we are to deny the 
cogency of a mathematical demonstration. A single 
instance, or set of instances, of a comparatively simple 
arrangement might suffice. For instance, we should 


not doubt that a pump was designed to raise water by 
the moving of the handle. Of course, the conviction 
is the stronger, or at least the sooner arrived at, where 
we can imitate the arrangement, and ourselves produce 
the result at will, as we could with a pump, and also 
with the billiard-balls. 

And here I would suggest that your billiard-table, 
with the case of collision, answers well to a machine. 
In both a result is produced by indirection by apply- 
ing a force out of line of the ultimate direction. And, 
as I should feel as confident that a man intended to 
raise water who was working a pump-handle, as if he 
were bringing it up in pailfuls from below by means 
of a ladder, so, after due examination of the billiard- 
table and its appurtenances, I should probably think 
it likely that the effect of the rebound was expected 
and intended no less than that of the immediate im- 
pulse. And a similar inspection of arrangements and 
results in Nature would raise at least an equal pre- 
sumption of design. 

You allow that the rebound might have been in- 
tended, but you require proof that it was. We agree 
that a single such instance affords no evidence either 
way. But how would it be if you saw the men doing 
the same thing over and over ? and if they varied it 
by other arrangements of the balls or of the blow, and 
these were followed by analogous results? How if 
you at length discovered a profitable end of the opera- 
tion, say the winning of a wager ? So in the coun- 
terpart case of natural selection : must we not infer 
intention from the arrangements and the results? 
But I will take another case of the very same sort, 


though simpler, and better adapted to illustrate natural 
selection ; because the change of direction your ne- 
cessity acts gradually or successively, instead of ab- 

Suppose I hit a man standing obliquely in my rear, 
by throwing forward a crooked stick, called a boome- 
rang. How could he know whether the blow was in- 
tentional or not ? But suppose I had been known to 
throw boomerangs before ; suppose that, on different 
occasions, I had before wounded persons by the same, 
or other indirect and apparently aimless actions ; and 
suppose that an object appeared to be gained in the 
result that definite ends were attained would it 
not at length be inferred that my assault, though indi- 
rect, or apparently indirect, was designed ? 

To make the case more nearly parallel with those 
it is brought to illustrate, you have only to suppose 
that, although the boomerang thrown by me went for- 
ward to a definite place, and at least appeared to sub- 
serve a purpose, and the bystanders, after a while, 
could get traces of the mode or the empirical law of its 
flight, yet they could not themselves do anything with 
it. It was quite beyond their power to use it. Would 
they doubt, or deny my intention, on that account ? 
No : they would insist that design on my part must 
be presumed from the nature of the results; that, 
though design may have been wanting in any one case, 
yet the repetition of the result, and from different 
positions and under varied circumstances, showed that 
there must have been design. 

Moreover, in the way your case is stated, it seems 
to concede the most important half of the question, 


and so affords a presumption for the rest, on the side 
of design. For you seem to assume an actor, a design- 
er, accomplishing his design in the first instance. You 
a bystander infer that the player effected his de- 
sign in sending the first ball to the pocket before him. 
i r ou infer this from observation alone. Must you not 
from a continuance of the same observation equally 
infer a common design of the two players in the com- 
plex result, or a design of one of them to frustrate the 
design of the other ? If you grant a designing actor, 
the presumption of design is as strong, or upon con- 
tinued observation of instances soon becomes as strong, 
in regard to the deflection of the balls, or variation of 
the species, as it was for the result of the first impulse 
or for the production of the original animal, etc. 

But, in the case to be illustrated, we do not see the 
player. "We see only the movement of the balls. 
Kow, if the contrivances and adaptations referred to 
(p. 229) really do " prove a designer as much as the 
palace or the watch proves an architect or a watch- 
maker " as Paley and Bell argue, and as your skeptic 
admits, while the alternative is between design and 
chance then they prove it with all the proof the case 
is susceptible of, and with complete conviction. For 
we cannot doubt that the watch had a watchmaker. 
And if they prove it on the supposition that the unseen 
operator acted immediately i. e., that the player di- 
rectly impelled the balls in the directions we see them 
moving, I insist that this proof is not impaired by our 
ascertaining that he acted mediately i. e., that the 
present state or form of the plants or animals, like 
the present position of the billiard-balls, resulted from 


the collision of the individuals with one another, or 
with the surroundings. The original impulse, which 
we once supposed .was in the line of the observed move- 
ment, only proves to have been in a different direc- 
tion ; but the series of movements took place with a 
series of results, each and all of them none the less 
determined, none the less designed. 

Wherefore, when, at the close, you quote Laplace, 
that " the discoveries of science throw final causes far- 
ther back," the most you can mean is, that they con- 
strain us to look farther back for the impulse. They 
do not at all throw the argument for design farther 
back, in the sense of furnishing evidence or presump- 
tion that only the primary impulse was designed, and 
that all the rest followed from chance or necessity. 

Evidence of design, I think you will allow, every- 
where is drawn from the observation of adaptations 
and of results, and has really nothing to do with any- 
thing else, except where you can take the word for the 
will. And in that case you have not argument for 
design, but testimony. In Nature we have no testi- 
mony ; but the argument is overwhelming. 

Now, note that the argument of the olden time that 
of Paley, etc., which your skeptic found so convincing 
was always the argument for design in the movement 
of the balls after dfflection. For it was drawn from 
animals produced by generation, not by creation, and 
through a long succession of generations or deflections. 
Wherefore, if the argument for design is perfect in the 
case of an animal derived from a long succession of 
individuals as nearly alike as offspring is generally like 
parents and grandparents, and if this argument is not 


weakened when a variation, or series or variations, has 
occurred in the course, as great as any variations we 
know of among domestic cattle, how then is it weak- 
ened by the supposition, or by the likelihood, that the 
variations have been twice or thrice as great as we for- 
merly supposed, or because the variations have been 
" picked out," and a few of them preserved as breeders 
of still other variations, by natural selection ? 

Finally let it be noted that your element of necessity 
has to do, so far as we know, only with the picking out 
and preserving of certain changing forms, i. e., with the 
natural selection. This selection, you may say, must 
happen under the circumstances. This is a necessary 
result of the collision of the balls ; and these results can 
be predicted. If the balls strike so and so, they will 
be deflected so and so. But the variation itself is of 
the nature of an origination. It answers well to the 
original impulse of the balls, or to a series of such 
impulses. We cannot predict what particular new 
variation will occur from any observation of the past. 
Just as the first impulse was given to the balls at a 
point out of sight, so the inpulse which resulted in the 
variety or new form was given at a point beyond ob- 
servation, and is equally mysterious or unaccountable, 
except on the supposition of an ordaining will. The 
parent had not the peculiarity of the variety, the pro- 
geny has. Between the two is the dim or obscure region 
of the formation of a new individual, in some unknown 
part of which, and in some wholly unknown way, the 
difference is intercalated. To introduce necessity here 
is gratuitous and unscientific ; but here you must have 
it to make your argument valid. 


I agree that, judging from the past, it is not im- 
probable that variation itself may be hereafter shown 
to result from physical causes. When it is so shown, 
you may extend your necessity into this region, but 
not till then. But the whole course of scientific dis- 
covery goes to assure us that the discovery of the 
cause of variation will be only a resolution of varia- 
tion into two factors : one, the immediate secondary 
cause of the changes, which so far explains them ; the 
other an unresolved or unexplained phenomenon, 
which will then stand just where the product, varia- 
tion, stands now, only that it will be one step nearer 
to the efficient cause. 

This line of argument appears to me so convincing, 
that I am bound to suppose that it does not meet your 
case. Although you introduced players to illustrate 
what design is, it is probable that you did not intend, 
and would not accept, the parallel which your supposed 
case suggested. When you declare that the proof 
of design in the eye and the hand, as given by Paley 
and Bell, was convincing, you mean, of course, that 
it was convincing, so long as the question was between 
design and chance, but that now another alternative is 
offered, one which obviates the force of those argu- 
ments, and may account for the actual results without 
design. I do not clearly apprehend this third alter- 

"Will you be so good, then, as to state the grounds 
upon which you conclude that the supposed proof of 
design from the eye, or the hand, as it stood before 
Darwin's theory was promulgated, would be invali- 
dated by the admission of this new theory ? 


D. T. As I have ever found you, in controversy, 
meeting the array of your opponent fairly and directly, 
without any attempt to strike the body of his argument 
through an unguarded joint in the phraseology, I was 
somewhat surprised at the course taken in your answer 
to my statement on Darwin's theory. You there seem 
to suppose that I instanced the action of the billiard 
balls and players as a parallel, throughout, to the for- 
mation of the organic world. Had it occurred to me 
that such an. application might be siipposed to follow 
legitimately from my introduction of this action, I 
should certainly have stated that I did not intend, and 
should by no means accede to, that construction. My 
purpose in bringing the billiard-table upon the scene 
was to illustrate, by example, design and necessity, as 
different and independent sources from which results, 
it might indeed be identical results, may be derived. 
All the conclusions, therefore, that you have arrived 
at through this misconception or misapplication of my 
illustration, I cannot take as an answer to the matter 
stated or intended to be stated by me. Again, follow- 
ing this misconception, you suppose the skeptic (in- 
stanced by me as revealing through the evidence of 
design, exhibited in the structure of the eye, for its 
designer, God) as bringing to the examination a belief 
in the existence of design in the construction of the 
animals as they existed up to the moment when the 
eye was, according to my supposition, added to the 
heart, stomach, brain, etc. By skeptic I, of course, 
intended one who doubted the existence of design in 
every organic structure, or at least required proof of 
such design. Now, as the watch may be instanced as a 


more complete exhibition of design than a flint knife 
or an hour-glass, I selected, after the example of Paley, 
the eye, as exhibiting by its complex but harmonious 
arrangements a higher evidence of design and a de- 
signer than is to be found in a nerve sensitive to light, 
or any mere rudimentary part or organ. I could not 
mean by skeptic one who believed in design so far as 
a claw, or a nerve sensitive to light, was concerned, but 
doubted all above. For one who believes in design at 
all will not fail to recognize it in a hand or an eye. 
But I need not extend these remarks, as you acknowl- 
edge in the sequel to your argument that you may not 
have suited it to the case as I had stated it. 

You now request me to " state the grounds upon 
which I conclude that the supposed proof of design 
from the eye and the hand, as it stood before Darwin's 
theory was promulgated, is invalidated by the admis- 
sion of that theory." It seems to me that a sufficient 
answer to this question has already been made in the 
last part of my former paper ; but, as you request it, 
I will go over the leading points as there given, with 
more minuteness of detail. 

Let us, then, suppose a skeptic, one who is yet con- 
sidering and doubting of the existence of God, having 
already concluded that the testimony from any and all 
revelation is insufficient, and having rejected what is 
called the a priori arguments brought forward in nat- 
ural theology, and pertinaciously insisted upon by Dr. 
Clark and others, turning as a last resource to the argu- 
ment from design in the organic world. Yoltaire tells 
him that a palace could not exist without an architect to 
design it. Dr. Paley tells him that a watch proves tho 


design of a watchmaker. He thinks this very reason- 
able, and, although he sees a difference between the 
works of Nature and those of mere human art, yet if he 
can find in any organic body, or part of a body, the 
same adaptation to its use that he finds in a watch, thia 
truth will go very far toward proving, if it is not en- 
tirely conclusive, that, in making it, the powers of life by 
which it grew were directed by an intelligent, reason- 
ing master. Under the guidance of Paley he takes an 
eye, which, although an optical, and not a mechanical 
instrument like the watch, is as well adapted to testify 
to design. He sees, first, that the eye is transparent 
when every other part of the body is opaque. Was 
this the result of a mere Epicurean or Lucretian "for- 
tuitous concourse " of living " atoms ? " He is not yet 
certain it might not be so. Next he sees that it is 
spherical, and that this convex form alone is capable 
of changing the direction of the light which proceeds 
from a distant body, and of collecting it so as to form 
a distinct image within its globe. Next he sees at the 
exact place where this image must be formed a curtain 
of nerve-work, ready to receive and convey it, or excite 
from it, in its own mysterious way, an idea of it in the 
mind. Last of all, he comes to the crystalline lens. 
Now, he has before learned that without this lens an 
eye would by the aqueous and vitreous humors alone 
form an image upon the retina, but this image would 
be indistinct from the light not being sufficiently 
refracted, and likewise from having a colored fringe 
round its edges. This last effect is attributable to the 
refrangibility of light, that is, to some of the colors 
being more refracted than others. He likewise knows 


that more then a hundred years ago Mr. Dollond hav- 
ing found out, after many experiments, that some kinda 
of glass have the power of dispersing light, for each de- 
gree of its refraction, much more than other kinds, and 
that on the discovery of this fact he contrived to make 
telescopes in which he passed the light through two 
object-glasses successively, one of which he made of 
crown and one of flint glass, so ground and adapted to 
each other that the greater dispersion produced by the 
substance of one should be corrected by the smaller dis- 
persion of the other. This contrivance corrected entire- 
ly the colored images which had rendered all previous 
telescopes very imperfect. He finds in this invention 
all the elements of design, as it appeared in the thought 
and action of a human designer. First, conjecture of 
certain laws or facts in optics. Then, experiment 
proving these laws or facts. Then, the contrivance 
and formation of an instrument by which those laws or 
facts must produce a certain sought result. 

Thus enlightened, our skeptic turns to his crystal- 
line lens to see if he can discover the work of a 
Dollond in this. Here he finds that an eye, having a 
crystalline lens placed between the humors, not only 
refracts the light more than it would be refracted by 
the humors alone, but that, in this combination of 
humors and lens, the colors are as completely corrected 
as in the combination of Dollond's telescope. Can it 
be that there was no design, no designer, directing the 
powers of life in the formation of this wonderful 
organ ? Our skeptic is aware that, in the arts of man, 
great aid has been, sometimes, given by chance, that 
is, by the artist or workman observing some fortuitous 


combination, form, or action, around him. He has 
heard it said that the chance arrangement of two pairs 
of spectacles, in the shop of a Dutch optician, gave the 
direction for constructing the first telescope. Possibly, 
in time, say a few geological ages, it might in some 
optician's shop have brought about a combination of 
flint and crown glass which, together, should have been 
achromatic. But the space between the humors of the 
eye is not an optician's shop where object-glasses of all 
kinds, shapes, and sizes, are placed by chance, in all 
manner of relations and positions. On the hypothesis 
under which our skeptic is making his examination 
the eye having been completed in all but the formation 
of the lens the place which the lens occupies when 
completed was filled with parts of the humors and 
plane membrane, homogeneous in texture and surface, 
presenting, therefore, neither the variety of the mate- 
rials nor forms which are contained in the optician's 
shop for chance to make its combinations with. How, 
then, could it be cast of a combination not before used, 
and fashioned to a shape different from that before 
known, and placed in exact combination with all the 
parts before enumerated, with many others not even 
mentioned ? He sees no parallelism of condition, then, 
by which chance could act in forming a crystalline 
lens, which answers to the condition of an optician's 
shop, where it might be possible in many ages for 
chance to combine existing forms into an achromatic 

Considering, therefore, the eye thus completed and 
placed in its bony case and provided with its muscles, 
its lids, its tear-ducts, and all its other elaborate and 


curious appendages, and, a thousand times more won- 
derful still, without being encumbered with a single 
superfluous or useless part, can he say that this could 
be the work of chance ? The improbability of this is 
so great, and consequently the evidence of design is so 
strong, that he is about to seal his verdict in favor of 
design, when he opens Mr. Darwin's book. 

There he finds that an eye is no more than a vital 
aggregation or growth, directed, not by design nor 
chance, but moulded by natural variation and natural 
selection, through which it must, necessarily, have been 
developed and formed. Particles or atoms being ag- 
gregated by the blind powers of life, must become 
under the given conditions, by natural variation and 
natural selection, eyes, without design, as certainly as 
the red billiard-ball went to the west pocket, by the 
powers of inertia and elasticity, without the design of 
the hand that put it in motion. (See Darwin, p. 169.) 

Let us lay before our skeptic the way in which we 
may suppose that Darwin would trace the operation 
of life, or the vital force conforming to these laws. 
In doing this we need not go through with the forma- 
tion of the several membranes, humors, etc., but take 
the crystalline lens as the most curious and nicely ar- 
ranged and adapted of all the parts, and as giving, 
moreover, a close parallel, in the end produced, to that 
produced by design, by a human designer, Dollond, 
in forming his achromatic object-glass. If it can be 
shown that natural variation and natural selection 
were capable of forming the crystalline lens, it will 
not be denied that they were capable of forming the 
iris, the sclerotica, the aqueous humors, or any and all 


the other parts. Suppose, then, that we have a num- 
ber of animals, with eyes yet wanting the crystalline. 
In this state the animals can see, but dimly and im- 
perfectly, as a man sees after having been couched. 
Some of the offspring of these animals have, by nat- 
ural variation, merely a portion of the membrane 
which separates the aqueous from the vitreous humor 
a little thickened in its middle part, a little swelled 
out. This refracts the light a little more than it would 
be refracted by a membrane in which no such swell- 
ing existed, and not only so, but, in combination with 
the humors, it corrects the errors of dispersion and 
makes the image somewhat more colorless. All the 
young animals that have this swelled membrane see 
more distinctly than their parents or brethren. They, 
therefore, have an advantage over them in the struggle 
for life. They can obtain food more easily ; can find*" 
their prey, and escape from their enemies with great- Ji 
er facility than their kindred. This thickening and \^ 
rounding of the membrane goes on from generation i /f 
to generation by natural variation ; natural selection I u 
all the while " picking out with unerring skill all the J 
improvements, through countless generations," until 
at length it is found that the membrane has become a 
perfect crystalline lens. Now, where is the design in 
all this ? The membrane was not thickened and round- 
ed to the end that the image should be more distinct 
and colorless ; but, being thickened and rounded by 
the operation of natural variation, inherent in genera- 
tion, natural selection of necessity produced the result 
that we have seen. The same result was thus pro- 
duced of necessity, in the eye, that Dollond came at, " 


in the telescope, with design, through painful guessing, 
reasoning, experimenting, and forming. 

Suppose our skeptic to believe in all this power of 
natural selection ; will he now seal up his verdict for 
design, with the same confidence that he would be- 
fore he heard of Darwin ? If not, then " the supposed 
proof f roin design is invalidated by Darwin's theory." 

A. G. Waiving incidental points and looking only 
. to the gist of the question, I remark that the argu- 
I ment for design as against chance, in the formation of 
4 the eye, is most convincingly stated in your argument. 
Upon this and upon numerous similar arguments the 
whole question we are discussing turns. So, if the 
skeptic was about to seal his verdict in favor of design, 
^and a designer, when Darwin's book appeared, why 
\4 should his verdict now be changed or withheld ? All 
the facts about the eye, which convinced him that the 
organ was designed, remain just as they were. Ilia 
conviction was not produced through testimony or eye- 
witness, but design was irresistibly inferred from the 
evidence of contrivance in the eye itself. 

Now, if the eye as it is, or has become, so convin- 
cingly argued design, why not each particular step or 
part of this result ? If the production of a perfect 
crystalline lens in the eye you know not how aa 
much indicated design as did the production of a Dol- 
lond achromatic lens you understand how then why 
does not " the swelling out " of a particular portion of 
the membrane behind the iris caused you know not 
how which, by " correcting the errors of dispersion 
and making the image somewhat more colorless," 


enabled the "young animals to see more distinctly 
than their parents or brethren," equally indicate design 
if not as much as a perfect crystalline, or a Dollond 
compound lens, yet as much as a common spectacle- 

Darwin only assures you that what you may have 
thought was done directly and at once was done in- 
directly and successively. But you freely admit that 
indirection and succession do not invalidate design, 
and also that Paley and all the natural theologians 
drew the arguments which convinced your skeptic 
wholly from eyes indirectly or naturally produced. 

Kecall a woman of a past generation and show her 
a web of cloth ; ask her how it was made, and she will 
say that the wool or cotton was carded, spun, and 
woven by hand. "When you tell her it was not made 
by manual labor, that probably no hand has touched 
the materials throughout the process, it is possible 
that she might at first regard your statement as tan- 
tamount to the assertion that the cloth was made 
without design. If she did, she would not credit 
your statement. If you patiently explained to her 
the theory of carding -machines, spinning - jennies, 
and power-looms, would her reception of your ex- 
planation weaken her conviction that the cloth was 
the result of design ? It is certain that she would 
believe in design as firmly as before, and that this 
belief would be attended by a higher conception and 
reverent admiration of a wisdom, skill, and power 
greatly beyond anything she had previously conceived 

Wherefore, we may insist that, for all that yet 


appears, the argument for design, as presented by the 
natural theologians, is just as good now, if we accept 
Darwin's theory, as it was before that theory was pro- 
mulgated ; and that the skeptical juryman, who was 
about to join the other eleven in a unanimous ver- 
dict in favor of design, finds no good excuse for keep- 
ing the court longer waiting. 1 

[* To parry an adversary's thrust at a vulnerable part, or to show 
that it need not be fatal, is an incomplete defense. If the discussion 
had gone on, it might, perhaps, have been made to appear that the 
Darwinian hypothesis, so far from involving the idea of necessity 
(except in the sense that everything is of necessity), was based upon the 
opposite idea, that of contingency.] 



ATLAHTIO MONTHLY FOB July, August, AND October, I860, EEPErNTKD m 1861. 

NOVELTIES are enticing to most people ; to us they 
are simply annoying. We cling to a long-accepted 
theory, just as we cling to an old suit of clothes. A 
new theory, like a new pair of breeches (the Atlantic 
still affects the older type of nether garment), is sure 
to have hard-fitting places ; or, even when no particu- 
lar fault can be found with the article, it oppresses 
with a sense of general discomfort. New notions and 
new styles worry us, till we get well used to them, 
which is only by slow degrees. 

Wherefore, in Galileo's time, we might have 
helped to proscribe, or to burn had he been stub- 
born enough to warrant cremation even the great 
pioneer of inductive research; although, when we 
had fairly recovered our composure, and had leisurely 
excogitated the matter, we might have come to con- 
clude that the new doctrine was better than the old 
one, after all, at least for those who had nothing to 

Such being our habitual state of mind, it may well 


be believed that the perusal of the new book " On the 
Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection" 
left an uncomfortable impression, in spite of its plau- 
sible and winning ways. We were not wholly unpre- 
pared for it, as many of our contemporaries seem to 
have been. The scientific reading in which we indulge 
as a relaxation from severer studies had raised dim 
forebodings. Investigations about the succession of 
species in time, and their actual geographical distribu- 
tion over the earth's surface, were leading up from all 
sides and in various ways to the question of their 
origin. Now and then we encountered a sentence, 
like Prof. Owen's " axiom of the continuous operation 
of the ordained becoming of living things," which 
haunted us like an apparition. For, dim as our con- 
ception must needs be as to what such oracular and 
grandiloquent phrases might really mean, we felt con- 
fident that they presaged no good to old beliefs. 
Foreseeing, yet deprecating, the coming time of 
trouble, we still hoped that, with some repairs and 
makeshifts, the old views might last out our days. 
Apres nous le deluge. Still, not to lag behind the 
rest of the world, we read the book in which the new 
theory is promulgated. We took it up, like our 
neighbors, and, as was natural, in a somewhat captious 
frame of mind. 

"Well, we found no cause of quarrel with the first 
chapter. Here the author takes us directly to the 
barn-yard and the kitchen-garden. Like an honorable 
rural member of our General Court, who sat silent 
until, near the close of a long session, a bill requiring 
all swine at large to wear pokes was introduced, when 


he claimed the privilege of addressing the house, on 
the proper ground that he had been "brought up 
among the pigs, and knew all about them " so we 
were brought up among cows and cabbages ; and the 
lowing of cattle, the cackle of hens, and the cooing of 
pigeons, were sounds native and pleasant to our ears. 
So " Variation under Domestication " dealt with fa- 
miliar subjects in a natural way, and gently intro- 
duced " Variation under Nature," which seemed likely 
enough. Then follows " Struggle for Existence " a 
principle which we experimentally know to be true 
and cogent bringing the comfortable assurance, that 
man, even upon Leviathan Hobbes's theory of society, 
is no worse than the rest of creation, since all Nature 
is at war, one species with another, and the nearer 
kindred the more internecine bringing in thousand- 
fold confirmation and extension of the Malthusian 
doctrine that population tends far to outrun means of 
subsistence throughout the animal and vegetable world, 
and has to be kept down by sharp preventive checks ; 
so that not more than one of a hundred or a thousand 
of the individuals whose existence is so wonderfully 
and so sedulously provided for ever comes to anything, 
under ordinary circumstances ; so the lucky and the 
strong must prevail, and the weaker and ill-favored must 
perish ; and then follows, as naturally as one sheep 
follows another, the chapter on "Natural Selection," 
Darwin's cheval de bataille, which is very much the 
Napoleonic doctrine that Providence favors the strong- 
est battalions that, since many more individuals are 
born than can possibly survive, those individuals and 
those variations which possess any advantage, however 


slight, over the rest, are in the long-run sure to sur- 
vive, to propagate, and to occupy the limited field, to 
the exclusion or destruction of the weaker brethren. 
All this we pondered, and could not much object to. 
In fact, we began to contract a liking for a system 
which at the outset illustrates the advantages of good 
breeding, and which makes the most " of every creat- 
ure's best." 

Could we " let by-gones be by-gones," and, begin- 
ning now, go on improving and diversifying for the 
future by natural selection, could we even take up the 
theory at the introduction of the actually existing 
species, we should be well content ; and so, perhaps, 
would most naturalists be. It is by no means difficult 
to believe that varieties are incipient or possible spe- 
cies, when we see what trouble naturalists, especially 
botanists, have to distinguish between them one re- 
garding as a true species what another regards as a 
variety ; when the progress of knowledge continually 
increases, rather than diminishes, the number of 
doubtful instances ; and when there is less agreement 
than ever among naturalists as to what is the basis in 
Nature upon which our idea of species reposes, or how 
the word is to be denned. Indeed, when we consider 
the endless disputes of naturalists and ethnologists 
over the human races, as to whether they belong to 
one species or to more, and, if to more, whether to 
three, or five, or fifty, we can hardly help fancying 
that both may be right or rather, that the uni-humani- 
tarians would have been right many thousand years 
ago, and the multi-humanitarians will be several thou- 
sand years later ; while at present the safe thing to 



Bay is, that probably there is some truth on both 

" Natural selection," Darwin remarks, " leads to 
divergence of character ; for the more living beings can 
be supported on the same area, the more they diverge 
in structure, habits, and constitution" (a principle 
which, by-the-way, is paralleled and illustrated by the 
diversification of human labor) ; and also leads to much 
extinction of intermediate or unimproved forms. Now, 
though this divergence may " steadily tend to increase," 
yet this is evidently a slow process in Nature, and 
liable to much counteraction wherever man does not 
interpose, and so not likely to work much harm for 
the future. And if natural selection, with artificial to 
help it, will produce better animals and better men 
than the present, and fit them better " to the condi- 
tions of existence," why, let it work, say we, to the 
top of its bent. There is still room enough for im- 
provement. Only let us hope that it always works 
for good : if not, the divergent lines on Darwin's litho- 
graphic diagram of " Transmutation made Easy," omi- 
nously show what small deviations from the straight 
path may come to in the end. 

The prospect of the future, accordingly, is on the 
whole pleasant and encouraging. It is only the back- 
ward glance, the gaze up the long vista of the past, 
that reveals anything alarming. Here the lines con 
verge as they recede into the geological ages, and point 
to conclusions which, upon the theory, are inevitable, 
but hardly welcome. The very first step backward 
makes the negro and the Hottentot our blood-rela- 
tions not that reason or Scripture objects to that, 


though pride may. The next suggests a closer asso- 
ciation of our ancestors of the olden time with " our 
poor relations " of the quadrumanous family than we 
like to acknowledge. Fortunately, however even if 
we must account for him scientifically man with his 
two feet stands upon a foundation of his own. Inter- 
mediate links between the Bimana and the Quadru- 
mana are lacking altogether ; so that, put the gene- 
alogy of the brutes upon what footing you will, the 
four-handed races will not serve for our forerunners 
at least, not until some monkey, live or fossil, is 
producible with great-toes, instead of thumbs, upon 
his nether extremities ; or until some lucky geologist 
turns up the bones of his ancestor and prototype in 
France or England, who was so busy " napping the 
chuckie-stanes" and chipping out flint knives and 
arrow-heads in the time of the drift, very many ages 
ago before the British Channel existed, says Lyell l 
and until these men of the olden time are shown to 
have worn their great-toes in the divergent and thumb- 
like fashion. That would be evidence indeed: but, 
until some testimony of the sort is produced, we must 
needs believe in the separate and special creation of 
man, however it may have been with the lower ani- 
mals and with plants. 

No doubt, the full development and symmetry of 
Darwin's hypothesis strongly suggest the evolution of 

1 Vide " Proceedings of the British Association for the Advance- 
ment of Science," 1859, and London Athen&um, passim. It. appears 
to be conceded that these " celts " or stone knives are artificial pro- 
ductions, and apparently of the age of the mammoth, the fossil rhi- 
noceros, etc. 


the human no less than the lower animal races out of 
some simple primordial animal that all are equally 
" lineal descendants of some few beings which lived 
long before the first bed of the Silurian system was 
deposited." But, as the author speaks disrespectfully 
of spontaneous generation, and accepts a supernatural 
beginning of life on earth, in some form or forms of 
being which included potentially all that have since 
existed and are yet to be, he is thereby not warranted 
to extend his inferences beyond the evidence or the 
fair probability. There seems as great likelihood that 
one special origination should be followed by another 
upon fitting occasion (such as the introduction of man), 
as that one form should be transmuted into another 
upon fitting occasion, as, for instance, in the succession 
of species which differ from each other only in some 
details. To compare small things with great in a 
homely illustration : man alters from time to time his 
instruments or machines, as new circumstances or con- 
ditions may require and his wit suggest. Minor altera- 
tions and improvements he adds to the machine he 
possesses ; he adapts a new rig or a new rudder to an 
old boat: this answers to Variation. "Like begets 
like," being the great rule in Nature, if boats could 
engender, the variations would doubtless be propa- 
gated, like those of domestic cattle. In course of 
time the old ones would be worn out or wrecked \ the 
best sorts would be chosen for each particular use, and 
further improved upon ; and so the primordial boat 
be developed into the scow, the skiff, the sloop, and 
other species of water-craft the very diversification, 
as well as the successive improvements, entailing the 


disappearance of intermediate forms, less adapted to 
any one particular purpose ; wherefore these go slowly 
out of use, and become extinct species : this is Natu- 
ral Selection. Now, let a great and important advance 
be made, like that of steam navigation : here, though 
the engine might be added to the old vessel, yet the 
wiser and therefore the actual way is to make a new 
vessel on a modified plan : this may answer to Specific 
Creation. Anyhow, the one does not necessarily ex- 
clude the other. Variation and natural selection may 
play their part, and so may specific creation also. 
Why not? 

This leads us to ask for the reasons which call for 
this new theory of transmutation. The beginning of 
things must needs lie in obscurity, beyond the bounds 
of proof, though within those of conjecture or of ana- 
logical inference. Why not hold fast to the customary 
view, that all species were directly, instead of indi- 
rectly, created after their respective kinds, as we now 
behold them and that in a manner which, passing 
our comprehension, we intuitively refer to the super- 
natural ? Why this continual striving after " the un- 
attained and dim?" why these anxious endeavors, 
especially of late years, by naturalists and philosophers 
of various schools and different tendencies, to pene- 
trate what one of them calls " that mystery of mys- 
teries," the origin of species ? 

To this, in general, sufficient answer may be found 
in the activity of the human intellect, " the delirious 
yet divine desire to know," stimulated as it has been 
by its own success in unveiling the laws and process- 
es of inorganic Nature ; in the fact that the principal 


triumphs of our age in physical science have consisted 
in tracing connections where none were known before, 
in reducing heterogeneous phenomena to a common 
cause or origin, in a manner quite analogous to that 
of the reduction of supposed independently originated 
species to a common ultimate origin thus, and in 
various other ways, largely and legitimately extending 
the domain of secondary causes. Surely the scientific 
mind of an age which contemplates the solar system 
as evolved from a common revolving fluid mass 
which, through experimental research, has come to re- 
gard light, heat, electricity, magnetism, chemical affin- 
ity, and mechanical power as varieties or derivative 
and convertible forms of one force, instead of inde- 
pendent species which has brought the so-called ele- 
mentary kinds of matter, such as the metals, into 
kindred groups, and pertinently raised the question, 
whether the members of each group may not be mere 
varieties of one species and which speculates steadily 
in the direction of the ultimate unity of matter, of a 
sort of prototype or simple element which may be to 
the ordinary species of matter what the Protozoa or 
what the component cells of an organism are to the 
higher sorts of animals and plants the mind of such 
an age cannot be expected to let the old belief about 
species pass unquestioned. It will raise the question, 
how the diverse sorts of plants and animals came to 
be as they are and where they are, and will allow that 
the whole inquiry transcends its powers only when 
all endeavors have failed. Granting the origin to be 
supernatural, or miraculous even, will not arrest the 
inquiry. All real origination, the philosophers will 


say, is supernatural ; their very question is, whether 
we have yet gone back to the origin, and can affirm 
that the present forms of plants and animals are the 
primordial, the miraculously created ones. And, even 
if they admit that, they will still inquire into the 
order of the phenomena, into the form of the miracle. 
You might as well expect the child to grow up content 
with what it is told about the advent of its infant 
brother. Indeed, to learn that the new-comer is the 
gift of God, far from lulling inquiry, only stimulates 
speculation as to how the precious gift was bestowed. 
That questioning child is father to the man is phi- 
losopher in short-clothes. 

Since, then, questions about the origin of species 
will be raised, and have been raised and since the 
theorizings, however different in particulars, all pro- 
ceed upon the notion that one species of plant or 
animal is somehow derived from another, that the dif- 
ferent sorts which now nourish are lineal (or unlineal) 
descendants of other and earlier sorts it now con- 
cerns us to ask, What are the grounds in Nature, the 
admitted facts, which suggest hypotheses of derivation 
in some shape or other ? Reasons there must be, and 
plausible ones, for the persistent recurrence of theories 
upon this genetic basis. A study of Darwin's book, 
and a general glance at the present state of the natural 
sciences, enable us to gather the following as among 
the most suggestive and influential. We can only 
enumerate them here, without much indication of 
their particular bearing. There is 

1. The general fact of variability, and the general 
tendency of the variety to propagate its like the 



patent facts that all species vary more or less ; that 
domesticated plants and animals, being in conditions 
favorable to the production and preservation of varie- 
ties, are apt to vary widely ; and that, by interbreed- 
ing, any variety may be fixed into a race, that is, into 
a variety which comes true from seed. Many such 
races, it is allowed, differ from each other in structure 
and appearance as widely as do many admitted species ; 
and it is practically very difficult, even impossible, to 
draw a clear line between races and species. Witness 
the human races, for instance. Wild species also vary, 
perhaps about as widely as those of domestication, 
though in different ways. Some of them apparently 
vary little, others moderately, others immoderately, to 
the great bewilderment of systematic botanists and 
zoologists, and increasing disagreement as to whether 
various forms shall be held to be original species or 
strong varieties. Moreover, the degree to which the 
descendants of the same stock, varying in different di- 
rections, may at length diverge, is unknown. All we 
know is, that varieties are themselves variable, and that 
very diverse forms have been educed from one stock. 
2. Species of the same genus are not distinguished 
from each other by equal amounts of difference. 
There is diversity in this respect analogous to that of 
the varieties of a polymorphous species, some of them 
slight, others extreme. And in large genera the un- 
equal resemblance shows itself in the clustering of 
the species around several types or central species, 
like satellites around their respective planets. .Ob- 
viously suggestive this of the hypothesis that they 
were satellites, not thrown off by revolution, like the 


moons of Jupiter, Saturn, and our own solitary moon, 
but gradually and peacefully detached by divergent 
variation. That such closely-related species may be 
only varieties of higher grade, earlier origin, or more 
favored evolution, is not a very violent supposition. 
Anyhow, it was a supposition sure to be made. 

3. The actual geographical distribution of species 
upon the earth's surface tends to suggest the same 
notion. For, as a general thing, all or most of the 
species of a peculiar genus or other type are grouped 
in the same country, or occupy continuous, proximate, 
or accessible areas. So well does this rule hold, so 
general is the implication that kindred species are or 
were associated geographically, that most trustworthy 
naturalists, quite free from hypotheses of transmuta- 
tion, are constantly inferring former geographical 
continuity between parts of the world now widely 
disjoined, in order to account thereby for certain 
generic similarities among their inhabitants ; just as 
philologists infer former connection of races, and a 
parent language, to account for generic similarities 
among existing languages. Yet no scientific explana- 
tion has been offered to account for the geographical 
association of kindred species, except the hypothesis 
of a common origin. 

4. Here the fact of the antiquity of creation, and 
in particular of the present kinds of the earth's inhab- 
itants, or of a large part of them, comes in to rebut 
the objection that there has not been time enough 
for any marked diversification of living things through 
divergent variation not time enough for varieties to 
have diverged into what we call species. 


So long as the existing species of plants and ani- 
mals were thought to have originated a few thousand 
years ago, and without predecessors, there was no 
room for a theory of derivation of one sort from an- 
other, nor time enough even to account for the estab- 
lishment of the races which are generally believed to 
have diverged from a common stock. Not so much 
that five or six thousand years was a short allowance 
for this ; but because some of our familiar domesti- 
cated varieties of grain, of fowls, and of other animals, 
were pictured and mummified by the old Egyptians 
more than half that number of years ago, if not ear- 
lier. Indeed, perhaps the strongest argument for the 
original plurality of human species was drawn from 
the identification of some of the present races of men 
upon these early historical monuments and records. 

But this very extension of the current chronology, 
if we may rely upon the archaeologists, removes the 
difficulty by opening up a longer vista. So does the 
discovery in Europe of remains and implements of 
prehistoric races of men, to whom the use of metals 
was unknown men of the stone age, as the Scandina- 
vian archaeologists designate them. And now, " axes 
and knives of flint, evidently wrought by human skill, 
are found in beds of the drift at Amiens (also in 
other places, both in France and England), associated 
with the bones of extinct species of animals." These 
implements, indeed, were noticed twenty years ago; 
at a place in Suffolk they have been exhumed from 
time to time for more than a century ; but the full 
confirmation, the recognition of the age of the deposit 
in which the implements occur, their abundance, and 


the appreciation of their bearings upon most interest- 
ing questions, belong to the present time. To complete 
the connection of these primitive people with the 
fossil ages, the French geologists, we are told, have 
now " found these axes in Picardy associated with re- 
mains of Elephas primigenius, Rhinoceros tichorhi- 
nus, Equus fossilis, and an extinct species of Bos" ' 
In plain language, these workers in flint lived in the 
time of the mammoth, of a rhinoceros now extinct, and 
along with horses and cattle unlike any now existing 
specifically different, as naturalists say, from those 
with which man is now associated. Their connection 
with existing human races may perhaps be traced 
through the intervening people of the stone age, who 
were succeeded by the people of the bronze age, and 
these by workers in iron.* Now, various evidence 
carries back the existence of many of the present low- 
er species of animals, and probably of a larger number 
of plants, to the same drift period. All agree that 
this was very many thousand years ago. Agassiz tells 
us that the same species of polyps which are now 
building coral walls around the present peninsula of 
Florida actually made that peninsula, and have been 
building there for many thousand centuries. 

5. The overlapping of existing and extinct species, 
and the seemingly gradual transition of the life of the 
drift period into that of the present, may be turned to 

1 See " Correspondence of M. NicklSs," in American Journal of Sci- 
ence and Artt, for March, 1860. 

* See Morlot, "Some General Views on Archeology," in American 
Journal of Science and Artt, for January, I860, translated from " Bul- 
letin de la Sociite" Vaudoise," 1869. 


the same account. Mammoths, mastodons, and Irish 
elks, now extinct, must have lived down to human, if 
not almost to historic times. Perhaps the last dodo 
did not long outlive his huge ]S"ew Zealand kindred. 
The auroch, once the companion of mammoths, still 
survives, but owes his present and precarious existence 
to man's care. Now, nothing that we know of forbids 
the hypothesis that some new species have been inde- 
pendently and supernaturally created within the period 
which other species have survived. Some may even 
believe that man was created in the days of the mam 
moth, became extinct, and was recreated at a later date. 
But why not say the same of the auroch, contempo- 
rary both of the old man and of the new ? Still it is 
more natural, if not inevitable, to infer that, if the 
aurochs of that olden time were the ancestors of the 
aurochs of the Lithuanian forests, so likewise were the 
men of that age the ancestors of the present human 
races. Then, whoever concludes that these primitive 
makers of rude flint axes and knives were the ancestors 
of the better workmen of the succeeding stone age, 
and these again of the succeeding artificers in brass and 
iron, will also be likely to suppose that the Equus and 
Bos of that time, different though they be, were the 
remote progenitors of our own horses and cattle. In 
all candor we must at least concede that sucli consid- 
erations suggest a genetic descent from the drift period 
down to the present, and allow time enough if time is 
of any account for variation and natural selection to 
work out some appreciable results in the way of diver- 
gence into races, or even into so-called species. What- 
ever might have been thought, when geological time 


was supposed to be separated from the present era by 
a clear line, it is now certain that a gradual replace- 
ment of old forms by new ones is strongly suggestive 
of some mode of origination which may still be opera- 
tive. When species, like individuals, were found to 
die out one by one, and apparently to come in one by 
one, a theory for what Owen sonorously calls "the 
continuous operation of the ordained becoming of liv- 
ing things " could not be far off. 

That all such theories should take the form of a 
derivation of the new from the old seems to be inevi- 
table, perhaps from our inability to conceive of any 
other line of secondary causes in this connection. 
Owen himself is apparently in travail with some trans- 
mutation theory of his own conceiving, which may 
yet see the light, although Darwin's came first to the 
birth. Different as the two theories will probably 
be, they cannot fail to exhibit that fundamental re- 
semblance in this respect which betokens a commu- 
nity of origin, a common foundation on the general 
facts and the obvious suggestions of modern science. 
Indeed to turn the point of a pungent simile directed 
against Darwin the difference between the Darwin- 
ian and the Owenian hypotheses may, after all, be 
only that between homoeopathic and heroic doses of 
the same drug. 

If theories of derivation could only stop here, con- 
tent with explaining the diversification and succession 
of species between the tertiary period and the present 
time, through natural agencies or secondary causes 
still in operation, we fancy they would not be generally 
or violently objected to by the savants of the present 


day. But it is hard, if not impossible, to find a stop- 
ping-place. Some of the facts or accepted conclusions 
already referred to, and several others, of a more gen- 
eral character, which must be taken into the account, 
impel the theory onward with accumulated force. 
Vires (not to say virus) acquirit eundo. The theory 
hitches on wonderfully well to Lyell's unif ormitarian 
theory in geology that the thing that has been is the 
thing that is and shall be that the natural operations 
now going on will account for all geological changes in 
a quiet and easy way, only give them time enough, so 
connecting the present and the proximate with the 
farthest past by almost imperceptible gradations a 
view which finds large and increasing, if not general, 
acceptance in physical geology, and of which Darwin's 
theory is the natural complement. 

So the Darwinian theory, once getting a foothold, 
marches boldly on, follows the supposed near ances- 
tors of our present species farther and yet farther back 
into the dim past, and ends with an analogical infer- 
ence which " makes the whole world kin." As we said 
at the beginning, this upshot discomposes us. Several 
features of the theory have aii uncanny look. They 
may prove to be innocent : but their first aspect is suspi- 
cious, and high authorities pronounce the whole thing 
to be positively mischievous. In this dilemma we are 
going to take advice. Following the bent of our preju- 
dices, and hoping to fortify these by new and strong 
arguments, we are going now to read the principal 
reviews which undertake to demolish the theory 
with what result our readers shall be duly informed. 


" I can entertain no doubt, after the most deliberate study 
and dispassionate judgment of which I am capable, that the 
view which most naturalists entertain, and which I formerly 
entertained, namely, that each species has been independently 
created, is erroneous. I am fully convinced that species are 
not immutable ; but that those belonging to what are called the 
same genera are lineal descendants of some other and generally 
extinct species, in the same manner as the acknowledged varie- 
ties of any one species are the descendants of that species. 
Furthermore, I am convinced that Natural Selection has been 
the main, but not exclusive, means of modification." 

This is the kernel of the new theory, the Dar- 
winian creed, as recited at the close of the introduc- 
tion to the remarkable book under consideration. 
The questions, "What will he do with it?" and 
" How far will he carry it ? " the author answers at 
the close of the volume : 

" I cannot doubt that the theory of descent with modifica- 
tion embraces all the members of the same class." Furthermore, 
" I believe that all animals have descended from at most only 
four or five progenitors, and plants from an equal or lesser 

Seeing that analogy as strongly suggests a further 
step in the same direction, while he protests that 
" analogy may be a deceitful guide," yet he follows 
its inexorable leading to the inference that 

" Probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on 
this earth have descended from some one primordial form, into 
which life was first breathed." ' 

1 Page 484, English edition. In the new American edition (vide 
Supplement, pp. 431, 432) the principal analogies which suggest the 


In the first extract we have the thin end of the 
wedge driven a little way ; in the last, the wedge 
driven home. 

We have already sketched some of the reasons 
suggestive of such a theory of derivation of species, 
reasons which gave it plausibility, and even no small 
probability, as applied to our actual world and to 
changes occurring since the latest tertiary period. 
We are well pleased at this moment to find that the 
conclusions we were arriving at in this respect are 
sustained by the very high authority and impartial 
judgment of Pictet, the Swiss paleontologist. In his 
review of Darwin's book J the fairest and most ad- 
mirable opposing one that has appeared he freely 
accepts that ensemble of natural operations which 
Darwin impersonates under the now familiar name 
of Natural Selection, allows that the exposition 
throughout the first chapters seems " d la fois pru- 
dent et fort" and is disposed to accept the whole 
argument in its foundations, that is, so far as it re- 
lates to what is now going on, or has taken place in 
the present geological period which period he car- 
ries back through the diluvial epoch to the borders 
of the tertiary. 1 Pictet accordingly admits that the 

extreme view are referred to, and the remark is appended : "But this 
inference is chiefly grounded on analogy, and it is immaterial whether 
or not it be accepted. The case is different with the members of each 
great class, as the Vertebrata or Articulata ; for here we have in the 
laws of homology, embryology, etc., some distinct evidence that all 
have descended from a single primordial parent." 

1 In Bibliothtque Universelle de Gentve, March, 1860. 

s This we learn from his very interesting article, " De la Question 


theory will very well account for the origination by 
divergence of nearly-related species, whether within 
the present period or in remoter geological times ; a 
very natural view for him to take, since he appears 
to have reached and published, several years ago, the 
pregnant conclusion that there most probably was 
some material connection between the closely-related 
species of two successive faunas, and that the numer- 
ous close species, whose limits are so difficult to de- 
termine, were not all created distinct and indepen- 
dent. But while thus accepting, or ready to accept, 
the basis of Darwin's theory, and all its legitimate 
direct inferences, he rejects the ultimate conclusions, 
brings some weighty arguments to bear against them, 
and is evidently convinced that he can draw a clear 
line between the sound inferences, which he favors, 
and the unsound or unwarranted theoretical deduc- 
tions, which he rejects. We hope he can. 

This raises the question, "Why does Darwin press 
his theory to these extreme conclusions ? Why do 
all hypotheses of derivation converge so inevitably to 
one ultimate point ? Having already considered some 
of the reasons which suggest or support the theory at 
its outset which may carry it as far as such sound 
and experienced naturalists as Pictet allow that it may 
be true perhaps as far as Darwin himself unfolds it 
in the introductory proposition cited at the begin- 
ning of this article we may now inquire after the 

dc 1'Hommc Fossilc," in the same (March) number of the Bibliothique 
Univeraelle. (See, also, the same author's " Note sur la Periode Qua- 
ternaire ou Diluvienne, consid6r6e dans sea Rapports avec l'poque 
Actuelle," in the number for August, I860, of the same periodic;il.) 


motives which impel the theorist so much farther. 
Here proofs, in the proper sense of the word, are not 
to be had. "We are beyond the region of demonstra- 
tion, and have only probabilities to consider. What 
are these probabilities? What work will this hy- 
pothesis do to establish a claim to be adopted in its 
completeness? Why should a theory which may 
plausibly enough account for the diversification of 
the species of each special type or genus be expanded 
into a general system for the origination or successive 
diversification of all species, and all special types or 
forms, from four or five remote primordial forms, or 
perhaps from one ? We accept the theory of gravi- 
tation because it explains all the facts we know, and 
bears all the tests that we can put it to. We incline 
to accept the nebular hypothesis, for similar reasons ; 
not because it is proved thus far it is incapable of 
proof but because it is a natural theoretical deduction 
from accepted physical laws, is thoroughly congruous 
with the facts, and because its assumption serves to 
connect and harmonize these into one probable and 
consistent whole. Can the derivative hypothesis be 
maintained and carried out into a system on similar 
grounds ? If so, however unproved, it would appear 
to be a tenable hypothesis, which is all that its author 
ought now to claim. Such hypotheses as, from the 
conditions of the case, can neither be proved nor dis- 
proved by direct evidence or experiment, are to be 
tested only indirectly, and therefore imperfectly, by 
trying their power to harmonize the known facts, and 
to account for what is otherwise unaccountable. So 
the question comes to this : What will an hypothesis 


of the derivation of species explain which the oppos- 
ing view leaves unexplained ? 

Questions these which ought to be entertained 
before we take up the arguments which have been 
advanced against this theory. "VYe can barely glance 
at some of the considerations which Darwin adduces, 
or will be sure to adduce in the future and fuller 
exposition which is promised. To display them in such 
wise as to indoctrinate the unscientific reader would 
require a volume. Merely to refer to them in the 
most general terms would suffice for those familiar 
with scientific matters, but would scarcely enlighten 
those who are not. Wherefore let these trust the im- 
partial Pictet, who freely admits that, " in the absence 
of sufficient direct proofs to justify the possibility of 
his hypothesis, Mr. Darwin relies upon indirect proofs, 
the bearing of which is real and incontestable ; " who 
concedes that " his theory accords very well with the 
great facts of comparative anatomy and zoology 
comes in admirably to explain unity of composition of 
organisms, also to explain rudimentary and representa- 
tive organs, and the natural series of genera and species 
equally corresponds with many paleontological data 
agrees well with the specific resemblances which exist 
between two successive faunas, with the parallelism 
which is sometimes observe'd between the series of 
paleontological succession and of embryonal develop- 
ment," etc. ; and finally, although he does not accept 
the theory in these results, he allows that "it appears 
to offer the best means of explaining the manner in 
which organized beings were produced in epochs an- 
terior to our own." 


What more than this could be said for such an 
hypothesis? Here, probably, is its m charm, and its 
strong hold upon the speculative mind. Unproven 
though it be, and cumbered prima facie with cumula- 
tive improbabilities as it proceeds, yet it singularly 
accords with great classes of facts otherwise insulated 
and enigmatic, and explains many things which are 
thus far utterly inexplicable upon any other scientific 

We have said that Darwin's hypothesis is the natu- 
ral complement to Lyell's uniformitarian theory in 
physical geology. It is for the organic world what that 
is for the inorganic ; and the accepters of the latter 
stand in a position from which to regard the former in 
the most favorable light. Wherefore the rumor that 
the cautious Lyell himself has adopted the Darwinian 
hypothesis need not surprise us. The two views are 
made for each other, and, like the two counterpart pic- 
tures for the stereoscope, when brought together, com- 
bine into one apparently solid whole. 

If we allow, with Pictet, that Darwin's theory 
will very well serve for all that concerns the present 
epoch of the world's history an epoch in which 
this renowned paleontologist includes the diluvial or 
quaternary period then Darwin's first and foremost 
need in his onward course is a practicable road from 
this into and through the tertiary period, the interven- 
ing region between the comparatively near and the 
far remote past. Here Lyell's doctrine paves the way, 
by showing that in the physical geology there is no 
general or absolute break between the two, probably 
no greater between the latest tertiary and the quater- 


nary period than between the latter and the present 
time. So far, the Lyellian view is, we suppose, gen- 
erally concurred in. It is largely admitted that nu- 
merous tertiary species have continued down into the 
quaternary, and many of them to the present time. A 
goodly percentage of the earlier and nearly half of the 
later tertiary mollusca, according to Des Hayes, Lyell, 
and, if we mistake not, Bronn, still live. This identifi- 
cation, however, is now questioned by a naturalist of 
the very highest authority. But, in its bearings on the 
new theory, the point here turns not upon absolute 
identity so much as upon close resemblance. For those 
who, with Agassiz, doubt the specific identity in any 
of these cases, and those who say, with Pictet, that 
" the later tertiary deposits contain in general the 
debris of species very nearly related to those which 
still exist, belonging to the same genera, but specifically 
different," may also agree with Pictet, that the nearly- 
related species of successive faunas must or may have 
had " a material connection." But the only material 
connection that we have an idea of in such a case is a 
genealogical one. And the supposition of a genealogi- 
cal connection is surely not unnatural in such cases 
is demonstrably the natural one as respects all those 
tertiary species which experienced naturalists have 
pronounced to be identical with existing ones, but 
which others now deem distinct. For to identify the 
two is the same thing as to conclude the one to be the 
ancestor of the other. No doubt there are differences 
between the tertiary and the present individuals, differ- 
ences equally noticed by both classes of naturalists, but 
differently estimated. By the one these are deemed 


quite compatible, by the other incompatible, with com- 
munity of origin. But who can tell us what amount 
of difference is compatible with community of origin f 
This is the very question at issue, and one to be settled 
by observation alone. Who would have thought that 
the peach and the nectarine came from one stock? 
But, this being proved, is it now very improbable that 
both were derived from the almond, or from some 
common ainygdaline progenitor? Who would have 
thought that the cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, 
and kohlrabi, are derivatives of one species, and rape 
or colza, turnip, and probably ruta-baga, of another 
species ? And who that is convinced of this can long 
undoubtingly hold the original distinctness of turnips 
from cabbages as an article of faith? On scientific 
grounds may not a primordial cabbage or rape be as- 
sumed as the ancestor of all the cabbage races, on much 
the same ground that we assume a common ancestry 
for the diversified human races ? If all our breeds of 
cattle came from one stock, why not this stock from 
the auroch, which has had all the time between the 
diluvial and the historic periods in which to set off a 
variation perhaps no greater than the difference be- 
tween some sorts of domestic cattle ? 

That considerable differences are often discernible 
between tertiary individuals and their supposed de- 
scendants of the present day affords no argument 
against Darwin's theory, as has been rashly thought, 
but is decidedly in its favor. If the identification 
were so perfect that no more differences were ob- 
Bervable between the tertiary and the recent shells 
than between various individuals of either, then Dar- 


win's opponents, who argue the immutability of species 
from the ibises and cats preserved by the ancient 
Egyptians being just like those of the present day, 
could triumphantly add a few hundred thousand years 
more to the length of the experiment and to the 
force of their argument. 

As the facts stand, it appears that, while some ter- 
tiary forms are essentially undistinguishable from ex- 
isting ones, others are the same with a difference, 
which is judged not to be specific or aboriginal ; and 
yet others show somewhat greater differences, such as 
are scientifically expressed by calling them marked 
varieties, or else doubtful species ; while others, dif- 
fering a little more, are confidently termed distinct, 
but nearly-related species. Now, is not all this a 
question of degree, of mere gradation of difference 2 
And is it at all likely that these several gradations 
came to be established in two totally different ways 
some of them (though naturalists can't agree which) 
through natural variation, or other secondary cause, 
and some by original creation, without secondary 
cause ? We have seen that the judicious Pictet an- 
swers such questions as Darwin would have him do, 
in affirming that, in all probability, the nearly-related 
species of two successive faunas were materially con- 
nected, and that contemporaneous species, similarly 
resembling each other, were not all created so, but 
have become so. This is equivalent to saying that 
species (using the term as all naturalists do, and must 
continue to employ the word) have only a relative, 
not an absolute fixity ; that differences fully equiva- 
lent to what are held to be specific may arise in the 


course of time, so that one species may at length be 
naturally replaced by another species a good deal like 
it, or may be diversified into two, three, or more 
species, or forms as different as species. This con- 
cedes all that Darwin has a right to ask, all that he 
can directly infer from evidence. "We must add that 
it affords a locus standi, more or less tenable, for in- 
ferring more. 

Here another geological consideration comes in to 
help on this inference. The species of the later ter- 
tiary period for the most part not only resembled 
those of our days many of them so closely as to sug- 
gest an absolute continuity but also occupied in gen- 
eral the same regions that their relatives occupy now. 
The same may be said, though less specially, of the 
earlier tertiary and of the later secondary ; but there 
is less and less localization of forms as we recede, yet 
some localization even in palaeozoic times. While in 
the secondary period one is struck with the similarity 
of forms and the identity of many of the species 
which flourished apparently at the same time in all or 
in the most widely-separated parts of the world, in 
the tertiary epoch, on the contrary, along with the 
increasing specialization of climates and their approxi- 
mation to the present state, we find abundant evi- 
dence of increasing localization of orders, genera, and 
species ; and this localization strikingly accords with 
the present geographical distribution of the same 
groups of species. Where the imputed forefathers 
lived, their relatives and supposed descendants now 
flourish. All the actual classes of the animal and 
vegetable kingdoms were represented in the tertiary 


faunas and floras, and in nearly the same proportions 
and the same diversities as at present. The faunas of 
what is now Europe, Asia, America, and Australia, 
differed from each other much as they now differ : in 
fact according to Adolphe Brongniart, whose state- 
ments we here condense * the inhabitants of these 
different regions appear for the most part to have ac- 
quired, before the close of the tertiary period, the 
characters which essentially distinguish their existing 
faunas. The Eastern Continent had then, as now, its 
great pachyderms, elephants, rhinoceros, hippopota- 
mus ; South America, its armadillos, sloths, and ant- 
eaters ; Australia, a crowd of marsupials ; and the very 
strange birds of New Zealand had predecessors of simi- 
lar strangeness. Everywhere the same geographical 
distribution as now, with a difference in the particular 
area, as respects the northern portion of the continents, 
answering to a warmer climate then than ours, such 
as allowed species of hippopotamus, rhinoceros, and 
elephant, to range even to the regions now inhabited 
by the reindeer and the musk-ox, and with the seri- 
ous disturbing intervention of the glacial period with- 
in a comparatively recent time. Let it be noted also 
that those tertiary species which have continued with 
little change down to our days are the marine animals 
of the lower grades, especially mollusca. Their low 
organization, moderate sensibility, and the simple con- 
ditions of an existence in a medium like the ocean, 
not subject to great variation and incapable of sudden 
change, may well account for their continuance; 
while, on the other hand, the more intense, however 

1 In Comptes Rendut, Academie det Sciencet, February 2, 1857. 


gradual, climatic vicissitudes on land, which have 
driven all tropical and subtropical forms out of the 
higher latitudes and assigned to them their actual 
limits, would be almost sure to extinguish such huge 
and unwieldy animals as mastodons, mammoths, and 
the like, whose power of enduring altered circum- 
stances must have been small. 

This general replacement of the tertiary species 
of a country by others so much like them is a note- 
worthy fact. The hypothesis of the independent 
creation of all species, irrespective of their antece- 
dents, leaves this fact just as mysterious as is creation 
itself ; that of derivation undertakes to account for it. 
Whether it satisfactorily does so or not, it must be 
allowed that the facts well accord with that hypothe- 
sis. The same may be said of another conclusion, 
namely, that the geological succession of animals and 
plants appears to correspond in a general way with 
their relative standing or rank in a natural system of 
classification. It seems clear that, though no one of 
the grand types of the animal kingdom can be traced 
back farther than the rest, yet the lower classes long 
preceded the higher; that there has been on the 
whole a steady progression within each class and 
order ; and that the highest plants and animals have 
appeared only in relatively modern times. It is only, 
however, in a broad sense that this generalization is 
now thought to hold good. It encounters many ap- 
parent exceptions, and sundry real ones. So far as 
the rule holds, all is as it should be upon an hypothe- 
sis of derivation. 

The rule has its exceptions. But, curiously enough, 


the most striking class of exceptions, if such they be, 
seems to us even more favorable to the doctrine of 
derivation than is the general rule of a pure and sim- 
ple ascending gradation. We refer to what Agassiz 
calls prophetic and synthetic types ; for which the 
former name may suffice, as the difference between 
the two is evanescent. 

" It has been noticed," writes our great zoologist, " that cer- 
tain types, which are frequently prominent among the repre- 
sentatives of past ages, combine in their structure peculiarities 
which at later periods are only observed separately in different, 
distinct types. Sauroid fishes before reptiles, Pterodactyles be- 
fore birds, Ichthyosauri before dolphins, etc. There are entire 
families, of nearly every class of animals, which in the state 
of their perfect development exemplify such prophetic rela- 
tions. . . . The sauroid fishes of the past geological ages are an 
example of this kind. These fishes, which preceded the ap- 
pearance of reptiles, present a combination of ichthyic and 
reptilian characters not to be found in the true members of this 
class, which form its bulk at present. The Pterodactyles, which 
preceded the class of birds, and the Ichthyosauri, which pre- 
ceded the Cetacea, are other examples of such prophetic 
types." (Agassiz, " Contributions, Essay on Classification," 
p. 117.) 

Now, these reptile-like fishes, of which gar-pikes 
are the living representatives, though of earlier ap- 
pearance, are admittedly of higher rank than common 
fishes. They dominated until reptiles appeared, when 
they mostly gave place to (or, as the derivationists 
will insist, were resolved by divergent variation and 
natural selection into) common fishes, destitute of rep- 
tilian characters, and saurian reptiles the intermedi- 
ate grades, which, according to a familiar piscine say- 


ing, are "neither fish, flesh, nor good red-herring," 
being eliminated and extinguished by natural conse- 
quence of the struggle for existence which Darwin so 
aptly portrays. And so, perhaps, of the other pro- 
phetic types. Here type and antitype correspond. 
If these are true prophecies, we need not wonder that 
some who read them in Agassiz's book will read their 
fulfillment in Darwin's. 

Note also, in this connection, that along with a 
wonderful persistence of type, with change of species, 
genera, orders, etc., from formation to formation, no 
species and no higher group which has once unequivo- 
cally died out ever afterward reappears. Why is this, 
but that the link of generation has been sundered 3 
Why, on the hypothesis of independent originations, 
were not failing species recreated, either identically or 
with a difference, in regions eminently adapted to 
their well-being ? To take a striking case. That no 
part of the world now offers more suitable conditions 
for wild horses and cattle than the pampas and other 
plains of South America, is shown by the facility with 
which they have there run wild and enormously mul- 
tiplied, since introduced from the Old World not long 
ago. There was no wild American stock. Yet in 
the times of the mastodon and megatherium, at the 
dawn of the present period, wild-horses certainly 
very much like the existing horse roamed over those 
plains in abundance. On the principle of original and 
direct created adaptation of species to climate and 
other conditions, why were they not reproduced, when, 
after the colder intervening era, those regions became 
again eminently adapted to such animals ? Why, but 


because, by their complete extinction in South Amer- 
ica, the line of descent was there utterly broken ? 
Upon the ordinary hypothesis, there is no scientific 
explanation possible of this series of facts, and of 
many others like them. Upon the new hypothesis, 
" the succession of the same types of structure within 
the same areas during the later geological periods 
ceases to be mysterious, and is simply explained by 
inheritance." Their cessation is failure of issue. 

Along with these considerations the fact (alluded 
to on page 98) should be remembered that, as a general 
thing, related species of the present age are geographi- 
cally associated. The larger part of the plants, and 
still more of the animals, of each separate country are 
peculiar to it ; and, as most species now flourish over 
the graves of their by-gone relatives of former ages, 
so they now dwell among or accessibly near their 
kindred species. 

Here also comes in that general "parallelism be- 
tween the order of succession of animals and plants 
in geological times, and the gradation among their 
living representatives " from low to highly organized, 
from simple and general to complex and specialized 
forms ; also " the parallelism between the order of 
succession of animals in geological times and the 
changes their living representatives undergo during 
their embryological growth," as if the world were one 
prolonged gestation. Modern science has much in- 
sisted on this parallelism, and to a certain extent is 
allowed to have made it out. All these things, which 
conspire to prove that the ancient and the recent forms 
of life " are somehow intimately connected together 


in one grand system," equally conspire to suggest that 
the connection is one similar or analogous to gen- 
eration. Surely no naturalist can be blamed for 
entering somewhat confidently upon a field of specula- 
tive inquiry which here opens so invitingly ; nor need 
former premature endeavors and failures utterly 
dishearten him. 

All these things, it may naturally be said, go to 
explain the order, not the mode, of the incoming of 
species. But they all do tend to bring out the gen- 
eralization expressed by Mr. Wallace in the formula 
that " every species has come into existence coincident 
both in time and space with preexisting closely-allied 
species." Not, however, that this is proved even of 
existing species as a matter of general fact. It is ob- 
viously impossible improve anything of the kind. But 
we must concede that the known facts strongly suggest 
such an inference. And since species are only con- 
geries of individuals, since every individual came into 
existence in consequence of preexisting individuals of 
the same sort, so leading up to the individuals with 
which the species began, and since the only material 
sequence we know of among plants and animals is that 
from parent to progeny the presumption becomes 
exceedingly strong that the connection of the incoming 
with the preexisting species is a genealogical one. 

Here, however, all depends upon the probability 
that Mr. "Wallace's inference is really true. Certainly 
it is not yet generally accepted ; but a strong current 
Js setting toward its acceptance. 

So long as universal cataclysms were in vogue, and 
all life upon the earth was thought to have been 


suddenly destroyed and renewed many times in suc- 
cession, such a view could not be thought of. So the 
equivalent view maintained by Agassiz, and formerly, 
we believe, by D'Orbigny, that irrespectively of general 
and sudden catastrophes, or any known adequate phys- 
ical cause, there has been, a total depopulation at the 
close of each geological period or formation, say forty 
or fifty times or more, followed by as many indepen- 
dent great acts of creation, at which alone have species 
been originated, and at each of which a vegetable and 
an animal kingdom were produced entire and com- 
plete, full-fledged, as flourishing, as wide-spread, and 
populous, as varied and mutually adapted from the 
beginning as ever afterward such a view, of course, 
supersedes all material connection between succes- 
sive species, and removes even the association and geo- 
graphical range of species entirely out of the domain of 
physical causes and of natural science. This is the ex- 
treme opposite of Wallace's and Darwin's view, and is 
quite as hypothetical. The nearly universal opinion, if 
we rightly gather it, manifestly is, that the replacement 
of the species of successive formations was not com- 
plete and simultaneous, but partial and successive ; and 
that along the course of each epoch some species prob- 
ably were introduced, and some, doubtless, became ex- 
tinct. If all since the tertiary belongs to our present 
epoch, this is certainly true of it : if to two or more 
epochs, then the hypothesis of a total change is not 
true of them. 

Geology makes huge demands upon time ; and we 
regret to find that it has exhausted ours that what we 
meant for the briefest and most general sketch of some 


geological considerations in favor of Darwin's hy- 
pothesis has so extended as to leave no room for con- 
sidering " the great facts of comparative anatomy and 
zoology" with which Darwin's theory "very well 
accords," nor for indicating how " it admirably serves 
for explaining the unity of composition of all or- 
ganisms, the existence of representative and rudimen- 
tary organs, and the natural series which genera and 
species compose." Suffice it to say that these are the 
real strongholds of the new system on its theoretical 
side; that it goes far toward explaining both the 
physiological and the structural gradations and rela- 
tions between the two kingdoms, and the arrangement 
of all their forms in groups subordinate to groups, all 
within a few great types ; that it reads the riddle of 
abortive organs and of morphological conformity, of 
which no other theory has ever offered a scientific 
explanation, and supplies a ground for harmonizing 
the two fundamental ideas which naturalists and phi- 
losophers conceive to have ruled the organic world, 
though they could not reconcile them ; namely, Adap- 
tation to Purpose and Conditions of Existence, and 
Unity of Type. To reconcile these two undeniable 
principles is the capital problem in the philosophy 
of natural history ; and the hypothesis which consist- 
ently does so thereby secures a great advantage. 

We all know that the arm and hand of a monkey, 
the foreleg and foot of a dog and of a horse, the wing 
of a bat, and the fin of a porpoise, are fundamentally 
identical; that the long neck of the giraffe has the 
same and no more bones than the short one of the ele- 
phant ; that the eggs of Surinam frogs hatch into tad- 


poles with as good tails for swimming as any of their 
kindred, although as tadpoles they never enter the wa- 
ter ; that the Guinea-pig is furnished with incisor teeth 
which it never uses, as it sheds them before birth ; 
that embryos of mammals and birds have branchial 
slits 'and arteries running in loops, in imitation or remi- 
niscence of the arrangement which is permanent in 
fishes ; and that thousands of animals and plants have 
rudimentary organs which, at least in numerous cases, 
are wholly useless to their possessors, etc., etc. Upon 
a derivative theory this morphological conformity is 
explained by community of descent ; and it has not 
been explained in any other way. 

Naturalists are constantly speaking of "related 
species," of the " affinity " of a genus or other group, 
and of " family resemblance " vaguely conscious that 
these terms of kinship are something more than mere 
metaphors, but unaware of the grounds of their apt- 
ness. Mr. Darwin assures them that they have been 
talking derivative doctrine all their lives as M. Jour- 
dam talked prose without knowing it. 

If it is difficult and in many cases practically im- 
possible to fix the limits of species, it is still more so 
to fix those of genera ; and those of tribes and families 
are still less susceptible of exact natural circumscrip- 
tion. Intermediate forms occur, connecting one group 
with another in a manner sadly perplexing to sys- 
tematists, except to those who have ceased to expect 
absolute limitations in Nature. All this blending 
could hardly fail to suggest a former material connec- 
tion among allied forms, such as that which tho 
hypothesis of derivation demands. 


Here it would not be amiss to consider the general 
principle of gradation throughout organic Nature a 
principle which answers in a general way to the Law of 
Continuity in the inorganic world, or rather is so anal- 
ogous to it that both may fairly be expressed by the 
Leibnitzian axiom, Natura non agit saltatim. As an 
axiom or philosophical principle, used to test modal 
laws or hypotheses, this in strictness belongs only to 
physics. In the investigation of Nature at large, at 
least in the organic world, nobody would undertake to 
apply this principle as a test of the validity of any 
theory or supposed law. But naturalists of enlarged 
views will not fail to infer the principle from the phe- 
nomena they investigate to perceive that the rule 
holds, under due qualifications and altered forms, 
throughout the realm of Nature ; although we do not 
suppose that Nature in the organic world makes no 
distinct steps, but only short and serial steps not in- 
finitely fine gradations, but no long leaps, or few of 

To glance at a few illustrations out of many that 
present themselves. It would be thought that the dis- 
tinction between the two organic kingdoms was broad 
and absolute. Plants and animals belong to two very 
different categories, fulfill opposite offices, and, as to 
the mass of them, are so unlike that the difficulty of 
the ordinary observer would be to find points of com- 
parison. Without entering into details, which would 
fill an article, we may safely say that the difficulty with 
the naturalist is all the other way that all these 
broad differences vanish one by one as we approach the 
lower confines of the two kingdoms, and that no also- 


lute distinction whatever is now known between them. 
It is quite possible that the same organism may be 
both vegetable and animal, or may be first the one and 
then the other. If some organisms may be said to be 
at first vegetables and then animals, others, like the 
spores and other reproductive bodies of many of the 
lower Algae, may equally claim to have first a charac- 
teristically animal, and then an unequivocally vegeta- 
ble existence. Nor is the gradation restricted to these 
simple organisms. It appears in general functions, as 
in that of reproduction, which is reducible to the same 
formula in both kingdoms, while it exhibits close ap- 
proximations in the lower forms ; also in a common or 
similar .ground of sensibility in the lowest forms of 
both, a common faculty of effecting movements tend- 
ing to a determinate end, traces of which pervade the 
vegetable kingdom while, on the other hand, this in- 
definable principle, this vegetable 

"Animula vagula, blandula, 
Bospes comesque corporis," 

graduates into the higher sensitiveness of the lower 
class of animals. Nor need we hesitate to recognize 
the fine gradations from simple sensitiveness and 
volition to the higher instinctive and to the other 
psychical manifestations of the higher brute ani- 
mals. The gradation is undoubted, however we may 
explain it. 

Again, propagation is of one mode in the higher 
animals, of two in all plants ; but vegetative propaga- 
tion, by budding or offshoots, extends through the 
lower grades of animals. In both kingdoms there 


may be separation of the offshoots, or indifference in 
this respect, or continued and organic union with the 
parent stock ; and this either with essential indepen- 
dence of the offshoots, or with a subordination of these 
to a common whole ; or finally with such subordination 
and amalgamation, along with specialization of func- 
tion, that the same parts, which in other cases can be 
regarded only as progeny, in these become only mem- 
bers of an individual. 

This leads to the question of individuality, a sub- 
ject quite too large and too recondite for present dis- 
cussion. The conclusion of the whole matter, how- 
ever, is, that individuality that very ground of "being 
as distinguished from thing is not attained in Mature 
at one leap. If anywhere truly exemplified in plants, 
it is only in the lowest and simplest, where the being 
is a structural unit, a single cell, memberless and or- 
ganless, though organic the same thing as those cells 
of which all the more complex plants are built up, and 
with which every plant and (structurally) every animal 
began its development. In the ascending gradation 
of the vegetable kingdom individuality is, so to say, 
striven after, but never attained; in the lower ani- 
mals it is striven after with greater though incom- 
plete success ; it is realized only in animals of so high 
a rank that vegetative multiplication or offshoots are 
out of the question, where all parts are strictly mem- 
bers and nothing else, and all subordinated to a com- 
mon nervous centre is fully realized only in a con- 
scious person. 

So, also, the broad distinction between reproduc- 
tion by seeds or ova and propagation by buds, though 


perfect in some of the lowest forms of life, becomes 
evanescent in others ; and even the most absolute law 
we know in the physiology of genuine reproduction 
that of sexual cooperation has its exceptions in both 
kingdoms in parthenogenesis, to which in the vege- 
table kingdom a most curious and intimate series of 
gradations leads. In plants, likewise, a long and fine- 
ly-graduated series of transitions leads from bisexual 
to unisexual blossoms ; and so in various other respects. 
Everywhere we may perceive that Nature secures her 
ends, and makes her distinctions on the whole mani- 
fest and real, but everywhere without abrupt breaks. 
"We need not wonder, therefore, that gradations be- 
tween species and varieties should occur ; the more so, 
since genera, tribes, and other groups into which the 
naturalist collocates species, are far from being always 
absolutely limited in Nature, though they are neces- 
sarily represented to be so in systems. From the ne- 
cessity of the case, the classifications of the naturalist 
abruptly define where Nature more or less blends. 
Our systems are nothing, if not definite. They ex- 
press differences, and some of the coarser gradations. 
But this evinces not their perfection, but their im- 
perfection. Even the best of them are to the system 
of Nature what consecutive patches of the seven col- 
ors are to the rainbow. 

Now the principle of gradation throughout organic 
Nature may, of course, be interpreted upon other as- 
sumptions than those of Darwin's hypothesis cer- 
tainly upon quite other than those of a materialistic 
philosophy, with which we ourselves have no sym- 
pathy. Still we conceive it not only possible, but 


probable, that this gradation, as it has its natural 
ground, may yet have its scientific explanation. In 
any case, there is no need to deny that the general 
facts correspond well with an hypothesis like Dar- 
win's, which is built upon fine gradations. 

We have contemplated quite long enough the gen- 
eral presumptions in favor of an hypothesis of the 
derivation of species. We cannot forget, however, 
while for the moment we overlook, the formidable diffi- 
culties which all hypotheses of this class have to en- 
counter, and the serious implications which they seem 
to involve. We feel, moreover, that Darwin's par- 
ticular hypothesis is exposed to some special objections. 
It requires no small strength of nerve steadily to con- 
ceive, not only of the diversification, but of the forma- 
tion of the organs of an animal through cumulative 
variation and natural selection. Think of such an 
organ as the eye, that most perfect of optical instru- 
ments, as so produced in the lower animals and per- 
fected in the higher ! A friend of ours, who accepts 
the new doctrine, confesses that for a long while a 
cold chill came over him whenever he thought of the 
eye. He has at length got over that stage of the 
complaint, and is now in the fever of belief, perchance 
to be succeeded by the sweating stage, during which 
sundry peccant humors may be eliminated from the 
system. For ourselves, we dread the chill, and have 
some misgiving about the consequences of the reac- 
tion. We find ourselves in the " singular position " ac- 
knowledged by Pictet that is, confronted with a the- 
ory which, although it can really explain much, seems 
inadequate to the heavy task it so boldly assumes, but 


which, nevertheless, appears better fitted than any other 
that has been broached to explain, if it be possible to 
explain, somewhat of the manner in which organized 
beings may have arisen and succeeded each other. In 
this dilemma we might take advantage of Mr. Dar- 
win's candid admission, that he by no means expects to 
convince old and experienced people, whose minds are 
stocked with a multitude of facts all regarded during 
a long course of years from the old point of view. This 
is nearly our case. So, owning no call to a larger faith 
than is expected of us, but not prepared to pronounce 
the whole hypothesis untenable, under such construc- 
tion as we should put upon it, we naturally sought 
to attain a settled conviction through a perusal of 
several proffered refutations of the theory. At least, 
this course seemed to offer the readiest way of bringing 
to a head the various objections to which the theory 
is exposed. On several accounts some of these opposed 
reviews especially invite examination. We propose, 
accordingly, to conclude our task with an article upon 
" Darwin and his Keviewers." 


THE origin of species, like all origination, like the 
institution of any other natural state or order, is be- 
yond our immediate ken. T7e see or may learn how 
things go on ; we can only frame hypotheses as to how 
they began. 

Two hypotheses divide the scientific world, very 
unequally, upon the origin of the existing diversity 
of the plants and animals which surround us. One 
assumes that the actual kinds are primordial ; the other, 
that they are derivative. One, that all kinds origi- 
nated supernaturally and directly as such, and have 
continued unchanged in the order of Nature; the 
other, that the present kinds appeared in some sort of 
genealogical connection with other and earlier kinds, 
that they became what they now are in the course of 
time and in the order of Nature. 

Or, bringing in the word species, which is well 
defined as " the perennial succession of individuals," 
commonly of very like individuals as a close corpora- 
tion of individuals perpetuated by generation, instead 
of election and reducing the question to mathemati- 
cal simplicity of statement : species are lines of individ- 
uals coming down from the past and running on to 
the future ; lines receding, therefore, from our view in 
either direction. "Within our limited observation they 


appear to be parallel lines, as a general thing neither 
approaching to nor diverging from each other. 

The first hypothesis assumes that they were parallel 
from the unknown beginning and will be to the un- 
known end. The second hypothesis assumes that the 
apparent parallelism is not real and complete, at least 
aboriginally, but approximate or temporary ; that we 
should find the lines convergent in the past, if we could 
trace them far enough ; that some of them, if produced 
back, would fall into certain fragments of lines, which 
have left traces in the past, lying not exactly in the 
same direction, and these farther back into others to 
which they are equally unparallel. It will also claim 
that the present lines, whether on the whole really or 
only approximately parallel, sometimes fork or send off 
branches on one side or the other, producing new 
lines (varieties), which run for a while, and for aught 
we know indefinitely when not interfered with, near 
and approximately parallel to the parent line. This 
claim it can establish ; and it may also show that these 
close subsidiary lines may branch or vary again, and 
that those branches or varieties which are best adapted 
to the existing conditions may be continued, while 
others stop or die out. And so we may have the basis 
of a real theory of the diversification of species ; and 
here, indeed, there is a real, though a narrow, estab- 
lished ground to build upon. But, as systems of 
organic Nature, both doctrines are equally hypotheses^ 
are suppositions of what there is no proof of from 
experience, assumed in order to account for the ob- 
served phenomena, and supported by such indirect 
evidence as can be had. 


Even when the upholders of the former and more 
popular system mix up revelation with scientific dis- 
cussion which we decline to do they by no means 
thereby render their view other than hypothetical. 
Agreeing that plants and animals were produced by 
Omnipotent fiat does not exclude the idea of natural 
order and what we call secondary causes. The record 
of the fiat " Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb 
yielding seed," etc., "and it was so; " "let the earth 
bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and 
creeping thing and beast of the earth after his kind, 
and it was so " seems even to imply them. Agreeing 
that they were formed of " the dust of the ground," 
and of thin air, only leads to the conclusion that the 
pristine individuals were corporeally constituted like 
existing individuals, produced through natural agen- 
cies. To agree that they were created " after their 
kinds " determines nothing as to what were the origi- 
nal kinds, nor in what mode, during what time, and 
in what connections it pleased the Almighty to intro- 
duce the first individuals of each sort upon the earth. 
Scientifically considered, the two opposing doctrines 
are equally hypothetical. 

The two views very unequally divide the scientific 
world; so that believers in "the divine right of 
majorities " need not hesitate which side to take, at 
least for the present. Up to a time quite within the 
memory of a generation still on the stage, two hypoth- 
eses about the nature of light very unequally divided 
the scientific world. But the small minority has al- 
ready prevailed : the emission theory has gone out ; 
the undulatory or wave theory, after some fluctuation, 


has reached high tide, and is now the pervading, the 
fully-established system. There was an intervening 
time during which most physicists held their opinions 
in suspense. 

The adoption of the undulatory theory of light 
called for the extension of the same theory to heat, 
and this promptly suggested the hypothesis of a 
correlation, material connection, and transmutability 
of heat, light, electricity, magnetism, etc. ; which hy- 
pothesis the physicists held in absolute suspense until 
very lately, but are now generally adopting. If not 
already established as a system, it promises soon to 
become so. At least, it is generally received as a 
tenable and probably true hypothesis. 

Parallel to this, however less cogent the reasons, 
Darwin and others, having shown it likely that some 
varieties of plants or animals have diverged in time 
into cognate species, or into forms as different as spe- 
cies, are led to infer that all species of a genus may 
have thus diverged from a common stock, and thence 
to suppose a higher community of origin in ages still 
farther back, and so on. Following the safe example 
of the physicists, and acknowledging the fact of the 
diversification of a once homogeneous species into 
varieties, we may receive the theory of the evolution 
of these into species, even while for the present we 
hold the hypothesis of a further evolution in cool 
suspense or in grave suspicion. In respect to very 
many questions a wise man's mind rests long in a state 
neither of belief nor of unbelief. But your intellect- 
ually short-sighted people are apt to be preternaturally 
clear-sighted, and to find their way very plain to posi- 


tive conclusions upon one side or the other of every 
mooted question. 

In fact, most people, and some philosophers, refuse 
to hold questions in abeyance, however incompetent 
they may be to decide them. And, curiously enough, 
the more difficult, recondite, and perplexing, the 
questions or hypotheses are such, for instance, as 
those about organic Nature the more impatient they 
are of suspense. Sometimes, and evidently in the 
present case, this impatience grows out of a fear that 
a new hypothesis may endanger cherished and most 
important beliefs. Impatience under such circum- 
stances is not unnatural, though perhaps needless, and, 
if so, unwise. 

To us the present revival of the derivative hy- 
pothesis, in a more winning shape than it ever before 
had, was not unexpected. We wonder that any 
thoughtful observer of the course of investigation and 
of speculation in science should not have foreseen it, 
and have learned at length to take its inevitable com' 
ing patiently ; the more so, as in Darwin's treatise it 
comes in a purely scientific form, addressed only to 
scientific men. The notoriety and wide popular pe- 
rusal of this treatise appear to have astonished the 
author even more than the book itself has astonished 
the reading world. Coining, as the new presentation 
does, from a naturalist of acknowledged character and 
ability, and marked by a conscientiousness and candor 
which have not always been reciprocated, we have 
thought it simply right to set forth the doctrine as 
fairly and as favorably as we could. There are plenty 
to decry it, and the whole theory is widely exposed 


to attack. For the arguments on the other side we 
maj look to the numerous adverse publications which 
Darwin's volume has already called out, and especially 
to those reviews which propose directly to refute it. 
Taking various lines, and reflecting very diverse modes 
of thought, these hostile critics may be expected to 
concentrate and enforce the principal objections which 
can be brought to bear against the derivative hypothe- 
sis in general, and Darwin's new exposition of it in 

Upon the opposing side of the question we have 
read with attention 1. An article in the North Ameri- 
can Review for April last ; 2. One in the Christian 
Examiner, Boston, for May ; 3. M. Pictet's article in 
the Bibliotheque Universelle, which we have already 
made considerable use of, which seems throughout 
most able and correct, and which in tone and fairness 
is admirably in contrast with 4. The article in the 
Edinburgh Review for May, attributed although 
against a large amount of internal presumptive evi- 
dence to the most distinguised British comparative 
anatomist ; 5. An article in the North British Review 
for May; 6. Prof. Agassiz has afforded an early 
opportunity to peruse the criticisms he makes in the 
forthcoming third volume of his great work, by a 
publication of them in advance in the American 
Journal of Science for July. 

In our survey of the lively discussion which has 
been raised, it matters little how our own particular 
opinions may incline. But we may confess to an im- 
pression, thus far, that the doctrine of the permanent 
and complete immutability of species has not been 


established, and may fairly be doubted. We believe 
that species vary, and that " Natural Selection " 
works ; but we suspect that its operation, like every 
analogous natural operation, may be limited by some- 
thing else. Just as every species by its natural rate of 
reproduction would soon completely fill any country 
it could live in, but does not, being checked by some 
other species or some other condition so it may 
be surmised that variation and natural selection 
have their struggle and consequent check, or are 
limited by something inherent in the constitution of 
organic beings. 

We are disposed to rank the derivative hypothe- 
sis in its fullness with the nebular hypothesis, and to 
regard both as allowable, as not unlikely to prove ten- 
able in spite of some strong objections, but as not 
therefore demonstrably true. Those, if any there be, 
who regard the derivative hypothesis as satisfactorily 
proved, must have loose notions as to what proof is. 
Those who imagine it can be easily refuted and cast 
aside, must, we think, have imperfect or very pre- 
judiced conceptions of the facts concerned and of 
the questions at issue. 

We are not disposed nor prepared to take sides for 
or against the new hypothesis, and so, perhaps, occu- 
py a good position from which to watch the discus- 
sion and criticise those objections which are seemingly 
inconclusive. On surveying the arguments urged by 
those who have undertaken to demolish the theory, 
we have been most impressed with a sense of their 
great inequality. Some strike us as excellent and 
perhaps unanswerable; some, as incongruous with 


other views of the same writers ; others, when carried 
out, as incompatible with general experience or general 
beliefs, and therefore as proving too much ; still 
others, as proving nothing at all ; so that, on the 
whole, the effect is rather confusing and disappoint- 
ing. We certainly expected a stronger adverse case 
than any which the thoroughgoing opposers of Dar- 
win appear to have made out. Wherefore, if it be 
found that the new hypothesis has grown upon our 
favor as we proceeded, this must be attributed not 
so much to the force of the arguments of the book 
itself as to the want of force of several of those by 
which it has been assailed. Darwin's arguments we 
might resist or adjourn ; but some of the refutations 
of it give us more concern than the book itself did. 

These remarks apply mainly to the philosophical 
and theological objections which have been elaborately 
urged, almost exclusively by the American reviewers. 
The North British reviewer, indeed, roundly de- 
nounces the book as atheistical, but evidently deems 
the case too clear for argument. The Edinburgh re- 
viewer, on the contrary, scouts all such objections 
as well he may, since he records his belief in " a 
continuous creative operation," a constantly operating 
secondary creation al law," through which species are 
successively produced ; and he emits faint, but not 
indistinct, glimmerings of a transmutation theory of 
his own ; * so that he is equally exposed to all the 

1 Whatever it may be, it is not " the homoeopathic form of the trans- 
imitative hypothesis," as Darwin's is said to be (p. 252, American re- 
print), so happily that the prescription is repeated in the second (p. 259) 
and third (p. 271) dilutions, no doubt, on Hahnemann's famous princi- 


philosophical objections advanced by Agassiz, and to 
most of those urged by the other American critics, 
against Darwin himself. 

Proposing now to criticise the critics, so far as to 
see what their most general and comprehensive objec- 
tions amount to, we must needs begin with the Amer- 
ican reviewers, and with their arguments adduced to 
prove that a derivative hypothesis ought not to le true, 
or is not possible, philosophical, or theistic. 

It must not be forgotten that on former occasions 
very confident judgments have been pronounced by 
very competent persons, which have not been finally 
ratified. Of the two great minds of the Seventeenth 
century, Newton and Leibnitz, both profoundly relig- 
ious as well as philosophical, one produced the theory 
of gravitation, the other objected to that theory that it 
was subversive of natural religion. The nebular hy- 
pothesis a natural consequence of the theory of grav- 
itation and of the subsequent progress of physical and 
astronomical discovery has been denounced as athe- 
istical even down to our own day. But it is now large- 
ly adopted by the most theistical natural philosophers 
as a tenable and perhaps sufficient hypothesis, and 
where not accepted is no longer objected to, so far as 
we know, on philosophical or religious grounds. 

The gist of the philosophical objections urged by 

pie, of an increase of potency at each dilution. Probably the supposed 
transmutation is per saltus. " Homoeopathic doses of transmutation," 
indeed ! Well, if we really must swallow transmutation in some form 
or other, as this reviewer intimates, we might prefer the mild homoeo- 
pathic doses of Darwin's formula to the allopathic bolus which the 
Edinburgh general practitioner appears to be compounding. 


the two Boston reviewers against an hypothesis of the 
derivation of species or at least against Darwin's 
particular hypothesis is, that it is incompatible with 
the idea of any manifestation of design in the uni- 
verse, that it denies final causes. A serious objection 
this, and one that demands very serious attention. 

The proposition, that things and events in Nature 
were not designed to be so, if logically carried out, is 
doubtless tantamount to atheism. Yet most people 
believe that some were designed and others were not, 
although they fall into a hopeless maze whenever they 
undertake to define their position. So we should not 
like to stigmatize as atheistically disposed a person 
who regards certain things and events as being what 
they are through designed laws (whatever that expres- 
sion means), but as not themselves specially ordained, 
or who, in another connection, believes in general, but 
not in particular Providence. "We could sadly puzzle 
him with questions ; but in return he might equally 
puzzle us. Then, to deny that anything was specially 
designed to be what it is, is one proposition ; while to 
deny that the Designer supernaturally or immediately 
made it so, is another : though the reviewers appear 
not to recognize the distinction. 

Also, "scornfully to repudiate" or to "sneer at 
the idea of any manifestation of design in the mate- 
rial universe," * is one thing ; while to consider, and 
perhaps to exaggerate, the difficulties which attend the 
. practical application of the doctrine of final causes to 

1 Vide North Anencan Review, for April, 1860, p. 475, and Chrit- 
ft'on Examiner, for May, p. 457. 


certain instances, is quite another thing : yet the Bos- 
ton reviewers, we regret to say, have not been duly 
regardful of the difference. Whatever be thought of 
Darwin's doctrine, we are surprised that he should be 
charged with scorning or sneering at the opinions of 
others, upon such a subject. Perhaps Darwin's view 
is incompatible with final causes we will consider 
that question presently but as to the Examiner's 
charge, that he " sneers at the idea of any manifesta- 
tion of design in the material universe," though we 
are confident that no misrepresentation was intended, 
we are equally confident that it is not at all warranted 
by the two passages cited in support of it. Here are 

"If green woodpeckers alone had existed, or we did not 
know that there were many black and pied kinds, I dare say 
that we should have thought that the green color was a beau- 
tiful adaptation to hide this tree - frequenting bird from its 

"If our reason leads us to admire with enthusiasm a multi- 
tude of inimitable contrivances in Nature, this same reason tells 
us, though we may easily err on both sides, that some contriv- 
ances are less perfect. Can we consider the sting of the wasp 
or of the bee as perfect, which, when used against many attack 
ing animals, cannot be withdrawn, owing to the backward 
serratures, and so inevitably causes the death of the insect by 
tearing out its viscera?" 

If the sneer here escapes ordinary vision in the 
detached extracts (one of them wanting the end of the 
sentence), it is, if possible, more imperceptible when 
read with the context. Moreover, this perusal inclines 
us to think that the Examiner has misapprehended 
the particular argument or object, as well as the spirit, 


of the author in these passages. The whole reads 
more naturally as a caution against the inconsiderate 
use of final causes in science, and an illustration of 
some of the manifold errors and absurdities which their 
hasty assumption is apt to involve considerations 
probably equivalent to those which induced Lord Bacon 
to liken final causes to " vestal virgins." So, if any 
one, it is here Bacon that " sitteth in the seat of the 
scornful." As to Darwin, in the section from which 
the extracts were made, he is considering a subsidiary 
question, and trying to obviate a particular difficulty, 
but, we suppose, is wholly unconscious of denying 
" any manifestation of design in the material universe." 
He concludes the first sentence : 

" and consequently that it was a character of importance, 
and might have been acquired through natural selection ; as it is, 
I have no doubt that the color is due to some quite distinct 
cause, probably to sexual selection." 

After an illustration from the vegetable creation, 
Darwin adds : 

" The naked skin on the head of a vulture is generally looked 
at as a direct adaptation for wallowing in putridity ; and to it 
may 1>e t or it may possibly be due to the direct action of putrid 
matter; but we should be very cautious in drawing any such 
inference, when we see that the skin on the head of the clean- 
feeding male turkey is likewise naked. The sutures in the 
skulls of young mammals have been advanced as a beautiful 
adaptation for aiding parturition, and no doubt they facilitate or 
may be indispensable for this act ; but as sutures occur in the 
skulls of young birds and reptiles, which have only to escape 
from a broken egg, we may infer that this structure has arisen 
from the laws of growth, and has been taken advantage of in 
the parturition of the higher animals." 


All this, simply taken, is beyond caviK unless the 
attempt to explain scientifically how any designed 
result is accomplished savors of impropriety. 

In the other place, Darwin is contemplating the 
patent fact that " perfection here below " is relative, not 
absolute and illustrating this by the circumstance 
that European animals, and especially plants, are now 
proving to be better adapted for New Zealand than 
many of the indigenous ones that " the correction for 
the aberration of light is said, on high authority, not 
to be quite perfect even in that most perfect organ, the 
eye." And then follows the second extract of the 
reviewer. But what is the position of the reviewer 
upon his own interpretation of these passages ? If he 
insists that green woodpeckers were specifically created 
so in order that they might be less liable to capture, 
must lie not equally hold that the black and pied ones 
were specifically made of these colors in order that 
they might be more liable to be caught ? And would 
an explanation of the mode in which those wood- 
peckers came to be green, however complete, convince 
him that the color was undesigned ? 

As to the other illustration, is the reviewer so com- 
plete an optimist as to insist that the arrangement 
and the weapon are wholly perfect (yuoad, the insect) 
the normal use of which often causes the animal fatally 
to injure or to disembowel itself ? Either way it seems 
to us that the argument here, as well as the insect, 
performs hari-kari. The Examiner adds : 

"We should in like manner object to the word favorable, as 
implying that some species are placed by the Creator under un- 
favorable circumstances, at least under such as might be ad- 
vantageously modified." 


But are not many individuals and some races of 
men placed by the Creator " under unfavorable circum- 
stances, at least under such as might be advantageously 
modified ? " Surely these reviewers must be living in 
an ideal world, surrounded by " the faultless monsters 
which our world ne'er saw," in some elysium where 
imperfection and distress were never heard of ! Such 
arguments resemble some which we often hear against 
the Bible, holding that book responsible as if it origi- 
nated certain facts on the shady side of human nature 
or the apparently darker lines of Providential dealing, 
though the facts are facts of common observation and 
have to be confronted upon any theory. 

The North American reviewer also has a world 
of his own just such a one as an idealizing philoso- 
pher would be apt to devise that is, full of sharp and 
absolute distinctions : such, for instance, as the " abso- 
lute invariableness of instinct ; " an absolute want of 
intelligence in any brute animal; and a complete 
monopoly of instinct by the brute animals, so that 
this " instinct is a great matter " for them only, since 
it sharply and perfectly distinguishes this portion of 
organic Nature from the vegetable kingdom on the one 
hand and from man on the other : most convenient 
views for argumentative purposes, but we suppose not 
borne out in fact. 

In their scientific objections the two reviewers take 
somewhat different lines ; but their philosophical and 
theological arguments strikingly coincide. They agree 
in emphatically asserting that Darwin's hypothesis of 
the origination of species through variation and natu- 
ral selection " repudiates the whole doctrine of final 


causes," and " all indication of design or purpose in the 
organic world. ... is neither more nor less than a 
formal denial of any agency beyond that of a blind 
chance in the developing or perfecting of the organs or 
instincts of created beings. ... It is in vain that the 
apologists of this hypothesis might say that it merely 
attributes a different mode and time to the Divine 
agency that all the qualities subsequently appearing 
in their descendants must have been implanted, and 
have remained latent in the original pair." Such 
a view, the Examiner declares, u is nowhere stated 
in this book, and would be, we are sure, disclaimed 
by the author." 

We should like to be informed of the grounds of 
this sureness. The marked rejection of spontaneous 
generation the statement of a belief that all animals 
have descended from four or five progenitors, and plants 
from an equal or lesser number, or, perhaps, if con- 
strained to it by analogy, " from some one primordial 
form into which life was first breathed " coupled with 
the expression, " To my mind it accords better with 
what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the 
Creator, that the production and extinction of the past 
and present inhabitants of the world should have been 
due to secondary causes," than " that each species has 
been independently created " these and similar ex- 
pressions lead us to suppose that the author probably 
does accept the kind of view which the Examiner 
is sure he would disclaim. At least, we charitably 
see nothing in his scientific theory to hinder his adop- 
tion of Lord Bacon's " Confession of Faith " in thifl 


"That, notwithstanding God hath rested and ceased from 
creating [in the sense of supernatural origination], yet, never- 
theless, he doth accomplish and fulfill his divine will in all 
things, great and small, singular and general, as fully and ex- 
actly by providence as he could by miracle and new creation, 
though his working be not immediate and direct, but by com- 
pass; not violating Nature, which is his own law upon the 

However that may be, it is undeniable that Mr. 
Darwin has purposely been silent upon the philosophi- 
cal and theological applications of his theory. This 
reticence, under the circumstances, argues design, and 
raises inquiry as to the final cause or reason why. 
Here, as in higher instances, confident as we are that 
there is a final cause, we must not be over-confident 
that we can infer the particular or true one. Perhaps 
the author is more familiar with natural-historical than 
with philosophical inquiries, and, not having decided 
which particular theory about efficient cause is best 
founded, he meanwhile argues the scientific questions 
concerned all that relates to secondary causes upon 
purely scientific grounds, as he must do in any case. 
Perhaps, confident, as he evidently is, that his view will 
finally be adopted, he may enjoy a sort of satisfaction 
in hearing it denounced as sheer atheism by the incon- 
siderate, and afterward, when it takes its place with 
the nebular hypothesis and the like, see this judgment 
reversed, as we suppose it would be in such event. 

Whatever Mr. Darwin's philosophy may be, or 
whether he has any, is a matter of no consequence at 
all, compared with the important questions, whether 
a theory to account for the origination and diversifi- 


cation of animal and vegetable forms through the op- 
eration of secondary causes does or does not exclude 
design ; and whether the establishment by adequate 
evidence of Darwin's particular theory of diversifica- 
tion through variation and natural selection would es- 
sentially alter the present scientific and philosophical 
grounds for theistic views of Nature. The unqualified 
affirmative judgment rendered by the two Boston re- 
viewers, evidently able and practised reasoners, " must 
give us pause." "We hesitate to advance our conclu- 
sions in opposition to theirs. But, after full and seri- 
ous consideration, we are constrained to say that, in 
our opinion, the adoption of a derivative hypothesis, 
and of Darwin's particular hypothesis, if we under- 
stand it, would leave the doctrines of final causes, 
utility, and special design, just where they were before. 
We do not pretend that the subject is not environed 
with difficulties. Every view is so environed; and 
every shifting of the view is likely, if it removes some 
difficulties, to bring others into prominence. But we 
cannot perceive that Darwin's theory brings in any 
new kind of scientific difficulty, that is, any with which 
philosophical naturalists were not already familiar. 

Since natural science deals only with secondary or 
natural causes, the scientific terms of a theory of deri- 
vation of species no less than of a theory of dynam- 
ics must needs be the same to the theist as to the 
atheist. The difference appears only when the inquiry 
is carried up to the question of primary cause a ques- 
tion which belongs to philosophy. Wherefore, Dar- 
win's reticence about efficient cause does not disturb 
us. He considers only the scientific questions. As 


already stated, we think that a theistic view of Nature 
is implied in his book, and we must charitably refrain 
from suggesting the contrary until the contrary is logi- 
cally deduced from his premises. If, however, he any- 
where maintains that the natural causes through which 
species are diversified operate without an ordaining 
and directing intelligence, and that the orderly arrange- 
ments and admirable adaptations we see all around us 
are fortuitous or blind, undesigned results that the 
eye, though it came to see, was not designed for see- 
ing, nor the hand for handling then, we suppose, he 
is justly chargeable with denying, and very needlessly 
denying, all design in organic Nature ; otherwise, we 
suppose not. Why, if Darwin's well-known passage 
about the eye ' equivocal though some of the language 
be does not imply ordaining and directing intelli- 
gence, then he refutes his own theory as effectually as 
any of his opponents are likely to do. lie asks : 

u May we not believe that [under variation pro- 
ceeding long enough, generation multiplying the bet- 
ter variations times enough, and natural selection se- 
curing the improvements] a living optical instrument 
might be thus formed as superior to one of glass as the 
works of the Creator are to those of man ? " 

This must mean one of two things : either that the 
living instrument was made and perfected under (which 
is the same thing as by) an intelligent First Cause, or 
that it was not. If it was, then theism is asserted ; 
and as to the mode of operation, how do we know, and 
why must we believe, that, fitting precedent forms 
being in existence, a living instrument (so different 
1 Page 188, English edition. 


from a lifeless manufacture) would be originated and 
perfected in any other way, or that this is not the fit- 
ting way ? If it means that it was not, if he so misuses 
words that by the Creator he intends an unintelligent 
power, undirected force, or necessity, then he has put 
his case so as to invite disbelief in it. For then blind 
forces have produced not only manifest adaptations 
of means to specific ends which is absurd enough 
but better adjusted and more perfect instruments or 
machines than intellect (that is, human intellect) can 
contrive and human skill execute which no sane per- 
son will believe. 

On the other hand, if Darwin even admits we 
will not say adopts the theistic view, he may save 
himself much needless trouble in the endeavor to ac- 
count for the absence of every sort of intermediate 
form. Those in the line between one species and an- 
other supposed to be derived from it he may be bound 
to provide ; but as to " an infinite number of other 
varieties not intermediate, gross, rude, and purposeless, 
the unmeaning creations of an unconscious cause," 
born only to perish, which a relentless reviewer has 
imposed upon his theory rightly enough upon the 
atheistic alternative the theistic view rids him at once 
of this " scum of creation." For, as species do not 
now vary at all times and places and in all directions, 
nor produce crude, vague, imperfect, and useless forms, 
there is no reason for supposing that they ever did. 
Good-for-nothing monstrosities, failures of purpose 
rather than purposeless, indeed, sometimes occur ; but 
these are just as anomalous and unlikely upon Dar- 
win's theory as upon any other. For his particular 


theory is based, and even over-strictly insists, upon 
the most universal of physiological laws, namely, that 
successive generations shall differ only slightly, if at 
all, from their parents ; and this effectively excludes 
crude and impotent forms. Wherefore, if we believe 
that the species were designed, and that natural prop- 
agation was designed, how can we say that the actual 
varieties of the species were not equally designed? 
Have we not similar grounds for inferring design in 
the supposed varieties of species, that we have in the 
case of the supposed species of a genus ? When a nat- 
uralist comes to regard as three closely-related species 
what he before took to be so many varieties of one spe- 
cies, how has he thereby strengthened our conviction 
that the three forms are designed to have the differences 
which they actually exhibit ? Wherefore, so long as 
gradatory, orderly, and adapted forms in Nature argue 
design, and at least while the physical cause of varia- 
tion is utterly unknown and mysterious, we should 
advise Mr. Darwin to assume, in the philosophy of his 
hypothesis, that variation has been led along certain 
beneficial lines. Streams flowing over a sloping plain 
by gravitation (here the counterpart of natural selec- 
tion) may have worn their actual channels as they 
flowed; yet their particular courses may have been 
assigned; and where we see them forming definite 
and useful lines of irrigation, after a manner unac- 
countable on the laws of gravitation and dynamics, 
we should believe that the distribution was designed. 
To insist, therefore, that the new hypothesis of the 
derivative origin of the actual species is incompatible 
with final causes and design, is to take a position which 


we must consider philosophically untenable. "We must 
also regard it as highly unwise and dangerous, in the 
present state and present prospects of physical and 
physiological science. We should expect the philo- 
sophical atheist or skeptic to take this ground ; also, 
until better informed, the unlearned and unphilosoph- 
ical believer ; but we should think that the thought- 
ful theistic philosopher would take the other side. 
Not to do so seems to concede that only supernatural 
events can be shown to be designed, which no theist 
can admit seems also to misconceive the scope and 
meaning of all ordinary arguments for design in Na- 
ture. This misconception is shared both by the re- 
viewers and the reviewed. At least, Mr. Darwin uses 
expressions which imply that the natural forms which 
surround us, because they have a history or natural 
sequence, could have been only generally, but not par- 
ticularly designed a view at once superficial and con- 
tradictory ; whereas his true line should be, that his 
hypothesis concerns the order and not the cause, the 
how and not the why of the phenomena, and so leaves 
the question of design just where it was before. 

To illustrate this from the theist's point of view : 
Transfer the question for a moment from the origina- 
tion of species to the origination of individuals, which 
occurs, as we say, naturally. Because natural, that is, 
" stated, fixed, or settled," is it any the less designed 
on that account ? We acknowledge that God is our 
maker not merely the originator of the race, but our 
maker as individuals and none the less so because it 
pleased him to make us in the way of ordinary gener- 
ation. If any of us were born unlike our parents and 


grandparents, in a slight degree, or in whatever de- 
gree, would the case be altered in this regard ? 

The whole argument in natural theology proceeds 
upon the ground that the inference for a final cause of 
the structure of the hand and of the valves in the veins 
is just as valid now, in individuals produced through 
natural generation, as it would have been in the case of 
the first man, supernaturally created. Why not, then, 
just as good even on the supposition of the descent of 
men from chimpanzees and gorillas, since those ani- 
mals possess these same contrivances ? Or, to take a 
more supposable case : If the argument from structure 
to design is convincing when drawn from a particular 
animal, say a Newfoundland dog, and is not weakened 
by the knowledge that this dog came from similar par- 
ents, would it be at all weakened if, in tracing his 
genealogy, it were ascertained that he was a remote 
descendant of the mastiff or some other breed, or that 
both these and other breeds came (as is suspected) from 
some wolf ? If not, how is the argument for design in 
the structure of our particular dog affected by the sup- 
position that his wolfish progenitor came from a post- 
tertiary wolf, perhaps less unlike an existing one than 
the dog in question is to some other of the numerous 
existing races of dogs, and that this post-tertiary came 
from an equally or more different tertiary wolf 2 And 
if the argument from structure to design is not invali. 
dated by our present knowledge that our individual 
dog was developed from a single organic cell, how is 
it invalidated by the supposition of an analogous 
natural descent, through a long line of connected forms, 


from such a cell, or from some simple animal, existing 
ages before there were any dogs ? 

Again, suppose we have two well-known and ap- 
parently most decidedly different animals or plants, A 
and D, both presenting, in their structure and in their 
adaptations to the conditions of existence, as valid and 
clear evidence of design as any animal or plant ever 
presented : suppose we have now discovered two inter- 
mediate species, B and C, which make up a series with 
equable differences from A to D. Is the proof of 
design or final cause in A and D, whatever it amount- 
ed to, at all weakened by the discovery of the inter- 
mediate forms ? Rather does not the proof extend to 
the intermediate species, and go to show that all four 
were equally designed ? Suppose, now, the number 
of intermediate forms to be much increased, and there- 
fore the gradations to be closer yet as close as those 
between the various sorts of dogs, or races of men, or 
of horned cattle : would the evidence of design, as 
shown in the structure of any of the members of the 
series, be any weaker than it was in the case of A and 
D ? Whoever contends that it would be, should like- 
wise maintain that the origination of individuals by 
generation is incompatible with design, or an impos- 
sibility in Nature. We might all have confidently 
thought the latter, antecedently to experience of the 
fact of reproduction. Let our experience teach us 

These illustrations make it clear that the evidence 
of design from structure and adaptation is furnished 
complete by the individual animal or plant itself, and 
that our knowledge or our ignorance of the history of 


its formation or mode of production adds nothing to 
it and takes nothing away. We infer design from 
certain arrangements and results ; and we have no oth- 
er way of ascertaining it. Testimony, unless infallible, 
cannot prove it, and is out of the question here. 
Testimony is not the approbate proof of design : 
adaptation to purpose is. Some arrangements in 
Nature appear to be contrivances, but may leave us in 
doubt. Many others, of which the eye and the hand 
are notable examples, compel belief with a force not 
appreciably short of demonstration. Clearly to settle 
that such as these must have been designed goes far 
toward proving that other organs and other seemingly 
less explicit adaptations in Nature must also have been 
designed, and clinches our belief, from manifold con- 
siderations, that all Nature is a preconcerted arrange- 
ment, a manifested design. A strange contradiction 
would it be to insist that the shape and markings of 
certain rude pieces of flint, lately found in drift-de- 
posits, prove design, but that nicer and thousand-fold 
more complex adaptations to use in animals and vege- 
tables do not a fortiori argue design. 

We could not affirm that the arguments for design 
in Nature are conclusive to all minds. But we may 
insist, upon grounds already intimated, that, whatever 
they were good for before Darwin's book appeared, 
they are good for now. To our minds the argument 
from design always appeared conclusive of the being 
and continued operation of an intelligent First Cause, 
the Ordainer of Nature; and we do not see that the 
grounds of such belief would be disturbed or shifted 
by the adoption of Darwin's hypothesis. We are not 


blind to the philosophical difficulties which the thor- 
oughgoing implication of design in Nature has to 
encounter, nor is it our vocation to obviate them. It 
suffices us to know that they are not new nor peculiar 
difficulties that, as Darwin's theory and our reason- 
ings upon it did not raise these perturbing spirits, they 
are not bound to lay them. Meanwhile, that the doc- 
trine of design encounters the very same difficulties 
in the material that it does in the moral world is just 
what ought to be expected. 

So the issue between the skeptic and the theist is 
only the old one, long ago argued out namely, wheth- 
er organic Nature is a result of design or of chance. 
Variation and natural selection open no third alterna- 
tive ; they concern only the question how the results, 
whether fortuitous or designed, may have been brought 
about. Organic Nature abounds with unmistakable 
and irresistible indications of design, and, being a con- 
nected and consistent system, this evidence carries the 
implication of design throughout the whole. On the 
other hand, chance carries no probabilities with it, can 
never be developed into a consistent system, but, when 
applied to the explanation of orderly or beneficial 
results, heaps up improbabilities at every step beyond 
all computation. To us, a fortuitous Cosmos is simply 
inconceivable. The alternative is a designed Cosmos. 

It is very easy to assume that, because events in 
Nature are in one sense accidental, and the operative 
forces which bring them to pass are themselves blind 
and unintelligent (physically considered, all forces 
are), therefore they are undirected, or that he who 
describes these events as the results of such forces 


thereby assumes that they are undirected. This is the 
assumption of the Boston reviewers, and of Mr. Agas- 
siz, who insists that the only alternative to the doc- 
trine, that all organized beings were supernaturally 
created just as they are, is, that they have arisen spon- 
taneously through the omnipotence of matter. 1 

As to all this, nothing is easier than to bring out 
in the conclusion what you introduce in the premises. 
If you import atheism into your conception of vari- 
ation and natural selection, you can readily exhibit it 
in the result. If you do not put it in, perhaps there 
need be none to come out. While the mechanician is 
considering a steamboat or locomotive-engine as a ma- 
terial organism, and contemplating the fuel, water, and 
steam, the source of the mechanical forces, and how 
they operate, he may not have occasion to mention 
the engineer. But, the orderly and special results ac- 
complished, the why the movements are in this or that 
particular direction, etc., is inexplicable without him. 
If Mr. Darwin believes that the events which he sup- 
poses to have occurred and the results we behold were 
undirected and undesigned, or if the physicist be- 
lieves that the natural forces to which he refers phe- 
nomena are uncaused and undirected, no argument is 
needed to show that such belief is atheism. But the 
admission of the phenomena and of these natural pro- 
cesses and forces does not necessitate any such belief, 
nor even render it one whit less improbable than 

Surely, too, the accidental element may play its 
part in Nature without negativing design in the the- 

1 In American Journal of Science, July, 1860, pp. 147-149. 


igt's view. He believes that the earth's surface has 
been very gradually prepared for man and the existing 
animal races, that vegetable matter has through a long 
series of generations imparted fertility to the soil in 
order that it may support its present occupants, that 
even beds of coal have been stored up for man's bene- 
fit. Yet what is more accidental, and more simply the 
consequence of physical agencies, than the accumula- 
tion of vegetable matter in a peat-bog, and its trans- 
formation into coal ? JS^o scientific person at this day 
doubts that our solar system is a progressive develop- 
ment, whether in his conception he begins with molten 
masses, or aeriform or nebulous masses, or with a fluid 
revolving mass of vast extent, from which the specific 
existing worlds have been developed one by one. 
What theist doubts that the actual results of the de- 
velopment in the inorganic worlds are not merely 
compatible with design, but are in the truest sense 
designed results? Not Mr. Agassiz, certainly, who 
adopts a remarkable illustration of design directly 
founded on the nebular hypothesis, drawing from the 
position and times of the revolution of the world, so 
originated, "direct evidence that the physical world 
has been ordained in conformity with laws which ob- 
tain also among living beings." But the reader of the 
interesting exposition 1 will notice that the designed 
result has been brought to pass through what, speak- 
ing after the manner of men, might be called a chapter 
of accidents. 

A natural corollary of this demonstration would 

1 In " Contributions to the Natural History of the United Statea, " 
vol. i., pp. 128, 129. 


seem to be, that a material connection between a series 
of created things such as the development of one of 
them from another, or of all from a common stock is 
highly compatible with their intellectual connection, 
namely, with their being designed and directed by 
one mind. Yet upon some ground w T hich is not ex- 
plained, and which we are unable to conjecture, Mr. 
Agassiz concludes to the contrary in the organic king- 
doms, and insists that, because the members of such a 
series have an intellectual connection, "they cannot 
be the result of a material differentiation of the ob- 
jects themselves," l that is, they cannot have had a 
genealogical connection. But is there not as much 
intellectual connection between the successive genera- 
tions of any species as there is between the several 
species of a genus, or the several genera of an order ? 
As the intellectual connection here is realized through 
the material connection, why may it not be so in the 
case of species and genera? On all sides, therefore, 
the implication seems to be quite the other way. 

Returning to the accidental element, it is evident 
that the strongest point against the compatibility of 
Darwin's hypothesis with design in ^Nature is made 
when natural selection is referred to as picking out 
those variations which are improvements from a vast 
number whicli are not improvements, but perhaps the 
contrary, and therefore useless or purposeless, and 
bora to perish. But even here the difficulty is not 
peculiar ; for Nature abounds with analogous instances. 
Some of our race are useless, or worse, as regards 

1 " Contributions to the Natural History of the United States," voL 
i., p. 130; and American Journal of Science, July, 1860, p. 1 13. 


the improvement of mankind ; yet the race may be 
designed to improve, and may be actually improving. 
Or, to avoid the complication with free agency the 
whole animate life of a country depends absolutely 
upon the vegetation, the vegetation upon the rain. 
The moisture is furnished by the ocean, is raised by 
the sun's heat from the ocean's surface, and is wafted 
inland by the winds. But what multitudes of rain- 
drops fall back into the ocean are as much without a 
final cause as the incipient varieties which come to 
nothing! Does it therefore follow that the rains 
which are bestowed upon the soil with such rule and 
average regularity were not designed to support vege- 
table and animal life? Consider, likewise, the vast 
proportion of seeds and pollen, of ova and young a 
thousand or more to one which come to nothing, 
and are therefore purposeless in the same sense, and 
only in the same sense, as are Darwin's unimproved 
and unused slight variations. The world is full of 
such cases ; and these must answer the argument for 
we cannot, except by thus showing that it proves too 

Finally, it is worth noticing that, though natural 
selection is scientifically explicable, variation is not. 
Thus far the cause of variation, or the reason why the 
offspring is sometimes unlike the parents, is just as 
mysterious as the reason why it is generally like the 
parents. It is now as inexplicable as any other origi- 
nation ; and, if ever explained, the explanation will 
only carry up the sequence of secondary causes one step 
farther, and bring us in face of a somewhat different 
problem, but which will have the same element of 


mystery tliat the problem of variation has now. Cir- 
cumstances may preserve or may destroy the variations ; 
man may use or direct them ; but selection, whether 
artificial or natural, no more originates them than 
man originates the power which turns a wheel, when 
he dams a stream and lets the water fall upon it. The 
origination of this power is a question about efficient 
cause. The tendency of science in respect to this ob- 
viously is not toward the omnipotence of matter, as 
some suppose, but toward the omnipotence of spirit. 

So the real question we come to is as to the way in 
which we are to conceive intelligent and efficient cause 
to be exerted, and upon what exerted. Are we bound 
to suppose efficient cause in all cases exerted upon 
nothing to evoke something into existence and this 
thousands of times repeated, when a slight change in 
the details would make all the difference between suc- 
cessive species? "Why may not the new species, or 
some of them, be designed diversifications of the old ? 

There are, perhaps, only three views of efficient 
cause which may claim to be both philosophical and 
theistic : 

1. The view of its exertion at the beginning of 
time, endowing matter and created things with forces 
which do the work and produce the phenomena. 

2. This same view, with the theory of insulated 
interpositions, or occasional direct action, engrafted 
upon it the view that events and operations in gen- 
eral go on in virtue simply of forces communicated at 
the first, but that now and then, and only now and 
then, the Deity puts his hand directly to the work. 

3. The theory of the immediate, orderly, and con- 


stant, however infinitely diversified, action of the in- 
telligent efficient Cause. 

It must be allowed that, while the third is preemi- 
nently the Christian view, all three are philosophi- 
cally compatible with design in Nature. The second 
is probably the popular conception. Perhaps most 
thoughtful people oscillate from the middle view tow- 
ard the first or the third adopting the first on some 
occasions, the third on others. Those philosophers 
who like and expect to settle all mooted questions 
will take one or the other extreme. The Examiner 
inclines toward, the North, American reviewer fully 
adopts, the third view, to the logical extent of main- 
taining that " the origin of an individual, as well as 
the origin of a species or a genus, can be explained 
only by the direct action of an intelligent creative 
cause." To silence his critics, this is the line for Mr. 
Darwin to take ; for it at once and completely relieves 
his scientific theory from every theological objection 
which his reviewers have urged against it. 

At present we suspect that our author prefers the 
first conception, though he might contend that his hy- 
pothesis is compatible with either of the three. That 
it is also compatible with an atheistic or pantheistic 
conception of the universe, is an objection which, 
being shared by all physical, and some ethical or 
moral science, cannot specially be urged against Dar- 
win's system. As he rejects spontaneous generation, 
and admits of intervention at the beginning of organic 
life, and probably in more than one instance, he is 
not wholly excluded from adopting the middle view, 
although the interventions he would allow are few and 


far back. Yet one interposition admits the principle 
as well as more. Interposition presupposes particular 
necessity or reason for it, and raises the question, when 
and how often it may have been necessary. It might 
be the natural supposition, if we had only one set of 
species to account for, or if the successive inhabitants 
of the earth had no other connections or resemblances 
than those which adaptation to similar conditions, 
which final causes in the narrower sense, might ex- 
plain. But if this explanation of organic Nature re- 
quires one to "believe that, at innumerable periods 
in the earth's history, certain elemental atoms have 
been commanded suddenly to flash into living tissues/' 
and this when the results are seen to be strictly con- 
nected and systematic, we cannot wonder that such 
interventions should at length be considered, not as 
interpositions or interferences, but rather to use the 
reviewer's own language as " exertions so frequent 
and beneficent that we come to regard them as the or- 
dinary action of Him who laid the foundation of the 
earth, and without whom not a sparrow falleth to the 
ground." * 

"What does the difference between Mr. Darwin and 
his reviewer now amount to ? If we say that accord- 
ing to one view the origination of species is natural, 
according to the other miraculous, Mr. Darwin agrees 
that " what is natural as much requires and presup- 
poses an intelligent mind to render it so that is, to 
effect it continually or at stated times as what is su- 
pernatural does to effect it for once."* He merely 

1 North American Review for April, 1860, p. 606. 

1 Vide motto from Butler, prefixed to the second edition of Darwin's 


inquires into the form of the miracle, may remind us 
that all recorded miracles (except the primal creation 
of matter) were transformations or actions in and up- 
on natural things, and will ask how many times and 
how frequently may the origination of successive spe- 
cies be repeated before the supernatural merges in the 

In short, Darwin maintains that the origination of 
a species, no less than that of an individual, is natural ; 
the reviewer, that the natural origination of an indi- 
vidual, no less than the origination of a species, re- 
quires and presupposes Divine power. A. fortiori, 
then, the origination of a variety requires and presup- 
poses Divine power. And so between the scientific 
hypothesis of the one and the philosophical concep- 
tion of the other no contrariety remains. And so, 
concludes the North American reviewer, " a proper 
view of the nature of causation .... places the 
vital doctrine of the being and the providence of a 
God on ground that can never be shaken." * A wor- 
thy conclusion, and a sufficient answer to the denun- 
ciations and arguments of the rest of the article, so far 
as philosophy and natural theology are concerned. If 
a writer must needs use his own favorite dogma as a 
weapon with which to give coup de grace to a perni- 
cious theory, he should be careful to seize his edge- 
tool by the handle, and not by the blade. 

We can barely glance at a subsidiary philosophical 
objection of the North American reviewer, which the 
Examiner also raises, though less explicitly. Like 
all geologists, Mr. Darwin draws upon time .in the 

1 North American Review, loc. cit., p. 604. 


most unlimited manner. lie is not peculiar in this 
regard. Mr. Agassiz tells us that the conviction 
is "now universal, among well-informed naturalists, 
that this globe has been in existence for innumerable 
ages, and that the length of time elapsed since it first 
became inhabited cannot be counted in years ; " Pic- 
tet, that the imagination refuses to calculate the im- 
mense number of years and of ages during which the 
faunas of thirty or more epochs have succeeded one 
another, and developed their long succession of gen- 
erations. Now, the reviewer declares that such indefi- 
nite succession of ages is " virtually infinite," " lacks 
no characteristic of eternity except its name," at least, 
that " the difference between such a conception and 
that of the strictly infinite, if any, is not appreciable." 
But infinity belongs to metaphysics. Therefore, he 
concludes, Darwin supports his theory, not by scien- 
tific but by metaphysical evidence ; his theory is " es- 
sentially and completely metaphysical in character, rest- 
ing altogether upon that idea of ' the infinite ' which 
the human mind can neither put aside nor compre- 
hend." * And so a theory which will be generally 
regarded as much too physical is transferred by a 
single syllogism to metaphysics. 

Well, physical geology must go with it : for, even 
on the soberest view, it demands an indefinitely long 
time antecedent to the introduction of organic life 
upon our earth. A fortiori is physical astronomy a 
branch of metaphysics, demanding, as it docs, still 
larger "instalments of infinity," as the reviewer calls 
them, both as to tune and number. Moreover, far the 

1 North American Review, loc. cU., p. 487, etjxurim. 


greater part of physical inquiries now relate to mo- 
lecular actions, which, a distinguished natural philoso- 
pher informs us, " we have to regard as the results of 
an infinite number of infinitely small material parti- 
cles, acting on each other at infinitely small distances " 
a triad of infinities and so physics becomes the 
most metaphysical of sciences. "Verily, if this style of 
reasoning is to prevail 

" Thinking is but an idle waste of thought, 
And naught is everything, and everything is naught." 

The leading objection of Mr. Agassiz is likewise of 
a philosophical character. It is, that species exist only 
" as categories of thought " that, having no material 
existence, they can have had no material variation, and 
no material community of origin. Here the predica- 
tion is of species in the subjective sense, the inference 
in the objective sense. Reduced to plain terms, the 
argument seems to be : Species are ideas ; therefore 
the objects from which the idea is derived cannot vary 
or blend, and cannot have had a genealogical connec- 

The common view of species is, that, although they 
are generalizations, yet they have a direct objective 
ground in Nature, which genera, orders, etc., have not. 
According to the succinct definition of Jussieu and 
that of Linnaeus is identical in meaning a species is 
the perennial succession of similar individuals in con- 
tinued generations. The species is the chain of which 
the individuals are the links. The sum of the genea- 
logically-connected similar individuals constitutes the 
species, which thus has an actuality and ground of dis- 


tinction not shared by genera and other groups which 
were not supposed to be genealogically connected. 
How a derivative hypothesis would modify this view, 
in assigning to species only a temporary fixity, is ob- 
vious. Yet, if naturalists adopt that hypothesis, they 
will still retain Jussieu's definition, which leaves un- 
touched the question as to how and when the " peren- 
nial successions " were established. The practical ques- 
tion will only be, How much difference between two 
sets of individuals entitles them to rank under distinct 
species? and that is the practical question now, on 
whatever theory. The theoretical question is as 
stated at the beginning of this article whether these 
specific lines were alw r ays as distinct as now. 

Mr. Agassiz has " lost no opportunity of urging 
the idea that, while species have no material existence, 
they yet exist as categories of thought in the same way 
[and only in the same way] as genera, families, orders, 
classes," etc. He 

"has taken the ground that all the natural divisions in the ani- 
mal kingdom are primarily distinct, founded upon different 
categories of characters, and that all exist in the same way, 
that is, as categories of thought, embodied in individual living 
forms. I have attempted to show that branches in the animal 
kingdom are founded upon different plans of structure, and for 
that very reason have embraced from the beginning representa- 
tives between which there no community of origin; 
that classes are founded upon different modes of execution of 
these plans, and therefore they also embrace representatives 
which could have no community of origin ; that orders repre- 
sent the different degrees of complication in the mode of execu- 
tion of each class, and therefore embrace representatives which 
could not have a community of origin any more than the mem- 
bers of different classes or branches; that families are founded 


upon different patterns of form, and embrace representatives 
equally independent in their origin ; that genera are founded 
upon ultimate peculiarities of structure, embracing representa- 
tives which, from the very nature of their peculiarities, could 
have no community of origin; and that, finally, species are 
based upon relations and proportions that exclude, as much as 
all the preceding distinctions, the idea of a common descent. 

" As the community of characters among the beings belong- 
ing to these different categories arises from the intellectual con- 
nection which shows them to be categories of thought, they 
cannot be the result of a gradual material differentiation of the 
objects themselves. The argument on which these views are 
founded may be summed up in the following few words : 
Species, genera, families, etc., exist as thoughts, individuals as 
facts." ' 

An ingenious dilemma caps the argument : 

" It seems to me that there is much confusion of ideas in 
the general statement of the variability of species so often re- 
peated lately. If species do not exist at all, as the supporters 
of the transmutation theory maintain, how can they vary ? and 
if individuals alone exist, how can the differences which may be 
observed among them prove the variability of species?" 

Now, we imagine that Mr. Darwin need not be 
dangerously gored by either horn of this curious di- 
lemma. Although we ourselves cherish old-fashioned 
prejudices in favor of the probable permanence, and 
therefore of a more stable objective ground of species, 
yet we agree and Mr. Darwin will agree fully with 
Mr. Agassiz that species, and he will add varieties, 
" exist as categories of thought," that is, as cognizable 
distinctions which is all that we can make of the 
phrase here, whatever it may mean in the Aristotelian 
metaphysics. Admitting that species are only cate- 

1 la American Journal of Science^ July, I860, p, 143. 


gories of thought, and not facts or things, how does 
this prevent the individuals, which are material things, 
from having varied in the course of time, BO as to 
exemplify the present almost innumerable categories 
of thought, or embodiments of Divine thought in ma- 
terial forms, or viewed on the human side in forms 
marked with such orderly and graduated resemblances 
and differences as to suggest to our minds the idea of 
species, genera, orders, etc., and to our reason the in- 
ference of a Divine Original ? We have no clear idea 
how Mr. Agassiz intends to answer this question, in 
saying that branches are founded upon different plans 
of structure, classes upon different mode of execution 
of these plans, orders on different degrees of compli- 
cation in the mode of execution, families upon different 
patterns of form, genera upon ultimate peculiarities 
of structure, and species upon relations and propor- 
tions. That is, we do not perceive how these several 
" categories of thought " exclude the possibility or the 
probability that the individuals which manifest or 
suggest the thoughts had an ultimate community of 

Moreover, Mr. Darwin might insinuate that the 
particular philosophy of classification upon which this 
whole argument reposes is as purely hypothetical and 
as little accepted as is his own doctrine. If both are 
pure hypotheses, it is hardly fair or satisfactory to ex- 
tinguish the one by the other. If there is no real con- 
tradiction between them, nothing is gained by the 

As to the dilemma propounded, suppose we try it 
upon that category of thought which we call chair. 


This is a genus, comprising a common chair (Sella vul- 
garis), arm or easy chair (S. cathedra), the rocking-chair 
(S. oscillans) widely distributed in the United States 
and some others, each of which has sported, as the 
gardeners say, into many varieties. But now, as the 
genus and the species have no material existence, how 
can they vary ? If only individual chairs exist, how can 
the differences which may be observed among them 
prove the variability of the species ? To which we re- 
ply by asking, "Which does the question refer to, the 
category of thought, or the individual embodiment? 
If the former, then we would remark that our cate- 
gories of thought vary from time to time in the readi- 
est manner. And, although the Divine thoughts are 
eternal, yet they are manifested to us in time and suc- 
cession, and by their manifestation only can we know 
them, how imperfectly ! Allowing that what has no 
material existence can have had no material connection 
or variation, we should yet infer that what has intel- 
lectual existence and connection might have intellectual 
variation ; and, turning to the individuals, which repre- 
sent the species, we do not see how all this shows that 
they may not vary. Observation shows us that they 
do. Wherefore, taught by fact that successive indi- 
viduals do vary, we safely infer that the idea must 
have varied, and that this variation of the individual 
representatives proves the variability of the species, 
whether objectively or subjectively regarded. 

Each species or sort of chair, as we have said, has 
its varieties, and one species shades off by gradations 
into another. And note it well these numerous 
and successively slight variations and gradations, far 


from suggesting an accidental origin to chairs and to 
their forms, are very proofs of design. 

Again, edifice is a generic category of thought. 
Egyptian, Grecian, Byzantine, and Gothic buildings are 
well-marked species, of which each individual building 
of the sort is a material embodiment. Now, the ques- 
tion is, whether these categories or ideas may not have 
been evolved, one from another in succession, or from 
some primal, less specialized, edificial category. "What 
better evidence for such hypothesis could we have than 
the variations and grades which connect these species 
with each other ? We might extend the parallel, and 
get some good illustrations of natural selection from 
the history of architecture, and the origin of the dif- 
ferent styles under different climates and conditions. 
Two considerations may qualify or limit the compari- 
son. One, that houses do not propagate, so as to pro- 
duce continuing lines of each sort and variety ; but this 
is of small moment on Agassiz's view, he holding that 
genealogical connection is not of the essence of a 
species at all. The other, that the formation and 
development of the ideas upon which human works 
proceed are gradual ; or, as the same great naturalist 
well states it, "while human thought is consecutive, 
Divine thought is simultaneous." But we have no 
right to affirm this of Divine action. 

We must close here. We meant to review some 
of the more general scientific objections which we 
thought not altogether tenable. But, after all, we are 
not so anxious just now to know whether the new 
theory is well founded on facts, as whether it would 


be harmless if it were. Besides, we feel quite unable 
to answer some of these objections, and it is pleasanter 
to take up those which one thinks he can. 

Among the unanswerable, perhaps the weightiest 
of the objections, is that of the absence, in geological 
deposits, of vestiges of the intermediate forms which 
the theory requires to have existed. Here all that 
Mr. Darwin can do is to insist upon the extreme im- 
perfection of the geological record and the uncertainty 
of negative evidence. But, withal, he allows the force 
of the objection almost as much as his opponents urge 
it so much so, indeed, that two of his English critics 
turn the concession unfairly upon him, and charge 
him with actually basing his hypothesis upon these 
and similar difficulties as if he held it because of the 
difficulties, and not in spite of them ; a handsome re- 
turn for his candor ! 

As to this imperfection of the geological record, 
perhaps we should get a fair and intelligible illustra- 
tion of it by imagining the existing animals and plants 
of New England, with all their remains and products 
since the arrival of the Mayflower, to be annihilated ; 
and that, in the coming time, the geologists of a new 
colony, dropped by the New Zealand fleet on its way 
to explore the ruins of London, undertake, after fifty 
years of examination, to reconstruct in a catalogue the 
flora and fauna of our day, that is, from the close 
of the glacial period to the present time. "With all 
the advantages of a surface exploration, what a beg- 
garly account it would be ! How many of the land 
animals and plants which are enumerated in the Massa- 
chusetts official reports would it be likely to contain? 


Another unanswerable question asked by the Bos- 
ton reviewers is, Why, when structure and instinct or 
habit vary as they must have varied, on Darwin's 
hypothesis they vary together and harmoniously, in- 
stead of vaguely ? "We cannot tell, because we can- 
not tell why either varies at all. Yet, as they both 
do vary in successive generations as is seen under 
domestication and are correlated, we can only ad- 
duce the fact. Darwin may be precluded from our 
answer, but we may say that they vary together be- 
cause designed to do so. A reviewer says that the 
chance of their varying together is inconceivably 
small ; yet, if they do not, the variant individuals must 
all perish. Then it is well that it is not left to chance. 
To refer to a parallel case : before we were born, 
nourishment and the equivalent to respiration took 
place in a certain way. But the moment we were 
ushered into this breathing world, our actions promptly 
conformed, both as to respiration and nourishment, 
to the before unused structure and to the new sur- 

" Now," says the Examiner, " suppose, for instance, 
the gills of an aquatic animal converted into lungs, 
while instinct still compelled a continuance under 
water, would not drowning ensue?" No doubt. But 
simply contemplating the facts, instead of theoriz- 
ing we notice that young frogs do not keep their 
heads under water after ceasing to be tadpoles. The 
instinct promptly changes with the structure, with- 
out supernatural interposition just as Darwin would 
have it, if the development of a variety or incipient 


species, though rare, were as natural as a metamor- 

" Or if a quadruped, not yet furnished with wings, 
were suddenly inspired with the instinct of a bird, 
and precipitated itself from a cliff, would not the de- 
scent be hazardously rapid ?" Doubtless the animal 
would be no better supported than the objection. 
But Darwin makes very little indeed of voluntary ef- 
forts as a cause of change, and even poor Lamarck 
need not be caricatured. He never supposed that an 
elephant would take such a notion into his wise head, 
or that a squirrel would begin with other than short 
and easy leaps ; yet might not the length of the leap 
be increased by practice ? 

The North American reviewer's position, that 
the higher brute animals have comparatively little in- 
stinct and no intelligence, is a heavy blow and great 
discouragement to dogs, horses, elephants, and mon- 
keys. Thus stripped of their all, and left to shift for 
themselves as they may in this hard world, their 
pursuit and seeming attainment of knowledge under 
such peculiar difficulties are interesting to contemplate. 
However, we are not so sure as is the critic that in- 
stinct regularly increases downward and decreases up- 
ward in the scale of being. Now that the case of the 
bee is reduced to moderate proportions, 1 we know of 
nothing in instinct surpassing that of an animal so 
high as a bird, the talegal, the male of which plumes 
himself upon making a hot-bed in which to hatch his 
partner's eggs which he tends and regulates the heat 

1 Vide article by Mr. C. "Wright, ia the Mathematical Monthly for 
May last. 


of about as carefully and skillfully as the unpluraed 
biped does an eccaleobion. 1 

As to the real intelligence of the higher brutes, it 
has been ably defended by a far more competent ob- 
server, Mr. Agassiz, to whose conclusions we yield a 
general assent, although we cannot quite place the best 
of dogs " in that respect upon a level with a consider- 
able proportion of poor humanity," nor indulge the 
hope, or indeed the desire, of a renewed acquaintance 
with the whole animal kingdom in a future life.' 

The assertion that acquired habitudes or instincts, 
and acquired structures, are not heritable, any breeder 
or good observer can refute. 1 

That " the human mind has become what it is out 
of a developed instinct," 4 is a statement which Mr. 
Darwin nowhere makes, and, we presume, would not 
accept.* That he would have us believe that individ- 

1 Vide Edinburgh Review for January, 1860, article on "Acclima- 
tization," etc. 

' " Contributions, Essay on Classification," etc., vol. i., pp. 60-66. 

* Still stronger assertions have recently been hazarded even that 
heritability is of species only, not of individual characteristics 
strangely overlooking the fundamental peculiarity of plants and ani- 
mals, which is that they reproduce, and that the species is continued aa 
such only because individuals reproduce their like. 

It has also been urged that variation is never cumulative. If this 
means that varieties are not capable of further variation, it is not borne 
out by observation. For cultivators and breeders well know that the 
main difficulty is to initiate a variation, and that new varieties are par- 
ticularly prone to vary more. 

4 North American Review, April, 1860, p. 475. 

1 No doubt he would equally distinguish in kind between instinct 
(which physiologically is best conceived of as congenital habit, so lhat 
habits when inherited become instincts, just as varieties become fixed 


ual animals acquire their instincts gradually, 1 is a 
statement which must have been penned in inadver- 
tence both of the very definition of instinct, and of 
everything we know of in Mr. Darwin's book. 

It has been attempted to destroy the very founda- 
tion of Darwin's hypothesis by denying that there are 
any wild varieties, to speak of, for natural selection to 
operate upon. We cannot gravely sit down to prove 
that wild varieties abound. We should think it just 
as necessary to prove that snow falls in winter. That 
variation among plants cannot be largely due to hy- 

into races) and intelligence ; but would maintain that both are endow- 
ments of the higher brutes and of man, however vastly and unequal 
their degree, and with whatever superaddition to simple intelligence in 
the latter. 

[Prof. Joseph Le Conte, in POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY, September, 
1875, refers to his definition of instinct as "inherited experience," 
published in April, 1871, as having been anticipated by that of Hering, 
as " inherited memory," in February of the same year. Doubtless the 
idea has been expressed by others long before us.] 

To allow that " brutes have certain mental endowments in common 
with men," .... desires, affections, memory, simple imagination or 
the power of reproducing the sensible past in mental pictures, and even 
judgment of the simple or intuitive kind" that " they compare and 
judge" ("Memoirs of American Academy," vol. viii., p. 118) is to 
concede that the intellect of brutes really acts, so far as we know, like 
human intellect, as far it goes ; for the philosophical logicians tell us 
all reasoning is reducible to a series of simple judgments. And Aris- 
totle declares that even reminiscence which is, we suppose, " repro- 
ducing the sensible past in mental pictures " is a sort of reasoning 
(rb ivanifjorfio-KeoQcd i<rriv olov ffv\\oyifff^6s ns). 

On the other hand, Mr. Darwin's expectation that " psychology will 
be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each 
mental power and capacity by gradation," seems to come from a school 
of philosophy with which we have no sympathy. 

1 American Journal of Science, July, 1860, p. 146. 


bridism, and that their variation in Nature is not es- 
sentially different from much that occurs in domesti- 
cation, and, in the long-run, probably hardly less in 
amount, we could show if our space permitted. 

As to the sterility of hybrids, that can no longer be 
insisted upon as absolutely true, nor be practically 
used as a test between species and varieties, unless we 
allow that hares and rabbits are of one species. That 
such sterility, whether total or partial, subserves a pur- 
pose in keeping species apart, and was so designed, we 
do not doubt. But the critics fail to perceive that 
this sterility proves nothing whatever against the de- 
rivative origin of the actual species ; for it may as 
well have been intended to keep separate those forms 
which have reached a certain amount of divergence, as 
those which were always thus distinct. 

The argument for the permanence of species, drawn 
from the identity with those now living of cats, birds, 
and other animals preserved in Egyptian catacombs, 
was good enough as used by Cuvier against St.-Hi- 
laire, that is, against the supposition that time brings 
about a gradual alteration of whole species; but it 
goes for little against Darwin, unless it be proved that 
species never vary, or that the perpetuation of a vari- 
ety necessitates the extinction of the parent breed. 
For Darwin clearly maintains what the facts warrant 
that the mass of a species remains fixed so long as 
it exists at all, though it may set off a variety now and 
then. The variety may finally supersede the parent 
form, or it may coexist with it ; yet it does not in the 
least hinder the unvaried stock from continuing true 
to the breed, unless it crosses with it. The common 


law of inheritance may be expected to keep both the 
original and the variety mainly true as long as they 
last, and none the less so because they have given rise 
to occasional varieties. The tailless Manx cats, like the 
curtailed fox in the fable, have not induced the nor- 
mal breeds to dispense with their tails, nor have the 
Dorkings (apparently known to Pliny) affected the per- 
manence of the common sort of fowl. 

As to the objection that the lower forms of life 
ought, on Darwin's theory, to have been long ago im- 
proved out of existence, and replaced by higher forms, 
the objectors forget what a vacuum that would leave 
below, and what a vast field there is to which a simple 
organization is best adapted, and where an advance 
would be no improvement, but the contrary. To accu- 
mulate the greatest amount of being upon a given space, 
and to provide as much enjoyment of life as can be 
under the conditions, is what Mature seems to aim at ; 
and this is effected by diversification. 

Finally, we advise nobody to accept Darwin's or 
any other derivative theory as true. The time has not 
come for that, and perhaps never will. "We also ad- 
vise against a simular credulity on the other side, in a 
blind faith that species that the manifold sorts and 
forms of existing animals and vegetables "have no 
secondary cause." The contrary is already not unlike- 
ly, and we suppose will hereafter become more and 
more probable. But we are confident that, if a de- 
rivative hypothesis ever is established, it will be so on 
a solid theistic ground. 

Meanwhile an inevitable and legitimate hypothesis 
is on trial an hypothesis thus far not untenable a 


trial just now very usoful to science, and, we conclude, 
not harmful to religion, unless injudicious assailants 
temporarily make it so. 

One good effect is already manifest; its enabling 
tho advocates of the hypothesis of a multiplicity of 
human species to perceive the double insecurity of their 
ground. When the races of men are admitted to be of 
one species, the corollary, that they are of one origin, 
may be expected to follow. Those who allow them to 
be of one species must admit an actual diversification 
into strongly-marked and persistent varieties, and so 
admit the basis of fact upon which the Darwinian 
hypothesis is built ; while those, on the other hand, 
who recognize several or numerous human species, will 
hardly be able to maintain that such species were pri- 
mordial and supernatural in the ordinary sense of 
the word. 

The English mind is prone to positivism and kin- 
dred forms of materialistic philosophy, and we must 
expect the derivative theory to be taken up in that in- 
terest "We have no predilection for that school, but 
the contrary. If we had, we might have looked com- 
placently upon a line of criticism which would indi- 
rectly, but effectively, play into the hands of positivists 
and materialistic atheists generally. The wiser and 
stronger ground to take is, that the derivative hypothe- 
sis leaves the argument for design, and therefore for a 
designer, as valid as it ever was ; that to do any work 
by an instrument must require, and therefore presup- 
pose, the exertion rather of more than of less power 
than to do it directly ; that whoever would be a con- 
sistent theist should believe that Design in the natural 


world is coextensive with Providence, and hold as firm- 
ly to the one as he does to the other, in spite of the 
wholly similar and apparently insuperable difficulties 
which the mind encounters whenever it endeavors to 
develop the idea into a system, either in the material 
and organic, or in the moral world. It is enough, in 
the way of obviating objections, to show that the phil- 
osophical difficulties of the one are the same, and only 
the same, as of the other. 




fitude sur VEspece, a V Occasion cTune Revision de 
la Famille des Cupuliferes^par M. ALPHONSE DE CAN- 
DOLLE. This is the title of a paper by M. Alph. 
De Candolle, growing out of his study of the oaks. It 
was published in the November number of the ib- 
liotheque Universelle, and separately issued as a pam- 
phlet. A less inspiring task could hardly be assigned 
to a botanist than the systematic elaboration of the 
genus Quercus and its allies. The vast materials as- 
sembled under De Candolle's hands, while disheart- 
ening for their bulk, offered small hope of novelty. 
The subject was both extremely trite and extremely 
difficult. Happily it occurred to De Candolle that an 
interest might be imparted to an onerous undertaking, 
and a work of necessity be turned to good account for 
science, by studying the oaks in view of the question 
of species. 

What this term species means, or should mean, in 
natural history, what the limits of species, inter se or 
chronologically, or in geographical distribution, their 
modifications, actual or probable, their origin, and 


their destiny these are questions which surge up 
from time to time ; and now and then in the progress 
of science they come to assume a new and hopeful in- 
terest. Botany and zoology, geology, and what our 
author, feeling the want of a new term, proposes to 
name epiontologyj all lead up to and converge into 
this class of questions, while recent theories shape and 
point the discussion. So we look with eager interest 
to see what light the study of oaks by a very careful, 
experienced, and conservative botanist, particularly 
conversant with the geographical relations of plants, 
may throw upon the subject. 

The course of investigation in this instance does 
not differ from that ordinarily pursued by working 
botanists; nor, indeed, are the theoretical conclusions 
other than those to which a similar study of other or- 
ders might not have equally led. The oaks afford a 
very good occasion for the discussion of questions 
which press upon our attention, and perhaps they offer 
peculiarly good materials on account of the number 
of fossil species. 

Preconceived notions about species being laid 
aside, the specimens in hand were distributed, accord- 

1 A name which, at the close of his article, De Candolle proposes for 
the study of the succession of organized beings, to comprehend, therefore, 
palaeontology and all included under what is called geographical botany 
and zoology the whole forming a science parallel to geology the lat- 
ter devoted to the history of unorganized bodies, the former, to that of 
organized beings, as respects origin, distribution, and succession. We 
are not satisfied with the word, notwithstanding the precedent of palae- 
ontology ; since ontology, the science of being, has an established mean- 
ing as referring to mental existence i. e., is a synonym or & department 
of metaphysics. 


ing to their obvious resemblances, into groups of ap- 
parently identical or nearly identical forms, which 
were severally examined and compared. Where speci- 
mens were few, as from countries little explored, the 
work was easy, but the conclusions, as will be seen, of 
small value. The fewer the materials, the smaller the 
likelihood of forms intermediate between any two, 
and what does not appear being treated upon the old 
law-maxim as non-existent species are readily enough 
defined. Where, however, specimens abound, as in 
the case of the oaks of Europe, of the Orient, and of 
the United States, of which the specimens amounted 
to hundreds, collected at different ages, in varied local- 
ities, by botanists of all sorts of views and predilec- 
tions here alone were data fit to draw useful conclu- 
sions from. Here, as De Candolle remarks, he had 
every advantage, being furnished with materials more 
complete than any one person could have procured 
from his own herborizations, more varied than if he 
had observed a hundred times over the same forms in 
the same district, and more impartial than if they had 
all been amassed by one person with his own ideas or 
predispositions. So that vast herbaria, into which con- 
tributions from every source have flowed for years, 
furnish the best possible data at least are far better 
than any practicable amount of personal herborization 
for the comparative study of related forms occur- 
ring over wide tracts of territory. But as the materials 
increase, so do the difficulties. Forms, which appeared 
totally distinct, approach or blend through interme- 
diate gradations ; characters, stable in a limited num- 
ber of instances or in a limited district, prove unstable 


occasionally, or when observed over a wider area ; and 
the practical question is forced upon the investigator, 
"What here is probably fixed and specific, and what is 
variant, pertaining to individual, variety, or race ? 

In the examination of these rich materials, certain 
characters were found to vary upon the same branch, 
or upon the same tree, sometimes according to age or 
development, sometimes irrespective of such relations 
or of any assignable reasons. Such characters, of 
course, are not specific, although many of them are 
such as would have been expected to be constant in 
the same species, and are such as generally enter into 
specific definitions. Yariations of this sort, De Can- 
dolle, with his usual painstaking, classifies and tabu- 
lates, and even expresses numerically their frequency 
in certain species. The results are brought well to 
view in a systematic enumeration : 

1. Of characters which frequently vary upon the 
same branch : over a dozen such are mentioned. 

2. Of those which sometimes vary upon the same 
branch : a smaller number of these are mentioned. 

3. Those so rare that they might be called mon- 

Then he enumerates characters, ten in number, 
which he has never found to vary on the same branch, 
and which, therefore, may better claim to be employed 
as specific. But, as among them he includes the dura- 
tion of the leaves, the size of the cupule, and the form 
and size of its scales, which are by no means quite uni- 
form in different trees of the same species, even these 
characters must be taken with allowance. In fact, hav- 
ing first brought together, as groups of the lowest 


order, those forms which varied upon the same stock, 
he next had to combine similarly various forms which, 
though not found associated upon the same branch, 
were thoroughly blended by intermediate degrees : 

"The lower groups (varieties or races) being thus consti- 
tuted, I have given the rank of specie* to the groups next above 
these, which differ in other respects, i. e., either in characters 
which were not found united upon certain individuals, or in 
those which do not show transitions from one individual to an- 
other. For the oaks of regions sufficiently known, the species 
thus formed rest upon satisfactory bases, of which the proof can 
be furnished. It is quite otherwise with those which are repre- 
sented in our herbaria by single or few specimens. These are 
provisional species species which may hereafter full to the rank 
of simple varieties. I have not been inclined to prejudge such 
questions ; indeed, in this regard, I am not disposed to follow 
those authors whose tendency is, as they say, to reunite species. 
I never reunite them without proof in each particular case ; 
while the botanists to whom I refer do so on the ground of 
analogous variations or transitions occurring in the same genus 
or in the same family. For example resting on the fact that 
Quercus Ilex, Q. coccifera, Q. acutifolia, etc., have the leaves 
sometimes entire and sometimes toothed upon the same branch, 
or present transitions from one tree to another, I might readily 
have united my Q, Tlapuxahuensis to Q. Sartorii of Liebmann, 
since these two differ only in their entire or their toothed leaves. 
From the fact that the length of the peduncle varies in Q. Ko- 
lur and many other oaks, I might have combined Q. Seemannii 
Liebm. with Q. saHcifol'm Xoo. I have not admitted these in- 
ductions, but have demanded visible proof in each particular 
case. Many species are thus left as provisional ; but, in proceed- 
ing thus, the progress of the science will be more regular, and 
the synonymy less dependent upon the caprice or the theoretical 
opinions of each author." 

This is safe and to a certain degree judicious, no 
doubt, as respects published species. Once admitted, 


they may stand until they are put down by evidence, 
direct or circumstantial. Doubtless a species may 
rightfully be condemned on good circumstantial evi- 
dence. But what course does De Candolle pursue in 
the case of every-day occurrence to most working 
botanists, having to elaborate collections from coun- 
tries not so well explored as Europe when the forms 
in question, or one of the two, are as yet unnamed ? 
Does he introduce as a new species every form which 
he cannot connect by ocular proof with a near relative, 
from \vhich it differs only in particulars which he sees 
are inconstant in better known species of the same 
group ? We suppose not. But, if he does, little im- 
provement for the future upon the state of things 
revealed in the following quotation can be expected : 

"In the actual state of our knowledge, after having seen 
nearly all the original specimens, and in some species as many 
as two hundred representatives from different localities, I esti- 
mate that, out of the three hundred species of Cupulifera 
which will be enumerated in the Prodromus, two-thirds at least 
are provisional species. In general, when we consider what a 
multitude of species were described from a single specimen, or 
from the forms of a single locality, of a single country, or are 
badly described, it is difficult to believe that above one-third of 
the actual species in botanical works will remain unchanged." 

Such being the results of the want of adequate 
knowledge, how is it likely to be when our knowledge 
is largely increased ? The judgment of so practised a 
botanist as De Candolle is important in this regard, 
and it accords with that of other botanists of equal 

" They are mistaken," he pointedly asserts, " who 
repeat that the greater part of our species are clearly 


limited, and that the doubtful species are in a feeble 
minority. This seemed to be true, so long as a genus 
was imperfectly known, and its species were founded 
upon few specimens, that is to say, were provisional. 
Just as we come to know them better, intermediate 
forms flow in, and doubts as to specific limits aug- 

De Candolle insists, indeed, in this connection, that 
the higher the rank of the groups, the more definite 
their limitation, or, in other terms, the fewer the am- 
biguous or doubtful forms; that genera are more 
strictly limited than species, tribes than genera, orders 
than tribes, etc. We are not convinced of this. Often 
where it has appeared to be so, advancing discovery 
has brought intermediate forms to light, perplexing to 
the systematist. " They are mistaken," we think more 
than one systematic botanist will say," who repeat that 
the greater part of our natural orders and tribes are 
absolutely limited," however we may agree that we 
will limit them. Provisional genera we suppose are 
proportionally hardly less common than provisional 
species; and hundreds of genera are kept up on con- 
siderations of general propriety or general conven- 
ience, although well known to shade off into adjacent 
ones by complete gradations. Somewhat of this greater 
fixity of higher groups, therefore, is rather apparent 
than real. On the other hand, that varieties should 
be less definite than species, follows from the very 
terms employed. They are ranked as varieties, rather 
than species, just because of their less definiteness. 

Singular as it may appear, we have heard it denied 
that spontaneous varieties occur. De Candolle makes 


the important announcement that, in the oak genus, 
the best known species are just those which present the 
greatest number of spontaneous varieties and sub-vari- 
eties. The maximum is found in Q. Rdbur, with 
twenty-eight varieties, all spontaneous. Of Q. Lusi- 
tanica eleven varieties are enumerated, of Q. Calli- 
prinos ten, of Q. coccifera eight, etc. And he sig- 
nificantly adds that "these very species which offer 
such numerous modifications are themselves ordinarily 
surrounded by other forms, provisionally called spe- 
cies, because of the absence of known transitions or 
variations, but to which some of these will probably 
have to be joined hereafter. " The inference is natu- 
ral, if not inevitable, that the difference between such 
species and such varieties is only one of degree, either 
as to amount of divergence, or of hereditary fixity, or 
as to the frequency or rarity at the present time of 
intermediate forms. 

This brings us to the second section of De Can- 
dolle's article, in which he passes on, from the obser- 
vation of the present forms and affinities of cupulifer- 
ous plants, to the consideration of their probable his- 
tory and origin. Suffice it to say, that he frankly ac- 
cepts the inferences derived from the whole course 
of observation, and contemplates a probable historical 
connection between congeneric species. He accepts 
and, by various considerations drawn from the geo- 
graphical distribution of European Citpuliferce, forti- 
fies the conclusion long ago arrived at by Edward 
Forbes that the present species, and even some of 
their varieties, date back to about the close of the Ter- 
tiary epoch, since which time they have been subject 


to frequent and great changes of habitation or limita- 
tion, but without appreciable change of specific form 
or character ; that is, without prof ounder changes than 
those within which a species at the present time is 
known to vary. Moreover, he is careful to state that 
he is far from concluding that the time of the appear- 
ance of a species in Europe at all indicates the time of 
its origin. Looking back still further into the Tertiary 
epoch, of which the vegetable remains indicate many 
analogous, but few, if any, identical forms, he con- 
cludes, with Heer and others, that specific changes of 
form, as well as changes of station, are to be presumed ; 
and, finally, that " the theory of a succession of forms 
through the deviation of anterior forms is the most 
natural hypothesis, and the most accordant with the 
known facts in palaeontology, geographical botany and 
zoology, of anatomical structure and classification: 
but direct proof of it is wanting, and moreover, if 
true, it must have taken place very slowly ; so slowly, 
indeed, that its effects are discernible only after a lapse 
of time far longer than our historic epoch. " 

In contemplating the present state of the species 
of CupulifercB in Europe, De Candolle comes to the 
conclusion that, while the beech is increasing, and ex- 
tending its limits southward and westward (at the ex- 
pense of ConifercB and birches), the common oak, to 
some extent, and the Turkey oak decidedly, are di- 
minishing and retreating, and this wholly irrespective 
of man's agency. This is inferred of the Turkey oak 
from the great gaps found in its present geographical 
area, which are otherwise inexplicable, and which he 
regards as plain indications of a partial extinction. 


Community of descent of all the individuals of species 
is of course implied in these and all similar reasonings. 

An obvious result of such partial extinction is 
clearly enough brought to view. The European oaks 
(like the American species) greatly tend to vary ; 
that is, they manifest an active disposition to produce 
new forms. Every form tends to become hereditary, 
and so to pass from the state of mere variation to that 
of race ; and of these competing incipient races some 
only will survive. Quercus Robur offers a familiar 
illustration of the manner in which one form may in 
the course of time become separated into two or more 
distinct ones. 

To Linnseus this common oak of Europe was all of 
one species. But of late years the greater number 
of European botanists have regarded it as including 
three species, Q. pedunculata, Q. sessiliflora, and Q. 
pubescens. De Candolle looks with satisfaction to the 
independent conclusion which he reached from a long 
and patient study of the forms (and which Webb, Gay, 
Bentham, and others, had equally reached), that the 
view of Linnaeus was correct, inasmuch as it goes to 
show that the idea and the practical application of the 
term species have remained unchanged during the cen- 
tury which has elapsed since the publication of the " Spe- 
cies Plantarum. " But, the idea remaining unchanged 
the facts might appear under a different aspect, and the 
conclusion be different, under a slight and very sup- 
posable change of circumstances. Of the twenty-eight 
spontaneous varieties of Q. Robur ^ which De Candolle 
recognizes, all but six, he remarks, fall naturally under 
the three sub-species, pedunculata, sessilijlora, and 


pubescens, and are therefore forms grouped around 
these as centres ; and, moreover, the few connecting 
forms are by no means the most common. Were 
these to die out, it is clear that the three forms which 
have already been so frequently taken for species 
would be what the group of four or five provisionally 
admitted species which closely surround Q. Rdbur 
now are. The best example of such a case, as having 
in all probability occurred through geographical segre- 
gation and partial extinction, is that of the cedar, thus 
separated into the Deodar, the Lebanon, and the At- 
lantic cedars a case admirably worked out by Dr. 
Hooker two or three years ago. 1 

A special advantage of the Cujmliferce for deter- 
mining the probable antiquity of existing species in 
Europe, De Candolle finds in the size and character of 
their fruits. However it may be with other plants 
(and he comes to the conclusion generally that marine 
currents and all other means of distant transport have 
played only a very small part in the actual dispersion 
of species), the transport of acorns and chestnuts by 
natural causes across an arm of the sea in a condition 
to germinate, and much more the spontaneous estab- 
lishment of a forest of oaks or chestnuts in this way, 
De Candolle conceives to be fairly impossible in itself, 
and contrary to all experience. From such considera- 
tions, i. e., from the actual dispersion of the existing 
species (with occasional aid from post-tertiary deposits), 
it is thought to be shown that the principal Cupuli- 
ferce of the Old World attained their actual extension 

1 Natural Halory Revinc, January, 1862. 


before the present separation of Sicily, Sardinia and 
Corsica, and of Britain, from the European Continent. 

This view once adopted, and this course once 
entered upon, has to be pursued farther. Quercus 
Robur of Europe with its bevy of admitted deriva- 
tives, and its attending species only provisionally ad- 
mitted to that rank, is very closely related to certain 
species of Eastern Asia, and of Oregon and California 
so closely that " a view of the specimens by no 
means forbids the idea that they have all originated 
from Q. Rdbur, or have originated, with the latter, 
from one or more preceding forms so like the present 
ones that a naturalist could hardly know whether to 
call them species or varieties." Moreover, there are 
fossil leaves from diluvian deposits in Italy, figured by 
Gaudin, which are hardly distinguishable from those 
of Q. Robur on the one hand, and from those of Q. 
Douglasii, etc., of California, on the other. No such 
leaves are found in any tertiary deposit in Europe ; 
but such are found of that age, it appears, in North- 
west America, where their remote descendants still 
nourish. So that the probable genealogy of Q. Robur, 
traceable in Europe up to the commencement of the 
present epoch, looks eastward and far into the past on 
far-distant shores. 

Quercus Ilex, the evergreen oak of Southern Europe 
and Northern Africa, reveals a similar archaeology; 
but its presence in Algeria leads De Candolle to regard 
it as a much more ancient denizen of Europe than Q. 
Robur ; and a Tertiary oak, Q. ilicoides, from a very 
old Miocene bed in Switzerland, is thought to be one 
of its ancestral forms. This high antiquity once 


established, it follows almost of course that the very 
nearly-related species in Central Asia, in Japan, in 
California, and even our own live-oak with its Mexican 
relatives, may probably enough be regarded as early 
offshoots from the same stock with Q. Ilex. 

In brief not to continue these abstracts and re- 
marks, and without reference to Darwin's particular 
theory (which De Candolle at the close very fairly con- 
siders) if existing species, or many of them, are as 
ancient as they are now generally thought to be, and 
were subject to the physical and geographical changes 
(among them the coming and the going of the glacial 
epoch) which this antiquity implies ; if in former 
times they were as liable to variation as they now are ; 
and if the individuals of the same species may claim a 
common local origin, then we cannot wonder that " the 
theory of a succession of forms by deviations of ante- 
rior forms " should be regarded as " the most natural 
hypothesis," nor at the general advance made toward 
its acceptance. 

The question being, not, how plants and animals 
originated, but, how came the existing animals and 
plants to be just where they are and what they are, 
it is plain that naturalists interested in such inquiries 
are mostly looking for the answer in one direction. 
The general drift of opinion, or at least of expectation, 
is exemplified by this essay of De Candolle ; and the 
set and force of the current are seen by noticing how 
it carries along naturalists of widely different views 
and prepossessions some faster and farther than oth- 
ers but all in one way. The tendency is, we may say, 
to extend the law of continuity, or something analo- 


gous to it, from inorganic to organic Nature, and in 
the latter to connect the present with the past in some 
sort of material connection. The generalization may 
indeed be expressed so as not to assert that the con- 
nection is genetic, as in Mr. Wallace's formula : " Ev- 
ery species has come into existence coincident both in 
time and space with preexisting closely-allied species." 
Edward Forbes, who may be called the originator of 
this whole line of inquiry, long ago expressed a simi- 
lar view. But the only material sequence we know, 
or can clearly conceive, in plants and animals, is that 
from parent to progeny ; and, as De Candolle implies, 
the origin of species and that of races can hardly be 
much unlike, nor governed by other than the sam<3 
laws, whatever these may be. 

The progress of opinion upon this subject in one 
generation is not badly represented by that of De Can- 
dolle himself, who is by no means prone to adopt new 
views without much consideration. In an elementary 
treatise published in the year 1835, he adopted and, if 
we rightly remember, vigorously maintained, Schouw's 
idea of the double or multiple origin of species, at 
least of some species a view which has been carried 
out to its ultimate development only perhaps by Agas- 
siz, in the denial of any necessary genetic connection 
among the individuals of the same species, or of any 
original localization more restricted than the area now 
occupied by the species. But in 1855, in his " Geogra- 
phic Botanique," the multiple hypothesis, although in 
principle not abandoned, loses its point, in view of the 
probable high antiquity of existing species. The act- 
ual vegetation of the world being now regarded as a 


continuation, through numerous geological, geographi- 
cal, and more recently historical changes, of anterior 
vegetations, the actual distribution of plants is seen to 
be a consequence of preceding conditions ; and geologi- 
cal considerations, and these alone, may be expected 
to explain all the facts many of them so curious and 
extraordinary of the actual geographical distribution 
of the species. In the present essay, not only the dis- 
tribution but the origin of congeneric species is re- 
garded as something derivative ; whether derived by 
slow and very gradual changes in the course of ages, 
according to Darwin, or by a sudden, inexplicable 
change of their tertiary ancestors, as conceived by 
Heer, De Candolle hazards no opinion. It may, how- 
ever, be inferred that he looks upon " natural selection " 
as a real, but insufficient cause ; while some curious 
remarks upon the number of monstrosities annually 
produced, and the possibility of their enduring, may 
be regarded as favorable to Heer's view. 

As an index to the progress of opinion in the di- 
rection referred to, it will be interesting to compare 
Sir Charles Lyell's well-known chapters of twenty or 
thirty years ago, in which the permanence of species 
was ably maintained, with his treatment of the same 
subject in a work just issued in England, which, how- 
ever, has not yet reached us. 

A belief of the derivation of species may be main- 
tained along with a conviction of great persistence of 
specific characters. This is the idea of the excellent 
Swiss vegetable palaeontologist, lleer, who imagines 
a sudden change of specific type at certain periods, 
and perhaps is that of Pictet. Falconer adheres to 


somewhat similar views in his elaborate paper on 
elephants, living and fossil, in the Natural History 
Review for January last. Noting that " there is clear 
evidence of the true mammoth having existed in 
America long after the period of the northern drift, 
when the surface of the country had settled down 
into its present form, and also in Europe so late as to 
have been a contemporary of the Irish elk, and on the 
other hand that it existed in England so far back as 
before the deposition of the bowlder clay ; also that four 
well-defined species of fossil elephant are known to 
have existed in Europe ; that " a vast number of the 
remains of three of these species have been exhumed 
over a large area in Europe ; and, even in the geo- 
logical sense, an enormous interval of time has elapsed 
between the formation of the most ancient and the 
most recent of these deposits, quite sufficient to test 
the persistence of specific characters in an elephant," 
he presents the question, " Do, then, the successive 
elephants occurring in these strata show any signs 
of a passage from the older form into the newer ? " 

To which the reply is : "If there is one fact which 
is impressed on the conviction of the observer with 
more force than any other, it is the persistence and 
uniformity of the characters of the molar teeth in the 
earliest known mammoth and his most modern suc- 
cessor. . . . Assuming the observation to be correct, 
what strong proof does it not afford of the persistence 
and constancy, throughout vast intervals of time, of 
the distinctive characters of those organs which are 
most concerned in the existence and habits of the 
species ? If we cast a glance back on the long vista 


of physical changes which our planet has undergone 
since the Neozoic epoch, we can nowhere detect signs 
of a revolution more sudden and pronounced, or more 
important in its results, than the intercalation and 
sudden disappearance of the glacial period. Yet the 
1 dicyclotherian ' mammoth lived before it, and passed 
through the ordeal of all the hard extremities it in- 
volved, bearing his organs of locomotion and digestion 
all but unchanged. Taking the group of four Euro- 
pean fossil species above enumerated, do they show 
any signs in the successive deposits of a transition 
from the one form into the other ? Here again the 
result of my observation, in so far as it has extended 
over the European area, is, that the specific characters 
of the molars are constant in each, within a moderate 
range of variation, and that we nowhere meet with 
intermediate forms." .... Dr. Falconer continues 
(page 80): 

"The inferences which I draw from these facts are not 
opposed to one of the leading propositions of Darwin's theory. 
With him, I have no faith in the opinion that the mammoth 
and other extinct elephants made their appearance suddenly, 
after the type in which their fossil remains are presented to us. 
The most rational view seems to be, that they are in some shape 
the modified descendants of earlier progenitors. But if the 
asserted facts be correct, they seem clearly to indicate that the 
older elephants of Enrope, such as E. meridionals and E. anti- 
quus, were not the stocks from which the later species, E. primi- 
gcniut and E. Africanu* sprung, and that we must look else- 
where for their origin. The nearest affinity, and that a very 
close one, of the European E. meridionals is with the Miocene 
E. planifront of India; and of E. primigeniut, with the exist- 
ing India species. 

" Another reflection is equally strong in my mind that the 


means which have been adduced to explain the origin of the 
species by 'natural selection,' or a process of variation from 
external influences, are inadequate to account for the phenom- 
ena. The law of phyllotaxis, which governs the evolution of 
leaves around the axis of a plant, is as nearly constant in its 
manifestation as any of the physical laws connected with the 
material world. Each instance, however different from an- 
other, can be shown to be a term of some series of continued 
fractions. When this is coupled with the geometrical law gov- 
erning the evolution of form, so manifest in some departments 
of the animal kingdom, e. g., the spiral shells of the Mollusca, 
it is difficult to believe that there is not, in Nature, a deeper- 
seated and innate principle, to the operation of which natural 
selection is merely an adjunct. The whole range of the Mam- 
malia, fossil and recent, cannot furnish a species which has had 
a wider geographical distribution, and passed through a longer 
term of time, and through more extreme changes of climatal 
conditions, than the mammoth. If species are so unstable, and 
so susceptible of mutation through such influences, why does 
that extinct form stand out so signally a monument of stability? 
By his admirable researches and earnest writings, Darwin has, 
beyond all his contemporaries, given an impulse to the philo- 
sophical investigation of the most backward and obscure branch 
of the biological sciences of his day ; he has laid the founda- 
tions of a great edifice ; but he need not be surprised if, in the 
progress of erection, the superstructure is altered by his success- 
ors, like the Duomo of Milan from the Koman to a different 
style of architecture." 

Entertaining ourselves the opinion that something 
more than natural selection is requisite to account for 
the orderly production and succession of species, we 
offer two incidental remarks upon the above extract. 

1. We find in it in the phrase "natural selec- 
tion, or a process of variation from external influ- 
ences " an example of the very common confusion 
of two distinct things, viz., variation and natural 


selection. The former Las never yet been shown to 
have its canse in " external influences," nor to occur 
at random. As we have elsewhere insisted, if not 
inexplicable, it has never been explained ; all we can 
yet say is, that plants and animals are prone to vary, 
and that some conditions favor variation. Perhaps in 
this Dr. Falconer may yet find what he seeks : for 
" it is difficult to believe that there is not in [its] na- 
ture a deeper-seated and innate principle, to the opera- 
tion of which natural selection is merely an adjunct." 
The latter, which is the ensemble of the external in- 
fluences, including the competition of the individuals 
themselves, picks out certain variations as they arise, 
but in no proper sense can be said to originate them. 
2. Although we are not quite sure how Dr. 
Falconer intends to apply the law of phyllotaxis to 
illustrate his idea, we fancy that a pertinent illustra- 
tion may be drawn from it, in this way. There are 
two species of phyllotaxis, perfectly distinct, and, we 
suppose, not mathematically reducible the one to the 
other, viz. : (1.) That of alternate leaves, with its varie- 
ties ; and (2.) That of verticillate leaves, of which op- 
posite leaves present the simplest case. That, although 
generally constant, a change from one variety of alter- 
nate phyllotaxis to another should occur on the same 
axis, or on successive axes, is not surprising, the dif- 
ferent sorts being terms of a regular series although, 
indeed, we have not the least idea as to how the change 
from the one to the other comes to pass. But it is 
interesting, and in this connection perhaps instructive, 
to remark that, while some dicotyledonous plants hold 
to the verticillate, i. e., opposite-leaved phyllotaxis 


throughout, a larger number through the operation 
of some deep-seated and innate principle, which we 
cannot fathom change abruptly into the other species 
at the second or third node, and change back again in 
the flower, or else effect a synthesis of the two species 
in a manner which is puzzling to understand. Here 
is a change from one fixed law to another, as unac- 
countable, if not as great, as from one specific form 
to another. 

An elaborate paper on the vegetation of the Ter- 
tiary period in the southeast of France, by Count Gas- 
ton de Saporta, published in the Annales des Sciences 
Naturelles in 1862, vol. xvi., pp. 309-344^-which we 
have not space to analyze is worthy of attention from 
the general inquirer, on account of its analysis of the 
Tertiary flora into its separate types, Cretaceous, Aus- 
tral, Tropical, and Boreal, each of which has its separate 
and different history and for the announcement that 
" the hiatus, which, in the idea of most geologists, 
intervened between the close of the Cretaceous and 
the beginning of the Tertiary, appears to have had no 
existence, so far as concerns the vegetation ; that in 
general it was not by means of a total overthrow, fol- 
lowed by a complete new emission of species, that the 
flora has been renewed at each successive period ; and 
that while the plants of Southern Europe inherited 
from the Cretaceous period more or less rapidly dis- 
appeared, as also the austral forms, and later the trop- 
ical types (except the laurel, the myrtle, and the 
Chamcerops humilis\ the boreal types, coming later, 
survived all the others, and now compose, either in 
Europe, or in the north of Asia, or in North America, 


the basis of the actual arborescent vegetation. Espe- 
cially " a very considerable number of forma nearly 
identical with tertiary forms now exist in America, 
where they have found, more easily than in our [Eu- 
ropean] soil less vast and less extended southward 
refuge from ulterior revolutions." The extinction of 
species is attributed to two kinds of causes ; the one 
material or physical, whether slow or rapid ; the other 
inherent in the nature of organic beings, incessant, 
but slow, in a manner latent, but somehow assigning 
to the species, as to the individuals, a limited period 
of existence, and, in some equally mysterious but 
wholly natural way, connected with the development 
of organic types: "By type meaning a collection of 
vegetable forms constructed upon the same plan of 
organization, of which they reproduce the essential 
lineaments with certain secondary modifications, and 
which appear to run back to a common point of de- 

In this community of types, no less than in the 
community of certain existing species, Saporta recog- 
nizes a prolonged material union between North Amer- 
ica and Europe in former times. Most naturalists and 
geologists reason in the same way some more cau- 
tiously than others yet perhaps most of them seem 
not to perceive how far such inferences imply the doc- 
trine of the common origin of related species. 

For obvious reasons such doctrines are likely to 
find more favor with botanists than with zoologists. 
But with both the advance in this direction is seen to 
have been rapid and great ; yet to us not unexpected. 
We note, also, an evident disposition, notwithstanding 


some endeavors to the contrary, to allow derivative 
hypotheses to stand or fall upon their own merits to 
have indeed upon philosophical grounds certain pre- 
sumptions in their favor and to be, perhaps, quite as 
capable of being turned to good account as to bad ac- 
count in natural theology. 1 

Among the leading naturalists, indeed, such views 
taken in the widest sense have one and, so far as 
we are now aware, only one thoroughgoing and thor- 
oughly consistent opponent, viz., Mr. Agassiz. 

Most naturalists take into their very conception 
of a species, explicitly or by implication, the notion of 
a material connection resulting from the descent of 
the individuals composing it from a common stock, of 
local origin. Agassiz wholly eliminates community 
of descent from his idea of species, and even conceives 
a species to have been as numerous in individuals and 
as wide-spread over space, or as segregated in discon- 
tinuous spaces, from the first as at the later period. 

The station which it inhabits, therefore, is with 

1 What the Rev. Principal Tulloch remarks in respect to the phi- 
losophy of miracles has a pertinent application here. We quote at 
second hand : 

" The stoutest advocates of interference can mean nothing more 
than that the Supreme Will has so moved the hidden springs of Nature 
that a new issue arises on given circumstances. The ordinary issue is 
supplanted by a higher issue. The essential facts before us are a cer- 
tain set of phenomena, and a Higher Will moving them. How moving 
them ? is a question for human definition ; the answer to which does 
not and cannot affect the divine meaning of the change. Yet when 
we reflect that this Higher Will is everywhere reason and wisdom, it 
ueems a juster as well as a more comprehensive view to regard it as 
operating by subordination and evolution, rather than by interference 
or violation." 


other naturalists in no wise essential to the species, 
and may not have been the region of its origin. In 
Agassiz's view the habitat is supposed to mark the 
origin, and to be a part of the character of the species. 
The habitat is not merely the place where it is, but a 
part of what it is. 

Most naturalists recognize varieties of species; 
and many, like De Candolle, have come to conclude 
that varieties of the highest grade, or races, so far 
partake of the characteristics of species, and are so far 
governed by the same laws, that it is often very diffi- 
cult to draw a clear and certain distinction between 
the two. Agassiz will not allow that varieties or races 
exist in Nature, apart from man's agency. 

Most naturalists believe that the origin of species is 
supernatural, their dispersion or particular geographi- 
cal area, natural, and their extinction, when they dis- 
appear, also the result of physical causes. In the view 
of Agassiz, if rightly understood, all three are equally 
independent of physical cause and effect, are equally 

In comparing preceding periods with the present 
and with each other, most naturalists and palaeontolo- 
gists now appear to recognize a certain number of 
species as having survived from one epoch to the next, 
or even through more than one formation, especially 
from the Tertiary into the post-Tertiary period, and 
from that to the present age. Agassiz is understood 
to believe in total extinctions arid total new creations 
at each successive epoch, and even to recognize no ex- 
isting species as ever contemporary with extinct ones, 
except in the case of recent exterminations. 


These peculiar views, if sustained, will effectually 
dispose of every form of derivative hypothesis. 

Returning for a moment to De Candolle's article, 
we are disposed to notice his criticism of Linnaeus's 
" definition " of the term species (Philosophia Botani- 
ca, No. 157) : " Species tot numeramus quot diversce 
formw in principio sunt creatce" which he declares 
illogical, inapplicable, and the worst that has been pro- 
pounded. " So, to determine if a form is specific, it 
is necessary to go back to its origin, which is impos- 
sible. A definition by a character which can never 
be verified is no definition at all." 

Now, as Linnaeus practically applied the idea of 
species with a sagacity which has never been surpassed, 
and rarely equaled, and indeed may be said to have 
fixed its received meaning in natural history, it may 
well be inferred that in the phrase above cited he did 
not so much undertake to frame a logical dejmition, 
as to set forth the idea which, in his opinion, lay at 
the foundation of species; on which basis A. L. 
Jussieu did construct a logical definition " Nunc 
rectius definitur perennis individuorum similium suc- 
cessio continuata generatione renascentiun." The fun- 
damental idea of species, we would still maintain, is 
that of a chain of which genetically-connected individ- 
uals are the links. That, in the practical recognition 
of species, the essential characteristic has to be inferred, 
is no great objection the general fact that like engen- 
ders like being an induction from a vast number of 
instances, and the only assumption being that of the 
uniformity of Nature. The idea of gravitation, that 
of the atomic constitution of matter, and the like, 


equally have to be verified inferentially. If we still 
hold to the idea of Linnaeus, and of Agassiz, that ex- 
isting species were created independently and essen- 
tially all at once at the beginning of the present era, 
we could not better the propositions of Linnaeus and 
of Jussieu. If, on the other hand, the time has come 
in which we may accept, with De Candolle, their suc- 
cessive origination, at the commencement of the pres- 
ent era or before, and even by derivation from other 
forms, then the " inprincipio" of Linnaeus will refer 
to that time, whenever it was, and his proposition be 
as sound and wise as ever. 

In his " Geographic Botanique " (ii., 1C68-1077) De 
Candolle discusses this subject at length, and in the 
same interest. Remarking that of the two great facts 
of species, viz., likeness among tJie individuals, and 
genealogical connection, zoologists have generally pre- 
ferred the latter, 1 while botanists have been divided in 
opinion, he pronounces for the former as the essen- 
tial thing, in the following argumentative statement : 

" Quant a moi, j'ai etd conduit, dans ma definition de 1'espcce, 
4 mettre ddcidement la resserablance au-dessus de caracteres de 
succession. Ce n'est pas seulement a cause des circonstances 
propres au regne vegdtal, dont je m'occupe exclusivement ; ce 
n'est pas non plus afin de sort ir ma ddfinition des theories et de 
la rendre le plus possible utilo aux naturalistes descriptenrs et 
nomenehitcurs, c'est anssi par un motif philosophique. En toute 
chose il faut aller au fond des questions, quand on le peut. Or, 
ponrquoi la reproduction est-elle possible, habituelle, fdconde 
indofiniment, ontro des etres organises quo nous dirons de la 

1 Particularly citing Flourens : " La resscmblance n'est qu'une con- 
dition secomlaire ; la condition essentielle est la descendance : ce n'est 
pas la ressemblance, c'est la succession des individus, qui fait 


meme espece ? Parce qu'ila so ressemblent et uniquement a 
cause de cela. Lorsque deux especes ne peuvent, ou, s'il s'agit 
d'animaux sup6rieurs, ne peuvent et ne veulent se croiser, c'est 
qu'elles sont tres differentes. Si Ton obtient des croisements, 
c'est que les individus sont analogues ; si ces croisements don- 
nent des produits feconds, c'est que les individus 6taient plus 
analogues ; si ces produits eux-memes sont feconds, c'est que la 
ressemblance etait plus grande ; s'ils sont fecond habituellement 
et indeSniment, c'est que la ressemblance int6rieure et ext6rieure 
6tait tres grande. Ainsi le degr6 de ressemblance est le fond ; 
la reproduction en est seulement la manifestation et la mesure, 
et il est logique de placer la cause au-dessus de 1'effet." 

We are not yet convinced. We still hold that 
genealogical connection, rather than mutual resem- 
blance, is the fundamental thing first on the ground 
of fact, and then from the philosophy of the case. 
Practically, no botanist can say what amount of dis- 
similarity is compatible with unity of species ; in wild 
plants it is sometimes very great, in cultivated races 
often enormous. De Candolle himself informs us that 
the different variations which the same oak-tree ex- 
hibits are significant indications of a disposition to set 
up separate varieties, which becoming hereditary may 
constitute a race ; he evidently looks upon the extreme 
forms, say of Quercus JRobur, as having thus origi- 
nated ; and on this ground, inferred from transitional 
forms, and not from their mutual resemblance, he 
includes them in that species. This will be more 
apparent should the discovery of transitions, which 
he leads us to expect, hereafter cause the four provi- 
sional species which attend Q. Robur to be merged 
in that species. It may rightly be replied that this 
conclusion would be arrived at from the likeness step 


by step in the series of forms ; but the cause of the 
likeness here is obvious. And this brings in our 
" motif ' philosophique? 

Not to insist that the likeness is after all the vari- 
able, not the constant, element to learn which is the 
essential thing, resemblance among individuals or their 
genetic connection we have only to ask which can be 
the cause of the other. 

In hermaphrodite plants (the normal case), and even 
as the question is ingeniously put by De Candolle in 
the above extract, the former surely cannot be the cause 
of the latter, though it may, in case of crossing, offer 
occasion. But, on the ground of the most funda- 
mental of all things in the constitution of plants and 
animals the fact incapable of further analysis, that 
individuals reproduce their like, that characteristics 
are inheritable the likeness is a direct natural con- 
sequence of the genetic succession ; " and it is logical 
to place the cause above the effect." 

We are equally disposed to combat a proposition 
of De Candolle's about genera, elaborately argued in 
the "Geographic Botanique," and incidentally reaf- 
firmed in his present article, viz., that genera are more 
natural than species, and more correctly distinguished 
by people in general, as is shown by vernacular names. 
But we have no space left in which to present some 
evidence to the contrary. 




THE session being now happily inaugurated, your 
presiding officer of the last year has only one duty to 
perform before he surrenders the chair to his success- 
or. If allowed to borrow a simile from the language 
of my own profession, I might liken the President of 
this Association to a biennial plant. He nourishes for 
the year in which he comes into existence, and per- 
forms his appropriate functions as presiding officer. 
When the second year comes round, he is expected to 
blossom out in an address and disappear. Each presi- 
dent, as he retires, is naturally expected to contribute 
something from his own investigations or his own 
line of study, usually to discuss some particular scien- 
tific topic. 

Now, although I have cultivated the field of North 
American botany, with some assiduity, for more than 
forty years, have reviewed our vegetable hosts, and 
assigned to no small number of them their names and 
their place in the ranks, yet, so far as our own wide 
country is concerned, I have been to a great extent a 


closet botanist. Until this summer I had not seen the 
Mississippi, nor set foot upon a prairie. 

To gratify a natural interest, and to gain some 
title for addressing a body of practical naturalists and 
explorers, I have made a pilgrimage across the conti- 
nent. I have sought and viewed in their native 
haunts many a plant and flower which for me had 
long bloomed unseen, or only in the hortua siccus. I 
have been able to see for myself what species and 
what forms constitute the main features of the vege- 
tation of each successive region, and record as the 
vegetation unerringly does the permanent character- 
istics of its climate. 

Passing on from the eastern district, marked by 
its equably distributed rainfall, and therefore natural- 
ly forest-clad, I have seen the trees diminish in num- 
ber, give place to wide prairies, restrict their growth 
to the borders of streams, and then disappear from the 
boundless drier plains ; have seen grassy plains change 
into a brown and sere desert desert in the common 
sense, but hardly anywhere botanically so have seen 
a fair growth of coniferous trees adorning the more 
favored slopes of a mountain-range high enough to 
compel summer showers ; have traversed that broad 
and bare elevated region shut off on both sides by 
high mountains from the moisture supplied by either 
ocean, and longitudinally intersected by sierras which 
seemingly remain as naked as they were born ; and 
have reached at length the westward slopes of that 
high mountain-barrier which, refreshed by the Pacific, 
bears the noble forests of the Sierra Nevada and the 
Coast Ranges, and among them trees which are the 


wonder of the world. As I stood in their shade, in 
the groves of Mariposa and Calaveras, and again 
under the canopy of the commoner redwood, raised 
on columns of such majestic height and ample girth, 
it occurred to me that I could not do better than to 
share with you, upon this occasion, some of the 
thoughts which possessed my mind. In their devel- 
opment they may, perhaps, lead us up to questions of 
considerable scientific interest. 

I shall not detain you with any remarks which 
would now be trite upon the size or longevity of 
these far-famed Sequoia-trees, or of the sugar-pines, 
incense-cedar, and firs associated with them, of which 
even the prodigious bulk of the dominating Sequoia 
does not sensibly diminish the grandeur. Although 
no account and no photographic representation of 
either species of the far-famed Sequoia-trees gives any 
adequate impression of their singular majesty still 
less of their beauty yet my interest in them did not 
culminate merely or mainly in considerations of their 
size and age. Other trees, in other parts of the world, 
may claim to be older. Certain Australian gum- 
trees (Eucalypti) are said to be taller. Some, we are 
told, rise so high that they might even cast a flicker of 
shadow upon the summit of the Pyramid of Cheops. 
Yet the oldest of them doubtless grew from seed 
which was shed long after the names of the pyramid- 
builders had been forgotten. So far as we can judge 
from the actual counting of the layers of several trees, 
no Sequoia now alive sensibly antedates the Christian 

Nor was I much impressed with an attraction of 


man's adding. That the more remarkable of these 
trees should bear distinguishing appellations seems 
proper enough ; but the tablets of personal names 
which are affixed to many of them in the most visited 
groves as if the memory of more or less notable 
people of our day might be made enduring by the 
juxtaposition do suggest some incongruity. When 
we consider that a hand's breadth at the circumfer- 
ence of any one of the venerable trunks so placarded 
has recorded in annual lines the lifetime of the indi- 
vidual thus associated with it, one may question 
whether the next hand's breadth may not measure the 
fame of some of the names thus ticketed for adventi- 
tious immortality. Whether it be the man or the tree 
that is honored in the connection, probably either 
would live as long, in fact and in memory, without it. 

One notable thing about the Sequoia-trees is their 
isolation. Most of the trees associated with them are 
of peculiar species, and some of them are nearly as 
local. Yet every pine, fir, and cypress of California 
is in some sort familiar, because it has near relatives 
in other parts of the world. But the redwoods have 
none. The redwood including in that name the two 
species of " big-trees" belongs to the general Cypress 
family, but is sui generis. Thus isolated systematical- 
ly, and extremely isolated geographically, and so won- 
derful in size and port, they more than other trees 
suggest questions. 

Were they created thus local and lonely, denizens 
of California only ; one in limited numbers in a few 
choice spots on the Sierra Nevada, the other along the 
Coast Kange from the Bay of Monterey to the fron- 


tiers of Oregon ? Are they veritable M elchizedeks, 
without pedigree or early relationship, and possibly 
fated to be without descent ? 

Or are they now coming upon the stage or rather 
were they coming but for man's interference to play 
a part in the future ? 

Or are they remnants, sole and scanty survivors of 
a race that has played a grander part in the past, but 
is now verging to extinction ? Have they had a 
career, and can that career be ascertained or surmised, 
so that we may at least guess whence they came, and 
how, and when ? 

Time was, and not long ago, when such questions 
as these were regarded as useless and vain when stu- 
dents of natural history, unmindful of what the name 
denotes, were content with a knowledge of things as 
they now are, but gave little heed as to how they came 
to be so. Now such questions are held to be legiti- 
mate, and perhaps not wholly unanswerable. It can- 
not now be said that these trees inhabit their present 
restricted areas simply because they are there placed 
in the climate and soil of all the world most congenial 
to them. These must indeed be congenial, or they 
would not survive. But when we see how the Aus- 
tralian Eucalyptus-trees thrive upon the Californian 
coast, and how these very redwoods flourish upon 
another continent ; how the so-called wild-oat (A vena 
sterilis of the Old World) has taken full possession of 
California ; how that cattle and horses, introduced by 
the Spaniard, have spread as widely and made them- 
selves as much at home on the plains of La Plata as 
on those of Tartary; and that the cardoon-thistle- 


seeds, and others they brought with them, have mul- 
tiplied there into numbers probably much exceeding 
those extant in their native lands ; indeed, when we con- 
template our own race, and our particular stock, taking 
such recent but dominating possession of this New 
World ; when we consider how the indigenous flora 
of islands generally succumbs to the foreigners which 
come in the train of man ; and that most weeds (i. e., 
the prepotent plants in open soil) of all temperate 
climates are not " to the manner born," but are self- 
invited intruders we must needs abandon the notion 
of any primordial and absolute adaptation of plants 
and animals to their habitats, which may stand in lieu 
of explanation, and so preclude our inquiring any 
further. The harmony of Nature and its admirable 
perfection need not be regarded as inflexible and 
changeless. Nor need Nature be likened to a statue, 
or a cast in rigid bronze, but rather to an organism, 
with play and adaptability of parts, and life and even 
soul informing the whole. Under the former view 
Nature would be "the faultless monster which the 
world ne'er saw," but inscrutable as the Sphinx, whom 
it were vain, or worse, to question of the whence and 
whither. Under the other, the perfection of Nature, 
if relative, is multifarious and ever renewed; and 
much that is enigmatical now may find explanation in 
some record of the past. 

That the two species of redwood we are contem- 
plating originated as they are and where they are, and 
for the part they are now playing, is, to say the least, 
not a scientific supposition, nor in any sense a probable 
one. Nor is it more likely that they are destined to 


play a conspicuous part in the future, or that they 
would have done so, even if the Indian's fires and the 
white man's axe had spared them. The redwood of 
the coast (Sequoia sempermrens) had the stronger hold 
upon existence, forming as it did large forests through- 
out a narrow belt about three hundred miles in length, 
and being so tenacious of life that every large stump 
sprouts into a copse. But it does not pass the bay 
of Monterey, nor cross the line of Oregon, although 
so grandly developed not far below it. The more re- 
markable Sequoia gigantea of the Sierra exists in num- 
bers so limited that the separate groves may be reck- 
oned upon the fingers, and the trees of most of them 
have been counted, except near their southern limit, 
where they are said to be more copious. A species 
limited in individuals holds its existence by a precari- 
ous tenure ; and this has a foothold only in a few shel- 
tered spots, of a happy mean in temperature, and 
locally favored with moisture in summer. Even there, 
for some reason or other, the pines with which they 
are associated (Pinus Lambertiana and P. ponderosa), 
the firs (Abies grandis and A. amabilis), and even the 
incense-cedar (Libocedrus decurrens), possess a great 
advantage, and, though they strive in vain to emulate 
their size, wholly overpower the Sequoias in numbers. 
"To him that hath shall be given." The force of 
numbers eventually wins. At least in the commonly- 
visited groves Sequoia gigantea is invested in its last 
stronghold, can neither advance into more exposed 
positions above, nor fall back into drier and barer 
ground below, nor hold its own in the long-run where 
it is, under present conditions ; and a little further 


drying of the climate, which must once have been 
much moister than now, would precipitate its doom. 
Whatever the individual longevity, certain if not speedy 
is the decline of a race in which a high death-rate af- 
flicts the young. Seedlings of the big trees occur not 
rarely, indeed, but in meagre proportion to those of 
associated trees ; and small indeed is the chance that 
any of these will attain to " the days of the years of 
their fathers." "Few and evil" are the days of all 
the forest likely to be, while man, both barbarian and 
civilized, torments them with tires, fatal at once to 
seedlings, and at length to the aged also. The forests 
of California, proud as the State may be of them, are 
already too scanty and insufficient for her uses. Two 
lines, such as may be drawn with one sweep of a brush 
over the map, would cover them all. The coast red- 
wood the most important tree in California, although 
a million times more numerous than its relative of the 
Sierra is too good to live long. Such is its value for 
lumber and its accessibility, that, judging the future 
by the past, it is not likely, in its primeval growth, to 
outlast its rarer fellow-species. 

Happily man preserves and disseminates as well as 
destroys. The species will doubtless be preserved to 
science, and for ornamental and other uses, in its own 
and other lands ; and the more remarkable individuals 
of the present day are likely to be sedulously cared 
for, all the more so as they become scarce. 

Our third question remains to be answered : Have 
these famous Sequoias played in former times and up- 
on a larger stage a more imposing part, of which the 
present is but the epilogue ? We cannot gaze high up 


the huge and venerable trunks, which one crosses the 
continent to behold, without wishing that these patri- 
archs of the grove were able, like the long-lived ante- 
diluvians of Scripture, to hand down to us, through a 
few generations, the traditions of centuries, and so tell 
us somewhat of the history of their race. Fifteen 
hundred annual layers have been counted, or satisfac- 
torily made out, upon one or two fallen trunks. It is 
probable that close to the heart of some of the living 
trees may be found the circle that records the year of 
our Saviour's nativity. A few generations of such 
trees might carry the history a long way back. But 
the ground they stand upon, and the marks of very 
recent geological change and vicissitude in the region 
around, testify that not very many such generations 
can have nourished just there, at least in an unbroken 
series. When their site was covered by glaciers, these 
Sequoias must have occupied other stations, if, as there 
is reason to believe, they then existed in the land. 

I have said that the redwoods have no near rela- 
tives in the country of their abode, and none of their 
genus anywhere else. Perhaps something may be 
learned of their genealogy by inquiring of such rela- 
tives as they have. There are only two of any partic- 
ular nearness of kin ; and they are far away. One is 
the bald cypress, our Southern cypress, Taxodium, 
inhabiting the swampa of the Atlantic coast from 
Maryland to Texas, thence extending with, probably, 
a specific differen.ce into Mexico. It is well known as 
one of the largest trees of our Atlantic forest-district, 
and, although it never except perhaps in Mexico, and 
in rare instances attains the portliness of its Western 


relatives, yet it may equal them in longevity. Tlio 
other relative is Glyptostrobus, a sort of modified Tax- 
odium, being about as much like our bald cypress as 
one species of redwood is like the other. 

Now, species of the same type, especially when 
few, and the type peculiar, are, in a general way, asso- 
ciated geographically, i. e., inhabit the same country, 
or (in a large sense) the same region. "Where it is not 
so, where near relatives are separated, there is usually 
something to be explained. Here is an instance. 
These four trees, sole representatives of their tribe, 
dwell almost in three separate quarters of the world : 
the two redwoods in California, the bald cypress in 
Atlantic North America, its near relative, Glyptostro- 
bus, in China. 

It was not always so. In the Tertiary period, the 
geological botanists assure us, our own very Taxodium 
or bald cypress, and a Glyptostrobus, exceedingly like 
the present Chinese tree, and more than one Sequoia, 
coexisted in a fourth quarter of the globe, viz., in 
Europe ! This brings up the question, Is it possible 
to bridge over these four wide intervals of space and 
the much vaster interval of time, so as to bring these 
extraordinarily separated relatives into connection ? 
The evidence which may be brought to bear upon this 
question is various and widely scattered. I bespeak 
your patience while I endeavor to bring together, in 
an abstract, the most important points of it. 

Some interesting facts may come out by comparing 
generally the botany of the three remote regions, each 
of which is the sole home of one of these genera, i. e., 
Sequoia in California, Taxodium in the Atlantic United 


States, 1 and Glyptostrobus in China, which compose 
the whole of the peculiar tribe under consideration. 

Note then, first, that there is another set of three 
or four peculiar trees, in this case of the yew family, 
which has just the same peculiar distribution, and 
which therefore may have the same explanation, what- 
ever that explanation be. The genus Torreya, which 
commemorates our botanical Nestor and a former 
president of this Association, Dr. Torrey, was founded 
upon a tree rather lately discovered (that is, about 
thirty-five years ago) in Northern Florida. It is a 
noble, yew-like tree, and very local, being, so far as 
known, nearly confined to a few miles along the shores 
of a single river. It seems as if it had somehow been 
crowded down out of the Alleghanies into its present 
limited southern quarters ; for in cultivation it evinces 
a northern hardiness. Now, another species of Torreya 
is a characteristic tree of Japan ; and one very like it, 
if not the same, inhabits the mountains of Northern 
China belongs, therefore, to the Eastern Asiatic tem- 
perate region, of which Northern China is a part, and 
Japan, as we shall see, the portion most interesting to 
us. There is only one more species of Torreya, and 
that is a companion of the redwoods in California. It 
is the tree locally known under the name of the Cali- 
fornia nutmeg. Here are three or four near brethren, 
species of the same genus, known nowhere else than in 
these three habitats. 

1 The phrase " Atlantic United States " is here used throughout in 
contradistinction to Pacific United States : to the former of course be- 
long, botanically and geographically, the valley of the Mississippi and 
its tributaries up to the eastern border of the great woodless plains, 
which constitute an intermediate region. 


Moreover, the Torreya of Florida is associated with 
a yew ; and the trees of this grove are the only yew- 
trees of Easteni North America ; for the yew of our 
Northern woods is a decumbent shrub. A yew-tree, 
perhaps the same, is found with Taxodium in the 
temperate parts of Mexico. The only other yews in 
America grow with the redwoods and the other Tor- 
reya in California, and extend northward into Ore- 
gon. Yews are also associated with Torreya in Japan ; 
and they extend westward through Mantchooria and 
the Himalayas to Western Europe, and even to the 
Azores Islands, where occurs the common yew of the 
Old World. 

So we have three groups of coniferous trees which 
agree in this peculiar geographical distribution, with, 
however, a notable extension of range in the case of 
the yew : 1. The redwoods, and their relatives, Tax- 
odium and Glyptostrobus, which differ so as to consti- 
tute a genus for each of the three regions ; 2. The Tor- 
reyas, more nearly akin, merely a different species in 
each region ; 3. The yews, still more closely related 
while more widely disseminated, of which it is yet 
uncertain whether they constitute seven, five, three, or 
only one species. Opinions differ, and can hardly be 
brought to any decisive test. However it be deter- 
mined, it may still be said that the extreme differences 
among the yews do not surpass those of the recognized 
variations of the European yew, the cultivated races 

It appears to me that these several instances all 
raise the very same question, only with different de- 


grees of emphasis, and, if to be explained at all, will 
have the same kind of explanation. 

Continuing the comparison between the three re- 
gions with which we are concerned, we note that each 
has its own species of pines, firs, larches, etc., and of 
a few deciduous-leaved trees, such as oaks and maples ; 
all of which have no peculiar significance for the pres- 
ent purpose, because they are of genera which are 
common all round the northern hemisphere. Leaving 
these out of view, the noticeable point is that the vege- 
tation of California is most strikingly unlike that of 
the Atlantic United States. They possess some plants, 
and some peculiarly American plants, in common 
enough to show, as I imagine, that the difficulty was 
not in the getting from the one district to the other, 
or into both from a common source, but in abiding 
there. The primordially unbroken forest of Atlan- 
tic North America, nourished by rainfall distributed 
throughout the year, is widely separated from the west- 
ern region of sparse and discontinuous tree-belts of the 
same latitude on the western side of the continent 
(where summer rain is wanting, or nearly so), by im- 
mense treeless plains and plateaux of more or less 
aridity, traversed by longitudinal mountain-ranges of 
a similar character. Their nearest approach is at the 
north, in the latitude of Lake Superior, where, on a 
more rainy line, trees of the Atlantic forest and that 
of Oregon may be said to intermix. The change of 
species and of the aspect of vegetation in crossing, say 
on the forty-seventh parallel, is slight in comparison 
with that on the thirty-seventh or near it. Confining 
our attention to the lower latitude, and under the 


exceptions already specially noted, we may say that 
almost every characteristic form in the vegetation of 
the Atlantic States is wanting in California, and the 
characteristic plants and trees of California are want- 
ing here. 

California has no magnolia nor tulip trees, nor star- 
anise tree ; no so-called papaw (Asimina) ; no barberry 
of the common single-leaved sort ; no Podophyllum or 
other of the peculiar associated genera ; no nelumbo 
nor white water-lily ; no prickly ash nor sumach ; no 
loblolly-bay nor Stuartia ; no basswood nor linden- 
trees ; neither locust, honey-locust, coffee-trees (Gym- 
nocladus) nor yellow-wood (Cladrastis) ; nothing an- 
swering to Hydrangea or witch-hazel, to gum-trees 
(Nyssa and Liquidambar), Yiburnum or Diervilla ; it 
has few asters and golden-rods ; no lobelias ; no huckle- 
berries and hardly any blueberries ; no Epigsea, charm 
of our earliest Eastern spring, tempering an icy April 
wind with a delicious wild fragrance ; no Kalmia nor 
Clethra, nor holly, nor persimmon ; no catalpa-tree, nor 
trumpet-creeper (Tecoma) ; nothing answering to sas- 
safras, nor to benzoin-tree, nor to hickory; neither 
mulberry nor elm ; no beech, true chestnut, hornbeam, 
nor ironwood, nor a proper birch-tree ; and the enu- 
meration might be continued very much further by 
naming herbaceous plants and others familiar only to 

In their place California is filled with plants of 
other types trees, shrubs, and herbs, of which I will 
only remark that they are, with one or two exceptions, 
as different from the plants of the Eastern Asiatic 
region with which we are concerned (Japan, China, and 


Mantcliooria), as they are from those of Atlantic North 
America. Their near relatives, when they have any 
in other lands, are mostly southward, on the Mexican 
plateau, or many as far south as Chili. The same may 
be said of the plants of the intervening great Plains, 
except that northward in the subsaline vegetation there 
are some close alliances with the flora of the steppes 
of Siberia. And along the crests of high mountain- 
ranges the Arctic- Alpine flora has sent southward more 
or less numerous representatives through the whole 
length of the country. 

If we now compare, as to their flora generally, the 
Atlantic United States with Japan, Mantchooria, and 
Northern China i. e., Eastern North America with 
Eastern North Asia, half the earth's circumference 
apart we find an astonishing similarity. The larger 
part of the genera of our own region, which I have 
enumerated as wanting in California, are present in 
Japan or Mantchooria, along with many other peculiar 
plants, divided between the two. There are plants 
enough of the one region which have no representa- 
tives in the other. There are types which appear to 
have reached the Atlantic States from the south ; and 
there is a larger infusion of subtropical Asiatic types 
into temperate China and Japan ; among these there 
is no relationship between the two countries to speak 
of. There are also, as I have already said, no small 
number of genera and some species which, being com- 
mon all round or partly round the northern temperate 
zone, have no special significance because of their 
occurrence in these two antipodal floras, although they 
have testimony to bear upon the general question of 


geographical distribution. The point to be remarked 
is, that many, or even most, of the genera and species 
which are peculiar to North America as compared with 
Europe, and largely peculiar to Atlantic North Amer- 
ica as compared with the Calif ornian region, are also 
represented in Japan and Mantchooria, either by iden- 
tical or by closely-similar forms ! The same rule holds 
on a more northward line, although not so strikingly. 
"If we compare the plants, say of New England and 
Pennsylvania (latitude 45-47), with those of Oregon, 
and then with those of Northeastern Asia, we shall find 
many of our own curiously repeated in the latter, 
while only a small number of them can be traced along 
the route even so far as the western slope of the Rocky 
Mountains. And these repetitions of East American 
types in Japan and neighboring districts are in all de- 
grees of likeness. Sometimes the one is undistinguish- 
able from the other ; sometimes there is a difference of 
aspect, but hardly of tangible character; sometimes 
the two would be termed marked varieties if they grew 
naturally in the same forest or in the same region ; 
sometimes they are what the botanist calls representa- 
tive species, the one answering closely to the other, 
but with some differences regarded as specific ; some- 
times the two are merely of the same genus, or not 
quite that, but of a single or very few species in each 
country ; in which case the point which interests us 
is, that this peculiar limited type should occur in two 
antipodal places, and nowhere else. 

It would be tedious, and, except to botanists, ab- 
Btnise, to enumerate instances ; yet the whole strength 
of the case depends upon the number of such in- 


stances. I propose therefore, if the Association does 
me the honor to print this discourse, to append in a 
note a list of the more remarkable ones. 1 But I would 
here mention certain cases as specimens. 

Oar Rhus Toxicodendron, or poison-ivy, is very 
exactly repeated in Japan, but is found in no other 
part of the world, although a species much like it 
abounds in California. Our other poisonous Rhus (R. 
venenata), commonly called poison-dogwood, is in no 
way represented in Western America, but has so close 
an analogue in Japan that the two were taken for the 
same by Thunberg and Linnaeus, who called them both 
R. veraix. 

Our northern fox-grape, Yitis Labrusca, is wholly 
confined to the Atlantic States, except that it reap- 
pears in Japan and that region. 

The original Wistaria is a woody leguminous 
climber with showy blossoms, native to the middle 
Atlantic States ; the other species, which we so much 
prize in cultivation, W. Sinensis, is from China, as its 
name denotes, or perhaps only from Japan, where it is 
certainly indigenous. 

Our yellow-wood (Cladrastis) inhabits a very lim- 
ited district on the western slope of the Alleghanies. 
Its only and very near relative, Maackia, is confined 
to Mantchooria. 

The Hydrangeas have some species in our Alle- 
ghany region : all the rest belong to the Chino- Japan- 
ese region and its continuation westward. The same 
may be said of Philadelphus, except that there are one 

1 The tabulated list referred to was printed as an appendix to the 
official edition of this discourse, but is here omitted. 


or two mostly very similar species in California and 

Our May-flower (Epigsea) and our creeping snow- 
berry, otherwise peculiar to Atlantic North America, 
recur in Japan. 

Our blue cohosh (Caulophyllum) is confined to the 
woods of the Atlantic States, but has lately been dis- 
covered in Japan. A peculiar relative of it, Diphyl- 
leia, confined to the higher Alleghanies, is also repeated 
in Japan, with a slight difference, so that it may barely 
be distinguished as another species. Another relative 
is our twin-leaf (Jeffersonia) of the Alleghany region 
alone : a second species has lately turned up in Man- 
tchooria. A relative of this is Podophyllum, our man- 
drake, a common inhabitant of the Atlantic United 
States, but found nowhere else. There is one other 
species of it, and that is in the Himalayas. Here are 
four most peculiar genera of one family, each of a 
single species in the Atlantic United States, which are 
duplicated on the other side of the world, either in 
identical or almost identical species, or in an analogous 
species, while nothing else of the kind is known in any 
other part of the world. 

I ought not to omit ginseng, the root so prized by 
the Chinese, which they obtained from their northern 
provinces and Mantchooria, and which is now known 
to inhabit Corea and Northern Japan. The Jesuit 
Fathers identified the plant in Canada and the Atlan- 
tic States, brought over the Chinese name by which we 
know it, and established the trade in it, which was for 
many years most profitable. The exportation of gin- 
seng to China probably has not yet entirely ceased. 


Whether the Asiatic and the Atlantic American gin- 
sengs are to be regarded as of the same species or not 
is somewhat uncertain, but they are hardly, if at all, 

There is a shrub, Elliottia, which is so rare and local 
that it is known only at two stations on the Savannah 
River in Georgia. It is of peculiar structure, and was 
without near relative until one was lately discovered 
in Japan (Tripetaleia), so like it as hardly to be dis- 
tinguishable except by having the parts of the blossom 
in threes instead of fours a difference not uncommon 
in the same genus, or even in the same species. 

Suppose Elliottia had happened to be collected only 
once, a good while ago, and all knowledge of the lim- 
ited and obscure locality were lost; and meanwhile 
the Japanese form came to be known. Such a case 
would be parallel with an actual one. A specimen of 
a peculiar plant (Shortia galacifolia) was detected in 
the herbarium of the elder Michaux, who collected it 
(as his autograph ticket shows) somewhere in the high 
Alleghany Mountains, more than eighty years ago. 
Ko one has seen the living plant since or knows 
where to find it, if haply it still flourishes in some 
secluded spot. At length it is found in Japan ; and 
I had the satisfaction of making the identification. 1 
A relative is also known in Japan ; and a less near one 
has just been detected in Thibet. 

Whether the Japanese and the Alleghanian plants 
are exactly the same or not, it needs complete speci- 
mens of the two to settle. So far as we know, they 

1 American Journal of Science, 1867, p. 402; "Proceedings of 
American Academy," vol. viii., p. 244. 


are just alike ; and, even if some difference were dis- 
cerned between them, it would not appreciably alter 
the question as to how such a result came to pass. 
Each and every one of the analogous cases I have been 
detailing and very many more could be mentioned 
raises the same question, and would be satisfied with 
the same answer. 

These singular relations attracted my curiosity 
early in the course of my botanical studies, when com- 
paratively few of them were known, and my serious 
attention in later years, when I had numerous and new 
Japanese plants to study in the collections made, by 
Messrs. "Williams and Morrow, during Commodore 
Perry's visit in 1853, and especially, by Mr. Charles 
Wright, of Commodore Rodgers's expedition in 1855. 
I then discussed this subject somewhat fully, and tabu- 
lated the facts within my reach. 1 

This was before Heer had developed the rich fossil 
botany of the arctic zone, before the immense antiquity 
of existing species of plants was recognized, and before 
the publication of Darwin's now famous volume on 
the "Origin of Species" had introduced and familiar- 
ized the scientific world with those now current ideas 
respecting the history and vicissitudes of species with 
which I attempted to deal in a moderate and feeble 

My speculation was based upon the former glacia- 
tion of the northern temperate zone, and the inference 
of a warmer period preceding and perhaps following. 
I considered that our own present vegetation, or its 
proximate ancestry, must have occupied the arctic and 

1 " Memoirs of American Academy," rol. vi., pp. 377-158 (1859). 


subarctic regions in pliocene times, and that it had 
been gradually pushed southward as the temperature 
lowered and the glaciation advanced, even beyond its 
present habitation ; that plants of the same stock and 
kindred, probably ranging round the arctic zone as the 
present arctic species do, made their forced migration 
southward upon widely different longitudes, and re- 
ceded more or less as the climate grew warmer ; that 
the general difference of climate which marks the east- 
ern and the western sides of the continents the one 
extreme, the other mean was doubtless even then 
established, so that the same species and the same sorts 
of species would be likely to secure and retain foothold 
in the similar climates of Japan and the Atlantic 
United States, but not in intermediate regions of 
different distribution of heat and moisture ; so that 
different species of the same genus, as in Torreya, or 
different genera of the same group, as redwood, Taxo- 
dium, and Glyptostrobus, or different associations of 
forest-trees, might establish themselves each in the 
region best suited to the particular requirements, 
while they would fail to do so in any other. These 
views implied that the sources of our actual vegetation 
and the explanation of these peculiarities were to be 
sought in, and presupposed, an ancestry in pliocene or 
earlier times, occupying the higher northern regions. 
And it was thought that the occurrence of peculiar 
North American genera in Europe in the Tertiary 
period (such as Taxodium, Carya, Liquidambar, sassa- 
fras, Negundo, etc.) might be best explained on the as- 
sumption of early interchange and diffusion through 
North Asia, rather than by that of the fabled Atlantis. 


The hypothesis supposed a gradual modification of 
species in different directions under altering conditions, 
at least to the extent of producing varieties, sub-spe- 
cies, and representative species, as they may be various- 
ly regarded ; likewise the single and local origination 
of each type, which is now almost universally taken for 

The remarkable facts in regard to the Eastern 
American and Asiatic floras which these speculations 
were to explain have since increased in number, espe- 
cially through the admirable collections of Dr. Maxi- 
mowicz in Japan and adjacent countries, and the criti- 
cal comparisons he has made and is still engaged upon. 

I am bound to state that, in a recent general work ' 
by a distinguished European botanist, Prof. Grisebach, 
of Gottingen, these facts have been emptied of all 
special significance, and the relations between the 
Japanese and the Atlantic United States flora declared 
to be no more intimate than might be expected from 
the situation, climate, and present opportunity of in- 
terchange. This extraordinary conclusion is reached 
by regarding as distinct species all the plants common 
to both countries between which any differences have 
been discerned, although such differences would proba- 
bly count for little if the two inhabited the same coun- 
try, thus transferring many of my list of identical to 
that of representative species; and then by simply 
eliminating from consideration the whole array of rep- 
resentative species, i.e., all cases in which the Jap- 
anese and the American plant are not exactly alike. 

1 " Die Vegetation der Erde nach ihrer klimatischen Anordnung," 


As if, by pronouncing the cabalistic word species, the 
question were settled, or rather the greater part of it 
remanded out of the domain of science ; as if, while 
complete identity of forms implied community of ori- 
gin, anything short of it carried no presumption of 
the kind ; so leaving all these singular duplicates to 
be wondered at, indeed, but wholly beyond the reach 
of inquiry. 

Now, the only known cause of such likeness is 
inheritance; and as all transmission of likeness is 
with some difference in individuals, and as changed 
conditions have resulted, as is well known, in very 
considerable differences, it seems to me that, if the 
high antiquity of our actual vegetation could be ren- 
dered probable, not to say certain, and the former habi- 
tation of any of our species or of very near relatives 
of them in high northern regions could be ascertained, 
my whole case would be made out. The needful facts, 
of which I was ignorant when my essay was pub- 
lished, have now been for some years made known 
thanks, mainly, to the researches of Heer upon ample 
collections of arctic fossil plants. These are con- 
firmed and extended by new investigations, by Heer 
and Lesquereux, the results of which have been indi- 
cated to me by the latter. 1 

The Taxodium, which everywhere abounds in the 

1 Reference should also be made to the extensive researches of New- 
berry upon the tertiary and cretaceous floras of the Western United 
States. Se.e especially Prof. Ncwberry's paper in the Boston Jour- 
nal of Natural History, vol. vii., No. 4, describing fossil plants of Van- 
couver's Island, etc.; his "Notes on the Later Extinct Floras of 
North America," etc., in "Annals of the Lyceum of Natural History," 
vol. ix., April, 1868; "Report on the Cretaceous and Tertiary Plants 


miocene formations in, Europe, has been specifically 
identified, first by Goeppert, then by Heer, with our 
common cypress of the Southern States. It has been 
found fossil in Spitzbergen, Greenland, and Alaska 
in the latter country along with the remains of anoth- 
er form, distinguishable, but very like the common 
species ; and this has been identified by Lesquereux 
in the miocene of the Rocky Mountains. So there 
is one species of tree which has come down essentially 
unchanged from the Tertiary period, which for a long 
while inhabited both Europe and North America, and 
also, at some part of the period, the region which geo- 
graphically connects the two (once doubtless much 
more closely than now), but which has survived only 
in the Atlantic United States and Mexico. 

The same Sequoia which abounds in the same mio 
cene formations in Northern Europe has been abun- 
dantly found in those of Iceland, Spitzbergen, Green- 
land, Mackenzie River, and Alaska. It is named S. 
Langsdorfii, but is pronounced to be very much like 
8. seinpervirenS) our living redwood of the Calif ornian 
coast, and to be the ancient representative of it. Fossil 
specimens of a similar, if not the same, species have 
recently been detected in the Rocky Mountains by 
Hayden, and determined by our eminent palaeontologi- 
cal botanist, Lesquereux ; and he assures me that he has 

collected in Raynolds and Hayden's Yellowstone and Missouri Explor- 
ing Expedition, 1859-1860," published in 1869; and an interesting 
article entitled "The Ancient Lakes of Western America, their De- 
posits and Drainage," published in The American Naturalist, January, 

The only document I was able to consult was Lesquereux's " Re- 
port on the Fossil Plants," in Ilayden's report of 1 872. 


the common redwood itself from Oregon in a depos- 
it of tertiary age. Another Sequoia (S. Sternbergii), 
discovered in miocene deposits in Greenland, is pro- 
nounced to be the representative of S. gigantea, the 
big tree of the Californian Sierra. If the Taxodium 
of the tertiary time in Europe and throughout the 
arctic regions is the ancestor of our present bald cy- 
press which is assumed in regarding them as specifi- 
cally identical then I think we may, with our present 
light, fairly assume that the two redwoods of Califor- 
nia are the direct or collateral descendants of the two 
ancient species which so closely resemble them. 

The forests of the arctic zone in tertiary times 
contained at least three other species of Sequoia, as 
determined by their remains, one of which, from 
Spitzbergen, also much resembles the common red- 
wood of California. Another, " which appears to 
have been the commonest coniferous tree on Disco," 
was common in England and some other parts of Eu- 
rope. So the Sequoias, now remarkable for their re- 
stricted station and numbers, as well as for their ex- 
traordinary size, are of an ancient stock ; their ances- 
tors and kindred formed a large part of the forests 
which nourished throughout the polar regions, now 
desolate and ice-clad, and which extended into low 
latitudes in Europe. On this continent one species, 
at least, had reached to the vicinity of its present 
habitat before the glaciation of the region. Among 
the fossil specimens already found in California, but 
which our trustworthy palseontological botanist has 
not yet had time to examine, we may expect to find 
evidence of the early arrival of these two redwoods 


upon the ground which they now, after much vicissi- 
tude, scantily occupy. 

Differences of climate, or circumstances of migra- 
tion, or both, must have determined the survival of 
Sequoia upon the Pacific, and of Taxodium upon the 
Atlantic coast. And still the redwoods will not stand 
in the east, nor could our Taxodium find a congenial 
station in California. Both have probably had their 
opportunity in the olden time, and failed. 

As to the remaining near relative of Sequoia, the 
Chinese Glyptostrobus, a species of it, and its verita- 
ble representative, was contemporaneous with Sequoia 
and Taxodium, not only in temperate Europe, but 
throughout the arctic regions from Greenland to 
Alaska. According to Newberry, it was abundantly 
represented in the miocene flora of the temperate zone 
of our own continent, from Nebraska to the Pacific. 

Very similar would seem to have been the fate of 
a more familiar gymnospermous tree, the Gingko or 
Salisburia. It is now indigenous to Japan only. Its 
ancestor, as we may fairly call it since, according to 
Ileer, " it corresponds so entirely with the living spe- 
cies that it can scarcely be separated from it " once 
inhabited Northern Europe and the whole arctic re- 
gion round to Alaska, and had even a representative 
farther south, in our Rocky Mountain district. For 
some reason, this and Glyptostrobus survive only on 
the shores of Eastern Asia. 

Libocedrus, on the other hand, appears to have 
cast in its lot with the Sequoias. Two species, ac- 
cording to Ileer, were with them in Spitzbergen. L. 
decurrens, the incense cedar, is one of the noblest 


associates of the present redwoods. But all the rest 
are in the southern hemisphere, two at the southern 
extremity of the Andes, two in the South-Sea Islands. 
It is only by bold and far-reaching suppositions that 
they can be geographically associated. 

The genealogy of the Torreyas is still wholly ob- 
scure ; yet it is not unlikely that the yew-like trees, 
named Taxites, which flourished with the Sequoias in 
the tertiary arctic forests, are the remote ancestors of 
the three species of Torreya, now severally in Florida, 
in California, and in Japan. 

As to the pines and firs, these were more numer- 
ously associated with the ancient Sequoias of the 
polar forests than with their present representatives, 
but in different species, apparently more like those 
of Eastern than of Western North America. They 
must have encircled the polar zone then, as they en- 
circle the present temperate zone now. 

I must refrain from all enumeration of the angio- 
spermous or ordinary deciduous trees and shrubs, 
which are now known, by their fossil remains, to 
have flourished throughout the polar regions when 
Greenland better deserved its name and enjoyed the 
present climate of New England and New Jersey. 
Then Greenland and the rest of the north abounded 
with oaks, representing the several groups of species 
which now inhabit both our Eastern and Western for- 
est districts ; several poplars, one very like our balsam 
poplar or balm-of-Gilead tree; more beeches than 
there are now, a hornbeam, and a hop-hornbeam, 
some birches, a persimmon, and a planer-tree, near 
representatives of those of the Old World, at least of 


Asia, as well as of Atlantic North America, but all 
wanting in California ; one Juglans like the walnut 
of the Old World, and another like our black walnut ; 
two or three grapevines, one near our Southern fox 
grape or muscadine, another near our Northern frost- 
grape ; a Tilia, very like our basswood of the Atlan- 
tic States only; a Liquidambar ; a magnolia, which 
recalls our M. grandiflora ; a Liriodendron, sole repre- 
sentative of our tulip-tree ; and a sassafras, very like 
the living tree. 

Most of these, it will be noticed, have their near- 
est or their only living representatives in the Atlantic 
States, and when elsewhere, mainly in Eastern Asia. 
Several of them, or of species like them, have been 
detected in our tertiary deposits, west of the Missis- 
sippi, by Newberry and Lesquereux. Herbaceous 
plants, as it happens, are rarely preserved in a fossil 
state, else they would probably supply additional tes- 
timony to the antiquity of our existing vegetation, its 
wide diffusion over the northern and now frigid zone, 
and its enforced migration under changes of climate. 1 

Concluding, then, as we must, tliat our existing 
vegetation is a continuation of that of the tertiary 

1 There is, at least, one instance so opportune to the present argu- 
ment that it should not pass unnoticed, although I had overlooked the 
record until now. Onoclea tentibilit is a fern peculiar to the Atlantic 
United States (where it is common and wide-spread) and to Japan. 
Prof. Newberry identified it several years ago in a collection, obtained 
by Dr. Harden, of miocene fossil plants of Dakota Territory, which is 
far beyond it present habitat He moreover regards it as probably 
identical with a fossil specimen " described by the late Prof. E. Forbes, 
under the name of FUici(et Hebridicut, and obtained by the Duke of 
Argyll from the island of MulL" 


period, may we suppose that it absolutely originated 
then ? Evidently not. The preceding Cretaceous pe- 
riod has furnished to Carruthers in Europe a fossil 
fruit like that of the Sequoia gigantea of the famous 
groves, associated with pines of the same character as 
those that accompany the present tree ; has furnished 
to Heer, from Greenland, two more Sequoias, one of 
them identical with a tertiary species, and one nearly 
allied to Sequoia Langsdorfii, which in turn is a prob- 
able ancestor of the common Californian redwood; 
has furnished to dewberry and Lesquereux in North 
America the remains of another ancient Sequoia, a 
Glyptostrobus, a Liquidambar which well represents our 
sweet-gum-tree, oaks analogous to living ones, leaves 
of a plane-tree, which are also in the Tertiary, and are 
scarcely distinguishable from our own Platanus occi- 
dentalis, of a magnolia and a tulip-tree, and " of a sas- 
safras undistinguishable from our living species." I 
need not continue the enumeration. Suffice it to say 
that the facts justifiy the conclusion which Lesquereux 
a scrupulous investigator has already announced : 
that " the essential types of our actual flora are marked 
in the Cretaceous period, and have come to us after 
passing, without notable changes, through the Tertiary 
formations of our continent." 

According to these views, as regards plants at least, 
the adaptation to successive times and changed condi- 
tions has been maintained, not by absolute renewals, 
but by gradual modifications. I, for one, cannot doubt 
that the present existing species are the lineal success- 
ors of those that garnished the earth in the old time 
before them, and that they were as well adapted to 


their surroundings then, as those which flourish and 
bloom around us are to their conditions now. Order 
and exquisite adaptation did not wait for man's coming, 
nor were they ever stereotyped. Organic Nature by 
which I mean the system and totality of living things, 
and their adaptation to each other and to the world 
with all its apparent and indeed real stability, should 
be likened, not to the ocean, which varies only by tidal 
oscillations from a fixed level to which it is always 
returning, but rather to a river, so vast that we can 
neither discern its shores nor reach its sources, whose 
onward flow is not less actual because too slow to be 
observed by the ephemerae, which hover over its surface, 
or are borne upon its bosom. 

Such ideas as these, though still repugnant to some, 
and not long since to many, have so possessed the 
minds of the naturalists of the present day that hardly 
a discourse can be pronounced or an investigation pros- 
ecuted without reference to them. I suppose that the 
views here taken are little, if at all, in advance of the 
average scientific mind of the day. I cannot regard 
them as less noble than those which they are suc- 
ceeding. An able philosophical writer, Miss Frances 
Power Cobbe, has recently and truthfully said : ' 

"It is a singular fact that, when we can find out ho\v any- 
thing is done, oar first conclusion seetns to be that God did not 
do it No matter how wonderful, how beautiful, how intimate- 
ly complex and delicate has been the machinery which has 
worked, perhaps for centuries, perhaps for millions of ages, to 
bring about some beneficent result, if we can but catch a glimpse 
of the wheels its divine character disappears." 

> "Darwinism in Morals," in Theological Review, April, 1871. 


I agree with the writer that this first conclusion is 
premature and unworthy I will add, deplorable. 
Through what faults or infirmities of dogmatism on 
the one hand, and skepticism on the other, it came to 
be so thought, we need not here consider. Let us 
hope, and I confidently expect, that it is not to last ; 
that the religious faith which survived without a shock 
the notion of the fixity of the earth itself may equally 
outlast the notion of the fixity of the species which 
inhabit it ; that, in the future even more than in the 
past, faith in an order, which is the basis of science, 
will not as it cannot reasonably be dissevered from 
faith in an Ordainer, which is the basis of religion. 



(Tint NATIOK, October 16, 1873.) 

THAT homely adage, " What is one man's meat is 
another man's poison," comes to mind when we con- 
sider with what different eyes different naturalists look 
upon the hypothesis of the derivative origin of actual 
specific forms, since Mr. Darwin gave it vogue and 

1 " Histoire des Sciences et des Sevants depuis deux Siecles, suivie 
d'autres 6tudes sur des sujets scientifiques, en particulier sur la Selec- 
tion dans 1'Espece Humaine, par Alpbonse De Candolle." Geneve : H. 
Georg. 1873. 

" Addresses of George Bentham, President, read at the anniversary 
meetings of the Linnean Society, 1862-1873." 

" Notes on the Classification, History, and Geographical Distribution 
of Composite. By George Bentham." Separate issue from the Journal 
of the Linnean Society. Vol. XIIL London. 1873. 

" On Palacontological Evidence of Gradual Modification of Animal 
Forms, read at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, April 25, 1873. 
by Prof. W. H. Flower." (Journal of the Royal Inttitution, pp. 11.) 

"The Distribution and Migration of Birds. Memoir presented to 
the National Academy of Sciences, January, 1865, abstracted in the 
American Journal of Science and the Art*. 1866, etc. By Spencer 
F. Baird." 

"The Story of the Earth and Man. By J. W. Dawson, LL.D., 
F. R. S., F. G. S., Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University, 
Montreal. London: Hodder & Stoughton; New York: Harper & 
Brothers. 1873. Pp. 408, 12mo. 


vigor and a raison d'etre for the present day. This 
latter he did, not only by bringing forward a vera 
causa in the survival of the fittest under changing cir- 
cumstances about which the question among natural- 
ists mainly is how much it will explain, some allowing 
it a restricted, others an unlimited operation but also 
by showing that the theory may be made to do work, 
may shape and direct investigations, the results of 
which must in time tell us whether the theory is likely 
to hold good or not. If the hypothesis of natural 
selection and the things thereto appertaining had not 
been capable of being put to useful work, although, 
like the " Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation," 
it might have made no little noise in the world, it 
would hardly have engaged the attention of working 
naturalists as it has done. We have no idea even of 
opening the question as to what work the Darwinian 
theory has incited, and in what way the work done has 
reacted upon the theory ; and least of all do we like to 
meddle with the polemical literature of the subject, 
already so voluminous that the German bibliographers 
and booksellers make a separate class of it. But two 
or three treatises before us, of a minor or incidental 
sort, suggest a remark or two upon the attitude of mind 
toward evolutionary theories taken by some of the 
working naturalists. 

^Mr. Darwin's own expectation, that his new pre- 
sentation of the subject would have little or no effect 
upon those who had already reached middle-age, has 
out of Paris not been fulfilled. There are, indeed, 
one or two who have thought it their duty to denounce 
the theory as morally dangerous, as well as scientifi- 

238 V A R WIN I AN A . 

cally baseless ; a recent instance of the sort we may 
have to consider further on. Others, like the youth 
at the river's bank, have been waiting in confident 
expectation of seeing the current run itself dry. On 
the other hand, a notable proportion of the more active- 
minded naturalists had already come to doubt the re- 
ceived doctrine of the entire fixity of species, and 
still more that of their independent and supernatural 
origination. AVhile their systematic work all proceed- 
ed implicitly upon the hypothesis of the independence 
and entire permanence of species, they were perceiv- 
ing more or less clearly that the whole question was 
inevitably to be mooted again, and so were prepared 
to give the alternative hypothesis a dispassionate con- 
sideration. The veteran Lyell set an early example, 
and, on a reconsideration of the whole question, wrote 
anew his famous chapter and reversed his former and 
weighty opinion. Owen, still earlier, signified his ad- 
hesion to the doctrine of derivation in some form, but 
apparently upon general, speculative grounds ; for he 
repudiated natural selection, and offered no other 
natural solution of the mystery of the orderly incom- 
ing of cognate forms. As examples of the effect of 
Darwin's " Origin of Species " upon the minds of nat- 
uralists who are no longer young, and whose pre- 
possessions, even more than LyelTs, were likely to bias 
them against the new doctrine, two from the botanical 
side are brought to our notice through recent miscel- 
laneous writings which are now before us. 1 

1 Since this article waa in type, noteworthy examples of appreciative 
scientific judgment of the derivative hypothesis have come to hand : 1. 
In the opening address to the Geological Section of the British Associa- 


Before the publication of Darwin's first volume, 
M. Alphonse de Candolle had summed up the result 
of his studies in this regard, in the final chapter of his 
classical " Geographie Botanique Baisonnee," in the 
conclusion, that existing vegetation must be regarded 
as the continuation, through many geological and 
geographical changes, of the anterior vegetations of 
the world ; and that, consequently, the present distri- 
bution of species is explicable only in the light of their 
geological history. He surmised that, notwithstand- 
ing the general stability of forms, certain species or 
quasi-species might have originated through diversi- 
fication under geographical isolation. But, on the 
other hand, he was still disposed to admit that even 
the same species might have originated independently 
in two or more different regions of the world ; and he 
declined, as unpractical and unavailing, all attempts 
to apply hypotheses to the elucidation of the origin 
of species. Soon after Darwin's book appeared, De 
Candolle had occasion to study systematically a large 
and wide-spread genus that of the oak. Investigat- 
ing it under the new light of natural selection, he 
came to the conclusion that the existing oaks are all 
descendants of earlier forms, and that no clear line 
can be drawn between the diversification which has 

tion, at its recent meeting, by its president, the veteran Phillips, perhaps 
the oldest surviving geologist after Lyell ; and, 2. That of Prof. All- 
man, President of the Biological Section. The first touches the subject 
briefly, but in the way of favorable suggestion ; the second is a full and 
discriminating exposition of the reasons which seem to assure at least 
the provisional acceptance of the hypothesis, as a guide in all biological 
6tudies, " a key to the order and hidden forces of the world of life." 


resulted in species and that which is exhibited in races 
and minor varieties. 

And now, in the introductory chapter of the vol- 
ume of essays before us, he informs us that the idea 
which pervades them all, and in some sort connects 
very diverse topics, is that of considering this princi- 
ple of selection. Of the principle itself, he remarks 
that it is neither a theory nor an hypothesis, but the 
expression of a necessary fact ; that to deny it is very 
much like denying that round stones will roll down- 
hill faster and farther than flat ones; and that the 
question of the present day in natural history is not 
whether there be natural selection, or even whether 
forms are derived from other forms, but to compre- 
hend how, in what proportions, and by what means 
hereditary deviations take place, and in what ways an 
inevitable selection takes effect upon these. In two 
of these essays natural selection is directly discussed 
in its application to the human race ; the larger one 
dealing ably with the whole subject, and with results 
at first view seemingly in a great degree negative, 
but yet showing that the supposed " failure of natural 
selection in the case of man " was an unwarrantable 
conclusion from too limited a view of a very compli- 
cated question. The article abounds in acute and 
fertile suggestions, and its closing chapter, "on the 
probable future of the human species" under the 
laws of selection, is highly interesting and noteworthy. 
The other and shorter essay discusses a special point, 
and brings out a corollary of the law of heredity 
which may not have been thought of before, but 
which is perfectly clear as soon as it is stated. It ex- 


plains at once why contagious or epidemic diseases are 
most fatal at their first appearance, and less so after- 
ward : not by the dying out of a virus for, when the 
disease reaches a new population, it is as virulent as 
ever (as, for instance, the small-pox among the In- 
dians) but by the selection of a race less subject to 
attack through the destruction of those that were 
more so, and the inheritance of the comparative immu- 
nity by the children and the grandchildren of the sur- 
vivors; and how this immunity itself, causing the 
particular disease to become rare, paves the way to a 
return of the original fatality ; for the mass of such 
population, both in the present and the immediately 
preceding generation, not having been exposed to the 
infection, or but little exposed, has not undergone se- 
lection, and so in time the proportion liable to attack, 
or to fatal attack, gets to be as large as ever. The 
greater the fatality, especially in the population under 
marriageable age, the more favorable the condition of 
the survivors ; and, by the law of heredity, their chil- 
dren should share in the immunity. This explanation 
of the cause, or of one cause, of the return of pests at 
intervals no less applies to the diminution of the effi- 
cacy of remedies, and of preventive means, such as 
vaccination. When Jenner introduced vaccination, 
the small-pox in Europe and European colonies must 
have lost somewhat of its primitive intensity by the 
vigorous weeding out of the more susceptible through 
many generations. Upon the residue, vaccination was 
almost complete protection, and, being generally prac- 
tised, small-pox consequently became rare. Selection 
thus ceasing to operate, a population arises which has 


not been exposed to the contagion, and of which a con 
siderable proportion, under the common law of ata- 
vism, comes to be very much in the condition of a 
people invaded for the first time by the disease. To 
these, as we might expect, vaccination would prove a 
less safeguard than to their progenitors three or four 
generations before. 

Mr. Bentham is a veteran systematic botanist of 
the highest rank and widest knowledge. He had not, 
BO far as we know, touched upon questions of origina- 
tion in the ante-Darwinian era. The dozen of presi- 
dential addresses delivered at anniversary meetings of 
the Linnean Society, from his assumption of the chair 
in the year 1862 down to the current year each de- 
voted to some topic of interest and his recent " Me- 
moir on Composite," summing up the general results 
of a revision of an order to which a full tenth of all 
higher plants belong, furnish apt examples both of 
cautious criticism, conditional assent (as becomes the 
inaugurator of the quantification of the predicate), and 
of fruitful application of the new views to various 
problems concerning the classification and geographi- 
cal distribution of plants. In his hands the hypothe- 
sis is turned at once to practical use as an instrument 
of investigation, as a means of interrogating Nature. 
In the result, no doubt seems to be left upon the au- 
thor's mind that the existing species of plants are the 
result of the differentiation of previous species, or at 
least that the derivative hypothesis is to be adopted as 
that which offers the most natural, if not the only, 
explanation of the problems concerned. Similar con- 
clusions reached in this country, from a study of the 


relations of its present flora with that which in earlier 
ages occupied the arctic zone, might also be referred 
to. (See preceding article.) 

An excellent instance of the way in which the de- 
rivative hypothesis is practically applied in these days, 
by a zoologist, is before us in Prof. Flower's mod- 
est and admirable paper on the Ungulata, or hoofed 
animals, and their geological history. We refer to it 
here, not so much for the conclusions it reaches or 
suggests, as to commend the clearness and the impar- 
tiality of the handling, and the sobriety and modera- 
tion of the deductions. Confining himself "within 
the region of the known, it is shown that, at least in 
one group of animals, the facts which we have as yet 
acquired point to the former existence of various inter- 
mediate forms, so numerous that they go far to dis- 
credit the view of the sudden introduction of new 
species. . . . The modern forms are placed along lines 
which converge toward a common centre." The gaps 
between the existing forms of the odd-toed group of 
ungulates (of which horses, rhinoceroses, and tapirs, 
are the principal representatives) are mostly bridged 
over by palaeontology, and somewhat the same may be 
said of the even-toed group, to which the ruminants 
and tho porcine genus belong. " Moreover, the lines 
of both groups to a certain extent approximate, but, 
within the limits of our knowledge, they do not meet. 
. . . Was the order according to which the introduc- 
tion of new forms seems to have taken place since the 
Eocene then entirely changed, or did it continue as far 
back as the period when these lines would have been 
gw- dually fused in a common centre?" 


Facts like these, which suggest grave diversifies 
tion under long lapse of time, are well supplemented 
by those which essentially demonstrate a slighter 
diversification of many species over a wide range of 
space ; whether into species or races depends partly 
upon how the naturalist uses these terms, partly upon 
the extent of the observations, or luck in getting to- 
gether intermediate forms. The researches of Prof. 
Baird upon the birds of this continent afford a good 
illustration. A great number of our birds which 
have been, and must needs have been, regarded as 
very distinct species, each mainly with its own geo- 
graphical area, are found to mingle their characters 
along bordering lines ; and the same kinds of differ- 
ences (of coloration, form, or other) are found to pre- 
vail through the species of each region, thus impress- 
ing upon them a geographical facies. Upon a sub- 
mergence of the continent, reducing these several 
regions to islands sufficiently separated, these forms 
would be unquestioned species. 

Considerations such as these, of which a few speci- 
mens have now been adduced (not general specula- 
tions, as the unscientific are apt to suppose), and trials 
of the new views, to see how far they will explain 
the problems or collocate the facts they are severally 
dealing with, are what have mainly influenced work- 
ing naturalists in the direction of the provisional 
acceptance of the derivative hypothesis. They leave 
to polemical speculators the fruitless discussion of the 
question whether all species came from one or two, or 
more ; they are trying to grasp the thing by the near, 
not by the farther end, and to ascertain, first of all, 


whether it is probable or provable that present species 
are descendants of former ones which were like them, 
but less and less like them the farther back we go. 

And it is worth noting that they all seem to be 
utterly unconscious of wrong-doing. Their repugnance 
to novel hypotheses is only the natural and healthy 
one. A change of a wonted line of thought is not 
mads without an effort, nor need be made without 
adequate occasion. Some courage was required of the 
man who first swallowed an oyster from its shell ; and 
of most of us the snail would still demand more. As 
the unaccustomed food proves to be good and satis- 
fying, and also harmless, we may come to like it. 
That, however, which many good and eminent natural- 
ists find to be healthful and reasonable, and others 
innocuous, a few still regard as most unreasonable and 
harmful. At present, we call to mind only two who 
not only hold to the entire fixity of species as an axiom 
or a confirmed principle, but also as a dogma, and who 
maintain, either expressly or implicitly, that the logi- 
cal antithesis to the creation of species as they are, is 
not by law (which implies intention), but by chance. 
A recent book by one of these naturalists, or rather, by 
a geologist of eminence, the " Story of the Earth and 
Man," by Dr. Dawson, is now before us. The title is 
too near that of Guyot's " Earth and Man," with the 
publication of which popular volume that distinguished 
physical naturalist commenced his career in this coun- 
try ; and such catch-titles are a sort of trade-mark. 
As to the nature and merits of Dr. Dawson' s work, we 
have left ourselves space only to say : 1. That it is 
addressed ad populum, which renders it rather the 


more than less amenable to the criticisms we may be 
disposed to make upon it. 2. That the author is thor- 
oughly convinced that no species or form deserving 
the name was ever derived from another, or originated 
from natural causes ; and he maintains this doctrine 
with earnestness, much variety of argument and illus- 
tration, and no small ability ; BO that he may be taken 
as a representative of the view exactly opposed to that 
which is favored by those naturalists whose essays we 
have been considering to whom, indeed, he stands in 
marked contrast in spirit and method, being greatly 
disposed to argue the question from the remote rather 
than the near end. 3. And finally, he has a convic- 
tion that the evolutionary doctrines of the day are 
not only untrue, but thoroughly bad and irreligious. 
This belief, and the natural anxiety with which he con- 
templates their prevalence, may excuse a certain vehe- 
mence and looseness of statement which were better 
avoided, as where the geologists of the day are said to 
be " broken up into bands of specialists, little better 
than scientific banditti, liable to be beaten in detail, 
and prone to commit outrages on common-sense and 
good taste which bring their otherwise good cause into 
disrepute ; " and where he despairingly suggests that 
the prevalence of the doctrines he deprecates u seems 
to indicate that the accumulated facts of our age have 
gone altogether beyond its capacity for generalization, 
and, but for the vigor which one sees everywhere, 
might be taken as an indication that the human mind 
has fallen into a state of senility." 

This is droll reading, when one considers that the 
"evolutionist" is the only sort of naturalist who has 


much occasion to employ his " capacity for generaliza- 
tion " upon " the accumulated facts " in their bearing 
upon the problem of the origin of species ; since the 
"special creationist," who maintains that they were 
supernaturally originated just as they are, by the very 
terms of his doctrine places them out of the reach of 
scientific explanation. Again, when one reflects upon 
the new impetus which the derivative hypothesis has 
given to systematic natural history, and reads the dec- 
laration of a master in this department (the President 
of the Linnean Society) that Mr. Darwin " has in this 
nineteenth century brought about as great a revolution 
in the philosophic study of organic Nature as that 
which was effected in the previous century by the im- 
mortal Swede," it sounds oddly to hear from Dr. 
Dawson that " it obliterates the fine perception of dif- 
ferences from the mind of the naturalist, . . . destroys 
the possibility of a philosophical classification, reduc- 
ing all things to a mere series, and leads to a rapid de- 
cay in systematic zoology and botany, which is already 
very manifest among the disciples of Spencer and 
Darwin in England." So, also, " it removes from the 
study of Mature the ideas of final cause and purpose " 
a sentence which reads curiously in the light of Dar- 
win's special investigations, such as those upon the 
climbing of plants, the agency of insects in the fertil- 
ization of blossoms, and the like, which have brought 
back teleology to natural science, wedded to morphol- 
ogy and already fruitful of discoveries. 

The difficulty with Dr. Dawson here is (and it need 
not be underrated) that apparently he cannot as yet 
believe an adaptation, act, or result, to be purposed the 


apparatus of which is perfected or evolved in the course 
of Nature a common but a crude state of mind on 
the part of those who believe that there is any origi- 
nating purpose in the universe, and one which, we are 
sure, Dr. Dawson does not share as respects the mate- 
rial world until he reaches the organic kingdoms, and 
there, possibly, because he sees man at the head of 
them of them, while above them. However that 
may be, the position which Dr. Dawson chooses to oc- 
cupy is not left uncertain. After concluding, substan- 
tially, that those "evolutionists" who exclude design 
from Nature thereby exclude theism, which nobody 
will deny, he proceeds (on page 348) to give his opin- 
ion that the " evolutionism which professes to have a 
creator somewhere behind it. ... is practically athe- 
istic," and, " if possible, more unphilosophical than 
that which professes to set out from absolute and eter- 
nal nonentity," etc. 

There are some sentences which might lead one to 
suppose that Dr. Dawson himself admitted of an evo- 
lution " with a creator somewhere behind it." He 
offers it (page 320) as a permissible alternative that 
even man " has been created mediately by the opera- 
tion of forces also concerned in the production of other 
animals;" concedes that a just theory "does not even 
exclude evolution or derivation, to a certain extent" 
(page 341) ; and that " a modern man of science " may 
safely hold "that all things have been produced by 
the Supreme Creative "Will, acting either directly or 
through the agency of the forces and materials of his 
own production." "Well, if this be so, why denounce 
the modern man of science so severely upon the other 


page merely for accepting the permission \ At first 
sight, it might be thought that our author is exposing 
himself in one paragraph to a share of the condemna- 
tion which he deals out in the other. But the per- 
mitted views are nowhere adopted as his own ; the 
evolution is elsewhere restricted within specific limits ; 
and as to " mediate creation," although we cannot 
divine what is here meant by the term, there is reason 
to think it does not imply that the several species of a 
genus were mediately created, in a natural way, through 
the supernatural creation of a remote common ances- 
tor. So that his own judgment in the matter is prob- 
ably more correctly gathered from the extract above 
referred to and other similar deliverances, such as that 
in which he warns those who "endeavor to steer a 
middle course, and to maintain that the Creator has 
proceeded by way of evolution," that " the bare, hard 
logic of Spencer, the greatest English authority on 
evolution, leaves no place for this compromise, and 
shows that the theory, carried out to its legitimate 
consequences, excludes the knowledge of a Creator and 
the possibility of his work." 

Now, this is a dangerous line to take. Those defend- 
ers of the faith are more zealous than wise who must 
needs fire away in their catapults the very bastions of 
the citadel, in the defense of outposts that have become 
untenable. It has been and always will be possible to 
take an atheistic view of Nature, but far more reason- 
able from science and philosophy only to take a theis- 
tic view. Voltaire's saying here holds true : that if 
there were no God known, it would be necessary to 
invent one. It is the best, if not the only, hypothesis 

230 DA B WIN I AN A. 

for the explanation of the facts. Whether the philos- 
ophy of Herbert Spencer (which is not to our liking) 
is here fairly presented, we have little occasion and no 
time to consider. In this regard, the close of his article 
No. 12 in the Contemporary Review shows, at least, 
his expectation of the entire permanence of our ideas 
of cause, origin, and religion, and predicts the futility 
of the expectation that the " religion of humanity " 
will be the religion of the future, or " can ever more 
than temporarily shut out the thought of a Power, of 
which humanity is but a small and fugitive product, 
which was in its course of ever-changing manifestation 
before humanity was, and will continue through other 
manifestations when humanity has ceased to be." If, 
on the one hand, the philosophy of the unknowable of 
the Infinite may be held in a merely quasi-theistic or 
even atheistic way, were not its ablest expounders aud 
defenders Hamilton and Dean Mansel ? One would 
suppose that Dr. Dawson might discern at least as much 
of a divine foundation to Nature as Herbert Spencer 
and Matthew Arnold ; might recognize in this power 
that " something not ourselves that makes " for order 
as well as " for righteousness," and which he fitly terms 
supreme creative will ; and, resting in this, endure with 
more complacency and faith the inevitable prevalence 
of evolutionary views which he is powerless to hinder. 
Although he cannot arrest the stream, he might do 
something toward keeping it in safe channels. 

We wished to say something about the way in 
which scientific men, worthy of the name, hold hy- 
potheses and theories, using them for the purpose of 
investigation and the collocation of facts, yielding or 


withholding assent in degrees or provisionally, accord- 
ing to the amount of verification or likelihood, or 
holding it long in suspense ; which is quite in contrast 
to that of amateurs and general speculators (not that 
we reckon Dr. Dawson in this class), whose assent or 
denial seldom waits, or endures qualification. "With 
them it must on all occasions be yea or nay only, ac- 
cording to the letter of the Scriptural injunction, and 
whatsoever is less than this, or between the two, 
cometh of evil. 


(Tm NATIOS, January 15, 1S74.) 

THE attitude of theologians toward doctrines of 
evolution, from the nebular hypothesis down to " Dar- 
winism," is no less worthy of consideration, and hard- 
ly less diverse, than that of naturalists. But the 
topic, if pursued far, leads to questions too wide and 
deep for our handling here, except incidentally, in the 
brief notice which it falls in our way to take of the 
Rev. George Henslow's recent volume on " The Theory 
of Evolution of Living Things." This treatise is on 
the side of evolution, " considered as illustrative of 
the wisdom and beneficence of the Almighty." It 

1 " The Theory of Evolution of Living Things, and the Application 
of the Principles of Evolution to Religion, considered as illustrative 
of the ' Wisdom and Beneficence of the Almighty.' By the Rev. 
George Henslow, M. A., F. L. S., F. G. S., etc." New York : Macmil- 
lan & Co. 1873. 12mo, pp. 220. 

" Systematic Theology. By Charles Hodge, D. D., Professor in the 
Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey. Vol. ii. (Part II, An- 
thropology.") New York : Charles Scribner & Co. 1872. 

" Religion and Science : A Series of Sunday Lectures on the Relation 
of Natural and Revealed Religion, or the Truths revealed in Nature and 
Scripture. By Joseph Le Conte, Professor of Geology and Natural Hia- 
tiory in the University of California." New York : D. Appleton & Co. 
1874. 12mo, pp. 824. 


was submitted for and received one of the Actonian 
prizes recently awarded by the Royal Institution of 
Great Britain. We gather that the staple of a part 
of it is worked up anew from some earlier discourses 
of the author upon " Genesis and Geology," " Science 
and Scripture not antagonistic," etc. 

In coupling with it a chapter of the second volume 
of Dr. Hodge's " Systematic Theology (Part II., An- 
thropology)," we call attention to a recent essay, by 
an able and veteran writer, on the other side of the 
question. As the two fairly enough represent the ex- 
tremes of Christian thought upon the subject, it is 
convenient to review them in connection. Theolo- 
gians have a short and easy, if not wholly satisfactory, 
way of refuting scientific doctrines which they object 
to, by pitting the authority or opinion of one savant 
against another. Already, amid the currents and ed- 
dies of modern opinion, the savants may enjoy the 
same advantage at the expense of the divines we 
mean, of course, on the scientific arena; for the mu- 
tual refutation of conflicting theologians on their own 
ground is no novelty. It is not by way of offset, how- 
ever, that these divergent or contradictory views are 
here referred to, but only as an illustration of the fact 
that the divines are by no means all arrayed upon one 
side of the question in hand. And indeed, in the 
present transition period, until some one goes much 
deeper into the heart of the subject, as respects the re- 
lations of modern science to the foundations of relig- 
ious belief, than either of these writers has done, it is 
as well that the weight of opinion should be distrib- 
uted, even if only according to prepossessions, rather 


than that the whole stress should bear upon a single 
point, and that perhaps the authority of an interpreta- 
tion of Scripture. A consensus of opinion upon Dr. 
Hodge's ground, for instance (although better guarded 
than that of Dr. Dawson), if it were still possible, 
would to say the least probably not at all help to 
reconcile science and religion. Therefore, it is not to 
be regretted that the diversities of view among accred- 
ited theologians and theological naturalists are about 
as wide and as equably distributed between the ex- 
tremes (and we may add that the views themselves are 
quite as hypothetical) as those which prevail among 
the various naturalists and natural philosophers of the 

As a theologian, Mr. Henslow doubtless is not to 
be compared with the veteran professor at Princeton. 
On the other hand, he has the advantage of being a 
naturalist, and the son of a naturalist, as well as a 
clergyman : consequently he feels the full force of an 
array of facts in nature, and of the natural inferences 
from them, which the theological professor, from his 
Biblical standpoint, and on his implicit assumption 
that the Old Testament must needs teach true science, 
can hardly be expected to appreciate. Accordingly, a 
naturalist would be apt to say of Dr. Hodge's exposi- 
tion of " theories of the universe " and kindred top- 
ics and in no captious spirit that whether right or 
wrong on particular points, he is not often right or 
wrong in the way of a man of science. 

Probably from the lack of familiarity with preva- 
lent ideas and their history, the theologians are apt to 
suppose that scientific men of the present day are tak- 


ing up theories of evolution in pure wantonness or 
mere superfluity of naughtiness; that it would have 
been quite possible, as well as more proper, to leave 
all such matters alone. Quieta non mover e is doubt- 
less a wise rule upon such subjects, so long as it is fair- 
ly applicable. But the time for its application in re- 
spect to questions of the origin and relations of exist- 
ing species has gone by. To ignore them is to imitate 
the foolish bird that seeks security by hiding its head 
in the sand. Moreover, the naturalists did not force 
these questions upon the world ; but the world they 
study forced them upon the naturalists. How these 
questions of derivation came naturally and inevitably 
to be revived, how the cumulative probability that the 
existing are derived from preexisting forms impressed 
itself upon the minds of many naturalists and think- 
ers, Mr. Henslow has briefly explained in the intro- 
duction and illustrated in the succeeding chapters of 
the first part of his book. Science, he declares, has 
been compelled to take up the hypothesis of the evo- 
lution of living things as better explaining all the 
phenomena. In his opinion, it has become " infinite- 
ly more probable that all living and extinct beings 
have been developed or evolved by natural laws of 
generation from preexisting forms, than that they, 
with all their innumerable races and varieties, should 
owe their existences severally to Creative fiats." This 
doctrine, which even Dr. Hodge allows may possibly 
be held in a theistic sense, and which, as we suppose, 
is so held or viewed by a great proportion of the nat- 
uralists of our day, Mr. Henslow maintains is fully 
compatible with dogmatic as well as natural theology ; 


that it explains moral anomalies, and accounts for the 
mixture of good and evil in the world, as well as for 
the merely relative perfection of things ; and, finally, 
that " the whole scheme which God has framed for 
man's existence, from the first that was created to all 
eternity, collapses if the great law of evolution be 
suppressed." The second part of his book is occupied 
with a development of this line of argument. By 
this doctrine of evolution he does not mean the Dar- 
winian hypothesis, although he accepts and includes 
this, looking upon natural selection as playing an im- 
portant though not an unlimited part. He would be 
an evolutionist with Mivart and Owen and Argyll, 
even if he had not the vera causa which Darwin con- 
tributed to help him on. And, on rising to man, he 
takes ground with Wallace, saying : 

" I would wish to state distinctly that I do not at present 
see any evidence for believing in a gradual development of man 
from the lower animals by ordinary natural laws ; that is, with- 
out some special interference, or, if it be preferred, some excep- 
tional conditions which have thereby separated him from all other 
creatures, and placed him decidedly in advance of them all. 
On the other hand, it would be absurd to regard him as totally 
severed from them. It is the great degree of difference I would 
insist upon, bodily, mental, and spiritual, which precludes the 
idea of his having been evolved by exactly the same processes, 
and with the same limitations, as, for example, the horse from 
the palacotherium." 

In illustrating this view, he reproduces Wallace's 
well-known points, and adds one or two of his own. 
We need not follow up his lines of argument. The 
essay, indeed, adds nothing material to the discussion 


of evolution, although it states one side of the case 
moderately well, as far as it goes. 

Dr. Hodge approaches the subject from the side 
of systematic theology, and considers it mainly in its 
bearing upon the origin and original state of man. 
Under each head he first lays down " the Scriptural 
doctrine," and then discusses "anti-Scriptural theo- 
ries," which latter, under the first head, are the hea- 
then doctrine of spontaneous generation, the modern 
doctrine of spontaneous generation, theories of devel- 
opment, specially that of Darwin, the atheistic char- 
acter of the theory, etc. Although he admits " that 
there is a theistic and an atheistic form of the nebu- 
lar hypothesis as to the origin of the universe, so there 
may be a theistic interpretation of the Darwinian 
theory," yet he contends that " the system is thorough- 
ly atheistic," notwithstanding that the author "ex- 
pressly acknowledges the existence of God." Curious- 
ly enough, the atheistic form of evolutionary hy- 
potheses, or what he takes for such, is the only one 
which Dr. Hodge cares to examine. E^en the " Reign 
of Law" theory, Owen's "purposive route of devel- 
opment and change .... by virtue of inherent ten- 
dencies thereto," as well as other expositions of the 
general doctrine on a theistic basis, are barely men- 
tioned without a word of comment, except, perhaps, 
a general " protest against the arraying of probabili- 
ties against the teachings of Scripture." 

Now, all former experience shows that it is neither 
safe nor wise to pronounce a whole system " thorough- 
ly atheistic" which it is conceded may be held theis- 
tically, and which is likely to be largely held, if not 


to prevail, on scientific grounds. It may be well to 
remember that, " of the two great minds of the sev- 
enteenth century, Newton and Leibnitz, both pro- 
foundly religious as well as philosophical, one pro- 
duced the theory of gravitation, the other objected to 
that theory that it was subversive of natural religion ; 
also that the nebular hypothesis a natural conse- 
quence of the theory of gravitation and of the sub- 
sequent progress of physical and astronomical dis- 
covery has been denounced as atheistical even down 
to our day." It has now outlived anathema. 

It is undeniable that Mr. Darwin lays himself open 
to this kind of attack. The propounder of natural 
selection might be expected to make the most of the 
principle, and to overwork the law of parsimony in 
its behalf. And a system in which exquisite adapta- 
tion of means to ends, complicated interdependences, 
and orderly sequences, appear as results instead of be- 
ing introduced as factors, and in which special design 
is ignored in the particulars, must needs be obnoxious, 
unless guarded as we suppose Mr. Darwin might have 
guarded his ground if he had chosen to do so. Our 
own opinion, after long consideration, is, that Mr. 
Darwin has no atheistical intent ; and that, as respects 
the test question of design in Nature, his view may 
be made clear to the theological mind by likening it 
to that of the "believer in general but not in particu- 
lar Providence." There is no need to cull passages in 
support of this interpretation from his various works 
while the author the most candid of men retains 
through all the editions of the " Origin of Species " 


the two mottoes from "WTiewell and Bishop But- 
ler. 1 

The gist of the matter lies in the answer that 
should be rendered to the questions 1. Do order and 
useful-working collocation, pervading a system through- 
out all its parts, prove design? and, 2. Is such evi- 
dence negatived or invalidated by the probability that 
these particular collocations belong to lineal series of 
such in time, and diversified in the course of Nature 
grown up, so to say, step by step? We do not 
use the terms " adaptation," " arrangement of means 
to ends," and the like, because they beg the ques- 
tion in stating it. 

Finally, ought not theologians to consider whether 
they have not already, in principle, conceded to the 
geologists and physicists all that they are asked to con- 
cede to the evolutionists ; whether, indeed, the main 
natural theological difficulties which attend the doc- 
trine of evolution serious as they may be are not 
virtually contained in the admission that there is a 
system of Nature with fixed laws. This, at least, we 
may say, that, under a system in which so much is 
done " by the establishment of general laws," it is 

1 " But with regard to the material world, we can at least go so far 
as this we can perceive that events are brought about, not by insu- 
lated interpositions of divine power, exerted in each particular case, 
but by the establishment of general laws." WhewelVs Bridgewater 

" The only distinct meaning of the word ' natural ' is stated, fixed, or 
gelded ; since what is natural as much requires and presupposes an in- 
telligent agent to render it so i. e., to effect it continually or at stated 
times as what is supernatural or miraculous does to effect it for once." 
Butler's Analogy. 


legitimate for any one to prove, if he can, that any 
particular thing in the natural world is BO done ; and 
it is the proper business of scientific men to push their 
enquiries in this direction. 

It is beside the point for Dr. Hodge to object that, 
" from the nature of the case, what concerns the ori- 
gin of things cannot be known except by a supernat- 
ural revelation ; " that " science has to do with the 
facts and laws of Nature : here the question concerns 
the origin of such facts." For the very object of the 
evolutionists, and of Mr. Darwin in particular, is to 
remove these subjects from the category of origina- 
tion, and to bring them under the domain of science 
by treating them as questions about how things go on, 
not how they began. Whether the succession of liv- 
ing forms on the earth is or is not among the facts and 
laws of Nature, is the very matter in controversy. 

Moreover, adds Dr. Hodge, it has been conceded 
that in this matter " proofs, in the proper sense of the 
word, are not to be had ; we are beyond the region of 
demonstration, and have only probabilities to con- 
sider." "Wherefore " Christians have a right to pro- 
test against the arraying of probabilities against the 
clear teachings of Scripture." The word is italicized, 
as if to intimate that probabilities have no claims 
which a theologian is bound to respect. As to array- 
ing them against Scripture, there is nothing whatever 
in the essay referred to that justifies the statement. 
Indeed, no occasion offered ; for the writer was dis- 
cussing evolution in its relations to theism, not to 
Biblical theology, and probably would not be disposed 
to intermix arguments so different in kind as those 


from natural science and those from revelation. To 
pursue each independently, according to its own 
method, and then to compare the results, is thought 
to be the better mode of proceeding. The weighing 
of probabilities we had regarded as a proper exercise 
of the mind preparatory to forming an. opinion. Prob- 
abilities, hypotheses, and even surmises, whatever 
they may be worth, are just what, as it seems to us, 
theologians ought not to be foremost in decrying, 
particularly those who deal with the reconciliation of 
science with Scripture, Genesis with geology, and the 
like. As soon as they go beyond the literal statements 
even of the English text, and enter into the details of 
the subject, they find ample occasion and display a 
special aptitude for producing and using them, not 
always with very satisfactory results. It is not, per- 
haps, for us to suggest that the theological army in the 
past has been too much encumbered with impedimenta 
for effective aggression in the conflict against atheis- 
tic tendencies in modern science ; and that in resist- 
ing attack it has endeavored to hold too much ground, 
so wasting strength in the obstinate defense of posi- 
tions which have become unimportant as well as un- 
tenable. Some of the arguments, as well as the guns, 
which well served a former generation, need to be 
replaced by others of longer range and greater pene- 

If the theologians are slow to discern the signs 
and exigencies of the times, the religious philosophi- 
cal naturalists must be looked to. Since the above re- 
marks were written, Prof. Le Conte's " Religion and 
Science," just issued, has come to our hands. It is a 


series of nineteen Sunday lectures on the relation of 
natural and revealed religion, prepared in the first in- 
stance for a Bible-class of young men, his pupils in 
the University of South Carolina, repeated to similar 
classes at the University of California, and finally de- 
livered to a larger and general audience. They are 
printed, the preface states, from a verbatim report, 
with only verbal alterations and corrections of some 
redundancies consequent upon extemporaneous deliv- 
ery. They are not, we find, lectures on science under 
a religious aspect, but discourses upon Christian theol- 
ogy and its foundations from a scientific layman's point 
of view, with illustrations from his own lines of study. 
As the headings show, they cover, or, more correctly 
speaking, range over, almost the whole field of the- 
ological thought, beginning with the personality of 
Deity as revealed in Kature, the spiritual nature and 
attributes of Deity, and the incarnation ; discussing 
by the way the general relations of theology to science, 
man, and his place in Mature ; and ending with a dis- 
cussion of predestination and free-will, and of prayer 
in relation to invariable law all in a volume of three 
hundred and twenty-four duodecimo pages ! And yet 
the author remarks that many important subjects have 
been omitted because he felt unable to present them 
in a satisfactory manner from a scientific point of view. 
We note, indeed, that one or two topics which would 
naturally come in his way such, especially, as the re- 
lation of evolution to the human race are somewhat 
conspicuously absent. That most of the momentous 
subjects which he takes up are treated discursively, 
and not exhaustively, is all the better for his readers. 


What they and we most want to know is, how these 
serious matters are viewed by an honest, enlightened, 
and devout scientific man. To solve the mysteries of 
the universe, as the French lady required a philosopher 
to explain his new system. " dans un mot" is beyond 
rational expectation. 

All that we have time and need to say of this lit- 
tle book upon great subjects relates to its spirit and to 
the view it takes of evolution. Its theology is wholly 
orthodox ; its tone devotional, charitable, and hopeful ; 
its confidence in religious truth, as taught both in Na- 
ture and revelation, complete ; the illustrations often 
happy, but often too rhetorical ; the science, as might 
be expected from this author, unimpeachable as re- 
gards matters of fact, discreet as to matters of opin- 
ion. The argument from design in the first lecture 
brings up the subject of the introduction of species. 
Of this, considered " as a question of history, there is 
no witness on the stand except geology." 

" The present condition of geological evidence is undoubted- 
ly in favor of some degree of suddenness is against infinite 
gradations. The evidence may be meagre .... but whether 
meagre or not, it is all the evidence we have. . . . Now, the 
evidence of geology to-day is, that species seem to come in sud- 
denly and in full perfection, remain substantially unchanged dur- 
ing the term of their existence, and pass away in full perfection. 
Other species take their place apparently by substitution, not 
by transmutation. But you will ask me, ' Do you, then, reject the 
doctrine of evolution? Do you accept the creation of species 
directly and without secondary agencies and processes? ' I an- 
swer, No ! Science knows nothing of phenomena which do not 
take place by secondary causes and processes. She does not deny 
such occurrence, for true Science is not dogmatic, and she knows 


full well that, tracing up the phenomena from cause to cause, 
we must somewhere reach the more direct agency of a First 
Cause. ... It is evident that, however species were intro- 
duced, whether suddenly or gradually, it is the duty of Science 
ever to strive to understand the means and processes by which 
species originated. . . . Now, of the various conceivable sec- 
ondary causes and processes, by some of which we must believe 
species originated, by far the most probable is certainly that of 
evolution from other species." 

[We might interpose the remark that the witness 
on the stand, if subjected to cross-examination by a 
biologist, might be made to give a good deal of testi- 
mony in favor of transmutation rather than substitu- 

After referring to different ideas as to the cause or 
mode of evolution, he concludes that it can make no 
difference, so far as the argument of design in Nature 
is concerned, whether there be evolution or not, or 
whether, in the case of evolution, the change be parox- 
ysmal or uniform. "We may infer even that he accepts 
the idea that " physical and chemical forces are changed 
into vital force, and vice versa" Physicists incline 
more readily to this than physiologists ; and if what is 
called vital force be a force in the physicists' sense, 
then it is almost certainly so. But the illustration on 
page 275 touches this point only seemingly. It really 
concerns only the storing and the using of physical 
force in a living organism. If, for want of a special 
expression, we continue to use the term vital force to 
designate that intangible something which directs and 
governs the accumulation and expenditure of physical 
force in organisms, then there is as yet no proof and 


little likelihood that this is correlate with physical 

" A few words upon the first chapter of Genesis 
and the Mosaic cosmogony, and I am done," says Prof. 
Le Conte, and so are we : 

"It might be expected by many that, after speaking of 
schemes of reconciliation, I should give mine also. My Chris- 
tian friends, these schemes of reconciliation become daily more 
and more distasteful to me. I have used them in times past ; 
but now the deliberate construction of such schemes seems to 
me almost like trifling with the words of Scripture and the 
teachings of Nature. They seem to me almost irreverent, and 
quite foreign to the true, humble, liberal spirit of Christianity ; 
they are so evidently artificial, so evidently mere ingenious 
human devices. It seems to me that if we will only regard 
the two books in the philosophical spirit which I have endeav- 
ored to describe, and then simply wait and possess our souls 
in patience, the questions in dispute will soon adjust them- 
selves as other similar questions have already done." 


(THE NATION, May 28, 1874.) 

THE question which Dr. Hodge asks he promptly 
and decisively answers : " What is Darwinism ? it is 

Leaving aside all subsidiary and incidental .matters, 
let us consider 1. What the Darwinian doctrine is, 
and 2. How it is proved to be atheistic. Dr. Hodge's 
own statement of it cannot be very much bettered : 

"Ste [Darwin's] -work on the 'Origin of Species' docs not 
purport to be philosophical. In this aspect it is very different 
from the cognate works of Mr. Spencer. Darwin does not specu- 
late on the origin of the universe, on the nature of matter or of 
force. He is simply a naturalist, a careful and laborious ob- 
server, skillful in his descriptions, and singularly candid in deal- 
ing with the difficulties in the way of his peculiar doctrine. lie 
set before himself a single problem namely, How are the fauna 

1 " What is Darwinism ? By Charles Hodge, Princeton, N. J." New 
York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co. 1874. 

" The Doctrine of Evolution. By Alexander Winchell, LL. D., etc." 
New York: Harper & Brothers. 1874. 

"Darwinism and Design; or, Creation by Evolution. By George 
St. Clair." London : Hodder & Stoughton. 1873. 

" Westminster Sermons. By the Rer. Charles Kingsley, F. L. S., 
F. G. S., Canon of Westminster, etc." London and New York : Mac- 
millan & Co. 1874. 


and flora of our earth to be accounted for? ... To account for 
the existence of matter and life, Mr. Darwin admits a Creator. 
This is done explicitly and repeatedly. ... He assumes' the ef- 
ficiency of physical causes, showing no disposition to resolve them 
into mind-force or into the efficiency of the First Cause. . . . He 
assumes, also, the existence of life in the form of one or more 
primordial germs. ... How all living things on earth, includ- 
ing the endless variety of plants and all the diversity of animals, 
. . . have descended from the primordial animalcule, he thinks, 
may be accounted for by the operation of the following natural 
laws, viz. : First, the law of Heredity, or that by which like 
begets like the offspring are like the parent. Second, the law 
of Variation ; that is, while the offspring are in all essential 
characteristics like their immediate progenitor, they neverthe- 
less vary more or less within narrow limits from their parent 
and from each other. Some of these variations are indifferent, 
some deteriorations, some improvements that is, such as enable 
the plant or animal to exercise its functions to greater advan- 
tage. Third, the law of Over-Production. All plants and ani- 
mals tend to increase in a geometrical ratio, and therefore tend 
to overrun enormously the means of support. If all the seeds 
of a plant, all the spawn of a fish, were to arrive at maturity, in 
a very short time the world could not contain them. Hence, 
of necessity, arises a struggle for life. Only a few of the myri- 
ads born can possibly live. Fourth, here comes in the law of 
Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest ; that is, if any 
individual of a given species of plant or animal happens to have 
a slight deviation from the normal type .favorable to its success 
in the struggle for life, it will survive. This variation, by the 
law of heredity, will be transmitted to its offspring, and by them 
again to theirs. Soon these favored ones gain the ascendency, 
and the less favored perish, and the modification becomes estab- 
lished in the species. After a time, another and another of such 
favorable variations occur, with like results. Thus, very gradu- 
ally, great changes of structure are introduced, and not only 
species, but genera, families, and orders, in the vegetable and 
animal world, are produced " (pp. 26-29). 


Now, the truth or the probability of Darwin's hy- 
pothesis is not here the question, but only its congru- 
ity or incongruity with theism. "We need take only 
one exception to this abstract of it, but that is an 
important one for the present investigation. It is to 
the sentence which we have italicized in the earlier 
part of Dr. Hodge's own statement of what Darwin- 
ism is. With it begins our inquiry as to how he 
proves the doctrine to be atheistic. 

First, if we rightly apprehend it, a suggestion of 
atheism is infused into the premises in a negative 
form : Mr. Darwin shows no disposition to resolve 
the efficiency of physical causes into the efficiency of 
the First Cause.J Next (on page 48) comes the posi- 
tive charge that " Mr. Darwin, although himself a the- 
ist," maintains that " the contrivances manifested in 
the organs of plants and animals .... are not due to 
the continued cooperation and control of the divine 
mind, nor to the original purpose of God in the con- 
stitution of the universe." As to the negative state- 
ment, it might suffice to recall Dr. Hodge's truthful 
remark that Darwin " is simply a naturalist," and that 
" his work on the origin of species does not purport to 
be philosophical." In physical and physiological trea- 
tises, the most religious men rarely think it necessary 
to postulate the First Cause, nor are they misjudged 
by the omission. But surely Mr. Darwin does show 
the disposition which our author denies him, not only 
by implication in many instances, but most explicitly 
where one would naturally look for it, namely at the 
close of the volume in question: "To my mind, it 
accords better with what we know of the laws im- 


pressed on matter by the Creator," etc. If that does 
not refer the efficiency of physical causes to the First 
Cause, what form of words could do so ? The posi- 
tive charge appears to be equally gratuitous. In both 
Dr. Hodge must have overlooked the beginning as 
well as the end of the volume which he judges so hard- 
ly. Just as mathematicians and physicists, in their 
systems, are wont to postulate the fundamental and 
undeniable truths they are concerned with, or what 
they take for such and require to be taken for granted, 
so Mr. Darwin postulates, upon the first page of his 
notable work, and in the words of Whewell and Bish- 
op Butler : 1. The establishment by divine power of 
general laws, according to which, rather than by insu- 
lated interpositions in each particular case, events are 
brought about in the material world ; and 2. That by 
the word " natural " is meant " stated, fixed, or settled," 
by this same power, " since what is natural as much 
requires and presupposes an intelligent agent to ren- 
der it so i. e., to effect it continually or at stated 
times as what is supernatural or miraculous does to 
effect it for once." x So when Mr. Darwin makes such 
large and free use of "natural as antithetical to super- 
natural " causes, we are left in no doubt as to the ul- 
timate source which he refers them to. Rather let us 
say there ought to be no doubt, unless there are other 
grounds for it to rest upon. 

Such ground there must be, or seem to be, to jus- 
tify or excuse a veteran divine and scholar like Dr. 
Hodge in his deduction of pure atheism from a system 

1 These two postulate-mottoes are quoted in full in a previous article, 
in No. 446 of the Nation (page 259 of the present volume). 


produced by a confessed theist, and based, as we have 
seen, upon thoroughly orthodox fundamental concep- 
tions. Even if we may not hope to reconcile the dif- 
ference between the theologian and the naturalist, it 
may be well to ascertain where their real divergence 
begins, or ought to begin, and what it amounts to. 
Seemingly, it is in their proximate, not in their ulti- 
mate, principles, as Dr. Hodge insists when he declares 
that the whole drift of Darwinism is to prove that 
everything " may be accounted for by the blind opera- 
tion of natural causes, without any intention, purpose, 
or cooperation of God" (page 64). "Why don't he 
say," cries the theologian, " that the complicated or- 
gans of plants and animals are the product of the di- 
vine intelligence ? If God made them, it makes no 
difference, so far as the question of design is concerned, 
how he made them, whether at once or by- process of 
evolution" (page 58). But, as we have seen, Mr. Dar- 
win does say that, and he over and over implies it 
when he refers the production of species " to second- 
ary causes," and likens their origination to the origi- 
nation of individuals ; species being series of individuals 
with greater difference. It is not for the theologian 
to object that the power which made individual men 
and other animals, and all the differences which the 
races of mankind exhibit, through secondary causes, 
could not have originated congeries of more or 
less greatly differing individuals through the same 

Clearly, then, the difference between the theologian 
and the naturalist is not fundamental, and evolution 
may be as profoundly and as particularly theistic as it is 


increasingly probable. The taint of atheism which, in 
Dr. Hodge's view, leavens the whole lump, is not in- 
herent in the original grain of Darwinism in the 
principles posited but has somehow been introduced 
in the subsequent treatment. Possibly, when found, 
it may be eliminated. Perhaps there is mutual mis- 
apprehension growing out of some ambiguity in the 
use of terms. " Without any intention, purpose, or 
cooperation of God." These are sweeping and effect- 
ual words. How came they to be applied to natural 
selection by a divine who professes that God ordained 
whatsoever cometh to pass ? In this wise : " The 
point to be proved is, that it is the distinctive doctrine 
of Mr. Darwin that species owe their origin 1. Not to 
the original intention of the divine mind ; 2. Not to 
special acts of creation calling new forms into exist- 
ence at certain epochs ; 3. Not to the constant and 
everywhere operative efficiency of God guiding physi- 
cal causes in the production of intended effects ; but 4. 
To the gradual accumulation of unintended variations 
of structure and instinct securing some advantage to 
their subjects " (page 52). Then Dr. Hodge adduces 
" Darwin's own testimony," to the purport that natu- 
ral selection denotes the totality of natural causes and 
their interactions, physical and physiological, repro- 
duction, variation, birth, struggle, extinction in short, 
all that is going on in Nature ; that the variations 
which in this interplay are picked out for survival are 
not intentionally guided / that " nothing can be 
more hopeless than the attempt to explain this simi- 
larity of pattern in members of th same class by 
utility or the doctrine of final causes" (which Dr. 


Hodge takes to be the denial of any such thing as final 
causes) ; and that the interactions and processes going 
on which constitute natural selection may suffice to ac- 
count for the present diversity of animals and plants 
(primordial organisms being postulated and time 
enough given) with all their structures and adapta- 
tions that is, to account for them scientifically, as 
science accounts for other things. 

A good deal may be made of this, but does it sus- 
tain the indictment? Moreover, the counts of the in- 
dictment may be demurred to. It seems to us that 
only one of the three points which Darwin is said to 
deny is really opposed to the fourth, which he is said 
to maintain, except as concerns the perhaps ambigu- 
ous word unintended. Otherwise, the origin of spe- 
cies through the gradual accumulation of variations 
i. e., by the addition of a series of small differences 
is surely not incongruous with their origin through 
" the original intention of the divine mind " or 
through " the constant and everywhere operative ef- 
ficiency of God." One or both of these Mr. Darwin 
(being, as Dr. Hodge says, a theist) must needs hold to 
in some form or other ; wherefore he may be presumed 
to hold the fourth proposition in such wise as not 
really to contradict the first or the third. The proper 
antithesis is with the second proposition only, and the 
issue comes to this : Have the multitudinous forms 
of living creatures, past and present, been produced 
by as many special and independent acts of creation at 
very numerous epochs ? Or have they originated un- 
der causes as natural as reproduction and birth, and 


no more so, by the variation and change of preceding 
into succeeding species ? ' 

Those who accept the latter alternative are evolu- 
tionists. And Dr. Hodge fairly allows that their 
views, although clearly wrong, may be genuinely the- 
istic. Surely they need not become the less so by the 
discovery or by the conjecture of natural operations 
through which this diversification and continued adap- 
tation of species to conditions is brought about. 
Now, Mr. Darwin thinks and by this he is distin- 
guished from most evolutionists that he can assign 
actual natural causes, adequate to the production of 
the present out of the preceding state of the animal 
and vegetable world, and so on backward thus unit- 
ing, not indeed the beginning but the far past with 
the present in one coherent system of Nature. But in 
assigning actual natural causes and processes, and ap- 
plying them to the explanation of the whole case, Mr. 
Darwin assumes the obligation of maintaining their 
general sufficiency a task from which the numerous 
advocates and acceptors of evolution on the general 
concurrence of probabilities and its usefulness as a 
working hypothesis (with or without much conception 
of the manner how) are happily free. Having hit 
upon a modus operandi which all who understand it 
admit will explain something, and many that it will 
explain very much, it is to be expected that Mr. Dar- 
win will make the most of it. Doubtless he is far 
from pretending to know all the causes and operations 
at work ; he has already added some and restricted the 
range of others ; he probably looks for additions to 
their number and new illustrations of their efficiency ; 


but he is bound to expect them all to fall within the 
category of what he calls natural selection (a most ex- 
pansible principle), or to be congruous with it that is, 
that they shall be natural causes. Also and this is 
the critical point he is bound to maintain their suffi- 
ciency without intervention. 

Here, at length, we reach the essential difference 
between Darwin, as we understand him, and Dr. 
Hodge. The terms which Darwin sometimes uses, 
and doubtless some of the ideas they represent, are 
not such as we should adopt or like to defend ; and we 
may say once for all aside though it be from the 
present issue that, in our opinion, the adequacy of 
the assigned causes to the explanation of the phenomena 
has not been made. out. But we do not understand 
him to deny " purpose, intention, or the cooperation 
of God " in Nature. This would be as gratuitous as 
unphilosophical, not to say unscientific. When he 
speaks of this or that particular or phase in the course 
of events or the procession of organic fonns as not 
intended, he seems to mean not specially and disjunc- 
tively intended and not brought about by intervention. 
Purpose in the whole, as we suppose, is not denied but 
implied. And when one considers how, under what- 
ever view of the case, the designed and the contingent 
lie inextricably commingled in this world of ours, past 
man's disentanglement, and into what metaphysical 
dilemmas the attempt at unraveling them leads, we 
cannot greatly blame the naturalist for relegating such 
problems to the philosopher and the theologian. If 
charitable, these will place the most favorable con- 
struction upon attempts to extend and unify the opera- 


tion of known secondary causes, this being the proper 
business of the naturalist and physicist; if wise, 
they will be careful not to predicate or suggest the ab- 
sence of intention from what comes about by degrees 
through the continuous operation of physical causes, 
even in the organic world, lest, in their endeavor to re- 
tain a probable excess of supernaturalism hi that realm 
of Nature, they cut away the grounds for recognizing 
it at all in inorganic Nature, and so fall into the same 
condemnation that some of them award to the Dar- 

Moreover, it is not certain that Mr. Darwin would 
very much better his case, Dr. Hodge being judge, if 
he did propound some theory of the nexus of divine 
causation and natural laws, or even if he explicitly 
adopted the one or the other of the views which he is 
charged with rejecting. Either way he might meet a 
procrustean fate ; and, although a saving amount of 
theism might remain, he would not be sound or com- 
fortable. For, if he predicates "the constant and 
everywhere operative efficiency of God," he may 
" lapse into the same doctrine " that the Duke of Ar- 
gyll and Sir John Herschel " seem inclined to," the 
latter of whom is blamed for thinking " it but reason- 
able to regard the force of gravitation as the direct or 
indirect result of a consciousness or will existing some- 
where," and the former for regarding "it unphilo- 
sophical { to think or speak as if the forces of Nature 
were either independent of or even separate from the 
Creator's power ' " (page 24) : while if he falls back 
upon an " original intention of the divine mind," en- 
dowing matter with forces which he foresaw and in- 


tended should produce such results as these contriv- 
ances in Nature, lie is told (pages 44-46) that this 
banishes God from the world, and is inconsistent with 
obvious facts. And that because of its implying that 
" He never interferes to guide the operation of physi- 
cal causes." We italicize the word, for interference 
proves to be the keynote of Dr. Hodge's system. In- 
terference with a divinely ordained physical Nature for 
the accomplishment of natural results ! An unortho- 
dox friend has just imparted to us, with much mis- 
giving and solicitude lest he should be thought ir- 
reverent, his tentative hypothesis, which is, that even 
the Creator may be conceived to have improved with 
time and experience 1 Never before was this theory 
so plainly and barely put before us. We were obliged 
to say that, in principle and by implication, it was not 
wholly original. 

But in such matters, which are far too high for us, 
no one is justly to be held responsible for the conclu- 
sions which another may draw from his principles or 
assumptions. Dr. Hodge's particular view should be 
gathered from his own statement of it : 

"In the external world tbere is always and everywhere in- 
disputable evidence of the activity of two kinds of force, the 
one physical, the other mental. The physical belongs to matter, 
and is due to the properties with which it has been endowed ; 
the other is the everywhere present and ever-acting mind of 
God. To the latter are to be referred all the manifestations of 
design in Nature, and the ordering of events in Providence. 
This doctrine does not ignore the efficiency of second causes ; 
it simply asserts that God overrules and controls them. Thns 
the Psalmist says : ' I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My 
substance was not hid from Thee when I was made in secret, 


and curiously wrought (or embroidered) in the lower parts of 
the earth. . . . God makes the grass to grow, and herbs for 
the children of men.' He sends rain, frost, and snow. He 
controls the winds and the waves. He determines the casting 
of the lot, the flight of an arrow, and the falling of a sparrow " 
(pages 43, 44). 

Far be it from us to object to this mode of con- 
ceiving divine causation, although, like the two other 
theistic conceptions referred to, it has its difficulties, 
and perhaps the difficulties of both. But, if we un- 
derstand it, it draws an unusually hard and fast line 
between causation in organic and inorganic Nature, 
seems to look for no manifestation of design in the 
latter except as " God overrules and controls " second 
causes, and, finally, refers to this overruling and con- 
trolling (rather than to a normal action through en- 
dowment) all embryonic development, the growth of 
vegetables, and the like. He even adds, without 
break or distinction, the sending of rain, frost, and 
snow, the flight of an arrow, and the falling of a spar- 
row. Somehow we must have misconceived the bear- 
ing of the statement ; but so it stands as one of " the 
three ways," and the right way, of " accounting for 
contrivances in Nature;" the other two being 1. 
Their reference to the blind operation of natural 
causes ; and, 2. That they were foreseen and purposed 
by God, who endowed matter with forces which he 
foresaw and intended should produce such results, but 
never interferes to guide their operation. 

In animadverting upon this latter view, Dr. Hodge 
brings forward an argument against evolution, with 
the examination of which our remarks must close : 


"Paley, indeed, says that if the construction of a watch be 
an undeniable evidence of design, it would be a still more won- 
derful manifestation of skill if a watch could be made to pro- 
duce other watches, and, it may be added, not only other 
watches, but all kinds of timepieces, in endless variety. So it 
has been asked, If a man can make a telescope, why cannot 
God make a telescope which produces others like itself? This 
is simply asking whether matter can be made to do the work 
of mind. The idea involves a contradiction. For a telescope 
to make a telescope supposes it to select copper and zinc in due 
proportions, and fuse them into brass; to fashion that brass 
into inter-entering tubes ; to collect and combine the requisite 
materials for the different kinds of glass needed; to melt them, 
grind, fashion, and polish them, adjust their densities, focal dis- 
tances, etc., etc. A man who can believe that brass can do 
all this might as well believe in God" (pp. 45, 46). 

If Dr. Hodge's meaning is, that matter tmcon- 
Btmcted cannot do the work of mind, he misses the 
point altogether ; for original construction by an in- 
telligent mind is given in the premises. If he means 
that the machine cannot originate the power that 
operates it, this is conceded by all except believers in 
perpetual motion, and it equally misses the point ; for 
the operating power is given in the case of the watch, 
and implied in that of the reproductive telescope. 
But if he means that matter cannot be made to do the 
work of mind in constructions, machines, or organ- 
i-ms, he is surely wrong. "Solvitur anibidando" 
vel sanbendo; he confuted his argument in the act of 
writing the sentence. That is just what machines 
and organisms are for; and a consistent Christian 
theist should maintain that it is what all matter is for. 
Finally, if, as we freely suppose, he means none of 
these, he must mean (unless we are much mistaken) 


that organisms originated by the Almighty Creator 
could not be endowed with the power of producing 
similar organisms, or slightly dissimilar organisms, 
without successive interventions. Then he begs the 
very question in dispute, and that, too, in the face of 
the primal command, " Be fruitful and multiply," and 
its consequences in every natural birth. If the actual 
facts could be ignored, how nicely the parallel would 
run ! " The idea involves a contradiction." For an 
animal to make an animal, or a plant to make a plant, 
supposes it to select carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and 
nitrogen, to combine these into cellulose and proto- 
plasm, to join with these some phosphorus, lime, etc., 
to build them into structures and usefully-adjusted 
organs. A man who can believe that plants and ani- 
mals can do this (not, indeed, in the crude way sug- 
gested, but in the appointed way) "might as well 
believe in God." Yes, verily, and so he probably 
will, in spite of all that atheistical philosophers have 
to offer, if not harassed and confused by such argu- 
ments and statements as these. 

There is a long line of gradually-increasing diver- 
gence from the ultra-orthodox view of Dr. Hodge 
through those of such men as Sir William Thomson, 
Herschel, Argyll, Owen, Mivart, "Wallace, and Dar- 
win, down to those of Strauss, Yogt, and Biichner. 
To strike the line with telling power and good effect, 
it is necessary to aim at the right place. Excellent 
as the present volume is in motive and clearly as it 
shows that Darwinism may bear an atheistic as well 
as a theistic interpretation, we fear that it will not 
contribute much to the reconcilement of science and 


The length of the analysis of the first book on our 
list precludes the notices which we intended to take 
of the three others. They are all the production of 
men who are both scientific and religious, one of them 
a celebrated divine and writer unusually versed in 
natural history. They all look upon theories of evo- 
lution either as in the way of being established or as 
not unlikely to prevail, and they confidently expect 
to lose thereby no solid ground for theism or religion. 
Mr. St. Clair, a new writer, in his " Darwinism and 
Design ; or, Creation by Evolution," takes his ground 
in the following succinct statement of his preface : 

"It is being assumed by our scientific guides that the design, 
argument has been driven out of the field by the doctrine of 
evolution. It seems to be thought by our theological teachers 
that the best defense of the faith is to deny evolution in toto, 
and denounce it as anti-Biblical. My volume endeavors to 
show that, if evolution be true, all is not lost ; but, on the con- 
trary, something is gained: the design-argument remains un- 
shaken, and the wisdom and beneficence of God receive new 

Of his closing remark, that, so far as he knows, 
the subject has never before been handled in the same 
way for the same purpose, we will only say that the 
handling strikes us as mainly sensible rather than as 
substantially novel. He traverses the whole ground 
of evolution, from that of the solar system to " the 
origin of moral species." He is clearly a theistic 
Darwinian without misgiving, and the arguments for 
that hypothesis and for its religious aspects obtain 
from him their most favorable presentation, while he 
combats the dystdeology of Hackel, Biichner, etc., 
not, however, with any remarkable strength. 


Dr. Winchell, chancellor of the new university at 
Syracuse, in his volume just issued upon the " Doc- 
trine of Evolution," adopts it in the abstract as 
" clearly as the law of universal intelligence under 
which complex results are brought into existence" 
(whatever that may mean), accepts it practically for 
the inorganic world as a geologist should, hesitates as 
to the organic world, and sums up the arguments for 
the origin of species by diversification unfavorably 
for the Darwinians, regarding it mainly from the 
geological side. As some of our zoologists and palae- 
ontologists may have somewhat to say upon this matter, 
we leave it for their consideration. We are tempted 
to develop a point which Dr. Winchell incidentally 
refers to viz., how very modern the idea of the inde- 
pendent creation and fixity of species is, and how well 
the old divines got on without it. Dr. Winchell re- 
minds us that St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas 
were model evolutionists ; and, where authority is de- 
ferred to, this should count for something. 

Mr. Kingsley's eloquent and suggestive "West- 
minster Sermons," in which he touches here and 
there upon many of the topics which evolution brings 
up, has incorporated into the preface a paper which 
he read in 1871 to a meeting of London clergy at 
Sion College, upon certain problems of natural theol- 
ogy as affected by modern theories in science. We 
may hereafter have occasion to refer to this volume. 
Meanwhile, perhaps we may usefully conclude this 
article with two or three short extracts from it : 

" The God who satisfies our conscience ought more or less 
to satisfy our reason also. To teach that was Butler's mission ; 


and he fulfilled it well. But it is a mission which has to be 
refulfilled again and again, as human thought changes, and 
human science develops. For if, in any age or country, the 
God who seems to be revealed by Nature seems also different 
from the God who is revealed by the then-popular religion, 
then that God and the religion which tells of that God will 
gradually cease to be believed in. 

"For the demands of reason as none knew better than 
good Bishop Butler must be and ought to be satisfied. And, 
therefore, when a popular war arises between the reason of 
any generation and its theology, then it behooves the minis- 
ters of religion to inquire, with all humility and godly fear, on 
whose side lies the fault ; whether the theology which they ex- 
pound is all that it should be, or whether the reason of those 
who impugn it is all that it should be." 

Pronouncing it to be the duty of the naturalist to 
find out the how of things, and of the natural theo- 
logian to find out the why, Mr. Kingsley continues : 

"But if it be said, 'After all, there is no why; the doctrine 
of evolution, by doing away with the theory of creation, does 
away with that of final causes,' let us answer boldly, 'Not in 
the least.' We might accept all that Mr. Darwin, all that Prof. 
Huxley, all that other most able men have so learnedly and 
acutely written on physical science, and yet preserve our natu- 
ral theolopy on the same basis as that on which Butler and 
Paley left it. That we should have to develop it I do not deny. 

"Let us rather look with calmness, and even with hope and 
good-will, on these new theories; they surely mark a tendency 
toward a more, not a less, Scriptural view of Nature. 

"Of old it was said by Him, without whom nothing is made, 
' My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.' Shall wo quarrel 
with Science if she should show how these words are true? 
' What, in one word, should we have to say but this : ' We know 
of old that God was so wise that he could make all things ; but, 
behold, he is so much wiser than even that, that he can make 
all things make themselves? ' " 



Two British naturalists, Robert Brown and Charles 
Darwin, have, more than any others, impressed their 
influence upon science in this nineteenth century. 
Unlike as these men and their works were and are, 
we may most readily subserve the present purpose in 
what we are called upon to say of the latter by briefly 
comparing and contrasting the two. 

Robert Brown died sixteen years ago, full of years 
and scientific honors, and he seems to have finished, 
several years earlier, all the scientific work that he had 
undertaken. To the other, Charles Darwin, a fair 
number of productive years may yet remain, and are 
earnestly hoped for. Both enjoyed the great advan- 
tage of being all their lives long free from exacting 
professional duties or cares, and so were able in the 
main to apply themselves to research without distrac 
tion and according to their bent. Both, at the begin- 
ning of their career, were attached to expeditions of 
exploration in the southern hemisphere, where tney 
amassed rich stores of observation and materials, and 
probably struck out, while in the field, some of the 
best ideas which they subsequently developed. They 
worked in different fields and upon different methods; 


only in a single instance, so far as we know, have they 
handled the same topic ; and in this the more penetrat- 
ing insight of the younger naturalist into an interest- 
ing general problem may be appealed to in justification 
of a comparison which some will deem presumptuous. 
Be this as it may, there will probably be little dissent 
from the opinion that the characteristic trait common 
to the two is an unrivaled scientific sagacity. In this 
these two naturalists seem to us, each in his way, pre- 
eminent. There is a characteristic likeness, too un- 
derlying much difference in their admirable manner 
of dealing with facts closely, and at first hand, without 
the interposition of the formal laws, vague ideal con- 
ceptions, or "glittering generalities" which some phil- 
osophical naturalists make large use of. 

A likeness may also be discerned in the way in 
which the works or contributions of predecessors and 
contemporaries are referred to. The brief historical 
summaries prefixed to many of Mr. Brown's papers 
are models of judicial conscientiousness. And Mr. 
Darwin's evident delight at discovering that some one 
else has "said his good things before him," or has 
been on the verge of uttering them, seemingly equals 
that of making the discovery himself. It reminds one 
of Goethe's insisting that his views in morphology 
must have been held before him and must be some- 
where on record, so obvious did they appear to him. 

Considering the quiet and retired lives led by both 
these men, and the prominent place they are likely to 
occupy in the history of science, the contrast between 
them as to contemporary and popular fame is very re- 
markable. While Mr. Brown was looked up to with 
the greatest reverence by all the learned botanists, he 


was scarcely heard of by any one else ; and out of bot- 
any lie was unknown to science except as the discov- 
erer of the Brownian motion of minute particles, which 
discovery was promulgated in a privately-printed pam- 
phlet that few have ever seen. Although Mr. Darwin 
had been for twenty years well and widely known for 
his "Naturalist's Journal," his works on" Coral Isl- 
ands," on " Volcanic Islands," and especially for his 
researches on the Barnacles, it was not till about fifteen 
years ago that his name became popularly famous. 
Ever since no scientific name has been so widely spo- 
ken. Many others have had hypotheses or systems 
named after them, but no one else that we know of a 
department of bibliography. The nature of his latest 
researches accounts for most of the difference, but not 
for all. The Origin of Species is a fascinating topic, 
having interests and connections with every branch of 
science, natural and moral. The investigation of rec- 
ondite affinities is very dry and special ; its questions, 
processes, and results alike although in part generally 
presentable in the shape of morphology are mainly, 
like the higher mathematics, unintelligible except to 
those who make them a subject of serious study. 
They are especially so when presented in Mr. Brown's 
manner. Perhaps no naturalist ever recorded the re- 
sults of his investigations in fewer words and with 
greater precision than Robert Brown: certainly no 
one ever took more pains to state nothing beyond the 
precise point in question. Indeed, we have sometimes 
fancied that he preferred to enwrap rather than to ex- 
plain his meaning ; to put it into such a form that, 
unless you follow Solomon's injunction and dig for the 
wisdom as for hid treasure, you may hardly apprehend 


it until you have found it all out foi yourself, when 
you will have the satisfaction of perceiving that Mr. 
Brown not only knew all about it, but had put it 
upon record. Very different from this is the way in 
which Mr. Darwin takes his readers into his con- 
fidence, freely displays to them the sources of his 
information, and the working of his mind, and even 
shares with them all his doubts and misgivings, while 
in a clear exposition he sets forth the reasons which 
have guided him to his conclusions. These you may 
hesitate or decline to adopt, but you feel sure that they 
have been presented with perfect fairness ; and if you 
think of arguments against them you may be confident 
that they have all been duly considered before. 

The sagacity which characterizes these two natu- 
ralists is seen in their success in finding decisive in- 
stances, and their sure insight into the meaning of 
things. As an instance of the latter on Mr. Darwin's 
part, and a justification of our venture to compare 
him with the facile princeps lotanicorum, we will, in 
conclusion, allude to the single instance in which they 
took the same subject in hand. In his papers on the 
organs and modes of fecundation in Orchidew and 
Asclepiadece, Mr. Brown refers more than once to C. 
K. Sprengel's almost forgotten work, shows how the 
structure of the flowers in these orders largely requires 
the agency of insects for their fecundation, and is 
aware that " in Asclepiadece .... the insect so read- 
ily passes from one corolla to another that it not un- 
frequently visits every flower of the umbel." He 
must also have contemplated the transport of pollen 
from plant to plant by wind and insects; and we 
know from another source that he looked upon Spren- 


gel's ideas as far from fantastic. Yet, instead of 
taking the single forward step which now seems so 
obvious, he even hazarded the conjecture that the 
insect-forms of some orchideous flowers are intended 
to deter rather than to attract insects. And so the 
explanation of all these and other extraordinary struct- 
ures, as well as of the arrangement of blossoms in 
general, and even the very meaning and need of sex- 
ual propagation, were left to be supplied by Mr. Dar- 
win. The aphorism " Mature abhors a vacuum " is a 
characteristic specimen of the science of the middle 
ages. The aphorism "Nature abhors close fertiliza- 
tion," and the demonstration of the principle, belong 
to our age, and to Mr. Darwin. To have originated 
this, and also the principle of natural selection the 
truthfulness and importance of which are evident the 
moment it is apprehended and to have applied these 
principles to the system of Nature in such a manner 
as to make, within a dozen years, a deeper impression 
upon natural history than has been made since Lin- 
naeus, is ample title for one man's fame. 

There is no need of our giving any account or of 
estimating the importance of such works as the " Ori- 
gin of Species by means of Natural Selection," the 
" Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestica- 
tion," the " Descent of Man, and Selection in relation 
to Sex," and the "Expression of the Emotions in 
Man and Animals" a series to which we may hope 
other volumes may in due time be added. We would 
rather, if space permitted, attempt an analysis of the 
less known, but not less masterly, subsidiary essays, 
upon the various arrangements for insuring cross-fer- 


tilization in flowers, for the climbing of plants, and 
the like. These, as we have heard, may before long 
be reprinted in a volume, and supplemented by some 
long-pending but still unfinished investigations upon 
the action of Dioncea and Drosera a capital subject 
for Mr. Darwin's handling. 

Apropos to these papers, which furnish excellent 
illustrations of it, let us recognize Darwin's great ser- 
vice to natural science in bringing back to it Teleolo- 
gy ; so that, instead of Morphology versus Teleology, 
we shall have Morphology wedded to Teleology. To 
many, no doubt, evolutionary Teleology comes in such 
a questionable shape as to seem shorn of all its good- 
ness ; but they will think better of it in time, when 
their ideas become adjusted, and they see what an 
impetus the new doctrines have given to investiga- 
tion. They are much mistaken who suppose that 
Darwinism is only of speculative importance, and 
perhaps transient interest. In its working applica- 
tions it has proved to be a new power, eminently 
practical and fruitful. 

And here, again, we are bound to note a striking 
contrast to Mr. Brown, greatly as we revere his 
memory. He did far less work than was justly to be 
expected from him. Mr. Darwin not only points out 
the road, but labors upon it indefatigably and unceas- 
ingly. A most commendable noblesse oblige assures 
us that he will go on while strength (would we could 
add health) remains. The vast amount of such work 
he has already accomplished might overtax the powers 
of the strongest. That it could have been done at all 
under constant infirm health is most wonderful. 


(Tin NATION, April 2 and 9, 1874.) 

THAT animals should feed upon plants is natural 
and normal, and the reverse seems impossible. Bat 
the adage, " Natura non agit saltatim" has its appli- 
cation even here. It is the naturalist, rather than 
Nature, that draws hard and fast lines everywhere, 
and marks out abrupt boundaries where she shades 
off with gradations. However opposite the parts 
which animals and vegetables play in the economy of 
the world as the two opposed kingdoms of organic 
Nature, it is becoming more and more obvious that 
they are not only two contiguous kingdoms, but are 
parts of one whole antithetical and complementary 
to each other, indeed ; but such " thin partitions do 
the bounds divide" that no definitions yet framed 
hold good without exception. This is a world of 
transition in more senses than is commonly thought ; 
and one of the lessons which the philosophical natu- 
ralist learns, or has to learn, is, that differences the 
most wide and real in the main, and the most essen- 
tial, may nevertheless be here and there connected or 
bridged over by gradations. There is a limbo filled 
with organisms which never rise high enough in the 


scale to be manifestly either animal or plant, unless it 
may be said of some of them that they are each in 
turn and neither long. There are undoubted animals 
which produce the essential material of vegetable 
fabric, or build up a part of their structure of it, or 
elaborate the characteristic leaf-green which, under 
solar light, assimilates inorganic into organic matter, 
the most distinguishing function of vegetation. On 
the other hand, there are plants microscopic, indeed, 
but unquestionable which move spontaneously and 
freely around and among animals that are fixed and 
rooted. And, to come without further parley to the 
matter in hand, while the majority of animals feed 
directly upon plants, " for 'tis their nature to," there 
are plants which turn the tables and feed upon them. 
Some, being parasitic upon living animals, feed insidi- 
ously and furtively ; these, although really cases in 
point, are not so extraordinary, and, as they belong 
to the lower orders, they are not much regarded, ex- 
cept for the harm they do. There are others, and 
those of the highest orders, which lure or entrap ani- 
mals in ways which may well excite our special won- 
der all the more so since we are now led to conclude 
that they not only capture but consume their prey. 

As respects the two or three most notable in- 
stances, the conclusions which have been reached are 
among the very recent acquisitions of physiological 
science. Curiously enough, however, now that they 
are made out, it appears that they were in good part 
long ago attained, recorded, and mainly forgotten. 
The earlier observations and surmises shared the com- 
mon fate of discoveries made before the time, or by 


those who were not sagacious enough to bring out 
their full meaning or importance. Vegetable mor- 
phology, diml y apprehended by Linnaeus, initiated by 
Caspar Frederick Wolff, and again, independently 
in successive generations, by Goethe and by De Can- 
dolle, offers a parallel instance. The botanists of 
Goethe's day could not see any sense, advantage, or 
practical application, to be made of the proposition 
that the parts of a blossom answer to leaves ; and so 
the study of homologies had long to wait. Until 
lately it appeared to be of no consequence whatever 
(except, perhaps, to the insects) whether Drosera and 
Sarracenia caught flies or not ; and even Dionaea ex- 
cited only unreflecting wonder as a vegetable anomaly. 
As if there were real anomalies in Nature, and some 
one plant possessed extraordinary powers denied to 
all others, and (as was supposed) of no importance to 

That most expert of fly-catchers, Dionaea, of which 
so much has been written and so little known until 
lately, came very near revealing its secret to Solander 
and Ellis a hundred years ago, and doubtless to John 
Bartram, our botanical pioneer, its probable discoverer, 
who sent it to Europe. Ellis, in his published letter 
to Linnaeus, with which the history begins, described 
the structure and action of the living trap correctly ; 
noticed that the irritability which called forth the 
quick movement closing the trap, entirely resided in 
the few small bristles of its upper face ; that this 
whole surface was studded with glands, which proba- 
bly secreted a liquid ; and that the trap did not open 
again when an insect was captured, even upon the 


death of the captive, although it opened very soon 
when nothing was caught, or when the irritation was 
caused by a bit of straw, or any such substance. It 
was Linnaeus who originated the contrary and errone- 
ous statement, which has long prevailed in the books, 
that the trap reopened when the fatigued captive 
became quiet, and let it go; as if the plant caught 
flies in mere play and pastime ! Linnaeus also omitted 
all allusion to a secreted liquid which was justifiable, 
as Ellis does not state that he had actually seen any ; 
and, if he did see it, quite mistook its use, supposing 
it to be, like the nectar of flowers, a lure for insects, 
a bait for the trap. Whereas, in fact, the lure, if 
there be any, must be an odor (although nothing is 
perceptible to the human olfactories) ; for the liquid 
secreted by the glands never appears until the trap 
has closed upon some insect, and held it at least for 
some hours a prisoner. Within twenty-four or forty- 
eight hours this glairy liquid is abundant, bathing 
and macerating the body of the perished insect. Its 
analogue is not the nectar of flowers, but the saliva 
or the gastric juice ! 

The observations which compel such an inference 
are recent, and the substance of them may be briefly 
stated. The late Kev. Dr. M. A. Curtis (by whose 
death, two years ago, we lost one of our best botan- 
ists, and the master in his especial line, mycology), 
forty, years and more ago resided at Wilmington, 
North Carolina, in the midst of the only district to 
wliich the Dionaea is native ; and he published, in 
1834, in the first volume of the " Journal of the Bos- 
ton Society of Natural History," by far the best ac- 


count of this singular plant which had then appeared. 
He remarks that " the little prisoner is not crushed 
and suddenly destroyed, as is sometimes supposed," 
for he had often liberated " captive flies and spiders, 
which sped away as fast as fear or joy could hasten 
them." But he neglected to state, although he must 
have noticed the fact, that the two sides of the trap, 
at first concave to the contained insect, at length flat- 
ten and 'close down firmly upon the prey, exerting no 
inconsiderable pressure, and insuring the death of any 
soft-bodied insect, if it had not already succumbed to 
the confinement and salivation. This last Dr. Curtis 
noticed, and first discerned its import, although he 
hesitated to pronounce upon its universality. That 
the captured insects were in some way " made sub- 
servient to the nourishment of the plant" had been 
conjectured from the first. Dr. Curtis "at times 
[and he might have always at the proper time] found 
them enveloped in a fluid of mucilaginous consistence, 
which seems to act as a solvent, the insects being more 
or less consumed in it." This was verified and the di- 
gestive character of the liquid well-nigh demonstrated 
six or seven years ago by Mr. Canby, of Wilmington, 
Delaware, who, upon a visit to the sister-town of 
North Carolina, and afterward at his home, followed 
up Dr. Curtis's suggestions with some capital observa- 
tions and experiments. These were published at 
Philadelphia in the tenth volume of Meehan's Gar- 
deners' Monthly, August, 1868 ; but they do not ap- 
pear to have attracted the attention which they 

The points which Mr. Canby made out are, that 


this fluid is always poured out around the captured 
insect in due time, " if the leaf is in good condition 
and the prey suitable ; " that it comes from the leaf 
itself, and not from the decomposing insect (for, when 
the trap caught a plum-curculio, the fluid was poured 
out while he was still alive, though very weak, and 
endeavoring, ineffectually, to eat his way out) ; that 
bits of raw beef, although sometimes rejected after 
a while, were generally acted upon in the same man- 
ner i. e., closed down upon tightly, slavered with 
the liquid, dissolved mainly, and absorbed ; so that, in 
fine, the fluid may well be said to be analogous to the 
gastric juice of animals, dissolving the prey and ren- 
dering it fit for absorption by the leaf. Many leaves 
remain inactive or slowly die away after one meal ; 
others reopen for a second and perhaps even a third 
capture, and are at least capable of digesting a second 

Before Mr. Canby's experiments had been made, 
we were aware that a similar series had been made in 
England by Mr. Darwin, with the same results, and 
with a small but highly-curious additional one 
namely, that the fluid secreted in the trap of Dionoea, 
like the gastric juice, has an acid reaction. Having 
begun to mention unpublished results (too long al- 
lowed to remain so), it may be well, under the circum- 
stances, to refer to a still more remarkable experiment 
by the same most sagacious investigator. By a prick 
with a sharp lancet at a certain point, he has been 
able to paralyze one-half of the leaf-trap, so that it 
remained motionless under the stimulus to which the 
other half responded. Such high and sensitive organ- 


ization entails corresponding ailments. Mr. Canby 
tells us that he gave to one of his Dionasa-subjects a 
fatal dyspepsia by feeding it with cheese ; and under 
Mr. Darwin's hands another suffers from paraplegia. 

Finally, Dr. Burdon-Sanderson's experiments, de- 
tailed at the last meeting of the British Association 
for the Advancement of Science, show that the same 
electrical currents are developed upon the closing of 
the Dionsea-trap as in the contraction of a muscle. 

If the Yenus's Fly-trap stood alone, it would be 
doubly marvelous first, on account of its carnivorous 
propensities, and then as constituting a real anomaly in 
organic Nature, to which nothing leads up. Before 
acquiescing in such a conclusion, the modern naturalist 
would scrutinize its relatives. 'Now, the nearest rela- 
tives of our vegetable wonder are the sundews. 

While Dionaea is as local in habitation as it is sin- 
gular in structure and habits, the Droseras or sundews 
are widely diffused over the world and numerous in 
species. The two whose captivating habits have at- 
tracted attention abound in bogs all around the north- 
ern hemisphere. That flies are caught by them is a 
matter of common observation ; but this was thought 
to be purely accidental. They spread out from the 
root a circle of small leaves, the upper face of which 
especially is beset and the margin fringed with stout 
bristles (or what seem to be such, although the struct- 
ure is more complex), tipped by a secreting gland, 
which produces, while in vigorous state, a globule of 
clear liquid like a drop of dew whence the name, 
both Greek and English. One expects these seeming 
dew-drops to be dissipated by the morning sun ; but 


they remain unaffected. A touch shows that the glis- 
tening drops are glutinous and extremely tenacious, as 
flies learn to their cost on alighting, perhaps to sip the 
tempting liquid, which acts first as a decoy and then 
like birdlime. A small fly is held so fast, and in its 
struggles comes in contact with so many of these glu- 
tinous globules, that it seldom escapes. 

The result is much the same to the insect, whether 
captured in the trap of Dionaea or stuck fast to the 
limed bristles of Drosera. As there are various plants 
upon whose glandular hairs or glutinous surfaces small 
insects are habitually caught and perish, it might be 
pure coincidence that the most effectual arrangement 
of the kind happens to occur in the nearest relatives 
of Dionaea. Roth, a keen German botanist of the 
eighteenth century, was the first to detect, or at least 
to record, some evidence of intention in Drosera, and 
to compare its action with that of Dionaea, which, 
through Ellis's account, had shortly before been made 
known in Europe. He noticed the telling fact that 
not only the bristles which the unfortunate insect had 
come in contact with, but also the surrounding rows, 
before widely spreading, curved inward one by one, 
although they had not been touched, so as within a 
few hours to press their glutinous tips likewise against 
the body of the captive insect thus doubling or quad- 
rupling the bonds of the victim and (as we may now 
suspect) the surfaces through which some part of the 
animal substance may be imbibed. For Roth sur- 
mised that both these plants were, in their way, pre- 
daceous. He even observed that the disk of the 
Drosera-leaf itself often became concave and enveloped 


the prey. These facts, although mentioned now and 
then in some succeeding works, were generally forgot- 
ten, except that of the adhesion of small insects to the 
leaves of sundews, which must have been observed in 
every generation. Up to and even within a few years 
past, if any reference was made to these asserted move- 
ments (as by such eminent physiologists as Meyen and 
Treviranus) it was to discredit them. Not because 
they are difficult to verify, but because, being naturally 
thought improbable, it was easier to deny or ignore 
them. So completely had the knowledge of almost a 
century ago died out in later years that, when the sub- 
ject was taken up anew in our days by Mr. Darwin, he 
had, as we remember, to advertise for it, by sending a 
" note and query" to the magazines, asking where any 
account of the fly-catching of the leaves of sundew 
was recorded. 

When Mr. Darwin takes a matter of this sort in 
hand, he is not likely to leave it where he found it. 
He not only confirmed all Roth's observations as to 
the incurving of the bristles toward and upon an in- 
sect entangled on any part of the disk of the leaf, 
but also found that they responded similarly to a bit 
of muscle or other animal substance, while to any par- 
ticles of inorganic matter they were nearly indifferent. 
To minute fragments of carbonate of ammonia, how- 
ever, they were more responsive. As these remark- 
able results, attained (as we are able to attest) half a 
dozen years ago, remained unpublished (being portions 
of an investigation not yet completed), it would have 
been hardly proper to mention them, were it not that 
independent observers were beginning to bring out 


the same or similar facts. Mrs. Treat, of New Jersey, 
noticed the habitual infolding of the leaf in the lon- 
ger-leaved species of sundew (American Journal of 
Science for November, 1871), as was then thought 
for the first time Roth's and Withering's observa- 
tions not having been looked up. In recording this, 
the next year, in a very little book, entitled " How 
Plants Behave," the opportunity was taken to mention, 
in the briefest way, the capital discovery of Mr. Dar- 
win that the leaves of Drosera act diiferently when 
different objects are placed upon them, the bristles 
closing upon a particle of raw meat as upon a living 
insect, while to a particle of chalk or wood they are 
nearly inactive. The same facts were independently 
brought out by Mr. A. W. Bennett at the last year's 
meeting of the British Association for the Advance- 
ment of Science, and have been mentioned in the 

If to these statements, which we may certify, were 
added some far more extraordinary ones, communi- 
cated to the French Academy of Science in May last by 
M. Zeigler, a stranger story of discrimination on the 
part of sundew-bristles would be told. But it is safer 
to wait for the report of the committee to which these 
marvels were referred, and conclude this sufficiently 
" strange eventful history " with some details of ex- 
periments made last summer by Mrs. Treat, of New 
Jersey, and published in the December number of the 
American Naturalist. It is well to note that Mrs. 
Treat selects for publication the observations of one 
particular day in July, when the sundew-leaves were 
unusually active ; for their moods varv with the weath- 


er, and also in other unaccountable ways, although in 
general the sultrier days are the most appetizing: 

" At fifteen minutes past ten of the same day I placed bits 
of raw beef on some of the most vigorous leaves of Drosera lon- 
gifolia. Ten minutes past twelve, two of the leaves had folded 
around the beef, hiding it from sight. Half-past eleven of the 
same day, I placed living flies on the leaves of D. longifolia. At 
12 48' one of the leaves had folded entirely around its victim, 
the other leaves had partially folded, and the flies had ceased to 
struggle. By 2 30' four leaves had each folded around a fly. 
... I tried mineral substances bits of dry chalk, magnesia, 
and pebbles. In twenty-four hours, neither the leaves nor 
their bristles had made any move like clasping these articles. I 
wet a piece of chalk in water, and in less than an hour the bris- 
tles were curving about it, but soon unfolded again, leaving the 
chalk free on the blade of the leaf." Parallel experiments made 
on D. rotundifolia, with bits of beef and of chalk, gave the same 
results as to the action of the bristles ; while with a piece of raw 
apple, after eleven hours, "part of the bristles were clasping it, 
but not so closely as the beef," and in twenty -four hours "nearly 
all the bristles were curved toward it. but not many of the 
glands were touching it." 

To make such observations is as easy as it is inter- 
esting. Throughout the summer one has only to 
transfer plants of Drosera from the bogs into pots or 
pans filled with wet moss if need be, allowing them 
to become established in the somewhat changed condi- 
tions, or even to put out fresh leaves and to watch their 
action or expedite it by placing small flies upon the 
disk of the leaves. The more common round-leaved 
sundew acts as well as the other by its bristles, and 
the leaf itself is sometimes almost equally prehensile, 
although in a different way, infolding the whole bor- 


der instead of the summit only. Very curious, and 
even somewhat painful, is the sight when a fly, alight- 
ing upon the central dew-tipped bristles, is held as 
fast as by a spider's web ; while the efforts to escape 
not only entangle the insect more hopelessly as they 
exhaust its strength, but call into action the surround- 
ing bristles, which, one by one, add to the number of 
the bonds, each by itself apparently feeble, but in 
their combination so effectual that the fly may be 
likened to the sleeping Gulliver made fast in the tiny 
but multitudinous toils of the Liliputians. Any- 
body who can believe that such an apparatus was not 
intended to capture flies might say the same of a spi- 
der's web. 

Is the intention here to be thought any the less 
real because there are other species of Drosera which 
are not so perfectly adapted for fly-catching, owing 
to the form of their leaves and the partial or total 
want of cooperation of their scattered bristles ? One 
such species, D. filiformis, the thread-leaved sundew, 
is not uncommon in this country, both north and south 
of the district that Dionsea locally inhabits. Its leaves 
are long and thread-shaped, beset throughout with 
glutinous gland-tipped bristles, but wholly destitute 
of a blade. Flies, even large ones, and even moths 
and butterflies, as Mrs. Treat and Mr. Canby affirm 
(in the American Naturalist), get stuck fast to these 
bristles, whence they seldom escape. Accidental as 
such captures are, even these thread-shaped leaves re- 
spond more or less to the contact, somewhat in the 
manner of their brethren. In Mr. Canby's recent and 
simple experiments, made at Mr. Darwin's suggestion, 


when a small fly alights upon a leaf a little below its 
slender apex, or when a bit of crushed fly is there 
affixed, within a few hours the tip of the leaf bends 
at the point of contact, and curls over or around the 
body in question ; and Mrs. Treat even found that 
when living flies were pinned at half an inch in dis- 
tance from the leaves, these in forty minutes had bent 
their tips perceptibly toward the flies, and in less than 
two hours reached them ! If this be confirmed and 
such a statement needs ample confirmation then it 
may be suspected that these slender leaves not only in- 
curve after prolonged contact, just as do the leaf -stalks 
of many climbers, but also make free and independent 
circular sweeps, in the manner of twining stems and 
of many tendrils. 

Correlated movements like these indicate purpose. 
"WTien performed by climbing plants, the object and 
the advantage are obvious. That the apparatus and 
the actions of Dionsea and Drosera are purposeless and 
without advantage to the plants themselves, may have 
been believed in former days, when it was likewise 
conceived that abortive and f unctionless organs were 
specially created " for the sake of symmetry " and to 
display a plan ; but this is not according to the genius 
of modern science. 

In the cases of insecticide next to be considered, 
such evidence of intent is wanting, but other and cir- 
cumstantial evidence may be had, sufficient to warrant 
conviction. Sarracenias have hollow leaves in the 
form of pitchers or trumpet-shaped tubes, containing 
water, in which flies and other insects are habitually 
drowned. They are all natives of the eastern side of 


North America, growing in bogs or low ground, so 
that they cannot be supposed to need the water as such. 
Indeed, they secrete a part if not all of it. The com- 
monest species, and the only one at the North, which 
ranges from Newfoundland to Florida, has a broad- 
mouthed pitcher with an upright lid, into which rain 
must needs fall more or less. The yellow Sarracenia, 
with long tubular leaves, called "trumpets" in the 
Southern States, has an arching or partly upright lid, 
raised well above the orifice, so that some water may 
rain in ; but a portion is certainly secreted there, and 
may be seen bedewing the sides and collected at the 
bottom before the mouth opens. In other species, the 
orifice is so completely overarched as essentially to 
prevent the access of water from without. In these 
tubes, mainly in the water, flies and other insects ac- 
cumulate, perish, and decompose. Flies thrown into 
the open-mouthed tube of the yellow Sarracenia, even 
when free from water, are unable to get out one 
hardly sees why, except that they cannot fly directly 
upward; and microscopic chevaux-de-frise of fine, 
sharp-pointed bristles which line most of the interior, 
pointing strictly downward, may be a more effectual 
obstacle to crawling up the sides than one would think 
possible. On the inside of the lid or hood of the pur- 
ple Northern species, the bristles are much stronger ; 
but an insect might escape by the front without en- 
countering these. In this epecies, the pitchers, how- 
ever, are BO well supplied with water that the insects 
which somehow are most abundantly attracted thither 
are effectually drowned, and the contents all summer 
long are in the condition of a rich liquid manure. 


That the tubes or pitchers of the Southern species 
are equally attractive and fatal to flies is well known. 
Indeed, they are said to be taken in to houses and used 
as fly-traps. There is no perceptible odor to draw in- 
sects, except what arises from the decomposition of 
macerated victims ; nor is any kind of lure to be de- 
tected at the mouth of the pitcher of the common 
purple-flowered species. Some incredulity was there- 
fore natural when it was stated by a Carolinian corre- 
spondent (Mr. B. F. Grady) that in the long-leaved, 
yellow-flowered species the lid just above the mouth 
of the tubular pitcher habitually secretes drops of a 
sweet and viscid liquid, which attracts flies and appar- 
ently intoxicates them, since those that sip it soon 
become unsteady in gait and mostly fall irretrievably 
into the well beneath. But upon cultivating plants 
of this species, obtained for the purpose, the existence 
of this lure was abundantly verified ; and, although 
we cannot vouch for its inebriating quality, we can 
no longer regard it as unlikely. 

No sooner was it thus ascertained that at least one 
species of Sarracenia allures flies to their ruin than it 
began to appear that just as in the case of Drosera 
most of this was a mere revival of obsolete knowledge. 
The " insect-destroying process " was known and well 
described sixty years ago, the part played by the sweet 
exudation indicated, and even the intoxication per- 
haps hinted at, although evidently little thought of in 
those ante-temperance days. Dr. James Macbride, of 
South Carolina the early associate of Elliott in his 
" Botany of South Carolina and Georgia," and to 
whose death, at the age of thirty-three, cutting short 


a life of remarkable promise, the latter touchingly 
alludes in the preface to his second volume sent to 
Sir James Edward Smith an account of his observa- 
tions upon this subject, made in 1810 and the follow- 
ing years. This was read to the Linnoean Society in 
1815, and published in the twelfth volume of its 
" Transactions." From this forgotten paper (to which 
attention has lately been recalled) we cull the follow- 
ing extracts, premising that the observations mostly 
relate to a third species, Sarracenia adunca, alias 
variolaris, which is said to be the most efficient fly- 
catcher of the kind : 

" If, in the months of May, June, or July, when the leaves 
of those plants perform their extraordinary functions in the 
greatest perfection, some of them be removed to a house and 
fixed in an erect position, it will soon be perceived that flies are 
attracted by them. These insects immediately approach the 
fauces of the leaves, and, leaning over their edges, appear to sip 
with eagerness something from their internal surfaces. In this 
position they linger; but at length, allured as it would seem by 
the pleasure of taste, they enter the tubes. The fly which has 
thus changed its situation will be seen to stand unsteadily ; it 
totters for a few seconds, slips, and falls to the bottom of the 
tube, where it is either drowned or attempts in vain to ascend 
against the points of the hairs. The fly seldom takes wing in 
its fall and escapes. ... In a house much infested with flies, 
this entrapment goes on so rapidly that a tube is filled in a few 
hours, and it becomes necessary to add water, the natural 
quantity being insufficient to drown the imprisoned insects. 
The leaves of S. adunca and rubra [a fourth species] might well 
be employed as fly-catchers; indeed, I am credibly informed 
they are in some neighborhoods. The leaves of the S.Jtara 
[the species to which our foregoing remarks mainly relate], al- 
though they are very capacious, and often grow to the height of 


three feet or more, are never found to contain so many insects 
as those of the species ahove mentioned. 

" The cause which attracts flies is evidently a sweet, viscid 
substance resemhling honey, secreted hy or exuding from the 
internal surface of the tube. . . . From the margin, where it 
commences, it does not extend lower than one-fourth of an inch. 

" The falling of the insect as soon as it enters the tube is 
wholly attributable to the downward or inverted position of the 
hairs of the internal surface of the leaf. At the bottom of a tube 
split open, the hairs are plainly discernible pointing downward ; 
as the eye ranges upward, they gradually become shorter and at- 
tenuated, till at or just below the surface covered by the bait 
they are no longer perceptible to the naked eye nor to the most 
delicate touch. It is here that the fly cannot take a hold suffi- 
ciently strong to support itself, but falls. The inability of in- 
sects to crawl up against the points of the hairs I have often 
tested in the most satisfactory manner." 

From the last paragraph it may be inferred that Dr. 
Macbride did not suspect any inebriating property in 
the nectar, and in a closing note there is a conjecture 
of an impalpable loose powder in S.flava, at the place 
where the fly stands so unsteadily, and from which it 
is supposed to slide. We incline to take Mr. Grady's 
view of the case. 

The complete oblivion into which this paper and 
the whole subject had fallen is the more remarkable 
when it is seen that both are briefly but explicitly 
referred to in Elliott's book, with which botanists 
are familiar. 

It is not so wonderful that the far earlier allusion 
to these facts by the younger Bartram should have 
been overlooked or disregarded. With the genuine 
love of Nature and fondness for exploration, William 
Bartram did not inherit the simplicity of his father, 


the earliest native botanist of this country. Fine 
writing was his foible; and the preface to his well- 
known " Travels " (published at Philadelphia in 1791) 
is its full-blown illustration, sometimes perhaps de- 
serving the epithet which he applies to the palms of 
Florida that of pomposity. In this preface he de- 
clares that " all the Sarracenias are insect-catchers, and 
BO is the Drosera rotundifolia. "Whether the insects 
caught in their leaves, and which dissolve and mix 
with the fluid, serve for aliment or support to these 
kind of plants is doubtful," he thinks, but he should 
be credited with the suggestion. In one sentence he 
speaks of the quantities of insects which, "being in- 
vited down to sip the mellifluous exuvia from the in- 
terior surface of the tube, where they inevitably per- 
ish," being prevented from returning by the stiff hairs 
all pointing downward. This, if it refers to the sweet 
secretion, would place it below, and not, as it is, above 
the bristly surface, while the liquid below, charged 
with decomposing insects, is declared in an earlier 
sentence to be " cool and animating, limpid as the 
morning dew." Bartram was evidently writing from 
memory ; and it is very doubtful if he ever distinctly 
recognized the sweet exudation which entices in- 

Why should these plants take to organic food more 
than others ? If we cannot answer the question, we 
may make a probable step toward it. For plants that 
are not parasitic, these, especially the sundews, have 
much less than the ordinary amount of chlorophyll 
that is, of the universal leaf -green upon which the for- 
mation of organic matter out of inorganic materials 


depends. These take it instead of making it, to a cer- 
tain extent. 

"What is the bearing of these remarkable adap- 
tations and operations upon doctrines of evolution ? 
There seems here to be a field on which the specific 
creationist, the evolutionist with design, and the ne- 
cessary evolutionist, may fight out an interesting, if 
not decisive, " triangular duel." 


(Tax NATION, January 6 and 13, 1878.) 

" MINERALS grow ; vegetables grow and live ; ani- 
mals grow, live, and feel ; " this is the well-worn, not 
to say out-worn, diagnosis of the three kingdoms by 
Linnaeus. It must be said of it that the agreement 
indicated in the first couplet is unreal, and that the 
distinction declared in the second is evanescent. Crys- 
tals do not grow at all in the sense that plants and 
animals grow. On the other hand, if a response to 
external impressions by special movements is evidence 
of feeling, vegetables share this endowment with ani- 
mals ; while, if conscious feeling is meant, this can be 
affirmed only of the higher animals. What appears to 
remain true is, that the difference is one of successive 
addition. That the increment in the organic world is 
of many steps; that in the long series no absolute 

1 " Insectivorous Plant*. By Charles Darwin, M. A., F. R. S." With 
Illustrations. London: John Murray. 1875. Pp.462. New York: 
D. Appleton & Co. 

" The Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants. By Charles Bar- 
win, M. A., F. R S., etc." Second Edition, revised, with Illustrations. 
London : John Murray. 1875. Pp. 208. New York : D. Appleton & 


lines separate, or have always separated, organisms 
which barely respond to impressions from those which 
more actively and variously respond, and even from 
those that consciously so respond this, as we all know, 
is what the author of the works before us has under- 
taken to demonstrate. Without reference here either 
to that part of the series with which man is connected, 
and in some sense or other forms a part of, or to that 
lower limbo where the two organic kingdoms appar- 
ently merge or whence, in evolutionary phrase, they 
have emerged Mr. Darwin, in the present volumes, 
directs our attention to the behavior of the highest 
plants alone. He shows that some (and he might add 
that all) of them execute movements for their own 
advantage, and that some capture and digest living 
prey. When plants are seen to move and to devour, 
what faculties are left that are distinctively animal ? 

As to insectivorous or otherwise carnivorous plants, 
we have so recently here discussed this subject before 
it attained to all this new popularity that a brief ao^ 
count of Mr. Darwin's investigation may suffice.* It 

1 The Nation, Nos. 457, 458, 1874. It was ia these somewhat light 
and desultory, but substantially serious, articles that some account of 
Mr. Darwin's observations upon the digestive powers of Drosera and 
Dioncea first appeared ; in fact, their leading motive was to make suf- 
ficient reference to his then unpublished discoveries to guard against 
expected or possible claims tq priority. Dr. Burdon-Sanderson's lect- 
ure, and the report hi Nature^ which first made them known in Eng- 
land, appeared later. 

A mistake on our part in the reading of a somewhat ambiguous 
sentence in a letter led to the remark, at the close of the first of those 
articles (p. 295), th,at the leaf-trap of Dioncea had been paralyzed on 
one side in consequence of a dexterous puncture. What was commu- 
nicated really related to Drosera. 



is full of interest as a physiological research, and is a 
model of its kind, as well for the simplicity and direct- 
ness of the means employed as for the clearness with 
which the results are brought out results which any 
one may verify now that the way to them is pointed 
out, and which, surprising as they are, lose half their 
wonder in the ease and sureness with which they seem 
to have been reached. 

Eather more than half the volume is devoted to 
one subject, the round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotun- 
difolia), a rather common plant in the northern tem- 
perate zone. That flies stick fast to its leaves, being 
limed by the tenacious seeming dew-drops which stud 
its upper face and margins, had long been noticed in 
Europe and in this country. We have heard hunters 
and explorers in our Northern woods refer with satis- 
faction to the fate which in this way often befalls one 
of their plagues, the black fly of early summer. And 
it was known to some observant botanists in the last 
century, although forgotten or discredited in this, that 
an insect caught on the viscid glands it has happened 
to alight upon is soon fixed by many more not mere- 
ly in consequence of its struggles, but by the sponta- 
neous incurvation of the stalks of surrounding and 
untouched glands ; and even the body of the leaf had 
been observed to incurve or become cup-shaped so as 
partly to involve the captive insect. 

Mr. Darwin's peculiar investigations not only con- 
firm all this, but add greater wonders. They relate to 
the sensitiveness of these tentacles, as he prefers to call 
them, and the mode in which it is manifested ; their 
power of absorption ; their astonishing discernment of 


the presence of animal or other soluble azotized mat- 
ter, even in quantities so minute as to rival the spec- 
troscope that most exquisite instrument of modern 
research in delicacy ; and, finally, they establish the 
fact of a true digestion, in all essential respects similar 
to that of the stomach of animals. 

First as to sensitiveness and movement. Sensi- 
tiveness is manifested by movement or change of form 
in response to an external impression. The sensitive- 
ness in the sundew is all in the gland which surmounts 
the tentacle. To incite movement or other action, it 
is necessary that the gland itself should be reached. 
Anything laid on the surface of the viscid drop, the 
spherule of clear, glairy liquid which it secretes, pro- 
duces no effect unless it sinks through to the gland ; 
or unless the substance is soluble and reaches it in 
solution, which, in the case of certain substances, has 
the same effect. But the glands themselves do not 
move, nor does any neighboring .portion of the ten- 
tacle. The outer and longer tentacles bend inward 
(toward the centre of the leaf) promptly, when the 
gland is irritated or stimulated, sweeping through an 
arc of 180 or less, or more the quickness and the 
extent of the inflection depending, in equally vigorous 
leaves, upon the amount of irritation or stimulation, 
and also upon its kind. A tentacle with a particle of 
raw meat on its gland sometimes visibly begins to 
bend in ten seconds, becomes strongly incurved in five 
minutes, and its tip reaches the centre of the leaf in 
half an hour ; but this is a case of extreme rapidity. 
A particle of cinder, chalk, or sand, will also incite 
the bending, if actually brought in contact with the 


gland, not merely resting on the drop ; but tlie inflec- 
tion is then much less pronounced and more tran- 
sient. Even a bit of thin human hair, only - 8 * of 
an inch, in length, weighing only the ^ 8 \ 4 ff of a 
grain, and largely supported by the viscid secretion, 
suffices to induce movement ; but, on the other hand, 
one or two momentary, although rude, touches with a 
hard object produce no effect, although a repeated 
touch or the slightest pressure, such as that of a gnat's 
ioot, prolonged for a short time, causes bending. The 
seat of the movement* is wholly or nearly confined to 
a portion of the lower part of the tentacle, above the 
base, where local irritation produces not the slighest 
effect. The movement takes place only in response 
to some impression made upon its own gland at the 
distant extremity, or upon other glands far more re- 
mote. For if one of these members suffers irritation 
the others sympathize with it. Yery noteworthy is 
the correlation between the central tentacles, upon 
which an insect is most likely to alight, and these ex- 
ternal and larger ones, which, in proportion to their 
distance from the centre, take the larger share in the 
movement. The shorter central ones do not move at 
all when a bit of meat, or a crushed fly, or a particle 
of a salt of ammonia, or the like, is placed upon 
them; but they transmit their excitation across the 
leaf to the surrounding tentacles on all sides ; and 
they, although absolutely untouched, as they succes- 
sively receive the mysterious impulse, bend strongly 
inward, just as they do when their own glands are ex- 
cited. Whenever a tentacle bends in obedience to an 
impulse from its own gland, the movement is always 


toward the centre of the leaf; and this also takes 
place, as we have seen, when an exciting object is 
lodged at the centre. But when the object is placed 
upon either half of the leaf, the impulse radiating 
thence causes all the surrounding untouched ten- 
tacles to bend with precision toward the point of 
excitement, even the central tentacles, which are mo- 
tionless when themselves charged, now responding 
to the call. The inflection which follows mechanical 
irritation or the presence of any inorganic or insoluble 
body is transient ; that which follows the application 
of organic matter lasts longer, more or less, according 
to its nature and the amount ; but sooner or later the 
tentacles resume their former position, their glands 
glisten anew with fresh secretion, and they are ready 
to act again. 

As to how the impulse is originated and propa- 
gated, and how the movements are made, compara- 
tively simple as the structure is, we know as little as 
we do of the nature of nervous impulse and muscular 
motion. But two things Mr. Darwin has wellnigh 
made out, both of them by means and observations 
so simple and direct as to command onr confidence, 
although they are contrary to the prevalent teaching. 
First, the transmission is through the ordinary cellular 
tissue, and not through what are called the fibrous or 
vascular bundles. Second, the movement is a vital 
one, and is effected by contraction on the side toward 
which the bending takes place, rather than by tur- 
gescent tension of the opposite side. The tentacle is 
pulled over rather than pushed over. So far all ac- 
cords with muscular action. 


The operation of this fly-catching apparatus, in 
any case, is plain. If the insect alights upon the disk 
of the leaf, the viscid secretion holds it fast at least, 
an ordinary fly is unable to escape its struggles only 
increase the number of glands involved and the 
amount of excitement ; this is telegraphed to the sur- 
rounding and successively longer tentacles, which 
bend over in succession, so that within ten to thirty 
hours, if the leaf is active and the fly large enough, 
every one of the glands (on the average, nearly two 
hundred in number) will be found applied to the body 
of the insect. If the insect is small, and the lodg- 
ment toward one side, only the neighboring tentacles 
may take part in the capture. If two or three of 
the strong marginal tentacles are first encountered, 
their prompt inflection carries the intruder to the 
centre, and presses it down upon the glands which 
thickly pave the floor; these notify all the surrounding 
tentacles of the capture, that they may share the 
spoil, and the fate of that victim is even as of the first. 
A bit of meat or a crushed insect is treated in the 
fame way. 

This language implies that the animal matter is in 
some way or other discerned by the tentacles, and is 
appropriated. Formerly there was only a presump- 
tion of this, on the general ground that such an organ- 
ization could hardly be purposeless. Yet, while such 
expressions were natural, if not unavoidable, they 
generally were used by those familiar with the facts 
in a half-serious, half-metaphorical sense. Thanks to 
Mr. Darwin's investigations, they may now be used in 
simplicity and seriousness. 


That the glands secrete the glairy liquid of the 
drop is evident, not only from its nature, but from its 
persistence through a whole day's exposure to a sum- 
mer sun, as also from its renewal after it has been re- 
moved, dried up, or absorbed. That they absorb as 
well as secrete, and that the whole tentacle may be 
profoundly affected thereby, are proved by the differ- 
ent effects, in kind and degree, which follow the appli- 
cation of different substances. Drops of rain-water, 
like single momentary touches of a solid body, pro- 
duce no effect, as indeed they could be of no advan- 
tage ; but a little carbonate of ammonia in the water, 
or an infusion of meat, not only causes inflection, but 
promptly manifests its action upon the contents of 
the cells of which the tentacle is constructed. These 
cells are sufficiently transparent to be viewed under 
the microscope without dissection or other interfer- 
ence ; and the change which takes place in the fluid 
contents of these cells, when the gland above has been 
acted upon, is often visible through a weak lens, or 
sometimes even by the naked eye, although higher 
powers are required to discern what actually takes 
place. This change, which Mr. Darwin discovered, 
and turns to much account in his researches, he terms 
" aggregation of the protoplasm." When untouched 
and quiescent, the contents appear as an homogeneous 
purple fluid. When the gland is acted upon, minute 
purple particles appear, suspended in the now colorless 
or almost colorless fluid ; and this change appears first 
in the cells next the gland, and then in those next be- 
neath, traveling down the whole length of the tenta- 
cle. When the action is slight, this appearance does 


not last long; the particles of "aggregated proto- 
plasm " redissolve, the process of redissolution travel- 
ing upward from the base of the tentacle to the gland 
iu a reverse direction to that of the aggregation. 
Whenever the action is more prolonged or intense, as 
when a bit of meat or crushed fly, or a fitting solu- 
tion, is left upon the gland, the aggregation proceeds 
further, so that the whole protoplasm of each cell con- 
denses into one or two masses, or into a single mass 
which will often separate into two, which afterward 
reunite ; indeed, they incessantly change their forms 
and positions, being never at rest, although their 
movements are rather slow. In appearance and move- 
ments they are very like amoebae and the white cor- 
puscles of the blood. Their motion, along with the 
streaming movement of rotation in the layer of white 
granular protoplasm that flows along the walls of the 
cell, under the high powers of the microscope " pro 
sents a wonderful scene of vital activity." This con- 
tinues while the tentacle is inflected or the gland fed 
by animal matter, but vanishes by dissolution when 
the work is over and the tentacle straightens. That 
absorption takes place, and matter is conveyed from 
cell to cell, is well made out, especially by the exper- 
iments with carbonate of ammonia. Nevertheless, 
this aggregation is not dependent upon absorption, for 
it equally occurs from mechanical irritation of the 
gland, and always accompanies inflection, however 
caused, though it may take place without it. This is 
also apparent from the astonishingly minute quantity 
of certain substances which suffices to produce sensible 
inflection and aggregation such, for instance, as the 


2 o o 0*0 o o o or even the 3 o q 0*0 ft o o of a g^ 11 of phos- 
phate or nitrate of ammonia ! 

By varied experiments it was found that the nitrate 
of ammonia was more powerful than the carbonate, 
and the phosphate more powerful than the nitrate, 
this result being intelligible from the difference in the 
amount of nitrogen in the first two salts, and from 
the presence of phosphorus in the third. There is 
nothing surprising in the absorption of such extremely 
dilute solutions by a gland. As our author remarks : 
u All physiologists admit that the roots of plants ab- 
sorb the salts of ammonia brought to them by the rain ; 
and fourteen gallons of rain-water [i. e., early rain- 
water] contain a grain of ammonia ; therefore, only a 
little more than twice as much as in the weakest solu- 
tion employed by me. The fact which appears truly 
wonderful is that the 2 o 0*0 o o o f a grain of the 
phosphate of ammonia, including less than 3 o o 0*0 o o o 
of efficient matter [if the water of crystallization 
is deducted], when absorbed by a gland, should in- 
duce some change in it which leads to a motor im- 
pulse being transmitted down the whole length of 
the tentacle, causing its basal part to bend, often 
through an angle of 180." But odoriferous particles 
which act upon the nerves of animals must be infinite- 
ly smaller, and by these a dog a quarter of a mile to 
the leeward of a deer perceives his presence by some 
change in the olfactory nerves transmitted through 
them to the brain. 

When Mr. Darwin obtained these results, fourteen 
years ago, he could claim for Drosera a power and 
delicacy in the detection of minute quantities of a sub- 


stance far beyond the resources of the most skillful 
chemist ; but in a foot-note he admits that " now the 
spectroscope has altogether beaten Drosera / for, ac- 
cording to Bunsen and Kirchhoff, probably less than 
the goooftoooo * a g ram of sodium can be thus 

Finally, that this highly-sensitive and active living 
organism absorbs, will not be doubted when it is 
proved to digest, that is, to dissolve otherwise insol- 
uble animal matter by the aid of special secretions. 
That it does this is now past doubting. In the first 
place, when the glands are excited they pour forth an 
increased amount of the ropy secretion. This occurs 
directly when a bit of meat is laid upon the central 
glands ; and the influence which they transmit to the 
long-stalked marginal glands causes them, while incurv- 
ing their tentacles, to secrete more copiously long be- 
fore they have themselves touched anything. The 
primary fluid, secreted without excitation, does not of 
itself digest. But the secretion under excitement 
changes in Nature and becomes acid. So, according 
to Schiff, mechanical irritation excites the glands of 
the stomach to secrete an acid. In both this acid ap- 
pears to be necessary to, but of itself insufficient for, 
digestion. The requisite solvent, a kind of ferment 
called pepsin, which acts only in the presence of the 
acid, is poured forth by the glands of the stomach only 
after they have absorbed certain soluble nutritive sub- 
stances of the food; then this pepsin promptly dis- 
solves muscle, fibrine, coagulated albumen, cartilage, 
and the like. Similarly it appears that Z>>'0s<?ra-glands, 
after irritation by particles of glass, did not act upon 


little cubes of albumen. But when moistened with 
saliva, or replaced by bits of roast-meat or gelatine, or 
even cartilage, which supply some soluble^e^&mtf-mat- 
ter to initiate the process, these substances are promptly 
acted upon, and dissolved or digested ; whence it is 
inferred that the analogy with the stomach holds good 
throughout, and that a ferment similar to pepsin is 
poured out under the stimulus of some soluble animal 
matter. But the direct evidence of this is furnished 
only by the related carnivorous plant, Dioncea, from 
which the secretions, poured out when digestion is 
about to begin, may be collected in quantity sufficient 
for chemical examination. In short, the experiments 
show "that there is a remarkable accordance in the. 
power of digestion between the gastric juice of ani- 
mals, with its pepsin and hydrochloric acid, and the 
secretion of Drosera, with its ferment and acid belong- 
ing to the acetic series. "We can, therefore, hardly 
doubt that the ferment in both cases is closely similar, 
if not identically the same. That a plant and an 
animal should pour forth the same, or nearly the 
same, complex secretion, adapted for the same pur- 
pose of digestion, is a new and wonderful fact in phys- 

There are one or two other species of sundew 
one of them almost as common in Europe and !N\)rth 
America as the ordinary round-leaved species which 
act in the same way, except that, having their leaves 
longer in proportion to their breadth, their sides never 
curl inward, but they are much disposed to aid the 
action of their tentacles by incurving the tip of the 
leaf, as if to grasp the morsel. There are many oth- 


ere, with variously less efficient and less advantageously 
arranged insectivorous apparatus, which, in the lan- 
guage of the new science, may be either on the way to 
acquire something better, or of losing what they may 
have had, while now adapting themselves to a proper 
vegetable life. There is one member of the family 
(DrosopJiijUumLusitanicuiri), an almost shrubby plant, 
which grows on dry and sunny hills in Portugal and 
Morocco which the villagers call " the fly-catcher," 
and hang up in their cottages for the purpose the 
glandular tentacles of which have wholly lost their 
powers of movement, if they ever had any, but which 
still secrete, digest, and absorb, being roused to great 
activity by the contact of any animal matter. A friend 
of ours once remarked that it was fearful to contem- 
plate the amount of soul that could be called forth in 
a dog by the sight of a piece of meat. Equally won- 
derful is the avidity for animal food manifested by 
these vegetable tentacles, that can "only stand and 
wait " for it. 

Only a brief chapter is devoted to Dioncea of 
North Carolina, the Venus's fly-trap, albeit, "from 
the rapidity and force of its movements, one of the 
most wonderful in the world." It is of the same 
family as the sundew ; but the action is transferred 
from tentacles on the leaf to the body of the leaf 
itself, which is transformed into a spring-trap, closing 
with a sudden movement over the alighted insect. No 
secretion is provided beforehand either for allurement 
or detention ; but after the captive is secured, micro- 
scopic glands within the surface of the leaf pour out 
an abundant gastric juice to digest it. Mrs. Glass's 


classical directions in the cook-book, " first catch your 
hare," are implicitly followed. 

Avoiding here all repetition or recapitulation of 
our former narrative, suffice it now to mention two in- 
teresting recent additions to our knowledge, for which 
we are indebted to Mr. Darwin. One is a research, 
the other an inspiration. It is mainly his investiga- 
tions which have shown that the glairy liquid, which 
is poured upon and macerates the captured insect, ac- 
complishes a true digestion ; that, like the gastric juice 
of animals, it contains both a free acid and pepsin or 
its analogue, these two together dissolving albumen, 
meat, and the like. The other point relates to the sig- 
nificance of a peculiarity in the process of capture. 
"When the trap suddenly incloses an insect which has 
betrayed its presence by touching one of the internal 
sensitive bristles, the closure is at first incomplete. 
For the sides approach in an arching way, surround- 
ing a considerable cavity, and the marginal spine-like 
bristles merely intercross their tips, leaving interven- 
ing spaces through which one may look into the cavity 
beneath. A good idea may be had of it by bringing 
the two palms near together to represent the sides of 
the trap, and loosely interlocking the fingers to repre- 
sent the marginal bristles or bars. After remaining 
some time in this position the closure is made complete 
by the margins coming into full contact, and the sides 
finally flattening down so as to press firmly upon the 
insect within ; the secretion excited by contact is now 
poured out, and digestion begins. Why these two 
stages? Why should time be lost by this preliminary 
and incomplete closing? The query probably was 


never distinctly raised before, no one noticing any- 
thing here that needed explanation. Darwinian tele- 
ology, however, raises questions like this, and Mr. 
Darwin not only propounded the riddle but solved it. 
The object of the partial closing is to permit small 
insects to escape through the meshes, detaining only 
those plump enough to be worth the trouble of digest- 
ing. For naturally only one insect is caught at a time, 
and digestion is a slow business with Dionaeas, as with 
anacondas, requiring ordinarily a fortnight. It is not 
worth while to undertake it with a gnat when larger 
game may be had. To test this happy conjecture, Mr. 
Canby was asked, on visiting the Dionaeas in their 
native habitat, to collect early in the season a good 
series of leaves in the act of digesting naturally-caught 
insects. Upon opening them it was found that ten 
out of fourteen were engaged upon relatively large 
prey, and of the remaining four three had insects as 
large as ants, and one a rather small fly. 

"There be land-rats and water-rats" in this carniv- 
orous sundew family. Aldrovanda, of the warmer 
parts of Europe and of India, is an aquatic plant, with 
bladdery leaves, which were supposed to be useful in 
rendering the herbage buoyant in water. But it has 
recently been found that the bladder is composed of 
two lobes, like the trap of its relative Dionaa, or the 
valves of a mussel-shell ; that these open when the 
plant is in an active state, are provided with some sen- 
sitive bristles within, and when these are touched close 
with a quick movement. These water-traps are mani- 
festly adapted for catching living creatures ; and the 
few incomplete investigations that have already been 


made render it highly probable that they appropriate 
their prey for nourishment ; whether by digestion or 
by mere absorption of decomposing animal matter, is 
uncertain. It is certainly most remarkable that this 
family of plants, wherever met with, and under the 
most diverse conditions and modes of life, should 
always in some way or other be predaceous and car- 

If it be not only surprising but somewhat con- 
founding to our classifications that a whole group of 
plants should subsist partly by digesting animal mat- 
ter and partly in the normal way of decomposing car- 
bonic acid and producing the basis of animal matter, 
we have, as Mr. Darwin remarks, a counterpart anom- 
aly in the animal kingdom. While some plants have 
stomachs, some animals have roots. " The rhizoceph- 
alous crustaceans do not feed like other animals by 
their mouths, for they are destitute of an alimentary 
canal, but they live by absorbing through root-like 
processes the juices of the animals on which they are 

To a naturalist of our day, imbued with those ideas 
of the solidarity of organic Nature which such facts as 
those we have been considering suggest, the greatest 
anomaly of all would be that they are really anoma- 
lous or unique. Eeasonably supposing, therefore, that 
the sundew did not stand alone, Mr. Darwin turned 
his attention to other groups of plants ; and, first, to 
the bladderworts, which have no near kinship with the 
sundews, but, like the aquatic representative of that 
family, are provided with bladdery sacs, under water. 
In the common species of Utricularia or bladderwort, 


these little sacs, hanging from submerged leaves or 
branches, have their orifice closed by a lid which opens 
inwardly a veritable trap-door. It had been noticed 
in England and France that they contained minute 
crustacean animals. Early in the summer of 1874, 
Mr. Darwin ascertained the mechanism for their capt- 
ure and the great success with which it is used. But 
before his account was written out, Prof. Cohn pub- 
lished an excellent paper on the subject in Germany ; 
and Mrs. Treat, of Vineland, New Jersey, a still ear- 
lier one in this country in the N~ew York Tribune in 
the autumn of 1874. Of the latter, Mr. Darwin re- 
marks that she "has been more successful than any 
other observer in witnessing the actual entrance of 
these minute creatures." They never come put, but 
soon perish in their prison, which receives a continued 
succession of victims, but little, if any, fresh air to the 
contained water. The action of the trap is purely me- 
chanical, without evident irritability in the opening or 
shutting. There is no evidence nor much likelihood of 
proper digestion ; indeed, Mr. Darwin found evidence 
to the contrary. But the more or less decomposed 
and dissolved r.nimal matter is doubtless absorbed in- 
to the plant ; for the whole interior of the sac is lined 
with peculiar, elongated and four-armed very thin- 
walled processes, which contain active protoplasm, and 
which were proved by experiment to " have the power 
of absorbing matter from weak solutions of certain 
salts of ammonia and uren, and from a putrid infusion 
of raw meat." 

Although the bladderworts "prey on garbage," 
their terrestrial relatives " live cleanly," as nobler 


plants should do, and have a good and true digestion. 
Pinguicula, or butterwort, is the representative of 
this family upon land. It gets both its Latin and its 
English name from the fatty or greasy appearance of 
the upper face of its broad leaves ; and this appear- 
ance is due to a dense coat or pile of short-stalked 
glands, which secrete a colorless and extremely viscid 
liquid. By this small flies, or whatever may alight or 
fall upon the leaf, are held fast. These waifs might 
be useless or even injurious to the plant. Probably 
Mr. Darwin was the first to ask whether they might 
be of advantage. He certainly was the first to show 
that they probably are so. The evidence from experi- 
ment, shortly summed up, is, that insects alive or dead, 
and also other nitrogenous bodies, excite these glands 
to increased secretion ; the secretion then becomes 
acid, and acquires the power of dissolving solid ani- 
mal substances that is, the power of digestion in the 
manner of Drosera and Dioncea. And the stalks of 
their glands under the microscope give the .same ocu- 
lar evidence of absorption. The leaves of the butter- 
wort are apt to have their margins folded inward, like 
a rim or hem. Taking young and vigorous leaves to 
which hardly anything had yet adhered, and of which 
the margins were still flat, Mr. Darwin set within one 
margin a row of small flies. Fifteen hours afterward 
this edge was neatly turned inward, partly covering 
the row of flies, and the surrounding glands were se- 
creting copiously. The other edge remained flat and 
unaltered. Then he stuck a fly to the middle of the 
leaf just below its tip, and soon both margins infold- 
ed, so as to clasp the object. Many other and varied 


experiments yielded similar results. Even pollen, 
which would not rarely be lodged upon these leaves, 
as it falls from surrounding wind-fertilized plants, also 
small seeds, excited the same action, and showed signs 
of being acted upon. "We may therefore conclude," 
with Mr. Darwin, "that Pinguicula vulgaris, with 
its small roots, is not only supported to a large extent 
by the extraordinary number of insects which it habit- 
ually captures, but likewise draws some nourishment 
from the pollen, leaves, and seeds, of other plants which 
often adhere to its leaves. It is, therefore, partly a 
vegetable as well as an animal feeder." 

What is now to be thought of the ordinary glandu- 
lar hairs which render the surface of many and the 
most various plants extremely viscid ? Their number 
is legion. The Chinese primrose of common garden 
and house culture is no extraordinary instance ; but 
Mr. Francis Darwin, counting those on a small space 
measured by the micrometer, estimated them at 65,371 
to the square inch of foliage, taking in both surfaces 
of the leaf, or two or three millions on a moderate-sized 
specimen of this small herb. Glands of this sort were 
loosely regarded as organs for excretion, without much 
consideration of the question whether, in vegetable 
life, there could be any need to excrete, or any advan- 
tage gained by throwing off such products ; and, while 
the popular name of catch-fly, given to several com- 
mon species of Silene, indicates long familiarity with 
the fact, probably no one ever imagined that the 
swarms of small insects which perish upon these sticky 
surfaces were ever turned to account by the plant. 
In many such cases, no doubt they perish as uselessly 


as when attracted into the flame of a candle. In the 
tobacco-plant, for instance, Mr. Darwin could find no 
evidence that the glandular hairs absorb animal mat- 
ter. But Darwinian philosophy expects all gradations 
between casualty and complete adaptation. It is 
most probable that any thin- walled vegetable structure 
which secretes may also be capable of absorbing under 
favorable conditions. The myriads of exquisitely- 
constructed glands of the Chinese primrose are not 
likely to be f unctionless. Mr. Darwin ascertained by 
direct experiment that they promptly absorb carbon- 
ate of ammonia, both in watery solution and in vapor. 
So, since rain-water usually contains a small percent- 
age of ammonia, a use for these glands becomes appar- 
ent one completely congruous with that of absorbing 
any animal matter, or products of its decomposition, 
which may come in their way through the occasional 
entanglement of insects in their viscid secretion. In 
several saxifrages not very distant relatives of Dro- 
sera the viscid glands equally manifested the power 
of absorption. 

To trace a gradation between a simply absorbing 
hair with a glutinous tip, through which the plant may 
perchance derive slight contingent advantage, and the 
tentacles of a sundew, with their exquisite and asso- 
ciated adaptations, does not much lessen the wonder 
nor explain the phenomena. After all, as Mr. Dar- 
win modestly concludes, " we see how little has been 
made out in comparison with what remains unex- 
plained and unknown." But all this must be allowed 
to be an important contribution to the doctrine of 
the gradual acquirement of uses and functions, and 


hardly to find conceivable explanation upon any 
other hypothesis. 

There remains one more mode in which plants of 
the higher grade are known to prey upon animals ; 
namely, by means of pitchers, urns, or tubes, in which 
insects and the like are drowned or confined, and either 
macerated or digested. To this Mr. Darwin barely 
alludes on the last page of the present volume. The 
main facts known respecting the American pitcher- 
plants have, as was natural, been ascertained in this 
country ; and we gave an abstract, two years ago, of 
our then incipient knowledge. Much has been learned 
since, although all the observations have been of a des- 
ultory character. If space permitted, an instructive 
narrative might be drawn up, as well of the economy 
of the Sarracenias as of how we came to know what 
we do of it. But the very little we have room for will 
be strictly supplementary to our former article. 

The pitchers of our familiar Northern Sarracenia, 
which is likewise Southern, are open-mouthed ; and, 
although they certainly secrete some liquid when 
young, must derive most of the water they ordinarily 
contain from rain. How insects are attracted is un- 
known, but the water abounds with their drowned 
bodies and decomposing remains. 

In the more southern S. flava, the long and trum- 
pet-shaped pitchers evidently depend upon the liquid 
which they themselves secrete, although at maturity, 
when the hood becomes erect, rain may somewhat add 
to it. This species, as we know, allures insects by a 
peculiar sweet exudation within the orifice ; they fall 
in and perish, though seldom by drowning, yet few 


are able to escape ; and their decomposing remains ac- 
cumulate in the narrow bottom of the vessel. Two 
other long-tubed species of the Southern States are 
similar in these respects. There is another, 8. psit- 
tacina, the parrot-headed species, remarkable for the 
cowl-shaped hood so completely inflexed over the 
mouth of the small pitcher that no ram can possibly 
enter. Little is known, however, of the efficiency of 
this species as a fly-catcher ; but its conformation has 
a morphological interest, leading up, as it does, to the 
Californian type of pitcher presently to be mentioned. 
But the remaining species, S. variolaris, is the most 
wonderful of our pitcher-plants in its adaptations for 
the capture of insects. The inflated and mottled lid 
or hood overarches the ample orifice of the tubular 
pitcher sufficiently to ward off the rain, but not to 
obstruct the free access of flying insects. Flies, ants, 
and most insects, glide and fall from the treacherous 
smooth throat into the deep well below, and never 
escape. They are allured by a sweet secretion just 
within the orifice which was discovered and described 
long ago, and the knowledge of it wellnigh forgotten 
until recently. And, finally, Dr. Mellichamp, of South 
Carolina, two years ago made the capital discovery that, 
during the height of the season, this lure extends from 
the orifice down nearly to the ground, a length of a 
foot or two, in the form of a honeyed line or narrow 
trail on the edge of the wing-like border which is con 
spicuous in all these species, although only in this one, 
so far as known, turned to such account. Here, one 
would say, is a special adaptation to ants and such ter- 
restrial and creeping insects. "Well, long before this 


sweet trail was known, it was remarked by the late 
Prof. Wyman and others that the pitchers of this 
species, in the savannahs of Georgia and Florida, con- 
tain far more ants than they do of all other insects 
put together. 

Finally, all this is essentially repeated in the pecul- 
iar Californian pitcher-plant (Darlingtonia\ a genus 
of the same natural family, which captures insects in 
great variety, enticing them by a sweetish secretion 
over the whole inside of the inflated hood and that of 
a curious forked appendage, resembling a fish-tail, 
which overhangs the orifice. This orifice is so con- 
cealed that it can be seen and approached only from 
below, as if the casual observer might infer to es- 
cape visitation. But dead insects of all kinds, and 
their decomposing remains, crowd the cavity and satu- 
rate the liquid therein contained, enticed, it is said, by 
a peculiar odor, as well as by the sweet lure which is 
at some stages so abundant as to drip from the tips of 
the overhanging appendage. The principal observa- 
tions upon this pitcher-plant in its native habitat have 
been made by Mrs. Austin, and only some of the ear- 
lier ones have thus far been published by Mr. Canby. 
But we are assured that in this, as in the Sarracenia 
variolaris, the sweet exudation extends at the propei 
season from the orifice down the wing nearly to the 
ground, and that ants follow this honeyed pathway to 
their destruction. Also, that the watery liquid in the 
pitcher, which must be wholly a secretion, is much in- 
creased in quantity after the capture of insects. 

It cannot now well be doubted that the animal 
matter is utilized by the plant in all these cases, al- 


though most probably only after maceration or de- 
composition. In some of them even digestion, or 
at least the absorption of undecomposed soluble ani- 
mal juices, may be suspected ; but there is no proof 
of it. But, if pitchers of the Sarracenia family are 
only macerating vessels, those of the 
pitchers of the Indian Archipelago, familiar in con- 
servatories seem to be stomachs. The investigations 
of the President of the Royal Society, Dr. Hooker, 
although incomplete, wellnigh demonstrate that these 
not only allure insects by a sweet secretion at the rim 
and upon the lid of the cup, but also that their capt- 
ure, or the presence of other partly soluble animal 
matter, produces an increase and an acidulation of the 
contained watery liquid, which thereupon becomes 
capable of acting in the manner of that of Drosera 
and Dioncectj dissolving flesh, albumen, and the like. 

After all, there never was just ground for denying 
to vegetables the use of animal food. The fungi are 
by far the most numerous family of plants, and they 
all live upon organic matter, some upon dead and de- 
composing, some upon living, some upon both; and 
the number of those that feed upon living animals 
is large. Whether these carnivorous propensities of 
higher plants which so excite our wonder be regarded 
as survivals of ancestral habits, or as comparatively 
late acquirements, or even as special endowments, in 
any case what we have now learned of them goes to 
strengthen the conclusion that the whole organic world 
is akin. 

The volume upon " The Movements and Habits 
of Climbing Plants " is a revised and enlarged edition 


of a memoir communicated to the Linnaean Society in 
1865, and published in the ninth volume of its Jour- 
nal. There was an extra impression, but, beyond the 
circle of naturalists, it can hardly have been much 
known at first-hand. Even now, when it is made a 
part of the general Darwinian literature, it is unlikely 
to be as widely read as the companion volume which 
we have been reviewing ; although it is really a more 
readable book, and well worthy of far more extended 
notice at our hands than it can now receive. The rea- 
son is obvious. It seems as natural that plants should 
climb as it does unnatural that any should take animal 
food. Most people, knowing that some plants " twine 
with the sun," and others " against the sun," have an 
idea that the sun in some way causes the twining ; in- 
deed, the notion is still fixed in the popular mind that 
the same species twines in opposite directions north 
and south of the equator. 

Readers of this fascinating treatise will learn, first 
of all, that the sun has no influence over such move- 
ments directly, and that its indirect influence is com- 
monly adverse or disturbing, except the heat, which 
quickens vegetable as it does animal life. Also, that 
climbing is accomplished by powers and actions as un- 
like those generally predicated of the vegetable king- 
dom as any which have been brought to view in the 
preceding volume. Climbing plants " feel " as well as 
" grow and live ; " and they also manifest an automa- 
tism which is perhaps more wonderful than a response 
by visible movement to an external irritation. Nor 
do plants grow up their supports, as is unthinkingly 
supposed ; for, although only growing or newly-grown 


parts act in climbing, the climbing and the growth are 
entirely distinct. To this there is one exception an 
instructive one, as showing how one action passes into 
another, and how the same result may be brought 
about in different ways that of stems which climb by 
rootlets, such as of ivy and trumpet-creeper. Here the 
stem ascends by growth alone, taking upward direc- 
tion, and is fixed by rootlets as it grows. There is no 
better way of climbing walls, precipices, and large 

But small stems and similar supports are best as- 
cended by twining ; and this calls out powers of anoth- 
er and higher order. The twining stem does not grow 
around its support, but winds around it, and it does 
this by a movement the nature of which is best ob- 
served in stems which have not yet reached their sup- 
port, or have overtopped it and stretched out beyond 
it. Then it may be seen that the extending summit, 
reaching farther and farther as it grows, is making free 
circular sweeps, by night as well as by day, and irre- 
spective of external circumstances, except that warmth 
accelerates the movement, and that the general ten- 
dency of young stems to bend toward the light may, 
in case of lateral illumination, accelerate one-half the 
circuit while it equally retards the other. The arrest 
of the revolution where the supporting body is struck, 
while the portion beyond continues its movement, 
brings about the twining. As to the proximate cause 
of this sweeping motion, a few simple experiments 
prove that it results from the bowing or bending of the 
free summit of the stem into a more or less horizontal 
position (this bending being successively to every point 


of the compass, through an action which circulates 
around the stem in the direction of the sweep), and of 
the consequent twining, i. e., " with the sun," or with 
the movement of the hands of a watch, in the hop, 
or in the opposite direction in pole-beans and most 

Twining plants, therefore, ascend trees or other 
stems by an action and a movement of their own, from 
which they derive advantage. To plants liable to be 
overshadowed by more robust companions, climbing is 
an economical method of obtaining a freer exposure to 
light and air with the smallest possible expenditure of 
material. But twiners have one disadvantage : to rise 
ten feet they must produce fifteen feet of stem or 
thereabouts, according to the diameter of the sup- 
port, and the openness or closeness of the coil. A root- 
let-climber saves much in this respect, but has a re- 
stricted range of action, and other disadvantages. 

There are two other modes, which combine the ut- 
most economy of material with freer range of action. 
There are, in the first place, leaf-climbers of various 
sorts, agreeing only in this, that the duty of laying 
hold is transferred to the leaves, so that the stem may 
rise in a direct line. Sometimes the blade or leaflets, 
or some of them, but more commonly their slender 
stalks, undertake the work, and the plant rises as a boy 
ascends a tree, grasping first with one hand or arm, 
then with the other. Indeed, the comparison, like the 
leaf-stalk, holds better than would be supposed ; for 
the grasping of the latter is not the result of a blind 
groping in all directions by a continuous movement, 
but of a definite sensitiveness which acts only upon the 


occasion. Most leaves make no regular sweeps ; but 
when the stalks of a leaf-climbing species come into 
prolonged contact with any fitting extraneous body, 
they slowly incurve and make a turn around it, and 
then commonly thicken and harden until they attain 
a strength which may equal that of the stem itself. 
Here we have the faculty of movement to a definite 
end, upon external irritation, of the same nature with 
that displayed by Dioncea and Drosera, although slow- 
er for the most part than even in the latter. But the 
movement of the hour-hand of the clock is not differ- 
ent in nature or cause from that of the second-hand. 

Finally distribution of office being, on the whole, 
most advantageous and economical, and this, in the 
vegetable kingdom, being led up to by degrees we 
reach, through numerous gradations, the highest style 
of climbing plants in the tendril-climber. A tendril, 
morphologically, is either a leaf or branch of stem, or 
a portion of one, specially organized for climbing. 
Some tendrils simply turn away from light, as do those 
of grape-vines, thus taking the direction in which some 
supporting object is likely to be encountered ; most 
are indifferent to light ; and many revolve in the man- 
ner of the summit of twining steins. As the stems 
which bear these highly-endowed tendrils in many 
cases themselves also revolve more or less, though they 
seldom twine, their reach is the more extensive ; and 
to this endowment of automatic movement most ten- 
drils add the other faculty, that of incurving and coil- 
ing upon prolonged touch, or even brief contact, in the 
highest degree. Some long tendrils, when in their 
best condition, revolve so rapidly that the sweeping 


movement may be plainly seen ; indeed, we Lave seen 
a quarter-circuit in a Passrftora sicyoides accomplished 
in less than a minute, and the half-circuit in ten min- 
utes ; but the other half (for a reason alluded to in the 
next paragraph) takes a much longer time. Then, as 
to the coiling upon contact, in the case first noticed in 
this country, 1 in the year 1858, which Mr. Darwin 
mentions as having led him into this investigation, 
the tendril of Sicyos was seen to coil within half a 
minute after a stroke with the hand, and to make a 
full turn or more within the next minute; furnishing 
ocular evidence that tendrils grasp and coil in virtue 
of sensitiveness to contact, and, one would suppose, 
negativing Sachs's recent hypothesis that all these 
movements are owing " to rapid growth on the side 
opposite to that which becomes concave " a view to 
which Mr. Darwin objects, but not so strongly as he 
might. The tendril of this sort, on striking some fit- 
ting object, quickly curls round and firmly grasps it ; 
then, after some hours, one side shortening or remain- 
ing short in proportion to the other, it coils into a 
spire, dragging the stem up to its support, and ena- 
bling the next tendril above to secure a readier 

In revolving tendrils perhaps the most wonderful 
adaptation is that by which they avoid attachment to, 
or winding themselves upon, the ascending summit of 
the stem that bears them. This they would inevitably 
do if they continued their sweep horizontally. But 

1 [A. Gray, in " Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and 
Sciences," voL iv., p. 98 ; and American Journal of Science and the 
Arlt, March, 1859, p. 278.] 


when in its course it nears the parent stem the tendril 
moves slowly, as if to gather strength, then stiffens 
and rises into an erect position parallel with it, and so 
passes by the dangerous point ; after which it comes 
rapidly down to the horizontal position, in which it 
moves until it again approaches and again avoids the 
impending obstacle. 

Climbing plants are distributed throughout almost 
all the natural orders. In some orders climbing is 
the rule, in most it is the exception, occurring only in 
certain genera. The tendency of stems to move in 
circuits upon which climbing more commonly de- 
pends, and out of which it is conceived to have been 
educed is manifested incipiently by many a plant 
which does not climb. Of those that do there are 
all degrees, from the feeblest to the most efficient, 
from those which have no special adaptation to those 
which have exquisitely-endowed special organs for 
climbing. The conclusion reached is, that the power 
"is inherent, though undeveloped, in almost every 
plant ; " " that climbing plants have utilized and per- 
fected a widely-distributed and incipient capacity, 
which, as far as we can see, is of no service to ordi- 
nary plants." 

Inherent powers and incipient manifestations, use- 
less to their possessors but useful to their successors 
this, doubtless, is according to the order of Nature ; 
but it seems to need something more than natural se- 
lection to account for it. 





Do Varieties wear out, or tend to wear out f 

February \ 1876.) 

THIS question has been argued from time to time 
for more than half a century, and is far from being 
settled yet. Indeed, it is not to be settled either way 
so easily as is sometimes thought. The result of a 
prolonged and rather lively discussion of the topic 
about forty years ago in England, in which Lindley 
bore a leading part on the negative side, was, if we 
rightly remember, that the nays had the best of the 
argument. The deniers could fairly well explain away 
the facts adduced by the other side, and evade the 
force of the reasons then assigned to prove that varie- 
ties were bound to die out in the course of time. But 
if the case were fully re-argued now, it is by no means 
certain that the nays would win it. The most they 
could expect would be the Scotch verdict, "not 
proven." And this not because much, if any, addi- 
tional evidence of the actual wearing out of any van- 


ety has turned up since, but because a presumption 
has been raised under which the evidence would take 
a bias the other way. There is now in the minds of 
scientific men some reason to expect that certain vari- 
eties would die out in the long run, and this might 
have an important influence upon the interpretation 
of the facts. Curiously enough, however, the recent 
discussions to which onr attention has been called 
seem, on both sides, to have overlooked this 

But, first of all, the question needs to be more 
specifically stated. There are varieties and varieties. 
They may, some of them, disappear or deteriorate, but 
yet not wear out not come to an end from any inher- 
ent cause. One might even say, the younger they are 
the less the chance of survival unless well cared for. 
They may be smothered out by the adverse force of 
superior numbers; they are even more likely to be 
bred out of existence by unprevented cross-fertiliza- 
tion, or to disappear from mere change of fashion. 
The question, however, is not so much about reversion to 
an ancestral state, or the falling off of a high-bred stock 
into an inferior condition. Of such cases it is enough 
to say that, when a variety or strain, of animal or vege- 
Ijable, is led up to unusual fecundity or of size or prod- 
wet of any organ, for our good, and not for the good 
* F$jie plant or animal itself, it can be kept so only by 
high feeding and exceptional care ; and that with high 
feeding and artificial appliances comes vastly increased 
liability to disease, which may practically annihilate 
the race. But then the race, like the bursted boiler, 
could not be said to wear out, while if left to ordinary 
conditions, and allowed to degenerate back into a more 


natural if less useful state, its hold on life would evi- 
dently be increased rather than diminished. 

As to natural varieties or races under normal con- 
ditions, sexually propagated, it could readily be shown 
that they are neither more nor less likely to disappear 
from any inherent cause than the species from which 
they originated. Whether species wear out, i. e., have 
their rise, culmination, and decline, from any inherent 
cause, is wholly a geological and very speculative prob- 
lem, upon which, indeed, only vague conjectures can 
be offered. The matter actually under discussion con- 
cerns cultivated domesticated varieties only, and, as to 
plants, is covered by two questions. 

First, Will races propagated by seed, being so fixed 
that they come true to seed, and purely bred (not 
crossed with any other sort), continue so indefinitely, 
or will they run out in time not die out, perhaps, 
but lose their distinguishing characters ? Upon this, 
all we are able to say is that we know no reason why 
they should wear out or deteriorate from any inherent 
cause. The transient existence or the deterioration 
and disappearance of many such races are sufficiently 
accounted for otherwise ; as in the case of extraordi- 
^narily exuberant varieties, such as mammoth fruits or 
)ts, by increased liability to disease, already adverted 
>, or by the failure of the high feeding they demand. 
A common cause, in ordinary cases, is cross-breeding, 
through the agency of wind or insects, which is difficult 
to guard against. Or they go out of fashion and are 
superseded by others thought to be better, and so the 
old ones disappear. 

Or, finally, they may revert to an ancestral form. 


As offspring tend to resemble grandparents almost as 
much as parents, and as a line of close-bred ancestry 
is generally prepotent, so newly-originated varieties 
have always a tendency to reversion. This is pretty 
sure to show itself in some of the progeny of the ear- 
lier generations, and the breeder has to guard against 
it by rigid selection. But the older the variety is 
that is, the longer the series of generations in which 
it has come true from seed the less the chance of re- 
version : for now, to be like the immediate parents, is 
also to be like a long line of ancestry; and so all the 
influences concerned that is, both parental and an- 
cestral heritability act in one and the same direction. 
So, since the older a race is the more reason it has to 
continue true, the presumption of the unlimited per- 
manence of old races is veiy strong. 

Of course the race itself may give off new varie- 
ties ; but that is no interference with the vitality of 
the original stock. If some of the new varieties sup- 
plant the old, that will not be because the unvaried 
stock is worn out or decrepit with age, but because in 
wild Nature the newer forms are better adapted to the 
surroundings, or, under man's care, better adapted to 
his wants or fancies. 

The second question, and one upon which the discus- 
sion about the wearing out of varieties generally turns, 
is, Will varieties propagated from buds, i. e., by divis- 
ion, grafts, bulbs, tubers, and the like, necessarily dete- 
riorate and die out f First, Do they die out as a matter 
of fact ? Upon this, the testimony has all along been 
conflicting. Andrew Knight was sure that they do, 
and there could hardly be a more trustworthy witness. 


"The fact," he says, fifty years ago, "that certain varieties 
of some species of fruit which have been long cultivated cannot 
now be made to grow in the same soils and under the same 
mode of management, which was a century ago so perfectly 
successful, is placed beyond the reach of controversy. Every 
experiment which seemed to afford the slightest prospect of 
success was tried by myself and others to propagate the old 
varieties of the apple and pear which formerly constituted the 
orchards of Herefordshire, without a single healthy or efficient 
tree having been obtained; and I believe all attempts to propa- 
gate these varieties have, during some years, wholly ceased to 
be made." 

To this it was replied, in that and the next gen- 
eration, that cultivated vines have been transmitted by 
perpetual division from the time of the Romans, and 
that several of the sorts, still prized and prolific, are 
well identified, among them the ancient Graecula, con- 
sidered to be the modern Corinth or currant grape, 
which has immemorially been seedless ; that the old 
nonpareil apple was known in the time of Queen 
Elizabeth ; that the white beurr6 pears of France have 
been propagated from the earliest times ; and that 
golden pippins, St. Michael pears, and others said to 
have run out, were still to be had in good condition. 

Coming down to the present year, a glance through 
the proceedings of pomological societies, and the de- 
bates of farmers' clubs, brings out the same difference 
of opinion. The testimony is nearly equally divided. 
Perhaps the larger number speak of the deterioration 
and failure of particular old sorts ; but when the ques- 
tion turns on " wearing out," the positive evidence of 
vigorous trees and sound fruits is most telling. A lit- 
tle positive testimony outweighs a good deal of nega- 


tive. This cannot readily be explained away, while 
the failures may be, by exhaustion of soil, incoming 
of disease, or alteration of climate or circumstances. 
On the other hand, it may be urged that, if a variety 
of this sort is fated to become decrepit and die out, it 
is not bound to die out all at once, and everywhere at 
the same time. It would be expected first to give 
way wherever it is weakest, from whatever cause. 
This consideration has an important bearing upon the 
final question, Are old varieties of this kind on the 
way to die out on account of their age or any inherent 
limit of vitality? 

Here, again, Mr. Knight took an extreme view. 
In his essay in the " Philosophical Transactions," pub- 
lished in the year 1810, he propounded the theory, 
not merely of a natural limit to varieties from grafts 
and cuttings, but even that they would not survive 
the natural term of the life of the seedling trees from 
which they were originally taken. Whatever may 
have been his view of the natural term of the life of 
a tree, and of a cutting being merely a part of the 
individual that produced it, there is no doubt that he 
laid himself open to the effective replies which were 
made from all sides at the time, and have lost none of 
their force since. "Weeping-willows, bread-fruits, ba- 
nanas, sugar-cane, tiger-lilies, Jerusalem artichokes, 
and the like, have been propagated for a long while 
in this way, without evident decadence. 

Moreover, the analogy upon which his hypothesis 
is founded will not hold. Whether or not one adopts 
the present writer's conception, that individuality is 
not actually reached or maintained in the vegetable 


world, it is clear enough that a common plant or tree 
is not an individual in the sense that a horse or man, 
or any one of the higher animals, is that it is an indi- 
vidual only in the sense that a branching zoophyte 
or mass of coral is. Solvitur crescendo : the tree and 
the branch equally demonstrate that they are not indi- 
viduals, by being divided with impunity and advan- 
tage, with no loss of life, but much increase. It looks 
odd enough to see a writer like Mr. Sisley reproducing 
the old hypothesis in so bare a form as this : " I am 
prepared to maintain that varieties are individuals, and 
that as they are born they must die, like other indi- 
viduals. . . . "We know that oaks, Sequoias, and other 
trees, live several centuries, but how many we do not 
exactly know. Bat that they must die, no one in his 
senses will dispute." Now, what people in their senses 
do dispute is, not that the tree will die, but that other 
trees, established from its cuttings, will die with it. 

But does it follow from this that non-sexually- 
propagated varieties are endowed with the same power 
of unlimited duration that is possessed by varieties 
and species propagated sexually i. e., by seed ? Those 
who think so jump too soon at their conclusion. For, 
as to the facts, it is not enough to point out the dis- 
eases or the trouble in the soil or the atmosphere to 
which certain old fruits are succumbing, nor to prove 
that a parasitic fungus (Peronospora infestans) is 
what is the matter with potatoes. For how else would 
constitutional debility, if such there be, more natural- 
ly manifest itself than in such increased liability or 
diminished resistance to such attacks ? And if you 
say that, anyhow, such varieties do not die of old age 


meaning that each individual attacked does not die 
of old age, but of manifest disease it may be asked in 
return, what individual man ever dies of old age in any 
other sense than of a similar inability to resist inva- 
sions which in earlier years would have produced no 
noticeable effect ? Aged people die of a slight cold 
or a slight accident, but the inevitable weakness that 
attends old age is what makes these slight attacks fatal. 

Finally, there is a philosophical argument which 
tells strongly for some limitation of the duration of 
non-sexually-propagated forms, one that probably 
Knight never thought of, but which we should not 
have expected recent writers to overlook. When Mr. 
Darwin announced the principle that cross-fertilization 
between the individuals of a species is the plan of 
Nature, and is practically so universal that it fairly 
sustains his inference that no hermaphrodite species 
continually self -fertilized would continue to exist, he 
made it clear to all who apprehend and receive the 
principle that a series of plants propagated by buds 
only must have weaker hold of life than a series re- 
produced by seed. For the former is the closest pos- 
sible kind of close breeding. Upon this ground such 
varieties may be expected ultimately to die out ; but 
" the mills of the gods grind so exceeding slow " that 
we cannot say that any particular grist has been actu- 
ally ground out under human observation. 

If it be asked how the asserted principle is proved 
or made probable, we can here merely say that the 
proof is wholly inferential. But the inference is 
drawn from such a vast array of facts that it is well- 
nigh irresistible. It is the legitimate explanation of 


those arrangements in Nature to secure cross-fertiliza- 
tion in the species, either constantly or occasionally, 
which are so general, so varied and diverse, and, \ve 
may add, so exquisite and wonderful, that, once pro- 
pounded, we see that it must be true. 1 What else, in- 
deed, is the meaning and use of sexual reproduction ? 
Not simply increase of numbers ; for that is otherwise 
effectually provided for by budding propagation in 
plants and many of the lower animals. There are 
plants, indeed, of the lower sort (such as diatoms), in 
which the whole multiplication takes place in this 
way, and with great rapidity. These also have sexual 
reproduction ; but in it two old individuals are always 
destroyed to make a single new one ! Here propaga- 
tion diminishes the number of individuals fifty per 
cent. Who can suppose that such a costly process as 
this, and that all the exquisite arrangements for cross- 
fertilization in hermaphrodite plants, do not subserve 
some most important purpose ? How and why the 
union of two organisms, or generally of two very mi- 

1 Here an article would be in place, explaining the arrangements in 
Nature for cross-fertilization, or wide-breeding, in plants, through the 
agency, sometimes of the winds, but more commonly of insects ; the 
more so, since the development of the principle, the appreciation of its 
importance, and its confirmation by abundant facts, are mainly due to 
Mr. Darwin. But our reviews and notices of his early work " On the 
Contrivances in Nature for the Fertilization of Orchids by Means of 
Insects," in 1862, and his various subsequent papers upon other parts 
of this subject, are either to otcchnical or too fragmentary or spe- 
cial to be here reproduced. Indeed, a popular essay is now hardly 
needed, since the topic has been fully presented, of late years, in the 
current popular and scientific journals, and in common educational 
works and text-books, so that it is in the way of .becoming a part and 
a most inviting part of ordinary botanical instruction. 


nute portions of them, should reenforce vitality, we 
do not know, and can hardlj conjecture. But this 
must be the meaning of sexual reproduction. 

The conclusion of the matter, from the scientific 
point of view, is, that sexually-propagated varieties or 
races, although liable to disappear through change, 
need not be expected to wear out, and there is no proof 
that they do ; but, that non-sexually propagated va- 
rieties, though not especially liable to change, may 
theoretically be expected to wear out, but to be a very 
long time about it. 

Do Species wear out? and if not, why not f 

THE question we have just been considering was 
merely whether races are, or may be, as enduring as 
species. As to the inherently unlimited existence of 
species themselves, or the contrary, this, as we have 
said, is a geological and very speculative problem. Not 
a few geologists and naturalists, however, have con- 
cluded, or taken for granted, that species have a natu- 
ral term of existence that they culminate, decline, 
and disappear through exhaustion of specific vitality, 
or some equivalent internal cause. As might be ex- 
pected from the nature of the inquiry, the facts which 
bear upon the question are far from decisive. If the 
fact that species in general have not been interminable, 
but that one after another in long succession has be- 
come extinct, would seem to warrant this conclusion, 
the persistence through immense periods of no incon- 


siderable number of the lower forms of vegetable and 
animal life, and of a few of the higher plants from 
the Tertiary period to the present, tells even more di- 
rectly for the limitless existence of species. The dis- 
appearance is quite compatible with the latter view ; 
while the persistence of any species is hardly explicable 
upon any other. So that, even under the common be- 
lief of the entire stability and essential inflexibility of 
species, extinction is more likely to have been acciden- 
tal than predetermined, and the doctrine of inherent 
limitation is unsupported by positive evidence. 

On the other hand, it is an implication of the Dar- 
winian doctrine that species are essentially unlimited 
in existence. When they die out as sooner or later 
any species may the verdict must be accidental death, 
under stress of adverse circumstances, not exhaustion 
of vitality ; and, commonly, when the species seems to 
die out, it will rather have suffered change. For the 
stock of vitality which enables it to vary and survive 
in changed forms under changed circumstances must 
be deemed sufficient for a continued unchanged exist- 
ence under unaltered conditions. And, indeed, the 
advancement from simpler to more complex, which 
upon the theory must have attended the diversification, 
would warrant or require the supposition of increase 
instead of diminution of power from age to age. 

The only case we call to mind which, under the 
Darwinian view, might be interpreted as a dying out 
from inherent causes, is that of a species which refuses 
to vary, and thus lacks the capacity of adaptation to 
altering conditions. Under altering conditions, this 
lack would be fatal. But this would be the fatality 


of some species or form in particular, not of species 
or forms generally, which, for the most part, may and 
do vary sufficiently, and in varying survive, seeming- 
ly none the worse, but rather the better, for their 
long tenure of life. 

The opposite idea, however, is maintained by M. 
Naudin, 1 in a detailed exposition of his own views of 
evolution, which differ widely from those of Darwin 
in most respects, and notably in excluding that which, 
in our day, gives to the subject its first claim to scien- 
tific (as distinguished from purely speculative) atten- 
tion ; namely, natural selection. Instead of the causes 
or operations collectively personified under this term, 
and which are capable of exact or probable apprecia- 
tion, M. Naudin invokes "the two principles of 
rhythm and of the decrease of forces in Nature." 
He is a thorough evolutionist, starting from essential- 
ly the same point with Darwin ; for he conceives of 
all the forms or species of animals and plants " comme 
tire tout entier d'un protoplasma primordial, uniform, 
instable, eminemment plastique." Also in " 1'integra- 
tion croissante de la force evolutive a mesure qu'elle 
se partage dans les formes produites, et la decrois- 
sance proportionelle de la plasticite de ces formes & 
mesure qu'elles s'eloignent davantage de leur ori- 
gine, et qu'elles sont mieux arretees." As they get 
older, they gain in fixity through the operation of the 

1 "Les Especes affines et la Th^orie de Involution," par Charles 
Naudin, Membre de 1'Institut, in Bullttin de la Sociele Botanique de 
France, tome xxi., pp. 240-272, 1874. See also Complet Rendus, Sep- 
tember 27 and October 4, 1876, reproduced in "Annalcs des Sciences 
Naturelles," 1876, pp. 73-81. 


fundamental law of inheritance ; but the species, like 
the individual, loses plasticity and vital force. To 
continue in the language of the original : 

" C'est dire qu'il y a en, pour 1'ensemble da monde orga- 
nique, nne p6riodc de formation oil tout dtait changeant et mo- 
bile, une phase analogue a la vie embryonnaire et a la jeunesse 
de chaque etre particulier ; et qu'd cet age de mobilit6 et do 
croissance a succ6d6 une pdriode de stability, au moins relative, 
une sorte d'age adulte, ou. la force Evolutive, ayant achev6 son 
oeuvre, n'est plus occup6e qu'a la maintenir, sans pouvoir pro- 
duire d'organismes nouveaux. Limiti-e en quantite, comme 
toutes Ics forces en jeu dans une planete ou dans un systeme 
sidSral tout cntier, cette force n'a pu accomplir qu'un travail 
limito ; et du memo qu'un organisme, animal ou vegetal, no 
croit pas indefiniment et qu'il s'arrfcte a des proportions quo 
rien ne peut faire dSpasser, de memo aussi 1'organisme total de 
la nature s'est arret6 a un 6tat d'equilibre, dont la durde, selon 
toutes vraisemblances, doit fetre beaucoup plus longue quo cello 
de la pbase de d6veloppement et de croissance. 

A fixed amount of " evolutive force " is given, to 
begin with. At first enormous, because none has 
been used up in work, it is necessarily enfeebled in 
the currents into which the stream divides, and the 
narrower and narrower channels in which it flows 
with slowly-diminishing power. Hence the limited 
although very unequal duration of all individuals, of 
all species, and of all types of organization. A mul- 
titude of forms have disappeared already, and the 
number of species, far from increasing, as some have 
believed, must, on the contrary, be diminishing. Some 
species, no doubt, have suffered death by violence or 
accident, by geological changes, local alteration of the 
conditions, or the direct or indirect attacks of other 


species ; but these have only anticipated their fate, 
for M. Naudin contends that most of the extinct 
species have died a natural death from exhaustion of 
force, and that all the survivors are on the way to it. 
The great timepiece of Kature was wound up at the 
beginning, and is running down. In the earlier 
stages of great plasticity and exuberant power, diver- 
' sification took place freely, but only in definite lines, 
and species and types multiplied. As the power of 
survival is inherently limited, still more the power of 
change : this diminishes in time, if we rightly appre- 
hend the idea, partly through the waning of vital 
force, partly through the fixity acquired by heredity 
like producing like, the more certainly in propor- 
tion to the length and continuity of the ancestral 
chain. And so the small variations of species which 
we behold are the feeble remnants of the pristine 
plasticity and an exhausted force. 1 This force of 
variation or origination of forms has acted rhythmi- 
cally or intermittently, because each movement was 
the result of the rupture of an equilibrium, the liber- 

1 In noticing M. Naudiu's paper in the Compte* Jlendus, now re- 
printed in the " Annales des Sciences Naturelles," entitled " Variation 
desordonnee des Plantes Hybrides et Deductions qu'on peut en tirer," 
we were at a loss to conceive why he attributed all present variation of 
species to atavism, i. e., to the reappearance of ancestral characters 
(American Journal of Science, February, 1876). His anterior paper 
was not then known to us ; from which it now appears that this view 
comes in as a part of the hypothesis of extreme plasticity and variabil- 
ity at the first, subsiding at length into entire fixity and persistence of 
character. According to which, it is assumed that the species of our 
time have lost all power of original variation, but can still reproduce 
some old ones some reminiscences, as it were, of youthful vagaries 
in the way of atavism. 


ation of a force which till then was retained in a po- 
tential state by some opposing force or obstacle, over- 
coming which, it passes to a new equilibrium, and so 
on. Hence alternations of dynamic activity and 
static repose, of origination of species and types, al- 
ternated with periods of stability or fixity. The time- 
piece does not run down regularly, but " la force pro- 
cede par saccades ; et . . . . par pulsations d'autant 
plus energiques que la nature e"tait plus pres de son 

Such is the hypothesis. For a theory of evolu- 
tion, this is singularly unlike Darwin's in most re- 
spects, and particularly in the kind of causes invoked 
and speculations indulged in. But we are not here 
to comment upon it beyond the particular point under 
consideration, namely, its doctrine of the inherently 
limited duration of species. This comes, it will be 
noticed, as a deduction from the modern physical 
doctrine of the equivalence of force. The reasoning 
is ingenious, but, if we mistake not, fallacious. 

To call that " evolutive force " which produces the 
change of one kind of plant or animal into another, is 
simple and easy, but of little help by way of explana- 
tion. To homologize it with physical force, as M. 
Naudin's argument requires, is indeed a step, and a 
hardy one; but it quite invalidates the argument. 
For, if the " evolutive force " is a part of the physical 
force of the universe, of which, as he reminds us, the 
sum is fixed and the tendency is toward a stable equi- 
librium in which all change is to end, then this evo- 
lutive was derived from the physical force ; and why 
not still derivable from it ? What is to prevent its 


replenishment in vegetation, paripassu with that great 
operation in which physical force is stored up in vege- 
table organisms, and by the expenditure or transforma- 
tion of which their work, and that of all animals, is 
carried on ? Whatever be the cause (if any there be) 
which determines the decadence and death of species, 
one cannot well believe that it is a consequence of a 
diminution of their proper force by plant-development 
and division ; for instance, that the sum of what is 
called vital force in a full-grown tree is not greater, 
instead of less, than that in the seedling, and in the 
grove greater than in the single parental tree. This 
power, if it be properly a force, is doubtless as truly 
derived from the sunbeam as is the power which the 
plant and animal expend in work. Here, then, is a 
source of replenishment as lasting as the sun itself, 
and a ground so far as a supply of force is concerned 
for indefinite duration. For all that any one can 
mean by the indefinite existence of species is, that they 
may (for all that yet appears) continue while the exter- 
nal conditions of their being or well-being continue. 

Perhaps, however, M. Naudin does not mean that 
" evolutive force," or the force of vitality, is really 
homologous with common physical force, but only 
something which may be likened to it. In that case 
the parallel has only a metaphorical value, and the rea- 
son why variation must cease and species die out is 
still to seek. In short, if that which continues the 
series of individuals in propagation, whether like or 
unlike the parents, be a force in the physical sense of 
the term, then there is abundant provision in Nature 
for its indefinite replenishment. If, rather, it be a 


part or phase of that something which directs and de- 
termines the expenditure of force, then it is not subject 
to the laws of the lattor, and there is no ground for 
inferring its exhaustibility. The limited vitality is an 
unproved and unprovable conjecture. The evolutive 
force, dying out in the using, is either the same con- 
jecture repeated, or a misapplied analogy. 

After all apart from speculative analogies the 
only evidences we possess which indicate a tendency 
in species to die out, are those to which Mr. Darwin 
has called attention. These are, first, the observed 
deterioration which results, at least in animals, from 
continued breeding in and in, which may possibly be 
resolvable into cumulative heritable disease; and, 
secondly, as already stated (p. 36), what may be 
termed the sedulous and elaborate pains everywhere 
taken in Nature to prevent close breeding arrange- 
ments which are particularly prominent in plants, the 
greater number of which bear hermaphrodite blossoms. 
The importance of this may be inferred from the uni- 
versality, variety, and practical perfection of the ar- 
rangements which secure the end ; and the inference 
may fairly be drawn that this is the physiological im- 
port of sexes. 

It follows from this that there is a tendency, seem- 
ingly inherent, in species as in individuals, to die out ; 
but that this tendency is counteracted or checked by 
sexual wider breeding, which is, on the whole, amply 
secured in Nature, and which in some way or other 
reenforces vitality to such an extent as to warrant 
Darwin's inference that " some unknown great good 
is derived from the union of individuals which have 


been kept distinct for many generations." Whether 
this reinforcement is a complete preventive of de- 
crepitude in species, or only a palliative, is more than 
we can determine. If the latter, then existing species 
and their derivatives must perish in time, and the 
earth may be growing poorer in species, as M. Naudin 
supposes, through mere senility. If the former, then 
the earth, if not even growing richer, may be expected 
to hold its own, and extant species or their derivatives 
should last as long as the physical world lasts and 
affords favorable conditions. General analogies seem 
to favor the former view. Such facts as we possess, 
and the Darwinian hypothesis, favor the latter. 



WHEN Cuvier spoke of the " combination of organs 
in such order that they may be in consistence with the 
part which the animal has to play in Nature," his op- 
ponent, Geoffroy St.-Hilaire, rejoined, " I know noth- 
ing of animals which have to play a part in Nature." 
The discussion was a notable one in its day. From 
that time to this, the reaction of morphology against 
" final causes " has not rarely gone to the extent of 
denying the need and the propriety of assuming ends 
in the study of animal and vegetable organizations. 
Especially in our own day, when it became apparent 
that the actual use of an organ might not be the funda- 
mental reason of its existence that one and the same 
organ, morphologically considered, was modified in dif- 
ferent cases to the most diverse uses, while intrinsically 
different organs subserved identical functions, and con- 
sequently that use was a fallacious and homology the 
surer guide to correct classification it was not sur- 
prising that teleological ideas nearly disappeared from 
natural history. Probably it is still generally thought 
that the school of Cuvier and that of St.-Hilaire have 
neither common ground nor capability of reconcile- 


In a review of Darwin's volume on the " Fertiliza- 
tion of Orchids" 1 (too technical and too detailed for 
reproduction here), and later in a brief sketch of the 
character of his scientific work (art. x., p. 284), we 
expressed our sense of the great gain to science from 
his having brought back teleology to natural history. 
In Darwinism, usefulness and purpose come to the 
front again as working principles of the first order ; 
upon them, indeed, the whole system rests. 

To most, this restoration of teleology has come 
from an unexpected quarter, and in an unwonted guise ; 
so that the first look of it is by no means reassuring to 
the minds of those who cherish theistic views of 'Na- 
ture. Adaptations irresistibly suggesting purpose had 
their supreme application in natural theology. Being 
manifold, particular, and exquisite, and evidently in- 
wrought into the whole system of the organic world, 
they were held to furnish irrefragable as well as inde- 
pendent proof of a personal designer, a divine origi- 
nator of Nature. By a confusion of thought, now ob- 
vious, but at the time not unnatural, they were also 
regarded as proof of a direct execution of the contriv- 
ver's purpose in the creation of each organ and organ- 
ism, as it were, in the manner man contrives and puts 
together a machine an idea which has been set up as 
the orthodox doctrine, but which to St. Augustine and 
other learned Christian fathers would have savored 
of heterodoxy. 

In the doctrine of the origination of species through 
natural selection, these adaptations appear as the out- 
come rather than as the motive, as final results rather 

1 London, 1862. 


than final causes. Adaptation to use, although the 
very essence of Darwinism, is not a fixed and inflex- 
ible adaptation, realized once for all at the outset ; it 
includes a long progression and succession of modifi- 
cations, adjusting themselves to changing circum- 
stances, under which they may be more and more di- 
versified, specialized, and in a just sense perfected. 
Now, the question is, Does this involve the destruction 
or only the reconstruction of our consecrated ideas of 
teleology ? Is it compatible with our seemingly inborn 
conception of Nature as an ordered system ? Further- 
more, and above all, can the Darwinian theory itself 
dispense with the idea of purpose, in the ordinary 
sense of the word, as tantamount to design? 

From two opposing sides we hear the first two 
questions answered in the negative. And an affirma- 
tive response to the third is directly implied in the 
following citation : 

" The word purpose has been used in a sense to which it is, 
perhaps, worth while to call attention. Adaptation of means 
to an end may be provided in two ways that wo at present 
know of: by processes of natural selection, and by the agency of 
an intelligence in which an image or idea of the end preceded 
the use of the means. In both cases the existence of the adap- 
tation is accounted for by the necessity or utility of the end. 
It seems to me convenient to use the word purpose as meaning 
generally the end to which certain means are adapted, both in 
these two cases and in any other that may hereafter become 
known, provided only that the adaptation is accounted for by 
the necessity or utility of the end. And there seems no objec- 
tion to the use of the phrase ' final cause ' in this wider sense, if 
it is to be kept at all. The word ' design ' might then be kept 
for the special case of adaptation by an intelligence. And we 


may then say that, since the process of natural selection has 
been understood, purpose has ceased to suggest design to in- 
structed people, except in cases where the agency of man ia 
independently probable." P. C. TV., in the Contemporary He- 
view for September, 1875, p. 657. 

The distinction made by this anonymous writer is 
convenient and useful, and his statement clear. "We 
propose to adopt this use of the terms purpose and de- 
sign, and to examine the allegation. The latter comes 
to this : " Processes of natural selection" exclude " the 
agency of an intelligence in which the image or idea 
of the end precedes the use of the means ; " and since 
the former have been understood u purpose has ceased 
to suggest design to instructed people, except in cases 
where the agency of man is independently probable." 
The maxim " 2S homme propose, Dieu dispose " under 
this reading means that the former has the monopoly 
of design, while the latter accomplishes without de- 
signing. Man's works alone suggest design. 

But it is clear to us that this monopoly is shared 
with certain beings of inferior grade. Granting that 
quite possibly the capture of flies for food by DioncBa 
and the sundews may be attributed to purpose apart 
from design (if it be practicable in the last resort to 
maintain this now convenient distinction), still their 
capture by a spider's-web, and by a swallow on the 
wing, can hardly "cease to suggest design to in- 
structed people." And surely, in coming at his mas- 
ter's call, the dog fulfills his own design as well as 
that of his master; and so of other actions and con- 
structions of brute animals. 

"Without doubt so acute a writer has a clear and 


sensible meaning; so we conclude that lie regards 
brutes as automata, and was thinking of design as co- 
extensive merely with general conceptions. Not con- 
cerning ourselves with the difficulty he may have in 
drawing a line between the simpler judgments and 
affections of man and those of the highest-endowed 
brutes, we subserve our immediate ends by remarking 
that the automatic theory would seem to be one 
which can least of all dispense with design, since, 
either in the literal or current sense of the word, un- 
designed automatism is, as near as may be, a contra- 
diction in terms. As the automaton man constructs 
manifests the designs of its maker and mover, so the 
more efficient automata which man did not construct 
would not legitimately suggest less than human intel- 
ligence. And so all adaptations in the animal and 
vegetable world which irresistibly suggest purpose 
(in the sense now accepted) would also suggest de- 
sign, and, under the law of parsimony, claim to be 
thus interpreted, unless some other hypothesis will 
better account for the facts. We will consider, pres- 
ently, if any other does so. 

We here claim only that some beings other than 
men design, and that the adaptations of means to ends 
in the structure of animals and plants, in so far as 
they carry the marks of purpose, carry also the impli- 
cation of having been designed. Also, that the idea 
or hypothesis of a designing mind, as the author of 
Nature however we came by it having possession 
of the field, and being one which man, himself a de- 
signer, seemingly must needs form, cannot be rivaled 
except by some other equally adequate for explana- 


tion, or displaced except by showing the illegitimacy 
of the inference. As to the latter, is the common 
apprehension and sense of mankind in this regard well 
grounded ? Can we rightly reason from our own in- 
telligence and powers to a higher or a supreme intel- 
ligence ordering and shaping the system of Mature ? 

A very able and ingenious writer upon " The Evi- 
dences of Design in Nature," in the Westminster Re- 
view for July, 1875, maintains the negative. His 
article may be taken as the argument in support of 
the position assumed by " P. C. "W.," in the Contem- 
porary Review above cited. It opens with the ad- 
mission that the orthodox view is the most simple and 
apparently convincing, has had for centuries the un- 
hesitating assent of an immense majority of thinkers, 
and that the latest master-writer upon the subject dis- 
posed to reject it, namely, Mill, comes to the conclu- 
sion that, "in the present state of our knowledge, 
the adaptations in Nature afford a large balance of 
probability in favor of creation by intelligence." It 
proceeds to attack not so much the evidence in favor 
of design as the foundation upon which the whole 
doctrine rests, and closes with the prediction that 
sooner or later the superstructure must fall. And, 
truly, if his reasonings are legitimate, and his con- 
clusions just, " Science has laid the axe to the tree." 

" Given a set of marks which we look upon in human pro- 
ductions as unfailing indications of design," he asks, " is not the 
inference equally legitimate when we recognize these marks in 
Nature ? To gaze on such a universe as this, to feel our hearts 
exult within us in the fullness of existence, and to offer in ex- 
planation of such beneficent provision no other word but 


Chance, seems as unthankful and iniquitous as it seems absurd. 
Chance produces nothing in the human sphere ; nothing, at 
least, that can be relied upon for good. Design alone engen- 
ders harmony, consistency ; and Chance not only never is the 
parent, but is constantly the enemy of these. How, then, can 
we suppose Chance to be the author of a system in which every- 
thing is as regular as clock-work? .... The hypothesis of 
Chance is inadmissible." 

There is, then, in Nature, an order ; and, in " P. 
C. "W.'s" sense of the word, a manifest purpose. 
Some sort of conception as to the cause of it is inevi- 
table, that of design first and foremost. "Why" 
the Westminster Reviewer repeats the question 
* why, if the marks of utility and adaptation are con- 
clusive in the works of man, should they not be con- 
sidered equally conclusive in the works of Nature ? " 
His answer appears to us more ingenious than sound. 
Because, referring to Paley's watch, 

" The watch-finder is not guided solely in his inference by 
marks of adaptation and utility ; he would recognize design in 
half a watch, in a mere fragment of a watch, just as surely as 
in a whole time-keeper. . . . Two cog-wheels, grasping each 
other, will be thought conclusive evidence of design, quite in- 
dependently of any use attaching to them. And the inference, 
indeed, is perfectly correct ; only it is an inference, not from a 
mark of design, properly so called, but from a mark of human 
workmanship. ... No more is needed for the watch-finder, 
since all the works of man are, at the same time, products of 
design ; but a great deal more is requisite for us, who are called 
upon by Paley to recognize design in works in which this 
stamp, this label of human workmanship, is wanting. The 
mental operation required in the one case is radically different 
from that performed in the other; there is no parallel, and 
Paley's demonstration is totally irrelevant." * 

1 Hume, in his " Essays," anticipated this argument. But he did 


Bat, surely, all human doings are not "products 
of design ; " many are contingent or accidental. And 
why not suppose that the finder of the watch, or 
of the watch-wheel, infers loth design and human 
workmanship ? The two are mutually exclusive only 
on the supposition that man alone is a designer, 
which is simply begging the question in discussion. 
If the watch-finder's attention had been arrested by 

not rest on it. His matured convictions appear to be expressed in 
statements such as the following, here cited at second hand from Jack- 
son's " Philosophy of Natural Theology," a volume to which a friend 
has just called our attention : 

" Though the stupidity of men," writes Hume, " barbarous and un- 
instructed, be so great that they may not see a sovereign author in the 
more obvious works of Nature, to which they are so much familiarized, 
yet it scarce seems possible that any one of good understanding should 
reject that idea, when once it is suggested to him. A purpose, an in- 
tention, a design, is evident in everything ; and when our comprehen- 
sion is so far enlarged as to contemplate the first rise of this visible 
system, we must adopt, with the strongest conviction, the idea of some 
intelligent cause or author. The uniform maxims, too, which prevail 
throughout the whole frame of the universe, naturally, if not neces- 
sarily, lead us to conceive this intelligence as single and undivided, 
where the prejudices of education oppose not so reasonable a theory. 
Even the contrarieties of Nature, by discovering themselves every- 
where, become proofs of some consistent plan, and establish one single 
purpose or intention, however inexplicable and incomprehensible." 
("Natural History of Religion," xv.) 

" In many views of the universe, and of its parts, particularly the 
latter, the beauty and fitness of final causes strike us with such irre- 
sistible force that all objections appear (what I believe they really are) 
mere cavils and sophisms." (" Dialogues concerning Natural Religion," 
Part X.) 

" The order and arrangement of Nature, the curious adjustment of 
final causes, the plain use and intention of every part and organ, all 
these bespeak in the clearest language an intelligent cause or author." 
(Ibid., Part IV.) 


a different object, such as a spider's web, he would 
have inferred both design and non-human workman- 
ship. Of some objects he might be uncertain wheth- 
er they were of human origin or not, without ever 
doubting they were designed, while of others this 
might remain doubtful. Nor is man's recognition of 
human workmanship, or of any other, dependent upon 
his comprehending how it was done, or w T hat particu- 
lar ends it subserves. Such considerations make it 
clear that "the label of human workmanship" is not 
the generic stamp from which man infers design. It 
seems equally clear that "the mental operation re- 
quired in the one case " is not so radically or materially 
"different from that performed in the other" as this 
writer would have us suppose. The judgment re- 
specting a spider's web, or a trap-door spider's dwell- 
ing, would be the very same in this regard if it pre- 
ceded, as it occasionally might, all knowledge of 
whether the object met with were of human or ani- 
mal origin. A dam across a stream, and the appear- 
ance of the stumps of trees which entered into its 
formation, would suggest design quite irrespective of 
and antecedent to the considerable knowledge or ex- 
perience which would enable the beholder to decide 
whether this was the work of men or of beavers. 
Why, then, should the judgment that any particular 
structure is a designed work bo thought illegitimate 
when attributed to a higher instead of a lower intelli- 
gence than that of man ? It might, indeed, be so if 
the supposed observer had no conception of a power 
and intelligence superior to his own. But it would 
then be more than "irrelevant;" it would be im- 


possible, except on the supposition that the phenomena 
would of themselves give rise to such an inference. 
That it is now possible to make the inference, and, 
indeed, hardly possible not to make it, is sufficient 
warrant of its relevancy. 

It may, of course, be rejoined that, if this impor- 
tant factor is given, the inference yields no indepen- 
dent argument of a divine creator ; and it may also 
be reasonably urged that the difference between things 
that are made under our observation and comprehen- 
sion, and things that grow, but have originated be- 
yond our comprehension, is too wide for a sure infer- 
ence from the one to the other. But the present 
question involves neither of these. It is simply 
whether the argument for design from adaptations in 
Nature is relevant, not whether it is independent or 
sure. It is conceded that the argument is analogical, 
and the parallel incomplete. But the gist is in the 
points that are parallel or similar. Pulleys, valves, 
and such-like elaborate mechanical adaptations, can- 
not differ greatly in meaning, wherever met with. 

The opposing argument is repeated and pressed 
in another form : 

" The evidence of design afforded by the marks of adapta- 
tion in works of human competence is null and void in the case 
of creation itself. . . . Nature is full of adaptations ; but these 
are valueless to us as traces of design, unless we know some- 
thing of the rival adaptations among which an intelligent being 
might have chosen. To assert that in Nature no such rival 
adaptations existed, and that in every case the useful function 
in question could be established by no other instrument but 
one, is simply to reason in a circle, since it is solely from what 
we find existing that our notions of possibility and impossi- 


bility are drawn. . . . We cannot imagine ourselves in the 
position of the Creator before his work began, nor examine 
the materials among which he had to choose, nor count the 
laws which limited his operations. Here all is dark, and the 
inference wo draw from the seeming perfections of the exist- 
ing instruments or means is a measure of nothing but our ig- 

But the question is not about the perfection of 
these adaptations, or whether others might have been 
instituted in their place. It is simply whether ob- 
served adaptations of intricate sorts, admirably sub- 
serving uses, do or do not legitimately suggest to one 
designing mind that they are the product of some 
other. If so, no amount of ignorance, or even incon- 
ceivability, of the conditions and mode of production 
could affect the validity of the inference, nor could it 
be affected by any misunderstanding on our part as 
to what the particular use or function was ; a state- 
ment which would have been deemed superfluous, 
except for the following : 

" There is not an organ in our bodies but what has passed, 
and is still passing, through a series of different and often con- 
tradictory interpretations. Our lungs, for instance, were an- 
ciently conceived to be a kind of cooling apparatus, a refriger- 
ator ; at the close of the last century they were supposed to 
be a centre of combustion ; and nowadays both these theories 
have been abandoned for a third. . . . Have these changes 
modified in the slightest degree the supposed evidence of de- 

We have not the least idea why they should. So, 
also, of complicated processes, such as human diges- 
tion, being replaced by other and simpler ones in 
lower animals, or even in certain plants. If "we 


argue the necessity of every adaptation solely from 
the fact that it exists," and that " we cannot mutilate 
it grossly without injury to the function," we do not 
" announce triumphantly that digestion is impossible 
in any way but this," etc., but see equal wisdom and 
no impugnment of design in any number of simpler 
adaptations accomplishing equivalent purposes in low- 
er animals. 

Finally, adaptation and utility being the only 
marks of design in Nature which we possess, and 
adaptation only as subservient to usefulness, the 
Westminster Reviewer shows us how 

" The argument from utility may be equally refuted another 
way. We found in our discussion of the mark of adaptation 
that the positive evidence of design afforded by the mechan- 
isms of the human frame was never accompanied by the possi- 
bility of negative evidence. We regarded this as a suspicious 
circumstance, just as the fox, invited to attend the lion in his 
den, was deterred from his visit by observing that all the foot- 
tracks lay in one direction. The same suspicious circumstance 
warns us now. If positive evidence of design be afforded by 
the presence of a faculty, negative evidence of design ought 
to be afforded by the absence of a faculty. This, however, is 
not the case." [Then follows the account of a butterfly, which, 
from the wonderful power of the males to find the females at 
a great distance, is conceived to possess a sixth sense.] " Do 
we consider the deficiency of this sixth sense in man as the 
slightest evidence against design? Should we be less apt to 
infer creative wisdom if we had only four senses instead of 
five, or three instead of four? No, the case would stand pre- 
cisely as it does now. We value our senses simply because we 
have them, and because our conception of life as we desire it 
is drawn from them. But to reason from such value to the 
origin of our endowment, to argue that our senses must have 


been given to us by a deity because we prize tbem, is en idently 
to move round and round in a vicious circle. 

"The same rejoinder is easily applicable to the argument 
from beauty, which indeed is only a particular aspect of the 
argument from utility. It is certainly improbable that a ran- 
dom daubing of colors on a canvas will produce a tolerable 
painting, even should the experiment be continued for thou- 
sands of years. Our conception of beauty being given, it is 
utterly improbable that chance should select, out of the infinity 
of combinations which form and color may afford, the precise 
combination which that conception will approve. But the 
universe is not posterior to our sense of beauty, but antecedent 
to it : our sense of beauty grows out of what we see ; and 
hence the conformance of our world to our assthetical concep- 
tions is evidence, not of the world's origin, but of our own." 

We are accustomed to hear design doubted on ac- 
count of certain failures of provision, waste of re- 
sources, or functionless condition of organs ; but it is 
refreshingly new to have the very harmony itself of 
man with his surroundings, and the completeness of 
provision for his wants and desires, brought up as a 
refutation of the validity of the argument for design. 
It is hard, indeed, if man must be out of harmony 
with Nature ri order to judge anything respecting it, 
or his relations with it ; if he must have experience 
of chaos before he can predicate anything of order. 

But is it true that man has all that he conceives 
of, or thinks would be useful, and has no "negative 
evidence of design afforded by the absence of a facul- 
ty " to set against the positive evidence afforded by 
its presence ? He notes that he lacks the faculty of 
flight, sometimes wants it, ancLin dreams imagines 
that he has it, yet as thoroughly believes that he was 


designed not to have it as that he was designed to 
have the faculties and organs which he possesses. He 
notes that some animals lack sight, and so, with this 
negative side of the testimony to the value of vision, 
he is "apt to infer creative wisdom" both in what he 
enjoys and in what the lower animal neither needs 
nor wants. That man does not miss that which he 
has no conception of, and is by this limitation dis- 
qualified from judging rightly of what he can con- 
ceive and know, is what the Westminster Reviewer 
comes to, as follows : 

" We value the constitution of our world because we live by 
it, and because we cannot conceive ourselves as living other- 
wise. Our conceptions of possibility, of law, of regularity, of 
logic, are all derived from the same source ; and as we are con- 
stantly compelled to work with these conceptions, as in our in- 
creasing endeavors to better our condition and increase our 
provision we are constantly compelled to guide ourselves by 
Nature's regulations, we accustom ourselves to look upon these 
regularities and conceptions as antecedent to all work, even to 
a Creator's, and to judge of the origin of Nature as we judge 
of the origin of inventions and utilities ascribable to man. This 
explains why the argument of design has enjoyed such univer- 
sal popularity. But that such popularity is no criterion of the 
argument's worth, and that, indeed, it is no evidence of any- 
thing save of an unhappy weakness in man's mental constitu- 
tion, is abundantly proved by the explanation itself." 

Well, the constitution and condition of man being 
such that he always does infer design in Nature, what 
stronger presumption could there possibly be of the 
relevancy of the inference? We do not say of its 
correctness : that is another thing, and is not the pres- 
ent point. At the last, as has well been said, the 


whole question resolves itself into one respecting the 
ultimate veracity of Nature, or of the author of Na- 
ture, if there be any. 

Passing from these attempts to undermine the 
foundation of the doctrine which we judge to be 
unsuccessful we turn to the consideration of those 
aimed at the superstructure. Evidences of design 
may be relevant, but not cogent. They may, as Mill 
thought, preponderate, or the wavering balance may 
incline the other way. There are two lines of argu- 
ment: one against the sufficiency, the other against 
the necessity, of the principle of design. Design has 
been denied on the ground that it squares with only 
one part of the facts, and fails to explain others ; it 
may be superseded by showing that all the facts are 
in the way of being explained without it. 

The things which the principle of design does not 
explain are many and serious. Some are in their na- 
ture inexplicable, at least are beyond the power and 
province of science. Others are of matters which 
scientific students have to consider, and upon which 
they may form opinions, more or less well-grounded. 
As to biological science with which alone we are 
concerned it is getting to be generally thought that 
this principle, as commonly understood, is weighted 
with much more than it can carry. 

This statement will not be thought exaggerated 
by those most familiar with the facts and the ideas of 
the age, and accustomed to look them in the face. 
Design is held to, no doubt, by most, and by a sure 
instinct ; not, however, as always offering an explana- 
tion of the facts, but in spite of the failure to do so. 


The stumbling-blocks are various, and they lie in 
every path: we can allude only to one or two as 

Adaptation and utility are the marks of design. 
What, then, are organs not adapted to use marks of ? 
Functionless organs of some sort are the heritage of 
almost every species. "We have ways of seeming to ac- 
count for them and of late one which may really ac- 
count for them but they are unaccountable on the 
principle of design. Some, shutting their eyes to the 
difficulty, deny that we know them to be functionless, 
and prefer to believe they must have a use because 
they exist, and are more or less connected with or- 
gans which are correlated to obvious use; but only 
blindfolded persons care to tread the round of so nar- 
row a circle. Of late some such abortive organs in 
flowers and fruits are found to have a use, though not 
the use of their kind. But unwavering believers in de- 
sign should not trust too much to instances of this 
sort. There is an old adage that, if anything be kept 
long enough, a use will be found for it. If the follow- 
ing up of this line, when it comes in our way, should 
bring us round again to a teleological principle, it 
will not be one which conforms to the prevalent ideas 
now attacked. 

It is commonly said that abortive and useless or- 
gans exist for the sake of symmetry, or as parts of a 
plan. To say this, and stop there, is a fine instance 
of mere seeming to say something. For, under the 
principle of design, what is the sense of introducing 
useless parts into a useful organism, and what shadow 
of explanation does " symmetry " give ? To go fur- 


ther and explain the cause of the symmetry and how 
abortive organs came to be, is more to the purpose, 
but it introduces quite another principle than that of 
design. The difficulty recurs in a somewhat different 
form when an organ is useful and of exquisite per- 
fection in some species, but functionless in another. 
An organ, such as an eye, strikes us by its exquisite 
and, as we say, perfect adaptation and utility in some 
animal ; it is found repeated, still useful but destitute 
of many of its adaptations, in some animal of lower 
grade ; in some one lower still it is rudimentary and 
useless. It is asked, If the first was so created for its 
obvious and actual use, and the second for such use as 
it has, what was the design of the third ? One more 
case, in which use after all is well subserved, we cite 
from the article already much quoted from : 

" It is well known that certain fishes (Pleuronecta) display 
the singularity of having both eyes on the same side of their 
head, one eye being placed a little higher than the other. This 
arrangement has its utility; for the Pleuronecta, swimming on 
their side quite near the bottom of the sea, have little occasion 
for their eyesight except to observe what is going on above 
them. But the detail to which we would call notice is, that 
the original position of the eyes is symmetrical in these fishes, 
and that it is only at a certain point of their development that 
the anomaly is manifested, one of the eyes passing to the other 
side of the head. It is almost inconceivable that an intelligent 
being should have selected such an arrangement ; and that, in- 
tending the eyes to be nsed only on one side of the head, he 
should have placed them originally on different sides." 

Then the waste of being is enormous, far beyond 
the common apprehension. Seeds, eggs, and other 
germs, are designed to be plants and animals, but not 


one of a thousand or of a million achieves its destiny. 
Those that fall into fitting places and in fitting num- 
bers find beneficent provision, and, if they were to 
wake to consciousness, might argue design from the 
adaptation of their surroundings to their well-being. 
But what of the vast majority that perish ? As of 
the light of the sun, sent forth in all directions, only 
a minute portion is intercepted by the earth or other 
planets where some of it may be utilized for present 
or future life, so of potential organisms, or organisms 
begun, 110 larger proportion attain the presumed end 
of their creation. 

" Destruction, therefore, is the rule ; life is the exception. 
We notice chiefly the exception namely, the lucky prize-win- 
ner in the lottery and take hut little thought about the losers, 
who vanish from our field of observation, and whose number 
it is often impossible to estimate. But, in this question of de- 
sign, the losers are important witnesses. If the maxim ' audi 
alteram partem ' is applicable anywhere, it is applicable here. 
We must hear both sides, and the testimony of the seed fallen 
on good ground must be corrected by the testimony of that 
which falls by the wayside, or on the rocks. When we find, as 
we have seen above, that the sowing is a scattering at random, 
and that, for one being provided for and living, ten thousand 
perish unprovided for, we must allow that the existing order 
would be accounted as the worst disorder in any human sphere 
of action." 

It is urged, moreover, that all this and much more 
applies equally to the past stages of our earth and its 
immensely long and varied succession of former in- 
habitants, different from, yet intimately connected 
with, the present. It is not one specific creation that 
the question has to deal with as was thought not very 


many years ago but a series of creations through 
countless ages, and of which the beginning is un- 

These references touch a few out of many points, 
and merely allude to some of the difficulties which 
the unheeding pass by, but which, when brought be- 
fore the mind, are seen to be stupendous. 

Somewhat may be justly, or at least plausibly, 
said in reply to all this from the ordinary standpoint, 
but probably not to much effect. There were always 
insuperable difficulties, which, when they seemed to 
be few, might be regarded as exceptional ; but, as 
they increase in number and variety, they seem to fall 
into a system. No doubt we may still insist that, " in 
the present state of our knowledge, the adaptations 
in Nature afford a large balance of probability in 
favor of creation by intelligence," as Mill concluded ; 
and probability must needs be the guide of reason 
through these dark places. Still, the balancing of 
irreconcilable facts is not a satisfying occupation, nor 
a wholly hopeful one, while fresh weights are from 
time to time dropping into the lighter side of the bal- 
ance. Strong as our convictions are, they may be 
overborne by evidence. "We cannot rival the fabled 
woman of Ephesus, who, beginning by carrying her 
calf from the day of its birth, was still able to do so 
when it became an ox. The burden which our fa- 
thers carried comfortably, with some adventitious 
help, has become too heavy for our shoulders. 

Seriously, there must be something wrong in the 
position, some baleful error mixed with the truth, to 
which this contradiction of our inmost convictions 


may be attributed. The error, as we suppose, lies in 
the combination of the principle of design with the 
hypothesis of the immutability and isolated creation of 
species. The latter hypothesis, in its nature unprov- 
able, has, on scientific grounds, become so far im- 
probable that few, even of the anti-Darwinian natu- 
ralists, now hold to it ; and, whatever may once have 
been its religious claims, it is at present a hinderance 
rather than a help to any just and consistent teleology. 

By the adoption of the Darwinian hypothesis, or 
something like it, which we incline to favor, many of 
the difficulties are obviated, and others diminished. 
In the comprehensive and far-reaching teleology 
which may take the place of the former narrow con- 
ceptions, organs and even faculties, useless to the 
individual, find their explanation and reason of being. 
Either they have done service in the past, or they 
may do service in the future. They may have been 
essentially useful in one way in a past species, and, 
though now functionless, they may be turned to use- 
ful account in some very different way hereafter. In 
botany several cases come to our mind which suggest 
such interpretation. 

Under this view, moreover, waste of life and ma- 
terial in organic Nature ceases to be utterly inexpli- 
cable, because it ceases to be objectless. It is seen 
to be a part of the general " economy of Nature," a 
phrase which has a real meaning. One good illustra- 
tion of it is furnished by the pollen of flowers. The 
seeming waste of this in a pine-forest is enormous. 
It gives rise to the so-called " showers of sulphur," 
which every one has heard of. Myriads upon myri- 


ada of pollen-grains (each an elaborate organic struct 
ure) are wastefully dispersed by the winds to one which 
reaches a female flower and fertilizes a seed. Con- 
trast this with one of the close-fertilized flowers of a 
violet, in which there are not many times more grains 
of pollen produced than there are of seeds to be fer- 
tilized ; or with an orchis-flower, in which the propor- 
tion is not widely different. These latter are certain- 
ly the more economical ; but there is reason to be- 
lieve that the former arrangement is not wasteful. 
The plan in the violet-flower assures the result with 
the greatest possible saving of material and action ; 
but this result, being close-fertilization or breeding in 
and in, would, without much doubt, in the course of 
time, defeat the very object of having seeds at all. 1 
So the same plant produces other flowers also, pro- 
vided with a large surplus of pollen, and endowed (as 
the others are not) with color, fragrance, and nectar, 
attractive to certain insects, which are thereby induced 
to convey this pollen from blossom to blossom, that 
it may fulfill its office. In such blossoms, and in the 
great majority of flowers, the fertilization and conse- 
quent perpetuity of which are committed to insects, 
the likelihood that much pollen may be left behind or 
lost in the transit is sufficient reason for the apparent 
superfluity. So, too, the greater economy in orchis- 
flowers is accounted for by the fact that the pollen is 
pac'ked in coherent masses, all attached to a common 
stalk, the end of which is expanded into a sort of 
button, with a glutinous adhesive face (like a bit of 
sticking-plaster), and this is placed exactly where the 

> See page 346. 


head of a moth or butterfly will be pressed against it 
when it sucks nectar from the flower, and so the pol- 
len will be bodily conveyed from blossom to blossom, 
with small chance of waste or loss. The floral world 
is full of such contrivances ; and while they exist the 
doctrine of purpose or final cause is not likely to die 
out. Now, in the contrasted case, that of pine-trees, 
the vast superabundance of pollen would be sheer 
waste if the intention was to fertilize the seeds of the 
same tree, or if there were any provision for insect- 
carriage ; but with wide-breeding as the end, and the 
wind which " bloweth where it listeth " as the means, 
no one is entitled to declare that pine-pollen is in 
wasteful excess. The cheapness of wind-carriage may 
be set against the over-production of pollen. 

Similar considerations may apply to the mould- 
fungi and other very low organisms, with spores dis- 
persed through the air in countless myriads, but of 
which only an infinitesimal portion find opportunity 
for development. The myriads perish. The excep- 
tional one, falling into a fit medium, is imagined by 
the Westminster Reviewer to argue design from the 
beneficial provision it finds itself enjoying, in happy 
ignorance of the perishing or latent multitude. But, 
in view of the large and important part they play (as 
the producers of all fermentation and as the omni- 
present scavenger-police of Nature), no good ground 
appears for arguing either wasteful excess or absence 
of design from the vast disparity between their po- 
tential and their actual numbers. The reserve and 
the active members of the force should both be count- 
ed in, ready as they always and everywhere are for 


service. Considering their ubiquity, persistent vital- 
ity, and promptitude of action upon fitting occasion, 
the suggestion would rather be that, while 

" . . . . thousands at His bidding speed, 
And post o'er land and ocean without rest, 
They also serve [which] only stand and wait." 

Finally, Darwinian teleology has the special ad- 
vantage of accounting for the imperfections and fail- 
ures as well as for successes. It not only accounts 
for them, but turns them to practical account. It ex- 
plains the seeming waste as being part and parcel of 
a great economical process. Without the competing 
multitude, no struggle for life ; and without this, no 
natural selection and survival of the fittest, no con- 
tinuous adaptation to changing surroundings, no di- 
versification and improvement, leading from lower up 
to higher and nobler forms. So the most puzzling 
things of all to the old-school teleologists are the jpn'n- 
cipia of the Darwinian. In this system the forms 
and species, in all their variety, are not mere ends in 
themselves, but the whole a series of means and ends, 
in the contemplation of which we may obtain higher 
and more comprehensive, and perhaps worthier, as 
well as more consistent, views of design in Nature 
than heretofore. At least, it would appear that in 
Darwinian evolution we may have a theory that ac- 
cords with if it does not explain the principal facts, 
and a teleology that is free from the common objec- 
' tions. 

But is it a teleology, or rather to use the new- 
fangled term a dysteleology ? That depends upon 


how it is held. Darwinian evolution (whatever may 
be said of other kinds) is neither theistical nor non- 
theistical. Its relations to the question of design be- 
long to the natural theologian, or, in the larger sense, 
to the philosopher. So long as the world lasts it will 
probably be open to any one to hold consistently, in 
the last resort, either of the two hypotheses, that of a 
divine mind, or that of no divine mind. There is no 
way that we know of by which the alternative may 
be excluded. Viewed philosophically, the question 
only is, Which is the better supported hypothesis of 
the two ? 

We have only to say that the Darwinian system, 
as we understand it, coincides well with the theistic 
view of Nature. It not only acknowledges purpose 
(in the Contemporary Reviewer's sense), 1 but builds 
upon it ; and if purpose in this sense does not of 
itself imply design, it is certainly compatible with it, 
and suggestive of it. Difficult as it may be to con- 
ceive and impossible to demonstrate design in a 
whole of which the series of parts appear to be con- 
tingent, the alternative may be yet more difficult and 
less satisfactory. If all Nature is of a piece as mod- 
ern physical philosophy insists then it seems clear 
that design must in some way, and in some sense, 
pervade the system, or be wholly absent from it. Of 
the alternatives, the predication of design special, 
general, or universal, as the case may be is most 
natural to the mind ; while the exclusion of it through- 
out, because some utilities may happen, many adapta- 
tions may be contingent results, and no organic raal- 

1 See pp. 358, 359. 


adaptations could continue, runs counter to such anal- 
ogies as we have to guide us, and leads to a conclu- 
sion which few men ever rested in. It need not much 
trouble us that we are incapable of drawing clear 
lines of demarkation between mere utilities, contin- 
gent adaptations, and designed contrivances in Na- 
ture ; for we are. in much the same condition as re- 
spects human affairs and those of lower animals. 
What results are comprehended in a plan, and what 
are incidental, is often more than we can readily de- 
termine in matters open to observation. And in plans 
executed mediately or indirectly, and for ends com- 
prehensive and far-reaching, many purposed steps 
must appear to us incidental or meaningless. But the 
higher the intelligence, the more fully will the inci- 
dents enter into the plan, and the more universal 
and interconnected may the ends be. Trite as the 
remark is, it would seem still needful to insist that 
the failure of a finite being to compass the designs of 
an infinite mind should not invalidate its conclusions 
respecting proximate ends which he can understand. 
It is just as in physical science, where, as our knowl- 
edge and grasp increase, and happy discoveries are 
made, wider generalizations are formed, which com- 
monly comprehend, rather than destroy, the earlier 
and partial ones. So, too, the "sterility" of the 
old doctrine of final causes in science, and the pre- 
sumptuous uses made of them, when it was sup- 
posed that every adapted arrangement or structure 
existed for this or that direct and special end, and 
for no other, can hardly be pressed to the conclusion 
that there are no final causes, i. e., ultimate reasons 


of things. 1 Design in Nature is distinguished from 
that in human affairs as it fittingly should be by 
all comprehensiveness and system. Its theological 
synonym is Providence. Its application in particular 
is surrounded by similar insoluble difficulties ; never- 
theless, both are bound up with theism. 

Probably few at the present day will maintain 
that Darwinian evolution is incompatible with the 
principle of design ; but some insist that the theory 
can dispense with, and in fact supersedes, this prin- 

The Westminster Reviewer cleverly expounds how 
it does so. The exposition is too long to quote, and 
an abstract is unnecessary, for the argument adverse 
to design is, as usual, a mere summation or illustration 
of the facts and assumptions of the hypothesis itself, 
by us freely admitted. Simplest forms began ; varia- 
tions occurred among them ; under the competition 
consequent upon the arithmetical or geometrical pro- 
gression in numbers, only the fittest for the condi- 
tions survive and propagate, vary further, and are 
similarly selected ; and so on. 

" Progress having once begun by the establishment of spe- 
cies, the laws of atavism and variability will suffice to tell the 
remainder of the story. The colonies gifted with the faculty 
of forming others in their likeness will soon by their increase 
become sole masters of the field ; but the common enemy be- 
ing thus destroyed, the struggle for life will be renewed among 

1 " No single and limited good can be assigned by us as the final 
cause of any contrivance in Nature. The real final cause .... is 
the sum of all the uses to which it is ever to be put. Any use to 
which a contrivance of Nature is put, we may be sure, is a part of ita 
final cause." (G. F. Wright, in The New-Englander, October, 1871.) 


the conquerors. The saying that 'a house divided against 
itself cannot stand,' receives in Nature its flattest contradic- 
tion. Civil war is here the very instrument of progress ; it 
brings about the survival of the fittest. Original differences in 
the cell- colonies, however slight, will bring about differences 
of life and action ; the latter, continued through successu w 
generations, will widen the original differences of structure; 
innumerable species will thus spring up, branching forth in 
every direction from the original stock ; and the competition 
of these species among each other for the ground they occupy, 
or the food they seek, will bring out and develop the powers 
of the rivals. One chief cause of superiority will lie in the 
division of labor instituted by each colony; or, in other words, 
in the localization of the colony's functions. In the primitive 
associations (as in the lowest organisms existing now), each cell 
performed much the same work as its neighbor, and the func- 
tions necessary to the existence of the whole (alimentation, 
digestion, respiration, etc.) were exercised by every colonist in 
his own behalf. Social life, however, acting upon the cells aa 
it acts upon the members of a human family, soon created dif- 
ferences among them differences ever deepened by continu- 
ance, and which, by narrowing the limits of each colonist's ac- 
tivity, and increasing his dependence on the rest, rendered him 
fitter for his special task. Each function was thus gradually 
monopolized ; but it came to be the appanage of a single group 
of cells, or organ; and so excellent did this arrangement 
prove, so greatly were the powers of each commonwealth en- 
hanced by the division of its labor, that the more organs a 
colony possessed, the more likely it was to succeed in its strug- 
gle for life. . . . We shall go no further, for the reader will 
easily fill out the remainder of the picture for himself. Man is 
but an immense colony of cells, in which the division of labor, 
together with the centralization of the nervous system, has 
reached its highest limit. It is chiefly to this that his superi- 
ority is due ; a superiority so great, as regards certain functions 
of the brain, that he may be excused for having denied his 
humbler relatives, and dreamed that, standing alone in the cen- 
tre of the universe, sun, moon, and stars, were made for him." 


Let us learn from the same writer how both eyes 
of the flounder get, quite unintentionally, on the same 
side of the head. The writer makes much of this case 
(see p. 372), and we are not disposed to pass it by : 

"A similar application may be made to the Pleuronecta, 
Presumably, these fishes had adopted their peculiar mode of 
swimming long before the position of their eyes became adapted 
to it. A spontaneous variation occurred, consisting in the pas- 
sage of one eye to the opposite side of the head ; and this varia- 
tion afforded its possessors such increased facilities of sight that 
in the course of time the exception became the rule. But the 
remarkable point is, that the law of heredity not only preserved 
the variation itself, but the date of its occurrence ; and that, 
although for thousands of years the adult Pleuronecta have had 
both eyes on the same side, the young still continue during their 
earlier development to exhibit the contrary arrangement, just 
as if the variation still occurred spontaneously." 

Here a wonderful and one would say unaccountable 
transference takes place in a short time. As Steen- 
strup showed, one eye actually passes through the 
head while the young fish is growing. We ask how 
this comes about ; and we are told, truly enough, that 
it takes place in each generation because it did so in 
the parents and in the whole line of ancestors. "Why 
offspring should be like parent is more than any one 
can explain ; but so it is, in a manner so nearly fixed 
and settled that we can count on it ; yet not from any 
absolute necessity that we know of, and, indeed, with 
sufficiently striking difference now and then to demon- 
strate that it might have been otherwise, or is so in a 
notable degree. This transference of one eye through 
the head, from the side where it would be nearly use- 
less to that in which it may help the other, bears all 


the marks of purpose, and so carries the implication 
of design. The case is adduced as part of the evi- 
dence that Darwinian evolution supersedes design. 
But how ? Not certainly in the way this goes on from 
generation to generation ; therefore, doubtless in the 
way it began. So we look for the explanation of how 
it came about at the first unintentionally or acciden- 
tally ; how, under known or supposed conditions, it 
must have happened, or at least was likely to hap- 
pen. And we read, " A spontaneous variation oc- 
curred, consisting in the passage of one eye to the 
opposite side of the head." That is all; and we 
suppose there is nothing more to be said. In short, 
this surprising thing was undesigned because it took 
place, and has taken place ever since ! The writer 
presumes, moreover (but this is an obiter dictum\ that 
the peculiarity originated long after flounders had 
fixed the habit of swimming on one side (and in this 
particular case it is rather difficult to see how the two 
may have gone on pari passu), and so he cuts away 
all obvious occasion for the alteration through the 
summation of slight variations in one direction, cadi 
bringing some advantage. 

This is a strongly-marked case ; but its features, 
although unusually prominent, are like those of the 
general run of the considerations by which evolution 
is supposed to exclude design. Those of the penul- 
timate citation and its context are all of the same 
stamp. The differences which begin as variations are 
said to be spontaneous a metaphorical word of wide 
meanings are inferred to be casual (whereas we only 
know them to be occult), or to be originated by sur- 


rounding agencies (which is not in a just sense true) ; 
they are legitimately inferred to be led on by natural 
selection, wholly new structures or organs appear, no 
one can say how, certainly no one can show that they 
are necessary outcomes of what preceded ; and these 
two are through natural selection kept in harmony 
with the surroundings, adapted to different ones, 
diversified, and perfected ; purposes are all along sub- 
served through exquisite adaptations; and yet the 
whole is thought to be undesigned, not because of 
any assigned reason why this or that must have been 
thus or so, but simply because they all occurred in 
Nature ! The Darwinian theory implies that the 
birth and development of a species are as natural as 
those of an individual, are facts of the same kind in a 
higher order. The alleged proof of the absence of 
design from it amounts to a simple reiteration of the 
statement, with particulars. Now, the marks of con- 
trivance in the structure of animals used not to be 
questioned because of their coming in the way of 
birth and development. It is curious that a further 
extension of this birth and development should be 
held to disprove them. It appears to us that all this 
is begging the question against design in Nature, in- 
stead of proving that it may be dispensed with. 

Two things have helped on this confusion. One 
is the notion of the direct and independent creation 
of species, with only an ideal connection between 
them, to question which was thought to question the 
principle of design. The other is a wrong idea of 
the nature and province of natural selection. In 
former papers we have over and over explained the 


Darwinian doctrine in this respect. It may be briefly 
illustrated thus: Natural selection is not the wind 
which propels the vessel, but the rudder which, by 
friction, now on this side and now on that, shapes the 
course. The rudder acts while the vessel is in mo- 
tion, effects nothing when it is at rest. Variation 
answers to the wind : " Thou hearest the sound there- 
of, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it 
goeth." Its course is controlled by natural selection, 
the action of which, at any given moment, is seem- 
ingly small or insensible ; but the ultimate results are 
great. This proceeds mainly through outward influ- 
ences. But we are more and more convinced that 
variation, and therefore the ground of adaptation, is 
not a product of, but a response to, the action of the 
environment. Variations, in other words, the differ- 
ences between individual plants and animals, however 
originated, are evidently not from without but from 
within not physical but physiological. 

"We cannot here assign particularly the reasons 
for this opinion. But we notice that the way in 
which varieties make their appearance strongly sug- 
gests it. The variations of plants which spring up in 
a seed-bed, for instance, seem to be in no assignable 
relation to the external conditions. They arise, as we 
say, spontaneously, and either with decided characters 
from the first, or with obvious tendencies in one or 
few directions. The occult power, whatever it be, 
does not seem in any given case to act vaguely, pro- 
ducing all sorts of variations from a common centre, 
to be reduced by the struggle for life to fewness and 
the appearance of order ; there are, rather, orderly in- 


dications from the first. The variations of which we 
speak, as originating in no obvious causal relation to 
the external conditions, do not include dwarfed or 
starved, and gigantesque or luxuriant forms, and 
those drawn up or expanded on the one hand, or con- 
tracted and hardened on the other, by the direct dif- 
ference in the supply of food and moisture, light and 
heat. Here the action of the environment is both 
obvious and direct. But such cases do not count for 
much in evolution. 

Moreover, while we see how the mere struggle and 
interplay among occurring forms may improve them 
and lead them on, we cannot well imagine how the 
adaptations which arrest our attention are thereby 
secured. Our difficulty, let it be understood, is not 
about the natural origination of organs. To the tri- 
umphant outcry, " How can an organ, such as an eye, 
be formed under Nature ? " we would respond with a 
parallel question, How can a complex and elaborate 
organ, such as a nettle-sting, be formed under Na- 
ture ? But it is so formed. In the same species 
some individuals have these exquisitely-constructed 
organs and some have not. And so of other glands, 
the structure and adaptation of which, when looked 
into, appear to be as wonderful as anything in Na- 
ture. The impossibility lies in conceiving how the 
obvious purpose was effectuated under natural se- 
lection alone. This, under our view, any amount of 
gradation in a series of forms goes a small way in 
explaining. The transit of a young flounder's eye 
across the head is a capital instance of a wonderful 
thing done under Nature, and done unaccountably. 


But simpler correlations are involved in similar 
difficulty. The superabundance of the pollen of pine- 
trees above referred to, and in oak-trees, is correlated 
with chance fertilization under the winds. In the 
analogous instance of willows a diminished amount of 
pollen is correlated with direct transportation by in- 
sects. Even in so simple a case as this it is not easy 
to see how this difference in the conveyance would 
reduce the quantity of pollen produced. It is, we 
know, in the very alphabet of Darwinism that if a 
male willow-tree should produce a smaller amount of 
pollen, and if this pollen communicated to the off- 
spring of the female flowers it fertilized a similar 
tendency (as it might), this male progeny would se- 
cure whatever advantage might come from the saving 
of a certain amount of work and material ; but why 
should it begin to produce less pollen ? But this is as 
nothing compared with the arrangements in orchid- 
flowers, where new and peculiar structures are intro- 
duced structures which, once originated and then 
set into variation, may thereupon be selected, and 
thereby led on to improvement and diversification. 
But the origination, and even the variation, still re- 
mains unexplained either by the action of insects or 
by any of the processes which collectively are per 
Bonified by the term natural selection. We really 
believe that these exquisite adaptations have come to 
pass in the course of Nature, and under natural selec- 
tion, but not that natural selection alone explains or 
in a just sense originates them. Or rather, if this 
term is to stand for sufficient cause and rational ex- 
planation, it must denote or include that inscrutable 


something which produces as well as that which re- 
sults in the survival of " the fittest/' 

We have been considering this class of questions 
only as a naturalist might who sought for the proper 
or reasonable interpretation of the problem before 
him, unmingled with considerations from any other 
source. Weightier arguments in the last resort, 
drawn from the intellectual and moral constitution of 
man, lie on a higher plane, to which it was unneces- 
sary for our particular purpose to rise, however indis- 
pensable this be to a full presentation of the evidence 
of mind in Nature. To us the evidence, judged as 
impartially as we are capable of judging, appears con- 
vincing. But, whatever view one unconvinced may 
take, it cannot remain doubtful what position a the- 
ist ought to occupy. If he cannot recognize design 
in Nature because of evolution, he may be ranked 
with those of whom it was said, "Except ye see 
signs and wonders ye will not believe." How strange 
that a convinced theist should be so prone to associate 
design only with miracle ! 

All turns, however, upon what is meant by this 
Nature, to which it appears more and more probable 
that the being and becoming no less than the well- 
being and succession of species and genera, as well 
as of individuals, are committed. To us it means " the 
world of force and movement in time and space," as 
Aristotle defined it the system and totality of things 
in the visible universe. 

What is generally called Nature Prof. Tyndall 
names matter a peculiar nomenclature, requiring 
new definitions (as he avers), inviting misunderstand- 


ing, and leaving the questions we are concerned with 
just where they were. For it is still to ask : whence 
this rich endowment of matter ? Whence comes that 
of which all we see and know is the outcome ? That 
to which potency may in the last resort be ascribed, 
Prof. Tyndall, suspending further judgment, calls 
mystery using the word in one of its senses, namely, 
something hidden from us which we are not to seek 
to know. But there are also mysteries proper to be 
inquired into and to be reasoned about ; and, although 
it may not be given unto us to know the mystery of 
causation, there can hardly be a more legitimate sub- 
ject of philosophical inquiry. Most scientific men 
have thought themselves intellectually authorized to 
have an opinion about it. " For, by the primitive 
and very ancient men, it has been handed down in 
the form of myths, and thus left to later generations, 
that the Divine it is which holds together all Na- 
ture ; " and this tradition, of which Aristotle, both 
naturalist and philosopher, thus nobly speaks ' con- 
tinued through succeeding ages, and illuminated by 
the Light which has come into the world may still 
express the worthiest thoughts of the modern scien- 
tific investigator and reasoner. 

1 UapaS(Sorcu S( inrb TUV apx^w *<& iro^iroAafa!*' Iv pvQov 
<caTaAAe/t'i'a roll SffTfpov, STI Wfpif'xfi TO 6EION r^jy $\r)v Qfotr, 
Aritt. Afetaphys., xi. 8, 1 9. 

Accident incidental to design, 154-157. 

Agassiz, L., view of species, 19, 16, 163, 
191, 200 ; how he diverges from Dar- 
win, 16, 117, 120, 199; correspondence 
of his capital facts with Darwin's, 19; 
theory theistic to excess, 14, 20-22, 
154, 200; relation of tertiary to exist- 
ing 1 species, 49, 110; on age of Florida, 
100; on prophetic types, 116; on in- 
telligence of animals. 17'2; on destrnc- j 
tion of species, 120; on geological 
time, 100, 162; on design in Nature, 

Alaska, Sequoia fossil in, 228. 

Aldrovanda, insectivorous, 322. 

Analogy, use of, hy Darwin, 47, 105 ; in 
proof of design, 365. 

Argyll, Duke of, on creation by law. 275. 

Aris'totle. his definition of Nature, 3S9 ; 
his theistic view of Nature, 390. 

Atheism, relations of Darwinism to, 55, 
5S. 69, 138 sq., 154, 258, 206 ay., 260, 270, 
279. 379; to douht ordinary doctrine 
of final causes not atheistical, 133. 

Ausustine, St., on the method of crea- 
tion, 357. 

Austin, Mrs., on the California pitcher- 
plant, 330. 

Bacon, Lord, view of Providence, 144. 

Baird. Prof., on variation in the birds of 
North America, 244. 

Bartram, William, on insectivorous 
plants, 305. 

Beech, species of, now extending their 
limits, 186. 

Bentham, on the derivative hvpothesis, 
2:36, 242. 

Bible, does not determine the mode of 
creation, 181, 291 ; a mirror of Provi- 
dence, 142 ; interpretation of, partly a 
matter of probabilities, 261. 

Billiard-balls illustrate the proof of de- 
sign, 62-64, 69-74, 77. 

Birds, instinct of, 171. 

Bladderwort, insectivorous, 323. 

Boomerang, illustrating the method of 
proving design, 72. 

Breeding, thorough, 30 ; tendency of, to 
reversion, 341; close, evil effects of, 

British flora, discrepancy of views re- 
garding, 34. 

Broccoli, origin of. 111. 

Brongniart, Adolphe, on distribution of 
species in tertiary period, 114. 

Brown, Robert, scientific sagacity of, 
etc., 284-289. 

Budding, propagation by, relation of, to 
deterioration of varieties, 341. 

Butler, Bishop, definition of natural, 
61, 160, 253, 269. 

Butterwort. insectivorous, 325 ; diges- 
tion of, 325. 

Cabbage, origin of, 111. 

California, gigantic trees of, 207, see Se- 
quoia ; general characteristics of flora 
of, 208. 21 S; unlike that of the Atlantic 
coast, 217. 

Canby, observations of, on sundew, 293, 
300, 322 ; on Sarracenia, 330. 

Catastrophes in geology, 120. 

Cattle, origin of breeds of, 111 ; increase 
of, in South America, 89, 117; exist- 
ence sometimes dependent on insects, 

Cauliflower, origin of, 111. 
Caulophyllum, and relatives, dispersion 

of, 222. 
Cause, efficient, three theistic views of, 


Cedar, species of, 188. 
Chair, classification of. 167. 
Chance, not admissible, 42, 55, 59, 63, 

76-84, 147, 153, 1C8, 170, 235. 
China, relation of flora of; to that of 

North America, 214 sq. 
Classification, difference of opinion upon, 

34 ; expresses judgments, not facts, 

85, 122, 184, 203, 289 ; expresses only 

the coarser gradations, 126, 142; see 

Species, and Gradation. 
Climate, as affecting the numbers of a 

species, 40 ; acts indirectly, 41 ; of the 

north in early periods, 114, 224. 
Climbing-plants, 831-337 ; feel as well as 

grow, 332 ; comparative advantage of 

their habits. 834 ; cause of motion, 886. 
Cobbe, Frances Power, on the relation 

of God to the Universe, 234. 
Cohn, Prof, on Utricularia, 824. 
Complexity of Nature, 41. 
Competition sharpest between allied 

species, 42. 
Condor, rate of increase, 39. 



Contingency, Darwinian hypothesis 

based on. 52, 54, 76, t-4, 6G; mingled 

with design, 274. 
Continuity of Nature. 128, 190, 234, 263, 

278. 2S9, 82!?, &H1, 879. 
Creation, three views of, theistic, 153, 

Creuceons flora, relation of, to present 

flora. 238. 
Cross-breeding, essential to longevity 

and vigor of species, 33, 846, 854. 
Curtis. Rev. Dr., M. A., his account of 

Dionrea, 298. 
Cuvier. on the part animals have to play 

in nature, 856. 
Cypress, the bald, relation of, to Sequoia, 

213, 225, 230. 

Darwin, Charles, standing as a naturalist, 
188, 288 *</.. 2s>7, 297 ; how his view of 
species differs from the ordinary views, 
1^,16; how Irora Agaasiz's view, 16, 
117, 129; summary of arguments, 36, 
109-116; his distinctive work, 87, 61, 
278, 80Sv3, 827. 837 ; where his argu- 
ment weakest, 47. 169 ; where strong- 
est, 121 ; his candor, 16!>, 286; harmo- 
nizes teleology and morphology. 52 
121, 284, 247, 288, 822, 837, 8.*>7, 875; 
does not deny creative intervention, 
61, 93. 143, 149; does not sneer at the 
doctrine of design, 189, 140 ; never de- 
pended exclusively on natural selec- 
tion, 104; view of instinct, 173; no 
atheistical intent, 258, 268-270. 274; 
experiments with Dioma, 294, 821. 

Darwinism, still an hypothesis. 63 tq., 
119, 128, 135. 179, 274"; compatible witn 
atheism, but not inconsiWnt with 
theism. 54. 130. 159. 258, 279. 879 ; more 
compatible with theism than the the- 
ory of gravitation, 65, 285 ; relation to 
teleology, 67, 84-86, 121, 145, 151-162, 
176, 284, 247, 258, 271, 272, 288, 887, 
857; premonitions of, 88, 94, 288; re- 
lations to LyelTs geological theories, 
108, 109. 110; objections to, 1G8-177 ; 
argument for, from the distribution of 
the species of the oak, 190 ; as stated 
by Wallace, 191 ; present attitude of 
naturalists to, 284, 236-261, 279; im- 
plications of, regarding the indetoite 
vitality of species, 848. 

Darwinian Teleology, accounts for abor- 
tive and useless organs. 371 ; for the 
apparent waste of Nature, 876, 377 ; for 
imperfections and failures. 878. 

Dawson, on derivation of species, 288, 

De Candolle, Alph., on the oak, 178; 
definition of species, 201. 202; deriva- 
tion of species, 1^6, 200, 236, 239; on 
multiple origin of specie*, 191, 239. 

De Candolle. conception of the struggle 

DPS Hayes, on gradation of species in 
the tertiary |>er'od. 49, 110. 

Design TtrtM Necessity, 62-56; distin- 
guished from purpose, 858, 859 ; bow 
proved, 70-76, 84, 150-152, 16^. WH, 
862, 865, 871 ; natural telfctirn. a 
substitute for it 69 ; can never be de- 
monstrated. 70, 865; method of proof 
Illustrated by pump, 71 ; by loome- 72 ; by movement of billiard balls, 
62-64, 69-74,77; by the eye, 79-84; 
by machinery. 85, 27b ; may act 
through variation and natural selec- 
tion, 148, 247. 272. 27. r >, 2s^ ; evidence 
of. complete in the individual 1.M.304, 
866; all Nature a manifested design, 
152, 153. 176, 274, 887. 879 ; manifest in 
insectivorous plants. 300. 301, 314. :;.".' ; 
in climbing plants. 3A 336 ; consistent 
with three views of efficient cause, 158 
ff. 272 ; not disproved by negative in- 
stances, 8f>9, 870. 380. 

Dioncea. account of. 2!U-295, 820 ; digests 
animal food, 019, 321. 

Diseases, contagious, relation of, to nat- 
ural selection, 241. 

Divergence, how produced by natural 
selection, 91. 

" Division of labor " in the organic world, 

Dogs, of diverse origin, 27. 

Domestication, effect of, upon variation, 
26. 29, 82, 1-4. :tt9, 840. 

D'Orbignv. on destruction of species, 120. 

Drosera. 291.295-301,810; sensitiveness 
of, 312, 317. 

Dubuque, address of Professor Gray at, 

Effort, as result of complex canses, K2-86. 

Elephant, possible rapidity of increase, 
88; Falconer on, 193-19(5. 

Emhrvologv, lls. 

Equilibrium of natuml forces, 41, 42. 

Evolution and theology. 252-2<i5. 

Evolutionary hypotheses should be the- 
istic, 176, 199," 279. 881, 889, 80. 

Evolutionary teleology, article on, 359- 

Extinction of species, not by cataclysms, 

Eve.' formation of, 59, 60; illustrating 
design, 79-S4. 

Falconer, on the affinity of the mammoth 
with the elephant, and the bearing 
of the facts on Darwinism. 198-196. 

Fertilization of plants, contrivances for, 
846. 875-877. 

Final causes, fte Teleology. 

Flounder, tt Pleuronecta. 

Flower, Prof., on the derivative hy- 
pothesis. 286. 243. 

Fly-trap. tee Dionira. 

Forbea, Edward, on the dispersion of 
pedes, 191. 



Fulmar petrel, the remarkable Increase 

Gaston de Saporta, Count, on the origi 

of tertiary species, 197. 193. 
Genealogical tree, 17. 
Gene.-is, the account of creation in, 131 

201, 2G5. 

Genus, difficult to define, 184, 204 
Geology, incompleteness of record, 48, 

Ginseng, common to America and North- 
ern Asia, 222. 

Glacial period, as accounting for the dis- 
tribution of species, 114, 115, 224 ; effect 
of, on mammoth and elephant, 11)3-11)6. 

Glyptostrobus of China, relation to Se- 
quoia, 214, 225, 230. 

God, relation of, to Nature, 54. 5S 144- 
103, 199, 234, 257, 275 ; to the universe, 
59; hia presence required in a long 
process of adaptation as well as in a 
short one, 60, 149 ?., 234. 256 ; imma- 
nence in Nature, Cl, 159; his thoughts 
eternal, yet manifested in succession, 
167; veracity of, in the works of Na- 
ture, 371. 

Goeppert on the antiquity of Taxodium 
distichnm and other plants, 223. 

Gradation, from tertiary species down- 
ward, 34, 101, 114, 115, 200; extent of, 
in fossils of consecutive formations, 43 ; 
between the tertiary and the present, 
49, 110, 112; principle of, in organic 
Nature, 123, 129; between plants and 
animals, 124, 289, 803, 309, 323 ; ungu- 
lata,243; towards individuality, 125; 
coarser in systems of classification than 
in Nature, 126, 142, 184, 289; in climb- 
ing plants, 835 ; in insectivorous plants, 
827 ; of, in the species of oak, 180, 203 ; 
between the cretaceous and tertiary 
formations, 197. 
Grady, Mr. B. F., on lure in Sarrace- 

Greenland, fossil plants of, 231. 
Grafting, effect on longevity of a species, 

Grisebacb, Prof., on geographical distri- 
bution of species, 229. 

Hayden, on fossil Sequoia in the Rocky 

Mountains, 228. 
Henslow, Kev. George, on evolution and 

theology, 252, 256. 
Heor, on origin of species, 192 ; on the 

antiquity of Taxodium and other spe- 

cies, 227 */. 

Hobbes, theory of society, 37, 89. 
Hodge, Dr. Charles, on evolution and 

theology, 253, 257-261 ; on Darwinism, 

Horses, increase of, in South America, 

39,117; a former species existed in 

South America, 118. 

Herschel, Sir John, on the relation of 

God to Nature, 275. 
Hilaire, Geoffroy St.-, opposition of, to 

teleology, 356. 
Hooker, Dr. J. D., on Nepenthes and 

Sarracenia, 881. 

Hume, on proof of design in Nature, 863 
Hybrids, 50 ; how to test sterility, 51 

sterility of, 175. 

Increase, rate of, in elephants, 33 ; among 
cattle and horses in South America, 
89, 117, 118 ; causes affecting, 40. 

Individuality, attained gradually 125 
843; not fully attained by plants, 344. 

Inductive science, domain of, 14, 95; 
limitation of, 47; process of, 23, 70 
sq., 98, 101, 107, 108, 112, 201, 202, 244 
250; Darwin's method conformable 
to, 37, 103, 111, 118, 114, 115. 119, 122, 
244, 200; postulates the veracity of 
Nature, 371. 

Inheritance, more mysterious than non- 
inheritance, 29; the only known cause 
of likeness in living species, 227. 

Insects, agency of, in fertilization, 237. 

Insectivorous plants, 289-303 ; and climb- 

Instinct of animals, 171 ; of the TalegaL 

Intelligence of the higher animals, 172- 

Intention. M Design. 

Interbreeding, when close, diminishes 

vigor and fertility, 32, 287. 
Ivy, Poison (Rhu* Toxicodendron\ 

common to America and Japan, 221. 

Jackson's " Philosophy of Natural The- 
ology," 863. 

Japan, relation of flora to that of North 
America, 215 sq. ; Grisebach on, 2'26. 

Jussieu, A. L., definition of species, 168, 

Kale, origin of, 111. 

Kingsley, Rev. Charles, on u Evolution 

and Theology," 299, 282. 
Knight, Andrew, on effect of budding, 

Kohlrabi, origin of, 111. 

Lamarck, his theory of transmutation, 
28, 52, 171. 

B Conte, Prof. Joseph, on religion and 
science, 252, 262. 

Leibnitz charges Newton with subvert- 
ing natural theology, 187, 258. 

Lesquerenx, on fossil Sequoia, 2, 2-12; 
on the relation of present flora to that 
of the cretaceous age, 238. , 

Libocedrus, nictribution of, 230. 



Lindlcy, on the persistence of varieties, 


Linnaeus, definition of species, 12, 201 ; 
diagnosis of the three kingdoms of 
Nature, 809. 

Lyeil, Sir Charles, on the imperfection 
ol the geological record, 46; on gra- 
dation of species in later formations, 
49, 110; theory of geological changes, 
103, 109 ; acceptance of Darwinism, 238. 

Macbride, Dr. James, observations on 
Sarracenla, 804. 

Machinery, does not dispense with de- 
sign. 8ft. 

Malthus. on struggle for existence, 3T, 89. 

Mammoth, Falconer on, 193-196. 

Man, separation of, from the quadrn- 
mana, 60 ; mental power of, not 
necessarily acquired, 59; may be an 
exception to the rule, 92, 94, 25V>; 
unity of origin, 99, 17G ; antiquity of, 

Materialism, philosophy of, rejected, 126, 
158, 174; note, 17i>, 285, 260. 

Mfllichamp, Dr., on pitcher plants, 829. 

Mill, J. S., on creation by intelligence, 

Morphology, 52, 121, 122; reconciled 
with teleology, 121, 288. 

Mysteries, of natural operations. 53, 158, 
817,818,3->7; of Providence and Na- 
ture the same, 153; in the action of 
sundew, 312, 817; In similarity of off- 
spring to parents, 383 ; proper to be 
inquired into, 890. 

Nature, definition of, 61. 160, 259, 269, 
889; theistic views of, 158-1 6S, 24'.), 
257.390; se Continuity of; veracity 
of, 870. 

Natural history, province of, 209, 260, 

Natural selection, 84, 69 ; method of op- 
eration. 44; a very expansive prin- 
ciple, 278; supposed recent illustra- 
tions of Its effect, 45; still an hypoth- 
esis, 54, 185, 274; not inconsistent with 
natural theology, 87 </, 187 *y.. 255, 
272, 8&; how it produces divergence, 
43, 91 ; not disproved by special mirac- 
ulous exceptions, '.'.'>: not the exclusive 
cause of modification, 101, 195, 887, 
886 ; extent of operation, 104-109, 278 ; 
not to be confounded with variation, 

Natural theology unshaken by physical 
science, 42. 58, 84, 89, 95, 187, 150, 151, 
15-.', 259, m? 

Naudln. Charles, views regarding the 
evolution of species, 349 q. 

Nectarine, origin of, 111. 

Necessity renu* design, (52-86 ; how re- 
lated to Darwinism, 69, 75. 

Nepenthes, 881. 

Nettle-sting, an example of the natural 
production of a complex organ. :^7 

Ncwberry, on the antiquity of Sequoia, 
280, 282. 

Newton. Sir Isaac, charged with sub- 
verting natural theology, 137, 258. 

North America, botany of, 200 ; former 
climate of, 224; birds of. 244. 

Novelties, difficult to accept, 8T, 108, 247. 

Oak, De Candolle on, 178, 203; Linnaeus 
on, 187; as illustrating the origin of 
species, 179: a waning genus, 186; 
dispersion of species, 183; in the Ter- 
tiary deposits, 169 ; waste of pollen in, 

Objections to Darwinism, philosophical, 
135; absence of close gradation, 47, 
63 ; distance of man from qundru- 
mana,50; hybridism, 60, 51 ; special- 
ization of organs, 52; novelty, 87, 108, 

Optimism, absurdity of, 141. 

Orchids, fertilization of, 2s7. 

Ostrich, increase of. 89. 

Owen. Prof, evolutionary tendencies at, 
b8, 102 (134, 136?) 238. 

Paler, on teleology, 52, 67, 

Pantheism, 56, 56. 

Paraguay, relation of insects to cattle 
in. 41. 

Parsimony, law of, 860 (*( Continuity 
of Nature). 

Peach, origin of. 111. 

Perfection, relative, 141. 

Phyllotaxis, law of, 196. 

Pictct on Darwinism. 105. 108, 109, 112, 
127; on geological time, lf.2. 

Pigeon, known extent of variation, 27 ; 
why chosen for experiments, 28 ; re- 
version of, 31. 

Pbundeob, insectivorous, 825. 

Pitcher Plant, tee Sarracenia. 

Plants, insectivorous and climbing, 239- 
808. 308-887. 

Pleuronecta, facts concerning, 872, 883. 

Presumption against novelties, 87, 131, 

Probability, how far a guide, 47, 107. 260; 
an element in scriptural interpreta- 
tion, 260. 

Progress in the succession of organic 
beings, 115?.. 118. 

Providence, mvsteries of, compared with 
those of Nature, 68, 142, 177; Lord 
Bacon's view of, 144. 

Pump, as illustrating the proof of de- 
sign. 71. 

Purpose, set Design ; distinguished from 
design, 859. 

Quorcus, tee Oak. 

Rape, or Colza, origin of. 111. 



Rodwood, of California, may be disap- 

114; in time, 118, 233, 248; transmu- 

pearing, 212. see Sequoia. 
Religion, as affected by Darwinism, 54, 

tation of, how to be proved, 23 ; local- 
ization of, 113, 114, 118,200; connec- 

175, 176; and Science, by Joseph Le 

tion of, illustrated by a genealogical 

Conte, 261 . 
Representative species, definition of, 220, 

tree, 17 sq. ; physical connection of, 
not inconsistent with intellectual, 22, 


58, 54, 15, 181, 146, 147, 156, 166, 167, 

Resemblance of progeny to parent, 
cause of, inscrutable. 29. 
Revelation does not determine the mode 

176, 234, 275, 278, 279, 857, 360, 385^ 
369 ; do they wear out? 847 ; difficulty 
of defining, 90, 97, 111, 122, 126, 164, 

of creation, 181, 260, 261. 

244; stability and persistency of, 175 

Reversion to aboriginal stock, 889, 341 ; 

185, 198, 838 q , 848 ; mode of origin 

takes place in pigeons. 81 ; reason of, 
81 ; not proved in general, 81, 339. 
Roth, observations of, on Drosera, 296, 

necessarily hvpotheti.ial, 129, 180, 131, 
186; of the oak, 179?,203. 
Spencer, Herbert philosophy of. 250. 


Spitzbergen, fossil Sequoia of, 228, 229. 

Rudimentary organs. 371. 
Rutabaga, origin of, 111. 

Spontaneous generation, rejected by 
Darwin, 93. 

Sachs, his view of the motion of climb- 

8t Clair, George, on Darwinism and 
Design, 269. 280. 

ing plant?, 336. 
Saporta. Count Gaston de, on origin of 

Sterility of hybrids, how far proved, 50 ; 
test of theories regarding, 52. 

tertiary species. 197, 198. 
Sarracenia, insectivorous habits of, 801, 

Struggle for existence, 87, 88, 41, 89, 
882 ; conceived by De Candolle, 37. 

302, 323. 

Sundew, see Drosera. 

Science does not concern itself with pri- 

mary cause, 145, 259, 263, 263. 

Taxodium (gee Cvpress). 

Scientific spirit the, 95, 255, 259. 
Selection, artificial. 30; may preserve a 

Teleology, Paley'on, 52, 57; of Darwin- 
ism, 57, 64-66, 322, 374; reconciled 

variety which could not remain in a 

with morphology, 121, 210, 288, 857; 

natural state, 839; methodical, 81; 

denial of ordinary doctrine of, not 

unconscious, 30; natural, 34, 69, 90; 

atheism, 138-140, 154, 258; not dis- 

probably hinders, 135, 196, 837; De 

turbed by Darwinism, 145, 149, 151- 

Candolle's estimate of, 192; Heer's 

158, 176, 247, 822, 337, 860. 871, 875 ; 

view of, 192; Falconer on, 198-196; 

evolutionary, article on, 856-890 ; old 

confounded with variation, 195, 889; 

doctrine of, needs reconstruction, 870, 

relation of, to contagious diseases, 241 ; 

874, 3SO ; old doctrine of, does not ac- 

to vaccination, 241 ; compared to the 

count for abortive and useless organs, 

rudder of a ship, 866. 

870 ; nor for the wastefulness of Na- 

Sequoia and its history, 205-235; age 

ture. 872 ; nor for imperfections and 

of, '207, 213; its isolation, 208, 230; 

failures, 878. 

antiquity of, 229, 233 ; relations to the 
bald cypress, 213, 225; to Glyptostro- 
bus, 214, 225; to tertiary species, 214, 

Tertiary period, gradation of species in, 
84, 49, 101, 110, 200; distribution of 
species in, 112-115, 228-282 ; no hiatus 

228 ; in the arctic zone, 229 ; to creta- 

between the cretaceous and, 197, 198, 

ceous species. 233. 
Sexual reproduction, meaning of, 847. 

Theism, as affected by Darwinism, 54, 

Sisley, Mr, on individuality and longev- 
ity of species, 344. 

131, 176, 234, 235, '248, 252-265. 307, 
837, 379 ; by other physical theories. 

South America, former existence of the 

54-56; by nebular hypothesis, 187; 

horse in, 117. 

Darwinism compatible with, 67, 144 gq.. 

Bpecies, ordinary view of, 11, 16, 113, 

151-157, 199, 249. 268, 379 ; three views 

129, 163, 199, 200, 201 ; Agassiz's view 

of Nature compatible with, 158-163, 

of, 13-16, 117, 163, 164, 168, 191, 199; 
Darwin's view of, 13-16,117; Dana's 
view of, 11; De Candolle's view of, 
191, 201, 202; Jussieu's definition of, 

177. 275, 277. 
Theologians, interest of, in evolutionary 
hypothesis. 252 ; attitude toward. 253, 
254, 261 ; deal largely in probabilities. 

163, 201 ; Grteebsch's definition of, 226; 


Linnaeus's definition of. 12, 168, 201; 
overage numbers of individuals in. 39, 

Time, geological evidence of, 98-1 00. 162. 
Transmutation, theories of. no novelty, 

40; arranged in clusters, 97, 118 ; im- 

23 ; Lamarck's theory of, 28 ; of the 

munity of origin, how inferred, 12, 35, 
111, 112, 113, 122, 132. 164, 163, 201, j 
238, 255, 264; distribution of. 98, 118, I 

" Vestiges of Creation," 24. 
Treat Mrs., of New Jersey, observations 
on sundew, 29S ; on titriculari*, 8'24. 

191, 132, 200; in the tertiary period, Truth, search for, laudable, 95. 



Tnlloch, Principal, on the philosophy of 

miracles, 199. 
Turnip, orisrin of, 111. 
Tyndall. Prof, on matter, 890. 
Types, prophetic and synthetic, of Agas- 

TTnirulsta. affiliation of, 243. 

Unity of the human race, 179. 

Universe, relation of God to, 57-59, 131, 
152, 167. 

Utricularia, or bladderwort, Insectivor- 
ous, 824. 

Variation, cause of, unknown, 12, 76, 84, 
157, 158, 170. 196, 387. 8s5 ; an inherent 
tendency, 15, 96, 887, 836, 833 ; of 
domestic animals not exceptional, 26 ; 
extent of, undetermined, '27, 97, 111, 
118,203; effect of domestication upon, 
26, 2J, 2i6 ; more likely than inherit- 
ance to be explained, 29, 207 ; not in 
every direction, 147, 8S7 ; may be led 
Ion? beneficial lines, 14S ; among wild 
t>ec;M, 174, 203 ; in the oak, 181, 135, 

187; in the birds of America, 244; 
compared to the wind which propels a 
ship, JJM5 

Varieties, do not differ from closely re- 
lated species, &>, 90, 97, 111, 112, 12*- 
126, LA 200, 203; less definite than 
s ecies. 1S4; do they wear oat? 833 
tq., 845. 

Venus's Fly-trap (* DionirV). 
Vestiges of creation, 

tcrized, 24, 

Wallace, A. R., formula of, concerning 
the origin of species, 119, 191. 

Wastefulness of Nature, 89, 872-374; 
not objectless, 375, 877 ; of pollen in 
pine and oak trees, 375; in mould fun- 
gi, 877. 

IPUMMflir Rtritir. article in, on de- 
sign in Nature, 8i>I q. 

Whewelt, on divine interposition In Na- 
ture. 259, 269. 

WinchelL, Alexander, on the doctrin* 
of evolution, 269, 281. 

Wind carriage, chcm, 877. 

Wyinan, Prof., on pitcher pbnU, 3. 

81 5^ i 


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